Thursday, October 30, 2008

A blog worth reading

I know there are a lot of blogs worth reading out there, but this one is my current favorite. It's called Margaret and Helen, and it's written by Helen Philpot, who is 82 years young. She is an uppity, outspoken old broad, and I agree with everything she has to say. She says what I'm thinking much better than I could ever say or write it.

So go check her out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Campbell now has his first black eye. The kid is running through more injuries and ER visits than his sisters combined, and he's only two.
I have no idea how this one happened. I was in the living room nursing Elizabeth, and Campbell was in his room playing. The next thing I knew, I heard a huge crash and Campbell started screaming. When I got in there, he was on the floor, halfway under the guest bed, with the donk on his forehead and scratches on his nose and under his eye.
Between his face and Ella's snaggle teeth, people are going to wonder about us.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am far too sleep deprived and frazzled to write anything close to coherent today. In addition to a newborn, I'm dealing with two sick kids home from school. I'm learning that with four kids, there's always something going wrong.

If there's anything sweeter than a sleeping baby, I don't know what it is. B insists on swaddling Elizabeth with both of her hands tucked in the blanket. She always manages to get one free, though.

I love when babies sleep with their arms over their heads like this. Elizabeth is wearing the Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Jacket my mom knit for her. I'm working on knitting a matching hat out of the leftover wool. Not surprisingly, I'm having a hard time finding opportunities to knit.

Elizabeth rarely cries - usually it's because I've done something mean like changed her diaper or given her a bath. Here she was crying because I had changed her diaper and then tortured her by taking pictures. I wanted to get a picture of how she still curls up her legs against her chest, but she was kicking and flailing instead.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NICU Nurses

Having Elizabeth in NICU for seven days was stressful and hearbreaking all at the same time. During my first visit to NICU (I'm not counting the one right after I had her because I was still hopped up on morphine), I sat next to Elizabeth's warming bed in my wheelchair and held her teeny hand and sobbed uncontrollably while trying to ask questions. The nurse couldn't have been more kind and patient and understanding. She patted my shoulder and held my other hand and waited patiently for me to stop crying long enough to sputter out my questions, all of which she answered calmly and thoroughly.

It turns out she wasn't the exception. Every nurse we dealt with was amazing - each one was calm and compasionate. They made the whole situation remotely bearable. When I left Elizabeth to go back to my room or back to the house, I did so with full confidence that she was being well taken care of.

Our favorite night nurse, Sally, stuck a bow on Elizabeth's head as soon as her cpap was removed. "I want her to look like a girl," she said. Sally also made a beautiful name tag for Elizabeth's bed. And when Elizabeth no longer needed the warming bed, Sally found this adorable quilt, made by Threads of Love, for Elizabeth's bassinette.

When we were struggling to get Elizabeth to eat enough either from a bottle or by nursing, another favorite nurse, Stacy, did everything she could to get Elizabeth to eat enough that she wouldn't have to be tube fed. Stacy knew that Elizabeth had nursed enough to not be hungry, but at that time the doctor still wanted Elizabeth to eat a certain amount from a bottle. If she didn't take it by mouth, we had to feed her by tube, which no one wanted to do. Stacy's efforts weren't successful, but I appreciated that she took the time to try.

One other nurse, Heidi, told B that she had been working in NICU for 15 years. Even though she had been working with babies for so long, you could tell that she still really loved the job just by the way she talked to the babies - even the teeniest ones.

Throughout Elizabeth's seven days there, NICU became a sort of refuge for me. It was always so calm and peaceful, despite the beeping monitors, and the nurses were a large part of it.

I need to call the hospital and get the name of the NICU director so that I can write a letter commending Sally and Stacy and Heidi and Mary Lou and Alida for their kindness and compassion. They all made a difficult situation bearable for us.

