Sunday, December 30, 2007

Too much junk, oh my...

...food, that is. We have too much good chocolate at our house, and I haven't been doing a very good job at not eating it. I keep thinking I'm going to do better, but I'm very afraid I'm not going to start doing better until it's all gone. And here I was doing so well with eating and weight gain this pregnancy. Boohoo. Speaking of pregnancy, I can definitely tell I've entered the last trimester. I'm feeling all kinds of aches, and it's getting harder for me to move around. Maybe I'm just getting old, I don't know. I don't remember getting uncomfortable quite this early with my other pregnancies. I'm also feeling more Braxton Hicks contractions, and it's just kind of annoying to try and do things when your belly feels all tight. Oh, did I mention feet in my ribs? I do actually love feeling the little babe moving around. Sometimes, I find myself getting impatient, and then I try to remind myself that this is likely our last baby, and I should enjoy this pregnancy instead of wishing it to be over with. I am really looking forward to birthing this baby, and breastfeeding, and changing teeny diapers, and the newborn "baby moon". Which lasts until about 3 weeks, and then the exhaustion is going to settle in. :p I'm looking at 2008 so quickly approaching, and I can't help but feel overwhelmed with all the change that is going to happen. A new baby, a new job for Dave, a move to who-knows-where. New everything. It's exciting, yet at the same time scary. I find that the older I get, the less adventurous I feel. I'd like to just go settle down somewhere. Ten years ago, moving across the ocean, to a new continent, sounded all exciting and fun. Let's just say I'm glad I did it back then, cause I never would now (unless for some reason I absolutely had to). Sometimes I think about what I've done, and I can't help but feel there was some degree of insanity involved. :p Then again, I look at all the things I've learned in the last 10 years, all the experiences that have helped me mature (right?), and my beautiful little family, and I can't help but think it's all been worth it. As much as I get homesick sometimes, and wish I could be back "home", I'm also coming to realize that I am, indeed, growing up. I'm turning into one of those people who have to be responsible. I'm the one creating memories now, for my own children. And location really doesn't matter. What matters is our little family, the love we have for each other. And the friends we've made. Friends who have enriched our lives, and helped us grow. Thanks to all of you who have, at various times in our lives, made a difference. Thanks to all of you who can accept me with all my little quirks, and still love me. I love you, too. :o)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

How did it sneak up so quickly? This past week sure has been busy for us. My parents arrived on Wednesday, just in time. We got hit with the first big snow this season on Thursday. It started snowing a little around 4, right when we took the kids to gymnastics. By the time they were done, a little over an hour later, there was lots of snow on the ground. Driving home was a bit of an adventure. Friday was spent shopping, and I had my voice recital. The weekend just kind of flew by. We got more snow today, and the kids had a blast playing outside for several hours, building snowmen and a little snow fort. We got about 5 more inches of snow today, and I'm glad we won't have to do any driving these coming days. The kids are just going to bed now, and as soon as they're out we're going to get busy putting out all the Christmas presents. I think I'm almost more excited than they are. We somehow ended up with quite a lot of stuff, but I think they are going to really enjoy it. :o)

Well, I hope all my friends out there in blogging land and beyond are enjoying this time of year. Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

26 weeks

Tomorrow. My midwife came over for another prenatal visit today. It's so nice to have such personalized care. The baby seems to be doing great, which is always nice to hear. Growing just like she should, good heartrate, and I know she's been moving around lots. She's actually getting so big now that we're able to distinguish body parts from the outside. Poor kid keeps getting poked and prodded, hehe. We also got all the paperwork done today. My next appointment is in 3 weeks, and then we're already moving on to every other week. This pregnancy is going by so fast! It still seems like yesterday that I got that positive test, and now I just have 14 weeks left. I should say the kids enjoyed the visit today, as well. They were very fascinated by hearing the heartbeat, and thought it was cool that they could feel the baby through my tummy (the midwife showed them how). The boys are definitely excited to be getting a new little sister. I don't know how much Kaylee understands what's happening, but she seems to be realizing that something is going on. Of course, she also thinks SHE has a baby in her tummy, sooo.... :p

Double digits

Notice my little ticker at the side? We're officially in double digits! That means time is going to go by even faster now (well, not really, obviously, but it sure feels like it). I guess that also explains why I'm beginning to have a hard time putting on my socks in the morning (did I already mention that?).

Multi-level marketing

Warning, random post, thoughts may not be organized. :p Okay, so I have to say I've never been exposed to as much multi-level marketing as I have living here. It's party city! No kidding... Now, I know some people have very strong feelings about, you know, those types of companies. And I have to say that, after learning more about all different types of ventures I could pursue, some are better (or worse) than others. Of course, having been invited to many parties myself, I have "fallen victim" to some of these companies. And I have to say that, overall, I've been very pleased. Yes, imagine that. There are a few exceptions, of course, where I feel products are just way overpriced without the benefits of the superior quality they claim, but there are others I have absolutely loved. Like the scrapbooking stuff my friend Karatemommy sells. It's awesome! Or the books I sell myself. :p My latest favorite? Melaleuca. Seriously. I love their stuff! I had wanted to try it out for a long time (read about it online), and then we had someone move into the neighborhood who sells it. Before you knew it, she was over at my house telling me all about how great their products are. I decided to try it, and boy, am I glad I did. Their cleaning products are awesome, to say the least. My bathtub has never been as clean as it is now. Really. And trust me, we had tried products ranging from right out toxic to completely natural home remedies, nothing ever really worked. So I decided to give the Melaleuca tub&tile cleaner a shot. Wow, is all I can say. CLEAN tub without any toxic smells or anything. I mean, I'm pregnant and all, so I'm very careful about what I use, especially in not-so-well-ventilated bathrooms. Want some pictures? Why not, I'm sure you all have always wanted to see my bathtub. Let's just say the hard water stains were bad bad bad, now they're gone. :o)

before (okay, so really it was in the middle of cleaning, when I realized just how clean this tub was going to get and thought I should document it)


after


Impressive, huh? Anyway, I suppose I should say I understand the reservations some people have about multi-level marketing, but sometimes what you get isn't so bad. :p

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday again...

What a busy week we had! I got pretty much all of my Christmas shopping done (online, hehe), and should be getting three boxes from UPS this week (one today, one Wednesday, and the last one Friday). Exciting! It's been so fun shopping for the kids, and I think they're really going to love their gifts. Can't wait for Christmas! :p Now I just need to find something for Dave, no clue what to look for. Speaking of Dave, he celebrated his birthday on Friday. Really, having a birthday in December is no fun for everyone involved (so I've decided). Not only did I have to come up with something for his birthday, but then it's Christmas less than 2 weeks later... Help! I'll try to get on later to post some pictures from the birthday "party". :o)

Monday, December 10, 2007

I wonder as I wander

Almost done...

...with all the singing. We had one more performance today for the local Parkinson's group. It was really nice, but I'm so DONE singing, haha. I've got a solo at church on Sunday (Silent Night in German), and then the church Christmas cantata on the 23rd, and then I'll be done. Oh, and a recital for voice lessons. Is there such a thing as too much singing? Haha.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Random Things

Usborne Books is having an awesome Holiday Sale this weekend (today through Monday). Orders of $60 or more get a FREE gift ($9.99 value).

Our women's chorus had their concert last night. I had a solo. I listened to it today, and realized my lung capacity and abdominal support aren't the greatest anymore, haha. Still debating whether to make the song public. :p

I've been having such a busy morning, it's almost 1 p.m. and I'm still sitting here in my pj's. But, I exercised, started dinner (in the crockpot), did laundry, cleaned up the kitchen (sort of), and talked to my mom. So there... :p

Better go take a shower now...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion :p

For all of you who know where I live, come by my house Wednesday evening between 7-9 p.m. I'm holding an Usborne Books Open House. All orders placed that evening are going to get free shipping! :o)

If you don't live here or can't come, you can shop online. No free shipping on that one, but all web orders placed by Dec. 8th are going to be entered in a drawing for a $15 gift certificate. :o)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Time for another picture of the bump...

Just for fun. :p

As a side note, I'm ready to hurt my kids. Okay, not that I would do that, but they've been driving me crazy today! Constant fighting, teasing, and screaming. It's not even a full moon... :p Remind me again why I'm having another one???


Oh, and it's the last day of NaBloPoMo. I actually managed to write a post every single day. Yay for me! :o)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Does life ever slow down?

Or does it just keep getting more and more crazy the older you get? I keep waiting for a "break", or to be less busy, or whatever, and it's just not happening. Someone should have warned me about this. I may not have signed up for it. :p I'm beginning to get worried about this whole "moving on with life" thing. May is right around the corner, and we're going to move one way or another. And move into a bigger place (hopefully, we better!). What has me worried is the fact that I can't even keep my apartment picked up and clean. How am I ever going to do that with a house? Hire a maid? What would that teach my kids? Yeah, I worry about things like that. I'd love to have a maid, but would that set kind of a bad example? Would my kids turn into spoiled brats? Maybe instead of a getting a maid I should do a better job at training my kids. They've got to be good for something, right? I mean, there's a reason for having four kids in the first place, isn't there? What, it's not to get some help cleaning the house? Really, why didn't someone tell me? Ah, I'm looking forward to life next year. It's going to be an adventure in many ways. :o)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh Christmas tree...

