Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What Really Makes a Holiday

In the week leading up to Easter, I saw a lot of posts from women in the Fire Wife groups I frequent expressing their concern and sadness over their firefighters being on duty on Easter Sunday. Whether it's Easter Sunday, Christmas, a birthday or a big family event, it can be a hard pill to swallow the first few times your firefighter works on a holiday.

Career firefighter families and volunteer families' experiences are a bit different when it comes to holidays. Each lifestyle presents it's own challenges. One lifestyle is not easier than the other. What matters is how your family learns to adapt.

 Career families know their firefighter's schedule. They typically plan celebrations around a duty day that falls on a holiday or event. A lot of times families are allowed and encouraged to come visit the station for holidays and share a meal with the firefighters on duty. It's nice to be able to have a chance to have a meal together - if you're lucky and the tones don't go off, or spend what time you can together while they are at the station. It is sometimes difficult to adjust to having to celebrate on a different day,

Volunteer families typically celebrate their holidays and events on the same day if their firefighter is at an on call/volunteer department. What makes volunteer life difficult is the pager could go off mid birthday party, or right in the middle of opening presents Christmas morning. It could be a quick run, or he could be gone all day or night. Learning to adjust to him running out the door at any moment is tough. Sometimes it's something we still struggle with five years in.

One of the most important lessons you can learn as a fire wife is to appreciate the time you do have. If you have to move a Christmas dinner and gift exchange to the next day, if Easter dinner is celebrated the following weekend, or if you have to put the birthday cake away mid party and sing happy birthday when your firefighter is back home in a few hours it's ok. A holiday or celebration is not about the date on the calendar. It's about the family and friends you share it with. Don't sweat the small stuff. When you can celebrate, do - fire life can be stressful enough.

Are You Keeping Up With My Life Between the Tones?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Get Hosed Apparel Recycled Fire Hose Belt

Like most firefighters, 374 appreciates a good fire themed gift for any gift giving holiday or birthday. I've done the normal t shirts, patches, and other various novelties. I wanted something a little different for Valentine's Day this year. I wanted to get him something that was useful and different from anything else he's been gifted in the past. Valentine's Day came and went, I had to make up a small excuse for why his present was not here on Valentine's Day - telling him I couldn't make up my mind wasn't going to cut it.

I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I could get him that he would love and use often. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one day, and there it was. A belt. He needs a new belt badly. He only had one and he wore it for everything. It was cracked, peeling and at the end of it's road. This wasn't just any belt, this belt was made from recycled fire hose. JACKPOT. It's fire related, useful, and he needed one badly.

I had seen fire hose belts in the past from other companies. They were usually colorful and had wording on them. 374 is pretty simple. He doesn't wear a lot of color and would appreciate something more subtle. When I saw the picture of the Get Hosed Apparel belt in my feed, I knew it would be perfect. I ordered the black rubber hose belt with the wide buckle for him. I also added white stitching which is available for a small up charge, but definitely worth it in my opinion. I chose black because it would go with anything in his wardrobe - he wears a lot of grays, blues and black. The belt is available in two buckle styles and various other colors as well.

The shipped quickly after I ordered. When I pulled it out of the package, I knew I had made the perfect choice. This belt is high quality and durable, but most of all it looks great. I knew 374 was going to love it, and he did. His face lit up like a kid at Christmas when I told him what the belt was made of. He ripped off the old belt and this one was put on in a flash.

He wore it to work the next day and showed it off to his coworkers. He works a somewhat physical job, and many of his friends are volunteer firefighters as well. They all were very impressed with the belt. He got the same reaction at the station for work night - as soon as he told them it was made from recycled fire hose, everyone's interest was piqued.

What I love most about this belt is it looks good with whatever he wears - a pair of work jeans for work, a nice pair of jeans for a night out, and he's even tried it on with his dress uniform and it looks nice on those pants as well. It is very well made and has stood up nicely. After about a week's worth of wear to work and at home it still looks brand new.

Get Hosed Apparel sells more than these recycled hose belts, they also sell radio straps, glove straps, and wristbands made from hose, they also features bags made from purposed bunker gear. You will also find all these and  lots of other items including a clothing line on their Get Hosed Apparel website. Jay's website, Instagram (@get_hosed_apparel) and Facebook are well worth a visit and bookmark. Get Hosed Apparel has excellent customer service and we will definitely be repeat customers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wordless Wednesday --- Daddy/Daughter Dance!

Here are a few more pictures I took while she got ready for her Daddy/Daughter Dance. 374 got ready at my mom's house. He showed up at our house, knocked on the door to pick her up, and even had a pretty corsage for her. She will know how a boy should treat her!


Who would have thought the life of a fire wife would have been easier for me in the earlier days than they are 5 years in? When 374 joined the department, the kids were almost 3 and 5 1/2. When he would run out the door, being home with them was not a big deal. They played together. They could entertain themselves while I made dinner. Going places with the two of them was relatively easy on my own.

This post has been mulling around in my head for a while. Not because I couldn't find the time to write it, but because I don't want it to be taken the wrong way. I've struggled with the guilt of my feelings. I've been trying to process it all on my own, but maybe just getting it all off my chest will help.

The kids have aged to 7 and 9. We also have a little one who will be 1 in a matter of days. 374 has picked up more responsibility at the station - not only in the office, but as a driver for the EMS as well. His EMS duties are scheduled. His office duties are time sensitive. He enjoys everything he's doing. So why am I having a harder time with him out of the house now that I did in the beginning?

I like to tell myself it's because of the baby. That being home with three kids is more work than just two. At the end of the day after taking care of the baby and getting the kids to and from school and activities sometimes I just want to hand the reigns to him, and some days I can't. It might be meeting night, work night, time to do reports, or he may be on call with the squad. I can feel the nagging "You'd rather be there than at home..." feeling creeping in. It's a normal feeling for a fire wife from time to time. I know I've even spoke those words out loud to him a few times. It makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like I'm not being the supportive wife I said I'd be.

I've decided that I need to stop resenting the fact that he has these obligations and again find the pride in what it is he's doing with his time. Life is fluid, things change. What matters is how we adapt. Now is my time to get back into my groove. I'm sure there will be more changes in his fire career. Duties will shift, obligations will arise. It's not that he is doing this to avoid his family. I have to remember he is doing it FOR his family. He wants his children to learn to give back. I need to remember my part in his life of service. Sometimes it's hard, but all I can do is keep pushing through.

I'm hoping by being more active here again will help. We are getting excited for our family trip to FDIC. Maybe that will help kick my mind back in gear.

374 and Sassy before her Father/Daughter Dance last weekend

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy and his Beauty Queen

Labor Day weekend in our town means our little homecoming festival. Sassy always enters the pageants. 374 always drives a truck through the parade. Here's our first runner up with her Daddy before the parade. She was also in the parade on a pageant float.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

"What do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know, what do you feel like?"

"I don't know, I'm just hungry and I want to eat."

"Well I don't know either, just make whatever you want."

Common discussion in our house that usually ends with both 374 and I annoyed. I dread the "dinner debate", so I've been trying to come up with new dinners that are both easy (both kids have started back into their school year routine of Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings - on the same night) and everyone will enjoy.

We have some pretty different tastes in this house - from not being able to handle too much spice, to being picky about vegetables, and one of us doesn't really like much meat. It's hard to please everyone with one dinner, but that's my main goal.

Tonight we are trying a new recipe for the first time. I'm hoping it goes well. It's a taco based dinner, which is always a hit here. I'll post the recipe here, and then come back tonight and update -- hopefully with it being a success!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

*2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
*1 can of corn, drained
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*3-4 (depending on size, I used 4) boneless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones)
*1 small onion, diced (because of my picky eaters, I opted for eyeballing some dried onion flake, but would have preferred an onion)
*1 packet taco seasoning (i prefer the lower sodium one)
*1 can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies -- again to oblige picky eaters i opted for without)
*shredded cheddar or taco blend cheese
*sour cream
*crumbled tortilla chips

In your crockpot layer the onion if you used onion, then the chicken breasts on top of that. If not, I laid my chicken breasts down first, then sprinkled the dried onion on top. Add corn and beans on top of chicken. In a separate bowl mix together the chicken broth, soup, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Pour over the top of your beans, chicken and corn in the crockpot. I plan on cooking this on low for 6-8 hours (my chicken breasts are frozen). You could do high for 4 hours, but I'd only do that if you are using thawed chicken. about an hour before serving I plan on pulling the chicken out and shredding it, and adding it back in.

I will serve this topped with the shredded cheddar cheese, a scoop of sour cream and some crumbled tortilla chips.

I will be back with an update later this evening!

This soup was a huge success! Seven and a half hours cooked on low was perfect for this dish! Everyone had seconds. The only thing I was worried about was the diced tomatoes. I knew it would set radars off with Sassy and Bubby -- but much to my surprise they are them up without a word! This will definitely be added to our regular meal plan. I am loving being able to add soups to our options for the upcoming cold months!