04 December 2013

An Introduction

My little man arrived a week ago today, and we're currently enjoying our time getting used to an expanded family and sleep deprivation.

James Thomas Harbour, aka: Minion. 11/27/13. 9lbs 13oz. 21".

Sore nipples, leaky boobs, and sleeplessness aside, I feel wonderful. Despite some hiccups, Minion's birth was empowering and healing in its own way...but I am working on that post for another time.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some of my recent thoughts and experiences.

First of all, I have been incredibly blessed with one of the most laid back newborns ever created. Minion is not a crier in the slightest, sleeps in 2-3 hour stretches already, and nurses like a champ with a great latch (a huge relief after the painful weeks caused by BabyA's undiagnosed lip tie). My one complaint is that his long stretches of sleeping have been the source of some serious engorgement, which leads to things like this:
I swear I only pumped until I was no longer in pain. I was never able to pump much when BabyA was tiny (I think part of that was related to my post partum anxiety), but I am apparently not having that issue this time around. I am very hopeful that I will be able to donate breastmilk. I really wanted to donate while I was nursing BabyA, but I could barely pump enough to leave her with my mom for a few hours while I went to the doctor.

I am also cloth diapering a newborn, something I didn't do with BabyA. I did use disposables for the first few days until Minion passed all of the meconium. As soon as I saw that yellow breastmilk poop, I excitedly popped him into one of the adorable newborn cloth diapers I'd carefully hoarded over the course of my pregnancy.

Of course, I have several diapers that won't fit him at all since he was such a big boy at birth and had surpassed his birth weight by 6oz when we visited the pediatrician on Monday. I have been surprised by how much I really like using prefolds and covers. I adore my Thirsties cover, and I am not so patiently waiting for Minion's cord stump to fall off before I try to use my upcycled wool. My second favorites are my Swaddlebees Simplex, followed by my WAHM hybrid fitteds.

BabyA is totally enamored of "Bubba." She loves to pet and kiss him, bring him her favorite toys, and has only recently stopped trying to share her food and "nom nom" (pacifier) with him. She is fiercely protective, and I have to remind her that Princess is Minion's sissy, too, and is allowed to talk to/touch him. Whenever The Husband or I are holding Minion, BabyA is not far from him. I have tried to hand off Minion to The Husband so I can spend some one on one time with BabyA, but she will sit with Daddy and Bubba instead of playing or cuddling with me.

I have been amazingly blessed. My beautiful little family brings such joy to my heart. The bond between BabyA and Minion is especially wonderful. I worried so much about having another baby this soon, and had some serious moments of guilt during my pregnancy while I wondered how BabyA would respond to having a younger sibling. She certainly has had some struggles, and she has learned that she gets away with more naughty behavior if The Husband is away because I can't act immediately when I have Minion attached to one of my boobs. Overall, though, she is handling some major changes remarkably well. She will be 20 months old tomorrow, and her entire world changed last week. I'd say she's entitled to some regression. I'm just thankful to have The Husband home for a few weeks to help me manage adjusting to life with two under 2.
Meeting Minion for the first time
Cuddling and holding hands
Thanksgiving Day

23 November 2013

Recipe: Taco Soup

Well, I'm still pregnant! The hospital is at least 2 days behind on inductions, and my OBGYN doesn't appear too concerned since all he did was have me come in for an NST on Friday and told me to schedule another NST for Monday if I hadn't heard from the hospital by then. I'm still praying I go into labor on my own before then, but it's not looking very promising at the moment.

Since I had planned to be in the hospital and then home with a newborn this weekend, I didn't plan any meals. That led to quesadillas for dinner on Thursday and inviting ourselves for dinner at my parents' on Friday. Today, in an attempt to keep busy and not go completely mad from being in limbo, I did quite a bit of cooking. Aside from my usual eggs for breakfast, I made muffins for The Husband and the girls (with the added bonus of heating the house since my antique stove works better than our central heating unit) and decided to make soup for dinner since it's been so grey and cloudy here lately...perfect soup weather.

I love making soup. It's a fabulous way to stretch our food and, really, is there anything better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold, cloudy day?

Tonight, I made taco soup. I've made versions in the past that were so-so, but this version is my favorite. It is slightly spicy, chunky, and very comforting. I actually prefer to make it as a vegetarian dish, but since The Husband has been in kind of a grouchy mood lately, I decided to placate him with beef.

Doesn't that look scrumptious?


1 lb ground beef or turkey (optional)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15 oz) can chili beans (you may substitute pinto beans if you can't find chili beans)
1 (15 oz) can dark kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (29 oz) can hominy
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 packet taco seasoning (or you can use my recipe)
1 qt vegetable broth
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips for serving

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, brown meat with onion, salt and pepper. If you are omitting the meat, just cook your onion in a bit of olive oil until it's translucent.

While meat is browning, open all of your cans and mix up your taco seasoning. Using a colander, drain and rinse the kidney beans, black beans, and hominy.

Once meat has browned, drain off excess grease, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to combine.

Bring soup to a boil, stir, and reduce heat. Allow contents to simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the soup topped with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.

Taco Seasoning:
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
*This taco seasoning has replaced all of the msg-laden store bought packets that used to overflow my spice cabinet (we eat a lot of taco salad), and tastes SO MUCH BETTER than any brand I've tried.

One of my favorite parts of this dinner is that there are enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Although, I can't promise that BabyA and I won't eat it for breakfast instead.

18 November 2013

Nearing the End

I'm not even through the labor and delivery portion of this pregnancy, and I am already feeling like my body failed me.

This was not supposed to happen. This birth was supposed to be the culmination of my months of research, of inspiration. It was supposed to be my chance to take back my birth and to make up for the incredible lack of knowledge that led to such an unsatisfying birth experience with BabyA. Now, I almost find myself wanting to return to my blissful ignorance. At least going into my induction with BabyA, I was more excited than apprehensive.

I feel let down. By myself, my body, and the medical community. I feel like I shortsighted things, that I should have been more thorough in my research when I was first diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I failed myself because I didn't think that I would end up on insulin. My body failed in so many ways, but the most devastating of them were the actual diagnosis of GD followed by the need for insulin because, though I could control my glucose levels with diet during my waking hours, my body failed to control them at night. Most of all, though, I feel let down by the medical community. I spent hours researching everything I could find about GD and possible outcomes. What I discovered is that, while I found enough information to make a confident decision about denying induction without insulin dependence, the information on insulin dependent GD deliveries is very minimal. The information I did find just lumped all Type I/II and GD pregnancies/deliveries together with very little separation.

So here I sit. According to an ultrasound at around 8 weeks gestation, I am currently halfway through my 38th week of pregnancy, and I'm holding a slip that says my induction is scheduled for Thursday morning. While I know that I am capable of refusing the induction, I am not sure that I should because my research is inconclusive and the last thing I want to do is harm my baby because I chose to value my birth experience over his safety. I also haven't had great results on my urinalysis (I'm spilling a lot of ketones in my urine), and my blood pressure has been elevated during my last 2 visits.

