Friday, December 13, 2013

Busy day full of boys...

Today ended up being interesting. My lower back really began to hurt, this morning, and I wondered if perhaps I hurt it picking up Hero. I hope not. The boys were pretty good for me, although they got up from their nap an hour early. My husband got home just in time for me to go to my ultrasound appointment and I rushed out of the door. I shouldn't have hurried. They called me 15 minutes late after requiring me to get there 15 minutes early on a full bladder. 30 minutes of waiting in an overheated office, a baby squirming, on a full bladder is not something I enjoy, ever. 

When I was finally called back, we got a good look at the baby. It is most definitely a boy, no doubt about that. The tech said he looked very healthy and in proportion. I'm measuring about 9 days ahead and the little guy is approximately 5 pounds. If that is so, I'm guessing he'll be very close to Hero's birth weight of 8 lbs 14 oz when I have the c-section, provided I don't become very ill and stop eating. 

When I returned home my husband was a bit frazzled and said he didn't know how I did it everyday caring for our two boys. They had been a handful while I was gone. I'm glad he got to see a little of what I deal with. It'll be interesting to add another boy to the mix. I'm sure they will be quite a gang when they get old enough for each other. It makes me wish we had some property so I could send them out to dig or build forts or chase each other til they drop from exhaustion. We'll see. They are still too young yet for much of that and circumstances may change where we would need to move. 

Happy feast of St Lucia. 

Much Ado

Today, I have an ultrasound. I am pretty excited because I get to see the baby again. Hopefully, everything looks beautiful. 

Right now, I'm listening to Hero talk in his room over the monitor while sitting by the fireplace that is crackling away. It's so cute. Yesterday was not a good day for Hero. He was running a temperature of 102.2 F want only wanted to lay down everywhere. I snapped a little picture of it. Pilot is doodling on a mini doodle pad and Hero is snuggled up under blankets in the crook of my legs. The black hat with black and red frills is pretty much all you can see of him. 

Tonight is book club and I get to see my friends gathered together for the first time in two months. Hopefully, they will all be there. 

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Twelve more days. 

Happy feast of St Lucia!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Today, I figured out how to turn on our gas firplace. All by my self. It's been two years since it's last been on or even had the pilot light lit. I'm so happy. 

Two years ago, we moved into our big house. It's almost 1900 sq ft and two stories. The den, where the fireplace is, is one of the coldest rooms because the heat goes straight upstairs via a lofted ceiling. This makes things cold downstairs. In our first year, I used the gas fireplace to heat the room without heating most of the rest of the house (the kitchen and front room are on a separate level). My husband speculated that our energy usage was high because of this. The second year, I kept the gas fireplace off and only used the house heater. At the end of it all I asked my husband if we were able to save any money. He stated it was a wash. 

So, this year I rubbed my hands with glee at the thought of turning on the gas fireplace. However, I didn't know how to get the pilot light lit. I plugged everything in and fiddled with the nobs. I used the striker a lot and still it would not turn on. I read blog posts and how to manuals with no luck. I gave up in order to think about the problem. 

At the beginning of this week I checked the fireplace remote. In my mind, it was something of a convenience rather than an essential part of getting the fireplace to work (sort of like the TV remote). The batteries were out and I knew it wouldn't control anything that way. Today, I plugged everything back in and set all the switches. Then, I made sure the remote had fresh batteries and was set to On. As soon as I tried the striker, the pilot light lit. Ah ha! The remote! It was important!

Lesson: make sure all components are there and turned on, no matter if you think they are important or not. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 2 of Advent

Pilot cracks me up. In my husbands search for an extension cord for the Christmas lights, he came across a rubber band gun and gave it to Pilot to play with. Pilot was expressly told that if he shot anyone with it that he would lose the gun. He's done really well and has been chasing rubber bands all over the house. The best part is that he calls them, "rubby bands". I love it. 

No decorations are on our tree but the lights. Years before I got married, I bought a fake tree at Target for $25 (after Christmas sales can be pretty awesome). I have never cared for real Christmas trees as they are not only expensive but sticky, messy, and once they dry out they become a fire hazard. So, I have fake treed it for years now and am very happy. 

Pilot has determined that sleeping under the tree is a top priority. Or maybe he is pretending there is a tunnel to be crawled through. 

Yesterday, we got a little snow. By a little I mean that there was a bit of fluff/slush swirling around in the air. There wasn't even enough to make the ground change color. It was nice though. Where we live, we do not get snow. It's usually too warm and the elevation is too low. Today, was cold. It was in the 20s with clear skies. Our grass was crunchy and the van was frozen. My poor hydrangea suffered and has turned black. Tonight is supposed to be warmer so hopefully it survives. 

This week is a week of busy-ness. Tomorrow we have the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and I have a pretty blue candle to light. Each day at nap time we read out of a little blue book our church handed out for Advent. At night we are going to read the 3rd book of the Treasure Box books. Pilot loves them and follows the directions so well in the books. I just want to thank Cammie for doing a blogpost on them a while ago over at A Woman's Place. I love beautiful books and these are more than inspiring. I am hoping to also add the Neumann Press book Manners in God's House when they reprint it. 

This Friday, I have the ultrasound to do to see if the baby is big or that I have too much fluid. I also, have book club with my friends that evening and I can't wait to see them again and do a gift exchange. I have some pretty wrist warmers I made for the occasion. I hope they will find use for them. 

Hero has been doing so well these past few weeks. He's added quite a few words to his vocabulary and just today he included, "socks" and "carrot". I love how cute he sounds when he half says the words. Socks sounds like, "saaa" and hat sounds like, "haaa". Articulation will follow but until then I will enjoy his baby words. 

Happy 2nd week of Advent. 

Update: the blog post I mentioned on the Treasure Box books is mentioned here:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My 36th Birthday and OB Appointment

Yesterday was my 36th birthday. I think I'm weird because having birthdays never seems like a bad thing, as so many adults say it is, but rather I look forward to it with glee, as I did when I was a child. I just don't get the obsession of not getting older. Who wants to be stuck in the same place forever with no growth? That is what they are asking. I want to get better at things, but that also means I need to accept the failures that come with it and the passage of time to get there. So, 36 is a good thing for me. Now, I'm not so sure about 37 but that's because I'm not a big fan of prime numbers after 7. 

In the morning, before things got too busy, my boys were playing in the play room. It was cracking me up because Pilot kept putting the Bilibo on his back and stating he was a turtle. Then he would ask Hero to come sit on his back. Here is part of their adventure:

They make me smile with their enjoyment of each other. Pilot kept trying to get up with Hero on his back and trot like a pony, but I'm afraid Hero is nearly as heavy as Pilot and it just wasn't working. 

My parents came over just before lunch to spend some time with me for my birthday. It was really nice and they brought me a pretty sweater shirt with some Victorian flare. It's a nice rib knit and stretches beautifully. It also has a few tiers of ruffles on the bottom and sleeves that my boys love that help hide a bare pregnant tummy. What is it with these maternity clothes that show off the bottom of your stomach?

I quickly tried to show my mom the newest book my husband got me for my birthday. It's called The Tudor Child and is a follow up to The Tudor Tailor. If you know anything about these books it's that they are expensive at $60 each but so beautiful with historical details and patterns you can use. There are so many beautiful dresses for little girls in there, swaddling infants, and even maternity wear of the 16th century. 

Then, I had to leave my family and go to an OB appt. Just something I wanted to do on my birthday, get weighed while pregnant. Oh boy. I had a few skermishes in the parking lot and arrived a little breathless to find my doctor was 30 minutes behind. After an hour of waiting, I was finally called back. We found that I had lost almost a pound but that the baby grew a lot. I'm supposed to be measuring at 31 cm but came out between 36 and 37 cm. My OB rechecked me and has now given me a referral to have another ultrasound. Either, the baby is big, macrosomia, or I have too much fluid, polyhydramnios. Lovely. I can't imagine how much bigger my stomach would have measured if I had gained weight. 