Happy Love Thursday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hug her and squeeze her and call her George

Lily just loves, loves, loves Elizabeth, and we have to stop her from smothering the baby with affection many times a day. She asks to hold Elizabeth at least 10 times before breakfast, and if I say no because Elizabeth is sleeping or eating or having her diaper changed, then Lily has to smother her with kisses and hugs. If I'm holding Elizabeth, Lily will pull on my arms to be able to reach the baby. I've almost dropped Elizabeth because of Lily.
B and I are walking a fine line; we want Lily to love her sister and not feel any more resentful or jealous than necesary, but we can't let her flatten the poor thing with attention. It's a tricky balancing act.
On the other hand, Lily isn't mother-henning Campbell quite as much, and now he actually seeks her out to play with instead of running away when he sees her coming. We've been praising Lily to the skies for playing so well with Campbell, and I think our positive reinforcement is having some effect.
It's always something.
And . . . Elizabeth went for a check-up yesterday, and she's gained five ounces since Friday. Our doctor was hoping for half an ounce a day, so she doubled his goal. She now weighs five pounds, 2.5 ounces. Yay Teeny Bit!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In praise of B

These past few weeks have been incredibly stressful ones around here, understandably so. And each day I remind myself how lucky I am to have B as a husband. Honestly, there's no one else I'd rather be going through all of this with than him.

He's done an amazing job of holding down the fort, especially during the five days I was in the hospital. One of the bad things about owning your own business, particularly in real estate, is that it is incredibly hard to just drop everything and take a week off on no notice. There are clients who still need to be taken care of, closings that still need to be attended, new agents who need their hands held, and inspections that still need to happen.

So in addition to taking care of three kids during that week, he managed to also keep working to get business wrapped up so that he could take some time off. Granted, he had help with the house and kids from his mother, but he still did a tremendous amount of work, both at the office and at home. I know it wasn't easy for him. I'm able to arrange my work around nap/school hours, but it's harder for B to do that - when a client calls, the client must be dealt with. He managed to take care of everything here and still spend time at the hospital with me and Elizabeth.

Once I got out of the hospital, things didn't get any easier for B. Not only did he have a helpless wife needing to be waited on, he had to drive me back and forth to the hospital twice a day for an hour each time. And when we were home, he still had to take care of the kids, especially Campbell, who didn't understand why mama couldn't pick him up like she always does.

Things are slowly getting easier, especially since I'm more mobile, but B is still having to do a lot. He hasn't been to the office in days, instead working from the house so he can be here to lift Campbell in and out of his crib and tote him back in the house when he refuses to come inside.

So even though these 2 1/2 weeks have been scary and stresful, I'm very grateful I've had B by my side and on my side. I wouldn't have made it otherwise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Odds and ends

My mom, knittergran, knit this adorable jacket for Elizabeth. Check out her blog for more details on the knitting of it - it's called the Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Jacket, and the surprise is that it is knit in all one piece. I took a picture of it next to a book so you could get an idea of how small it is.
As small as the jacket is, it's still much bigger than Elizabeth. But at the rate she's eating, I'm sure she'll grow into it in no time. And after watching my mom knit the jacket, I'm tempted to make one, too.
The poor guys - they are so outnumbered. B knows he is; Campbell hasn't figured it out yet.
Ella's top three teeth have been loose for ages. The tooth to the left of her front teeth fell out last Sunday, and she looked really goofy. But it got worse last night when her right front tooth fell out while she was at a slumber party. One friend's father said it looked like Ella had been in a fight. Ella was mostly just excited that the Tooth Fairy found her at the slumber party and left her a dollar. I'm just happy that the party Tooth Fairy pays the same rate for teeth as the normal Tooth Fairy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What a day

First, at Becca's request, some new pictures. In the top photo, Elizabeth just looks the absolute picture of contentment. She snoozed in knittergran's lap like that for an hour. Knittergran finally moved Elizabeth to her bouncy seat so that she could knit - she's trying to finish a sweater for Elizabeth before she leaves on Saturday (sob).

The second picture is blurry because the flash didn't go off for some reason, but you can get an idea of how teeny Elizabeth is. That's my finger she's holding. The hat she's wearing is one that I knit last month. I was worried it would be too small for her. Instead, it's a bit big. Elizabeth manages to squiggle out of it during the night.

And now for something completely different. Yesterday was one for the record books. I still don't think I've recovered.

I was out in the front, loading car seats into my car so that mom, who has to drive me, and I could drop some of my unfinished work off at the publisher I work for and then go to the scary baby store when B called for me. I went in to find him holding a pill bottle with my anti-nausea meds in it. He asked how many had been in the bottle, but I couldn't tell him.

Campbell had walked up to B with with the open pill bottle, and when B asked him if he had eaten any, nodded yes. So B called poison control, and they told him to get Campbell to the ER. B headed out with Campbell while I stayed home and tried not to absolutely freak out.

The doctor told B that he didn't think Campbell had eaten any of the pills because they taste awful when chewed and he thought Campbell would have spit the pill out rather than swallow it. B hadn't found any pill residue in Campbell's mouth or on his clothes, but the doctor still had to treat Campbell as if he had eaten one. So Campbell got to drink chocolate milk mixed with charcoal, which was supposed to make him throw up. He never did. They held Campbell for observation for two hours - I had joined them after an hour and half - and then released him with instructions for us to watch him closely for the rest of the day. Campbell never showed any ill effects, aside from disgusting charcoal diapers today, so we're guessing he didn't eat anything.

Still, better safe than sorry.

(Warning - gross stuff ahead)

As if the day hadn't been exciting enough, at about 9:00 pm, we heard sounds of wretching and splattering from the girls' room. Ella was throwing up. She had told us she didn't feel well before she went to bed, so we gave her a puke bucket. Unfortunately, when she started throwing up, she was still mostly asleep, so she just leaned over the rail of the top bunk and let loose. Since I can't afford to get sick, I sent B in to clean it all up. It was awful.

So even though I'm horribly tired, it was a good day just by virtue of the fact that no one threw up or went to the ER.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And you're sitting on my foot

Monday was a rough day all the way around at chez hok. All the kids were home from school for the holiday, and it was Elizabeth's first real day at home, so the novelty factor was still huge. Every time I tried to nurse her or pump milk, I'd have three other kids in my lap wanting to watch.

And to complicate matters, B came down with some horrible stomach bug that had him throwing up for hours. I quarantined him the back of the house and took him gatorade every few hours.

Fortunately, knittergran is here, and she was a huge help with the kids. I don't know what I would have done had I been solo with all four.

Lily had a particularly rough day of it. At one point I found her in bed with her covers over her head. I sat down next to her to have a little chat.

H: Are you having a rough day?
L: (muffled by covers) Yes.
H: I know it's hard. Everyone's paying attention to Elizabeth because she's new, and everyone's paying attention to Ella because it's her birthday.
L: (muffled) And you're sitting on my foot!

I had no idea I had added to Lily's woes by sitting on her foot. I curled up with Lily in her bed for a while and just loved on her. Fortunately, our divine neighbor L saved the day later by inviting Lily over for a playdate, cup cake party and dinner.

B and I are trying to remember to take time each day to give Lily some undivided attention to make sure she doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Yesterday, B made a mountain of Chex Mix and had Lily be his sous chef. She also got some one-on-one time with knittergran while Ella was at rock climbing. I think she had a better day all around.

And finally, an update on Elizabeth. We took her for her first check-up yesterday, and she has gained a whopping three ounces since Sunday. That may not seem like a lot, but when you weigh less than five pounds, it's a significant amount of weight. We go back on Friday for another weight check. Her jaundice is looking better, too. She's much less orange than she was in NICU, so that's more good news.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Ella!

Ella turned 8 today, and it's hard for me to believe that this monkey hanging from the tree with her grandpa was such a tiny little thing not so long ago.
Now she's a rock climbing, Nancy Drew reading, adventure girl, always up for any kind of outdoor fun.
Ella's birthday has kind of gotten lost in the commotion of Elizabeth's arrival. She was supposed to have her birthday party this past Saturday night, but we had to postpone it. We've promised her something extra special to make up for the delay. Today she's getting to go out to a movie and dinner with B's dad, whose birthday is also today. It will be good for her to have some one-on-one time with him.
I hadn't bought her any presents yet, thinking I had this past week to prepare. So B and knittergran made emergency runs to stores last night to pick up a few things. Her main birthday presents are all of her new rock climbing gear, but they haven't come in yet. I didn't want her to not have anything to open on her birthday - her presents from my parents are in the mail, and since there's no mail delivery today . . .
So happiest of birthdays Ella-bella. You are the best 8-year-old I know!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

She's Home!

At 1:30 today, as I was taking a nap, the hospital called, and I got the good news that we could fetch Elizabeth. I bolted straight out of bed and dragged B off the back porch.

When we got to the hospital, I nursed Elizabeth to the sounds of all the beeping machines one last time as B and I watched the mandatory CPR and Shaken Baby Syndrome videos. The nurse cut the rest of the check out short since she figured we already knew how to change diapers and swaddle babies. As one nurse said, "There's a benefit to being a four-time mom."

When we got home, knittergran and the girls were waiting on the front porch. The girls could barely contain their excitement. Campbell just wanted B to go in the back yard with him. We made the girls scrub their hands and then let them hold Elizabeth.

Lily needs to work on keeping Elizabeth's head higher than her feet. She also needs to work on sitting still while holding her. Every time Elizabeth got comfortable, Lily would wiggle and move her.

Ella needs to practice keeping Elizabeth on the pillow. Elizabeth kept sliding down between Ella and the pillow, and I'd have to fish her out again.

Campbell eventually came in and studied Elizabeth for a while. He finally held her hand and jabbered at us about her. Then he brought toys in for Elizabeth, including his new favorite train. I had to stop him from driving the train across Elizabeth's belly. Later he got very concerned when I took Elizabeth's hat off while I was nursing her. Campbell handed the hat to me and pointed at her head - I think he figured that since she came home with the hat, she always has to have the hat on.

And now we start the fun of waking up every three hours to feed the baby. I'm so grateful to have her here that I don't even mind the impending sleep deprivation.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One step forward, one step back

B and I went back to the hospital yesterday morning for Elizabeth's 11:00 feeding, and while we were there, I tackled the nurse practitioner for information. He did a quick review of her chart and asked if we had her car seat already. When we said we did, he told us to bring it with us in the evening for a seat check. When I asked if that meant we'd be bringing her home, he said, "I need to examine her and take a closer look at her chart, but I don't see much that's keeping her here." If I hadn't been holding Elizabeth at the time, I would have been jumping up and down, stitches be damned.

So we went home and got the car seat all ready, and I called a few people with the news that we might be able to bring her home.

We went back to the hospital for Elizabeth's 5:00 feeding to get the news that she hadn't woken up for her 2:00 feeding and so they had had to tube feed her. I nearly crumbled right there and then.

Basically, Elizabeth has to go 48 hours without needing to be tube fed at all. It doesn't matter whether she nurses or uses a bottle, she just has to wake up enough to eat by mouth every three hours for 48 hours. So her tube feeding yesterday afternoon reset the clock. It will be Sunday afternoon at the earliest before she can come home.

I am beyond frustrated at this point. Even though I KNOW this is for the best, I can't help but wonder, "What if she's just not hungry every three hours? What if she was just tired and wanted to snooze a little longer? Who says she HAS to eat every three hours? What if she always wants to sleep through her 2:00 feeding?"

As is my nature, I've spiraled straight into expecting the worst-case scenario - that it will be weeks before we can bring her home because she'll keep having just one feeding where she sleeps. It seems like there should be some wiggle room involved.

I was so blue last night that I skipped out on watching a movie with B and the girls and climbed into bed to cry. I really don't want the girls to see how upset and worried I am.

We'll be going in at 2:00 and 8:00pm today for feedings. Keep your fingers crossed that she wakes up and eats like she needs to.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm home

I'm home, but Elizabeth isn't.

My doctor tried everything she could think of to keep me in, but the hospital was packed and there were women in labor and delivery stacked up, waiting for rooms.

I was ok on the drive home, but once I got to the house, I fell apart. I went into my frantic, keep moving so that I don't have to think mode. B got home from picking Ella up at rock climbing to find me sitting on the floor in Campbell's room searching through boxes looking for the head support that goes with the car seat. He picked me up and steered me to the bedroom and put me in bed while I sobbed.

Campbell made me feel better later in the night. I came in the bedroom to find him tucked into my side of the bed with my book, waiting for me. I nearly started crying again. I got a good snuggle in with him until B swooped him off to bed.

This morning's report on Elizabeth is good. She drank two bottles last night without needing the feeding tube. I'm headed in at 11:00 to feed and rock her and to snorgle her (Thanks Becca for my new favorite word). I'll probably go back in at 5:00 for another feeding. My goal is to be at the hospital twice a day.

My mother arrives tomorrow morning, which will be a huge help. She can be at the house spoiling the kids while B and I are at the hospital.

Thanks again to everyone for all the wonderful notes of support.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Notice that B's thumb is as big as Elizabeth's head. It's amazing to see her size in perspective to something else.

Such a proud papa. B was able to feed Elizabeth a bottle yesterday. He hung out with her in NICU for about an hour, and she was awake for a lot of his visit.

Patience is not one of my virtues, and this situation is testing my patience. There's no amount of knitting in the world that can help me through this.

After Elizabeth's great progress on Tuesday, she hit a bit of a plateau yesterday. She's able to maintain her blood sugar levels, so she's off the IV. She's also able to maintain her body temperature while swaddled, so she's out of the big warming bed and in a regular nursery bassinet.

Eating is the last thing on Elizabeth's list that she needs to get figured out, and it's slow going. This morning she latched on but then just sat there for 10 minutes before falling asleep. She did the same thing with her bottle at lunchtime. They've put a tube down Elizabeth's nose so that they can feed her that way when she doesn't want to nurse or drink from the bottle. For Elizabeth to go home, they have to take the tube out of her nose and have her eat, either through nursing or the bottle, consistently. And there's no way to predict how long that will take.

I had been thinking she'd probably be home this weekend, based on the progress she's made so far, but when my doctor came in to check on me today, she said she was thinking it would be a week. It was all I could do not to burst into tears at that point, especially given how much Elizabeth had struggled with eating this morning.

I'm feeling a bit better about it all now given Elizabeth's last feeding. She nursed like a rock star for 20 minutes, doing a good enough job that the nurse didn't even try to give her a supplemental bottle.

We still don't have any word on when she'll be going home, and at this point we don't even know if I'm going home today. My doctor is going to try to get some information on Elizabeth's status. If it's possible for her to go home in a day or two, my doctor is going to try to make arrangements for me to stay here for another day. As much as I want to go home and sleep in my own bed and see my kids, I don't want to leave Elizabeth here.

B is on his way home now to get the kids. He's going to bring them up for a visit. If I can go home today, we'll all go home together. If I can't, I'll at least have a good visit with the kids. I've been worried that Campbell is going to forget who I am.

So I'm sitting here, practicing my patience and trying to stay positive.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday morning Elizabeth was still breathing with the help of the cpap and being fed through a tube down her throat. Yesterday afternoon they took off the cpap and put her on a canula, which Elizabeth kept pulling out of her nose and putting in her mouth to suck on. By the end of the day the doc took off the canula, and Elizabeth has been breathing on her own, without assistance, ever since.

I was able to give Elizabeth her first bottle yesterday at lunch time, and she powered through it in about 30 seconds. Since she did such a good job with her second bottle, the nurse took the tube out of her throat.

This morning I went in for Elizabeth's early feeding, and I was able to nurse her. She latched on without a problem and nursed for 20 minutes - such a little rock star! She was also holding her own body tempertature, so they turned off the heat bed and swaddled her.

I tried to nurse Elizabeth at lunchtime, but she wasn't interested. The nurse thinks Elizabeth wore herself out this morning and was too tired to nurse. So she got a bottle instead, which is just fine with me. I just want her to eat, eat, eat!

Elizabeth is hitting all of the marks she needs to - she's eating by mouth, breathing on her own, and maintaining her body temperature. The next big step is for her to glucose levels to stay where they need to be without the help of an IV.
The doctors still won't give us an estimate on when we'll be able to take Elizabeth home, but if things continue, it will be sooner rather than later.


Also, a huge thank you to everyone who has commented and e-mailed. Your messages of support and encouragement mean a great deal to me and B. I've been especially encouraged by all the stories of preemies who are now thriving. Hearing the success stories has been tremendously reassuring.

