Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pork, anyone?

So, as you might have picked up from my last post, I'm slightly paranoid about the pigs that have been doing some damage in our neighborhood. Sometimes I do tend to overreact ever so slightly in these type of situations, so on Friday, when I spotted what looked like a little place in our yard where the grass had been pulled up, you can understand why Herschel dismissed me, saying that it was probably just a possum.

Well, that was until Saturday, when we woke up to this...

We either have the world's largest possum in our yard or the pigs have found us.

But, considering that Herschel spotted a pig down the street on Monday morning on his way to the gym, we're going with the latter.

We've notified the HOA, and they are already on it, so hopefully, our yard will once again be pig free very, very soon. Because until then, I refuse to take Oscar out after dark. That's just the way it is.

On a side note, we're planning on smoking or grilling a pork tenderloin every weekend between now and when the HOA tells us we are rid of the pigs. I figure that should make them think twice before visiting our yard again.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

If You Call Them, They Will Come...

We might live in Florida now, but believe me, the Hogs are alive and well here. Maybe it's the fact that there's a new Razorback fan in the Acosta household (despite whatever her Daddy may tell you), or maybe it was my robust cheering during football season this past year, but whatever it was, it worked. Perhaps, a little too well...

The night before we left to go to Arkansas for Christmas we were driving home around 9 p.m. Obviously it was dark, and as we entered our neighborhood we noticed a car in the opposite lane shining its bright lights across our lane and into a green space to the right of our car. Herschel slowed the car as we passed trying to figure out what these people were doing, and that's when I saw it. A big, black pig. Eating his way through the meticulously landscaped neighborhood.

Spotting a wild pig is not that out of the ordinary in Florida. Being from Arkansas I equate it to seeing deer along the interstate. As you drive along, you'll often see pigs feeding on the side of the road. But this was not the interstate, and this pig was considerably larger than the ones I'd seen along the road. I was more than a little disturbed. Not to mention that Herschel added to my uneasiness by nonchalantly pointing out that the noise that we'd often wondered about coming from the green space behind our house, was probably not a bull frog as we had once thought, but more than likely pigs. Thank you very much for that.

So, to Arkansas we went. A wonderful time was had by all, and Herschel flew back to Florida for a week to work before rejoining me and Sophia in Arkansas. The morning he was to leave, our pastor came to pick up to take him to the airport and what should they find in the middle of the road, but a dead pig! According to their approximations, it probably weighed 100-200 lbs.! And according to my approximations, that's equal to a person. Wild. With tusks.
In case you're keeping score, that's one pig sighted and one pig carcass in the road. So everything should be good, right? Wrong. Here are some very poor photos I took with my phone of what we found when we were taking a walk around the neighborhood the other night.

On the second one, between the street and the sidewalk is ususally all grass. That's not the case any more. The pigs are here in full force and there are many other spots like this throughout the neighborhood. We've even received a notice from the HOA saying that there are 12+ pigs that they are aware of in the neighborhood. They are trying to trap and get rid of them, but apparently the last time the neighborhood was invaded by pigs a couple of years ago it took approximately 9-10 months to get rid of them. And there were only three or four then.

Now all of this alone is enough to raise my blood pressure and keep me indoors as soon as the sun starts going down, but my sweet husband so thoughtfully made me watch a special on the Discovery channel a couple of weeks ago about Russian boars and how they are overrunning the Southeastern US. Apparently they are mating with wild pigs and becoming increasingly aggressive. Terrific! Oh, and two nights after he made me watch this, he left town. I'm pretty sure Oscar just had to hold it if he needed to go to the bathroom after dark. I'm kidding...sort of.

So, I have a new found pride in the fact that I am an Arkansas Razorback fan, because the animals can be big and mean and strong and take you down. However, I would like for them to be that way somewhere besides my neighborhood. So, I hope you'll understand if I'm not calling the Hogs quite so frequently these days. And I definitely won't be doing any Sic 'Em Bears. Yikes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prayer Rocker

When you first become pregnant, you're bombarded with all of the "stuff" that you simply must have in order to take this little bundled person you leave the hospital with and transform them into a normal, functioning human being over the course of the next 18+ years. And, then you realize that people have been having babies for centuries and most of this stuff hasn't been around quite that long, but yet somehow people have survived. Therefore, you (and your baby) probably will, too.

