Archive for May, 2009

34 and 35 weeks

May 27, 2009

There is so much to update. I expected Elizabeth to blog about some of these things, such as her release from bed rest, but I guess her release from bed rest has released her ability or enthusiasm for blogging, as well!

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(made by YiaYia Boosalis to represent her daughters)

A couple weekends ago, the Boosalis parents visited.

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That was during the two weeks when Elizabeth was allowed up 3 hours each day. So we went to church, out to sushi and pizza (different nights):

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We also received a shipment of diapers that weekend:

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Elizabeth tried teaching LC about country music:

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And the pregnant one bid farewell to Bed Rest Central:

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At the next doctor’s visit, Dr. Ahn said “you’re free as a bird,” and Bed Rest Central was put to rest. Yippee!

After a short work week, the Boosalis grandparents and Miner aunt came for another visit. This time Papou Boosalis opted against sushi and we tried the Chicago Brauhaus, instead, for some German food. It was much more to his liking.

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We came home at some point and had a laptop-off. I think I won. You can see the pain on my face – “no pain, no gain.”

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It is Boosalis tradition to go to the Original Pancake House in Hyde Park. I have enjoyed this place a few times, but I tire of the wait and don’t think it’s worth the cost. I suggested another location, Daley‘s, and I think it was much liked, as well. It has a richer local history (perhaps the oldest eatery in Chicago – and Greek!).

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IMG_1138 “Don’t touch my food or I’ll propeller your nose!”

Then the sisters and the cousins said “adieu.”

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And it was soon thereafter 35 weeks!

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Stay tuned. Elizabeth will be making a post soon, methinks.

~Eric

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Domestic Ivy League

May 18, 2009

When my parents visited last, my father decided to take action on a long-term desire: rooting and growing a small cutting of ivy from an important place. Since we had no plans to go to Wrigley Field (I admit I’ve only been once), we cut from Bond Chapel (where Elizabeth and I were wed) and Ida Noyes Hall (where we received guests), both of which are on the campus of the University of Chicago, our Alma Mater.

We already posted a picture of the twigs in an old mayonnaise jar:

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Mom and Dad were here before the leaves began to grow. He was looking for twigs with a little green inside, but we didn’t know if anything would grow. We drove up to Gethsemane Garden Center for some root starter, set it up, and started waiting.

After a while all but two of the twigs began growing leaves (along with some clear bubbles), but only one of them ever grew any roots. Impatience set it, and I planted them in some soil. Here’s how they look today:

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Since we walked between the two buildings when we were taking clippings, we didn’t really remember much about the leaves and assumed they would all be the same. After some growth, I’ve discovered some differences:

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This twig grows single leaves.

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This twig grows a leaf split into three distinct parts.

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These last two twigs grew leaves divided into five distinct parts.

The interesting thing to remember is that they came from two different buildings. When we were at Bond, he cut from two different sides of the building, and that may be where the third variation came from.

Maybe we’ll take these cuttings with us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. We may transplant ourselves to Kansas or Minnesota and set them growing up the side of our house – a little piece of our place of wedding and our Alma Mater.

Now, if we could just identify each type… maybe they’re not ivy at all, just some other kind of creeper.

~Eric

Baby Pictures and Good News

May 13, 2009

Today we got our fourth look at Little Cap. Four ultrasounds is a lot, but I have to remind myself that it’s pretty minimal for “high risk.”  The appointment was at 3:15. Our friends Meredith and Quinn gave me a ride and Eric did his best rushing from work.

The ultrasound was unfortunately over before Eric arrived. However, the technician must have noticed me frantically texting the room number to Eric at the beginning because she left to “consult with the doctor” for quite some time. It had me worried, but it was just the right amount of time for Eric to arrive and then to take a few more pictures.

On top of humoring the Papa-type, our technician also got to deliver good news. Little Cap is looking healthy and my cervix is still closed. His estimated weight is 5 pounds! Of course, that could be off by a good bit. But, 5 lbs is the 53 percentile, so if it’s off some in either direction, we’re still in a very good range. He appears to have just the right amount of fluid around him, and he’s head down. All kinds of giddy relief going on here at Modified Bed Rest Central.

A profile:

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And his face:

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We’ll be back to the doctor on Monday and will surely update then. Tomorrow we welcome Yiayia and Papou Boosalis!

~Elizabeth

33 Weeks and 1 New Name Idea

May 12, 2009

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Happy 33 weeks! I made this week’s as a representative of the family. The male three representing me has quite a bit less facial hair, and the baby representing Little Cap is already wrapped in a blanket while still in the womb.

