Farewell Journey To Crunchville

I am sad to see it go but I am getting to a point where I have outgrown this blog. As much as I have enjoyed it, I no longer have the time or energy to research and post about topics that were central to this blog’s mission/point/audience.

Rather than change the title and scope of this blog I have decided to begin a new one. Most of the people that visit Journey To Crunchville are here to read articles or recipes that I’ve written and aren’t necessarily interested in our families day to day life. Since homeschooling and our day to day life is what I am currently consumed and absorbed by, that is what I’d like to write about. I will keep Journey To Crunchville up and running since it still receives a lot of traffic everyday.

If you would enjoy reading about our family or our journey in homeschooling please visit our new blog that I have just created:

Our Learning House

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Do Not Buy a Toshiba Laptop

If you want to save yourself time, headache and most importantly, a costly investment then please heed my warning: “Do not buy a Toshiba Laptop!”

They have a known issue with the internal charging unit breaking off within the laptop so that you can not charge the laptop. This is faulty manufacturing and we have been told by individuals in the computer repair industry that this is a known shortcoming for Toshiba.

We purchased our Toshiba laptop in the summer of 2008 for over 1K dollars. This is NOT a $200 dollar laptop. Our specific laptop is the Toshiba Satellite model # PSLE0U-00H00J. The first time this problem occurred our laptop had just fallen outside the 1 year warranty by a few weeks. We were frustrated but figured it must have been user error and paid for the laptop to be repaired locally. Less than a month later the same issue occurred again. We paid again out of pocket to have it repaired. We thought we’d be in the clear.

It happened again in January 2010. I was FED up! Our computer repairman encouraged us to call Toshiba since we obviously had a lemon and he also informed us that he sees this in Toshiba laptops regularly. It is a known fault of their equipment. So, I called Toshiba and was happy to find that they were willing to let me ship the laptop back to them and they repaired the laptop and sent it back to me. I was one happy customer and at that point was willing to overlook the obviously faulty design in favor of good customer service.

Scratch that. What used to be good customer service.

Yesterday, on October 4th, our laptop in a complete lack of originality stopped charging yet again. So we got 10 months worth of service from the repair that was supposed to forever solve the issue.  I now have on my hands a $1000 paperweight which is completely useless. Frustrated but confident that Toshiba would pull through again I called their customer service number at 1-800-457-7777. I talked to Roy, explained the situation and he warned me that since my laptop was out of warranty I might be charged a $35 fee just for talking to him. Nice.

I explained the situation, explained it was an ongoing issue and that our laptop had all ready been sent in for a “repair and return” for the same issue. He was polite, filled out his paperwork and offered to transfer me to Customer Relations. He gave me my case # and transferred me.

I was transferred to Matthew, a case manager. He looked up our previous issue and informed me that the program that they created to repair and return laptops for this known issue expired in June 2010. So, at this point there was nothing they were willing to do for me. He would not transfer me to a superior and in fact, wouldn’t even tell me his superior’s name. I was not belligerent or rude. I was mad and firm but polite. However, I was denied any solution other than have fun on that creek ride…too bad your paddle expired.

So Matthew, if you read this at some point. Shame on you. Shame on you for willingly working for a company who disrespects the little guy. We, the little guy, make your job possible. Shame on your for working for a company that serves only it’s best interest rather than admitting fault, correcting a mistake and praying for our forgiveness as the consumers that feed their families. Shame on all of us. Shame on all of us for being willing to accept this type of treatment from companies simply because, “they can get away with it.” Why? Why should they? What happened to being able to naturally expect that a company would stand behind their products without shame and without excuse.

It is a pure coward that can hide behind an expired warranty waving it as if it is some magical get out of jail free card. What happened to quality and honor and reputation? It is both sad and frightening that with today’s technological developments that we can not produce quality items that are made to last.

There is no reason that I can justify that a $1000+ laptop should not be operating 2 years later. Not to mention this is the 4th time within those two years that a consistent problem has occurred.

Please help me stand up to cowards like Toshiba and pass on this information to everyone you know. Maybe it will save them their hard earned money. For now, I am stuck with a $1000 paper weight and a years worth of family photographs and other important documents that I am going to have to pay someone to retrieve from my laptops hard drive.

Please help me with this. Our voice is the only thing that can make a difference. Pass it on and why you’re at it…pass on Toshiba.

Garrett turns 2!

Garrett turned two on August 15th. This last year has gone by so fast.

Garrett is such an amazing little guy. I’m not sure how one child manages to be such a melded combination of characteristics but somehow he is able to do it. He is my snuggler and a complete mama’s boy. He still finds his way to my hip or in my lap for much of the day. At the same time he is very independent and the phrase we probably hear most often from him is, “Garrett do!” or “Garrett too!”. Mike has taken to calling Garrett, “Garrett too.” Over the last several months and especially the last few weeks Garrett is developing a deep love for his daddy. He wants to do everything daddy does and is starting to miss him when he is gone. For the last six months or so when Garrett wakes up in the morning he will say, “dada?” wanting to know where daddy is. When I respond, “at work” his usual response used to be a somewhat disappointed “ohhhh.” The last week or so he has started saying “missssss. dada missssss” with a very sad face. He is truly sad and distraught when daddy is gone now.

Garrett is also very stubborn, strong willed and frankly, rebellious. For someone who has just barely turned 2 he is amazing at toeing the line. If you draw a line he will run to the edge of it, look you square in the eye and then calmly put his foot over it taunting you to see what you’re going to do about it. He does this not only with Mike and I but with other adults and children. He likes to provoke reactions, usually just for fun. This has caused me, as his mom, a lot of stress. I have learned to loosen up, to enjoy his nature and to give him a bit more wiggle room.


Garrett is a rough and tumble all out boy. He likes guns, dirt, water and sticks. What he wants is “his”, what he looks at is “his” and what anyone else wants is “his”. He is not afraid of taking it by force even from a child (or adult) bigger than he is. He sometimes takes great joy in snatching things from others even if he has no desire for what he has snatched. He reminds me of a little lion cub looking to dominate anything and everything around him. He will push down little babies that are minding their own business, just to know that is able to do it. It is to the point where if we are with a group of children and one of them starts to cry, I usually have to jump up and remind Garrett that we do not hit, push, take…etc

Unfortunately, his sister receives the brunt of Garrett’s attempts at family domination. She will often comment about how she doesn’t like him much but then carefully add that she loves him but that it’s hard being his sister. Thankfully their relationship has taken a turn for the better in the last two weeks or so and they are beginning to have as many positive interactions throughout the day as negative and are starting to really play together. All of my parenting techniques, theories and patience have been worn thin by this little boy. But despite this, I love him with all my heart. His sweet nature is so apparent and he is a loving and giving boy who’s empathy is really starting to blossom. He is beginning to treasure and love his sister and despite his behavior towards her sometimes, he can not stand when she is not with us. He calls her “nana” (his attempt at saying Camden) and is sad whenever she is not with us. He is beginning to worry and cry when she is upset and tries to make her feel better. He also wants to do everything Camden does. He even decided he wanted to ride a horse despite his initial terror over them because Camden loved riding so much.



Garrett has so many quirks it is hard to know where to start. He has developed a hate of “tags” and will not allow one to be in his shirt or on most objects for that matter. Even during his Birthday party he made his dad cut of a “tag” on one of the gift bags. He is a funny blend of liking “boy” and “girl” things. He turns every available object into a gun (including alphabet letters and veggie booty) yet at the same time begs to wear Camden’s dresses, butterfly tattoo’s and prefers to sleep with pink blankets. He even asks for pink nail polish. Of course Camden and I find this hilarious and often oblige him with his requests. He will hate us for this someday, I’m sure.  His favorite color is orange and he takes great joy in any object he finds or owns that is “ownge”.


