Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No-Good-Very-Bad Month

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm sorry to have been absent for so long.  Things in the Shire have been challenging at best, and down-right awful at their worst. 

It started a month ago, when I tried a new workout and on my second time through the workout, I managed to hurt myself in a big way.  The workout wasn't anything big, a short and quick routine that involved doing leg lifts (both sides), squats, some tricep curls with light weights, 15 push ups (from my knees), and 30 crunches.  Pause for a minute, then repeat... do this three times.  Sounds pretty easy, right? 

Well, I managed to damage my left shoulder.  I thought I had just strained it and didn't seek out medical attention for a couple of days, until every breath was bringing tears to my eyes.  A trip to the ER, and low and behold, I had slightly torn my rotator cuff (or so the ER doc claimed).  I left the hospital with a Rx for naproxen and orders to do no heavy lifting for a week (ha ha... with a very large toddler in the house?  Not to mention an active preschooler?  I ended up having to have help for a couple of days to manage the kids). 

Here's the thing... apparently, I can't take naproxen.  I don't know if it was a reaction with my regular meds, which my pharmacist should have caught, or if I've developed some sort of sensitivity to it (used to take naproxen regularly for menstrual pain when I was a teen and young adult).  Whatever the cause, I was only able to take the meds for two days, because I ended up feeling like I was having a heart attack.  Breathing was still painful, my chest was super tight, shooting pains up my neck, tremendous headache, and I could feel my heart banging against my ribs it was pounding so hard.  I stopped taking the meds, and went to just extra strength ibupro.fen for a while.  I still wasn't feeling great, but it was better.  It wasn't until I went completely off the ibu about a week later that I began to feel better.  I can still feel it in my lungs occasionally, and it scared the tar out of me.  I will be getting my doc to make a note in my file that naproxen is a no-go for me from now on. 

I was just starting to feel better from all that mess when we woke up one morning to Pippin puking his guts out.  Grand.  The next day it was Ginny puking, and by that evening it was me.  Pip seemed to recover quickly, but then developed roseola (baby measles).  Ginny and I took a couple of days to get over the stomach flu.  And then, just as we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when I thought I might be done cleaning up puke for the time being... my Beloved got slammed with it.  This is the man who never gets sick.

It's been a week now since we were all sick, and I was beginning to think we were coming to a bend in the road.  The weather has been improving, and spring is finally starting to emerge.  I have been able to get back out walking, and while I'm not up to the 6km I was doing last year, I'm feeling good about getting in 4km in 45 minutes. 

That bend in the road I was hoping for, well, it came today.  It turned out to be a blind corner that led us right off a cliff.  At 8:30 this morning my Beloved came home from work with a pink slip and a severance package.  He's been laid off. 

Needless to say, I've been hovering on the edge of panic for the last few hours.  His severance amounts to a little more than a month of his salary.  My Beloved has been, for the most part, taking this in his normal stride... nothing frazzles that man for very long.  He's been quiet and just focussed on playing with the wee-lings while I stomp around in anger and frustration. 

I am trying very hard to get to a place where I can be optimistic about all this... we weren't 100% happy with his job, but it was a good paying job and the company was paying for his CGA courses.  The benefits package wasn't sufficient for our family, either. I can only hope and pray that the right door will open, and will open quickly. 

In the mean time, I will likely be raiding our Christmas savings jar, and all vacation time we had planned for this year is out the window (oh my mom isn't going to be happy about that).  I'm really trying not to panic too much, but if he doesn't find a new job quickly, we could really be in a bad place financially.  If you pray, could you please remember our little hobbit clan?  I would appreciate it. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Gutter Balls

Howdy Humble Readers...

Do you know how to tell if you're a bad bowler?  If your three year old daughter beats you.  Yes, she had the bumpers up, but she still kicked my butt. 

Ginny and I spent the afternoon at the local bowling alley with a bunch of families from our Sunday School.  It was a lot of fun and Ginny was hysterical.  Waiting for her balls to get to the pins was painful, and once an employee had to come and clear two balls from right in the middle of the lane.  Even so, she still managed to knock down more pins than I did.  Oh man...

This past week has been a bit on the challenging side.  I have had PMS from hell.  Not that I was terribly grouchy... there were moments, but not constant.  It was all the other stuff... particularly the water retention and the back ache.  I thought I was going to lose my mind, not to mention that it was very frustrating when I was just getting back on track with some exercise to see all that weight come back (even though I know it was just water). 

