Monday, July 12, 2010

Wyoming Trip 2010: Part 2

Thursday, July8th:
This was by far the fullest day we had-we headed out for Yellowstone around 10:30 AM. I had previously not been farther west than Oklahoma, and I sort of assumed that all the major landmarks to be seen out west were somewhat lumped together. (Wouldn't it just be so convenient if the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore were within a a couple hours of each other?) But wow, after driving through (only PART) of Yellowstone over the course of most of a day, I realize how sadly mistaken I was. Although, part of the reason our driving was slow initially was that we would stop whenever we saw other people pulled over, because that meant an animal was nearby. Our first big animal sighting that day was actually a grizzly bear! We got to see him pretty close up...although other tourists decided that they needed to be even closer to the bear (maybe no one told them bears have killed people?) and the ranger had to keep backing them up.

We also got stuck in construction for half an hour...

And then of course there were the multiple bison that we passed walking down the road- sometimes right in the middle, causing the road to be more or less one lane. These things were huge! And frankly, the bison looked kind of like depressed Eeyors with their slouchy backs and expressionless faces.

Anyway, our first, and featured, stop was Old Faithful. Unfortunately it went off just before we got there so we had to wait another hour or so to see it. It was interesting to learn that Yellowstone has more geysers than anywhere else in the world combined- also that Old Faithful, though not the largest geyser, is one of the only geysers of it's size that erupts predictably and to such consistently great heights (perhaps the only one? I can't remember now.) It's sort of hard to distinguish the water vapor from the actual clouds in the sky...but hopefully you can make it out.

Anyway, the final destination (aside from viewing wildlife) was the upper and lower falls, which are part of a canyon in Yellowstone. Sam, Andre and Jeff's Dad walked down to the falls-I'll have to post some of her up close pictures sometime. The view was incredible!

Finally, we headed back home- saw a herd of bison on the way (and I'll throw in a couple extra picture of animals we saw earlier)...but mostly got back just in time to eat and go to sleep.

Friday, July 9th:
After so much excitement Thursday, Friday was relatively calm. Of course I got my coffee, then we spent the day in town souvenir shopping. There were some really cool was called "Made" and only sold hand crafted or re-purposed items. I loved it, but everything was much too expensive. We also ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant called "The Merry Piglets." Odd name, but the food was great! We finished up the day with our last cookout at Jackson Lake...some family pictures and more much needed rest.

Saturday, July 10th:
We didn't do much...grabbed breakfast, finished packing and headed for the airport. Parting glances at the beautiful mountains...then we flew back home. (Another 5+ hours total of flying, but again Charlotte did great!) Now we'll relax at home and with another baby coming, maybe we'll be ready for our next vacation in 3 more years??

Wyoming Trip 2010

So we just got back from a trip to Wyoming with Jeff's family...celebrating his parents' 30th anniversary! Only 6 days, but there's a lot to cover...I'll split it into 2 blogs so as not to (entirely) overwhelm.

Monday, July 5th
We headed to the airport for Charlotte's first plane ride, and my first flight using the omni-pod for my diabetes. (It's attached to my body and I was so worried that I would set off an alarm going through security.) But fortunately the airport was uneventful...except that Jeff had stowed Charlotte's full water bottle in his check on bag, which had to be investigated by security. (No problems with my pod!) Charlotte also tried her first happy meal...

and was INCREDIBLE on the plane. Slept through the first flight, and hardly fussed during the 3+ hr flight from Dallas to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (WHAT a tiny airport...we climbed off the plane on stairs.) The only sad thing was that she made friends with a 2 year old boy, Drew, who was sitting in front of us (they were holding hands and everything) and when we got on the second plane she kept looking for him expecting him to be right in front of us still.

By the time we got to WY we had just enough time to go out to eat in Pizza Hut. (Everyone knows it's better in Wyoming.) Afterward we headed into Grand Teton National Park, which is actually where our cottage was located! Then off to bed- because with a time zone change 2 hrs earlier than ours, the clock may have said 10pm but we were exhausted like it was midnight.

Tuesday, July 6th:
We actually woke up before 9AM! Then Jeff, Charlotte and I did a little snooping around the cottage...we were right next to the pool area, and there was a tiny playground that we took Charlotte on. Her first slide! (Lots of firsts on this trip.)

