Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Goodbye Facebook, Hello Life

Yesterday I realized a few things. That's what tends to happen when you spend TWELVE hours on the road with nothing to do and no one to talk to. You realize things. Like how your sweatpants have more holes in them than you thought... and that your steering wheel s grossly dirty. Unfortunately sometimes you also notice that one or more of the three 100+ lb dogs in the car has awful gas. But beyond that...

1. I care too much what everyone thinks. From family to friends, I make too many decisions based on what other people would like or expect of me. I need to knock that off.

2. For as long as I remember, I have this serious need to gain acceptance from other people. I need to knock that off.

3. It gets to me way too much when other people are disappointed in or upset with me. I mean like... if someone is mad at me, I loose sleep, I ache, I'm upset for a long, long time. I need to knock that off.

In further thinking about what I want in life, and what things I am going to commit to work on personally I decided the first step in becoming happier with myself, is to eliminate the things and people who don't matter. Not that I don't like most of the people I associate with... but, what Joe schmoe on the internet thinks shouldn't matter to me. So, what did I do? I deleted my Facebook page. Why?

1. I spend too much time messing around on Facebook and not enough time maintaining my house, spending time with the people actually IN my life, and focusing on Ruff House and Velcro Danes. Those are better ways to spend my time.

2. I don't need the arguing or the drama that comes along with Facebook.

3. Because really, why the heck not? Why keep the stupid thing? Because everyone really gives a crap where you went to lunch or what you think of the President? No.

I will probably blog a bit more than I did... because, well... I have crap to say... but for now, my life is off of Facebook. I will still put Velcro Danes stuff on the Velcro Danes page.... but personal Facebooking is over, and I figure that those who really matter and are really interested in me and I them, they'll still be there.

So, Goodbye Facebook, Hello Life.

It's kind of liberating, actually. You should try it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shootings, Guns, and Criminals

What happened today in CT is a true tragedy of the most horrific kind. Those who prey on children (and animals!) are the most disturbed of individuals. Because of which, I feel sorrow that the individual who opened fire had to live in his own mind, and that there wasn't help that was so obviously needed. I feel sad for the lives lost, and for the families that enter this holiday season with an empty void in their hearts for the loved ones lost.
When tragedy strikes, people talk. They talk about what should have been done different. They talk about how it could have been prevented. They talk about why it happened.

This time it's guns.

Shootings, particularly school shootings aren't just something I've heard about on the news. On a morning in 2001, I was in sixth grade. I went to Cajon Park Elementary, and it was just another day... until we went on lock down because someone opened fire at the high school, Santana, just a couple short blocks down the road. What does that have to do with me? Five members of my family, including both parents in the home, were on campus. I sat there at the age of eleven as my classmate's parents and siblings came and checked them out of school until I was the only one left. All I knew at that point was that of the six people living in my house, FIVE of them were on that campus, including my mother... stepdad, step brother... sister, brother.... I watched as my classmates were taken home by their families and wondered why mine had not come for me, too. My mind at that time did not comprehend that being school employees they were first taking care of the students on campus and trying to help in the chaos ensued by fear. My teacher at the time tried to tell me she was sure my family was all just fine but even at the tender age of eleven I could tell she had no idea, and there were no promises. Where were they? Why did no one come for me? Could they? Were they hurt?  Were they alive? Finally my step brother showed up for me, it was afternoon, and a couple hours had passed since every last one of my classmates had left.
I was not on campus. I did not live through the horror of watching people shot, wounded, killed. I did not have to run through the halls in the chaos. But my life HAS been very personally effected by a school shooting. I am thankful that all five members of my family made it home safely that day. I share this because I've been accused of not "understanding" the gravity of the "gun problem" our country has today due to my stance on it.

I've seen all this gun control talk today. SO many people blame legal gun ownership and want stricter rules, some even vote for the downright ban on gun ownership.

The problems in this way of thinking are plenty.

1. It follows the notions that criminals follow laws, which the very nature of being a criminal contradicts. Guns being illegal to own will not stop criminals from owning them because the reality is most gun crimes are committed by people who can not legally have them anyway!
2. It takes away the legal use of a firearm to protect yourself, your family, or your property. When these mass shootings happen it is nothing short of a tragedy. You see them on every news channel and every news website. But, rarely do the stories of the lawful use of firearms to SAVE live and protect ever make it off the the fourth page of the local newspaper. Murderers and rapists stopped, lives saved.... thanks to gun ownership.
3. I can't help but wonder if some of these people would be so quick to open fire if they KNEW that a high percentage of people were also carrying firearms... so on the flip side I can't imagine how many MORE might if they knew for sure that no one else was.... chew on that for a minute.
4. It places blame for criminals on people who are not guilty. Plenty of shootings are committed by minors. You have to be a minimum of 21 years old to own a gun in any of the 50 states of America.

The following list of prohibited persons are ineligible to own firearms under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
  • Those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors except where state law reinstates rights, or removes disability.
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution and currently containing a dangerous mental illness.
  • Non-US citizens, unless permanently immigrating into the U.S. or in possession of a hunting license legally issued in the U.S.
  • Illegal Aliens
  • Those who have renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Minors defined as under the age of eighteen for long guns and the age of twenty-one for handguns.
  • Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (an addition)
  • Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition
Those who already own firearms  required to relinquish them upon conviction.

The above list also sums up a vast majority of the people responsible for the violent crimes involving firearms or other weapons.Illegal. Unlawful. If the gun laws we already HAVE were followed then things like this wouldn't be happening. More laws isn't the answer, better attention to the ones we already have is.
Maybe better attention to mental illness and getting people treatment? Maybe better protecting our schools which seem to be where these horrors happen most? Maybe being kinder to our fellow human beings and not too self-absorbed in ourselves? I don't know what all the answers are... but I know that taking away the ability to protect ourselves isn't it.

My thoughts aren't because I don't understand the gravity of these shootings. It's not because I don't think we have a problem. 28 people lost their lives today. 20 of them were children. Innocent children whose lives had barely began. I do not overlook the tragedy of that. Something needs to change. But guns are not to blame. The sick man who [illegally] armed himself and opened fire [where it is illegal to have guns no matter what] and took these innocent lives is. No law would have saved lives today.

My heart goes out to the victim's families who instead of feeling the magic of the Holiday season are left heartbroken as they plan the funerals of loved ones taken too soon. I hope that the empathy and sorry for what happened is not lost in all of the gun debates that are sure to continue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Month of Thanks

This month, everyone is posting all the things they're grateful for on Facebook daily. I often times get so busy and caught up in responsibility that I forget the hundreds of things I'm really thankful for, so I figured I'd just make one big giant thankful post. 

1. I'm thankful for my family, including Jon,  that has been there for me.
2. I'm thankful for my pets that make me laugh and smile every single day- even if they are kind of naughty. 
3. I'm thankful for my small circle of friends who accept me for me without judgement- they're family, too.
4. I'm thankful for the roof over my head, and that I have a comfy place to sleep at night. 
5. I'm thankful for my employees that make Ruff House what it is today.
6. I'm thankful for the opportunity to run Ruff House and the lessons it's taught me. 
7. I'm thankful for people who support small local business, because they help me support myself and my employees. 
8. I'm thankful for the beauty of four seasons.
9. I'm thankful for the opportunities for charity that cross my path. True joy is found in charity. 
10. I'm thankful for the healthy food that I have access to that has helped me obtain better health.
11. I'm thankful for the people that have come into my life as I follow my passion of ethical dog breeding. 
12. I'm thankful for the trials of my past that have made me who I am today.
13. I'm thankful for my in-laws that have been there for Jon and I.
14. I'm thankful for the gospel.
15. I'm thankful for the experienced ethical dog breeders that have taken the time to help and educate me. 
16. I'm thankful for my vet, who has been a wealth of knowledge for me.
17. I'm thankful for the knowledge I've gained that has led me to making more eco-friendly choices, and the people who have brought that knowledge to me. 
18. I'm thankful for the financial stability that has allowed me to put clothes on my body, and food on the table. 
19. I'm thankful for the skilled doctors and surgeons that have helped me get healthy this year.
20. I'm thankful for the internet, the people its brought into my life, and how easy it makes it to keep in touch with loved ones miles away.
21. I'm thankful for my dependable vehicles, and that we are able to maintain two vehicles.
22. I'm thankful to live in America.
23. I'm thankful for the right to vote.
24. I'm thankful for the scriptures and the answers I've found in them.
25. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned from animals.
26. I'm thankful for books, and the stories and lessons they provide. 
27. I'm thankful for my education- limited as it may be. 
28. I'm thankful that I have the drive to constantly learn more, and for the resources to do so.
29. I'm thankful I have an understanding of the importance of living green, and that I've changed habits that I can pass down to my kids.
30. I'm thankful for the desire I have to constantly improve. 
31. I'm thankful for the freedom of speech... because you know I've got an opinion on everything. 
32. I'm thankful for my health.
33. I'm thankful that I have the freedom and right to be myself. 

