Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween from Fireman Colin!

Here he is at my work, sitting next to his cool hat that blinks and plays siren noises but he won't wear. The cargo pants I bought him last year, so I just added reflective tape. Its too hot in Texas for a fireman's coat, so I made him a Tshirt like the kind firemen wear when they're not all in their gear.

Here is a close-up on the logo I painted on his shirt. (Really should've taken it before I let him eat anything.)

We always have a Halloween potluck at work. One of the other vets made this brownie graveyard. The grass is dyed coconut. Click on the image to read the gravestones; they're quite funny. (Get it? Scooter and Karl?) Peeking up from the bottom of the image is the Martha Stewart Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, it was to die for:

More spooky treats:

The gruesome twosome on their way out the door to snag some candy!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween from Pablo

This is Pablo, the character from The Backyardigans that Anna chose to be for Halloween:

(Thank goodness she didn't choose Uniqua).

And here's Anna, wearing her costume and holding her pumpkin. She helped clean it, designed the face and cut it out herself (we have some safe serrated pumpkin carving tools). She was so proud, and so was I.

I made her costume with a painted sweatshirt. I looked EVERYWHERE (even on-line) for a blue sweatshirt and found none. Eventually I settled for navy. I couldn't believe my luck when I found a blue propeller hat just like Pablo's at Goodwill.

Here she is at the park, waiting for our annual neighborhood Halloween Parade. Colin has been sick with fever so he didn't attend this year (fortunately after a long nap he woke up chipper and more like his old self. Hopefully there will be photos of him tomorrow).

The parade was to be at 3 pm, and we got there 10 minutes early because Anna was just so excited! But by 3, it was just us and the neighborhood association lady. But slowly over the next 30 minutes, more costumed children arrived. It really is great to see all of them in their costumes in the daylight. Finally, we had enough for our little parade.

Pablo runs to catch up with some of the other kids.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Walking home from the Park

Although I generally dislike living in the suburbs (too far of a commute, don't feel like we fit in much with our neighbors), there are some perks. We live walking distance from two parks -- toddler walking distance. After I got home from work today, the kids started clamoring for "Dinosaur Park." There are lots of slides and rock climbing walls and a relief picture of a dinosaur skeleton (hence the name).

Anthony took this on zoom from our backyard as we walked home:

This is another perk that keeps us from moving: behind our house is a huge field, basically public park land, and we only have a neighbor on one side. The view from our backdoor is trees.

Colin had a fever and got a little tired on the way home, and said, "Hold you..." Anna, though, is still running.

Here I am, supervising everyone coming in the back gate.

Sweet Montana, wearing a Halloweenie bandana.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A week's worth of musings

Sorry it's been so long since I posted. Tuesday I was driving, driving, driving in traffic. First, driving in traffic 1 hour to work, then 1 hour in traffic home, spent a frantic hour trying to bond/reconnect with the family before I got back into traffic for 40 minutes, driving to a dinner meeting so I could get some more continuing education hours. I drove home after 9 pm, should've been a traffic-free time EXCEPT they closed the interstate right at my exit, so I sat in traffic AGAIN waiting desperately to get home as all the north-south traffic exited at my little hamlet. Grrrr.... As a result, I spent Wednesday with the people in my family (not blogging) and of course, Thursday was a busy work day and I was too pooped last night.

As I sat in traffic on Tuesday night listening to the radio, hearing pop songs from the late 80's and early 90's, I found myself wistful for my "youth." Nothing like a song to make you remember a time (except for maybe a very particular scent memory). Nostalgia is such a fitting word - that "-algia" on the end meaning "pain" (as in analgesia). I'm sitting there, holding my steering wheel, pining for high school and vet school. Of course it dawns on me that this is totally absurd -- I didn't have much fun in high school, and spent most of it buried in a book and feeling totally out of touch with my peers and wishing the time away so I could be in college! And I had a lot of fun on weekends with all my vet school buddies, but how could I forget how stressed out I was the whole time, studying my brains out, taking tests every week, and just wishing I could hurry up and graduate and marry Anthony and make some real money.