Then we met Jeff's family for a cook out style breakfast on Jackson Lake. (Go pancakes.) The mountains were absolutely really couldn't take a bad picture- although it was colder in the morning than I would have expected, getting down to around 38 degrees (F) at

After pancakes we headed back to our lodge for a nap so Charlotte and I would have energy for the kiddie pool. Charlotte loved it...although with the water being 18 in. deep, whenever she decided to try sitting down, she was in way over her head and came up coughing. Also met a family with 10 kids...8 boys, 2 girls. I swear half the people at the pool must have been from that family. While we were sunbathing, Jeff went fishing with his Dad, Sister, and her boyfriend. We all met up again for burgers and dogs at Jackson lake to end the day!

Wednesday, July 7th:
Now the fun begins! By now I had found a little coffee shop in the lodge near our cottage, and was thrilled to drink my sugar-free Hazelnut latte in the mountains. :o) (Although with a surcharge of $1.25 for cream cheese, a decent bagel was quite pricey.) Charlotte and I went back to the pool- which, by the way, has a cafe and a BBQ buffet at night for the low low price of $28/adult. YIKES.

Anyway, after a relaxing morning, we took off with Jeff's family in the afternoon into "town"...Jackson Hole (population 8647), which was a good 40 minute drive from our cottage. The town is sooooo touristy that, although set up to look like an old Western town, it comes across more like a manufactured Disney World town. (I'm sure parts were authentic.) Anyway, we did some shopping and ate at Bubba's BBQ...very good food.

And after, we went to our first ever Rodeo! I enjoyed the experience, although parts were slow. I had to laugh at the rodeo announcer, however...who was blatantly both Southern and Christian. We were barely 5 minutes into the event when he said, "Let's all now take a moment and pray, each in his own way." I thought that a nice moment of silence would ensue while everyone "prayed" or meditated as they chose. Not so much...10 seconds later he launched into his own prayer, filled with southern phrases and some comical spiritual metaphors. I will say, there was one 8 year old girl in a competition where women ride a horse around 3 barrels trying to get the best time. She was the youngest in her division- could have sworn she was going to bounce right off the horse...but she probably came close to 3rd place! Anyway, Charlotte fell asleep there, and since the rodeo ended at 10pm, we all drove back to the lodge to follow suit.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back to Baby #1

I've been so excited about baby #2 that I haven't thought to post any updates about our 1 year old Charlotte. She recently had her 1st year check-up at the doctor...I had my fingers crossed that she'd be 20 lbs so she could start facing forward in her carseat. Turns out, since her 9 month appointment she only gained 5 0z...putting her at 17 lbs, 10 oz! I almost cried...partially because the nurse that measured and weighed her came back into the room abruptly, like she was doing a double take, and said, "I'm going to measure her again. She was 28 inches the last time she was in here." And then..., "Hm, but I guess she didn't gain much weight either. You're just growing slowly." My first thought was that I wasn't feeding her enough, or at least enough of the right things. But what can you do when baby doesn't want what you give her?

The doctor actually said that some babies who drink a lot of juice can end up leveling out weight wise, instead of growing, because the juice doesn't have any fat or protein. (Oops! Our baby loves juice.) But now she's old enough to have whole milk, so I can start weaning her a little...but enter problem #2: Charlotte refuses to drink whole milk. I actually thought she might want it warmed up, since she's used to breast milk. I tried that...she gagged. I don't blame her, but now I'm trying to figure out just how much cheese and yogurt I'll have to feed her to make up for her picky dairy diet. I also read that some babies like rice milk...but I have no idea where to even look for that.

Anyway, while she's being picky, baby #2 has decided that I can once again eat just about anything my heart desires without feeling sick. That means coffee...oh sweet coffee...I can start drinking you again, in moderation of course. The only thing I'm still on the fence about is my peanut butter and pistachios...oh well.

Hopefully we'll both eat well this week- we're taking a vacation with Jeff's family in Wyoming! I'm sure they'll be more on that later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Charlotte and #2

So I have some exciting news...drum roll, if you please... I found out I'm expecting baby #2!! I'm about 11 1/2 weeks along, and sooooo excited. We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks that confirmed the pregnancy- and may I say that the baby is absolutely adorable, even as an unrecognizable bloblet. (Of course that's not a word, but if you spend any amount of time around kids you can turn any normal word into a cuter word and get away with it.)

I was trying not to tell everyone till closer to 12 weeks...partially because this pregnancy comes with extra challenges. Having type 1 diabetes means additional risks for the baby, even though I've been controlling my blood sugars pretty well so far. Of course I get the joy of seeing my doctors so much more the end of the pregnancy I'll be at my Ob/Gyn twice a week, and at the Endocrinologist at least twice a month. (Um, yes... Thank you God for insurance.) And I get to go to Uconn for a Fetal Echo...the purpose of which I'm still not quite sure of. And on top of all this, I was only really nauseous for 4-5 days...only threw up once...and then suddenly I was better. (This worried me a little, although I was still having an aversion to coffee and peanut butter which are usually my I figured there still had to be a baby to blame for that.)

Also...we figured we'd delay the deluge of pregnancy questions for awhile. (The, "How are you feeling-s" and "When do you find out the gender-s?") Which reminds me, we are totally hoping to be strong and NOT find out the gender this time. I've been told I'll have to have another C-section, and since labor isn't going to be a surprise...I think I'd like the gender to be. With Charlotte I realllly wanted a girl, but with this baby I feel like I'd be truly happy with either one. Although, as usual, we have two pretty perfect girls names picked out...and about a dozen boys names that we can't seem to turn into amazing names. You really want to pick a name and have a warm fuzzy about it...or at least be able to picture yelling the full name in a grocery store to stop your child from knocking over a display of pickle jars. And to top it off, it has to sound good with the name "Charlotte"...or at least not clash. (Ex: Charlotte and Alyssa*= compatible, Charlotte and Scarlett*= incompatible...unless they were twins.)
*Neither of these names are potential finalists.

Buuuut, I had another appointment yesterday and got to hear the heartbeat (although, as if the baby was trying to give me a heart attack...he/she decided to play hide and seek so it took the doctor 2 minutes to find the heartbeat. Ok, maybe it was 30 seconds, but it felt like forever.)
So that's the big news... and if we stay strong, this baby may be called #2 until it's due date...well, that would be Jan. 13th, but the baby will actually come at least a week early I'm told. (One thing I will consider of a perk of the C-section....I don't have to be huge forever!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roseola, Eggplant Parm, and the Damn Deer

It's been awhile since my last for lack of a good transition, this sentence will have to suffice. The past week has been a stressful one. My daughter (who is normally a rather warm baby) spiked a fever of at least 102. And of course this would have to happen late on a Saturday when all normal pediatrician offices are closed. So, as a first time mom I panicked and announced to my husband that we should take her to the ER... thankfully my husband had more of his wits about him and countered with, "maybe you could talk to the on call doctor first." This was a good idea. When the doctor returned my call several minutes later, I started to see my paranoid little self the way he must see me... 'oooh my goodness, I had to take a break from my perfectly good cookout to talk to a hyperventilating first time mother, who has absolutely nothing to worry about.'

He somehow managed not to belittle my fear...calmly told me to give her a fever-suppressing medicine, and simply to watch out for any kind of rash.

Well, 4 days later, her fever finally went away, and a sad little rash did appear all over her stomach, back and face: apparently all signs of Roseola, a fairly common virus among babies under 3. What a cruel virus tho....that the only tell-tale symptoms don't come till AFTER the fever...and apparently till AFTER the child is no longer contagious. So you're left to worry for days on end about why your child has a fever: is it because she's teething...or could it be that she's getting the flu?

Anyway, one of the side effects of the virus is a decreased appetite. This, combined with my daughter's sudden disdain for meals that come in a jar, has forced me to giver her more and more foods that I'm eating. Hence, tonight...exasperated that she wouldn't eat her once-beloved baby food lasagna, I resorted to giving her my eggplant parm...which to my surprise she loved! (But is fried, cheesy goodness...what's not to love?) So here we go...I can't decide if it's going to be a relief not to buy so many jars of baby food, or a hassle since she still can't eat as many textures and foods as we can. We'll see...

And finally...I was so excited this year to start my own vegetable garden. I planted a lot of seeds, and a few plants, including lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, carrots, cucumbers, and celery. (I also planted sunflowers for Charlotte to enjoy looking at.) I knew full well that we had deer living near us, and thought I would put a fence around the garden...but I never got around to it, and hadn't seen the deer all season. But a week ago, they attacked and ate parts of my tomatoes, peppers, and the tops of all my sunflowers. I literally cried over my sunflowers. I don't care what you say, it was worth a good cry. Now I just haven't had time to get a fence up, and they keep coming back...nibbling at my squash, and my cucumbers. It's so sad. It's the first time in my life I've ever thought to myself that deer really should be shot.

Friday, March 26, 2010

All Insects Are Out to Get Me

I'm not often a paranoid person. (Hm...that statement may not actually be true.) Nevertheless, I am constantly worried about running into bugs of any size, shape or affiliation. The sad thing is that most of the time I don't have to worry about these tiny critters, but inevitably one will appear where I've most dreaded finding one.

Take, for instance, the time that I found a lady bug in my underwear drawer. To be honest, anything remotely suspicious in the underwear drawer is cause for great alarm- especially if it moves by itself. Let's just say it took me a little longer to get dressed (due to inspections) for a few days after that experience.

Then there are the bugs in my food scenarios. I've already professed my love for coffee, so the few times I've found a bug in my coffee cup have been some of the more traumatic and disheartening moments of my life. (I only exaggerate slightly.) Then of course there's the time that I was happily eating my soup, only to find that, what I thought was a pea pod was really some hapless green insect. I actually remember spitting it out and telling my mom that I had a bug in my soup. She assured me I was imagining things, until she looked at it herself...then she stated emphatically that it was a bug after all. (Note to self: If Charlotte thinks she's eating a bug, assume she's correct.)

And then there's all those times that I see an insect-particularly a spider-in the car while I'm driving: sheer panic, I assure you. There once was a hopping spider that pretty much repelled down steering wheel- I'm certain if I hadn't killed him he would have eaten me. Although a bee in the car is no picnic either: once one flew into a Dunkin Donuts while I was at the drive through. But just as I was pulling away it flew in my car window and perched upon my groceries. (I had a 3 or 4 month old in the back so of course I had to stop and catch it in a cup and abandon the bee cup in the DD parking lot. It's what anyone would do, I'm sure. I've also had a bee fly in one window as I was driving 30+ mph. Seriously what are the odds that he and my open window would have intersecting paths?? He must have been a 007 Bee- and had timed his entry hours earlier based on intelligence he received from the queen bee.

But the event that sparked this blog actually occurred yesterday morning...I'm always a bit nervous about putting on my shoes or slippers on the off chance that a bug would be hiding there. Well yesterday it happened...I put my bare feet into my slippers and felt a little something (not quite warm and fuzzy) touch my foot. I instinctively pulled out and a little black thing fell out too. At first I looked at it and thought, oh silly me...another bit of fuzz is trying to trick me. But was a spider that was now balled up and dieing on my carpet. The willies would be an understatement. I promptly washed my slippers on the hottest water setting possible just in case the spider had deposited any offspring in the slipper. You can never be too careful.

And this is how I know that all insects are out to get me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Charlotte: An 18 Month Old Boy?

You really can't go anywhere with a baby without someone coming over to say hello. (I established this phenomenon fairly well in a previous entry.) But I've also noticed that everyone feels the need to guess my baby's gender and/or age. For instance, I had one woman approach me and ask if my (then 8 month old baby) was 18 months old. Granted, I have an adorably chubby baby with the cutest chunky cheeks and thighs, but she is also somewhat petite... there is really no mistaking her for a child twice her age.

And it's almost worse when it comes to gender- because people don't always ASK if it's a boy or girl...they just take one brief, summary glance at what my baby is wearing and declare, "Oh what a sweet boy/ girl." Now I admit, when it comes to clothing, I'm not really one for pink frills and tiaras, so it can occasionally be a challenge to tell that my daughter is a girl based on her clothes. But there have been plenty of times when she has actually been wearing pink, or at least a flower and heart splattered outfit, and people still say she's a boy.

It doesn't really bother me when people assume she's a boy, but it does create a dilemma: Am I going to let this be awkward for me, or for them? With the former plan, (which I often use for sweet old couples that probably can't see the pink embroidered flowers on her brown sweatshirt), I simply go along with the gender they select. When they ask how old "he" is I just give an pronoun. When they say, take good care of "him" I simply smile and nod. This plan will inevitably keep the other people from any awkwardness, unless of course they ask what "his" name is...and I say Charlotte. I'm actually considering using her nickname "Charlie" in the future if I get myself into that pickle. (Oh what a tangled web we weave, eh?)

Then there's the later which I simply state that my baby is, in fact, a girl. While this option is much more straight forward, people tend to get very flustered and apologetic when you correct them...and most of the time I figure I'll never see them again, so it doesn't really matter if they walk away and tell their friends they met the cutest little boy in the world.

Anyway, the point of the story (yes, there is a reason for this rambling) is that if you ever see a mother and baby- it is better to ask than assume, no matter how much blue or pink the infant is wearing. And for heaven's sake, don't try to guess a baby's age- fat rolls will throw you off every time.