Other highlights from the week... taking the wee-lings for hair cuts (Pippin looks like such a big boy with his hair so short), introducing the wee-lings to people at my Beloved's office, and having some success with a new approach to Pip's diaper issues (we are now putting his diaper on backwards and taping it). 

On to this week's chit chat.  What...
Are you reading?  I put American Heiress on hold temporarily as my copy of my friend J.R. Vikse's new book arrived the other day.  Fictions Of Questionable Length is an interesting collection of short stories and poems that J.R. has written over the course of the past six years.  Definitely eclectic and surprising (especially since I know the author), the stories have something for everyone.  If you want to check it out, you can order it via Amazon. 

Are you watching: A documentary about the Tower of London on PBS.  Also recording Once Upon a Time, and Believe. 

Are you looking forward to this week: Hopefully getting to see my mom on Saturday.  We'll see if we are able to make that happen. 

Is one thing you did last week that you don't want to repeat this week:  I didn't work out once all week.  The intense (read: excruciating) back ache that dogged me all week put the kibosh on any serious physical activity. 

Was your best moment over the last week? Pippin, this morning, completely responding to our clean up song by putting toys away.  Shows that he was not only paying attention, but understood what I was asking for and was able to comply.  He also got into sharing the peace at church (the part in our liturgy when we shake hands with those around us and say "Peace be with you"), and would put out his hand to shake whenever I said "Peace be with you". 

Is your #1 goal for next week? Fitness!  A multi-pronged goal... early morning workouts (get in 5), drink my water every day (120 oz each day), walking/marching for 15-20 minutes following each meal. 

Song can't you get out of your head? The theme song from Peg + Cat (a kids show on PBS that Ginny loves). 

Best/Worst financial decision over the last week?  Best - kept my grocery bill under budget.  Worst - Two trips to Tim Horton's this week.  Completely unnecessary.  Both nutritionally and financially. 

Is something that you'd like to learn to do?  I'd like to learn how to make jewelry... the wire wrapped kind.  I like so much of it when I see it at the farmer's market, but it's so pricey.  I'd like to see how much it would cost for me to make it. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Please click over and check out what others are chatting about tonight. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tearing My Hair Out

Hey Humble Readers...

I know I have brought this up before, but Pippin is going to drive me around the bend.  I love my wee Mister to death, but there are certainly times when I'm not his biggest fan. 

He has, for quite some time, been taking his clothes at the drop of a hat.  And after the clothes are off, his diaper is quick to follow.  Then we end up with varying degrees of disgusting messes to clean up. 

There are some factors to take into consideration when I think about why he's doing this. 
  • His eczema flares up regularly around his ankles and his waist, so I know that pants aren't his best friend right now.  He rarely wears socks for this reason, but I don't feel I have that option with pants... might not go over well out in public.  Not to mention that it is still winter-like out there. 
  • He has recently gone through a growth spurt so many of his pants and jeans are snug around his waist (and I'm trying not to have to buy him more pants so close to the end of winter). 
  • It almost always happens when he is bored.  This is usually when he's in the playpen or the crib.  I do try to limit the playpen time for him, but I feel forced to choose between keeping him safe and contained when I have to leave the room or am cooking etc, and having a potential mess to clean up.  He always has toys to play with in the playpen, but only a soft book and a stuffie in the crib at naptime. 
  • Sharing a room with Ginny means that naptime rarely includes a nap.  They both need a rest, and if they get a little bit of quiet time that's better than nothing.  But Ginny has been caught not only egging Pip on while he removes his diaper, but actively helping in diaper removal and the finger painting that follows. 

We have been using packing tape on his diapers for months now.  I don't like it... it's inconvenient, not to mention time consuming, and I'm always concerned about the adhesive coming in contact with his skin. 

But now the little stinker has managed to figure out how to take his diaper off, even with a double strapping of tape around his waist.  Hence the tearing out my hair scenario. 

I don't dare say anything about it to my mom because she'll start in on how he's ready to start potty training (and beyond the saga that is my potty training experience with Ginny, and how I'm not interested in starting down that road with Pip just yet, but really, how would I go about potty training a little boy who is only just beginning to communicate in basic form?).  Potty training is also the consensus on most of the mommy message boards I've perused. 

I'm going to try a set of footie pjs put on backwards tomorrow at naptime.  Do any of you have any other suggestions? 

I love my little boy, and I don't want to wish away this age, but man oh man I cannot wait until we are DONE with diapers. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Pity Party Of One

Hey Humble Readers...

I know it's been a while.  A long while.  I've been in a bit of a funk lately, and haven't really felt like I've had much of anything worthwhile to say.  But now, after a week of sunshine and warm temps that have the huge mounds of snow in retreat, I'm beginning to feel a bit better about things.  My eagerness for spring to get here always makes the dregs of winter a bit unbearable. 

We seemed to have a stretch of bad luck for a while that didn't help my overall outlook.  My Beloved and I were in a car accident (no one was injured, thank Heaven) that caused more than $5000 damage to Tilly the Toyota.  I've had issues with AF, coming both late and early, with extended stretches of my PMS symptoms which makes things very uncomfortable (seriously, this month my PMS symptoms started right after ovulation and have just gotten more and more intense each day).  My back and bo.obs are killing me, I've had a lot of IBS flares, and I'm not the most pleasant person to be around.  And then to top it all off, on Friday night when I was doing my grocery shopping, I dropped my phone (only had it since December) and the glass totally cracked and spidered.  It's going to cost almost $300 to fix it.  The touch screen still works, but I'm hesitant to use it much until we can afford to fix it. 

Things, however, are not all bad. 

Pippin is a part of what has me feeling better about things in general.  While he still isn't talking, there have been some great steps forward.  He used his first hand sign (he said "No" to my Beloved just over a week ago), and often will actually say "buh-buh" and wave when one of us leaves.  He claps a lot, does this funny little stomp-shuffle thing whenever I say "dancin'?" to him.  He now can point out his ears and his toes when asked, and he is generally a lot more vocal than he was a month ago.  Still a very long way to go, but it gives me hope that the road might not be quite as long as I originally thought. 

Ginny also had a big accomplishment this week.  She has been a thumb-sucker almost from the get-go.  I remember when she was very small she would put her thumb in her mouth, with her palm to her nose, and tap her fingertips on her forehead.  It was adorable.  But a three year old who sucks her thumb isn't quite as adorable.  We have been working on 'no thumbs' for a while now, and this past week she went all week without sucking her thumb during the day (at night will take longer, I know).  As a reward for working so hard, she and I had a date-day yesterday.  We ran some errands together, went to a 'grown-up' restaurant (Denny's) where she got to have pancakes for lunch which she thought was amazing, did a little shopping (got her some rubber boots so she can splash in the puddles), and then went to a little cupcake bakery for a treat. 
Yum!  Mint Chocolate!
On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...  (Ooops... I wrote my post before Carla posted her's and she has new all questions this week.  I'll jump on the new questions next week.)

Reading - Right now I'm reading a Downton-esque novel called "The American Heiress".  I only just started it, so I have high hopes for it.  I just finished "The Dressmaker", a novel which follows the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic.  The main character is a wannabe designer who works as a pseudo-secretary for Lady Duff Gordon (infamously the one woman in the lifeboat with only 12 passengers when it could have held 50).  The story about the inquiries and the public outcry after the Titanic sunk was fascinating, but the romantic parts were a bit weak in my estimation (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes). 

Watching - Being Sunday, and no Downton for a very long time, I will be watching Once Upon A Time.  I may also record Resurrection. We'll see what happens. 

Listening To - Pippin is playing with his remote control car that keeps saying "I'm a little racer."  Over, and over, and over, and over, and... you get the idea. 

Cooking/Baking - Lots of good things on the menu this week.  Tonight is Italian pot roast with mashed taters, roasted green beans, and Yorkshire puddings.  Tomorrow night is true Shepherds' Pie (made with lamb!) and mint chocolate chip ice cream pie, in honour of St. Patty's day.  Later in the week I'm making chicken paprikash (my special 1/2 birthday gift to myself). 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Got in 5 days of work outs.  Yay!  The scale hasn't moved in a while, but I know that AF's prolonged announcement of her impending arrival is a part of that.  I'm retaining a lot of water.  Oh, and I was able to donate blood again!  Yay!  That's two donations in a row where I had good iron counts (and I had really good blood pressure too!). 

Looking Forward To Next Week - My Beloved is going to take Friday off, using some of his banked overtime.  The wee-ling's are going for haircuts, which is always fun.  And I WILL make some progress on my spring cleaning. 

Thankful For - Being able to go out with the girls.  I really needed some good conversation and wine this week, and last night I was able to get both.  We went and saw the Hobbit at the discount theater (we had all seen it together on opening night, but we were sitting so close to the screen that it wasn't a great experience), and then out for drinks and nibbles.  It was really nice. 

What's on your wish list right now?  A new enameled cast iron dutch oven/soup pot.  Mine is woefully stained from doing coffee braised roast beef, and the handle on the lid broke ages ago so it makes things a bit tricky when removing the lid.  I seriously long for Le Creuset. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Please pop over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Valentine's Day

Hey Humble Readers...

I confess, I had a rough couple of days after Pippin's speech assessment.  I know that it's nothing but good that we are seeking help at this early stage, and that the likelihood is that he will be caught up developmentally by the time he starts school.  It was just difficult to know that my wee little mister is going to have a tougher road than I would have hoped. 

We have actually already seen a few small improvements in just the last few days of being very intentional with him.  He sort of plays peekaboo now, he can point to his ears when asked about half the time, and he's already vocalizing a bit more (that might just be wishful thinking on my part).  Pip also really got into watching some of the Olympic figure skating and would spin and spin until he fell down and then he'd laugh like crazy. 

Valentine's Day was a big hit in the hobbit hole.  Because we are housebound so much at this time of year, I really try to make the most of the small celebrations.  Anything for a break in the normal routine.  Ginny and I decorated the house with some craft foam hearts, and some sparkly heart garland (Thank heaven for the dollar store!).  We also created a little centerpiece for the table with some jars filled with cinnamon hearts (Ginny loves how they make her 'tongue tingle') and a little mailbox for their valentines. 
Our little centerpiece

The wee-ling's valentines were small bags of m&m's with a tag that said
"Mommy & Daddy love you more&more every day!"

I made a special dinner for us, crab Rangoon stuffed salmon, roasted potatoes, and steamed asparagus.  And for dessert, I made a chocolate espresso ganache tart topped with raspberries.  It was so yummy!  Both of the wee-lings chowed down like mad on all of it.  Pip particularly enjoyed the salmon (mental note - make more fish for my wee mister). 
Dollar store fake rose petals made for some fun times.

The ganache tart!  Yum!

My Beloved is now on vacation for a little over a week.  I'm so happy... between year end stress and overtime, and his course work, he has been stretched super thin lately.  Of course it doesn't help that he hasn't had a vacation since the summer of 2012 (other than when we went to K-town a year ago for GG's funeral, but I'm not counting that).  We've both been lazy the last couple of days, napping and not doing much except watching the Olympics.  We do have a few plans for this week, including a day out for the two of us without the wee-lings.  I'm also hoping to tackle a few of my bigger spring cleaning projects while he's home too. 

On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I finished the Sabrina Jeffries romance novel (not as enjoyable as some of her others), and then went on to read Escape by Carolyn Jessop, about her life in and escape from the fundamentalist polygamous Mormon sect where she was born and raised.  Her life truly was harrowing (married to a man more than 30 years her senior at age 18, as the fourth wife, she and her children were subjected to horrible emotional and physical abuse), and the fact that she managed to get out and gain custody of all eight of her children is nothing short of miraculous.  Now I'm re-reading Ride the Wind, a fictionalized account of Cynthia Ann Parker's life after she was kidnapped by the Comanche in the late 1800s. 

Watching - Downton, and I might watch an episode of Salvage Hunters from the dvr if I feel like staying up later. 

Listening To - My Beloved blow zerberts on Pip's tummy, Ginny singing bah-bah black sheep. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a honey-garlic roasted chicken, mashed taters, roasted broccoli, and yorkies.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow night... I'm going to do a large pork shoulder low and slow in an apple cider braise, and we're going to have it for a few different meals.  Yum!

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Ummm... I can't think of anything.  How sad. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - going antiquing with my Beloved, getting a few things done around the hobbit hole.

Thankful For - My Beloved.  It was eight years ago on Valentine's day that we were matched on eHarmony, and I have been thankful every day since for his presence in my life. 

***Bonus Question***  If you could have Carla (our Chit-Chat host and seamstress extraordinaire) make you anything what would it be?  There's a really groovy wallet and cell phone case that I've seen on pinterest several times and I would love to have one.  And Carla always has the best combinations of fabrics, I'm sure she would do a beautiful job. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Please click over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight.