Friday, November 30, 2007

It's been a few days. Want a quick update? The short version: I had a baby this week.

Now for the longer one: I had a feeling on Tuesday that I'd be kept when I went in to see the doctor. Well, I was right. Robbie ran out of fluids. He had very little left, and what there was in there was in no way able to support him. Fortunately we had more time than last time to do something about it. I went up to triage and called the Boy, and due to some serious wrangling of everybody in the family here in Hanford we got the Boy up to the hospital in time to hold my hand.

I had a normal emergency c-section around 2ish. Actually it took a lot longer than it would have otherwise because the OR was out of twinkies. In english, this means that the preferred equipment used by the anesthesiologist was all out and he had to go downstairs to get more. Some sort of padding, I presume. The curve in my spine made it a bit complicated, but he managed to get the spinal block in place and this time I did not lose my shit right there in the OR. This time I was awake when my Boy came in, all scrubbed up. This time I held his hand when my baby was delivered and I got to be in the room when my Boy saw his Boy for the first time. Apparantly newborn baby boys at 29wk gestation are purple. Good to know. The rest of the day is kinda blurry. There were many wonderful painkillers involved.

Since Robbie didn't have prolonged distress issues, and I hadn't topped out on my bp scores, I spent a minimal amount of time in recovery. They moved me to the ward that evening and I got to see my Robbie in his travelling isolette before he was transferred over to Children's on the far north end of the city. My pressure and sugar returned to near-normal within hours. I got to go home yesterday, under the understanding that I'm still recovering from surgery and shouldn't overdo things. As before, my speedy recovery from the incision site is likely due to small size and placement. It's amazing how little the opening has to be to pass a preemie that small through.

Me. Mother of two. No more babies for us. Now we start the NICU ride all over again. Happy Birthday to Robbie (Robert Raymond), born November 27th, 2007. 1lb, 3oz.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today is the first day of the rest of this week. We're off to a good start with glucose and pressure and diet all within limits. See the recipe for apricot chicken here. It turned out great and helped use up some leftovers from the fridge.

Last week I was outraged to see frost on my car. Frost! On my car! In Hanford! Well it happened again and I'm beginning to suspect that this will continue until spring. After spending three years in SD this feels wrong. I lost a season somewhere in a town where Birds of Paradise grow as an afterthought and where lilies fill the rainditches as often as they can.

Now that the chill is creeping in I'm again drawn towards warm blankets. Quilts. Sweaters. I'm bundling up and remembering the thrill that comes with stepping on crunchy frozen leaves. Ice crystals melting and glittering in the sun. Frozen rain coating bushes and branches in a solid case of ice, as clear as new plastic. This morning I remembered the good. Not the bad, not the shoveling, scraping, the bad driving conditions. Just the happiness.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's important that our emergency response professionals have the gear they need. There are even people who want to look into owning their very own gear. Stuff like tactical vests, Galco holsters, flashlights. It seems the only thing you can't buy from this site is an actual firearm... they have great deals on shipping and offer shipping to APO/FPO addresses for people overseas- believe it or not there are companies that just don't do that.
A week of rebellion against diet and insulin has led to a very screwed up series of glucose numbers. It's Sunday again. The traditional (to us at least) start of the new week. Is there a better time to commit to a new start? So in the next week I commit to taking my insulin as scheduled. Don't ignore it. Don't put off testing. Don't do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

I have done this off and on again over years over many other things. When it comes to trying to drink more fluids or lose a few pounds that's one thing. Failure to keep up with those programs will not result in controlled blood sugars which in turn are not good for this baby. It sucks. But I've got to behave and get the sugar under control again and so far today -at least after my initial fasting numbers- things are looking good.

But did this come at the price of mostly ignoring the need to lay on my side and rest? Um. Yeah. I'm doing that right after I get done here. I really mean it. I'm going to go and lay down and rest and get that pressure back into limits. Then I can go on with my life and perhaps have a date night later on.
Do you ever have a customer experience that feels you feeling as though something more needs to be said? Whether it's praise or not, every now and then you walk away and are left with a feeling that this experience just has not ended yet. Before you might spend those minutes ranting/raving about it to your family and friends. What happens when you don't have them readily available? Do you suck it all up inside and hold on to that? Or do you wish there was a place online to lodge your commentary. Well, now there is to explore. It's a new site where you can post those sorts of things, whether or not they're favorable or a warning to other people to stay away. The last word in customer service can now be had by the consumer. These reviews might save someone else the hassle you experience over an oil change gone horribly wrong. They might give free advertising to a company who has gone over and beyond the norm.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Did you hear the one about the mom who got to sleep in and never managed to do it? I had official orders to sleep in today. Did I manage to sleep? No. I did manage to lay in bed for an hour extra. I managed to let the Boy get the Toddler up this morning and set down with her toys and breakfast- ready to start the day. Did I manage to do anything else? Well, let's see. I watched a movie on tv. I read a little. I listened to the iPod. I lay on my side on the floor until the carpet has become almost as familiar to me as my own pillow in bed. I am taking my vitamins, my fluids, my insulin, and I've got zits erupting all over my body because of the pregnant hormones run amok.

I've got a cute Toddler who has been willing to cuddle with me for periods of time up to fifteen minutes. She's given me hugs. She's read with me. She's climbed over my body until we both had acheived a nest in the big heap o'blankies on the floor. This is so cool. Beyond cool. I'm playing with her AND resting. And now I've been sitting up for over twenty minutes which is past my safe point, so I'm going to go off and lay down again. We'll see what happens next. Could be fun. Could be exciting. Could lead to more laying down!
Towns where culture and history meet without the glitzy showiness of modern consumerism are high on my list of favorite places. A time and place set aside for meandering through antique shops and bookstores, where the merchants set out little cookies and refreshments, where musicians stroll the streets after dusk... it all adds to the feeling of a more peaceful lifestyle. The St Augustine First Friday Weekend Artwalk is being held again this coming weekend. On the first Friday of every month the parking is free, along with guided trolley tours so you can see the historic sights of Old Town from 5 to 9. The trolley comes along every fifteen minutes.

St. Augustine in Florida is one of the oldest cities in this country at 442 years old. Can that be said of more than a handful of continuously occupied cities outside of Europe? Packed with history. Located in a wonderful (warm) vacation spot that still isn't completely over-run with tourist attractions and money-sucks, it's on the short list of places I'd like to visit one of these days. The St. Augustine Artwalk is sponsored by the art galleries, which collectively hold the finest eclectic art in North Florida. Your tour starts at the San Sebastian Winery, so why not have dinner there to get all comfy and relaxed and settle into the evening?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Alright, so it's a consumer culture. I get it. I do. Everywhere I turn I'm bombarded with images of the latest item that I've got to have Now. Ads tell me that my life just isn't complete without this or that, that I'm somehow failing my family by not buying into the latest convenience fad of housework. Doesn't it occur to them that every now and again what matters more is the act of doing it? That in the time it takes to set up that new fad and incorporate it into my life I could have saved twenty bucks and twenty minutes just getting down and cleaning something? Elbow grease and soap. What a combination! Amazing, no? That it works today as well as it did fifty years ago. And I'm not a bad mom for doing half my stuff the old-fashioned way instead of paying through the nose for a drive-through consumeristic lifestyle.

Once again, let me thank everyone who's been dropping by and adding a few drops into the Goldfish Cracker Fund. Every couple clicks helps add to the fund, and I appreciate it with all my heart.
After the desert heat and winds of this past summer I didn't think it would ever be cold again. This morning I woke up to frost on the windshield and chunks of ice growing on the top of my driver's door. I really am not into Black Friday in a huge way. Oh, every year I go out for a token sale item, but I'm not someone who plans it with all the seriousness of a military campaign. I do not go out into the dark at 4am to stand in lines outside department stores. I barely skim over most sale papers.


Last night my mom pointed out to me The Chair. It was on sale nearby, an early bird special, and I figured that hey, since it was the big present I wanted to get the Boy for Christmas this year I might as well go out today and pick it up for that low, low price. We tentatively agreed to go halfsies on it. We also sorta thought that since this was Hanford the store wouldn't be that crowded at the crack of opening this morning (6) and they surely wouldn't sell every last one in the first couple hours of the day in any case.

When did my retail sense of reality die? No, I mean that. When did I lose touch with the consumer sense of urgency? It's a decent price, and a very good sale price, and with all the big name and big brand things out there I honestly did think that this quiet little town would not lose it's mind. I woke up this morning and clicked on the tv in the bleary pre-dawn darkness to check in on the world/national/local news while regaining slow consciousness. As I did this, I saw the reporters standing in dark parking lots outside similar stores to the one I needed to visit this morning, showing wide angle views of the customers who showed up with rental vans.