Elizabeth was telling me how she was going to get to see a picture of our son tomorrow, and I expressed disappointment at the idea that we wouldn’t be able to see all of him in the ultrasound. While I could take a picture of all of him were he outside the womb, she told me she would rather not have him out as May 13 would be a bad birthday – she much prefers June. I remembered that the due date is June 30, and mentioned how it could be in July, and then I suggested that we could call him “July.” I reminded her of other good month names – May, April, August, June, and she mentioned her friend from school, January. She said she thought “July” was a bit feminine, so I agreed we could save it for a girl. Then Elizabeth suggested that we get creative with the spelling.

Her try: Ja’lie (as in “D’you lie?”)

My win: Jeweleye

It has everything you want in a name – real world meaning and an “e” for every other letter!
Now, we’ll just have to get her interested in BB guns…

~Eric

Toys

May 11, 2009

I took one of my favorite college courses during the third quarter of my fourth year. It was my last elective, though it was closely related to my already begun graduate coursework: “Education for Liberty: Locke and Rousseau” taught by Nathan Tarcov.

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In this class we read two main works: Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke and Emile by Jean Jacques Rousseau, in which both present their vision of the right education and upbringing of a child. Both are quite unrealistic. My final paper for the class described how there was a line of influence from Montaigne to Locke to Rousseau, and how each became increasingly removed from reality – to the extend that Rousseau’s Emile would live in almost complete isolation until he is 15 years old.

Still, the two books had an influence on me.

Here is John Locke on toys and playthings:

Playthings I think children should have, and of diverse sorts; but still to be in the custody of their tutors or somebody else, whereof the child should have in his power but one at once, and should not be suffered to have another but when he restored that. This teaches them betimes to be careful of not losing or spoiling the things they have; whereas plenty and variety in their own keeping makes them wanton and careless and teaches them from the beginning to be squanderers and wasters. These, I confess, are little things and such as will seem beneath the care of a governor: but nothing that may form children’s minds is to be overlooked and neglected, and whatsoever introduces habits and settles customs in them deserves the care and attention of their governors and is not a small thing in its consequences.

One thing more about children’s playthings may be worth their parents’ care. Though it be agreed they should have of several sorts, yet, I think, they should have none bought for them. This will hinder that great variety they are often overcharged with, which serves only to teach the mind to wander after change and superfluity, to be unquiet and perpetually stretching itself after something more still, though it knows not what, and never to be satisfied with what it has. The court that is made to people of condition in such kind of presents to their children does the little ones great harm. By it they are taught pride, vanity, and covetousness almost before they can speak; and I have known a young child so distracted with the number and variety of his play-games that he tired his maid every day to look them over and was so accustomed to abundance that he never thought he had enough but was always asking, What more? What more? What new thing shall I have? A good introduction to moderate desires, and the ready way to make a contented happy man!

How then shall they have the play-games you allow them, if none must be bought for them? I answer, they should make them themselves, or at least endeavor it and set themselves about it; till then they should have none, and till then they will want none of any great artifice. A smooth pebble, a piece of paper, the mother’s bunch of keys, or anything they cannot hurt themselves with, serves as much to divert little children as those more chargeable and curious toys from the shops, which are presently put out of order and broken. Children are never dull or out of humor for want of such playthings, unless they have been used to them. When they are little, whatever occurs serves the turn; and as they grow bigger, if they are not stored by the expensive folly of others, they will make them themselves. Indeed, when they once begin to set themselves to work about any of their inventions, they should be taught and assisted, but should have nothing whilst they lazily sit still expecting to be furnished from others’ hands without employing their own. And if you help them where they are at a stand, it will more endear you to them than any chargeable toys you shall buy for them. Playthings which are above their skill to make, [such] as tops, gigs, battledores, and the like, which are to be used with labor, should indeed be procured them; these it is convenient they should have not for variety but exercise. But these too should be given them as bare as might be. If they had a top, the scourge stick and leather strap should be left to their own making and fitting. If they sit gaping to have such things drop into their mouths, they should go without them. This will accustom them to seek for what they want in themselves and in their own endeavors; whereby they will be taught moderation in their desires, application, industry, thought, contrivance, and good husbandry, qualities that will be useful to them when they are men and therefore cannot be learned too soon nor fixed too deep. All the plays and diversions of children should be directed toward good and useful habits, or else they will introduce ill ones. Whatever they do leaves some impression on that tender age, and from thence they receive a tendency to good or evil; and whatever has such an influence ought not to be neglected.

