Friday, December 28, 2007

Spoke too soon...

I'm posting from my Blackberry. This is a first for me, but there have been a lot of firsts this week.

The last few days haven't gone as expected. We took Juliette to her pediatrician for a check-up on Wednesday (the day after Christmas) and she was diagnosed as being dangerously jaundiced and requiring immediate treatment. So we have been at the NICU at Texas Childrens' Hospital since then. She's been receiving IV fluids and phototherapy and the treatment has been very effective so far. The doctors are very optimistic that she wasn't at sustained high levels long enough to cause permanent damage and neurologically she seems fine. They discontinued the phototherapy this morning and we'll see whether her bilirubin rebounds substantially. If not, she'll probably be discharged tomorrow.

The experience has been stressful, certainly, but we're thankful for so much. I've been able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house here which is on the same floor as the NICU. So I can get an hour or two of sleep between feedings at night.

We're lucky to live only a few miles down the road so Sean and the boys can come and go (although the boys aren't allowed in the NICU, it allows Sean and I to rotate out).

The Ronald McDonald house is so wonderful and the kids can watch tv and read books and play in there during the day which is so much better than being bored and stir crazy in a hospital lobby.

Seeing all these sick kids in the NICU makes us so thankful that our Juliette was born at 36 weeks, and not 27. Despite this recent episode, we know that ultimately we'll get to take home a healthy baby and there are so many families who can't say the same.

We're fortunate to have such a great medical staff here who responded so fast to her condition and seem to genuinely care about every baby they treat. And we're so lucky to have the insurance and financial means to get her the treatment she needs and not worry about how to pay for it (well maybe Sean worries, but really, it isn't a hardship to us).

Wishing you all many wonderful things in the new year. If I ever leave this hospital, I'll try to post some pictures from Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not exactly as planned...

Well, things didn't go exactly as planned last week, but the outcome was good just the same.

We went to the hospital first thing Thursday for the amnio. First of all, never get your amnio done by a person who is doing the procedure for the first time in their ENTIRE life. I might as well have had Sean hold the needle. The instructor (i.e. real doctor) was actually yelling at the guy doing the procedure the entire time. Things like "butterfingers" and "what are you doing?" and "can't you feel that?" were angrily directed towards him as he helplessly tried to draw up a vial of amniotic fluid. But overall, I don't think you could have a worse amnio, and it still wasn't all that uncomfortable, more tragic comedy than anything else.

But an hour later, we got the results: the baby's lungs weren't mature enough to proceed with delivery. So the hospital threw me out, sending me to my doctor for a Rhogam shot (I'm Rh negative, Sean is positive, so any time there's a possibility the baby's blood has come in contact with mine, I have to get a shot). I get to the doctor's and he says "What the hell are you doing here?" and I say "The hospital sent me" and he says "They're supposed to hold you for 24-hour observation in case the amnio broke your water or something". So he proceeds to call and yell at the hospital and sends me back there. So I sent Sean home and sat there twiddling my thumbs for 24 hours while they monitored the baby's heart rate and my contractions. Nothing too exciting.

The next morning, my doctor comes to visit me and says that he's sending me home and we can schedule my delivery for next Friday (the 28th). So we chat for a bit and he's about to leave and I say "don't you want to check my cervix, just in case these contractions have actually become productive?" So he says "yeah, sure, let's do that since we're going into the weekend". And then about 60 seconds later he says "OK, go ahead and call Sean because it looks like we're going to have a baby today after all." So by some miracle after 2 months of continuous yet non-productive contractions, I had dilated since my office visit on Tuesday and was in real labor after all. So mature lungs or not, it was time to go. Things went pretty quickly after that.

Juliette Claire entered the world at 2:02 pm on Friday, Dec 21st. We got a little suprise during her delivery when the doctor discovered that her umbilical cord had a complete knot in it. I'll post a picture at some point. Needless to say, the doctor was relieved we delivered when we did, since that knot could have cut off her blood flow and killed her at any time. And we were thankful too, since we know someone who lost a full-term baby to a knotted umbilical cord and can't imagine the grief if something like that happened to our precious, long-awaited angel. Juliette needed oxygen for an hour or so, but didn't have to go to the NICU at all, thus disproving the "not mature" lung test results of the amnio from the previous day. She was fully baked and ready to roll.

We spent the usual sleepless nights in the hospital and despite some mild jaundice, came home today to spend Christmas Eve with our newly expanded family. Juliette has been awake for less than 5 minutes since we've been home. She refuses to open her eyes to see her new room, but maybe later. Updated pictures can be found on the McLaughlin family KodakGallery page (link on the right).

May all the blessings of Christmas be as abundant in your house as they have been in our home this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The end is near...
I am officially now more pregnant than I have ever been in my entire life. Having two pre-term babies wasn't fun, but being more pregnant than you ever expected to be is kind of annoying too. But I'm thankful to have made it this far and it looks like today will be my last pregnant day ever. So I had to preserve the moment with a photo. I'm going into the hospital in the morning for an amnio and if the baby's lungs look good, we should have her sometime later in the day. So think good thoughts for us and we'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Down for the count...

Sorry belly fans, no pictures this week, or any time soon probably. I went to the doctor last Tuesday because I was having pretty frequent contractions. He checked me out and determined my cervix has already softened and effaced, which is a big no-no at 27 weeks. So he checked me into the hospital and I spent last week on a nice combination of magnesium (to stop the labor) and phenegran (for the nausea, but it puts me in a nice near-comatose state). I've been released from the hospital, with a pump that puts terbutaline into my leg 24/7 to try to keep my contractions under control. I get 2 hours per day hooked up to a contraction monitor which then transmits data to a nurse who calls and hassles me about how many contractions I'm having (if it's more than 4/hour, I get an extra dose from the pump and have to monitor for another hour). The rest of my days for the next 8 weeks will apparently consist of bedrest and occasional trips to the bathroom, maybe even a shower once in a while.

Decorating the baby's room? Not gonna happen apparently. Halloween pictures of the young Alex Rodriguez (Hayden) and Derek Jeter (Trevor)? Not gonna happen. Family Christmas card pictures? So sad, not this year. I'm trying to keep positive about this. The goal is to have a healthy baby GIRL who gets to come home from the hospital with me. So if that means 8 weeks of complete and utter boredom, sign me up. I'm with the program. How much I wish we had a laptop computer though. The doctor did tell me Monday that I get a few minutes per day of upright time sitting at the computer. I've just about exhausted that though, so goodbye for now.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm just annoyed today. Can't find anything, too dark to take pictures, backdrop stand is broken. 15 minutes late for a block party and Sean and the kids aren't even awake. Optimism about selling the old house in the first week is fading fast. Skin stretched to the point where it hurts. Boxes EVERYWHERE still. Trevor got first stitches this weekend (metal baby gate fell on back of head); questioning legitimacy of pediatrician who sews skin closed using child's own hair. Ready to throw out everything that isn't unpacked yet. Not interested in meeting new neighbors. Blech! One of those days.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Still experiencing technical difficulties...

The Comcast guy finally came, but apparently wasn't the right guy. He can only activate existing cable jacks, not install new jacks. Well, we told the person on the phone we needed new jacks. "That's a separate service call. After they install the jacks, I can come back and activate them." Arrrggghhh! Well, with a 1971-vintage house, you don't have cable jacks in every room. We did have one in the den behind where we put the entertainment center, so we were able to watch the disappointing Yankees loss to the non-PC-named team from Cleveland. I especially liked game 2 where they had some bizarre insects swarm the field and attack the players.

ButI digress. The lack of internet at the house, coupled with the massive amount of work to get the old house ready for listing, means that we went another week without the belly pics. But trust me, there's still a belly, and it's darned big. Once I unpack my stand and backdrop and have 20 minutes of free time during daylight hours, I'll take a pic for posting, I promise. The other issue with the pics is that since I include my head and face, it seems like I should shower and dry my hair first. That makes the whole thing a much bigger hassle when you're doing cleaning, moving and unpacking. I think that's why I did the decapitated pictures my first pregnancy. No primping required.

Oh well, off to parent-teacher conference at Hayden's school. Wonder what they'll say about him?

Monday, October 01, 2007


That's what I've been. We made it to NYC and back successfully and closed on the new house and moved in. But the @#*&##'s at Comcast still don't have our cable or internet hooked up so I've been completely offline except for my Crackberry. I haven't done pregnancy pics for the last two Sundays but just take the last pic and adjust the width by 200% and you'll have a good idea of what I look like.

I'm almost glad to be back at work today because the overwhelming pile on my desk is nothing compared to the pile of boxes at the house. But, we're gradually settling in, even though Trevor keeps saying he wants to go "home". I tell him this is our home now, but I don't think he's accepting it just yet. I'm sure it doesn't help that they've been asked to just entertain themselves and stay out of the way for the past week-plus. And their diet has been almost 100% fast food and candy. And their sleep schedule is totally out of whack. But hey, they're kids, they can adjust, right?

Some things I love about the new house/neighborhood:
  • Whole Foods Mkt only 3 blocks away
  • "Fire Engine" park only 5 blocks away
  • Great elementary school ~8 blocks away
  • My work 2.4 miles away

Number of times in my life I am likely to walk or bike to any of these places: ZERO. But it's nice to have such short drives in my future :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Roommate update...

Bedtime was relatively uneventful last night and both boys went to sleep without much ruckus. Trevor woke up at 4 am and was crying because his nose was stuffed up. He went back to sleep pretty quickly after that. But when I peeked in at 7 am, I found Trevor snuggled up next to Hayden with his blankies covering both of them and Hayden's arm draped over his shoulder. Hayden said "He was feeling scared and wanted me to keep him company." That's what big brothers are for, right?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Apparently, I wasn't thinking ahead...

When I first did the layout on the pregnancy picture, the idea was to have them all exactly alike, so if you wanted to, you could do a slideshow of them and it would be like a time-lapse video of the explosion of my belly. But apparently, I didn't have enough foresight because I'm going to have to change the layout. If I don't make the pictures wider, my enormous belly is going to run off the page or else the elbows overlap from the front and side shots. Guess I didn't think I was going to get this big. And hopefully no issues and baby stays put for a long, long time. A few contractions were threatening last week, but they've eased off now.

What else? So much. Trevor has Fifth Disease, which sounds scary, but is really just a virus that most kids get at some point or another that has an associated rash. So no big deal, except it can be dangerous to pregnant women and causes something crazy like 5% miscarriages if you get it in your first 20 weeks. Fortunately, I'm past 20 weeks, and also apparently am immune from some earlier exposure in my lifetime. It only took 1 doctor's visit and 50 badgering phone calls to get this reassuring information. Gotta love that office staff.

