This is probably the only resolution that is about me (and Shea) personally.

Resolution #1 - lose weight. I am not going to put a weight limit on it. I'd like to be a minimum of 136 but I just need to lose weight period so I'm not setting a specific goal/time frame.

Instead I'm going to set small achievable goals.

My first few goals are meant to set us up for this particular resolution.

#1. Get a scale that does not rely on batteries to work. While the digital are more accurate when the batteries die you are kinda out of luck until you replace them. And they have a weight limit that isn't quite so visible as your scale maxing out.

#2. Find at least one weeks worth of low cal recipes that fit into my weekly budget. These recipes should add vegetables to the diet that aren't otherwise in my current repertoire of foods. I'm looking at soups, stews and other dishes in which I can puree and/or hide the veggies from my very picky husband. If he sees them he won't eat them. This does two things, adds veggies to all our diets and stretches the bang for the buck on the meat.

#3. Try to play Disney Groove for an hour a day with or with out the girls. While I'm still working the very easy setting I think this is by far the best way for me to get extra exercise. As long as I sweat then I'm happy with the activity.

#4. Do a little research on EA Active to see what it has on it for "games" and activities and see if its worth the money to buy for both Shea and myself.

And finally #5. Stop drinking non diet soda. While this may seem like the easiest of goals it is probably my hardest one to achieve. I don't like diet soda, I've tried and tried to drink it but I can't get it down. But unfortunately I am drawn back into soda for the flavor of Dr. Pepper. Also unfortunately my caffeine intake at this current moment is way to high to it cold turkey. I cannot manage a day with the caffeine withdrawal headache I will get if I stop cold turkey. I have a few cans of regular Dr. Pepper left in the fridge, I will from my next purchase be buying Diet Dr. Pepper if it's still on sale, if not I'll find another suitable caffeinated diet soda to begin the slow down turn of caffeine intake. Diet soda's will do two things, remove the caffeine intake slowly as I won't drink as much and two keep the calories down until I can limit my drinks to Crystal Light and/or flavored water. But this is going to be the hardest of the small goals to achieve.

It's that time of year again to reflect on the goals of last year. To refresh my memory

1. Remove the final credit card from our budget and build my credit to a better score
2. Lose weight. 136 is still my goal, but exercise is going to be needed to reach it and maintain it. Now just to find a way to do this.
3. Learn something new or improve more of what I know – jQuery and AJAX or .net (C# variant)
4. Potty Train Kathleen!
5. Finish at least one personal project.
6. Finish my business website and begin writing weekly on it’s blog.
7. Begin a “beginner” programming blog
8. Play daily with my girls with their lincoln logs, tinker toys or building blocks.
9. Color with the girls daily
10. Help Kathleen (and Samantha) learn her ABCs, colors and shapes.
11. Learn how to make yeast rolls

#1 - still in negotiations, but almost done with this I hope.

#2 - don't think I've managed to do that but we've been out of a scale for a while and I keep forgetting to buy one that doesn't require batteries.

#3 - the only thing I can really think I learned this past year was cakePHP. I dabbled more with jQuery and Ajax and poked around with C# and .net but I don't think I learned much more than I already knew.

#4 - Well it's better than last year. We've had our good weeks and our bad ones. In order to remind both Kathleen and myself to remind Kathleen I've started a timer, it seems to be working, every 20 to 45 minutes depending on what I think she's doing at the time seems to be helping to remind both of us. Now to start working on Samantha.

#5 - Nope, no personal projects completed I started about a billion again.

#6 & #7 - I haven't done any design blogging. I should but I don't have the ideas to push enough through right now.

#8 & #9 - I don't so much as play with the girls as let them build with them. Kathleen loves to build. Granted the toys are all over the house, but they enjoy them. I don't color much with them either, but Kathleen loves to draw, Sammi just goes with the flow.

#10 - we started this and Kathleen can identify some letters and knows what sounds others make, but we still need to work on that, we bought alot of Christmas presents this year to assist with that process.

#11 - well I did make yeast rolls this year, but they weren't very good, I will have to try again.

I will make some resolutions for next year, but not tonight. Later will be better while I sit down and go through my business stuff and try to see where I want to go from there.

I've missed out on writing some things so I end up with a lot to write on the days I remember to write. I know it's an interesting title, but my parents uses bells for their dog. It was such a great idea I'd tried to make our own set. I only found little jingle bells and Samantha took them off the ribbon I had them on. Probably not the greatest of ideas, but Mom found some HUGE bells, tie wrapped them on to a chain and put them on a cat collar so we can adjust it on the door knob. It's been on about a week or so and Bubba actually uses them during the day. I don't know if he's ringing them to actually go outside, but I think he is, he usually rings them and then sits down and waits, and then goes outside. It did not take him long to figure it out. We have very few accidents during the day. We still have some and at night I'm sure we do as well, but of the three little children I have he was by far the easiest to potty train.

My parents asked me who would be potty trained first Kathleen or the Dog, I said the dog lol. And I was right.

Kathleen had her birthday party yesterday. She racked up on toys, but unfortunately I will be going to the store today to pick up another Barbie doll for Samantha. She fell IN LOVE with the one Sydney gave Kathleen. So we must get her one.

The birthday party was a bit bigger than the previous ones. We invited three additional kiddos. Taylor who is the daughter of Shea's second cousin, she's about 1 years old, Victoria who is the daughter of one of Shea's highschool buddies and Jacob, who is one of Kathleen's friends at Mam and Pawpaw's church when she goes. Their parents are a friend of the family. We of course invited Addie and Laura as well. AND Gabriel and Sydney were there. It was a joy to have them share Kathleen's birthday with us. We only wish it could have been longer but we understand.

