Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TV Tuesday: Sitcoms

The New Girl


Zooey Deschanel is as quirky and funny as ever.   My guess: Douchebag Jars popped up all over apartments with obnoxious roomates everywhere. My wish:  The two dumped people fall in love. My hope: The chemistry of the cast remains hilarious without Damon Wayans, Jr. who is already committed to Happy Endings.

Two and a Half Men


I was so done with the show a season and a half ago that I removed it from our DVR. The jokes were reruns and, based on his history with prostitutes and alleged spousal abuse, it seemed like we were watching Charlie Sheen's life. After the events of the summer, the world discovered perhaps we were. Out of curiosity, we added it back to our DVR. I'm not sure how I felt about Ashton Kutcher's character.

My guess: Kutcher's character is a dumb pretty boy like he mastered in That 70s Show.
My wish: He has more original substance--like he has Aspberger's or something.
My hope:The characters grow and change with clever writing.

2 Broke Girls.  

I was pleasantly surprised, and it wasn't just because the dirt bag boyfriend had incredible abs.

Which he did.
Admit it: His abs are worth watching the pilot
My guess: Sex will continue to be at the forefront of this show since it is from the creators of Sex and the City.
My hope: The characters stay fairly realistic in their financial status--unlike a certain waitress with an incredible apartment on Friends.
My wish: The creators of the show continue to remember that a comedy's purpose is simply to make viewers laugh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writer's Wednesdsay: Books and Travel

Books take us places we've never been. But they also inspire us to see those places for ourselves.

I was downright giddy when I found the spot where Shakespeare's Globe had stood.  Going inside the replica was almost as cool.

My friend Ange is in Asia now. I remember she was a big fan of Amy Tan. Plus, I know we read The Good Earth in high school. Hmm.  Definitely need to know if literature influenced her desire. She was a big fan of The Lord of the Rings, and after watching the movies, she went to New Zealand.

My friend Sonia travels to Oxford with her husband every year, and she's a huge fan of English literature and television.

My friend Stephanie had to go to Italy after watching/reading Under the Tuscan Sun.

My mother has traveled the world, but before she did, she longed to see the antebellum mansions of the South due to great books like Gone With the Wind .

Have you ever traveled anywhere because a book made you want to go?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorite: Maximus and Alexandra

Maximus and Alexandra.

Doesn't that sound like an epic love story?

Hope so. 

Our hope is that our children will love and cherish each other as the best friend he and she is intended to be.

It's looking good so far.  Even before she was born, Max vowed not to hit her. He also declared he would teach her to pee standing up like a big boy. Since her arrival, he's offered her his favorite toys and told her to pick one with which to play.  If that's not three-year-old devotion, I don't know what is.

And it's not a one-way street.  She reacts to him.  As soon as he enters a room, she opens her eyes.  In utero, she responded to his voice, and now she adores his little pats and coos.  The other day he kissed her foot and she smiled. Gas? That's what "they" say. But nothing can take away the delight in his eyes when he saw her response.

Dr. Max could hardly wait to hold her.
Dr. Max holding Baby A in hospital
 His affection for her grew when she gave him a Hess truck for being her big brother.

Holding his new truck and examining the parking garage
He encourages her tummy time efforts by rewarding her with stickers.
Note that those are Bob the Builder stickers, a favorite
 He offers visitors candy to welcome her arrival.
Caught in the act! He claims he doesn't like chocolate.

Max really wants to play with her, so we're trying to catch her up. 

Babies supposedly respond well to black and white images.  I couldn't find the cards my mom and I made for Max, so I made some more. Look at her! She seems to enjoy studying.

Plus, she has hair!  I have a baby with hair!

Baby's first flashcards

And I'll close with my favorite photo of Alexandra so far. How adorable is this outfit her Aunt Lisa and Uncle Brett gave her? I've ordered these pics from the hospital, so kindly ignore the sheer ghetto-ness of the imprint reminding everyone that the photo was for web-viewing only.
Alexandra Celeste
4:13 PM
6 pounds 13 ounces
19 1/2 inches

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baby Girl: Welcome to the World!

"Morbid" was the only word I could use to express to my husband how I felt.  The night before, I'd made him promise that if he had to choose between the baby and me, he would choose her.

We both figured it was hormones talking.

After all, I was scheduled for surgery in the morning and I really didn't want it. Nor did I feel I needed one because I'd had acupuncture and Baby Girl felt back in position.

Once settled in my snazzy delivery room with a tube in my hand and a few paper bracelets, I was asked if nursing students could witness the doctor try to turn the baby. Why not? So, I may have been the only person in the room who wasn't surprised when the ultrasound showed Baby Girl head down and ready to meet the world.  The nursing students looked disappointed, but one returned later and asked a lot of questions about acupuncture.

No c-section! Hurray!

8:00 am. Induction began.
8:30 am. Pitocin dripped.

Contractions were subtle. Until they weren't.

Garrett and my mother used acupressure points to help ease the pain until they convinced me I was cranky enough to get an epidural--a mere 6 hours after labor began.  With Max, I labored 15 hours before consenting to an epidural.  Then I went to sleep, woke up and had a baby six hours later.  I requested the same easy labor of Dr. Donnelly and the nursing staff. Nurse Candice smiled and said she'd do what she could.

Although contractions were stronger this second time around, my body didn't move too quickly. The epidural was at 2:15 pm and my temperament was the only obvious change. When Garrett and my mom returned, I was smiling and eating a cherry popsicle with no pain whatsoever. At 3:45 pm, things were progressing a little, but we figured my sweet doctor would miss the delivery and a different shift of nurses would be on duty by the time Alexandra made an appearance.  Considering Max's long delivery, I made a final comment on Facebook at 4:01 pm and rolled over to take a nap.

But then I remembered my nurse's parting words: If you feel any pressure, give me a call.

Good thing I didn't go to sleep.

4:13 pm Alexandra Celeste was born!

Thanks to the epidural I was in absolutely no pain. I mean, seriously, folks, my body responds to those drugs like a dream. I was alert and joking with them all as they hustled to prepare and after they moved Baby Girl across the room.

Alexandra had brown hair and looked dainty and delicate. She was purple. They assured me she was fine. The nurses were euphoric and a distinct atmosphere of happiness and awe filled the air.  "Did you know she came in to have a c-section?"  "...acupuncture..." "...it happened so fast..." "...the baby looks like her..."

But they still hadn't returned my baby to me.  The doctor calmly explained something about having difficulty with my placenta and that sometimes they attach to the uterus and cause some extra bleeding....

I watched my baby.   I watched Garrett watch our baby.

Chills crept across my body.

"I'm cold."

A nurse assured me. "It feels that way when you lose blood. You're okay."

The room felt like a freezer.

I tried watching the baby, but a couple of nurses and the doctor were in my way.  Every once in a while they moved so I could see a glimpse of her. She looked less purple. Why hadn't they given her to me?

My mom looked concerned as she approached. "Are you cold?"

"I thought so. But they told me I'm not." It must be the body's way of dealing with chidlbirth occuring so quickly.

Trying to control my shivers, I clenched my jaw. I wasn't going to let anyone categorize me as melodramatic. Women had babies every day. No big deal.

Why hadn't they given her to me yet? I thought of our son with his blond curls. Due to a complication with Max, I didn't get him for six hours. Hadn't I made myself clear that I wanted her as soon as possible? Hadn't they all agreed? How could we ever explain to him if something happened to his baby sister?

I tried to control the shaking, but it was unnecessary.  Nurses on each side of the bed attempted to hold me down.  Someone who wore cool glasses with circles all over them placed more tubes in my arm and told me what she was injecting.  Someone was having trouble getting blood pressure but kept trying and trying.  I assumed it was Alexandra's and hoped they'd figure it out soon.

Eventually, I met my husband's eyes. He held Alexandra. No nurses were near her. Why? I had to look away because that's when my prayer changed from "Please keep her safe" to "Please keep me safe."

On my left, my mother fiercely fought tears.  Beyond the doctor and nurses, Garrett stared down at our daughter, but I couldn't see her.

The atmosphere in the room had changed.  It was no longer euphoric.  It was efficient.

So much more crowded than before.

And cold. Very, very cold.

I mumbled something to the doctor about being grateful she had small hands because as she worked, it appeared she was rummaging around in me for her keys.

Although I'd tried speaking earlier to let everyone know I was okay, any desire to seem less dramatic faded as I realized I was in danger. "...hemorrhage kit..."  "What's her type?"  "...blood transfusion..." "...25-35% blood loss..." Complete sentences and coherent thoughts left me.

Blankets surrounded me.  Garrett lowered Alexandra to me. I kissed her cheek and her little nose. Each time he brought her near me, I shook a little less, warmed a little more.  Eventually, they placed her on the blankets beside me and I touched her.


And so, so worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TV Tuesday: The Young Queen Victoria

My mind is filled with random facts about Elizabethan England and Shakespeare. One time I was accused of cheating at Trivial Pursuit when I correctly answered a string of questions related to those topics...and won!

I need to expand my historical horizons.

Just a bit.

