Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twins


When I was in the hospital this past January I had an interesting conversation with a man who works in the cafeteria. I had noticed him looking at me strangely as I placed my order and when he handed my food across the glass partition a few minutes later, he asked me in a thick Middle Eastern accent, "Do you believe in twins?"

He went on to explain that he didn't mean the kind of twins that grow in the womb together, but more of a "face twin" - two people who exist in different parts of the world who are not related, but have the same face. "I only ask," he said, "because I know YOUR twin."

He told me that before he moved to the states he had a close friend in Pakistan who looked just like me, with much darker hair and eyes (obviously). The resemblance between myself and this other woman was apparently pretty shocking to him, and he apologized for not being able to stop staring at me. "More than just your similar facial features, it's in the eyes," he said. "You have her same kind eyes."

Aside from the fact that I was flattered and touched by his "kind eyes" comment, I found his whole idea about "twins" very interesting. In the weeks that have passed since that conversation, I've found myself thinking about it several times.

I'm pretty sure I met a different twin of mine yesterday. Well, not so much "met" her as accidentally climbed into her car thinking it was mine.

After dropping a prescription off at the pharmacy for my brother (who came to Utah for a weekend trip and ended up having an emergency appendectomy, prolonging his stay by several days) I opened my car door and started getting in when I suddenly realized, this isn't my car.

The car was a gold colored Grand Am, like mine. It had a broken driver's side window, just like mine does. It was parked very close to the same spot that I remembered parking in, and on the ring of keys left in the ignition (something I'm guilty of doing while running quick errands in our little town) I noticed a large keychain that simply read: JENNIFER. I swear I'm not making this up.

In fact, the only indication that it wasn't my car is that this car was incredibly clean.

You know, face twins are pretty cool, I guess. And people who share a name and drive the same kind of car are kinda neat, too. But find someone whose car is as disastrous as mine and I'll REALLY be impressed! I don't believe that kind of twin exists.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

One of these puppies does not belong


We've started calling Nora "The Nanny" or "Auntie Nora" because at this point she's spending almost as much time with the puppies as Dixie. She simply adores them and Dixie... well, Dixie just enjoys having those eight tiny mouths biting on something other than her nipples all day every day. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A lesson in biology... and chastity

Though I've never had any concrete evidence (until now, that is) I've always thought that Dixie is a bit of a slut.

What's made me think this? Well, there was our neighbor's yellow lab who Adam had to shoot with a BB-gun several times for trying to, ahem... date Dixie. And there was the time that Pedro, a miniature pinscher from across town, camped out in our yard for three full days (and nights), scratching at the front door and peeking through our windows every chance he got, obviously pining for Dixie. Even though neither of those situations were necessarily her fault -- I mean boys will be boys, after all -- I've always gotten the feeling that if she could be naughty and get away with it, she'd totally take the chance.

Now, I'm not going to say "I told you so", but take a look at this. Notice anything odd about this picture? Like maybe the fact that two of these puppies look like they're from an entirely different litter?


Let's take a closer look. This is the head and face of a very typical French bulldog - chubby, round head, pointed ears, squished nose:


And this? Well this is not the head of a typical French bulldog:


Now look at these little brothers...


...compared to these monsters: 


And in case it wasn't apparent in the previous pictures, take a look at the size difference: 


Many people don't know that it's possible for a dog (or any other mammal, including humans) to give birth to babies with different fathers at the same time. When the female releases multiple eggs and mates with more than one male in rapid succession, each egg is fertilized by whatever semen is present. This means that theoretically, a mother dog could have a litter of six puppies with six different fathers... in which case I think her owners should sit her down and have a very serious discussion about morals. 

Fortunately Dixie isn't that much of slut and we only ended up with two fathers... that we know of, anyway. What's most puzzling about all this is that we have no idea when or how or by what kind of dog she was bred. Her "dates" with (most of) the puppies' father were planned and carefully timed, and she was never out of our sight for more than a couple minutes during her entire heat cycle. At any rate they're stinkin' cute, it's just weird. 

Each time I drive through our neighborhood I have my eyes out, searching for a dog that could be the other father. There's a beagle down the street I have my suspicions about, but I'm not really sure how I'd ever have those suspicions confirmed. I don't think Jerry Springer or Maury Povich conduct animal paternity tests on their show, though I don't think it's a horrible idea. In fact, I think it'd be a refreshing change of pace. 