We're packing furiously as the movers are supposed to come on the 26th, which is 2 days after we get back from NYC. I still need to hire a painter and a carpet company and a carpenter to work on our house to get it ready to sell. Oh, and a furniture staging company too. But we're 10% packed so it shouldn't be any issue figuring all that out in the next 4 days, right? Arrgghh! Stress!

My friends apparently weren't impressed with the tacky 70s retro flair of our new house and think I need to get HGTV on the case to rescue me. I'm open to all free renovations that are offered, but otherwise, 2 mortgages and no job (long unpaid maternity leave coming up) mean I'm putting on my polyester leisure suit and ABBA records and living the 70s dream.

Oh, and we put Trevor's bed in Hayden's room so we can re-convert our "nursery" to a closet so it will appeal to someone other than us. So today we had 2+ hours of everything but napping at nap time. Since they're going to be sharing a room permanently at the new house, I hope the novelty of sharing a room wears off quickly. But either way, they'll eventually be exhausted enough to sleep, right? Please just humor me here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

22 weeks...people are starting to feel up my belly

I guess I'm at the point where I'm so obviously pregnant that strangers feel like they're allowed to touch me. Maybe I should write to Miss Manners for some advice. Is "Get your damned hands off me?" a socially acceptable response? Or while somebody is in mid-grope and asks "Is this OK?" can I say "If it wasn't, now would be a little late to ask, wouldn't it?" I just don't respond at all.

I've been remiss in blogging lately. I never even caught up with Hayden's first day of school pictures. This whole house thing has been all-consuming and probably will be for at least another month. Right now we're scheduled to close on Sept 28th and somehow need to find movers, pack our stuff, get our house ready to sell, find a realtor, list the house, etc. etc. etc. between now and then.

We've cut the Northeast vacation short, which probably works out for the best since we didn't have anywhere to stay and don't need to blow any extra cash right now. I'm still trying to find accomodations for while we're in NYC for the Yankees games. I'm seriously considering staying in New Jersey at this point. Gotta love the Garden State, right? I can show the kiddos the cute little Cape Cod house I lived in on River Road in Piscataway. "Look kids, here's where Mommy's car got stuck in a snowbank and people she knew just drove past while she was digging herself out like a dog using nothing but an ice scraper." Oh, the fond memories.

Oh well, need to jet off to Lowe's to see if I can get some cute, cheap light fixtures to make this townhouse say "BUY ME NOW!!!"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Happy Labor, I'm not in labor

I'll keep this post short so as not to distract you from the shameless solicitation attempt below (please see post from Sept 1st). So here's a picture of my newfound enormousness.

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's Fundraising Time....

Hayden has a fundraiser for his preschool (a very worthy cause if you ask me) and we're looking for people to order some goodies. I'm especially trying to get lots of help because if we sell enough, I don't have to participate in the Spring fundraiser. We're on a short deadline (all orders by Sept 11th) so here's what to do:

1) Go to before 9/11/2007
2) Shop from their great selection of personalized items, chocolates, and more!
3) Enter 87346 under Option 1 after selecting an item.

By entering number 87346, you'll credit Hayden and Poe Co School with a large percentage of your purchase price.

If you live locally, and don't want to spend the money on postage, you can pick out your items on-line, e-mail your list to me, and send me a check for your total purchase made out to Poe-Co Nursery School.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Conversations in the car...

Since I missed the first day of school yesterday, due to a business trip to Virginia, I decided to drop Hayden off today. I asked him who he wanted to take him to school today, me or Erika? He said, without enthusiasm, "I guess you could take me if you really want to Mommy." Good to know he wasn't scarred for life by my absence yesterday. So we're driving in the car and out of nowhere he says:

Hayden: Mommy, when I get 42, I'm going to work at the plant, for Chevron Phillips. When I get bigger, when I'm a daddy, that's what I'm going to do.

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures from his first day, Sean was so sweet to capture the moment for me.

Oh, and the sellers accepted our offer on the house. The inspection was yesterday. It looks like we'll be moving at the end of September. Yikes! Time to start clearing out a massive amount of crap.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

20 weeks...that's halfway by everyone's standards...

I had quite the humbling experience today. We had the introductory family picnic at Hayden's school. There are 4 other pregnant moms and only me and one other mom are wearing maternity clothes. And we're all on our 3rd pregnancies at about the same gestation. So why isn't everyone popping out like me? I couldn't dream of wearing regular clothes anymore. Oh well, I guess it just means I get more usage out of my ridiculously-priced but poorly-made maternity wardrobe. Which by the way, includes something other than a black tank top and black pants in case you are misled by the photos.

We wrote a contract on a house this weekend. Now we're just hoping for a little compromise from the seller. They've only been willing to come down 0.9% from their asking price so far and we're asking them to bend a little more (twice that much, to be precise). So I'm not sure what we should all be hoping for, but we may soon be the proud owners of three kids and two mortgages. Won't that be fun? Especially given my plan for an 8-month, mostly unpaid, maternity leave. I'm sure we won't have any trouble selling a dime-a-dozen townhouse in Midtown, right? Ssshhhh, don't let reality spoil my little fantasy of 2,700 sqaure feet with a backyard in a good school district.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Anything for a Jelly Bean...

You'd think by the title that I'm talking about myself, right. Nooo, there's a bigger jelly bean fiend in my house than me. It's Trevor. He's always been a terror when we try to cut his nails. When he was young, I would just cut them while he was nursing, since he'd be all distracted and relaxed. But after that stopped, it took one of us to hold him down and the other to try to hold his hands steady and cut while he's screaming bloody murder the whole time. It's like trying to put sunscreen on a Salvaggio. A few weeks ago, I decided to give him a bag of jelly beans to work on while I cut his nails. Lo and behold, I have an angel on my hands. Speaking of angels, how do you think I got him to pose with those wings for Valentine's day? Jelly beans, of course. So last weekend he actually brought me the nail clippers and said "Cut my nails Mommy? Jelly beans, please?" He looks forward to having his nails cut!

I know, I know, it's wrong to bribe your kids. But you can live in parenting fantasy-land if you want. I found something that works and I'm running with it. Is 10 jelly beans a week going to kill the kid? Ten pounds of jelly beans a week hasn't killed me yet. Oh shut up, I've cut back on account of the gestational diabetes and everything. I even turned down a cupcake last week so I should win some pregnant woman medal or something.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Would you hire this woman?
Not that I'm looking for a job, I've got a perfectly good job, but I'm wondering about how wise this is to post these graphic photos of myself on the internet. I heard this article on NPR the other day quoting the percentage of employers who screen candidates by looking up their names on the internet. So if you put my name on a search engine and saw these pictures, would you hire me? Or would you write me off as a nutcase? It's certainly not the mental image I would want a prospective employer to have in their mind when they were interviewing me. But you know what they say, once you've posted something on the internet, it's out there forever, no matter if you delete it or not. So for better or worse, I'm out there, in all my glory, for the world to see.

A visit from the teachers...
I could write a long list about the things I love about Hayden's preschool, but one of my favorites is that the teachers come to visit the students at home before school starts. That way, the students already feel like they have a personal relationship with the teacher when school starts, and the anxiety is eased a bit. And they take pictures of your kid at home and have them displayed in various spots in the classroom so they feel like they already belong on day 1.

Here's Hayden looking out the window waiting for his teachers:
Trevor was pretty excited about their impending arrival too, even though he has another year before he'll start school.
"They're here Mommy! I see Miss Linda and Miss Beth!"
Here's my soon-to-be Apple (his class is the Apple class, last year was Acorns) mugging for a photo with Miss Beth and Miss Linda:
I think our Apple year will be just great. Hayden can't wait for school to start.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

18 weeks = Halfway there????

OK, I know I'm only 18 weeks, and a normal pregnancy is supposed to be 40 weeks. But since Hayden and Trevor both decided to enter the world at 36 weeks, I'm not holding out much hope this little one will last till January. So by my math, I'm halfway through.

We went into an old-timey local grocery store today and they had a big old-fashioned scale. Hayden weighed himself and it came within 2 lbs of what I think he weighs (based on his last doctor's visit a month or so ago). I weighed myself and came in 15 lbs less than my last visit from a few weeks ago. But these pictures sure don't look like I've lost 15 lbs so I'm thinking it was just a very kind scale.
Messy Day, Fun Day...

I was home with the boys on Friday and actually let Trevor finger-paint. Very out of the ordinary for me. I usually defer the messy undertakings to Mon-Thurs when the nanny is watching them. But I was in a sporting mood and was pleasantly rewarded with a very messy two-year old who painted himself more than the paper. But there isn't anything a little soap can't cure.

Then, I put the boys down for early naps so they could get ready for our night at the ballpark. My workgroup had planned for us to all go with our families to watch an Astros game. A behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark was arranged ahead of time, which meant that we had to be there at 3:45 pm. It was loads of fun, but the game went into extra innings before the Astros finally lost. I was proud of my little troopers for staying till the bitter end and even watching Friday-nite fireworks afterwards. Of course, staying up till almost midnight meant they slept till 10:30 on Saturday, but that's what weekends are for, right?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Negative...and that's positive...The doctor's office called me today with the results of my triple screen test and said that everything was negative. Which is good news. My OB had me convinced that due to my "advanced maternal age" I should expect a positive result indicating the potential for some type of chromosonal abnormality or neural tube defect. So he wanted me to go ahead and schedule an amniocentesis so we could follow-up. There are varying claims on the %age of amniocentesis tests that cause miscarriage. Some stats say 1%, others say 0.5%. My doctor claims 1 in 400. Still, I wasn't totally bought in on taking the risk. And the stupid perinatologist's office where I was supposed to schedule the test couldn't fit me in for 3 weeks anyway, and you're supposed to have the thing during your 17th week. So anyways, crisis averted. No doom and gloom. No 8 inch needle into my abdomen. Only one downside: the amnio would have given 100% confirmation on the baby's gender. But I don't need the amnio to tell me. I believe the ultrasound. Oh, didn't I tell you yet? You'll just have to wait in suspense a little longer. :-)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It's a.....
big ol' belly, isn't it. No really, it's about the same size as last week I think. Although more strangers on the street are starting to notice that I'm pregnant. You know...staring at the belly...wondering uncomfortably...asking round about questions like "Where did you get that top?" I must admit that I have a friend I saw recently who appeared to be visibly pregnant, yet didn't say anything. I tried to sneak around the topic, with no success..."So, isn't your friend due to have her second soon? Two can be really overwhelming at first, but it's really worth it." But she didn't bite at my attempts to engage the conversation. But we did get confirmation recently in a note announcing she's due with a little boy in a few months. So I know how hard it is to be curious, but not quite willing to go out on the limb and say "You're sure looking fat around the middle. Is there a baby in there or what?" Because you never want to be dangling on that limb and fall off the tree.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Any better ideas?

We're taking the kids to New York in September. This is Sean's big pilgrammage to Yankee Stadium so the boys can see it before it gets torn down. So I figured we'd make a week of it, go a little further north and see some foliage, hike a little (as much as my lazy toddler and fat belly will allow), relax.

Now I knew the weekend in the city would be expensive. There's no avoiding expensive hotels in NYC, but I'm trying to see if I can use some Marriott points to buy a few nights. But I figured the rest of the week wouldn't be too bad. I went to check this lodge/country inn where Sean and I stayed about 7-8 yrs ago in Vermont. It's a little rustic, but family friendly (adult + bunk beds, goats and stuff to play with), and if I recall, ran us about $80 a night last time we stayed. Now: $175 + taxes a night for the same room! And it doesn't look like they've undergone any renovation to go from a rustic converted barn to a luxury B&B. So what gives? So I'm on the prowl for something suitable and affordable for the last wk of Sept somewhere within driving distance (5 hours?) of NYC. Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut...any place would be fine where we could get a little country outdoors time and not spend a fortune. I guess $175 a night isn't a fortune, but we paid $80/night taxes included for a 3 bedroom townhouse in Orlando so I think I've gotten a warped sense of cost.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Parents Obsolete?

Do they still need us or are they totally self-sufficient? I figure if we can just teach Hayden to change diapers, we can leave him in charge and save money on babysitters.

In the meantime, I'm off to bed and Hayden can read Trevor his bedtime story and tuck him in. Nobody needs me. Sniff...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Not much change... The week to week pictures never look any different, but alas, I will continue to degrade my dignity by posting these whale images. It's funny because generally I think of myself as the palest girl alive, but next to Trevor I look tan. So maybe I ought to pose with the kids more.

Spent the week in San Ramon, CA. Lovely area if I wasn't in meetings all day. I didn go down to San Jose one night to meet Sean's sis Kim and family for dinner. It was a nice visit and I see what draws people out there despite the outrageous housing prices.

But my focus now is the outrageous housing prices in the Houston inner loop. There's a house for sale across the street from Michele (wouldn't that be ideal!?!) and it's being sold as a tear-down for over $800k. Good school district and easy commute to work for me. But still, $800k for a tear-down!! I keep telling myself to wait and see where Hayden gets into kindergarten before we decide to commit to the expense of a really expensive school district. All our hopes pinned on a 4 1/2 yr old. No pressure Hayden, really.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

These are the kind of things that keep you from ever seeking public office...

But here I go, posting pictures of myself on the internet for all to see. I'm going to try to keep these up weekly so the whole world can monitor the growth of my belly, which wasn't really tiny to begin with. I certainly think that it's bigger at 15 weeks the 3rd time around than it was with #1 and #2. So here ya go...

I actually have a whole series from pregnancy #1 and #2, but that was in the pre-digital days. On pregnancy #1 (Hayden), I made Sean cut my head off in all the pictures because I couldn't be bothered to comb my hair or put on makeup once a week. Seems strange in retrospect, all these pictures of my beheaded enormous body. So you're getting everything but the feet this time around.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The House of Mouse...
Just a quick note in case you wonder what we've been up to for the past week. A picture tells a thousand words, right? Oh, and if I lost you in the middle of my 100 things list, you might want to look below for the key news contained in the prior posting!

Finally, I'm feeling some real mom-guilt for not sharing any pictures from Trevor's 2nd birthday so I must post at least one.
OK, I need to post a second one, but that's really it for now. I've got to pack for a trip to Connecticut tomorrow. Nevermind, that's a lie. If you read the 100 things you'd know I never pack till the day of the trip, but I'm tired and want to go to bed.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's only taken me 2 months to compose, but in honor of my 100th post, here is a list of 100 things about me:

1) I was born in Chicago
2) I’ve now lived outside of Chicago as long as I lived in Chicago and that thought depresses me.
3) I went to a small private high school and with only 120 students in the whole high school.
4) My brother is 18 months older than me and used to pick on me when we were younger but I like him OK now :-)
5) I can see my house from where I’m sitting (in a conference room on the top floor of our office building downtown).
6) I might have attention deficit disorder because I couldn’t focus past four items before I got distracted looking out the window.
7) I’m not a big list person, I just wing it mostly.
8) I use the internet to de-stress and frequently cope with high stress by taking a surf-break. It can be an hour before a big deadline and for some reason I’ll go read a blog to calm myself. Like procrastinating even more is going to lower the stress level.
9) I have a degree in chemical engineering, but I can’t engineer my way out of a paper bag and my chemistry skills are poor.
10) I graduated magna cum laude with that engineering degree and still don’t know a thing.
11) I also have an MBA, which I might actually know how to use.
12) My undergrad minor was psychology and I still think someday I might go back and get my PhD in psychology. It was the only thing I ever learned without even trying because I found it so fascinating.
13) I think I might be interested in psychology because I grew up around a lot of craziness.
14) A little of the craziness rubbed off on me, but I stifle it pretty well.
15) I’m trying to go chronologically with info, but in case you don’t read all the way down, you must be told that I’m the mother of the two cutest boys alive, ages 4 and 23 months.
16) Oh yeah, I’m Sean’s wife too and he’s pretty cute as well.
17) I wouldn’t mind having another cutie to add to the posse, but I still need to do a little arm-twisting at home.
18) My friend Kate and I grew up a few blocks apart and even though I never get to see her anymore, I still think she knows me better than anyone.
19) I carry a Blackberry for my new job and have found myself typing notes while driving.
20) But never with my kids in the car.
21) I have two dogs, both poodles of some sort, adopted from shelters or families that couldn’t keep them.
22) I’ve always had at least one black poodle or poodle mix for the last 27 years of my life.
23) At one point when I was single, I had seven dogs in my apartment, but five were foster puppies that I raised until they were big enough to go out for adoption.
24) If I hadn’t gotten married, I’m pretty sure I would have ended up the freaky lady with all the dogs.
25) One of my dogs died last year and I still miss him a lot and wish we had more dogs.
26) It’s easy for me to say I want more dogs, since Sean does all the feeding and walking nowadays.
27) I’ve probably only pumped gas in my car 20 times in the six years since I’ve gotten married, because my chivalrous husband takes care of these things.
28) Pretty sure that husband is happy I’m working closer to home and only need a fill-up every two weeks instead of twice a week.
29) My current job is a category manager in charge of component purchases and co-producer sales and purchases for a lube and fuel additives company.
30) If you don’t understand anything I said in #29, you’re not alone.
31) I’ve only been working here for 4 weeks and I think I’m 6 weeks behind.
32) I miss my friends from my old job a lot, but still think I did the right thing when I quit.
33) My best friends moved to Budapest in January and I think I hear from them more now than I did when they lived here.
34) I’m afraid of change and really afraid of unknown, uncertain situations.
35) I’ve only been outside the US six times in my life: 2 Caribbean vacations, 2 times to Canada, 2 times to Mexico (once was just walking across the border and coming back 30 minutes later).
36) My travel plans this year include Paris, Budapest, and Singapore.
37) Did I mention that traveling to new places scares the crap out of me?
38) I know, you wouldn’t have guessed it since I seem so sophisticated.
39) Last year, I got my first digital camera and I haven’t put it down since.
40) Before digital, I probably shot 2-3 rolls of film a week.
41) Now I probably take at least 200 pictures a week.
42) I still always feel uneasy taking pictures of other people and get nervous they won’t like them.
43) If I spend more than 15 minutes with someone, I’ll probably end up showing them a picture of my kids.
44) My father didn’t come to my wedding and has never met either of my children.
45) I wonder how people come up with 100 things about themselves?
46) I’m still breastfeeding my 23 month old and don’t care if other people don’t approve.
47) I’m addicted to Jelly Belly sour jelly beans and just ordered 20 pounds of them last week.
48) It took me 20 days to go through 20 pounds the last time I ordered Jelly Beans.
49) There are 10 flavors in the jelly bean mix and I don’t eat the sour peach ones, so technically I probably only ate 18 pounds of jelly beans.
50) That’s still a heck of a lot of jelly beans.
51) Even if you order in bulk, the jelly beans are $5 a pound. So if I eat a pound a day, that’s more expensive than if I bought a pack a day of cigarettes.
52) I’m a vegetarian, but I still don’t eat very healthy.
53) I started this list almost two months ago and never finished it so some of the comments above are out of date.
54) I told myself my next blog post would be this list, so I’ve neglected my blog for a long time.
55) I don’t think I’ve ever met a Canadian I didn’t like.
56) I’ve met lots of Americans I don’t like.
57) I’m pregnant.
58) The thought of having a third child kind of scares me, but I was sure I’d regret it if I stopped at two.
59) I figure that since having the first one scared me and I survived that, this can’t be too bad.
60) I hate that people think I’m having this baby just to have a girl.
61) At this point, I feel like I know what I’m doing with boys and will be a little scared if it turns out to be a girl.
62) I regret that I didn’t do something to keep up my Spanish skills after high school.
63) Mostly because I can’t seem to find a babysitter that speaks English and I really want to go out once in a while.
64) I feel like we’ve gotten to a point in our lives where we don’t NEED anything.
65) But I still WANT a lot more camera equipment.
66) Making decisions on expensive purchases absolutely paralyzes me and I return things all the time.
67) I think we’ll be living in our townhouse forever (with kids living in closets) because I can’t make a decision on where else to live.
68) Besides which, I absolutely HATE packing.
69) And how could you have your house ready to show people when you have 3 kids and 2 dogs?
70) So we’ll live in the too-small house forever.
71) Hiring a nanny was one of the best decisions we ever made.
72) Although it was good to try day care first so you understood how much better the nanny was by comparison.
73) When I retire, I’d like to have a house in Vermont to live in part of the year, definitely in the fall.
74) I think Sean would be content to live in Houston forever.
75) I looked at #71 and decided I should mention that my real best decision ever was to marry Sean and have his babies.
76) Trevor has me wrapped around his finger and can melt me with a “Please Mommy”.
77) I wonder if I can come up with 100 things.
78) I don’t think I’ll ever have too many pictures of my kids.
79) It makes me really angry that I’m 35 years old and still have acne.
80) Even if I didn’t work outside the home, I’d still want someone else to clean my house.
81) But I would cook more if I didn’t work.
82) I think my biggest failing as a parent is that we don’t make the kids eat healthy.
83) But they run around a lot and aren’t overweight so it isn’t too bad so far.
84) I find a distinct pleasure in lighting things on fire and smashing things.
85) I don’t think this is cause for worry.
86) If I could make a living surfing the internet, I would sign up immediately.
87) Come to think of it, at my last job I spent 75% of my day surfing the internet and they still paid me. Why did I quit?
88) Oh yeah, because I worked for a boss who infinitely multiplied my desire to burn and smash things.
89) So I don’t get to surf the internet now, but I’m more at peace.
90) I don’t really like to meet new people and am uncomfortable at parties where I don’t know people.
91) My ideal vacation is a bed and breakfast somewhere in the mountains in the fall.
92) I am not a beach person at all and on my last 3 trips to Hawaii didn’t set foot on a beach.
93) I drink occasionally (not while pregnant), used to smoke socially, but have never done any illegal drugs.
94) I had to give myself insulin injections when I was pregnant with Trevor and found it surprisingly easy.
95) Remember that guy who got his hand caught rock climbing and cut it off (with a dull pocket knife) to free himself? I spend a lot of time thinking about whether I could do that.
96) I haven’t reached a conclusion on cutting the hand off. I’d at least give it a shot.
97) I saw The Police in concert last week so I can cross that off my Things to Do Before I Die list.
98) Not that I really have a Things to Do Before I Die list, but that would have been on it.
99) I have never jumped out of a plane or gotten a tattoo and don’t think I ever will.
100) If I had one wish, it would be that my kids still want to spend time with me when they get older.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Surprise...Was walking around the block with Hayden and had this conversation...

Hayden: I worked really hard at school today Mommy.
Me: Really, what were you working on?
Hayden: I was painting.
Me: What were you painting?
Hayden: I was painting a glass for you. It's going to be a surprise for you for Mother's Day
Me: Oh, that's so nice of you.
Hayden: Yeah, you're going to like your surprise.

By the way, Trevor decided to pee while sitting on the toilet today. Don't know why, just all of a sudden decided he wanted to go "potty". I doubt we're actually anywhere near heading down the path to potty training, but it was a milestone nonetheless.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Priorities? I brought home a ton of work to do this weekend and it's 11:45 Sunday night and I haven't touched a bit of it. And I'm in meetings all day all week so I don't know when I'll get caught up. Seriously, I'm only 4 weeks into the new job and I think I must be 4 weeks behind. But what am I sitting here doing? Editing pictures and blogging, of course. Because the public has a need to know (and see) what's been going on.

There were some comments after the last post about the home-made passport photos. Just so you know, anyone can take their own passport photo, as long as it meets all the specifications about proportions and everything. But I didn't do it myself because I'm cheap (although it was only 20 cents vs. $8), I'm just really vain and didn't want to carry around another horrible mug shot for 10 years. So if you take it at home, you can re-do it as many times as you want until you get a shot you like. This was the final choice out of about 20 Sean shot...
We took the boys to the neighborhood park on Friday night (so Hayden could practice baseball before the big game Saturday). This won't mean much to most of you, but the light was absolutely perfect so I of course chased Trevor around with the camers while he was playing. I rarely show him in black and white, because you miss the blue eyes, but I thought he looked sweet this way...

Saturday morning, the Cubs had a game, and of course Hayden's fan club was there waiting eagerly for us to arrive. They've made it to every single game before we have.
Hayden demonstrated his skills (which if you notice, don't include really fast running). But according to him, he "smoked one into the outfield." I enjoy watching him celebrate every time he crosses home plate.

I took Trevor for a haircut today. As we were getting ready to go out, Hayden kept asking where we were going. I avoided answering for a while because I knew he'd want to go with and it's hard enough to take Trevor for the haircut and then drag him grocery shopping, let alone bring Hayden too. Finally, he wore me down and I said "We're going to the store." His response "Are you going to sell my brother to someone?"
Where do these ideas in his head come from?
Today was a big milestone in our house and Trevor graduated from the crib into a toddler bed. For those of you who are wondering, yes he's still in the "nursery" and hasn't graduated to a real room yet. But he was pretty darned excited to have the new bed.Hayden stopped running for a millisecond and decided to act sweet for me. But it only lasted a millisecond so I had to act fast...

The new bed experience was the big adventure for the afternoon and Trevor already showed us how to jump on it and climb over the rails. Hayden tried to demonstrate the true purpose of the bed, lying down and resting...
Hope that satisfies your curiousity for now, because I'm exhausted and it looks like it's going to be a LONG week. So I'm going to give my bed a whirl.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Things we don't know how to answer with a straight face:

Hayden to Sean: "Daddy, what are these squishy things?" (pointing to his own nipples)

Hayden to Sean: "Daddy, what do you think about Mommy without her clothes on?" (yes, he's probably too old to be seeing me in the buff)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A picture...

I can't figure out how to update the picture on my profile, so I'm going to have to post it here to see if I can link back to this spot. Sean had to take some home pictures of me for my passport and the boys decided to climb on my lap for a shot or two...

By the way, I realize I've been behind in posting, but I was traveling this week and couldn't get my laptop to connect from my hotel. There are tons of updated baseball pics on the link at the right if you're interested.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The plates...Last Friday was Sean's parent-helper day at Hayden's preschool. If your parent-helper day is the last day of the schoolweek, you have to bring the kids' plates home to run through the dishwasher. There are 16 plates total, 4 of each color (red, blue, yellow, and orange) of Ikea plastic plates like these:

Somehow, we lost one of the plates and so we only had 15 plates. Each plate has a child's name written on the back and we wanted to figure out whose plate was missing. We only had 3 blue plates. So Hayden says "My plate is blue, Jackson's plate is blue, Nathan's plate is blue, and Thomas' plate is blue." Lo and behold, we had blue plates for each child he named except Nathan. We decided to test this plate memory a little further. What color is Amelie's plate? "Yellow"...Correct...What color is Rachel's plate?..."Orange"...Correct...and so on and so forth until he had correctly told us what color plate every single child uses. Why in the world would someone know what color plate each of his 15 classmates uses? I had a very good memory when I was younger, but this kid blows me away. Need to take the little Rainman to Vegas to count some cards at the blackjack table.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter, etc...The boys had a fun Easter. It wasn't really tradition in my family to hunt for eggs, I think due to the fact that my mother forgot where she hid an egg one year until it was really rotten and stinky (yes, we hid real {hardboiled} eggs, not candy-filled eggs). So our tradition was more around hunting for your well-hidden Easter basket full of goodies.

