Monday, October 29, 2007

My attempt at being crafty

I was inspired by Artsy-Crafty Babe to try the art of paper mache. Now, you have to realize I have not done this since 5th grade. I really thought I did it since then, but no. I did a recount in my head and the last time was about 27 years ago.
I guess I could have looked up the proper proportions of glue to water, but I didn't. We winged it. Getting the balloon covered with the newspaper and glue mixture wasn't so bad. SG got a bit messy and had glue all in her hair. I really thought I would have to cut her hair, but luckily it washed out fairly easily.

It seemed like it took forever to dry. I left the paper mache balloons outside to dry and it took about 3 days. In addition to it being windy outside, the balloons ended up in the pool. I think this project was not really meant to be. I fished them out of the pool and finally I put them in the garage for safe keeping. One of the balloons popped and the shape disintegrated.

We carried on with the project despite our setbacks. Now it is time to paint. We painted them orange to resemble pumpkins. The paint just didn't work. It was not opaque enough. I then conceded and called this project a flop.

Next time, I will look up a recipe for the paper mache to get the proportions just right and get the best paint for the job.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

To Surgery We Go

Wednesday was surgery day for MM. I was fine until about an hour before we had to leave for the hospital. I had to put on one load of laundry and had to start the dishwasher before we left. Lucky for me, MM was napping. It was as though my brain was in overdrive. This was my defense mechanism. In order for me to keep my mind off my 15 month old baby having surgery, I kept myself busy.

Fifteen minutes before leaving home, I decided I had to wash my hair. Now, you know I had all morning to do this, but for some reason there was some trigger that went off that insisted I needed to shower and wash my hair in the 15 minutes before we had to leave. Not only did I need to do this, but I needed to blow dry my hair, get dressed, apply some make-up, wake up the baby from her nap, dress her, and get some juice packed up. Oh, I cannot forget that I timed it just right that the clothes would be finished in the washer just before leaving. I had to put them in the dryer. I also timed the dishwasher just so I would be able to get MM's favorite sippy cup for our journey. Surprisingly, I did all of this in 15 minutes. I got to the hospital with 2 minutes to spare.

Here's MM at the hospital waiting in the pre-op area. She could not sit still. Luckily we were one of the last ones in there waiting for surgery. She certainly kept the staff entertained.
This was her after a dose of Versed. Strangely, she stayed in my lap until I walked her over to the surgery suite. She certainly liked the Versed. Notice the syringe in her right hand. She wouldn't let it go. She was feeling good.
Off she went for surgery and off I went to the land of neurosis again. I just could not sit still. I couldn't stop talking. I had to walk. I walked over to CCU to say hello to my friends and work colleagues. I really think they thought I was the one drugged.

Once I got back to the surgery area, the doctor came to talk to us to say the surgery went well. Whew! What a relief. Even though they say minor surgery, it is still major surgery in a mom's brain. When you medicate my child to sedate her. Then you anesthetize her, put a breathing tube down her throat, start 2 IVs, and medicate her more with Fentanyl, I would call this major surgery.

The anesthesiologist came out to talk to us and then the nurse. Finally, I get to see my baby. But, the problem is that she is screaming and won't stop crying. She has IV fluids infusing to her foot and is hooked up to the oxygen saturation monitor. Her vitals are within normal limits except her heart rate is elevated. As a nurse, I know this is generally due to pain. I finally convinced her nurse to give her some acetaminophen. MM kept arching back and getting stiff. JoJo the clown could have stayed home because MM had no interest in her. Once she got the medication, I continued to rock her and started singing BaBa Black Sheep. Somehow, my singing helped soothe her. I tried other songs, but this was the one. So, Tylenol, singing and flatulence made my baby happy again. It was so good to see a slight resemblance of a smile on her face.

Off to the house we go. Now, at this point I am completely exhausted. I felt like I had been up for 2 days straight and non-stop on the go. I was so happy to get home. I was so happy that the surgery was over and my baby was fine. The only trace of surgery is the swelling of her left eye. You would never know she had a tube inserted from the eye and into the nose.

Here's MM waiting to get get home. I thought to get a picture of her post-op, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and didn't remember until we got her in the car.

What a day! I am glad it is over and all went well.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crazy Eights

I have been tagged for a meme. This is a first for me! At first I was going to just do it real quickly, but I decided to actually put some thought into it and use it as a learning tool into my deeper self that I rarely tap into.

So, here's to you Sheila at My Memories. Thanks for tagging me and making me look a bit deeper into myself than I would normally allow others to go.

