Thursday, March 27, 2014

Consumed by the news

These days I spend my days waiting for news conferences (every day at 9 and 6) since the landslide that happened up in Oso.  I first received notice of the slide via my phone, as it warned me of a flood watch for that area due to a slide.  I couldnt comprehend how a little bit of dirt could clog the entire river.. surely the river was strong enough to quickly wash it away.

It wasnt until we got home and turned on the news that we discovered it was a mile-long clog of the river, in an area where 30+ buildings and homes existed.  There are no more homes, no more structures.  This slide was amazing.  I am intrigued by mother nature and the power and destruction it can cause.  I certainly feel pain and sadness for ALL the lives that have been lost and the family and friends and community surrounding this tragedy.  I feel compelled to watch any updates I can, to learn more, see more, hear more...  If I could go up and help and volunteers were needed, I honestly think I would strongly consider it.  But they have plenty of help.  I think it will take months to recover the bodies, 6 days later and I feel it is pretty hopeless that any survivors will be found, although miracles can happen.  There are 16 reported deaths confirmed, 25 bodies recovered (waiting to officially identify those 9 before reporting) and potentially 125 cases of people missing!  This landslide has the potential to be the deadliest natural disaster in WA State history (worst was in 1910 when the town of Wellington WA was caught up in a major avalanche killing 96 people.  There had been a terrible snow storm for days, 2 trains were held up in this town waiting for it to pass, when this avalanche happened just below the current Stevens Pass Resort).  And this landslide also is working its way to becoming one of the deadliest in the United States.

Before and After..  although the yellow line on the far right I believe is incorrect as the slide appears to have take away a lot more of that hillside than indicated in the drawing.  And whats hard to comprehend too is that this is a mile long blockage.. pictures make it seem much smaller than reality.

Should be an interesting time over the next few months as bodies are recovered.  My only hope is that they can find/recover them all.  In a weird kind of way, I look forward to going up to this area when this is all settled and time has moved on, to see first hand the devastation so close to home.  This is in reality only about 45 minutes from our home.  No where near danger and I am thankful to live on a flat piece of property..  Derek has family up in that area, about 2 miles or so down river from this, but not in any real danger.

When I lay down at night, or sit and watch tv, I try to think about and appreciate all that I have and how quickly it could go away.  I've tried to imagine the feeling of that moment when the mountain came down upon those helpless people..  I choke up a lot when watching the reports, more so as the days go on and you can see the strain this is taking on all those involved in getting a handle on the situation.  As their voices crack on the tv, my eyes shed small tears.  The fire chief of Arlington is a friend.. not a current friend, but someone I met when I was about 18, someone Derek grew up, I spent weekends chatting and hanging out with him (back in my cruising Marysville days) and even spent an evening with Derek & him at his family cabin out of Granite Falls.  Its inspiring to see someone so young as the chief who appears to be handling this situation very well, but it is sad too as I have a personal connection to him and seem to feel more sadness when I watch him dealing with this.

Not sure when/if the novelty of the situation will wear off on me..  I just feel compelled to take it all in.  When 911 happened, Derek & I lived in Marysville and did not have TV.  It was a luxury we thought we didnt need and yeah, 90% of the time we probably dont need it.  But after that tragedy happened, it took a week to get TV hooked up and I told myself I would do what I could to never go w/o again..  because of situations like this.  That need to stay involved by getting educated by the news and reports.  In times like this, I am glad to be able to afford the tv to stay informed and then have the senseless shows to take me out of reality and just spend some time laughing and letting go for even just an hour.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I'm feeling free..

Finally feeling the weight of responsibilities rolling off...  over this past weekend our dog club had our annual meeting so I was finally set free from my secretary responsibilities for that club and our new horse club treasurer seems to have a good grasp on the job, so other than a little consulting here/there for the treasurer and helping out in other areas with the dog club, I now am no longer holding any club positions!!  Yeah!!  Feels pretty darn good too...  Its been a very long time.

I did finally start swimming in the mornings at the new pool... and never went back for afternoons!  Felt bad for ditching my friend who had got me started, but the pool is just WAY too crowded in the afternoons and I'm not able to get in a good workout/swim trying to dodge 200 teenagers.  So I swim M/W/F mornings for almost an hour, am able to get in laps and walking the river, and I LOVE LOVE it!!  I dont mind getting up in the mornings an hour early to do so, I just do it.. I've been going in the mornings for almost a month now, my body is still getting used to it but I can feel my sore muscles throughout the day..  I'm pushing myself and not just lazily swimming along.  Dont get me wrong, I do take breaks as I can only do about 2-3 laps at a time and then I rest for about 30 seconds then do a different type of stroke..  But before I could only barely do 2 before my arms were too tired to finish that lap.

I've also now started walking on the days I dont swim.  I've gotten Derek motivated to get out with me, so we walk T/Th evenings.  Even walked in the rain this past Sunday morning and yesterday we went for a 90 minute hike at Lords Hill with a friend.  Really enjoying it and for the first time ever, really wanting to get out and do this and not allowing my lazy brain to take over.  If I eat poorly, I want to walk it off and feel bad when I dont have the opportunity to do so.  I was on a 3 week loosing streak at WW and finally got back down to the weight I was back in Nov....  But then last week I gained a little..  frustrating, but I'm fairly certain I will loose this week.. I've been active 9 of the last 10 days, pushing myself, eating pretty good (not perfect), but I feel it in my waist, so although I may not be pounds down from November, I've definately lost another inch or more in my waistline..

So I'm staying positive and continuing to work hard.  I'm relieved a little that I'm leasing Hula out right now and not focused on riding as it is allowing me the time I need to focus on myself.  I really need a guilt free mindset to work hard at this, so not feeling responsible for riding and grooming her is kinda nice.  Poor girl though, I had to tell Suzi to start coming over daily and brushing her because she is shedding really badly so she's been itching on anything she can get her big butt on!  Unfortunately it was a t-post yesterday.. she bent the t-post over and then proceeded to back into it and tried to scratch.. She failed and instead drove the tip of the t-post into her buttcheek pretty badly.  I called Suzi over to the house to help deal with it and proceeded to make her aware of the fact that she had just spent time brushing Hula a short while earlier and completely missed seeing it!  Hopefully Suzi learned a lesson and realizes she needs to do a better job of looking over the horse and ensuring she's not got injuries.. It was a pretty big cut for her to miss.. Yes it was on her buttcheek under her tail, however there was blood running down her leg, and she has white legs!  I cleaned it up really well and will do so daily until it starts to heal...  I didnt feel a vet call was necessary, as they would probably just add a few stitches and its not in an area that matters if it scars..  She is definitely sore, but I'm pretty confident we can keep this vet-free.

Still working hard on the baby-making process... still no news.

And no change on the jobs status for Derek.  Boeing has not called back; however, he is set up to take an academical test for the electrical union in about 2 weeks.  Once he passes that, then he should get called in for an interview and then hopefully job placement...  Fingers crossed as his unemployment runs out the end of April and there are no extensions...  things will work out... things will work out... things will work out...  :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Edgar's New Home

A couple days ago, we moved Edgar up to his new home, with one of my best friend's Amber!  It took some convincing to talk Amber into taking him, I really felt he was the perfect horse for what she needed right now, but she was concerned about his Age and his Soundness issues..  I didnt want to be the pushy friend trying to "dump" my horse on her, as that is NOT what I was doing, I wanted her to really know I was thinking of her and her family.

She decided to give it a go, but wanted a pre-purchase vet check.  No problem..  She paid to have one done, and he passed pretty well.  Vet said he was a little under weight (I HATE when that happens) and not in working condition (which I knew obviously) but that his heart seemed good, he was a little wormy, he passed the lameness/stress test better than I expected him to and he only showed minor lameness in his rear right hock.  I didnt expect that, so that was good.  Vet actually said with the type of arthritis that he seemed to show, keeping him in working condition is far better for him than just sitting.  Music to Amber's ears!

After the vet visit, we hauled him to her place and he seemed content and happy in his new surroundings, even managed to get a nice roll in the soft dirt!

