Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31st

We have finally reached the last day of one of our busiest months out of the whole year.  I think this is the 13th March that Jay and I have survived.   That should leave us about (as long as Jay continues to teach) 17 more to get through.  At least that what Jay thinks.  The only problem with his plan is if we've done the math right he can retire after Camryn's Junior year.  I keep telling him he will need to teach one more year to get her out of high school but he is resisting.  But a lot can change in between that time.  I'm pretty certain that if Camryn is into FFA Jay will want to be her advisor and not leave her to some first year rookie. 

I got roped into helping with the District contest today.  I'm afraid I'm going to get the same call from Jim every year from now on.  I really don't mind doing it, but today was a long day!  Normally I only look at resumes for the Job Interview contest.  Today I had to be the one to conduct the mock interviews.  I asked the questions and three judges were in the room listening to it.  I was a little nervous doing this because I was never in FFA.  I don't have a clue about how the contests are supposed to go.  It also doesn't help that I hear the complaints about different judges from Jay every year.  One year an interviewer asked the kids to tell a joke.  When Jay told me that he was so mad his face got red.  These teachers take these contests extremely seriously.  I did not want to be the interviewer that every teacher in the Southwest district was cussing tonight. 

I think it went pretty well.  I was very impressed with the 12 kids I interviewed.  There was one though that didn't want to elaborate on his answers.  Fifteen minutes is a heck of a long time to fill with questions when the kid is giving you one or two word answers.  I had asked every one of my standard questions, we talked about everything he's done related to FFA, and I had asked everything humanly possible from what was on his resume.  I was afraid I was going to have to ask his favorite underwear brand.  It was painful.  I was exhausted by the time we were done with those 12 kids.

Then Jim threw in something else that was not discussed on our previous phone call.  He needed us all to stay and judge the Extemp contest.  I reluctantly agreed.  Ok, I admire all the kids who did it because it is a hard contest and they all did very good...but it was boring.  If I heard about animal rights activist and HSUS once I heard about it 10 times.  We had all been in the same room since 8 was hot and I was starting to get sleepy.  But I had to pay attention because after their 4-6 minute speech the judges had to ask 5 minutes worth of questions.  Poke my eyes out.  I left the house at 6:30 am today and I did not leave MSU until 4:00pm.  The only time I even saw Jay today was when I got a glance at him outside the open door smirking as he waved goodbye to me.  He didn't have a kid in that contest so he was heading home.  Then after we picked the winner it got worse....the kids came back in the room when the winners were announced.  The kids advancing to state went around and asked the judges for pointers.  Good grief....I was trying to decide why they painted the walls in the conference room two different shades of yellow that were clearly not from the same palette.  I had to tell these kids how they could improve???  One teacher followed his kid around making notes.

I will admit that every year I get something during March...not sure what to call it...resentful is a little harsh, but I do get weary of feeling like I'm fighting a bunch of kids for a sliver of Jay's attention.  But then when I sit through these things I understand why he does it.  Pretty much all of the kids interviewed very well, but some of their resumes were awful.  One poor girl meant to use stock but had stalk on it instead.  It made me so mad at their teachers.  I know that when Jay has kids with resumes we go over and over them.  I don't think some of those teachers even looked at the kids resumes.  How awful for those kids.  Then another girl had some hair in her eyes that she kept messing with.  When I told Jay he was irritated at that girls particular teacher because he should've known to tell the girl to pull her hair back.  Jay said he always tells his girls to keep their hair out of their face.  I am glad that I've had the opportunity to help with the contests the last three years.  It reminds me how hard Jay and Lyle work to make sure their kids don't look like those kids.  They really care about how their kids do and they want to give them every opportunity to succeed.  They are great teachers and it makes me proud.

 But I really only needed the Job Interview contest to remind me of that.  Extempt was a bit of an overkill.....

But I am thankful that today was definitely the beginning of the end!  The rest of districts are Monday and Tuesday and then State Convention starts on April 19th I believe.  But like always this time of year I tell myself it will get less crazy after such and such.  But after convention is the banquet then school's out then it's county fair time, etc.  Ahhh, the life of an Ag Teacher.  It never stops.

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 29th

It is 2:30 am and I'm having one of those moments were I'm scared and frozen to the chair in our family room.  I woke up sometime during the night and was just laying in bed.  Then I heard a noise outside so I got up to see if something was going on.  Now I'm sitting in the family room and the windows are open.  I heard something walk through the dried leaves in our backyard (don't judge us we live in a wooded lot).  I tried to tell myself it was just Charlie.  Then a few seconds later Charlie started barking on our deck right behind me.  I think my heat is finally beating again.  Still not sure what walked across our yard because if it was Charlie I would've heard him walk up the deck steps.  Jay is snoring away oblivious to the fact I'm in here having a chest pains.  Since I'm frozen in the chair I'll blog about what we did tonight...

We spoke in Springfield on an adoption panel for Bethany at an Explore Adoption night.  I'm not going to lie, I felt sorry for those people sitting in the chairs in front of us.  I'm also glad that we aren't where they are at.  I feel like we did our time in the trenches, but I also felt a little guilty.  Infertility stinks and I think it's natural for most women to feel guilty when they "cross over".   I think Jamie told me there were 23 couples.  Some looked like they were on information overload.  I remember feeling that way.  There was one lady who kept wiping her eyes.  She had that look of being totally wiped out and hearing that we waited for so long probably didn't help.  I was glad to be there to offer our story and some insights we learned, but it's hard knowing what most of those couples have been through to get to this point. 

For most couples they've already been through the wringer before they even attend one of those informational meetings.  It's not that they are resigned to adoption, or look at it as second best, but it's just natural for most couple to try for biological kids first.  Then when it doesn't happen that way it is natural to start out with mild treatments and tests...until one day you wake up and realize you've spent thousands of dollars, have had dozens of people "up in your business" and you still don't have a baby.  You are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted.  Then you realize that it's not carrying a child that is important, but being a parent so you start checking out agencies.  Then you go to a meeting like we were at last night and you hear terms like Domestic, International, TPR, Birthmother/Birthfather, Open, Closed, etc.  Then three happy families plop down in front of you (1 international and 2 domestic) and we tell you some of our stories.  Then you sit there with that Deer in the Headlights look and wonder if you'll ever get to the point of where those families in front are. 

