6.22.2008

Potential found

Even though the well and septic discoveries will set us back a bit, we still accomplished a lot this weekend. We had the pea gravel delivered for Lexi's playset and we rented a tractor to move the pea gravel and level the yard.
Allen had to take down most of the wire fencing around the yard so we could get in with the tractor. Then, he brought over the pea gravel. We still had to do lots of shoveling and raking to get it done, but having the bucket sure shaved off a lot of time shlepping with a wheelbarrow.
He then worked the backyard a bit with the tractor and box blade. Since I have some experience with running a tractor, I could help with this job. I finished the yard and did the arena. The place looks so much better. We are pleased with the progress, but really look forward to having the next two weeks off from yard work.



Before

Before


After

Allen took a short panoramic video of the yard. We can finally see the potential!

video


6.21.2008

Oh Well


So, we're no little Yellowstone here. After putting together the pump, Allen found that there is no water in our well. That's right folks, it don't work. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense since it blew a good amount of water all day while clearing, and we clearly struck the water table. However, who knows if we are in the middle of a rock or something else at our 40 ft. mark. The solution? We are going to try and sledge it down a bit more and see if we can get some liquid. If that doesn't work, we have to pull the whole thing out and try again. It's pretty depressing.

We also just found out that the old septic tank was not properly filled for permanent storage. The old septic is in the middle of our lawn, about 6 inches below the surface and pretty big so we wanted to remove the top so the lawn would grow. When the area went to city sewer, all septic tanks were to have been filled with sand. If that had been done, removing the top would leave us with sand we can put soil over and it won't ruin that patch of grass. When Allen broke out a piece of the top to see what was inside, he found liquid and lots of it. Totally illegal. Hopefully, we'll get the inspector who signed off on the work to get a crew to come out and make it right. So, before we can move forward with our landscape plans, we now have to put the well in again and take care of this septic issue.

Allen and I are a little frustrated and feel like it's always one thing after another around here. Obviously, he's done more of the work outside than I have as I'm in charge of Lexi, but we both have been working our tails in our own ways to make all of this possible. We've sacrificed a lot of fun time, worked in rain, snow and wind, worked in 100 degree heat, run from activity to activity to maximize our time in the yard only to have our efforts thwarted so regularly. Since we've always had fixer uppers, we're used to planning for some delays and unexpected finds. However, from a totally crooked barn, to stalls that had to be put together and taken apart and then put together again, to digging up dead animals, to finding out our backyard is literally full of crap we've not had the easiest project here. We'll be glad when we can finally look outside and see a beautiful sea of green grass.

6.20.2008

Well, Well, Well

Today Allen and our friend, Casey, put in a new 40 ft. irrigation well. Our old one was dead and in Bosque Farms you can't use city water to irrigate, run sprinklers, etc. so we needed a new one to move forward with our landscaping plans. The estimate to have someone come out and put one in was $1700. Allen got to talking to our friends and they said we could do it ourselves. The cost: $700. They said, dig a hole, get some scaffolding, and start pounding with a sledge. They said they would get 1/8" of progress with each pound. That's a lot of pounding.

Another friend has a family business that rents large equipment. They have a pneumatic pounder and a compressor deal that will do the work for you. Casey came over and dug a 5 foot deep hole with the post hole digger while Allen got the stuff from Volvo rents. Our water table is 5'4" so it didn't take much to get where we needed to be. We threaded all of the pipes and went to work...


We've got water!



Threading the second length of pipe.

video

That, my friends, is how to drop a well!


So, I took video in the wrong orientation. I wanted to get everything in the picture. You can still see everything, but it's sideways, as I'm sure you've noticed. That was real time of how long it took us to pound the first 20 ft. pipe. We put in another 20ft. after that which took about twice as long so about 3 minutes. We were really glad we weren't out there with a sledge in our hands all day long.

After you sink the pipe, you have to blow out the sand and water that builds up during the process so you don't kill your pump. We put a compressor hose down in there and will let it blow out for about 8 hours. The first time you put some air down there, though, you get a little geyser of sand and water. (If you pause the music you can hear the stuff lots better on the video.)

video

Old Faithful? We hope so!

