Thursday, July 31, 2014

{phfr}: California Trip Edition

Little Miss Mae has finally decided that she loves being outside.  She went from outright refusal, to reluctantly accompanying us out on the porch to play to seeing me holding her bathing suit and racing over to change.  It's one of our little victories for the trip that's made me so happy.


These are a few of my favorite moments from the last week.

Sadie has hosted daily tea parties and on this particular day Patch was invited... although he wasn't quite big enough for his own tea cup... but he didn't seem to mind!

Patch is also a major fan of playing peek a boo at the moment.  And pretending to sneeze.  Especially if someone is around to say "bless you."

Did I mention that Maggie found some roller skates (that are hers but that no one seemed interested in) and put them on by herself and started skating around the house... and then around the porch.  I also caught her attempting to go down the slide in them and upstairs in her bed wearing them.  I'm watching them very, very closely these days since it seems that she could get into all sorts of trouble with them on her little feet!
Large motor skills are definitely a strength with this little one:

So my kids do this thing where one of them squeals and then another one squeals and then they all squeal together while laughing hysterically.  I didn't get Mae in this picture but this was one particularly noisy morning earlier this week when Patch started off a chorus of squealing that he thought was particularly hilarious:
Here are the pirate ballerina princesses playing Pirate-Ballerina-Princess together on top of the pirate ship:

As a younger brother with two older sisters who pretty much refuse to wear anything that isn't pink (or sometimes purple) Patch finds that most of the stuff around the house is pink.  Like these glasses he stumbled across:
This Dora backpack:
And especially this pink hat that he swiped from Mae when she was done wearing it around the house:
However he did seem to appreciate it when I found one of Grumpa's hats and handed it too him (you should have seen how fast he let tossed the pink one aside when he saw that I was offering him a hat that belonged to his grandpa. 

And since he seems to be the first of our kids that will actually wear sun glasses I found this pair on sale for $3.99 at CVS.  I expected him to break them in about ten seconds, but they're "flex" glasses and they can pretty much stretch out to lay flat without breaking... which is very important since they'd have snapped in three pieces if they didn't bend like that:
That's our week in pictures.  For more {phfr} head over to Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Maggie's Artwork

Maggie needed the crayons yesterday.  All of them.  She had to have them.  Life just couldn't go on if she only had a handful.
After finally claiming not one, but two packs she got to work.  She started chatting about rainbows (which pretty much sounds like "rainbow, rainbow, rainbow, rainbow" as she labeled what she was working on).  She loves them (possibly because she seems to see them everywhere, but that's a subject for another day... and perhaps and eye exam).  And then she drew this all by herself:

And it pretty much made my whole day!  Well that and Paul feeling pretty good about day one of the bar!
And again, prayers are greatly appreciated today as he goes into day 2!  I can't believe it's going to be over tonight!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Last night was a long night with Patch and Maggie waking up and spending a good portion of the night not sleeping.  Not unexpectedly, today was a tough day for both of them. 

This evening I stopped Mae from sprinting outside in her sleeper to play in the still triple digit heat on the front porch.  As I brought her back in, explaining that we were done playing outside for the day, she burst into tears and laid by the front door sobbing.  She wanted nothing to do with me and wouldn't be comforted, but I paused to watch as I saw Patch charge across the room and stop next to her.

He bent over first and looked at her and then took his little hands and put them under her arms as if he was trying to pick her up in his arms.  She immediately stopped crying and looked at him.  I waited, almost holding my breath. 

Mae gets mad at Paul and Sadie and I but so far Patch is pretty much her baby who can do no wrong.  She might get annoyed with him and walk away, but I've never seen her get angry at him.  Still, coming over and putting his face near hers during a meltdown made me nervous and so I lingered nearby, peeking around the corner to watch. 

He bent over and put his arm around her and patted her on the back and gave her a little squeeze and she lay, suddenly quiet, catching her breath.  Then he got up and walked away, stopped halfway across the room and turned around and walked back over and put his arm around her to give her one last hug before going back to doing whatever he was doing before she made her dash outside into the heat. 

A little before bedtime she was exhausted and so I tucked her in early.  Patch charged into the room to check on her and then screamed for a solid three minutes because he didn't want to leave her alone in her room.  I finally brought him downstairs and got him ready for bed to distract him from the fact that she was already in bed. 

