Sunday, November 27, 2011

Odds and ends

  • Well, we made it through Thanksgiving just fine!  I found the source of poor Sarah's food poisoning--a sippy cup of milk she had stashed by her dollhouse the day before.  (That would be the day I had surgery, hence the poor tracking of milk cups.) Poor little thing! We are now making sure that milk cups go straight to the sink after a meal or snack. 
  • I've been feeling OK--just a bit tired and light-headed since the surgery.  I think it probably has to do with, oh, I don't know, not getting enough sleep? Or having a crazy passport odyssey followed by a late night of bathroom disinfection the day after surgery?
  • In the insanity of the last term at school (which just ended before Thanksgiving), I vaguely remember opening a jury summons. I know the date was sometime over break because Mr. X and I discussed whether I should try to get a postponement, and I said that it was easier to just take care of it since it was during my break.  Hmm.  I remembered on Wednesday, but no one was answering the phone at the jury commissioner's office, and they were closed on Friday, too. I'm sure it wasn't for Thanksgiving week (and no jurors were called on Tuesday or Wednesday, anyway), but it's fairly likely that it's this coming week.  I have gone through--I kid you not--every piece of paper in the main area of our house.  This is no small feat.  No jury summons.  And without a jury summons, I don't know my juror number, which means I don't know whether or not I'm called for jury duty tomorrow. Which means I will need to get a babysitter and set out for the courthouse at 7:30, simultaneously calling the commissioner's office to see if they can tell me my juror number and date of service. If I can't get through before 8:00 (jury reporting time), then I'll just have to go in with the other 300 (!) jurors called for Monday and try to get it figured out. And then, if it turns out I'm not called for Monday, I may have to do it again, possibly later the same week.
  • On a related note, I have purged all nonessential paper from the main living area, and we now have a new system for handling paper that comes into the house. By which I mean, we now have a system.
  • After seeing Jennifer mention it on Conversion Diary, I bought a copy of The Perfect Health Diet. I am mostly on the bandwagon--so, in contrast to my previous diet, no more grains (except for a small amount of rice), no more vegetable oils (except for a little olive oil and lots of coconut oil), very minimal sugar (except what's in a little fruit, dark chocolate, and occasional ice cream), and lots more fat, red meat, and fish. I don't even really crave the carbs--since I can still have a little potato and rice (and rice pasta, bread, and crackers, which have provided lots of interesting baking experiments), dark chocolate, and berries, and lots of butter and cream, my sweet tooth isn't driving me crazy. Next, we're going to try to find a source for free-range (grass-fed) meat and eggs.
  • One of the reasons I've been staying up too late is that we've gotten hooked on All Creatures Great and Small on Ne.t.flix. Why have I never watched this show before? Oh, yes, back when my brother was hooked on the books and the show when we were kids, I thought it was a show about animals. Well, it's not. But it is charming and delightful, so if you've never seen it and are looking for something good to watch, check it out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Close enough, I hope

Right now, I'm lying on the floor next to Sarah's bed, hoping she's finished throwing up. We're pretty sure (after reading Dr. that it's food poisoning. After almost three hours of vomiting, the poor little thing was exhausted and asking to put on her 'jamas and go to bed. Finally, at 9:15, I put her in her pjs, and she flung herself into bed, only to get up 15 minutes later to throw up again. I cleaned her up, brushed her teeth, tucked her back in, and she was asleep literally two minutes later.

But, really, thank God for small favors--I am so glad this started at 5:45 pm and not 2:00am. And so glad that it started at 5:45pm and not 4:45pm, when we were still in the County Clerk's Office.

You see, we FINALLY made it in to apply for the kids' passports today. For those of you keeping score, we went to the Social Security office back in April to apply for a Social Security card for Nick so that I could file our stinkin' taxes. No luck. We need proof of citizenship, which means either a passport or a certificate of citizenship. Since the certificate costs several hundred dollars and doesn't do you much good, we thought we'd go for the passport, since at least that would allow him to travel.

So. Turns out you need lots of paperwork for an internationally-adopted child's passport. And it turns out that both parents have to show up in person with the child to apply for a passport for a child under 16. At this point, we figured we might as well get Sarah's passport, too, for all that hassle. I've had the paperwork together for ages, but I needed to take decent passport photos (the verdict's still out on the decent-ness of the result), and we needed to find a time during business hours that all four of us could show up.

The County Clerk's office closed at 4:30pm today. At 3:15, Mr. X called me to say he was getting ready to leave the office--mind you, he has an hour commute to the County Clerk's office, and it's the day before Thanksgiving. Of course, I was just parking the car at Costco to pick up the photos, so I was no better off. I ran home, relieved the babysitter, convinced Nick to go potty and put his shoes on, picked Sarah up out of bed where she was still napping, and ran them out to the car in their socks. I coaxed them to put on their shoes on the way, called Mr. X to check his ETA, and dashed into the County building at 4:23.

I ran into the passport office, where the poor woman behind the counter eyed me dubiously. She reminded me that they close at 4:30 and asked if my husband was with me, if I had my paperwork filled out, and if I had checks written. Oops. I had my paperwork (I even had it organized in a neat little multiple-pocket folder). But I remembered I wrote the last check in my checkbook the other day. I called Mr. X, who found a single check folded in his wallet. That would get us one passport application, if we could produce $25 cash for the processing fee.

By some minor miracle, Mr. X ran into the office on the dot of 4:30. We conferred, and he thought he might have a checkbook in his car. We had $38 cash between us, but there was an ATM outside the door to the county building. I started going over the paperwork with the woman behind the counter and he sprinted out to the car. I knew he could get in the building, since some of the offices are open till 5:00, but I'd have to let him back in the passport office.

Then the ladies noticed that Nick has no social security number, and said that the State Department might not issue a passport without a Social Security number! You have got to be kidding me.  So I had to write a note saying that I had been turned down for a Social Security number, and they said we'd have to just see what the State Department says. Argh!

Mr. X came back from his trip to the car and ATM, so now we had enough cash for both application fees. And he had found a check. A check I had written to a teenage babysitter. I wrote one of the numbers funny, and she thought the bank might give her a hassle, so I had just written her a new check. Somehow Mr. X found the old one. Technically, as long as I initial any changes, it should work. So I changed--and initialled!--the payee. . . and the date . . . and the amount. My signature didn't need to be changed.

So we submitted Nick's application with a picture that we hope will meet the requirements, a handwritten note about my inability to get a Social Security number for him without a passport, and a perfectly acceptable check. And possibly without a height--I feel like I forgot to write down his height, even though the lady checked over the application and didn't comment on that.

We submitted Sarah's application with a picture that we hope will meet the requirements and perhaps the most bizarre check that the State Department has ever received. (The lady said, "they're definitely going to contact you about this!")

The kids behaved beautifully, mainly because they had a Little T.y.kes table and chairs with an assortment of books, and Mr. X sat with them when he wasn't being asked to promise under oath that this application was correct. Nick provided musical entertainment. So you can see why I'm truly grateful that the vomiting did not begin until we were out of that poor woman's hair! And, seriously, God bless her for bearing with us patiently as her office was closing for Thanksgiving!

It's now been an hour since Sarah fell asleep (though she just stirred a minute ago and said "I done! I done!" . . . which is what she's been saying in the middle of throwing up). I think I'm going to throw in the next load of laundry, disinfect the bathroom, and go to sleep.  But not before I say many prayers that this is just food poisoning and not something contagious!

Surgery Report

I had the hysteroscopy and HSG yesterday with the new doctor.  Things looked pretty good.  The great news is I have no scarring from the D&C!  My tubes weren't blocked.  The pressure was good at first, but the dye wasn't pouring through the tubes freely.  After the doctor ran the wire down the tubes, the dye ran through. That sounds to me like there may have been some crud in there, but not enough to block the liquid completely.

So, we'll see. Mr. X talked to the doctor, and I know I did too in the recovery room, but I don't remember a thing!  I won't get to talk to the doctor till Monday, so I'll probably ask more questions then.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sugery #5

Here's the big news! Surgery #5 is scheduled for Tuesday.  To recap my surgical history:

May 2007: Surgery #1 with Dr. H. Diagnostic laparascopy that identified extensive endometriosis and one (!) polycystic ovary (other ovary appears normal). HSG revealed blocked tubes, both of which were opened. Endometrial biopsy identified low-grade uterine infection.

July 2007: Surgery #2 with Dr. H. Laparatomy. Success! Removed endometriosis, wedge resection on polycystic ovary.

January 2008: Positive pregnancy test #1! (Also first f.e.mara cycle.) Miscarriage on January 21st at 6w2d.

September 2008: Surgery #3 with Dr. H. At my request, a selective HSG to determine whether tubes were blocked. One fully blocked, one partially blocked. Success!  Both tubes opened.

November 2008: Positive pregnancy test #2!

July 2009: Sarah born! Surgery #4, 5 days postpartum. D&C to stop hemorrhaging due to freak retained placenta that did not present for the first 4 days.

And now:
November 2011: Surgery #5: Hysteroscopy with selective HSG. First surgery with local NaPro surgeon. Checking out whether tubes are blocked and whether there is any damage from life-saving (literally life-saving) post-partum D&C.

