Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Music Playlist

A friend pointed out how the songs starting on my blog made him jump, he wasn't expecting it. lol. As another music lover I think he should have been prepared.... :-D I'm finding you're easy to tease....good thing you go along with it.

I had been meaning to adjust it for months but I have forgotten my username and password for the playlist. I gave up trying to figure it out when they sent me a temporary one and I never got it. So I deleted it from this blog.

If I add another I'll set it up so it doesn't automatically play, it would need to be clicked to start. I hope that makes reading my blog more enjoyable.

My health insurance frustration, outrageous costs.

I've made no secret about my dissatisfaction with health insurance and the problems we've had with the bills this year. Today, I paid $1731.00 to pay off this years medical expenses. During a call today, I learned we could have used a medical payment program that would have combined half our medical expenses into a single affordable monthly bill.

I am beyond frustrated. I have talked to many people all year and I am only now learning of this program, after paying nearly $20,000 (in cash, out of pocket, non-reimbursed) for medical bills this year. We've had a tough time paying these bills and our credit score took a hit. Most months we paid more than our mortgage in medical bills alone, sometimes twice the mortgage because of prescriptions. We narrowly avoided filing for bankruptcy due to medical bills. We also avoided getting care because we could not afford another medical bill. And I became very sick when I tried switching to a different medication to lower the cost. It would have been a blessing had we known we could combine some of the bills. We could not lower the bills but this program would have stopped the calls from clinics that wanted a higher payment and did not care if we wouldn't be able to pay other bills and provide food for the family. Some clinics insisted they get $350 a month, others were okay if we paid $20, there was no uniformity.

I've shared our story with family and friends for the sole reason of keeping health care insurance reform in people minds. If you haven't experienced the hardship of the bills, you are very lucky and I sincerely hope it remains that way. If you are like us and have felt the impact of outrageous health care costs, please consider sharing your story. I am getting involved in groups that are advocating for change, the more people who share, the more we'll be heard.

It's easy to think these medical bills were a result of having a child with extra needs and it can't happen to the average person. We have supplemental insurance for Joseph that covers what our insurance doesn't pay. These medical bills came from the rest of the family. This could happen to anyone who doesn't have good health insurance.

If you saw the front page of the Star Tribune on Sunday, there was a story about a family who had a high deductible plan and how those plans are causing financial turmoil. That is what we experienced when Greg lost his job last year and why we got hit so hard this year. Thankfully 2009 looks better because Greg found an employer with good insurance.

http://www.startribune.com/business/36786564.html?page=1&c=y This link is for the article in Sundays paper for 12/28/2008. It may only work for 14 days.

Thanks for reading this and if you want, you have my permission to share this story.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I need another day

I can't believe how busy this week has been for me. I was planning to sit down the other night and do some scrapping. I wanted to get the notebook done and finish layouts I want to hang in my dining room. I didn't start anything!

I still have gifts to buy.

I still need to get groceries.

I still need to finish cleaning my house.

I still need to wrap ALL gifts.

I still need to bake.

I did get my tree up and decorated.

I did get the house decorated.

I did get my Christmas cards finished and mailed.

I did start baking Christmas cookies with the kids.

How can I get a few more days to get this all done on time. Greg's family is coming over on Wednesday to celebrate the holiday. I might have to go without sleep!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The before.....

I'm making an altered notebook for a friend as part of a Christmas gift. I'm going to make the notebook into a prayer journal. I have a few ideas but I won't know until I start piecing it together how I'll design it. When I'm done I'll post The After picture.

This project will give me a chance to use the Cricut Expression for the first time! I've had it for 2 weeks but haven't had time to try it out. I'm so excited to use it! Isn't it really a bit silly the things us scrappers get excited about? LOL.

Here's the before picture of what I'm using, it's a little larger than 5x7.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Today a friend suggested trying acupuncture for my migraines. I'm in so much pain from them returning, again, I think I'll give it a try.

About a month ago my doctor switched my medications and they are helping but to a small degree. I am tired of taking more pills, tried of them not working. He keeps saying he'll send me to a neurologist but he keeps changing his mind. I'm hoping to see him early next week and get that moving. But I seriously think I am going to try acupuncture. Pills can't be the answer to everything!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Migraines and Headaches

For so many years I have suffered with headaches. The first time was the last year of high school and my first few years of college. Most of them were stress related or as a result from a car accident. After moving out most of them subsided. Over the years I'll have bouts of times with severe headaches.

Starting last fall I have been suffering like never before. The migraines last so long. When they do subside, I get a tension headache from being so stressed about the headaches and that triggers another migraine. The cycle would repeat for weeks. It interfered with the classes I was taking for work. It kept me from going to some of my classes for work. Last past tax season I missed many days of work. Because of the lousy health insurance we had I couldn't go to the doctor. Our insurance had such a high deductible it didn't cover anything. So I put off seeing a doctor.

I have learned that some foods seem to trigger migraines. Bakery breads and other carbs seem to be very bad for me. I try to watch what I eat but maybe I need to cut out the carbs. But is it the wheat, the yeast or something else? It'd be nice to know what is the actual cause.