I was a little surprised when they asked us to talk.  Not that we don't have a lot of insight, but I don't consider us the poster children for adoption.  I'm pretty impressed that Bethany had us there...not that anything that ever happened to us was the fault of Bethany, but when you tell people about our failed matches and how long we waited it probably doesn't reflect that good on the agency.  But what we went through is real life, so I'm glad we got to show that piece.  In fact the other domestic couple also had a disrupted adoption a year before they finally got their son.  It was definitely not all roses and unicorns last night and I appreciated that.  But on the other hand I hope it wasn't information overload for people who barely understand the different adoption terms.

Of course, like you always do, I came away wishing I had said more or worded things differently.  I was talking to a lady afterwards and she expressed how they hoped for a closed adoption.  We told the group that Camryn's adoption was closed, but I wish I had expanded on that a little more.  When we sat in that same seat all those years ago we thought the same thing about open vs closed because we didn't know what we know now.  I expressed to her that open adoption is not to be feared.  I told her how much I believe it is important for the children to have full disclosure - they need to know all of it (good and bad).  I really hate that we don't have that for Camryn.  I wish I could shoot her birthfamily an email when little questions pop in my head.  Right now I'd really like to know if there is a history of extremely picky eaters on either of their sides.  I also know that as Camryn gets older she will have questions.  The other couple was talking about how their 5 year old now has questions that they email her birhtmom.  I think that is great.  And it is one thing I really regret that Camryn won't have.  But like Donna said in the meeting last night your child will react to their situation how you react to it.  I'm not going to build it up to Camryn that it is a horrible thing that she doesn't have contact.  It's just the way it is.  God's plan is always better than our feeble attempts and her story is what it is.  Good and bad.  It all makes Camryn who she is. 

I also enjoyed meeting the other domestic family last night.  They were on the waiting list at the same time we were (sometimes I think half of the state was on the list at the same time we were).  We got to the meeting first and when they walked up they introduced themselves right off because they knew who we were.  Apparently we are legendary.  She said something about looking at our picture for the longest time so she knew who we were.  As much as I stared at the website over the years I have a hard time recognizing families from it.  It took me a minute but I finally realized which family they were.  They were super nice and very friendly.  We got to know each other a bit out in the hallway waiting for our turn.  She was a little more of a go-getter than I am so she knew a lot more about different situations and what baby ended up with which parents.  Jamie had told me there was another family she was doing post-placement visits with at the same time she was doing ours and they had commented on seeing us off of the website.  I'm sure it was this family.  We talked about when Jamie first started and how nice it was to have someone full time in this area.  I did tell her about how I was afraid Jamie thought I was crazy because our 4th homestudy visit(first time I met her) was the one where I sniffled through the whole thing (2010 was a rough year).  This lady said "yeah Jamie never said anything about that but when we did our first update we asked if she had done more than one update for any families and she told us there was one that she had done their 4th".  Yes, we are legendary. 

I know this is long but I can't leave without telling you Cade's perspective on tonight - Earlier in the week Jay and I were verbally going over our week.  Jay said something about the adoption thing Thursday night.  Cade was playing the Wii and I didn't think he was paying attention but when he heard adoption his snapped up.  With panic in his eyes he said "what adoption thing".  I quickly assured him we weren't adopting again.  He was relieved.  We asked him what he would tell a group thinking about adopting and he said "they better get used to crying because not every adoption will happen".  Honestly, the 10 year old probably got it better than any adult in that room last night.  It is hard, it is stinky, but it was so worth it in the end. 

I've jokingly said that I hope this didn't damage him too much!  But actually I hope this taught him some good life lessons.  I know that he doesn't quite understand everything that happened now, but as he gets older I hope he appreciates his experience.  I hope it teaches him to never ever give up on something just because it is hard.  I hope he learned that you never do something unless you feel that God is clearly telling you to...even when it doesn't make sense to everyone else around you.  I can't tell you the number of times people would ask why we didn't change agencies and we didn't have an answer except for "we don't feel that's what God wants us to do yet".   I hope that by going through this with us he will see how God worked in our lives every day even when we felt we were totally alone.  God answered Cade's nightly prayer in His own way and His own time. 

March 28th

I've been MIA the last few days due to a nasty stomach bug.  It hit Sunday night and it took about 48 hours for me to start feeling better.  Thankfully though so far (fingers crossed) no one else seems to have caught it.  As a wife/mother you learn to share just about everything you have but illness is definitely one thing you want to keep to yourself.  Honestly, as many people that I've been around that's had it I consider myself lucky to have escaped it as long as I did. 

But before I got sick we were busy with all kinds of things.....

