Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Illness With a Family

When I'm sick I just want to sit or lay around. I used to do just that. But, while I may have had that luxury back when my name didn't have "'s Mommy" in it, it is no longer an option. Squiggle has been sick for a couple of weeks. It didn't seem to bother her, so it didn't bother me. But lately she has seemed cranky and has developed a cough. Then she passed it to me and her baby brother, Wriggly.

So three of the four of us are sick. The only one I'm really worried about is the baby. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to choke on my own phlegm. (Sorry about that over-share.) And I have had years of practice. My two-month-old does not have the coping mechanisms that I do. If I have times that I am afraid of choking, how must he feel? I must admit I'm terrified that he will choke on his mucous and I'll lose him.

For some reason I have worries with Wriggly that I never had with Squiggle. I never had much of the typical first time mom worry. Perhaps it was because she was so miserable that we were in survival mode the entire first half of her first year. Zombies don't seem to have much ability to think. But Wriggly is so much easier that I get enough sleep to be able to think. And for me, with thought comes worry.

He's had two coughing fits that have had me considering the ER. Both have passed within minutes. I've since learned that I can use my syringe bulb to suction out his mouth as well as his nose. This has eased my mind a bit. It may be a false sense of capability. After all, I have no idea how to do it or if it would help. But having a course of action other than panicking makes me feel better. So if he loses the ability to breath after a coughing fit I intend to dive in there with my trusty blue bulb as my husband calls 911. But I pray it doesn't come to that. And I doubt it will.

On a more productive note, I made chicken soup. I know it won't directly help the baby, but it will help the rest of us. And our improved health can only benefit him.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Revenge of the Virus

The cold is still here. Squiggle seemed like she was getting better, then she got noticeably worse. On Thursday we took her to the doctor. She confirmed that it was probably a cold, but to bring her back in if the cough didn't clear up in a week. I asked about Wriggly; what symptoms I should bring him in for. She said to bring him in if his congestion got so bad it interfered with his drinking.

The weekend was rough. Squiggle has been more difficult than usual and I feel so bad for her. Her sleep is all over the place. She is sleeping more than usual, but at odd times. Staying up with her at 2 am makes the next day with Wriggly exhausting. I thank God that Wriggly, who usually needs to be held at night, has slept through being put down so I can care for his sister.

The bad news is that Wriggly and I have both fallen ill. My illness is just inconvenient, but I am very concerned about my baby. He is only two months old. I guess this is proof that breastfed babies can still get sick. Hearing his coughing fits and his chest rattle when he breathes is worrisome. I am afraid he will choke on his phlegm. It's terrifying.

We have been sleeping in Grandma's room. (She cleverly planned a trip to visit her other grandchildren before things got bad here.) It is smaller and the humidifier works better in there. It also cuts down on the disturbances to Daddy. He hasn't gotten bad yet, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Last night I stayed up with him until 3 or so in the morning. I was prepared to stay up all night holding him, but when his breathing sounded better I decided to sleep. I figured that any change in his breathing would wake me and I knew I'd need the rest.

I'm praying that my children get better very soon. Worrying about them is much worse than being sick myself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cold #1

My family has been attacked. Squiggle was the first one to catch it. She held onto it a while, but being a sweet girl, she decided to share. Daddy, then Mommy, then Wriggly all have joined her in her fun.

For some reason, each time someone in my household gets sick, I believe I can escape it. Sure I say I expect to succumb, but I must not really believe it. I say this because I am always a bit surprised to wake up with a sore throat.

As a child I was always sick. There were phases I went through; croup, ear infections, strep throat, etc. I'd go to school, catch the first thing going around and just keep catching any available virus or bacteria until summer break. It didn't get better until I graduated high school.

Since then things have been better, but I still get sick fairly regularly. There have been two times in my life that I have been healthy. One was when I was downing Shaklee vitamins literally by the handful, three times a day. The other was when I drank a daily fruit smoothie. The first was stopped due to finances, those pills weren't cheap. (I did learn to take 9 pills in a gulp though. Not sure how that would be useful but still, it's a skill.) There's no good reason why I stopped the smoothies. I just did.

I'm going to try to get in the habit of making daily smoothies again. My family loves them and they aren't complicated or even very expensive. They say that kids average about eight and adults average about four colds a year. I'm going to strive for my family to be below average. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Month of Thanks

is thankful for Chrissy and her gift of the magical chair. It is perfect for nursing and snuggling and has saved me this past week. And I never would have had a chair as nice if not for her. (November 1st and 2nd "Thankfuls.")    Nov. 1 & 2
is thankful for the delicious smell of her littles.    Nov. 3
is thankful for fleece. It is very warm without that initial freeze when it is put on. Magical.    Nov. 4
is thankful that my mom is here to help Jake during my convalescence.    Nov. 5
is thankful that I only have to alter my clock twice a year.    Nov. 6
is thankful for indoor plumbing. Flushing toilets; sinks, showers and tubs with both hot and cold water; not having to deal with a pump or buckets....    Nov. 7
is thankful for the Netflix/screen & projector combo in her movie room.    Nov. 8
is thankful for little Wriggly smiles. The world is a fun, joke-filled place for him.    Nov. 9  
is thankful that I seem to be given the ability to do what needs to be done. Even if just barely.    Nov. 10  
is thankful her children are healthy.   Nov. 11   
is thankful that her children have the ability to flail, thrash and howl through their diaper changes.    Nov. 12   
is thankful for the sleepy-time cuddles bestowed by the Squiggle. Made all the more precious by their rarity.    Nov. 13    
is thankful that Squiggle is such a strong little girl. It will help her weather my parenting mistakes.    Nov. 14   
is thankful for whoever helps me tomorrow as I behave foolishly and venture out of my house without babysitters.  Nov. 15  
is thankful for a good day with good friends, made better by not re-injuring myself. Thanks to the Pinkpeas ladies for making my day out fun and stress-free. Brittany, Sarah, Amy, Phelicia and everyone else, grazie.      Nov. 16   
hates stuff right now. No thankfuls in the immediate future.   Nov. 17   
is thankful to have a nice house.   Nov. 18
is thankful to be healing.   Nov. 19
is thankful for the internet.   Nov. 20
just helped save a life. Our tortoise burrows flooded and we managed to pull Zira from the water that she was submerged under. Somehow Cornelius was already on dry ground. Thankful.    Nov. 21
is thankful to be ambidextrous.    Nov. 22
is thankful for her friends.   Nov. 23
is thankful for my family.   Nov. 24
 
Interesting that that last one pasted in a different boldness than the others. I lost track of this project this year. I always get sidetracked from remembering to be thankful. But I have many things to be thankful for, and I am. God has been good to me and I should try harder to focus on the things He's given me instead of my complaints. (Except for when they're funny.)
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Laundry Room

Oops. This is another post that I didn't publish for some reason. I've been going through and tagging the ones that I forgot to tag. Then I accidentally hit publish instead of save. 

Last week I decided to tackle my laundry room. It was perfect for my purposes. I wanted something that I could do, start to finish in one day. Something that would hopefully jump start a cleaning "mood" for me. I thought that if I could set a whole room to order it would give me motivation. Plus, it really needed to be cleaned.

There was lint everywhere. Since it is on the second floor it stands in a tub to catch any overflow. That tub was filthy. It had moist debris of indeterminable origin in it. (Not good for when a clean item falls during transport.) The washer had gunk, dust and flecks of yuck on the top and inside surfaces. It was fairly disgusting. Especially for something that is supposed to make things clean. The dryer was better but still had problems with the lint catcher. It needed to be vacuumed out. The shelf needed to be organized and the floor needed to be dealt with.

