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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Have a Secret

Did you ever had a secret that is almost delicious? The kind that you think about sharing but is so good that you want to keep it to yourself and savor it for a while? For the past few days I've caught myself smiling for no particular reason and I'll realize it's because of my little secret.

I know enough with the suspense already! Last Friday and I did something that I've been putting off for 5 years now. I went and met with the admissions counselor at the vet school where I declined my acceptance. The meeting was absolutely fantastic. I do not need to retake any classes or take any additional classes. If all goes according to plan I will be reapplying in 18 months for the fall of 2012 class of 2016! That's my secret. And I just can't stop smiling about it.
posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:18 AM   5 comments
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our Romantic Getaway

We're back! Actually we've been back for a few days now. Our trip was wonderful. We had a fantastic time.

All that being said, I think there's such a big difference mentally between where you are as a honeymooner and where you are when we you've been married for a while. Specifically I am pleased to say the few snafus we hit that would have been big deals during our first year of marriage were more of just minor bumps for this trip.

For starters, we couldn't get seats together. Even though we booked our trip well in advance, because it was spring break the plane was packed. While we were disappointed, it really wasn't a big deal. We both enjoyed reading our books and listening to music while not having to have any visits to the airplane bathroom with our kiddos. I also liked that when I cried at the end of the Blind Side, I could just look like a single crazy lady instead of having my hubby laugh at me. Hmmm...I take that back. If the Big Giraffe were sitting next to me, I know he would have watched the free airplane movie and I can almost guarantee that he would have cried at the end of it based on his reaction to Lifetime movies and Army Wives which he just loves.

The hotel was nice. It was all inclusive including drinks. They upgraded us to an ocean view suite (the picture above is taken from our balcony.) The view was amazing and the weather and the water were just plain perfect. I can see why people go back to Aruba for vacations year after year.

The downside? The food was just OK. Nothing to get to excited about. It was like college dorm food. The first day we were tricked into having a conversation about purchasing a time share through the hotel which just left a bad taste in our mouth. The conversation was under the guise of showing us around the hotel just after we checked in and so we assumed it was part of the check in process. However, after that they hotel did leave us alone and I've been told that the hotels in Aruba tend to be pretty aggressive about time shares.

Also, and this was the biggie, the Big Giraffe got food poisoning on Sunday night. He was pretty sick well into Monday. Sunday and Monday were our only full days.

Again, though I feel almost funny even mentioning the negative because we did have such a great time. Particularly on Monday and Tuesday morning, it reminded me a vacation place we used to go to in WI called the Cardinal's Lodge. We just ate, relaxed on beach chairs under a cabana, and went for a swim when we got hot. It was fantastic even when I was solo on Monday. I can honestly say though that if this had happened during my honeymoon, there would have been tears.

The boys did well. They got to go on a bunch of outings. Interestingly, our older son who had a harder time than our younger one although again they both did great.

All in all a great trip for both the Big Giraffe and I and our kids.
posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:10 PM   1 comments
  • At 4/28/2010 1:52 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    wow what a fabulous view. bummer that the food isn't as fabulous, if not I'd ask for the address

    but aruba is so far for us

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Fantastic News

It was negative! That's right I got the results of my pap smear and much to everyone's surprise it was negative.

I called my doctor to basically beg for another prescription for the Pill. Yes, it gave me horrible headaches and I broke out in a rash, but seriously that was better than dealing with Mother Nature. And even though I had tried out about 4 different brands all with the same reaction, there had to be another one at there for me to try, right? I mean I didn't start of having any of these problems until I went off the Pill.

I pleaded with the nurse while simultaneously complaining about the fact that the only type of tampons that seemed to work were the kind that only come 18 to a pack. Since it's basically Crimson Tide over here that frankly is cutting it close. She sympthasized with me and started asking me some questions about going on a new Pill. However, just as we begun our conversation, she interrupted to say that a batch of test results had just arrived. Sure enough mine was there and much to our surprise it was negative! I literally danced around my kitchen.

