Valentine's Babies

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thai Fish Lips

Last week some friends of ours took us to a fantastic little Thai restaurant to celebrate my 21st birthday. ;) It was a lot of fun. Lily Ann decided to share her famous 'fish lips' with us after she finished her noodles. She's a great little entertainer.
PS: a lady should be able to celebrate her 21st birthday as many times as she wants.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lily's New Favorite Place

Here's a good pic of our girl hanging out at the beach. She loves the sand. I love watching her play in it. She's such a precious little girl. We are so blessed to have her.

Another Blessing

Well. I guess this is a good way to tell everyone. Adam and I are expecting another child. We hadn't actually planned for this, but we're elated that it has happened.

I am about eight weeks along. And I'm feeling quite well.

Our new little blessing will be here in late May. Just a couple of weeks before Lily Ann's second birthday.

What a lovely surprise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Bedtime Story for Baby

Last night, while I was at work, Adam heard Lily Ann talking up a storm in her playpen. He went to see who she was talking to and found her "reading" a story to her baby doll. Baby was in her lap and Lily Ann was softly stroking Baby's bald head as she jabbered and turned the pages in one of her storybooks. Fortunately, Adam snapped this picture for me - and for you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My First Year as MOM . . . .

I'll post some pic's of Lily's first year soon. However - my heart has to express some words first.

Lily Ann has been a blessing to us since she entered this wretched world. For me, she has been a constant reminder of God's love. Every smile she has bestowed upon me; every time her eyes rest on mine; every kiss she's planted on me; every snuggle; every delightful gasp when I pick her up; every single breath that I hear her take - unmistakable blessings.
One day - I remember coming home from a long Saturday at work - needing some rest. I knew I'd have my little snuggler in my arms the moment I entered the home. However - she wanted to nurse before her nap. I felt a little "put upon" and inconvenienced at first. But I noticed - that just after she began her frantic suckling for nourishment, she stopped - kept her tiny nose pressed against me - and began to breathe deeply. She was smelling me. Breathing me in. Needing me.
Suddenly - I stopped caring about my need for a nap. Instead I started to grasp the importance of a maternal bond. Something for which every person hungers. Something every child so deeply desires. Something she'd miss forever - if it were lacking. I realized that I was the only person in this world who could give her that. And I began to embrace my lot in life - moreso than ever before.
At first - I just didn't know if I could cut it as a mom. I knew that I had the capacity to be a fairly good wife, a loving friend and a good employee. But motherhood was something I never thought I'd do well. And even after Lily was placed in my womb - I was unsure that God had chosen the right woman for the job. Adam was great at fathering. So I watched him like a hawk - to get ideas of how to show her affection. I got plenty of ideas and wanted to use them all - but Lily always seemed to want something completely different from me. She wanted a mother. And over the past year - that is just what I've become - Lily Ann's Mother.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lazy Days of Spring

The Owl

There is an owl statue that we have in our house. He was given to us by some very close friends of ours and he sits in our windowsill. We love the owl.

Recently - Lily Ann discovered that she too loves Mr. Owl.

She swiped him from the windowsill the other day and clung to him all day long. She holds him like a he's her baby and she touches his little face and eyes.

The Nose

I had always wondered why I had been so overly blessed in the nasal department. Not a mystery anymore . . .

A few days back - Lily was settling down for her nap. She was extra cranky and tired - but just tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable. I had laid down next to her - to help her get all cuddly and sleepy. Just when I was sure she was never going to get to sleep she found a perfect position. She laid her head down and stretched her right arm out across my face. It came to rest on my shnaaz. And she fell right to sleep. My nose was just the right size to hold her little arm up and give it a place to rest for a while.