It started off well. I removed all the floor items such as drying rack, hamper, etc.  put them in the library thinking it would only be for the afternoon. (You already know where I'm going with this, don't you?) The vacuum took care of the floor. Then I decided to move the dryer. The dryer vent decided to protest. Mine was a Pyrrhic victory. The dryer moved but the vent didn't. Instead it ripped. Looking at it I could see why.It was about three inches long. Okay, that's an exaggeration. But it did not have enough length to be pulled out from the wall. It had the look of something that had previously ripped and been reused even though it didn't quite fit. (Not the first such situation in this house. We found duct tape subbing for a length of pipe under our sink.) Frankly, I'm impressed wit the skills of whoever attached the thing. There was simply not enough room for me to do it.
The fixed version.

This of course meant that my "day" project turned into a week project. My laundry backed up while I let time pass without traveling to Home Depot for a new duct. I did what I could. Vacuumed, dusted, mopped the yuck under the dryer, that sort of thing. But my groove had definitely been thrown off. When we finally got the dryer fixed I had lost my momentum. But it is finally done.

Floor is clean of debris. Washer and pan are wiped free of dust and crud. Dryer is de-linted. Drying racks, hamper, waste basket and rolling bin have been replaced. Shelves are organized as decently as they are likely to be. Laundry backlog has been dealt with. Even the rags used to clean up the filth. And yes, I do acknowledge the irony of using the washer to clean the rags that I used to clean the washer.
See the clean drip pan.

Now if something falls on the floor while being pulled out of the dryer it doesn't have to go straight back into the hamper. Bare feet no longer pick up grit. Most helpful of all though is seeing a whole room get set to order. Sure it is a small one. But it is done. Finished. All I need do is maintain it. Now that is motivating. And I intend to ride that motivation into more successes.
My first load drying in my newly cleaned laundry room.

Pessimism won't work.

I apparently wrote this in January of 2011. I have no idea why I didn't post it. Poor thing has just been sitting here, waiting for me to go through my posts and find it. I'm not going to alter it, this is the original draft.

I tend toward the negative.  I always have.  It's a character flaw that I've worked on at various points in my life.  I understand that pessimism doesn't work.  It robs people of initiative and makes happiness impossible.  Not to mention,  it's extremely unpleasant to others.  Really, who wants to be around someone who never stops complaining?

Since having my daughter, I've thought a lot about the person I want to be and the life I want to live.  After all, I am now a role model.  My child will look to me for cues on how to behave.  She will learn how to deal with disappointment, challenge and all those negative things by watching how I deal with them.  Do I whine and give up when things don't go how I feel they should?

During my periods of forced optimism a strange thing happens.  I actually AM happier.  Things seem to be better.  Is this because they are better?  Not really.  But my perception is shifted.  My circumstances haven't changed, only my focus.  I have fewer problems, but more challenges.

Our society tends to blame others for any issues we have.  It's the economy/my job/my upbringing/that person over there.  And so on.  If I were just treated the way I deserve to be treated, my life would be better.  If you would just _______ then I could be happy.  But since I am not treated fairly then I am released from any obligation to treat others decently.

Here's an interesting thing I've observed.  The happiest people are not the ones with the money/power/prestige/stuff.  They have normal jobs and bills to pay.  Their problems are the same as ours.  What they do have, that others do not, is gratitude and personal responsibility.  

Personal responsibility.  They recognize that they are in charge of their actions.  They, quite simply, choose to be happy.  Being accountable for your thoughts and actions isn't comfy.  It requires an acceptance that when things go wrong, you had a hand in causing it.  It means that when you do something wrong, it is because you CHOSE to.  The negative consequences are earned.  The flip side is, you can improve your situation.  You don't have to sit around waiting for someone to hand you the magic happiness wand.  You are capable of making choices and taking actions to set you on the right path.  It may not be easy.  In fact, it is almost guaranteed not to be.  But empowering?  Definitely.  Worth it?  I believe so.

Gratitude.  Being thankful for what you have.  It is so easy to overlook this.  After all, I deserve the good thing in my life, right?  I'm a good person.  I work hard.  It's the bad things that are thrust upon an innocent me.  It's so easy to overlook the good.  My beautiful daughter usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to go to sleep at night.  During that time I'm in her room rocking her with my eyes closed so she will hopefully get bored and sleep.  There is so much I could do with that time.  If only she would go to sleep easier.  But during that time I get to hold my beautiful, ever growing not-rally-a-baby-anymore baby.  I get to cuddle her and give her the knowledge that she is important and loved.  When she finally goes to sleep I get to open my eyes and see her face in the peace that I helped create for her.  I get to kiss her sweet-smelling cheek.  (And it does smell sweet.  She smells delicious, but that is a different post.)  She is in my arms, safe in my home, happy and healthy.  So many things to be grateful for.

My Wonderful Recliner

I've now been laid up for three full weeks. Things are better now but it has been up and down. At times I've been unable to move. I don't know what it is. While my chiropractor suspected a pulled muscle and an out-of-place rib, I'm not so sure. It sounded reasonable. But last week my left side followed my right. I don't see how I could have injured both sides in the same way, a couple of weeks apart.

The doctor that I broke down and went to thinks it is my muscles compensating for the babying of the other side. All I know is that I felt my back muscles in spasm, painfully twitching for what seemed like an eternity. After a couple of days, when I could move my arms and breathe a bit better, I got online and started researching muscle spasms.

I've started upping my intake of calcium, potassium and magnesium, and I've even taken to drinking tonic water. (And my husband is coercing me into using the prescription ibuprofen.)

This ordeal is coming to a close, I hope. But the one thing that has enabled me to get through it as well as I have is my recliner. (Not what you thought I'd say, huh?) A friend gave it to me a while back. It is big enough for me, and my original thought was that I'd cuddle, rock and nurse my kids in it. And it is great for that. But it sits higher off the ground and a higher back than most chairs. I have been unable to lay down in a bed and the chair is the only place I have been able to tolerate sitting. I don't know how I would have slept without it and its nice recline.

Even though I have thought of many ideas for posts while unable to write them, I found my mind blank. So I decided an expression of thanks for my much loved chair would be appropriate.
The beloved children in the chair.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Projects: November 2011

I have a lot of projects that I've been meaning to get to. For me that means I'd like to have them done but don't have enough motivation to actually do them. It may be due to the amount of work or time involved, or because they don't seem fun or just because I don't really know how to and am afraid to invest the resources and fail. Half the time I forget what they are. So here's my list.

  • create master grocery list
  • create meat reference chart
  • create grocery price comparison sheet
  • rate the songs in iTunes
  • research drinking water (and find the best option between concerns about fluoride and ph)
  • research non-grain flours (to reconcile a paleo diet with a love for breads, pastas, baked treats, etc.)
  • create chore chart
  • create exercise regimen for health, weight loss and injury prevention
  • streamline meals (including meal planning and grocery purchase organization)
  • get computer issues worked out
  • relearn Photoshop
  • organize digital photos
These are the things that came to mind in the five minutes I gave myself to think about it. I'm sure there are more, I'm just not remembering them right now. I'd also like to get in the habit of blogging regularly.

I feel that once I get my personal life in order then maybe I can concentrate on my photography. It happens to be an area that I'm not only interested in, but I also have talent and training. If I could find confidence and time I would have a good shot at success. But I need to have fewer things pulling at the edges of my brain. So while I'm laid up I intend to make as much progress as I can on the computer related items as I can. It would be great to get some of those bullets fully crossed off my list before December. So that will be my goal.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homemaking Binder: Meal Planning

I have decided to get serious about this homemaking binder thing. First on my list is the meal planning stuff. Master grocery list, price comparison lists, inventory sheets (for each cabinet, fridge, freezer, etc.) and a weekly meal sheet.