Here's the Crazy Eights Meme:

Things I am passionate about:
1. Hand writing thank you notes and good manners
2. Having fun in life
3. Reading to my children
4. Stimulating my brain by doing puzzles, reading, computer games
5. My family
6. Dancing and listening to music
7. Learning
8. Health: being healthy, staying healthy, advocating a healthy lifestyle

Books I’ve read recently (or am currently reading):
1. Ines of My Soul: A Novel by Isabel Allende
2. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
3. Smart Discipline by Larry J. Koenig,, PhD
4. The Making of A Happy Family by Larry J. Koenig,, PhD
5. The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
6. Pocket Parent
7. Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to be 100 by Dr. Maoshing Ni
8. The Hidden Manual: Mac OS X

Things I say often:
1. Little Miss
2. One, two, and if I get to number three
3. Good golly
4. Oh my gosh
5. What do You think?
6. My oh my
7. You tell me why
8. Please and Thank you

Things I want to do before I die:
1. Instill in my children the values I feel are important
2. Be able to have a conversation in Spanish with my husband
3. To visit a foreign country and communicate in their language (not English, of course)
4. Visit Hong Kong to fulfill my grandmother’s last trip planned before she died
5. To teach my children all of the necessary lessons needed to be respectful and productive human beings
6. To teach my children to be passionate about life
7. To dance: I love to dance and think it should be part of my daily life
8. Have one last dance with my husband

What attracts me to my friends:
1. A little bit off like me
2. March to the beat of their own drum
3. A passion for life
4. A certain spirit about them
5. Honesty
6. Good values
7. Listening even when I am making no sense
8. Common ideas of life

Things I learned last year:
1. Sometimes you just need to let it go
2. Choose your battles with your children
3. My children are a lot more like me than I realized
4. My girls also have a great love to dance
5. I can order everything I need from Sam’s online. They will do all the shopping, and I just have to go there to pay for it and pick it up
6. No recycling means tons of waste
7. Hardships can make you stronger
8. Downsizing all of my possessions (due to natural disaster) has been a really good thing

Songs I can listen to over and over:
1. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Saint Etienne)
2. Diamond Girl (TKA)
3. Never There (Cake)
4. Amargo Adios [Version Tequila] (Inspector/Mariachi “Los Reyes de Guadalajara”)
5. Rompecabezas (Aterciopelados)
6. Cuts You Up (Peter Murphy)
7. Good Times Roll (The Cars)
8. Rush (Aly & AJ)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Doin' the Haus

Deutsches Haus that is! Saturday night we celebrated Oktoberfest 2007 at the Deutsches Haus. I have been here to celebrate Oktoberfest many times, but this was the first time with children. And I must say, I had the most fun this year because of the kids.

I did the chicken dance and didn't actually feel silly.
To make it even more fun, I danced with the Deutsches Haus Chicken. The girls were having so much fun. They danced and danced and danced and danced.
Notice the hair in motion!
I took still pictures and realized my camera takes video. Ding-dong! I got some really great footage of the girls gone wild "G" version.

While we were there, I learned some new information about my heritage. I always thought I was just a smidgen German, but now I learn I am more German than my other cultures. Well, I am not in the thinking kind of mode, so I am not going to try to figure out the percentage. Here goes, here's my ancestral heritage:
Maternal grandmother: 100% Italian
Maternal grandfather: 50% French, 50% Spanish
Paternal grandmother: 100% German
Paternal grandfather: 50% French, 50% German

So what am I? Heinz 57? So, my children have this plus an addition of 100% Nicaraguan from their father.

Since this celebration last night, I got curious. Curious as to why they celebrate for 4 weeks and why they celebrate this at all. So, here's the answer.

History of Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. The main event of the original Oktoberfest was a horse race.

Anniversary celebrations were held annually thereafter that eventually became larger and more elaborate. An agricultural show was added during the second year. In 1818, a carousel and two swings were set up for the revelers. Such amusements were few in the first decades of the festival, but party-goers were amply entertained by the tree climbing competitions, wheel barrow and sack races, mush eating contests, barrel rolling races, and goose chases. By 1870s, mechanical rides were an expanding feature of the festival and in 1908, the festival boasted Germany's first roller coaster. When the city began allowing beer on the fairgrounds, makeshift beer stands began cropping up, and their number increased steadily until they were eventually replaced by beer halls in 1896. The beer halls, like the beer tents of today, were sponsored by the local breweries.

The festival was eventually prolonged and moved ahead to September to allow for better weather conditions. Today, the last day of the festival is the first Sunday in October. In 2006, the Oktoberfest extended two extra days because the first Tuesday, October 3, was a national holiday. Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war. (Taken from

I have very fond memories of the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair Exposition in New Orleans. There was an exhibit called the German Beer Garden. This was my first experience with beer and Oktoberfest. This Oktoberfest extended from May 12 through November 11, 1984; A bit longer than the typical fest. Oh, those were the days.

To add to the history, Deutsches Haus has been around New Orleans since 1928 in the same spot at 200 S Galvez Street. It is in danger of being demolished to make way for the new LSU and VA Medical Centers. There is a petition to save the Haus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pop Go the Measles

Have any of your children contracted the measles? Our youngest developed the measles, but it really isn't the measles. Do you get that?

Okay, here's how the story goes. On October 3, 2007 my daughter went in for her 15 month checkup. Part of the routine visit was for her to get an MMR vaccination. Just as a refresher, MMR is for measles, mumps, and rubella. She got her shot, cried and life carried on.

Saturday night, October 13 we were getting ready for my mother's birthday dinner celebration when we noticed a generalized, yet very mild and minimal rash. I just assumed it was from a new clothes detergent I tried. You know how sensitive and delicate baby skin can be. I noticed a few more spots before we put her to bed, so I gave her some Benadryl.
This is what she looked like the next morning. In just about 12 hours of sleep her body went from a few spots to what you see in this picture. Hello! This looks like measles. I called the on-call doctor and that asked is she was in any respiratory distress. Of course she wasn't, only spotted red. She said to continue with what I have done by giving her Benadryl and Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Believe it or not, but this picture actually looks good compared to what she looks like today.

Monday, we called the pediatrician's office so he could see her. Finally we got an appointment. It was a bad side effect of the MMR vaccination. Generally, a reaction occurs 7 - 12 days after the injection. Her reaction time was 10 days. Our pediatrician stated he has seen mild "bumps", but never like hers. Luckily she never experienced any other true effects of measles such as a runny nose, eyes, or mouth, and fever. We emailed pictures to her doctor so he can document it.

Now, to add insult to injury, the poor doll has to have eye surgery tomorrow. Not only is she going to be itchy from the darn pseudo measles rash, she is going to have a tube placed from her eye through her nose.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Things I do to Help the Environment

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
First of all I want to say that I live in a post-Katrina area and recycling is almost nonexistent. I am able to bring newspaper to our local school for recycling. Parish (county) curbside recycling has been unheard of. Recently, I heard about a private company that does curbside recycling. When I got wind of this, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. Friday, I had my official second curbside recycling day. I felt so great about doing this.

Thank you to Phoenix Recycling in New Orleans, LA for allowing me to do this. Because of this, our weekly trash has decreased to about half. I do pay for this service, but the price makes no difference to me. With our previous parish curbside recycling, we paid through our water bill. I have talked to several of my neighbors about this and their reply was, “you actually pay for that?” What they don’t realize is that they paid for it before. The difference was that is was part of the monthly water bill and they just didn’t know it. As of right now, I am the only one on my block that has curbside recycling. I really hope this changes.

Now on to the other things I do to help the environment. I don’t feel like I do too much, but I guess every little thing helps.

Things I do to help the environment:
1. I try to use towels and cloth napkins instead of paper towels and napkins.
2. I try to avoid hitting the “print” button on the computer as often as I used to.
3. I am not much of a TV watcher, but I turn it off if the kids have it on and they are nowhere to be found.
4. I turn the lights out when I am finished. I am constantly going behind everyone in the house turning lights out.
5. I don’t drink coffee, by my husband fills his coffee mug with a lid before he leaves home and uses it at his office instead of using the disposable cups.
6. I have been replacing our regular light bulbs one at a time with CFC light bulbs.
7. I try to avoid using foil and plastic wrap and use glass or plastic ware instead.
8. I maintain the proper air pressure in my car’s tires.
9. I clean up after my family and me when we go out and about and do find myself picking up after strangers, too.
10. I try to explain to my 3 year old about recycling. I think she does understand because she remembers what does not go in the trash.
11. We reuse printed paper usually by giving it to the girls to cut, paste, and draw on.
12. We installed low-flow toilets.
13. We avoid fast food meals. I cook about 95% of all of our meals.
14. We change our A/C filter routinely.
15. Most of my laundry is done in cold water with the exception of a few loads that are washed in warm, not hot.
16. I try to purchase local grocery items such as fruits and veggies.
17. I recycle as much as I can.
18. When we refurnished our house, I bought appliances that were energy star efficient.
19. Our new A/C system is 16 SEERS and is energy star rated. We use a programmable thermostat.
20. Our lawn and garden is watered early in the morning.
21. We have oak trees in front our house.
22. I unplug appliances when not in use.
23. I try to remember to unload my car of any excess weight routinely.
24. I plan on buying a bike before the end of the year and actually using it.
25. We use filtered water from the refrigerator instead of buying bottled water.
26. I use recycled shopping bags when I go grocery shopping and other miscellaneous shopping. My daughter likes to remind me, “Mommy, don’t forget the bags in the car.”
27. I have been mending our clothes and items instead of getting rid of them.
28. I buy toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, cereal, dish soap, soap, toothpaste, dental floss, diapers and other things in bulk. I also remember to recycle the packaging.
29. I find myself buying and using more durable goods than disposable. For parties, we use all of the plates, glasses, cloth napkins, and other items we have instead of buying plastic and throwaway items.
30. I use my crock-pot at least once or twice a week (sometimes more during the winter) which in turn, I use the oven less.
31. I have joined Bog Action Day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Little Sleeping Beauty

Well, as the story goes.... my little sweat pea MM never has a problem with going down for a nap or bedtime. Then one out-of-the-ordinary day, she doesn't want to nap or sleep. What happened to my perfect little sleeper?

Yesterday, I put her down for her afternoon nap around 1:30 PM and I thought she was asleep (while I was working in the office). My mother and SG came inside and got her at 2:10 PM. Wait a second here. She was supposed to be sleeping! But, she wasn't. She was laughing and playing in her crib.

I get over the fact that she didn't take a real nap that afternoon. But, around 4:30 PM she was getting really goofy and giddy. This was my clue of how tired she was. She was out within seconds of me putting her down in her crib.

Around 6:00 PM we were getting ready for dinner. I thought I heard her up and had FG go get her. To my surprise, she was still sleeping. This child doesn't miss meals. She slept through dinner. I figured she would wake up at some point before my bedtime. Nope! She stayed asleep.

This morning, I got up around 6:45 AM. She was still sleeping. Before I got out of bed, I actually panicked that she was still asleep from 4:30 PM the afternoon before. I jumped out of bed and dashed in her room. She was still breathing...whew! As I am watching her sleep on her belly all stretched out I realize how big she got. I think she was having a major growth spurt and needed a bit of extra sleep. She now extends 3/4 the length of the crib. This is the baby who is growing up so fast.

Finally, she woke at 8:30 AM! MM slept for 16 hours. I think this is record breaking sleep for my children. I am glad she got the sleep she needed, but she sure did have me worried for a moment.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Stop! No, Go!

Okay, so what is it? When you come to a yellow light, do you stop and wait for the light to turn red or do you accelerate and hope it doesn't turn red?

This is the question I have been pondering. Two weeks ago I was stopped by a state trooper because I went when the light was yellow with anticipation that the light would remain yellow. Obviously, that was not the case. It turned red. As it happened, I was feeling dread. Phrases I verbalized were, "I cannot believe I did that. The light turned red. I BROKE the law." To make it fair, it was a double light system. I had to get through two sets of lights on 1 yellow light. Once I crossed and made my u-turn, I knew I broke the law. Bright swirling lights were headed my way.

The way this happened was...a night out on the town. We hired a babysitter and went to a wedding. The wedding was getting lame so we decided to go OUT on the town to Harrah's Casino. My traffic violation occurred on Canal Street at Decatur Street, across the way from my destination, Harrah's. This is probably a routine stop for the police.

I got out the car. I must vouch for myself and say I was nicely dressed. No alcohol in my system. No signs of drug use. And I am not of the young set. I felt like all of these things gave me an advantage with the state trooper. He asked me where I was going and coming from. We joked about never going out and the one time I do, look at my predicament. He checked my drivers license and ran my license tag. All were clear and he gave me the go-ahead to continue my evening.

So here I am back to my dilemma. Do you stop or go at a yellow light? The officer said always stop at a yellow light. Sure, but the car going 45 mph behind me doesn't think so. If you are approaching the yellow light, sure I will stop. But, if I am right at the light and it changes yellow, I feel as though I should just punch it and go.

Since this night, I found myself in this situation often. I have jammed on my brakes with a yellow light and thought I would have everything from the back of the car including children up front with me. I just don't know. I guess each yellow light will be a unique experience and will have to be dealt with as it arrives.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

If the Cup Fits

My mother has breast cancer, well survived it. The problem she has is no bra fits her. Her left breast is about one size larger than the right. (She would have a fit if she knew I was writing this.)

I have been encouraging her to buy a new full support bra so she doesn't hang out. She tends to "hang out" often because she goes with a bra to fit the smaller breast cup.

Yesterday I decided to go bra shopping for her, but it hit me that no bras in the stores will fit her. How often do you go shopping and find a bra with one C cup and a D cup? Right, I know!

When I saw her, I mentioned this to her and suggested she go to a shop that specializes in special bras for cancer survivors. Her reply was, "why would I do that?" Hello mother, you spent over a year in treatment for breast cancer. I think she may still be in denial. Or that she may think people are going to feel sorry for her if she goes to a place like this.

I never really thought about this, but I guess she could have reconstructive surgery on her breast. Maybe I will mention this to her.

But, in the meantime, I need to help her get a bra that fits properly. I cannot let her go out in public with one breast hanging out the top, bottom, and side of her bra.