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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lover's Key State Park

In a bid to "take things easy" we spent day two at a beach called "Lover's Key". We left home by 11am and arrived in the park around 12:30 armed with sandwiches and snacks. Fortunately my friend noticed we had left Charlotte's shoes at home and her parents who hadn't left yet were able to collect them because this key is well known for it's shells -

Walking on this beach requires sandals because there are parts so densely covered in shells one can't help but crush them while walking.

It sure is nice to have more eyes on Charlotte, as you all know I spend many weekends taking Charlotte to the beach by myself so I'm the first to cheer about eating without interruption and support during the inevitable meltdown resulting from too much fun and sun!

We left the park at 5:30pm and it took 2 hours to get back with all the traffic. Unfortunately we also had to drive back home this night because husband works on Saturday's so it was a quick pack and leave by 8pm! We still stopped at Mimi's restaurant for dinner because I was promised a stop at my favorite French/New Orleans restaurant and got home by 11:30pm!

Busy two days but it was a wonderful break.

Everglades City

My friends, lovely Pittsburgh friends, how do you pack so much in one day? You announced we were leaving early at 9am and we were ready. We then took a 2 hour drive down into the Everglades, visited more friends in a Bungalow overlooking a gorgeous lake and then onto Everglades City to oooh and aaah over nature.

Lunch was lovely but our baby refused all manner of food, electing instead to march all over the picnic area with post car ride energy.

We then moved onto the boat ride and cuddled a tired baby who quickly realized we were on water which is cool and proceeded to play play play on the boat.

Photo of our friends -

Sky photo -

Sand trail -

And finally the crash -

We got to see 3 dolphins on this trip, what an amazing sight! It's my favorite thing about the west coast of Florida. Sorry, no photos, my camera is too slow!

Following the boat ride we stopped to visit the worlds smallest Post Office -

And then a stop at a gas station that 5 years ago had an alligator head bottle head opener.

And then, even though it was 4:30 and a 2 hour ride back, we stopped to walk a 2 mile trail at an Indian reservation. It did give us a chance to feed baby which she finally agreed was a good idea but threw a temper tantrum on the trail so husband had to take her back to the car for time out. We found out later she spent much of that time digging in the dirt and was quite happily covered when we returned.

Sunset photo -

New groovy face photo -

We got back at 8pm, so thankful for the Chili we had brought to contribute! While eating, Charlotte tumbled head first off her chair and I managed to catch her by one leg. A surprising feat of parental achievement considering I've totally missed even seeing her last two head injuries. Way to look good in front of people mom!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeling better today

About to leave for mini break, why does it take an entire day to prepare for a 2 day trip?

Drop dog off to farm - 2 hour trip
3 loads of laundry
2 loads of dishes
pack food
make chili for evening meal contribution
make cookies - never get around to cooking them b/c they have a stove
pack clothes
feed cats
take out trash

and so on and so on

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I feel like crap today. I don't know if I've been trying too hard to "stay calm, upbeat and okay" but today it's not happening. I've been exhausted all day and I just feel like total crap.

I have a little vacation coming up this Thursday and Friday to Cape Coral and it will be nice to just get away with our lovely Pittsburgh friends. I need a mini break.

Oh Monday!

You started out with a bang! After a Bible study, I took the dog outside for his morning duties and while watering the plants baby and husband came out to join. She was in a super mood and marched around the entire pond with us, approximately 1/3 mile and normally we use a wagon or stroller but today she power walked.

Back inside I got ready for work until it dawned on me at 8:50 that baby had a doctor's appointment at 9:15! Quick change the baby and run out the door, I said to husband. Once they were gone I finished getting ready. At 9:30 he called to say he had forgotten his wallet so instead of going to work, I went the other direction to the doctor's office.

Baby was in a wild mood and couldn't sit still, somehow do to a scheduling misunderstanding they rerouted us to an appointment time after 10 so I took her into the hallway to play while 2nd parent stayed inside. She proceeded to crawl up 2 flights of stairs, climb benches and walls, then a full run down the hallway which lead to falling 3 times as shoes came flying off. Husband came out to find me struggling to reattach shoes to a screaming raging baby who just wanted to be put down to run run run.

We switched and while inside I heard the distinct noises of baby running and falling again. He comes back to announce she ran so fast she tripped and fell on her head and there was a carpet burn on her forehead.

