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July 29, 2009

Monthly Check Up - Pregnancy Update #12

I had another monthly checkup at my doctor's office this week. Everything seems to be going well. The heart rate is at 160 and sounds "perfect" according to my doctor.

I measure at 19 weeks and I am 18 weeks so "that's great" says my doctor. 

We received the results of our down syndrome testing that we elected to take part in and everything came back negative, which is good. No abnormalities in that department.

I busted out a pair of maternity pants today and truly hate them. I prefer to have support in my belly and these offer none! I also miss the luxury or having a button, zipper and belt. It seems like I'm always adjusting them after I sit and get up. They never feel quite right in the crotch or the waist. And when I go to the bathroom, I'm always trying to unbutton them.

After purchasing my pants, I tired them on for my husband and showed him how "hot" the belly waistband is (not) and he gave me a weird look. You can tell he was trying to think of something to say without lying. He knew they were not at all attractive or sexy and probably would turn any man off but he didn't want to say something so direct so he replied, "You don't have to wear them that long." These pants are not like a pair of uncomfortable shoes you wear to a wedding for ONE night, I have to wear these pants for a few MONTHS! Oh the beginning of sacrifices...

July 27, 2009

It's Alive - Pregnancy Update #11

July 21, 2009

Today I believe I felt my husband's small child move. Butterflies in my stomach while sitting at my desk at work.

Someone asked me today if I was still pregnant. I replied, "yes." She said to me, you aren't showing at all. I said, "I'll take that as a compliment, thank you." I'm glad to be 17 weeks and not visably pregnant! Let's keep the weight off!

July 24, 2009

Snug as a Bug - Pregnancy Update #10

Every year, when my husband digs to the bottom of his dresser drawer and pulls out his shorts for the first nice day of spring, the same chain of events happen.

1-He tries on a few pairs and realizes some of his shorts have shrunk while in winter storage. (Must be the dry winter heat.)

2-The pair he chooses to wear because they fit the best just happen to be the most wrinkled pair of shorts.

3-He retires a few of the shorts that have shrunk over the past winter and donates them to goodwill. 

Because I found out I was pregnant the first week of May, I was not looking forward to trying on my spring and summer clothes, especially the shorts. But because this joyous Michigan weather has been nothing like our usual scorching hot summer, I finally tried on my shorts this past Sunday. I was pretty excited when the majority of them fit fine. Not too snug, not too lose, just perfect. Of course we all know this won't last long. I'm hoping I have at least 2 weeks to wear them. I didn't try on a pair of denim capris I had because I don't have patience to try on that many clothes at one time. So I just tossed them into the closet.

Today I decided to wear my capris to work. As I began pulling them over my legs, I knew they wouldn't fit, but I was determined. I even did my best to suck it in. They are snug, but I decided they would "stretch out" since they were just tight due to the dry heat while in winter storage, and I would wear them for the day. Just as I was about to leave the house, I really wanted to change my pants but I was already running late and lazy. So I decided to do the rubber band trick.

For those of you who don't know, instead of buttoning the top button of your pants, you leave it unbuttoned, but use a rubber band to connect the loop and button of the pants. Thus, giving you 1-2 extra inches of breathing room. I covered it with a belt and it seems to be working well so far, but I think after today, I'll retire these into my "skinny days" storage box under the bed and pray to God they fit next year.


July 22, 2009

Tough Girl - Pregnancy Update #9

I caught my husband's cold on the fourth of July. That night at a party, I started to get a very sore and scratchy throat. Thankfully the throat soreness went away in a day, but the stuffy head continued for a week and then was joined by a cough. A painful cough at first, and now it's just a nuisance.

At one of my first appointments, I was told by my nurse at the doctor's office that it can take a woman up to 2 weeks longer to fight off a cold. I was given a list of acceptable medications. I recall Sudafed being one of the only things on the list for a cold. I do like Sudafed. I think it works very well, but on a normal day, when I am not knocked up, taking one pill makes me loopy. Yes, loopy. I usually wait until I get to work to take a pill because for about 30 minutes I feel slightly light headed and drunk. So I was doing all I could to avoid taking this over the counter medicine. I even commented that my husband should try going "cold turkey" when he feels a cold coming on and not dose himself with zinc, zicam, tylenol cold, and nyquil. Then he would appreciate how awesome these OTC drugs really are!

