Saturday, May 30, 2009

Decorating the nursery

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Meet one of my favorite Christmas presents - a Benjamin Moore color preview fan thing.

With my first child, I made plans and had the nursery ready to go at least a month before she actually got here. With the second, I wasn't quite that dedicated, but he had somewhere to go before he was born. A new job, a new house, and a new baby later, I have yet to do a thing for my littlest one's room.

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So here are the color options I'm debating for his room. They will coordinate with this turquoise and chocolate bedding. Oooh--the bedding--I guess that means I DID do something for his nursery! Just never mind the fact that the only "furniture" in there right now is the Pack-n-Play. It's a work in progress.

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I can do option 1 - a gender neutral, colorful green-based theme,



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option 2 - a cool-toned boyish blue theme,



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or option 3 - a more neutral blue theme.

Or, something completely different that I haven't thought of yet. Any suggestions or preferences are welcome!

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Uh... Honey... we have a problem..."



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Can you guess what this is?

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Same object, a different view.

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I'll give you a clue.

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It has to do with this two year old,

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and some curious fingers.

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If you guessed doorknob, you're right!

I went to put my little man to bed last night and found that he had locked himself in his room. He was frustrated and crying--not because he was locked in his room, but because he couldn't get his jack-in-the-box toy to go back in the box. I sat there on the floor, talking under the door, trying for half an hour to lure him over to unlock it. The stubborn little guy would have no part in it--not even for a cookie. I'd do just about anything for a chocolate chip cookie, I don't know what his problem was.

I was fortunate, my firefighter was around to help me out. We tried picking the lock to no avail. Then he thought he'd try climbing on the roof and see if he could get in the window. It's a narrow, steep roof to get to the window and my mind was instantly swarmed by images of him tumbling to the driveway below. Within seconds I had planned out who I'd have watch the kids so that I could go to the hospital with him. Thankfully, he thought twice about that.

The only other option was to break in. I pictured him putting on his heavy boots, shouting "CLEAR" and sending splinters of door and molding flying through the air. Luckily, his operation was much more precise. It's nice to know that if a firefighter has to break into the house, he's trained to do so with as little damage as possible.

A pry bar, a hammer, and a skilled firefighter later, the door was opened. The door survived unscathed.

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The doorknob, however...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On the way home

One of the times I get to see my firefighter do his thing is when we drive past bad accidents on the freeway. I've come to learn that most accidents aren't nearly as devastating as the destruction of the cars involved would lead one to believe. All of those crumple zones and airbags really do work! More often than not, people walk away from the most horrific looking wrecks.

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Here's an example. The driver of this vehicle fell asleep at the wheel. He ended up deciding not to even go to the hospital.

There are times, however, when an older vehicle is involved or when a passenger isn't wearing a seat belt (or both) when those involved do not walk away.

I remember the first time I saw my firefighter in action. It was Christmas and we were on the way home from celebrating the day with his family. It was late and our car was loaded with presents and children. The freeway was pretty clear that night, and I was mostly worried about how difficult it was going to be to get my sugar-stuffed, over-stimulated children to bed. Suddenly, we noticed a van in the center divider that had rolled over. The accident had clearly just happened moments before--debris was still scurrying on the freeway--so we decided to help out.

My firefighter took the closest exit and quickly and safely (if not exactly legally) drove back to the scene of the accident. He parked the car close to the center divider, far enough away so that we wouldn't be in harm's way, and the children wouldn't see what was going on. I stayed with the kids as he jumped out and ran to the accident. I watched as he switched from just a guy into a rescuer. It really felt like he had gone into a phone booth and had come out with a cape on.

He found a drunk man who had not been wearing a seat belt and was ejected from his vehicle as it rolled. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, and no one else was with him, thank goodness.

I watched from the car as my firefighter knelt in the glass on the side of the road and did his assessment on the victim. Soon, an off duty firefighter and a cop showed up and helped secure the scene. I watched them work, silhouetted by the flashing red and blue lights. My firefighter moved quickly and knew just what to do. He told the cop to get the CPR mask out of his patrol car. The cop told him that he didn't have one. My firefighter told him to look in his trunk, and in there he would find a first responder bag. In the bag would be a mask. The cop sheepishly returned with the mask.

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Traffic slowed to a crawl as people stopped to watch what was going on. Their headlights made the ground sparkle. I was glad they crept by to watch - I would much rather have curious and slow onlookers, than cars zooming by my vulnerable man.

The victim was not in good shape. His breathing slowed to a stop and my firefighter began CPR. But there wasn't anything he, or anyone else, could do and the man passed away.

