Monday, October 31, 2011

Scatter Pattern

I am feeling a little all over the place today.  So much to say, so much to do and VERY little time to get it all out.  So, you know me.  Here's a list that essentially summarizes the scatter pattern in my brain:

  1. We finally bought our good camera on Saturday.  After determining our budget and test-driving several of them, we landed on the Nikon D3000 and could not be happier.  We tinkered with it a little on Saturday and I think we are going to love it.  And the memory card plugs directly into the side of Chris' new iMac computer for easy downloading and editing.  YAY!!  Pictures will start rolling in soon!
  2. We were given our first hand-me-downs for baby-boy-Rowland.  A dear family friend, Rebecca had her son in May of this year and sent us a box stuffed FULL of his clothes from the summertime.  Chris and I were in absolute awe when we opened the box and saw all of the really cute things in there. It made it all seem very real.  Now we need to figure out where we are going to put them. For now, the box they came in will have to do.
  3. I leave tomorrow morning for Michigan for the week.  Most of my time will be spent in Detroit...very close to the airport, but I am going to manage to swing up to MP for a day to see the family and celebrate Dad's 65th birthday with him.  I will be a couple days early, but us McFarlanes celebrate for a week anyway, so I'll be there to kick it off!
  4. We have another winter storm watch.  Last Wednesday we ended up with 8 inches of snow.  This time it will start on Tuesday night and roll into Wednesday with another 4 - 8 inches of snow. Thankfully the first round has completely melted.  Here's hoping the next snow melts just as quickly.  Looks like I am getting out of dodge just in time!
  5. YIKES!  Trick-or-Treaters will be ringing our doorbell tonight from 6 to 8 pm. I guess I should run to the store and get some candy for them.  I don't have enough travel toothpaste to share with all of them (just kidding, of course!  I wouldn't share it with them even if I had it for them!).
  6. Groceries.  Bigger yikes. I don't even have anything here for lunch.  I guess I'll hit the store mid-day today for a quick trip.  
  7. I  mentioned that I am leaving tomorrow morning for MI.  Did I also mention that my work isn't quite ready for the trip?  Looks like it's going to be a long night.
  8. The pants I need for the trip are at the dry cleaners to be hemmed and cleaned.  Here's hoping that they got hemmed.  If not, I am in big trouble.
  9. I need to charge my Nook for my trip tomorrow.  And maybe download a book or magazine or something. I have a feeling that while tomorrow should be smooth sailing weather wise, I am thinking Saturday morning is going to strand me in Chicago.  Denver weather could be iffy for Saturday, and according to my typical travel-delay schedule, I am overdue for a long one.  Note to self:  Wear something comfy on Saturday.  
  10. Would it be asking too much if I asked Chris to rake the yard Saturday morning?  But only if the snow melts, of course.  Maybe I'll play the "but I'm carrying your child" card. I haven't used that yet.  It's been almost 16 weeks so I think I'm due.  
Well, that should do it for today. I will see some of you on Thursday (Mom!), and a few of you on Friday! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's all about the timing

Average snowfall for the month of October in the Denver area is about four inches.  Some years we get a monster storm or two, some years (like 2010) we don't get anything.  This year we fall somewhere in the middle. 

I love winter and I love snow storms.  IN THE WINTER.  This is pretty, and it's fun.  But since I don't get to play in the snow this year, I vote that it could wait until a more appropriate date to stick around.  It will be in the sixties by the weekend, so no complaints.

In summary, I think Abby the beagle and I agree on this October snowstorm.  Here's a picture.  NOTE:  I did not pose her. She's just mad I think!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cause and Effect

Karma.  The Buddhist/Hindu philosophy that the sum of a person's actions decides their fate.  If you really think about it, may religions/cultures have their own version of Karma.  An eye for an eye.  Do unto others... you get the point.  It's a philosophy that is deep rooted in our society but that is too often ignored. 

For years, I have tried to make regular deposits into my Karma Bank.  You know, doing something helpful for a stranger and expecting nothing in return.  I can't tell you how many cars I have jump started in airport parking lots.  I stopped counting at 12.   And that's just one example.  I like to help people. Friends and strangers alike.