I am working on self induction, and desperately trying to hold on to positivity, but I'm tired. On the way home from my parents' house tonight, with BabyA snoring in the back seat, I found myself begging God to let me have this baby on my own. Up until tonight, I'd been really good about asking for things to happen the way He planned. I was clinging to the thought that His plan had to be for me to give birth the way He designed.

If I'm wrong, and I end up with another induction, I am sure there's a bigger purpose. I know it is all part of the plan. But right now, I'm anxious and depressed.

02 November 2013

Trick or Treat!

I've been MIA for a couple weeks, trying to give my finger time to heal and dealing with a sick kiddo.

My finger's in that awkward stage where it's scabbed over and healing, but still hurts like crazy if I accidentally use it for something like typing or attempting to catch a running toddler.

I'm also having to use all of my extra energy in the form of self-restraint to keep from eating rather large amounts of the candy my girls got while trick or treating on Halloween.

It was BabyA's first time trick or treating (last year, she was only 6 months old, The Husband was working, and Princess was with her bio mom, so BabyA and I went to a trunk or treat at my in laws' church). Since we live in a pretty bad area, we decided to take the girls to my parents' neighborhood to trick or treat. Before they donned costumes and headed out, though, my mom made a fun Halloween-themed dinner, thanks to her recently acquired Pinterest account.
The Husband and I as Batman and Catwoman

I was in serious pain all Halloween day. I spent my morning doing as little as possible because I felt like my pelvis was going to break in half at any moment. I did manage to pick up Princess from school at the appropriate time (I really hate alternate schedule days) and help her with her homework, but the pain continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

I'm a tiny bit stubborn, though, and I was not going to miss out on BabyA's first trick or treat experience. Especially not when she actually started saying "trick or treat" a few minutes before we headed off into the neighborhood.

All dressed up and ready to go (with Auntie C as a zombie farmer)
My parents' neighborhood doesn't have normal blocks, so I have to estimate that we walked about 4 blocks and went to maybe a dozen houses.

By the time we got back to my parents' house, I could barely get my feet onto the ottoman after I all but fell onto the couch. The next day, I was still tearing up while doing things like getting in and out of the car. The pain, of course, did wonders for my blood pressure when I saw my OBGYN the morning after Halloween.

Overall, it was a fun night. I was never allowed to trick or treat as a child, so I like to live vicariously through my children (one of the reasons I'm so glad BabyA is a redhead). My parents spent most of my life staunchly anti-Halloween, and we celebrated by eating candy and watching Star Wars with our porch light turned off. Occasionally, we'd go to church carnivals/harvest festivals. When my parents decided that Halloween is only as evil as you make it, I was an adult. I took my sisters trick or treating while my mom stayed and passed out candy.

Thankfully, BabyA was more interested in helping to answer the door and pass out candy to other kids once we got back to my parents' house than she was in trying to eat her own candy. We gave her one of the lollipops my mom was passing out, and she was content. As long as her candy is kept out of sight and Princess doesn't eat it in front of her, we should be able to keep her from eating very much until The Husband can devour it.

I don't want my children to have the same hang ups about food that I've always had, so I really want to teach them moderation. It's easier with Princess because she doesn't have much of a sweet tooth and is perfectly happy with 2 pieces of candy after homework and dinner are done. BabyA has her daddy's sweet tooth and is obsessed with chocolate. I usually just give her a piece of my super dark, 80% cacao chocolate bars, and she's content...but lately she wants what sissy is having. Still, I won't be doing the Switch Witch, or buying candy back from my kids, or even sending it to the troops. No judgement is meant towards anyone who does choose to do those things, but I personally won't be doing it. My children are otherwise healthy, active, and well behaved. For those reasons, I think that a little extra sugar one day a year won't kill them. Once Halloween is over, the candy is rationed and they get 1-2 pieces a night until the candy is gone or they forget about it (I still have Easter candy in the candy jar on my fridge because they do forget).

Our Superhero family at the local pumpkin patch

BabyA insisted on "carrying" her own pumpkin

16 October 2013

The Post That's Not for the Faint of Heart or Weak of Stomach

This week has easily been one of the most eventful of my life.

On Friday night, while in the process of trying to create a low-carb version of loaded baked potato soup, I had an accident. It was an accident that necessitated a trip to the Urgent Care and resulted in my current attempts to become at least partially right handed.

I amputated part of a finger.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Amputated. As in, I am missing a rather decent size chunk of my left index finger (I also managed to gouge my thumb along its entire length). You may also read this as: I am never using a mandolin slicer again. EVER.

I am beyond grateful that The Husband and Princess were home to help gather BabyA, wrap my gushing finger (I do not handle blood well if it belongs to me or my children), and drive me to Urgent Care after dropping the girls off at my parents' house. Amazingly, though I lost vision a few times and felt nauseated, I didn't actually pass out until I'd made it through triage and was sitting in a procedure room, waiting on the doctor.

God love The Husband. When I was attempting to keep pressure on my appendages while simultaneously directing Princess in the care and car-loading of BabyA, I turned to find him handing me a tiny tea cup full of ice. Being in shock, I didn't question it, and I'm glad I was sitting down and safely buckled into his truck before he told me that the cup contained the portion of my finger that had been removed. Just in case. I almost passed out when I saw it.

To ease your anticipation, let me just tell you now that, though the doctor was excited to see the fingertip, she made no attempt at reattaching it since the bone was (mercifully) still in tact. Though it was visible, and I could feel the doctor grab it with the clamps while she was tying off my severed blood vessels.

Notice the aftercare paperwork says "Fingertip amputation is a common injury." Somehow, I have a feeling this is not the truth.

I was given prescriptions for narcotics and antibiotics, and advised (I'm sure my face clearly said I would not be taking the pain medication) that the pain meds would not hurt Minion. While the pain was certainly not fun, I opted to take some Tylenol at night and avoid the narcotics altogether. I don't even like taking those types of things when I'm not pregnant. Besides, I needed my full faculties in order to be able to manage BabyA with limited use of my dominant hand. I also had to return to Urgent Care every other day to have my bandages changed and make sure the same doctor was keeping an eye on the healing process because there was a chance I'd have to see a surgeon.

It's now been five days, and my thumb is healing nicely. The doctor says my finger is, too, and I'm taking her word for it. I'm certainly the hit of the Urgent Care every time I go in (thankfully, I'm being trusted to care for my wounds at home for a week now instead of returning to Urgent Care every two days for care), and The Husband and my younger brother have had a lot of fun sharing the gruesome pictures. I can't say I don't enjoy some of the reactions I get when I show people pictures of my finger. As the doctor said on Friday night when she saw my thumb, "that's just not very interesting." Ironically, the cut on my thumb has been more constantly painful than my finger, and has made my life more difficult than the loss of my finger.

