Friday, December 28, 2012

Surviving Bed Rest and Christmas 2012

Today marks 4 weeks of bed rest.  28 stinking days.  And I still don't know how much longer I'll be stuck on the couch.  I'm not going to lie--it hasn't been fun.  

The first week was absolutely awful.  I read a book per day to try and distract me, but it wasn't enough.  I still had a crying session nearly every evening.  I tried to sew--I had my sewing machine put on a crate at couch level.  I used my right hand to push the pedal, and my left to direct my sewing.  But I got pretty frustrated because my finished products were not up to par.  

Week two, Evan handed me a CD of the Lords of the Realm II, which my brothers were really into, and  I used to play every now and then back in college.  I'm ashamed to say that much of week 2 and part of week 3 was spent conquering the game.  Also during week two, we decided that since we couldn't fly to Utah for Christmas as was originally planned, we would drive, as long as my ultrasound showed improvement in the bleeding, which it did.  

So week 3 began with a 2-day drive to Utah.  Poor Evan had to drive the whole way.  I started out laying down in the backseat of our minivan, but moved to the front at night, with my seat fully reclined, to keep Evan company.  I found that the back was much bumpier than the front (my doctor's biggest concern with us driving), so I stuck with the front for all of day 2.  The weather was great, except for a 20-mile stretch between Laramie and Rawlins, WY, where we crawled along at 25 MPH through a ground blizzard.  

Upon arriving in Utah, we were greeted with lots and lots of snow:

The kids had a blast playing with aunt and uncles, mummi and pappa, sledding, playing games:
 At the end of week 3 of bed rest, we headed up Provo canyon where Evan's family rented a cabin.

It was a pretty neat little cabin--two main floors, a basement and a loft.  Two kitchens, a few living room areas, a ping pong table, a foosball table, and plenty of space for us all.  The kids spent more time sledding, doing crafts with grandma to decorate the little tree, playing wii and other games, and just having fun being with family:

Needless to say, even though I was stuck on the couch for all of it, week 3 passed much quicker than the previous two.  Totally worth the 2 day drive.  I think even Evan would agree.  

Week 4 has been a continuation.  Decorating Christmas cookies:

 Getting dumped with snow Christmas Eve!!!  Talk about a dream come true.

 My view from the couch:
 And then our annual Christmas Eve tradition of Finnish food, a visit from Santa, and opening gifts:
These are the ones Santa brought.
Andrea divvying up the gifts
One of Waimea's gifts to Erik--a hand turkey.  She wrapped up so many random things this year; it was hilarious to see what she "gave away," including her blanky, many of her toys, and a yo-yo made of ribbon and one of Cheep's (our parakeet) tail feathers.  
One of Andrea's gifts for Erik
And two more days of post-Christmas snow.  The kids have gone ice-skating, and cross-country skiing.  Evan has done more than his fair share of snow-shoveling (his choice--no one's making him do it).  I've been observing everything from my choice of a few couches, with a few steps taken outside.  I've played altogether too much sudoku, mah jong tiles, free cell, and Sporcle.  But I can't tell you how much better it has been these last two weeks than the first two.  

A week and a half to go until my next doctor's appointment.  I haven't had any spotting or bleeding for over two weeks now, and I'm quite sure I'm feeling the baby kick.  So I'm hoping for more good news, and maybe even getting off bed rest.  Or at least having a little more freedom.  In the meantime, we have another week with family, and a two-day drive home.

Homemade Christmas Gifts 2012

Being poor and back in grad school, I knew I needed to be creative about Christmas gifts again this year.  Here are some of the gifts I made:

A wall quilt for my mom, to hang in the cabin
A fishing vest for my brother, Jeremy, an avid fly fisherman.  I made this laying down, on bed rest.  Not my best work, but good enough that he's already stashed the pockets full of his gear, so I think he plans on using it.  

A stocking for my sister.  She's been wanting to replace our juvenile-looking ones for years.  She had planned on making this herself when she came to visit in August, but never did.  
A fish purse for my bag-loving sister-in-law, Amy.    Thanks to this website for the inspiration and pattern.  
And a high-definition antennae that Evan made for Amy.  Nothing like the gift of free tv watching, right? Evan made one of these for our home a few months ago, and it works great at getting all the local stations and a few extras.  He also made one for Erik for Christmas, too.  Who needs cable?  
 I had plans to make something for my other brother, Evan's parents, my grandparents, and my nieces and nephew, but bed rest sure messed up those plans.  They'll just have to wait until next year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Two Weeks Later...

Good news!  I survived the first two weeks of bed rest.  The baby is still growing.  The bleeding behind the placenta is still there, but it's better than it was two weeks ago.  So at least the bed rest hasn't been a complete waste.  I still have to stay on bed rest, but I don't have to be quite as strict about is as I was before.  
He's waving!
And... right now he's temporarily a boy.  The earliest that they can tell is 15 weeks.  I'm just barely over that.  So it's not definitive yet--I may come back at 20 weeks and have a girl.  But for now, I can gloat and say I guessed correctly.  That's 3 out of 3.

Thanks, everyone, for the prayers, the dinners, and the help with cleaning and kids!!!  Please keep up the prayers--they've sure helped!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Good and the Bad

So...this wasn't news we were planning on sharing just yet, but I'm desperate for company and support.  I'm just over 13 weeks pregnant.  That's part of the good news.  The other good news:  this is further along than my last two pregnancies, and so far, this baby seems happy and is doing just fine.  Here are some ultrasound pictures from this morning:
Head-on view of his face and belly
Back view of his head and spine
Profile view of his body with his hands near his mouth
Another profile view of his head and arms
Evan calls this the smiling skeleton; I think it looks like an alien
Keep in mind that although I keep calling it a him, we don't know for sure.  It's just how I imagine him.  I was right with both of my others.  But I may be eating my words in a few weeks, if we get to that stage.

Which brings up the bad news--I'm on bed rest for at least the next two weeks.  There were some blood clots behind the placenta in my ultrasound four weeks ago. 3 weeks ago, those clots came out, resulting in a trip to the ER.  I was put on bed rest for a few days, then told to stop exercising and "take it easy."  We were just starting to think I was in the clear when I started spotting last weekend.  And now, in the ultrasound this morning they found that the bleeding behind the placenta has gotten worse.  We don't know the ramifications of that yet.  So in the meantime, I'm on full-fledged bed rest.  

Which for me, is bad enough.  Add to that the fact that we have airline flights for Christmas departing in two weeks and one day--a flight that we just might not be able to take.  Which is a real bummer for all of us, especially the kids.  They've been counting down the days for weeks.  

So...prayers, please.  I don't want to lose this baby.  And I've only been on bed rest for a whopping 10.5 hours, but I honestly don't know how I'm going to get through this with my sanity intact.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yummy Turkey Day

 I love Thanksgiving.  And I love it with traditional foods.  But I think it helps that the only time of year I'm willing to eat most of these foods is on this one day.  I'd get sick of them otherwise.

Like last year, it was just our little family and uncle Eh-eh again.  Unlike last year, though, we were all able to sit and eat in peace (last year Spencer threw up just as we were sitting down to eat).  So glad we didn't have to reheat our meal this year.

Here was our food buffet, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes (red ones, with skins), stuffing, gravy, rolls, peas, jell-o salad, and clementines (with pie to follow later):
I've found that the best way to ensure a moist turkey is to cook it in a turkey bag.  It keeps all the juices in, and the meat literally falls off the bones.  It's practically a crock pot...but the turkey still browns nicely.
Uncle Eh-eh did the honors of carving the bird:
Rolls (I cheated and used Rhodes this year):
Yummy Jell-o salad:  cranberry jello with crushed pineapple and chopped apples, oranges, and cranberries.  Looks really gross in this picture, but it's actually one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes:

Pumpkin pie, Libby-style--the only way to go:
Cheesy apple pie--tastes better than it sounds:

 Beginning our feast:
 1st helping.  Don't worry; I'll be back for more:

And now that I've had this same meal for three days in a row, I'm sick of it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Dat Donut Time Again

 On my birthday I went with a friend for a drive to Dat Donut shop in south Chicago.  It took a good 45-60 minutes to drive there.  But so worth the drive.  So when my friend asked me again this last week if I wanted to go again, I didn't even hesitate to say yes.  It's one of the top 10 donut shops in the country.  "Too good to dunk" is their slogan.  I never want to live on the south side of Chicago, but I sure wish they would open up another location up closer to us.  Best donuts ever.  Check out the size of their big ones:
 Waimea prefers the strawberry ones, though:
 It's like eating 4 donuts:
 We brought one home for Evan and Spencer to share, and guess who wanted more (even though she ate two at the shop):
 It's as big as his face:
 It's making me want more.  Soo fluffy, soo good.  I ate the Boston Creme and a pineapple glazed one.  Love them!

This last week we went to their original location.  I will never go there alone, and I will never go there when it's not light outside.  In fact, I may never go to that location again.  Not only were all the businesses covered with iron bars on the windows and doors, but even the donut shop had bulletproof plexiglass between us and the workers.  To give us our orders, they put it in one of those lazy susan, turnstyle things--also make of bulletproof plexiglass.  I think I'll stick with going to the location we went to on my birthday; it felt a little safer.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Off to Preschool

 After our failed attempts at getting Waimea into Kindergarten early (she missed the cut-off here by 1.5 months) we decided to opt for the cheap preschool option--high school sponsored preschools.  Spencer did a similar program in New Jersey, and we were happy with it.  So we enrolled her in our local high school's Little Vikes Preschool (ironically, Spencer's was Little Vikings Preschool in New Jersey).  Because it's run by the high school, the high school kids need a little instruction before the program begins, so school didn't start until late October.  Here she is on her first day:
 As an added bonus, three of her friends were attending the same school:
She is loving it!  (And so am I).

Halloween 2012

I couldn't bring myself to get into the Halloween spirit this year.  I tried.  I dreaded making costumes (so unlike me), and kept putting if off.

Finally, a week before Halloween, I turned to the kids and said, "I will pay you $5 to wear one of your old costumes."  Mea took the bait, but Spencer insisted on being the green ninja from Ninjago.  (Silent groans).  Here's what he had in mind:

So then I looked into buying him one.  $60+.  No way.  So I went for the cheap, ghetto version:  borrowed mask from his dad, $10 in fabric to make a karate suit, bias tape to make the black detailing on the front, and craft foam sprayed silver and then sewed on for the more detailing on the front.  Good enough.  Ironically, he was the object of envy among the boys at his school's Halloween parade.  Goes to show that the kids aren't as picky as the adults. 

As for Mea, she stuck with her Aurora costume that I made her awhile back.  (After all the bundling up because of the cold, though, you can hardly tell who she's supposed to be.)   And she got her $5 bribe--she was happy, I was happy.  I think I'll use this tactic every year.  Especially because the kids don't last long trick-or-treating.  Why waste so much money on an awesome costume when the kids hardly use it?  You'd think that the candy would entice them to keep going (it sure did with me!), but Waimea was done after about 10 houses, Spencer maybe 20.  Oh well.  

Anyway, after celebrating Halloween for weeks with all the parties and events we've been to, I am so done with it.  Bring on Thanksgiving already!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Another Angry Bird Party

 Waimea turned 5 recently.  She's thrilled to have reached this milestone.  We celebrated on two separate days.  On her actual birthday, we had some friends over to share in her birthday donut breakfast:
She opened her presents in the morning so she could enjoy them throughout the day.  She chose McDonalds for her special lunch.  And I made her go to the gym, even on her birthday (what a horrible mother I am).

Here she is, blowing out candles in her birthday pudding after a Finnish pancake dinner.

 And then, a few days later, we had her Angry Bird birthday party.  She had a few friends over:
Waimea and her friend O
W and Spencer
L and C
We started out playing Angry Bird Bingo.  This actually entertained the kids the best for the longest.  It was a hit!  Then we played, Save the Birds.  We had balloons representing birds filled with candy, and balloons representing pigs not filled with candy.  The kids took turns throwing an angry bird at the balloons.  Whatever balloon they hit, we popped, and if it had candy in it, then they got to add it to their stash.  After the birds were all "saved", we played the "bird, bird, pig" version of "duck, duck, goose."  We had an egg hunt, followed by pizza and cupcakes.  We were going to have a puppet show with all our stuffed angry birds, but ran out of time.  But the kids all seemed to have a blast.  

They all took home a bird, a bag with their candy in it, and they each ate a few cupcakes.  
A closer look at the cupcakes.  I didn't do as good a job this time around as I did with Spencer's.  Not that the kids noticed.  
A closer look at the birds they got to take home with them.  I used the basic pattern for an angry bird found here, but made up the girl face and added a bow.  
It was a great party, but I think I'm done with making Angry Birds for awhile.