Thursday, April 28, 2011

A difficult decision (part 1)

In late May of last year I went into surgery to have a birthing injury (otherwise known as a rectovaginal fistula) repaired.  I didn't really talk about it on the blog at the time...I was a little embarrassed frankly.  But now I need your help so I am going to talk about.  Who knows, maybe one of you have been dealing with this and (like myself) are feeling pretty alone and I can help.

The rectovaginal fistula (RVF) that I had was not bad.  In fact, it was pretty darn small (only air could pass through).  When I met with the colon rectal doctor she mentioned that a very, very small number of people have the RVF heal on their own.  She told me not to get my hopes up. 

The surgery is day surgery, but because of the area that is being worked on, the success rate isn't that great. 

She also told me that because I have had this one fistula, the likelihood of me having another one as a result of a vaginal birth is greater and it will likely be worse.  Therefore I should have a c-section with any other pregnancies. 

 When I went through all the stuff with the colon rectal doctor she mentioned that I should have a c-section the next time around to avoid having this happen again, only worse.  When she went in to correct it, it had healed on its own so she had loosened up on the stance and it became more of a recommendation vs. a statement of fact.  I completely forgot all about this until Brian mentioned it the other day. 

So now I am trying to figure out what to do.  Since the main reason they think I got the fistula was because Sam's head was big and got stuck on my pelvic bone, thus required a lot more pushing than might have been needed.  Some of my girlfriends suggested getting an ultrasound to measure Tyler's head and compare it to Sam's ultrasound measurements.  Then if he looks like he is going to have a big head too, then opt for the c-section. 

The big thing that

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Baby #2: Week 29

month 7
April 23, 2011 

How far along: 29 weeks  

Baby's size: Squash (Month 7 - week 29-32) or the size of a butternut squash for week 29 (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Symptoms: Heartburn is back this week.  I also had a bunch of contractions on Wednesday that ended in me going to L&D because they wouldn't go away (of course, they went away as soon as I got to the hospital).   My back is doing okay considering I haven't been to the chiropractor in over a week.  I am hoping to make it to Thursday when my chiropractor comes back from vacation. 

Total Weight Gain: 
Total weight gain= +8 pounds  

Maternity clothes:  Yes

Best moment this week:  Not pregnancy related, but visiting my sister and her family was the highlight of my week.  I loved watching Superman play with his cousins!  He learned so much from them and came home with new skills, new signs, and new words!   

Movement: Absolutely!

Food cravings:  Still liking fresh fruit...and juice.

Gender:  BOY!!!

Labor signs: no real signs...just the Braxton Hicks that wouldn't go away.  THANK GOODNESS!  This baby needs to stay put for at least 10 more weeks.

What I miss: Although I still can cuddle with my son, the baby bump is getting in the way sometimes.  It is tough to read stories together because I know he isn't as comfortable as he could be. 

What I'm looking forward to:  Feeling better.  Superman has a doozy of a cold and I am just feeling achy.  I will happy when we are all better again.

Weekly Wisdom (aka what I learned this week):  Not pregnancy related...the iPad is the greatest invention for traveling with a toddler.  Since he doesn't watch a lot of tv, he was cool just watching the Sesame Street podcasts without sound on the plane.  I even put on Up! for a little bit and he was such a happy camper watching the dogs and balloons.  The people around us were happy too. 

Milestones: Hitting the third trimester!

Emotions:  Doing pretty well. 

Boot Camp: None!  (1 hour 15 minutes each each day)

Pregnancy Water Aerobics: Thursday (1 hour each) 
Stretching: not really consistent with this any more....which is a good thing since that means my back is doing okay.  
Total exercise time:  1 hours (NOT GOOD!!!  This coming week will be better!)

