Thursday, April 03, 2014

Starving My Child

  As most of you know, I had another baby at 40.  Apparently, I thought this whole "raising teenagers" thing was so much fun I needed to prolong it for another 19 years.  Or not.

Our newest arrival, Elliott, was born 6 weeks early and weighed a whopping 4 pounds.  He is now a little over 2 1/2 months old and weighs a whopping...6 pounds!!  I am nursing him full-time, but at our last Pediatrician's visit he told me he would like me to supplement with a little formula each day just to "beef him up a little".  I can't imagine why the little guy isn't gaining weight- see if you can figure it out.

Typical nursing session:

(Baby Screaming) (To himself...) I'M STARVING!!..I'M STARVING!!...I'M STARVING!!...FEED ME!!...FEED!!..FEED ME!!

(Me- outloud) "Hi buddy!  Are you hungry?  You poor thing...let's get you a little something to eat.  I know...I're hungry.  Hang on just a second, let me get things arranged.  (stupid tent thing won't let me see.  I'll just have to stick my head completely inside)

Now baby is screaming, red in the face, BIG tears streaming down, and I have my head stuffed in a nursing tent looking like a turtle.

Elliott is finally nursing.  Total silence, except for the whirring in his mind that goes something like this:

I'm hun-gry...I'm hun-gry...I'm hun-gry...I'm eat-ing...I'm eat-ing...I'm hap-py...I'm yum-my...I'm

After 4 whole minutes, my previously starving infant is fast asleep in my arms, so I jiggle him a little bit, and he continues on his steady nursing as if sleep never entered his mind.

I'm eat-ing...I'm eat-ing...Mom loves-me...Mom loves-me...I'm hap-py...So hap-py...So slee-py....So

And he's out for the count.  Repeat this previous scenario about 10 more times and you'll get my drift.  The best part, though, is when I pull out the big guns.  In other words, time to un-latch, but as soon as I even start to go through the motion, my totally exhausted out-of-it baby, is immediately awake and apparently...starving.

I'M STAR-VING!!...I'M STAR-VING!!!...DON'T LEA-VE ME!...I'M DIE-ING!!!...SO HUNG-RY!!!...SO HUNG-RY!!...So hun-gry!! star-ving! slee.........

And....he's out.

I just can't understand why he's not gaining weight.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Vermin

      I'm up waaaaay too early when I see the dog and cat go up to a dark pile of...something (the lights were off, couldn't make out what it is) sniffing around lazily.  I assume an animal barfed and I'll have to clean it up. Look up a minute later and the pile's not there.  But, the cat is pacing around the box in the corner. You've got to be kidding me.  I turn on a dim light and move the box, but don't see anything.  Except, now the cat is pacing around the corner where another box is, obviously hunting.... something.  I turn on the light, get on a chair (please note at this point I was still kind enough NOT to wake my hubby) and move the box.  Oh yeah, it's a mouse.  Slowly JAUNTING LAZILY across my dining room floor while the cat watches on with little interest.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! We OBVIOUSLY feed our cats WAY too much, something I plan on rectifying IMMEDIATELY.  The mouse has meandered under the dog dishes now, and I'm not doing this on my own- the animals are no help, either, so I get Scott up.  
     " A mouse." I say. 
     "Huh"- his reply.
     "A mouse. A MOUSE. We have A MOUSE in the dining room.  A MOUSE." Where the heck is his sense of urgency?
     "Okay. Get the cats." he groggily replies.
     "I did. They aren't doing anything but watch it."
     "Well, what do you want me to do?" he says trying as hard as he can not to wake up.  Let's see, I'd like to to pet it, sing to it, maybe dress it up in barbie clothes-
     "CATCH IT!" I reply, to the point of frustration.
      He stumbles out of bed and stands at the dining room entrance while I lift up the dog bowl the mouse is under. 
     "If he comes that way catch it...or at least stop it."
     "With what?" I'm feeling the whole "bat in the house" thing coming back. 
     "WHATEVER! Here's a tub lid!" I prop up a tub lid as he just stands and watches.  Honestly, the baby in my womb is being just about as much help.  At least HE'S kicking me, cheering me on, I believe.
     "URGH!" I grab a bucket myself, knowing that I'm our last choice for catching this vermin and slowly lift the other dog dish the mouse is hiding under.  The mouse just stands there.  The cats just stand there, squinting at me as they blink slowly, as if to say "Problem?".  I set the bucket on top of the mouse and look back at Scott. 
     "Okay. Got him. What are we going to do?" Proud of myself, expecting him to take over now.   
     "Okay, well,  I'm going back to bed." He says. 
    "So, we're just going to leave the mouse there?" It's 6am, not 2 in the morning.
    "Yep." he says and retreats to the bedroom. 
      I grab Kayte's giant "Messed-up Bulletin" binder that's heavy enough for the mouse not to be able to move and set it on top of the bucket.  The cat's head over to their food bowl.  As if.  I have safely stored their food bowl on top of the fridge until I can forgive them of this "indiscretion".  Then, as an after thought (picturing the curiosity getting the best of my children) include a note on top that says: "DO NOT MOVE! There is a mouse under here (and don't fool yourself into thinking the cats will take care of it- THEY WON'T- we already tried!) Stupid cats." Interested to see how long it takes Scott to "take care of it" this morning.

Monday, December 09, 2013

What (WAS) up with me?


Okay, I'm (not-so secretly) hoping my husband will check out the $20 60-minute massage at Tranquil Day Spa on the groupon link above.  HINT HINT
I know it's not something that's tangible or that I can keep as a reminder, but I promise I'll take some pictures, and I don't have to clean up after it.  Sounds like a good birthday present to me!! 
Perhaps Star, Christy, June and I can all convince our husbands and then we can go after our birthday dinner (believe it or not, all 3 friends and I have birthdays on either Sept 13, 14, or 15- and my sister's also!)!
Here's the lo-down on our household lately:
Scott:  Scott's hard at work (literally AND physically).  Him and his boss have been doing the work of three men, since they lost one of their employees.  That means long, hard days building 'loads' and sweating up a storm.  He's also the Young Men's president which means early Sunday morning meetings,the occasional trip during sacrament meeting to grab some forgotten sacrament bread, Wednesday night activities, Scout trips, Campouts, Black-sock hunting (early Sunday morning), White-sock hunting (every other morning), and he still has time to catch a quick nap during scripture study.  I can't imagine why!  He has managed to put up all of the shelves I constantly ask for (somewhere in the thousands by now), fix the broken things that magically show up, take over the finances, make dinner every Sunday, throw laundry in the wash, and fret over our lawn.  I don't think I'll ever know how truly good I have it!  Scott, you are an amazing man, and I don't mean that lightly.
Enoch:  Enoch has been absorbing several of the college Chemistry textbooks he's been reading for the last year.  He's supposed to be taking Chemistry next year as a Sophmore.  Something tells me, aside from the labs, he might be a smidgen ahead of his class.  He's officially shaving now, getting teased relentlessly by his sisters, and a harsh reminder from his Mom, after giving a good night kiss, to SHAVE.  We are grateful that he discovered girls, which was closely associated with the discovery of the shower, body wash, and deoderant.  He's taking Spanish this year as well as weight training at the YMCA (the age of 15 apparently makes you an 'adult' in the eyes of the YMCA, thereby allowing you access to the big boy gym). Yes, he still has those bizarrely huge muscles, and he plans on keeping them (although he doesn't believe us that you can totally pump them up by washing the dishes).  He's finally surpassed his sister, Amelia (and his Mom and Dad), in height, ringing in at just over 5'5 1/2".  He started Seminary this year, and is up, dressed, and ready each morning ready to go before Mom is.
Amelia: We skipped Mia ahead a year in school.  We figured if she was doing Freshman schoolwork, Algebra, etc. it just made sense.  Luckily, with homeschool, we have the flexibility to do that and focus on a specific subject if she needs to concentrate on it more.  She started Seminary this year with Enoch, and is up and ready before my alarm even goes off. She is taking control of her own clothing style, which is often questioned by me with an additional 'When you see pictures of yourself later, don't blame me!'.  I must admit, if this is as bad as it gets, I'm certainly blessed!  Kids still flock to her by the dozens and despite our encouragings to look into a career in childcare/social work/ANYTHING with little ones, she still thinks she wants to go into the medical field (of which she would GREATLY excel in).  She's taking Spanish classes as well, and in exchange, her, Enoch and I are going to be babysitting for the teacher.  She's also part of the homeschool Gym & Swim for two hours each week.  Amelia only has a few things left to do before her Personal Progress is finished, she's hoping to be the youngest in the Branch. 
Katarina: Kate is in 6thish grade.  We've noticed that's a hard thing to do when you homeschool- put a kid into a grade catagory.  They're usually in several DIFFERENT grades, depending on the subject.  She's a whiz at math (just like several other of the kids), even though she groans like crazy while she's doing it.  She (and Enoch) have discovered the joy of  'natural hair dye'.  They take walks down a trail near our house and gather bright purple berries and SLATHER them through her hair, creating a completely sticky, dries solid as a helmet, purple hair-do.  She won't let me give her a perm, she HATES having her hair down (she thinks it looks too "poofy"), and hates wearing any sort of hair product in it, BUT she'll rub (probably poisonous) berries in her hair.