And now, some pictures from yesterday morning. I'll try to get some more today with a better camera.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The story of Elizabeth

It's pretty interesting that I wrote Sunday's post just hours before Elizabeth was born. My brain was aware of what was going on, even if "I" wasn't.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling off and having sporadic contractions. I didn't think much of it at the time, given that I'd had a similar day when I was pregnant with Campbell. I had called in on that day, and the nurse had said to lie down and see what happened. The contractions went away over night, so I figured that the same thing would probably happen this time.
I figured wrong. By about 7:00 pm I was having contractions pretty regularly, and it didn't matter whether I was lying down, sitting up or walking around. So I called in and was told to get the hospital asap. When we arrived, they put me on monitors and observed me for an hour. By the end of the hour, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, and the doctor ordered an operating room.
They popped Elizabeth out at 10:38 pm, and showed her to me quickly before whisking her off to NICU. B was able to go with her to NICU. He re-joined me in the recovery room. Once I finished in recovery, the nurse wheeled me in to NICU so I could see and touch Elizabeth.
Basically, she's able to breathe on her own, but she has to work really, really hard to keep her lungs inflated. They have her on a cpap - a little mask that goes over her nose - that puffs air into her lungs to keep them inflated so that she can breathe without having to work so hard. She spent a while on pure oxygen, but now she's just on regular room air (I think it's funny that the medical term is "room air").
Last night they started giving her milk that I've been pumping. They feed her through a tube down her throat into her tummy. I went to visit her in time to watch a feeding last night, and when she was finished I was able to hold her for the first time. It did me a world of good to hold her. It has been incredibly difficult to not have her with me. I've spent a lot of time crying about it over the past two days.
The hospital allows siblings into NICU, provided they have their shot records with them and they are fever free. B brought the girls up yesterday afternoon and took them into NICU one at a time. Neither said much after her visit, but I think it was overwhelming for them. I know it is for me.
We still don't when Elizabeth will be able to go home. There's a list of things she has to be able to do first, and she's not quite there yet.
As for the name - Elizabeth is the only girl name that B and I could both agree on. Anne is my middle name, and it was my grandmother's middle name, except she didn't have an e. Nona passed away in March, the same week I found out I was pregnant, which was incredibly hard. So B and I picked Anne to honor Elizabeth's great-grandmother.
Thanks for all of your well wishes and words of support. I'll post updates as I have them.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Miss Elizabeth Anne Gardner Has Arrived!

This is a guest post by knittergran, grandmother of hokgardner's new daughter!

Elizabeth Anne was born at 10:38 last night (Sunday evening), and weighs four pounds, fifteen ounces.
(Eat, girl, eat!)

Yes, she was four weeks early, but hokgardner went into hard labor and the doctor said there was a reason for that and that it was time for Elizabeth to meet everyone.
hokgardner is doing fine, considering, but wants MORE DRUGS please, and Elizabeth (isn't that just the loveliest name!) is now breathing regular air rather than air with oxygen added. She needs to meet three requirements in order to come home:

1. Breathe completely on her own.
2. Eat via her mouth rather than through a tube.
3. Maintain her own body temperature.

She is currently in NICU, but not in an incubator, so that's a good sign, and she's well enough that her big sisters are visiting her this afternoon. They have to scrub up in order to meet her, and I'm sure the solemnity of all of that will quite impress them. Lily, in fact, announced no fewer than four times at breakfast that SHE had wished for a girl and that's what they have gotten.

The new mother of four will be back blogging soon, I'm sure, but wanted you all to know about the newest Gardner! Pictures to follow....

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Back in the olden days - this encompasses everything from the era of Henry VIII to the Victorian era - women who were pregnant had a period of confinement, or lying in, prior to the birth of a child. The length of time varied according to the era and its traditions, but it always involved the woman's being confined to the house, sometimes to a special room, to rest and read and make things for the baby. Of course, this tradition was limited to women who were wealthy enough to have staff and servants to keep the house running.

Right now, I'm thinking I'd like that tradition to make a come back. I am feeling lousy these days. There's nothing really wrong with me; I'm just 35 weeks' pregnant and I'm worn out and feeling a bit blue. I'd like nothing more to hide away in my room for the next four weeks and sleep and read and knit and sleep some more.

But alas, that can't be. We don't have staff, and as I found out a few weeks ago when I was sick in bed for two days, the house kind of falls apart without me. I have three kids and a husband (who is very helpful, really) to look after. There's carpooling and work projects and laundry and groceries. Plus there are the extra things I want to get done in the house, like cleaning out my closet and reorganizing the pantry and pulling out the kids' fall-ish clothes.

Since I can't confine myself to my room for four weeks, I'll sneak bits of rest when I can. But it's going to be a long four weeks.

Friday, October 03, 2008


A while back, my good friend S told us a funny story during one of our long, dark, early morning runs, and today I couldn't help but think of it and laugh.

S had cleaned out her closet and rounded up all the dry cleaning hangers she could find and put them in the trash, knowing that the recycling truck wouldn't pick them up. Her husband, D, found the hangers in the trash and fished them all out. D carefully bundled them up with twine and took them to their dry cleaners. He asked if they recycled hangers, and they said they did. So he unloaded all the hangers and went back to his car feeling very good about things. To leave this particular dry cleaner's parking lot, you have to drive around the back of the building, where the dumpsters reside. D drove around back just in time to see the employee who had assured him that they recycled hangers toss D's entire load into the dumpster. He was so deflated. Every time I drive by that particular dry cleaner's I think of D and his hangers and laugh.

Why do I bring this up? This morning, I took about 200 hangers to our dry cleaners. It took me half an hour to bundle them on to string while Campbell merrily destroyed my closet and bathroom. All my careful work went out the window when I picked up the bundles to take them to the car. I ended up with this mess.

When I dropped off B's clothes at our dry cleaners, I asked if they recycled hangers and was assured they did. I was relieved to not see the dry cleaning guy carrying them out to the dumpster as I left. And I was even more relieved to have them out of my closet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The necklace of fate

Two years ago, just before Christmas, I found a necklace I loved in a catalog. I circled the necklace and left the catalog on B's desk with a note saying, "This is what I want for Christmas." The necklace had a silver pea pod with tiny seed pearls in it, the idea being that you get one pearl for each child. I thought it was a sweet way to signify my three kids.
Christmas morning arrived, and I opened my gift from B to find this necklace -

You'll notice that it has four pearls, not three. Apparently, B didn't read the description of the necklace and missed the whole point of it. B, being B, ordered the one with four, "because it was the best." I laughed it off on Christmas morning, but I was a bit annoyed. I mean, how much easier could I have made buying my present for him? The store even wrapped the gift.

So I didn't wear the necklace very often, and when I did, I said that the four pearls represented the kids and my husband, who sometimes qualifies as another child.

Then, just over a year later, I found out I was pregnant with number 4. My good friend L claims that this baby is really all B's fault (obvious biology aside) because he gave me the necklace with four pearls in it. He was just tempting fate.

When I remember to accessorize, I wear the necklace. The first time I wore it after getting pregnant, B noticed I had it on and asked, "Am I not in trouble any more?" I told him he wasn't in trouble for the necklace, but he was still on the hook for the whole unexpected pregnancy thing.

I'm just grateful the catalog didn't have the option to order 5 peas - I'd be having twins.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Baby clothes

So it turns out that when you're 35 weeks' pregnant with your fourth child and you think you're past getting excited about baby gear, you can still get all mushy over tiny baby clothes.

My mom, otherwise known as knittergran, went a little nuts at the store the other day and bought a bunch of baby clothes for Baby Bee. The box arrived Monday, and I sat on the floor oohing and aaahing over all of it. There's a particularly sweet little fuzzy jacket with ears on the hood that sent me into raptures. B watched me unpack the box and rolled his eyes the whole time.

The girls were just as excited about the box of stuff. They spent quite a while looking everything over and exclaiming about how tiny it all is. Even though they both remember when Campbell was born, they don't have any recollection of just how tiny he was as a new baby. They're going to be pretty surprised when the finally see Baby Bee.

Speaking of seeing Baby Bee, I get to have another ultrasound in two weeks. I'm measuring small, so the doctor wants to take a peek. On the one hand, it will be nice to see the baby. On the other, our stupid #()*@(*# insurance doesn't cover ultrasounds, so I know I'll be coughing up a big chunk of change for the chance to see the baby.