Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hard at Play

A sampling of the cuteness we experienced at the Children's Museum this weekend:

Monday, January 26, 2009

That's My Supergirl

As anyone who knew me in high school can attest, I was a bit of a Superman fanatic. By this, of course, I mean that I was in love with Superman. I mean, really, who wasn't? He could fly. He could leap tall buildings in a single bound. He fought for truth and justice. He was the perfect guy.

I desperately wanted to be Lois Lane. Not just because she and Superman were in love (although this was clearly a large selling point), but because she was a hardnosed, successful reporter in her own right. Sure, she had to keep getting rescued by Superman, but she was also a strong, independent woman who had amazing adventures all her own. In retrospect, my deep love of Clark and Lois may have had something to do with why I entered college as a journalism major.

Back in the day, I had collected quite a good bit of Superman paraphenalia. I multiple t-shirts, baseball caps, posters, novels, children's storybooks, coloring books, stickers, comic books, and action figures. I was also an avid watcher of "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." What wasn't to love about Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher?

As the years wore on, my Superman collection slowly dismantled itself. I think the shirts and hats ended up donated to various Goodwills over the years. The coloring books probably got thrown away. The novels, comic books, and action figures are buried deep in Rubbermaid totes in my basement. But a few vestiges have remained in everyday life. I still sport Superman pajama pants one or two nights a week. An old stuffed Superman doll resides in Shaylee's closet with her own stuffed animals. And perhaps most importantly, one of my children's storybooks made its way onto Bryn's bookshelf.
She discovered it a few weeks ago, and now that kid lives and breathes for all things Superman. She wants to read that book every time we read stories. I dug around in my closet until I found an old plastic Superman watch, and now she wants to wear it all the time. Ben (who may have had a bit of a love for Lois Lane himself) downloaded all of season 1 of "Lois and Clark" onto our laptop, and the past few nights have featured family cuddles in front of the screen as we watch it. Last night, we watched one episode (the one where kryptonite is discovered) and then I took Bryn up to bed. She kicked and screamed the whole way, shouting, "I want more Superman!" My sister and just laughed and shook her head, declaring, "She really is your kid."
On Saturday, we went to the Children's Museum to give Shay a taste of the Playscape now that she's getting around so well. We got derailed on the way, though, by the superhero exhibit on level 2. I have walked past that exhibit many times without ever going in, but this time around, as soon as Bryn caught sight of the Man of Steel, we had to go in. Here's me and my Supergirl with the first exhibit:
Although she is a bit young to be experiencing obsessions of her own, Shay does seem to at least be interested in our hearthrob as well. Here's her clutching a Superman costume at the museum:
My conclusion? Even though my girls may look just like their daddy, they seem to have inherited this love from me. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #14

Yes, folks, that's a chicken bone she's gnawing on.... Shay grabbed it off Ben's plate one night while we were eating fried chicken. Suggested captions?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Painting Projects

Lately Brynie and I have been having some mother/daughter craft time while tackling some painting projects. Okay, so really I just started letting her paint to keep her amused while I'm doing it, but still, we've both had a lot of fun sharing this time.

Here's one of Bryn's recent masterpieces, done on a coloring book page:

And here's the progress that I have made on my "Cars" mural for the downstairs playroom:

Since Mommy Amy and Brynie seemed to be having so much fun, of course Shay then decided that she needed to get in on the act. This involved me grabbing several small containers of paint out of her eager hands before she managed to get them in her mouth. Her crowning achievement, however, was when she managed to stretch her skinny little self up to my desk, grab the cup that I was using to rinse out my paintbrush between colors, and spill the colored water all over the carpeted floor. If this mural (much less the others I have planned for that room!) ever gets done, it will truly be due to a group effort!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Picture Problems?

I've been trying all night to post some pictures, but Blogger won't load them. Anybody else having this problem? Grr....

Anyway, had a good MLK day off school with the girls. I even got to have a girls' lunch with Cathy, Kathleen, and Suellen.... and kids, of course. Ben and I had our foster parenting class tonight, and now I'm about to crash. Hope you all had a good one as well!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pebbles Ain't Got Nothin' On Shaylee

This week's Sunday Funny....

