Our cats are on a diet.
The details are not necessary, but suffice it to say that GirlCat's weight-related grooming issues have reached a tipping point, and we (I) can no longer make excuses for her (or myself).
We (I) just have to suck it up and deal with the inconvenience of separating the three cats and feeding them individual meals, rather than just letting them have a free-range, all-day buffet.
I guess the diet technically starts tomorrow, but this evening, I gave them their first separate meals (that went so-so, details to come) and then took up all the food until morning.
GirlCat and BoyCat (the fat ones - she is 25 lbs, he is 21 lbs) will be eating the special, expensive Obesity Management diet food from the vet, and MamaCat will finish off the bag of Purina Healthy Weight and Hair Ball Formula that they've been eating, then she'll switch to a regular (not diet) formula store-bought food, since she's actually a little skinny (a hair under 7 lbs) these days.
We'll start with two meals per day, of 1/2 cup food per cat per meal. If they drive us nuts on that plan, we'll divide their one cup per kitty into three meals, but the vet said that two should be fine, after a few days to adjust.
The plan, at the moment, is for me to feed them with I get up in the morning and again when I get home in the evening, or a little later, to be roughly every twelve hours.
I'm not sure how we'll manage separating them.
On our test run this evening, I stuck Mama in one bathroom, and the Boy in the other, and gave Girly her food in the laundry room, where they are used to eating (because she was already hanging out in there, and I'm not supposed to do any heavy lifting, so I didn't want to move her).
Mama and Boy were not happy a bit about being shut in the bathrooms, and I don't think they ate anything while they were in there.
Then, I let them out and moved all three bowls into the laundry room, where Mama promptly started eating the Girl's diet food - not her own less-diet (and less-expensive) food.
I moved it out of her reach, and then she tried to eat the Boy's diet food.
(The vet tells me that it's evidently quite yummy. MamaCat seems to agree.)
With some fancy food-work, I managed to get the boy to eat a good bit of his own diet food, and the Girl to have some of hers, and Mama to stick (mostly) to her cheaper stuff.
Then I took it all up. And the whining began.
Nah, it's not really that bad, although the Boy does seem to be complaining a bit. Or maybe he just wants some lovin'.
What he really wants is to sit on my lap, right on top of Peeper. That's his favorite place to be, these days.
So, as I said, I'm not quite sure where/how to feed them separately, as they seem to be completely freaked out by the idea of eating anywhere but in the laundry room.
Maybe after a night of no food, they'll be less picky about the location?
The hardest part, I'm sure, will be for us to stick with it and to ignore their complaining until they get used to the new system.
But we really have to, because poor GirlCat is miserable, and there doesn't seem to be any kitty gastric bypass on the horizon, so there are no other options.
Wish us luck.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Our cats are on a diet.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
We do plan to buy a brand-new car seat, because that's what all the safey-people tell us to do, but beyond that, we're all about getting used stuff for Peeper - especially if we can get it for cheap or free.
In addition to the yard sales, we've also been scouring Craig's List and FreeCycle, and have also gotten some things from friends and family.
Our buddy LiPA has come through with lots of stuff, and today she offered us a bunch of cloth diapers (she tells me it's enough to cover Peeper til she's about 25 lbs) for $50 - woo hoo!
I'm not quite 19 weeks pregnant, so we have about 21 weeks to go before Peeper arrives.
Let's take inventory, shall we?
So far, we have:
- Crib (free - Shrike's sister)
- Highchair (free - LiPA)
- Pack n' Play (free - LiPA)
- Swing (free - FreeCycle)
- Changing Table ($2 - Yard Sale)
- Bouncy Seat ($1 - Yard Sale)
- Clip-on High Chair ($1 - Yard Sale)
- Bath Tub ($0.50 - Yard Sale)
- Ton of Clothes (Yard Sale)
- Some Toys (mostly free from LiPA)
- Some panda decor for her room (we actually paid for that stuff)
Over the next week or so, we'll probably be getting:
- Cloth Diapers ($50 - LiPA)
- Arms Reach Mini CoSleeper ($60 - Craig's List)
- More Clothes ($8 - Craig's List)
- God-Knows-What-Else (cheap, I hope - "Mile Long Yard Sale" on July 4)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Earlier in the week, Shrike saw an ad for a yard sale in a nearby town, featuring "lots of baby girl clothes," so we got up early (for a Saturday) and checked it out.
There were indeed tons of things that we loved, and we bought two bags worth. I think we spent about $20 on Peeper there, plus Shrike got herself a toy.
Then, we drove around looking for other yard sales. We made several stops, and bought a bunch of stuff at one of them, and a couple of things at some of the others.
At one, the clothes were listed at $0.25 each, but they told us we could "fill a bag for $3.00" so we got another two bags-full. Plus some gear.
After that, we went to Lowes and bought a ceiling fan for Peeper's room. Now we just have to find someone to install it.
Then, we had to come home, because there was no more room in the car.
And we were exhausted and needed a nap.
So, here's our haul:
I think we spent about $27 on everything in this photo.
- 58 outfits (newborn through 24 months)
- 2 pair tights (one with butt-ruffles!)
- 1 bib
- 1 blankie
- 2 burpers
- 2 pair shoes
- Changing table $2
- Hang-on-to-table high chair $1
- Bathtub $0.50
And Some Toys For My Other Girl
- First Generation Play Station $35
- Boots $1
Big Galoot can't wait to play dress-up with his baby sister!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
As I've mentioned before, Peeper's nursery will be decorated in a panda bear ("black and white and red all over") theme, because Shrike thinks they are the cutest things in the world.
(And I find it hard to disagree.)
Today, while we were in DC, we made a pilgrimage to the National Zoo to see the actual pandas, and to check out their gift shop.
After wandering through their exhibit twice (thought we were headed for the exit, ended up back the building) we found that the whole little panda family had moved in the indoor area (air conditioned! close-up views!).
We weren't really planning on the zoo, so didn't take either the regular camera or the video camera. We did go nuts with our cellphones, though. Please excuse the crappy image quality.
Also, we aren't 100% sure who's who, but we think we figured it out.
Tien Tien (Daddy Panda)
Mei Xiang (Mommy Panda)
That's a "treat ball" she's playing with, shaking it to make biscuits fall out.
Tai Shan (Baby Panda)
He's almost three years old now!
Then, needless to say, we hit the gift shop. Peeper got a poster for her room (no photo of that - it's still rolled up) and some panda-prizes for her little feetsies.
Bigger Panda Booties
Bigger Panda Booties, Again
Note the footprints on the bottoms!
On the way home, I got a hankering for ice cream (as we pregnant women do, you know) so Shrike decided to stop at Baskin Robbins in HerWorkTown.
Wouldn't you know, it's right next door to a little baby boutique that we'd tried to visit once before, when it was closed.
This time it was open, and we knew what flavor baby we were shopping for, and everything was twenty percent off!
One of the first things we spotted was a tiny pink "kimono" type outfit (wrap-around top, not actually looking like a real kimono) with a panda embroidered on it.
We did manage to resist that - then we saw the giant stuffed panda.
(Not the bigger-than-me variety that we saw at the zoo that one time, but still pretty big.)
We've actually been planning to get one, ever since we heard a suggestion to take photos of baby each month (then of kid, each year) in the same location, or with the same object, to better show their growth.
We've seen others this size, and expected it to be $100 or more, but it turned out to only be $90 - and after the discount, just a bit over $70.
We were both a bit hesitant, and neither of us wanted to try to talk the other into it.
Finally, I said, "Ok, if I weren't here, what would you do?"
Shrike said, "I would buy it and surprise you, and hope I wasn't in trouble for it."
What better way to celebrate Peeper's great check-up than by taking her to her first concert!
We've seen Melissa Etheridge several times - this is at least the seventh show we've been to, plus we saw her along with a ton of other artists at the Equality Rocks concert, part of the Millennium March on Washington - and she's always great.
At the past several shows, we've managed to find ourselves standing very close to the stage - once even right against the stage, directly in front of where she was standing. That is an incredible experience, let me tell you.
Last night, our seats weren't as great, but it worked out very well for us, given all the circumstances.
(We were actually on the next-to-last row of the orchestra section, but Constitution Hall is quite small, so even that wasn't too far away.)
As physically tired and emotionally drained as we were, and given that being crushed in a crowd of crazed lesbians (which, normally, sounds kind of fun) didn't seem like the sort of thing I ought to be doing, what with having a baby in me and all, we were quite glad to be sitting in the back with sort of a quieter crowd.
Also, there were some parts of the show (see below) that were pretty emotionally intense for us (for me, especially, being on the hormonal knife-edge of tears pretty much 24/7 anyway) so it was just as well that we were in the dark, where no one was looking at
us me, being a big blubber-ball.
The Universe Listened
What Happens Tomorrow
(starts with second verse)
(Interesting Note: She's now replaced the lyrics "I believe a woman . . . can be the President," with ". . . a black man . . . .")
I'm sorry that yesterday's report was so brief, but I was just borrowing a computer at OldWorkCenter (which is literally next door to Dr. Peri's office - in the same building) to make a quick post and send a quick email to non-blog-reading-folks and let everyone know that Peeper's exam had gone well, before we headed off to DC (more on that in a moment).
Here's a bit more detail about what we learned:
First of all, Dr. Peri was very happy with what he saw of Peeper's brain and spine this time, and said that there are no signs of any neural tube defects. Woo-Hoo!!!
Also, my AFP level was down a tiny bit, but pretty much within the margin of error (from 2.94 (?) the first time down to 2.5), so he's considering that to be the same.
It would've been even better for it to have gone down into the normal range, but if there were a problem, he would've expected it to have risen significantly over a couple of weeks, and it didn't, so that's great.
Her overall measurements put her measuring about 17w2d, which is a week larger than a week ago, so that's great to see. Although she's not "caught up," she's not lost any ground, which is most important.
When we looked at the individual measurements, most of them (head circumference, abdomen circumference, etc) came out to about 17w3d - 17w5d. Her femur and humerus lengths, were in the mid-16week range, bringing down the overall measurement.
I asked the doc about that and I think that at first he thought I was worried about her limbs being short, so he reassured me that, while they are proportionally shorter than the rest of her, everything else is normal, and they're not that short, so there are no indications of any of the sorts of concerns that extremely short limbs might be associated with (some trisomies - which we've already ruled out, dwarfism, etc.)
What's funny though, is that when I asked, "Are her arms and legs short?" the answer I was actually looking for - because it would be reassuring, was "Yes, they are."
As I pointed out to him, Shrike (and pretty much all the women, at least, in her family) are rather less than tall, and most of their lack of height is in (or is not in) their legs.
For example, Shrike is 5'0" and I'm 5'4". I am short-waisted and long-legged (proportionally), whereas she is just the opposite. When we are seated, we are the same height. Or maybe she's a bit taller than me.
(Maybe more than a bit - when we first noticed that, it was before I'd lost weight, so I was sitting on quite a "cushion" at the time. I'm probably a good bit shorter when seated now than I was back then.)
Anyway, the doc said that, yes, her "long bones" are proportionally smaller than the rest of her, and that it's probably "constitutional" because she's just going to be built like Shrike. (I saw him actually type this into his comments on the computer.)
The other concern from last week, which I think I mentioned briefly, is that Peeper's umbilical cord only has one artery going from the placenta into her, rather than the usual two. (Plus the vein, going back from her to the placenta, thus it's often referred to as a "two-vessel cord.")
This is something that, in and of itself, is not necessarily a concern, but it can be associated with some other things (including neural tube defects, which was kind of freaking us out).
As you can imagine, it can also sometimes contribute to slow growth, but that's certainly not a given.
It can also be associated with heart defects, so, although everything we've seen of her heart to date has looked fine, she will be having an echocardiogram, evaluated by a fetal cardiologist, at her 25-week ultrasound, just to make sure that all is well there.
I have an appointment on July 7 with K the midwife (the one that I drink liberally with) and we go back to Dr Peri on July 16 for our next ultrasound. That will be a general check of everything, and then on August 13, we have the echocardiogram and another overall ultrasound.
Oh, and we got a great photo of her yesterday (a few actually, but most were just like the ones from last week - feet that are too blurry to see, profile, crotch-shot), all curled up with her feet up by her head. Shrike will scan that at work tomorrow, and I'll post it as soon as she sends it to me.
Given all the things we'd feared when we walked into that office yesterday morning, to come away with the "worst" news being that Peeper is likely to be shopping in the "petites" department with her Mommy was quite a victory - and there are no words to express the level of our relief.
There are also no words to express how much we appreciate all of the supportive comments and emails, good vibes, positive energy, prayers and healthy-baby-mojo that we've received.
I guess we'll never really know whether it made an actual difference for her, but I certainly know that it made a huge difference for us.
We've really been holding on to every comment, every email, every encouraging word that we've received over the past week, and have been quite literally, and quite deliberately envisioning all that love and energy surrounding and embracing our family, making Peeper strong and healthy, and helping her to grow.
Your kind words - and that image - have been incredibly helpful in keeping us (relatively) sane while we've waited for more information, and we will continue to keep them foremost in our minds, as we face the many uncertainties that still remain - not just with this pregnancy, but with parenthood in general.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Just a quick note, before we head off to the concert, to say that, although we can't be 100% certain, it looks like Peeper's doing just fine.
Her brain and spine looked great, she's grown a week's worth in the past week, and the doctor says he's feeling very good about everything!
We're all packed up for the concert tonight (travelling light - toiletries and a clean shirt for each of us, in the backpack) and will be heading out the door soon.
Our appointment is at 11 am, give or take some time in the waiting room.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
We're taking a couple of days off work this week, and have quite the day planned for tomorrow.
First, we'll drop Shrike's car off at the mechanic for an oil change and new battery cables. That will be the easy part.
Then, it's off to the perinatologist, for a follow-up ultrasound to find out that Peeper is just fine, after all and, golly, weren't we silly to be worried.
(At least that's what's on our agenda for the appointment.)
After that, we're going to DC to see Melissa Etheridge.
We're thinking that will be a great way to celebrate Peeper's health - by taking her to her first concert!
We'll spend the night, of course, and if we're not too worn out, we might do a bit of sightseeing in DC before heading home on Thursday.
I'd like to pop over to the National Zoo to check out the panda paraphernalia in the gift shop. Shrike wants to visit the spy museum.
We'll probably opt for the spies, since we can order panda stuff online.
And the spies are indoors and it's probably not as hot there.
Speaking of pandas - are you following the panda pregnancy watch?
Mei Xiang had an IUI on March 19, and her most recent blood tests show some hormonal fluctuations that might indicate that she's pregnant. Or, possibly, having a false pregnancy (which is evidently common in pandas).
If she is, indeed pregnant, she is due in mid- to late July.
No ultrasound signs of a cub yet, but evidently, they don't even start actually developing until the last few weeks of pregancy, so they don't really expect to see anything yet.
I think that with Tai Shan, they never did confirm her pregnancy by ultrasound, and were just keeping their fingers crossed, when he popped out.
So, let's put this whole thing in perspective.
Her IUI was two days after my first positive beta. That's fourteen weeks ago, tomorrow, and they are just now seeing promising hormonal shifts - and may not know for sure for another month. When she gives birth.
And I thought the two week waits were awful.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Recently Overheard from my Smart Wife
Regarding Peeper, of course.Recently Overheard from my Smart-Ass Wife
Whozat: I can think positively, and I can be optimistic, but I'm not so sure about this whole "bathing her in positive energy" thing*.
Shrike: Well, it's got to be better than bathing her in cortisol (stress hormone).
While we were having dinner at Taco Bell this evening, we noticed that it was raining.
Whozat: You should go get the umbrella, because Peeper and I might melt.
Shrike: Ha ha ha!
Whozat: Well, she's sweet.
Shrike: Yeah, but it would have to get through the crispy outside to get to the sweet center.
*Okay, I'm kind of embarassed to admit it, because it's a bit hokey, but last night I actually did come up with a kind of neat little visualization of Peeper (and Shrike and myself) being "bathed in positive energy" (including that from all of you who've told us that you're thinking / praying / sending mojo) and it really did make me feel better.
I don't know if it really makes a difference for her, but as Shrike pointed out, anything that helps us (especially me) to stay calm has got to be a good thing for her.
- Are you a talker or a listener? Is it ever possible to really be both?
I'd like to think that I'm a good listener too, but I'm definitely more of a talker.
- Do you think God has a sense of humor?
Perhaps a twisted sense of humor.
- Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
How about love before first sight?
I think it might be a stretch to say that Shrike and I fell in love at the first sight of each other's typed words, but there was an immediate connection within the first couple of exchanges, and I know that, crazy as it sounds, I was in love with her before we even saw each other's photos - and long before we met in person.
(A very, very different kind of "in love" from what I feel now, ten years later, but definitely in love already.)
Here's a funny story about that, actually.
When we'd been emailing for a few weeks, and had not yet declared our love for each other, but were pretty much about too, I mailed her a photo.
(Neither of us had digital cameras or scanners at that point, so emailing photos wasn't an option.)
She told me that when it arrived, she was scared to open it and look at it, but "Little did I know, I had nothing to worry about."
Now, I knew was nervous about seeing her photo, because I kept thinking, "Oh my God, what if she's not cute, and I'm not attracted to her. That would be awful, because I already love her!"
(Except maybe not quite so consciously as that.)
So, I figured her concerns were the same, and was flattered when she said that.
Years later, we were reminiscing about this, and talking about how nervous we were about looking at the photos, and she said, "I was intimidated, because I was afraid you'd be like totally hot or something, and way out of my league."
I was all, "Ha ha, yeah . . . HEY - wait a minute!"
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Sunday, June 22, 2008
We're doing okay here, and are really making an effort to stay positive and to assume that we will be getting nothing but good news about Peeper when we go back for our next appointment on Wednesday.
We're also making a point of talking to her together, a few times a day, and telling her about all the great things we'll do when she gets here, and envisioning everything being fine with her.
That really does seem to be helping, in terms of our anxiety.
I think Shrike is a little more more able to just say "He said 'don't stress' so I won't."
Or so she says.
Oh, and shopping helps, too.
I've already talked about the great yardsale yesterday and today, Shrike was at Michael's for something else and bought wooden letters to spell out Peeper's name on her wall.
Now, if we can just paint them in real life to look as good as my photoshop mock-up. :-)
So, it's kind of funny, but I think it really does help, in terms of thinking positively, and in terms of continuing to behave exactly as we had planned at this point.
