29 October 2011

Complaint Box

Things are going quite slowly with my surgery recovery, which isn't thrilling my soul. I'll be bluntly honest - I am pretty darn depressed with the whole situation. I obviously knew that there would be a considerable recovery after a c-section & I knew I got very lucky with my breezy time last go 'round but nothing could really have prepared me for this gosh-awful terribleness. It's been over a month now & I am hobbling. Seriously people, I have an actual limp from the pain in my left hip area around where my incision is apparently very mad at me. Yes, I've been to the doctor & have been assured that all is well & that it's still technically early days so I still have some healing to do. I go back again week after next & things get any more painful I'll drag my carcass back before that & beg to be hit with a mallet or some other cartoon pain relief.

Apparently when they went in for this c-section, there was a decent amount of scar tissue from the first incision (sorry, this may be a less than pleasant discussion so I should warn you to move on if you're not interested in some gross details) so they did a second incision instead. I think I wrote about all of this before but I'll tell you more because I did some more research to back up what she told me & there is this thing called "adhesion" where yeah, my scar tissue causes organs & other innards to stick together & that's not a pleasant sensation. All of this causes pain, which causes me to keep taking my heavier painkillers (just Panadol with codeine plus Nurofen), which causes constipation, which causes straining, which causes much more distress in my already angry abdomen. So I'm grouchy, hobbled, plugged up, feeling like a terrible mother to poor Ben because I still can't lift him or get down & play with him, feeling useless because I desperately want to accomplish things that I just can't do (like shopping, cleaning, exercising) & am scarfing down pain medicine & Metamucil like they're going out of fashion. I'm also still swollen so look like I'm about 5 months pregnant, which is not what I hoped I'd look like at this point.

So I've gotten depressed, cried a lot today to the annoyance of my family. It's just so frustrating that I'm not getting better after this much time & the pain pills don't really help & two days of Metamucil hasn't done a darn thing so I fear I'll have to kick it up a notch soon. Anyway, I'm just getting worked up complaining about it so I'll stop but please send me your kind thoughts & prayers or whatever because I'd love to feel human sometime soon. Last time I remember sleeping on my side & breastfeeding Ben in that position while I was still in the hospital for those 3 nights after he was born but this time after a bloody month I still can't lay on my side because of the searing pain. Makes me feel like a fool sleeping on my tower of pillows.

Feeding is still going well - Evan has taken very well to nursing like Ben did & he's quite the champion of drinking. Also like Ben, he almost always falls asleep while drinking no matter what tricks I try so he doesn't do long feeds. It's nice except that most women talk about how their babies are either on 3 or 4 hour cycles whereas I'm stuck closer to 2 hours between feeds because my little piglet gorges then passes out. He's not consistent with his day sleeps yet - some days he sleeps nonstop & some days he catnaps here & there. Some days he refuses to sleep without milk & some blessed days I can just put him down when he's tired & he'll settle himself right to sleep. He's pretty good at night - up twice usually I think but can swing in either direction for no reason.

The boy can fart like a champion, let me tell you - gassy assy little man. Farts, burps, gurgles & regular spitting up of his milk actually. He's a mess & he still churns like a Wonka Factory candy making machine while he tries to clear his system. He's either getting quieter at night or we're getting better at sleeping through it.

Anyway, I'm going to force Marcel & my mom to watch Bridesmaids (Mom brought it from America) - that will cheer me up in a way nothing else can. Woo hoo!

25 October 2011

Latest & not so greatest

Not much going on these days. I know that sounds ridiculousness since we have a whole new human being hanging out with us all the time but seriously we're not doing much. Unfortunately, I've been in a ton of pain for the past few weeks (4 weeks tomorrow actually) & that's not cool. I knew that my last c-section was a fluke because it was so easy & not much pain & I was ready to go pretty quickly but I did not expect the gosh-awful pain of this one. It has been a constant cycle of feeling like I've been cut in half, then achy like I'm coming down with the flu (I'm not) & the joyful stinging rage of my incision. And yes, I went to the doctor & all is well, completely normal, blah blah blah. Rather than use the same incision as last time, they had to make a new one due to the old scar tissue being in the way & so I've got the old scar tissue irritated or something (I really shouldn't be allowed to relay medical information because I retain so little of the facts) plus the new incisions healing. Then there are some other issues that are even less savory to discuss because they involve side effects of the pain medication with codeine that add even more trauma to the system. But I'm not dying & my cut is actually pretty well healed so I can stop worrying that my innards are going to spill out at any moment. And blessed be to Heaven, I can take baths again!! No bubbles but I'm not six so I'll survive.