Eep, I thought. Better get dressed and out to the store. It's 6:15 now. It'll be 6:30 when I get there. There will be plenty of these chairs left and I will feel silly to have gotten there this early on my own for that, but I'll get the chair I want for that low price. At 6:30 this morning when I arrived I got the last chair available, the floor model. I got that price. I got that last chair in the store of that model, half an hour after opening.

Sign me up as one of the crazy people today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What happened the last time you had a major car repair? Did you lose your mind, temporarily, and wonder "how am I going to deal with this? WHO am I going to get to deal with this?" Well, I can tell you the story of the first month I was married... Ten days after the Boy became the Husband, he went overseas on his first deployment. The third day after he left, I came home to find a three foot trench in what used to be my bathroom and a jackhammer in the hall. One week and one day after that mess, I went out to start my car after work and found that not only would it not start, the battery had eaten through it's own connector cables. So... okay. At least it gave me something else to focus on besides how broke I was and how lonely I was.

So what happens when you're faced with a situation like that? I was lucky; I had roadside assistance through my insurance company. I don't have that anymore; but there are some places that offer it as part of a major repair "package". AAMCOoffers free towing with a major repair. This would have come in especially handy in that situation. Before it was over, I had my poor car towed 30 miles and then another 5 to the nearest Saturn dealer. Turns out the battery had been leaking acid all over the serpentine belt, because it decided to snap quite messily when they fired the car up after replacing those battery connections and testing it out. Thankfully this did not occur on the highway. This upcoming season, take a minute or two to do something nice for your car, like making sure the necessary maintenance is done. Don't put it off in favor of an extra present under the tree. I think that your loved ones would rather have you around for years to come than a new pair of slippers.

Just when I begin to fret that Robbie's not moving, not growing, not thriving... I'll lay as still as I can and put my hand on my belly. I breathe deep. From the diaphraghm like we always learned in music class and choral singing. I breathe deep and full, letting the oxygen fill every available bit of my lungs. I empty my mind and let go of all those fears. And then he kicks. I feel him moving, stretching, growing. I feel him letting me know that it's okay right now. Today, at least, I don't have to worry about it.

I'm going to enjoy today. Savor these moments and treasure every kick I feel. Right now I can keep him safe. Right now I can hold him close in my heart and soul. Later I'll hold him in my arms, for now I'll hold him closer than that. Maybe I can't hear him cry now. I don't even know if babies cry in the womb. I suspect not. When he's born and settled into that isolette, or warming crib (let's think positively that he'll just be a feeder/grower and not in the level 3), the first week or so he won't cry either. Tiffany couldn't cry for at least two weeks. Soundless crying is horrible to watch in your babies.

That wasn't very comforting, was it? Let me just leave you with the first paragraph then. Let me worry about the second- but forgive me for letting it remain here. I need to remember these things. As self-injuring as it seems, I need that pain in my mind to stay saner this week. To remember that this is going to be just the beginning of a long ride that will make me cry oftener than it will make me laugh. One day the laughter will outweigh the tears again and I'll let go of it all. Salt makes the sugar taste sweeter.
Sesame Street, I love you. Between you and the Teletubbies, you ensure that I generally have 1.3 hours every morning to start catching up on email. I can take my insulin without "help" from the toddler. I can drink some generic crystal light, and eat breakfast. I can, in short, wake up and become mostly human without snapping at my family. Sometimes all it takes is five minutes to get your stuff in order and your day started right.

Of course, two hours later will this matter? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends. If you know the day is going to be rough, if the kids are sick or if you're sick, if everybody just woke up in a crabby mood... just savoring those quiet minutes that will be yours alone can be a lifesaver. I'm all for lifesavers. I'm all for the wonderful peace that comes with them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, everywhere. I hope you find it a good one. Whether you've got immense family meals planned or a quiet lazy day, enjoy and make the most of it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm coming to accept that I will not realize the dream of having a five pound newborn. Hell, I think that at this point I'll be fortunate to have a 2 pound 10oz newborn again. That's 1195 grams, for those Readers in countries that are more comfortable with metric units. I always remember the Toddler's weight in grams because of that “95” ending. She was so close to 1200... And those 5 grams allowed her to place in the very small for gestational age category of preemiehood. But I'm not going to be seeing a large baby.

That's so out of line with the stuff I read about the dangers of gestational diabetes, too. I mean, you always hear about how if left uncontrolled you'll have a very large infant. How about the dangers of producing a very small infant that come when the diabetes comes next to the blood pressure angle? When complications in pregnancy result something better left to a chinese takeout menu? Sure, I'll have two from column A, three from B, and maybe a nice almond cookie to round it out? -Nothing against chinese menus, mind you. I think that's a great approach to food. Just not to babies.
How do you choose an ISP for your needs? There's hundreds of options and companies all eager to take your money and give you services. It seems like someone would have to become an expert before ever getting to the point of having internet access from their home. The GetISP Info site offers ISP cancellation tips and information about how to choose both a service and a plan that's right for you. Dialup too slow for the amount of online gaming you do? Check for a DSL or cable high-speed package that fits your lifestyle. Wireless network more of an issue for your family? Remember to secure it against outsiders. Choose an ISP that offers bundling? Depending on the price and the bundle, you could get a better deal outside from separate companies.

Even if you've made a poor choice before this site could help you out. They have a page of tips on how to cancel your current service and sign up with a new one.
Are you addicted to stress? Adrenaline? According to an article I just read, an awful lot of women are. They say that with the added benefits of high-paying jobs, motherhood, the ability of some to get all the cake they want and eat it too, they tend to turn into stress junkies. Running from one big thing to another, never stopping, constantly courting burnout. Part of this has been linked to deep levels of insecurity.

I can see that. I want to be a supermom because it offers me a validation from the outside that makes me feel better. If I lose the ability to have a neat home and wonderful kids and a great husband, what do I have? If I lose the validations that ease the insecurity that makes me feel proud and confident of myself, I fall off the supermom pedestal and crash and burn. That would seriously impact that feel-good attitude. So I don't let up on myself. I push myself to be more, to do more, to show off more to the people I come in contact with- is that good? Not really. It gets a need met in me, but I'm doing it for some other reason than that I solely love my family.

Maybe that's the problem I'm mainly having with bedrest right now. I keep seeing it as a failure in me to be able to continue to nurture the family while gestating a new member. I see it as a lack instead of an opportunity to give him a better start in life. It's not a lack, it's a chance. I didn't get this chance last time. I didn't take things seriously enough.

This time? It's serious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I passed my weekly appt. Yay! This means one more week of continuing to gestate. One more week to try and let Robbie grow big. One more week to lay still and rest. One more week to lose my mind wondering...

The doctor says that I should just keep coming every week. Be prepared for being kept at any time. She's starting to get that Doctor look. You know the one. The one that's kind and concerned. I don't know if that's worse than the kind and worried or not- right now it's all the same for me as far as immediate consequences. Either way I'd end up flat on my back in some hospital bed and in an endless state of waiting. I don't like waiting. I've never been what you could call patient. Pregnancy only points that out as I get further and further into this no-man's-land of uncertainty. If this were a normal pregnancy I'd be getting larger and uncomfortable right about now. Instead I'm tracking my gain/loss of weight in ounces. Obsessing over every bite. Obsessing again over how much I need to eat to gain something and how much of that will be expected to carry over to the baby. I know that so far this baby is smaller even than his sister. Who was, if you recall, pretty damn small herself.

So we carry on carrying on. I'm trying to let go. Live every day one at a time. Stop obsessing because that's only going to raise blood pressure and make the glucose wacky, and that's not what we need. I just need to slow down and keep drinking those fluids and keep everything as calm as possible. And then I can keep being pregnant for another week. I can keep gestating. I can keep praying that this boy grows big.
Have you thought of taking a New Zealand Holiday? It's beautiful this time of year. Heck, it's beautiful no matter what time of year! The landscapes have been used over and over again in tv shows and movies, unsullied by so much of modern society and life. Dialaflight is now offering flights to Wellingtonalong with other New Zealand Flights at some good rates. Cheap flights abound. Just call their customer service line and speak with someone who will help you to book a holiday of a lifetime from the UK to any of several warm and sunny destinations. Don't miss out on holiday offers to get where you'd like to be.
I told my daughter to wait for me
Today I tell my son the same
Do not rush to us
Stay safe where you are
Grow big. Grow strong.
I can do what needs doing
Rest, hydrate, injections
do not rush to meet us
Mama's waiting patiently
We'll be ready when you are
Hush now. Sleep tight.
Tuck your head down and grow
No worries
No need to fret your little head
Ready for you
I'll sleep for you, eat for you
Pray for you in the silent night
You will be a joy to our hearts
As your sister was light to our lives
So wait with peace to take your first breath
Be ready first.
How much community service do you do? What counts as community service, anyway? At a recent speech, Bush praised those who give of themselves for a larger cause. Whether or not he was speaking in support of the military, of volunteering in America, of something else, it makes me think.

