Friday, July 31, 2009

Week 2 and why I'll never buy something other than ziploc again

So, I've been doing the Change One breakfast successfully for a full week! And it's working; I'm down another pound. To be fair, it's true what they say about eating breakfast -- in making a concerted effort to eat well for breakfast, I also paid attention to what I was eating for the rest of the day. It's made a difference since I haven't been able to go running for about a week due to heat, humidity, and thunderstorms. So, today I *should* have started with step 2: lunch. Unfortunately, Olivia has been sick with a little summer cold for the past 3 days. She has handled it better than Frank and I, who called the doctor twice, taken her temperature about a billion times, and used an aspirator more times than I care to count. After all was said and done, we decided Chinese food for dinner last night was an excellent idea, and I ate leftovers today for my brunch. Tomorrow is a new day, though, and I will eat a healthy lunch while maintaining a healthy breakfast.

Lunch is a serving a starch/grain, a serving of protein, a serving of fruit, and as much veggies as I'd like. On the 1600 calorie plan, I can choose to double my protein here. I'm going to try to not do this so that I can get used to the smaller lunch and build up as I progress, if I'd like. Also, with this approach, I maintain breakfast, add lunch, and eat whatever I want the rest of the day. Sooo, I'll stick with not doubling for now.

While I was doing the healthy breakfast thing this past week, I decided to start cooking again. I say it this way because Frank is a fantastic cook and does most of the cooking for our family. But, in order to truly know what I'm eating, I need to start cooking some meals again. That being said [and we had some zucchinis about to go bad], I made a big old pot of turkey chili. Now, when I started out, I was thinking use the zucchinis, but since we were at the grocery store, I picked up some peppers and onions, too. Then, I looked in the cupboards and discovered several cans of beans and diced + crushed tomatoes. PERFECT! Along with the ground turkey meat, this would make an excellent pot of chili! Well, it sure did and then some:

Most of this went into our freezer. After I took this picture, though, I walked away so that the containers could cool a bit. Then, Frank and I heard an awful sound. The sound of plastic bag hitting our kitchen floor. I believe Frank's exact words were, "Did I just hear a bag of chili hitting the floor?" I approached with a solid pit of anxiety in my stomach, fearing the worst. What I found was the reason why I will only buy ziploc products again.

And if anyone wants to make chili, just get your hands on some ground turkey meat, one large yellow onion, 2 medium green peppers, 2 green zucchinis, 1 yellow zucchini, a 16 oz can of tomato sauce/puree/crushed tomatoes, a smaller can of tomato sauce, 3 - 4 cans of beans (your favorites) rinsed and drained, salt, pepper and spices to taste (I like chili pepper, cilantro, white pepper, and ground chipotle pepper as well as ground cumin when I have it). Essentially, just brown the meat while seasoning it with salt, pepper and spices, then drain and dump it into a larger pot with the cans of tomato sauce/etc. Use the same pan from the turkey to brown the veggies, individually or together, whichever is easiest. Make sure to season those while they brown. Then add them to the pot. Add water to thin out the chili to the desired consistency. Then, add the beans as well as any more seasoning that you'd like. You can add more or less vegetables as you see fit. And it freezes well (thank goodness!) so just use containers that work for your family and you've got meals for -- well, forever if you're us.

Empty Nest

Big news in the Ingiosi household! Olivia is now sleeping in her crib and not in the cradle [or our bedroom]. She's been sleeping through the night since she was about 5 1/2 weeks old, so I've been pushing for this transition for a while. Frank, however, felt that she was too little to not be in our room. I finally put my foot down two weeks ago for a few reasons.

1. She's too big for the cradle, as evidenced below:

2. Frank had been waking her up in the morning while he was getting ready for work. Well, to be fair, he would get ready in what would be her bedroom. Unfortunately, he hit the snooze button about 3 times before actually getting out of bed... not many people, beside Frank, sleep through that many alarms.

3. Our room gets incredibly hot; the air conditioning works in every room but ours. We are pretty sure the vent is blocked, but we've been too busy (or lazy?) to fix it. As adults, we manage by keeping the bedroom door open so air from the other rooms almost makes it into ours, and we run an oscillating fan. This is not safe for an infant. Research has shown that the risk of SIDS is greatly reduced with a lower air temperature and a fan.

4. While numbers 1 through 3 should have been good enough, they were not to an already overprotective daddy. However, on Friday, July 17th, I put my foot down when I discovered Monty, our youngest cat, playing with the tiny little fist you saw hanging out of the cradle in the above picture. The sight of him batting around her hand sent me into mama bear mode, and I demanded that Frank do what he had to do to get our daughter into her crib that night.

"Doing what he had to do" involved him picking up particle board so that he could install our SECOND monitor in the crib. This monitor, the Angelcare by BebeSounds, is a sound and sensor monitor. If the sensor does not pick up motion for 20 seconds, an alarm sounds. The sensor portion needs to go under the mattress but on a solid surface, and since Olivia's crib has springs under the mattress, we needed the wood to effectively use the monitor.

Olivia was perfect in her bed. We gave her good night kisses, and she slept like a champ!
But, poor Daddy! He worried about little Olivia too much. So....
How did Olivia do? Well, despite Daddy sharing her room, she didn't stir a bit. In fact, when she woke up in the morning, she was her usual chipper self.

And for the first time in 14 weeks, Mommy got the best sleep ever. The end.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Doing the Math

I've had some bad cast moments lately, so I decided to do the math to reassure myself. Numbers sometimes make me feel better, so here goes...

Olivia was born April 10, 2009 (we will consider this Day Zero).

Day 1: Pediatrician notices that her left hip is out of the socket... possibly the right too.
Day 2: Pediatrician again checks her hips and feels that the right is also out of the socket.
Day 4: We have an ultrasound done of Olivia's hips
Day 5: We meet Dr. Bowen at DuPont who confirms that Olivia has developmental dysplasia of the hip. She is fitted for a Pavlick Harness
Day 55: Dr. Bowen tells us the harness isn't working and she will need surgery. We get to take the harness off until then. We are harness-free for 5 days.
Day 59: Open-reduction surgery, tendotomy, and spica cast -- we spend the night at DuPont
Day 94: Olivia gets her second cast which ends just above her knees.
Day 98: Olivia is moved to her bedroom and is now sleeping in her crib.

Next Dr.'s appointment is August 11th or Day 122... he may determine that the cast can come off then or we may need to go back. We've tentatively scheduled the appointment after that for August 20th or Day 131. Hopefully the cast will definitely be off then. At that point, she will have had the cast for just 72 days. If we add the time spent in the harness to this, it's a total of 122 days. Essentially, if the spica cast is not removed until August 20th, she will only have had 9 days of life where her legs were not in some sort of contraption [full-time].

Percentage-wise, that is 93% of her life spent in the harness and cast. It's easy to look at that and be distressed. HOWEVER, if she lives to be 80 years old or roughly 29,220 days, the percentage of her life spent in a medically-necessary contraption is only 0.4%. In fact, by that point in her life, she won't even remember the stories we've told her.

All the worried energy that we've spent on this, and it only works out to be roughly 0.4% of Olivia's life. That's much better.

Change One

In early July I did my usual weigh-in with the Wii Fit followed by the balance tests and an amazing thing happened. The "Wii Age" that the thing gives you was LESS than my real age. All along the damn thing had been issuing snide comments about how my "Wii Age" was x number of years more than my real age and wasn't I feeling weaker. Well, when the number it spewed forth was 22, I wanted to scream, "In your face, Wii!" I didn't but mostly because Frank was sitting on the couch watching. I have to vent my frustration in that there were no positive comments from the cartoon balance board on the screen - nothing along the lines of "Way to go!" or "Don't you feel amazing!" All the stinking remarks about how out of shape I am, and when I do something incredible, it's just another day.

I digress. The point I am making is that shortly after that milestone, I fell off the proverbial wagon. I stopped doing my daily weigh-ins and weekly training sessions. I no longer wrote down what I ate or how much water I consumed. I naively coasted by on the afterglow of success.

Then 4 days ago, I stepped on the Wii balance board for a random weigh-in. Not bad but not great. Nothing to fear. The next day I did the same... hmmm, it's gone up. Alright, no biggie; nothing to panic about. On the third day, it rose again. My weight, my BMI, my Wii age. I was now almost 40 in Wii years. Time to take action.

So, I broke out my book called Change One and started reading. This is the book that helped me lose the 50 pounds before. The idea is that making one small change a week for 12 weeks will help you lead a healthier lifestyle. It recommends 1300 calories for everyone, but if you are heavy or active (30 mins of movement most days), it suggests 1600 calories. However, it isn't about counting calories; you use guidelines for portion control and meal planning. It's about lifestyle changes, not "dieting." My fellow behavior analysts will agree that changing in steps will lead to great results, so here I go [again].

The first week is Breakfast, which everyone should be eating! Research shows a healthy breakfast makes you feel full and tends to result in healthy eating throughout the day. Anyway, on this plan, they suggest eating 1 starch, 1 dairy and 1 fruit. So yesterday and today I enjoyed hot oatmeal with soy milk and a banana. I'm on the 1600 calorie plan so I double my starch and have all the oatmeal in the packet, not just half.

I feel good about this. Yesterday we took a 40 minute walk to the Acme; today I ran 25 minutes; later, we walked to the Bryn Mawr Farmer's Market. When I got home I ate a peach. The mindset is helping already; I made cupcakes for IFHN which they ended up not needing so I decided not to ice them and have been enjoying just one at a time.

Now, I just need to keep at it. Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Well Wishes

Please join our family in praying and thinking of Baby Emory, his mom, Kirsten, and his family as they experience closed reduction surgery for his hip dysplasia and a subsequent spica cast. You are in our thoughts today and as he progresses to being cast-free!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


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Fiberglass Leiderhosen!

We went to DuPont on Monday so Olivia could get her new cast. They had to sedate her because, well, you know, it's difficult to tell an infant to hold still. Anyway, the good news is that the new cast ends just above her knees! We can see her legs again (well, from the knee down), which is super cute since the cast now looks like red, fiberglass leiderhosen. I still don't have a picture of this; the ones I took at the hospital show Liv covered with a blanket, so I'll have to get on that. Olivia once again was a champ throughout the whole procedure. Dr. Bowen did an arthrogram (a dye-test that acts as a joint x-ray, showing cartilage and what not that does not come up on a regular x-ray) while she was under the anesthesia which showed that her hips are set well and the cartilage is growing around the bone. This is great, but unfortunately it looks like Li'l Miss Liv will be in the cast for at least another 4 - 6 weeks. Keep your fingers crossed that it's on the lesser side of that! We'd love to get in some swimming before the weather turns.

We did not have to spend the night but the day was incredibly long because of this as Olivia had to have a post-procedure MRI (to ensure the hips were correctly set in the new cast) as well as the fiberglass overlay. This is the second time that Olivia has had anesthesia, and it's the second time that she has woken up horribly from this. She screams this awful hoarse scream for awhile, nurses a little bit, and eventually takes her pacifier. Mind you, this same pacifier is rejected at home, but at the hospital, it's the equivalent of Linus and his blue blanket. Anyway, when we finally got through everything, she passed out for a bit in the car, drank milk at home, and took a very long nap. We had to give her baby Tylenol that day and the next because the old cast really did a number on her legs. The skin was incredibly raw -- imagine really bad skinned knees and that was what Liv's legs looked like. There were even some open wounds! Today she didn't need the tylenol except this morning; we gave her more before bed because we cleaned her legs with soap (just Johnson's) and water as per instructions. All in all, her sleep pattern at night has stayed the same, but during the day, she's now taking her long nap earlier. I think this was jump-started by the sedation, but it's really rooted in her going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. The girl sleeps through the night, so Frank and I are okay with these minor shifts. Other than that, she's on her way to being perfectly healthy and the perfect baby.

Here we are on our way to the hospital (she's actually laughing):

Here she is in pre-op (that's the paci!) waiting to be whisked away (how cute is that gown?!):

And here we are in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit... ugh, the most awful thing to experience - not being able to comfort your child effectively.

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes! We are on our way to recovery!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Me Time

It was yesterday. Yesterday after she woke up an hour early. After a shower that ended to the sound of wailing. After fussiness that continued post-feeding, post-napping, and post-diapering. After all this that I sent a text message to my husband.

She's been fussy all morning except her 1 hr nap... i demand a raise

My husband, who negotiates contracts for a living, wrote back: Fine. What are your demands?

Thinking that I might be walking into a trap, I took a chance and wrote the following: Groceries. dinner at outback. 2 - no 3! hours to myself in a row. and u vaccuum this weekend.

I was dreaming; I knew this. I knew it was too much. That I was pushing the envelope so to speak. That there was no way he would respond positively. And yet, that's why it was over the top. Perhaps it would appear so cute that he would shake his head in that 1950s TV sitcom kind of way -- as if to say, "Oh the wife! What a character she is!" I was thrown off by his one word text back.

WHAT??? Done??? Is this a joke? Is he luring me with promises only to rescind when I think he's being serious in what I could only imagine would be a cruel joke, funny to him and the other men in his office. DONE! In the words of Cousin Eddie: Are you serious, Clark?

I decided to test the waters with the following: And starbucks?

Yep, that's right, I went for the hat trick. I stared into the storm ahead and kept on going. If he was kidding, what did I have to lose. And if he was genuinely being serious, well, I was about to hit one out of the park.

His reply was quick and short: Sure.

Confused, I sent numerous text messages questioning his sincerity. To which he replied, Hey, you've done a lot. You deserve some met demands.

This silenced me. Completely and utterly quieted my often loud and opinionated self. Yes, I thought, I have done a lot. I do deserve some met demands. Making sure to let him know how much I appreciated this, I wrote I think that's the sweetest thing you couldve said to me.

Re-energized, I took my fussy child for a walk, during which she calmed and even dozed. I bought myself lunch at a sandwich shop (unfortunately the lunchtime crowd thronged the local Starbucks which just barely accommodates our bulky jogging stroller). It didn't faze me when Olivia woke up at this point, barring me from relaxing al fresca with my salad. I just headed home, thinking about my demands and the promise of their fulfillment.

Of course, then Olivia refused to nap more than 30 minutes. Then I spilled 80 mL of pumped milk. Then the fussiness started again. Then I was rattled, shaken from my usual attempt to remain a patient and loving mother. Thankfully, divine intervention occurred sometime around 4pm, and naps dominated the early evening for everyone.

As for those demands - well, we still don't have groceries, and our dinner was Bertucci's, not Outback. Our floors have yet to see a vacuum cleaner (but to be fair, we still have tomorrow). But, those 3 hours that I had to myself this morning... those three, long, glorious hours of uninterrupted Me Time? Those were some of the most amazing hours of my life. I read a magazine, had adult conversation, got a pedicure, did light shopping (meaning I had to return something but got something else to take its place), and sipped on a Grande Non-Fat No Water Chai with One Pump Mocha. I called home once. Frank sounded flustered. Are you ok? He replied shortly I guess I'm gonna have to be. When I pressed for more information, he responded I'm just trying to hold the baby and balance the phone.

Oh, that's all. For one brief moment, I almost fretted. Then I took another sip.

One Plus One Makes Two

In honor of Olivia's 3 month birthday, I dug up and scanned some pictures of Frank and me in our adorable youth. I was trying to find 3 month pictures of the two of us, but apparently both of our parents decided NOT to go to K-Mart for that milestone... so the closest I got was about 4 months -- still pretty darn cute. You can decide who Olivia looks more like.

Here is Frank:
Here is Alicia:
And here is Miss Olivia:
I included this one, too, because she has this "Haaa--ey!" kind of look to her.

Technically this one was taken over the 4th of July, but it's the best close-up of her face that we have so far in case anyone is really trying to determine which side of the family she most resembles... let the great debate continue!

At three months, the Livster can do all this:
hold her head up
make eye contact with people
initiate an interaction by smiling
smile in response to a smile
imitate someone opening their mouth and sticking out their tongue
grip on to something (we are working on reaching for things but she's got the grip!)
follow toys or other objects with her eyes
blow bubbles (thanks, Mom Mom!)

Here is a video of Olivia and Mom Mom (hope I did this right!) having a "chat."

We certainly have a lot to be proud of!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Belated 4th of July!

I'm including some pictures from Independence Day weekend as a Happy 4th of July from Olivia. She had her first "event" over this past weekend (on her 12 week birthday), participating in the Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K. Ok, ok, she participated in the corresponding walk, doing the almost 3 miles with Mommy, Daddy and Mom Mom. Daddy and Olivia finished in 50 minutes, while Mommy and Mom Mom finished in 51 minutes. Everyone walked faster than last year! Yay!

Here she shows her game face, mentally preparing for the walk.

And here is a special picture of Olivia's new trick: blowing bubbles and sometimes raspberries! Thanks, Mom Mom!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And the survey says... BRAND NEW CAST (on Monday)!

A quick update before I head off to bed. Olivia gets a brand new cast on Monday! Thank goodness because this one is starting to stink! She will have to be sedated, which means another overnight stay. Other than that, the doctor says her hips look great. Check back Tuesday for pictures of the new cast and the hospital visit as well as an update on how much longer Miss Livie Lu will be in her cast!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Holiday Blessings and then some

Dear God,

I would like to thank you for some things that have occurred over the past few days. I would send you pictures, but well, you were there.

First, thank you for Olivia, of course. She's pretty awesome and is starting to scooch in her cast while sleeping. What a wonderful talent you've given her! Also, thank you for giving me the foresight to monitor her in the cradle while she is sleeping -- she won't remember bumping up against the top of the cradle, right? In a related blessing, I would like to thank you for giving me catlike skills when she did get a little upset; I was able to move her before she even realized she bumped her head! Fantastic! By the way, is there any chance you could do something about the spitting up? I mean, I know you are busy but thought I'd ask just in case.

Second, thank you for Frank. What an understanding and supporting husband you have blessed me with. Not only did he not get mad when I decided to use noxious bathroom cleaners containing bleach at 8pm on Friday night (Side blessing -- thank you so much for changing Liv's bedtime to 9pm! And she still sleeps through the night!), which made the upstairs almost entirely uninhabitable for about 2 hours, but he had the wisdom to set up the pack'n'play so Olivia could go to sleep. AND when I woke him up at 5:45am to kill the ginormous spider in the kitchen, he didn't complain once! By the way, thank you for not killing me with the spider; how wonderful of you to instead use this as an opportunity to teach me to ask for help when I need it. I have so much to learn.

Third, thank you for Mom Mom and Pop Pop, who were big helps this weekend, allowing Frank to cook for the family and me to organize Mom Mom's pictures. (Side blessing: thank you for $3.99/pound snow crab specials at Acme and hot dogs... mostly hot dogs.) They were equally helpful yesterday when I had to have my brakes fixed. (Side blessing: Thank you for giving me the idea to go to Sears Auto after Pep Boys turned me away THREE times!! I am learning how to stay calm -- thank you!) You have really blessed me with patience as I embark on teaching Olivia her schedule again this week.

Thank you for getting Uncle Paul to Michigan and Aunt Gi to Indiana safe and sound. If it's not too much to ask, Uncle Paul would like to find a job relatively quickly. Aunt Gi is continuing to do good work at Su Casa, as you know. She must certainly have a spot in heaven! Please continue to keep her safe.

And thank you, of course, for Uncle Matthew and Grandma Jo. I'm sure you know what you are doing regarding this, so I won't question any of it. I won't lie -- you certainly keep me on my toes! Maybe you could inspire Uncle Matthew to get Olivia a beautiful baptismal card, as he is her Godfather -- you know, just a little card to say how much he loves her and how pretty she looked at the baptism. Something like that. If it's not too much.

Oh, one more thing! Thank you for guiding me with the run/walk program. It's going quite well, and I've lost a few pounds! I know you have a plan for why one of the two pairs of running shorts I use became torn and had to be thrown out. I'm sure I'll see it eventually... maybe in the future, though, you could take into consideration and not have the tear be because of my thighs. Who am I to question you in your infinite wisdom? Thank you for teaching me humility.

Ok, that's it. I'm really quite lucky. Hope all is well with you -- you know, watching out for the universe and all. Give my regards to grandma -- a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bon Voyage!

We said good-bye to Uncle Paul this past Sunday (tear). He moved far away to Michigan to be with Ashley (so really, it's a good thing), and we are super excited for them (but a little sad, selfishly). Here are some pictures from his last day in Pennsylvania [for now]. And really, when you look at them, can you blame him for leaving? And we also said a temporary good-bye to Aunt Gi, who went back to Indiana to finish her masters program at Notre Dame. Frank's mom may never be the same. I think this means lots of visits from Mom Mom!

The whole Ingiosi Family (3 generations already!)

The Ingiosi Children and Olivia

The Ingiosi boys and adopted brother Tom with Olivia

Uncle Paul and Olivia being super cute

Aunt Gi being goofy with Miss Livie Lu

And here is what Miss Olivia was like at the end of the night... God help us all!
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