Monday, July 28, 2008

Last night the easter bunny came to visit. I had just put the babies to bed, when I looked out the patio door and saw the largest white bunny I'd ever seen sitting in the middle of the yard. Two long white ears, enormous body, pink twitchy nose. I called to the Boy and he came over. We stood staring at this animal for a few minutes.

“That's the oddest thing we've ever had in our yard,” he says. I agree.
“Must be a pet.”

The things that go through your mind at such a moment. What do you do? Who do you call? Animal control? Given the inability to ensure this animal stays in the yard, and that you can't bring it inside the house, do you put up some flyers? We went around knocking on doors. It didn't help. Found out that it could be our neighbors, but that they weren't home, and no one was sure just when they'd be back.

I put out some water and lettuce. The bunny ate lettuce right from my hand. Very hungry, it seemed, and very tame. We'd check on him from time to time, and though he wandered around here and there he always came back up to the back wall of the house to lay in the shade against the cooler concrete.

When the neighbors got home I went out to greet them. It was their bunny. He went home to his own bed. I dreamed of white rabbits and easter baskets last night. This morning it's another week, another blessing, another new day that will be filled with all sorts of good things.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm sitting in the dark. The sun is set, the fading light on the horizon is all purple, almost orangey purple down on the treetops. It looks so soft, like I could reach my hand up and stroke the sunset, and although I know the features on the houses across the street I can only see the silouette. Black, against the velvet.

I am the last one awake. This is usual. My children are snug in bed, my husband turned in an hour ago. I might be up for the next three hours. Insomnia is haunting me again, and even though every night I'm doing my breathing exercises and relaxation I can't fall asleep. Eventually the body and brain just seem to shut off, only to snap awake again at the slightest sound in the house. I've been sleeping with the white noise from our fan for too long now because I can hear around it to the sounds of our house. I just can't figure it out. When I wake up in the morniing I feel as though I've never gone to bed.

It's a cycle, of course, and I'm used to this one. It won't be so bad. I'm making my preparations for tomorrow tonight before I lay down- the kitchen cleaned, house picked up, eating surfaces swiped with disinfectant. Lunch has been made. Breakfast is poured out and in the fridge waiting for sunrise. It's peaceful here.

The velvet sky is dimming even further. Now it's just all blue-purple. Time to tuck myself in and wait for whatever lays in tomorrow for me. Good night.
What are your plans for this year's Alzheimer's Walk? Whether you're going to do something personal, such as learn more about the complications and concerns of those affected by this disease, or whether you're going to show your support publicly by participating in one of the walks near you, the important thing is to remember.
Taking part in an Alzheimer's Memory Walk is easy. They are held all over the country, are generally two to three miles long, and serve to both raise funds and awareness of Alzheimer's. Be a team captain and organize your friends to come out. Share your stories and some fun on beautiful mornings; get exercise and help someone else at the same time. As long as one person remembers, it will not be forgotten.

Did you know that Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in this country? It's a sobering reality, and if you haven't already been touched by the life of someone coping with it, chances are you will be. We raise money and awareness for so many causes, and some of the time it's easy to feel burned out by it. Who can care so deeply about everything? Much of the time people pick and choose things to get passionate about. We'll wear our ribbons on our bumpers and show our support for just about everything. How about getting out of the car and showing your support in a more tangible way? Besides which, it's a great exercise for your body so you can stay healthier and keep everything working in the best shape possible.

Sponsored by Alzheimer's Walk

Friday, July 18, 2008

A moderately busy week of doctor appointments and housework has come and gone. I can face the weekend happy in the knowledge that Tiffany's neurology testing came back normal. EEG, MRI, and all the bloodwork show normal. So the low tone must be due to "regular" preemie developmental issues. Do you know, there are a lot of things that we apparantly have to keep track of? I don't know half of them. I go to the pediatrician once a year for her, the doctor sends out for all these specialty referrals, believe me- it wasn't my idea to go to the pediatric neurologist. I believed the phsyical therapist last fall when he said that the low tone would be improved by regular active play at an age-appropriate level. I've done that. When I was unable to do it, my mom took her to the park and did it. We have stuff around the house that is wonderful for her, that she loves, and we chase each other over cushions and under tables giggling and tickling and rolling balls around. It's a great workout for me as well.

My Robbie is gaining weight, and he had a physical therapy evaluation this week as part of his EI services. They're making sure he hits his developmental milestones close to or on target, keeping an eye on any trouble spots that emerge and offering suggestions. Miss Julie was delighted with how well he does. All he needs is a little more head control when raising his head up and back, and he'll be crawling on all fours. We have to continue his daily exercises. Cool.

