Saturday, July 30, 2011

Baby #4

Woohooo! Another baby. How can one not be thrilled about another little one?? I am already 15 weeks pregnant. A little freaky that I am getting so close to half way done. This one has been a little tougher than those before it. Let me rephrase that. This time around I have been sick as a dog and more tired than I ever dreamed possible. I don't throw up easy, so it is no surprise that I haven't again this time, but man oh man did I want to.....and pretty much all day, too. All day, every day for about 7 weeks. Miserable, I tell you. The sick feeling has all but disappeared, but I am still struggling in the energy department. But wow, I am glad to be done with that first part.

So the first question everybody asks is: "Were you this sick with the boys??" And the answer is a qualified NO. Not even close.

The statement that immediately follows is: "OOOO, maybe it's going to be a girl this time!"

I have mixed feelings about it. One, I would love to have a girl. I love my boys and I know another would just enhance what we already have, but a girl would add a whole other element that we have yet to experience and I think I want to. :)

Do I have a feeling either way?? Well, I've never had strong feelings about it with any of the others and I really don't this time either. I tend to lean towards the idea that the reason I have felt so sick this time is because I am on #4 and I am starting to get kind of old. :) Most likely I am having a boy and I am totally cool with that. I'll be finding out at 20 weeks because I just have to. And I can. And I will (hopefully).

I heard the heartbeat at my second mid-wife appointment. And the plan is still a homebirth (round 3!!) assuming all things for the next 25 weeks go as they should.

We are pretty excited around here and everyone (except Easton who has no clue) is really pumped to be a big brother (or daddy) again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Things to Write About

I refuse to call this "Wagner Family Update" because I think too many of you would know what kind of a post this was going to be.  Well, now you know anyway. :)

I find it really hard to blog about anything when big things are happening that I have yet to blog about. I am not a "must blog about EVERYTHING person", but this blog has been a great record keeper of my last 4+ years and I love that about it.

So what I am about to write is just the truth. I can't change it or change us or change the path God has us on or turn us into a family that we aren't. This is us...and these are the kinds of things that just matter how much we strive for "normal" and "settled" and probably a little too much of what we think others think we should be. I'm not going to call it "bad" or "horrible" or boo hoo about having it hard. And I really don't want pity or attention or a whole bunch of "Oh my gosh, can't you guys catch a break" kind of comments. In fact, to clarify: we are happy and have lots and lots of great things happening as well as some things that aren't so fun or great or all that lucky.

Rand's job. Let's start there, shall we? Rand really, really enjoys his job. He has worked there for about 16 months.  It isn't ideal, as he has to work quite a bit of overtime for us to be able to remain a one income family and still pay our bills. BUT, he has been so grateful to be able to basically get as much overtime as he wants, give or take (there are slow and busy times). His prayer for the last year and a half was simply to have favor at work. And God has more than answered that prayer. He has good relationships at work with his bosses and his co-workers. It's good.
About a month ago, however, we got word that the company was going to be switching to being a 24 hour facility no later than January which meant they would be adding a new shift...which meant that there would be no more overtime. There goes two-thirds of our pay check. There has been another open door in the job department, but it is only that so far (it will NOT require moving for those curious). We are praying hard for that open door to quickly transition into Rand's next venture and a new stability for our family. If there is one thing I've learned though, it's that God always provides and Rand always lands on his feet. I know we will be fine.

So moving on. On our camping trip we had some car trouble. On the way up we were overheating. Got to town, filled up on coolant and pretty much thought we were good to go. On the way home we were overheating again. The car went straight to the Nissan shop. They said we really needed a new radiator and a new thermostat and that it was going to be about $800 (at the time this sounded like a lot, but after everything that has transpired it doens't seem like that much). Ugh. Well we thought we ought to think about it because we know that in about 5 months we are going to need a new car (more about that later). They told us we would probably be fine driving it in town, but the long hauls weren't going to happen. Well that was fine with us. I don't go far anyway...and most of the time I'm home. Well it just wasn't running very good. We test drove a new car while we were there...thought about trading it in...decided on no (we are trying HARD not to borrow or go into debt for ANYTHING and it just didn't feel like the right thing to do). So I was driving the car to the store and it started overheating again and it was running real rough. I turned around and went home instead. Then, Rand and I were headed to the home school convention in it last weekend and basically didn't make it there. We had the car towed to our mechanic (not the Nissan place) and he told us we needed a new engine.....and that there weren't any engines in all of Arizona OR California, AND it was going to cost around $4,500 if that was all that needed replacing, AND he suggested we donate it to charity. WHAT??!!!! Well, it's over. It's done. Our family car is officially junked. So, (again, if you know us) we are down to Rand's trusty Snowball.
Side note: When I first met Rand I thought, 'what is that big (he was really muscly) guy doing driving that ridiculous little car?? And HOW on earth does that little thing actually have 4 doors?' We paid it off right after we got married and I prayed that soon we could move on to something else. That darn car is like the energizer bunny. It.Will.Not.Die! And it has been such a blessing. Granted I hate driving it and it is really on its last leg, and we really don't like putting our children in it, because it just doesn't seem safe, but I digress.
Rand's car is sounding bad. About a month ago one of his tires blew up in the driveway (Thank you LORD that didn't happen on the freeway, just moments before). We seriously considered selling it because it's about time. Not sure we want to put any money into it for tires and belts and whatever else it might need, it's just been sitting there. Believe it or not we've had about 4 different people knock on our door and ask if they can buy it. Fortunately, we haven't done that. For now, (as it has been in the past several times) it is our only car...assuming we can spend a little and get it fixed up and running.

So, as they say, when it rains it pours.

If you have managed to read all the way to this point (and you don't already know) you deserve to know that we are expecting baby #4 in January. Baby #4 is a whole other post, but it adds another element to our car dilemma (and job crisis), don't you think? Our family of 5 car wasn't going to fit us for long anyway, but we really weren't expecting it to get totally ruined either.

That's it (I think)! Now that I got that off my chest maybe I can move on to other things. Seriously, I've only cried about the car a hand full of times and the rest of the time I have a pretty good attitude about it. I know we are blessed. Losing our car is not the worst thing that could happen. It is inconvenient, yes, but we just don't want to take on a car payment (especially now with the job thing) ever if we can help it. And that requires us to live a little differently than maybe a lot of people would. I have no idea how this is going to work. Stay tuned, we'll find out together!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kid Quotes::Vol. 37

Wyatt: Hey Mom, what's Dad's favorite color? Bald?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fool Hollow Lake

This weekend (remember our weekend is Thursday-Saturday) we got to take our 4th of July Holiday (Rand worked on the 4th, so he took last Thursday as his required "day-off" for the holiday). We planned a long while back to escape the heat and go camping for a couple days. We haven't done much camping with the kids except in our own backyards (wherever they might be all over the country). We planned a trip to Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low, AZ...about 4 hours North East of Phoenix at about 6,000 feet elevation (much cooler).

We packed and planned and packed and we managed to squeeze an unthinkable amount of stuff into our already too small for us car. Rand, as we have discussed before, can pack like nobody's business.

The big boys were bouncing off the walls excited. I'm surprised they didn't explode. They all helped pack. :)

My mom came to town the week before and she stayed behind to hold down the fort and babysit the chickens. She made the boys a road trip scavenger hunt and they got right to work on it before we even got out of the driveway.

We climbed the hills to Payson and then on to Show Low and it was such relief to my dried up eyes to find trees and nature and, hallelujah, cooler weather. Our campsite was smaller than I was expecting but our tent fit and we were up on a rocky ledge over looking the lake. It was beautiful!

It was a little challenging with Easton, but the bigger boys couldn't have had more fun. Climbing the rocks and exploring the "cliff", riding their bikes all around, running over to the play was a boys dream come true! We did a little non-successful fishing, a little swimming, a lot of eating junk food. We were freezing and uncomfortable the first night. The second night we all slept like logs. OH! and the highlight of the trip was a very, VERY close encounter with a skunk. We.are.SO.lucky! It was less than 10 feet from us, probably licking our marshmallow sticks and we were at the picnic table playing Uno by lantern light. Rand heard something and shone the flashlight past our table and there he was! He turned, lifted his tail and waddled off. Silly me wasn't thinking and got no pictures of the thing. I am just so glad we aren't sitting in tubs of tomatoe juice right now!

Easton...filthy and still pointing

My almost 8 year old is looking so big!

I forgot to mention too, and so as not to forget, we had car trouble on the way there AND on the way back. UGH. Coming back was the worst. Let's just say that driving back into the Valley (108 degrees) with our windows down and our heaters blasting was my idea of pure torture. I thought possibly that I was going to die. I didn't. We survived. We made it home and Easton and I bailed out of the car before it was even parked and went straight to the pool and jumped in with our clothes on. Seriously, we did. BUT it didn't dampen our trip...just moves us one step closer to the inevitable move towards a car replacement.

Camping was a total success and we can't wait to go again!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicken Chronicles::Vol. 10 (A Broody Hen)

Alternative Title: An Eggventerous Day!

Yesterday started with the realization that I had not locked up the chicks the night before. I scanned the yard just to make sure everyone was there and I couldn't find our black hen (Jemimah Bean). Not one to separate herself from the group I went out looking. She was nowhere. Nowhere!! Long story short....I eventually found her in the front yard around the side of our house. All 4 back together! Phew!

Well that got me a little paranoid because I hadn't seen them up on the wall in a while, but obviously at least one had "flown the coop" and escaped. So I had my eye on the chickens throughout the day, more than normal. Well a few hours later I couldn't find our red hen (Hattie Rose), our egg layer.

