Glass City Parent


And Then She Said, “Enjoy The Rest of Your Pregnancy!”

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 06/10/14 4:32 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Cell Free DNA test, Chromosomal Testing, Glass City Parent, Health & Safety, pregnancy

Huh?

I mean it seemed like a dream at the time.  I’d just been given darn near the best news of my life…your baby is chromosomally typical…and before the genetic counselor hung up she said, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

No one has ever said that to me before.

I guess that’s because I’ve never done any prenatal chromosomal testing before.  Given my advanced maternal age, however it seemed prudent to get as much information as we could.  If you read Inconceivable, you know I had an amnio done when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Logan.  The purpose of the amnio was to get an exact DNA match to the his parents.  We wanted to make sure we were handing over the child I was carrying to the correct people.  Anways, you may recall it was not a pleasant experience.  Therefore, I had no desire to lather, rinse and repeat.  That’s why I was thrilled to learn there is a new test that can diagnose chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus and all it involves is a blood draw.

Enter the Cell Free DNA test.  In simple terms, scientists have learned how to isolate placental DNA in a blood sample from the mother.  By studying the placental DNA they can diagnose trisomy 13, 18 and 21 and determine gender.  The test consisted of a simple blood draw and a ten day wait.

The wait was the most painful part of the process.

When the clock struck 5 pm this past Friday and I didn’t have the test results I was beside myself.  It was the tenth day and in my head the results were supposed to have been in no later than that very moment.  Imagine my relief when at 5:10 pm my phone showed an incoming call from Toledo Hospital.  I could hardly breathe.  When I heard the words, “totally normal” I  burst into tears.  Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was so worried about.  After all, Sean and I are perfectly capable of parenting a child with a chromosomal abnormality.  In fact, we would have welcomed him or her with open, loving arms.  I think it must have been the mortality rates that come along with trisomy 13 and 18.  I just couldn’t bear the thought of eventually losing this child.  We’ve had enough loss.

Once I gathered myself the genetic counselor reminded me I’d told her I didn’t want to know the gender.  I assured her that was still the case but impressed how important it was for my midwife to get the gender results ASAP.  “You see,  I signed a release so my midwife can call my baker.  We’re going to do a reveal this weekend… with a cake.  You know, blue frosting on the inside if it’s a boy; pink if it’s a girl.  I want to find out with the rest of my family.”  I thought I sounded stupid.  Honestly, in that moment I didn’t care about the gender.  This baby was healthy.  That’s all that mattered.  (More about our gender reveal here.)

She was happy to oblige and ended our conversation with a cheery, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy” –which stopped me cold in my tracks.  Enjoying pregnancy is an oxymoron to me.  My pregnancies are fraught with complications and worries.  Is it even possible to enjoy my pregnancy?

I’ve thought a lot about that since Friday and decided I’m going to give it my best good college try.  I’ve put away my doppler monitor promising only to search for his heartbeat once a week;  I’ve committed to starting to look at little boy paint colors and decor for a nursery instead of being afraid of “jinxing it” by planning;  and I’m going to talk about him without worrying that I’m getting too attached.

I’m going to count this chicken before he’s hatched.

That’s a new thing for me…and I think I kind of like it.

*****

So there is no misinterpretation  as to why we did the Cell Free DNA Test I feel the need to clarify.   We really felt it was best to know if there were going to be any health complications before this child’s birth.  We truly value the benefits of mental and emotional preparation when it comes to challenging medical and emotional challenges.   Knowing would have allowed us to make the best plans for our son  and ourselves prior to his delivery.  If the results had come back positive for a chromosomal abnormality we would have stuck to our personal belief system, carried this child to term and welcomed him into this world as God made him.  That is consistant with our personal belief system.

Key word – personal.

 

 

 

A Sixth Birthday Party or parties

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/31/14 11:12 AM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Daughters, Decorating, Focusing on The Joy, Glass City Parent, Holidays, thankful

Mary Kate’s birthday is officially over and I’m exhausted.  You see, after a series of parties dedicated to her 6th our middle child may have the rather demented impression that her seventh birthday should rival the Queen’s Jubilee.  It all started innocently enough.  This was going to be a “party year” for her.  We don’t have big birthday parties every year in our house.  There’s always a family celebration but the shindigs with friends and stamped invitations are reserved for the big years, and in our home “6” is a banner accomplishment.

(I have no idea why.  There is no logic to this so don’t ask.)

Anyways, back in January I asked MK what she wanted for a theme for her party and she announced that she wanted a “Princess Castle Cake” with fireworks shooting out of the top.  I said yes to the cake,  no to the fire works and spent the entire month of February in Hobby Lobby.  (I think I may have single handedly financed Hobby Lobby’s law suit against the federal government…or at least one of the attorneys that argued in front of the supreme court last week.)

I have to confess—I had a blast with this party.  I don’t know if it was because I spent the first thirteen years of motherhood convincing myself I would never miss doing the girly stuff that comes along with a daughter or if it’s because I need mental help.  According to Sean it’s the latter.  I’ll cop to a little bit of both.  Regardless, I went balls out with theme to the point of my sister-in-law threatening to hide my glue gun.

DSC_0147

Now comes the explanation about the four seperate celebrations.  Mary Kate’s birthday is March 29th which was a Saturday this year.  When I first looked at the calendar I was ecstatic.  We could have her party on her actual birthday, however, after further inspection the reality of MK’s lot in life came to fruition.  When you are third in line behind two very active older brothers sometimes your schedule gets trumped by track meets, ACT tests and high school dance schedules.  So…we moved the party date up. Which made sense but also contributed to the concept that March was now designated MK’s birthday month.

The Royal Table

The Royal Table

The Royal (no spill) drink glasses. (Tutorial on how to make coming tomorrow.)

The Royal (no spill) drink glasses. (Tutorial on how to make coming tomorrow.)

Crafted goody bags hung on the back of each chair.

Crafted goody bags hung on the back of each chair.

100959498

Of course, the highlight of the party was the appearance of Princess Laurel.  I wrote about Laurel last summer when we attended one of her  fairy garden parties.  Back then she was just starting her Princess Party business and since then her popularity in our neck of the woods has exploded.  Mary Kate couldn’t have been more thrilled that Princess Laurel came to her party.

46

Princess Laurel comes with an invaluable message about how true princesses are kind and true to themselves.

Princess Laurel comes with an invaluable message about how true princesses are kind to others and true to themselves.

54

They also dance...

They also dance…

 

59

Even the littlest princesses...

Even the littlest princesses…

The afternoon was magical.  8581104

The timing of the party coincided with Drew’s spring break so there were kings in attendance as well!

59a8a

Princesses can be silly, too!

Princesses can be silly, too!

When the party was over I was sad.  Sad in the same way I am the day after Christmas.  It was such a wonderful celebration of Mary Kate and her friends.  She is growing into such a special young lady who is so different than I was as a child.  She’s outgoing…I was shy.  She’s confident…I was timid.  She sings at the top of her lungs and doesn’t care what others think…I was affected by the opinion of others.  I know a lot of this is simply wiring but I like to think, at times, that her happy-go-lucky attitude is a symptom of her environment.  This party was the perfect reflection of her current stage in life.

We went on to celebrate her birthday three more times.  Once in Florida with my parents…where my dad delivered on the fireworks portion of her birthday request…much to her chagrin…

Once with her classmates…

This is a Montessori birthday celebration.  The entire class is circled and a candle is lit to represent the sun.  The number rods are laid out to signify the six years MK has been on this Earth.

This is a Montessori birthday celebration. The entire class is circled and a candle is lit to represent the sun. The number rods are laid out to signify the six years MK has been on this Earth.

For each year, I was to tell a special thing about MK at that age, and then MK carried the Earth around the sun representing the year of growth that had taken place in her life.

For each year, I was to tell a special thing about MK at that age, and then MK carried the Earth around the sun representing the year of growth that had taken place in her life.

In the Montessori setting snack is a work choice.  On birthdays a special snack is provided by the birthday student.  It's supposed to be healthy but we snuck a Peep into the mix.  And of course...it's pink.

In the Montessori setting snack is a work choice. On birthdays a special snack is provided by the birthday student. It’s supposed to be healthy but we snuck a Peep into the mix. And of course…it’s pink.

And last night with her fairy Godmother, Sean’s mom and our immediate family.

DSC_0145

Homemade Ho Ho cake.  Recipe linked below.

Homemade Ho Ho cake. Recipe linked below.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month that has served as a reminder of how grateful I am for my daughter.  She may have come into this life as the tiniest of miracles…

0005833822335-1

….but she continues to bless us every day.  It’s a joy to be her mother.

4

Now…time to prepare.  We have a “17th” coming up!

Spring Break…Lessons Learned

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/25/14 9:12 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Focusing on The Joy, Glass City Parent, Travel

Did you know that dining with two two-year-olds in a restaurant is just as anxiety producing as pulling the pin on a grenade and waiting for it to explode?  Okay…maybe not AS anxiety producing but almost.  I can attest to this because Sean and I just spent a week of dancing a nightly jig between the time we were seated for dinner and the time our food arrived.  Sometimes things went smoothy.  Other times they didn’t.  When they didn’t conditions went downhill rather quickly and usually ended up with one of us crawling around on the floor searching for a binky, a crayon, a book or one of the twins that had managed to disappear into the abyss that is the “under” of restaurant tables.

Which leads me to this week’s helpful tip.  When you lose something under the table of dimly lit restaurant do your best to refrain from using the flashlight app on your phone to illuminate the floor.  Trust me when I say there are things under restaurant tables that no one should see …especially before eating…which is probably why the establishment is dimly lit in the first place.

Why we didn’t cut ourselves a break and make dinner in our Sanibel condo is inexplicable.  After each dinner we’d slink out of the restaurant promising not to try it again, and  around 4:00 pm the next day we would delude ourselves into thinking it would be okay if we tried one more time.  I think the daily mixture of sunscreen, ultraviolet rays and Corona led to both of us becoming temporarily insane.  I mean, isn’t the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results?

Yup.  We could’ve used a commital hearing because we were clearly operating somewhere between terminally insane and delusional denial.

Sanibel Island keeps their beaches natural.  Meaning, there are not beach cleaning crews.  If it lands on the beach from the ocean...it's staying there which makes for lots of treasures!

Sanibel Island keeps their beaches natural. Meaning, there are no beach cleaning crews. If it lands on the beach from the ocean…it’s staying there… which makes for lots of treasures!

DSC_0154DSC_0153

My friend, Tracy and her family spent a day with us on the beach which meant MK was reunited with her bff, Hailey.  The two of them were two old beach ladies, loving every single thing about it!

My friend Tracy and her family spent a day with us on the beach which meant MK was reunited with her bff, Hailey. The two of them were two old beach ladies, loving every single thing about their time together in the sand!

 

This is some serious work happening here!

This is some serious work happening here!

As crazy as our meal time was the rest of the vacation was pretty much perfect.  I guess we suffered enough during last year’s spring break to allow for a respite from travel chaos this year.  So we took advantage of every second of sunshine, warmth and time with our kids.  We were “a man down” this year as Drew couldn’t join us due to his collegiate commitments.  That was bittersweet.   I have so many special memories of Drew as a child on Sanibel but as much as I missed him I’m enjoying watching this phase of his life unfold.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that Mary Kate, Isabella, and Reagan are just now starting to show us who they are and those small glimpses into the people that are our children seem magnified when coupled with time to relax and soak them all in.  Even Ryan, our almost seventeen year old, seemed happier.  It’s amazing what a little extra sleep, a little less schedule and a lot of extra happiness can do to for an attitude.

I don't write about Ryan much and that's at his request.  He's my shy guy who likes to keep a low profile.

I don’t write much about Ryan and that’s at his request. He’s my shy guy who likes to keep a low profile.

So, these pics which are here with his permission are special.  They not only give you a glimpse into how amazing he is with his three little sisters, but they also give you an idea of the kind soul he is growing into.  We are so proud of him.

So, these pics which are here with his permission are special. They not only give you a glimpse into how amazing he is with his three little sisters, but they also give you an idea of the kind soul he is growing into. We are so proud of him.

 

We arrived home bright and early Saturday morning and if I told you I wasn’t sad about it, I’d be lying.  It’s still cold  and gray here in northwest Ohio so leaving the sunshine of our Florida escape was hard.  That being said, we are always grateful for the ability  to get away and if we didn’t come home and get “back to it” we’d never get a chance to escape which would be sad.  Sad because what I’ve figured out is that the destination isn’t necessarily the gift of a vacation.  The true gift exists in the time spent with family.  Time to connect.  Time to destress.  Time to kick back, let the pressures of our every day grind fall away and learn more about those that we love the most.

DSC_0102

DSC_0216DSC_0162DSC_0173

The memories made in the process are just the icing on the cake.

DSC_0183

If you are interested in the amazing recipe for slow cooker buffalo chicken sandwiches that I raved about during my weekly segment with 101.5 The River click here.  You won’t be sorry!

Forgotten Bathing Suit Breast Pads and The Swim Lesson from Hell

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/10/14 12:18 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up, Glass City Parent, Recipes, twins

It all started out with the best of intentions.  The twins are two, we have a pool in the back yard, and sometime…hopefully soon…swimming season will arrive.  So, in the interest of safety, Sean and I thought it would be prudent to schedule Isabella and Reagan for swimming lessons.

Perfectly normal.  Right?

Except there’s a glitch, which shouldn’t surprise any of my readers.  There’s always a glitch.  In fact, in retrospect, I probably should’ve named this blog (and our book for that matter), “The Glitch”.  It’s cathchy and conveniently rhymes with bitch which is fitting because the “glitch” always results in “the bitch”…at least in our home it does.

Anyways, since this isn’t my first time at the toddler-swim-lesson-rodeo I knew they required a parent participant–which is a glitch—because Sean has always been the CEO of mommy-and-me swim lessons.  It’s not that I don’t like to swim.  It’s that I don’t like to swim in public pools.  I have issues with communal bath tubs.  Trust me when I tell you there’s  not enough chlorine to kill the sceevy back-stroking critters of my imagination. But, seeing as how we have two toddlers, and in the interest of not wanting them to drown, I figured once a week I could swallow some extra anti-anxiety meds, squeeze into my bathing suit and endure thirty minutes in a public pool.  So, I signed them up, gave myself a mental pep talk, and packed a swim bag.

Which is where things went terribly wrong.

Because I wasn’t just packing one swim bag.  I had to pack four swim bags.  One for Sean, because he couldn’t be trusted to pack everything needed.  (See…glitch equals bitch.  I admit it.)  One for each twin because I couldn’t picture showering two slippery, wet toddlers on my own.  I was going to have to sacrifice one to the men’s locker room with Daddy after the lesson probably to be traumatized for life—you know—in case she got a visual of some random Mr. Happy taking his own shower. And one bag for me.  Which begs the question…

Why is it when mother’s have multiple people to pack for they tend to short-change themselves?

Because that’s what I did.  I underestimated the amount of time it would take to prepare four swim bags and by the time I got to pulling my own gear together I was in a mad rush, the results of which were damn near catastrophic.  How?  Well, when I grabbed my bathing suit out of the drawer I hadn’t opened in months I failed to check that all parts of the suit were accounted for.  Meaning, when I finally pulled my own suit on I realized—much to my horror—that the bathing suit I’d grabbed was missing its breast pads.

Sh*t.

There I stood, in a YMCA that is clearly having budget issues as evidenced by the fact that the temperature in the pool area was hovering at what felt like 52 degrees.  Which is a big problem because we all know what happens when it’s freezing cold and your sisters are shoved into a bathing suit.

Upon the realization that I was in danger of poking someone’s eye out, I rummaged through my swim bag for a solution.  I was desperate.  Could I stuff my suit with a sock?  Toilet paper?  Do I have any duct tape?  Should I ask some other woman in here for duct tape?  After a minute of sheer panic I relented.  I had no solution and time was up.  So, I did what any other woman would have done in my shoes.  I connected my elbows to my nipples and vowed to stay that way for the entirety of the lesson.

When I exited the locker room my eager beaver husband was waiting for us.  I must’ve looked off because he immediately gave me the what-the-hell side eye.  I couldn’t explain, however, because before I knew it we were ordered into the water which I swear was covered with a thin layer of ice.

At that point I was accutely aware my problems were escalating.

Turns out mommy-and-me swim lessons require arms.  Full, long, bending arms.  For instance, you know when you have to hoist your two year old out of the pool and sit them on the side?  Arms.  You know when your toddler jumps to you expecting you to catch them before they drown?  Arms.  As the lesson progressed, I actually wondered if the instructor recognized my predicament and was screwing with me.  Things got really bad when he pulled out a Little Tikes slide and instructed me to catch my kid.  All the other parents were gently reassuring their children by holding their hands as they slid.  Not me.  Nope.  My kid just looked at me and my T-rex-like appendages and I shot her daggers that said, “Sorry, Sweetie. You’re on your own.”  The result was multiple unfortunate underwater plunges and probably a lifetime of trust issues for my girls.

By the end of the lesson we were all traumatized.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details that included an excruciatingly long version of aquatic “Wheels On The Bus” where the effing wheels kept going up and down, me repeatedly begging to move the lesson into deeper water and the absolute look of bafflement that continued to exude from my extremely annoyed husband.  It was truly the longest thirty minute toddler swim lesson in the history of womankind.

And, you better believe that EVERY SINGLE one of my bathing suits is currently assembled in it’s entirety.

Live and learn.

DSC_0050

*****

If you are interested in the St. Patrick’s Day recipe for Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage that I talked about on my weekly segment with Rick and Marybeth at 101.5 The River click here.

This Is Why I Duct Tape My Car

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/3/14 10:43 AM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Choices, Glass City Parent, Shenanigans, Tool Girl

If you read here you know I’m often pressed for time.  Actually, if you read here, you know there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to get done.  Hence…the name, “Mama On The Fly.”  I live “on the fly” because I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew on a regular basis and as a result, mundane tasks, like fixing my car, often gets flung to the bottom of a very randomly prioritized to-do list.

Why is my to-do list so random?

Because I’m human and lack discipline.  You see, I like to do certain things (like make something pretty) and don’t like to do other things (like fix the bumper on my car).  That’s normal, right?  I mean, isn’t THAT the reason most of our homes look nearly perfect when throwing a party but we hope and pray no one looks under our bed?  We tend to prioritize our to-do lists with prejudice and in our home my car has a serious civil rights issue.

Which is a problem… because I use my car a lot.  So, what’s the issue with my bumper?  Okay, prepare  yourself because I’m about to get all mechanical.  As best as I can tell, the underside of my front bumper lost a bolt—or something—that connected it to the under-carriage.  I think this may have happened the day I forgot there was a concrete parking barrier in front of me and drove over it.  After I realized what I’d done, I had a choice.  Pull forward and make my back tires go over the barrier or back up.  In my brilliance, I backed up.

I shouldn’t have backed up.

Anyways, I *think* it happened that day.  Then again, I guess the bolt could’ve just fallen out. Which of course means the fact that my bumper drags when I’m driving less than ten miles per hour is totally not my fault.  I’m sticking with that.

Did I mention this happened in November?  And that I’m very busy?

And I am.  I’m busy and I do not have a single day where I can be without my car to have this minor issue fixed.  And it is a minor issue, because due to the laws of physics and a scientific phenomenon called “lift” the bumper only drags when I’m driving very slowly.  In short, as long as I’m driving quickly, there is no issue with my car.  Which is great because I tend to drive fast.  Just ask the Ohio BMV, our local police department,  and my insurance agent.  They’ll all confirm my need for speed.

But, there is a problem.  Turns out there are times during my day when I have to slow down, and the worst is the school car line.   Apparently it’s frowned upon to enter my girls’ school parking lot like Mario Andretti and slam on the brakes at the sidewalk.  As a result, the school car line has turned into my most dreaded time of the day.  You see as my bumper scrapes the pavement announcing the Savage family’s arrival for the day to anyone within fifty feet of my vehicle, the sound reminds me of how messed up my priorities are.  A responsible parent would make a bee-line for the nearest auto repair shop upon exiting the parking lot, but not me.  Nope. My lack of discipline always wins as soon as I floor the gas and next thing I know I’m pushing a cart through Hobby Lobby so I can pick off my latest Pinterest inspired VERY IMPORTANT project.

And this, my friends, is why I duct taped the bottom of my bumper to something in my engine.  (I have no idea what I taped the bumper to, but all be damned if it isn’t working.)  Every once in awhile I have to retape the bumper and I realize that by taping the bumper I’m exacerbating the problem.  I’ve accepted that.

You see, after nearly 45 years of life, I’ve come to terms with who I am.  I dress nicely but my unmentionables are likely tattered.  I keep a clean house but guests are on there own if they venture into my closets.  I wash the exterior of my car but I freely admit I picked Nimbus Gray for the color of my Honda Odyssey by matching it to a roll of duct tape.    We all have our demons.

I’m embracing mine.

*****

Now, before anyone (ahem, Dad) feels the need to lecture me about the need to care responsibly for my car let me reassure you.  The bumper is scheduled for proper repair while I’m out of town in a few weeks.  So save it.  I’ve got this covered.

My crack.  I admit it.

My crack. I admit it.

 

For the recipe for stuffed shells that I talked about on my weekly segment with Rick and Mary Beth on 101.5 The River please click here.