The kids played with Kathleen's Christmas video game - a web cam that hooks to the tv and plays music and has dancing characters while they all dance in front of it. And we brought up Elefun and all the kids caught butterflies. Shea's parents have a pasture they let some local horse owners use, his only real condition was that they come over once and a while when the girls are around to give them a ride. Now I must say I was not at all surprised that Kathleen rode the horse. She actually couldn't wait for it. But it truly amazed me that Samantha rode the horse. Totally amazed me because she freaks out at anything that moves by itself, she wasn't real sure of it the first time and when I took her away she still insisted on riding so we avoided the horse's head and we went around, she rode around in a smaller course than the rest of the kids, but she didn't cry she actually smiled and enjoyed it. She still amazes me when she does something out of character like that. But she did the same thing with the fair rides this year too. It's amazing what a year will do for the kiddos.

Well it has been an eventful few days. On Monday my computer completely died. It's been interesting not having on. I did finally get my laptop fixed. I had tried to install norton internet security and the avg kept erroring on uninstall so it broke the whole computer. Thankfully nothing important is on my laptop so I just reinstalled it. However when I do that it doesn't have the ethernet or wireless driver so I didn't get around to downloading all that until today. So my laptop is now functioning and I can keep up with my email and the likes with out bugging Shea.

It took three days to get the loan approved for my new computer. It's a dell, it's much better than what I had: Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q8300 (4MB L2, 2.5GHz, 1333FSB), Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English

It has 6G of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. I bought the latest version of Office with it and a 3 year warrenty. The only bad thing is that I won't get it till the middle of January. It really kinda sucks but I'll live.

Christmas was good. The girls made out like champs.

Kathleen and Samantha got a tent to share, a tinkerbell sleeping bag each, a princess dress up trunk from Grams T. Grandma and Grandpa got the girls a leapster 2, 1 game and a battery charger with 4 rechargable batteries, each. Santa gave them a buzz lightyear stuff toy and blanket, and a princess basketball, panties, m&ms, a toy story flash light and a little pet shop figure. I started a new tradition with the girls gifts from us. Something they need, "want", a game, read, and wear.

They needed more sheets for their bed so they both got a mickey sheet set. They got their "want" which isn't necessarily something they wanted but something I thought they'd like - Sammi got a large truck carrier with about 20 little cars inside it, Kathleen got some playdoh and a white board drawing and lettering set. They got the Elefun game to share (catching butterflies in a net). They each got a colloring/activity book to "read". And a red "christmas" tunic and legging set they can wear after christmas still.

They got from Shea's side of the family different things. Sammi got a talking truck she's afraid of because it moves by itself, some Barbi dvds, an outfit and a princess drawing book and a bath set. Kathleen got a dance video game to play on the tv, a simple "simon" game, an outfit and a bath set.

Mom and Dad also sent the girls a collection of books and coloring books that they love.

We also had the first of Kathleen's birthday parties. We had cake and icecream and she opened up some presents. She got a fairy popup tent, an arizona fleece sweat shirt, a tinkerbell blanket and some drawing books from us. She enjoyed it.

I got the new super mario brothers game for wii and Shea will probably be getting a smoker for christmas.

All in all we had a good day and I think everyone enjoyed opening presnets with both my parents and Shea's. It was a good day.

Christmas is fast approaching. Next Friday is the big day, and one in which Kathleen cannot wait for. She is constantly talking about Santa, I think next year we'll have to start writing letters to Santa.

Tomorrow is the family party, which hopefully will be a good time.

We had Christmas dinner tonight, the Saturday before Christmas. As is typical for here, I have no idea what we are doing on Christmas day, so in order to get the left overs that come with Christmas, I baked us a half a ham and made some mashed potatoes, and we finished off the biscuits I made for breakfast this morning. It was yummy, but my tatos were missing something and I'm not quit sure what it was.

Thus far our Christmas plans consist of opening presents when the girls get up while we web cam in my parents so they can watch the girls. Mam and Pawpaw might make it for present time, last Christmas we had to wake the girls up as they arrived before they woke up lol. I expect it to be the same this year or at least close.

I hope to have some cinnamon buns and hot cocco and coffee made while we open presents. I'd have egg nog but neither of us like it so there is no point in wasting that holiday tradition.

Tomorrow is a busy day, I have to make some smokey mac and cheese in the afternoon before we head over to the party. I will probably have to go to the store even though I had hoped I wouldn't have to. I ran out of salt, which is a rare thing and I'm pretty sure I'll need it tomorrow too. I should also pick up some drinks as I'm not sure if anyone will bring anything, so I want to make sure we are covered at least.

I've always struggled with what to put at my root domain. Mainly because some hosting providers don't really let wordpress work on a base domain, typically ones that don't use cpanel for their subdomains. One of my prior hosts used frames to do subdomains which was really annoying so if you enabled it then you couldn't do anything really with the root cause it was basically just a redirect portal.

Lunarpages lets me put wordpress in so I installed wordpress at my root and now have a life stream which can and will pull in all my online activity to it, as well as provide a landing page for me (and my "users") to use to go to various other sites located on my domain and other useful links I need regularly.

So now I have a working front page with useful information and the potential to do more. I'm thinking of adding in my WoW characters as there is a wow armory link that is really cool thus far. It is something I wanted to do as well. I might do that as well for Shea since he's been bugging me again about a webpage lol.

