Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Over the River...Yada yada

The Extended Ochoa family is descending...upon our house for Christmas. We've decided that last year was such a blast, we oughta do it again. As usual during the holidays, I also have a brisk schedule at work to keep up with. So, faced with providing a large amount of food for a good-sized group of people over a several day stretch, I've decided to adhere to the Julia Child principle of using liberal amounts of butter to ensure everything comes out tasting well. In fact, my menu has a little Julia, a little Alton (Brown that is) and a lot of Pioneer Woman, my go-to people when it comes to cooking. And, hopefully, a little Lauren too. I like to stick with things I've made before at times like these, but add a few things that I've never attempted to keep it interesting.
I had my first physical exam by my primary doctor since before I got pregnant with Sofia and Dr. Akey told me I looked, "exactly the same" as before I got pregnant and that she wouldn't believe that I had birthed two kids in the past two years if I hadn't told her. I made Hugo go and have a physical with Dr. Akey as well, and he got to have his first prostate exam. Hardy har har. I got a real giggle over that one. Plus, I don't know if Hugo knows this yet, but I told EVERYONE at the hospital about it. They all shook their heads and wondered how such a nice guy (Hugo) ever got mixed up with such a messed up chick (me). Something about me though....he seems to enjoy my company.
I went out the floor to respond to a code the other night. The in-house doctor never showed, so I went ahead and had the lady intubated and transferred her to the unit. When the doctor finally showed up (he apparently did not hear the code called) he was told by Amy that Dr. Ochoa took care of it for him. I responded that I wasn't a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Haha. I've been waiting a long time to use that line. I finally got the perfect chance.
In terms of Christmas shopping, I'm finished. Hugo and I each have Secret Santa presents to buy for one of his family members (we did the name pull thing) and we took care of that early on. We got a little gift for each of the two kids that are coming (Sebastian and Santiago) and one for each other (we weren't going to buy for each other this year but Hugo got a Christmas bonus so we split it and used it to get each other one present). Everyone keeps asking me what I got for Sofia and Fiona. Umm, nothing. Yeah, that's right. I said nothing. Anyone gotta problem with that? One of my patients actually accused me of being a bad Christian when I told him that. He told me that if we accept the validity of Christmas as a Christian holiday, we are required to buy presents for our children so they will grow up with an understanding of God's love. Hmmmm. I'm not a theologian, but that doesn't quite jive for me. I didn't bother informing him that according to my dad, the whole Christmas thing started out as a pagan holiday. Didn't want to give the guy his second massive MI in one day. First of all, Fiona's wants are pretty easy to satisfy at this point in time. It involves a part of my anatomy being in her mouth and pretty much everything else is just an unwanted distraction anyway, so... Sofia is a little more interested in the toy thing, but I'm guessing that the few presents she is getting from others will sufficiently amuse and entertain her without me going out and buying a bunch of plastic things from China to add to the mix. Don't worry, I'm not about to move to a commune in the desert of anything.
So Christmas tidings around here are a pleasant mix of family togetherness, hospital happenings and prostate exams. Haha. My combined 18 months of torture at the hands of the medical community (AKA pregnancy) means I get to make fun of Hugo as much as I want about his prostate exam. He accepts that. I think.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fiona (Ms. Fortune)

Fiona has had a rough past couple of weeks. Last week it was RSV. She got so sick she had to be admitted to the Big Shands pediatric floor. That was compliments of her big sis, who brought this lovely virus home from daycare. I was none too pleased and Sofia will be hanging out at home with the babysitter from now on rather than going to that petri dish known as daycare anymore.

Fiona came through the illness swimmingly though and is now back on track, gaining weight, smiling, laughing (she laughed at Hugo for the first time yesterday) and looking as cute as is humanly (or ogrely) possible. We refer to her as our little ogre, since she shares a name with Shrek's true love, Princess Fiona.

Yesterday I took her and Sofia to the park to meet up with Carol and Grant. Carol is a friend I met through the postpartum luncheon at the hospital; she had Grant the same week I had Sofia. We get together occasionally for playdates. We hadn't seen each other in a long time, so we were gabbing and catching up while Sofia and Grant whirled around happily on the merry go round. Fiona was hanging out in my arms, drooling all over herself and acting like the two and a half month old she is.

All of a sudden I heard a "Thunk!" noise and after a second, Fiona started crying as though her heart would break. I never saw it but all I can surmise is that the wind blew a pinecone off the trees and it fell on Fiona's poor wee little head. She quickly developed an angry red mark with a scrape in the middle that bled. The poor thing just can't catch a break! First the unfair advances of a nasty cold virus, then an attack by a tree. I felt terrible, but how can you plan for such things? I think she takes after her mom. I was the unlucky recipiant of many such poor circumstantial accidents as a child.

All I can hope is that things get better from here. Sofia, bless her heart, has had to deal with accidents that were a result of her parents' collective inexperience with the care and protection of babies. Luckily, we've learned many hard lessons through her infancy and are doing much better this time around. I haven't walked Fiona's head into the doorway once.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pictures! Pictures!

This was less than a week before Fiona arrived. As you can see, I was about ready to pop.

This is a gross picture. However, it is notable for several reasons.
1. I was in labor and less than 8 hours away from giving birth to my second child.
2. I had Mcdonald's the day before Sofia was born too. And I RARELY eat Mcdonald's. We should post a warning on the label..."FDA WARNING: Women have been known to poop out babies as a result of eating this processed, sodium ridden, highly caloric junk.
3. It was Sofia's first Happy Meal. She is still playing with the stupid arm bangles that came with it a month and a half later.

Oh yeah, I was contracting every 8 minutes or so and I still had a smile on. How Duggar of me!

Sofia at the park. Wierd shot, but there's something about it I like.

Peekaboo! That one never gets old.

Awwwwe, what a cute daddy!

Gawd, I wish my parents would quit starting fires and setting off the fire alarm... I'm exhausted!

Luckily, the markers I bought are washable.

Something about that high chair. She always needs a full on bath after spending a little time in it.

Fiona was 3 days old here. We went over to Keith and Rondai's and Hugo took Sofia in the pool.

Doctor Mas graciously agreed to pose with her two favorite little patients (at least they better be...)

Sofia is wearing her "Big Sisters are the Coolest" shirt proudly.

Fiona looks like Maggie from the Simpsons here, doesn't she?

This is what happens when computer programmers become GUITAR HEROES!!! I think he forgot to remove his pocket protector...

The wammy bar requires extra concentration.

Sofia is every daddy's favorite groupy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fiona's First Two Weeks

Well, its been two weeks and Fiona is doing fabulously. She has taken to breastfeeding in a big way and is subsequently gaining weight at a fast clip. Hugo is off work for another week and having him at home with me has been a big help. He's gotten really good at staring disapprovingly at me whenever I pick Sofia up. I can't help it though. She's still a baby. She needs her mom and she's used to being carried by me. I did it through 9 months of pregnancy, as awkward and uncomfortable as it may have been at times and I can't stop now, just because my uterus might prolapse and I might suffer from life-long incontinance as a result.

Today I had my first glimpse of what life will be like after Hugo returns to work. He had gone out to return a movie and gas up the car and I was home alone with the girls. Both were sound asleep when he left. No sooner had he gone then both woke up and started crying. Sofia was crying because she's cutting a tooth and suffering from a terrible cold/ear infection/possibly swine flu right now. Fiona was crying because she's a newborn baby and when she wakes up she expects a boob to be immediately thrust into her mouth. I was torn. Sofia needed me more for emotional reasons, while Fiona needed her physical needs met. Was I to ignore Sofia's needs simply because Maslow's hierarchy of need pyramid places food and shelter needs above love and belonging needs in terms of importance? I couldn't do it. I ended up stacking the two of them on my lap, Sofia sprawled across my lap with a bottle, and Fiona held just above her so she would have access to my maternal food-providing equipment. At this point, I realized that its a really good thing I like my couch, because it looks like I'm going to spend a lot of time parked on it for the next 6 months or so. Hugo said he had a similar moment a few mornings ago when the two of them woke up and were hungry and he was trying to let me sleep. He had Sofia in her high chair and was feeding her breakfast while holding Fiona in his lap and giving her a bottle at the same time. Yes, we are both college educated, professional, fairly intelligent human beings. And I am aware that many people before us have succesfully given birth to and parented children in the past. Maybe I am totally melodramatic to even bother writing a blog about how I succesfully breastfed my 2 week old while simultaneously giving a bottle to (and comforting) my 16 month old. Whatever. Its the biggest challenge I've ever taken on. And if I want to make a big thing out of it, I will.

I have also begun to take an assembly-line approach to diaper changing. Between changing diapers and feeding the two of them, I don't see myself getting much else done after Hugo goes back to work. I have said it before and I'll say it again...that Duggar lady is frickin nuts!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Special Delivery

On Friday, at 3:24 am, we welcomed our second child into the world. Finally! I was so happy to be in labor that I hardly believed I was until I heard the magical words from the labor and delivery nurse, "Ok, Dr. Brazzel says he's admitting you". That was around 10:30 on Thursday night. I don't think anyone there would have predicted that I would have a baby before morning, but I did. Once this baby decided she was finally cooked, she didn't waste any time.

Oh yeah! And I had a girl! I was quick to report to the doctor that though we didn't technically know what we were having, I had a very strong feeling that it was a gynormous boy creature whose name would be Wesley. I couldn't even remember the girl name when he asked me. So when Fiona Marie made her debut, in three whole pushes (5 minutes of pushing), weighing 7 pounds and 3 ounces, I was shocked. She really surprised her mommy. I'm still trying to figure out how she managed to kick me in the ribcage for the past 6 months, when she's 2 cm shorter than Sofia was at birth. I never felt Sofia's feet up in that region.

When we arrived on the labor floor, I was giving the unit clerk my information, while panting my way through a contraction, when this dude wearing surgical scrubs who was sitting there listening in asked me if I "take epidurals". "Yes, please, I'll have two." I responded. "As quickly as possible please." He was as good as his word and hooked me up with a great epidural that numbed me up completely. For about an hour. Then, my entire right side wore off and I had to finish up with a left side that was numb and a right side that decidedly wasn't numb, and a right leg that was tingling like crazy because the sensation was trying to come back. Plus I felt my catheter and that was gross. The funny thing is, this exact same phenomenon happened when I had Sofia, so I have to conclude that it must be due to some interesting physiological quirk in my spinal cord that will not allow me to have a completely pain free childbirth experience. I don't care. It was worth it to be pain free for that one hour.

I will spare the gross details of my intrapartum hemorrhage for another day. Suffice it to say that the doctor (who caught the majority of it in his lap) was looking mildly ill over the whole thing. I was too busy oogling my darling little creation to take much notice of the liter or so of blood that rushed out with the placenta. That was the doctor's problem to deal with.

Fiona was born without any of the drama that Sofia came into the world with. No infection, no respiratory issues, no jaundice (so far, fingers crossed). She just kind of plopped out and they wiped her off and wrapped her up in a blanket and handed her to me. Then they all went to the nurses station to take a nap and I was shocked to be left alone with my baby in my arms for the remainder of the night shift. When Sofia was born, I only got to see her for a few minutes and then she was taken away to the special care nursery for hours. Hugo passed out on the couch and I spent the rest of the morning staring in wide eyed disbelief at the bundle in my arms, carefully checking her every few minutes to be sure she was breathing.

She is tiny and perfect and all my pregnancy related sarcasm, frustration and irritability has melted away into a cloud of pillowy marshmallow new motherhood, with whipped cream on top. So enjoy it while it lasts, eh?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

39 Weeks (I can't believe I'm typing this)

Today I am officially 39 weeks pregnant. No I'm not. Actually, I went into labor three nights ago and delivered a healthy 8 pound baby the normal way with no pain medicine. I didn't even have an epidural. My doctor was amazed. I only pushed once. It only took 45 minutes from start to finish. Sofia is changing the baby's diaper as we speak and I am enjoying a much needed post-partum massage while Hugo gets caught up on a few housekeeping activities.
OK, back to reality. I'm still fat and pregnant. I still have cravings (last night it was Twizzlers, which I haven't eaten in years). Hugo is at work. I am trying to deal with contractions (that hurt but not enough to make me think I'm in labor) and take care of Sofia at the same time. We are currently watching Curious George and I'm thinking aobut a vanilla milkshake from McDonalds.
I worked two nights this week and was going to work tonight but my stamina feels like its finally reached its limit. I'm not worried about making it through an entire shift. I'm worried about what will happen if I decide to go into labor at the end of the shift. Is there any precident for a pregnant girl getting to 10 cms and refusing to push because she's tired and needs a nap? I'm not sure, but I have decided that I do not want to know. Stick a fork in me, I am officially done with work.
My doctor is on call this weekend and I have decided that one way or another, I am having a baby this weekend. Do NOT argue with me on this point. People who have had the nerve to argue with me, or say uncool things this week, have found that 3 cms dilated Lauren is a very different creature than her usual docile, easygoing self.
Its 5 oClock. I wonder if its too early to call Hugo and put in my vanilla milkshake order?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

38 Weeks

I'm now in uncharted territory (sort of). Since I had Sofia at 37 and a half weeks, I've never actually been 38 weeks pregnant. I gotta tell ya, its not that much different though. The bladder is scrunched up a little more (increasing my average nightly visits to the restroom by one or two), the stretch marks are looking a little stretchier, and the baby's feet are lodged somewhere up in the region of my ribs.

I bought Sofia a baby doll yesterday to play with, to prepare her for big sisterhood. She loves it. Violently. I'm frightened.

I've stopped counting the number of times I've been told by my co-workers that I've "dropped" since they last saw me. Whatever the hell that means. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't dropped until I've dropped the baby, like its hot, right out of me. Then I'll consider myself to have dropped. Until then, I'm still working and taking care of Sofia and functioning with an 8 or 9 pound bowling ball wedged inside my pelvic bones. Ouch.

This morning I really thought I was going into labor. I was having contractions, they seemed to be getting stronger as time went by, and I was READY. I had Hugo take the baby to daycare on his way to work, so I could focus on going into full-fledged labor, and I set about waiting for the definitive moment to come. It never happened. The contractions petered out and now I don't feel any closer to being in labor than I did 3 days ago. Darn. False alarm. I remember these from last time. Only last time, I went to the hospital several times, thinking I was in labor. Now, having actually been in labor, I won't be so easily fooled.

After my labor dreams went up on smoke today I pulled myself together and took advantage of not having Sofia with me to go and get my nails done. I went to Fancy Nail, this new place in the Publix Plaza near my house. Fancy Nail. Just one. Swear to God Val. It was great. I got a French manicure and my eyebrows waxed for 24 dollars. You can't beat that. I like getting my nails done and everything, but I always feel so gargantuan when I'm sitting there in front of this tiny little Asian person with my mits in her tiny little birdlike hands. Its even worse when I get my toes done. I always wait way too long between pedicures too, so they have to get that heel scraper thing out and shave the dead skin off the bottom of my feet. Its mortifying to see a pile of what looks like very thin potato chips on the floor underneath your feet. They probably lose their appetite for lunch because of me.

