Sunday, January 30, 2011

And so the weekend comes to a close.

It has been a fairly productive weekend, although there are still a few things undone. I have 2 Christmas gifts I am still knitting on, and haven't gotten them done yet. Hopefully they will be ready by Valentine's day. That is my new goal anyway.  I have the travel league shirts almost finished for the team (embroidering the kid's names on them), and I will finish them up tomorrow. It just feels like there are never enough hours in the day!

On the homework front I have to still write up the first part of my project for my class, but I am not sure if I will get it done before midnight or not. Skye is sick with a cold, and while she fell asleep with me, she woke up crying a few times and looked to see that I was there. I hadn't planned on watching her tonight, but Brie and her date wanted to watch a really scary movie with Aurora and her date down in the living room, and didn't necessarily want Skye exposed to it, so whatever. I didn't get the rest of my project done though because every time I got going on things she woke and needed comforting. I will need to finish it tomorrow.  It's really not worth a huge part of my grade, so I am not terribly concerned that it isn't done. I have enough started on it that I can make a decent showing on it.

Eric will be off Monday and Tuesday, as well as next weekend, although he still has school tuesday and thursday. I am watching the news right now and they are predicting the coming of the storm of the century so to speak: lots of ice and freezing rain, beginning tomorrow, then getting heavier tomorrow during the day, then significant snow and ice coming through on Tuesday thru Wednesday.  They are sharing all sorts of fears of power outages, grocery stores running out of supplies, etc. They are discussing the fears that this will be worse than the one in 2006, which (I believe) is the one Eric's grandmother died in, and then they are talking about a 1982 blizzard too...  I was in MN for both of them, and other than the ice, I am fairly comfortable with whatever comes.  They are saying it could cripple the area for days though, so I am curious about what it will be like.  Potentially more snow days off from school for the kids...  Blech!

Liisa is talking about maybe coming down to see us for a week mid-February.  I hope she comes!  I have missed my girl, and would love to spend some quality time with her.  I have friends asking when I will be in Minneapolis next, and the honest truth is I don't know.  My grandbabies keep asking me too to come see them and I miss they so much.  I love talking to them on the phone, but sometimes it's hard to hear them clearly so I need someone nearby to translate for me (because they get their mouths too close or too far from the speaker).

I think I am gonna get Skye moved into her crib once Brie gets upstairs. Given her not feeling well and the intermittant fussing I don't want her in her crib all by herself. Brie asked me if I was going to keep her here in bed with me over night but I would rather she be in her crib.It just seems safer that way. Brie bought rice cereal for the baby to start feeding her with, but we still need to get some baby spoons and stuff to feed her with.  We still need to get her in for an appointment for her 4 month immunizations, which she is now behind on, being 5 months old.  There had been a mixup with the time, and Brie missed the appointment. Then, when Brie called about it, she was told they would be on the wait list, but was never called last week. She should be calling them on Monday to get it set up.

We did finally get the tree down and put away.  That is a good feeling! And I got my sewing area somewhat set up/cleaned up from making the quilts and having the sewing machine in the shop.  I did get a big laugh out of sharing that I had been "professionally serviced by Steve." Brie and I laughed til we cried! 

I never know quite how to end my entries.  It's sorta like a letter, but I feel odd signing off that way; yet I know I have readers and want to somehow acknowledge that too...  So I will just say good night for now.  It's time to get my nightgown on and settle in with my Nook before I fall asleep.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Me and my kitty

I know not everyone who reads my blog is on facebook, but I originally posted this picture there. Skye was tucked into my bed and Batman decided to lay across her legs, causing her to laugh and coo at him. I handed my phone to Eric, who caught this picture of the two of them together.

Batman is so good to her. She can do just about anything to him and he just purrs. Justin trained Batman in well, seeing as they were babies together. Now Justin is almost 6 (come June) and Batman is almost 6 too (which means Rosie is at least 7). Time goes so fast! I hadn't realized so much time has passed or that we had had them so long. Batman is getting braver about exploring the house now, but Rosie remains skittish. Of course it doesn't help that Pekeiko stalks and hunts her every chance she gets...

