Monday, June 23, 2014

A 3-pointer!

I know there are tens of you out there, just repeatedly hitting the refresh button to find out how Cotton did at his show this weekend...



HE WON!!!



It's like he won Best in Show.

He didn't even win Best of Breed.

Ok let's clarify... And this be wrong because I'm still trying to figure out the whole Dog Show thing.

In order to get his Championship, Cotton needs to earn 15 points.  Within those 15 points, he needs 2 major wins meaning that at least twice he needs to beat a lot of other Brittanys.

To get points, he needs to beat other Brittanys.  This weekend, there were only 4 dogs, but he was the best looking boy dog and he won.  That earned him 1 point.  Then he went into the Winner's group and went up against other champions and the best bitch (female dog).  He was named Best of Winners, meaning he beat the bitch.  Because there were a lot of bitches at the competition, the bitch had 3 points.  Since Cotton beat her, he got 3 points for the win instead of 1.

And it counted as a major.

So Cotton got 3 points and a major.

That was Cotton's first big win and first points!

{Checking out his teeth.  I didn't take a picture of when they checked out his man parts.
Cause I'm not a weirdo}


We went back on Sunday and Cotton didn't win any points, but he was basically the 2nd place dog.

It was a good weekend for the little prince.  He's a good boy.

His next show will be at the end of July.  But it was really nice to know that all of the training we have been doing with Cotton is paying off.  We have more things to work on but he is a good little learner and hopefully next show will be even better.

All of the pictures are from Sunday with his breeder.  She showed him.  And he won.  Further proof I was holding him back.  :(  Maybe with some more training (for me), I will be able to show him again.  It hasn't been bred into me like it has with Cotton.

In case you were wondering, Henry came to the show with us both days.  Here's what he thought of it:


He loved it.  He loves the dogs.  I think he was just really fascinated to see so many dogs that looked like Cotton.  :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

I know how to celebrate

The last couple of weeks, I have been a total wreck.

Every 6 months I get routine bloodwork done to check my thyroglobulin levels.  Thyroglobulin is secreted by thyroid cells and since I should have no thryoid cells, it is a way to check if thryoid cells (in my case, thyroid cancer cells) are trying to hide somewhere in my body.

For obvious reasons, it's a little scary.  I mean, dealing with having cancer is scary enough.  But it doesn't end after that.  The check-ups and the follow-up tests are also kind of scary.

I did absolutely everything possible to ensure that my cancer is gone and stays that way for good.  I even had some extra tests done after a suspicious ultrasound that gave me even more reason to believe that my cancer was gone.  So really, I should be good to go.

But that didn't stop me from totally freaking out about it.  I'll admit it, I was scared.  I have this amazing life and I don't want anything to ruin it.  I don't want to miss out on years with Henry or Phil.  And while Thyroid cancer has a great prognosis, it's still cancer and it is still scary.

In truth, I did WAY more freaking out that is really warranted.  I was a total mess.  For some reason, I handled this blood test worse than I have the last couple of blood tests.  I don't know why.  I partially blame the movie The Fault in Our Stars.

Monday morning I found out that my bloodwork came back totally fine.  "No evidence of cancer" were the exact words my doctor's assistant told me over the phone.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt a big weight lift off my shoulders.  You never really feel more alive than right after you get good health news.  If you could bottle that feeling and sell it, I don't think anyone would ever use drugs.  Just saying...

I woke up Tuesday morning and just didn't quite feel right.  I kind of had a tickle in my throat and cough.  As the day went on, I just felt worse and worse.  That night, I had a meeting to go to, and as I sat through the meeting, the tickle got more persistent.

Wednesday, I woke up feeling worse.  The cough was coming pretty regularly this time and the coughing spells were longer as well.  I had another night meeting that night, which I had to leave on several occasions because my coughing was out of control.  That night, I woke up several times coughing.  My body hurt.

Anyway, long story short... I have a sinus infection.  I walked away from the doctor's office with 4 prescriptions.  Coupled with my 3 thyroid medications, that 7 prescriptions I am on right now.  My 90 year old grandmother takes less medicine than I currently do.

