Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All about Reagan, Part V: The Third Trimester

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Conception
Part III: The First Trimester
Part IV: The Second Trimester

By the time I hit my third trimester, I think I finally started to relax a little. I could feel Reagan kicking like crazy and I had plenty of appointments to assure me everything was ok. I had a beautiful shower hosted by my friends Cristie and Shiela and everything was good.

Some pictures from the shower:

I should mention, the women on my mom's side have a history of medically necessary csections. We don't go into labor and even when forced by two days of pitocin, we don't dialate (my sister, Tara, can tell you all about that fun without an epidural). Even after evicition notices have been formally served to our babies, they still refuse to come out without the coaxing of surgically removing them.

So I wasn't worried about pre-term labor and knew I was probably going to have to have a csection too. I was prepared for that. My OB didn't want me to go later than 38 weeks, not because of fear of a huge baby, but because there is a much higher chance of having a stillborn baby for a diabetic when they get closer to full term. We scheduled the day; I actually put it into my Microsoft Project plan and worked everything backwards from there. I was leaving my job after the baby and wanted to leave everything wrapped up in a pretty bow and now I knew my date to work from. I was pretty excited that there was finally something in this pregnancy I seemed to have a little control over. I knew when she would arrive.

But then things like high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, round ligament pain, ongoing morning sickness, and finally preeclampsia set in and I was reminded I'm not in charge or control of anything, including the date. I was put on complete bed rest. I was allowed to get up every few hours to pee. Otherwise I had to be flat in bed. I continued to work with my headset on and my laptop balancing on my belly. Reagan protested my working by continuing to kick my laptop hard enough that she would often knock it off my belly altogether. I was glad I had taken care of the nursery and many of the details early enough so that I wasn't quite so worried about being on bedrest. I was just bored. Occasionally when I couldn't take the boredom anymore Bill would take me to the mall or to Babies-R-Us for a short trip in a wheel chair. It would be the highlight of my week.

Here are some pictures of Reagan's nursery. We actually moved again before it was all complete, but I had it mostly finished.

When I would go in for my appointments, I was monitored for my preeclampsia. It was remaining mild enough that as long as I laid completely flat, my blood pressure would stay ok and my protein levels weren't going too terribly high. I was swelling like crazy though. In one week I had gained over 10 lbs. I think it all went to my hands and feet. My OB warned me that there would probably be a time very soon when they would have to admit me for the preeclampsia and I would remain there until I had the baby.

I would also do a non-stress test (NST) several times a week. They would hook me up to a monitor to see if I was having any contractions and to see how Reagan responded. They would also do an ultrasound where they look for very specific things like fine and gross motor movement, fluid levels, etc. and come up with a total score. Reagan always did fine on the ultrasound, but the NSTs always took forever. She never really wanted to cooperate, bu eventually they would find the results they wanted and I was good for another few days.

This pattern continued for several weeks until I hit 36 weeks. I had gone into yet another appointment expecting to go home like I did every other time. At the worst, I figured I would finally be admitted to the hospital and have to ride it out there another few weeks. Never did I expect to go to a doctor's appointment feeling good, having no trouble, only to be told, "you're going to have a baby today, we'll be scheduling the surgery within the hour..."

To be continued...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The two year old wins in popularity votes

I have lived in the metro Atlanta area for 14 years, Bill has lived here for 20. Yet, when we go out on weekends, we rarely see people we know. Reagan, on the other hand, seems to know half of metro Atlanta.

Starting when Reagan was about six months old, I used to get this awkward scenario where I would hear, "Reagan?" and some complete stranger headed my way. I would think, Reagan is six months old. Who could Reagan possibly know? Who is Reagan talking to behind my back already? It started out as Gymboree parents and when we moved Reagan into daycare at seven months then it was teachers from other classrooms and parents of kids from all over the school. All of these people knew my daughter, recognized her in public, but had no idea who Bill or I were.

Some people really were strangers, but remembered a chance meeting with Reagan. There were multiple times when, say I had Reagan at Target one weekend and some random lady came up to talk to her and then the following weekend Bill would have her at Home Depot and that same lady would recognize Reagan. Even while with different parents, she knew that was Reagan and start talking to her. Or I would get the, "Hey! I just saw your baby when I was over at the mall." Yes, and I was there pushing her in the stroller. But I guess you didn't see me. I had my darn invisibility cloak on again. Sorry about that, it seems to be stuck on a lot these days.