Community service is a punishment for some. Mandatory for others. Something lovingly contributed back for the good of all by yet others. Which is better? It seems to me that the last is the only “real” service. If it's mandated, is it really service? Maybe that's my upbringing talking. I tend to resist anything that I'm told to do. That's my nature. Comes with being a control freak, and with being incredibly stubborn. Give me a minute or two and I'll come around if it's a reasonable thing. Give me an hour and I'll convince myself that it was all my own idea to start with. Just don't ever flat out tell me to do something and expect blind obedience.

This, incidentally, causes the most concern in the Boy from time to time. He's used to this behavior in me. It's one of the reasons he loves me. Yet whenever I immediately roll over and agree with him on any topic or directive he stops and looks sideways at me. Just making sure that I'm alright. I get a little thrill out of that pause- another way of control? A passive-aggressive approach? Probably. I should look into that sometime. When I have the time.

When is service no longer service? I'd say when it is given grudgingly. If you're going to give something, give it. Don't lay conditions on it, don't lay expectations on it. Just go and do it. The reward may be small or non existent, but you'll have made the corner of the world you live in just that much better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've had pain for years now. I've lived with it day in and out, as I've shared before -among other long and drawnout tales of depression, motherhood, and how does it feel when your baby beats you up without meaning to. Before we moved to CA it was impossible for me to live above the first floor, because my knees just would not accept steps at the end of a long day in the weather. Cold, rain, they all bother me. Snow. Ice. Part of the picture comes from longterm side effects to the chemo and radiation. Some of it comes from a myriad of accidents and injuries sustained over the course of an accident-prone childhood.

What do I do? Do I live with it? How do I treat it? There comes a point at which the OTC meds don't really work to relieve the pain. There's a point at which you cannot ask a doctor to help you because they just won't- the pain isn't something they can see or diagnose, and they've medicated it before, and they think you're just a whiny crybaby addict who wants something they're not supposed to have. Screw that! I just want not to hurt so much I can't sleep at night. Is that wrong? I have enough problems with insomnia as it is. I'm depressed enough already. Chronic pain makes that worse. Especially when you know it's not going to go away. That you've just got to find a way to live with this for the rest of your life.

I'm entering a contest to win a year's supply of FreezeIt, which I tried off a friend the other week and which actually helped in a way that other things have not. I put some on my wrist where it got banged, and the pain went away. Imagine that! It didn't smell all medicinal. It felt good. You can use Freeze It Gel for sore muscles, sprains, shoulder and neck (lower back? Cause that's been hurting a lot more since this baby started shifting...) Strains. In short, all the ailments that come along with parenting a small and verbally-resistant child. Winning this contest will make my life as a mother of two with all those associated aches and pains so much better- a year's supply of this stuff... so cool. So Frosty, even. I hate living with chronic pain. I hate living with something that will take valuable energy away from my babies.

A toddler meltdown caused by the sheer gall of me making her move her body two whole feet to drink from her own sippy cup instead of from my empty water bottle. Wow. We had crying, screaming, rolling, thrashing, ripping my glasses from my face and hurling them across the room, tearing chunks of my hair from my head -does ten strands count as a chunk? It should- and all the associated snot produced from a still congested toddler.

Will this end? Peace has been slightly encouraged to flourish here. The wails have been stopped for now. Have I been thwarted from my goal of resting quietly for a bit? Of course. In this too I'm becoming increasingly fatalistic. The lowering of my blood pressure will not happen. The resting will not happen. Better get that bag packed because I may not be allowed to "rest" at home much longer. And then won't that be fun for this one car family?
For those of us who do enough selling online to justify having your Very Own Shop, how do you set up a storefront without either first getting a degree in webdesign and hosting, or selling your soul to someone who will do it for you while charging an arm and a leg AND your firstborn? Shopping Cart Software is included in a package from Ecommerce, who will provide the relevant things for you in return for a reasonable fee. Their site is easy to navigate while you're setting up your own little piece of retail paradise. Some important features include credit card processing, the shopping cart ability, and 24/7 support. If your business is small and only on the web, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary overhead while offering a polished presentation. Having a good storefront is half the job in making Net sales. Having a good and functional storefront is more than halfway to success. Ecommerce software will ease your path to a painless website setup with tutorials and live help in addition to their customizable templates. If you want, you can even get them to design your storefront for you. The last piece of the puzzle is you. Do you have something you'd like to sell? Do you have something to offer customers that they can't get anywhere else? Start a home business today and find out how easy it is.

Today I got out of the house and bought newborn diapers.

This is a serious thing. This is admitting that I will need them sooner than I hoped I would. This is really not a Huge Deal as defined by most of my other pre-baby freakouts. So what? Diapers are diapers. If I do go with cloth diapers full-time, we'll still be needing the occasional disposable. If for no other reason that sometimes, no matter how crunchy a family tries to be, there are places that require their use. Like the zoo.

Regardless of when the child appears, he will require diapers. Diapers are shelf-stable. I should not lose my shit over the purchase of one package of disposable diapers. No matter how useful or needful they are. This morning I also was pricing cases of Neosure. That's not quite as sobering as the other; but darn near close. Neosure is now running about $105 a case (6 cans of powder). Worth it. I don't think WIC will cover us this time around. There goes another expense for us. I also have to go and pack my hospital bag. I won't bother putting anything in it for Robbie, because if he's born now he won't be coming home with us yet. It'll be a long time off. I'm just all full of bad thoughts this afternoon, aren't I?

This morning I woke up with a bp of 154/105. It came down after several hours of laying on my side. Tomorrow I have my weekly OB appt. I don't know what will happen. I really don't. I'm scared. And tired. And I think of packing a lonely little hospital bag and want to start crying all over again.
It's recommended that you get new quotes on car insurance every year or two. At the very least you should be reviewing your policy terms to make sure that it fits into your current life and situation. High deductibles may save a few dollars off the policy, but what happens if you need to use it? Will that 500 dollar price tag mean a repair you can't afford? Do you have rental coverage for emergencies? Roadside service? Get car insurance quotes today for all your needs. Don't let life happen to you, you happen to it! I've changed companies once already, and I end up changing my policy terms about once a year. Sometimes it's to raise the deductible, sometimes to lower it. I like dealing with companies that let you do the entire thing online. I don't like companies that give you hassles when it comes to managing the paperwork. So far I've been lucky- I've only had to make 4 claims over the course of car ownership. Now, four claims in a decade is a lot- but one was collision beyond my control and the others were all theft-related; and how can you really expect that your car will consistently seem that attractive to burglars? I never thought that. With another baby on the way, you'd better believe I'm going to be double-locking my car from now on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm reading today's babycenter email about my pregnancy at 28 weeks. According to them and to most of the other "authorities", my baby should be two pounds and some about now. The size of a cabbage. They also say that my belly should be making me uncomfortable, and want to sell me creams to reduce stretch marks, and reassure me that I will lose all that baby weight after the birth.

Except... what baby weight? What belly? What cabbage? My last appt we did measurements, and I'm measuring just over 23 weeks. Which means that he's more a mango than a cabbage. Just about a pound now. I have to lift up and hold in my boobs to see the makings of a baby belly. I'm almost losing weight from pre-pregnancy at this point. It's a struggle to remind myself that I really am pregnant, and not showing unless I take steps to make that happen, and to the average person on the street I'm going to have adopted this new baby- because obviously I've never been pregnant. I'll be one of those "lucky" women who don't struggle to regain their figure. Again. I'm diabetic, but skinny as a rail and whenever I have to tell someone that I'm on insulin these days to control it they look at me blankly and say "but, you're not overweight!" as if that is some magic reason why I can't possibly be pregnant, or diabetic, or have high blood pressure to these levels. It is possible, people. I'm all of these things.

This weekend we're still nursing colds. The Toddler, the Gram, and me. I'm only having a mild sore throat today though, which is good, but which is not improving my mood. More bed rest. Even more fluids. Even more and more of the monitoring.

I lay in bed at night and whisper "grow big" to my belly and the baby inside. I pray that he grows big and fast and strong. Our time together grows limited- I am giving up all those illusions and delusions of getting even to 32 weeks now. I just want him to grow big and fast and strong so he'll have a fighting chance.

