Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What a liar

"Lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days!"
"Eliminate Love Handles, Muffin Tops, and Wobbly Arms for Good!"
"In no time you'll achieve a lean, shredded body."
"Transform your body from flab to firm in no time!"

How could I fall for these lies? I mean c'mon, I've been doing the 30 Day Shred for 5 months now and don't have that lean, shredded body yet. Well, I've sort of been doing it. Okay, I've shredded once in the past two months, but before that I was a little more faithful. And no more trouble zones? I've tried to get through the 40-minute circuit workout quite a few times. I think I've succeeded once. But I keep at it. Why? Because body parts shouldn't jiggle when you walk.

And maybe part of it is that I don't follow Jillian's meal plan--that is why I'm not seeing the results she's promised. I didn't feel like paying money to see what she was going to tell me to eat. But something also tells me that almond Snickers bars and a grande iced white mocha are probably not acceptable lunch options.

At the beginning of the year I got back into SparkPeople and lost about 10lbs. I like the site, mainly because it is free, but it is a pain for me to try and log onto the computer everything I eat. If it isn't in their database I have to enter it. And most suppers are meals I cook myself, so I have to enter whole recipes. Too time consuming for the results that I see. But again, something needs to change. I found 10 of those pounds right back where they started.

I realize I am like the majority of the population when it comes to diet and exercise. I come and go in bursts of motivation, but then there are things that easily sidetrack me and it is hard to get back again. One day I feel like everything is just going to "click" into place--the calorie counting, the exercise, drinking water, making healthy choices. I've waited 8+ years and it hasn't happened yet.

Until it does finally all click into place, I'll keep plugging away, piece at a time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1st Day of School

It was finally here, that day that parents love the most and most teachers dread--the First Day of School. I know I have been looking forward to it, but with only one of them gone, I get to turn into Leah's playmate. Emma did a great job of that all summer. Leah already requested to play her Fancy Nancy game at 8am this morning.

Emma is not nervous about the first day of school. Now that she has a year under her belt, it isn't a big deal. Even deciding what to wear was not a momentous occasion in her book. Many times while we were shopping this summer I would hold up things and ask, "Would you like this for the first day of school?" to which she would answer, "Why do I have to wear something different? Can't I just wear regular clothes?" So while picking out just the right outfit for school may obsess some children, Emma could care less. She is going to be the one wearing yoga pants to school everyday because they are the only pants she will put on and not immediately have tears well up because they are "too tight" in the crotch. I've tried to tell myself this isn't a battle worth fighting and just buy her what she is comfortable in. Even though the brown twill roll-up pants from Old Navy look adorable on her, I know she will never wear them without the threat of death upon her.

And this would be the point where I would insert the picture of her from this morning, but for some reason my copy and paste doesn't work anymore. Anyone know what is up with that? Whenever I right click after copying something, it doesn't allow me to paste. Annoying as hell. Anyway, pictures are on facebook and I'll put them up here if I can figure out how to run this stupid mouse.

Let me just say that a thunderstorm in the middle of the night does not make for ideal sleeping conditions the night before the first day of school. And it was 60 degrees out this morning--nothing says the end of August like cold, wet weather. Ha.

I'm sure once Emma gets home and I ask her about her day, all she will remember is what she ate for lunch and maybe that recess was her favorite time of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recovery Mode

We had weekend full of guests, food, presents, and good times. Friday I learned that we can sleep at least 8 adults and 5 kids in the house at one time. Heck, we still had floor space, we could've easily doubled that. I thought about charging everyone $50 a night to make some extra money, but I don't think my family would've appreciated that. We spent all day Saturday at the State Fair. I managed not to eat my weight in fried food this year, but we did get rained on which makes the experience just that much more fun. Sunday was Leah's party, complete with her "Four Year Old Dance" which looked like free form interpretive dance by a 4 year old. Impressive stuff.

Now I have the party hangover and about a million pounds of sheets and towels to wash, fold, and put away. That many people makes for a lot of laundry.

And you know, guess what?* School starts on Thursday. Yipee!!

*This is Leah's one and only conversation starter. And believe me, you don't want to start a conversation with her because you will hear "You know, guess what" about a thousand times. And by the time she has said her lead-in phrase, she usually forgets what you were supposed to know, so you get to hear it three or four more times in succession.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night

That is one thing I will never forget about the night/early morning Leah was born. They always say that storms bring in all the pregnant ladies, and the birth center at our local hospital was full that night. We went in about 10pm and after I was up in the room, John went down to get the bag and he was wet with big, fat raindrops. Even the Dr. commented about the weather once he was called in. I guess that should've been some foreshadowing as to what was about to come.

There were no indications during my pregnancy that anything was "wrong" with the baby. It was very similar to my pregnancy with Emma; so much so that I knew it was another girl. Even in the middle of a hot, humid Iowa summer I had little to no swelling, always measured on track, and went right up and over 40 weeks. I had seen my Dr. on Monday, he called to check on me on Tuesday (because that was his day off--he was taking his boys swimming), and set up an appointment for Thursday morning to do a non-stress test and see if we needed to get things moving. Well just like with Emma, I went into labor on Wednesday afternoon and was off to the hospital later that evening.

Being a smaller local hospital, there is no anesthesiologist on staff at all times so epidurals are rarely done for deliveries. I was no too happy about my options for pain management, because I do not like pain. And pain does not like me. So this second labor and delivery may have been shorter, but I felt a whole lot more. My water didn't break until the Dr. broke it while I was pushing, and once it broke I went down a few centimeters and had to wait to get back to 10 to push again. Not fun. I remember delivering her shoulders and then hearing them say "It's a girl" (no duh, I knew that). I was too exhausted to even register that she wasn't crying. I remember the Dr. trying to stimulate her and saying things like "C'mon, Sweetheart". The nurse had asked if I wanted her on my chest, but before I could even answer they had to take her to the incubator to start bagging her. She didn't stay in too long in the room; soon she was out in the nursery area to be intubated and put on the ventilator.

At that point all I could think was "I don't want to do that again." What else can you think? You aren't prepared for things to go differently when the first time had been so by-the-book. The Dr. came back in and you could tell it was difficult for him to deliver the news--"Her lungs are underdeveloped, but we don't know why." After a few x-rays he came back and told us it was Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation (CCAM). Okay, get us all the information you know on that. We made the first few phone calls, telling our parents what little information we knew. After giving us some information on CCAM, he came back and said what we were really dealing with was Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). Never heard of that before. More phone calls. Where you do want to send her? Our choices were Des Moines and Omaha--both about the same distance from where we lived, but we had family in Omaha. Send her to Omaha. God was guiding our decision; we knew nothing about CDH and importance of having ECMO available. Children's in Omaha had recently gotten an ECMO machine. Des Moines had none. What is her name? I didn't want her sent away known only as Baby M. Leah Claire.

By this early hour in the morning, it was still dark and stormy out. The LifeFlight pilot couldn't fly in the bad weather, so they had to send a ground ambulance. We didn't know that some of these children are so fragile and critical that they can barely be transported across a hall, let alone sent 2 hours away by ground ambulance. Ignorance is bliss and we never thought anything of it. Later when we talked to the neonatologist who took the initial call, he had wanted her there as quickly as possible; he wasn't too comfortable with the idea of the ambulance but there wasn't anything we could do about it. The helicopter was still on standby even once the ambulance got there, but it still couldn't fly. We sent her off around 9am. I wouldn't see her again until 7 or 8pm the next night.

When you are in a full birthing center with no baby, the nurses don't pay too much attention to you. Thankfully my sister-in-law who is a nurse and had just gone through having a baby in the NICU spent the first night with me. We watched movies, she got me hot packs and helped get me set up for pumping. John and his Dad headed for Omaha to be with Leah that first night.

Our Dr. who delivered Leah was a family practice doctor. When families who know about their child's CDH before delivery go to give birth, they are in a hospital with a Level 3 NICU. They deliver in a room filled with medical personnel--high risk OB's, multiple neonatologists, respiratory therapists, NICU nurses, and a variety of other support staff who are needed to stabilize these critical patients. All we had was a Dr. and a nurse. Again, God's hands were there to guide the way as the doctor recognized her needs and quickly got oxygen to her. He later told us he had just lobbied the hospital to get an infant ventilator--Miss Leah was one of the first to take advantage of that. The Dr. also said Leah made his top 10 list of most memorable births. I would think so.

Even though I can remember so vividly all those details of August 11, 2005, it seems so long ago. Now we have a 4 year old on our hands. She is potty trained and ready to go off to preschool this fall. She rides a bike and likes to play soccer with her big sister in the front yard. She is starting to read and has the memory of an elephant. Her smile will melt your heart and I can't help but call her Cutie Pie a dozen times a day. The Dr. who delivered her said she is here for a very special reason. We have been reminded of that everyday the past 4 years when we think of how she came into the world. We love you, Leah Claire.

Laughs by Leah

Leah has always been the comedian of the family. Yesterday we spent a long day inside together as it rained most of the day. There was quite a bit of thunder and lightning--we've told the girls that it is just God bowling that makes all that noise. So they had to come up with an explanation of the rain (must be God sweating) and wondered who was winning, God or Jesus. And of course Leah asked the all important question of, "Does God have bowling shoes?"

Later Emma was in her room and saw a large flash of lightning. She came out with a look of wonder on her face and was like, "That was the biggest lightning I EVER SAW!" Leah was quick to correct her grammar--"No, SEEN!" Nothing like learning incorrect grammar from your younger sister. ;)

At supper we were watching Shrek the Third and one of the characters called himself a loser. Leah sort of gasped and said, "You should never say loser, that's not good."

More on Leah tomorrow as I reminisce about her birthday. We're hoping to avoid all Dr.'s offices, ambulances, and hospitals tomorrow. Been there, done that . . . twice.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The end is in sight

In just 13 days that big, old yellow bus will be rolling down the street at 7:31am. Summer has gone by quickly, but some days the start of school won't come soon enough. Of course there are things I had wanted to get done over the summer that I didn't even attempt, and other things we should've done but didn't do. Like my closet cleaning/organizing project? Yeah, that never got off the ground.

At the beginning of the summer, I dubbed it "The Summer of the Sisters". The girls would play together all day long, and still want to speak to each other the next morning. And for the most part they played nicely together. I gave Emma the task of reading a book to Leah before naptime, so usually Emma would read and then tuck her in. They took turns playing on the computer, they watched movies together, Emma pulled Leah in the wagon, they played in the sprinkler, they dumped 3, 892 piece of Littlest Pet Shop accessories on the floor multiple times. For a couple weeks they even slept on Emma's floor together.

As you know, even the happiest of couples needs some "alone" time. The whine factor has increased this week (or my tolerance has gone down, one of the two) and yesterday they were quick to separate when I told them to go play by themselves. But once that bus rolls in on the 20th, Leah is going to be a little lost. Thankfully she will be going to preschool three mornings a week, but she won't start until after Labor Day.

Growing up I had two sisters and never remember playing with them like these two played together this summer. Maybe it is because I don't remember a whole lot from when I was 6, or maybe it was the fact that the age differences between us were a little more (3 years older and 4 years younger). I had to share a room (and a bed!) with my younger sister and the memories I have of that aren't all sunshine and roses. And by playing with each other you mean torturing each other and locking each other out of the house, then yes, I guess we did play together.

In these last 13 days before school start we're going to try and get a lot done: free bowling, going to the swimming pool, celebrating a birthday, going to the State Fair, having all the family over, and maybe even going to a local park or two. All that and trying to adjust our bedtime/morning routine to accommodate the 7:31 pick up time should be fun. Ha!

Monday, August 3, 2009


If there are three things I will remember about the summer it would be 1. cooler than normal temps (love it!), 2. insomnia (hate it!) and 3. I can't come up with a third due to lack of sleep. I had my bouts of insomnia with each pregnancy, and no--I am not currently pregnant. Usually I am woken up to go to the bathroom, or hubby is snoring, or the cat sounds like he's going to hack up a furball and then I can't get back to sleep.

I will say that having insomnia in 2009 is way better than in 2003 and even 2005. You see, back when I was pregnant with Emma we only had cable and dial-up internet. My late nights/early mornings were spent channel surfing and deciding which would be better to watch--reruns of Roseanne on Nick at Night or infomercials. Now we have high speed dial-up, satellite dish service, and DVR. Usually my first stop on the insomnia bus is on the computer, and there I will sit for an hour or two. Let me tell you, not many people update their Facebook status from 2-4 am unless they are in a different country. Although one time I did have quite the IM conversation with my BIL (who keeps very odd hours) where we came up with what we thought was a lucrative business proposal.

Anyway, last night was yet another sleepless night. I got up around 1 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I only spent about 5 minutes checking Facebook and a few other usual sites and decided to read instead. You see, I have had a book on my Goodreads "to read" list for awhile now, and for some reason unknown to me our library doesn't carry this authors books. I first read the Jen Lancaster book Bitter is the New Black a few years ago and thought she was hilarious. She has another book called Bright Lights, Big Ass (A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?) that I've been waiting to read and have been too lazy to put on an inter-library loan list. I was at Borders on Saturday looking for a birthday present for Leah and there in the "Buy one, Get one free" bin was the Jen Lancaster book. I started reading it yesterday afternoon and reluctantly put it down before bed. I ended up finishing it shortly before 4 am.

I thought life was good and I would get a blissful 4 hours of sleep, but about that time the thunderstorm hit. We have had very few thunderstorms this year, and this one happened to wake up Emma who came to join me in the guest bed. So maybe I got a couple hours of sleep after 5 am. That's what coffee is for, right?

On a side note, Bright Lights, Big Ass had me laughing out loud more than once yesterday. I've never seen an author so eloquently slip the term "asshat" into literary prose. She also refers to Rachel Ray as Miss Titter McHighbeams and drops the "f-bomb" enough times to practically lunge at Emma and grab the book away from her as quickly as I could because she knows how to read, you know. And I wasn't up to the task of defining asshat and f*cktard to a six year old just yet. Foul language aside (if you don't like that kind of thing), the book is hilarious.

Anyway, for as many hours as I've spent wide awake this summer when I should've been sleeping I could've gotten a lot of productive things done like alphabetize our DVD's or dust the baseboards. But then I wouldn't have had time to hone my mad skillz at Bejeweled Blitz at 3 am and catch up with all the blogs I read and get those Facebook updates from people I know in foreign countries.