So, I decided to be more observant about the Victorian Era.
After all, like Elizabeth, an ERA was named after Queen Victoria. And what a time it was! The literature was fabulous: Dickens, Bronte, Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, Twain, Whitman, etc.  Scientific discoveries rattled society.  I mean, DARWIN changed the world forever, right?
Although the time period is legendary, my knowledge of the woman it was all named after was sketchy: She loved her hubby, wore black after he died, and had a lot of kids who populated European castles. Plus, I thought her propriety influenced the time period. It seems I recall reading that even the legs of furniture were draped in fabric  because the curvature of a table might suggest that of a woman's leg. Scandalous!

Clearly, I know very little about her, so, I was delighted to see The Young Victoria on tv recently. The film was quite the love story.

Emily Blunt charmed as the princess turned queen. She played her in such a way that I really must learn more about the monarch.  The actress formally executed queenly demeanor--and then when no one was looking, she'd skip or swing her feet like a girl.  So cute!

Perhaps the story was truly about Prince Albert, though.  Rupert Friend played the young German turned husband-of-the-queen.  Charming, self-conscious, and caring for the welfare of the common man, he made me wonder what would have happened if they'd never met and fallen in love.

Check out the movie. What do you think?

I love historical fiction. Can anyone recommend a novel relating to Queen Victoria and/or Prince Albert?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby Girl: Obedient or Smartypants?

Garrett says it's my fault. 

I'd asked Baby Girl to remove her feet from my ribs, and she did. 

Hmmm. Is she obedient or a smartypants?

After a nearly textbook pregnancy, Baby Girl decided to switch things up.  

Two weeks ago, she was in position. We figured she and Max would share a birthday. His birthday came and went. Labor Day came and went.  On Tuesday I went to my regularly scheduled appointment and she sent me to get an ultrasound. Of course, the in-house clinic was booked because it was the day after a long weekend, so we got to go to the hospital and pay extra...

...and discover she had moved into a left transverse position. In other words, she is lying sideways with her head on my left.

At thirty-nine weeks, this position is less than ideal.

Garrett has been so funny (in a creepy way) about it.  He said I should thank my "lucky stars for modern medicine" because a hundred years ago both the baby and I would die. Thanks, honey. The whole dying-in-labor-thing doesn't appeal to me. Later, he explained the origin of the Caesarean and how it was practiced on dead women for centuries.  Then live women--who weren't expected to live. It wasn't until the 1500s that a woman survived. Woohoo! Today he went on to talk about the extensive family research he's done recently: Generations of men in my family had more than one wife who died in childbirth.  Nice.

I guess we're a good pair because as morbid as the conversations have been, I feel strangely comforted. I mean, he's done a lot of research to be aware of what's going on with me. That's sweet, right?

Still, I'm not excited about the possibility of a c-section. Sure, women do them all the time.  But I don't.  My chiropractor friend Breanna did acupuncture on me this morning.  Baby is already moving more than she has since she spun around into this crazy position. Maybe she'll dance around to where she should be before I have to have a c-section.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Toddler Tuesday: Demolition Man with Free Magazines

Lisa of the Office knew our little man liked trucks and all sorts of heavy equipment, so she brought us a magazine she picked up for $.20 at a second hand store.  HE LOVES IT. He wants to take it everywhere and will "read" it so that it occupies more of his time than anything else we've found.

He also has corrected us on some of the equipment.  For example, I thought something was some sort of drill but he informed me it was a cement mixer that goes "waaaaaaaay down" into the ground. After reading the caption, I realized he was right.

So, my hubby, good dad that he is, went on the internet and found our little man a free one year subscription.  He insisted he selected all the answers honestly. Here are a few of the questions he had to complete.

What is your specialty? Demolition, Digging
Do you do any digging? Yes
How much do you spend on equipment each year? Under $500K
Do you have dump trucks in your fleet? Yes
Do you have tower cranes? Yes
Do you plan to purchase any equipment in the coming year?  Yes

His birthday is within the month. I'm sure his fleet will grow. And who knows? Maybe one day he'll actually buy something from the magazine.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Favorite: Crock Pot Girls

Culinary facts about me:
  • I'm not a chef.  Yes, I like to entertain and I love food. I'd just prefer to decorate than cook.
  • I loathe cook books. I'm completely incapable of imagining what a recipe will taste like by reading it. Cook books clutter my life. I much prefer to enjoy something, ask for the recipe and place it in my three-ring binder of faves.
  • I love my crock pot. It's easy. It makes delicious food.  'Nough said.
The Crock Pot Girls: Allyson, Jenna, and Nicole
On August 11, 2011, a trio of friends started a Facebook page where people post their favorite crock pot recipes. In those few weeks, over 330, 000 people have "liked" it.

Can you say phenomenon?

The creators have now started a website called Crock Pot Girls.

I am downright giddy with excitement.  Thank you, ladies, for providing a community of recipe swappers after my own heart!

Anyone else see a book deal in their future?