Shay's hair is simply getting too long to let it hang in her face. I don't want to cut it, because growing Bryn's bangs out was a nightmare, so I'm hoping to just grow Shay's out with the rest of her hair. But her hair is too fine to hold any kind of clips. So what's a mommy to do to keep a little girl's hair out of her eyes? We decided to give the "Pebbles" look (from "The Flintstones") a try. Here's how it turned out:

Shay cried hysterically while I did this to her. Bryn, viewing the spectacle from the kitchen, said, "Mommy Amy, Baby Shay is really sad. She no like her hair." I turned Shay so that Bryn could see her and asked, "What do you think, Brynie? Is it beautiful?" Bryn got this 13-year-old smirk on her face and said, "Oh, yes." And then she started laughing hysterically. It seems that my 3-year-old is quite capable of sarcasm.
And if you're wondering, no, we did not take Shay out of the house like this.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hello, Friends

Well, after a week of pleading with my readers to let me know who they are, here's what I've got. I've had nearly 400 page loads this week, and while I know that many of the faithful load multiple times, I am still quite certain that there are those of you who are simply refusing to "de-lurk." For those who are interested, here's a list of those who have "exposed themselves."

1. Andrea E - Indiana
2. Jen J - Texas
3. Cathy W - Indiana
4. Melissa R - Illinois
5. Rachel Y - Texas
6. Jill C - Indiana
7. Tina P - Illinois
8. Rob S - Illinois
9. Ashley W - Illinois
10. Maria M - Illinois
11. Diane P - Illinois
12. Suellen S - Indiana
13. Jim K - Michigan
14. Glynis K - Ohio
15. Tina R - Illinois
16. Krysten S - Ohio
17. Joe W - Ohio
18. Jill N - Indiana
19. Carrie G - Indiana
20. Pam S - New Jersey
21. Libby M - California
22. Elizabeth M - Indiana
23. Nancy R - Illinois
24. Helen M - Indiana
25. Ben M - Indiana
26. Jill M - Michigan
27. Dave P - Illinois
28. Kate W - Michigan
29. Alicia L - Indiana
30. Dorothy R - Missouri
31. Rebecca J - Indiana

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fill-In #107

(I decided to switch my numbering system over to the number of the prompt on the Friday Fill-Ins site, rather than number by how many I have done)

1. Enough with the sub-zero temperatures; I'm ready for my furnace to stop working overtime!

2. The ever-present mommy debate of "work or stay home?" causes me to be conflicted.

3. I've been craving an exotic vacation. Most of the January term classes from my school are traveling next week--to New York City, to San Francisco, to Washington, D.C., etc. I'm jealous--I want to go somewhere fun!

4. Bryn trying to act all serious and grown up makes me laugh.

5. I wish I could go to Aruba next week. (I've been to Aruba and don't actually know much about it, but one of the people I work with is going there for a 2-week vacation so I've got it on the brain, and it sounds heavenly, especially compared to our freezing weather!)

6. Figuring out finances has been on my mind lately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to bed (I'm already in my pjs and headed there as soon as I post!), tomorrow my plans include going to the library, and Sunday, I want to try out some new recipes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

13 Books I Plan To Read This Year

I've taken a good hard look at that sagging bookshelf I mentioned a few posts ago and have selected 13 books to be my first reads this year. Well, really, I've already read three books this year (go me!)--Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (that one was for school, but I enjoyed it immensely), The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (it's no Harry Potter, but a very quick read and enjoyable), and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (absolutely amazing until the last 50 pages, but I thought the end left a lot to be desired). So here's what's up next on my "pleasure reading" list (in no particular order):

1. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
This book was recommended by our pastor over a year ago. The back reads, "In The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne invites you into a movement of the Spirit that begins in the heart and extends through our hands into a broken world. Using examples from his own unconventional life, Shane Claiborne stirs up questions about the church and the world, challegning you to live out an authentic Christian faith. This book will comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable, and invite believers to change the world with Christ's radical love."

2. Mommy Wars edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner
This book of essays addresses the working mom vs stay at home mommy debate. I purchased it when I was first considering quitting my job at the ZCHS PAC. I made it about halfway through the book then. Honestly, I can't remember why I quit reading it, since I liked all but one essay so well that I forced Ben to listen as I read them aloud. Now that I've had two years at home and then re-entered the workforce, I'm interested to read the whole thing again and see how my perspective has changed.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book was loaned to me by a student and has been recommended by many. It is set in 1939 Nazi Germany, and hte main character is a girl who steals books from Nazi book burnings, among other places. It may be first one I read, simply so that I can return it in a timely manner.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Highly recommended by my dad and stepmom. It is an autobiographical account of a family with dysfunctional parents. I don't think that's why they recommended it though. :)

5. Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
This is the fourth (and I think final) book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I am a complete sucker for good young adult lit, and I have loved the previous three books in this series, which I started reading way back in the summer of 2000? 2001? while working as a summer camp counselor. My policy is that if a new book comes into the series but it has been a long time since I've read the others, I reread the entire series before reading the final book (I even did this when the 7th Harry Potter came out). I just appreciate it more that way. So this one will actually involve re-reading the previous three as well.

6. Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist
I read this one way back in high school and remember being intensely creeped out by it. I'm hoping that I won't find it quite so scary now that I'm a mature adult. :) Feist is one of my favorite authors and I've been craving something by him, but this is his only book that is not part of a series (see #5 for explanation on that).

7. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
I am ashamed of how long this has been sitting on my bookshelf without being read. It was recommended to me years ago by my dear friend (and former youth pastor) Tracy, way before Kidd became famous when her Secret Life of Bees (which is on my extended "to read" list, but I can't find my copy of it right now--it must be in the basement) was made into a recent movie.

8. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
Speaking of books that have been collecting dust for a while..... It's not that I haven't wanted to read both this and #7, it's more that other books (or kids, or life) have kept getting in the way. But I'm going to force myself to make time this year.

9. Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life by Terry Brooks
Brooks is another one of my favorite authors, and while it's hard for me to put aside fiction to read an autobiography, I think it will be worth it.

10. Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller
I've been somewhat avoiding this one because my dad said he didn't really like it, and we tend to have very similar tastes. But I loved Miller's Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What, so I do want to read this as well. This is billed as "a road-trip memoir about three months spent crossing the country in a Volkswagen camping van, wondering out loud if there is more to life than nine-to-five jobs, than the ruts the entire world seems to be stuck in." So at the very least, it should inspire me with fond memories of the summer camping trip that Ben and I took when we were engaged.

11. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Picoult has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Actually, I would say she is my current overall favorite. If you haven't read any of her stuff, shame on you. Get yourself to the bookstore or the library right now! My favorites have been Keeping Faith and My Sister's Keeper, but all of hers that I have read have been excellent.

12. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
While this one has not been on my shelf for nearly as long as #7 or #8, I'm still a bit ashamed about how long it has been sitting there. I have heard very polarized reports about this book--everyone that I know who has read it has either absolutely loved it or hated it. We'll see which camp I fall into.

13. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Ben and I actually both read all four of Dan Brown's books during a one-week spam, and all of the plots kind of blend together for me because I read them all so quickly. I have since re-read The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, but not his others. Ben re-read this one last week, and the comments that he made about it sparked just enough memory in me to make me want to read it again to refresh my memory.

So there you go, 13 (really 16, if you count the other 3 mentioned in #5) books for me to read, all located and selected without leaving the comfort of my own bedroom.

Lurkers, don't forget to comment and say hello. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brit Lit Recommendations

After reading all of your excellent suggestions for good reads (my already sagging shelf may now overflow, thanks), I've decided to ask you all for a bit of advice on school reads as well. The general question is: what book (or books) would you recommend for a British Literature course? This, or course, means that the book has to be written by a British author (or at a stretch, Scottish, Irish, or Welsh). No limitations other than that.

If you're really feeling ambitious, how would you group them? For example, a semester course on Dystopian literature, I could teach Brave New World, 1984, and.... what else? A semester course on Shakesepeare could include Macbeth, Othello, King Lear.... recommendations? Contemporary British Lit could include High Fidelity (by Nick Hornby).... others? A class on British mythology could feature Irish lore, King Arthur, Robin Hood (recommendations on books in those areas?). But where does Virginia Woolf fit? Or Thomas Hardy? Or Sherlock Holmes? Or Harry Potter? (yes, I know I've mixed authors and characters there, but you get the idea)

I'd love any suggestions on topics and books that go with them. Or just give me suggestions on Brit books you like, and I'll figure out what to do with them. :)
(In case you're wondering, I'm all fired up because Alicia and I continued plotting the restructuring of the junior and senior years of English, and I'm excited about planning some interesting new classes--key word = "interesting.)

And yes, lurkers, this is another plea to come out of the woodwork. :)


It seems that I need to print a retraction. My dad just emailed me, and it seems that while my stepmom Diane did read 84 books in 2008, he read 87, thus making him the "most books" winner. However, her page total was greater. Thus they have a split verdict and will continue the read-off in 2009. All I can say is, they both have me beat by a significant amount!!