Finally this fall I got in to see my doctor. He put me on Valporic Acid but I have to take it every 8 hours, everyday. With my schedule that is so hard to remember! He also gave me Maxalt to take when I get a migraine. For the first few weeks I was doing great. I hardly had a headache, I felt like I had more energy, I so happy that maybe I had found something that helped with little effort. Fast forward to the beginning of November and my headaches have returned. This time they almost seem worse but I know it's only because I had that little break.

When you have headaches all day and all night, you go to bed with them, wake up with them. It drains you of all energy. I am even to the point they prevent me from falling asleep and they wake me up at night. I am miserable. I can't do anything, I can't work out. I don't want to go out. I can't tolerate headlights so I can't drive at night.

Now I'm waiting to get in to see my doctor for a followup. I'm hoping he'll refer me to a neurologist so that I can get some real help. I need to get beyond these headaches, I need to get my life back!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Layouts of older photos

I've been looking over my layouts I've done this year, it's hard to pick what ones to post! I decided to go with layouts of a few older pictures.

This first one is of my brother and me back in about 1975. I am guessing at the year, there was nothing written on the back of the photo. Mom put us in matching outfits, one of the only times she did that to us!

The saying is Siblings ~ Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.

The second layout is of my friend Maija and me from 1990. We were dressed to go out to a concert. I am on the left. It's one of the layouts I did to help me cope with Maija's death.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 craziness

For all my good intentions of doing this frequently, I've fallen far short. The summer proved busier than I expected with fall bringing more. But for all the craziness it was a mostly good summer.

In July we took a mini-vacation, that was both fun and stressful! We were gone over the July 4th holiday to South Dakota. I found a friend and her kids were going to the same place over the same time frame. What a coincidence! We met up on July 4th so the kids could play together and watch the fireworks. It was definitely worth the planning.

The kids at Mt. Rushmore.

Badlands South Dakota, absolutely beautiful!

On the way home we stopped by Grandpa's farm. The kids had so much fun. He has the little playground set up, the kids make good use of it. We took J. on an ATV for a ride. Everyone loved it! I would love to start doing that more often as a family when A. is older. The visit also brought with another big change to our family. When we arrived at the farm, I started to get out of the van and notice a black puppy by the tree. I asked Greg when his dad got a dog. It turned out to be a stray that showed up 2 weeks before and Grandpa kept the dog around so the kids could play with her on the visit. He was planning to get rid of her the next day. As I got out of the car, the puppy came up to me and I could immediately tell she was very gentle.

Over the course of the visit, Greg and I talked. Our dog at home has never been a good fit. She's too hyper, often hurting the kids. But she was family. I didn't want to see this puppy end up in a shelter or have worse happen. Together we decided to bring her home with us and find a good home for her. My brother has been wanting a dog for a long time.

This is the puppy. She was so dirty and full of ticks, her fur a mess!

Over the next 2 weeks we had the dog checked by a vet, we removed close to 40 wood ticks from her, so disgusting!!!!!! She's a black lab mix and was about 6 months old when we brought her home. We did have to keep the 2 dogs apart. Our dog, Sadie, is too dog aggressive, we had to put our other dog down when Sadie fought her for dominance. That was heartbreaking and horrible to witness. Poor Chelsea as the older dog didn't stand a change against Sadie. After talking with the vet and more trainers, we've had them on speed dial, we decided Sadie didn't pose a threat to the kids or us. She simply could not be around other dogs. Even though we felt safe with Sadie and the kids, we knew it was not possible to keep both dogs.

Over the next few weeks, we kept seeing how gentle the puppy was with the kids. Where Sadie frequently knocked the kids down, scratched them and also raised the stress level in the house. We decided after much talking, that it was best for the family to surrender Sadie and keep the puppy. I reached a Rescue for her breed and started the process to surrender her. I was surprised and relieved to learn that Sadie's issues were not a fault of poor training. It turned out she has a gene mutation called MDRI. When she was given vaccines she had horrible reactions. One of those reactions triggered her to be overly active. She basically had ADHD. Nothing we could have done would have prevented it or helped. It was best to surrender her to a family that could handle her and it would keep the kids safe. It was frightening to watch her knock J. down. After a month of organizing we finally surrendered Sadie. The puppy was named Hannah, after Hannah Montana, obviously the kids named her! She is so gentle and loving. J can fall on her and she doesn't care. The kids can crawl on her and she doesn't care. We made the right choice, the house is more peaceful and we have a great dog.

The rest of the summer brought a few more changes and fall is going full blast. I hope to get caught up on this blog this week. I also want to post some layout's I've done this year.

To end this for today, Veterans Day, I want to thank all our Veteran's for their service. My family has a long history of military pride. The history is amazing, the sacrifice is breathtaking. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Card for Grandpa

This is a card I made for my Grandpa for Father's Day. I'm still learning with cards, for some reason that small size throws me off and most of my cards just don't impress me. This one I didn't think about too much, I just put it together.