There are only 3.5 days left of Shea working. Then he gets two weeks off. It's pretty cool that he gets off the time but he's only paid for like 3/4 of it. So it hurts but it's nice.

End of the year sucks. It brings with it so many worries and so many financial concerns. The house land taxes are due, the car tag is due, have to file taxes. So very not a fun time of the year.

The holidays are always good though. My only concern is that we aren't going to get to see Shea, Sydney and Gabriel for more than the 20 minutes we did last week. It's really a heart breaker, and it really did break the girl's hearts they didn't get to spend more time with them. I can only hope they'll stop by again sometime before Shea has to ship out again. He's leaving in five days so the odds are not in our favor.

I really do hope they understand that they are part of our family and that we really do want to spend time with them. We want to know what is going on with their lives. That we aren't going to make judgment on what they do, where they go or who they do it with, we just want to be included in their lives. Not to find out the backwards way, like they are sneaking around behind our backs. We just want to be involved.

I feel really bad that Shea's not going to be able to see much of his grandson as it is.

All I can do is wait and hope things turn out for the better. Nothing more we really can do. As with all things in our lives.

As I'm sure Bubba an attest to being sick sucks!

The girls are at least feeling a bit better. Not 100% but better. It has been a challenge to keep them in clothes. Thankfully today is a bit warmer outside then yesterday.

Me I'm still pretty out of it. I was so bad last night that the only sinus meds i had was a day time formula, so I took it. And it helped enough that I passed out.

Shea and I have been letting Bubba lay in our bed while we watch TV. I think that has spoiled the pup. He's decided that he wants to sleep with us, which right now isn't a problem. In a month or two when he's grown up a little more then I'll be hurting so we'll see if Shea puts him in bed again with us lol.

My biggest concern all day yesterday was that Bubba hadn't had a bowel movement. He decided this morning after Shea went to work would be the best time to alleve himself of that problem lol. I don't think I've ever been so happy/proud of an accident in the house before. I would consider it a big achievement too as it was not yucky. Stinky but not the same kind it was before that permeated the whole house.

So yay for accident this morning. Now hopefully on to full on potty training. With our eating and watering scheduled right now it shouldn't be overly difficult lol, but we'll see.

Yesterday he was given food every couple of hours, he'd eat and sometimes he wouldn't. I also was giving him some food when I saw he was starting to scavenge everything.

With a sick puppy in the house I forgot how much he could get into when he got to feeling better. The day before he came home I had cleaned up most of the house. But with him being sick things got to the normal house standards with the girls, their toys and the crumbs they leave behind. Not as big as usual. So this morning even though I feel like crap I spent the time to clean up the office and hall way floors, vacuum up them, even in the corners and edges to get all the "yummies" out of the crevices that got pushed to the sides with the vacuum. And I did a quick once over of the bedroom to get anything that he'd been sniffing at before. He has free reign of those two rooms. And by free I don't mean he's wandering around unattenuated cause it's very rare that that girls aren't attached to him. I have to fight them off of him to let him sleep. He's at my feet now where it's safe so he can rest in peace.

Two nights ago Kathleen had a nice fever. Nothing I was overly concerned about I knew how she'd probably gotten the cold - going out side with out the proper clothing on. Since we've had the puppy there has been only one good day for them to go outside and I let them under my supervision. It's really hard not to let them go out into the yard, but it's better until Shea can get the tall grass down. Last thing we need is for a snake bite or worse. I don't even let Bubba get into the worse of the tall grass but he does have to go out in it.

Yesterday Samantha felt overly warm so she must have gotten something too. They've both been fussy so it didn't surprise me any. I went to the store and bought some Children's tylenol - something I haven't had in the house since Kathleen decided to drink the last bottle. I have been very careful with this bottle. However I doubt there isn't a place in the house she can't get to if she really wanted something. All the currently active meds (the girls tylenol and the puppies meds) are on the second shelf of my kitchen cabinents. Almost out of my own reach.

I feel like crap. I felt like crap last night and I went to go watch TV in our bedroom. I managed to watch Phineas and Ferb's Christmas episode and the episode that followed, and got a little way into rerun of Sactuary and then fell asleep and was woken by a dog yip from his pen. It was halfway through the new episode of Sanctuary. Yay! *sarcasm* I missed an episode. Though I probably will get to see that next Friday. I'm so drained.

Well last night he started feeling better, was drinking water at twenty minute intervals a few laps at a time. He was peeing normally and sometime in the middle of the night he pooped - still the runs in a dark green color with an icky smell, but after my research about what the parvo smell actually smells like I'm pretty sure it's just an awful poo smell and not the smell of "death" that was described. But I guess we won't really know much until he starts eating, which will be in about 30 mins or so.

We slept better last night, or so I thought until Shea told me Bubba and I kept him awake. I really didn't think I'd been out of bed that much, and the girls only came in a few times, and not overly excessively considering Kathleen has a fever.

I was slightly worried last night about her, and around 3am Kitkat, Sammi and I took a luke warm shower. Sammi only joined us because she was awake. They came out when Shea went to work this morning and Bubba was attacking them like it was the first day. The girls were screaming cause he was nipping at their toes. Yeah, back to normal. He's also very hungry. He'll have to wait on that though he'll be eating little bits over the course of the day. He is trying to eat everything in the world.

I had to bring the crate into the bedroom so that I can keep an eye on him while I tend Kathleen. The living room is too cold in the fall/winter so we stay in our bedroom for the warmth, and comfort of a bed instead of the leather couches. The lady at the vet told me if the crate was too big to throw in some boxes to make it smaller so that's what I did. He and his bed can fit in the crate so hopefully this will do two birds with one stone, potty training/crate training and keeping him from over extending himself activity wise (and also keep him from the girls, he's already been sent to his pen to day for biting Kitkat - after Samantha let him out of course).

I'm running on about 9 hours of sleep over the past two days. Which is also another reason we are in the bedroom and Bubba is going to spend most of his day in the pen. So I can rest and not worry about him eating things or cheweing on things he should not.

But all in all things are looking up. I'm still worried but today looks better, he's acting like a puppy and that is not something he's done since we brought him home.

Between Bubb and the girls it took me nearly half an hour to write this lol. So I'm gonna go prepare Bubba some dinner for the first time hopefully in two days he'll eat.

Well the vet called again, thinking it was the day after he'd spoken to me. But it was a good thing he called. I had been going back and forth about whether or not to call him back and let him know what was going on.

At this very moment it doesn't look like Parvo. But it could very well be just hasn't progressed enough yet to tell. They didn't do any blood work, just took his temp and examined him for dehydration. He was slightly dehydrated, so they gave him some fluids in his abdomen, two shots and sent home some medicine for us to start giving him. We are to restrict food for 24 hours and water for 2 only then giving him a few laps every 20 mins or so from then on out. Basically don't over do it.

This is probably all that we will be able to do financially and for that I feel horrible. So we'll deal with the rest tomorrow. And I truly hope that Shea will be home despite needing that money, but since we didn't talk long at lunch I didn't get to ask him. He'll be out of work in a few and I'll have some assistance.

I'm probably not going to sleep well tonight either. Sleep will probably only come out of pure exhaustion. Not sure if the girls can tell something is wrong, but by the way they've been acting I think they do, but we'll see. If we have to make the hard decision I'm not sure how well they will handle this.

The vet returned my call. I told him the story basically Bubba's been not so puppish for a few days, his diarrhea started Tuesday nightish. I gave him his meds and shortly there after he vomited.

I explained his actions, he asked about his bowel movements but I've not seen him take one yet since last night. He told me to give him 1 teaspoon of Kaopectate 3 times today and see how he's doing in the morning and to stop the panacur, that the Advantix multi would take care of the round worms. So we'll see how he's doing later.

I must say that the little boy can move when he wants to. He was outside for a potty break and he startled some birds on the ground. They flew away and he yelped and ran to me. That's twice he's freaked today.

But on the upside he did do some playing with the girls, not a lot but a little, enough to make me worry a little less. He's still hiding and clearly not feeling well.

Vet said if he's not any better by tomorrow - meaning appetite returns, eating and drinking okay that he'd probably want to see him again.

So we wait, but at least I have a clear direction to go and as much as we need the money I hope Shea will be home tomorrow, I really don't like doing this alone. Been a very hard day for me and it's only going to get worse lol. But so far no emergency yet. No blood in the stool, no blood in the vomit.

He's not going to be happy with me when I get up from here, cause he's gotta go to his pen, so I can go pick him up his medicine and some softer food for temporary solution to eating. He seemed to want to eat the dog biscuit, just didn't want to do alot of chewing I think. We'll see.

It's 7am and I've been up all night worrying about Bubba. I've spent the greater part of this morning investigating Parvo and Roundworms. Parvo is scary and from the things I've read I'm not sure it's that. The biggest reason is his stool and vomit is not bloody. It was a few days ago but it's not consistent. When I mentioned that to the vet she said it was probably from the roundworms.

Bubba is also not stationary. He is not content to stay in one place, even at night he was sleeping in various places. On his bed next to me, next to shea between the air conditioners. He is currently under Shea's desk. We've gone outside several times and he even ran inside when he heard another dog bark. He is most definitely not himself, but I also don't see it getting any worse than it has been over the past few days.

I also looked up the medicine he was taking, which was shortly before his first vomit attack. One of the side effects is vomiting.

While this new information is not going to hinder my call in the next 10 to 15 mins to the vet I feel slightly better about things, if only slightly. Hopefully my call to the vet will improve that dramatically. This is why we have professionals. I know a lot of people don't trust professionals persay but they definitely no a lot more than I do on subjects I've not studied in school or at home.

Tuesday Bubba had a doctor's appointment. Roundworms was the only negative at the time. I had mentioned that he has loose stools and was a bit lazy.

When we got Bubba he chased the girls all over, enough that they were constantly complaining about him nipping at their feet and legs. Well since Tuesday he's been out of it.

Last night he started with diarrhea in full force AND vomiting. The poo smells awful and not in the poo kinda way, that I'm okay with this is nasty foul smelling stuff. I don't recall when that started.

So last night I was up all night. Worrying my poor little soul over what to do, what we would do if something bad comes of it. I searched the net sometime on his symptoms and of course found the worse of the worst that fit his symptoms - parvo. I went back to bed an even worse mess than I came out to my computer in.

About two hours later I got up and did another search, on roundworms this time. And this actually helped, granted not enough that I could get some sleep as Bubba decided then would be a good time for another round of puking on the floor.

His symptoms - diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy. There is nothing we can do about parvo except see if it gets better, there can only treat the symptoms. So this basically means keeping him hydrated. Roundworms on the other hand we can treat and we are currently doing so.

So my second search helped calm my nerves a little but not enough that I'm not calling the vet as soon as they open.

My biggest worry is Kathleen. If Bubba was to pass away I'm not sure we'd have a good Christmas. She is absolutely in love with him. She is being very motherly towards him, taking him outside every few minutes or whatever. I didn't have to clean up one poop or pee mess yesterday until bed time because of Kathleen's efforts with Bubba, granted she went outside by herself on a number of occasions with out asking. It is going to be a very difficult few hours until the vet opens and a very difficult next few days if we are playing the wait and see if the roundworms is the problem game.

