Monday, October 26, 2009

A Request for Tyler

There are several children that live right near us at the end our housing development. While there isn't a cul-de-sac those kids play in a safe area at the end of the street right by our house. They had not been interested in playing with Tyler because of the age difference. For example, the youngest of the group is in 1st grade and her name is Madison. Actually, Madison and Tyler have played together a few times. But I digress....

Rick and Tyler play hockey in the garage almost everyday. Yesterday, The other kids saw them playing and the next thing we knew Rick, Tyler, and the kids were playing hockey in the street. Rick brought out all the hockey sticks he had, which was four. "Why don't you have more," asked one of the boys. Rick also brought out the hockey puck and the goal net. They were out there for over an hour and a half. Rick said they all played really well together.

Today at 5:00pm the doorbell rang. "Can Tyler come out and play?" It was SO CUTE. This girl who had to be at least in 2nd or 3rd grade asked to play with Tyler. I think they all wanted to play hockey. I told her we'd come out in a few minutes because I was cooking dinner. Well, they all went inside within about 10 minutes as it was getting a bit dark and rather chilly. I'm glad all of the children have found a common activity that seems to stretch across all of their different ages. :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Strider Dog

It was July 7, 1999. I happened to be off work on a Thursday and my roommate Christie called, "Hey, Jen? There's a Chocolate Lab hanging out outside my office. She has no collar and appears to be a stray. Do you want her?"

A few months prior I had bought my first house and decided I needed a dog to go with it. I already had a cat. :-) I research different dogs and decided I wanted a Lab but what color? Chocolate. I wanted a Chocolate Lab.

I drove to Christie's office looked at this dog, fell in love and said, "Hi girl, would you like to come live with me?" I justified not calling Animal Control or the Humane Society to see if she belonged to anyone because I felt that she had not been well taken care of. The insides of her ears had been neglected (you have to clean out floppy ears often) and the owners didn't bother to put a collar on her. I guess it didn't occur to me that maybe she did have a loving home and somehow she happened to not have the collar on that day. Nonetheless, she became mine. I named her Strider. Kind of a boyish name, I know, but it suited her. It was estimated by the vet that she was between three and five years old. That was ten years ago.

Fast forward to recently. She had been losing weight and was not active. "She's just getting old," Rick and I would say. But then she started throwing up a little each time she would eat or drink. We became quite worried when she started to lose control of her bowels. It became worse and worse over the past few days.

I took her to the vet at PetSmart this morning while Tyler was at school. Essentially, the choice was to spend a couple hundred dollars to run tests or to put her to sleep. The issue with running tests is that even if the vet could pin point what's wrong, it's not likely anything can be done anyway. The vet addressed my obvious pain and indecision. She said that if she didn't think Strider was an appropriate candidate to be put to sleep it wouldn't be an option. And second, the vet felt that Strider had a tumor in her intestines and nothing could be done about that. Still, I felt like a cheapskate if I didn't have the tests. But then the nurse brought up a good point, "If she can't control her bowels, that problem is only going to get worse." That was the point that had the most weight on my decision. "I think we need to go ahead and put her to sleep." Who wants to live like that? She's 14 and had a good life.

I decided to stay with Strider as they put her to sleep. I wailed. I knew it would hurt emotionally but I started to hyperventilate! Rick had to come get me which I was glad about that because he was able to say "goodbye" to her. My mind was playing tricks on me because I kept seeing her breathe. She looked like she was asleep and breathing. I told Rick, "I don't feel like I did the right thing." He said, "But you did," and he listed all of the reasons why. I'm not convinced. What if she had a couple more years of life in her and we could have fixed what was wrong, even if it cost a ton of money? I don't know. I'm sick to my stomach with wonder and guilt.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I wasn't thrilled about getting the 'regular' flu vaccine but I went ahead and did it anyway. When Tyler had a fever of 103.6 a few weeks ago I scared myself into thinking I ought to get the shot. I think I feel good about my decision.

But what about the H1N1 vaccine? I've done quite a bit of research on it and have prayed about it. I have a strong feeling that I should not get it. Now trust me, reader, I realize that I may end up regretting this later. Here are my reasons for not getting it:
1. There are too many adjuncts in the H1N1 vaccine. For example, there are 25,000 times the amount of mercury found in your average food or water source.
2. The media is blowing the severity of H1N1 out of proportion. Yes, it makes someone quite sick. I get that. But there is no guarantee I'll even get H1N1 but if I get the vaccine it is guaranteed that all that junk is going into my body and into the body of my unborn baby.

This decision is taxing on me because I truly feel darned if I do, darned if I don't. I've read all of the risks to pregnant women. We're the group highest at risk. We're the group most likely to end up in the hospital. Nonetheless, the key is to tell my doctor ASAP if I think I have H1N1 and we can start treatment (like Tamiflu). And besides, the regular flu is more likely to make me dangerously sick than H1B1.

You can tell I'm struggling with this because of the fact that I'm writing about it. I welcome your constructive feedback. Maybe you know something I don't. I've been reading the CDC website quite a bit although I'm not entirely sure how much I trust them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Efficiency vs. Impersonal

I have mixed feelings about the new ways we communicate with each other and am wondering what you think? Here are a few questions:
Do you think that blogging and facebooking help us keep in touch more or less? I can make an argument for "yes" and "no". I lean toward "no" though. I find that I don't call people as much as I used to and visa versa. I do appreciate that through blogging we can share pictures and keep a virtual record of all the neat things our kids do. But we were all fine before blogging. Can't quite figure out how I feel.
Do you think we have anything important to say on Facebook anyway?
I know there are exceptions but we all typically say fairly unimportant things on our status updates. And for the really important things, don't we cheapen them by announcing them on FB? I felt like I did just that when I announced our baby is fine and that we found out he's a boy. I cheated myself out of calling people and telling them myself.
Is texting really necessary? I don't text and have not found a need to. However, I know some people can't live without it. Answer me this, though, why not just call the person you are texting?
Most importantly, doesn't all of this communication just keep us from spending time with the person or people we're with? Hey, I'm guilty of it, too. Tyler is watching Noggin (oh, wait, it's Nick Jr. now) while I'm blogging. Bad Jen, bad! That being said, I'm logging off.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grief Share

My dear friend, Hayley, told me about Grief Share a few months back. She thought it might help me through the grieving process with Baby Kevin. I put the idea on the back burner but she asked if I'd like to go yesterday. It's being held at Good Shepherd and despite the fact that I didn't feel like going, I dragged myself to it. After all she was willing to drive down Cornelieus to go with me. Let me tell was wonderful.

It's a Christian-based organization that meets once a week for several weeks in a group setting with a facilitator. We have a workbook and watch a video each week. People also get to talk about their feelings just listen. I highly recommend it to anyone who has lost someone they love, even if your beliefs are not Christian. I also went there to help me through the grieving process with losing my moms. Even though she died 3 1/2 years ago I still have a lot of work to do through that grieving process.

I will say that my heart broke as I listened to the group members reflect on their loved-ones who died. However, it was also beautiful to hear about all of the love. That's the thing...we wouldn't grieve if we didn't love.