My firefighter went to the fire engine that had arrived on scene and cleaned up. He climbed back into the car, the fire engine blocked traffic for us so we could get out, and we continued the drive home.

My previous concerns about getting the kids to bed seemed trivial at this point. On the drive home I felt sorry for the loss of this man's life, yet so grateful that we were a few seconds behind him when he crashed. Instead of potentially being involved in the accident, we were able to stop and help out. And, I had the rare opportunity to see my firefighter at work. I realized then and there that I could never do his job. And I realized how incredibly grateful I am that there are people out there who can do it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Firehouse Recipe - Carrots Vichy

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My firefighter does NOT like cooked carrots. Except these cooked carrots. I took them to the fire station one evening and apparently they were still the topic of discussion the next day. They're that good. It's one of the few dishes that everyone in our house thoroughly enjoys. And it's such a simple recipe! I'm all for simple, delicious recipes that don't require a multitude of ingredients.

The key is the buttery, sweet glaze that forms in the cooking process. This is my mom's variation of a recipe from the classic Joy of Cooking book.

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Thank you, Irma Rombauer, for teaching me so many cooking basics.

We'll do this Pioneer Woman style.

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You will need:

2 lbs baby carrots or peeled, sliced carrots
6 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes
Approximately 2 cups water

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The trick is knowing how hot your stove cooks, and knowing how much water you'll need. The goal is to get the water to boil away in the span of 20 - 25 minutes. If it takes too long to boil away, the carrots will be mushy. Not enough water will shorten the cooking time and leave the carrots too crunchy.

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Combine all of the ingredients in a large sauce pan, on high heat. Set a timer for 20 minutes. That's it. I told you it was simple!

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Bring to a rolling boil.

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Here's my little guy waiting for the carrots to cook, trying to touch the lens. And no, he's not wearing a shirt. He's a stripper. We love him anyway. It's hard not to love those big brown eyes, especially since they're just like gazing into his father's eyes.

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This is about 10 minutes into the cooking time.

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The carrots are just about done here. I like to push them away from the sides of the pan at this point so that they don't burn.

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Oooh, look at that buttery glaze. Done! The carrots are finished when they start sizzling in the butter mixture left at the bottom of the pan. If you are at the 20 minute mark and there's still a lot of water, scoop out the carrots and boil down the glaze until it reaches the consistency in the photo above. If the carrots start sizzling before the 20 minutes are up, add a little bit more water - maybe 1/4 cup - to extend the cooking time as needed.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Command Presence

In the fire service, it helps to have a command presence. When a firefighter rolls on scene of a car accident or shows up at the house of a panic-ridden family worried about their loved one, they see the firefighter as someone who knows what he's doing and how to help. They WANT him to know it all. My firefighter has a great command presence, and has the ability to make people feel safe and taken care of. And as the medic, he's often in charge of directing the other firefighters too. I love watching him work, he does a great job of staying calm, helping others to stay calm, and working quickly and accurately. I've been told he whistles and jokes with his patients to ease their stress. I'm sure it helps their stress that he's lightning fast and precise with putting in the IV, too.

While I don't often get to see what he does on the job, I do see it in action at home. The whole command presence thing works great on the kids! How come children never listen to mom the same way they listen to dad? I guess my voice isn't low enough. As far as the know-it-all aspect of his job making it's way home... I give him a hard time about that... but I do it out of love. Love you, honey!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A training exercise

The guys at the station do a lot of training in their free time. My firefighter is in the academy right now for his new department and comes home with all sorts of bumps and bruises from their activities. The worst person to be in a simulated rescue is the victim. Firefighters train to get the victim out quickly and alive - not necessarily gently. Here is an example of a training exercise from his old department, as documented by my firefighter:


I'm playing engineer. Greg and I did this training the day before.


Tom grabbing the rotary saw.


Greg enjoying the show.


Aaron getting ready to be our downed firefighter.


Andy and Tom getting ready to advance the line to the far side of the building.


Aaron overseeing their progress.


Tom had to crawl with the rotary saw to the nozzle.


Andy flowing some water.




We now have a simulated firefighter down.


Andy and Tom have to work together to crawl out with the downed firefighter.

It's tougher than it looks.


Once out of the building we simulated a full arrest. Since Tom is a paramedic student this was fun for me to watch.


"Um...I think I'm supposed to do this....I think."


"Ah well. He's gone. Let's go get lunch."

Actually Tom and Andy did a great job on this drill. They had to grab a multitude of tools, swing the axe 50 times, crawl a bunch, go through two air bottles and were still able to perform a decent full arrest scenario. In my experience the hardest time to do medical assessments is when you just did a ton of physical exertion and you're tired. You have to be able to run on autopilot at that point.
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