It's easy to see that now that I'm on the other side of things, but as some of you might remember, I just about had a meltdown while I was in the thick of it. It's just overwhelming. What I found most helpful was talking to people who had recently had children and finding 1-2 really good, practical books that could help you weed out the useful from the over-the-top. During that process, I discovered that there are only a handful of things that belong on your "must-have" list, and then the "wants" vary from there. However, whether they labeled it a "want" or a "must-have," most everyone I talked to agreed that a comfortable chair, preferably a rocker, needed to be somewhere close to the top of one of those lists. Now, don't even get me started on the decision process of actually choosing said rocker - all you need to know is that we eventually found a good one.

Over the last five months, I've spent a lot of time there. Most frequently in the middle of the night. Rocking, back and forth, back and forth. There have been many sweet moment in that chair, but also many tears shed...even a few by my daughter. And I will be the first to say that usually I have not bounded out of bed at 4 a.m. and skipped across the living room and into the nursery to go and sit in that chair. It's usually a bit more labored than that, and it is likely accompanied by much grumbling and complaining.

But one night this week while I was rocking back and forth, it hit me - God has used my time in this chair. In the quietness of those moments, when it is just me and Sophia, He has brought specific issues and people to mind and encouraged me to pray for them. Things that I would've never even given a second thought to during the roar of a hectic day, He has been able to quietly whisper into my heart as I sit there in the silence.

Suddenly it didn't seem to matter quite as much that I now know the precise time that the paper is delivered or when the sun comes up. I'm humbled that God cares enough to spend these moments with me, shaping me, molding me and (hopefully) creating a better version of me.

So, now I'm learning to treasure the quiet moments in that rocking chair. It's where I've prayed countless prayers over our precious little girl, where I've cried out for rest, where I've lifted up the needs of friends and family. I'm so thankful for the hours I've spent there.

Oh, and I think I would now say without a doubt that a rocker should be on every new mom's "must-have" list.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parental Failure

I think I'm finally ready to admit it: we have failed as parents with our first-born.
Disobedient, stubborn, jealous, slightly overweight, nosy, no regard for personal space, and that's only the beginning of the problems. I only hope that what people say about a dog being a good test of your parenting skills is not true. Because if Oscar's behavior is any indication, Sophia is in a world of hurt.
As much as we try, Oscar is just Oscar - for better or worse...usually more for worse. We started trying to get him used to walking on a leash from the time he was a puppy, and he has never taken to it very well. We've tried just about every contraption out there to train him to walk calmly beside us rather than pulling and huffing and puffing in front of us, but nothing has worked. Even as we walked last night, Oscar gagged himself by pulling once again on the leash, and Herschel replied, "It's really simple, Oscar, if you don't pull, that won't happen." Unfortunately nothing is quite that simple with Oscar.
In fact, Oscar has graduated from not one, but two(!!) obedience classes. Graduated, not simply participated. We're talking mortar board and everything. Which only makes me lose faith in our education system.
What we got out of these two classes is that Oscar is extremely food motivated - no shock there, hence the slight weight problem, and that despite his behavior, he's just so doggone lovable. Each week when we would enter Petsmart for our class, everyone could hear Oscar coming - puffing, barking, whining, sooooo excited to get to go to class. And all the employees, knowing what was coming around the corner, would say, "Oooh, it's Oscar!" while other customers with their well-trained dogs looked on with horror as we corralled Oscar into the classroom area.
That's the reaction we get most places. One time when he was displaying similar behavior in the waiting area at the vet's office while waiting to be boarded, a rather nervous looking older woman with a perfectly behaved pooch said, "Oh, this must be his first time." To which the receptionist who happened to overhear the comment replied, "Who Oscar? No way, he loves it here!" About that time, they came to take him back and greeted him with a, "Hey, it's Oscar!!" For the record, I've never heard them greet another dog like that, by name. It's like he's a celebrity there. And we all know how great celebrities behave...
I know we're certainly a part of the problem, and we used to be a little embarrassed about it, but now we know that there's really no changing it. So we just love him. And all of our closest friends have learned to love Oscar as well. Whether it's chasing him around our living room or letting him lay on top of them as we watch a movie, they know that it's just Oscar. And there's not much you can do about it.
For all of his faults, he is potty trained, so at least Sophia's got that in her favor.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


So, it's been about three months since my last post. I know, I'm a bad blogger. I keep putting it off over and over again. But this little person that entered our world a little over 4 months ago has shaken things up a bit. So, pardon me, but occasionally I've chosen a shower over blogging. I know, ridiculous, and frankly, down right selfish, but what are you going to do...

Call it a New Year's resolution, a light-bulb moment, or whatever you want, but I had a realization around mid-January that things needed to be straightened out in my life. This paddling like crazy just to barely keep my head above water bit just wasn't working for me any more. So that's when I realized, drum roll, please.....I can't do it all. (Gasp!) And then I realized, I have to pick and choose the things that are important and need doing the most, and do those to the best of my ability. And everything else, well, I can't really worry about it. I've got a new priority in my life - and don't tell her, but she can be a bit demanding.

