Saturday, March 29, 2008

200th Blog Post Extravaganza!

This post marks my 200th! 200 posts about pregnancy, extended hospital stays, evil nurses, crazy children, health problems, momentous occasions, jobs lost, jobs gained, minivans, hurdles overcome and celebrations. It's been quite a ride -- thank you for being a part of our lives.

And, without further ado, here are the answers to the ten questions I asked in my 190th post.

1. What are the themes of my kids' bedrooms?
Hot Wheels for Devin and Tinker Bell for the Girls
2. What happened in Concan, Texas that caused Devin to have to visit the emergency room?
A cut in his foot that resulted in a localized staph infection
3. How many stepsisters do I have?
Four -- Amy, Heidi, Amanda and Lindsey
4. What kind of car do I (begrudgingly) drive?
A 2006 Kia Sedona minivan
5. What was Devin for Halloween this past year?
A ninja
6. What are my primary nicknames for the girls?
Faitharoo and Gracie Too
7. What was the name of the nurse-from-hell that I had in the post-partum unit after my twins were born?
8. What color did I paint my bathroom?
First a canary yellow that gave me a headache, but a lighter, buttery yellow shortly thereafter
9. What day did we find out that we were having twins?
December 9, 2005
10. What is the name of the church my family attends?
Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Thanks to all of those who played along and thanks to everyone who has read my blog for the past two years. I love the extended family I have formed via blog-land and being able to share my life with friends all over the world is so special. I'll keep blogging if you'll keep reading!

And now is the big announcement that you've all been waiting for. NO. I AM NOT PREGNANT. Bite your tongue.

The randomly chosen winner of my blog scavenger hunt is...

Casey Quilao!

Congrats, Casey! You get your choice of a $10 Starbucks, iTunes or McDonald's gift card! Send me an email with your choice and your address and I'll send it to you this week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Gastro Fun!

I've been meaning to update about this for more than a week now, but as all of you bloggin' mommies know, finding the time to write everything down in a somewhat cohesive manner is not always easy.

On March 13, I got the call from the girls' GI doctor. If you recall, Grace was cleared of Celiac Disease as well as any sort of food allergies. She was given the title of "Underweight" and will be seen every few months to check her progress.

Faith's diagnosis was up in the air, though, so we went and had blood work done. The doctor told us that if she tested positive for Celiac, we'd get a call. Otherwise, we'd discuss the results at our appointment on the 10th of April.

When Dr. Elizondo's number came up on Caller ID, my heart skipped a beat. This was it. The call that would tell me that Faith had Celiac Disease, that she'd have to be on a strict diet for her entire life and that our entire family would need nutritional counseling to manage this.

I almost let it go to voicemail. I just didn't want to hear it.

But I picked up and talked to the receptionist, knowing full-well what she would say.

To say I was shocked by what she said is an understatement.

Faith does not have Celiac Disease. She does, however, have an allergy to a protein in cow's milk.

Praise God! I just couldn't believe it!

I was so elated that I barely had time to think about what this woman was saying. Faith would need a special formula, they had samples for us, etc, etc.

Since I wasn't talking with the doctor, I wasn't able to get many questions answered. I guess I'll have to wait until the 10th to do that. But I was able to go pick up some of samples of formula from Dr. E's office in order to "test out" and decide which flavor our little Roo likes the best.

So we are adjusting to this new part of our lives. It seems relatively small -- just mix eight ounces of formula every time you would serve her milk. Simple, right?


Faith hates the stuff. It's not anything like cow's milk, as it's 150% of the vitamins and minerals she should get daily. It's also almost completely broken down, so her body doesn't have to work to process it. These things alter any yumminess that might have been present in the thick liquid.

And to top it off, it's very high in fat and calories -- 250 calories in six ounces! So it's got a sort of greasy quality to it and little globules of oil can be seen floating in it. Ewwwwww... I wouldn't want to drink it either.

Faith's no dummy. She knows that Gracie is getting regular milk while she is getting, "special Faith milk." Calling it "special" has not helped out one little bit, either.