6.19.2008

Food

You know what one thing I absolutely dread doing daily? Making food for myself. Every day, I avoid trying to figure out what I want to eat. There are two reasons for this. The first being that I like variety and planning and shopping takes too much time. The second is I hate taking the time to make food. Not to mention, the clean up after. It's just another chore I'd love to take off of my list.

While I was working in CO, we had a chef for both the ranch and outfitters station I worked for. We got up at 6 a.m on most days sometimes as early as 3 a.m. on hunting days, wrangled and saddled 20 horses or, during hunting season, 40 mules, every day. After getting the livestock ready and packed, we ran in to eat. It was different every day and ready when we hit the door. We did the dishes every night but were in such a hurry in the morning to out to get our own horses ready, pack lunches for guests, get waters ready and help the guests or hunters get on their horses we usually got off the hook. Lunch was usually a bag lunch on the trail (we made those for the guests and ourselves after breakfast and before heading out). Dinner? Sometimes it was at 11 p.m. after the last elk came in from the farthest camp. We took care of the animals and the crew, hung the meat and then got to eat. Did I have to think about food? No. I walked in the door and ate something awesome almost every night. At the guest ranch, the cook was also the manager (who had a one year old the first year - I still don't know how she managed it all since she made at least 3 square meals a day for up to 30 people at a time) and my friend so she would make special stuff when I was too picky to enjoy the main menu. I got totally spoiled and loved it!

I wish I could hire a chef. I loathe planning the menu, buying the food and trying to be creative with meals. After making sure everyone else has a good meal in front of them, I hardly care about eating myself. So, I grab the fastest which is usually least healthy thing I can find, just to stop my stomach from screaming at me. I wish I could have the necessary vitamins and stuff via I.V. and skip the whole worrying about eating thing at all. Ugh.

6.17.2008

Jumping and B, C, Q!

Lexi's newest talent is jumping. She tries so very hard, but just hasn't pulled it all together yet. She has started jumping off of things such as laundry baskets, pillows, the couch and Allen. She doesn't ever land on her feet. After she hits the ground, she yells "Carsh!" That means Crash! She'll also say, "Bonk! Hed!" She doesn't hit her head, but it's the only part she ever mentions. I took a video of her jumping (we use the term loosely) down the hallway. (Please ignore the heaving breathing; I must have channeled Darth Vader. How embarrassing! In my own defense, I was trying not to laugh out loud.)

video

We're learning A,B,C's also. She will sing the first 3 letters and then try and mouth the rest of the song. She usually says, "Want B, C, R? or B, C, Q?!" or B, C, followed by some random letter way down the line when she wants to practice. We spend lots of time on the alphabet right now.

If Lexi is having issues going number 2, or poot, she'll ask for help. I usually hear, "Poot! Need help!" This means she is going to lay down, grab her knees and start pumping her legs while grunting and making audible pushing noises. She then says, "It's stuck!" Classic. May be a TMI moment, but that is our life right now. I never thought I would care so much about poop. Parenthood brings us all to new heights, doesn't it?

6.11.2008

A New Soul

Where do I begin? Let's take a trip down memory lane. It's January 2007. I get this thought, "You (not I) should be trying to have another baby." Elvis creeps into my mind: Return to senda, address unknown! A few weeks later, "You should be trying to have another baby." Hmmm. Sorry, but it looks like there's no forwarding address for this one.

Now, it's March. I'm still getting the, "You should..." and haven't said a thing to anyone. Especially Allen. No way man. Lexi's just a year old, I'm just starting to be a sort-of-human again, my business is thriving and well, just NO WAY! Sine I keep getting the information I finally say something to Allen. I'm sure he's devastated by the announcement as "trying" again becomes a focus in our relationship.

