My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Mother ‘Hood Official Video



I posted this on my Facebook but in case you missed it... you have to check out this very short video about the Sisterhood of Motherhood. It has a really sweet message.

Yesterday I had a visit with the doctor at the health clinic. I'm linking to the clinic here because THIS is truly affordable health care! It amazes me that something like this exists in our little small town. They handle people who have chronic illnesses who slip between the cracks of any other type of health care - not old enough for medicare, too old for medicaid, unable to afford individual health care anywhere. And although most of the people who staff the clinic are unpaid volunteers, they treat you with compassion and respect even beyond what I've experienced when I had insurance. I get treatment for my high blood pressure (it's holding steady) and high cholesterol (increased meds) and they address other situations within their very limited ability and funding.

Last year when I first told them about the Evil Gut Pain the nurse said they see a lot of people who have obviously surgical situations but they couldn't do any kind of diagnostic work because they didn't have access to ultrasounds and so forth. Six months ago the doctor got on my case pretty hard core about the fact that I had not yet gotten treatment about it. Kinda made me cry a little. He had me go to the Health Department for an exam - which I did. And their story was pretty much the same, they didn't have access to any diagnostic equipment. I could have a free mammogram but... the affordable health care act removed funding from the health department that might have enabled them to diagnose me. As it was, I paid $75 for a pelvic exam which was basically inconclusive. And... have just waited.

At the beginning of this year I received a gift from a family member to help resolve that nasty old EGP. Then I was sort of paralyzed. It's a very generous gift but in the world of health care, money doesn't go far. I wanted to get some guidance from the clinic on how to proceed. DO I go to a gyn, assuming that it's low so it must be female in nature? Do I go back to the general surgeon who did my last surgery? He handles a lot of stuff but he is also VERY expensive. Like... $500 for an office visit expensive. So while I was seeing the doctor yesterday I asked what he suggested and much to my surprise he said that the clinic now has access to ultrasound and CT scans which - even if we can't get a diagnosis, we can eliminate anything big and scary. They scheduled me for an ultrasound on February 3rd and if that is inconclusive they'll send me for a CT scan. What's great about that is that it falls before my next appointment at the pain clinic and they will also have access to those findings. The Pain Doctors know more about every little thing that ails me than even I remember sometimes. I trust them. I just wish they weren't so expensive.

The clinic doctor outlined several things it *could* be but based on his exam yesterday and last July, he feels it's an ovarian cyst. Just knowing what it is will be such a huge help for me. Pain is so much worse when you don't understand why it hurts.

Last night I woke up and had to go to the potty. When I stood up, my legs were so numb! I was really shaky and didn't feel like my legs were going to support me. I had been asleep in the recliner which is usually the most spine friendly option for me. I know that what's wrong with my back is a degenerative condition - meaning it will get worse. It just was a bit unsettling to get a peek at what's to come.

IN other news... Austin made cinnamon rolls in the waffle iron tonight. They cook TONS faster than in the oven and the melted glaze fit neatly inside the little waffle squares.

I have had lovely conversations (via messenger) with my brother's fiancee this week discussing things like which shoes my nieces are wearing as Jr. Bridesmaids. Aunt Helen picked out some awesome ballet flats that are perfect for pre-teens and I was able to pull it up on my laptop and let them pick their color (from between two choices - I mean... red glitter flats are SO last season! Can't exactly turn them loose in a virtual shoe store, can we?)

I'm also thinking about what I'm wearing for the wedding. I have several things that would be appropriate, I think but I've got to make sure they still fit and all that.

Speaking of whether things fit... I promised to send my daughter-in-law some of my old tshirts that are too small for me but would be perfectly comfy for a pregnant woman. Have I mentioned? We're at 26 weeks for Cosette and Friday will be 15 weeks for peanut!

And... with that... I'm out of steam! Hope your week is going well. Love and hugs, Heather




Monday, January 26, 2015

Reasons To Love Monday - The Sky Is Falling Edition 2015

Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another... laden with happiness in tears.

That's fairly melancholy for a gray, ominous Winter day, isn't it? I've been following the doom and gloom weather forecasts all day - side effect of not working, you have the opportunity to stay plugged in to the news all day long. I'm always interested in potential catastrophes from my career in Risk Management. You have to believe that bad stuff happens occasionally in order to peddle the antidote. I don't really enjoy the validation of a major blizzard that has the potential to affect 50 million people including my eldest child and younger brother (and his intended bride) but it's interesting. So there's that.

And although all of my days pretty much look the same, it's still Monday for most of the world. (Except Wendy in Oz - :waves:) And since it's a gray, ominous Monday I thought I'd help you find a few reasons to love it, despite it's ugliness. That's right... another round of Reasons To Love Monday!

(It's just easier to recycle titles and formats after ten years of blogging.)

1. I've had a headache lurking in the deep recesses of my brain but it's not THAT bad.

2. Also, just for the record, no evil gut pain today.

3. Historically epic weather, even several hundred miles away still trips the arthritis switch in my spine but it's also not THAT bad today.

4. I started my day with homemade waffles and the newest episode of Downton Abbey. Hard to hate a day that starts that way. I missed Downton last night switching between the SAG awards and the Miss Universe Pageant.

5. Austin's back home from a weekend with Tasha. Cosette is kicking like crazy so that's a good thing.

6. Austin had a good weekend with Tasha AND her parents. There's a lot to be said for peace. He needs to be comfortable with them and vice versa. (Do I worry about him? No more than I worry any other time he is out of sight. He'll always be "incident" prone.)

7. Current embroidery project is turning out quite lovely, I think. Lovely enough that I ordered more thread in those shades of green.

8. Also, since it seems that Walmart has abandoned maintenance of their embroidery thread displays at both nearby Walmart (yes, we have 2!) I ordered a bunch of black thread. You need black in almost every project for outlining. I'll be stocked up for the year.

