Phillies Phriday

I'm taking a momentary break from working on some writing to watch the Phillies parade on, celebrating their AWESOME World Series Victory.

To celebrate in our Phillies Phandom in Texas, here is a picture of our little one, with my 28-year-old Phillies Phanatic doll.

Look at her puckered up! She must have heard my promise to marry Brad Lidge if he carried off the save in game 5!!

And here is Catherine propped up by her Daddy in front of the TV showing the WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! She looks less than'll take a few more years to teach her how important it is to celebrate for the Phillies!

And yes...the tears are rolling. Have I mentioned that I'd give my right arm to be in Philly today?

1980 - 1st World Series Win - I was born on 10/08/1980.
2008 - 2nd World Series Win - Catherine was born on 10/09/2008.

We are a Phillies Phamily!!

New Week, New Goals

Holy cow - my baby is 18 days old!

Just had to start with that - it just amazes me that so much time has gone by since she was born - it hardly seems possible!

She's doing very well now - we seem to have all of her health issues licked and she's started to settle into routines. So as she settles into new routines, I am working to do the same.

My husband is returning to work on Wednesday. Initially, he was going to take off through Thanksgiving, but because he's transferred districts for his job (from one 30 miles away to one a 1/2 mile away), he's finding that he feels guilty about them being a bit short handed. So he's going to work two weeks and then take the following two weeks off while his dad and step-mom are here.

I'm actually ok with him going back early - it'll help me to get into my own routine, as well. And what does that routine include?

Well, I'm working my way back to picking up more writing work, plotting out how to re-attack some of my long-neglected fiction, developing a blogging schedule, rebuilding a few websites I own, and checking in every so often with my full-time job to stay connected as I continue to be out on leave through early January. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?

It really isn't. The schedule I'm developing (I can't live without spreadsheets and schedules) is entirely built around the Little Miss, but still allows plenty of time to tackle my own projects while she's sleeping...which she's still doing a LOT of.

But until my little routine actually gets going, I'm feeling a bit frazzled...and so it's another Manic Monday! How's life in your world?

Manic Monday #22

Hi, everyone!

Didja miss me?

I'm going to start getting back to a more "regular" schedule this week, beginning today! We seem to have our baby's health issues licked, she's settling into a better routine, and I'm gradually adding additional activities back into my life, such as writing and blogging.

So here I's a MANIC MONDAY!

The lovely Lisa has provided some excellent questions as always for us to answer. Go visit the Manic Monday Meme homepage and join in the fun!

What is the greatest value that guides your life?
Individuality. I don't give a damn what decisions other people make for their lives - I am not a sheep. I like to evaluate situations and make up my own mind, rather than be swayed by anyone else's beliefs.

Fill in the blank: If I could be anybody besides myself, I would be ______.
A foreign correspondent. I'd love to travel the world and report on breaking news stories!

What is one item in your house that you should really throw out but probably never will?
Probably all of my high school and college paperwork/papers. I know...why in the world do I need my Medical Ethics papers to remind me of my pre-med days, or my Con Law papers to remind me of when I switched to pre-law? Considering I'm in neither think I'd just let go! But nope! Gonna keep 'em!

Your turn - fill out the linky, leave me a comment, and I'll come visit!

Seriously, the Medical Edition

We had several seriously?!?!?! moments today that I can share. (By the way...head over to my How to Have a Baby blog to see the latest on baby's medical issues/status.)

First, baby has been having daily weight checks, color checks and bilirubin blood draws since this past Tuesday. Our doctor has Saturday and Sunday hours for urgent care and follow-ups, but the location varies between the main location and a sub location. This weekend was at the sub location. The nurse at the main location advised us yesterday to simply call the sub location at 9 AM today to see what time they wanted us to come in.

We're good at following directions, so we called at 9:05, and explained why we were calling and what our little girl needed to have done. The girl at the desk told us that a new nurse was working today and so she didn't want to over-burden her, and so couldn't we wait until Sunday? Um, no. So she said she'd page out our doctor to see what she said and get back to us if we "actually" had to come in. Ok...we'll play.

