Thursday, August 28, 2008

NieNie Day

Some of you may be familiar with NieNie, aka Stephanie, the charming mother of four down in Arizona who has an equally charming blog that bursts with love and cuteness. Recently she and her husband were in a terrible plane crash and are looking at months of recovery. Design Mom put together a blogosphere wide effort to raise money for Stephanie & her husband's recovery. There are about a bazillion online auctions going on today all over the Internet. You can find more information and links to all the different auctions at Design Mom. I want to point you specifically to my friend Katie's blog - she is auctioning off some fabulous items, including two Shabby Apple dresses! So go spend some money, it is for a very worthy cause.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Much Better

Thanks for all the sympathy. I really appreciate it. I guess it's true that it's always darkest before dawn, metaphorically that is. Because I've been awake right before dawn, and it's not very dark.

Anyway. Ace is doing a lot better. He spent the past two nights in his crib. I'm getting him back on a daytime nap schedule. And we are all starting to feel more human. Thank goodness.

Yesterday he took his morning nap very sweetly, no crying. At his early afternoon nap, he cried for 45 minutes, then slept for an hour and a half. At his late afternoon nap, he cried for two minutes and slept for an hour. At night he cried for half an hour before dropping off to sleep for a solid four hours before his first night nurse.

This means I am about ten times happier.

So now I'm quite bored with whining talking about Ace and his sleeping habits. And I bet you are too.

I already admitted to the Internet that I covet my neighbor's stroller. Obviously, the only way to cease that dreadful sinning was to get one of my own. I ordered it off Amazon and it shipped yesterday!! I am so stoked. Also, I decided to check the price of the Roulpat, and found to my delight that it was on clearance! So that will soon be at use in my kitchen.

Though I see that the Roulpat is now on even lower clearance. Blast. If you are in the market for a silicone roll mat, now is certainly the time to get it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not Good

Ace has been sleeping incredibly poorly since returning home from the hospital. Last Tuesday night was the worst - I got about three hours of (interrupted) sleep. Wednesday morning I took him to his followup with his pediatrician and mentioned the sleep issues. The doctor cheerfully informed me that the steroids they gave him in the hospital cause hyperactivity for 7-10 days and that combined with the stress of the hospital visit means he won't be sleeping much. I think I just sat there with my mouth open for a minute.

I started crying in the parking lot, and called Dh. "The doctor just told me the worst news ever," I said, choking on tears (please remember how much sleep I'd had). Dh felt a momentary panic - did Ace have cancer or something? No, it was just me being melodramatic. But I was freaking out. I knew I cannot function on three hours a night. Dh talked me back from the ledge - he told me to forget about cooking, forget about cleaning, to just focus on getting through this time. I took several deep breaths and calmed down.

Since then, each night has been a little better than the one before. I've been doing whatever it took to get Ace to sleep - letting him sleep in the swing, in bed with me, anything. Saturday night he woke and nursed three times, but spent the night in his crib! I was so excited - perhaps the end was in sight? Perhaps we could get going on sleep training again?

No. Last night was awful. Ace went to bed like a dream, so I congratulated myself - much too early. He woke half an hour later. I decided, Tough, kid, I know there's absolutely nothing wrong with you. So I tried to let him cry it out. An hour and fifteen minutes later, I gave up. I nursed him to sleep, then let him get nice and zonked out on my bed, then carried him to his own crib. That was about 10:30. He woke at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 4:45, and 6:15. Between his 2:30 and 4:45 wakings, I lay in bed awake, unable to sleep (curse you, insomnia!!!). At that last waking, I gave up and brought him into bed with me. He got what he wanted. He snuggled right in and slept for three hours, nursing briefly at 8. I was so tired I was able to sleep with him right against me (normally I can't - he's noisy and he wiggles). Lucky for me Miss E didn't mind playing in her crib for an extra hour.

