Monday, December 16, 2013

Not Scary Birth Story #2

If you've already read about the birth of my first child, then you know two things: it was ridiculously easy and she was a little early.  Those two things are exactly what I expected when I was pregnant with my next baby.

As I counted down the weeks to her arrival, my countdown stopped at 38 weeks.  I just assumed she'd be on her sister's timeline.  Ha!  Mommy Lesson #2: even though they have the same parents and are raised the exact same, each child is completely unique.  When I hit 38 weeks I remember saying, "I've never been this pregnant before" and feeling done.

Since my pregnancies had both been extremely uneventful, my appointments at the OB-GYN went like this:
Doctor:  How are you?
Me:  Awesome.
Doctor: Any questions?
Me: Nope.  See you next week.

So when I walked into his office at 39 weeks, and said "I'm over being pregnant," I probably shocked him.  But what he said next was a bigger surprise.  He asked when I wanted to have the baby.  I get to pick?  He took out his smart phone, shared his work calendar, and said I was eligible for induction.  I picked the next available date, which just happened to be the 4th of July.

Totally naive, I didn't realize there were such mixed feelings about being induced.  When I hear people talk about it, it sounds like a full throttle, excruciating nightmare.  However, that wasn't my experience at all.

The morning she was scheduled to be born, I got up early & continued to Google baby names (we were 99.9% sure her name would be Harper, but her middle name was harder to select).  Since we had some time to kill, we got Matt some breakfast at Starbucks.  The barrista asked if we had any plans for the day, and I bet he didn't expect us to say we were having a baby in a few hours.

We checked into the hospital, got the meds started, and then waited.  I read gossip magazines because that's what I do when I'm on vacation.  Having a baby is kind of like a vacation, right???

Around 1, I requested that Matt get the nurse.  When she came in, she told us it was time.  I can't remember what we were chatting about as she prepped the room for delivery, but she told me I had to stop laughing.  Otherwise the doctor wouldn't have time to get there.

He arrived and, within minutes, so did Harper.  My own little Miss America.  It's fun to look back at baby pictures of her because there's just so much "Harper" in these.

Fortunately, my request to go home early were heard and we were able to leave early the next morning.  I had never left Georgia overnight before and was ready to get our new family of 4 together.  Seeing how tiny (6 pounds, 13 ounces) she was absolutely kills me.

Thankfully, my girls have been best friends from the second they met and the transition from a family of 3 to a family of 4 was relatively easy.  Harper was the mellowest baby on the planet, which only seems fitting since her delivery was so stress-free.  Maybe she's saving all the drama for her high school years.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not Scary Birth Stories

As I get closer to the welcoming of Baby #3 into our family, I'm more and more obsessed with all things baby.  My husband laughs at me whenever he catches me ohh-ing and ahh-ing over infants I have absolutely no connection to.  One of the things I've been reading up on are birth stories.

Having two children already, I'm pretty comfortable with the whole giving birth process.  My expectation is that this delivery will go similarly to the last two.  And even if it doesn't, I've got an amazing team of people to support me.

But reading all of these birth stories online has made it very clear why mamas-to-be are freaked out!  Most sound like they are Halloween specials!  Not so, ladies.  Not so!  Having a baby can be a miraculously easy day.

So I wanted to share with you my stories...not too brag about my easy deliveries or make you think I'm Super-Mom, but just so the truth is out there.  People do have easy deliveries!

Georgia's Birthday...
Georgia was born on what was to be my last day of work before maternity leave.  I was 37, almost 38 weeks, pregnant.  And to be completely honest, I wasn't ready.  I got up for work and was rushing around, trying to get to a parent/teacher conference on time.  Then my water broke.

Being a first-time mom and in denial, I wasn't convinced I was in labor.  It wasn't time yet!  Lesson #1 in Mommydom: Kids have their own agendas.  I woke my husband, we called our moms, and decided we should go to the hospital.  At first, I was calm.  We packed up some essentials and the dogs (they were staying at my parents', not joining us in the delivery room).  It wasn't until about two hours later that I started stressing we weren't at the hospital yet.

                            Leaving my parents' for the hospital--I don't remember being that big!

After we arrived at the hospital and they confirmed my water had broken (did they think I had just been peeing constantly for hours???), I was checked in.

And then we hung out.  Since I wasn't having contractions, I was given pitocin to give the process a jump start.  At first the contractions were no big deal.  As soon as they became painful, I asked for an epidural and ceased texting my out-of-town siblings.

Everybody is different, and has a unique plan for their child's birth.  Mine involved high-fiving modern medicine and decreasing pain.  If your birth plan is different than mine, awesome!  It'd be really boring to Google "birth stories" if we all had the same one.

The epidural allowed me to take a nap.  Sometime in the day (probably after administering happy drugs), I was asked if I would mind if the medical students were present during the delivery.  I had imagined it would mean one or two extra people.  Maybe my memory betrays me, but I feel like there were a dozen of them.  Considering I'm actually kind of shy, I'm shocked that I allowed it.

The actual delivery was short...there weren't hours of pushing, swearing, or snarling at my husband.  Just 20 minutes and then our sweet baby arrived.  She was tiny with great big eyes and insanely long eyelashes.

I was grateful at how easy the whole process had been (mostly for myself, but also for my sister who was also pregnant and due less than a month later).  Honestly, that was it.  I went into the hospital in the morning, had a baby in the afternoon, and hung out with my family until I was released to go home.  And this was the more dramatic of my deliveries.

 Cousins...born 2 weeks apart.

I'll be posting about the birth of Harper 21 months later next.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Adjusting the Original Nestle Tollhouse Recipe

Today was a return-to-the-original baking day.  Today we rocked the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

While I stick pretty closely to the recipe, I do make a few adjustments.  One, I double the vanilla.  The recipe calls for one teaspoon, but two is twice as wonderful!  Second, I use Crisco.  I'll be honest, the idea of Crisco grosses me out.  I don't exactly know what's in it, and that's probably for the best.  I like how fluffy the cookies become when using Crisco.

I'm sure I'm not alone in my slight twerking of the traditional recipe.  What are your adjustments to the original?  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bump Update: 20 Weeks

20 weeks.  That means we're at the halfway point!  As much as it feels like this pregnancy has flown by, it also shocks me that there is still so much time before we'll be bringing our little friend home.

Well into the 2nd trimester, I'm feeling pretty darn fantastic.  The tiredness of the 1st trimester has been replaced by the desire to eat (and eat and eat).  There's a balance between eating the extra necessary calories and eating the Halloween candy that calls to me.  

It's true when they say you feel the baby kick faster with each pregnancy. At first, I could just feel kicks moving in the evening when I finally sat down.  Now it's more frequent and throughout the day.  Each time I like to pause and see what else may happen.   By 18 weeks, it was even noticeable to family members.  Harper figured out when the baby was active, she could coral her by poking one side of my belly.  Tormenting her younger sibling in utereo.  

I have three different pregnancy apps on my phone (each has things I like, but none is perfect).  They disagree slightly about things like the size of the bambino.  The middle ground seems to be about the length of a banana.  That seems huge!  

That does not look comfortable!

We announced (finally) to our family and friends the gender of our baby.  The big sisters came with us to the ultrasound so they would be the first to know.  The ultrasound technician was very patient with their badgering about the gender.  Apparently, Georgia & Harper were less interested in knowing about the anatomy scan.  Mama and Daddy were happy to hear everything looks great! or blue?  I posted the question on Facebook, and was amused by the number of boy votes.  Probably just an assumption that after two girls, we'd for sure be having a boy.  Not this time, ladies and gentlemen!

We'll be inviting one more to the girl party!  It's all princesses and tutus here, and we can't wait to meet the little lady!

We took a zillion pictures, but the silly ones turned out to be my favorite.  

Balloons make her so happy, and so did finding out she's going to have a second little sister.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Keeping Baby's Gender a Secret...for Now

Call it Grandma Torture, but we know the gender of our baby...and we're not telling yet.

The normal schedule at my OB is to schedule an anatomy ultrasound around 18 weeks.  During this appointment you can find out the gender if you're interested.  We had an ultrasound at 12 weeks, and I thought it couldn't hurt to ask if I should start buying pink or blue clothing.  Of course it was too early to tell.  Because of swelling, boy & girl parts all kinda look the same that early on.

But then the magic happened!  We went into Before the Stork in Anaheim, and Terry was able to tell us definitely the gender even though I was less than 14 weeks pregnant at the time.  The total appointment lasted about 10 minutes, but during that time she checked the parts from every imaginable angle.

The Gender Special package is advertised on their website for $59.  Here's what it includes:
  • 10 minute 2D ultrasound
  • 2 black & white photos
  • DVD recording of your session
  • GE Voluson 730 EXPERT System (don't exactly know what that is, but it sounds fancy!)
  • Viewing for all of your guests
  • Hearing baby's heartbeat
  • A sneak peek at a 3D ultrasound

We had previously visited Before the Stork to get a sneak peek at our older children.  Technology is crazy!  In addition to being able to see their sweet faces, we got to see some mannerisms and positions.

Baby Harper 

So now, what are we waiting for?  Call me crazy (or hormonal...I can blame all kinds of things on being pregnant that really aren't related), but I wanted the announcement to be just that, an announcement.  Getting everybody together has been a planning dilemma.  I'm still planning, and driving everyone crazy in the meantime.

Boy or girl, we're thrilled!  Just a little big longer, and I promise I'll spill the beans!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A New Sibling Scavenger Hunt

If you haven't heard the news, we're having a baby!  Everybody is super excited, especially our older children.  My husband and I were so excited about sharing the news with them, and wanted to make it a very special day.

Since our Scooby Doo Mystery Party, the girls have been pretty excited about mysteries and scavenger hunts, so we thought it'd be a fun way for them to find out they are going to be big sisters!

The Hunt:
Harper found the initial clue & instructions taped to her wall.

After solving each clue, they were rewarded with a letter (they spelled out BABY).

She wasn't sure what was in store, but it didn't matter she was thrilled!

Each clue was read by my husband.  They were very simple rhymes so that both girls (they are 4 & 5) could help solve the mystery.

After they found the next letter!

This was the final clue that the girls found.

Georgia's reaction was priceless.  She stared at my belly for a good five minutes.  Her first statement was, "Congratulations!  Thank you!"  

We felt like there needed to be a gift for the new big sisters.  Honestly, when isn't a gift a good idea?  So the girls both got new Mickey Mouse ears, but instead of their names we had "Big Sister" embroidered on them.

Dancing for joy at the thought of a baby joining our family.

Adding a new member to the family is such an exciting time.  I'm so grateful for the reaction both of the girls had when finding out the news.  By making it a special day for them, we are letting them know how big of a party it will be when there's another member of our family.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hello Kitty Ladybug Mantle

Our house has this odd extra room that was originally built to repair marching band equipment.  It's a super fun space for parties.  Part of the charm is the fireplace so the birthday girl and I decided it needed to be decorated for her Hello Kitty Ladybug Party.  Here's what we did for next to no money and very little time.  

We printed a picture of the birthday girl on the day she was born and then a picture for each year.  Since she turned 4, using 4 pictures would have been logical...but there are 5 hooks!

The cost:  The boards were leftover from her 1st birthday party, so I didn't have to buy anything new there.  The red & black scrapbook paper was part of my collection so that was free too.  Colored ink can be costly, but I printed them at grandpa's house (score!!!).  

On either side of the mantle I placed spray painted flower pots with flowers I cut out on my Cricut.  The flower pots were leftovers too, but I did have to buy the red spray paint.  But since I begged grandpa to paint them for me, it saved me time (double score!!!).  

Harper was super happy looking at pictures of herself.  She made me transfer the newborn picture to her room, but she carried it around for a few days talking about how cute she was.  This momma agrees!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Build-A-Bear is like HGTV

For her birthday, Harper received gift cards for Build-A-Bear, a workshop where guests stuff and accessorize their own cuddly best friends.  There's one located at Downtown Disney, and every time we go to Disneyland Harper asks if we can go into Build-A-Bear.  She was super stoked to have the answer be "yes."

Watching your child pick out a bear is like watching House Hunters.  How?  Build-A-Bear is like House Hunters for three reasons:  the least desirable option is picked, there's edited info, and the audience is hooked.

You Picked What???  Once you see all of the options, you're confident you know the one they'll pick.  Build-A-Bear had a Hello Kitty bear, a My Little Pony, a Minnie Mouse, the list of perfect options for her goes on.  What does she pick?  The white bear with hearts & peace signs that wasn't even on our radar.

What?  Why?  I've perfected my House Hunters guessing.  If the most logical choice is #2, I know that won't be picked.  If #3 seems absolutely insane, that'll be the one the hunters purchase.  I'm sure it's all in the editing.  HGTV editors are cutting out the scene of the couple gushing about the house reminds them of Grandma's house or how they could imagine spending the rest of their lives there.

So what's up with Build-A-Bear?  Why does the birthday girl pick the bear that seems the least likely?  An unknown factor (well, forgotten factor) was that the last time we went to Build-A-Bear, Harper made an almost identical bear.  This is the HGTV editing, but done by my overly-stretched mom-brain.  She picked the bear that reminded her of the bear she loved (and then totally forgot about).

Let's Try This Again I don't doubt my real estate wisdom when watching House Hunters.  Even if my choice doesn't match the new homeowners, I picked the best choice based on the information provided by the show.  Perhaps it's a ploy to get me to keep watching...producers hoping that I'll improve my accuracy.  Who knows...maybe that's what my daughter is doing.  She's picking the worst bear (in my opinion) so that I'll keep bringing her back until she picks a good one.

It's all a good ploy on her part.  After seeing how happy the day made her and how sweetly she cares for the bear, maybe I will bring her back sooner rather than later...right after I'm done watching House Hunters.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pros & Cons of Goodie Bags

We celebrated Harper's 4th birthday over the weekend (pictures coming soon), and I decided to forego goodie bags this time around.  I didn't send guests home empty-handed, of course.  Since the birthday girl is obsessed with flowers, we decorated terra cotta flower pots and allowed our little gardeners a chance to plant their own flowers.

As each of my tiny guests was departing, it felt strange not to hand them a bag full of goodies to take home.  It got me thinking.  Are goodie bags necessary for kids' birthday parties?  Then I started thinking of the pros and cons of goodie bags.

  • Everybody Feels Special It's hard to understand, as a child, that there's only one star of the show.  Why does the birthday girl get all of the presents?  I know that this is an important life lesson, but I feel like it's one that can be eased into.  The birthday girl received piles of presents, and everybody else gets one smaller gift bag.  
  • Fight the Birthday Beast  On a day where the birthday girl or boy is being showered with attention and gifts, it can be easy to turn into a birthday beast.  Goodie bags allow an opportunity to stop, say thank you, and give (rather than just keep getting).
  • Expectations  Isn't going to a party enough?  We have gotten to a point where kiddos expect to get something every time they go somewhere.  We go to Target, they want an icee.  We go to the doctor, they want lollipops.  Every errand ends in a reward for not making me pull my hair out.  But at a birthday party with fun activities and yummy treats, do they really need more?
  • I Don't Need Any More Junk in my House  I'm sure you put together fantastic goodie bags.  Mine, however, are normally full of things like candy and novelty toys.  The kids play with them for two minutes, and then they break.  I've got buckets full of tiny, assorted toys that we just don't need.  So save the money and skip it.

As you can see, I'm torn.  What are your thoughts?  Are goodie bags necessary?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Multiple Party Themes

In just a few short weeks, my younger daughter will be turning four.  In honor of her birthday, we are having a Hello Kitty/Ladybug/Ninjago/Lilo & Stitch Party.  Not joking.  That’s the theme she picked.

It began with a Hello Kitty Ladybug party, and that will remain the main theme.  In a sweet concern for her boy cousin, she added Ninjago.  This allows the boys at the party to have their own theme.  I tried to narrow it and leave off the Ninjago part, but to no avail.  She won’t let it go. 

Now, Lilo & Stitch…that’s totally random.  She’s not a huge fan of the movie, we haven’t read that book recently, and we certainly haven’t been on an island vacation.  She saw a Lilo & Stitch balloon and decided that we needed to include this element as well.

I’m having an internal struggle between embracing all of the themes she’s picked and making her party what I consider cute and well-planned.  The main point to remember in this inner battle is that it is not my party

So Hello Kitty/Ladybug/Ninjago/Lilo & Stitch it is.  Happy Almost Birthday, Little One!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Wait to Celebrate

Over the weekend, my sister was surprised with a birthday party in her honor.  When talking through party details with her husband, one comment he made stuck with me: she deserves a party.  This year, it was totally true.

My sister was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in the fall of 2012 that was treated at the end of last year.  Now she's got a properly wired heart and ready to hit up the marathon circuit again.

As adults, we don't celebrate every birthday with a huge shindig the way we did when we were kids.  Ask most moms what they did on their actual birthday and you'll probably get a list of chores, plus hopefully a nice dinner thrown in.  But on those "significant" birthdays (things ending in 5's and 0's), we might do something a little more note-worthy, something a little more extravagant.  But it seems so arbitrary.

Might I suggest instead not waiting to celebrate at those pre-determined intervals?  Just because Hallmark makes a card specific to individuals turning 50 makes it no more valuable a birthday than those turning 49.

Just as an aside to my beautiful, young, and vibrant sister: This is merely an example, and I am not insinuating that you are 49.  However, to my brother that is 49: you are also beautiful handsome, young, and vibrant.

I'm so grateful my brother-in-law had the insight to throw a party in spite of the fact that this year isn't a nice round number.  This year was an especially great time to celebrate her life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How I Met Your Mother Day

Barney Stinson may celebrate "Not a Father's Day," but we celebrated How I Met Your Mother Day here.  

It started with the secret plans of our 5-year-old to make me breakfast in bed.  She's not the most discreet and when you add in comments like "Mommy, you're going to need to sleep in a lot tomorrow," you kinda know what's going on.  Along with the sweet card she made at preschool, Georgia brought me How I Met Your Mother Season 5.  

It's my favorite tv show, but I'm sure I am rapidly approaching the age when the innuendos stop going over my daughters' heads.  Thankfully for this Mother's Day, we aren't there yet.  Amusingly, Georgia kept mixing up the name of the holiday and has renamed it How I Met Your Mother Day.  

So after a day full of pancakes in bed, lunch with the in-laws, a birthday party (yup, we went to a classmate's party too), I'm back at home and watching my beloved show.  If this is how I spent every Mother's Day, I'd be pretty stoked.  

And just an aside to my daughters, please don't date Barney.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What to Expect From a D&C

Super huge disclaimer: I'm not a doctor.  I'm just a totally regular momma who had to have a D&C.  The purpose of writing this is I wanted to know what to expect when having a D&C, and the internet in all its internet-ly glory provided answers.

One thing to point out was I had a choice of whether to have a D&C or not.  The drawback of not having one would mean waiting for things to happen naturally, which could have been another few weeks.  Since I had already been waiting for a month, I just wanted to move on.  I just wanted to be done.  I know now, weeks later, it was the right choice for me.

Two days prior to having a D&C, I had a barrage of tests.  Blood, urine, IQ...well, maybe not the last one.  I'm not queasy about any of that stuff, thanks to years of donating blood.

The D&C: My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 A.M.  An admitting nurse had a few more forms for us to fill out & sign.  Since I had already pre-registered, it took less than ten minutes.  Matt wasn't allowed to come with me initially when I was taken back into the surgical ward.  Once the IV was done, he came back to hang out.

After seeing the doctor and anesthesiologist, I was ready to go.  Wheeling down the corridors of the hallway were a little nerve-racking.  I had read all of the documentation provided in advance, but I was going through the same steps as the dude with prostate cancer or the lady getting her torn something or other repaired.   What I didn't expect was how surgical the actual day would be.

We had conflicting estimates about the duration of the procedure.  Honestly, it was about 10 minutes.  Matt didn't have time to start worrying before the doctor came to tell him everything was over and went well.  Within a few hours, we were on our way home.

Recovery:  I slept off the anesthesia for a few hours from the comfort of my couch.  I had been shown a pain scale with happy and not-so-happy faces.  Leaving the hospital, I was about a 3 out of 10.  Uncomfortable, but nowhere near miserable.  Some over the counter generic ibuprofen was totally enough.  However, for the first two days I was bummed when the ibuprofen started running out because of cramping.

There is some bleeding after having a D&C.  It varies from a few days to few weeks, depending on the person.  It's the universe's way of making up for not having to have a period while I was pregnant, I guess.  Laaaaame.

Life After:  Now that I'm a month out from the whole ordeal, I really am confident I made the right choice for me.  Of course, that doesn't make it the right choice for everyone.  It gave me an opportunity to start moving on at a time when I desperately needed to move on.  Life's back to normal, and that's a really comforting thing.

I have the ultrasound pictures the technician gave me at our first ultrasound.  I just can't throw them away.  Actually, they're in my purse.  Not because I pull them out and torture myself, but honestly because it's a really big purse and I don't clean it out enough.  Everything else pregnancy-related has been packed away.  Gone are the freshly laundered maternity clothes, the baby books, the pregnancy apps.  I'm not saying they won't be back (and hopefully in the not too distant future), but I didn't need them as a daily reminder.

If you are having a D&C, I promise you'll be able to look at pregnant women and not kinda hate them.  I promise you'll be able to be happy when others announce they're expecting.  I can't say for certain how long it will take, but you'll get there.  If you want to talk while you're coming up with excuses to not hold a friend's new baby,  I'm here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Awaiting an Inevitable Miscarriage

This was not how I wanted to be spending my spring break.

Matt and I found out April 2nd that our family was growing.  My husband had been speculating for days that I was pregnant, but I was trying not to get my hopes up since it was still pretty early.  When picking up a prescription for one of my kiddos, I also picked up a pregnancy test.  And lo and behold, it was positive!

We decided to keep it a secret for a while.  I'm horrible at keeping secrets (like I give presents before people's birthdays because I can't wait), but this was such a sweet time with my husband because of all of the giddy texts, wishful thinking, and planning.  Part of our reasoning for keeping our news quiet was we wanted to wait until the end of the first trimester to tell our preschool-aged daughters, but it also meant we hadn't shared the news with our closest friends or relatives either.

It's a good thing we decided to wait.  At the first ultrasound, the baby measured small.  Well, I told myself, I guess I could have been wrong about dates.  What the technician didn't mention during that first ultrasound was the heart rate was also slow.

I went back the next week for a follow-up ultrasound.  The less than warm technician asked why I was back.  Ummmm.  Because I was told to come back?

The baby measured even further behind at this ultrasound, again with a slower than acceptable heart rate.  The doctor said there was a 5% chance the baby will make it.  5%.  That's just enough to ensure that I didn't go get a beer.  Actually, Starbucks sounded nicer.

We went back for a third ultrasound.  The baby's heart rate should have been well over 100, but measured at 50.  Just like before there was nominal growth.  The doctor said the baby was "incompatible with life."  It was a hard pill to swallow.  Up until that point I had held onto the idea that I was wrong or that we would be having a baby with a heart condition.  I could handle that.  My sister has a congenital heart defect that hadn't been detected until after she ran her first marathon as an adult.  She had a full repair in December of 2012 and although she's adjusting to the changes it's brought to her life, she's fine (fine-ish???).

My doctor said to go two weeks with conditions such as mine is rare, but to go three weeks was "uncharted territory."  It was sweet and traumatizing at the same time that the baby was holding on.  So now what?  We kept doing what we've been doing.  We waited.

I pretended to not be pregnant but keep taking my prenatal vitamins and avoiding caffeine.  I tried not to get too focused on that 5%, on the hope that the baby would survive.  I knew in my head not to get attached.  I felt like my uterus was hospice for a baby whose days were numbered.  Because I realistically knew that I wouldn't be bringing a baby into the world in six-ish months, I was even less inclined to share the news with others.

The waiting was tormenting.  We'd go back the next week for yet another ultrasound...and then another and another.  As much as I was looking forward to this experience being over and being able to move on, it brought a lot of guilt.  Was I hoping for my baby's heart to stop beating?  That just didn't seem right when we were hoping so much for the pregnancy test to be positive.

So there we sat, awaiting the inevitable.  The fourth ultrasound was scheduled.  Every other ultrasound appointment had a wait time of five minutes.  Of course, ultrasound #4 was the longest wait.  All of the adorable round-bellied women finding out the genders of their babies left the waiting room with glee-filled smiles.  Matt and I sat, waiting our turn, waiting to see if our baby was still alive.

The fourth time, we had a different technician.  When entering the room she informed us that she was limited in what she could say.  She did, however, turn the monitor towards us.  We didn't need a doctor to tell us...we could see it on our own.  There was our baby, still mildly fish-like.  There was our baby...but there was no flickering.  There was no heartbeat.  Confirmed after another excruciatingly long wait by our OB-GYN, it was officially over.

Four long weeks of awaiting an inevitable miscarriage were over.  Although I knew it was coming and had had four weeks to prepare for the news, knowing our baby was gone was heart-wrenching.  There had always been that 5% in the back of my mind.  I had been lying to my husband and said I wasn't believing the baby would make it.  I had been lying to myself.  How could I not hope?  How could I not hold onto any chance, regardless of how remote?

I'll be sharing a little bit more of the story for a few posts.  My reasoning is one to fill those nearest and dearest on what we've been going through.  Perhaps more importantly, in all the sleepless nights of the past four weeks, I think I've read every blog, message board posting, etc relating to miscarriage.  They brought me understanding and comfort, and I wanted to pay that forward.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Super Bowl Sundae

I'll be honest, sports aren't for me.  When I accompany my basketball/soccer/baseball/collegiate women's bowling-loving husband to sporting events, my focus is "What am I going to eat?"  Eating churros is how I support the team.

Since the "Big Game" is this weekend, I'm already planning what I'll be eating.  The answer is ice cream!  My husband and I are having simultaneous parties this Sunday.  He'll be watching football, and I'll be throwing an ice cream social.  It's a tie!  Everyone wins!

Do you have any favorite game-time snacks?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talking to My Children about Dominic

5's been such a long time.  5 years ago, our world fell apart with the sudden loss of my nephew, Dominic.  He had been sick with a barrage of normal kid things, but the one that took his life was unknown to all.  Dominic had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an extremely aggressive form of cancer.  The heart-wrenching part was not being able to say goodbye to him; however, there is solace in knowing that his last days were spent frolicking happily through the snow with his buddies.

Dominic was an incredible human being.  He was so caring and thoughtful.  He loved, loved, loved stuffed animals, even at ten.  He was creative and incredibly intelligent.  The last time I saw him was Christmas, and he had received a kit to make your own sock monkey-type creature.  I wish I had made it with him. 

Georgia was three months old when Dominic died. They had only met on that Christmas trip (my sister and her family live in Maryland).  Georgia, of course, didn't remember that holiday or the trip cross-country for his funeral.  Harper, the younger of my children, wasn't even born.  It broke my heart to know that they missed out on getting to know how amazing their cousin was. I was determined that they knew about him, which meant they needed to know that he was gone.

Dom had been reading Each Little Bird That Sings when he died, a book ironically about a young girl who deals with death regularly as her family runs the town's mortuary. I read it to my class of 4th graders each January. When my girls are older, I'll read it to them, too. 

I feel it's important for our children to know that death is real, but not in a scary zombies are going to attack way.   It happens, and we grieve and then, when we're ready, we go on living.  Living is different without Dominic, but that's to be expected.
Part of my going on living after Dominic was to keep in our hearts and our conversations.  We talk about him whenever the Beatles come on, when we find giraffe stuffed animals, when there's a pretty bird, or when we replace the toilet paper roll.

I know the picture is inappropriate, but a donkey using a urinal? C'mon, that's funny. It makes me happy to share Dominic with my girls.  I'd love to share him with you also at

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Backyard: Before & After???

Our next door neighbor asked the man who flipped our house why he wasn't going to do anything about the backyard.  His response was that backyards are very personal and everybody has their own idea about what they want.  What we wanted was grass, lots and lots of grass.

The yard started out as weed/dirt/trash pit.  Seriously, how old is that milk carton?  The girls would go and "explore" and find shards of glass and other such treasures.  

The yard is super long (83 feet, according to our measurements) and skinny.  Originally, we had two unidentified shrubs and two avocado trees.  Yum, right?  Can you imagine the amount of guacamole I could make with two avocado trees?  I just need a lime tree, and I've got a fiesta!

The gardener who was going to install sprinklers delivered some heart-crushing news.  If we wanted grass for half of the yard, this avocado tree had to go.  No grass could grow with the incredible amount of shade it provided.  I was consoled by the fact that I still got to keep one tree.

So out came the tree and away went the garbage.  Except to Georgia, it wasn't garbage.  To my sweet five-year-old it was her "grotto" and the sticks that disappeared were her "stick family."

After seeing the backyard devastation, she laid on the floor in the fetal position and said, "This is how you destroy a home."  Wow!  Totally harsh.  I promised that she would love having a place to play, that we would go hunt for new sticks, and the original stick family had gone to build homes for small woodland creatures.
One week later, the grass came in.  We were out of town when the sod was laid, so it was such a fun surprise to come home and see green for miles and miles.  Okay, feet and feet.  
Now, we've got a totally prepped blank slate.  Our goals for the backyard:
  • Replace the Frankenstein fence
  • Make a new and improved "grotto"
  • Incorporate a fun place for grown-ups to read and drink coffee

We're not quite sure what the grotto should include.  A play house?  A rock wall?  A chicken coop?  Please don't vote for chicken coop unless there are magical chickens that lay Cadbury Creme Eggs.  Do you have a backyard play structure or other favorite feature?  I'd love to hear what we need!