Till next week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Successfully eating out in PDX with your toddler…

So I have to thank my new friend, Evelyn, over at Momsicle, for this post.  If you haven't been to her site before, I highly recommend checking her out.  She is a writer, editor, and education consultant who spent several years teaching in our countries neediest kids.  She recently moved to Oregon from NY  with her husband and son.  Oh and she has another little one on the way.  We have so much in common, it is really no wonder that she and I hit it off at Baby Boot Camp.  When I found out she wrote a blog too one of the first posts I read was this one about toddler friendly restaurants here in Portland.  Although I hadn't checked out some of the restaurants on the list, I mentioned to her that there were many more restaurants out there that were not only kid friendly, but parent friendly too.  She was intrigued and asked me to guest post.     

So I did my usual brain dump when writing the post and what resulted was a super lengthy post, not only about restaurants that I recommend trying, but some of the tips that I have for picking restaurants.  

We agreed maybe I had gone a little overboard and we should divide the post.  So below you will find my tips (and a few restaurants).  Then I want you to head over to her site and check out the restaurants that aren’t just kid friendly, but our parent friendly too.  

Think I missed an important tip or a kid friendly restaurant? Be sure to leave a comment letting me know!

A little bit of background…
When my husband and I moved to Oregon in 2008, we pretty much spent the first year eating our way through Portland.  We went out to eat at least once a week…usually to a restaurant in downtown Portland and never to a big chain restaurant.  When it was time for us to have kids, my gift to my husband for Christmas was 9 gift certificates to 9 of the best restaurants in the city so that we could enjoy them during the 9 months of pregnancy.  

In the beginning…
During the first few months with Superman, we were determined to try and continue to eat out as often as we could.  We believed (and continue to believe) that the more we were out and about with him, the better foundation we were setting for how to behave as he got older.  Looking back, we probably weren’t really setting a foundation for him as much in the beginning, as we were preparing ourselves for what was to come (I could do a whole post on packing for dinners out depending on the age of your child).

Success is all in the choices that you make…
So after 15 months of having Superman around, we probably average 3-4 lunches and 2-4 dinners out a month.  There have been bumps in the road (Ex. There was a very short evening at Syun in Hillsboro when S was about 4 months old.  It was the night we realized that he would no longer just sleep through meals anymore.  A very sad day for my husband and I.), but I believe that most of them have been successes.  The reason?  We choose our restaurants carefully.  No, we are not eating at fast food joints for every meal; in fact even our lunches aren’t at your typical fast food joints.   What are we looking for?  Just a few things….

Requirements:   (now that Superman is eating regular food)
  • Food that we can easily give him.  This does not mean mac n’ cheese at every meal, although we have gone that route on more than one occasion.  Whether it is a kid’s menu item or just some of our dish, we are looking for food that is mostly healthy and something that he will eat.  (Choices that almost always work: Mexican and Italian)
  • Noisy (Or Good Ambient Noise).  Toddlers aren’t the quietest and although Superman isn’t a screamer or consistent tantrum thrower, he still doesn’t understand the idea of an indoor voice.  We figure it is a lot easier for us to relax when we aren’t feeling like he is too loud.  
  • Kids Menu.  The reason we want a kids menu isn’t because we will order off of it.  If they have a kids menu, then they expect to have kids come and eat there.  If they expect it, so should the other dinner guests.  If they don’t have a kids menu, I call ahead and ask if they are toddler friendly (Unless you have an older kid, I think specifying the age of your child is important. Some restaurants are kid friendly, but not really toddler friendly).   If they don’t respond in a “of course, we love kids here!” kind of way, we will likely skip that restaurant just to be sure. 
  • Changing Table in the Bathroom.  This is one thing that I don’t check out ahead of time, but if I discover that they don’t have a changing table at our first visit, we aren’t likely to go back there.  The one exception is our favorite lunch time spot- Chipotle (yes, we do some chains for lunch).
  • Adult friendly. We aren’t looking for a super duper family friendly restaurant with only okay food.  We want the good food that Portland has come to be known for and it better have good beer or an awesome wine list.    This is why you need to jaunt over to Momsicle’s site today and see more of my recommended locations.

