Wednesday, January 19, 2011

'Cause Baby You're a Firework!

Okay, so one of the blogs I try to pay attention to is 29 and Holding by RN Mama - I think she's hilarious.  Anyhoo, she does a year-end questionnaire to sort of recap big/interesting/small/funny/etc. moments that happened in the previous year.  I think it's a pretty cool idea so I'm going to answer the same questions.  Don't worry, I have her explicit permission :)

1. What did you do in 2010 that you had never done before?

Well, the biggest thing by far that comes to mind is that I had a baby!  I KNOW, right? Isla Marie in all her 1 pound 1.8 ounce glory was born at 25 weeks +1 day gestation - I wasn't set to meet her until February 1, 2011, but maybe she wanted to make the list? 
This is my heart

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolution, and will you make more next year?
Hmmm...this is a tough one since I didn't do a year-end questionnaire last year.  I think I vaguely remember having the goal of getting my house more organized and, unfortunately, I failed miserably in that area.  ARGH.  For the sake of our little girl (when she can come home - hopefully soon!) though, Luke and I have been forced to get more organized this year.  So, I'll still leave "Get House In Order" this year, but add above that as my first priority:  "Be the best mom I can be and try not to freak out too much when Isla first comes home." 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
See answer to question #1 :) 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my cousin Billy of cancer.  He was a wonderful singer and loving person.

5. What countries did you visit? 
Wal-Mart...does that count?  It's at least GOTTA count between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Other than that, none :( Although Scotland and Italy are on my radar. 

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Hmmm....I know this sounds kind of silly, but I want a Wii so that I can stream movies from Netflix.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010, the day my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer;
Tuesday, October 12, 2010, the day I first learned Isla (then known simply as future coolest baby ever!) was having trouble in the womb and might have to be born early; and,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010, the day my little angel was born.

I love you dad
 8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Okay, the theme for this list should simply be "The Year of Isla"

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not working hard to stay in shape.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No...unless you call the wickedly weird rash I had on my forearms for two weeks in December caused by the multiple daily hand/arm washings in the NICU and illness - I now have "special" soap. It's probably a placebo, but it works!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
 Mermaid painting for Isla's room - purchased it in Maine.  GORGEOUS. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Isla!!!  On so many levels and in so many ways, it's hard to describe.  As always, you can check out her amazing progress at her Caringbridge site. 

 13. Whose behavior made you appalled or depressed?
I'm invoking my right to remain silent.

14. Where did most of your money go this year?
Medical bills and preparations for Isla's homecoming.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I'll give you a hint....starts with an "I" and ends in a "sla"

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
"Hey Soul Sister" by Train.  I love that song and must have put it on every CD I burned this year. 

17. Compared to this time last year are you (a) happier or sadder; (b) thinner or fatter; (c) richer or poorer?
(a) I'm happier this time than last year, but definitely more overwhelmed.  (b) I'm also fatter *sigh* and I can't blame that all on my gorgeous child.  I only gained around 15 pounds with her before the Great Evacuation of October 20, 2010.  I've lost that already, but am still bigger :( To remedy matters however, I stared P90X with my sister - we'll see how that goes.  So far so good, although I'm pretty sure I broke my right hamstring :) That might be a little dramatic, but it's pulled for sure. (c) Yikes....well, I guess I'm "richer" in the sense that we've paid off a lot of debt in the last year. 

18. What do you wish you had done more of?
Gone to the lake more with my hubby or taken a trip when we had the chance.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Procrastinate in just about every area of life.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Family gathering at my parents' house - then cuddled with Isla in the NICU.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Yes, with my daughter.  And, SHOCKINGLY, stayed in love with my husband :)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Tie between Archer and The League

23. Do you hate someone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a pretty strong word - not sure anyone deserves that emotion.  At least none that I know personally.  There are quite a few that I dislike, but those seem to be the same as the year before. 

24. What was the best book you read?
I'd have to say a tie between two books that are absolutely nothing alike:
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason; and, Half-Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe by Alexa Stevenson.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The song "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" by Stars.  It's not as morbid as the title suggests :)

26. What did you want and get?
There really wasn't a whole lot that I wanted except for my pregnancy to go well and for my baby to be healthy.  Well, the pregnancy didn't go well in the sense that our little honey was born WAY too early.  And the latter caused her a whole lot of complications, but she's doing so darn well - and so healthy under the circumstances that I'm going to answer this questions with "Yes, I have a beautiful and amazing daughter."

27. What did you want and not get?
Nothing comes to mind.

28. What was your favorite film of the year?
Hmmmm, unfortunately my vice is going to movies so I saw a lot.  So many, that I probably can't really remember all of them.  Umm, my favorite experience (but definitely NOT favorite movie) was going to see Avatar in 3D with my dad.  I think the last movie I saw with him in the theatre was probably The Little Mermaid when I was 9.  The most recent movies that I can remember enjoying were "Morning Glory," "The King's Speech," "True Grit."

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Sadly, I can't really remember what I did on my birthday.  Well, my birthday was on a Tuesday and I was pregnant.  So it's safe to say I worked and didn't drink :) I absolutely remember the beautiful hand-made wooden box Luke made for me on my birthday.  It's absolutely beautiful!  I use it for special things; i.e.: Isla's ultrasounds, her little blood pressure cuff, etc.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Keeping Isla in my tummy until the end of the year.  That's pretty obvious.  Otherwise, being completely out of debt (school loans, home loan, etc.).

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Pregnancy pants.

32. What kept you sane?
So much stress that I was forced to cope.

33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Rugby standout Sonny Bill Williams

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Tea Party Movement - I know, not really an "issue" per se.

35. Who did you miss?
My friends from college and a few of the people I used to work with.  I will always miss my grandparents.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
All of Isla's amazing doctors and nurses at Sanford Health.  And Jess, another mother I met in the NICU.  She and her family are wonderful people!

37. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2010.
You're stronger than you think you are.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"'Cause baby you're a firework!"  Isn't Katy Perry adorable?  I confess I don't really "get" the whole Russel Brand thing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dusty Treasure

I was dusting off my bookshelves this morning and became reacquainted with an old book my mom gave me immediately preceding my first year in law school.  It’s a first edition Letters to a Young Lawyer by Arthur M. Harris.  I always treasured the book for its contents, but paid little attention to the handwriting on the title page.  In pencil on the inside page it reads To “Ray I. Klingbiel” and the handwritten year “1924.”  Despite being admitted to practice law in Illinois, I confess I had no idea who Ray Klingbiel was and simply Googled his name out of curiosity.  It turns out, Ray Klingbiel was the Chief Justice of Illinois in 1956-57 and again from 1964 to 1967.  It appears this book belonged to Justice Klingbiel – the year 1924 is the year I understand he graduated from law school.  I’m delighted to think that Justice Klingbiel was probably given the book as a graduation gift by his parents or other family member.  Unfortunately, it appears Justice Klingbiel didn’t take the book to heart – he was ultimately forced to resign from the bench after allegedly accepting a bribe.  A book has been written on the subject:  Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.  Kenneth A. Manaster (University of Chicago Press, 2001).  I’ve always loved the book and now find it even more interesting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The use of all CAPS in the title does not begin to describe how upset I am right now with Fuji Film and its disposable cameras.  As many of you know, our daughter Isla is a micro-preemie who has spent the first 11 weeks of her life in the NICU and, we anticipate, will be spending at least another month or more in the NICU before she can come home.  Well, since Luke and I can't be at the hospital all the time, we thought it would be a great idea to leave some disposable cameras up in Isla's room so the nurses could take pictures of her when we were gone.  We left two Fuji Film disposable cameras in her room over the last month and a half.  I took the first camera to get developed at a local Walgreens last week....only 4 pictures showed up.  I asked the gal behind the counter if the rest were simply kind of dark (when Isla was first born we didn't use flashes because it would have been sensory overload for her), but she said "no, they are just black - no photos to be seen."  I was crushed - and not entirely convinced that the Walgreens lady hadn't messed up.  So today, I took the second camera to our local Lewis Drug Store to be developed.  They called me within 30 minutes to tell me that only 4 pictures were visible and did I really still want the picture CD based on the low number of photos.  I couldn't freakin' believe it!  I must admit, there was a little crying done in the car ride over to pick up Isla's photos.  Effectively 1.5 months in pictures of our daughter's life is gone without a trace.  And since I took two cameras to two different businesses, there is no question in my mind that it was the cameras themselves that were wrecked and not the individuals developing the pictures. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How To Make A Real Ice Pack for $.30

I've been reading Timothy Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Body and in it he refers his readers to a link where you can learn to make a real ice pack for $.30.  The recipe can be found here and is posted by Dumb Little Man.  It's pretty freakin' cool and could save you a TON of money.  I know I just blew $15 on some ice packs not too long ago when Luke's back was spazzing out him.  Now, I'm adding rubbing alcohol and Ziploc bags to my shopping list.  I haven't tried the recipe yet, but I'm thinking it's gonna work:

1. Take a Ziploc bag and toss in 1 part water and 1 part rubbing alcohol;
2. Grab another Ziploc bag and put the first bag in (with the solution) into the second bag;
3. Put it into the freezer.  DONE. 
4. If you like the fancy blue color, Dumb Little Man suggests you add some food coloring :)