Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Instead of mailing Christmas cards this year, I emailed the following to pretty much everyone in my gmail address book. If you did not receive an email, I don't have your address. This is actually the edited version which does not include our new contact information, but I would happily send you the complete email version (which has much better resolution) if you would kindly leave me your email as a comment or send it to me at: ludlowjenny at gmail dot com. Of course, that's assuming I know who you are:) Here is the edited version of our Christmas letter as well as our annual photo montage:

2008 Highlights

Jenny
Finished her clinical fellowship and earned a few more letters behind her name (CCC-SLP).
Focused her speech-pathology skills on trying to master the Louisiana dialect.
Joined the fabulous world of bloggers (see below for our blog address).
Got pregnant, survived the first trimester, loved the second, enjoyed the third.
Devoted many days to “nesting” projects (e.g. painting furniture, organizing the house compulsively, etc.).
Became a mommy.

David
Graduated from medical school and is now officially “Dr. Ludlow.”
Wrote his first prescription.
Shopped for, selected, bought, and single-handedly moved in to our new home in Louisiana before Jenny had ever even seen the place.
Started five- year residency program in Otolaryngology (a.k.a. Earn, Nose, and Throat) at Louisiana State University.
Was introduced to his new best friend…the dreaded pager!
Rode his first mechanical bull at the Louisiana State Fair without breaking any bones.
Became a daddy.

Caleb
Was born

Family
Sold our first home in Reno (a miracle to say the least).
Took an awesome pre-residency vacation to Mexico.
Moved to Louisiana and were introduced to many southern delicacies including, but not limited to, the following: fried pickles, fried oreos, fried snickers, fried alligator on a stick, fried Thanksgiving turkey (notice a trend?), gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish.
Welcomed Caleb to our family

It has been a wonderful year full of adventures and blessings. Thank you for your interest in our lives and for your love and support.

Love,
David and Jenny

Monday, December 22, 2008

Presenting Joe Cypress!

I know, I know, this is WAY overdue and we SO appreciate all of your patience. It turns out this whole having an infant thing can really wipe a person out:)

I have a hungry baby who needs some TLC (and a boob) at the moment, so this will be brief. Fear not, I will send an extensive overview of the events leading up to the arrival of our little Joe Cypress "soon," which is a relative term that in this instance means as soon as I've found a moment between feedings (Caleb's), diaper changes (Caleb's), and naps (mine).

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of our gorgeous little man (whose real name is Caleb, by the way:) Thank you for the emails, phone calls and prayers. We are all doing well (due in large part to my mom being here with us) and are so grateful for this little miracle that has entered our lives.

Hello, world!


"Now this is a change of scenery."


After his first sponge bath.


Hand rubs from mommy.


The look of contentment.
My mommy's name is chubby, my daddy's name is chubby...

More to come...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ode to my baby daddy

With only a couple of days before this new baby enters our lives, I thought I would squeeze in a post dedicated to the man who made this possible...my baby daddy...David.
The other night he grabbed a popsicle and got his lip stuck to it. I heard him mutter, "Hep!" from the dining room and when I saw what had happened, I quickly waddled (an oxymoron) into the kitchen. He thought I was going to get something to alleviate his suffering, but I was really grabbing the camera. The look on his face as I snapped the picture was priceless!

He has put up with quite a bit over the last 9 months and the list is ever-increasing in recent weeks. Despite this, he has maintained a sense of humor while still being sensitive to my volatile and ever-fluctuating emotions.

One of the inconveniences is sleep related. People tell me that the scarcity of sleep before a baby is born is merely preparation for when the baby arrives. Those who know David well know that he was converted to the gospel of good sleep habits while at Stanford and strives to minimize his "sleep debt." He has had to come to terms with the fact that between being a slave at the hospital and a soon-to-be father, his debt is going to accumulate despite his best efforts, but he doesn't complain about it. Here is a typical night at our house:

10pm-David slips into a fatigue-induced coma and Jenny's manic nesting begins

1am-Jenny gets in bed and tosses and turns to position her numerous pillows

1:30am-Jenny gets up to pee then tosses and turns to reposition her numerous pillows

2:30am-Jenny gets up to pee then tosses and turns to reposition her numerous pillows

3:30am-Jenny gets up to pee then tosses and turns to reposition her numerous pillows

4:00am-David's alarm goes off and he selects which shade of blue scrubs he will be wearing that day.