The reason I decided to start there is simple. Every night; let me repeat that, EVERY night we spend time deciding what to do for dinner. "What do you want to do for dinner?" is the most repeated phrase, adult to adult, in this house. By the time the question is asked it is usually too late to make most things, due to the time it would take to prepare it. Apparently some planning is required to fit in defrosting, chopping and whatever other steps are required to make a meal from scratch. While fish sticks and a bag of frozen cauliflower is a good thing to have on hand in a pinch, I don't want it to make up the bulk of our meals.
Tasty, not balanced. This plate would totally fall off the sofa arm.

While the problem has existed for the entirety of our marriage a while, recent events have brought it into the light. I've been incapacitated by an injury. So my husband and mom have had to pick up a lot of slack. On the one hand, it's nice to see that I do more than I thought I did, on the other hand... my household is slowly falling apart. Most things don't really matter. I can catch up on laundry later. Clutter can be dealt with when I am mobile. But we need food. There are five people in this household and only one of them isn't a problem to take care of come mealtime.

If I had a system, my mom would have been able to step in relatively easily. She can cook. What she can't do is plan and execute the meals. Up 'til now I usually spent 30 minutes digging through my various food storage devices waiting for inspiration. Not really a technique that lends itself to a pinch hitter.

So I will devise a system. It won't help now, but it will help in the future. Even if I never become indisposed again it will help me to be organized. Since I can't move I will create my templates. I'm sure they will require tweaking when I start using them, but having something in place will give me somewhere to start.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. People who know that it is also my birthday assume it is because of that. However, my birthday never made much of a positive impression on me. Halloween, on the other hand, did.
My little China girl.

It was never about the candy either. Every year we'd have to throw the previous year's candy out so I could use my bucket again. For me it was all about the fantasy. For one day you could be anything you wanted. Dress any way you wanted. And no one could fault you. As a child who would have dressed up every day if allowed, this permission was priceless. Not only that, but you were encouraged, required even, to go out and show off to as many people as you could find.

I was thrilled that my birthday was also on this special day. Growing up I knew I had the best birthday ever. It made me special. I never felt very special in any other way, and those feelings were reinforced by most people I knew. But my special birthday was something no one could take from me. And aside from two very bad years in a very bad town in Minnesota, no one ever tried. (Those people were evil, horrible creatures that I may or may not choose to write about at a later date.) Most people I've encountered have thought my birthday is as cool as I do.

Two years ago I got the best answer to the day's question of "Trick or Treat?" Although some days I'm not sure which one I got. On Halloween in 2009, my beloved little girl made her debut at 4:50 pm. In her honor I channeled my inner poet. Here's the result.

Two years past this night
our beautiful daughter
made a grand entrance.

The past two years have been the most rewarding of my life. You are the first of my life's greatest and only meaningful achievements. No career could be as important as that of being your Mommy. I look forward to another year of adventure with you and your sidekick, baby brother Wriggly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Immobilized

Last Sunday was a fun-filled adventure day. I borrowed an Ergo from a friend (best thing ever, does anyone want to get me one?) and wore Wriggly around the whole day, except for the short time that I put Squiggle in it and carried him. I felt like Supermom or Rani Lakshmibai.
My husband posted this photo as how he sees me. Sweet, yes?
However, when I woke up Monday morning I was in pain. Breathing was difficult and I felt like someone had hit me in the ribs with a baseball bat. I went to the chiropractor and resolved to wake up feeling healed on Tuesday. It didn't happen.

Tuesday morning I added a pain in the neck that matched the one in my ribs/back. The weird thing was that it was all on the right side. My left side felt fine. I decided to rest for the day and parked my bottom in my recliner to do just that. Tuesday night I realized that there was no way that I could walk upstairs, and even if I could I probably wouldn't be able to lie down. So my recliner got some extra time with me.

I managed to sleep about two hours when an incredibly painful cramp in my back brought me wide awake. It felt like a Charlie horse in my mid-back. I could only take shallow, excruciating breaths. I woke Bug up.

Wriggly was in my lap sleeping. I couldn't move to get him re-latched so we had to wake my mom up and bring her downstairs to hold him while we tried to figure out what to do. Bug wanted me to go to the hospital. I just wanted the pain to stop and breath to return. It seems the inability to breathe is worrisome and unpleasant. It did give me a chance to practice my Bradley relaxation techniques though. I kept telling myself not to panic remembering that panic is what ends up killing people in desperate situations.

I decided that I had to go to the doctor but didn't know what to do with my nursling. Even though it's been a while since I've been to an ER, I doubt they've gotten faster at seeing patients. I put in a call to my midwife/LLL leader/massage therapist friend. I figured she'd be the most likely to give me advice about what to do with Wriggly while reassuring me that what I was experiencing wasn't life threatening. I really wanted to be talked out of going. I wouldn't have been able to move myself, so we most likely would have had to call an ambulance. I would have been wearing only a bra since I couldn't move to put on a shirt. And the bill. I really didn't want the bill.

She told me that they probably wouldn't do anything but give me painkillers. (Doing nothing to address the problem.) Since they don't know me they would probably dismiss my reaction to the pain as overreaction and not take me seriously. In my experience doctors are dismissive of patients and that's one of the reasons I avoid going to them whenever possible.

She recommended that I try to tough it out and go see a chiropractor in the morning. After discussing it with my husband we decided to try that.

I sent everyone else to sleep and stayed up watching a marathon or "Kidnapped" on Netflix. In the morning I called my chiropractor. He told me to come in before lunch to have his undivided attention. He worked with me and using ice, the TENS machine and the wall I got adjusted a bit. He told me that based on my symptoms he suspected an out of place rib and a torn muscle. He told me I would get some relief soon, but that it wouldn't get noticeably better until Friday. His predictions have been accurate in the past so I think he's probably right about this as well.

Today is the first day that I've been able to take a half of a normal breath without a stabbing pain, so that is improvement. I can also sit and just exist without agony. So that is good too. It is the first time I've been able to type so that is why you're getting this update.

I still don't get out of the chair without help, and I haven't had a shower in days. I hope to get one today with Bug's help. At least I can make it to the toilet and am not forced to use a bedpan again. I don't prefer doing that. We have a party tomorrow for a combo Squiggle's birthday and meet Wriggly. I'd like to be able to move for that, even if I won't be able to clean for it. I miss holding my baby. The past few days we've been forced to use the Boppy to prop him on my lap. I miss snuggling him on my chest. On the other side, Squiggle has spent much more time sitting with me on my chair. So there have been some near-cuddles there.

I am counting on my chiro to be correct that by tomorrow I'll merely be in pain and not agony. I'm tired of being immobilized and want my family fun back.

Apologies for anything that doesn't make sense. My neck pain is getting intense so I am posting without proofreading.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Three Weeks and Change

My darling little boy is three weeks and three days old. He is wonderful. I'm loving almost every minute right now. Wriggly is happy if he is snuggled up to me, especially if he is nursing. The only time he is unhappy while I hold him is when he has gas pain. That is not fun and I sincerely hope he masters his intestines soon.

One of my fears has proven unfounded so far. When I was pregnant I was concerned about jealousy. Squiggle never liked me to hold other babies. Holding another child was about the only way I could get her to sit in my lap. But she has not had a problem with the attention I give Wriggly. In fact we've had the opposite problem. She gets upset when she can't hold him. As she is not quite two, she cannot be trusted to hold him unaided. We don't always have the time to assist her so she doesn't get to hold him as much as she'd like. He's not too fond of it either.