I used brads to hold 5 inch circles together, used 2 patterned papers on the base, ribbon and a monogram G from Base Camp (cricut) at 3 inches (3 letters for depth), shadowed, inked and used pop dots for dimension. The tag I stamped and inked. I really like how it looks. Grandpa has poor vision so I wanted to be sure he could see it easily, I think this did the trick.

My Old Friend

I added a playlist tonight to my blog. The first song that plays I picked for my friend Maija. She passed away unexpectedly last fall at the age of 34. This song, My Old Friend, by Tim McGraw makes me think of her. We got so busy in our lives we didn't get together enough. We talked about making plans but we rarely made the time to actually get together. I miss her all the time and wish I could have one more chance to sit down with her to talk, laugh and remininse. Life is too short to neglect our friends.

Until we meet again....


For the last few nights, I've had the worst insomnia. I know better than to try going to bed, listening to DH snore will not help! So I've been staying up, surfing the net. I could be straightening my scrap area or even working on one of my projects, but nope, I'm here, surfing. LOL! I have a retreat coming up in a few weeks and I want to have page kits made so I get more done but at this rate, I'll have 2 ready to go. Oh well, live and learn.

Abby started her ice skating again today. She loves it. I'm seeing us involved in skating and dance for a long, long time! Tomorrow we have a sports sampler program that she's starting. I think it'll be soccer one week, football the next, t-ball the following week. I'm not sure how interested she'll be in "boy" sports. She's so girlie! But I love it.

Since that is first thing in the morning, I need to get myself to bed. I figure if I'm not asleep in 20 minutes, I'll get up again. Otherwise, I'll lay there, thinking, getting mad, thinking. All that does is make it harder to fall asleep. Sure hope tomorrow I have energy for the day, cause it's a busy one!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why I don't blog.....

Oh I'm feeling frustrated. Everytime I start a blog, something bad happens within 2 weeks and I lose interest in blogging. Makes me question why I try to start one but this time I am going to try keeping up. I want to use it as a source to post some of my scrapbook pages and things. I just have to figure out how to do everything here first!

I'm fighting hard to not hit a deep depression again, I really don't want to get worse. I had to switch medications cause we couldn't afford the cost, and now I think I'm starting to notice. I feel more and more symptoms of depression and I need to fix that, I can't get that down again.

Then add in this week our respite provider for Joseph up and pulls the rug out from under us. While we've had some complaints we haven't said anything cause she's so good with Joseph. Now out of nowhere, she wants to quit. She's too stressed out, tired of working 2 jobs and has all these complaints. Well, frankly, any employer would have done the things we did so I don't have any sympathy in that regard. Some of her complaints have no merit and she's mad at us for it. Such as her telling us she can work a day or time when she doesn't want to, but she doesn't tell us that. So we think its okay to work and we ask her to work. Little did we know she was letting that build up a resentment. I don't understand. How can she be mad at us when she wasn't communicating? ... I am hoping to find a replacement quickly. I can't let this be in my house if it's going to create problems.

I would like to find a nonsmoker and perferrably a Christian. I am trying to reach people at Church so I can start a good search through there. With 10,000 members I'm hoping we could find someone. With my kids getting older and Joseph picking up on things more, I'd like a respite provider that has similar values.

It's just frightening when you lose your provider with no notice. I don't get out of the house except when she comes over. Greg and I don't get date nights unless she comes over. We haven't been able to find a babysiter that will watch both kids. Abby we can find care for but people are afraid of Joseph's needs. I am afraid of not being able to get out anymore. Greg gets out of the house all week for work. He has his men's groups at Church. Then I get so exhausted from being home and all the extra care I provide for Joseph, I get too tired to even go to the grocery store at night so I'll send Greg. So again, he can get out. It sounds small but that time out alone, is a lifeline. I'm very afraid of being without it.

I need to trust that God has a plan. He knows I've been increasingly more uncomfortable with the current situation. I had a deal with the provider that she'd give us plenty of notice and work till the end of her yearly contract, which is Oct., 31st. I'm not sure she is going to fulfill that agreement. I have to give this to God and let Him help us. I know He never gives us more than we can handle but boy am I tired of Him thinking I can handle all this!

It's time like this I really miss my Mom. She use to help with Joseph and she's missed out on watching her granddaughter growing up. I miss talking to her, going out with her. I miss our lunches we'd do. I miss having that support outside of my house. This thought is making me well up with tears...I've done that enough the last 2 days.

Off to clean the house more and wait for Greg to get home so I can run some errands. I have 2 very cute stamps on hold at a local Stamp shop that I want to pick up. I ordered 2 ballerina's to use for Abby's dance recital. I'm so happy they came in early!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back into the Blogs

I started my first blog back in 2004. Life quickly became too much for me and I stopped posting. Now, I'm trying to get back into it and see what happens. Life has settled down after a lot of changes and heartache in the last 4 years.

I certainly don't promise this will be all that entertaining but more a way for me to keep up on myself and for friends to stay connected. I know that too often I get so busy its not easy to keep in touch with everyone like I want. Maybe this will help remedy that for me.

Night all!