Hoping and praying that this does the trick!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The new plan

Hallelujah, we had a breakthrough!  I had the kids in bed and asleep at 7pm last night!  I don't remember the last night they were asleep before 8!  (Heck, I'm not sure when they last fell asleep before 9!)

After giving it some thought and getting some advice, I had decided to try doing away with naps entirely . . . at least in the short-term. However, missing the nap usually ends with Sarah having night terrors (which she did last night, poor little thing!). Nicholas seems to be past night terrors for now, but he also had them at her age when he was over-tired. Well, we're all overtired at this point, for heaven's sake

So, yesterday, I called the Catholic preschool we're thinking about for next year.  I asked a bunch of questions, one of which is whether the kids nap at school since the day is so long (8:00-2:45).  I found out that they eat lunch at 11:15, go down for naps at 11:45, and are up again at 1:15.  I started thinking about that schedule--and the fact that many people suggested shorter and/or earlier naps--and decided we'll try lunch at 11:00, nap at 12:00, up by 1:30. Yesterday, we skipped naps (except for a 15-minute snooze Nick had in the car) because I had a doctor's appointment after preschool. The kids were very cranky, but fell asleep within 10 minutes of getting in bed last night.

We'll just have to wing it on preschool days, since we don't get home until 2:00 after school. The preschool schedule is the whole reason for our current, late nap schedule. Because we get home so late on school days (two days per week), we've gone to a late nap schedule every day so as to remain consistent. Since the kids started back to preschool this fall, we have to wake them from their naps at 4:00 almost every day so that they won't sleep too late. Ha ha. I can see that they've been sleeping too late for a long time--it's amazing that they went to sleep at night so well for so long with such a late nap schedule. I blame the sleep deprivation for my inability to see the obvious problem for so long!

If we move to an earlier nap schedule, I'm hopeful that the kids might fall asleep in the car on the way home from school for those two days a week. Then they might get enough of a cat nap to make it till an early bedtime. It just confirms, though, that we need to move to a different preschool. I love the school and the teachers (and so do the kids!), but the schedule just doesn't work for us. If we can make the transition to an early nap schedule and make school days work, we'll stick it out for the rest of the year. Next fall, Sarah will be three, and that will open up a lot of possibilities for us.

The Catholic preschool (which only takes 3- and 4-year-olds) is part of a small-ish parish school. The parish is trying to revive the school, which is in an aging neighborhood. The upside of this is that there are less than 20 students per grade right now and the school is attempting to revitalize by--surprise, surprise--becoming even more orthodox. Hooray! We know a family whose kids started there this fall, so we can get some feedback from them. The cost is also significantly less per hour than our current preschool, the hours will work better for my work schedule, and it's only five minutes from my office. That means I have an easier commute, I can stop by for lunch/mass/school programs, and I'm much closer in case of emergency. The downside is that class size is large (16 3-4-year-olds to two teachers right now, with the class capped at 20) and Sarah and Nick would be in the same class.

Well, enough of my stream of consciousness. Let's see if I can knock three projects off my list in the next 75 minutes, shall we?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The little things

Thanks, everyone, for the support on the sleep issues!  Things are getting better.  We've started eating dinner a bit earlier and then going for a walk after dinner to burn some of that energy. One of us has been sitting in the room with them until they fall asleep for the past five nights, and we've removed all toys and books from their bedroom to cut down on distractions. I'm going back to the sleep training book we used and loved nine months ago (The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight), because I know she talks about regressions and siblings sharing a room (silly me, I checked the book out from the library, so I'm just going to buy it now). We've noticed that Sarah is testing me WAY more than she's testing her dad, too.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I have lots more work to do tonight, so here are two things the kids did today that really got me.

We've been talking about death a lot because a member of our extended family died recently, and we brought the kids to the wake. (Good conversations--the other day, Nicholas was talking about it and said "That person died. That's like . . . somebody goes to God.") Because of his love of processions, friends of ours attached a crucifix to a broomstick for Nicholas to play with. He was playing with his cross tonight, and I told him to put it away before we went for our walk. He said, "Wait! I want to kiss Jesus!" then kissed him and said "I sorry you dyin'."

Then, later tonight, I finally got Sarah tucked in for the last time, and we talked about her babydolls. She told me that she is their mommy and that she likes to take them to the park, with the big sister doll walking and holding her hand, and the little sister doll riding in the stroller. Then, she said "We sit on the bench. Then I go to work--No, I say 'I not go to work, I stay with you,' and they laugh and laugh." Oh, the guilt!

And on that note, I need to get back to work so I can get some sleep tonight!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am so not kidding

Seriously, I am not kidding about the sleep thing. Last night, I decided to bribe reward the kids for behaving well with an offer of chocolate milk in the morning. Yeah. Sarah lost hers before they were even tucked in for the night.

I also decided to spend a few minutes after lights-out singing to the kids and rubbing their backs to help them wind down. They seemed to be doing pretty well. Mr. X got home during the singing, so I prolonged it a little bit for them to settle after he came in to say goodnight.

They were quiet for a while, and then we started to hear some signs of revelry in the room. When we went in, they were both running around the room s.ta.rk n.ake.d. I kid you not. And Sarah had sat down and peed on her pillow. Lovely. And that was round one!!

As the night wore on, I went in several more times. The highlight was probably the suspicious thumping noises that led me to the room to discover that they were climbing from Nick's bed onto his dresser and jumping down. The night involved time-outs (some of which happened in the playpen in our room where Nick takes his naps), loss of privileges (i.e., stuffed animals and books in bed), and eventually, sleep at about 10:45. After that, I stayed up too late to watch about an hour of TV because I just wanted to sit down and relax before crashing. Argh!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Toddler Sleep

Oh. My. Goodness.

So, Nick and Sarah went from a pretty good sleeping situation to craziness. I think it started with Sarah's two-year molars (still working on the last two of those). But the pattern has become that they party in their shared bedroom for at least three hours after we tuck them in. We have to make multiple visits to the room, each of them wets their pants at least once (intentionally), and so on. It's not unusual for them to be up until 11:30.

This has all happened in the last month. We've had a lot of changes with the school year starting, and we had gotten pretty lax about waking them up at the same time every day. Naps also got moved later, since we don't get home and settled after preschool till 2:00.

So, we are now waking them at 7 every day, and we (or the babysitter on duty) wake them from their naps by 4 if they're not already awake. They showed a little improvement, and it's been just about a week.

I went to a friend's wedding back home and was gone for two nights. Mr. X opened their bedroom door and monitored them last night, and tonight I'm on duty. It's been almost two hours. This is craziness!

I really wish we could move them into separate rooms, but I don't see that happening in the near future. The other two bedrooms are downstairs, have ceramic tile floors, and are in use as our home office and guest room. I would not be opposed to converting the guest room into a kid's room, but the distance from our room, the tile floor, and the fact that the door between the guest room and the office doesn't close make it unappealing.

Any ideas?? Really--anything??

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Random goofiness

I have two minutes before my P+7 blood draw, so here are a couple of goofy things the kids have been doing lately:

On a bedtime-delaying bathroom trip, Nicholas started getting rambunctious. I told him it was quite time--no talking. So he started clicking his tongue. I said, "no clicking your tongue, either." So he started smacking his lips. I had to bite my own lip to keep from laughing, but told him no smacking his lips either. So he started clicking his tongue again.

Sarah has started telling elaborate stories about her favorite babydolls. The thing that especially cracks me up is that one doll is the big sister and the other is the little sister (the big one walks, and the little one crawls). In her stories, the big sister doll is always terrorizing the little sister doll, who then "cwies and cwies. She cwies a lot." I'm kind of stumped, because Nick is usually very kind to her, but I guess that's sibling rivalry for you!

I know I've got better stories than that, but those will have to wait till I'm not running to an appointment!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Well, hello again . . .

It's been an eventful couple of months! And even though I'm late (surprise, surprise!) for quick takes, here--briefly--is what's new around here.

