Category Archives: Food

It’s All About Perspective

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MTHFR.  No, I’m not trying to curse, although I’ll admit that mother ****er has slipped from my mouth on more than one occasion.

MTHFR, unheard of by me until a week and a half ago now takes on a new, unpronouncable meaning:  Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.  I have it.

At the end of July Dave and I found out we were pregnant again.  After having our first two pregnancies end in miscarriage earlier this year, we chose to keep this one relatively quiet.  Weeks of all-day morning sickness passed, and in mid-August we were able to see a very small baby at our first ultrasound.  We were elated!  This was more than we had ever seen with the other two, and although they couldn’t hear the heartbeat (the technician said it was too early) we had scheduled another ultrasound for two weeks later.

Unfortunately, God had other plans for us again.  Within a week of the ultrasound I started spotting, and on September 4, we had our third miscarriage at 12 weeks.

Dave and I were exhausted.  We are blessed to each already have children whom we love with everything we’ve got.  With that said, however, we would love to have a child together, a child who can bask in our love and enjoy a life where mom and dad love each other and will share the rest of their lives with each other.  No split custody, no hard decisions to make on holidays, no absentee parent.  We decided to give our emotions and my body a break and cease trying for a bit, however before my doctor would put me on birth control he wanted to run blood tests to see if there was a root cause for the miscarriages.

So, three weeks ago I had 24 vials of blood taken.  24.  And the results came in positive except for one test which showed I have the MTHFR gene mutation.  I looked it up on the internet (and honestly still don’t totally understand what I’m reading), and basically it means that my body isn’t absorbing folate.  With folic acid so crucially important to a developing fetus, this isn’t good.

This Monday Dave and I went to my hematologist appointment.  For me especially, the time waiting in the reception area shared by oncology put everything in perspective.  Here we were, fretting over why we couldn’t keep a pregnancy, and we were surrounded by patients in all stages of cancer treatment.  Bandanas covered their heads, sores  were hidden by bandages, and the wear and tear of chemo was written all over so many of their faces.  I felt suddenly…  Fortunate…

While we may not be getting what we want, Dave and I aren’t being dealt what we don’t want.  We’re healthy.  Our children are healthy.  We’ve got a roof over our heads, food in our cabinets, and a job to pay the bills.  Dave’s college education is very successfully underway and courtesy of the U.S. military/government, and our cars are running.

And our house is full of love.  Lots of love.

So while I may want to have a child with Dave, I don’t need anything.  I am blessed with everything I need to live a happy, peaceful life.  For that I must remember to thank God each and every day.  He will give us what we need, when the time is right.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” ~Psalm 37:7

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Are We in the 47 Percent?

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I normally ignore politics.  I followed the Obama campaign four years ago because I thought he would be good for America, but ever since then, my following has been just about non-existant.  Well, until the last couple weeks that is.

Dave and I have been working on a couple (BIG) projects and in effort to get our name out I’ve been working on developing a presence in social media.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, we’re on them all.  Twitter has been my primary concentration, however, because I’m realizing that in order to build a presence over there, you have to be consistently active.  As such, Twitter has become my news source.

Although not always the most reliable source for the latest news story, I was looking through the posts of those I follow when the video of Romney and his 47 Percent leaked.  Having just come back from laughing my butt off when hearing his interpretation of “middle class” income, my jaw dropped.  I HAD to watch the video.

In case you missed it, you can either click above or read what he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Again, my jaw dropped.

When I left my ex-husband, I was unemployed.  Feeling it was necessary to get my sons and I into a safer environment, I looked to the state for public assistance.  Did I expect help?  No.  But I was EXTREMELY appreciative when I received it.

In order to qualify for Ohio’s Cash Assistance program, I needed to be actively looking for a job or be employed.  Let me preface this by saying that it was not my choice to be unemployed.  I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s in interior architecture.  I am an artist, or at least I would like to believe I am.  Two years prior to leaving my ex I lost my job.  While I tried to secure another job in the industry, finding an interior design job in the midwest was, and still is, like finding a needle in a haystack.  I applied at gas stations, fast food restaurants and local stores.  For TWO years I applied to all of these places just so I could contribute to my household.  The response I got was always somewhere along the line of, “You’re overqualified,” or “We don’t want to put time into training you when you’re just going to move on to something better.”

