Monday, November 28, 2016

8 days of grateful

*EDIT: I started this on Nov 8, and did not finish it. Now that it's nearing the end of November, I feel like I'm ready to start feeling grateful and thankful again.

It's November, so it's a month to remind ourselves to be grateful for everything we have in our lives. In the past few days, I've been reminded about how much I have. A brief list:

On Saturday, I started feeling really sick to my stomach and I couldn't keep any food down. We called the 24/7 nurseline that is linked with my insurance, and the nurse on call told me to get to the hospital right away. I am so thankful we have resources like this available to us all the time.

At the hospital, I gave them my insurance and I knew that an emergency room visit would only cost me $100. I didn't have to worry about paying for this procedure or that procedure or how much in debt my family would have to go into in order to pay for my treatment. I am extremely lucky to have insurance that covers nearly all of my needs.

At the hospital, I was cared for by an amazing team of nurses, doctors, technicians, nurse assistants and others. I was given an extensive ultrasound that looked at nearly every organ in my body. I was given blood tests, and put on IV fluids. When the ultrasound didn't reveal my appendix, I was given a CT-scan (super cool, even if I was sick). The scan revealed my unhappy appendix and I was admitted to the hospital. I was at the best hospital in this area, being taken care of by the best people around using the best and most advanced equipment possible. I am so grateful I have access to all of these things.

Once I was admitted, I was put into a super nice (shared) room and the nurses helped me constantly, even sneaking me some ice chips to wet my mouth. The hardest part about this whole thing in the beginning was that I couldn't have anything to drink and my mouth was so dry it was uncomfortable. Pain meds helped me sleep a few hours until it was time to go for the surgery.

Just as I was being transported out, Alex and D showed up and walked me up to the surgery area. They kissed me and hugged me and I was so glad I got to see them. While I was in the ER the night before, Alex was amazing and took D all over the place, got him some chocolate bars and they watched lots of things on the phone, waiting for a diagnosis. It's got to be hard to watch a kid, wonder what's going on with your wife, and also take into account all of the things the doctors are saying to you. I am so thankful that my family was there, watching out for me, even though it was really hard and inconvenient.

My surgery took 4 hours, 3 hours longer than predicted. The surgeons said there was excessive dissection to do to get to my appendix, which was situated in an unusual spot. As Alex waited, he called on some friends to talk about the surgery, and many people offered their help, support, their house as home base, or anything else they could do. It was such a generous outpouring of love and support from our friends that it was really meaningful.

After surgery, I was in recovery and the surgeons called Alex and told him what was going on. I was taken back to my room, and Alex and D were waiting for me as I entered the ward. I was so glad to see them. They stayed for a bit, then we all were tired and they went home to get some rest. Alex said that D fell asleep in the car ride home, did not wake up when they got home and he put him right into bed, clothes and all. In the middle of the night, poor D peed the bed, fell out of bed, and Alex just changed him and put him in bed with him for the rest of the night. Poor kid was pooped.

The night at the hospital was a bit rough. I stood up for the first time and I barfed all the clear liquids out that I had been given. I was in a fair bit of pain. But the pain meds worked pretty well. And the nurse told me that to get out of the hospital, I needed to be on oral pain meds, so I didn't take any more IV pain meds after that. The nurses were fantastic - checking in on me regularly, making sure I took my pain meds, helping me to the bathroom. It's odd to be a fully functioning adult one day and then be dependent on someone else the next day. Stanford nurses are stellar, and I had some of the best.

Once surgery was over and I was on my way to recovery, I started telling my co-workers what had happened. I received some of the funniest texts from them - threatening to twerk their way to the hospital and sing loud songs. It was amazing. I love my co-workers.

I came home on Monday evening, and I am so glad to be home. The hospital is a really hard place to rest up, and I never got more than a couple hours sleep at a time. Being home, I can rest as much as I want.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Wknd pics

Mama, I want to take this stick home. No, it won't fit in the car. That's ok we can just walk home.
Safari mama, baby lion and Raysch el Gould????
Parade walking
Pumpkin carving

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Some goals

You know, I used to set goals and try to meet them? I used to be pretty good at it. I fell out of practice when I had D, since most of my time is spent caring for him. Now that he's getting older, I think it's time to set some more goals. Want to know what I am thinking about?

1) Paying off my Student Loans: I am still paying off student loans, if you can believe it. I have about $22,000 in loans myself and Alex has some too, for a total of around $40,000. Ridiculous, right? Especially when we should be saving up for college for our kid. One of my goals is to pay off half of my balance, or $11,555.62 in the next year. I have already put about $5,546.00 toward this, so I have another $6000 to go. I am hoping to have half of my loans paid off by this time next year. At that point, I will start accruing more interest and my loans won't be in deferment anymore (they are deferred while I am a postdoc), but I will just have $11,000 to pay off - no sweat, right?

2) Establish a Morning Routine: I am trying to start a morning routine that I stick to no matter what day of the week it is. Here are some things I would like to do in the morning:

drink a glass of water when I wake up
meditate, reflect, keep a gratitude journal, or some sort of self reflection
take care of the Moo (the cat)

here are some things we HAVE to do in the morning:
feed and dress D
make lunches
make breakfast, coffee
shower and dress

If I get up around 5 or 5:30, I think I can accomplish all of these things. I'm a morning person, so it shouldn't be too bad. I will let you know how that goes!

3) Save Money by budgeting and Meal Planning: Along the same lines as trying to pay off my student loans, I would really like to start making better financial decisions. This includes getting rid of some of our stuff (we have too much, like most people), following a budget, and planning meals so we are never hitting the grocery store hungry (if this happens, we end up spending $100 for junk food - bad idea!). I've been keeping track of our budget, but I haven't been sharing it with Alex, so that will have to change. And meal planning is such a pain, but it has to be done. I am hoping if I do it for a couple months, I will just have some go-to meals to pull from.

Right now, I am working on how to keep track of these goals - some are obvious - make a loan payment each month, but others are more amorphous. Make sure I get up and do my morning routine 80% of the time? Keep track of how well we budget? Sell X number of things every month? I will have to think about these things. But for are some goals!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Party pics

Pin the tail on the donkey
Decorating fun things
Hanging out with friends
Wiped out
Walking in the rain with a new umbrella
Loving on Valentine 

The 3rd birthday party

Saturday was D's third birthday. We had a party at our house with about 20 people. Grandma and Grandpa came up for the weekend and we had a great time. Want to know what I did? Here's the lineup:

Rainy Day 3-year-old Birthday party:

Minestrone Soup
Macaroni and Cheese
Fruit Salad
Chips and Onion Dip
Fruit Snacks
Apples and clementines
Pink and yellow cupcakes with little toothpick "D" or "3" on them

crepe paper across the ceiling to make it look like a circus
balloons everywhere
a lion and an elephant painted by one of D's teachers
red and yellow tablecloth

Pin the tail on the donkey
Decorate your own party hat
make some bracelets with foam beads and pipe cleaners
"fishing" for toys in a huge styrofoam box filled with newspaper
when fishing breaks down, using toy saws to saw apart huge styrofoam box
when sawing gets boring, get in box
when rain finally lets up, wipe down baby slide and let kids play on that
when kids get really, really bored, walk them to the park

All in all, it was a good party. D took off with one of his friends down the driveway and gave another mom a heart attack but that seems to be the worst that happened. The kids seemed to have fun, and the adults seemed to have a good time too. The weather could have been better, and it would have been nice to get the kids outside more, but we all survived. Sunday was spent putting toys together and hanging out in PJs because it rained all day. Honestly, I feel pretty good today - rested and like I actually had a relaxing weekend. It's nice when you don't have to go anywhere.
Pics to follow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book Review: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

Naturally, I have a lot of things to catch up on. Forthwith, my review of this very gentle novel:

I reviewed another Rosamunde Pilcher book a few weeks ago. I'm still emotionally recovering from a lot of stuff that has happened this year, so I've been drawn to "gentle" novels. I really, really love Pilcher's books. This one was not a disappointment. The story begins with Elfrida Phipps, an older woman, single, and her dog. We follow her for a bit and get to know her quirky neighbors, her odd family, and have some lovely time with her. She's a beautiful and amazing character. Then the book begins to introduce us to some other characters. Oscar, the neighbor; Carrie, the niece; Lucy, the forgotten and neglected grand-niece, and Sam, the handsome stranger. Soon, Oscar is upset by tragedy, and Elfrida and Oscar set off to northern Scotland, where they settle into an old, rundown Victorian mansion to escape the holidays. All characters soon converge at the mansion, and have wonderful interactions, interesting conversations, revealing interactions with rich descriptions of the area. I loved this book so much. It's a book to cozy up by a fire, with a cup of tea and some cookies. It's a book to savor, take your time. The characters don't leave you, they enrich you. I am so glad I stole these books from my mom! You should read them too!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wknd Pics

It's here!!!!
We made lab t shirts because we are awesome
A beer and a toy
My 80s attire
Pretty view from my hotel
Monterey Bay
Building a tall tower