Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eight Years Ago

New Year's Eve has never been my favorite holiday, not since my first boyfriend dumped me my senior year on NYE. Instead of looking to the future, I always looked back on my various failings over the year.

So I told my friends I was staying home on Dec. 31 2000. A friend had managed to get a room on the Strip that year, another friend B had college buddies visiting from out of state. So my friend Anne insisted I go with her, and she personally promised she would not let me get too introspective. I had lived in Vegas for three years and hadn't spent New Years on the strip so I figured I might as well give it one more shot.

When we got to the room we were introduced to B college friends, Bud and his brother R. I had heard a lot of stories about the parties these guys had thrown back in the day. I thought "that Bud guy looks cute". As the evening progressed we got to talking, about baking, and different recipes we both liked. He told me the secret to moist banana bread was thin slices of apple in the mix. We are the only two people to flirt by exchanging recipes. I finally asked him the big three questions, margarine or butter, mayonnaise or miracle whip, and semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate chips? He had all the right answers (butter, mayo, and milk chocolate). We spent the rest of the night talking about everything, my family, his family, how he wanted to go back to school to be a teacher and coach. I kept telling him it was a shame he lived in a different state, and he just said "it's only an 8 hour drive". Yeah right buddy.

So I made a bit of an ass of my self falling all over him, there was a lot of drinking. Anyway I gave him my phone number when it was time to go and didn't figure I would hear from him. The next day my friend B called to see if I wanted to join them for a movie. I got to the theater late and took the only empty seat in the row, pretty soon I heard laughing and everybody got up so Bud could sit next to me. After the movie he asked if he could call me when he got home. Again I was "yeah sure you will".

Two days later I got a delivery of flowers at school, he had written a really sweet card and included his phone number. (seriously guys, send flowers to her work if you can) The kicker, the flowers were purple, which I had mentioned was my favorite color. Any girl near her thirties knows it is hard to find a man that listens. We talked on the phone for three and a half hours that night. Then talked every night until he came out a week and a half later to see me. He met my whole family, who loved him.

The morning he was leaving he brought a present for me. It was a bag of the valentine conversation hearts, but they were from the bin and there were only a few in the bottom of the bag. He told me there were thirty in the bag, and if I ate one everyday he would be back before they were gone. I know, he's so cute.

Anyway three months later he moved here. A year and a half after that we were married, and nine months after the wedding we had Owen. In the eight years since we met everything has been a whirlwind, but an awful lot of fun. The best part? We met on the Strip, but we both hate it. We spend NYE at home, with a bunch of snacky food and movies.

It has been eight great years, I owe my friend Anne big time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Quiz

Here are my answers to All and Sundry's New Years Quiz. I don't usually do these, but I thought a bit of self reflection could be fun. I can see I really need to get out a bit more.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Became more assertive and direct when dealing with others.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't normally make resolutions, can't fail.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope

4. Did anyone close to you die? We were having twins and lost one.

5. What countries did you visit? None

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? More time!

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 1st, my Master's paper was due, November 7th found out having twins, then... not so much.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finishing my Masters Degree!

9. What was your biggest failure? Not keeping up on things I enjoy that are just for me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Lots of morning sickness, then a few rounds o' the flu

11. What was the best thing you bought? Bedroom furniture for us.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? So many of my student became active in the election this year. Even though most were too young to vote, they became involved and volunteered in the campaigns (on both sides!)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Many of the adults involved in politics.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills, blah

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The election!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Moose A Moose, Everywhere I Go on Noggin. I can't ever get it out of my head.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Pregnant so definitely fatter. (but great boobs)
c) richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Spent more time with my husband

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Complaining about my paper

20. How did you spend Christmas? With my mom, brother and his family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Just with my husband, I know, cheesy

22. What was your favorite TV program? The Office

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not really hate, just disgusted.

24. What was the best book you read? Nothing really stands out. Maybe a trip to the library tomorrow.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? That I can't spend $15 on iTunes because I can't make up my mind. It's pathetic

26. What did you want and get? A mandolin slicer. yay

27. What did you want and not get? My box of See's candy.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Hmmmm. I need to get out more often.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We just had family over for dinner, and I turned 37.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Someone to clean my house so I can focus on the people I love.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? I'm suppose to have a fashion concept? How about capri pants hide my thighs?