I don't know what happened in that power walk this morning but it woke up a wild women! The sad thing is after all the falling, bruised knees and forehead she had to go get a 2nd H1N1 shot!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home - disaster zone

Tonight husband will come home to find:

* dog food thrown about with a leash in the center and a book of cat pictures near by that baby read to the dog

* a pile of blocks thrown onto the floor

* a giant pile of shredded paper strewn everywhere

* a cake holder case upside down beside the water bowl

* a small round flash light in the on position

* two trashcans in center of room, one used as a wicker hat at one point, one has Wok lid inside

* dogs bowl upside down in middle of room

and I will say, I had to balance the budget, we have $12 left to spend this month so don't buy anything and dinner is in the oven.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Twin Pregnancy - complications

My ultrasound visit began with the technician measuring Baby A and found him/her to be moving so much she had a hard time getting all the measurements, the tech said “wow this kid is really moving”, I could see him/her wiggling around on the screen. Baby A is located the closet to the cervix and will remain in this location. He/She will be the first born if birth is natural. He/She is growing on schedule at 6cm which = 2.4”.
Baby B was found to have Cystic Hygroma growth and Skin Edema throughout. The doctor’s main concern seemed to be the Skin Edema throughout the body; she has not seen a baby survive this. However, she said both babies have strong heartbeats and we believe that where there is life there is hope. Baby B is behind in growth and is currently 5cm which = 2”. I was supposed to take a blood test to test for chromosomal abnormalities but the findings in the ultrasound already put this baby at risk for an abnormality such as Down’s Syndrome. We talked about different scenarios, the baby could live for a period of time and die in the womb, if this should happen he/she would stay there until the other child is born. There is no risk to the other child since they are in separate sacks and do not appear to share a placenta. If the baby were to survive the pregnancy, she believes that due to the growth, swelling and small size there is a high risk of the child being born with an abnormality such as Down’s Syndrome. We do not wish to terminate this life as we do not believe abortion to be an option for us.
We’ve all heard about pregnancies where the parents were told their baby would not survive and with prayer the baby did survive and was born healthy. It is therefore our wish to continue praying for the next two weeks until our return visit on February 5th. We believe God creates life so it’s reasonable to believe he can fix abnormalities in the womb.
Our parents have asked how we are doing, in truth we are stunned, about as stunned as getting the news that there are twins in there. So it's been a month of unexpected news but we okay. We pray and find comfort in our faith and we believe in God's will for our lives. My favorite verses for today are:
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."
So we seek God and take it one day at a time.

Starting 2nd Trimester

both babies should be 2.5" long and will grow 1/2" every week for the next few weeks. Got more ultra sounds coming today, maybe I'll actually remember to scan then and post a few!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Little fingernails and toenails

With Charlotte's new bedtime strategy (no rocking to sleep) I've lost the ability to cut her nails once she is asleep. One of us would rock her to sleep, second parent would then enter, turn on lights and cut all little fingernails and toenails. Last night I tried to sneak into her room after she was asleep in the crib but she woke up.

Today I tried something new - first I gave her a long bubble bath. After toweling off and getting dressed for bed I clipped her toenails - WHILE SHE WAS AWAKE! She did fine, then I cautiously picked up a hand that was clutching a pants leg, uncurled the fingers and clipped the softened nails one by one while piling lavish praise on her. I'm so astonished, she didn't yank her hands away, cry or get mad. I think my baby's growing up! Sob!!! Just last night I realized how much I loved rocking her to sleep. Sure there were nights when I'd be thinking sleep sleep sleep I got stuff to do but now that it's gone I'm sad. Oh well, there are two more babies coming along who will demand lots of rocking. Maybe I'd best enjoy 5-6 months of quick bedtimes and say thank you to Charlotte for weaning herself at 19 months.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Charlotte's eating habits have changed

Several months ago I wrote in tears about how my daughter was refusing all food on a spoon. She would only accept hand given food and that was limited to Yogurt drops, Puffs and some Cereals. This went on from 15mo - 18mo and to make matters worse she had dropped to the 0 percentale of her weight category at 15mo. The doctor said to fortify her bottles with cream and safflower oil - the oil was gross so we stuck with the cream and formula so she could continue getting her vitamins and nutrients. At 18mo she had gained 3lbs - from cream!

In the last few weeks she has taken an interest in everything we eat. Tonight a I tried a new vegetarian dish (to save money) Vegetable and Bean Polenta Pie and she LOVED IT! I'm so astonished.

Oh and the bedtime change appears complete, she doesn't want to be rocked to sleep anymore, bad behavior ensues like pinching my collar bone until I lay her down in the crib. Double astonishment!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday - spend no money

My favorite games growing up were LIFE and MONOPOLY. I'd play LIFE with my 3 brothers and the first step was to get the highest paying job to be able to:
A. Get rich
B. Pay for any calamities along the way

Mid game you got to land on children and they brought big bucks, especially the Twins. Well on January 4th we got the news that we are having TWINS, the same day we dropped our car off for some minor adjustments and ended up paying $1,300 after they held it captive for two weeks!

Yesterday we dropped the truck off for an oil change and it needs an estimated $1000 of fixings. YESH! So I'm now wondering if the next roll of the dice could kindly bring me some of those high pay offs like $20,000 for "Lucky Day" or you found Oil, collect 50K. That would be nice.

Until that happens, enjoy this photo of Charlotte singing into a cup. It has kept her busy as I wax on about my life.

Regardless of these financial failings, we are still incredibly thankful for all the wonderful things we are blessed with - nice beds, clean laundry, dogs/cats well fed and happy, all humans in home well fed and happy, working plumbing, snacks, working computer and internet, variety of shoes to wear, truck still working even though I dare not drive more then 5 miles, happy healthy grandparents for Charlotte, I could go on and on. Just want to make it clear that even with financial bummers, we still love our lives and are thankful for all our blessings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

I've been devastated about the earthquake in Haiti this week. Like all prior natural disasters help is coming so late in the week and I know the people are suffering tremendously. From everything I've read this evening it's a logistical nightmare to get supplies into the damaged areas. I thought maybe they could air drop supplies from helicopters - don't we do this in war times? but haven't ready anything about this happening.

All week I've wanted to do something and I've finally settled on a charity that is close to my heart - Compassion. I've sponsored a child in Bolivia for 3 years and I know how much effort they put into meeting needs around the world. The following is information from the email I received from Compassion today:

Compassion sponsors and donors serve more than 65,000 children in Haiti. At least a third of them live in the areas that were hardest hit.

65K is alot of kids; I'm really astonished at this number for such a small island nation. I have a budget for charity donations and this month it's going to Compassion. I'm just putting this out there so you know my heart for these people and if you want to help there is a button on the right side that will take you to Compassion. Outside of this organization there are many many options. Donations can be sent directly to the Red Cross and I could go on and on but just google Haiti help and the options will appear. I hope everyone can help, even if it's just a little bit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Putting Charlotte to bed has taken a strange new twist.

Tonight, I gave her the 8pm bottle. When she was done she swung her little feet to the floor, programmed to play. I said "hey little one, I know your tired", turned off the light and her head hit my shoulder - but when I sat on the rocker she was restless and started banging her head back and forth on my arm - bam bam bam - "um baby are you okay?", feet kicked. After one minute of these shenanigans I laid her in the crib - prior experience of 18 months tells me she must be fully asleep before laid in crib - but she was fine. I said "good night baby, I love you", turned on the heater, picked up her bottle and walked out of the room. Not a wail or cry. I'm completely mystified by this turn of events. 18 months of rocking baby to sleep have me quite grounded in a night time routine. Could it really be as easy as this?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Light snow in South Florida?

Did hell freeze over?

Looks like another day will be spent inside with the heater on cuddling with baby and drinking hot chocolate!!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I used to love traveling but this was a hard trip

I was just getting over a bad cold and more tired then I've ever been in my life with the twin pregnancy. Until I stepped on the plane I kept thinking I need to bail on this trip, but my boss is out of town and I'm going to need his support when he gets back. I don't have a good reason for bailing, doctor said I could go, then I talked to my mom and she cheerfully said this was a good sign that I'm not supposed to sit on my butt for this entire pregnancy. Moms - they really know how to put things in perspective right?

But the trip was every bit as bad as imagined. I lost 15 minutes going the wrong way from LAX airport, I could not find the 134 East when I was leaving Burbank, I had to go the opposite way, take the next exit to actually backtrack and go the right way. I missed a turn arriving into Pasadena and arrived exactly on time for the meeting. All this while consulting my iPhone for directions. My nerves were a mess. At the end of the day I went straight back to the car rental, called a cab to the hotel, ordered room service and went to bed.

I much prefer travel in cities with public transportation or co-workers who can drive because I really excel at getting lost!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Going to LA

Dr. Risky found no objections with my flight to LA tomorrow, much to my dismay. Not looking forward to traveling with the new restrictions caused by the Christmas day underwear bomber or the drive from LA to Burbank, then Pasadena, then back to LA - by myself - actually no, not by myself, with two little embryos to keep me company. We got to see very detailed images today through a high tech sonogram machine and they were really bouncing around in there. So cute and tiny.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

As of yesterday

it was confirmed I'm pregnant with TWINS. Tomorrow I get to see Dr. Risky who will decide if I get to fly to LA on Thursday, considering I'm still flailing from a week long cold. I really don't know whether to cry, pack my bags and move home or just keep doing what I've done for 10 years.

Monday, January 04, 2010

2008-09 Financial Crisis and how it affected our family

In 2008 the financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, but we didn’t really feel the effects until 2009.  That is the year where reduced work hours became the norm in business.  All non-management staff at the company I worked at had reduced hours and I lived the entire year with the threat hanging over my head that my hours/salary could be reduced at a moment notice. 

We had our first baby in June 2008, so all of 2009 was spent crunching numbers to afford her needs along with the constant fear of losing pay at work. 

2009 became my year to dig deep into our finances, drive less, and cook more home made meals.  Yet, somehow despite our best efforts, I still managed to lose a bunch of money on our red car due to a mechanic who took us for a ride.  Regardless of all the challenges, we had enough ray of hope in our future to get pregnant again! 

2010 we seek a balance of God's will for our finances and balancing our own desires.  

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Years Resolutions 2010 - Part 2

I stayed home today because I'm sick with a cold and my car is in the shop. Fortunately our church has a live stream for the service so I could watch from home and take notes. I thought this was a really great and focused sermon and for the record these are the things my family is praying about for 2010:

1. We took a 5 year arm mortgage in 2005 which means we haven't payed on the principle in the past 4 years because we thought we could resell in this time. This is the year our mortgage resets and we don't know what's going to happen in October. We don't know if we can continue to afford our mortgage when it resets.

2. With one 18mo daughter and another baby on the way we long to be closer to family. We are seeking God's will in our lives as currently we are in Florida while husband family is in Texas and mine is in Maryland.

3. We are praying for renewed discipline in our budget. The past 3 months we've gone over budget in our food and eating out; it's so easy to justify food and snacks when pregnant! But we need to be strict in this area so we can reach our Savings goals.

Pastor Bob Coy
New Years Revolution
(Phil 3:13-Key Verse), Amos 3, Phil 3, I Corinthians 12

So, what's wrong? What's the problem? There has to be something that frustrates you? What's your burden. Is it your job, your boss, your financial picture? Your health?

Once you identify your problem, it's solvable. In most cases it's just a case of a New Years Revolution.

You need to change your heart to keep Resolutions:
(comprehension increases 50% when you take notes)
1. See that your problem is a problem.
- I'm not paying the principle on my mortgage
- I don't have 3 months of savings in my bank account
2. compare your problem to God's purpose.

Phil 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

3. You need to submit your problem to God's power.

I Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Connect with the body of Christ through small group ministries. Don't fall through the cracks when you have a need in your life.

Your circumstances may not change, but your if your attitude changes it makes all the difference.

4. Recognize some problems require time to process
Luke 18:1-10
1And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

5. Today if you hear his voice do something today
Hebrews 3:7-12
7Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

10Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

11So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Tomorrow should reflect the changes of today, get serious about your life, it's a gift, don't squander it.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Saturday - without car

On my 3rd day of sickness I'm home all day without a car and it's just as well. Today was cold, in a way a thinned blooded person from Florida can appreciate. We bundled up in layers and walked the dog to the mailbox which was rewarding because several late Christmas cards were received.

Baby is not completely better but she is now walking which is a relief on many levels. We spent the morning watching cartoons and took a nap by 10am.

The early afternoon was spent doing a bit of house work as she puttered behind me trying to swipe the broom from my hands - I really need to get her a child sized broom. As a reward for not driving me too crazy in my 30 minute cleaning binge I took her outside for a bit of play time, most of which I spent huddled in a chair on the porch bidding 20 minutes to go by so we could go back inside.

At 2pm she had her lunch and then we settled for a 3 hour nap! Glory. I'm not someone who can sleep in the middle of the day, usually too high energy but the combination of cold and pregnancy have knocked me off my feet.

We then had 1.5 hours to go until husband got home and somehow they were the longest part of the day. No energy from me, baby girl wanted cuddled then wanted down, then wanted to play, I honestly couldn't keep up. When husband came home I waited till he got settled with her and then took a long bath with a glass of Perrier, Key Lime Pie and a favorite book "Brilliant" by Marne Kellogg Davis. Lovely. Now I'm off to bed.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Resolutions 2010 - part 1

I like to keep this list small and manageable:

All car repairs shall be documented on an Excel report. When a shop calls to say "you need new tires, brakes, coolant, powerflow air filter" and whatever other crap they dream up I shall check my trusty history to see if:
A. It's been done in the past year
B. Use rational judgement and research as to if it really needs done again so soon
C. Refuse treatment of car until all options are carefully reviewed with husband.

I'm tired of feeling like I've been screwed by the auto repair guy who wants to stay in business by looking for everything wrong with my car!!! And I vow to do this detailed reporting on vehicles owned for the rest of my life. I will be the little old lady shaking her fist at the auto repair man in my 80's.

Two part goal:
Agree with husband on a weekly night(s) where I will come home from work at 5pm so that husband can:
A. work on projects
B. clean the garage and getting rid of all unnecessary junk (including scooter)

THREEControl spending

Professional - get certified in Microsoft programs and project management

Get to level 15 on Tetris on my iPod.

PS. in 2009 I made 3 resolutions and only kept 2, I was late every day for work, every single day. Not even sure why I made this a goal in the first place since I didn't even try to keep it. The above are important and will be maintained.