I'm sure I'm thankful for a lot more, but I'm hungry, so I'm going to go eat the food I'm thankful for. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Thing About Elections....

It's that time of year: election season. I am a firm believer in how important it is to vote, no matter what you believe- vote, vote, vote. I feel like it's one of the things that really sets this country apart, and I think it's incredibly important for American citizens to be involved with the political process.
That said, I'm amazed at how quickly friends, family, and co-orkers turn on each other over their support of one candidate over another. Let's be real here: neither candidate is perfect, so it absolutely surprises me how many people are so shocked when one or the other says or does something completely stupid, and then they use that to put their own candidate on a pedestal.
I think what irks me the most, is that SO many people sit on their high horse and point the "stupid" finger at anyone who disagrees with them. It's like people seem to forget who their friends are and just attack anyone who isn't voting the way they are. Now, I'm a fairly outspoken person. I have my beliefs, I stand by them, and I don't really give a damn what anyone thinks of them, so in all honesty, I can't be THAT surprised when I tick people off. I even rubbed a cousin the wrong way for voicing that based on the incredibly ignorant statements on women's bodies and rape they have no business making decisions for women. (well they HAVE, and despite the fast I'm voting Republican this year, I can recognize that!) DO I care if people disagree with me? No. Not at all, and if they choose to be offended by my beliefs there's not much I can do about it. But, even my Mom of all people got "hate mail" from a so called long time friend calling her blind for the simple act of "liking" one of the candidates on Facebook. People who would never dream of intentionally offending anyone, people who are very subtle in sharing their thoughts, people who do not put their beliefs out there bluntly for the world to criticize are getting attacked.And the thing is- this doesn't change anyone's mind. Telling me I'm stupid isn't going to make me vote for someone else, it's just going to make me want to punch you in the face for being a jerk.

So, a few things to remember before you jump down someone's throat over the election:
1. Two different opinions doesn't make either one stupid or blind. Stop calling people ignorant, blind, or sheep just because they don't agree with you.A business owner, a coal miner, and a stay at home mom might all have different political views which are influenced by their person life situation and how the policies effect THEM.
2. Neither candidate is perfect.
3. Before you attack someone, ask yourself if the election is really worth tainting relationships over. I can't think of any that are.

Whether you think we can't afford another 4 years of Obama, or you're still feeling the promises of hope and change- vote, and stand by your beliefs without being a jackass. :-)

What am I for? I'm for lower taxes. I'm for proof of citizenship. I'm for working hard. In the words of Tim McGraw: "Democrat, republican.... guess I'm screwed I'm neither one."

Talk about irony, not 5 minutes after posting this to Facebook, I get: "You're not who I thought you were, I can't believe you'd vote for Mitt, blah blah blah"
SO much for the message I was going for. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It IS Easy Being Green

In the last couple years, I have slowly become more and more.... green. I never really had an exact "ah ha!" moment, it seems to have come topic by topic, and slowly. We've made so many little, subtle changes as I have become more and more aware of what so many "convenience" items have done to our Earth, that I woke up today and realized all these little changes have added up to us being kind of weird! So, I feel prompted to throw some of our green living choices out there, and maybe explain them a little.

Cleaning Products
This was probably one of the first things I remember being more aware of. I don't know if it was more that they bothered me, or that I was worried about their harsh effects on the pets in our house, but most commercial cleaning products just don't have a place in our house.
GREEN ALTERNATIVE: A simple yet effective mix of white vinegar is sufficient for nearly ALL messes. I'm still guilty of the occasional bleach for particularly yucky/ dangerous messes, but it's few and far between. Plus, it deters ants (are you listening, Mom!) and other pesky critters and is safe on most surfaces.
GREEN LAUNDRY ALTERNATIVE: So, I've wanted to try soap nuts but haven't gotten around to that just yet, but I DID recently discover a natural laundry detergent that I am really liking called The Laundry Tarts.  Now, I've been a pretty loyal Tide user for as long as I've been doing my own laundry... which... well, OK, so we weren't allowed to do our own laundry at my Mom's house so not that long, but still. But this stuff is AWESOME. I love it. Love, love, love it. It comes in really delicious scents, and is completely effective. I also really like their stain remover stick. I buy them both at this little WAHM online shop that I love. (I have a bag of Eco Sprout that I have not tried yet, but I will report back on that. I do NOT like Rockn' Green)

Disposable Storage/ Containers
Jon and I used to FLY through plastic baggies and the like, and I admit that there are still some in the pantry. (No, wait, my house is old and doesn't have a pantry... they're in cold storage... this creepy dark closet in the basement that locks from the outside and gives me the heebie jeebies) We used them for everything, storing left overs, packing snacks, etc. Also, bottled water and drinks were huge around here. So convenient!
GREEN ALTERNATIVE: I started buying glass jars to carry drinks around, and stainless steel mugs to make hot cocoa at home with to take to work. (money saver, too!) I am guilty of picking up drinks in plastic containers at times, but I do make it a point to reuse them for a while... like the Gatorade bottle I've used for a solid week now. I also started string food/ leftovers/ snacks in plastic rubbermaid containers instead of baggies. I know glass is more eco-friendly, but this is a step for us anyway. This is an area that our green changes really take no effort to implement.

Wasteful packaging on processed foods are just as bad for the planet as the food is for our bodies. Plastic wrappers sit in landfills for years and years. Not only that, but the food itself is full of chemicals and preservatives to make it last on the shelves for years and years.
GREEN ALTERNATIVE: Jon and I have almost made a challenge/ game out of NOT buying and eating a ton of packaged foods anymore, and trying new things in the kitchen. I feel like we're being better to the environment and better to our bodies, so it's a win-win. I use the crock pot a lot, avoiding the fact that means running it all day. I do still buy canned beans, but I'm going to make the switch, I swear.

Shower & Body Products
How much sense does it make to cover yourself in chemicals? How much sense does it make to have a meal full of chemicals? None. But, most people do it every single day as they shower and use lotions and the like. Because your skin is the largest ORGAN of your body, and it absorbs every single thing you put on it, I've adopted the idea that if I can't/ wouldn't eat it- it doesn't go on my skin, either.
GREEN ALTERNATIVE: On shampoo, the simplest, cheapest, and most effective alternative to chemical-laden shampoos for me has been to simply not use it. That's right, I've been converted to the world of no-poo. In fact, I have not washed my hair in almost two months. I rinse it almost daily, put a little organic, cold-pressed coconut oil on my hands, and run them through my hair, and done! No shampoo, no conditioner, no gel, no mousse. I occasionally rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. I have naturally curly, dry hair... and it's never been more manageable than it is with this routine. Less frizz, way less tangles, and I'm wearing it down more than ever. Best lotion? Plain Coconut Oil, which is also a great make-up remover, and makes the dogs smell edible. Seriously, anyone that knows me knows that I have the craziest most obnoxiously sensitive skin in the whole world.

Lady Products
Men, tune out. (yeah right, like men read this blog... does ANYONE read this blog?) I'm for real blogging about periods, because it's my blog and I'll post what I want to! So, commercial menstrual products creep me out, let's just be real. All those chemicals don't belong around the lady bits. But, aside from that factor, these products hugely affect our landfills because they virtually never break down. Considering a single woman will likely use over 15,000 single pads/ tampons in her lifetime and there's like... a crapload of women on this earth, that's a whole lot of yuck.
GREEN ALTERNATIVE: Ok, so when I first heard of menstrual cups I thought it was bat sh*t crazy. I mean, that thing goes where? Youch! But, then I bought a Diva Cup, and never looked back to tampons, which now officially gross me out to even think about. Plus, because it's silicon, and completely safe, and holds a ton it lasts 12 hours which means you virtually NEVER have to deal with periods in public bathrooms. I also discovered "mama cloth" which at first I thought was completely nuts, but since I have completely stupid skin that likes to react to everything in the world, commercial pads aren't even an option for me, so I bought an entire stash of cloth pads, and I love them. I bought some from here and here and here and here. Cleaning them is so easy there's virtually no ick factor. And, they're so cute it's almost fun. Ok, so it IS fun, don't judge.

Looking Forward
I feel like we've made a huge dent in our overall wastefulness. I don't  feel like any of the changes we've made so far have added any headache to our daily life, in fact most have really made things easier, and I like knowing that we are doing our part.
Some other changes that we will implement moving forward are:
-Unpaper towels. We already use cloth rags for moth things to minimize our use of paper towels but I want to really take the plunge into unpaper towels and do away with paper ones.
- Cloth Diapering- Ok, confession: I have more than a full stash of them, but I'm committed to using them when we have kids. Disposable diapers are one of the things filling our landfills faster than any other item.
-Breastfeeding- It's what boobies were made for, duh!
-Cloth shopping bags- self-explanatory.
-Composting- think of all the yard waste people throw out, usually in a huge plastic bag, taking up space in landfills when it is completely 100% biodegradable. And dog poop. When we move, I'd like to start seriously composting.
- Gardening- Obviously the "greenest" way to get your food is to grow it yourself.

But, I don't think we are cut out for family cloth. Ever. In fact, it's not even up for discussion. (cloth toilet paper)

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little BSC

SO, the last month or so I've been really focused on this whole self-betterment theme I've adopted. I've been eating healthier, with small portions. I've been trying to be more active and at least getting out every day.I've been working a lot less because I realized that work-related stress was doing some serious damage to my overall health. I've even made an effort to spend more time with the people who are most important: family. (Plus, when you spend all day at Grandma and Grandpa's chatting for 8 hours, they also feed you lunch AND dinner, which is cool, too)
In High School, and a bit after, I really thought friends were the most important thing in the world. I'm not saying I don't care about friends, because I DO, and I always will... but I've found in recent years, that the people that matter the most, the people who come to mind when I think "friend" are also family.
A couple of weeks ago, it came up in conversation that somehow I live in Orem and had never been to Sundance or Park City. My mom spent ALL DAY LONG driving all over Park City and Sundance with me.  I mean all over. We left early in the day, she showed me so many neat places, some that she had been to with my dad (I do have one... somewhere.. I think...) some that have good food (noted!) some places good for shopping, people watching, etc. I had a complete blast. I actually had to stop on the way back down Provo canyon and think 2008, four years ago, I never thought I'd be close to my family again. And now, here I am, hanging out with one of my best friends, having a blast, we did nothing extreme and yet it's a day I won't ever forget, because that best friend is also my Mom. I am so sad my bad attitude kept this friendship from me for so many years, but I'm SO thankful to have it now.

I LOVE that my family is so close. I love that in 5 minutes, I can get to my sister's, brother's, grandparent's, and mom's house. I love that almost EVERY week we get together and have dinner, chat, hang out, and LAUGH. I love that we love each other. I love that I can count on them for anything. I love that I can count on ANY time I am with my sister Tanya, laughing my head off (and probably eating cookies, too.) and I LOVE that every now and then I can even get Mitch to chuckle. I LOVE that even though Shelly lives in Texas and we don't talk nearly as much as we should (don't ask why she lives there, I think it's silly!) I know I can pick up the phone and call her any time and I hope she KNOWS how much I look up to her, and always have. Let's face it, I have a hard time making Mac & Cheese sometimes, so I admire anyone that makes home made butter. For real.

I'm going somewhere with this, I promise.

Jon and I have had some big decisions to make. We've been talking, and praying about where we are supposed to raise our family, where we are supposed to put down roots, and where we want to call home in the long run. We've fought with this want to have acreage (and a cow!) and this want to stay near family. Every day we have struggled to make this decision so we can start planning. The reality is the farm life we've wanted probably won't happen around here. We both feel strongly that while we WISH Jon's family were closeby, Las Vegas is not for us. I had a complete moment of clarity tonight, and couldn't wait to share it with my husband. Sitting at Mitch's house, the room full of family, I listened as he told us about the family temple night Friday that Jon and I were not able to make it to. I listened as he told us a message that was shared with them. I listened as the realization of exactly what we are supposed to do hit me.

I'm not sure how it will work out. I'm not sure where Jon will work. I'm not sure how easily I will accept a life in the suburbs. What I do know, is moving away feels wrong. Leaving family feels wrong. I've had this feeling off and on for a while, that staying would be best, but kept reasoning with myself that there was still time to decide, and that we didn't need to come to a decision now. But tonight was different. I know without the shadow of a doubt that right here in Utah Valley is where we NEED to be, and this is where we will stay. I mean, after all... I LOVE THE MOUNTAINS. (stop chuckling, Mom)

Even if they are a little Bat Sh!t Crazy, they're my family... and I'm so lucky to have them.

Completely Off topic, unrelated note: I'm dang near ready to decorate for christmas, so DECK THE FREAKIN' HALLS. Fa la la la la la la.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I can not tell you how many times in the last month or so I have actually stopped and thought to myself, "Oh MAN, am I thankful I'm NOT in San Francisco" Just sayin'...

Since San Francisco, we've had a few more adventures. We went to India with some of Jon's family and had a ...good... experience. It was fascinating to see a part of the world I never thought I'd see. The culture is so much different, so much more simple. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am American through and through and I wouldn't trade the country I live in for ANYTHING in the world, but I still find other places fascinating  And, it made me want a cow even more. I will say that even though I found the land beautiful, and the culture very respectable, it was so good to be home. Seriously, when we landed I could have KISSED U.S. ground... but I was in Los Angeles so I'm pretty sure I would have caught some nasty disease. I refrained from ground kissing, but that doesn't mean I didn't think about it.

Since being home, a few things have fallen into perspective for me. First of all, nothing makes you appreciate your home, your family, and your town than being away from it for a while. I think it was the kick that I needed to help myself remember the most important things. I've also been putting a ton of effort into getting healthy. Making healthy eating habits, getting out and moving, and in general getting in better shape. I have been de-stressing my life a little, trusting the awesome staff I have to do their jobs, so I can take time to breathe every now and then, and spending more time with the people that matter.

In other news, we will be having TWO litters of Dane puppies at the end of December/ beginning of January so... that's something we are really looking forward to and getting excited about. It will be nice to have something I'm so passionate to throw myself into again. By the time they are all raised, weaned, and in their new homes it will only be like a month away from Jon's graduation date which really can not come soon enough.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Save me, San Francisco

OK, so... as previously mentioned, we are supposed to be going to India this week. I say "supposed to be" because a million and a half things have gone wrong leading up to this so until our feet are on the ground in India, I just don't think I'll be a believer.

So, first, we paid to expedite our passports. Those went as planned, and two weeks later, there they were in the mail. Then, we had to overnight our passports to Jon's mom, who was kind enough to go to San Francisco (more on that city later....) to turn in our visas for us. But, UPS lost my passport in the mail. So, that meant  paying an arm and a leg for 24 hour lost passport replacement through Travisa. We filled everything out, and then mailed it off to San Francisco via FedEx next day 8AM guaranteed delivery. Which, by the way, also costs an arm and a leg. So, by this point all I am is a head on a body with no limbs. Very inconvenient. At this point, my passport should have been mailed back to our house on Tuesday.
Except, when we called Monday morning to make sure that it went through OK, they had not gotten it on time. After a mild panic attack, I as assured that it would be done on time. If we just flew to San Francisco a day early, we could pick up my passport at 8:45AM, drop off our visas at 9AM, pick up our visas at 5PM, and fly to India at 9PM. Tight, but managable schedule.
So, we made sure our dog/house sitter could pull an extra day, thank GOODNESS they could, and made arrangements with work, school, airlines, hotel, and off we were 24 hours later. Off to San Francisco.
My mom gave us a ride to the airport.
"You'll love San Fran," she said.
"It's my favorite place in the world!" she said.
"It's such a neat place." She said.
"I'm so jealous you get to go there." She said.

Well. She lied. Yeah, Mom, you... you lied. San Francisco SUCKS. In fact, it is the worst place in the whole world. If the ghetto of the universe has an armpit, it's called SAN FRANCISCO. Not one thing about this city has been appealing. Not. One. Thing. We've seen street fights. We've seen drug deals. We've seen people crapping on the sidewalk. We've seen people shooting up on the street. It smells like smoke, urine, and body odor. It's loud. It's camped. It's scary. It's so so so so so ghetto. Oh man, at leat we're only here for one little night, right?
There was a hold on my visa and we got stuck a whole extra night. 24 MORE hours in the worst city in the universe. So, it's now 4:38PM. We have a car coming in one hour to pick us up, swing by to pick up our supposed-to-be-done Visas, and then off to the airport.
I can't wait to get out of this city. I hate big cities. Hate them. You know, when we went to New York, it was easy to simply appreciate the culture, and enjoy our visit. I genuinely had fun and the big city didn't bother me at all. But, San Francisco is different. It's lame. I hate it. In all fairness, we have not had the opportunity to go see much of the touristy part of the city.   Now, I won't even go into our hotel experiences much, other than Hotel Bijou was the worst hotel experience of my entire life, where I spent the night CRYING over how terrible it was and got NO rest, but the Prescott has been much, MUCH better. And I don't fear being shanked every time we walk down the street. We have had passport and visa meetings at certain time, and with limited funds, we have not been able to go very far from our hotel and NEED to stay within quick walking distance from the Travisa offices. Unfortunately these offices, and therefore our hotel as well, are in the Tenderloin. What the heck is the tenderloin other than a cut of juicy meat? It's a cut of one of the most ghetto, crime and drug ridden places in the entire country.