I'm so glad God never saw fit to grant my childhood wishes for a nose like everyone else's. He must've known that someday, I'd need all the nose I could get - to help make my little angel more comfortable at naptime.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Circle Caper

Let me begin by saying this: my girl is precious. She is a sweet little lady. She is smart - like her daddy and mom - but she's also a baby. I do realize that babies are babies and there are several universal truths about babies.
Like everyone else - I get a little bored when people want to tell me their version of the "my kid is advanced" story.
I think another universal truth is that first time moms tend to spend lots of time adoring their smart babies and have a propensity toward bragging, "big fish" tales and the like. And I certainly fall right into that category.
That being said. I want to brag about her.
But I will resist. I'll just let my "new to me" camera tell you a story of an 11 month old that can't talk in sentences yet, doesn't walk without assistance - but who already has a favorite shape.
In the photos (unstaged) you'll see her own collection of circles. I totally allow her to have them - but i didn't give her any. I have a low kitchen cabinet that she likes to open. One day, I finally let her look inside. I have all sorts of rectangular small cutting boards, square Tupperware and lids, etc. But miss Lilypants carefully selected each circle - then she kept herself gleefully busy for about a half hour playing circles on the big checkerboard kitchen floor. Now we've made a little circle game that we play for (literally) hours of our days. Mostly because it's fun for both of us. I like checkers. But I never thought she'd be teaching me to play.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Requested Recipe: Roasty Toasty Sweetie Pots

For my good friend Dawn - and all you other hot momma's!

2 big organic sweet potatoes
1 big sweet onion
about 6 large baby bella mushrooms
coarse sea salt
Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (or your own savory blend)

chop the potatoes as quickly as you can. don't peel them or cube them. just use a knife or food chopper and break them down a bit.

quarter the onion and then chop it a little.

toss that all into a pan with some oil or butter and a couple tablespoons of water.
don't mess with it for a while. just cover and let it sit for around 3 minutes over medium heat.
then stir it and whatnot.
wait for the potatoes to soften a little and the onions to cook down. that should be around 5 more minutes or so.
then quarter or slice your shrooms and put them in.
DO NOT SALT ANYTHING UNTIL THE SHROOMS ARE DONE. doing so will make your mushrooms hold moisture and get rubbery.
when the shrooms are cooked in (1-2 minutes or the way you like them) load that baby up with some savory seasonings (garlic & chives work well) and a bit of sea salt.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mr. Mommy

Today is my first, official Mother's Day.
I'm loving every second.

Since 12:01am - I haven't changed a single diaper.

This morning, Adam helped me make a huge breakfast and a friend of ours come over to share with us. Adam prepared our favorite breakfast side: roasted sweet potatoes with onions, baby bella mushrooms and a special savory seasoning blend. Its a dish Lily and I like to call "Roasty Toasty Sweetie Pots." And if you know Adam - you'll immediately be impressed that he overcame his kitchen-o-phobia to prepare the dish. This was his first time slicing mushrooms. (Don't tell him - but I think he might have made the sweetie pots better than I do.) Anyway - I made chicken sausage and eggs, sliced avocado, we made banana-cherry muffins, hamsteak for our friend, old fashioned oatmeal, French Roast coffee and also a new drink - fresh squeezed orange & lime juice spritzers (recipe to follow post). It was a fantastic spread. Breakfast is always my favorite meal. We all ate together. Lily had some avocado and muffin. Good conversation & good times. Our friend brought us the Sunday paper. The boys read on the couch after breakfast and I put Lily down for a nap. House got quiet. Friend went home. Adam went out. And I took a "Happy First Mother's Day" phonecall (from Adam's big sister.) Within minutes - Mr. Mommy was sneaking in the back door with the tallest and prettiest Rubrum Lily plant that I've ever seen. For me. Then he gave me the sweetest card and told me not to wash one dish. (I'm pretty sure we dirtied every dish that we own.) Adam is napping next to Lily Ann and I'm about to plunge into a hot bath with three drops of calming ylang-ylang oil in it.
It is 10:30am now and I can't imagine one more ounce of goodness could fit into my first Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day to you and yours too!
Fresh Squeezed Orange & Lime Spritzer
1 c. fresh squeezed OJ
2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 c. sparkling mineral water (to taste).
Combine & serve over ice in pretty glasses.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Giving up an old toy

Well - it's been a tough decision. But I'm confident it is the right one - for now.

When Lily was just a tiny baby - she wasn't scared of anything. We have two big loud dogs that live near us - they barked big at her and she leaned in closer. I like to hammer things and Adam likes to vacuum. Didn't phase her. Nothing scared her. None of my kitchen gadgets. Until last week.