This is his new human best friend Natalie!  She was very excited and I see many happy days for those 2.

 This is his new pasture mate best friend June Bug!  She's a little doll, a mini mare I helped find for Amber I think about 18 months ago or more...  Super sweet little thing

And cute as a button!!

I'm excited for Edgar, Amber & her girls (Natalie & Serena).  He will be worked often, loved on daily, well fed (unlike the last gal I tried giving him to) and overall a happy awesome life ahead for him.  Its been a bit of a drama filled few weeks with Suzi (who was leasing him at our house) as she's struggled with letting go of Edgar and to her, its like her world was shattered into pieces.. I have to remind myself she is a kid and although I'm happy about this change, she is devastated.  But she did make this choice and it was the right choice as he was no longer suitable for her needs and Amber's family is a much better fit at this time in his life.  :)  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crazy Train

Feels like we've been on a crazy ride the past few weeks...  Just when you think you are track A, life moves you to track B!

Derek was working hard on his math class.  He took a week-long break to help out at the Sportsman Show a few weeks ago and was nearing completion just a week ago.  He finally finished his last chapter (20 total) and after a few days, took the test..   83.6% I think it was..  AWESOME POSSUM!  I was really proud of him for finishing the class within a 5 week window basically.

We've been working hard at the whole baby-making process too..  Derek caught a cold and often was feeling crappy, he was tired from studying, stressed about life, but I had him on a 36hr schedule, whether either of us wanted to or not..  LOL    Not sure if it has paid off yet, the hard work that is, but it's possible!  We have mixed feelings about being too excited, we want to..  just a little unsure since we really are not going to be ready to spread the good news until we have confirmation of a healthy viable pregnancy..  So that's still a few months out from now.  We talk about it daily though, hoping that I am and even wishing for twins!

I have started swimming at the new pool in Snohomish.  My friend Angela has invited me to go with her on Mon and/or Wed nights.. It is BUSY, packed, crowded, full of teenagers, but its been nice and a great workout that is low-stress on my body but really good for me as well.  I hope to continue to swim, might even go in the mornings 3-4 days a week before work.  They have this really cool river that you can walk against the current on, good times!  My WW has been very up/down.  I was looking back and since I re-started in Oct, I've only lost 5 pounds in 4 months..  :(  But I had a lot of stress, depression and holidays to get through in this 4 months so I'm trying to not feel too disappointed about it.  I feel like I'm getting back on track and making better decisions, so I hope that continues.  I need to keep loosing and get out of this rut.

Over the past few months, Derek had been gearing up to start his new career as an electrician.  He purchased supplies, tools, took the math class, research and more to prepare himself.  He had every intention of leaving painting in the dust and moving on...  UNTIL....  Boeing had to go and finally consider him for a job as a Finish Painter..  He got the call 2 weeks ago that they wanted him to come in for an interview last week.  The interview was at 6:45am in Everett, it lasted exactly 30 minutes and Derek left there more stressed and anxious about how it had gone, than ever before!  In the past he was always fairly confident he had gotten the job if not had it already been offered to him on the spot.  And he did ALWAYS get the job in the past.  But this interview was different, the formality of it all, the lack of ability for Derek to connect with the interviewer or to sell himself on his abilities and skills, cut and dry - to the point.. that was his experience.  So we spent the next 24 hours stressed I guess you could say because he realized just how badly he wanted this job!  It would mean stability, steady work, a GREAT company to work for, great benefits, close to home and good pay migrating into great pay down the road.  The drawbacks:  It would mean we would be tied to the area for his career and he would likely be on Swing shift.

We worked it out in our heads though that moving is always something we can still consider down the road.  And if Derek is making better $ then it would be easier to afford to go do the things we had wanted to move closer to.  Also swing shift was another obstacle..  but we can find a way to make it work..  All contingent on getting offered the job of course.  We spent 24 hours worried and stressed about it and sure enough, the streak continues..  Derek is incapable of going for an interview and not getting the job!!!  :)  Yippy...  They did make an offer!!

I was excited, I was shaking.  I am so excited and happy for Derek.  I know he planned to get away from painting, BUT I also know a BIG part of that decision was due to the industry in our area and the employers.. not necessarily the job.  The companies in our area have all banned together to hire asshole bosses, dipshit foremen and dumbass supervisors..  lol   Boeing is not like these other shops in the area, so this should be a really great career move and decision for Derek.  There is a light at the end of this track, and it will be a 5 year process to get all the way to the light, but its worth it.

And then 24 hours later the kick to the gut came when Boeing called to say that they did not have authorization to make the hires for the job, so they had to withdraw their offer!  Happy F*ing Valentines to him (yep that was Valentine's day that they called).  Which made for a very somber evening filled with depression, disbelief, frustration...  There was no indication that they would be hiring anytime soon.  The good news:  He had already submitted his drug test earlier in the day, so his drug-free clearance will stay on record for 6 months and we found out today, that they are continuing with the background check as we have to verify employment for one of his previous employers.   What that means.. who knows!  What we hope that means...  that he will be at the top of the list when they do get authorization and will still re-offer him the job in the NEAR future..  but not holding our breath.

Either way.. I'm So Proud of my husband!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Again, my apologies..

I feel pretty busy and seems like a lot is going on, but whenever someone asks me about life these days, I have no idea what we've been up to!  lol

The first Sunday in January, we spent the day in Vancouver BC.  Well not quite the entire day!  My 40th Birthday present (from back in Oct), the day had finally arrived!!  We were headed up to see the Cavalia production of Odysseo.  Since it was for a special occassion and we both needed something fun, special, amazing and relaxing to do, to bring in the new year, we spent the money for the good seats!  I wanted front row, center stage seats and the only way to do that is to go VIP.  It was a great experience!!  We were served a delicious brunch 1.5hrs before the show started with all you can eat and drink.  During intermission, we also were treated to all you can eat dessert buffet.. we did not leave there hungry!  And the show..  well it was nothing less than amazing and beautiful!  As a VIP, we also were allowed to tour the barn/stables, which was not too exciting for us, we see horses in their stalls every day.. but we did walk through and enjoyed the whole experience..  Would love to be able to afford VIP every time they come to town!

Pictures are not allowed during the show, but here are a few from their website and a glimpse of what we experienced.

Our Hunting Retriever Club has been getting more active as the new year starts, so that's taken up some of our time.  A couple meetings and then a day of sewing!  We had to work on building some holding/winger blinds so we spent 8 hours last weekend working on them.. We had 16 blinds to finish, we got probably 75% of it done!  

I've handed over about 90% of the Cascade Horse Club treasurer responsibilities now, planning to hand over the rest of it tonight!  Whoohoo..  really glad to be done with that for a while.  Although I will still advise when I am needed.  

We had decided a while back that we didnt want to have any horse expenses this year, with the career change and baby-making plans, so we gave Suzi the option to pick which horse she'd like to lease for the year.  She decided Hula was the better option for her moving forward, which I feel is best as well.  Suzi now wants to lope a lot and really push the horses more and herself more, Edgar just will not hold up for that.  So we are giving him to my friend Amber.  He is the perfect safe family horse for her and her girls.  Natalie is 7 and Serena is 3 and he will take care of them!  Hula will be more challenge for Suzi as she is not quite as laid back as Edgar, but shes still an awesome horse and will force Suzi to learn how to ride even better.  Ive ridden Hula twice in the past week and I sure am enjoying it!  She could use a major refresher and I'd like to do it, but not sure that is feasible right now.  I may try to haul her out to ride a few times a week to get her going and back on track..  we will see.

Derek's been busy working on his math class every day and working in the shop.  He's converting the paint booth over to a wood shop and he is really enjoying his time out there building new things!  He did this window wrapping for our living room and will eventually do all the windows & doors.
Slowly we work on getting things done around the house.. slowly.  But its coming along.  Derek hopes to get this math class squared away by about mid Feb I think it is..  Then he'll be able to move forward into finding a job as an apprentice..  

He also built this awning over the shop door, since we lost our gutters a few years ago to a heavy snow, he was tired of getting soaked as he unlocked the shop!