Am I so horribly damaged, that I can't even manage what millions of women do every year? That I cannot sustain my unborn children until they're able to breathe on their own? I'll be spending hours in a chair by another isolette; hours of lonely work cursing at a breast pump with little to show for it. But if God is merciful, we'll both survive these next months.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Here we are at 5pm. The sun has set. The blogging for today has been done. The month is halfway over, the christmas decorations in town have been raised, and I'm ready for bed. This is crazy. Chalk it up to the not feeling good. I feel some sort of deep-seated need to outlast the Toddler to bedtime, despite being surround by two very capable adults who are willing to handle things. So why can I not just give in and go to bed? God only knows. I sure don't. But that seems to be the way this evening is shaping up...

the Gram has announced her intentions for bed. So that means that I'm here. For the duration. I'm here, the Toddler is still awake, and in a few minutes I'm thinking of laying back down on the couch to "rest". By which definition is now "let Toddler crawl over you and pound you with board books". That's cool though. She's two. It's her way.

Good night, all, whereever you are. See you in the morning. Don't do anything too crazy now.

The really cool thing that happened today was that I got a chance to try out a few new products. We got a Smencil (cherry flavored), some rainbow candles, and instant snow powder. The snow powder was the biggest hit with the Toddler- I mixed it up with ice water and let her have a sensory experience in the living room. Sensory play is great to help her with some of her issues. It also has the benefit of relaxing her, stimulating just the right combination of things to help her sleep better at night and focus better in the evening before bedtime, and using the snow powder was enough different from her rice table that it gave her a new sensation.

Other offerings from VAT19 include the USB LED Desk Lamp, which would come in really handy during some light night computer sessions. It has an off/on switch, which is better than having to crawl behind the computer -if you don't have a laptop- for plugging, unplugging, plugging...

Here we have two pictures. Toddler with Snow, Toddler with Shovel. The Snow shots didn't come out as nice as I would have wished- I put it in a baking pan on a tray on the floor. As promised, the snow vacuumed up quite easily. Non-toxic, easy cleanup, lots of fun. It was perfect.
The Toddler is sick. A sniffleupagus has invaded her body, causing warm skin, flushed face, and a river of snot. Other than that she's feeling just fine; and perfectly willing to carry on her daily life. I fear she has infected me. Not a great fear, mind you, just the acceptance that whatever my child has I'm going to get as a matter of course. This is the price paid by mothers as we tend the kids; as we wipe noses, let them cough all over us, and cuddle them long into the night so they can breathe just that little bit better.

My problem seems to be that not only can I not get comfortable today, my throat is scratchy and I'm thirsty. I could drink a river. Well, a stream. Possibly a rivulet. Although I'd much prefer a never-ending bottle of cold water. I keep falling asleep on my side. I don't want to move. There were a couple really good things that happened here today, and I'm going to concentrate on them as I prepare to hunker down for a long night spent resting and recovering (?!) from this malaise. But I think I can probably chalk the majority of it up to the pregnancy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

On the first day of Christmas Coupon Shopping, the Net offered to me: the perfect delivered fresh-cut fir tree. This is just one of the offerings included in the Top 10 Christmas Gifts list. This site offers a wide variety of gifts; each portrayed in a short post with images and a review of the company offering them. From candy to gift baskets, cosmetics to christmas trees delivered to your front door from the same nursery supplying the White House this season, this place can give you a new and unique spin on each gift on your list. I'll admit that this year I am spending more time looking at the offerings as possible things to treat myself with than I am looking at the things I'd like to give my loved ones. In my defense I'll point out that it's only because I've pretty much already decided what I'm giving them. The Toddler gets a sliding board shaped like a carrot. And a tent where she can take all her books and hide. The Gram gets something well suited to her tastes and personality. The same for the Boy. I can't tell you what they get because they might read this page and then they'd know- and I have enough trouble keeping my mouth shut about what I buy for people without giving it up that easy.
Have you noticed that the baby industry has gotten nearly as carried away as the wedding industry? There's tons of stuff that is all "must-have". How much does a person really, truly, honestly need? I don't know, but it's certainly not anywhere near what the lists tell you.

I could spend hundreds and thousands of dollars going on the necessity lists off Amazon and babycenter. Do I really need a bouncer, exersaucer, bumbo, and three types of baby wraps? Do I absolutely need the entire baby enstein collection? Plus toys? Plus a bottle warmer, wipe warmer, sterilizer, mobiles that light up and play tunes? Where and what can I draw the line on? I know more now than I did when I was pregnant the first time. I am actually able to know what I'll use, what I'll likely continue to regard as a waste of money and effort. This, I see as a good thing. I also have a ton more confidence that I'll still be a good mother even if I don't have all the latest and greatest gadgets.
It's a challenge when you can't plan ahead "properly". In an ideal world, we'd all have our vacations and trips planned months in advance, with the best deals on hotels, cars, flights, meals... in short, with every last detail worked out and making the entire experience a smooth and painless process. It's a pity that life just won't work that way. If you're like the rest of us, often there will come up some little thing that makes you have to scramble. Last Minute Hotel Rooms are one of the biggest expenses when it comes to traveling. Flights, I've found, might be an extra hundred or two and may be frazzling to nerves and hair, but they're of a limited duration. A connection or two and they're over. Hotel rooms have to be considered a lot more carefully. That's where the majority of us find our solace from the craziness of the trip. When I go out traveling, I reach my destination tired and frazzled (especially with infant in arms) and I need something to soothe me. I look forward to reaching my room, to kicking off shoes and finding a quiet haven to erase the stress of the trip. Using a site like this one (see link above) would help me find the best deal on the best room- saving money, saving my mental health, and making the entire trip that much more pleasant. Why should I pay through the nose for something to be my haven and not have a good time? That's not sense.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paid blogging, yadda-yadda, sponsored posts, yadda-yadda, selling ads... make thousands a day from home, let google work for you, the latest google smackdown of PR... I used to talk about work to my family. Now I talk PR and googlesmacks and Alexa ranks and how many/what kind of paid opportunities I can take day to day. As I've mentioned before, it is possible to make money blogging and sitting on the couch. It is possible to get some income doing this; just as some people are able to make some income on ebay and amazon and etsy. As anything else, it's a job. Me? I blog. I'm good at writing. At electronic babbling. I even have a fairly decent readership at the moment, which does wonders for my self-esteem. I get a boost from reading comments, and I get a boost from seeing my paypal balance increase a little at a time. I'm not unique. At a guesstimate I would think that half the blogs I read are making that little bit extra through their blogs; either by selling textlinks or ads or those sponsored post bits.

Want to know something wierd? I dream in blogging now. Last night I dreamed I was babysitting for a lady who runs one of my daily reading blogs. She wrote a post about me. Just the thought that I had been mentioned on her high-profile blog made me all warm and fuzzy. A Bloglebrity.

It goes to show that sometimes the subconscious tells you things that you already kinda knew but didn't really know how important it had become. So blogging is now my job. It's worth my time and it pays me to sit here coming up with blurbs three or four times a day. It's worth the time and trouble for a whole bunch of housewives who know not to get involved with MLMs, with work-at-home promises that seem to either require massive amounts of upfront money or unreasonable returns. I'm sure that a decent portion of work-at-home jobs are real; but just like with any other job you've got to look at your own needs and figure out what is going to work.

Are you the sort that socializes easily and with lots of people, always picking up new friends and acquaintances and finding it easy to talk with them? Look for the ones that get you out of the house and involve those people. Are you a shy introvert who finds it difficult to get out of the house or to even talk to the people you already know? Find something that lets you play on your strengths! I'm in the latter half, although I'm fairly good at stringing words together. We're on a tight income; can't afford to put the toddler in daycare to go out and get a real job, underlaying medical reasons that make that impractical in any case. Blogger has free blogs. I was blogging in any case. I found a reputable company to start getting paid for this. I tried it out, didn't put too much time into it until the payouts happened. When it proved to be everything promised I went all out- this is my job now in addition to the mother and housewife aspect of me. Twenty minutes here and there. Thirty minutes here and there to read new blogs every day as much as I catch up with the ones I read just for me. Comment. Post. Read forums and articles on how to blog better. Read current events. Read lots. Comment and post lots. Never comment just to fill space- always put something of quality out there so that my readers will forgive the times when I get sloppy/lazy/have a bad day and are just trying to get something out on paper to get through another day. I know you can tell. I can tell too. Everytime I post something that is just too awful I feel bad and make myself leave it up as a warning to myself to do better the next time.

The next couple of weeks I'm going to be bringing in the Christmas shopping money. After that who knows? I'm being googlesmacked again; my PR rose briefly to let me take all those high-paying posts and this week it's dropped to a big fat zero. Which makes no posts available beyond a bare handful of choices. And there are plenty of people who are depending on these posts to pay the bills this season. They're like me. They have young kids. They have to balance school, work, family, kids, bills and mortgages and rent to pay. Paid blogging makes it easier for us all to get by. We don't have to sacrifice the time with our babies to work outside the home. But there are weeks like this one when we're looking at the holidays and the tight budgets and the lack of an income we've been starting to count on to make the ends meet. We're all afraid. We can see the tight times closing in. We try to reassure each other that it's a cycle, that it'll go through again, that things will improve in a couple of weeks and we'll be okay. The company we're mostly working for understands this concerns and seem to be trying to do something about it. Does that help those fears today?

I don't have an answer for that.
We're getting closer and closer to the holidays, and gift-giving season is upon us once again. Where are you shopping to get the most for your money? I've been looking at Coupon Chief again because I think they do provide the best collection of coupon deals for my family. With as much online shopping as I do, I feel it's especially important to use those coupons to get better deals. Money is tight, after all, in so many houses besides this one. Why not use every tool you can to spend as little as possible? Squirrel away those extra pennies- they add up too, and when this is all over you can afford a little extra something whether that be adding it to your rainy day fund or a new pair of fuzzy slippers. One thing my motherinlaw is thinking about is how she can get the best deal on plane fare out here when the baby comes along. She could look here for Orbitz deals. Maybe my Boy will go to Blue Nile for a coupon? I'm not much for diamonds, officially, but I do like a sparkle or two and I've got a feeling that after this baby comes along I'm going to deserve a little extra treat or two. Not that he doesn't treat me plenty- but this is the sort of occasion that needs something more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meet Sadie Mae. Sadie Mae is a figment of my imagination; she's one of those Stepford Housewives, the sort that I never thought to see in my head. Note the frilled apron. There's a smudge of flour on the pocket, and a small rip somewhere near the sash because there's also a small child running around here who likes to tug at Mommy's skirt to get attention. When someone comes to the door, she hides her face in that apron and shyly peeks around the side. Just like in those old moves and books; the odd sort of thing that seems so precious but then you stop and think that hey- that's just toddler behavior and they'll do it if given the right setting.

I have been thinking a lot on Sadie Mae lately. The idealized housewife, the “ideal” that's still stirring in the back of my brain. Gives me something to do when I'm laying down and resting. Something to while away all those long afternoons and evenings. Call it what you will. Maybe I'm hiding from reality in this. Maybe I'm coming through something else and starting another in the endless stream of transformations. I don't know who I'll be in six months. I don't know who I'll be tomorrow, come to think of it. While the core of a person doesn't really change much beyond a certain age, the outer shell and persona can change in so many different ways due to circumstance. Every blessed thing that happens to and around us has the power to shift things slightly. A strong person brushes most of it off. A weaker personality doesn't. For those people this change is much more pronounced.

Having my Toddler changed me forever. Pregnancy changed me, motherhood changed me, staying home and economizing changed me. It's constantly changing me. I'm becoming more me. Less than what I was. Not ever less, always more, always different. I'm looking forward to what will happen in another week and month. What will the New Year bring us? Another day in paradise.

*don't forget to stop by my other blog, Living Green On Less. I'm trying to revive it and post more frequently, and remember that you can help support the site by visiting the Goldfish Cracker links.
Prime Dating Sites is a service that helps match people with the best dating site on the Net that can serve their needs. With the many sites out there, each offering niche services, it can be hard to really the select the one (or two) that truly meet your needs. You don't want to waste your time with ten different logons and profiles, and you want to make this painless and fun. So why not make the most of your time and energy? Why not steer your search towards the place that offers the best chance of a happy ending?

Read the FAQs page in order to find out more about the site. Indepth reviews of the popular dating sites and matchmaking services will help you pinpoint your efforts. You depend on consumer reviews for other things such as car buying and computer purchases, right? Why not put the same amount of thought into your search for friends or hookups? Or most especially the one who might be your spouse? Matchmaker and eHarmony are included.
My Toddler seems to be into running around with her blankie these days. She doesn't want to let go of it until a few hours after breakfast- which I don't mind so much because we do laundry every two days or so. And so we launder it constantly. Just enough to keep the chocolate stains and banana stains and juice/milk/ketchup stains out of it.

I wonder what it is, that small children enjoy bathing in food so much? It's a great tactile experience for them. Wonderful for exploring textures, sensory, all those other things that kids have to know and get into in order to make the most of their world. Unfortunately there's still a small part of me that wonders why it seems so necessary for them to accumulate the experiences on their clothing. There's got to be a way to learn with bathing in applesauce every afternoon.
Before I got pregnant, I had to think about what this was going to do to my heart. Last time there was preeclampsia to consider. There's always been the longterm heart damage from the adriamyacin and vincristine and cyclophosamide and the other one to consider. What impact did that leave? What new information do we have? Can my heart sustain the stresses of pregnancy and post partum again?

The field of cardiac medicine still makes leaps and bounds forward all the time. Specialists need to find the best tools, the easiest ones to handle and perform the job. Porter Medical is one of the up and coming companies that designs and markets such devices; they are making new strides into the field of cardiac medicine with an aortic punch. If I had to go under the knife, I'd want my doctor to use the best tool available to him. We all hope that day won't arrive, but sometimes it's good to know what to expect just in case.

This morning the fog kisses the ground like a soft cotton batting. As we drove over to the base, lights were all along the horizon like little white firefly jewels in the fog. So pretty. I wanted to close my eyes and sink back in the seat and let the experience wash over me. I wanted to go back to sleep.

Sleep, however, is not quite in my cards right now. The growing baby needs the room, and it seems he also requires my sleep ability. Even though I'm tired, all the time, he can't quite get comfortable. Still growing, albeit slowly, and I'm very grateful for that. The doctor report of the week is that we've passed the crisis point. This time. There will be other crisis before the end, it's a given that I won't get to what the majority of people call term, that all we're really doing now is taking it week by week and running with that. Praying a lot that the pressure stays down. That the baby keeps growing. That I will not be a mother again before Christmas.

The Boy and I talked it over and we're shooting for Christmas as a realistic goal right now. He still wants to wait until the due date. He's ready to look at reality in the out-loud voice now. I don't know whether or not that bodes well for us. No doubt everything will happen just as it should. I will continue to behave myself and wait for the next appt. And the one after that. And the one after that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Digital pictures are just one of those must-have items for our household. With the entire extended family on the other coast, how else will we satisfy hungry grandmotherly impulses? Prints are expensive, then they cost to send, and then they gather dust. I don't have room around here for things gathering dust. The only things allowed to gather dust are my procrastinating impulses for cleaning. Right now I've got an HP camera, but I'm meaning to get a new memory card for it so that I can store all the pics indefinately. We can fit nearly two hundred on a single card the size of my thumbnail. Just try that with film! Plus it's easier to manipulate decent pictures. I inherited my mother's picture taking gene. I take pictures of my thumb, of half-heads, of blurry things. digital cameras changed my life. I can immediately erase the worst of my efforts. Failures?? Efforts. The preview pane is also worth it's weight in AA batteries. And then there's the new baby issue of never having time enough, energy enough, to get out and take pictures. I'm not really a take a million pictures kind of person, and when it's easy is when I tend to do it. Having a preemie made me glad I could take a picture. It was hard to get a good take with the isolette- when the glare from the flash glittered off of every reflective surface. And the preview pane could be seen through the plastic, so I could get a halfway decent picture without exposing my little girl to the unwarmed regular air of the outside world.

I need to avoid that experience next time. Let's get this next baby born, and home, and then I can fill this blog with cute pictures of an adorable baby boy and toddler girl. Together, with no tubes, and with me not in ICU for days on end. I know, it was only two days or so, but it felt longer. It always feels longer.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I got tagged by Tina for this meme.

Here are the rules:

When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to eight other people. It’s fun. Give it a shot. It’s also a great way to get to know other bloggers.

OK, so 8 random things about me:

* I was very stubborn from the moment I was born.
* I keep my spare change in a china sugar bowl despite knowing better.
* My bed is never made unless my mom does it.
* I spent too much time of the internet (stole this one from Tina's meme, but it's true!)
* Despite the problems with this pregnancy I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
* Sometimes I think my Boy never grew up.
* I Heart the Grocery Store, and would spend hours there if I could find a reason.
* I don't like the holidays as much as I should, but I'm learning to like them for my babies.

I'm being lazy and not tagging anyone right now, but if you'd like to play along let me know and I'll be sure to leave a comment on your post.
If we do end up homeschooling, I know I'll need extra support when it comes to math. Math has never been my strong area, despite seeming to test well in it. I don't know why; maybe I just think differently when it comes to algebra? But I'm going to have at least one very bright child, and that means I want to do the best that I can possibly do for her. The Score program offers a wide range of options to best meet her future needs. Small group settings so that she can have a social experience. One-on-one work as needed to address specific goals with well-qualified Math Tutors. In those hands, I won't worry that she'll fall into the same crack I did.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I brought in yesterday's mail this afternoon to see some small vindication. Remember the issues we've been having with the electric company, who seem to randomly assign numbers to our meter reading? Well, in the mail was the corrected statement, reflecting that we now have a Huge Credit balance.

To celebrate this new-found sanity, we don't have to write them a check for a few months. I'm looking forward to that. Immensely. Instead of writing them a check on payday, I'm buying a new car seat for the Little Bit. Instead of obsessing over yet another insanity month, I'm going to stay calm. Since my post-dinner blood sugar was on the low side, I'm eating a twizzler left over from Halloween. And I'm going to be laying on my side for the rest of the night while feeling good about the whole package tonight.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

So here I am. It's after dinner, the Toddler is being sung to sleep by my mom, the Boy is outside having his after-dinner-pipe, and I'm sitting on the Net trying to think of something relevant to say before admitting that I'm really tired, really hungry, and really disinclined to move my butt off this chair and do something about any of the above conditions.

What do you do with a sleepy Toddler? You wash their face, put them in clean jammies, and tuck them up in bed after a nice cup of chocolatey milk and some wonderful cuddles. You rub noses and give eskimo kisses. You cuddle and snuggle and they get all wonderful warm and sleepy. In the best of worlds, that is. The other side of that is when they're overtired and cranky and don't want to deal with any of it. That is what happens when Tiff starts screaming and crying, and I'm not going to be seeing that tonight because everything is being taken care of by someone else. I should be laying down now. Why am I not?

Good question. I suspect it has something to do with not wanting to move out of this chair. But I'm gonna be good and do what I'm supposed to do, and see everybody in the morning. Pleasant dreams!
In my family, we bake. While some genetic trees carry with them the ability to be good cooks, there are a subset of good bakers. Mennonites are both. Frequently, it is in baking that we reach the pinnacle of Yum. My dear late Great-Aunt Norma had a recipe that she loved and passed down for electric mixer bread. She had kids, as did everybody back then (or very nearly everybody) and as the mother of a curious toddler I can attest that the kids really do get everywhere and want every second of your attention. All The Time. Especially if Mommy's doing something interesting. Even more so if this interesting thing is not something that she thinks is safe for Toddler fingers to be into. I would love to be back into baking bread every other day in my kitchen. When this baby gets born I'm going to be back kneading my bread dough and enjoying that warm yeasty smell. But where to find the time to really get into it? Corners will have to be cut somewhere, and that means my hand mixer is going to have to give way to something more hands-off and childcare friendly.

This is where a stand mixer is going to save my sanity. The Hamilton Beach® Mixer is a good choice for me. Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer comes in colors, and will make it even easier to get my kids cooking and baking with me as part of their daily life. My mom never saw a point in banning me from the kitchen even though I now know I was often more trouble than help -especially in clean-up time. Her point was that if I learned on the real stuff I'd learn better and be able to cook instead of only knowing “pretend cooking” on equipment that did not behave or react like the real thing. Which I'm sure saved my tushie countless times when I did start preparing meals all on my own.

Electric Mixer Bread:
1 1/4cp warm water
2Tbsp soft shortening
1tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
2Tbsp sugar
3 cp flour

Proof the yeast in a warm mixing bowl. Stir all in but one cup flour; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the last cup of flour and beat in with a spoon. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Beat about 25 strokes. Pour into buttered loaf pan (dough will be sticky) and rise, covered, until it comes to 1/4” of the top. Bake 45 minutes at 350degrees.

Eclectrics® Mixer

Somehow this morning I went from a PR3 to PR2. Not such a big deal, but it's taking me for a loop. Just another word to go as a warning; never put all your eggs in one basket. Never count on all those nice high-paying opportunities for paid posts to keep coming in head over heels. I've been able to make hay over the past couple of weeks; a nice steady stream of Good pin money that will make the holiday season much more enjoyable. Now it's drying up again.

I'm choosing to look at this like every other job and occupation. There are swings up and down. Slow points and fast points. Make the most of the good times and don't get so disheartened by the bad ones. This is just one weekend, and until Google gets over whatever bee in it's bonnet is currently there, we'll all have to batten down and ride it through.

Chin up!
Steven King does a great plot. I love his books, his movies, especially if there's someone around to put their arms around me. My first exposure was watching the two part version of It, and that was also the first time I ever had nightmares about clowns. (Go figure). On the other hand, it also helped me get through my nightmares about algebra. After that I mostly just stuck to his books. Easier to visualize, less scary, no nightmares.

The Mist by Stephen King is being released in a few weeks, and if I weren't on bedrest I'd want to go see it. It's the perfect date movie for my Boy and I. It provides the perfect opportunity for me to sneak a few snuggles under the guise of needing "comforting". He thinks it's silly and slightly cute- this may be because neither of us really made out in a movie theater as teenagers, and now that we're all grown up and practically adults (what with a toddler and a infant due any month now) I'd love to be able to get flagged by an usher for snogging in the back row.

One thing I've gotten to like in the past couple of months is finding movie trailers online. If there's a movie I really want to watch, if there's a trailer I like, I don't have to hope it comes on during commercials anymore. I can just go right to the movie site and look it up. This is where highspeed Net comes in handy. Come to think, I don't think this household could function on anything less than broadband anymore. Certainly not smoke signals. Yeah, it's expensive. But when you weigh in all the stuff we don't spend money on... I guess it all comes out even in the end.

Last night was good. I slept next to my Boy, and it was good except the part where I had to get up and feed the Little Bit. Aren't this early feedings not supposed to start until birth? So I ate early, went to sleep again, and missed my morning BP pill. Which meant, it seems, that when I did wake up I had a pressure in the Not Good range. Which was solved by laying down again. On the right side.

I'm the only woman in the world, it feels like, with this particular problem. Why is my blood so frigging wierd? Why is it that when I follow the standard "lay on left side" advice, my pressure skyrockets? When I lay on the other side, the pressure goes back down like it would otherwise? I do not know. It's weird.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Boy has wanted to live in NYC ever since I met him. I have the feeling that this is going to be the first whole family vacation we take -when the kidlets are older. Hopefully when we get to do the New York CityPass will still be available. Like many famous attractions, New York has started bundling special entertainment packages to make it easier and less of a hassle for visitors. These books are filled with prepaid admission tickets to several of the places you're likely to visit. The Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with sightseeing excursions. Not only does this allow you to skip the main ticket lines and get right to the good stuff, these books save you about 50% off the normal admission fees.

I even know a few people who would love this. College kids in nearby states are always getting the chance to hop a bus up to NYC. Why not send them this gift for Christmas and help them spend an extra day or two getting the sights in? The books are valid for three months; you can take two trips up there, or three, and spread the joy out over a longer period of time. I love museums. I always have. I adore wandering through them for hours, taking my time, reading all the little blurbs and brochures and sometimes just finding a seat and watching people watch the exhibits. Part of my love for history I guess. This is something I'd like to instill in the kidlets. As soon as I can convince everybody to cooperate.

Add to my reading list!

Anybody got a favorite book or series that they can recommend for my library queue? I'm open to anything right now; looking for a few new good ideas to help while away the upcoming weeks without losing my mind too dramatically. Besides, I can rest while my eyes are busy. And this is one of the few things that the Toddler respects when she sees me doing it.

Unlike my lung capacity.

The Boy is on a plane heading this way now! My hug-supplier and all-around-comfort-object is going to be with me tonight! Love to all.
Gasp! Breathe! My post-breakfast glucose is Normal! Solidly, firmly, normal again. I have not seen an actual true-normal reading since the Shots of Doom! This is cool. Seriously cool. The only thing better would be if I could manage to lose the shortness of breath caused by a small and cute child determined to snuggle with mommy's lap for a story despite mommy's having to lay on one side which means the only snuggle surface available to her is the part I need to breathe with.

Why does mommy need to breathe? Toddler is not sure of this. She doesn't think mommy's need anything, and besides which, her book must be the most important thing here. This is one point of the discussion. And Oh! The horror of it all! We've had two crying spells this morning because mommy had to evict her from the warm nest in order to grab a breath.

Sibling rivalry is starting young in this house. It's not my attention they're vying for today, it's my lung capacity.
Way back when my teeth started falling to pieces in my mouth, I was facing a lot of problems. Already socially shy to the point of pain, my teeth were one of the things I was least proud of. All those pictures where they want you to smile? Show teeth? Forget it. I learned early how to smile broadly without showing teeth, and would not no matter how much they cajoled me. This is in spite of great dental care my whole childhood, so don't think that my mom never took me to the dentist or didn't agonize endlessly over my tooth hygiene either. No, my tooth woes were a result of having chemo when the permanent teeth were forming and coming in.

