Friday, September 26, 2008

Cancer Strikes Again

Some of you knew my old coworker, Sarah Breazile, a playful, sassy blonde woman who loved to get people together and have fun. Sadly, cancer took her last spring at only 25 years old.

I have another coworker who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She immediately had a mastectomy and just started chemo yesterday. You can read Heather Carlin's public journal on CaringBridge here. Please send good energy to her as she is feeling very sick.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No Paparazzi, Please

Smacky had her first photo shoot! We were put on several mailing lists (thank you, babies R us) and consequently got several postcards in the mail offering us a free 8x10 with no sitting fee.

At first I thought it would be more trouble than it was worth, but after my cousin told me she'd done that with the birth of her daughter, I thought we could see what it was all about. (Plus, what else do I have to do besides take care of the baby and do laundry?)

It was at a studio in the mall that specializes in children, as evidence by all the photographs and rugrats running around. When we were finally called, the photographer was super nice and patient, and she got some really cute shots of Smacky. They made me wait a bit so they could edit them, and when I returned, they brought out 5 or 6 framed shots of my precious baby. They were so sweet that I teared up, which made the saleswoman excited.

"Wait till I tell Jennifer that they made you cry! She loves that!" she enthused.

It was hard to choose but the purple-blanket one seemed ordinary enough but still showed off her personality a little. We have an appointment with a private studio this week so hopefully we'll get some unique photos from that. Then we can compare them all and take our pick. If you'd like to see the whole set, email me and I'll send you a link.

Warm Bottom, Please

Smacky has always been a noisy little creature. Especially when (not) settling in for the night, she has a repertoire of squeaks, groans, mouth smacks (hence the name), and particular sounds that are similar to a squeaky fan belt or a car turning too quickly.

I've learned that these sounds, accompanied by her punching and kicking the air, usually mean something is amiss. If she's glupping and awake, that probably means that she's hungry (again). Or she's soaked through her diaper, through the towel and onto the bed (again). Or she's cold. It's wonderful that there are so few things that can be wrong at this age, isn't it?

When I leave her on the boppy on the couch to run into the kitchen or the bathroom, if she thinks I've been gone too long she'll give a little frustrated shriek. Hey! The photo above is actually her yawning, thinking about crying, but then going back to her happy self.

Smacky really rarely cries. One thing she DOES hate is having her bottom cleaned with a cold wipe. Whoever invented the wipe warmer was a genius!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So Hungry!

Short post- baby is waiting! She just had a ton of milk and is eagerly awaiting either snuggling time or more milk.

Nope, after 6 ounces of fresh breastmilk, she is finally sated. Phew! Growth spurts really suck up the milk.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No More Yowling, Please!

June is flying by, although we've had hardly any warm or sunny days. Today again, it's overcast and the sky is white.

I would be perfectly happy to have a cool summer, since the one 90-degree day we had in May had me stripped to my underwear (at home, of course) and sweating like crazy.

The pregnancy is still going well, although now that I'm in my third trimester things are starting to get a little harder. The baby is tumbling, kicking, and sticking various body parts out during the day and night, but I'm still able to sleep at night and have only just started waddling. I won't go into other TMI details, but if you'd like to hear about them, feel free to call!

Thursday marks my 33rd week. It's hard to believe (and freaking scary!) that in 4-9 weeks I'll have a baby and be a mother. Yikes yikes yikes! Since I didn't find out until 12 weeks that I was preggers, my 6-month gestational period hasn't given me as much thinking time as I would have liked so I've had to cram it all into my brain next to the other changes that have been going on.

Oh! Billy called yesterday and said that Sylvia Snapper had a run-in with the next door neighbor's dog.

She tried to jump off the bed afterwards and collapsed, which alerted Billy to her plight, and the vet subsequently diagnosed a sprained ankle and prescribed her some pain medicine. Poor snapper, walking and jumping around on a sprained ankle. Nobody knows the true story about what happened, but since she and the neighbor dog were on nose-sniffing terms, nobody expected an attack.

In cat news at our house, Gary's socially needy siamese has taken to yowling when we put him in the basement at night if he feels that he hasn't had enough interacting with humans during the day. Unfortunately, his needs are at the bottom of the list so we're going to have to figure out another way to get him to shut up.

Any tips from our experienced cat-owning readers?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aurora's First Quilt

I made my very first quilt a few weekends ago. Rag quilts are the easiest quilts to make, IMO, and since the seams are part of what makes it pretty and poofy, your cutting lines don't have to be perfect. (This is good for me because I'm not very good at holding the fabric straight when I use the quilting roller-knife.)

Here is a photo of the uber-girly quilt (for me) that took me mere hours to cut, sew, and clip. Please excuse the mistake in the last row. I was so excited about the green that I forgot to pay attention to the other squares.

I had intended to boycott pink as much as I could (which isn't easy, because baby clothes seem to only be made in pink and blue) but my alternate choice of purple had a pretty wimpy showing at the fabric store, and damnit, I like pink!

The top is all cotton, the batting is warm and white brand, and the back is flannel. I would have liked a plain cream-colored backing but I couldn't find any and this worked out better anyway- the burgundy from the back shows through on the front to give it a little more color.

Mittens helped with perspective on the back of the quilt. She's even multitasking. Clever girl.

I enjoyed my quiet time at home with the boys gone that week (they went camping for 5 days) but unfortunately my hormones were raging. I alternately felt lonely that Gary was gone and angry that the place is such a mess with boxes still festering from his move. Stinky old hormones. Good thing nobody was around to feel my wrath. (Mittens is exempt due to cuteness.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

7 months, 4 days

Portland is wonderfully cool tonight, although the house still retains some warmth from the earlier part of the day. Mittens has been hanging around this evening, asking for petting and shedding all over.

Mithra, one of my newest family members, is sleeping on the front porch. He follows Mittens around the house daily, heeding not her hissing and annoyed tail lashing, clumsily begging for friendship. Of course, choosy Mittens will have none of it. Their nights are spent together in the darkness of the basement, although I doubt that brings them emotionally closer. To the right is Mithra wearing his favorite (and only, so far) wig. He's hoping to add to his collection but will have to wait until Halloween to do so. He's a chocolate point Siamese with slightly crossed blue eyes and a terrific yowl that could wake the dead.

Gary and Arlo, 35 and 6, are off camping this week. What a relief! As much as I am learning to enjoy their boisterous and noisy energy, having gone so long without having children in my life is making living with one, albeit part time, very challenging. Arlo is very smart, well-behaved, and has little or no behavioral issues, so things are going as well as can be expected. Plus he and Gary give me plenty of space when I need it. (And they're quiet when I nap. Wow!)

To add to the excitement of changing house companions, I'm now 29 weeks pregnant. I'm so glad that I was able to lose 20 pounds last summer; besides starting out in fairly good shape, it also laid the groundwork for some good eating and exercise habits, although as stress threatens to overcome me, they have been falling to the wayside.

Here I am two weeks ago.

My chiropractor, massage therapist, personal trainer, patient coworkers and supportive Gary are helping ease my body aches and pains, and I can truthfully tell people that so far, my pregnancy has been very easy.


The baby has gotten to the point of giving me mini earthquakes when she kicks (what IS she doing in there?), my digestion is slowing down a tad (hooray for fiber!) and there are a couple of other mildly annoying symptoms, but so far I have only tiny stretch marks, little swelling in my legs and feet, no protein in my urine, and just a little bit (ahem) of crying for no reason. I had only the briefest amount of morning sickness in the beginning, too. (My ex-mother-in-law had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I believe, which is like having morning sickness 24-7 throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. It sounds positively AWFUL. (Way to hang in there, Linda!)

I started getting braxton hicks contractions a couple of weeks ago and I pee like crazy day and night (which is only a little bit different from when I'm not pregnant, if you know me) but my midwives say I'm doing fine and I'm looking forward to a continued "normal" pregnancy and hopefully a normal labor and delivery.

Here is a slightly out-of-focus ultrasound photo of the baby's head. She was wiggling around so much that day that it was hard for the tech to get photos, and this was the best. It was taken on March 24th, right after Easter candy went on sale. (ahem) The sugar COULD have contributed to her wiggliness, but who can say for sure?

The sun has finally gone down and I'm ready to snuggle up with a book. The house is so quiet without Gary and Arlo- I'd better get the cats in here for some yowling.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Welcome (and welcome back!)

Time has passed since I've last blogged, gentle readers.

I'm positive you're all waiting with bated breath to hear the news- how is the weather in Portland? What's going on at the Raymond House? Are kittens imminent for Mittens?

Stay tuned to hear all the news that's fit to print.