Things are quiet tonight. Eric is working all weekend, and seeing as he is on mids, we need to keep things quiet around here for him to sleep. He, Aurora, and Rei all have had a nasty cold this week and all have a harsh cough. Even Skye is coughing some in her sleep, but she doesn't seem too sick otherwise. Just the teething is bugging her when she's awake.

I guess it's time to get back to the books. I just got the baby to sleep while Brie did laundry and started dinner. Tata for now!
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's Saturday...

I am sitting here with coffee in my favorite cup, the baby sleeping next to me.  Eric has taken Aurora and Rei to the bowling alley, Patrick is in bed, and Brie is at work. The sun is trying to peek through the clouds, and it seems a bit brighter than the past few have been. I got a decent night's sleep for the first time in a long while last night, so I feel brighter and more like myself today. I am even feeling energetic, which it's been a while since I have felt that way (if I am honest it's been about 3 months). Eric and I have been making some progress with de-cluttering our bedroom, having bought a new desk that we can share about 2 weeks ago and we are eagerly clearing out the old desk area so we can get that set up with better organization and storage. The goal is to permanently set up his new laptop with my relatively new desktop on the desk, and send his old desktop out for the kids to use (we also want to try and re-set up the kid's computer, so they have a couple of them to use). In addition, I took some of my babysitting money from Skye/Brie and bought myself an upholstered rocker-recliner for the bedroom, and it has been wonderful for rocking Skye to sleep at night. Still haven't tried it for cross-stitching, but I am looking forward to that in the next few days.

I think, once we get the clutter cleaned out and the desk area situated we can look forward to painting out room.  I am looking to doing the room in shades of cream and chocolate brown, and I think it will be cozy for both of us--rich and comfortable, without being too masculine or feminine. My goal prior to painting in here though is to get the loft area situated with my sewing stuff, which will clear out another corner in our bedroom as well as the dining room downstairs. I will have a dedicated space to put everything. I want to paint out there before I start moving things out, and with Eric moving to nights as of Monday, I will have lots of time on my own to putter while he is either sleeping or gone. I have made my lists, now it's time to start acting on them!

We are supposed to be getting more snow heading into monday, and I am generally ok with that--I love how clean everything looks versus dead and grey. I have also been thrilled to see some cardinals at my feeders in the back yard. There has been one male and two females that I am aware of, and Eric is enjoying the woodpeckers who like the suet trap thingy. It's been sad to not have Midnight around any more--at odd times I find myself looking for him, and every now and again I think I hear him barking outside. Eric and the kids elected not to have him cremated independently so that we'd have his ashes, so we have been sharing memories and looking at pictures instead.

I got my sewing machine back yesterday. It looks like they gave it a good cleaning, removed some shredded thread from the thread-uptake area (which I cannot get to independently), and adjusted the timing and so forth. The final cost to us was $0 but the original bill was $266 so we have almost already gotten our money's worth out of the extended warranty we put on it. I feel so good about that! I cannot wait to get back to some of my sewing projects again!

My schoolwork is interesting, and I am plugging along. I just really need to figure out MY time management to stay on top of things. I find I am taking care of Skye directly and indirectly more than I had anticipated, but I still maintain that she is an easy baby--it's just trying to be on her schedule rather than my own, and adjusting my expectations of when I will have time to myself, because it changes constantly. Eric and the other kids are great to pitch in when they can, but generally it feels sometimes like the buck stops with me (I am, of course talking primarily about when Brie is gone--either working or school). It is what it is, and I am glad I can help.

I think it's time to take advantage of the baby being asleep and squeek in a couple of chores. Then it's time to hit the books!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another snow day...