9. I worked on my Ancestry.com for awhile this afternoon. I have a tree for my kids because one day they might care to know who their ancestors were. I think it's a product of middle age, when you realize that you actually are NOT immortal. Then you want to figure out who came before you (and figure out when you're likely to follow them - not the reason I like genealogy.) While updating some things on my kids' paternal ancestry, I came across some old photos of their great-great grandfather. It's uncanny how much he looks like his son, my kids' great-grandfather who passed away in 2007. I'm sharing them because old photos are cool and because my blog is a good place to store random information for posterity. I'm using photos without permission but they were on a public family tree on ancestry.com created by kids' paternal grandmother's cousin. Anyways...

The soldier guy is my kids' great-great-grandfather, George W. England Sr. I don't know for sure who the other folks are but I'm going to guess that one of the ladies is his wife who they called Dolly Gran and maybe their sons?   Another of George the first.


My kids' dad's mom's dad (got that?) is George W. England, Jr. He's on the far left. The other two kids are his brothers. I'm not sure if those guns are real but... cute little soldier boys. George Jr was born in... 1914, I think. In this picture he would have been ten or eleven. Someone wrote me on ancestry.com and pointed me toward some documents about George Jr.s grandfather that listed him at 5 foot 5 inches. I don't remember him as short but I'm 5'1 so... everyone is tall to me.
An older picture of George Sr. They were a pretty hardcore military family. Even through George III (my kids' great uncle) and I think his son, George IV as well. My kids' paternal grandfather (not an England) was killed in Vietnam. Uncle George (the third) has gotten in contact with us recently as my former mother in law has been put in a home. My relationship with her was never particularly chummy.  I can't really imagine visiting her but... the kids might want to at some point. Ryan is the only one who really knew her and he's in Pennsylvania. Cody lives just a mile or two from her but he's been dealing with a very sick wife ever since Gram has been in the home. Marquee is doing better, though so maybe they'll be able to visit her. I don't want to sound indifferent but I really try not to make my kids feel obligated to visit ME. It's completely not in my nature to pressure them to visit someone that they hardly know. Nevertheless, I think roots are important and I'm happy to do what I can to preserve them for my kids.

And. Well, I guess that's it. Good food, being inside cozy and warm on a cold Monday, scoring some interesting old photos and... I'll end it halfway watching The Bachelor and flipping back and forth to the Weather Channel to see what Winter Storm Juno does. For the record, I think it's stupid to name Winter Storms.

I just thought of one more Reason To Love Monday... I checked out a book from the library last Winter about the blizzard of 1888. Every time I see the list of the most epic storms on the forecasts I think, "I know all about that one!". And that's really all I have today. Love and hugs, y'all.



Saturday, January 24, 2015

What's Up?

Today I enjoyed a really peaceful quiet day. Austin is spending the weekend with Tasha's family (PROGRESS!) so my Whine Cellar has had less um... animation... than usual. I had French Toast Crunch cereal for breakfast. I had Lean Cuisine Thai Spring Rolls for lunch. Mama and Daddy have a new waffle iron so we had the BEST waffles for dinner.

I've watched Figure Skating on TV today.

I watched a really funny video of Rick Steves "Irreverent History of the Travel Business" on You Tube. It's an hour and a half but really interesting and fun to watch.

I watched a Book Discussion on a book called The Innovators. It's the history of the people who created the computer and the internet. Honestly, I would probably not have picked it off the shelf of the library to borrow but after listening to his presentation I want to know MORE about these people.

I watched the movie Lost In Yonkers, originally a play by Neil Simon. I got completely absorbed in the story. I want to costume that play. It's two young boys whose mother has died and their father takes them to live with their grandmother so he can take a job that earns enough to pay off their mother's medical bills. The family dynamics are hilarious. I mean... dysfunction WWII style.

I sewed on my current cross stitch project for about 3-4 hours. I just haven't had those 8 hour days in me here lately. I'm making steady progress but it's not going as fast as I want. I am loving the way this one is turning out - the colors are bright and spring-like.

As of yesterday Peanut is officially a 2nd trimester fetus! 14 weeks and growin'! Can't wait to find out who he/she is so that I can feel bonded in the way that I do with Cosette. Cosette is 25 weeks gestation. We're gettin' there! Grow babies, grow!

My mom is exhausted because Lily, the dog with cancer is just not comfortable. She cries all night. Lily, not my mom. We may have to make a difficult decision about Lily because I don't know how much more my mom can take.

When I posted my favorite Vlogs the other day, I got a little note from a long time blog-reader - and blog friend from AOL J-land. Her daughter has a Vlog on Youtube and my friend can't be a grandma unless the vlog does well. So... give a grandma-in-waiting what she needs... and go visit Alicia's Vlog. She's second generation social media and her mom's blog always cracked me up! There are a group of about a dozen of us that connected via AOL who truly, still interact on a daily basis. They're my Blogger Babes and Mother Hens.

And that's all that's up. That I can think of. Happy Saturday! Love and hugs!





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blogs vs Vlogs

I've always had a story to tell. I had the little diaries with a key when I was young. I kept it up for a couple of days and then... nothing. I even have a diary that I started when I was a newly pregnant teen mom. I'll leave it to Ryan in my will, if I ever have a will. If you think I share too much information now, you should have known Unfiltered Heather. The world could not have handled it.

When I discovered the world of "weblogs" I made a few attempts but tended to tell stories of the people around me more than my own story. It's a perfect way to alienate friends and hurt feelings. Even though I thought the lives of my friends were more amusing and interesting than my own life, I found that I tell my own story much better than I tell anyone else's story.

When I started my first serious weight loss attempt beginning in January 2005, I had what I felt would be blog-worthy to share. I used AOL's Journal format, known affectionately as "J-land". I was successful not only with weight loss but also with connecting with people simply by telling my story. It was extremely empowering to learn that random people could be impacted by my words and my life. There was something magical about being pioneers in that format. I made friends who are still friends today via Facebook and other social media platforms.

Those early AOL blogs are lost. AOL got out of the blogging business right around the time I was rebuilding my life after leaving Florida. At the time I wanted to forget the past few years. Some of it was worth forgetting but there are a few things I would love to have - like the blogs of the trips I took to New York, Boston and San Francisco. I'm a better blogger now, though and don't cringe quite as much when I go back to the beginning of this blog - in October 2008.

