Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Months!

The first picture shows Zach and me with our new glasses. Zach lost his first tooth last night, so we had to take lots of pictures to document it. For some strange reason, he needed to wear his school sweatshirt and his knit hat for the picture. He was so excited about losing his first tooth that he accosted everyone in Michael's last night to tell them the story of how it came out. He began with lunchtime yesterday at school, when he hit it with his hand, cried and went to the nurse. The story's dramatic conclusion comes when Mommy flicked it out of his mouth, and we had to crawl around on the carpet to find it. I was informed that the tooth fairy leaves $5 for teeth, and I always got a pack of gum, so a very happy little boy found a pack of gum and a fiver in his custom-made Cars tooth fairy pillow (thanks Aunt Natalie) this morning.

The second picture shows my smiling sweetheart. I still can't believe that she is already two months old. Where did the time go? Zoe now smiles on a regular basis, coos, and can raise her upper body on her arms. She is such a doll; we are so fortunate to have her! I am still having a hard time accepting the fact that I have to leave her to go back to work soon, but my consolation is that I have until next August to find something else to do.

I signed up for a childbirth education certification course last week, and my textbooks and materials arrived today. I haven't looked through them yet, but can't wait. I think this will be a good career move for me; I will still use my teaching skills, but to teach something I am interested in, to a willing audience. I still have to work out the details of how and where I will give classes, but I am hoping that my OB will help me with that. I am thinking that maybe she will allow me to give the classes at her office, and distribute flyers to her patients. The only childbirth classes that I know of in this area are offered through the hospital, and they fill up months in advance. If this works out, I will probably add postnatal education to my certificate. Maybe I'll even go to nursing school farther on down the line. There are a lot of possibilities, and I am looking forward to learning again. I have been craving a mental challenge, and not getting it (in a good way) through my current teaching position. I hope this is the answer I was looking for.

I guess this means I am going to have to wean myself off the computer, but there are so many things I do on here every day. I check my e-mail multiple times, read blogs that I track on Bloglines, check eBay, MySpace, Facebook, and my school e-mail, play on Twitter, and now play with my photos on Flickr. I still have lots of pictures to upload to Snapfish and order prints as well. I need to become more efficient with my computer time, I guess.

All right, I am going check out my box of goodies that arrived today. We spent three hours this evening decorating a cake for Zach's Cub Scout meeting/cake auction that is tomorrow, and I deserve some down time.

I am Socks!

You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.

I try not to give crappy Christmas gifts, and give something that a person would truly like. It seems like it gets harder and harder every year, because most of the people I buy for would just go out and buy something if they wanted it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We headed to Galveston for the day to spend it with Darren's dad and stepmom. It was a great day, with lots of great food. Also there were Darren's brother Sean, his wife Jamie, and their kids, Darren's sister Erin, her husband Steven, with Maggie and Eric, and Darren's stepbrother's wife Tracie, and her kids. The kids played outside all afternoon and evening in the cold while the grown-ups relaxed inside. We drove home that night full of food and good memories. It was so much fun to have a large family gathering, since my family was so small growing up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Up Too Late, As Usual

OK, here are the details about my surgery (not that anyone has asked). I went to see the doctor Wednesday, and was in the office forever. When I was leaving, the nurse called the hospital to schedule surgery. First, it was going to be Tuesday. Then, she asks if 1:15 the next day was good for me. It was 5:15 in the afternoon, and I knew Darren was about to leave work. I called him to ask if that was all right with him, and he arranged to stay late that night and work from home the next two days.

I flew out of the doctor's office, picked up Zach from after-school care, and went back to the hospital to do my bloodwork and pre-op paperwork. My friend Jennifer was kind enough to meet me at the hospital and watch the kids so I could get everything done. Afterward, we went home and I made arrangements for someone to take over my Cub Scout meeting the next evening, and canceled my eye doctor and chiropractor's appointments for the next couple of days. We arranged for Jen to take a half-day off work the next day, come and get Zoe from the hospital, get Zach off the bus, and take him to Cub Scouts that evening. She was a life-saver!

