Wednesday, August 31, 2011

28 weeks

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28 weeks. Hello third trimester!

Rocky Mountain National Park, at about 11,500 feet.  I felt surprisingly good walking around at that elevation. No major sense of not enough air. 

And for comparison's sake, here's the shot with me in the black dress.  It was late, I was tired, but it was taken on exactly 28 weeks.

Note the wicked burn/tan I was working on.  I didn't notice until this photo what a marked shoe tan line I had.

The past two weeks have been all over the place. We went on vacation. We found out our neighbor passed away while we were days away from home. We still finished some of our trip but we cut it short to be able to be home in time for the life celebration gathering.  It was a whirlwind of driving and sight-seeing. I'm actually composing this at 29 weeks, so it's a bit of a blend.

Otherwise, I've been feeling pretty good. I found that I don't always need to wear my compression hose, but every once in a while seems to keep the discomfort at bay.

I managed to gain about 6 pounds in 3 weeks.  I guess that's what I get for eating out all the time, and sitting a lot.  Hopefully we'll get that back to a more "normal" rate of gain.  So far, though, I'm up only about 20 pounds since the start of pregnancy.

I'm starting to feel the crunch of the last few months.  The time to meet baby Cakes is fast approaching!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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I've been going through some of my book shelves, thinning out titles to reduce occupied shelf space. On a quick walk through, I grabbed 22 books - quite a few romance novels (a habit I have broken) and some others that I purchased or received as gifts, which I didn't enjoy enough to want to keep. A few are hardback, most are paperback.

I started thinking about how much money was invested in those books - most cost $7.00 or more. If I were to pretend they all had a new book value of just $7, then that means there's at least $154 worth of books. Most I only read once. I spent less than that in restocking my cloth diaper supply in preparation for Nathanael's arrival in the house.  I spent less than that ordering a custom kit from Homestead Emporium in preparation for baby cakes' birth.

I also started thinking about how hard it is to let go of these books, even if I haven't read them in years, and don't intend to read them again. I think about the money spent, and how I probably couldn't get more than a dollar out of any of them. It certainly makes me think about what makes a book worthy of purchasing.

This has also certainly caused me to value my local library - I can borrow books, and not have to worry about money spent on something that won't get any more use. I continue to add to my collection, but very slowly. I buy books that I borrow repeatedly, and these days mostly non-fiction works. I have siblings and friends with extensive collections, so really, there's little reason for me to buy a book that will sit around on my shelf for years, with just one reading in them.

I love my local library for the great selection of children's books.  My kids get a wide variety of books there, more than I would buy, and the great thing is that if a book is really bad, I don't have to endure my kids wanting to hear it over and over.  It also is a good way to find the books that we really do like to read as a family.

So, if you haven't visited your local library in a while (or ever!) Go check it out!  Your tax dollars are at work there, and you might as well get a good read. Or a bad one that you can quickly return.  Whatever works.

Friday, August 19, 2011

homemade trail mix

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One "tradition" that we have when taking long road trips and vacations is to mix up some trail mix to take along.  Over the years, I've developed my own recipe that fits our flavor preferences.  Everyone likes difference things, so feel free to change to fit your needs!

My basic recipe is a little... flexible.  As in, I never quite remember how much of what I put in, but generally it looks something like this:

This photo doesn't actually represent the amounts I put in, just the bags I hadn't already opened!

Carrie's Trail Mix
  • 2 - 17 oz cans mixed nuts - I prefer mixes with less than 50% peanuts. And Sea Salt!
  • 1 large bag chocolate candies (about 18 ounces) (I have pictured a much larger bag - the remainder will go to potty bribery)
  • 4 - 7oz bag fruit bits
  • 2 - 5.5 oz bag banana chips
  • 2 -  5 oz bag sesame sticks
  • This makes about 1 gallon bag of trail mix.
I find it easiest to mix in a large stock pot or bowl, but I have mixed directly in a gallon bag, or in a hard plastic gallon pitcher or container with a lid, and just shake to mix. I layer the ingredients as I add them to the pot, so it makes the mixing a little more even.

I've done other variations - using pretzels, larger pieces of dried fruit, raisins only, no banana chips, that kind of thing. I prefer to use candy coated chocolates instead of chocolate chips since the chips can be prone to melting into a gooey mess.

Don't think this is low calorie because it's "healthy" trail mix.  One time I calculated the mix I made (probably slightly different from the one I just listed, but not much) it it was in the neighborhood of 12,000 calories for the batch.  Yeah. Chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit are not low cal, they are calorie dense.  Hence people making trail mix so they can carry a lot of calories in a small amount of space.

There have been some trips where the trail mix pretty much saw us through the day, but we clearly must have done some substantial amount of physical movement during our trips because we don't usually come away from a trip having gained weight after polishing off a bag in the course of a week or two (or was that a day or two?).  Of course, the last time I really cared to check was when I was in my twenties, and before kids. Ah, how metabolism changes.

I haven't done a full out calculation of costs recently, but a quick look at my receipt suggests I spent about $39 for about 121 ounces of trail mix (Yeah. 7 pounds?!  That sure seems like a lot...)  It comes out to about $.33 per ounce, which is cheaper than some of the similar mixes I've seen in bulk on Amazon.  I know if I went with non-name brand products, and/or bulk products (like the sesame sticks or the banana chips) then I could definitely save more, but we like our mix, and it's certainly cheaper than buying in a gas station on the road!  And, generally, we prefer the flavor of our particular mix since there is more fruit than just raisins, and it includes the sesame sticks, as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ode to Compression Hosiery

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Oh, how I love you;  oh how I hate you.
You make my achy calves find relief.
You prevent tired, burning legs, too.
You bring comfort to my remaining weeks.
You make my ankles squirm in discomfort.
You squish my toes in your gradient glory.
You are SO not sexy, despite your lacy edge.
Compression hosiery, I am grateful for your support.
And the existence of such technology is dreamy.
Alas, no better options! But I shall not whine (much), I pledge.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

26 weeks

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14 weeks to go.  That doesn't seem like very long, suddenly.  Just about 3 months. Since I'm going on a long family vacation (Yay! Three weeks driving across the southwest!) that means that almost a month of my time already gone. I'll get back and really start feeling the need to get my act together. 

But not yet.

And, in case you're worried about the wisdom of driving cross country while near the beginning of my third trimester - no fears - midwife approved, and I'll be traveling with an experienced RN, and we'll be stopping every 2-3 hours for walk breaks, potty breaks, and sight-seeing. Traveling with 4 adults (one of them pregnant) and two pre-schoolers (one who is potty learning) necessitates frequent stops.

I have begun to wear compression hosiery.  Yes, I am THAT awesome.  I started wearing them at about the same time during pregnancy with Nathanael.  They really are kind of obnoxious, but so much better than having my calves ache and burn all day.  I figure if they help prevent varicose veins, that's a good thing, right?  I don't have any that I can see or feel, but maybe as a preventative? Please? Let it be worth the squished toes in the summer heat?

Aside from that, life is good.  Baby cakes is kicking around doing well.  It's kind of fun to listen in with my fetoscope, and hear the heartbeat in one place, have baby flip around, and find the heartbeat at the other end.  Cakes tends to kick a lot when I am lying on my side.  Hampers baby style, I guess.  E still insists that Cakes is a Girl. After my previous experiment with the pee gender test, I'm not sure.

I'm working on my birth binder, which contains reminders for the start of labor (like the midwife's phone number!), a cheat sheet for labor positions and pain relief, my care preferences in event of hospital transfer, and maps and phone numbers for such places and people I might need to call.  I always hope I have no need for a hospital transfer plan, but I was SOOO glad I had one for Elizabeth.  It made things so much easier once we got there.

Apparently I am Plateau Girl when it comes to weight gain, this time around.  I essentially hovered around the same weight for the first 14 weeks, then jumped up 5 pounds in about 2 weeks, stayed them same until about 22 weeks, and have been adding weight each week since then, sometimes 2+ pounds a week. I'm currently about 13 pounds over my starting weight, at 26 weeks.  Not too bad. Assuming I don't change eating habits dramatically, I should be on a good trajectory for staying within expected weight gain for my body (based on BMI calculations).  I started right on the border between normal and overweight recommendations, so I've been shooting for about a 25 pound weight gain (overweight is 15-25, normal is 25-35). Honestly, if I gain more, I'm not concerned.  I gained between 30 and 35 pounds for my previous pregnancies, and I felt pretty good.  But, it would seem that I have a desire/need to watch my numbers.  I should probably take a clue from Charlotte over at The Great Fitness Experiment and work on finding a better way to deal with my interest in numbers.

Regarding baby gear, I luckily found a Tummy Tub at a consignment shop for cheap, so that's off my wish list.  I'm keeping it away from the other kids, this time.  I also went ahead and ordered my postpartum kit from Homestead Emporium.  It'll get here sometime in the next several weeks.  I'm super excited!

Nathanael, being a dog.  Or a frog.

Nathanael took this photo.  It would seem we have two budding photographers in our house.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

National S'mores Day! (and Homemade Marshmallows)

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Who knew it was National S'mores Day?!  Not me, until I saw someone else post about it.  I was working on a post about s'mores, so today seems like a great day to post it up for my readers.

A while back, I decided to have a go at making my own homemade marshmallows.  At the store, I can only get marshmallows that have food coloring and high fructose corn syrup in them.  I search around online, and found an several recipes worth trying.  I decided to go with the Alton Brown marshmallow recipe, since I have had good experiences with his recipes before.  Some day, I think I'll try making my own sugar syrup, instead of using corn syrup.

So, I made the marshmallows a while back. And why do I need marshmallows?  Because I love s'mores.  And I have a microwave, which means I can have that gooey, chocolate and graham cracker sandwich any time I want.  Yeah.  I've post about this before, but it never hurts repeating.

Elizabeth has been wanting to try one.  She thought she would like it, and I think she did, but ultimately the messiness of very sweetness of it were a bit much.

So she let me finish hers. :)

So now, on National S'mores Day, you know you can A) make your own marshmallows and B) make s'mores even with out a fire.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Summer Garden Fail

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The fact that I barely got around to even posting about the start of my garden this year should have told me that I should just quit while I was ahead.

I did plant a container garden this year: Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, carrots,  zucchini, sugar peas, and even some dill.

I've been really bad about watering them, but in the first half of the year, God did that part for me. Things went pretty well, plants grew, I got some lettuce, spinach, peas, a few strawberries, and several cucumbers. Then it got hot, with no rain. Even with regular watering, I just couldn't quite keep up with the heat. Pretty much everything has wilted and died.  Well, not everything.  The two surviving tomato plants are doing well, as are the strawberries. 

Everything else is a bust.

Unfortunate, since Elizabeth was really looking forward to the carrots.

Another year, I suppose.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

yes, potty on the pot!

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I am please to report that Nathanael is in the process of potty learning. Last weekend, I decided to give it a go, and it has been a success! At least, mostly a success.  Definitely ahead of Elizabeth's personal potty learning schedule  - she was about 3 years 2 months before she relented and was pretty much completely day trained in a few days. N is just about 2 years 5 months.

Before I was a parent, I told myself I wouldn't "bribe" my kids to use a potty.  Totally reformed potty briber, here.  We started with m&m's since I already had a few waiting to be eaten.  Then we got some skittles.  Either one works for my kids.

I will admit, the organic, don't-feed-my-kids-artificial-sugars-and-food-coloring part of me (yes, I own a set of food coloring that is all-natural and cost an astonishing $17) is crying out in anguish at the side of me that is getting my kids skittles for the potty. 

Maybe if I had a health food/natural whatever store around I would find something "better" there, but for now, I stick to easy, because hey, being 25 weeks pregnant while chasing two kids in the middle of a crazy long heat wave while I crave ice cream but can't give any to my kid, I realized that Dairy Queen also has slushies, and slushies and ice cream all come in the same kind of cup and those all have artificial junkiness in them anyway, so what's a few skittles? Did I just say all that out loud? Nobody's perfect, least of all me.

Back to the potty.

The first day, there were mostly "accidents" in his training pants.  I think that day helped him figure out more what was going on, and to realize he didn't like the sensation of pee running down his leg.  I mean, he's been telling us for a while about peeing, but would just refuse any potty, of any size or location.  Put the potty in front of the TV with a clear container of treats in obvious sight but out of reach, and suddenly, using the potty is much more exciting.

Once the boy realized that every time he used the potty he got a treat, he demonstrated a remarkable ability to pee just a little bit, and then 10 minutes later miraculously need to go AGAIN for yet ANOTHER treat.  He's got the system beat.

We're making our treats work double hard for us, by employing Elizabeth, too.  She gets a treat when he goes, which inspires her to ask him once in a while.  Totally to our benefit.

At first, he refused the big potty, but now he's willing to give that a try.  Good thing, as we're preparing for an upcoming vacation where little potties will not be available.

Once he seems to be pretty reliable, the treats will suddenly start to run out.  He's still not pooping in the potty, but hey, small steps. I'm just glad I have a kid who's potty learning before age 3!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

World Breasfeeding Week

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This week is the kick off of National Breastfeeding Month, starting with World Breastfeeding Week!

I'm an advocate for encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children.  I think there are lots of benefits to it, for both mom and baby.  I know that breastfeeding can be a challenge, and that there are real roadblocks for mothers on their path to providing breastmilk for their child.

For several years, I've had an interest in getting involved in a breastfeeding support group, to give my support to other moms, and to find support at the times I struggle.

I first looked into La Leche League, but the closest group is 30 miles away, in a direction I rarely travel.

I then found that a hospital about 20 miles away (where I had my first child) had a weekly breastfeeding and baby weighing clinic.  I attended a few times, but the drive was a bit much (also not quite the direction I usually travel), and I was starting to feel like I was "aging out." When I found it, N was already 9 months, and I had one of the oldest babies in the group.

I thought about trying to start a breastfeeding group, but I don't really know many other moms in my area who breastfeed. I would especially like to be part of a group here in my own county, rather than going across state lines, but I don't have a good sense of what all would be needed, or how I would even find other moms.

Just this week, though, I learned that some WIC locations have peer to peer breastfeeding counselors.  As far as I know, my area does not have one, and I've been giving serious though to seeing if our WIC office would be interested in getting one for our area.  Typically, it's a paid, part-time position (they provide some training), but I would be interested in being a volunteer if they were still willing to provide the training. 

I also found out that the hospital in the town in which I do my regular weekly shopping just this week started a breastfeeding and baby weigh-in group.  I suspect it will be much like my experience with the other hospital, but I've been thinking about getting involved there.  They have an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) running that group, and I have had some serious thoughts about becoming a certified lactation consultant.  Perhaps visiting that group would be a resource to connect with someone who's been doing this for years!

I'm not currently breastfeeding any of my children (Both of my children were done at about 20 months), but I plan to with baby Cakes.  I would hope that my 3 years of nursing experience would be a resource for other moms.  I know 3 years pales in comparison to others (like my mother-in-law, who had to have nursed babies fro something like 20 years!) but I want to help mothers who want to pursue a breastfeeding relationship with their child to be as successful as possible.
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