This week he's been down at the Sportsman Show in Puyallup all week.  Pat Murphy manages the property where we hold our training days and he got a double booth down there, so Derek is there to help Pat out and promote Pat's business's, as well as educate people about our club too.  He took Cooper yesterday for the day and felt a little bad, because no one was paying attention to Pat's lab dogs he had down there, that are champion hunting dogs..  everyone wanted to know about Cooper!!  LOL

Derek has met quite a few people, starting to make some connections and even helped confirm for 2 different people that the Boykin was the breed for them.  One guy from MT has been researching them; he and his family had determined they wanted a Boykin, but they had never seen one in person, so after a few minutes with Cooper, they were sold and are now even more excited to find a dog!!   Cooper came home exhausted..  long day.  He'll be staying home the rest of the week/weekend so Derek can focus more on helping Pat and less on showing off our awesome Coopey Dog!  :)

Baby-Making Status:  It has now been 3 months and my 3rd cycle is currently in progress, which means my body should be good to go.  It has been a loooong 3 month wait...  I am fairly certain I suffered from some depression during that time as I felt on the verge of tears on many occasions and was irritable..  finally one day I just realized I was most likely depressed.  I didnt call my doctor as I had a feeling that I just needed to get through this month and get myself pregnant again!  So we'll be working on that and hope to be sooner than later and I'm back to normal as I'm only crying when I watch movies with emotional scenes!  lol

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Love my Family

Nothing reminds you how much you love your family until a new member is added!  We got the call Monday late afternoon that Andrea's water had broken..  We decided to stay home until she was further along, which meant getting a 3:45am wake up call to head to the hospital.  An hour after we got there, she started pushing and 2 hours later at 7:20am on Tues Dec 17th, baby Tucker James Johnson was born  :)  6lbs 12oz, 18" long.

And he is perfect!  Beautiful precious baby.  Mom and Debbie were practically pacing the waiting room area like momma hens who's babies were suddenly out of sight!  Mom kept trying to hear things by pressing her ear against the door.

I'm anxious already to watch this little guy grow up and to just be around him and love on him..  wanted to hug and squeeze and kiss him all over, but I restrained myself.  Besides, I'll let him get a fresh bath in before I'm kissing anyone else's baby the day it is born!  lol

I was experiencing some feelings of annoyance and irritation at times throughout the wee early hours of the morning.. not sure if it was lack of sleep or my own hormones reacting in a weird way or a subconscious feeling or sense about myself from our own experiences this year in trying to have a baby.

No matter how I'm feeling, nothing takes away from the excitement and joy of holding my first ever nephew!!  I'm so thankful to have a job and boss that allows for last minute call-ins so I can be with my family as we celebrate the arrival of Baby Tucker.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A new road..

Derek and I are venturing down a brand new road..  we have no idea where we will end up, and only a little bit of an idea on what to expect, but we are taking it..  It's the road to a much happier and healthier career for Derek!  He's been wanting to change careers for many years now, just never sure what field to move into, what road was going to work to get there, how to make it happen financially.. so many questions and never the answers.  Until now!

We still don't have all the answers, but a clear direction has been laid out and Derek will be working towards becoming an Electrician.. which means a 2 yr apprenticeship to become a residential journeyman and then another 2 yr apprenticeship to become a commercial journeyman, as well as 4 years worth of schooling thrown in there as well..  A long road, but it will be worth it all.  There is just no stability in the painting field in our area, no room for advancement into management and it's just not healthy to be breathing in fumes all day.

I never imagined that we would be 40, starting a family and starting over in a career path!  lol  All I can do is laugh because it may not be the picture of perfection I would have envisioned, but funny enough.. it is perfect!  It will be a tough road, the apprentice electricians make about 25% less than he was making as a painter... yikes..  But we will make the sacrifices and decisions necessary to make it happen, as well as having a GREAT family support system that will help us get through this and provide us the support we will need there to start our own family.

I'm super proud of Derek, he made this decision and he is happy!  I can see the tension and stress lifted from him, and although this comes with its own stresses, we both know it leads to better security and stability for ourselves and our coming family.  Derek is dedicated to make this happen, he's purchased the tools necessary, is taking the practice tests needed to move forward, researching the options and jumping in with both feet.  I know he can and will make this happen and I'm excited to watch him grow, learn and become an awesome electrian!!  A happy husband makes for a happy wife  :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I decided in order to get my head back in the weight loss game, I needed to restart weight watchers!  I had been debating when to officially get that ball rolling, when I received a promotional email from ww, offering me 1/2 off my first 3 months if I joined now.. so I did!  :)  What a deal...  lol

Last week I attended my first meeting.  At the hospital the morning of my surgery, I had been weighed, so I had a decent idea of where I was at.  But it had been 11 days, I was not eating really good (mind you Halloween had just come/gone a few days earlier.. so I was expecting to be up maybe 5 pounds..  I mean typically you weigh the least at 5:30 in the morning compared to 6pm in the afternoon.  Weight can/will fluctuate by a few pounds throughout the day.  So when I stepped on the scale, I was hoping to be down a total of 50 pounds, was crossing my fingers I was not down any less than 48..  But reality was that I was down 55.2 pounds!!  Holey Moley..

Whoohoo was how I felt..  Somehow I continue to loose a little bit of weight even when I'm not trying very hard.  Derek says my metabolism is kicked in, my body is working for me and not against me and is learning how to digest properly etc..  Whatever the case.. it's awesome!    It was really nice to see a few familiar faces at the meeting, and they were friendly and welcomed me warmly.  Only 1 person in my meeting knew why I had left and she didnt ask.  The check-in gals knew why I had left as well, and they didnt ask either..  just smiled and one welcomed me with a hug!  :)

This past week, I was not tracking very well..  being lazy about that and although I'm making much better choices than a year ago, still not making great choices.  Amazingly I was down another .6 pounds!  What is going on.  The awesome part of that is that I have now lost a total of 15% exactly from my starting point..

I can see it in my face for sure..  I dont see it at all when I look at myself naked from my neck down in the mirror!!  lol   I feel it in my waist when I put on my super duper baggy jeans and I can tell when the dog gets in my lap for loving, because there is now a lap and room for him to actually sit!  hehe  I've been debating when to purchase new pants, there are some shirts I no longer wear because they are way too big, but for the most part my shirts are all still acceptable.  My jeans are so baggy that I can hardly stand to wear 1/2 of them because I constantly have to pull them up every 5 feet, literally!  The other day at the grocery store, I had to pull them up to my boobs just to get them to stay up..  of course this was under my shirt!  lol

9 years ago when we lived with my parents while we were searching for a house to buy, I had asked for some Wranglers and received 2 pairs.  They were the exact size I had asked for, but they ran a little small in the waist for some reason and never did fit.  I was embarrassed and never did tell my mom as I didnt want her to have to buy me larger sizes..  so I kept the jeans hanging in my closet for 9 years, wondering IF I would ever fit in them.  A month ago I tried to put them on and it was not happening.  3 days ago I tried again..  I fit in these damn jeans finally!!!  What an awesome feeling that was..  so I now have jeans that dont make me feel ugly because they are so big, my ass is tight in them and not droopy, I can see that my legs look skinnier in them, and I feel good.  I know I have a super long ways to go..  but I'll keep pluggin along on this lifelong journey to a healthier me!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Moving Forward

A big weight has been lifted from my life..  For 26 days, we knew our pregnancy was over, yet we were unable to move forward physically or emotionally due to the time constraints of the process we had to endure.  Probably the most difficult 26 days of my life.  This post is more of a diary type entry than a blog one, but it's the reality of our life right now and no sense hiding it.

After the DNA test indicated Downs, we had to wait until I was 16wks pregnant to go in for the Amnio test.  That was Oct 18th.  The test itself was okay.  I was very nervous about it, who wants a long needle puncturing their belly, sounded painful.  It was a tiny bit painful and the process took about 5 minutes.  Derek was there with me.  We both ended up looking at the ultrasound, something I thought we both might try to avoid.  Why would I want to see my baby?  But to avoid looking would be an attempt to avoid reality and I couldn't live with that.  I needed to face this and deal with the entire process.  I did not however watch the ultrasound as the needle was inserted, and that had nothing to do with baby, and more to do with my own desire to not see the needle!

Over that weekend, we spent some time with friends on Saturday and when we got home found an anonymous package in our mailbox.  Someone attempted to trick us into thinking the package had been mailed, but it was obvious that it was personally delivered to our mailbox.  It was a note that said "Before decisions are made, Read these stories" and there was a Christian based book about Special Needs Children and how they are God's Gift.  Or something along those lines.  The book went straight to the garbage.. it came out then back in, then out then finally back in the garbage as we tried to analyze the handwriting, stamps, the note etc..  In general, it created a lot of hurt anger and pain for us.  Someone clearly did not understand us at all, did not have the courage to talk with us or stand behind their beliefs and hid behind this book and being anonymous.  We only told a small handful of people the reality of what was happening and that person did not respect us enough to have a discussion or talk with us.  Or maybe it was someone that read my blog.  We were very angry and upset about it, but have found a way to move past it.  I sincerely hope I never find out who it was at this point, because I would deeply struggle with wanting anything to do with them if I found out who they were.  I expected people would have differing opinions, I expected some would not agree and feel strongly about it, but I didn't expect any of our friends or family would be so cold and insensitive to us.  Our generic description that most people received from us was simply our way of getting it out there, but anyone that has asked us what happened with our pregnancy, we have been straight forward with, open and honest.

We have spent the entire past 26 days grieving and coping with the loss of this pregnancy.  We have talked about it daily.  Although we stand firm behind our decision and knew it was the right decision, it does not make it an easy thing to go through and we still had to learn how to cope with it all.  We are strong, we have grown stronger together and I feel more love towards Derek every day.  This process did not spread us apart, it has pulled us closer and we found positive ways to work through it all, but we still had weak moments, we still had bad days..  not for the decision but for the loss of our child.

With all that anonymous stress on our shoulders, we then had a birthday dinner on Sunday evening with some of my family.  It was a nice break from the long weekend we had been dealing with.  On Monday morning I received the call from the Amnio Test and Downs was confirmed.  :(  We knew it was coming, so I was not upset all over again.  I spent the day waiting to then hear from the UW with the plans on moving forward with the termination.  The call finally came in around 4:30 and the gal indicated I would be coming down on Wed the 23rd for a visit with the Dr for a consultation, then 24th for family history and a visit with the social worker, then surgery on Friday 25th.

I was a bit overwhelmed at that moment because this was all going to start happening in just 2 days!  I didnt anticipate it to go so quickly.  I felt a surge of emotion come over me and I took a few minutes to just cry to myself as reality once again was sinking in.  I had planned to take the next day off from work (my 40th Birthday!) and spend it to myself, just hanging out being lazy around the house, relaxing and enjoying me-time.  But plans had to change and I decided to go to work on my birthday since I would be taking 1/2 day Wed, all day Thurs and all day Friday off work.

My birthday was uneventful.  Derek was awesome and brought home the exact dinner I had wanted, BLT's!  :)  He didnt enjoy it as much as I did, but I really appreciated the effort and sacrifice he made to just have a nice relaxed evening at home with him.  And he found me an amazing card that just fit so perfectly for how we both feel right now.

Wednesday, mom went with me down to the UW for my consultation.  I didnt want Derek to have to take time off work for that, so she joined me.  It was a good thing she was there.  I had no idea I would be having any medical procedure done that day.  It was a long afternoon of waiting and waiting and finally getting to see the Dr and get some questions answered.  I was informed they would be inserting the dilation straws that day so that my body would have about 36 hours to get ready for Friday.  If they could get enough straws in that day, I would not have to come back the next day and they would have a social worker call me so I wouldnt have to drive back down at all on Thursday.

I dont know what to say about the dilation insert process except that it was the most painful experience of my life.  I had NO idea that much pain and discomfort would be happening.  It lasted about 30 minutes and my body immediately went into severe cramping mode when it was finished.  I was very thankful to have someone with me to drive me home, as I was barely able to walk to the car and then continued to cramp severely for the next 14 hours.  I should have taken the Oxy prescription that was provided for after the surgery, but instead stuck with the Ibuprofen they provided, which seemed to do very little to help out!  I spent most of the day Thursday lounging around, just trying to stay comfortable as the pain slowly eased up by the hour after I woke that morning.  By this time, I was quite nervous about Surgery, thinking if this is the pain from the dilation process, how bad will surgery be.

Friday morning, we were at the hospital at 5:10 am, there was a line to check in and were escorted back to the pre-op room at about 5:35.  Derek was with me the entire time as they prepped me and we were successful at staying positive and light hearted and almost all smiles that morning.  I did have a couple momentary almost panic moments where I was flooded with emotion and on the verge of bawling, I was a little scared about the process and the thought of going under..  But I kept my emotions under control and smiled through it.  The staff was all very nice.  They gave me the amnesia drug, Derek left the room, within a few minutes they wheeled me back to the surgery room and last I remember really is arriving at the surgery room.  I then came back to reality as I was wheeled into the post-op room and was awake within a few seconds.  No groggy-ness at all.  I was surprised at how awake I felt.  Apparently they only put me under a heavy sedation for the surgery and with the amnesia drug, I dont recall a thing.  I was feeling no pain, I was comfortable and almost immediately felt relief it was over.

Derek was back in with me within a few minutes of waking up and we spent another 30 minutes or so in that room.  I then was cleared for departure, changed back into my clothes and we went home.  I think we were home by 11am.  I took 2 Oxy pills that day, just because.  I am not sure I needed them, but wanted to be safe, not sorry about any upcoming pain.  I felt no pain, hardly any cramping either.  I was mobile that day, although minimally for Friday and Saturday as I was still bleeding and the more I moved, the more I bled.  I gave Derek permission to go hunting on Saturday and was able to take care of myself that day.  By Sunday I was still feeling good and was able to go to my parents house for the baby shower mom and I had planned for Andrea.  When we planned the shower date, we had no idea I would be having surgery 2 days prior, it just worked out that way.  But I was able to enjoy myself at the shower, minimal bleeding that day, no pain and we had a great time.   Emotionally I was OK.  It was a little hard at times when I wanted to pipe in and make a comment about our future pregnancy, but I didnt want to create any awkward moments, so didnt say anything about our future baby.  It was a day about Andrea and not about me.  I'm most certain that only moms family was aware of the surgery and that dad's family had no idea.

Emotionally...  I am fine.  I immediately felt relief and that a huge stress had been lifted.  It was impossible to move forward prior to this surgery, but I now feel we can stop dwelling on the past and what was, and think about what will be.  We are sad, hurt and upset but we are ready to think about the future.  It feels a bit weird to feel "fine", I wonder if I should be more sad or depressed and feel some guilt about not being more upset right now, but I then realize I've had 26 days to deal with the loss and accept this loss.  I feel as though Friday 25th was just a technicality and that the real loss happened on Sept 30th.

Today is Tuesday, I have very minor bleeding, I'm getting motivated to start getting my house back under control, my energy is coming back a bit more every day, unfortunately so is my appetite!!  I need to get that under control sooner than later as I think I am down about 55 pounds right now, do NOT want to blow that.  So I will be rejoining WW probably next week to stay on track.  I am feeling the urge to start working on the next baby, unfortunately we have to wait  :)  Its going to be a long couple months waiting.... I am ready to jump in and get started!


I've been avoiding my blog for a while, be we have had some positive experiences this past month, I just was not in the mood to post about it.  On Oct 13th, I hauled Hula and Edgar out to Sultan to ride in a Benefit Trail Challenge.  I had been hearing of this trail coarse for a while, and finally had the opportunity to go.

I was so proud of Suzi, she took 1st place out of 6 in her youth division!!  She was shocked..  I was not surprised at all, Edgar is the man!  This past weekend Suzi took Edgar to a 4H Fall show and took 1st place in the trail class as well for her Novice Sr Division!!  I dont know how many kids she competed against, but I am super proud of her.  She opted not to do the other riding classes that day as Edgar was having some arthritis issues and she did not want to hurt him.

