31 December 2009

A Bilious New Year's Eve

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a couple of my posts about having a stomach ache. I felt sick after eating lunch on Tuesday, made a slight recovery, and then had some gut-busting stomach pain at bedtime. I woke up on Wednesday feeling just fine, and assumed the previous day's complaints were caused by questionable leftovers.

I ate breakfast (pancakes by Charlie, yay!) and lunch (whole wheat pasta) without any issues. Dinner was a turkey sub from Jimmy John's. I had to head for bed early because I was scheduled to open the next day. Almost as soon as I lay down, the same god-awful abdominal pain came back with a vengeance. Unlike the previous night, where the pain came in waves and I was eventually able to fall asleep, the pain was unrelenting. Eventually, I horked up my dinner.

Charlie was there next to me, rubbing my back and saying how sorry he was that there was nothing he could do. I felt beyond awful. Finally, we decided that I should probably go to the ER and get checked out since vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and fever can be signs of really serious problems. Charlie took care of all the phone calls -- my mom, my boss, etc. I bundled myself up in the Jeep and then we were on our way.

I tell you what, I must have had the magical combo of symptoms that ensures speedy admittance, because within about ten minutes of arriving, I was in a hospital gown (hello! there's my butt hanging out the back!) and laid out on a bed. The nurse started an IV, then a doctor came in and asked me the usual questions. She suspected right away that my gall bladder was the culprit, and ordered an ultrasound.

Fast forward a few hours and I was full of painkillers and anti-nausea drugs, and my ultrasound was done. The nurse came back and told us that I had gallstones, but that I wasn't in need of immediate surgery (whew!). She referred me to my regular doctor, and sent me packing with a nice kit of drugs.

So that's where we are today. I'm feeling better, although there were some twinges after lunch (nothing fatty, just more wheat pasta). My doc's office is closed until Monday, so I've got to wait until then to make an appointment. In the meantime, I'll be back at work on Sunday, and eating bland, non-fatty, non-spicy food for the next few days (bleh!).

All I can think of is that a) I'm glad we didn't have any fancy or expensive plans for New Year's Eve and b) I'm REALLY glad they didn't whisk me off to surgery last night. I mean, waiting for my regular doctor, waiting for more test results, waiting for a surgical referral, that's all going to suck, but I'd rather be home with my family (and my drugs, bwahahaha) instead of putting my life on hold for God knows how long.

Here's hoping that 2010 is a better year for me, health wise. I sure would like to try and go a year without any major medical procedures.

30 December 2009

The Weekly Austin - Christmas Wrapup

ZOMG! - 12.25.09

We had an absolutely fantastic Christmas. Austin's just old enough to "get it," and his excitement was contagious. His expression in this picture really conveys how we all felt throughout the day: WOW, how lucky are WE?!

My parents, along with Charlie's mom and grandma, joined us for the day. Our dear friends Jack and Lauren also came, and their gifts to Austin have been two of his favorites. One is a giant rubber dinosaur that Austin is now treating like his baby -- feeding it, giving it sips of juice, and even wiping its face in the morning. The other is a sort of wooden tower with balls that have to be hammered through holes in the top.

Charlie's mom gets the award for Gifts Most Likely to Give Mommy A Migraine -- four plastic cars that, when shaken, make extremely loud engine-revving sounds. Austin loves them, though, so I have to put up with it. Next year I'll have to ask for earplugs and a case of Excedrin.

My parents gave Austin mostly noise-free toys (THANK YOU, MOM!), including some bad-ass construction equipment (dump truck, front loader, bulldozer), a basketball hoop, and a Leapfrog Tag Junior reading system.

I haven't even come close to listing everything that was given to Austin -- that would take days. I'm blown away by everyone's generosity. And Austin really loved everything. (He even went apeshit over some Thomas the Tank Engine pajamas.)

More important than the presents, though, was the presence of our family and friends. I looked around the room and saw people who love me, love my son, love my family. And I love them all back!

29 December 2009

Pugtastic Tuesday - 12.29.09

Guardian of the Presents - 12.25.09

Bama enjoyed plunking herself down in front of Austin while he opened presents on Christmas day. I think she did it to make sure she'd be in as many pictures as possible. What a ham.

25 December 2009

24 December 2009

The Magic of Christmas (Eve)

What a day we've had! I baked, I cleaned, I had Thai food. I got to spend time with two of my most favorite people. I got to see my little guy get ridiculously excited about Santa, the tree, and the whole works. Just plain awesome all around.

Tomorrow will be a busy day, and I'll be thinking of you all. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. And if it gets stressful, or sad, or just not fun, try to remember how magical it all seemed when we were kids. Remember how lucky we all are, how blessed we are to have each other, our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs...all of it. Remember what it's really about -- not just the birth of Christ, but also hope, and family, and love.

Santa's Little Helper - 12.24.2009

23 December 2009

The Weekly Austin - 12.23.09

Forgetting that I'd left a box of Kleenex on a low shelf, I turned my back on Austin for about five minutes. When I walked back into the dining room, this is what I found:

The Great Kleenex Incident - 12.21.09

As soon as he spotted me, he started jamming all the tissues back in the box.

As Good As New!

I don't punish Austin for doing things like this. He's a toddler, and this is what toddlers do. (And really, it's my fault for leaving the Kleenex within his reach.) But just like any other time he makes a mess, he knows he has to help clean it up.

22 December 2009

Pugtastic Tuesday - 12.22.09

What A Pair - 12.12.09

It used to be much easier to tell these two apart. Lately, though, Pugly (on the left in this shot) has gotten thinner and 'Bama has gotten fatter, so from behind, they're almost identical.

17 December 2009

Turkey Soup!

It's getting to be the time of year where we get a lot of "Soup Weather" here in Virginia. You know, the kind of weather that makes you want to put on an LL Bean sweater, listen to soft jazz, and eat some fantastic soup?

So this week, I dragged out a turtleneck and some Kenny G CDs (hahahahaha...no, really), and made some soup with a leftover turkey breast that I roasted on Saturday. And kids, this is a soup you must try for yourself!

I cut up some carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, into big chunks, and sauteed 'em in a large stock pot with a little olive oil. Then I tossed in the turkey breast carcass, and filled the pot up with enough water to cover the turkey. Brought it to a boil, and then let that sucker simmer until it reduced by at least half. At this point, I added some herbs - parsley, sage - and pepper, but only a TEENY bit of salt. If you add too much salt now, the broth will be extremely salty at the end (because you're going to boil off most of the water, which will concentrate the salt).

After that, I strained it, and put it back into a clean pot. (You can reduce it again if you want a super-concentrated turkey stock.) I was expecting to have to skim the fat off as well, but there wasn't much; I didn't leave a lot of skin or meat on the carcass.

The next steps turned that broth in to fo' reals soupy goodness. I added:

Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Diced tomatoes (canned, drained well)

It just occurred to me that rice would be a great addition, or some fresh spinach (it'll wilt as soon as it hits the hot broth). Might try that next time.

I also dumped in a container of chicken stock (LOW SODIUM!), just because there wasn't quite enough liquid for all those veggies.

Then, I added the leftover turkey meat - I had about 1/2 a pound. I grabbed a spoon and took a slurp. It tasted SO good, but needed a little seasoning, so I added some more parsley and sage, along with a little more salt.

Here's the end result:

Man-o-MAN, was this tasty! And it's pretty healthy, thanks to all the veggies. It really hit the spot on a cold, drizzly December day. Give it a try next time you have a leftover bird.

The Weekly Austin - 12.16.09

This was supposed to post automatically yesterday. Not sure why it didn't! Anyhoo...enjoy!

Smile for Daddy! - 12.10.09

15 December 2009

Pugtastic Tuesday - 12.15.09

Mmmm, Carrots! 12.09.09

Last Wednesday was unseasonably warm, so Austin and I headed outside to do some work on my now-dormant vegetable garden. We pulled up the last of the carrots, and Austin decided to share some with Pugly.

09 December 2009

08 December 2009

Pugtastic Tuesday - 12.08.09

Wrapping Presents is Tiring! - 11.23.09

02 December 2009

The Weekly Austin - Holiday '09 Edition

Last year, I had grand plans to take a fantastic Xmas picture of Austin and make it into a card to send to everyone we know. (SEE? SEE HOW CUTE OUR KID IS? SUCK IT!) My mom got him a great little outfit, the tree was perfect, and I had borrowed kick-ass gear with which to shoot this masterpiece.

What'd I end up with?

That's right. That's a SCREAMING BABY. And we all know, nothing says "Hooray for the Birth of Jesus" like a screaming baby.

With these memories fresh in my mind, I decided to take another crack at it this year. He's so much older! I thought. He can follow instructions! And he co-operates with me most of the time! I just knew I'd get much better results. (I can hear my mom laughing her ass off all the way from Virginia Beach as she reads this.)

I'm not sure if it's the button-down shirts, the Xmas tree, or what, but Austin and holiday snaps? DO. NOT. AGREE. Behold, Screaming Baby's replacement, SCREAMING TODDLER:

And in case you're wondering, I had to do a tight close-up because the only way to keep this writhing demon spawnI MEAN MY BELOVED CHILD still was to wedge him into his Bumbo seat. This was pretty much the best shot I got.

So if you get a holiday card from me this year, don't be surprised if it's a stick figure scrawled onto a Post-It note. Because Mommy is packing up her camera gear and climbing into the bathtub with a bottle of wine. (Isn't that what all the pros do?)