Wow! It's been so long I don't even know where to start! One of my resolutions (if you want to call it that) for this year is to start blogging again. I'm really not sure why I stopped. Life just got away from me I guess, and blogging fell to the bottom of the priority pile. I'm finding that my memory isn't what it used to be (just like everything else!) and I appreciate having the blog to reference, so I'll give it a go. Obviously, there's no way to unearth all that's happened since I last wrote, so I thought I'd share a few highlights of the past year, good and bad.
And now, 2011, in no particular order...
The saddest and most traumatic event was the loss of our cherished friend of over 7 years, Cassie. She had had bladder issues for a few months...I tried antibiotics, better food, supplements...everything. Then one day she woke up and couldn't use her hind legs...she had blown a disc in her spine. Our vet practices animal chiropractic, so we tried that 3 times with muscle relaxants, with no improvement. She couldn't walk, couldn't control her bladder, and sometimes she would totally lose her mind with pain. That was no way for my best friend to live, and so I made one of the hardest decisions of my life. The girls and I were with her when she left us. She knew how loved she was...and so did we.
On a much cheerier note, Tony graduated from the U of M in May with a major in Sports Management. We are so proud of him!!! He has since moved out of his "college house" into an apartment shared with friend, Joe, in Fridley. He has a job at Aldi's while he continues to search for employment in his desired field and/or consider another direction.
The girls had agreed to a 6 month wait before looking for a new dog. Of course, they failed. :) Soon they were scouting Petfinder on a daily basis looking for our new companion. It was Barry who was attracted to Beagles...probably because Cassie was the first dog he had really bonded with. And they have such sweet, friendly faces! The girls spotted a couple of Beagle sisters in Clark County before they were even eligible for adoption. The three of us made our way to Neilsville on a Friday in June, and came home with the "brown one" who we named Molly. Long story short, Saturday we made the trek again to bring home the "white one", Maggie. And I've been running ever since!
It seems they may have had a rough first year because Molly is scared of everything and everyone! Maggie is so laid back you could call her lazy. They are crate trained (mostly) and are attached at the hip. They sleep together, pee together, wrestle together...you get the picture. :)
This summer Polk County had one heck of a wind storm. Mom and Dad lost a ton of trees on their 4 acre property. By the hand of God, none touched the house. The were truly blessed. And now have lots of firewood. :)
Barry, in answer to many prayers, accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior early in the year. Praise God! He's REALLY not a "get up in front of people" person, so being baptized in the faith really wigged him out. In answer to this prayer, our dear friends, the Prissels, opened up their home and pool to those wanting to be baptized in a more "casual" way. Barry, Alana, and Erin each decided the time was right. What a blessing!
On August 1, Barry began his new job at Chippewa Sand Transport. Ruan had been downsizing its Eau Claire office, and we just didn't feel secure. CST hauls sand to and from a sand mine and processing plant located in Chippewa Falls. It is a Christian company which I love! They are family friendly and everyone seems to give 100%. Ironically, it is located on the north side of Chippewa, near the lakes that Barry loves to fish. We had wanted to live in this area, but there were no jobs in the area. Well, now that this prayer has been answered, we're just waiting for our house to sell so we can move north. Right now Barry's commute is about 45 miles each way, which takes too much time away from our family.
Ok, this is a little silly, but in August we visited a truck show in Eau Claire. Alex Debagorski, from Ice Road Truckers, was there. We waited almost 2 hours in line to meet him. I don't think we'd do that again, but it was neat. He's a Christian man, and we enjoy him on the show.
In September, we joined a Christian homeschool group that meets in Eau Claire once a month. We thought it would be a good way to give the girls classroom experience and maybe give us all an opportunity to meet new people. So far, the girls aren't loving it...and the social part is not really something I "need" at this point, but we'll see. I like the field trip opportunities that the group affords.
We really enjoyed one such field trip in early November. We visited a Christian ministry farm in Whitehall to see how honey is extracted from the hives. Because it was so cold, the bees were moving slowly, allowing us to get very close without much threat. We had a great time! And really enjoyed being "beekeepers".
Happy Birthday! This year, Barry turned 51, Tony 23, Alana 12, Erin 10, and me, 38.
Erin learned how to mow the lawn. She loves it! And takes her job quite seriously. Dad enjoys the break. :) We also put a LOT of work into our landscaping. Brother-in-law, Rick, decided one day that we should rip up all of our dying bushes. Ugh. It DOES look much better, but we pray we never have to dig up, wash, and replace landscaping rock ever again!
And that about covers it, although I'm sure I'll have to come back and edit because I forgot some huge thing! 2011 did end on a bit of a stressful note regarding my health. A couple of weeks ago, while I was making lunch, I experienced a minute or two of double-vision. This, combined with an evening of world-spinning dizziness three weeks before, had me worried. I got into see the doctor that night, and he shared my fear of MS or brain tumor. He sent me to the lab for a blood work-up and then would schedule an MRI the next day. Surprisingly, the next morning he called with news that I was "alarmingly" anemic. My hemoglobin was in the 7's and shouldn't be lower than 12. Well, that explains a lot: my fatigue, headaches, high & low blood pressure, dizziness, heart arrythmeas, etc. I just thought I was getting old, out of shape, and don't sleep well.
I had an ultrasound to check for bleeding, in case that was the cause of the anemia...which came back negative. Because double-vision is such a serious symptom, and not automatically explained by the anemia, we went ahead with the MRI. Not such a fun experience. I prayed the ENTIRE time. God was with me. Before dinner that night I got the call saying everything was fine. Praise God! He
So, until something else happens, we're assuming that all symptoms were caused by the anemia. And that the anemia is probably a combination of not enough iron/B12, and malabsorption. I'm now hitting the books to figure out how best to treat myself as naturally as possible. And I've been trying to rest more and "take it easy". It's been very hard for me to "let go", but I'm learning to delagate more to the girls...which is good for them anyway. Obviously God knew who he was dealing with...He knew I'd never go to the doctor to find the anemia unless I was scared by something as big as a brain tumor. He's so good! Healing me of the anemia may change my life...I just might have the energy to do all of the things I want to do!