So, that's that. Here we are. In the tenderloin. Trying not to die.

In 4.5 hours, we will be on a plane to Germany, then to India.

OH, and also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I miss my water softner already. Hard water is so gross, I don't feel clean!

And I miss Annie. A LOT. Painfully so. :-(

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do not pass go, Do not collect $200

So much has been happening in the past couple of months it's hard to keep up with!

We were lucky enough to have Jon's mom come visit, which is always fantastic. It's a shame that everyone can't just live close by but we are blessed to get to see family as frequently as we do.

There was also a brand new baby welcomed into my oldest sisters family a couple weeks ago.

My sister from Texas and her little girl even made it out to Utah for a week this month, which was a special treat! While here, she also announced they are expecting a baby.

In even more baby news, Jon will be getting a new half sibling.

So, in conclusion, everyone in the world is pregnant but me. Everyone. In. The. World. I'm trying not to let it get me down, I think I'm doing a fairly decent job at it. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly happy for everyone, but at the same time, where's a dark hole to wallow in when you need it? But, alas, life goes on. (Great, now that mellencamp song will be in my head all day)

There's not a whole lot to report in the Lanman house these days. Jon is taking a huge load this semester but there's almost maybe kinda sorta a light at the end of the tunnel as we hope for an April 2013 graduation. I'm so proud of my husband. He's such a hard worker.

So, every now and then I think of things I thought were a really big deal way back when, and laugh at them. Something happened last week that maybe someday I will laugh at, but I'm totally not there yet:
We a supposed to leave for India in... Well, like... 50 hours or something like that. Three weeks ago, we had our passports expedited, which for the record isn't cheap, and they arrived in time. But, when we mailed all the junk out to get our Visas, my passport wasn't in the package when it arrived. So, we then had to pay for a 24 hour replacement... Except, that happened on Friday so it couldn't be processed until yesterday. Now I am anxiously awaiting my passport once again, which is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Tomorrow night we fly to San Francisco and bright and early we goo to the consulate to hopefully get our visas. There is NO room for error, because the flight to India leaves I kid you not, 3 hours after the pickup window for same day visas opens. Needless to say, I have not slept in two days and am totally freaking out. If anything goes wrong at this point, we aren't going anywhere. Not India, not anywhere.mshoot, we won't even pass go. (see that game reference there? I'm hilarious)
Perhaps some day a bajillion years from now Jon and I will sit and reminisce about "that one time he lost my passport less than a week before our trip" but somehow, I doubt it. The moral of the story, is never, under any circumstances, allow your husband to handle your passport. Ever. (Disclaimer: I have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. Im not actually slamming my husband. Well, maybe a little.)

In other news, our house still isn't up for sale. Why you ask? Because for once we decided to actually stay put and wait until the ideal time. I probably already mentioned this but we won't be attempting to move until Jon graduates, and then hopefully finds work, so we know where to look. I absolutely positively hate living here, but we know it is the right choice because the next place we move we plan on making permanent. No more moving. We will start our family, and that will be that. And there will be a cow.i think I will name her Penelope. And you know what I won't have? Neighbors! How delightful.

Jon is snoring, and it's going on 6:30am which means I should probably get some shut eye.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life and lifestyle

So many changes are in the works for us in the next year. It's crazy how much we have already done in just three short years of marriage. Wait, hold up... what was that? Yeah, it's been just about THREE YEARS. Crazy.
Jon will finally have his bachelors degree in Forensic Science April 2013, so we have something to look forward to. Technically he got his Associates in Criminal Justice this month, but with as competitive as the job market is associates might as well be kindergarten graduation certificates so no changes in career quite yet. I am so so so so so so so glad he has found a major that he is truly interested in, because changing fifty billion times a year really drug out the whole process. He got all A's and one B this last semester, he's just awesome like that. I hope he's as proud of himself as I am.
Summer has really flown right by. We made it through our first litter of Danes. We made it through some intense changes at Ruff House. We made it through yet another summer of Summer School. We also had a lot of fun. :-)

We are selling our house in the coming months. We have some yard work that needs to get done (Amazing what danes will do to a teeny tiny yard....) and then it's just a matter of pricing it and getting it out there. I'm nervous to list too early since technically we don't want to move until Jon graduates AND finds work, so we know where the heck we are moving to. We keep finding houses we really like and then have to step back and remember we are trying to leave options open for his job hunt. We are considering: Utah Valley, Spokane, St. George, Denver, and anything in between.

One thing we know for sure is that our next move, which will hopefully be next Spring/ Summer... is more than just a move, it will be a lifestyle change. Think: Acreage. Livestock. Chickens. Fresh Air. No neighbors. We are dead set on getting out of city limits and putting down roots where we want to raise our kids and sustain a simple lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle. It will be a HUGE change from Orem life, but a welcome one. This is a lifestyle we have striven to make possible, and one that we are determined to make our reality.

We are excited for the next chapter, and welcome the changes that are in store for us. We are determined to create the reality we wish for ourselves, no matter what anyone else thinks of it.

Oh, and the first order of business when we buy property: buy a cow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brothers of the Sun

Woot, two posts in the same month! Maybe I am catching back on to this whole blogging thing. I know, I know, I've been pretty terrible at it for the past couple months.
I've been really busy doing the same old same old and lose track of time. Generally we don't do much worth reporting anyway, so....


This weekend, we DID do something worth reporting.

First off, I would like to just say that Jon is pretty much the best husband in the whole wide world, which is a good thing because this whole marriage thing we have going on.... well, it's kinda for eternity. Anyway, in case you didn't know, Jon is amazing.
And, perhaps just to how how wonderfully fantastic he is, he actually got me tickets to the Brothers of the Sun tour. Squeeeeeeeee! Nifty VIP/ Sandpit tickets, too. A. Ma. Zing.
But, for some reason unbeknownst to me, being in a big, loud crowd of drunk sweaty bodies listening to music he doesn't even really know just isn't his "thing." Go figure. He's nuts, right? So, I brought someone else with me. Now, lets remember my social life is dead and long since buried, and I pretty much have zero local friends because I'm just THAT cool. So, who did I take to the best concert in the history of all time? My Mom, duh. Because not only do I have the best husband in the world, but my mom is pretty cool, too.
From 3:30pm-11:30pm we stood at the stage, and pretty much rocked out. AND, it was her birthday, so that pretty much makes me the best daughter ever, too. We had a lot of fun, it's already been decided that it's totally NOT a one time thing. 
I wish I had brought the good camera, but oh well. That hand, with the nifty VIP bands, yeah, that's mom. Did I mention how awesome our tickets were?!
Sooo, you know that awkward moment when you realize you and your mom are totally drooling over the same man... followed by that moment you realize that man is WAY closer to your mom's age than yours? That happened several times at this concert, but you know what, when the men in question are Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney... NO SHAME. 
Oh, did I mention me and Kenny Chesney had a moment? because we did. -sigh- Unfortunately Mom missed it playing nurse to some drunk chick about to pass out, but seriously... never washing my hand again. 

So, there you have it. Best. Weekend. Ever. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baby Danes, Baby Danes, Baby Danes

So, Summer has been flying by. I can't believe that it's already almost July, and the month is halfway over.

We've been keeping pretty busy at our house. I suppose a litter of nine Great Dane puppies will do that. Zailey has been a fantastic first time mama. I can't believe how in tune she is with their needs and how patient she is with their dependence on her for everything. Truly amazing.

I'm trying really hard to not get too attached to them, as if that were ever even possible. They have such great personalities, and raising them has been nothing short of remarkable. It's a lot of work, a lot of poop, and requires a lot of patience. There has been many sleepless nights, countless times when I'd really rather be in asleep but find myself bathing or feeding puppies instead. I'm excited for the homes we have found, and anticipating watching them all grow up. I won't make a living breeding, it's impossible to do so without cutting corners or compromising ethics which is simply out of the question, and it certainly limits our schedule because we are tied down for a solid 8+ weeks, but I definitely see this as something that will be a part of our lives.... dare I say forever?

Next week they will be 8 weeks and most will be on their way to their new homes. How bittersweet it will be. I am going to savor every last minute with them that I can. The house will be so quiet without the thud thud of puppy paws.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lake Mead

Ahh, boating season already. But this isn't just ANY boating season, it's our first boating season with a boat of our own. I'm not sure just how much we will be able to get out on the water this summer, because there's a lot going on, including a litter of Dane puppies on the way but we're really excited to at least have gotten our first trip in.