  • Saturday Cade went with Jay to his contest so he could judge livestock.  In those years we were waiting for Camryn I did look forward to when Jay would finally declare Cade old enough to go with him.  I'd have a Saturday to myself.  How ironic is it that he's finally old enough to go once we got Camryn?  We did a little math and discovered I more than likely will never have a Saturday to myself in March.  If Camryn is old enough to go with Jay when she's in the 4th grade (provided she will even want to go) Cade will be in college.  I'll be doing college laundry.  We really aren't old for having a baby but when we think about things like that it makes our heads spin. 
  • Cade judged livestock and came in 3rd from last.  But it is impressvie when you think that the two kids he did beat were in high school and Cade didn't even give reasons.  The other two kids did.  That was 100 pts right there that Cade gave up.  Even more impressvie though was that some friend's of ours little boy was there with his 4-H group.  Lucas is in the 2nd grade and finished 25th in the contest (out of about 120 kids).....competing against high school kids.  His parents were both on the MSU judging team so apparantly he got the best of both their abilities.  Hopefully the other high school kids don't realized they were beat by an 8 year old....
  • While the boys were gone Camryn and I signed Cade up for baseball and bought paint for his room. Then we went out to eat because we didn't have anything for Camryn to eat at the house. We've been to this restaurant pretty frequently over the years but I don't think it's been as often since we got Camryn. There is this particular waitress who has waited on us several times. Saturday she leaned over and told Camryn she remembered seeing me pregnant with her. At first I chalked it up to being mistaken. Someday I hope Camryn will laugh with us when people make those ridiculous comments, but that day she just smiled at the waitress. Later I got to thinking that I hoped the lady never really thought I looked like I was pregnant. I walked away from the restaurant that day slightly disturbed.
  • Saturday I worked on taking Cade's tractor border down that's been in his room since he was 3. It was kind of sad. Here is some free advice for anyone who wants to put up wallpaper border. Don't buy the paste from Wal-Mart. Three sides of Cade's room had Sherwin Williams paste and they came down like magic. The 3rd side had to be repaired when Hurricane Ike dumped water on the tiny whole in the roof missed by the roofer in 2008. We bought some paste at Wal-Mart because it was convenient. I didn't think I was going to get it off the wall.
  • Sunday afternoon I managed to get it painted. About 3/4 of the way through the 2nd coat is when I started feeling yucky. Thank goodness I got it done before the plague overtook me. We'd still be walking around Cade's furniture in weird places in the house. His room is done except for 2 finishing touches that I'll take care of in the next couple of weeks. I'll post some pictures then. As Cade said "I like that white a lot better than that Lemon Yellow it was painted". It was painted Sherwin Williams Antique White, but whatever....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 23rd (Part 2)

I posted the first March 23rd post too soon.  After I got home Jay thought we should go out to eat.  After my day at work I was more than ready to do that.  We decided to eat BBQ.  As soon as we sat down the customer that I avoided at lunch walked up to our table.  I about fell over because it was so funny.  I really do like these people, I was just too mentally tired to talk at lunch. It was fine last night because Jay carried the conversation.  The first thing he said to us was "I figured you'd see my car in the parking lot and decide to go somewhere else".  Really, isn't that hilarious?  I got my payback though...I was using one hand to help Cade pour his leftovers in the takeout box and had my other hand on Camryn to keep her from falling out of the booth. She reached up and grabbed the straw out of my water and my full 20oz glass of very cold ice water fell on my lap.  We still had to go to Wal Mart.  I walked around with wet pants the rest of the night.

While we were in Wal Mart Cade decides he has to go the bathroom as soon as we get on the opposite side of the bathroom.  We had just been right there!  Jay took him so that left me with the cart and Camryn.  She didn't want to ride in the cart.  I'm not sure what I do to my kids but neither of them want to ride in carts or strollers.  At first I thought it was Cade.  Now I know it has to be something Jay and I do to them.  I tried putting her in the cart because I only needed a few things and it would go so much faster.  She started fussing so I bent over so I'd be closer to her and hopefully trick her in to thinking she was being held.  Instead she pulled the neck of my shirt down and stuck her head in my shirt.  I had to keep both hands on the cart to keep from running into a man I was passing.  It surprised me so much.  I was embarrassed.  Jay said the man probably just thought Camryn was hungry.  I know....She is always doing things like that.  I can't imagine what she would do if I actually was nursing her. 

A few minutes later she tried to do the same thing.  It caused my cart to veer to the right.  There was a lady on that side but really I was still far enough away that I wasn't even close to hitting her.  She screamed "whoa whoa".  Good grief.  It wasn't like we were playing chicken.  Jay thought they might have been a high strung bunch because he saw the dad telling the wife to take a chill pill on another aisle.   If you were in to people watching Wal Mart was the place to be last night.  Including me with the wet pants and Camryn's head down my shirt.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23rd

y`This has been a long exhausting week at work.  I'm not sure why things are so busy....Cattle prices are high right now so I don't know if that is the deal?  Farmers have a little extra money in their pockets.  Goodness knows that doesn't happen often!    I know someday it will slow down, but right now it doesn't feel like it ever will.  Or that I'll ever get caught up.  I guess that is job security???? 

Due the extreme business the last few weeks though when I leave for lunch I don't want to talk to anyone, especially customers.  I want to hole up with my book and get 30 minutes of quiet.  If you can't tell I'm feeling a little drained.  I'm not complaining because I am very thankful I have a job, but it's hard to explain how things have been lately without sounding like I'm complaining.  Anyway, today I thought I'd go to Subway for lunch.  I pulled up and shut my car off.  Luckily I looked up before I got out of the car.  I saw a customer and his wife sitting inside.  I started my car again and went somewhere else for lunch.  Hopefully they didn't notice.  I don't think I made eye contact with them.  And even though I wanted to back out quickly and high tail it out of the parking lot I did do it with a reasonable speed.  I don't think they noticed....It's nothing personal towards these customers, they are really nice people that I like a lot.  I just didn't feel like having to make conversation today.  When I tell Jay that story he will more than likely respond with "you are so weird".  I probably am, but oh well! Does anybody else do things like that?

And on a unrelated note - for those of you who know Mt Vernon....When I was walking from my car into the building after lunch a car circled through the parking lot.  They had their window down so I knew they needed to ask a question.  I was expecting they needed directions.  Instead they asked "do you have a Red Lobster here"?  They are lucky I didn't fall over laughing before I could tell them no.  I wish I had thought to look at their license plate.  Obviously they aren't from around here.  Mt Vernon is the biggest tease of a town....something about the way it's laid out right on the Interstate makes you think it should have lots of retail/restaurants....but it doesn't.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 21st

I just want to squeeze this baby!!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 17th (Cade's Birthday Party)

I'm having a hard time grasping that Cade is now in the double digits.  The last ten years have flown by.  We had his party Saturday night.

