So Far ... So Good!

I had my final doctors appointments yesterday with both the ultrasonographer and my OB/GYN. My final appointments in clean offices, with magazines on the end tables and soft music playing in the background. The last appointments where I can sit on a REAL toilet when I need to give my "sample", where I'm given a REAL gown to wear when I have to undress for my exam, where they actually change the sheets on the exam tables in between patients, and where they actually swab my arm with alcohol or wear gloves on their hands BEFORE they take the blood samples (which they did here on 4 separate occasions). Oh how the little things really make my day!

So far everything looks good with the munchkin. I had to have 2 separate ultrasounds as the first one was too early to see the detail of the cleft and heart. I find it fascinating how things have changed in the past 4.5 years since my last pregnancy... granted I was pregnant and delivered in Muscat, Oman, so I can't entirely compare it to standards here in the U.S. However, I will say that the tests, exams, and appointments I've had here in the past two weeks have undeniably surpassed any maternity care I have had or will receive in India in these next few months.

I received some startling feedback from my OB/GYN yesterday that has left us pondering our decisions. While I had originally planned on returning here in the U.S. sometime between 33 - 34 weeks, the doctor feels strongly, very strongly, that I need to return earlier... much, much earlier. Apparently they treat patients every single day with the same types of complications that I have - though usually they don't have them all at the very same time. When the nurse left my exam room yesterday and was briefing the doctor outside the room, I heard him remark, "oh my" about my case. My 30 minute appointment turned into 1 1/2 hours and I left there with a full exam, another blood test, and my head spinning.

On the bright side, things look great and I am very thankful. I'm measuring where I need to, everything is in its right place, and I no longer have morning sickness.

I just hadn't planned on coming back here so early. It makes us sad to be away from Matt and the dog for so long. We're already struggling a place to stay, finding a school for Riley as all of the kindergarten classes are full and with a 1:20 teacher/student ratio, she'd have to be bussed to another school that has availability. And who knows where I'll find room for Sheridan, who absolutely MUST be in some type of daily program.

Luckily, I know that it will all fall into place in the end... and in mid-May we'll be starting a new chapter with a brand new baby, nightly feedings, and poopy diapers. 2009 is bound to be a great year for us.

Ultrasound on left... Sheridan's nemesis... a thumb sucker!!
Ultrasound on right is from yesterday - the only time the munchkin didn't squirm.

A glimpse of the ultrasound reports. I obviously made it clear enough that I didn't want to know the gender... though I had no clue that they would take me so seriously.


Hanukkah O' Hanukkah Come Light The Menorah...

... Let's Have a Party, We'll All Dance The Hora.

It goes without saying that we come from a very large family and not a month goes by without celebrations of every kind. For obvious reasons, we can't make most of the parties... though it really is one of the few things that we really do miss living so far away. Not surprising then that on this trip, we've been invited to 7 parties ~ though we are only able to make a few.

On Sunday before we drove up to my parent's house, we went to our a Hanukkah brunch at our cousins Archie and Melissa's house. It was a huge shindig with more food and gifts for the kids than I have ever seen. It was awesome. The spread was amazing... bagels, lox, quiches, fruit salad, french toast, the works!

After much food was consumed, the kids opened up their hoards of presents. Our girls scored some serious fun things... paint your own canvases, paint your own mugs, clothes, slippers, electric toothbrushes that play songs, books, and more. I even managed to leave with a Starbucks gift card and chocolate rugelach. Yippee.

A party wouldn't be complete without cakeage... Sheridan had her own personalized cake as did her cousin Andrew who is turning 6 next week. We sang happy birthday, the kids devoured the cake, and then it was off for a quick cousin photo before we hit the road for the 7 hour drive to my folks house.

Thank goodness for mini vans with DVD players - it kept the girls occupied the entire drive. It was an easy, albeit long drive, though I got a bit pooped around the 5 hour mark and had to pull into a rest area to close my eyes for 40 minutes or so. It was definitely needed as I was crocked and needed to be alert while I was driving in the rain.

We missed lighting the Hanukkah candles on the first night, though we made up for it with both of the girls lighting their own on the second.

And for those of you worried about Matt and how he's doing without us... take a look below. He too was invited to a Hanukkah party and was able to light the candles on the first night at our friend's house in Chennai. While he's definitely missing us, he and Libby are keeping each other company.


Sheridan Turns 4!!

Today was Sheridan's 4th birthday ~ my how time flies when you're having fun! She woke me up at the crack of dawn waving four fingers in the air and squealing that it's her birthday and she's no longer three. I must agree.

We spent her special day at the movies with her cousins, where we saw The Tale of Despereaux. Sheridan loved it, though Riley freaked out a bit (which is quite easy to do...) over the rats. I should have known she'd end up sitting on my lap after our last debacle in a movie theatre seeing Ratatouille.

With peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, pizza for dinner, and cupcakes for dessert, in Sheridan's own words, "I had a wonderful birthday."


Surprise! We're in Southern California!

So can you believe that for the most part I kept it tight lipped that the girls and I would be traveling over 10,000 miles last week to help surprise my grandfather at his 90th birthday party? It sure was hard ~ especially as I wanted to make plans with family and friends, though didn't want to spoil the surprise.

When I first found out I was pregnant and began calculating dates, I knew that in order to keep my sanity that I had make a trip to Newport Beach and meet with my doctors to ensure that everything was indeed a-ok. I wanted to scope out hotels, kindergartens, and preschools for the girls as we'll be spending over 3 months here and the girls will finish up the school year. I needed to feel like I had some control over our lives and that as a planner, everything would be set upon our arrival in April.

As the girls have a 3 week winter break it was the perfect opportunity to get out of India for a little R&R and head to California. When we finally told our parents we were coming, we just asked them to keep it a secret as I knew we'd be in town a mere 24 hours before the big party. Best of all, we planned our trip at the same time as 3 other Consulate families, so our flight to Frankfurt from Chennai was filled with kids and adults all excited to going on vacation. It made the first of our flights bearable and fun. We left Chennai at 2 am on Friday, December 12th and after a long 23 hours of flight time, along with a 2.5 hour layover and 3 hours check-in in India, we arrived in Los Angeles safe and sound... though tired and cranky. After meeting my parents and brother and getting our rental car, our first stop was In N Out Burger for a big juicy hamburger with all the fixins... it was delicious! We then made our way down to my in-laws house in Newport Beach, had a home made dinner of moist and tasty chicken, and crashed hard. Thankfully we all slept through the night.

After a fabulous haircut on Saturday morning (thanks Heather for setting it up!!) and a much needed trip to Starbucks for my tall-decaf-caramel macchiatto with whip, we all hung out and got ready for the party. We arrived a smidgen late for the party, which worked out in our favor as everyone else was already there and congregated in one room. We walked down the windy staircase into the room where we heard a loud chorus of, "OOhhhhh Myyyyyy Gooosssshhhh" and watched every one's heads whip around to see what the commotion was all about. Just us... the 1st grand daughter and great grand daughters in from India.

We all had a great time at the party. After the girls got over their initial shock of seeing everyone again, they left me and I barely saw them the rest of the night. We ate, we schmoozed, we caught up with family. It was a blast.

We spent most of Sunday with the entire gang again at my cousin Jody's house in West Los Angeles. What started off as an impromptu brunch turned into a full fledged party at their house that lasted the entire day. Another opportunity for the girls to see their cousins, uncles, and grand parents.

This week is filled with doctors appointments, hair appointments for the girls, and reconnaissance for hotels and schools. It's bound to be action packed. I'll be sure to keep you posted on the latest. Until then, enjoy a few photos from my grandfather's 90th birthday party.

Me and Zadie... old photos from his youth

My dad and his siblings... me and my great aunties

The girls with my parents and in-laws ... photo with my parents and brothers

Yummy desserts... cookies and red velvet cake

The girls and their cousins


Shhhhh... Don't Tell Anyone

But I can already tell that for the next few weeks, all will be well in our world. More details soon...


Is It January 13th Yet?

I took Sheridan to the dentist today. Not one of my more favorite places to go or things to do with her. Remember last time I took her? She said the "F" word. And it's not as if I didn't have a bevy of other things to take care of before school ends on Friday and the girls are off on winter break for the next three weeks.

Why did I have to rush Sheridan to the dentist today you ask? Because her thumb sucking finally got the best of her and she has seriously inflamed and infected gums.

