Saturday, December 31, 2005
Early New Years Celebration
Last night, Steve took me out to dinner at Shula's Steak House. For those of you who aren't big sports fans, Don Shula is probably the most beloved ex-Dolphin coach. He owns a few uppity/expensive restaurants in Miami. We don't normally go to places like that, but Steve has been dieing to go for a while and we decided that would be our big New Years Celebration.
It was a lovely night. We got there a little early for our reservation, so we sat at one of the tables near the bar to wait. While we were sitting there, Steve had his eye on the television because the Peach Bowl was on and his favorite college team (Miami Hurricanes) was playing against LSU. As usual, Steve was making some noises & gestures as he got into the game. I had point out that this was not the kind of place where people do that. I looked around and only saw one other guy even watching the game. Then, I noticed that the guy had 2 big rings on. I pointed him out to Steve because the rings looked like championship rings. Right away, Steve realized that it was Jim Mandwich (sp?) nicknamed Mad Dog. He was the tight end for the 1972 undefeated Dolphins team and now he has a talk show on AM radio. He looked over at us and nodded.
About 20 minutes later, Steve got up to go to the restroom and ran into him in the hallway. Steve told him that he loves his show and they shook hands. Jim asked him if this was our first baby, which of course Steve said yes. Then he said, "It is a great way to start the New Year." Steve ended by saying that he didn't want to interrupt Mad Dog's evening with his family, but that he enjoyed meeting him.
Not bad for our big New Years celebration and Steve's dream of eating at Shula's. Oh & the food was excellent. Unfortunately, it price was about 2 weeks worth of groceries. So tonight, we are going to lay low and just enjoy each others' company.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Farwell to 2005!
2005 has been one heck of a year and I for one am glad it is ending. The year started off about as well as one could wish. Everything in life was nice and quiet. In fact, I would say that it was eerily calm. Even then, I realized that I should soak up every moment because it is always calm before the storm. I just had no idea how big & horrible the storm would be.
The storm began all innocent and mostly just hectic. Right about Valentines Day, we signed a contract to buy a home. It wasn't necessarily a bad time, but we were first time home buyers and quite nervously trying to navigate the biggest purchase of our lives. Fortunately, everything went pretty well and 6 weeks later we had the keys and were doing renovations. We had also started seeing a fertility specialist about that time and were being subjected to numerous tests, which were anything but fun.
Right before moving in, we found out that I had a huge cyst on my left ovary. More tests needed to be performed, but one reason had been identified. The evening we moved in, Steve's mom shared her devastating news. Her doctors had been performing chest x-rays and were certain that she had lung cancer, but the extent of the disease was yet to be determined. While I was going in for more fertility tests (quite invasive), she was going in for MRIs and other tests. Believe me, I am not comparing what I was going through to what she was going through, but it was happening at the same time.
Right after she found out that she indeed had lung cancer & it had spread to almost every organ in her body (except her brain), I got a call from my sister saying that my dad was admitted to the hospital and had numerous tumors in his brain. They were cancerous and he was going in for emergency surgery. From the end of April to the end of May, it seemed like every time our phones rang, there was more bad news about cancer. We became quite paranoid of ringing sounds.
Finally there was great news for us, somehow throughout all of that, I got pregnant. Totally shocking because we hadn't started treatments. Even when I showed Steve the results, he didn't believe me. It took an ultrasound at the fertility clinic to persuade him. We were ecstatic! It made all of the bad things seem 100 times better and helped us cope in a way we couldn't imagine for the rest of the summer.
To lighten everyones' moods, we decided to invite both of our families to Miami for Thanksgiving and even started preparing our house, but it was not meant to be. After several more surgeries, it was clear that my father was coming to the end of his life. The doctor warned us that we should try to see him soon, so Thanksgiving was held in Houston. All of my siblings gathered there to be with him one more time and enjoy the holiday together. Two weeks later, my father passed away. We all headed back to Houston for his funeral. It was a sad time, but we know he is much better off.
