Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pregnancy Update

As if my last post didn't start out with a negative enough vibe, this one could be far worse. But it won't, don't worry. I'll give a very brief overview, and I plan to emphasize the happy ending. The happy ending: I can walk, sit, stand, lift children, and hold babies. The not happy beginning: My periodic back troubles surged to an all time high on Thursday, causing me to call Eric home from work at 9:30 am. Thankfully, he came quickly enough to care for the girls and schlep me around the house as needed. I had been having some lower back pain throughout the week, but rather suddenly that morning I couldn't do anything. I was stuck on the floor in the office, hardly able to crawl. Sweet Hope thought I was playing a silly game with her, which encouraged me to the stairs, up to the kitchen and into the bathroom- all the while crawling or walking on all fours. Eva has a much better understanding of the way things should be, and watched with wide, uncertain eyes. I slipped myself into a hot bath, crying all the way, but Eric had to get me out and into bed. I felt like I was having back labor... the whole day.

Later that day, he practically carried me to the car and into the chiropractor. My dear friend Bethany watched Hope and practically cleaned the whole house while we were away. I am so blessed! Eric and I were both so relieved when the chiropractor told me that there was nothing really wrong with me. Her treatment was very helpful, and I left with the pain greatly minimized. Through the weekend, I have slowly felt almost totally better. I still am slow though. No quick motions, and don't expect me to stand holding any small children for more than a minute or two. The chiropractor's assessment of the situation: stress. Her prescription: find a way to deal with or eliminate your stressors... easier said than done. But that recommendation has opened up a dialogue in our home about what really stresses me, how to deal with, when to ask for help, etc. Around here we have fairly rigid expectations for gender roles and responsibilities, but I feel like those might be loosening up a bit in the future which will be a good thing. I think this was probably a timely wake up call, as I definitely don't want to experience that pain or immobilization again!
The back labor sensation was very troubling to the chiropractor since I am pregnant. She thought I should see my midwife right away, and thankfully I had my first appointment scheduled the next day. This whole pregnancy, I've had a sort of gray cloud over me. I sort of expect something to go wrong... not sure why. I don't actually think that something will go wrong, but it wouldn't be a surprise to me. Since this was my first appointment, I struggled with fear that perhaps they wouldn't be able to hear the heartbeat or something else would be a problem. I believe that God is using this pregnancy and my recent lack of well-being to test my anxieties. Where do I put my hope? What do I allow my mind to dwell on? Will I live in fear, or will I trust and obey?

Anyway, as predicted, the midwife (actually a mid-husband, in this case), had a hard time finding the heartbeat. I lay there praying and thinking random thoughts: "I knew it!".... "Oh no!".... "what now?" But then all of a sudden, there it was! Sure and fast, a little drum pounding inside me. Heartbeat was normal, I'm measuring normal, I've gained less weight at this point that I had with the girls, all is well. The mid(husband) left me saying, "Congratulations, everything looks good!"

And so one small doubt and stressor departed my heart, and I swear I walked smoother and felt my lower back loosen just a bit.

So, that's the happy ending: The baby is fine. I am fine. Eric and I are having good conversations about supporting each other and handling this busy life. We've bid farewell to head colds and fevers and coughs for now. A new week starts tomorrow, and I feel energized for the first time in months. Easter is coming soon, and I am looking forward to celebrating my Savior who daily bears our burdens.

A little fun fact- baby is presently about the size of a lime!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blah, blah, blah.... and some laundry room fun

First, I feel like I owe some kind of explanation. This blog has been sorely neglected lately, and although I know many of you haven't noticed one bit, I know that some Grandmas probably have noticed! I feel like I've been on a whirlwind adventure (against my will) since Christmas, at least. Maybe even since the holiday rush before Christmas. First it's holiday busy, then it's winter doldrums and sick kids, next it's morning sickness, and now it's "spring's not quite here" doldrums and everybody's sick.