He is the baby I wanted. I love my daughter but her infancy was a nightmare. She had severe "colic" and we spent 5 1/2 months with a baby who slept less than ten hours a day and spent most of her waking time screaming. But her story is a different story. The point is with her I felt robbed. Everything was a battle. Breastfeeding, sleep, even poop. She was in pain for most of her first six months of life. And we all felt it. I desperately wanted that snuggly, sleepy, smiley baby that everyone else seemed to have. Instead we were in purgatory. As wonderful as she has been the past 1 1/2 years, I have mourned missing out on the newborn bliss. Now I have that.

I am clearly his favorite person. I do realize that it is partly biological. After all, I am his food source. But when I smell his delicious newborn scent with his head buried in my neck I feel loved. When I look down at his closed-eye smile with his head or hand resting on my breast, it seems more than just biology.

Before his birth I couldn't imagine loving another child as much as I love my daughter. She is so wonderful that it just didn't seem possible. Now, it does.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Denoument

So here's where we're at. I'm sitting on my toilet holding my slippery and none-too-happy newborn. Bug is on the phone with the midwife. I ended up not laboring in my tub, not attended by my midwife, throwing up and probably pooping (I was a bit preoccupied so I'm not sure) and giving birth on a toilet. But after his head was out and before his body was, he was silent. That was the moment that I realized what truly belonged on my list. I wanted a healthy baby. The rest was just icing.

I ended up getting in the tub to spend some time there. It also seemed like a better place to have the placenta come out than on the toilet. The water was warm and nice and I just got to lounge there holding my slightly odd-looking son. (Sorry Wriggly, but you were an odd sort of beautiful.)

While we waited we decided to get out the camcorder and make a video to document the event. I'm glad we did because it helped cement the events in my memory and also gave us a record of what happened. Then we just waited for our midwife and photographer to arrive.

Wriggly snuggled and started nursing while we waited. Around 4:45 the placenta came out and a few minutes later my midwife came in. We chatted a while and then she started her thing. That's when I realized that the main use for a birth attendant is in case something goes wrong. She checked Wriggly and then checked me. Everything was fine. I did have some retained membranes, but she wasn't too concerned and said we should just be aware of it.

She offered to take Squiggle to Pinkpeas, the parenting center she runs, so that we could get some sleep. Squiggle came into the room as I was about to fall asleep. She gave us a big smile and left happily. I snuggled around my new baby and we slept.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh, What a Night.... (or Labor Begins)

Late September, the 27th to 28th to be exact.

I talked about my "practice" contractions in a previous post. The short version is that Tuesday I went to a friend's house. I started having them again, but they were a bit more painful. She told me that I was in labor. I denied it. It turns out denial is a great way to handle labor.

After leaving her house I went out to get some groceries. Then I came home and dealt with an exceptionally whiny toddler. Actually it was more a tantrum. Something about wanting me to "open" stickers. It was very frustrating, but provided an excellent distraction from the slightly less annoying contractions.

After Daddy came home the early night was pretty uneventful. Squiggle calmed down and went to bed. I had some cottage cheese. We watched an episode of SG1 on our projector. Then we decided to go to bed.

I was tired. Contractions, even or especially practice ones, are draining. So are upset toddlers. The contractions were slightly painful, but very irregular. Following advice that so many women don't. I decided to try to get some sleep. They'd either fade away or build momentum, and I had no say either way. If they were real I'd find out soon enough.

Around 1ish I gave up trying to sleep. They were still irregular, but painful enough that sleep wasn't going to happen. Knowing that labor can be a long process I decided to get things ready. Keeping busy is supposed to be helpful in early labor.

At this point I thought it was probably the real thing. But I still didn't want to call anyone. After all, labor has been known to stop. I didn't want to wake anyone in the middle of the night and then have it be a false alarm. This included my husband. I wanted him well-rested for when I needed him. I was regretting not having him set the birth tub up earlier. (Another reason to pay attention to your instincts. I almost suggested it, then didn't.)

I pulled the tub out and realized that I couldn't set it up myself. I decided to find birth tub info online. That's when I found the Internet connection was out. I sat around a while and decided to wake him up. You see, one of my fears was not having the tub ready for when I needed it. I knew I wanted to labor in the tub. (Other fears included having a short and consequently incredibly painful labor, that my midwife wouldn't make it in time, pooping or throwing up during labor (silly I know, but honest), giving birth on a toilet like those "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" women, having to transfer to the hospital and something happening to my baby.)

He stumbled downstairs and set it up while still half asleep. I guess my labor had picked up some. I managed to climb upstairs and get towels and my "barf" bin. It was painful enough that I decided not to do that again. From then on I sent Bug to collect the things I thought I'd need during labor.

While the tub was filling up I sat on my birth ball timing my contractions. They were still irregular, lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes, having as much as nine minutes between to coming with no break. I believe it was during the 2 o'clock hour that I broke down and called my midwife.

I described my contractions and said that I thought I was in labor. She said she agreed and said that I'd see my baby sometime "today or tomorrow." Inside I groaned at the thought of doing this through an entire day. I even told her that if early labor was this bad I didn't know if I could handle active labor and transition. She said that her alarm was set for 6am and that I should call her back then to check in. If anything changed, like my contractions settling into a pattern or water breaking or just needing to talk to her, I should call sooner. Finally, she told me to eat something light, in case my nausea during the peaks of the contractions caused me to revisit the meal.

Bug made me some consomme because I thought that I'd be able to keep it down. I never got the chance. During one particularly nasty contraction I lost everything I'd eaten in the past half day. After that food lost a bit of its appeal.

Time passed. The contractions were pretty horrible. Between them I thought that I was the biggest wimp in the world, during them I thought I'd die. I kept thinking of the dreaded transition and how I'd never survive it. After all, I was experiencing things in early labor that matched the description of transition. I started trying to walk, roll or squirm away from the contractions. The half-filled tub looked heavenly to me. Even though I knew that getting in the tub too early could cause problems, I decided I was getting in. Of course I knew that I shouldn't use my labor techniques until I had to, that I should try to keep up with normal activities until I couldn't anymore, but I didn't care. I was in pain!

So I decided that I'd go to the bathroom before getting in the tub. I intended to be in there for hours until my baby was born and I didn't want to pee or poo in the tub that I'd then have to sit in. As soon as I sat on the toilet my contractions came one on top of another. Needless to say I was not happy with my choice. I'm pretty sure I started crying. It was so intense that I knew I couldn't change position. I was stuck.

I felt like I had to go to poop. That's when I realized that I was further along in my labor than I thought, much further along. While I thought the irregularity of the contractions meant that I was in early labor I was wrong. That assumption caused me to ignore the signs of transition. Even when I thought that I felt like I was in transition I discounted it.

Once I felt the urge I realized that it wasn't poop that needed to come out, it was a baby. I screamed for my husband to come downstairs. I really can't say that I pushed, that implies a conscious effort. My body convulsed a couple of times and my baby's head was out. I was nervous because there was no sound or movement. Then a slight movement made me less worried.

That was about the time my husband got to me. He asked me, wide-eyed, what he should do. I shouted at him that he should call Corrine. He went to get the phone and the baby came out. I said, "Come in here and see your son."


As I've been writing this for over a week, I'll stop here and publish this. The rest will come later. Probably. I'm fairly tired and one-handed these days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Practice Contractions?

Sunday night I started having contractions around 4pm. They weren't really strong or painful, just uncomfortable. I didn't know what to think so I followed my midwife's advice and had something to eat, a glass of wine and went to bed as usual. The next morning I woke up without a baby in my arms. So clearly it was a false alarm.

Monday night I had the same thing, only less strong. That time I figured it was fake. After all, real labor is bound to be more intense. Right? Again, my baby remained in my belly upon waking.