  • Secondary Infertility. Yep. Officially on cycle 8 using Creighton model for achieving pregnancy, so, given my age, here we are. Really hoped we'd be done with this! I had really hoped that, after having Sarah, I'd have normal fertility. Then again, this is really different than primary infertility for me, in that we are already parents. We would love to have more kids, but we are already blessed beyond measure with the two we have.
  • Here's the low-down: still have luteal phase defect, slight hypothyroidism, and hormone dysfunction. Since my cycles returned, I've been back on vitamins, amoxicillin, guaifenesin, slow-release T3, and hCG post-peak. I'm now on my third cycle with femara. In the past, I conceived on my first femara cycle (and then miscarried), then on my first full cycle with femara after Dr. H unblocked my tubes (and then had Sarah). So being on a third cycle with femara now does not bode well. In the past, I've had really intense ovulation pain on femara, and that happened on my first cycle this time . . . and then not again. I've just had a few little twinges. Combine that with the fact that my crummy post-peak estradiol levels don't seem to be responding to the hCG, and it makes me wonder if I've got something new going on here. What that new thing might be, I don't know--any ideas?
  • . . . and that brings me to my third point. New treatment! My local Napro doctor has prescribed an estradiol patch for P+3 - P+12. Has anyone tried this? Any advice?
  • We have a new Napro OB/GYN in town. Hooray! My current plan is to make an appointment and talk to her about the possibility of another selective HSG. Since I've had two selective HSGs, and my tubes were blocked both times, it seems somewhat likely that they might be blocked again.
  • Wonderdog is no longer with us. Her health continued to decline steadily, and at the beginning of August, we made the difficult decision to euthanize. It was pretty awful, but the vet was very kind, and we know her suffering is over.
  • Thanks so much for the nice comments on my last post . . . um . . . two months ago. The weaning went really well. It seemed to be much less traumatic for Sarah than for me. She only asked to nurse a couple of times, and accepted my explanation. Just a couple of weeks ago, she was drinking milk out of a cup and told the babysitter, "I drink milk in a cup. I not drink Mommy's milk anymore."
  • We are GETTING RID OF STUFF! Oh my. I just can't stand living in a sea of stuff anymore. I realized that my sense of being overwhelmed and frustrated with my work is partially due to the fact that my desk at home and my desk at the office are covered and surrounded by piles of books and papers. I can't find anything. I can't sit down when I have 15 minutes and get a little work done because there's nowhere to do it. When I realize that I have to get up and search for the required objects to complete my next task, the temptation to get online is too great.
  • So, the new plan is: clear my desks. Put things I don't need immediately into boxes to be handled in a daily sorting time. I can't just leave things where they are and wait the weeks (months?) it would take to clear it out a little bit at a time.
  • My new rule is: If we don't NEED it right now, it goes away. No more holding on to things because I might need them. I would rather end up getting rid of something I eventually need than store 20 items I might need . . . and then endure the frustration of needing an item and not being able to find it amid all the stuff. If we know we'll need it in the future (e.g., essential baby items that we will need, please God, for another child), then we will keep it in deep storage.
  • We changed parishes officially. Interestingly enough, we found out a couple of weeks ago that we actually live within the boundaries of our new parish--and have for the last seven years! We're very happy with the new parish. It has the kind of community we've been looking for for a long time.
That's it for now. The kids (who are doing beautifully) are napping, and I have about an hour to tackle my to-do list. I'll be back soon . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Oh my. And I thought summer would be an easier time for me to keep up with blogging. Hahahahahaha.

So, potty training. Yeah. Wow.

It's actually going pretty well, but I scoff at my idea that it would be an intense week and then things would be under control! Nick's pretty well trained, and now he has "accidents" only (a) when he's way too involved to stop playing (but this is stuff being at the zoo, so pretty darn exciting), (b) when he has timeouts, and (c) when he's tucked in to go to sleep. A little manipulation, anyone? Sarah's doing remarkably well, especially considering that she's not even two yet. But its a lot of laundry. Maybe a little more than with cloth diapers. The payoff should be big, though.

But the big milestones around here are these: Sarah is weaned, and I'm on this cycle. Yesterday was the big day. It seems like doctors are somewhat divided in their advice, but most do not recommend nursing while taking femara. I read up and found that for the typical dose, it takes 10 days for the drug to leave your system. The dose I'm taking for ovulation induction is 10 times that amount.

Once Sarah was night-weaned and my cycles came back in February, we decided to start trying without any medication to induce ovulation for a few months. I started back on T3, hCG injections, amoxicillin, and vitamins, and my progesterone finally got back up to normal levels in June.

Sarah's almost two, I just turned 37, and we'd love to have a couple more kids. When I had my first surgery, my tubes were blocked, but Dr. H was able to open them back up. After I conceived and then miscarried, we weren't able to conceive again, so I asked him if I could have another HSG to see if the tubes were blocked again. One was partially blocked and the other was completely blocked. Dr. H opened them again, and Sarah was conceived the next cycle. So we really don't want to waste too much time and risk things getting messed up again.

Even though I didn't have any diagnosed ovulation problems, I have only conceived while taking f.ema.ra. And the track record is darn good--I conceived on the first cycle the first time I took it, and on the second cycle the next time (the first cycle that time was the cycle in which I had the HSG).

But I really didn't want to wean Sarah. I looked around for resources on gentle weaning, and she's done really well. A few weeks ago, I explained to her that we would have to stop nursing because I have to take some medicine that would make the milk bad for her. First, I cut down to just nursing at bedtime and at naptime if she asked. (She was already sometimes skipping nursing for a whole day and just nursing at bedtime on many days.) Then I reduced the time she spent nursing at bedtime and tried to break the association of nursing during other bedtime activities (like stories and prayers). I let her drink a sippy cup of milk after nursing, too.

But last night was the last time. She didn't seem to fazed, but I couldn't help crying. She asked to nurse when I was dressing her this morning (the first time she's asked in the morning for a couple of weeks), but we talked about it, and she was calm. I'm dreading bedtime tonight, though.

I know she's almost two (her birthday's on Sunday). I know this is a long time (in our culture anyway) to nurse. I know that we have a strong relationship and that I'll continue to be close to her. I know that this is our best chance to give her and Nick another sibling. But with the early nursing struggles we had, the thrill of finally having a baby to nurse, and the fear that there won't be another one, I think I might be sadder than she is.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Resolutions

OK, so it's not officially summer yet. And it's not even summer by the definition "school's over for the year." I do still have a couple of papers to grade, a manuscript to review for a journal, at least four more meetings, and a graduation and reception to attend. However, I do not have to walk into a classroom again until September.

And now I'm sitting on the couch because I can. It's probably not the best thing I could do, but I need a bit of a break. Yes, I watched the Glee season finale last night, but that was after I cleaned the kitchen and washed some toys our lovely neighbors pulled out of their shed and gave to our kids (how much does it rock that our neighbors give our kids all their old toys? I don't think I'll have to actually buy toys any time in the foreseeable future).

But I'm not going to sit on the couch all summer, oh no! I have big plans. BIG plans. And, yes, I am making fun of myself just a little bit because I'm sure my plans are probably too big. But for the record, here they are:

1. Potty training. The potty training book I ordered on Amaz.on (because I ordered it TWICE through interlibrary loan, and both times my order status says "in transit" for weeks and then goes away) will arrive tomorrow. Nick is very close to being potty trained already, and Sarah likes to do what he does, so we'll see how that goes. If she's not there yet, we'll go back to diapers and try again later.

2. Getting rid of half the stuff in our house. I am so not kidding. I feel like I am drowning in a sea of STUFF. I also ordered the Joy. o.f L.ess and should be getting it tomorrow. I don't see myself turning into a minimalist any time soon, but some kind of middle ground would be really good.

3. Writing some grant applications. I have to get myself some research funding for work. It will make life (and working with small children) a million times easier, and I am just plain scared to start. I'm going to line up babysitting for a couple of mornings a week to get on this, because it has to happen this summer.

4. Working out. Unfortunately, the exercise video Mr. X ordered me for Mother's Day (IT'S OK! I asked him for it specifically and even sent him the link to buy it) got lost in the mail. The guy gave us a refund, but I'm bummed out. It's made by the woman who taught my prenatal exercise class, and I own her prenatal workout video, which rocks. So, I wanted this one specifically, but they're sold out, and I found one on At.omic M.all, and that was the only copy I could locate. Argh. But I will exercise, video or no video!

5. Praying. Must ramp up prayer life. No excuses! It's so much better than it was last fall, but I see now how critical this is to everything else.

6. Getting the rest of my life in order. You know, the little stuff. Having friends over regularly, getting our finances in better order, buying a car (long story, which I will fill in soon), etc. Not really, though. These things have to get done, but the first five are critical.

And, yes, maybe two years is a better time frame, but I am fired up. This summer will be it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I taught my last class of the school year today. I am celebrating with a glass of wine and the Glee season finale. That is all for now. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011


Oh my goodness. I'm sooo ready for summer to be here. I have a post to put up about my big epiphany (still needs some work, and don't have time for that tonight, for reasons that will soon become clear), and in that I talk a lot more about work than I ever have on this blog. So, as a little preview of that, I'm a professor at a secular university. Right now, I have about six weeks left until I finish teaching for the summer and can be at home with our kids.

Things were going along pretty well, with our kids attending a little preschool/parents'-day-out program two mornings a week (and then I pick them up, take them home for naps, and work while they sleep), and our beloved nanny caring for them all day on my teaching days. Short of grandparents living next door, I couldn't hope for better childcare when we can't be with the kids. And then our nanny was injured in an accident last week! She'll be fine, but has a lot of recovery and healing to do. She's been such a tremendous blessing to our family, and I'm so sad to think of her in pain. I'm sad for us, too, because she's a wonderful influence on our kids, and on Mr. X and me, too--and we just plain like being with her.

So, with great trepidation, I set out to find childcare for the rest of the school year. Mr. X was wise in suggesting that we make plans for this week first, and then worry about finding a more permanent solution for the rest of the school year. He asked the wonderful couple who sit with the kids during mass (while we sing up in the choir loft), and they graciously said they would watch the kids during my classes this week. The teenage daughter of another couple in our spirituality class is going to babysit in the evening so we can go to class. That gave us some breathing room.

