Archive | January, 2011

Can it really be TRUE????

29 Jan

My firefighter is most assuredly working hard downtown at Engine 2!  And I don’t bug him during the day unless someone is dying – then I would probably call E38 and have them relay the message for me.  😉  Instead I am basking in my own glory.  He will have to wait until after his nap tomorrow to enjoy the radiant glow I am currently emitting.

Drumroll, please………….


Now for some, this may be a, “eh, whatever” moment, but you must understand something.  With the exception of about a 6 month hiatus between potty training B and D joining our family, we have been with diapers and or Pull-ups since the world was worried about Y2K destroying our entire infrastructure!  At first, they were so cute and so nicely stacked on the changing table.  I couldn’t believe how small they were, until I had to buy preemie diapers because the newborn size was swallowing my baby.  They were so tiny and cute.  Then there was the wipes warmer and the little changing table holder doodad.  It was all so new-mommy-ish, I am a bit embarrassed in hindsight.  I loved the diapers, the powder, the cute little bag.  

But NOW, it is time for diapers to GO!!

Potty training our oldest was an interesting time period.  The first round was right before we bought our house, moved and had a baby 2 weeks later.  TOO much for a 2 1/2 year old.  Second  round was a mixed bag – N would be dry all day at school (he went to K3 half day at a school for just the kindergarten crew) and the whole afternoon at the sitter’s.  Once he got home, he just peed.  Behind the recliner in the family room, along the fence when our neighbors were having their friends over for a bonfire, in his Pull-up – you name it, he probably peed there.

Our next was EASY – put him in undies and DONE in a matter or days.  I thought to myself, “See, this is my experienced mommy insight at work.”  HA!  The potty training gods became aware of my foolish thoughts and gave me D. 

Girls – supposed to be easier to potty train, right.  And D was –  for a week or so.  I thought (Foolishly  to myself again) – “HA!  I will be done with her and only have one in diapers before she is 3!”  Wouldn’t that have been nice!  Then she started going poop in the potty.  It splashed her butt and she FREAKED out!  Refused to poop – in a Pull-up or otherwise.  Here is where the gods of potty training punished me for my arrogance.  SHE DID NOT POOP FOR WEEKS.  Went to the doc, put her on a stool softener, laxative – you name it, we did it.  We ended up spending 5 days at Children’s Hospital.  That stubborn girl refused to poop after THREE DAYS of GO-LITELY through an NG tube – you know that horrible stuff they give you before a colonoscopy.  SHE REFUSED TO POOP!  So we spent days – walking around the 8th floor in our sunglasses, with our purse – making everyone ooooohh and ahhhh over us, every hour.  She basked in the glory of her cuteness, but did not POOP!!!!  She had an oversized ball (think somewhere between a softball and playground ball)  of poop in her colon and it became so  messy and painful, that it took 4 of us to change her or hold her down when she could begin to go.  She was a few months away from 3 and not comfortable pooping the potty until nearly 4. 

With O – I learned my lesson and went humbly into her potty training.  No agenda, no rushing, no arrogance.  Just a goal of before the next school year – more than enough time, with a summer for comfort.  So, we have been potty training since Thanksgiving.  She is great for me and N.  Refused to go for Daddy, Grandpa, our sitter, just N and Mommy.  Finally our sitter has a come to Jesus meeting with her and the sat in the bathroom, and sat and sat  some more.  Until she finally PEED IN THE POTTY!  So, since we have been back from Christmas break, she has been dry for Brenda.  Daddy, is another story.  So, I decided to go with what worked – you would think after potty training FIVE kids in the last 12 years (including our nephew) I would know what works.  Into undies we go.  No more Pull-ups except when sleeping.  And we have been dry for four days.  

Here’s to hoping this is for real.  I am not SAYING she is potty trained, just hoping.  Oh powerful gods of potty training, please know that I learned my lesson and will not be arrogant in my daughter’s success.  Just quietly glad to be done – maybe.


Empty Cradles

25 Jan

It breaks my heart and infuriates me all at the same time.  And I am feeling guilty.  Feeling like I dropped the ball.

Milwaukee – known for Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, beer and brats,  and an infant mortality rate that rivals 3rd world and developing nations.  Many of the babies are born early (often due to lack of proper prenatal care), many are born to impoverished families, some had parents who decided to drink and share a bed with them and they all leave us far too soon.  And in most cases their loss can be prevented.