I'm not officially out of the woods yet. I'll need to come back in July, October and January and test negative for all three. If one of those comes back positive I'll need to have the procedure (after retaking it to make sure it wasn't a false positive.) I will also be getting Mirena in the next few weeks because it seems that Mother Nature's very frequent visits are probably what's causing the problems in the first place.

I realize that to some of you of you this may be an uncomfortable topic for a blog post. Yes, this is my blog and therefore I can write whatever I want. However, that's not why I'm writing about it or being so open about it with friends that I honestly don't know that well. I'm doing it because my doctor told me that it is estimated that 80% of women have HPV. I don't have it, but the process is the same for cervical dyplasia diagnosis and treatment regardless of what has caused it.

80% is a huge number. While not all women who have it will have cervical dysplasia, a lot of them will. That means that many women will go through all the fear and anxiety I have and still on some level will have for the next 9 months. I have been surprised by how many women I know who have gone through this, LEEP, etc. I'm surprised because I've known many of them for a long time and had no idea. I had no idea because they're embarrassed. As a society we tend to be uncomfortable discussing women's bodies, so while I'm saddened by this, I can't say I'm really surprised. I've noticed an uncomfortable glance or two when I've told people that I have cervical dysplasia. They may not know what it is, but the word cervix made them sweat so to speak.

I don't have some great lesson learned or words of advice except to say that this really is so common. Do I think everyone should walk around annoucing they have this? Obviously not, but what I am saying is try not to be embarrassed by it and know that you're not alone.


posted by Alex Elliot @ 6:57 PM   2 comments
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Friday, April 09, 2010

10 Year Annivesary Trip

The past week has been gorgeous! Well, other than today. My younger son (YS) and I have spent the majority of this week outside enjoying playdates, parks and just our own backyard. It felt like summer, not spring, had sprung.

However, as much as I have enjoyed this fantastic weather, I don't mind that it's started raining again. We're going to Aruba next week! The Big Giraffe and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary a year early. We never really did a honeymoon and instead promised ourselves we would do something special for our tenth. Hence 4 days in Aruba!!!!

The preparations have begun. Haircut today, pedicure sometime next week, lots of excited conversations with friends during the day, conversations with the Big Giraffe in the evenings about what we're going to do....all this prep is sounding an awful lot like prep before our wedding!

And yes, we are going without children. Family friends are coming to stay at our place with the kids.


posted by Alex Elliot @ 12:18 PM   1 comments
  • At 4/12/2010 9:10 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    so now you must be in Aruba....Great!!!! enjoy the time off

    I'm truly amased though that you go to the hairdresser before a vacation
    so before it's going to bleach by sun & sea? before it's getting sweaty and sandy and salty each day? And you'll make it shorter so you can't make ponytails or put clips in when it's sticking to your head from the heath?

    hehe, I'd never do that, seems completely pointless to me. Vacation = ungroomed look! And upon my return, I go to the hairdresser.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Follow Up Pap

It seems like just the other day it was December when I was having my biopsy. Then suddenly the week of my follow up pap smear has arrived. Or maybe it just seems like that only when I casually glance back at the last 4 months. In reality, for the most part it has been like that with a few waves of anxiety coming here and there. Just like how a wave a little further out in the ocean is more infrequent, so were my waves of anxiety in the winter months. Much like those waves that hit the shore are more frequent much to the delight of little kids, so has been my own waves of anxiousness this last couple of weeks except no one has been delighted by them at all. Also where there's waves with little kids, there tends to be pee. I'm not sure how that last part fits in with my analogy!

Yesterday morning I felt a familiar cramping and realized that it was almost that time of the month. Not trusting Mother Nature to wait until the weekend and knowing that having to reschedule my appointment would prolong the anxiety, I called my doctor to see if there were any cancellations earlier in the week. Fortunately there was one for this morning.

With my younger son (YS) in tow, we saw my older son (OS) off to kindergarten and headed to the doctor. It was kind of ironic in a way that this is the first time I've had one of my kids with me at the ob/gyn's office; one of the few appointments I've had that hasn't had anything to do with a pregnancy.

