Friday, July 27, 2007

Bean Play

Things are getting better. I decided I had to put up another post just to get that last depressing post off the top of the page. This week really is better though. My niece came to town and watched Bruce a few nights while Scott and I went out. She did fun things too: we went to the North End, made Indian food, rubbed John Harvard's toe, and took an official MIT campus tour (until Bruce completely melted down from boredom).

I had to go in for a blood test. I keep thinking, "Isn't this over yet?" Not yet I guess. I hate needles, blood, etc. Once I kicked a nurse. I didn't remember the experience, but my shocked mother did. She always said I'd be a terrible druggie because I hate needles, IVs, and swallowing pills. I never swallowed a pill until my senior year of high school when I had a running injury that required an anti-inflammatory pill. There was no liquid version, so I had to suck it up. Literally. Anyway, I look like a druggie this week. My arms are bruised with red holes where I've been jabbed. My eyes are a little baggy from getting up early and forcing myself to run a bit more.

Scott looks much better than I do. He has had a decent week. He had a very successful experiment in the lab and read through the last Harry Potter book. It is now sitting on the shelf waiting for me. All I need is time to read it...

Bruce is followed by a research team that studies premature infants and their development and we went in this week for a checkup. They see him for about 2 hours every 6 months. They have him do all kinds of tests and ask me lots of questions. One of the tests they did was to have him put small items in a narrow cup. They said his attention span was a bit short and his fingers weren't grabbing properly.

He had a 45-minute nap instead of a 2-hour nap that day. Not to mention he gets a little hyper when he has an audience. So I thought I'd test him at home. I gave him a bunch of uncooked black beans and two cups and let him go at it. I watched his fingers. They looked fine. He put beans in the cups and dumped them for an hour and a half. What was that about attention span? My attention span wasn't that long. I was bored with the beans after an hour but when I tried to take them away he wigged out. All in all, I think he's doing just fine.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


If you read this blog, you probably think we live a perfect plush life: going to the beach every weekend, the park every day, and finding success with running and school.

Most of the time it is perfect. We have a great life with a great little kid who brings us an immeasurable amount of joy.

But every once in awhile something unexpected scrambles our perfect plans. That happened this week.

I was 10 weeks pregnant and a lot of people knew about it. It didn't take long for the track team to figure it out: I don't often miss practice and skip big races - especially the summer racing season that I absolutely love. Then our families found out: the grapevine works wonders. I was due in early February during a big camera show, so I told my boss so we could prepare and have time to train someone if needed. I didn't openly tell people I was pregnant, but if someone asked I wouldn't lie.

Then on Monday I started bleeding. I went to the doctor who went from "Some 40 percent of women experience bleeding during pregnancy; it's totally common" to "I can't hear a heartbeat, I can't see any movement; it doesn't look good." I was sent to an ultrasound clinic across the street to confirm that the baby was indeed dead.

The earliest I could get in for a D&C was four days later, so those days were filled with too many reminders of a pregnancy gone wrong. The surgery was uneventful - once they put me out. It did take 3 tries to put an IV in: ouch, I didn't think my veins were that tiny! Afterwards, the doctor said their monitors kept sounding alarms (that couldn't be turned off) because my heart rate was under 30 the whole time. Ah, that good old runner's heart.

Now the worst of it is over. The physical effects are wearing off, time is slowly healing some emotional scars, and spiritually I feel better than ever. I know that this life is supposed to be full of trials and that those trials will magnify our joys. Certainly this experience has been very difficult but has made us very grateful for what we do have.

I posted a few pictures of little joys we found throughout the week. My employer sent flowers. Bruce and I picked out flowers for Scott at a T station one day after watching some trains. I got new running shoes in the mail. And we made lots of comfort food this week: cholesterol-free brownies and cupcakes.

Thanks Marg!

My niece came to save the day! She flew in this weekend and has been spoiling Bruce, Scott, and me ever since. Her bag got a little mangled on the flight: a bit of spilled cereal and an entire bottle of hair product makes for a messy stinky bag.

We have already been to the beach. We went to Harvard Square on the release night of Harry Potter: it was renamed Hogwart's Square for the night. There were tons of people dressed up, TV crews doing spots, and plenty of Potter Gear around. We just went to soak up the scene. We didn't stick around and get the book. It is in the mail on its way.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

From Revere to the North End

Today the weather was gorgeous and we took full advantage of it. We went to the beach in the morning and checked out a sand castle competition. The sculptors were still putting their finishing touches on their work so we got to see them in action. There was also a backhoe on the beach, perhaps there from cleaning the sand a few days ago. Anyway, Bruce drooled on that for awhile.

After our weekly stint on the beach, we came home and let Bruce sleep for awhile. Post-nap and lunch, we packed up and headed downtown. Scott worked in the lab for a few hours while Bruce and I walked down the wharf through Charlestown and around the North End. We saw Old Ironsides and went over the bridge into Boston; there were zillions of jellyfish visible in the river below. Bruce was more interested in the boats though.

We walked along the wharfs and checked out all the boats. Bruce now knows the difference between yachts, speedboats, and sailboats. We walked until we found a big park, fully equipped with a sand box and large playground. We were there for at least an hour and only left when Bruce started stealing other kids' toys and getting a little testy.

We walked through the North End and I thought about stopping at Mike's Pastries to grab a piece of Scott's favorite German chocolate cake. When we saw the line going out the door, though, I decided against it. Too tough with a stroller. So we kept walking along the street until we came to a fire station.

"BIG FIRE TRUCK!" Bruce was excited. The firemen were sitting on lawn chairs in front of the station just listening to music and chatting. They invited Bruce to come in and check out the truck. I got him out of the stroller and we walked around the fire truck. They offered to let him in, but Bruce just wanted to check out the lights and wheels and ladder. After awhile, he just wanted to sit on the bumper. Another fireman sat on the bumper with him reading the newspaper. He was singing along to a Queen song and Bruce started dancing to it.

By then, Scott was finished at the lab and came and picked us up at the fire station. Bruce threw a tantrum as we left. O-v-e-r-s-t-i-m-u-l-a-t-e-d.

On our way home, we stopped at Qdoba. For some reason, Bruce really loves that place. And that can't be said of many restaurants. He had been saying "eat, eat" throughout the day but all I had with me were crackers and water. When we pulled into Qdoba he said, "RICE! BEANS!" He got the usual: a small soft tortilla with black beans, rice, and cheese on it. He was thrilled. Scott said his obsession is like most kids' obsession with McDonalds. I'm glad it's Qdoba instead of McDonalds.

We headed home and read books until we put him to bed. Overall it was a fabulous Saturday that included all of Bruce's favorite things: beach, backhoe, firetruck, playground, Qdoba, and books about cranes and concrete mixers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy July 4

Happy Fourth of July to all. For the actual holiday, we went to our neighbor's backyard barbecue and ate some pretty yummy food. It rained that evening, so we skipped the fireworks and went to bed early instead. I guess that means we're old.

Last weekend we went to Camp Joseph in Vermont. We hadn't been camping yet this year so we didn't realize how small our tent was - or maybe how big Bruce got in the last year.

Sleeping was a very tight squeeze. I had Bruce on one side flopping around and sprawling out. On the other side I had Scott rolling over and over. Then there was a pointy rock underneath my thin sleeping mat and about 800 ants. Perhaps we set up on top of an ant hill? I was glad when the night was over.

The rest of the trip was great. I had some fabulous dark chocolate s'mores. We ate tofu foil meals and roasted red potatoes. The campsite was really nice so there were hot showers and a pond to swim in and everything. Bruce played with his shovel in the sand by the pond for a few hours on Saturday. He bashed a pinata with some friends and was thrilled with the two Smarties that he got out of it. He got to see a frog and turtle from the pond and hopped around like a frog for awhile.

It started raining Saturday afternoon. We played in it for awhile, then when we saw the puddle in the bottom of our tent the rain got old. We ate dinner and then packed and headed home. We were happy to sleep on our lumpy bed at home that night (it's been lumpy ever since we folded it in half to fit it up the stairs in our apartment).

Scott's clinical rotation ended. He still has to do another 6-week rotation sometime, but he wanted to get back in the lab and work on some research. He's happy to have a shorter commute to the lab and he even rides his bike, which he loves.

I am busy packing a few boxes and singing Wiggles songs with Bruce. And that whole work thing. At least the iPhone madness is over, but there's an endless pile of work to be done.

Bruce learned how to count to 10 last week. He has also learned to stay on the chair when he has a time-out. Most frequent reason for time-out? Jumping. He constantly jumps on the floor, which our downstairs neighbor does not appreciate.

Photos from the campout by Ellen.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Old Orchard Beach

More from Old Orchard Beach.

Natalya's granddaughter and a bunch of kids collected crabs in a big bucket for awhile. There were lots of little pools along the shore and a few rocks where most of the crabs were. Every few minutes, Bruce would look into the bucket of crabs and say, "Wowwww! Cooool!"

That was our Saturday; we had to be back Sunday for church meetings and such. I was released as an Activity Days leader, so I don't get to plan activities for 8-11-year-old girls every two weeks. Instead, I now get to plan huge activities like clam bakes and breakfast parties for 300+ people! I was appointed to serve as the activities chair for the congregation, so I have lots of work ahead of me.

Scott is almost finished with his 6-week clinical rotation at the hospital. He was going to do both rotations this summer, but decided to just do one and get back to research for a bit so he doesn't completely forget what he's doing in the lab.

And there may be more classes to come. Scott really enjoys working with patients at the hospital and is thinking that he may want to be a radiologist. Not exclusively, of course. Ideally, he would have a lab and do research three days a week and then go into the hospital and work with patients twice a week. Anyway, that requires about six more med school classes and a few years as a hospital resident. Can we possibly take more schooling? Sure, why not? We've always been students. What's a few extra years?

iPhone Weekend

We can't get enough of the beach!

Last week my company went into hyperdrive preparing for the 6pm Friday release of the iPhone. My coworkers took turns camping out in line at the Apple and Cingular stores; I was scheduled for night shifts but thank goodness the line didn't form until Friday morning. On Friday night, the company purchased two phones and everyone met up at the office to do a sort of assembly line review. Everyone had a job and mine was to review the camera phone part of things. Everyone else raved about the iPhone, but its camera really stinks. It's no better than the one on my free phone.

After staying up late Friday night for that madness, I was ready to head out on Saturday. Our friend Natalya, whom Scott used to work with in an ultrasound lab and is from Russia, rented a condo at Old Orchard Beach in Maine for the week. Her granddaughter was visiting so they decided to go someplace cool. Old Orchard Beach was cool. It's a big beach with soft sand and lots of it. The town is kitschy with cute cafes and motels that advertise color television in neon lights. There's a park with an old wooden roller coaster and a ferris wheel.

Bruce loved it! At first all he could do was throw himself into the sand repeatedly. He'd put his arms up real high, then do a belly flop into the sand. A few times he had his tongue out, so we had to do some sand extraction. He played with toys (both ours and those that belonged to other kids!) and dug many holes in the sand.