Now, some might wonder why the heck I'm losing weight, while pregnant, and during the holidays, when it's common for the average person to gain at least 5 lbs. Well, it's not intentional, it's just that my diet has become very limited. Back when I was pregnant with Hero, I discovered I was allergic to grains. I've mentioned before about the issues I incur when I eat said grains. I haven't been very strict with myself this pregnancy and found that sleep was difficult from congestion and I was mentally muddled all the time. I finally gave up grains again in mid-October but was still sneezing, albeit less often. In the beginning of November I caught the free e-summit on Gluten and was blown away with so much interesting information. One thing I picked up was that dairy can mimic the proteins found in gluten and you can experience allergenic symptoms even if you're consuming no gluten but still have dairy in your life. So, I decided to stop dairy too and see how I fared. 

I was a little worried about taking out dairy. Milk was taking about 1/2 my calories a day and I needed a good substitute. So, I started making deviled eggs again with homemade mayonaise. Much to my surprise, my congestion cleared and the sneezing stopped. It is lovely to be able to breathe.

Then came Thanksgiving and the annual family visits to both sides. What was I going to eat? Not much. I did have dairy, but not much. At my parents, I brought green beans cooked with onions and bacon and some deviled eggs. I had those along with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and fruit. I ate a little cheesecake without the crust and that was it. Everyone else had stuffing, rolls, crackers, chips, dip, and pie. Then at my husband's get together, two days later, I had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, salad and pistachio ambrosia. All the cookies, pie, cake, pasta, rolls, stuffing and snacks had to be passed by. *sigh* It's a bit weird to be so different from everone else. 

So, I lost weight at the holidays. Do I hang my head in shame since I'm pregnant? I don't know. 

Now, it's off to start a new day, get an ultrasound appointment, take my husband to have a CT scan, and various other little to do tasks. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Good and the Bad...

Today has been a very long day.

First, the great news. Today is the feast day of St. Cecilia, my patron saint. It is also the day my husband and I met in person five years ago. We didn't do anything to commemorate the day but we did spend much of it together.

Second, the not so great news. I had to take my husband to have a phlebotomy. That was not pleasant. Fortunately, the nurses were kind and we were out of there in less than an hour. You must be wondering why he would need a phlebotomy.

About a month ago, my husband went to his annual physical. He had his blood drawn but his numbers were off. He has way too much iron and his hematocrits are too high. He was referred to a hematologist who drew his blood again, had him do an ultrasound, and re-evaluated his physical state. The diagnosis was as my husband suspected, Secondary Polycythemia Vera. It's a blood disorder that runs in his family, on both sides, where the red blood cells are too much and eventually can lead to cancer. Currently, there is no "cure" for polycythemia, only management. What I wish I had was a prognosis that would let me know what my husband's longevity is with this. I'd like him around for a good long while.

Now, it's time to go to bed. I've been up and working for way too long and the baby is letting my know it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Pilot

Life has been more than hectic lately. OB appts, birthday parties, and family events have kept me busy and not thinking much. 

Last Thursday, Pilot turned three. He is so excited that he's getting to be such a big boy. 

On Saturday, we had a birthday party for him. Sadly, I don't have one photograph of the event. Pilot got lots of airplanes and books. A big hit was from his buddy who got him Disney's Peter Pan. We didn't have that in our collection and surprisingly my husband had never seen the film. In the space of two days I think it was played four times. My husband realized that the Star Trek VI movie references Peter Pan at the end where their destination is, "Second star to the right and straight on til morning."

On Sunday, I started a new aspect of my diet. I'm cutting dairy as well as grains. I've never tried it before, but after listening to The Gluten Summit all last week I learned that dairy protein can look similar to wheat in it's structure and you can end up with allergenic symptoms even though you are not consuming wheat. I had my last bit of wheat over a month ago at a baptism/birthday party and I'm still sneezing. The cutting of dairy seems to be helping. My sinuses are not as congested and I only sneezed four times yesterday rather than twenty (when I eat wheat, I can be sneezing over 100 times a day. I counted.). It's going to make Thanksgiving and Christmas interesting. I may have to bring a container of food to some of the parties just so I can have something to eat. 

Time is flying. Next week is Thanksgiving. Then begins Advent, my birthday and our fourth anniversary. Christmas will be here before we know it and then the baby will be born at the end of January. Here's to hoping I won't take so long posting again. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints Day

Happy All Saints Day!

What a beautiful morning we have to visit with the saints at mass. The boys are still sleeping but my husband and I are bustling about to get ready for the 8:30 am mass. Any other mass to attend would conflict with nap time or bedtime, so 8:30 am it is. I'm thinking of stopping by the cemetery on the way home to let the boys wander around and look at what and who is there. I haven't taken a ramble like that in years, so it should be interesting. Add to that that I've never visited our local cemetery before. I wonder how old it is. Probably not much more than 150 years. When I was in Germany for nine months, at the age of 19, I used to walk through the nearby cemetery often. It was beautiful, well kept, and more like a botanical garden than a cemetery. But, if you understand the local rules, it all makes sense. If your family does not care for the plot, you are unburied and the space is given to someone whose family will care for it. Very logical if you think of how old and crowded the burial grounds could be in Europe. 

Peace be with you all. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Common Core

What are the agendas behind the Common Core Curriculum? Here is an interesting read of material straight from the Common Core versus a Catholic National Reader from the 1800s:

Where is virtue in the Common Core? Where are faith and morals? It used to be that the school system made proactive steps to instill moral lessons in every activity. It seems that morals, virtue and faith are no longer Politically Correct and are therefore to be avoided. Replacing these inconveniences with "reality". Really?!

I watched an interview with Temple Grandin where they briefly discuss Reality TV. She made a very astute observation that reality tv is based on kicking the weak down and the strongest, most devious to win. Survivor is a huge example of this. Rather than help the weak and protect them, they become a commodity. Used and tossed aside when no longer of value. This reminds me of Communism where people are only considered valuable if they contribute monitarily to society. The weak and disabled are considered a hindrance and something to be removed, like a cancerous tumor. 

I think it is important to give high honor to values, faith, and morals. All benefit from these behaviors and give society a stronger foundation to stand on. What if you trusted your neighbors? What if you had no fear of theft? What if you could rely on the help of a stranger in time of need? We still have this a little bit, but we are fast becoming a society that fears what the other may do. We are running out of trust for others. Reading the Common Core worksheets only gives reinforcement to that lack of trust in others and that fear of being hurt. How sad. 

Social Media Insanity

I read this article and was horrified at how far things have fallen. You can read it here:

Am I surprised at this turn of events? Based on my own experiences of school back in the 80s and 90s, no I am not. I am thankful that the internet as we know it didn't enter my world until I was in college and I was 21. It was not the social media world we have now but you could still get into trouble reading inappropriate stories. 

What I am surprised by is the lack of protection for our youth. Everyone seems to conclude that we cannot bar the young from such activities. Those in authority seem to have no authority in sexual matters. This is wrong. A child is still a child and should be protected, even if it means protecting them from themselves. We know this instinctively with a toddler who is learning to walk and climb. We child proof our homes in an effort to prevent certain death. As the child draws closer to adulthood, they may look and act like adults but they are not. They have new hormones to deal with and mentally process. Their brains are lacking the full connections an adult possesses. Like the toddler who doesn't comprehend why you won't allow them to kill themselves, the young adult mind cannot comprehend the consequences of their actions. We ask them, "What were you thinking?" when they do something stupid, and it's not exactly their fault they didn't predict the outcome of their behavior correctly. Those connections aren't there yet. 