We here in Mascoutah got about 4-5 inches of snow overnight, and to hear the forecasters describe it, we are almost in the middle of a blizzard--"We are in STORM MODE beginning at 4 am and staying with you all throught the morning hours!" I grant you, there was a patch just north of the city that did get a foot, but for the most part, it's manageable.  Still, school has been cancelled all over, and everyone is encouraged to stay home or take it slow. I went out and drove Patrick to work on generally unplowed streets and it wasn't too bad, even in my van, which can get stuck in a parking lot...  I won't, however, be driving today to Fairview Heights to go pick up my sewing machine today, which is back from being serviced.

Skye is laying here next to me being a little bugger.  She wants her bottle, but to play with it.  And when I set it aside, she squeals in a loud, shrill, ear-piercing screech. When one speaks of running on toddler time, let me point out that infants have no sense of time what-so-ever!  And today she wants her bottle, but she also wants to be sitting upright, looking at everything under the sun, chewing on the nipple (because she is teething dreadfully right now) and taking little sips, while also smiling and cooing over everything the cats are doing nearby (which is primarily trying to sleep).

I can't remember now if I posted about Aurora's tournament at St Clair bowl on Saturday, but she came in 14th out of 320 girls.  We were very proud of her.  Tuesday night was Senior night at the bowling alley and she was disappointed she didn't bowl as well as she expected of herself, but it was still a very nice afternoon/evening for the girls, and they were celebrated. Eric and I went with Skye, and Brie joined  us after a doctor's appt. and before heading off to class.

I haven't mentioned it here before, but in December Rei started talking to a therapist whom we both really like. I think she is going to be good for him, but she is of the opinion he should be on a mood stabilizer. I  concur with her, and we had an appointment with his GP yesterday, who has decided to refer us on to a psychiatrist, reason being med assessment for a teen can be tricky. His GP said he'd be happy to follow up and prescribe for Rei once we have him stabilized on something, but he'd prefer to have an expert make the initial recommendation of what to use.  I can see that too. So now begins the long haul of finding someone fairly local that will get us in at a relatively reasonable time frame, and not cost an arm and a leg (so many psychiatrists are going independent of insurance companies, where you pay them directly, then submit it to your own insurance for out of network repayment).  Needless to say, I am girding myself to make lots of phone calls over the next few workdays.  The thought isn't that Rei is bipolar, per se. Rather it's that his moods are cycling and unpredictable, and he could use some help to get those chemicals back in balance.

I have to be honest that I didn't get my assignment done that was due last night. I am going to do it today/tonight, as well as get the one due for Saturday done early.  Yesterday I babysat from 5:30 am when Skye got up, until she went to bed last night, along with Rei's doctor's appointment (where the doc was running an hour plus behind schedule and we had to wait, with Skye, in the waiting room), and dealing with misc. side issues related to being female.  Needless to say, yesterday sucked! Eric is on his short week this week, which I appreciate (and we got a lot of things done this past Monday and Tuesday that needed doing), but he is headed back onto night shift (or Mids as he calls them) for the next 2 months. Life is again gonna get topsy-turvy around here! After being on strictly days for the past almost 9 months, he felt it was better not to push the issue, even with classes in the evening, and we are gonna work around things.

I am also sad to say that my laptop, which I adore and have had for almost 5 years now has a broken hinge and the screen doesn't want to stay upright.  I had let it be borrowed to get homework completed on because I have word 2007 on it, and my guess is that the screen got pushed all the way open and flat, which snapped the hinge.  I now cannot close it properly either, and while I can still use it (it has all my bookmarks and school stuff and basically my life on it), I am not sure for how long I'll be able to "make-do."  It's not like we need to go get me another one--between the desktop and Eric's new laptop I can deal; I just need to figure out how to get everything transferred over.

Looking out the window the snow has started falling again: big, fluffy flakes.  It's probably because Rei just got in from shovelling the driveway and sidewalks.  It had let up when I was driving Patrick earlier. Brie also called and said her classes tonight have been cancelled, so she'll be home tonight.  I can say I am grateful that Skye slept in a bit this morning and wasn't up at 5:30, although between all the phone calls (related to the roads and school closings) I have been up for the most part since then. I am feeling a little crabby, although the caramel mocha I got at McDonalds when I dropped Patrick off has helped.