Some other favorites include: 

·        Mother’s Bistro:
o   My husband has thing for good breakfast places and Mother’s is said to be one of the best.  I am pretty sure they have a kid’s menu, but it isn’t on the website.   We were there is past summer with family when Superman was about 7 months old.  My two nephews (4 and 8) loved it and Superman enjoyed tasting off other people’s plates.  The wait staff went out of their way to make the kids happy.  The only thing not kid friendly about this place is the wait.  Sometimes it can take a good long while to be seated so come prepared.
·        Mama Mia Trattoria
o   Owned by the same people who own Mother’s, it is a great Italian restaurant with probably the best kid’s menu around.  Sure they have the typical chicken fingers, but they also have options like Pasta Filettor Di Pomodoro, Ravioli, and Meatball and Linguine.  We haven’t been since Superman was born, but we were there with my sister and her family.  I can’t wait to take S.

·        Gustavs:
o   Let me start by saying that kids under 3 eat for free (a choice of penne and cheese or mashed potatoes, turkey gravy and apple sauce- we chose the second option and S likes it a lot!)  Add that to the fact that they have yummy fondue, an assortment of other German food done really well, and enormous beers (you are beginning to worry about me, aren’t you?); you have a fabulous option for you and your kiddos. 

·        Slappy Cakes:
o   Do it yourself pancake place?  Yes please.  This place takes the simple act of making pancakes and turns it into an adventure.  You get to choose what type of batter, your fixins (sweet and savory), and your toppings, then make your pancakes right there at your table.  Ms. Momsicle herself and I actually went here together and since our kids are younger, I think we had more fun than they did (we learned that I am a horrible pancake maker).  However, the place is certainly kid friendly and our munchkins loved the food we made for them.  (There is a full made-for-you menu as well.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baby #2: Week 28

month 6 
April 15, 2011 

How far along: 28 weeks  -Third Trimester!!!!!!

Baby's size: Eggplant (Month 6 - week 25-28) or the weight of Chinese cabbage for week 28 (about 2 1/4 pounds)

Symptoms: Heartburn seems to be better and my back is doing alright! I even have some energy!  I know this won't last so I am enjoying every minute.  I am starting to have less room in my stomach so I am no to the point where I graze

Total Weight Gain: The doctor confirmed that my weight gain is holding steady at 8 pounds!  I mentioned on Facebook after the appointment that she questioned me on my weight because in the chart it looked as if I had lost 4 pounds.  Nope, the scale was just wrong.
Total weight gain= +8 pounds  

Maternity clothes:  Yes

Best moment this week:  Totally materialistic (and not pregnancy related), but my husband got me an iPad and it arrived the day before my trip!

Movement: Absolutely! I took so video of my belly to share with my mom.  I was even shocked to see how much it moved.

Food cravings:  Not much--still fresh fruit I suppose.

Gender:  BOY!!!

Labor signs: none

What I miss: nothing this week.

What I'm looking forward to:  Seeing my sister and her family!  We are going for a visit this week and it will be the first time our kids meet each other in person!

Weekly Wisdom (aka what I learned this week):  Best part of being pregnant?  Not sucking in your gut for pictures.

Milestones: Hitting the third trimester!

Emotions:  Doing pretty well.

Boot Camp: Wednesday (1 hour 15 minutes each each day)

Pregnancy Water Aerobics: none (1 hour each)
Stretching: not really consistent with this any more....which is a good thing since that means my back is doing okay.

Total exercise time:  1 hours 15 minutes (NOT GOOD!!!)

Till next week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

*Handsome* in Pink? Absolutely!

Today there seems to be a mild uproar by some people regarding this JCrew ad that was recently emailed to customers.
Picture taken from Huffington Post. Click on picture to get to site.

Erin Brown, from Media Research Center, wrote an opinion piece saying that this ad was "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children".

Psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, wrote a piece for Fox News that the mom "better put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid --and maybe a little for others who'll be affected by your "innocent" pleasure."

Shockingly, in this article on Fox News, it states that when they asked their Twitter followers if "the ad crossed the line", a majority did not think so. 

During boot camp this morning the moms and I discussed this and we unanimously agreed that we saw nothing wrong with it.  In fact, we thought it was pretty ridiculous. 

If this was a girl playing in the dirt and the caption read, "Lucky for me I ended up with a girl whose favorite activity is playing in the mud," would this have even made the news?  I don't think so.  If she were painting his toe nails black, would it have been as big of a deal?  Not likely.   

Painting toe nails, playing with dolls, and putting on make-up while pretending with their friends will not make a boy "grow up gay" or question their gender later on.  Nor will playing in the mud, playing with guns, or liking cars make a girl "grow up gay" or question their gender later on.

What if this child is actually transgendered?  Who cares?!  Let's accept our children for who they are and stop forcing them to fit into one box or the other.  Our world is changing and being gay or transgendered is no longer the taboo it once was (okay, so maybe transgendered has a way to go still, but progress is being made).  Do I wish it for my kids?  No, I think their lives would still be made more difficult due to ignorant individuals.  But, it won't change how I feel about them and certainly won't stop me from encouraging them to be who they want to be, no matter if it crosses the typical "gender lines".

Also, the idea that this child is some how going to need psychotherapy later because he not only liked the color pink, but also had his mom paint his toes nails, is just absurd.  The idea that others will need psychotherapy because the damage the ad will due to them is just laughable. 

My guess is that this young man will grow up to be one of the more well adjusted children out there.  He has a mother that spends time with him and shows an interest in the things he likes.  He is allowed to think for himself which will certainly help his ability to make decisions later on.  And if I were to guess his mother is teaching him about accepting differences in people.  Sounds like the perfect foundation for our future to me. 

So what is your take on all of this?  Does the pink nail polish make you nervous

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tracking Every Baby, Child, and Teenager

Would you implant a GPS enabled microchip into your kid if it were available?

My husband thinks that by the time our kids are teens, this will be readily available.  We agreed that we would jump on the chance to track our kids. He mentioned this to a friend today and the friend said he wouldn't do it.  And then they wondered whose opinion was the more popular one..and a post was born. 

In fact, while talking about it last night, we joked that it would be cool if they would have sensors that went off if your kid was about to have sex, do drugs, or anything illegal.  

Imagine it- you are sitting in a meeting and you get a text that warns you your child has just begun engaging in something questionable.  You step out of your meeting and make that lovely phone call that stops your child from doing something they will one day regret.  Okay, okay...that isn't really what this is about, but it had me chuckling at the prospect.  

Stepping back to the real world, implanting a GPS tracking device in kids isn't a completely absurd idea.

There is a company that has received FDA clearance for an implantable microchip, but hasn't produced/sold anything yet (at least not that I can tell).  This is the same type of chip that gets implanted into dogs (so no tracking of the animal, just identification).  The main reason that they aren't available seems to be due to an increase chance of malignant tumors near the injection site.  Yeah, they have to fix that first.

There was a watch on the market that did a great job tracking called the Brickhouse Alert Mobile GPS Watch.  If you can't implant a tracking device, this may be the next best thing.  Not only does it track your child, but your child could send a distress alarm, use the built-in speakerphone to contact emergency services or family members, and it sends alerts to you if your child leaves the customized "safety zone".  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, it has been discontinued.  I am not sure why, but the $40 monthly fee probably had something to do with it.

Of course, there is always GPS tracking with the cell phone.  There are multiple free applications out there for all the different phones.  I haven't tried any of these, but briefly looked at the descriptions for the ones on the Android phone.  I like that some of them do more than just tracking, but I won't go off on that tangent today.

Certainly the watch and cellphone tracking devices/applications aren't perfect.  It is easy enough for an abductor to remove the watch or toss the cell phone.  So that brings us back to implantable tracking devices.

If someone was able to create a non-cancer causing device that allowed you to know where your child was at all times, would you do it?  How would cost factor into this decision?  Would you pay a monthly fee (like the watch) to have this information?

So it is time for you to weigh in on this.  First vote below, then leave a comment telling us why you chose the way you did and any other thoughts for the rest of us to consider.  I can't wait to see what you all think!
If it were safe, would you implant a GPS tracking device into your child?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Baby #2: Week 27

month 6
April 9, 2011 

How far along: 27 weeks 

Baby's size: Eggplant (Month 6 - week 25-28) or head of cauliflower for week 27 (about 14.5 inches long and about 2 pounds)

Symptoms:  Heartburn is back, my back is all out of sorts, but otherwise I am feeling pretty good!  I have energy for the first time in a long time and have been super productive. 

Total Weight Gain: I weighed myself a couple of times this week and it confirmed what I thought last week.  My total gain is 8 pounds on my home scale. :)
Total weight gain= +8 pounds  

Maternity clothes:  Yes

Best moment this week: Getting our new 2011 Honda Odyssey!  It is lame to get so excited over a new vehicle, but this is one cool Swagger Wagon (yes, I realize that it "swagger wagon" is from Toyota, but I don't care).

Movement:  Lots and lots of movements!We went to the Blazers game last night and he must have liked the noise.  He was kicking a ton!

Food cravings:  Fresh fruit!!  I can't wait for berry season to get here (although I won't be pregnant for a majority of it).

Gender:  BOY!!!

Labor signs: none

What I miss: My back feeling better.

What I'm looking forward to:  Seeing my sister and her family!  We are going for a visit this week and it will be the first time our kids meet each other in person!

Also....Reaching the Third Trimester.  I thought it started at 27 weeks, but some of the websites I saw said it didn't start till 28 weeks.  Anyone have any insight? 

Weekly Wisdom (aka what I learned this week): I am just feeling really grateful to have all that I do.  My life is really good and I want to make sure I take time to appreciate it all.

Milestones: I turned into a minivan mom!

Emotions:  Doing pretty well.

Boot Camp: Monday and Wednesday (normally 1 hour 15 minutes each, but Superman was cranky so we ended up leaving after about 45 minutes each day)

Pregnancy Water Aerobics: Tuesday (1 hour each)
Stretching: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (about 5 minutes each)

Total exercise time:  2 hours 55 minutes (better than last week, but still not great)

Till next week!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Remembering to cherish the moment...

Have you ever had a week that reminds you what is important?  That was my week.  Some really special people had some really crappy weeks.

One of the moms I know got some of the worst news you can imagine.  Her husband has been diagnosed with cancer and given 2-5 years.  They have a daughter that is just a year and a half.

One of our family members received news that he has Multiple Sclerosis.  Because of this diagnosis and because of what he does for a living, he is unclear what will happen with his career. 

The 3 year old brother of a friend's stepson is battling a very aggressive brain cancer and it is truly a battle day to day. 

Many of my pregnant friends are struggling with really tough illnesses/colds, gestational diabetes, and other health issues.

Several (very fit and active) acquaintances have been injured and not only had their fitness goals interrupted, but had life put on hold as well. 


Sure some are clearly worse than others, but each time I heard about another situation, I grabbed my family closer and took moments to stop and appreciate everything around me. 

So I want you to stop, pull your family close and tell them how much they mean to you, take time to enjoy the moment you are in instead of bustling through your to-do list tomorrow, and say a prayer for those who are struggling right now.  They could really use the support. 

Thank you.

Favorite Moments Friday

It has been awhile since I have done a "Favorite Moments Friday".  I am not going to try and make up for lost time, but rather take this time to share with you the things that

Monday, April 04, 2011


I suffer from a whole lot of different allergies.  No strange allergies really, just the typical hay fever, pollen, dust, etc.  I am also allergic to cats.  I don't think my husband is allergic to anything.  Obviously I had hoped that Superman would take after his father and not be an allergic to anything.  Yeah, I don't think we are going to be that lucky.

We were at our playgroup date today and the host had a cat.  I have learned that as long as I don't pet the cat and wash my hands when I leave, I can avoid a lot of the symptoms so I didn't have a problem at all today.  Superman on the other hand seemed to have a reaction.

First his nose was running a little bit more than it has been and then he began to cough.  I assumed it was due to the runny nose and it may have still been because of that, but as we left the house he began to cough even more.  Five minutes into our drive he was really coughing...a bad barking type cough.  I started to really worry that he was sick and I had just exposed several kids to this unknown illness.  I figured I would watch his symptoms and make some phone calls tonight to the other moms if he got worse. 

Instead?  He got better.  Almost completely better.  He still had a little bit of a cough this evening, but it was just a small light cough, not the hacking barking cough from earlier in the afternoon.  Also he has been in bed now for almost 30 minutes and hasn't coughed once. 

So I am assuming it was an allergy attack.  Is that the conclusion you would come to?  Maybe I am jumping the gun that it was the cat that he was allergic to...he didn't really get worse till we left, but that sometimes happens to me if I don't spend a really long time at the home.    I am 99% sure it wasn't anything in the new car because we had already driven in it for about 2 hours without a reaction.

So now the question is, what do we do with this information?  Is there allergy medication for toddlers?  If there is, is there a downside (or side effects) to medicating him?  We are going to stay with my sister in a couple weeks and I always struggle with my allergies when I visit.  What will we do with Superman if he starts with the barking cough again?  Anyone have any experience with this?  Help!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Baby #2: Week 26

month 6
April 2, 2011 
(Happy 15 Months to Superman! Happy 3rd Birthday to my puppy, Clyde!)

How far along: 26 weeks

Baby's size: Eggplant (Month 6 - week 25-28) or English Hothouse Cucumber for week 26 (about 14 inches long)

Symptoms:  My big ole' belly is starting to really get in the way. My back is feeling better, but I have to wear the brace almost all the time.  Not sure what else to say...

Total Weight Gain: 
Okay, long story- I had an ob appointment with the nurse practitioner instead of my ob on Monday so I used a different scale to get weighed.  According to that scale I gained 8 pounds this month!!!!!  I was so thrown by that number that I came home and weighed myself (and because the normal scale at the ob office is about 2 pounds less than my home scale so I figured it would tell me if the NP scale was accurate or just way off). Well I weighed 5 pounds more than the last time (still not great).  That would mean that if I weighed in at my ob's office I would have only been up 3 pounds.  So I decided to split the difference between my home scale and what I speculated my normal ob scale would have said.  Confused?  Yeah, I'm not surprised.

Weight gain this past month= +4 
Total weight gain= +8 pounds  

Maternity clothes:  Yes

Best moment this week: Passing my blood glucose test!

Movement:  Lots and lots of movements!

Food cravings: None really.  I haven't been as hungry lately.  I seem to be filling up a lot faster and so not many things are sounding great.   

Gender:  BOY!!!

Labor signs: none

What I miss:Being able to tie my shoes properly.

What I'm looking forward to: We are going to buy a new car!! We have been researching for months and have finally narrowed it down to two different versions of the Odyssey (XL-E with RES or Touring).  We are going to go and test drive them on Sunday and then go from there.  The Touring is a lot easier to get than the XL-E, but we aren't sure we really need all the features that the Touring add.  Car buying really has changed quite a bit since we bought my Prius in '07.  I will have to write a post about this "new" experience.

Weekly Wisdom (aka what I learned this week):  A lot more people have children close together than I had previously thought.  It seems like where ever Superman and I go now a days people are telling me about their kids less than 2 years a part.  Nice to know that I am not the only nutty

Milestones: Passing blood glucose test.

Emotions:  My anxiety is A LOT better this week.  

Boot Camp: Friday (1 hour 15 minutes each)

Pregnancy Water Aerobics: Tuesday (1 hour each)
Stretching: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (about 5 minutes each)

Total exercise time:  2 hours 30 minutes (better than last week, but still not great)

Till next week!