And from Rousseau:

We can do nothing simply, not even for our children. Toys of
silver, gold, coral, cut crystal, rattles of every price and kind; what vain and useless appliances. Away with them all! Let us have no corals or rattles; a small branch of a tree with its leaves and fruit, a stick of liquorice which he may suck and chew, will amuse him as well as these splendid trifles, and they will have this advantage at least, he will not be brought up to luxury from his birth.

Most who have seen a young child at a first or second birthday party or at an early Christmas can recollect the child finding the wrapping paper or box more interesting than the gift itself, which brings disappointment to the gift-giver. I have also been witness to students in class who have no problem at all using crayons and pencils as characters in their own mental plays just as happily as they would with little plastic action figures or Barbie Dolls.

The idea of having a house strewn with loud, plastic, expensive toys is very unappealing. In contrast, the idea of our son playing with common objects and learning to create toys (with our help) is very appealing. I realize there is research into the educational benefit of toys, but I am very skeptical about the claims of toy makers and their guilds, and I don’t think this benefit is unique to items made of injected mold plastic or powered by batteries.

I recently attended a short seminar on education and multiplayer gaming. While I was hoping it would inform us on how to harness this motiving activity, I came away disappointed because the presenter simply wanted to sell us his “educational” multiplayer computer game. It’s a very good business decision of his, to be sure, but as an educator I decided it would be worse to feed into the culture of videogaming than suffer some disinterested students during math class. I would rather them know a little bit less math and have a greater desire to go outside and explore instead of staying inside staring at their screen (or riding the train, staring at their iPhone screen.)

I am worried about an influx of toys and complicated doo-dads into our home for the sake of the child.  Elizabeth decided a while back that we would have a Barbie-free household, and now she’s decided to veto anything associated with a television cartoon or animated film. I’m with her on both counts.

The truth is, however, that I enjoyed toys of both types when I was a child. And this gets to the real crux of the matter – I will have to teach my son primarily by example. If I want him to be industrious in creating playthings and to avoid consumerism and covetousness, I must show him how I create things for use and play, and I must not show a wanton habit of buying what I like – fancy new technologies, books, restaurant food, etc
If I want him to prefer outdoor play to watching television, playing video games, or surfing the Internet, I will need to take him outdoors and refrain from staring at the computer screen myself for hours on end as I have for the past 10 or 15 years. That would probably lead to even less blogging!

I will need to change my lifestyle in other ways to show my son how I hope for him to grow, to begin to realize some of the healthy habits that I have come to admire in others. But I also must start early with toys and possessions, and it’s a good time to start throwing some stuff out.

~Eric

Mother Lode of Cuteness

May 10, 2009

During the first couple of days of my new found freedom I spent my few moments of up-time around the house. I figured it would remain this way for awhile since Bed Rest makes me super eager to get things done (mostly an urge to clean). Apparently it was short lived. There are baby preparation things to do that are, in fact, more fun than cleaning.

We already had the crib and car seat taken care of before bed rest hit. And the crib even came with one (somewhat girly) crib sheet. Clearly more sheets are necessary since we expect explosive infant poo. I’ve yet to have a child, but I have had a diaper explode on me. Therefore, it has to be common.

I decided that crib sheets, sleepers and onesies were more necessary than cleaning today and we went shopping for up time. It was off to “The Village“. It seems a little weird to buy new when the items will be met with exploding poo.

We didn’t have much luck with the crib sheets. We got a cotton green one that’s in good shape with elastic that goes all the way around.

In the onesie and sleeper department… we did quite well.

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No boring white onesies for Mr. Little Cap. This baby will be styling.

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My favorite item is this camping themed onesie:

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And I think the Papous and Uncle Mikey will be especially fond of this onesie that depicts frogs playing golf:

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Eric ventured into larger sizes and found a couple long sleeved onesies that he couldn’t leave without:

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Perhaps we would have limited our cuteness intake, but things were in great shape… and there was a Mother’s Day sale. Everything was half-off, sweeeet.

Stats for the stash:
(All are 100% cotton. Speaking of, what happened to all children’s sleepwear having to be flame-retardant? I’m going to have to look that up.)
Short Sleeved Onesies
0-3 months:
blue with trucks, cars and taxis – Carters
blue with embroidered scooters – Gerber
blue, khaki and brown stripes – The Children’s Place
dark green with camping theme – Gymboree
blue, green, yellow and red stripes – Circo
green with embroidered car and scooter – Gerber
light green with golfing frogs – Gymboree
6-9 months:
blue and white stripes – Gerber
white with blue and green stars – Gerber
(Apparently Gerber runs small. The 6-9 month Gerber onesies look the same size as the non-Gerber 0-3 month onesies. The 0-3 month Gerber ones are minuscule. I’d be one happy Mama if they never fit.)
Long Sleeved Onesies
Preemie:
green with bumblebees, leaves and mushrooms – McBaby
(Despite the tag it’s not super tiny. That’s not to say I want it to fit, just that it probably will. And yes, McDonald’s appears to make baby clothes. I wouldn’t usually condone such a pairing with my purchase, but it’s got mushrooms!)
3-6 months:
primary color stripes – Carters
yellow and blue stripes – The Children’s Place
6-9 months:
cream colored thermal henley – no tag (size is a guess)
olive green stripes – Wonder Kids
Sleepers
3-6 months:
jungle theme – Gerber
khaki, blue and red stripes – Carters
Sleep Sacks/Gowns
0-3 or 0-6 months:
green, yellow and blue stripes – Circo
yellow with bunnies, chicks, trees and cottages – Gerber
primary colored polka dots and emergency vehicles – Gerber
cars and palm trees – Circo
blue with baby stuff – Miniwear
blue with a star – Carters
(Are sleep sacks/gowns useful? I was quite taken with the fact that they have nifty turn-overs on the cuffs that work like baby mitts. No scratching opportunities and no possibility of choking on mitts – neat! While they look more difficult to put on, the open elastic bottom sure looks nice for middle-of-the-night diaper changes. I guess we’ll find out.)
The Receipt:
$17.42
(Including the crib sheet. And a non-fiction baseball book and four Choose Your Own Adventure books for room 219.)  It comes out to precisely $0.70 per item.  We probably would have spent more on gas had we garnered an equal amount through Freecycle.

That’s a lot of cuteness.

~Elizabeth

3 Outings of Increasing Quality

May 10, 2009

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Edited To Add (WELL after the fact!) 4/25/11:

Internet folks seem to be finding this post when they’re searching for info on the pre-natal or pregnancy classes at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center).  If that’s you, please take everything we said with several grains of salt!  We were in the midst of a very stressful high-risk pregnancy and interested in a birth as intervention free as possible when we wrote this.  We only went to the first class at UIC and only had one instructor. (We can say that we took half of a Bradley course (as much as we could get to before the birth), and it was very helpful.  Everything we learned in Bradley was applicable to birth at UIC.)  We were able to switch from high-risk OBs to midwives at UIC and we went on to have a lovely birth free from pain meds and with only a few interventions, all of which we consented to.  If we hadn’t moved, we’d surely be back to UIC for baby #2, though we might still skip the classes!  If you’re hoping for a more medicated experience, the hospital classes might be really good preparation.

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Since receiving the degree of freedom that we have been given, we have undertaken three excursions

1. The first was to our first pre-natal/childbirth class at UIC. We had planned to take the Bradley class here in Hyde Park, but our first meeting was to be the night after our first visit to the ER, so it was not meant to be. While at the ER we saw several signs advertising a free class offered there, and our doctor said it would be ok to make those visits even before she reduced the bed rest. When we arrived there was a large room with a few chairs set up, and we were there with just a few of other couples. It seemed comfortable. Then the instructor peeked her head in and told us the room had changed (this larger room was reserved for non-existent pork flu people). We followed her to a room that already had several couples and few chairs. Much time was wasted getting chairs into the room before the wall was collapsed for an expanded layout, and then we were finally ready to begin.

Perhaps the powers that be at UIC are concerned with overpopulation because for some reason they chose a nurse to teach the prenatal class who seemed to very much dislike her own children. And her husband.
My impression was that she was pretty negative throughout the entire meeting. I can’t remember how many times she compared the pain of childbirth favorably to the pain of raising children. She repeatedly made fun of men using stereotypes. Not only this, she was a little insensitive to her audience. While there were plenty of normal pregnancies in the room, she knew she had two mothers with twins, and at least two mothers who were high-risk. She explained in detail what signs to check for premature labor (been there). At one point she explained that 37 weeks was full term, and she advised all the mothers in the room to make it at least to 37 weeks as if they had a choice in the matter. This was frustrating. She also seemed to contradict herself. She said they were there to do what the mother wanted and would be ready for her to change her mind at the last moment. She also said that when the doctor gave advice and asked for permission to do something during the birth, the mother should not spend time deciding about it but go with his expert advice. It seemed that what she was really was saying was that they were ready and prepared to add interventions as the doctor or mother requested them but she didn’t seem very supportive of an intervention-free birth.