I spent Saturday cleaning and getting ready for the party.  I really don't know what happens to our house.  Wednesday night it was picked up...then we got home late Thursday and it all went to pot  There just aren't enough hours in my days any more.  Cade was a big help all day Saturday.  He entertained Camryn for most of it.  I heard a lot of "No, No, No Camryn" and "Quit touching everything" throughout the day.  Towards the end of the day I asked Cade if he wanted any more brothers or sisters and he said NO.  Good thing he has us as parents and not the Duggars!  I'm pretty sure the having more kids ship has sailed!
Earlier in the day I thought...'Wow, it is almost Cade's party and no one had to go to the doctor prior to the party and since everyone is healthy we shouldn't have to go after the party (one year I developed pneumonia during the party and had to go to the ER after every one left).  Of course I spoke too soon.  I was almost done with everything and Camryn was getting tired.  I thought if Cade would watch her in the tub she would play and be happy and I could put up the last load of laundry.  Everything was going good until I tried to do one last thing. That's when she stood up in the tub and fell.  I don't blame Cade...the other night Camryn did the same thing to me and I was watching her.  I turned my head for a second.  She is fast!  Everything seemed to be ok.  Of course she cried but she got over it quickly.  We got her dressed and she was fine.  A little later Cade noticed some blood in the crease on her eyelid.  I had cut myself on some glass and it keep breaking open so I thought that's what it was.  We wiped it off and then a few mintues later it was back. I got her to sleep and got a better look at it about the time Jay got home from his contest.  She had split the crease in her eye open.  We looked it over and it looked pretty deep.  Jay thought we should take her to see if she needed stitches or have it glued or something.  I felt terrible about it.  But Jay took her and they didn't do anything to it and they still made it back in plenty of time for the party.  I figured her eye would be really bruised the next day but it wasn't.  It's a good thing babies are tougher than they look!

By party time the house was in order and all of us were present.  At 2:00 pm I wasn't sure that was going to be possible....

The theme this year was Legos.  Janella did another wonderful job with the cake.  Cade was very happy when he saw it.  We had to cut the face out for him to eat!  We had Mazzio's pizza for dinner, Cade's request.  After we ate he opened his presents.  Our big gift to him this year was to redo his bedroom.  Actually we wrapped up his bedding...the re-decorating is till to be done.  I'm wondering how long he'll have the tractor border with a Razorback comfortor????  I think he was pretty excited about it.  We've got it on his bed and he's told us thank you for it several times.  I think that means it was a hit! 

As far as theme decorations....I made the Happy Birthday out of left over wood blocks.  I thought they'd be good to set out for birthdays.  The top banner says A Perfect 10.  The bottom banner are 10 pictures of Cade - his hospital picture and then one with each of his other birthday cakes.  I wrapped his presents to look like Lego blocks.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19th

Today is Cade's 10th Birthday.  Where have the years gone?  Seems like just yesterday I woke up with contractions.  Now he's almost as tall as me. 

We had his birthday party on Saturday.  I tried to post those pictures this morning, but blogger was really slow. I took these this morning with my phone which is much easier to post.  We saved a couple of gifts for him to open this morning.  If you can't tell the theme was Lego.  That's supposed to be a Lego block on top.

Cade woke up to us singning him Happy Birthday.  After his shower he was treated to the breakfast of his choice....waffles, poached eggs and grits. 


Camryn was supposed to give him a Birthday hug but she was more interested in the balloons.

He got the 4th Pirates Movie.  Jay is going to be gone tonight so I think we are going to eat leftover pizza and watch this again.

He also got new shoes.  I would bet a million dollars that when I pick him up today they will look like he's had them 6 weeks.  This boy is hard on shoes.

This was his big gift that we gave him Saturday.  We still have to take down the tractor border and paint the top part white.  Jay went ahead and put the stuff up because he said "who knows how long it will take us to get that done".  I'm hoping it will just be a couple of weeks....


After breakfast we measured him on the door frame.  He is 4 ft 9 inches. 

Here's how much he's grown in the last year.

Since we were measuring we got Camryn started on her own door frame.  She measured 27 inches. 

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18th

Today was my 35th Birthday.  We celebrated it the same way we did the last time it fell on a Sunday, which happened to be 5 years ago.  I woke up thinking about my 30th Birthday this morning.  I was on my 5th round of Clomid hoping to have our 3rd and hopefully successful IUI.  I remember Jay taking a picture of me with Cade that morning before we left.  We had also turned in our application for Bethany 2 months earlier and we were waiting to wait.  I used that picture of Cade and me for our adoption profile.  It's probably for the best I didn't know what the next 4 years and 3 months would hold.  I might have changed my mind.  It's a good thing that didn't happen because we would've missed out on a whole lot of this sweetnesss!

We took Cade and his friend Matthew to Silver Dollar City for the day.  It was crazy!  Very, very crowded.  I think the boys had a good time though.  We were waiting on them to get done with a ride so I had Jay take our picture.  After SDC we ate at Cracker Barrel and then took Cade to Ridemakerz so he could spend a gift card he got for Christmas.  Then we came home.  I'm not going to lie and don't think I'm terrible....but it was a struggle to not drive 90 mph to get home faster.  We were in my car, which is tiny, and Cade and Matthew were driving me nuts!  If they had just talked it would've been ok, but they were shooting each other and fake punching.  Jay took a nap from Branson to Springfield.  I had the radio up loud trying to block out the noise.  I'm sure Camryn was doubting our love for her....we tell her we love her, but yet we stuck her between those two loud boys for an hour.  After we dropped off Matthew we told Cade we were driving the rest of the way home in silence.  I'm sure my parents did the same thing to me when I was his age and I vowed to never do that with my kids.  At least there is comfort in knowing when Cade is 35 he will do the same thing and finally understand why Jay and I were so frazzled today.

Today was a great day, except Camryn has entered into that awkward stage.  She got tired of being in her stroller and being held - she wanted to be down, but since she can't walk there was no place to put her.  I spent a lot of time carrying her.  I think this was about the hottest birthday I can remember.  I'm positive I've never sweat as much on any other March 18th as I did today.  Jay took the boys to a ride and I found a cement area where Camryn could sit.  For the first 10 minutes it was great.  She would pick up the wood chips and look them over.  Then she tried to sneak one in her mouth.  Then she started trying to shove handful after handful in.  I'd pull one hand away and she'd have another hand ready to go.  After several minutes of non-stop trying to eat wood chips I decided to track down Jay and the boys.

Jay just walked in and told me to add this quote to the post "I would not recommend putting Cade Shepherd and Matt Jones in a car for an hour together". Those two don't have a moment of silence when the are together. The are in the same classroom. I really feel sorry for Mrs. D. And for her it's Cade and Matt x 25.

March 15th & 16th

Thursday night I took the kids by myself to Springfield to get some things for Cade’s party.  Actually, we ended up spending more time at the mall.  Cade wanted to wear shorts on Wednesday and we discovered that he only had a couple of pairs that fit.  We were on a mission to find him some that fit.  We found one pair of jeans shorts.  In the entire mall.  Cade also decided to buy a Chiefs jersey with a Christmas gift card.  I was sweating profusely from bending up and down…take Camryn out of the stroller, put Camryn back in the stroller, repeat continuously.  By our last stop I didn’t care any more.  I was so so hot and sweaty.  I was looking for a shirt.  I let Camryn crawl around on the store floor while Cade chased her.  Then she stood herself up on the mirror in the store and started beating it.  I’m sure the store people loved me.  Camryn was dirty, Cade had used his shorts as a napkin when we ate dinner and I was so hot my hair was sticking to my head.  We looked really nice.  We probably drove everyone in that store crazy.

On Friday Cade wanted to wear his new jersey to school.  I told him that was fine.  When they got home from school the first thing Jay said was “they had pictures today”.  Cades said “don’t worry mom, I filled the form out myself”.  Then I realized I don’t think I’d checked his backpack since Christmas break.  I used to think those people who didn’t look at their kids backpacks were terrible.  Five years later I’m worn down by the backpack junk.  There is so much stuff in there!  So we are officially the parents that the other parents will look at the class picture and say “well the Shepherds must have forgotten it was picture day”.  Oh well, A Chiefs jersey will be ok.  Really, how many pictures can we have of Cade wearing a polo shirt?  Jay asked him about filling out the form….Cade said he had to mark what pose he wanted taken and fill out his name and stuff.  Luckily they take these pictures and then you buy the ones you want later….obviously Cade wouldn’t have had a checkbook to pay with.   Jay and I were a little embarrassed about it.  We asked him if other kids had to fill out their own forms.  Cade said he was the only one. 

Oh, and we started out the day by having to call Poison Control before we could even leave for work.  Camryn decided to eat a Peace Lilly leaf.  The girl won't touch food, but give her paper, a toxic plant or a dried up leaf from someone's shoe and she can't stuff it in her mouth fast enough. 

We were supposed to go to Wal Mart before we came home Thursday night.  We didn't make it. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13

I really didn't plan to write a post every day about March, but the thrills are non-stop around here. The office is still an absolute mess. We moved computers around on Monday. Today we kept throwing a breaker. It's like being in Disneyland all day long (not!). Then today Pam and I had a meeting in Springfield (I left her drive, great decision on my part). After the meeting we decided to stop for a drink. We got rear ended. Thankfully no one was hurt and the vehicles weren't damaged too bad. Just some scrapes. Since Pam's husband is an auto body teacher it was for the best she was driving:) It wasn't too big of deal....we just got quite a jolt in more ways than one.

The other bit of excitment that has been talked about a lot in the last 24 hours is our cattle. Buttons, Cade's first bull has some sort of infection. He doesn't have any problems breeding cows but his tests don't come back good enough to be sold for a bull. That was disappointment number 1 for Jay when he found out about that yesterday. Disappointment #2 was about Jewels, Cade's other show heifer. At least I think she's still a heifer. I'm loosing track of what ones have had calves previously. Anway, Jay thought she was bred to another bull. He even sent blood samples somewhere to make sure she was bred and they came back positive. Apparantly she lost her calf somewhere along the way and no one knew. But a vet checked her out last week and she is pregnant....and if you count back from when she is due to when she would've been bred that makes Buttons the father. Buttons and Jewels are full brother and sister. We may have a three headed calf come June. Jay is sick about it. I've had to laugh about it a little....Really, Jay and I are total reproductive disasters. If it's not us it's our livestock. I mean we have a bull who has a terrible sperm count but manages to get his full sister pregnant. What are the chances? Cade has been the only thing we've had turn out reproductively speaking in the 12 years we've been married.

But our reproductive disasters are ok because it did help to bring this sweet baby girl into our lives. Tonight we went to the park for a little bit and I put her in a swing for the first time. She liked it for about 10 seconds and then she was through with it. I was looking back on the blog and a year ago was the start of some very rough adoption months for us. I think from the middle of March to May 17 we were shown about as many times as we were the other 3 years we waited. We were getting No's right and left from both agencies. Last spring was a very frustrating time. I still get overwhelmed when I think about all that we went through and how God turned it into way more than I ever could've hoped for. Life is so different than it was a year ago....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12

I don't know why, but the 6 weeks that I'm older than Jay seems to be a big deal around our house.  Jay loves to rub it in.  Since he makes a big deal about it Cade is picking up on it. 

Cade spent the weekend with Jim and Sharon and we forgot to pack his Singular.  We missed 2 doses of it and it is not quite a sinus infection but it looks suspicious.  Since they were out of school today Jay took Cade to the doctor so he wouldn't have to miss any school later in the week.  Which as a side note Jay thought it was a travesty they were in the doctors office from start to finish for 70 minutes.  I told him that was a good day :)  Anyway, Cade doesn't have a full blown sinus infection yet, but the doctor gave him a prescription for nose spray to use now and an antibiotic in case he starts running a fever later in the week.  After the appointment they picked me up for lunch and then we dropped of the nose spray prescription.  One of Jay's former students works at the pharmacy so she took the prescription.  As we were pulling away we had this conversation....