Anyhow, That's the update from around here today! Skye has fallen asleep, so I am gonna post this (after taking almost 2 hours to write it) and focus on homework!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Remembering Midnight

Ignoring the date on the photo, because it is wrong, this is the last photo I have of Midnight. I took it on Dec. 30th, 2010, before our Christmas celebration here. He had had a terrible day, was stumbling around, didn't seem to be seeing anymore, and was very weak and out of sorts. We didn't think he'd make it through the night, but he surprised us, and actually lived almost 2 weeks beyond this date.  He finally gave up the battle on the afternoon of Jan. 10th, 2011, shortly after Brie got home from work, and Rei got home from school.  He had been in the living room sleeping most of the day, and had been moving minimally when  I was in and out with Skye. When Brie got home she noticed that he looked dead, and when the kids (and I, from behind) checked on him, we were with him for his final breaths. Patrick and Rei wrapped him in a blanket and we put him in the front room, so that Eric and Aurora could say their goodbyes, and it was a heartbreaking day for everyone. He had had a long, full, life, and was a faithful friend and companion. We shared memories of him with each other, and laughed through the tears.

Some of my memories: the first time Rei and I were down here visiting, we went for a walk after the kids left for school, and Midnight wouldn't let us in the house further than the front door/dining room area.  He growled and snapped at us so that we climbed over the gate at the stairs and hung out in Eric's room and the loft until Eric (fortunately for us) decided to come home early for lunch and rescued us!  We had a tv and a bathroom, but no access to food prior to that, as Midnight was standing guard over the kitchen and family room and wouldn't let us get close!  Another memory is of the night we were awakened by the smoke detector beeping at us and Midnight got scared and jumped up onto the bed with me.  I was just shocked when he got on the bed, and wasn't sure who was protecting whom! At some point in the time I was down here, Midnight adopted me and followed me around throughout the day, lying down whereever I parked myself, and even slept on the floor on my side of the bed, sometimes even when Eric was home.  In the latter days when he was having a harder time getting around it made for some interesting late night bathroom runs.  He was so black he blended in well with objects, and without my glasses on, I often found him there blocking my path to the bathroom... He wasn't fond of being nudged to move!

That started our week off to as sad start, and it just snowballed from there.  It was Eric's long week, between work and school, and Brie too had a crazy schedule, so it was a juggling act of balancing housework, homework, and activities.  Aurora had a girl's high school bowling tournament on Saturday that Skye and I went to. The first half was run as most tournaments I have been to, and at the lunch break Aurora was in 14th place out of 230 girls, and the team was in 6th place (the top 8 teams went on). The second half of the tournament was following Baker's rules (which I was unfamiliar with). Aurora was the anchor bowler, and she was struggling a bit, as were the other girls, and unfortunately the team dropped to 10th place (out of 32 teams). They were disappointed, but Aurora was thrilled with her placement, especially since she didn't feel she had bowled her best that day.

We have an extra kid staying here this week, beginning this past Friday, because his parents have gone to a bowling tournament in Las Vegas.  We had to sit down with all the kids and go over house rules, as Jared is Rei's buddy, and Aurora's boyfriend.  Given Jared drives, we needed to remind all of them that parents need to be notified BEFORE any road trips/running around, that each night would NOT be a massive slumber party, and that school curfews and bedtimes still applied during the school week, and they all said they understood.  So this morning I went downstairs, and both couches, the floor, and the chair were filled with sleeping boys--Rei, Jared, Patrick, and Ryan were all sacked out.  Oh well, there is no school until Tuesday, and they were quiet, so it was fine.