As the cough joined my illness, I was even more annoyed. Twice I almost vomited from coughing so many times in a row. After the fun of gagging, I decided I should actually look at the list of acceptable medications the doctor's office gave me. While looking at the list, I realize there is a section for Colds and a separate section for Coughs and Sore Throats. Wow, I'm an idiot, why didn't I look at this list a week ago! I was able to nab a bottle of Robitussan and some cough drops to aid in my recover.

I am feeling much better now and will no longer attempt to be a tough girl, instead, I'll pull out my acceptable medication list and make sure I know what I can take! 

July 20, 2009

Things I Miss Most - Pregnancy Update #8

I subscribe to BabyCenter.com's weekly newsletter about pregnancy. This week I received: The 12 Things You Miss Most During Pregnancy. The list includes the following:

1. A Normal Sense of Smell
2. Booze
3. Off-Limits Foods
4. Peaceful Sleep
5. Cute Shoes
6. Feeling Sexy
7. A Rocking Sex Life
8. Feeling Strong and Independent
9. Being Included
10. Your Pre-Pregnancy Body
11. Emotional Control
12. Caffeinating Like You Used To

As soon as I saw this subject line in my email, one thing came to mind: Alcohol. And since Booze is number two on the list, I'm not the only one who has a craving for a light beer or rum and coke. I must admit, of the 12 items on the list, I am currently only experiencing the lack of alcohol. I'm not at all a drinker, but I like to enjoy an adult cocktail or beer whenever I want one.

The hardest part is a social situation. One in which we visit with friends at a BBQ or on a boat and spend a few hours doing nothing but socializing, eating and drinking. My patience for sitting is thin anyway, but when I have to sit and talk hours after I've finished eating, I get even more stir-crazy. I had a small glass of a friends party punch, in which I was unable to taste any alcohol in it, and after telling someone I had this, I got such a crazy look from her. I'm sure I'll break down and have a beer eventually and after this awkward look, I'll be sure to pour the barley and hops into a coffee mug and tell everyone it's tea.

I have yet to miss anything else on the list, and I sure hope it stays that way!


July 15, 2009

No News is Good News? - Pregnancy Update #7

I don't have much to report in the world of pregnancy updates.

I got poison ivy at the end of June. My husband was on a Harley trip to Ohio and I decided to cut trees and hauled 19 piles to our brush pile. That was Saturday. By Monday night, I was very itchy on the arms. I toughed through most of it, then I told a friend. She couldn't believe I didn't call my doctor to tell her I had poison ivy. It wasn't that bad, so I thought I could handle the 1-3 week recovery time. Then I started to second guess my choices and freak out so I googled it. Poison Ivy is not harmful to your baby during pregnancy is what I discovered. But the itching got so bad, I broke down and left a message for the nurse. The nurse said Hydrocortisone cream would work best. Right now I still slather it on like body lotion. It's still itchy but it is healing.

I had a fabulous one hour pre-natal massage a few weeks ago. I plan to go back again this month when my friend comes to town to visit. I learned that there isn't too much different between a relaxation massage and a pre-natal massage, except for the liability. Oh and one spot on the ankles they usually don't massage.

I feel huge. And I don't think I've gained more than a few pounds. My weight seems to be maintaining well, at least according to my bathroom scale. I did nab a few super cheap shirts and a cute skirt and dress the other day when I was out and about. I figured they would be good clothes to "grow into" as I begin to get larger. My husband laughs at me and tells me I have a very obscure view of my own weight.

My friend passed along this piece of advice from Chris Rock: When you have a daughter your only job is to keep her off the pole. (As in the stripper pole for those of you who didn't get it!)