Garrett loves musical instruments and especially likes the drums and guitar. He likes to color and paint and his favorite food in the world is candy. Meal wise he loves things with a lot of flavor. He enjoys spaghetti (with rice noodles) and beef stew. Development wise he is really in a big growth phase right now. His expressive language has been exploding the last two weeks and he is repeating much of what we say and is learning new words every day. He is learnings his colors and wants to do everything the big kids do. He learned how to peddle a bike yesterday, on his Birthday. He is fully potty trained now, both during the day and night. We have weaned him from nursing at night but he still wakes up anyway. I am hoping he will start truly sleeping through the night within the next 2-3 months. He is still nursing and though I would prefer to be done with our nursing relationship I am waiting until we can get a vitamix to make sure he is getting enough nutrition.

Garrett continues to have serious allergies to many foods. Though his reactions have greatly reduced in frequency he is continuing to lose foods. He is currently allergic to: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, nuts, sunflower seed, sesame seed and dogs. Recently he has come up allergic to rice all though we have not removed it from his diet at this point because we are not seeing any reaction from the rice and his diet is all ready so limited. Feeding Garrett is definitely a huge challenge all though I am getting more used to it. What is frustrating is the things he can eat sometimes are quite ridiculous. It makes me mad that he can eat things like french fries, all manner of candy, soda, chips, sugar cereal like Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs but I can not give him an egg or a piece of bread. I have had to let go of my concern for many foods not because I have changed my mind on whether or not they are healthy or good for you but out of necessity and a concern for his quality of life. For example I did not have the money, time or energy to find and edible recipe for a wheat free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, seed free Birthday cake. So instead, I made him a rice crispy treat cake chock full of corn syrup, petroleum based dyes and all manner of artificial flavors. But it was delicious, he loved it and it was simple. I’ve just had to learn to let go, some. He eats way too much candy and french fries for a kid his age or for any kid for that matter but you try telling your child day in and day out, “No. Not for Garrett. That will make you sick.” It’s hard and frustrating. I do my best to get high quality whole foods in him but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I am so excited to be saving for a Vitamix blender that I plan on using to increase the amount of vegetables in his diet since he refuses pretty much any vegetable besides corn, carrots and potatoes.

For his Birthday this year we had an Elmo themed party. I’m not quite sure how he has become so fond of Elmo since he has never seen Sesame Street but he recognized Elmo in the dollar store the other day and we had leftover Elmo party supplies from Camden’s 1st Birthday. He was sooooo happy when he woke up from his nap to find an Elmo party. He also has Elmo sheets now that one of Mike’s friends from work gave us and he loves having them. We had a spaghetti dinner for him (one of his favorite meals) and I made him a Rice Crispy cake with Dots and sprinkles on top. We also had ice-cream sundae’s for everyone else. To make the cake I used Spectrum Vegetable shortening which is made of palm oil rather than soy based shortenings. You can not tell a difference in flavor or texture and it is delicious.

Despite how challenging these first two years have been for me I would not trade raising Garrett for anything. He has required me to rise above my fears, selfishness and insecurities in order to be a better mom and a better person. I am a less judgmental and more forgiving person because of him. His love, precious hugs and kisses, laughter and sense of humor bring so much joy and entertainment to our family. His presence in our family has given me greater spiritual strength and faith.

Garrett Michael Reid, we love you with all our hearts.

Lullaby Sweet Baby

It’s taken me a long time to find the desire and time to post on the blog again but I am finally starting to get there. On June 14th, 2010 we lost our baby. It was a difficult loss but we were prepared for it when we were not able to find the heartbeat and subsequently nothing on ultrasound. My body finally recognized what was going on and I naturally miscarried around what would have been 16 weeks of pregnancy all though the ultrasound technician believes our baby stopped developing at 8 weeks. We opted to miscarry naturally, and it did happen, but I wound up with a serious hemorrhage due to a retained placenta and was rushed to the ER via ambulance for an emergency D&C. It was a pretty scary experience. The amount of blood was overwhelming. There were times, especially in the ambulance, where I had fleeting moments of worry on whether or not I would make it through…especially when they hooked me up with all the wires and pulled out the defibrillator and had it ready.

This is the second child we have lost and it only gets emotionally overwhelming when I think of the fact that only half of our children are living. It is both a thought that makes me thankful and grateful for the two precious and wonderful beings we’ve been entrusted with and also sad and grieving for the two that we will not get to share this lifetime with.