An hour later, no phone call. We decided to give it another half hour...and then called back. The response? "Oh, yeah. Well, how soon can you be here?"

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? This sub location is almost 20 miles away...and we were waiting on a call back to get ready to leave the house. So, really, you can wait on us. Seriously!

Second, when we finally got to the doctor's office, we ended up sitting there for TWO HOURS just to have her weight checked (she gained almost 3 ounces versus yesterday) and to have a lab slip drawn up to take to the hospital since the doctor office's lab was closed. TWO HOURS. And it totally put the little one off her feeding schedule. I finally went back to the nursing room to start feeding her when she was a half hour overdue and then the nurse came in to weigh her and promised that we'd be on our way soon. So she only got half a feeding. Seriously?!?

Finally, when we got to the hospital, we ended up with a stupid lab tech. She asked why we were doing daily blood draws (um, the diagnosis is on the lab slip, sweetheart) and so I explained that we had been monitoring her bilirubin levels since Tuesday to make sure they were coming down. She looked rather alarmed when I told her the starting level and so I commented that the blue light therapy was working to help bring her numbers down bit by bit. The tech said that she didn't know that phototherapy could be done at home and she just assumed we were doing it at the hospital. Seriously?

Rewind. So this tech thought that we came to the hospital, took our child out of her blue light therapy, and brought her up to the lab? Um, I've heard of self service, but that crosses the border into stupid land. Here's your sign. Yes, the baby is getting therapy at home. Duh!

As a postscript, the nurse at the doctor's office and the lab tech both referred to Baby Catherine as "he" multiple times even as I was correcting them on her gender. Oy.

So it's been a Seriously Stupid Saturday all the way around. And despite the lab tech saying the results would be ready in an hour...we haven't received any results. So, on our own, and I'm sure AMA, we've decided to say "screw it" to doing a weight check and a blood draw tomorrow and try to capture an entire day to ourselves at home without working around medical crap...Monday will be soon enough to do her next checks!

Hope ya'll are having a great weekend!

Thursday Thirteen #22

Happy Thursday to you all! Catherine is officially one week old today, and so in honor of that landmark, this Thursday Thirteen is all about her!

Thirteen Reasons Catherine is the BEST BABY EVER

  1. So adaptable - she didn't put up any fuss over the phototherapy lights she's having to sleep under!
  2. So brave - she's had blood drawn several times now and other than an initial scream, she only whimpers through the process.
  3. So nonchalant - in a house with 4 pets, someone is always around sniffing. Catherine just turns her head and lets the curious animal give her a once over.
  4. So hungry - this kiddo eats like a champ. We're talking 50 minute feedings where the only break in the action is switching sides.
  5. So big - even after losing a bit too much of her birth weight, she's rebounding nicely and is a good size for her age!
  6. So snuggly - having to keep her under lamps except during feedings is made very hard by the fact that she snuggles in with her mommy and daddy so nicely...we hate to put her down!
  7. So smart - that bunk about babies not being able to track with their eyes from birth is just that - bunk! She was tracking Chris from day one.
  8. So strong - weak baby necks? Pshaw! She held her head up without wavering from about 6 hours after birth.
  9. So pretty - have you seen my kid's hair? She was born with more hair than I had at age 2!
  10. So smiley - it's not just gas, I swear! This kiddo gives us the most beatific smiles on a regular basis.
  11. So scrunchy AND stretchy - she's like a worm...she can coil up to be so tiny but then can stretch out to be so big.
  12. So perfect - from perfect skin to perfect hair to perfect hands and feet and fingers and toes...she's just amazing!
  13. So OURS - obviously, the best part about Miss Catherine is that she's all ours...and we love her dearly!
Have a great weekend - I'll be back to posting more regularly soon!


I was born 10/08/80, and the Phillies clinched the NL pennant only days later.

Catherine was born 10/09/08, and the Phillies clinched the NL pennant only days later.

Coincidence or divine pattern???

Catherine needs a Phillies onesie like I had all those years ago!

Back to Blogging!

Well, not really! Just wanted to let you know to visit How to Have a Baby and 0 to Mom to get the latest on our new addition!

I'll be back here to post my 2nd Presidential Debate Wrap Up as well as over at Read and Release to post three new book reviews (one of those books read entirely while in the hospital!) very soon!!

First Fabulous Friday

This is our First Fabulous Friday with our new little one, Catherine Elizabeth. I'm sitting here in my hospital room, where my baby is propped against my belly a la a pillow, my husband is passed out in the cot next to me, and I'm on the internet full is my life? :-)

This has just been the best experience - minus the 1 hour and 40 minutes between when the doctor broke my water and my epidural set in! We've had a bunch of visitors, gotten flowers and baskets from both of our jobs as well as other friends, and Catherine's gotten wishes of welcome through the internet from all over the globe. Life is way good!

We get to head home tomorrow. Discharge is "no later than" 1 PM but I think we're going to plan to leave earlier. Have to wait to get one last check up for me (let's not even discuss my massive swelling around my "little" tear) and one last check up for baby (who is doing WONDERFULLY!) and then they'll check out the car seat (which is funny since as a state police officer, my husband is also a certified car seat technician so I'm *pretty* sure the dang thing is in there just fine) and we'll head off. We're expecting Chris' aunt and uncle as well as his brother and his brother's girlfriend to visit either tomorrow or Sunday and then we'll begin the job of setting up our new routines in life!

I will be heading into my office for a *short* while on Monday to drop off my work laptop (someone else might as well use it while I'm out) and my budget work (Catherine came 1 day too early for me to finish beforehand) and my leave/disability paperwork. Chris will be heading into work for a *short* while probably on Wednesday to finish clearing out his stuff from his office (he's transferring from the Dallas office to the Fort Worth office) and to turn in his state vehicle since he'll get a different one from his new office. In between, Little Miss has her first pediatrician appointment on Tuesday morning - yay! So we already have a busy week on the horizon!

Hope all is well with you, dear reader! I look forward to sharing our journey with Catherine with you as she grows and our family evolves!

VP Debate Wrap Up

Just ahead of the 2nd Presidential Debate, may I present to you my (drumroll, please) Vice Presidential Debate Wrap Up!