The first piece of Child Care Advice I got was from another friend: Now that you will be willingly and unwillingly accepting all advice thrown at you by various experts, friends, family members, well wishers, complete strangers off the street and of course the friend with no kids (that would be yours truly) I have my first, last and only bit of child rearing advice: Please learn to beat your child...often and like you mean it! This will ensure proper rearing of a young person able to get along well in the general society and it is now your duty as a "responsible parent." Just look at me and how well I turned out!

My future has been planned out for me by a few friends. i get the "you'll be watching kids movies in no time" and "you'll do this when you have a child..." Really? Do you think so? I'll show you! That's what I want to say to them, but I nod, accept their advice and run like hell!

Other than still being terribly emotional about Cletus passing - I'm not sure if it is the hormones or if I just miss him that much - I'm pretty much the same. The other day I was in bed remembering when Cletus would get up from his bed in the corner and go into the living room and kitchen. You would hear him get up, but all you would see is a tail move across the edge of the bed, wagging from side to side as he made his way out of the bedroom.


July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

My July 4th vacation was extended a day when my husband and I took Monday off to enjoy a day at the pool. I've been wanting to go to a pool or a beach to just relax and soak up the sun. He found the Family Aquatic Center in East Lansing online and we arrived shortly after it opened on Monday morning.

This place was fabulous! Clean, fun, and not too crowded - maybe because it was a Monday. The zero-depth pool is always nice to walk into, especially when the sun went behind the clouds we had to ease into what seemed like cool water. There was a sandy area with activities for kids, and a wet splash area for kids as well. Of course we had to check them all out! There was a diving board that the kids were loving, a super slide that was short but fast, another slower water slide and a side that tubes went down. We enjoyed using our combined body weight to zip down the double tubes on the tube slide. First we tried with my husband in the back and me in the front, and then we changed positions. We concluded we can go much faster with his body weight in the back.

Being in a bathing suit made me appreciate women with bellies a little more. I felt huge, but realized most people wouldn't even know I was knocked up because they would just think that I was a woman with a little extra fat. My husband says I look fine, and if he said anything differently, I'd probably kick him where it hurts.

We had a fabulous Monday. Soaked up some sun, enjoyed water, tubing and read a few magazines. Oh, and the super slide had a warning sign with it. It was only for strong swimmers because of the current. This allowed for a few "saves" by the lifeguard staff, which was highly amusing for my husband who was a lifeguard in college (and has 2 documented saves.) When we arrived home, he rushed to softball, while Rockwell and I took a much needed nap.

This concludes segment three of my Around the Corner blogs. 

July 08, 2009

Words of Kindness

After publishing my blog about losing our beloved K9, Cletus, I received several kind words and thoughts I wanted to share.


"Dogs only have a short time on earth. They are truly mans best friend and it's sad that we only get a small window of time with them. Dogs make you appreciate life. The little things like watching flies, going for car rides and playing with their favorite toys. I know you gave your dog the best life it could have had. Now it's time to remember and reflect on how lucky your dog was to have an owner like you."
"A dog is the only thing in the world that loves you more than he loves himself."   - Josh Billings

My in-laws gave me this poem to read, and a friend referred me to the site

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together

-Author unknown

A similar inspiring blog sent to me by my husband, about the death of Mouse, another pet owners tragic loss of his K9 companion can be read here.

This was actually one of my favorite emails, maybe you have to know the friend who sent this to me, but she always knows how to put a funny, yet classy spin on things: 

"Oh no, I'm so sorry! I'm glad I got to meet the famous Cletus. I'm sure Farrah will take him for walks in heaven."

Thanks to everyone for their sympathetic thoughts. 

July 01, 2009

Sleepless Nights

Earlier this week I began pondering a blog about Sleepless Nights after our oldest K9 companion began to have seizures in the early morning hours. It began last Saturday and I awoke around 11:30 pm to a unique sound and found Cletus on our bathroom floor shaking and breathing oddly. I immediately called my husband who was on his way home from a day at the race track. I was certain Cletus was dying. I didn't know what was going on. I've never seen an animal die naturally. A few minutes later, Cletus "came to" and was looking at me like nothing had happened, I whisked him outside, he drank some water and returned to the floor in the bedroom to sleep.