Now, when I first began this crusade, I ended up being lambasted by those touting the long lasting bonds that have been formed because of co-sleeping.  It is always a choice – it is not a law.  I personally am NOT on that bandwagon.  My children slept in their own bed from day 1.  Partially because I was following the recommendations of the medical community and partially because I wanted to be sure my kids could sleep without me – in their own beds.  I also know there are safety measures that can be put in place to reduce the risks for those who choose to co-sleep – co-sleepers for the side of the bed that allow mom easy access, but still give baby their own space; bassinets, pack-n-plays, etc.  BUT – in most of these cases that Milwaukee has seen – it ends up that there are things that COULD HAVE BEEN DONE.  Google “Milwaukee Infant Deaths”  and you will be surprised (and sickened) at the results.  It is even making news in France.

Parents/caregivers SHOULD NEVER share a bed if there are over tired, sick and taking meds that cause drowsiness, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Comforters and pillows, other children – more no-nos.  The Milwaukee Fire Department has a pack and play on their trucks and engines for any calls they go to and notice there is a baby, but no crib.  St. Joseph’s hospital has a program where you can literally walk in with your baby and they will give you a pack n play.  There are several organizations working with mothers who cannot afford the cribs to allow them a safe sleeping environment for their babies.  They just have to ask.

Here is where I dropped the ball.  Last year, I started a blog, Twitter and Facebook page called Pleasant Dreams, Sleep Tight.  The whole purpose was education and community involvement.  Then the summer came and all the kids were home, the MFD  Class of 07-26-2010 hit us full force, the boys and started at a new school and then I started working to acclimate to fire life and it totally slipped my mind – until we started losing more babies

I have lost sleep, I have had guilt hit me like you would not believe.  My husband feels I am being silly, what could I do – go house to house checking for cribs?  And in all reality, I do have to take care of my family first.  But, what if I used some of those sleepless nights and kept up with the mission I had started?  What if one of these moms happened across one of the pages? What if? What if? What if?

So, my Crusade is back on.  If one baby is saved…you know the spiel.  No more empty cradles, no more lives cut short when their death could have been prevented.

Super Bowl XLV Baby

24 Jan

Go Pack Go!!

Here Is Where I Wish I had More Followers

21 Jan
Halsey and her gaggle o’ fraggles
Ariel is on the right
I don’t often worry too much about who reads what.  This is more a tool for me to make my way into this fireworld with my sanity intact.  I have met some great people because of it.  But now I am asking for your help.  If you could send this out to your circle of friends and family, I would be so thrilled. 

Ariel as a pug, with me as the Cat-teacher.

I graduated from a high school for the performing arts, where I was a music major and was lucky enough to spend a few years teaching (history) there as a grown up.  I LOVED my kids there!  They are different kind of kid, even though I am the first to say kids are kids are kids.  I am where I need to be for my family, but these are the times I miss that world.  Some of those kids became as close to my own as they could possibly, without actually being mine.  Ariel is one of those.

Sometimes I could not get rid of my girls even when class was over.  I look so thrilled.

One of my girls from a few years back – I think she was from the class of  ’09 is a finalist in an animation submission contest.  She sent me a quick note on Facebook – “Psssst. Halsey :D…”  with a link to the contest page -nothing else.  So here I am, pandering for votes for my girl.  

She even has my earrings in here-  Gosh, was I really this grumpy?

Please take a look at this link and vote for Ariel Rivas – she is the second submitted piece down.  She is very talented and very creative – with ideas POURING out of her head.  And if you feel so inclined to pass on the link to your circle of influence to vote for my girl, I would so appreciate that as well.  

Please click here and vote for Ariel Rivas.  I would appreciate and so would this starving artist!

When Ariel decided I was no longer a can, but a golden.
So glad she got the Jersey right!!

And as always – GO PACK GO!!

Sometimes, things just kinda grow on ya!

Some perks of a firefighter’s schedule

20 Jan

J has been off of work for the last 5 days.  In order to make sure no OT is earned unnecessarily, they have PO days (Personal Off days) to balance out the hours.  J happened to get one at the end of this past cycle and one first thing into the next.  That means he only has to work today.  His last shift was the 14th and his next after this will be next Wednesday the 26th.  That made life SO nice yesterday.

Being a teacher,  I have conferences 3 times a year – midway through each term.  Yesterday and tonight are conferences for second term.  Yesterday was also our youngest’s birthday.  I was not happy with the idea of not being able to spend her birthday with her.  It is important to me that they have their special dinner (of their choice) and a cake on the actual day of their birthday.  J told me not to worry – she’s too little to care about the calendar.  ‘Tis true, but still…  We always have a party for family, but the day should be remembered as well.  So, when J came down to pick up the boys (they were grateful not to have to hang out here all night) he brought McD’s (her choice 😀 ) and a little birthday cake.  He kept my silly little traditions going, even when I had to work.  What a sweetie!

And that is why I love my fireman!