Oh, I finally got up the nerve to take a good long look at my incision. Well, now it's kinda two - the old faded scar & the new fresh red one. The new one is longer & goes down a bit at the ends so with it being right above the original one, it has a nice grotesque frowny face look to it. If I got a scrawled tattoo that says "Why so serious?" I could have the ultimate tribute to Health Ledger's Joker! I assume this scar will fade as much as the first one & I'll just another badass reminder of my lovely boy's entrance into the world.

After that boring & somewhat gross stuff, I'll share some pleasantness. Evan is quite the eater like his big brother Benny so I think we're on the way to having another Mr. Buttersticks in a couple of months. 

His cheeks are definitely filling out, aren't they? He's getting close to growing out of his newborn clothes, bless him. I love the shape of his mouth by the way. Don't take this the wrong way but his lips have reminded me of exactly one "person" since he was born. I put "person" in quotes because it's actually a goblin:

It's not nice to compare my son to a Gringotts goblin, is it? Mother of the Year, huzzah!

Anyway, in other exciting news he slept really well last night. I am terrible at keeping track of how much he sleeps usually because he spends about half the time in his little bassinet & half the time sleeping on me in bed. I can't sleep on my side yet due to the evil searing pain so & instead sleep on a large pile of pillows so I don't have to do much work to sit up but that has nothing to do with anything. ANYWAY, last night we put him down when we went to bed at 10.45pm & he didn't wake us up until 3.30am. Then he just fed for about 20 minutes & slept until a bit past 6am, which is much more like what I assume is his normal timeframe. I once tried to keep track of his times, etc. at night so I was going to send myself a quick email every time he woke up because I'm always on my ipod touch anyway playing games or reading news at bizarre hours when I'm feeding him but the emails I sent myself were bizarre & made no sense. I literally just needed to put how long I fed him because the email would already have the time on it. I gave up when one email was just one word that didn't actually exist in the English language - I wish I had kept it or wrote it down because when I read it in the morning I died laughing. What little brain survived the first child is broken now.

I'm excited to say that Australia is catching on to the Halloween festivities a bit. I have yet to see any editorials about how Australia doesn't need to give in to an American money-grubbing holiday so that's nice & I see Halloween candy, costumes & decorations popping up at stores all over! We were even able to grab a pumpkin for carving at our lovely grocery store. Ooooh, remember when I told you that our grocery store was getting clothes?? I finally got to check it out last week & I have to say I was impressed. Mind you I am cheap & not stylish but I found some of the clothes downright cute. If I get anything notable, I will share it with you!

But back to the pumpkins, we carved away last night & now have a gorgeous little jack o'lantern brightening our day!

Grammy (pronounced "Ra-ra" by Ben) & Benny scooping out pumpkin innards. 

Dada & Ben carving our pumpkin.
We are all for pantsless toddlers on hot hot hot days.

Ben & the final product.
Someone is loving Halloween already!
I have my doubts that we'll actually get any trick or treaters, though our neighborhood is such a family friendly little labyrinth that it would be perfect. I'll get some candy just in case. The city of Gosford is actually having a daytime Halloween party & trick or treating through the shops for kids so that's a step in the right direction & I think Toys R Us is having a party too. I realize that they are all just trying to convince us to shop more but I'm just excited that someone is jumping on board the holiday!

Um, what else? Oh! We finally found a double stroller that we loved & was exactly what we wanted - the style, the structure, the stylish stripes & sophisticated black background. And $200 off! Too bad it won't actually fit into my clown car. Not the trunk, not the floor of the backseat, not in the front passenger seat since I rarely have guests travelling with me anyway. So Marcel tried every double stroller in the store & literally one fit & it was nearly $1,000 so we'll probably skip that one. Something tells me we're going to have to settle for one of those umbrella double strollers - we've had so many good experiences with our $30 stroller that I'm prejudiced against umbrella ones but that makes me an idiot. So, what to do? We have the awesome baby carrier I won from babyology.com.au & logic tells me I should just figure out how to use that once I'm in a better physical condition, I should just carry Evan in that & stuff Ben in our current awesome pram. Ugh, I don't want to do this. What would you do? Please remember that Ben likes to run for the hills & is very tricky so until he comes down a few more notches (he is getting better slowly but surely), letting him just walk isn't quite an option. Those little scooters that attach to the back of the pram is not an option either because he'll lose interest & take off for the hills as well.

Ah well, it's taken me an entire day to write this pathetic little blog so I'm going to go now. I'll leave you with a couple more pictures of my adorable little family - grocery shopping & lounging.

Happy little shoppers.
Evan is sometimes willing to take a pacifier.
I haven't decided how I feel about this development but it's saved us from a few meltdowns.

Boys, boys, boys.

20 October 2011

3 Weeks

Evan Sawyer Eisele
3 weeks old

We're obviously doing a swell job!

15 October 2011


So the lovely nurse that visited last week jinxed us. I hate to say it but she did. We were talking about settling blah blah blech (I think all parents can't help but groan at the word "settling") & I said that Evan wasn't having any issues so far. She looked a tiny bit surprised & said that she usually expects some disruption it around two weeks ... BUT who knows, maybe we'd be fine. I muttered a snide maybe in return & knew we were in for a shit storm very soon. Not a literal one, by the way, his poop is right on track.

Anyway, cut to yesterday when without warning he wasn't just magically dropping off to sleep like he had been for the previous two weeks. Okay, no big deal - I wasn't expecting his first two weeks to dictate his entire infant behavior. Then last night rolled around & with it came the cluster feeding. Whenever I've reminisced about Ben's infant days, we never leave out the chapter of The Witching Hour. Such a misleading name, much like "morning" sickness, the witching "hour" is unpredictable & uncontrollable. Ben used to basically stay on my boobs from 4 or 5pm until 10pm when he'd finally conk out. Evan started a bit later but that could be because we couldn't figure out why he wasn't settling so kept passing him back & forth. He hung on valiantly when I finally wised up that he just wanted to feed, feed, feed & feed some more while I attempted to also eat without dropping lasagne (thank you Ellis family - yum!!) on his head, while we watched downloaded US shows, etc. Finally conked out around 11pm, bless him.

It is now 6.15pm tonight & he is feeding but I can't tell if he's already in place for the night or just having a normal meal. Ugh, how did I forget to plan for the return of the witching hour?? And why did that nurse bring it up? I blame her.

In more exciting news, my mom gets here bright & early tomorrow morning!!! I can't wait to see her, introduce her to #2 & let her & Ben get reacquainted. I'm trying not to think about the fact that she is currently stuck on the most miserable flight on earth. Thankfully she took V Australia, which is a pretty awesome airline, so hopefully they treat her well.

I'm so excited that I'm actually planning to go to the airport with Marcel. I planned this all along but it never dawned on me that I would still be in this much terrible pain 2 1/2 weeks later!! It doesn't sound ridiculous but I remember feeling mostly good at this point last time & I do believe we spent an entire day at Sydney's big casino with a 2 week old Ben!nI spent most of the time enjoying comfy lobby couches but allowed Mom & Marcel to take over baby duty when the slots came calling. Ben was quite popular with the large tour groups waiting to get into the buffet & I think there are some lovely Japanese folks with a picture of us in their memories of Australia. Hilarious.

But no, I am nowhere near casino ready this go 'round. I feel like a meat grinder has been let loose in my abdomen these days to be honest so there's a good chance I'll be wearing my good old maternity track pants on this airport run. Ah well, I am resigned to looking 6 months pregnant for the rest of my life.

I'm being yelled at by my husband now so I have to go. On a happy note, Evan is passed out so maybe The Witching Hour isn't kicking in yet after all. I'll keep you posted.

12 October 2011

2 Weeks

Here we are. We've now made it 2 weeks with 2 kids & our heads have not exploded, there have been minimal tears all around & I think we can call ourselves a happy family! Huzzah!
Keeping with our weekly photo, here is #2:

I need to do some planning ahead with these photos so he's dressed better & not clashing so much with the background. This is pretty jarring but they'll get better. Well, I will try to make them better but I really can't make any promises.

Things really are going well around here, I hate to say. I hate to say it because whenever I make a sweeping "things are good" statement, you can guarantee that we'll have some sort of meltdown, fight, or tragedy pounce on us unexpectedly. So I'm not actually a negative person but I do temper my positivity so I don't jinx myself. That's healthy, right?

Evan is adorable. Not too much to report on yet since he's still just in the early days, meaning he only really eats, sleeps & fills his diapers with delightful deposits. He has also started spitting up a bit this week - nothing major, just enough to make me curse myself every time I forget a little burp cloth thingy because it always ends up on me. He has similar tummy issues to Benny in that he spends a lot of time & effort trying to get his gas out - I've used a few of the old tricks of bicycling his feet or lifting his rump in the air to help the poots escape & it works sometimes but we're hoping he gets his digestive act together on his own one of these days.

The biggest complaint we have about our darling boy are his sleeping noises. Heavens to Betsy, we can't sleep through his grunting, snorting, rumbling, grumbling & squawking. These are all normal noises as he gets used to how things work & how they feel but he is hilariously loud. Seriously. We had two pugs (that we dumped on my parents when we moved here) & they were loud sleepers but Evan could put them to shame. He is sleeping in his little bassinet next to our bed - except for when I fall asleep while feeding him (not dangerous because I have the bed set up for this inevitability after co-sleeping with Ben) - & he is really challenging us with his noises. I realize this is why people move their babies into their own rooms sooner than planned sometimes but we really don't have anywhere to move him at the moment because we have made no plans past our little baby corner! 

I can't move him out anyway until my pain goes away more so that I can get up & around without so much discomfort. I don't know if I just have a crappy memory but I don't remember having this much pain last time - Marcel thinks I may have stayed in bed for the first week or two after coming home & he's probably right but I have distinct memories of thinking how great I felt & being shocked that I felt so good so quickly. Maybe that will kick in soon because these days I am hobbling like I'm about 150 years old & my c-section zone keeps sending me lovely shooting/stabbing/electrifying rounds of pain. I can't do a damn thing around here either & it's driving me insane. You know I have a laundry addiction & I'm incredibly picky with how things are done but I've finally given up even doing that because it was causing me more pain & Marcel put his foot down. No more cleaning, scrubbing, dusting either. This should be good news because I hate doing those things but now I just sit here & stare at all the things I'd love to clean but I know I just can't do it if I want to feel good. And poor Marcel is already on full-time Ben duty plus making our meals & housework so I'm not about to start making requests or listing the things that could use a little light dusting or something. I will just be a big girl & deal with it.

As I'm typing all of this, I'm watching Evan who is lying on a big couch pillow next to me. He has discovered the bright green rocket ship-covered water bottle that I left next to him & he keeps reaching over & touching it, which is new. Sorry but every little tiny achievement is very exciting to me! He is such a lovely little thing - so placid most of the time & his blue eyes get nice & sparkly to let you know when he's happy. I can't wait until he can smile - I remember waiting for that day with Ben & just melting when it finally happened. Evan smiles in his sleep & has even busted out laughing once so he must have some awesome dreams but I'm waiting for the real ones. He still looks like an alien or a little old man - he looked a lot like Eisenhower yesterday when he made a particularly sour face - but he's filling out. He only lost 60 grams when he left the hospital (they expect & are fine with anywhere up to 300 grams) & was well & truly over his birth weight when they visited him earlier this week. I think he was just over 3.5 kg (7.7lb & his birth weight was just over 7.2lb) so he's putting the weight on like a champion. I do believe there is something very magical & fattening in my breast milk so there's a good chance we'll have a second Mr. Buttersticks on our hands very soon!

Ben is at daycare today & I miss him desperately. He is settling down a bit & is not so desperate to smother Evan with kisses. Well, he'd still like to but he respects our authority when we tell him to back off a bit. That is one gorgeous little boy & I can't wait until Evan is old enough to play with him! Ben is incredibly attached to his father at the moment, which is understandable since I can't pick him up or get down & play with him or anything. I knew this part of the recovery would be rough but it's a lot more heartbreaking than I expected. I take advantage of any time we have together with reading books, watching movies, whatever & am making sure to stay 100% positive with him so he doesn't think I'm an absentee shrew of a mother. I can't wait until I'm back to my not-sore, healthy self so I can play with him again.

Anyway, I need to run feed the bottomless pit so I'll leave you with a handful of pictures, some of which may be on facebook as well - sorry I'm not organized yet & they're all out of order.

That's Evan's hand, not a nipple!

07 October 2011

Mr. So & So, I am a lady.

Bizarrely, I've found myself worrying once or twice about living the rest of my life with a bunch of boys. Don't get me wrong - I've always loved having guys around, often relate better to them than other women & I am far from the most ladylike gal myself. But still there's a bit of the girly girl that occasionally wants to break free! How is she going to escape every once in a while in a house of testosterone? I'll have to send them all off on motorbike weekends while I hit the spa or something.

Anyway, so I have lady things on the brain. Here are a couple of my favorites at the moment.

I don't know what it is with one-shouldered shirts & long flowy pleated skirts like this but I'm mad for them! 
How Country Road found this out & put them together is beyond me. 
Now, I can't actually wear this skirt because of my body shape (not complaining, just stating a fact that it doesn't suit me) & I'll have to do a few months of push-ups before I show off my arms & shoulders but I'm swooning in any case.

Michael Kors has a way with brown leather bags that drives me wild. 
If anyone has a spare $400-500 please feel free to grab me one of these distressed Hamilton totes.
Otherwise, I'll just keep drooling over the picture.

I realized I even seem to be turning my closet into a little feminine hideaway. 
Well, a mixture of a little feminine hideaway & a high school locker with pictures stuck to my mirror!
And yes, that's a Michael Kors brown leather handbag up there, heaven bless it.

Things are still going well around here if you don't mind including a bit of craziness in your definition of "well." Have I already mentioned that Ben's last two molars chose this week to officially break through, giving him a wonderful excuse to wake up a couple times a night? Mmmmm ... so nice to have the entire family up at 4.00am! Sleep is for chumps! Yeah well now the poor boy has ruptured his left eardrum! Oh, poor Benny boy. Not sure how it happened but yesterday was his daycare day & I noticed what I assumed was a lot of wax coming out of his ear last night. I imagine he must have been rough-housing with the other boys & he got whacked upside the ear or something. I just thought it was the start of an ear infection but we managed to get him into the doctor this morning & it wasn't wax, it was his blah blah something something fluid, which means his eardrum is ruptured. On the plus side there's not much pain involved (sorry, it seems like it should hurt very badly to me) & even better, Debbie & I managed to get both boys out to the doctors office with a minimal amount of hysteria. Evan was asleep when we left the house & didn't wake up until we were standing in line at the pharmacy to get Ben's antibiotics & talking motorcycles with the nice burly dude who we also saw in the doctor's waiting room. Didn't seem to phase him one bit so gold star for the Evan. Ben loves his new toddler seat & sharing the back half of the car with his new brother so gold star for Ben. And holy moly, a gold star to our gorgeous neighbors who actually are letting us use their son's outgrown toddler booster seat, saving us a bundle of bucks!! Maybe they even deserve double gold stars ...

Oh, it turns out I'm actually somehow doing too much & need to slow it down. *sigh* How is that possible? I'm doing next to nothing, feeling very useless & slothlike but have been having some issues in the healing area (trust me, you want me to stay vague with this) that means I'm trying to do too much. So now I somehow have to figure out how to do less. I will admit that I have been doing laundry regularly like the crazy person I am but I've broken it down to tiny, manageable steps & only carry a few things at a time but I guess I'm not fooling my body. And every now & then I start to flip out & absolutely have to do something like cook a meal or dust the bedroom & make the bed. These things don't happen by themselves & it just seems like pure psycho-ness to ask my mother in law to please dust our boudoir because the little layer of dust on the bedside tables is getting on my nerves. I don't want to interrupt her nonstop Ben wrangling anyway. Poor Oma is going to need a vacation to recover from this journey!

Anyway, I'm off to put a few more things in the dryer because I can't stop myself & this is literally the last load of laundry to finally empty that damn laundry hamper (until it all starts over again almost immediately). Also need to drink about 2 more litres of water before bedtime & start praying to the gods of codeine to be nicer to my bowels. Sorry, too much? Hope you're having a fabulous time in your corner of the world!

05 October 2011

1 Week

Evan Sawyer Eisele
1 Week

We are attempting to take a picture of Evan every week for his first year. How likely does this seem to actually happen? Let's face it, I'm a mess but I'm going to make every effort to keep up with this plan. That's his wire "E" that we're going to throw in every picture so you can tell how he's growing. Sweet little monkey boy!

And here is how I'm fairing one week on. I look like I'm about six months pregnant but I'm assuming that's all the swelling from the surgery ... and yeah, I just had a baby a week ago. Whatever. I'll be able to exercise in five more weeks & I am looking forward to getting into some sort of shape. A triangle would be nice. BWAHHAHAHAHAHA!!

And that's Evan's little nursery corner back there behind my crazy face. I still have to put something up in that bottom corner before it drives me nuts. 

And here's my handsome husband, who's obviously got full control of his senses as well. 

Happy happy home! Lucky Ben got to sleep before this little photo shoot but he's doing pretty darn well too. 

I am fully aware that there is a little delusion with your first week or two of having a newborn. Yeah I'm tired, exhausted & sleepy but I don't feel bad. I remember feeling like this last time & I know there's a dark turn up ahead if I don't start taking advantage of my gorgeous helpers (Marcel & his wonderful mother!) & take some naps here & there. Suddenly the tiredness becomes overwhelming & you start teetering into anxiety & throw in the new mama hormones & there can be trouble. But right now I feel pretty damn fantastic! We'll keep on trucking & I can't wait to see what adventures our newly complete family has in store for us. 


04 October 2011

Evan Sawyer Eisele

So yes, our newest fella arrived last week. I, of course, have been too "busy" recovering to get my head straight enough to blog about him but thought I should at least mention the poor kid before he reaches a week old tomorrow!

Well, hey there little mister. How's life?
We obviously reached a name in a relatively timely manner so we didn't feel like doofuses every time someone asked us in the hospital & I didn't have to resort to my threats to just name him The Edge if Marcel kept crapping all over my name choices.

So we went with Evan Sawyer. Evan was always on our possibility list from day one & if truth be told, we did kind of name the kid after The Edge because his real name is Dave Evans so we thought keeping a U2 theme would make things a little easier (remember Ben's middle name is Hewson, Bono's last name). Too bad we won't be having any more kids we can name Clayton or Mullen.
Anyway, Sawyer was kind of out of the blue but I really wanted something American & preferably Southern so when we stumbled onto Sawyer recently we thought it was a lovely option that filled that role, reminding us of good ole Tom Sawyer & yes, the handsome shirtless Knoxville-born conman on LOST. But let's face it if I was naming my kids after my favorite LOST character, I'd be introducing you to Evan Sayid Eisele right now. Or Ben. Oh wait. Crap.

The c-section went incredibly well, all smoothly as we hoped. No headaches, no dramas, no tragic long-ass stories that you'll have to put up with from me again & again. Good news all around for that one! I obviously have plenty of recovering to do as even the best c-sections are still major surgery & my innards need to heal, heal, heal.

That's obviously Marcel cutting the cord with our lovely midwife, whose name I have conveniently forgotten. 

He was perfect straight away. I'm not being biased either - the midwife, doctor & nurses all said he was perfect so it must be true. 
Anyway, the stats:
Born 8.57am
3.27kg (approx 7.2lb)
49 cm long (approx 19.3in)

Mama meets Evan. So glamorous in my surgery best. 

And the first family portrait (without Ben, but with my beautiful surgeon).

Okay, breastfeeding alert! Breastfeeding alert! Breastfeeding alert!
No nipples but breastfeeding alert!

Ignore the boob area if you can & focus on the look on my face. Hysterical. 
This is why I don't do drugs.
Breastfeeding has been going well so far - am trying to heal cracked, cranky nipples at the moment but that's no big deal in the scheme of things. But if I hear the phrase "latch properly" one more time, I may scream. Just kidding, I have nothing but enormous appreciation for the lactation geniuses I've had the privilege to chat with - I also adore Lucas pappaw ointment & Lansinoh nipple stuff more than life itself these days.
But enough about boobs.

The days since he's been born have been great - the hospital stay was blissfully uneventful, just little petty annoyances with sharing a room with other new mamas. No big deal.

Ben loves the new baby. Refuses to call him Evan, he just adopts the highest-pitched voice that can be heard by human ears & says "Hi baby" over & over while trying to smother him with kisses. Then he gets hyped up & pokes him & giggles. *sigh* It's adorable yet terrifying.

I will write much much more soon but I'm tired & a little achy & it has seriously taken me ALL day to cobble this entry together. Better start saving up my energy for the next one ...