Here were some of my Twitter comments during the debate:
  • Have I mentioned that I heart Sarah Palin? This chick kicks ass.
  • *gasp* Is Palin advocating personal responsibility? Silly girl...she should know that no Democrat would ever buy into that!
  • Say it again, girl. 94 times. 94 times. "Government's going to need to learn to be more efficient." No Dem will ever buy into that.
  • Biden/Obama have never taken a math class. They want the government to do it all...and still promise less taxes. HA! Robin Hood.
  • "Unless you're pleased with the way the federal government is running anything these days..." God, I love this woman. Go Palin!
  • OH SHUT UP. Spending the first 5 years of your life in Scranton doesn't make it your home. On behalf of Scranton, BITE ME.
  • Gotta love Joe playing scare tactics with healthcare. Too bad intelligent individuals won't buy it. Socialized medicine=bad.
  • What I think I just heard Biden say is that bankruptcy courts should help people stay in the houses they couldn't afford in the first place.
  • I'm not sure where in the constitution the issue of marriage - same sex or heterosexual - is mentioned.
  • I love Palin's clarification of Ifil's question on gay marriage instead of falling into a potential trap.
  • I think that Palin is very smart to point out the differences between what Biden has advocated in the past and what Obama has advocated.
  • I've judged HS kids who gave better answers to some of these same types of foreign policy questions than Biden. Sad.
  • Palin pronounced "nuclear" just like Bush. Apparently, that's become an accepted pronunciation.
  • Obama DID say he'd sit down with Achmidinijad (Sp?). Biden, you lie. Lie. Lie. Lie.
  • France hasn't ever kicked anyone out of anywhere. *Snort*
  • "Let me repeat"...yeah, heard ya. You still aren't saying anything of substance.
  • Oh yes, by all means, go to Scranton. Do they WANT to see my head explode?
  • GREAT summation by Palin.
  • Doesn't Biden just think he's oh so smooth. Yuck.
  • Geraldine Ferraro looks like 10 miles of bad road.
Here are some quotes from the transcript, and my reactions:
  • Biden: "If you need any more proof positive of how bad the economic theories have been, this excessive deregulation, the failure to oversee what was going on, letting Wall Street run wild, I don't think you needed any more evidence than what you see now."
    You say "letting Wall Street run wild," I say "free market system."
  • Palin: "John McCain, in referring to the fundamental of our economy being strong, he was talking to and he was talking about the American workforce. And the American workforce is the greatest in this world, with the ingenuity and the work ethic that is just entrenched in our workforce. That's a positive. That's encouragement. And that's what John McCain meant."
    Amen. And it's more than just the workforce. Many areas of our economy are strong. And if we'd just hold businesses and individuals to a level of personal responsibility instead of covering up for their mistakes, even more areas of our economy would be stronger.
  • Palin: "Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that."
    And here's where Palin and I part roads. It's not the lenders' fault that idiot homebuyers got in over their heads. If you make 40k per year for your total household, you have no business buying a $300k home, ever. Period.
  • Palin: "Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this."
    Personal responsibility? Snort. Most Americans wouldn't have the first clue. I think we need this desperately but I also think that more parts of society would advocate entitlements versus taking responsibility for their own actions.
  • Biden: "You had actually the belief that Wall Street could self-regulate itself. And while Barack Obama was talking about reinstating those regulations, John on 20 different occasions in the previous year and a half called for more deregulation. As a matter of fact, John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care industry deregulate it and let the free market move like he did for the banking industry."
    It's not deregulation that caused these issues. But nice try, Joe. Again, what you call deregulation, I call the free market system. Get government the hell out of the way and let businesses and individuals solve their own problems without interference.
  • Palin: "Government is going to have to learn to be more efficient and live with less if that's what it takes to reign in the government growth that we've seen today."
  • Biden: "The middle class is the economic engine. It's fair. They deserve the tax breaks, not the super wealthy who are doing pretty well. They don't need any more tax breaks."
    Yes, the theory of Robin Hood is always fair. Idiot.
  • Biden: "Well, the one thing we might have to slow down is a commitment we made to double foreign assistance. We'll probably have to slow that down."
    Oh, how very fiscally conservative of you. You shouldn't have proposed to provide that much foreign assistance in the first place!
  • Biden: "We should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe."
    Are you FREAKING kidding me? This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
  • Biden: "If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting."
    Can't you just picture this moron peering through a microscope at water that used to be frozen on a polar ice cap and seeing like a fleck of dirt so he can pronounce the problem manmade? Oy.
All in all, it's clear that Palin kicked Biden's butt! On to Presidential Debate #2!

Republican Convention Recap

Has your heart stopped? I'm actually posting the Republican Convention recap that I promised to you a month ago!

Day 1
Very tastefully done, considering the impact of Hurricane Gustav. Cindy McCain and Laura Bush make a great pair.

Day 2

Laura Bush
  • This woman is just the picture of class and she has an exquisite awareness of the camera at all times.
  • Great job differentiating opinions from facts about these successful endeavors
    • Education test scores
    • New Supreme Court Justices
    • Faith-based initiatives
    • AIDS relief
  • I love that she used the Obama quote in her own way - "Change you can really believe in."
  • Very eloquent "thank you" to veterans.
  • Very nice tribute to Cindy McCain.
  • Very nice thank you to the American people - gracious!

President Bush
  • Great idea to start by referring to Gulf state governors and volunteers in light of Hurricane Gustav.
  • I love that he thanked his mom and dad!
  • Great segue to pumping up McCain for president.
  • Quotes that I loved:
    • "Service above self."
      GREAT reminder!
    • "Arms had been broken but not honor."
      If the Hanoi Hilton couldn't break McCain, the angry left never will.
    • "Make tax relief permanent!"
    • Good point in reminder that McCain is not afraid to disagree - "Believe me, I know."
      Very cute way of putting this!
    • "Rather lose an election than lose a war."
      This is what the irrational left doesn't understand - it's much more important to work towards a lasting solution in the Middle East than to play politics during an election.
    • "Americans have always lived on the sunrise side of the mountain."
      This is a lot more meaningful phrase than the Obama rhetoric on a future of hope.
  • Very nice to end with a tribute to his wife.

Fred Thompson
  • Good enthusiasm.
  • Made a great point about the Democrats thinking we're in a Great Depression, we're down and we're disrespected - what a load of bunk! We will always have challenges, but as Thompson said, we are the free-est, strongest and most generous nation in the world.
  • Great comments about the media and great use of humor.
  • Cute joke about McCain's Mom and the North Vietnamese.
  • "John McCain knows about hope...that's all he had."
    GREAT point!
  • Character you can believe in - FABULOUS!
  • "A man who never quits is never defeated."

  • We don't need a president who feels the need to apologize for the US.
    He's right - we don't. But with Obama, that's exactly what we'd get.

Joe Lieberman

  • "It shouldn't take a hurricane to bring us together like this."
    No foolin'!
  • Why are we "fighting each other than fighting for the American people."
    GREAT question.
  • Liberman said he "supports McCain because country matters more than party."
    Too bad more people haven't figured this out.
  • The "oops" comment about natural/unnatural disaster...he recovered ok, though.
  • "God only made one John McCain and he is his own man."
    And thank GOD for that!
  • Love the funny Michael Moore comment.
  • Great observation on Obama: "Eloquence is not a substitute for a record."
  • We "don't need more party unity but more national unity."
    Again, too bad more people haven't realized this!!

Day 3

Mitt Romney
  • Ok, this man's opening remarks were way too smooth...maybe that's why I couldn't have seen myself voting for him.
  • Interesting comments on "Eastern elites" and now AZ and AK leaders. (Um, isn't Romney the former Governor of an EASTERN state?)
  • Great points on Washington already being too liberal.
  • "Time for the party of big ideas not Big Brother."
  • "This is no time for timid empty liberal gestures."
    Are there any other type of liberal gestures?
  • "Let's keep Al Gore's private jet on the ground."
    Hell, let's keep Al Gore in a closet. That man is a menace.
  • "There's never been a day when I was not proud to be an American."
    Take that, Mrs. Obama!

Mike Huckabee
  • Very nice humble start to his speech.
  • "Tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert."
    This comment had me rolling!
  • "Excellent adventure to Europe" with bad ideas brought back.
    Great slam on Obama's boondoggle. We don't need or want to be like Europe, TYVM!
  • Best quote: "I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich. I'm a Republican because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life poor waiting for the government to rescue me."
  • The school teacher story was touching - nice tie to the Oval office desk.

Rudy Giuliani
  • This was strong: we select the President. Not the media; not Hollywood; but the people!
  • Great description of the election being a job application. Obama's resume would definitely make my trash file!
  • Isn't it great that no matter what he's discussing, Giuliani just sounds tough? I love this man!
  • Giggling at the community organizer designation was funny!
  • His facial expression when discussing the 130 times Obama couldn't vote yes or no was priceless - it's not good enough to be present - you have to make decisions!
    Yes, but if you're a Democrat, you just wait for other people to do that for you!
  • Great point: Obama has never had to lead people in crisis.
  • Substance over style; this is no time for on the job training!
  • "Change is not a destination just as hope is not a strategy."
  • I'm still so disappointed that Giuliani's campaign went no where, but I thought his presence at the Convention was AWESOME!

Sarah Palin
  • Made a great distinction between there being a time for politics and a time for leadership.
  • I like the message to families of special needs kids.
  • Her intro of her family was nice!
  • What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!
  • I loved, loved, loved the comparison between a community organizer and a mayor. Wasilia might be a small town, but she still did a helluva lot more there than Obama's ineffectual "organizing" in Chicago. Pfft.
  • "The fact that drilling won't solve everything isn't an excuse to do nothing."
  • John McCain isn't a leader who is looking for a fight, but sure isn't afraid of one either. YES!
  • "The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery."
    Oh, so true!
  • "There is only one man in election who fought for you. For a season, a speaker can inspire with words. For a lifetime, a leader can inspire with deeds."
  • I love Cindy McCain's excitement for Palin!!

Day 4

Tom Ridge
  • Did a good job in focusing his speech on McCain instead of on himself.
  • Ridge is a very stoic, firm speaker.
  • Favorite quotes:
    • "We need a leader who fits the times, not a candidate who thinks it's his time to lead."
    • "It's not about building a record. It's having one. That's John McCain."

Cindy McCain

  • Focusing first on the Hurricane was so appropriate.
  • I loved her philosophy - if only the federal government would get under control and out of the way.
  • Should we consider what other countries think of us or what would our forefathers would make of us...or what our children will say of us.
  • I loved her conviction in describing McCain as a good father and her enthusiasm in talking about Palin.
  • Cindy is a bit bland - she seems to lack depth at times. She is definitely gracious, however.

John McCain
  • "No success has come without a good fight."
    AMEN! Too bad our country is filled with wusses who don't realize this.
  • I loved his thank you to President and First Lady Bush, as well as the former President and First Lady Bush!
  • You can just tell that he adores Cindy!
  • His mother is just the dang cutest - and I can only hope I'm that brisk when I'm 96! (Hell...when I'm 66!)
  • Very nice messages to Obama and his supporters - "despite our differences, more unites us than divides us."
    It's funny...but no one every seems to get that.
  • What was with the insano woman rushing the stage???
  • Great description of Palin: "She stands up for what's right and she doesn't let anyone tell her to sit down."
    Nobody puts Baby in the corner...
  • Great quotes that I loved:
    • "In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."
    • "Government that doesn't make your choices for you but works to make sure you make more choices for yourself."
    • "Education is the Civil Rights issue of this century."
    • "What is the value of access to a failing school?"
    • It's time to..."set a new standard for transparency and accountability."
    • "I've been a servant first, last and always. I've never lived a day in good times and bad that I didn't thank God for the privilege."
    • "I was blessed because I served in the country of heroes."
    • "If you find faults with out country, make it a better one!"
    • "Nothing brings us greater happiness in life than to join in a cause greater than yourself."
  • You can just see this man's sincerity!
  • It's interesting that even leftist CNN noted that John McCain had more specifics in his speech than Barack Obama.
There you go folks...those're my thoughts! The VP debate wrap-up is coming next!

Thursday Thirteen #21

Thirteen Favorites About October

  1. It's time for the playoffs in baseball...and the PHILLIES have made it to post-season again this year, so you KNOW who I'll be rooting for!
  2. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase is on in full force - GO DALE!
  3. How 'bout some football? (Go 49ers!) I don't get into all that college and high school madness for which Texans are famous, but professional football rocks! (I'm in a fantasy league that my husband talked me into joining...all the other members are police officers from around the state...but guess who has the most points and the ONLY 4-0 record?? Yeah, I rock.)
  4. Hallowe'en is coming! I love handing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters! (Although I'm always disappointed that no one wants to do tricks for me!)
  5. Hallowe'en candy - this really deserves it's own separate blog's one of the only times of year that I indulge my sweet tooth!
  6. Haunted Houses - yes, yes, I love being scared! I especially love Fort Worth's haunted warehouse!
  7. Texas October weather - although summer is still my favorite time of year, we're lucky enough here in Texas that the warm weather holds over nicely through the end of October!
  8. Delaware Water Gap and changing colors. This is a little area on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border that always has the most gorgeous color changes.
  9. The elections are fast approaching - don't forget to register and vote!
  10. It's breast cancer awareness month, and my company/office is participating, as usual, in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure over in Dallas on October 18th, 2008. Hmm...that date also sounds familiar...could it be that...
  11. The due date for our little Catherine is fast approaching! We thought there was a chance she'd be a September baby, but she's still snugly tucked inside.
  12. Many family birthdays - both in my family, as well as in my husband's. In fact, today is my brother-in-law's! Birthdays are fun! Go visit my cousin Nicki - her birthday is October 7th, which is the day before...
  13. My birthday! Don't forget to come back on October 8th and wish me a happy 28th this year!
Happy Thursday Thirteen, ya'll!

September Sadness

As we head into October (only 7 shopping days left until my birthday...), I am reflecting on two events from September that have left me saddened.

The selfish and self-serving movie stars of today would do well to take a page from the book of Paul Newman, who not only dedicated part of his life to military service but also a huge chunk of his later life to philanthropy. The world loses a great man with the passing of Paul Newman, not just for his contributions as an actor but for his goodness as a human being.

It's like deja vu all over again...Yogi Berra says good bye to Yankee Stadium as the historic landmark hosts its last game. *Sob* I'm almost as sad as I was a couple years ago when the Phillies said good bye to the Vet. I hate that in our disposable society, we always prefer the new and shiny to the old and trusted.

Instant Weight Loss

My friends and coworkers continue to comment that I'm "all belly" and that I'm going to be back to my pre-pregnancy size as soon as I leave the hospital. I protest! At +45 pounds versus my pre-pregnancy weight, that'd have to be one dang big baby!!

But that leads me to this thought. We're anticipating a baby that is within a few ounces of 7 pounds. So between delivering the baby and all of the other fun stuff that comes out at the same time, it would be sensible to anticipate leaving the hospital 10 to 15 pounds lighter than going in, right?

What have you experienced, Mamas? Is that a reasonable amount to figure on losing while in the hospital?

What about in the first few weeks afterwards, especially if you breastfed your babies? I've also heard that breastfeeding can stimulate weight loss...even though I've also heard that I'll need to consume an extra 500 or so calories a day to feed Spoiled Baby adequately.

So what do you think? Tell me all about your experiences!

How Well Do You Know Your Car?

How well do you know your car? Do you just strap yourself into it every day and drive off to work or school and not know anything about it's value or about what different types of repairs may cost you when it breaks down? Instead of guessing and being caught off guard when something happens, there's a web site that can log all of the important information about your car and offer you the data you need to make wise decisions about your vehicle. Visit DriverSide and start a free profile to enter all of your car's information and begin taking advantage of the valuable advice. I paid off my XTerra about two years ago and ever since, I've just been crossing my fingers that nothing major happens to this car, since I have no intention of buying a new one for another few years. I think this web is a great resource that you can use to get to know your car better.

What is your car really worth? It's helpful to know this information so that you can manage your car's financing sensibly. It's also great information to have when you're looking to sell your car in the future. Values can change rapidly and hinge on a number of different factors, and the DriverSide web site can help you to get up to date value information when you need it.

You can also find accessories and parts specific to your car at the DriverSide web site. If your car is more than a couple years old, the parts you need to keep it up and running can be hard to find. Instead of going from store to store, this is a one-stop shopping opportunity that will ensure that you aren't left scrambling when something breaks.

If you are looking for someone else to make repairs to your vehicle, you can find mechanics in your area and get an idea of what fair charges may be by using DriverSide. If you go to the first repair shop you see, you may end up spending a lot more money than your repair should cost. If you have a great idea ahead of time what to expect, you can expertly deal with mechanical situation you may encounter.

If you're anything like me, you probably drive your car for thousands of miles a year. For the past 10 years, I've averaged 25k! I can't take chances with my vehicles, and you shouldn't either. Go check out DriverSide today to start getting to know your car better!