Cramming in Christmas

Okay, the picture isn't great, but you can watch the video on my facebook page (unless I can get Enoch woken up to show me how to attach it)
The picture isn't really what's important, anyway.  It's the insanity of the hour prior to the picture that matter.  Here Goes: We raced home from church to get ready for this performance, only to be greeted by our neighbor warning us from the porch that we have no electricity (SO glad she did, or I would have been CONVINCED I didn't pay the bill).  Run in, stick Ava's head under the sink to wash it while Mimi grabs a flashlight to go downstairs and find a 'Christmas-y' dress/shoes/tights/accessories ('cause it's Mimi) to wear.  Halfway through washing her hair I realize- I can't blowdry it!!  I hop on the computer to send a text to a friend of ours asking her to call Scott (we have no cell phones, only land-line, and Scott's phone can't recieve texts).  I get my message all typed up, press send, and realize that our internet works through the electricity (Scott, Enoch, Aidan and Kayte had meetings at church so they were going to meet us at the venue- they just had NO IDEA where it was located, so they were going to call us and get directions). SO, we threw Ava's hair in a towel, grabbed her clothes and stuff and BOOKED it out the door.  Friend's house #1- not home. AARGH!! Friend's House #2 (The Waugh's)- LIFE SAVERS!!! They had JUST returned home from church, let us use their bathroom/outlets, even looked up the church/location and called Scott to give him directions.  We are OUT the door and only 10ish minutes behind schedule.  End of story? Not a chance.  NEVER TRUST MAPQUEST.  After getting lost and utilizing the "Full" part of Full-Service Drive-Thru at a local CVS, we were back on track, but now REALLY late.  Then I realized, Scott's using the same wrong directions I had.  We dumped Ava off in the line of children's choir kids and ran around the church looking for a phone (because all of our have one in the foyers- isn't that a common courtesy...or something?) No phone.  Finally begged a phone off of two nice nursing ladies in the foyer.  Called Scott-straight to voice-mail.  I left a brief-and barely understandable explanation of how to get there, while in the middle of it she gets a call.  I quickly hang up, thank her profusely, and make a B-line to the concert now beginning. Mimi told me later, that the call she received was actually from Enoch returning the unanswered call.  They made it there having only missed 2 of the 4 songs!  Good thing I didn't have to get my blood pressure checked that day!! (And by the time we returned home, our electricity was back on....knock on wood)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mimi's 16th Birthday- In Her Own Words