Finding a job after moving out turned out to be a whole lot of luck.  I was in the right place at the right time with the right person, when I secured my first job in more than two years.  But I didn’t get a job because somebody was telling me to.  I was doing it because that’s what I needed to do for the boys and I.  I didn’t believe anybody owed my a job.  I simply hoped somebody would give me a chance.

Every Friday morning, recipients of the cash assistance program were required (I’m not receiving the assistance anymore so I don’t know if it’s still the same) to attend an open interview session at our local job office.  Upon hearing about this I was excited.  I thought it would be my chance to get a job.  I was wrong.  Walking into the office, I was visably one of the very few attendees who cared about getting a job and getting off the program.  First, I had bathed.  My hair and teeth were brushed.  And I had worn a suit.  Looking around, I was surrounded by unkempt people wearing pajamas and sweat pants who looked as though they hadn’t showered all week.  I was flabbergasted.

But it got worse.  The employers, knowing this is how people were approaching the mandatory open interviews, had stopped attending.  There was ONE employer there, a gas station, and they were looking for somebody to work third shift.  As badly as I needed a job, I couldn’t work third shift with the boys.

I’m digressing, so I’ll get back to my point…

I work full-time now and Dave is in college full-time.  The cash assistance and food stamps are long expired, and yes, we struggle.  But no, we don’t believe the government “owes” us.  I don’t EXPECT them to give me housing, healthcare and education.  I didn’t even apply for housing assistance when I left my ex.  What I do expect, however, is that all Americans be given the same opportunities for equal care.

I have been employed by the same company for the last 17 months and have been a great employee.  I get my job done and don’t create drama at the office.  I get paid every week and pay for health insurance out of my paycheck.  I repeat, I pay for health insurance.  With that said, paying for health insurance doesn’t provide me with the same benefits as somebody receiving public assistance.  Example: Dave and I found out we miscarried earlier this year and I had a D&C shortly thereafter.  A month later the bill came in the mail.  We owed $8500.  Out of the $9000 bill, our insurance had covered approximately $500.  Does this sound right to you?

When I had the boys 7 and 10 years ago, the entire pre- and post- natal bills for each boy equaled $500.  This included monthly-turned-weekly check-ups as well as delivery and the hospital stay.  For the youngest, it also included an extra week in the hospital for me when he tried to come two months early.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, Dave and I had two more (miscarriages).  During the third pregnancy, I found out that women who met specific (low) income guidelines could apply for pregnancy health care through the state.  While I didn’t want to apply, I did.  With a bill of $8500 from an out-patient procedure, it scared us to think what the labor and delivery would cost.  Would we be shelling out the cost of a full-year college tuition to welcome this miracle into our life?  Bah!  When I started miscarrying the third time, however, the fear of cost played into my health decisions.  I went through three days of excrutiating pain and dizziness before finally going to the ER.  That bill has yet to come, and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

I can’t say who I’m going to vote for, however I can say that I don’t like being generalized.  Dave and I DO take personal accountability and responsibility for our lives.  Can we always pay the bills we have?  No.  But we’re not applying for assistance we don’t need.

School Age Kids and Saturday Mornings

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The last two years has been a bit of an adjustment for me.  Even outside of how my life changed marriage wise (separated, divorced and then re-married), and career wise, I didn’t expect so many other changes and adjustments.  Most specifically, I’m talking about Saturday mornings.

When I had my boys, I quickly realized that sleeping in was a thing of the past.  Six a.m. breast feeding sessions turned into 7 a.m. rattlings on the crib, and later one or both of them climbing into bed with me.  As they got older, they learned to get up and turn on the T.V. and fix themself a bowl of cereal.  With the hope of one of Dave’s all-star breakfasts, however, it’s hit-or-miss as to whether or not they will take the cereal or knock on our door until we wake up, in hopes of french toast or omelettes.  Yea, our Breakfasts with the Beatles are THAT good.

In the past year we have had the biggest change to our Saturday mornings.  This one is probably the hardest to adjust to…  Sports.  While waking up and stumbling to the kitchen to get coffee and relax on a Saturday morning is one thing, having to set the alarm to make sure we’re at the field early enough is an entirely different playing field.