I started my online class this week and am already seeing it's going to take some careful planning to get my reading, research, and assignments done.  The first two, due by midnight, were posted around 11:30 pm on their due dates, and that bothers me, because it means I don't get the class feedback (from classmates) as one of the last to post, and I am typing when I am tired. This week anyway, it was because there were so many things needing to be dealt with during the times I had set aside for homework (primarily Skye needing minding), and I have had to put my foot down that MY school work time is as valuable as everyone else's and I am going to need some consideration. This week will be interesting because Brie's classes will be starting for her on Tuesday, and she is going to need to learn to balance her time better herself.

This week is again going to be quite full. We have appointments scheduled throughout the week, along with the normal day-to-day schedules.  Skye has her 4 month appt. on Tuesday, and we are eager to see how she has grown. Rei saw the cardiologist over at St. Louis Children's on Friday and he has been given the all-clear.  His fistual is there, and is measurable, but remains small, so the doctor feels it is a "non-issue" that shouldn't cause him any problems in the future. That has been a huge relief to me and I am so grateful to Dr. Murphy, who has been with us since we moved down here and the fistula was discovered.

One last major piece of news: Aurora received her acceptance letter to the University of MN, Twin Cities campus, and she is thrilled!  It is the only place she has applied to, but she has had her heart set on going there, so we are all glad it worked out.  Now, I have to go--baby needs a diaper change!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hanging out with baby Skye.

It's for sure a monday. I got up bright and early to take kids to school, and there was no sense in going back to bed. Skye got up with the chickens this morning! Despite taking a good nap for me later on, she has been wanting constant attention, and like the rest of the kids, has little patience for the word "wait."

I need to now take my embroidery unit in as well (they want all of the main pieces), so I need to run out there later today. They will both be shipped wednesday back to the manufacturer. I feel a bit lost, but have plenty of knitting to keep me occupied.

Baby is fussin at me, so time to post!
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Brief update:

I went over to the local hospital today for an outpatient scan of my left calf after the pain increased significantly and Eric saw some bruising behind my knee.  The scan was negative for blood clots or cysts, so the assumption now is that it's either muscular or tendon related.  Regardless, it hurts still to walk on for extended periods of time, and going up and down the stairs is very uncomfortable. I am to treat it symptomatically for the next little while and if it doesn't improve, then I need to go back.

I talked to the sewing machine place today about my embroidery machine.  It has something seriously wrong with it and needs to be sent back to the factory for fixing. I am so grateful we bought the extended warranty on it because even with all the sewing I have done on it in the year I have had it, I don't think I have gotten my money's worth out of it yet.  The unfortunate part has been postponing the embroidery projects I had deadlines for of this weekend, things I wouldn't have been able to complete even without taking it in, because it just wouldn't work.  So frustrating though. I feel like my arm has been cut off without it.  I may not use it every day, but when I need it, I depend on having it there.

This is going to be a busy weekend, with Brie going to Chicago with her unit to drive some trucks up there over her weekend of drill.  Aurora has a sleepover tonight for the girl's bowling team, and she wants to go see a boy's tournament tomorrow.  Rei has bowling, and Eric and I are babysitting Skye all weekend. Sunday is a travel league match, down in Arnold, MO near where Eric goes to school.  And I am not sure what Aurora has planned with regard to that, as she is still not eligible to bowl until the high school season is over. Also not sure what Patrick has planned for the weekend.  I hope today isn't a foreshadowing of what our weekend is going to be like with Skye: she is not being a happy baby today.  Not crying exactly, but whiny and wanting to be held. She has not been happy with much of anything today. And I unfortunately hurt her pointer finger this afternoon when I was clipping her nails.  She shifted and I nipped the tip of her finger.  It bled like I had knifed her and I felt miserable about it. We tried to put pressure on it but she wanted no part of that, so we put a band-aid on it, then watched her carefully to be sure she didn't eat the band-aid. It doesn't seem to be bothering her now.

Ok, on to the weekend. And here's being thankful for the extended warranty: it will cover all parts, labor and everything!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's been one of *those* days today...