As I've gotten older I've learned more about what to share and what not to share. I've learned to put some time between writing and publishing my most passionate work. A lot of times once I've slept or cooled off or prayed over a situation I can see it and share it in a different light. Sometimes I still go back and take out particularly sharply worded paragraphs. Sometimes I write blog entries that I don't publish at all. Just pounding out the words and seeing them briefly in print makes me realize the error of my attitude. People want to know what's going on in your life but don't want a constant diet of drama and pessimism. I find myself pulling away from blogs that are particularly negative. I care but I can't always take on the weight of someone else's problems. I don't ever want to be the blog that people don't want to read.

Lately I've been watching Vlogs on You Tube. For the uninitiated, a "vlog" is a video blog. It's not a format that I could enjoy using. More days than not I have fourth or fifth day hair in a bun and no makeup. If I'm not leaving the Whine Cellar and if the Whine Cellar isn't having visitors then it makes no sense to waste the mascara. Also, Vlogs require a level of creativity and skills that I don't possess. You may enjoy seeing snapshots of the cats but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to watch fifteen minutes of my cats sleeping. That's what normally goes on here.

I'm discovering, though, that there are Vlogs that are quite entertaining and enjoyable to watch on a daily basis. Since TV has been really blah lately it's a great way to pass a Winter evening. As is true with my blog reading interests, I tend to drift towards families with young children. Instead of "Mommy Bloggers" there are all these "Daddy Vloggers" who make daily YouTube Vlogging their primary employment and source of income. It is unfathomable to me how the money flow starts and continues (because if I could figure that out I'd be a lot less broke) but it appears to work for some folks.

At any rate... I know a lot of you share my interests so I thought I would introduce you to the world of Vlogging. Here are three Vlogs that I watch with some regularity that you may enjoy:

Ellie and Jared. They are young Mormons living in Utah with their one year old *most adorable kid ever* Jackson. They are the most humble and positive folks I've seen on YouTube, in blogs or in real life. I mean, they are seriously Donny and Marie without the cheesy music. Well, ok, with a little of the cheesy music... but you'll love them and you'll love their equally toothy families!  Ellie is pregnant with baby #2, also a boy, right in between when Cosette and Peanut are due. They have friends who Vlog at Daily Bumps. The Daily Bumps have a lot, uh LOT of subscribers but I don't enjoy their videos as much as Ellie and Jared. Something about how the dad says, "you guuuuuyszzzz" all the time and spins with the camera - gives me vertigo. You might like them so, bonus link.


Then there's Cullen and Katie. They live in Alabama and are huge Bama football fans but I don't hold that against them. Katie has her doctorate in clinical child psychology and Cullen is a stay at home dad to their little baby Macey Gaines. Cullen's mom is called Grandberry and seriously, I want her to be my best friend because she's just so durn funny! I think half the time I watch Cullen and Katie for a glimpse of Grandberry. Cullen is responsible for the phenomenon known as "Target Balling" where he uses the big red balls in front of Target to be part of a staged photo every day. Google Target Balling for lots of examples. They also have a little spin-off Vlog with baby tips that have been enormously helpful in introducing me to "modern day" baby stuff. It all looks different, y'all. Bonus Baby League link.

My daughter-in-law Marquee introduced me to the Saccone-Joly family. He's Irish and she's British, I think... and they have two little adorable kids and six adorable dogs. I have to focus a bit more when watching them because of the strong "always after me Lucky Charms" accent that the dad has but... they are definitely worth watching.

I jokingly commented on another blog this week that the internet makes us all feel like we can do anything as long as we can find a video of it on YouTube. The truth is that knowledge IS power and there is a lot of knowledge - and therefore potentially power - to be had on the internet. I use that power, without doubt in keeping up with current events, self-diagnosing learning more about medical conditions that plague myself of my loved ones and just expanding my general knowledge of infinite random subjects that catch my attention. Sometimes, though, all I really want to know is if Jackson is saying "mama" yet and what Grandberry is up to.

Now back to the wall to wall news coverage on "Deflate-Gate". Happy Thursday!



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mid Week Randoms

Cool play mat that Austin scored from a friend.
Instead of waiting to blog until I feel I have something interesting and pertinent to articulately share, I'm going to just give you a few mid-week bullet points. It's quantity not quality, folks.

Had a lab appointment at 8:30 this morning. I so appreciate being able to get some of my health care through the local free clinic but hate sitting in a waiting room with a dozen people who sound like they have tuberculosis.

We're getting a new roof this week. Yay for the new roof, boo hiss for the roofers need to park next to the house. Our cars are parked in the top part of the yard which normally wouldn't bother ME a bit since I rarely hardly ever go anywhere but I had a lab appointment at 8:30 this morning.

I can't complain about climbing the hill to the car because my mom did offer to get the car and drive it down for me but I wanted to save her a trip into the cool morning air. Then I huffed and puffed up the drive and realized I left my handicapped parking sign in the Whine Cellar. I called mom and got her to get it for me so she got to experience the cool morning air after all. Normally I wouldn't worry about the Princess Parking but the clinic is always short on parking spaces.

Pop got to experience the cool morning air because he was golfing. Before that he went to rescue my nieces because their dad's truck wouldn't start. By the time Pop got there the truck was running so they each took a girl to get them to school on time. (They go to two different schools).

I'd feel bad for my brother (because nothing ruins a day like a car not starting) but he just got back from a cruise. The way I see it, he's still on Jamaica time. Or... where they went that wasn't Jamaica but I can't remember at the moment. He's got a whole week or so left before the stress returns, right?

Jamie-gurl won her school spelling bee so she's going to the county competition. She could give lessons to adults on social media who inappropriately use their, there and they're.

There was a tree blocking some drainage pipe at the dam in the lake. One of the neighbors mentioned it so Austin took off in mom's new paddle boat to clear it. He hurt his knee and foot. The good news is that the boat is fine.