So, over the past couple of weeks, I've been sort of purging my personal life. Getting rid of or stopping behaviors that are not helpful or hinder productivity in my life. And equally important, adding things or activities that increase efficiency and/or happiness. Sounds like such a simple concept, but it hasn't been as easy as you'd think. Getting out of the rut I'd been stuck in has been huge, but not necessarily quick. And most days, it's still a work in progress.

This process has caused me to begin focusing more on the things that are truly important in my life - not in a sappy way, but more in a "this contributes something to your life" or "this wastes an hour of your time," sort of way. And I feel like I'm beginning to turn a corner. Maybe. Either that or it's a really big curve in the road. But, either way, I feel like it's progress, so I'll take it.

Fortunately for the couple of people out there who actually read this, blogging made my list of things to keep. Mainly because I find it pretty therapeutic and it's nice to have a creative outlet from time to time. It's also a quick and easy way to keep our friends up-to-date on things that are going on in our lives. So, hopefully, reminding myself of all of these things will help keep me motivated to keep this puppy updated. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Over the past five weeks, I've spent a lot of time simply enjoying Sophia. Sure, there have been plenty of moments of frustration, exhaustion and tears (me - not her). But fortunately, most of my time - or at least the times I remember most - have been full of joy, unbelievable love, and amazement that she is actually finally here.

Really, there are very few things I can think of that are better than cuddling up with my little girl while she sleeps on my chest. It makes all of the other not-so-great things disappear instantly. It's simply amazing.

While I've definitely been learning a lot these past five weeks, I think one of the most important things I've learned is to appreciate the little things. I had a relatively easy pregnancy, but with any pregnancy there are sure to be sacrifices - like, say, your entire wardrobe for instance. But over the past few weeks, I've slowly been regaining control of my body. After it's been inhabited for 9+ months, it takes some time to realize it's actually yours again. Some of the things I am loving the most right now are:

  • Bending/squatting/sitting/laying/moving of any sort without a basketball belly
  • Being able to wear my wedding band again
  • Sushi!
  • Caffeine - morning cup of coffee, oh how I've missed you!
  • Non-maternity clothes - granted, I have a long way to go to experience them all, but we're getting there
  • Not going to the bathroom 563 times a day
  • Being able to see the cheek bones in my face again - pregnancy fat face was certainly not a favorite of mine
  • Not being short of breath after doing simple tasks such as putting away the dishes

I'm not so crazy about being able to clean the toilets again. I'm still trying to think of a reason that it's "not safe" for me to breathe in those fumes anymore, but so far no luck.

Friday, October 15, 2010

She's Here!

Well, as most of you already know, Sophia is here!!!! I'm only about 3 weeks late in posting this, but that whole having a newborn thing has really taken up a lot of my time lately.

I've been wanting to share a little bit about Sophia's birth. It was extremely fast and caught me somewhat off-guard in the beginning, but the result was a beautiful, healthy baby girl. So here we go...

I went to the doctor for my regular weekly appointment the Thursday before Sophia was due on Wednesday. While I was there, they discovered that my blood pressure was extremely high. It hadn't been elevated at all during my pregnancy, so they were a bit concerned. After taking my BP several times with little to no change, the doctor told Herschel and I to wait for a little bit while they contacted the on-call doctor to see if he wanted to order any additional tests. During this time they also took my BP change. So, the doctor finally calls us into her office and says, "So, how would you like to have a baby this weekend?" I would've loved to have had a camera to catch the expression on both of our faces, because I'm pretty sure stunned doesn't quite cut it. Babbling idiots, dumbfounded, shocked...perhaps.

The doctor explained that since I was so close to my due date they didn't want to mess around with preeclampsia, and they wanted to induce. So we walked out of the doctor's office with our ticket to enter the hospital the next evening at 5 p.m. Of course, I had planned on cleaning the house really good one last time that weekend, so I wanted to get home and clean, not to mention get all of the boxes out of the guest room that my mom would be staying in. But that sort of work isn't really advised when you have sky-high blood pressure, so Herschel and I did the best we could on short notice. Oh, yeah, and I hadn't packed my hospital bag. Oops.

So after an harried evening to throwing things here and there and trying to make arrangements for my mom, who (thank goodness!) was able to change her flight from Monday to Friday, I woke up Friday morning and headed to the vet to drop off Oscar for his impromptu weekend of boarding and then to the church office to finish up some work there. Then we were off to West Palm to pick up my mom at the airport, before heading out for one last meal and over to the hospital.