Wordless Wednesday #13

Remember, it's the week to de-lurk, so everyone (particularly those who haven't yet!) should leave a comment (or an email to amypfan at yahoo dot com), either with a proposed caption or a "hey, your kid is really cute." :) So here's this week's photo:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Recommondations

When I read a book, I devour it. I lack all self-control in pacing myself. When I get a good book, I can't put it down until it's done, and then I turn the storyline over in my head for days afterwards. I often dream about what I'm reading. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night, I lay there recounting the plots to books I read years ago. All of these are reasons that, since going back to work, I have not really read anything for pleasure. Not to mention the fact that I've been knee-deep in reading materials for my classes. But one of my New Year's Resolutions was to read at least one non-school book a month, so I'm working on it.

Please note how sad it is that the English teacher has to make an active effort to read one book a month. But like I said, when I read, it consumes me. Meals, chores, grading, conversation, sleep--they all fall off my radar when I'm reading a good book. My dad and my stepmom have a "reading contest" ever year, and my stepmom won for 2008 with the total of 7 or 8 books a month times 12 months. This is my dream.

My bookshelf upstairs is already sagging with books that I have purchased (or have been given to me) and I am quite anxious to read, although some of them have sat there since we moved into this house 2 years ago, and some of those were on my "to read" shelf at our old house as well. That being said, I'm always on the lookout for more good reads. I am currently in the thralls of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, which is both so good and so disturbing that I can hardly tear myself away from it to get the girls up from their naps, write this blog, or change out of my pajamas.

Here's my question to all of you--and an excellent opportunity for you to de-lurk by leaving a suggestion. :) What is the best book you have ever read? Why did you like it so much? Why do you recommend it? Leave me a comment or drop me an email to amypfan at yahoo dot com.
I am up to a list of 21 dear friends who like to read my blog. I feel popular. :) However, I also see that my blog was opened 100 times since my first post yesterday! Now, I realize that a lot of those are me checking back to see who has left me comments :), but thanks to the wonders of StatCounter, I know that I had 52 "returning visitors" yesterday. It also tells me that that I had 28 "first time" visitors, but that can't possibly be right... can it???

StatCounter also tells me that I had visitors yesterday from both Germany and Malaysia--yet I don't know anyone in those countries (or at least I think I don't). I must be attracting quite the fan base. :) Other unidentified people have come from:
  • Muncie, Indiana
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Rensselear, Indiana
  • Carmel, Indiana
  • Reston, Virginia
  • Avon, Indiana
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Greenwood, Indiana
  • Greencastle, Indiana
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Pekin, Illinois
  • Mechanicsville, Virginia
  • Elkhart, Indiana
  • Evansville, Indiana
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Lebanon, Indiana
  • Peoria, Illinois
  • Elgin, Illinois
  • Clarksville, Tennessee
  • and many, many others. And that was all just yesterday! Nor does it count all of you "professional lurkers" who read blogs via Google Reader (like I do) or some other device that does't show up on StatCounter.
So while StatCounter can tell me where people came from, it can't tell me who you are, which is of course what I actually want to know. :) So please leave me a note to say hi. To make commenting a bit easier for you, I'll even post some questions this week that you can respond to--an audience poll of sorts. I just need to get some real work done first!! :)

(Side note--for those of you who are curious about Stat Counter, I recommend it as far as collecting info goes. It has some very neat features, although it doesn't always give you all the information you want. Google Analytics has many of the same features.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm Serious!

Six faithful readers have left me comments, and two have emailed me. However, I've had 30 page loads since my last post, so I know there are plenty of you who are still just out there lurking! Comment, please, or email AmyPfan at yahoo dot com. I'm very curious to see who I'm writing to. :)

Expose Yourselves

I stole this from a blog that I enjoy creeping on... and yes, I did leave a comment this week! I may have missed the action "National De-Lurking Week" (if there really is such a thing), as I saw this on her blog last week, but I'm still challenging you all!
As my ticker tells me that I am currently at 14,564 views (just since I put it up last summer) and I don't recieve very many comments, I'm curious who it is that is adding all these page loads. Additionally, nearly every time I get together with a friend that I haven't seen in a while, he or she says, "Oh, I love reading your blog!" Meanwhile, I had no idea that they were reading..... this makes me curious.
So, this week, I challenge you to "expose yourself." Let me know that you're out there and reading. I have my comments enabled to allow you to post anonymously, but if that's not your style, please drop me an email at AmyPfan at yahoo dot com (spelled out here to avoid spam). I'd love to know your name and your location--I'm thinking it would be compile and post a list of readers so that you can all say hi to each other as well. :)
So go ahead--leave a comment!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Sunday Funnies

My friend Andrea often posts a "Friday Funny" on her blog, so I thought I'd start with some Sunday Funnies, named in honor of everyone's favorite newspaper cartoons. This week's featured comedian is Bryn....

Bryn seems to think that everyone has two names. She has always called her sister "Baby Shay," and now she occasionally calls her "Shaylee Grace!" when she is doing something that Bryn doesn't like. She calls my sister Kristin, who lives with us, "Aunt Tistin," and we also have "Aunt Jill," "Unca Brian," and "Aunt Linny," and are working on the concept of "Unca Jim" (Jill's fiance). A few months back, we taught her our first names, so that she could tell someone who she was looking for if she ever got lost. As a result, she no longer calls us "Mommy" and "Daddy." We answer to the names of "Mommy Amy" and "Daddy Ben."

Our friends' Alicia and Suellen's little girl Parker now comes over to our house to be babysat during the. Our new babysitter is Lauren, Suellen's sister-in-law. This was the first week, and on Monday, when Lauren started to burp Parker (who is 3 months old), Bryn shouted in horror, "Miss Lauren! You no hit Baby Parker!"

At the tender age of 3, Bryn has already started with the guilt trips. Whenever we tell her something that she doesn't like, she dramatically throws herself onto the couch, floor, etc., and sobs "You make-a me sad!"

Whenever Bryn is doing something that she shouldn't, I'll tell her no, and she'll stop. But as soon as I turn by back, she will sometimes start again. When I catch her again, I'll say sternly, "Brynie, Mommy said no." To which she passionately replies, "But I said yes!"

Have a good week, everyone!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Official Okay

It's a week of big happenings here at the MeyPfan house. Yesterday I received a call from the nurse of the wonderful Dr C (my fertility doctor). Because things are looking so much better with my thyroid (and should continue to improve), Dr C has given us "the official okay" to go ahead and try to get pregnant again! This will involve tracking my ovulation and getting many supplements of progesterone, both via shot and via medication, in order to lessen my risk of yet another miscarriage. Now, of course, this situation comes with challenges of its own, and there is no guarantee that I will get pregnant anytime soon, but it is SUCH a relief to get this "official okay." While my thyroid is still not perfect (and I am learning to accept that it never will be), it is such a huge blessing to hear that I am doing well enough that the doctor thinks I can proceed like a normal person. Please continue your prayers for our family!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Steppin' Out

She did it! Last night, Shay took her first steps! She was standing next to her play table, and she turned to look at me. She got this huge grin on her face, and she took three tiny little steps toward me. Then she started wobbling, and I help my breath. She steadied herself and took two more steps, then kind of toppled over. I rewarded her with a huge smile, hugs, and applause. I am SO excited that she did it, and even more excited that I was here to see it. She was so close for all of Christmas break, but she never quite did it, so I was despondantly sure that she would do it for our new (and wonderful) babysitter Lauren before she did it for me. But no, my good little girl saved it for me in the evening! Way to go, Shay! Such a big girl!

Friday Fill-Ins #17

1. It's January; dry skin abounds.

2. Some happy, fun time with my girls is what I crave most right now.

3. Cork and wine go together like um, bread and butter?

4. A good nap is so nourishing.

5. Let us dare to dream that the future holds our dreams.

6. I love my home, even though I cringe a little bit every time we get our mortgage statement.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to quality time with the family, tomorrow my plans include naptime and catching up with some friends, and Sunday, I want to make it to church in time to hear the entire sermon! :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

13 Texts I'll Be Reading This Year

It's true, I did resolve to read more in the new year.  I meant for pleasure, but here are 13 texts that I'll be reading whether I like it or not, as they are on my curriculum for either Language and Literature (freshmen), AP English Literature and Composition, or British Literature.  I have actually not ever read many of these works, so at least I'll be reading some new material!

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
2. 1984 by George Orwell
3. King Lear by William Shakespeare
4. Beloved by Toni Morrison
5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
7. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
9. Come Back to Afghanistan by Said Hyder Akbar
10. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
11. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
12. assorted poetry
13. AP practice tests

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #11

Suggested captions?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The State of the Thyroid

Who cares about the State of the Nation? I know you're really all waiting to hear about the State of the Thyroid.... Or maybe I'm just projecting my anxiousness onto all of you!