I guess there is something to miss about being so young and idealistic and having so much of your bright future ahead of you. But more than then, I know that someday I will miss this time in my life more than any other, when I have these two precious young ones who run to the door to love me every time I come in, who think their dad and I are the most important and knowledgable people on earth. People who still have their innate ability to shrug off other peoples' bad attitudes and find the beauty in every day. Plus, I have a job I love, and a great partner to share this life with... if I could just get out of traffic and be with them!

The other good news is that starting next Tuesday my "early day" will end at 2:30 (not 4, which turns into 5, home at 6, barely enough time to eat dinner before bathtime and bedtime at 7:30). Anna is so excited about this new schedule, she knows exactly which day it takes effect!


In other news, yesterday Anthony refitted an old "heirloom." I'm totally impressed with his mechanical abilities. (The ying-yang of our relationship is one of the reasons it works so well).

I remember the first time I went to his parents' house, he pointed it out to me saying, "It's that one with the spider lamp." The spider lamp was a relic of his parents' years spent in Italy. Years ago they took it down. Anthony acquired it recently. He put in a new socket (one that will take a fluorescent light) and added a ground wire and an electronic eye so that it turns on automatically at dusk and off at dawn. It's made of wrought iron and has a yellow glass abdomen. It is so cool, and just in time for Halloween!

Anthony's Spider

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vino's back!

Everyone remembers Vino, the 3-legged hamster, right? Anna pulled it together and "earned" him back last week. She was more than joyous when I brought him home on Saturday after work.

He really is the sweetest little rodent. And, he really has adapted well to his disability; at times its hard to tell he is even missing a leg! He still runs on the wheel! Enricka (who is apparently going through hamster withdrawal) made sure he was really hand-tame. Anna and Colin have been very happy to have him back. Anna takes every opportunity to kiss him, and Colin shrieks, "Vino Wake!!!" whenever he comes out of his hidey-hole.

Here Colin poses with a sticker he found with "Cinderera and Prince!" Look closely and you can see his split lip from bouncing off the big slide at the park. There were tears and blood everywhere, but within moments he was sliding back down. Little trooper.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Karma Strawberries

"Someone sent you berries!" the receptionist told me, carrying back a box of Shari's Berries.

Who sent me berries? I thought, opening the box. Inside were 12 chocolate covered strawberries from California, and a note from a client.

We had received a request from a client whose daughter was entering a science fair. Her experiment was dealing with tadpoles and feed, so she needed a veterinarian to sign off on the soundness of her experiment since it involved animals. The mother even offered to pay for the consultation.

I volunteered, and said I didn't need compensation. I didn't mind doing it for free since it would take so little of my time and was for an educational purpose.

A few days later, the strawberries arrived. Mmmmm... I shared some with the staff, and took home some to my family. Colin ate his with relish, then said with lips lined in brown, "Moh chocolate, PREESE!"

Today I got the paperwork for the science project. Official USDA forms were filled out, and there were photos of the 3 aquariums that would house the tadpoles, and the 3 commercially available diets she was going to feed them (to see if there are any differences in their growth). It was very complete and very cute. Obviously no animal pain would be involved. I signed off, redeeming my strawberry debt. I look forward to seeing the experiments results.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Visible Improvement

About 6 weeks ago I saw a 16 year old cat who had suddenly lost one of her upper fangs. That's what the owners brought her in for, anyway. She did have terrible periodontal disease. But straight away I could see something else in this cat wasn't right. She had sunken-in eyes, hollow cheeks, and a skinny, unthrifty body. Cats are covered in fur, and some of these signs are subtle, so I am a little surprised when I can see so clearly that is obviously wrong from across the exam room. In an old cat, this usually means either kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes.

As I laid my hands on the cat, she felt thin and had a heart pounding through her thorax. I listened to the LOUD murmur and had a feeling of dread. This owner brought his cat in for a dental evaluation, but I feared she would not be a good anesthetic patient.

I explained the dental problems, then addressed my other concerns - obvious weight loss and heart murmur. I also feared she had hypertension (high blood pressure) because of her bounding pulse. Before this patient could get her tooth fixed, she'd need a full work-up. The owner readily agreed to $100 worth of labwork, and scheduled a $200 echocardiogram.

The labwork revealed hyperthyroidism but no other problems. This is a chronic condition but can be relatively easily remedied with oral medication, which I immediately prescribed. The ultrasound revealed only mild changes to the heart. High thyroid levels tend to hypertrophy (enlarge) the heart muscle and elevate the heart rate. The echo let me know in this case, despite the loud murmur, her heart function was pretty good.

This week she came back for her first check up after being on tapazole (hyperthyroidism) treatment for a month. She's gained a pound. Her blood pressure is normal. Sometimes treating for hyperthyroidism unmasks kidney disease because the high thyroid level actually increases blood flow to the kidneys, but her kidney function is still excellent (yea!). Her murmur is still loud but at least it doesn't worry me now. Stroking her back, she feels "fuller," not as bony and skimpy. And, her attitude is improved. We noticed it working with her at the clinic, but the owner really noticed how much less grumpy she is at home.

I thought I wouldn't get the chance to work on her teeth at all, but I'm pleased to report she has a dental appointment with me next week. (might temporarily return her grumpiness, though!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bibbity Bobbity BOO!

I got this email from the room mom at Colin's school. We get an email at least once a week from her since there is something different going on every week, unlike Anna's school which is always exactly the same, every week, no matter what, every season, so damn consistent you almost wish something new would happen.

Anyway, here's the email (various fun references to the local college football team deleted):

Story time Tues. the 18th. :

1. Don't forget your money(50 cents) for the little pumpkins

they'll be getting.

2. Ms. Sing-Songy-Voice Teacher (not her real name) had an awesome idea for the kids. On Tues. when they get their pumpkins she's going to put them away, so you won't

actually be getting the pumpkin that day. Instead, she's going to
have them plant pumpkin seeds Tues.. Then on Thursday she'll place a
pumpkin over the spot they planted their seed so they'll think it
grew. Cool, huh?

Uh, I guess its cool if I want him to believe in magic and have no sense of real time. Please, he gets too much exposure to that crap from all the Dora he wants to watch.

(Anthony and I have been on a real anti-Dora kick the last few weeks. I guess Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother are just as bad. Santa is coming in a few months, too. I guess there is no escape.)

(Except at Anna's consistent school they planted real pumpkin seeds weeks ago and the kids are still waiting for them to grow, in the meantime they take turns watering them every day).

(Methinks too many parenthetical thoughts today. Hope they provide appropriate cheeky tone.)

Monday, October 17, 2005


Shortly after Colin was born, I set out to find Anna a preschool, because she was so darned bright and articulate she needed more stimulation that I could give her, and also I wanted to have some time to spend bonding with the new baby. We found her a great Montessori school, which has been wonderful on many levels, but I was surprised by a couple of things.

It seems what Anna needed more than additional verbal stimulation was actually a place to foster her independence. She has really thrived at school, after an initial 6 weeks of bawling and tearing my heart out everytime I left her. Now she has her own little world there to grow and learn and become her own self.

I hardly remember the alone time with Colin that first year Anna was at school. Sure, I remember sitting on the couch with him while he nursed, and planning my day around the 2-nap schedule. And although I immediately bonded with my second baby, the relationship is inherently less narcissistic.

NOW, though, now that Colin is about the age that Anna was when she started her school, now I love my mornings alone with him. After Anna is off to school, we sit down for a leisurely breakfast, then he plays while I do some chores, then we go to the rec center. He loves staying with the lovely German woman in the nursery while I jog and lift weights. When I return, he runs to me with a smiling "Mommy!" and hugs me like I'm his favorite person. Then he tells me he wants to ride the elevator, and we jump down the stairs, counting first in English, then in German or Spanish (his choice). Afterwards, we might go to HEB (our local grocery store), and he acts like its the highlight of his day, mostly because of the free cookies in the deli. We go home and have lunch together, and he generously shares his half-chewed food and makes monster noises, and encourages me to join him. If I stick out my tongue at him, he shrieks with laughter, touches my tongue, and says, "Again, Mommy," at least 20 times.

Today after lunch, we went outside and fed the chickens some leftover rice, then he sprayed the garden with water until I suggested the swing. Then we did the swing until his little heart was content, which was just about time to go pick up Anna and then take a nap.

And it's great because when Anna comes home, she has me all to herself. Today, she and I took a shower, delivered neighborhood newsletters to our block, then watched "The Young Black Stallion."