After I had a particularly restless night last week, I asked him how he slept. His response was, "Well, I slept pretty well until 1am when it felt like the bed turned into a bounce house" (a reference to my restlessness...get your minds out of the gutter!). He hasn't said one word about the fact that his sleeping space has been limited to a width of approximately 12 inches over the course of the pregnancy as my need for additional cushioning and support has increased. Well, not until last week when he casually asked me, "So do you think we'll be able to get rid of a few of these pillows after the baby is born?"
Here are a few other things that have made me fall even more in love with him in recent months:

*Occasionally he comes home from the hospital wearing his latest bit of equipment which makes me laugh.

*He has accompanied me on numerous trips to baby stores looking for various paraphernalia (strollers, play pens, breast pumps, etc.). He even went so far as to brave a consignment sale with me, but put the smack down when I wanted to stand in line for more than an hour to buy an $18 Bumbo (thanks to my sister, Tiff, I now have a $15 Bumbo without having to stand in line:)

*He cares about my safety. After reading the label on the back of the lacquer spray I was going to use on the nursery furniture, he insisted that he subject himself to the harmful toxins rather than allow me to poison our unborn child while I looked on from a distance critiquing every spray to make sure it was exactly how I would do it:

*He's always been a great sport about going along with my crazy ideas for our Halloween costumes. This year was no exception and he even pieced his costume together all by himself:

*He looks good riding a bull!

So, here's to you my baby daddy. I sure love you!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mission: Free Joe Cypress

After eating two Thanksgiving meals (one with David's ENT department and one with a family from church) which consisted of classic southern delicacies (namely deep fried turkey injected with Creole butter and sweet potato pie topped with candied pecans) I experienced some pretty strong and consistent contractions for two days thereafter and was sure Joe Cypress was on his way (see previous post for explanation of why I am referring to our baby by this name). Then, just like that, they went away and I haven't had any consistent contractions since.

The doctor informed me that I have started to dilate and "soften" (those who have paved this road know the term well) and little Joe's head is really low so I should be ready "any day." Subsequent to receiving this news, I requested a few of those lovely absorbent mats they put under you on the hospital beds and have been sleeping on those because I'm paranoid about my water breaking in bed and ruining our mattress. It makes a lovely crinkling sound every time I move (which is quite frequent since I have discovered NO comfortable sleeping position... hence why I'm writing this post at 4:45am), but I feel a little better having taken this precautionary measure.

However, despite the doctor's admonition, all I've been feeling the last few days is the most uncomfortable unilateral sciatica that has developed and I'm starting to think that having little Joe here soon wouldn't be a bad thing. Up until precisely four days ago, I strategically avoided the pregnant waddle, but it is now inevitable and with each stride, I'm not sure if I move farther forward or side to side. I dare say, my next post may very well include pictures of our first born son as long as our efforts to free Joe Cypress from his captivity are successful:)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Let the baby out"

As our day of delivery approaches, we have had some funny experiences to remind us that this process requires a sense of humor.

*While in the waiting area for one of my OB appointments, there was a young girl (around 16) sitting next to me. She asked when my baby was due (the actual question was, "Gul, when you gonna ha dat baby?") and then she asked, "You scayed?" (scared)
"Not really," I replied.
"Guuuul, you SHOULD be!" was her response.
Turns out she had her first baby just a few weeks before and the experience left her with the desire to warn others of the agony that awaits them. Much appreciated!

*In the foyer at church after one of my many bathroom runs, I encountered two women, a mother and daughter, from our ward. The daughter took one look at my belly and said, "Gul, when you gonna ha dat baby?" Yes, the question was phrased exactly the same as my friend's from the doctor's office. Her next question was "Wat chu gonna name him?" When I told her we don't have a name yet, she said, "You oughta name 'im Joe Cypress. I knew me a gul name her boy dat and I think you oughta name yo's dat, too." This recommendation was given after both she and her mom touched every part of my stomach they could get their hands on. Since they were intimately familiar with me and the baby by then, maybe we really should consider it. 'Joe Cypress'...it has a certain ring to it.

*We are at week three of our five week birthing class and the last session focused on things your partner can do to help you relax and encourage you through the labor and delivery process. I'm pretty sure we're going to get kicked out because I have a tendency to experience uncontrolled outbursts of laughter at some of the things that are said and shown in this class. The most recent one occurred when the teacher handed out a list of phrases that a partner can say to encourage the laboring woman. Sandwiched between, "You're all right," and "You're doing fine," was, "Let the baby out." I'm sure it is intended to be said with tenderness and tranquility (even then, I'm not sure I would appreciate hearing it), but David "practiced" it with a "He_ _ no, we won' t go" picket line cadence and I couldn't stop laughing/crying for several minutes.

Here are some belly shots from the last week or so. It really is a miracle to have this little guy inside of me. He frequently positions himself so his little butt pokes out at the top giving my belly a most unusual shape. This picture captures that to a small degree:


This is closer to the homeostatic shape of my belly nowadays:


My cousin Noel takes weekly bare belly shots when she's pregnant. It's taken me 37 weeks to build up the courage, but here's the result. It is pretty fascinating, I have to admit.


Only about three more weeks until I get "scayed," David tells me to "let the baby out" and we welcome little Joe Cypress into the world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nesting

According to mamashealth.com, "Nesting is the term used to refer to an expectant mother’s instinct which gives her a surge of energy which prompts her to clean and do various chores around her home. Nesting usually arises as the mother nears her due date. Not all women will nest. The nesting process has no relation on how good a mother the woman will be."

With just a few more weeks to go, I think I've officially entered the nesting stage and wanted to post some pictures of my endeavors.

The biggest project was painting the nursery furniture which was very generously donated to us by my cousin Kerri. This turned out to be a much bigger project than anticipated and David came home from the hospital one night to see this:

No, I was not TRYING to be immodest, but I have a "paint shirt" from my pre-pregnancy days that's already ruined and didn't want to ruin another shirt. Unfortunately, the fabric does not stretch, so my only resort was to let it all hang out.

Here are some snapshots of the evolving nursery. The walls are still totally bare, but thanks to my awesome sisters-in-law (I think that's the right plural form) that will soon change.

The "before"...

The "after"...

This picture features the crib bedding that I fell in love with oh, so many months ago as well as a quilt made by the very awesome and talented MariLouise!
I also decided last week that if I didn't get out our Christmas stuff now, I probably wouldn't get it out at all. So now we're feeling a bit more festive in our home. Here is our Storybook Christmas collection courtesy of my mother-in-law displayed atop our new IKEA shelf.

All lit up:


Now that we have a fireplace, I hung our stockings and put up our fake tree which is the only Christmas tree we've ever had during our 7 years of marriage (also courtesy of my mother-in-law).

Now to tackle organizing the guest room so it's ready for my mom when she comes to do new-mommy-boot camp with me. We are so excited for this big change and appreciate all of your support.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What kind of "est" would you be?

David and I met a man at the gym on Saturday and in true southern form, he divulged much of his life story to us within the first 10 minutes of talking (this was during our "cool down":)). He then asked about us, specifically how many kids we wanted to have. When we told him 4-6 he said, "Ya'll Catholics?"

"No, Mormon, actually."

"You don't say. I've only known one other Mormon in my life and he was the workingest man I ever knew." He then went on to tell us about how hard this man worked to support his large family and how much respect he had for him.

Aside from the fact that I don't think "workingest" is actually a word, his comment got me thinking about what kind of "est" I might be if I was the only Mormon someone knew. Also, with election mania going on I've wondered a bit what role one person plays in all of this. This man's comment led me to the conclusion that, religion aside, we each can be the "est" at something whether it be kind-est, loyal-est, faithful-est, friendli-est, funni-est, reliabl-est (just go with it), etc. So as food for thought: if someone were to describe you, what "est" word do you think they would use?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

Since I'm not sure when the next time will be that I'll have a belly of this magnitude during the month of October, I tried to capitalize on this characteristic when planning our costumes. I present to you...