Dave got all of our Christmas stuff out of storage today. We started setting up this evening, but it looks like I'm going to have a busy day tomorrow getting everything done. I do love having all the decorations out, though, and this year we actually really get to enjoy them. It's going to be our first Christmas at home! :o)

And completely off topic, is it just me or does that baby on the right have a freakishly huge head? :p

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Remember that post...

...about the overscheduled parent I wrote a while back? Well, that was me today.

7:30 - get up (hey, at least I got a good night's rest), get Kaylee her breakfast, get Tyler's lunch ready, send Tyler off to school, get Bryan's breakfast
8:00 - have a short computer break
8:30 - eat breakfast
9:00 - take a shower and get ready for the day, help Kaylee and Bryan get dressed
10:00 - start cleaning the living room, vacuuming, cleaning the desk, clean the bathroom sinks and toilet
11:00 - take a short computer break, go make "green drink"
11:45 - midwife comes over for a visit, I pee on a stick, get my belly measured, and my blood pressure taken, then we chat
12:45 - midwife leaves, I give the kids a quick bite to eat and have some "green drink" myself
1:05 - time to go to voice lessons
2:20 - get back from voice lessons, help kids get on their snowsuits so they can go outside and play in the snow (did I mention we had the first real snow today, a couple of inches)
3:20 - kids come inside, I help them take off their snowsuits and get their regular clothes back on
3:30 - go to pick up Tyler and his friend from school
3:45 - drop off friend at his house, go straight to gymnastics
4:00 - Bryan has gymnastics, Tyler does his homework there, Kaylee plays, I watch
5:30 - come home from gymnastics, get everyone some dinner
6ish - Dave finally gets home, we chat for a little bit and I eat
6:30 - do voice warm-ups
6:45 - leave for choir practice
9:40 - come home from choir practice (it's not usually this long, but we have our concert next week)
9:50 - sit down to blog...
10:05 - finish blogging, go get pj's on, get a foot massage from Dave, go to bed

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Nutcracker

Karatemommy had an extra ticket for the Nutcracker this evening, so I decided to go. We sat in the second row, pretty much in the middle. It was really fun. I just was amazed at how strong those ballet dancers are. You could literally see each individual muscle. Crazy...

On a different note, I just realized that in just 4 months we are going to be a family of 6. Wow. Part of me can't wait, and part of me is hoping those 4 months won't go by quite as fast as the last 5 have... :p

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In case you didn't know...

Traveling in the car for a long time makes for a crazy "day after". The kids were wild today. Probably because they spent the majority of the day yesterday sitting in the car. Still, I got really tired of telling my kids to "stop doing this, stop doing that" today. Didn't help that it was Sunday, too, so we had church, which they had to sit still for. This afternoon was bad. Let's hope tomorrow is better...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home sweet home...

Well, we made it back home. And I'm so done traveling for a while. :p The drive actually wasn't bad at all. Kids were good, car held up great (no tire blow-ups this time around), and we had fun visiting with a couple of Dave's siblings and their families for an hour. We got in at a decent time, so my suitcase is all unpacked. Now I have a few more things to put away, and then I'm ready for bed. I don't ever seem to sleep well when we're away from home (unless I stay for an extended period of time), so I'm looking forward to a good night's rest. I just can't believe a whole week has gone by. It's crazy how time flies...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Change of plans...

...so we've decided to leave AZ tonight instead of tomorrow. We're planning on seeing Dave's brother and family on the way back home, so we figured it'd be better to leave today and get at least some of the drive out of the way. It's still going to be a long day tomorrow, but hopefully not quite as bad. I can't believe a whole week has already gone by. Time flies when you're having fun. :p

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why is it...

...that we always eat way more than we should on holidays? Well, sometimes it's an ongoing problem, but it seems to be especially true for holidays... Instead of one slice of pumpkin pie, I ate two. And two slices of chocolate cream pie. And two servings of mashed potatoes, turkey, and gravy. Sadly, there was no cranberry sauce. But there was delicious cranberry raspberry jello, of which I ate three bowls... Seriously, like my tummy isn't big enough already. And I can't even go on a diet, either. I skipped lunch today, and didn't feel so good until I ate all that food for dinner. Yeah, talk about excess. I need to get back to my healthy (or at least healthier) eating habits... :p

Another great book...

...every woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant should read (do I sound like a drug advertisement or what? :p). I started reading Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner today. While it has a somewhat anti-obstetrics undertone, it's easy to see where it comes from. Sadly, in parts of what I was reading I was seeing myself and my own experiences with obstetricians. I know there are doctors out there who do a world of good for people, but there are also plenty who act more in their own interest than that of their patients. Especially true for obstetricians. I know there are women who have had great experiences with them, but there are also many who haven't (myself included). I just finished reading the chapter on inductions, specifically the use of cytotec, and to say I'm shocked is an understatement. It's too much to go into here, really, let's just say if you ever have a doctor suggest induction, and mention cytotec, run as fast as you can... And don't forget to read this book!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some random thoughts

So much to write, so little time...

- The job search is starting to pick up. Dave's had a couple more people contact him these last few days. The place in CA where he did his internship really wants to hire him. Another place in TX asked for his resume. We need to sit down and make a list of everything that's important to us, and figure out some kind of ranking system or something...
- We got to go to Red Lobster for lunch today. Thanks to a $25 gift card I earned on mypoints. It was pretty good (though I don't quite get the lobster hype...).
- I got to finally read some more. Still haven't made it all the way through "Pushed". It's been a really interesting book to read. I just keep reading and thinking "EXACTLY!" There was one paragraph I came across today that I really loved. I'm going to have to share it sometime when I find the time.
- Spending time with Dave's family is so much fun. But it's also very exhausting (physically as well as emotionally). I guess I'm just not used to big families... :p
- It's just about 11 p.m. again. I need to get to bed. The blender's going to get started at 6:45 sharp, and I need to be well rested cause I'm not going to sleep through the noise... Yeah, you read that right, the blender. It's all for a good cause, though. Dave's mom makes this "green drink" every morning, with fruit juice, banana, some other type of fruit (whatever's around, I guess), leafy greens, and tofu (yep, tofu). Oh, and ice, so it almost gets to smoothie consistency. It's not just good for you, but tastes surprisingly good, as well (believe it or not!).
- Okay, really gotta go to bed now...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good times

My friend Chalice came over for a visit today. It was so much fun to see her and her kids. She used to watch Tyler for me when he was just a baby and I was still going to school. Such a wonderful friend to have! We got to visit and talk for a while, and it's so fun how sometimes, even if you don't see someone for a long time, when you do get together it feels like you were never apart. I may not have many friends, but I'm really grateful for the few that I do have, who accept me for who I am, and who are willing to keep meeting up with me even if that means having to listen to me ramble about birth and breastfeeding and circumcision. :p Love ya, Chalice, thanks for coming over today!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

13 hours in the car, anyone?

Whew, that was quite the trip. But we made it. The kids actually did really well. We "only" watched three movies. :p I've decided it's not so bad traveling when your kids are older. It seems like once they get past the age of 2.5, they're a lot more patient and less likely to scream bloody murder. I think this was the first car trip without any meltdowns in a long time. Okay, so I'm sure the DVD player helped, too... Anyway, now we get to relax for a week, and then we get to make that drive all over...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We're off to AZ...

...yeah, NOT looking forward to 13 hours on the road. But it should be fun once we get there. :o) And thank goodness for portable DVD players, at least the kids will be entertained... :p

Friday, November 16, 2007

And THAT'S what we call efficient...

So, I've really been needing a couple more long sleeved maternity shirts. I got a $10 gift card from Kohl's last week, which I was planning on using toward those shirts. Thing is, our week has been so crazy busy that I just haven't gotten around to going shopping. The card's only good through tomorrow, so after we got back from a dinner party this evening, I decided to make a run to Kohl's. I was there and back home in less than an hour. End result: three shirts and a skirt. Yay for quick shopping. I did forget to look for socks, though... :p

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Being "Green", Part 2

Here are 10 more things you can do to make this world a better (cleaner, healthier) place.