And now they are both soundly sleeping... and I'm hoping they make up for last night by returning to their at home routine and sleeping soundly through the night!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

27 Weeks...

I managed to haul the Week by Week dress along on our trip and find a place where I could set up my computer to take my weekly selfie with a similar if not quite the same back ground. 
So here is week 27 (and all the other weeks leading up to it):

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes: It's Almost Time for the Bar!!! Edition

The bar exam is almost here.  Hold on while I hyperventilate a while about that.

You'd think I was the one taking it, right? 

It probably doesn't help that Paul called last night with a migraine/cold/flu/some sort of bug that always, always, always hits our family the week before midterms/finals/any important exam.

So prayers please?  Lots and lots of prayers that he does awesome on the bar and is feeling better right this very second? 

Because I would really, really, really appreciate it!
Oh the nights have been long. 

While Maggie has adjusted in every other way to our trip west, she has wildly resisted the time change.  She'll happily go to bed at her regular bedtime...  she just insists that morning is still morning at 3 am and that it's time for everyone to get up.

We may have made it through last night (I guess we'll never know) if a certain 20 month old baby brother hadn't decided to exercise his lungs at 11:30 pm, waking everyone in the house with antics. 

However I was very impressed with Mae as I got her back to sleep.  She sang and hummed to herself for somewhere around an hour until she was finally quiet and I was able to slip back out to my bed, tiptoeing and hoping I wouldn't hear a sign that she hadn't really drifted off to her dreams.

The above is likely why I fell asleep a little after 6:30 pm last night.  Because without sewing to do I haven't been staying up until all hours and while it was a surprisingly early bedtime I was really, really thankful for it during from 11:30-1:45 when I was getting babies back to sleep!

Also... finding a favorite sleeping place has been a little bit of a challenge...

Do you know that when I first heard about Edel and also heard that it happened to be this weekend, spack-dab right next to the bar I still tried with all my might to think of a way, any way, that I could possibly be there (ask Paul how amusing that was).  Even though monetarily even without the bar it would be pretty much impossible (not to mention that it would be virtually impossibly even if it were an all expenses paid trip because me-minus the two littlest ones just doesn't work these days... not yet at least...). 


One of these days... maybe...

Which is why I need to focus really, really hard on being thankful that we're in California right now and I'm getting to sleep and that the bar really truly should finally be over in less than a week!

Also, this circled over right above us yesterday and then dipped down and picked up
water about 100 yards away.  I'm pretty sure it was the high point of the trip for the little ones!

Now for something totally random.

I have been trying to pay the registration on our car in Michigan for months and months. 

And they said they needed to see the title.  And I was sure I had the title, except that I couldn't find it anywhere. 

So we went through a big process trying to get the title from the state of Florida and then Florida came back and said, "oh we're sorry, we have no record of that car existing at all" at which point I really started to wonder about the shadiness of the used car lot we brought it from (which was pretty shady as it was... but was one of the only ones with vans in our price range).  And I tried not to think "Come on Florida!!!  I paid registration to you!  You took my money!  You sent us a little registration sticker!  How can you say this car doesn't exist?!?!"

Finally...finally... the local tax assessor's office finds our information and tells Paul that they didn't have a valid address for us so they shredded the title (um, again, you sent us registration paperwork, took our money and sent the little sticker back) and that it's not a problem, they'll send the title to us now in Michigan if I send them my Michigan driver's license.  Which I did.  And we finally have a title to register the car with.  And it only took this side of forever to get done.

"Cabrini"... a van that has made it far, far further than we could have
guessed when we bought it.

This is the life.

It only took a week to convince her that outside wasn't so bad.  Even if the central air doesn't extend this far.  Also, she's watching about thirty humming birds swarm a single feeder.  When she got up and walked around the side of the porch, two of them followed her:

For more Quick Takes, visit Carolyn at Svellerella!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{phfr} with a splash of trails thrown in

{pretty} with a splash of Theme Thursday thrown in

Sadie asked me to help her into this dress earlier in the week.  It's one that I got the summer after fifth grade when my family visited the east coast and went to Williamsburg.  I think I wore it for Christmas in sixth grade... it's still a tiny bit too long for her in the sleeves, but other than that basically fits my tall six year old the way it fit me when I was twelve.

She also thought it would be the perfect dress to head out to pick vegetables in the garden in:

This is my "trails" photo, although it's taken at the exact moment that Sadie stepped off the beaten trail
and called over her shoulder to me "Let's go this way!  Let's take the short cut!"


Not many vegetables made it into the basket though.  She was too busy eating them:


I snapped this picture of Patch when he was walking towards me eating a popsicle while having a "pool party" on the porch.  It's one of my favorites from the entire trip:

And while this one is a little blurry and you can see a little more of the red popsicle that he was eating on his face, I just loved his smile enough to keep it in the lineup:


After a week of convincing that it really isn't all that bad outside, even if she has to leave the air conditioning inside, Mae joined in the fun on the porch in typical Mae Bae fashion:

And Patch played hide and go seek with Grumpa just before the water fight started:


In case you didn't know, Mama can be so, so mean sometimes.

Patch isn't the kind of kid that needs even the tiniest of raised voices.

Yesterday he was eating a popsicle (again).  I watched as he walked over and started to paint with it on Nani's nice clean window and said in a sweet, soft voice (because I know my audience):  "Oh no Patch.  We don't do that.  We don't paint on windows with popsicles.  That's yucky."

He froze and turned to look at me.  Then he laughed, oh, for about two seconds.  Then he collapsed on the ground and sobbed... until I scooped him up rinsed the popsicle off him and held him on my lap for a solid half hour until he was ready to play again (and he did steer clear of the windows!): 

He did however, swipe a table cloth that Nani wasn't using any more to use as a cape.  Because if there's one thing that our porch needs, it's more super heroes:

As always, partners in crime:

For more {phfr} head over toe Like Mother, Like Daughter.

For more Theme Thursday head over to Clan Donaldson.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

...because a Band-Aid solution could have cost me my life...

NFP awareness week has rolled around again this year and much of the focus has come in response to a post that went viral a few weeks back where a group of women held up signs telling the world why they used the pill.

I hadn't had any big plans to write anything this week because I really didn't think I had anything to add on the subject, other than repeated the oft heard, how can something be whole someone else's responsibility while at the same time being none of their business?

So many good posts have already been written.  Nursing has caused each of our little ones to arrive exactly when we were ready to face the challenge of another newborn in the house, and so I don't find myself mulling over NFP much at all these days.

Yet I kept seeing pictures of women talking about how great the Pill is for their health and each time I wince.

Of course there's the obvious reason, that putting a substance that's called a class one carcinogen by the World Health Organization, right along side cigarettes and lead paint, into one's body each day and calling it "health care" is dangerous to say the least.

But my relationship with the Pill and the reasons that it is prescribed is a little more complicated than that.

Long time readers already know the story, but it's been a couple of years since the events of the fall of 2011 unfolded, and it seemed like an appropriate story for a month when so many are singing the praises of the pill for "health reasons."

I was exactly 12 weeks pregnant that day in late July and had breathed a not-in-the-first-trimester-any-longer sigh of relief, when I first saw a spot of blood on a piece of toilet paper that made my heart stop.  Paul was in a U-Haul, moving all of our belongings across the country to Florida where he was about to begin law school in Naples, and the girls, ages 3 and 1, would be following behind a few days later.
I arrived at the ER my heart pounding in my chest.  I didn't have an OB yet.  My OB didn't see patients until 12 weeks anyway, and since we were moving I'd thought I'd just find one the second we arrived in Florida. It had seemed like a good plan at the time.  Suddenly it wasn't anymore.

At the ER I was assured it was probably nothing, that spotting happens all the time during pregnancy.  At 12 weeks I was unlikely to be miscarrying.  I went back for a sonogram and lay staring at the screen while the silent tech took measurements.  I watched a heartbeat that was slower than my own flicker across the screen and waited.

Just before
I began
to miscarry.
The doctor came back in, his entire demeanor changed.  With a heart rate of 60 at 12 weeks it was unlikely the baby would survive.  Yes, I could still go to Florida.  It didn't really matter what I did.  Nothing was likely to change the inevitable course that this pregnancy would run.

And so I stormed heaven with prayers and did the only thing I could do, which was wait.  We moved to Florida.  The day that my parents left to return to California was Paul's birthday, the first day of law school and the Feast of the Assumption.  That night I sat in the ER losing blood too fast.

As I sat there, timing contractions, waiting for my name to be called a nurse came out and said "Kim."  I didn't move, since she hadn't said my name (I was waiting for the whole "Cammie" that I'd given them when I arrived and honestly didn't think it was me).  Apparently she was having a bad night, or thought that I intentionally didn't get up fast enough, and by the time the mix up was cleared up she was furious that I hadn't jumped up when she first said the wrong name.  She had me in tears with a lecture by the time triage was over.

Thus began one of the worst nights of my life.  It would have been bad no matter what... but I was completely alone.  They had me walk, from my little curtained cubicle to an exam room, still losing blood fast, to an exam room, with an argument between two nurses on the way about whether I should be walking.

Finally after calling for help and having those calls ignored for 5-10 minutes (and having my nurse actually stop another nurse from coming in to help me) I gave birth to our third child, Christian Athanasius, by myself in that little curtained cubicle.  I performed a conditional baptism and then began to argue over his body.  Yes, they would return it to me. No, I didn't care if it was against the rules.  I was Catholic and we would bury this child.  I got louder.  I said I was Catholic over and over again and finally they agreed that if I called early enough the next morning I would most likely be allowed to claim the little body I'd held in my hand.

At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with the Pill, but bear with me a little longer (if you've made it this far).

We were able to claim our son's body and have him cremated.  And I called doctors' offices and tried to make appointments for a follow up but no one wanted to take me on.  The doctor that I'd been referred to that was required by law to see me wouldn't return our calls  (I was later told was actually a concierge doctor and that it was odd that he was the one I was referred to) .  No one wanted to take on an new OB patient who was having problems.

I wasn't really worried at that point though.  What was happening was natural, I told myself.  It would be over soon.

Except that it wasn't.  The bleeding didn't stop.  For weeks and then months. I would return to the ER when it would get to be too much, dizzy and pale, and they would tell me that it was natural for the bleeding to last a while, I could take the pill.  No pill?  Well, it would probably stop soon enough.

In September, two months after the ordeal had begun, an ER doctor took an interest in helping us find follow up care that would return our calls and called a friend the head of obstetrics, who agreed to see me.

This was it, I was finally going to get answers, I was finally going to get better.  I would stop feeling sick and almost fainting every time I walked more than a few steps, and surely they'd find out why I was having debilitating cramps wrack my lower back as contraction after contraction continued, week after week.

Instead when I went into his office he told me he didn't need to do a sonogram.  He said that he'd made his diagnosis after talking on the phone with the ER doctor.  He said he thought that my uterus was still a little inflamed from the miscarriage, but that really I was fine and the only thing I needed was to get on the Pill to stop the bleeding.

When I voiced my objections to going on a medication that I in general did not find morally acceptable but that had also caused me to become seriously depressed every single time I'd taken it, not to mention exasperating my migraines to the point of being unbearable, he brushed it off and said it was the only solution.  The Pill was the only thing that could help me, he told me repeatedly.  It was the only solution and it was absolutely necessary for my health.

When I asked why my back still hurt, why I was throwing up all the time and fainting if nothing was wrong, he paused and said "I think it's probably psychological" and gave me a little speech about how he knew I wanted to be pregnant again but I would have to wait for at least three months.

I was astounded.  It wasn't that I wanted to be pregnant right then (although I would have given just about anything to have still been pregnant).  It was that I wanted to know what was wrong with my body.  I wanted to know why I was so sick.  I wanted to be well enough to go outside and play with my children without nearly fainting or hemorrhaging.

Instead I left with a prescription for estrogen and the feeling that absolutely no one was going to help me.

At that point I was honestly beginning to fear for my life.  Before he left the room I asked him what to do if the bleeding didn't stop.  He paused and said to come back in three months if that was the case (six months after I'd begun to miscarry).

I went home and began to take the pills.  Nothing happened.  It didn't stop the bleeding.  I was still sick.  I'd been calling a NaPro doctor, trying to get in for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't heard back yet (she didn't have secretary and returned her own calls).  Finally, I wrote a letter outlining the entire story and sent it to the NFP doctor with a friend who had an appointment.

She called me almost immediately and suddenly I had hope.  She would fit me in.

I arrived at the office building and winced as I saw a life size sticker of the doctor that had told me that it was all in my head plastered across the elevator.  I stood in front of it, wishing that I had a sharpie, as I waited for the doors to open.

I brought the pills with me and she shook her head as she looked at them.  "He gave you these?"  She said.  "These are such a low dose they never would have stopped the bleeding.  They wouldn't have done anything."

She brought up a sonogram image and gasped in horror.  "I see the problem. This uterus is still full of debris."

Neither of us understood how it could have been missed, over and over again by doctor after doctor at the ER, or by the OB I'd initially gone to (well, he missed it because he wouldn't do a sonogram...).

She prescribed Misoprostol and when that didn't work after a couple of days, scheduled my D & C.   It was October 28th.  I'd begun to miscarry in July.

There were 17 days of antibiotics by the time we were through and while everyone "hoped" we could have more children in the future, but no one really knew what damage had been done by months and months of "retained debris."

The effect of the surgery was almost instant.  Suddenly I was better and the emotional healing that had been stunted by the simple task of surviving each day could finally begin.

In February, a few weeks after what would have been my due date, we discovered that we were expecting again.  We were thrilled, and so was my new doctor, the one who had saved my life, by helping rip of the band-aid of "the Pill will solve all your problems" that the other doctor had attempted to place over a gaping wound.

That's the reason for the involuntary wince every time I hear someone say that the Pill saved their health.  The Pill is a band-aid that covers up underlying problems.  It doesn't address the root issue that lays beneath.  It may be the best tool that many doctor's out there have, but it isn't the only or even best tool that could be used much of the time and while the short term benefits might make it attractive the long term risks are horrifying.

And that is why there's no way I could be convinced to take the Pill at this point in my life... because if there's a problem I want it solved, not conveniently covered up by a hormone that kills women every single year.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I just had to share some of the pictures I snapped on today's field trip.  And I'll throw in a few little stories from the last few days that are completely unrelated to the pictures.

Patch is definitely Daddy's Big Boy and he has been missing Paul quite a bit.  First he started to insist that his name was Paul... and then he showed me a little stuffed dog he's been hauling around the house.  It's a basset hound and he hasn't been able to sleep without it.  Yesterday he announced that the dog's name is Paul... I'm pretty sure that before Paul arrives in California (after the bar) to spend a few days with us Patch will have given every single toy in the house his name. 

This morning I was making oatmeal for Maggie on the stove top.  She kept trying to climb up next to me, with the goal of laying across the stove to watch what I was doing.  When I said "No, no, the stove is hot!  Hot stove!"  She took her hand, touched the very edge of the stove (at the corner furthest away from where I was cooking), looked me in the eye and said "Not hot!" in a perfectly clear little voice.  

Today Patch was whining and I asked him what it was that he wanted and he stopped, thought for a minute and said "brother."

He is impatiently waiting the arrival of another member of the family who does not think that mermaids and princesses are the ideal topics for constant conversation.

Patch's name for the new baby is Bubble.  He came up with the name after spending hours looking through the pregnancy books in the house.  After repeatedly pointing out that all the babies in the books are in "bubbles" he began referring to my bump as "Bubble" or "Brother" depending on his mood.  

Sadie thinks that we should honor Patch's wishes and officially use "Bubble" as the baby's name...

Although she still spends time wishing the baby were a) a girl and that we would b) use her name of choice which is Bibiana.  

Instead just about every doll that comes through the front door of our house gets that name.  

When Patch finishes a meal he shouts "Done!  Done!  All done!" 

And then I have to be quick enough to get the plate away from him because he'll start making grand sweeping gestures that inevitably cause his plate to clatter to the floor.

Accidentally of course.

Maggie still cannot be convinced that playing outside when it's over 100 degrees is a good idea, even if baby pools and popsicles are involved.  

In fact, I'm now convinced that the only reason she lobbies to go outside all day every day in the house in Michigan is because we don't have central air.  

Her love of the air conditioner in Nani and Grumpa's house is pretty much unmatched... however she was enthusiastic about riding in the air conditioned car to go to the museum today... and even agreed to play outside for a while.  

One of the first things Maggie needed to make clear to Nani and Grumpa upon arriving in California was that she in fact a mermaid.  She took her little hand, tapped her chest and said "Mermaid.  Mer-maid!" in a very serious little voice.

Mermaids are very, very serious business around here.  She wouldn't want anyone to think that she was just a princess like her big sister always insists that she herself in fact is.

For someone who is prone to have a meltdown of epic proportions if a single drop of water touches a non swim-suit shirt, Mae did admirably well today and didn't shed a single tear over being soaked after playing in the water portion of the museum.  

Maybe having a mermaid on her shirt helped:

Yes, the bump really is that big.  At 28 weeks.  Because this baby would really, really, really like to be the biggest baby we've welcomed so far.  And to do that he's going to have to clear around 9 and a half pounds. 

While having a transverse baby is an odd feeling, this little guy seems to prefer being breach most of the time at the moment and the feeling of a little head under my rib cage is just odd.  And not particularly comfortable.  I wouldn't mind being a teeny tiny bit taller.  5'5" just isn't cutting it right now.

Now to get some sleep!  My body hasn't quite been convinced to accept the fact that we're in the pacific time zone...  which may have something to do with the fact that Mae has yet to sleep in past 4:30!