Friday, June 24, 2011


Its a one step forward and two steps back kinda day. Let me illustrate.

I've been trying to stock up on baby gifts. Approximately every single person I know has just delivered a baby or is planning to soon and I found some great soft soled shoes at a reasonable price. The same place had a great stainless steel water bottle decorated as a circuit board that would make a perfect accessory for my favorite nerd (Jack). As I filled my shopping cart, I convinced myself that they weren't necessary purchases and went back to work instead.

One step forward!! Go me!!

Then I reached across my desk and ate the second sugar coated cake donut of the afternoon. Its taking every ounce of strength in my body to resist a third. I know I'll probably eat that third donut, before I go home for the day but the longer I wait, the less chance there is I will consume #4 and/or #5.

Two steps backward (more like in a donut-shaped circle around my mid-section).

Happy Friday Friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday. Dana vs Kim. Volume 10.

Questions for Tuesday, June 14, 2011!
Provided by
Lisa at Lisa’s Yarns.

1. How do you pronounce the word aunt? Does your pronunciation rhyme with ‘haunt’ or ‘can’t'?
D: To rhyme with can't...but I honestly had to say it with a few names before I could answer.
K: the 'haunt' way

2. Do most of the people in your life know you blog? Or are you partially or totally anonymous?
D: Probably not. I was strongly influenced by Kim and at this point she'd probably give me a D- for participation. I'm waiting for maternity to let my blogging juices flow (consider this a warning).
K: I'm really not sure. It would be fantastic if they came here and read every word, then commented about how I'm the coolest person in the history of the universe, but that's maybe not realistic. :)

3. When you grocery shop, do you prefer to bag your own groceries or do you like it when the store bags them for you? Paper, plastic, or reusable bags?
D: They bag them for plastic bags (gasp!). I'm not at all opposed to using the reusable bags but I'd have to bring about 10 of them along on each shopping trip. I do use them at the library though. :o)
K: The home town grocery store is pretty insistent that they bag for us. And that's ok with me. I use plastic bags, but save them for reuse or send them to daycare for her to reuse. When we're through with the diapers and soiled clothes phase, I might change my preference.

4. Do you have a green thumb?
D: I don't think so. I do moderately okay when it comes to keeping things alive, but calling myself a green thumb would be a huge stretch.
K: Not even close. The thing I've let live longest is our dog, but I'd probably score a 4 on a 10 point pet owner scale. (5, I just got out of bed to let him outside)

5. If you watch the Food Network, which chef/show host is your favorite?
D: I don't watch the Food Network. It's out of my league.
K: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I've only seen it about 4 times. I'd love to visit those places.

6. Do you like to take baths? Do you take them very often?
D: Yes, and yes. LOVE them.
K: I wouldn't mind it in a bigger tub. Our bathroom is teeny enough that we had to custom order a tub surround to fit in it. Shorter than average. Boo.

7. What color are the walls in your kitchen?
D: It's been 6 months since we moved in to our house and I couldn't even begin to remember what our interior paint color is called. It's a really light tan and I haven't put a brush on the wall yet. I really don't have any intention of painting in there any time soon, unless it's in Easton or Baby's bedroom.
I do know that Kim painted some walls in her house a color called cookie dough. Strange that I'd remember that. I think she's used a few colors that have food names. Maybe that's the route I should've gone. (K: It was actually Sugar Cookie, but close!)
K: Right now, Cream Dream. Hopefully before long, Dinosaur Grey. Most of my paint choices come down to the name. If I find two I like, the one with the clever or food-related name always wins. We just painted the porch Whipped Topping and at one point, there was Chocolate Syrup as an accent color in the living room. I can remember paint names of almost every color we've used in our house but I have to ask Jack what channel John Stewart is on every. single. time.

8. Do you prefer to dine outdoors or indoors?
D: Outdoors so long as it isn't raining, it's below 90 degrees, the humidity isn't unbearable, the wind is calm (to nonexistent), and there aren't any bugs around. Hmmm, maybe I prefer indoors.
K: Indoors. There is hardly a day with wind calm enough to eat outside. And if there isn't wind, there are bugs. I would love a screened in porch.

9. Describe your ideal weather.
D: Ha! See above.
K: 78 degrees, sunny, 5 mph wind.

10. If you could learn any foreign language, which would you choose to learn?
D: Dutch. It's part of who I am. :o)
K: I started learning French in 2nd grade, so it might be fun to know more of that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Potty Training: Ready...Not

At 20 months old, I thought it might be a swell idea to introduce Max to the potty. At 18 months, Gage pooped in the potty for two straight weeks without doing the deed in a diaper. (Then he got pneumonia and we completely started over.) And since every child should be parented exactly the same way, I figured it was high time for Max to get started as well.

Disclaimer: It took me exactly 7 hours to realize that my children would need different parenting techniques. We've been two track parenting ever since. I'll tell you all about it when you're older.

Anyway, this weekend we spent a fair amount of time at home and I tried to take advantage of the golden opportunity to work with Max. Saturday morning I pulled off his diaper and asked if he'd like to sit on the potty for a while.

"NOOOOO!" was the reply.

"Here, let's put your potty in the living room and you can sit on it while you watch Mickey Mouse."

"NOOOOO!" was the reply.

"Just try."

At this point, my sweet little boy picked up the potty, carried it back to its holding cell near the bathroom, and threw it on the floor.

He walked back into the living room and said, "Diaper!" Then walked into his bedroom and returned to the living room with a diaper. He threw it down on the floor, laid down next to it and assumed the position.

Something tells me he isn't ready.

We've also expanded his vocabulary to include "tato" and "chip".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gage-ing Metabolism

We spent the first week of parenthood in what might best be described as foggy bliss. Survival mode. We were ill prepared, at best, for Gage's arrival and the learning curve, unspeakable. The little peanut spent quite a bit of time sleep, eating and pooping like most newborns and not knowing any differently, we attempted to find our new normal.

Seven days after his arrival the phone rang. Our physician was on the phone speaking simultaneously in warp speed and slow motion. From what I remember it went something like, "We have the results of Gage's newborn screening tests and it looks like there's a problem with his thyroid. You'll need to take him to the clinic right away for follow up bloodwork. In a couple of days we will have those results and will get him treated when we know more." I hung up the phone and called Jack in a hysterical panic. We rushed Gage to the clinic for a blood draw and headed home to wait. Before we arrived home, our doctor had called back. I am not certain if the nurses and lab technicians we saw tipped him off that I looked like a crazy mess, but he started with: issues with the thyroid are easy to treat, it is just something we'll need to deal with as soon as we can. It is a pretty minor issue.  Also, by this point the North Dakota state epidemiologist had called to say that Gage needed to start medication immediately, without waiting for test results. There was a prescription waiting at the pharmacy for us.

Holy crap. I don't remember a lot about that afternoon but I remember telling Jack, "I don't even know what the *bleep* a thyroid does." Of course the first thing I did was look it up. Turned to the trusty Internet for information. That afternoon I answered a few of my questions, brought a few more to the surface and found very little about infants with thyroid disorders.

The next challenge was getting the medication into his tiny system. Synthroid is a very common drug, with very few side effects and, as far as we've been told up to this point, very little interaction with other drugs. However, the only form available is pill form. Meaning we had to grind it up, mix it with water or juice and make him drink it. The other factor is that it is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. So we have a newborn learning to eat, not routinely drinking from a bottle, only consuming milk, hungry all of the time, who all of a sudden can only drink one ounce (maximum) of juice from a bottle every morning. Let's just say that some days were better than others. Since he was 8 or 9 months old, I've just given him the pill to chew and swallow. It is so much easier, faster and reliable. Keeping food out of his system for a while after he takes the pill is the bigger challenge. More days than not, he wakes up ravenously hungry.

When the test results from the second blood draw came back, they gave us a baseline for dosage. Six weeks later, they took more blood and found that his levels had stabilized and the dosing appeared to be correct. The dosing level has been increased two times since the first amount and he has finally grown into the 75 mcg/daily pill.

The actual diagnosis is congenital hypothyroidism. The heel pricks they do to newborns in the hospital? Checking for this very disorder is one of the main reasons they screen infants. I was scared out of my mind at first. But between our physician and the information I have uncovered online, it is a seemingly minor disorder. By taking one pill every day and monitoring levels with a blood test, Gage can grow and develop normally. Early intervention is key, as research suggests that prior to requiring the screening on newborns, congenital hypothyroidism maybe have been a leading cause of stunted growth and mental retardation.

Hypothyroidism ran our household for a while. I cannot count the number of times that I looked at my child, observed his abundance of energy, his lengthy tantrums, short temper and undesirable sleep patterns and wonder how much is "Gage" and how much is a result of too much or too little synthetic thyroid hormone. In the next installment, I'll try to share some of the instances where our observations lead to a blood test and a resulting change in dosage.

When Max's newborn screening test results all came back as normal, we had a celebratory meal and acknowledged that "We CAN make a functioning thyroid!"

We love our kids with all that we are, and would not change anything about the experiences that have brought us to present day. This information is more about documenting these issues and events before I completely forget so Gage has a record of this in the future.

A quick picture of Gage, April 13, 2007.

And 2 weeks later. Since the medication has kicked in and he woke out of the newborn stage, he has required constant stimulation. Its been a real trip. :)

Until next time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday. Dana vs Kim. Volume 9.

Questions for June 7, 2011

1. Have you ever used Craigslist?
D: No. I've never bought or sold anything on there...but I wouldn't rule it out.
K: I once bought a box full of clothes for Gage that I found on Craigslist. I sent my sister to pick them up and assured her that they seemed like really nice people. J I have looked for things on there before, but haven’t come up with anything else.

2. Can you sew?
D: Ha! Negative. I can sew on a button and it pretty much stops there. BUT I'm gaining a sister-in-law that can sew...and quilt...and do homemaker-type stuff. I'm not going to drop the first project on her until after the wedding. (I hope she hasn't found this blog yet...yipes!)
K: Only enough to be dangerous. I can sew up the pockets in Jack’s pants when he tears a hole in them, and take care of a stray button. I might be able to hem something if I needed to, and straight lines I could probably figure out. I sewed in 4-H but never wore anything I sewed after Achievement Days. It wasn’t my forte. I also tried to sew curtains and a slip cover for our couch when we were in college. I hated them, but used them until we moved and then threw it away…I hope. They still give me nightmares and I put off doing window treatments in our house for 5 years (no kidding…). What I have now I like so they’ll probably stay until the kids break them or we move.

3. Do you pour syrup on your pancakes or dip your pancakes in the syrup?
D: I've never even thought about dipping instead of pouring. I like an overabundance of syrup so it's likely dipping wouldn't cover it for me.
K: I pour it on pancakes and waffles. Dip it with French toast sticks.

4. Rain storms: Love them or hate them?
D: If it's just rain, they're fine...and as long as it doesn't come in amounts of more than 1/2-1in. (I'm a farm girl, okay?) If there is strong winds/tornadoes/hail involved forget it.
K: Rain storms are fun to listen to and that smell is pretty incredible too. I also like the feeling following a rainstorm at the end of a hot day. Getting to that point can be crazy though. Tornadoes aren’t cool and hail isn’t much fun either.

5. Do you like swimming?
D: I like wading. And this summer I'm waddling and wading. It's cute, I'm sure.
K: No especially. I like taking our kids swimming because they love it, but I’m a terrible swimmer. I tend to hang out a 3’ or less.

6. What kind of drink do you order at Sonic?
D: The same kind of drink I'd order anywhere else, likely. Mtn. Dew or maybe a lemonade of some sort.
K: We don’t have Sonic. But at the Powderhorn I like Strawberry Dew and at the Sugar Shack I’m digging the Raspberry Cherry Italian Soda.

7. Are you funny?
D: Yep.
K: Nope.

8. At what age will your kids get cell phones?
D: Whenever they stop going everywhere with me, because that's likely when I'll turn into a helicopter parent. I'm admitting it now, and I don't even care.
K: I have a long time to worry about that. I had one the end of my senior year of high school when I started traveling with FFA and then moved to college.

9. What’s your favorite vegetable?
D: Sweet corn. I'm counting on an ample supply from Mom & Dad to feed my family for at least a month. If you can't make an entire meal out of sweet corn, you're not a farm kid.
K: Pizza Sauce and Marinara? Hello Tomatoes!

10. Were you a Girl Scout?
D: No. I don't think they even had Girl Scouts in Chester. And it was highly unlikely my parents would drive me the 20 miles to Madison to participate. I don't think it was really my style anyway.
K: Negative. I don’t remember there being much for Girl Scouts I guess and I’m not sure I had their cookies anywhere except my Grandma’s house until we moved out here. I was in 4-H starting at 7 years old all the way through the first year of college. And FFA from 8th grade through college too. No worries, I stayed plenty busy. J

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baby Love: Shelby Mae

Today's special guest on the blog is Shelby Mae. Born on May 25th, she is the answer to many prayers and belongs to some great friends. So while this post isn't exactly Life Between Friends: Dana + Kim, it still is very much about life between friends. And this is all Dana's fault. The end of her pregnancy is just around the corner and I keep trying to figure out how I'll be able to drop everything to hold her fresh baby in several short weeks! But enough about us. Here's the star of today's show.

As part of our business, I have a photography studio right in our store, and utilize the beauty of the great outdoors as much as possible. For newborn sessions, the kiddos are much more comfortable in their own home. Behind Shelby in these pictures is an old desk that sits in their front room. It made a beautiful background but didn't steal the show from this squishy sweet baby girl.

I was able to plan ahead a little for this shoot, since her mama and daddy knew she would be sporting pink. With two big brothers, its pretty certain getting a date with her will be no easy task. Thank goodness! :) This is one of my favorite shots of the day. The light spilling in through the window gives it such a peaceful feeling.

There is not a single picture of Shelby crying from our session, which is pretty unusual. She really is super calm. In fact, she let four little boys play around her all morning and was not bothered a bit. What a welcome relief!

The only thing better than a sweet baby is a sweet baby that belongs to a great friend who lets you snuggle anytime you want. The camaraderie between moms with kids of similar ages is really like nothing else. Shelby's parents came into my life after we were all parents. At the time, it was the biggest thing we had in common and someday our eldest boys will head off to Kindergarten together. (good luck Mrs. Peterson...) With Dana and me, we obviously became friends long before we became mothers. Our personalities and interest created a friendship, motherhood solidified it. We are truly blessed.

Shelby's biggest brother, Nathan, waited a long time for a baby sister and he is very thankful to have her. He is so sweet and wanted to make sure that the "bucket" was safe for his baby sister to sit in and help set it up and test it out. What a great helper.

I love me some sleeping babies.

This is the kind of picture I would enlarge and hang up in the nursery. Just a thought...

Shelby, thank you so much for sharing your family with us for a bit. You are a precious little being and loved more than you will ever know.

Hopefully soon I can get you a post filled with boys in tuxes, girls in dresses and a beautiful bride who surprisingly chose my brother to marry. Until then, happy weekend! I am not sure it could be any more perfect outside and we. are. headed. there. right. now.