....a word about the eggs.... Our chicks were born at the beginning of February. Most hens start laying between 4 and 6 months old. I knew at the earliest we could start getting eggs in June and at the latest August. However, Phoenix summers are extreme, to say the least, and many times hens will stop laying or wait to start laying until the weather is cooler. SOOO, our little red hen laid her first egg in her nesting box. We didn't get another one. About a week later we found one in the yard under a chair up against the wall. I knew it was possible for them to find a nicer place to lay eggs and so I wasn't surprised. We didn't get another egg. And it's been HOT, so I haven't been surprised about that either. I occasionally check some of their favorite hiding spots in the yard thinking that it was possible for them to lay eggs in those spots, but nope! Nothing!!! Not a single egg from anybody.

Okay, back to yesterday. So I couldn't find our red hen anywhere! The only place I hadn't checked was around the kids play area and their swing set. There is a little playhouse in the bottom of it and I suppose she could have been hanging out in there...but I had my doubts. Well low and behold there she was. In the playhouse, hunkered down in the corner and there were 5 eggs sticking out from underneath her breast. I. could. not. believe it!!! We started gathering the eggs from under her and I thought to myself, "She has been laying her eggs here all along!!! And then we pulled out a green one. Hattie Rose did not lay that egg! Sister Hazel did....our Easter Egger. Now I wasn't convinced that all of them were laying, but how could I know???  Little Hattie Rose looked like she was ready to spend the next 20 days just sitting there on her clutch and she made a little fuss about us getting her eggs. Poor thing was just trying to be a mama.

When all was said and done we collected 18 eggs from under her and another that was laid later that day. 2 of them were green. Who knows how long they had been out there? About half of them floated so I knew those were bad, but I know I have to throw them all out. I'm sick about it!!! They are still sitting on my counter! Our first dozen and a half and they are all garbage!!! I'm still in shock about the whole thing and our little broody hen is not happy we stole all the eggs. She keeps coming after us when we go outside as if to say, "GIVE ME BACK MY BABIES!" I threw some golf balls into the make-shift nest and thought maybe if she laid another the collection of golf balls would satisfy the need to sit.

Lesson learned. Chickens will indeed lay eggs in extreme heat and they could be anywhere!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dust Storm::2011

This is my 4th summer spent here in the Valley of the Sun, as it's called. I am still shocked that humans can survive it. Every year I go through the same thing. 'Why would anyone live here???' 'How can summer last this long???' 'How is it possible for it to be this hot???' 'How much higher could our electric bill go???' (I'm real whiny when I say these things too) I find this weather almost unbearable. It is dry, and HOT...although our humidity is up now that monsoon season is here. I personally welcome the humidity because it is miserable no matter what, and I have a small OCD issue with "dry, hot" things touching my skin (it's a story for another day).
Anyway, I pray and hope and watch the skies for rain. There really is a monsoon season here, but when they say isolated thunderstorms, they really mean isolated. Most of the time you can see the storm but someone else is experiencing its wrath.

During one of my first summers here I was in the car driving towards a friends house. I looked to my right across the flat desert and I could see this HUGE cloud, real low to the ground. Where I was driving it was perfectly sunny. I was like, "what in the world is that???" It looked like a storm cloud in the distance, but it was brown. Like dirt brown. As I got closer to my destination, I drove right into it. A massive cloud of dust. Inside the cloud it looked like a rain storm (except it was brownish instead of grey). It was windy, it was hard to see, I even had my wipers going, but it was dry! That was my first experience with a dust storm. Crazy, desert weather.

So yesterday evening we were in the pool. I was watching the thunderheads build and just hoping we would get a rainstorm. It was close, but I could see the wind was blowing it to the west of us. Bummer. We got out, I put Easton to bed and the rest of us were watching a movie. I looked out the window (now dark outside) and I could hardly see our neighbor's street light. YES! Rain!!!! I should have known better because I hadn't heard any rain. In fact, I had been sitting there wondering why our house smelled like dust (I hate the smell of dust). I went out back and turned on our spot light and low and behold I was standing in the middle of swirling dirt. It was just blowing past the light almost like a light mist. It was hard to breathe, hard to see, and I had to walk around the side of the house and lock up the chickens. UGH. Imagine a rain storm lacking all moisture. Hot, dry and yet hard to see through. It is the weirdest thing. And let me tell made the biggest mess!!!!! They said on the news it was one of the biggest dust storms Phoenix has ever seen. Picked up by over 50mph winds, it was over a mile high and over 50 miles wide. Crazy!!! Kinda glad I looked up and got to witness it! Dust Storm 2011.

Not my picture, but this is what it looked like if you saw it coming!
That's all dirt...not an ounce of moisture in that there cloud.

This table is actually under our covered patio

this is under our covered patio, too, up against the house

the top step of our pool

looks like it might have sprinkled (rain) a little, but not enough!!!