I called the preschool first, and they were very helpful. They said that they could take the kids for the other mornings for the rest of the year. That's really my top choice, because the kids love it there, and we're very happy with the program and the teachers (they have a parent helper every day, and we've been really impressed on our helper days). I'd rather stick with something the kids know and like, rather than spring something new on them. Unfortunately, the "school" day ends in the middle of my teaching schedule. I've been trying since Friday to figure out a solution, hoping that I could find someone to pick the kids up, bring them home, and tuck them in for naps. While working on that angle, I also ran searches on all the child care centers around our home and around my campus. My heart was just sinking at the thought of bringing my kids to a new daycare center or hiring a stranger, wonderful though that stranger may turn out to be. It's just too much when our resources and nerves are stretched thin.

And then I called the kids' first babysitter, a very kind woman to whom I haven't spoken in a while. I thought there was no way she'd be available, but thought I would just ask on the off chance she'd be interested. It turns out that the timing is perfect! She's available, and it sounds like it will work out just as well for her as it will for us!

I've been praying and praying that God would send us the right solution. And I think this is it!

OK. Now I'm off to do a little more work . . . and then shovel out the house, because OH MY GOODNESS, we have a new babysitter who's tied in to our social network, and she's going to be here tomorrow night! But I'm going to sleep well tonight, because my babies will be in trusted hands while I finish out the term.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Three in Diapers (Not a Pregnancy Announcement)

Gaaah! This is what happens when I go back to work. All my good intentions about keeping up with the blog go out the window. I wrote a big, long post about an epiphany I had, but it's not ready yet. In the meantime . . .

All is not well with Wonderdog. She's a 13-year-old shepherd mix, and she's been having some issues for about two years. At that point, I was pregnant, she seemed to be having some problems with arthritis in her hind legs, and she suddenly started peeing on the floor in her sleep. We took her to the vet, thinking maybe she had a UTI, maybe she was weirded out by pregnancy pheromones . . . we didn't know. Because we're not vets. The vet had no good answers (but wanted to run many hundred dollars' worth of tests). We have had her in a couple of times, but the answers were about the same (long-term anti-inflammatories not a great idea . . . but her heart skipped a beat . . . maybe she needs a pacemaker . . . how about we run many hundreds of dollars' worth of tests?).

Finally, things have become much worse. She's having a lot more trouble with stairs, her hind paws slip a lot, and now she's been pooping a lot in her sleep. And this week it was once in her sleep and twice while awake--and it was a TON of poop those times, and it was all over the place. So Mr. X took her in, and he finally got to see the good DOG vet (as opposed to the BIRD vet), and she did some simple neurological tests and said she's most likely got deg.ener.ative myelo.pathy. Basically, it's a progressive neurological disorder common to shepherds (and some other breeds). She has a lot of muscle atrophy in her legs and behind, she can't tell where her hind legs are in relation to the rest of her body . . . and, when she's sleeping, she loses bladder and bowel control because of muscle atrophy and lack of sensation. Ugh. The poor thing! And the symptoms can mimic arthritis, incontinence is a typical symptom . . . so I'm betting she's had it for at least two years.

She's been such a wonderful dog! And I know dogs don't live for ever, and big dogs in particular don't live forever, but what a bummer that she's suffering with this. So now we have doggie diapers for night, she has booties on her hind paws to give her more traction on the wood floors and stairs (which seems to help), and we got a harness that will make it easier for us to lift her and help her on the stairs. She still loves to go for walks, and yesterday she chased a bunny in the back yard (briefly, but she did it), so she's not down for the count yet. Nonetheless, we'll be making some tough decisions in the not-too-distant future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two minute update

Still dealing with the after-effects of the stomach bug (i.e., giving the kids probiotics and very gently adding foods back into their diets). Went back to work yesterday. Realized today that I missed the deadline for returning the used potty to Argh!!! I could just cry about that. My first day back was fine, except that I forgot I wore a coat in the morning . . . which would not have been a big deal if my car keys weren't in the pocket. Forty minutes, two ransackings of my office, and a twenty minute walk to check whether they were in my car out in the parking lot later, I remembered that it had been cool in the morning. I got home 45 minutes late. Thank God for our heaven-sent babysitter!

And now I will crash!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Round three

We're back for round three of this stomach bug. Three times in a month! Sarah had it last week, and Nick came down with it this morning. No fun. I'm praying that we'll be done with it this time. I go back to work on Monday. Thank goodness I took my belated maternity leave when I did--the kids have been sick ridiculously often, school was cancelled due to cold (that's a first around here), the sewer backed up twice, and we had the whole mercury-thermometer fiasco. I'm so glad I wasn't trying to really work during this whole time!

And hallelujah, we're having our sewer line replaced tomorrow! It's been a huge problem for years, but it will be fixed tomorrow! Mr. X went to today, and I asked him to buy a case of toilet paper--the cloggier the better. We've been buying RV toilet paper for years in the hopes it would be easy on our temperamental sewer pipe.

The guys came by and dropped off the trackhoe (according to Mr. X--the kids and I just call it a "digger truck") this afternoon. I had taken Sarah for a walk before lunch while Nick was napping on Mr. X's lap this morning, and we kept an eye out for the truck, which was supposed to arrive at any time. I asked her, "Do you see the digger truck yet?" She said, "No! Scary." I just love that she can tell me how she feels now. So we talked about how trucks can be kind of scary, but we'd just watch this one through the window inside our house, and she seemed to feel a bit better about it. When the truck finally arrived, the noise woke her up from her nap, and sure enough, she insisted that she didn't want to look at the truck. About a half-hour later, she decided to look out the window, and then when Mr. X got home from the store, he took her outside to touch it. Then she was just beside herself with delight over the truck, and she was thrilled to show it to Nick once he woke up from his nap.

And my neighbor and I walked our dogs together tonight! Oh my goodness. I think this was the third time I've hung out with a friend alone (without kids) since Sarah was born almost 20 months ago. I think I need to do that much more often.

So, tonight I get my first hCG injection since October 2008. I can't BELIEVE how much less expensive it was to order it through Kubat Pharmacy in Omaha than it was to buy it from a pharmacy in town. Seriously, it was a third the cost at the cheapest of the six places I tried here. Back in 2008 (and 2007, and 2006) our insurance covered it, but now we changed insurance plans, and so I have to pay full price.

Anyway. Enough of my rambling! (Note to self: work on writing skills. It is bad to end posts like this.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011


That's it. Just tired.

I've been meaning to post all week, but I'm just feeling wiped out!

I need to write some adoption-related posts (timeline and the story of my failed attempt to get a social security card for Nick), but it will have to wait for another day.

But we got a ton done today! I went to a kids' consignment sale at a local church and came home with 30 articles of clothing, two winter coats for next year, two booster seats (for the kitchen), and a big blackboard easel for $61.25. Score! We had a play date with friends we haven't seen in too long. I had a meeting to get up to speed on the lent music at our official parish so that I can start cantoring there again. I went to confession while I was at it. Mr. X and I went to the organizational meeting for a new couples-with-young-kids group at our unofficial parish. And now I will crash!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Recovering from the Weekend

Oh, man! It's been crazy around here.

After we discovered that spilling mercury is baaaaad (and yeah, I remember playing with mercury as a kid, too!) and that sweeping the floor after a mercury spill is really, really bad (at least we had picked up all the visible mercury at that point!), we all huddled in the kids' room with the door closed. We opened the windows in the main area of the house and checked out clean-up instructions online.

Mr. X pointed out that we have a friend who's an environmental engineer, so we called him. He doesn't work with mercury himself, so he called his boss, who said that we probably should go ahead and follow the online instructions we found (and offered to get us a mercury spill kit and lend us their mercury sensor on Monday if we hadn't put that stuff together before then).

So, we went in search of a spill kit and mercury sensor. Ha! Good luck with that on a weekend!

We packed the kids up in the car. It's not a lot of fun to have two sick kids and to have to stay out of the house. We don't have family in the area that we can foist ourselves on and we didn't want to give our friends' kids the germs (let's face it, I'd share the germs with family, but not friends--though our engineer friend--who is a single guy, and boy, we should find a nice girl for him!--offered to let us stay at his place). So we just drove around trying to get the (sick, hungry, tired) kids to sleep while simultaneously getting the mercury clean-up stuff handled.

Things we learned:
1. Our cell phone provider's information service stinks! They could only find one nonemergency number for a fire station in my area, and that was headquarters. Which is open M-F 8-4:30.
2. Our nearest fire station is "not regularly staffed." Boy, I feel safe!
3. The fire station that was open does not have mercury spill kits or mercury sensors (friend's boss thought they might). They called county haz-mat to see if it was an issue.
4. County haz-mat thought it wasn't that big a deal and recommended cleaning up with ammonia . . . which some of the online instructions said might cause an explosion.
5. If county haz-mat had thought there was enough of a problem to need intervention, they would have sealed our house and called a contractor to deal with it, and we would have been on the hook for the bill for thousands of dollars.
6. The pastries at the fabulous Danish bakery near the fire station do have medicinal properties.
7. Walmart does not carry mercury spill kits.
8. Neither does Ace.
9. Neither does Lowes.

So, after hours in the car (which also included a stop at Rite-Aid to buy a new digital thermometer), we headed home. On our friend's advice, we called the county health department (which the cell provider's information service also could not locate), and they said to keep ventilating and try to get a spill kit. We also talked to chemist we know. Yes, we really are specialists at overkill! But it is pretty freaky when you see warnings about irreversible neurological damage to small children.

