Monday, July 28, 2008

How I try to save while eating out...

Keep packs of single serving Crystal Light or other drink mix in your purse. Being able to order water at a restaurant and magically turn it into a yummy juice is quite the money saver! They charge an arm and a leg for children's lemonade at fast food places!

Kids love DQ blizzards, but no kid can (or should) finish a small one on their own! Heck, I can't! Their smalls are far from small. Plus, they cost $2.59 or so... not something I'd like to buy two of. If you are lucky enough that your kids agree on the type of blizzard... ask for an extra cup and divide it up. Lucky you. BUT, if they want different things, just ask for a small cup of ice cream (a kids cup or a single cup). It's $1.19. Then, add a topping to each for $.39. You save $2.02, which is nice to save or more than enough to upgrade your own selection.

The boys and I can go to Chick-fil-A and order an 8 pack of nuggets, a large fry, and a chicken sandwich... and have a nugget or two to spare. I know some kids just have to have a kids' meal, but luckily mine aren't one of those!

Quizno's has a few subs right now that are $5.00 for a foot long. Do the Crystal Light trick and ask the person preparing it to fix one half one way and one the other and all three of us can eat for under $6.50, with chips.

On a side note, I also have been making large batches of homemade cookies, spooning them very tightly spaced onto cookie sheets that I put int he freezer, and then popping the frozen dough balls into a big freezer bag to cook in small amounts... homemade cookies on demand.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tensions and Instincts

I am sitting here typing although I should be doing 800 other things. With the summer mostly gone, and my belly ever expanding, I have started to truly panic about my inability to get ready for this baby. I have gone through the boys' old clothes and put them into piles, but I have nowhere for the piles to go. Until we finish this downstairs room, we cannot move our bedroom and set up the nursery. (Our House Blog)

To make things worse, I can't do this kind of stuff myself. Right now, I want to start hauling things up the stairs and moving furniture in the boys' room. Why? Because I feel the intense need to nest. I just want to get to the stuff that I can do... like wash the blankets and sheets and clothes and put them into their proper places.

I know darn well that I am getting annoying... but I cannot help it! It seems like an impossible feat for us to clean out that room, finish the sheetrock, put down the flooring, finish the flooring, trim the windows and doorways, paint, and whatever other things are bound to pop up along the way. It just doesn't seem possible to get this done given Jeff's 60 hour a week work schedule and our dwindling number of weekends. Sure, we could move furniture and rearrange our house after the baby comes... as much fun as that sounds. I am going to be a baby about it, but I want to do it soon, not fumble around setting things up when I'm sleep deprived and have a crying/sleeping baby. I'm sure I'm hormonal... and uncomfortable... and cranky... but I just can't help it. I want a space for my new baby!

So, I will go upstairs and clean my room or put away laundry, or do something else that falls short of the organization that I really want to do. Or, I'll go wake up my napping husband...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

We had the best time last weekend! On Friday, we packed up the van and headed to the Laney's lake house. Mark & Bethany (and Callie), Charles, Ellen & Brian (Anna & Bennett) and Kierstin & Jeff were there at various times.

The kids played awesome together, and the weather was perfect. Sure, we had some boat troubles on Saturday (as in... after hours of effort, we realized it wasn't going to happen), but we totally enjoyed just floating around the lake and letting the kids jump from the dock. Brian and the two Jeffs seemed to have a blast tossing the kids as high as they'd let them... which for my two is as high as they possible could go. (Asa even jumped off the top deck of the boat dock!)

We had a pretty impressive water balloon fight. I must admit, it was a bit unfair that I could launch them at whomever I wanted and no one really wanted to pelt the pregnant woman with water balloons!

On Sunday, Jeff and Kierstin brought their boat and we took turns tubing, skiing, and wake boarding. I must say, I was a bit jealous as I really really wanted to try wake boarding. Maybe next summer. At first, we put Addison and Asa on the two tubes together, but we quickly learned that Asa wanted to go waaayy faster than Addison was comfortable with. So, Asa got to ride doubles with Daddy. Jeff (Scheule) was able to instill just the perfect amount of fear in the kid to make it fun! Asa even gave skiing a try. It reminded me of just how miserable learning to ski was. Wow. I'd forgotten. But, he gave it three good tries, which I thought was great.

A big thank you to Ellen and Brian for inviting us! We really needed it. Replacing email, cell phones, laptops and television with friends, laughter, water and sun was true therapy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Girls Night Out (not exactly)

Last night, I dropped the boys off at Elizabeth's house and Ellen and Bethany picked me up to take Anna, Bennett and Callie to Athens for a photo session. Because Jeff's truck doesn't have room for the boys, I left my van at Elizabeth's for him and rode with Ellen and Bethany.

I want you to get a good mental picture of this...

We were in Brian's truck with a crew cab with the rear hinged doors. Two bench seats. In the back sat Anna, Bennett and Callie. In the front it was Ellen driving, me in the middle, and then Bethany (which I suppose makes a total of five people in the front seat if you could baby Beekman and Longino), loaded down with bags, hanging clothes for the photo shoot, a cooler bag with sandwiches for the kids, you get the picture. It was no doubt a hilarious sight. I know it was because the two men parked beside us at the gas station were openly laughing at us. We looked like we should have had about three ladders, some 5 gallon buckets, and a handful more of us lying in the bed of the truck.

The photo session went very well. It was the typical fast and furious session, with quick clothing changes, wet wipes flying, sippy cups passing back and forth, adults and children alike squatting in the UGA bushes (come on, who hasn't squatted in the bushes at UGA!) running toddlers and a patient big sister. Mark's mom happened to be in Athens for a conference, so she met us for the fun. I enjoyed taking the shots, and I hope everyone enjoys the results!

After the sun was setting and kids were sick and tired of being there, we packed up and headed out. Here we were, at night, in Athens, crammed in the front of the truck, going through more than one drive through for a quick dinner. It felt to me that we should have been hitting the road to head out on a Spring Break Trip. Of course, it did until the back seat errupted into demands for out fast food loot! My, how quickly things have changed...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dodging Bullets

I went in to today's maternal/fetal specialist appointment with no idea if I would be walking out and driving home or wheeled out to spend the remainder of the summer on my back. Luckily, all of these contractions that I have been having (I had 13 yesterday... and two while at the doctor's office!) are causing no changes at all to my cervix! It's measuring 41mm, which isn't just "okay", but still great! For a reference, average length at 20 weeks is 40mm and average length at 34 weeks is 32mm. Under 25mm would be a concern, as would any dilation or "funneling". Mine had not changed at all since my check 4 weeks ago!

So, I left the office with no restrictions, other than to have common sense. Activity triggers my contractions, so I just need to make sure to have periods of rest, and to lay down when they are coming on. But, if anything changes (stronger or more frequent contractions or anything "different"), I go back in to check it out and start this process all over. It seems, my "irritable" uterus is also "oversensitive". Funny how similar the two of us are lately.

The baby is measuring right on target, in the 54th percentile, and is 2lbs 2oz! He/she is head down and moving like crazy. We were able to get some great shots!

For those of you FREAKING OUT to find out what plumbing this kid possesses, just know you aren't alone. Asa shares your frustration! I told him this morning that I was going to the doctor to check on the baby. He said, "Don't forget to ask the doctor what kind of baby we're having!" Guess he isn't one for surprises, either.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No, Speedracer, No-o!

I want to make a public service announcement for anyone out there who may want to take a kid (or even not take a kid) to the dollar theater. You may see Speed Racer and think, "It's only a buck, it's PG, and it will entertain the kids for a while". This is a huge mistake. Believe me, I just made it. I wasn't expecting it to be good at all, heck, I didn't even like the Speed Racer cartoon... but I did hope that it would be tolerable. Instead, I spend a little over TWO HOURS wishing and hoping it would end. I even asked the boys three different times if they would like to just leave, to no avail.

I won't go into a full review because, let's face it, we all knew it would be bad... but I will say two things:

1) There is no point sticking a few cuss words into a movie marketed to kids.
2) No one who goes through facial reconstruction surgery could possibly come out looking like Jack from Lost. I mean, come on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm fine... it's my uterus that's irritable

Boy did we have some awesome plans for the weekend. Saturday night we had a sitter lined up and were going to head to Athens to see the Fuzzy Sprouts doing Sergeant Pepper at the Ga Theater. We had worked all that day on the foyer (which is finished, by the way!) and were ready to enjoy our evening out. I took a shower, fixed my hair, was in a cute little sundress, and the boys were out of the house. But, before we could make it out the door to go to dinner, the contractions began.

I have been having a few contractions here and there, probably about 3-4 a day, for the past few weeks now. Friday, they increased and I had six within six hours. But, that's still not hitting my threshold of 4 in an hour. The doctor said if I reach 4 in an hour, to call. (I think for most people, it's 6, but for me they want to play it safe). Well, Saturday night I had them in a row.... four. I drank a bunch of water and laid down. Jeff went to get us some dinner (we were starving!) and I called the doctor to let him know that I was having more than usual.

While Jeff was gone to get burritos, I had #5. Sure enough, our evening plans were completely wrecked at this point as we headed to the L&D unit. Neither one of us were particularly scared that this baby was going to come that night, but we were a bit nervous that I may be put on bedrest or stuck at the hospital for all eternity. Being well seasoned in the ways of hospital time, we packed the car with a portable DVD player, a pillow for Jeff, our dinner, and a movie. After this trip, we have decided to bring more snacks and a sleeping bag next time. Those little L&D holding rooms are so tiny and only have a chair for Jeff. He usually curls up and tried to sleep on the floor, which is HARD tile.

We reached the hospital and, or course, my contractions had slowed. I was still having them, but it was more like one an hour at this point. We waited for a room. In the waiting room, there was a woman who was obviously having painful contractions. No doubt, she would be leaving there with a baby in her arms. Her husband was on the phone with various people giving updates. Jeff and I absolutely cracked up when we overheard, "Well, she's not making no noises yet or nothing, but..." I could tell from across the room that the poor girl would have smacked him if she hadn't been silently trying to cope with the pain.

We were sent to our little room where they hooked me up to a contraction monitor and a fetal heartrate monitor. I had been amazed with how insane this baby has been all day. I think the contractions were making him/her mad. The kicks were fast and furious, and didn't seem to stop. When you put sound to it, it is even more impressive. That sucker kept kicking and squirming to the point that Jeff had to figure out how to turn the volume on the monitor down so we could hear our movie.

Much to my surprise, the L&D department could not do a cervical length check. What? Really? They said that they let Maternal/Fetal Specialists do those when they come in each day. So, instead of just looking in and seeing if all was well, they checked my contractions and then gave me the fetal fibronectin test. This test basically tells if you are truly in preterm labor. There are proteins that they look for that are only found when the baby starts to break loose and get ready for an exit. Without going into gory details, the test is performed with a swab. The results would be back in an hour or so (which in hospital time means 2 or more), so we knew we were stuck for a while. Jeff laid down and went to sleep... somehow. Didn't look comfy to me.

When the tests results came back, they were positive. However, the nurse asked me a question that she should have asked me before wasting the time and money on that test. Again, without too much detail, she was asking me if anything could have made the test invalid. The answer was 'yes', so the test was deemed inconclusive. We could have known that two hours prior, but again, hospital time is warped.

This leaves us with an old fashioned cervical check, which showed that I was still closed and the contractions weren't causing labor to progress. (Again, why couldn't we have done this forever ago??) The nurse said that my contractions did show up on the monitor, and that even when I am not contracting, my uterus is very irritable. Boy, do I remember those words... irritable uterus. I was hoping only one baby would make my uterus a little more content than two!

Now, I wait to go to maternal/fetal on Wednesday for a real check. I'm hoping they don't put me on too many restrictions... I have a lot to get done in the short time we have before this baby comes. Plus, I have to try to catch that show we missed!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stool Sample

For the past few years, we have had a stool in the bathroom. It's a little step stool with storage in the top. As soon as we got it, the boys started using it to hold their collections of various stuff. I can't believe I haven't written about it before, maybe I have, but it used to be quite amusing to go into the bathroom and see what object has been horded away by our little ferret-children.

Well, about a year ago Asa started using the stool to hold all of his treasures and construction supplies. Each time we went to a store, he would scour the floors looking for scrap. The fabric store was a favorite. Sometimes he would get lucky enough to find an old ribbon spool to take home. (I believe it was the discovery of one of these spools that started the construction ideas... he was bound and determined to collect enough materials to build a car. It took 6 months before he found all four wheels!) Walmart and HomeDepot are also great spots for rummaging. Honestly, it was awesome for me, as I found myself no longer having to beg for them to go run errands... errands became the ultimate scavenger hunt!

The boys use the items in the their stool to create things... useless things that mainly consist of just connecting random items to other random items. However, sometimes they make sailboats or contraptions of some sort. Quite often they disappear into the bathroom and sit forever, thinking, creating, taping. I thought I would just snap pictures of what happened to be in the stool today.

Addison working away - Thank goodness for Lysol.

Today's collection-

Also included in the stool- treasures from our recent trip to Lowes (or "the blue HomeDepot" as they call it). Yes, they are the scrap pieces from where people cut their chains. What they plan to do with these, I have no idea.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Conquering Heros

Today was a big day at the YMCA pool. This year, the lifeguards are set up at the gate, giving out orange or green wristbands. The orange wristbands are for all the kids that need to stay in the shallow end. If you pass a swim test, you are given a green band, which means you have full rein of the pool. Those little ropes do not apply to you. The swim test consists of simply swimming across the width of the pool, without touching the bottom.

The boys have been fascinated by these wristbands. When I go in, I just tell the lifeguard that we need orange bands to stick to the shallow end. I did this today, we received out wristbands and headed to swim. But, this time, Asa decided that it was his day to do the swim test. He had made up his mind before we even hit the water. No more orange bands for him. No longer will he stand by and watch his mother assume that orange is acceptable. Not today. Not this boy.

I talked him into doing a practice run before we called the lifeguard over. Sure enough, the little guy plopped in, kicked off the wall, and swam to the other side coming up three quick times for air. I went and got the lifeguard who happily came to perform the test. Yes, this boy deserves a green band. You would have thought it was Christmas morning. The boy was vibrating with excitement. "I can go wherever I want to!" He spent some time by the ladder, right on the other side of the rope, yelling to Addison to proclaim his freedom, raising his wrist high!

It took all of 5 minutes for Addison to find this completely unacceptable. Oh no. He could not sit by and watch his brother have free rein over all this water. Again, I asked for a practice run. We waited a few minutes for Addison's hiccups to subside and he took off. Sure enough, Addison was ready for his test, as well. The smiling lifeguard came back over and watched as Addison gracefully took across the width of the pool only coming up for air once in the middle. Very impressive. Green wristbands all around!

They spent the next couple hours basking in the glory... surveying all that they possess. "The pool is ours! Not really ours, I mean, we can't take it home, but we can go wherever we want!" Asa exclaimed.

And, the two kings of the pool went home very hungry, very tired, and very satisfied with themselves.

That Sixth Sense Kid

Ever since Asa reached 2 years old or so, we have heard quite often that "Hey! He looks just like that Sixth Sense kid!" I never knew Haley Joel Osmont's name until I had Asa. But, when we go out and about I hear that name pretty often, like at the 4th of July Fireworks show. Now adays, when people stop and say, "Your little boys looks just like that boy... from that movie..." We can just fill in the blanks much to their excitement. "Yes! That's the one!"

Yes, he does look very similar. If I were into that kind of thing I might even look into letting Mr. Haley Joel ever needs a flashback or a little brother, I've got his boy. But, instead I will just post to my blog of the amazing resemblence. Who knows if they will look similar as Asa gets older, but the early shots, the early movies, have a resemblence.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Raising Boys

We are standing in the checkout line at Lowe's. There is a man standing behind us watching the boys as they loudly discuss the battery display in front of them. "AA", "AAA", "What's this big one?", "Our music players use these" and so on. But, only parents of boys can hear things like...

"Hey! Here are the batteries that shock you when you put them to your tongue!"

The man behind us smiled a huge smile. Guess he had been a boy once, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Quick Outing Turns Sour

On Tuesday, the boys and I left the house for 2 quick errands. First, we needed to go to the bank, sending a deposit up the clear tube of neverending fascination. Then, we were to head to the grocery store for a short list of items. Short and sweet. I pulled my hair back in a ponytail and we headed out.

Step one, Wachovia. So far, so good. While sitting in the line at Wachovia, we all three realized that we were starving. My belly said that I had to eat right then, so I decided that we would hit Arby's for a quick snack before heading to the store. No problem. Arby's is right across the street. The boys split an order of chicken nuggets, which we put into cups to reduce the chance of spillage. They sat with their nugget-cups and lemonade as we exited the parking lot to go right down the street to the store. This is when things all started to go downhill.

As soon as I put their nuggets into Arby's cups, I sensed the silliness from the backseat. Chicken in a cup? I almost drank my chicken! I need a straw to drink my chicken! And so on. I took a left out of the parking lot, heading for the grocery store. In all the nugget furvor, Addison shook his cup, sending nuggets flying. I quickly pulled into the nearest parking lot so Addison could retrieve his food. Buckled up once again, we left the parking lot. Within seconds, Addison's lemonade hit the floor. It was a slow leak, so I pulled into the NEXT parking lot, clipping the curb on my way in. I righted the cup, secured all items in the safest locations that I could find, counted to ten, and drove through the parking lot to get out at the light.

Well, before I could make it, I noticed something was not right. I had a flat tire. Not just a little flat tire... a split in the side had rendered it unable to hold even a little air. Two nice people came out of the strip mall to help, but the spare it in the stupidest spot... directly under the front row seats. Yuck. I called my roadside assistance and waited for the tow truck.

The boys sat in the van and colored while we waited. The tow truck came and the boys ate it up. Something about boys and tow trucks. Addison said multiple times that this was the coolest day EVER! The tow truck got us all loaded up and drove us back up the road to Patrick's Garage, which happened to be basically across the street from Wachovia. The tire was changed and all was well. But, our little quick trip took hours and hours. All of this madness happened on the equivelant of about 4-5 blocks. Ridiculous.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Good Report

I saw my OBGYN yesterday and am pleased to report that I had another unexciting visit! The baby is measuring about 1.5lbs at this point, which I think it just wonderful. I have seen babies at the NICU smaller than that. I was a little worried because he/she hadn't moved much since the night before. During the beginning of the ultrasound there was no movement at all (we usually see a little soccer player in there!) so I was holding my breath until he/she woke up and started flailing around. I am now a little over 24 weeks, passing that critical point of "viability"!

Jeff and I have been discussing all of the new experiences that we've had with this pregnancy. My OBGYN gave me information and a chart for me to count the baby's kicks for an hour each day, to make sure he/she is doing fine and not in any distress. I've heard of "kick counting" before as a method of determining troubles with the baby, but when you are hooked up to a monitor 24/7 in the hospital, you don't have to count any kicks. It may have cost a fortune a day, plus my freedom and dignity, but wow- that was some personal attention! Sure, the food wasn't the best, but I didn't have to cook it.. or clean up the mess. Sure, I didn't get to wear any of those cute maternity clothes I bought, but I didn't do laundry for a whole quarter of a year! One of the biggest shockers for me with this public-pregnancy thing is the amazingly stupid things people say. With the boys, I was only visibly pregnant out and about for two months tops. Then, I was in the hospital before I was all that big. This time, I have joined the ranks of my friends who have complained of the insensitive and just plain stupid remarks. For instance, pretty much every third day I have an encounter similar to this one:

Woman in line at Publix, "When are you due?"
Me, smiling, "October"
Woman, "Wow! You're big!"

Um... how exactly is one to respond to such a comment? I just stare. With a confused smile and raised eyebrows. At first, I thought it was just a fluke comment, but no. It is repeated ALL THE TIME.

Foreign woman in the YMCA locker room: "How many month are you?"
Me, "Five".
Woman, "Whoa. Big baby!"

The waitress at dinner, random stranger at the gas station... are you serious?? To my surprise, I have noticed that it is mostly women who make this monumental blunder. I guess the men have had the daylights scared out of them about such remarks in the past and have learned their lesson. Perhaps I should start letting my internal reaction fly out of my mouth. "Wow. You're big!" "Wow! You are too!" or "Well, there ARE five in there" or "What about you, when are YOU due?" or "Wouldn't you smack your husband for making a stupid comment like that?!" I have also thought of simply saying, "Next time, you could just say 'You look great'. I'm sure it will be more appreciated." Or, I could just use my sister-in-law's response. "Well, you're an @$$ hole."

The interesting thing is, I'm not all that big. I'm measuring on target and I look
like the typical 5 month pregnant woman at the doctor's office. I think people assume that you are newly pregnant and not showing, or you are showing and almost due. Anyone in the middle just appears huge, I guess. And, the boys do think that I look like a Sneech.

Anyways, this is all a very new experience... my first public pregnancy. I am thoroughly enjoying my mobility and freedom, but I do miss those yummy smoothies and Wednesday's taco night. Miriam always brought me a double plate.