So here I am, another week into the pregnancy, waiting and wondering. I can't count down the days, because I don't KNOW how many days it will be, which is maddening. I never thought of myself as an impatient person, but this is just about killing me. I'm trying so hard to be all serene and let nature take its course like I'm sure Mrs. Dugger has done for every one of her 18 and counting kids. But right now, a little bit of Cervidil and some Pitocin amongst friends is starting to sound awfully nice...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 37

Week 37 is a magical time for every pregnant woman. It is the time when the prospect of labor becomes very real and very imminant. Its the special cutoff that marks the time when the doctor stops saying "stop" and starts saying, "go ahead, make my day". There were times when I thought I wasn't going to make it. There were moments of extreme despair when I felt like screaming "Why 40 weeks God? Why?" 40 weeks is, in my opinion (and I realize that I may sound somewhat sacriligous here), just too long.
Anyway, all that is behind me (almost) now. At most I have a month left to go. And believe me, it better not be a month. But even if it is, I think I might be able to do it. My bags are packed, the nursery (ie. my bedroom) is ready and there are several frozen dinners on hold in the freezer. I have an entire arsenal of baby girl clothes ready to go (leftover from Sofia of course) and one lonely newborn boy outfit for the child to wear home if it does indeed turn out to be a baby of the male variety. I'm sort of hoping for a boy, but that might just be because I know it will give me an excuse to go shopping right away if it is. Is that pathetic?
Yesterday Hugo asked me if I've been having any Alfred Hitchcock contractions. I think he meant Braxton-Hicks, but, having experienced a few contractions during Sofia's birth, I think Alfred Hitchcock would be a fine person to name them after. The Birds have nothing on a few good uterine squeezes for horror content. And if the definition of Braxton Hicks is indeed "painless practice contractions that get the uterus ready for labor" than the answer is no. Contractions hurt. All varieties that I have experienced hurt. I have never had one that felt "painless". Anyone who would dare to say that contractions are painless to a pregnant woman is either very brave or very stupid. Which leads me to believe that this Braxton Hicks character was probably a man.
My doctor told me that I looked like a ghost and I better take my iron pills and get my hematocrit up before the baby comes. I told him I was trying out for the new pregnant Twilight movie.
Every time I do any kind of housework, Hugo accuses me of nesting. Now, I realize that for most women, nesting would involve scrubbing floors with a toothbrush, reorganizing the closets and cleaning out the refrigerator. Should I be offended that my husband thinks my loading the dishwasher qualifies as nesting?
Irritability is a common, understandable side-effect of late pregancy. I don't remember being particularly irritable with Sofia, but this time around I sure am. Last week I brought Sofia to the pediatrician for her 15 month visit. There was a stocky little pest of a boy who was a good year older than Sofia who came over to the toy she was playing with and proceeded to begin slamming the little plastic doors on the toy alarmingly close to my darling one's fingers. "Jackson" his mother whined, "don't do that. Play nice with the little girl...". She looked at me with a simpering smile, as if I was supposed to be amused by this. Normally in this situation I would at least attempt to be civil, understanding that children at that age are not capable of exhibiting socially acceptable behavior at all times. But not that day. I got up and snatched Sofia away from the toy and the little boy and said, "Come on Sofia, let's play with a different toy" in a special tone with a stony glare at the other mom. She got the message. Don't mess with the pregnant momma.
And so, I begin this next and final phase of pregnancy with anticipation and a big question mark. When? How? Will my water break spontaneously like last time? Will I have to have a c-section? (I sincerely hope not). Will I get to the hospital in time for my epidural? (I better). Will the baby be born with a tan (ie, jaundice) this time, requiring several painful and emotionally scarring (for me) days under the bilirubin lights? Will I lose so much blood during the delivery that I will have to be intubated, transferred to the ICU, transfused with 20 units of blood products and ultimately rushed to emergency surgery for a hysterectomy? OK, I admit, this is a bizarre thing to wonder about, but ICU nurses only see the bad postpartum patients, so we tend to have a jaundiced (no pun intended) view of the birth process as a result. I've already let my doctor know ahead of time that I'm not that attached to my uterus, so if there's any shananigans after the baby is born, he'll skip the whole 20 units of blood products thing and just proceed directly to the hysterectomy. I need to be alive to take care of the babies I have thanks very much. I'm not one to cry over spilled reproductive organts. And if I wake up on a ventilator in the ICU with sore boobs and a swollen you-know-what, I'm NOT going to be amused.
And of course, the biggest question remaining...pink or blue?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Joys of Pregnancy II

**This post has been certified sarcasm free for your enjoyment.
*** Not really. I don't think I'm capable.
OK, I feel bad for complaining about pregnancy constantly, even if it IS the scourge of my existance. It occurs to me that these next few months may be the last time I'm pregnant for the rest of my life, in which case I'll never get to experience the thrill of incubating a new human life ever again. Other than inspiring me to write a sonnet, go frolicking in a field somewhere and start a maternity clothing bonfire, that thought does make me just a teeny, tiny bit sad. Here are a few of the things I actually do enjoy about being pregnant.

#1: Having my legs shaved for me in the third trimester by my husband. Yes, he does.
#2: Feeling those little flutters and bumps in the night develop into actual baby parts. As in, oops, there's a foot. And I think that might be a shoulder blade or a...butt.
#3: My doctor. He's adorable and we love him. He sings to Sofia, banters in Spanish with Hugo and comes up to me in the hallways at the hospital to rub my belly whenever he sees me.
#4: My belly. Yes, I said my belly. The thing is, it may be extremely rotund right now, but pregnancy is when its at its firmest, believe it or not. A pregnant belly is very different from just a flabby belly.
#5: Taking three hour naps every day and not even having to feel lazy for doing it. I'm really lucky because I have an extremely adaptable 1 year old who has adjusted to my nap schedule quite nicely. She used to take two shorter naps a day and now she lays down with me every day at 11, right after Sesame Street is over, and we don't stir until 2 or so.
#6: Eating. Whatever I want. Whenever I want. I'm very lucky that I haven't had any trouble with pregnancy related diabetes or anything like that. I eat a diet consisting mainly of carbohydrates and fats and the baby seems to be thriving on that. I must have a pancreas and gallbladder made of steel...
#7: For every person out there who has said something unkind, unthoughtful and/or just plain stupid, there are several people who have been supportive and nice to me. I just don't remember what they say as well as I remember the "zingers" thrown at me by the morons. Human nature I suppose.
#8: No pimples. I haven't had a breakout since before I got pregnant. I don't know why, but my face likes being pregnant.
#9: Cinnamon Sugar soft pretzels from Aunty Anne's at the mall. I'm very fortunate to have them in my life.
#10: Maternity leave. I'll get to spend 3 months changing my babies' diapers, cleaning up their messes, feeding them, and pushing them around in strollers instead of doing all those things for my patients. With a little luck, there'll be no enemas. Although everyone who knows me knows there's nothing I enjoy more than a good enema. For my patients, not for me.
#11: I could round this out by saying something like, being treated like a princess by my wonderful Hugo, but let's face it. He's always treated me like a princess and pregnancy is no exception. He tolerates with good nature the 325 dollar electric bill (have I mentioned that my internal thermostat is set on "furnace" and its frickin hot in Florida?), my inability to perform routine hygiene activities (like shaving my own legs), my constant lamentations over stretch marks and weight gain, my middle of the night screechings when I wake up to a wicked Charley Horse in my calf, and my fluctuating ability to provide meals on a regular basis when he gets home from work. Pregnancy is no picnic for him either, but now that he's seen what it results in (Sofia) he's hooked. In fact, he mentioned yesterday something about wanting at least 4 more. At which point I laughed hysterically and advised him to start looking for a surrogate. I hear Octomom's available.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The joys of pregnancy

My second pregnancy (coming so fast on the heels of my first) has brought back so many wonderful memories of stuff that I had blocked out for my own emotional and psychological well-being. Not to mention some new experiences that are no doubt exclusive to the repeat pregnancy offender.
First of all, I had forgotten how much fun it is to be in the grocery store, with a cart full of stuff and have to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. No doubt I didn't block this memory out from the last pregnancy; its just that having to dash into the Publix restroom, leaving my cart full of stuff outside the door, while being inconvenient and slightly embarassing, was not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Now when it happens though, I have a 13 month old in the cart and have to furiously struggle to release her from the seatbelt (which I have to use on her since one of her favorite things to do these days is get into a standing position in the grocery cart, thereby giving me and those in the immediate vacinity a heart attack of the very first order), yank her out of the thing and take her into the bathroom with me, get my fat pregnant girl pants down while holding her and then...ahem, do my business with an inquisitive and slightly talkative toddler in my lap. Fun. Worthy of run-on sentences fun, I tell ya.
Another thing that I didn't get to experience the first time around was the discussion about the dreaded pregnancy belt with my doctor. I'm not sure if this little chat is typically reserved for the second time around or if I just lucked out the first time since my doctor is a guy and pretty much doesn't think about stuff like abdominal girthiness and the stressing out of the "natural girdle muscles" of the abodminal region. I saw a different doctor for my last visit since my own doctor was out of town and it was a girl doctor. She spent 20 minutes, with Hugo in the room, describing the necessity of getting a good maternity belt to support the sagging abdominal muscles. The description, though apt, of my medial region, was enough to send even the most stallwart of gestating females into paroxisms of "why didn't I do more crunches during the 5 minutes that I wasn't pregnant" lamentations. Hugo offered to take me maternity belt shopping that weekend. I still haven't taken him up on his offer. If I pretend my abdominal musculature doesn't exist, ...
Another joy that I think is actually a unique experience for me alone is the nosebleeds. For some reason, I get nosebleeds during pregnancy. It happened last time with Sofia. The nosebleed always emanated from the left nostril for that pregnancy and for this one, it always emanates from the right one. This has prompted the helpful speculation of my doctor that this must mean I'm having a boy. Other than making meaningful remarks such as this, my doctor has been fairly useless in dealing with this problem. Since they aren't being caused by hypertension, they really don't concern him too much. Imagine if you will, being at home alone with a small child. The small child falls down, hurts herself, and requires maternal comforting and cuddling. At the same time, the mother's nose starts spurting blood. It always happens at a most convenient time like this. The mother is then trying to awkwardly (is any action not akward when one is in the third trimester?) hold and comfort the small child while holding a tissue to her nose and a bag of frozen peas to her neck (for some reason it helps to stop the bleeding). This wasn't addressed in "What to Expect When You're Expecting". Not even the most recent edition, which features a much-updated picture of a pregnant woman wearing sassy maternity jeans rather than the previous one that shows her wearing a floral maternity dress,the likes of which has not been worn by any non-Duggers in the last 20 years.
There are many other fun things I could talk about. Such as, when people at work ask me when I'm due and I tell them and they act, well, clearly horrified. As in, "You're not due till OCTOBER?!" That's a real self-esteem booster I tell ya. And a word to the wise; It is NEVER appropriate to ask a pregnant woman if she is expecting multiples. This is on par with the faux pas of asking a non-pregnant woman if she is expecting. It doesn't matter if the woman in question is Kate and her abdomen protrudes out so far that she clearly has a litter of children in there...DO NOT DO IT. The only appropriate thing to say about a pregnant woman's size is, "Oh my goodness, you don't even look pregnant from behind." Even when we are lumbering along like a mack truck with a double load, we love to hear that our posterior hasn't totally kept up with the growth going on out front. Even if we know its a lie. Honesty is extremely over-rated when it comes to pregnancy.
To be fair, I imagine that the questions, comments and observations that I get to endure on a nightly basis at work are worst then they would be for someone who worked, say, in an office or something. Someone with an office job would work with the same people every day, and presumably, after some initial curiosity and interest, everyone would eventually get tired of talking about so and so's ever-expanding abdominal region and move on to something else for the remainder of the pregnancy. Not so with my job. I work with a large number of people on a constantly rotating schedule, so every time I work, I have to answer the same questions. I'm due October 1st. No, it isn't twins. I don't know what I'm having, its going to be a surprise. My friend Kayla is threatening to have a pin or a t-shirt made for me with these things printed on it to save me from having to repeat myself ad-nauseum. And by the time I work with someone again, they have forgotten the answers to these questions and have to ask them all over again.
One of the things that,suprisingly, doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, is having people touch my belly. It isn't fun, during the first trimester, when you haven't even begun to show and people are just grabbing at your own belly flab of course. Which they do. But now, my belly honestly feels like such a foreign thing to me that it really doesn't feel at all overly intimate for people to touch me there. Its kind of like watching someone paw over a clearance table at Bed Bath and Beyond. You might think to yourself, "Boy, they are really making a mess of that clearance table," but it doesn't concern you, so why get bent out of shape? Mind you, that isn't an invitation for anyone. The only people I actually enjoy having rub my belly are Hugo and Sofia. Though I sort of suspect that even though its really cute when Sofia does it, she'll probably keep on doing it, to my eventual public embarassment, after the baby is born.
While there is much more to be said on the subject (I could write a book if I thought anyone would actually read it, the only people that can get away with writing books about their own pregnancies are celebrities), I think I better stop now. Ranting is only good for the fetus in very small doses. Besides, I have to pee.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Disney Pics

Its a small world...

Really, it is. I remember thinking my parents were such dorks because they got so excited about bringing us on "Its a Small World" the first time we went to Disney. They thought it was so cool that they had gone on the ride as youngsters at the World's Fair back in 1885 or so, and now they were bringing us on it at Disney. Well, now I have brought my offspring on it as well and, well, it was kinda cool.

Overlooking the (man-made) lagoon at our resort. I don't look too pregnant here, do I?

Even here, you can just see a gentle roundness in the abdominal region. Not too bad.

Here I'm using a classic "cover the future baby up with the existing one" trick to conceal the bulge. One of the best reasons for having your second while your first is still small enough to lift and carry.

Whoops. That Hugo. He couldn't resist catching one from the side. There's no hiding it there.

My little princess was such a good girl all day at Disney. And luckily, she seems to have inherited a certain, shall we say, skin tone benefit, from her dad's side of the family. No sunburn for her. At least that made one of us.

Epcot isn't all that entertaining for 1 year-olds. But she tolerated it for our benefit. Until the fireworks at the end of the night. She wasn't thrilled about those.

Magic Kingdom was much more her style. She rode the carousel...

And Dumbo. On Dumbo, she seemed less than entertained. She was just like, "Oh well, if mom wants to go on this thing that goes up and down, I guess I'll humour her..."
We enjoyed staying at one ofthe Disney Resorts and we took the opportunity of our weekend trip to travel around and see a few of the other resorts as well. The Grand Floridian was beautiful and we decided we would love to go back and stay there sometime.
All in all, though it was just a short weekend excursion, we had a grand time and can't wait to go back someday and see it all again! Originally, we were thinking about doing a short cruise, since I had requested the time off and we wanted to do something fun that wouldn't require driving more than a few hours. Unfortunately, I found out that pregnant women aren't allowed to cruise past the 24th week and I was officially past that mark. So Disney was the next best option. The cruise will have to wait a year or so, because babies aren't allowed to cruise until they reach 6 months of age, so that will count us out once Chumby Pumby '09 makes his or her official debut.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Tuesday

I find that stuff happens on Tuesdays that I need to blog about. The kind of stuff that one needs to find a way to purge their soul of. Some people would write about it in their diary, some people would talk about it to their therapist or priest, others would just stew over it and then let it go. Me, I blog. I really don't even care if nobody ever reads it. Just kidding. I want everyone to know what a basketcase I am.
Tuesdays are a little stressful for me to begin with, because my work week ends on Tuesday morning and I only have a sitter until 2 PM, so I get about 5 or 6 hours of sleep if I'm lucky and I have to get up and function for the rest of the day. I've talked about it before.
This Tuesday, I found out upon waking up that my babysitter has decided to move back to Lakeland with her parents, and presumably will not be commuting to her babysitting job for us, so in a month I will be sitterless. My darling Sofia will be caregiverless. Oh no. I handled it fairly well, though and put it on my mental list of things to freak out about in about 3 and a half weeks.
When 6 O'Clock rolled around, I started to think about food, and what I would be feeding my family for dinner. I didn't feel like doing much, so after vacillating between the freezer, refrigerator and cupboards for about 15 minutes, I settled on a very easy menu plan for dinner. I had a thing of Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Easy. Not very nutritious, but easy. And tasty too. I also had chicken breasts in the frig. that really needed to be used up since I bought them about 5 days ago, so I decided I would sautee it in olive oil and cut it up into chunks and add it to the Velveeta, to dress it up a little. Not to mention make it a little more substantial of a meal for my meat and potatoes loving husband. I also had some delightful vegetable sides in my freezer. Birds Eye makes them and they come in this balck dish that you put right in the microwave and the veggies cook up perfectly, all dressed in a delicious savoury sauce. I pulled out the brussels sprouts one and stuck it in the microwave.
With dinner well underway and Hugo now home to entertain the baby, I took the chicken breasts off the stove and transferred them to a plate with a piece of paper towel to drain any excess oil before I added them to the macaroni and cheese. Luckily, I decided to try a chunk before I actually added them and it tasted awful! Rotten chicken is the worst. I spit it out and threw the rest into the trash. So much for that chicken. I decided that plain old Velveeta would have to suffice.
I took the brussels sprouts out of the microwave and took off the plastic film covering the dish. Hugo was watching Rachel Ray on the Food Network in the living room, and she was making something that had bacon in it. She said, "I don't know about you, but I don't think there's anything as good as the smell of bacon cooking..." Hugo got the strangest sensation just at that moment, because he swore he could smell bacon right then and there, but knew better than to think that such a thing was possible, because his wife is vehemently opposed to any pork products whatsoever and would never countanance the cooking of such a thing as bacon in her kitchen.
Well, meanwhile, in the kitchen, I was about to discover that the delightful savoury sauce that my brussels sprouts were served in was actually liberally endowed with real bacon. It really bugs the crap out of me when you innocently assume something that should be an entirely vegetable product turns out to have bacon in it. I forget to check sometimes and then stuff like this happens. Then, I dropped the spoon, coated in bacon sauce, on the kitchwen floor and had to bend over to wipe up the mess and then haul my considerable girth back up to a standing position. It was about this time that I said a VERY BAD WORD. Then, because I'm 6 months pregnant, I burst into tears. Hugo was just getting the baby settled into her high chair for dinner and bewilderedly asked, "What's wrong?"
"These damn brussels sprouts have BACON in them!" I burst out hysterically. Of course, I didn't have time to outline all the other things that had lead up to that being the straw that broke the camels back, so he was understandably mystified. However, he handled it with aplomb, assuring me that he had no problem with bacon in the brussels sprouts and promising to take me out for something later if I was still hungry.
After such a disastrous dinner experience, things started to look up. Hugo took me to Target, got me a pretzel and an ICEE (the perfect meal as far as this pregnant girl is concerned), and we picked out some new toys for Sofia, as well as a new pair of pajamas and a new, much lighter stroller so I won't give myself a hernia trying to load and unload it into the car. Then we stopped at the video store on the way home (haha, even though we haven't rented a video in years, I still call it the video store, much to Hugo's amusement) and rented some movies. I managed to stay awake until midnight and then went to bed and slept like a baby.
So that was my Tuesday. Wonder what delightful things will happen to make me curse and cry next Tuesday?...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Camera Phone Gems

I often wonder how our parents ever captured any cute photo ops of us when we were little without camera phones (of course, with me, I know the sad answer to that question...they didn't). Some of my favorite images are stored away on my trusty Blackberry. Until now that is..
Just before the priceless moment...wait for it...wait for it...

After we went to the YMCA pool one day and found it inhabited by 100 fifth graders, we decided to head over to WalMart and get this $7 number for the backyard. Now when Hugo calls me from work, I can casually state that we're hanging out by the pool.

This little tug was hidden away in a corner at the urgent care center. We fished it out and had a grand time while Hugo was in the back getting tended to.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sofia is one

I am now the mother of a one year old. Whew. For some reason, it feels so much different to tell people, "I have a one year old" than it does to say, "I have a 10 month old" or "I have an 11 month old". Baby bottles and spit up are giving way to finger foods and battles of will. Instead of being protectively cocooned and somewhat isolated in the rear-facing car seat, Sofia will now be facing forward, swinging her feet freely and watching the world as it approaches rather than as it recedes into the distance. My little muffin is growing up!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Good and the Bad of Life

Good: I got to order my Kitchenaid food processor today. Hugo made me do many hours (aka at least 20 minutes) of painful research before he would allow me to choose between the Cuisinart and the Kitchenaid brands. I found out that, though both are considered to be extremely good food processors, the Kitchenaid slightly edged out the Cuisinart in both ease of use and customer service. I'm going to make pie crusts and spinach artichoke dip as soon as I get it. Maybe I'll make a spinach artichoke pie. That would be yummy.
Bad: I can't afford to buy the Kitchenaid stand mixer to go with the food processor. I had to choose one or the other for now and since I have a hand mixer which will suffice for my mixing needs for the time being, I chose the food processor. It was a difficult, heartwrenching decision. Who knows when I'll get around to buying the mixer? Hopefully by Christmas. That's the only time I ever do any real cooking anyway.
Good: My new Prius. Its not really new. Its a 2008. But it looks new. And its new to me. And its a heck of a lot newer than Hugo's stinky old Celica with the convertable top that leaked whenever it rained. I hated driving that thing to work.
Bad: The Murano has to go in for its 36,000 mile service at the dealer. This is one of the expenses that I would probably "defer" if given the chance, but Hugo is a stickler for car maintenance. Bleh.
Good: Sick patients. I love sick patients.
Bad: Crazy patients. I really hate crazy patients. I'm just not cut out for mental health nursing. Unfortunately, it seems that, although I work in critical care (read; sick patients) some physicians think of my unit as the psych unit (read; crazy patients) and I get stuck taking care of all kinds of wierdos. My patient last night kept insisting that the telemetry wires attached to his chest were "live wires" that were going to electrocute him. For two nights in a row I had spent considerable time trying to convince him, in my most soothing possible tone, that the wires were absolutely not capable of shocking him and were in fact entirely benign. By about 5:30 this morning though, my patience was running very thin (especially after his mother called and notified us that he had been calling her from his phone in the room and telling her that he was outside of the hospital with one of the doctors and they were watching a young couple making love in the street). He called me into his room for some ridiculous pretense of a problem and casually mentioned the live wires with the electric charge that were in his bed (since he had helpfully removed them from his chest where they were supposed to be monitoring his heart). "Those are NOT live wires!" I snapped, as Nurse Betty turned into Nurse Ratched in the blink of an eye. "Believe me, if we electric charge you, you'll know it!" Aside from the grammatically incorrect nature of this comment (which isn't like me at all) my tone was enough to cause considerable hilarity from Kayla, who was sitting close enough to hear the exchange. Between my crazy patient and hers, we were both ready to have ourselves committed by the end of the shift.
Good: Being able to eat whatever you want cause you're pregnant.
Bad: Being nauseated (even at 21 weeks) no matter what you eat or don't eat.

"We got no FOOD, we got no JOBS, our pets HEADS are fallin' off!..." Kayla reminded me last night that Dumb and Dumber is one of the most hilarious movies of all time. I'm watching it right now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pictures of the Princess

I'm calling this one..."When one bottle just isn't enough."

This is Sofia standing at the bars of her newfound prison...she discovered the stairs one day and Hugo decided it was time to confine her more effectively. It doesn't get much more effective than this thing!
Sunbathing at the YMCA

Hydrating at the YMCA

Hugo sporting Rene's artistic interpretation of the "faux-hawk". Sofia is wearing her short shorts and a really spiffy firecracker hairdo.

AWWWWWe. Does it get any cuter than that? I'm pretty sure this breaks all the cuteness thresholds I've ever encountered.

Baby Daddies

Here are some of our "Springpea Dads" when they met for the first time. We had a group birthday party at West Side Park and it was HOT! 90+ degrees out. It was fun to connect some of the babies with their dad faces, after being so well acquainted with their moms for a whole year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Southern Belle

I had a patient last night who was a bit of a Southern Belle. She was one of those old ladies who treats their nurses (particularly their female nurses) like the hired help. I don't know why, but I get a huge kick out of it when my little old lady patients treat me like the hired help. I find it adorable and hilarious. I'm a real nut. Now, when I have 57 year old male patients who weigh 375 pounds and they treat me like the hired help (and call me darlin' to boot) like my patient from the night before; I'm not nearly so amused. So I guess I'm a bit of a sexist like that.
Anyway, my patient last night was a little tiny thing who had suffered from a cardiac arrest out on the regular hospital floor and had to intubated and defibrillated about 6 times. And she came through it kicking. She would order me around the room, having me fill up this cup, place that pillow, fluff her neck roll and adjust her bed to just the right position. Then she said, "I'll take my sleeping pill at 9 please" just as though she was ordering room service. I complied faithfully. When I showed up at 8:55 with her evening meds, just for the fun of it, I said, "I'm a few minutes early...I hope that's ok?" and she graciously forgave me. I think she actually became my slave at that moment. Because I'll tell you a little secret about those kinds of old ladies. They absolutely love it when you play along. It means so much to them, just to be able to feel a sense of control over their own little domain.
Early this morning as I was drawing some blood from this lady she inquired about my now visible "baby bump". "Is this your first?," she asked.
"No, I have an 11 month old at home."
"Goodness gracious!" she exclaimed. "I hope you're not planning on coming back to work after you have this one?"
(I am). "Oh, I don't know, we'll have to see how things go. I work nights, you know, so that my husband can take care of the baby while I'm at work. So it works out pretty well this way."
She sniffed. "Well, I just think it should be illegal for a mother to work outside the home when she has small children." That Southern accent. That sniff. That oh-so-condescending tone of censorship.
What? Quit my job and give up moments like that? I couldn't even begin to fathom it. I retreated in a haze of suppressed hilarity to share the comment with the other nursing staff, 99.9% of whom are "mothers with young children" who are most disobediently working outside the home some 36-60 hours a week. HI-larious. Take me away Scarlet O'Hara.
Sometimes I think the hospital pays me too much for working there, considering all the absolutely priceless moments I get to experience in the wee hours of the morning. Then I remember the 375 pounder who felt absolutely no compunction at all over asking his pregnant nurse (who weighs a mere fraction, though a growing fraction, of what he does) to roll his ass over, wipe his butt, sprinkle it with powder, change his pad, straighten his sheet, remove the pad, put the pad back, etc... at 25 minute intervals all throughout the night till she thought she was going to drop the fetus right there on the spot in his nasty germ infested room...and I realize they don't really pay me too much. Definitely not too much...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Training the Parents

Me and Hugo have been in training over the past few weeks. The goal? Put the baby in the crib at bedtime and let her put herself to sleep. I came home from the hospital with the little stinker intending to do just that from the first, but did I? No. I couldn't. I realized that newborns are not meant to put themselves to sleep. They rely on their mommies (and more recently, their daddies) to rock them and sing them and feed them to sleep.
Now that Sofia is almost a year old and is most definitely past the newborn stage though, I realized that it was time for her to get off the proverbial tit at bedtime. She's been off the literal tit for a good month and a half now. She was getting to be a real pest. Hugo would have to sit there and rock her and carry her around shushing her for a good half hour to get her to go to sleep. When he went to put her, oh so carefully, into the crib, if she so much as stirred, she would wake herself up and all would be lost. We were at the mercy of whenever she decided to fall asleep every night. Usually it was midnight. Plus, if we didn't go straight to bed when she did, she would wake up, sense that we were still afoot, and demand vocally that we remove her from her crib. Once again, all would be lost.
I had given up putting her to sleep some time ago as the carrying around in a cradle position had become a little too much, considering that I am also carrying around someone else on a more or less 24/7 basis. It was Hugo's job. He did it well. But it was getting to be a real pain.
So one night, we decided to see what would happen if we just put her in the crib at bedtime, kissed her goodnight, and went to bed ourselves. One of us would get up every 5 minutes or so and go into the baby's room, under strict orders not to remove her from the crib. We would firmly lie her back down and shush her for a moment and then leave. It was textbook. We followed the rules exactly as they were written (by some Nazi who obviously didn't love their children). And you know what? It worked. She fell asleep, exhausted, after 45 minutes of crying. It was pure torture. The next night it took about 30 minutes. And ever since that night, she has fallen asleep after about 5 minutes of half-hearted wailing.
Now I know. Babies really CAN put themselves to sleep! We don't give her a bottle or a toy or a blankie. We just put her in the crib and she falls alseep. A few nights ago she didn't even cry. She just laid there and went to sleep. I confess I had to get up a few times that night (just like I did when she was a newborn) to make sure she was alive. The trick is to make sure she really is tired before attempting to put her down. If she isn't tired, it takes a lot of crying to tire her out. When I think of all the people who never get past the stage of putting their kids to sleep, simply because they can't deal with a few nights of crying (and believe me; it is heartbreaking) it makes me sad. I shudder to think of what would happen if we waited until she was big enough to climb out of the crib herself (believe me, its coming fast). We might have been SOL if we had waited that long. She wakes up refreshed and happy every morning with no sign that grudge holding or emotional damage has resulted from our cruel ways.
I only hope it goes so smoothly with the next one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Grammy!!!

My Plant Life

Here's my garden. My tomato plants are doing swimmingly. My basil and mint are also doing well.
My strawberries...I'll have to get back at you on that one. That's the funky planter with the holes in it. I got it off HSN. If it doesn't work, I'm so done with HSN.
Here's my little green corner in the dining room. Pretty huh? What is it about spring that makes people want to get all green thumby?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday is Zombie Day

Since Monday night is my Friday at work (don't ask...it gets complicated) I always face a terrible dilemma on Tuesdays. What I want to do is go to sleep and stay in bed, preferably all day until I feel well rested again. That usually occurs around 8 PM, at which point I am fully recharged and ready to go...just in time for everyone else in the world to get ready for bed. Then I stay up for a few hours, try to go to bed with Hugo, and end up wide awake all night. Thus begins a cycle of being awake all night for the rest of the week and wanting to sleep all day.

That might work for some people; in fact the majority of people I know who have succesfully worked nights for many years (without ever going on a homicidal killing streak) simply do that all the time. For someone who has a baby to take care of, that is not an acceptable solution to the problem. See, the problem is, I can usually get her to go down for a nice long nap just after the babysitter leaves on Tuesdays, which allows me to go back to sleep, often until Hugo gets home from work. Then I can lounge around on the couch dozing on and off for several more hours. I can get away with it for that one day. But there's no babysitter coming on Wednesday.

So a much BETTER solution to the dilemma is to sleep for 4 or 5 hours on Tuesday, when I get off work, and then force myself to stay awake until 10 or 11. If I can do that than I will go to bed exhausted, sleep all night, and quite possible, wake up feeling refreshed and reset for the week. That solution requires self-control which I don't have. I CANNOT stay in the house all day on Tuesday, putting the baby down for her nap, and not go to sleep myself. I'll lay down on the couch to "watch tv" and next thing I know, its 9:30 at night and I'm rarin to go.

So I have taken to forcing myself to partake in activities on Tuesdays. Last week we went to the mall when Hugo got off work and I stumbled around the place blearily. I invited some friends over for lunch one week and I'm sure I was a really stimulating hostess. Today, I took the baby and went to La Fiesta, a local Mexican restaurant. Then I went grocery shopping and bought a whole bunch of stuff we probably don't need. When I got home the baby was sleeping. DANGER ZONE!!! I immediately proceeded into the kitchen and made a new recipe. Asian marinated chicken thighs with vegetable potstickers. I'm going to put the chicken on skewers and grill it. I got the idea from Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network. Some days I just take to scrolling through my cell phone and calling random people I haven't spoken to in a long time. I'm sure they love that.

The good news is, its 5:30 and I have succesfully made it through most of the day. So maybe, just maybe, my mission will be a success this week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Picture Time

On Friday I took Sofia to the mall in hopes of getting a picture of her with the Easter Bunny. First, I took her all over the mall in search of a cute and thriftily priced dress to put her in for the event. I really didn't feel like spending 30 dollars or more on a dress since we weren't even planning on doing anything for Easter. The dress would be for the sole purpose of getting her picture take with Peter Cottontail. I finally found a darling dress at Macy's that was white with yellow polka dots and pink buttons. It was perfect for the occasion. I spent 12 dollars on it. We then proceeded to the Easter Bunny area where we encountered a sign saying that the Easter Bunny was on break (apparently he belongs to the Easter Bunny Union, which is downright militant about enforcing breaks for its members) and he would be back in 15 minutes. We got in line and waited. 15 minutes later, some hussy comes along and informs us that the Easter Bunny was "hot" and "didn't feel well" so he was going to go ahead and take his lunch break and wouldn't be back for another hour and 15 minutes. The long and the short of it is A. We didn't get the picture after all. B. I'm thinking of a career change. That Easter Bunny has got the easiest gig in town.
Here's some other pictures instead.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vanity, thy name is...Sofia

I have a very conceited child. At 10 and a half months she has developed a real ego. Lately, whenever she gets a little cranky (which is frequently, since she is apparently the world's SLOWEST teether), all I have to do is hold her up in front of her favorite picture and her whines and whimpers are quickly reversed into smiles and giggles. Her favorite picture of herself that is.
I realized this one night when I was trying to get my very tired and very cranky baby to go to sleep. I was in the living room, holding her up against my chest and jiggling her up and down as she tried to contort herself into an unwieldy enough position so that I would put her down. Suddenly, she relaxed and I thought for sure she was finally dozing off. I shifted her just enough so I could see her face to verify that her eyes were closed and instead of closed eyes I saw that she was grinning adorably at a picture of herself hanging on the wall.
Ever since then, whenever I want to turn that frown upside down, I know I need to hoist her up in front of the wall where her Valentine's Day picture is displayed and like magic...poof! A wonderful, gummy smile ensues. What a stinker.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jammy Baby

This was taken at Todd and Tamera's house. Luckily, when Todd and Tamera have "game night" at there house, they don't get irritated with us for bringing our spawn along, even though everyone else has a pretty good understanding that its for adults only. I mean, they're our only social lifeline these days. If it weren't for them, we'd never get out. They take pity on us... Plus, she's just so darn cute, who could mind the imposition? I'm aware that this sounds like a rationalization that anyone with a 10 month old might make (everyone thinks their baby is the cutest one on the planet) but with Sofia its actually true. As such, I generally feel free to bring her along to gynecologist visits, hair appointments, staff meetings and lunch dates with friends. Mainly because I have no choice. I have to bring her with me. She is my constant companion. We are a package deal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Favorites

I love to make lists, and I love to expostulate on my favorite things. Expostulate or pontificate? I think either would work here.
Favorite Show
Suze Ormond. If I listened to everything she said, I would be rich. Wealthy.
The Pioneer Woman. I check her site out daily. I quote her frequently, to people who have no idea who she is. I convert non-believers into followers of her blog whenever possible. I cook her recipes whenever they don't contain disgusting meat componants. I even had a dream that I went and visited her on her ranch one time. Wierd.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I love that whole series. Hugo recently caught me reading the first book AGAIN and said, You're reading it AGAIN? I even bought the unabridged audio version (read by a fabulous lady named Davina Porter) on ITunes and made Hugo listen to the whole thing with me. We've made it as far as the 3rd book on trips and stuff. Don't let him fool you. He LOVES it. His favorite thing to say to me lately is, "Christ Sassanach." You have to read it. Go. Read it now. It will only take up about 6 months of your day.
Sofia. I'm having a really hard time contemplating what I'll name the next one if it turns out to be a girl, because I just can't think of anything I like as much as Sofia. Nothing feels right. Sofia was Sofia right from the very moment I found out she was a girl. I'd love a few suggestions.
Pasta. I love pasta in all its different forms. I could eat it every single day and not get tired of it. That's how Hugo feels about rice and potatoes, but since I do the shopping and cooking, I get to choose the starch. Guess what we have most of the time? My favorite pasta dish of all time comes from Everyday Italian on the Food Network. All you do is cook up some bowties, reserve a small amount of the pasta water and then throw the pasta over a bed of baby butter lettuce (I know, wierd, huh?). Then you toss in some pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and parmesan and a little of the pasta water and toss it all together. Delicious. I could eat some right now. Damn. Why do I have to think about food all the time?
Place to Go on Vacation
I could make a case for every single place I've ever been, including Chincoteague Island, where I went on vacation with my college boyfriend and his family and got into a fight over the moped we rented and drove away, stranding him in the middle of the village for a short time, but I would have to go with the Keys as my all time favorite. Its so beautiful, yet so laid back. So warm, yet rarely hot. So exotic, yet so only 10 hours by car away.
Restaurant Chain
Sorry Mom, I'm gonna have to go with Dad on this one and say Carabba's. Even though they betrayed me by removing the tiramisou from the dessert menu while I was in full-on pregnancy craving mode one night and Hugo was even willing to drive all the way across town to get me a piece.
Fast Food
Zaxby's. Oh, I'm sorry. You don't have a Zaxby's near you? Boo Hoo for you. Because they have the very best chicken sandwiches in the world and we have two of them here in Gainesville. One of them is right on my way to work. MMMMM. I would open my own Zaxby's if I could (you have to have 600,000 dollars of net worth to qualify for a franchise. Anyone want to finance me?). Then again, I also love me so Jimmy John's. They have the best vegetarian sub in the world. I would open a Jimmy John's if I could, too. Only, if I did either of those things, I would quickly balloon in the most unattractive way. Better stick with nursing. Though us night shift nurses tend to be a little on the hefty side as well. Must be all that Zaxby's we stop for on our way to work every night.
Chocolate bread pudding from Stonewood. I never would have thought to try something with the words bread and pudding in the title, but boy is this delicious. Its like a giant cross between a brownie and a fudgy cake, with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on it and a giant chocolate crispy thing stuck on top. Its drowned in a warm sauce that consists of mostly butter and some kind of liquor. It gave me a massive gall bladder attack and almost put me back into the hospital after Sofia was born, but I didn't hold a grudge. I still love it. Enough food. I'm getting hungry.
Kind of Patient to Take Care Of
All my colleagues laugh hysterically at me when I say this (and think I'm being sarcastic) but GI bleeders. I will take a GI bleeder over a stroke or a COPD'er any day. Although they are kind of gross to take care of (what with the pooping and throwing up blood and everything) they are generally really sick when they come in and you have to run around like crazy, pumping blood back into them, sticking NG tubes down their noses, starting central lines and running multiple IV drips and so on and so forth. They are too sick to complain about stuff like the loudness at the nurses station (have I mentioned that my indoor voice kind of sucks, which makes me a bad night shift nurse?), the lack of good food (the last thing these people want is food) and the wierd pain in the arch of their left food that they have been having for the past 14 years, but now that they are in the hospital for something totally unrelated, would like you to call the doctor at 2 oclock in the morning to let him know about it and see if there is anything they can get for it. Also, the whole cleaning up their bloody poop thing earns you their undying gratitude and devotion. And they get better. Watch a COPD'er accomplish that feat. Its nice to have a patient who comes in really sick and gets better, thanks to good nursing care. So refreshing.
My favorite husband is Hugo. Hands down. I know, he's my only husband. But if I was a polygamist (or whatever they call women who marry several men) I'm pretty sure he would still be my favorite. He's just right. Tonight I couldn't sleep because there was a horrific thunderstorm and he got up with me at 3 in the morning and shared a sandwich with me. A turkey reuben. I've never made a turkey reuben before, but it came out pretty good. Oh wait. I said no more food, didn't I?
Somewhere, from West Side Story, as sung by Barbara Streisand. I know, totally '80's with the synthesizer and everything. But I love it.
29. Which I am right now. When I was younger, my older sisters used to torment me and make my life a living hell, but I got the last laugh because they're both in their thirties already and I'm still in my twenties. Haha.
That's enough favorites for now. Until next time...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Portfolio

I recently expanded my horizens (still further!?) by purchasing some stocks. I am now a participator in the stock market. I watch CNBC with interest every day to see how the "DOW and Nasdaq faired" (I'm still a little shaky on exactly what that means). I have already made close to a hundred dollars, having only invested 250. That's a pretty good return on investment. I bought some shares in Starbucks, because I like Starbucks and I figure, if I can buy a share in the company for less than the cost of two lattes, why not? I'm still going to buy the two lattes, mind you. Don't get the idea that I've given up on the product or anything. I just feel better about spending 4 bucks on a latte now that I'm a shareholder. I'm just bostering my own bottom line, you see, whenever I make a purchase.
I also bought in Citigroup, the company that owns Citi Bank, because what the hell? They were only a buck fifty a share. If the company does go belly up, I won't be out too much money. If, on the other hand, they return to 40 dollars a share, I'm up big time.
My other purchase was GE because that company has been around forever and I don't see them going out of business any time soon.
Now, at what other time in history has 250 dollars allowed a person to actually purchase an entire portfolio of stocks? Umm, a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to buy 10 shares of Starbucks for that. And what the hell? Its only the kids' college savings, right? If I lose it all, there's always community college. Just kidding. If the college savings fund consists of 250 dollars, I'm thinking community college isn't even an option. Maybe technical school (BOCES anyone?)

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Vegetable Garden

I had big plans to plant an organic vegetable garden this year in my backyard. I made a list (mainly listing all the different kinds of vegetables I envisioned myself growing), asked some of my "green" friends at work for advice, borrowed a book from the library, and even poked around on the internet a little for research purposes. I had it all planned out. I was ging to plant tomatoes, onions, lettuce, basil, mint, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. But mostly tomatoes. I crave garden-grown tomatoes. True, I've only had them, like, once before, but they really aren't even comparable to the ones you buy in the store. And I spend so much money on tomatoes at the store. I can't stand to buy the pale, grainy, mealy ones that are 99 cents a pound. I have to go for the red, juicy, somewhat fresh-appearing vine grown tomatoes that cost 2.99 or more per pound.
My problem is that after I put all that mental and emotional energy into my vegetable garden, I found out I was knocked up. Suddenly, I had to contemplate a mental picture of myself, 7 months gone with child, with a one year old baby perched on one hip, probably wearing some type of shapeless smock with a floral pattern, barefooted and on my hands and knees weeding a garden. It was a little too Dugger for my liking. For those of you who don't know who the Duggers are, you really should watch more TLC.
The vegetable garden was tabled, needless to say. However, I couldn't get the thought of those fresh tomatoes out of my mind. I really want some damn fresh tomatoes. Is it asking so much to have some fresh grown damn tomatoes from the garden? I don't think so. So I decided to experiment with what's known as a "container garden". It involves planting stuff into moveable containers and then you can just keep them on the porch or the deck or anyplace that's sunny. You don't have to worry as much about weeds, since you aren't planting them into the ground. Pests aren't as much of an issue either since the plants are up off of the ground. I bought these planters that have a special resorvoir in the bottom so you don't even have to water them every day. Hey, that sounds like something even a pregnant broad can handle, right? We'll see. I will keep a chronicle of the experience here and if it turns out to be a success, I will have developed much needed skills and knowledge on the science of growing stuff so that next year maybe my enormous kitchen vegetable garden will be a reality. Or maybe the whole thing will be a colossal failure and I will realize that I don't really care for fresh veggies after all and as a matter of fact, I actually like going to the grocery store and buying pesticide covered, wax coated produce that smells like ass.
I bought about 3 cherry tomato plants, 4 regular tomato plants, a basil plant and a mint plant. If it is succesful it will be the first time I have ever grown anything. When I finish planting them, I'll post some pictures of them in their new containers/homes. Right now, they are being "hardened off" a process which involves taking them outside during the day so they can get used to the sunlight and temperature outside, and bringing them inside to be protected at nighttime. Any tips and pointers on the next step (transplanting them to their containers) would be appreciated.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Insalata Caprese Trio

Here's how you can make three delicious dishes out of the same 5 ingredients.
#1 fresh mozzerella (the kind that often comes in water)
#2 fresh vine-ripened tomatos
#3 fresh basil
#4 one lemon
#5 olive oil

For the first dish, a simple salad, dice the tomatos and the cheese into roughly equal sized pieces. Rip up fresh basil and sprinkle over the top. Make a simple vinagrette by squeezing the juice of half the lemon into a dish and then whisking a 1/2 cup of olive oil into it. Drizzle some of this over the top and add a tiny bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. It will be delicious, simple, and addictive.

...Kind of like this (I know, The Pioneer Woman I am not. Let's not go into it).

Later on, if you feel like a midnight snack, like I do every night now that I am gestating again, get a piece of bread and stick it under the broiler for a minute, just until it starts to brown. Thinly slice some tomato and fresh mozzerella to lay on the bread and then sprinkle with some of the basil. Drizzle with the lemon vinagrette and stick it back under the broiler until the cheese melts. It might not look like much, but it makes a delicious open faced sandwich. You could get fancy and do this on french baguette and call it bruschetta. You only have to do that if you're making it for other people though. I ate this all by myself while Hugo was putting Sofia to sleep.

The next day I still had some cheese, tomato, basil and vinagrette left, and since I paid a pretty price for the mozzerella, I didn't want it to go to waste. Oh Fresh Market, I love you so and some day I will be so wealthy that I will be able to shop in your store all the time. Until that day, I shall have to let it remain a rare treat. So anyway, the next day I decided to cook up some bowtie pasta and toss it with the exact same salad from the night before. It looked like this...

...and boy was it delicious. Light and springy and very girly. I didn't eat like a girl though. I finished it.