My immersion blender. Actually, my second (upgraded) immersion blender. The one I got for my 30th birthday. The one that the pros use. The one that replaced my tried & true, worn, motor burnt Braun model (sweetly handed down to me from our late dear Aunt Ellen). I practically use it every day. It is the one gadget that replaces three (food processor, blender, magic bullet). And it is better, easier to use and more efficient than any of them.

I had used it one day - no problems. Lily just played in the kitchen floor like always. Next day - the moment I pressed power. I heard a scream and a new cry from her. I knew - without even turning around that it was the scream of terror. Of course I stopped and picked her up. She cried for a while. Then I reassured her and took her over to the blender; let her touch it and then tried to use it again when I was sure she was deep into her playtoys. Same thing. I felt awful for putting her through it again.

Tonight, I was prepping some stuff for our Sunday breakfast. Lily was playing really well and I thought maybe it was a last week thing. Same sad story. This time I really felt like a brut. I shouldn't have even tried again. But I'm not all that efficient at pulverizing frozen blueberries by hand. I quit right away and, this time - when I picked her up - she looked at the blender like it was a monster. She lurched backward - almost backbending over my shoulder as if the blueberry mutilator might get her next.
And that was the end.
I really hope I can use it someday again. But for now, and for the next few weeks or months - my immersion blender is put up in a high cabinet unless my sweet Lily girl is out with her daddy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Buying Extra Bananas

Lately, I've been resolve to re-establishing my own persona. I'm Adam's Wife and Lily's Mom. But I'm also Amanda.

In the past year my focus has been on my new title of Mom and my current role as Wife. I think that has been an appropriate focus. I will continue to focus on those priorities for the rest of my life. But it is also good for me to remember that I am more than just a wife and mom. I am Amanda. There are things that I love to do; things that excite me; things that make me all teary-eyed, things that give me goosebumps; things that really irk me and things that give me peace.

I've started doing little things again. Little things that I didn't think I'd have time for - with a crawler. I'm baking again. Making herbal tea blends and home-made hand lotion. I'm sending cards and handwritten letters. Making gifts for my friends by hand. I'm finding my passions again. I just finished a great book about food (The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan). Earlier today, during Lily's naptime - a time that I normally spend cleaning, bill-paying or washing diapers - I prayed and then sat in quiet with God. I'm just making time to still be Amanda. I'm making time for the things that enrich my soul and make my life more enjoyable.

It is really easy to put household chores and my all important "to do" list in front of any number of these little fun things. So I've been buying extra bananas. That way - when they turn brown because there are too many for us to eat - I have no choice but to bake some fresh banana bread. Recently, I found a recipe for chocolate banana bread. Fantastic.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Driving Lessons

This post will correspond with a Poll Question - see right panel.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a hurry to get home from work. Mainly because It was 10:30pm and I was tired. Anyway - I wasn't speeding. But I decided to pass a line of cars, in the "turn only" lane, while they were waiting at the stoplight. (When the light turned green, of course). Seemed like the only way I'd get ahead of those slowpokes.

Well - the front car in that line was an undercover police officer. And - I was unaware that three of the four breaklights on the back of my car were burnt out and my right turn signal was also in need of a change. So - he waited until I failed to signal at the next turn and pulled me over.

I knew exactly why I'd been pulled off the road. Not only was I driving a moving violation - but I was driving like a fool. I can come up with lots of excuses as to why I was in a rush to get home. I can explain and qualify and justify all day long. But - in truth - I was acting like a complete moron.

I would never drive that way with my daughter, my husband - or anyone else in the car with me. For some reason - on my short commute to work and back home - I've become accustomed to breaking the rules.

Well the cop pulled me over and gave me quite a (well-deserved) tongue lashing. He told me that he had expected to see a 17-year-old girl behind the wheel by the way I was driving. He was so right. He said my fines would exceed $300. The lecture continued and I agreed with every point he made. I took it like a man. No tears, no excuses - just sat there. Corrected. And $300 poorer. But - just as if he'd had it all planned - he gave me a few more pointed rebukes, told me to have my husband replace my bulbs then he turned, walked to his car and drove away. No ticket, no written warning. Just a lesson learned.

Then - of course I had to tell Adam. (Well somebody had to change my bulbs.) I also got a little talking-to from the husband. And I needed to hear it from him too. There was really no excuse for my rotten driving. It was a very good thing for me to be pulled over by that officer. Probably the best thing that could've happened for me that night.