Saturday night, Sarah slept very little. On Sunday, we went for a walk to get out of the house. Nick threw up on his coat. We repeated the "drive around and try to get sick kids to nap" routine and kept ventilating the living room.I figured out, based on some of the online instructions, that if we still have any mercury in the cracks between the floorboards, it can't be much more than is in a lightbulb, and they just recommend disposing of the pieces in hazardous waste and then airing the room for 12-24 hours for that. Mr. X and I were finally ready to collapse into bed when we went upstairs and found that Wonderdog had had diarrhea all over her bed and the kitchen floor. As we were finishing cleaning it up, Sarah woke up and threw an hour-long tantrum. The poor little thing was so exhausted she didn't know what she wanted. We finally just brought her into our bed and I nursed her to sleep. It may undo some of our sleep training, but oh well.

Today, I finally found the sulfur powder we needed to clean up the last of the mercury at the local compounding pharmacy. When we got home, Nick napped for 2 1/2 hours, Sarah napped for 4 1/2 hours, I napped for about an hour, and we all felt much better. Mr. X put down the sulfur powder when he got home, and we're going to keep the kids out of the room for a few more days, just to err on the side of extreme caution.

Oh, and Mr. X came home with new batteries for my basal thermometer today. I was glad to see that the package read, "No Mercury"!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Get Rid of Your Mercury Thermometers!!

Seriously!! This is my public service announcement of the month.

Last night, Mr. X and I were both wiped out. He had a long week at work (and long nights working on the stuff he had to bring home from work), so I had a long week at home. But did we go to bed early? Nooooo. Of course not! We stayed up talking and then I realized it was after 11 and got grumpy, and we finally crashed. At which point, Sarah woke up. She had trouble going back to sleep, so I went in just after midnight and realized she was burning up. We gave her some ibuprofen, Mr. X started walking her, and she threw up all over both of them. (Side note--I would much rather be thrown up on myself in the middle of the night than have a baby throw up on something that requires more complicated cleaning, like the carpet, or their bed, or my bed.) We got everybody cleaned up, made sure she was feeling a little better, gave her some more medicine, and she went to sleep.

So, we were even more zombie-like today. We were having a slow day around the house, and Sarah was feeling pretty crummy. I could locate three thermometers: the digital rectal thermometer (um . . . no, only if it's absolutely necessary), my basal thermometer with the dead battery, and the old mercury thermometer. So I tried to take her temperature with the old standby, she squirmed, it fell on the hardwood floor, and then we had teeny tiny balls of mercury all around.

Mr. X moved the kids into their bedroom, and we opened the windows, got some paper and scooped up the mercury, and threw it away. Then I went in with the kids, who were clamoring for me, and Mr. X continued cleaning up . . . including sweeping the floor. Then he checked online to see if there were any other precautions we should take. And that's when he found this, at which point we pretty much wanted to burn the house down and start over again. I'll tell the rest of the story tomorrow, but if you've got a mercury thermometer, just get rid of it! It's so not worth the hassle!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

When will I learn . . .

. . . that when a kid throws up, he's probably sick? Boy, I feel like a dimwit! But Nick is just so cheerful that he doesn't seem like he feels sick. Yesterday, he woke up from his nap with a 103-degree fever, and when we were putting him to bed, be threw up again. Poor little guy! Mr. X found me a sub (I was supposed to be parent helper for his preschool class this morning) and I took him to the doctor . . . who diagnosed a virus. Darn it, he's just going to have to wait this one out. He cracks me up, though--he keeps referring to throwing up as "tummy spilled," and he was singing and dancing in the doctor's waiting room. Fortunately for my credibility, he still had a fever when they checked him, so they didn't think it was all in my head! We had chicken soup for lunch and then went to pick up Sarah from preschool.

The good thing is that we saw the doctor and I asked him about whether we should wait a while before going back to infertility treatment. He said no (for much of it, anyway), since some of the treatment I had (i.e., hCG and T3) reduces the risk of miscarriage. I'm scared to call the pharmacy about the hCG, because we've changed insurance and will have to pay for it out of pocket. I hear it's become really expensive since I last took it! We are going to wait on ovulation-inducing drugs to see how things level out with the hCG and T3 . . . and also because femara's not recommended while nursing. So, it we have trouble this time, I might need to wean Sarah to take the drugs. It's kind of wild to be back to the treatment stuff!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Potty Quest and Other Bodily Function Information

So, the replacement potty arrived today! The kids were all excited to open the box. And when they did . . . they weren't sure what it was. Once I said "it's a little potty!" Nick grabbed it and started running toward the bathroom, saying "Bathroom! Bathroom!" and Sarah immediately pulled her pants down as far as she could, shouting "Pants off! Pants off!" Unfortunately, the potty is tiny. I mean, really tiny. It seems more like a doll potty to me, to be honest. And the little "shield" thing would not fulfill its purpose (ahem. Keeping little boys from accidentally peeing on the floor), but would really just serve to slow them down from slipping off the front. Did I mention it's TINY?

So, I had them each try sitting on it (full clothed, in the living room), then explained that we'd have to get one a little bit bigger, but still smaller than the big potty. They were fine with that.

Right now, I am taking a break in the disinfecting process of the hand-me-down potties. Because I am cheap. Right now we're really trying to get out of debt, so we're deep in the "live like no one else" thing, and, hey, hand-me-down potties are saving me at least $40-60 based on what I saw at B.a.bie.s R U.s last weekend. But I am not only cheap, I am also somewhat germ-phobic, so I put on the rubber gloves and am hitting these suckers with all kinds of bleach. When the neighbor first brought the potties down (along with a ton of nice toys), we had the following conversation about them:

Me: I'm not so sure about the used potties.

Mr. X: Well, if you had a plastic cup that was full of poo, and then you washed it, would you drink out of it?

Me: (brief pause while I wonder if this makes me totally neurotic) No.

Mr. X: Me neither, which is why we're not going to drink out of them.

And now it's back to disinfecting potties, but only after bragging that I think I earned two merit badges today (I originally thought I earned just one, but when I told Mr. X I deserved a merit badge, he thought it was for another incident, so now I think I deserve two). Mr. X thought I deserved one because, five minutes before the babysitter arrived for our spirituality class and twenty minutes before Mr. X got home from work, Nick threw up all of his dinner, and I had him and his high chair cleaned up (with the laundry rinsed and ready to go in the washer) by the time Mr. X walked in. (Nick was fine--I think he just gagged on a piece of food, but the poor little guy was so pitiful because he was really sad about it, and kept saying "clothes all dirty" even though I told him we could wash them and make them all clean.)

I thought I deserved one because I checked on Sarah, who had been napping for fifteen minutes, and discovered that she had a poopy diaper. She's had such awful trouble with diaper rash lately that I didn't want to let her nap with it on, but I wanted her to nap, too. So I changed her out of her pants, onesie, cotton-prefold-with-Snappi-and-velcro-diaper-cover and into a clean disposable diaper (and pants back on again) without waking her up! All right, enough of my bragging. I have potties to sterilize!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Update on sleeping and potty training

So, the sleeping is (mostly) getting better around here. Thank you so much for your comments on the climbing-out-of-the-crib situation. I have to admit that, so far, bribery is working beautifully. After that first night, the have not once climbed out of bed. Promises of a sticker along with chocolate milk/reading a new library book/watching a 20-minute video for any child (you get the picture) who stays in bed all night or all of naptime have proven irresistible so far. As soon as that fails, I have a few more ideas up my sleeve (probably either the tie-a-sheet-over-the crib solution or the plunge into toddler beds). At least I know that the promise of a sticker is great motivation indeed.

And we're about to embark on the new adventure of potty training. Nick's been talking about it, and I think it's time to take the plunge. I ordered a potty on, and it arrived yesterday. We made a big deal out of it after naptime, having the kids take turns opening the flaps of the box and pulling out the packing paper inside, until Mr. X pulled out the smaller box containing said potty and curled his lip in disgust.

It was a used potty! Ewwww!

Now, we actually have used potties given to us by our lovely neighbors who have also given us a boatload of their slightly-older children's gently used toys. They didn't have one of the primary design features I was looking for (a shield), so I ordered a new one, too. And I expected to get a new one!

Apparently the potty's original owners opened the packaging, decided to return it to Ama.zo.n, taped it back together, more or less (on one side, the tape is still slit open), applied the return labels, and sent it back. Then took the box with the return labels still on it, plunked it inside a larger box, and sent it to us! Go Am.azo.n!

And, no, I'm not sure if it was really used. We didn't open the box to find out because, I'm sorry, but even if this thing is sparkling clean, I'll still be convinced it was used and cleaned up before it was sent back. So, we are returning it to Am.azo.n, and I told them why. So we still have no potty, but we do have a large box containing a second-hand potty in the entry way. I wonder if Ama.zo.n will put it in a still-larger box and send it to another buyer! This could get into a disturbing Russian-nesting-doll-type scenario. My advice is this: if you order a potty from, and it arrives in a refrigerator box, don't open it! Just send it back!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back again . . .

. . . in more ways than one. Boy! I guess I really need the every day habit of posting. We had company last week, and since no one but Mr. X knows that I have a blog, it makes it a little bit harder to keep up when we have visitors! So it's back to every day posts for me.

And not only am I back to posting, we're officially back to trying to conceive. The sleep training seems to have done the trick not only in getting everyone more sleep around here, but also in bringing the lactational amenorrhea to an end. It's CD2 right now. And I did drag Nick with me to the dollar store to buy pregnancy tests yesterday (negative, of course) . . . realizing now that it's a good thing he's not old enough to find that embarrassing! I have to say it is an interesting new experience trying to take a dollar-store pregnancy test (which, of course, isn't one of the easy POAS kind, but involves a cup and a dropper) with two toddlers who insist on coming into the bathroom with me. I thought it would be pretty wild if I had a positive, but I had about half a day of spotting, which happened when I was pregnant with Sarah, but doesn't usually happen before a period. So, I figured I'd test.

It feels kind of funny to be back to this, and I'm not sure what to expect. The good news so far is that I don't have cramps and the bleeding is actually red, which are two changes that happened pretty far into the infertility treatment I had. The bad news is that I only had an 11-day post-peak phase. I'm about to look back at my charts (charts! Yikes! I haven't charted in 28 months!) to see what I was taking the cycle Sarah was conceived.

Of course, this time is totally different in that I'm on the other side now. The dream of motherhood has come true. We want more children very much, but we're very conscious of the tremendous gifts we have in Nick and Sarah. So . . . here goes!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Glad I Said the Morning Offering Today

Let's just leave it at this--my day involved two separate doctor's offices, two pharmacy visits, snow shoveling, and quality time with our plumber. On the up side, our plumbing is now working, we have a path through the snow to the front door, and the kids have only very mild illnesses and are sleeping peacefully after taking their medicine. Nonetheless, I am soooo tired! I'm collapsing into bed as soon as I put the sewage-befouled laundry into the washer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mommy's . . . what?

Oh man. So, one solution to the climbing-out-of-the-crib scenario is lowering the mattress. The bad news is that, since we have them in the lowest position already, there are only a few inches left, and we'd have to re-engineer the cribs. I suppose we could put the mattresses all the way down on the floor inside the crib, but I don't know if that would solve the problem.

So, right now, I'm leaning toward putting the kids in toddler beds ASAP. The good news is that we have these cribs, which are very low to the ground and can be converted to toddler beds very easily (in fact, we had Sarah's in the toddler bed configuration when we had it side-carred to our bed). And, since they're so easy to convert, we can always convert them back to cribs if need be.

Mr. X is at work and I'm not sure where he put the hardware to do the conversion, so for naptime, I just sat nearby with the baby monitors on until they fell asleep, after promising great rewards for staying in bed. I determined that rewards were necessary because Nick put his foot up on the crib rail as I was leaving the room. I determined the nature of these rewards by asking him what he wants to do after his nap. Unfortunately, I had to shoot down the first two requests ("Outside" because we've already been out once to play in the freezing cold--we made snow angels and then pretty much came right back inside; and "ice-cold cocoa," which is the treat the snowmen have in Snowmen at Night, though I don't think Nick knows what that is, because of the stomach bug), so I settled on his third idea, "ricecake" (oh, OK, twist my arm to give the kids something as decadent as a ricecake) with the added bonus of a sticker on his shirt.

So, after jumping up and checking on the kids at the slightest sound, Nick finally settled in to sleep. As I left his room, I could hear Sarah on her monitor (we've given up on joint naps for the time being, and she's in the pack-n-play in our bedroom) saying "Mommy, Mommy." But she was saying it softly, not crying, and she sometimes does that when she's falling asleep. After several times, I went in the room.

She wasn't saying "Mommy, Mommy." She was saying "Mommy's, Mommy's." As in "Mommy's underpants that I'm trying to put on my head." Ah. She finally figured out that she can reach and open my dresser drawers from the playpen.

I guess I'd better find the hardware and tools to do that conversion and prepare for a rough couple of days until they settle in!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oh, help!

Oh. My. Goodness. Bedtime tonight has been a total fiasco. We tucked the kids in at 7:30. They were really rambunctious, and as we did the dishes, we listen to them carrying on on the monitor.

At 7:50, I went in to put the kibosh on the revelry. They both had messy poopy diapers (we have a bit of a stomach bug going on around here), so that took a little while and necessitated a change of pjs. We tucked them back in, and Mr. X went to walk Wonderdog as Nick started jumping in his crib (again! After he bumped his nose so hard we were afraid he had broken it last night). I gave him a stern "No jumping!" and he stopped. Then Sarah started, and before I could even finish saying "No jumping," she hit her chin on the crib rail, and her front teeth cut into her bottom lip. I carried her into the bedroom, cleaned up the blood, and gave her a cold washcloth to suck on. Nick requested the blankets, pillow, and animals he had thrown on the floor, so I told him I'd give them to him if he was lying down. I got the kids tucked back in and left again.

About 30 seconds later, Nick was screaming, and when I went back in, he was crying for the teddy bear he'd thrown on the floor. Once he was lying down, I gave him the bear and left again.

By now it was 8:12. Things quieted down as they started to settle. Mr. X got home at 8:30, and I was just telling him about Sarah's cut lip when we heard Nick start laughing really hard. Then we heard him giggling, "Open door!" and rattling the doorknob! We ran to the bedroom and then waited for a minute, trying to control ourselves so we wouldn't laugh in front of the kids. We opened the door to find not just Nick, but Sarah, too, standing proudly on the other side of the door. They both climbed out of their cribs! Mr. X made a big deal out of checking them for injuries and putting ice on the (mostly imaginary) bumps on their heads to try to reinforce the idea that climbing out of the crib is dangerous. We tucked them back in, moved anything hard or sharp a safe distance away from the cribs, and left. Mr. X went downstairs to catch up on some work, and I started looking up crib tents online.

I was in the middle of writing this post at 9:12 when I heard "Mommy! Mommy!" and the doorknob rattled again! This time it was just Nick, and he was holding his left arm. We checked out the arm (it's fine), threatened loss of major privileges (We won't visit the snowman in the front yard tomorrow! No educational-video-that-supposedly-teaches-babies-to-read tomorrow!) if they do it again, and now they're trying to sleep.

Oops! I spoke too soon. Sarah started crying really hard, and, given that she's chewing on her fingers and bashed her lip pretty well earlier, we gave her some ibuprofen and gave Nick some juice in a medicine cup. (I promise they're usually better behaved and we're not usually such pushovers, but they're both sick right now.) Finally at 10:00 they seem to be asleep.

Oh, help! We just moved them into the same room a week ago, and they've already taught each other how to escape their cribs! The cribs convert to toddler beds really easily, but I'm not so sure we're ready to have them wandering their room at night at 18 months and 30 months old. The crib tent idea sounds good, but from what I've read, they tend to be expensive, poorly made, and dangerous. Does anyone have any advice, please?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

19 Posts

Woohoo! It's only February 5th, and I've already posted more this year than I did last year.

I'm feeling sluglike. Let's see . . . I put away about four baskets of laundry this morning, took the kids shopping (totally annoying trip--realized once I had the kids buckled into the cart at that I didn't have cash or a check, my debit card doesn't work at, and my debit card is brand new and I wasn't sure if I knew the new PIN number for the ATM. I didn't. So after messing with the ATM for ages and calling Mr. X, who tried to find the PIN number, I went back to the car. I realized that Nick has a dirty diaper. I got Sarah into the car and set up the changing pad in the back of the van, but when I took off his diaper, it was dry. So I put Nick in his seat, drove to the bank, went through the teller lane, got money, went back, did the shopping, then lost my membership card somehow while I was shopping. It took forever!), came home, changed diapers, fed the kids, put them down for their naps, took a bit of a break while they slept, got myself ready for mass, woke Sarah and dressed her while Mr. X got Nick ready, went to mass, came home. Then we ate, bathed the kids, put them to bed, did the dishes, went in to change Sarah's dirty diaper, cleaned up the sugar bowl Mr. X accidentally broke in the kitchen . . . and now we've been pretty much vegging out. Oh well.

When I write it out, I think I got a fair amount done, but I'm still aggravated that I didn't do more. I heard K.imb.erly speak recently, and she talked about how there's not enough time to do our own will for the day, but enough time to do God's will. Hmm. That would probably not leave me so frustrated with myself, either. And would have the added bonus of, you know, doing God's will and all. Maybe I should give it a shot :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Morning, Mary!

This morning, we took the kids to daily mass. We went to a parish we don't normally attend (because it has an 8:30, and we were running late for the 8:00 at our regular parishes), and when we made it up the walk to the front door, Sarah saw the statue of the Blessed Mother right next to the door in front of the bushes. The statue was just about her height, and when she saw it, she said "Mary!" and ran to hug her. And I thought it was the most precious thing and was so happy that at 18 months she already has a love for Mary and wished I had a camera . . .

. . . and then she said "Mary! Hug!" and did it again. And then Nick, standing next to her, said "Mary! Hug!" and hugged her. And Nick and the statue toppled over into the snowy bushes.


Fortunately, the statue wasn't broken, and Nick just got a little bit snowy. And no one else was there to see it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Self-hatred = Bad thing

Darn it, I missed posting yesterday! So, to make up for missing a day, I'll try posting on something a little deeper today.

I had really gotten away from posting here for a couple of reasons. Of course, things have been really busy. But, more than that, I think I'm feeling ambivalent about a lot of things.

I have been feeling like I'm not good enough. You know the kind of thing (maybe? I hope?)--the house is a disaster, so I'll just wait another week or two to invite friends over, because I want it to be nice when they come over . . . so that day never comes. I want to get some funding proposals done to make my life at work better so that maybe I can eventually even cut back work dramatically for a while until the kids are older . . . but I don't want to call the woman at the funding source until I have the idea just right.

I'm not sure where I fit. I started this blog to have a place to (a) talk about infertility and (b) share my story of using NaPro (because when I started there wasn't this wealth of great blogs about it like there are now). So . . . where do I fit now? I feel in-between as a mom, too. I had managed to compartmentalize a lot of things into the "I'll think about that when I actually have to deal with it" category. Like when a friend challenged me in college about Church teaching on contraception, and I said I'd think about that more when it became an actual practical issue for me (not my finest hour as a Catholic, but I've come a little way since then). And, more to the point right now, I had this dream of being a stay-at-home mom and a dream of having an interesting career . . . And since the kids didn't come along until I was 35, I just kept on going on the career, not feeling too pressing a need to reconcile that contradiction. So, now, I feel guilty for the time I don't spend with my kids. And guilty (though, let's face it, not as much) and fearful about work--if I don't do a spectacular job on this or that task, will people assume it's because of the kids? Am I cheating my employer if I don't give the absolute best I've got all the time? And I feel less than the stay-at-home moms I know, especially the ones who are already planning to homeschool their toddlers when the time comes. I feel like I haven't prioritized my family like they have, so they must think less of me. And I feel less than the working moms who don't have the flexibility that I do with my hours and time off. I feel like they must think less of me because I should be grateful for the flexibility I have instead of resenting the time and attention diverted from my family.

And I get so mad at myself for not doing more. For getting distracted. For being tired and lonely enough that, when I do have some time to get things done, I end up goofing off online instead of catching up on work or on laundry or on Christmas cards (for real! They really are Valentines now) or finally posting that stuff I have to sell on e-bay so I can get it out of my family room and throw a party without being totally embarrassed--or just calling a friend (or someone who might be a friend if I ever called them) already!

So. That's why I haven't been posting. And the spiritual formation class and my improved (though still wimpy) prayer life are really helping. The priest who's teaching the class talked about penance vs. self-hatred (penance--good; self-hatred--bad (that's a joke--he said incredibly insightful things about both, but, you know, one is good when it's used properly, and the other's always bad)). I've had some wonderful experiences in prayer that make me feel like I'm starting to get this Relationship with Jesus thing that has always felt just out of my grasp in the past. This is all starting to answer the questions of where I fit and what I should be and what I should do, both with my life and with those few minutes I get to myself. But those are really big questions, too, and it's easy to get discouraged when I fall behind at work and the kids just won't nap and there's a mountain of laundry to do. So it's a work in progress. And I think one big step for me is to just be real and let others see me where I am instead of waiting till I'm finished.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Random Tip of the Day

If you make homemade play dough for your kids because you can't leave the house, wear gloves so it won't suck all the moisture out of your hands! I'm off to put on more hand lotion.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Wish Me Luck

It's crazy cold here. OK, I do recognize that's a relative claim, and highs below zero were not unheard of where I grew up, but I think it's the first time it's happened in the eight years I've lived here.

So, anyway, I took the kids outside to run around in the snow for about 20 minutes before lunch, and after that it was too cold to play outside. And preschool's canceled tomorrow, and we'll definitely not be leaving the house. If I can't take the kids outside to play on a given day, I try to at least take them somewhere where they'll see or do interesting things (this, too, is relative, since running errands can qualify). But it looks like neither one will be an option tomorrow. So wish me luck in keeping the kids entertained tomorrow!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Big Move

We did it! We moved Sarah into Nick's room today.

Nick was so excited, and as soon as we had her crib put together, he threw in a pillow and then emptied the stuffed animal shelf into the crib for her. As we were listening to their looong attempt at taking a nap, we could hear him over the monitor saying "Sarah's bed right here! Nick's bed! Sarah's bed! Nick's bed!"

We decided to start with naptime, which was a bit disastrous, but I'd rather have a disastrous naptime than a disastrous bedtime. After almost two hours (and several visits from me and Mr. X to say "No jumping in the beds! Time to lie down!") Sarah conked out, and then Nicholas fell asleep about half an hour later. Ten minutes after that, Sarah woke up, and then I went back and woke Nicholas up twenty minutes later so he wouldn't sleep too late.

But at bedtime, I tucked them both in and walked out of the room at 7:20. Mr. X went back in five minutes later when they both cried, but he was able to reassure them and was only there about a minute. By 7:26 they were both quiet, and I heard one last little whimper from Sarah at 7:34. I can't believe it!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Friends

Why is making friends so hard as an adult? I went to a women's one-day retreat at church today. I was excited to go, but I just hate going alone. I only knew for sure that one newish friend of mine would be there. But--and this is my goofy shyness talking--I knew that she would know a ton of people there and I didn't want to be the clingy, needy friend. It feels like when I was in junior high and got to be friends with a popular girl in art class but then couldn't hang out with her on the playground. (Totally my issue--she's a good friend, but I'm just weird about it!)

So, I walked in, expecting the room to be set up in rows of chairs, but instead there were tables, which just seemed so much more intimidating to me. And most of the tables were full. I was hoping that two women I know a bit from church (they're sisters with kids the same age as mine) would be there, so I looked for them a bit. I didn't see them, so I decided to get a bagel from the breakfast table first to stall before sitting down. I felt like a dork looking around the room, so then I decided to walk through the tables for a minute and look a little more for anyone I knew.

Then the organizer (whom I also know slightly) saw me and said, "Oh, I'll make an announcement for people to raise their hands if there's room at their table." So then I was embarrassed. I said a quick prayer and told myself to just bite the bullet and sit down. The organizer made the announcement, and I saw my friend raise her hand. I decided to stop being stupid about it and just go sit with her. But then I passed the table next to her and there were two women sitting there alone and I felt like maybe it would be rude to walk by them and go sit at my friend's table. Gee, overanalyzing much? So I sat with them. And it was awkward. I got back up and went to get a cup of tea, at which point I saw the two sisters sitting across the room. Argh! So I went back to my awkward table.

And slowly our table filled up. And the talks were good, and during lunch I had a nice conversation with the two women next to me. One of them is new in town and expecting her first baby. We were the only ones who stayed for the Q&A at the end, and I sucked up my courage and told her I'm thinking of getting together with some other moms of young kids (which I am), so we exchanged numbers. And afterward, I talked to my friend and her husband and they invited us to a party they're having. And I found the sisters and chatted with them too. So, overall, it was a great day for me on a lot of fronts. I wish I wasn't so paralyzed by shyness, but I'm trying to be a big girl and force myself to take the first steps. I wish it didn't make me feel like I'm back in the lunch room, stepping out of line with my tray and facing the long rows of tables, hoping to find someone who will eat with me!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Tonight in the bath, Nicholas lined up all his Little People on the side of the tub. Then he took them down, said to me "Pushin' me. Kids. Time out." and put them facedown on the other side of the tub. Hmm. Maybe the discipline is starting to sink in. (Though, for the record, I don't put him facedown when he has a time out. I presume that was the Little-People-in-a-tub version of sitting on a chair.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Got Nothin'

My mind is a blank! But I said I'd post every day for a month to get back in the habit, and I don't have time to write anything big . . .

Oh! So I took the kids for flu shots yesterday. I took them to a different HMO location than we usually go to (which is also different from our usual NaPro family doctor, who's out of network). It was nuts! I got one, too, and it was kind of hilarious. I went first, and it freaked Sarah out to see me get a shot. Then Nick got the flu mist, which he thought was really weird, and he protested quite a bit and then seemed really surprised and confused once it was done. Sarah went last, and the poor little thing tensed her leg before the shot, and the nurse kept going on about how strong her legs were.

I always get really sore from the shot--my arm seems to hurt forever! But today I also have body aches like the actual flu. I looked up side effects online, and that seems to be a common one (I had to look it up online because they actually didn't give me the literature on it, and I'm one of those people who reads every word of the warnings. I only realized it as I was walking out the door with the kids, and there was no way I was going back in to get it. So, anyway, I'll blame my lack of brainpower today on that and call it a night!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She Did It!

Hallelujah! Tonight was Night 13 of sleep training, the first night of tucking Sarah in and leaving the room. She did great! For the first time in the whole 13 nights, she was asleep before 8:00--and for the first time ever, we put her to bed and she fell asleep in her crib, by herself! Hooray!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sleepy Post

I had spiritual formation class tonight. Man, it rocks! I finally feel like I understand what people say when they talk about having a personal relationship with God. So, I'm working on it . . . slowly, but (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course) I'm working on it.

At our class last week, we received copies of the personal revelations to Catalina Rivas about the mass (you can find it here if you click the "View PDF" link under The Holy Mass). I've started reading it, but haven't finished yet. It's pretty amazing so far, though.

OK, that's it for tonight!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just in case . . .

Today was Sarah's 18-month check-up. She did really well. She's still in about the 80th percentile for height, which clearly comes from Mr. X, because I'm 5'2". The assistant took her temperature, and when she (the assistant) said "thermometer," Sarah repeated it--not very clearly, but we all understood her. Apparently, she told everyone in the office, because when the PA came in, he had the following conversation with Sarah:

PA: So, I heard you said thermometer!
Sarah: Yeah.
PA: Did you say thermometer?
Sarah: Yeah.
PA: Can you say thermometer?
Sarah: Yeah.
PA: Can you say thermometer again now?
Sarah: Yeah.

And that was all she would say about that.

Tonight, I read Nicholas one of his favorite books, Goodnight Goon, as a bedtime story. It's a parody of Goodnight Moon (we actually sent him that book, along with video and audio recordings of us reading it, in a care package while we were waiting for the adoption to go through) with monsters. Our friends sent Goodnight Goon for Halloween, and it became an instant favorite. And just in case I'm ever feeling vain, I can just pull that book out, because both kids almost always point to Frankenstein's monster and say "Mommy!"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Couch is Getting Old

The sleep training is going well, thank God! But I want my bed back! Today, I was folding laundry on the bed (since we're not sleeping in the bed while we do Sarah's sleep training, the bed was actually made for a change!) and first Sarah wanted to sit on my lap and nurse, then Nick wanted to climb up and play, and then Mr. X came in and joined us, so we all lay on the bed for a few minutes. The couch is getting old! I have actually been sleeping on the guest bed the last two nights, because Mr. X has taken the night wakings for the weekend.

But even though I'm a little bit sad about not having Sarah cuddling with me at night, it will be really nice to have our bedroom back again! The plan right now it so finish up the sleep training (right now, whichever of us is putting her to sleep--usually me at naptime and Mr. X at bedtime) is sitting right outside the door, with the door open so she can see us, until she falls asleep. After two more nights of that, we'll start tucking her in and then leaving the room and checking on her every 5 or 10 minutes until she falls asleep. And if that goes well, then after three nights we'll move her crib into Nick's room and reclaim our bedroom! I can't wait!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


We had friends over for dinner tonight. It was the typical scenario. We woke up, figured out shopping lists, got ourselves all stressed out, and spent the morning running all the errands. I got the kids down for their naps, at which point Mr. X got back from his half of the errands. We started in on the cooking, got the kids up from naps and let them watch the new Thomas the Tank Engine DVD we got from the library this morning while we did the panicked cleaning. By the time our friends arrived, the house was not totally embarrassing, the dinner was just about ready, and we were exhausted!

I'm glad we did it, though. It's so nice to get to spend some time with friends. We had a nice time, we've got lots of leftovers in the fridge, and the house will be in much better shape for relaxing tomorrow. Now I'm going to go collapse!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Indispensable Baby Stuff

I've been buying baby shower gifts lately, which has me thinking about what baby items I think are fantastic.

I'm getting everyone I know the DVD of the Happiest Baby on the Block. Oh my goodness, this saved our lives. I never would have thought to turn on the hairdryer to calm a newborn, but it worked! (But not as immediately as the "womb noises" sound tracks on the DVD!)

I've also been buying swaddlers (this was our favorite, though if we're blessed with another baby, I want to try this one and this one, too). We swaddled Sarah for a looong time.

Speaking of swaddling, it was so frustrating to try to swaddle a baby in a standard size receiving blanket! Sarah is tall, but I think it would be hard even with a shorter baby, especially once the baby starts to grow. If we have another, I might just make my own.

We borrowed a swing and a co-sleeper, both of which were great, and I shudder to think what I would have done without a swing. Given that we immediately (well, once she was four weeks old, but close enough!) had a second, older child, having a place where I could put Sarah down and she would be happy for a little while was wonderful, especially since she would only sleep on me or in the swing for quite a while.

Hmm. That's all for now. We just got our first wool diaper cover (my mother-in-law bought it for us), and I'm really curious to see how it works. For now, I've got to sleep. Last night was really windy, which disturbed the kids, and I went in to Sarah three times and Nick twice between 3:15 and 6:00 this morning, so I'm beat!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Baby's Growing Up

I've sung Sarah the same two songs while I'm nursing her every night. Tonight, I sat down with her in the rocking chair and started singing. While nursing, she starting making little "mm-mm" sounds of protest. Finally, she pulled off, looked at me, and said "ABC song." So I sang her the alphabet song. She sang along for a while, and then nursed some more. When I was done, I asked if she had any other requests. She said "happy song." It took me a minute to realize she meant "Happy Birthday." So, I sang "Happy Birthday" to Sarah, Nicholas, and Grandpa at her request. I don't know why it struck me so funny, but it cracked me up to have this little person nursing and throwing out song requests at bedtime.

Last night, she slept just as well as the night before, so we'll see how tonight goes!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peaceful Night

Last night was night 5 of the sleep training with Sarah. In our spiritual formation class last night (Mr. X stayed home to put her to bed, and our babysitter came and helped with Nicholas), I was reminded that we need to ask in order to receive, and so I prayed specifically for a peaceful night's sleep for all of us. This might sound odd, but I also heard from someone I know slightly that she had been told that one of the ways Satan works against parents is through lack of sleep, so I said a spiritual warfare prayer, too. And she slept through the night! She made noises a couple of times, though once I could tell they weren't waking noises, and the second time I went in and rubbed her back, but she was actually asleep. She woke up and called me at 7:00, and when I walked in, she smiled, waved, and said "Hi Mommy!" Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Shortly before Christmas, I went to pick up Nick from preschool, and his teacher said, "Are you, by any chance, Catholic?" I said, "Yeeessss . . . what did he do?" It turns out he had been walking around the room, holding a book over his head and singing "Alleluia." And it turns out both his teachers are Catholic and finally figured out what he's doing!

One of Nick's favorite things to do is to play priest. He started out pretty simply, late this summer, singing "Alleluia"--interestingly, he sings the "Celtic Alleluia" beautifully, even though the parish we're currently attending doesn't use that setting. Then, one day, Mr. X draped a blanket around Nick's shoulders. Nick looked at it, then folded his hands and started slowly walking around, singing "Alleluia."

At this point, he sings the Alleluia, Amen, parts of the Sanctus and Gloria, and the Memorial Acclamation. He'll hold processions carrying a book over his head, a block or stick (which, he will tell me, is a candle or a cross), or his sippie cup. Sometimes, he convinces Sarah to join in, and she either holds a book and sings Alleluia or folds her hangs and sings Amen. He turns over boxes to make an altar, and then he'll put blocks (as candles), cups, and books on top. Sometimes he kneels in front of the altar. He shakes hands and says "peace-a-lou." In the past week, every once in a while, he'll say "Jesus Christ. Lamb of God. Take away sins of the world." He'll lean over to me at dinner and hand me a little piece of food (usually a pea) and whisper, and I finally realized a couple of weeks ago that he's whispering "Body Christ." But probably the most entertaining instance happened last week when he was standing in front of his "altar," chanting, and I was talking to Sarah. He stopped, looked at me, and said "Shh. Priest talk."

So, I think I'll choose to interpret the incident this morning, when he figured out how to open his sippie cup and ran through the kitchen, living room, and hallway splattering apple juice everywhere, as his version of a sprinkling rite. If only he had really had holy water, I wouldn't have had to wipe the floor down twice!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Give This a Try . . .

Well, here I am again. The goal this time is to post something, ANYTHING, every day for a month and then re-evaluate. I'll try for something a bit deeper later this week (maybe about why I haven't been posting, ha!), but for now . . .

I'm on a second maternity leave (the complicated policy at work meant that I could take one maternity leave when Sarah was born but couldn't take leave for Nick's adoption till now), hooray!

I'm feeling proud of myself because today we made it to daily mass (well, communion service), I got the kids to the park, I baked two dozen cupcakes from scratch for Sarah's preschool class tomorrow (with real buttercream frosting, thankyouverymuch), both kids napped, I vacuumed our disgustingly dirty carpets, I threw the dogs disgustingly dirty bed in the washer, and I caught up on dishes. Unfortunately, I forgot to wash any of my own pants, so I'll be wearing slightly dirty dress pants to be the parent helper in Sarah's class tomorrow. I am, however, feeling like a slug because I still have I-shudder-to-think-how-many Christmas cards sitting downstairs waiting to be sent. These are cards with this year's picture AND last year's BABY ANNOUNCEMENTS inside them. They WILL be sent, even if I end up writing "consider this a Valentine" on the envelopes.

We're on night four of sleep training for Sarah. Why, oh why did I wait till she was almost 18 months old??? The first night was pretty rough, but since then she hasn't cried at bedtime or naptime or night wakings for more than a minute or two at a time. We're using The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight, which Jennifer at Conversion Diary recommended. The first three nights, you (Mr. X in our case) sit beside the crib until the baby's asleep, then over the following days you move further away. She's doing so great. Of course, her crib is still in our room, and we thought it would be lunacy for us to try to do this while we're sleeping in there, too, so we're sleeping on couches for the time being, but the end is in sight. I think we'll finally be able to move both kids into the same room soon.

Speaking of which, I should jump into bed onto the couch since I am on duty for night wakings. There have been none so far tonight, but who knows what's in store.

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