1. Save water - turn off the water while brushing your teeth, cut down the time you spend in the shower. If you have a fairly new dishwasher, stop pre-washing your dishes in the sink. Dishwashers these days do an amazing job getting your dishes clean, there's really no need to pre-wash. :o)
2. Turn your thermostat up in the summer (if you have central a/c), and down in the winter (for heat). Adjusting even just a degree or two makes a big difference in resources used.
3. Consolidate trips. Instead of running to the store three times a week for small things, plan one big trip. Carpool as much as possible. If your city has a good public transportation system, try using it!
4. Keep your car well maintained. Check your tire pressure once a month. Correct tire pressure not only saves gas, but keeps you safe, as well. If you have an oil leak, get it fixed!
5. If you're in the market for a new car, remember that bigger isn't always better. Carefully look at gas mileage, as well as reliability.
6. Walk or ride your bike whenever possible. It's not only good for the environment, but good for your health, too.
7. Get a clothesline. Line drying is pretty easy to do, and can save you a lot of money.
8. If you're pregnant, plan on breastfeeding. It's not only healthy, but also good for the environment. A lot of resources are used to produce infant formula. Here's a good article, scroll about half-way down to read about the impact formula feeding has on the environment.
9. Don't litter (duh...).
10. Remember that sometimes, less is more. :o)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Moving up, moving down...

Moving all around. :p Since the boys started gymnastics at the end of August, it seems they've been doing quite a bit of moving around between classes. Tyler started in the 5-10 year old beginner's class, then got offered to move up to level 4 the end of October. Bryan has been in the preschool 4 class, and just today his teacher approached me and told me she thought he's more than ready to move up to the 5-10 year old beginner's class (even though he's only 4.5). At the same time, Tyler's been having a rough time with level 4, and decided he didn't want to do gymnastics at all anymore. Is your head spinning yet? Mine was today... :p We all talked about all of our options this afternoon, and now we're looking at Bryan going to the 5-10 year old beginner's class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Tyler going back into his "old" 5-10 year old class on Thursdays. So Tyler and Bryan are actually going to be in the same class on Thursdays. That should be interesting. We'll see how it works out for them.

The other "moving around" we're doing is thinking about where to go after graduation in May. Things keep popping up here and there for Dave to apply to, and I'm getting dizzy thinking about all the different places we could end up going. And the daunting task of trying to find good neighborhoods, schools, comparing cost of living, etc. etc. etc. There is one possible option that would allow us to stay right where we are (though we'd definitely move out of the apartment and into a house!). Part of me is really hoping that option is going to work out, since I feel so comfortable here. I know the town, everything is close by, it's a good place to raise a family. Of course, we won't know until at least January if this option is going to work out, and so we're trying to decide what to do in the meantime. Keep applying other places? Wait until January and then apply as needed? I don't know. All I know is this is all getting a bit more complicated than I was hoping it would get... I guess moving on from one part of life to the next is never just easy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Can't.Stop.Eating.Chocolate.

I'm so bad. Both my mom and grandma send us packages from time to time, and of course there's always chocolate in there. I generally manage to eat up my own "allowance" within a couple of days. But do I stop there? Nooooo.... I go crazy on the kids' stuff. Am I a horrible mom, or what? Or maybe I'm a good mom? At least I'm saving them from getting cavities??? Ha, how's that for justification! Now someone please come out and tell me I'm not the only parent eating their kids' candy...

Monday, November 12, 2007

I need a catchy title...

For today's post. And I can't think of one. :p We had a busy day today. Took Bryan to gymnastics, went shopping, made enchiladas for dinner (they're so good, but take forever to get ready...), and then we went to the university basketball game. I think I'm tired... Oh, I did get a 30 minute nap today. I'm thinking I'm glad I did, otherwise I'm sure I'd be dead by now. Well, braindead at least. :p Speaking of, I have this theory that kids kill your brain. I mean, seriously. My memory isn't half what it used to be, I have to write everything down these days. And I still forget half of what I'm supposed to do. I've become an expert at doing laundry and getting even the toughest stains out (without harsh chemicals, mind you :p), but I have to think hard when I help Tyler with his 2nd grade math homework. What's wrong with me??? It's a good thing at least I can still read, something to keep me connected to real life. :p

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birth in a culture of fear

Okay, so I'm pregnant, and birth is something that's been on my mind lately. Like you couldn't tell. :p

I had an interesting experience Saturday. Not unusual, just an experience that brought back the "oh yeah, I forgot." In the past few years, I've been reading and researching a lot about childbirth. I've gone from being afraid to being amazed and in awe of the whole process. I've surrounded myself with lots of positive stories, and have been able to associate with women who view birth as a normal physiological process that can be a very positive experience. I have personally gone from experiencing birth as scary to experiencing it as amazing and empowering. I guess being around so many "crunchy hippies" has made me forget that I'm part of a very small minority. Yesterday morning, we had a church activity where all the women got together, worked on some craft projects, ate some good soup (and pumpkin squares!), and did a lot of talking. Naturally, the topic of pregnancy and birth came up. And I was struck by how some of these young girls who had barely gotten married, and weren't even pregnant, were so scared of birth they were already planning on getting an epidural to hopefully experience as little of the natural process as possible. There was an overwhelming fear of pain. I mean, I understand some people saying 'why go through the pain if you don't have to', but these girls were just plain freaked out. Then there was a young woman, pregnant with her first child, who said she'd like to try and 'go natural' (i.e. not have pain meds). Immediately, she started getting horror stories from all sides. Including from women who hadn't even given birth themselves! She asked them to stop, and I spoke up and asked them to stop, too. It made me wonder just what it is that makes us so afraid. The perceived pain, I'm sure, is part of it, but there has to be more. In the olden days, I think a lot of fear associated with childbirth came simply from the fear of death. Both infant and maternal mortality rates were high. While there is still some risk involved with birth, these days I don't think death in childbirth is a big fear factor. So what exactly is it that causes women to be afraid? Is it the 'unknown'? Is it seeing all the wires and tubes coming from women in labor that makes us shiver? Is it the stories of excruciating pain? What can be done to help women NOT be afraid? Ironically, the more afraid women are, the more tense they will be, and the more pain they will be in. The general environment in which women birth has a huge impact on the perception of pain, as well. A relaxed, low (or no) intervention atmosphere is going to be a lot more soothing to a mom in labor than the high strung, machine beeping atmosphere encountered in hospitals. Is it treating pregnancy and childbirth as a disease that adds to the fear? What would happen if we treated birth as the normal physiological process that it is, rather than a pathological one? What if all women took an adequate childbirth preparation course (I'm not talking run-of-the-mill hospital class here...)? What if we set up the birthing environment to be non-threatening, non-fear inducing? What if we actively encouraged women to move freely, to eat and drink, to keep lights low (anyone else find bright fluorescent lights irritating?)? What if we made sure women, throughout their pregnancies, are surrounded by positive images and stories about birth? Would we still have an 80% epidural rate? Or would that rate drop to 10-15%, where it is in countries where women are provided with lots of support throughout pregnancy and birth? I'm not saying get rid of epidurals, I think they need to remain a choice for women. I'm just wondering what impact shifting from a culture of fear to one of continuous support and encouragement would have. Feel free to comment, tell me what you think, and share your own stories. :o)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pumpkin Squares

I made these for the first time today, and they are SO good! Just had to post the recipe. :o)

Cake:
Beat 4 eggs, 1 cup oil, 1.5 cups sugar, and 2 cups packed pumpkin until creamy. Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. baking soda. Beat until well blended. Spread the batter in a lightly greased jelly roll pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes @ 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Frosting:
Beat together one stick butter and one 8 oz. package cream cheese, both softened. Add 2.5 cups powdered sugar and 1.5 tsp. vanilla. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Random post

So I got some good sleep last night. Felt so much better today! I was at the point yesterday evening where I almost bought tickets for Kaylee, Bryan and I to go to Germany next week. It would have been a pretty good deal, just $565 per person (yes, that is a good deal from here, believe it or not). I was tempted, to say the least... :p

Kaylee has been a booger today. Screaming over every little thing. Right now, she's screaming because, well, I'm not sure. I swear some days I just don't understand the girl.

Tyler had gymnastics today. He's made some huge improvements since starting a couple of months ago. He moved up to level 4 a couple of weeks ago, and keeps complaining that it's hard. I can see him getting better from week to week, though. So I just keep cheering him on. I told him to stick with it just for this school year, and then if he doesn't want to do it anymore, he can be done. I just don't want him to give up because it's hard.

I have a shopping problem. Not for myself, but for my kids. I'm addicted to Gymboree, seriously. It's bad. I can't seem to pass a sale (and if you know Gymboree, you know even their sales are not exactly cheap...).

I just realized I need to go bake some pumpkin squares. Bet getter to work!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm tired...

Physically, because, well, I'm pregnant. And we've been dealing with throw-up and diarrhea for over a week now at our house (interestingly mostly at night). Which means kids have been cranky, and I haven't been sleeping well. I feel emotionally drained. My uncle passed away, and 5000 miles from "home" seems further away than ever. What I really need is a friend and a good cry, but nobody's around...

So, I'm going to do the next best thing. I'm going to eat a grapefruit, hope that my husband will be home soon to give me a foot massage, then I'm going to listen to my pregnancy affirmations hypnosis script and relax. Hopefully, it's going to be a good night, and I can wake up refreshed and feeling like myself again...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Looking forward to the day...

...that we can be done living in this apartment. Some of the reasons why being rather practical. Like, having more than one bathroom available for a family of 5. Kaylee is officially potty trained, both day and night, so now there's five of us needing one bathroom. I always find myself hoping that we don't all come down with the stomach flu at the same time. :p Yeah, so I'm looking forward to having more than one bathroom, hopefully sometime in the near future... Well, and it would be nice to have our own yard, and to not have to worry about being too loud for the downstairs neighbors, and to not have the whole neighborhood know every little detail about your life, and and and... I think the one thing I'm going to miss is having some close friends really close by. And having lots of kids around for my kids to play with. That part, I'm going to really miss. Being able to sit outside in my lawn chair, reading a good book, and watching the kids play with their friends. I know the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. While I'm really looking forward to getting to that other side, I know I'm also going to miss this one.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Being "Green"

10 easy things you can do to be more "green" (in no particular order). :o)

1. Recycle - it may seem like a chore at first, but once you get used to it, it's really easy to do.
2. Donate - instead of throwing things out, consider taking them to a thrift store/goodwill type place, especially if they're still in good condition.
3. Turn off the lights - get in the habit of turning off the lights if you leave a room for an extended period of time.
4. Get compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
5. When buying a new appliance, get an energy star one if at all possible.
6. Keep in mind that standby/sleep mode still uses a significant amount of energy. Get an extension cord you can switch off, or pull the plug.
7. Recycle your old batteries! You can collect them in a little container, then take them to a place like Staples every so often. Whenever possible, use rechargeable batteries.
8. Use "green" cleaning supplies. They generally work just as well. Use laundry detergent that's not petroleum based, such as biokleen or 7th generation.
9. Ditch the plastic bags, even the paper ones. Get some reusable totes for grocery shopping.
10. Buy local! The longer/further your food travels, the greater the impact it has on the environment - and the less its nutritional value (especially true for produce).

Feel free to add your own ideas to the list. :o)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pushed

The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care. Just got this book today. I've only made it to page 35, and I can tell it's going to be an interesting read. So far, Jennifer Block has been talking a lot about the history of medically managed childbirth. I knew some of the things she's writing about, but I'm amazed at just how much I didn't know. The best part? She has gazillions of references. Everything is backed up by research. One example, electronic fetal monitoring. I knew that there's ample research that shows that continuous electronic fetal monitoring during labor does not change fetal outcome, but has, in fact, been shown to double or even triple the woman's risk of ending up with a c-section. What I didn't know was that this research first started showing up 30 years ago! Just a few short years after the monitors were introduced to labor and delivery units in hospitals. 30 YEARS! Yet it is part of the "standard of care", and women often have to put up a fight if they don't want to be monitored continually. Another example is the liberal use of pitocin. One thing I didn't know is that pitocin use during labor can actually increase a woman's risk for post-partum hemorrhage, in turn requiring another injection after birth. As far as I can tell, after 35 short pages, this book should become required reading for women who are pregnant, or are considering becoming pregnant. So many times, we talk about "choice" in childbirth. There is lots of debate about whether women should be able to choose induction for non-medical reasons, or even elect to have a c-section. There is a general consensus that women should be free to choose pain medication during labor, including the epidural. But when it comes to choosing FEWER interventions, women often fight an uphill battle (I experienced this myself when giving birth to my daughter 2.5 years ago). Furthermore, choice should be based on informed consent. All too often, "informed" means "my doctor said it's safe". Few women are truly informed about risks vs. benefits of medical procedures routinely used in hospitals. By being strapped to their beds, hooked up to IV's and monitors, their water artificially broken, labor becomes a daunting task for women. No wonder we so often hear "I loved my epidural", "the epidural saved my life", "I wouldn't ever want to give birth without an epidural". Giving birth without pain medication is not a heroic act, neither are women who birth without pain meds martyrs. They're not stronger than other women, and they don't have higher pain threshholds. What makes a natural (pain-med free) birth successful is the support a woman receives. It's the preparation she puts into getting ready for birth. It's the environment she births in. When women are allowed to move freely, and are not subjected to routine procedures like amniotomy or supplemental pitocin, labor becomes much more manageable. I didn't get suddenly stronger between birthing my first child and birthing my third. My pain threshhold didn't change. Yet the births were like night and day. With my first, I was strapped to bed, my water was broken, and I was in excruciating pain (ending with me getting an epidural). With my third, I was free to move around as I wished. I had learned some deep relaxation techniques to help me breathe through contractions. I had a supportive midwife who spent the last three hours of my labor right by my side. My water wasn't broken until the end of my labor, and only after I had given my consent. Not once was I in excruciating pain. It was an intense experience, but not painful. It was empowering. It was exhilarating. It was wonderful to feel my "natural chemistry" do the work. I had been able to overcome my fear of childbirth, and welcomed it instead. Both experiences I will never forget. Both births ended with a healthy baby, but this mom felt much more healthy after birth #3 (both physically and emotionally).

Now, I need to get back to reading. There's lots to learn. :o)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's a sad day

My mom just called me, and told me my uncle (her brother) passed away this morning. He was 58. Had a massive heart attack. He had his first heart attack 17 years ago, at which point the doctors gave him about 5 more years to live. He did have another one in the mid-90's, but made it through. I guess the third one was too much. At least he got to see his two little grandsons before he died (the twins who were born 3 weeks ago (to the day)). My grandpa (his dad) had had heart problems, as well, and passed away from a heart attack when he was only 70. We thought that was too young. Heart disease is a scary thing. I told my mom she better make sure she gets regular check-ups...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mr. Monk in Outer Space

Came in the mail today. I'm almost done reading it. Has some really funny moments. Can't wait to finish! :p

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ah, that felt good!

I "purged" the closets this week. Well, not exactly closets, but boxes full of baby clothes. First, I went through all the girl stuff. Even though we're having another girl, I decided I had way too many clothes (thanks to my Gymboree addiction...). And I do want to get at least some new outfits for this new baby. :p This evening, I went through all the boy stuff. I had three huge bags full of clothes, sizes newborn to 3T. Since I'm pretty sure we're done having kids after this one, I decided to get rid of everything. I only kept a few little outfits, for sentimental value. Or so I can get rid of them in another 5 years... :p I took the one big bag full of girl clothes to a friend who just had her first baby a week ago, and told her to look through everything, take what she wants, and pass on the rest. The three boy bags went to another friend. As a result, there's lots of empty space under my bed now. And I didn't need to go buy another plastic box for the clothes Kaylee has recently outgrown. Now I want to go through my own closet... :p

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo

Today is the official start of National Blog Posting Month. Cool, huh? I shall do my best to contribute one post a day, I think it's going to be fun. I have several ideas for things to post about. So stay tuned for lots of random ramblings and deep thoughts this month (and the occasional soap box). :p

On a sad note, both Kaylee and Bryan had to miss trick or treating yesterday. They're still not 100% better today. Hopefully by tomorrow they're going to be back to normal. While some days I wish they didn't have so much energy, it's sad to see them on days when they actually don't. I mean, really, who wants to see their 2 year old sleeping on the couch all day? It may make for a nice break, but in the end, it's just sad. :o(

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Verdict's in!

First off, a picture. We got some 3D ones, but they didn't turn out very well, so you get the usual black and white. It's a profile shot.



Next, how did you all know? Well, most of you? Because it's a GIRL! :o) Look for a name poll in the coming months. :p

Most important of all, everything looks great! The baby looks healthy, just the size she should be. The placenta has moved up, so no more worries about that! And the tech couldn't find the fibroid, either. Which means either it's disappeared, or if it's still there, it's not big enough to have any effect on the pregnancy or baby. Woohoo! :o)

It's Halloween

And we're probably not going to go trick-or-treating. Kaylee started throwing up last night, and is still having a hard time keeping down even just liquids. Bryan's complaining that he isn't feeling well, and I won't be surprised if he starts throwing up soon. This bug has been going around our apartment complex for over a week now, and of course my kids have to get it on Halloween... Our ultrasound is scheduled in 2 hours, and Dave probably won't be able to come now, since we can't exactly bring sick kids, nor can we leave them at a friend's house. I'm just sad for them, really, because they were so excited about wearing their costumes and going out this evening. Bummer. :o(

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lots of readers, few votes :p

I do encourage all of you to think about your feelings about the way birth is approached in the US, and cast your vote. If you don't see an option that fits your thoughts and feelings, or if you otherwise want to comment, feel free to do so on this post. :o)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Big Day!

Yesterday was a big day for Tyler. He finally lost his first tooth. He'd been working on that one for a loooong time (check out this post, note the date). In fact, the permanent tooth is already there, it came in behind. The best thing about this? He pulled the tooth himself! :p


Friday, October 26, 2007

18 weeks

And a couple of days. Getting close to half-way through! Had an appointment today. Baby's heartrate is in the 140's, nice and strong. I always love hearing that. :o)

Here's a belly pic, thought it was about time to post a picture of the bump. :p

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One week

That's how long it's been since we started our adventures in potty learning. And Kaylee is doing awesome! Yesterday, she started just going on her own whenever she needed to! We still have to make sure we keep the potty nearby, because you get about 30 seconds from the time she announces she needs to go until she goes. But she's actually recognizing the need to go, so that's great. She even got up one more time after going to bed last night so she could go potty, and she even had a diaper on. This morning, she woke up dry, and wanted her diaper off so she could go potty. Yay! :o)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

41

According to TIME magazine, that's the U.S. rank, out of 171 countries, of women who die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth. The U.S. death rate is 1 in 4800 women, compared to the average of 1 in 16400 in Europe. That's a huge difference. For a country that boasts itself on its medical advances, new and groundbreaking technologies, etc., that's quite shocking. With a c-section rate exceeding 30%, you'd think we should fare better, right? Or maybe, just maybe, are we overly managing pregnancy and birth? Could some of these deaths be prevented if women were cared for according to a midwifery model of care, rather than medical? Could the World Health Organization be on the right track if they say that if a country's c-section rate exceeds 15%, the risks of c-section begin to outweigh its benefits? Of course, the USA is also one of the leading countries for assisted reproductive technology. More and more women get pregnant who wouldn't normally have been able to, at increasingly advanced ages. Maybe that plays some part in why the maternal death rate is higher. There is a higher incidence of multiples (especially triplets and more), which bears more inherent risks. And the older the mother, the more risky pregnancy becomes, especially for first-time mothers. Whenever I see statistics like this one, I wonder what exactly it is that makes me so much more likely to die in childbirth here in the US than if I were to give birth in Europe. It does make me question the way pregnancy and labor are so activley/medically managed here. Technology has its place, no doubt about it, but is it possible to over-use this technology? Could routine use of IV's, pitocin, other drugs to induce and manage labor, epidurals, c-sections, etc. actually have a negative impact on maternal outcome? Or do women just die more easily here than they do in Europe? Is it coincidence that, generally, pregnant women in Europe receive care from midwives, and OB's are "reserved" for high-risk pregnancies and births? The majority of births in Europe are attended by midwives, be it at the hospital, birth center, or at home. If medical equals better, shouldn't the US rank number 1? Or, as far as normal birth is concerned, maybe medical doesn't equal better? There is no doubt that techonlogy has the power to save lives, but how much does it contribute to the loss of lives? And how much does the big dollar influence what's happening to maternity care in this country? I really want to see this movie. As well as this one, if it's ever released. Yes, we still do a lot better than other countries in this world. Yes, things do sometimes go wrong. But we can do a lot better. The birthing environment can be a lot better, and a lot safer, for women than it currently is.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Progress report

Do I dare hope? Kaylee has actually been doing really well with potty learning! We've only had a handful of wet undies, and all poopies except one have gone in the potty (and the one was pretty much right after she got up Sunday morning, and she went in her diaper). We thought we'd give her a break Sunday, it being church day and all. When we got home from church, her diaper was still dry. She started whining, we asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty, and she proceeded to take off her tights. We hurried and undid her diaper, and she went and put a big "waterboat" in her potty (that's what she calls her pee, no idea where it came from...). Later that afternoon, I was off at choir, and she did pee in her undies while I was gone. But Dave said she actually tried to make it to the potty, just didn't get there quite in time. This morning, I took off her diaper and put her on the potty, and she went pee right away. I think we're on the right track here! And we haven't even had to use any bribes or anything, except letting her have some gum so she would agree to sit on the potty the first day. Well, and letting her watch movies pretty much all day Friday, while she sat on her potty waiting for something to happen. :p I'm not sure how things are going to go this week, since we're going to have a really busy schedule (yes, I think I'm going to be one of those over-scheduled parents this week that I talked about in a previous post...). I hope we'll be home often enough to continue at least a portion of each day. It has sure been nice not having to change diapers over the weekend! :o)

ETA: Just had to give another little update. I was in the bathroom getting ready this morning when Kaylee called me. I ran to the living room, and she had gone poop in her potty all by herself, unprompted! Oh, and totally unrelated, but Bryan just came up to me and asked "mom, does 3+2 make 5?" Yes! What a smart little kid. :o)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Potty learning

So I've decided that I'm tired of changing diapers. I'm ready for a break, even if it's only going to be for a few months. Since these next few days are going to be cold and rainy, and we're going to just stay inside, I've decided to give it a try and put Kaylee in underwear. So far today, she's peed in two pairs. No, we haven't caught a pee in the potty yet. But the first couple of days are always the hardest, right? I'm hoping she'll catch on. Wish us luck. :o)

The Baby poll

Was broken. So I deleted it and put up a new one. If you've already voted, please vote again! :o)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another plug...

...because I forgot in the previous post. :p

My friend Heather at Designs by Derby offers cute custom made scrapbooks, layouts, cards, frameables, and more. The perfect gift for grandma! Like to do the scrapbooking yourself? Karatemommy is a consultant for Close To My Heart scrapbooking supplies. They have cute paper packs and stamps, and accessories and scrapbooking tools that make preserving your favorite pictures a breeze! :o)

There, I'm done now. :p

Just a little plug

For my Usborne website. These books are truly wonderful, and would make great Christmas gifts (or birthday, or just for fun). :o) Go check them out! There are some really great Internet Specials up right now, some as much as 50% off. Worth taking a look! I'm also running a special right now where all internet orders placed by November 30th are going to be entered in a drawing for a $20 gift certificate. :o)

I also added links to a couple of my friends' websites on the sidebar. Brenda at Morgan Minerals has a nice selection of mineral make-up, and Jeannie at Fabulous Flipz has a wonderful talent for making cute bows and flip flops. Go take a look! :o)

Plug over. :p

Monday, October 15, 2007

Twins!

No, not me. :p My cousin's twins were born Sunday evening! Patrick weighed in at 7lbs. 8 oz., 21" and Mathias arrived at 6lbs. 15oz., 20". Both mom and babies are doing well (as far as I've heard). I always feel like new life brings new hope, so I thought I'd share. :o) Oh, and yes, they are both absolutely adorable. :o)
Patrick
Mathias

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And here's something that I really don't like...

Imagine you're in the shower. The steam from the warm water slowly heats up the room, so once you're done and step out, your body won't go into a total temperature shock. Just as you're about done, one of your kids opens the door and yells "mom, so and so is bugging me!" ARGH, close the door!!! Out goes the steam, in comes the cold air. You step out of the shower, and brrrrr.... Why did I not lock the door????? I know some people like to actually finish their shower with some cold water. I used to do that, quite refreshing. Well, I don't like it anymore... :p

The over-scheduled parent

First, I'm going to preface this by saying this post is about nobody in particular. It comes from observations I've made over the past few months. Some of you may find yourselves in this post. I think I sometimes find MYSELF in this post. Feel free to comment or not, don't feel the need to justify what you do or don't do. It's just a post about how I feel about over-scheduling. :p

So, we always hear about the over-scheduled child. I do believe this happens in our culture, a lot. Maybe it stems from the need parents feel to give their children a maximum of opportunities to choose from, maybe parents don't want to feel like they're cutting their children short. Maybe part of it is the "keeping up with the Jones'" syndrome. Maybe parents feel like denying their children the opportunity to participate in certain things is going to somehow negatively affect their development. I'm sure there are many reasons why children so often end up over-scheduled. But that's not the point of this post. This post is about something I haven't seen addressed a whole lot. The over-scheduled parent. It may work out wonderfully to give your child everything they want to have/do, if you have an only child. However, the more children you add to the mix, the crazier life tends to get. Sometimes, life is crazy for reasons we can do nothing about. But what about the things we CAN influence? Activities that are voluntary? Do younger kids always need to have/do the same things the older kids did at their age? Do we really need to provide the opportunity for our children to participate in three after-school clubs, sports, private music lessons, etc.? How do these things affect our quality of life? What happens to younger kids when they are constantly dragged around to older children's activities? When they spend half their life in the carseat (or so it seems)? Wouldn't it be wise to drop some of those activities? Prioritize? Maybe choose a sport OR after school club OR music lessons, instead of trying to do all three? Sure, our children may be exposed to fewer things, but isn't family time what's most important? Not to mention the sanity of the parents? What if we add activities parents are involved in to those of the children? Everyone deserves to have a hobby, right? I'm soon going to have my 4th child. I realize that my life is going to get more crazy as my kids get older. Even if each of them ends up being involved in only one activity, that's still going to be a lot of driving around I'll be doing. I guess that just comes along with having a larger-than-average family. But I do have a goal to choose wisely what is and isn't important for my kids, and myself. I have a goal to put my family first. I realize circumstances may arise that are beyond my control, and if that happens, I'm sure I'll be able to deal with it. But whatever control I have is going to direct my efforts to keeping my family together for meals and activities. I don't believe it's fair to cut time we spend with our younger children just so we can provide our older children with a whole array of recreational activities. It's surely sad when someone can say their baby does so well in the carseat because that's all s/he is used to...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New camera!

Well, I finally got a new digital camera, it arrived yesterday. I can finally take pictures again! Of course, I'm sure I'm going to find my old one within the next week... Oh, but I love love love this new one! Here's a picture of Kaylee. :o)

ETA: Had to make that two pictures of Kaylee. Notice she's wearing two different outfits. Yes, we do still change our clothes a couple times a day...



Friday, October 05, 2007

Baby kicks!

So I think I've been feeling little flutters for about a week now, but today I felt some definite kicks! I'm so excited, this is my favorite part about being pregnant. :o) Just wanted to share!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You can never be too careful

Or can you?

Saw this in the one step ahead catalog I got in the mail the other day. Not so sure what to think about it...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thanks for all your input...

...on the breastfeeding poll. This website expresses quite well how I feel about breastfeeding in public. I personally believe that sometimes, covering up with blankets, or better yet one of these contraptions, actually draws more attention to what I'm doing than if I were to just pull up my shirt a little, feed the baby, and be done. :p Of course, if it makes a woman more comfortable, and more likely to breastfeed, then she should, by all means, cover up. But I don't think I should have to, just so everyone else can feel more comfortable. :o) (yes, yes, I know, we've all seen the woman who just "whips it out" without worrying at all about exposing herself, but the majority of women really are quite discreet, even without a cover)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Assumptions

Are a terrible thing. Something happened to me at church today that really brought that point home. Anytime you assume something about someone, nothing good comes of it. A lady at church today openly accused me and told me to stop doing something (well, more like saying something). She had overheard bits and pieces of conversations I was having with other people, and assumed I was talking badly about something. Well, I was not. In fact, I was doing the opposite. I was talking about a very positive change that had happened, and how happy I was about it. I openly told her so. That was about all I could do before having to leave the room and bursting out in tears. She could have come to me privately and asked me if anything was the matter. Instead, she publicly told me "stop bashing such and such". Talk about humiliating. The situation could have been handeled so differently. Obviously, there was a misunderstanding. A few words, spoken between just me and her, would have clarified the situation and no feelings would have been hurt (on either side). Instead, I left feeling humiliated, embarrassed, and wondering what on earth just happened. She did come and apologized later on. I suppose I should forgive her (and I pretty much have), but it hurt nonetheless. So please, don't assume things about people. If you're confused, go talk to them privately, in a non-accusatory way. Don't go gossipping, and don't go being all offensive about something. Most of the time, it's a simple misunderstanding that can be cleared up in no time, with no hurt feelings...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Please indulge my curiosity...

...and vote in the poll! :o) Multiple answers are okay. Oh, and feel free to comment if you have something to say.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tomatoes!

Someone from church dropped off a huge box of tomatoes the other day. After giving some away, I still had a whole bunch left. He also dropped off some jalapenos and chili peppers. So I decided to make salsa. I ended up with 45 cups! Put some in the freezer, gave some away, and have some in the fridge. Think we're set with salsa for a while. :p I even made some homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner last night. And I STILL have some tomatoes on my counter. Will be using those for salad. Yum. I told Dave I was positively done cooking for the week, though. You can only spend so much time in the kitchen before you just can't stand it anymore (and also can't stand anymore). Once I sat down on the couch after dinner to relax, I started feeling really tired and exhausted. I've decided becoming a chef is not something I could ever do. :p

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who do they look like?







These results are pretty interesting. Everyone always comments on how much Kaylee looks like me. Guess she's got more of her dad in her than we all thought! The pics were all taken out of last year's family pic. I should try some other pictures and see what happens...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where oh where has the weekend gone???

Thursday night was the first football game of the season. True to our tradition, we all went. It was HOT, but it was fun. We lost, of course, but oh well. It's quality family time, hehe. I'm not sure what happened to Friday. Oh, that's right, Kaylee came down with what I believe is rotavirus. She started throwing up in the morning, and had some nasty diarrhea. There went our plans to go out on a date night. Kaylee continued to be sick on Saturday, so Dave and I took turns sitting in the house taking care of her while the other one got some stuff done. Dave did take the boys to the bike store. He got a new tire, inner tube and seat for Bryan's bike (which is Tyler's old bike), and Tyler got a new bike. Life was good for them, at least. On Sunday, Dave took the boys to church while I stayed home with a still sick Kaylee. She had stopped throwing up at this point, but still had nasty diarrhea. Which continued into Monday (making me pretty certain it's rotavirus). We haven't had any yucky diapers so far today, fingers crossed. Labor Day was pretty uneventful for us. Well, I did get to go shopping with karatemommy. She was nice enough to help me pick out some cute clothes, so now I'm not quite so frustrated when I go to my closet in the mornings to find something to wear for the day. Dave took the boys to a radio controlled airplane show at the airport, which has become a Labor Day ritual for them. I've never been, but hey, someone has to stay home so Kaylee can take a nap. I wasn't too sad about not being able to sit in 90+ degree sunny weather. :p They had fun, though. So yeah, that's what's been going on around here. Did I mention I misplaced our digital camera? I can't find it anywhere. I'm thinking about getting a new one. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know! :o)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Picking up the pace!

Life is getting back into full swing. Tyler's been back in school for a week now, and seems to be enjoying it so far. Bryan and Tyler both started gymnastics this week. I decided against putting Bryan in preschool, I think gymnastics is more worthwhile. Looks like it was a good decision. He loves going, and has so much fun! It's cute (and sometimes hilarious) to watch him and his little friends practicing handstands and cartwheels. Oh, and jumping jacks. I need to bring my camcorder next week... :p Tyler enjoyed his first day at gymnastics, too. We'll see how they all hold up over the next couple of months.

With all this excitement, I'm going to have to figure out a way (and time) I can get out of the house for some clothes shopping. I'm quickly outgrowing my regular clothes (yes, I know, I'm only 10 weeks, but give me a break, it's baby #4!). I pulled out my box of maternity clothes, but since I started this pregnancy 10 lbs. lighter than the previous ones, none of those clothes are even close to fitting. I tried on my favorite 2nd trimester jeans from last time, and it looks like they'll be 3rd trimester jeans this time around. They more or less fell right off my hips. I know I know, I shouldn't complain, but what is a woman to do? Add another size of clothes to the collection in my closet, I suppose... Wish me luck!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Okay, okay!

Update! Sorry I've been such a blogging slacker. :p Saw the bug again today. At my last appointment, the midwife noticed that the placenta was partly on the cervix. There was also a blood clot under the placenta. And there's a fibroid. Whee! So today was the follow-up. Placenta is still on the cervix, but there's still lots of time for it to move up. The blood is still under the placenta, too. Should hopefully dissolve in the next few weeks. Fibroid hasn't grown any, so that's good news. Overall, not the greatest news, but so far not too much to worry about. I'm going on as normal for now, and will have a more detailed ultrasound to check everything out in a couple of months. Baby is growing well, just as it should, so we're good for the time being. :o)


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Excuse the lack of blogging...

Haven't been feeling so great lately. Blame the parasite. :p


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back home!

Wow, what a crazy and busy summer we've had! We finally made it back home last Monday, at around midnight. We were supposed to be in between 7 and 8 p.m., but one of our tires blew as we were driving through Las Vegas, so we got to go find a tire store and wait for them to put on the tires. All this would have been done in less than 2 hours, but they realized they only had two of the four tires at their location, so they needed to send someone to get the other two tires from another location. Duh. The tire blew just after 10 a.m., and it was 3 p.m. by the time we finally left LV. And no, we did not go see the city. For one, it was too hot, then we had 3 kids, and for a long time we thought we'd be out of there by 1 p.m. at the latest... We did go out for lunch, and it was really good. It was quite the adventure, though I have to say I'm glad it happened in LV, and not in the middle of some desert... Now we're slowly getting settled back in at home. The boys love having their bikes again, and I'm glad we can start settling back into our routine. I even found some time to read last week, and read Jane Eyre. Awesome book, well worth the read (if you're a girl, anyway, don't know how much a guy would care for it, hehe). It's also been nice having my friends back, I really missed you guys (you know who you are)! :o) Now we have three more weeks until school starts back up. Tyler is going to be in 2nd grade! I can hardly believe it. Of course, Dave is going to be gone at a conference again the week school starts, to add just a little more excitement to my life. But then what's new, it seems he always has good timing like that. :p

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sleepwalking and TV

Okay, so the two are totally unrelated, but I thought I'd share. :p

Very early this morning, I woke up on the floor in the kids' room, next to Kaylee's mattress. I had no recollection whatsoever of going in there. When Dave woke up this morning, I told him about it, and he said that Kaylee had called for him in the middle of the night, and I got up to go to her. I don't remember doing this at all. Weird.

Tyler asked to watch TV this morning, and I told him he should think of something else to do, since TV makes you dumb. He asked what that meant. I told him that when you watch TV, all you do is stare at the screen and you don't learn anything. He went on to tell me that "Mom, that's the fun part!" The things you learn from your kids...

On an exciting note, we're going home in just a few days! Yay!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Giddy

A new season of Monk starts tomorrow! And Psych, too. Meanwhile, I'm watching the last season on DVD. Can't wait! :p

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Traveling with 3 kids...

...is exhausting. But we made it! We left my parents' house Sunday, July 1st, spent the night at my brother's, flew to Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake City on Monday, spent the night at the Airport Inn, and then flew out to CA on the 3rd. The kids did amazingly well during the trip, considering we had been "on the road" (or in the air) for 54 hours by the time we got to Dave's grandma's house. Of course, we spent one night at my brother's and one at the hotel, but still... I'm just glad we made it! We have another road trip ahead of us in a couple of weeks when we go back home, but with the DVD player hooked up in the van it should be a piece of cake. :p Our trip to Germany was lots of fun, and I already miss being there. CA has been fun, too. We got to see the fireworks for July 4th, which the kids loved (well, Kaylee fell asleep during them, but the boys enjoyed it). Dave's grandma also got us guest passes to the lake here, so we've been swimming a few times. It's a fun little beach, and the water is really clear and warm enough that I usually have to be the party pooper and make the kids come out after an hour. We were also able to spend some time with my friend karatemommy and her three little ninjas while they were in town visiting family, and we all had a fun time playing. The kids sure missed their friends, so it was great to have them here for a couple of days. Yesterday, Tyler got really sick. His chest was badly congested, and the congestion wouldn't loosen up, so he had a really hard time breathing. Fortunately, with the help of some homeopathics and a blessing, his cough finally became productive and he was able to clear his airways. He's doing great today, just has a little bit of a cough left. Hopefully we can start going to the lake again tomorrow, as the kids just have really loved that. We're looking forward to a fun couple more weeks here, and then we're headed back home. :o) I should also say that Dave has really been enjoying his internship, though we are realizing more and more how much of an adjustment it would be to live here. Let's just say it's not just housing that's more expenisve... We'll have to weigh our options (which we are hopefully going to have) very carefully next year.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our trip to the zoo, and why some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids...

Went to the zoo with my mom and the kids yesterday. It was lots of fun! We took the train, which is always an adventure. Now to the reason for the title of this post. On our way back home from the zoo, there was this lady on the train with us. She had a little boy, 15 months old. Now, let me say that I understand allowing kids to explore their surroundings. But this mom was taking the concept of freedom for little kids a little too far. Her son was crawling all over the place, which was fine. On his way around the train, he also came by the door. The train stopped, someone opened the door to get out, and the little guy immediately made a run for it. I instinctively jumped up and got the little man. I thought maybe the mom just hadn't noticed him escape, and figured she'd watch him a little more closely from then on. Welll, watch him she did. Once again, the train stopped, and he headed for the door. The mom was watching him, but wasn't getting up. People had to step over the kid to get out. She called his name and told him it wasn't time to change trains yet, and asked him to come back (keep in mind the boy's just over a year old). The little escape artist didn't even think about turning around, and kept going for the door. A man who had just gotten off the train actually turned around and scooted the child back in! That's when the mom finally decided to get up and get him. I about had a heart attack. Not only had the kid all but crawled off the train, but there's actually a gap between the train and the station, about 8 inches or so, that he could have easily fallen through! Talk about neglect... She was just sitting there, watching him head out, without moving. And it wasn't like she was just some crazy lady who was stupid. She looked pretty educated to me, was probably in her mid to late 30's. I'm sure her parenting philosophy is somewhere along the lines of supporting a child's need to explore the environment, not setting too many boundaries, that kind of thing. Which I agree with, but there is a line, you know. When it comes to safety, a parent HAS TO set boundaries, even if that means physically restraining the child. Like, you know, getting up to pick up your child so he doesn't crawl off the train... Yikes!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday!

We celebrated Tyler's 7th birthday yesterday. I can't believe he's 7 years old already. It seems like yesterday that he was born. A lot has happened in those last seven years, and I can say I've sure learned a lot. We visited a family from church today. They invite us over whenever we're in Germany, they are so nice! Today, they gave me a couple of pictures from when we were over there 3 years ago. Tyler was 4 then, and he looked so little! Bryan was in the other picture, he was only 1 then. It's strange to look at them now, and Bryan is that little 4 year old. Tyler looks so grown up. It sure has been fun to be his mom and watch him learn and develop into his own little person. :o)

Friday, June 22, 2007

How about that?

I've decided to put Bryan in gymnastics starting this Fall. I think he'd really enjoy it. He's been working on doing headstands for a few months now, and I think he finally understood what I meant when I told him to put his legs up slowly. He always put them up too fast and lost his balance, but now he figured it out. Here he is, with Kaylee (naturally) trying to copy him.



He also does amazing flips from the chair to the couch at home, they look downright professional. I'll have to try to post a video once we get back home. So, now I want to sign him up for gymnastics, mostly so he can learn how to not hurt himself during these little adventures. :p

Friday, June 15, 2007

The evils of alcohol...

So, my family consists of a lot of recreational drinkers. Not Dave and I, but my whole side of the family. My dad has a beer when he gets home from work, my mom has a glass of wine in the evenings, and there's always plenty to drink at family parties. Usually, people don't drink more than they should, and it's all good. But there's also been some tragedy that comes with frequent alcohol consumption. My dad's cousin turned into an alcoholic, abandoned his young family, and died from liver cirrhosis in his early forties. My grandma's younger sister (G) is an alcoholic, too. We suspect she has been having problems for a long time. It all went out of control when she retired a few years ago. She started pushing away all of her friends and family, cussed out her husband (A) on a regular basis, locked him out of their apartment, etc. etc. etc. Not pretty. A. and my grandma have been trying to talk to G. about her problem for a long time, but she's unwilling to admit anything is wrong with her. She refuses to get help. Now she's gotten really sick. She lost control of her bodily functions yesterday, couldn't get up on her own, couldn't really move at all. And she still insisted she didn't have any problems. She was supposed to go to the dr's today, but she got so sick last night that A. had to call 911. Now G. is at the hospital. Even still, she complains that she doesn't need to be there, that she doesn't drink alcohol, that there is no problem. Her liver is severely damaged, and of course the doctors can tell by her symptoms that it's years of alcohol abuse that are responsible for the problems she's having. But she just yells at everyone and insists everything is fine. She's severely jaundiced, her legs are swollen from water retention, she's not doing well. I doubt there's anything the doctors can do at this point. Yet she's in complete denial, and mad at A. for calling the ambulance and having her taken to the hospital. It's incredibly sad. G. and A. both had good jobs, and they were in a good place financially (not terribly rich, but comfortable enough). A. just retired, too, and they could have had such a wonderful life. They could have traveled, seen the world. They are only 62. Alcohol made that impossible. It ruined her life, and with that, it all but ruined his. I hope he can move on once she's gone (which I'm sure she will be sooner than later). I hope he can get past all the heartache and enjoy the rest of his life. It's really terrible what acohol can do to people. I believe that both my dad's cousin and G. had the "addiction gene". They were prone to becoming addicted, and they did. I think Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he gave us the Word of Wisdom. Abstaining from alcohol altogether could save a lot of lives (on many levels).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Speaking of Jane Austen...

I recently wrote about how I've discovered Jane Austen and have really enjoyed reading her books (can't wait to get back to that when we get back home!). Found this on someone else's blog, haha.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!


Take the Quiz here!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This made me laugh out loud!

I get stuff forwarded in my email all the time, some are funny, some are silly, some I just click delete after reading the first line. Here's one I thought was worth posting, though. :p

Brain surgery........ this is brilliant!

In the hospital the relatives gathered in the
waiting room, where their
family member lay gravely ill.

Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.
"I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news," he said
as he surveyed the worried faces.
"The only hope left for your loved one at this time is
a brain transplant.
It's an experimental procedure, very risky but it is
the only hope.
Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have
to pay for the brain yourselves.."

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the
news. After a great
length of time, someone asked, "Well, how much does a
brain cost?"

The doctor quickly responded, "$5,000 for a male
brain, and $200 for a female brain."
The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not
to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but
some actually
smirked.

A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the
question everyone wanted to ask,
"Why is the male brain so much more?"
The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and
explained to the entire group, "It's just standard
pricing procedure. We have to mark down the price of
the female brains, because they've actually been
used."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I had a thought for another interesting post...

...but now I forgot what it was. So maybe I'll answer the tag I got from Leia a few days ago. And just so you know, I'm going to break the rules, I probably won't tag 7 people. How about whoever reads this and wants to play can? Leave a comment and let me know if you do, then I can check your blog and learn some random facts about you! :p

Here are the rules: The particulars - Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog. Here we go..

1. I don't think I'm a very good writer. I love to blog, but I always think it must be rather boring to read. Sorry if I bore all of you to death with my ramblings!
2. I have a really hard time thinking of 7 things to say.
3. How about this, I'm allergic to down. Not deathly allergic or anything, but if I'm exposed to it for a long time, I start developing asthma-like breathing problems.
4. I went to school to be an elementary school teacher, but I really don't think I'd actually want to do that for a job. Go figure...
5. Like you didn't know this already, but I'm really passionate about childbirth. I want to certify to become a doula as soon as the kids are a bit older, and I'm even playing around with the idea of going to midwifery school. Maybe I'll turn into one of those old granola ladies with long gray hair (except it'll be short because my hair doesn't really grow past my shoulders...). I'll wear long, flowing skirts, birkenstocks, and drive a bio-diesel VW van. Okay, not really, but wouldn't that be funny?
6. I'm wondering if everyone is bored yet, and thinks I'm crazy.
7. I'm a rather blunt person. Surprised? Haha!

Well, that's it for today. I should try to upload some pictures sometime. After all, we've had a lot going on since coming to Germany. A wedding, a trip to the Baltic Sea, and lots of playing outside. The kids are having a blast! :o)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Being on vacation...

...is giving me a lot of time to think about things, I guess. Three things that have been on my mind lately: Birth, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision.

Birth
Well, this is a topic that I think about a lot, anyway. I love birth stories, and I find it amazing what a range of feelings these stories can cause. Anything from pure joy and happiness to disappointment, anger, and sadness. They all generally end the same, with a happy healthy baby, but they can produce a whole range of emotions. We live in a country where women have to fight constantly for their right to have a baby at home, attended by a midwife, and at the same time, women have the right to ask their doctor to induce labor, sometimes weeks before their due date, for no good reason other than being tired of pregnancy, or scheduling around their husband's work, and the doctor will agree to do that. Women have to fight for the right to birth at home, which has been proven to be safe over and over again, yet they also have the right to request a c-section, for no reason other than to avoid labor, or to keep their vaginas from stretching too much, or whatever, and a doctor will agree to that, even though it is well known that c-sections carry a greater risk for mother and baby than vaginal birth does. How does all this make sense? Technology keeps improving, the rate of medical intervention during labor and birth keeps rising, as does the rate of babies born via c-section, yet there has been no improvement in neonatal and maternal outcome since the early 80's. Still, we have such a firm believe in medical technology, and all the good doctors do for us. We can't imagine that birth could happen safely without all the mointors and drugs and surgeries. It's true, in some cases that technology can be life-saving, but what we are ulitmately doing by pushing women into hospitals to birth their babies is lose the art that is childbirth. The experience that so absolutely forms who a woman is. Becoming a mother is a life changing event, and it is so much more than merely pushing out a baby. It is so much more than a physically healthy mother and baby. What is neglected is the emotional health of the mother. Going through childbirth is an immensly intense experience. It is so amazing what the woman's body is doing to end many months of growing a new little human. It's amazing to think about all the intricate details that make up the process we call labor. How everything fits together just right, all the chemicals in our bodies are flowing just right, all the muscles are contracting just right, all to give birth to a miracle. And then we leave women alone with this intense, powerful experience. We strap them down in bed, hook them up to a monitor, and just leave them alone. Generally, husbands are expected to be of support, but a birthing woman is often quite an overwhelming sight for a man. Especially when that man is the father of the baby, and quite emotional himself. Some men live up to the challenge and make wonderful coaches, but many others don't. And sometimes, for one reason or another, the woman really is alone. Nobody else can be there with her. As happened to my friend just a couple of weeks ago, and she had to beg her nurse to stay with her and give her support for just a few minutes. Beg. I know how to check your blood pressure, how to read your monitor, how to put in your IV - sorry, I can't be your support person, I have one other mom in labor right now. One. So for half an hour I'm busy with the two of you, and the other half hour? I'll go chat with my nurse friends really quick. It makes me sick to hear stories like that. It makes me sick and mad and angry, and more than anything really really sad, that women are left to themselves like that. What we really need is more midwives. Midwives who can legally attend home births, birth center births, and more midwives for women who choose hospital birth. Midwives who care for the women during labor, and don't just run in at the last minute to catch the baby. Who get to know women throughout their pregnancies, and offer real support during labor. What we need is more doulas, who are welcome by hospital staff because they fill in where nurses sometimes fall short (and often, it really is because they are overworked). Yet both midwives and doulas are often under-appreciated, and some doctors and hospitals are flat out hostile towards them. What we need is more people to realize that birth is a natural, amazing, and wonderful process, not a medical emergency waiting to happen. Let OB's handle the true high-risk cases, the true emergencies, and give normal birth back to women, attended by those who know the art it is to help a woman bring a baby into this world. Safely. With a baby and a mother who are not only healthy physically, but healthy emotionally, as well. One can dream, right? Hope, maybe?

Breastfeeding
My sister-in-law (hi Nicci!) recently blogged about her trying to get their little boy to take a bottle occasionally, and how they weren't being very successful. It made me smile, and chuckle. It made me reflect on my experiences with breastfeeding and trying to get baby to take the occasional bottle. With my first baby, it was necessity, because I went back to school full time and he needed a bottle while I was gone. With the other two, I wanted them to be able to take a bottle so I could get the occasional break. Here's what happened. When Bryan was little, I introduced a bottle fairly early on, and it worked pretty well. I thought that was great, since it would give me the chance to leave if I needed to. Well, I tried leaving once, and while he was happy with the bottle, my breasts were not happy with the extra milk left over from a missed feeding. Lets just say I was in pain, and they let down because, you know, it was feeding time, and I was soaked. Too early to try this, I thought, but kept up with the bottle so Dave and I could go on a date sometime when Bryan was a bit older and I wasn't over-producing quite so much. Well, by the time I finally felt ready to leave the little guy for a couple of hours, he was old enough to have separation anxiety. Dave and I went on our date, but it really didn't matter that Bryan could take a bottle. He screamed relentlessly the whole time we were gone, not because he was hungry, but because he was so freaked out that we left him. Needless to say, we didn't try leaving him again for a really long time, and by then bottles had become useless. Did we learn from this experience? Not really. Kaylee came along, and I pulled out my breastpump. Thought I'd teach her how to take the bottle in case I ever needed some time to myself, or go on a date with my husband, or something. Kaylee was such a needy baby, however, that I quickly dumped the pump, and just resigned myself to the fact that she wasn't getting bottles because there was no way I was ever going to be able to leave her. And breasts make the perfect food, after all. Always the right temperature, always ready to go, nothing to clean up afterwards. :o)

Circumcision
I always think about this when we're in Germany. If you told someone about routine infant circumcision here, they'd look at you like you're crazy. They'd think you've gone mad. They may even call the police on you, and accuse you of violating human rights and mutilating a baby. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. So then I think about this topic, and why we practice RIC in the United States. And I always end with the same conculsion - I don't understand why it's done. Cleanliness, tradition, so father and son look alike? Those seem like pretty weak arguments to me, considering what's happening is surgery. It's purely cosmetic. Whoever performs cosmetic surgery on a little baby boy who has nothing wrong with him? How is that ethical? Then there is the argument citing research that shows a smaller risk of UTI's for boys who were circumcised. That's gotta be a good thing, right? No, not when you look at how small the risk is for a baby boy to get a UTI to begin with. Does that warrant surgery on a day-old baby? I mean, we don't routinely perform tonsillectomies on babies because they may develop strep throat at some point in life. We don't routinely put tubes in their ears because they may develop an ear infection. We also don't perform routine appendectomies because, hey, you may get appendicitis one day and it could save your life. Doctors would look at you and declare you crazy if you as much as suggested such a thing. Yet they go on cutting day-old baby boys, in the name of what? Whatever way I look at it, it doesn't make sense to me. Just wish I would have started thinking about it 7 years ago...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Can't wait to see this!

I was just telling a friend about this today (hi Nan!), and thought I'd post it here. Looks like it could be a very interesting and eye-opening documentary.

Pregnant in America - A Nation's Miscarriage

Will post more later, gotta go to bed. It's close to midnight here! :p

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We made it!

We arrived in Germany safe and sound yesterday. Our flights all went really well, the layover was neither too long nor too short, and our luggage all made it, as well. Even the kids were pretty good for the most part. Everyone slept well last night, though I expect some jetlag to kick in today, which makes for people waking up around 2 in the morning unable to go back to sleep. :p Hopefully that won't be too bad. We're excited to be here, and the kids all are doing great with my parents. :o)

Friday, May 11, 2007

California, here we come!

Dave finally got the "official" phone offer from Aerospace yesterday, FedEx should bring the papers to sign soon. He's going to start June 11th for a 6-week internship. This came as quite a surprise, as we weren't really planning on internships this summer. But a guy from the company contacted him and told him they were still interested in having him come work there (they made an offer after we graduated MIT in 2004). Dave told him he's not graduating until next year, so the guy asked if he'd be interested in doing an internship. After talking it over, we decided it would be a good thing to do, so Dave could get a feel for whether he would like to actually work there. Seeing as CA is such an expensive place to live, we thought it would be a good idea to try it out and see how we like it before committing to move there. They are actually paying him really well for the 6 weeks, too, so it's a good way to add to our savings for moving next year. The kids and I are getting back from Germany July 2nd, we'll spend the night at an airport hotel and then fly out to CA on the 3rd. It'll be a bit crazy, but oh well. Should be a fun summer! :o)