Austin was sanding mom's coffee table and the automatic sander thing got a hold of his arm and made a nice burn/abrasion. By the way, words are not my friend today. Anyways. The point is that Austin is accident prone.

Speaking of... Austin and Tasha have a Walmart registry if you're just dying to buy something for Cosette. They're having a shower in March. If you're local and would like to come, let me know and I'll give you all the particulars. Or ask I'll ask Tasha about them because I'm the kind of grandma that sponges up every little detail at doctors appointments but I'm not the kind of grandma that is into showers.

I had a really REALLY bad pain flare up last night. My parents were at the girls' basketball game and Austin was helping Fat Pat fix his brakes. I was almost sure it was the day I was going to end up in the ER. It eased up after about an hour of total misery and self-pity.

Poor Oscar has had a rough week with the roofers. He's a good guard dog - meaning he barks every time the wind blows and thinks it's his job to alert the entire neighborhood if someone is within a mile of our yard. All those random strangers walking back and forth and all the hammering and noise had him a nervous wreck. And then Mawmaw and Pop were gone after dark and Aunt Heather was freakishly pacing the floor trying to get past the pain. I kept saying, "owwww owwww owwww... it's ok Oscar... I'll be right back". Insanity.

Little Trouble Kitty is also not loving the roofers. Where Oscar barks and gets in attack mode, Little Kitty runs and hides under the nearest bed. He has spent more time under beds this week than out from under beds. He is also not a fan of me being restless. It makes him restless. I was in so much pain last night that I couldn't bear the weight of little animals in my lap so I kept shifting him to the side and he was not having it.

In the doctors office this morning there was a lady who THOUGHT SHE HAD THE FLU who decided to sit right beside me and strike up a conversation. She said that this particular health issue she has (not the flu) had her in the ER four nights one week. I said, "don't you get billed for that?" She said, "not if you tell them you're indigent". I don't know about that but... the bottom line is that because what she had wasn't imminently life threatening they didn't resolve her problem either. I'd rather be home and miserable than in an ER being miserable no matter what it costs.

Honestly, I'd rather live in a world where people could truly get affordable health care. She priced Obamacare. It was going to cost her $800 a month with a high deductible. I don't know why people think that's a good thing. People who are not in a position to have employer sponsored health insurance can't afford $800 a month or a deductible of any size. The person on the phone who helped her with her "Affordable Health Care" told her she should go on Medicaid. Except Georgia didn't expand Medicaid and the local health department lost most of their funding that would normally help people who were in the gap. Like her and me.

I've spent all day avoiding any coverage of the State of the Union show. Can't stand him. Can't. Stand. Him. You may have won the past two elections but you also cost your party the last election.

At any rate... pain medicine + sleep medicine got me to DontcareLand  last night and I made it to battle another day. Up hill. In the cold. At the doctor. Next to people with the flu.

Today's appointment was just lab work. They bring you in for lab work and then you come back a week later for your appointment. The nurse was great and had some possible diagnosis (guesses) for the Evil Gut Pain. She also gave a painless blood draw but I take partial credit for that because I have awesome veins.

I guess that's about it. Hope your week is speeding by at a delightful pace. Love and hugs!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reasons To Love Monday

Remember these literary masterpieces from a few years back? I was on a hamster wheel... working full time, raising a teenager who had his own agenda, working at a place that wasn't all goodness and light but I was gonna fake it until I could make it. Life was hard. Money was tight. I kept trying to find a balance and failing at everything. Saturday and Sunday was my salvation. A time to sort it all out and rest and watch tv and do some chores to get me ahead for the next week. I was footloose and fancy free.

And then Monday would come and I would literally feel the yoke landing heavy on my neck. Five more days before a break. Five days of trying to motivate my kid to get his education. Five days of trying to be a model employee. Five days of fitting daily errands into my lunch hour. I gotta be honest - I hated Monday. Monday was a big hairy monster standing in between me and my next weekend. Once my back pain ramped up Monday was the renewal of suffering after spending all weekend trying to get over it.

Here's a link from around the time my back pain first started: The Way Back Machine

I read through a few entries and I felt the stress all over again. Life is hard now but life was WAY harder then. So even though every day in my life now is a Saturday or a Sunday, I still owe some love to the much maligned Monday. So I give you the Revival of REASONS TO LOVE MONDAY.

1. I slept until I wanted to get up this morning. About seven-thirty.
2 I had time to take a nice long shower.
3. I dressed in leggings and a tunic with a hoodie over it all. My dress code here in the Whine Cellar is aaaaawesome!
4. I had to do a mini-glam session since my hair was wet but I took a break half way through and went back to it later in the day.
5. My mom came down and gathered up my dirty laundry to do it for me.
6. The biggest thing on my agenda today was cross stitching a project for a friend.
7. Since today is MLK Day C-span is running BookTV all day. My favorite channel!
8. Texted with Cody and Marquee today. She is doing much better. Still a little nausea but she is finally able to eat.
9. Angie, Sarabeth and Jamie came over to hangout this afternoon. We played Apples to Apples which is a really fun game. I'll explain that in another post.
10. Sarabeth tried on Grandma's wedding gown and it would not fit. She's healthy, trim, athletic - but tall for her age. Grandma was (and is) a tiny little sample of a woman. The last time I tried on her wedding dress I was 13 and weighed about 105. I could *almost* get into it but not zip it up. That dress is 69 years old. Bizarre. It *might* fit Jamie right now but I'm not even sure. It's so tiny.
11. The Evil Gut Pain has been low/minor today. It's still there but ok.
12. My disc pain is worse - having a lot of muscle spasms and cramps but didn't have to take the hard stuff to get through the day.
13. My mom brought dinner down for me so I didn't have to climb the stairs. Climbing stairs is about the absolutely worst thing for my back. Sometimes I just have to go up there but my mom is so good about sparing me trips up and down wherever she can.
14. Although Austin isn't *quite* where I want him to be in his life, at least I don't have to go through all the drama of waking him up every day. He is pleasant most of the time and works really hard around here. And he is SOOOO excited about his baby girl!
15. A friend who is having trouble with her teenage daughter was able to get some professional help today. It had been a huge source of stress for her. It will still be an ongoing process but they are at least on the right path.
16. Tasha was able to change her appointment with the perinatologist to earlier in the day and that will make that 120 mile round trip much easier on us. Less traffic.