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

(and a few other Halloween-related things like a worm, eye ball, skeleton, and bat)



and....


The Spider who is fixin' to be swallowed


So tasty!


Here's a close-up of the consumed items:



We were in charge of bringing fruit to the Halloween party. What do you think of our skewered bloody eyeballs? It's amazing what you can do with a melon baller, cantelope, raspberry jam, blueberry and toothpick!


Happy Halloween!

State Fair of Louisiana

In our continued effort to experience all things Louisiana, we ventured to the state fair last weekend. We went in the back entrance and had the honor of walking past the 4-H livestock holding area. There's nothing quite like the aroma of fresh cow dung to get you in the fair spirit.

Note Dr. Doolittle's proximity to the beast in comparison to our friends', Jeff and Heather.

There were some definite highlights from our fair excursion:

-Funnel cake (I've had more funnel cake in the last four months than in the previous 27 years of my life combined!)

-Great weather. Two months ago I would've told you this place is forsaken when it comes to weather (I think I did actually say that in a couple of posts) but apparently the pay-off of extreme summer heat is a gorgeous October.

-Rigged fair "games." We avoided most of the games due to exorbitant prices, but when we came to the toss-the-ping-pong-ball-in-the-tiny-fish-bowl-to-win-a-goldfish game and it was only 25 cents a ball, we had to try. David made an arrangement (notice how I'm avoiding the word 'bet?') with our friend Jeff that if he made it in, Jeff would eat the goldfish. As a side note, Jeff is also an ENT intern at LSU so prior to entering into the above mentioned arrangement they had to discuss the likelihood of contracting any incurable diseases from eating a goldfish that had been kept in a nasty cooler for who knows how long.

We had a 50 cent budget for this game, so immediate success was crucial. Attempt #1-unsuccessful, attempt #2-unsuccessful. We started to walk away, but the carny in charge, said, "Wait a mint! I got a quata and I wanna see 'im eat dat fish." She handed David one last ping pong ball and he casually tossed it at the bowls. I am kicking myself for not video taping what happened next, but based on the complete failure of his first two attempts I was sure this one would miss too. Wrong! It didn't even hit the rim of the bowl, but landed right in the center. The look on Jeff's face was priceless. I still have to get a copy of the video clip from Heather and then I'll post it, but Jeff made good on his part of the arrangement and swallowed that little fishy down making our day as well as the carny's.

-The final highlight came from David's first attempt ever at mechanical bull-riding. I was reluctant to approve this adventure, not so much because of the risk of head injury or breaking something, but rather because of the "$7 for one attempt" sign posted at the booth. Here is the footage of the ordeal. At the end of his every-so-brief ride, you'll hear me say, "Hey, hang on!" Translation: we just paid $7, so you better get a few more seconds in!

video

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red River Revel Festival and Pumpkin Patch

The last couple weeks have offered some fun times together. First, we went to the Shreveport Red River Revel Art Festival (try saying that three times) with Joe and Afton Perry, good friends from our ward here. Afton is expecting her second baby in a few weeks and I've been asked if she and I are sisters. I guess when you share the characteristic of a giant belly, you start to look more alike:) True to form for an authentic Louisiana festival, there was an exquisite assortment of fried foods from which to choose. My food item of choice this time: fried pickles, a pregnant woman's dream come true. They lose some of their crispness in the frying process, but what doesn't taste good when smothered in ranch dressing?

Captain Jack Sparrow also attended the event and claimed to be the father of both of our unborn children to anyone who would listen while this shot was being taken.


Then last weekend we drove to Dallas for some bonding with friends and family. My 7-yr-old niece, Lorin, accompanied us to Ikea for a furniture run on Sat morning. Those of you who are seasoned Ikea shoppers may be asking yourself, "Why would you go to Ikea on a Sat morning? Are you crazy?" The answer: yes!


Lorin was quite the trooper despite having to stand in line for one hour while waiting to check out. Fortunately, she found one of those paper tape measures (she named it Sneaky Snake) and managed to pass the time without a single complaint, which is more than I can say for myself. Here we are with the Ikea shelf loaded in the back of the Civic and Sneaky Snake being displayed tenderly for the camera.


Also on the list of fun things in Dallas was a trip to the pumpkin patch and play time with the Costley nieces. We love you Lolo, Izzy, and Ryan (you, too, Cory and Kerri:)

David, me, Izzy, Kerri, and Ryan on a hayride; Izzy (aka Snow White) and David building with blocks



Note: Although I'm wearing the same shirt in all of these pictures, the photo montage spans several days. My wardrobe is becoming more limited as my girth increases (assisted by such nutritious snacks as fried pickles:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Compression Socks

Before my trip to Reno in September, my doctor recommended that I wear compression socks whenever I'm sitting for long periods of time (e.g. driving to Dallas, flying on the airplane). My wonderful husband found me a very attractive pair at the local drug store and convinced me that paying $30 for a pair of knee-highs was better than getting a blood clot. Here are a few things I wish I would've known about compression socks and now pass along to anyone who has to wear them some day:

1) Although they look like regular nylon knee-highs, they are made from MUCH thicker fabric which does NOT breath or allow for adequate ventilation. As such, you can expect your core temperature to increase by approximately 20 degrees the instant you put them on.

2) Actually getting them on poses quite a challenge when you have a big ol' belly preventing you from bending over adequately. So if you're going to wait to put them on until after you are in your cramped seat on an airplane, you may want to warn the poor lady sitting next to you that you're going to need to lean into her personal space for a few moments while you contort your legs in an effort to get them close enough so you can hook one end of the sock over your big toe and then pull and shimmy with all your might.

3) These socks squeeze your legs and ankles (they should be called "tourniquet socks" in my opinion) so if you are anything like me and have claustrophobic tendencies this can make you quite uncomfortable after an hour or so. Just take deep breaths and try to remain calm while periodically wiping the sweat from your brow (see reference to changes in core temperature under #1).

4) If you are planning on wearing flip flops on your travels, try to find the open-toe variety of compression socks (not available at the Shreveport Walgreen's). Otherwise, you will be confined to your seat on the airplane despite the fact that your baby is dancing on your bladder because you can't get your sandals on and you would hate to contract a fatal fungus by walking into the airplane bathroom with only a thin layer of tourniquet fabric between you and who-knows-what.

5) Since you will be confined to your seat anyway, it may be better to sit closest to the window as this will enable only the person sitting next to you to cast sideways inquisitive glances about your fashion statement rather than every person who walks down the aisle.

6) After wearing these socks for several hours, large indentations are left on your skin just below the knee. Capris would be a better option than shorts so people don't wonder what happened to your legs. Definitely DON'T go for long pants as your ability to maintain a healthy body temperature for your fetus would be nearly impossible under such conditions!

Those are all things I learned during the Reno trip. Well, we drove to Dallas this weekend and I knew the responsible thing would be to wear my blessed tourniquet socks on the drive. Just before we left, David heard me huffing and puffing in the front room and came in to see what was going on. I indulged him by posing for a picture, but he'd already missed the worst of it (the very difficult toe-hook and shimmy)

Aren't they attractive?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gestational Diabetes...Part II

Yesterday was my full-length (translation: 3 hours at a normal doctor’s office, 5 1/2 hours at the lovely LSU clinic) gestational diabetes test. I won’t go into the details of how inefficient their system is as my previous posts have adequately alluded to my frustration. LSU aside, I do wonder who the genius was who decided it would be a good idea to have pregnant women go without food or water for more than 12 hours for this blasted test.

In any case, I survived the waiting, the drinking of a substance that I hope doesn’t cause fetal damage, more waiting, 4 blood draws, and more waiting all to be told, “Uh, I think you passed.” That’s what the receptionist said after looking up my results. When I asked if she could check with someone to make sure I passed, she got up, walked over to two other receptionists (not exactly the professionals I had in mind), said, “Do this mean she passed o’ she ain’t passed?” The other two receptionists looked at her baffled and then one said, “Yeah, I think she passed.” “You fine,” said the original receptionist in a dismissive manner. I left the clinic with very little confidence in the results, but heard from my doctor later that I did in fact pass “with flying colors.” Phew!