So when Grace gets a cup of milk, Faith just howls for some. I hand her the formula and she hurls the cup across the room. I've tried all of the flavors -- vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and tropical -- and have even added extra chocolate syrup to them. No dice. It's just not going to happen, I fear.

So I don't know what to do. Has anyone else had their kids on Neocate Jr or something of the like? Did they hate it like my kid hates it? What did you do?

I'm anxious to get to Dr. E's office, as well, and ask all of my questions. Will she grow out of this? Do we need to do a completely dairy- or milk-free diet? What if she won't drink the formula? The list goes on and on...

Until then, though, I'll have to beware of projectile sippy cups.

Moving on...

Easter was a great holiday around here. My dad got here on Friday and on Saturday Todd took the girls to Yoakum to pick up Devin from his parents' house. I calculated that it was the first time I was alone in the house in 17 months. It was sheer bliss.

I took a little bit of time for myself to read and watch some chick TV (You-know-what and the City episodes!), but I also got a lot done around the. Very invigorating.

We had dinner here at my house that night and made it to 9:30 Mass on Easter morning. It was a fantastic celebration of the resurrection and it truly helped me get into the spirit of the day. I love just makes me happy and thankful to be a Christian.

After Mass was an egg hunt at ZZ's house and then some unbridled candy-eating by all seven kids. It was a sugar-rush massacre and we finally got home to get the kids down for a nap. Faith and Grace snoozed well, but Devin managed to keep Todd and I up. No rest for the weary.

Afterwards was back to ZZ's house for a big Easter meal and playtime. By the time the day was done, though, we were exhausted. We all tumbled into bed pretty early and the week began on Monday. Ho hum...

I wish I had more exciting news, but the thrill of the moment is finding new and innovative ways to get Faith to drink her formula. Any suggestions are welcome. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Raining Mud! Halleluia, It's Raining Mud!

This would only happen in Texas.

Yesterday, a cloud of dust and ash blew up into West Texas from Mexico. This is not an unusual occurrence, as dust clouds are blown from Mexico during the springtime into various parts of the Southwest. You often hear about Arizona and New Mexico getting dust storms from our neighbors to the South.

But it just so happened that while this little system of ash was spinning Northward toward El Paso, a area of low pressure was barreling Eastward across the country. The two independent trajectories met up somewhere between West and Central Texas and shook it up in the upper atmosphere. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico joined the party and whadda ya know? You've got a mud storm.

Yes, that's right. A dust storm met with a rain storm and created a mud storm. It rained mud here in San Antonio on Tuesday, March 18, 2008.

Don't believe me? Check out the story on and the incredible pictures that came with it. The storm was so disgusting that it actually created traffic jams around car washes today and caused the new, much-anticipated Grand Hyatt San Antonio Hotel to delay its grand opening for an entire week so they can get the hotel's thousands of windows cleaned.

Unfortunately, we missed this extraordinary (and messy) event. Devin, Faith, Grace and I left early on Monday morning and drove to Houston to see my parents.

My dad wasn't feeling well, so we didn't do much when we got there. A quick walk to the park and some good conversation with my stepmom. It may not have been exciting to the kids, but it was relaxing bliss to me!

Dad was feeling much better on Tuesday, but the four news stations in Houston swore up and down that tornadoes, hail and all kinds of end-of-the-world-style weather were heading into the city and that anyone who could stay put, should.

So we did. We made plans to stay close to home, instead of going to visit the rodeo, the Children's Museum or the Museum of Natural Science.

First we were going to go to Pump It Up, but they weren't offering open play that day. So then we tried Kids in Action, but they were only offering Spring Break camps and were not allowing open play either.

Not wanting to venture any further from home since a flood of Biblical proportions was coming, we decided to take Devin to the viewing area where the airplanes come into Houston's Bush International Airport. This is a really cool place where you can sit just next to the runway, while planes land so close to you that you can nearly see the faces of the passengers inside.

We got poor D all revved up for the experience, but wouldn't you know it? 95% of the time, the planes land coming in from the East, heading West on the runways. But 5% of the time, when the weather is bad and the winds are coming in from a non-typical direction, the planes are routed in a North-South pattern.

We never saw a single plane.

Okay, onto Plan G -- Lunch at Fuddruckers. That was a hit with Dev, as any place that features hamburgers, French fries and video games will cause my kid's head to spin with happiness. Add in Devin's three-year-old cousin, Luke, and you've got a fabulous experience. Finally! Something went right!

By this time, the wind was strong and the sky was dark, so we headed to Dad's house to wait out the storm. We all took naps and woke up to...nothing. It never rained. All of the hype, all of the talk of the end of the world and nothing happened. I could have strangled every meteorologist in the city.

We did have an enjoyable evening with two of my stepsisters and the three kids they have between them, as well as various other friends and family members.

The kids and I left this morning to head back here, but took a minor detour to Yoakum to drop Devin off for a few days with Todd's parents. It's the ultimate spring break for a four-year-old -- a week with the grandparents. Woo hoo!

So now I am home, exhausted after nearly seven hours in the car today, but only a mommy to two kids until Saturday. I miss my little boy already!

And Finally...

This is my 198th post, which means my 200th Post Blog Scavenger Hunt Extravaganza is soon to end. If you don't know what it is or haven't provided your answers yet, you can do so here. Remember, you could win your choice of a $15 Starbucks gift certificate, a $15 iTunes gift certificate or a $15 McDonald's gift certificate.

You don't even have to get the answers right, for heaven's sake! You just have to enter! :)

Thanks for indulging me...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just Wondering...

Which one is weirder?

That I was jamming out to "You Shook Me All Night Long," by AC/DC while driving my minivan through my decidedly suburban neighborhood


That listening to "You Shook Me All Night Long," by AC/DC reminded me of my wedding reception

You decide.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Devin's Doozie

This is one for the books...

Yesterday, after breakfast, Devin was getting ready for school. I had brought a pair of jeans and a t-shirt downstairs for him. While I try to keep my kids looking presentable, those of you with four-year-old boys know that it's a lost cause. No matter what you put them in, they look like they've been dragged through the mud within minutes.

So I've all but given up on good clothes for Dev. Barring only church and special events, old shirts and ratty jeans are pretty much the norm around here.

Yesterday was a particular low when I allowed my son to wear jeans with a large hole in the knee. Again, it's just not worth the fight.

So Devin took off his jammies (which were promptly flung into the corner of the living room -- the most appropriate place for jammies) and pulled on his jeans. At this point, he called to get my attention.

I turned around, and there was my partially clad son striking a pose in the living room. No shoes, no shirt and a pair of worn jeans. I had to smile and he said, "Mom? Do I look cool?"

Trying not to laugh, I told him that he, indeed, looked super cool, knowing full well that he'd somehow gotten into his head that he'd like to be a model at Abercrombie and Fitch.

The best part came when he said, "I think I'll just go to school like this."

In Other News...

All three of my kids have taken to the same new plaything -- spoons.

If I had known that spoons could provide so many hours of fun for my children, I could have saved a lot of money at Christmastime.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My Story Won!

A couple of months ago, I posted an entry asking everyone to vote for my pregnancy and delivery story, which I submitted to a contest on the Methodist Hospital Web site. Methodist Hospital is where Faith and Grace were born.

I just got an email informing me that I won the contest and that Methodist Hospital will donate $1,000 to the charity of my choice. I am so honored!

As promised, I plan to donate the money to Threads of Love, an organization that makes and donates clothing, blankets and care items to area NICUs. For those of you with preemies, you know that regular sized blankets and clothing are nearly impossible to use. They simply swallow up the tiniest of babies and you can imagine how helpful these little items were to me and to hundreds of other NICU families.

To all of you who voted, Thank You. I am so happy to have the opportunity to give something back to such a special charity.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Pox on You!

Chicken Pox, that is. Grace has Chicken Pox.

Do you want to take a second to re-read that and make sure you got it right? Go ahead. I'll wait.

Yep, Gracie has Chicken Pox, despite having gotten the vaccine and despite the fact that the virus has all but been eradicated. I mean, come on...this is my family. What else would you expect?