Spiritually I am doing fine with it all. I trust in God’s plan, his love, kindness and mercy. I am not angry or bitter all though I do wonder “why”? But then I just let go and decide I don’t need to know why.

I still haven’t picked a name for the baby we’ve lost but I would like to share a song that brings me great comfort. During my pregnancy the kids and I came across a lullaby CD that became the one that we listen to every night as they go to sleep. There was one particular song that I really loved and planned on singing to our new baby when it was born. Now every time I hear the song it reminds me of our precious little one that we lost but it gives me strength and peace as well. In my own mind when I sing the song I have changed the words of  “my” and “I’ll” to “His” and “He’ll” referring to our Heavenly Father.

Lullaby Sweet Baby

(lyrics adapted from Michael Poirier’s Tumbleweed CD)

Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together has just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby He’ll keep you from harm.

Right outside the window is the new moon on the rise

I can see it’s reflection shining clear in your eyes

Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together has just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby He’ll keep you from harm.

Right outside the window is the new moon on the rise

I can see it’s reflection shining clear in your eyes


Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together is just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.

Lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.

Oh, lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.


Ironically, it is days like today when the loss is hardest. We had a wonderful and beautiful day celebrating Garrett’s 2nd Birthday today. It was such a perfect day but experiencing joys like this with our kids makes it only that much more painful knowing that the two we have lost we can not share those experiences with. I found myself in tears at the end of this evening just realizing that there would be no joyous Birthday celebrations, that there were missing squeals and shouts of joys and overzealous laughter as all the kids go tromping through the house, even that there would be no tears to wipe away. I know that they are spared so much of this life that is bitter and difficult but I ache for the experiences I can not have with them or that their siblings can not have with them. I am thankful for eternity, for God’s marvelous plan of salvation and the blessing of eternal families.

Land of the Dulldrums

That is just how I have been feeling lately. I am just sort of in a funk. I think there is just so much going on in our lives right now and with the pregnancy on top of that and the stress and worry over this new baby my mind just went into a fog. It is so hard to motivate myself to do anything all day.

I have an ultrasound on Friday to try and determine how far along we are in this pregnancy and I think that will make my mood better. At our last midwife appointment when I was supposedly 12 weeks we were not able to hear the heartbeat on the doppler and my uterus was not measuring 12 weeks. Which isn’t too alarming on its own since I didn’t feel like I was that far along anyway. I think I am closer to 8-9 weeks pregnant. However, last Friday I had some spotting and that was stressful. I have never spotted before in a pregnancy and even though it wasn’t red blood and they say it can be normal it has stressed me out since we haven’t heard the heartbeat yet. So, we’ll find out on Friday.

Mike’s parents are also most likely moving in with us at the end of June. One of them needs to find a job up here with health insurance and so that is what we are praying for right now.  It is also possible that Mike’s sister will be moving in with us in August. It may become a rather full house, but that is okay. The more the merrier. Right? :)

We’re also having a hard time being able to see Mikayla right now and that is frustrating. We haven’t been able to see her since April and she doesn’t even know we are pregnant yet. We’re supposed to have her this weekend so I am crossing my fingers that it all works out.

Honestly what is stressing me out the most is Garrett and this pregnancy. We just found out that Garrett has developed 2 new allergies in addition to the ones he all ready has. He is now also allergic to rice and sesame so all of his allergies include: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, sunflower, pea, sesame, rice and dog (he doesn’t eat dogs but if he gets licked by one he breaks out in hives).  So far we don’t have to take rice out of his diet (they want us to continue unless his reactions get bad) but I still cried the whole way home. Usually I’m a pretty good sport about his allergies but on Tuesday I definitely had a “why me???!!!” day. I am very worried that this next baby will also have extreme allergies like Garrett and it is frustrating beyond belief that no one can give me an answer on what to do/not do to prevent allergies in this next baby. And it is the same with Garrett, so far people can only tell us what he is allergic to and we have not been able to make any progress in healing his gut or reversing his allergies. I just pray that time will eventually heal his little body and that he will eventually be able to eat most foods. I am interested in visiting a local NAET specialist in Bellingham just to give it a try. Honestly, I’m very skeptical about this allergy elimination technique but at this point we’re willing to try anything. I’ve just got to come up with a way to pay for it since insurance won’t cover the treatments and unfortunately, they’re expensive. I am thinking of doing some fundraising this summer to raise money for a few trial treatments to see if it makes any kind of improvement.