We went to Lake Mead tagging along on a trip Grandpa Albert had planned. It was just a long weekend trip but we had so much fun. Jon drove the entire way there, which anyone that knows Jon (and his tendency to fall asleep at the drop of a hat...) knows why that's so impressive. Plus, it means I didn't have to pull the boat, which is good because I'm afraid I'd screw up and we'd all die.
We also brought Braxton along because, well.... why not.
For being first timers, I think the trip went exceptionally well. Jon caught on to towing the boat like a total natural, and launching, docking, and loading the boat went really well every single time. 
Braxton was a pretty darn good boating dog. The water level was actually up this year instead of down, so the shoreline was a funky quicksand like consistency, which kind of weirded him out and prevented him from going out and swimming, but seriously, this dog is amazing. He took everything in stride, and is a great boating dog, other than being a total bed hog.... but that's a Dane thing. It's a shame I hate training beyond basic manners because he has so much potential. I keep thinking how "easy" it would be to get him certified for therapy work, and then I remember how much I hate training. And people. Then I push the idea out of my mind. -shrug-
Probably the best part of the trip is that since Lake Mead is right next to Vegas, Jon's mom AND his dad were able to come out and spend the day a couple times. Between the dogs, Ruff House, Wal Mart, and Jon's hectic school schedule we don't have many opportunities to go visit, but I'm glad we were able to roll family time and boating time in one, because those are two of my favorite things. I wish we could visit more. I wish they could visit more. HEY, Trish, Chuck, come visit more! For real. 
All in all, we had a great trip. Boating is my single most favorite thing ever to do, I'm so glad Jon enjoys it too. Boat ownership is treating us well. It's a LOT more work to actually be the one prepping a boat, and not just grabbing a toothbrush (which Mitch claims is optional, I however disagree) and bathing suit and going... but it's worth it. 
I'm glad I get to share that part of my life with Jon, too. I'm not sure what I'd do if he didn't like boating. Some of my absolute very best memories of my whole life are on the water. I hope in 20 years, our kids (we will have them, someday) can say the same thing. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Summertime is finally here. I can't believe it, 2012 is flying by so fast.

Jon and I kicked off the Summer RIGHT with a boating trip to Lake Mead with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a lot of fun. It was our first trip out with our boat, and Braxton tagged along. It was really nice to get away, because my tailbone surgery got 2012 off to a really rocky start and it felt like a turning point for a more positive time to come, if that makes any sense. It was a quick weekend trip, but still loads of fun. It was really great to get to spend some time with Jon's side of the family, whom we don't get to see nearly as much as we'd like. We really want to go back in August, but we'll see if it happens. Fingers crossed!
Gosh, he's handsome, isn't he?

In other Dane news, we have a litter of 9 beautiful, healthy Great Dane puppies here. Zailey has her first litter on May 23rd, sired by Mousse of course. We are so thrilled with them, and will definitely be pairing these two together again in the future. The puppies are a lot of work, a full time job, really... but I am enjoying it a ton. They are going to be 4 weeks old tomorrow.

SO. Many. Puppies. lol.

Life is pretty much business as usual other than that. I haven't been at Ruff House nearly as much since the puppies arrived, but everything is going really great. 
I've been really awful at updating the blog as often as I used to. I'd like to promise I will do better... but... well, no promises. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Already!?

Can you believe it's May already?? So much has been going on in our lives, and it seems like time is just flying by. First order of business, we are selling our house. We are one of the few lucky people with equity right now, especially because we JUST bought last year. We have really loved living here, but we want more of a yard than we have so that we can give the pack adequate space, and still have a place for our future kids to run and play in the back yard. So, the idea is to buy for LESS than we sell for, and be able to put money away. Second, we are expecting Zailey's first litter of Great Dane puppies at the end of this month around the 25th of May. She is doing really great and will have an x-ray for a guesstimate on how many pups to expect about a week and a half before her estimated due date. We have the whelping box all set up for her, and she seems to like it so hopefully all goes well, I'm sure it will. She's kinda tired now, and has lost her waistline and looks chunky, but is in really good condition. I think she will be a great mama Dane.
Exciting news: Jon is officially just ONE YEAR away from graduating college. I mean, until he starts the Master's program, that is. But, next April he will officially be done at UVU and on the hunt to leave his job at Wal Mart for bigger and better things. We are so excited for that chapter to come to an end. Juggling so many different schedules is kind of a pain, from School, to Ruff House, to Wal Mart... it's a lot of different things to balance around and it will be nice to officially cut something out. I will really enjoy him being home and generally around more. Next week we will be taking a trip to Lake Mead with Grandma & Grandpa. We are SO excited, this will be the first time having a boat our own on a trip. Eek. I am really really disappointed that we will be missing the big family trip, because we will have one month old puppies here, but on the flip side, I know it will still be a lot of fun so we are looking forward to it anyway. Braxton will be joining us since Zailey will be 7 weeks pregnant at the time we go. I really want to make it to Powell before the end of the Summer. but we'll see if that ends up being doable, with hopefully moving and all. We are still not pregnant, and haven't moved any closer with adopting only because any time you move, there are certain parts that have to be started all over, so while we are in the process of selling and buying, we are just putting that process on a brief hold so as not to have to start all over again when we move. So, if you follow our other blog and are wondering why we haven't had any updates to it in a while- that's why. Oh, we also are getting callings at church. Considering we've lived here for over a year, I'd say it's overdue. We will be teaching a primary class. I'm actually looking forward to it. Hmm, I think that's just about it. I will try to update more regularly from now on, especially with all this super fun stuff going on this Summer. :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Understanding It.

So much has been going on. Good stuff, bad stuff, you know: life. I will catch up on all that later.

I was taking a break today, and catching up on a forum I lurk, when I came across this thread on infertility. As I read it, I couldn't get past how perfectly accurate it is, and how it's better said than I could ever do. It's about understanding how infertility really effects the Ives of those experiencing it. As our 26th month of TTC is about to turn into 27, I found it appropriate.

I want to share my feelings about infertility
with you, because I want you to understand
my struggle. I know that understanding
infertility is difficult; there are times when it
seems even I don’t understand. This struggle
has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings
in me and I fear that my reactions to these
feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my
ability to cope and your ability to understand
will improve as I share my feelings with you.
I want you to understand.
You may describe me this way: obsessed,
moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too
serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic,
and cynical. These aren't very admirable
traits; no wonder your understanding of my
infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me
this way: confused, rushed and impatient,
afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and
ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and
My Infertility makes me feel confused. I
always assumed I was fertile. I’ve spent years
avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic
that I can’t conceive. I hope this will be a
brief difficulty with a simple solution such as
poor timing. I feel confused about whether I
want to be pregnant or whether I want to be
a parent. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try
better and smarter, I will have a baby.
My infertility makes me feel rushed and
impatient. I learned of my infertility only
after I’d been trying to become pregnant for
some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind
schedule. I waited to become a parent and
now I must wait again.
I wait for medical appointments, wait for
tests, wait for treatments, wait for other
treatments, wait for my period not to
come, wait for my partner not to be out of
town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I
have only twelve opportunities each year.
How old will I be when I finish having my
My infertility makes me feel afraid.
Infertility is full of unknowns, and I’m
frightened because I need some definite
answers. How long will this last? What if
I’m never a parent? What humiliation must
I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do
drugs I take to help me, make me feel
worse? Why can’t my body do the things
that my mind wants it to do? Why do I
hurt so much? I’m afraid of my feelings,
afraid of my undependable body and afraid
of my future.
My infertility makes me feel isolated and
alone. Reminders of babies are
everywhere. I must be the only one
enduring this invisible curse. I stay away
from others, because everything makes me
hurt. No one knows how horrible my pain
is. Even though I’m usually a clear thinker,
I find myself being lured by superstitions
and promises, I think I’m losing
perspective. I fell so alone and I wonder if
I’ll survive this.
My infertility makes me feel guilty and
ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility
is a medical problem and should be treated
as one. Infertility destroys my self esteem
and I feel like a failure.
Why am I being punished? What did I do
to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby?
Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my
partner want to remain with me? Is this the
end of my family lineage? Will my family
be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose selfconfidence
and feel ashamed.
My infertility makes me feel angry.
Everything makes me angry, and I know
much of my anger is misdirected. I’m angry
at my body because it has betrayed me even
thought I’ve always taken care of it. I’m
angry at my partner because we can’t seem
to feel the same about infertility at the same
time. I want and need an advocate to help
I’m angry at my family because they’ve
always sheltered and protected me from
terrible pain. My younger sibling is
pregnant; my mother wants a family
reunion to show off her grandchildren and
my grandparents want to pass down family
heirlooms. I’m angry at my medical
caregivers, because it seems that they control
my future. They humiliate me, inflict pain
on me, pry into my privacy, patronize me,
and sometimes forget who I am. How can I
impress on them how important parenting is
to me?
I’m angry at my expenses; infertility
treatment is extremely expensive. My
financial resources may determine my family
size. My insurance company isn’t
cooperative , and I must make so many
sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can’t go
to a specialist, because it means more travel
time, more missed work, and greater
expenses. Finally, I’m angry at everyone
else. Everyone has opinions about my
inability to become a parent. Everyone has
easy solutions. Everyone seems to know
too little and say too much.
My Infertility makes me feel sad and
hopeless. Infertility feels like I’ve lost my
future, and no one knows of my sadness. I
feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my
energy. I’ve never cried so much nor so
easily. I’m sad that my infertility places my
marriage under so much strain. I’m sad
that my infertility requires me to be so selfcentered.
I’m sad that I've ignored any
friendships because this struggle hurts so
much and demands so much energy.
Friends with children prefer the company
of other families with children. I’m
surrounded by babies, pregnant women,
playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories,
kids’ movies, birthday parties and much
more. I feel so sad and hopeless.
My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My
life is on hold. Making decisions about my
immediate and my long-term future seems
impossible. I can’t decide about education,
career, purchasing a home, pursuing a
hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business
trips and houseguests. The more I struggle
with my infertility, the less control I have.
This struggle has no timetable; the
treatments have no guarantees. The only
sure things are that I need to be near my
partner at fertile times and near my doctor
at treatment times. Should I pursue
adoption? Should I take expensive drugs?
Should I pursue more specialized and costly
medical intervention? It feels unsettling to
have no clear, easy answers or guarantees.
Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I’m
learning some helpful ways to cope; I’m
now convinced I’m not crazy, and I believe
I’ll survive. I’m learning to listen to my
body and be assertive, not aggressive, about
my needs. I’m realizing that good medical
care and good emotional care are not
necessarily found in the same place. I’m
trying to be more than an infertile person
gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life.


That is all

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dane News

Zailey officially went into heat this weekend.
That means that we are inching closer and closer to our first litter of Dane babies. I'm excited, and nervous all at the same time. I've been preparing for a long time, and am just about done gathering all my supplies. Grandpa Albert and I have been building a neat whelping box for her, and I hope we get to finish it up this weekend so I can bring it home and let her check it out.
It's always rewarding to have something long anticipated for, meticulously planned, and thought out finally come around. I am hoping that Mousse figured it out when the time comes, and that both are fertile. The last thing this house needs is another infertile female. lol.
She is less than thrilled about being back in her panties when she's inside the house, and isn't thrilled about not having as much freedom as usual. Braxton is confused, I will leave him at that.
So, depending on when we have successful ties, we should have a litter on the ground in the end of May. From heath-tested, and temperamentally sound parents. I absolutely can not wait to see what colors we get.
Mousse x Zailey

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March madness

Holy crap, it's March! Isn't that crazy?!
SO much has been going on already this year, I'm not sure where the last couple months have gone.
We've been doing some awesome renovations at Ruff House that we are pretty excited about, so business is doing well. I'm really excited to see what our customers think of the paint job.
Which, let's side track about that for a minute. When me and Jon decided to get involved wit Ruff House when we moved home,we were so excited. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in the whole thing, either. But in January when we decided to take Ruff House on ourselves, and our partner moved onto the next chapter of her life, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to death! What do I know about running a business? Big fat nothing. It has been such a learning experience and roller coaster and I can not even begin to explain how thrilled I am with where my career is.
So, fast forward to last weekend. We had a HUGE paint job ahead of us. Walls, floors, the works. Everything needed a face lift. New (old) desk in the lobby, everything. I let our staff know that we would be working on it and whoever wanted to come help could, but it wasn't expected or required. When I got here after Jeannene's baby shower Saturday, I about peed my pants. Every employee but one who had to leave before I was able to get here (I was the LAST to arrive!) AND their spouses AND one person's land lady showed up to help. Free of charge. Just because they believe in Ruff House just as much as we do. It's amazing, it really is, to have such awesome people behind this place. Saturday and Sunday, into the wee hours of the morning, we had our awesome staff right along side us, paint rollers in hand, helping us make this dream a reality. It was a humbling experience for sure, and I can't think of any other people I'd rather be experiencing this with.
Also, we are beginning the long, tedious adoption process with a meeting with our bishop Sunday. Our recommends expired in January and the first step is getting them back, and then we can begin. We are excited, and nervous all at the same time. I have started a secondary blog at the recommendation of several of the people I've networked with that said it's a great tool for birth parents. I am not cross-posting it to facebook or anything like that, and it will be strictly things pertaining to our lifestyle, infertility, and adoption whereas this one is the random spewings of my mind- often times in the wee hours of the morning, but if you're interested in following it, let me know and I will send you the link. Feel free to regularly post comments about how awesome we are, too.
We sold Jon's Prius. It was bittersweet. Bitter for Jon. Sweet for me. All joking aside, it was an awesome car with great mileage, but it is such a dangerous vehicle in the snow, and it just felt like what we were supposed to do. We bought an older Chevy Silverado and even Jon likes it. Which means.... we can tow the boat now! Woo hoo, Lake Powell here we come! I can't wait for summer boating trips. Can. Not. Wait. It also helped take care of the unexpected crazy expensive hospital bills from my recent cystectomy. I have no idea if I spelled that right. Oh well. AND, as a prize to ourselves for getting our full asking price on the Prius, and being so very thrifty lately, we are allowing ourselves each some spending money this month just because. I'm buying cloth diapers with mine. (I've been nesting for two years, give me a break!) Jon wants to go to a nice dinner date with his.

This is unrealated to anything I've been mentioning in this post, but it's been a while since I blogged and I have a lot to say. Pretty much, I think the world needs to kow how much I love my husband. I mean really flippin' love him. I can't think of anything or anyone in the whole world that I love more fully and unconditionally than Jon. Well... maybe Annie but shhhh!. I can't think of another being that I am more compatible with, happier with, and in love with. I am so blessed to have found someone like him to share my life with. I hope he knows that. I want everyone to know that.
Just sayin'.

OH! And Tanya is pregnant, and Jeannene is due any day, AND Lexi is coming to visit for like... 3 weeks... don't tell anyone, but I'm kinda excited for more babysitting opportunities. I kinda like the little buggars.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm Oppressed because I'm a Mormon Woman. Only Not.

So, I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps too much, but oh well. I have friends online, and maybe a few enemies, but for the most part, I enjoy having people to discuss, debate, and challenge ideas with. I think it's important to be challenged, if we are never met with opposition it's too easy to forget all the reasons you believe the way you do. It's OK if none of this makes sense to you, most of what I say makes no sense to anyone else.
First of all, I don't argue. I debate. Sometimes I have disagreements, but I never argue. Remember that, k?
Recently I had a discussion with a friend on Facebook about women in the church. In case you don't know, I'm Mormon. Yes, I drink caffeine, no my husband does not have multiple wives, yes we go to church, no I've never sacrificed babies or sheep in the temple, (where do people come up with this crap?!) yes, I believe in eternal life, and NO I am not freaking oppressed.
There are so many misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints out there, as there are about every organized religion, but one that irks me more than most other is that women in the church are in some way oppressed, looked down upon, or not viewed as a second class citizen. I am not sure where people come up with this crap, but I'm not sure if you know me or not... I don't exactly let other people control my life's decisions. Just ask my mom. (Hi, Mom!)So, the idea that women in the church are controlled by their husbands or church leaders is laughable to me.

Let's dive in.

Women can't hold the priesthood! That's totally sexist.
Well, you know... big deal? It's not exactly a secret that the LDS church supports traditional gender roles, and quite frankly, is that such a bad thing? But the notion that women are sub par, or in any way below their husbands is laughable at best. The entire Relief Society presidency is made up of women. Women can be called as missionaries, they serve as teachers, but above all: they are nurturers. I'm sorry if the idea of women being mothers first and foremost is offensive to you (actually, I'm not) but quite frankly, if more were we probably wouldn't have so many parentless hooligans running around causing trouble.

Women can do more than just pop out babies, you know.
Well, yeah, they can also raise said babies to not be idiots! As a Mormon woman, I have never felt obligated to abandon every hobby, passion, career, or plan to sit at home and have babies. But, I do think that being a mother is the most important role a woman can serve. Why? Because they're the future, that's why. The more kids are left to raise themselves, the more problems we as a society seem to have. We are still encouraged to obtain an education, and be sufficient human beings, but is there a more important role than motherhood? Absolutely not. No way.

Mormon women are oppressed.
Uhh... come again? Have you met me?! LOL. First of all, let's point out the obvious here. No one forces anyone to be a member. Secondly, I feel women are celebrated more in the LDS religion than any other. Prophets, Apostles, Bishops... they all sing the praises of women. I have always felt that men and women in the church are equals, different but complimentary to one another.