The doctor did the repeat pap smear. My cervix does still appear to be irritated. I honestly wasn't surprised to hear it. I'll know the official results in a couple of weeks, but the test will probably come back positive.

The good news is that I had an honest talk with my doctor about this procedure, my triathlon and childcare and decided to not have the procedure until after my triathlon. First of all, while I can take time off from the training to recover and still do the triathlon, I probably won't feel like jumping back at the needed intensity to be able to complete the triathlon and have it feel the way I would like it to feel. I'm into my second week of training with a coach and I really am enjoying. I'm looking forward to the remaining 14 weeks and completing my first Olympic distance triathlon.

Second, the childcare issue is a lot easier during the summer. My MIL has said from the beginning that if I were to have this surgery during the summer she thinks that she'll be able to come out and help since she should be fully recovered from her broken tailbone by then. If that doesn't work out, my aunt has also volunteered. There's also always camp where both boys can be at one place at one time instead of trying to cordinate two very different schedules during the school year.

Finally, sometimes cervical dysplasia just goes away on its own. This will buy me some more time to see if it just resolves itself.

Right now, I'm relieved because I feel much more in control of everything. Of course this doesn't mean that a week from now I won't be worrying about the official test results, but even that seems less stressful with this new timeline.

I'll leave you with my lesson learned today about how a cervix is like a starfish.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: The cervix regenerates itself.


posted by Alex Elliot @ 4:04 PM   1 comments
  • At 4/07/2010 5:50 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    I'm glad you've been able to talk it through and plan accordingly. I understand how that can make a big difference in the stress you were dealing with.

    I hope you won't have a lot of big anxiety waves coming back.

    take care

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Laundry Confessions of a SAHM

A while ago I wrote a post about how I truly felt about being a SAHM. Not too much has changed since I wrote the blog post except that maybe I've gotten a little more comfortable with some of my secrets coping mechanisms for survival with two small kids.
Cat fur all over the shirt because...well...the cat just jumps right into the laundry basket the moment the clothes come out of the dryer. Cats like warm things you know.

Sure, sure. I know that little line. Translation #1: I was cuddling with the cat when I watched TV on the couch last night and grabbed the same shirt off the floor this morning when I woke up after about 30 minutes of sleep. Translation #2: My kids have been sleeping through the night for a couple years now and I still don't have my act together so I grabbed the shirt I was wearing when cuddling with the cat last night off the floor of my room this morning.

A variation on this when my kids were newborns was acting surprised when someone pointed out that I had spit up on my shirt. Yeah, I knew about it and didn't care enough to grab a clean shirt. I was just hoping that no one was notice.

Around the time of furry t-shirts, I not suprisingly had a hard time with laundry. No, not doing laundry. My husband is from NYC and grew up without a washer and dryer in his building. I lived there for a couple years and also experienced the "joy" of carrying a heavy laundry basket several blocks to the nearest laudrymat. The result of all of this and that we still, 10 years later, have not gotten over the novelty of having our very own washer and dryer in our dungeon of a basement. A commercial break? Throw in a load of laundry! About to make a phone? Why not throw a load of laundry in first? In fact during the time that my older son was a baby, we had to walk through our basement to let the dog outside. A load of laundry was always been thrown in the wash to let the dog out, and into the dryer on the way to let the dog inside.

Doing laundry was not the problem. Putting it away was. Everyone morning the walk of shame happened. After breakfast I would go down to the basment rumage through the clothes and pull out whatever we were going to wear that day. Dramatic declarations would be made that the laundry would be put away that very day. I may have even raised a fist in the air to seal the deal. And sometimes I really did follow through...but most of the time I didn't. I added it to the list of "Things I Fail At As A SAHM" and felt bad about it. And overtime it actually was really quick to grab whatever we needed and putting away laundry did take a really long time...and honestly it was more efficient to just not put it away. It worked. I grasped onto the advice of grandmothers: you have your whole life to put away laundry; your kids are only little for a short time.

Today I read an email on my moms group loop from a mom of two little girls looking for laundry help. Hence the reason for this post. Somewhere along the way putting laundry away wasn't a big deal anymore. I'm not sure when it happened, but while I may not be able to put an exact date on it, I know it's when I begun to feel like I had more time. The only walks of shame are when my children put on some truly terrible looking creative looking outfits to wear out in public. Furry shirts really were clean that morning but I have been holding a cat. Ironically I recently did find the cat sleeping in the laundry basket. Shirts with spit up...there shouldn't be any shirts with spit up so please tell me if you see that!

Today I did a load of laundry before I tackled some PTO stuff. Then I helped my younger son paint pictures, went to the Y and played 3 games of Chutes and Ladders. Yes, I did cheat on the last one. You can only go sliding down a long chute so many times before the game has been going on for at least 30 minutes. Then after my kids came home the three of us put away that load of laundry that I did this morning.

I can honestly say that I have never once looked back and my kids babyhoods and thought "I wish I had put away more laundry". Lest you think I'm being too conceited on my epiphany of motherhood, YS had a temper tantrum at the end of the third game when I wouldn't play a fourth game with him and declared me to be mean before he went storming off. Kind of made me wish that I had put away that load of laundry? No...made me wish I had settled down with a good cup of coffee and a book!

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: You will never look back and wish that you had spent more time putting away laundry unless of course you have company.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: It's hard not to be a MIL- in- training as you figure things out along the parenting journey.


posted by Alex Elliot @ 4:35 PM   0 comments
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Time Marches On

The Big Giraffe and I went out on a date night last night to celebrate the Pasta Dinner being over and more importantly just to spend time with each other. Alright and there was a Girl Scout babysitting fundraiser going on which someone from PTO had emailed me about and then we received a flyer for it so it seemed like a sign from the universe that a date night was in order.

Over dinner and a glass of wine, we talked about what events we have coming up in the next several months and we were surprised to discover just how busy we're going to be. Starting in April I have my test for the cervical dyplasia, our Aruba get away, my probably procedure, hopefully a trip to NYC, our anniversary, YS's birthday, BG's birthday, the NYC triathlon, Danskin, vacation with Suzanne, BlogHer, getting a puppy and then the school starts again. Somewhere in there will also be summer for the boys, a trip to Storyland and a couple more tris.

And yes, I did casually brush over my upcoming test. The truth is I try not to think about it too much. I wrote about it over at GNP a couple weeks ago and a commenter commented that they were amazed that I'm not worried about cancer. At the time I wrote that it was true. However, now that the date is approaching, I find myself starting to actually think about the test and what exactly it will mean.

I know that cervical dysplasia is very common. The best analogy I can use about how I feel to say it is like being pregnant for the first time. I knew that in all likelihood my baby and I would be fine. I knew it was going to hurt. I knew that some women have complications but I also knew that many more women had gone through it before and were fine.

However, that didn't mean that I wasn't scared about it and no matter how many times veteran moms reassured me it would be fine didn't take away from the fear of pain and of the unknown. I think it would be hard to find a mom who wasn't at some point annoyed by well intentioned moms who tried to say that really the childbirth would just be fine and then launched into a story of their own childbirth. Did you really want to hear that when you were pregnant? Probably not. I for one just wanted someone to listen to me and actually hear what I was saying. I wanted them to offer to help out if I needed them and say that they would call me or preferably stop by and visit.

That's pretty much where I'm at with this. I haven't had too much time to stop and think about it. Last weekend the reality of how quickly time has passed did catch up with me and I did get freaked out by it. As odd as it may sound, I'm alright with being a little scared right now.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: Fear isn't always a bad thing.
posted by Alex Elliot @ 11:23 AM   1 comments
  • At 4/02/2010 2:55 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    fear is're not an indifferent person right. As long as it doesn't paralyse you

    and if it does...come online and I'll crack a silly joke (i'm a lousy joker, but I'll try).

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Name:Alex Elliot
Home:MA, United States
About Me:Professional Mom of two cats, a dog, an ant farm, and oh yeah...two boys: a 6 year old and a 3 year old. Also found in my house is my husband who is known on this blog as The Big Giraffe.
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