Tonight was the same thing. They aren't as frequent as they were on Sunday, but they are much stronger. I would go so far as to classify them as painful. But does that mean anything? Apparently not, according to another midwife. (I knew that already. I remember being told that. I was just hoping that the answer had changed.)

I have no idea if I'm in labor or not. And it seems the only way for me to tell is to wait and see if I get a baby from it. Since I have always expected to go late, I doubt it's the real thing. But if it isn't, this evening ritual will get old real quick.

Squiggle was induced at 40 weeks plus a couple of days. My body was not ready in the least. I've assumed that that means that this one will take its merry time as well. But one of the women in my Bradley class who swore she'd be two weeks late, because she was always late, just delivered early. That seems to mean there is no way to predict.

I'm trying to be patient and just go with the flow. It's not as if I have any control over it. But the not knowing is difficult. When do I call my midwife? My photographer? Who will be available to watch Squiggle? Many questions exist with few answers to go with them. I imagine it will all work out. This has been done for centuries. But that doesn't keep me from occasionally worrying about it.

Still, I'm excited. My baby is waiting to meet me. I feel the little movements and still love them. But the excitement is mounting. I am drawing nearer to holding my baby in my arms. God willing, I will be the first person to do so. It's difficult to wrap my brain around that idea. Tonight or two weeks from now doesn't really matter. My baby will be here soon. All our lives will be forever changed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

39 Weeks

That's a reality check for me. I've been unaware of how close this birth is. It's not really denial, just a general unawareness of time. It's been this thing that is coming up, but not imminent.

I've been making slow progress on my goals. I'm not thrilled, but I am content with it. And, after all, I have time. (Yes I know I've been complaining about not having enough time, but that is due to the weeks of steady work I'd have if I wanted to accomplish it all.)

Last night was my last Bradley class. I knew it was the last one, but that fact still didn't clue me in. After all, just because we finished the series doesn't mean that we'll all go into labor and have our babies now. One of my classmates might not even deliver in 2011.

However, I was looking at the calendar to see when the next convenient Midwife Circle was. (My midwife doesn't make appointments, she just has "office hours" when she is there and whoever wants to stop by, does.) In the next couple of weeks there is only one that is not in the morning.

Then I realized that I only have one week before I'm due. Yes, I could go late, but that was my moment of realization. This baby will be here soon. Very soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Those Last 5 Pounds (Not What You Think)

Okay, so I'm not much of a dieter. Growing up I never had to be. My metabolism worked for me and my weight didn't get to be a problem until about a year before I got pregnant with Squiggle. That's when I went on my one and only diet. Ever. (It worked until I got pregnant.)

But I've known many women who say that the closer you get to your goal, the harder it is to make any progress. If you have an extra 100 pounds the weight comes off relatively easily at first. But those last five pounds...

Well, that is what cleaning is like to me. When confronted with a complete shambles, I can get a lot accomplished, rather easily, in a short amount of time. Toss the trash, put away any items that are obviously out of their already-been-designated place; it's easy. But I have a tendency to quit at that point. Why? Because what remains is those last five pounds.

The little things that I don't quite know what to do with or haven't gotten around to dealing with. A sample of belly rub. A random band-aid. Some small toy that I think might be "Transformers" related, but I'm not sure. A note from my husband that I can't bring myself to toss. Yes, these are all things I came across today on my quest to shed those last five pounds from our bedroom.

Our bedroom looks good. The best it's looked in our married life. If I were being honest, which I am, it is the best a bedroom of mine has ever looked. But there are still those "things" laying around. Little things that I tend to overlook because I don't want to think about them. But they are there. And I have decided to deal with them.

It is slow going. Sometimes I walk from one end of the house to the other to put away one thing. That's the sort of action I would never have done before. But I've come to realize that it is the exact thing I need to do in order to have any hope of achieving and maintaining a tidy house. If I allow my laziness to goad me into procrastinating until the trip is "worth it" then I will likely never make the trip. At least not until there is a big mess again. It needs to be done now, while I'm thinking about it.

While it is hard to stick to that resolve, especially being as hugely pregnant as I am, I have to. The alternative is to live in filth the rest of my days. Worse than that, I'll be taking my family with me. So clean I shall.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Could've v. Could Of

There is no such phrase as could of. What people really mean is could've. It is a contraction of could have. As in, I could have written a longer post, but it wasn't necessary.

The same goes for would've and should've.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perspective: Half Clean or Half Messy?

Yesterday I took a day off from cleaning. All I did was maintain. By that I mean that used dishes got washed, dirty clothes were deposited in the hamper, etc. But I didn't try to break any new ground. It was after all Sunday, the day of rest. My husband convinced me to nap instead of clean. The nap was several hours long so I guess I needed it, but I digress.

Today I decided to get back at it. It's rather difficult to get motivated though. Maybe you're one of those people that enjoys cleaning for some reason, I'm not. The word chore definitely applies in my case. A past problem has been that I look at all that needs to be done and get discouraged. How could I ever possibly get it all done? It tends to overwhelm me.
Library, pre-clean.

Taking it in small pieces, not even allowing myself to think about more than the task at hand, has helped. In fact "just doing it" has resulted in a clean and organized laundry room, guest room, sitting room and kitchen. My master bed, library, dining room, family room and nursery aren't bad either.

This has led to a new issue. One that I've never had to deal with before. Now I look at my home, through eyes accustomed to seeing a cluttered mess, and see my house as clean. I've let up on my quest because my house looks so good. To me. Then I pretend that I'm my grandma. Oh, now I see it. There's still tons to do.
Look past my cute family to see the mess that I try to frame out of my photos.

I've done a lot of work. I'm proud of myself. The excuses that always seem to crop up about cleaning in the generations after my grandma have not stopped me. My husband is also proud of me. And has said so many times in the past week. This has two contradictory effects on me. Part of me wants to show him that this is nothing, wait 'til you see it when I'm done. The other part of me preens and sees my job as almost done. (Which leads me to sit back and enjoy my delusions of being done.)

The truth is... my house is better than it's ever been. AND it still needs a lot of work. There are many nitpicky little things that I have to figure out. (For instance that tiny corner of counter space in the kitchen.) There are bigger things as well. We still have a number of boxes to unpack. The tough ones full of miscellaneous things that do not have obvious homes. The stuffed animals need to be sorted and put up in the nursery pet net. My studio, well, it needs me to figure out storage solutions for the myriad craft supplies and photography equipment, while still looking nice enough to use for my photography clients. Assuming I get some. The floors, walls, baseboards, windows, nooks and crannies could use a good cleaning. My cabinets and closets would benefit from streamlining. I could go on.

So which perspective do I choose? Do I go with the one that makes me feel good about myself and fires me up to maintain the good work I've done but does nothing to motivate me to continue making progress? Or do I go with the realistic one that deflates me with all that is still left to do? Is there a happy medium that will enable me to see the work that needs to be done, but in small increments that my new-found housekeeping self-esteem can tackle? I don't know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conquering the Kitchen

In my quest for a clean house the kitchen is always a sticking point. It is the most difficult room to get and keep clean.

I love to cook. I also possess many gadgets that help me do that. With all due respect to my ancestors, I know that if I have to peel my veggies with a knife or puree hummus by using five different knives and a potato masher, it won't happen. Of course, the more gadgets one has, the more gadgets one has to store somewhere. This has been a problem for me. Ideally, I'd like to have everything grouped together in a way that makes sense to me. But I don't have the room. So I have to fit things in where I can. This makes things less ergonomic than they could be.