As the doctor had explained it to us, I would be given something to get me ready for labor on Friday night, and then I would be started on Pitocin on Saturday morning and probably not have Sophia until Saturday afternoon or evening. So, I was ready for an evening of rest at the hospital. Hey, they had said sleeping pill, and after the couple of hours of sleep I had had the night before that was sounding reeeeaaally good.

So, I got my meds and was feeling pretty good. They explained that I might feel "crampy" Friday night, but the sleeping pill would help me sleep right through it and help me feel rested for the big day on Saturday. Well, let's just say all that sounded great in theory, but my body apparently had other plans.

Around midnight or so, I started having a lot of pain. I was past "crampy" and moving right into uncomfortable. The nurse came in and told me I needed to relax. Yep, this is when I knew that I had a horrible nurse and this would be one of the longest nights of my life.

The sleeping pill had absolutely no effect on me. So after about another hour of not sleeping and only increasing pain, Herschel called the nurse in again. At this point the nurse told me I was not handling the pain well and I just needed to relax...yeah, I thought bad thoughts about her. She finally told me that she would give me a half dose of pain medicine, which helped a great deal. Unfortunately the miracle drugs only lasted about an hour at which point I woke up with excruciating pain wrapping around my sides and running down my back.

Because the nurse had been so mean to me every time she had come into the room, and because I felt like a huge wuss because I thought that I was only supposed to be crampy, I refused to let Herschel call the nurse. All I kept telling Herschel was that if I couldn't handle this, how was I ever going to make it through labor?

Well, funny I should ask that, because as luck would have it, I was, in fact, in labor. After some time of me being in a ton of pain (which turned out to be intense back labor) Herschel went and got the nurse without me knowing. She came in and turned on the monitor that she had turned off because she thought I was watching it and thinking my contractions were worse than they actually were. (By the way, I was paying no attention to the monitor, but maybe she should've been.) Anyway, she turned it on and decided that now would be a good time to check my progress.

Imagine her surprise as she said, "You're like 9 centimeters! But, I think I need to have someone else come in here and check you to make sure, because that just seems fast." Well, a much nicer and from what I could tell more experienced nurse came in and checked me and quickly said, "You're ready."

At that point I was flooded with a range of emotions, perhaps most prominent though was one of vindication. That nurse had me thinking that I was weak, crazy and whiny when really I was in labor! And I had dilated from 1 cm to "ready" in approximately three hours. I thought many more bad thoughts about her at that point. And again when she said, "Oh, well maybe that's why your body was shaking. Maybe it was because you were going so fast." Ya think?

Both nurses came over and asked if I wanted an epidural to which I immediately cried, "YES!" Well, within about 30 seconds they realized that wouldn't be possible and told me that there was no time. (Meanest. Joke. Ever.) They began pulling in tables and gowns and all sorts of things. And then I realized that I had to push. The mean nurse didn't really acknowledge my statement, so the nice nurse and Herschel held my legs as I pushed and my water broke. At that point I think the mean nurse realized that Sophia and I meant business. So, trying to comfort me (I guess?) she said, "Don't worry the doctor will be here soon. He lives really close to the hospital." Seriously!?! I am in labor - pushing nonetheless - and you tell me that the doctor is not even in the building?? I could've gone without knowing that.

But I had no time to dwell on that statement because I had to push again. After pushing a couple of times the mean nurse opened her mouth again and said, "Oh, you're a really good pusher. But don't worry the doctor should be here soon." I wish I had had some duct tape to shut her up at that point. With another push they could see the head. Still no doctor. Mean nurse says, "It's okay, just do some small pushes." To this I replied through clenched teeth, "I can't do small pushes!" The nice nurse patted my arm and told me it was okay and just to do what I needed to do. Finally, someone with some sense! Mean nurse was at it again saying, "Well, we aren't going to deliver this baby. I'm not going to get yelled out. We'll just have to wait until the doctor gets here." If she had been in arms reach at the point, I'm fairly sure I would've caused her bodily harm.

But about that time, the door to the room opened and in walked the doctor. He walked up the bed, took a look at me, looked at Herschel, and said matter of factly, "We're going to have a baby." And sure enough we did - about 5 minutes after he arrived.

All 8 lbs. 19 1/2 in. of Sophia Grace Acosta arrived at 4:49 a.m. on September 25. How lucky and blessed we are!

It's definitely been a learning process, and I'm sure it will continue to be everyday for the rest of our lives, but it's a joyous one. We are so thankful that our little family of two has finally become a family of three. We love her beyond words. I can't wait to see where life takes us from here - and I'm so glad that Sophia is a part of that life now.