Anthony had a meeting tonight, and Colin gave him such an enthusiastic hug and kiss. Anth said, "I'm going to miss this when we are no longer the people they most want to spend time with." Anna was tired and I put her down first, then read books to Colin. He spent a long time revisiting the pages after the story was finished, discussing the symbolism in the pictures. He was so relaxed and snuggly, and smelled like vanilla and cinnamon. (sigh) Do they really have to grow up?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Fun with Grandparents

Last weekend, my parents came for a visit, and this weekend we hosted Anthony's mom. Both the kids really had a great time reconnecting with Grandad, Nana, and Oma (as they are known in these parts). I really enjoy seeing the interaction between my kids and our parents, too. The weather was cool and sunny, so how could anyone fail to have a great time?

Here they are, enjoying a bedtime story read by my mom and dad. Usually this is Anthony's and my job, but we enjoyed using this time to get other stuff done!

Last Sunday, we all went on a canoe ride on Town Lake. It was so beautiful, and the weather was perfect. Above, you can see Anna riding with my parents, as my dad takes a picture of me, Anth, and Colin with that same swan in the foreground, below. Also check out part of the beautiful Austin skyline.

After dinner, my dad got out the guitar and sang some of our favorite songs, including, "Dream," "Little White Bull," and "My Old Man." I told Anna, just like in the Laura Ingalls books where Pa would play the fiddle every night, when I was growing up, my dad would play the guitar. Both kids were very interested in helping to strum the strings.

Then my dad got out the old Italian accordion that he bought for Anth (he can only play 1 song on it, but he plays it really well!). Colin was fascinated by the squeeze box and pressed the chord buttons over and over.

Here's a funny picture of my and my mom looking alike. Of course, we are wearing the same pants, just different colors, and visors! My mom can still share my clothes, and its her birthday today. Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Here's just a great shot of precious, pensive Colin:

And here are my cutie-pies today, watching My Neighbor Totoro before we went out.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I can't stop watching it.

Bizarre, and different every time you click.

Falling President Bush.

Totally unrelated, here is a dog who lost 2 legs due to a car accident, and gets along great.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Last Tuesday I saw a young cat that had not eaten for 2 days and was vomiting. This 1 year old had a history of playing with strings, too. She had a low grade fever. I recommended Xrays, and there was a bunching pattern to the small intestines.

Cats that ingest strings get into severe trouble with their gastrointestinal tract. As their guts work on passing the string, the intestines end up bunched up on the string like a gathered skirt. The string then works as a saw on the intestines. The only cure is surgery.

Based on her signs, and in agreement with the other doctors in my practice, I recommended surgery. The owners gulped when they saw the estimate, but agreed to the exploratory.

I opened the cat's abdomen, but there was no string, no obstruction, no gross abnormality to be seen. The irritated intestines were actively bunching up, relaxing, and bunching up again, which explained their appearance on Xray.

I took a biopsy and quickly closed her up. The only good thing is that the shorter surgery cost a few hundred dollars less than the longer resection and anastomosis I thought I'd be doing.

The patient did well at the emergency clinic overnight, and is apparently eating small, bland meals and not vomiting, so she is doing well. The owners are understanding about the whole ordeal, but I can't help but feel guilty. Given the same set of presenting symptoms and signs, I'd probably recommend the surgery again (young otherwise healthy cat, sudden onset, string playing, clumpy intestines). Still, I wish I could've seen into my crystal ball and saved the patient the surgery and the owners the expense.

We say in veterinary medicine that there are no negative exploratories. You have to have some where you find nothing, in order not to miss the ones that really need surgery before intestines rupture and the patient gets peritonitis. Certainly, I have sat on other cases, and had to go in anyway, after a day or two of hospitalization and gastrointestinal misery.

Still, wish I had better divination skills...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mixed Metaphor

Colin said, today after we dropped Anna off at school, "Look, Mommy, a MOTORCYCLE!"

There was a big black Harley, decked out with black leather.

"Ooh," said Colin, "PWETTY Motorcycle!"

(too much Cinderella?)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Nature vs Medical Science

I saw a client who is into homeopathy. I'd seen her before, but she usually sees an "all natural" vet in town, who was not available until mid-November. So, she settled for me again.

Now, I believe in Western medicine, but I also believe in "do no harm," and I don't prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, or just in case, or just to give the client something to walk out the door with.