Procrastination and constant use combine to make things more difficult. There are always dishes being used, needing to be washed and not a big desire to wash them. After dinner we just want to relax. Washing, drying and storing dishes is not relaxing. But when dishes are left out, at the very least it creates clutter. For me that opens the door to adding to the clutter. It's like when I'm confronted with a pristine piece of paper to draw on. I can't bring myself to make a mark because I don't want to mess up the page. But as soon as it's marked I feel free to make a further mess. (If you'd ever seen my attempts at drawing you'd understand the use of the word mess.)

When I decided to clean my house I started with least used areas first. My reason was that it would be easier to keep a room clean if it was seldom used, rather than heavily traveled. This has proven accurate. My laundry room has stayed as clean as I got it. As has the guest room. But the kitchen has been a constant thorn in my side. I see it multiple times every day. It gets used every day.It sapped my energy every day. So I decided to do something about it.

To be honest. I was detailing all the things that needed to be done and mentioned that the kitchen was the one room that bothered me the most. So my husband asked why I didn't just tackle it next. And tackle it I did.

It has been a two day project. In all honesty, I thought it would take longer. The counters were covered with stuff, the stove top and floors were filthy, spiderwebs were found in nooks and crannies; it was bad. So Friday I just started out to make a dent.

There wasn't really a plan. I just started. Consequently I didn't think to take any photos. Once I started I just didn't stop. Squiggle and Bug were both napping and I just turned on the radio and went to town. I got the entire long wall segment done. Then later, when Squiggle's really annoying dolphin movie was on, I went back and did some work on the island. Today my friend Leslie came over and helped me tackle some of the buggier areas. Piece by piece, in some cases item by item, the mess was chipped away. Now I can honestly say my kitchen looks good. There is only one teeny-tiny corner that has any clutter.

After that I still have work, but it can wait. I have numerous boxes of Tupperware and the like that need to be matched and stored, and I'll need to reorganize the cupboards. But I keep repeating my new mantra, "Good enough IS good enough." And this is good enough.

P.S. Tonight we had a pizza mishap and instead of leaving the mess to be cleaned up later, I cleaned it tonight. And you know what? It was quick and easy. Imagine that.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

English Lesson: Why bother?

So I had an interesting thread on Facebook. Improper use of language irritates me. Most things are not that difficult and I don't understand why people write so abysmally. I'm not referring to complicated things, just simple things that anyone who went to school should know.

Blatant errors bother me even more when they are committed by people who should strive to do better. For instance, anyone who teaches a child should know the basics. Or care enough to learn them. People who are arrogant about their intelligence should know how to use words properly. Anyone who cares about getting the true meaning of something written should understand that word choice matters. And, for crying out loud, if you are promoting yourself as an editor/proofreader, your business advertisement should be free of errors.

Last night I couldn't stop myself from posting about a new trend I've seen. I'll save the specifics for a later post. But it has cropped up in so many places that I had to inquire of my editor/English major husband if I had been wrong all these years. He, and a few others, assured me I hadn't.

So when I saw it in an ad for editing services, I had to comment. Yes, on Facebook. I got an interesting reply. Someone said that while rewording would make it clearer, it was still understandable as it was. Dialect was also mentioned as an excuse.

This started me thinking. Do things like grammar, punctuation and word choice really matter? I believe they do. Here are a few reasons why.

1) Understanding great written works. I'm not talking about the latest romance novel or thriller, although it is possible that those authors also use deliberate language. I'm referring to books that are crafted. Where the writer knows exactly what he is intending to say. (I am using the grammatically correct "he" to avoid the incorrect "they" or the cumbersome "s/he." It is not meant to imply that only men can write well.) For those wondering, this includes the Bible. A change of one word can alter the meaning. Example: A lord versus the Lord. So can any number of "little" things that are often dismissed as inconsequential. For a crude example on capitalization I offer this sentence from a friend's wall: "Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse." Get it?


2) Writing great works. Or even not-so-great ones. There are many great things that can be done with language. But you can only do these things by understanding language and how to use it. Sadly, it will only matter if those reading it understand as well. Subtlety and nuance can only be communicated through careful use of language. It offers a way for an author to mislead the readers, without lying to them. Then when the reader is surprised and goes back to gather evidence about the plot not making sense, none can be found. (What? Oh, I'm the only one who does that? Okay.) Sadly, much of the time I do find things that don't work. Even more depressing, the trick usually would have worked by  restructuring certain passages without changing the story at all. 

3) Catering to the lowest common denominator is a bad idea. "Who cares? It doesn't matter as long as we agree it doesn't matter. They're just words." Let's see what else we can apply this to. Finances: Why should I pay my bills when others just default? I think our economy speaks for itself. Morals: Why should I abstain from ______ when my culture doesn't condemn such behavior? We need only to look at how our country is falling apart to answer that. 

In the words of every parent on any TV show, "If your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"

4) The job market. While the number of employers who care about such skills may be dwindling, they are still out there. Communication is important. Those who recognize good writing are likely to admire it and judge the author as intelligent. The reverse is also true. Personally, I have a difficult time accepting the content if the form is flawed. So if you want me to think that you are intelligent and pay attention to what you have to say, you had better communicate effectively. That means using words that actually mean what you are using them to mean, spell things correctly, punctuate your sentences for clarity, use proper grammar and proofread.
 



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And That is Why You Should Ask in a Clear Manner

I love bins. I would store everything in them if I could. I would have bins to store my extra bins. Okay, that is an exaggeration. But bins are great. Especially when they are the same type and stack.

It's no secret that I'm not the most organized person. But I've found that even if I can't keep things in a correct spot, I can keep them in a general area. Like a bin. I have one for my instruction manuals, one for my scrapbook keepsakes and several others that are less important. The two I've named are particularly important because I keep coming across things to put in them. Because I haven't been able to find them, all this stuff has been floating around, loose and free to clutter up my house.

At home I have mentioned on several occasions that I don't know where those bins are. I've looked for them to no avail. With no answers forthcoming, I determined there are currently only three possible places they could be hiding.

The first: In my husband's office closet. He has tons of bins and boxes stacked in a way that could probably manage to hide my bins. I highly doubted that they would be there because he would hardly be likely to allow any of my junk to clutter up his domain. And there is no way that he would have mistaken my bins for his. Just. Not. Possible.

The second: Our cubbyhole under the stairs. Slightly more likely. It is where a bunch of my stuff got put so that I could move around in my studio to try to get it in order. But all the stuff under there was originally in my office. And I don't remember my bins being in my office. So I doubted that pulling everything out would help.

The third: My garage. The way things sit now is this. There is an outer layer of metal; bicycles, lawn mower, etc. Then comes the middle layer of insulation in the form of empty boxes and coolers. Lastly there is the center with all the boxes filled with stuff. I don't know what stuff, because I can't reach it. It was the only place left to look. But when I did my graceful, tiptoe-peeking into the tangle, I didn't see any hint of them.

But where else could they be?

Well. We had a discussion this afternoon. I was asked what I needed to get the house in order. It was a long conversation, but the relevant part came when I talked about a specific part of the house. The part that has a bunch of paper strewn about because I can't find my place to put it. I talked about my frustration at not being able to find my bins. Then it came. The solution.

"You mean the bins on the garage lofts?"

Uh, what? Oh yeah, you mean the lofts that have a bunch of bins on them? Sure. I guess they could be there.

In our old house the garage ceiling was lower. The lofts only had enough room for our holiday stuff and some off-season clothes. I guess that was why it never occurred to me to look up. When I did, there they were. My beloved bins. Beautiful.

So there you have it. If I had pulled him aside and specifically asked about my bins, I could have had them months ago.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gratituesday, Huh?

So things have been kind of crummy lately. Shoes have been dropping and threatening to drop all over the place. Many, many opportunities to worry. And I do so like to worry.