Probably the biggest game of my life

18 Jan

I am a sports nut – my Twitter is all sports, all day; I listen to Sports Talk Radio to and from school on my hour commute; Sundays – don’t talk to me, I am watching football.  And normally by this point in the season, I am still aware and involved, but my countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring training has begun.(26 days)  Not this year.  This year it is all Packers, all day.  To add the cherry on top of my football sundae – the NFC Championship game is Packers vs. Bears.  This is it – probably more exciting than the Superbowl will be on the 2nd.  I do not recall any season in years where the Packers AND the Bears have both been so strong.  It has been any other combination of strengths and weakness, but not this year.  Both teams have proven their worth, in spite of injuries and adversities.   The last time these two teams met was mere days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Milwaukee Sentinel’s Article.

Now, I have been known to trash talk a little – or maybe A LOTTLE (yes – it is a word in my vocabulary).  I have a friend – Bear fan, poor gal – in Germany.  She stays up to watch the games on AFN and the banter back and forth on Facebook is amazing.  We have been like this since day one of training camp.  I teach 7 miles north of the Illinois border.  I would say a good 25-30% of my kids are from the land down under.  The banter in my classes has been unreal.  It has been so much fun.  My stats are more impressive than your stats. We have the SuperBowl Shuffle.  Lombardi Trophy – says it all.  Just back and forth.  My whiteboard has been vandalized with a horrible orange C repeatedly. My door has been plastered with Bears Stickers.  I received a sympathy card from the band director after our loss to the Lions.  I coulod go on and on.  But – it will end soon – for one side or the other.  It has been a fun ride, but someone is going home.  We cannot be co-NFC Champions.  Monday, all of this banter will come to an end. One way or the other.  We will probably never see this again in our lifetimes.  There will always be more match-ups for Green Bay and Chicago for the NFC North Championship – but this is for all the marbles.  We will probably not see it again.

Mind you, we (being the 6th seeded wild card) are 3 point favorites at the HOME FIELD of the NFC North Champions – I’m just sayin’…  Okay, trash talking aside – for now.  With that being sad, I leave you with one final thought.

Really??? NOBODY could stop?

18 Jan

I live 2 counties away from where I teach.  My husband has residency requirements – having to live in the city.  No big deal, really.  When we taught for MPS we had to live in the city as well.  But, now that I teach in a private school in Kenosha, it is a bit of a bigger deal.  We live as far out – NW – in the city as you can get w/o leaving the city – closer to Menomonee Falls than most of the rest of the city.  And now I teach 7 miles north of the Illinois border.

My family is not too thrilled with this idea.  Having to travel and hour each way is enough in and of itself.  But when you add snow to the equation – it can be scary.  Most of my drive is interstate, which, for the most part is always pretty clean.  It is the country roads that I take to get from the I to the school that can be treacherous.  We got about 5 inches down here last night, which isn’t that much, but enough to make it messy.  As we came across our first stoplight (I don’t know the cross roads down here.) on 142 – about 3 miles off the expressway, I noticed a car in the ditch with the interior lights on.   I pulled over, told the kids to stay put, and went to make sure the driver was okay.  I got her to open the door, she told me a car in front of her swerved at the curve she panicked trying to avoid him, ending up in the ditch  and found she could not get a signal, so I called 911.  I know, having family in the emergency field, that the operators hate it when you don’t know where you are.  I told her we were on 142 and the next major road was Green Bay, we were just east of the previous set of lights and just west of the bridge.  I thought that was pretty good for someone from Milwaukee on the country roads in Kenosha county.  “Ma’am, if you are before the bridge you are quite a ways away from Green Bay Road. ”  Sorry – next time I’ll ask my Garmin for a distance check.  (1.1 miles)   No one else had called in the accident.  I was the first.

I helped her out of her car – in 4 inch heels, with snow up to my knees – I am freezing in my class as we speak – and waited until the  trooper came.  But here is what blows my mind – NO ONE STOPPED!  Not even the guy who caused this whole mess.  My husband will have my head when he finds out I did, alone, with the boys in the car.  BUT – what if it was me?  I would want to know that someone gave a damn about their fellow person and stopped to be sure we were okay.  I would want someone to call for help if my phone was not working.  I would want someone to care.

The woman was physically okay, but visibly shook up.  Her husband was on the way.  But, felt better when someone was there with her.  You could see the relief on her face.  No idea what her name is, her little black Kia will be fine once the tow truck comes and she will be okay.  No harm, no foul?  Sorry – someone should have stopped before I did.  She should not have had to wait for me to get there.

Be safe in whatever weather you have.  Help your neighbor just because they need it.  Happy Tuesday.