She's been complaining about her gums for the last week, hymning and hawing that it hurt when we brushed her teeth, ate any dinner, or had to make her bed... though that's her usual demeanor these days so we didn't think anything of it. That is, until I took another close look at her gums yesterday and wondered if maybe there was food stuck somewhere. I attempted to floss her teeth, but when she threw the Oscar Award winning temper tantrum I decided to call in the professionals and let them do what they do best. Scare little children.

Our appointment with the pediatric dentist today went rather well, and more importantly, rather quick. He took one look at her gums and asked me if she sucks her thumb. Well duh? Did you not notice the thumb in her mouth when she walked in... or the wet, shriveled, indent mark in her left thumb that will forever be there because goodness knows she doesn't take that thumb out of her mouth except to eat, talk, or hit her sister. He then told me that we also need to make sure she doesn't put other stuff in her mouth too ~ a feat that I've been working on for the past 3 years that in theory would be a fabulous idea, however in reality it's entirely unrealistic.

In the 10 minutes or so we were there, he diagnosed her infected gums, gave us 2 different medicines, and then proceeded to instruct me on the next procedure we're going to do - install the anti thumb sucking device... on January 13th. As 3 separate pediatric dentists, 3 pediatricians, and an ER physician have told me, we need to get her to stop sucking her thumb by the time she turns 4. While we love her little snaggle, half-chipped front tooth, extremely buck teethed smile, we'd prefer to NOT have her teeth resemble the Donkey's in the movie Shrek. If we continue to let her suck her thumb, she's well on her way!

On January 13th, we'll be going back to the dentist for her to get impressions made and to install the rings on the back two teeth. Two days later we'll go back and have the dentist insert the thin wire, and smooth, polished, silver tine device that she'll wear for the next 3-6 months, depending on how stubborn she is... He told me she'll be cranky, lose her appetite, and talk funny for the first week or so. In essence we shouldn't observe much of a difference in her attitude.... By day-10 she should stop putting her thumb in her mouth. Around 3 months we can make the decision as to our next steps. And then we wait...

The cost of all of the procedures? The office visits, impressions, the device, and all materials used on both January 13th and 15th... come up to a whopping total of 4500 Rupees - or approximately $90. Total.

Yeah baby! Let's hear it for Medical Tourism.


Okay... Let's Compare

As I'm thankfully moving out of the stage where people aren't sure if I'm pregnant or if I've just gained a lot of weight, I'm finally ready to take a few snapshots of my expanding belly. I had Riley stand on a chair after school today and take several photos (the self-portraits I took in the mirror did not come out very well). Not bad for a 5 year old, huh?

So here are a few photos from today... compared to a photo of me one week further along than I am now during my last pregnancy with Sheridan - 4.5 years ago! It sure is amazing to me how much my body remembered being pregnant, and how quickly I popped this time.

December, 2008

July, 2004


A Zebra Was Born

Kids Central Preschool had their 'Winter Term End Show' yesterday. The theme they've been covering these past few months has been "Forests" They had lessons on conservation, nature walks, forest trails, and wildlife studies, to name a few.

Sheridan stepped up to the plate. She hit. She ran. She scored! Yesterday, Sheridan truly amazed us all... she overcame her stage fright... though not without a little drama. On the way to drop her off for the show she did try to convince me that she had a stomach ache and she should probably go home. No chance sister. The cameras were charged and we're recording!

Just like the show last September, the school put on a performance that encompassed everything they've been learning throughout the term. Sheridan's class, the Flighty Frogs, put on a skit about Leo the Lion being the king of the jungle, and how the animals in the forest can help him when he loses his voice.

As expected, the costumes were pretty darn fantastic. There were zebras, giraffes, snakes, tigers, cats, monkeys, frogs, elephants, bears, owls, parrots... all in costumes made by a local tailor. Sheridan's group of zebras even had their shirts and shorts embellished with black/white striped fabric so they'd all looked uniform.

The show opened with the school song, followed by each child introducing themselves and answering the question, "What does a tree mean to me?" We were quite nervous and weren't sure what to expect when the microphone came to her, but Sheridan surprised us all and answered the question with... "My name is Sheridan and a tree to me is a book."

When it came time for her class to perform their skit we also held our breath for a few seconds. Would she or wouldn't she dance... would she freeze up when it came to her line? Nope - she boogied, she swayed, she pressed those lips hard to the microphone and belted out her line... "I'm sure, it will help Leo's throat get better, so the king can roar again." When you watch the video of it, notice the teacher giving me the thumbs up sign when she spoke her line. We were all extremely pleased.

What a difference a few months make, eh? If you want a good laugh, go back and watch her during the September show...

A few photos. Sheridan is the 5th / last zebra on the right.


We capped off the night by attending the American International School "Annual Winter Holiday Gathering". It was a fancy evening recognizing the teachers, volunteers, Consulate members who help work together to make the school a better place. I didn't have any formal attire (considering I'm 4 months prego and no longer fit into anything I own) but with a lot of make-up, some colorful jewelry, and a no-care attitude, I stuffed myself into a skirt, shirt, and pashmina, and had a great time. Matt and Tony worked the security for the event, but managed to come and join us at the table here and there throughout the night. We had a blast of an evening mingling, eating, and singing along to the music.


No Internet = Cranky Mommy

I know... it's becoming my mantra here.... and I'm sure I sound like a broken record. Losing our connection to the 'outside world' is unbelievably frustrating, irritating, aggravating, and every other "ing" word you can think of. We've finally become so fed up that we're switching services.... which will take at least 10 days... but most likely 2- 3 weeks the way everything works around here. I refuse to be cut off any longer than 24 hours again... let alone 5 LONG days.

Besides our internet being out, and me almost going hoarse screaming at TATA indicom, we've actually had another action packed week. Let me bring you up to speed.

  • Matt has been extremely busy with the horrible situation up in Mumbai. He's had endless meetings, several teleconferences, and more e-mails and phone calls than I can even begin to keep up with. He's one highly sought-after guy right now - with security finally becoming as important as it should have been in the first place!
  • Despite the solemn mood of the day, we really did have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, spent with good friends and good company. We managed to devour a Butterball turkey and all the fixins you can think of.
  • School was canceled Wednesday - Friday due to a cyclone and monsoon in Chennai. Our outside yard was completely flooded and we didn't leave our house until late Saturday afternoon.
  • We awoke Sunday morning to a flat tire on our car, which of course is the only day that our driver doesn't work, so Matt was stuck changing it himself. It was definitely one of the more frustrating jobs for him as the car was parked in about 4 inches of water, the jack broke while lifting the car, our other jack had difficultly lifting the car high enough to take the tire off, and because the spare tire has NEVER been used in its 15 year existence, the lug nuts were corroded and wouldn't come off to take down the tire. Two and a half hours and hundreds of 4-letter words later, the tire was changed and the car was ready to go.
  • Sunday we went to a Gingerbread House decoration at the Marriott Hotel. They have a great buffet every Sunday that we like to go to, and if we attended the decoration, we got a 20% discount for the lunch. Double Whammy! The girls enjoyed decorating the house with real cookies and candy... for about 5 minutes ... and then they were done.
  • I hosted this month's BUNCO where we had almost double the amount of ladies we normally get to the event. We filled 4 tables and had a great time as always. I decided to do something a little different for winner's gifts and instead of following in the food theme, I made the 4 winners aprons. Bummer that I forgot to take a photo!
  • Tonight we attended the Elementary School's Holiday Concert. Riley has been so excited about this night and singing on stage that she must have asked Matt no fewer than 20 times if he was going to take off work and attend the show. She told us she was singing, but wouldn't let us hear the songs - it was a surprise. I was required to arrive 45 minutes before the show to help get her ready in her 'stage clothes' which consisted of a multi-colored dress and a good hair-brushing after P.E. Unfortunately, in my haste of making sure I had the cameras, the snacks, the hairbrush, and the dress, I completely forgot to bring Riley's party shoes (aka - sandals). So for the show, she wore her dress and her ratty tennis shoes. I assured her that nobody would notice on stage - the photo below proves I was right... as always.

For those of you who've sent us e-mails, left phone messages, tried to Skype, or those who I meet up with in the bloggie world, please know that we're not ignoring you. We're a week behind here at Casa de Chaos and promise to get back in touch as soon as we can. Until then...

Thanksgiving Day

Decorating the Gingerbread House

Riley's Holiday Show

Notice the tennis shoes on the left... what about on the right on stage?

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