The swelling still hasn't completely subsided in my left hand, and I have numbness/tingling at the base of the injured finger. I am still basically useless when it comes to anything requiring fine motor skills. I've spent most of the week at my parents' house because changing BabyA's diaper is outside my ability unless she decides to cooperate (which is less than once a day, usually). I also had to switch to *gasp* disposables because I can't snap my cloth diapers with my fingers bandaged, and can't risk getting poop in my bandages while attempting to clean poop out of my diapers.

Tomorrow is going to be my first attempt at staying home since the accident. The Husband technically has the day off, but he just got done working 70ish hours in the past 5 days, and Thursdays are usually his "catch up on sleep" days.

Wish me luck...and keep your fingers crossed that BabyA doesn't decide to try and remove my bandage by force (again).

Bandage-free pictures after the jump...

10 October 2013

MommyCon and The Babywearing World Record

On Sunday, BabyA and I attended MommyCon Los Angeles and the Babywearing World Record. I'm not even sure that I can explain in words how excited I was to have the opportunity to attend a MommyCon event after BabyA and I both got sick the week before MommyCon Las Vegas and missed out on the trip.

I saved every bit that I could, and literally counted the pennies in my change jar (the change jar that was formerly a "tattoo savings" fund) to make sure I'd have money to make it there and back. Alas, I didn't have money for a VIP ticket, but I was still excited to have the opportunity to meet some of the "celebrities" in the natural parenting world and spend the day with some of my good friends and their babies.

I was also excited to wear BabyA in our Beco Soleil. Without launching into a huge soliloquy on how much I adore that carrier, let me just say that I was incredibly surprised at how long I was able to wear BabyA comfortably, despite my already sore back, hips, and pelvis. It's wonderful and I highly recommend it.

The trip to Los Angeles is a tricky one. Typically, barring too much traffic, it can be made in about 2 hours. However, I've been in situations where it has taken well over 4. We had an SUV full of 2 toddlers, 1 infant, and 3 mommies. One of the toddlers decided that she hated her carseat before we even left the driveway, and the other decided she was going to be angry at her friend for crying so much. Thankfully, they both eventually fell asleep, and we had a relatively uneventful trip down.

I appreciated the kid-friendly set up of the event. On the rare occasions that BabyA did want down, I didn't have to worry about her running too far since the entire event was contained in one large room, and there were security personnel posted at the open doors. However, having the vendors in the same room as the speakers posed several problems for those of us trying to hear the speakers.

My biggest complaint about the entire day is that there was no specified "break" in the agenda. Because of the pregnancy and gestational diabetes, I try to stay on a decent schedule with regards to meals, and the food options inside the convention center were expensive and not ideal. Because we didn't want to miss any of the speakers, our small group made a mad dash for the food court area (leaving before The Leaky Boob was finished speaking and getting back well after Birth Without Fear had started). For an event that caters to mothers, I was slightly irritated with the apparent disorganization and lack of time to enjoy the speakers while tending to my needs and the needs of my child.

Frankly, I expected a little less chaos and more organization from an event that has been running for nearly a year and has held conferences in several locations across the country. There was a lot of non and miscommunication with regard to the Babywearing World Record and many of us were very confused at what actually took place.

The major highlights of my day were meeting some of the people whose work has inspired me. Jessica The Leaky Boob and January of Birth Without Fear are two big inspirations of mine, and I was thrilled to finally meet them in person. They are both really as sweet and awesome as they seem online. I am really hoping the BWF Conference does so well in Texas this year that they start holding it in different locations (preferably somewhere in Southern California!).

A few of my favorite mommies and babies (plus BabyA and me) posing with January from Birth Without Fear

04 October 2013

Soup Weather on My Mind

I am trying really hard to stay on this blasted diet, even though it means I am cutting out almost all starches in an attempt to keep my blood sugar in the range that's approved by my OBGYN. I see him again on Monday, and I know he's going to be irritated that I have about a week of missing tests because I kept forgetting in between everything that happens when you have a LIFE (not to mention a toddler).

Tonight, I made beef and vegetable soup. I really wanted beef and barley, but I put half of the beef I bought in a freezer bag so I can make beef and barley soup once I'm cleared to eat grain again. In related news...only 8 more weeks! According to my handy pregnancy app, only 55 more days!

Anyway, the weather here has been seriously bipolar. We had a few days of really nice temperatures, but have since been fluctuating between "almost hot" and "almost chilly." It's done a real number on my sinuses, and BabyA and I have been walking balls of mucus every morning for the past week or so. To the casual listener, I'm sure our combined morning sneezing and hacking would indicate that we're dying of some awful disease. The sinus pressure makes me feel like a steaming pile of dog poo all day, so I've been trying to eat as much spicy food as possible (which isn't really a hardship since I crave spicy things while I'm pregnant anyway).

The cooler temperatures made me long for soup. Of course, the day I finally have everything I need and the time to make soup, the temperature is back to 90 and I'm cursing the fact that I live in a valley where autumn is basically nonexistent.

Tonight's dinner was the result of a craving and nicely embodied my desire to flip the bird to this awful central California weather. Plus, it was only 82 today.

Of course, I had almost none of the ingredients I needed to make the soup I wanted, so I carted my butt to Von's (I hate shopping at Von's) after going to the bank, cloth diaper store, and hair dresser. After taking advantage of the better quality produce and clearance meat (I refuse to buy full price meat at Von's), I headed home where I was greeted by an energetic BabyA who wanted to "brooos" my hair with her soft bristled brush (hello, frizz!) and a sullen The Husband who had been surviving without Internet for approximately an hour and a half. Trust me when I say that things only deteriorated in the following hours before the AT&T service guy showed up to fix our Internet.

While The Husband was trying to figure out the meaning of life without online games or Netflix and BabyA and Princess were facing a similar quandary (the Internet died in the middle of BabyA's viewing of "Stitch," her favorite movie, on Netflix), I started dinner and told the girls to *gasp* play with some of the thousands of dollars of toys that are in their bedroom.

I don't have a recipe for beef stew. I'm sure there's one someplace in my collection of cookbooks, but it's one of those things that lends itself nicely to being "thrown together." Of course, when you're in my kitchen on any given weeknight, chances are I'm just throwing things together and hoping they taste good.

I started with some beef stew meat. I typically buy a larger piece of meat and cut it myself, but the 3 lb package was on sale, and I knew I could get at least 2 dinners out of it. Side note: I always cut the pre-cut chunks a little smaller and more uniform so that it stretches a little farther.

I browned my stew meat with white onions, salt and pepper, and garlic powder in my 4 quart Dutch oven. Once the meat was browned, I added a quart of beef stock and a cube of beef bouillon and brought it to a simmer. Then, I added about 1.5 Tablespoons of tomato paste.

While my beef was browning, I peeled and chopped 4 large carrots, 4 medium potatoes, 4 large ribs of celery, and half a pound of button mushrooms. I added this to the broth and beef along with 2 bay leaves and a drained can of peas.

Then, I sat on my rear end and drank ice water while my girls brought me all of the delicious plastic food they were cooking up in their bedroom.

I let the whole mess simmer on the stove for about an hour. I added worchestershire sauce, tobasco, cayenne, nutmeg, garlic powder, and a little more S&P and let it simmer for a bit longer. Then, I turned off the burner and let it sit and thicken for about 30 more minutes.

In reality, I would have served it immediately, thickening be damned, but the stinking AT&T repairman hadn't yet left, and The Husband was busy following the repairman around like a curious watchdog. I tried to tell The Husband that I didn't think the repairman was going to steal any of our worthless junk, but The Husband gets really weird about having people in the house.

The result was marvelous.

The problem with making something so good, though, is that I end up having seconds. I haven't yet tested my glucose to see if that was okay...and I'm kind of procrastinating because I'm afraid of what the carrots and potatoes might do.

Right now, however, I'm a Rhett Butler kind of mood. If you don't know what that means, please do yourself a favor and read Gone With the Wind.

27 September 2013

Love is a Social (Media) Disease

I'm going to start this post with a confession:

I don't have anywhere close to the perfect marriage.

Now, if you're married, you're probably thinking "that's not much of a secret. No one has the perfect marriage." If you're not married, please allow me to disabuse you of the notion that you will EVER have the perfect marriage/relationship. Ain't gonna happen.

One of my favorite pictures of us Summer 2011
The Husband and I have personalities that are as ridiculously similar as they are different. He's confrontational for fun; I'm confrontational only if I am absolutely forced to be. He would rather stay home and avoid all contact with the outside world; I enjoy spending time with other people and socializing from time to time. We're both incredibly stubborn and prepared to fight tooth and nail to get our way if we feel we're in the right. We are both emotionally distant, though we each manifest that distance in different ways.

I can say without a doubt that, though I was in love before The Husband, it was nothing even close to what I feel for him. It's more than a pop song or Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem. It absolutely terrifies me on a regular basis. Some of the terror with regards to my feelings for The Husband has subsided with the birth of BabyA since I'm now also terrified of the depth of my love for her.

Maybe if I have enough children, I'll eventually do away with any fear I have in loving The Husband.

This post was not supposed to be about my fear of deep feelings, though, so allow me to get back on track.

I sometimes feel like social media is one of the worst barriers to a healthy relationship. The Husband is not a social media person. He has a deactivated Facebook account under a false name and a Twitter handle that has never been used. He created both during the early part of our relationship because he wanted to know what I was saying about him on social media. He really hates it when I talk about him.

Meanwhile, I get to see only the good parts of every relationship of every virtual friend I have. I can see every post that showcases husbands and significant others doing all of the things that I wish The Husband would do. People flaunt their supposed perfection in my face while I'm contemplating homicide because I can't physically lift the trash bag full of trash that I asked The Husband to take out...a week ago. I see husbands who do laundry and cook. I see husbands who do a lot of things that The Husband will not do (and husbands who do not do a lot of things The Husband does). 

Instead of just scrolling on, though, I start to compare. Instead of remembering that I am only seeing the perfect part of the relatinoship in question, I start to get irritated that I'm over here trying to drag a 50 lb bag of trash to the can while making sure my toddler stays out of the street and dealing with severe back and pelvic pain. 

I can usually find my way back to contentment if I give myself some time to cool off and pray, but most of the time I am perfectly happy to grumble to myself about all of the things that The Husband does/does not do that irritate me. Because I am perfect, of course, and I never do anything that would irritate him. (In case you missed it, there was an eyeroll implied there).

The reality is that I know that the relationship snippets I see aren't the whole story. I know that every relationship has issues. And I know that every individual is a work in progress and all I can do is trust God to know what He's doing in our lives. I know.

But, in the meantime, know that if I suddenly delete my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, it's because I saw your "my hubby is the best ever" mushy status update/photo/tweet one too many times.

21 September 2013

Pregnant Girl Problems...

This is pregnancy number 2 for me in as many years, I've passed 30 weeks, and I just want to say...


Every time I think those words, I feel a little bit guilty. I know there are plenty of mommies out there who wish their pregnancies made it this far, who are battling infertility and wishing they could endure the nastiness that is pregnancy, but I am really tired of being pregnant.

My pregnancy with BabyA wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I started suffering from extreme sciatica at 8 weeks pregnant. Thanks to weekly (and sometimes 2-3 times weekly) chiropractic adjustments, I was able to function through my pregnancy...barely. Then there was the nausea and vomiting. With the exception of a 2 week respite early in the second trimester and the four weeks at the end of my pregnancy when I was finally able to enjoy it somewhat, I was sick the entire time. On the plus side, I gained so little that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I left the hospital.

This pregnancy has presented its own set of challenges, but so far, I think it's considerably worse. I had awful "morning" sickness for the first 16 weeks. Why do they call it "morning" sickness anyway? That nastiness had me puking my guts up 24/7 for the entirety of the first trimester...and then some. Instead of the severe sciatica, I have occasional flare-ups that are almost completely managed by my weekly chiropractic visits. Of course, I also have excruciating pelvic pain (which I'm almost convinced is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, but my OBGYN won't make the diagnosis) that puts me in tears on a regular basis because I decide to do crazy things like stand up and walk. That pain radiates to my right hip, which also refuses to hold an adjustment, despite my chiropractor's best efforts.

I am much more hormonal during this pregnancy than I was with BabyA. I cry more easily, and I am convinced on a semi-weekly basis that The Husband no longer loves me and wants a divorce. I can't make this stuff up, people.

The Gestational Diabetes has only added a whole other level of stress and drama to this pregnancy. Since I'm not the naive first time mom who blindly followed her OBGYN's recommendations (which were suspiciously similar to orders), I have the further addition of stress that goes with navigating a maternity care system that is so far removed from what birth and pregnancy really are. If you're not familiar with the standard of maternity care in the United States, consider yourself warned (if you're a resident) or lucky (if you're not). The fact that I have an HMO just adds another layer to my crazy cake.

Sometimes, I find moments of fun in my pregnancy (and I'm not talking about the kind of fun that requires you to carry an extra pair of pants and underwear in your car at all times). Yesterday, I wore a sleeping BabyA in our Beco Soleil while browsing at Walmart, and enjoyed the fact that I was technically tandem wearing with just one carrier. About once a day, BabyA will kiss my stomach or blow raspberries on her baby brother, which melts my heart. And the feeling of Minion kicking me as I lie in bed is one of my favorite sensations.

Tandem Wearing with one carrier! It takes less skill than you'd think.

I'm impatient to meet Minion face to face. I haven't dreamt of him the way that I dreamt of BabyA, so I have no idea what he will look like (I knew BabyA would have red, curly hair). I can't wait to see if The Husband's genes will win out again or if Minion will look at least a little bit like me.