Towards the end, I couldn't hold a filling in my teeth for more than a few days or weeks. They'd been filled and drilled and filled and drilled so much that there was very little left of structure in some places. And then the filling would always come back out. Nerves exposed in some places. Not only not pretty but very painful and there was nothing we could do to make a temporary dental repair. Now there's options for this sort of situation. Dentemp OS. It provides a fast and temporary fix for your problem. Premixed vials means less mess and no fuss. Just apply, pop that loose filling or crown back in place, wait thirty minutes, and you're eating without pain again. This stuff is FDA and dentist approved so you won't be doing something bad for your teeth (anyone been tempted to use superglue on your dental issues because you're just that desparate for relief?

Don't make yourself suffer unnecessarily. This is one of those things that's good to have around, just in case, in the medicine cabinet. Because like a bunch of other things, when you need it you need it NOW. And you don't want to wait for pain relief.
It's been a wild ride this week, hasn't it? One thing after another. Boy gone for the week, Toddler not sleeping/sleeping/not sleeping. Blood pressure alarms. Blood sugar highs. Baby activity low due to combinations of any and all of the above. It makes me pleased to report a mild Friday morning in this house.

Finally the steroids wore their way out of my system. I slept last night for several hours, undisturbed by the demands of Hungry Baby that Ate Mommy. Woke up to a nice, normal fasting blood sugar reading. A nice, low blood pressure reading. A happy and well rested toddler at her usual breakfast time instead of the early time. My Boy will be able to get an earlier flight back home than he first assumed, and so will be returning to his family and home this afternoon instead of the middle of tonight or "sometime" this weekend.

Let's see if the military scheduling is actually accurate today. Because I'm starting to think fond thoughts of my family together tonight.

The Little Bit we've been so worried about this week is starting to wiggle and kick again. He did not seem amused by the steroids, or the high sugar numbers, but this morning he started moving vigorously again. Makes a momma's heart get all mushy. Watching the feel-good morning news spots on other cute and chubby babies didn't hurt either.

Back to my floor-rest for the morning. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and good thoughts during this time. It's been much appreciated.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

We are living in a society increasingly geared toward being tuned in and turned on all the time. Mobile technology allows us to keep this plugged in feeling no matter where we go or what we do. This has fueled a new theme through all of the mobile advertising I see lately. Everyone, everywhere, promised the solution for all of your needs at a low price. Cut down on the gadgets you now can't live without by getting an iPhone that can make all of these things available to you in one device that slips into a slim line pocket on those designer jeans. These are just some options available to you in the age of premium sms services. Also reaching a new popularity again is mobile billing- you can pay your bill through your phone with the payment method on file. One touch dialing really has come a long way.

The first article I linked to is about sms marketing. This is also showing more and more popularity. Maybe not so much in this sleepy little town, but I keep reading about it in the forums I frequent and on the news. The day when the entire country has internet as "cheaply" and easily as they have basic sanitation services is drawing closer and closer. They can take away our cheap gas, but nobody better take away the internet! Or any one of the seventeen billion ways to access the rest of humanity. Instant messaging, photo sharing, or the ability to reach as many people as you want for one low price every month.
I thought my handwriting had suffered when I stopped working outside the home. Then I ended up here. This past week I've written the majority of every post out on a steno pad while laying on one side and a bunch of pillows. My handwriting, surprisingly, has been waiting for me. Good thing I can type fast, right? Then I can make the most of my limited time sitting up in a chair.
Maybe it's just my imagination brought forth by bedrest, steroids, insulin, glucose gone haywire... but I could swear I finally have a little baby bump. Of course you still couldn't tell it to look at me. Big boobs. They're impressive enough with sag, even more so with a built in shelf.

Either way I feel incredibly content with this. A baby bump. A visible sign of pregnancy even if I'm the only one who will ever know it's there.

For now I'm resting. Lots of resting. By this weekend the new meds will all have settled to where they're supposed to be. I'll lose some of this anxiety. Let's all pray for that.
Not only is November the national prematurity awareness month, it's also Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Both are near and dear to this family, for the more recent preemie issues that have taken place and for the tragic affects that Alzheimer's has had on our loved ones in the past. To encourage Alzheimer's Awareness in the public, the national memory screening is making an enforced effort to let people know that memory screenings are a critical part of your future health especially if you are at risk for this condition. Memory screenings not only can point up early warning signs of Alzheimers, but they can provide a valuable baseline for younger adults. Why wait to get a baseline of your memory until it's possible that there has been some loss? Get your baseline now, and provide your doctors the best information they need to give you the right care later on. The best holiday gift you can give someone is the gift of remembering.

Locate a memory screening site near you by visiting this site. Consider making a donation this season to help fund research into cures for Alzheimer's, so that in our lifetime we may find a solution to that long dark slide. I feel that the dual awareness months I'm celebrating this November are two sides of a coin- I'm remembering preemies for that long dark ride up. There are no guarantees, only hope and prayer and faith that lives come out of the NICU and go on to be shining symbols of humanity. Alzheimer's is the other end of that slide when the light goes slowly out. If everyone joined together to be educated about these things, to support the families and friends of families who wind up suddenly stricken with that emotional roller-coaster, I believe this world would continue to be a happier and more supportive place to live in.

Pass the torch. Keep the candles burning. Don't let the light go out.

Adorable Toddler strikes again.

Last night she's circling the kitchen table looking for something new and exciting to get into. She picks up my blood pressure cuff. The cuff doesn't really amuse her but the monitor unit has big buttons.

She jiggled the buttons, not finding the on/off switch, and thus gets nothing for her efforts. Putting the unit to her ear, she says "Hello? Hello?" For some reason that didn't do anything either, so she punched the buttons a few more times and then put it back.

Isn't it amazing how we watch them explore their worlds? Everything is new, so new, and right now she's developing the ability to use all her previous experience in figuring out what new objects are for. Of course she won't talk to us to ask for help, but it's alright. Someday she's going to get her hands on a working phone that does something without needing a grownup to stand next to her.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Furniture from home

Why put myself through the bother of buying furniture in a retail store environment, dragging a toddler (toddler and infant?) along, both likely to be grabby and cranky, and then try to find what I'm really looking for? Anytime I pay that kind of money for quality stuff, I do not want to settle on anything. Either it meets my needs and price or it doesn't. Now I can buy from the comfort of my home, from a reputable place that takes care of you every step of the way to make it as painless and smooth as possible. I could get bar stools for the kitchen breakfast bar. I could buy new Dining Room Furniture. And for our new bedroom furniture, Storage Beds.

Southern California Delivery Service is available now! The website has great pictures, it's easy on the eyes, and the contact information is all over the place if you're more comfortable reaching to a customer service person in the flesh.

Honestly, I've always been more comfortable making purchases online than I have been in person. I hate going out and interfacing with people when I'm just looking, or don't have a firm idea of exactly the piece I want. How much so is this a problem when dragging squirmy kids along (no matter how cute they are)? And so this is how when I'm rich enough to afford real stuff, this is the retailer I'll be buying from.
I get asked why I don't IM with family and friends. I don't think there's one single answer to that, but I'll try to get to the heart of it here. The IM texting language that has grown around this sets my teeth on edge. Grammar suffers, spelling is ignored, and anything I spend more time translating than understanding annoys me when it is ostensibly a language that I speak fluently.

So I email. I email a LOT. I email conversations with the Boy so much that I look forward to having all the in-depth hard relationship conversations when he's away. I've said it before that we communicate best online. Especially on emotional topics. There's no rush in finding the right words or visualizations.

Whatever works, right?
If you are like a lot of other Americans, sometimes you need a quick payday loan just to meet unexpected bills. It's now easier then ever to compare rates and fees from several companies by using No Fax Payday Loans. The whole thing can be done over the internet with loans from $200 to $1500 in a day. This site also has calculators to help you figure out just how much you need in order to stay afloat financially. As always, be sure that when you take a loan of this type it's not robbing Peter to pay Paul. If you're chronically short all the time, consider other solutions than constantly revolving payday loans. The more responsible consumers are, the less problems we face in finding the help we need.
Touching back on an earlier topic or two- what do I feed the iPod? That's an interesting though. There are always one or three songs that seem to speak to my spirit. Deep down speaking. The kind of song that says "yes. I get this. That is what I mean every word of."

Currently this list seems to start with a live version of Silent Lucidity. Followed by Serenity. Others vary. Last night I followed with Nothing Else Matters. Bleakish? Yes. do they give comfort to me and always manage to keep me doing what I've got to do? Yes. Is it totally sacriligious to find myself praying these songs in the inner silence that comes with listening to those songs? That I bundle up the depression and fear and anxiety and send them up to God to hold because I'm not big enough to carry them?

