Monday, December 17, 2007

Welcome Little One

Welcome Dahlia. We are very happy you are here!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Awesome Halftime Show

I'm avoiding work today. Found this while zooming around. Makes me wish I was back playing in the band. Except for those 6am practice sessions in late fall when we lived in NE. We never pulled anything like this off.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fat but not happy

Yikes. I stepped on the scale this weekend and about fell off. I was not happy with the number screaming at me in red. I swore I was going to get up and do 30 mins on the elliptical this morning but when the alarm went off I just hit the snooze and said forget it. I did get my hiney out of my cube this morning and walked for almost 30 mins around campus in the skyway. I'm not sure how far it is but my blood was pumping by the time I got back to my cube. And I have taken the stairs every time I've gone up or down today.

I was feeling pretty good until the almond M&M's were opened this afternoon. My coworker is the keeper of the department candy dish. A couple of us chip in and grab a bag or two of candy (mostly chocolate) and keep it stocked. About two weeks ago I filled it with almond M&M's and we all discovered that we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the almond option. As a result, someone bought two more bags, which were opened this afternoon, and I have found myself heading to the candy cube twice already since lunch. Urgh. All that work I did on my walk is slowly settling back onto my already fat butt. Must resist the tasty combo of almond and chocolate!

Exercise used to be a big part of my life. Now I can't find the energy or lack the desire to stare at the TV while going nowhere on my elliptical. And I haven't touched a weight for months. I suppose we could argue that my babe counts as a weight. I've been thinking about how I can use her as my free weight... Bicep curls? Not so much. But there are creative ways to do push ups and sit ups. I hate to be such a routine person but without it I am a lazy fool. I've got to get some sort of workout routine going or I am going to have to go buy some new pants.

My sister got me a baby yoga DVD for my birthday and I am making my way through some positions. The DVD is geared more towards the baby so I'm not getting too much exercise out of it but it is still a fun way to spend time with the kiddo.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lorraine Whitcomb

Grandma Lorraine passed away this morning. I haven't gotten the full story on what happened and her kids requested a pathologist perform a check. Apparently there is a history of stomach cancer in the family and they aren't sure if she had any symptoms and if that caused any issues. According to my FIL they aren't sure if she had a heart attack or if it was a blood clot that caused her to pass.

Lorraine was a trooper. She started to lose her vision many years ago and in the last two years she was for all intensive purposes blind. She could pick you out by your voice and always knew what was happening in your family. She had 8 kids and I can't count how many grandkids and great-grandkids. The
family photo from this summer's family reunion gives you a sense of just how many of us will miss Lorraine. 

We still got together today at my MIL & FILs but spent time sharing stories about Grandma Lorraine. As the last addition to the family, I didn't have much to add. She was a very kind woman and I am glad she was able to meet Claire. 

Friday, November 30, 2007

Upgrade woes, prayers and babes

I've had my head stuck in a spreadsheet the last couple of days at work. I screwed something up and have been working to identify the issue. Urgh. Damn sort function. &%##^*(^*

We recently upgraded to CS3 and while I dig having Bridge to better view my photos (makes the Yes/No process a whole lot faster) I am unable to open Photoshop. Ok. Kinda need that. Thank goodness I had finished editing the photos from the shoots I did earlier this month. We haven't had a chance to contact Adobe yet to see why this is happening so I am sans the ability to post photos. And I have many of Claire to post. Things are opening slowly too. We don't seem to have any issues when we are working in a program, just opening and closing. I'm hoping after Pete talks to Adobe all will be repaired. Urgh.

We learned today that Pete's grandmother is in the hospital. Apparently she was having some trouble breathing this morning and used her call button to alert the appropriate folks. She lives in a senior high rise ~ thank goodness they have this resource in all the apartments. It appears she is also having other issues so they are going to keep her overnight for testing. Please send some prayers her way if you can.

In better news, I learned my friend Julie delivered her twin boys on Thursday. She knew she would be going early as they had her on bedrest the last three weeks. Sounds like everything went well. Appears they might be in the NICU for a spell but they look to be strong, healthy little guys so I'm sure they will be out in no time. I can't wait to meet Miles & Jackson in person!

We're off to my MIL & FIL's tomorrow to head to the tree farm near their house and celebrate my birthday. I am the lone December babe in the family so we lump it in with our annual trip to the tree farm. I'm not quite sure where we will put the tree this year as Claire's activity gym and exersaucer already take up enough space! I'm hoping the weather will hold off until we get back home. While part of me is excited to see the snow and make it feel a bit more like the holiday season I'm not looking forward to driving in snow with a layer of sleet on top. Ahh... welcome to winter in MN. Pete & Jordan are nearly wetting their pants in excitement. Pete asked Jordan if she had a full week of school next week and she said she thought so, unless it snowed. When asked why about the snow she responded, "well... I'd be snowmobiling." Right. I don't think she was entirely kidding. I think she hopes her dad would be so jazzed to get out on the trails he would exempt her from school. I don't think so sweetie.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New stadium but no team

We're not going to have much of a team left. You can't build it around the Baby Jesus (aka Mauer), who has had his share of issues this year, and expect it to succeed.

Earlier this summer I called into a local sports radio station and joked that the Twins are more like a farm team to the rest of the MLB than they are a MLB franchise. Hmph. I may be right.

Yes, I'll still watch them. (More likely, I'll still listen as I am more inclined to turn on the radio in the summer) Nevertheless, I just want to have a team that is cohesive. It seems every time we take two steps forward, during the off season we take three steps back. Perhaps I am just a jaded MN fan but I was enjoying this corps of players and am sorry to see some of them go.

Such is the life of a major league sports fan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stiff. Achy. Out of shape.

I hit the pavement for the first time in over a year yesterday. I have no idea how far I went as my running watch has since gone kaput so I didn't check it against my usual 10 minute mile pace. Rest assured. I was not running a 10 minute mile anyway.

The first thought through my head, "Man, I miss this.". The next thought, "Damn, my lungs hurt. How the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks did I let myself get this far off course?!".

Nevertheless, I stuck with it as far as I could and did some walking to get back to the house. I knew the first time out was going to be a bear. And today I can feel it. Not nearly as bad as it was when I completed the marathon but... I hope I can keep some sort of pattern going. I've thought about trying to train for a December 5k but don't really like running in the cold (wuss).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks for Giving!

We started the holiday season off by giving Jordan her present early. It's a big one and from all of her parents. She got a snowmobile.......... A little over the top for my standards but that is a post for another day. Yesterday we headed to my parents for the day. Seventeen people and lots of food. My mom handles some of the main dishes and the rest of us bring other dishes to pass. Needless to say we have had a lot of food. Jordan has gone vegetarian so Pete made a nutloaf. It was OK. It called for 2 large white onions and 5 cloves of garlic. Pete dialed back on those but it needed something else. Good try and we'll just tweak it. Mom made the BEST mashed potatoes I have ever had. It's a recipe that includes sour cream and cottage cheese. Just thinking about it makes me drool.

Claire didn't handle the day all that well - it was a bit overwhelming for her. She was distracted while eating, had a hard time napping and just couldn't get a rhythm. I had a hard time having conversations with people. She didn't want to even sit with grandma. Very odd.

We also learned that my step-grandma's cancer has returned. She started chemo earlier this week in Rochester and was very tired. I'm hoping that the chemo does what it needs to. Both of my grandmothers passed away before I was 4 and my dad's dad remarried not too long after. She has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Today Claire & I stayed inside and just mellowed out. Claire snuggled with me in the afternoon and decided to fall asleep on me for an hour. It's rare for me to have this time with her and instead of worrying about what needed to be done I just appreciated the time I was given to snuggle with my girl.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Seriously. A tree already?

I was floored on Saturday while driving back from a photo shoot in Eden Prairie. Lights had been strung, fences placed and signage painted. The Boy Scout tree lot was open!!!!

You gotta be kidding me, right? Doesn't it seem a wee bit early? We haven't given thanks yet. There is no snow on the ground. It's 40' outside and raining. And riddle me this... just how the heck are you gonna keep that baby from becoming a fire hazard before the big holiday?

I know I don't usually get into the holiday spirit like most people. I blame that on years of working retail. Nothing turns one off like having to deal with throngs of pissed off people the last week before Christmas. Through the years I have tried to keep an open mind. But starting the festivities the day after Halloween is just downright wrong. I have already grown weary of the jewelry commercials, which in reality, last until after Valentine's Day. Their kinda like political ads. Enough already!

We boycott decorating early at our house. This is due in part to my having a December birthday. As a kid my parents were very kind to hold off on lumping my birthday in with Christmas. In fact, we still celebrate it as a stand-alone event (me, me, it's all about me!). So, we hold off putting up the decorations until after my bday. We still get 3-3.5 weeks of holiday fun. By that time I'm ready to have my house put back together anyway.

Pooh. Am I a scrooge or what.

Friday, November 16, 2007

H is for....

This must be why I:
  • ended up in HR
  • loved horses as a kid
  • eat lots of Hershey's chocolate (well, any chocolate really)
  • love heat

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Monday...

I woke this morning around 4:30am and had that initial start... "What time is it? Is Claire moving? What day is it? Do I get to sleep in?" For about 30 seconds I couldn't remember if it was Sunday or Monday. Turns out it was Monday. The weekends are flying by much to quickly for me, these days.

Saturday Claire and I headed to Carrie's shower hosted by Laurie. It was great to see everyone and see how Carrie is doing. Aurelia and Sarah were there. Claire and Relia's scheduled due dates were about week apart. Relia ended up coming later than expected but she is still close to Claire's scheduled due date so I like to 'measure' Claire's progress to Relia's. Seems like Claire is right on pace. She is still smaller than Relia but I think that with me as her mom that would have been the case even if she had been full term. It was funny to see her next to the two 4 month olds at the shower. Even though Claire was the oldest, she was the smallest.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, not hear that my Gophers had lost yet another football game. It hurts more when it is Iowa and Wisconsin. I'm already looking to next year. And crossing my fingers that Weber can improve over the off season.

I won't even begin to talk about what happened yesterday with the Vikes. I'm floored that we couldn't even get a field goal. Puleeze. Anyone know if a good head coach out there who can find a semi-decent Q-back and a set of receivers? And then my Colts lose. What the...??

Pete took Claire to the doctor today to check on a rash. Turns out it is eczema. I'm really hoping this isn't going to turn out to be associated with a food allergy. I don't want Claire to sit by herself at lunch b/c she can't be near kids who drink milk or eat peanut butter sandwiches. Before I let myself wander down that path I am going to take a couple other steps to see if we can get a handle on it.

  • Change her laundry detergent to Dreft
  • Put the humidifier in her room
  • Cut down on the number of baths she gets (which she really enjoys :( urgh)
  • Buy some Lubriderm or Cetaphil

She was prescribed some ointments from the doc today, no steroids yet. Her cousin Nate has it and it turns out my mom does too. Double whammy as these are members from both sides of her family. We'll see.

I learned my friend Julie is on bed rest. Her twins are due in January but she started having contractions last week and spent the week in the hospital. According to her doc, her body thinks she has reached full term and is telling her brain to begin contractions. Yikes. They are hoping to get her to 34 weeks (2 more weeks!) so the boys have a better chance of staying off respirators and other devices if they should end up in the NICU. Please send good vibes their way. She is delivering at Abbott so at least I know she will be well taken care of should she need it.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Corporate Renegade

I am not a good corporate employee. I hate politics and the bullshit associated with it. I hate having to get 7 different opinions on something before I can move forward. It is a collasal waste of my time. I feel like a serf. I want to be an efficient member of this organization but fear that will never be realized since I can't go to the bathroom without getting someone's approval first.

The irony in all this is that one of our cash cow products was developed by accident. Its creation is touted as an example of product innovation in most MBA programs. Is it because I am a staff person, not in the labs, that I am treated like I don't have a brain to use? That I can't be right?

What would happen if I did something on my own? Would I bring down this company? I highly doubt it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Drying up

WARNING!! This post may contain TMI for some readers.

The girls are getting smaller. I can finally wear some of the button down shirts I am so fond of for work. I still have to wear a sweater over them, lest I pop a button, but I'm getting closer! I grew to a size 38D (normally a 34A/B) so most of my work shirts have been a bust (pun intended). I had to go shopping for shirts so I didn't look like a hooker looking for a John at work. Tonight I am going to try and go for a run (weather dependent) for the first time in a year.

As much as I wanted to get Claire as close to a year on breastmilk as possible, it just wasn't going to happen. We simply ran out of space. Our home freezer above our fridge has been loaded and unloaded as we transferred milk to various family members numerous times in the last four months. About two weeks ago I jotted down where milk stashes were located (MIL, BIL, my mom's...) and the respective dates along with the 'expiration' dates. Milk that is stored in a deep freeze is good for 6-7 months; milk in a regular freezer is only good for 3-4 months.

Erring on the side of caution I realized that the milk at my mom's had to be used in early December. Before we could get that milk back up here and into our freezer we needed to unload the stash we have on hand from the last several weeks. Well, since I have been pumping since Claire's arrival and was kicking out 10-12 ounces every 4 hours it has taken me nearly a month to slow down my production enough to call it done. Weaning off releasing that much milk can be VERY painful. This weekend I pushed it to the extreme, before learning I may have been doing some damage to myself. It got to the point where I couldn't pick Claire up because it hurt too much. I went back to stretching the time in between sessions while continuing to cut down on the time attached to the machine. That seemed to help as yesterday I only pumped once. I'm thinking by this weekend I can have a glass of wine and not have to worry about it being passed onto Claire. My guess is Claire will still be on breastmilk for about 2-3 more months. As we get closer to the end of the stash we will stretch it out by mixing it with formula and mixing it in with solids (can you believe she will start solids soon?!?).

The girls are closer to the size they were while preggers. Part of me wants them to stay this size :) Yet I am itching to get back into my button downs (I'm addicted to them, BTW) and get back to running without pain.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Whew

OK. I gotta admit. My cube ain't nothing like this. I actually have a window. Which is more than I can say for some of the higher ranking personnel in this joint.

New Title

Dear reader,

Please weigh in on your thoughts. Do you like the new name?

Many thanks,
~Struggling Cube Jockey

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am disturbed

So, no football on last night and I ended up watching the History Channel's show on Nostradamus. What a bad idea. I am now dreading December 21, 2012. Apparently that is when the world is going to end (as we know it) according to our man Nostradamus and some other Mayan seers.

Great. Just freaking great. I did the math and realized Claire would be a whopping 5 years old when the world ended (as we know it). Then my mind starting spinning out of control. What will happen to her if she survives some catastrophic event and her parents don't? What is going to happen to the world? How can this be? Why am I just learning about this now?

This damn show should have come with a warning. New parents who will worry about their child's future should not watch this for fear they will never sleep again. Or something of the like.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Name change

OK. I've got to rename this blog. It was created as a place to host photos before my hubby put up our website. When one does a Google search it comes up as the second and third links. Since I have posted some personal thoughts and opinions I would hate for my hubby's clients to associate this with his business.

I've had a couple middle-of-the-night ideas that promptly run out of my head when I wake in the morning (this leads me to believe they might not be the best ideas). During the day I can't seem to come up with anything. It reminds me of college when I woefully attempted to come up with titles for papers. I've always struggled with this issue. The photography slant continues to come to mind but I think it might be overdone... Through my lens? Crap. I suck at this.

So I solicit help from you, dear reader. Any thoughts on a new name for this blog?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Crazy Fluid Man

This is crazy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsOaQGF7kiQ

Friday, October 19, 2007

Save the Trees

Here's a great way to save some trees. I stumbled upon this while avoiding work this morning linking through friends blogs and found it on Faux Martha. (BTW, I am so buying Claire one of those shirts)

I hate getting these catalogs. I rarely read them and would prefer they not come to my home.

I've become more aware of all the waste we have in our home lately. We're pretty good about recycling as much as we can and try to reuse most of the plastic that is brought into our home if it can't be recycled. But we're still just adding more to the landfills... I was thinking as I was cleaning the litter box this morning that we really don't need to use plastic bags for Claire's diaper pail (how's that for linear thinking??). Her pail has an insert we can pull out and just dump the diapers in the trash. Pete was concered about how the insert might begin to smell but I think it's worth it. I'm going to begin doing this tonight.

Does anyone have an ideas for those plastic hangers you get when buying kids clothing? The stores don't seem to want to keep them and even with garage sales next summer I'll never use them all. Would love to hear if anyone has any good thoughts. Maybe figure out a way to make them into a mobile... Hmm...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A higher power?

My day yesterday confirms my belief in a higher power. Coinky-dink? I think not.

I had one of those strange days yesterday where I was suddenly taken back to my high school days. I ran into two friends from high school within a few hours of each other. Now it isn't really an oddity that this happens. I only live about 1.5 hours from where we all graduated and it is natural for many of us to move to the Twin Cities. However, a couple of my good pals from HS have joked that the world revolves around our home town (All things Austin). We get a kick out of running into people while we are in the other Austin (Texas), NYC and other parts of the world. We swear Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon should be changed to Six Degrees of Austin. It seems many people know someone from this small town in southern MN.

So, I was sitting at lunch with the facilitator I hired for yesterdays session when my junior year prom date strolled by. OK. This one isn't so weird as we do see each other from time to time. (One would think we would see each other at work more but we aren't in the same building and 10,000 people land on this six block plot of land each day.) However, I haven't seen him since before I got pregnant so it was 'out of the blue' that we saw each other.

The second came while I was heading to my yoga class. My class is being held at an education center in the NE metro. I was already late for class but stopped dead in my tracks when I saw my pal from HS. I hadn't seen this pal in several years (like nearly 10). He and his wife were there to attend conferences with his son's preschool teacher which were being held across the hall from my yoga class. Now really, how random is it that? I was really good friends with this guy in HS and he was a rock when I went crazy for a little while. I lost track of him when he moved 'up north' to work in radio for a spell. I went to college and moved into the next phase and we just never reconnected when he moved to the TC. And here we are. Standing in a hall catching up for a brief moment, talking about kids. Amazing. Turns out we live only one burb over from each other.

Times like these make me wonder how many times I come near people who have been in my life but don't see them. Throughout my life I have had these experiences.

While living in Spain I befriended a couple of gals from Northwestern who were good friends with two friends of mine from HS in Fremont, NE. I moved back to MN from Fremont before my junior year in HS.

During college I became friends with a guy from SD. His senior year in HS he 'hosted' members from a band who were on tour and playing in his hometown. That band was from MN. The drummer was my boyfriend at the time. (We learned this after about 2 weeks of going to shows and talking about our SOs)


However, nothing beats the six degrees (more like one degree) with regards to my husband. On more than one occassion we know we were in the same room and/or at the same event but never crossed paths. As a mutual friend noted when I told her we were dating, "God waited until you were both in the right frame of mind before having you actually meet". I don't doubt it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fine. I'll Just Leave Then.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to act like a snotty teenager? Sometimes I just want to act like said snotty teenager and tell people at work to take this job and shove it where the sun don't shine.

This isn't new. But it has become more prevalent since Claire's arrival. I'd rather be at home watching her grow and develop than sit here and listen to them explain why they see the work I do to be a big pain in the hiney. As if I get off on having to fight them every flipping time we discuss training in this lovely Fortune 100 company.

What did I go to school for? So I could be like Sisyphus pushing the damn bolder all day? WHY do you pay me if you don't really want to listen to what I have to say? I don't come to work just to collect a pay check. I take pride in what I do and feel that the work I do should count for something. That I am an intelligent person who has a valid point of view that should be listened to. If you don't think what I do is valid then I'll stop coming here. See how much you like it when you have to find the answers yourself. Maybe the next time we're in a meeting I should tell you that I think our shareholders feel your job (insert whatever it may be) would be considered a waste of time and resources. I'm not kidding. Someone said that to me. My response - stunned silence. What I wanted to say. Go (insert bad word here) yourself.

Man am I pissy today.

It's not personal. I know that. I typically get along with most people in this company on a personal level. But if I hear one more time that training is a complete waste of their time and can't I get it straight that they don't need it I will be the one to shove it where the sun don't shine for them.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No LRT


I'm still depressed that there is no LRT on this bridge. I guess I 'get' that in order to obtain a certain level of funding and meet the timeline associated with said funding LRT was pushed to the wayside. But really. I hate to sound uncaring to those personally impacted by this tragedy but can't we look at this as an opportunity to move forward with alternative transportation in this so called 'progressive' state? This is an opportunity to rebuild a MAJOR transportation vein with LRT. One of the first things discussed when the collapse occurred was the volume of traffic crossing the bridge. Well. Do we think that is going to get any f'in lighter over the course of the next several years?

I used to bus into work when I lived in St. Paul and worked DT Mpls, crossing that bridge. It continued to be my main route into DT Mpls from the eastern subs (I live on the 'northern' edge). I would very much appreciate the option of using LRT for part of my journey to DT.

Why not take the bus you ask? Because in order for me to get to DT Mpls when I want to head there for fun, it takes well over an hour and the buses don't run all that often off peak commuting hours. Apparently people in the NE Metro only travel to DT Mpls during work hours.

People say it won't be used. People say we're just not that kind of a community. I say bullshit. If you build it - we will ride.

Flexible Dresser

Only in Minnesota, as they say, does the weather change 30 degrees in a 12 hour period. On Sunday I was sweating bullets, resisting the temptation to flip on the air. No... I won't do it. I won't turn the air on in October.

Monday brought relief after some storms rolled through from the south. Tuesday brings wind and cool air. And what's this? A chance of snow? It's a good thing I know how to dress in layers.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gotta race

It was TC Marathon weekend this past weekend. While normally hearing the sounds of runners (they run right past our church) and seeing the elite runners glide past puts me in the running frame of mind. But the weather stifled any thoughts of putting on my running shoes. Thinking of running 26.2 in that steamy weather made my chest hurt. I heard people were dropping like flies. I've seen this and it isn't pretty. Also, I haven't run since the beginning of November of last year and my lazy bones (read thigh muscles) breathed a sigh of relief when I turned around and went to the car at a nice slow walk.

It did get me thinking about something I realized early last month. This will be the first year I won't have a race shirt - for any distance - since 1997. I started running 5k races in 1997 with my dad as a way to kick the smoking habit. Not long after (2001 or 2002) I ran the half at Grandmas and I trained for my first marathon in 2003 but was unable to run it due to a work commitment. I ran Grandma's the following year and have run the half at Grandmas three (maybe 4?) more times since my first. I have to look at my race shirts to confirm. I've yet to run the TC full marathon but have done the 10 mile twice. I really enjoy the half marathon distance. The training fits better into my hectic schedule, which is sure to be even more hectic as Claire grows.

I have been debating about trying to do the Reindeer Run in December - just so I can have a race shirt for 2007. But trying to run while nursing.... just doesn't work for me. Even with the right sports bra 3.1 miles of that doesn't appeal. I suppose I could register, run a little bit and walk the rest to get the shirt. But is it that important? My SIL looks at Claire and says I have run a different kind of race this year. Perhaps I will just chose to look at this 'gap' in race shirts as my ode to Claire's birth year and move on.

Once we get that jogger next year - Claire and I will be hitting the pavement and wearing out running shoes in no time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Her father's genes

On a lighter note (see post below)... Ms. Claire has slept for 8+ hours the last three nights. Apparently, when she wants to, she can sleep like her dad and older sister. I had been reading about how many hours of sleep she should be getting during a 24 hour period and started to fret - she was at least 2-3 hours below that number. (I swear, all I do now is worry about how much she eats, sleeps, poops/pees).

She and I had a little conversation the other night that she needs to sleep better. I was referring to the daytime (she doesn't like to nap long during the day). She apparently took it to mean she should sleep through the night at 8 weeks gestational age. Who knew?

I thought I would LOVE the day she began sleeping through the night. Mentally I prepared myself for roughly 8 months of night wakings based on her gestational age. I wasn't prepared for this at 3.5 months! You would think I would be so excited - off in dream land appreciating the fact that I can get some shut eye. But I'm up every 4 hours anyway attached to the electric milking machine. So I go in and check to see if she is breathing.

I realize that this is not likely to last too long. She will go through another growth spurt and want to eat more any day now. And I'm OK with that. As much as I want my baby girl to sleep through the night because I know she needs the rest, I worry she isn't eating enough.

The nature of the beast

OK. I have always been a strong supporter of animals. I am a pet owner as are most of the members of my family and my friends. We all care a great deal for the animals we bring into our homes. In the past, when I have read about animals attacking people I have often wondered if someone or something spooked them, surely these normally docile beings are good animals and it was just a freak happening. People generalize and say that a certain breed of canine shouldn't be allowed around children. I've often felt that was too broad based. Not anymore.

My friend was recently attacked by a pit bull (story here). She was at this gathering with her 3 year old daughter. Luckily, her daughter didn't see her attacked but did see her afterwards bleeding. My friend is very shaken up and skittish. Apparently, the owners of the dog do not want it to be punished. I ask you... what would they be saying if the dog had gone after one of the children at this gathering rather than an adult?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another year...

of watching Minnesota football. It's tough to be a football fan in this state.

I knew that the Gophers would have a rough go this year (very possible we will end up 0-8 in the Big 10). At least we covered the spread against Ohio State on Saturday. I swear Brewster lit some sort of fire under the defense. Either OSU was having a REALLY bad night or our defense finally learned how to tackle. The previous week it was like watching swiss cheese on the field.

I had hopes that the Vikes would win a couple more games. After the last three games I have serious doubts we will have any more victories this year. I hate to be a negative nelly but seriously. What the...?

I'll grant that we have some issues - starting at the QB position. Sorry to say, I have never been a big T-Jack fan. I don't see him as a leader for this team. His injury the last couple of weeks wasn't a worry for me. We weren't getting anywhere with him anyway. We just don't have the talent on offense we need to make it in the NFL. Our receiving core isn't very strong and I worry that we will rely too heavily on Peterson and wear him down. We do need him for more than one season!

Urgh. I wanted to give Chilly another year to prove that he could turn the team around but I don't know if he has it in him to be a head coach. Not that I could do that job but he is being paid a large sum of money to field a team of players who will keep people in their seats. A few more games like this and we'll be calling Red McCombs in San Antonio asking if he is still interested in buying the team.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rejected

I cannot be a milk donor because of my transfusion.

Oh well. Best intentions I guess. We have some room in the freezer now after our last milk run. I'm going to have to send some home with my mother tomorrow, however. Otherwise Pete is going to be upset when we once again run out of room and he can't fit in his favorite dish: frozen pizzas.

Visual Brain Candy

I am officially addicted. Perhaps because it reminds me of the X-Men comic book series. The new season of Heroes began last night and I gleefully watched (while trying to sort through 500+ photos from an event I did with three other photographers) last night. I became addicted last season but lost track of what was happening after the long 'fall' break. During the initial days of Claire's stay in the NICU I picked back up on my habit. NBC so kindly posted episodes for viewing during the summer break. Is Sylar really dead? What is going to happen to Peter?

I haven't gotten into the graphic novel (avx online) which surprises me (I got hooked on old school X-Men graphics when I was working at the bookstore and would stock the racks). Perhaps it is the shameless commercialization that takes place in the novel (see Nissan Rouge - hmmmmmm is that related to Rouge from the X-Men?). Tacky. The online versions run a deluge for the sponsor during the online episodes. Oh well. I guess that is how we can get all this stuff free online so I'll have to deal with the constant barrage of commercials during online viewing.

I really appreciate knowing the most recent episode is available online. This way if Claire and I are doing something else I can catch up later in the week or on lunch. Very nice!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back to the grind

I am back at work today. So far I have made it three hours and only called home once. My milk production is slowing... apparently due to being stressed about being back at work. That sucks.

I can't concentrate on anything. I feel completely out of whack. Claire has a cold and I want to be at home. And everything at work is a cluster. Plus, I don't want to deal with the politics.

Hoping tomorrow is better.

Earlier this week I had another mom reality moment (#3?). While holding Claire in her preferred position (facing out with my arm hooked around the front of her belly, hand between legs) she pooped. No biggie, right. WRONG. Apparently the salsa dad made which we had on quesadillas the previous night did not sit well with the babe. She proceeded to poop all over. Me. The floor. Her shorts. Her onesie. And I don't think it felt too good coming out. Poor baby. Needless to say, I will not be eating dad's salsa again.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Milk run

I am heading to my in-laws today in Amery to drop off a stash of milk. Our freezer is full once again and we have already maxed out our deep freeze. My in-laws aren't using all of their space in their deep freeze so they are kindly letting us store some milk.

I did complete an application online for a local hospital to see if I can be a donor. We should hear from them in about a week. If I am a candidate, I will go through all the blood tests to ensure I am not carrying anything that can be passed through breast milk and that I am disease free.

Even with taking milk to Amery and my plan to have my mom take milk back to her house on a weekly basis we will still run out of room again. I maxed out the freezer on the fridge in just over a month. I think that by being a donor I will have another incentive to keep going. I am tiring of pumping. Even though it isn't a great deal of time during the day it is not convenient. Well, convenient from a timing standpoint. I am often feeding Claire and then pumping. Or she wakes up while I am pumping and Pete has to step off whatever he was doing to come and take Claire while I finish. Those are the times when 10 minutes feels like hours. I am lucky he is at home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home body

I'm feeling very home-body-ish the last few days. Not sure if it is the change in weather or the fact that I have 8 days until I go back to work. Claire and I were supposed to meet up with a friend for a walk around Lake Harriet this morning but I just bailed. My excuse - I don't want to take Claire out in 50 degree weather. Who is the baby here? Claire or me?

I am trying to get myself on a schedule for next week. I feel like a kid in her last week of summer vacation. Instead of going back to sleep when I got up to pump this morning I stayed awake, took a shower before Claire woke up, fed her, did the dishes, emptied the dishwasher and put the butterbraid into the oven. It's 9:30am and I am pretty tired.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sobering Drive

I had to run back to NE Mpls this afternoon as I accidentally left my USB cable in the gear I rented from West Photo last week. Earlier this week I took the route past the construction for the Gopher stadium. I know this sounds trite but it is strange to see the campus change so much - makes me kinda sad. I am however, very excited that football will be back on campus soon (despite the iffy-ness of our seasons). This time I chose to go via the 10th Avenue bridge. I think part of me really wanted to see the 35W bridge area. I think it's a bit morbid myself but I also have been feeling a need to actually see the bridge - it makes it more real. Having lived three blocks from the University exit and crossing that bridge countless times I know I could very well have been on the bridge that day, perhaps with my family in the car. I didn't even have to get out of my car to see the twisted steel. I was surprised at how quickly the lump in my throat formed and tears sprung to my eyes. The 'what ifs' started forming in my head about what I would have done if Claire had been in the car with me. The whole area kicks off a very sad vibe.

I said to Pete when I got home that I don't need to go near there again. Once was enough. And for once in my life I don't want to take pictures. Too real? Too close to home?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Expensive hobby

I shot my first wedding on Saturday since becoming a mom. I had a bit of a challenge finding clothing that would fit for the shoot. I typically wear black and most of my black pants no longer fit. Finally, I found a pair of pants from ages ago when elastic waist bands were en vogue. Thank goodness. Needless to say, I am now on the hunt for a comfy black skirt to add to my stash. It wasn't blazing hot but hot enough when lugging around my gear.

I am glad it was a short shoot. The couple did a small wedding at a local restaurant so we shot outdoors at the park across the street and proceeded back to the restaurant for the ceremony on the deck. I was able to get back home just over my four hour window. This is typically how long I can be away from my new friend the pump. Needless to say, had we gone longer I would have needed to book an assistant so I could take the time out.

Even with a small group it was more portraits than I dig, but oh well. I need to pick up as many gigs as possible to build my portfolio. I went through the first pass of the photos last night and am happy for the most part. It was a gorgeous day outside - not a cloud in the sky. Damn it. While the rest of the folks were enjoying the lovely weather I was praying for a couple of clouds. Just one or two that would politely sit overhead blocking the sun while I shot the groups. No luck. It will take me a bit longer to work on those photos to see if I can take out some hotspots and bring up some of the darker areas. One thing I am learning - I do not charge enough for weddings. It's not the shoot that takes the time, but the editing. However, until I get good enough, I feel bad charging a lot of money. Urgh.

The bride requested that I use a professional level camera. My camera is only a 6.4 megapixel. Now, from what I understand, unless she was going to blow up a picture to anything above 20x30 we would be just fine using my camera. But, the customer is always right, right? So I chose to look at this as an opportunity to test run the D2X from Nikon (from local outfit WestPhoto). I currently shoot Nikon so am familiar with the Nikon body I thought it would be better to go that route than try to adjust to the Canon body for a wedding.

I know I want to upgrade someday but don't know if I want to switch over to Canon. The dilemma for me is all my gear works with Nikon - external flash, lenses (which need upgrading too). To buy a new body, either Canon or Nikon, it will cost me between $3,000 - 4,000. If I go the Canon route I need to tack on another $400 for the lens I want and another $300 for the external flash. At my current wedding rate I would need to do 12 weddings to pay for the equipment. Yikes. I better stick to my day job, eh?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We're batty



We have a small bat living on our deck. Hopefully he is eating all the nasty buggers.

I'm back!

So I haven't been posting too much due to my need to share a computer with the hubby. I've been updating Claire's blog when I have time.

The countdown has begun. Claire and I went to lunch with two of my coworkers today and I learned that my boss is counting down the days until I return. 20 days. While that should make me feel like a valuable player on the team it made me feel overwhelmed. How am I going to get back into the swing of things? Claire isn't even sleeping for more than 6 hours at night and has been going through some serious meltdowns as of late. Not that her dad can't handle the meltdowns, but as her mohter I feel I have a special knack (getting cocky aren't I?) for getting her to settle down. I will sing and hum and rock and walk and do whatever it takes. I am afraid of what will happen when I am not here. And I have all these ideas of things I want her to be a part of and activities... I wasn't sure how I would feel. I thought going back would be a relief.

I just got my laptop back from my coworker and I have over 150 emails to get through. I can't imagine what the number would have been had I not had the chance to screen some early on in my leave and going forward.

Going back to work does not sound inviting at all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mom reality moment #2

I have no problem talking about poop and breast feeding with other mothers while walking around Lake Calhoun. I joined a couple girlfriends on Saturday for a walk around the lake with our babes. Claire, Emerson (7 months) and Jonas (21 months) were troopers as we ambled along discussing things like how long to breastfeed, what brand/type of iron the kids are taking, allergies and how that impacts breastfeeding and Claire's loose stool issue (which I think I have found the answer to!). It was very natural to discuss this with the gals and I appreciate that there are other women out there who feel OK talking about these matters as well. Sometimes it is nice to talk to someone other than the doctor about poop.

As I mentioned, I think I have discovered the source of Claire's loose stool issue. I can't believe it took me this long to realize it. Since I was on iron for six weeks I was also taking a umm... well... stool softener (side effect of iron is constipation). Since the doctor's and the nurses in the NICU never expressed any concern regarding its effect on Claire I never gave it a second thought. As an experiment, I switched from using the milk pumped during that time period to freshly pumped milk. What do you know. Claire's poop looks more like it did when she was in the NICU. Whew. My guess is that, combined with the hot, hot, hot weather we are having (despite having the air on) it has whacked out her gentle system. Now I am wondering if I should keep going on the 'old' milk and get through the rest of the bags with the softgel or keep on with the fresh milk. Ahh.. the questions. This is clearly a sign that I have far, far too much time on my hands.

Claire and I have been taking more excursions out of the house as of late. We can't be gone for too long (unless I can bring the pump!) but it helps break up the day. However, I have to learn not to go places where I will spend money. As of last week I have used up all my paid disability, vacation and personal holidays. The rest of the time off will be without pay and we just received the bill for Claire's stay at the hospital (thank God for deductibles).

I am working to limit my spending at Target to just the essentials (diapers) but when I am having trouble fitting into my pre-preggers clothing and don't want to wear the now enormous pregger clothing I am tempted to buy new shirts and pants. I keep telling myself I need to stop so I have the incentive to put down the candy bar and go for a walk!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mom reality moment #1

Well, perhaps it isn't the first time I have realized I am really a mother but it's close.

Ms. Claire is having some more digestive issues. For those who read her blog you know that a few weeks ago she had a bout of extremely loose stool. That hasn't really gone away but because she isn't dehydrated the doctors aren't overly concerned. I (and her father), however have some concerns. Last night she was screaming her head off, in what we can only assume, is gas pain. Or perhaps burning. She was also rooting like crazy and had eaten not too long ago. This morning she was acting along hte same lines, not nearly as severe as last night but crying and hard to console. The last 12 hours have really made my heart hurt. I can't find a way to soothe her. I can't make the pain go away. All I want is for my little girl to be calm and comfortable.

I have been known to be a bit of a hypochondriac and have already taken Claire to the ER (and was told to wait and see what happened) once in her life. I am not sure if I should take her to the doctor or not. Never having had a child I am unsure when one makes the call and turns care over to the doctor. Perhaps I had a big salad that day and she doesn't respond well to that type of food (FYI, since I am pumping and have a lead on her it is hard to determine what was eaten prior to that bag of milk). Or could it be the formula mix? Or the iron suppliment? Urgh. It is so hard to hear your baby wail and not know what to do to help her.

I highly doubt this will be the last time I feel my heart break because of pain she experiences, that is part of being a parent, I know. I just didn't realize how much it would make my heart hurt and how hard it is to not be able to do anything to take away the pain.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bridge Thoughts

I used to live about three blocks from the north end of the collapse. My family and friends have driven over the bridge thousands of times - it was our way to the dome for Gopher Football games. I can't bring myself to watch a lot of coverage - I'd rather listen to MPR for information so I don't have to really see the images. I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand, I just am having a hard time seeing the bridge and thinking about the fact that my sister was on the bridge on Saturday and I was on it on Sunday. I am blessed with the fact that no one in my immediate circle was on the bridge.

My friend J works for a government entity involved in the recovery efforts. Her inability to talk about what she has seen makes me think about how devastating this is to the people having to work the recovery. God bless them and the strength they have to do this job.

I am proud of the first responders. Because of J's exposure to the field I know they all have gone through extensive training and have worked hard to create communication between the state and local agencies. I think the rapid response and continued effective work is a direct result of the training and open lines of communication. Who knows if this would have been the case prior to the training.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Freezer!


We're getting a new freezer today (hopefully), thank goodness. My milk has been flowing since the Saturday after Claire was born and we have no more room in the freezer. As you can see, we have a plentiful supply. I am about 20 days ahead of Claire and can pump 40 ounces a day while she is only taking 20-24. This way I can stop pumping a bit earlier and she will still get the benefit of mom's milk. We finally bit the bullet and bought an upright freezer to move said milk into for the time being. After that we will likely use it for other things like my frozen lunches for work and ice cream.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Claire's future?

I can see her dad doing this if he gets bored enough...

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=602153&fr=yvmtf

&*^$# Japanese Beetles

Urgh. We've been infested. As I sat staring out the back window of Claire's room into the yard during a pumping session I noticed a large infestation of bugs on our linden tree. Hmm... wonder what they are, I thought. Five days later I began noticing that they were eating the leaves. Our shade tree wasn't kicking off much shade any longer. I finally took a stroll in the back yard (a rare event these days) so I could get a better look at these critters to match to the pictures in our North American Wildlife book. Egads - Japanese Beetles. These suckers (literally) deforest trees, shrubs, flowers, whatever happens to be kicking of a 'stressed' signal, which is a chemical signature that the beetles hone in on and set up camp. Dang things are everywhere on this tree. Two weeks later and I am looking at a fairly bare tree with the beetles still chomping away on what is left of the leaves.

The trouble is, they procreate like mad. And lay their eggs in the ground so the larvae can come back the following year. Two nights ago, on another tour of the yard, I found them on two shrubs out front and the grape vine in the back. It dawned on me that they had been on the grape vine last year but didn't do much damage. However, my guess is they laid their eggs and now we are infested. I'm serious. They are everywhere.

We've been looking for non-toxic methods to get rid of the damn things but there aren't a lot out there. You can drown them in soapy water but that doesn't stop them from coming back and it's really hard to get to the ones at the top of the tree. I read in one of my gardening books that blending some dead/alive ones with water and spraying it on the infested plant does the trick. I might be heading to the Goodwill today to buy a used blender and make an attempt to gather some of the beetles, drown them and put them in the blender. I just can't imagine these things coming back again next year and destroying our maples or other trees. Urgh.

And the veggie garden is taking a beating. We harvested 7 peas last night and we will probably only get a couple more out of the whole lot. Something got to it while we were in the hospital and has continued to come back. I haven't gotten around to mixing the anti-critter brew (anyone know where to find dry mustard?) so I am paying the price. The carrots have been attacked as of late. Everything else seems to be going OK. The tomatoes are always left alone and we harvested a couple cukes last night as well. One of our strawberry plants is blooming again and this time I am going to get the strawberries off the plant before something comes along and eats them like last time. Earlier this year I thought, maybe we should throw up some chicken wire, but that thought passed when Pete said it would be too difficult to get in and out of the garden. Hmph. Next year we're throwing up chicken wire. It's the only thing that will keep out the racoons, deer, rabbits and whatever else is finding it's meals in my garden.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Press for Friends

Re: my extremely talented friend Carrie

Re: an old friend Jason

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Too hot!

The hottest day of the year. Our thermometer read 103'. So I stayed inside & watched this.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The fun begins

Claire came home from the hospital yesterday! We're very excited but much like all new parents we feel the fear associated with having a newborn under your care. I don't think I slept very much last night between the feedings, pumping and listening to her all night long. The nurses gave us some information on warning signs we should look for which made me paranoid. I remember when Alex was a wee tot and babysitting him one night, feeling much the same way. I kept putting my hand on him to be sure he was really breathing. The very thought of something happening to her makes me ill. This parenting thing really makes me feel vulnerable. It doesn't help that the lack of sleep and my ever-adjusting hormones influence my ability to keep myself together. Ahh... in due time. From what I understand from my pals, what I am feeling/experiencing is very, very normal.

Tabitha doesn't seem to understand what is going on - Claire is pretty quite still so no big cries. We'll have to see how she adjusts to being the 'middle child'.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sweet freedom!

Much like Claire, I am taking steps to recover from her entrance into the world. I stopped taking the Percocet on Wednesday last week since the doc's really don't want someone on a narcotic behind the wheel of a car... By Friday I was feeling pretty good and felt that I could handle driving myself to the hospital. It was nice to not feel like a burden to Pete. It tuckered me out quite a bit so I came home and napped. This whole low hemoglobin thing is a bit weird. A walk across the parking lot can wear me out. I'm still dealing with many of the effects of the HELLPs. My heart rate is really high (resting rate is near 100) and I'm constantly on the lookout for dizziness, new floaters in my eyes, general nausea and headaches. I've spent a lot of time on the couch.

Saturday felt really good but I think I pushed it too far. Drove myself to the hospital again which didn't seem to wipe me out as much. I spent most of the day sitting up which, while relaxing, doesn't help my blood pressure. We have my nephew's birthday party today at my sister's so it will be another long day. Who would have thought that going to church, a 4 hour birthday and a visit to the hospital would seem like a long day.

My body seems to be recovering well from the surgery. Sometimes it is hard to lay on my sides. The muscles are still weak and repairing themselves. As I laid down last night to go to sleep I reminded myself where I was a week ago and how far I had come since leaving the hospital. I told myself that in a matter of 2-3 weeks I would be even closer to my old self, able to stand up or lay down with little pain. It's only a matter of time before I strap on those running shoes and get back out on the pavement. I imagine it will be walks at first, moving towards short runs but it will feel nice after laying about for so long. I wasn't sure if I would want to run again after such a long break but I am starting to feel the pull. Perhaps it is the drive to lose the extra baby weight but whatever it is, I don't really want it to go away.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Uncle Arnold

Got some sad news last night that my great uncle, Arnold Schember, passed away. He is my paternal grandmother's brother. Uncle Arnold had been in hospice care for some time now. If you ever had a chance to meet Uncle Arnold you know what a special man he was. Always cracking jokes, always, always smiling and a pack-rat extraordinaire. Uncle Arnold was the man who encouraged the family to keep our silver dollar tradition alive and loved to be the presenter at our family weddings as we moved the coin from one couple to the next. (The silver dollar was started by George Schember who believed that as long as a couple had a silver dollar in their pocket they were never poor).

What I remember best about Uncle Arnold:
  • his sense of humor
  • eating mashed potatoes with him at a relative's wedding while he cracked jokes the whole time
  • his garden
  • his ability to always include people in his life
  • his energy and enthusiasm for life

While it is very hard to think he won't be at the next family reunion in August I know he is home now and will be watching us all as we get together and share stories about his life.

God bless you, Uncle Arnold

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Update on Claire

We've created a site dedicated to Claire's progress. For some reason I can't get the hyperlink to work so I have just pasted the link below.

http://claireschronicals.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Claire Marie

More later when I get home and can upload pictures.

Claire joined us a few weeks early (7.5 weeks) after I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, a disease associated with preeclampsia. The only cure for HELLPS is delivery of the baby. We went in on Monday afternoon after a routine checkup with our OB and after three days of pushing the envelope with the help of the doctors and two steriod shots to help Claire, she joined us at 2:08pm on June 14, 2007. She was 3 lbs 10 oz and 16.5 inches long. She has a full head of hair and looks really good, other than being a wee tot. Considering her mother was 5 lbs 13 oz and was full term I have high hopes she will come out of the NICU with no real issues.

She currently is feeding through the feeding tube and has an IV but is not on a respirator - a big win for a 32 week baby. Promise, pictures will be posted as soon as we get home from the hospital.

Right now, I am being monitored for my blood pressure on a regular basis. There are some concerns about the fact that it hasn't dropped. We're hoping that it will begin to go down on its own, but perhaps I will be taking high blood meds sooner than I had intended.

Thanks to everyone who has sent their prayers. You are certainly a key part of what helped us hang in until Thursday, buying us enough time to get those steroid shots for Claire. We will keep everyone posted on her development and growth.

Bless you all!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rude Employees

Sorry to be venting but I really am getting tired of people not treating each other with respect.

My job requires me to notify folks if they are in arrears on completing a required training course. Due to some software rights and general goofiness when working with a large company accessing the course isn't as easy as one would like. I have tried to make it easy for everyone but when people grow accustomed to a certain 'path' to obtain information, no matter the amount of explanation I give, some still can't figure it out. To be fair, not everyone in the company is familiar with the same jargon and I would be remiss in not admitting that what makes perfect sense to me may not to Joe Blow working in a lab. Nevertheless, why does that make it OK to send me an email like the following?

Hello,
I have tried numerous times to access this link. It does not work.
Don't you know this by now.
I will try again.

This is nothing compared to some of the others I have received in the past. Lucky for this bloke, he works in Austin, TX. I'm getting to the point where I want to drag my pregnant ass over to my fellow employee's office/lab and introduce myself. Let's see how they respond when they have to speak to me face-to-face and not hide behind their email or vmail. I understand why people can get frustrated, I really do. But please approach me with a little respect and drop the hostility. I had another person call me today and start in on why this whole thing is a mess. Due to the fact that my body is no longer my body and I am sleeping for shit I kinda lost it on him. No yelling or anything but I finally said, I am not the programmer of the software and if I had my druthers I would have done it the way you suggest, however that option was not available to me so I had to develop a work around. I apologize if you don't like what I did. He promptly became easier to deal with.

Do they think I'm just doing this to make their life tougher? Seriously. I like taking these types of phone calls and opening email messages that blast me. That's the type of job I look forward to coming to everyday. Use some of that brain to think about how you would like to be approached if you were the individual receiving the complaint before you open your damn mouth.

'K. I'm done.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Safe Hybrids

Darn, looks like my options for a 'sedan' hybrid are dwindling. Dang. I was hoping to land a new Accord Hybrid as my next car. Guess I will have to settle for a Camry until new model comes out somewhere that is more like a sedan. I'm not sure why but I feel safer in a sedan. In reality, I am driving a Corolla right now and have a long way to go before I can offload that puppy so I should just get used to the idea that my kid is going to be in a small car. It's great for the gas mileage but I sometimes worry that it is less safe. Whew. This being a parent thing brings out a whole host of new things to consider. When it was just me in the car I didn't seem to have a problem but now... I wonder what I'll begin to worry about next!

Friday, June 01, 2007

7 months




Actually, closer to 7.5 but who is counting?!?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We almost got a dog

We had a busy Memorial Weekend. Spent Saturday at my sister's to celebrate my dad's birthday. We finished up flower shopping and spent most of the afternoon cleaning up the box elder tree that fell during last week's storm. One might think it a crappy thing to ask one's father to bring his chainsaw up to help cut down a tree but it you knew my father you would know this is probably on of the best gifts she could have given him - an excuse to haul out the chainsaw and do some work. He was in his element. The boys were so excited to have this much activity in the backyard.

Sunday was a glorious day and I spent most of it outside planting the flowers and the last tomato plant I purchased on Saturday. I'm full up. No more room! Now comes the weeding. While trimming some of the bushes in the back yard I noticed our neighbor's dog was out. Pete had mentioned a few days before that while he was mowing the lawn he saw the pup trotting down the street. He walked him back to the house (2 doors down) and one of the owners was happy to see him back but not as worried as Pete would have liked her to have been. The dog is super friendly and not yet a year old. Still acts like a puppy and just doesn't know better where he can and cannot go. Anyway... I saw in him the yard next to ours and figured I would walk him back, they must not have realized he had snuck out again. He was very excited to head towards his house and wanted inside so badly as I knocked on the door. No answer (no doorbell either so I wasn't 100% sure someone wasn't home). So I walked around the back to the fence and realized how he had nosed his way out. One of the boards on the privacy fence was laying on the ground. Being a svelte puppy he just wiggled his way out and took a walk down the street. I didn't know what to do so I walked into the back yard and proppped up the board thinking maybe he wouldn't realize it was still loose (silly, I know). A couple hours later I was sitting on the deck with Tabby and she went tearing across the deck staring down at the ground. The dog had gotten out again and was just below our deck. This time I grabbed Pete and asked him what we should do. We thought about keeping him in our yard and leaving a note at the house for when they came home. Instead, we walked back to their house and knocked just be sure someone wasn't home. Still no answer. So, Pete went back to our house, grabbed his drill and screwed the board back on the fence. In the meantime, I noticed that the pup didn't have any water so I walked home and grabbed an old ice cream pail, added some water and carried it back to the neighbors. We didn't leave a note, just locked him back in the yard with the fence (he had plenty of shade) and kept an eye on whether he came roaming our way again. So far so good. Needless to say, I am curious to know if the neighbors got the hint when they saw their fence had been repaired and an ice cream pail in the yard. Per Pete - one more strike and he becomes our dog. Not that we need that in our house right now...

Monday was another good weather day. We had some friends over for a BBQ and some bocce ball. Good food, good friends, good times. A nice way to spend a Memorial Weekend while NOT battling traffic. I'll take that over trying to head 'up north' with everyone and their uncle on a three day weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Smart Coach

Not sure if many people would agree with me on this but as a season ticket holder for a Big 10 football team who plays against Coach Paterno, I am proud to say he is part of my division. If a certain basketball coach at my alma mater had his head in the right place and made decisions like Coach Paterno oh so many years ago the program may not be the cluster it is right now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I think I can, I think I can...

We attended our prenatal class this weekend at the hospital where we will deliver. There wasn't a whole lot of new stuff I hadn't read about or heard about from my sister and friends who have had babies but it still gave me pause. There is so much that I can't control about what is going to happen the day our baby decides to come into the world. For a control freak like me, this is both a great learning opportunity and the scariest damn thing in the world.

I really want to avoid taking any narcotics and/or an epidural but not knowing how I will handle the pain.... I guess I'll just have to try as best I can and see what happens. I've been told my passing of kidney stones without any medication might give some indication as to how much pain I can handle. However, I was 20 years old at the time and in OK physical condition. I don't think my body is as 'flexible' as it was nearly 15 years ago. Nor does the tattoo across my spine give any evidence that I will be able to tackle pain. These were all temporary periods of discomfort. Not passing a 7 lb person through 10 cm. I am most scared of the tearing. Sorry to be so graphic but it really scares the crap out of me. For some reason I feel I could handle most of the contractions but the idea of tearing (which EVERYONE does) scares me.

One thing I know ~ I will be an emotional train wreck. I couldn't make it through the birthing video without crying. Some out of fear, some out of the emotions I felt from the experience of watching a woman deliver (without any meds - not what she had planned btw) from A-Z. I remember watching something in health class in junior high/high school but of course, at that time it didn't really make an impact on me. Now it's a totally different story. I leaned over and told Pete he can expect me to be weepy, angry, swearing (what else is new?), clingy and just about everything else all in the course of 12-18 hours. Did you know 12-18 hours is the average time labor takes for first time mothers?? That is from the very beginning with small contractions to the delivery of the placenta. Amazing. I do remember when my sister delivered it was somewhere around this mark. I was in Portland on a business trip but got a call while I was at dinner that she had gone into the hospital and I tried calling her when I got up in the morning. Apparently, she was in the last efforts of delivering Alex. Whoops. Nothing like having your sister call and have to listen to a telephone peeling in your ear while you are trying to remain calm. She kindly responded when I apologized after taking an early flight home that she heard the phone ring and knew it was me so in some way I was there without being at the hospital.

Despite all the fears and anxiety I am getting anxious for our little girl to join us. Will she be blond and blue-eyed like Pete or will she be a brown hair, brown-eyed girl like her mom? Right now, she is listening to the Gear Daddies through the headphones on my belly. I figured I needed to encourage her to have a diverse understanding of music so in addition to classical music I have been playing the Dead, Neil Diamond (who she will learn well), Bob Dylan and a whole host of others. I have yet to play her any hardcore punk rock. I think I'll wait on that one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sitting upright

All is well according to our doctor. We had another check up this morning and things sound normal (heartbeat), feel normal (no dilation) and mom is doing fine (BP is OK). I did mention my back hurting and she felt my back and told me that no, it wasn't my bra as I originally thought, but back spasms. I need a deep tissue massage. Dang. Needless to say, I placed a call to my friend who is a massage therapist as soon as I got into work and will be making a visit to her on Sunday. I am SO looking forward to seeing her, both on a friend level and because she works such magic when she works out those kinks.

The doctor pushed on my belly today (a first) to get a sense of how the baby is laying. I told her I was feeling the most activity in my lower abdomen (really low) and she said that confirms her thoughts ~ she thinks she is sitting upright with her head under my ribs. That also explains why my ribs hurt sometimes, the babe is cracking me with her fists. The doctor said not to worry, that we have time before we need to consider if we will need to deliver via c-section. I have some doubts that she will turn since she has been laying this way for quite some time if the kicks are any indication. I was kinda bummed out. I have no concerns about scarring or worries about the surgery, I just wanted to have her the 'normal' way (one could debate which is becoming the norm these days). We'll see what happens and if the doctor can try to turn her. My sister was breech and no matter what the doctor did she wouldn't turn (stubborn Irish girl). It remains to be seen which what she decides to do. Maybe she just likes sitting upright - can't say I blame her.

We began to discuss backup boy names in case the technician was wrong. I'm carrying quite low (from what I can tell having never done this before) and I've heard that is a sign that it is a boy. Wives tale or not, I'd rather be prepared. It seems the boy name will be harder for us to agree on. We've pretty much agreed on the girl name but this morning we had some differences of opinion. I've heard this is one of the hardest decisions to make and I thought we had gotten off lucky by agreeing on the girl name ~ little did I know :) If anyone has any cool boy names they would like to suggest, I'll take 'em!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Flowers and Heartbeats

We put in the veggie garden Saturday which was quite a workout for me. The whole thing had to be weeded and Pete laid down three bags of new soil and one of compost along with some grass clippings from the pile behind our fence. This year we 'quartered' the garden to allow room to weed. I'll have to pick up some straw and lay it down in the 'walk-way' so I limit how much I compact the soil. We planted cukes, grape tomatoes, 6 jalapeno and 6 bell peppers, peas, carrots and 6 strawberry plants. Another tomato plant will be added after Memorial Day when I finish up my plant purchasing. Can you tell we're planning on making some salsa this summer?? We did it last year and it was great! We're also hoping our strawberry plants will make it this summer ~ last year they seemed to be a favorite of the deer/rabbit/raccoon/woodchucks that live around our house. Last summer I bought a couple of books on non-chemical mixes (Jerry Baker's Giant Book of Garden Solutions & Flower Garden Problem Solver) and I am itching to put a few together. One of his mixes targets the animals who try to eat your garden. I'm going to make a huge batch of that and spray it not only around the veggie garden but also all over my hostas. Hopefully the deer will decide my yard is not as attractive as the others this summer. Oh well.

We also planted many of the annuals for the summer. I have a large perennial garden in the back and love to add some pops of additional color with zinnias, dahlias, snapdragons, salvia, aster and other jewel toned flowers. Every year I think I should get a part time gig working at a nursery or garden just to pay for my habit. Last year I tried to plant a few more perennials so I would be less tempted to spend as much. Didn't work. I have to make another trip in a couple of weeks to coincide with a fundraiser for my nephew's school anyway - why not add a few more pots??

So I was sitting in the tub Saturday night relaxing after the day in the yard. I was looking at my belly sticking out of the water and what do I see... either her heartbeat or her breathing. My belly was moving on its own. This wasn't like a kick, it was very subtle and sometimes I thought my eyes might have been playing tricks on me. I could have just sat and stared at it until the water got too cold. What a cool feeling to see my belly moving and knowing that she is in there growing away and getting ready to join us in a mere 12 weeks. I called Pete in to see, but as is her norm (I swear she knows when I am doing this), she shifted and my belly stopped moving. Hopefully he will have the chance to see it sometime soon. I'm waiting for the day when I can see an elbow or knee sticking out. I know it's only a matter of time since she is nearly 14 inches long and my upper body is pretty small. She's not going to have a heckuva lot of space left. After she is born she'll either be moving like mad because of this new found freedom or want to be cuddled all the time because she grew accustomed to having close surroundings. We shall see!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hic...Hic...Hic

Little girl had the hiccups last night when we laid down to bed. What felt like small kicks/hits came in a rhythmic fashion. I read that this isn't unusual and my coworkers daughter who is due this month felt them too. In fact, she got to hear them when they listened to the heart. It was a trip to feel the movement in such a pattern.

She is about 14 inches long from head to toe and weighs about 2 pounds. How she can fit into this tiny little area is amazing to me. While I feel large, I don't think I am that huge (yet).

I'm off with a coworker later today to hit the Woodbury family garage sales. Hoping to find some good deals on gear that is in good condition. We'll see ~ I've never been so I'm not sure what to expect. It's going to be a gorgeous day today from the looks of it so if anything I will enjoy the chance to be outside instead of in the office!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Rainy Monday Morning

This one left me shaking my head this morning.

On a much lighter note, things are certainly greening up around here with the much needed rain. Now, if we could just get some of this rain to move to the areas of the state where there are grass fires.

Pete, Jordan and I (+babe) attended the Twins game on Saturday night. General admission in right field near the foul line. It wasn't too bad of a climb but I don't know if I will be doing much more of that as stairs are getting harder and harder. It was fun to go to a game since I hadn't been to one in awhile.

Hopefully our new little one will be a sports fan like the rest of the family. I don't think I'll be able to take her to any Gopher football games this year but next year she'll be sure to be decked out in Gopher-gear and singing the rouser. While some will think I am odd, I registered for a MN Gopher mobile for her crib. Gotta start 'em young.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Snorgfh and other newness

Crappy night of sleep again last night, but as an insomniac I am prepared to deal with the deprivation. What's a trip is that I woke up because I snorted again. Who knew this was a by-product of pregnancy? They tell you that sleeping on your back after about 16 weeks is 'not recommended'. Not because you will necessarily hurt your baby but because the weight from your ENORMOUS uterus may land on the vena cava and possibly reduce your ability to breath properly. Well, as a back/side/stomach sleeper I have been having issues. Even with the extra pillow in the bed to help stop me from rolling all the way onto my back I end up 3/4 of the way there. And that is when the snorting starts. The first time I heard it I literally laughed out loud. I could even feel the after effects. From what I understand, I do not typically snore, Pete says he has to check to see if I am breathing sometimes (he on the other hand, could raise the dead). We'll have to see if I retain this talent after I deliver. It still cracks me up - something about the sound itself just makes me laugh.

I've also been getting those lovely leg cramps from time to time. In all my years of running I only remember one time I have experienced leg cramps like this (on a long run in the middle of nowhere in EP). It is a get-out-of-bed type of pain that lingers long after the initial pain has lapsed. No matter how much I stretch it sticks with me. It's like a charlie horse in my calf. This is one thing I could really do without.

I mowed the lawn last night for what might be the first and last time this summer. Recently I learned about this 'avoid twisting' warning. I don't remember reading anything in the information I've received but someone mentioned it at yoga not too long ago and my other yoga instructor told the newbies in our class this week that all twists are gentle types and done to help stretch out our back. Well... now I am paranoid and need to do a little reading on this whole twisting thing. I wasn't worried about it until I started mowing last night and realized just how much I twist my upper body. Everything from turning around to yanking on the starter cord. Still, it was so nice to be outside smelling the cut grass and seeing our overgrown lawn/weeds diminish in length. If the twisting thing turns out to be a problem I am going to miss mowing the lawn. I know some people dread it but I really like doing it (must be a carry over from when I was paid as a 10 year old to mow the lawn).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Urgh

This is my first year managing the women's softball team I play on through my church. I have played for the team off and on for the last several years. We were slated to have our first game last night - a beautiful spring evening. The bugs aren't in the field just yet, the weather isn't too hot, the infield not too dry - and I didn't have enough players. We 'lost' our infield this year due to three pregnancies and another from chemo recovery. I had cobbled enough women together to make a team when I got a call a bit before 6pm last night that someone couldn't make it. OK. The game is at 7pm. Thanks for the timely notice.

Full disclosure: I do not know if an emergency came up b/c the person didn't call me but called the manager from last year. Perhaps it was a family emergency.

Nevertheless, I had already lost a sub earlier that day so I was down to 8 players. Which means we can't take the field. Nothing like starting the season off with a forfeit. I am frustrated more because two people waited until the day of the game to bail and made NO attempts to find subs. Granted, I'm not playing this year but I have recruited new players and continue to recruit players. I get that things come up in life when one has kids ~ something that will become very real for me I'm sure ~ but I would have the decency to try and find a sub for the game. There are other players who want to play and I feel I owe it to them to find a sub so they can enjoy the game.

OK. Enough. I'm not going to let this cloud the rest of the season. It's only one game and I'll find a way to make it happen!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

More bear cubs

Here are a couple of shots someone took of me earlier this month with one of the bear cubs trying to climb through my hair. Can't really tell it is me, but it is!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

6 months!

We moved into the 6th month on Sunday. I can't believe I only have 15 more weeks. PS - pay no attention to the back fat that appears in these photos. Pete says it is the counter-balance to my growing belly.


More strange animal behavior

This morning when Pete and I were taking out the trash I saw a bird fly into the garage and sit on top of the garage door opener. Another bird was nearby but flew off around the house. When we entered the garage I told Pete what I had seen and we sat and looking at the bird. I realized that some pieces of grass were hanging over the side of the opener. The bird flew out and I told Pete to check out. He hopped up on the side of the truck and pulled off a few pieces of grass. Pete had left the garage door open yesterday and during the course of the day a robin decided this would be the ideal place to start building a nest -- secluded, out of the wind/rain, no other birds to fight, etc. We then realized that the bird was waiting for us to open the garage door so she/he could continue building the nest! I'm glad I saw the bird fly into the garage, otherwise it is likely we would have closed the door and the poor robin would have been trapped all day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Raising my Irish

I hope this child doesn't get my temper. It tends to get me in trouble, or almost in trouble ...like this morning when after listening to a particularly rude message from a co-worker of mine I slammed down the phone, slammed my cube door and stormed into my other co-worker's office swearing like a sailor.

I'll admit, when it comes to my work I am easily offended. I don't do this job on a whim. A little history on this situation. When I started in July we were part of another group that focused on sales. The contract administration team reported into my boss. Apparently, well before my tenure began at this lovely institution, things went sour between my boss and the contract admin team. Now, because people can be rude and downright nasty (and big scardy cats), instead of addressing their issues with my boss they are mean, rude and altogether unfriendly to me and the others who report to my boss. In September my boss and a handful of us were reorganized into another staff group, however, due to our reliant relationship with each other, our previous group is still a big part of our day-to-day activity and we work very closely with them on compliance related issues. In January, two of the members of the contract admin team were asked to take retirement packages (our entire company went through this - not just specific departments). The leader of the contract admin team was one of the people selected. Unfortunately, this person provided a good deal of contract-specific training to other employees. Since January I have been attempting to get insight into this training and have been blocked repeatedly. Today was the last straw. Regardless of his impending retirement status his boss is going to get an earful from me.

On Thursday of last week I left him a message requesting that I be allowed to attend his training session scheduled for Wednesday of this week. I explained that my desire is to glean some of the tribal knowledge he passes along in this session. This morning he left me a vmail telling me that he didn't see the value in my attendance because "since you do not work with the contracts, you will never be able to train on this topic".

I'm sorry what?

That would be like me saying (had we been on the phone) that since he isn't technically a trainer and has never had any education on training he shouldn't be training anyone. That's crap. And he clearly does not understand that in order to be an effective trainer one does not have to be the resident subject matter expert. One needs to utilize said SME's to gather information and put together the material. Does he not think about the fact that after he leaves there will be more people that need to be trained? Doesn't he get that by passing on information he is helping the future of the organization?

Maybe I should point out to him that he still holds shares in this organization and if he doesn't want the next generation of employees to have the knowledge all he is doing is potentially f'in up his retirement. Obviously, he doesn't think beyond his little bubble (which, I have to admit, is not uncommon at this place).

Nothing like an incendiary vmail on a Monday morning to get my Irish blood boiling. I haven't been this awake on a Monday morning in some time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

High Kicks

The web has been brutally slow at work the last few days. It seriously dampened my desire to post. I don't have the patience to wait for a web page to load. Perhaps I should take this as a hint that someone is watching, eh?

I was in a meeting this morning/afternoon and baby girl went on another kicking/punching spree. This time I actually saw my shirt move she kicked/punched so hard. I have to admit I completely zoned out of the meeting at that point and just stared at my belly with my hands resting lightly waiting for the next big blow. Never arrived. Oh well, she must have disagreed with something the speaker said and was making her opinion known (not unlike her mama).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Animals

Pete saw this earlier this week. This must be a new trend for the fowl animals in our neighborhood.



One of the cubs from last weekend.



The wolf from last weekend.