Monday, December 28, 2009

20 Week Belly

The biggest change to my belly of late is the "linea nigra," a line of pigment that runs from the pelvic bone on up. Some pregnant women get it, some don't. Mine has gotten longer and darker lately, and I'm very proud of it, even if it is crooked!

Tomorrow is the big level 2 ultrasound! I know I said I wasn't going to get it, but after talking to the hospital about financial options I decided to go for it. I'm praying that all the measurements will come back normal and that our little one will cooperate and give us a clear view of his or her tiny parts!

Knowing the sex is going to be such a huge milestone. Suddenly it will be Remy or Alice, and not just "baby." And the nursery! I can't wait to start planning a room in our house for our daughter or son! Mom and Steph are going to come over soon and we'll get to the fun business of clearing out the office and registering for baby things.

I'm probably going to have a hard time sleeping tonight!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Happy eve of Christmas Eve everybody! Ross and I spent the afternoon at the Stangers and then we all headed over to church for a beautiful Christmas service.

Here are some pictures of Owen eating french fries and posing for the camera.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I attempted yesterday to bake cookies, unsupervised. Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies. But before I'd even pulled out a cookie sheet, I ruined the first batch. I was trying to follow the directions, but for some reason (ahem, pregnancy) I'm finding that there is often a discrepancy between the black and white words on the page and what my brain decides they are saying. So after taking a minute to calculate a smaller batch (because I had already wasted a butt load of flower and sugar) I started over, and this time I got it right. At least, I think so. They are edible, anyway.

I managed to make 3 dozen + 8 with my modified batch. This is the final 8 puffing up in the oven.

Please ignore the cat hair.

Please ignore the spray bottle of bleach solution. I swear that no bleach was used in the making of these cookies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pregnancy Update

I'll be 19 weeks tomorrow! Woo-hoo! Baby is making herself/himself very conspicuous lately and I love it. Sometimes it's just a shifting or rolling feeling in the womb, but on a few occasions it has been a good, hard kick. Bring it on! I look forward to not having to use my fetal doppler every couple of days to assure myself that baby is still there.

According to my very scientific toilet paper measurements, my baby belly is slowly but surely expanding to make room for the little one. A month ago I was exactly 9 squares, now I am almost ten. The belly definitely gets in the way sometimes so I've switched from lace-ups to a lovely pair of fleece lined leather slip-ons! They are not completely open backed, so they keep most of the snow out, but they are low enough in the back that I have decided I need some cute socks. I don't like flashing everyone the gray heel of my athletic socks everywhere I go.

Now that I'm well into the second trimester I've really noticed that my energy is rebounding. It was subtle at first - not having to lean on the shopping cart as much at the store, taking showers and not just baths, walking up the stairs just to say hi to Ross - and then this week I realized that I have cooked a real dinner almost every night for the last week! AND I'm doing laundry again, AND I cleaned out my closet, which I've been meaning to do for months. It's nice feeling sorta normal again.

As I mentioned in my last post, we won't know the sex before Christmas after all. I try to guess what it might be, but I go back and forth. Originally I thought girl, because this pregnancy felt soooo much like the first one, and that one was a girl. Then I thought boy because every baby dream I've had has been about a boy. Now I'm leaning back toward girl because I've noticed my eyebrows and leg hair has stopped growing and I've heard that boys make your hair grow faster... So, yeah, I have no freaking clue.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, here is an artist's rendition of what is going on in there at 18 weeks!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


My mantra today is "This will be a good day - I will have plenty to eat and I will not frighten my husband with a hormonal freak-out."

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed after a night of fitful sleep and weird dreams about Oprah Winfrey. Got worse when I went to schedule my Level 2 Ultrasound and found out the place my doctor referred me to was gonna cost me a butt load of money. So I called my OB's office and asked them, "hey, what are y'all trying to do to us?" They acted as confused as I felt about. And now I'm waiting for the doctor to call me back.

She wrote "hyperthyroid" on the order so I'm thinking that is why she sent me to a specialist, but then she only requested the basic level 2 that checks anatomy, so I really don't see why they couldn't do that at her office. Anyway, the good news is that at the time of my last blood test I was no longer hyperthyroid. Whew! So when I tell my doc that hopefully she will relent and let me do the ultrasound with her.

The other critical thing weighing on my mind is the grocery trip. Not having food in the house is scary, but coming home with the wrong stuff is devastating. So I'm making a list and checking it twice, and then three times, and then four!

And, last but not least, Medicare. My doctor doesn't accept it but we're going to need it for the hospital before the big day. I have had my application all filled out and ready to go for months, but I had to get my name updated (AGAIN) and then when we took it into the local office they were so incredibly incompetent that we decided we would rather just mail it directly in.

So by the end of the day I plan to have the Medicare application off my dining room table, an appointment for my level 2 set up with my own doctor, and a fridge full of food. And it will be a good day, and I won't freak out.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Entertainment Links

Just some things I've come across lately that I thought were share-worthy. :)

In order to prevent any spoilers for the final season of Lost, the producers have not released any new footage to be used in promos. This is one Spanish stations attempt at a spoiler free promo, and it's pretty cool!

A cute Doctor Who Christmas spot for BBC1.

Entertainment Weekly dishing on some interesting David Tennant news.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Da Belly

No, it's not twins. My body is just morphing! Doctor says I have weak stomach muscles. Yup, sounds like me.

In my defense, this was right after Thanksgiving dinner.

17 Weeks!

I can't believe I'm already 17 weeks along! I just realized that I will be hitting the half way point on Christmas Eve, what a perfect gift! Thanks to my hormones, my history, and a couple of snags we've hit along the way, worry has become a little too normal for me, but every milestone baby and I reach boosts my confidence that we are gonna make it all the way.

And 20 weeks will be great for another reason - it's the week we find out the baby's sex! We'll get to start thinking about all the things we've been holding off on, like how we want to decorate the nursery, what to register for, and (dun, dun, DUN) names! Ross likes exotic names, especially ones that have appeared in comic books. I like family names, no matter how common. We'll see how that goes!

Being pregnant is weird. It's a full time job, but a sedentary, mostly uneventful, and often very boring one! And there really hasn't been a lot happening in Ross and my life to distract us from the waiting. But now that the morning sickness has gone I feel like the world is opening up again for me. I am loving the holidays and the sense of hope and continuity they bring. I've also started cooking again, which makes me happy. And there is so much happening in the lives of my family and friends - weddings, babies, moves, work, health - lots of things to celebrate, and lots of things to pray for!

As I wait for that next milestone I am praying that I will be able to set the worries to the back of my mind and focus on living in the moment, enjoying Christmas, and loving my friends and family!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Still Here!

Ugh, sorry to abandon the blog like that! I'm 14 weeks pregnant and I have found pregnancy to be a highly distracting state of being. But I will try to do better :) If I can't think straight enough to write, I can at least make lists!

10 Pregnancy Necessities
  • Daytime television.
  • Prunes.
  • Sports bras.
  • Ice water.
  • My very own fetal doppler.
  • Extra pillows.
  • Spaghettios with Meatballs.
  • Tums.
  • A doctor that worries as much as I do.
  • Lots of hugs.
10 Things that Make me Cry When I'm Pregnant
  • Being hungry but not sure what to eat.
  • Being hungry but unable to convince Ross to run out and get me exactly what I want.
  • Cat hair on the carpet.
  • Ross hair in the bathtub.
  • Riding in a car. Seriously. Waterworks almost every time.
  • Bad smells.
  • Bad dreams.
  • Television drama.
  • Clothes that don't fit.
  • Not enough hugs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Basement Woes

If you read my blog then you have probably heard me complain about the basement! We had record precipitation this year and all spring the basement was continually flooding. Even the sump-pump and the shop vac. couldn't keep up with it! Eventually things dried out, but the damage was done.

We tried treating the mold with a bleach and water solution, which would seem to help, but the mold would always rebound. Eventually, even though the basement was dry, it was spreading to new surfaces! After finally facing the facts we are in the process of demo-ing out most of the basement.

Ross has been working on it a couple of hours here and there all month long, and he's my hero for doing it, but this has meant no heat! We didn't want to risk turning on the furnace and spreading nasty mold spores all through the house. Luckily he tells me that he is just about finished removing every mold tainted surface and we should have heat by Monday. Thank God!

For your viewing pleasure:

Friday, October 02, 2009

Why Don't They Like Us?

I was stunned to turn on the TV this morning and learn that Chicago's bid was the first to be eliminated in the voting for the 2016 host city. All week the rumor had been that the real contest was between Rio and Chicago, with Tokyo in dead last, so when Chicago dropped out I said, stunning. It continues to amaze me how overlooked Chicago is. When we were in Las Vegas we met two separate couples from the UK who, in addition to Las Vegas, were going to be spending part of their American vacation in L.A. I felt sorry for them! How weird is it that L.A. and Las Vegas are the cities that represent the U.S. to so many visitors? Honestly, of all the cities I've seen in this country, none has the natural beauty combined with the architectural magnificence (not to mentioned the richness of culture and history) of Chicago. I know I may be biased, but I think it is America's finest city.

And yet, poor Chicago, it is much maligned! I had a Spanish teacher in high school who said that when she told Europeans she was from Chicago they would invariably reply with either "Al Capone!" or "Bang, bang!" On our visit to South Carolina this summer a relative said about me "Well, I guess they can't say nothing good ever came out of Chicago." Um, thank you? I hoped that the Olympics would let the world see just what a great city we have, but I guess for the time being Chicago's greatness will continue to be our little secret.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Las Vegas

We're back! I have seen some wonderful sights this summer, but nothing to compare to the sheer spectacle of Las Vegas! I loved the food, the palm trees, the sunshine, and all the dazzling sights.

Jason and Dee were married on Saturday night at the Graceland Chapel and it was awesome. It was impossible to watch Elvis in his leisure suit serenading them both and not grin from ear to ear. Afterward, they took us all to Magiano's for dinner. We were in a lovely private room with a great view of the strip, and we stayed for hours eating delicious Italian food and celebrating the happy couple. (Except for little Joey, who, after a long and eventful day, conked out in the corner for the evening :)

Unfortunately, about half way through the trip Ross came down with a severe cold and spent most of the next couple of days in bed. I spent my fair share of time in bed too - I think I may be a little too old and decrepit for Las Vegas! But I'm glad I finally got see this crazy city and I will never forget it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wrigley Field

Somehow I have managed to live 31 years in Chicagoland and never see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field (((gasp))). So yesterday the Stangers remedied this tragic situation by taking Ross and I to the North side to see the Cubbies play the Astros. It was a gorgeous day for a game! Sunshine, blue skies, soft breezes, and, from where we sat, a view of the lake. If that wasn't good enough, the Cubs won, 2 to 0. Afterward we grabbed a bite to eat in the loop and I got Mussomon Curry, yummm. A perfect day :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Enjoying it While it Lasts!

August is over and the days that I can sit out on my back porch enjoying the tall pines and the flitting birds are numbered! (What will I do when I can't come out here with my laptop and my cup of tea!?) Here are some pictures captured in the back yard on this crisp, crystal clear September evening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cantigny, Wheaton, IL

Some Random Plans and Gripes about the Weather

It has been raining almost constantly for three days. With multiple applications of bleach we thought we had killed the mold down in the basement but last night that old familiar smell started creeping up the basement stairs and in through the vents. Grrrrr. It's incredibly wet, and cold, and depressing. I could never live in a country with a monsoon season.

At least the weekend starts tomorrow. I'm ready to get this week behind me. It hasn't been a bad week, but it's been hard to get much done! The weather lady said we could see sunshine on Saturday, and Sunday we have Dee's bridal shower to look forward to. Yea!

Next week I go to my first ever Cubs game! (My first professional baseball game of any kind, actually!) I'm excited to see Wrigley Field from the inside, and eat a hot dog in the stands, and hang out in such a special place with the Stangers and Ross. Hopefully all the rain will have moved on by then.

And then the following week we head to Las Vegas for the long awaited, much anticipated, historic joining of Jason and Dee in wedded matrimony! (And I have it on good authority that it won't be cold or rainy.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dreaming of Family

I've been dreaming about family a lot lately. Last night I dreamed that we tracked down a long lost aunt who, after telling us all sorts of entertaining but very implausible stories about our ancestors, made me promise to name my first born Mickey, after a forgotten great-uncle. I woke up thinking, what have I done, he's going to get beaten up! However, a cup of coffee later, I realized that promises made to imaginary aunts in a dream are probably non-binding.

There is a lot going on in the family these days. Last month we went down to South Carolina for Ross's cousin's wedding - next month we are going down to Las Vegas for my brother, Jason's wedding - and then in December my brother Noah and his wife will be welcoming their first child. It's comforting that in this long stretch of very little happening for Ross and I, that our family continues to grow and start new adventures. It breaks the illusion that we are living in some kind of dreamy, limbo world and reminds us that growth and new adventures are on our horizon too, even if they feel so out of reach at the moment.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Doctor Who, Waters of Mars

Last I heard, this should air in mid-November. If you look closely, the blue screen that flashes after the captain character asks the Doctor "Which is what?" has people speculating that it is Rose Tyler standing there holding her new baby brother, Tony. That would be pretty awesome, but it could be some other blond holding a baby and saying a teary farewell to her man stationed on Mars. But would they have blurred out the face if it was, or even bothered to include it in the trailer? Rumor also has it that Rose Tyler and Jackie Tyler will appear in the season finale (or final special or whatever you wanna call it.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fixing my Fibromyalgia

After reading more about Dr. Teitelbaum's approach, I went and bought his book, and I'm trying out the SHIN protocol. The first three weeks you focus on sleep, pain management, and nutrition. It gets more complicated after that, with weeks 4-8 focused on detecting and correcting hormone imbalance, and weeks 9-20 focused on rooting out any hidden infections.

For the sleep thing I've started taking Suntheanine, which has been awesome for daytime nervousness and anxiety. For me this is a big deal because my social anxiety is a real aggravating factor with my FMS and keeps me from doing a lot of things that I would otherwise enjoy. As for sleep, I'm not sure yet. The first few days it didn't seem to help, but I just started taking a larger dose at bedtime and it seemed to work last night, so we'll see. I also brought the foam mattress topper down from the guest room and put it on our bed, and that seems to be helping too.

For nutrition I'm taking a bunch of supplements, but the most important one, according to Dr. Teitelbaum, is D-ribose. It's a sugar that your muscles need to repair themselves and people with Fibromyalgia usually don't produce enough on their own. So I take it three times a day, and I should start seeing results by 2-4 weeks.

The pain thing is trickier. Tylenol doesn't work, Ibuprofen makes my stomach bleed, and I'm avoiding prescription pain killers. The idea is that the supplements should eventually start helping with the pain. In the meantime I'm just doing the same things I usually do - try to wear my sneakers for good support, take lots of hot baths, don't over exert myself, use O24 for localized pain, etc.

I'm remaining cautiously hopeful about this treatment plan. I've been down this road before, and I never get the amazing results promised. But this SHIN thing takes such a broad approach...and if nothing else I'm already thrilled with the Suntheanine. We'll see!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sayonara, Futon

Yesterday Ross and I went into a furniture store and ordered our very first grown-up couch! Since we moved in a year and a half ago we've been using the modified futon from Ross's bachelor days. ("Modified" because it separates and swivels - I guess guys like that kind of thing in a couch.) It's covered in black corduroy, sits three inches off the floor, and is filled with so much metal that when given the choice, guests choose to sit on the stairs instead. The only thing I'm going to miss about that couch is its size - it's so teeny-weensy that by scale it makes the living room look like a parlor in Versailles.

When we started shopping for a new couch, we didn't have a long list of requirements. I wanted something that wouldn't show puncture marks from the cats' claws, wouldn't clash with our purple curtains, and which I wouldn't need any help to extract myself from. Ross wanted something that could be re-arranged like a transformer and would be easy to lift on to a U-Haul.

The winner: The Mustang.

Looks just like a mustang, don't you think? ;P We didn't get this many pieces because if we did we'd have to tear down a wall, or stop using our front door. We got one ottoman on clearance (one of the feet was chipped) for 75% off, and then we ordered one more ottoman, three armless chairs, and two corner pieces. So imagine the photo with one fewer armless chairs.

We took the clearance ottoman home with us, but it will be a month before the rest of the couch comes in. In the meantime the ottoman is standing in the center of the room, towering over the futon and making our living room look even more ridiculous than usual. But the color, to my great relief, is perfect - it is actually the same color as our walls, and looks great with the purple accents in the room.

As we get toward the end of a long, busy summer it makes me smile to know that when the leaves start falling, and the nights get nippy, Ross and I will have a big, comfy couch to snuggle up on!

Monday, August 10, 2009

SHIN Approach to Treating Fibromyalgia

I've been dealing with my Fibromyalgia without prescription pain meds since early 2008. After getting into a bad car accident as a result of the side effects of one of the drugs I was taking, I decided I was sick and tired of medications that help my pain while harming my brain or my organs. Even so my committment to this has always been wishy washy, and when I found out that Ross's aunt, who also has FMS, has gone back on medication after trying to go without, I felt even more discouraged. But then I picked up the September issue of O magazine and read the Dr. Oz feature on Fibromyalgia recommending alternate treatments it was a huge encouragement to stay the track.

The actual article featured four approaches, but Dr. Oz seemed most impressed with Dr. Teitelbaum's approach, so that's what I'm focusing on right now. At some point O Magazine will post a list of supplements Dr. Teitelbaum recommends at but as of yet it hasn't been posted. Instead I found this article on Tietelbaum's SHIN treatment plan, which wasn't even mentioned in the magazine. I defintely want to talk to my doctor about this.

Copied from Oprah's website.

Many people suffer from a combination of all-over body pain, exhaustion, short-term memory loss and trouble sleeping. Just a few decades ago, doctors would not have known how to diagnose the symptoms, but today it is diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum treats people from all over the world suffering from fibromyalgia. He talks with Dr. Oz about his own struggle with the painful condition and the remedies that helped him and thousands of others recover.

As a young medical student, Dr. Teitelbaum says he became very ill with something that his father called the "drop dead flu." It has now been recognized as fibromyalgia. Dr. Teitelbaum says he couldn't get out of bed for six weeks, and he had to drop out of school for a year and became homeless. During his time on the streets, Dr. Teitelbaum says he sought out herbal remedies that greatly improved his condition and soon was able to return to medical school.

Since that time, Dr. Teitelbaum says he has devoted much of his medical practice to treating people with fibromyalgia. "If you are exhausted and can't sleep and it doesn't go away with vacation and you hurt all over, you've probably got fibromyalgia," Dr. Teitelbaum says. "In addition, you will have brain fog and probably loss of libido."

Dr. Teitelbaum recommends both medications and herbal remedies to people suffering from fibromyalgia. One treatment method that Dr. Teitelbaum says he recommends to patients is the SHIN treatment. He says you should think of the SHIN treatment as a checklist for getting well once diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

The SHIN Treatment:
  • Sleep: It is critical that you get eight hours of solid sleep a night, Dr. Teitelbaum says. There are more than 25 natural and prescription therapies that he says he uses on patients if they're having trouble falling asleep. Also, taking a hot bath before bed and keeping your bedroom cool are tips Dr. Teitelbaum recommends to his patients.
  • Hormones: Dr. Teitelbaum says it's important to treat any hormonal deficiencies you may have. "Pretty much everybody with this disease needs to try a bioidentical thyroid hormone," he says. It may also be necessary to get treated with thyroid hormones, adrenal and reproductive hormones, Dr. Teitelbaum says.
  • Infections and immunity: Fibromyalgia can compromise the immune system, Dr. Teitelbaum says. It's important to treat infections, especially conditions in which yeast or fungal overgrowth is affecting your sinuses or colon, he says.
  • Nutrition: Avoiding sugar—except for dark chocolate—increasing your water intake, eating a high protein and low carb diet and increasing your salt intake are part of a nutritional plan that Dr. Teitelbaum recommends to his patients. Also, restoring energy through walking, swimming and yoga are ways to help in recovery. Dr. Teitelbaum says any physical activity that releases muscles helps the pain associated with fibromyalgia go away

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hot, Lazy Sunday

It's a fortunate thing when super hot weather falls on a Sunday, because it's the one day of the week you don't have to feel too bad about doing nothing. I sat around reading and journaling, Ross worked on leveling up in his video game. Hopefully we got the heat and the loafing out of the way and will have a nice, productive week.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

New Landscape Paintings

Must have palm trees on the brain :P Not finished, obviously.

Hmmmm, am half-way happy with this one.