I can't believe that we're already more than halfway through this week of waiting for the next ultrasound. It's actually gone faster than I expected.
Just two and a half more days, and it will be here, and in the meantime, we will just keep telling ourselves that all is well with Peeper, and that all this worrying will have been for nothing.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
This morning, we went to a huge kids-stuff-only yard sale in a nearby town. They had some gear and toys, but mostly clothes.
I suppose there was some stuff for baby boys and big kids there somewhere but, evidently, our eyes are already trained to only see tiny and pink.
There were some incredible deals and we bought:
- 36 outfits (newborn through 12 months)
- 14 washcloths (for a buck!)
- 4 bibs (including one to match one of the outfits)
- 1 receiving blanket (with snowmen on it - perfect for Christmas time)
Here's the complete haul:
This one is Shrike's favorite - she calls it her "Dolly Parton Leisure Suit" because she thinks it looks like something Dolly would have worn in the 1970s.
(Shrike looooves Dolly.)
She says "I would expect Peeper to put it on and start singing "Here You Come Again."
It's a 3 - 6 month size, so it ought to fit in the Spring / early Summer, which would be great because it looks springy, with the colors and the butteflies, but is long sleeved/legged and heavy. (It's denim!)
That will be perfect for the three or four months that we have here when it seems like springtime, but it's still chilly.
This is my favorite. It's 0 - 3 month, so should fit at Christmas time. Notice the little reindeer on the toes!
Dr T is on our Peeper Report email list, which received an update on Thursday, very similar to what I posted here. We got this reply from her today, and it was such good advice that I wanted to share it.
This is why she is worth every penny that
Let me begin with YAY on your (Peeper's real name)! I LOVE the name, and her photos look great. She looks like an actual little person now, awesome!!
And now to the managing your anxiety part.
Even though they have guidelines for what is "expected" in terms of growth, there is plenty of room to account for individual differences. Babies DO develop at different rates, and I'm sure sweet Peeper is just where she needs to be. There's plenty of time for her to "catch" up with where they think she should be.
Unfortunately this kind of experience frequently comes along with high medically-managed pregnancies. Sometimes too much information is really not helpful, and given your baseline anxiety, you are prone to interpreting stuff with a negative skew. Any hint of something not fitting exactly into the mold they have in mind, and you are freaking out.
Work hard to think positive thoughts and bathe that girl in optimistic energy; KNOW she is doing what she needs to do.
I mean honestly, when you consider her mamas, is it any surprise that she's opting not to do exactly what THEY say she should!?!?
Everything is fine; everything will be fine.
The more you tell yourself that, the more true it is. Try not to spend any more energy on picking apart each word the MDs have said.
Go with the "don't worry" message. I know, I know, not easily accomplished, but then again, neither was this child's conception!!!
Shop, breathe, relax, whatever. She needs that just as much as you & Shrike!
See you soon.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I promise I will sit down and write a longer post with all the details tomorrow, but since I expect to be out late tonight, I wanted to give a quick update.
After having a bit of time to process the information we got from the perinatologist yesterday, I called the genetic counselor this morning with a list of questions. She checked with him and called me back this afternoon.
That conversation was much more reassuring than the conversation with him yesterday.
He still can't rule out a neural tube defect but also wouldn't say, based on the ultrasound, that our odds of Peeper* actually having one are any higher than before the ultrasound.
Basically, he wasn't happy, from a technical standpoint, with the view that we were able to see, given her position, so although there were some iffy things on the ultrasound, he's not sure, based on that one look, whether they are accurate.
The "most concerning, but still not super-concerning" thing seen yesterday is that she's measuring smaller than we'd like.
Since the initial ultrasound at six weeks, through the one at twelve weeks, she's measured pretty consistently at two days behind her gestational age, which is fine. Yesterday, she was six days behind.
We'll just have to keep a close eye on that and see if she catches up or holds her own or falls further behind. Any of those things could happen.
The genetic counselor, G, quoted the doctor (Hmm, he's also a "Dr B," so that's confusing. Let's call him Dr. Peri.) as saying, "Tell her not to stress about it," (HA HA HA) and "I think everything's going to be okay."
Anonymama (an expert on how doctors talk, having been married to one for almost fifty-one years) said that if he were very worried, he'd be more "We'll just have to wait and see" and less, "Don't stress, it's probably okay."
He may have said that yesterday, as well, but all we heard was doom and gloom, and we came away from the conversation thinking that our most likely scenario was one of problems - if not lifelong for Peeper, then at least for the pregnancy.
Today, we feel much better about things.
Still very worried, of course, but much more optimistic.
I would be remiss if I did not thank everyone who's posted or emailed your best wishes for her health (and your congratulations on her girliness).
Of course, your continued good thoughts, positive energy, prayers, and grow-baby-grow-mojo are greatly appreciated, as we watch and wait and hope for the best for our daughter.
Oh my God. That's the first time I've said those words.
Oh. My. God.
*It sounds so wierd to call her "Peeper" now.
Of course, that will remain her blogonym, for the sake of anonymity, but by the end of the ultrasound, we'd completely shifted from thinking of her as "Peeper" to think of her by her real name.
By the way, for those of you who actually know us in real life - her real name is MyMiddleName (from which my "callin' name" is derived) ShrikesMiddleName.
We will actually call her by a different diminuative of her first name - one based on the first three letters, I suppose.
Is that enough clues for you? :-)
Actually, it's not a secret at all, so if you know us well enough to have the address, feel free to email me directly and I'll be happy to tell you - or confirm your guess.
But, for blogging purposes, she will remain "Peeper."
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
. . . today's ultrasound was not as reassuring as we had hoped.
It didn't confirm any definite problems, but neither did it rule out anything.
We will have another look next week, and hope to get a better view, and have more information.
I will post the long-story-long tomorrow, but for now, I'm just too exhausted.
PS - She did give us a rather definitive view of her girlie-parts, though!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
It's been more than two weeks since our last check on Peeper, I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow (at which we hope to find ouf if s/he is a she or a he) and of course, there's that whole elevated AFP thing - all of which adds up to make one crazy, fret-ball Mama.