Five hours later at 4:30 am, I awoke my husband to tell him it was happening again. He was able to see first hand what I was telling him over the phone and Cletus began to repeat the same process. I was certain it was time to say goodbye to Cletus and even tried to talk to my husband in these wee hours about saying goodbye. He fell back asleep while I was up for a few hours thinking, crying and wondering.

We were not completely in the dark about this medical condition. Two years ago, Cletus was diagnosed with Melanoma in his lip and lymph node in his neck. We are 99% certain this is what he has, although we never did do any biopsies because at the time he was 10. Now, 2 years later, and still doing well, at our last vet appointment the doctor was surprised at the large size of his lymph node (and the fact that he was still alive) and told us the next thing that often happens is a seizure. The cancer begins to spread to the brain and there are neurological effects.

Sunday we called the vet to find out there are no real health risks associated with seizures, but the problem is multiple seizures, one right after another. A seizure causes a dog's body temperature to rise and having multiple seizures means the dog's body temperature cannot return to normal eventually leads to death. We monitored Cletus all day and night and he seemed fine so we decided to let him hang on a little longer.

Our sleepless nights returned on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when Cletus had early morning seizures on all three days. Thursday when my husband arrived home, I got the phone call from him saying it was Cletus' time to go. Cletus must have had another seizure (thankfully on the tile floor in our bathroom) which caused him to lose control of his bowels. He then must have struggled to get up (he has a hard time with his back legs) and eventually when he did, he moved to another location within the house. My husband said no animal-human or K9-should have to lie in their own waste. When I arrived home, he managed to get into the kitchen, and when I walked into the door, his tail was wagging and he was looking at me like he always does when he greets me at the door. We got him up, helped him outside and I called the vet.

Our vet is ALWAYS open. Seven days a week! Late on most weeknights! And when I called, I got an answering machine that said they would be closed Wednesday and Thursday for a conference. Now is when the panic began, what were we going to do? I called two other places in the area, to see if they could help us and they were closed. Finally, on the third try, I located one that could help us out.

Ironically that morning Cletus wouldn't eat a full plate of soft food (which is rare, especially since we usually mix soft food in with hard for him), nor would he take his medication that we stuff into hot dogs. He even spit out the non-laced hot dogs. So I decided to take some photos of Cletus. Photos that will forever be known as those from the last day of his life here on Earth. (Sorry, none of those photos are posted here.)

But more importantly, Cletus was an awesome dog.

He was born in May 1997 and was my husband's first dog out of college. Cletus' mom was a Rottweiler, and Cletus has been classified by a rott, lab, shepherd mix. He has the coloring of a rott, the nose and white chest of a lab, and the hair of a shepherd. He lived "north of the rifle line" with him and then moved to Southeast Michigan. When my husband began traveling a lot for work, Cletus ended up staying at my in-laws house, temporarily and then permanently. Cletus and his buddy, the in-laws American Rottweiler, Diesel, lived together for about 7 years. When Diesel passed at the young age of 7, Cletus was joined by two puppies at my in-laws. Cletus was 8 at the time and not handling the rambunctious juvenile dogs well. He was snippy toward them, his hair was falling out and he was a cranky old man. I'd assume most old men would be this way if he had two toddlers climbing on him all day long. Therefore, Cletus came to live with us.

I remember the day he moved in with us like it was yesterday. I think we were at my in-laws house eating dinner and decided to take Cletus home that day. We left with him and a dog dish in the car. Cletus adapted so well, it was as if he had lived in our home for years. He slept well, he ate well, he asked out, and back in. He was even pretty good at staying in the yard.

I made a dog bed years before for our dog Rockwell, and Rockwell never slept in it. Once in a while Rockwell would chew on a bone on the bed, but he would never sleep on it. When Cletus came to our house and the colder winter months arrived, he claimed that bed. I was so happy because it had been in our bedroom for years, and I was sure some day, Rockwell would want to cuddle up in it. In the summer months Cletus usually moved to the tile floor in the bathroom. 

