Monday, August 31, 2009

News Blurbs

A few bits of what has been on my mind lately. As you would a newspaper, read all or just what catches your attention.

Pizza! Pizza!

If there is any one food I can pin down as something I’ve craved this pregnancy, I’d have to say pizza. A few weeks ago, after one of our last Frisbee games (in which Neal played really hard and I didn’t play at all), I wanted pizza, and nothing but pizza. At the mere mention of it, Neal took off to the nearest Little Caesar’s and got us a fresh hot ’n ready (pizza always sounds good to him). So at 10:00 at night the two of us consumed an entire large pizza while enjoying the DVD of Northanger Abbey I picked up at the library (we like to compromise in this marriage). I can't think of a more enjoyable evening in recent history.

Those Poor Uninsured

I recently read a sarcastic comment about “those poor uninsured.” Without getting far into politics or my opinion on healthcare reform (another time, perhaps), I have a few things to say about “those poor uninsured” myself. Don’t get me wrong—a few years, or even months, ago, I may have myself sarcastically called the uninsured “poor,” and I don’t think that taxes should be raised for the wealthy to make sure that everyone has health insurance. But I do believe that there are many uninsured people in this nation that do deserve some pity.

Currently my family and I fall into the category of the uninsured (until tomorrow when Neal’s insurance finally kicks in). As a resident at KUMC, Neal and his family are eligible for health insurance under one of the State of Kansas group insurance options (which are good plans). Unfortunately, coverage begins 60 days after the first day Neal works. The anesthesia department offered to pay for any private health insurance plan that we could find for ourselves during the waiting period. Great, we thought, until we were denied coverage by every company we applied to. The reason they gave us for being denied? I went to the doctor for a minor issue a few months ago. So, simply because I visited the doctor, my husband, myself, and my child were all denied health insurance. Never mind that we are healthy, young, and able to pay. Because I actually visited the doctor, I am too high risk for them to insure.

This period of no coverage has been very brief (only a few months—Neal was previously covered under student insurance until May, and Sally and I were on a private plan I found for us), but has opened my eyes to some major problems with health insurance in this nation.

FHE Success!

For all of you out there with small children, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that having a successful FHE (one in which the children learn something and actually pay attention/participate) can be a challenge. We have our ups and downs, but today the planets aligned (or something), and everything went right.

I played our opening song on the piano and Sally didn’t try to stop me—she sat by Neal and sang. Sally stayed reverent during the opening and closing prayers. For the lesson I presented a matching game (pictures of priesthood ordinances and the names of the ordinances). Not only did Sally really like it, she was able to correctly identify the pictures that went with about half of the ordinances (okay, most of them are easy—“Sally, find the picture of the baby being blessed by her daddy”, “Which picture shows boys blessing the sacrament water?,” but I’ll count it as a success anyway).

For our treat we went to the Russell Stover store (which I’ve been eyeing for months now) and enjoyed the $1 ice cream cone special (for a very limited time, and way better than any other $1 ice cream deal in town), and we checked out a toy store for our activity. Sally was an angel throughout. It’s experiences like this that make the hard times worth it.

It’s Autumn Time

Sally has discovered the Primary Children’s Songbook, and always wants me to play songs on the piano (while she pulls of my fingers and interferes, but still INSISTS that I play). If I just sing them, it is not enough—she calls “piano, piano!!!!” I must play. One of her favorites is “It’s Autumn Time.” Very appropriate, as it really is autumn time here in KC (or at least it feels like it). I am loving the days in the 70s and the nights in the 60s. I love having my windows open. I love baking anything I want without being afraid of heating up the house. I’m already formulating plans for fall outings, baked goods, and Halloween costumes.

Let’s Get Crafty

A few months ago I sewed a tote bag for a friend of mine who just had a baby. I really liked the design and fabric, and had quite a bit left over. Lately Sally has been interested in backpacks, so I decided to sew a little drawstring backpack for her. I think it turned out very nicely, and I’m proud of myself for whipping it out with no pattern whatsoever (although I got the idea from other backpacks I’ve seen in the past). Sally likes it, which makes me happy. I’ll have to make her more homemade toys. In fact, I’m planning on it.

The bag I made.
Wow, I used to be so much thinner. Seeing this picture depresses me.

Sally running off with her backpack before I could finish it.

The finished product.

This Really Bites!

I’ve gotten loads of mosquito and chigger bites every summer I’ve spent in Kansas City. I thought I could handle it by now. I was wrong—nothing could prepare me for this summer. Perhaps it is because I’m pregnant and there is more blood flowing through my body, perhaps there are simply more bloodsucking beasts out there, or perhaps there is some other explanation. Well, whatever the reason, I’ve lost battle after battle with the blood-suckers and ended up battered and bloody. Two weeks ago after pulling weeds in my yard for about 5 minutes I got hit hard. I joked to my friends that there were probably 30 chigger bites all over my body, but later when I counted them and counted just about 30 (some are hard to identify for sure—they get you in the worst places imaginable), I realized it was no joke. My legs, my back, my stomach, and other areas I will not mention are now covered with scabs and scars from all of my scratching. I wish I had more self control and could refrain from touching them, but the itching is enough to drive me crazy (especially when I’m trying to sleep at night). I try to follow all of the preventative advice out there, so I’m still trying to find a take home message from this experience.

I'll post again tomorrow about what I find out from my sonogram. I promise it will be a much shorter post.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guilty Pleasure

Sally is sleeping, my work for the day is done (work for my job, that is—my work is never done), and Sally will be asleep for at least another hour and a half (I hope). I think I’ll take a nap myself.

I must admit that I do feel somewhat guilty having a nap today. The reason why I’m not working now (I usually for 2 hours each day while Sally is napping) is because I hired one of my friends to watch Sally in the morning for 3 hours (which will now occur once a week). I decided that it wouldn’t be too horrible to get a sitter once in a while so I could once again enjoy a bit of down time each day, as I did when I wasn’t working. Despite what I just said, I still feel guilty about it, but I’m not sure why.

I think that 3 hours of playing away from mommy each week will be good for Sally’s social development and will help with the separation anxiety that seems to have gotten worse the last few months. I decided the other day that until I learn to mellow out, Sally probably won’t mellow out (meaning I need to do some mental “letting go” of Sally before she’ll stop freaking out every time I leave her with someone else). Thus came the decision to fork out some money and buy myself some away time.

Sally had a good time today. My friend has a little boy about 6 weeks younger than Sally, and they seem to get along well. She knows him from nursery, and she may remember going to this house once a week when I worked at my old job. Hard to say if she can really remember, but she seemed quite comfortable in the home. So far so good.

My nap is calling. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I’m not sure why. It seems that the more tired my body gets, the more active my mind gets. It also doesn’t help that Neal is commonly gone at night now. For all of his hogging of the bed and stealing of covers, I should be sleeping better without him there! Anyhow, I guess I’ll sleep when I can. Like now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pregnancy, Potty Training, Pretty Darn Busy

Forgive me for yet another long post. Since I usually only blog once a week, I have a lot to say when I sit down and get going. Here's another update on the lives of Emily, Sally, and Neal.


As far as I know, I’m at the end of the first trimester. I get to go to the Dr. on September 1, and I'm excited to get the timing issue all straightened out. Currently I’m feeling about the same as I did the first time around:

-I’m nauseated 24 hours a day, but it is the least bothersome in the morning, and grows worse and worse as the day wares on. After dinner I never feel like doing much of anything, but I stay busy regardless.

-I get hungry about every 2 hours, and I get full very quickly once I start eating. Unfortunately I often feel sick when I’m done eating. I guess I’ve decided that the sick feeling isn’t as bad as being hungry, because I haven’t let it stop me from eating. I don’t remember it being quite like this before—I was certainly hungry all of the time, but I remember feeling much better.

-Whatever I eat sticks with me for hours. I always regret eating anything with a strong flavor, because I’ll taste it all day/night. Eating a burger off of a charcoal grill, for example, was a very fleeting pleasure. The charcoal taste in my mouth all night made me sick.

-I’m getting big, fast. I’ve yet to pull out any maternity things, and I probably won’t for a while (more because I’m stubborn rather than I don’t need to), but I’m amazed at how large my midsection is already. Sorry, I don’t have a picture to share.

-I’m working from home for 2 hours a day (during Sally’s nap), and it is going well except that it prevents me from napping, something I long to do.

-For the most part my lifestyle and behaviors have changed very little since I’ve been pregnant, as staying busy and keeping things in my same routine take my mind off of how I feel.

Potty Training (and other tidbits about Sally):

-Sally has started going on the potty 2-3 times a day, always at my request. I don’t exactly have a potty training method, but I think I’ll look into some soon so I can really get her out of diapers for good. I didn’t anticipate potty training her at this age (20 months), but she started showing interest and so far is willing to go to the potty almost every time I ask her to. Sometimes she says no, and I don’t push her when she does.

-Sally is SO BUSY. She almost never stops moving. She is more of a “bag lady” than ever (said in the most affectionate way possible). She fills gift bags, bins, boxes, essentially any container she can get her hands on, with toys, paper, crayons, random objects she acquires from various parts of the house, etc. She then rearranges, sorts, organizes, and empties the contents of her containers, which she finds very amusing. Keeping her toys organized is nearly impossible now, but at least she is happy and occupied.

-Her vocabulary continues to grow by the day. She now parrots me quite a bit, and remembers more and more of what I’ve taught her. She knows her colors and is starting to learn the ABCs.

-Her nursery leader told me today that she’s been having a problem with sharing (which I knew about) but that she is showing some signs of progress. I try so hard to get her to share, and I have to intervene quite a bit when she plays with others. I think that this is typical for her age and have to remember not to stress terribly about it. I really do think that she is doing better than she was a few months ago.

Swinging, one of her favorite amusements. You may notice that she's wearing a Christmas tree pajama shirt. She's been obsessed with pjs lately, and it's all I can do to get her into normal clothing each day. Some days we compromise.

Pretty Darn Busy:

-Neal’s second month of residency is much busier than the first. He’s on call (a 30 hour shift) every 4 days, and he has to be at the hospital by 6:00 every morning. He’s usually home at a decent time, so it could be worse. He’s learning a lot and working with nice people, which help the situation.

-Neal just led his (technically our, as I am on the team but didn’t play in the last half of the season) Ultimate Frisbee team to victory in the championship game (I say he led the team because he was voted the MVP). He played 4 tournament games yesterday in unbearable heat and humidity. He was gone from 9:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. Sally and I watched part of the tournament but in the end couldn’t take the heat. He got several nice war wounds and a great sense of satisfaction out of the experience. He said it was very reminiscent of his BYUltimate days, which I know he misses. Neal's an awesome Frisbee player, and I'm so glad he had such a rewarding season. It's now time to find something new to occupy each Thursday night!

Just Neal's typical diving scrape.

A slighly worse-than-usual knee wound. The picture doesn't do it justice.

-His grandma died on Friday afternoon, and he spent the evening calling his parents and siblings making travel arrangements to be at the funeral. It will be next Saturday, and he’ll get another 24 hour trip to Utah out of it. He took charge and made sure that all of his siblings knew about it and had help, if needed, in getting travel arranged. The passing of Grandma Peterson brings a mixture of sorrow and joy. She has not been well for a long time, and has wanted to go for several years now. We all know that she is now with Grandpa Peterson and that she is no longer suffering, which is truly a blessing. She will be missed, but is in a better place. She left a great legacy of faith that her posterity won’t forget.

-On a final note about Neal, I want to clear up somewhat of a family misconception about his residency and how he got it. I told some of my family members about a project that Neal did in his 4th year of med school that was very favorably looked upon by the head of the KU anesthesia dept. (who by random circumstance happened to be Neal’s faculty advisor on the project). The project involved some statistics, and, as I’m a statistical programmer, I spent maybe 30 minutes helping Neal set up a program to get his statistical results. My contribution was minor at best. Although Neal did get an anesthesia residency at KU, it is NOT because I did his project for him, or even that he did a good job on the project at all. Good board scores (pretty good on Step I, awesome on Step II), good grades, and hard work in medical school are what landed Neal his residency. Had he not matched at KU, he most certainly would have matched at another of his top choices, as he got many follow up letters from these other programs telling him what a great candidate he was and how much they would like to have him in their program.

Neal will probably be upset with me for the previous paragraph, as he doesn’t care what people think. I realize that I have a tendency to embellish stories, and the misconception that I got Neal his residency spot is probably my fault, so I feel a responsibility to set things straight. Enough said.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The promised pictures

Me and the cake I made for Abby's wedding shower, and Angie's lovely hand make decorations.

Opening gifts at the shower.

Ada enjoying her birthday cake, and Kate in the background ready to dig in.

Alison and Angie, my beautiful sisters, and the birthday cake that I helped make.

The five Dickson siblings, in age order, per my mother's request (more like demand).

My dad's birthday cake, and little fingers ready to swipe a sugar flower.

The boys (minus Tyler who came later and Neal who couldn't attend) at the birthday ball game. We rented a suite and had dinner catered. It was a lot of fun, and my dad loved it (and certainly was surprised!). The little white lies that had been swarming in order to keep the surprise payed off in the end.

Dad blowing out his 6 candles.

The group at the game.

Sally and mommy enjoying the night. Isn't Sally's "pony" cute? Too bad she pulls out her ponytail every time I give her one.

Tales from the trip

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m exhausted, but my attempt at napping failed because I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d write about if I updated my blog. So, in attempt to get some rest, I’ll just go ahead and write whatever comes out.

Life has been busy lately. I recently returned home from yet another trip to Utah (the only place I ever go outside of the KC area). Here are the many high points and few low points:

High points:

*Getting to spend so much time with my family. There were a lot of family events while I was there, including: a wedding shower for Abby, a birthday party for my nieces Ada and Kate, a family dinner/FHE at my parents’ house, a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad, a dinner out with my sisters and mom, a visit to the Oquirrh Mountain temple open house, and Abby and Scott’s wedding.

*Surprising my family with a 24 hour visit from Neal the day of the wedding. No one, including me until a few weeks prior to the wedding, thought that Neal would be able to make it, so we had all resigned ourselves to the thought that the whole family would not be present for the wedding. Thanks to Neal’s willingness to pull some strings and work and fork out the big bucks, we were all there in the temple for the wedding, which was wonderful. It was so fun to see the look on my family members’ faces when they walked into the temple and saw Neal sitting there.

*Getting to spend my 4th anniversary with Neal. He got into town the night before the wedding, our anniversary. I put Sally to bed at my parents’ house and them picked him up from the airport. We checked into the hotel that I booked for us, watched a movie together and indulged in a large German chocolate shake from Iceberg. We had fun together, and then snuck back to get Sally (which was quite a feat since Sally was sleeping next to Abby’s room and Abby almost saw Neal in the garage).

*Seeing so many of my extended family members, including several who live outside of Utah that I don’t get to see very often. I feel a great desire to be close to my extended family, and I feel like I have a long way to go. It is hard for me to live so far away from the bulk of the family, so I’m so glad for any chance that I have to get together with them. It was great to see my cousin Rachel and her cute kids, my aunt Becky, my cousin Brooke, and the Bateman family (minus Jason), and every one else that was came to Abby’s wedding/shower.

Low points:

*Missing Neal. Due to the life we have chosen, there have been many and will yet be many times and Neal and I have been/will be apart for a week/month/possibly year here and there (hopefully the Air Force will be kind to us).

*Being seconds away from losing Sally in an empty elevator going down on the night of the reception.

*Losing my patience with Sally and leaving the reception early to put her to bed. If only I could have closed the doors to the reception room in the JSMB! Sally can run very, very fast, and is a very curious child. She had a blast at the reception running rampant around the whole 10th floor of the building, playing in the fountains, nearly running into the two restaurants, running into the food service area, etc. I was exhausted and feeling ill, and since I had no husband to help me (he had to leave for the airport right after family pictures) and everyone else was occupied, I got myself and my little whirlwind out before something dreadful happened. As a result, I missed the wedding cake, the bouquet toss, talking to lots of people I wanted to talk to, saying goodbye to the bride and groom, etc. At least I got myself and Sally out alive!

*Forgetting to download my pictures and thus running out of memory card space at the reception. Hopefully the rest of my family took some good pictures!

All-in-all, it was a great trip. If you’re wondering why I keep mentioning being ill/exhausted, it is because I am expecting baby #2. Neal and I are really excited. As for the gender and due date, you’ll have to wait, just like Neal and I are waiting (until his insurance kicks in, that is!). I hope/think that I’m about 10-12 weeks along right now. I’ll post more on this later.

Here are some shots of the wedding day. Pictures of other events aforementioned will follow.

Waiting for the bride and groom.

Poor Sally. She was pooped! It was probably because she was awakened in the middle of the night and transferred to a strange hotel room.

The bride and groom themselves. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of them together on their big day. Luckily they had a great photographer.

Me and Neal at the wedding lunch.

Alison and Tyler at the wedding lunch.

Angie and Hyrum at the wedding lunch.

Spencer and Korrin at the wedding lunch.

The Petersons, minutes before Neal's departure. He looked great in his tux, and Sally looked so cute in her fancy dress.

Abby and her 5 nieces. Too bad that it was my child that ruined the picture. Perhaps the photographer can photo shop out my hand/arm.