On that subject, I hereby declare that this has been our sickest winter yet (since adding kiddos to the mix), and I'm really struggling to keep a content spirit in the midst of it. I know that these present afflictions are for our good and growth in godliness, but currently, I am mostly growing in grumpiness! And it's pretty ridiculous too, because the girls don't seem to mind their coughs and fevers much at all. And really, Eric is no complainer. But, me? The head cold is driving me a little batty! God is making us depend on Him, and nothing else... no home remedies, no ammount of nutritious cooking, no super foods, or healthy habits. If all these things (which I am constantly attempting) met the mark, I suppose I would be full of pride and self reliance, which would lead me far from my Father's throne. So, here I come to the throne... kicking and screaming... wanting a good night's sleep and to put the thermometer away for the season. Lord, help me!

So, does that explain why I haven't been blogging lately? I've been busy, and when I haven't been busy I've been indulging in self-pity over minor ailments. What a woman!

Let's move on to some fun stuff!

Last week, I ran out of the Trader Joe's powdered laundry detergent that I've been using for the past two months. For over a year now, I've been on some kind of quest to find the right marriage of affordability/effectiveness/environmentally friendly/allergen free in my laundry detergent, trying many different brands. As I perused the scores of lesser known laundry soaps and detergents available on-line, I learned a little about the ingredients that go into these cleaners. And after lots of Internet browsing, I discovered a little known allergen: detergent. Apparently, in days gone by (like, 50 yrs. ago) detergent was unheard of, and soap was used. Now days, detergent is all we know, but according to some people (this is not conclusive research, folks) detergents can be very irritating to the skin, and even cause asthma. So, now I am embarking on a mission to make my own, detergent free laundry soap.

I found this recipe many months ago, but didn't give it a try because I wanted to use up the various detergents I had been trying. Now that I took the plunge and did it, I will never go back! I am happy, happy, happy about the cost (about a penny per load!), about the ease of making it (15 min.), and utterly happy about how clean our clothes are.

Shameless Personal Testimony: A few days ago, Eva had a bloody nose in bed, and before I figured out what was happening, there was blood ALL OVER her white and floral sheets, white down comforter, lavender pajamas, and pillow. I admit to throwing in a scoop of oxi-clean with each load, but the combination of cold water + oxi-clean + homemade laundry soap COMPLETELY removed the blood. That is better than I can say for any of the other detergents I've tried lately!

So, here's the scoop (pun intended:): Grate 1/3 of a bar of old fashioned "Fels Naptha" soap into 6 c. warm water until it dissolves.
Add 1/2 c. each Borax and Washing Soda and dissolve, add 4 c. hot water.Combine the soap/borax/washing soda with 1 gallon + 6 c. water in a bucket (mine is a 2 gallon bucket), then let it sit for 24 hours until it gels. You use 1/2 c. of watery-jelly soap per load.

So easy! This is also the recipe that the Duggar family uses (18 kids!), only they make it in much bigger batches.

I have to add this caveat, I am not absolutely certain that this is the ultimate in natural, allergen free laundry soap. But it's a lot better than most, especially for the cost. By the way, all the ingredients were easily found at my local grocery store.

Give it a try, and tell me what you think!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What a difference a day makes (or two)!

Well, on Thursday and Friday we were up in the frozen tundra of Crookston, MN. Not kidding, they were dumped on with snow the day before, to the tune of at least 12 inches. When we arrived late on Wednesday night, the temperature in the van read -13 degrees. The wind really howls up there, so the drifts left behind (think sand dunes) were 5-6 feet tall in places. The kids went sledding in the (flat) front yard, and had a blast! It is always fun to see big snow and extreme temps, even if it makes you wonder why anyone ever settled here to start with.

Katelyn tramps across the snow.
Evan prepares to descend a small mountain.
Evan embraces the thrill that 5 feet can give.Eva was actually on a diving board, folks. (it's always imagination, with this one!) But seriously, check out how she's eye level with the roof of the van!

We went to Crookston to visit Eric's mom, who recently had her knees replaced, but she made me promise not to post any pictures of her sweet scars and swollen knees. But, we had a really good time with her. Eric's mom, Eric, and his Aunt Bev might have set a record for total hours of Scrabble playing in two days!

Weather in Minnesota is unpredictable, to say the least, and today we enjoyed a high temp. of 65 degrees. I had to insist that Eva wear socks and shoes outside, though she is quite warm blooded and would have survived just fine. Ella and I sat calmly on the back steps soaking up precious sunshine while Eva ran up and down the sidewalk shouting, "It's spring, it's spring!" Later, she decided to help the sun along with it's work by shot-putting large cakes of ice into the air and jumping like a wild woman. The slushy ice rained down on her without dampening her spirit one bit! Our large collection of plastic lawn toys (thanks Grandma S!) are still securely iced to the frozen grass, but it won't be long before we're back in business.

Pure exuberance. I felt it too... just not the jumping up and down part!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

# 7, Check

Yea! I'm mostly back on track, and I'm checking in to let y'all know that I finally made the grand purchase of a grain mill. I mentioned that I would really like to start soaking or sprouting my grains as well, but truly, it took me a few months to make one purchase, so I'm glad my goal was small. Anyway, thanks to generous birthday gifts from my parents and grandparents, I went in search of the right mill for me, ending up with the Nutrimill (scroll down). It shipped today, and I can't wait to unveil it at home!
There are so many reasons why a person should mill their own flour, but my main reasons were:

1. Cost - buy grains in bulk for lower prices and mill them as needed.

2. Variety - I can make loaves of bread, crackers, rolls, desserts out of whatever combination of grain pleases me. I suspect there will be a lot of spelt/wheat combinations, but I'm excited to try kamut and brown rice.

3. Nutrition - Most of the flour from the grocery store was milled a LONG time ago, leaving the essential fats to go rancid and turn into free radicals. Although it is debated, most people agree that flour that sits around on shelves slowly looses some of the mineral content as it ages.

If you're interested, here is more info on WHY to mill at home.

Also, if you're interested in where the future might take me, here and here are simple explanations of soaking flour.


In other news, the morning sickness is all but gone. I feel almost awesome, evidenced by the 12 (yes, ma'am!) loads of laundry completed yesterday. Thank you for praying for me!

We're heading out of town tonight to visit Eric's mom who recently had both knees replaced. Yea for a little getaway, yea for new knees and a new lease on life. Eva is psyched to see the big scars, and I'm psyched to see the new foot of snow they welcomed yesterday.

So, perhaps there will be some downtime while we're away and I will post something. Maybe :).

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A few corrections

1. Well, I have to submit that TWO of our family members caught on to the postcard announcement. We got a card in the mail from them yesterday to prove it. Thanks DP's!

2. I made it sound like I would tell more info about baby #3 later, but, well, later will be whenever I feel capable of sitting in front of the computer... or doing anything for that matter. I am not feeling well this time around, which is a change from the 1st trimester with the girls. Now, I am growing in sympathy for all of you who have the ickies during the first weeks. I am exceedingly thankful for my previous two easy pregnancies, and exceedingly sympathetic to the scores of women who have already gone through this. Yuck.

3. And just to answer one (or two) burning questions: Yes, this was quite a surprise! No, I will not be running the marathon in the fall... I'm imagining a labor and delivery that will take just about as long though, Lord willing or course.

4. I believe I am 8 weeks along, expected due date: October 11th.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mass Mailing

Last Thursday Eva and I carefully addressed and stamped 11 of these postcards, directed to our immediate family. It was a subtle hint, but surprisingly, only ONE family member caught on right away. Everyone else called (or didn't call) to say, "thanks for the picture of Hope! I put it on the fridge..." Great.

More to come later!