Now while Ace was in the hospital, he hardly nursed. My milk level went way down. So at first I was kind of glad he was waking so much, to nurse around the clock every two hours, so that my milk would come back. But as of yesterday, my milk level is finally back to normal. And I KNOW he's not hungry. He just wants to nurse. All the freaking time. I mean, half an hour after bedtime? Give me a break. I feel like I'm going crazy. I've been constantly on the verge of tears all day just from sheer exhaustion. I've got five loads of dirty laundry waiting to be done. Dh's parents are coming this weekend, but my house is trashed. And Ace is still resisting all naps. This really, really sucks.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
It feels like every time I turn around, I find another historical fiction novel with an annoyingly precocious heroine, who anachronistically insists on having some sort of recognizable-to-modern-readers version of a career, on being "more" than a wife and mother. Medieval feminists? I'm so sure. Contrary to popular opinion, the millennia preceding feminism were much more complicated than: Start your period, get married, make babies.

Thankfully, this masterful book takes no such patronizing views of the past. I read most of Antonia Fraser's The Six Wives of Henry VIII as a young teenager (made it all the way to Katherine Howard), so I've long been interested in this time period. I have to admit I didn't expect much from this novel when I began, because I distrust anything with fake gilt on the cover.

Gregory does a fantastic job evoking the attitudes and mores of the Tudor court. I loved the main character/narrator, she was a woman I could really root for. And so it felt almost like a slap when she mentioned in passing: Having the poor around is very economical, like keeping a pig (paraphrase). WHAT? That's not something the heroines of lesser historical fiction would ever say - they're all too busy preaching 20th-century ideas of equality to the piggish men around them! Gregory, though, is really trying to reflect Tudor England as it was, not as we wish it had been. For that, she won my eternal love.

This book is long (660 pages in the paperback edition). It's going to take you a while to finish. But if you like learning about different cultures and times, and you like a great story, you really ought to read this book!

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Meme Instead of Whining

Thanks for tagging me, Britt! This meme is sure to be much more interesting and positive than the post I would write right now - on three hours of crappy, interrupted sleep - about how my baby is making me crazy.

Eight Things: A Meme

8 things I am passionate about:

  • Family
  • Religion
  • Possession of the remote control
  • Staying home with my kids
  • How 80's fashion should not have come back
  • Good books
  • Good sex
  • Good food

8 books I’ve read and enjoyed:

  • The Poisonwood Bible
  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Book Thief
  • In Defense of Food
  • 1984
  • The Twilight series
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • Lost in a Good Book

8 words/phrases that I say often:

  • “Dude!”
  • “Whatever.”
  • “It's/He's/She's/They're making me crazy!”
  • “Sucka!"
  • “Pish posh!”
  • “Blast!”
  • “Do you concur?”
  • “It's possible, pig.”

8 things I want to do before I die:

  • Earn a black belt
  • Become fluent in another language
  • Earn a graduate degree
  • Visit other continents
  • Think of others more often than I think of myself
  • Finish all the needlecraft projects I have laying around my house
  • Serve a senior mission for my church
  • Write a novel

8 things I’ve learned in my life:

  • People are usually just shy and/or insecure, not snobby
  • Possession of the remote control is really important
  • Exercising my mind each day keeps me happy
  • Everyone really is so different that there's precious little use in judging
  • Don't try to change other people, just myself
  • Take time to nurture my friendships
  • ...And my marriage
  • Keeping the long term in mind helps me cherish the here and now

8 places I want to see:

  • The Rose Window in Notre Dame
  • Iguazu Falls in Brazil
  • The English Countryside
  • Alaska
  • Venice
  • The Pyramids of Giza/the Sphinx
  • China
  • India

8 things I currently want/need:

  • A RoulPat
  • New flooring throughout my entire house
  • The yarn and time to knit everything in my newest book
  • Some jeans that don't give me muffin top
  • A good pair of flats to wear everyday
  • A hair cut
  • A double stroller
  • More sleep

8 people I want to tag:

(if you want to)


Monday, August 18, 2008

Ace Sure Knows How to Celebrate!

Today is Ace's 4-month birthday. We just got home from a two-night stay at the hospital.

Should I start from the beginning?

Saturday morning, we found Ace had completely lost his voice. I thought he was just a bit hoarse as we had recently started sleep training, so he'd been doing some crying at night. But this was pretty bad. He sounded awful. He was acting pretty normally - smiling and rolling around on the carpet - but the sound of him trying to cry was horrible, so I tossed the sleep training. I figured a day or two and he'd be right as rain. While on the phone with my mother in the early evening, I held the phone to his face so she could hear him. She asked, "Is he breathing through his mouth?" "No, through his nose, his mouth is closed," I responded. Unfortunately for all of us, I failed to ponder the ramifications of that fact. Obviously (in retrospect), this wasn't a matter of sore vocal chords.

Dh got home from a motorcycle ride in time to watch the Olympics that night. After we watched Phelps win his (totally amazing) 8th gold medal, we decided Ace's breathing was quite bad. He had also started a cough that sounded like a barking seal (which we did not know the significance of). We called our HMO's advice nurse. When she heard Ace's breathing, she said we needed to take him to the ER immediately or call 911. That's when I sort of freaked out.

Off I went to the ER with Ace. Our country's anthem was playing and Phelps was on the medals stand on the tv when I hurried into the ER with my wheezing baby (it was about 11 pm). The nurse at the counter "heard him coming," - he was that loud - and took us straight back into a room (with a door!) and within a few minutes a respiratory technician was checking Ace out. The doctor was not far behind. Ace had croup. They were all surprised - apparently croup season doesn't start until late September here - but once they found out Miss E was just getting over a cold, the mystery was cleared up. Ace got a nebulizer treatment and some steroids in apple juice. I told him his big sister had to wait until she was about 18 months old to ever have juice, so he was quite "lucky."

Around 1 am, the doctor told me she wanted Ace to stay overnight for observation and more nebulizer treatments. The first treatment had helped a bit, but Ace was still breathing laboriously. We got into a room in Pediatrics around 3 am. We were both wasted by this point. Ace had got maybe fifteen minutes total sleep since 11 pm. He was so tired he fell asleep sitting up on my lap. I wrapped him up and laid him in the crib and tried to pay attention while a nurse told me about the room and their procedures for what felt like an eternity (but was probably only twenty minutes). I curled up on the bed and crashed.

For an hour, until someone came in to check on the baby. Poor Ace was so tired he didn't even wake. The rest of the night is a blur - I woke up at one point to find a different doctor checking on Ace. Someone hooked up a cold humidifier to blow onto Ace's face. I slept through a call from my husband at 7 am. I woke up to Ace moving around, fussing to be fed, around 8 am. Dh called shortly thereafter. I really wanted him to be there with me, as I was still pretty stressed (not to mention still exhausted), but what to do with Miss E? I remembered that EdgyK was just barely back from her vacation and was going to church in an hour. "Ask EdgyK to take her to church with them!" I told Dh. (Thank goodness she was back! This is when family nearby would have come in super handy. Note to self: start pressuring favorite relatives to move to Oregon.)

Dh was able to pawn our oldest off on EdgyK and joined me at the hospital. We slept when the baby slept. Ace was like a newborn - he'd wake up and nurse, then fuss very soon thereafter to go to sleep. We'd swaddle him and rock him, and he'd sleep for an hour and a half. We repeated this every two hours all day. He had a few more nebulizer treatments. By 2 pm, they decided to hold off on any more treatments to see if he continued to improve on his own. And they wanted Ace to stay a second night. I realized I was going to need a few more things from home. Dh left around 3:30 to pick up Miss E from EdgyK's (where she had happily played through her nap). He brought her to the hospital briefly so I could see her, and brought the things I needed. They left around 5:30. I tended to Ace and while he slept, I read The Other Boleyn Girl until the light from the window gave out around 8:30. In bored desperation, I downloaded a game to my cell phone. That entertained me for an hour until I could sleep.

Sleep was again erratic and interrupted, but oh well. It's a hospital. I woke at 8 am to see Ace's regular pediatrician listening to his breathing with a stethoscope. He said he wanted Ace to get one more dose of steroids and we were good to check out around noon. We're to go for a follow-up appointment on Wednesday.

So now we are back home, and so glad to be here. Ace celebrated being home by taking a nice 2.5-hour nap and I celebrated by taking a shower! Ace is smiling and laughing, despite the continued barking seal cough. His doctor said that may last for a week. He is breathing easily now, thank goodness. He is four months old today and weighs 17 lbs 10 oz. I love my big boy so much and am so glad he is doing better!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In Which I Covet My Neighbor's Stroller

EdgyK is on vacation for a while. This means I am totally bored. Because let's be honest, I only have one friend. Lol

Anyway, she lent me her double jogging stroller and I love it. I've been using it tons. Monday I walked for an hour, Tuesday twenty-five minutes, today just shy of an hour. As long as the sun's not in his eyes, Ace just chills, sucking on his binky. Miss E alternates between chilling next to her little brother, reaching out to touch the local flora, and protesting if I dare to direct the stroller back towards our house. "I don't wanna go home! Wanna go walk!" Of course her wish is my command.

A couple of Christmases ago, my dad gave me an mp3 player already conveniently loaded with a lecture series on Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. (I come by my geekiness honestly, people.) I got a third through in early 2007 and then stalled. But I have discovered it's the perfect thing to listen to while walking around my town. Today I learned that astronauts aren't actually weightless in space, they are in constant freefall. It was so interesting! I really should have taken physics in college.

Anyway the point is, I am going to have such a hot little body that when EdgyK comes back, she is not even going to recognize me! So maybe I can pretend to be new in the neighborhood and thus hold onto this stroller a little longer.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Breaking Dawn

I pre-ordered Breaking Dawn from Am@zon. Apparently when you go for super-duper free shipping or whatever it's called, it means you have to wait until MONDAY to get your vampire love book. So I got it Monday, and I just finished it and I am happy. And can finally start getting some sleep again.*

Dh has been gone since Monday morning on a rafting trip for the teen boys in our church congregation. No cell phone reception in the back of beyond where they're at, so with no contact I find myself really missing him and his voice.

Which reminds me. Dh made a casual reference to something I said on this blog recently. As soon as I caught the reference, I frantically started a mental scroll through my recent posts to make sure I hadn't said anything too rude about him. I remembered the post in which I ranted about his slobbiness, but he was smiling, so I guess it didn't bug him. I had just assumed he didn't read this thing.

I had this terrifying dream last night that my m-i-l invited someone to live in MY house. And then my m-i-l morphed into my own mother, and seemed to also be living in my house. It was such a nightmare. I am firmly in the "Houseguests stink after three days" camp.

Ace has been waking up anywhere from 2-4 times a night. Twice, I can deal with. Three, meh. Four? H NO. I am too grouchy without decent sleep, so for his own sake he should really cut that out. I have these memories of Miss E sleeping like a dream, so I looked back in my journal** this evening - turns out I have major rose-colored glasses when I look into my past. She was getting up 2-4 times a night at this age too, and taking 1-hour naps during the day just as Ace is now. So I am just trying to chill and ride this out.

*Fantasy just doesn't work when you're being constantly interrupted by your little ones, so I read BD during naptime and after the kids were in bed. Which meant late nights.

**Yeah, I keep a journal and a blog. I can't really explain it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

You Are Megara!
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Charming and witty. You are always the first person to come up with a wisecrack. Sure, you have an attitude, but that's why people love you. You keep them on their toes. Sometimes you can be misleading, but always end up doing the right thing for the people you love.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Ace blows bubbles like you wouldn't believe. Also drools profusely. We go through a lot of bibs now.

Our little thumb-sucker.

Miss E smiles sweetly before church.