The next morning, I packed my bag for the hospital, and tried to be brave. I was really upset that my mom wasn't coming in, but didn't feel like I could ask her to. She called, we both cried, and she arranged to come in the next day and fly to South Carolina Tuesday morning to be with my sister. I became really scared around 9:00 that morning, and couldn't stop crying. I hadn't had surgery since I was 18 and had my wisdom teeth out, and didn't like the idea of having yet another IV, along with general anesthesia. I pulled myself together, and we left for the hospital around 10:45 that morning.

When we arrived at the hospital, we had to see the cashier, then go up to the surgery waiting area. I guess I expected to be put in a hospital room, but where they took me was one large room with a nurses' desk in the middle, and some curtained-off rooms around the edge of the room. I got undressed and waited for what seemed like forever. My neighbor, who is a surgical nurse, came by to see me, along with my OB, Dr. Johnson. She stayed with me for a long time, even holding my hand while the anesthesiologist put the IV in. She instructed my surgeon to put me on the second floor after my surgery, which is the Women's Specialty Unit at the hospital.

Darren came to sit with me once I was prepped for surgery, and Jen came to get Zoe. They rolled me back to the operating room, and all of the nurses in there introduced themselves. They moved me to the operating table, and put me to sleep. What seemed like immediately afterward, I was waking up in the recovery room. I was moved to a regular patient room where Darren was waiting for me, but they couldn't find a bed for me for a couple of hours. I ended up with an ICU bed, which is an air bed. I was tethered in bed by my IV, foot pump things, and morphine pump. I didn't feel too bad after surgery; I just wanted to sleep. Darren left around 6:00 to go and pick Zach up from Cub Scouts, and the nurse gave me a dose of Phenergan. I passed out until 7:00, when Jen and Zoe arrived. Darren and Zach followed shortly after, and Zach was bouncing all over the place. I just wanted them all to leave so I could sleep. Dr. Johnson stopped by to see me on her way home, which was really sweet of her. Darren took the kids home sometime after 8:00, and Jen stayed until visiting hours ended at 9:00.

It wasn't a fun night; someone had to come and get me up anytime I went to the bathroom, and it seemed like there was someone in the room constantly, checking my vital signs or checking the IV pump. The next morning, my nurse put a sign on the door instructing everyone to stay out unless they checked with her first. Finally, I got some sleep!

My parents and Zoe arrived sometime around 2:00, and Darren stayed home to work and get Zach off the bus. I started walking around, and the doctor came to see me at almost 4:00. I was discharged around 4:30, and couldn't wait to get home. I walked around some that evening, but was really sore. The gas was uncomfortable, and walking is the cure for it. I slept for 14 hours that night, and woke up feeling better on Saturday.

Mom,Zoe, and I did some Christmas shopping on Saturday, and Darren and Dad took Zach to run errands. We stayed home that night, missing the Lighting of the Doves. A huge storm hit during the night, and I spent a lot of the night on the couch downstairs. Of course, I wasn't tired after all the sleep I got the night before. Dad left early Sunday morning, and we hung out at home. Darren and I went to the grocery store that evening, and my neighbor brought us dinner.

Today, Mom and I were busy. I went to the eye doctor, picked Zach up from school, took Mom to the chiropractor, went to the grocery store twice, cooked dinner, and visited with an old friend this evening. I will be sad to see Mom leave in the morning, but am looking forward to a couple of days of relaxing. Zach is off school Wednesday, so we'll see how much relaxing I get to do. We are going to head to Galveston to Darren's dad's for Thanksglving, and maybe to the Renaissance Festival Friday, since it is the last weekend of it this year.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What I Did Yesterday

Enjoy the view of my surgery scars. As an added bonus, you can see the lovely stretch marks that I earned with my last pregnancy. My stomach still has iodine painted on it, and I am nice and bloated from the gas they pump you up with during surgery.

I'll post more details later (not that anyone really cares, right?) when I am not hopped up on Vicodin and Phenergan.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Eviction Notice

Dear Gallbladder,

We've had a good run, but after almost 33 years of pain-free co-existence, the time has come for us to part. After the attacks that landed me in the hospital in July, I decided not to make a hasty decision to have you removed. Since I was pregnant at the time, it would have been risky. You've behaved yourself since August, and I thought that we were going to be able to continue living together in peace.

After the stunt you pulled Saturday night that resulted in three hours of agony, a frantic call to my OB (she has the records from the ultrasound in July), and an ER visit that was a complete waste of time, you've got to go. I'm still angry about the unnecessary IV that was installed in my arm, then removed shortly afterward. Then, last night around 3:00, you decided to act up again. This time, I took two Vicodin, tried to relax and focus on my breathing, and passed out after an hour.

Never again. I have an appoinment with a surgeon Wednesday. I don't know when the surgery can be done, and I am scared as hell, but I do not want to go through an attack again. It feels like someone is squeezing you all the way around your body below your chest, accompanied by severe burning. All of that makes it hard to breathe. Fun.

I'll probably have to go through this without my mom, because she can't come in until the week after Thankgiving. Since I won't be able to lift Zoe for a few days, I am hoping I can rely on my friends to come over and help me during the day when Darren is gone. We'll see...

Friday, November 09, 2007

What a Day!

I knew today was going to be hectic, but I had no idea to what extent it would be. I had a 9:00 appointment with my chiropractor, so I set my alarm for 7:00. I hit snooze until almost 7:30, which was a feat, considering I had to roll across the bed and reach over the sleeping baby to hit the button on my clock. I don't know what I did until 8:00, when I began sitting next to the phone, waiting to hear if my sister passed her National Board Certification (she did!). After she called at 8:10, I took a shower, got dressed, dressed the baby, fed her, gathered up an extra bottle, my camera, the diaper bag, and a library book. I managed to leave the house at 8:52 and fly to my appointment.

When I left the chiropractor, I stopped and got breakfast at Chick-Fil-A, then went to the library. Zoe fell asleep on the way there, so I allowed myself ten whole minutes to look for books. I found five, checked out, and climbed back into the car. I then drove all the way across town to my 10:30 appointment with my OB. She did all the usual post-partum things to me, I visited with everyone in the office, took a picture of Dr. Johnson holding Zoe, gave Zoe a bottle, and left there around 11:15. I don't get to see them again until April, which makes me sad. Again, the unnatural attachment to my doctor...

Our learning community at school was having a special luncheon today for the students who made all E's in conduct, so I decided it was as good a time as any to go by and show the students Zoe. I had a hard time making it from the door to the library at school, because I kept getting stopped by both students and teachers who wanted to look at her. I ended up going to all four classrooms in our community so they could see Zoe, the front office, and the teachers' lounge. It took over an hour, but I am glad I went. Seeing all of my students, and how happy they were to see me, made me feel better about having to go back to work. I've been having some serious issues with that, and I get teary-eyed every time I think of having to leave Zoe with someone else.

I've been wanting to get out of teaching for a while, and this break has given me an opportunity to try to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. It's not that I really dislike teaching, it's all the paperwork and extra responsibilities that get thrown at us, and the lack of flexibility. I've always wanted to own my own business again, but I am not sure what exactly I'd want to have. I do know that it would be just about impossible to start something now, and still get to spend some time with my kids. Besides that, I've always wanted to go to culinary school. I don't want to work in a restaurant; maybe catering? Again, not a good choice with young children. Since I had such a good experience with Zoe's birth, and an unnatural attachment to my doctor, I briefly considered becoming a midwife, so I could work with her. I realized that I would have to become a nurse first, and my husband pointed out that I probably couldn't handle watching childbirth. I did find something promising, which would be to become a childbirth educator. All that is involved in that is reading some material and taking a test. I talked to Dr. Johnson about that today, and she said that I might be able to find some doctors who would allow me to conduct classes in their office. The hospital would rather someone with an RN. I also applied to be the person at the hospital who goes around and takes pictures of the babies. I really think I am being pulled in the direction of working with babies, but I am still not sure how. I am really hoping that this is my last year as a teacher, at least in public school. I could try private school, but I really want to work part-time, so that I can have more time for the kids, and more time to get things done around the house. I don't think I'm meant to stay at home all the time, because I wouldn't have enough social interaction with other grown-ups, and because we do need for me to bring in some money.

After that amazing tangent, here's the rest of my day: I left school, went to Michael's and bought a Cub Scout scrapbook for Zach (another scrapbook to keep up with; I must be crazy!), then came home. I spent some time cleaning up, but didn't accomplish enough, and when it was just about time for Zach to get home, I started getting phone calls, and one of his friends came by to see if he could play. When Zach did get home, I took him to ride his bike around the cul-de-sac next to our house, then two friends came to play. Darren brought home Raising Cane's, and we are taking it easy tonight. This weekend, we plan to work in our yard, and we have a block party on Sunday. I hope the weather cooperates. It was almost 80 degrees here today. My air conditioner is running right now. Craziness!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Not Gonna Happen

I was really motivated to participate in NaBloPoMo, but the days seem to be escaping me more and more right now, and there's no way I can post every day. There's always next year...

I sat down Monday morning to post about our weekend, but realized I was running late for the chiropractor. I am cramming in every medical appointment that I can right now, since I will not have any more days to take off work with pay once I go back to work. So, Zach and Zoe aren't allowed to get sick until after June 6th, unless it's on a weekend or holiday. Right.

Here's how my week is shaping up: I have a chiropractor's appointment Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30. I am loving it, and feel better than I have in ages. I had a dentist appointment yesterday, which I had forgotten about, to have a cavity filled. Tomorrow, we have an ultrasound and VCUG scheduled for Zoe at the hospital. What's a VCUG? I had to call the pediatrician to ask about that, and by some fluke, actually got him on the phone. Basically, they insert a catheter and run some dye through her urinary system to make sure that she doesn't have reflux. That is when urine flows back from the bladder to the kidneys, and it would shorten the life of her kidneys. If she does have reflux, I think there's a simple surgical procedure to fix it, and it's better to catch it now. The reason why this is being done is to figure out why Zoe had a bladder infection at two weeks old. I'm glad I called the doctor, because I was really wondering if that $323 would be better spent elsewhere. Anyway, after that appointment, I am supposed to go and chaperone Zachary's school field trip, then we have a Cub Scout meeting tomorrow evening. Friday, I have my postpartum check-up with my OB and am supposed to try to go to my school for their all "E" luncheon for the first nine weeks. Saturday, we have to pick up the popcorn that Zachary sold for Cub Scouts, and Sunday, we have a neighborhood block party. Do you think there's any way that I am bored right now?

Because of all these things that take me out of the house, I am trying really hard not to stress over the fact that the house is not cleaned every day. I'd like to at least pick up everything, but that doesn't happen, not when I have a baby to take care of, and I make some sort of effort to relax. I am SO glad that Darren doesn't care. I just have to make sure to hide the Christmas presents that I bought today before Zach gets off the bus at 3:45.

Oh, wasn't I supposed to be posting about my weekend? So, I get a little distracted sometime...Mom and Dad came in around 1:00 on Friday, and we picked Zachary up from school. We took him to pick up his new glasses, then came home and he and Dad played in the yard. He left to go spend the night with a friend around 5:00, and I actually cooked dinner. Mom and I went to the mall that night, and sadly, I didn't find any clothes to buy. Zoe started smiling that night, and of course, smiled at everyone but me first. Zachary came home around 11:30 that night, for several unclear reasons. I think he missed us, and we missed him.

Saturday, Darren spent the day working at the University of Houston for the AIR rally; teams designed websites for different non-profits, and they did one for the Beer Can House. Mom, Dad, the kids, and I went to a craft fair at a local elementary school, then headed into Houston to go and buy a baby sling for me. The store we went to was really cool, and they had all sorts of (expensive) things that I didn't know that I needed. I then took them to eat at Rudy's, which is a new barbecue place that opened here. There are several in the Austin area, but this is the first one in Houston. As always, it was worth the wait. Saturday afternoon, Mom and I went to Wal-Mart to hunt for some elusive new die-cast cars that have come out, and that night, Darren and I finally went out to eat for our anniversary. We went to the Melting Pot and ate ourselves silly, and afterward, were too full to do anything beside come home. Sunday, we hung out at the house, Darren cooked breakfast tacos, and Mom and Dad left around 1:00. We went for a walk that afternoon, then came home and took the training wheels off Zach's bike. He mastered riding without them immediately, and took off riding. I was so proud of him!

Well, I have one hour until Zach gets home. I need to hurry and go relax and clean up. Maybe I can do them both at the same time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's Been Five Weeks Already?

Wow, the time is flying by this fall! I am doing my best to enjoy every minute with Zoe, but it's really hard to do that and keep up with life. I wanted to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), but I already missed yesterday. Oh, well.

Anyway, since the last time I posted, we've had a lot going on. We headed to Lafayette on the 20th of October for the weekend. Zoe did great in the car, and we managed to fit all of the baby gear in there. I was a little worried. It's been a while since we've had to haul all sorts of extra stuff around, and I just knew we were going to forget something crucial, like bottles. We managed to cram in everything that we wanted to do while we were there. Saturday morning, we went to the UL Homecoming parade. The weather was perfect, and Zach had a great time. Afterward, Darren and I took Zoe and ate at Piccadilly, which is a cafeteria-style place similar to Luby's here in Texas. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and Darren and I seemed to be the only people there under the age of 60. We then went to the mall to look for a shirt for Darren's reunion that evening, but didn't find anything. Later that afternoon, we all went to a pumpkin patch to get our Halloween pumpkins. Zach had a great time in the moonwalk, and we went on a hayride. That evening, Darren and I went to his 20th high school reunion. It was at a restaurant, and was kind of lame, but not as bad as his last reunion. We had a private room, and a few people walked around and socialized, but for the most part, everyone just sat at their table. The food wasn't the greatest, and at one point, I was so bored I was ready to gouge my eyes out. I survived, though. Sunday, we went to see Darren's sister's new house, and headed home.

Last weekend, we had a Cub Scout camping trip. It was at Huntsville State Park, and the weather was gorgeous. We were at the top of a hill, across the street from a lake, and the temperature was perfect. Zoe and I went with Darren and Zach Saturday morning. We set up the tent, ate a delicious lunch, then the boys raced wooden boats in the "Raingutter Regatta". Zach was pretty upset at not winning, but forgot about that quickly enough. Afterward, the boys carved pumpkins, and when I left, they were having a pinecone war. They had made forts out of pine needles, and would hide behind those and throw pinecones at each other. Of course, a few got hurt, but that was all part of the fun. Zoe and I left around 5:00, but I wished we could have stayed. I really like all of the families who we have gotten to know through Scouts. I hope that we continue to have a good experience, because it's nice to meet more people who live in our area, and have similar interests. We've had a bumpy start to the year, but things are starting to run more smoothly. I am the co-leader of Zach's den, though I am not sure exactly what my role is yet.

Halloween was a lot of fun. I felt bad that I really didn't decorate, since I usually go all-out. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to four stores in the hopes of finding something that I could put up quickly, but of course, Halloween had already been clearanced out and Christmas was up in full force. It's not that I don't have decorations, but getting them out required more energy than I had to give. It would have been easier just to buy new stuff. If you saw my garage right now, you'd understand...

I picked Zach and his friend Ethan up from school Wednesday afternoon, and we came home and changed into their costumes. First, we went to our local shopping center to Trick-or-Treat, and finished that in about twenty minutes. I picked up a pizza, met up with Ethan's mom to drop him off, then we came home to eat. We waited until dark to leave the house, because it's no fun to trick-or-treat in daylight. We put Zoe in her stroller and went around our neighborhood. It's nice that we know so many more people now, and we ran into several of our new friends while we were walking around. After we finished in our neighborhood, we got in the car and drove two streets over to where one of Zach's friends from school lives. He and his dad had a haunted house in their garage, and we wanted to check that out. I am so jealous; there was a large group of people sitting around on their driveway, and lots of kids running around in the yard. Our street just isn't that social, and we had that closeness with our neighbors growing up. I wish we lived on a cul-de-sac where it would be safe to play in the street. Our street is just too busy for that. We do have a block party coming up on the 11th, so maybe we'll meet more of our neighbors.

This weekend, Mom and Dad are coming here, and Mom and I are going to a big craft fair tomorrow morning. I hope to finally get a chance to get my hair cut; it's been since April! Darren is going to be working all day tomorrow, then he and I are going out to dinner for our anniversary (which was last Sunday) tomorrow night. We haven't been to the Melting Pot in a long time, and I can't wait to go back! I need to not eat all day tomorrow to save room. Zach is going to spend the night with a friend tonight, and and I don't know what else we are going to do. Maybe I can convince Dad to spend some time in our poor, neglected yard. It's bad, and I don't know where to start. We have pine needles everywhere, and also need some seasonal plants.

Well, I guess I need to go and unload the groceries that I bought this morning. I only had time to unload the refrigerated stuff before it was time to go to the chiropractor, and everything else is still out on the counter. Mom and Dad will be here soon, and I don't want to look like a slacker!