A conversation with my son

[We're in the bathroom, because one of the cardinal laws of motherhood is that if you don't lock the door fast enough you'll have company while you pee. William is sitting on the edge of the tub.]

William: "Mommy, look, I'm Humpty Dumpty! I'm sitting on a wall!"

Me: "Oh my! Are you going to have a great fall?"

William: "No."

Me: "Well, that's good. I don't think the king has any horses or men around here."

William: [looks thoughtful] "Well, if I do fall, I'll get Woody and Buzz Lightyear to fix me!"

Me: "I guess that would work."

Eight years ago today...

Collin and I were confirmed into the Catholic Church. Deo gratias!

The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, MN, our home church.
We lived within walking distance of this gorgeous building.

We were confirmed at a Thursday noon daily mass. Originally, we'd been scheduled to be confirmed on Pentecost Sunday (June 1) with the rest of our RCIA class, but we ended up having to schedule our move to North Dakota for that weekend, so we requested permission to be confirmed earlier. The priest was very accommodating. :) We were confirmed and then went out to lunch with our sponsors. It was a wonderful day!

Eight years later, we still feel so incredibly grateful that God led us to home to Rome.

7 Quick Takes Friday - May 27, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I'm so excited for this weekend! Collin is between university classes and has Monday off. That means we will have two whole days (Sunday and Monday) to spend together, and he won't have schoolwork to do! Tomorrow morning I'm taking the kids to the Surprise Memorial Day parade; otherwise, we're going to stay at home and have a nice little "staycation" this weekend.

2. I'm listening to the audiobook of Before Green Gables, and while it's well written and interesting, it's also rather depressing. I expected that given the subject matter (Anne Shirley's life prior to Green Gables), but it's hard to listen to given how sad it is. I don't want to stop, though, since it is a good book. It does remind me that I want to get the new book The Blythes Are Quoted, probably on Kindle.

3. I finally got Violet's 1-year pictures back. Here are a few of my favorites (all photos were taken by Our365 Photography):

4. I'm 11 weeks today, and it still baffles me that people (e.g., pro-choice people) can say that the little child growing inside me is nothing but a "ball of cells." (Yes, I actually read a comment thread today in which a pro-choicer called an 11-week fetus a "ball of cells.")

5. Speaking of, I wrote a post for Catholic Phoenix earlier this week called, "I Can't Believe I Have to Explain This," about another baffling pro-choice belief.

6. I'm loving our new daycare. William has used the potty every day he's been there, and he's starting to do the same at home, too! At this rate, he'll be fully potty-trained by the end of summer. Woohoo!

7. In remembrance of all our deceased veterans:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Violet's diagnosis

Violet had a follow-up appointment with the GI specialist today. His diagnosis?

Toddler diarrhea.



All of the stool samples came back normal. All of the blood tests except one came back normal as well; the one that was abnormal showed high blood sugar but our doctor has ordered a retest as he thinks the lab might have screwed up the test. If she had high blood sugar than there should have been sugar in her stools or in a urine sample, and there was none. So, pending the results of the retest, she's absolutely fine and he's given us the green light to reintroduce dairy if we want to do so.

I'm tempted to call or e-mail our former daycare provider to let her know that she was, not surprisingly, freaking out about nothing, but I probably won't. It's water under the bridge and I'm just glad I don't have to deal with her anymore.

7 Quick Takes Friday - May 20, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I drive by a billboard like this every day on my way to work:

I'm thinking of re-engaging the timestamp feature on my digital camera, and going to take a picture of it on Sunday, just for fun. (FYI, Jimmy Akin has an excellent analysis of why the guy behind the organization predicting the Rapture tomorrow is... well... a few fries short of a Happy Meal.)

2. Have you heard the new CD by the Daughters of St. Paul, "There Can Be Miracles," yet? If not, go and listen! You can also hear several songs on Among Women podcast #96. I'm waiting for it to be available on iTunes before I buy it, but I may call our local Catholic bookstore to see if they have it in stock as well. I rarely buy actual CDs anymore as I prefer a digital format, but I may make an exception for this one -- it's that good!

3. Elanor had her last day of kindergarten yesterday! *sniff* I can't believe my baby is technically a first-grader now. She's doing a summer day-camp thing for the rest of the summer and is terribly excited about it; I think she's most excited about her brand-new Tinkerbell lunch bag.

4. I, however, am not looking forward to packing lunches four days a week for the rest of the summer. Oh well, at least the fact that she's very picky means it'll be essentially the same exact lunch all summer (PB&J sandwich on wheat bread, applesauce, chocolate milk), so I can buy in bulk.

5. Another purchase I may make fairly soon is a Bella band (or the Target-brand equivalent). Uff-da. I'm only 10 weeks; I'm not ready to give up my non-maternity jeans quite yet.

6. My house is clean, thanks to Collin's Mother's Day gift (maid service!). We had a lady scheduled to come on Tuesday but she stood us up (ugh, the perils of Craigslist, I guess), so Collin found someone else who was able to come on Wednesday. She worked very hard and did a fantastic job. I still have mountains of laundry (that's this weekend's project) but my kitchen fairly sparkles now. It's a good feeling. Anyone want to come over? :)

7. We decided, with some regret, that airfare prices being what they are, we can't really afford to fly to North Dakota this summer. :( It would cost $1500 just for the airfare -- that doesn't include the cost of renting a van (which we'd need to do), meals, etc. We could probably find family to stay with and save money on a hotel, but still... we're looking at nearly $2000 worth of expenses and I have unpaid maternity leave coming up in December, so we really can't justify the expense this year. Maybe next year, I don't know.

So, instead, we're going to take a short family vacation to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (September 1). It coincides with our new daycare's family vacation, meaning that we would have to find alternate daycare for that week, so we decided to take advantage and go on a vacation of our own as well.

Over Labor Day weekend and a few days into the following week, we're going to visit Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. We found some fantastic hotel deals online (less than $100/night, very close to Sea World!), and we're very excited. We're also taking the kids to Disneyland for a few days (again, we found some fantastic hotel deals!), but that part is going to be a surprise for them. We'll let them think we're on our way home and then say, "Hey kids, why don't we go to Disneyland for a few days?" and watch them go into spasms of delight. :)

Have a great weekend!

Happy Syttende Mai!

Syttende Mai is the Norwegian Constitution Day (the National Day of Norway) and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year.

It's a big deal up in North Dakota where I grew up... there are usually lutefisk suppers (can't stand the stuff myself, but I adore lefse and rommegrot) and sometimes parades.

It's also a special day for me for two reasons: (1) it's the anniversary of my college graduation (2003), and (2) the anniversary of the day I got my very first positive pregnancy test (2004). Elanor arrived the following January. :)

In celebration, check out this very cool video of the Norwegian National Guard doing amazing drills on ice.

7 Quick Takes Friday - May 13, 2011

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. My appointment on Tuesday went very well. I saw the nurse practitioner as Tuesday is my OB's day at the hospital, and she was lovely. Friendly, personable, and a person of faith (it came up in conversation). Plus, the first thing she said as she walked in the room was, "Congratulations!" That's always pleasant to hear. :) At any rate, as I said in my previous post, baby looks GREAT. S/he is measuring right on target and has a strong heartbeat. We're very relieved. I'm also thankful there's only one -- one of the first things the NP said as she began the ultrasound was, "Hmmm, is there one or two?" and I just about had a heart attack! Turns out that the yolk sac was still visible (she thought it might be another amniotic sac at first) so it was a false alarm.

2. Funny story from the appointment -- the medical assistant asked me when my last menstrual period was. I ovulated on something like day 25 of my cycle so I did not want to tell her what my actual LMP was because it would throw off the due date by nearly two weeks. I said, "I chart my cycles so I know my exact date of ovulation. I conceived on March 25."

She looked really confused and said, "I know, but my pregnancy wheel only has LMP, not ovulation."

I suppressed a sigh and said, "According to my calculations, my due date is December 16, so put that in your wheel and put down my LMP according to that due date."

She did, and then when we had the ultrasound, the baby was measuring 8w4d and the estimated due date matched my calculations exactly. The nurse practitioner was impressed. Anyway, yay for vindication. If I'm ever a millionaire I'm going to create a line of pregnancy wheels that calculates according to LMP and ovulation and give one to every OB-GYN clinic in the country. Hello, some women are actually knowledgable about their bodies and know the date of conception!

3. Now that we've seen everything is going well so far, we're meeting our doula next week to officially hire her (e.g., sign the paperwork and everything). She was present for Violet's birth and she was FANTASTIC so we decided right away to hire her for this birth. I'm lucky I contacted her right away after I got pregnant, as she's only taking two clients in December due to the holidays.

4. This week has been MUCH better than last week. Without going into details, we gave two weeks' notice to our daycare provider on Friday due to what we felt was a breach of our trust (it's not related to her care of the kids, which is why we gave notice as opposed to pulling them out immediately). So, we spent last week and the weekend frantically searching for another daycare provider in the area who didn't charge an arm and a leg.

Well, God is SO good to us. We found a new provider (a husband and wife team, operating out of their home) willing to take all three kids (eventually :P) PLUS who will take Elanor before and after school next year! (They live about a block from her school, and they have a daughter just a year older than her that they take to/from the same school every day). That will save us some money. They have no problem with us taking eight weeks off after the baby is born, and won't require us to pay to reserve our kids' places while they're out. Oh, and they're going to really work with us to potty train William ASAP, too. :) (She said that she "loves to potty train kids" -- I think she's crazy but if she does, then she can train Violet while she's at it! :P)

They have four kids of their own (a girl and three boys, two of which are twins just a few months older than Violet) and they love all things Disney and Disneyland, just like we do, so we hit it off immediately. :)

I think their parenting style is MUCH more like my own as compared to our previous provider's (who is a very type-A helicopter parent), so we should get along well. They charge slightly more than our old provider, but the money we'll save with Elanor's care should make up for that, and it'll be more convenient to be able to drop off and pick up the kids at the same place every day. So, that situation as been resolved and it's a lot less stressful now.

5. Our new cleaning lady is coming over for the first time on Tuesday. :) Collin says she'll do laundry and organizing for us too -- I will probably take her up on that!

6. We're also getting our wills (+ advanced healthcare directives) notarized and witnessed on Tuesday; two friends from our church have agreed to witness them for us. Hopefully the documents won't be needed anytime soon, but I think they're good to have just in case.

7. Oh, before I forget, I have a new post over at the Catholic Phoenix blog. I was in full sarcasm mode when I wrote it. :)

Happy Friday (the 13th)!

We have a baby!!

Only one, thank goodness. :) S/he looks great and is measuring spot-on (8w4d). Strong, beautiful heartbeat (don't know bpm).

Pics of Senor/ita Cuatro:

Close up. S/he had a nice strong heartbeat!

Here's an overview with a close-up in the lower right corner. We could see him/her waving his/her little arms!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

7 Quick Takes Friday - May 6, 2011 - the Ranty McRantyPants edition

Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. I have a huge pet peeve right now, and that is passive-aggressive bullshit. I'm sorry for the harsh language but that's as tame an adjective as I can figure out right now. If someone has a problem with ME and/or my parenting abilities, I expect them to come to ME about it instead of gossiping to my relatives about the issues they have with me. I've had this happen to me THREE times, by three different people, in the last several weeks and I've just about reached my breaking point about it. For goodness' sake, this is real life, not junior high school. I want people who have problems with ME to come to ME about it so we can talk about the problem like mature adults and deal with it. I don't want people who have problems with me to go to my relatives and start bitching about why I'm such a terrible person to them, until eventually I hear about said bitching second- or third-hand. Grow some balls and address your problems about me with me or keep your trap shut so I don't have to hear about it.

2. As #1 indicated, we have several stressful situations going on right now. One I can't really talk about but relates to the passive-aggressive bullshit described above. The other is Violet's ongoing diarrhea. Here is the saga about what's being going on; in the future I think I will refer all of my relatives to this post so they can see that yes, we ARE concerned, and yes, we are taking steps to find out the cause.

3. Violet started having diarrhea a month ago. At first, we figured it was just a run-of-the-mill virus. She had no other symptoms (no fever, etc.). When about a week went by and there was no change, Collin took her to our PCP, a family practice doctor. He diagnosed it was the rotavirus and told Collin that all we could do was keep her hydrated and wait until it passed. He told us it could take several weeks. So, we did as he said. Another week passed and there was no change. We called our insurance's Ask-A-Nurse line three times, speaking with three different nurses, and asked for advice. They told us the same thing that our PCP had -- since she was otherwise symptomless and there was no visible blood in her stool, it was probably a virus. Keep her hydrated and watch for more symptoms.

Finally, this past week, we called Ask-a-Nurse again and expressed our frustration that the diarrhea was still going on. They advised us to take her back to the doctor. As our PCP couldn't fit us in until next week, I ended up taking her to Urgent Care on Tuesday (May 3). I brought a stool sample with (a diaper from the previous evening that had been bad). They found a tiny amount of blood in the stool (not visible to the naked eye, only by testing) and told me to take her to the pediatric ER. I did so, immediately. After she was seen in the ER, the PA said to me, essentially, "I don't know why you're here." She felt that the Urgent Care doc had overreacted because Violet appeared healthy, active, and, in her words, "looked great." (The lab report from Urgent Care, by the way, stated that Violet also appeared healthy, well-groomed, and was developmentally on target.)

At the ER, the PA did a rectal exam (negative for blood) and a urine sample (normal). Since they couldn't find anything wrong, they referred us to a pediatric GI specialist. Collin took the next day off of work (May 4) and took her to the GI specialist. He did some bloodwork and has us doing daily stool samples for the next 10 days, has given us probiotics to aid her digestion, and has instructed us to eliminate dairy from her diet (all of which we are doing).

But apparently, according to others, we aren't doing enough. He and I are completely out of sick time now, so if either of us get too sick to work in the next several weeks we're screwed.

4. NEWSFLASH: Kids get sick, especially if you have a kindergartener who picks up every possible germ. If it seems like our kids "are sick all the time," it's probably because KIDS GET SICK, especially little kids who have a sibling in public school. Plus, the seasons are changing right now which always brings on a fresh spate of illness. If you haven't been inside my house, please don't presume to judge the cleanliness thereof. I'm not Martha Stewart but our home is not unsafe or unhealthy.

5. As if I didn't have enough going on, the all-day morning sickness and first-trimester fatigue has been kicking my ass. I have Zofran, and it helps, but only a little. It's gotten better the last day or so, but now I have stomachaches due to all the stress. On top of that, William had a stomach bug late last week (one that's been making its rounds through the school system, so of course Elly brought it home) that he passed to me, so I spent all weekend sick as a dog and unable to keep down even crackers and ginger ale.

6. I have my first prenatal appointment + ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday. I'm very nervous about it, which isn't helping my stress level, but after my horrible first-trimester ultrasound experience with Noel (the first baby I lost) in which we discovered s/he had died, these early ultrasounds always make me anxious.

7. Let's try to end this with some happier news. Let's see. Elanor lost her first tooth last weekend. She was very excited and the Tooth Fairy left her a dollar. She and I also worked together on a science project for her class. Her instructions were to make something space-themed. We made a diorama of her visiting the moon. I think it turned out pretty well given my limited crafting abilities:

Osama Bin Laden

Best response to the news, in my opinion:

"Osama Bin Laden, as is known, claimed responsibility for grave acts that spread division and hate among the peoples, manipulating religion to that end. A Christian never takes pleasure from the fact of a man's death, but sees it as an opportunity to reflect on each person's responsibility, before God and humanity, and to hope and commit oneself to seeing that no event become another occasion to disseminate hate but rather to foster peace".

Best tweet in response to the news:

"In other news, Chuck Norris has just returned from a trip to Pakistan."


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