And now Little Kitty is demanding my undivided attention and is trying to randomly punch keys to change what I'm typing so... that's it for today, folks. Share with me a few of your own reasons to love Monday.  Gotta post this quick before it disappears. He's pushing every key he can get his little white socks on.

Have a happy Tuesday, too, y'all!
Love and Hugs!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Update on Cosette

Austin going stir crazy at the dr.'s office
I wanted to blog when I got home yesterday but I was absolutely wiped out. I was asleep around 8pm last night and slept on and off until around 7 this morning. I was awake for hour long intervals during that time so it wasn't solid sleep but I did sleep a lot. The evil gut pain wasn't bad yesterday but it's back full force today - meaning it's been there for almost two weeks straight.  That'll wear you out right there. But... enough about me. Let's talk about Cosette.

Cosette Camille is due 5/5/15 so she is currently 24 weeks, 4 days gestation. (Peanut is 13 weeks, 1 day!). She has always measured a little smaller than her due date but it was a day or two days off, nothing major. At her anatomy scan at 20 weeks she was not quite big enough for them to get all the measurements of her heart that they wanted but they stressed to us that it wasn't a problem, she was just a little small. At that ultrasound they said she had a big head and small tummy. At her ultrasound on Thursday she was measuring 11 days to 14 days small and her amniotic fluid was a little low. Still within normal but on the low side. The OB doctor referred us to the Perinatologist and as I mentioned, I consulted with Dr. Google to know what kind of questions to ask while we were there. I mean, heck, if we're driving sixty miles to see a doctor, I want to get the most out of the visit.

Since I haven't really been well over the past two weeks or so with the extra pain, dizziness and stuff, we felt like it was better for Pop to drive us down there (and I'm thankful he was willing - because it was perfect golf weather). I wanted to go along (even though it was a long drive) because I was afraid Austin and Tasha wouldn't ask the questions I wanted to ask and also to support them and... to be honest this is a whole new situation for Austin to navigate and I feel like I need to be along to guide and encourage him. Because Austin does things like this:
Country comes to town

He was nervous and couldn't smoke because we don't smoke in Pop's car (I say "we" but I'm not part of that "we" because I never smoke) and the doctor's office was in a smoke free campus, meaning you have to walk about a mile away to be able to smoke. They put us in a room for an ultrasound that lasted - honestly, I didn't notice how long except that it was very long, close to an hour. The ultrasound tech was getting all kinds of measurements and data that I haven't seen them collect in the other ultrasounds. It was also a smaller screen so I was having to focus really hard to read the data. And they don't allow photos so even though there were some really cute shots, I can't share them. We had one with her mouth open like she was screaming. It was pretty funny.

From my research I had figured out that the worst complication would be the low amniotic fluid because that leads to higher risk of cord compression and other damages in utero. Also, if the placenta wasn't functioning correctly that would be a problem that would lead to premature delivery. I made sure to ask both the tech and the doctor if the fluid was adequate. It was fine. I asked if the placenta was working well and the tech said yes and showed us the blood flow through the umbilical cord which looked good to me (but what do I know, right?). I asked the doctor if the placenta was working right and he said the only way to know is if the baby is doing well and she's small so there is some reason for concern. He wants to follow up once a month with these longer ultrasounds to continue to measure her and monitor the fluid and stuff.

He also feels that we're at higher risk of stillbirth due to some of Tasha's pre-existing health issues (which is not really my story to tell so I'll not go into details there) so he wants to do non-stress tests on the baby twice a week starting at 32 weeks. We are not really sure if it's necessary to do these follow-ups at the Perinatologists office for all of these visits because it really is a long way and in a very congested area but I just keep thinking if the insurance covers it we should err on the side of being too cautious even if it's inconvenient because if we didn't and something happened... well, you know. Now that I'm certain how to get there I think I could manage the drive if we went earlier in the day (i.e. not during rush hour) but we'll let the OB interpret what the Perinatologist recommended and go from there.

The bottom line is that they don't know why she's small. It could be genetics because honestly, Tasha's mom is tiny and Tasha and Austin were both tiny well into their teens. Tasha's working hard to do better with eating a balanced diet and I honestly didn't get the impression that the doctor felt diet had much to do with it. It's tricky because Cosette needs to grow but they're trying to keep Tasha's weight gain between 11 and 20 pounds. She's gained 9 so far so she's on track with that. They told her to keep drinking lots of water and weren't even that freaked out when I outed her on her Red Bull habit. And thank God that Tasha doesn't get mad at me for calling her out on her Red Bull habit. I just wanted to make sure we weren't missing a possible cause of Cosette being petite. Because they don't know why she's so small they'll just keep a close watch on her and if she stops doing well on the inside, she'll join us on the outside. She is small but still within "normal" limits. If she gets below limits then they'll have to do something. And she's breech right now (which could definitely change) which affects the measurements because the angles are different. Or something.

We go back to the regular OB on the 12th and back to the specialist on the 13th of February. Until then, we'll just pray for Cosette to grow, grow, grow!

Now... for a bonus... some cat pictures....

Stubby and Edison - my fat boys
 Little Kitty spends about twenty hours a day on top of me. Either beside the laptop or on the arm of the chair or in my lap.

In the middle of the night - asleep on my lap

 
 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cosette's Checkup

I wasn't blogging back in the days when I was incubating my children. The internet existed then but not for the average household. If I had been blogging then it would have looked a lot like my life now because I was put on bedrest at 26 weeks with Cody and at 25 weeks with Austin - both for premature labor. Keeping the countdown chart up to par Cosette's 24th week of gestation is the one that puts us all on edge. 


I didn't go to her appointment today because 1) the EGP* that will not go away (but is better) and 2) I have a sore throat / earache / stuffy nose combo that probably is nothing more than my usual ESP (evil sinus problems) but in the event that it could be something contagious I decided to spare exposing a doctors office full of pregnant women from being exposed to me and 3) I wanted Cosette's other grandma to have some time to visit with her via ultrasound. She's sat out the past two. So I didn't go. And as it turns out Cosette is measuring about two weeks behind gestational age and her amniotic fluid is low... I don't know how low because I didn't go... and this special combination indicates a need for more advanced screening than the local OB-GYN. 

We have an appointment tomorrow at 2pm with a perinatologist. I know all about perinatologists - at least perinatology 20 years ago - because I had to see one with Austin. There was concern with Austin that his kidneys weren't developing right, the storage capacity was too small or something. It's amazing what you forget in 20 years. We had a couple of visits and a couple of super duper special ultrasounds - not the super duper kind they have now but the best they had back then - and ultimately we got the all clear long before he was born. The main thing was the anxiety of "what the heck is wrong with my kid" and I suspect/hope/pray that this is a similar situation. I fully expect this new doctor to find Cosette giving thumbs up or shooting him a bird via ultrasound and we'll be on our merry way. 

As per my custom, I have googled every possible combination of the phrase "low amniotic fluid, measuring small for dates at 24 weeks" including the proper medical terminology of "intrauterine growth restriction" and "oligohydramnios". I've seen lots of scary stuff but the good news is that Tasha's blood pressure is "perfect" according to Austin's interpretation. (Again, I didn't go.) If she were to have any complication I would expect high blood pressure and that's one big trigger for these type of problems. It can also be caused by poor nutrition which, pot and the kettle here (I had four chocolate chip cookies for lunch) but Tasha doesn't eat veggies and I harass her frequently about this. It can also be a lot of other stuff or... it could just be genetics because Tasha and Austin were both pretty tiny as kids and her mom weighs something like 80 pounds so they could legitimately have a small baby. 

This doctor is sixty miles away and I think my dad is going to go - if he does, I'll be glad for him to drive because I do have so much trouble with dizziness and stuff. If he doesn't (because he did take another trip over the dog gate this morning before dawn -which is a pretty startling sound to wake up to- and he might legitimately be sore although he did manage to play 18 rounds of golf today) if he doesn't, I'll figure it out. I mean, I used to drive to between Atlanta and Jacksonville over a weekend and that's like 600 miles. I was younger then. And not stressed. As much. 

I don't think there's really any cause for panic because they offered her the appointment tomorrow or the next available was in February. If it could wait until February then it can't be that bad. I told the kids to pack their cellphone chargers just in case. Perinatalogist appointments tend to take a long time due to the nature of their specialty. I mean, they treat multiple births and premature labor and things that just "pop up" in the middle of the day. They also tend to give tests that involve long periods of observation as in, "go lay in that bed strapped up to that monitor and we'll see how things look in 8 hours". So. Yeah. 

This does not give Peanut permission to raise a ruckus at 23 weeks. Somebody make sure he/she gets the word. 

No pics today. I'm busy trying to keep the cat out of my hot cider. Happy Thursday. Love and hugs, y'all. 


*evil gut pain

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And Then There Was Tuesday

I'm a born-again daily blogger. Or close to it. After being on sabbatical/unintentionally retired for the past 20 months (yes, it's been that long). I've learned the importance of making sure each day counts for something, somehow. I've struggled with how to blog about that because I feel like the Head Chief Manager of the Department of Redundancy Department. In other words, my days look a lot alike. At least from the outside looking in they do.


I know each day is a special snowflake unique in its' own way. For instance... yesterday morning I had hot apple cider for my morning beverage. Today it's English breakfast tea. So there's that. Yesterday I took a shower and did an abbreviated glam routine - no makeup, dried hair but didn't flat iron it, brushed the cat's hair. Today I just put on clean clothes and fixed a ponytail. Yesterday my parents went to see my nieces play basketball so I had some Oscar bonding time - like this
but this was taken the last time I doggie-sat Oscar. 

I watch tv every day but yesterday was different because I watched a Kate Plus 8 marathon. She was even more mentally ill and hateful than I remembered. That woman. I mean, I know people hated Here Comes Honey BooBoo and ultimately Mama June was exposed as the grifter she is but at least she wasn't out and out rude to people. Kate has no clue how to play nice. None. 

I watched my favorite vlogs yesterday and found out my two favorite couples are rooming together at Play List Live - this big vlogger conference. Vlogging is like blogging but it's video instead of words and pictures. I can't vlog because I don't have those kind of skills nor do I have any interest in actually putting on makeup every day. If you're wanting to dip your toes in the world of Vlogging, my two favorites are Cullen and Katie who live in Alabama with their baby Macey Gaines and Jared and Ellie who live in Utah with their son Jackson. All are very light, little drama much happy cute kids and fun parents. Jared and Ellie are Mormon and have the whole Donnie and Marie always happy thing going on. Cullen is a stay at home dad married to a clinical child psychologist who goes to Target every day and creates things out of Target balls. Google targetballing. It's hilarious. Cullen's Mom, Grandberry does a weekly video and she is HUH-larious! Here's an example of Grandberry's work. I catch up on my vlogs during the time of day when there is nothing worth watching on tv and I just want to veg out and stare at a screen instead of reading. 

I spent an unbelievable amount of time yesterday trying to decide how to finish my current cross-stitch project and which project to start next. Talk about Analysis Paralysis! Maybe you guys can help... here's what I'm deciding between:

I've made what will probably be a pillow for Cosette with animals in blocks like this purty yella giraffe. I'm having time deciding what format to use for her name. Do I want to do letters in blocks like the animals so the whole pillow looks like a pile of blocks? Do I want to use these safari printed letters like this: 
  Think about doing Cosette Camille in these letters... Cosette would end in black orange orange black which doesn't feel baby-ish.  I'm considering just doing these letters in bright colors:
But are they fat enough? Would I want something bigger?

Likewise I've been brooding over how to finish Ryan's Christmas present. It's an FSU theme and I've toyed with the idea of spelling his name (or BooBoo, which is what we all call him) with these Indian Native American letters but I can't decide if that's charming or too babyish for a 28 year old man. (Yes, I am a parent to a 28 year old human.) 
Also... for Christmas I made Marquee a Mickey for her bathroom but the Minnie I made to go along with it didn't match it like I wanted. The Mickey didn't have outline but the Minnie did. I found this Minnie that I think is a better match and could do that for Marquee's birthday/to celebrate second trimester.
But I will have to research to find out if this is the same size as the Mickey I used for Christmas. And would she rather have both Mickey and Minnie for her Mickey themed bathroom... or would she rather I go ahead and make something for Baby Peanut's Classic Pooh nursery - like this:  By the way... there are not a lot of classic Pooh patterns available on the interwebs so I'm going to have to find a picture and turn it into a pattern which I can do... but it is a bit of work. And I should really finish Ryan's Christmas and Cosette's pillow first. Except Marquee's birthday is coming before Cosette's shower. See what I mean? And honestly, I really want to do a project that is more of a repeating pattern because that's easier to do, especially when I'm dealing with pain and having to take pain meds which makes me more likely to make mistakes. I'm considering one of these "easy" patterns.
 

 
With the floral ones I want to use a different color or flowers which means I have to pay attention to my substitutes. I'm also crazy about this pattern and think it would make a nice cheerful pillow:
I'm also wanting to do an Oscar themed project and I've narrowed it down to one of these: 
  but with the first one I would have to do another color substitution trick because our Oscar is cinnamon colored. And that pose is more of a Sammy pose - head tilt and all but Sammy is a long haired doxie so again, if I make it a Sammy I'll have to alter the pattern. And this is the reason I didn't sew a single stitch yesterday. Analysis Paralysis.

I did work for awhile on my family tree which is easy to do while dog sitting. Stitching while holding an animal is tricky and frustrating and messy.

SOooooo... what does today hold? I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Leave a comment here or on Facebook helping me make decisions on my cross stitch projects. Love and hugs, y'all! (and... btw... the evil gut pain is still loitering making me pretty insane... which also makes decisions difficult).

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Monday

I didn't go. I know some of you were wondering and a lot of you were praying but ultimately I realized it was not wise to drive so far in so much pain. I know there are lots of people in the world who push through pain - and you have my respect, no doubt.  I have a pain thresh hold that, once passed, leads to dizziness, nausea, vomiting, reduced response time... I could go on. The bottom line is that I knew it wasn't wise to undertake driving 200 miles in two days in that kind of pain. I shed a few tears overnight Saturday when I woke up in the middle of the night and knew Sunday was not going to be one of those days that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. It was not even a day where I could leap small buildings in a lot of bounds. And... truly... still having too much stinking pain today to be comfortable so I know I made the right decision. I just hate being THAT person.

I'm still waiting for an update on the doctor visit and doing the Jewish mother thing where I assume no news is bad news.

But... in way of distraction... my parents went to the grocery store for me over the weekend to stock up on stuff that I can fix for myself in the Whine Cellar Commissary. They bought this Tai Pei brand of Chinese food that I had never tried and it is REALLY good! They're on sale at Ingles this week and I think a lot of grocery stores use January as a big month for sales on frozen food so you might check your store to see if they're on sale. It's a nice sized portion, the rice doesn't have that weird texture you usually have with rice in frozen food and the meat seemed like real meat, not is-this-really-chicken?. My favorite frozen meals are Kashi, especially the Mayan Bake which has plantain and lots of healthy stuff in it but 1) I can't every find that particular flavor and 2) they are too expensive. I consider it reasonable to pay up to $3 for a frozen meal and after that amount... I'm better off cooking from scratch in bulk and saving individual meals (if I ever had that energy to do that). The Tai Pei was on sale for around $2, I think. It's way high in sodium so not an everyday meal for me but good for an occasional Chinese food craving.

My favorite meal at the Whine Cellar Commissary is baked sweet potato with butter and brown sugar. It's cheap, high in fiber (which I always need) and is mostly clean (I'm sure butter has some kind of preservative or chemical added but still...). And my favorite treat is still Luigi's Italian Ice - Mango flavor. I'm totally addicted. I also have a thing for butterfingers and there is no stopping once I start eating them. For the most part I don't have any appetite. I eat to be able to keep meds on my stomach and to prevent headaches from not eating. I get full really fast because when I'm full the back pain and EGP go into overdrive. So when I gorge on things like candy that don't feel you up as quickly as something like a baked potato, I eat until I run out. This is why, despite having no appetite, I maintain my "girlish" figure. Not.

And of course, my mom had made cookies to take to Cody and Marquee and since we didn't go down there I'm having to help use all the cookies before they go bad. She wanted to put them in the freezer and I veto'd that.

One political statement for the day - what happened in France last week was horrible, tragic, scary and all that. More than one day I kept my tv on news all day, riveted to the story. Seeing over three million people come out in force yesterday was amazing... the world leaders linked arm in arm... moving and inspirational. Today over 2000 people are dead in Nigeria by Boko Haram and it's barely a postscript to the news. If you want to see TRUE racism, look at what stories the mainstream media promotes. Seventeen dead in France last week trumps 2000 dead in Nigeria. And I'll also add that it's pathetic that our country sent NO ONE stand up to terrorism with the other leaders of the world. Eric Holder was IN FRANCE and couldn't be bothered. We can't afford NOT to be in solidarity with the rest of the world regarding the threat of terrorism. We can't forget that you show your true character by how you treat people who can't do anything for you. Yes, definitely grieve those in France who lost their lives. Stand up for freedom of speech and freedom from terror. But don't gloss over the others who are victims just because they don't look like us.

And that's it for today. Back to the needle and thread. Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Movie Day Saturday

Fleece lined legging, two pair of socks, warm afghan - my winter uniform
As a consolation for being big fat meanies and taking away Fox News Channel, DISH has given us a weekend with all the movie channels. Usually I'm just like..."eh"... because I don't watch a lot of movies. My movie watching interest is so narrow... I don't like violence, blood and guts, gratuitous language, I don't like things that couldn't happen in real life, I don't like stressful movies - your suspense is my big time anxiety. I don't need to discover new things to stress over. I don't like slapball comedy. I like comedy that just flows like a witty conversation between me and Purple Michael. I don't when they have to work so hard and make it plain stupid for a joke. Since I'm such a picky movie fan, it's really hard to find things I want to see. HOWEVER... there are a few I've got lined up and I wanted to share them with your. I mean, I wanted to share my opinion. If you want it. Otherwise, "love and hugs, talk to you later!".

Little Trouble cuddling with his mommy
I started yesterday with The Jane Austen Book Club. I don't want to give a lot of plot away but it's basically a group of people who are going through different "things" in their collective lives and as the meet each month to review a Jane Austen book, you see the parallels and irony in the relationships. It's very light-hearted. Totally a chick flick. Made me happy.

Then I watched the highly acclaimed August: Osage County. It had Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and won awards or was at least nominated for awards. I liked it. In parts it felt over-acted. The plot was kinda wacky and I had a hard time connecting the dots of who belonged to who. I'm glad I watched it. I probably wouldn't watch it again.

Oscar gets between my thighs, under the blanket for maximum warmth
I recorded some stuff last night that I'll watch later on. One is a history of golf that I recorded thinking my dad would enjoy it. I recorded Annie (the 1982 version) and Little Shop of Horrors to show Sarabeth and Jamie. I'm trying to give them a good foundation of musical theatre so that if they decide to go into any arts based field they will have those shows for reference. When I first started doing costume work for theatre, I had practically NO sewing ability and was not what you would call a fashionable person BUT I do have a keen sense of history and pop culture and could easily put together looks for an appropriate setting. I want my girls to have a broad range of knowledge about musical theatre.

Movies are important. They make you think about stuff you might not think about. They provide a temporary escape from you life. I've spent so much time watching bad news reports on CNN (seriously DISH and Fox News - get over your pettiness and get me my Fox News back) and it's mentally draining to do the extra research every time I hear a news story that paints conservatives as the reason for everything bad in this world. I must. have. truth!

Second nap of the afternoon, different position
This morning after Little Shop of Horrors  I watched a movie called, "The Way, Way Back" starring Steve Carrell as a jerk of an overbearing boyfriend to a lady who has a 14 year old son. They're spending the Summer at his beach place and although things are rough for the kid, he connects with some people who change his life. It's happy and light. Maybe a little profanity but nothing that was making me reach for the remote every ten seconds.

Then I watched Philomena. This was up for some rewards last year, I can't remember if any of them won but it was a very, very good movie. Basically a young Irish unwed mother gives birth in a convent where she's required to stay and work for four years after the birth and the nuns give her baby up for adoption. It's fifty years later and with the help of a journalist writing a human interest story she attempts to locate her son. It's based on a true story. It takes some unexpected twists and turns because, as we know, truth is always stranger than fiction. I would say probably the best movie I've seen in a long time.

Close up of 2nd nap
After that we watched The Butler - the one last year that had Oprah in it and it was also up for some awards but I can't remember what they won. (Giving truth to the cliche that it's an honor just to be nominated, since I remember nominations but never remember who won!) It was a good movie. Some of it pushed a little too hard. During the parts that involve the Civil Rights Movement it made all White people in the South out to be ignorant and violent and... give me a break. Decent but not my favorite.

Tonight I'm watching The Other Woman - it's where two mistresses and a wife join forces to bring down the guy who was cheating on all of them. Should be a light hearted chick flick. That's what I'm hoping anyways.

Today has been a really hard day pain wise. I'm in so much pain. At times I've thought... I should be in the ER but then I think about the ridiculous amount of money to glue Austin's hand back together and I just... no. I have some money that God has provided for me to see a doctor and at least find out what's causing the EGP (evil gut pain) because this is day 7 or 8 in a row of it not going away,  usually it's here for 2 or 3 days. I've even been giving it my strongest dose available of percocet and it's not making it go away. The pain radiates deep in my left hip - basically think of having a bowl set down in the curve of your hip bone. All the area around and in the bowl hurts. Sometimes it's just a dull ache. Sometimes it's a stabbing pain. Sometimes it's a hot pain like something is trying to burn its' way out. It's radiating down into the top of my thigh and around to my butt. The pain wraps around to my spine and radiates down from the hip bone in the front straight through to my spine.

Having that pain - not getting it under control - has me an emotional wreck today. Tomorrow me and my mom are driving down to spend the night with Cody and Marquee to go to the doctor with Marquee on Monday. It's a big deal for me to be there. I love them so much and I can't spend time with them like I wish. I want to be as supportive and involved in Peanuts life as I am in Cosette's. I want them to be able to say that "your Mimi/Meemaw/Nanny (whatever) loves you so much that she drove 100 miles just to get a peek of your tiny little self" If I'm in the kind of pain tomorrow like I have been today, I can't make that kind of trip. Heck... I had to get my mom and dad to go pick up groceries for me because I haven't been able to get out at all this week. I've barely even been upstairs more than 2 or 3 times this week. I'm really, incredibly immobilized by this EGP. And having that EGP interfere with my time with Cody and Marquee and Peanut makes me ANGRY!  It makes me feel like I have no control of my life, like I'm a huge disappointment and terribly unreliable. I don't want to be THAT grandmother - the one who always has to cancel because of random health issues. It will be a game time decision tomorrow as to whether or not I can make the trip so if you would, send up a few happy thoughts, light a candle, wish on a four leaf clover - whatever brings goodness and makes happy things happen - that I would be able to go - and go without fear - tomorrow.

So today was just a cuddle and rest day. I stayed in my fleece lined leggings and a baggy shirt and  holy sweatshirt. I have completely conserved every ounce of energy for tomorrow. Pictures in today's blog are me cuddling various fur-babies. Hope you enjoy~! And I hope you're enjoying the increased access to Heather's brain. I'm trying to be a better blogger!

Love and hugs and happy thoughts, y'all!