What did I do to celebrate? Well, there’s an art Festival going on downtown that I’ve been wanting to check out so I went and perused the snack booths. The deep fried pickle was tempting, but I opted for a funnel cake topped with powdered sugar instead. Man, was it good! Thank you to all those who were sending good anti-diabetes vibes:)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gestational Diabetes

I arrived home late last Wed night after a two week travel adventure and was starving. I quickly whipped up a gourmet bean and cheese burrito and chased that down with a glass of cran-raspberry juice. Dessert featured a most delicious warm brownie topped with a scoop of homemade chocolate cinnamon gelato. As I brought the second-to-last bite of the delectable dessert to my mouth, I remembered that my gestational diabetes screening test was scheduled for 8:30 the following morning. Notice how I said, “second-to-last” because I didn’t let that thought stop me from finishing the dessert. “I’m sure it won’t be a big deal,” I assured myself.

Jump ahead to hour 3 of sitting at the LSU Women’s Clinic this morning…I was feeling slightly inconvenienced that all of my appointments at this place take such a long time, but was confident that I would pass with flying colors. The nurse pricked my finger, took the blood sample, inserted it into the machine and then said, “You failed.”
“Um,” I said, “What exactly does that mean?” She explained that my glucose was at 142 (unspecified units) and that anything over 140 is a “fail.”

Instantly I was cursing the brownie and gelato concoction that tasted so divine the night before. Now I get to go back in 2 weeks for the “full length” glucose tolerance test to see if I really do have gestational diabetes. They say it’s a 3 hour test, but the one today was supposed to be a 1 hour test so according to my calculations, I’m likely going to be at the clinic the entire day. If only I could find a copy of Breaking Dawn at the library, it might not be so bad! David is already making arrangements to eliminate all sugar from my diet for the three days prior to the blood draw. Wish us luck.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Party Time!

I was back in Reno a couple weeks ago for a baby party (“shower” doesn’t do it justice), and what a party it was! I cannot thank Nicole O’Neil enough for planning, inviting, hosting, and catering the most fabulous celebration despite her own pregnancy woes. Nicole, you are the best!!!

There were so many others who helped, too, with games, making food, coordinating a group gift, set-up, clean-up, etc. and I SO appreciate everyone’s efforts. I know there were many who had to arrange babysitters so they could be there and others whose lives are super busy, but still made the time to come. I called David afterward and told him how I was totally overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and friendship I felt. On behalf of all three of us: thank you, thank you, thank you!

I don’t have many pictures, but here are a few (thanks KK for your photography).
The hostess with the mostest (kind of a funny angle of my tummy)


Leave it to the Lynchs to find the best seats in the house!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Louisiana 2-1-1


I am happy to report that we escaped Gustav's clutches unscathed. After three solid days of rain, the water never breached our driveway line so those of you who were looking for pictures of me on CNN floating down the street on my air mattress with 72-hour kit in tow (Lindsay H.) must have been sorely disappointed.

There were, however, many in the state who were not quite so fortunate. I volunteered at the Louisiana 2-1-1 call center which is supposed to be a resource where residents can call for information and assistance. When the coordinator explained what I'd be doing, she said they'd been getting a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know where hurricane shelters were located and needing directions of how to get to them. I decided not to tell her that spatial awareness and sense of direction are not on my list of "talents" especially in a new place with no mountains. When I told David what I was going to be doing he said, "Oh, boy! Some poor guy is gonna end up in Florida looking for a shelter." (please note that Hannah AND Ike were headed straight for Florida at that point).

I am happy to report that there were only a few calls requiring direction-giving, thus minimizing the damage I could do. There were lots of requests for tarps to cover damaged roofs, people wanting to know where they could get water and ice, and lots of people wanting to know how they could, "git my money from the gov'ment."

When I volunteered, I envisioned being stationed at a Red Cross check point handing out vital, life-sustaining supplies to the needy. Instead, I was answering phones as the bearer of bad news: "I will take your information for a tarp and hopefully (doubtfully) someone will call you back with a distribution location in the next 24 hours. Yes, I understand there is water gushing through your roof and destroying all of your personal belongings so I'll pass your information along right away;" "Well, I'm in Shreveport, so I can't tell you where to get ice in Baton Rouge, but try asking around." (I refrained from adding, "Of course, asking around is going to be difficult since everyone else in Baton Rouge heeded the mandatory evacuation and got the heck out of town!!!"); and finally, "Sorry, ma'am but because this storm damage was not declared a national catastrophe, there is no money available from the gov'ment."

There were many people with whom I spoke, however, that just needed a listening ear and those conversations made the day seem worth while. So, we bid a fond farewell to Gustav and send our best wishes to those preparing for Hannah. It looks like I'll be skipping town just in time for Ike to make it our way. Reno, here I come!:)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav

This week is going to be interesting for the good people of Louisiana. The evacuation orders have been issued for the southern cities and the north-bound traffic in our area is heavy with several shelters here in Shreveport. Every public school is closed until at least Thursday because they sent all the buses down south to help evacuate people. David said they are slammed at the hospital with all the transfers from New Orleans.

We got out our 72-hour kits on Thursday when it was announced that Gustav was projected to hit Louisiana. We had a few things that needed to be replaced so we went to Wal-Mart and it was a mad house with jugs of water in short supply. Fortunately, we were able to get the things we needed without too much trouble. People at church today were talking about trying to go to the grocery store last night (just 2 days after our shopping trip) and being told by the Fire Marshall that no more people were allowed in the building.

It looks Gustav should be a tropical storm by the time it hits us in northern Louisiana on Tuesday/Wednesday so we’ll only get 75 mph winds instead of 150mph…phew! We’re bracing ourselves for a lot of rain, flooding and potential power outages, but should be just fine. Thank you to those who have called, emailed, posted blog comments or just sent thoughts our way to see if we’re OK. We will be sure to keep you updated.

Does this mean we have to cross “Gustav” off our list of potential names for our first-born son?

By the way, when updating our 72-hour kits I came across the most delectable, high-calorie snack: those construction-zone orange crackers held together by highly processed cheddar cheese filling. David noticed the empty wrappers (yes, that is ‘wrappers’ with a plural ‘s’) on the coffee table and said, “What happened to the crackers?” I sheepishly replied, “The baby thought they looked good.”

Does this picture make your mouth water, or is it just me?

PS-Yes, I did publish 3 posts in 24 hours. Can you tell that David is pretty busy at the hospital?:)

Gems from the E.R.

Tonight is David’s last night on the Emergency Room service. He has gleaned some valuable tidbits in the last month which I include for your reading pleasure.

  • If you ever get in trouble with the law and the cops have a dog with them…don’t try to run away!
  • When confronted by a paranoid schizophrenic who is high on cocaine, keep a safe distance in case he takes a swing at you.
  • If you’re native language is Chinese and you’re learning English, stay away from telling the lady at the gambling hot line, “I want to start life ova” as this can land you in the ER on protective custody under a suicide watch regardless of what was intended by the comment.
  • When conducting a rectal exam, reassure the patient by saying, “Trust me, this ain't fun for me either, buddy!”

My favorite text messages I received from David while in the ER:

  • Great day…just got exposed to lice!!!
  • If I have to look at one more vagina, I’m gonna scream!

Sounds like fun, don’t you think?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Service project

We have a friend here who is also a first year ENT resident at LSU named Jeff. He bought a house when he moved to Louisiana and when we were over at his place the other night he was lamenting the fact that the weeds in his front yard have gotten to be quite unruly. Being no strangers to unruly weeds, we ourselves owe a massive thanks to the young men of the Foothill Ward and their leaders for clearing our backyard so we could landscape before we moved. In an effort to pay it forward, we surprised Jeff by pulling all of his weeds while he was working at the hospital on Friday. We learned several valuable lessons from this experience which you will find below titled, “Things to consider when doing an outdoor service project in Shreveport in August”:

*Start at 5am instead of 7am as there is no escaping the blistering rays of the sun after 7:30am.
*Wear sunscreen…duh!
*Apply a generous amount of bug spray prior to rummaging through flower beds to avoid the lovely appearance of red dots covering your calves, shins and ankles the next day.
*Bring one complete pair of gloves for each member of your party. If you only have one pair and are forced to split the gloves between two people, be sure that you are not both right-hand dominant. If this cannot be avoided, be prepared for spasms throughout the muscles surrounding your phalanges after 4 hours of intense, one-handed weed-pulling.
*Bring an endless supply of cool beverages; preferably a combination of water and electrolyte replacing sports drinks.
*Keep said beverages in a cooler and do not leave in direct sunlight as doing so will turn the beverages to the temperature of snake pee within a matter of minutes thereby decreasing the extent to which they will refresh you.
*Have access to a car bigger than a Civic to haul away the 9 huge trash bags full of weeds.
*Check intensity of neighborhood watch program in advance of your project to avoid having the cops called on you. If this reconnaissance is not available, stuff your belly with padding so you look like you’re 6 months pregnant. This will make you appear less menacing and therefore less likely to scale the wall to crawl through a second-story window.
*Reward yourself with an Icee afterward and ignore the woman working at the register when she looks you up and down and says, “Wow, ya’ll been…runnin’???”

Despite the things that didn’t go so smoothly, we were quite happy with our work at the end of our 4 hours. Now if we could just get the lactic acid buildup to drain from our back and finger muscles, we’d be in good shape!

Here are the before shots…

The after shots…

And one of He-man with his spoils…

Monday, August 25, 2008

7 years, 70 degrees and 7, 000 choices!

Seven seems to be a popular number for us lately starting with our 7 year anniversary! When we were in Reno we loved to go dancing so I found a local studio where we took a Cha-cha lesson. We were approximately 40 years younger than everyone else in the class, but it was a blast. As we were leaving, the sun was setting so I convinced David to take this picture. What I failed to notice was the very large fire ant hill (a real nice feature of the south) right next to the sign and on which I managed to step. Fortunately, I made it away unscathed.
Speaking of fire ants, David and I are realizing that owning a home in Louisiana is quite a bit different than owning a home in Nevada. In Reno, our yard was fairly low maintenance with the biggest issue being the insanely large weeds in our backyard (a product of our own neglect and lack of landscaping). Here, however, the dreaded fire ant hills are quite a challenge making yard work like playing a game of whack-a-mole. These ants are amazing! Just when you cover one hill with poisonous pellets, they build another one somewhere else within 12 hours. The poison we bought claimed that it was “guaranteed to kill the queen ant” which is supposedly key to destroying the colony. Apparently, our queen is heavily guarded and must have a poison-proof mask her soldier ants put on her when someone sounds the alarm that the poison pellets have arrived. We have yet to succeed in annihilating these little critters. Maybe our hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun climate diminishes the effectiveness of the “treatments.” The directions on the poison say “It’s best to apply the pellets when temperatures are cool (below 70 degrees).” Considering the fact that it's about 700 degrees here right now, I’d have to wait until February to get anywhere near 70 degrees. By then I think the whole yard would be covered in ant hills!
Speaking of our hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun climate here in good ol’ Shreveport, David and I were doing yard work last week and it was so stinking hot that I feared the brain development of our unborn child was in jeopardy. The only way I could figure to cope was to douse myself with water from the hose every 3-5 minutes. I quickly learned that it’s not a good idea to point the hose directly at your flesh when you’re turning it on for the first time in several hours b/c the water is SCALDING! I had to let it run for a minute before getting to the luke-warm stuff that was cooler than the outside temp. Here’s the approach we found works best: Now another 7, related to baby gear. For a date night we thought it would be a good idea to start looking at baby stuff. I felt like Ariel from the “Little Mermaid” looking at the 7,000 + products in front of us (“A whole new world…”). We quickly realized we know NOTHING about this realm and were completely overwhelmed by the infinite models and brands of car seats, baby monitors, bathing gear, etc. Fortunately, we have wise friends and family who have gone before and are relying on them for input.

David as he compares the weight of two different infant seats.

Our conclusion: they're all too heavy!