On the day of the benefit show, I rode Hula in the Novice Division and although we did not place, we did score 86/100..  which was pretty good I thought!
I really enjoy Hula, she's been a pretty solid horse so far.  This trail challenge was the first time I had been on since the ladies ride in August.  Felt good to ride, but I was a bit sore the next day.  Since I was still pregnant during this ride, my hips and crotch area decided they were not real happy about it and made me realize in the future, that riding while pregnant is best not to be done.  I haven't had a chance to ride since this benefit show, but intend to get back in the saddle very soon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love & Support

I've been avoiding this post...  first because I wanted a chance to be sure family understood what was happening and then also because, it's not something positive to write about...

3 weeks ago we went in for the Ultrasound/DNA test that would determine if there were any problems with the baby..  Downs in particular was my biggest concern.  Being almost 40, I knew the risks going in were about 1/110 for our baby to develop Downs.  There are other genetic problems the DNA test looks for, but those are not as common and were not on my radar.  There was a lot of anticipation and worry waiting those 11 days until I finally got the call.

Monday morning, Sept 30th I got the call and our baby was confirmed positive for Downs!  We also learned our baby was a boy.  I immediately left work and went home to spend the day with Derek (who had the day off already).  We were devastated..  Both of us bawled and just sat there, not knowing what to do next and how to feel, or what to say.  Although we knew it was a possibility, we had always held hope that it would not happen to us.  Surely things were going so perfectly as it was with our pregnancy and the timing of it all, that all was going to be OK and normal.  Until reality slaps you in the face and wakes you up.  The genetics counselor at the clinic was free that afternoon, so we went to talk with her in more detail about what was happening and the next steps forward.

Derek and I both knew right away that there was no choice to make and there was only one option for moving forward.  Not a decision we thought we would have to make nor want to make, but here we are and the choice is to not keep this baby and try again.  We don't loose sleep over our decision, and we don't second guess what we have to do.  But we have lost sleep over the "loss" of our current baby.  We've lost sleep over having to give up on the dreams and thoughts and life we had envisioned for this child.  I'm not happy to make this decision, please don't make that assumption.  I'm pretty scared about the upcoming steps and procedures I now have to endure to move forward.

Derek & I are very open about it, we have no problems talking to people about it and our decision if they inquire.  We talk daily with each other about it, as we still have to cope with loosing our first pregnancy and trying to stay positive to move forward.  We go in on the 18th for an amnio..  basically they insert a needle into my belly and withdraw fluid from inside the babies sac.  They will run tests on that fluid to confirm Downs again is detected.  The DNA test we took is 99.99% accurate with ZERO false positives reported, so there is basically no chance the initial test we took is wrong.  But for ease of mind, we will do the amnio as suggested and move forward from there.

What we are looking forward to is trying again!!  We will be meeting with my Dr this week to talk to him about whats going on and when it will be safe to try.  The sooner the better.  :)  We have realized also just how badly we want this family and a baby so we will not give up and can only hope that mother nature will be kinder to us the second time around.  We LOVE and APPRECIATE all the love and support we have felt from our family and friends during this.  My guess is moving forward, we wont be quite so quick to share the information about our pregnancy until we know we have a clean bill of health on BabyF8!!   It will be hard to contain since I still swear that time slows down when you are pregnant.

Friday, September 13, 2013

So much to Anticipate!

Time is crawling..  and it's driving me crazy!  Ever since those 2 lines formed on the stick, I am convinced time slowed to 1/2 speed.  I guess it is the anticipation of all the new things happening in our life right now and just being anxious to get there because it is so NEW & EXCITING!

Before I got pregnant I always feared the pain of labor and the pain of an epidural shot.. but now that reality is here, I could basically care less about either of those things.  I am no longer afraid of the pain because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it now, it is what it is and will be.  Now I wonder, Why was I so afraid?  Which just reassures me that the timing is right, things are working out the way it was meant to be, its all for the best.  Our lives have led us on a path to be the abnormal, odd, different couple that just waited a long time.. which is OK!  :)

6 weeks after discovering BabyF8 was in the making, we finally had our first ultrasound..  Whenever I had good days and was feeling "normal" I was constantly wondering if there was still really a baby in there and if everything was okay!  Is he/she moving..  Is this still really happening?  But once we saw our baby, a new form of reality sunk in and we were happy...  all over again!  We now feel like we are talking to "someone".  We saw a head, belly, arms and legs!  Our little BabyF8 was spread eagle, it was one of the funniest things I've seen.  Not all curled up in a fetal position.. nope not our kid.  BabyF8 was rolling around, having some fun in there.  Unfortunately the printed ultrasound did not come out as clear as it was on the screen but that image will be with me for a very long time.  I went to bed laughing, out loud, at how cute our little kiddo is.

We are exactly as far along as originally predicted.  11wks pregnant at the ultrasound, Due 3/31.  Our BabyF8 was 3.38cm long!  Which is only about 1.33 inches.  I am no longer worried so much that something is wrong when I have good days because I have seen my baby and so far so good!

Meet BabyF8

Friday, August 23, 2013

Its Starting to Sink in...

It took a couple weeks, but I'm finally able to mutter out "I'm pregnant" to people w/o feeling really awkward about it!  I still dont tell everyone I come across, they'll figure it out sooner or later..    :)

I'm definately "feeling" pregnant!  Long gone now are the days of staying up until 11pm to keep up on my weekly shows.. Heck I can barely make it to 8pm right now!  If I dont get atleast 9 hrs sleep, I'll be yawning all day and my body will really feel tired.  So my shows are falling behind and the DVR is piling up.  I want to ride, but dont find much energy to do more than want!  I am struggling to eat enough food, I know I need to be eating more, but I feel full all the time, so drinking and eating has been a chore.  I NEVER imagined I would feel that way about food!!  lol    And if I push too far beyond my "full" feeling to eat what I know I need to eat, then I hurt for hours..  and the peeing.. Oh man..  No wonder I need 9-10hrs sleep since I'm not getting solid sleep with having to pee every 1-3 hrs in the middle of the night..  lol   No denying I'm pregnant.

I guess you could say I'm lucky in that I've not had any sickness issues, but I definately have issues.  So I cant say mine are better than others cuz I feel like crap all the time and who's to say what symptoms are worse than others!  :)  Oh and did I forget to mention that I now drink twice daily a fiber supplement to keep myself regular!

One thing I will say is that I realize every day how lucky I am, because I could not ask for a better husband!  No Joking here..  Derek has been so attentive and really steps in and understands that although physically I'm not doing anything, it is hard work making this baby and he appreciates the sacrifice I am going through right now.  Any worries I may have had about the type of pregnancy husband he would be, are all 100% squashed.  I sometimes feel guilty with how well he's taking care of me, but I'm not complaining, I honestly love him more and more every day.  ;)  And I cant wait to watch him become a Daddy!

I had my first Dr appt a week ago, mostly just for history and see how I'm doing so far.  I have not met the doctor, that will come with my first ultrasound on 9/9.  Very excited for that.  Looking forward to having a better idea exactly how far along I really am.

This past weekend I went on our annual horse club Ladies Ride!  I had been looking forward to some me time, also realizing it might be my last camping trip for a while.  It rained for most of the day on Thursday when I arrived, so I set up my tarp awning first, getting drenched in the process, then sat for an hour to recover underneath!  There was only 1 other up there at the time and it was just easier to do it all myself than try to explain to someone else in the rain what I needed them to do.  Took me a few hours to get all set up, but I had a good thing going.  The rain quit that night and we were all snug and cozy.  I got in a couple 3 hr rides on Fri & Sat.  Hula was awesome!  She didnt disappoint.  Everyone seemed to like her, she got along with other horses and took care of me on the trail, cant ask for much more than that.  By Sunday, I was feeling really tired.  Got my camp packed up and headed out around 11.  Struggled a bit on the drive home, but stayed awake.  Got home and basically crashed for the rest of the day.  I had zero energy to do anything except lay on the couch and did not feel recovered until Tuesday.  This has been a very exhausting week, not sure if it was from my camping trip or just more symptoms of pregnancy fatigue kicking in.

And I've officially left WW  :(  Booooo..  Apparently they have this rule that pregnant women are not allowed to continue with their program, so I've been suspended for now.  Bummer as I really enjoyed the meetings and wanted to continue with that aspect of it.  I have not been following their point program since I discovered I was pregnant.  But I have 6 months of hard work in, I've lost 46 pounds and I dont intend on throwing that all away now.  The plan is to continue to eat healthy and since I had to give up cravings long ago, I hope to be able to hold strong when/if pregnancy cravings ever kick in!!  Baby weight is all this body plans to gain..  fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OMG... We have two lines!!

For the past couple years, Derek and I have been thinking about starting a family.  Initially considering the adoption route because over the years, I never really wanted to be pregnant.  I convinced myself that adoption was the way to go.  Realizing all along that it was my own issue and fears with being pregnant and getting fatter that was holding me back, but I was never really willing to compromise on that.  Especially after Carrie died...  No way was I going to risk dying, just to have a baby!

After the adoption classes, Derek realized it definately was not the way he wanted to start a family.  I would have considered it, but if Derek was not on board, then I had to be OK with it, because he has been OK with me not wanting to have a natural baby.  Compromise  :)  We have spent years talking about raising a kid though and what we would do differently from those that we've watched around us.  We've had 23 years together to really know and understand each other.

Almost 2 years ago I went to my Dr and she wanted to put in an IUD, mostly because my monthly "aunt" is always such a bitch to me.  But I knew right away in my head that it was not an option because there was this nagging "what if" in the back of my head....  As we went through the adoption process and over the past couple years, we've spent many long conversations about pregnancy, adoption, many hours of crying about what is the right thing to do, what do I want to do, not want to do, feeling responsible for not having a family yet.

After a few months on Weight Watchers and watching some much needed excess weight fall off, I started also letting go of some of my pregnancy fears.. slowly I was telling myself "maybe I can do this!"  I made an appointment with my Dr for my yearly exam (which was about a year over-due) and decided to talk with her about the possibility of pregnancy!  Yikes, was I really going to talk to someone other than Derek, out loud!  Seems silly I'm sure, but it was a huge step for me and very awkward to bring up..  I asked "Did I wait too long and am I too unhealthy to get pregnant?"  Dr Paulson was great and made me feel really positive about it, letting me know it was great I was loosing weight, of course I'm not too old and to just continue to loose weight while trying to get pregnant.  She set me up with an Ultrasound (just to be sure all looked ok), gave us a referral for Derek to get his swimmers counted and a referral to a OBGYN.

Wow, we are really going to give this a go!  About 6-7 weeks ago we started trying.  For the past couple weeks, almost every time I would eat, my stomach would ache like I had over-eaten.  I was feeling a bit bloated and just felt like crap after I ate any meals.  My period was 10 days late (which is NOT abnormal for me, over the years its been common for me to go 2-3 months between periods, BUT since I started loosing weight, I became "regular" again with a monthly cycle.. the biggest downfall of my weightloss!)  So anyways, I had been watching my cycles carefully because we wanted to get pregnant, so I was taking ovulation tests and it never came up positive.. damn what the heck is wrong with me!!  Confirming in my head that I was infertile or just messed up and not going to be able to easily get pregnant.

Well a week ago, I decided maybe I should take a pregnancy test.  As crappy as I had been feeling and with my late period.. maybe, just maybe....   Derek's alarm went off at about 3:30am for work that morning and I got up right away, took the test.  I had bought it the night before and was anxiously awaiting his alarm to go off so I could take it!  lol  As I sat on the toilet watching the "stick" I soon realized that 2 lines were forming... OMG!!  OMG!!!  OMG!!!!

I didnt know what to do...  Do I cry?  Do I wake up Derek?  Do I put the stick next to the toilet for him to "find"?  Do I set it on his end table?  Do I just keep pacing the bedroom wondering what the hell to do?  lol

So I opted to get back in bed, with the stick in my hand, wave it around in Derek's face as he slept and continuously say "We have 2 lines..  We have 2 lines.."  I didnt know what else to say. As he attempted to wake up, his vision was blurred by this "thing" I was waving in his face and he was completely confused about what was going on and what 2 lines I was talking about and what it all meant!!  Whew.. so I slowed down the waving of the stick, tried to hold it steady in front of him and calmly tried to utter out that 2 lines means pregnant..  and that we had 2 lines!!  He finally got it..  We spent the next 20 minutes just laying in bed, laughing off/on as I am not sure either of us knew what to say or how to feel.  Not a bad laugh, just an "I cant believe this is happening" laugh!  Who knew, that within 6 weeks of trying to get pregnant, we would be pregnant!

So here I am today, a week later and I'm a bit freaked out, still cant believe it is happening.  Yes we did want this, yes it was planned.  I just am not ready to fully accept it and comprehend what the heck is happening!   Almost everyone around us knows..  I was unable to contain nor suppress Derek's excitement..  Who am I to tell him he cant shout it out to the world..  so although I'm not quite ready to shout it out, I'm working on it.  Dont mistake that for excitement or happiness about this life changing event!!  :)  We are going to be parents...  and we'll have a damn cute kid!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hula is Home

That had to be the longest 2 weeks....  waiting for the day I would get to go pick up my new horse!  On Thursday I emailed Garret to find out if I would need to drive to Spokane or Moses Lk to pick her up on Sunday.  He informed me he was headed to Moses on Saturday and we could meet up that day if I wanted.  Well DUH!!  Of course I would pick her up a day earlier than planned, it was like Christmas in July.  I have been so over-joyed with the thoughts of getting her.

I had my annual load of hay coming in Saturday morning.  7 tons of Orchard Grass from Yakima.  Derek had to work, so I asked Rachel's son Austin to help (he owed us a favor for hauling his car for him).  The hay guy Matt was supposed to arrive in Monroe between 7-8.  He sent me a text at 6:15 that he was in town and not to rush!  OMG...  Seriously!  Austin brought a friend along, we got to my parents at about 7 and had the hay done by 8.  Austin & his friend Noah worked pretty good and were a huge help, while Matt stacked the hay in the barn.  I like the hay, seems nice enough.

After I dropped Austin back home and picked up Rachel, we soon headed out to Moses Lake!  It was a long morning, everything kept dragging on and taking forever...  I was just so damn anxious!  We finally arrived in Moses at about 2:15.  Pulled her out of the trailer, she casually walked into my trailer and stood awesome for the next 6 hours as we ate lunch, refueled, and made the trek back home.  Pulled in the driveway at 8pm, heard a screech from across the street as the neighbor girls had been impatiently waiting for hours for the return of my rig!  When I pulled her out of the trailer, she looked up, then dropped her head to eat as the girls moved in to pet her.

She settled well, like she had lived there all her life.  I locked the pesky goats out for the night.  The next morning, I allowed the goats to come back in and fed her some hay.  She allowed the goats to stand in the tub and she quietly would eat around them.  She's not a fan yet of them rubbing against her, but in a day or two, I'm sure she will be over that.

Pulled her out Sunday afternoon to shave a bridle path in, trim her jaw whiskers and spent an hour bathing her.  She took it all in stride, never flinched much at anything, just the perfect horse!  After her bath, I walked her around the neighborhood for 30 or so minutes to dry off.  She was a bit leery out there, spooked a couple times, snorted a little..  Nothing unexpected for a horse that just went through a major life change!

Love Love my Hula Girl

I did learn a few new things about her.  Was able to email with the actual owner.  Garret is a trainer and took her on consignment basically.  The owner did inform me that she is 13, so that was a slight bummer.  But she has been used for packing in, has packed out game, used for barrel racing, trails, pulled a cart, parades and more..  Regardless of her older age, I love this Hula Girl and am excited to get out and start riding her!!!  And doesnt she clean up nice!!  :)

Banks Lake

We finally planned our annual family camping trip!  2 years ago we went to Bumping Lk, last year we just could not coordinate a weekend.. this year Eric/Andrea chose Banks Lk as our destination.  And we were going to be boating in!  Meaning we could not bring our camper and since we do not have a working boat at the moment, we would have to make 2 trips to get us all out there.  We loaded the car up, full to the brim with all our stuff.  It was 97 degrees when we arrived at the boat launch.  Eric & Derek headed off in Eric's boat and 15 minutes later, dad finally got his boat going and he and sarge headed off to find them.  Mom Andrea and I were left behind and watched as dad pulled away, wondering if he and the dog and the gear were going to make it!  He was loaded down pretty good and the dog had to lay on a table, and their clothing bag teetered on the edge.

45 minutes later Eric arrived pick us up, and we headed out to our camping destination.  As we are getting closer, Andrea is commenting that this spot was not where she was thinking.  I see a crappy beach with a 3 foot drop off to get down to the water and a bunch of trees.  I then see Derek standing there with a very leery look on his face, he did not appear happy at all.  Andrea was telling Eric he needed to go check out the other spot she was thinking about, so we dropped off mom and went in search of a better location!

10 minutes along the lake and we found the spot!  It was a big cove with a huge long perfect beach, a big shade tree, established fire ring and only a couple groups of day-users occupying part of the area.  So we moved in, unloaded and set up camp.  It was awesome I thought!  Derek was a much happier camper for sure.  The previous area was so buggy, you could hardly stand it.  So we ended up having a great weekend.

This was our camping and beach area.

 It was a very hot 3 days!  We did minimal fishing, got minimal fish..  :)  I hooked a 3 inch fish in the eyeball..  That was the extent of my catches.  But Derek and I didnt put in a lot of effort.   I did do a lot of swimming, well I should say floating.  When we got too hot or had to pee, we would just jump in the lake!  :)  It was a lot of work to boat in, but I think this spot we found was worth it.

Derek & I have now officially down-graded our camping status to "tenters".  We sold the camper, bought a new tent and hope to consider buying a bigger camper next year, but who knows if that will happen.  I will miss my camper....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Updates... finally

Yeah Yeah, I know I've slacked off...  My apologies once again!  :)

So lets recap some of our summer!  Back in June, actually on our anniversary weekend, we took Cooper down to Scappoose OR for a hunt test.  We had not planned to run him this year; however, Derek needed to get a Started Pass under his belt to qualify to become a started judge!  We were hopeful Cooper would pull through and perform well.. and he did good enough!  It was his first test in almost a year, he had the land series first and of course in his usual form, he messed around with the bird once he got to it and was reluctant to bring it back.. but he did and he certainly was much better than last year!  The second bird that went up, well Cooper had a bit more "fun" with that one as he was tossing it into the air.   No Joke!  He threw the bird up in the air multiple times and then he would leap up in the air too, he was having a grand ole time out there.. but he brought it back.  And of course his water marks were perfect so Derek got his pass.  Now on to becoming a judge we will go.  He will be taking a hunters safety course in August (he never took the class prior since he had military experience, he didnt need it for his hunting license).  And then we will be taking a Judges Seminar in August.  By next year we will be judging!! Yeah...  A new adventure in this dog world.

The following weekend we were back down in OR, the next town over in Rainier for the Annual Waterfowl Festival.  We stayed in our camper at the fairgrounds and spent the first part of Saturday walking around.  It was well attended and there were a lot of duck hunting type vendors, but still fairly small.  From there, we drove along the Columbia River to Walla Walla WA.  The plan was to look at a draft cross mare Sunday morning over there, then drive home.  But we got to WW at about 5pm and decided to go see the mare that afternoon instead of waiting until morning.  it was close to 100 degrees outside!  :(  The mare was OK, not impressed and she needed more work than I wanted to put into her, not as level headed as we wanted.  We then drove back home that evening..  What a long weekend of driving that was!!

We spent the 4th of July weekend at home this year.  Needed a break from being gone all the time and had a nice time just chillin.  Got to spend time with friends we dont see often, watched the fireworks in Monroe from the car races parking lot with my family and even got in a ride on Edgar!  Sure made me miss riding being on him and hopeful at finding a new horse sooner than later.  Although I still was not feeling any pressure to buy.  I had found a really nice draft cross down in Northern CA, but the logistics of it all put that horse out of my price range and would have completely drained our account.  Not looking to invest that kind of money again.

Derek and I had a Dog Training day this past Saturday that we had to help run/organize.  I had to "run the line" meaning I kept everyone going as they ran their dog and made sure the test setup was to their skill level etc.  But it also meant I had to load the winger too on occassion.  The winger is the contraption that throws the birds.. It was so gross!  I wore gloves so I did not have to actually "touch" the birds, but the stank of them was so gross, I was close to dry heaving every time I had to load it.  And I felt so disgusting at the end of the day.  But we had a good day and although Cooper had his mistakes, he ran pretty good.

The week prior to the weekend, I found a new horse to consider, over in Spokane.  A 12yr Draft cross mare.  I wasnt over-thrilled with her age, had hoped to find a horse under 10 but most everything else about her sounded quite promising, particularly her price of $2150.  Derek and I woke up at 3:30am Sunday morning to make the 5 hr drive to Deer Park (N of Spokane by 20min) as the seller wanted us there by 9.  He had a 5-day pack trip he was leaving for that same day.  We arrived at 9:10am, spent just over an hour there.  Her name was Jezabel "Jez".  Although I never called her by name as it was not one I liked!  lol  She is a 16h Belgian Paint.  A little bit of a stinker with picking up her feet.  She just doesnt want to, but never tried to kick.  I watched Garret ride her, he rode her down the road, then turned her around and loped her back to us in a big open hay field.  Absolutely NO buck or even thoughts of bucking in that field.. a very good sign.

When he got back close to us, he was trying to get her to back up and she planted her big ole feet and refused!  :)  He was rolling his spurs on her sides pretty good and she still just stood there.  Again, no thoughts of bucking with that spurring.  She tried to get away from the pressure and spun around a bit, but no rearing involved.  I mentioned that I thought maybe she would respond better to a sidepull bridle and not the bit he had in her mouth.  The guy riding her is a trainer, so no discredit to him at all.  He actually is not her owner, he takes horses in on consignment and sells them for the owners.  When he was done, I asked if I could put her in a sidepull and ride in the round pen.  Got on and immediately felt at ease, actually felt "at home" on this girl.  Rode her around for a while, she kinda responds to leg pressure, kinda thinks about neck reining.  But not solid on either area.. easily fixable with time.  She stopped and she backed.  She tried to stand her ground on backing, but with a little scissor motion on that bridle, she realized it was easier to back up than take the pressure.  I then asked to ride her out to the woods, so we headed on down the field to the trees.  She was very cautious and aware of her feet, she dropped her head and looked at the logs I asked her to go over.  She never tried to eat the luscious grass.  I took her through thick trees that brushed up against her and hung over her, she never flinched.  I broke branches above her and dropped them on her, no reaction.  She was solid.  We jumped a few deer back there and again, no reaction.  As I walked her back to the barn area, she stopped and stood fairly still.  Not 100%, but she didnt fight me either and I know with other horses around, she would have stood all day.

I was pretty much sold on the mare the second I got on her, but after riding, I just knew she was a great fit for me and possibly for Derek if he ever wanted to confiscate her from me.  They gave us some alone time to think on her and we offered $2000 and would pick her up in 2 weeks.. the next free weekend I had to get back over there!  Left a deposit and I now technically own this beautiful girl.

It took a while to come up with a new name for her, but we have renamed her "Hula Girl" aka Hula.  :)  My only problem.....  I dont know how I am going to have the patience to wait 2 weeks to get her!!!  I'm already in love with this horse and almost in tears because I havent been this excited about a horse in a very long time.  I want nothing more than to bond and have that solid horse and am very hopeful that I just found her.

We have decided we will not be buying or getting a horse for Derek this year.  Hunting season is approaching quickly and why spend money on a horse for him, when he will not be focused on riding.  Come about Feb though, that will change and we will then restart our search for a horse for him.  If he takes my Hula Girl, thats OK, I'll deal with it and will be happy knowing he has a solid horse.

AHHH, I just cant wait!!

And finally the last update I have is my Weight Watchers success.  I am now down 43 pounds!  I am officially starting to retire some of my baggiest of jeans.. They are all baggy (except some of my wranglers that have been in my closet for years as I outgrew them).  So I walk around baggy-assed most days and it looks terrible, but I dont want to spend tons of money on pants I intend on shrinking out of..  :)  I'm happy and working every day at this!

There are a lot of positive things going on around us right now and I am looking forward to the future!  ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I lost a Weekend

As I look back on my calendar to trigger my brain into remembering what we've been up to, I realize that 12 days ago I absolutely cannot recall what we did on that Saturday or Sunday!  I know it was something, or maybe it wasnt..  Not good when your memory is this bad already.

But I do know what we did this past weekend!  Fathers Day...  We celebrated on Saturday instead of Sunday so that Andrea could spend time with her family too.  Had a really nice BBQ at my parents, but the evening ended a bit oddly with the information that my mom had decided to share with us all about the tablecloth used for our outdoor dining that evening.  Not sure why she decided to share such disturbing information with us all or why she used that blanket to eat on, but it's an evening/moment I'll never forget..  good or bad, its a memory that causes me a lot of laughter and confusion in recap!!  :)

Sunday we had plans to hike the Snoqualmie Tunnel, part of the John Wayne Pioneers Trail.  The tunnel is the longest tunnel in the country for recreational use at 2.3 miles long!!  It was pretty cool though to hike it, but it does feel like your never going to get through it as you can see the other end of the tunnel as you hike along, its just a big bright light that takes forever for that light to start to grow.  The tunnel was built from 1912-1914 and it was maybe 36 degrees inside with a good wind running through.  Overall I think we hiked about 5 miles that day and I really enjoyed it.
The entrance heading Eastward

The entrance we used heading Westward

Hunt Test Weekend

It was a long, hot, fun, successful weekend!  Our retriever club hosted a Hunt Test on our training grounds in Monroe.  Another club, the Olympic Rainshadow HRC was the official club running the test, but our club did 1/2 the work and in the end, got a HUGE payoff because of it.  And I dont mean $ in the bank..  I mean that this test weekend was the largest Hunt Test attended this side of the Rocky Mountains!  We had 148 dogs entered over 2 days  :)  This awesome support of our grounds and hard work of those involved with our club and supporters, helped push the HRC in the direction of FINALLY accepting our clubs application for affiliation a week later..  It was a 4 year battle and it just feels Amazing!  There were many others involved in running this event than the ones pictured, but we were the last ones still hanging around at the end of the day on Sunday. 
Our club president Boyd & his wife Pam

Don & Anne West

Pete & Kate

Elroy & Lorri (Owners of Earl - Cooper's daddy)

I guess we had to get our pictures taken too!

Although we did not take Cooper to the event, we were too busy working, Derek did run home to get him Sunday afternoon to take advantage of another opportunity to get a picture with some other NW Boykineers!  Cooper sat patiently in the truck, just waiting to head back home.  Is he cute or what!  :)

6 of the 8 Boykins that were on the Test Grounds!

Cooper's brother Mace ran in his first 2 tests over the weekend.  Saturday was not a great day for Mace.. he struggled to bring the birds back and was probably quite confused on what this was all about.  Mace had never been to a test, or to any type of practices, just had real life field work.  We really had to encourage Jim to stay with us Saturday night and come back the next day, he felt a bit deflated I think.  But he was really glad he came back as Mace started to get the hang of what was expected and received a Started Pass on Sunday!  We were very proud of them both, as was Landon, Mace's real owner..  :)

I didnt realize just how exhausted and worn out I was until Monday afternoon at work.. I started to feel sick, my throat hurt pretty bad and I was becoming lethargic.  That evening I went to bed pretty early and didnt end up getting back out of bed until 5pm Tuesday afternoon!  19 hours was FAR too long to lay in bed sleeping the entire time as it took another 4 or so days for my back to recover!  lol

The positive was I lost 6.6 pounds that week at weigh in, then gained 2.6 the following week and now this week am back down 2.2   So its been a real WW rollercoaster, but overall now down 39lbs.  We had a sub last night at our Mtg and she helped me think more positive about weight gain..  Said we have about a 5lb bubble that surrounds us, because our bodies fluctuate from hour to hour on our weight, so as long as the bubble is gradually moving down, then dont sweat the small gains here/there!  I now have 31 pounds to loose in 4 months..  thats my short term goal I'm working towards.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Memorial Weekend

Once again, we ended up at Beavercreek for Memorial Weekend, in Twisp.  3 of the last 4 years have been here, but we really like it and since we were going horseless, we knew there would be some good hiking.

We had invited a few different sets of friends to come along, but none of them could make it, but we had a great time with our horse club friends that did go.  We struggled getting ready to go the week prior..  as we realized our camper was too small for our truck!  Didnt think that would be an issue until we put it on the truck, and saw that the cabover section was touching the roof of our truck!  After some creative thinking, we got it squared away.  But FYI, an upgrade in campers is now on our short-term list.  Which means we will most likely sell our camper this summer and have to be without for a few camping trips  :(  Oh well, we are perfectly capable of "roughin" it!

Our goal for Memorial was to hike the Pipestone.  We had ridden it 3 years prior and knew it would be a great hike.  I was feeling some apprehension about it though as I was fully aware it would be a 4+ hour venture.  Friday I was just not feeling in the mood to get out, legs felt tired and weak.. probably because I was up until 2am Wed night preparing for our trip on Thursday..  Things just were not coming together on Wed, had my WW meeting, my phone died, camper had issues.. so what was I to do?  I still had all that food to prep and clothes to finish washing before heading out the next morning.  :)

Derek went off hiking on his own for a while on Friday.  I dont know how long he was gone, I was lazy and hung out in the camper, nodded off for a while with Cooper!  It was nice having some down time, just me and the dog.  I was sad to have left Ellie behind that weekend but it would not have been right to leave Russell home alone.. poor guy is getting blinder and deafer by the day!  :(

Saturday morning was the day.  We were going to hike out to the Pipestone.  We got directions on which trails to take to get there and headed out.  We dropped down into Death Valley, a completely different vibe walking through there vs riding a horse through.  We had Cooper with us and decided to teach him a new command "follow" as we wanted him to learn to walk on the trail behind us and not running off into the snake filled bushes!  Coming back up out of D.V. was a steady climb, we stopped often for mini-breather sessions and at the end of that climb, realized we had just hiked the backside of Pipestone and missed it completely!  We were at the far West end of it, so we hiked up another section to get to the top of Pipestone which gave us a great view of the entire area.  So we did still hike to the Pipestone, we just didnt end up following the trail ALONG the Pipestone.  But thats OK as we had done the trail horseback and this route we took was one we had not seen before and the lookout where we stopped for lunch, was not an area we had explored on horseback either.
These are some horses that came from a barn around the other side of this hill.  They are on a trail that connects into the top ridge of the Pipestone trail.  They actually took a right and headed down to the intersection of the trail on the backside, which is the same way we had walked up.

Overlooking the Pipestone.  That big hill in the background is the one the horses had come around.  It was really windy up here, but it felt nice and we had an amazing view.
After a nice break and some great pictures, we headed back to camp.  We followed the old ditch-line above camp on the way back and then had to drop down to the campers, so we did a big circle hike, took us 4.5 hours!  Again, AMAZINGLY my back was NOT at all sore the entire hike!  I'm sure the 4 Ibuprofen I took was part of the reason, but that was a very long difficult hike and I was pretty proud of myself.  :)  The weather was not as hot as Burke Lake, it was perfect.

I think we wore Cooper out more than ourselves.  Poor dog tried to jump off the tailgate step that evening and his legs buckled and he fell on his face!  Overall we had a really great weekend.  Cooper still has a major infatuation with fires and at times have to really watch him because he has almost gone in!

At the time of that weekend, I think I was down almost 35 pounds.  Today I am down 37.  Not a lot of change lately, its been an up/down rollercoaster for me.  Good decisions, bad decisions...  But I continue to work on it and am proud that I've lost that much so far.  I continue to work on re-training myself, its a daily battle.