As for me, my glucose control is good. My doctor looked at the logs this morning and was very happy at how everything is coming along. I'm happy that she's happy, that my numbers are averaged at the normal marks, that the diet changes I've been able to make a permanent part of my life now are doing the trick. It's a good thing.

Tonight we will celebrate. Spinach salad, and ravioli with tomoto basil sauce, and fresh shaved cheeses, and a very large pitcher of ice water. Bring on the relaxing weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This morning started before dawn and eased it's way into afternoon before I quite knew it. Between the standard chores (dishes, gathering laundry, picking up after the kids) the morning flew. I've been able to keep my meal/snack schedule on target for several days running. I've exercised at least a little bit every day for a week. Yesterday I took my hours "off duty" to go see a movie.

Last year around this time I was nuts. Six months ago I was a fruitcake. Let's be realistic- I've been certifiably nutso for at least that long, probably longer, and it seems to take me longer than the "normal" people to regain my socially acceptable behavior. This is why I can't participate in message boards with any real hope of suceeding either as a help to someone else or even as a conversationalist. This is why it took me until well into adulthood to be capable of making friends and interacting socially on a level that would not lead the ones around me to back away slowly and give me a wide bearth.

Still, there are times when the chaos around me settles down into a normal level again. There are times when I can be a normal wife, and a good mother. For what it's worth to the many people I've appalled on various forums, every last one of my kid's specialists and therapists have been happy with how I raise my kids. It may not be normal to people with children who were born on time with no developmental delays, but it is normal for us and we've learned to adapt the EI therapies into daily life to provide as normal an experience for the children as possible. Yeah, I'm a nutcase, but I'm a good parent who does her best. Aren't we all?

When the abnormal has been a part of your life longer than the normal, when what you consider normal is so far out of the mainstream that others consider you a walking freakshow, it makes a lot of sense to withdraw from the ones who don't want to understand. I underreact to some things, I overreact to others, and it's all based on the sum total of what my life has been. That's part of being human. I can't apologize for that. All I can do is try to frame my thoughts into words as best I can and continue blogging, because that's what blogging is supposed to be about as I understand it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We've survived another week. Despite the teething, the hives, the crankiness of my daughter. Thought I'd share some of the ups- there are plenty of nasty and messy downs this weeks to dwell on, and I don't want to lose the good stuff. Robbie's had his first laughs. He laughs, now. Be still my heart; I thought my own heart would stop the first time I heard him laugh. It was that thrilling. Tiff has started using her words more and more. She followed directions most of hte time today; I was more than a piece of furniture. I was her mom. The Boy got done work at a decent hour tonight. He came home, had some beer, we had some relaxing family time before he went to bed and that was after the kids were both in bed for the night. How wonderful was that?

I am happy. Tired, obviously, but happy. I am worn out from a day of hormones and childminding, but I feel good about my life. It was a good day.
I can't believe that I still haven't gotten new glasses. I was meaning to. Then I had a baby. That was three years ago. And why have I still not gotten the new glasses? Comes down to the money, I think. My lenses are expensive enough, once you add frames on the bill I generally look at around $300 for a pair. Wouldn't be so bad, but I'm so nearsighted with a double astigmatism and the ultra featherweight light lenses (the nifty superthin ones they have available?) are a quarter inch thick in it's thickest place.

They were nearly half an inch thick, once. Before I was able to get the lightweight lenses. offers glasses at around $8 a pair for the frames. That's a wonderful deal; I bet I could afford a new pair sooner with that service. Zenni on Fox offers a look at whether this service is a good deal or not for others. Check it out!

A day of teething. Of allergy reactions. Of mommy crankiness. What can make this better? Knowing that the air conditioning in this house works. Knowing that the weekend is upon us, that Daddy comes home early tonight, that the allergy medication will help the hives all over my daughter AND ensure that she gets a decent amount of rest today and tomorrow, knowing that the baby motrin will help the teething issues of the son.

Unfortunately there still isn't a magic pill that will help me out of this. I can take the allergy meds for my own case of the sniffles. I can take the motrin for my own sore muscles and stiff shoulder (made all the more painful by the two little kids using me for their own personal gym). But neither of them is going to pop that completely away and make me suddenly stress-free today. Depressed? No, just PMS. Just another month of bizarre hormones and odd thoughts. I'm learning to channel that odd cycle into the silly-humourous paths instead of letting it get into the hysterical-batshit crazy paths. Much of what I've learned in handling my kids, strangely enough, is coming to be helpful in this.

Every mom knows that there is a point in their child's behavior when it can go one of two ways. Overtired can be channeled into giggly craziness, or it can go into tantrum-throwing exhaustion. Sometimes that point is a large moment wide, sometimes it's a split second. I'm learning where my point is. The good news? I'm an adult. I'm in control of myself, the behavior isn't in control of me. The bad news? I'm an adult. I don't have the luxury of irresponsibility.

Ah, well. Tough break. I'll get over it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stem cell research has been in the news off and on again for a while. In our case, it was more than a passing curiousity. Do I care about it? Sure I do. If my kids inherit the same form of cancer I had, one day, I want them to have more options than I faced. I don't want them to live with one kidney, I don't want to have to worry about transplants for them. If the cure can come from their own bodies one day, all the better. We've come a long way in the research and practical applications of stem cell research from the days when the lines all started and ended in test tubes of fetal tissue. Most of the controversy at that time, as I saw it, was in the methods used to obtain that tissue.

Right now the hot thing of the past few years has been cord blood banking. It's the In thing to bank your babies umbilical cord blood for the stem cells that are contained in it. But let's go another jump- can those cells be found in another place? This company believes so. They offer adult women the chance to get their own stem cells from another part of their reproductive system. And how wonderful would that be? I can see the whispers of the new few jumps beyond this technology, and it lays in miracles that were once only dreams in the heads of doctors and parents who ran out of time too soon.

CNNMoney has the story.

Press Release:

Taking Control: Future Therapies for a Host of Serious Diseases May Be Found in Women's Menstrual Blood

July 07, 2008: 01:28 PM EST

OLDSMAR, Fla., July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With today’s hectic lifestyle, where most women are juggling careers, family, relationships, and a host of activities, the idea of possibly facing a serious illness in the future is not something that readily comes to mind -- especially when a woman is in the prime of her life. But what most women don’t know, is that the key to treating a number of possibly life-threatening diseases that she, a parent, a sibling or even her children may face in later years, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, may be found within her own body -- in vital stem cells, which can now be harvested from her own menstrual blood.

Now, thanks to the revolutionary research and technology of C’elle, a service dedicated to providing women with a safe and easy method of collecting and preserving stem cells found in her menstrual fluid each month, even the busiest woman can take control of her future, right in the privacy of her own home. With C’elle’s non-invasive collection process, menstrual cells are processed and cryo-preserved (stored at a very low temperature) for potential cellular therapies that may be used in the future. These self-renewing cells one day may even be used for sports medicine or cosmeceutical treatments, such as anti-aging therapies.

"C’elle enables and empowers a woman to take control of her future health, and possibly of those genetically closest to her, in a fast, painless and stress free way," said Michelle Kay, Marketing and Sales Manager for C’elle. "We live in exciting times, as science and technology are discovering how extremely valuable menstrual blood stem cells really are, and the enormous treatment potential they represent for future therapies. C’elle’s ongoing research is supporting these promising findings."

For more information about C’elle, please call 1-877-892-3553 or visit

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I took a week off to deal with the Blahs. Well, a week and a bit, I guess. How was the holiday weekend for you? Ours went very smoothly and calmly; apart from the baby teething (still) it's been a daily routine of playing, eating, medicating, playing more, random bathing, and sleeping.

The heat is awful. We're under a heat advisory, a serious one, because guess what- in the desert, in a drought, it's fricking HOT. The AC is being tempermental these days, but it's still churning out enough cool air to keep the house bearable. Which is nice. The bill from June arrived over the weekend and I was happy to find it falling within the average amount I expect in the summer months. Where I grew up, a 200ish electric bill is standard. That's still my emotional standard when it comes to such things. Less than that, I'm happy and not overly concerned. Above that, I choke. As in, heart in throat, choke.

So how do you continue to cook healthy meals in this heat without driving yourself nuts in the kitchen by throwing up even more heat? I've been doing a lot of microwaving and crockpot cooking. The stovetop stuff is done, as much as possible, using only one burner. I'm trying to forget the oven exists. Last night we had spaghetti- a few weeks back I made a huge pot of it; the big economy package of spaghetti and a ton of sauce filled the dutch oven. I put half in a container and froze it. Yesterday I pulled it out and found that when it defrosted the macaroni had absorbed all the nice sauce and got super happy. I added a bit more sauce and a bunch of parmesan and mozzarella, and microwaved bowls for everyone. And voila! I didn't have to cook over the stove at all, and we've got enough to serve leftover lunchs today, and then the stuff's out of our lives! You can be sure I'm going to do that again with another batch, now that I know how well it works.