1500 plus miles of Road Trip in one week

Some people call it ‘Spring Break’.  I’ve come to refer to our semi-annual family road trip not as ‘vacation’, but as ‘work on wheels’.  On this specific eight-hour drive to Kansas, however, we had an added distraction for our daughters: an SUV with a DVD player.  Granted, DH and I never saw any of the movies, but we thoroughly enjoyed listening to ‘Barnyard’ and ‘Cars’ six times each…  More than that, we did not have to listen to a multitude of statements like: ‘This sure is a long drive,’ or the inevitable question while driving with children who can speak full sentences: “How much longer until we’re there?”  None of that!  DH and I actually had a conversation or two without interruption.   

We stopped and stayed overnight with their maternal great-grandmother, ‘GGMa’ in Oklahoma and enjoyed watching DH’s seven year old cousin play basketball with his team at the Y.  We all enjoyed a lunch at the local Chinese Buffet, and of course,  waddled out the door afterward (I think the cost of a meal should come with a complimentary wheelchair instead of the silly ‘fortune cookie’).    And yes, we actually made it to the farm.

Paternal great-grandparents, ‘Gramps’ and ‘Grams’ still take care of the farm and all of the cattle.  I admire how hard they work!  Of course, when I am there, I’m on ‘vacation’, so I like to take it easy.  After three or four days, I’m feeling like a lazy bum as the two of them run about their daily routines.  We love meals on the farm, since Grams knows all of our favorite foods.  And desserts. And snacks.  There were so many things that we all enjoyed, but the girls had a wonderful time (we ALL did!).  I will post pictures very soon, probably to Flikr…  The girls got to enjoy a newborn calf (born the night before we left) and got to see him tagged, given vitamin shots, and ‘banded’, so he’ll be a ‘steer’ and not a ‘bull’.  The girls enjoyed catching fish with their dad in the various ponds on the property and tossing them back to we can catch them next time we visit.  Halie and Catie created a ‘clubhouse’ in the loft of the old hay barn and stayed dry during the rainy weather for a day or so.  Both girls learned how to drive Grams’ Honda ATV (the smallest of the three and the only one you still have to shift), so the girls would just go out in the pasture and ride around, stopping to look at the calves born in recent weeks and ‘mooing’ at the new momma heifers.   The last day that we were there, we had a weenie roast, complete with marshmallows to toast for dessert. 

It was great to be home, even if it was just to do some laundry and prepare for the rest of the adventure…  We dropped the girls (yes, all three) off with my mom, ‘Granny’ and ‘Papa Tury’ for the weekend.  Why you ask?  The rest of our Road Trip  was to Austin, so I could complete my Practical Exam to earn my license as a Massage Therapist.  I DID IT!  I  am now completely finished, and we celebrated!  I will know in less than two weeks that I officially ‘passed’ and will have a license in my hands in about three.  I will be officially: Erin-Go-Braghless, Licensed Massage Therapist.

Already taking reservations…



I took the written portion of the two-part exam yesterday, and I PASSED!  This was what I sweated the most about.  Turns out that since my teachers encouraged us to commit it to memory, I didn’t have to study much.  I had an exam with a limit of 2.5 hours, which took me 55 minutes (even after reviewing my answers).  I was confident and knew my stuff.  I celebrated with my DHafterward (*wink, wink*), and wanted to tell my readers today (all three of you) that I PAAAAAASSED!!  Thank you all for your words of encouragement.  Now, I’m off to Austin, in March, to prove to the Texas Dept. of Health Services that I know more about Swedish Massage than just rubbing lotion on nude clients…

Finishing Up

Yesterday I took what I thought was the final exam for the last class in Swedish Massage.  It covered 40 major muscles and included the three major facts about each one: where the muscle originates (anchors to a bone), where it inserts (the most moveable end of a muscle), and what it does (the ‘action’), which totaled 120 answers that I could have missed.  So, guess how many I actually missed? 

 Aww, come on!

  I missed one!  Woo-hoo!  I made a 99!  Then our instructor told us that the written test was merely Part One of Two.  Apparently, we also have to massage various Massage Therapists on the staff at The Institute and get their ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ vote.  That begins today!

Please keep me and my entire class (8 of us) in your prayers.  I will update you as soon as I can!

I’m official…

seal2.gif I need this on a button!  Go make one for yourself… here.  While you’re at it, have a great day!

Happy Birthday Baby!

catiecake6th.jpgdadcatie6th.jpgCatie is six years old as of 8:26PM today.  This morning, she got a special privelege: cake for breakfast.  She paused only to pose with her Daddy, then with her birthday cake before gobbling down one tiny slice before school.


Traditionally on their respective birthdays, I relate the story of my labor with them.  Catie happens to be the only child that I actually ‘labored’ with, back in October 2000.  Since my first pregnancy ended in an emergency c-section before I even began to labor, my doctor (the very same OB, as a matter of fact) agreed to let me try to labor with my second daughter.  Apparently, moms who have had one c-section choose to schedule the next birth or subsequent births for another cesarean.  In my seventh month, we relocated more than 90 miles away.  In spite of that fact, I chose not to schedule another c-section, but allow my body to initiate labor naturally.  Catie was officially due the third week of September.  When the date passed with no indication of labor imminent, my doctor agreed to let me continue, as long as Catie was tolerating her extra ‘baking time’.  On October 2, I woke to a headache, so I checked my blood pressure – it was up a few points, so I called the doctor.  She asked my husband to drive me in (bags packed) so she could have a look at my daughter.  At the doctor’s office, I was hooked up to a contraction monitor, which soon made it obvious that I was already having regular contractions.  This was news to me! 

The doctor sent me and my husband over to the hospital, where the nurses *again* told me that my contractions were regular.  Please ladies, don’t hate me, but at eight minutes apart, I could hardly feel them.  The nurse added a Pitocin drip to accelerate contractions (it worked, thankyouverymuch), and 24 hours later, my contractions were 60 seconds apart – reading off the chart, but still barely any dilation.   At that point, I was exhausted and asked for an epidural.  Fast forward another six hours: contractions still 60 seconds apart, still no change, and Catie’s heartbeat starts to drop.  Since I had seen this before with my first daughter, I knew what had to be done: Another Cesarean. 

Turns out that my OB and the pediatrician’s sons played pee-wee football together, and they had a game that very evening.  Both doctors were paged, and came in excitedly talking about the game they had just watched their sons play in. 

Catherine Dian was born at 8:26PM, with an e- l-o-n-g-a-t-e-d skull (from being pressed into my pelvis for, like, 24 hours).  The entire operation room staff immediately erupted in song: “Happy Birthday to you…”

Within hours, my newborn daughter’s head was more normal (thanks to some strategic massage), and the next day, we made to 90+ mile drive back to our home.  The doctor wanted me to stay another day.  When she said that, I responded by saying, ” Are you kidding me? I’ve got wash to do!”

Guess you just can’t argue with that!

So, as my middle child, Catie gets overlooked a bit.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  When she needs my attention, she politely requests it.  Catie loves one-on-one time with mommy OR daddy, and expresses her gratitude whole-heartedly.

For my now Six-Year-Old Catie:

You are my favorite Catie in the WHOLE WORLD!

**UPDATE** 5:22PM

Catie’s paternal grandfather, ‘Grandpa’,  surprised her class at school this afternoon when he showed up to help her celebrate her birthday.  He not only brought a birthday cake (made up of individual cupcakes), but also juice, goodies bags and specially-decorated pencils for the entire class!  Entirely HIS idea, too.  Grandpa asked me to snap a few pictures, and I did.  I captured the surprise on my six year old’s face, and the excitement on her classmates’ faces as each surprise was presented by Grandpa.  My in-laws never cease to amaze me!  Thank you, Dad.

We’re all in school!

Except for me.  On Fridays.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  I have classes at the institute Monday through Thursday.  Fridays I don’t.  I have the entire house to myself today.  What am I going to do, you might ask?  Sleep.  With my husband’s blessing.  But not before I post the long-awaited ‘First Day of School’ pictures.  I do not have one of me in my scrubs (yet), but will add one to this same post by Monday.  The girls are below:   I have to apologize that I have not learned how to make the pictures pop up in their own individual page, like Ben has. Silly Old Bear? Very cool.  Me? Not so cool.  And yes, my daughters really are that tiny in real life.  So was I before surviving four pregnancies in about four years.

hpim1494.JPGhpim1489.JPGhpim1485.JPGYes, each of my daughters got the teachers that I wanted for them.  LISD is an good school district, and the school that Halie and Catie are going to is celebrating it’s 17th year.  The administration (principals, counselors) are stellar, and the teaching staff is phenomenal.  The school is decidedly a gem. Halie and Catie are still excited to wake up and get to school each day.  Don’t worry.  About Christmastime, the ‘newness’ of school will have worn off!

Rosie is going to a new school (opened in Fall of 2005) that is designed for tiny kids with special needs. A bus picks her up everyday before school and drops her off afterward.  She is on the tiny side (at just 30 lbs), so they even have a car seat in the bus!  At the school there is a playground outdoors if the weather is accommodating, and a similar playground INSIDE if Mother Nature has PMS.  Needless to say, Rosie loves school, and everyone at the school loves Rosie. 

Me? I’m loving Massage Therapy school, to spite the fact that it’s been only two BORING days.  We’re going over what my teacher calls ‘Fru-Fru’ Hydrotherapy.  In layman-speak, that’s water treatments: whirlpool, bath, ice packs, heat treatments, body wraps, salt glows, etc.  I honestly never thought of soaking my feet at the end of the day as ‘hydrotherapy’.  Now, I is an edjumicated persen. 

My teacher is a young man (maybe younger than me), who has a five year old and a two year old.  He asked me the breakdown of my family dynamic.  He asked me to tell my husband that DH can come over to his house if he just wants to hang out with another guy.  Um, okay then.  the teacher, C., is very laid back and well-educated, well-practiced in massage therapy.  My class is mostly teenagers, one woman changing careers, and a man who’s older than me that I cannot figure out.  We’re a good mix of students. Nine of us.  I promise to post a photo of me in scrubs by Monday!

Thank you for being so patient while I allowed the dust to settle after the crazy first-day-of-school dust storm that blew through my house.  I’m now officially back to blogging.  When I get to the Anatomy and Physiology portion of my schooling, I may take another ‘pause’.  Trust me, there will be plenty of warning before then.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Rosie: Three years ago today, no one ( including me) was certain that you would be okay. You continued to thrive in my body, unaffected by the violent accident that did so much damage to me. You continued to impress nurses and doctors alike with your burlesque within my belly, creating impressive bumps and waves for them to watch. Sleeping while I was pregnant with each of your sisters was never easy, but with you, my broken neck and pelvis made it even more uncomfortable. Or maybe it was just the hospital bed. In your last days of growing in my belly, you took every opportunity to stretch to the limits of your tiny body, taking up every inch of available space between my pelvis and my rib cage. I felt like Ripley in ‘Alien’, and when you finally relaxed and fell asleep, I was greeted by the feeling of fire at the back of my throat. Many women (including your Granny) told me that severe heartburn was a sure sign that you would be a redhead. Old wives tale, I guess.
When you were delivered at 8:04 AM, three years ago this morning, I waited to hear you cry. Then, I cried. I was so glad to hear it, and I had two month’s worth of tears saved up for such an occasion. You might wonder, sweet Rosie,  how I could have enough room in my heart to love three daughters. I’ll tell you what I told your sisters: At the moment that you were born, my heart gained exactly what you weighed at that moment. Seven pounds and one ounce.

Happy Birthday to my Trinity Rose.

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