Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This House is (Not) Clean. Send Me That Little Lady, Cuz I Obviously Need Her.

There's evil in this house. That evil is ... cutting five teeth on the same day. I don't even know how to being to explain this evil to you, that's how powerful it is. It began with normal cranking and refusing to sleep through the night for an entire week, then one morning I woke her up and she was bucking and screaming and flailing and simply inconsolable. I checked her mouth and her last first-year molar finally cut the gums along with ALL FOUR CANINES. 


I don't know if it's these particular teeth -- I mean, they are all sharp and pointy and shark-like; total evil if you ask me -- or the fact that FIVE broke through at once, or more realistically, probably a combination of the both, but this child has been having ISSUES for the past few days. 

Today was one of the most mystifying and disturbing of them all. She had been quietly and happily playing with this toy:

When all of a sudden she whipped her head around, glared at me, then came running at me like a charging bull, screaming louder than I have ever heard. She spent the next twenty minutes flailing herself around like she needed an exorcist -- she would reach out for me, I would hold her to try to comfort her, and she would immediately push me away. As soon as I let her go, she would reach out for me -- this loop repeated over and over and over. Near the end of the "episode," I was holding her and trying to talk to her, and she reared her head back ... god, I could see it happening in slow motion but could do nothing to stop it ... and she slammed her forehead into my cheekbone. I saw stars, she screamed at me like I had attacked her. It was a disaster.

I brought her toys, bounced her, left her alone, talked to her, sang to her, put on the TV to distract her -- nothing. Finally, I put on an episode of GLEE (her fave) and she stopped for a few seconds at a time. So crazy. Quiet for three seconds, turning to look at me and leaning in to scream like a demon, then turning back to watch GLEE quietly for a few seconds. I thought I was losing my mind. 

Finally, I fast-forwarded to the GLEE kids singing Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" (which NEVER fails to make her smile, sing, and dance), and she was fine. Funk totally over. But I forgot that at the end of the song all the kids start puking. I had to bury my head in the couch cushions to keep from losing my anti-nausea pills and water breakfast, but it was worth it to end the evil.

Two minutes later she was drinking from my cup and acting like nothing had happened. Wth?

Someone tell me this is normal. I'll print out your comment and hang it on the walls of my house to keep me sane. 

Also, who's with me on some sort of surgical alternative to teething -- cutting the gums and pulling all the teeth up at once or something? I'm looking into it for the next one. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Super-Low-Cal, Super-Easy, Super-Delicious Cake

Super-Low-Cal, Super-Easy, Super-Delicious Cake

Has everyone seen the "Diet Soda Chocolate Cake" thingy? If you're on Pinterest, I'm assuming you have, because I see that pin ALL the time.* I've heard most people credit the idea to Weight Watchers. Well done.

Basically, you use a chocolate cake mix and 10 oz. of Diet Coke, bake according to box directions, and BAM, less than 100 calories with lite whipped cream.

I have been meaning to try it for ages, but now that I'm having a hard time with most (all) delicious foods, the thought of chocolate cake just seemed like too rich. But I have been craving sweets, so I figured I could find a way to lighted it up. I read one person tried the recipe with chocolate cake and diet cream soda (although she added two egg whites, which seems to negate the point of the cake, but whatever) and I knew what I wanted to do. Ready?

White cake mix and DIET CHERRY 7-UP.

IT IS DELICIOUS. Simply divine. Light, sweet, excellent flavor. In the summer I would toss fresh strawberry slices on this and call it a fancy dessert for company.

And that's the story, my friends. How I made a delicious and practically no-calorie cake. The combinations are endless. I want to try diet orange pop and vanilla cake mix next - orange creamsicle!

*If you're not on Pinterest and want an invite, shoot me an e-mail (see Contact in the tabs)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Funny Stuff My Husband Says (or Types), Vol. XIX

And here's another reason why it's always entertaining to be married to my husband: You might just get an e-mail like this in the middle of the day:

What say you, Internet friends? :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Baby is Demanding. No Idea Where He/She Gets It.

I think maybe this new babe wants to make sure I remember he/she is around. That little beansprout sure is making a lot of waves. Such is the life of a second child, I suppose.

I have already been back to the doctor for a few more complications, and this time I got to see the doctor who delivered Josephine. She knows me much better than the midwife, and based on all the problems I was having, I got an antibiotic (yuck -- just something to add to the nausea) and a quick peek at the baby.

Now let me back-track a bit (I'm nothing if not confusing). At the ER, I spent an HOUR in the ultrasound room, and did I get to see the little tadpole? NOT ONCE. Did they ever say "Things look fine"? NO. Did I eventually start crying a little and say "Is there a baby in there and is it where it's supposed to be"? (At this point I was exhibiting some symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, so I was in full freak mode)  Yup. And guess what that stupid chick did? PAUSED. She PAUSED. It felt like a full ten minutes, but was at least a full 30 seconds. Long enough for me to have three heart attacks. Then, she says ... get this ... "Well, I see the beginnings of what could one day become a baby ..." Good god. All I wanted to know is if I was still pregnant and it was in my uterus. Tell me that and I will leave you well enough alone. We don't need to have a whole big debate here. I know that thing inside me still has a little bit of a tail and is only the size of a lentil, but for PETE'S SAKE, it is my BABY, so just tell me "everything looks okay" and you don't have to be politically correct for fear I will sue the hospital.

Anyway, that was a very long way of saying that even though there have been many bumps in the road already and I have been concerned for my little beansprout's well-being, I have never been given assurance through seeing him/her or hearing the heartbeat.

BUT, last week my doctor said "Well, I know the ultrasound tech is on her way out for the day, but I bet she will hook you up and let you see the baby and hear the heartbeat. Will that make you feel better?" 

Yes, of course, but then there's the whole thing about her actually thinking it was something that was worth being done. My practice is very hands-off (like the only ultrasound you usually get is the big anatomy check at 20 weeks, no matter how much you beg) -- they only give you an ultrasound, even brief ones, for very good reasons. So I now knew that my doctor was perhaps concerned enough to want to check to see if things were okay. Sooo ... you take the good with the bad, I suppose, but I SAW THE BEANSPROUT! I don't want to sound braggy, but the ultrasound tech was like, "Since it's so small, it's hard to make out the body ... " and I interrupted her and pointed it out. Luckily she's nice and kept her thoughts on my know-it-all-ness to herself. 

Anyway, it's a tiny little gummy bear (today it is about one-inch long!) and it was pretty hilarious to see how HUGE my uterus is compared to that tiny thing. It made me feel a little better though, because even though I'm a little flabby, this belly really is a lot of pregnant belly. My uterus takes its job very seriously and got right to getting huge, what can I say? Did I say uterus enough for you in this post? Uterus. That should do it.

ALSO, the heartbeat was 173 (at the hospital it was 130, which made me nervous), which is EXACTLY was Josephine's was. :)

Josephine was with me during the ultrasound, and she just sat in a chair next to me and stared at the monitor. She was SO good and such a big girl. She melted my heart. 

So, to sum up, little beansprout is doing just fine, and the bean is cuter than ever. In fact, if you made it through all that, here is your reward: pictures of Josephine playing dress-up with Jeremy while I was at work yesterday!

 That's a scarf, a crown, and one hand in two pairs of mittens that are still attached.
 Apparently we love excess!
 Cheese to the extreme!
 The queen takes an almond milk break.
 Jeremy said she got into the tupperware cupboard and wouldn't let go of this plastic wineglass for anything. Sorry if this offends you, but we find it funny. :)

My little movie star. <3

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Josephine Update!

As promised: A Josephine update. I couldn't have a Josephine update without talking about sleep. SIGH. I'm not quite sure what her deal is, but she fluctuates between two distinctly different schedules: 1) Sleeps like an angel from 8 PM to 8 AM, nap from noon until 2:45 PM and 2) Goes to sleep at 8 PM, wakes up crying one to five times, nap from whenever she finally falls asleep after I put her down at noon until 45 minutes later. Guess which schedule leaves me with a happy girl and which one leaves me with a crankopotamus? 

It's infuriating, because I KNOW she can sleep, and she's so much happier when she does, and she will go days in a row on the "ideal" schedule, and then all of a sudden she does the "can't sleep" thing for a few days. Maybe it's just hard being perfect and she can only manage it for so long? Who knows. After her worst nap ever the other day (2 hours of crying and fighting her nap, then half an hour of sleep), when I gave up and brought her downstairs, she asked me to put these sunglasses on her:
Of course I obliged. How appropriate that she has "crabby" sunglasses. (Thanks, Allerses! She obviously really needed them!)

Okay, moving on to cuter things. She is OBSESSED with crayons.
Unfortunately, this obsession involves eating the crayons and coloring on my walls. I guess that's the price you have to pay to raise an artist.

Whenever she sees a cow, she will shout "MOO!" Whenever she sees a sheep, she will shout "BAA!" Whenever she sees a dog, she will say "woof." The "woof" isn't quite as confident and clear as the other sounds, but she's working on it. She does the best woof when she sees her stuffed Clifford.

Speaking of words, I believe this is the current list of words in her vocabulary:
-Moo, baa, and woof (obviously)
-Hi (actually "HIIIIIIIIIIIIII-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" with head tilted to side, big smile, and a wave)
-Da/Dada/Daddy ("daddy" sounds like "daaaaah-DEEEEE!")
-Uh-oh (and she usually puts her hands up to cover her mouth when she says it, like dropping something is a catastrophe)
-Ball (she said this all of a sudden and clear as a bell)
-Yeah (she says is over and over and nods her head)
-Bay (baby)
-Bey-ee (this means belly button, and her finger is usually inside of yours while she is saying it)
-Mee-ya (meow - when she sees a cat other than our cat)
-Kih-ee (kitty - for MoJo)
-Daw (dog - for Cleo)
-Kee-oh (Cleo)
-Dee (not sure, but she says it when she can't see one of us and wants us to come show ourselves, so she commands "DEE!")
-Weeeeee! (an expression of joy, usually when sliding - down a real slide or something she has made into a slide, like at the doctor's office the other day when she used the controls to make the part under my legs into a slide and slid down over and over, shouting WEEEEE! while the doctor asked me questions.)

And then there's this word ... it's hard to describe. It's like a combination of the sounds "goo" "goon" and "gee" (if that even makes sense) and she doesn't open her mouth to say it; it's more like a grunt deep in her throat. It's her all-purpose word, but usually means "what is that?" "give me that" "why can't I have that?" or "I want to eat that." Of course, we do the whole, "Oh, do you want this? Okay, I can give you this. Thanks for asking." But the word is hanging around. It showed up during the time period where she had started saying a few words and then all of a sudden got frustrated and stopped talking for a little while. My theory is she got frustrated because she had so much to say and only a few words she could say. Maybe she gave up for a little while? During that time, she only made that weird grunting sound. She doesn't say it as much now, but she keeps it around for emergencies.

She got a piggy bank for Christmas, and she believes it should exclusively be used for riding.
I guess I should have gotten her a rocking horse (I'm looking into it).

She is still the busiest little bee you will ever meet. She NEVER. STOPS. MOVING. EVER. 

She is really into all types of imaginative play. She got tea sets and fake food and a doctor kit for Christmas, and she is ALL about them.

She likes to play chasing games with dad. She LOVES having dad chase her: she squeals as she runs away, then when he catches her, she just dies laughing. Jeremy also started a new game where he hides around a corner, and when she goes and finds him, he squeals and runs away, so she dies laughing and then chases him. 

She is interested in whatever dad is doing. Jeremy would disagree, but I think she is way more interested in him than she is in me (I don't blame her; I'm pretty boring).

She LOVES brushing her teeth.

The dancing. OH, the dancing. I wish I had a video of all her crazy-awesome dance moves, but whenever we turn on the camera, she stops dancing and mugs for the camera. But, my current favorite is this move: she puts her arms out straight behind her, bends deep at the knee, then bounces her behind up and down. This is the best picture I have ever managed to get of it:
 And here is one to illustrate just how seriously she takes her craft:
She was in the midst of a deep head-bang. :)

She is testing her limits. There are many things that she knows she cannot touch, like the DVD player, so she will go up slowly, and SLOWLY reach out a finger to touch it, and you don't even have to say "no," you just have to say her name, and she will turn around look at you very seriously, and shake her head no. The other night she touched the laptop while Jeremy was playing her music on it, and Jeremy said no, so she touched a few other places on the laptop (still no), then she touched the table right next to the laptop, and Jeremy said, "Yep, that's okay to touch," so she went around touching things (the couch, a book) and looking at Jeremy for approval.

Even in the deepest of her funks, she can always be cheered up by Jeremy pretending to hurt himself. In this clip, Jeremy had just slipped and fallen (on purpose) and Josephine loses her mind:

It's slightly disturbing to me, but you gotta do what you gotta do to stop the screaming and crying. :) 

All in all, she is growing faster than I ever imagined, and she is a feisty, fun, smart little kid. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And So The Pregnancy Rambling Begins

Welp, yesterday was the first BIG BABY APPOINTMENT at the OB/GYN, and for some reason, I got all excited again like last time. But basically it was filling out a lot of paperwork (Jeremy asked, Ummm, don't they have all the information about your last pregnancy that they need? Yes, they do. Sadly, they need me to sum it up for them). This time it was even less anti-climactic. They were like back again so soon? Hahaha! and I was like Haha ... yup. and they gave me lists and timelines and since I had gotten a ton of tests and exams done while I was in the hospital, all I had to give them was a little pee and a little blood and I was on my way.

I mean, I guess I wasn't expecting them to magically make my overwhelming nausea and cramping go away, and I knew they wouldn't provide me with anything earth-shattering, like a picture of my baby's face or some info on the gender (Come on, science! Shouldn't we be able to tell before 20 weeks? Get on that!), but for some reason I always get all excited about the first appointment and then come away all deflated.

I'm pretty sure it's because I'm still at that point where I keep wondering if I'm REALLY pregnant. I mean, I'm as sick as sick can be, so that is rather telling, but it's not like later in your pregnancy when you can feel the baby move and there's no denying it. It still could all be a big mistake at this point, you know? Okay, you probably don't because that makes no sense, but I felt like this for a long time last time, too.

In other news, I ate a bowl of cereal AND a bowl of soup today. Then I had a piece of string cheese and a pickle when I got home from work at 10:30, so GO ME. I increased my food consumption by about 80% there, so I would call that a major success. This means, of course, that I am still sick as all get-out, and the mere thought of food is torture.

Jeremy keeps saying, "But you NEED to eat," and I get that. I do. But it's like this: imagine there was something incredibly horrible and painful and downright torturous -- say, poking yourself in the eye with an ice pick -- and then let's say you had to do this to yourself many times a day. Do you want to? NO. Of course not! Why would you torture yourself? Now say someone reminds you that you have to do it. Doesn't make it any easier. Eating is really like that (I mean, I guess NOT, but it's pretty damn bad). Drinking a sip of water makes me feel a hundred times worse than I already do. 

So yeah, things are great *crazy laughter*. Just kidding. I didn't dive off the deep end yet. In fact, Jeremy had the last three days off in a row (!) and he told me to REST and RELAX and I DID and it was AMAZING. But now I have to go back to that sassy child of mine. All the time. Every day. (Who knew ya had to rear 'em after ya birthed 'em?) Then teaching night classes. Then staying up all night, because, oh yeah, did I mention that insomnia flared up REAL BAD? It did.

Okay, this is turning into one bummer of a complain-y post, and I apologize for that. I had all these other things in my head that I was going to add to this, and the complain-y part was only going to be like one paragraph. Huh. So, since I never write anymore and this counts as writing, I'm going to go ahead and slap a title on it and call it a day. How about this, though? I will leave you with a picture and a promise that the next post will be an update on all the funny and darling things Josephine has been doing lately. DEAL.

Here's me with my 8 week bump ... pretty much the same size as two women I know who are 13 and 17 weeks along. Precious, right?

What can I say? I should have sucked it in more. Life lessons, people. And you get 'em here for free. Tell you friends. ALSO, you can hold up a picture of yourself next to this one and feel REALLY good about yourself. Geez, who am I these days, the G-D Dalai Lama? Must be the hormones.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Game Changer

I've been lying to you. And I'm sorry. I'm SO very sorry. It wasn't a straight-out lie. Like when I tell strangers their children are "lovely." That's code for "killing me." This lie was a lie of omission. But it ends now.

It is why I haven't been posting lately. Because there were SO MANY things I could not share because I would be found out. If I told you what my life has truly felt like for the past few weeks, the jig would have been up. But now I'm free to tell you.

Are you assuming the reason I am stalling with the news is because it is the most earth-shattering news you will hear all week? Maybe that's true. No promises.

Oh, how I wish I could peer into your minds and see what you are imaging! 

I knew she starting hooking! 

She got a book deal AND signed with a record label? I'm so jelly!

She finally got her tail surgically removed!

She had a TAIL?!?!!?

You're truly fans. And friends.

Okay, that was too much build-up, but I can't take it back now (no, I DON'T have a delete button).

Here is your one and only clue:
Got it?

Yup. It wasn't Irish twins, but as close as I could get 'em! Josephine's second birthday will be August 9th, and baby number 2 is due August 27th. If this one is as anxious to enter the world as his/her big sister was, then Josephine might have one HECK of a birthday week.

What else couldn't I tell you? THE SICKNESS!! OH, the nausea, the tireds, the crybaby syndrome. Lifting my head off the couch just recently became a thing of reality, and this was only accomplished by strong medication. Following a trip to the hospital. Yes! I had to go to the hospital and not call my mother in tears or ANYTHING! Here's a little rundown:

December 22nd: 99% sure I am pregnant. Don't want to highjack another Christmas with another pregnancy announcement. Decide to wait until after festivities to take test. Give Jeremy a heads up (he is unconvinced of said pregnancy).

December 23rd - 27th: Longest Christmas ever as I am exhausted, emotionally unstable, prone to crying and stealing food and hiding while I eat my second (and third) helpings in shame. 

December 28th: Am so ill I have to skip out on the last Christmas with dear, dear relatives whom I hardly ever see. Tell Jeremy we are taking a test TONIGHT. Guess what? That pregnant line showed up in about ONE SECOND. I tell Jeremy. He does not believe me. Then he believes me. Then we celebrate. Decide to wait a while to tell people (I have no idea WHY since, I can't keep a secret and will likely start to show ANY DAY. Remember last time?)

December 29th: Start talking baby names. Discuss the pros and cons of Girl-Girl and Girl-Boy birth orders. Sickness gets worse. Eating decreases even more.

December 31st: Jeremy's parents babysit while we have an anniversary date. Cannot believe we are not telling them. Am so nervous. This is the last night I remember eating a meal.

January 1st - 5th (let's get things moving, am I right?): Become more and more ill. Daily food intake is generally three crackers with laughing cow cheese, a cup a tea, a handful of grapes, and a pathetically small serving of whatever I made the other people I live with for dinner. While breastfeeding. Crying increases. Learn to stop bending at the waist, because any time, I do ... bad things happen. The thought of food makes me gag.

January 6th: The thought of water now makes me gag. At 8 AM I have half a glass of water and two ounces of a protein drink. When nothing else is consumed by 3 PM, I call my doctor. I am sent to the Emergency room (maybe I will recount that whole experience, because it was something else). After an hour, Jeremy has to take Josephine home. I turn into the saddest sack ever at the hospital, all alone. After two liters of fluids, I am still showing signs of dehydration. Tests show MINOR complications (not sure how to feel about these yet), but overall healthy pregnancy. Doctor gives me anti-nausea meds. I am skeptical since my foray into this in my last pregnancy was a bust. Still feel pretty miserable when I get home. Friends stop by and our cover is likely blown. They are nice enough to pretend they don't know I'm pregnant.

January 7th: Get my prescription for anti-nausea meds filled, pop one, and a half an hour later, SWEET RELIEF. I ate, I drank, I sat upright. Which is a good thing, because my parents and sister came to visit. We told them, because I REFUSED to sit alone in a hospital again with this pregnancy. I need to have a shoulder to cry on, even if just over the phone. I'm selfish like that. Plus, I'M PREGNANT!!!!!! YAY!!!!! A NEW LITTLE LOVELY BABY WHO WILL LIKELY LOOK EXACTLY LIKE MY HUSBAND BECAUSE APPARENTLY I WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE SLIGHTEST IN MAKING JOSEPHINE!!! 


January 8th: Tell Jeremy's family. Get rave reviews.

January 11th: Finally manage to finish contacting the remaining immediate family members and share the good news.

Today: Jeremy gives me the thumbs up to share with the Internet.

It's been quite the ride, and the craziest bits are still ahead of us, but we are oh-so-excited. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Funny Stuff My Husband Says, Vol. XVIII: Green Giant

Jeremy, while riding the stationary bike that he rides EVERY day:

You know, there's got to be a way to hook this bike up to energy-storing batteries; then I could use the energy I create by riding. 

*goes deeper into thought*

Then I would teach Cleo to run on a treadmill and save all THAT energy. Now THAT'S green.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: Folly Beach

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank is the story of Cate, who once had it all and through a hailstorm of tragedies, finds herself single, homeless and broke. She makes the trip from New Jersey to South Carolina and is taken in by her aunts who raised her. It is here that she starts over, builds and new life, and is deeply inspired by the playwrights Dorothy and DuBose Heyward (of Porgy and Bess fame). 

Let me break this all down for you. First of all, the story starts off with Cate living in the lap of luxury in Jersey. She is richer than rich -- mansion and private jet rich -- because of her husband's work. She does not work, and instead complains about how unfulfilled her life is. Herumph. As someone living at the other end of the wealth spectrum, I found the complaining less-than-adorable. Then, when she lost it all and had to adapt to a life where -- GASP -- there was no one to cook and clean for her and she couldn't get her hair blown out three times a week in the salon? Yeah, I still wasn't feeling too sorry for the lady.

BUT, at this point, the story was already moving along nicely, and I barely noticed it took more than 70 pages for her to get to the "starting life over" point, which was actually the beginning of the real story. 

My only other complaint is that every chapter of Cate's story is alternated with a scene from a play about Dorothy Heyworth. We later learn that this is the play Cate is inspired to write, and that's lovely, but the play takes you right out of the moment, and is really not necessary to the story at all. There are some interesting tidbits here and there about the lives of the Heywards and their collaboration with George Gershwin, but nothing that couldn't have been included in the context of the novel, as many other details were.

Again, however, I was able to overlook this writing device that I find particularly lame because I quickly became interested in the characters.

And this is why I devoted so much of this review to the parts of the story that really bothered me -- because a book that had two things that frustrated and annoyed me was still able to keep my interest, make me laugh, and make me think. The 350+ pages moved quickly, and neither the plot or dialogue ever seemed forced. I found much to love in Frank's characters and the character of Folly Beach itself. Frank's research into the Charleston Renaissance, the Heywards and Gershwin was also commendable. All in all, Folly Beach  was a fun and interesting read, and one that even inspired me to check out more of Frank's large repertoire of work. 

I am reading this as part of a TLC Book Tour. If you want to see what any of the other tour guides had to say, click HERE to see the full tour schedule and check out other blogs. 

I was given a free copy of Folly Beach but was not compensated for this review. The opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Glass Half Full

Me: Wait, wasn't the world supposed to end in 2012?

Jeremy: Well, not in the first seconds of 2012.

Me: Oh. Is there a specific day?

Jeremy: Yes, the Mayans said December 21st, 2012.

Me: Wow! We have practically a whole year left! What is everybody complaining about?

Happy New Year!
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