I'm not sure I can handle the loss of another pet. We've not had him long but he's part of the family and just not sure my aching heart can handle it again. I'm praying for the best and hope things look up if only for my little girls.

Weather is always interesting down here. It's fall and it got way cold there for a while, and then it rained for a long while where we could have gotten snow. Now it's like 70+ degrees.

Today was an absolute gorgeous day. It was hot enough that I would have turned the AC but we don't have it so I did the best alternative which in reality is the better solution. I opened some windows to let some air in and cool the house down. It is nice.

However I will have to close the windows tonight as it's going to get down to 30 degrees and be chilly tomorrow. I know that this doesn't seem cold to most of my friends and family but here in the south that is like -7 below zero. The humidity gets in your bones and the only way to get it out is to take a hot shower. But then again it's all relative. While I can tolerate much more cold like this than some people, my blood has "thinned" enough that it affects me alot more than it use it.

I feel for all you northern friends and family getting hit with all the bad weather. I wish ya'll warmth and safety.

I didn't manage to get a post out yesterday was a rather busy day. Shea got rained out so we spent most of the day together. And I got some of the things that needed doing done, but I didn't manage a post.

But we had a late surprise. Last night around 6pm we had a knock on our door. It was Shea, Sydney and Gabriel. We didn't get to see them long before we were off to go meet Shea's parents - they were in Ocean Springs going to their youngest grandson's first concert. Shea and his brood went with them so we didn't get to spend much time with them. Which was a disappointment to us all. I feel the worst for Kathleen she was very heartbroken she didn't get to see her brother and Sydney and Gabe anymore.

Hopefully we'll be able to see them again. He's going back to Iraq on the 19th. I will cross my fingers and hope they make it back down.

Well, I had decorated my tree the day after Thanksgiving as is per my tradition. The girls and I made snowmen and a paper chain and some snow flakes.

I had hoped that this would be the easier of the solutions but it was not. The girls decide it was more fun to play with the paper they'd made then leave it on the tree. So last Saturday I bought ornaments and a tree skirt (which I needed anyways). And last night I decorated the tree.

The girls were naked while decorating the tree so we have no pictures while we decorated. Only this falsified one after I got them dressed lol.

Kids decorating the tree

I had to move decorations around, the girls didn't understand the "do not put them on top of each other" or "too close together" so I just rearranged afterwards. Here is a before and after:
The kids decoration of the tree
After I fixed the tree

And I tried to grab a picture of the kids and the dog but it didn't work out so well, this is the best of them.

The kiddos and the puppy

Well everyone slept last night. Bubba slept in our room on the floor on my side of the bed so I could pet him/comfort him with ease and with out having to get out of bed to do so. We had three accidents and 1 kinda accident that I stopped to take him out in freezing cold weather lol.

It was a much better night, he didn't even follow me out when I had to go put Kathleen down.

Monday I hope to have our pen back. I'm still hoping to be able to put it at least temporarily in our room and let him stay there, but we'll see. But I think we may just put it in the living room as planned. We'll see.

We've had a few accidents today. I need to get the timer out of the van and set it for half an hour for both the girls and the dog lol. Maybe Sammi will start now? we'll see. It would be good to get all diapers out of this house and pull ups too!

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Yesterday we went to the Animal Shelter. There was two sets of lab puppies - 2 black and 3 golden. All mixes. The 2 black were strays and the other 3 we didn't actually read much about them on their card.

One of the black ones took instantly to us, came up to the fence, Kathleen petted him. We tried to coax the other one over as we thought it was the male, but it didn't work. We went to visit with the friendly one in a closed room. The girls loved him. We thought he was a she so we had named him Isabella, but when we got to the counter to say we wanted this one, it was a boy so we had to find a new name on the way home. We agreed on Bubba. Even Sammi could say that one.

But we were not prepared. Their website (and the paper in the shelter) said that they are fixed before they leave. But at approximately 8 weeks that's a no go. We'll go back in January to get that taken care of.

The adoption fee was $50. We get a free vet examination with in three business days. They are fixed and their first set of shots are covered. This will include his rabies at 3 months.

So home we came with Bubba. We ate dinner and then me and the girls had to go to the store to get Bubba food, water bowl and toys. We have to go back today I definitely need more paper towels before next grocery trip and some carpet cleaner for those lovely accidents. I will probably just buy a gallon of vinegar and a spray bottle. I've been meaning to do that anyway.

The biggest adjustment I think is going to be with the girls. He gets over playful and starts nipping (cause he doesn't know any better) and then they start to run and he chases and nips some more and then it's scream at the top of our lungs. Sammi doesn't listen when you tell her not to run, so it's a big ordeal. They both need to settle down when he's nipping and scratching. He doesn't understand, they don't understand and it's all a big mess lol. But everyone will adjust.

Now if we can just find suitable sleeping arrangements. Bubba in the kitchen and us in the back of the house just did not work no one slept at all. Well until 4am when Shea decided he wasn't going to work OT today, the girls and Bubba came to our bed. Only Bubba stayed, the others went back to their own bed willingly. Kathleen wanted to go she couldn't get comfortable and Sammi went with her so it was just 3 in bed instead of 5. We all needed that two hours of sleep tho.

I love Google Reader. I mean LOVE it. It's been so awesome to keep track of my feeds and to do things, however it has one very bad drawback. It does not pick up Livejournal's friend locked posts, which is very bad when I have friends who only post within the locks. So I've been searching for a solution and I found one finally.

It's open source code that is the base of feed proxy, but LJ blocked it so it's no longer usable. But the same open source code can work from your own server.

Here's is the most awesome post lol. Follow the directions in the notes and you shouldn't have a problem.

Though please do note that it will take a while for the feed to propagate. I did one yesterday and I didn't get the feed until this morning. So let it sit and be watchful for it to show up if it doesn't then take a look at it. And the subdomain is required if you read the comments in the post so don't skip that step.

SO all you LJ friends out there, if you use your friend lock alot please let me know. Email me or post a comment and I'll grab your feed that way!

I don't know how people come here, or who subscribes to my feeds, all I know is my blog stats show a bit of activity so I just want to clarify a few things. I am not a niche blog. I talk about everything I'm interested in.

My sub heading is "My Family, My Life, My Journal" for that reason. I will talk design and programming, I will talk about my family, I will bore you to death with my girls and their growing up. I will write about my writing adventures about role playing and cooking. These are all things I like, all things I do. I am not a niche blog, unless I'm a niche lol.

I have a lot to say today lol, and it's only almost 5am. *sighs*

I'm excited about getting a puppy. I really hope we can find one we all agree on. I'd really like to have a puppy sooner rather than later. Provided the weather holds out today we will try to go to the closest one, but we are under a winter weather advisory. What does that mean? WELL that means if it even starts to snow, doesn't even have to stick to the ground, things will start to close. First and foremost being the high rise bridges over the various rivers around here. So guess what that means for us - we either stay home, or we go the very long way to get to things lol. The last time it snowed here it was my very first Christmas here. We were at Shea's parents house and the bridge we needed to take was closed. We were like 5 to 10 miles from home and had to go 30 miles out of our way to get there. It probably would have been closer to go back to Shea's parents house, but we didn't, we went the long way home on Christmas night lol.

I would like it to snow, but I'm not counting on it. If it does it'll be late, and dark and the girls won't really be able to go out and play in it. But hopefully they'll be awake to see it snow. It's a late TV night for us so it's possible they might see snow.

Today we go sign paper work for the girls ER trip for their overdose of children's tylenol. I've been meaning to get that paperwork set up so the payments come out of Shea's pay check, but it's just one of those things that went by the way side. But tomorrow after Shea gets home from his over time we'll go sign the paperwork and then hopefully go look at puppies. I really don't care what we get, I just don't want a yipper. I can't stand little dogs or over hyper ones.

It seems I'm going for a goal of a post a day on my blog, I doubt it will actually work, but we'll see. It really does depend on the weekends. During the week it's an easy feat just have to think up something to write about, we'll see if I can manage that this month. Maybe writing my fustrations down will help lol.

But anyway, I'm looking for PSDs to convert to HTML/CSS templates, more importantly to convert into functional wordpress designs. I have downloaded about 20 different PSDs to use as my learning base. This is actually what I love doing, so for a limited time ONLY I'm looking for other people's creations to create into wordpress designs they can use.

While I can theme wordpress with the best of them, I'm looking at this more from a development point of view. I have two goals in mind here. 1) to take the psd of someoneelse's creation and make it look like it's suppose in XHTML and CSS and 2) to create a customizable theme with al ot of features that do not require a plugin.

So for a limited time, like two weeks from today I'll take a stab at anyone who can send me a PSD to convert into a wordpress theme. This work is free, but because it is free I can't make any guarantees, this is a learning process and I may or may not finish it, or it may not come out quickly or exactly as you had intended.

Well the union's passed the not so great contract extension. Shea did his part and voted against it, lol, mostly so he could complain about it's crappiness.

On the 17th we will get the bonus, while it's much appreciated it's not the best end result. One plus, no strike in March for Shea to have to cross the picket lines to get to work. No rise in health insurance premiums for the next two years. So those are the pluses, I just hope that we can survive the next two years on this extension.

With the news that it passed, we will probably be going to the Gautier Human Society (30 mins away) to see about getting a puppy. If we find one we like it'll be fixed the following Wednesday and we'll be able to take it home on Thursday. Shea wants to know if we can pick it up on Friday, it doesn't matter too much to me. I can put the puppy in the back of the van on a sheet with a baby gate keeping it out from under my feet.

That will give us time to get the crate from Mam and Pawpaw's house, clean it up and buy all the necessary items. Thankfully we have a dog dish that is nice and tip proof, water on the other hand is not so neat and easy. I think we'll deal with either a rabbit water bottle or get one of those water dishes with a bottle on top to house the water. The latter is much more dangerous with my twin tornadoes. I'm sure I'd find water all over the house.

I'm excited to get a new puppy and a bit scared. I really want a furry kid, even if it means more work and frustration for me lol, but I'm hoping that the puppy will help add some responsibility to the girls if they want their toys to survive lol. But we'll see.

If we don't find one in Gautier we may have to go to Gulfport or Mobile. Hopefully not because that is a bit far away for us to go run and pick the pup up after fixing it.

About two weeks or so ago I left Dragonmount for personal reasons. For those of you who are worried about DM8 don't be. I'm still working on it, just not in view of anyone other than Jason, Kevin and Jenn. Don't contact me about it cause I'm not likely to answer :P.

Anyway, by leaving I lost my place to write in the interactive fashion that I really enjoy so I've been searching for a game that fits my needs. I think I've found one in Escapting Reality. It's a small site based around the World of Darkness (vampires and werewolves in the modern world). I had to create a character concept and then go through an audition. I made it through then I really wasn't worried, just concerned I'd not fit into their view of what an RP post should look like but I didn't have any problems.

Claire Valentine's Concept

Below the cut is the audition plus the final comment I got from the person giving the audition.

Claire Valentine's Audition

The train lurched and his body lurched with it, thumping the window. He didn't care. Damned trains were always rocking back and forth and bumping along like they were hanging onto the rails by a thread.

There was nothing restful about the trains at all - the lights flickered in the tunnels, whipping by so fast they couldn't be followed, the cars were dirty and worn, people looked grim and dangerous. Sometimes he wondered if they were, or if they all just wanted to look that way.

The train started slowing, and he felt that pull, the strong gravitational tug yanking his body back, back more… With a long, painful screech, the train came to a halt, and the gravity let him go so that he flopped forward, then bumped back.

Damned trains.

Shhhhk! The doors slid open and people shuffled out, more pushed on and soon there was a bang as the doors trapped its contents again. The sing-song bells sounded, signaling departure, but of course they were already moving, gravity sucking them again so that everyone braced.

Five more stops. That's all that was left. Five more lengths of being bumped and being yanked and thrown and five more lengths of noise and people before the end. He could step out at the terminal, walk out into the sun, and from there it was just a short walk to the cliff.

The city had always been so proud to keep that cliff naturally preserved in its heart of cement. It looked silly, though, a slash of nature in the midst of modernization. He wondered absently how it would look once it was full of people, reporters and cameramen staring down where he'd throw himself off.

Maybe it'd look real, for once. Not out of place in this dirty damned city full of nameless people and crime. Maybe that ravine would look like it fit right in.

The thought made him smile.


The train was something everyone took at least once, but Claire took the train to work everyday. It gave her time to think about her story and read through it one last time or even write it sometimes. The mind numbing journey could get a little sickening to the stomach but it was better than worrying about it when driving.

Claire walked on the the train with a bunch of people, it was nearly standing room, one seat left and Claire hurried to it, it was hard to read and stand up. Thankfully no elderly people or pregnant women were vying for the seat, so Claire felt no remorse when she snuck in before another man.

The man was smiling and Claire returned it with a nod, but he looked as if he were off in his own world. Claire's life was her writing now, and she put a lot of work into it. She reached in to her bag and pulled out the copy of the piece she was working on and started mumbling to herself. She always did that when proofing her work. She hoped the guy next to her wouldn't mind.


The air shifted and someone sat down beside him. It startled him, and he glanced up quickly, blinking in surprise. A girl, just a girl, but he nearly shrank inside himself at her proximity, drawing his body away from her as if he was afraid to touch her.

He wasn't, of course. But she was just too close.

There was nowhere to go. The cold wall of the train and its unforgiving, useless window held him in place. The glass reflected her face at him, like some dual complicity designed to make him feel uncomfortable. She was on both sides. Wild eyes looked around for another seat he could shift to, but they were all taken.

Four stops. Just four stops left.

Besides, she wasn’t paying any attention to him. The girl's head was bent over whatever she was doing, and he could hear her talking to herself. Maybe she was crazy. There were a lot of crazies on the train. That was part of why he hated it so much - you never know who you might be sitting next to.

Then the worst happened. The train lurched, and he swayed. Too late - he'd bumped her shoulder. Panic rose up in him and from far away, he heard his own voice mutter. "Sorry… sorry." He closed his eyes and bit down on the fear.

Just four more stops.


"Sorry ... Sorry". Claire looked over at the man. He had hardly anything to apologize about, but the look on his face showed he was more afraid of what had happened than anything else. Claire smiled, but his eyes were shut and he was not seeing her, it was difficult to soothe a stranger when they wouldn't look at you.

Claire went to pat the man's leg, but she hesitated, if he freaked out over bumping into her she wasn't about to make him freak out more with that jester. She hovered over his leg a few moments before putting it back into her lap. "It's okay, really." Claire paused a moment to think, maybe he was crazy or maybe something else was wrong. "You okay?" Claire smiled in hopes he'd open his eyes. She tucked her work back in the folder to give him her attention if he wanted it. There wasn't much more she could do to try to reassure him she was harmless.

Oh shit…. Just be normal. Be normal, ask about the weather, you'll be fine…

He squeezed his eyes tightly and then opened them wide with a smile. "I'm fine!" [i]No, too enthusiastic…[/i] "I'm fine." He closed his eyes again and lifted a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. When he pulled his hand away and looked at the girl again, he felt more in control.

"I'm fine. Sorry. A headache, that's all… These trains give me a headache. The smell…" There wasn't any smell beyond people and dirt. No diesel fuel to blame, no smog… "The noise. It gets to me." He noticed her papers were gone and that meant more conversation. Damn it.

"Do you…" He glanced up as someone shuffled closer to the door, getting ready to leave, but it was alright. Safe. So he smiled at the girl again, shifting a foot to brace against the curve and the pull of gravity. "You were working. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. Please, go ahead," he added, waving at the folder.


Headache sucked at the best of time, among people they were worse, particularly people on the train. Those days Claire always drove, less contact was always good. The next stop came and the cars pulled to a stop. The jerking motion was always annoying, but it was still better than driving to work with work on the mind. Claire smiled at him. "I'm just rereading for the upteenth time the piece, it's not that big of a deal, really." But Claire figured out he didn't really want to talk, and pulled out her work.

Before settling back into her work she turned to him, and gave him another quick smile. "Maybe you should invest in a headset, some soothing music and a decent mp3 player. Maybe that's take the edge off your trip. I know it helps me sometimes." Claire knew the advice was probably unwanted but she gave it anyway. With out thinking she patted his leg. "And it helps to let people know you really don't want to talk."


He drew his leg away at the touch and closed his eyes again. Not far now, not far…

"You know, it's not like you can tell people that you don't want to talk to them," he mentioned to the girl, his voice sounding like it came from afar. "Or maybe it's that you would've wanted to talk," his eyes opened and he stared off at some mother and stroller in the far corner, "but that no one really listens. They don't care. They don't give a [i]shit.[/i]"

He balled his hand in a fist and squeezed his eyes shut. [i]Hang in there… hang on… don't say too much….[/i]

"I'm sorry. It's this… this headache." The train was slowing again, his body pulled and he braced for the lurching stop. "And the people. Do you ever feel like there's too many people in the world and then not enough at all? Maybe that's why no one listens." People were leaving the train, people were getting on… three more stops.

Then the man smiled brightly, suddenly interested in the girl and her work, his brown eyes looking almost feverishly intent. "Here. I'm listening. What are you working on? Why isn't it a big deal? If you're rereading it, it's a big deal to you. I'd like to know more. I'll listen to you." And maybe just manage to change the world. One time. One time before the last stop, before he'd make sure everyone paid attention and listenened.


Claire smiled, at least he was talking now, but his sudden change of attention caught her off guard, she tried not to show it. Claire nodded towards her piece. "Really it's nothing, just an entertainment column I have a deadline for today." Claire looked the page over. "I was just proofing it. Making sure there was no glaringly obvious mistakes."

Claire didn't mind talking about her work, but she didn't like giving people the article before it was published. She was always afraid of plagarism and copycats and various other people who tend to rip off others work meaning to or not. But she'd share the details of it. "It's just a piece on a local band that played their first really big gig this past weekend. I got an interview with one of the band members and got to hear them play." Claire smiled. "It's really not anything to write home about."


"Nothing to write home about…" The man had gone back to pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut, but then he blurted the words out harshly.

"You see? That's the problem. Here I am. I'm ready to listen. You said you were rereading for the umpteenth time and if it wasn't anything to write home about, then you wouldn't be doing that. But you are. And lying to me about it." Everyone lied. Everyone. Should he expect this stranger to be any different?

"You were right," he said suddenly, decisively, nodding his head. "I should have told you I didn't want to talk. Shove on my earphones and pretend no one exists. That's the way the world works, right? Safer that way." Yes, yes it was.

But he would shake it up. Oh yes. He would.


Claire wasn't liking his attitude one bit. "Look it's my job to make sure this thing has no errors. I get paid X amount of money for a perfectly edited piece. I get paid less for every red mark that my editor puts on it. So yes, I care about it. So don't presume that the piece is special. You can read it in the next issue of the paper." Claire turned herself away from him and then sighed.

"You lied to me too you know, because everything is NOT fine with you. If you want to talk fine, if you want to be an ass fine, but I don't have to put up with it." Claire tucked her papers in her folders and put them back in her bag and stood up to move away from the awful man. She wasn't going to put up with him. She was only trying to be nice, and look how it paid off. She should take her own advice, she scoffed at her own thoughts and shook her head as she adjusted her bag and took hold of the nearest loop to stand the remainder of her trip.


"I have a headache," the man muttered, but it seemed the girl didn't care. She was mad at him, she'd even stood up to make the point, and he clenched his fists together in frustration. The train started to slow for the next station, metal wheels screeching horribly, and he braced for the coming pull and lurch.

When it had passed, when the doors hissed open, the man stood. "I'm not being an ass, you know. I'm listening to you. Or I was, until you got upset about being a perfectionist."

He braced his feet as the train moved on again, swaying with it. "Okay, fine. Now you're going to say I'm not being nice, but I'm not kidding - I was listening. It mattered to me, what you were doing. And you blew it off and blew me off and… I'm wasting my time."

He was. Wasting his time. No one listened anymore. Which was why he had to do what he was about to do. Some would say he was crazy. Maybe he was. But others would listen. Finally. And they'd look at each other with wide eyes and wonder why they never realized anything before now. They'd go home. They'd tell other people. It would make the news, and more people would read. And it would spread, and finally, finally…

"Do you think I'm crazy?" The question was blunt and the man stared at the girl with fevered eyes, craving the answer. "It's important. No, seriously. Even if the question sounds crazy. Do you think I'm crazy? Did you five minutes ago?"


What kind of question was that? Claire wasn't sure how to answer it, she just stood and stared at him. She took a deep breath. He was listening but he was being an ass as well, it wasn't perfect and it really didn't matter if he listened to her story anyway, it wasn't going to change between now and the editors office. She couldn't retype it here and now anyway, it would require a computer, which she did not have here with her. But was he crazy? how would she know, she didn't even know him. So that's what she answered. "I don't know you how would I know if you were crazy? I mean come one a train ride and you want me to be truthful? I don't know you. I don't think you are crazy, I didn't think you were crazy. I think you are a weird man, but crazy?" Claire smiled. "If you told me you were going to jump off this train, or go jump off the rift in the middle of town then yes you might be crazy, but suicide isn't a symptom of being crazy it's a call out for help." Claire looked around. "So crazy, no, weird yes. Make of it what you will."

Out of Character:

HA! WIN! Total win!!! HA! Now THAT was perfect. You didn't use player knowledge in the least (that you knew he was going to jump) but you DID find a way to work that in naturally, normally and very, very subtly to open up interaction and provoke a reaction. LOVE it.

Congrats. I'm happy to welcome you to the ER game :)