I don't have any answer at all to that.
I hear the world will end in fire
Smoke rising to heaven
Carry the prayers of a world gone mad
Too much to do
Never time enough
Make the most of every moment
Cradle your infant to sleep
Love your husband
Life is short, time fleeting
Robs us in the middle of the night of what we hold dear
Do not let yourself be taken short
Fight the dark rising

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How can I do something unique if this baby does come early enough to necessitate a NICU stay? I don't want to be forgotten, just another sad new mother leaving in a wheelchair without her baby. Like I felt last time. Even though those around me did everything that they could to make me feel special. I could use banner stands that make a statement. Something fun, unique, that would make me giggle a little to see. Something with colors. Something that stands out on our quiet little culdesac. A banner stand would be great in terms of keepsake- I could bring it inside later on, store it, mount it somewhere in the nursery until our Robbie comes home to us.

Or there could be a miracle for me again. I could hold this baby inside another month. In which case I'd so get a banner just to celebrate our joy.
Went to the doctor. Had my first steroid shot this morning; the second gets injected tomorrow. The doctor is hoping that we can delay two more weeks to deliver this baby. How does this make me feel? Not sure yet. I'll get back to you with more information later... after I've rested some more and thought about everything lots.

Steroid injections are recommended if a premature delivery is anticipated. The purpose is to help the baby's lungs mature at an accelerated rate; this will cut down if not prevent entirely the time spent on a vent should premature delivery be called for. The first time I was pregnant I was able to get both shots before delivering, and my 31weeker only spent 1 and a half days on the vent.

Right now I'm 26 weeks pregnant.
Every now and then I get bored and start thinking about how much information is out there, somewhere, on the Net. And how can you find out the most stuff? A site like Spock! While not a social networking site along the lines of facebook or myspace, they do have some abilities like those sites (instant messaging, for one). In the space of a few clicks I found information on Julia Roberts and Sesame Street. Members are able to add information to the site. Registration is easy and free, although it did take a few extra minutes to wait for my confirmation email to show up in the inbox.

And why am I so interested in Julia Roberts this morning? I was chatting with the Boy, and he likes her (mostly as a redhead) and it came up. Also, for whatever reason, I think she's one of the few celebrities that hasn't sold completely out as she got "on" in her career. Think about it- there has been very little of the bad behavior of the sort that follows some front-pagers around. This alone makes me like a person. While nobody's perfect under the microscope, she seems to have withstood the test of fame quite well, displaying grace and poise. Which makes her not only a good actress, but somebody who's got their act together. And that's the kind of actress/star that I want to know more about.

Interestingly enough, I found the layout of Spock to be easier on my senses than facebook or myspace, or any other of the more popular engines. I could go straight to what I needed to do without any of that annoying video embeds. I could skip over choosing my language, or signing in, and just get a quick result. Isn't that the best part of navigating this sort of site? I think so. Easy on the eyes and the nerves.
I'm still searching for validation of my choices. I should be over this, shouldn't I? But it seems that everyone looks for validation all the time. No matter how old you get, no matter what benchmarks of social success you enjoy, you're looking for validation that you are a Good Person. Whether it's in money or society; if you have material possessions you're doing okay, right? If you've got a ton of friends and acquaintances and can go out or call someone new every night of the week. If you get invited to parties and bbq's. If you have a new car every three years.

What am I? I'm a SAHM. I blog like it's a parttime job, with hours and coworkers on the Net. In the past month I have been enjoying a small but steady stream of income from treating my blogs like a job. A very welcome stream of income. Is this making me feel more validated in my choices to be online and stay home with my babies? You bet it is. I don't feel so lazy, I don't feel so guilty. I feel like I'm accomplishing something in a way that all my mothering of the Toddler does not provide. Which is ultimately more important to me? Meeting the Toddler's needs for education, for stimulation, for nearly every part of her day. Which gives me a bigger warm fuzzy at the moment? The Net.

I don't think I want to dig deeper into this now, but I probably will think about it lots more the rest of today and hopefully will blog more on the topic throughout this next week. Stay tuned to this site for all the latest breaking developments.

Monday, November 05, 2007

In a year or three, once we're done getting the "catch up" education services for the Toddler, we're probably going to continue to need extra help. She's bright. Lord have mercy on us, she's bright. And stubborn. And my Boy has discussed the possibility of homeschooling with me; so far we're settled on the thought that we're going to have to face all of that with whatever is around at the time. These days with so many philosophies going around, how will we decide on the Innovative Tutor approach that's right for us? Score is a center based program that offers an individualized twist on the small-group learning approach. For the areas in which I can't teach my kids, I can reach out to them to offer the small classes and social type of learning that will be of most benefit to them. Score also offers a free consultation to help parents choose the best approach for their children.
I can never get really put out with the Boy over his book purchases. Why is that? Because 98% of everything he picks up I either have read or want to read before he's finished the first page. Essentially, this means that our book budget gets to be halved- or doubled. Depending on how I'm looking at it. The money goes twice as far, you can buy twice as much, and so much further.

There's a parent-child calendar that we're using a guideline to organize learning experiences for the Toddler. Today they want her to experience the fork. We're using this as a followup to yesterday when we experienced the spoon. Ice cream and tater tots... not together, but both integral parts of this experience. Viva la experience!
Something I've seen in a lot of my friend's sewing rooms are repurposed garage cabinets. They are wonderful. Attractive, functional, easy to clean and setup. I'd love to get a set or three of these for the family room. Another great way to use these in the house is for toy storage. Holiday storage. One family had a lot of baking supplies and animals; to help keep pests of the animal, human, and vermin varieties away from the food they used a giant set of metal cabinets in the kitchen. I thought that was great thinking. When we moved into this house I bought a set of utility shelving from the garage section of a large home store- cheaper than pantry shelving. The setting up and putting together could have gone better, but overall I was happy with it. If you look at what you really need for organization, it pays to look outside the box for good deals on the equipment. Like with wedding things, "home decor" items can be found cheaply in other departments without the bells and whistles. Sure, they may not always be as pretty to look at, but that just lets you get in touch with your creativity when it comes to making it a loved part of your home.
The Toddler is choosing not to respect the return of standard time to our area. I realize she's too young to understand the concept, and I appreciate that it's very hard to get your inner clock to cooperate. But when Mommy really needs that extra hour of laying in bed time to start her day, it would be a nice thing to let her have it.

So after getting us up and dressed and breakfasted, the Toddler chooses to crawl under a blankie on the couch with my floor-rest pillow, a bowl of cheerios, and her milk. I do not understand the logic of a two year old. I guess it's not necessary that I understand it. We're coming to the end of her Teletubbie hour which let mommy do the morning kitchen/wakeup/breakfast/Internet chores. Now what? My options become limited when I've got to lay flat for long stretches of time. This morning I'm choosing to be grateful that I've got the option of laying flat at home. There are plenty of women out there who wish that they had that option, rather than be hospitalized for intensive monitoring/bedrest.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Candle therapy seems to be effective when combined with hot tea and knitting. So... domestic. I've been having all these cravings for fresh fruit lately. I think it's odd, but I've been using it for snacks every night with my bedtime injections.

In my knitting bag tonight: blue socks and matching sweater. Lavender blankie. I do like the waffly blankie pattern. The Toddler seems to like it as well. In the end, that's the important thing I guess, to have the Toddler Seal of Approval.
I used to print a lot more than I do now. Heck, I singlehandedly killed two printers within a year once during my first office job. There was just that much printing that had to be done on a regular basis. Then I came home to be with my baby, and I'd print more except that I have this deep-seated disinclination to pay upwards of $30 for a printer cartridge. This is why Cartridge Finder is a good fit for me and my budget. No more trying to remember the cartridge ID numbers. No more wrong guesses in the store which makes me frustrated and sends me out to the same store twice or more in one day to return the thing. This site lets you start searching by what printer you own, has pictures of said printer to make it easier to confirm, and then doublechecks your buying options against pricegrabber. Best deals, best ink, one stop shopping. All things I'm heavily in favor of.
You know you're a pregnant red-neck-tendancied woman when you sit down to check email and blogs at dawn and eat fruit straight from a can. You know you've come close to losing your mind when you've eaten all the fruit and lift the can to your mouth to start sucking back the juice.

I'm not going to check, because I know damn well it's not going to be on the list of approved foods and juices for gestational diabetes. But this morning it was that or the rocky road in the freezer. Ah. Just another one of pregnancy's little challenges. How is it that I can feed my face every 90 minutes throughout the entire day and still wake up starving like I haven't eaten in a month? I swear, I was not this hungry last time until after the child was born. Still believing this is a good sign...