"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, February 29, 2008

Life Dreams

So one of my life dreams is to own a pumpkin patch. I'm not sure why. I guess I never grew out of that little kid love for going to the pumpkin patch on school fieldtrips. Maybe I just love Autumn and all the bright, vibrant fall colors. Plus I sort of like the idea of a farm (just not the idea of farm work*), and this seems like the most fun a farm could be. We could have a little petting zoo, with only the smaller, friendlier of farm animals (I'm a little spooked by horses and cows with their giant eyes starring you down). We'd of course have sheep, but English looking sheep with black faces and white coats, those are my favorite. And we could have ducks and chicken, and maybe geese (although they are pretty mean, aren't they?) Maybe goats and alpacas. And we could have a cute donkey like this:

*A few months back Princess Sparkley decided she wanted a pony. But she wouldn't quite say it unless there was some way she could get out of having to be the one to clean up its poop. It was pretty funny.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Not To Wear

I watched a lot of TLC (aka The Learning Channel) while Baby X was in the hospital. Which means I watched a lot of Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear. Jed and I both love the show What Not to Wear. Keep this in mind as you read this post.

I still have about five pounds to go to be at my pre-pregnancy weight. Which is also turning out to be one pant size. So I only have one pair of pants that button closed and I've worn them almost every day for the past month. Sad, I know. The other day I went shopping for pants but apparently the new trend is the super wide leg which looked ridiculous to me in the dressing room. Not to mention all the pants had a low rise waist, which is not ideal when that is the part of your body where your five extra pounds are hiding. So today, I had to go buy bibs for Baby X as it turns out he's a huge spitter upper, and our last boy wasn't, so we have very few bibs. As I walked past the juniors department I looked quickly at the sales racks since all the wintery clothes (ie: pants) are on sale. Then I saw the sizes 5, 7, 9, 11, etc. and I was reminded of an episode of What Not to Wear I saw last week. The woman on the show was 35, I believe, and they were giving her a hard time for still dressing in t-shirts and jeans (basically my entire wardrobe) and then they looked at the tag on her jeans, saw that the size was an odd number and gave her a harder time for shopping in the juniors department (where apparently, I didn't know this, the clothes are numbered with odd numbers) when she was in her mid-thirties. As thirty is quickly approaching for me, I decided I should take that fashion advice and look in the ... what's it even called? ... women's department.?? But that was filled with jeans made my Dockers. I can't wear jeans made my Dockers! I guess this is what I get for shopping at Kohls. Which I love... for some things. Keep in mind that I was there buying bibs (they carry Carters baby stuff... which I love). AND, this isn't the size I plan to be for very much longer, but it's been long enough that I figured I could buy myself pair of pants, cheap and on sale, so I had more than one pants option for the remainder of my time at this size, however long it may be.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Switching Roles

Something that I found interesting about our week's stay in the hospital, I became secondary to Baby X. I mean, in normal settings, I'm Nancy and he's the new baby. Everyone wants to peek at him and hold him. But he's still just "Nancy's new baby." At the hospital, I was no longer Nancy. I was Mom. The nurses called me Mom. The doctors called me Mom. When I called to order my free meals* I was Baby X's mom. I could hear the nurses at their nurse station talking about Baby X - by name. It was sort of strange since I wasn't quite used to him being around yet and having a name and then all of a sudden everyone was using his name. Which it seems doesn't happen so quickly with normal, non-sick kids. They are baby until they finally start functioning like a person. It's like the first time you take your new baby to the doctor's office and the nurse comes out and calls out his/her name and all of a sudden you realize that they mean your baby. It was just sort of weird and fun for me to experience this role reversal. I became the one with no name, or whose name was of no importance and the baby became a person.

*Breast feeding moms got free hospital meals. Which, while it was hospital food, it wasn't all bad because it was a children's hospital. I got to order watermelon slushies, grilled cheese sandwiches, soft pretzels with cheese sauce and Oreo milkshakes.

Home Sweet Home

We got to bring Baby X home from the hospital yesterday. Yea! This first picture is just after his procedure when he's just woken up from the anesthesia and was brought up to his room.

My poor baby with all those wires hooked to him.

Here is another picture just after.

In Daddy's arms waiting to get discharged from the hospital.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Two Bandaids

Baby X is home with only two bandaids to show for his week's stay in the hospital. We didn't expect him to be able to come home for a few more days since the one nurse I asked about it said she didn't really know, but sometimes it's 5-7 days after the procedure. So when his nurse called this morning at 9 to tell me he was being discharged today we were surprised and happy. B and I drove over to get him at noon and brought him home. He's doing great. Thanks for all the prayers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Baby X had his heart procedure this morning. Afterwards the doctor took us into a little classroom sort of conference room with giant screens in the front with images of Baby X's heart during the procedure and he talked us through it all. It was a success. He still has a slight obstruction, but they are okay with that because it means that if necessary, he can have this procedure again later on down the road rather than the next step having to be valve replacement surgery... if that makes sense.

I asked about Baby X's future lifestyle. Basically, he'll probably have to avoid sports like soccer, basketball and tackle football, but baseball could be a possibility and definitely golf and bowling. He'll be able to function like a normal kid, even playing these sports for fun... just not super competitively on a high school team or something. He'll be making frequent visits to the cardiology clinic at Children's Mercy and his cardiologist will be able to better direct us to what he can and can't do as he gets older.

Down the road he'll have to have valve replacement surgery, but hopefully this procedure today pushed that back until he reaches an adult size.

He came out from under the anesthesia well. His voice (ie: cry) is really hoarse from a sore throat after having a tube down it. And he has a big bandage on his leg from where the catheter went in. We stuck around at the hospital until he'd had two normal feedings and then came home (we spent last night there). I'm trying to spend every other night at the hospital, so tonight's my night home with the big kids, and tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Baby X was supposed to have his heart procedure this morning but due to malfunctioning equipment, it was postponed until Thursday morning. Luckily they realized all this before starting the anesthetics, so I guess that aspect of it was good. But now more waiting, and more time in the hospital. We did get to meet his anesthesiologist and his cardiologist and have them explain it all to us, so that was nice. It turns out that some day, down the road, he will have to have heart surgery to replace the narrowed valve. This procedure is just to delay that until he reaches in adult size. So at least that surgery is far into the future, assuming that all goes well with this balloon procedure.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. I think his name was added to at least four prayer rolls... even by my sister-in-law's dad, who I hardly know. So thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Critical Aortic Valve Stenosis

Baby X had a heart murmur when he was born. Our doctor and the nurses at the hospital assured me that it was normal and would probably go away after a few days, or would end up being benign. At his doctor's appointment when he was five days old the murmur was still there so his doctor wanted him to have an echocardiogram (basically an ultrasound of his heart). So Friday morning we drove to Kansas City, MO for this imaging of his heart. We didn't get to come home. He was immediately admitted to the hospital. He has critical aortic valve stenosis, basically a narrowing of the aortic valve. Apparently it's pretty serious, but we are really lucky that they diagnosed it when they did as it would get worse in the next weeks as he got more mobile, etc.

My husband explains it more and with links on his blog.

So you may be hearing from me very little. OR... if it turns out I have wireless internet access in his hospital room, you may be hearing from me a lot since I'm getting pretty tired of the Disney Channel (it's a children's hospital, so I get all the kid channels) and TLC.

He'll have a sort of surgery on Tuesday sometime (again, explained in more detail on my husband's blog). So keep him in your prayers. He's a cutie, and other than the poor weight gain, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him. His nurses are in love with him and he seems to be doing great. The doctor's kept asking if I've ever noticed him turn blue, if he seems like he gets tired and worn out when eating, etc. And the answer to all of their questions was no. If it wasn't for his doctor noticing the heart murmur, we wouldn't even know anything was wrong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


If I ever had a ga-zillion dollars and dropping $700 for something on a whim was no big deal, this is what I'd buy. I'd stock it with Reese's Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Multigrain Cheerios, Yougurt Burst Cheerios, and Raisin Bran Crunch. Maybe every once in awhile I'd switch a cereal out for granola or Cracklin' Oat Bran. I love cereal! This would be a prime feature of my MTV Cribs kitchen. Right after viewing all of my husband's Clementine Izzes in the otherwise empty fridge.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Book Report: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray is the third (and I believe, final, unless the author keeps deciding to write more and more and more like the Georgia Nicolson series, or the Princess Diaries series, etc.) book in a series that has come to be referred to as The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. The first book is A Great and Terrible Beauty and the second is Rebel Angels.

I read the first book for my (now nearly defunct) online book club. I went into it not realizing that this book was part of a series, not really wanting to be sucked in to another series I had to read all of, and wait and wait for the next book to be published, etc. But I did really enjoy the first book and immediately read the second book, and then had to wait around for the third book to be published.

I've described this book to people as sort of a more grown up, classical, girlie version of the Harry Potter series. It takes place in Victorian England at an all girls boarding school. It involves magic and mystery, love and romance, the England we read about in the Classics, along with the coming of age story that a young adult novel requires.

As much as I did enjoy these books. I do have my complaints. Sometimes it seems as though Gemma, the heroine, was a bit too wimpy, a bit to modernly girlish, and a bit like Harry Potter in the last few books when all he does is wallow in his own differentness, etc. This last book was over 800 pages long, and it seems like most of that 800 pages she wasn't acting, when she needed to be decisive and act right then. That was a bit frustrating.

I am torn about the ending. I won't ruin it for you, but I liked some of the ways it ended and was disappointed in other ways it ended.

For those of you who loved Harry Potter and are looking for your next series to read, or those of you waiting for Stephenie Meyer's next book in the Twilight series to come out, this may be the series for you.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Funny ESPN commercial

I thought this commercial was hilarious. Plus, it's really the whole Manning family. Peyton and Eli are the Super Bowl winning quarterback brothers beating each other up. But that's really their mom, dad and older brother, Cooper. Pretty fun.

New pictures of Baby X.

Here are some new pictures of Baby X where he isn't all puffy faced and newly born.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Story of Baby X's Birth

My husband's drawing of encouragement.

Here's the long awaited, short version, of Baby X's birth story. As we all know, he was due January 22. On January 24 I had a doctor's appointment and she stripped my membranes, for the second time. This time, it actually felt like she'd done something. But it wasn't instantaneous labor like it was with Buddy. And, she'd scheduled me for an induction the following Wednesday (totally bad for our schedules) if I hadn't given birth yet.

My husband told me that night that if the baby wasn't born by 10, he wouldn't love it. He was tired, having woken up at 4:30 that morning to do homework before school. Around ten he called his friend Erik to inquire about how Red Box movies work (I told him to do this because his other option was he was going to go to Walmart and buy a movie, just because he was bored). So while I read Rules, and my husband chatted with Erik, I was having some pretty strong contractions. With Buddy I went to the hospital in false labor about a week before he was born. I didn't want to do that again, so I wanted to be sure I was really IN LABOR.

As it neared midnight I realized that this was probably labor. At 1:30 I called my friend who was kind enough to offer to come over and sleep at our house so we didn't have to drag our kids out of bed in the middle of the night. I arrived at the hospital some time around two o'clock. Because Buddy was born only 90 minutes after arriving at the hospital my nice doctor came as soon as the hospital called her, checked me, and then hung out at the nurse's station until this baby was ready to be born. Baby X was born at 4:46 AM. So I was in the hospital almost three hours before Baby X came. So Buddy still holds the record.

Labor was short, but intense. I had to have my water broken during a contraction... that wasn't fun or comfortable. But he arrived without a long labor, I've recovered quickly, and he's mostly healthy (he has a heart murmur we have to go have checked out, but it seems to be benign), so we're happy. And my husband still loves him, even though he was born after ten and when my husband had been awake over 24 hours straight.

Book Report: Rules by Cynthia Lord

My friend/former roommate Kate is currently pursuing a Master's Degree from the New England Center for Children Autism School (Kate, correct me if I'm wrong on that). She mentioned this young adult book as one that she was reading. It's written from the perspective of a twelve year old girl whose eight year old brother has autism. It's sort of how she deals with it, how she feels, but also how she sort of comes to accept it and befriends another boy with special needs. I really enjoyed this book. I read the first 2/3 or so while in labor, waiting at home to make sure I really was in labor. And then I finished it a few days later. It was quick and easy and entertainingly informative. I don't know a whole lot about autism, but it is something that I think is worth learning about, what little there is to learn. I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime* a few years ago and I really enjoyed being able to jump into the brain of someone (fictional) with autism and see the world through their eyes. Rules was a different twist on that... seeing the world through the sister's eyes. I've also heard that Jenny McCarthy's book, Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism*, about her son's autism is very good.

*harsh language
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