Later, I realized that I had never before been "let go" for a moving violation. As a teenager, and in college, I was pulled over a lot. And I had a few speeding tickets. I also have had a few parking tickets and once had to attend a defensive driving course to get my driving record cleared up. I used to hear stories about young ladies working up fake tears to get out of speeding tickets, young men making up ridiculous stories - and others downright begging their way out of traffic fines. So I wondered - have any of you been "let go" from a minor moving violation? Vote in my poll. It's anonymous.

I'd also love to hear your stories. If you'd like to share your most memorable encounter with the 5-0, post a comment after this blog.

Lillies and Tulips

Today is beautiful in our village! In the sixties outside. Lily bonked her head (again) in the house and I knew it would help her feel better if we went outside for a bit.

Once we were out - I knew we had to get the camera. Then we snuck over to the neighbor's yard and sat right in the middle of all their tall tulips.

A Bubblebath Morning

This morning Lily woke early - around 7am. We played a bit and then decided we might as well go ahead and get a bath. Lily and I had a night on the town lastnight and we were both a bit grubby. It was a great time. We played with the rubber duckies and sang little songs. She is a great bathpartner. Anyway - here's a little pic of me and my girl. Squeaky clean and dry.

A Tea Party

Lastnight - there was a "Tea Party" in our city. As there was in many major cities across our free country. I'm not too much of an activist. However, this was the first protest that I ever wanted to attend. It was awesome. A message to our federal government that we don't really need so much of their "help". That our children don't want to be forever in debt because of our mistakes. That we don't want any rebates, bailouts, stimulus checks. We'd rather our children and grandchildren grow up in a free country. With a free economy and free trade. Just like we did. We want our country to remain as free as ever before.

Now I'm not a member of either of the two major political parties. Both want much bigger government than I ever wish to see. I just want to live here, in freedom and peace and as a positive force in my community. Without ever having to ask Big Brother how I should raise my child, spend my time or money or manage my own health. I want that for my family too.

Here's a picture of some other freedom-loving Americans that I spoke with after the protest. They might be a bit more radical and extreme than I am. But I was glad to meet them - and also glad that they are willing to go to such extremes to make a statement.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Help

Well - every year, since I was sixteen, I've filed my own taxes - by hand. My mom taught me. And I've just always done it. Once, when I owned a small corporation, I hired it out - just for the business. And the accountant screwed up my small business taxes so much that I had to take them back and file them myself.

However, this year - I had some help with my state taxes. About a month ago, I filed the federal forms - late at night when the house was quiet. But the state forms only take a couple of hours. So I kept putting it off and putting it off. Until Monday. I knew I had to get them done.

Fortunately, I had a sweet little helper. And I didn't mind one bit. She was great. She didn't charge me anything (except room and board). She made it much more fun - more of an aerobic workout than ever before. And she even offered to eat any unnecessary documents when we were finished.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lily & Her Shadow

Lily has a little bedtime friend. She shows up at night - when there is a bit of light shining from another room. And just when Lily is calm and ready for sleep, she notices her little friend, who is waiting to play. Normally, I just give in. They play so well together. And they are everso happy to see eachother. Lastnight her friend even got a nice kiss before bed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

In Pictures

I just want to post a few pictures of my sweet Lily Ann tonight. She is so active these days. I just love to watch her play and enjoy time at home. She is so curious and joyful. Here are pictures of Lily looking out the window - something she does several times a day. You'll also see Lily licking the window, a pic of her playing on the kitchen floor, and one of her playing in the front yard.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Pre-personality Profile

A few years back - my husband, and his friend, made me take some little "spiritual test" online - to find out what kind of spiritual person I was. I took it - and emailed my results to Adam. It was days later - in a bagel shop - when Adam, his friend and I began to discuss my results. My husband and his friend both tested into the same category: "the contemplative." I remember feeling a little left out. Because, per the online test, I was deemed "the sage." At the bagel shop, Adam was telling his friend about my results. I remember hearing the words, "Oh, she's a sage." A sage is defined as "a profoundly wise person." I don't resonate with that description. Flattering, I guess, that some would describe me that way. But I'm no sage.

I don't really think that most "type indicator" tests are exhaustive enough to prove anything. I'm a fairly good teacher - but not a sage. My husband is quite a contemplative though. And on the subject of our offspring . . . the jury is still out.

I see such interesting traits in her - even now. At nine months old, Lily is quite an insightful one. On regular occasions, in public, Lily makes grown-ups uncomfortable. She stares folks down. At home, she's all smiles and giggles. But when we're out - she has a complete pokerface. And the minute someone stops to try and elicit a smile from her - she begins her visual scrutiny. There are no smiles. Just serious and unwavering stares - as if she can just see right through people.

She's also quite wary. She's not a huge fan of the baby swing. She doesn't mind sitting in it - but she normally reaches out and grabs the frame to make it stop moving. Sometimes she'll lay back and let it swing - but she wouldn't dare fall asleep in it. Similar story with the "doorframe jumper" - she prefers her feet firmly planted on the floor.

Lily came into this world very alert. She has remained ever so aware of what is around her. The second she hears Daddy's car pull into the driveway - she's looking for him to walk in the door. Many times, she keeps one eye slightly open while she sleeps. Watching - making sure there's no funny business going on around here.

She also seems to be a "learn by doing" kind of girl. Her hands, feet and tongue are all over everything until she's got it all figured out (including Daddy's eyeglasses).

For her age, she's pretty cooperative - but she isn't interested in "peek-a-boo." Countless adults have tried the game with her. My mom even tried putting a blanket up over Lily's eyes and head - then quickly removing it to see if she might play along. Lily responded with a calm, but punitive glance - as if to say, "Please don't do anything like that again."

I'm having so much fun discovering cute little glimpses of her personality these days. She seems to be showing us bits and pieces each day. I'll conclude this post with a short list of occupations that I think Miss Lily is already qualified to pursue:

1. Judge

2. Poker Player

3. Pick-Pocket

4. Night Watchman

5. Dental Hygienist

6. Paper Shredder

7. Life Coach

8. Kissing Booth Operator

Monday, February 16, 2009

My "Follower"

Did you ever notice the little gadget on the left panel of my weblog? It is there if a person wants to "follow" my blog. I only put it there to be silly. I don't really want followers. But I have one. He is my husband.

Out of all the people in this cyberworld - he is THE one who will, publicly, follow my blathering rants and my braggadocios photobook.

However - the term "follower" is a bit misleading. I would never, ever want to lead him around. But, now, he is forever marked.

This Valentine's Day was our best ever. In fact - it is the only one, so far, that I will never forget.

We had made some BIG romantic plans. They included: a horse-drawn carriage; some chocolate-dipped berries; a rented movie in a dangerous, big, city. However. The carriage ride happened in a totally different way than was planned. The movie never got rented. And at the end of the night - we were betrothed in a whole new way.

Adam got a tattoo! For me. In place of his old, battered and lost wedding band. We were referred to, perhaps, the BEST tattoo artist in our local ghetto. The artisan was well tattooed himself - and completely kind to us. (Valentine's Night is pretty much like a flower shop at the tattoo parlor - ultra crowded and filled with anxious shoppers). It was so busy - that we had to have the consult, and then Adam returned, Sunday morning for the actual tatt. We hit the local church, later that night - to celebrate the end of our best weekend in romance - and to find rest for our weary souls.

In TOTAL disagreement with you . . .

Okay - I know . . . I beg for those "honest poll answers." I want your heart. I want to know what you really think. But come ON! My last poll. I thought it was a tough question. (Which of these emotions would you consider to be the strongest?). As always - this was an anonymous poll. No chance I'd ever know who voted for what. But I'm telling you right now that I voted for the remorse/regret option. And not many others voted my way.

I'm not really disappointed - I am more perplexed at the results. I thought it was a no-brainer.

The reason I am so different: I guess it must have to do with the amount of regret that I've actually felt in my life. I'm the girl that always feels regret. Mostly in the form of "I wish I had helped"; "I wish I had spoke"; "I wish I hadn't spoke"; "I wish I had loved more, trusted more, believed more, given more, etc."

And regret - it is the worst feeling and the most intense feeling that I ever have. Because - no matter what - the time has passed. The regret comes over me like a red heat. Typically, I blush like an embarrassed teenaged boy. My stomach gets all sickish. I can't shake it. I try to put my mind in a "happy place" - but my heart won't go. I sweat. I lose focus. And - sometimes I even cry. It is absolutely crippling for me.

I share my argument just to express myself here. The poll has been on my mind for days. (I'm a little regretful that I didn't post this sooner :)

Feel free to post a reprove of the feeling you chose. I'd love to read your thoughts on the issue. I really don't think there is a wrong answer to this. Emotions are absolutely beautiful that way. We haven't any real choice about them.

PS: Why (In this Valentine's Season) did I not list LOVE as an "emotion"? Because LOVE is a choice. It is NOT an emotion. It is also not a feeling, or a particular action. LOVE is always a choice.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hot Breakfast

Well it is Monday morning and i just finished an entire pot of hot blueberry green tea. That is, after I ate a full breakfast of two eggs, chicken sausage and two slices of sprouted-grain toast.

I will have to say that, when we first had Lily, I didn't think I would ever be able to enjoy a hot breakfast again. I remember thinking that I might never be able to do anything for myself again.

Back then, Lily had colic. I know that lots of parents say their babies are "colicky" or had colic - but I don't use the term loosely. Real colic begins around 3 weeks of age and is characterized by 3 or more hours of inconsolable crying, 3 or more days per week. Typically, colic ends around 3 or 4 months of age. Adam and I absolutely adored Lily - even while we were taking turns holding and loving on her while she screamed nonstop. We walked the streets of our neighborhood with her as she wailed. We bounced her, cuddled her, walked with her . . . most of the time - nothing worked. And - even though I knew that the colic wouldn't last forever - it seemed like it might.

But now, at nearly 8 months old, Lily is so content. And, in the mornings, she is especially calm and glad to just play alone while I make and eat breakfast. She, typically, sleeps at least ten hours a night and takes two good naps during the day. I'm sleeping better than ever. And we are ever so thankful and amazed at this content little baby we have.

I have a couple of friends who just had babies. They are concerned that they might never get eight hours of sleep again. Let me pass on some encouragement and a little advice. You will sleep again. Your body can handle this temporal stress of no sleep. Just try and keep the nights comfortable for yourself. Load your iPod with good podcasts and music for up-all-night feedings. Have some of your favorite chocolates hidden near the changing table - to make getting out of bed (again) not so bad. Put the most comfy blanket in the rocking chair and cuddle up with baby while you two rock. And cherish these moments. They won't last long.

I just took a little break from typing to put my sweet Lily down for her morning nap. I'm going to return a couple of phonecalls and catch up on some housework during this napping hour.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Camping Out

Not many people would go camping when it is 14 degrees outside. But Adam and I did lastnight. In fact, we've been camping about once a week throughout January. However - we camp indoors.

Lily often sleeps with us. During the day, she naps alone - but she seems to sleep better, at night, in our drafty house, if she's in our bed. It was, actually, Adam's suggestion to have her co-sleep with us, so that I could get more sleep. And - I get a lot more sleep this way. I never thought we would let her sleep with us - but we do. For now, anyway. Once she stops nursing we will revisit the subject.
So - in order to have alone time - we've been camping out on our large couch. Lily typically goes to bed between 7:30 & 8pm. Then Adam and I get plenty of time to hang out together.
Lastnight, we cuddled up on the couch and played a board game together. Then we stayed up late and ended up falling asleep, on the couch, together. It was absolutely blissful. Sorta like we were dating again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Poultice

Well - it was a cold Wednesday, last week, when our Lily started coughing. Thursday the temperature was below zero - but the cough sounded pretty bad. So, I called Dr. Peg. Her office said they'd have her call me right away.

She called and advised me to keep Lily warm, at home, and then gave me some advice on how to get her healthy again. Among other things, she told me to crush some fresh garlic and mix it with a tiny bit of olive oil. Then put it on the bottom of Lily's left foot, wrap it, put a sock on it and leave it on overnight. So, we did. Next morning, Lily was still sick, but the congestion seemed to be breaking up quite a bit. We used the garlic poultice for three days and she was on the upswing. Her cold never progressed to a fever or anything worse. Pretty amazing.
Lily's doctor (also our family doctor) is fantastic. She is both a Nurse Practitioner and a naturopathic doctor - with more credentials after her name than anyone I know. She can write a script for us - or give us a homeopathic remedy, supplement or tincture. I am so very thankful that we had such a great resource when we needed it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Mammiracle

So - I kept most of this on the down-low. But now I'm ready to process something that happened recently.

End of October, 2008: Had a large lump in my right breast. I was (and am) still nursing Lily, so I thought that a lump could be a clogged milk duct. I read some home remedies for working it out. Tried them for a couple of weeks. Didn't work. On a Tuesday morning, I went to see some lactation consultants at the hospital. Three of them felt me up and agreed that there was no way it was a clogged duct. They encouraged me to get it "checked out" right away. So - the next morning, I called my OB. She rearranged her morning schedule to see me. Back then, miss Lily was just around 4 mos. old. Adam left work and met us at the doctor's office. We both thought we'd be in and out for a quick exam.

My doctor palpated for a while and then stood up, walked out of the exam room and called a breast surgeon. He agreed to see me that afternoon - though he wasn't planning to see patients that day. So, Adam, Lily & I waited around for a while in his office. The surgeon did a couple of ultrasounds, then inserted a big, tubular needle to aspirate surrounding fluids, and see if he could drain what he thought could be a cyst. After the first needle, he deduced that it was a "mass", not a cyst. He decided to insert another (large, long) needle and use the ultrasound machine to watch as he poked around inside my right babyfeeder. It was uncomfortable - but also pretty neat to see it all on the screen in real time.

The doctor sent the cells away to a lab for testing, sent the surrounding fluid to the lab for cultures, and sent me, Adam and Lily home for the night. He had also set me up with another doctor friend of his, so that we could get a firm second opinion.

We wouldn't know much until the next week.

Early November, 2008: Lab cultures showed no evidence of infection. Adam, Lily and I went to a Radiologist for another opinion and I also had a routine mammogram (my first one ever). It would have all been quite easy - but I was lactating. So, I had to carry the big, bulky breast pump along on these appointments and pump, to empty my breast, before each procedure, for the most accurate results. It was a hassle. And Adam had to take off work to help me with Lily for every visit. The Radiologist wanted more tests and said she couldn't rule out cancer and that there was no way it was a cyst, a clogged duct - or anything that would just go away, over time. She sent me back to the surgeon.

Mid November, 2008: Back to the breast surgeon. This time - he used the ultrasound, then called in another (male) doctor for a third opinion. It was the head of his practice. An older man - who was a little rough with me. He looked down at me and said "you know, I'd like to knock you out for five minutes and squeeze that thing just as hard as I can." He was a little taken aback when I told him to forget the anesthesia and just do it. And - he did. But it was worth it to get another, very educated opinion. His was the same though. "Let's cut into that thing!"

Late November, 2008: Went in for the biopsy. Adam and Lily waited. The nurse and doctor came in, ready for the cut. I had declined anesthesia. The doctor felt the lump first and then he hesitated. He said - "does this feel smaller to you?" I shrugged - I really hadn't been feeling it much. (Due to the poking, squeezing and handling of the lump, my right breast was sore - and it was hard enough to feed my sweet baby with it). The doctor decided to use the ultrasound machine again. When he had enough pictures, he told me to get dressed and meet him in his office. The nurse told Adam and Lily to come too.

We went into the office and the doctor was all smiles. He had four pictures up on the lightscreen. They had been taken on four different dates. All of the previous pic's had been identical - but on this visit - the lump was HALF the size. The doctor told us to go home. He said "cancer does not get smaller". He scheduled a follow-up visit for several weeks later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009: Lily and I went to see the surgeon this week. He wanted a full ultrasound to see all angles of the mass again. He felt around on the right breast and couldn't locate it. He used the ultrasound machine and found absolutely nothing. He checked the other breast (in case he had picked the wrong one, I guess). Still nothing.

The nurse looked. We all looked at the screen to see something - even just a little spot to confirm that something had been there. Nothing.

I asked the doctor if he had an explanation (because I needed to report something back to my husband that evening). The doctor had no explanation at all. He said he doesn't know what happened to the mass. He said that it was not common and that these types of lumps didn't normally just disappear. He also said that he wants me to come back to his office in six months for another check. (I think doctors always say "come back in six months" when they don't have any idea what to say). He was glad that I was well - but he seemed uneasy because he had no answers for me.

I think it was a small miracle.

I'm not the kind of person that would jump to the conclusion of "miracle" without cause. And I don't think that God has nothing better to do than keep track of my breast health. However, I have no other viable explanation. And the doctor hasn't either.

I have seen God do much bigger things than dissolve a mass in my breast. So I'm going to give Him full credit for this one.

(God, If you are reading this entry - Thanks :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Sweetest Sunday

Miss Lily's morning nap was interrupted by my phone ringing. It was the "centralized showing office" calling to let me know that a Realtor wanted to show our home in exactly one hour.

We've been trying to sell our beloved home for well over a year. We've recently re-listed it and we get pretty consistent traffic. So the house stays pretty-well clean. However. . . I had, sorta, fallen off the wagon a bit and let some dust-bunnies reproduce here and there. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's - people generally aren't house-hunting. So, we hadn't done the spit-shine in weeks.

I stammered on the phone, but agreed to the showing. I quickly carried the sleepy-eyed Lily to Adam and forced them both out the front door. I used my fifty-five minutes wisely and was able to make our house look like the inside pages of MetHome magazine. I walked out our back door just as the Realtor and his client were approaching our home.

I joined Adam and Lily, who had found shelter in a benevolent neighbor's bachelor-pad. We hung out there for about an hour. Then we walked back to our clean little home.

Once home, Adam and I realized that our weekend was ending and we hadn't really managed to spend any intentional time together - doing anything fun. In fact, we tried - and neither of us could remember the last time we had done something spontaneous and fun. So - we decided to have a family date. We packed some snacks, hopped in the car and headed downtown to the Children's Museum. We got there, parked the car and walked in - only to find that they had closed all the galleries for the day and would be closing the gift shop in 30 minutes. We were a bit chilly, and I asked the doorman if we could come in and warm-up in the gift shop for a few minutes before we walked all the way back to our car. He kindly welcomed us in, and we enjoyed some time browsing. Lily was happy to look around the shop from her stroller. The three of us had a great time checking out all of the developmental toys on display. Adam found a really nice teething toy for our girl. We bought it and walked back to the car.

We stopped at a coffee shop on the way home. Adam and I talked at a quiet table - while Lily slept in her carseat next to us. All of the sudden, we realized that we were on a grown-up date with the baby. It was really nice. We lingered there for a half-hour or so. Then we stopped at a natural food store on the way home. I needed some rice flour. All three of us went inside. When I tried to rush through the market, Adam reminded me that we were still on our date. I smiled - realizing (yet again) that I'd been blessed with a sweet and romantic husband. We found the rice flour, and purchased an additional $10 worth of natural junkfood impulse items (fancy potato chips, chocolate coated ricemilk "ice-cream" bars and a $4 designer protein shake). It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Together.

An Unexpected Gift

Saturday, I went to the office before 6am to catch up on some artwork. Adam and Lily slept in until 9:30am - and came to see me at lunch. When I made it home from work - at around 3pm, Lily, Adam and I snuggled in for a nap. We napped for a short while - then Adam got a phonecall and had to rush to the hospital to help someone in our family.
Lily and I stayed home, since babies aren't exactly comforting or helpful in medical emergencies. We cleaned the kitchen and had a low-key evening. Bedtime came, and Lily was ready for some shut-eye. I decided to put her down and wait up for Adam. I wasn't quite sure what a girl does when the house is clean, the husband is away and the baby is quietly sleeping. But it didn't take me long to figure it out. I baked some pumpkin scones for Sunday breakfast, cooled and iced them. Then I warmed up some leftovers for my dinner. I ate dinner, while I watched a funny show on our laptop. Then, I returned some email and did a little online research about the health benefits of coconut milk. Basically, I got a few hours to myself - without any chores to do, projects to tackle, bills to pay, bottoms to powder, errands to run - nothing. Had I been offered an evening alone - I probably would've declined. But that time alone - without pressure, obligation or expectation - was like a slice of moist chocolate cake to a frustrated dieter. It was just what I needed.

Merry Christmas!

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