As adults, with fully formed connections in our brains and experience on our side, we should be able to foresee to a greater degree the consequences of actions and behaviors of those we are responsible for. If we have the legal right, we should give our children an environment that is conductive to learning without getting burnt. Trial by fire is not working for these children. They are becoming callous and cruel. The lack of morals are astonishing. 

What we want our children to be as adults must be taught. They will not suddenly become that way by expectation. Every lesson builds upon the last giving them a clear understanding of who they are and will be. Leaving them to "discover themselves" is only a recipe for disaster and, quite possibly, the death of their souls. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who am I?

How fascinating. I just watched an excellent TedTalk by Temple Grandin.

She gave me pause to think about a few things in my life. She made me wonder if I had/have mild autism growing up as a child. I have always been different from my peers. I have always thought differently than those around me. I think in images and pictures. When I look at something like a ceiling fan I immediately see how it is put together and installed. My favorite shows as a child were The New Yankee Workshop and This Old house. I love 3-D puzzles that you manipulate with your hands. I love putting IKEA furniture together. I was always moving my furniture around to try and get the best layout. I love baking and the exact formulas required to produce something yummy. I LOVE knitting and using pattern graphs over written explanations. 

When I think of anything, I categorize it and, if mechanical, I reverse engineer it. My husband says I compartmentalize everything. But I do that so I don't get overwhelmed with all the info coming at me. It also works against me in that sometimes I put things in the wrong place and my thinking goes the wrong way and off into "la-la land" (so I've been told). 

I have always had problems with misunderstanding my teachers, my friends, my husband, and (most horribly) my supervisors. It was never intentional but you get the point in how miserably you failed at something when a once impeccable work performance record of many years (13 out of 13 excellent) suddenly comes out as a complete fail in 11 out of 13 categories being unsatisfactory. Ouch. I cried much over that and learned a very hard lesson that I did not understand what my supervisor wanted and my supervisor did not know how to communicate to me what she needed. How else do you go a whole year of thinking everything is great and come up with a complete shock like that?

I thought when I was pegged as INTJ in college, that that was who I was. But perhaps not? Is there more to me than just that classification? All my life I've been labeled as introverted and passive-aggressive. While it hurt to be negatively labeled, I did not deny I was those things, for I was. 

We humans are so complicated. Thankfully, we are made in the image and likeness of God. I am like a part of God. Finding what makes me strong for God is the challenge now. How can I use who I am and how I think to further his glory and love him?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A very busy day.

Today was a challenge. 

This morning our family went to Mass. In the beginning of the mass our priest asks if there is anyone visiting so a rosary can be handed out. Just as all the intros were finished, a moment of silence happened before the father continued on. In that moment Pilot piped up in his extra loud toddler voice, "Mommy? I have to go to the bathroom." I'm sure my husband just died as the whole congregation chuckled. I whisked Pilot off to the bathroom only to have him not use the toilet as he suddenly did not need to go anymore. 

We returned and everything went smoothly until Hero didn't want to stay within the confines of the pew. He wanted out and wanted to roam, so off we went to the narthex. We stayed out there for a while until the handicap door opener button became a prime target of his interest. I hoped the wiggles were out enough and we headed back to the pew. Things didn't last long. Drama ensued when Hero was not allowed to crawl under the pew to the neighboring one and his daddy whisked him off to get more wiggles out. I stayed with Pilot, who decided he needed to fill the silence with his voice and tell me over and over again that we needed to go home. I collected our things during the distribution of Holy Communion and went back to the Narthex. Pilot was on a mission and dragged us outside by pushing buttons and having Hero thrilled at his chance for escape. 

Making it home was just fine. Silence descended on the car and when we got to our destination, Hero ate his banana and took a nap. I thought a trip to the park would be fun for Pilot and I but he had no interest in such matters. I pulled out the bubbles and we went the back yard but that wasn't a success either as he couldn't get the bubbles to stop popping. 

