Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In the Nick of Time

As mentioned in a previous post, we resolved to do some fun crafts for Dutch this month.  Since the month is winding down, we had to get cracking!  The latest project was creating a life-sized ruler to hang on the wall for tracking Dutch's growth.  That way, if we decide to move, we can bring those memories with us! 

The items we needed were a 6 foot 1x8 board, spray paint stain, house numbers, and a sharpie.  We sprayed the stain on one side of the board and wiped it down with a disposable cloth.  We let it sit overnight and then came back to the project the next day.  We measured out each inch, starting with the bottom of the board representing 6 inches.  That way we can hang it 6 inches off the ground and it will still be true to life.  We drew a line at each inch with the sharpie and then nailed a number on the board to denote each foot.  Here is the finished product:

full scope  

 close up of detail

I'll be drawing in skinnier lines to denote Dutch's height, and I'll write the date and his age on the line.  Pretty happy with the finished product!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ten and Eleven Months Old

Oops, I forgot to make a post for Dutch's tenth month.  Hey, things have been a little crazy over the past couple of months!  Here are some pics we took around Christmas, when he was 10 months old:

And then, here is our 11 month old!

The past month has been quite a fun one.  He moved up to taking baths in the full tub instead of in his rubber ducky.  He has enjoyed the new freedom to move around!  He also started making more high-pitched squeals and laughing a lot more.  Unfortunately he also battled double ear infections, some stomach issues for about 5 days, and then got pink eye.  But, the most exciting news of all is that he took his first steps!  The kid has been standing up and walking with assistance for months, so we knew it was bound to happen soon! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cute Baby Stuff

I recently ordered a few things from Zulily for Dutch, and I wanted to share them here because they're pretty cute.  First, what kid doesn't need an adorable tie?  Okay, he technically doesn't need a tie, but what kid doesn't look adorable in a tie?  I hope we have a happy occasion in the coming year so that he gets the chance to wear this:

Snuggle Luv Gray Chevron Tie

I also got him some personalized plates, not really because he's ready to start using them, but because I thought they were pretty awesome, and he'll use them some day in the future!

Lima Bean Kids giraffe and mustache personalized plates

Friday, January 18, 2013

Family Photo Memory Game

This year, for our new years resolutions, Meezy and I decided to take a different approach.  We didn't want to set lofty goals for the entire year and then have our motivation fizzle out after a couple of months.  We figured it would make more sense to set monthly, achievable, goals.  We are picking a couple of different things to do each month.  For January, we decided to give up sodas and do more crafty, fun activities with/for Dutch.  So far, we're doing great with not drinking sodas, and we have completed one crafty task for Dutch.  (We bought the supplies for the next project, but haven't started it yet).

So, what did we create?  A family photo memory game!  The supplies used were a store-bought matching game (any kind will do, just make sure there are plenty of game pieces if you have a large extended family!), a glue stick, 4" x 6" photo paper, and digital photos. 

 Curious George will be our base

I measured the game pieces and found them to be 2" x 2".  I then manipulated photos of family members using the free software, GIMP.  I cropped each photo to just be the head of each person, then scaled them to the correct size.  (GIMP lets you do this in inches, instead of just pixels, like some other programs).  I then positioned them at the top of the printing area so that after printing one photo out, I could flip the photo paper around and print another one on the same piece.  I printed out two photos of each person (duh, it's a matching game). 

 Tons of family members!

After that, I cut out each photo and glued it to a game piece.  At this age, Dutch isn't ready to actually play a matching game, but he is ready to start associating names with faces.  Since a lot of his extended family members are out of town, I think this is a neat way to keep them fresh in his mind.  We'll show him a picture and tell him the person's name, and eventually it'll start to click for him.  When he gets a little older, he'll actually be able to play the matching game with these familiar faces!  I love this idea, and I think it turned out really well.     

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wheel of Fortune Audition

For better or for worse, my life is rarely dull.  Luckily, I get to talk about something fun that happened to me today, in contrast to the negative crap I've been dealing with lately!  A couple of months ago, I saw a plea from Wheel of Fortune for fans in the Dallas area to submit applications to be on the show.  It was called Face of the Fan, and you had to submit a short video introduction of yourself.  (I believe you can still apply, here, by the way).  I jumped at the chance, because I've wanted to be on Wheel of Fortune for years!  To my surprise, I got an email a couple of weeks ago that said I was selected for a contestant audition, which was by invitation only.  I had to call a number and RSVP that I could make the audition, and then eagerly wait for the big day!

