Saturday, March 31, 2012

Horrified!! (In Which Your Friendly Neighbourhood Hobbit Goes Off About the Politics of IF)

Hey Humble Readers...

I am sitting here truly stunned this Saturday evening. 

This goes beyond WTF...

I don't talk about politics much here, mostly because I tend to be fairly skeptical about promises and claims made by politicians.  In my opinion, they do and say things that will benefit them in the moment, and then do or say the exact opposite in the next breath. 

But today I encountered a shocking new low.

We, here on the not-so-frozen flatland, are less than one week into a provincial election campaign.  After being in power for longer than I have been alive, the Progressive Conservatives are actually being threatened by a relatively new political party, the Wildrose Party.  I'm not going to go into who I'm planning on voting for, because that's beside the point here. 

On Friday night, a staff member from a Progressive Conservative office in the southern part of the province, in response to Danielle Smith (the Wildrose Party leader, who would be Premier if her party is elected) making statements about tax breaks for families with school age children, tweeted the following...

“If @elect Danielle likes young and growing families so much, why doesn’t she have children of her own? #wrp family pack = insincere #abvote"

I was stunned when I read that.  In what world is a comment like that appropriate?  Would this question even have been asked had the leader of the Wildrose party been a man?  And of course, the IFer in me cringed... we don't know the road that Smith has walked. 

And then I learned something more...

Smith and her husband have struggled with IF for more than five years.  From what I've read tonight, it looks like they have moved away from treatments.  (Her husband has a son from a previous relationship.)

Since when is it anyone's business about why or why not someone has kids?  What does it have to do with her ability to legislate policies involving children and families? 

There is a little voice of realism in the back of my mind that is not really all that shocked that someone could be so incredibly stupid and insensitive, but it can't seem to drown out the anger and indignation I feel on Ms. Smith's behalf. 

Thankfully, the PC staffer who was responsible for the tweet resigned/was fired today. 

Still, it makes me sick to know that a woman who has gone through the agony of IF has had her lack of children thrown in her face, all because she dares to run for public office. 

(This article contains a bit more info)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Not Much Going On

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you've all had a good week.  Things around the hobbit-hole have been pretty quiet.  Honestly not much going on worth talking about, and my brain is mushy with tiredness and pregnancy-brain.

I've been fixated on those really yummy Mil.ano cookies (the mint ones of course) and I've been trying not to think too much about them.  I used to buy them for special occassions when I was in college, but I haven't had any in years and years.  The kicker is, I can't get them around here.  I don't know for sure if you can even get them at all above the 49th parallel.  I know I shouldn't have them anyway (wretched GD), but dammit, I can't stop thinking about them.  If you are in Canada, and know where I can get some, PLEASE tell me... I promise I'll be good.  I won't get any until the middle of May.  I promise!

I haven't heard from Dell at all since the initial calls on Tuesday morning.  I still haven't loaded anything on this computer since Monday night.  It's really annoying.  There is a little part of me that's hoping that they'll just let me keep this computer, but I doubt that will happen.  I'm just frustrated that I still haven't heard a damn thing.

I had an appointment this morning with Dr. W.  It was exceptionally short.  Pee in a cup, check the bp (was totally fine, no change in my meds... doc said not to worry about swelling unless it's accompanied by other pre-e symptoms), check the weight (got a finger wagging), quick glance at him/her on Dr. W's ultrasound... enough to find out that the Halfling is breech.  That's right, what I've been thinking was the Halfling's hiney under my ribs is actually his/her little head.  It doesn't really matter, as we are going c-section for sure anyway. 

The one thing that she mentioned during the appointment, that I didn't really think much of at the time, but now I'm wondering... she mentioned that she's going to send me for a consult with the anesthesiologist.  The last time I had to do that was when I went under general anesthetic for my hysteroscopy (polypecotomy and D&C).  I'm wondering if this is just precautionary, or if she's planning on me being completely out for the c-section.  I hope it's just the former.  I WILL be asking at my next appointment.

My Beloved lost an aunt this week.  She was 85, I think.  We've been so focussed on my Grandma (she appears to be doing better... and I'm very thankful for that, for so many reasons, not the least of which is that my parents are scheduled to leave for their 25th anniversary cruise in 5 days), that we totally didn't see this coming.  He wasn't particularly close with her, but still, it's jarring to say the least.  We're still debating if he will go to the funeral or not on Monday.  

I'm trying to come up with some really groovy, unifying theme for my posts for the A to Z challenge.  Food?  Fictional characters I relate to?  Pet peeves?  Books I want to read?  Places I want to travel?  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Week 32: Fair Warning... Whining Ahead

Howdy Humble Readers...

Well, I haven't heard back from Dell since this morning, so I'm in a bit of a holding pattern.  I'm still pissed about the whole situation, but at least I've gotten a bit of sleep, so that has taken the edge off.

This hasn't been a pretty week in the world of being pregnant.  My blood sugars have been off again (big swings from high to low... we're still tweaking my insulin and I think we're getting closer now), my hips have been sore and achey, and I've been super tired.  I have a whole herd of new skin tags blossoming around the base of my neck (soooo icky!) and I've been retaining water a fair bit the last few days. 

I haven't had a lot of energy this week, so I haven't gotten much done on my to do list.  Which makes me feel like crap.  Hoping that tomorrow will bring a resurgence of energy so that I can tackle the storage room.  I need to make space for a second pantry shelf in there, and I need it now!  And I need to come up with a better system for our recycling bins.  They take up too much space as they are, and space is always at a premium around here.

Anyway, enough of the pity party and griping.  On to this week's update...

How far along? 32w0d (6 weeks left!!)

Maternity clothes? Yup.  I tried wearing one of my non-maternity shirts yesterday and it was embarassingly short. 

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks, tendonitis in my thumbs, hot flashes, NEW THIS WEEK - water retention, my pre-existing stretchmarks are starting to get angry red, and a new crop of skin tags (ick!!)

Sleep? Has been mostly ok, when I don't stay up too late.  My body pillow and the fan have helped immensely.  But I do end up very stiff and with a sore hip from sleeping in the same position all night. 

Intense Dreams? Had a dream this past week that the Halfling was born with Downs Syndrome.  I know that there are so many worse things out there, but it was really unsettling for a couple of days. 

Best moment this week? Having my dad around for a couple of dinners was really nice.

Worst moment? I had a stressful couple of hours the other day when my water retention didn't want to let up.  I had my feet up and was drinking a lot of water to try to flush my system, but it took almost four hours for it to ease.  Given my high blood pressure issues, I was getting to the point that I was going to go to the maternity ward for a bp check.  I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. W ups my meds on Friday.

Movement? Starting to slow down a little.  Still predictible as to when, but not as many big movements. 

Food cravings/aversions? Chocolate!!!  And having had a couple of sugar lows in the last few days hasn't helped that at all.

Rings? Off for the duration I think.  My weight has been fluctuating quite a bit with the water retention, which shows up primarily in my feet/ankles and hands.

Gender? Still think the Halfling's a girl. 

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones, low lying placenta, low iron.

What I miss?  Being able to carry Ginny's stroller up/down the stairs to our condo, breathing through my nose at night, real iced tea

What I look forward to? meeting this little person, having my mom out here a few days before the delivery, getting this stupid computer situation sorted out

Emotional State?  So long as I get sleep and my sugars are in order, I'm pretty much okay.  But so help me (and the others around me) if I end up tired or hungry!


Hey Humble Readers...

So if you read yesterday's post you know that I was soooo excited to get my new laptop. 

Fast forward to 7:45am today... (keeping in mind that my body decided that three and a half hours of sleep was enough and woke me up at 3am.  I finally dozed off again on the couch after 6:30).

I got a call from some guy in Toronto saying that he got my computer delivered to him.  WTF?  No, my computer is right here.  Thanks so much for waking me up, butthead!  (can you tell that a tired hobbit is not a happy hobbit?)  He made some comment about having gotten a free computer and I suggested, none too politely, that he should call Dell and learn about time differences.  I tried to go back to sleep, but I got stressed out about possibly being double charged on our credit card for this 'mistake' computer. 

Less than an hour later, I get a call from Dell, asking me to read a number off my computer.  I do so, and it turns out that I do in fact have the wrong computer.  Again... WTF???  It looks exactly like the one I ordered, and geez, forgive me, but I didn't read through all the paperwork that comes with the computer that said it had more memory and a couple other do-dads that I hadn't ordered or paid for.  I don't want what I didn't pay for, but you'd think that a company the size and reputation of Dell could get an order for a simple basic laptop right. 

So, I've already been setting this computer up to my needs.  I have passwords on things.  I've loaded a bit of software, although thankfully no pics yet. 

They (being Dell) are arranging for pick up of this unit, as well as the one that butthead in Toronto got.  SOoooo I *should* have *my* computer sometime in the next week.  Again, I ask... WTF????  Yeah, I can continue to use this one until the pick up is arranged, but don't load any more software and certainly remove anything that I don't want someone else to have access to.  Because this computer is NOT going back to Dell.  It's going directly to the butthead in Toronto. 

So, this means no monthly Ginny update today, and no Foodie post on Friday. because I don't have pics.  This means that I have to go through and delete things and remove the software that I've already installed. 

I'm irked, frustrated, and pissed off.  Can you tell?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Introducing Beauregard

Hey Humble Readers!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's post.  I needed every word you guys said.  GG is holding steady today and, while it could change in a heartbeat, it looks like she may pull through yet again. 

In other news, Beauregard, my new laptop arrived today!!! Yippee!!  (Yes, I'm one of those freaks who names inanimate objects.)  I am adjusting to what feels like a huge screen and a full size keyboard.  It's like having to learn to type all over again. 

Now I need to spend some time trying to remember all my bookmarks and favourites, and upload my pics and software (which is going to be so much easier than on the netbook... this computer has a disk-drive!!  Amazing, isn't it?)

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great Monday.  What was the highlight of your day?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Astonished At My Own Selfishness

Hey Humble Readers...

Have you ever had an eye opening experience that reveals some part of you that you are ashamed of?  I learned tonight that I am a very selfish hobbit.

I found out tonight that my grandmother (Ginny's GG) is not doing well.  Some background... she's the grandmother who had a series of strokes three years ago.  We thought we were going to lose her then.  My Beloved and I flew home to K-town, anticipating a funeral. 

But in true Grandma-stubbornness, she hung on.  She improved.  She would be in a nursing home, but she would survive. 

The past few years have been a series of ups and downs, and GG has surprised us many times, bouncing back from the brink.  The whole family acknowledges that it would be a blessing if she could just go... living partially paralyzed, in constant pain, and confused most days is no quality of life. 

So, tonight when I found out that she's having problems breathing and that she may be having more serious heart problems, what was my first thought?

She can't die right now.  I probably can't fly, and I don't want to be 32 weeks pregnant and doing a 12 hour road trip to go to a funeral.

How awful is that?  

I don't want to lose my grandma, but I know that it might be for the best.  I hope and pray that she holds on, honestly, because I want her to be able to meet this Halfling this summer.   Again, selfish.

Also, please pray/send good thoughts for a long time family friend, R, (he worked for my parents for many years).  He recently lost his step-father (who also worked for my parents), and now he has just been hospitalized with liver failure.  He is too young, around mid-50s like my mom, and his youngest daughter is getting married this summer.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Lazy Bones Weekend Edition

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend.  We've had a pretty good couple of days around the hobbit-hole.  Granted, they've been pretty lazy days and the hobbit-hole is in serious need of some cleaning, but I've been enjoying just 'being' with my Beloved and Ginny.

My Beloved and I went to see Hunger Games last night... such a good adaptation of the book! Very well acted... Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was genius!  (Giving it 5 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes way up!)  I was so happy to see that the few changes and omissions weren't central to the main plot.  My only real complaint was that we got to the theater a half hour before the movie started and we still ended up having to sit in the second row from the front.  Not the best vantage point.  Not to mention that I have a history of getting motion sickness at the movies (movies like Speed, the Bourne series, Constant Gardener... anything with documentary-like cinematography).  There was a stretch where I was concerned that I was going to have to leave the room because my head was spinning one way and my stomach was going the other way.

Our only really productive activity today was to go grocery shopping.  I have recently switched grocery stores... AGAIN.  I've often voiced my dissatisfaction with a particular chain here above the 49th parallel (the Canadian Stupid-store), and yet every few years I find myself sucked back in.  The thing is, they have a great selection of international foods, and their produce is usually pretty good.  Whenever I'm looking for a new-to-me ingredient for a new-to-me recipe I can usually find it there.  But I hate the mad-house atmosphere and the fact that they only put out a limited supply of everything each day (even staples like milk) so once they're out, they're out.  Today wasn't too bad, but I do hate coming out of the grocery store frazzled.

Speaking of cooking, you may (or may not) have noticed a lack of a Foodie Friday post yesterday.  That's because all my pics were on the netbook that died, and to upload pics to my Beloved's puter is a bit of a chore.  Hopefully, all will be in working order by the time my next monthly Ginny update rolls around next week.

I decided that I needed a little kick in the butt when it comes to my virtual hobbit-hole, so I signed up for the April A-Z challenge.  Check out the groovy button on the right to find out how you can join in the fun. 

Because my Beloved and I are sharing a computer for the moment, I am totally sucking at ICLW this month.  I feel bad, because I have actually had a number of new visitors, but have yet to have a chance to get back to them.  Hopefully the next couple of days will allow me to have a little bit more computer time.  My new laptop *should* be here by the 26th. 

Embarrassing moment of the day: My dad showed up at about 5 this afternoon.  I knew that he was possibly going to be coming, but because his schedule is always so erratic when he's on the road, I usually get a call ahead of time to confirm if he's coming.  And that's usually when the flight-of-the-bumble-bee form of housekeeping kicks into high gear.  This time, no real warning... so Dad saw my house covered in dust, un-vaccuumed, and just a general mess.  Gah!  He may be coming for dinner tomorrow night, if his schedule allows, so I really should get my butt in gear and get some work done around here. 

What chores have you been putting off in favour of having some down time?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In the News: Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  Things around the hobbit hole are not too bad.  Winter is making what is hopefully it's final death throes.  Yes, it's snowing again.  I just can't help but hope that this will be the last round of the white stuff until next Christmas.

Anywho, I don't normally watch much television news, but I do read a lot from different websites throughout the day.  Local, world, entertainment, odd stuff... I read it all (or most of it anyway... some of the economic news is a bit over my head).  And recently there have been two stories that, when looked at together, make me angry, sad, and fearful.

The first story is about the actor, Jamie Waylett, who played Victor Crabbe in most of the Harry Potter movies.  It turns out that he was involved in the rioting that happened in London last summer.  He was caught on tape sharing a bottle of champagne that had been looted from a vandalized grocery store, and also carrying around a bottle filled with 'petrol with a rag for a wick'.  Although he was cleared of any charges in relation to the fire-bomb (which apparently he had no intention of throwing... hmmmm), he was convicted of 'violent disorder' and 'handling stolen goods'.   

For his crimes, Waylett was sentenced to serve two years in prison.

The second story is about Graham James, a former junior hockey coach who has been convicted of sexually assaulting former Calgary Flames star Theo Fleury and others during the 1980s and 90s. He was in a position of power and authority over those who should have been able to trust him, and he took advantage of that.  His actions sent those boys down a road that no one should have to walk.  Fleury and his cousin Todd Holt, another of James' victims, both turned to drugs and alcohol to help deal with the memories of their abuse.

For his crimes, James was sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Am I the only one who sees a problem here?  Yes, I know that these court cases were handled in different countries... but really?  The same sentence for rioting and sexual assault on a minor?  

I am completely flabbergasted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March ICLW - If I Had A Gazillion Dollars

Good Morning Humble Readers... and ICLW Visitors...

The last day or so has been a bit stressful around the hobbit-hole.  First, we got a bill in the mail from the taxman yesterday.  After some colourful language and some digging, we discovered that one dollar amount got put in on the wrong line on my tax return from last year... **sigh** Presto, we owe the government $300.

Second, when I woke up this morning, I went to fire up my trusty little netbook, and sadly it had decided to give up the ghost sometime during the night.  It's old (for a netbook) and tired, and it's not really worth repairing again (thankfully nothing too tragic will be lost).  So, before breakfast, we had spent another chunk of money that we hadn't planned on to order me a new laptop.  It's just a basic Dell, but it will serve my purposes.  And keep us both sane as we DO NOT share a computer well.

Combine all that with the fact that it's been a while since I've done a fun little intro for ICLW (and if you are wondering what those letters mean, click on the groovy little green box in the column to the right.  Mel explains it best) and, I thought I would play one of my Mom's favourite games... "If I won the lottery" 

If I won a gazillion dollars in the lottery, I would...
  • set up an endowment/trust for our church
  • pay off our debts
  • buy us a new house (nothing too big... A 3-bedroom townhouse or half duplex with a finished basement and a big beautiful kitchen.  If money were really no object, I might go bigger, so long as we could hire a maid.)
  • set up college funds for both Ginny and the Halfling
  • buy us a second car
  • Take my parents and my MIL on a nice trip.  New Zealand, maybe?
  • Take this trip with my Beloved.
  • Take the children to Disney World (when they're bigger)
  • Hire a genealogist to help me track down my family tree
  • Possibly get bariatric and lasik surgery... maybe
  • Get my Beloved and I brand new groovy computers, cameras, and cell phones
What would you do if you won the lottery?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week 31: First NST

Greetings Humble Readers...

I had my first NST this time around yesterday morning.  It's early to start them, but Dr. W scheduled it for when she was the on-duty OB at the hospital so we could get an appointment in this month (her schedule is incredibly busy, as she's the only female OB in town). 

As I suspected, Dr. W didn't know what the results were from my last u/s, so the placenta previa issue is still a mystery.  She was significantly annoyed when I told her that the u/s tech didn't do an internal scan.  I strongly suspect there will be an appointment with "Wanda" in my near future.

The test went well.  The Halfling's heartrate was around 142 bpm, and he/she was moving around significantly so all looked good there.  My blood pressure was a little bit high (not scary high, but higher than it has been for the last couple of months), but I really think it was because there was another woman in the maternity triage room who was seriously in labour.  They were getting a room prepped for her, but she was very vocal throughout her contractions, and no matter how much you understand why, when you're lying on a hospital bed next to someone who's moaning and crying in pain... it has an affect. 

Ginny was with me at the NST, and she did amazingly well.  She sat in her stroller, eating her goldfish crackers and smiling at the nurses.  She didn't fuss a bit.  She seemed to like listening to the Halfling's heartbeat. 

On to this week's update...

How far along? 31w0d

Maternity clothes? Yup.  They're getting tired.

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks, tendonitis in my thumbs, NEW THIS WEEK: pubic bone pain, hot flashes

Sleep? Not bad actually.  I'm now freezing my Beloved out of the bedroom because of the aforementioned hot flashes.  I have to have the fan on every night and no blankets, and if I could, I would have the window open.  My Beloved buries himself up to his eyebrows with the duvet in order to prevent frostbite. 

Intense Dreams? Nothing memorable this week. 

Best moment this week? My NST yesterday.  Ginny was incredibly well-behaved, and the Halfling co-operated nicely throughout the test. 

Worst moment? I've had a couple of instances of some really intense round ligament pain.  Usually happens at very inopportune moments.

Movement? Following each meal (Halfling really reacted strongly to the chicken curry last night), and all evening. 

Food cravings/aversions? Chocolate-mint anything (a combo I normally don't like at all), chocolate anything, sweet anything..

Rings? Had to take them off this morning.  Weight is holding steady, but I have been dealing with some water retention. 

Gender? Still think it's a girl, and Dr. W referred to the Halfling as 'she' at my NST.  She-hobbit is also leading in the poll on the right.  But I was sooooo sure that Ginny was going to be a boy, and well... we know how that turned out.  :)

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones, low lying placenta, low iron.

What I miss?  Iced chai lattes, being able to shave my legs while in the shower, being able to go from sitting to standing without having to pee right away.

What I look forward to? Going to see the Hunger Games this weekend, an end to winter (it just won't die!), possibly doing some Ikea shopping in a few weeks.

Emotional State?  Pretty good for the most part.  I do get easily frustrated tho (like when I got a bill from the government today for a mess up on my taxes from last year... grrr!).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: St. Patrick's Day Tidbits

Greetings Humble Reaaders....

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!! I hope you're enjoying a little bit of the luck o' the Irish today!  So tell me, how Irish are you?  Do you have a little bit of leprechaun blood flowing through your veins?  My Grandfather claims that we're Irish through and through, but I'm 7th generation Canadian on that side of the family (granted there have been influxes of fresher Irish blood through the years, but we've been here for a while).  Grandpa even gets a funny Irish accent when he's been tossing a few back.  :)

So, I finally did it.  I bit the bullet and I got a haircut.  I haven't had one for over a year, other than getting my bangs trimmed.  I don't have a regular hairdresser any more, and I just haven't found someone that I really trust yet (in five years... so sad!).  I got about 4 inches cut off... and it really doesn't look all that different.  Just healthier.  I knew I wanted to keep it simple because, really, I have no time for fussing with my hair on a daily basis.  It's still long enough to put up in a ponytail or a clip, BUT I did switch to a side part from a center part (shocking!  I know, I'm *soooo* trendy... more like pathetic) and I now have side bangs.  Woohoo! 

After my haircut, I went to my old bookstore (where I used to work) to do a little window shopping and chat with some old friends.  Honestly, it was just so nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours and be me for a while (as opposed to the great-and-evil-NO-momster).  Thankfully, there was a ridiculously long line at the Sta.rbucks, so I wasn't at all tempted to get something naughty. 

Speaking of books, I have just finished re-reading the Hunger Games series, and I was reminded why I loved it so much the first time around.  Even though it inspired some pretty crazy dreams, it is just so well written and engaging.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie, and if we can get a sitter, we might actually see it on openning night.

From the ever-so-slightly-scary file... there was a break-in in our building last week.  My Beloved came home from work on Thursday and asked if I had heard anything strange during the day.  Other than our neighbours' most recent screaming match, there had been nothing out of the ordinary.  It turns out that the basement unit on the back side of the building was broken into.  I'm fairly creeped out that it happened while I was at home. 

Tomorrow, after church, we're off to my MIL's for the afternoon and for dinner.  I'm hoping that maybe his brothers might be there, too.  We haven't seen them in ages and ages. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Quickie Buns!!

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope that you've all had a good week.  Things in our little hobbit-hole have been challenging, but productive.  Ginny's most recent very long drawn out round of teething has finally resulted in something... her first molar!  While she's teething, she seems to be much more likely to get herself into trouble like messing with Mommy's books, destroying the shoe rack, or pushing all the buttons on the dvr.  Today she actually managed to almost post on my blog.  She pushed a bunch of random keys on my netbook and when I got back to the computer, there was a new post started, all gibberish (not that that's so different from what I post, but still...).  She alternated between particularly mischievous and completely inconsolable this morning, but after her nap she was a much much happier wee girl.  And there was a shiny new tooth! 

But somehow, in the midst of dealing with a truly unhappy toddler, I managed to make these buns the other day.  I've actually made them a few times, and I've loved them every single time.  The original recipe called these "30 Minute Rolls" but if you do the math on the times quoted, it actually adds up to 35 minutes.  Combine that with the fact that I tweaked the baking time a bit, and well, 'quickie buns' just works.  AND considering that these are yeast rolls, anything less than two hours is pretty gosh darn awesome!

Quickie Buns

1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water (I heat mine in the microwave for about 40 seconds)
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
2 tbsp fast acting yeast
1/4 cup sugar (do not sub in Spl.enda... I learned this the hard way)
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 cup flour

Preheat your oven to 400F, and grease/spray a 9x13 baking pan.  In your mixer bowl combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using your dough hook, mix in the salt, egg and flour. Knead with hook until will incorporated and dough is soft and smooth, 2-3 minutes. (Honestly, I don't know how long to knead the dough for if you don't have a mixer with a dough hook... I'm sorry.  I'm a bit dense when it comes to baking.)

I need to work on my bun rolling skills! 
They aren't very evenly sized. 
Form dough into 12 balls, place in prepared pan, and allow to rest, covered with a towel, for 10 minutes. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

After resting for 10 minutes
Like I mentioned previously, the original recipe called for the rolls to be baked for 10 minutes, but I found that they came out too pale and doughy for me.  Keep an eye on them as they bake... everyone's oven is different.
The finished product - these actually ended up baking for
about 20 minutes because I got distracted.  The crust
was a bit chewier than usual, but they were still great.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 30: Spring Is In The Air (or Not...)

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you all are enjoying some spring-like weather, where ever you are.  It's been unseasonably warm here on the northern flatland, and with the big dump of snow we got last week everything is still sloppy and slushy.  But it has been nice enough to have the windows of the house open in the afternoons.  I'm loving the fresh air!!

I'm anxious for spring to get here.  I'm tired of being cooped up in the house all the time.  I'm hoping, once the ice and slush are gone, to be able to go for short walks in the afternoon with Ginny.  She needs to get outside, and we both need to activity.  The reality is, we may yet get another blast of winter.  The first year that I lived in our little city it snowed at the end of May.  Last year we got snow in June.  It's not the norm, but it does happen.

(I wrote the above this afternoon... before we had a mini blizzard.  **sigh**  The weatherman told us it would be rain.)

In other news...  Sadly, we found out that we aren't going to be able to go away for our anniversary next month as we had planned.  I'm bummed, but hopefully we'll be able to do it next year.  It just would have been nice to do something a bit big for our fifth. 

And from the 'doh!' file... Because it was a bit of a hectic day, I forgot to call Dr. W's office on Friday to find out about the ultrasound results (if they were able to determine if it's placenta previa or not).  I called Monday, and discovered that her office is closed for the week.  I see her at the hospital next week Monday while I have an NST, but she won't have my file there, so I doubt she'll know. 

On to this week's update...

How far along? 30w0d (8 weeks to go)

Maternity clothes? Yup!

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks, tendonitis in my thumbs, NEW THIS WEEK: nothing much

Sleep? Hit and miss.  I'm back to waking up between 3 and 4 am.  I end up being awake for an hour or two and then falling asleep on the couch.

Intense Dreams?  Re-reading the Hunger Games series has messed with my head.  Lots of weird hunting/being hunted dreams.  With a little of bombings and explosions thrown in for good measure.

Best moment this week? Making progress on my massive to do list.  It feels good to be working toward something.

Worst moment? Honestly, Ginny's having a rough week.  Between teething (that is showing no discernible progress), a growth spurt, and attempting the switch from two naps to one... it's been a challenging few days.

Movement? I think the Halfling has turned finally.  Oh, and the little one has had the hiccups a few times this week.  Still waiting for the moment when Ginny feels a kick.

Food cravings/aversions? Shamrock shakes... (thanks a lot, Amy! LOL)  Thank heaven they are only available for another week.  Then the temptation will be gone.  Really, I just want anything ice cold. 

Rings?  Still on... I have, this week, reached my pre-pregnancy weight.  It's a couple of weeks ahead of last time, but I'm not overly concerned.  I just need to keep things under control from here on out. 

Gender?  I had a brief stretch when I was getting 'boy' vibes, but I'm back to thinking of the Halfling as a girl.

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones, low lying placenta, low iron.

What I miss? Being able to get things out of the bottom of the fridge or the lower cupboards. 

What I look forward to? My Dad may be coming to town for work again later this month.  I'm hoping that he'll be able to spare some time to help me do a couple of things around the house.

Emotional State? Mostly okay this week.  I've had some bad stretches, but overall, better than last week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Breastfeeding: Am I A Sucker For Punishment?

Greetings Humble Readers...

When I was expecting Ginny, I had great grand intentions. 

I was going to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months.  I followed all the well-intentioned advice I was given by other women in my life... my sister, my MIL, friends, nurses, my childbirth class instructor.  I got rid of all the free samples of formula that I had in the house, and I didn't buy any bottles.  I totally bought into the idea that if I didn't have it handy, then I wouldn't be tempted to 'cheat'. 

My birthplan indicated that I wanted skin to skin contact as soon as possible and that I wanted a lactation consultant to visit early to help us get started.  I wanted to do everything I could to make breastfeeding a reality for us. 

Then, thanks primarily to the gestational diabetes, I went through a three day induction that led to a c-section.  Ginny was born at 8:42pm.  Because of the c-section, and Ginny needing to be monitored (for blood sugars) in the Special Care Nursery for a few hours, it wasn't until after midnight that I got to hold her. 

Right away, we got started trying.  But just like getting and staying pregnant, breastfeeding did not come easily.  It wasn't long before my poor wee girl was screaming in frustration and hunger, and I was in tears. 

The problem?  I had nothing to give her. 

I knew that I had strikes against me... obesity, gestational diabetes, being induced, and the c-section... all are things that play a role in how challenging breastfeeding can be.  I had the perfect storm.  But I believed when everyone told me that it would happen, it would just take some work. 

The nurses I had that night tried to show me how to do a football hold, how to express milk manually, and how to use the breast pump.  Nothing worked.  After trying to follow their instructions on how to express milk myself, and not getting anything, one nurse grabbed my already sore bo.ob to show me what I 'was doing wrong'.  After a few agonizing minutes, all I was left with was a feeling of failure, a very bruised bo.ob, and two drops of collostrum. 

A nurse (who was supposed to be THE nurse on the maternity ward... the one who could get any baby to latch and get the process started for even the most challenging case) came to see me the next morning.  She went through everything that the nurses tried the night before, commented on my bruised bo.obs, and watched as I used the pump as I had been shown.  After 15 minutes of pumping, I had less than 5 millileters of milk from ol' Righty and nothing from Lefty.  This guru of the maternity ward just shrugged, said to keep trying, and left. 

Each new nurse I had during my three days after delivery had some sure-fired way to get things to work.  Different holds, different ways to express milk, pump one side at a time, pump both together, feed her through a tube while holding her to my breast, feed her through a tube while she sucks on my finger.  Each one told me something differently.  And on the second night, when I was having a major melt-down, right along with Ginny, one nurse told me that I was being ridiculous and that if I would just relax everything would work the way it was supposed to.  (Sound familiar?)  She said that I should stop starving my daugher, just give Ginny the bottle and in a couple of days, if I wanted to I could try again. 

I caved.  I gave her the bottle.  When we got home, we had nothing to help feed her except a couple of little bottles that came with the pump we rented.  I had to send my Beloved out to get bottles and formula on his own. 

I continued to try to breastfeed, with varying levels of success.  When the public health nurse came by for her routine visit, she set me up with an appointment with a different lactation consultant.  That LC went through the same things that all the other nurses did.  I was put on the highest dose allowed of dom.peridone to increase my milk supply, and following the LC's advice I started taking fenugreek.  I bought and read the La Leche League book (which honestly I found useless and just more damaging emotionally). 

When Ginny was 4 weeks old, things started to improve a bit.  I was pumping constantly, and yes I cried over spilled milk a few times.  At our best, we were down to one bottle of formula a day, along with breast feeding and pumped milk.  I still dreaded every feeding, but at least I felt like it was being productive.  But when Ginny hit her 6 week growth spurt, I just couldn't keep up. 

Our breast feeding saga slowly wound down from there, until my wee girl was three months old, and nursing for five minutes, twice a day.  That was the end. 

Since that time, I have learned a few things. 
  • My bo.obs hardly changed at all during pregnancy.  Other than being sore during the first trimester, they didn't change in shape or size.  This should have been an early sign that things weren't going to be normal.
  • I never experienced 'let down'.  My sister talked about the sensation hurting, especially the first time.  My Beloved's niece-in-law talked about the tingly sensation she experienced whenever her little guy cried.  Other than a few twinges in Righty, I never felt anything.  Another red flag.
  • Women who have dealt with diabetes should really not expect their milk to come in until the latter half of the first week after delivery.  No one told me this, ever.  I found it out on a GD-mommies message board.
  • Fenugreek does not work for women who have (or have had) diabetes.  In fact, it has the opposite effect.  I was working against myself just by taking the herbs. 
  • I'm a large woman.  And those involved parts of my anatomy aren't delicate little flowers, by any stretch.  This made latching hard for Ginny.  Also, big bo.obs do not have anything to do with the amount of milk you have. 
So, given the experience I had last year, will I try breastfeeding this Halfling that I carry now?  Yes, but (and it's a big old BUT) I will have formula in the house.  I won't expect things to work automatically.  I will go easier on myself.  

I have found that I can express a few drops now from either side (Righty is still more productive), but just like last time the girls haven't really changed all that much... they hurt more than they did last time, like a constant premenstrual bo.ob ache.  I hope that these things are signs of good things to come, but I'm trying not to put too much faith in it.   

Breastfeeding is a natural thing, but that certainly doesn't mean it comes naturally. The benefits to mother and child are astounding. But the pressure we put on ourselves or that we allow others to put on us can be detrimental.

Like everything in life, it requires balance and patience.  Oh heavens, it needs patience. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Defining Community

Greetings Humble Readers... I have waffled considerably about writing this post, and while I may not be as eloquent as some, I feel it's important to speak to the issues that have arisen this past week within the ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) community. 

(In an effort to be completely transparent, yes I am parenting after battling IF and RPL.  And yes, I am currently pregnant with what will hopefully be our last Halfling.  This colours my view, just as the past four years have shaped who I am.)

For me, in this whole mess, the ultimate issue comes down, not to who's a parent and who's not, but who we are as a whole.  How do we define community?

Merriam-Webster defines community this way:

com-mu-ni-ty (noun)
  • 1: a unified body of individuals: as
    • a : state, commonwealth
    • b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself
    • c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
    • d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society
    • e : a group linked by a common policy
    • f: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests
    • g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society
  • 2: society at large
  • 3
    • a : joint ownership or participation
    • b : common character : likeness
    • c : social activity : fellowship
    • d : a social state or condition
(emphasis mine)

I think, whether we care to admit it or not, we all crave community.  A place we fit, a place to belong.  A place where we can find others who understand us and share our values or key parts of who we are.  Some fill this craving with diverse circle of friends, extended family, or even strangers who support the same favourite sports team.  For those of us who felt outside our culture because of our struggles to build our families, we found that online. 

As a part of our various interpersonal groups, I think we all hope that we can both give and receive support and fellowship.  Having your voice heard is just as important as hearing others.  

I don't know about you, but there have been many many times when I wish you all lived down the street or around the corner.  I wish I could physically, tangibly offer you support in your trials and celebrate with you in your joys.  I wish I could bring you dinner when I know you've had a rough time.  I wish I could wipe away your tears when you are devastated.  I wish I could share a hug with you when you are victorious. (But as an old friend often reminded me... if wishes and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.) There have been monumental occasions when this community has pulled together in the most astounding ways to provide such support, but logistically, it can't happen on an every day basis. 

So instead, as Mel so wisely says in her intro to ICLW each month... 'comments are the new hug'.  Comments are how we, within the ALI community, show our support and provide feedback to our community. 

How can we as the ALI community continue to support each other, even when our circumstances change?  Does someone choosing life without children after IF or those parenting after IF need less support than someone who is still in the trenches?  Are they in too different a place to reasonably expect that the friendships forged over months and years of cycles, treatments, losses, and hard choices can continue?  And is looking for a community within a community a bad thing?

Relationships, within any community, grow and change.  This is a universal truth.  People will inherently seek out those who are like themselves in some way.  But does that negate their previous relationships? 

How do you define community?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: All Thumbs

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  Here on the flatland, things are sloppy and slushy.  We had a big dump of snow last weekend, and now it's melting like mad.  We can't park in our building's lot because it's off the back lane, and the lane is a swamp at the moment.  But hopefully tomorrow's unseasonally high temps will help dry things up a bit (who am I kidding???).

My chiropractor is a genius.  My back has actually been feeling pretty good this week, no major issues.  But, as I mentioned in yesterday's weekly update... I think I might have tendonitis in my thumbs.  Seriously, you don't know how much you use your thumbs until they are killer sore.  I mentioned my sore thumbs at my appointment today, and he managed to not only adjust them, but I was actually feeling a lot better.  They are starting to ache a little right now, but I'm hopeful that with continued adjustments they won't get any worse. 

I used my body pillow for the first time this pregnancy last night.  I used it a lot last time because my back and hips were so sore from being on my feet all day at work.  I have to say, I had quite possibly the best night's sleep I've had in months.  Most nights, even good nights, I end up tossing and turning quite a bit, but last night, I didn't move one iota.  I woke up in the exact same position as when I fell asleep.  It was great!  The only drawback was that my one arm was completely asleep, from my fingertips to my shoulder from sleeping on it. 

Ginny managed to break a couple of the locks we had on the lower kitchen cupboards.  When we bought replacements, we bought a different style of lock... that proved absolutely impossible for both my Beloved and I to figure out.  Seriously, we could get it on the cupboard knobs, but we couldn't get back into the cupboard without much foul language and pain in our fingertips from trying to get the stupid thing to slide.  Needless to say, when I finally got the stupid thing unlocked, the contraption went straight into the garbage.  Now I'm playing a fake out game with Ginny... every day I switch one of the remaining locks we have back and forth between the tupperware cupboard and the pots/pans cupboard. 

It's been a year since my Beloved went to audition for Jeopardy.  We're trying not to give up hope that he will get called to be a contestant, but time is running out.  Although, with our luck, he'll get the call and be expected down there in May.  Whatever happens, I think we'll both be doing the online test next year. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ultrasound Report & Baby Names

Good Evening Humble Readers...

The ultrasound went okay today. 

I actually did alright with the amount of water I had to drink.  It's always delicate balancing act... enough water early enough so that the tech can do their job, but not so much so early that I'm in agony while they do the scan. 

Why in the world do they tell you to have finished drinking your water an hour before your appointment?  That's when I started drinking my water, and I had 8oz less than what they 'require', and I was still feeling my back teeth floating about halfway through the scan.

One funny moment... the technician asked me to go and empty my bladder 'by about half' because she was having some problems seeing the placenta.  I'm sure I looked at her like she had two heads.  By about half?!?!?  Who the hell can do that?  I can't do that on my best non-pregnant day.  When I gotta go, there ain't no stopping the flood waters.  As a result, I don't know if she was able to get a clear look at the placenta or not, so this may have been yet another 'inconclusive' scan. 


(As an aside, I was fully prepared for the tech to have to do an internal scan.  And as much as I dislike 'Wanda' I would rather that she have done that and get a conclusive answer about where the placenta is situated.  Oh well.)

We didn't get any new pics of the Halfling, and we didn't get to see much when the tech turned the screen our way (we saw the skull, the heart, the spine, one arm and one leg).  Even so, my mood did improve a bit after the scan was done.  I think it was just a relief to see him/her, and presumably all is well.  I'll be calling Dr. W's office on Friday to get the low down.  I expect, if the tech wasn't able to get the info she needed, that I'll be going back to the medical imaging center in another couple of weeks.

You may remember that I have had our children's names chosen for quite some time.  At least their first names.  I graciously let my Beloved choose the middle names (*snicker* as if I haven't vetoed some of his suggestions).  I have some pretty strict criteria for our kids' names...
  1. They will be gender specific.  (both my Beloved and I have gender abiguous names, and it has caused no ends of problems for both of us all our lives)
  2. They will not have bizarre spellings.  (I remember trying to find keychains and other personalized items as a kid and never being able to find things for girls with my name and spelling.)
  3. They will be old-fashioned sorts of names, not anything terribly trendy. (I was always one of at least three people in my elementary school with my name.  I hated being referred to by my last initial.  Even in my Beloved's family, they always add my middle name when referring to me, as I share my name with one of my BILs.)
  4. They will start with a vowel.  (Just a personal preference)
So, obviously, for those who are newer around the hobbit-hole, Ginny's real name isn't Ginny (if you go back to the post on November 27, 2010 you can find her name).  Our angel babies... Emily Hope and Olivia Noelle were named just before their names became super popular, but they had been in my heart for a long time. 

Why do I mention all this now? 

Well, we've had our names for this Halfling set in our minds for well over a year (the boy's name was actually chosen several years ago).  Earlier in this pregnancy, a rather big name celebrity used one of my chosen names.  Until then, I hadn't heard of anyone using that particular name in quite some time.  Now it's popping up on tv shows (character names).  I'm afraid that it's going to be a trendy name in the next couple of years.  On top of that, I just recently saw the list of last year's most popular names in Alberta... and our other name is now in the top 25. 

Okay, I know I'm being ridiculous.  I should just name this Halfling whatever I want, and not care about how many other kids have the same name.  But it bugs me just a bit. 

Yes, I know I'm neurotic.  Forgive me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 29: Chicken or Egg Situation

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Fair warning... your friendly neighbourhood hobbit is in a pretty lousy head-space right now.  If I weren't pregnant, I would totally think I was PMS-ing (chocolate cravings and all). 

My blood sugars have been wonky, and I've been feeling like a weepy-angry-biotch-on-wheels.  The kicker is I know that my emotional state affects my blood sugar numbers in a bad way, and I know that my blood sugars (when out of whack) can wreak havoc on my emotions.  Oh yeah, and throw in stress-induced IBS flares...  Fun times! 

Seriously, I've constantly been on the verge of tears for two days.  I have got to get past this...

On to the update...

How far along? 29w0d (only 9 weeks to go!! HOLY CRAP!)

Maternity clothes? Absolutely

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks, NEW THIS WEEK: increased clumsiness, tendonitis in my thumbs?

Sleep? Some nights it's been great, other's not so much.  On the days when I've had I decent night's sleep, I can actually get by without any naps.  That's a pretty great development, if you ask me.

Intense Dreams? I've still been dreaming a lot, but nothing tops that dream about my mom being pregnant.

Best moment this week? Ginny is developing a serious sense of humour, which is a tremendous blessing just now.

Worst moment? In the grand scheme of things, nothing truly earth shattering. 

Movement? Heck ya.  Although I'm really beginning to doubt that this child is ever going to turn vertical.  I get little hints that maybe it's going to happen, but then he/she is right back to trying to press my hips apart. 

Food cravings/aversions? Sweets, chocolate

Rings? Still on... huh?

Gender? Still thinking she's a she.  It's going to be really hard to stick to my guns and not ask at my ultrasound tomorrow.

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones (they're back!), low lying placenta, low iron.

What I miss? being able to get up from the couch without looking/feeling like a beached whale

What I look forward to?  Seeing the halfling tomorrow and getting a definitive answer about the possible placenta previa (the tech likely won't tell me, but I'll be able to call Dr. W's office on Friday and find out)

Emotional State?  Pretty much all over the place.  See above...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baloney Sandwiches!!!

Hi Humble Readers...

Are you familiar with that card game, "Bullsh!t"?  Where you basically lie about what cards you are laying down, in hopes that no one calls you one it... it's sometimes called "Cheat", and in my church youth group (many many moons ago) it was called "Baloney Sandwiches". 

Well, today I'm calling it... on our community.  Yes, ALI sisters, I'm talking to you. 

You see, there's a big flap that's developed about the creation of the PAIL (parenting/pregnant after infertility or loss) blogroll.  Words like 'clique-ish', 'exclusionary', and 'exclusive' are being thrown around and I am starting to get frustrated and angry.   And you know what?  I'm hurt that I, and many others, are being accused of actions and intentions that were never a part of why I signed up on the PAIL list. 

PAIL was, as I understand it, set up to meet a need.  A need that some bloggers are responding to.  It's a place for those of us who are parenting after battling with infertility and loss can connect with others who are in this same boat.  Yes, there is a Parenting After IF section on the ALI blogroll, but does that mean that there can't be two?  Is there only one giant foodie blogroll out there?  (And if there is, why haven't I found it yet?)  Is there only one political blogroll?  What about wanna-be hobbits?  Is there a blogroll out there for us?  Would I have to 'resign my membership' in the ALI community if I joined one of these other blogrolls?

How many times have you read on a post-pregnancy-successful-delivery blog, "I don't know where I fit.  I'm still an IFer, but I don't feel like I can blog about my baby"?  Or, "IF will always be a part of who I am, but I'm moving on, and so I'm closing this blog"?  I read it at least once a week, and lately it seems like it's been even more often than that.  And I know I've said the same or similar.  Heck, I have even very consciously limited the number of times each month I post pics of Ginny, out of respect for those who might find it hard to see. 

The reality is, this community thrives on the struggle, on the battle.  And when one of us 'wins' our battle, yes there are cheers of victory from every corner of the blogosphere.  But two weeks later... when the new mommy needs/craves the connections that she has built over the last months and years, and her readers have dwindled to just a handful?

Who's there then?  Who's being exclusive? 

And when we (being new mommy/IF bloggers) sign up for things like ICLW, and hardly anyone visits... who's being clique-ish then? 

I am very sorry that feelings have been hurt (and I am CERTAIN that it was not done maliciously or with the intent to hurt), on both sides of this situation.  In hindsight (which is ALWAYS perfect), someone who felt this need should have stepped forward and said "Hey, we're here too, and we need something a little different.  How can we make this work?".  And honestly, I'm kicking myself for not thinking of asking sooner.  But it didn't happen that way, so now we're all playing catch up.  How can we be proactive rather than reactive?

Instead of throwing mud at each other, and saying awful things about people you don't know, why don't we work together to come up with a solution that can bring unity? 

Do you have any thoughts on this?  How can we make the ALI community more inclusive?  How can those of us parenting after IF still feel a part of this community and not feel abandoned? 

I have sat here staring at this post for close to a half hour now, wondering if I should actually hit the 'publish post' button.  I'm going to piss people off, I'm prepared for that.  I'm afraid of causing even more division.  But this is my blog, and this is what I'm thinking and feeling... so here's goes everything...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Weekend Recap

Howdy Humble Readers...

Well, we ended up having a relatively unproductive weekend.  Friday night ended up being a write-off for me in terms of sleep (I have been dealing with stuffy sinuses at night and it makes sleeping very challenging).  I dozed off finally some time after four in the morning, and Ginny decided that 5am would be a great time to wake up (I think she actually had a nightmare, but timing's a biotch!).  She dozed off again around 6, I got less than three hours sleep.  Ugh.  It made for a completely wasted Saturday.  I ended up having to send my Beloved to do the grocery shopping on his own and didn't take a shower until four in the afternoon. 

One funny thing from Saturday... I took a nap while Ginny was napping, and I had a bizarre dream about my mom being 7 weeks pregnant right now.  Particularly crazy as she had a hysterectomy more than 20 years ago.  I told her about the dream when I called to wish her a happy birthday last night, and I don't know if it was the wine she had with dinner, but she thought it was the funniest thing she ever heard. 

I seem to be a walking mess of minor injuries.  I'm nursing a bit of a goose-egg on my forehead.  On Friday, Ginny decided that she no longer wanted to sit on my lap, and threw herself backward rather unexpectedly.  I can safely say that she no longer has a soft spot on her skull.  Ouch!!!  I've burned myself in the kitchen more times in the last week than I have in the last six months.  I think I have tendonitis in my right thumb (and of course I'm right handed, so that makes all kinds of things a challenge).  And, oh yeah, I think I wrenched my back/hip a bit... I've had a stitch in my side for the last 24 hours.  I'm a mess, I tell ya!

If you've been here a while, you know that I had challenges with breastfeeding Ginny.  Granted I had a lot of strikes against me (being obese, GD, a failed induction, c-section), but I still had some pretty high expectations of myself, and ended up really beating myself up about it when I finally gave up after three months.  I totally get that 'the breast is best', but for some women, it just doesn't always work the way it should.  Soooo, when I read this article the other day I almost jumped out of my skin in anger and frustration.  Apparently the La Leche League in New Zealand is so powerful, that it has forced changes to a national non-smoking ad campaign, all because it shows a dad bottle feeding his child!  I was just completely flabbergasted.  The commercial wasn't to promote a brand of baby formula or bottles.  IT WAS TO PROMOTE HEALTHY LIVING!!  And somehow the sight of a father feeding his child was so offensive and controversial that it had to be removed from the ad campaign.   (ok, rant over)

Confession time... I love America's Got Talent.  Love it.  So, of course, I am now watching Canada's Got Talent (a shameless rip off, of course).  I love the good, the bad, and the truly terrible.  But, I have to ask... what is the deal with people sticking strange things up their noses in the name of entertainment?  I just don't get it!  :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Puff Pastry Appies

Hi Humble Readers...

Any big plans for the weekend?  Are you doing chores or are you having fun?  So far there's not much on our agenda for the weekend, but that might change if I find some motivation.  Grocery shopping and church (and our annual meeting... ugh) are a given, other than that I don't know yet. 

Last weekend we watched the Oscars.  I LOVE watching the Oscars.  And historically, I try to see as many of the nominated films as possible, particularly in the Best Picture category (this year I only got around to seeing one... bad Mrs. Gamgee!).  And every year I make a variety of appetizers as dinner, so that we can munch as we watch.  

And as much as I love watching the Oscars, I LUUURRRVE me some appetizers.  Originally, when my Beloved and I got married, I wanted our reception to be all appetizers (which my mother quickly vetoed).  When we go out to a 'real' restaurant, I always drool over the appie menu. 

My absolute favourites are chicken wings, but for this year's Oscar night I wanted something new and a little different.  So the menu for the evening included a couple of old stand-bys (nachos and veggies with hummus... both fairly straight forward) and a couple of new-ish ideas. 

First up, I did a variation on some chicken turn-overs that I've made in the past.  This recipe calls for puff pastry, and as I have stated before... pastry makes me nervous.  So nervous, in fact, that I have never attempted to make it myself, I just buy the frozen stuff.  And you know what?  I think that's just fine... it works great and tastes good too. 

Creamy Pesto Chicken Puffs

2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
2 oz cream cheese (about 1/4 of a brick), softened
1 generous tbsp of basil pesto
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it's about one foot square.  Using a sharp knife, cut puff pastry into 16 equal squares.  Combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, and pesto in a bowl, and divide between the squares of pastry.  Carefully fold pastry over filling, corner to corner to create triangles.  You may need to use a touch of water to help the pastry seal together.  Lay out on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush lightly with beaten egg, and bake for 20-22 minutes in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown.

Baked Crab Rangoon Puffs  (adapted from Big Red Kitchen)

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 oz cream cheese (about half a brick), softened
1/3 cup mayo
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 can crab meat (about 6 oz, I think)
1 egg, beaten
Sweet Chili Sauce

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, to about one foot square.  Using a sharp knife, cut pastry into 20 equally sized squares.  Combine cream cheese, mayo, garlic, and green onion, and blend until smooth.  Gently fold in crab meat.  Transfer mixture to a piping bag (I used a zip-top bag, and cut a corner off), and draw a line of the filling down the center of each pastry square.  Carefully fold pastry over filling as you would fold a burrito (fold in sides, then roll bottom to top.  They were about the size of my pinky finger before baking), and lay out seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Lightly brush with egg, and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20-22 minutes, until golden.  Serve with sweet chili sauce for dipping. 

I hope you give these a try the next time you need some yummy appies.  They are a little bit fiddly to make because they are so small, but the finished product is worth it!  (And if you do happen to have any left over, they reheat really nicely in the microwave the next day)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

100 Ways To Encourage A New Mom

Hey Humble Readers...

I confess that I spend waaaaaay too much time on Pinterest. 

It's an addiction.

But sometimes it's an addiction pays off. 

I just came across this post from GypsyMama about how to encourage a new mom, and I have to say I was practically in tears as I read it. 
  1. Fold her laundry – especially all the socks
  2. Leave immediately when the baby falls asleep so she can nap
  3. Bring chocolate
  4. Don’t tell her to call if she needs anything, just drop by and help with everything
  5. Take the big kids out for a play date
  6. Tell her she’s a hero
  7. Bring her food in disposable dishes so she doesn’t have to deal with washing or returning them
  8. Don’t tell her to carpe diem (and don't tell an IFer that 'this is what she wanted for so long')
  9. Cry with her
  10. Laugh with her
  11. Share details of what you love about her baby
  12. Watch "Up All Night" with her
  13. Don’t tidy your house before she comes over to visit – it doesn’t help her to think you have it all together
  14. Tell her a day will come when she will sleep again
  15. Make her a 2am nursing station on Pandora
  16. Email her a bunch of fun deals links she can surf while nursing
  17. Make sure she’s actually in 1 out of every 1,000 photos she’s taking (I wish I had someone who did this for me last year)
  18. Take candid pictures of her in the new daily routine
  19. Bring diapers when you visit
  20. Offer to drive her on errands and stay in the car with the baby
  21. Be honest about how hard motherhood can be
  22. Text her encouraging messages throughout the day
  23. Come over and hold the baby so she can have her arms back for a while to do chores or cook or catch up on anything that’s driving her crazy
  24. Tell her to keep her phone on vibrate so you can call without being “that person who woke the baby.”
  25. Don’t let her become isolated in the baby cocoon – invite her and the baby out so she can reconnect with friends
  26. Never expect her to show up anywhere on time
  27. Bring her lip gloss (or chapstick!!!)
  28. Massage her neck and shoulders
  29. Run her a hot bath
  30. Don’t imply that breast feeding should be a breezy walk in the park; let her know it’s normal to struggle sometimes getting the hang of it
  31. If she chooses to go the bottle route, please let her do so guilt free
  32. She is just discovering the hard world of mother guilt – please don’t do or say anything to add to that burden
  33. Don’t share any horror stories related to motherhood
  34. Protect her from turning on the news in her first few weeks of being home
  35. Vacuum
  36. Bring fresh flowers
  37. Take out any dried up bouquets
  38. Paint her toe nails
  39. Tell her she’s beautiful
  40. Don’t tell her by now your kids were all sleeping through the night
  41. Especially if by “sleeping through the night” you mean from 1am to 5am.
  42. Remember that your memories of new motherhood have the romantic haze of distance
  43. Wash her dishes without being asked
  44. If you come over for a meal, please bring the meal and then clean it all up afterwards
  45. Let her know it’s normal to stand hunched over a sleeping baby just listening to them breathe
  46. Anytime she is disappointed by her new figure remind her that she grew a human being – that’s a miracle and turns out miracles need room to grow
  47. Don’t bring over any magazines that feature celebrities in swimsuits 6 weeks after giving birth
  48. Ask her what the one chore is around the house she wishes she could get to and do it for her
  49. Always bring your camera when you visit
  50. Print and frame one of the zillion photos she emails of the baby; include baby’s name and birth date {it blew me away when my friends did this for me!}
  51. Bring toys/games over for the older kids when you visit
  52. Tell her it’s OK to feel like you want to quit motherhood some days
  53. But tell her that Trace Adkins is right and she’s gonna miss this one day
  54. Don’t just make a hand print of the baby – make one of mom and/or dad’s too for a fun comparison keepsake
  55. Bring her a Memory Keeper Box for that hospital bracelet, first lock, or even those first few pairs of shoes or favorite toys
  56. If she has to go back to work, assure her God will be watching over that precious baby. She is brave if she gets up while it is still dark to provide for her family
  57. Tell her pizza covers all the food groups
  58. Hold the baby so she can get a shower
  59. Bring over the Pride and Prejudice (BBC Series) boxed set for all those dinner {for the baby} and a movie {for her} months
  60. Ask her which baby items she still needs – get her those instead of the cute clothes you have your eye on
  61. Assure her you understand that while she might know that she’s walking on holy ground, that doesn’t mean she won’t still feel irritated how often that ground is strewn with cracker crumbs and yesterday’s socks (This is especially true for IFers!)
  62. Admit motherhood is one of the hardest things you’ve ever done
  63. Go ahead and quote that goodie-but-oldie, “It’s not brave if you’re not scared.” {Thank you Ben Affleck}
  64. Warn her everyone will have an opinion on how she mothers but at the end of the day, hers is the only one that matters
  65. Assure her motherhood is not graded; some days just surviving is victory enough
  66. Tell her that drive-throughs are the best friends of mothers-with-sleeping-babies everywhere
  67. Keep a pack of Thank You Cards handy in case she freaks out late one night that she hasn’t thanked anyone for all the meals
  68. Never expect a thank you card from a sleep deprived new mom
  69. Tell her there is no such thing as “doing it all.” And especially no such thing as “doing it all perfectly.”
  70. Reassure her that sometimes the love and happiness in a home is directly proportional to the mess.
  71. Send a special prayer, encouragement or blessing addressed to the baby via snail mail
  72. Turn the music up and dance with her and the baby
  73. Suggest that the greatest Pandora station for soothing baby music that mama can also love has to be “Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles
  74. Take her (and the baby) for a walk
  75. Stock her fridge with necessities anytime you come over – like milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, ice cream etc – in case she isn’t up for grocery shopping
  76. Watch the baby for her while she goes grocery shopping
  77. Suggest she spend 15 extra minutes just reading in the magazine aisle
  78. Tell her it’s normal to be be smitten with newborn love one minute and weeping with tired the next
  79. Encourage her that a content household is rarely ever a perfect one
  80. Remember to always be kind to the mom on your flight
  81. Bring a goodie bag over for the new mom and not just the baby when you come to visit
  82. If you’re too far to bring over a meal, tell her dinner from her favorite delivery place is on you
  83. Tell her there’s no shame in cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  84. Make up midnight snacks for her to grab when she’s up feeding the baby
  85. Tell her not every photo needs to be perfect – sometimes the closer to real life, the better
  86. Give her the The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood for when she needs to laugh
  87. Give her Devotions for Sacred Parenting: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Parents for when she needs to be inspired
  88. Tell her matching socks are highly overrated
  89. Wash the baby bottles for her
  90. Tell her not to sweat store bought baby food, disposable diapers or pacifiers - whatever works, works
  91. Reassure her that perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land
  92. Tell her motherhood should come with a super hero cape, a really cute one with sparkles
  93. Buy her sparkly nail polish
  94. Tell her not to sweat everything Pinterest tells her she should be doing, baking, making and crafting for the baby
  95. Encourage her to embrace PJ days – even if they last for weeks
  96. Encourage her also to go spend two glorious hours at the hair dresser while you watch the baby
  97. Tell her about all the women who did all these things for you
  98. Assure her that just passing along the encouragement one day is thank you enough
  99. Remind her it’s the ordinary days that make the extraordinary memories
  100. Promise her it will just keep getting better
I so wish I would have seen this list ages and ages ago.  While I had a few people in my life who did some of these things for me, but just reading this list was like cool water for my soul. 

I hope I will always remember these things.  For myself, and to pass on to others.