Despite the fact that I can poke my belly and feel that my uterus is expanding (and maybe see it too, but it's hard for me to judge) and that I'm peeing every twenty minutes, and that I've had no signs of anything bad going on, of course, I've once again managed to work myself into a state of ridiculousness.
Actually, I'm not specifically too concerned about the whole AFP thing (thanks so much, LiPA, for the "another false positive" comment - that was irrationally comforting!) but more just the general angst that I've had everytime it's been a while since we've checked in on the little guy. Or gal. (Ask me tomorrow!)
Which is a whole 'nother issue.
As anxious as we are to find out what sex Peeper is, on some level, I think I will kind of miss the not knowing.
Not so much the being in suspenders (as Shrike says) over it, but the more possibility of it being either.
We are not particularly hoping for one or the other, and are much more concerned to see that all Peep's other parts are there and in the right places and properly formed than we are about which parts are between his or her little legs.
There is, of course, our aforementioned completely shallow preference for baby boy clothing - which is balanced, on the other hand, by the fact that we're girls and are marginally more comfortable with the idea of parenting a girl - but we really don't have a preference, per se.
I know that we'll be thrilled with either, and I'm sure that within a few days (if not of finding out, then certainly of birth) we won't be able to imagine life any other way.
That said, whichever Peeper turns out to be, I think that there will be, at first, a bit of - well, maybe disappointment isn't the right word - but a bit of loss for the other option.
Especially given that we know that the embryos transferred were one of each, as excited as we will be to find out about the boy (or girl) that we will are having, I think we will still, to some degree, grieve the girl (or boy) that we aren't having.
Not just specifically "Not-Peeper" - that actual embryo (but, yeah, that too) - but the potential of having a child of the other sex.
Right now, we can imagine life with our little boy or with our little girl, but after tomorrow, we'll have ruled out one of those possibilities, and that's a little bit sad.
Well, not completely ruled out.
We did realized a few weeks ago that, despite the fact that (given our ages, and the expense) it's very unlikely we'd be able to have another biological child, that door isn't completely closed on having a second child.
If, a couple of years down the road, we decide that Peeper really needs to have a little brother or sister (or we really need to have one of each - or maybe even another of the same) there is always the possibility of adoption.
It's certainly not something we're interested in pursuing right this moment, and likely never will, but it helps to know that the option exists.
Of course, once Peeper is here, we very well may decide that's plenty for us, but at least that will be a decision that we make, and not one that's made for us.
In the meantime, though, unless little Peeper is being shy (that would be just our luck), about 14 hours from now we should (hopefully!) have some reassurance about his/her health, and should know whether the #1 banned toys at our house are more likely to be guns and swords or hoochy-mama dolls.
Monday, June 16, 2008
- If your personality had to be summed up as a sandwich, what kind of sandwich would you be?
Ham and cheese. With a side of nuts.
- If you knew that someone was dying, but they didn’t know, would you tell them the truth or deceive them about it?
That would depend on who it was, and what my relationship was with them. It may or may not be my place to decide things like that.
- Do you dress the same when you are depressed as you do when you are very happy?
I wasn't sure about the answer to this, so I asked Shrike. She said, "Yeah, we both dress shitty all the time."
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Sunday, June 15, 2008
We actually had a fairly productive day today, once we got up and moving.
We started with a discount lunch, using our TGI Friday's free appetizer coupon, then picked up a couple of photo frames at Michael's, for gifts.
From there, we went to Circuit City and exchanged the spare battery for the camcorder, because they sold us the wrong model. Of course, the right one costs $30 more.
Then we went to Target for . . . well, to play mostly, but we did pick up a few things that we needed, then to the grocery store.
As per our Summer Sunday routine, we picked up a steak and potato and grilled them up when we got home.
We called our dads for Father's Day, walked the doggles, had some dessert when we got home (shortcake and ice cream) and I believe it's about time to call it a day.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
As I may have mentioned, I had some labwork done earlier in the week, including some baseline kidney function stuff, as well as the prenatal "quad screen," which is essential the same "triple screen" that the perinatologist had already done, plus one additional test.
Most of the testing looked great, including results that put our Down Syndrome risk at something like 1/1800 - even better than the 1/1200 or so that the perinatologist told us a few weeks ago.
(Add in the 90% certain PGD results saying that Peeper is chromosomally normal, and the risk is probably even lower.)
So, yay to that.
However, my alpha-fetoprotein is a bit elevated, which can be an indication of an increased risk of neural tube, abdominal wall or kidney defects. (That's the 4th test of the "quad screen.")
When the midwife called this morning to tell me all that, she started by saying, "Don't worry, I'm not calling with bad news - people always get nervous when we call them" and then, after telling me about the great results on the Downs screen, said, "You do have an increased risk of neural tube defects, though - but it's still a very low risk."
She quantified our risk as only about a 1/200 chance that there is actually a problem (well, I didn't write down the actual number, but it was one in two-hundred-something, so actually even lower than that) which means there's a better than 99.5% chance that everything is just fine.
(Emphasis for my benefit.)
She said that they want me to "have an ultrasound - but not here, you want to do that with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist."
When I reminded her that I already have an ultrasound scheduled with my perinatologist for June 25, she said that sounded great, and that she'd send my lab results over to them and ask if they want to see me any sooner than that.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I would really prefer to get this checked out sooner, rather than waiting two weeks.
When I called the perinatologist's office, the scheduler checked with the doctor to make sure that he'll be able to "see everything he's looking for" in the regularly-scheduled ultrasound as well at 17 weeks as he'd be able to at 18 weeks, and then moved me up to next Wednesday - June 18.
He did tell her that although we should be able to tell a lot and be pretty confident that everything is okay next week, we'll probably need to do two ultrasounds (how far apart? back on 6/25 or later?) to be sure that we can "rule it out."
When I told Shrike about it this evening, she asked, "So, how worried should we be?"
I told her, "I dunno. 0.5% worried? Actually, I don't think you should worry at all. I can handle that for both of us."
I'm actually pretty confident that this will all turn out to be fine, but of course, that doesn't stop me from worrying - or from being really glad that it's only five days til we get to take a look, rather than twelve days.
There are a couple of reassuring things from our previous ultrasound - one is that, among other parts, we looked at the cranium and the abdomen, so I would think that any defects in either of those areas would have shown up then. I could see Peeper's backbone, as well, when we were doing the nuchal translucency measurements, and I'd think that anything funky there would have been noticable.
(Then again, what the hell do I know.)
The other reassuring thing is that the perinatologist actually mentioned then that my protein levels might be a bit (innocently) elevated, although I don't know if that would still be applicable a month later.
This is something that I don't think I've actually blogged about before, but although our 6 week ultrasound only showed us Peeper, at the 7 week ultrasound, we also saw a second gestational sac, with nothing going on inside.
In other words, both transferred embryos actually implanted, but while Peeper is going gangbusters, Not-Peeper didn't make it past the first couple of weeks.
That could explain why my beta levels were kind of borderline between what you'd expect from one baby and what you'd see with two. At that point, we definitely had the one healthy one, but probably also one not-so-healthy one.
We are so so so glad that we didn't spot that second sac at the 6-week ultrasound, when the lack of a fetal pole or heartbeat wouldn't have been as definite a sign of nothingness.
It was much better to have a week to get used to having just one baby (we'd kind of been hoping for both to stick), then see that we'd almost gotten both of them.
I'm very relieved that we avoided having a week of wondering whether the other would make it or not, then finding out that it hadn't.
But, enough about that - my point is that, at 12 weeks, the perinatologist said that my various protein levels that they test could be higher than would be expected with a singleton pregnancy, because of what might have been produced very early on by the second embryo.
I don't know if that would still be the case, at 16 weeks, but it makes me a little less worried about what we'll see on Wednesday, so I'm going with it.
Oh - and the upside of all this: While, of course, the most important thing that we'll be looking for on Wednesday will be for all Peeper's parts to be correctly formed and securely sealed up and fully functional, we will be looking at all his/her parts - so, unless s/he's being shy, we should no longer have to use awkward wording like "s/he" and "his/her" and such - a week sooner than we'd expected!
So, there's that.
PS: If you ever had an elevated alpha-fetoprotein level while pregnant with your perfectly normal, absolutely healthy, how-could-we-have-ever-worried baby, please feel free to share in the comments. I could do with some false alarm / happy-ending stories.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Well, I'm sitting here wracking my brain to think of something rivetting to write about this evening, and I got nothin'
We saw Dr. T this morning, and that's none of your damn business, went to work and there's nothing newsworthy there, had a meeting this evening which involved way too much discussion about way too many details of way too many things, came home, watched some TV, and that's about it.
So I'll shut up now.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Shrike's off work today, and although I'd expected to work til 7:00, I was able to get away around 6:00 pm. (Yay!)
Shrike went to the grocery today and picked up, among other things, a steak and a potato and some veggies and marinade, and when I got home we fired up the grill for the first time this season.
One lesson that I thought we'd learned last year, but evidently didn't: If you hang on to Matchlight charcoal all winter, the lighter fluid that it's soaked in (I assume that's how it works; that's how it smells) will evaporate, and by the next summer, it's just regular old pain-in-the-ass-to-light charcoal.
Please remind us of that next year.
It's been hotter than hell here lately. (Really, upper 90s. But not 99% humidity, like you get with upper 90s in Texas, so I guess I can't complain.)
However, between the rain earlier in the evening and the fact that it was 7-8-9 o'clock at night, it was quite lovely while we were out there.
After dinner, walked the dogs, then came home for dessert - strawberry shortcake with ice cream. (I have mine minus the strawberries, because I can't handle those teeny little seeds. Ick.)
A very nice evening, all around.
Monday, June 9, 2008
- What is your ideal age?
When I turned 28, I declared that it sounded like a good age, and I was just going to "stay there." Then I realized that, around 35, people would start thinking, "Wow, she's lookin' pretty rough for 28!" so I gave up on that idea.
To tell you the truth, as completely fucking surreal as it is, so far, 40 is shaping up to be pretty good.
- What is your best excuse for being late?
My most believable excuse is "I ran into traffic" because I drive about 40 miles down the interstate to get to work each day.
My most realistic "excuse" is "I'm a lazy bum and hit the snooze alarm too many times.
My favorite all-around excuse right now, though, is "I'm making a human. What did you do today?"
- If you had to give yourself a nickname what would it be?
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Sunday, June 8, 2008
It's been a pretty busy weekend, but a rather lazy day.
I started with a trip to CapitalCity for a statewide political training / meeting. That was a lot of fun, as always. It was a little weird to go to bed so (relatively) early, and completely soberly, and feel so refreshed Saturday morning.
Lots of people there had heard the news about Peeper, and I had an opportunity to tell lots of others. Actually, it was announced in a couple of the meetings, one of which I was in, and one that happened before I got there, and I only heard about it. That's kind of funny.
When I finished with the meeting, I met up with Shrike and her family at a family reunion picnic. I was only there for the last hour or so, but it was nice, although it's quite hot out.
Today, we mostly hung around the house, then went to dinner, then tried to do a bit of clothes shopping. Ugh, that was a bust. I did buy a couple of things, but had very little luck at finding shirts that are okay for hot weather, but not practically sleeveless (I don't do sleeveless) and fit but are likely to still fit for a few weeks. Oh, and are appropriate for work.
I'm not sure such an animal exists.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I'm off to play with my little political friends tomorrow, at a statewide meeting / training in CapitalCity.
My original plan was to take the whole day off work, and get there in time for the first session at 1:30 pm, but it turns out that we're having a business meeting / training in OldWorkTown til around 1 pm, and I'll probably go ahead and do lunch with the others after that, and will likely get to the meeting in time for the last session of the afternoon.
But, there's a dinner that evening, and lots of schmoozing to be done after that, as well as the business meetings in the morning (Two of which I'm co-chairing. Hmm, wonder if I ought to come up with some agendi for those?), so still plenty to do.
I'm hoping that things won't go too far into the afternoon on Saturday, because Shrike's family is having a reunion, noon to 4 pm, and I'm hoping to put in an appearance.
Then Sunday, I suppose we'll be sticking close to home, so I can collect my 24-hour urine, to drop at the lab on Monday morning.
I don't know that we'll be able to leave the house at all, if I'm not allowed to pee away from home. There's a lot of peeing going on these days.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well, I'm running a bit late with this, but the gals over at Mombian are still taking submissions, so here we go!
It's funny, last year's post starts out by talking about the New Jersey civil union law, which had just gone into effect, and now we're both celebrating the marriage decision in California, and keeping our fingers crossed that it will stick.
But, how about a little closer to home?
A year ago, I was just starting the cycle that I thought would be our first attempt at getting pregnant (had to wait one more, as it turned out) and now, here I am - fifteen weeks pregnant!
There are so many things that I could rant and rave about on this topic, in terms of the laws that discriminate against our families, and the assholes who make the laws and the bigger assholes who elect them, but really, I'm more inclined to talk about the support we've gotten from our friends, family, and acquaintances, LGBT and not, in our quest to create our family.
Granted, I don't know what might be being said or thought behind our backs, but we've not encountered a single negative outward reaction to our plans or to our pregnancy.
(Okay, there was one negative reaction to the baby plans, but that wasn't because we're gay, it was because he's an asshole.)
The medical professionals that we've worked with have been completely accepting of our relationship, of our rights to hold each other's hand through every procedure, of our plan to create and parent Peeper.
Everyone else that we've told - family, friends, coworkers, parents of my students, other colleagues - has been nothing short of thrilled for us, even those whom we thought might be less than supportive.
Of course, there have been some "curious" questions along the way, such as "How did you decide who would have the baby?" or "How did you choose a donor?" but that's fine with me.
Hell, I have those questions for other lesbian couples having babies!
I'd like to think that this experience will continue, as Peeper is growing up, but I worry that it won't.
For one thing, we won't just be hanging out with our friends; we'll be meeting and dealing with all Peeper's teachers, his/her friends' parents and lots of other folks who don't generally run in the same (rather progressive) circles where we're most comfortable.
I fear that we might be in for a shock, when we suddenly find ourselves swimming in the "mainstream" of our little conservative town, rather than hanging out on the left bank, with the other commie-hippy-pinkos.
But, I plan to approach these folks the way I approach anyone else when talking about Shrike or our family - with complete nonchalance.
I've found that to be very effective.
I can't remember the last time that I actually announced to someone that I'm gay (probably a receptionist at a doctor's office, when explaining what sort of treatment or services I was looking for), but I come out to people all the time, just by talking about Shrike, in exactly the same way that anyone else would talk about their spouse.
Because, why shouldn't I?
I don't know if that's going to work with the other PTA-Mamas, but I plan to give it a try, and hope that maybe the world is a bit more evolved by then.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I had an appointment this morning with one of the midwives from my OB's office, and the official diagnosis is that I'm crazy.
Because, of course, everything is just fine with Peeper and I've been a big ol' fret-ball for nothing. But we knew that.
So, to be more specific . . . .
We got a listen with the Doppler and Peeper's heartrate was 145 (I think?) which she said is right what it's supposed to be.
She poked on my belly, and when I asked if she could feel my uterus in there, she showed us both where it is and how to feel it.
Turns out the top is just a little more than "three fingers" below my belly-button. No wonder my tummy's starting to feel a bit firmer. (Although not noticably bigger yet.)
I described the tap-tappity-taps that I felt last night (at dinner, which I blogged about yesterday, and again, as I was going to sleep) and she confirmed that they were Peeper!
She did caution me not to freak out if I don't feel them again for a few weeks, as it is still pretty early, but said that it definitely counts as "quickening."
(I love that term!)
Before seeing the midwife, we talked with a nurse for about an hour, going over my medical history and Shrike's genetic history.
And we got prizes! She gave us a whole bag full of literature and other goodies. Well, mostly stuff to read, I think. But it was free stuff. You gotta like that!
It was kind of funny, though, I figured all the "history" questions would be about things that have happened already, but she also kind of threw me for a loop with a few "future" questions.
At least we knew the answers to "Are you planning to breastfeed?" (yes) and "If you have a boy, do you want him circumsized?" (no) but then she really stumped us with "What pediatrician do you plan to take the baby to?"
Um . . . oh shit.
We've been so concerned with the doctors required to get Peeper made, and then to get him/her here that we've not even thought about who'll take care of him/her once s/he's actually born!
I'm afraid that I looked a bit like an idiot at that point, given that I don't even know who our options are, let alone who we want to use!
So, if you live near us and have a pediatrician that you love (or not!) please email me directly with advice!
Of course, after the appointment, I'm feeling much more confident about things and should be a bit less crazy. At least for a while.
Actually, I was feeling a little better even before the appointment, when I started noticing my belly firming up a bit, and especially after Peeper sent me those Morse code messages last night (s/he's a POW, remember), although I wasn't sure whether to believe that's what they were.
I think that's what gave me the confidence to actually buy some maternity clothes.
(That and the 90% off prices.)
The midwife said to come back in four weeks, but I actually made the appointment for five weeks from now, so as to stagger those appointments with the perinatologist appointments.
I see him on June 25, at which point we hope to find out the sex (!) and them I'm back at the OB's office (seeing the midwife whom I met at Drinking Liberally a couple of weeks ago) on July 7.
I think I'll see them each every four weeks until about 32 weeks, when I'll start having weekly non-stress tests, along with ultrasounds every four weeks.
That should keep me (relatively) sane.
- You have accomplished a difficult task and hear someone else taking the credit. How do you deal with the situation?
I would certainly be pissed, and depending on who it was (a competitor? my boss? a friend?) I might or might not say something. I might ask someone else to point out that it was my work, not theirs, rather than saying something myself .
- If you had to marry someone that you presently know unromantically, and spend the rest of your life as their spouse, who would you choose?
Ew, I don't like this one. Not that it would necessarily be that awful being with that person, whomever it might be, but because it would mean not being with Shrike. That said, I really can't think of anyone specific, but I would want it to be someone that I'm good friends with, and get along well with, because that's a lot more important than those other spously things (on a day-to-day living with someone basis).
- If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are living now?
Ew, this question is even worse than the last! I'd start by taking out a really big life insurance policy, so that Shrike and Peeper would be okay, financially. Then I'd just spend all the time I could with them, and with my other family and friends. Sure, there are a lot of things that I'd like to do or see or accomplish in life, but none are as important as that. Did I mention that I really, really, really hate this question?
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Sunday, June 1, 2008
Okay, this is going to sound completely nuts at not-quite-fifteen weeks, and on the heels of my I-can't-even-tell-that-I'm-pregnant rant / whine / insanity a few days ago, but I felt something this evening that might maybe, possibly, theoretically, do-ya-think?, theres-a-tiny-chance-it-could've-been Peeper.
Yeah, I know. I'm swinging from one extreme here to the other, aren't I?
Most things I've read say that women generally begin to feel fetal movement around weeks 16 - 20 (I'm 14w5d), but usually later in that range for a first pregnancy, since you're more likely to recognize the early movements if you've already been through it before.
So, based on that and my general, all-around lack of symptoms, I've not been expecting to feel anything for at least another month or more.
So, what should I be looking for? I've heard the early movements described as everything from "flutters," to "bubbles popping," to "gas-like," to "like when your dad drives over a hill," to "like a muscle twitch," to "a tapping," (your descriptions welcome).
I'd actually only heard the "twitch" description in the past week (usually you hear about the "flutters" - but now, Googling "baby movement muscle twitch" I get lots of similar descriptions).
If I hadn't just read that, I don't know if I'd have even made note of what I felt, but here's what happened.
Shrike and I were at dinner, sitting there waiting for our food and talking, when I suddenly felt something that felt for all the world like a little muscle twitch, but deep inside, oh around my uterine area.
The other way I might describe it is that it was like a very, very light "tap-tap-tap, tap-tap, tappity-tap-tap."
Almost as though there were, I don't know, a person in there or something, tapping on my insides.
It didn't go on a real long time, but long enough for me to feel it, stop and pay attention and feel it again. It was more of a "what is that?" than a "what was that?" if that makes sense.
I suppose it's entirely possible that this was just gas, but I've felt gas plenty (believe me!) and I've been feeling it today (including some probably-gas-related discomfort), but I've never felt anything quite like that.
(When I told Shrike that, here reply was, "Well, have you ever been pregnant before? See, there ya go.")
Or maybe it was a muscle twitch. I can imagine that my uterus is doing all sorts of weird things about now.
Shrike is convinced (or would like to convince me?) that it was Peeper that I was feeling.
I'm not so sure, but I'd like to think it was.
I will certainly mention it to the midwife at my appointment tomorrow and see what she has to say about it.
(This is the appointment at the OB's office, but we won't actually see the OB. Just the history-taking with a nurse at 8:00 am, then Pap smear and a general check with a midwife - which I'm hoping will include at least a Doppler listen - at 9:30 am.)
Other than that, I guess there's nothing to do but wait to see if it happens again, or happens more often, or what.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the after-dinner shopping!
We went to Kohl's to check out the baby stuff there and they had lots of cute things (even for girls - and we tend to prefer the boy clothes) but we're trying not to buy anything else for Peeper until we find out what color we're looking for.
Then I looked at maternity clothes, and although it's awful hard to tell much about fit at this point, and although I feel weird even looking at them, let alone trying on or buying anything.
(I looked at some last week, and just couldn't bring myself to buy any. See previous craziness.)
But, there was some stuff on clearance, for 70% - 90% off, so I couldn't resist that.
Most of it was pretty ugly, but I bought one pair of black pants, regular price $44, marked down to $8.80, and two turtleneck (cowl neck?) sweaters (identical, but is one black, one maroon) regular price $36 each, marked down to $3.60 each!
I also (finally) bought some new bras. They were on sale, too - buy two, get one free. They only had two of the one I liked in my size, though, so they gave those to me at 33% off.
The one I tried on was so much better than my old ones that I just left it on and wore it out of the store - like when you used to get new shoes as a kid.
(Of course, I gave them the empty box to scan. I only steal gas.)
I got them with room to "grow into" - I'm on the tightest hook in the back, and I think the cups are a tiny bit wrinkly/bunchy because they're a big too big (but one number or cup-size down was too small).
They are definitely more supportive than the ones I've been wearing, so between not being squished into too-small cups, and being lifted up off the floor, my boobs look way bigger in these.
I'm not sure how I feel about that (look at me!), but they got a "yes" vote from the peanut gallery, and they are quite comfy, so I bought them.
Ah well, I guess they won't seem so freakishly large once my belly gets bigger . . . .
Oh, on that front - I wore jeans this evening, and I think they might have been a teeny big snugger than a week ago. Hard to say, but maybe. I think my belly is definitely firming up a bit at the bottom - and it's certainly not muscle
Well, I guess I'd better go find my wife, wake her up and move her from whatever couch she's on to the bed, so we can get up bright and early to go check on Peeper.
I'm sure I'll have a full update tomorrow evening!
This afternoon, we took the pups to a "Furry Fun Day" in a neighboring town, which was sponsored by a local therapy dog group.
There were several vendors, and games and contests for the dogs, concessions for both humans and dogs, and a DJ.
Someday we will learn to leave PerfectPup at home, where she's happy, and just take BigGaloot with us to this sort of thing.
It feels like it would be mean to leave her behind, but she probably would consider it a lot less mean than making her go.
She really is not so fond of crowds of people or, more importantly, crowds of dogs.
(She's like the Shrike of the canine species, except that Shrike is in heaven if she's surrounded by dogs. Surrounded by people, not so much.)
Galoot even seemed a bit nervous and somewhat subdued (for him) but at least he would walk around with us, and was more than happy to greet any other dog that came along - big, little or in-between.
PerfectPup on the other hand, just freezes in these situations, and refuses to move.
She did perk up a bit when I got them a couple of hotdogs, and loosened up again when we got away from the crowds, but I think she'd be much happier just staying home alone for the afternoon.
We spent most of the time encouraging PP to walk, but Galoot and Shrike did get a chance to take a run through an agility course, although I think he went around all but maybe one jump (low enough for him to step over) and definitely went around the tunnels.
(At least he didn't hump them, like Shrike tells me he does the tunnel in the basement.)
I wanted to get some video of that, but they were already in line, and I couldn't get PP to go over there so I could get the camera from her, and then it was their turn, and she left the bag at the gate and aaargh!
I did get some other footage, and I'll try to post a bit, maybe tomorrow. I'm still pretty slow with the editing, so I'm probably not going to tackle it tonight.
Then we came home and watched Best in Show (seemed to fit the theme of the day) before going out to dinner and some shopping.
More about that in the next post.