Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
You might remember less than a year ago when Mark was in Europe and got his card copied. We got a very early call from Scotland Yard about the Euro-thieves and our international debit card debacle. The thieves got their cash but eventually we got it resolved.
A few weeks ago I received a letter from my hometown bank (where I have this Visa card) letting me know that I could get a new one as mine may have had a security breech. "But it's got a zero balance, is in a drawer somewhere, and hadn't been used in ages." Obviously I didn't get a new card and according to the statement, someone in Phoenix, AZ had a very good Christmas on me at Walmart. There are 4 charges totalling $1,709 and a fifth purchase was attempted, but the fraud alert had kicked in and put a hold on the card. Apparently $1,709 in Walmart charges, in one day, out of state, triggered what's called a prism alert. Since I hadn't given Visa my new phone number (didn't cross my mind) I only discovered this when we got the mail.
Seriously? Seriously. The Visa department says I used my card somewhere (Walmart, Target, or somewhere) even if it was over a year ago. Then recently the thieves hacked into the store (merchant), got my name and card number, and made a duplicate card. As soon as I get the paperwork back to them, Visa will take care of the rest and I should get my money returned. Since I have a great alibi (our level II ultrasound took place on the spending spree day) I can't imagine that it won't work out. Still, some jack#@@ used MY name to rip me off and it makes me mad. Twice in 1 year! Even with a police report, I seriously doubt the thief will be pursued. In the end Walmart will eat it and I think they should for not getting ID.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
At 4:30 am Mark and I both heard a very loud whoosh/thump coming from outside. It reminded me of when the drunken teenager crashed the car (and without the neighbor's car to block it, would have landed in Alexander's bedroom). I was seriously freaked out that there was another accident or someone breaking in. I stood outside as Mark investigated. There were a lot of tree limbs down in the neighborhood due to the ice and we figured that's what we heard. However, this morning I discovered that a limb was down near our back deck and that it snapped a wire off of the house. I'm thinking that was what we heard as it was attached to the house off of my bedroom. Since we haven't lost any power, heat, cable, etc. I can only assume it's the phone wire. We only have cell phones right now.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
I rarely paint my nails. It takes too long, I mess them up, and they chip within a day or 2. Well, I painted my nails and turned my back for a second and this is what happened. I found him trying desperately to wash it off in the bathroom.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Big ones for me include after Mark boarded a plane to move to Russia for 7 months shortly after we first fell in love and I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life. Or, our engagement after he proposed on Mount Sugarloaf.
Other afters include the first positive pregnancy test, then the second, then the third. After learning that Alexander was a boy, after learning Sophia was a girl, and our Level II ultrasound today.
Ultrasounds (USs) have been very traumatic for us. With Alexander, they were concerned about the size of his head. They thought it was too big and monitored him carefully. It is big. He was 9 lbs and was stuck in labor forever, coming out only after a suction cup on his noggin and the NICU doc giving me one last chance before a C-section (28 hours 40 minutes of labor - 4 hours 40 minutes hard labor and pushing). With Sophie, we were told she was a girl, then within moments that she most likely had Ds. We learned of soft markers, not the kind made by Crayola, (her heart, bowel, her duodenal atresia, nuchal fold measurement, fluid on her right kidney, limb length). We were taken to an empty room with a box of tissues. We were given grim statistics and an option to terminate. Subsequent ultrasounds with Soph (eventually weekly) measured my low amniotic fluid, which was weird given her duodenal atresia. USs were not joyous events that many other parents experience. They were hard, life altering ones, and they always led to a new - after.
Fear. As with Sophie, we will love and accept with open arms any child given to us. But, that does not take away the worry I've had. It's not necessarily fear of Ds, because we've become experts as all parents of kids with Ds must be. However, since every kid who has Ds is different, with different strengths and different challenges, having Sophie does not make us an expert on another child with Ds. See the dicotomy? Becoming parent to a child with special needs also opens your eyes to the many, many other (and scarier) things that can happen.
A bigger concern has been my own reactions and feelings about this new child. If this new baby has no special challenges, and I am happy, how does that effect Sophie or the many other families I've come to love who have kids with special needs? If this child does have challenges, how will I cope, how this child's needs effect Alexander and Sophie? Sometimes I think just too damn much.