Poor Gracie has been acting "off" since Sunday. We just can't seem to make her happy. She doesn't want to be held, she doesn't want to be put down, she doesn't want to eat, but she begs to be in her high's just been an ongoing saga.

Truthfully, I figured she was just hitting the terrible twos a few months early. I mean, we're only two months away from the big second birthday, so terrible twos must be on their way, right?

But when I got her up this morning and got her dressed, I noticed a little spot on her shoulder. Hmmmm...must have gotten a little bug bite or something.

But then another dot caught my eye. And another.

I turned her around and there on her back must have been a dozen red spots, all varying in size, but all localized to the area around her left shoulder.

I lifted up her hair and they were all up her neck and the back of her head.

Combining all of this with her bad attitude and loss of appetite, I decided she needed to see Dr. Trexler.

So an hour later, the three of us (Devin is at school today) were waiting in the hall outside Dr. T's office. Since their office isn't divided into "sick" and "well" areas, anyone with a rash must wait in the hall and be taken in through the back door. I felt like the redheaded stepchild of Stone Oak Pediatrics.

Cheryl came in, took a look at My Girl Spot and said, "Well, we've seen a few cases of Chicken Pox this week and while I'm not 100% sure, I'd like to treat it as Chicken Pox, just in case."

And that was it. She did a strep test on Gracie, just in case, but it came back normal. She did think that Grace's left ear looked pretty red, so we got an antibiotic for that and were sent on our way to wait it out.

These girls never cease to amaze me, especially with the strange maladies they keep catching -- even those for which they have gotten vaccines.

I'm taking bets on when Faith will get it. Any takers?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Our First Time Out

Today marked quite an occasion -- the twins' first time out.

I've probably waited too long to truly discipline the girls' bad behavior, but I sometimes forget how old they really are. Neither one of the twins speaks many words, so I assume that if I can't understand them, they can't understand me, thus rendering any discipline useless.

Of course, this isn't true. The girls understand so much of what we say. They understand directions, exclamations, signs and facial expressions. In fact, just yesterday I asked Faith to hand me a pacifier for Grace and she turned around, picked up the paci and handed it to me.

So I figure if they can understand stuff like that, they can start understanding that bad behavior gets punished. I didn't have to wait long for the opportunity to put this theory to the test.

The girls have been especially playful today. They've been up and down the stairs, playing with their baby dolls, "vrooming" Hot Wheels around the family room and just plain acting like little girls.

At one point, though, Grace threw a toy car at me. I reminded her that throwing is not allowed in our house. So what did she do? She threw another car. I warned her that this was her last chance, and if she threw anything else, she'd be punished. She stopped.

But Faith picked up where Grace left off. Moments later, Faith hurled a car at me. Same drill -- reminder that we don't throw and then the threat of punishment.

But this is Faith we're talking about. She is my little Roo who pushes the envelope at every opportunity. She decided to see if I was bluffing and threw another car at me, smiling the whole time.

I said, "Okay, then it's time out for you." I put her on the bottom step of the stairs and stood there, making sure she wouldn't get up.

As I am standing there, trying very hard to keep from cracking a smile, while trying to look menacing, I feel something hit the back of my leg and then the sound of cheap metal hitting the hardwood floors.

I turn around to find a Hot Wheel lying on the floor behind me, with Grace standing nearby, smiling.

So it was to the stairs for Grace as well, where both girls sat for one minute (a lifetime for an almost-two-year-old!). They both tried crawling up the stairs, standing up, moving around, etc, but I made sure they sat the whole time. It was sort of a game for them, seeing if I would do something if they tried to get out of their seated positions.

So I'm not sure the concept quite got through to them, but at least we've set up some boundaries and some consequences. I'll continue to do this "time out on the stairs" thing and hope that, eventually, they'll get that it's not a game, but rather a punishment.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

I'll leave you with some gratuitous photos of my kids.

The Roo and her shoes. Actually, the Roo and Devin's shoes. She looks like a cartoon character!

I expect a 21-month-old (Grace, in this case) to experiment in eating dirt...

But not a four-year-old. Shouldn't he know better??? Gross!

My fourth child, Zoe