June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Mine

Took these last week. Fell in love with the last one immediately upon seeing it. 7 weeks old.

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Love

For more Wordless Wednesday posts, click here.
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June 29, 2010

I Love My Family

Last week my Aunt Becky was in town visiting from Atlanta, GA. We had so much fun hanging out, and of course it was wonderful to introduce Danny to her and for her to see how big Sam has gotten - last time she saw him I think he was about 2 1/2 years old. On Tuesday we went down to Seattle for a really fun day at Woodland Park Zoo. Justin got part of the day off to join us, and my sister Kira and her boyfriend Joe took the day off and hung out as well. We had an amazing day at the zoo with absolutely beautiful weather, then hung out at Kira and Joe's apartment for several hours and had dinner. Aside from a somewhat tense hour where Danny cried a lot (which I wrote about yesterday), it was a wonderful time and a great day. Here are my favorite photos from the day. As always, click to see full size.

Tiny tootsies.

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Sam, Kira & Joe at the penguin pool.

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Kira and Sam ride the carousel.

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You know how sometimes you inadvertantly take a photo then when you see it totally fall in love with it? Despite the fact that it's blurry, I absolutely love this picture of my sister.

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All of us! My Aunt Becky has the sunglasses and the other woman with long hair is my Mom, Edie.

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Justin & Danny

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I love the light in this picture. Kira, Joe & Sam playing sock puppets.

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I love my family!
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June 28, 2010

Dookie or Not to Dookie

Yes, I said dookie. As in poop. As in if you are not a mother or have not had a baby recently and would rather not read about a baby's bowel activity, please click away from here immediately.

Seriously, this is a long post about fecal frustrations. You've been warned.

Okay. So, we have been having some trouble in these here parts when it comes to dirty diapers and Danny. I may have mentioned before that Sam was constipated as a baby. For, like, a year. We should have bought stock in whatever company makes those glycerine suppositories because we had to use them like they were going out of style. The upside was that we have only had 2 or 3 blowout diapers in his entire lifetime. Sam was never too fussy about the situation. When it had gotten to be a day or two and he started to fuss or seem uncomfortable we'd just pop that baby in there and he'd be completely happy about it, poop, and all would be well.

Well, we're running into some other problems with little Danny. He has also been having trouble pooping on his own. He did pass his meconium right away after birth and over the next 24 hours or so. After that? He didn't poop for about 4 days and when he finally managed to, there was an audible explosion from his diaper. Seriously, I HEARD it happen. He pretty much exploded his diaper. Since then, he has only pooped on his own a couple of times.

He's been formula fed since birth. I breastfed him for 5 weeks, but my supply was very, very low. I never made enough milk to sustain him, it was more a bonding/health thing and once he started refusing to nurse because he wanted some actual FOOD, we stopped. I was happy to get that far since with Sam I wasn't able to breastfeed at all, and I know that in the first two weeks it was very comforting to Danny to nurse. He was spitting up a lot (so did Sam), so between that and the not pooping, we tried switching to Gentle Plus formula, then to lactose-free stuff. The lactose-free stuff cut down on his spitting up by 90% in the first few days, which was great. BUT, he still wasn't passing stool on his own and was having obvious problems with gas in his tummy.

A couple of weeks ago at my Mom's house he cried and fussed for about 3 hours. When I got home, I reaquainted myself with my good friend Mr. Suppository and he pooped and was immediately happy and calm. Last Thursday, though, we had an episode that seemed different. We were in Seattle at the zoo, and then at my sister's apartment. Danny hadn't pooped in about 2 days, which is generally when the fussiness will come to a head and he'll need our help to pass anything. That night, he started to scream. He screamed for about an hour, and it seemed like he was hurting. I finally did the suppository, but he continued to cry while he pooped as if it hurt, then cried for a while after. He was distressed enough that we called the after hours pediatric nurse at our doctor's office to ask her what to do. She advised us that if he cried for over an hour like that we should probably see a doctor. There were no appointments that night, so she advised we'd have to go to the ER if we wanted to get him seen. Well, we were in Seattle. While I was in the process of looking up urgent care places on our insurance website, he stopped crying and was fine/calm and sleeping normally for the rest of the night.

I called the doctor's office the next day and made an appointment for the following day (last Thursday). What it came down to was that because of his constipation and a mild rash on his arms and torso, the doctor recommended switching to Similac Alimentum, which is a formula that has all the proteins from the milk completely broken down for baby. In some kids who are sensitive to/allergic to cow's milk proteins, a lactose free formula is not enough. She gave us 2 cans of samples. She also mentioned something called Hirschsprung's Disease. We were instructed to come back in 7-10 days for a followup and that if his constipation had not improved, they would do an X-Ray of his abdomen. To actually diagnose Hirschsprung's requires a rectal biopsy. She said that most babies that have it do not pass their meconium right away, but about 10% do. In my reading, I've even found a website that says that up to 50% do. The doc also said that it does not sound like colic because he has only cried for an extended period those two times, and it's not a regular occurance.

