Friday, October 27, 2006

The Continuing Saga of Lita's Ailments

My Chiropractor, who had diagnosed my shoulder pain as a bone spur, has given up on treatment. He originally admitted that there may not be any improvement and that he wouldn't wait too long before referring me to an orthopedic surgeon. I visited the surgeon yesterday, who is convinced it is a torn ligament, and sent me for an arthrogram/MRI today. Ouch! He warned me there would be a needle involved, so I fretted all last night and this morning. Neal wasn't too encouraging last night when he told me about having the same procedure on his knee several years ago. He was very evasive when I asked questions about the pain. Fortunately, they gave me a shot of novacaine first (which was painful in itself), but that numbed it somewhat for the REAL needle that they worked into my joint to administer all manner of dyes and fluids. Once they were assured that all the fluids were where they should be, I was ready for the MRI. Forty-five minutes of lying in positions that my shoulder didn't like. Next appointment is with the surgeon on Wednesday to discuss results.

I honored the long-standing Smith tradition of treating myself to a milkshake afterwards. While growing up, my mom would always take me for a milkshake after a particularly traumatic doctor's appointment which included shots, first gynecology exam, etc. -- you get the picture. I continued the tradition with my sons and they grew to expect the ritual visit to Braums after any doctor's appointment that included a needle. When Jeff was in college and suffering with back problems, he had to get regular epidural shots in order to get through the baseball season. He felt compelled to stop at Dairy Queen for a milkshake after each one! Who knows, maybe Grandpa took my mom for milkshakes after she got shots. (Did they immunize back then?) Anyway, the tradition is still alive and this time I added a burger and fries.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

House Progress

Bricking and stonework is done on the house. The sheetrocking is done and really makes the house look bigger...wierd. The kitchen, front entryway, and bathrooms have stained and scored concrete floors done. Trimwork starts today. Very exciting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

3 Weeks

Lauren is 3 weeks old today. She and Jacob had professional photos taken on Monday that will be ready this evening. Can't wait to see them.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dinner Debacle

Prologue: When I visit Neal in Texas, Saturday night is commonly our night out. When I say "night out" I mean dinner. With his tight schedule there's never time for anything else. He gets off work at 7:00, home by 7:20, showered by 7:35, 10 minute drive to Kemah, then hopefully a relatively short wait for a table. Home by 9:15 and in bed by 9:30. Neal's morning alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m.

Scene 1: Last night, we wanted seafood, which is rather abundant here on the coast. The restaurant of choice was Pappadeaux, an upscale seafood restaurant with prices to match. Ambiance is romantic, food and presentation is worthy of royalty. But alas, the wait for a table was 45 minutes. No can do.

Scene 2: Pappadeaux is across the bridge in Kemah and surrounded by fish markets, where you can buy fresh catch of the day. We noticed a restaurant we'd never seen before called "Captain Wick's Seafood" just a parking lot away from Pappadeaux. Thought we'd give it a try.

Scene 3: Restaurant is empty except for the staff (all Viet Namese) and a group of people with children, that were not eating, just "hanging out" who were also Viet Namese. (Later determined to be family of staff.) Playing loudly in the corner was a Karaoke machine where the "family" were taking turns butchering country songs. There was a buffet set out, which looked semi-edible, but the kind hostess confirmed that there was also a menu. While perusing the menu, our hostess pointed out that the section labeled "Steaks" was crossed off. "No have steak." Okay. The seafood portion looked promising so we chose a table.

Scene 3: I ordered Grilled Red Snapper. Neal decided on the buffet. Before Neal had a chance to visit the buffet, our sweet hostess scurried back to inform me "No Snappa--fish mahket crosed--onry shlimp and oystahs." That's fine, I'll have the buffet as well.

Scene 4: Just envision the Thanksgiving dinner scene in "A Christmas Story" where the family is in a Chinese restaurant eating a sad excuse for turkey dinner and being serenaded by the staff singing Christmas Carols with a Chinese accent. The food was cold and tasteless (although the gumbo wasn't bad--but I was apprehensive, knowing how easy it is to disguise disgusting things in gumbo). The karaoke kept getting louder and more off-key, and Neal and I couldn't stop laughing. I actually showered, coiffed my hair and applied make-up for this?

Next time, we'll wait the 45 minutes at Pappadeaux.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

One of Many Firsts

Daddy gets Lauren strapped into her car seat for her first church outing--Oct. 15, 2006. Made a little simpler and more time efficient by allowing Jacob to spend the night with MeMe and PaPa Hill. As you can see, Lauren is really excited about her first worship service. I'm sure she's looking forward to all the "oohs" and ahhhs" as everyone fawns over her.

House Progress

Bricking has begun on Jeremy & Trista's house! It looked to be almost half done when Neal and I made a trek out to their property yesterday afternoon. We also noticed that the fireplace had been installed. The brick layers were packing it in for the day and will hopefully get started again tomorrow. It's raining today, and though we need the moisure, I'm hoping it will end tonight so that work can begin again in the morning. I know the kids are so anxious to be in their new home.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Lauren

Finally getting some pictures with Lauren's eyes open. She is so beautiful, don't you think?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

One Week Old

Here is our beautiful granddaughter on her One Week Birthday. She is doing well and sleeping pretty well at night. Some nights she'll sleep up to 6 hours. She is very alert and strong, already able to hold her head up for short periods. She was actually awake when these pictures were taken but even though I'm using the "less bright" baby mode flash, she still closes her eyes when I take the picture.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad Year

This has been a bad year for me physically. For the first time since my kids were small, I have met and exceeded my insurance deductible and will probably have enough medical bills to get a deduction on my taxes. Besides all the typical 50 year old female problems and the surgery in August, I've had a number of other ailments. It started with tennis elbow/tendonitis in my right elbow. Then, probably due to overcompensating and favoring that arm, it soon moved to my left elbow. A few months ago my right shoulder began to bother me and steadily got worse. I finally made a doctor's appointment and found that I have a bone spur. Likely more surgery to come. Then yesterday, after my first "real" workout since surgery, I decided to reconnect my dryer hose that had partially come loose. My laundry niche is very tight and I had to climb over washer and dryer to gain access. That went fairly smoothly. But getting back out was a different story. I hoisted myself up over the machines only to come down HARD on the corner of the dryer--right on my tail bone! I'm sure it's cracked, but also pretty sure there is nothing that a doctor can do for it. So...I'm handicapped again!!! Someone needs to just put me in a padded room. I'm a walking disaster!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fringe Benefits

Since our house has become the temporary living quarters for Jeremy's family, I have discovered several fringe benefits. At the top of the list is being able to help out with Lauren. As those of you with sons, not daughters, will discover, there are some distinct differences in being the paternal grandmother. I'm still a bit unsure of this new role as live-in mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, trying to discern when to step in, when to back off, when to offer advice, when to mind my own business. When my first grandchild was born, I never knew how much time to spend at their house. Trista's mom was there to do whatever needed to be done and I felt a little bit in the way. Of course, after I started keeping Jacob when his mom went back to work, I was able to get in my "grandma time." I'm still trying to learn what will help Trista most, but the times that I'm here to just hold Lauren when Trista needs more sleep or a shower, are very special times. Add to that the benefit of flowers adorning my home. I am a huge fan of fresh flowers and would have them all the time if I weren't such a penny-pincher. The flowers that came home with the girls from the hospital are so beautiful and my whole downstairs smells like roses! Last, but not least is the wonderful tradition of bringing food to the new parents. We've been enjoying delicious meals and I think Wednesday will be the only day this week that someone is not planning to bring food. The way it's looking, we'll have plenty of leftovers for that night!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

More Pictures of Lauren

Cheap Entertainment

The new baby came home yesterday. As you can imagine, we had lots of company last night. Misha brought supper, and even though it was dark when she pulled in the driveway, Jacob saw the headlights and somehow knew it was Emma and Misha. There was no calming him down after that. Other visitors were Kenny, JoAnn, Gary, Cindy & kids and there wasn't a dull moment. Emma & Jacob entertained us all evening, with their dancing and gymnastics.

Papa's Boots

Papa has some awfully big boots to fill! But Jacob thought he was the man to do it. He was able to take about two steps before getting himself into a pickle.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Last One, I Promise

Last pictures, for today at least. Are you bored yet? Is this what they call an obnoxious, doting grandmother? Do I really care?

More of Lauren

More pictures of the new granddaughter.

Lauren Rebecca

Yesterday was an exciting day. We welcomed our new granddaughter into the world. Lauren Rebecca was born around 9:30 in the morning (for some reason no one has bothered to find out the exact minute yet). She weighed 7 lbs. 11 ozs. and was 20" long. She has a full head of dark hair, which was a bit of a surprise to all of us. Her brother, Jacob, was born with lots of hair but it was soooo blond that he was the talk of the nursery. Trista and Jeremy are tired but doing well. Jacob's day was not so good. Besides being tired and cranky, he was confined in a space with no toys and lots of "no-no's". He threw a fit when Jeremy brought the baby into the nursery for the first time and couldn't understand why Jeremy wouldn't come and "hold you". He was very gentle with Lauren but he's been around his cousin Madyson quite a bit and LOVES her. I don't think he gets it yet that Lauren is going to be permanent. Thankfully, he will go to preschool today which will give everyone a nice break. Enjoy the pictures.