December has been crazy, but we spent a wonderful Christmas with Steve's family. His mom was looking better than ever since her hair had grown back, but that is not a good sign. The new chemo treatments are doing nothing for her. The doctor ordered another MRI and next week they'll be trying to figure out another plan of attack. We are hoping that it is not so traumatizing, but that it fights the cancer with a vengeance.
So, that brings us to today. On the last day of work for the year, our office A/C broke. I know it is December 30th, but in Miami that means it is still HOT! It is over 80 degrees in here. With my sore back, difficulty breathing, and generally uncomfortable belly, I am ready for this year to END!
Here is to 2006! Hopefully, it will be all about good news starting with a healthy beautiful baby girl. - Happy New Years to us ALL!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
A Real Nursery
Monday, we spent the day organizing the house and preparing the nursery. What better way to use a day-off? As you can see from the pictures, we finally made great progress. The crib is set-up with bedding, the dresser is stocked with freshly washed clothes, and baby items are evident everywhere. The pack & play is in our room, the stroller/carrier/car seat is in the nursery, the swing is in the dining room, and the high chair (still in box) is in the family room. We still have a few more things to pick-up, but our home is almost ready for Lexi. I am still selfishly hoping she comes early because my back is KILLLING me.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Christmas with the In-Laws
Before I start, Cousin Emily had her baby this morning. Camille is 9 lbs & 7 oz, which is probably close to what Lexi will be if she goes full term. Scary!
We had a wonderful Christmas. Steve & I bought a game called Loaded Questions, so we ate pizza and played that Christmas Eve. The game has weird questions like "what city should not be a part of the United States?" or "what is the cutest animal on earth?" Everyone writes down their responses and the one person has to guess who said what. It was pretty fun and had us laughing hard. Several times, Steve laughed so hard he cried.
Steve's parents went all out on gifts as usual, so we were spoiled. His mom gave us two big bins full of baby stuff (clothes, blankets, bibs, teething rings, etc.). She also gave us lots of stuff. One interesting thing that happened, was that Jeff & Steve bought their mom similar gifts. Jeff bought her a foot massager that looks like teddy bear slippers and Steve bought her a bubbling foot spa. Her feet have really been bothering her, so these should help. Steve spoiled me too. He bought me a back massager (which I have been dieing for lately) and a gift certificate to a day spa. After the baby is born, he will get to spend quality time with Lexi while I am treated with an hour and a half of an aromatherapy message and pampering. Sounds wonderful!
Christmas afternoon, some of Steve's mother's cousins came over. We had a barbeque and socialized. They gave Steve some pointers about babies and delivery. Mostly, they just warned him that things would never be the same. We left that evening so we could sleep in our own bed & get up early to work on the nursery.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Happy Friday & Merry Christmas!
Today has been a great day. Besides the fact that it is Friday and we have a three day weekend coming (Monday off), we got our Christmas bonuses. The company was extremely generous this year. The cushy checks will help pay for all that we have spent money on lately like trips to Houston, new wardrobe for Steve (easier to find his size in Texas), tons of baby stuff, and Christmas items. We should even have plenty left over for more baby stuff. How exciting!
I am looking forward to this evening. Since all of our Christmas shopping is done, we are planning to pick-up a gourmet pizza and hang out at the house away from Holiday madness. A nice relaxing evening is exactly what I want. Tomorrow morning, we are going to the in-laws' house. It has actually been about 4 months. What a shame considering that they live 2 hours away. They will certainly be shocked by my HUGE belly. Hopefully, Steve's mom is feeling chipper and fairly healthy. It would be wonderful to have a nice Christmas with them.
To all of you.... Have a very Merry Christmas! May the warmth of family & friends make this a special time of year for everyone.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Crazy Parents Raise Crazy Kids
Have you ever wondered why there are so many insane people in this world? Today, while shopping in Target, I overheard a mother tell her crying toddler to "Shut up or I'll give you to the Boogie Man." What a horrible thing to say! Can you imagine the nightmares? That reminded me that a few weeks ago, Steve & I witnessed another crazy mom. She yanked her 9-year old son's arm & said, "Don't be such a wuss!" She was really mean about it too. Apparently, he wanted to go back to the car to get his jacket because it was a little nippy. I am hoping these were moments of weakness, but if not they explain why there are so many weirdos in this world. Can't people just be considerate especially to cute little kids?