"Spot... you are not the father!"
"Benji... you are not the father!"
"Max... you ARE the father!!!"  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

200 posts ago

I recently saw this idea on another blog and thought it might be fun to try. Every once in a while I'll link to the article I wrote 200 posts ago so we can see what was happening in life and how I was feeling back then. When I discovered which post I'd be linking to today, I seriously considered waiting for a week or two to start this, but since I am who I am and have no shame whatsoever, I'm just gonna go ahead with it today.

This should be an interesting welcome for my most recent followers.

My aching boobs
Originally published August 14, 2010

"If I were home, I'd totally have cabbage leaves in my bra. (Except they are so engorged that I can't wear a bra, so I guess the cabbage would just be in my shirt.) In fact, I've heard it provides such wonderful relief that I probably would have boobed my way through half a head of cabbage by now. But for some reason, I haven't been able to talk my doctor into putting an order in for some boob-cabbage..."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On my mind right now

Some random things:

- I want to sincerely thank all of you who have sent me encouraging and comforting messages over the past week. Seriously, minutes after posting about my miscarriage I started receiving texts, emails and messages on facebook. "I'm so sorry," they said, or "I love you guys, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help." And the messages didn't stop for days - still haven't stopped in fact. I am blown away by the love and concern that has been extended, and I love each and every one of you for it. From the very bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

- Strangely, some people I'm very close to, people I've known for years and have real-life relationships with (even a few I'm related to) have acted as if nothing happened at all. I know talking about miscarriage probably makes most people uncomfortable, but the fact that they haven't mentioned anything at all makes me feel like they just don't care. NOT talking about it makes it the elephant in the room, which just makes everyone feel awkward.

- Though Dixie's puppies won't be ready to go to their new homes until mid-March sometime, I started advertising to sell them weeks ago. I've probably received about 30 phone calls and/or emails about them and can I just say.... strange group of people, The Puppy People. One guy asked me if I'd be willing to trade a puppy for a "well-used X-box and an old cross bow". Though it sounded like a killer deal, I reluctantly passed. Another potential buyer was hoping to get a little female to breed with her chihuahua. Because a french bulldog and a chihuahua would create such lovely puppies, no? Then just today I spoke with a man twice about one of the male puppies. He was excited enough the first time we talked that he forgot to ask me a few questions, which is why he called the second time. Then while I was at work he tried to call again... four more times. When I finally had a chance to check my missed calls and listen to my voicemail, I was a little surprised to hear two messages that consisted of nothing but a TV blaring in the background and some heavy breathing. I'm pretty sure that if he ultimately decides to come look at the puppies we'll be meeting at a neutral location, because there is NO WAY I'm giving this dude my address! The puppies have been fun and I'll be sad to see them go, but I'll be so happy when I don't have to deal with The Puppy People anymore.

- Some very, very exciting news! My sweet friend Sharlie who has been awaiting a double lung and heart transplant got The Call last night. Turns out the organs were a match and she got her transplant today! Here are some recent updates from the Sharlie's Angels facebook page:

All of her organs have been sewn in. Her lungs inflated "perfectly". Her bleeding is better than typical CF patients.....no transfusions yet. The procedure has been smoother than they believed it would. Our next update will come from the surgeon after it's over....believed to be a couple hours from now.
Success! The head surgeon just came out and gave us the great news. Her heart is functioning well. Her lungs are already up to 50%, a level she's never been at before. They believe her lung function will rise as she heals. We'll have a better idea about the health of her new lungs shortly. We were able to see her for a short moment when they wheeled her out....she looked so peaceful. We'll be able to see her soon. We're so thankful for your love and support.
Sharlie is resting comfortably in the ICU. They'll keep her on the ventilator till about 6am tomorrow at which time she'll breathe on her own for the first time. She'll be able to converse a bit and, I imagine, shed a tear.
I'm so excited for Sharlie to have this new chance at life and I pray that all goes well. She is an absolutely incredible woman who deserves only the best! Please take a moment to send some positive thoughts to Shar and her family, as well as the family of the donor who made this miracle possible.

- On that note, are YOU an organ donor? Did you know that each day 18 people in the United States die while waiting for an organ? Did you know that a single donor can save up to eight lives? Did you know that anyone can become an organ donor regardless of age, race or medical history? Did you know that all major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation? In fact it is seen as the final act of love and generosity toward others. Did you know that an open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors as the body is treated with care, respect and dignity throughout the entire process? Did you know that if you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life? Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.

(To learn more about organ donation visit: http://donatelife.net/ or http://www.organdonor.gov/index.html.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 2012 Newsletter: 2 and 1/2 years

Dear Morgan,
You're two and a half years old now, little one! I haven't written for a while and for the most part, you are to blame for that. You definitely know how to keep me on my toes! When I'm not actively on my toes I'm usually sacked out on the bed, a snoring, drooling heap of flesh, completely exhausted from having been on my toes all day long. It sounds like I'm complaining but really I'm not, because as tiring as it can be to keep up with you, I can always, always count on you to keep life interesting. It's a fair trade off in my opinion.

The past few months have been (much like all the other months with you) fun and exhausting and crazy and busy and frustrating... and wonderful. The past few weeks especially have been nothing but an endless river of words coming out of your mouth. There have been a few times that I've stood there, listening to you jabber on and on about something and I've found myself seriously wondering if your mouth was ever going to close again. You've recently begun telling elaborate stories and singing songs with real lyrics... well, almost. Though you get the gist of most songs, sometimes the exact words are a little bit off like, "hush little baby, don't say that" or "rocking baby, falling treetops".


Something we should discuss perhaps is the concept that all these words you're saying - they actually have meaning! For instance, when you ask for some juice and then, upon seeing the cup of juice I've set in front of you, immediately throw your body on the floor and scream, "No, I want MILK!" you are denying the very essence of communication. Juice and milk are not the same thing, which is why there is a different word assigned to each of them. When you ask for juice, you get juice. That's basically how this communication thing works. That is... until you're married (years and years and years from now) and you tell your husband "I'm fine", which most certainly does not mean what he thinks it means.

We've spent a lot of time indoors this winter and I can tell that it's really starting to get to you. Most of the time when we're home, you're running around the house like a caged animal who has just tasted freedom for the first time. There is a well worn path in the middle of the staircase that runs from the tippy-top step to the very bottom one from you sliding down the stairs backwards on your tummy. You recently asked to go swimming and when I explained that it was too cold to go swimming anywhere outside you asked excitedly, "swim in baff tub?" I have to be honest, I didn't believe that putting a bathing suit and water shoes on you would make taking a bath any more exciting, but boy was I wrong! You had so much fun that now "bathtub swimming" is a frequent occurrence in our house.


Lately right before bedtime, you've been getting one heck of a second wind. You like to run around in circles all over the living room until it's time to brush your teeth, and often when you're finished with that you say, "Let me run around just one more time, okay Mom." And then you proceed to run around the living room another sixteen times. Surprisingly, this does not tire you out or make you any more inclined to actually stay in your bed. Without fail, a few minutes after you've been put to bed you come wandering out of your bedroom and that's when the excuses start. Usually they're pretty run-of-the-mill: Mommy, I need a drink. I need to go potty. I need to run around just ooone more time. But sometimes they're pretty darn clever! In fact just last night you insisted that a turtle had climbed into your crib and you needed to sleep with your dad and I so that it wouldn't "get" you. When all else fails you resort to something simple like I need a hug, Mama, and though you haven't figured it out yet, that one buys you an extra two or three minutes every single time.  

I see so much of myself in you, but at the same time you are very much your father's daughter. You like his food, but my music. You have his love for the outdoors and my love for animals. You are social and enjoy being around people as much as I do, and you can't stand to sit still for more than five minutes like your daddy. And then there are things about you that are all you. You're definitely your own little person, and I love that about you. Though I love to see pieces of us in you, it's even more fun to catch the little glimpses of the strong individual you are becoming.


Something that never, ever ceases to amaze me is the wonderment with which you see the world. Everything is exciting to you, every experience an opportunity for fun. Recently we went grocery shopping and as soon as we walked into the store you saw that they had a shopping cart made especially for kids in the shape of a car. You immediately climbed behind the steering wheel and squealed with delight, even before we started moving. When I began pushing the cart forward your laughter was so loud that it echoed throughout the entire store.

Later, after we had purchased our groceries and were on our way out to the car, I gave the cart an extra push and hopped on the back so were quickly coasting through the parking lot. I looked down at you -- the cool air blowing your hair back, a gigantic smile on your face, this genuine and unbridled laughter seemingly resonating through your entire body -- and I couldn't help but laugh right along with you. You enjoyed that cart ride more than most people enjoy life, I think, and it was a humbling reminder that I need to make a better effort to enjoy the little things in my own life. Even if it's something as ordinary as pushing a shopping cart through the parking lot.

Promise me you'll hold on to that sense of wonder as long as you possibly can.

Love,
Mama

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On loss and looking to the future

I'm going to write about something just for me tonight. I debated with myself about whether or not I should say anything on this blog, whether it would be helpful or more painful, but ultimately I think I need to do this for no other reason than to get a little closure (hopefully). I've always said that writing is great therapy, so please bear with me.

I had a miscarriage yesterday.

Adam and I were recently very surprised to find out that I was pregnant. Not very many post ago I talked about my passion for pregnancy and childbirth. In that post I mentioned how I wasn't currently pregnant or even planning to be in the near future. Little did I know that as I was typing those very words, I was actually about 4 weeks pregnant! When a bout of morning sickness prompted me to take a home pregnancy test last week, we were both more than a little surprised by the results.

Adam was ecstatic! When I got pregnant with Morgan, he was more scared than happy. It took him several months to be able to get over his concerns and honestly just be excited. This time around though, he was nothing but excited from the very second we found out. We decided that we weren't going to tell very many people right away, but we did tell some family members and a small handful of close friends over the next few days. I also made the necessary phone calls to a couple local doctors, my CF clinic and a high-risk OB/GYN that the CF nurse coordinator referred me to.

I don't know how to explain it except that something felt different from the very beginning. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Morgan, I felt pregnant. I immediately began making plans and envisioning what our life would be like with a new baby. This time, as I shared the news with people and began making appointments, I almost felt like I was talking about someone else. Even when I called my mom to tell her, without realizing it I kept saying things like "I think I'm pregnant" and "if we have this baby". Though I was excited, something inside of me seemed to be holding me back.

As soon as I got out of bed yesterday (now about 8 weeks pregnant) I began bleeding. At first it wasn't very concerning to me because I bled off and on throughout my entire pregnancy with Morgan, sometimes excessively and often passing clots, but I went on to deliver a healthy full-term baby. When the bleeding got heavier and I started cramping, I began to worry. Never during my first pregnancy was there cramping or pain associated with the bleeding. At that point, I was trying to be hopeful, but deep down I knew I was miscarrying.

By about 2:00 in the afternoon, everything was over. I had lost the baby.

Any woman who has experienced a miscarriage can attest that though it is a physically painful experience, the emotional pain is what eats away at you. Though I felt like something was "off" from the very beginning and I think that part of me even knew it wasn't meant to be, I still lost a baby - a fact that I'm painfully and acutely aware of. That's not something you just get over.

A few people have asked how I'm doing, and the truth is that I'm okay. That's not to say that I haven't cried, or that I won't continue to cry over this. I have, and I will. I realize that. A lot of my emotion yesterday came from my concern for Adam. This has been hard for him, too, and I'm sure that there will be more grieving for both of us. But last night as I laid in bed with Adam on one side of me and Morgan snuggled closely on the other side (she slept with us at my request last night)... I was at peace.

This experience hasn't been for nothing. First of all, we now realize now how much we really do want another baby. We had been back and forth on the subject so many times over the past couple years, but now we've made a definite decision: we will keep trying. Second, planning and actively trying to get pregnant will ensure that I make any necessary adjustments to my medications and also that I get pregnant when I'm as healthy as I can be. I believe that there is a reason I was unable to maintain this pregnancy. There is a saying that goes something like "having faith in God means having faith in His timing", and I do. I believe that this will happen for us when the time is right.

And so... with a bit of a heavy heart, I look forward to the future.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

30 Days of Blogging: Day 23

15 facts about me:

1. I have totally sucked at this blogging challenge... but in all fairness, you can't say I didn't warn you that this might happen.

#3
2. When I was little I thought that only boys had eyebrows and only girls had eyelashes.

3. I've never broken a bone, but I have had a major tendon severed by a lawnmower. I hear that as far as injuries go, a severed tendon might even be worse than a broken bone. Who am I to say?

4. One of the few talents I have is wrapping my legs behind my head. When I was 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with Morgan, Adam bet me that I couldn't get even get one leg behind my head successfully. He lost.

5. In my opinion, one of the best breakfast foods on the planet is leftover curry and rice from the night before.

6. I didn't even know who was playing in the Superbowl this year until it was over. 

7. I've never been a very lucky person. In any given situation, the odd or unusual will happen to me. (See #3)

8. I can't sing. At all. But that doesn't stop me from randomly bursting into song, oftentimes in public. 
#9

9. I used to spend hours practicing my handwriting in the hope that one day I would write just like Stacey McGill from The Babysitters Club.

10. I've never been "cool", but my kid's don't know that. In fact, both Morgan and Shylee are young enough that they believe their dad and I are the coolest people on earth. I dread the day when they no longer think I'm awesome.  

11. This year Adam and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary and a total of seven years together... a fact that completely blows my mind! 

12. My grandpa died over a year ago, but I still can't bring myself to change the contact information in my cell phone from "Grandma and Grandpa" to simply "Grandma". In my mind, that would be choosing to erase a part of him and I refuse to do it.

13. TV commercials sometimes make me cry.

14. All the DVD's I own are arranged alphabetically. Even though the rest of my house is often a mess, my DVD rack is always in order. Just another weird quirk of mine.

15. When my days on this earth are done, more than anything I want people to be able to say that I was a person who really knew how to love.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Liebster Award

I was thrilled to learn that my new friend Colleen, author of  Live* Laugh* Love* Breathe* recently chose me for a Liebster Blog Award.

Liebster is a German word that literally translates to "favorite", "dearest" or "beloved". By one blogger giving it to another, they are essentially saying, your blog is a favorite of mine. And that's pretty cool, right? I'm always a little surprised to learn that someone takes pleasure in reading this little blog of mine.

(Just now I accidentally typed "blob of mine" instead of "blog of mine" and for a minute, I seriously considered leaving it that way.) 

The rules of the Liebster Blog Award are:
1) Acknowledge the blogger who gave the award by linking back to them
2) Give this award to 5 other bloggers (who have fewer than 200 readers), and let them know through a comment on their blog
3) Post the award on your blog
4) Best of all - bask in the glory, have fun and share the love!

I had a hard time only choosing five because I love all the blogs I read... which is why I read them. However, it needed to be done, so my five picks are these (and yes, they are all CF blogs because most of the others that I follow are private family blogs or blogs that have far more than 200 followers):

Miracles Happen
The author of this blog, Emilee, also has cystic fibrosis, but aside from that she has two adorable children (both of who's birth stories are pretty miraculous), a great sense of humor and more faith than most people I know... combined. She has been such an inspiration to me on several occasions and I'm so happy to have met her.

Confessions of a Cyster
Stacey's writing is informative, heartfelt and oftentimes very funny. She hasn't been updating as frequently as I'd like (I'm pretty selfish that way) but if you go take a look around her blog, I guarantee you'll find something you like and most likely, you'll learn something new.

Let Me Fly
Jamie is another wife and mom living with CF, but our similarities don't end there. We share similar interests and life views; on several occasions we have found ourselves hospitalized at the same time, thinking the same thing, or dealing with eerily similar issues in life. Jamie is my Cyber Soul Cyster, and I simply adore her. She blogs about her struggles with CF, her adventures as a mom and about life in general.

Let Your Life Speak
This is a hard one for me to write about because the last time that Summer posted was over a year ago. Soon after Summer and I became friends, she passed away. Another life taken by CF way too soon. I've probably read all her posts three times by now, but her blog remains a favorite of mine and I still find myself wandering over there every now and then. When I'm having a particularly rough time, I can often find comfort and inspiration in her words. She'll never know how much our short friendship touched my life.

Love to Breathe
Just read a couple of Somer Love's posts and you'll see why I love Love to Breathe. Somer is upbeat, funny and always full of helpful hints and advice. Head on over and get to know Somer and her fur babies, Ocsar and Lilly Love.

Seriously, I have to stop now because I could go on and on talking about blogs that I love. Thanks again for this award, Colleen!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

30 Days of Blogging: Day 18

It's been a while since I've done one, so I thought I'd turn today's blogger challenge (Day 18: Five things that irritate you) into one of my "How To" posts.

HOW TO ANNOY ME:

- After seeing the outfit my daughter chose to wear to the grocery store, tell me that "allowing her to dress like that will be really embarrassing for her someday." If I knew we were openly passing judgement I might have pointed out how your stretch pants made you look like a total fatass. Lucky for you, I'm far too much of a lady to mention it.

- Offer to take out the garbage, but don't replace the liner in the trash can.

- Share a detailed account of your entire day on facebook. It's not that I don't care about what time you woke up, what you had for lunch, how many times you've used the bathroom or what color you're painting your fingernails... it's just that, well, actually it is that I don't care.

- Use the words their, there, and they're interchangeably.

- Stand with your shopping cart parked sideways across the grocery aisle, obliviously talking on your cell phone while I try to maneuver my cart around you, then give me a dirty look when I gently push the end of your cart out of the way so I can pass through.


HOW TO WOO ME:

- Send me a text message containing only the word "Boomshakalaka!"

- Arrange an entire date night (including babysitting arrangements!) without my knowledge.

- When I mention that I didn't bring food from home and I'm not looking forward to leaving the office to get lunch, tell me that you have an extra sandwich and Fresca in the kitchen and insist that I take them off your hands.

- Say in your cutest two and a half year old voice, "I miss you, Mama! You miss me too much?"

- Try to assure me those things that pop up when I flex my arms are muscles, even though I know they're just tendons.