"Our doctrine is clear: Women are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves them. Wives are equal to their husbands. Marriage requires a full partnership where wives and husbands work side by side to meet the needs of the family."
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 2011 General Conference

"One individual is complimentary to the other. As Paul stated: Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord. Man and woman are his creations, their duality is His design. One is incomplete without the other."

"There are some men who in a spirit of arrogance think they are superior to women. They do not seem to realize that they would not exist but for the mother who gave them birth. Every women is a daughter of God. You can not offend her without offending Him.The women in our lives are creatures endowed with particular qualities, divine qualities that cause them to reach out in kindness and with love to those about them."

"Mothers, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours, and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation."

"Know that in faith, things will be made right because of you. We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and the glory of God. May I say to mothers collectively: you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact you have been given such responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in heaven has in you."

"Sisters, we, your brethren, cannot do what you were divinely designated to do from before the foundation of the world. We may try, but we cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts. There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman."
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles what was that about being oppressed and looked down upon because I am a woman in the LDS church? It's simply not true.

As an LDS woman:
I'm not oppressed.
I don't feel looked down upon.
I've never felt pressure to marry young...
or to sit at home and pop out babies.
I have not felt obligated to abandon my career.

I do feel praised and supported.
I do feel glorified.
I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

can always count on family! even if.... no, especially if.... they are a little wacko.

So, as much as I try not to be a complainer, I'm going to be totally honest. Today pretty much sucked. Not just a little, I mean it sucked in epic proportions.
I woke up today and decided that I'm really fed up with feeling spacey and not being able to drive and that it was time to cut my pain medication way down. I knew it would hurt, but I think I did it one day too early because despite already hurting, I had an appointment with Dr. Jerkface today. In case you haven't heard, I absolutely can not stand my surgeon. Most arrogant jerk I've ever met. But that's a topic for another day. (that I will try my hardest not to even share because that is giving him far more attention than he deserves) So, after leaving the hospital, where he tore my whole wound open again because it's apparently "healing too fast" (despite NO signs of infection!!) and making me totally sick with pain, I called my sister. Now, for anyone reading this who doesn't already know, people fall into certain categories. There's the reserved but wise type. I think my brother falls here. Then there's the make-everyone-around-you-miserable type. I won't name names. Of course there's Susie Homemaker types, I think Shelly might fall her. And I'm jealous of that. And there's the say-it-like-it-is folks. *cough*me*cough* and a few other types of people but among them are those who are so generous, caring, and giving they have reached a nearly unrealistic level of genuine goodness. That's Tanya's category. That's who she is. So, back to my story, I call her, and she was having a pretty rotten, terrible day too. I won't disclose her personal information on my little blog, but I will say that when people are mistreating genuinely GOOD people, especially people as caring as Tanya, is kind of puts the icing on the "this world sucks" cake and ticks me off.
So, I come home. Mad at the doctor. Mad at the people making my sister sad. Mad at the medical bills that keep coming in the mail LITERALLY by the thousands of dollars, overwhelmed at everything going on, so what do I do? I do the only thing I know to. I sit on the couch (well, I lounge. I can't actually sit yet...) and I cry. I cry into Annie's neck for a good 15 minutes or so and then I hear my phone go off. Really long, pointless story short, a giant miscommunication blown WAY out of proportion created a big falling out with a friend I consider to be really important. Awhh crap, back to being a wreck. I cried some more. It was a bad day. Then, while that was going on, my back started to just spew and drip blood for the second time today, so I'm standing in the bathroom, trying to examine my tailbone to figure out where the blood was coming from, frustrated, annoyed, and at my wits end. Have you ever tried to examine a hole on your tailbone. It's not easy. Go on, try it. I was mad I was bleeding. I was mad at my doctor. I was mad someone made my sister sad. I was mad Jon wasn't home. I was mad someone was mad at me. I was mad I haven't been able to work in 10 days. I was mad I was mad. I was just.... well, I was just flippin' mad, ok?!

Annie nudged the door open, and I yelled at her to leave. (poor annie, subject to my mood at the time) But she didn't. She play bowed, smacked my leg, and ran away, then came back and "peeked" into the bathroom again. She is so goofy, I just started laughing, and decided that tomorrow is a new day, and it would be better. So, then there I am, all pumped up and feeling good. Yeah! positivity at the end of a crappy day! It's some serious progress. So, then I did what I always do when something personal that is no one else's business crosses my mind. I posted it on Facebook!

And that's when the night REALLY turned around. It sparked the most hilarious facebook conversation I think I've ever had. I mean... hilarious. In fact, for the sake of documenting the moment, and because Tan doesn't have facebook, I've made screenshots and shall forever preserve the humor right here!

The conversation lead to the following status updates:

I guess the moral of my story is: I'm so thankful for family, including Annie. (she counts!) Even on the worst of days, when everything else is going wrong, family is there to either kick me into gear, or make me laugh: whichever is more necessary at the time. I cherish good friendships, I do, and the one(s) involved in tonight's mishaps are particularly special to me, and I'm not discounting that... BUT, you can't count on anyone quite like family. Even if they are a little bit crazy.

But I still hate my doctor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What a Pain in the Butt

What a week!!
Monday I woke up with an achy tailbone, which I didn't give much thought, it happens somewhat frequently from a previous injury.
Tuesday It hurt all day and by evening I was pretty miserable but not too concerned really.
Wednesday morning I woke up early to a stab of sharp pain coming from just below my tailbone. Any time I moved it just felt worse and hurt more so I woke Jon up and asked him to take me to a doctor. I absolutely hate doctors and hospitals and all that they imply, and I generally refuse to go even when Jon thinks I ought to. Luckily, Jon had already looked up doctors in our network and read reviews a few days prior, so we already had numbers to call. We went in and after a very brief look at my tailbone area, he referred me to a surgeon...and the next available appointment wasn't until next Wednesday! Well, that wasn't happening.
Thursday I woke up in more pain than I've ever been in my entire life. I could not move. No position gave relief at all and the lortab given to me was not giving Any results. I called Jon, who was at work at the time, and begged him to take me to the emergency room before I totally lost my mind. You know that moment when you become temporarily overwhelmed with pain from a 'dead arm'... Well it was like that only it didn't end. Jon got ahold of the surgeon office that I was supposed to see, and they agreed to see me that day. Grandpa came to my house and he and Jon gave me a priesthood blessing and then Jon took me in.
I felt like a total idiot as I stood at the desk trying not to sob. Jon had to fill out all the paperwork, my hands were trembling too much from the pain. My doctor was a complete arrogant jerk. He was mocking a gay patient of his to me, and seemed quite amused at my pain. Jon didn't like him either, which says something. He would not do surgery that day because I had ONE BITE of cheese to take medicine with and made me wait until morning.
Thursday was a very long day. I could not move by myself at all, I had to have constant help. And there way no way to choke back the sobs of pain that came every couple minutes with any movement. Even on Percocet the pain was overwhelming.
Friday morning I was not allowed to take Percocet or lortab, or drink anything, including water. I was miserable and dehydrated when we arrived at the hospital. After waiting around for far too long, they prepped me for surgery. The male nurse who prepped me did not numb my wrist and totally failed at getting the IV in, so another doctor had to come do t. He got it after the first attempt, and numbed me, too!!!
I'm home from surgery now. I have an open hole, about the size of a golf ball at the end of my tailbone that has to be cleaned and packed twice a day for eight weeks. A home help nurse will be by to do it in a half hour and honestly, I'm scared out of my mind. Otherwise, I'm out of work completely for 2 weeks, (they said 4 but I just don't see that happening...) and have to rely on help getting around for the time being. That's the worst part. Well, and boarding some of the dogs because I'm literally incapable of taking care of them this week.
I'm so blessed to have such an amazing husband who has been so helpful. I'm sure helping your get on and off the toilet isn't the most fun thing ever, but he's been a good sport. My mom and sister have been more than helpful too. I love my family. I'm so glad we have such amazing staff at Ruff House who have all stepped up to cover shifts for me this past week, and who I know will keep things running smoothly while I'm out.

So what was wrong in the first place? A coccyx cyst that got infected. Gross, and painful.
I've gotta go mentally prepare myself for this nurse now... I've been dreading it all day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just One More.....DOG

Ten bucks says you are reading this because you saw the title and thought, "oh no they didn't!!"
Relax, its just a cute poem a friend of mine came across and posted on a forum.

One Dog Is No Trouble And Two Are So Funny The Third One Is Easy, The Fourth One's A Honey

... The Fifth Is Delightful, The Sixth One's A Breeze You Find You Can Live With A Housefly With Ease

So How 'Bout Another? Would You Really Dare? They're Really Quite Easy, But Oh Lord, The Hair!

With Dogs On The Sofa And Dogs On The Bed And Crates In The Kitchen Its No Bother You Said

They're Really No Trouble, Their Manners Are Great What's Just One More Dane And One More Little Crate?

The Sofa Is Hairy, The Windows Are Crusty The Floor Is All Footprints, The Furniture's Dusty

The Housekeeping suffers But What Do You Care? Who Minds A Few Nose prints And A Little More Hair?

So Let's Keep A Puppy, You Can Always Find Room And A Little More Time For The Dust Cloth And Broom

There's Hardly A Limit To The Dogs You Can Add The Thought Of A Cutback Sure Makes You Feel Sad

Each One Is Special, So Useful, So Funny The Food Bill Grows Larger, You Owe The Vet Money

Your Folks Never Visit, Few Friends Come To Stay Except Other Dog Folks Who Live The Same Way

Your Lawn Has Now Died and your Shrubs Are Dead Too Your Weekends Are Busy, Your Off With Your Crew

There's Dog Food And Vitamins, Training And Shots And Entries And Travel And Motels Which Cost Lots

Is It Worth It You Wonder? Are You Caught In A Trap? Then That Favorite Comes Up And Climbs In Your Lap

His Look Says You're Special And You Know That You Will Keep All The Critters In Spite Of The Bill

Some Just For Showing And Some Just To Breed And Some Just For Loving, They All Fill A Need

Winter Is A Hassle But The Dogs Love It True And They Must Have Their Walks Tho' You Are Numb And Blue

Late Evening Is Awful, You Scream And You Shout At The Dogs On The Sofa Who Refuse To Go Out

The Dogs And The Dog Shows, The Travel, The Thrills The Work And The Worry, The Pressure, The Bills

The Whole Thing Seems Worth It, The Dogs Are Your Life They're Charming And Funny And Offset The Strife

Your Lifestyle Has Changed, Things Just Won't Be The Same Yes Those Dogs Are Addictive And So's The Dog Game

-author unknown

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Anti-Breeder

I’m fairly involved in internet forums. I lurk several, post on a couple, and am active almost daily on one. Ranging from parenting to fertility, to dogs… it’s just nice to be able to converse with like-minded people.  On any forum, there are “hot topics” that without a doubt will get heated.
You know how they go, someone posts a question/ opinion that everyone knows is a huge can of worms, generally followed by a few posts something to the effect of “Here we go again!” or “this will be good….” And without fail, someone will post the little popcorn smiley. You know, that little guy that is a simple unspoken "I'm just going to sit here and watch this one unfold."
Breeding ethics are absolutely one of those topics. It's also one of those topics that I have incredibly strong educated opinions on. Other people do too. Most of them are wrong. W-R-O-N-G. Wrong. And when these topics come up, out crawl the anti-breeders....

"Breeders are to blame for the pet overpopulation epidemic!"
This is annoying. Mostly because it's wrong. The overpopulation epidemic is because of stupid people, now granted some breeders ARE stupid people. The first problem is that dogs are over bred. Puppy mills all over the place churn out hundreds and hundreds of puppies per year, which the peddle off on various online websites, or sell to pet stores. (we will get to that topic soon. Actually, it might need its own post...) Also, idiot pet owners will throw two dogs together, often times of different breeds, without health testing, genetic history for the sole purpose of making money on them. They generally have no idea how to properly care for a pregnant bitch, whelp a litter, or the proper care of a litter of newborns. The puppies are often times unvaccinated, full or worms, or plagued with skin issues like mange, and sold far too young. But, what makes these kinds of operations so "successful" in the area of money? There's a market for it. Hundreds of uneducated people BUY these dogs. Almost always sight-unseen, without seeing the parents, without asking or being asked many (if any) questions. AND without even thinking about the most important thing: "Are the parents health tested?" Sometimes these puppy buyers mean well, and these kinds of operations have gotten really good at putting on a fantastic front and playing on the general public's lack of knowledge, and the first one with cash takes the puppy and the communication and contact ends there. 
GOOD breeders health test. They put thought into their breedings. They don't produce a bajillion litters per year. Not every single good breeder is on the same page, but they educate themselves, their buyers, and they care. More importantly, they care where their puppies end up. They ask you questions, they expect you to ask them questions, and they'll always take a puppy back before it ever ends up in a shelter.
If people would EDUCATE THEMSELVES more on pet ownership, and what breed of dog is right for them, and knew what to look for in a breeder, all the shady operations that peddle puppies off with only their wallets in mind would loose their market. The answer isn't in stopping breeding, it's in being educated and knowing exactly WHAT kinds of ethics and practices you're supporting when you hand someone cash in exchange for a new pet. 

"All breeding should stop until there are no more dogs in shelters"

This is dumb. Mostly because it's wrong. Too many years, and existing dogs will be past their breeding prime, when it's healthiest and most ethical to allow reproduction. That means no more purebred dogs. That's really freaking dumb.

"Purebred dogs don't matter, all dogs are the same and having different breeds is damaging to dogs as a whole."

This is dumb. Mostly because it's wrong. Purebred dogs exist for a reason, and it's important. While it's true most dogs are purchased as companion only, there are hundreds of thousands of animals that do important jobs every single day. Hunting. Police work. Search and Rescue. Tracking. Weight Pulling. Therapy. Guide. And of course there's the various sporting activities that many pet owners enjoy doing with their dogs. Agility. Flyball. Obedience. Dock Diving. Agility. Rally-O. Take all of those activities away (which would be a tragedy to begin with) and take into account that everyone's lifestyles are different and dogs are simply NOT a one-size-fits-all commodity. A Boxer, for example, needs extensive exercise or they can become depressed, destructive, and an overall menace, but in the right home that fits their needs are amazing dogs. Border Collies are brilliantly intelligent, and if need mental stimulation to be mentally sound. Every breed is different, and every family, home, and lifestyle is a little bit different. That's not a mistake. The right dog should fit your family like a glove and provide many years of happiness. The wrong dog will make your life Hell. Many people obtain animals that are entirely wrong for their lifestyle, which ultimately ends up in necessary surrender of the animal, thus perpetuating the overcrowding issue in shelters.  This goes back to why GOOD breeders make sure the homes in which their puppies go to are educated on the breed and it's requirements, and that they understand what owning the breed entails, rather than sending off a pup to the highest bidder. 

"There should be strict laws and hefty licensing fees implemented for all breeders!"

This is dumb. Mostly because it's wrong. (notice a trend?) SO far, there have been several different things proposed that are supposed to put more restraints on breeders, and deter every Tom, Dick, and Harry from shacking up their two dogs to make a buck. They include things like:
Licensing Fees
Puppy Taxes
Specifications on how large kennels must be. 
This sounds great in theory, right? Wrong. 
While these things might alleviate situations that are truly bad, they also make it impossible for small "hobby" breeders (I use this term for lack of a better one) that are not making a ton of money.
For one, insane licensing fees and permits are not going to be doable for small time breeders who aren't in fact doing it for money, because they won't be able to afford to. While I can strongly agree that if someone is breeding to make a living, they are doing it wrong because it is most certainly a labor of love, they also shouldn't have to go into extreme debt just to preserve whatever their breed of passion is. GOOD breeders don't have money to pay for such things, unless they happen to be really wealthy outside of breeding. Like they're married to a rocket scientist or something. Same logic applies to puppy taxes. Kennel specifications only promote kennel-type living in the first place, and for good breeders, their dogs don't live in cages in the first place, so why have them? 
But the big operations? Oh they can fork over thousands in fees, permits, etc. and still line their pockets in cash. It doesn't stop them.
The point is that there is yet to be anything proposed that works in favor of ethical breeders, and against millers. Sad, but true. 

Many other things are said on online forums and otherwise that are simply the product of the anti-breeder. I am a strong advocate of animal rescue, and adopting out of shelters, but the reality is that's just not the right choice for every family and not every pet owner is up to the challenge of taking on a total wild card dog. At least when you buy from an ethical, good breeder you for the most part know what you're getting into, and when issues arise, you have breeder support: someone who knows what they're doing, who knows the breed, and can help you. Your relationship with your breeder shouldn't have to end at the time of sale. 

If you want to know where your pet came from...
If you want the comfort of health tested parents....
If you want predictability from your new pet....
If you want to have breeder support when questions arise....
If you know what you're looking for in a pet....
Please, educate yourself and seek out an ethical breeder. If some of these things are negotiable for you, look at rescues and shelters where there are hundreds of awesome animals looking for forever homes. 

But people, there is never, EVER, a reason to purchase from or support the practice of puppy mills through buying from pet stores, or money-greedy breeders perpetuating the overpopulation problem. You are truly doing a disservice to the animals when you do, and setting yourself up for many vet bills later. 

Because when you hand over that money, and take home a warm, cuddly, happy new puppy, you are supporting: