Friday, May 23, 2008

We are here!

We are here in South Bend and moderately established (which means 75% of the stuff is unpacked and I have attended a playgroup). However, sad to say, our internet service is dial-up for the time being, which makes blogging quite a bit more time consuming. We have worked with three different companies, looking for some high-speed internet love, but apparently we have fiber-optic phone lines (wouldn't you think that was better?), and we've had three failures. It looks like cable internet is our only hope.
When I'm brave, I will attempt to post some before-and-after shots of the main floor of our house. The kitchen looks MUCH better, and we are making progress on the family room. The living room mostly just looks bare.
Tomorrow, a friend here (Kelly) and I will be scouting out the Notre Dame Garage Sale. I'm not hard core enough to get in line at 5 a.m., but if the pickins' are good, I might be that ambitious next year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Best Of"

Dear Readers:
I have been, for the past three days, in South Bend, Indiana, where we closed on our home and began the minor work that needs to be done. John and his parents (bless them for helping us) are still there, working up a storm, painting themselves into a frenzy, and fixing all those tiny little problems that can blossom into full-blown disasters if left to themselves. (Just ask Shelly).

Because my camera is in parts unknown, preparing to be packed with the rest of this apartment, I am going to do something a little different today. I have read so many fabulous posts from those in my links lately that I wanted to share them with the rest of my enormous readership. Friends in Toledo don't know friends from Monticello (now in Hawaii or Alaska!), but I know, if you did, that you would all love each other. So here's your chance.

*Brittani recently met up with TV's real Andy Baldwin, of Bachelor fame. I didn't ever see him on the show, but the pictures are pretty darn impressive.
*Michelle wrote a hysterical report of the perils of babysitting two-year olds.
*Lindsay's pictures of Sam with a huge bruise, but contentedly sucking his thumb made my heart both happy and sad. He is really one of my favorites in nursery. I love how he has to get that thumb fix in between songs.
* Renae and Avery are both home! I was trying to find a post where you all could see pictures of Avery, since she is a gorgeous baby, but you will just have to find those for yourselves.
*Lyndsay and Erik write the funniest blog ever. I think every post of theirs is a highlight, so I can't pick just one, even of the recent ones, although I think Erik's description of the aforementioned "Bachelor" Andy Baldwin is a real winner.
*Jill and Glen are having a girl. Matthew is so cute that I'm not sure they should have strayed from a winning formula, but I'm always happy for people to have girls.
*Rindi's post about chasing down a mouse and shooing it out the door with an elaborate system designed by her and Greg made me laugh so hard I nearly. . . well, you know, with a weak pregnant bladder.
*Jake took some fantastic pictures of Jenny and lovely Baby Madison at the 577 foundation. (Don't you think they could come up with a better name for that?)
*April is taking a blogging break, but you should see this cake she made for her son's "Lava Girl and Shark Boy" (Is that right?) birthday party. So awesome.
*Keriann braved the den of iniquity :) that is HALO night and survived. Pretty darn impressive.
*Aimee and Justin have finished residency and will be moving into a gorgeous house in Idaho. I'm so happy for them! She also has an impressive stock of moving boxes stored up. (I wish I could figure out how to link directly to the posts.)
*Julie, besides being the home decorating and vinyl lettering genius that she is, has also shown her gardening skills. If you want to plant more flowers, Julie, and you don't mind a two-hour drive, my house needs your help.
*Shelly wrote a post on spring--I love Spring!!--and included our recent geocaching expedition which nearly ended in disaster. The pictures don't do justice to Jordan's crash. She literally headbutted the pavement from standing on a retaining wall. I thought she'd cracked her skull. However, that girl is tough as nails. Mimi got a little scrape in the same incident, and was crying a sniffling long after Jordan had recovered.
*Leisy organized a ward dance for last night (is there anything you can't do, Leisy), and I hear it was a roaring success. She is also, by far, the most regular poster of any of the blogs I read. Her post on Dumbledore (couldn't find it) was the epicenter of the controversy here in Toledo.
*Beth shows duplicate pictures of Kiersten and tries to pretend that she is also showing pictures of Baby Audrey. This I simply cannot believe. (Toledo is so lucky to get you back, Beth!)
*Marc describes Tanner's creative application of Calvin's transmogrifiers. And in the picture, Sarah peeks out of a box, which is cute enough for comment. (Plus, go back one post, and get a load of their new house!! Gorgeous and WELL-deserved, Kenna!)
*Kate's dog has a new haircut, and he looks very ashamed of his baldness. However, the cuteness of the kids more than makes up for it.
*Candace (along with many others) documents the deal of the century that I missed by leaving for just a couple days---$0.23 pizza at Papa John's!! $0.23!!!! And there's Jack, another nursery favorite. (It sounds like they are all my favorites, doesn't it?)
*What!!?!! Cynthia is pregnant? Man, I miss everything!
*Katie writes about a crazy peanut-allergy experience with her daughter, Rachel, complete with pictures. Poor kid!
*Trisdan now has only two days to go before she can expel her parasite. Good luck with that, Tris!
*Mags documents two minutes from a mother's life. More true than I wish. She also (two posts earlier) write the sweetest ode for her sister's birthday. I love those Boyle girls!
*Kellie is starting up just what we are leaving off. Her husband, Scott, has been accepted to medical school, and they are leaving Hawaii--beautiful Hawaii--for Maryland, where I know for a fact that the weather is not as good. Good luck, Kell!
*Amy and her cute girls went to the Kentucky Derby, in all their dresses and enormous hats glory. Or something close to it!
*Chris and Krista have the second cutest pair of Wells kids in the world.
*Katie (my cousin) names her electronic devices after deceased ancestors? What is that, Kathleen? And this post, documenting her mother's texts is so funny, especially if you know Aunt Rachel.

And there you go, an update on practically everyone I know, except those darn private blogs. :) How fun is it to get to share in so much happy news?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mulan and Orthopedic Plastic Surgery (a new specialty)

So, here's what Livi started doing last week. "Hey look at me. I'm Mulan!" I guess she came up with this one on her own and, politically correct though it's not, it was funny. Speaking of Disney Princesses stuff, here's where my medical skills have really been put to good use ($160,000 well spent). Our Polly collection is at least 30-40% super glue at this point. These were two of our simpler cases with a hip job and a purely cosmetic hair fixation.
The most common emergency I'm called on to deal with involves cranio-cervical dislocations, where the head is completely ripped from the body. The most common mechanism of action isn't a simple Polly MVA or fall, but something a little more sinister......torture. Liv pulls on the head while Mimi screams and pulls on the body. Once the dislocation occurs, the girls again become one in purpose and rush the Polly to me for what we refer to as a "cervical fusion".
My technique has improved quite a bit, considering with my first cervical fusion Princess Jasmine had what we in the business of Orthopedic Plastic Surgery refer to as a "poor outcome". She was unable to move her neck, which was not wholly unexpected, but (as everyone knows) super glue acts a little differently with each Polly Princess, and Jasmine unfortunately also lost the function of her right shoulder. Most recently, in a case I am especially proud of, Snow White recovered full range of motion in her neck and both upper extremities despite undergoing a cervical fusion because I made some slight modifications in technique, instrumentation, and post-surgical physical therapy. Other patients have been Prince Phillip with bilateral upper extremity fusions at the shoulders, two Belle cervical fusions, two Belle hair fixations, one Sleeping Beauty cervical fusion, and an Ariel cervical and shoulder fusion. One of the Belle fusions retained moderate cervical range of motion however, she suffered some significant scarring due to poor instrumentation.
Marc, Steve, any critiques? I think I'm ready to move on to people. Do we have any volunteers for my first surgery?

Edited to add: When I posted about this on Emilee's family blog, her law-student brother commented:
I am wondering if Jasmine has a malpractice case based on her poor outcome. The first question we have to ask is what the standard of care is for doll/action figure surgeons in the area. We need to take into account your available resources, but I am still concerned she may have a case. How much liability coverage do you have?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

T. I. A. G. T. M. A. T., Part IV: Walking Group

When I first moved to Toledo in the fall of 2004 (you know, I swear it wasn't that long ago), walking was my sanity. I would put Olivia in the stroller and push my pregnant self over to the Morse Center on MCO (it was that long ago, and I'll call it MCO until I die) campus, and walk a mile or two on the track. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were the days for the Cardiac Rehab patients to do their therapy, and so I would be there with a whole bunch of old men and a few old women, and gradually, they became my friends. A man who introduced himself as "Coach Quinn" got everyone there to sign an Adult XL "Cardiac Rehab Unit" t-shirt to give to Olivia since "she was the rehab mascot". They were delighted when I came back to walk after having Mimi, and I never got tired of hearing how I was getting so thin so quickly. (That's a fantastic ego-booster when you are looking at your poor post-baby body.)
The next year, Candace Slater started walking with me up there in the Morse Center (Thank you, Candace!!). It was so lovely to have someone that would actually talk to me the whole time. We would meet at 11:00, walk until 11:50, and then meet our husbands for lunch.
Then, just as it was becoming a chore to keep my kids in the stroller the whole time, struggling to keep them off the exercise equipment and counting jumps on the mini-trampoline every 5 laps, I got another lovely break. A group from church decided to walk together. At Swan Creek Park during the warm weather and at Southwyck Mall during the winter. Every Tuesday and Thursday, with dire circumstances my only excuse, I have been there. Walking. Staying sane. Occasionally pushing a small child who is crying hysterically in the stroller or on a bike. I love walking group.
And now I'm sad. I think I've only got two or three of these left, and I'm sad to go. Here is our group last Tuesday. It was quite chilly and breezy, and we still had a good turnout. It's nice to see there are moms as anxious to get out of the house as I am.The kids play in the park afterward. This is Mimi with Rachel.
I've been bringing Zachery lately, and this chain/ladder is his highlight of the park.
The moms talk and laugh.
And Mimi started learning how to ride Olivia's bike. (I love this picture.)
My birthday has fallen on walking group day for the past two years, and this year, as a delightful surprise, Katie and Shelly planned a little party. Cupcakes and ice cream and so much kindness. (I stole these pictures from Shelly's blog).
These girls are the cutest friends.
And I couldn't pass up the picture of the kids (Jordan, Caden, and Sarah) trying to dig out the last of the cupcake sprinkles.
I need there to be a walking group in South Bend.