What I believe more is my job more than anything else is to relieve animal suffering. So, I recommend lots of preventative stuff, and prescribe lots of pain relief.

This client is nice enough, and she loves her dog, but she is convinced everything not "natural" is going to harm her dog. She feeds a homemade diet. I have no problem with people feeding a homemade diet as long as they have done the research and take the time to make it balanced. And, you have got to cook all the meat.

She doesn't cook the meat. The protein sources she uses are mostly ground turkey, but sometimes tofu, eggs, and beef. She says, "We just want to make it as natural as possible, and so far we've been lucky and haven't had any problems."

I smiled and said, "Boy, I wish that was my experience. I have seen cases of salmonella, e. coli, and campylobacter from dogs fed raw meat diets. In fact, there was a puppy this spring that died of campylobacter; I couldn't save him."

I continued, "I know you want to feed your dog a natural food, but in the wild your dog would kill a deer or a turkey and eat it immediately. The turkey that you are buying was grown on a mass farm and processed with hundreds of other turkeys. The chance of contamination is high. You can feed a homemade diet, but please cook the turkey."

Then we discussed heartworm prevention. The owner claims everytime she gives a heartgard, her dog gets sick. She gave it last Sunday, and on Monday he wouldn't eat, on Tuesday he had diarrhea. I suggested trying a different kind of prevention, either a different drug orally or a topical drug. She said, "You know, we haven't had many mosquitoes this year, and we keep him inside during the high mosquito times, you know - dusk and dawn, and he just reacts so severely I'd rather wait."

I took a deep breath and said, "Unfortunately, we see lots of heartworm disease here. This summer, we treated 1-2 cases per week. It only takes one mosquito getting into your house and biting your dog, and he'll be infected."

She said she wanted to wait on bloodwork results. She was paying about $200 for a complete blood work up, as well as titers for distemper and parvo (to see if he needed vaccination or if she could skip it). Obviously, it was not saving money that was motivating her.

Then we came to the dog's skin. He was suffering from allergies, and had thin hair, pink skin, and scabs on his legs and chest. "Why don't we try a topical cortisone spray?" I suggested. "It will just work locally on the skin, won't be absorbed systemically, and would make him feel a lot better." Her eyes grew wide with fear. She refused any antihistamines, also, and preferred to just give fatty acids in the food.

I know she is just motivated to do what's best for her dog. But nature isn't benign. In nature, its a claws-and-teeth selfish fight for survival. Chemicals don't just come in a plastic bottle of pesticide. Organisms use chemicals (called toxins) to subdue and conquer other organisms, whether they are rattlesnakes or staphylococcus bacteria. Our own bodies use chemicals (hormones) to regulate all our processes, from reproduction to digestion to locomotion. Natural chemicals can get out of balance, by natural causes, causing disease (allergies, cancer, diabetes, etc). If we can intervene with proven chemicals to improve quality of life, for people or pets, I'm all for it. Not medicating for the sake of medicating, but for a specific proved benefit.

I called her with her bloodwork results. Everything was normal except for a high eosinophil count, a white blood cell that is elevated during allergic reactions. They have lots of histamine in them, causing lots of itchy misery. "I'd really like you to think about trying another heartworm prevention," I said. "I just want to protect his heart."

"OK, I know you are a good doctor and have his best interests in mind," she said, "I'll think about it."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Vet Life

When I got to work today I had the unpleasant experience of finding out I was scheduled until 6, not 4. If they told me about this change (to cover while my boss is on vacation) I don't remember it. Only 2 doctors for a long full day.

I had an extraction scheduled first thing for a dog with an abcessed molar that was causing his face to swell. There were 2 hours allotted for that. I saw an early morning walk in, pulled the molar and another premolar next to it within the scheduled time, then we flipped the dog. Another Xray revealed the other molar was starting to abcess as well. I called the owner and they agreed the other tooth needed to come out, too, to prevent more facial swelling in the future. So I worked on that tooth AND saw appointments, took a short lunch, then returned for the afternoon slam. Left work at 6:30, home at 7:15. Greeted by bowl of pasta, prepoured glass of red wine, 2 bathed tooth-brushed happy naked children and husband who was unloading/reloading the dishwasher. WOW.

Mostly my family is very supportive and understanding of my job. But last week Anna said, "I want you to change your schedule. I want you to work NO days." I told her, "Well, there are a couple of problems with that, Anna. I really like going to work and the animals need me. And, if I didn't work, you couldn't go to school." Anna said, "Eeek! But I love my school!" I told her she would just have to enjoy me taking her and picking her up 2 days a week.

Other days she says when she grows up she wants to be an animal doctor just like me, so we can go to work together every day. She claims she will always live with us and will never want to move out. She says "We can take care of the animals together, and when it is time for lunch, I will ask you what to do!" I couldn't have dreamed up a better fantasy myself.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Choose your poison

Last night we went to a party in Texas. Yes, of course we do live in Texas, but when we walked into our neighbor's house, the Country and Western was blaring, and they were drinking Bud Lite and doing tequila shots, things that never happen in my house. We tend to drink red wine and occasionally cosmopolitans, and haven't listened to the C&W since we left A&M (where it was practically a required course).

We snuck over after the kids were in bed, with the baby monitor in tow. It was great to go out and not need a babysitter, and not worry about driving home. When we arrived, everyone was already happy and very friendly. The wife was dancing by herself to Clint Black, and she welcomed us like we were their best friends.

Our neighbors have a 22 year old daughter, and she was actually throwing the party for her friend's birthday. Our neighbors invited us so they could have some friends there, too. "We feel so old around these kids!" they said. They made us feel old, too. I had forgotten how party means something different when you're in your early 20s.

There were actually guys wearing shirts with pearl snaps and girls with big belt buckles (not from FFA, but with cheeky words on them). Then 4 Columbians came in, and they were dressed up - the girls in spaghetti strap blouses and high heels, and the guys in collared shirts and tight jeans. They brought Cristal Aguadiente, and I found out there is yet another country that makes a licorice liquor. This one was not as sweet as Sambuca but quite strong. Well, I'm trusting Anthony on that analysis -- I would not put something as repugnant as liquorice liquor in my mouth.

Pretty soon my neighbor was egging me on to do a tequila shot. She was hanging onto my shoulder, whispering persuasively and drunkenly in my ear. I could feel her breath on my neck. "Come on, Jennifer," she breathed, "You're behind! You need a shot. Come on..." It was like a little devil on my shoulder. Finally, I said I would do half a shot. The devil pulled away and there were mascara smudges on my shirt.

Something about the smell of straight tequila makes my nosehairs curl. It also makes people drunk very fast. I managed to fool all those people with my little half shot of tequila. I brought it to my lips and tasted it, but I didn't shoot it. A few minutes later they were pouring then next round, and totally believed me when I said I'd already been given a refill. No one noticed the second faux shot, either. Not a bad decision, as the wife walked into the fence a few moments later and had to be carried into the bedroom by the husband.

We decided to head home about 1 am. Mr. Pearl Snaps saw us heading out and came stumbling toward the door with a bottle of Crown Royal. "You guys..." he slurred, "Can't go... back (he gestured toward the kitchen)... found this (showed us the bottle)..." No thanks, as Anthony said, we learned our limits years ago.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Again, Me.

This morning Anna was at my bedside at 7:20 am. I convinced her to crawl in bed with me, where she snuggled but fidgeted nonstop. Finally she looked at the clock and said, "Seven Four One. What does that mean, Mommy? I'm hungry, let's get up. Come Onnnn-nuh." I said it meant it was way to early to be up, but I got up anyway.

Colin was awake in his crib, so I got him up, too. Moments later, we were all sitting on the kitchen floor, holding hands in a circle, while I took turns kissing them on the neck, tickling them. They howled with laughter, and demanded another round. "Again, me!" Colin would say. How could I not oblige?

Later, we all 4 went to the local organic farm, where Anthony and I looked at the vegetables and Colin and Anna played in the dirt. As Anthony observed, Mommy was in demand. At least every 20 minutes, someone required a hug, an observation of a minor physical feat (Mommy, watch this!), or complete undivided attention as a anecdote was retold. Usually, all at the same time. After 2 days of working, my family has missed me. Anthony said he felt sorry for me, even as he wanted to reconnect, too. Maybe it was the lack of tantrums or peed-thru bottoms, but I didn't mind the clamoring so much today. Today, it was nice to reconnect and be the center of their universe (although I may have spaced out a few times, just trying to think my own thoughts).