When I arrived at the Adolphus Hotel today, for the audition, I was in a room with about 50-60 other people.  The day started with each of us being asked to stand up and call a couple of letters in a puzzle on a big screen at the front of the room.  It mimicked the real game, in that if we called a letter that wasn't up there, our turn was over.  We were able to call vowels, or solve the puzzle if we knew it, but if we called a few letters in a row without solving, they would say we lost a turn or went bankrupt so that other players could get a chance.  We went through a ton of puzzles, so that everyone had ample time to stand up and play.  The contestant coordinators were looking for us to speak clearly, loudly, and show enthusiasm.  They also wanted us to think quickly and select logical letters.  If someone took too long, they would buzz you and move on.  After that process, they gave us a written quiz.  It had various puzzles on it, partially filled out, and we had 5 minutes to try and solve as many as we could.  (I think I did pretty well on that part!)  After that, the coordinators left the room for about 20 minutes to discuss the applicants.

When they came back in, they told us they would be reading off the names of people they'd like to stick around.  If your name wasn't called, the audition was over for you, and you wouldn't be selected for the show this time around.  Can you believe my name was called?  Ack!  I was pretty excited.  I'd say only about 30 names were called, so the room got a lot smaller!

From there, we came up to the front of the room in groups of 6 and played mock rounds of Wheel of Fortune.  We spun an imaginary wheel and acted just like we would if were on a real episode.  I got to solve a puzzle, so that was exciting!  In this part of the audition, again, they were looking for us to speak loudly, smile often, get excited, and play smart.  After the 6 of us played a few rounds, we then introduced ourselves to the coordinators.  It was similar to the beginning of the episode when Pat interviews the players.  After all 30 of us completed this, the coordinators spent a little more time discussing us.  They then asked 5 of us to return to the front and play another couple of rounds.  I was one of those 5!  Maybe they didn't see enough of me in the earlier rounds and wanted to make up their mind about me.  Hopefully that means I am actually under consideration!

At this point, it was almost 1pm and we had been there since before 10am.  It was about time to leave, but the coordinators surprised us by saying that they had some last minute openings for a taping in California next week.  They announced 3 people's names right then and there!  How exciting for them.  They'll be flying out and get their shot on the show next Thursday!  As far as the rest of us, if we will be invited to a taping, we should find out in about 2 weeks, via mail.  I'm holding my breath!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


"How many pregnancies have you had?"
"Three. Three pregnancies, one baby."
That conversation took place this past weekend at the hospital.  I was writhing in pain, and sobbing, and desperately hoping the nurse would hurry with the morphine.  The doctors were trying to determine what was going on, but we all kind of knew already.

Let's go back to the beginning.

Last Tuesday, I was scheduled for an MRI to try and determine what was causing my sciatica.  I had been eagerly anticipating this scan for a while because the pain was getting out of control and I couldn't imagine living my life this way for much longer.  I was in the staging area, waiting for the tech to bring me into the imaging room, and he came in and said they had a couple questions they needed me to answer before we could proceed.  Basically, even though I told them I had had a period within the last two weeks, they needed proof I wasn't pregnant before they'd let me have the scan.  I got upset because that meant I'd have to reschedule until I could get blood drawn and the results forwarded to them.  Arrgghh, another delay, and more days of painful sciatica.  I was able to get my doctor to order the blood test that same day, so I went ahead and rescheduled the MRI for Friday, knowing the blood results would be ready by Wednesday.  Meezy left for Chicago that evening for work, so the last he heard, I was going to have the MRI done on Friday, because we both knew I wasn't pregnant.

Tuesday night, I was giving Dutch a bath, and I got a call from my doctor's on-call nurse around 8pm.  She said, "Umm, you got blood drawn today because you are about to have an MRI, right?"  Yes.  "Well, I wanted to call you immediately because the pregnancy hormone is present in your blood."  What?  Are you sure?  That doesn't seem biologically possible.  "Yes, it's present. This test doesn't report the quantitative level of hcg, but it tells us that it's there."  My mind started furiously working, and it dawned on me that maybe what I thought was a period, was actually a miscarriage.  They say that some women never know that they miscarry because it happens around the time of when they were expecting a period, and it mimics one.  Maybe that's why there is hcg in my blood, because it hasn't completely been flushed out of my system yet.  I talked to the nurse about this, and she agreed that it was a possibility.  She recommended another blood test, so we could actually see what the level of hcg was.  I went in on Wednesday for a quantitative draw, and was told the hcg level was 2999.  That would correlate with being about 4-5 weeks pregnant.  I was thoroughly confused.  I really was not convinced I was actually pregnant, so we scheduled another blood draw for Friday.  We needed to see if the level was going up or down.  In the meantime, the MRI would have to be postponed indefinitely.

I did the blood draw on Friday, and was told I'd have to wait until Monday to know the results.  I really wasn't holding my breath, because everything about this felt wrong from the beginning.  On Saturday morning, I started having very painful cramps.  Meezy told me to just lay in bed until I felt better, and he took care of Dutch for a couple of hours.  By lunch time, I felt normal again, so I got up and we went about our day.  I did have a little bit of bleeding during the day, but it was light, and I didn't feel bad otherwise, so I didn't think much of it.

On Sunday morning, I woke up in immense pain.  I was nauseated, a little dizzy, and felt sweaty.  The cramps were unbearable, and I knew something was really wrong.  The pain was worse on my left side, and got worse when I coughed.  I texted my friend, Colleen, because I needed advice on if this was normal, and if I could handle the miscarriage at home, or if this was something more that needed medical attention.  We talked about it and decided an ectopic pregnancy was definitely a possibility, and I needed to go to the hospital just to be safe.  Meezy and I dropped Dutch off at my sister's house and went to the ER.  By the time we got there, I was so glad we made that decision.  While Meezy signed me in, I went to the bathroom and threw up.  I came back to the waiting room and laid down, for what felt like an eternity.  I couldn't believe I was in this much pain.  When we got back to a room, I was given morphine, and the doctors started examining me.  They pushed on my abdomen, and it was torture.  They took me for an ultrasound and drew blood, and confirmed I had an ectopic pregnancy.  It hadn't ruptured, but they saw fluid in my belly, which meant it was probably leaking.  That was part of the reason why I was in so much pain.  This didn't explain what the "period" was that I experienced about two weeks ago, but we knew what we were dealing with now, so we had to proceed.

I had to schedule my surgery for that same day, because it was too dangerous to wait.  Ectopic pregnancies are very serious, and they can be life-threatening.  Before surgery, I had to sign various consent forms.  If my tube was too damaged, they would need to remove it.  If they found serious damage had been done to an ovary, they would need to remove it.  If, there was overall extensive damage found during surgery, they might even have to perform a hysterectomy.  Talk about devastating possibilities.  Luckily, none of those options came into play, and the surgery was a success.  I was able to be discharged late on Sunday night. 

I am so thankful to my family for rallying together to help us with Dutch on Sunday.  My parents and my sisters made sure we didn't have to worry about his care during the day while we were dealing with this emergent issue.  I am so thankful to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for driving over from Ft. Worth to bring Meezy dinner and to make sure I wasn't alone at any time.  I am so thankful to my sister for driving me home from the hospital at almost midnight, so that Meezy could be home with Dutch, so that his routine wasn't disrupted too much.  My friends have also been an enormous support through this time, from the texts, visits, cookies, flowers, meals, etc.  We are feeling very loved and we really appreciate it.

This whole situation developed very quickly and was completely a surprise.  Right now, I'm resting at home and letting my body heal.  The hardest part is not being able to pick up Dutch for a few weeks.  We'll just have to work around that and be creative.  I've seen the statistics and what the future could hold for someone with an ectopic pregnancy, but I can't let that get to me. I'm not going to repeat them here, because I'm not going to be a slave to them.  This experience doesn't define me, it just makes me stronger.  With all that I've been through, I still am able to say I'm incredibly lucky to have the life I do.  Lots of love to my family and friends.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Do You Remember

"Do you remember when we first met? I sure do.
It was some time in early September
You were lazy about it, you made me wait around
I was so crazy about you I didn't mind

I was late for class, I locked my bike to yours
It wasn't hard to find ‒ you painted flowers on it
I guess that I was afraid that if you rolled away
You might not roll back my direction real soon.

I was crazy about you then and now
The craziest thing of all,
Over ten years have gone by
And you're still mine,
We're locked in time
Let's rewind

Do you remember When we first moved in together?
The piano took up the living room
You'd play me boogie woogie, I played you love songs
You'd say we're playing house, now you still say we are.

We built our get away up in a tree we found.
We felt so far away but we were still in town.
Now I remember watching that old tree burn down
I took a picture that I don't like to look at.

Well, all these times they come and go
And alone don't seem so long
Over ten years have gone by
We can't rewind,
We're locked in time
But you're still mine

Do you remember?"

Jack Johnson

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Recent Videos

Gave Dutch a lemon for the first time and he loved it!  He made such silly faces, but then he'd laugh and go back for more.  I love this cute little kiddo.

I gave him some water through a straw and he got so excited about it when he'd see me going for the straw.  When I stopped, he started to get upset.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Around the World

A couple weeks ago, we went to a holiday party at our friend Casey's house.  On his wall was a huge world map with pushpins in the places he had traveled.  I thought that was a really neat idea, so I decided to replicate it.  It ended up being a little more trouble than I expected, but I think the finished product is pretty cool! 

We don't have tons of empty wall space in our house since each room is fairly decorated, so I chose a map that wasn't too large.  It is 24" x 36" and I got it on Amazon for $16.99.  We originally thought we could just put it on a cheap bulletin board, but the one I ordered from Amazon that was 24" x 36" didn't actually have that much area of cork board.  That size included the frame in the dimensions.  We were hoping all of the map would be on top of cork board, and then a frame would be around it.  So, lesson learned.

We went to Michael's to either look for a larger bulletin board, or find an alternative method of mounting/framing.  Since 24" x 36" was the largest board they sold, we had to get creative.  We found a canvas of the correct size for $24.99 and then found a backless wooden frame for $99.99.  The canvas fit nicely into the frame, but in order to get it to stay into place, we had to buy some canvas to frame clips ($2.99).  Now, this was way more than we originally planned to spend on this project, but luckily some coupons saved the day.  The frame was on sale for 50% off, and I had a coupon for 40% one item from checking in to Michael's on foursquare.  That brought our framing total down to a much more reasonable $70.  Add in the map pins I bought from Hobby Lobby for just a couple bucks, and the map itself, and the total spent for this project was around $90.  (I'm leaving out the wasted $24 I spent on the bulletin board, since it could've been avoided had I known the way the measurements worked on them).

To get the map to stay on the canvas, we just taped some of the edges.  Then we mounted the canvas inside the frame with the clips.  The frame didn't have wall mounting hardware on it, so we just borrowed some from another painting I had at home that we weren't currently displaying anywhere.  Once we had it on the wall, we went about placing map pins on the cities we had traveled to together.  We've individually been to more cities due to work or family vacations at younger ages, so we decided to only pin cities we had been to as a couple.  While it was fun to reminisce about all the neat places we've been so far, it was also a good reminder that there's so much of the world we haven't seen yet!  Hopefully we'll get to add some more pins in the next few years.

   North American travels

European travels

Friday, January 4, 2013

MRI, Here I Come

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been battling some nerve pain in my back/leg/butt on the right side over the past couple of months.  It's progressively gotten worse, and even spread to the left side as well.  It's gotten so bad recently that I can't stand or walk around for much more than 5 minutes without being in pain. I have to stop and sit down or crouch down when walking for extended periods (like while grocery shopping).  If I sit up completely straight, I get a shooting pain in my butt.  If I stretch my leg out completely, I get a shooting pain.  If I stand up to walk after being seated for a while, I start out hunched over because it's too painful to walk completely upright at first.  It's quite frustrating.  It really disrupts so many aspects of my daily life.  I've gone to a few PT appointments, but since it just seems to be getting worse, I decided I needed to do something more.  I have an MRI scheduled for next week, to see if we can try to get to the root of the problem.  I'm a little nervous about what the MRI could potentially uncover, but I have got to figure out how to stop this pain!  I just want to go back to my normal life. 

Side note - My physical therapist did determine that I have diastasis recti, or abdominal separation.  This happened as a result of my pregnancy.  It's not that big of a deal, and might not be related at all to the nerve pain I've been having.  I just think it's kinda gross to look at the picture and see what that means.  Bleh.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Saving for Dutch

Meezy and I have been putting our spare change (and sometimes bills) into a jug for a while now, and it dawned on me recently that I should actually do something with it.  Since it was the end of the year, I decided to cash it in and open a savings account for Dutch.  Besides the change we've been collecting, Meezy's dad also gave us some money for Dutch at Christmas.  All in all, my initial deposit into his savings account was $420.  Sweet!  We're going to fill the jug up again with our spare change this year, and then do the same thing at the end of 2013.  I'll cash it out and put it into Dutch's account.  Maybe by the time he's 16, there will be enough in there to help him buy a car!  I think this is a fun way to save some spending money for him, because we aren't missing the change, yet it actually adds up to a decent amount.

    Pic doesn't quite do it justice, but that jug was HEAVY!

 $207 in coins alone!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas 2012

Dutch's first Christmas was quite a fun one.  He obviously doesn't understand the gift part of it yet, but he really enjoyed getting to spend time with all his family, especially his cousins.  He loves watching and playing with older kiddos.  

While we were in Amarillo, we were lucky enough to have Meezy's mom babysit for us, so we got to enjoy an awesome dinner with all of Meezy's siblings and their spouses.  It was so nice to have everyone together at once and to enjoy adult conversation (and drinks!) without worrying about our little guy.