I was thankful when lunch rolled around and I could get Pilot to cooperate a bit. He tucked into his sandwich and I got Hero up from his nap. The boys ate and Pilot went down for his nap. By this time I was feeling fatigued over the drama of being two and settled down for the drama of a one year old. 

Then, hurray. My husband decided to go on a walk and took Hero with him. It was a welcome break from everyone for about 30 minutes. I got an inch on my knitting done and half an episode of Living Life with Dr Ray watched. 

At Hero's second nap time, in which he quietly played in his crib the whole time, I got my husband to watch the pilot episode of Covert Affairs. Haha! I'm hoping to convert him to watching it all. 

Nap time over for both I suddenly ran out of energy and begged my husband to please take over and let me take a nap. That being granted, as long as I left my electronics and books behind, I laid down in hopes to making it to dinner time. No such luck. Pilot picked off a scab, from trying to wear shoes that were too small, and bled all over the playroom. My husband trucked him off to the bathroom for doctoring and I cleaned up the crime scene. It was a bit funny, because I used the baby wipes to help clean up, and Hero saw them and thought I was going to change his diaper. He laid down and waited for me to do the changing and laid in the mess. Ugh. Now it was clean up the baby and the room. 

Dinner finally arrived and I got the boys hustled off to bed shortly thereafter. I realized that the house was too hot, I was chaffing and getting blisters, sweating, and feeling nauseous. I turned on the air conditioner thanking my lucky stars that we had it as I grew up with a swamp cooler which doesn't have quite the same effect. 

As I'm showering I muse on what I define family sizes to be. I was quite shocked. I know what current society deems them to be but mine are no where close. I laughed and thought I'd share:

Small family: 1-2 children
Mid sized family: 3-5 children
Large family : 6-11 children
Mega family: 12 or more

I wonder how my views will change the more children I have. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Isn't this an awesome photo?

Somehow, I just love this photo. Here is little Hero looking up at his Grammie who is in the loft (a whole story above the top of the steps that are visible). His feet and head look huge compared to the rest of his body. 

The other great photo I have is of Pilot

What a face. He's so funny. I have no idea why he's looking at the camera this way. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bodega Bay Family Trip 2013

At the very end of August through the first week of September our family went to Bodega Bay. It has been a fortunate circumstance that my husband's great aunt owns a beach house that she built a few decades back with three other ladies. None of them ever had any children, so all the extended families have been using the house as a sleep over place while going to visit the ocean and beach.

It's a very cozy little house with an amazing amount of room for people to sleep. While my husband and I did not sleep at the house until Labor Day, we camped at a nearby campground, the rest of the family bunked at the house. All in total we had 8 adults and 7 little kids (all under the ages of 4). It was a whirl wind of activity and so much fun was to be had.

It was a bit chilly at the campsite:

Here is a sweet photo of my father-in-law with Hero at the campsite:

All the older boy cousins in Hero's playard:

The girls decided they wanted to be in a picture as well so we caught all of the cousins but the 6 month old baby on the stairs: 

Then it was off to Salmon Creek Beach with Pilot in the lead:

Kites were flown:

Hero was tickled with the sand, he loved it so much:

Pilot enjoyed the water and the sand too (the water is about 55 degrees on a warm day - you need a wet suit to surf):

We adults sat around and supervised (my pregnant self is in pink):

Crab hunting and cooking:

Everyone had to go home to go to work but we stayed a few more days and my parents came to visit with us. Pilot and Hero were very happy to have more room:

When it was time for nap Hero was not amused:

We put a quiet movie on for Pilot who snuggled with his Papa:

For dinner Hero had some rice and showed off his funny faces:

Pilot loved this little horn hanging from the thermostat:

Playing Yahtzee after dinner:

A trip to Goat Rock beach the next day:

A last walk with Pilot before going home:

Protests were made about going home:

It all ended with a scenic drive home through Sonoma and Napa Valley: