Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I hate Tuesdays

Someone made the mistake of asking me how I was doing today.

An innocent question, and luckily, she is a very close friend dealing with her own stressful situation, so she didn't mind when I instantly started crying. Right there in a restaurant while we were out to lunch with our kids. I told her how today has been 3 weeks since my world was shattered. I told her that I can't bring myself to take down the ultrasound picture of my dead baby girl. How everyone and their aunt has been asking me when we will start trying again (please people, just stop asking me). How I saw someone I know last week in the parking lot of Target who is 7 months pregnant and I could barely keep it together while I was talking to her about how cute she looked and how much her son is moving around in her belly and afterwards I took my girls into the bathroom and cried for a good 15 minutes. How some of my friends and family seem to have forgotten that this isn't something that you get over in a day or a week or even a month...you don't ever get "over" it. The people who don't ask tick me off. The people who do usually get a fake "I'm OK," or if I know them well, me crying. I mostly cry to the friends who understand - they've been here before.

If you've never been pregnant, you might not understand what happens to women after they deliver - a live birth, a miscarriage (before 20 weeks), or a still birth. It doesn't matter if your baby lives or dies - you still go through the baby blues, and if you are even as far along as I was, your milk still comes in. I threw up twice a day for 3 months solid and I don't have a brand new baby to snuggle and nurse. I have an ultrasound picture and a sore body. And a heavy, sad heart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy Weekend

It was another crazy weekend here.

Friday, I took the girls to the Children's Museum. This was so much fun - now that Emily is walking all over the place, it's a completely different experience. She and Ava will play together, or of course, go in completely opposite directions. Ava is very into the construction area lately. Emily, however, only wanted to hang out in the medical area. Paging Dr. Barsotti!

On Saturday, I had a MOMS Club Regional Training to attend (which completely reminded me of sorority life in college, complete with a formal pledge and that sort of thing). Joel and the girls were planning on going to OMSI while I was away, but his alternator belt decided to blow - luckily he was close to home and was able to get back on what was in his battery. We took the girls to the park in the late afternoon too, and then we all crashed early!

Sunday was spend driving around looking for birthday gifts for all of the September birthdays that we will be celebrating, as well as new gyms. We belonged to Club Sport, which was really amazing, but when their monthly family membership went above $200 per month...we realized that they were crazy, and we were crazier for paying so much. We managed to find a great gym close by. Their child care is not nearly as nice, but c'est la vie. Last night we had a fun evening at Chuck E Cheese thanks to a very sweet girlfriend whose husband owns a CEC franchise on the east coast. She sent me a gift card for a family dinner and tokens when she heard about our loss, and it was so nice to be able to get out and do something fun as a family.

I'd like to say that today was low key after all of our craziness over the weekend...but not so much. The girls came with me to the MOMS Club monthly business meeting (where our speaker talked about ways to prepare your children for elementary school. She should know - she just won Oregon's Teacher of the Year award). Then we ran some errands. Somewhere in there I managed to clean my floors twice (post breakfast and lunch), do 5 loads of laundry, make the beds, clean the bathrooms, fold the laundry, and oh yeah...play with my kids. Luckily, my girlfriend Bridgitte called and invited me over for some wine. I'm trying a Beaujolais that I've never had...will let you know if it's good.

Finally, I made some really good banana bread today with Ava, and I thought I'd share the recipe:

Lower Fat Banana Bread

1/3 c white sugar
1/4 c applesauce
2 eggs
1 c mashed bananas
1 c whole wheat
2/3 c all-purpose
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray one 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, beat the white sugar and margarine or butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, water and bananas with the sugar mixture until it is well blended. Combine the dry ingredients, add, and mix just until the mixture is moistened. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to blend all ingredients. Bake for about 60 minutes. Bread is done when the top is firm to the touch and a golden brown color. Time will vary according to loaf size and oven type. When bread is removed from oven, allow it to cool on its side for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. This bread is also excellent if you add mini chocolate chips or small fruit pieces to the mix just before baking. And of course, I like mine toasted with cream cheese. Perfect with a cup of coffee!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Does your baby love to play with your computer? Are you constantly losing documents, having settings changed, or, in my case, having random appointments added to your Outlook calendar?

Try http://www.babysmash.com/. Download this cool program (Windows only) that basically makes your computer baby-proofed. No matter how much your baby (or preschooler!) types on your keyboard or points and clicks with your mouse, nothing will happen to your desktop or anything. Plus, every time the kids type/click, cute babies talk back to them. It's a win-win.

Here's Emily, showing her love for the smash:

Note: I'd love to take the credit for finding babysmash on my own, but of course, my geeky husband found it instead. He's smarter than I am. Sometimes.

Another note: why oh why did I bother to mop today?

Rain, rain, go away

I admit, I was one of the complainers when it was 105 degrees last week. But this rain is just silly. It's AUGUST, not November. It's just adding to my mood. Oh well, that's what wine is for. This week, I've been in quite the French mood...Beaujoulais and Cote-du-Rhone. Currently, it's a Burgandy. Yum. Don't worry, I'm not quite ready to get checked into the Betty, but my friend Molly assures me that they are holding a spot for me, just in case. Funny, I was telling Joel just the other day how much I need a mini-break...

I dropped the girls off at a Mom's Morning Out program this morning and got a few hours to myself. They were mostly spent cleaning bathrooms and agonizing over who to draft in the first round of my upcoming fantasy football league's draft. Being the only girl in a league full of guys is a bit intimidating. This year I draft second, which might sound great, but to those who are familiar with fantasy football...it's challenging! There is one clear first choice, and some semi-clear second choices. What to do?! Emily and I are currently listening to NFL Total Access on NFL Network for some guidance. She seems to enjoy football talk more than Ava, but Ava is learning (although she seems a little to interested in the cheerleaders and their skimpy outfits for my liking). Yesterday, Ava watched with me and when the panel had their 30 questions segment, she answered too. Yes, she thinks that Peyton Manning's injury will come back to haunt him this season. No, she doesn't think that Brett Farve will escape the Madden curse. It was pretty funny, especially since her answers were in alignment with my favorite guy on the panel, Steve Mariucci. That guy can go off on a tangent like nobody's business...rather like myself!

My boyfriend (Brett Farve), on the cover of Madden 2009:

While Emily had her afternoon nap, Ava and I made some peach muffins. I had some peaches and some yogurt to use up (yum...Nancy's Honey yogurt), so I tweaked a recipe for blueberry muffins and came up with these:

Peaches and Cream Muffins

1 egg
½ c yogurt (or milk. But I like yogurt!)
¼ c vegetable oil (sub applesauce)
1 ½ c all-purpose flour (¾ all-purpose, ¾ whole wheat)
½ c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (¼ tsp)
1 c chopped, peeled peaches (I used a mix of yellow and white)

In a bowl, beat egg; add milk and oil. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir into the egg mixture just until moistened. Stir in the peaches. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield: 10 muffins

Notes: Be sure to barely mix the dry and wet ingredients together - if my mother taught me anything, it's that overmixing will result in a brick-like muffin. The batter should be light and airy - sort of sponge-like. You can use applesauce in place of the oil, but cut the sugar in half, and taste your fruit. My peaches were pretty ripe and therefore very sweet, so I only used about 1/3 cup of sugar.
Ava can wisk eggs together like no one can:

I will admit, when your peaches are this ripe and juicy, it's hard not to have your muffins taste spectacular:

How your muffin batter should look - spongy:

The final product:

I've really been enjoying this stage of Emily taking one long afternoon nap and Ava not taking a nap - while I've definitely lost some "me" time, it's given me the opportunity to hang out with just Ava, which is something that I have greatly missed since Emily came into the picture. She's such a cool little person these days (if you ignore the bossy, demanding, drama queen part...), and she loves doing the same things I do - art and cooking. Today, she not only did most of the work on the muffins ("Mama, I don't mix da batter too hard - bricks aren't good muffins!"), she also helped me make dinner (Sour Cream Salsa Chicken in the crock pot). We colored some princess pictures ("Mama, dat's a veery nice picture!"), and read some stories. The best part of the no-nap days: She's ready for bed at 6. That way, Em gets an hour of just me, and then Joel and I get some nice mommy-daddy time to contemplate the important things in life.

Like who to take as our first round draft choices. It's a good thing we married each other...

Monday, August 18, 2008

August updates

First, I want to issue a big ole' thank you to everyone for their support. Thank you to my mom for the daily phone calls when she has so much going on in her life (you go, first time homeowner!!), thank you to my girlfriends for bringing us meals, bringing your kids over to play with mine, taking me out for drinks, and letting me cry (a lot) on their shoulders. Thank you to everyone for the flowers, cards, and sweet thoughts. Thank you to my husband for everything. I am so very lucky to have you here, holding my hand, and my heart. A special thank you to the makers of Ambien...I'm finally sleeping again.

We've been getting by. Days are definitely easier - with laundry, kids, and MOMS Club to keep me busy, it's easy to get distracted. Speaking of the kids - they have changed so much in the past month! Emily is now an official walker (she even has the big girl shoes to prove it), Ava starts preschool in two weeks (!!!), and has been enjoying summer camp at Fulton Community Center.

Here are a few pictures of the last two weeks:

Emily fingerpainting for the first time:

Ava painting (all over the table!):

Emily playing with the ball machine at OMSI:

Emily sitting on the Princess throne:

Ava playing with Play-Doh:

Almost everyone has asked if we know the "why" behind the baby's death. We don't. And we never will, since we declined to have any testing done on the baby. I will say that we do know that there is nothing wrong with my body, or Joel's. We don't know how this happened twice (on the same day!). Less than 2% of miscarriages occur after a healthy heartbeat has been heard by Doppler. Even less than that occur after the twelveth week. Joel, being the poker player that he is, just thinks we got dealt a bad hand. I only know that wherever I end up after my life ends, there will be two little souls for me to get to know, and right now that is all that gives me comfort.

On a much happier note, congratulations to Peter and Tara Barsotti on the birth of Caroline Elizabeth! What a beatiful name, and a beautiful baby!

Life goes on.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Banning Peanut Butter in schools?

Very interesting article on MSN today:


Schools’ peanut bans spark backlash
Parents against the ban have an unlikely ally, a food allergy advocacy group
Associated Press
August 11, 2008

When Terri Mauro posed the question, “What’s so bad about peanut-butter bans?” on her Web site, she never expected the volume of cold and angry comments she received.
“The responses are still coming in a year later,” said Mauro, who considers blanket bans on peanut butter an acceptable measure to protect children with life-threatening allergies.
Peanut bans in schools often lead to a flurry of angry phone calls and letters to local newspapers. Some communities even circulate petitions asking school officials to change their minds.

“People are a little unhinged about this,” said Mauro, who edits a Web site for parents with special needs children.

More schools than ever are banning peanuts and peanut products as the number of kids diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening allergy has climbed dramatically in recent years. While doctors try to figure out the reasons for the rise, the situation pits parents against each other and puts school districts in the middle.

Lisa Searles was shocked at how mad parents got in April 2007, when she asked the board of education in Seymour, Conn., to ban peanut butter at her son's elementary school.
“People were extremely rude,” she said. “They just thought it was a ridiculous request.”
People left nasty posts on local message boards. One online writer suggested ending the issue by putting all the allergic children in a room together and feeding them peanuts, Searles said.
When officials at Rock Creek Elementary School in O’Fallon, Mo., banned peanut butter, Jennifer Kaiser took a more reasoned approach. She attended a meeting and suggested the school find a compromise that would allow students to continue to pack peanut butter sandwiches and keep students with allergies safe.

“I thought there were better ways to handle it,” the mother of two said. “As a community our job is to teach our kids to live in the world.”

Banning peanuts, she said, “is not teaching children how to grow up in the real world.”
Alternative to food bansParents opposed to the bans have an unlikely ally — an advocacy group for people with food allergies. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network in Fairfax, Va., recommends schools treat each student's allergy individually and adopt plans that emphasize continued vigilance rather than food bans.

“What we want is everyone always thinking there could be a possibility (of an allergic reaction) and be on guard for it,” said the group's founder, Anne Munoz-Furlong.

Regardless of the group’s position, a growing number of schools have implemented bans. A recent survey of 1,174 districts by the Virginia-based School Nutrition Association found that 18 percent of schools had peanut bans in 2007, a 50 percent increase from two years earlier.
The increase in peanut bans corresponds to an increase in students diagnosed with peanut allergies. Between 1997 and 2002, the rates of peanut allergies in children under age five doubled, said Dr. Hugh A. Sampson, president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Today, there are 400,000 school-age children with peanut allergies.
Peanuts and some other foods can cause the body to go into anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition where a person's blood pressure drops and his or her airways narrow. The condition can normally be relieved with a dose of adrenaline, also called epinephrine. Children and adults with severe food allergies carry shots of epinephrine.

After the Seymour Board of Education shot down her request for a peanut ban, Searles has focused on other ways to keep 7-year-old Matthew safe at school, including trying to teach him to inject himself with adrenaline.

“I feel pretty confident,” she said. “He’s a smart kid.”
The main worry for Searles, like many parents, is that her son would have a reaction without actually eating a peanut product. It's possible for Matthew to have a reaction from touching a table or utensil with peanut butter on it and then putting his hand into his mouth or rubbing his eyes, Searles said.

It’s a legitimate concern, Sampson said. That’s why he supports peanut bans in preschools and kindergarten classes, where students are prone to putting their hands in their mouths. As children grow older, he favors carefully cleaned peanut-free tables in the cafeteria, hand washing and other common sense precautions.

“As children get older and more responsible, you don’t have to have anything like a ban,” he said. “You want them to learn to deal with the situation.”
Few children are at risk just by being in the same room with peanut butter, he said. No one has ever asked Janet Mitchell to ban peanuts from any of the schools in the Glynn County School District in Brunswick, Ga.

It's a move the district's culinary services coordinator would oppose even though her own son is allergic to peanuts.

“We don't ban peanut butter because we feel it is a staple among young children,” said Mitchell, who works with families and school personnel to develop individualized plans for children with food allergies.

“You just can't monitor what's in every person's lunch pail,” she said.
One district's compromiseAt the Mt. Diablo Unified School District outside of San Francisco, school officials have tried to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction by removing peanut products from the lunch menu, said Anna Fisher, a food services supervisor. The district still allows children to bring in peanut butter sandwiches and other peanut products.
The compromise reduces the amount of peanut butter in the lunchroom and allows children with allergies to buy lunch, Fisher said.

“I think it’s been pretty successful,” she said. “When people understand there’s a life at risk, everyone starts to feel a little sympathy.”

Sharon Terzian in Warwick, R.I., has a daughter with a life-threatening allergy to latex. She understands the concerns about peanut butter but disagrees with food bans.
“We know we can’t put her in a bubble and send her to school," she said. “There’s a personal responsibility for any kid.”

*edited to add the link, just for you, Aviva :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another sad 5th of August...

Today, my heart has been broken once again.

We went in for our first trimester appointment for what has been a very routine pregnancy. My midwife measured me, felt around, smiled and said that everything looked wonderful, my uterus even felt full for being only 13 weeks. She tried to find the heartbeat with the doppler, but couldn't. She called for a perinatologist to come in with an ultrasound machine. She found a baby with no heartbeat...a baby who measured 12 weeks 6 days (I am 13 weeks pregnant today). The baby died in the last 24 hours.

We are beyond devestated. There are truly no words.

Ironically, it was two years ago on this very day that we learned of our first "missed miscarriage." Apparently, February is just not our month to have a due date.

Most people didn't even know that we were expecting. This pregnancy was unplanned, but certainly not unwanted. I don't know if I can ever allow myself to go through this again...the horrible ache in my heart is so heavy. Joel broke down. I have yet to cry, but I am sure that the tears will come, and overstay their welcome once again.