Late July, I'm feeling pretty yucky and am late. I wait a week and am still missing my friend. So, I test and surprise! we're pregnant. Because we had just changed health insurance, I was scheduled for a regular 10 (ended up being 12 though) week appointment. I figured we had had one, I had been given the spiritual go ahead, and all would be well so I didn't push it. However, while in CA around 8 weeks, I just have "that feeling" that all is not normal. But, with our history a little paranoia is to be expected and I kind of brush it off.

Four weeks later, we go in. I already know what the outcome is going to be. They do the ultrasound and our baby has no heartbeat. The pregnancy stopped being viable at 8 weeks. At this point, as callous as it sounds, I'm more concerned about just getting through it than mourning the potential life we've lost. So, we go ahead and do all that is necessary (have I mentioned we had my stepdad in town to try and show him the cool places in New Mexico? That was a total bust as we ended up in the ER two days later and I was in bed on meds the whole weekend). But, four months later, I'm still having (sorry for the detail) bleeding and have been every day since September. After hemorrhaging and spending the night in the ER, they decide to finally do surgery (this was a week after we moved into our new home). Thankfully, all was set to rights after the surgery.

Allen and I had a really rough winter with the miscarriage, move, and life in general. So, it's now March 2008 and we're finally making some headway. I'm feeling really good physically (a month after the surgery I had that bad fall from the horse), spiritually, hopeful in my marriage and got lots of horses scheduled for the spring and summer.

I'm eagerly awaiting starting my new birth control as I had a really bad reaction to another one I was trying. We both know we're not ready to have another baby or deal with the impact of another miscarriage. We just want to coast for a while. March rolls by and it's April. April Fools Day, no less. Again, I'm late. Can't be. I timed this out and there is no way. Allen and I are in no place to add the stress of another baby. We've just started really making it all work again. I've got plans. So, I wait. And wait. Because I want to start the pill and move on, I take a test. You guessed it.

I start crying. Not only for all of the reasons I listed above, but how am I going to handle another loss and just on the heels of the other one? I call the doctor immediately and they schedule an ultrasound for the next day. My mom arrived that day for her week long trip and time just about stopped as we waited for the appointment. We get in there and NOTHING. No pregnancy. Doctor says I must have a false positive, but sends me for blood work to verify. I asked, "What about a very early pregnancy - like 2-3 weeks?" Well, they say, it would be impossible to see anything so that is possible, but very unlikely since pee tests don't see a pregnancy until later than that.

They call me with blood work. Yes, you're pregnant. How pregnant? Well, 10,000 is the hormone number we look for to know we can see something. My number: 24. Hmmm. They tell us we're having yet another miscarriage. If timing wasn't messed up, I wouldn't have tested at all and like many pregnancies, would have terminated on it's own before I even knew. Did I mention I've been bleeding since the ultrasound? They say, yeah, you're miscarrying. Let's watch it. Since your body didn't do well with the last miscarriage, we want to make sure this one goes away completely. Take another test in 2 days.

At this point, I just want to know which way it's going to go. Bleeding tells me that I'll lose the pregnancy, and I'm prepared for that, I just want to know! So, I take the test. The numbers have more than doubled which indicates the pregnancy is progressing. They ask me to come back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound. They put me on progesterone (not the oral kind - a real treat), metformin, baby aspirin and pre-natals.

Two weeks go by, I get in there and they take a peek. It's supposed to be five weeks along. Mind you, we've already known for 3 weeks - the longest 3 weeks of my life. Bleeding every day, also. They take a peek and there is a tiny, little sac. They say, "Way too early for heartbeat so come back in 2 more weeks and we'll see."

The bleeding continues. We're now at 7 weeks. We go for the ultrasound. The ultrasound tech is the same one to find the non-viable pregnancy last time, and did both the 3 and 5 week ultrasounds we had. She knows all of us by name, now. She starts waving her hands, crying and exclaims, "I see a heartbeat! I see a heartbeat!" Of course, Allen and I choke up too and everyone in there is crying (but Lexi who has spotted a duck and is yelling, "Guck!Guck!")

But, with our history (we have a 66% failure rate), there is still a chance we'll miscarry. Doctor wants us back at week 14 for another ultrasound. Pelvic rest is the instruction since we've been bleeding for over a month. We schedule a regular OB visit for week 10. Thankfully, after this last ultrasound, the bleeding stops.

In the mean time, we decide not to tell anyone. I'm pretty sick. Well let's just say, every time I'm vertical I'm in the bathroom. So, I take up lying to all of those who ask how I am and lay off a little on the blogging ('cause what am I going to say? I'm preoccupied by the pregnancy, sick, and worried and can't say anything to anyone), miss church, mutual, some work and just try to do what is absolutely necessary. People are wondering why I'm not taking clients and missing in action so often, but we are too scared to say anything. So, I just look like total flake.

Week 10 comes and I see the doctor. I've lost 20 lbs! Allen says I pick the hardest diet plan around, but I really needed to drop the weight so I'm happy. Doc asks all the normal questions. Then we get to the ever dreaded heartbeat time. He says, "You know, it's still kind of early to get the heartbeat on Doppler." Yeah, I know. If he doesn't find a heartbeat, early or not, I'm gonna freak out and demand an ultrasound right then. So, he decides to forgo the whole thing. He checks everything out. It's a boy, he predicts, I'll be able to have a VBAC (awesome!) and everything is great. Be optimistic and we'll see you in 3 weeks for the ultrasound.

I'm getting more sick, which is a good sign (although, I've been sick with every one regardless of viability). We pass the 1st trimester threshold and look forward to our next ultrasound.

Today was our ultrasound. The baby is growing perfectly. We saw arms, legs, a spine, kicking, jumping and him/her opening and closing the mouth. The heartbeat is strong and all seems well. I have a regular OB appointment next Wednesday. We have the normal 20 week ultrasound next month and should be able to see the gender and check for all the stuff they do. (Heck ya we're going to find out!)

Our due date is December 15th. Of course, since conception didn't occur at what would have been my normal ovulation dates, we're not for sure what the due date really is. Now, some people would prefer not to have a Christmas baby, but I contend that beggars can't be choosers. And since it was virtually physically impossible for this baby to have been conceived when it was, I'm pretty sure there's a bigger influence at work here than just me and Allen.

It only seems fitting that we were consciously trying NOT to get pregnant only to find out on April Fools Day that we were. It's been the longest 11-12 weeks of my life. It's been hard to go through the gamut of emotions that come with our pregnancies and not have any release since we've been so guarded and haven't shared the news. We've been on pins and needles. We try to keep doing the normal stuff but it's always in the back of our minds, "Will this one last?" We are so grateful to be able to add one more person to our family. Below are the two pictures we've gotten. They are hard to see, but if you're really interested, you can click on the pic and will enlarge them. The baby looks like a little alien - a huge head, big eyes, and a little body all squished in there. But, it's our little alien!

7 week ultrasound. You can see a small white spot on the bottom of the big liquid space with a little white line connecting it to the bigger stuff.


Our pics from today. The bottom picture is a little easier to see. The head is on the right, the body on the left. The very bright, white spot is the mouth area. The bright white spots on the body area are bones.

6.07.2008

Some of my favorites

Here are some of my favorite pics that I haven't posted:



This was the first day we got to bring her home. I remember thinking, "It took me 8 days to even get to hold this kid. I don't care what anyone says, she's sleeping on my chest as long as I want!" I got the best sleep this day.




Ok, so she does look like me some of the time.


But here, she definitely looks like Allen.



A cool spot we found with Gma and Gpa Riddle last year.

My mom got us this mailbox and we wanted to show her exactly what you can get in the mail with a behemoth like this!


Lexi's first time carving pumpkins.



The great babysitter!

What dog sits like this?

Our ferocious Doberman.


This is such a cute dress! I tried to get Lexi to say cheese. You can see how successful I was.

Taking it easy

This weekend was the most relaxed we've had since the middle of December. Allen had Friday off and dug a trench to expose the electrical lines to the grinder so that we could move our sewer lines today. That took all morning but we had the afternoon off. Lexi took a super long nap and Allen ran some errands. We ate a lazy dinner and played on the swing set.


The grinder in its original location.

This morning the contractor showed up just before 8 and started digging to move the sewer grinder. All of the homes in Bosque Farms have these things. When neighborhoods converted from septic to city sewage, they installed these grinder things. Each home owner chose where to put theirs. The brilliant owners of this home put it right in the middle of the back yard. Since we're putting in mow strip, lawn, walkways, etc., we don't want this crappy green thing sticking up for the duration of our time in this home. So, we hired a company to come out and move it 16' to the North. That way, our beautiful lawn will be crap free. The cost was $600, but worth every penny.


As we were working, one of the guys jumped down in the hole (about 5 feet deep) and started moving some dirt. The pile he was pulling from (above him) collapsed and buried him hip deep. He heard his knee pop and we started digging him out. Thankfully, it was just a sprain. We wrapped it with vet wrap (a horse doctoring wrap that works great) and he continued working. He said it wasn't the first time he got buried. He was in a much deeper hole some years back when the dirt caved in and buried him - it was more than 2 feet deep over his head! He was clinically dead and brought back by the EMT's and doctors! Woah. After that, I looked at him and asked, "Um, have you ever thought about retirement?!?"


New location. Next on the list? Dropping a new irrigation well. (Yeah, we're gonna pound it ourselves.)

After the guys left at noon, Lexi went down for a nap. Last night, she woke up at 2, crying. I gave her about 3 minutes (I hadn't yet fallen asleep) and then went in to check. I asked her, "What's the problem?" and if she was scared. She said yes, she had a bad dream. I asked her what it was about. A gog. A dog, hmmm. Was it Mia? Noooo. Was it Davis? Nooo. Allright, let's change your diaper. Milk, she asks? Ok. So, I get the milk and we rock for about 4 minutes. She looks at me and says, "Nigh? Nigh?" Ok. Momma's going to go nigh-nigh too. So, I put her down. By now it's 2:30 or so and I'm feeling tired enough to give sleep a try. At 2:45, just as I'm nodding off, I hear, "MOMMY!" and crying. I wait about 7 minutes, but she's still crying. So, I head back in there. We rock again and she starts to nod off on me. At about 3:10, I tell her that I need to go nigh-nigh, and that she needs to go nigh-nigh. Daddy? At Work? No, he's nigh-nigh (soundly snoring I might add). Ok, she says. So, I put her down and she is quiet. I finally fell asleep around 3:30. She woke up crying at 6:30. I'll tell ya - 3 hours is not enough sleep to qualify as any type of rest. Anyhow, when she went down this afternoon I thought - here's my chance! I laid down. Did sleep come? Heck no. Allen was passed out in the family room before I even made it into our bedroom. But, could I, on 3 hours of sleep manage to sneak an hour of recovery? No. Figures. I thought she may sleep a good 3 hours, but she only slept for 2 and then was up. Allen got up with her, but she whined and cried the whole time, and what mom can sleep through that? So I just got up.

We lazed around and ended up cleaning the sun room, swinging and watching the Belmont. (I still contend that Big Brown had a respiratory failure of some kind or an internal problem and that is what caused such a dramatic change in his ability to pull out in front for the last 1/3 of the race.) After that, our neighbors invited us over to swim. We had a really good time swimming. Lexi is learning how to kick her legs and will jump into our arms from the side of the pool. She counted to 10 today, also. Totally caught us by surprise.

Clearly thrilled by the on goings in the backyard. Every few minutes, she would say, "Bye, bye" to the guy driving the bucket.

She loves wearing these glasses. They are my old ones, but she wears them a lot. She wears them in the car, outside while playing and while watching Sesame Street.

6.04.2008

Playbeast

Finally. What a beast! Without an "adult helper" for Allen, the swing set took a few days and lots of time to complete, but it's done. Of course, Lexi loves it. It has 3 swings, a slide, a sandbox (there's no sand in there now, but it's on the bottom in the middle), a picnic table, canopied fort thing, and a "rock wall".

Looks simple, doesn't it?

We moved the inside outside and tried to keep Lexi occupied while I helped Allen on the swingset.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.