32. What kept you sane? My husband, truly I would be adrift without him.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Obama

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Education (I'm a teacher)

35. Who did you miss? My in laws, we couldn't make our yearly trip to see them, and I really miss them. They are great people.

36. Who was the best new person you met? We have a new teacher in our department, who could end up being a good friend.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. My husband and I can get through anything, we make a great team, and we should not take that for granted.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "Something unpredictable, but in the end it's right"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

20 Weeks

I hit the halfway mark on Christmas. This pregnancy has been very different from my last two. Partially it is because we are so busy with the other two kids. Mostly it is the variety of complications, that have made this pregnancy seem a bit unreal. We are still dealing with some uncertainties. This is hard for a control freak like myself.

Before my last ultrasound we found that my numbers were elevated for spina bifida. However on the ultrasound everything looked really good. We went ahead and had the amnio, I know a lot of people feel that whatever happens, happens and they wait until the birth. Bud and I are not those kind of people, if they could tell me right now, where the baby will go to college, who she'll marry etc. we would find out.

Aside from the genetic information given by the amnio, it would also give information about the AFP levels in the amniotic fluid. Those come back pretty quickly, then a second test, the AChE would look for spinal fluid in the amniotic fluid. (I am just going off memory here, so I could be a bit off) Those results take longer, but the test is more accurate a positive result indicates an opening in the babies spine. The AFP still came back really high, and when the AChE came in it was slightly positive.

The genetic counselor at the office is great, she really explains things and is willing to spend great amounts of time doing it. She and the doctor both believe the loss of the twin is causing the weak positive result. She looked into some research articles and said she found one that supports a weak positive, and she is speaking to the director of the lab to see if he has seen this before. The theory is that as the one twin is being reabsorbed, different proteins are being released into the amniotic fluid. We go in on the 8th for another ultrasound, hopefully everything still looks good.

I haven't been as excited as I expected. I know that this is my last, so I had hoped to enjoy it, but I am so worried about this baby, and still so sad about losing the other. At first I thought it was good that we hadn't known about the twins, because I thought it would have made it harder. But we still are dealing with the grief without ever having had the excitement so I don't think it would have mattered. We have told very few people, and some who have been told, seem a bit casual about it, like well at least you are still getting a baby. And I do feel lucky, that we didn't lose both, but it's still hard. Is it crazy to grieve what you didn't know you had?

Wow, great update. But the queasiness it getting better, and she is starting to kick around a lot more. Also she seems to enjoy abusing my poor bladder. I am anticipating the gestational diabetes coming back, so I am enjoying food while I can.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Cute

I just couldn't resist these two pictures. No Owen isn't in them, but boy Christmas clothes just aren't as cute. So, whatever.

What lunatic designed this dress? And convinced my grandmother to buy it? We did somehow manage to keep the white part white. Sadly, this meant me acting like a deranged, hovering mom. Oh well, as my grandma always says, "it hurts to be beautiful". Yeah, she has a lot of great sayings like that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Did your husband just remember a potluck you are suppose to attend?Uggg Or did you just remember a party that you need a dish? Or has the stress made you feel like hiding in the closet eating? Here are two quick and tasty recipes.


1 bag of Rolo candies
1 bag of pretzels (I use the little square ones, but the trees would be cute if you find them)

Have a child open the Rolos while you put the pretzels on a baking sheet (preferably with sides)
Place one rolo on each pretzel, then pop into the oven at 350 for about 3 to 5 minutes. Take out of the oven. Press one pecan onto each rolo. And wait for them to cool.

I usually toast the pecans, I don't know if this is necessary. I have heard of some people placing the pecans on the rolo's before baking. That would probably work to.


I got this from a Rachel Ray show.

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use milk chocolate)
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Heat the chips and milk until all melty. I use a saucepan over low heat, but you could probably use a microwave as well. Once the chips are melted add the vanilla. Spread in an 8 x 8 foil lined and buttered pan. This will take about 2 hours to set.

I leave some plain, then make a batch with raisins and walnuts. Yummmmm. I think you could use a variety of dried fruits. I have used craisins, and that was awesome.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sick Day 724

Seriously, barfing flu can go suck it. I am tired of cleaning up puke, and doing laundry. Also, excellent time for the dryer to stop, you know, drying stuff. It basically takes our wet clothes on a carnival ride. But it did manage to burn a hole in Maddies winter coat in one of the fifty times we washed it this week, now it looks like one of us was smoking and nearly set our child on fire. Luckily I have 20 shirts the dryer has burned to show CPS when they show up.

The kids spent the night at mom's last night and when we went to get them this morning Owen had barfed all over her couch. So the only one unscathed at this point is Bud. Owen has no sense of self preservation and will just puke right on himself, rather than grabbing the bucket that we have placed right next to him. His excuse? " I forgot". How do you forget not to puke on yourself? Even the cats know not to do that. He is a bright kid, but..... Well the girl is up from her nap!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sick Day: The Sequel

Bud had such a rough day with Maddie yesterday. By the time I left at 7:oo she had thrown up 8 times. She wasn't keeping anything down, including water, so he took her to the doctor. Not only did she have a virus but an ear infection to boot. This is her first ear infection, so we were surprised. I planned on staying with her today, so I set out stuff for a substitute yesterday before I left. Good thing, because last night I started up with the barfies. Good times today. Luckily Maddie was feeling good and actually eating.

Also hell has officially frozen over! We currently have 6 inches of snow in our backyard, we live in Nevada and we never see snow. It is still going strong and we are hoping for a snow day tomorrow. I don't see how we can have school since there are no snow plows here. We'll see in the morning.

Owen's Christmas program was postponed because of the snow. He was devastated, he has been looking forward to this for months, ok weeks, but it feels like months. We have heard that he has a solo, but he says it is more of a duet. We will see, I was hoping to get a new camcorder before the play but we haven't had a chance to look for a good deal.

Well off to check various sources to see if school is cancelled.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sick Day

I figure I might as well use this early morning to post a bit. My kids are trying to keep me from sleeping. Maybe remind me what a newborn is like. I heard Maddie crying around 2:30, I figured it must be her teeth (finally getting the two year molars). But she told me she "spit" in her bed. Sure enough puke everywhere! So got her cleaned up, and the bed. The one big casualty was her "kitty" also known as the only thing helps maintain sanity around here. We have two, which alternate based on filth factor. Puke trumps the filth on the other kitty which hadn't been washed yet. Then back to bed for the girls.

Well, you guessed it, a half-hour later more puking, more bed changing, more puke on the now more filthy kitty. Crisis! Bud was up for this one, so once she was settled we started listing what was going on in our day, to decide who stays home. My calculus kids have a test on Thursday so I won.

Bud is at school at 4:30 to put stuff out for a sub. This is when I envy people who can just call in sick without having to drag themselves in to work first. Usually we can just write stuff up at home and have the other take it to school, that is a major advantage of being at the same school. There was no way for me to fall back to sleep, especially since Maddie has thrown up a few times since then, so she and I are watching Frosty (thanks TiVo love ya). She is in a great mood, if it wasn't for the vomiting she would be a joy to spend the day with.

I know I am super lucky to have a husband who feels it is his equal responsibility to clean up poop, puke, pee and stay home with a sick child. But I always feel guilty, it seems like when you are sick you need your mom. Maybe because my dad wasn't the most nurturing person when you were sick. He woke up with us in the middle of the night because my mom goes into a coma as soon as she hits the pillow, but he was more business like. "Your stomach hurts? do you need to poop? maybe try farting." (Which I now do to Owen when his stomach hurts, sorry).

Well, I think I am going to try to shower!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ultrasound day

Wow, this pregnancy is getting stressful. I got a phone call from the doctors office this morning, they got the results of my quad screen this morning and the results came back postive for Down Syndrome. But when I got to the office it was actually negative for Downs, postive for spina bifida. The counselor there is awesome, and said it was probably because of the twin.

On the ultrasound everything looked great. The baby looked great, the spine looked fine, there don't seem to be any problems from the loss of the other baby. All in all the doc said it was a great ultrasound. We still went with the amnio just because all the uncertainty has been freaking me out. It was the first on I have had, and it was a yucky feeling. I need to stay of my feet for the next day, so more time for the internet.

Well now for the good part. It is a GIRL. I have had that feeling all along so I am pretty excited. Plus now whenver I buy stuff for Maddie I can plan on using it for the next baby.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Teacher on Teacher Gifts

I know the Internet is holding millions of posts about teacher gifts, but here is mine. Some of these are geared toward older students because I teach high school. It seems there is less gift giving for secondary teachers, I think because parents are intimidated by the sheer number of teachers their kids have.

  • First it is usually best to give something consumable. In general anything that gets used up and doesn't use space is great. I will give some exceptions,

  • I love when my seniors give me a pennant from the college they plan to attend. Christmas may be to soon for that, but it works great at the end of the year.

  • If your child is part of a sport, club or activity they can give the teacher a t-shirt. I wear these on game days to show my support and they can usually be purchased for cheap. For a favorite teacher has some awesome shirts, you can search by subject. They are pretty pricey, so these would be just for a special teacher. The math and history are really funny.

  • One of the best gifts I ever received was from a student who worked at Ben & Jerry's and she brought each teacher a pint of their favorite ice cream. If you child has a job, have them be a little creative.

  • Food is always a winner. If you want to see a full sheet cake disappear put it in a teacher lounge. I don't know why, we can't resist.

  • Gift cards are always great.

For our own children these are the offerings we have this year:

  • Owen and I made soap this summer, we plan to give them to his teachers this year. We we wrapped them in cute paper, and tied them with raffia. ( No the caramels we made that day were for me, thanks to Swistle I have a serious caramel addiction)

  • We will do the same thing we did last year and do a soup in a jar. Bud made cute labels for the jars and everyone seemed to enjoy the soup. I tested it out first and it was really good.

  • Plates of cookies. My mom and I usually spend one day from 7:ooam to 9:00pm baking cookies. I have given a plate of these to our daycare lady every year since we met her. We moved into our current house three years ago on December 18th needless to say the cookies didn't get made, so we gave her a $50 gift certificate to her favorite restaurant. She was disapointed. Yeah, the cookie plate rules. Every year she tells me which family member loves which cookies, they apparently wait for it every year.

  • We may try a drink mix this year, instead of the soup. Owen is big enough he can do a lot of it himself. Score!
  • There are a lot of great food gift ideas on Allrecipes. (I spend countless hours here)

And most of all let's not forget the sincere card or letter. This is my personal favorite, I still have cards from my first students eleven years ago. I pin them all up on my wall, and read them when I am having a bad day. They are truly the best gift a teacher can get. And they are cheap.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pregnancy Update

It is amazing how a person can forget the difficulties of being pregnant. What sort of crazy hormone can wipe your memory that way? You would think vomiting for 3 months would stick with a person. I finally got some relief, the nurse practitioner prescribed me Reglan for the all day barfathon. I has been working pretty well. I forgot to take it Sunday night before bed, then made the mistake Monday morning of talking about making a turkey sandwich for my lunch. The dry heaving began mid-sentence. So I took a bagel, and remember to take the meds.

I am amazed how much more I can get done in a day when I am not clutching the toilet. I have managed to get my grading caught up! That in itself is a miracle. I no longer choose my meals based on what is easiest to throw up. It's like a whole new world.

We have another ultrasound on Friday, so we should get some more news on how this baby is doing. I am totally freaked out. I keep telling the baby I would like to feel a few little kicks, just to reassure me that we will not hear on Friday that we have lost this one as well. My MIL is a labor and delivery nurse, and all her OB friends said it would be unusual for their to be a problem with this baby, but I can't help it. Bud is always the voice of reason and pointed out we aren't praying for a miracle, but just average. We can totally do average, it is where we excel.

We should also be able to find out if we are having a boy or girl since I will be 17 week. It doesn't matter to me either way, but I do still have all of Maddie's clothes. Although I am sure my mom is more than willing to buy more stuff. I keep seeing cute summer baby stuff on clearance, once I know what the baby is the buying can begin. My sister in law is due in March and they chose to not find out the sex of the baby. I can't comprehend that. But they went through IVF so they felt like they wanted some sort of surprise, since the pregnancy was pretty well planned out.

And here is a picture of girl who will imitate anything her brother does: