Saturday, June 23, 2007

I Almost Killed My Cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is really scary!

About two weeks ago, I gave my kitties a flea treatment. I thought I'd save some money, and used some of that "between the shoulder blade stuff" from Walmart instead of the really expensive stuff from the vet. For Yuki, I used ZODIAC SPOT ON PLUS, and for Scratch I used HARTZ ULTRA GUARD PLUS. (I had to use different brands, because Yuki weighs less than five pounds and that's all they had.)

Anyway, Yuki was fine, although she still has a flea issue... But Scratch went into the bedroom and hid under the bed. At first, I thought he was just mad at me, and stressed out with Yuki, who is always trying to ambush him and bugs him constantly, and he has never been a social kitty, so I really didn't think anything of it. Then, after about three days of this behavior, we started getting worried. At that point he had stopped eating, was lethargic, and when he walked, he couldn't retract his claws and they kept catching in the carpet. Of course by then, it was the weekend and no vets on duty except for the Emergency Clinic ($$$$$$$). So we started looking online, to see what could possibly be wrong. I thought he had an abcess/infection from Yuki's little kitten bites. Jim started making the connection to the Hartz drops, and found this website:



I got Scratch from the bedroom and we washed him with Dawn dish soap. To tell you how sick he was, he didn't even put up a fight about that! I took him back into the bedroom and dried him off, and cuddled him to keep him warm, and I noticed then that his pupils were completely dilated too. I felt so bad!

About two hours later, I went back in to check on him. Already, he looked more alert and his eyes were not so screwed up. The next day, he was eating and drinking again, and by the third day he felt well enough to sneak out the door when Jim let Patches out. Today, he is fully recovered and back to his old cantankerous self.

We were really, really lucky. Many cats have died or have not recovered like ours did. Never, never use Hartz drops on your kitties!!!!! Actually, we are not going to use ANY Hartz products anymore. When you buy a product like that, you are placing your trust in the company, that they have tested it and it is safe to use as directed, and Hartz has abused that trust. They will not get our business again!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Battle of the Q-Tips

From the Charlie Rock website...

"Pugil Stick Fighting 23 May 07
Fighting with bayonets is trained through a series of classes which end up with a simulated bayonet fight. Using the techniques they were taught earlier in the day, Soldiers "fight" each other in order to enhance training and build a warrior spirit."

To me, it looks like they are beating each other with giant Q-Tips. I can't find Parker in any of these, but here are a couple of pictures...

Basic's a Gas!

Here are some photos (taken May 22nd) of some of the NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) training that the recruits go through. They learn how to use their protective gear, and then they actually go into a gas chamber where they are exposed to CS gas (which I believe is tear gas?) It doesn't do any long-term harm, but by seeing the difference without their gas masks, they learn to trust their equipment, and each other too.

These pictures actually creep me out a little bit, they look spooky with their masks on. (The only one I know for sure is Parker is the last one, but that's what they all went through.)

***All pictures are copyrighted by Charlie 2/54 INF***

Going in...

Inside the gas chamber. (I'd be freaking out right about now!)

Coming out...

Poor Parker! I'd never have the guts to do that! (Heckuva way to clear the sinuses!)

Photos of Parker (aka Where's Waldo???)

I've been going thru the Charlie Rock website photos, and I think I've found a couple of Parker. I know it's terrible since I gave birth to the lad and all, but some of the pics I'm just not sure... They want to mold these guys into a team, so they make them look as much alike as possible... So here goes, let me know what you think!

***All these pictures are copyrighted by Charlie 2/54 INF***

OK, he's not in these first two, but here's DAY 1

This is the Obstacle Course, May 17th... I *think* he's in the back row???

This is *definitely* Parker, front row 1st on left, they are learning hand-to-hand stuff. (May 17th)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I love IKEA

On Saturday we went to the IKEA store in Round Rock (just outside of Austin). I LOVE that place!!! It's kind of like a warehouse store for every type of home decor you can think of... every room of the house!

When you walk in, you have to take a pencil and a shopping list thing, because when you see something you like on display, you have to write down the bin number and aisle number for when you get to the warehouse. You follow these arrows on the floor as they wind you through the showroom where they have little living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc on display. It takes FOREVER to get through the place! When you are done going through the store, you end up in the warehouse. Seriously, it's like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the end, when they show that huge warehouse where the Ark ends up... You just go "oh. my. god."

We've bought a few things from IKEA, like our $24.99 coffee tables, and a storage/cubby thing for Jill's room. Honestly, you get what you pay for, and everything comes in a flat box totally unassembled, but for the price it is OK stuff, and when the sippy cup leaks on it or the cat jumps on it or whatever, I'm not going to have a heart failure like I would if it was a $200 coffee table! So.... I LOVE IKEA! YAY SWEDEN!

we bought a boat!

Jim has had "boat fever" for awhile, and on Friday we finally took the plunge and we bought a boat! A Stingray 180, with a package that included the trailer, lifejackets and basically everything we need to get on the water right away. It's not a huge "go to Isle Royale" boat, but it is a good starter for our family. We're really excited about being able to get outside and do something together that we all will enjoy. There are a couple of big lakes (OK, you Michigan people, big for TEXAS!) about 25 - 30 miles away where we can go and spend the day, swimming, fishing, or whatever. We even got a lifejacket for Patches, so he can go with us and we don't have to worry about him stuck in the yard, or eating the house.

Here's a factory picture. We pick up our boat on Tuesday, and I'll post some pics then too. Now it just has to stop raining. (We've had terrible storms and flash flooding in the area, but fortunately our house & neighborhood is OK.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Preschool Graduation

Jillian graduated from preschool on Tuesday nite. It was a very cute ceremony, the kids sang their little hearts out! Here's a couple of pictures...

Parker Update

We've gotten a few letters from Parker, and he sounds great. They're working hard, but he seems to be keeping a positive attitude about it all. Click on the link below to go to the "Charlie Rock" website, which has lots of photos and updates for his company. I even found a couple of pictures of Parker! It's pretty cool, and sure a lot different than the "olden days" when Jim was in Basic and there was no internet!

(Note: The trainees can't see the website, since they don't have computer access. Mail is still the main way to communicate, and they really appreciate getting mail!)

CLICK HERE for the website.

Rabbit Fest

On Sunday, Jen & I took the girls to Rabbit Fest, a local carnival. We bought them wristbands so they could go on all the rides, and did they ever have a blast! We were there for nearly five hours, and the kids were soooo tired, they were just spacing out by the end of it, and the Mommies were wilting by then too!

We ate all the required junk food as well: Fried onions, snow cones, corn dog, ice cream (not all at once, throughout the day!)... and something that sounds completely gross and weird, but is so good-- deep fried dill pickles! Doesn't that sound disgusting? But really, YUMMY! Who'd've figured??? The girls also got tattoos, airbrushed of course, but they thought they were too cool!

Here are a few pictures from the day...

Movie Review: Shrek the 3rd

My friend Jen & I took our girls to see Shrek 3 last Friday. I think the reviews are pretty accurate on this one, in that it is OK, but not the best thing you'll ever see in your life. I mean, part of the reason Shrek #1 was so funny was because it was an original-- new characters, animation style, the works. I have to say I liked #3 better than the second one, but it seems to be getting kind of old and repeating the same jokes. Of course, if they make a 4th one, I'll see it, because it's like the Star Wars movies, you know it's not going to be like the early ones, but you still want to see how it turns out! Although with any more Shreks, I think we'll wait for the DVD.

As far as my three year old, she had no great interest in watching this movie, and we spent a lot of time in the lobby walking around, but to be fair, she is not a big movie watcher. She just likes to go to the theater, because she knows we get popcorn, and it's something different for her. So this was about average for Jill. My friend's little girl, who is almost four, sat through the whole thing, and really enjoyed it. There are some silly parts that little kids would love, and there weren't really any parts that seemed too scary. All in all, a good family movie, something to do on a rainy afternoon!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Big 4-0!

Yesterday was my birthday, the big 4-0, forty years old. I had a good day, got spoiled, and we went out to dinner too. (Olive Garden, yummy!) Jillian must have "surprised" me about 100 times throughout the day, it was funny, she kept going "I'm going to surprise you for your birfday Mama!" (covers her face, then jumps up) "SURPRISE!" At which point I had to go "OHHH! I'M SO SURPRISED! YOU'RE THE BEST SURPRISER EVER!!!" And she'd laugh and laugh.

Jim asked me how it felt to be old... ha ha... Really, it feels like a fresh start, not a bunch of doom and gloom. I think I have been more introspective lately, kind of assessing where I'm at, where I want to be, and all of that fun stuff, but I have been very blessed in my life, and have very few regrets, and lots of things I'm looking forward to now and in the future! (Lord willing and the creek don't rise, as they say here in Texas!)

So we'll see what unfolds!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Letter to Barack Obama. (This makes me sad.)

Here is a copy of a letter I just sent to Barack Obama. I'm so disappointed about this, but I guess such is life in the Big World of Politics.

I really don't expect a response, but if on the off chance I get one back, I'll post it here too.

Love you guys!



You have just lost my vote, and I am so disappointed, because I had so much hope for 2008.

Dear Senator Obama,

I was so excited when you announced your candidacy. I signed up on your website right away, and for the first time, I thought that politics could be different, that *I* could help to make a difference, and that there was finally hope for getting us out of the mess in Iraq in a balanced, rational way.

Then the "veto battle" started. Promises not to interfere with funding our troops on the ground were quickly broken in an attempt to make personal political gains. Soldiers' lives were once again used as political pawns in order to get sound bites and airtime. I was completely disgusted, but you still had my support as your stance was to keep the troops funded as long as they were still being put into harm's way.

Now today I have just read that you are supporting cutting funding in March of 2008. Fabulous, Senator, since my husband, and most likely my oldest son also, will be in Iraq in March of 2008. Do you think they will be on a plane home as soon as you enact this policy? Or more likely, they will be "making do" with already strained resources. Should I start saving up so we can buy our own equipment and food?

How dare you and the rest of the politicians in Washington (because, sadly, I now realize that you *are* about politics as usual, following the "Party Line" and more of the same!) ...How dare you use our families' lives as pawns and tools to try and force this President's policy? We are already stretched to the limit with this. Now we are being pulled in too many directions. We need support AND financial backing while you -supposed -diplomats get in there and use perhaps a more subtle method than taking the Army hostage in order to fix what you all started together. (And yes, Senator, I know you voted against the war. But CONGRESS voted for it as a majority and now your initial vote is a moot point, since what's done is done, so to speak.)

I hope it was worth it for you, to "flip flop" like that. For me, I guess it has been a lesson too. I will be posting my "Obama '08" shirts, stickers, etc. on ebay, and I also will be canceling my monthly donation. (Maybe I'll put the money into a fund for my soldiers, do you think?) Yes, I am slightly bitter about this, I feel like as a military family, we've been sold out again, by the people who claim to care about us.

I don't know if I will receive a response, but I felt I had to express myself on this issue. Thank you for your time.


Laura (I have removed my last name for this post)
(Proud to be an Army Wife and an Army Mom!)
(I have removed my personal contact info for this post)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Parker heads out

Well, Parker has left home, and is now in Georgia where he will begin his Army career.

I know they aren't meant to live at home forever, and believe me, I don't really want them to, but it's hard when they leave the nest. I've been crying off and on all week, the weirdest little things would set me off... and I had to really bite my tongue to keep from giving him all of my great advice, trying to cram 20-plus years of parenting into the last few days, just in case I forgot anything important-- Like, "don't share towels, you can catch that flesh-eating fungus". And yes, I really did tell him to make sure to eat lots of healthy food and vegetables. I bought him little mini-toiletries to take on the plane, and made sure he had clean underwear. I gave him 20 bucks so he would have some cash on the trip... And then I dropped him off at the Army recruiter station, gave him a big hug, and there goes my baby. Of course I had to act all mature and cool about it, so I didn't embarrass us all, and I didn't want to make it harder for Parker either, I could tell he was already nervous, excited, the whole nine yards... So I think it went well. It's a little quieter around here, but still lots to keep me busy. And now I can concentrate on sending letters, care packages, and looking forward to when we go to Ft. Benning in August for his graduation.