Yesterday as I counted down the last hours of this period of time called "Before," or the last day before our level II US and Maybe getting some answers, I was a mess. Something changed in the night and I woke with such a feeling of calmness and peace, that everything would be ok, whatever may come. I've learned not to question when this happens, but to simply be grateful.
As with both kids, we skipped the quad screen and any other testing prior to the mid-pregnancy US. With my "history" I went straight to a level II and meeting with the perinatologist today. Mark was with me and the kids were having a blast at home with Cathy and the kids (THANK YOU)! Our tech, Miss J. was an angel and the doc was great.
Suffice it to say, there were limited statistics today. No discussions of our 'options.' No amnio. Just a repeat level II US in a few months and a congratulations. Kids with Ds can and have been born after USs that miss soft markers or even heart defects. This was a targeted US and I am confident in Miss J's skills and Dr. K's knowledge. Even if Maybe has Ds, or another challenge, so far we have no physical concerns. (I just hate the term birth defects).
And I am happy. And I am newly confident that this happiness takes NOTHING away from my love and acceptance of Sophia or our friends with special needs. I feel a bit like the Grinch who's heart grew three sizes that day. I'm learning. I'm growing. And the balance of males and females has officially tipped in our home. Of that, there is no doubt. As for Maybe's sex, well, I'm keeping that to our family for at least tonight. I've never been really good at keeping secrets this good and really, we've moved into our newest "After." Wanna come with? Maybe tomorrow...
EP: As someone with years of experience and great success in the entertainment industry, how do you feel about the portrayal of individuals with disabilities in television and film?
JCM: Well, I have a pretty strong feeling about that, mostly as it pertains to kids with Down syndrome because kids with Down syndrome have the physical markers of persons with challenges. I mean, you see some kids with autism, and you wouldn't know until you saw either their behavior--or something. Well, kids with Down syndrome have markers and so when you see cowards like the "Ben Stillers of the world" producing films like Tropic Thunder and dropping the "R" word 17 times in 5 minutes...well, I'll tell you something, when I see Ben, that just makes me want to pick on HIM now. Because there's no militant arm of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) that's going to respond to a transgression--like there is in the Jewish community with the Anti Defamation League. Or, God forbid, you go and say something against African Americans; you're going to have the NAACP in your kitchen. We don't have the militant arm at NDSS. We have kids who when THEY go to a protest, it looks funny because they ARE so nice, and you know damn well they would rather have a hug than hold a placard. So, it really cuts me to the core. And it feels like the perfect storm of cowardice when you pick on people who can't return service. So for Ben Stiller--who directed Tropic Thunder he is just a punk coward.
EP: So Ben Stiller is not a friend of yours?
JCM: He couldn't possibly be a friend of mine. Because he worked with the Farrelly brothers--doing Something About Mary--and the Farrelly brothers have championed a lot of special needs causes. So there is no way that you're not--if you're Ben Stiller--aware that you're perpetuating a negative stigma and that your doing something hurtful. And so while I don't want to be another actor who's going to tell somebody how to talk and what's politically correct and what's not, if you're aware that you're hurting either caregivers or people with Down syndrome, what's the upside?
Monday, December 8, 2008
As for Alexander's tooth, well, it may be a 'black tooth' just like his daddy had as a kid. The x-ray showed that there wasn't a fracture to the tooth, but the dentist believes he had to have bumped it. Neither Mark, myself, or preschool can remember any such 'trauma' as it's called. Likely the tooth was bumped and caused damage to the nerve which died, turning grey. The only chance that it will lighten up and heal is if it was only a bruise-like injury. These can lighten up after about 6 months as blood flow to teeth is not good. We'll keep an eye out, especially for an abscess as that would require pulling the tooth, just like his daddy. Mark's little brother had a black tooth too. However, after going on a bike ride with his cousins and knocking 5 teeth out (including the black one), they didn't have to watch it anymore. Yikes!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
31 TO 40 POINTS:
Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest (well, I don't know about this part). Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you, realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.
It's the friendship part that hit a chord with me. Wanna know your score? Click here to visit Renee's blog and take the test (its only 10 questions) and be sure to let me know your score and if you think mine is correct.
Friday, December 5, 2008
(Alexander) "You should drive Daddy. Mommy isn't a very good driver."
(Mark) "Mommy is an excellent driver."
(Alexander) Mommy is good at the computer."
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The following old wives tales are true for me and call for a boy:
You are craving salty or sour foods
You are craving protein -- meats and cheese (what am I NOT craving?)
Your feet are colder than they were before pregnancy (it is cold out)
Your hands are very dry (I do wash them 50 million times a day)
You are having headaches (got one now)
You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an even number
Yet these are true too, and they call for a girl:
Your baby's heart rate is at least 140 beats per minute
You are craving sweets (ridiculously)
You crave orange juice (every morning)
You don't look quite as good as normal during pregnancy (dang)
You are moodier than usual during pregnancy (Mark, no comments please)
Your face breaks out more than usual (yuck)
You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread (always have)
Your pillow faces south when you sleep
The Chinese gender chart calls for a girl (it was right for Alexander, wrong for Sophie)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Mark loves cranberry sauce from a can, though I have issues with the texture and shape. Then again, he hates my deviled eggs and green bean casserole. We could each eat a bucket of potatoes. We had plenty to stuff ourselves silly.
(note: we have 2 cats and zero dogs, hmm)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Still, despite the annoyances of travel, idiosyncrasies of family members, and sometimes sheer nuttiness of large family gatherings, I do love them. This will be my first Thanksgiving away from the extended fam. I've decided that it's ok to acknowledge being sad, but I need to make it special for my family. We'll have plenty to gorge on and Christmas decorations to put up, naps to take and ball games to watch. It will be a good day.
We have lots of traditions throughout the holidays. One is writing down what we are thankful for in our Book of Thanks. This will be year 4 of this tradition, though I left it in IA for the large family gathering. We'll add ours at Christmas. It's been fun to read over previous year's entries and watch the family grow and change as we turn the pages.
Certain movies are 'required' this time of year too. For Thanksgiving, it's Home for the Holidays. Directed by Jodie Foster in 1995, the cast includes; Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenburg, Claire Danes, Cynthia Stevenson, & Charles Durning.
The film is full of kooky family members, arguments, flying turkey, profanity, general dysfunction and nuttiness. It shows the struggles that happen surrounding family gatherings while still celebrating loved ones and traditions. Hmm. I wonder why I enjoy it so much? Watch for it on tv this Thanksgiving season, though I suppose it's not for everyone. If this sounds like your kind of movie, here's a little taste from the Thanksgiving dinner blessing scene. clip rated PG13
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sophie didn't mind, though she did seem to wonder about the beard.
Friday, November 21, 2008
p.s. Because I futzed with the html coding to shrink the size of the player, it's hard to see the names of all of the songs and artists. Here's a complete track list:
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Since we're not really having a Thanksgiving this year, we're already in Christmas mode. It's too much to travel AGAIN this month (after IA last month and again in Dec). So, Country Buffet it is! (Hey, that means no cleaning, baking, more cleaning, or travel). We bought a new and much smaller Christmas tree last week that will go up next weekend. We MUST have a tree, but one that is small enough to be lifted off the ground on a stand/table and still see it behind Sophie-proof gates. We got a great deal on a prelit one and as a bonus picked up an electric Grinch train for the base.
Don't forget to click the Reese's Rainbow button on the sidebar to order your Christmas ornament and contribute to a great cause. Next week is the Festival of Trees, sponsored by the Junior League, that will help support Larkin's Place. Raffle tickets are on sale to win a new car! So ya, we're already in the Christmas spirit.
Thanks to Renee, I've been introduced to Picnik.com. It's an online photo editing site. I chose the free registration and have been spending WAY too much time messing with photos today. As of this afternoon I already have my Christmas cards created (not yet ordered) and a few gift ideas. Enjoy the shots and a jump start into the season. Be careful if you try out Picnik as it is a wonder, but addicting.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In PT she continues to make strides in strength and balance. Her PT would like to see her crawl more, but she prefers her signature sidewinder move.
After her first day with pig tails, her hair stood straight up once the rubber bands came out.
In DT (and every day as she really has fun), Sophie is learning how to feed her baby dolls from bottles and spoon/fork feeding them. Sometimes Bubba helps out.
At her weekly developmental playgroup, Sophie enjoys knocking down blocks faster than they can be built up.
but nothing beats the ball pit. The staff have really been working me to get her one for Christmas.