I guess you'd like for me to get to the point so here goes.  Maternity leave is already stressing me out.  I love my job, but the company's continued growth and our department's constant reorganization has put all of is in a position of working in a silo.  I don't mind on most days.  In fact, my inner control freak likes it this way.  But when I think about going on maternity leave, it's worrisome that there is nobody on my team that has any clue what I do every day and who I am doing it for.  And vise versa.

Until today.  About six months ago, a woman from a different department at the company transferred to our team and we were glad to have her. I really like her.  Personally, she's a lot of fun to be around. Professionally, she's a brilliant strategic bank marketing mind.  Technically, well, let's just say she struggles a little with the technology we use to do our jobs.  It's been a challenge for her.  And in all honesty, she hasn't exactly been set up for success.  We have no training procedures in place and the projects we do, we just do, we don't document HOW to do them. Her learning curve has been steep with no sign of summit.  I can only imagine how stressful that must be for her (I am going to call her T).

T called me this morning, very upset and disappointed that she is having trouble finding projects to work on and feels like when she does find a project, it's a struggle to figure it out.  I think she was just venting on a bad day.  But that's when I felt like the heavens had opened and were shining a bright light on this HUGE opportunity for me and T.

I have a call in to my boss and am very excited about my idea/plan.  It's a win-win.  I see no down side to this. In approximately 6 months, somebody is going to have to manage my clients for about 6 weeks while I try to acclimate to motherhood.  Everyone on my team, with the exception of T, is bogged down and crazy-busy with their own clients.  I need someone with a lighter work load that will have time to learn the ins-and-outs of my clients and some of the ridiculous projects I do for them.  Holy cow! I had her on the phone!  Not only have I found the perfect person to fit in with my clients and cover for me, but I have found a way to get T some additional training on a wide-array of projects over the next 6 months. 

I feel like all of those deposits into my Karma Bank just paid of...and in gold too!  If you can believe this, T's sister just bought a house (it's under construction now) in Highlands Ranch and will be moving here in May.  Mid to late May.  T has offered to come out and stay with her sister and help her get settled.  Oh, and transition the clients back to me at that time.  I can't imagine a better solution for either of us.  Can you?

Thanks, Karma.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That was NOT in the books

I am going to start noting these things because I am pretty sure nobody has written THIS book yet.  Seriously.  I have read five different pregnancy books, and so far, none of them are telling me what I want to know.

Now, I know that I am no exception to the rule. I am not special, out of the ordinary, super-extraordinary, or an anomaly in any way, shape or form.  But there are things that nobody tells you about until you complain about them and think there's something wrong with you.

While there have been other lessons throughout the 14 week journey, this is the first one that has really bugged me.  Since Sunday, I have been fighting with my allergies and sinuses. My doctor provided me with the list of "approved" pregnancy medications to help combat my symptoms.  And for those of you who know me well, you know that I am not much of a pill popper.  I avoid pills until I just can't stand it anymore.  But Sunday was rough.  I took a couple Tylenol before bed in hopes that it would take the edge off and let me sleep.  And that worked. 

Monday started the sinus headache.  And a doozie of a headache at that.  Waiting to take the Tylenol until I couldn't stand it, I opted for the Walgreen's brand of Tylenol Sinus Nighttime just before bed.  That was a load of malarkey.  Yesterday I woke up with a headache that had progressed from "doozie" to "whopper."  Holy cow.  But I also had a doctor appointment and a ton of stuff to get done.  So, I see my OB (sidebar--baby boy Rowland is perfect, growing like a weed and a heartbeat of 152 bpm!!) and she tells me that I likely have a sinus infection and should see my family doctor.

Last night I took the "approved" Benadryl hoping for just a little sleep and maybe for the headache to ease up a little.  No dice. Not only did I not sleep, but ever time I rolled over, if any part of my head and/or face touched a cold spot on my pillow, I wanted to cry.  No sleep for this momma to be.

So, today I called my primary care physician.  After totally messing up my appointment time (my fault, not his), he tells me that what I have is likely viral and not bacterial and because I am pregnant I can't really do anything about it.  His advice was to get lots of rest.  The pregnancy hormones took over, I began to cry and was a little (okay, a lot) frustrated and blurted out, "how am I supposed to get any rest when this stupid headache is keeping me awake and you are telling me there's nothing I can do about it."  (I didn't say the next part but really wanted to) Stupid, stupid man.

