A Gushing Mess

I have a rare talent for being an exceptional patient. By exceptional, I do not mean a co-operative and easy going patient. I mean one of the people that things happen to that do not (or rarely) happen to everyone else.

Today, I had my finger pricked to test for sugar. Simple right? People do that every day. Poor diabetics - my heart goes out to you - do that multiple times a day.

So after waiting and waiting and waiting, I had my finger pricked.

The nurse hit Old Faithful. Blood spewed like a fountain from the tiny prick. Blood got all over the counter. All over the nurse. All over me. From a finger prick.

The nurse performed a mini-tourniquet. "I have never, ever had that happen before," she exclaimed. Of course she hasn't. I am just talented like that.

Several hours after I left the doctor's office, I removed the band-aid from my swollen finger (since she had to wrap it so tightly) to find that it was still bleeding. The fountain had stopped, but it was a small drip, drip, drip.

Before I left the doctor, the nurse took me by the arm gently. "Don't cut yourself."

Well, I will definitely try not to.

27 Weeks, 2 Days

Dear Baby Girl,

Today's doctor's appointment provided some much needed relief to me. Because I love you so much, I forcefully swallowed down an entire glass of orange syrup and allowed myself to be pricked and prodded on your behalf. The verdict? I do not have gestational diabetes. I had convinced myself that with the way things were going for our little family, I would definitely have gestational diabetes.

I am telling you this because as you grow and learn, there are things about life and living that I want you to understand. I want to be a good example for you, but as a flawed human being there are times - like this one - where you can learn from my shortcomings. I want you to possess a quality that I fall short on - optimism. Now, I am not saying that I want you to live in a world where in your mind everything is butterflies, rainbows and sunshine. I wish the world would be that easy for you, but life will not always treat you that way. What I do mean is that I want you to be able to see the positive in people and situations.

Today when I heard your heartbeat for the split second the doctor popped in and out of my room, I was more thrilled than I have been in a long time. I have been very afraid for you, you see. Our lives have been turned around and upside down over the last month, and my stress level has been very high. Your precious life inside of me has been the only thing that has sustained me from falling overboard. That has been one of your many gifts to me, and I will always cherish that.

So, you are Normal. I am Normal. We will have our next visit in 4 more weeks. Then I will get to see you again.

In the past few weeks, you have really stepped up your movement. I imagine you in there, working hard at your Tai Chi poses. Your movements are fluid like that. It is the most beautiful feeling that I have ever experienced.

Love Forever.

Your Mom


Back to the Blues

After a brief Christmas high, yesterday I returned to the blues. I had a pretty bad headache, so I am sure that had a lot to do with it.

The rest of it was due to the Company screwing me over again. I did not get paid for any of my two weeks of vacation that I had remaining. They promised me this. I did not get any severance because they "cannot afford it." The vacation was the least they could do. I am not sure what legal actions (if any) that I can take, but just thinking about it completely stresses me out.

I was told that they were currently working out with their lawyers what they can do, and they would let me know. I guess I will have to pester them for the next few weeks.

Next week, I have to go to the employment office to figure out why I am not yet receiving my unemployment. Wow, this month really sucks.


Christmas Rock Band

Last night, for the first time it felt like Christmas. Seeing my family is always important to me, but they have a way of cheering me that no one else can. I really needed that this week.

At our dinner conversation, I laughed so hard that I cried a little . Are you familiar with the ugly laugh? The one that completely distorts your face, but you are rendered completely powerless to stop it? The one where you try your best to squelch your laughter, but hideous noises come out anyway?

We all found ourselves in that state as we sat around sharing various comedic instances that happened through the years. For example, my grandparents used to have a large collie named Ace. Ace had a very special relationship with my cousin Anthony. That dog would chase Anthony around the yard, trying to hump not just his leg - but his entire body. Anthony still has nightmares about that dog. I can still see it as if it were yesterday - Anthony running for his life while that dog stayed close behind ready to pounce. We were all laughing hysterically at this memory - except for Anthony.

After dinner, I sang my troubles away with a family game of Rock Band. I sang songs that I knew and songs that I didn't. J must think my family is insane sometimes.

Finally, it came time to leave. I found myself stuck on the sofa. I was sitting on the middle cushion, and the cushion was sunk in at the back. I found it was physically impossible for me to get up. I sat there stuck for several minutes before J realized what was taking me so long! I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of being stuck. I still have around three months to go!


One More Strike

I know, I know...I have really been a downer lately.

Yet another thing today to add to my current plate of worries...Our little Shih Tzu, Max, was diagnosed with IVDD. We noticed yesterday that he was acting like he did not feel very good. We thought it was something he may have eaten (little dogs and their weak stomachs). When he did not feel any better today, I took him to see my brother-in-law, The Vet.

It turned out to be a serious problem. During the explanation, I had to sit down. IVDD is a disc disease which can lead to paralysis. We have to put Max on a steroid, pain killer and stomach meds. If this medicine does not work, then he will have to have an extremely expensive surgery done by a specialist. You might imagine that with my recent job loss, hearing that was a harsh blow. I may not be able to afford the surgery that my precious little Max may have to have.

We have to monitor Max for the next six weeks and trying to prevent him from going up and down stairs, jumping, etc. We are trying to stay optimistic that the medicine will work.


Jobless Week One

The day after I was "let go", I had to go in to the office and turn in equipment that I had at home. None of the management was on site, so it was a pretty low-pressure visit. I said goodbye to co-workers I had not seen the day before, retreated out the door. I proceeded to cry my eyes out all the way home.

The rest of the week I spent scouring job sites, posting my resume to countless places and even had a job interview for a job that I do not want. On the bright side, I have gotten to go visit my grandmother, who is not doing very well, and spend some time with family. I went down with J for an overnight business trip and spent the day with my lovely highly-dramatic cousin, whose constant antics at least made me laugh. A little.

I realize that the title of my previous post could be taken literally to mean that I was fired because of something I wrote. I used the title only to pay homage to the great Dooce, who was started her highly successful blog after being fired. The reality of my own situation is much less glamorous. My company got bought out and my position was one of the 50% jobs that were cut with no prior warning. That leaves myself, and almost my entire department out of work.

The management team assured me that it was nothing personal, and that it was in no way a reflection of my job performance. Still, I really feel I got screwed. I cannot think of another way to describe it.

There were several staff kept on that fall under the classic "slacker" stereotype. Several of us that worked really hard were let go. It just goes to prove something that I have known all along. Life isn't fair and the good guys don't always win.

I get no severance package - supposedly the "old" company is broke and cannot afford it. I would love to be able to say that I saw this coming, but I honestly didn't. The Company did a good job of covering their true financial status. However, they will cover my insurance to the end of the month, and they will pay out my two remaining weeks of vacation. Merry Christmas.

So, I have no idea how long my little pity party will last. I have never lost a job before, and I have no idea how to handle it. This is a terrible time for me to have to find a new job. I am at 24, almost 25 weeks, and there is absolutely no hiding my belly. I know there are laws against pregnancy discrimination, but in my field, a management team cannot help but take into account an upcoming extended absence.

I could blame the hormones, but I feel myself falling into a depression that I cannot seem to shake off. Right now I am clinging to J and the baby, while crying out to God to help me out. I do appreciate all the prayers and words of encouragement that you, my faithful internet friends, have shared with me. Your support means a lot.



And just like that - at 24 weeks pregnant - I lost my job.

I am stunned and devastated at the moment. I will write more after allowing myself some time to recover.


The Maybe Bedding Set

After weeks of scouring through thousands of crib bedding sets, I have finally picked one. Maybe.

I have mentioned my dilemma in passing here, but to expand a little: I want a bedding set that does not completely swallow my daughter in pink.

Honestly, I had given up, and I was in the process of piecing the nursery bedding together item by item.

Then, my good (wonderful) friend told me about the website of the manufacturer of her daughter's bedset. I went to the website and low and behold:

Lilac Garden, by Kids Line

So, I do not intend to get all the pieces, mostly just the bedding. I don't want to swallow the baby in purple either!


Summer Memories

This is Monkey T. Sigh. I miss the beach.


Welcome to December, Here is Your Virus

My exhaustion reached its fruition last night. Now I have a stomach virus. I am convinced that my weakened state allowed this to happen.

I hoped I would be better today, so I continued to work as normal. But, it's lunch time and I still feel lousy. So after a panicky call to the doctor to make sure this thing will not affect the baby, I am going home to rest.


Practice, Practice

Tonight I had Christmas Cantata practice. For hours.

We have had these practices every Sunday night (normally only one hour) since back in September in preparation for the big events on December 13th and 14th.

Tonight was the first night that we put together the choir with the play. So, it was a long, drawn-out process.

Between tonight and the week I just had - I am exhausted.


The Sound of Silence

This afternoon was sent directly from heaven. All is quiet in the house. For the first time in a week, I can let the dogs out of their room to join my siesta on the sofa while we catch up on some of the television shows that we missed. (My dogs love to watch TV with me.)

Don't get me wrong - I have enjoyed the time with the family. But, I can miss them much better after they are gone.


The First Baby Shower & Our Pre-Christmas

Tonight we had our first baby shower at the fish place at a neighboring town. You read that right - the fish place. Every Friday night after Thanksgiving, the family goes to eat at the same place. We reserve a room a year in advance. This place was a favorite of my father-in-law's (who is now deceased) and his siblings. So, every year, we go there and then back home for our Pre-Christmas celebration.

For anyone who is expecting or just adopted a baby or other celebratory occasions, this meal is preceded by a shower.

J insisted I do all the unwrapping, although he did sit beside me. Our baby got a lot of lovely items, and the vast majority are pink. By around the fifth pink item, J's eyes began to cross. I got a really cute picture of this, but he would kill me if he ever ran across it. So, you will just have trust me. It is hilarious.

After our shower, we headed to my brother-in-law's for the Pre-Christmas celebration. We gather in a large circle, divide up the reading of the Christmas story and sing carols.

Next comes the gift-giving, gift-unwrapping free-for-all for the kids. We have tried to do this in an organized fashion, but that never works. We always end up with mass chaos.

The adults do a version of musical gifts. Much less chaos.

This year, the events proceeded as usual. After the adult gifts, something odd happened. There was Christmas music playing in the background during all the gift giving. Suddenly, the music got louder, and people began to dance.


J's family.

Including J.

(I guess I could mention that J avoids dancing at all costs, so that was a BIG deal!)

We danced!


Thanksgiving Memories

Today I will be out of town on our tour of the state to see both of our families in one day. For my post, I decided to share with you my contribution to the Thanksgiving book that my mother-in-law put together for the family last year.

Thornton Wilder once wrote “We can only said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” I believe this to be true. No matter what is going on in my life, stopping to remember all that I have to be grateful for both lifts my spirits and humbles me at the same time.

In my childhood, Thanksgiving meant family dinners, opportunities to see relatives that I did not get to see often and of course - pumpkin pie, dressing and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I remember watching that parade every Thanksgiving morning. I was entranced by the beautiful floats and large balloons.

When the parade was over, we would go to my Mom’s side of the family for lunch. My Grandmother worked so hard to prepare a feast. The table would be beautifully laid out with her best china, the best turkey she could find, her famous dressing and the best pumpkin pie ever made. My Grandfather would ask for blessing on the food. Then, we would go around the table and list out what we were thankful for, eat, and have a wonderful time of fellowship.

Afterwards, we would head over to my Dad’s side of the family for dinner. This Grandmother also worked very hard to prepare a feast. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and I would all gather in the kitchen as my Grandfather asked for blessing on the food. After this feast, my cousins and I amused each other with the various games that we made up until it was time to go home for bed.

With J, I have had the privilege of celebrating Thanksgiving with this family. All of you mean so very much to me, and I cherish the time we spend together.

The best Thanksgiving I ever had took place while I was in college. J came to my house that afternoon. In my living room, he asked me if I would marry him. I was so surprised that my hand was shaking like a leaf as he slid the ring on my finger.

My family’s Thanksgiving is different now. Alzheimer’s disease has forever changed our traditions. With my Dad’s side of the family, our Thanksgiving meal now usually takes place in a restaurant. For my Mom’s side of the family, my cousin has tken over hosting duties – including the famous family dressing recipe. As for me, I attempt to recreate my Grandmother’s pie (even though I can never quite make one as beautiful as hers). But the most important thing about Thanksgiving has not changed. The love that we feel for each other still holds us together.

Through the years, I have learned to use every Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to take note of the many blessings that God has provided for J and I. We are very blessed in the life that we have been given. For this reason, I want to hold on to this spirit of Thanksgiving not only on this special day, but throughout the year.


My Thankful List

  1. God's Presence in My Life
  2. My Husband
  3. Our Unborn Child
  4. Finally, finally becoming pregnant after seven years and a ton of heartache
  5. My Completely Awesome Family
  6. J's Family
  7. My Three Fabulous Dogs
  8. Our House
  9. Music
  10. The Beach
  11. Books
  12. Friends I Can Count On
  13. Lemonade (My caffeine-free replacement addiction)
  14. Prenatal Vitamins
  15. My Cell Phone (sometimes, anyway)
  16. Facebook
  17. Pumpkin Pie
  18. "The Office"
  19. Laughter
  20. My Camera
  21. My Jeep
  22. My GPS
  23. Christmas Ornaments
  24. DVR
  25. Spending the holidays with the ones I love

Note: This list is just 25 things off the top of my head. I chose 25 because it is a nice number for a list. It is not necessarily in the order of thankfulness, although the top few could be.

I chose 25 because it is a nice number for a list. While I was brainstorming, I found that I could keep going and going and going. I am really, really thankful that I have so much to be thankful for.


Pie Maker

In the big family Thanksgiving celebration, we all have our individual roles that fit together to produce a meal for 50 people. My role is the pie maker.

My grandmother made the best pumpkin pies ever. They were perfect in every way. Beautiful appearance, smooth texture, golden crust and fabulous taste. Her pies were always my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. She never measured an ingredient and never looked at a recipe.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer's took its ugly toll on her, and the precious pie resource in our family is lost forever. (No, not just the pies. I miss many, many things about my grandmother even though she is still right there.)

A few years ago, my second cousin once removed took over the family meals and pies. She did not have the exact family recipe, but she had watched my grandmother's sister make her pumpkin pies and written down her interpretation of the instructions.

The results were astounding similar to my grandmother's! The taste was slightly more spicy and the presentation slightly less perfect, but wonderful nonetheless.

Now the instructions are in my possession. I have put my own little spin on things, but I felt my pie was good enough to submit to my in-laws.

Sure enough, they loved it. I became the pie maker, and every year since the pies have been solely my responsibility.

My pies are not quite as beautiful as my grandmother's. Mine always turn out a little darker or a little less smooth on top. I have gotten the taste of her pies back (or come extremely close) by playing with the spices.

Each year when I start processing these pies I feel close to my grandmother. I'll never be the pie maker she was, but I'm honored to try.


The Bestest Husband Ever

My husband is a genius. I owe him big time.

Today is the only day I had to work this week. I requested the rest of the week off. Today was horrible. The project that I am managing is running late due to circumstances beyond my control, and my stress level keeps going higher and higher every day.

Today I told the developer that I would help him out by adding a link to a page on our application. A link. Just one. One page. Nothing is ever as easy as it should be. To make a long, personally painfully story short, it turned out to be much more than just adding a link. Our network kept going down and I could not test my work. Then the link turned out to be buried in a mound of spaghetti code. Blah.

So, I resolved myself that I would have to work tomorrow. Over a stupid link.

In steps my genius husband. He took one look and found the little, tiny extra character in the mound of spaghetti that was causing it to skip my stupid link. Now, I do not have to work tomorrow. Hallelujah! Hear those trumpets sounding and angels singing? I do!


Drywall & Mud

In order to get the baby's room ready, we have to finish a room downstairs in our basement. When that room has been completed, we can move our office down there and then the current office will become the nursery.

This week J realized how little time we actually have to complete this project since we are doing it ourselves. So, he stepped things up about five notches.

The electric work? Done.

Drywall? In progress.

J cut all the pieces and hung them up by himself. I get to help with the mudding. It's actually kind of fun. In small doses.


Shopping Days

My sister-in-law & I went to do our last minute Thanksgiving shopping. We drove to an actual town, one with actual stores. Stores that are not named Wal-Mart.

The extended family is coming down this week, and on Friday we have a pre-Christmas gift-giving celebration. While this is wonderful fun for all the kids, it becomes pretty torturous on the adults.

I love to shop. I am good at it, too! But sometime during November, when all the stores begin to boast of their incredible Christmas bargains, you can count me OUT. I would rather hide at home under my bed than fight the crowds of holiday shoppers.

Now you might say "Why didn't you do your shopping much earlier when you could have done it online and avoid the stores?"

That would have been great, right? Pity I did not think of it before. I knew Thanksgiving was coming fast, but I did not realize it was coming quite so fast.

Anyway, I was determined to make this trip count. I finished all the Thanksgiving shopping, and all niece & nephew Christmas gifts in the first store. That's right, baby. The first store.


Party at My House

Tonight, my sister-in-law & I threw a "Ladies Night Out" with a group of ladies from our church.

I have been a little nervous about this, because I do not really know this group very well, and none of them have ever been to my house. I spent most of the day cleaning frantically until my house was completely SPOTLESS.

The group began to arrive, starting with my mother-in-law and another sister-in-law, Mel. I felt immediate relief. My family had told me that they may be late, so I was afraid I would be stuck entertaining people that I do not know without their comforting presence. I began to relax.

We chowed down on Christmas goodies and made crafts. Crafts! My sister-in-law-fellow-host found directions for these cute Martha Stewart button ornaments. She has been making them for a while, and taught the group.

Mel & I set in the back cracking up. Neither of us catch on quickly to this kind of thing. We made the reindeer (see the green tissue paper in the picture) and the snowman (blue tissue paper). Mel's reindeer was super-super long because she kept picking out buttons. My reindeer's butt was red. I wanted to use the pretty red button, and I did not realize until I had already tied it in what I was actually making. We all got a big kick out of Rudolph the Red Butt Reindeer.

Now he proudly sits hidden on the side of our tree.


Another Dose of Nephew Cuteness

This is another Facebook-snatched photo. This is Baby G with his very favorite thing in the world - his pacifier. This photo was taken a while back. Now he is getting big enough that I will have to find a new nickname for him.


What to Do if You Have Extra Time On Your Hands

I cannot resist animal videos. With the success of sites like cuteoverload.com, I know I am not the only one!

Wired Science recently posted a collection of the Top 10 Most Amazing Animal videos. Prepare to be amazed as you witness an epic battle, polar bears playing with dogs (see photo at left) and a spectacular octupus camouflage scene.

Looking for more? Many commenters have added links for their favorites as well.


Strange People Walking in the Dark

With the latest time change, it is completely dark by the time I leave work and head for home. The drive to my house has become a bit intimidating since I live way out in the woods and far, far away from any street lights or other signs of civilization.

Tonight, I found myself singing along with the radio as I turned on to our private road. I have trained myself to look for eyes in the woods as I drive along so that I do not have a nasty car-side encounter with a deer or other poor animal. No shiny spots appeared anywhere, so I began to relax.

Then, a man appeared on the other side of the road in full camouflage. He had a large weapon, which to my non-expert opinion looked like a rifle. His face was covered, and he wore an orange hat.

I have no idea who he was. I hit the gas and sped away, heart pounding.

As I frantically dialed J's number, I realized that he was probably just a hunter. But, he could have been a masked murderer or someone more sinister than a simple hunter - like a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.


And Now For a Dose of Nephew Cuteness

This is Farmer C. My sister-in-law just joined Facebook, and I stole this picture from her. I could not resist the face he was making. See those blue eyes? They are a B family (my in-law's) trait.


Dear Mr. Door to Door Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

Dear Mr. Door to Door Vacuum Cleaner Salesman,

I am writing to tell you how you are my new work hero. Can you train me to have your job? Can you share with me all your trade secrets? I want to be just like you.

First, you located my mother-in-law. She warily let you in, and you began your amazing carpet cleaning demonstration. You did not know this at the time, but she has been looking for a new vacuum cleaner. She had no intentions of buying from you, though. However, your awesome skill swayed her. Ever the bargain driver, she talked you down a few hundred bunks (maybe I need to learn that skill too) and she became the new owner of this wonderful vacuum. She refused to let you take her old one, and she is really proud of her dealing with you - bragging, even.

Your next stop was my brother-in-law & sister-in-law's house. They had received the warning call from the mother-in-law that you were coming. They had no intentions of buying anything from you, but they wanted to be nice and listen to your presentation since you had come all the way out to the middle of no where in order to pitch your vacuums to our family. You left their home with their old vacuum cleaner and one more sale in your pocket.

I am so impressed. How did you do that?

Luckily for me and my wallet, you did not make it all the way down the road to my house today. I have no doubts that I would also be the proud new owner of one of your miracle vacuum cleaners.

Yours truly,



Cedar & the New Enemy

Cedar has identified a new enemy - the landscape lights that line up in front of our house. I am not sure why he firmly believes that these strange alien beings are out to get him, but 1 1/2 have been destroyed - 10 more to go.


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (In My House)

Monday night, we put our Christmas tree up. Family traditions from my childhood dictate that this act should be done on the weekend before Thanksgiving, or on Thanksgiving weekend itself.

Over Thanksgiving week, J's extended family comes in for a big Thanksgiving/Pre-Christmas celebration. This is complete with full holiday meals and gifts for 30+ people. So, the Thanksgiving week is a little busy. (That was sarcasm, in case you might have missed it. Thanksgiving is INCREDIBLY busy.) So, after marrying J, our tradition became to put the decorations up as soon as possible in November.

Normally I take on the task of the tree by myself. Sometimes J will help with the lights. I collect ornaments, and each has its own story and special meaning. I have a particular order and location in mind for the placement of each on the tree. I know. I am difficult like that. This year, being pregnant prevents me from doing any lifting and climbing around on the ladder. Poor J.

This year, we hauled out the 9 foot tree that we have not been able to use for a few years. As we moved around during the house construction phase, we did not have the place for a large-size tree. This year, we are in the new house and our great room with vaulted ceiling and atrium windows has the perfect location for our big tree.

In addition, this year we have planter shelves to decorate. Our first shot at decorating these shelves Monday night left us both unsatisfied. Today, I did a little holiday decoration shopping. I bought prelit garland and poinsettias. It looks fabulous. Well, now it does.

As we unwrapped the garland tonight, we realized I bought one strand of colored lights, and all the rest were white. My OCD will not allow these lights to exist in the same room. So, we had extra strands of lights that were half-working, and some leftover garland from last year. My wonderful, terrific husband went through the strands and checked every bulb and replacing the duds until he had all the lights working. Then I got the job of winding the lights and the garland. We are so proud of our handiwork. I have not had a chance to photograph our efforts, but I will post them when I can. You know, next year sometime.



My Dad got to come home today.

The doctors confirmed that it was a minor stroke and that he (luckily) was displaying no permanent damage. They will probably treat this with aspirin.


They Didn't Call

Today my husband called me at work. "Everything's okay, but you are going to be mad."

I got up and closed the door to my office.

"Your Mom just called, and your Dad is in the hospital."

Here's the part where J knew I would be mad - "You mom had to take him to the ER yesterday."


Somehow, I got the message to my team that I would be leaving and drove home to meet J.

As we drove the hour and half drive to the hospital, I got more pieces of the story. Yesterday afternoon, my dad felt his hand go numb when he reached out to grab the car door handle. His face felt numb also. So, he and my mom decided to play it safe, and go to the ER. They both thought that he would get to go right back home.

The doctors immediately performed a slew of tests on my Dad. They determined he had experienced a minor stroke. That first night, he regained complete control of his hand and the senses in his face began to awaken as well.

But, they didn't tell me.

To make matters worse, I had called my Dad yesterday, and my Mom answered his cell phone. As she stood outside the hospital door to the ER, she acted like there was not a thing wrong in the world.

The doctors kept my Dad overnight for observation and spent much of the day running tests. So far - miraculously, I might add - they have found no signs of damage.

We sat in the hospital room with my Dad for the remainder of the evening. I called the rest of the family, and let them know what was going on.

"We didn't want to worry you. You have more important things to worry about."

This is a croc. A cop-out. They know I can handle situations like this. That if something goes wrong - I need to be there.

Now I guess I have to worry all the time.


A New Game

Cedar has invented a new game. The game is called "Jump Over Molly & Max". He takes off running from one end of the yard straight towards Molly. Right before he railroads into her, he jumps up and over her. Sometimes he jumps from Molly's left side to Molly's right side. More frequently (and more amusing) he jumps from Molly's head to Molly's tail. She's pretty good at this game. She just looks at Cedar like he is crazy.

Then it is Max's turn. He takes off as fast as he can, headed straight for Max. Max freezes in terror as Cedar makes the jump. Max's frozen state just encourages Cedar to repeat the jumping - over and over and over.


Benadryl Nights

The doctor told me to take Benadryl for my extreme itching. She said, "Even if the itching does not completely stop, at least you will be able to sleep."

Not a chance. Apparently, Benadryl has the opposite effect on me. While it does make me drowsy, it does not help me sleep at all.

So, now I am itchy and sleepless. Sigh. I'll survive, though. The baby is worth it.


Fun with Mulch

Today J & I worked on our landscaping. Okay, J worked on the landscaping and I watched. Hey! I cannot do lifting and I tire easily. Yes, that's right. I am pregnant and taking advantage of it when ever I can. I did rake some of the mulch around.

Cedar, the whole reason we had to undertake this monumental task, watched patiently the entire time. He rotated between laying beside my chair to following one or both of us around the yard. What a well-behaved dog, right? Well, once he did snatch my glove, but he willingly gave it back after I scolded him.

Spreading our dump trailer full of mulch took the entire day. As evening set in, we finally finished. We wearily put away all the tools and sauntered in the house. Then both of us glued ourselves to the window.

After Cedar realized that we were gone, he got up from his bed and cautiously looked around. He went over to the mulch and sniffed it. Then he proceeded to look around again.

So far, so good.

Ever so carefully, he prodded a rather large piece with his nose. After looking around again, he grabbed it and ran back to his bed.

Well, I guess it is better than digging. That dog will chew on anything.


A Clean Jeep

I went to the Car Wash at lunch today to have the Jeep cleaned. While there is no doubt that layers of mud look cool on the Jeep, I was getting tired of sporting a mean dirt smudge on the back of my leg that no one would tell me about until the end of the day.

So, what does this mean for you, dear Internet? Well, if you live in my area, it means that tomorrow it will rain.


Now You Look Pregnant

Today J came home after his recurring overnight trip out of town for work. When he walked in the house, he looked at me.

"Now you look pregnant!"

Yes, now that we are halfway through our pregnancy, my wonderful husband can finally tell that I look pregnant.

In all fairness, he sees me every day. It is hard to tell just how much a person changes when you see them so frequently.


19 Weeks, 3 Days

Dear Baby Girl,

Today was our recurring 4 week doctor's visit. I did not get to see you this time, but I did get to hear your tiny heartbeat swishing away. I also got to hear some pretty loud kicks. When the doctor would push the monitor into my belly, you would give it a swift kick.

I cannot feel your kicks very much, yet. They still feel like tiny flutters. For the last few weeks it has been difficult to differentiate your kicking from my stomach rumbling!

We have reached a milestone - we are at the halfway point. The doctor says that everything looks good. I am so proud of you for that. I have been really worried since I came down with a pretty rough cold. I prayed hard that you would not be affected by it. I feel sure all my coughing makes you uncomfortable. Luckily, my coughing is beginning to subside now.

Today was the first day that we met this particular doctor - Dr. O. Since you have been doing so well, Dr. F put me on doctor rotation. They do this since any one of the doctors may be in the delivery room. They want to be sure I have met all of them and feel comfortable with all of them.

Dr. O noticed how much of a rash I have gotten around my belly. The itchiness keeps me up at night, but you are worth it. She told me I have to take Benadryl at night, so we will see how that goes. I have tried to avoid any medication that I can so that you will not be affected.

I have been working hard to figure out what I want your room to look like. It is so important that we design something that will make you feel peaceful, yet stimulated. So far, nothing has spoken to me. I always thought I would want you to have an ocean theme or something like that. Now that you are a reality, I cannot decide!

Love Always,

Your Mom


Grocery Store Blues

When I go to the grocery store, I buy several boxes of things that I know that J & I will go through quickly. This system normally works pretty well.

However, when you get home to find that instead of buying the Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Peanut Bars that you love, you actually bought two boxes of Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Mixed Nut Bars (which you don't love so much)...you cannot help but be disappointed.

When you open the refrigerator to put up your orange juice and realize that you did not buy milk (and yours is, of course, expired) all in the same trip, further humiliation ensues.

All this means that I must return again to the grocery store tomorrow. Blah.


Molly's New Favorite Seat

Problems uploading bigger picture, will fill in soon.


Registry Shopping

Today we went shopping for our baby registry. I decided to invite my parents & J's mom to go along with us. I felt sure that they would be thrilled to participate in this momentous task.


J's Mom wanted to go, but had other plans. Okay. It's her 11th grandchild, so she's already experienced this many times.

My parents wanted to go. Then they were busy. Then they wanted to go. Then, maybe they should not because it would be such a drive. (Sigh. The store is 30 minutes away from them, 2 hours away from us.) Then they wanted to go. And all of that was within an hour before we left this morning.

By the time we headed to Babies R' Us, my parents made the final decision to go and J decided to sulk about all the back and forth.

After 8 years, I thought he had realized that this is just the way they are.

When we got to the store, we were all already worn out. But, tough. I insisted that we cover every last inch of the store and pick out every last item on the checklist. Finally, J & my parents decided to spend some time checking out the rocking chair selection. Big helpers. At least they agreed on something.


Nervous, Anxious, First Time Mother

Today, I scared myself. I have a little card that I received in the mail from my insurance. On the front of that card, I filled out my name, doctor, doctor's phone number and my due date.

On the back of the card the insurance company had put a list of the symptoms of early labor. And I had two of them last night. TWO.

Last night at the time, I thought that they were just symptoms of my violent coughing. Today, after reading the back of that card, I hyperventilated. Okay, I am exaggerating. I almost hyperventilated.

I called the nurse in a state of panic. The state of panic has almost become my default state when it comes to all things baby-related.

The nurse calmed me down. She said I had nothing to worry about, and confirmed my conclusion of last night that these things were normal for someone coughing a lot.

Crisis averted for now.


No Changing it Now

The problem with early voting is that something can come up that makes you completely regret who you voted for.

I voted last Friday afternoon. I did not have to wait in any lines, and I was in and out in minimal time.

For most of the races - like for the president - I feel completely solid with my decision. I thought that I felt that way about all of the candidates that I supported.

Yesterday, I saw a political ad online that one of the state candidates ran against their opponent. The ad slammed the opponent's personal beliefs, and at the end of the ad there was an obviously fake voice (supposedly the opponent's) saying something that would have a negative impact on the voters of the state.

Some of you will probably recognize the ad that I am speaking of, because the story made national news.

I am ashamed of the direction that our political system has taken. Why all the personal negative attacks? What happened to letting the public know what a candidate stood for instead of slamming opponents? And even though I personally find negativity distasteful - if a candidate chooses to be negative, can they not find enough ammunition? Was compiling a bad (and obviously false) audio clip really necessary?

Citizens deserve better. If I had seen this ad before I did my early voting, I would definitely have changed my vote.


Staying in for the Day

Today I decided to avoid the haven of germs that is my office and work from home. J works from home full-time now, so both of us in the office on our respective computers all day was an interesting experience.

I am hot and want the fan on. He is cold and wants the door shut. He is on a conference call and I am trying to focus. I want classical music station and he wants the History Channel. I want the office to be bright with the window open and he wants it closed because there is a glare on his computer screen. The dogs do not understand why we are both home, so they whine the whole day.

But despite all of that, I would much rather be at home with my husband than at the office any day of the week. We may not agree on everything, but both of us rely heavily on the presence of the other one. There is no one in the world that I would rather argue the temperature with.


Is this the Infirmary Up Here?

One of my co-workers from a different department walked up the steps to where my department is located. Out of the four people up here today, all four of us have the cold that has been sweeping through our office. The other two people are out sick.

The entire day has been a mix of various sniffing, sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing sounds.

"Is this the infirmary up here?" he asked.

The germaphobe inside of me cries out to go home.


Not Again!

A special (sarcastic) Thanks to the guy at my work who came in coughing, sniffing and sneezing all week last week. As a result, I now have the cold that you were so anxious to share.


Trunks, Treats & Elvis

Tonight, my sister-in-law hosted an annual "Trunk Or Treat" Party next door. Just in case you have never been to one of those, you decorate your trunk for Halloween and all the kids come around and get candy. It is like old-fashioned trick or treating with less walking.

In addition to all the trunks, each of the "sets" of our family were required to decorate a scene along my driveway for a G-Rated spook trail.

Before the party I painted Monkey T's face to complete her transformation into Zombie Hockey Player. She & Meltdown (a Princess) were very excited about all the CANDY.

As unofficial event photographer, I spent most of the time taking pictures of trunks and kids, while J got the job of handing out the candy. Ha! Part of my master plan!

My job came to an abrupt end when I came upon Meltdown faced with an adult Lion. The Lion took her mask off, but Meltdown was unconvinced of this strange, dangerous creature. Besides, right behind the Lion was a full grown Bird and some other adult animal that terrified her. She was so horrified that she forgot all about CANDY and required me to carry her through the rest of the trunks.

So, what's with the Elvis dog? Well, the Elvis mask was sort of a roving costume for people who did not come dressed up. So naturally when Simon the greyhound wandered over, someone put the mask on him.

All things considered, the night was a complete success. All the kids went home with a car full of sugary goodness and I collapsed of exhaustion.


Max in a Jacket

When we first got Molly, the first toy breed dog I have ever had, we became those dog-owners that other people (who just don't understand) make fun of.

I bought her a little hat and raincoat. I bought her a t-shirt. I bought her antlers to wear for Christmas photos. Needless to say, Molly was not amused. Molly looks like a dog that might tolerate that kind of thing, but she is definitely not.

Max, on the other hand - our ferocious little boy dog - he completely loves it. When it is cold outside, he will drag his jacket out of the toy bin where we keep it. He's so smart.

This morning, it was finally cold outside, so it was time for Max-in-the-jacket.


All the Quiet

Yesterday J went out of town for work. This is going to be an every-other-week recurring event. The last time he was gone, it was for a whole week and my dad came and stayed with me. This time (and the future recurrences) are just overnight trips. So, I stayed home alone.

This is no big deal, right? Have I mentioned that I live way, way back in the middle of the woods?

Luckily, no masked murderer decided to stop in last night. The only real problem was my vivid imagination. It is so quiet at night where I live. It is the kind of quiet that makes your ears hurt.

When the morning finally came around, I realized how thrilled I was that J will be home today.


It's a Girl!

After finding out yesterday, we have spent the last day telling everyone that we know!


17 weeks, 2 days

Dear Baby Girl,

That's right! We found out today that you are a girl! Your Dad & I did not really have a preference, but we are so excited to learn as much as we can about you! We were not sure that we would be able to find out today. The technician slowly went over all the measurements of your little organs. She saved that moment until last. She told us, "I know what it is, I am just trying to get a better picture!" Of course, as with all the times that I have gotten to see you - I cried.

We got lots of pictures of you today. The one above is my favorite, because it has a clear view of your form. Your little legs were curled up and moving around most of the time. This particular photo shows your hands in prayer position. Your Grandma B will be so proud!

After the appointment was over your Dad & I had to go back to work. I called your Grandpa E - you will love him - and he was so, so excited. I tried and tried to get your Grandma E, and finally left her a voice mail. I finally reached her around lunchtime, and she was bursting with excitement as well. She was already talking about dolls that she had seen earlier that day.

During all of that time, your Dad was having much better luck reaching all your family. When I called your aunt, I found that he had already reached her! She answered the phone with "I am having a niece!"

You will be entering a family full of boys, so I know that everyone will go the extra mile to spoil you!

Since you are a girl, we know your name. If you had been a boy, it would have been much, much harder to figure out.

Our next big task for you is picking out a theme for your room, and all the "stuff" that I am so excited to buy for you.

I am beginning to feel you flutter inside my belly. Each little movement you make thrills me to so end. I am so proud of you - from the moment of your conception and always!

Love Always,

Your Mom


Oh How I Want a Decent Night's Sleep

When my sleeping problems begin, I heard of this miraculous invention that would cure my nighttime discomfort. The Snoogle.

I have always slept on my belly. When that was no longer an option, I moved to my back. Now that is no longer an option, and I have to sleep on my side. I have discovered that is much easier said than actually done.

When I heard of this Snoogle, I toyed with the idea of purchasing one. At first, I thought "Nah, it is too expensive for right now. I will make do with extra pillows on the bed." About two weeks later, I was desperate enough to order it anyway.

I ordered my pillow on a gloomy day at the beginning of this month. It was set to be delivered on the 14th at the latest.

The 14th came and went. No pillow. No miraculous sleep cure.

I wrote to the online store from which I ordered the pillow. The response I got was dismissive - "Let us know if you have not received your order by the 20th.

But you do not seem to understand, Mr. Automated Response. I am NOT SLEEPING

So now the 20th has come. First thing this morning, I wrote again. This time I wrote a lengthy novella proclaiming my disgust and disdain and the step-by-step method in which they could appease my dissatisfaction by sending me another pillow. IMMEDIATELY. The response I receive?

"I am sorry, but I must assume your package has been lost in the mail. Unfortunately, I am unable to send you a second item, because the item is now out of stock. I will refund your purchase promptly. Please choose XYZ CO again for your next ABC purchase."

Um, I do not think so. You, company XYZ are very lucky that I am too lazy to fly up to your company headquarters and yell at someone important there for a lengthy amount of time.

I could not even respond to that email. I was way too angry. Instead, I found the Snoogle miracle cure sold in a different online store. As a bonus, it was a little cheaper there. Now I find my self - again - waiting on my miraculous sleep cure.


Borrowing Etiquette

When someone does something that offends you, I find that a nice way to vent your frustrations is to write them a letter. It does not need to be sent, especially if you want to avoid causing a cold war. Just the writing of a letter helps. So, here is an example based on an incident that occurred while J & I were out of town yesterday.

Dear S,

When you borrow something from someone, such as their lawn mower trailer, it is a good idea to ask them first. Just because it happens to be in outside in their yard, it does not mean that it is free for the grabbing. If they are not at home, there is a neat little device called a cell phone that makes them completely above to keep in touch at all times. Using this device is especially important when you intend to keep this object for a few days.

Furthermore, when you go to borrow said object and there is plastic tarp on top of it, do not simply put the tarp on the ground and go about your merry way. Perhaps you missed the 5-month-old puppy watching you with a big grin on his face because he realizes that you have just provided him with amusement for the next two hours.

All the Best,



Day at the Lake

Today we celebrated my grandfather's birthday with my family. We had a nice party at the lake all planned out. We would each bring picnic foods to spread out under the picnic shelter.

Oops...no one realized how cold it would be outside. We bundled up my grandparents, but it was still just too cold.

For the longest time we just all looked at each other - no one wanting to admit that we were all freezing.

Finally, my aunt stood up. "It's too cold. We are going inside."

A voice of reason in a sea of stubbornness. We all got up and ran inside.


Scratching Away

For the last couple of weeks as my nausea has eased quite a bit, a new symptom has taken its place.

Itching. Constant, mind-numbing itching.

At first, it was just a couple of itchy spots, and lotion provided relief.

Now, nothing helps and I find myself unconsciously clawing at the skin all around my belly and on my legs.

To top it off, I cannot stop encountering mosquitoes. They wait for me outside the door to attack me as soon as I leave. They sense a weakness. I am already itching and they want to make it much, much worse. Darn those mosquitoes.


In My Inbox

Today I received a very nice apology letter from the store's customer support. They acknowledged my complaint, and vowed to try to train their employees better. They explained that they do not tolerate rudeness towards customers or other employees. They said they would be sure that the proper people were notified of the problem. Then of course, they appreciate my business and hope that I will return so that they can show me how wonderful they are.

Now, in reality they may have tossed my complaint in the trash or had any contact whatsoever with the rude manager. But, I honestly do not care. Writing the letter made me feel good to vent, and receiving their response made me feel validated.

Most importantly, I felt that I did not allow someone to completely walk all over me without doing anything about it.

Mission accomplished.


Not Going to Take It

Today I went to an unnamed chain store to buy a printer. We decided to get one of the all-in-one machines so that we can print, fax, scan and copy to our hearts' content.

I knew the model I wanted, so all I had to do was go in the store, find it, purchase it and put it in the car. Simple, right?

Nothing that I do is simple.

I have a practice not to give out my phone number whenever possible. Almost-identity-theft makes you paranoid like that. So, when the cashier asked for it, I simply told her that I do not give it out. Now, I was completely aware that they have it on file. I have one of their super-special customer cards that is tied to...my phone number. So, there was no reason for me to announce it to the line behind me. If she had to have it, she could just scan my card.

This baffled the poor girl. She turned to her manager who happened to be standing behind her talking on a cell phone. Taking a personal call at work. Gasp! This manager did not want to be interrupted and became increasingly rude. At one point she said something to the effect of "well, if she (meaning me) won't co-operate". When I finally pointed out that they had my card, which was all they needed anyway, we completed our transaction.

Normally, I let rudeness pass. Maybe I should not, but I understand that we all have a bad day every once in a while. But for some reason, I just could not forget about this incident.

So I wrote to the store's customer support. I let them know all about my displeasure. And it felt good.


Welcome Autumn

As soon as I stepped outside the door this morning, I realized something. It finally feels like autumn. I love it!

10 Favorite Things About This Time of Year:

  1. Cooler Weather
  2. Leaf Colors (Red is my personal favorite)
  3. Decorations
  4. Apples & hot apple cider
  5. Halloween candy
  6. Bug population begins to decrease
  7. Sitting by the fire
  8. Did I mention cooler weather?
  9. Pumpkin pie
  10. Christmas is coming!


Cedar's Bad Day

Today was the day that every male puppy dreads. Okay, well, the owners of said male puppy. The visit to the clinic for being neutered.

J helped me get Cedar in the car, and I dropped him off on my way to work. That actually sounds way easier than it was. Cedar refused to budge and I had to carry him - all of him (he is bigger than an armful) into the clinic and put him in the temporary holding place.

My brother-in-law, our fabulous Vet, called a couple of hours later. Someone brought in a contagious dog, so I needed to pick up Cedar ASAP instead of waiting until the end of my workday.

When I walked into the clinic up the counter, I heard a cat whining. I could not see it, but I felt really sorry for that cat. Then the Vet brought out the whining animal and put him in my car. It was no cat. It was my poor, barely awake Cedar.

He proceeded to whine all the way home, as the anesthesia wore off.

A few hours later, he was feeling better - especially after seeing Molly & Max.

P.S. We have water now. (Hallelujah!) It turns out our exterminator put too much pressure above one of our water pipes the last time he "reset" the bait station that sits on top of the pipe. So, we had a leak. The french drain below the house works so well, that we had no idea there was a leak. Anyway, I did a dance in the kitchen when I turned the sink on after the well people left.


The Waterless

Tonight we have a small problem. THERE IS NO WATER. I went to wash my hands in the sink and heard the dreaded sound of pressure...then silence.

I will now retreat to my bed in mourning.


Cedar Goes for a Swim

Today we decided to try out Cedar's new-found ability to walk on the leash without dragging. We have a long, long, long gravel driveway with several hills and it is pretty good exercise.

We walked down the driveway at a pretty slow pace (Hey! I am lazy pregnant!) Cedar was doing pretty well, although easily distracted. We arrived at the creek.

"I wonder if Cedar will walk down to the water and stick his paws in?" J asked.

Answer? No. But he will try with all of his might to prevent himself from being pulled down there on the leash.

"I'm just going to throw him in." J said grinning. I laughed.

Then he picked Cedar up and threw him in the creek. He ACTUALLY did it.

I screamed. I could not fathom that J actually did it. I thought he was KIDDING. The look of confusion on Cedar's face was more than I could handle. Especially as he went UNDER.

So, Cedar can swim, as J verified. He paddled to the edge of the water and came running back up to where I was standing with concern. He's such a sweet dog. He was much more concerned about my screaming than he was about his swimming experience.


Pizza Night

Tonight we went over to my brother-in-law's house for pizza and a movie. I may complain about living in the middle of nowhere, but the best part of living there is being close to these guys. They are so much fun to hang out with. It is so nice to know they are right down the road.


J Comes Home

J came home a day early! He arrived tonight. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my dad, but wow - I sure missed J.

I was almost as excited to see him as our dogs were. Dog greetings are so wonderful. They acted like they had not seen J in at least a year, and that since he was gone he is sure to have brought them bag dog treats.

Maybe I will finally get a good night's sleep knowing that he is right there beside me where he is supposed to be!


Spending Time with my Dad

J is out of town until Friday, so my Dad came to stay with me.

Since I am pregnant with their first grandchild, my parents will take no chances with my welfare. Okay, the fact that I am not the most graceful, lucky person in the world may have something to do with their distrust.

Whatever the reason, my dad - who just happens to be the world's greatest dad - came to stay with me. I can completely deal with that, because I just happen to tremendously enjoy his company.

Today I took the day off work so that we could spend time together. We spent the day shopping for maternity clothes, shoes and miscellaneous Target-list items. It was so much fun. Really. For both of us.

My Dad is the best guy shopper ever. He can find a deal like nobody's business. And, he understands his role is to hold purchased items. J is so much different. He just whines about being in the store the whole time.

Anyway, by the end of the day we were all shopped-out. We stopped by the Japanese food place (yum) and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening taking turns playing the piano for each other.

It was a great day!


Mystery Image

Guess what this is?

Some blurry modern work of art?

No, just the crack in my windshield from the gravel truck in front of me. I stayed way back from him, but did that help?

Of course not.


The Day Cedar Learned About the Garage Door (or Why I Was Late for Work This Morning)

Looks like I have some catching up to do. My cold has improved, so now I can get back into the swing of things!

We have developed a morning routine. We distract Cedar by feeding him on the front porch. As he chows down, we sneak Molly & Max out the side of the house through the garage door. This way, Molly & Max can use the outdoors in peace.

This morning, since J is out of town, morning dog duty fell to me. I fed Cedar, and he happily began chowing down on his food just like he is supposed to do.

Then as stealthily as possible, I snuck out the side with Molly & Max. The garage door opened...and there was Cedar.

So, this morning the dog routine instantly tripled in time. Did I allow extra time to get ready for work since I knew I would be taking the dogs out? Nope. Oops.


Carrying on the Name

Today Monkey T informed me that I should be having a boy. For weeks, she has been rooting for a girl. Why the sudden change of direction?

"I've been thinking," she says. "We don't have that many boys to carry on the B family name. We really need to preserve that, so you should have a boy."

Hmmm...that sounds like something Grandma might say. Much more like Grandma than a 10-year-old girl.

If she starts telling me I have to name him "Junior" we are really going to have to have a long sit-down talk.


Not-So-Bad Family Time

This weekend, J & I attended the wedding of one of my second cousins. I do not know him all that well, since we have lived in different areas of the state for many years now. I always got along with him when we were kids, so I thought I should at least put in an appearance.

I can also confess to you, dear Internet, that certain people on that side of the family (see here, the part about the distant relatives). Because of this, I have been dreading this for a while.

Furthermore, J had absolutely no desire to go to this wedding - especially since we had to drive two hours to get to it.

To our complete surprise, the evening was not so bad at all. We almost had fun. The wedding was very low key, yet nice, and they served a complete dinner.

Being pregnant probably help, because people were really nice to us when I did not really expect it.

I was able to successfully avoid people that I did not care to talk to, and catch up with the ones that I did. If this keeps up, I might show up to a future family get-together. Who knows?


Unwelcome Visitor

I spent some time trying to weed out grass from one of my plants. This was no easy task, because I had Cedar's full attention. He thought he should be involved in what I was doing.

At one point, I looked up at Cedar for a second when something caught the corner of my eye. Less than two inches from my hand, there was the biggest tarantula-size spider I have ever seen in my life (see terrible, horrible, scary photo at left).

I grabbed Cedar away and proceeded to dump the entire can of spider spray on that horrible, horrible creature before it began to shrivel up and die.

I ran in the house trembling.

On second thought, that grass looks perfectly lovely in the middle of my plant. I have a feeling it will be there for a while.


Fixing My Roots

Today, with my doctor's approval, I was able to have the hideous color mess that is my hair fixed.

I am naturally blonde, with darker roots and lighter ends. I like the natural color of most of my hair, just not the roots. So, I have them lightened periodically.

When I found out I was pregnant, I decided to err on the side of caution and not have my hair dyed until the doctor recommended 14 weeks had passed.

My sister-in-law, a hair stylist, does my hair for me. She mentioned to me a few weeks ago that she had noticed my hair really needed something bad. This remark sent me running for the bathroom in tears, although she only meant it from a clinical/hair expert perspective. J assured me that it was un-obvious to the untrained observer that my hair was in desperate need of help. But, what do men know? Other women notice these things. And, obviously, they comment on them.

So today, I triumphantly marched into the salon and had my hair darkened. I went dark so that I would not have to mess with it again for a good while.

I also had the opportunity to do my eyelashes myself. I have this done periodically as well. (If you have never tried, and you have allergies like I do, having your eyelashes dyed black is an incredible thing. No mascara running down my face, ever!) Long story shortened - this turned out to be a mistake because I closed my eyes, they watered and I got the dye everywhere.

I left the salon with my newly dark hair and dark eyelashes - ready to take on the world again.


It Began With the Ear

Last night, my ear began throbbing. This morning my throat tingled. This afternoon the sneezing and waterworks began.

I, even though I am fighting it as hard as possible, am coming down with a cold

A cold! Me! Since I found out I was pregnant and read that my immune system would be weaker than normal, I have been crazy with the hand sanitizer and avoidance of all who sneeze, sniff and cough. And yet, it still found me.

I am in the midst of a mini-panic session, because of not wanting to do anything or get any sicker in a way that might affect the baby.


Cedar, Landscape Artist Extraordinaire

Cedar has really been the perfect puppy for the entire time we have had him.

Yesterday, he decided to thank us for feeding him so well by redoing the landscaping in our frontyard. Today he continued to work on the landscaping and decorated the porch.

Let me explain.

Cedar loves the porch, and we see him leave it only to go to the bathroom and to chase Max & Molly around when they come out.

We originally had him on a really long "chain" so that he could be on the porch or out in the yard, but not make an escape in the woods surrounding our yard. This did not really work very well, because our porch has a column that Cedar could not figure out. He wrapped the chain around the column over and over. So, now he is free in the yard. At first this idea sent my blood pressure skyrocketing, but after seeing how well he does staying in the yard, my anxiety has been somewhat relieved.

Chain-free and able to roam as he pleases, he still stays on the porch - just as before.

Yesterday when we came home, we saw that there was a spot right in the middle of our landscaping with a big, gaping hole and the tell-tale dirt piled around. Cedar was sitting on the front porch, as always, with not even a speck of dirt on his nose. It is as if he was saying "Hole? I have no idea what you are talking about."

Today, the hole has grown. Again, Cedar sits on the porch like an innocent, sweet puppy with no clue as to how the hole appears to be growing.

Also today while we were gone, someone went to the edge of the woods and grabbed as much of Max's hair as he (or she) could. Then he (or she) scattered this hair all over the front porch.

(Sidenote - Max's hair is from when we shaved him last night. Apparently, J dumped it at the edge of the woods thinking that it would discourage some wild animals from coming up in our yard.)

We know Cedar did it, of course, but we have yet to catch him in the act or see any remnants on Cedar himself. I guess we are going to have to catch him on video tape. Sneaky puppy.


Itchy Max

Tonight was dog bath night.

Molly got her traditional bath and combing, and Max got a haircut and then a bath.

Max has been having a hard time recently with Cedar, so we tried to be especially delicate with him during bath time. It is a ritual that all the dogs agree on - they hate it.

J gave Max the "Max Special" haircut, where basically he just completely shaves him. We had been putting this off, so he was a lot fuzzier than we normally allow him to get.

After the hair was gone and "Naked Max" emerged, we saw another reason for his misery. His has a fairly good size patch of skin that was completely raw.

A few weeks back, Max & J walked into a nest of tiny, tiny freckle-sized ticks. We got all the ticks off of both of them, but tick bites itch for weeks.

We had noticed that Max was scratching pretty frequently. You could even hear him. He would either do the Thumper reenactment or he would do this new growl-rubbing thing. He would stand on the sofa and growl. It took a while before we realized that he was growling at himself. After the growling, he would roll around in the corners of the sofa.

So, we knew he was itchy, but we had no idea the damage his little claws were doing to his skin underneath all that fuzzy hair.

Poor Max. I guess that we will have to keep him away from Cedar as much as possible for a little while. I am sure that was his plan all along.


A Cure for the Bees

Tonight after church our family made our ritualistic trip to McDonalds to get ice cream.

Meltdown opened the doors and headed straight for me. "I be stung."

Be? Stung? A bee? Oh, no. Bees are classified under the "things that sting" category, making them fair game for my insect hatred.

A few question and answer rounds later, I understood the situation. A bee had landed on Meltdown, and she flipped out. It did not actually sting her, thank goodness. She just equated the sheer terror of the buzzing maniac landing directly on her arm to a sting.

By the time she found me, the drama of the story had only increased. Fortunately, sharing her story seemed to make her feel better.

"Meanie bees - I know just the thing for that. Do you?" I asked her.

She grinned up at me. "Yup," she said matter-of-factly. "Ice cweam."


Soccer Moms, Dads, Siblings and Puppies

Today I went to the community soccer field to watch Monkey T play soccer.

Soccer is a sport that I actually enjoy watching. Especially little kids. Half of them have no idea what the rules are. Okay, more than half. Half of them do know they are supposed to chase the ball. The other half stand there either a) petrified with the ball actually comes close to them or b) bored.

In T's league (she moved up this year), the players are actually coming to grips with the principles of the game. Since T was top of her league last year, I was anxious to see how she would deal with being one of the smaller players.

However, most of the people there today were not there to watch the game.

For this group, soccer was more of a social event than paying attention. Many sports have parents that go crazy yelling at their kids, the coach, the team, the referees. Not so, with soccer - at least in this town. They were not even aware that the game was going on.

Take for instance, the people beside of us. There was a mother and two of her children, and their new puppy.

  1. They had an umbrella. Raining? No. Sun shining and in need of shade? No. Why else would one need an umbrella? Absolutely no idea. What I do know is that it kept blocking my view. Oh, and the little girl hit the little boy with it.
  2. The kids were talking and running around good ol' mom's chair. I'm all for kids playing and having fun outdoors. But when you are sitting directly on the sidelines with other people around you trying to watch the game? Perhaps you should take a back row seat instead. Or the playground at the top of the field.
  3. The puppy. Now - I love puppies. This one was especially cute because it had one blue eye. Other than the blue eye, it looked like just a regular little mixed-breed dog. But, dear ol' mom told everyone that walked by about how they have had the puppy for a week. I heard lots of other details about their puppy experience. Way too much for someone trying to focus on the game.

So, to my point - it was quite a struggle to watch the game.

At the end of the game as we were leaving, it actually did begin to rain. Good thing that our "neighbors" had their umbrella.

Monkey T's team took a hard loss by 2 points. T had to tell me this on the way home. Apparently I missed a couple of goals due to umbrella blockage.


What's Taking the Baby So Long?

This morning as I was on my way to work, I saw Farmer C outside in the yard.

His parents have explained to him that J & I are having a baby, but he - like most 4-year-olds - is a little fuzzy on how this pregnancy works.

"Where's the baby now?" he innocently asks.

"In my belly." I reply.

He looks at me with frustration. "What's taking it so long to come out of there?"

I believe that he thinks the baby will just drop right out and immediately play cars with him. So, he's getting a little impatient! Already!


Life with Three Dogs

Cedar's personality blossoms with every day. He quickly memorized our routine, and so far he is still as sweet as any dog I have ever been around.

He gets terribly excited when we come out the door. Especially if we have Molly & Max with us. He has been jumping a lot, which we are trying to teach him NOT to do, but he finds restraining himself extremely difficult when the door opens.

When I walk by the door and sneak a peak at him out the window, he is sitting (or lying) there patiently watching the door intently. I am sure that he stays right there all day, except to take the occasional bathroom break.

I am really thrilled with the progress he and Molly are making. He has learned when she growls, that means to back off instead of jumping in her face. He is bigger than both Molly & Max, so it's kind of sweet for him to let Molly boss him around.

Max, on the other hand, still has not figured out why we brought this dog home to live on our porch/yard. He does not understand why Cedar blocks his path from the door to the yard, and he certainly does not appreciate it. I want him to let Cedar know when to back off - like Molly does - but Max refuses to stand up for himself. He either cowers or retreats to under our legs. This situation will have to be resolved, because it is preventing us from being able to effectively take the dogs out to do their business. We have to practically drag him outside as soon as he remembers that Cedar is there.

We have developed a new nightly ritual. After dusk, we all - J, dogs & I - sit on the steps of the front porch and enjoy the night and each other's company. Okay, so Molly & Cedar sit beside us and Max tries to hide under our legs. But, we will get there - I am sure of it.


Baby's First Movie Night

Sometimes Monkey T really stumps me with questions that I have never even thought about, let alone know the answer to.

The latest: "A, which movie will be the first one the baby sees?"

I have no idea. I told her so.

So, for the next 30+ minutes, she gave me her suggestion list - including pros and cons of each selection. She wanted to resolve this dilemma before we left the car.

"But T, what if an even better movie comes out between now and then?"

Aha! Now I have stumped her.

She thought for a moment. "What theme will the baby's room have?"

Nice change of subject.


13 Weeks, 2 Days

Dear Unborn Baby,

Wow, you are really growing! Today you measured 6.93 cm, and you are beginning to fill up the womb. Your heart rate is still running strong. Now we can see your eyes, arms and legs. Your growth and development has been completely normal so far, and we are very thankful for that.

Today's appointment was what they refer to as a panel visit. The nurse did the ultrasound, questioned your father & I (mostly me) about family history and then did some bloodwork.

The nurse performed the ultrasound herself, and while the pictures are not as clear as they have been in previous weeks, we got to see you move! You moved your arms and legs quite a bit, and even your whole body once or twice!

I still do not handle bloodwork very well, but I stared at your picture while the nurse did what she needed to do. I barely felt the needle this time.

This week at church, my friends said to me "You're showing!!!" For the first time, people other than your Dad & I have begun to notice my growing belly. I am in maternity pants now, and they are still on the big side. I am continuously having to pull up my pants, and I think you would find that as funny as I do.

We got to tell more family about you this weekend, and we enjoyed that so much. Your grandparents are becoming more and more excited too. They have been very cautious, but now they are beginning to show how happy they are about you.

We are beginning to rearrange things so that we can clear out your room. We still have not decided on a theme, but it will probably be ocean or animals. I want you to have a love and appreciation for living things from an early age.

Today is the first full day of fall, and the leaves are just beginning to turn. I cannot wait for you to be able to see the beautiful colors of nature for yourself!

These weeks are moving so slowly! We cannot wait for March to roll around!

Love always,

Your Mom


I Left My Brain at Home Today

This morning, I was early for work. I walked up the stairs to my office, and got ready to sit down when it hit me. I had no laptop. I LEFT IT AT HOME.

From what I hear, pregnancy can make you forgetful. Cross forgetful with someone who is already absent-minded, and what do you get?

Someone who had to hold their head high, walk back down the stairs and drive all the way home again.



Today my family held a reunion out at the lake. This side (paternal grandmother) had not gotten together since I was in high school. Maybe even middle school.

It is a neat experience to see people that you played with as a child, and then have not seen in years. It is really interesting to see how everyone turned out, meet spouses and children, and actually still enjoy each others' company even after so many years of absence. Some people I recognized immediately, and some I did not recognize at all!

Not many families can reconnect that way. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of one that can.


Meet Cedar

Meet Cedar, the newest member of our family. We decided to get an outside dog since J will be out of town regularly. We wanted to do a rescue from our local animal shelter. We had thought we should get a girl that was several years old. That way, we would not have to worry so much about the competition in aggressiveness with the bazillion other dogs around here, and we would get a dog that had calmed and cooled from the states of puppyhood.

We saw the face of this almost 5-month-old boy, and fell in love.

Cedar jumped on the gate of his kennel when he saw us. He wagged his tail and acted very friendly. When the gate actually opened, though, he just trembled!

He was scared of Max and Molly, and when we brought him home he refused to run around and explore. Instead, he was content to take a nap with his head in my lap.

He is super sweet, which I want to be sure to establish this in my post so that when he is gnawing on my fingers, getting into my plants and scratching holes in my clothes later on I can look back and remember why I fell for this dog.

Now, a few hours after his homecoming, he is still reluctant to leave the porch, but he has fallen in love with Molly and scared Max into running and diving head-first into our laps.

P.S. - My dad came up and spent the day with us, so he got to be a part of bringing home our new addition. That just made the day even more special!