2. Our second outing was to Salonica for a Friday night date. This was pleasant, as this was the restaurant that supplied spanakopita for our wedding reception. Though they’re not on the menu, Salonica has good milkshakes. I ordered some avgolemono, a cheeseburger, and a vanilla milkshake. Elizabeth had half my soup, a feta burger, and a chocolate milkshake. She had a great time staring at strangers, and we both left completely stuffed.

3. Our third outing was on Saturday evening (three nights in a row!) to All Saints Orthodox Church for Vespers. Elizabeth hadn’t been to church in over 3 months, so it was nice for her to return and worship with others. It was also the first time for many of them to see her since they had begun praying for her and our child. Many people came up to speak with her – people neither of us had ever met before. Fr. Pat also came over before the service to do a special prayer and blessing for expecting mothers.

More exciting outings are sure to come. But we’re very excited at this new development because it at least means we can do the dishes together.

~Eric

32 Weeks and Privileges!

May 6, 2009

Tuesday marked 32 weeks! Hooray!

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On Monday we had a doctor’s appointment and the very good news is that there were no further cervical changes. Little Cap’s heart was sounding good, however my tummy measured the same (29cm) as it did at our previous check. We have an ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday the 13th to see the size of our Little Cap. Hopefully he’s done his growing work and it just doesn’t show from the outside, he certainly feels bigger!

The other good news is that the doctor relaxed the bed rest regime and said I can be upright for 2-3 hours each day. Wow! Since the doctor’s visit involved a fair amount of walking and sitting up I stayed down for the rest of the day on Monday. But on Tuesday I tried out my new lifestyle.

My first order of business was to return the kitchen to my level of cleanliness. And boy oh boy did it feel good to wipe down those counters! At first I set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and got to work (very gingerly, of course). Five minutes in and my back got pretty achy. Fifteen minutes in and… I was back on the couch. Ouch. Apparently if you grow a great big baby filled tummy while lying down your back muscles have some catching up to do. I did give it another go and wound up spending two hours up in little spurts of 15 or 30 minutes.

This morning (Wednesday) brought a bit of a scare and more Braxton-Hicks contractions than usual so I have stayed down for all but seven minutes and the usual bathroom visits. I might just try a little bit of the vertical life before bedtime, we’ll see…

Today my pal, Lexi, biked down from the Northside and paid a glorious visit to Bed Rest Central. Despite not having an in-person visit for two years we picked right back up where we left off and it was wonderful.

Even more good news today is that “my” tree outside the window has come into full bloom! The blossoms inspired the theme of our “32”.

Tomorrow’s upright hours have already been scheduled as we are off to childbirth class in the evening. We’ll keep you posted.

~Elizabeth

I’ve Gone Crackers!

May 3, 2009

Many weeks ago, when eating was a nauseating challenge, my Mother recommended eating lots of snacks. Dining hall life stripped me of a desire to snack. I prefer eating really large meals. (And eating them with great big “Papou bites.”) My tendencies were not compatible with morning sickness.

My Mama suggested taking some fruit and yogurt in addition to my lunch. Blech. Anything sweet sounded gross. “How about cheese and crackers?” she offered so patiently. Bingo. That sounded GOOD. And nothing had sounded good, except turkey sandwiches with white bread.

I fell into a wonderful habit of bringing cheese and crackers along with me to work everyday. I would manage to get breakfast down and then I ate the snack at 10:30 which actually made it easier to swallow lunch. When the hospital visits commenced morning sickness was long gone, but I had kept up the cracker habit. Bed rest discombobulated everything, but third trimester hungriness has brought the crackers back.

The crackers were the same everyday: my all time favorites, Triscuits.

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Once while vacationing in the Turtle Racing Capital of the World I consumed an entire box of Triscuits in one sitting. Along with several glasses of milk and a thick stack of old Archie comics. This is more impressive when you realize that I was probably 7 or 8 years old at the time. (Probably the same year I ate a record setting 14 Swedish meatballs.) I realize now that this probably bothered my family. It’s the only time I remember ever having truly “spoiled” my appetite for dinner. It was also probably annoying because other people might have wanted some Triscuits.

Honestly, my morning sickness mending crackers weren’t really Triscuits. I actually paired my sharp cheddar with “A-Tasket”s.

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Note: This is NOT my photo. I’ve never tried cheese out of a can and I do not like Cream Soda.

A-Taskets taste just like Triscuits and cost about one-third as much. Before Little Cap joined us, Eric and I got into a good habit of planning a week’s worth of meals on Saturday and then grocery shopping on Sunday, which eliminated the need for middle-of-the week trips and kept us from excessive spending. We are a two store family, each week hitting Hyde Park Produce for produce and any deli needs, and then making our way to Save-A-Lot for most everything else.

Save-A-Lot is fun because almost everything there is Save-A-Lot brand. However, unlike some “store brand” stores the products don’t shout “Save-A-Lot.” Instead, they’re cleverly disguised. Some simply look like a brand you’ve never seen before, but others are made to look like their name brand counterparts. Like A-Taskets. “A-Tasket” makes you think “A Tisket” which sounds a lot like Triscuit. They’re clever, those Save-A-Lotters, and I think they’re funny.

Unfortunately, someone seems to have thought differently. I haven’t seen evidence at the store since bed rest has forced Eric to enter the grocery jungle all by his lonesome, but it appears that my A-Taskets are GONE. They’ve been replaced by “J. Higgs Woven Wheats”.

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Woven Wheats? Where did they get such a lame moniker? Even canned tomatoes at Save-A-Lot are prefaced by their “brand name” of “Diane’s Garden”. And my beloved crackers can’t get more than “J. Higgs”?

I searched the internet to no avail. I can’t tell if Nabisco had some kind of issue with the name A Tasket. I can’t bring myself to think that the powers at Save-A-Lot changed such a sweet cracker name without cause. And I like to believe that whatever the reason was, they went down fighting.

Uh… not a lot is going on here at Bed Rest Central. I suppose that’s evident from my interest in cracker names.
We have had some wonderful visits. Claire came to visit me so Eric could escape with Anthony and introduce him to sushi. And Zhao and Ethan came bearing kabobs, lentils, baba ganoush, salad and dolmades. So tasty, and wonderful company too! The crochet hooks have gotten more action, and the librivox library of audio books has proven a wonderful tool to pass the hours.

Eric’s Spanish studies continue, and I learned this evening that the word for “hope” and the word for “wait” are the same thing in Spanish, “esperar”. Bed rest in one word!

Little Cap and I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow so there’s sure to be another update soon.

~Elizabeth

31 Weeks and the HMO

May 1, 2009

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Happy 31 weeks (3 days ago)
I made the poster this week, and it has a punctuation theme: the background has commas, which represent the paused waiting we’re engaged in, and the foreground has a 31 constructed of exclamation points to represent our excitement and celebration at each successive week’s passing.

Elizabeth is looking quite large at this point, and Little Cap’s kicks have changed in quality. Recently they became harder, and even more recently we have felt him simply pushing against her tummy for several seconds at a time. She has fun trying to guess whether its a foot or hand and seeing how he reacts when she pushes back.

Today I had the day off to make a doctor’s visit. Our general practitioner, Dr. Grant, sent me to a pulmonary specialist, Dr. Margolis. He listened to me breath and asked if I snore… he specializes in sleep disorders. For some reason, this fellow also supposedly knows about lupus anticoagulant, for which I tested positive in my last blood test. Despite what I have read on the internet and what Dr. Grant initially said, Dr. Margolis insists that the coumadin I’ve been taking does not interfere with the lupus results.

After telling me that it is rare for him to see this independent of some other disorder, such as lupus, he decided the best therapy would be to remain on coumadin (warfarin) indefinitely. I asked if repeated tests might be done to confirm my diagnosis. He replied that it might be worthwhile getting tested again after a few years – not what I had in mind at all.

While on coumadin one is supposed to be monitoring vitamin K intake because that changes the clotting level of the blood. This is hard to do because vitamin K is in a lot, such as spinach, mayonnaise, broccoli, eggs; it seems doctors recommend eating a steady diet, though recommendations have been contradictory between doctors. The other annoyance is that it isn’t supposed to be mixed with alcohol, though this specialist said one glass of wine wouldn’t hurt.

I now know that one huge downside of having and HMO is that there is no such thing as a patient pursued “second opinion.” If I want to ask another doctor to check me out properly for lupus anticoagulant, I need to either select another primary care doctor or pay out of pocket. Fortunately, we fully intend to switch primary care doctors as soon as the baby is born, and then I will request the new (old) doctor to reevaluate my condition. We really like Dr. Bowers in Hinsdale, and she makes the HMO life seem quite good.

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Even Denzel would approve!

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~Eric