Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
If only I had known, I would have made arrangements to gather the kids, the popcorn bowl and the blankies in front of the TV to settle in for family movie night - but I didn't know and we missed out. Next time I'm making better plans.
If only I had known that a quiet moment relaxing at the kitchen table with my parents and the HotY would lead to a very uncomfortable moment with my mother I would have made plans to be anywhere else but in the kitchen at that moment. Really, I was sitting there minding my own business perusing the Sunday ads, the HotY helping my dad with his new GPS system, when my mom, looking at her own stack of Sunday ads looks at me and says "have you tried it? Have you tried that Yours and Mine stuff?" I looked at her - I didn't say a thing I just looked at her with that I can't believe you are asking me this question you're my mom look on my face. And yet, she persisted, (I mean really I thought I was uncomfortable with the whole Sex and the City movie conversation but even that didn't prepare me for this conversation). Finally she said "you've tried it haven't you? Is it worth the $16.00?" I gave a barely perceptible shake of my head and went back to my ads trying to pretend I hadn't just given my mother the red light on Yours and Mine. SERIOUSLY!!!
So there you go - take that with you and be darn glad that you aren't having kitchen table discussions like that with your mother.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Christmas Eve started with Lauren throwing up and ended with Syd throwing up. Luckily it seemed to be a short-lived virus and both were up and feeling great on Christmas - but it did change some of our plans for the day on Christmas Eve.
When the rest of us felt great on Christmas day I assumed that all was well. I should know better than to ever make assumptions :-) Yesterday I didn't feel the greatest (I thought it may have had something to do with the Grey Goose and Cranberry cocktails I had consumed the day before when spending the day with our friends Julie and Larry and their family but I wasn't that lucky). By 3:00 I was down and out with the full-fledged flu. YUCK. So while we were supposed to be on our way to my parents for the weekend I was in bed covered up with fifteen blankets (and still cold) and the throw up bowl. FUN. But today - today everyone seems to be feeling okay and I should really be in the shower so we can get on the road - but I'm waiting to make sure I've got hot water since the HotY just got out - I HATE cold showers. And I know you people were missing me :-)
Soooo that is what I know. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Alex and the HotY come out unscathed. I know I know but I can always hope!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Although today is not a BIG day for the world it is a BIG day for our family - today is Alex's birthday. Sixteen. I have a sixteen year old. How can this be? How did this happen? Where did my baby go? I might actually have to think about growing up - but but but I'm not ready yet :-) I think I'll just ignore that part.
Happy Birthday to my baby. My first born. My child who helps me keep it all in perspective. The love of my life.
Tonight we will go out for steak (Alex's favorite meal) take a drive to look at Christmas lights, enjoy cake and ice cream and birthday present opening. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will actually be spent in our own home (a very rare occurrence) as the mom's picked weekends to hold the big events. We will leave on Friday to go to my parents. I hope the weather cooperates. Maybe that is why I haven't yet felt the Christmas love. It just all seems so anti-climatic this year. But I want to feel the love. I'm so disappointed in myself. Where is my peace and goodwill to men? Where is my holiday spirit? Where is my love of Christmas cards and cookie baking and present wrapping? Where did it go? I wish someone could tell me because I've been searching everywhere and I can't find it (Note to Wendy: chill that wine because I'm coming over).
Alright I'm done spreading Christmas cheer :-) But I do have a question for you (although I don't know why I ask since lurkers seem to be reluctant to post but I know I can count on the regulars :-)). Anyway, do you like this kind of blogging, the just open my heart and throw it on the table kind of thing that seems to be popping up lately or do you prefer I skip the touchy feely and go back to talking about Walmart and bad drivers and the weather? I asked my friend Amy and she kindly said "I love the way you write so I don't care what you write about". Now is that a good friend or what - but I need more objective opinions. So there you go bring it on but be nice because I'm already weepy today as it is.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Blogger has a mind of it's own when it comes to posting pictures and today I'm too impatient to move them around so you get what you get in no particular order :-)
Syd and her "potential" groom. This was the highlight of the Christmas
program for her and she has asked no less than 25 times for me to print this
picture out for her so she can look at him whenever she is feeling lonely (her
words). This really is not a good sign is it??? And look at the adoration on her face? Oh boy!
Lauren just being sweet Lauren.
it ever since it came home from the store. As for the sunglasses and solemn face
- who knows - it's Syd I don't ask questions.
Hey look, it's a Christmas Tree - our tree. Our ARTIFICIAL tree which will be
replaced with a real tree next year (we went to the fake tree the year the girls
were born - it is time to get back to nature I would have done it this year -
but well - I need a new vacuum).
Lauren and her buddy Mickey. Seriously, I don't ask about their prop choices or
even their insistence that certain moments be preserved for eternity. I guess
they have their reasons.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
About A Cow: The Christmas program is, of course, a re-enactment of the manger scene. Lauren is a cow and felt very strongly that her afternoon outfit should reflect her role. Luckily, for me, I had the perfect dress (still in the Gymboree bag - I believe the HotY had visions of returns) a black and white hounds tooth. Lauren was thrilled with the choice and couldn't wait to see herself in all her cow glory. Upon viewing herself in the mirror she very disappointingly said "MOM, I don't look like a cow, I just look like a little girl". Someday she may have one of those days when she feels like a cow and she isn't going to like it - but for now the cow look - it's a good thing.
About A Sheep: So if Lauren is a cow it is only fair to assume Sydney is a Sheep. Personally I feel she may have been cast wrong as I think of sheep as quiet, docile animals - this is not the most fitting description of Syd :-) Anyway, she is a sheep and felt that she should be wearing something "curly" I was a little perplexed she then informed me that everyone knows sheep have curly hair. Who am I to even try to know more than a five year old??? I was able to get her to settle on the other Gymboree bag offering of a sweater with a fur collar with a dog applique which could only be a sheep dog of course! Perfection.
About A Song: About 2 months ago the school "lost" their music teacher due to maternity leave and a substitute has been filling in since that time. Recently the girls informed me that they did not like their new teacher as she only knows ONE SONG (of course this is their program song which they have been practicing over and over). I assured them there would be more variety coming soon :-)
So there you go - three points - all covered - no tangents, no rambling, no deterrents - just a succinct post. Savor the moment :-)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
...Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager...
I know it is unlike me to quote bible verses but it is THE SEASON and I'm trying.
So, last night, although they were supposed to be in bed, I could hear the girls pitter pattering around above my head. This is not unusual so I ignored it knowing that eventually they would settle down and fall asleep (really, you can't believe some of the things I find when I go up to bed - let's just say that they are creative...). But last night instead of quieting down they came bounding down the stairs proudly bearing this gift, their creation of Baby Jesus in the manager.
I was speechless. Seriously. They are beginning to understand what Christmas is all about and their creativity continues to amaze me. Baby Jesus in the manager is actually a bear (I know I know that was obvious) lying in a shoe box, lined with a dance costume (tutu artfully arranged). I can't help but smile when I look at their re-enactment of the Christmas Story - even if they were supposed to be sleeping instead of playing...
...Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy...
Monday, December 15, 2008
or Welcome Back Amy!!!
But really, first let's get right to the weather. It's cold. Like 32 degrees below zero cold. Do you have any idea how cold that is? VERY cold. It's an I wore my coat and mittens and even considered hunting out my boots and scarf cold but I didn't want to get carried away :-) Besides if I had spent time doing that I would have been late for work.
Today is the HotY's birthday. He is 37. THIRTY-SEVEN!!! Come on, just turn 40 already - shesh :-) Oh and don't even bother with the cradle robber, he's a baby, comments. I KNOW! AND I did not rob the cradle - he was the pursuer, I tried to discourage him many, many times. I even picked out age-appropriate girls for him during our first date (seriously - just ask him)and yet he persevered. It's a good thing :-) Happy Birthday Dennis. I love you.
And then there is Amy, Amy who just got back from Mexico yesterday - at least I'm assuming she got back and isn't weather delayed somewhere. I got a text from her on Friday - she was lounging by the pool while sipping a fruity cocktail. She won't be doing any pool lounging today - maybe some fruity cocktail sucking - but definitely not any pool lounging.!! Welcome back to reality! It was also Amy's birthday last week - but she was in Mexico - lounging by the pool so it didn't make any sense to wish her Happy Birthday while she was gone but now she's back sooooooooo HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY!!!
That's it. You've been filled in on the weather and the social scene with a little bit of history :-) Sometimes I'm amazed at all the titillating news I have to share :-)
TTFN, keep warm, wear your coat and find your mittens...
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So thinking about favorite movies have you ever noticed that a movie is just not as good on DVD as it is when you catch something by chance when it is on TV? And I'm the same way about music. I can listen to my favorites all I want on my iPod but it just isn't the same as turning on the radio and hearing a good song. I think it has something to do with unexpected surprises or something like that or maybe I'm just quirky :-) Oh and speaking of good songs I really like this one Let it Rock but I'm not sure I will put it on my iPod - something about it makes me want to dance - I'd hate to break out my moves any old place :-)
Okay I think my time wasting has come to an end but I'll be here - so you know drop me a note if you are so inclined - I love that sweet little email ping :-)
Friday, December 12, 2008
Moon Moon Moon my night light
Moon Moon Moon I can see
Moon Moon Moon you're taking care of me...
Were you fortunate enough to see the moon this morning? It was amazing. Seriously. As I was driving into work the moon was huge, a full white ball hanging in the inky dark blue sky. It was truly a wondrous site.
Actually I've seen two fabulous moons in the past month. The other was when Jupiter and Venus were aligned and showing themselves to the world, both shining next to the moon, aesthetically perfect. I was on my way home from somewhere (yes, I'm sure it was shopping) and the sky was a perfect, clear, black velvet with just a crescent moon - Jupiter and Venus shining beside - it looked like a fairytale. And the funny thing is the next night there was an article in the paper about the moon and the planet alignment and how the moon, Jupiter, Venus line-up is a rare occurrence along with a picture of the fabulous moon I saw just the night before (really do you think I just knew that Venus/Jupiter alignment thing?). The only problem with the fairytale moon, WalMart was looming in the distance. Need I say more...
TTFN, take time to look at the moon tonight - it's a beautiful miracle...
Oh and the words above - they aren't mine - they are Laurie Berkner's - I like that girl.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The sad thing is I am saying this during Christmas - I love Christmas - but lately I have been so so so - short - with everyone and not so loving Christmas. All I want to do is run away. Too many shoppers in the mall - get me out of here. Too much fighting between my kids - Calgon take me away. Too many worries about work - is it time to go home yet? I just want to avoid everything. I'm not the only one - there are others - right? Man I hope so otherwise I am going to feel like a really crummy person.
So although not exactly an efficient coping mechanism it is where I am at right now. It isn't exactly the spirit and the meaning of the season :-( but I haven't given up hope that I'll come around. I mean maybe all I need is a trip to look at Christmas lights, or a holiday concert, or a present wrapping extravaganza, or a visit with my friend Wendy - she's always good for my soul. That might just do the trick. If not maybe I'll plan a little get away for myself after the first of the year. I'm pretty sure my family could manage for a week (but I do feel selfish for saying that) I'll have to give it some more thought. In the meantime I'll try to keep the fight or flight vibes at bay.
Oh and while we are talking about it (fine, I'm talking - you're listening) did you know there are a TON of songs that are titled Runaway? Really, there's this Runaway, and this Runaway, and this Runaway, and my favorite Runaway. Man with all these songs about running away I MUST not be the only one who feels this way now and then - so at least I've got that going for me :-).
TTFN... If you don't hear from me in a while - well I've run away - but it will just be a short trip.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
So in the interest of providing content while fulfilling my desire to be one of those mom's who talks about her children to the exasperation of others I have an update on Syd's continuing love story with her 6th grade buddy. She seems to have moved past sleep-overs, play dates and I love you's and has moved right onto much more serious business - such as marriage. Recently on our trip home from school (this is where I get all my good info as the girls are especially chatty after school) Syd piped up and said "mom, mom guess what? When I saw Wyatt today - I told him that I was going to marry him" I said "really and what did Wyatt say?" Syd's proud reply "he smiled at me". Which in Syd's world could mean nothing less than an I Do. For my very own sweet Juliet, this is all the encourgement she neeeds. And lest anyone doubt her sincerity or persistence, while cuddling with me the other night she snuggled up very close and whispered "mom, I really am going to marry Wyatt someday". I pulled her even closer, kissed the top of her head and whispered back "Syd, if that is what you want when you grow up, I hope all of your dreams come true" She smiled. That is all the encouragement I need...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Down Syndrome is a genetic defect. What this means is that it just happens. It does not have anything to do with what a person may or may not have done while pregnant. Down Syndrome occurs while the chromosomes are dividing and instead of duplicating the 21st chromosome triplicates thus the name Trisomy 21. This happens approximately 2 hours after conception. There are three types of Down Syndrome but Trisomy 21 is the most common - again it simply happens. There is nothing wrong with the father or mother's chromosomes - it is a fluke - a sticky gene. After Alex's birth we underwent extensive genetic studies and what they found was - it just happened - it was a fluke. There was nothing in either of our genetics that would have made me more pre-disposed to have a baby with Down Syndrome - again, it just happened. They told us to go out and have a dozen more kids and it would probably never happen again (two more was enough for me :-))
I was not an "advanced age mother" in fact I was under 30 (I bet you thought I was going to screw up and reveal my age didn't you - NOPE). More babies with Down Syndrome are born to mother's under 30 but that is because the number of women having babies in that age range is greater than those having babies over 30. BUT, statistically, the older a woman is the more likely she is to have a baby with Down Syndrome. 40 is really the big turning point. It has something to do with aging eggs and all that hormonal stuff (although there is one theory that as we get older our bodies ability to recognize a problem and miscarry becomes less accurate).
As for the 21st chromosome - although it is not a life threatening chromosome the 21st chromosome controls develoment - all types of development from how smart a person is to how tall they will be to how big their ears or eyes or feet or head may be. So when the 21st chromosome is triplicated it alters the development of the person - all development - and as with all members of the human race there are varying degrees of impairment. Alex's degree of mental impairment is mild to moderate depending on the task. His self-help skills are close to age appropriate but his speech delivery is low. His other skill areas are somewhere in-between. They call this scatter skills since he is sort of all over the place - this is very common in Down Syndrome.
So there you go. All you wanted to know about Down Syndrome and more :-) And I don't mind the questions. It doesn't offend me at all so if there is anything else you may want to know bring it on.
Monday, December 1, 2008
It is so hard to believe that almost sixteen years have passed since the day he was born. A day I will never forget - December 23rd. It was snowing, it was cold, we stopped at ShopKo to get film for the camera (yes, I said FILM), and we were late (I know - you are surprised). I was having a scheduled c-section. The HotY dropped me off at the check-in entrance, I got taken to the general ward area and waited and waited and waited for someone, anyone, to tell me what to do - no one showed up - well finally the HotY but he didn't know what I was supposed to do either. FINALLY a nurse poked her head in the door and was surprised to see me - no one had told them I was there and WAITING. After that things moved along.
At first I was a little worried about my parents driving in the snow so that distracted me for awhile but they finally showed up and I didn't have that to worry about so had to concentrate on what was going on - and I got scared - very scared. The shakes set in. They kept putting blankets on me but still I kept shaking. I'm not good at that anticipation thing. Once I got in the operating room I was just fine - but that waiting - it was bad for me.
Alex was born at 9:25 a.m. and was a beautiful baby boy. I quickly sent Dennis on his way to make phone calls. I remember thinking what a relief it was to know my baby was okay. But as I was lying there looking at him and thinking he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen I looked at my nurse and said - "if he had Down Syndrome I'd be able to tell by looking at him - right?" she just looked at me and said "the neonatologist is going to come and talk to you when you get back t0 the recovery area". Right then and there I knew and I hated that nurse (even though she was very nice) and the neonatologist too. I found out later that day (from a friend who is also an OB nurse) that I really freaked the OR nurse out and she wondered if I had known Alex might have Down Syndrome. But I didn't - not technically anyway.
The funny thing is I knew next to nothing about Down Syndrome (well except what I knew from that show Life Goes On) but for some reason in the middle of my pregnancy I felt like something wasn't right. I have no idea why, I had never had a baby before so it wasn't like I had anything to use as a comparison. I would go to bed at night, look at the HotY and say "what if this baby has Down Syndrome" and he would just look at me, shake his head and say something about worrying too much. I told my OB about my "gut" feeling and he assured me all was fine but he still did an extra ultrasound just to ease my mind - and yet, it didn't ease my mind, it just kept nagging at me (it was that darn Super Special ESP) but there wasn't much I could do but wait and worry. Not that the worrying thing did much good but still it's what I do :-(
So my worst fear came true, but the world didn't end. To tell you the truth I didn't even cry. I had my baby. He was beautiful and perfect to me. There is nothing that could have taken that away. The neonatologist finally came and talked to me and I listened but I didn't really hear him I was too busy not liking him and thinking how foolish he was going to feel when he found out he had made a wrong diagnosis (a positive diagnosis of Down Syndrome could not be made until they grew the chromosomes) of course he wasn't wrong but at the time I thought he might be. So after a very full morning I was finally wheeled to a private room to get to know my baby. I remember how wonderful the nurses were, not letting anyone in to visit without getting our approval first, and taking such good care of us although one of them wasn't too happy when I called for Alex from the nursery at 3:00 a.m. but hey I wanted my baby. Things weren't perfect but I was happy and I could deal with this - I was doing okay. And then Christmas Eve arrived and there were Christmas carols in the corridor and it was very quiet and calm. They had come for Alex so they could perform some tests on his heart and shortly after my nurse came and told me that they were worried about his heart and would be taking my baby by ambulance to St. Mary's - a hospital equipped for critical care babies. They introduced me to the nurse who would be traveling with him and then they told me their plans for transporting the HotY and I to the other hospital and that is when it all came crashing down for me. I had hit my limit. I started crying and I couldn't stop and as they tried to get me to calm down and help me out of bed and into my bathrobe I decided I wasn't going to the other hospital. The HotY could do whatever he wanted to do, but me, I was not going. At that point in time I couldn't imagine any other outcome than the death of my baby and I was not going to go and watch that happen or listen to another doctor give me more bad news. I wasn't going to do it. Seriously. Finally they went and got the nurse who I knew and she talked to me and called my parents and finally between the group they convinced me to go to the other hospital, but believe me it wasn't an easy task and just to let them all know how unhappy I was about all of this I wasn't having any of their help. The nurses were a little freaked out as I was moving around and walking like I was on an energetic hike and not like someone who had just had surgery (at the other hospital no one could believe I had just had a c-section 24 hours before - but if you have ever seen me on a mission this should not be a surprise).
So, we arrived and Alex was in the NICU and we were "lucky" enough to meet several doctors who each gave differing opinions (two stand-outs being the one who insisted that surgery was 100% guaranteed and the other who showed up on Christmas morning wearing the roller blades he had received from Santa) and then we met the head of pediatric cardiology and I knew we had our man. He was fabulous. He explained everything and he didn't make any dire predictions. And guess what - that other doctor, Dr. 100% surgery guaranteed, he was WRONG! Alex did not require surgery. His aorta healed itself. Dr. Feldt, who followed Alex for the first five years of his life said it was one of the most amazing cases he had ever seen and if he had not done the scans himself he would have thought a wrong diagnosis had been made. Alex has had a strong healthy heart ever since (man I hate writing stuff like that - it makes me worry that I may be tempting fate or something). It has truly been an amazing and miraculous blessing.
So there you go - the longest 7 days of my life. I know you didn't ask but really I don't know that I've ever told anyone the entire story before and I felt it was time. KWIM? And you know what - shortly after Alex was born I remember driving somewhere in the car with Alex in the back seat in his car seat and I glanced back and saw him cooing and looking all cute baby and I thought "I can't believe I could have been so sad about all of this because there is nothing that makes me happier than this baby" and I have felt that way every day since.
I'll wait another six months before I even get into the birth story for the girls' because if you think that was drama-free you must not know me (my motto for life is "I try not to be high maintenance but it happens anyway") :-)