Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where in the World IS Moose Nuggets???

Oh, hello readers! So sorry to leave all of you hanging in the balance. We have had crazy life stuff going on around here.

Where to start???

Well, the primary reason for my absence has been dealing with pregnancy issues. We recently switched from a doctor to a midwife, because I am tired of "medically" treated pregnancies. Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy is NOT an illness, ailment, or otherwise medical anomaly. AND, I was really tired of having a "primary doctor" that never seems to be in the office the days we can get to Fairbanks, leaving me with the doctor I believe I mentioned before as the one that I would rather-have-a-baby-on-the-side-of-the-highway-than-let-her-birth-my-baby.

Well, I LOVE the midwife. I really do. From the first visit with her, she impressed me. She spent a LONG time in the office with us (like, three hours!). She was not only interested in my medical history and her chart, but in ME, as a person, a mom, a wife. She showed interest in us as a family. And didn't mind that Beans pooped twice in her office, or smashed a bunch of cheerios on the floor to amuse herself.

So. While my initial intent was to avoid being medically treated for pregnancy, apparently my body DOES consider pregnancy an ailment of sorts.
I have a LONG history of preterm labor. In fact, I have been treated for preterm labor in ALL my pregnancies. I don't know what made me think I was going to avoid that ailment this time around... which leads me to explain my long absence from Moose Nuggets.

DON'T PANIC. Yes, we are having some preterm labor issues. I was issued my prescription for progesterone (or as J calls it, "The I-Wish-My-Wife-Wasn't-Acting-Possessed" medicine), asked repeatedly if there was ANY possible way to make bed rest happen (um, hello! Does anyone notice I have a VERY active toddler???), and then given a couple stern looks when I insisted that NO, bed rest was NOT possible, NO we do not (for the millionth time!) have family in the area, and NO, none of our family or friends have flexible enough lives or schedules to come here until I have the New Little Nugget.

What part of "no" is so difficult to comprehend? Honestly? Is it my southern accent that makes it hard to understand?

I was advised to start the progesterone (which I did) and "take it as easy as possible" and to "stay off my feet". Um, OK. We'll see how long that lasts.
For the record, it was exactly ten minutes of sitting on my fanny with my feet up before Beans decided my "bed rest" was over.

To continue with the saga... as I have been TRYING to take it "as easy as possible", the preterm labor issues kicked up a notch this week, and we found ourselves in Fairbanks again. This time, an infection causing some preterm labor. Antibiotics should fix that problem in a week. Meanwhile, we also got another look at the baby, as the OB that oversees the midwife suggested we take another look at my amniotic fluid levels and my cervix. (I know, you wanted to know all about my body parts, right?)

With all that said... baby is doing fine. So are my body parts, for now. The antibiotic should stop my body's protesting which is causing all the trouble, at least this week's trouble. I was again lectured on the benefits of bed rest, and came close to asking the doctor if HE was going to come chase after Beans for me. Yeah, I know. Go home and take it as easy as possible, and stay off my feet.

For those of you wondering about what now feels like a VERY small detail... the baby still doesn't really want to cooperate with gender prediction. We get little glimpses from time to time on our ultrasounds, and the GENERAL consensus is that it's looking like girl parts, but we never really get a very clear shot.
And like I said, at this point, gender seems like such a minor detail. Full term, healthy, and staying put until mid-April is what I really care to see these days.

Um... not sure how much blogging about the details I will do. Let me forewarn you, readers... the progesterone makes me terribly moody. The current dosing method (Um, suppository. You wanted to know, right?) is a lot better than the injections I got when I was pregnant with Beans. The side effects are not nearly as extreme as they were with the injections. But you can confirm with J... I am definitely getting a little more snippy these days.
If my future blog entries sound like I am mad at the world and all it's inhabitants, well... it's probably because I am a hormonal wreck.
Like I said, I don't think doctors should play too much with nature. There is a REASON why our bodies don't produce an extra 400 mg of progesterone per day!
AND... I'm not sure how upbeat and excited my future posts will sound. Oh, I know I SOUND like I'm holding everything together well, and for the most part (and most days), I am. But the risks of preterm labor and all the scary things that go with it sometimes lead to downright weepy sort of days.
If you can handle my moodiness and a few "down" days, then keep reading, and I'll keep posting. But I'll warn the "Fair-Weather" readers, I am likely to start blogging about some real-life feelings from time to time.

Just one tiny request from you readers though.... if you want to offer support, please do. If you want to offer suggestions, well... no offense, but please don't. Like I said, I've been through preterm labor in all three of my previous pregnancies, now this one. I kind of feel like an old pro at it, AND I'm a little burned out, frankly. I'm getting enough "What you need to do is..." from the medical community. At this point, I would much rather hear, "Wow. Sounds like that really sucks, and I hope everything works out OK." If you want to bring me dinner, chase my toddler up and down the stairs, or carry my laundry up three flights of stairs so I can "take it easy", you can do that too. That would rock.

ANYHOO... moving on (before I get to that "weepy" thing I was talking about)...

Other changes have been taking place in the Moose Nuggets Household.
For starters, I was finding J's overtime schedule a bit lonely. Besides, he was coming home moody and irritable and I was tired of his attitude.
So, I found a new man.
This guy is a little overweight, but otherwise pretty cute. He's gentle and patient, very loving and affectionate, and is very patient and tolerant with Beans. I met him at the Delta Junction Christmas Bazaar and it was love at first sight. I brought him home the following day, he spent the night, and has moved in. Oh, and his name is Larry.
Did I mention, he's affectionate?
In fact, he is sitting at my feet, purring away, begging for attention.
Larry is a cat. (Honestly, did you really think I was going to ditch my husband?)
Larry (the cat) was brought to the bazaar by a local animal shelter. He was a pitiful, giant lump of a cat, waiting for someone to love him. Beans saw him first, and I was immediately impressed that Larry didn't bite, hiss, meow, or otherwise protest when Beans tried to "love" him.
Larry has made himself quite comfy in our home. He's a LAZY lump of a cat, which really makes him the perfect pet for us. All he asks for is food in his bowl, a clean litter box, a place to escape Beans' "love" from time to time (though he actually seems to enjoy being her pillow and being hugged and kissed all day), and a spot on my lap in the evenings, after everyone else has gone to bed. Very low maintenance, which is good, considering that until I fell in love with him, the only pet I was willing to look after was a stuffed animal, and Beans' goldfish, "Bub", who refuses to die even though I only remember to feed him every couple days. (Just kidding! He gets fed every day! Calm down, local PETA readers!)

Other Changes in the Moose Nugget Household:

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Actually, it's been looking a lot like Christmas since Thanksgiving Day, when the tree and decorations came out.
For the record... I usually LOVE Christmas time and all the decorations. But I have quickly discovered that with toddlers, it is not a wise idea to have a full nativity set, glass or ceramic snowmen collections, Party lite Candle collections, or ANY item that plays music at the push of a button hanging around.
After a couple hours, the nativity set went back to storage. Baby Jesus was in extreme peril of being eaten, and the Angel of the Lord was going to have to earn her wings again. Mary and Joseph nearly faced the wrath of the Wise Men, and one of the serene looking shepherds is now herding flocks of Little People toys instead of guarding his flocks by night.
A few days later, the candles were put away. A few days later, I had even had enough of my favorite song ("Santa Baby"), compliments of my gaudy dancing snowman, when Beans discovered she could make it work with the push of a button. Oh, and if I hear "Up on the Housetop" one more time (compliments of a music box I get asked a hundred times a day to wind up), I am going to start shouting "Bah Humbug!" from the top of a bell tower.
Our beautiful Christmas tree now has a baby gate around it. That MOSTLY keeps Beans from demolishing it, though she does like to stick her fingers through the gate and try to rip bows off packages. Unfortunately, the gate does nothing to keep Larry from seeking refuge from Beans in the boughs of the tree... or his current favorite hiding spot, a large gift bag, housing one of Beans' presents.
(Oh, I wish the doctor and midwife could be around the house telling me to "take it easy" as I try to keep Beans from eating Christmas light bulbs while simultaneously trying to extract a 22 pound cat from a Christmas tree!)

This is the first year in a LONG time that I am actually looking forward to taking the decorations down. I usually leave them up until the first of the year, but one more week of "Silver Bells" (compliments of yet another obnoxious decoration I used to love!) may be enough to drive me over the edge.
Next year... I think I am going for a tabletop tree. Out of reach, and too small for the cat to hide in. And my singing, dancing snowman will stay in storage until I can hear "Santa Baby" without cringing.


Speaking of Christmas....

It's time for another Soapbox Moment From Moose Nuggets:

I have to admit, I am enjoying Christmas in Delta Junction. Not much in the way of commercialism here, and people are genuinely wishing each other a "Merry Christmas".
Fairbanks? Not so much. I was amazed to discover how many angry, irritated shoppers will ram their shopping carts into an obviously pregnant woman because they are in pursuit of the last Barbie Mansion, or whatever they are shopping for.
I tend to think that MOST shoppers at any time of the year are a bit oblivious, but Christmas does tend to make it a bit more obvious. Between that and the OBVIOUSLY newlywed couple making out in the candy aisle, I was ready to go home.
A note on that couple, in case they are readers.... you should pick a different aisle for making out. You were standing between a pregnant woman and an insane craving for Almond Roca. That's NOT a very smart place to be.

ANYHOO... on to my soapbox moment:

The commercialism of Christmas just bugs the you-know-what out of me. That's nothing new. But this particular year, what REALLY gets me is that we are in a recession. (Oh, and thanks for finally admitting we are in a recession. Not that it wasn't obvious MONTHS ago!)
We are in a recession, our economy is in the toilet, and auto makers, lenders, and various other people are begging the government for bailouts.
At the same time, we consumers are being encouraged to use our credit cards, buy gifts for people we don't have meaningful relationships with, and buy and give things that people don't NEED.
The "experts" think THIS year is bad. If they keep encouraging the American Consumer the way they have been, next Christmas is going to be a lot worse.

Let me just throw this out there:

Moose Nuggets has a different view of "gift giving".
Let me start by saying, I LOVE to give things to people. I love to GIVE and DO things for people. I love to treat my friends like the family I always wanted to have.
Yes, I AM the Betty Crocker/Martha Stewart friend. I spend all year making a mental note of the things my friends like to eat, drink, do, and what their favorite colors are. And when the holidays and birthdays come around, I am generous to a fault. (My husband often comments that I put in way more effort on my friends and family than is reciprocated to me.)
But I NEVER break the bank, go over budget, or give gifts that make people feel like they have to run out and buy me something of "equal value".

That's because MY idea of gift giving involves things like knowing our friend Matt loves the no-bake oatmeal cookies that I make. And it takes very little money and no more effort than my usual holiday baking to make a couple dozen for him and drop them off at the fire station. Or finding out that my friend Heather only likes one specific brand of candy canes that she can't find here. I found them on a fluke while in Walmart. They cost all of $2, and it totally made her day. (Oh, she has other presents coming too, but since she hasn't gotten to open them yet and she reads my blog, I can't divulge what I've been up to around here!)
I love to crochet. It's a hobby I learned as a child, and I've continued it into adulthood. My crochet hooks were great friends to me when I was on bed rest with Beans (16 weeks! I got a LOT of projects done!).
I've continued the hobby as a way to quit smoking (keeps your hands busy and I never wanted my projects to smell like smoke), and now that I am "taking it as easy as possible", my hooks are a good excuse to get my feet up for a while. Yarn (well, some of it) is relatively cost-effective. I spent some of my holiday season crocheting sweaters for a friend's girls, hats, scarves, ear warmers, and various other projects. Sure, some of the yarns cost me a little money, but not nearly as much as a store-bought sweater would have run me. (And most of the projects this year were actually made from yarn I already had in my stash.)
And just as a guess, the friends I keep will appreciate the hand-made item and treasure it more than they would some store-label brand.

For the record, it helps if you do good work, if you are going to make stuff! Not to brag, but I DO have a knack for making very pretty things, and if I don't like how a project works out, I don't "gift it" to someone! I find something I am good at, and do that!
In other words, no tacky macrame or gaudy pot holders here! The things I make, you actually WANT to use them. (Or at least that's what my friends tell me!)

A handful of other people will get bags or tins of chex mix, cookies, homemade candies, and various other things that I was going to bake or make anyway. I love to bake, but I'm certainly not going to eat 6 dozen cookies myself!

My point is this: Why do we feel we have to go out and buy stuff we can't afford for people who won't really appreciate the effort? How many fruitcakes DOES your postal carrier need?
I'm not "above" buying a gift, by any means. But WHEN I buy a gift, it's something that has made me think of the recipient, or that I know they would like or need. I do NOT buy gifts for "everyone". I buy gifts when the mood strikes, or the right present for the right person "finds" me. If I don't happen to find something "meaningful" that strikes me for someone who IS on my "list", then I make something I know they would enjoy.
Christmas should be about giving a gift that matters, not just a gift for the sake of giving a gift.

The economy is in the toilet, and over the next few days, millions of Americans will be out in the stores, frantically searching for the "perfect gift" for someone on their list.
On the religious side, The "Perfect Gift" has already arrived. He's the whole reason for celebrating the holiday. He's the reason that the average jerk in the universe (yeah, me) can have a relationship with God.

If you don't like the religious take, the "Perfect Gift" could also be: giving yourself some financial security by saying NO to the pressure to spend your money in a rotten economy.

Just guessing, but I know at least one wife in the world (specifically in Delta Junction, taking it as easy as possible) who thinks the "perfect gift" would be actually getting to stop the hustle and bustle and spend the day with my husband, daughter, and a few friends. To have a little Christmas music in the background, a pleasant holiday meal, some pumpkin pie, cookies, Christmas candies, and chex mix... a hot cup of coffee and the giggling of a silly toddler playing "peek-a-boo" and begging for the music box to be wound up, AGAIN.

The "Perfect Gift" doesn't require money. All it requires is your time....
Time to stop and tell your family you love them.
Time to be a true friend.
Time to treat others kindly.
Time to invite someone to your house for dinner.
Time to love your neighbor as yourself.

If you are a New Year's Resolution type of person, I would encourage you to take a good look at your goals this upcoming year. Instead of the usual goals of "Save more money" or "Quit Smoking" (both admirable goals, by the way)... why not look for a paradigm shift in the way you view relationships?
MEANINGFUL relationships survive any economic crisis. Meaningful relationships survive most other types of crisis, too.
Meaningful relationships make a difference and MATTER to people much more than pricey gifts and excess. Much more than a handful of email forwards and annual Christmas cards.
Be MEANINGFUL to someone in the coming year. Make it a challenge to yourself to MATTER in someone's life.

Forget the gifts. Forget spending money. There's plenty of room on our couch for one more while we have our Christmas Movie Marathon... and plenty of chex mix.

I hope your holidays are full of family- however you define it, love- in the sense of giving it instead of worrying about receiving it, gifts from the heart, companionship of the people who make your life better, graciousness, and contentment for what you have and where you are.

Hopefully my next absence will not be so long, but I have a feeling I won't be seeing y'all until next year! (Which is only a week away, folks!) In the meantime, you can "matter" to our family by keeping us in your prayers and thoughts, as we hope for a safe and full-term arrival of the New Nugget, with as few problems between here and there as we can get.

Until then,
Merry Christmas, Y'all!
(And if you celebrate anything else, then Merry, Happy Whatever you Celebrate to you, too!)

Happy Moose Trails!