Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Camping

This past weekend, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take the kids camping. On Friday, I had taken the kids to a park in town for a picnic lunch. Around 1:00 pm, I sent a text message to my friend (who was camping at the time) to ask if there were any free campsites near them. She texted me back that there was an empty site next to them, and even offered to go reserve it for us. Marcus and I had gone back and forth about spending the weekend at Oak Mountain, and it was pretty much left up to whether I had the energy to get the camping stuff together, load up the car, and get the kids and me out to the site before dusk. (Marcus wouldn't be off work until after dark.) I decided when I got my friend's text that I was up for it, so I called Marcus and took the kids home to get ready.

A very busy four hours later, the kids and I were bathed, packed, and headed for Oak Mountain State Park. Our friends helped me get the tent up and the car unloaded, since my energy was spent just getting everything there. When Marcus arrived, we were all sitting around the fire enjoying hot dogs and getting ready to roast marshmallows. The weather was perfect all weekend: 40's/50's at night and 70's during the day. It got warm enough on Saturday that the boys stripped down to their undies and played in the lake for a couple of hours. We did a little hiking and exploring as well, and even got to watch a hawk fly from tree to tree on the hunt for a while. There was a fallen log near our campsite, and the boys loved testing out their balance by seeing how fast they could walk the length of it.

On Sunday morning, we reluctantly broke camp and headed back to "civilized" life. All the while we were packing up the car, I kept thinking that there isn't anything we do as a family that allows us to enjoy life and each other more than spending the whole weekend in the great outdoors (when the weather is nice, of course :). I really hope there is another weekend of good weather before winter hits so we can camp one more time this year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Old Baker Farm

Two Saturday's ago, after Caleb's soccer game, we spent the day at Old Baker Farm. We started out by making our way through the cornfield maze. The kids enjoyed it, but it wore me out. It just went on and on and on. I can see why farming mothers feared losing their young children in the cornfield: the corn stalks are taller than a man and it would be virtually impossible to find a lost toddler in acres of corn. We finally found our way out (thanks to a couple of "shortcuts" by Daddy), and then got in line for the boys' first horseback ride. Caleb had been on ponies before, but this was his first time on a horse. The boys rode together and they loved the way the saddle bounced up and down as the horse walked. (I loved the beautiful pictures of them on horseback with corn fields and cotton fields in the background.) Next we headed to the cotton bounce. The cotton-picking festival at Old Baker Farm had taken place the week before, and a lot of the cotton collected had been piled into an enclosed wagon. It was like a cotton bounce house, and the kids loved it.
The barn and the farm animals were our next stop. We saw turkeys, ducks, chickens, goats, pigs and even petted a fluffy rabbit. Next was climbing and sliding down the huge haystack. We stayed there until Caleb's 5-year-old friend took a tumble from the top and all four parents agreed it was time to move on. We took a bathroom & snack break before boarding a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to choose our pumpkins. Just like last year, Marcus went to the furthest corner of the huge pumpkin patch, believing that the "pickin's" would be best in that untraveled area. He found a nice big pumpkin that he liked, while the boys and I chose smaller ones closer to the center of the field. We hopped on the hay wagon for a ride back to the main farm. Ethan and I were wiped out by now, but Daddy and Caleb had enough steam to close out the day with some fun in the hay maze.
It had been a full day when we finally headed home around 5:00 pm. The boys hadn't napped, of course, so they fell asleep immediately in the car. It was a 40-minute drive home, and when we got home, we gambled and lost: we tried transferring the boys into the house when we got home, hoping that all the sun and activity would render them tired enough to sleep the night through. Alas, neither of them transferred, so we had two very tired and grumpy boys for the next few hours. We made it through baths and dinner and finally all collapsed into bed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Say It With Me"

No pictures today, just a quick funny Ethanism: Lately, we've been working with Caleb to help him pronounce the "s" sound and the "th" sound that he sometimes leaves off of words. So we often say things like, "Say it with me, Caleb, 'Th-th-thing' or 's-s-stop'." Ethan, always wanting to be a part of everything going on, has misunderstood the purpose of these little lessons, but is using them nonetheless. Whenever he wants my attention, this is what I hear, "MOMMY! Can you give me some MILK! Say it with me, Mommy, 'S-S-S-MILK'!" or "MOMMY! I made a WALL! Say it with me, Mommy, "S-S-S-WALL!" Apparently, Ethan's impression is that there is a missing "S" on almost every word we use, and he is doing his part in helping it be rediscovered. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Back :)

I was really sick from this pregnancy for eight long weeks . I think I'll say 56 days instead of eight weeks, since it sounds longer to me. Especially when you consider that each day had 24 hours in it, and each hour dragged by minute-by-minute. The mechanics of our lives, which usually run pretty smoothly, went totally kaput for 56 days. My BFF took over all of my church responsibilities, Marcus picked up what he could at home, and the ladies at church fed us. Somehow, when I could drag myself out of my chair, I kept up with the laundry, the bills, most of the grocery shopping, and the weekday care of the kids. I left the house once a week to get groceries (without the kids), and made it to four of Caleb's Saturday morning soccer games (makeup-less and in my pajamas). Other than that, I spent most of my time sitting in my "sick" chair in the play room holding a big white bowl and eating a lot of popsicles.
The kids ate a lot of pre-packaged foods while I was sick. Actually, one low point was when the kids started rummaging through the pantry, picking out a can (of beans, fruit, corn, whatever), and then bringing it to me to open. (I did manage to get what was in the can into a bowl for them :) They learned that any box with pictures of eggs or milk on the box had to be cooked and was therefore not an option. While I was sick, clothes became as optional as meal routines. The kids spent a lot of time outside, on the deck and in the yard. Being boys, they quickly learned that if they stripped to their socks and underwear playing outside, nobody chased them down and made them get dressed again. It was one of the many battles not worth fighting.
Things have been much better over the past week or so. I started feeling better last weekend, and we've managed to pack a lot of going-and-doing into the past nine days or so. Marcus is so happy to have a partner again, and we are trying to catch up on all the fall activities that have almost passed us by (i.e. day at the farm, pumpkin patch, soccer, parks, camping, fall festival, etc.). More posts and pictures to come in the near future :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

My First Trip to the ER

I was a very cautious child, and, to my knowledge, only had one accident worthy of an ER visit. When I was two, I fell off a stool and slightly fractured my collar bone. But that happened during the day, and I imagine that Mom took me to the doctor and not the ER, since it wasn't obviously broken. Either way, I made it through the next 28 years without an ER-worthy accident or concern. I almost went to the ER six months ago when I had an ovarian cyst that ruptured, but ended up getting worked in to see a doctor in my OB practice instead. So this past Wednesday night was my very first time to be admitted to the emergency room. It wasn't nearly as dramatic a reason as one might think/hope after waiting for 30 years, but whatever :)

For about four hours before we left for the hospital, I was experiencing persisent sharp pain on the left side of my abdomen. The pain reminded me of the ruptured ovarian cyst from earlier this year, and that is what I thought it was. However, in light of the fact that I was 10-weeks pregnant and had not had an ultrasound yet, we began to be concerned that it could be an ectopic pregnancy. As is our usual routine, Marcus looked up ectopic pregnancy in his online medical journals and determined that the timing was right, though I had none of the risk factors (previous ectopic pregnancy, STDs, etc.) We deliberated for a while, and, at my request, Marcus made the call and decided we should go. He called our BFFs, and the missus headed right over to our place to keep Caleb and Ethan.

I checked in to the UAB Hospital ER at 9:45 pm. After the stories I'd heard about ERs in general, I was pleasantly surprised to see almost nobody waiting. They took me back to a consult room almost immediately. Things moved pretty quickly from there. In series, three different people (two nurses and a resident) asked me the same group of questions (Marcus assured me that none of these people would communicate with each other, so not to leave anything out). Then they took some blood and collected a urine sample for labs. Finally, I was taken upstairs for an ultrasound. I couldn't see the screen in the ultrasound room, but Marcus could. The ultrasound tech wasn't allowed to answer even the most basic questions (like, is the baby where it is supposed to be?), but Marcus thought everything looked like it was supposed to.

We went back to the exam room and waited over an hour for the resident to return. I guess they were waiting for my labs to come back. During that hour, the shift must have changed, because we had a new resident by then. By now it was after midnight and I was exhausted. I hadn't been up past 10 pm since I got pregnant, and I am usually asleep 3-4 hours before midnight. When the resident came back in, he told us that all the tests had come back normal. My HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were very high (perhaps explaining my extra dose of morning sickness?). I also had a nice-sized cyst on my right ovary that might give me some trouble later on. He attributed the pain I was experiencing that night to the round ligament of the uterus, which is stretched by the growing fetus and can cause sharp pain. He also said the ultrasound looked completely normal. All of this was very good news, and now we were just ready to go home and get some sleep! We finally got home at 1:30 am, and Marcus was kind enough to go into work a little late the next morning so I could sleep until 8:00 am.

A couple of days later, I followed up as recommended with my OB. She did a more thorough ultrasound and bloodwork (as part of normal prenatal care), and was equally satisfied that everything looked great. The baby measured a little bigger than expected, so they moved my due date up a few days to April 19th. The big ultrasound when we will (hopefully) find out whether it is a boy or a girl is scheduled for November 18th. I don't know how I am going to wait seven weeks!