Monday, August 31, 2009

Five Quirks About MEme

The dingo ate my baby, indeed! (This will make more sense if you visit SupahMommy's post.)

No seriously, people, I started reading some Jodi Picoult book before bed last night ... Vanishing something or other ... the opening scene a four year old had wandering away from her preschool (WTF?) and was found hours upon hours later at the top of some mountain ... thanks to the help of one of those sniffing dogs. Anyway, I am awake at the butt crack of morning after dreaming/nightmaring all night long about my baby and babies of friends being lost.

First words, I read after that kind of trauma ... SupahMommy's heeelarious ...

The dingo ate my me-me! (in case you still haven't read SupahMommy's post)

Visions of babies who are lost and chewed up!

I am scarred for life, I tell ya! Thanks a lot, D!

ANYHOO ... if there is a point to this post, I should probably get at it, huh? Not easy after taking two luxurious days off from bloggin' ... and contracting (more on that later).

SupahMommy - a crazy chica I actually know in real life ... and I am whole-heartedly willing to admit that, btw - got this silly notion that we could put on a little blog carnival, a little meme - if you're down with that.

And this is how it really went down ... I threw out the idea, and she got all control fareeeaky on me - grabbed the bull by the balls or whatever - and named it and MrLinkied it ... and threw in a Ne-Yo reference for good measure. Yeah, she pretty much rocks my world :)

So ... every Monday, we are going to sponsor a meme about ME, I mean, YOU. We'll give you the chance to write something terribly interesting, clever, delightful about yourself and link up so that lots of other sassy bloggers will stop by and read about ME, I mean, YOU.

Today's theme is 5 Quirks about ME:
  1. I did not eat cream cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream before having my first child. I was not a big fan of white foods with unusual textures, for whatever reason. Now, all bets are off, and I eat all of those things - often. Something in my brain/appetite went all wonky during pregnancy ...

  2. I cry during performances of America's Got Talent ... and I don't think I can blame it entirely on my current pregnancy hormones. I also stood and sobbed like a baby during an outdoor holiday parade ... because everyone was just so happy!

  3. I use the ellipse ... like a common, everyday form of punctuation, which obviously it's not ... but I swear I actually see those three little dots ... in my head when I am writing / typing.

  4. I do not change the toilet paper roll after it's empty ... I just grab a new roll and set it on the nearest surface, and it drives my husband crazy! When I do finally get around to changing it, I throw the empty tube-thingy on the floor and leave it there.

  5. I absolutely adore back-to-school supplies and new backpacks and the first day of school. I am so sad to be missing that this year.

If you decide to join us - and why wouldn't you, really? - head over to Supah's place to add your post to the Mr. Linky, and we'll come read and comment (ever-so-cleverly) on every post ... right, Supah?

Much meme love,


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Meal Plan - Week 9

I can't fall off the Meal Plan Bandwagon now ... after 9 weeks, it's almost a habit :)

Sunday - Tacos with fresh avocado

Monday - Sausage, Spinach, and Gnocchi
With all the contractions last week, this just didn't happen ... but I am not giving up the dream!

Tuesday - Missy's Salmon Recipe
More details to come ... once her husband emails the recipe :)

Wednesday - BLTA Wraps
Yep, the Bacon craving continues and for this dinner I'll throw in some Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado!

Thursday - Tuna Cakes
I make this a few weeks back, and it just sounds so good to me ...

Friday - Dinner Out
Perhaps at this darling Greek restaurant in town

Saturday - Stir-Fry with Toasted Seasame Dressing

Friday, August 28, 2009

Original Songs

My husband is quite talented when it comes to writing new lyrics for "old" songs. And, I have a feeling other new parents take to this creative outlet when sleep deprivation settles in. I also know that his/our original songs have served us well and made us laugh - out loud - many, many times.

I've highlighted his talents here a few times:

Just yesterday, Chitown Momma threw down the original-song-writing guantlet ... well, that's not exactly true. But she asked if I know of an alternative to the super annoying Clean Up song that everyone sings.

And, I didn't, so a new original song was created ...
  • Would you like a new Clean Up song to add to your daily routine repeteroire?
    Would you like to banish the Barney version from your head, ears, and home?
  • You could be kicking off the weekend with a great new song stuck in your head!
  • Your kids will think you are super fun and creative! What could be better?
Well, you're just one click away ... what are you waiting for?

Dear Milkman, Part 2

Dear So and So...

Dear Milkman,

I am sorry I had to let you go. It wasn't personal. Remember when our relationship was first starting? You delivered more milk than I knew what to do with. My husband suggested offering sex to get you to stop. Ah, those were the days.

And really, we did have a good year together, didn't we? Organic whole milk waiting at my door - every other week. Saving me countless trips to the store for the expensive milk my baby girl consumed - some days like water.

But then there was that troublesome issue with the bill. You know, the bill you never left for me to pay. The bill that caused me countless phone calls from -and games of phone tag with - your billing department. Seems milk is not free. Well, duh, I know that. But how exactly is a customer expected to pay a bill she never receives? I am left to ponder that one ... after paying $129 - in one lump sum - ouch!

I must admit my porch does look a little sad and empty now that our insulated milk container has been taken away ...

But good riddance to you. I'll be purchasing my rbST-free milk from the market ... or Costco if I am feeling really adventuresome.

From Moo to You,

Comment-Palooza ... and the Winner is ...

Perhaps you remember way back when ... like at the beginning of this month that has just flown by ... I announced a special contest here at MommyBrain and ToddlerBrain.

I know that August isn't officially over yet, but ... after 26 days and a whole lotta Comment L-O-V-E, I am shutting it down and announcing a winner!

But first a few statistics - just to build the suspense and because I like this sort of thing

21 new followers on MommyBrain (34 total)

471 entries from countless commenters, including these Top Commenters:

A Little Technical Stuff: Since all the comments obviously weren't under one post, I tracked all the entries (comments, followers, etc.) using an Excel spreadsheet ... oh, how I love a spreadsheet :)

And now, for the winner ...


I met BJ-Mama just this month, and I am so glad that I did! She's the mommy of a little girl about the same age as Natalie. She's crafty, which I both envy and enjoy. She loves to change her blog background - probably as often as I once changed my classroom seating arrangement :) She's thoughtful and thought-provoking. She's real and honest and once told a hilarious story about a carpet cleaner! And I love the quote in the left sidebar of her blog. Congratulations, BJ_Mama, you've got a Macy's gift card to spend on whatever you want!

Thanks again to all my commenters, new followers, and good friends. You've made this CommentPalooza month really fun and special for me :)

P.S. I am double-dipping with this post 'cause it's my blog and I can if I want to ... this week's Thursday Top Ten list calls for a list of my 10 Favorite Blogs. Did you happen to see that list of Top Commenters of there? After showing me all that comment-love this month, those are definitely my 10 Favorite Blogs :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

WW: Crushin'

I am fairly certain I have mentioned this before - at least two other times - but I am in lust with one seriously hot, slightly bad, and totally edible ... high school student.

Wait, wait, wait! Before you go running way in disgust and never come back - because really what 30-something mommy with one on the way would admit such a thing? - let me clarify that my crush plays a high school student on one of my favorite TV obsessions, Friday Night Lights. That's better, right?

Meet Tim Riggins star something-or-other for the Dylan Panthers - I don't have a clue what position he plays on the field, but I can think of a few positions I wouldn't mind him trying ;)

He guzzles beer in just about every other scene, and sometimes I can't help but think what it would be like to be that can - pressed against his lips ...

And then there's the whole girlfriend thing with Lyla. It's totally on-again-off-again, and she strikes me as really needy and annoying. Yeah, I don't like her so much - mainly because she gets to "hey-heyyy" with this gorgeous boy! (That is totally a nod to SupahMommy, btw.)

Oh, Tim Riggins, my heart pumps purple Kool-Aid for you!

Whew! Enough Riggins ... it can't be good for my pre-term contractions ... to be having these kind of thoughts.

And then there's this delectable hottie. I have crushed on Nelly for many, many years and won the chance to see him perform live this past December. Look at those arms. Those dark eyes. Those luscious lips. Those lyrics that make me think all kinds of naughty things. My love for Nelly and hip-hop has never wavered.

On the opposite end of the spectrum - the bipolarness of my crushes - and exceedingly platonic ... I adore little old men! Whether he's eating lunch alone or holding open the door like a gentleman or choosing produce at the market ... I just want to take him home with me! I don't want him to be lonely. I want to listen to his stories of the good old days. Honestly, sometimes a really cute little old guy will bring tears to my eyes!

One last thought about crushes. I have known him since I was 17. I can still remember our first kiss. He still makes my heart race. I have the biggest crush on my husband.

Okay, that's it for my crushes, but you may want to read about others. Check out MamaKat's Writer's Workshop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts of a Girlie Nursery

My recent post about Natalie's nursery and a very good comment/question from Nora, who asked, " Is there anything we can help you out with for your little ones' nursery?" ... got me obsessing thinking about BGV 2.0's nursery.

Even before I found out I was pregnant for a second time, I thought we'd just transition Natalie to the room across the hall and keep the nursery - as-is. It's done in primary colors, the decorations are totally unique and adorable, I really like it, it's done and ready, it's the practical thing to do, ...

However, since finding out this one is a little girl, I have been so, so, so tempted to create a more girlie space ... I am not a huge fan of pink, but there are some cute bedding options out there, and tonight I allowed myself to look around a bit.

Like this one from Land of Nod - Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!

It's definitely more neutral than girlie, but I love it. It's so serene and peaceful. According to the description, one side of the bumper has a sunrise while the other has a sunset.

Again from Land of Nod, All Aflutter Butterfly Bedding

More than anything, this color combination called out to me. I like pinks that fall under the bright category, and the addition of orange and brown just makes me smile! I also like that the print is graphic and just a little grown-up.

Penelope - PBK

I cannot believe how much I like this room. I mean, come on, the walls are pink for goodness sake! But that tree and the little birdies are too adorable to resist.

Oh, I never should have allowed myself down this dangerous path ... toward spending too much money (I don't even have a job) and doing something totally impractical and making more work for my husband ... but a mommy-to-be and her female fetus can dream, can't we? :)

Wordless Wednesday: Playing at the Park

As the end of August draws near, I am dreading the changes.

Soon the days will be so much shorter,

the sky much gloomier,

the weather much wetter,

and trips to the park less frequent.

At least I have these adorable photos to remind me
of what will return in about 10 months ...

You can see more great photos and Wordless Wednesday posts here and here.

Resting and Crafting

Sometimes I just really like to toss around the word "crafting" - as if I am the type of super creative person who actually makes something fabulous and worthwhile. I am such the wanna-be crafter.

In reality, I am just trying to find things to do that involve sitting or laying down - RESTING - so my darn uterus will stop being so grumpy!

This little project has been on my "Get It Done" list for a few weeks ... my ABC Nursery idea continues to sweep the nation. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but my friend Laurie did it while living in Texas and again after she moved to Chicago. My neighbor Tammy, right here in the NW, took on the ABC project as a first birthday gift to her handsome little guy ... of course that was almost a year ago and she still has displayed the canvases, but whatever. And now my super adorable friend Jenn in Virginia, pregnant with her first, gender unknown, has decided to give it a whirl. For those of you keeping track, that's a grand total of 4 canvases - 3 V's and 1 S - that I've crafted for the nurseries of my friends both near and far. And here's the latest, the fourth:

What I did: My friend Jenn chose three colors: yellow, green, and brown, based on the baby's bedding, which also has lots of circles. She sent me the canvas and three bottles of paint. I am not much of a painter, so I took those bottles to a scrapbooking store and found paper with the same colors - the green was hardest to match, so I used the green paint as the background. That's the only part of the canvas I actually painted. I printed the giant V in my new favorite font, traced it onto the polka dot paper and cut it out - a Cricut makes this step so much easier; wish I had one. The stripes came from a matching paper. The whole thing is Modge Podged together and away we go ... literally, it's in the envelope and ready to mail to VA :)

The basic idea - in case you, too want to have a very unique and wonderful nursery and make your friends and family do most of the work ... is assign a letter to 26 different people (preferably people you actually know), send a canvas and bottles of paint to each person, and let the craft-tasticness begin! All of the canvases will come back as a mini work of art - that's how I dreamt this idea, as a little art gallery in the nursery. I hung mine around the perimeter of the room about two feet from the ceiling. Laurie hung hers in a grid pattern all on one wall. It's personalized, it's a keepsake, and it's a little expression of love (and craftiness) for your baby. (If you want to do this, let me know because I have the directions for the artists all typed up, and I love to share.)

Okay, back to the resting part of my day ... contractions are about 8 minutes apart now ... ugh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raindrops and Silver Linings

Woke up feeling kind of gloomy this morning. The weather here in the NW agrees with my mood. Gray skies and a few raindrops. But I am determined to find the positives in my not-so-positive thoughts.

Raindrops: After a week long visit, we said good-bye to Mimi last night. We will really miss her. Natalie had such a good time and was very well taken care of during our "interesting" weekend and doctor appointments yesterday.

Silver Lining: My very good friend Missy and her super handsome little guy (6 months younger than NHV) will arrive on Sunday. I can't wait to see them both, and I know her visit will be restful and cheerful :)

Raindrops: I fell asleep last night feeling a little uneasy about the course of treatment prescribed by the doctor (not MY doctor) at MFM after yesterday's ultrasound. I did a little online research (sometimes a mistake) about the use of Motrin during pregnancy and didn't find much ... what I did find seemed to indicate that Ibuprofen during pregnancy is overall discouraged.

Silver Lining: I sent an email to my OB - who I trust implicitly - and got a reply this morning. I have at least 10 weeks to use the Motrin as a way to control the contractions. She assured me that this is an appropriate form of treatment - with minimal side effects for me and baby - and a good alternative to the TERB which makes me feel yucky. In addition, I will be closely monitored throughout.

Raindrops: I am not good at resting. I like to be active. I like to get out of the house with NHV - on a daily basis. On top of that, I have this 2nd trimester need-to-nest and extra energy brewing inside me, and I had big plans of projects I wanted to tackle. All of those things are put on hold, and that really annoys me. I know it could be so much worse - at least I am home and with my family. But having to rely on others and stopping myself from doing things that I normally do, like lifting Natalie ... ugh, it's sucky!

Silver Lining: I was suppose to have jury duty starting next week. Now it looks like I have the perfect excuse to get out of that ... not that I want to neglect my civic duty or anything.

Raindrops: Relying on help from others is tough when family lives so far away. I am really worried about being able to take care of Natalie - in the fashion to which she's become accostumed. I know I can get her fed and bathed and put to bed. But we normally spend our days at playdates and the library and running errands and stopping by local parks ... there's only so much fun to be had in the house. While I am not house-bound, I know our activity level is going to reduce. My focus will be on getting groceries and taking care of minor things around the house ... the laundry does need to get done at some point!

Silver Lining: My inbox has been flooded with well wishes and offers of assistance. What a clear and touching and wonderful reminder of the very good friends I have both near and far. It is such a blessing to know that Baby V 2.0 and I are being prayed for and thought of during this time. Quite a few of my local friends have offered to take Natalie for me, which is as much for her as it is for me. She's a social butterfly, and I know spending time with her little friends - and getting out of the house - will make her happy. Now, I just have to force myself to take them up on these generous offers.

Raindrops: This isn't going to be easy.

But the best Silver Lining of all ... Baby Girl V 2.0 is still healthy and happy and in-utero - hopefully for a good long time!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Long Day and GUS

From 11:30 today:

I was at the doctor's office for about an hour and a half this morning. Most of that time was spent on the monitor. It was quite a feat to get Jimmy's heartbeat on the monitor; the nurse chased her around for like 10 minutes before the doctor came back in and finally "'caught" her. I was laughing at her rambunctiousness. Here's what we found ... I am still having contractions - a few that took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Just took another dose of TERB. So shaky it's tough to type.

The doctor checked my cervix - not so delightful - it is not open but she's concerned that it maybe shortening already. I am scheduled to go to Maternal Fetal Medicine - they handle high-risk pregnancies and what-not - this afternoon. These specialists will do an ultrasound to measure the cervix and decide on a course of treatment for controlling the contractions.

At this point, there is no cause for the contractions - the bladder infection came back negative.

Today at 5:30:

Ugh! It's been a long day. My second appointment of the day - the ultrasound - took 2 full hours followed by a few errands ... lunch because I was starving, picking up a prescription, and grabbing a few groceries for dinner. I am finally home and resting.

The ultrasound included lots of time spent looking at BGV 2.0. It was so, so, so good to see her - I couldn't help but relax and smile and just soak up all of her cuteness. She's still measuring on the small side, but looking very healthy and active.

After getting a good look at the baby, I had the pleasure of having my vag invaded for the second time today. Delightful, I tell ya! The cervical measurement came out in the normal range, which means the contractions haven't affect the cervix - good news!

It appears - barring any other diagnosis - that I have GUS, Grumpy Uterus Syndrome. While this is not a medical term, hubby and came up with it on the way home and it cracked us up - a laugh we very much needed. Besides it sounds more tolerable than Irritable Uterus. Regardless what you call it, it means I'll probably have contractions for weeks and months. I'll be taking extra-strength Motrin three times a day to keep the contractions at bay. My cervical length will be measured weekly or every other week ... more vag-invasions in my near future. Resting - and figuring out a different channel for all this 2nd trimester energy - is part of the treatment, too ... as if that's even possible with a two-year old to take care of and entertain!

I can't thank you enough the care, concern, calls and comments :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Contractions

I am contracting again today. My emotions and tears are all over the place.
(If the again part is throwing you off, you missed my post about a trip to the hospital last night.)

I spent my morning eating a yummy breakfast of crepes - thanks to my sweet husband, and then going back to bed until 11:00. I took a shower and picked up the bedroom and bathroom. CPV and his mom took Natalie out for a couple of hours and brought back Jimmy John's for lunch - yummy!

And then the contractions started about 1:00 and have continued every 6 - 8 minutes for two hours now. I took a dose of terbutaline about 30 minutes ago.

I've been on the couch watching a truly sappy and not-so-great movie starring Renee Zellweger. I did get to talk to my mom and let her know what's going on. I know she's worried, which I hate, but it was so good to hear her voice - I just couldn't help myself.

I guess I am feeling a little sorry for myself and worried about Baby Girl V 2.0 and wondering how the rest of my pregnancy will go ... is this just a little bump in the road or a big sign foretelling of the challenges (beyond normal pregnancy challenges) that lay ahead?

I keep thinking that a bladder infection is the best case scenario ... because it's treatable with antibiotics and hopefully once the infection is under control, the contractions will stop. But what if the contractions don't stop? What if I have to be on bedrest and terb for the next 18 weeks? I've been on bedrest. I've been on terb. Neither is fun. Without question, I want what is best for the baby growing inside me, but ... what kind of life is that for me and CPV and my energetic two year old? We don't have family here in the NW to depend on, and that scares me - a lot. I also hate to be out-of-commission. I hate relying on other to take care of me. It's so frustrating.

I should be forcing myself to forget about the What Ifs. I'll see my OB tomorrow, and we'll know more. But as I sit here - still contracting - I am just feeling all kinds of anxious.

A Little DisTERBing

At 22 weeks pregnant, I made a trip to the Birthing Center tonight.

Because I was having contractions all day long ...

I super-hydrated, tried to rest, and hoped they would go away, but by the time I put Natalie to bed my instincts were telling me that intervention was needed.

I called my doctor hoping she would tell me to keep doing what I was doing - fluids, rest, and we'll see how things are going in the morning - but her immediate response was, "You need to go to the hospital." Tears sprung to my eyes because a) a trip the hospital did not sound all that pleasant, b) for the first-time all day I started to think this was serious, and c) I was immediately worried about the baby.

Thankfully, my wonderful MIL is here visiting, so we didn't have to worry about our sleeping baby girl. She stayed put, and we headed out the door without having to scramble for childcare or take her with us.

The trip to the hospital was agonizing, and I really had to work hard not to hyperventilate. To make matters worse, the Exit to the hospital is currently under construction from 9 pm until 5 am everyday ... we were coming through at a little before 10 pm, which meant an agonizing detour with tons of traffic.

Once we arrived at the hospital, it was hard to remember where to go, and we ended up in the wrong parking garage. I was close to panic at this point. By the time I did get into the right elevator - CPV dropped me and went to park - and headed to the 6th floor, I broke down in sobs. At the reception area, I could barely squeak out my name, but they were expecting me and the admittance process was very smooth.

The nurse talked me through the possible causes of all my contractions and got me busy peeing in a cup right away - this combination calmed me down and I was able to stop crying like a big baby.

The first thought in these cases - 22 weeks and contracting - is a bladder infection. As a result of my super-hydrating, which was the right move by the way, the sample I provided was clear and any bacteria was obviously diluted. So a culture will be grown over the next couple of days.

Next order of business was getting me hooked up to the monitor ... and hearing baby's heart beat which sounded fantastic. The monitor showed contractions every three to four minutes, and I was definitely feeling them. Had I not gone through this with Natalie at 30 weeks, I am not sure I would've known they were contractions. I always picture women screaming in pain with each contraction - like you see TV. These contractions were uncomfortable, but not painful.

Within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital, the nurse administered a shot of TERButaline, and the jitters began and my heart raced and the contractions slowed within 5 or 6 minutes. After another hour of monitoring, I was discharged with two doses of oral terbutaline and told to follow up with my doctor on Monday ... unless the contractions come back and can't be controlled with the meds ... in which case we get to make another trip to the Birthing Center ... and I am only halfway through this pregnancy.

There is so much more that I am thinking and feeling about all of this ... but here are the details ... I need to get back to bed ...

Meal Plan - Week 8

Hip, hip hooray ... it's that time again ... time to plan what delicious meals I'll be shopping for, preparing, eating, sharing with my family, and cleaning up in the next week. Okay, that last part is totally not true. I won't be cleaning up the mess after mealtime because my awesome husband does that. We have an "I cook, you clean" philosophy that is really and truly delightful. Honestly, it's the only way I cook, and I feel blessed to have a husband who complies agrees :)

Oh, and my wonderful MIL will be cooking one night. So really, I have it pretty easy, just the way I like it!

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff. And I do mean good stuff because - thanks to my friend Tammy, who apparently keeps magazines for much longer than I do - I have two new recipes to try from the March 2007 Real Simple magazine.

Sunday - Date Night at my MIL's insistence

And really who am I to argue with that?
Just have to figure out which restaurant to try ... perhaps that fabulous little Greek place downtown ... you know how I love the Soulvaki!

Monday - My MIL's Famous Beef Brisket

I am not sure if I have permission to post this recipe. I'll check and get back to you. This is an absolute favorite meal of mine ... except when she served it for Christmas dinner when I was newly pregnant with NHV and had a strong aversion to beef.

This is one of those Real Simple recipes I mentioned. I have a ton of spinach to use up, and there's something about a potato dumpling that has my tummy all-a-twitter ... it's probably a pregnancy thing :)

Wednesday - Hamburgers on the Grill, Fresh Veggies, & Mac-n-Cheese

I am going for an old standard here ... especially since I am trying two new recipes this week.

Thursday - Final Evening Concert at the Park ... and Picnic

Can it really be the end of August already?! Ugh! Haven't decided what I'll pack ... but I think I am over the KFC thing, so we'll have to try something different ... Jimmy John's perhaps? :)

Second Real Simple recipe, and the photo alone has my mouthwatering ... I really hope this one is as good and simple as it looks!

Saturday - Leftovers / Helpy-Selfy
Be sure to check out other delightful meal plans at the Organizing Junkie.

Friday, August 21, 2009

WW: What I've Learned from my Toddler

There's nothing quite as decadent as a really good afternoon nap!

There are simple joys in ordinary things. Take this box of holiday cards for example. Natalie looked through these cards at least a hundred times between December and March (when I finally retired the red box to the attic with the rest of the decorations).

Or this photo taken of Natalie pointing at a gorgeous full moon that rose over our house just as the sun was setting.

A peacoat in a bright color like pink is a great fashion risk. I mean, just look at her!

As long as we're taking fashion, it's worth mentioning that
an extra accessory (or two) can "work" ... sometimes.

It's important to eat your vegetables ... even if they are just plastic.

Running down hill with reckless abandon is not a good idea!

Sometimes, you just have to get your feet wet ... even if the water is really cold and there's lots of goose poop and the rocks aren't exactly smooth.

Concentration is best achieved by sticking out your tongue! I have this same habit; you should see me when I am coloring :)

Sometimes prunes are required ... and they always work!

The only thing worse than being sick is not being able to make your child feel better when she's sick.

This is my first entry in MamaKat's weekly Writer's Workshop. I've been lurking for many months, but this is my first leap into the craziness :) And really, this post is more photography than writing, but hey, I've always been a tiptoe-er when it comes to taking the plunge.

If you'd like to read what others are writing this week, click here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Top Ten Thursday - Online Time Wasters

Top Ten Thursday Button

Top Ten Online Time Wasters Things I Should be Doing Other than Wasting Time Online:

  1. Working on Natalie's 1st Year Photo Book ... but that's on Shutterfly, so technically it's online. And, yes, my daughter is two years old; I am just not ready to give up on that dream.
  2. Painting the canvas for my friend Jenn's nursery letter project, an idea she borrowed from me and now I am paying for it by having to find the time to do it!
  3. Reading a good book. It has been entirely too long since I read something just for me - you know, something other than What to Expect When You're Expecting, The Toddler Book, How to Please your Man, ...
  4. Organizing my thousands of photo files. I spent an hour on this earlier today and made little to no progress.
  5. Installing and learning to use Adobe Photoshop. I love Google Picasa and use it for all things photo-related, but I know that I am missing out on the power of Photoshop.
  6. Watching the Netflix movie that has been setting next to the DVD player for two weeks now. My husband is going to kill me!
  7. Updating stuff for my moms' group - I am sure there are new members to approve and a newsletter to be written.
  8. Planning strategies for binky-breaking, potty training, and big bed transitioning
  9. Lying out in the hammock enjoying this gorgeous night air and clear skies
  10. Going to bed ... 'cause goodness knows I need my beauty sleep!
If you think my list is fun, you should visit My Messy Paradise, It's a Beauty Filled Life, Domestically Challenged, and In the Mommy Trenches for more Top Ten Thursday fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digits from a Babysitter

So it happened again. I got digits ... from a female ... in a public location. If you're wondering about the "again" part, you should probably start here.

We were at this really fabulous park, and it was a gorgeous evening here in the NW. By we, I mean, hubby, my MIL, NHV, and me. I am super excited to have Mimi here for the week, and Natalie is absolutely over the moon :)

Anyway, there weren't very many other people at the park ... like three other families with kids and a young couple - I was thinking high schoolers. I noticed them, and they reminded me of times when my hubby and I would hang out at a local park just to have something to do together - yes, we dated when I was a senior in HS and he was a freshman in college. At one point, the young couple moved from a picnic table to the playground equipment. They seemed nice enough and even made conversation with my MIL. And then, the girl made her move. She crossed the mulch with determination and approached me with this confident yet somewhat awkward stance. While I am not "into" teenage girls, she was cute - much cuter than I was at that age (or any age for that matter). During her introduction, she explained that was interested in babysitting or nannying (that's such a weird word). Let's see, what all did I find out about her? She's 19 and in school full-time, waits tables at a local restaurant, and she's been babysitting for a few years. And she wondered if I'd like her phone number. We both searched our bags for something to write on and with ... because I left my cell phone at home. Eventually she found a fine tip permanent marker and an envelope scrape. I ended up with her digits in my diaper bag!

Both my husband and my MIL are a little skeptical about finding a babysitter this way. It does seem a little odd, but I just don't know ...

On our way from the park to McDonald's for ice cream cones, my perspective babysitter pulled up beside our car. While I am not even sure she saw us, I must admit, it did make me feel weird - like she was following us or something.

Okay, fellow mommas and those with an opinion about this sort of thing, is it weird that a 19 year old girl - at a park with her boyfriend - approached me about watching my adorable two year old and gave me her phone number? Could I consider using her as a mother's helper and asking for references? It sure would be nice to have a babysitter on my list.

Fast Food Cravings and Fetal Nicknames

I was rereading some of the journaling I did during my first pregnancy and just after Natalie was born. This entry caught my eye and made me laugh ...

After months of craving and eating Jack-in-the-Box tacos and curly fries, it seemed only natural that we would call our growing fetus … Jack! It was actually Grammy who gave you that nickname when she said, “You’ve eaten so many of those tacos, you’ve got Jack-in-the-Belly!“ Of course, the closer I got to delivery the more worried I became that our baby would have a big ping-pong head topped with a pointy yellow hat. And the name, Jack, also helped to convince us that you were a little boy … boy, were we surprised!

This time around my strongest craving has been for the best sub sandwiches in all the land, Jimmy John's! The coolest thing about this fast food place, it was founded on my college campus - way back in Illinois.

After graduating, I never thought I'd have a Jimmy John's sub again. I have such fond memories of taking a study break to grab a sub or stumbling home from the bars and stopping in to grab a loaf of their 50 cent bread - nothing soaks up alcohol like delicious bread! Anyway, much to my surprise, there are two locations near my house here in Washington as well as a handful downtown Seattle. I was averaging 2-3 times per week for a solid two months! Thankfully my husband shares my affinity for this particular restaurant; he wouldn't be caught dead in the Jack in the Box, which means I gorged on tacos alone.

What am I getting at? Besides piquing my JJ cravings? Oh, yeah, the reason for my cravings ...

We have nicknamed our little baby girl fetus Jimmy John - Jimmy or JJ, for short. Instead of visions of a giant ping-pong size head, I have thoughts of delivering a sub, which seems decidedly less intimidating ... and according to the Jimmy John's website ... they are known for their Freaky Fast delivery!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Spawn of MommyBrain ...

Just wondering ... have you checked out my new blog?

In a second trimester burst of energy, MommyBrain spawned a little ToddlerBrain!

I have almost a month's worth of posts all about toddlers and learning - from my perspective as a mom and teacher and someone who just loves to learn.

Each week - Monday through Friday, I write about music, activities, websites, books, and other fun stuff ... all in the hopes of energizing my own approach to helping my toddler learn and grow and be a fabulous little one ... perhaps it will have the same effect on you and your little one?!

Why don't you hop on over there now? Come on, it'll be fun!

And I would really love and appreciate hearing your thoughts

Remember, all comments (on either Brain blog) in the month of August enter you in my Comment-Palooza!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Age Quandary and Cuteness

For 24 months I tracked Natalie's age in months - well, first in weeks but mostly months.
Now that she's past that all-important two year milestone, I don't think I can continue to do that ... for several reasons ...
  1. Tracking the months past 24 will require too much brain power.
  2. I am also currently tracking my weeks pregnant, and that number is in the twenties, too; confusion is sure to abound!
  3. Soon I will be tracking the weeks and then months of my second child. (Oh, that's exciting!)
  4. Those not faced with this same quandary - like strangers at the market who ask NHV's age - give me a really odd look when I say, "Oh, she's 25 months old."

Currently, I been quite happy announcing Natalie's age as, "She just turned two!" with a definite tone of excitement in my voice. But now we are a full month past her birthday, which leaves me in an age-old quandary. Do I just say, "Two?" It sounds so ordinary. So blah. So one-syllable. Saying, "she's one month past her second birthday," has a nice ring to it, but this returns me to my original quandary ... too much thought required.

Now that my brain hurts, I'll leave you with something that cannot be denied or quandered ...

This is one very cute little girl with a vocabulary and a memory that astounds ... and worries me all at the same time!

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  1. My local moms group hosted a huge carnival-themed family BBQ this weekend. Natalie loved and adored the clown wig ... until I grabbed my camera ... at which time she refused to look at me and threw the wig on the ground just after I managed to snap this one photo. But trust me, her sweet little face looking out through all those colorful curls was priceless! Perhaps this is the Halloween costume idea I've already been brainstorming?
  2. During lunch today, Natalie was looking so grown up to me - I just had to grab the camera. While I was snapping away, she leaned way back and said, "Peeky-Boo, Mommy!"
  3. This morning I told Natalie to, "smile and look pretty for the camera," and this is the pose I got in return ... not sure that's exactly pretty, but it is so very much her personality! I also love her little toes - I am told they are from my side of the family.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am just reposting this as a reminder that we are halfway through the month of August! Comment-Palooza continues and there's still a fun prize to be won! Scroll down just a bit to read my thoughts on BREASTFEEDING; it's the perfect post for a comment :)

July was a record-breaking month. We had record-breaking temperatures here in the NW. And I wrote 45 posts in one month; btw: that's a personal record, I don't claim to hold the blog-world record or anything crazy like that!

Anyway, now that July is behind us and we're cruisin' right on into August, I've got a little contest (aka palooza 'cause I love that word) for you ... woo hoo!

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It's simple ...
It's driven by my need for comments ...
It's motivation for you and for me ...
It'll be fun, I promise!
  • Just leave me a comment (starting August 2 at 4:00 pm PST) - on any post, old or new - and you'll be entered into a random drawing (@ to win ... a prize (in the form of a gift card)!
  • Each comment earns you an entry. The more times you comment, the more chances you have to win ... and ChitownMomma is sure to be tough competition :)
  • Add yourself as a Follower to earn an additional 3 entries. To the 13 of you who are already Following, you've got your 3 entries :)
  • Add me to your blogroll - and tell me about it - to earn another 3 entries.
  • Tell your friends - at least 3 of them - about my blogs via email (include me: dverhoff (at) to earn another 3 entries.
Come on, Show Me the Comments!
(It's the least you can do since I showed you my baby bump and my danties!)

Let's make August a Comment-making, Record-breaking Month!

Breastfeeding Flashbacks

Well, the "girls" have already grown from a B cup to a D cup, and I am only halfway through this second pregnancy. Clearly the "jugs" remember their earlier stint as the milk truck. I believe they are gearing up to do another stellar job - making on time deliveries, keeping up with supply-and-demand, maintaining flavor and delicious product, ... just as all good milk trucks should!
All this thinking about my future, second round of breastfeeding also got me thinking back to my first time as a nursing mommy.
  1. The engorgement part of having my milk "come in" (about three days after Natalie was born) was more painful than labor and delivery. I know, I know. That sounds crazy, but for me that's the honest truth. My breasts were so sore, so tender, so inflamed, so rock-hard, I was begging for contractions in place of that pain. I read everything. Called every friend. Tried every suggestion. Even sent Chad to Target as soon as they opened to buy a hand pump. As a last resort, the doctor prescribed Vicodine - I was hesitant to take it, but it helped almost immediately, allowed me to relax, and put us back on track with nursing.
  2. The lactation specialist at the hospital suggested that Natalie use a nipple guard. I never really understood why, and once I stopped using it, she actually ate better and more efficiently. I would be very hesitant to "interfere" with the nature process and use a nipple guard again. A nipple guard looks like a tiny clear sombrero - at least it did my sleep deprived mind - so I would sing to Natalie, "It's time for a fiesta, no time for a siesta," if she tried to snooze while feeding. I remember thinking that was so funny and clever :)
  3. It wasn't until about 6 weeks that I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and had a major breastfeeding break-through. Up until that point, I had been nursing for about 10 minutes on each side and calling it a feeding. What I came to realize is that Natalie wasn't getting my hind milk, the good fatty stuff. I then switched to feeding on one side until she was done and then offering the other as a top-off. Her feedings spread out, and she started packing on the ounces more quickly. I love that book for so many reasons, but mainly that one!
  4. I absolutely adored my Hooter Hider. I don't know what I would've done without it. I used it all the time - for the first 5 or 6 months. After that, Natalie found it hilarious to play peek-a-boo from underneath it, a game which often left me exposed and was so distracting she rarely got a good feeding that way. (If you are considering the purchase of a Hooter Hider, just be aware that its longevity may disappoint. This would be a great item to borrow if you can.)
  5. I also spent a lot of time sitting in the backseat of the car to nurse when we were out-and-about. It just seemed more calm and less public. Within about a week of doing this, I discovered the delightfulness of a few magazines tucked in the pockets of the seats. I got a lot of reading done this way :)
  6. Speaking of multi-tasking - what being a new mom and nursing is all about - I also have fond memories of eating cups of yogurt and HoneyMaid bite-size graham crackers. That was my favorite middle of the night snack. Of course, Natalie ended up with yogurt splatters and crumbs on her head more than once!
  7. I really disliked the Boppy pillow for feeding. It just didn't fit right. Mine was kind of heavy and awkward. Instead, used a throw pillow from the guestroom. It fit nicely in my lap and elevated Natalie just the right amount. I am considering the BreastFriend for this second-time around.
  8. At a friend's suggestion, I did take a few photos of myself breastfeeding Natalie. In fact, I just went back and looked at them. It's not something I want posted on the Internet, but I am glad to have them.
  9. I manual pumped - only occasionally - until Natalie was 6 months old, at which time a good friend loaned me her electric pump. That noisy machine changed my life. I was finally able to pump enough milk to leave her for a few hours at a time. It was so liberating. With the manual, I would have to pump two or three times to have enough to leave for one bottle. With the electric, as long as I pumped in the morning, I could get enough for a bottle in one pumping session. I finally had milk in the freezer and it felt good!
  10. Natalie was pretty much finished with nursing by the time she was 10 months old. It was a gradual process, and it felt very natural for both of us. Although I continued to hold on to the night-time feeding for another six weeks because I couldn't stand the thought of losing that special experience!

Okay, that's 10, and that seems like a good place to stop. I can only hope that breastfeeding will go as smoothly with BGV 2.0. And if I could skip that whole engorgement thing, that'd be even better!

Please share your own breastfeeding flashback, tip, lesson learned, ...

Meal Plan - Week 7

So last week was a bit of a "wash" from a meal planning perspective ... I have two recipes on this week's plan from last week's plan.

Sunday - Leftover Chipotle
Guess what Natalie and I had for lunch today :)

Monday - Fuss-free Ravioli and Cheese Bake
Thanks to the Organizing Junkie, I am going to give this recipe a try ... and hope it's plenty filling for my hubby just returning from a Mt. Rainier Summit :)

Tuesday - Jack's Ranch Chicken
I've been looking for a new chicken recipe, and this one includes bacon ... still craving bacon at this point in my pregnancy. Yummo!

Wednesday - Easy Tacos
This is always a good stand-by and a crowd-pleaser, a good combination when feeding another out-of-town guest :)

Thursday - Concert in the Park Picnic

It may be time for KFC fried chicken again!

Friday - Mexican Fiesta
CPV and I are enjoying a date night - with a big group of friends - while Mimi babysits ... can't wait!

Saturday - Beef Brisket
I am hoping I can talk my mother-in-law into making her famous and delicious recipe ... what a treat that would be! The leftovers will serve us nicely after she's gone, too!

To be honest, I am losing my gusto for meal planning, but I am proud that I've stuck with it for 7 weeks in a row now ... woo hoo!
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