So, we switched to the new formula (which is significantly more expensive), and it doesn't seem to have made a difference so far. Danny also has thrush, which doesn't really seem to be bothering him but I wonder if the medicine is causing him to spit up more. In any case, yesterday he got fussy, and started spitting up a lot. So we finally gave him the old suppository treatment and I could not believe how much came out.

Sometimes the first bit that comes out is fairly hard, but this time it was not that hard. The rest of it was a normal seeming consitency, and nothing he should have trouble getting out. But he wiggles and strains and cries and just can't seem to go on his own. Plus he then gets gas trapped inside and that upsets him too. Yesterday was just a frustrating day because we don't want him to be in pain or uncomfortable like that, but we're not sure what to do other than continuing on the new formula and waiting for any signs of improvement.

His next doctor appointment is scheduled for July 8, but depending on how things go in the next few days, we may call and see if we can get in any earlier. I know that new formula can take a week or more to have an effect, so I'm trying to be patient. It's crazy to me that Danny has had so many more issues than Sam did - he was such an easy baby in that way! Poor little dude just doesn't know how to poop, and it's a mystery I'd rather have solved sooner than later.

PS Danny, I apologize in advance for the fact that I just wrote an entire post about your crap. I'll try not to let any girlfriends see it in 15 years.
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June 25, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

~ Remember when I did that Birthdaypalooza thing for May? Well, I meant to post some sort of wrap-up for it. And then I didn't. Oops. I thought it was a lot of fun, and maybe I'll get a chance to do another one sometime in the future. I would love to do it with different themes! It was great to see how different people interpreted it etc. I hope you liked it too!

~ I also never wrote about the last couple of episodes of Glee. You know, that show that I am totally in love with. Oh, it's soooo good! I liked how they intermingled Bohemian Rhapsody with the birth scene. I was glad that they didn't overdramatize the birth scene, in my opinion. And I love Sue Sylvester so much. For so many things. Like this line: "Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou." And then, for voting for New Directions and giving the program another year.

~ So, a couple weeks ago my husband told me about/sent me a link to this article regarding breastfeeding grown men in Saudi Arabia. Okay, I totally get the thing about breastfeeding a nephew or a best friend's baby boy so that you can have that familial relationship according to the laws or whatever. But seriously? The rest of it is just... bizarre. The best part of the whole thing, which I totally agree with is this:

"The whole issue just shows how clueless men are," blogger Eman Al Nafjan wrote on her website. "All this back and forth between sheiks and not one bothers to ask a woman if it's logical, let alone possible to breastfeed a grown man five fulfilling breast milk meals.

"Moreover, the thought of a huge hairy face at a woman's breast does not evoke motherly or even brotherly feelings. It could go from the grotesque to the erotic but definitely not maternal."


~ My friend Todd posted this photo on his blog, Iced Tea and Sarcasm, a little while ago.


It totally blows my mind. That is a photo of a sinkhole in Guatamala. If you do a Google image search, you'll find more pictures. They all look like they are totally fake from some disaster move that I'd really enjoy. But they're REAL. Holy cow.

~ So, my blog's not that big or anything. But I periodically get emails from PR people. The most recent was an email with a link to some website that was trying to tell me how to make dishwasher lasagne. No, you hear me right. COOK LASAGNE IN THE DISHWASHER. WHY??? Why would I EVER want to do that? I wouldn't.
~ I finally read "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins after about 100 people recommended it to me. It was SO GOOD I had to rush to Barnes & Noble to buy the 2nd book. While I was there, I burst out laughing because I saw a ribbon sticker on a truck like those Breast Cancer/Support Our Troops etc. stickers. It was blue and said "Support my Balls".
~ Danny is almost 6 weeks old. I have been remiss in not posting more, and totally missed the one month milestone. I'm hoping that now that I'm back in the game I'll be here more regularly.
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June 19, 2010

When will smooth & easy come?

The last few days have been less than great. Thursday sucked. It got a bit better on Friday but I still ended up super exhausted.

I'm not saying that life in general is terrible or that I'm not fortunate to be where I am, and live how I am.

But as you go through life, inevitably there will just be days that SUCK.

Thursday started out at 5 AM, because that's what time Sam woke up. That's 3-4 hours before his normal wake-up time. When we came downstairs, Justin was awake. As in, had never been to sleep.

He informed me that he had been 'freaking out' a little bit. So, really the day started with lingering suckage from yesterday, when we spent $500 on repairs/maintenance for his car and found out in the process that it needs $700 more work to really be safe to drive because the wheels aren't actually working properly.

In addition, my car probably needs new brakes and I'm still driving on winter tires.

Of course, since he got up at 5, Sam was less than pleasant. Read: Whiny. You know what I don't deal well with when I've only had 4.5 hours of sleep? Whining for no reason.

Justin tried to be firm with him, which just made him break down more. Then I snapped at Justin because mostly I just wanted to handle Sam with kid gloves because I knew I'd have to handle him all day. We each yelled once and he stormed off to the shower.

Then Danny projectile vomited all over me. He continued that for a while, and was having gas pain and constipation. Again. WOO.

Then my Dad called to tell me that he got a job offer (YAY) but that my Grandmom was in the hospital with bleeding in her brain and they were waiting for an MRI. I heard more later, she is okay but her mental state has been affected and she really does need 24/7 care at this point and it's kind of to be expected w/her alzheimers, but still... it sucks and I wish I was there.

Then Sam went to the eye doctor and we landed a referral to Children's Hospital because he has some muscles in his eyes that are too tight and overactive. They cause him to have mildly crossed eyes when he looks a certain way, and if not treated can affect his vision and depth perception. We were referred to the eye doc by our pediatrician because he noticed it during the general checking of his eyes at his 4 year checkup. I guess I was not surprised that he could have something - Justin had crossed eyes at a baby and had to have several surgeries before he was 1 to correct it. But I really didn't expect them to say he needs surgery. I have decided that for now I'm not thinking about the emotional aspect of having my child have eye surgery, or the medical bills that are sure to follow, because I just don't want to. In addition, he has very little pigment in his eyes, she could see light shining through his iris, and he has little pigment on the retina. The doctor said this could be Ocular Albanism, which could affect his vision, or just albanoidism, which means you don't have much pigment, but have enough that it doesn't really affect you. Apparently they can diagnose which it is at Children's Hospital as well.

Friday was a bit better, but Justin had to work until about 9:00 because he was working at the WCC Graduation. We spent a good part of the day at my Mom's new house, but Sam was turning into a whiny ball of whine, and Danny proceeded to scream for about 3 hours because he couldn't poop, and it sucked a little. Sam whined and cried all the way home about not wanting the sun in his eyes (he is very sensitive to sun which is partly b/c of the light eyes). Things improved after we got home, and he eventually fell asleep. Danny got to be the proud recipient of a suppository (sorry TMI but that's my life) and was content after that. And me? EXHAUSTED!

Today has been okay. Except I'm really worried about my Grandmom. She is still in the hospital, she was moved to the ICU after her bleeding increased and then was not allowed to eat for a while. She had a CAT scan today and I guess she's . It's just really hard because it seems like it's going back and forth so much, getting worse and better. Last night I guess there was some talk of a feeding tube, and that really scares me. I'm starting to wonder how serious it really is, and it's hard to be so far away. One minute it seems like maybe I should be looking in to plane tickets if I want to see her again, and the next it seems like things are going to be okay. Maybe the situation is just really touch and go, I don't know.

I know that life is life. It goes on how it goes, and we don't always have much control over it. For the most part, I enjoy it. I have a pretty good life, and I love my husband and my kids and my family. I have a lot of support and am lucky to have the things I do.

But there are some days I just wonder when things are going to be easy, even if only for a day. We have had the worst 3 years ever financially, including being bankrupt, owing the IRS over $20,000 (currently uncollectable because we don't have and money to pay them), and having to move to my Father-In-Law's house because we could no longer afford to pay rent where we were living. We are ecstatic about Justin's new job, and I think he'll be there for a really long time. Maybe even until he retires. But we are still not back on our feet yet.

Between paying off the ultrasounds from last year when I was pregnant and we had bad insurance, the work on the cars, upcoming medical bills for Sam, and Justin having to take time off without pay after Danny was born? We are still scraping by for the time being. Every time I get a few bucks in our savings accounts, something comes up and *poof* there it goes. Now we're facing being told we should be paying rent to live in this family home, which is kind of okay except we want to try and take over some of the utilities first since they're actual bills, and we have to figure out how much those are and if we can actually afford it.

We're tired, and stressed out. I want to write more but instead I've been reading more because, well, it's easier to hold a baby and a book than a baby and a laptop. But I miss my connection here since it's been so long since I blogged regularly. Sam is still adjusting to being a big brother and that involves a lot more whining and hitting (usually me) than normal. He is touchy. It's to be expected, but here I sit at the beginning of summer vacation wondering how I am possibly going to handle 24 hours a day with 2 kids for the next few months before school starts again.

I look ahead to the rest of this year, and see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that in six months, maybe we'll REALLY be back on our feet. But right now I just have moments when I wonder when things will just happen with a little more ease.
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June 13, 2010

The Weight

I've been a little bit absent from blogging, I'm trying to get into a routine and I have about 10 posts composed partway in my head, I just haven't been able to find time yet to sit down and write them yet. This was not at all the first post I planned to write, there are several others in line ahead of it. BUT I was looking through my old blog entries regarding my weight loss journey today and came across one with measurements. Feeling curious, I decided to take measurements and see where I'm at. The results? I am almost crying looking at them...

Starting Weight (Feb 2009): 267 lbs
Current Weight (Jun 2010): 215 lbs
Total Loss: 52 lbs
Final Goal: 150 lbs

Starting BMI: 41.8
Current BMI: 33.7

Right upper arm
Start: 17.5 inches
3 mo later: 16.5 inches
16 mo later: 12.75 inches
Loss: 4.75 INCHES!

Waist (1 inch above navel)
Start: 50.5 inches
3 mo later: 49 inches
16 mo later: 37.5 inches
Loss: 13 INCHES!

Hips (at the maximum width)
Start: 58.5 inches
3 mo later: 58 inches
16 mo later: 43.5 inches
Loss: 15 INCHES!

Right Thigh (just below the buttocks)
Start: 31.5 inches
3 mo later: 30.5 inches
16 mo later: 24.5 inches
Loss: 7 INCHES!

I can't believe that I've lost that many inches. It happens so gradually that sometimes you don't think about it, but if you go a while in between weighing/measuring? It can be shocking when you get around to it.

The thing is, I've lost 52 lbs. 30 of that was before my pregnancy and 20 was during/after the pregnancy, without much actual work on my part. The first 30? Was a lot of work. But when I look in the mirror or down at my body, even though I see the positive changes, I still see society's definition of a fat person. I look at myself in the mirror and think I look pretty good, but then I wonder when other people look at me if they still just see a fat girl. Last week I went to a retirement party for my favorite teacher from High School who lead the school newspaper. I got dressed, and thought I looked nice. But in my head I was still thinking about how even though people who know me now are telling me how good I look, the people from HS that I haven't seen for 10 years? Were still going to see someone who had GAINED weight and was fatter than she was back then.

The reality, though, is this:

Weight Loss

A picture is worth 1000 words right? In those old pictures, I cannot believe how big I was. I can't believe I was tipping the scale and heading towards 300. 300 LBS. It was out of control. And despite the fact that I am still not where I really want to be in the end, and that I am still not in the best shape (yet), I have changed so much. I feel more like myself now. I don't feel so embarrassed to just BE. Last week I tried on all my pants from before - I had been wearing black yoga-type pants for the past 9 months while I was pregnant - and I got rid of HALF MY PANTS. Because they were too big. Some of them, WAY too big. Some of the ones I kept are verging on being too big but I kept them because they don't fall off and are still in good condition. A lot of my shirts don't fit quite right anymore, they're baggy and a little strange fitting.

I am planning to join Weight Watchers again, probably in the next 2 weeks. I've got a week until I hit the 6 week postpartum mark and am 'allowed' to start really exercising again. My Mom is switching gyms, so I have to decide if I want to pay for that gym membership or shop around, or just try to use the Wii Fit and walk. I went to a retreat recently for my volunteer gig, and we got an hour yoga class. The woman gave us a coupon for 2 free classes. I really enjoyed it, and I'm thinking about trying that out. Maybe I can do Yoga and walking as my main exercise over the summer, but I need to figure out what to do with the kids... maybe evening yoga classes? Or a babysitter.

I am ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED to not gain back this weight I've lost. It would be stupid and ridiculous. I am so close to getting under 200 lbs again, and it's been years since I weighed this little. It is hard. I know it's going to be difficult to go back on WW and start counting points and watching what I eat again. Since I ate so little during the pregnancy, I got used to eating WHATEVER I WANTED. And that is going to have to stop. I think it will be easier than when I first started out, but still a challenge.

If you've ever been on this kind of journey, you know how emotional it is. When I started this whole thing, part of the reason was that I didn't want to die. I thought about my family and walking up a hill with my Mom I wondered if she was worried that I was so unhealthy and could die young because of that. That I would actually shorten my lifespan because I was too fat. That I could get diabetes and have to deal with that for the rest of my life. That I couldn't play with my son because I was too fat and unhealthy to even chase him around. That when he got older, my son would be embarrassed of me. That I felt self conscious eating in public. You can judge people for their weight all you want, but you know what? It's not fun to be that way, and it's not a choice a lot of us consciously made to become that. And it's REALLY HARD to change.

I have been VERY inspired by Yvonne, who writes at Joy Unexpected. She also started out with 100 pounds to lose, and also has thyroid problems, though hers are more severe than mine. I love reading her entries about her triumphs because I can relate so much - I KNOW how hard it's been for her, and even though we don't really know each other, it's sort of like we are on similar journeys at the same time. It reminds me that this IS possible, even when it's hard. Writing this post was a lot harder than I thought. Looking at the numbers, thinking about how fat I was, and the rest of the journey? Realizing how far I've come? It is a little bit staggering to me.

Seeing those above results though? Realizing that my arms used to be 5 inches bigger around? That I've lost over a foot off my waist and hips? That's some motivation if I ever saw it.
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June 3, 2010

One Month. Two Birthdays. Welcome to the Nuthouse!

Shannon from Welcome to the Nuthouse has the honor of providing the last post for the SNOTW Birthdaypalooza. I love Shannon's blog because she always makes me laugh. She also loves things I do. Like Daniel Craig. And Lost. And Glee. And a good book.

Also like me, she has daughters born both in the same month! Well, mine are sons, but the same month. I am currently ALREADY wondering how we'll handle the birthday so close together, so this post definitely made me think!

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Planning birthday parties for my kids probably shouldn't be as hard as I make them out to be. (But I'm a little bit of a control freak)

I have two daughters, both born in February; they're only 2 years apart in age. The first few birthdays were easy... we just invited the family over to the house for cake and ice cream. And for their 2nd/4th birthdays, I was even able to throw a joint party! Over and done with in one day!

But all that changed when my oldest turned 5.

She was in preschool and wanted to have a party with her friends.

And so it began. The pressure to pull off the "Best Birthday Party EVER!"

That year her party was held at a local indoor playground. Since then, my girls have had their parties at a local rec room, gymnastic center, and this year, I allowed them to have a slumber party (note to self: Never. Again.)

Deciding on the party "theme", buying the plates/cups/napkins/party favors, baking the cake/cupcakes, making goody bags, mailing the invitations (and then the thank-you notes, after the party)... and then there's the actual party: cutting the cake, serving the cake/cupcakes/ice cream/drinks, opening gifts, playing games, breaking the pinata, the clean-up when the party is over... it's enough to drive me bonkers!

One year, my oldest wanted to have her party at the local indoor playground again... but to save money, we decided to use the local rec room. During the party, I overheard my husband say "I think I would have rather done this at Partyville and let them do all this work".

It's a good thing there wasn't a sharp object within my reach, is all I'm sayin'.

My oldest is now 9 and I admit I am glad she's getting "too old" for birthday parties! We've told her this was her last (thankfully, she's ok with that!)

My youngest just turned 7, so I still have a few more parties to throw for her (it's only fair she get the same number of parties her big sister did, right?)

Maybe by the time she reaches age 9, I'll still have some of my sanity left.

Maybe.
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June 1, 2010

Birth: Dooce Style

Today's birth story comes from Heather Armstrong of Dooce. I love her blog, and think she's a great writer (and photographer) who manages to capture the day to day so well. Also, she is really funny. Heather is one of the BIG names in the blog world, and a real life author with actual books, so due to copyright issues I couldn't get permission to republish her stories here.

BUT...

I found Heather's posts about the birth of her 2nd daughter, Marlo, which she wrote last July and August, very inspiring. So I decided that even though I couldn't republish them here, I would love for more people out there to read them. You'll have to click through to the links, but trust me, it's TOTALLY worth it!

In the first part of Heather's story, which can be found here, she talks about reaching her 30th week of pregnancy without giving much thought to the birth. But then, she was exposed to something new when she received a copy of Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein's book "Your Best Birth." And she began to wonder if perhaps she was up for something different.

In part two of her birth story, located right here, Heather talks about how she went through much of her pregnancy simultaneously with her assistant Katey. Katey was 6 weeks ahead of Heather in her pregnancy, and with Katey's birth experienced just how powerful and positive birth can be.

In the third and final installment, found here, Heather describes her experience bringing Marlo into the world naturally. Reading her story, and seeing the pride and power and everything else she felt is amazing.

So, thanks to Heather for sharing her experience and story. It is a great example of how much our thoughts, our minds, affect our experiences and how we can choose to do things the way we really want to do them!
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