Well, I think that is all for now. I can not wait for this fog to lift so that I actually feel like doing stuff. Right now I just want to sleep all day.

Moving again…

New House Slideshow

We are unexpectedly moving again in 8 days! We are so incredibly excited. We were blessed with the opportunity to live in an amazing home at an incredibly affordable price. The home is on 2 acres out in the county and we are so excited to get settled there. I hope to finally be able to start a garden and am so happy to be moving out of the apartment. Here is a photo slideshow of the house. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms (I forgot to take a picture of the 2nd bedroom). The house is 3600 square feet!

2009 Reid Review

2009 Reid Review

ETA:  Sorry this is coming out so late. My laptop broke right before the new year and so I was not able to access our photo’s to finish the review.

In general, I would say that 2009 was a very tumultuous and hard year for us.

Camden started preschool at Loving Space in January and shortly thereafter began having serious health issues including unexplained fevers, joint and muscle pain, lethargy, stomachaches, chest pain, etc, etc. Garrett, too, began having health issues mostly centered around serious allergic reactions but also with chronic ear infections. We were in and out of doctors, chiropractors, allergists  and naturopath offices. I spent countless hours researching their ailments on the internet. In April, Mike was laid off from work (as an electrician apprentice for IBEW) and was out of work until October (almost 7 months of not working).  Also in April Garrett was rushed to the ER after having an unexplained anaphylactic reaction to something airborne in the doctors waiting room while in my arms. Summer came and both of the kids were sent to Seattle Children’s Hospital to try to get to the bottom of their health conditions. Garrett underwent an Upper GI Series and an Endoscopy where they were investigating something called Eosinophilic Esophagitus (EE). Testing came back inconclusive. The only thing we were able to determine with Camden was chronic constipation and we decided to halt further testing for the time being since her symptoms appeared to be improving. By the end of summer Camden was no longer complaining of joint or muslce pain and seemed to regain normal activity levels for her age and temperament.  Garrett had one more ear infection in early August and since then he has remained ear infection clear (crossing fingers).

Over the summer we enjoyed little getaways around Whatcom County and Seattle. The kids and I also enjoyed a trip to the Tri-Cities to visit friends. Garrett turned one in August and Mike and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary. In August I also took on the mission of losing weight. I looked at myself in Garrett’s 1st Birthday pictures and couldn’t stand it anymore. I decided to start running and also joined a local “Biggest Loser” contest. By November I lost 20 pounds. September brought Mikayla heading back to school and going into the 4th grade. In October the kids and I took a trip to Tri-Cities to be at a good friend, Emeth’s, birth. Mike also got a call to go back to work.

The end of 2009 has brought some peace and closure to the crazy and sometimes scary beginning. It actually feels like the beginning of this year was years ago. We are blessed that Mike was able to receive work again and that the kids are happy and healthy. So that is our year in a quick recap. Next, we’ll do some more specifics with pictures because the pictures are my favorite part.

Here is our yearly family pictures. Cheesy…yes. I wish Shilowe could have done them but we had to settle for Sears. Sorry for the quality of the Sears pictures, they are scanned from the originals. These were taken just before Christmas.

Jessica:

There were times in 2009 where I felt like I had entered the twilight zone. A very bizarre year. Truthfully, I am thankful it is over. I am typically a pretty easy going and laid back person but admittedly I became a high strung and jumpy mom while the kids were going through their health stuff. I am thankful, however, that this year has taught me to refocus on myself. I have spent so much time and energy on everyone else in my life and not enough time taking care of myself. Exercising and losing weight has been such a positive force in my life. I am really beginning to enjoy running and all though it’s been a few months since I’ve been able to do it regularly I look forward to resuming it again as we get more daylight in the evenings.

This is one of the pictures that reeeeeeaaaaally motivated me to lose weight and it is one of the better ones.

Mike:

I’m pretty sure he would appreciate me keeping this blank so I’ll keep it minimal. He discovered a new hobby in 2009 and that is guns and shooting. He got his concealed weapons permit and he has fun shooting at targets (so does Jessica but the kids make it hard for her to go). He is working down in Everett where they are building a new hospital and should be completing his apprenticeship sometime in 2010, if all goes well.

Mikayla:

It is hard to believe that Mikayla will be turning 10 in just a few short months (February). She resides in the tween limbo land where she is still part little girl that loves to play with dolls and toys and yet she is also gradually refining herself into the more grown up things in life. She is in 4th grade and her favorite subject is still math. She is definitely my “mom’s helper” and is Garrett’s 2nd mom. She loves to dote on him and he is always so excited to see her and sometimes cries when she leaves. Her hobbies/favorite things this year have included making jewelry with beads, Littlest Pet Shop, Hannah Montana and recently Origami. It does make me sad to realize that Mikayla’s moments as a “little girl” are quickly slipping away and that she is turning into a young lady on us. Where does the time go?

Camden

Camden began the year attending Loving Space preschool which she absolutely adored. Unfortunately, she had to stop attending when Mike was laid off from work. Camden continues to be our “princess girl”. She loves all things pink and princessy. She spent most of her allowance this year on the Disney Princess Polly Pockets. Her other love is Barbies, especially the Barbie movies. Her favorites are Diamond Castle, Princess and the Pauper and The Three Musketeers. She loves to sing and perform. She received a Barbie guitar for her Birthday and loves to put on concerts for us. In an ironic twist Camden also loved learning all about snakes this year, especially Boa’s. We read many books from the library about snakes … all on her own initiative. We also studied lizards, geckos and skunks. Camden’s writing continues to improve and we enjoyed writing several books together this year. She narrates and I write. She also loves writing out Birthday cards and has made a few grocery lists for me as well as her own sporadic creations. Her reading is constantly improving and she does some reading from the beginning readers. Our favorites this year were the Biscuit books. Like the rest of the Reid’s she is drawn to the computer. She loves to spend time on playhouse disney and starfall as well as play computer games that we have rented from the library. One of our favorite video series that we experienced this year from the library was a series called “Families Around The World.” Camden has now turned 5 and I definitely feel like we are in a time speed warp. I am enjoying all of the new experiences but would be lying if I denied that sometimes I just want to cradle her in my arms again as an infant. I know that I am going to blink and she is going to be 10 like Mikayla. She is still young enough, however, to crack us up with her still childish view of the world and her misunderstood lyrics.

Fell asleep at the computer…

Garrett:

Garrett is certainly doing his best to stake out his position in the family which he believes should be the “top dog”. He has no fear from his older sisters and truly terrorizes them on a regular basis. At the same time he is a sweet, cuddly little guy. He definitely goes back and forth between “Mr destructo” (as Camden appropriately nicknamed him) and our precious sweet boy “Mr Garrett”.  Unfortunately, Garrett has had a pretty rough year but is a trooper nonetheless. Despite illness, countless trips to doctors, allergists, chiropractors, ER visits and Seattle childrens hospital he still managed to keep a smile on his face and grow, grow, grow. So far this year we have discovered that he is IgE allergic to: wheat, dairy (casein and whey), goats milk, egg, peanut, sunflower, soy and dog. He has had numerous reactions to other things (some unknown) but those are his “true” allergies. We are working on healing his little body and hope that 2010 will bring some additional progress. Garrett is definitely a fireball of energy and just a silly, crazy boy. His favorite things are hammers, balls and anything of mom’s or dad’s that he shouldn’t have. He also has a love of baby dolls, polly pockets, singing barbie’s and pink girly clothes thanks to his two sisters. Garrett is also turning into a social ham and loves to make people laugh at him. He also LOVES music and instruments. His favorites are the guitar and the piano. When we are at Church he will “conduct” the hymns by moving his little fingers, it is precious. His language is coming along and he is talking more and more each month. Our favorite thing that Garrett does is a silly noise that he made up for what a “turtle” says.

Other miscellaneous pictures in no particular order: