Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To never be hungry

I think I made a painful parenting error last night. Not one that I can joke about. But one that breaks my heart, brings me to tears, and has created an emotional wound of sadness in my sweet 5 year old.  
It all started with my immense frustration with Benji for not eating dinner. He almost never eats dinner. Night after night he tells me that he doesn't like whatever I have cooked. Then he goes to bed hungry.
I had finally had enough.
"You HAVE to eat, Benjamin! Your body needs food for you to be healthy!"
We argued for a bit, then in my frustration, I called him to me so I could show him pictures of what happens when you don't eat food.
Dramatic. I know.
I showed him heartbreaking pictures of skeletal children with bloated bellies. My voice cracked as I told him, "This boy doesn't have food to eat. His family can't afford enough food, so his body is very sick."
Benji asked me question after question about why the starving people looked the way they did. I answered honestly, my chest tight with regret. Regret for not being able to help these hungry people. Regret for presenting this mature topic to such a young child. Regret that some of the pictures we saw were of children even younger than Benji.
This is serious stuff. It is so cliché to tempt a child to eat his dinner by talking about children starving in some remote location. Like that even helps. But I took it one step further with the pictures.
Benji started crying.
"I don't want to be like that."
My heart. I pulled him into a hug, "I promise you will never be like that. I promise we will always have food to keep you healthy. You just have to eat it."
To a 5 year old, full of trust, that is a reassuring promise. To me, it broke my heart even more, because I was so painfully aware of our privilege. We will never be so hungry that our bodies wither away.
I helped Benji eat his dinner. Afterward, he lifted up his shirt to show me his full belly; his body lean, yet healthy.
And as I tucked him into bed, he asked me to comfort him with a prayer. Those sickly bodies were weighing heavily on his mind, and well as mine.
Such a serious topic for a young child. Did I do the wrong thing? Exposing him to such horrors? Will it help him take better care of his body? Or will he develop body image or diet issues because of it? Will it teach him compassion? Or fear?
My heart.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

An updated introduction

I've updated my introduction to this blog. Click the link up under the blog title ^^^ or here in this post to read a little blog history and to get a feel for what these Lamentations are all about.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just pee already!

It would probably be more enjoyable for all of us to have a sweet update on baby Jedi, how he is deliciously fat, smiley and fitting in with our family very well.

Buuuuuuut.....instead I'm going to tell you about how Gizmo makes me see red, and how the toddler stage sucks, and how I hate it so hard.

Gizmo has been potty training for a few weeks now. Really, he is pretty good at it. I haven't had to do hardly anything. That's the best kind of potty training. (Moms, my advice to you is: if you try potty training, and you are putting in more work than your toddler, then stop and try again in a few more weeks or months!)

We only very rarely have accidents. Of course, I am still doing diapers when we go out for over an hour. And, of course, the only accidents we do have include a horrible mess to clean up (like peeing on my couch, or pants full of crap).

Recently, we started putting Gizmo to bed in his underwear. It started as a mistake. But when he woke up dry and was able to get to the potty to pee, we figured we'd try it more often.

But this morning, Gizmo refused to pee on the potty. I let it slide for a bit, and went ahead and served him breakfast. After his food was gone, I asked him again to go potty. He refused. So I told him that he would be grounded from the tv until he peed in the potty. But rather than deciding it would be a good idea to pee in the potty afterall, he decided to throw a tantrum.

Now, I am not a patient mother. I am a big time yeller. And when a toddler flops all over me in an irrational meltdown, especially while I'm trying to nurse a baby, I get especially ragey.

After about 20 minutes, I had almost completely lost my cool. I was able to lay Jedi down (asleep, by some miracle) and I carried Gizmo to the bathroom, stripped his pants off, and perched him on the toilet seat. (His preferred method of eliminating is squatted with his feet on the seat.) And still, he refused to pee. He climbed down, and I put him back. I told him that he could not leave the bathroom until he peed.

We fought and fought and apparently I was losing, because the kid wasn't peeing in the potty. So I started yelling.


And then, over an hour after waking up and holding it in, Gizmo lost control of his bladder. But he wasn't all the way on the toilet. And he still didn't want to be peeing. So he got pee everywhere. The floor, the toilet seat, his legs, his feet, his shirt, and his hands...grasping himself in a desperate attempt to defy the command to pee in the potty.

And then I lost it all over again, because there is no rational reason for that mess to have happened, and I was going to have to clean it all up. Toddlers are always irrational.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Pirate's Life for Me!

(Get ready for a wonky, picture filled party post! Like, really wonky. Because getting pictures to line up where they are supposed to be is dang hard!)

Both the Hubby and I grew up only getting birthday parties on "special" years (i.e. 5, 8, 12, 16, 18...and 14, if your parents are going to be out of town on your birthday, and you are totally bummed out about that). We both approved of this, and so we have implemented the same party-throwing structure for our family.

2 weeks postpartum pirate.
Argh! My salty dog of a husband.

 This year, Bug turned 5. It was finally time to throw our first party! Bug requested a pirate themed party. So about two months prior to party-time, Bug and I started browsing Pinterest for ideas. I let Bug pin the things he liked....and I grew increasingly worried that he was going to be super disappointed. There was no way in heck I would be able to make a pirate ship cake nearly as cool as the ones you can find on the Internet. But party throwing is in my blood (right, mom!?), and I was going to plan an awesome...and hopefully affordable...party for my little scallywag. Unfortunately, Jedi was born the morning of the party, and we had to postpone it two weeks. But we did eventually have that party. Here is the breakdown:

Grandma Marty, Bug and Gizmo

I formulated the wording in as pirate-y a fashion as I could. You know, throw in an "ahoy matey" and a "be ye warned" and you're basically gold. To make it really awesome, I downloaded a free "treasure map" font. Instead of printing on regular paper, I wanted to make it looked aged and I wanted to do it cheaply. Luckily, I had some brown paper lunch bags in my pantry. I cut them open, cut them to size, iron out the wrinkles as best as I could and ran them through the printer. Then I tore the edges and burned them on the stove top. They were pretty awesome.
Invite with letter in a bottle deco.

Way awesome treasure map, that I drew!
I pulled out the most pirate-like scrap fabric I could find and sewed up a pennant banner. It was super simple, I didn't bother to hem the edges, and I strung it on twine. I also had some rough, natural color muslin fabric that I draped around (and had laying on the table). It was perfect for looking like sails. Then we added some balloons in red, yellow, white and black. (I also bought one birthday pirate Mylar balloon for the mailbox.) Grandma Marty brought us a giant Jolly Roger flag to hang up; the perfect touch! On the food table, along with the muslin, were a few glass bottles with rolled up "messages" (brown paper from the lunch sacks), fake gold coins, and bead necklaces.

We had 5 games to play. We had maps (those lunch sacks got used a lot for the party!) that I printed and aged treasure map style to guide the kids through the games. Of course, they didn't really use them, but it was a fun thought.
Cannonball fight-I acquired a large appliance sized cardboard box and turned it into a pirate ship with holes in it. I also acquired, by complete chance, a large cardboard tube, which we turned into the ship's mast. I made half a dozen round, black bean bags. The kids then got to throw their "cannonballs" at the ship, trying to make it through the holes. The ship wasn't as sturdy as I hoped it would be, but luckily we had tape and both grandmas around to man the ship (and return fire). The kids thought this was a ton of fun!
Cannonball fight! (see my pennant banner?)
Pirate ship, with tons of tape to keep it together.
Pin the Treasure on the "X"-I bought a white posterboard, printed out a bunch of pirate-y/island/ocean clipart pictures and used my mad drawing skillz to create the coolest treasure map. Ever. I almost wish I had kept it, it was so stinkin' cool. Then I printed out little treasure boxes to pin on the map's "X". Add some pirate bandanas, a few spins, and you have your classic party game, pirate style. Bug was the first to play this game, and he cheated and got his treasure box right on the "X". That little stinker.
Swab the Deck-Outside (luckily it didn't start raining until right after we were done with the party), I put out 4 bins (stolen from the toy organizer), two of which were filled with water, and two sponges. The kids had to fill a sponge, run to an empty bin, and squeeze out the water. I was actually on the couch breastfeeding Jedi during this game, but the Hubs said the kids really had fun with it.
Walk the Plank-We bought a 2x6 board and tied it to two empty plastic window planters that we had already. Then the kids were able to walk across the plank as many times as the wanted. I originally wanted to fill our kiddie pool with water to put underneath, but that didn't happen. Of course, the kids didn't care.
Here Be Treasure!-We got a long, shallow Rubbermaid bin (with a lid, hallelujah) and filled it with play sand. then I added fake gold coins, bead necklaces and toy rings. The kids had to dig for their treasure. They played in the sandbox for a good portion of the party! Bug and Gizmo have been playing in it ever since. (And I have decided I hate sandboxes.)

Mini pirates, walking the plank.
I really thought about buying pre-made pirate party favors. (Inflatable sword!? How awesome would that be!?) But, I finally decided that putting the favors together myself would be the smarter, cheaper option. Especially since most favors only last a few days before everything is totally trashed. So, I pulled out those brown lunch sacks again (I love that I used those so much, especially since I didn't even buy them! They came from Grandma Marty's pantry to ours when she moved across the country.) Inside each bag: a foam pirate hat, a plastic pirate eye patch, a skull/crossbones stamper, and a page of pirate stickers. And then the kids were able to put their treasure from the dig in the bag, too.

Ocean water...for your refreshment?
Table set up
I was more excited about our cake/cupcakes than anything, so the rest of the snack foods were pretty simple. A bowl of Goldfish. A bowl of potato chips. (Fish and chips, get it!?) And a fruit salad (with mostly tropical fruits). To drink, I mixed Sprite with Ice Blue Raspberry Koolaid, for an ocean-y looking drink. To make things a little more festive, I bought a set of pirate plates/napkins/cups.

I totally made this cake, and I am proud.
And now, my pride and joy...the cake(s)! We made two dozen cupcakes. Half of them were frosted blue, the other half light brown (chocolate and cream cheese frosting mixed). On the blue cupcakes, we placed chocolate marshmallow fondant pirate ships (really just triangles, for a basic ship shape...heh, ship shape). I cut down bamboo skewers to a good size for a mast and added a small rectangle of paper, stamped with a Jolly Roger, for the sail. On the brown frosted cupcakes, I sprinkled some brown sugar to look like sand, then added a fake gold coin. Then, to make sure there would be enough cake for everyone, I made a 9x13 cake (which actually didn't get cut into at the party, but it was so cute, it was worth it!) I drew, with brown frosting, some land/islands, sprinkled with brown sugar. Then frosted the ocean with blue. A larger fondant boat went in the corner (on the ocean). And, finally, I used red frosting (from an easy-to-use tube) to make a dotted line across the cake to an "X" on the island. The candles went along the dotted line.
So excited!
Bug was so excited when it finally came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles that he blew them out before the song was even over! And after the song ended, we all wondered what to do, and whether or not to relight the candles. Uhhhhh...let's just dig in!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


It's been nearly four weeks since Jedi was born. My goodness, how the time flies. Of course, it helps when there is a lot going on: family in town, Mother's Day celebrations, more family in town, Bug's birthday party (that we had two weeks late), Memorial day, and Hubby's birthday (today).

May is SUCH a busy month. But, I am proud to say that I have (mostly) kept it together! I have only cried a couple of times since the birth. Which is a significant improvement on how often I cried during pregnancy! I think I can give credit to my placenta capsules (lovingly called 'placenta pills' in our home). Yep, I am officially one of -those- ladies that eats her placenta! And now I'm going to tell you how I prepared it (sparing you pictures, because I didn't get any. You're welcome.)

After the cord was cut, I briefly examined the placenta for completeness, then it was plopped into a Tupperware with a lid and put into the fridge. I wasn't sure when I would get to it, so it needed to be treated like any other piece of meat for planned consumption. I was able to prepare the placenta that evening. I prepared the placenta using the raw method, rather than the Traditional Chinese medicine method, which steams the placenta prior to dehydrating.

First, I placed the placenta in a colander in the sink. I then spent at least fifteen minutes rinsing the dang thing. I removed as many blood clots as I could (many of them were between the size of a large grape and a small lime). On the baby side, the placenta is smooth (covered by the membranes) and has beautiful, visible veins that form what is referred to as the 'tree of life'. I used a sharp knife to pierce the veins, so I could remove the clotted blood from those as well.

I then moved the placenta to a cutting board and used the sharp knife to cut away the majority of the membranes and the cord. Then I sliced the placenta into very thin strips (like jerky). This was somewhat difficult, as the placenta is both tough and jiggly. The maternal side is lumpy looking, rough yet soft and somewhat gritty (I believe this depends on age and calcification of the placenta). It compares more to organ meat than muscle meat...which makes perfect sense, because the placenta is an organ, not a muscle! I learned after the fact that it would have been easier to use meat scissors to do all that work. However, I was able to slice the placenta completely using the knife, and place all the strips on trays of our dehydrator.

Once the strips were all placed, I turned on the dehydrator and let it do its work. The house smelled like very warm (cooking?) birth, which didn't bother me, and I heard no complaints from anyone else.

Approximately 12 hours later, the placenta was thoroughly dry. (I determined 'thoroughly dry' as being dry enough to snap a slice in half easily.) The slices looked like petrified smears of meconium, but I went ahead and put them in our blender. We have a cheap blender, but pulsing it on grate worked well...although it was noisy, it only took a few minutes. I assume a fancy food processor would do an even better job!

Once I had my placenta turned into a powder, I was able to fill my capsules. I had ordered an encapsulator that would fill 24 capsules at one time, and size 00 capsules. Separate capsules, place into appropriate side of encapsulator, pour in placenta dust, scrape to fill, tamp down, add more powder, level off, push on capsule tops, push out completed capsules. Repeat.

I was able to fill 124 capsules. I didn't have a glass jar or anything fancy to store them in, so I put them in a freezer ziplock bag. I also actually keep them in the freezer. Although this isn't necessary (unless you plan to preserve the capsules for use years down the road), I figured it wouldn't hurt. Especially since I am only storing mine in a plastic bag!

For the first couple of days, I didn't know how many capsules a day I should have been taking. After a bit more research, I found that for my size capsules, I should be taking about 6 a day for the first two weeks, then as many as I wanted thereafter. I recently have moved to 4 a day (and they will only last me one more week at that rate...sad face).

I feel like they have been very beneficial. The Hubs has even said he wants me to encapsulate and consume the placenta with all future births! (And he was really squeamish about the whole thing before!) My mood has definitely been improved...especially noticeable has been the lack of breakdowns and tears typically present in the early postpartum period. I also feel like my engorgement didn't last as long as it has before. And I believe my lochia has been tapering off more quickly.

Of course, this is my personal, anecdotal experience. I would encourage you to do your own research on placentophagy. At first I thought it was weird. Then I though I might like to try it. Then I thought I would do it, but keep it on the down low, so as to not squick anyone out. But now, I have actually done it, and I'll talk about it with no reservations! So there you go!

I ate my placenta (well, almost...I still have a few capsules left!) and I am proud of it!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Birth Story: Jedi

Friday, May 3rd: Busy, busy, busy! Bug's birthday party was only a day away, and we needed to get everything ready for it. Clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, make marshmallow fondant. After a day full of doing stuff, my parents arrived in town just after 8pm. We sat and socialized until about 10pm, while I had my typical prodomal labor, and then everybody (exhausted) headed to bed.

Saturday, May 4th: I woke up at 1am. I figured it was a standard potty break. I had an uncomfortable contraction, went through my roll-over maneuvering, and felt some baby wiggles. Then, I felt a warm flow of liquid in my crotch. I thought maybe I had peed myself. But I hadn't lost bladder control before...so I wasn't quite sure. Perhaps it was my water breaking?

I got out of bed, trying to not soil my sheets (we had -just- put clean sheets on the bed, and I didn't want to have to change them again...especially if this wasn't labor). I sat on the toilet and peed, but didn't feel any further leaking. So I thought maybe I had peed myself after all. But when I wiped, there was a definite, although very faint, pink tint.

With the light still on, I opened the bathroom door, which woke up Scotty. I stood there, underwear in hand, and with a nervous giggle told him that I either peed myself, or my water broke. I really wasn't totally convinced that it was my amniotic fluid, because even further moving around didn't allow any more leaking. I was only having my typical prodromal-style contractions, so I figured I would lay back down and try to get some rest. Scotty said there was no way he would be able to get back to sleep.

So, I laid back down with a chux pad under me. Still no further leaking. But my contractions were getting stronger and laying down wasn't really all that comfortable. Since it had been almost 2 days since my last shower (and I had really worked up a sweat making the fondant earlier), I decided to go ahead and take a shower. It was 1:20am when I got into the shower.

I put shampoo in my hair, then swayed through a contraction. Then rinsed and put conditioner in, and swayed through a contraction. Then finished up, while swaying through contractions throughout. While I was swaying, I thought I could feel warmth flowing out of me, but it was hard to tell with all the water. The water wasn't really heating up to where I wanted it to be, so I thought I would get out. But then I thought I would stay in. But then I really got out. (Make up your mind, right!?) As I was drying off, I noticed there was pink tinged fluid running down my leg.

Scotty helped me dry off and put on my robe, and I decided to sit on my birth ball. It was covered with a chux pad, and I sat down. Scotty woke my mom up and had her join us, especially so she could french braid my hair before things got too intense. Then I felt like the pad needed to be moved forward a little bit, so I leaned back to move it and a huge gush of amniotic fluid poured out onto the plastic drop cloth we had on the floor at the foot of our bed. I could see it was a beautiful clear color, with lots of vernix. And it smelled so sweet.

I was giddy by now. I kept announcing that I was having a baby, and joking about the baby coming when it wasn't supposed to (the day of Bug's party), and also joking about the gushing of fluid I would have every time I leaned back. My mom braided my hair, while I contracted.

After a bit, I went to pee on the toilet. When I came back out, I decided to kneel and lean against my bed for the contractions. Around this time, my dad had also joined the party in my room. He is an RN, and moved very well into "nurse mode", asking if I wanted cold washcloths, water, a fan, a window open? At first, we all chatted in between contractions. And I ate some grapes. Then I started getting more into my birth zone. I was focusing more and more on each contraction, and soon I started vocalizing.

My dad excused himself, because he could tell I was getting hot, and I would probably be taking my robe off soon. I had to pee again, but didn't want to go to the toilet, so I peed on a chux pad. Shortly after, my robe came off. At this point, I was very concentrated on my contractions. I vocalized deep, low, humming moans. And I leaned against the bed and squeezed Scotty's hand. Scotty asked a few times if I wanted to get -on- the bed to be more comfortable, but I declined. I was very comfortable on the floor, leaning against the bed.

Things were starting to feel hard. Mentally, I knew I had to be in transition, because it was just so. dang. hard! But I hadn't been in labor that long. Could I really be in transition??? I announced that I thought I must be there (because, again, so dang hard). I didn't say anything else out loud about how difficult things were for me, but I was thinking a lot that I wasn't sure if I would be able to do this! My contractions were coming two at a time, before I would have a small break. One big contraction, thirty second break, one not-quite-so-big contraction, one minute break.

At about 3:50am, I had a big contraction that ended with a grunt. It didn't feel quite like a normal pushing contraction. I started having these contractions that still were so incredibly hard, but they ended with little, grunty pushes. I felt like maybe I had a little bit of a cervical lip left, and maybe that was why my contractions were on the line between transition and pushing. My vocalizing was starting to become a little wobbly. I felt like I was losing my focus. Scotty had moved down behind me, to check on progress, so I started squeezing my mom's hands during the contractions.

Finally, during another contraction, something changed (that cervical lip went away). I felt the baby's head move down. Oh, what a sweet feeling. I knew things were almost over. The next contraction had me pushing hard. I announced that I was pooping (birth is lovely, no?) and my hand went down to my crotch. There was a baby head there! And it burned! I tried to support my perineum, and then my labia as I moved through the push. Scotty was down behind me, watching the progress (and keeping things clean). He announced that he could see an ear. I think Mom and Scotty were surprised, because everything was happening so fast!

The next contraction brought out baby! I had a hand on his head, and Scotty helped support his body and guide him to the floor in front of me. Oh, baby boy, he was here! The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, so I gently and calmly unwound it and picked him up. I brought him to my chest and rubbed his slippery body. And then the euphoria! He was so tiny (it's so easy to forget how small newborn babies are). He gave a few tiny squeaks, but otherwise was very quiet. His tone was great and he pinked up almost immediately.

Gizmo (who, luckily, fell asleep very early that evening) was apparently kneeling outside our door, trying to see in under it. My dad (who heard the squeaking baby) came in and let Gizmo and Bug both in to meet their new brother. I was so happy, I could have cried! I had done it! I gave birth, unassisted!

After about half an hour of joyful family time, I got back onto my knees and gave a few pushes to deliver the placenta. My mom got a Tupperware and I plopped the placenta into it. After the cord was tied and cut (by Scotty), I examined the placenta. It looked whole and beautiful. (And I am determined this time to get it encapsulated!) I nursed the baby a little (once he latches on, he nurses wonderfully)! Then we weighed and measured the little guy.

Shortly after, I took a fairly quick herbal bath (the water wasn't warm enough to keep me longer) and triumphantly headed downstairs for breakfast!

Welcome to earth, baby Jedi! (His perfect nickname, for this May the Fourth [be with you] birthday!) Born unassisted at home on May 4th, 2013 at 4:21am, after less than 3.5 hours of labor! Weighing 8lbs 1oz, and 20" long. Beautiful and perfect!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birth Ball

This morning, I got it into my head that I wanted to find our exercise ball and pump it up to use for labor prep and during the birth. I have no idea why I wanted it so badly, because I had the dang thing pumped up for my last labor and didn't want it at all!

But today....I NEEDED TO FIND AND FILL THAT BALL!!!! (Remember a couple posts ago where I said pregnancy makes me crazy? Yeah. I wasn't kidding.)

Even though it has been over a year since we moved, we still have three spaces that have boxes and other 'unpacked' things: master bedroom closet, spare bedroom closet, and Narnia-esque under-the-stairs coat closet.

For some reason, I thought the big, blue ball would be in the spare bedroom closet. So I started there. I pulled out boxes. I pulled ligaments. I caused contractions. I grunted. I strained. I dug and I looked and I rifled and I looked. And no ball. So I put everything back. With more pulling and grunting and straining.

Frustrated and tired, I went to my closet. I found the pump to fill the ball. Yay. But after some half-hearted rifling through the closet, there was still no ball.

So I went and sat on the couch for a bit, because I was pooped. And I texted the Hubby, asking if he knew where the heck the ball was. His response: in our closet or the coat closet.

After a bit, I had regained enough of my energy to resume my search. The coat closet. So daunting. Among the things I had to remove from the closet: half a dozen coats and jackets, vacuum cleaner, chair cushions, Christmas tree, 3 sleeping bags, Christmas box, Halloween box, pull-up bar, box full of shoes we never wear, box full of gloves and scarves we use once a year, beanbag chair and footrest, and several random sand toys.

Finally, I opened the box I thought might be hiding the ball. It had a few game boxes, one of which was on its side and fell open to dump the entire contents into the bottom of the box. I found beach floaties, a tote bag that I needed 8 months ago, a bag of crayons, more sand toys....AND the birth ball!!!

And then I had to put everything back. (Commence more grunting and straining and pulling and contractions.) Our closet looks super organized and nice right now, though!

Then I realized that the plug was missing. It would be pointless to fill the ball and not be able to keep the air inside of it! But I was so, so tired. Back to the couch for a rest. I thought a bit about where the plug could be. I watched a YouTube video on how to make your own plug using duct tape (but I don't think we have any duct tape...of course). Then, I remembered that I typically kept the plug with my paintbrushes. (Where else would I keep it?!)

Paintbrushes were back upstairs in the spare bedroom closet. I had to move more boxes. Finally, I pulled out the "paint" box, which was really heavy...probably heavier than I should be lifting without having the proper control over it. Seriously, who knew that a couple dozen tubes of acrylic paint, a few blocks of polymer clay, and a crapload of fancy paper would weigh so much!? (Ok, now that I type out a bit of what is actually in that box, it makes total sense for it to weigh the equivalent of a small whale.)

And, of course, I had to empty the whole box to make sure I wouldn't miss a tiny, white, two-inch ball plug. The good news, though, is that I found it! (With the paintbrushes, where it belongs! Silly!) And that box looks super organized and nice now.

Boxes back in the closet, and no onset of labor, I headed back down the stairs. (Also, I gave the kids a bath while I was organizing the paint box, to keep them out of my stuff. So I had to dry the munchkins off and help them get dressed before I could complete my birth ball quest.)

Pump: check! Ball: check! Plug: check! I let Bug and Gizmo pump the ball up most of the way. Which was really nice, because they thought it was a fun game, even though I could tell it was wearing them out! Plus, that meant I didn't have to do the hard work. But I did finish it up and place the plug.

Then, I sat on the couch while the boys rolled around on the ball. We'll see how much I actually use the dang thing. I'm beginning to wonder if the hassle was even worth it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tissues and Kegals

I recently hit the 37 week mark of my pregnancy. Which means baby gets a "full term" stamp of approval, and is allowed to debut any time now. Yay!

But I am throwing Bug a party for his 5th birthday in less than two weeks, and I refuse to allow this baby to come before then! (As a note, Bug was born at 38+4 weeks, Gizmo born at 39 weeks...so my track record says I won't make it to 40 weeks.)

The hubs is convinced baby will come before the party. I think he just wants to stress me out! But there is a part of me that is worried that will come true. Mostly, the allergy part of me.

Spring hit the South full force a couple weeks ago, and a thick coat of pollen settled over everything. And my body reacted with headache, watery eyes, congestion, sniffles, sore throat, ad nauseum.

Most of my symptoms have let up, but I am still blowing my nose frequently....and productively. And every nose blow, I'm worried that I will either put myself into labor, or pee my pants.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lazy. Crazy.

I woke up this morning determined to go to the grocery store for the sole purpose of buying on sale Easter candy. Specifically Starburst Jellybeans and Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Then I realized that I should probably make a more complete grocery list. ("We are almost out of milk, I guess.") So I planned our menu for the week and wrote out my list.

Then I sat on the couch and realized I was feeling really lazy. Candy? or Couch? Candy.......or couch?

Then lunch rolled around. And I still hadn't showered. But there was still time in the day for all that. And I lazed around some more.

Then I fell asleep on the couch. I totally wasn't planning on taking a nap. But I was sitting there on the couch already. And the kids weren't climbing all over me. And it was so comfy. And I was so tired (getting up several times every night to pee will do that to you.)

When I woke up, I had to change a poopy diaper. And I tried convincing the kids to put all the books back on the bookshelves (sure, they weren't climbing on me during my nap, but they were pulling every single book off the shelf). And then my dad called. And we talked for a while about politics (ugh) and tree frogs in the hospital (he works at a hospital in Florida).

Finally, I realized that we didn't have any spaghetti sauce to go on that big, yummy-looking spaghetti squash I was hoping to eat for dinner. So I commanded the kids to put the books back on the shelf while I ran (ha!) upstairs to take a quick shower.

Showered, dressed, kids' clothes in hand. And they even put away the books!

New shirts. New shorts ("No, just keep those underwear, I forgot to grab a new pair.") Socks and shoes. I grabbed my grocery list....AND a coupon. And headed out the door.

Apparently, once I walked into the grocery store, I was too concerned about picking out my bell peppers, that I totally missed the carts full of Easter candy and other paraphernalia RIGHT. BY. THE. ENTRANCE.

I got my fresh fruits and veggies and headed toward another cluster of Easter stuff. But there was no candy to be found...except for one lonely box of Cadbury eggs. I put them in my cart.

Then, over by the bread, there were a few more carts. And one had some Easter candy in it!!! I was checking to see if I wanted any of that candy when I realized the cart actually belonged to someone. I could have died. I apologized to the lady for trying to steal candy right out of her cart, and asked her where the Easter candy was. She said it was by the front. (I still didn't see it.) And then I tried to avoid her for the remainder of our grocery run.

Finally, I gave up and checked out. (And I forgot to use my coupon.) Then, as I'm pushing my cart out the door, I see all the candy. RIGHT. BY. THE. ENTRANCE. But it was too late, I had a gallon of ice cream in my cart already.

I felt miserable. Shopping with two kids while pregnant is no picnic. Plus, I had gone through all the effort to shower and get out of the house, specifically to get candy, and I was coming home with one measly box of Creme eggs....and a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies. (So sad, right?) And to top it all off, I embarrassed myself by rifling through somebody else's cart! I really felt so sad that I could have cried. And the coupon!! I always forget the coupon!

Luckily, I have a great husband who is willing to stop at the store on his way home from work to get me cheap Easter candy.

Then after dinner, I proceeded to eat oatmeal creme pies...instead of the candy that Hubby brought me. And if I wasn't typing this blog post, I would be lounging on the couch.

Pregnancy makes me both lazy and crazy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The socks

This past Saturday, the Hubs took Bug and Gizmo out shopping. I spent a glorious morning cleaning the kitchen....and sitting on the couch browsing Facebook on my tablet. When they got home, Hubby made lunch, and then took the kids out AGAIN (despite the drizzly, cold day) to have an "adventure" out in the trees behind our house. Apparently, they looked at holes in the ground and built a lean-to.

When all the boys were back in the house, Gizmo took off his shoes and socks. He is really good at putting his shoes away, and his socks into the dirty laundry hamper (which is through the kitchen, in the laundry room).

Off Gizmo went to take care of his socks, when all the sudden I hear him crying dramatically in the kitchen. He came into the living room and settled onto my lap in a ball of tears.

"What's wrong!!!???" I asked, "Are you hurt?"


"What happened? Why are you crying? Are you sad about something?"

"Yeah. My socks!" it was kind of hard to understand what he was saying, through all the tears.

"You're sad?"

"My socks"

"Your socks??"

"Yeah!" more crying.

"What happened to your socks? Did you put them in the laundry?"

"No. My socks in garbage!" even more crying. Really, very dramatic, very sad crying.

"You threw your socks in the garbage?" I'm beginning to understand, and I am amused.

"Yeeeeah." another breakdown of tears.

So Gizmo had accidentally put his socks in the garbage, instead of the laundry. And he was very upset about it. Especially since the trash had been taken out recently and he couldn't reach the socks on his own, to move them to the laundry. I'm sorry to say I burst out laughing once I understood what happened. Poor kid.

I tried to console Gizmo as I asked Hubby to retrieve the socks. Once Gizmo knew that his socks had been safely moved to their proper location, he calmed down pretty quickly. And with a sniffly, quivering voice, he said "thank you" to his father, for saving his socks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Braxton Hicks Complaints

Although I've been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for most of my pregnancy, they definitely become much more of a bother in late pregnancy.

First off, my uterus is so huge and high up that my ribs are really sore (and ohmygosh, I still have over a month left to go, my uterus is going to get so freaking huge!!!) Seriously, why are my ribs sore? Wouldn't it make more sense for my uterus to be sore? My ribs are made out of tough bone, after all! But, then again, when I am having a contraction, my uterus feels like it is made out of stone. So maybe there is a reason for my ribs being so sore.

Now, these uterus of marble contractions are completely unpredictable. As they should be; BH's, which means they "aren't real". Which really is a load of baloney, because I know those suckers are doing something and have a purpose...even if they aren't actively dilating my cervix.

Anyway....unpredictable. But yet, so very predictable.

If I don't drink enough water: contractions.

If I drink water and let my bladder get even a tiny bit "full": contractions.

If Gizmo crawls all over my lap like he always does: contractions.

If I walk up or down the stairs: contractions.

You see what I'm getting at here. Pretty much everything gives me contractions. And no matter how much I would love to just go into labor right now and have this baby (really, there is no sarcasm there, anything to -not- be pregnant anymore)...he needs to wait at least 8 weeks, because I have a pirate party to plan and throw for a soon-to-be 5 year old.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boy, boy, BOY!

A couple days ago, I called my mom for a "mommy fix". Basically, I was having a really crappy, depressed type of day (not that I haven't had these days for most of my pregnancy) and I needed someone to listen while I complained. She suggested to me that I go in and get an ultrasound to find out the sex of our baby. It would give me a little bit of excitement, and I could start planning names and layette...and all that other baby stuff! I had been very determined to go without an ultrasound this pregnancy. But I really did need something to cheer me up for the next 8-ish weeks. So, I decided I would make arrangements for an appointment.

The next morning, I called our family doctor's office. Now, none of us have actually gone to this family doctor, except the Hubs (for a work physical). But she came recommended as a doctor who is friendly toward natural parenting, and we were told she would be willing to take on our whole family. The receptionist on the line was rude. I asked if the office had ultrasound capabilities. She was skeptical about why I would even need an ultrasound. I briefly explained that my care provider is not licensed in the state, and could not order an ultrasound, but I would like one as proof of pregnancy in order to acquire a birth certificate. She then said they did not have ultrasound, but another office location from the practice did. (So all that asking about why I would even need one was needlessly nosy.) I got the number for the other location.

Then I called the other office. The receptionist on the line was rude. This receptionist had a list of problems with me asking about an ultrasound:

1. I was not yet a patient. (Why ever the heck can I not be!?!? I was told that the doctor at the first location was willing to take me on as a patient!)
2. Even if I -was- a patient, you can't hop around to the different locations (Why ever the heck not!?!? Isn't that part of what you do when you are in a practice!?!?)
3. I would have to have an appointment with the doctor first, and then have another appointment for the ultrasound. (Why ever the heck can I not just have the ultrasound as my first appointment, as long as I fill out all the required paperwork for becoming a patient in the first place!?!?!?!)
4. Rude receptionist doesn't even know if the doctor -would- order an ultrasound. (WHY ever the heck not!?!?! I am the one trying to -hire- the doctor, if I am asking for an ultrasound, there is really no reason for the doc to refuse to give me one!!!!)

I was pretty short right back with this rude receptionist. And I kind of, might have hung up on her after a -very- curt "thank you". And, no, I did not schedule an appointment. I did, however, promptly start crying after the connection was cut. Rude receptionists. (Later, talking to my dad, an RN, he said he was pretty sure "rude" was a work requirement for medical receptionists. I am inclined to believe him.)

So, I called the Hubby, in tears, to complain about having a really crappy, depressed type of day. I told him all about the rude receptionist, and all my worries about going into get a medical ultrasound anyway. (They are going to force me to get prenatal care, they are going to bombard me with fear tactics about home birth, they are going to call CPS on me......yeah...I think I have a problem with doctors!)

And here I was, trying to alleviate my depression by scheduling an ultrasound. And things were only getting worse.

After about half an hour, Hubs called me back and told me that we had an appointment for an ultrasound that night at 9pm, with a private company for an "elective ultrasound". I was hesitant (do I -really- want an ultrasound? what if they find some weird abnormality and I have to seek obstetrical care anyway? why do they make appointments so late at night?) but grateful that I didn't have to worry about it anymore.

So that night, we got the kids dressed in their pj's and drove to the ultrasound office. And drove around. And drove around. It was late, dark, and there were business offices everywhere, but we could not find where we were supposed to be!!! Finally, after carefully scrutinizing the GPS on Hubby's phone, we were able to locate the office. And we were still early!

We finally got into the ultrasound room. Belly exposed. Goo squirted on belly. Ultrasound wand applied and BAM!!!! First image very clearly, very unmistakably, very directly revealed the sex of our baby.

We are having a BOY! A BOY! ANOTHER BOY!

Cue shock, denial, excitement, sadness, joy....

I couldn't stop laughing. And then the ultrasound technician started making fun of baby boy's penis wiggling around (from my laughing). Awkward.

A boy! He has a beautiful heartbeat, big feet, a nice well-placed placenta. (I have a nice, well-placed placenta? We have a nice, well-placed placenta?) And no obvious defects or malformations....but it wasn't a diagnostic test, so, you know, take that with a grain of salt.

A boy! Poor Bug walked right out of the ultrasound room when we told him he was going to have another baby brother. (Drama much, 4 year old??) Gizmo doesn't get it yet. But Bug was setting his highest hopes of having a baby girl. He even picked out his favorite girl name (that we had approved of, prior) and he thinks we still need to name the baby this name. Uhm....no. But, if I can get over the fact that we are having a boy, then he can, too.

Speaking of me getting over it: I admit that I'm a little sad. This is where I start wondering if I'll -ever- have a girl. We want a big family, but what if we have 6 boys...7, 8 boys!? Can I do that?? I just have to remind myself that there is still time. And even if I never get a girl, I will still love all my boys.

I actually had a dream a couple weeks ago that I gave birth to a boy. He was beautiful, and squishy. And I was completely and utterly in love with him! I woke up with a strong realization that even if I had another boy, I would still love him. That dream was a tender mercy, for sure!

So, these last weeks will fly by, and we will welcome into our family ANOTHER little boy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pregnancy care: according to a 4 year old

I sit on our glider chair and pull my shirt up over my belly to let Bug and Gizmo have some time connecting with the baby.

"Wow! Big belly!" Bug declares.

For Gizmo, this activity mostly involves blowing big, slobbery raspberries. Bug, on the other hand, is much more mature about it. He places his little hands on my belly and rub it gently.

"What are we going to name the baby?" I ask him.

"Uhm, it's a girl baby."

"Yeah [you can keep thinking that, and I hope you won't be disappointed if you're wrong], but what should we name her if it's a girl?"

"Uhm, Mom. We already have a name for her."

"Well, what is it?"

"I don't remember. What is it?"

Then the baby starts wiggling, and I try to get the boys to notice or feel. I'm not sure that they do. But I point out where a baby butt is pushing out under my ribs.

"Where are the arms?" Bug asks. So I point out approximately where the arms would be, and then the rest of the body. Which leads to a discussion about why the head is down low, during which Bug announces that his head came out first. Yes, yes it did, son.

More raspberries and rough belly shaking from Gizmo. Whines from Bug about the amount of slobber. Wiping of the offending slobber. And vigorous rubbing from Bug.

"Do you want to talk to the baby? Sing a song? Or read a book?" I ask the boys.

"I think, 'Through and Through'!" (a favorite story for bedtime) So I recite the story, while Bug repeats after each line. The baby gets really wiggly at this point.

"I think the baby is tired." Bug coos. (We did just read the bedtime story, after all.)

"Nope, I think the baby just woke up! It's wiggling all over! Do you see my belly moving?"

"Oh, I think the baby is hungry!" Bug announces. I then explain that the baby is always getting food from my body and the food that I eat.

"Well, I think the baby needs some sunshine!" Bug then decides.

"But the baby is inside my belly, and can't get sunshine the same way that you do." I explain.

"You can go outside and open your mouth!"

"And the sunshine will go in my mouth to the baby??"

"Uhm......no. You open your mouth and breathe in air."

"And the air will take sunshine to the baby??" (I am getting increasingly amused and confused.)

"Uhm.....no. You open your mouth, swallow air, and the air goes down to the baby."

"Hmmm...well, that's kind of how it works, not really. Is that how you think the baby will get sunshine?"

"No." And then Bug gets exasperated with trying to explain it all to me and goes back to his attentive rubbing. And then I have to get up to go pee.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bug Update

Next in line on the update list is Bug.

Bug is going to be 5 in just a few months. FIVE!!! That's supposed to be one of our big, birthday party years (since we don't do parties every year). But I am going to be -hugely- pregnant on his birthday. Like, ready to  pop any day pregnant. I'm really thinking that I will do all the planning, but the hubs is going to have to actually execute the party.

We'll probably have to do a super hero theme for Bug's party. Avengers would be ideal. Bug is absolutely obsessed with Iron Man. He has assigned the whole family their very own heroes from the Avengers. The Hubby is Captain America. I am Black Widow. Bug is Iron Man. Gizmo is the Hulk. Occasionally, he assigned other family members to fill the remaining slots. But really, as long as we have Iron Man, nothing else matters!

Bug is also quite skilled at working the Xbox. He and Gizmo play games together (which always leads to arguments). And most of the time, they are better than I am! And Bug also loves watching movies on Netflix. (The kids are getting way more screen time than they should, because this pregnancy is kicking my butt, and it's cold outside!) I take a secret pleasure in the fact that Bug not only enjoys Power Rangers and super heroes, but he also loves watching Strawberry Shortcake and all the Tinker Bell movies. I am so proud that his wide interest has broken past the typical gender norms! I hope it lasts.

Bug took so long before he actually started talking, that even though he has been talking for quite a while now, I still am amazed at the things he says. He is hilarious! Most of the time it is completely unintentional. He often reminds me that he is a "growing man". And I always crack up when he uses the word "fragile". Also when he says "girl", because he has a hard time pronouncing the word. It usually ends up sounding like "gorl".

Because Bug is a couple of years older than he was during my last pregnancy, he is showing a definite increase in understanding about pregnancy. I have pulled out a few of my pregnancy books to show him pictures that will help him understand what is going on inside me. He likes to try to feel the baby kick (but he usually gets bored before he actually gets to feel anything....which is actually much the same for the Hubs!) He -really- wants a little sister. He always tells me that he hopes the baby will be a "gorl baby". And he doesn't hesitate to tell others that I am having a girl. But we really have no idea what we are having yet, so I always have to make sure that people know that we really don't know! There have been a couple of times where I have watched a birth video online, and Bug comes up to see what I'm watching. He usually asks questions about the noises being made. I explain the birth process as best as I can, and make sure to point out how happy the mommy is after the baby is born, and that she isn't hurt. He's going to be a great big brother...not that he isn't already, I just think he will be a bigger help and much more interested and loving toward the new baby than with Gizmo!

I keep reminding myself that Bug is going to be eligible for Kindergarten this fall. I have been really waffling back and forth between home school and public school. I love the idea of home schooling, but I worry that Bug won't pay as much attention to his learning at home. Or maybe that -I- won't pay as much attention to his learning! We sometimes like to practice his alphabet and numbers, but he doesn't have much interest in them. And when he is interested in learning about them, his attention span is not nearly long enough! He has enjoyed learning how to write things, though. I will write out letters or words, and he will copy them. Or he will write out a bunch of letters that he remembers, and tell me what he thinks it says. I'm guessing that the interest will develop just as it should for him.

I have started to implement some different discipline techniques with Bug. I admit to being way less gentle as a parent than I wish. But I have found that I am able to use motivations other than spanking and yelling with Bug. He responds incredibly well to being grounded from things that he enjoys. I am so glad to be able to move away from the more violent forms of punishment. They have always made me feel so guilty afterwards, but I always struggled with eliminating them from my parenting. So I am beyond glad that Bug is starting to respond to more mild forms of punishment. (Although, I still end up yelling a lot. I'll just keep trying to cut out that bad habit!)

I love my boys! I have admitted to -not- enjoying the toddler stage. at. all. Give me a newborn any day! Now that Bug is preschool aged and moving into just plain old "young child" age, I am finding that this stage is pretty fun! (Now, I just have to survive the toddler stage for the rest of my kids....and hope that the teenage years aren't really all the comparable!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gizmo Update

Ok....second post within the week. I'm getting better already!

I felt like I should do a series of updates on each of the boys, since my last post was all about me and my whiny pregnancies. (Seriously, the hubs told me that I focused on everything that has been going wrong. To which I say, "Well, duh! That's what happens when you combine depression with the first half of pregnancy, and put it all on a blog with the word 'lamentations' in the title!" But, I'll try to do a little better now.)

I chose to do Gizmo first, because he's going to be the poor, poor middle child soon.

Gizmo turned 2 back in August. OOOOH.....two! He reminds me a lot of Bug at the same age, mainly because he also likes to run around naked-butt. You'd think potty training would be going better. Oh well. He often strips himself. Then he will actually put his clothes in the hamper...diaper and all, sometimes. Just a couple of weeks ago, I missed a diaper while sorting the clothes for washing, and it ended up in the machine. Of course, I had no idea until I opened the lid and found that all my clothes had magically turned into high-tech water crystals! Luckily, my parents were in town visiting, and my mom was able to help me laugh about the whole thing. I'm sure that if I had found that mess alone, I would have crumpled into a sobbing heap of misery on the floor. We shook out all the clothes, making a huge mess. Put all the clothes in the dryer. Ran an empty wash cycle to clear out the washing machine. Cleaned up the floor (made jokes about diaper filling snowballs). Then I'm pretty sure we had hot chocolate. And I didn't rewash that load....it came out of the dryer looking just fine. I'm a lazy mom.

Gizmo's vocabulary has just exploded in the past few months! He and Bug always have adorable little conversations....you know, before they end up fighting. Gizmo is constantly asking "Why, Mommy?" Which turns into the verbal equivalent of a Matryoshka doll, with me answering each "why" and having him again ask "why".

"Please get off the counter, Gizmo."
"Why, Mommy?"
"Because, you always grab a knife when you're up there, and I don't want you to have a knife!"
"Why, Mommy?"
"Because, knives are sharp. And I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"Why, Mommy?"
"Because, I love you, and it would make me sad to see you get hurt. [Plus, I don't want to have to take care of any ridiculously self-inflicted wounds!]"
"Why, Mommy?"
"Why, Mommy?"

Obviously, he is just helping me develop my logic skills.

Blessedly, Gizmo has started sleeping in his own bed throughout the whole night! We had a few setbacks, with the usual winter illnesses running their courses. And he always seems to wake up between 6-7am, which stinks. But at least he isn't digging his feet into my thighs anymore. And I'm getting a nice break before sharing with the new baby in a few months!

Gizmo is pretty physical, stubborn, and has a bit of a violent streak. I don't know whether to blame that on him being a redhead...or him being a toddler. Gizmo hits, pinches, scratches, bites, spits and kicks. Bug wasn't nearly so bad. Of course, Bug didn't have to compete with a brother, so that might have something to do with it. It's distressing, as a parent, though! I hope he doesn't act as poorly during disagreements in the church nursery as he does at home!

Regardless of his bad behavior, Gizmo can be a pretty cool kid! He plays video games better than I do. And he likes to sing and dance. Plus, he is sooo daggone cute. And he definitely uses that to his advantage...the little stinker!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making it through the first half of pregnancy 3.0

My sister is going to be living Gangnam Style in just a couple weeks. Apparently, her moving to South Korea means that I have to start updating my blog more often than every four months. And here I was thinking I didn't have to look up all those resolution articles on exactly how many days it takes to build a habit, because I wasn't planning on any official resolutions this year. But, dangit, I love my family....and if they beg me to write more gripes about my life because they are going to be living on the other side of the planet....I guess I'll put in a little more effort.

First off, an update on my pregnancy is in order. I basically have been feeling like a glorified slug with bad hips. About a month before I got pregnant, I started treating myself for depression with naturopathic suppliments. It was going great! Really great! The two weeks post conception, pre positive pregnancy test, I exercised every. Single. Day. And I had been carefully weighing and measuring my food intake. I was determined to get healthy. But I wasn't losing weight and I was constantly dead tired! Then I found out I was pregnant and it made a bit of sense. And I went off my supplements (just one, actually, that is counter-indicated during pregnancy, but I guess that one was the only one doing jack squat.)

Then my body decided to really welcome me into the first trimester, with 24/7 nausea and a complete inability to ever feel really awake. And the depression was back. The horrible pregnancy nightmares were back. And my hair started falling out. (Which, the hubs tells me that I was just noticing it more because it was getting longer....but I'm not so sure that's 100% true.)

I never threw up during the first trimester, which I am sure plenty of women would envy. But morning sickness sucks no matter what. And I felt like it was worse and longer lasting than I had experienced with my previous two pregnancies. Which is discouraging.

Then the nausea started disappating, and I thought that the second trimester would bring with it rainbows and butterflies, like pretty much every pregnancy book suggests. Not so. My fatigue hasn't lessened at all. My appetite is wishy washy at best. And my Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is near unbearable. And, of course, the heartburn. Plus, it took a lot longer than I thought it should to feel the baby move.

I didn't feel sure and consistant movement until 19 weeks, which is nearly a month later than I felt movement with my first pregnancy! That was so discouraging! Add that together with my depression/anxiety and the lack of formal maternity care, and at 18 weeks I was a complete and total basketcase. I was totally convinced that I had experienced a silent miscarriage and was carrying around a dead fetus. (I want to briefly apologize if this seems insensitive, and extend my love to any women who have actually experienced a late silent miscarriage. Even though it wasn't my reality, my brain was making it seem so, and it was terrifyingly horrible.) A couple days after my biggest breakdown, I started feeling movement. And it was a sweet relief, even through all the other complaints of pregnancy.

So, in other pregnancy related news, I am doing my own prenatal care in preparation for an unassisted home birth. Midwife attended home births are, unfortunately, not legal in North Carolina at this time. I know the thought of an unattended birth is alarming to many, but I am comfortable with the decision. We have a sympathetic family doctor who I can go to, if I decide I want any formal medical advice or attention. But for now I feel like the pregnancy is progressing without the need of any special attention.

Hopefully, in the days and weeks to come, I will be able to continue updating on life and family and motherhood....for Korea.