The icing on the stuffing-nosed cake... the doctor's office sent the prescriptions to the wrong pharmacy.  So that was fun to work out.  I almost started crying in Walgreen's.  Dramatic?  Perhaps.

There's not a doubt in my mind that the sinus infection is linked to the amount of stress I put myself under waiting for my test results.  It is crazy how much stress can seriously affect our bodies.  And ultimately, stressing out over results has zero impact on what the results will be.  It served no purpose and made me sick.

Thankfully I have 6 months before my next blood test.  That's 6 months to learn some better ways to just chill the heck out.

I'm officially taking any and all advice on how to relax.  What works for you?  How do you de-stress?  Anything short of binge drinking or pill popping and I think I am game.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Loving him enough to let him go...

The title could suggest some melodramatic post about Phil or maybe even Henry.  Don't worry.  It's not that kind of post.

I have mentioned before that our dog, Cotton is a show dog.  And I have also mentioned that some people believe I have been holding him back from reaching his show dog potential.

Well, I have decided to set my pride aside and give Cotton the chance to reach his full potential.

This weekend, Cotton will be in another show.  This time, the breeder will be running him around in a circle (a skill I obviously can't perfect).  At Cotton's last show, he won his class and was beat out for Best Dog (in the Brittany group) by a dog that had a nationally known professional handler.  And here I thought it was a DOG SHOW.  I guess it isn't only the dogs that are on display.

(insert blow to my self esteem)

In order to get Cotton ready for someone else to show him, we have had to take him to his Show Dog class so that someone else can work with him and run him around.  Henry came too (obviously) and had a good time watching all the dogs run around.  He looked on with a peculiar fascination like, "What exactly is going on here?"

{It was crazy hair day at daycare that day.  
You should see what his hair looked like when I pick him up}

We will explain it to you when you're older, buddy.

Even sitting that far away, we were still distracting Cotton (according to the breeder).  Next time we will just drop him off and go to dinner I guess.

Tonight starts the preparation for Cotton's show.  Think beauty pageant for dogs.  We have to bath him tonight so he can get groomed tomorrow.  Grooming will include shaving his neck, trimming his ears, and cutting off his whiskers.  Makes him look weird and cute all at the same time.  Then Friday night, he gets a bath with whitening shampoo and then we have to use a blow dryer to dry him.  Curiously enough, he is usually VERY well behaved while getting his hair dried.  I think he likes being pampered.

Wish him luck!!!  I will be that stage mom, looking on nervously from the audience.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

5:01

Last week, my brother stopped by the office.  It's a long story, really... my sister-in-law and nephew were involved in a car accident.  Everyone is ok, but my brother got a ride to the accident and then needed my other brother to give him a ride to somewhere else...

Back story complete.

It was about 10 minutes after 5 when he was standing in the office and we were figuring out who would give him a ride and to where.  It was then that my brother (the one needing the ride) turned to me and said, "What are you doing now, Natalie?"

My other brother responded, "Well, usually she is out at the door at 5:01."

The other men in the office all loudly agreed and laughed.

You know... I'm such a bad employee/business owner because the perception is that I leave immediately after 5 o'clock.

I was pissed.

Do I leave work pretty close to 5?  Yes, I do.  I won't deny it.

But the implication that I rush away from work isn't correct.  And it's not fair.  I get my work done.  I go to night meetings.  I stay until I have reached a place where I can stop for the day.

I don't rush away from work.  I'm rushing towards Henry.

As any mother is aware, it's a mad dash between when work ends and bedtime.  At best, I have 3 hours a day I get with Henry.  And during that 3 hours, I have to drive to and from daycare, pick him up, get home, make dinner, feed Henry, clean up dinner (although Phil usually does this), get Henry bathed (Phil helps with this), get jammies on, calm Henry down and get him to bed.  Oh and I am supposed to spend quality time with Henry in there too.

And I am lucky... Phil is so helpful in taking care of Henry and the evening routine.

Even so, there are days when I don't even get to talk to Phil until after Henry goes to bed.