His chuckle was almost audible.  He handed me a tissue, let me calm down a little, and said, "well, clearly you have lost a little more sleep than you look like you have.  Stop at the pharmacy and pick up a new Neti Pot, a box of tissues, a heating pad and some Tylenol PM.  If nothing else, we will ease the pain a little and let you get some much needed rest."  Now we're talking.  He continued to explain to me that because of the increased progesterone in my system, if my body wants to make a little mucus, it will actually make a lot.  And because of the extra blood in my body, if I am supposed to have a little headache, it'll be a big one.  Seriously?  That's not in any of the books I read. 

I did as told (although I already have the heating pad) and returned home.  Five minutes with a heating pad on my face followed by a rinse with the Neti Pot and I am feeling a little better already.  Maybe he wasn't stupid. Maybe he just needed a little lesson in the tendency for pregnant women to be somewhat irrational and capable of emotional collapse at any given moment, and for no apparent reason.  Sorry about that, doc.

Just a few minutes ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a coworker.  I told her the story about the headache, the doctor, the reaction and the cure.  Her response to me was this: "Sweetie, I could have told you all of that and saved you the $25 copay."  Seriously.  Always after the fact. From now on, maybe I should just start asking around before I call a doctor.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Establishment of the Baby Jar

When you find out you are pregnant, lots of things happen simultaneously.  And you learn a lot about your spouse that you never thought to ask.  For example, I learned that not only had my husband NEVER changed a diaper, he had never touched a diaper, or even seen one up close for that matter.  And all I could think was "holy you-know-what...what have I gotten  myself into?"

As it turned out, Chris had read some article about a family who, as soon as they found out they were expecting, purchased diapers every time they went to the grocery store and by the time the baby actually arrived, they didn't have to buy any diapers for a year or something crazy.  Chris thought we should give this a try, but while I saw value in the theory, I am somewhat superstitious, believe in Karma and love good juju so to me it seemed like a massive jinx.  But I didn't speak up. Instead, I went to the grocery store and bought my first package of diapers.  Holy WEIRD!  When I got home, Chris asked if he could look at one.  I saw this as my opportunity to encourage this behavior and try to make him comfortable with diaper-changing.

I actually convinced my husband that I could teach him to diaper a child that day.  Here's how we practiced first: 

Not to shabby for the first time EVER touching a diaper.  But per Chris' request, he'd like to try on something with legs.  I thought for a minute, ran up the stairs and pulled out my Ducky.  Ducky was given to me after my first knee surgery in 1992...complete with a leg bandage and all.  Ducky's knee healed years ago, but apparently now he needed a diaper:

He did pretty well.  I know a child with MOVING legs will be significantly different than Diet Coke and Ducky, but this was a start. 

When we were finished with the diapering of miscellaneous objects from around the house, I mentioned to Chris how worried I was about this diaper-buying thing and the bad juju it could bring us.  And after thinking for a minute, he agreed.  And that's when I told the story of the baby jar. 

I am pretty sure this story dates back to 1976.  Maybe earlier. I don't know for sure.  Only Mom and Dad can confirm that.  But when I was a kid, the cupboard near the microwave (just to the right) housed lots of things I don't remember and one thing that I remember vividly...the Baby Jar.  It was a gallon-size glass McFarlane Dairy milk jug full of coins.  I guess you could call it "spare" change, but it wasn't really spare. It had a purpose.  As the legend goes, when the Baby Jar was completely full of coins, Mom and Dad would have enough money to go to the Embers for dinner, sans-kids.

Now, I am sure that money was used for something different when Garren and I were babies. If dinner at the Embers was its original intention, they likely would have found a more fitting name for the jug.  So, let's say that when we were babies, it was used for baby stuff.

Well, I love the idea. And knowing that we are going to have bills up to our eyeballs from all the tests, ultrasounds, and let's not forget labor and delivery, we thought we'd upgrade the idea of the Baby Jar from one of coins to one of $20 bills.  And since that's harder to conceal, we are keeping it in an envelope in an undisclosed location.  Every time we go to King Soopers (our version of Kroger), we are taking $20 out in cash when we pay. 

First payment from the Baby Jar:  Paint the baby's room.  We have just over $200 now, and that ought to cover the project.  We will keep contributing as often as possible (or weekly at a minimum) and use the money for the bills that we know are on the way.  And when those are finished, it will be used for fancy dinners out (assuming we can find a baby sitter...I hear they are making $20 an hour now.  YIKES).

Side note to the Universe, Karma, juju and housing market:  PLEASE LET OUR (collective) parents sell their (respective) homes in March or sooner. Please and thank you!!  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The silence is broken

Blog topics have been especially difficult for me to come by for the past couple of months.  Not because I was out of ideas, but because everything I have been wanting to say needed to be kept secret.  Well, no more secrets!  I can finally break my silence.  And with excitement, say that I will now return to regular blogging, although it's about to take a completely new tone!

On August 8, after a bout of food poisoning and a borderline migraine, I was diagnosed with this:

faint second line. Was it really there?
After a major panic attack and the realization that the migraine and food poisoning were likely not what they seemed, the tears subsided.  In complete shock and disbelief, I ran to Walgreens for a second opinion of the diagnosis.  I was retested and the diagnosis was confirmed:
lines were not real enough. Can't mistake that word!!

OH MY GOSH!  I am pregnant!  Yep.  Pregnant.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do next.  There's no book for that.  No instructions inside the test kit that tell you who you call first, or what you need to do.  So, I freaked out, ran downstairs and told Chris.  After his panic attack subsided (ok, let's be honest here...his panic attack lasted for 11 more weeks, but more on that later.) I called the doctor who wanted to see me ASAP in that I am 35 and considered "higher risk."  As if I needed to hear that!! More freaking out ensued.

On August 15, the diagnosis was confirmed.  Yep.  Still pregnant!  Holy crap!  Now what?  Well, time to see a real doctor. I had been seeing a nurse practitioner.  So, on Tuesday, August 23, I met Dr. Allison.  I really liked her.  And from her I learned that when a "high risk" woman asks "are these cramps normal?" she will be rushed into an ultrasound.  And that's when we saw where our little poppy seed will be taking up residence until approximately April 22, 2012. The munchkin was too small to see on the ultrasound, but we could see the yolk sac (a term which still grosses me out a little).

This was the day before Mom and Dad's anniversary and I couldn't wait one more day to tell them.  So, we Skyped.  And I am completely disappointed to say that I wasn't quick enough to grab a screenshot of their reaction.  Shock. Happiness. Tears. Disbelief. Overwhelming excitement. Utter elation.  It was all there!  And while I may not have a still photo to capture that moment, I will forever have that memory.

Then we went to Florida over Labor Day for a vacation with Chris' parents.  And we got to tell them in person.  The reaction from my mother-in-law was just as priceless as my parents' reaction.  My always-stoic father-in-law smiled as big as I've seen him smile since the day I met him 6 and a half years ago, and the only thing he could say was, "well, I guess I'll get the 'For Sale' sign out when we get home!"  We're still waiting for that, but he's pretty excited too!  Rumor has it he's already changed his some of his passwords to reflect his incubating grand baby and pending grandparent-hood.

The stories of how people learned from there forward are pretty funny.  And should be a blog of their own. You need to hear the details about my "irresponsible drunkenness" and my grandmother asking "does your mother know?"  And the story and photos of the establishment of "The Baby Jar" are equally priceless.

So, here's what I will tell you today.  Because I will be 36 when I deliver, my doctor recommended several extra tests, such as the CVS and/or Amnio. The CVS is similar to the amnio but can be done sooner in the pregnancy (10 weeks) and because I am one of the least patient people on the planet, that's the option we chose. 

And as of Monday, October 3, I can tell you with 100% certainty that we have a completely healthy (no major chromosomal abnormalities) baby boy that's growing like a weed, and as of Saturday, October 15 (which is also our 5 year wedding anniversary) I will be out of my first trimester.  Thank goodness.  That morning sickness was ALL DAY LONG and is finally subsiding. 

Most of you already know that I am pregnant.  But the story is part of the fun of it. 

Cheers to the changes to come!