Our Saturday mornings have turned into another workday morning.

Instead of asking, “Do you have your shoes, homework and lunch?” I find myself repeatedly asking, “Where are your shinguards, uniform and cleats?”  It’s exhausting!  While I appreciate the fact that our Saturdays are ours after the games are over, I know I’m not alone once we get to the field.  Sitting in our lawn chairs, we’re surrounded by parents who look beat up.  Our massive thermoses filled with coffee should have an IV into our bloodstream, and as our kids sweat it out on the field, we struggle to stay warm on the sidelines.  With our pale faces and bags under our eyes, we look like a sad group that’s been up all night drinking rather than a segment of the population that could just use a nap.  Or a vacation.

So here I am at 9:03 Saturday morning.  My coffee is next to me on the desk and the air is cold thanks to a night of rain and thunderstorms.  But the game is still on.  And I’ll be on the soccer field sidelines in less than an hour, cheering Thing 2 on and hoping for a win.  However when the game is finished, the day belongs to the parents (she says with a sinister laugh).  There’s laundry to be done, a sink full of dishes and trash to take out.  Well…  OK.  Maybe Saturday afternoons don’t belong to the parents either.  Maybe they belong to all the chores and tasks that weren’t done during the week.

Here’s hope for Sunday.

Un-Perfect Parent

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Before I start criticizing other parents, I have to share…  I’m not a perfect parent.

I…

  • Let the occasional cuss word slip in front of the boys
  • Play Monopoly with Thing 2 on my Kindle just so I don’t need to pick up the mess

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Don’t always serve fruits or vegetables with dinner
  • Will tell the boys they can play on the PS3 if they let us sleep longer
  • Have overflowing laundry baskets waiting to be taken care of

    Rated R

  • Let the boys watch rated-R and scary movies

Hide and Go Seek
  • Will play Hide-and-Go-Seek with the boys, then take a little longer to find them just for a few extra minutes of quiet
  • Am a push-over and will let them have second desserts

With all this said, however, I/we support our children in Every.Single.Way.Possible.

Thing 2 likes to ask me, “Mommy, what should I be when I grow up?”  My only response, thanks to my parents, is “Whatever you want as long as you are happy and it’s legal.”

Seriously.  How can I/we NOT support our children and their dreams and ambitions?  When it comes time for them to graduate high school (attending/graduating high school is NOT a question, unless they become a superstar before then, at which point private tutors will be hired), I can not deny that yes, I will push them in the direction of college.  However…  If college is not for them, that is their decision, not mine/ours.

Just recently I have met a really great young lady, in her very early 20’s, who is in college out West.  During the course of conversation, it came out that her parents don’t want her to go to college, so they are making it as difficult as possible for her to go.  For example, they purposely turn in the FAFSA forms late so she doesn’t qualify for aid and can’t get student loans.  Yes, I’m serious.  And because she’s not yet 23 she can’t file independently.  I want to drive 1,000 miles and smack them.

I don’t care if you have money to put your kids though college.  If any of ours were heading off to college next month they would be on their own (financially).  We could/would send them monthly allowance, but beyond that, our assistance would be co-signing on student loans.  But we would do that.  Without a doubt, we would do that.

Between Dave and I, our oldest is about to be 13.  This gives us 5 years to prepare for what she wants to do post-high school.  In the meantime, we have 8 years and 12 years before Things 1 & 2 will be old enough, and that many years to have any say in their lives.  We can control our kids’ curfew when they’re old enough to go out without us, have a say in whether or not they can drive, and try to have a say in who they date (but I only plan on having a say in that if the age difference could get either of them in trouble).  Beyond that it’s our time to support and nurture them.

In the time that has passed since I left Turtle (the name we have given the boys’ dad), I have been amazed by the progress our little family has made.  With Dave’s help, the boys have become much more responsible, respectable young men.  Rather than have to think about what we can’t do because of their bad behavior, we now look forward to what we CAN do as a family.  It’s all a matter of respect, both given and received between the four of us, and we’re a happy, healthy family unit because of it.

Family Picture