It turns out, Reagan was the official non-official school greeter at the daycare. Her classroom was the first one in the school and she would stand at the door at the window and pose in her outfit of the day and wave at everyone that came by and give them big smiles and sign to them in sign language. When we moved her to her current daycare at one year old, she was so popular she became an official tour stop for perspective parents. Reagan would always come up and greet people with a hi and talk to them in signs and always had a huge mischievous grin on her face. So people got to know her, whether they had any kids in her class or not.

Reagan is now 27 months old and we still never seem to go an entire weekend without someone recognizing her. Bill and I still stand there stupidly as they talk to our two year old and only five minutes into the conversation does it occur to them that Reagan probably didn't drive herself to Target and look up at us and introduce themselves. This has now recently started with Bailey too. Oh, brother.

In other popularity news, my next door neighbor informed us that Alton Brown shops at our neighborhood grocery store and says she's seen him in there a few times. We are huge Alton Brown fans, and would love a chance run in with him one day! Based on the above, no one would notice if I was actually living in the grocery store. But I'm pretty sure people would notice if I tried to do a stakeout toting my two kids. They would give me up within hours. They know people. So for now, I guess I'm just going to have to depend on chance luck for a run in with Alton Brown. Or maybe I should just ask Reagan to hook us up, she probably already knows him.

Friday, August 22, 2008

All about Reagan, Part IV: The Second Trimester

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Conception
Part III: The First Trimester

The day after getting out of the hospital from my gallbladder surgery, we moved. I was mostly sitting in a chair directing the movers to various rooms of the house. Now that we were in a new house and I new I was having a girl, I was already thinking of what I was going to do for the nursery.

Just a week later, I finally bought my first baby items. I bought a little pair of Ugg like boots (yep, I'm all about the practical in infant looks) and a little outfit that Reagan ended up wearing for her six month pictures. It seemed surreal to me that after 2.5 years I was finally buying my first little pieces of baby clothes. I hung the items over the closet door in the room we chose to be her nursery. I found myself going in there a lot those first few weeks and just sitting in the empty room envisioning what the room would look like, what she would look like, what she was going to be when she grew up...

Baby names came next. Our first name we both really liked was Madeline. We decided to call her Madeline for a bit to see how it fit. It didn't. When I think of a "Madeline" I think of a sweet, demure girl who says, "yes poppa" and "no mother" and drinks from delicate porcelain play tea sets with her teddy bears and dolls. We knew this wouldn't be our baby. We knew that with all that I had gone through (and would yet to go through), our baby had gone through it too. She had already beaten terrible odds and overcome great diversity, and she hadn't even seen 20 weeks gestation yet. She was a fighter. Our baby was going to be tough, spunky, spirited. She would be the one to wear a girly dress paired with combat boots and jump through the mud puddles after a fresh rain (after being told not to). When I came across the name Reagan and threw it out, it stuck. That seemed like the name that fit our baby girl. So from 15 weeks on, Baby A had a name. She was Reagan.

Because of my PCOS, my doctor tested me for gestational diabetes early at 16 weeks. I chugged down the nasty orange litre of syrupy kool-aid, took the test, and failed hard. I didn't even have to take the three hour test or pass GO. I was sent straight on to the perintologist where I was told precisely what I would eat for the next 24 weeks and how to stick my finger four times a day to monitor sugars. I begrudgingly gave myself the first test prick. Dang! That hurt more than I thought it would. Well, by my calculations I had only 671 more fingers sticks left to go this pregnancy. I started wondering how accurate the results would be if I moved on to toes when my fingers refused to give any more blood.

A few weeks later I got a nasty bout of Bronchitis. I figure it was from all of the traveling I was still doing. Only it just wouldn't seem to go away. I couldn't breathe and just kept coughing. I was sent to a pulminologist where he informed me that I had pregnancy induced asthma. Huh? They have such a thing? Leave it to me to get that. He gives me a bunch of steroids and inhalers and I have to be on them the remainder of my pregnancy.

Amazingly, I am now breathing again and the cough goes away. Only all of the steroids and inhalers wreak havoc on my blood sugars and I'm now insulin dependent. Bill faithfully gives me my shots whenever I am home and I suck it up and stick myself in the gut when I'm traveling.

My doctor found out I was still traveling and put the kibosh on that at about 24 weeks. I can't say that I was disappointed. I worked from home the remainder of my pregnancy and began to pour myself into all things baby: the nursery, buying clothes, registering for items. I was getting so excited for Reagan to make her debut! I would play disco a lot around the house and in the car. Whenever YMCA or Celebration came on, Reagan would start kicking away and things were finally starting to feel real. I could feel her, she had a name, she had a nursery, we were really going to have a baby!

Me at 28 weeks and counting, in the start of Reagan's nursery
To be continued...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All About Reagan, Part III: The First Trimester

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Conception

"The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him."
~Pablo Casals
I was beyond excited about being pregnant with twins. Shortly after finding out, we we went on a 7-day cruise to the southern Caribbean that we had booked long before I got pregnant. The day I turned six weeks pregnant, I was in the shower at the hotel, getting ready to board the cruise ship. Out of nowhere I thought, "I think I'm going to be sick." I didn't even have time to get out of the tub. I hurriedly pulled back the curtain just in time to hurl into the unsuspected toilet while still standing in the shower. That marked the start of the all day sickness that plagued me through most of my pregnancy that no amount of prescription medications could alleviate. By the time my first trimester was over, I would have lost 17 pounds during a time when most women are gaining. But I didn't let a little morning sickness get me down on the cruise. We all had a great time on the cruise anyway.
When we got back from the cruise I settled back into life and started to get used to the idea of life with twins. I immediately started buying maternity clothes justifying in my mind that I was going to start popping out sooner than singleton moms. Never mind the truth was I was just excited over the plausibility over this actually being the real thing this time. This is the furthest I had gone in my pregnancies without any big red flags or scythes of doom reaching for my womb so I was almost starting to feel comfortable about things and starting to believe this was the real deal.
I continued my appointments with the infertility specialist and everything seemed to be going exceptionally well. I kept up with my 20 pills a day, 2 vaginal suppositories, and the blood work tests three times a week to make any modifications. The highlight was at least once a week my appointments would also include an ultrasound check. Baby A seemed to be measuring a bit ahead than Baby B most weeks. But it was never anything of large concern and there were a number of healthy plausible reasons why this could be the case. But by week 8, Baby B was a super star. Baby B's heart rate and growth had caught up and everything looked right on target with Baby A. It looked like Baby B was just a slow starter and Baby B was going to be just fine after all.
But then it happened. During the ultrasound on week eight, one casual little sentence of one seemingly insignificant measurement, and all the sudden Baby B looked like he may no longer have a future. Had that sentence been said to anyone but me, it probably would have gone without notice. But I heard it and with my obsession for research, I turned to the internet. The tech mentioned that the yolk sac was measuring a little big and gave the precise measurements. I took mental note of them. I also took mental note of the look of concern on the doctor's usually perfectly preserved poker face. I wasn't understanding why a yolk sac measuring 2mm bigger than they would like would mean that big of a deal, it wasn't even part of the baby. I could see my little bean floating perfectly inside, its heart beating strong. Before I left I got a talk from the doctor that felt like he was starting to prepare me for losing Baby B in his own way. I didn't hear most of it. I didn't understand the problem. I wasn't ready to hear Baby B wasn't going to make it.
I spent the next three days doing very little actual work related work. I mostly cried and poured over the Internet into every professional journal I could hack and understand and every PowerPoint presentation and any resource I could get my hands on that talked about the issue of having a yolk sac being 2mm too big. I found very little research on it. Most just don't measure it. Where I did find measurements I found nothing but despair. It all came down to those 2mm. Everything I read told me that because my baby's yolk sack was 2mm too big, he will die, and soon. There was nothing to do but wait. A familiar problem in an all too familiar scenario.
There had been no fanfare, no drama, no severe cramping, no massive loss of blood to mark the passing of this little life of Baby B. There would be no D&C or visit to the doctor to remove the baby. Baby B just quietly stopped his heart beating during the night at 8wks 3 days and became another angel baby. That following morning, I had woken to no morning sickness like I did every other day. Instead of the violence of sickness I felt only peace. I was still lying in bed when Bill told me "tell the babies bye-bye for me" as he was getting ready to leave for work. I calmly told him there was only one now. It was the first time I hadn't been crying since I left the doctor's office. Bill said "you can't know that." I told him that I do know that and it's going to be ok. And I am ready to move forward with the one little one that I know is still alive and well in there.
Bill went with me to my next ultrasound appointment just a few days later since we were expecting the bad news. It confirmed what we already knew. Baby B slipped away and stopped growing at 8wks 3 days. But Baby A was doing really well. I laid on the ultrasound table for a bit, gaining my composure, letting myself have another cry. Then we walked out together as our new, smaller family: Bridget, Bill, and Baby A. Baby B will never be forgotten. Baby A will grow up knowing that there was another. Another who waits in heaven to be reunited with its twin and the rest of its family one day.
We had mostly recovered from loss of Baby B and tried to get into a routine. We were looking for a new house, and I had taken on a new job, but it unfortunately required me to travel to New York City as much as I was able.
It was during one of those trips, at 11 weeks I woke up in severe stomach and side pain. It was so bad that I was crawling rather than walking to the bathroom for my morning barfing routine. It was about 4am and I had a flight at 10. I asked Bill to drive me to the ER so that I could get some decent pain drugs that would hold me over and still let me make my 10 am flight. I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't make that 10am flight. I didn't check out of there until a week later. It turns out I had a diseased gallbladder that no longer wanted to fight. They had me on a IV and drugs and allowed me to eat nothing but chicken broth and jello for a week in an attempt to make my angry diseased bladder happy again (clearly they have no experience in hostage negotiation- I've never seen chicken broth and jello on on a terrorist's list of demands). My gall bladder responded to my diet even angrier than ever. With no hope of it getting better, after a week they made the difficult decision to remove my gall bladder.
The only way to remove a gallbladder is under general anesthesia. When I go asleep, Baby A would go asleep. We still hadn't completely gotten over losing Baby B and I wasn't sure I could live with losing yet another baby. In the end, they assured me my condition was bigger danger on the baby as is than to undergo the surgery. I didn't like the odds, they told me there was a 20% chance Baby A would never wake back up. But I didn't see that I had a choice.
I was wheeled down into surgery and had one of the most panicked moments of my life. My fear wasn't for me, it was always for the baby. I only had a few moments to say goodbye to Bill and tell him I loved him and all I could think was how sorry I was that I kept failing him like this and losing his babies. I cried my way down to surgery with Bill standing in the hallway saying goodbye.
I pulled through the surgery. I woke up looking like a snowman with four little button like stitches and cover bandages going down my belly. They told me that I could go home now. I told them I'd be happy to go home. But I insisted I wasn't leaving until I saw an ultrasound of Baby A and saw a heartbeat.
I was 12 weeks 4 days pregnant. I held my breath while the tech put the ultrasound goo on my stomach and attempted to moved the wand around for signs of life. Almost immediately, Baby A returned with signs of alive and well. Heartbeat looked well, good movement, good fluid. I breathed. Letting my color return to normal, I pressed the tech a little harder and said, "I've heard you can sometimes tell gender on really good equipment at this age. I won't hold it to you, but what would be your guess?" The tech hesitates for a moment and says"it really is still awfully early. but if I had to make a guess today, I'd have to say you are going to have a......GIRL!"
To be continued...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Photos of the day

I'm taking a break from my "All about Reagan" series to bring you some pictures of the girls I took today. Reagan is 27 months and Bailey is seven months. Bailey is sitting up very well and is trying really hard to figure out the mechanics of crawling. She's getting up on all fours and moving one leg at a time.



Friday, August 15, 2008

All about Reagan, Part II:Conception

I read a study once that said that parents who suffered from infertility issues made better parents than those that didn't. Their conclusion was that parents that had to go through infertility issues wanted their children more and had more time to get used to the idea than those that didn't. I don't know if their study is correct, but I can tell you that Reagan was very much wanted and loved, before we even knew her.

I wasn't always sure I wanted children. I spent most of my 20's and into my 30's being a child myself. Bill will be the first to admit he spent his entire adult life ensuring that he would not have a "little Bill." But after we had been dating a while the subject of children came up and I knew I wanted children and Bill admitted he could see us heading that direction one day.

About six months after we were married I convinced Bill it was time to start trying to have children. I wasn't getting any younger. He wasn't so sure but he went with it for my sake. My first month off the pill I was so excited about the possibility I took a pregnancy test even before my period was due. It was positive! I couldn't believe it! Bill couldn't believe it! I was in a panic. Bill was in a bigger panic, almost to the point of hyperventilation. Bill said, "I know we agreed to start trying, but I wasn't ready for this. I wasn't expecting this so soon."

Just a few days later, our panic of an impending bundle of joy turned to panic of impending doom. I was having a miscarriage and we both spent several days in tears and agony. It was at that point that we knew we wanted a child and we had already loved the one we lost only a few weeks in my womb.

We decided to keep trying and it led to several more losses and a lot more heartache. We turned to an infertility specialist and he did every test under the sun on Bill and me. While all of Bill's soldiers proudly checked out fine, I was diagnosed with PCOS, blod clotting disorder, low progesterone, luteral phase defect, and endemetriosis (which I had a surgical scrape for). By this time we were two years into trying and during the process while my initial problem had been staying pregnant, all of the sudden I stopped ovulating and could no longer get pregnant either. So I had to take even more pills (20 a day), Bill gave me shots in the butt, and then we were going to start with Intrauterine Injection s(IUI), or as Bill fondly refers to it "The Turkey Baster."

We were on round one of IUI. It's not exactly the glamour you envision for the conception of your firstborn, or anyborn for that matter: Bill spanks into a cup, we have to rush down to the doctor before the soldiers refuse to fight the good fight (30 minute window), they spin it in some high tech thingy (medical term) and put it in a solution and put it into a syringe (aka "the turkey baster"), I lay on the table, and an 80-year old man squirts Bill's soldiers into place with the turkey baster while Bill holds my hand. Nothing to do after that but hope that two weeks later I'm pregnant.

I was pretty sure that wasn't going to work. We were two and a half years into the process and that just didn't seem like that was going to be the magic bullet (no pun intended there). But two weeks later I hop up on the ultrasound table, they examine me, and what do you know? I'm pregnant! With TWINS!
To be continued....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All about Reagan, Part I

In my last post, Joanna astutely called out the fact that although I talk about what Reagan does all the time, I never really describe her and talk about her. My character development of Reagan has been flat and weak and I've let you infer things about her instead of really telling you about her. I did this for several reasons, but frankly I thought I was being more coy than apparently I was. What a dummy I am. But never mind all of that now. I'm going to tell you all about Reagan. I mean really tell you about Reagan--the good, the bad, the ugly, the silly, the indifferent, all of it.

My friend Cristie summed up Reagan quite well the other day. She said "Reagan is a six year old trapped in a two year old body." Although congitively Reagan could probably be ready for Kindergarten, her maturity is very much that of a two year old. And therein lies the fun. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before I tell you about Reagan now, indulge me please by allowing me to tell you about Reagan from the very beginning and take you on a journey through her last two years. We are talking starting way, way, way, back where Mr. Spermie met Mrs. Egg and said "wanna get a party on tonight?" I didn't have a blog back then and I've never talked about my pregnancy on my blog so I want to take this opportunity to show you that Reagan had personality and spunk even from inception. I'm also taking this as an opportunity to play catch up on many of the stories and things I've missed of hers over the past two years. So I'll be doing a series of posts--All about Reagan. By the time I'm done, you'll know her so well you'll feel like she's been living next door to you for the past two years...like it or not.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quality Time at the Doctor

Reagan has had hives for two weeks. At first we thought it was the detergent which led to a massive rewash of about 20 loads of laundry. Because everyone loves to do laundry just for the heck of it. Then we thought it might be dietary and we switched around foods. But she kept getting new breakouts, so yesterday I called the doctor to bring Reagan in.

Yesterday, I ended up with a 2:45 appointment and Bill is out of town this week. Unfortunately, the girls' school is 30 minutes in one direction and the doctor is 30 minutes in another. So getting Reagan to a 2:45 appointment meant me walking out the door at 1:30 in the middle of an incredibly busy day. I picked up Reagan and off we go.

When we got to the doctor, the receptionist mentioned something about "hopefully the backlog is clearing up a little now." I didn't think much of it and sat down. If you haven't picked up on Reagan's personality by now, while I may sit down, Reagan doesn't. Reagan doesn't stop moving. Period. Her mind and body are constantly in motion. So within 10 minutes she had already gone through all the children's books twice and was on to perusing cars in the latest Car and Driver magazine (Oh, by the way Daddy, your daughter seems to be particularly fond of a little yellow Ferrari number. I think you're going to need a second job.).

Exasperated of reading material and no one else in the sick kid area to talk to, she targeted the receptionist next. Is it my fault they have chairs under the window? She climbed onto the chairs and knocked on the widow. The unsuspecting receptionist smiled and opened the window (lucky for Reagan she was on the sick side and got the nice one and not the cranky lady on the well side). Here's the conversation:
Reagan: Hey! Why do you have a giraffe right there?
Receptionist: It's just for decoration.
Reagan: Oh. Hey! What's that right there? (she points to the sign-in chart)
Receptionist: That's the sign-in chart. See, that's your name right there "Reagan..."
Reagan: That's my name right there? Reagan? What's that? (she looks on to something else)
This continues for five more minutes until the receptionist politely shuts the window indicating that the conversation is over. That's ok with Reagan because by then she had found a box of tissues and needed to blow her nose. 500 times. With a different tissue each time.

I'm doing everything I can to keep Reagan from ripping wallpaper off the walls. I'm singing with her, we dance in circles until I'm dizzy, we count in Spanish and English, say our ABCs, act out animal sounds and actions, but she eventually grows bored of me. She does well for the first hour in the waiting room. By 1.5 hours she starts saying, "I want to go home. Let's go mommy. Let's get out of here." To keep her eye on the prize and to keep her from a tantrum I tell her, "We can't go. The doctor needs to look at your rash and see if she can make you feel better. Once we let the doctor look at you we'll go get some ice cream, ok?" I get a resounding, "OK" to that one and we are good for another bit.

Finally we get called back. They say Reagan's name and as the lady is holding the door open to the waiting room with the chart Reagan walks right up to her and says, "I want some ice cream. Where's my ice cream?" The lady looks at her strange and takes her back. The nurse comes in and Reagan says, "Do you have ice cream for me?" I'm beginning to regret the ice cream thing. Focused like a laser beam, this kid is. Another 20 minutes in the room and we finally see the doctor:
Reagan: Do you have ice cream? I want some ice cream.
Doctor:No, I don't have any ice cream. But I'll give you a sucker when we are done.
Reagan: Ok, and then I can have some ice cream.
Doctor: Um, show me this rash of yours.
Reagan lifts up her shirt
Doctor: My that is quite a rash. I'm going to give your mommy this medicine. Will you take it every night like a good girl?
Reagan: No.
At least my kid is honest and self aware.

So 2.5 hours later, the diagnosis is hives. Duh! Take Zyrtec once a day and if she still has new hives in two more weeks they'll do allergy testing.

The upside, I had a great afternoon with Reagan. It is so easy to get frustrated with her when she wines or cries and becomes so demanding. I needed an afternoon like this to remind me of the other sweeter, fun side of Reagan. It was nice to have an afternoon where I had absolutely nothing for distractions such as the computer or tv. It was just Reagan and me and we had a great time.

And yes, she finally got her ice cream. Are you kidding? You think she let me forget that?

Not what you want to hear...

So these are not the words you want to hear from your husband when you are a single mom for the week; holding down the fort while your husband is away on an important business trip:

"I gotta go sweetie. The limo is here. We are going out to wine country today."

Yea, life sucks for who?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Making Connections: Sun, Sunburn, Sunscreen

Today we were hanging out at our pool. Here was a conversation between Reagan and Bill:

Reagan: Daddy, your shoulders are red!
Bill: Yes, they are sunburned.
Reagan: Ooooh! Your shoulders are sunburned?
Bill: Yes, that's where the sun comes down and burns my skin and makes it red.
At that point Reagan walks away. She comes back, a can of sunscreen in her hand. She fumbles with the cap.
Reagan: Here you go Daddy. Here is spray, no sunburn.
She then helps Bill apply sunscreen and rubs it in his shoulders.

My question is, if a two-year old figured out how not to get a sunburn, how come the 41-year old didn't?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bailey's room

To go back to all of the work I did a few weeks ago with my sister, Tara, I give you Bailey's room. We didn't change anything in the room, really. We just organized the closets. But let me show you the room first.

I particularly like this room because after doing Reagan's room all pink and girly, I was all pinked out. I was determined to do a feminine room without a stitch of pink in the room. And I succeeded, (well, all except for the giant pink elephant in the room of a glider that I still haven't recovered, ignore that part).

I also like this room because I did it all on the cheap. The crib I had. But see that cabinet between the closets? That is a $700 Ballard Designs cabinet I got for $90. The paintings above the crib I got for half off and the stone delilah hanging was my favorite find. It was at Kirkland's, originally $60. It was in some strange faux finish and they had them half off. I decided to take one. They didn't have anymore so they gave me the display, only it was chipped so they gave it to me for $15. Worked out perfectly because my plan was to spray it white all along. So for $15 and $2 in spray paint, I think it's my favorite thing in the room.

I decided to do a desk instead of a dresser because I don't like dressers. Stuff gets lost there. She can grow into the desk. It was a $900 desk I got for $125 at Ballard Designs. The cabinet on top is a dining room hutch cabinet I found at a Pottery Barn outlet. It was originally $600, I got it for $75.

See the paisley/flower mural painting in the Bailey stripe below? That took me three days to paint (yes, I'm really slow and my talent is questionable). So when it came to doing the same mural on the other side of the room between the closet doors I said forget it. It stayed a solid brown stripe forever. Then two weeks ago I was in the store buying hangers and I see these wall stickers. They had the perfect shapes and colors. I just had to buy them.

In 20 minutes , I had a decorated stripe (see below) that had taken me three days to do by hand. Where were these things last year?

But enough about the room. Let me tell you about what we really did with the room. The goal a few weeks ago was all about organization. Here is one of Bailey's closets after the organization. This is most of her clothes 3-12 months.

Because I like to hang most outfits, I had a hard time figuring out what to do with all of the hats, bloomers, pants, etc. that came with the outfits. Sometimes there would be three or four pieces to one outfit and no way to hang them but a bunch of safety pins.

Innovation won out. I discovered medium binder clips were a cheap and easy way to hang all of the coordinated pieces to go with any outfit.

Here is Bailey's other closet. It has all of her shoes, onesies, hairbows, hats, etc. Tara went with a clear shoe organizer for all of the headbands and hats that didn't go with any particular outfit so they didn't get lost in any one bin.

Tara's girls made tags for the bins for me with some scrapbooking supplies I had. They weren't exactly how I would have done them, but they are cute so I'll stick with them.

Ahhh, the sweet peace of organization...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What's for dinner, Chicken pot pie

Last night we had a bucket of yummy fried chicken courtesy of my favorite Colonel. Today, we had the leftover chicken, in the form of chicken pot pie. This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover chicken or turkey (Thanksgiving anyone) and you can improvise the ingredients with what you have on hand.

For the chicken or turkey you can use leftovers, rotisserie, breasts, precooked strips, really anything will do. The key is whatever you use to make sure you season it when you cook it if it isn't already. I like my pie with lots of meat so if I use a rotisserie chicken I'll use practically the entire thing. But if I only had about half of a chicken, that's what I'd use and it would be just fine.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes

2 9" frozen pie crusts (they come sold in packs of two and are great to have on hand at all times)
2-3 cups cooked chicken or turkey (diced or shredded)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use cream of chicken with herbs to add more flavor)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen onion
1 TBLS minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste (I like LOTS of pepper in this dish)
optional: other spices I like in this dish are curry and cayenne pepper

* Let pie crusts defrost
* Preheat oven to 375
* Saute onion and garlic
* Add chicken, vegetables, soup, milk, and any seasonings. Stir together. Remove from heat (veggies will still be frozen, that's ok).
* Add mixture to one of the pie crusts
* Take the other pie crust out of the tin and add to the top of the pie. Cut to fit and crimp the edges together.
* Put the pie on a cookie sheet and put in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
* During the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, add strips of tin foil around the edges of the crust to keep them from getting burned or over cooked.
* Top should be nicely browned.

The basics to this pie are the pie crusts, cream of chicken soup, chicken, and veggies. The portions of chicken/turkey and veggies aren't all that important. The types of veggies can vary depending on your mood or what you have on hand. If you didn't add any other ingredients or seasonings to this dish it would be a great meal. But you could also easily add five or six spices to it for fun and a kick and introduce a whole new flavor. Have fun experimenting with it. It really is very versatile.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book review: Breaking Dawn Stephenie Meyer

**Don't worry, no spoilers here!**
When I think back to my wedding day, I remember the anxiety and stress over the planning, the guests, the weather, and all of the details. And here I had one of the most laid back weddings I've ever attended. Add a bunch more guests and compound the fact that the groom is a vampire, some of the guests are werewolves, and you have people that want to kill you, and the anxiety and stress get kicked up to a whole new level. This is a wedding that makes even the biggest bridezillas go "you've got issues girlfriend."

This is how the fourth and final book in the Twilight Saga, "Breaking Dawn" begins. From there, Bella Swan attempts to live a life like any other girl who has just gotten married--she goes on her honeymoon and attempts to enjoy life with her new husband. Only life isn't quite so simple for Bella.

Meyer didn't disappoint in the same rich character development that sucked me into all of her other stories. At one point she was talking about over 30 vampires and actually created an index to help keep them all straight. Yet her description and personalities of each of them were so defined, I never once had to question which vampire was who. But one thing that I really enjoyed about Bella in the earlier books was that I felt like I could be her. In the third book she annoyed me because she was being too immature and making bad decisions, but I went with it. In this book, at some point she stopped being mostly identifiable to me. And that was disappointing. But there was one way in which she was entirely identifiable to me, and that's what kept me reading and kept me engrossed. I won't tell you why because I'd give you a spoiler, but there was one theme with Bella that I identified with body, mind, and soul.

As far as the story line, I appreciated that I felt like I didn't know the entire story 50 pages in, like I did with some of the other stories. I liked that this story had a bit more complexity to it than some of the earlier books. But I have to admit after reading over 500 pages to get to the climax, I was disappointed with how it went. I expected more than what I got for all of my time leading up to it. I appreciated that she filled in the blanks from some of the earlier stories, but some of them seem to have been filled in a little too conveniently.

All in all, I still really enjoyed this book. I am a true fan and didn't want to put it down once I picked it up. I even found myself moved to tears at one point, something I hadn't done in any of the other books. More than anything, I'm disappointed that this is the last book in the series. I thought there was plenty more she could have done with it, but I guess she has other things she wants to do.

One of her upcoming projects is "Midnight Sun" which is "Twilight" from Edward's perspective. At first I thought, "Ugh, how boring. I already know how that book goes. Give me something new." But when I thought about it some more, I am actually really excited about it. One of the primary reasons I like Meyer is her character development and "Midnight Sun" is a giant study in character development. I think she'll actually be able to do a lot in making the original story much more complex and compelling when written from silent Edward's perspective. The more I thought about it, I think it actually has the potential to be even better than "Twilight." We shall see.

Supervision required at all times

Here is what happens when you leave Reagan unsupervised for more than two minutes.
Baby got a healthy dose of diaper creme application, especially to the eye. I'm not sure why the eye, exactly. Maybe Reagan saw a bit of pink eye coming on in baby?
Unrelated, if you've been wondering where I've been, we had family through Sunday afternoon, then I spent the remainder of the day reading "Breaking Dawn", and now I've been way busier than usual at work this week and haven't had any spare time. I think I've caught up on work now though and the worst of the craziness is behind me for a while. You'll see a lot more of me on my blog and everyone else's starting now.