Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A New Mattress

Charlotte has had a rash for a little over 6 weeks now. Lest you think I'm a neglectful mother, I have now visited the doctor (which she actually sees a family nurse practitioner) a total of three times about this very problem. When the rash first started it wasn't that big a deal. She thought it was probably just dry skin. So I started slathering on lotion. Then I tried Aquaphor. That didn't work and the rash got worse spreading across her whole stomach and chest.

On the second visit to the office her FNP thought it was probably a skin sensitivity to something. She gave us an Rx to help with the itching and hydrocortizone cream to use sparingly and told us to put Vaseline on the effected area at least twice a day. I went home, bought new expensive laundry detergent, new hypoallergenic soap, washed everything that touches her body and started the regimen of medicines that the doctor gave us. After a week of this I realized it wasn't working because the rash spread from her front to her back up her neck, down her arms, and to the palms of her hands. Also, it got really red. And she got mad at me every time I tried to get her to stop itching it.

So enough is enough right? Yesterday I went back into the office and saw not only her FNP, but also the pediatrician on staff there. My mind had been going crazy for a few days about what could possibly be causing this. Is there a virus? Is she going to be allergic to something that she will never be able to eat/touch/breathe again? Does she have some other immunity issue? Never, did I envision what they told me she could possibly have.



So after that diagnosis and 2 new Rx, I called my OB and got the Rx for myself and my husband (it's very contagious in families). I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon being freaked out and educated about this. Side note: For the mommies of any of Charlotte's little friends, it's spread through prolonged skin to skin contact ie. cuddling and snuggling. I don't really think anyone else has a serious threat of getting this stuff.

Now I have to spend the next two days bagging up materials that Charlotte has cuddled with and putting them in the basement. Rolling up the rugs and putting them away, vacuuming all other carpet, and washing, washing, washing all the clothing, linens, and bedding in our home. It only takes 10 mites to have this start all over again so you can imagine how meticulous I'm being about this. I don't want to have to do this again with a 2 year old and a newborn.

On the plus side, at least I'll have my house cleaned and ready for the baby to come. And also, we're throwing away the mattresses we got with Charlotte's bed and getting new ones. I'm almost positive that's where the mites came from. This seems to be the kick in the butt I needed to get things organized. It's easy to organize when everything you have needs to be removed and cleaned anyway.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wait, when did that happen?

I took a vacation day Thursday. Well, actually I took a day off from being Mommy and went and worked. Well, actually I went in to Dan's school and spent the day being a standardized patient for 3rd year med students to practice on. So I spent the day pretending to have some complications in my pregnancy. And I got paid for it! It was actually quite an enjoyable and eye opening day. I would do it again in a heartbeat if the next time they were doing it weren't in 6 weeks and by that point I hope to no longer be pregnant.

Which brings me to the point, sort of, first let me say that as a standardized patient I was supposed to be measuring 4 weeks bigger than my diagnosed due date. I don't know why, but saying this over and over again all day made me realize that this baby boy is really going to be out soon! I think it must be that if I were actually four weeks ahead of what I thought, my baby could be born and not really considered early in any way. Which makes me realize that I have a boat load of things that I wanted to "get done before the baby comes" that really wont be getting done.

Oh well, I've become accustomed to shifting my expectations of myself in the past two years. Other words that have been redefined for me: goal, success, productivity. I've come to realize that so long as my children (can you believe that I put down the plural form there?) are healthy, fed, clean, and happy I'm doing good. I feel productive when I am teaching my daughter something. The time I get to work on my projects no longer spans a whole afternoon. I get small increments of time here and there, but that doesn't mean I'm not getting things done. My goals are a lot less visible, not only to others, but also to myself. Which makes counting successes much, much more difficult.

Secondly, and only related in the fact that it has to do with my experience this past week, I have found out how difficult it can be to take a history of a patient, listen to their problems, and analyze the situation. Being the patient I knew all the questions the student doctors were supposed to be asking and what they were supposed to be looking for and how they were supposed to be doing it and I realized that it's not really all that clear looking at the situation from their end of the map. I ended up wishing that I could have guided them. Or at the very least, acted as though I would act on presenting myself in the ER. My mouth would be going a mile a minute telling the doctor anything and everything I could think of. As a standardized patient I had to only give responses to questions they would ask. And I realized that sometimes, even though they wrote down my answers, they didn't actually listen to them. They would end up asking me the same question three or four times. If I had a doctor that did that in the ER I would be nervous, very nervous. Unfortunately, the way the system is set up now I couldn't really give them what I would appreciate as meaningful feedback. I just hope that through repetition they get more comfortable with what will be expected of them when they are residents.

Friday, March 27, 2009

And Now You're Two

Yes, Wednesday was Charlotte's second birthday. An event which I decided to celebrate by inviting the families of all her little friends over for a small party last Saturday. Because it was so close to my birthday I figured I deserved to have some adults added into the mix. It was pretty fun. I took photos, and videos and all that and have yet to get the motivation to download them to the computer. Then we had our traditional birthday breakfast on her birthday complete with pancake cake and family gifts. After she opened her presents she said, "cake? friends over?" She now thinks that she gets cake and a party just about every day.

Oddly enough one of her favorite presents was a Disney ruler with kitties on it. She carries it around with her and often puts it into the duffel bag that her grandparents gave her along with her baby doll and dog. Apparently the duffel bag is now some sort of crib. I told my mom, the one that gave her the ruler, about the odd attachment and she said, "I knew it! You always loved rulers." To which I think, rulers? really? Very, very strange.

Another discovery she has made is the satisfying sound and feeling of placing a completely in tact goldfish cracker on the ground and then carefully crunching it under her foot. Sometimes in reckless abandon, other times slowly and carefully. I think the real thrill she must feel comes from the liquid that starts to come out of her mothers ears when, upon hearing yet another goldfish smashed into the ground, she gets so mad her brain melts out of her head. That's what I think anyway.

My favorite phrases she has started to say are, "Oh my dosh!" and "Darn it!" because not only does she pronounce them so funny, but she also knows the appropriate times in which to say them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

They're Ba-ack

There are so many things I want to write about right now that I'm having a hard time keeping up. Mostly they're the "I don't want to forget this" type things so probably I should put priority on writing them down, but today I have a more pressing issue.


When we bought our house and moved in last late spring a bird had built her nest in the beautiful stained glass porch light fixture. Since it was pretty late in the season when we realized why the light was so dark we didn't touch it, but waited for her little birds to hatch. Turns out we were too late on the up take and either all the viable eggs had already hatched or we cooked all her eggs. We couldn't tell when we finally got up there and cleaned all that nasty out. (And when I say "we" I really mean Dan, because eww.)

A few days ago I noticed that the fixture was hanging crooked and thought the wind must have blown it funky. Then this morning I found the culprit. The birds are back. Mommy and Daddy are busily building their nest and they've not been neat about it either. Also, they're really bold. I went out onto the porch and tried to yell at them to scare them away and they just stayed there looking at me like, "Whatcha gonna do 'bout it lady?"

So I'll tell you what I'm going to do about it. I'm going to huff and I'm going to puff and I'm going to pass this job off onto my husband. I hope they haven't yet laid their eggs because I really don't want to go all spring without a porch light. We care about animals, but not that much.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out

While my sister is whiling away the afternoon in her office, I'm outside working in the 75 degree weather. Yes, I'm trying to make you jealous Katie, that's what you get for going to Disney world in the middle of February. I've already told Mom all about it and she was sad too, so there! Hahahahahahahahahahahah! I filled up Charlotte's little pool this morning so that the temperature will be just above turning her lips blue when she wakes up this afternoon.

Growing up as my mom made us work in the garden it seemed every chance she got I never realized how much fun it is when you have your own garden. You mean I can do whatever I want? Oh the freedom! Well, I can't really do whatever I want because we've gotta keep an eye on the budget and also Daniel does get a say, but we are masters of our domain! Should we put in a bleeding heart next to the fence? Of course we should! Also, I didn't realize how much I know about gardening. I guess this is because I was always compairing myself to my mom who knows so very very much. I wouldn't say I'm expert, but I know enough to feel confident to start this project out. Oh this is going to be fun!

Things I've discovered today about my yard:

  • Previous owners tried their best to make a raised bed right where we want to put a kitchen garden. They filled it with gravel.
  • It's a lot easier than you would think to dig up gravel.
  • For every Home Depot bucket sized load of gravel/dirt mix I dig up we have a good 4 earthworms. This makes my little heart sing as it means our dirt is going to be good.
  • It also makes the Robbin's little heart sing. He was right out there as close as he dared get to me trying to eat every single worm he saw.
  • We have Peonies (I think) poking their little red/green shoots up next to our fence.
  • We have tulips.

That's all for now because we can't actually plant anything until we prepare the ground first. That, as it turns out, is going to take a lot of time and effort. Luckily, even at 32 weeks of pregnancy I can still use a shovel. Don't worry, I set the alarm on my cell phone to remind me to sit down in the shade and drink some water every 30 minutes. I've also reapplied sunscreen twice today. Don't you just wish you were me today?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break '09

Daniel has Spring Break this week! The last Spring Break he will have, EVER. Last year we took spring break to drive from St. Louis to Grand Junction, CO to see his Grandpa. It was a great spring break so when we decided that this year we weren't going to go anywhere for vacation I was a little sad. When we further decided to be grown ups and take this time to work on our house instead of doing fun stuff here in town I was also a little sad. Then I found out that it will probably be raining here Thursday (my birthday). Oh well.

Then Saturday hit and we were off buzzing around like little worker bees. When Daniel is home I can achieve about 4x the ammount of work. I think this is because Charlotte floats between the two of us so neither one has to entertain her all the time. Probably this frustrates Dan because of his lowered productivity, but I find it amazing. I realized that I was so happy with this Saturday because we were doing exactly what I had grown up doing. Saturday mornings weren't spent being lazy or playing in our house. I clearly remember my mom saying to me, "I let you sleep in until 9!" As if sleeping in until 9 were a complete luxury. Then we would all work. We would clean the house or garden outside, whichever the weather permitted. Then if we were lucky we made it to costco for lunchtime. I thought all families did this growing up, but apparently I'm wrong.

What I didn't realize was that when I grew up this tradition would be so engrained in me. I've had a vague sense of purposeless Saturdays for a while now. What do I do? How do I fill the day for Charlotte and me? (Dan usually spends Saturdays studying.) This feeling came mostly, I thought, because I didn't want to take Charlotte anywhere with big crowds of people. Why go to the Zoo on Saturday mid morning to fight the crowds, when you could go Monday right when the gates open? Then you can rush to the carousel and ride for free for the first hour. Anyway, this Saturday I realized as we all worked together, (yes, Charlotte helped me "clean" the tub) that this felt right. This is what family does on Saturday mornings. And I was happy.

Fast forward to this morning, or last night really. After Charlotte was asleep last night Dan and I sat down together and sketched out our rough game plan for this week. I woke up this morning with purpose and it's feeling great. It feels like Saturday again because he's home working along side us. We just finished eating lunch together. And we ate breakfast together. And we're going to eat dinner together. How fun is this week going to be?! I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Large and In Charge....Mostly

Pregnancy is the one time in life where being big is celebrated. At least it is for me. My husband would say that I'm constantly complaining about my size, which is true, but mostly it's the discomforts of being this big that I don't like. The feeling of dragging all this extra weight up the stairs yet again to get my daughter to the toilet, to get the doggie that we left downstairs, or to answer the phone, really anything makes me wish we lived in a single story house. Or at least one with a bathroom on the main floor. But that's not what I'm talking about.

What I mean when I say that I celebrate how big I am right now (which I totally mean to get a photo of, but I'm waiting for a day in which I've actually done my makeup and hair) is that when I'm big and round it also means that my baby is big and healthy and strong. I feel that yes, it is an inconvience to be this large, and having all my joints hurt, and having to pee all the time, but also if this is what it takes to get my little one here then I'll do it. The third trimester really is a stinker no matter how you slice it. But that doesn't matter so much to me anymore because I love him already.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cloud Nine

A few weeks ago Daniel yelled down the stairs, "Hey the OB interest group needs a pregnant woman to volunteer to let them learn how to do ultrasounds. You in?" So I said sure I'd do it. What pregnant woman wouldn't want another peek at her little one? So last night he came home and I slipped out the front door while the two of them went out the back to play in our backyard. (Turns out that play means Charlotte spilling water out of the watering can while Daddy picks up the loads of trash that the squirrels bring into the backyard.)

I had so much fun! The doctor teaching all the students about the ultrasound machine is actually the head of the OB department for the school. He is very knowledgable and I learned so much more about what the ultrasound tech is actually looking for when she says my baby is measuring just fine. The doctor kept saying, "Now find the heart. Do you see the heart? See how it's symmetric? That's exactly how it should be." "Do you see that long femur? That's precisely how it should look." "There's the bladder, the kidneys, the umbilical cord." I got to hear for a little over an hour last night about how healthy and normal and perfect my child is! Also, that he's clearly a he and proud to show everyone. It was really fun to have first, second and third year medical students practice on me too because they were as excited to find the different parts of my baby as I was to see them. You just don't see that excitement with someone that does it all day every day.

Riding on the joy from last night Charlotte and I went to the botanical gardens with some friends today. It is a beautifully sunny day with just a bit of chill left in the air. The kids ran and played and generally loved the whole experience. Also, when I looked in the flower beds I saw the bulb plants poking up through the dirt and they had planted a few early spring flowers. I don't know what it is about spring flowers, but they just fill me with a wonderful sense of life beginning anew. Leaving the gardens was hard, but then while walking in from the car I noticed that I too have flowers growing in my backyard! That's a double whammy of goodness because they are just coming all on their own. We have yet to have any time or resources to do anything but keep our yard clean so any flowers that come up are just that more enjoyable. Even if I did realize that they are coming up right where our "lawn" should be.

It's spring and the world and I are full of life! I feel so great today.

I'm IT

My aunt tagged me on this one so I thought I'd participate. Here's the rules: go to your computer and open the fourth photo folder, then click on the fourth photo and post it. Put in a little explination of what it is and then tag four other people. This one's pretty simple, which is why I thought I'd do it.

Wow! What a lame photo! I was going to cheat and put a not lame photo up, but then I'd be cheating. So what you're all looking at is a photo I took of when I displayed all of Charlotte's things in her crib before she was born. There they all are, waiting for her arrival. I like it now because I can look and see each of the things she wore or used and how cute she was in them. I laugh now because the crib is now just piles of baby Greg's clothing. You might ask, am I displaying them with the same pride? Umm....no. I feel pretty good that they're even folded and clean and not just dumped in there. When I took some of the old onsies out of storage there were yellow spots where spit up that I swear I cleaned before storing them had left little yellow stains. Don't worry Biz got them all out.

I tag: Mindy, Heather (Dan's sister), Heather (the one in Utah), and I don't know if anyone else with a blog regularly reads this (besides my sister who was already tagged) so I guess I don't have a fourth person. If you do read regularly and have a blog let me know. (TRS-I'm not sure how regular you are or if you'd be interested, but you would be my fourth if I thought you'd read this post.)

Here's a not lame photo for your viewing pleasure. Charlotte and me outside the house of Daniel Boone last October:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Light My Fire

I have a hard time knowing what and how much to post about my husband on this blog since it's not his and he's a fairly private person. Charlotte doesn't care so I can post pretty much whatever I want, for now anyway, but I always have to sit and think long and hard before mentioning Daniel on this thing. But I decided that he wont care if I share parts of our conversation last night on here.

He came home from school yesterday all fired up about a lunch lecture he'd attended. It was about physicians' rights and responsibilities and how or when the government should be involved. He shared with me all the things that the lawyer presented and how doctors are, as a whole, not very politically involved which is probably not a great thing for them or their patients in the long run. He was also saying all his opinions about it and what some of the other students had been talking about and what he thinks needs to happen with regard to health care in the US.

He was more passionate and excited telling me about this one lecture than he has ever been telling me about any of the classes he's had so far in med school. That is not to say that he's not passionate about learning medicine. I think he doesn't share as much of his school stuff with me because he knows that after about 5 minutes of it my mind starts to wander. Not that I don't find it interesting, I just don't really need to know the depth with which he explains things most of the time.

Noticing his passion coming out (a rare thing indeed) I told him, "It sounds like this is something you're passionate about. If you wanted to pursue this I'd support you in it." He said, "Really? I've thought about it before, but I figured you'd think it was silly." To which I said that he'd really need to work on not calling people that disagreed with him idiots, but other than that he has some pretty great ideas.

The problem with him pursuing this passion probably explains why physicians in general aren't very politically active. You have to sacrifice so much of your time and yourself to become a doctor and you chose something that you really love to do. So then you'd have to sacrifice reaping some of the benefits of all your hard work to go and start something completely new. As Daniel put it, "Do I want to be an orthopedic surgeon or work to defend physicians' autonomy?" Plus, he has no desire to become an MD JD. (I think the initials for lawyer are JD anyway.) To which I replied, "Life is long. You don't have to do everything at once. I bet your dad never thought he'd be acting CEO of anything when he finished his residency, but here he is. Being both a urologist and a CEO."

I don't know if anything will ever come of this passion of his other than just yelling at the TV when the news comes on about health care in our country, but it was kind of fun to see him so excited.