My day started with the alarm going off at it's usual 3:45 for my honey to get up for work.  He turned it off, cuddled in, and said "just 5 minutes, then I will get up...." 45 minutes later he was saying "Oh sh*t, I'm running late," and off and running he was.  (Note, he did get ready and leave on time by 5, so it wasn't a huge deal).  Then, Brie popped her head in at 5:30 or so to let me know she was headed to work and the baby was sleeping.  Cool.  Then at 6:30 my youngest called me on my cell phone to tell me he was "too sick to go to school".  After a long and drawn out discussion of giving it a try, and me holding firm that if he stays home he'd need to go to the clinic ("but Mom, it's just a stomach ache!") he agreed to get ready and go.  Then he wanted a ride, but I said no, that the weather was nice enough and we lived close enough he could walk.  He left.  I then dozed back off only to be awakened a half hour later (at 7:44 am) by Aurora, to tell me she had just woken up and needed a ride to school! (She is normally so responsible about getting herself up I never even imagined she was still home when I was dealing with Rei).  We checked, and Patrick was home, so I got dressed and drove her (the baby was still sleeping).  I came home, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down.  Skye got up at 9, so by that time my emails were read, my facebook stuff was done, and I could enjoy her (she is always in a great mood when she wakes up) and we had a good rest of the morning.

When Skye went down for her nap, I sat at the sewing machine with an old t-shirt to practice some lettering on, in preparation for doing up the travel league shirts for the kids (last names centered, first names on the shoulder).  The thread kept "nesting up" under the garment, and making a mess.  I trimmed the threads back, removed the offending stitches, rethreaded the machine (top and bobbin), and tried again.  And again, and again...  Ended up with small holes in the teeshirt where the stitches had bunched up and been cut out.  Took the vaccuum to the bobbin area to make sure all lint was gone.  Got online to troubleshoot.  Tried rethreading again, with a new needle.  Still screwing up.  Gave up cuz the baby was awake and spent time with her (feeding, changing, playing).  When Brie got home I tried the machine again.  Still screwed up.  Called the dealer and explained what was going on, and she suggested all the things I had already tried.  So she told me to bring it in.  I was ready to cry!  I brought it in, and it looks like it may be a simple fix, by replacing the bobbin case, which had some holes and a rough spot in it.  I have the gold-standard warranty on it (Thank you Eric!) so it won't cost anything, and hopefully that will fix it.  They are running it through it's paces to be sure that is all it is.  The sad part is I had brought in everything I was using on it when I brought it in, but the woman who needed to look at it was at dinner.  So they sent me home with everything but the machine.  She called me to verify what I was doing/using to try and replicate it and see if she has it fixed.  I am now awaiting a phone call to go back and pick it up (I hope) either tonight or tomorrow morning so I can get these projects done before Saturday. (The travel league shirts are one project, 10 shirts to embroider names on; the other is a baptismal napkin to embroider for church for a baptism on Sunday).

Aurora has had two bowling matches in a row.  She was quite pleased with her scores yesterday: had a 650 series.  Brie and the baby went to that one, as well as the one today.  I am curious to see how she does today.  Eric made an appointment for Monday to go get his new ball drilled, and I am curious to see if it helps his score at all.  He is pretty happy with it (should be--he picked it out himself!)

Po is being a challenge of late.  Eric put new weather stripping in the kitchen door frame, and it doesn't always close 100% tight.  The wind has been blowing the door open, and Po runs the second he smells fresh air.  Today he got out when it was just me and Skye here, and I couldn't leave her alone to go chase him.  I called Eric in a panic, and he said to try and keep him in sight, then call to him from the back door/patio area.  I went and grabbed the tub of dog treats and gave treats to Leina, who was out, and then yelled loudly for Po, who was down at the curve of the trail, near the end of the "marshy dip", almost out of sight, and shook the cannister of treats and called out for him, saying "treats".  He ran back to the house on his own, albeit taking his own sweet time, but I was able to coax him back and get him in the house.  Almost gave me heart-failure though, and I am not sure what I would have done if he had kept on running.

Midnight continues to hang in there.  Some days he seems a bit better than others, but he continues to have little appetite, and poor balance.  He generally sleeps the day away. He'll do his business when taken outside, but he no longer really approaches the door to go out, and tends to be incontinent where he stands.  Poor old guy!  It makes me sad!

Last night I saw Skye sit up by herself for the first time for longer than a second or two.  She was on our bed, with a toy in her lap, and she pulled herself forward from the pillows and balanced herself upright on her butt.  Brie, Eric and I were all together when she did it, and it was so neat to see!  She is getting to be such a big girl now!  She has her 4 month physical on the 18th I believe (she'll actually be closer to 5 months old), and I am really curious about her height and weight.  She has definitely filled out quite a bit, and if Aurora's math is correct, she is about 18 lbs now.  It's hard to believe, and even harder to carry around for extended periods of time!

Other than the usual going on (work, school, friends) the kids are fine and things are status quo.  The weather has been cooperating with sunshine, despite cool temps, and it does wonders for my mood to see sunshine on a daily basis.  Now if only it would stay light out past 4:30 p.m. life would be good!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

Yesterday was the first day of the new year, and it was a quiet day for us.  Patrick, Eric and Brie all had to work, I baby sat, and the kids (Rei and Aurora) had friends over who spent the night new year's eve, and they slept in til noon.  My living room looked like a disaster area yesterday morning. I spent part of the day setting the house to rights, then enjoyed some dedicated knitting time after Brie and Eric got home, both having shorter shifts than normal. (I made the kids get rid of the mattresses and fold up all the bedding before they headed off for their various activities).  I made a nice pot roast dinner, spent some quality time with my husband, and went to bed at a decent time!  A good way to begin the new year!

I didn't go to church today.  In fact, I am in the market for a new church home. The pastor that I had gotten to know and like has apparently been on a medical leave since shortly after the baby's baptism, and she has elected not to return to the congregation.  I am not sure what is going on there. And our associate pastor, someone who has been with the church for ages (and had done all our music) was voted out by the council for some reason, so she too is gone.  That doubly saddens me, as she was the first person I had really gotten to know at the church and I liked her alot.  She is local, so I am hoping we can maintain our ties, while the other pastor is returning (I am guessing) to her hometown to be closer to family.  Not sure what her husband is going to do, as he had just started a new job down here as well...  Regardless, I never felt 100% at home in that congregation, and without the two anchors whom I felt close to there any more, there is nothing holding me there either.  My goal in this new year is to visit some of our other local churches and see if I find somewhere I feel more at home. I like having a church home to be connected to, but my faith is not locked into a physical locale, and my relationship with my heavenly father is strong and tangible to me.  I don't need a physical place to worship.  It's just nice to have those ties with others for support and sustenance.

On another sad note, I don't know how much longer we will have our elderly dog in our family.  He is failing rapidly, and we were surprised he made it into the new year with us.  We don't think he is seeing at all, his balance is off and he has trouble standing or walking. He isn't eating or drinking much, and he is terribly incontinent.  It is just a matter of time now.  Eric and I go back and forth, because as much as I am leaning towards it being time to take him to the vet, Eric is wanting him to die here at home. I respect that totally, as much as I have a phobia of being around dead animals, and will abide by whatever he decides to do.  I just feel bad when I hear him stumbling around and banging into things because he is no longer aware of his surroundings and he cannot stand easily or walk without slipping, especially on the linoleum.  Eric is off the next two days (after today) and we'll see.  Needless to say there has already been many tears shed here, and the goodbyes are being expressed to a faithful and loving friend. It's so hard to see him like this.

I am in the process of mentally reviewing my goals for 2011, and planning out what I want to accomplish in this new year.  Keeping myself fit and healthy of course is at the top of the list, as is finishing up some projects; finishing my degree is another goal (and my next class starts on the 10th).  There are things I would like to accomplish around here as well, in the house and yard, and while I would like to be really ambitious, I think it's better to be practical and start slowly. 

Anyhow, Happy New Year to all, and I pray it is happy, healthy, and productive for us all!