But I'm also nervous. Anticipation has never been my favorite, and anticipating the arrival of a child while dealing with all of the aforementioned obstacles makes anticipation look more and more like a four letter word. On the one hand, I'm anxious to meet my son and to stop being pregnant (to drink a beer!), but on the other hand, I still have so much to do in preparation. The Husband hasn't even read my birth plan, for crying out loud!

So here's where I thank you for listening to my random ramblings and reading these stress-filled sentences. Sometimes, you just need to get things off of your chest before you can move on with your life. Wouldn't you agree?

17 September 2013

Happy Fluffy Mail

We've gotten lots of happy mail this week. I had an Amazon gift card that I received as a Mother's Day gift, and I made some money from a yard sale at the beginning of the month, so I indulged in a little online retail therapy. I ordered some boring necessities (a blender bottle for my protein shakes, and some baby items), Sanuk slip ons (seriously one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I've ever owned), and a Crimson Tide onesie for Minion.

That's not what I'm going to write about today. I'm not even going to write about the gorgeous Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag that I bought during the PPB clearance (which arrived today as well).

Tonight, while wishing that bedtime was imminent and trying to avoid eating chocolate, there was a knock at the door. The Husband answered the door, and said "it's UPS." I asked him if he ordered anything since the only thing I'm expecting is the 'Bama onesie for Minion, and it's not supposed to arrive for another 4 days. Plus, the box was pretty large for a single onesie.

The Husband opened the package and revealed...a yellow box:

That's right, tonight we received a Beco Soleil.

I won the Soleil during a giveaway that was hosted by The Baby Guy NYC this month. I have been eagerly awaiting this carrier for about 2 weeks now.

I'll post a full review once I get a chance to use it for more than five minutes in my living room, but I have to say I'm already impressed.

As a plus size girl, I have a fear of not fitting in soft structured carriers. I have never been a huge fan of SSCs (my size being just one of the reasons I'd rather reach for a woven wrap), but I've discovered during my pregnancy that SSCs are very convenient for toting BabyA who has recently decided that she doesn't want to be wrapped. Up until tonight, we've been using our Ergo Sport. It was one of my first carriers, and it worked very well for babywearing during the summer months last year. Around here, summer doesn't end until after Halloween most years, and both BabyA and I are very sensitive to the heat.

On first inspection, the Soleil is absolutely gorgeous. I was very excited that I received the print that I liked the most (Luca Black). I also received an accessory pack which includes a hood, infant insert, and suck pads.

I had no problems wearing the carrier, even low on my hips (which is kind of a necessary evil when you're 30 weeks pregnant and carrying low). I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to fit into a carrier without needing any "extras."

I love the overall fit and comfort level of the carrier, too. BabyA is not the biggest toddler by any means. At last measurement, she was right around 22 pounds and 32 inches. Wearing her can still be a challenge, though, since I have back, hip, and pelvic pain that is only compounded by pregnancy. In fact, I was already in pretty severe pain when we received the carrier.

In the few minutes I wore her, A felt nearly weightless. I have never carried her so comfortably except in my linen blend woven wrap.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to use this carrier at MommyCon Los Angeles in just a couple weeks. I'm sure it will be infinitely more comfortable than our Ergo, and prettier, too!

06 September 2013

The One Where I Share Family Recipe Secrets...Kinda

I don't know about you, but meatloaf is a big staple at my house. It was a family favorite when I was growing up, and I've learned as an adult that it's a great way to stretch ingredients to feed your family on a budget. Plus, is there anything better than a cold meatloaf sandwich?

Since I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes last week, I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot more meatloaf (or "meat cake" as one of my younger sisters deemed it when she was about 2 years old).

I have used a lot of different recipes over the years, but I almost always come back to the way my grandmother made it (which is also how my parents make it). Ground meat of your preference, onion, garlic, and whatever vegetables you want to add. My mom always pours a can of spicy V8 juice over the top, while I've transitioned to a more traditional topping since The Husband prefers ketchup.

Tonight, I'm making turkey meatloaf.

I love ground turkey for my meatloaf because it's not as fatty as beef and benefits nicely from the extra moisture that the veggies add. I throw my ground turkey (1.25 lbs) in a mixing bowl and top it with half a chopped white onion, 3 cloves of pressed garlic, half a red bell pepper (chopped), some chopped pickled jalapenos, an egg, and about 1.5 cups of dry oats. I prefer oats to bread crumbs because they're more nutritionally beneficial and I always have them in my pantry. I almost never have breadcrumbs ready to go...and who has time to wait around to dry out perfectly good bread in the oven and then put it in a food processor? Besides, I haven't bought any bread since my GD diagnosis. (A quick side note: you can literally use whatever vegetables you want. Only the onion is non-negotiable for me. My mom's used corn and peas in her meatloaf, and I've used okra, mushrooms, and carrots).

I use my hands to mix the ingredients and then toss it into a 9x9 inch Pyrex dish. I do not form my meatloaf into an actual loaf. I don't think I ever have. My parents always made it in a 9x13 dish, and I've never seen the need to deviate (except the time I made meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato "frosting"). Bonus points because I only have to throw a lid on my Pyrex dish and pop it in the fridge once we're done eating.

To make the glaze, I usually combine ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. I typically use Tabasco, but I think I'm going to try Sriracha tonight.

Tonight's meatloaf is served with mashed cauliflower.

Yes, you heard me right...CAULIFLOWER.

I'm going to assume that this is not as big a shock to most of you since we live in the age of Pinterest, and I'm pretty sure that's where I first discovered this magical comfort food. It's been a lifesaver in the past week when I've been seriously craving garlic mashed potatoes.

I used 2 large heads of cauliflower, a 4 quart stock pot with enough water to cover the cauliflower pieces, and a heaping tablespoon of bouillon powder. I put them on the stove and let them boil until the cauliflower is tender almost a big, mushy, mess.

Once your cauliflower is suitably mushy, drain it in a colander. I like to use one with small holes so I don't lose any of the little pieces that are floating around. After it's drained (but not entirely dry), return it to your pot.

At this point, you can add just about anything you like. I prefer butter, pressed garlic, cream cheese, salt and pepper. If you have a picky family texture-wise (they aren't exactly the same texture as mashed potatoes), toss in a few boiled potatoes and mash them right into the cauliflower. The Husband complains EVERY time I make mashed cauliflower, but he never notices the cauliflower if there are some potato chunks in there.

I made mashed cauliflower last weekend for a family barbeque, and everyone who didn't already know it was cauliflower had absolutely NO IDEA.

Meals like this make this low-carb thing much more bearable. I feel like I can eat normal food instead of cooking two separate meals. Plus, I can eat a lot of more since cauliflower is GOOD for me, right?

28 August 2013

Gearing Up for a Bigger Fight...

Yesterday, I repeated my 3 hour glucose test after an "abnormal" result when I took it a couple months ago. Today, I got a phone call from a nurse at Kaiser...they're diagnosing me with Gestational Diabetes.

I'm not even sure I have words at this point to explain how devastated I was when I heard those words. I did, at least, have the clarity to ask for my exact numbers (which were still more "abnormal" than high). The nurse scheduled me for an appointment with the dietician on Friday, and I immediately burst into tears as soon as I hung up the phone.

It's not incredibly surprising that I ended up with GD. I meet many of the "high risk" criteria: I'm seriously overweight, nearing 30, and have a family history of both GD and Type 2 Diabetes. I just assumed that I wouldn't have it since I never had any issues during my pregnancy with BabyA.

Since my numbers weren't outrageous, there's no reason to think I can't control my sugar levels with diet and exercise. However, that requires an amazing amount of work. Work that can only be done by me. I'm already feeling stretched thin by the amount of "keeping up" I have to do around the house, as well as making sure everyone else's lives flow smoothly. Exercise is complicated by the incredibly severe pelvic pain I've been battling during this pregnancy. My OBGYN doesn't seem concerned, but the pain I experience almost every day makes even small daily tasks a real challenge...not to mention attempting to keep up with BabyA while The Husband works 60-70 hours a week and catches up on his sleep during his days off.

Adding to my stress is the fact that I am giving birth at a hospital and with a care provider (Kaiser) that is very intervention-happy. I have a great doula, and I'm confident in my ability to advocate for myself (until I go into actual labor, that is...after that, all bets are off), but I hate the stress. I hate the misinformation and scare tactics that are used to coerce expectant mothers into just doing whatever their OBGYNs suggest. I really hate having to think through every potential minute of pregnancy and birth to make sure that I can have the safest and best birth possible. I hate confrontation.

I've always been the girl who will just smile and nod if it means and end to a confrontation. I can't tell you the number of times I've told The Husband "okay, you're right" because I didn't want to argue. I don't mind educated discussion or disagreement, but these medical professionals can get very defensive if you question their methods.

I've done a lot of research. I purposely chose a doctor who'd been recommended because of his support of natural birth and VBAC (I birthed BabyA naturally, but it seems to me that VBAC-friendly OBGYNs tend to be more supportive of intervention-free birth in general). Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of options for alternative care. So I grimace internally whenever he mentions having a c-section because the baby's "too big," and try to remember that I am not going to get a midwife out of an OBGYN (especially a Kaiser OBGYN).

The GD experience with which I am most familiar is my mom's. I was almost 17 when she gave birth to my youngest sister, and she had diet-controlled GD during her 3rd trimester. She had a c-section because of other health conditions and her doctor's unwillingness to let her attempt a VBAC. My sister was a normal birth weight (7 lbs 9 oz), especially considering my mom's 4 previous pregnancies ended in 8+ lb babies. My mom was also nearing 40 during that birth (she turned 38 a week after my sister was born). I don't remember it being horrible, but I was also working and attending college full time, so I can't say I was really around to observe much.

Today, the nurse told me that she was sure I'd be fine as long as I followed the diet given to me, "unless you're already eating that way." She sounded a little less perky when I told her that I basically had been. After all, growing up in a house with a diabetic (my dad was diagnosed with type II when I was about 10 years old) has to leave a mark. I'm not going to say that I eat like a diabetic all the time. I enjoy bread and pasta more than a couple times a week (especially since pasta is an inexpensive way to feed my family in a time when I have to stretch every dollar), and I don't turn down dessert if it's particularly appealing. I also enjoy a drink at Starbucks every week or two (and I don't order it "skinny"). I do, however, try to eat a lot of protein. I enjoy vegetables, and I have really been craving salads lately. I do occasionally eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's, but I'm not sucking down sugar with a straw before I go to bed every night.

Could my exercise level improve? Probably. But I'd really like to see my OBGYN attempt more exercise than chasing around a 16 month old toddler while his pelvic bone feels like it's being broken in several places while someone punches him repeatedly in the vagina. That's the best description I've been able to manage, and it's fairly apt (if a little less painful than what I actually experience on an almost daily basis). I'm sure it has something to do with the amount of Relaxin that my body is producing, since I had a chiropractor make a comment to that effect. Knowing the probably cause, however, does not make me feel any better on a day-to-day basis.

So I'll continue to do my research on evidence-based care for GD, and read lots of boring studies on the potential effects of GD. I want my natural birth, and I'll be damned if I let a stupid number on a glucose meter take that from me.

21 August 2013

Woes of the Unfinished

I have been writing since I was in elementary school. I still have a file somewhere with poems and stories written in my sloppy, left-handed eight year old handwriting. Also in that file is a portion of a novel that a friend and I were co-writing when I was about 10 years old. We never did finish it, but I still think the plot is kind of brilliant and have occasional dreams of resurrecting and completing the book.

I really struggle with completing my writing projects. I started a project about a year ago that is still swirling in my head. The irony of finally having characters that speak to me on a regular basis is that I now have so little time to actually make those characters live.

Lately, I've been contemplating what I want to do. I love being a stay at home mom, and I wouldn't trade my often stressful days of trying to keep up with an ancient house that's falling apart, my kids, and my husband for even the biggest paycheck I made in my always stressful government job. On the other hand, I really hate being the mom who can't afford clothes or makeup. Recently, my flip flops broke and I've been wearing a well-loved pair of Toms that I'm praying will make it through the rest of this pregnancy (after which I will hopefully be able to fit into my other shoes). I struggle with constantly asking The Husband for money, since I spent a decade working to support myself before I quit my job to stay home.

I have a dream of someday publishing a novel. I know a few Indie authors who've had recent success in the urban/paranormal/fantasy genre (which is where my novel would fall), so I know it's entirely possible to earn at least a little money from a book...even if it's not published traditionally. Thank goodness for social media advertising!

I just need to find time to write. I feel like my house is never clean enough. That no matter what I repair or replace, there is always something waiting to fall apart (which is usually what happens when someone lives in a 90 year old house for a decade without doing any kind of upkeep). It doesn't help that I absolutely hate this house. I feel awful saying it because I know so many people are worse off than I am, but this house makes me dream of arson. When I'm pregnant, I tend to dream about things that I really want. This pregnancy, my recurring dreams have been either sexy enough to make The Husband blush like a virgin (bless his ginger heart) or of me getting a new house.

Added to my house drama is an eight year old who is not really independent. She is capable of doing things, but needs constant supervision and instruction. She often wants me to tell her how to play. I was a very self motivated, independent, and imaginative child, so I really struggle with what often feels like Princess' neediness. Speaking of neediness, I have apparently enabled The Husband into codependency. When we first began dating, he was a fairly self-sufficient single dad. He may have lacked cleaning and cooking skills, and been more inclined to buy new underwear than to wash the dirty laundry, but he and Princess obviously survived for a few years without me. Even when I was working full time (and then some), The Husband was fairly helpful with everything except cooking and doing the dishes. I haven't even mentioned my active 16 month old, energetic 6 month old Catahoula puppy, and 9 year old German Shorthair Pointer who thinks he's a puppy.

So while writing isn't an impossible task, it's certainly not an easy one. I feel like I should have been able to find a balance at this point, but it still eludes me. I daydream about being able to leave the kids with The Husband for a few hours a couple times a week so I can leave the house to write, but The Husband's schedule makes that incredibly difficult.

Right now, I'm just hopeful that these characters will continue speaking to me long enough that I can get their stories out of my head and into my computer.

15 August 2013

How Breastfeeding Changed My Life

When I found out I was pregnant with BabyA, a lot of questions started circling in my mind. Luckily for me, how I was going to feed her was not one of them.

I was raised in a family and community that breastfed. The only time I remember seeing a bottle as a child was when my parents did foster care. I distinctly remember my mom explaining to me that the foster babies needed bottles because their mommies weren't able to be there to nurse them. As the oldest of five siblings, I watched all of my younger siblings breastfeed, and I was frequently exposed to breastfeeding outside of my home because most of my friends' mothers also breastfed.

I never even considered having a conversation with the Husband about how our baby would be fed. I was going to nurse her, and that was that. I remember my sister in law (The Husband's younger sister) asking me if I was going to breastfeed and then telling me about how her mother breastfed The Husband secretly because it was the '70s and only poor people breastfed. She also told me about how, when she was struggling with embarrassment while nursing her oldest, my father in law told her that she needed to feed her baby no matter when or where. The Husband's aunt was the first relative to tell me "don't let anyone pressure you into weaning before you're ready." She told me that she had let people pressure her into weaning one of her sons earlier than she had planned, and she still regrets it (that son is now in high school).

So, you see, I had a lot of support. When I gave birth at 3:30 AM and there was not a lactation consultant in sight, my mom was on hand with her years of breastfeeding experience, helping me get BabyA latched for the first time. When my milk didn't come in until almost 6 days after BabyA was born (and I was freaking out), I had plenty of people to reassure me and tell me things like "my milk came in late with my first baby, too" and "it can take a while sometimes, but it will happen."

The Husband struggled some with my breastfeeding...something I did not expect. Since he'd bottle fed The Princess when she was a baby, it took him a while to find other ways to bond with BabyA. He also had a hard time with me nursing in public, and I had to set him straight. He has since come around, though, and he was the only person who never questioned my ability to nurse through this pregnancy and then tandem nurse BabyA and Minion. My heart did a crazy little flip when he made an offhand comment about me needing to nurse "one or the other of them" once Minion arrives. That comment came while he was pointing out a double stroller at the zoo, less than 24 hours after we'd discovered I was pregnant.

I knew I was going to breastfeed. I had no idea for how long. Even during my pregnancy, I was a little put off by the idea of nursing my child in toddlerhood. I'd only known a few people who nursed past a year, and they were the "weird ones" in our community of friends. I had never considered extended nursing until I had a conversation with a coworker who didn't seem like your typical hippie mom in which she told me she had nursed her son for several years (I want to say it was somewhere near 5, but I'm not entirely sure on the exact number). This conversation took place years before I got pregnant, but it started me to thinking.

After BabyA was born, I found myself sucked into the swirling vortex that is Attachment Parenting. As much as I hate to identify myself with a specific group/type of parenting, I have become kind of an AP proponent over the past 16 months. When BabyA was 2 weeks old, I watched Jessica The Leaky Boob give birth to Sugarbaby via live webcast. That was my first experience with TLB community, and I never looked back.

I swore I'd never cloth diaper (so gross!), and we've been strictly cloth for almost a year now. In fact, I recently bought a small package of disposables so I could use a not-safe-for-cloth cream on BabyA's horrific diaper rash, and the smell of the disposables had me almost hurling at every diaper change. I insisted that my child would never sleep in my bed. We've been partially bedsharing for all of BabyA's tiny life. In fact, she's moving into her own bed this week so that she's well adjusted before Minion makes his appearance. I was intrigued by babywearing, but I was not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a carrier (which I mostly wanted because I thought I'd be able to nurse hands-free). I now own 2 woven wraps, an Ergo, and a wrap conversion ring sling (if you don't know what any or all of those are, get thee to Paxbaby.com and do some browsing), the total cost of which you probably don't want to know.

When I started on my journey towards more instinctual parenting, my views on breastfeeding changed, too. I wanted to nurse my baby as long as I possibly could. Minimally, I wanted to continue breastfeeding for 2 years. I went to La Leche League gatherings and met like-minded and encouraging moms. I joined a local babywearing group, and I've made some wonderful friends. I've become a less judgmental person as my parenting views have grown, too.

All of the above, and BabyA still self weaned just before 15 months old. I know my pregnancy is mostly to blame. I could feel my supply slipping, and I probably should have mentally prepared myself better for the possibility that BabyA would not continue dry nursing for several months until Minion arrived and brought the milk back with him. All of the logic and reason in the world, though, does not ease the pain of having a child wean before you're ready. The Husband's aunt was right.

While I have no regrets (there wasn't much I could do, anyway), I have struggled with depression. The end of our nursing relationship has caused some drastic changes in my house, and I've had a hard time embracing all of those changes. I feel like I'm somehow lacking as a mother because I'm missing my secret weapon. I no longer have boobie snacks to entice my exhausted-but-still-fighting-sleep child to come to bed. When she falls and hits her head (like she did this morning), I can't give her nursies to make it all better. I no longer have nursing as an excuse to just sit and cuddle my baby instead of doing housework (although I do still sit and cuddle her anyway). And I am jealous. So jealous of all the moms who weren't forced into situations like mine. Of all the moms who have met their breastfeeding goals and continue to nurse their babies.

Sometimes I think I must be a horrible, selfish person to be focused on what I didn't get when I had almost 15 months of a great breastfeeding relationship. Aside from an undiagnosed lip tie, a clogged duct or two, and several instances of biting, I had a wonderful experience. What about all the moms who are unable to breastfeed? Those who lack the support to continue in the face of hardship?

And then I remember that I can't minimize my feelings. That just because my situation may not be "as bad" as some others, I still have a right to be saddened by my loss. Because that's what it is: a loss. In order for me to be the best mother and person I can be, I have to embrace my feelings instead of burying them or hiding from them.

I know that this loss will only give me more motivation to help whenever possible to provide support to other nursing mothers. I was and am incredibly blessed by all of the support I've received, and to know that there are mothers who don't have that, and who may give up on their breastfeeding goals because of a lack of support, is devastating to me.

06 August 2013

Something I Like to Remember When I'm Feeling Homicidal

Because pregnancy sometimes makes me mushy and nostalgic...

Sometimes, if I care to pay attention, I can be reminded of the things that made me believe that The Husband was the man for me. I knew when I married him (well before that, actually) that I was not making an easy choice (what marriage is, really?). We're both incredibly stubborn and independent, used to getting our own way and unwilling to compromise. We're also both very emotionally guarded. I don't share my feelings easily, and I have an incredible fear of being hurt that ties in nicely with all of my emotional scarring left over from my relationship with my father. It's not that I don't want to talk about how I feel, I've just been conditioned over the years to be the girl whose walls are impossible to scale and who's "perfect" because she doesn't have that cliche emotional side.

Anyway, back to my reminder.

When I was about 13, a friend of mine gifted me with a simple silver Claddagh ring. In order to avoid a long explanation, suffice to say that Claddagh rings (for those who don't know) have varying significance depending on how they're worn. I instantly fell in love with the classic Celtic design (not surprising considering my love of Celtic things).

With very little exception, I wore a Claddagh ring on my right hand, heart facing out (signifying that I was single/my heart was available) for the majority of my life. As a teenager, I always had a dream (I believe it began as an actual dream) that I would meet someone who would know what my ring meant and just turn it around instead of having that awkward (I don't care how old or mature you are, it's always awkward) "define the relationship" discussion. The older I got, the more I knew that dream was ridiculous. It was a teenage fantasy, though, something that I'm sure I've written into some long-forgotten short story or Pride and Prejudice fanfiction at one point or another.

When I first met The Husband, I was unimpressed. We were at a bar, I was more than slightly tipsy, and he was annoying me because he would not stop invading my personal space. I didn't even think he was all that cute. I merely put up with him because the friend with whom he was at the bar was a regular drinking buddy of mine (that drinking buddy turned out to be The Husband's best friend and is now our brother-in-law). When my friend, the bartender, told me a couple days later that The Husband wanted my number, I told her he could have it because I was bored. Seriously. I thought maybe I'd get a free meal out of him and some good times. I was certain at that point in my life that I was not going to get married, so any kind of serious relationship was completely out of the scope of my imagination.

Several nights later, he invited me at the last minute to come hang out at his best friend's house, which happened to be just around the corner from my own house at the time. I hung out around a fire pit with some friends of his, had a few drinks, and then decided to head home. The Husband walked me to my car...and he kissed me. I was not incredibly experienced in that arena, but I can say without hesitation that I never felt instant chemistry with any of the men I'd kissed before. It was a short drive home (less than 5 blocks), but I had been home for several minutes before I stopped shaking.

It was only a few nights after that when I was at The Husband's house. We were talking, and he asked about the rings I was wearing (in addition to my Claddagh ring, I was wearing a vintage opal on my left hand and one of his friends had made a comment about my left hand ring). I explained the significance of my Claddagh ring and assured him that the opal was just a pretty ring I'd found in a thrift shop. He seemed satisfied that I wasn't cheating on some hapless fiance, and the conversation progressed to other topics. After a few moments, we were sitting in comfortable silence. He reached for my hand, and I assumed he was just going to hold it. Instead, he removed my Claddagh ring, turned it around (heart facing in), and put it back on my finger.

I swear to you, I never once mentioned my ridiculous teenage fantasy while telling him the significance of the ring. I hadn't even thought of it myself in years.

That night, I knew our relationship was something bigger than my original plans.

And sometimes, when I'm ready to beat his head in with a frying pan or smother him with a pillow, I can remember times like these in our relationship and feel slightly mollified (not completely, of course, because I do enjoy paying him back for his bouts of assholeishness).

My Claddagh ring back in December 2009, the day after he turned it around

11 July 2013

Prepping for baby #2

Since I'm officially at the halfway mark with this pregnancy, I'm really starting to focus on what I need to buy/do before the Minion makes his/her appearance.

This morning, I was browsing my Facebook news feed, and I came across this post from The Mommy Dialogues (if you haven't yet discovered their wonderful page, go check it out!). The relatively short list of baby gear got me to thinking about a) what I already have because BabyA was drowning in "stuff" (most of which we never used) and b) what "stuff" I need for Minion.

The Husband really enjoys getting "stuff." He's not quite as thrilled when we don't have space for all of the stuff and he ends up tripping over it when he gets up to pee in the wee hours. Since most of the gear went relatively unused, I certainly don't want to add to our collection this time around.

On my short list of "must haves" for Minion are:

Newborn cloth diapers. I used disposables for the first 6 months of BabyA's life. When we switched, she was perfectly capable of going straight into one size diapers. She was, however, a long and skinny newborn who didn't gain weight terribly quickly, so I don't anticipate Minion being able to wear OS diapers for at least couple of months.

A new sling/carrier/wrap. Granted, this isn't a *huge* "must have" since I have a long woven wrap for front carries, a stretchy wrap-type carrier (a Baby K'Tan), an Ergo Sport with an infant insert, a Sleeping Baby Productions wrap conversion ring sling, and a shorter wrap for back carrying BabyA. I would, however, like another ring sling so I can have a backup in case of poopsplosions or lots of spit up. If you don't have a carrier, there are many affordable options, and they are absolute lifesavers when you have a baby who doesn't like to be anyplace but on your person.

Warm clothes and blankets. Minion is due after Thanksgiving this year. BabyA was an April baby. Here in central California, April is already summertime. The only reason I needed blankets for her was because The Husband likes to turn the air conditioning down to glacial temperatures.

I'd like to take a little side track here and say that all of the above mentioned items can be purchased used (and, with the exception of some wraps/carriers, at a pretty discounted price). I buy most of my baby clothes and blankets at yard sales and thrift shops. Let's face it, newborn clothes only fit for a few months. In that time, they are not going to wear out. I just can't bring myself to spend $15 on an outfit that my child won't wear more than a few times before he/she outgrows it. That's not to say I haven't splurged on special occasion outfits (and I will most likely buy Minion a super cute Christmas get up), but children's clothes in general are a much better bargain if you buy them used. I am about 1/3 of the way to completing my newborn diaper stash, and I have one new diaper (because I got a deal on a seconds quality hybrid fitted from a WAHM whose diapers I love).

Now, don't get me wrong. When I see reviews for various new baby gear items, I sometimes drool a bit.

On my list of things I'd like to have, but don't necessarily need are:

A new infant car seat. I have a perfectly acceptable Graco Snugride 35 that I used for BabyA. She outgrew it before her first birthday, so it's hardly used and not expired. I don't need a new infant seat, but I'd love something that's a little slimmer since I'll be having to fit 3 car seats across my narrow back seat.

Even more wraps/carriers/slings. As I mentioned before, I don't need any more of them, but they're an addiction (and oh so pretty!).

Even more cloth diapers. Again, they're an addiction.

A new stroller. Yes, I am an avid babywearer. No, I did not use my nice Graco stroller that I received as a shower gift more than half a dozen times before The Husband put it in storage because it was taking up space in the dining room. However, I'm a realist, and I know that I (and my back) will not be willing to tandem wear an infant and toddler at all times. Also, as nice as that Graco is, it takes up every inch of space in my car's small cargo area. I'd like a nice, compact single stroller. Cheap umbrella strollers are never tall enough for me, and I end up in pain from walking around hunched over. I do not, however, *need* a new stroller.

What's on your list of "must haves" and "wants" for upcoming babies? What are the baby gear items you just couldn't live without?