But the guys in the office... they don't understand.  Almost all of them either don't have kids (like my brother who made the comment) or their wives took care of all that stuff.  They didn't work or they didn't work full-time.

I'm just waiting for someone to make a comment about how I show up to work just a few minutes before 8 (again a sign that I'm apparently not an overly dedicated worker).  By 8, I've already spent an hour getting Henry out the door and to daycare.  I'm pretty sure my brother (the one that made the comment) doesn't even wake up before 7.

It's just another example of how hard it is to be a working-mom.  You're supposed to feel guilty if you leave work before the men.  And you most definitely will feel guilty if you miss out on time with your kids.

There is no way to win.  I guess I will do my best to focus on one thing at a time and constantly work on obtaining balance.  Cause I've heard it's super easy.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Could I really be that dumb?

Everyone knows it takes a while to get unpacked when you move.  Moving with a baby makes it even worse.  Pretty much the only time to unpack is when the baby is asleep, which is also when you need to be doing all the other million things that come with having a baby (laundry, dishes, more laundry, eat, laundry, etc.).

So I wasn't too concerned when I couldn't find some of my clothes.  There were probably in the piles and piles of laundry or the piles and piles of clean laundry that hadn't been folded and put away.

Monday and Tuesday night, I went ahead and washed, folded and put away all of that laundry.  But some clothes were still missing.

At the very least, I was missing three pairs of pants.

And a suit jacket.

And three different sweaters.

Crap!  Where the heck are my clothes?!

I frantically looked through every cardboard box and trash bag filled with last minute packing we had.  All of that stuff was in the garage, in somewhat organized chaos.  Phil and I must have spent hours out there looking and looking and looking.  We looked through everything we thought could possibly contain clothes.  And then we looked some more.

It was starting to look like they were missing.  And that meant that I most likely accidentally gave them away to Goodwill during one of our many visits during packing.

Could I seriously have given away like $800 worth of clothes?  I mean, seriously?!?

I purposely told Phil that I would bring down the Goodwill stuff so that he didn't accidentally take the wrong thing.  And then did I bring down the wrong stuff?

It was looking more and more like it.

I felt a little sick just thinking about it.  That was 3/4 of my work wardrobe (minus my suits).  I didn't have the money to replace all of that clothing.  I tried to tell myself that it was just stuff.  It was replaceable.  What a first-world problem to have, that I have so much clothing that I accidentally gave some away.  In the grand scheme of things, this was not a big deal.  I went ahead and ordered some new pants (because that was really the only thing I needed) and decided I needed to get over it.

But then yesterday, I went home for lunch and decided to do another sweep of the garage.  Randomly, I decided to look in some of the tupperware containers we had out there.  Almost all of the containers had old baby stuff in them.  But one of them looked a little different.

I moved the stuff off the top, cracked open the lid...

MY CLOTHES!!

Phew...  It was just a huge relief.

Logically, I know that my feelings about my clothes are a little irrational.  It's just stuff and doesn't really matter.  But with everything that has been going on lately, it just made it seem so much worse.  I think what made it even worse was that it would have been MY mistake.  And I hate it when I make stupid mistakes.

Crisis averted.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I need some retail therapy, girl's night, a martini and a bubble bath...

I had been doing such a great job of blogging every day (minus Memorial Day and weekends) and then I had to go and ruin it yesterday.  Oh well.  That crazy thing called "life" got the best of me again.

Truthfully, I have felt a little more vulnerable lately.  The month of May was a hard one for me.  Packing, moving, sick baby, grieving has taken its toll on me.  We hired movers (best money ever spent) which helped tremendously with the moving part.  But other than that, we've been go-go-go for over a month.

Between his grief and his dissertation, Phil has so much going on right now.  I have known for a long time that these stresses were going to take almost all of Phil's attention and I wouldn't be able to get as much emotional support from him as I need.  And that's ok.  His needs are huge and important right now too.  He needs me right now and it can't really be the other way around.  That's part of marriage.

Yesterday was Phil's dad's birthday.  The first one since he passed.

And I'm due for my routine blood test for my cancer.  It should be just fine, but I always get a little anxious when I have to go have it done.

And I really didn't need to get called out on facebook.  I was so proud of accomplishing this big goal that I really didn't think I would be able to do, and when I voice excitement about it, I basically got pissed on.  I understand that not everyone is going to agree with what I say or my opinions, but I honestly did not need such a rude gesture.  I stood up for myself and the other woman that comment was directed at and I STILL got backlash for it.

On top of everything else, May is quickly becoming one of my least favorite months of the year.  It's getting right up there with January.  Between the end of school, baseball and Memorial Day, everyone is super busy.  And selfishly, it was really hard on me.  Almost everyone in my support system was preoccupied with their own lives (how dare they!).

A huge part of this is my own fault.  I am awful at asking for help.  I know with about 93% certainty that if I had called people and told them that I really needed to talk or spend time with them, they would have made the time.  And that's something I need to get better at.  People aren't mind readers, how can someone know you need them if you don't tell them.

So I'm working on it.  I'm learning (very slowly) that self-care is one of the most important things I can do for myself.  It's probably even more important right now that sleep (I can't believe I just typed that).  I can't be expected to be a great mom, a focused and productive engineer, a caring wife/daughter/sister/friend if I'm running on empty.

If I've learned one thing over the last few years, it's that life is hard.  We've been thrown a lot of stuff lately.  And while some of those things will get better over time, they leave their marks.  Cancer, loss, it changes you.  But I am not going to give up.  I am going to learn to take better care of myself and to ask for help and support when I need it.

So if you get a phone call from me, you'll know why.  :)

Also, retail therapy might be in order.  I'm thinking another of this shirt:



Monday, June 2, 2014

Hank the Tank: 1 year old

Henry had his 12 month well visit last week.  I was both looking forward to and dreading the appointment.  I was excited to learn how big he was (and confirm my sneaking suspicion that his weight was the cause of my lower back pain) and also dreading the million vaccinations and talking to his doctor.

My feelings were spot on.  But we will focus on the negative in another post.

We learned that Henry is 25 lb 8.5 oz and 31 inches long (that's 95th percentile for weight and 90th percentile for height).  A tank indeed.

{Cotton is photo-bombing}


Here are some other updates on the Hank-ster:

-  Other than the few steps he took on accident, Henry hasn't started walking.  Although he totally could.  He's got standing on his own down.  And his balance is pretty spot on.  Any day now.

-  One of his favorite activities is to climb up the stairs.  And for that very reason, we installed a baby gate to make sure he can't reach the stairs.  I love it.  I never thought I would be so excited about baby gates, but I think they are the best baby-related item we have ever purchased.  Maybe I'm exaggerating.  Maybe not.

-  He is definitely talking.  One of the main words he says is "Mom".  He'll reach for me and say, "MOM!"  It's cute and strange at the same time.  I kind of wish he would have called me "mama" at least for a little while before switching to "Mom".  He might as well call me Natalie, it sounds so formal.

-  We are starting to try and move away from baby food and more towards real food for Henry.  I love this for a couple of reasons: (1) it is so much easier to just feed him what we are eating and (2) baby food is NOT CHEAP!  So far, his favorite foods are sweet potatoes, blueberries, cheese, black beans, bread, cheerios, pears, peaches, and bananas.  We are struggling with meat a little, but I think it's the texture that bothers him.

-  He LOVES books.  Most of the time, he just sits on the floor next to his books and flips through them.  Grandma Janney is probably so proud.  :)

{Fox in Socks is one of his favorites.  I almost have it memorized}


-  I once heard that if a baby is fussy, you should always put them in water.  Well that advice couldn't be more perfect for Henry.  If the kid is fussy, bath time will instantly change his mood for the better.  We will definitely be investing in a kid pool for him for the summer.  I have my eye on a couple different ones from Target.  I just need to pull the trigger and purchase one.

-  Still only the two bottom teeth, but I think the top ones will be making their appearance any day now.  At least I hope so because he has been CRANKY.  He will look so cute with more teeth, I can't wait!!


I could go on and on about this little guy, but I will stop here.  Obviously we are fond of the little dude.  He's kind of a big deal in our house.  :)
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