Friday, May 30, 2008

What the dr. said...

My surgery is scheduled for June 27. The doctor said usually by the time someone is having as severe symptoms as I described, the only thing to do is remove the gall bladder. He told me to take two weeks off of work, to which I responded, "If only I could!"

This is an outpatient procedure, so I'll be home that night. I'm supposed to stay in bed for the first week. He said I will feel more like getting up the second week, and that's fine, but I will have very little energy and won't be able to do much.

I also have to eat a no-fat diet for a few days, until my liver figures out it supposed to take over the gall bladder's function of digesting fats.

Never fear, though - I will take my computer to bed with me and stay in touch!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Important issue

Today I go to the doctor to find out what he wants to do about this gall bladder of mine. So naturally, my mind is on weighty subjects this morning. Like clothing tags.

See, I just had to cut a tag out of my shirt. It wasn't in the collar, because that would be annoying. No, instead it was in the side seam of the shirt. Because it's much less annoying to have something digging and scratching at your side all day.

Here's my million-dollar idea: perforated clothing tags. Once you buy the clothing and get it home, simply tear along the dotted line. Of course, for the OCD crowd I would market a tag album, where you could keep all your tags for handy reference: next to a picture of your garment, you could fasten the original tag, for those times when you can't remember whether to dry it on high or low heat.

I just hope if I have to have surgery that the hospital gown doesn't have a stupid tag in it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Going to extremes

Last night I though about what I would have been doing six years ago, with an infant son and two boys age 2 and 5 running around the house. And I remembered...

My third son didn't take to nursing very well. He seemed to be latched on correctly (and after two other babies I would have thought I knew what I was doing), but he wasn't. He became extremely jaundiced and had to go back to the hospital and lay under special lamps for two days.

Because he clearly wasn't getting enough milk the normal way, the doctor wanted me to supplement with formula. I refused. I have been a proponent of breastfeeding since long before I had kids, and I knew if I started formula it would be a downward spiral. So he told me the only alternative was to pump and manually feed the baby, so I could measure the amount of breastmilk he got.

So I rented a pump. In between his regular nursing, I would pump and store the milk. Then I would feed it to him through a supplemental nurser, which is a bottle connected to a long, thin tube. The tube gets taped to your finger and then you press it lightly against the roof of the baby's mouth. When he sucks, he gets the milk. It's a slow process, but it gets the job done.

I thought this would be a one week thing and then I'd be able to nurse him normally again. Imagine my shock when the doctor said (after one week) that he wanted me to do this for another month! I remember we had a post-partum doula coming over once a week, and she was really concerned for my health because I was doing little except eating, sleeping, pumping and feeding. And very little of the sleeping.

But eventually the baby gained weight and the doctor said I could continue nursing and stop the supplemental feeding. Things went back to "normal". He's a regular, rambunctious, healthy six-year-old now. He'll probably never really care about the lengths I went to when he was a baby, but that's okay. It was worth every minute.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nice weekend

We had a lovely day yesterday. I got lots of stuff done in the yard and around the house. The weather was absolutely gorgeous - lots of sun, but with a nice breeze to keep us cool. We had some rain in the evening, but by then we were all inside.

I made burgers and grilled skewers of fresh pineapple with chicken chunks, and Hubby's brothers brought hot dogs and chips, so we had quite a feast! I was still full when I went to bed.

So, how was your weekend?

Friday, May 23, 2008

The skinny on my weight loss

A few weeks ago, I went to the annual Secret Sister breakfast for the ladies in our church. We all exchange names and then give gifts anonymously through the year. This particular day, I had no less than five ladies pull me aside to ask what I did to lose all the weight I lost (about 65 pounds).

Honestly, sometimes I look at myself and can't believe I really did it. I remember buying some size 16 shorts at the end of the summer clearance in 2006, hoping I might possibly fit into them the next spring. They ended up being too big on me by then, much to my surprise. And now I wear mostly 10s, and even have a pair of 8 jeans!

The biggest thing I tell people is that just because it worked for me, doesn't mean it's the right diet for everyone. You have to find something you can live with for the rest of your life. Because a good diet isn't a temporary weight loss fix, it's a way of eating right forever. There are several good ones out there. I used Healthy for Life by Dr. Ray Strand. Other people like South Beach (though I would recommend skipping Phase 1). Another good one is the You diet by Drs. Roizen and Oz, which you can find on the Real Age website.

Mostly what I've done is retrained myself in the way I think about food. And in so doing, I tend to take ideas and recipes from many different sources. Because once I re-learned how to eat, I didn't have to be so strict with myself. If the ingredient list fits my "approved" list (which I carry around in my head), then I can eat it. But even then, I've taught myself not to pig out. Just because something is healthy doesn't mean it's calorie-free!

So I guess the answer to the "how did you do it?" question isn't very simple. The most important thing is to be consistent. Find what works for you and stick with it. If you fall down one day, get up and go again the next. One brownie will not kill your diet, but one brownie, followed by days of self-pity just might.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congrats to David Cook!

He's been my favorite for many, many weeks now, and last night he won the title of the new American Idol! Congratulations, David - you have a bright career ahead of you!

And, wow, what a finale show! Usually I skip through those things to get to the end and see who won, but I kept stopping to hear the different celebrity guests sing. Even the group numbers were good. I might actually save a large portion of that show to watch again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another birthday!

Six years ago today, my third son came along. I can't believe he's six already. Happy birthday, little guy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm curious - who's staying home this summer because of gas prices?

Have you changed anything about your lifestyle because of them?

Back when the price first went over $2 a gallon, we stopped going places. Our church is sort of halfway between home and the stores, so we would save our shopping trips for Sundays and Wednesdays. All the while, we waited for the prices to go back down.

We're still following that same routine. Every now and then, we might go to the store on a Friday if we're out of something, but generally we don't just hop into the car and drive without thinking long and hard about it.

Next weekend, one of my cousins is having a big wedding reception on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The weekend after that, another cousin is having a big going-away party in the same town before she moves to Texas. I'm going to have to send regrets to the latter, because driving down there just costs too much.

So if we go anywhere this summer, it will be like our recent trip to New York - part of a business trip of Hubby's for which we tag along. He might be going to Memphis later this year. That would be fun. But other than that, we've got to learn to love it at home.

Monday, May 19, 2008

So now I wait some more

After going back to the doctor this morning, I learned that my blood work was all normal, and now I'm being referred to a surgeon to consult him about the gall stones. I'll get a second opinion from him as to whether or not surgery is necessary. I can tell you that right now, when it's not bothering me, I'd rather not think about surgery. But when it IS bothering me, I want it to end NOW. So if he thinks surgery is the way to go, I'll probably go with it.

The appointment is next Tuesday. So until then it's more waiting. At least now I have a prescription for nausea medicine. It's been worse than morning sickness lately. Not fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Did you ever have one of the those days when you just feel in your bones that you were supposed to be a princess and be waited on hand and foot? When just the thought of cooking your own food seems absurd and you look around the house with a disdainful eye thinking, "Someone ought to clean that up," but you're not thinking you?

It's one of those days. So I will make an extra effort not to be lazy today. My Scooba is cleaning my kitchen floor right now, but the rest is going to have to be me. Spring cleaning, here I come!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What gall...

I'm feeling better today. The attack brought on by the ultrasound tech probing around my abdomen with her little wand seems to have ended. I even did some exercise this morning without any pain.

I read up on gall stones and it turns out I've been having other symptoms, I just didn't know they were symptoms of gall stones because they're so vague. Nausea. Um, okay, I have a three year old who still, at least once a day, poops in his pants. What's so unusual about waves of nausea? Gas and bloating. Well, my diet includes lots of fresh veggies and many different kinds of beans. I'd be silly NOT to expect some gas and bloating.

So, it's possible the doctor can give me some medicine to break up the stones (ultrasonic techniques don't work on gall stones because they are soft, not hard and brittle like kidney stones). Or it's possible I will have to have the whole thing removed. Naturally, this is not a problem for most people or they wouldn't do it. I just wonder about the likelihood of ending up in the group for which it IS a problem, because I tend to end up in that smaller group a lot.

I also learned coffee drinkers tend to have less gall stones than non-coffee drinkers. Since I guzzle about 12 cups a day, I hate to think how many stones I'd have if I didn't! See, there's always a bright side.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I had an ultrasound and it's twins

Fake Quote of the Day:
"Believe me, I know what it's like." - J. Hurt
Last year this time, I started having this horrible, burning stomach pain. Both I and the doctor assumed it was acid reflux and I went on medicine for that. It didn't help. The pain only happens every three or four weeks, but it lasts all day and is so bad I can't do anything but lay in bed.

So finally, I got referred to the gastroenterologist, who sent me for a gall bladder ultrasound. Now, I've had teeny tiny gallstones in the past, and the pain then felt nothing like the current pain. So I thought it was a waste of time.

Much to my surprise, I have two lovely little matching gallstones, about 1.25 centimeters across. I return to the doctor on Monday to find out what this means. Hopefully there's some sort of magic procedure they can do to take care of it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Have a good weekend!

I'm off to a homeschool convention today and tomorrow! Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

PPL - Clerihew

Mid-month Every Month at PENSIEVE
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This month's poetic form is the clerihew. Never heard of it before, but it looks fun! Robin wants us to use something about the month of May. And since clerihews are also biographical and humorous, she's presented us quite a challenge! Fortunately, I'm up to it.

Napoleon the Third
Had a plan most absurd.
His troops surrendered in Puebla that day,
And that's why we celebrate the Fifth of May!

Okay, maybe not so humorous. But two out of three isn't bad, right?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Reality check

(Reality television, that is)

Though I don't think I'd go as far as Simon and call it "atrocious," Jason just wasn't good last night. He needs to go. And I think the other three gave good enough performances that they won't be going anywhere. Sorry, Jason - it was fun while it lasted. David A. gave standout performances - based on singing along, he should win. But I'm still rooting for David C.

On HK, I can't say Matt shouldn't have left, BUT if you were Ramsay, could you pass up his offer to move to the girls' team? I think not. This should be interesting. I don't think he'll be doing the women any favors, but I think he's right about the men not listening to him.

And on Dancing, I can't really say I was sorry to see Shannon go last week, or Mario this week. He was good to begin with, and I don't know if he got too cocky or just wasn't able to meet the challenge, but he never really improved. I still think that it's going to come down to Kristi and Jason, though Cristian could end up there if he keeps getting the sympathy vote.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Do the write thing

Fake Quote of the Day:
"Writing is easy. It's putting the words together so they make sense that's hard." -J. Joyce
Tonight I have to take the two older boys for their annual homeschool evaluation. It's required in Pennsylvania. We have to be evaluated every year by someone approved by the state to do so, and get a signed letter from her saying that I am providing a good education at home.

We are fortunate to have found a wonderful evaluator who is also a long-time homeschooler. She is very understanding, supportive, and a great role model. If she ever quits evaluating, there will be a major uproar, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm not concerned about the actual evaluation. BUT...

We also, in this lovely state of PA, have to turn in a portfolio of work for each child 8 and older. Included in this portfolio must be a sample of writing. My children do not write. It's like the worst form of torture for my oldest son. It comes down to the last week every year, when I'm hounding him to please write ANYTHING so I can finish his portfolio. Talk about frustrating!

I tried getting him to learn typing so he can just type whatever, but he still won't do it. Unless it involves Bionicles, he's not interested. So we'll see what happens.

I might just enroll him in the composition class at co-op next year. Maybe someone else can drag it out of him.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Marriage Monday: The Crazy Way We Met

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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Two years ago, I wrote extensively about my whole courtship with my wonderful Hubby, so if you want to read more detail, look here, here, here, and here. But as for the crazy way we met, well, it went something like this...

I like to think of my meeting with my future Hubby as being one of those examples of God doing everything in His own perfect timing. You see, we attended the same church for years, literally, before I ever noticed him. There's even video of the two of us standing next to each other in a church Christmas play. So even though he was there all the time, I firmly believe God kept me from seeing him until the time was right.

Hubby had this friend named Rob, and Rob was a friend of mine as well. In typical fifteen-year-old girl fashion, I had no idea Rob liked me. He was just a guy with whom I could discuss Star Trek. One night, there was a concert at the church, and Rob was helping clean up afterward. Suddenly, there was future-Hubby. There wasn't literally a spotlight shining on him or angels singing, but it sure felt that way.

My jaw dropped and I said to Rob, "Who's your friend?" He introduced us. Within the week I had gotten hold of future-Hubby's phone number and called him repeatedly. I didn't know Rob had told him to stay away from me, and I probably wouldn't have cared if I had. He was funny, cute, and fun to be around.

By the end of the summer, before he left for college, I knew we were going to be married one day. It's one of the few times I've heard an actual voice in my ear tell me something. He was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and in my right ear a voice said, "You're going to marry him." Pretty scary for a fifteen-year-old girl! I shrugged it off. But it was always there in the back of my head.

Of course, it was six years and many frustrations later, but it happened! All in God's perfect timing.

If you'd like to share the crazy way you met your spouse, hop on over to Chrysalis and join in!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Don't go to Canada without a good reason

The view from the bridge back to the US

Coming back into the US, we discovered that even with passports for the adults and birth certificates for the kids, they don't just wave you through.

"What were you doing in Canada?" the nice border guard said.

"We went camping."

"For one night?"


Nice border guard looks at my hubby skeptically. "Who goes camping for one night?"
Hubby took a deep breath. Did this guy really want to hear the whole story? "We had a change of plans," he said.

"That's your story?"

Okay, clearly, he DID want to hear it. Hubby gave a quick explanation of how we'd accompanied him on a business trip, how we'd gone to pick up a van we bought on Ebay, how we'd planned to camp two nights but didn't, etc., etc. Finally, the nice border guard let us through. I was starting to sweat.

So we picked up our new van and headed home around 4 p.m. It's a six hour drive, not counting dinner and bathroom breaks. And did I mention I had a migraine? Yep, driving six plus hours with a migraine - never done it before, hope to never have to do it again. We got home around 1 a.m., totally exhausted.

If I had to do it over, we would have gone to a campground near Niagara but in New York, and only driven over for a couple of hours to see the Falls. Plus I would plan it for a time when we could stay longer - I had a commitment on Saturday I had to go to or we would have.

Overall, I'd say it wasn't horrible, but wow, I'm glad it's over. And I bet you are, too.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The conclusion? Not quite...

Our biggest problem in visiting Niagara Falls was that we needed to leave the new van somewhere because it only had transport tags and did we really want to try and explain to the Canadian customs person why we were bringing it into Canada? No, we did not.

So we drove all the way to the town of Niagara Falls, NY without finding a place to stop and eat. No big deal. We'll just park the new van somewhere overnight, head over to the Canadian side, park the camper at the campground, and go eat. Um, yeah.

I won't go into all the details, but things never work out quite that simply for us. We finally found a place that seemed to be closed for the season, advertising parking for the Falls for $5 a day (or $10 depending on which sign you read). We parked the new van and headed to Canada.

After pulling in to the campground and setting up our pop-up, we finally went to find dinner. Now, you remember the big buffet breakfast I mentioned that we had that morning? That was the last time we'd eaten. It was after 9 p.m. and I was beyond hungry. And when I get that hungry and that tired, it's not pretty. Add a bunch of children who won't be quiet and sit still and you've got mental and emotional breakdown.

We ate at the very cute Flying Saucer Restaurant, which looks like a giant flying saucer all painted silver and everything. The boys loved it. They even had a newspaper story on their menu about how the saucer landed there and ended up a restaurant. Very cute. Not cheap, but definitely cute.

We found out the next day that the exchange rate was par. What that meant was that we spent over $60 for dinners of burgers and fries. Yikes!! Whatever happened to Canadian money being worth less than US? Honestly, we wouldn't have gone over there if we'd known.So, the next morning, we had a breakfast of whatever we brought with us (Pop Tarts, English muffins, bread - and I remembered the coffee maker this time - hooray!). We went to the Falls, still an amazing sight, and one the boys had never seen before. We tried to avoid looking directly at any of the tourist traps (because you know if you look into the entrances, you get sucked in). On the way out, we stopped at Harvey's for lunch. Excellent. Best fast food salad I've ever had. And then we went back to get our trailer and start the long trip home.