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Puffy Face Syndrome
Last week, someone mentioned to me that they can tell I am getting close because my face is a little puffy. Now, every time I look at recent photos I see what they were talking about. I don't want a puffy face. Maybe I can continually suck in my cheeks and basically walk around making a silly fish face. That would be better right?
Monday, December 19, 2005
Christmas & Baby Prep Weekend
Some weekends (ok all weekends), I wish could last forever, but this last weekend ended up being way too expensive, so returning to work was necessary. Friday night, we had our company Christmas party. It was held at an upscale restaurant called Splendito in Coral Gables. Dinner was fabulous and it is fun to see everyone dressed up. Most people stayed until 2am dancing the night away. We left at 11:30pm, because my back was just too sore (normal part of life now). That was the last free thing we did.
Saturday, I worked on organizing our junk (still in boxes from our move in May - embarrassing to admit). I also packed up our computer stuff to move out of the nursery and into the guest bedroom. We went to Sears to do some Christmas shopping. Actually, Steve just wanted some tools for himself and they were having a sell, so no real gifts. Around noon, we dropped my car off at Saturn to be serviced & fixed. It has been acting up for 4 months and we've been ignoring it. The bill was a whopping $900, but considering that I have not had a car payment for the last 4 years, I can't complain. Plus, I hope it will go another 3 years. That evening, we drove up to Broward County to do our real Christmas shopping. It is nice being around civilized Christmas shoppers (unlike the ones in this county). We bought all the gifts and tons of baby stuff.
Sunday, we cleared out the nursery, cleaned the house, and started setting up baby furniture. Once you dive into those projects, the excitement of a baby coming is hard to contain. Steve was really into it. Of course, Sunday afternoon involved football. He put together the Pack & Play while watching though. Our friend, Amanda, came over to hang out and eat, which was fun.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Happy Baby Times
Enough of the sadness; now is the time to prepare for the baby. We had our first Lamaze class on Tuesday night. Steve learned a lot about cool things like mucus plugs. I think some people in the class just love to drive home that disgusting topic by asking the teacher to repeat her explanation of it 3 times. They also had many many many questions about the water breaking (and what is looks like). Overall, it was a good class. To be honest, I didn't learn anything, but I mostly signed us up so that Steve has a good idea of what we'll be going through.
Yesterday, we had another ultrasound. They confirmed that Lexi is indeed HUGE. She is already 5 lbs & 12 oz. At this rate, they predict she'll be about 10 lbs if she goes full term. Can you say/scream OUCH??? She also has LOTS of hair.
Today, I had another OB appointment. I am down to seeing the doc every 2 weeks. I asked her about their plans for the large baby and she said they will most likely induce me two weeks early. Yeah for that idea! Maternity leave is sounding better and better to me. Other than that, everything is great. My weight is on target and yes my belly is bigger than normal, but what can you expect?
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Steve & I flew back yesterday. To be honest, most of the weekend was quite nice because we were with my family. Everyday, we spent time laughing & talking about old memories. As you can imagine, the services on Monday were a different story. It was a long day that completely drained our energy. There were so many people and all the crying wore us out. Plus, we were all involved in the services. I expected to be a spectator, but my dad's wife wanted us to be part of it. She had me in the program as saying the opening prayer. We all did something - give a prayer, read a poem, or speak. I guess the fact that it was all so personalized made it an interesting/heartfelt funeral. Everyone had positive comments & hugs at the end. There were lots of people there from his family, church, and work. I would guess about 200 showed up. Only close friends & family went to the cemetery though. He is in the veterans' cemetery. The flag ceremony and music played on the bugle were a nice touch. All in all, I am really glad we went & got to spend time with everyone. I am really tired though.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I started working on my dad's obituary, but found that the creative juices just weren't flowing. Fortunately, my aunt (his sister) was able to add personality to it. I am going to put it in a few newspapers of places we have lived. Here it is:
Lawrence Jensen Law "Larry"
"There's a great spirit gone!"
from William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra
Lawrence Jensen Law, 56, died at home in Spring, Texas of complications due to brain cancer December 5, 2005. He was born on May 16, 1949 in Heber City, Utah. Larry was known for his dry sense of humor that would often take the unsuspecting listener by surprise.