Cade:  She looks familiar
Me:  Yeah, she went to Miller
Jay:  She is a former student.  There are a lot of those around any more.
Me:  Cade your dad is so old he's got a lot of former students around town
Cade:  Yeah, but mom you're older than him

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10th

Miller's contest was held on the 10th. It was huge. I did end up going to the school, which I knew I would. I went mostly just to see it, but I ended up helping Jania at the registration table. That was fine with me. Jania and I can work well together and I wasn't around Jay at all, since he and I don't work well together :) I can't say it enough....the contest went really really well. There ended up being something like 65 schools and almost a 1,000 kids total. Jay figured there were at least 100 volunteers.

I had never been to a contest before so I had no idea what to even expect, but this was more than I expected. To start out with all of the kids were put in the gym and then each contest group was dismissed. The gym was full. You couldn't fit anyone else in there. The person taking pictures for the paper said her lens wasn't big enough to do it justice because it was so full. I wanted to take some pictures to post but I ended up helping and didn't have time. Looking at all of the buses parked in the front of the school was unbelievable.

It ran like a well oiled machine. There were so many people who put in a lot of time for this contest. Not just parents even. Lyle and Jay had a lot of former students come back to help. I think that says a lot for the type of teachers Lyle and Jay are - they had so many past students willing to give up a lot of time to help them out. And it wasn't just yesterday that they gave up their time. The Alumni group has been working on this since last summer. I think this week there were a lot of them that lived at the school. Every room in the High school was used and most of the elementary.

Some of the contests had to be held at other areas...Ag Mechanics was at a tire shop in town, all of the livestock contests were held at an Arena that isn't too far from our house and Soils and Forrestry was held at a Conservation area outside of town. The bus schedule was unbelievable. I think it was Jania that figured out the timing and number of kids that needed to be delivered to all of these different places. I had to run home after it started to get Jay some clean jeans (he sorted hogs that morning) and it was pretty neat meeting the long line of Miller buses delivering hundereds of kids to where they needed to be.

Again, I'm overwhelmed with the community we live in. When stuff like this happens I think about how I didn't want to move here and God knew what He was doing. Jay and Lyle have made a great team over the past 11 years. Then There are so many great people who live here and they've helped Jay and Lyle so much to build one of the best chapters in the state. Yesterday was definitely a good way to showcase all of the strenghts of Miller's program. It probably also didn't hurt that they were able to display a National CDE trophy on the registration table....

I wish I had some pictures to post because I know that a lot of people who read this don't understand what I'm talking about. Hopefully I will get some eventually.

I really didn't have a babysitter yesterday. Jim and Sharon took Cade to a Civil War reinactment in Pea Ridge Arkansas and everyone else I knew was at the school. Camryn went with me and she was absolutely perfect. Plenty of people were more than willing to take her from me. It was kind of funny because she'd leave with someone and the next time I'd see her she'd be with someone different. Typing that out sounds like something some might worry about, but I never did. I knew she was in good hands all day. And for a good part of the day she was just like this....

She was such a good baby all day long.  And of course she had to wear blue and gold.

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9th

This post will probably be long.  I'm sorry for that, but Friday was one of those long days.  Lets just say that what I witnessed today makes me want to shut our water off any time we will be away from evey day.

It's about 10:30 this evening and I'm trying to stay awake waiting for Jay to get home.  He's still at the school (been there since 8am) setting up the contest.  The total registered number is 1680 students.  Jay said they say to take 20% off of that number for no shows.  Still 80% of 1680 is a lot of high school kids floating around Miller, Mo.

I had an exciting day.  Probably the most exciting day in all my adult working years...heck, probably in all my years.  Up until this point my most exciting day was the time I walked in to see a co-worker staring at a snake on the office floor.  Today didn't cause me to almost faint like the snake did, but it was definitley a wild day.

So to set the stage of this story....Darrell (the loan officer who used to be my boss until we restructred the company last year) is on Mexico.  Even though Darrell isn't technically the boss any more we still function like he is.  Really, the whole thing is a messed up deal but I could fill every page on this blog with the poor decisions made the last two years.  I will stop with that part of the story or I'll be here all night...  Thursday was our Customer Appreciation Day.  I was the same as there by myself.  Since Darrell was gone our receptionist covered the Cassville office Thursday afternoon, but she came back later to help clean up. We had 90 people come in between 8am and 6pm. Pam and I left the office right at 7pm.  I was exhausted, but I knew today was Friday and I would be leaving early to take Camryn to her 9 month check-up.

Pam was going to come in a little late today.  There were supposed to be 4 of us in the office...Me, Pam, Hailey and Connie (They work in our office two days a week on crop insurance stuff).  Are you following me ok?  I know it's confusing but stick with me....  That meant that I was the one who would be there first.  I unlocked the door and immediately I knew Camryn would not be going to the doctor that day and I would not be leaving early....

There was several inches of water standing in half of the office and I could hear more pouring in from somewhere.  My first thought was "Did Pam and I leave something running last night"?  I ran to the bathroom between my office and Darrell's office and could see water running from under the sink.  I opened up the cabinet and it poured out like a flood.  As I was racing back to call Pam to get our landlords number Hailey walked in.  

The next several minutes are a blur....thankfully a customer stopped in right after Hailey came in and they got the water turned off.  I was on the phone off and on with Pam and two of the guys "in charge" out of Springfield.  Hailey and Connie were checking out everything and reporting back to me....Darrell's office floor had several inches of water standing in it.  Mine was sloshy but not standing.  Pam's area was wet, but not sloshy...then they went to the basement.  Pretty much everything down there was ruined because the drop ceiling had fallen through and the water was ankle deep.  I'm trying to convey all of this mess to the guys in Springfield and the first thing they could ask was "could I get to my computer to work".  I finally had to say that I could get to it, but there was no way I was sitting in water to work.  Sometimes I really wonder about these "smarter" people I work with.  Then they kept asking me about the filing cabinets in the basement.  Lets see....we have a fridge plugged in, the ceiling is falling through and the water is ankle deep....excuse me for not trotting through it to check your precious 10 year old paid files.   What was on the tip of my tounge was to tell them to drive their happy butts from Springfield to Mt Vernon and check it out themselves.  But I contained myself.

While all of that was going on I remembered Camryn and her doctors appointment.  By this time it was about 8:30, which is when you can start calling her doctors office.  But the line is always busy so you have to try over and over.  I knew things were going to be a mess and I couldn't rely on myself to remember to keep calling.  I knew Jay was extremely busy but I figured he was probably in a touch better place stress wise than I was at that moment.  I think our conversation went something like this.....

I know you are busy but you need to call Camryn's doctor the office is flooded and the ceiling has fallen through on the basement we probably need to see if your mom can pick up Camryn because Stacy needs her to be picked up early but now i can't remember if she said 3 or 3:30 I'll have to call her and find out and then let you know and your mom will need to stop by here because I have her car seat (notice no periods in there - I think I said all of that in 3 seconds).  Jay had to tell me to slow down because he didn't understand anything I said.  Finally I got it all spit out in a reasonable speed and Jay took care of calling the doctor.

By this time the Landlord's wife showed up.  Let's just say she was not very nice at the beginning.  In fact she was quite hateful.  Later during the day she was much better so I know it was just the overwhelming mess that made her mean to begin with.  But the first thing she asked us when she saw it was very hateful "how long has this been happening"....Let me see....when Pam and I left last night at 7 the pipe was spewing and we locked up and said we'd deal with it in the morning....Good grief woman - we opened the door at 8 and found it like this. 

Finally about 11 Service Master had showed up and they were starting to get things cleaned up.  Darrell had left his laptop so I was able to move it into another office and at least have a computer.  Except I think not having one might have been better.  I guess the combination of me logging into Darrell's laptop on a different monitor freaked the resolution out on the montior.  The print on the screen was so tiny.  I had to get my nose right on the screen to read anything. Thanks to LASIK surgery 7 years ago I have near perfect vision, so I know I wasn't the one with the problem. When I tried to type emails a whole paragraph stayed on one line across the entire monitor. I know some of the emails I sent were jumbled messes.  By 1:30 pm I was completely worn out.  I think it was 25% excitement/stress and 75% straining to read my computer monitor...but by golly I was working!  Oh, and I did try to call our IT department to fix it but because the call is routed somewhere else they didn't know how to fix it.   I finally told them to forget it.  I didn't have the patience to stay on the phone with them for an hour to figure it out. And they've locked down our computers so we can't even fix simple stuff like that on our own.

When I got back from lunch about 2:30 ( I just sat at Sonic for almost an hour because I didn't want to go back) Pam told me Service Master needed us to go to the basement to tell them what could be thrown away.  I went down and pulled out some Christmas decorations that would dry and a couple of boxes of envelopes.  Other than that it was all wet nasty junk that needed to be trashed.  Pam looked horrified.  I went round and round with Pam over stuff that needed to be thrown away.  She kept thinking we could get it dry.  I kept telling her that printers we haven't used in a hundred years and a typewriter circa 1965 needed to be thrown in the handy dumpster the landlord put out back.  I kept explaining over and over how when things get wet they really have to be thrown away because of the risk of mold.  Pam, who you'd never guess to look at her is one of the most stubborn people I've been around.  I almost lost my temper a couple of times.  At one point she was digging through a box and I said "Pam, when was the last time you even looked in that box"?  "If you haven't opened it in the last 6 months WE DON'T NEED IT".  She laughed and told the Service Master guy she knew we needed to wait for me to get back from lunch to go through the basement.  Pam went back upstairs and I told the Service Master guy to not ask her about anything anymore, just come to me.  He said "yeah, we need to keep her out of it". 

What I don't understand is why we would need to keep anything from the basement.  It would be one things if we were a small business and ordering new letterhead and envelopes would be a hardship. We aren't one of those companies.  We are a large organization covering all of the state minus the bootheel.  We made millions of $$ last year.  We are building new million dollar buildings.  FCS can definitely afford to buy us new envelopes.  I don't like to be wasteful either, but if it's wet it's ruined.  End of story.

It was probably a good thing this happend on a Friday.  We have the weekend to recover.  Except Monday may not be any better.  My office and Darrell's is a mess and we've got 6 fans and a humidifer blowing.  You can't talk above the noise.  The fans are also putting out hot air.  The temp in the office from the fans is 92 degrees.  Next week it's supposed to be near 80 outside all week....Pam and I may be working in shorts and tank tops.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6th

Today is March 6th so the month is rolling on by. Of course not without a nasty cough from Cade. Last night he told me he felt like he was getting bronchitis. He wasn’t running a fever but he did have that cough. This morning he was even slower than normal (which means he moved slower than a snail’s pace). He didn’t look good, but we sent him on to school. We’ll have to keep our eye on him. At least if he does get it sick it appears to be hitting a week earlier. Hopefully he’ll be over it by next week, or better yet he won’t even get sick at all. Maybe he’s just tired???

He really wants to go on the school’s perfect attendance party to Incredible Pizza. That is a goal he’s set for himself to accomplish sometime before he completes the 6th grade. Luckily it’s only a semester at a time, so he might have a chance. He gets so down every year when some of his friends go on that trip. The first time he got upset about this trip I totally reverted back to my own school days. I remember those kids who had to have perfect attendance. They were so annoying! They also would come to school puking and snotting and laying all over their desks for the day just so they could say they had perfect attendance. They passed their crud on to the rest of us who had parents that kept us at home when we got sick - like parents are supposed to do! (just ignore my previous line of where we sent Cade to school today). Anyway, when Cade was going on about missing the trip apparently I’ve got some unresolved issues with kids who have perfect attendance. Before I could stop myself I blurted out “Cade, only nerds get to go on that trip…do you really want to be a nerd”. You should’ve seen the look of horror that came across Jay’s face. For several months later, completely out of the blue, Cade would ask why I said only nerds went on the trip. Jay would roll his eyes and tell me I should never had said that. Probably not my best mother moment.

I really hope Cade doesn’t get sick because this will be a bad week for it to happen. Kids can be so inconsiderate! Don’t they know they should check your schedule before they decide to start feeling bad? (I’m totally kidding). But this is a crazy week for both Jay and me. The loan officer is on vacation this week so we are short handed covering two offices and hosting our customer appreciation day on Thursday. I really can’t miss work Thursday. Miller now has over 1600 kids coming to their contest on Saturday. Jay really can’t miss work this week. I’ll need to have a talk with Cade and if this is going to blossom into a fever and full fledged bronchitis he will need to do it on Wednesday or wait until Friday. Again, I am kidding….sort of….

In other news this week….Jay is going a little crazy with this contest thing. He talked to a guy a month ago about borrowing his goats and the guy said it was fine. Jay called him this week to confirm and the guy sold his goats. I think that caused a moment of stress….luckily Jay tracked down some more. A cattle person would’ve said upfront, “hey, I’m thinking about selling all my cows”. It’s a decision not taken lightly, there is lots of thought that goes into it. I guess a goat person wakes up one morning and decides to sell out? Between my job and going to college to get my ag degree and being raised on a farm there is one thing I’ve learned. There are different types of farmers and there are different ways of thinking between the different types. A row crop/cattle farmer does not think like a horse person. A horse person does not think like a goat person. A typical beef cattle farmer does not think like a steer jock, etc. Jay has the Ag Teacher/Beef Cattle mentality. He’s trying to talk to all of these different types of livestock personalities and mesh it all together to get the animals where they need to be Saturday morning. Then he got a phone call from the sheep guy who decided to back out because his sheep were “too wooly”. Figure that one out.

I know there are other things going on that I don’t even know about. Actually I don’t know much about what is going on Saturday. Except that Miller’s population will be almost tripled from 7am to 2pm. I may drive around and gawk at it. Of course I don’t want to actually help. Well I should clarify…it’s not that I don’t want to lend a hand…I just don’t want to be around the nervousness. I’m sure Jay and Lyle will be wound tight. I really don’t want to be near that. Too bad I just can’t seem to find a sitter for Saturday….gosh darn…looks like I’ll just have to stay home…

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1

Today is March 1. It is looking like this month will go about the same as the other March’s since we’ve been married. The month starts out with Jay going to an Ag Mechanics workout and State FFA Officer Interviews in Sheldon tonight and the month will end with District Contests in Springfield. Between those two events will be many other workouts and contests, including a contest in Miller this year. So far there are over 900 kids registered to attend the Miller contest on March 10. Columbia is even sending some kids and so is a school in Arkansas. For those who don’t really understand FFA – this is a huge deal. Jay’s already warned me I’ll be single parenting next week while they get set up. They will be taking over both the elementary and high school, a tire shop, a rodeo arena, and someone’s dairy farm…just to name a few. I’ve been out of the loop so I don’t even know all of the details. I’ve had some people talk to me like I know what’s going on. I just smile and nod.

Between all the FFA stuff we also have to squeeze in two birthdays. Really…it’s more like 1 birthday since mine isn’t a big deal, but I would like to maybe at least go out and eat all together. This year we are all having somewhat monumental days….Jay and I turn 35, Cade turns 10 and Camryn will be 1. So we have to celebrate! I think we already make Cade’s birthday’s pretty special, but I’m going to add a few things this year. Since we will make a big deal out of Camryn’s 1st birthday, I don’t want Cade to feel left out….and he is hitting double digits. Wow!

This year Cade is going with a Lego theme. I already checked with Janella and the cake is in the works. Jay makes fun of me because I always check with Janella way ahead of time. Since Cade’s birthday falls during spring breaks I’m always afraid she will be on a trip. BUT then I chuckle to myself because I know that’s not going to happen. Janella’s husband does the same thing Jay does….there’s not a chance any of us will ever leave town during March. In an Ag Teachers world Spring Break isn’t a time for family vacations….it’s more free time to work on contest stuff. Even when they retire I doubt we will ever take a trip in the spring. They will end up helping with some contest team or judging a contest or something. I doubt too many retired ag teachers give up the March “thrill” cold turkey.

Jay always says there should be some sort of Ag Teacher Wive’s support group. That’s probably true. Only another wife would understand how you can love your husband, but yet not really like to be around them when you have to help judge a district contest. Or how you totally block them out when they say ridiculous things like…We got 3rd place but we were only 50 points out of 1st. That statement makes no sense to anyone who hasn’t been around an Ag Teacher. And I know that at least for Jania and I, we hear it all the time in March. All. The. Time. Or phone calls at work asking if I can pull up Judging Card because he’s can’t get it to pull up on his phone and they are slow about posting the results and so and so said that another team won it, etc.

March also brings sickness to our house. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because it’s never serious which I’m thankful for, but it is definitely a fact of life for us. You can look at my March timesheets for proof. Poor Cade is always sick around his birthday. One year he ran a high fever for days and I think it shaved a few years off of my life. Jay was saying things like “we almost won, but we got 4th place” and I was a wreck because Cade was so sick(again, why there should be a wives support group). Good times, good times. But this year I am prepared! Cade’s doctor thinks he’s allergic to something that comes out this time of year and then before we know it, it blooms into a nasty bacterial thing. The Singular is out and ready to be taken this evening. WE WILL NOT BE SICK THIS MONTH. I repeat WE WILL NOT BE SICK THIS MONTH.

So I guess I’m ready for March to bring all that it has in store for us. I better be ready, because I really don’t have a choice!

And as a totally random side note because I thought it was funny….Camryn was kind of mean when we picked her up last night. She likes to shove Cade’s face away very roughly and she did it several times then she tried to grab the sitters cat. When I didn’t let her grab it she got mad and kicked at it. When we got home Cade very seriously said to me “Camryn is very snotty tonight”. I don’t know why but it has cracked me up. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking “just wait until she can talk”!