Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Little Embryo That Could

(We think you can! We think you can! We think you can!)

In March of last year, I went for a first sonogram at eight weeks pregnant, and the baby had no heartbeat. Not to be flippant, but a generally unpleasant and distressing experience I really didn't want to repeat. Now, to our joy/disbelief, I'm finally pregnant again.
We got a sonogram at 6.5 weeks this time - juuuussst wanted to see that heartbeat for real, before I got excited. Maybe that's morbid, but, well...
We have a heartbeat! Baby measures six weeks, five days! Heartbeat 114 bpm!
The sucky part is, we have four weeks until our next heartbeat-listening-to. I am going to be counting down the days. Basically, if all our tests come back good (already know my progesterone is right where it should be, that's one concern taken care of), there's really nothing that can be done any differently than before. Assuming no abnormalities with hormone levels or anything else, first trimester miscarriages can still "just happen". We're being calm but vigilant. There's only so much you can do. Although, thanks to my history with Kittyboy, things will get very different about 20 weeks. I don't know the details, but that's what the doctor said. And of course, to contact them if anything is unusual.
Is it me, or is it some kind of cruel joke, to say, "Oh, but don't stress about it! Stress is bad for the baby!" Because while I understand that to be completely true - do I need something ELSE to stress about? So I can stress about not stressing about something stressful, because if I stress about the stressful thing, the stress alone could cause said stressful thing to occur just because I stressed about it?
So! Not stressing - overly much! Holding on tightly, in my head, to my progesterone results! Counting days! Calling it The Little Embryo That Could (thanks to my friend Carey for that lovely and optimistic title!)!
33 days from yesterday, so 32 days to go!
And may Kittyboy's angels watch over his sibling in the meantime.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homemade yogurt

Last week, I had some milk in the fridge that needed using, so I decided I'd try what I'd been thinking about for a while - making yogurt. I did have plain yogurt in the fridge, and all I knew about yogurt making is that you put a little plain yogurt in, and the milk should just do it all by itself.
But given that there's such a thing as a "yogurt maker", and people talk about using crock pots and heating pads and whatnot, I went looking for directions. The first site I found was
I didn't have a big enough double boiler - I didn't have a crock pot - but I did have a thermometer!
I put a quart jar's worth of milk in a pan, heated while stirring constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, and took the temp every few minutes. At one point, Kittyboy got himself assigned to stir, while I hunted for a better food thermometer. And he did stand there quite responsibly, never stopped stirring, and at no point did he stick his fingers on the edge of the pan, into the heating milk, or on the burner (all of which he was sternly and repeatedly warned about beforehand). He can be a good helper when he wants.
Finally, after oh, forty-five minutes or so of stirring over a hot stove, it was heated to 180. I put the pan in a sink of cold water and stirred until it was just down to 110, stirred in a good-sized dollop of plain yogurt, and for lack of any means of keeping it warm, just covered the pan and set it back on the stove on the turned-off-but-still-warm burner. I figured, people have made this for centuries without necessarily a means of keeping it evenly and consistently warm - a crock pot or heating pad might make it take only 7 hours, but maybe I could just leave it for longer, like 24?
After eight hours or so, before I went to bed that night, I peeked. Hmmm - smelled like spoiling milk. I figured it was going to be a learning experience and went to bed.
The next morning - creamy white yogurt!! There was no whey to stir back in, the texture was even, it was perfect! It's whiter than store-bought, which I thought was funny, too. It worked great! Next time, I'm going to leave it longer to get thicker. This time, I was just so thrilled to have yogurt that I just jarred it up right then.
So far, I've twice made a bowl of homemade ranch dip for carrots, and used it as a base for beef and noodles. It goes well in place of sour cream, too.
Anyone have any good yogurt recipes to share?

Monday, July 4, 2011


I am loving my new knee braces!! In the last five days, I have dug several two rows of the expansion to my flower garden, planted a rose, put the sod from the expansion in my wheelbarrow, planted more plants, caged the maybe-cucumbers unknown-squash-vines in the big garden, and spread more cardboard in the garden. I even weeded! I had a LONG list of yard projects waiting for these braces to come in. The tomatoes need tying too, though it may be too late - they've grown all funky and weird along the ground.

Kittyboy informed me a few days ago that he had been sitting in his room, reading a book. To himself. I wonder how long it will be before the I Can Read books no longer interest him. He was looking at his globe last week and said, "Rrrrussian. This says Russian!" I said, without looking up, "RussIA. It says Russia." He murmured thoughtfully, "Russia... but there is an N." "What?" Oooops, forgot the age of his globe - Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. "By golly that does say Russian! Good job!"

We've been using interstate travel to do math. If we're passing exit 264 and we need exit 267, how many miles are we from our exit? That question is best phrased "What is the difference between 4 and 7?" and to my surprise, he gets it right half the time.

Kittyboy had his first dramatic nosebleed today - he came to me with his hand out, asking, "What is this?" Red smeared all over his hand and face. Nothing hurt, so he didn't even know it was blood. I asked if he had hit his head. "No." Hit his nose? "No." Hit, bumped, fallen down in any way? "No." Deep breath. Did he stick anything IN his nose? "No." I ran through the possibilities remaining - the air isn't dry, his sinuses haven't been running... couldn't think of anything else. Hmm. Well, it's been tough to keep him from sticking his fingers in his nose. Had he been scratching inside his nose? "Oh, yes." SIGH. And had the blood started coming out after he was scratching his nose? "Um, yes." Aaaahhhhhh. Well, YAY for not needing a doctor on the FOURTH OF JULY, because up to that point I was out of guesses, and spontaneous nosebleeds for no apparent reason are not generally a good thing. I told him that a) a finger qualifies as "anything", and b) here's another reason to keep your finger OUT OF YOUR NOSE. Delicate tissues, capillaries, etc... the fact that your fingernails are filthy...

We'll be hauling him out of bed about 8:30 tonight to go downtown for fireworks. I'm hoping to coax him into bed about 6, 6:30, which probably means we'll have to skip the nap. Or start the nap at 5, and then he probably would have been awake until after 9 anyway.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!