Hayden found a long-awaited video in his basket, along with some pajamas, toys, and a tiny bit of candy. Trevor found a new bunny to love. As if the nighttime routine wasn't getting ridiculous enough. Put him in the crib. He says "Bo-Bo", and you give him the pacifier. He says "blankie" and you cover him up. He says "blankie" again and you give him a blankie to hold. "Ernie" and you hand him his Ernie doll..."bird"..."panda" we've got a bunny. It's like being a surgical nurse. "Scalpel"...."Retractor"..."Ernie"..."bunny"...
He found another type of bunny to hold also. The purple peep bunny...
And then he found out the purple peep bunny wasn't as cuddly as the brown bunny and would be more lovable in his tummy...
My big boys both wore their suits for church. How handsome...
And the little guys got a trip to Hermann park in the afternoon. Peek-a-boo through the portholes of the boat-like playset is always fun...
And yes Vito, my kids were wearing fleece pajamas earlier because it's colder in Houston than in Budapest. But at least we can get all the peanut butter we want in our grocery stores and there are no wild boars in our neighborhood (although the guy across the street did murder his roommate and live in the house with the rotting body in the trunk of the car in the garage for 6 weeks, and was let out on bail to come back home, but it's not a wild boar).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Embarrassment...My son has finally reached the age where he's starting to say things that embarrass me in public. Anyone have any advice on how we're supposed to react to these situations?

In the grocery store, Hayden sees a man with about half his face covered in a large dark birth mark.
Hayden (loud and clear): Mommy, what does that man have on his face?
Me: A birth mark, kind of like the mole I have on my arm. But it isn't nice to shout out when somebody looks different from us.

In Nordstrom, after almost running into a man while acting wild in the store:
Me: Hayden, be careful.
Hayden: Why, because I almost knocked over that OLD man?
Man (about 45 I'd guess): I'm not THAT old!
Me (sheepishly): Sorry.

In the bathroom at the movie theater:
Me: Wash your hands.
Hayden swipes his hands under the water
Me: You need to use soap Hayden
Hayden (loud): But that lady didn't use soap Mommy, she just ran her hands under the water.
Me: You just take care of yourself and never mind what anyone else is doing.

It's obvious we must be due for some long talk about manners, but I'm not sure it would even make a difference. He's just at that curious, running-commentary-on-everything-I-see stage. So I'm not sure I can really reign him in, so if you see us on the street, run and hide or my son be sure to point out your most embarrassing feature.
Scary Bunny?

We took the kids to the mall yesterday for the traditional picture with the Easter Bunny. We called ahead to make sure the bunny wasn't on a 2-hour break (like last year when we showed up) and they said they'd be there all day, no breaks. Of course when we showed up, he was on a break (gets pretty hot in that suit apparently and he needed a "health" break to cool off). But the kids were pretty well behaved while we were waiting:But when it's showtime, we get the classic toddler reaction from Trevor. Notice him hanging from Sean's shirt on the left side with the toddler death-grip:
Nothing would calm him, so the only shots we got were of him screaming his head off:
Hayden, meanwhile, continued his loving relationship with large costumed creatures (so far, he loves Chuck E. Cheese, Chicken Little, Mickey Mouse, and the Easter Bunny). Afterwards, he said "Trevor shouldn't be scared of the Easter Bunny. He's really soft."

We took the kids over to the Williams' Tower Water Wall afterwards and let them run around for a bit. Trevor ended up with a skinned nose and skinned knees, but enjoyed himself thoroughly. You can see both boys below with their feet off the ground as they play a little chase:

Trevor tested his balance walking down a ramp into Sean's arms. He wanted to do it over and over and over again:

Hayden got the lecture about how he's older so he's supposed to behave and listen to Mommy. This actually led to me being able to get a single picture of him almost sitting still:

Finally, I turned the timer on and tried a family shot:

All in all, a nice day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Catching up a little...I'm really behind in pictures, but here are a few. There were many bittersweet lunches in my last few weeks at the old job. I actually think I may be burned out on eating desserts! Does that seem possible. But Michele made sure I was never alone for lunch in my last weeks and tried to make sure I never spent a dime.

Birthday lunch with the girls:
Cake at home with the boys. I know you wish you could have a cool tiara like me...

Lunch with Logan (yes, Michele even came on her day off):

A few more of Logan because the dimples are too cute:

Another lunch with the girls. Getting sentimental with Michele...
Getting silly with Shelley...

Last day lunch with Michele and my pal Buck. One of us has had too many margaritas in this picture. Hint: the person who only has 4 hours left in their career throws caution to the wind. Poor Buck is sober and will be left behind to fend for himself in the hell I used to call my job.

OK, that should do it for now. T-ball pictures are updated and can be accessed with the link on the right side.