Larry graduated with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English literature from Brigham Young University. His love of literature was evident in the topic of his master's thesis, "John Milton's Paradise Lost." He realized his dream of authorship when he wrote and published a mystery novel about a Vietnam veteran two years ago.
Using his language skills, Larry built a career spanning 30 years in the high tech industry first as a technical writer and most recently in software for Chevron Phillips. He lived in Utah; Idaho, where he graduated from Kuna High School; California, Georgia, Florida, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, as well as Texas. He was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was known for his brilliant grasp of the scriptures. He served in numerous church positions including bishoprics and, often was called to be the gospel doctrine teacher, because of his knowledge of scripture, church history, and doctrine.
He married Salem, Utah native, Margie Farley, in 1971, and had five children. They were later divorced in 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Angie; parents, Maurice and Joanne; siblings, Lloyd, Barbara, Nancy, and Maureen; children, Stephanie (32), Clayton (31), Alma (29), Chris (26), and Paige (18); and grandchildren, Zak (5), Kaylie (4), Miriam (2), Ammon Lawrence (3 months) and two more baby granddaughters on the way.
Funeral arrangements are being made through Unity Funeral Home (281) 561-6300. Services will be held Monday, December 12 at 10 a.m. He will be laid to rest in the Houston National Cemetery for veterans.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
After receiving some annoying news this morning (nothing major), I have been agitated at everyone and everything. Then, I got the nicest surprise e-mail from my brother. The thing is - we don't usually compliment each other or show appreciation in a nice way. We're more like guy buddies who would slug each other in the shoulder for compassion.
Anyway here is his e-mail:
Thank you for all of your efforts in organizing us and making it more meaningful with the pictures you prepared and sent around. I really respect the life you are preparing for your family. You and Steven make a great couple and will have a very fortunate child. Thank you for your example in facing issues from the past and making personal improvements. I follow your example more than you realize I got it from you. Ruth and I will do our best to raise our child with happy visits to her cousin Lexi.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Dad Passed Away
This morning at 6am, my sister called. The minute I saw her name on the Caller ID, I knew exactly why she was calling. She is never awake that early. Fortunately, he spent his last week at home with hospice care 24 hours a day.
Now, I am trying to book flights and prepare so Steve & I can be there from Wednesday to Sunday. I think the funeral will be Thursday or Friday depending on when everyone can arrive.
Friday, December 02, 2005
I have been consumed with insomnia along with various thoughts and feelings, so I completely failed to notice that I am now down to single digits! Lexi has 9 more weeks to cook - assuming she comes around her due date. Can you believe I totally blanked out on that fact? Time to start freaking out about one more thing... we need to get busy on our house & nursery. At least this kind of stress is for a good cause.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Random Thoughts & a Holiday Photo
I have a million different little things on my mind and I don't feel like going into detail about any or picking a topic. My solution is to just to jot down random things.
* I love the holidays & getting in the spirit
* I had an OB appt yesterday and despite enjoying Thanksgiving, I didn't gain any weight -yippee
* I started addressing our Christmas card envelopes, something I like to do every year
* Every time I go to Texas, I want to move there (cheap houses, nice people & good schools... who could resist?)
* This time, Steve decided he would like to move there too
* Now, our dream of getting out of Miami is stronger
* My dad's body is shutting down, so he has about a week
* Sometimes I get emotional about it, but I am too tired today
* It is hard to schedule appointments or anything, when you might be flying any time in the next week
* I don't know what I am going to wear to the funeral
* I have a lot of work this month and NO desire to do it