Thursday, December 31, 2009

Choo Choo

Ben's former best friend, blanky, has nearly been displaced by the newest member of our toy family. Thomas the Tank Engine, affectionately known as "Choo Choo," must be in the room with Ben at all times. And he must be on. He must be talking, otherwise the only thing we hear for the next hour is, "Uh-oh, Choo Choo! Choo Choo! Uh-oh! Uh-oh!"

However, this is no ordinary Choo Choo.

Thomas the Tank Engine has four settings: On, Off, Follow Me, and Try Me. In both On and Follow Me modes, Thomas is skillfully trained to follow your voice. When Choo Choo is talking, Ben is very happy and affectionately talks to him, saying "Yay, Choo Choo! Yay!" which of course triggers Choo Choo to follow him around if he is set to either of these modes.

Chaos ensues.

When Choo Choo moves, Ben screams with terror. Nothing has ever set him off so much. He breaks down, convulsing on the ground, screaming and crying, which then corrects Thomas' direction and follows him. Ben views this as an assault. He'll run away, screaming, and will stand behind a door frame, waiting for Mommy and Daddy to fix Choo Choo, which, of course, we do. Choo Choo only belongs on Try Me mode because he doesn't move on this setting.

Almost immediately when the train has stopped moving, Ben says, "Yay, Choo Choo! Yay!" and runs over to play with him. Ultimately, Ben will turn the train over, play with his switch, and turn it to either mode that follows him. Chaos ensues, and the process continues.

Ben loves Choo Choo so much that he doesn't want him to be lonely at night. Two nights ago, we put Choo Choo to bed on his shelf with a blanky and told Ben "Choo Choo go night night!" Ben affectionately patted Thomas' blanky and kept getting up to check and see if he was okay, then stole his blanky.

I guess blanky is still Ben's best friend.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best (Cold) Roast Beef Sandwich

I am a huge fan of French Dip Sandwiches. I think they are the most delicious delicacy ever derived of hot shaved beef placed on bread. Particularly when you buy this delicacy at Houston's and it's made from shaved prime rib, cooked to a perfect medium rare... ahhh....


These were definitely one of the most popular menu items, and my mouth watered every time I had to deliver it. Every. Time.

Anyway, back to the purpose of my post, I consumed the best COLD roast beef sandwich today. My creative mother-in-law, Kari, made it just for us. It was made of:
  • Light Rye Bread
  • Roast Beef
  • Cream Cheese (as the spread)
  • Cucumber
That was it. And it was AMAZING! The tangy-ness of the rye in combination with the sweet cream cheese, crisp cucumber, and tender beef was incredible.

I am a picky eater. I don't try new things often. One bite of this put me in sandwich heaven! Ruffles potato chips went with it perfectly (who doesn't like ridges?). I will most definitely be making this sandwich at home. Every time I try some combination of things and it tastes great, I think of dear Remy from Ratatouille, screaming about infinite combinations of flavors to explore...

I had this experience today. Anyone have a moment like this recently?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Medical Bills

I casually mentioned it in October, but I didn't really say much else about it. Ben had a hernia. Never again will I joke about "giving myself a hernia" in such a light manner. :) Ben's was the size of an egg and sat right between his hip and well... you know. He whimpered the whole time. We rushed him to the emergency room and he had to be sedated before they could push his intestine back in. Yes, that's the treatment for a hernia. You just push it back in. (?!?)

2 1/2 weeks later he had follow-up surgery to close the abdominal wall. After the initial pain of recovery in the hospital, we brought him home and he acted as though nothing had happened! With no pain relievers! All in all, the surgeon was great, the hospital was pretty nice, and recovery was amazingly easy. He healed perfectly.

My issues happened mid-November, two weeks after Ben's surgery. That included a few doctor's visits, blood tests, plus an ultrasound exam at the hospital.

Trouble is, our amazing, awesome, new employer-provided insurance didn't start until December1st.

We had private PPO insurance that was pretty good for every-day sort of care, but pretty awful for anything remotely serious. It also didn't have maternity coverage. Now, the bills are coming in...

Fortunately, the hospital is AWESOME and doesn't charge interest for 16 months, and we've already paid quite a bit in deposits for services from the hospital and Ben's surgeon. Because of this, we've almost paid the entire copay for the year within a month and a half. I'm also hoping that, because I thought I was miscarrying, it won't count as maternity care (I hope, I hope). We'll see.

We had the foresight to have a lot of money saved up, and that has been amazing since we can pay bills as they come. We also have amazingly supportive family members.

I know I've said "awesome" and "amazing" a lot in this post, but that's how this situation has been. I haven't felt overwhelmed. I've never felt so calm or that my family is so safe and well taken care of. The peace has been incredible. I almost didn't notice it until I started tallying up all the things going on right now; they should be overwhelming, and yet... things feel fine. Has that every happened to you?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ultrasound #2 Results

I got the results... are you ready???

We have a heartbeat! It was thumping away at 160 beats per minute, which is great! Very normal. I am 7 1/2 weeks today, which makes my due date:

June 23rd, 2010

Hip hip, hooray! Now, for the "interesting" news.

The blood clot has gotten bigger. It's gone from 4cm to 6 cm. This could cause spotting and puts me at a higher risk for miscarriage. It could pass or just disappear. I've been told that I just need to take it really easy; no recreational activities or exercise. Hopefully this will just resolve itself.

The cyst on my right ovary is 4cm. To me, that seems kind of big. The good news is that ovarian cysts produce hormones that benefit pregnancy, so this isn't necessarily "bad" news at all, and my doctor wasn't really worried about it.

So, there we go. Things are progressing well! Hearing the words "good" and "normal" come out of my doctor's mouth made me want to laugh and cry and dance. I'm feeling much more optimistic now that I'm being scheduled for regular prenatal exams. There's that word again: "regular." Awful close to "normal." :) Two weeks till my next appointment!

No ultrasound pictures, but they probably look weird anyway. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ultrasound #2

Today's ultrasound stunk. I have no news.

The technicians were nice and everything, and they made me feel comfortable, but they're not allowed to say anything. At all. I couldn't even watch the screen. It's a new "policy." So, I know nothing.

Well, I take that back. I know they measured from "crown to rump," but that was the extent of the lingo I could understand, since the rest of their communication was using acronyms most of the time.

They did an external and internal exam. The internal exam took forever and my legs started shaking and twitching because I had to hold them in a flexed position for about 20 minutes. One of the technicians helped me hold it in position. :) I'm a weakling, I guess. Maybe it's because I'm tall?

They will report the results to my doctor in 2-3 days. I just wish I had been able to watch. Maybe I could have seen the heartbeat. I don't know; maybe they only take that many measurements if the baby is viable? Or maybe it's protocol that they measure everything every time no matter the situation? This is only my third ultrasound, the first of which was significantly less frustrating and much more informative, since the technician was a nurse and could tell us everything we were looking at. Last time's was awful. She was really shy about being around my only-covered-with-a-sheet-lower-body, and almost fell over trying to shield her eyes when I had to adjust the sheet. Not that I was flashing her or anything, but I would think that usually people who are around ultrasound equipment, or any medical examination equipment, are more familiar with the idea that people have to be halfway exposed for medical examinations. Maybe it's just me. :)

My doctor is very good about calling anytime she has anything to report, so I know she'll let me know as soon as there's something to tell us. Let's hope it's two days and not three.