I think I'm a bit superstitious about it. Maybe if I worry enough then the bad things won't happen. At least I'll be prepared if/when things go wrong. Right?

Not exactly. All I do is make myself miserable in the present. A better solution would be to just deal with the problems as they happen. That's not to say that I should ignore things if I see bad news on the horizon. But I could prepare without worrying about it. I should prepare without worrying. But that's a bit off topic.

I was talking about gratitude. Or at least I was getting around to it. You see, I have been having a lot of negative emotions lately. Worry, fear, anger; these things have been preying on my mind. Piling on top of each other. So when I stumbled across a blog hop about gratitude, I initially decided to pass it by.

Then I changed my mind. I decided that gratitude is just what I need. Gratitude is incompatible with these other things. To be grateful one must acknowledge the good things in life. And there is almost always something good in life, even if it doesn't seem like it. The trick is to see it. Then give thanks for it.

I have many things to be grateful for. My wonderful husband and daughter. The new baby currently wriggling around in my belly. We have a house that we are turning into a home. A neighborhood that we feel safe enough to go for family walks around after dark. We are able to cover our hard expenses, even when it is difficult. We have friends and family who care about us. The list does go on.

But I think I've gotten the point.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Ten years ago I woke up. My then boyfriend (now husband) had come over to my apartment when he should have been at work. I am not much of a news person. It is usually depressing and very often not relevant to my life. Knowing that horrible things happen daily is not something I need to spend an hour watching on TV.  But this was different.

At first I thought I was watching a movie or a hoax of some kind. Slowly the realization came that it was real. I saw the towers come down and knew the world had changed. I knew we were at war.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Impossible-to-Fail-At Peanut Butter Cookies

A friend introduced me to these cookies. Maybe it was the late hour or the homemade-ness, but I couldn't get enough. I actually ate three of them in one evening.

Maybe this is no big deal to you. Maybe you can tolerate eating a whole batch of cookies and still have room for ice cream. I, on the other hand, cannot consume too much sugar in a short amount of time without getting sick. Being aware of this quirk of mine, I rarely overindulge. I also am fairly picky about sweets. Since I don't have much of a sweet tooth, if I'm going to eat empty calories they better be darn good.

These were.

She said the recipe was foolproof. I decided to test that claim. The recipe is simple. So simple that I didn't even write it down. Until now, that is. (Hold on while I check my cookies.) Mix one cup of sugar, one cup of peanut butter and one egg. Bake at 350 degrees.
My supplies, assembled.

Simple, right? Apparently they are impossible to over or under cook. They are always crunchy. Even though I usually prefer soft cookies, I still decided to give them a shot.

So since I am actually making these as I write this post, I have no idea how they'll turn out. I added chopped peanuts and chocolate chips to the mix. (Not my idea, my friend had them in hers and I really liked them. Plus, I like nuts in cookies.)  Because I am taking them to a pot luck I decided to double the recipe. Here it is.

2 c. peanut butter (I used natural creamy)
2 c. sugar (although I'd like something else if anyone knows of a healthier substitute)
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1/2 + c. chocolate (I threw some extra in at the last minute without measuring)

I tried using my hand mixer to mix the first three ingredients. While it worked, it wasn't easy. Next time I will probably use my standing mixer or just do it by hand. Then I used a wooden spoon to ad the chocolate and nuts.
The dough with my precise measuring equipment.

My impression of the dough is that it was dry and crumbly. Not knowing what the texture is supposed to be, I decided to try baking a batch and see how it worked. After rolling them into a ball and slightly flattening them, I baked them in my wonderful toaster oven for ten minutes.

So they were good. In my husband words, "A bit grainy and doughy, but I like that." Just in case they could be improved I experimented with the second batch. I added approximately 2 tablespoons of water and mixed. It came out more moist than I expected. I guess a little water goes a long way. Mental note made. The dough ended up very sticky. I increased the baking time to 15 minutes. They were still good, but I think the first batch was better.
The difference between my first and second batch.

The folks at the potluck seemed to like them but we did have some to take home. So I don't know. I liked them and will be making them again. I guess if any of you make them you can let me know what you think.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Because We Care" Country Fair

Last week I saw this event advertised on a friend's Facebook site. (I know, it always seems to come back to Facebook, doesn't it?) A group of people, family and friends of Rob Grimshaw, put this fair together. Originally it was to raise funds for his treatment, then he passed away. Now the funds are earmarked for his medical and funeral costs. I didn't know him or anyone connected to him. But this sounded like fun for Squiggle and the money would go toward a good cause.

I decided to load up my Squiggle and take her. It advertised a petting zoo, bounce house, a giant horse, pony rides, swimming, paddle boat rides, "train" rides and a bunch of other stuff that I thought would be too advanced for my not-quite-two-year-old.

After an uneventful hour-long drive I arrived. Actually I overshot it and had to do a u-turn in the middle of the highway, but that wasn't a big deal. In Nevada you can do that sort of thing. It has something to do with long flat roads filled with no cars.

Taking a trip, alone with a toddler, into the middle of nowhere was a bit daunting to me. But I decided to go with it. The worst that could happen is that I would get lost and we'd all burn to death in the desert. (Yes, these are the things I worry about when my mind is allowed to wander.) Since that was unlikely to happen I felt that I shouldn't let my more reasonable fears (tantrums, bathroom availability, water shortage, fatigue, shall I stop here?) stop me either.

Here's my report: It was fun and I'm glad I went. But I doubt I'd do it again. First the bad stuff, to get it out of the way. Many of the things did indeed prove to be impossible for a not-yet-two-year-old. She couldn't ride anything that I couldn't walk alongside. And even if I were not 34 weeks pregnant that would be impossible.

The stroller was mandatory to carry all the junk one seems to need when preparing for a day of fun away from any backup supplies. Unfortunately that means that the "shuttles" were not an option for us. So we didn't end up going to the lake area. When I heard someone telling a group of teens that it was too far to walk, I decided that probably applied to us too.

The face painting and carnival games were just too advanced for her. There was a bounce house that I thought she'd love. She didn't. It probably would have been different if I could have crawled in there with her, but that wasn't going to happen. Oh well.
This is the happiest she got in there.

Since it was run by volunteers and not professionals, many things were not available. The people just weren't there to run it. I doubt it was anyone's fault, just one of those things that hopefully gets ironed out with experience. So some of the things she may have liked were not available.


Now for the good. The petting zoo. Not the part with the animals in cages that people couldn't reach and would have bitten anyway, which happened to someone else. I am referring to the bunnies. Bunnies. BUNNIES!!! Yes, my daughter liked the bunnies. They were kept in a box/pen/thing that was 3 - 4 feet tall. They just roamed free and kids could go in there and play with them.

Well, I was not about to allow my excitable and none-too-gentle daughter to go in there alone, so we both ventured forth. She immediately sat in one of the kid's chairs (MINE!) and with outstretched arms demanded (CARRY!) which was my cue to provide unto her a small, fluffy creature. She was quite adorable kissing and petting the bunnies. Of course I couldn't let her hold any. They jumped down as if they too were familiar with Of Mice and Men. But she loved touching and watching them.
Baby and bunny.

As for me, I got to practice my squatting and my midwife would be very proud. I held out for quite some time before I decided to overturn one of the chairs and pray it wouldn't collapse under my weight. It didn't. Squiggle seemed content to look at and only occasionally touch the bunnies. At one point I thought we'd never get out of there. (I think it was around that time that I started imagining myself as a character in one of those '80s movies about a Vietnam vet who escapes from a POW camp to wreak havoc on some evil-doers.) Eventually I abandoned my precarious perch for the ground. It was probably around the time I saw her eating scraps of hay, rabbit food and who knows what else off the ground. After all, if I let her eat it I shouldn't balk at letting it touch my overalls, right?
Nice cage.

Finally I bribed her to assist my escape with the promise of a cookie. Specifically an animal cracker. Appropriate, no? Then after a brief detour by the crops and their sprinklers (a very welcome interlude) we hit the Pony Ride.
Any cookie would be better than this.

We only had about 30 minutes before we had to leave and we still had a lot of tickets. My only choices were to go to the food tent and buy one of everything, or try my toddler on a pony. For perhaps the only time in my life, I decided against the food. So I paid my tickets and plopped Squiggle down on a pony.
Yes, the inflatable woman is me.

My plan had been to hold her on the pony as we walked around in a circle. She disagreed. A few seconds after it started up she grabbed onto the saddle horn and pushed my hand away from her. She probably could have done fine by herself, but I hovered anyway. She seemed to be a natural. I don't say this to brag. It doesn't thrill me. Due to a youthful mishap with a horse I am not overly fond of the creatures. (Read: terrified of them.) Maybe I'll confess that story some other time. Suffice it to say that I never envisioned having an equestrian in my brood. Clearly, my fear has not been genetically passed on to my first-born.
The best shot I could get. Just because she was okay with solo riding doesn't mean I was.

She didn't stay on the pony for the entire ride. Instead she opted to get on and off several times. There was, after all, some very fine dirt to play in. Literally fine. It was practically sand. I found it rather enticing, myself. She finished out the time playing with the sandy dirt and the dog who liked it as much as she did.

When it was time to go I happily discovered that we were very close to the car by a short cut. Squiggle did not put up a fuss and we easily made it back to the car and then home again with no further excitement. Daddy brought us food when he returned from the boring indoor game he chose to play instead of adventuring with us. All played out, Squiggle went to bed easily and I got to shower without my tiny companion.

All in all, a successful day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Word Choice: Patients V. Patience

This is by request. A friend asked me how to tell the difference between patients and patience. I admit to being stumped for a while. Personally I don't find this one confusing, but many people seem to. I see the mistake all the time. I think it may have something to do with the fact that both of them come from the word patient.

Patients is the plural of patient. A person who goes to a doctor.

Patience is the virtue that a patient person is said to have.

Yup. I could be a patient (virtue) patient (of a doctor). And patients (of a doctor) need to have patience (virtue that keeps them from going crazy while waiting).

Here are some possible ways to remember:
      The group of people who go to the doctor (patients) is the plural, so an "s" is added to the end of the singular (patient). The virtue (patience) has the same ending ("ence") as another virtue, silence.  
       Or, patients with an "s" are sick, patience with a "c" is having an attitude of wait and "c"/see. That one is courtesy of my husband who tends to be more clever than me.


Feel free to add to these if you like.

Week 36: Reflections

Perhaps it comes from having tried for so long to get pregnant the first time and not knowing if I'd ever have a family the way I envisioned it when I was younger, but I've been determined to enjoy my pregnancies. It was hard, during infertility, to hear all the women complaining about how crummy pregnancy was. The aches, pains, inconveniences, etc. I did know that it wouldn't be all sunshine and lollipops. But I still remember the complaints of these ungrateful (as I saw them) women. "My baby moves and it hurts." Would you prefer the alternative? "I'm so fat." Really? "I got pregnant as soon as we started trying. Why couldn't it have taken longer?" Uh, you're upset that you got what you wanted, when you wanted it? Most hurtful: "I don't know why anyone would do this on purpose" Yes, she knew we'd been trying for years. Most bizarre: "I can feel the hair of the baby on my cervix. It's so annoying." Really?!?

I knew from experience how upsetting these comments could be to someone who would jump at the chance to change places with the whiny ones. So I determined not to be one of them. For the most part I think I've succeeded.  I try to focus on the positive and ignore the rest.

Along the way I've had some problems. But I know that there are women who aren't as fortunate as me. Ones who would love to be in my oversized shoes, because they're the only ones that will still fit. Having been one, I empathize with them and try to be considerate.

I also realize what a privilege it is to be pregnant. Fortunately most of the pregnant women I've encountered share that view. There are only three out of the countless ones I've known who never said a positive thing their entire pregnancy. And none of them were pleasant to begin with. So I'm not sure they count.

This baby inside of me is a blessing. There is no other reality. (Every baby is a blessing. Even the ones conceived by those who don't want them. Even the ones who don't qualify for the commonly accepted definition of "perfect.") Despite the physical complaints I'm still determined to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. Especially the wriggling. Then when Wriggly makes a grand entrance I will have no regrets about wasting the precious time I had to be pregnant. Even if this is my last time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36: Breakdown

Warning: This is the whiny part of the story. As I was typing it I realized that I had two different posts. It might flow better if I posted them in reverse, but I like to get the bad news out of the way so I can be left with the good.

Wow. So now I have to acknowledge that I'm at 36 weeks. This baby is no longer an abstract "future" that can be ignored until a later date. My denial ends tonight.

I had been going along quite merrily. Sure, there have been a few rough spots. The three months of morning sickness were not fun. (Let me just say that I can't imagine having it my whole pregnancy. That would be grounds for adoption or only child-dom here.) Then there was the sciatica month. I didn't care for that. But mostly I have have just minor nuisance complaints, typical of pregnancy. Through it all I knew that the payoff was a miracle known as a baby.

However, this past week has brought me to THAT point. You know the one. That one where Mommy is ready for her baby to not be in her belly anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm still terrified of having two kids and my house isn't ready and there's so much still to be done... But physically the scales have tipped.

My body is breaking down. The ligaments/tendons/muscles/whatever are displeased with the tasks assigned to them. And they are rebelling. It started about a week ago. I was getting up off the floor and made a rather graceful arc back down as I felt a pain in my inner thigh and my leg failed to hold me up. It's probably not serious, just painful. My midwife suspects a pulled muscle due to my "condition." Not pregnancy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Since then things have been uncomfortable. Groin muscle, round ligaments, uterus, back... all have been uncomfortable. Tonight, or today rather, came the inability to sleep. I woke up in the four-o'clock hour and couldn't fall back to sleep. Heat and my pains kept me up enough to start my brain thinking about all the worries floating around in my head. I laid there long enough to realize that I wasn't going to sleep anytime soon, then I came down here to share with all of you.

Don't you feel special now?

So I am at that fun point where I am at war with myself. I am not ready to let this baby out into the world. I love feeling its wriggly little movements and seeing the bulges when it stretches. I love my round belly that clearly is pregnant. Even if random strangers always ask if I'm having twins. Last time people just thought I was fat, so this is nice. I know that a major life change is right around the corner, and I want these last weeks to savor my life as it is now. My husband, my daughter and me. I want to soak up as much Squiggle as I can before I am forced to put her aside on occasion for Wriggly.

Mentally, I am content to remain pregnant until 42 weeks if need be. Psychologically, I will miss the movement. I don't know if I'll ever be pregnant again. This could be the last time I get to feel another life growing inside of me. And it is a feeling I cherish even when it is, shall we say, more forceful than I'd prefer. It is nothing short of amazing. Last and definitely least, I'd like more time to organize my living space. It is not how I want it and once Wriggly comes I'll make no progress for a long time. So I'd like to make it nice now.
A sample of mess.

I resent the physical limitations placed on me right now. The pain and fatigue are keeping me from enjoying these last few weeks. My prayer is that these complaints will go away, or be manageable enough to shove into the background, so that I can enjoy and take advantage of my remaining weeks as a pregnant mother of one, before the world recognizes me as a mother of two.

I apologize for any typos or awkward writing. I'm tired and probably not competent to proofread accurately. Not that I ever am. :-)