Below: Cletus sits on the dog bed.


Cletus had some of the softest hair I've ever felt on a mixed dog. And it was always so fluffy. When the light hit it just right, you could see the deep red color in his black coat. He had the curliest tail, the tail that I miss hearing hit the floor when he wagged it or the kitchen cupboards or the side of the couch. Sometimes his tail would get caught on things, a few times it got caught on the knob of the lower kitchen cabinets, and opened the door, at the same time scaring Cletus. Another time it got caught on the cord that was plugged into the island, the handle of my gym bag and the string to the mini blinds. One spring he came out of the woods while outside, and he had about a 5' x 1/2" stick wrapped in his tail. He was wagging the tail side to side and this stick was stuck in it. Cletus was oblivious to this piece of lumber and I didn't have time to get my camera, but I'll never forget how funny he looked walking down the driveway, back to the house, with a stick swaying in the curl of his tail. When my 80+ year old grandmas would come over, they would ask how we can tell Cletus and Rockwell apart, and the first thing we would tell them is "one dog has a tail, the other does not." To us, our two dogs didn't look alike at all.

Below: Rockwell made the paper mess while Cletus just sat and enjoyed a bone. 


Cletus was one of those great dogs that had quirks. By the time he came into my life, he was "an old man" as my husband called him. I called him wise man, omitting the old to his name because i felt it was mean. He used to walk into the neighbor's yard each spring and find bones and toys that belonged to their dogs. He would come home and be chewing on a rawhide in our grass, a raw hide he stole from next door.

Below: This is what we called the "Cletus Splat." Arms in the standard goal post position. 


He would want anyone to watch him when he ate. If you were not watching him, he would bark at you. Our kitchen set-up allowed us to easily watch him while doing other things, so everyday I would tell Cletus, "I'm watching you" and he'd go for more food in his bowl.

Cletus rarely ever said no to any foods. He would eat almost anything. We did try to give him a dill pickle once, and he spit it out. And I don't think he likes pretzels because of the salt on them. He is also against eating lettuce. But other than that, Cletus was good at begging and his cuteness often got him a little something, especially when he lived with the in-laws.

Below: Christmas Eve 2008 - Cletus enjoys a night with the family and sports his holiday bandanna. 


He loved to go for rides in the car. He would just lay down in the back seat or peak his head out of the window. One time I forgot he was even in the car with me because he was so quiet. He had to bark when we got home for me to let him out! He liked to walk on a leash but at the beginning of our walks, he would only walk behind you. And he would zig zag back and forth behind you while you were holding the leash. I would just hold the leash behind my back because with all of the zig zagging, it would get tangled up. Eventually, he would move to one side or another while we walked, but rarely went in front of me, he was always behind or next to me.

Below: One of my favorite photos. It's as if you can see the wrinkles in an old man's face...


Below: Cletus enjoys the winter snow. 


Our other dog, Rockwell is a fabulous poser, It's as if he knows the camera is coming out and he has to sit up straight and tilt his head just right. But Cletus is exactly the opposite. He will look away, look down, move quickly and I struggle to get a good shot of him, but eventually we get one! It's been called "Cletus' defense" he does the same thing with a toy. When he gets one and you try to play with him and take it away from him, he turns his head from side to side, just right, so you cannot get it. It's quite funny and amazing at the same time!

Cletus was the best at giving a "high five." He can get his paw up nice and high to hit your hand. Sometimes Cletus would give out double high fives! 



Today Cletus is buried next to his fried, Diesel, in the back yard of my in-laws house. We're trying to decide exactly what to put on the top of his grave, and I think the vote is a dog dish because he loved food and loved to eat. In the next few weeks, I'll find the perfect one and maybe even have his name engraved on it.

As the saying goes, "They go in three's in times like these." Today we said goodbye to The King of Pop, a Charlie's Angel and our dog Cletus.

In memory of Cletus: May 1997 - June 25, 2009.