At any rate, I met with Dr. A, an endocrinologist, last week. I absolutely loved her. I mean, I realize that she's a specialist and that it's her job to know stuff, but then again, I've seen many doctors in the past who were supposed to know stuff and didn't, so this was entirely refreshing. She had reviewed all my medical records ahead of time and had all kinds of questions for me(One of which was, "Do you use street drugs?" Um... NO.) to help her figure out my case better.

In essence, what is hapening is that my thyroid is dying, as in, it will eventually be a dead organ in my body. But, in true Monty Python fashion, it's not dead yet. Dr. A. said that in a case like mine, the doctors really wish that it would just hurry up and die, because it is doing more harm than good. Sometimes it doesn't emit any hormones, sometimes it emits the right amount, and sometimes it WAY overcompensates by emitting too many. Thus why my levels have been all over the map.

The medication that I have been on for several years, syntheroid, is a substitute for T4, which is about 80% of what the thyroid should be producing. In most people, this does the trick. But in some freakish cases like mine, the T3 (about 20% of what the thryoid should be producing) is also a problem. So I am now also on cytomel, a T3 substitute. This is a very good thing. Basically, syntheroid is an extremely stable medication. It takes roughly a month for a change in dosage to kick in. This clearly isn't working for my body, since my thyroid apparently likes to do different things on a daily basis. Cytomel, on the other hand, is a very volatile drug, and its half-life is only about a day. I take it in the morning, it peaks 3-4 hours later, and it's out of my system by around bedtime. That means this is an easy prescription to adjust for whatever my funky thyroid is doing at the time.

I started the cytomel (and a yet again adjusted dosage of syntheroid) on Saturday, and I'm already feeling a bit better. Still clearly a long way to go, but it is SO encouraging to feel any progress at all after our months of frustration. Oh, and get this. Dr. A. says that while the whole thyroid does work together, it's really the T3 that primarily controls.... drumroll please.... levels of fatigue and weight gain. Sound familiar? Those are two of my primary complaints about what's wrong in me because of my thyroid! So I am very hopeful that I am getting on the right track. Thank you, everyone, for all your love, support, and prayers--keep them coming!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Our Little Drummer

I know it's not Wordless Wednesday yet, but this is just too cute.
Shay: musician or thug? You decide...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - For Richer or Poorer

One of my old friends from college resolved to write more in the new year. Now, I love this goal. For one, her blog is one of my absolute favorites to read. She always posts such interesting things, things that I dream of having time to explore in more depth, like great new reads and delicious new recipes, the ingredients for which have never entered this toddler-centric household. Most of all, I love when she posts her creative writing. This friend was a pharmacy major in college, while I studied English and journalism, and it deeply puts me to shame that she still writes (when I don't) and that her writing is so stinking good (when I'm pretty sure that mine wouldn't be anymore, given my nearly 10-year hiatus from creative pursuits). It was through her blog that I learned about Sunday Scribblings, so I figured that I should at least give it a try this year.

I don't have anything creative this week, but I did at least look up and reflect on the topic. The prompt is "for richer or poorer." This is a timely topic for us. As you may recall, Ben and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University last year and came out 100% determined to pay off all our debt and build wealth. This resulted in us keeping a detailed budget and me taking on two small babysitting charges. We paid off and closed all but one credit card. But as the year wore on, our enthusiasm wore out. We still keep a budget, but we have slipped back into most of our old bad habits.

Fast-forward to later this month, when our church will again be offering an FPU class. Ben and I have been asked to serve as volunteers, most likely as small group leaders. Um, yikes. We are certainly not prepared to counsel a group of other adults on how to manage their money. We can't even handle our own! I guess that's the idea: to be honest about our experiences with what works and what doesn't. But this is also a clear wake-up call to demonstrate that we need to get our acts together.

So here are my financial goals for 2009:
1) pay off and close our one remaining credit card
2) pay off Ben's car
3) build savings, particularly as we will be relatively shortly in need of:
4) a new washer and dryer (goal: save $$ for these) and
5) a new (used) car for me (goal: save $$ for this)

After a careful analysis of our budget, it's hugely clear that one of the major ways we can reduce spending is to stop eating out. So, in the name of Dave Ramsey, I am telling my stomach to shut up, even though it is begging me for some queso and chips right now!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Return to Craftiness

As some my faithful readers may remember, I got very crafty when Bryn was about to move into her big girl room. Using coloring book images, a projector, and many, many jars of craft paint, I created murals of Cinderella and Belle on her walls (this was way back at the beginning of the princess obsession).

Recently I have been scheming about how to decorate our downstairs playroom, and I've decided to do more murals. The new ones will be on canvas instead of directly on the walls, largely because I am so incredibly paranoid that someday we will move or the kids won't like them anymore, and I will have to paint over them, and I will be very sad and emotional about this. So, by painting on canvas, I can take them with me wherever we go, or I can just preserve them in the basement when the kids get sick of them. :)

The first mural that I'm doing for the playroom is going to be a collection of the characters from "Cars." I got all the outlines drawn onto the canvas, but then I had to take time out to make a smaller painting of just Lightning McQueen. Bryn's friend Christopher just had his third birthday and moved into a big boy room with a Cars bed. Bryn decided that Chris needed his very own "Lightning A-Keen" (as she calls him) for his room, so I did that one first. Here's how it turned out:

And here is the big mural that I'm working on for our playroom... As you can see, Lightning himself is front and center, flanked by Sally and Doc Hudson. Other vehicular celebrities include Mack, Ramone, Fillmore, the Sheriff, Flo, Mater, Luigi, and Guido.

Friday Fill-In #13

1. The world is both a terrible and a beautiful place.

2. "That's VERY beautiful" was the last thing I said (to Bryn, regarding her painting of Beauty and the Beast, done all in red).

3. I wonder what this year will hold for me.

4. Heaven is at the end of all things.

5. There's something to be said for naps--I sometimes wonder how I make it through a day without one!

6. Curled up with a book, knowing that all my work is done is where I want to be (but since part 2 of that statement isn't true, neither is part 1).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to small group Girls Night Out/Boys Night In, Saturday my plans include going to the funeral of a former student, and Sunday, I want to enjoy my last day of freedom before going back to work on Monday after break.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


'Tis the season for change.... Really, 2008 was not the best to the MeyPfan family. Here are some of the areas I'd like to change in the new year:

1. Get my thyroid under control.
While we can't be sure that my thyroid was 100% responsible for our multiple miscarriages, we know it was at least a contributing factor. Additionally, my levels have been so out of whack over the past few months that I want nothing but to sleep around the clock. And the migraines aren't really a treat either. At my last visit to Dr C (on 12/16), my TSH level had soared from 3.54 to 5.04... basically meaning that it was at 3 times the level it should have been. All this in spite of the many adjustments to my medication... no wonder I don't ever feel good! But yesterday we received a HUGE blessing in the form a phonecall from the endocrinology specialist I mentioned last month. She has opened up a few new appointment times, so instead having to wait until May to see her, I'm going TOMORROW. So hopefully that will get me on the road back to health.... keep your fingers crossed!

2. Lose some weight.
I am currently the heaviest that I have ever been when not pregnant. Okay, who am I kidding? I'm actually heavier right now than I was during the majority of my pregnancies with Bryn and Shay. Why? See #1 on my list. One of the many horrible things about having a messed-up thyroid is the weight gain. It seems that no matter how many healthy foods I eat or miles I walk on the treadmill, I can't lose any weight. But I will persevere. And hopefully if I can achieve #1, that will make #2 a bit easier.

3. No miscarriages in 2009.
Again, related to #1, although how much related, we really can't be sure after the fact. I miscarried in September of 2006, January of 2007, and September of 2008, but we're desperately praying for 2009 to be different.

4. Expand our family.
This doesn't mean that I have to have a baby in 2009 (although I certainly wouldn't complain if that happened!). I would love to be pregnant by the end of 2009. But if that's not in God's plan for us, then my hope is to expand our family in some other way. We have long been interested in adoption, so that is a definite possibility. Ben and I are also starting our training as foster parents next week, so maybe there's a child there waiting for us.

5. Blog.
And blog regularly. While I wish that most of you would leave comments to say hello more often (shameless plug there!), I really enjoy this as a way to keep in touch with old friends.

6. Read.
One of the primary reasons I became an English teacher was because I love to read. The irony? As a teacher, I'm so busy reading school texts, lesson planning, and grading that I rarely have time to read books for pleasure. My goal is to deliberately carve out time for this.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Welcome to 2009!