Hello everyone! Amelia here(16 year-old Amelia, thank you very much). I just had THE BEST 16th birthday ever! 
 Ava woke me up at about 8:15am (my plan was to sleep in until around 10-ish) with a wonderful gift-breakfast in bed! 3 frozen toaster strudels ( I like mine that way) and an extremely full glass of milk was the perfect start to my day.
 Right after I had my shower and finished off my breakfast my mom told me to put on my prom dress. Now, for the past week or so my family and neighbor, Tabitha have been acting very strange. I knew it was about my birthday but I had no idea what was planned. After I was in my dress and my hair and make-up was done (which turned out to be pointless, but I'll explain that later) we(Me,Mom, Kayte. and Ava) hopped in the car and left. Of course I was still clueless.Our first stop was at subway so we could get lunch and drop it off at dad's work                 
  After that my mom asked me where I wanted to go for lunch. We all decided on Banditos (free birthday meal and they sing to you). When we walked in, the lady at the front asked if we had just gotten back from a wedding.
Once we were seated and had given our orders another group comes in and is seated right next. There were 2 moms, one with 7 kids and the other with 4. 2 of the little girls were just fascinated by us. Probably by the dresses and the fact that the staff came to sing to me. Speaking of which, I think it was very kind of them to make sure that they got the cute waiter to come out and sing with them.
 After Banditos we headed out. Of course I still had no idea where we were going.
 Well we ended up at Macy's! I knew exactly what we were going to do when we ended at the make-up section. We were getting make-overs!!! The lady who did our(Kaytes and mine) make-up was AMAZING! Her name was Gabriella. She was beautiful and super nice. We had a great time and Kayte even got her make-up done( a once in a lifetime thing for her) and Ava got a little lipgloss as well.
 After a couple other stops we headed home. Once at home my mom told me to change into a more casual out fit and to eat a quick dinner because Tabitha was going to take me somewhere.
 First stop: a nail salon. Before then I have never had my nails done professionally. It was fun. I got them painted gold with a cute little design on then.
Last stop: The movies! Tabitha took me to see Safe Haven. A wonderful movie(but only if you are into chick flicks)! After I got home I opened my last few gifts. and went to bed. It was an awesome day! 
 Friday evening we had my birthday dinner and cake. We invited a couple people(Laura Zollman and her kids and Brock Wallace) over to have dinner, cake and to watch my last gift. Enoch, Daddy and the rest of my family made a little slideshow/movie with a bunch of pictures of me and some of my favorite songs.
 Of course it wouldn't be a birthday without my birthday talk in church(a 5-year tradition. so far anyway).
                                                 The girls and daddy.
                                               After my make-up was done.
                                         After our make-up was done.
                                              Me, Gabriella, Kayte
  Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so amazing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Satan is spelled PHP

My rant against PHP.

You're REALLY going to want to read this, especially after what I have to say.

So, In July of 2010 I decide to FINALLY lose weight, call them up and ask about the program. They tell me (almost word for word from the brochure) what it entails, and send me a paper to have my doctor sign me up for. This was almost TWO YEARS ago, mind you. You get two payments: $500 after you lose 10% of your current weight and $1000 if you keep it off for a year. Max of $1500 per lifetime. Sounds good to me- what do I have to lose (pun intended)!

So I go to my first doctor's appointment weighing in at a whopping 256 lbs. If I had been thinking I would have started at my highest weight of 275, but I digress. I hand it over to my doctor who signs and faxes it in.

Move forward 8 months. March of 2011. I find out that I qualify for gastric bypass. I spend months researching, going to several different clinics to listen to their presentations, CALLING UP MY INSURANCE COMPANY TO ASK ABOUT BENEFITS (this will definitely come in to play later), and coming to a conclusion: I'm tired of being tired and huge. I'm only marginally making headway on my weight walking for an hour every morning and cutting my portions waaaaay (or should it be weigh) down. I talk it over with Scott (okay, maybe it was more like: “So, ummmmm, I've decided to get gastric bypass. You okay with that? 'Cause I might die, you know. It has happened. I want you to remarry, if I do. Just make sure she sings stupid songs at inopportune times, like me; it'll confuse the kids less. So...we're good?” So with his grunt and nod of approval (should I have talked to him while he was reading the newspaper?), I sign up. I spend about 10 more phone conversations WITH PHP DISCUSSING THE SURGERY. NO mention of the “inches away” plan, btw, and about a trillion with the Bariatric Clinic itself.

I find out that PHP will only pay $2500 towards the over $10000 cost of the procedure. “Well, that just about settles it. No surgery for me.” Then a miracle. The Bariatric Clinic calls and tells me that they will accept PHP's payment as full payment (I later find out this is ONLY for the clinic. They hit ALL OF US patients up a full month after our surgery with over $3000 in additional bills stating they are from the hospital and anesthesia and they weren't included in THEIR costs). So, the surgery is BACK ON!

The Clinic requires many weeks of classes, and PHP requires 6 months of doctor supervised weight loss before I can be eligible for the surgery. I make it. On August 13, 2011 I weigh in at 229 lbs. Officially at least 10% weight loss. Money, come to Momma. At the time they sent me my $500 check, I was scheduled for surgery for the first week of November. There's NO WAY PHP could say they didn't know about it.

November 7 was D-day. Scared to death of....well, death, I went into surgery sobbing like a baby and woke up screaming like a banchee. Apparently, they didn't believe me when I told them I take high-dose pain killers on a regular basis and they need to start me off at a high point. I crawled off the ceiling about an hour and a half later. Even Scott was yelling at the doctor to give me more drugs, and if you know Scott, yelling doesn't come naturally (when the kids aren't around, that is). So, several months of pure torture I won't go into right now. Not only physical, but mental as well. Then, of course, comes the additional $3000 in medical bills along with a letter saying PHP won't cover the mental exam that's required before the surgery (conveniently given to me AFTER the fact). So, financially, we're more than broke; Physically- I'm shedding weight like I'm Kate Moss prepping for a runway show. Not a joke. I don't think I stayed in one size for an entire week. Would I do it again, even with the $3k and other crap? In a heartbeat.

Fast-forward to August 20, 2012. One year after my $500 and I've certainly kept the weight off. Down to 144 to be exact. We have a basement that's crying to be finished and I'm checking the mailbox every 20 minutes for my $1000 bonus check. Nothing. Days pass. Nothing. Finally, on September 12 I finally call. “PHP How can I help you?” Asks a chipper voice that can only be fueled by several cups of caffeine. “Uh. Yes. I'm on the inches away program, and I've been waiting several weeks for my check, but it still hasn't come.” And let see, I'm using about $200 for lumber/screws/nails, a couple hundred for drywall, a few hundred more for carpeting. I was originally going to get Scott and I a new mattress set and some bedroom furniture, but decided we needed something for the whole family. “Okay. Let me check for you!” Paula Peppy replies. After about 3 ½ years she comes back. “Yep. It looks like you're ineligible because you had bariatric surgery.” She says with a smile I feel like smacking through the phone. “What. Are. You. Talking. About.” “Uh. Hold on, okay?” No. SOOOO not okay. Another day passes and Pukey Paula is back on. “Yeah. That's the deal. You're not eligible because you had surgery, and well, that makes you ineligible.” Still smiling through the phone says the obvious Harvard grad. “There was NOTHING on ANY papers I signed that said ANYTHING ABOUT THIS!! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! THIS IS A LOAD OF CRAP!” I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I went on at length. Here's the clincher: She said they don't inform the PHP members, necessarily, but “the doctor's should know about it and they should have told you”. Oh, REALLY? You don't feel this falls under, perhaps, YOU'RE JURISDICTION?

I actually received the rejection letter the same day (of course). It states that “We will provide you, free of charge, the internal rule, guideline or policy used in making this determination.” Okay, is it just me, or is an internal rule a little like a three-year old making up the game as he goes along. Is this rule invisable or kept under lock-and-key? Does ANYONE have access to that information, or were we supposed to hire a Psychic to find out all our health benefits? Stop me when I reach the correct one.

Well, I told them I would contact every Newspaper, radio station and TV network I could find as well as the Indiana Insurance Commissioner and an Attorney (any pro-bono takers out there?)! But, of course, first I have to blog about it.

So, I foresee my next few months battling with the insurance company (because the IRS just isn't fun enough) in what will probably be a total loss. In case you haven't heard, our family doesn't do very well in court cases.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Taste Testing: Grace Island Baked Cheese Crisps

Okay, if you don't know by now, I'm a sucker for just about anything free. So, when a friend asked if I would sample some Baked Cheese Crisps from Grace Island Foods ( ) I was TOTALLY going for it. Free is one thing, Free FOOD is even better!! As it turns out, the snacks were delivered to us on a Sunday that we had to stay after church for a while, so by the time we were in the van we were FAMISHED and tore into these crackers like there would be no tomorrow. So, in all actuality, I'm not only going to give you my honest (they did say an HONEST opinion), but I'm going to let my kids and husband give you theirs as well.

When I was first told about these, I was pretty excited. I'm quite restricted as to what foods I can eat now, and these snacks fit right in with what is allowed. Even the ingredient list is READABLE (cheese, egg white, sesame seed, garlic, onion, salt, spices). That's almost unheard of in a grocery store nowadays! So, here is a rundown of the different cheese crisps we tried and what we thought of them:

Baby Swiss: Tanya: I'm a swiss cheese LOVER so I was excited to try these. When you look at them, they look just like what happens when some cheese leaks out of a burrito onto your cookie sheet and gets cooked there. The crisps were definately....well, crispy! It had just a hint of swissy taste to it, and was pretty....okay.  Not remarkable, but not bad. I was hoping for a little more swiss flavor, but I thought it was decent. Katye: The swiss was really, really good. It was one of my favorites.  (Considering Kayte is our semi-vegetarian and world class picky eater, this is rarely heard from her describing ANY food) Aidan: GOOD! I really liked ALL of them. 
Bottom line: So, while it was only okay for me, the fact that my pickiest eater and other kids liked it, and the fact that it's super healthy would leave me to purchase these for a snack...well, depending on the price I guess.

Asiago: Kayte: This was the BEST one. It was a lot like the swiss, but with a lot more flavor. Tanya: I have to agree with Kayte on part of that, it definately had more flavor than the swiss; but I enjoyed the more subtle swiss. I thought this was a little too sesame seedy for my taste. Aidan: This was kinda yummy. Scott: Not very cheesy tasting, just salty enough. Okay tasting.
Bottom line: I would probably buy this if Kayte chipped in some money, but she was the only one who really loved this kind.

Parmesan & Italian Herb: Tanya: I was really disappointed in this one. I was expecting to get a really good burst of Italian flavor, but it was really sub-par. None of the kids really liked this one either. I think with a little recipe tweaking this could be quite yummy, but, as is, it's not. Amelia: This one was my favorite! Kayte: This one wasn't my favorite but it was good.
Bottom Line: For some reason, Scott didn't get one of these, but everyone's basic opinion Except for Mimi who chose these as her favorites. SO, if she wanted to chip in some moolah to buy some, I might go for it.

Romano & Black Pepper: Tanya: Okay, I've saved this one for last. Our entire family has one opinion, while Aidan is on the opposite side. My very first reaction is that...uh....yuck would be an understatement. I honestly thought it tasted like bile. I didn't even make it past a nibble. In fact I BARELY made it past the smell. I don't know that a single person in our family took more than a nibble off a corner...except Aidan. He INHALED them!! He would patiently wait while someone tried one, then  (drooling) jump up and attack the crisp as if he had never had a meal in his life. In fact, just TALKING about the crisps makes him want some more. Ava: This doesn't taste very good, but it's a little crunchy. Hope (Ava's friend): I thought it was good, but at the end it wasn't very good at all.
Bottom Line: If I were you, I would DEFINATELY try a sample of this before buying a large bag. It will not be on our family's grocery list.

So, there you have it. Take it or leave it, it's our very humble family's (and Hope's) opinion.