Friday, October 7, 2016

Little Peter Pan


Tonight at bedtime you said something very bittersweet. As usual, after lights out and prayers, you wanted to "talk about something". Right now you mostly want to talk about how long until your birthday, your birthday wish list, how long until we visit Uncle Dale's farm, or about the animals at the zoo. But tonight you asked a new question.

"When am I going to be a baby again?"

It was bittersweet because I feel your little heart must long for all the attention that a baby demands. I had to gently explain to you that once we grow up from being a baby, we can never go back; that we just get bigger and bigger until one day, we are as big as mommy. "But I don't want to" you said.

I thought it would help if I tried to get you excited about all the things big kids get to do, like eating treats and food like pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, and french fries. Then I mentally chastised myself for making it seem like only junk food is treat food, so I added in rice, broccoli, and cheese. I said you wouldn't want to go back to taking 2 naps a day, and getting to eat only formula from a bottle. You weren't really buying any of it.

So I said that one day when you are as big as mommy, you could have a baby of your own. You asked "Is it going to come out of my tummy?" Although the answer is likely yes, I wanted to factor in that you may choose to adopt, have a surrogate, or not have children at all. So I said "Well it can if you want it to." You said "But I don't want it to." So I asked how you wanted to get it and you said "from the hospital." Then you asked, "What will its name be?" And I said, "You get to choose!." And you told me you wanted it to be named Chloe and that you wanted a girl.

I told you that someday you are going to be as big as mommy, and live in your own house. That scared you. You said you didn't want to leave our house and you would be scared to live alone. Then I said "Well, you might get married, like I did to Papa, and have a husband, and live in a house with him." You said "but I don't want to live somewhere else." I then realized that this conversation was just too heavy for an almost 4 year old. So I told you that you could live with Mama and Papa forever.

That seemed to satisfy you and we moved on to talking about your birthday toy wish list.

I fully know that chances are, you will grow up and move out. But someday I hope you get to read this, and know that once upon a time you were my sweet, innocent, vulnerable little girl who wanted to live with Mama and Papa forever.

I love you little one.

PS- Please forgive my incorrect quotations format. I can't remember all the rules and I don't feel like Googling it. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To my firstborn on her first day of school


Today you started K4. You are 3 years and 9 months old. I cannot believe we are here. Last night, I was trying so hard to re-experience the feeling of holding and rocking you as a little baby. My mind can remember doing it, but the feelings are not the same. I have enjoyed you in all your stages, but I do wish some days that we could go back, just for a short while, and you could really be my baby again.

I know that K4 is not always "school". But, you are attending K4 at a pretty strict private Christian school. Not a daycare. And next year you'll be in Kindergarten. And then first grade, then 11 more grades. So today is the start of 14 years (gulp!) of academics for you. Wow.

You have had mixed emotions leading up to today, as have I. We have done our best to help you be excited, while still validating and calming your fears. You have been scared about us "leaving you there". But, per your usual, you were excited last night and this morning, and when I walked you into class, you took on the unknown very well. There were no tears from either of us, although after I left you at that big school in the hands of "the unknown" to some degree, I did get a little misty.

Time passed quickly for Caleb and I. He napped, I did housework. It was peaceful. Just a few hours later, I met you at your bus stop. You got off the bus and as I was buckling you in and you were telling me all about your day, I almost lost it. My little baby I love so much had done her first day of school, and loved it, and was now experiencing the big, wide world.

Sophia I want you to know that I am so privileged to be your mommy. You are God's gift and responsibility to us. As we have gone to Open House, and Orientation, it occurred to me that up until now, you have only known stardom in your life. You are so very loved and doted on. At school, while you will be cared for, there will be many many other children also needing attention. You will be in a "herd" of sorts. No one there, or in the world really, loves you and cherishes you like we do. So I hope you grow up knowing that.

I love you very much Sophie Bear. It is bittersweet to see you grow and go. But, just like we thought and you proved by your response today, you are more than ready. May our house and our arms be the place that loves you most and prepares to you to take on the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Whole30 Review

So I first heard about Whole30 a year or so ago in an online fitness challenge group. At the time it seemed radical and impossible (especially since I was pregnant and the thought of healthy food made me queasy). But then, I saw another blogger do it. And then I heard a couple at church did it. I was coming out of the mommy fog, and needing to do something about that lingering pregnancy weight. I was also really tired of craving sweets ALL.THE.TIME.

So, I gave the website a browse. It didn't seem toooo hard. Another friend of mine said she wanted to join in, and John agreed to do it too. We both of course want to be healthy, but our main motivation was weight loss.

So I printed out their shopping list, took an afternoon and clarified butter, made mayo and ranch, and meal planned. All in all I probably put in 6 hours of prep time before we started, and about 2-3 hours grocery shopping at 2 stores.

I will be honest, it takes planning, cooking, and kitchen cleaning. You'll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I don't really mind cooking, so it isn't too bad. I also limited my involved recipes to only twice a week or so. I'm not spending 2 hours a day cooking and cleaning up.

Tonight is our last night of round one. We plan to take the weekend off, then start another round. I will say that I never really had withdrawal symptoms, and I also never really felt "Tiger's Blood" energy that some do. But, I am happy in knowing we are eating much much better food, and setting a better food example. I have lost 5.5 pounds and John has lost 15. Men! I was hoping for more dramatic loss, but, we probably ate more potatoes and bacon than we should have. We are going to try and be more conscientious about that next round.

These are the store bought foods we found essential:
Coconut Aminos (our Publix sells a brand, and it's available online too, used like Soy Sauce)
Coconut milk
Nuts roasted in approved oils (cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts)
Tomato paste, tomato sauce
Extra light olive oil (for making mayo)
Fruit for snacking
Almond butter
Apple juice (John used this to flavor his LaCroix seltzers)
Apple cider vinegar
Nutpods (a compliant coffee creamer sold on Amazon, for John, I don't drink coffee)
Unsweetened flake coconut (our Publix carried Bob's Red Mill brand)
Bacon (our local family owned butcher shop sells nitrate free uncured bacon)
Alexia brand hash browns (in the freezer section)
Sam's Choice Angus Beef Patties
Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausages (Publix)

And these are the recipes we tried and liked:
Mayo- I have an immersion blender which made it super easy. If you're freaked out by raw eggs, you can pasteurize them yourself on the stove, I did it for one batch)
Ranch Dressing
Ketchup (I actually combined the seasonings from this one and this one, and omitted the fish sauce, and added water til it got the consistency I wanted)
Marinara/Pasta Sauce (to make Spaghetti over Zoodles)
Turkey Sausage Patties
Paleo Breakfast Bowl
Smoky Sweet Potato Hash
Monkey Salad
Chicken Salad (I could eat gobs of this)
Meatloaf  (I did not make the gravy)
Rosemary Pork Burgers
Chocolate Chili
Hamburger Pie (I used some of the Alexia hashbrowns as a crust)
Garlic Ginger Chicken
Ground Beef and Brussel Sprouts (I added Coconut Aminos)
Apple Cider Vinegar Pork
Shepherd's Pie (I topped with potatoes instead of cauliflower and ground beef instead of lamb)
Mustard Balsamic Chicken
Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
Cracklin' Chicken
Zesty Chicken Bites
Chicken Fajita Bowls
Zucchini Sweet Potato Latkes
Lazy Sunday Pot Roast

Then we'd have dinner salads, chicken stir fry, taco salad, and John smoked a pork shoulder. During the work week we mostly had variations of scrambled eggs, or Monkey Salad. We do bigger cook breakfasts once a week on the weekends. I mostly made double batches of dinner so we could have it for lunch the next day. If I didn't we usually had a salad topped with protein, or a chicken sausage link. For out and about food, we made trail mix with our nuts and raisins. We would have three meals and usually one snack a day.

We didn't have the best Whole30 you can, we could eat more veggies and therefore less meat and potatoes, but we ate veggies at least once a day, and we had NO ADDED SUGARS! for 30 days!!!!!

I also thought these 3 sites had lots of good Whole30 resources
Also want to point out that you really have to read labels- things you think would be approved, sometimes aren't. When 70% of manufactured foods have added sugar, it can be pretty hard to avoid and pop-up in places you don't think of!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Three month catchup

I've wanted so many times to write, but always let other things come first. The opportunity to watch some TV with the hubs, an extra long snuggle at bedtime, unfolded laundry, unmade lunches.

Anyway the kids are at grandma's for the night/half the day, and the hubs is still sleeping. So this is it. Heck I probably wouldn't even be here except my sewing area isn't usable right now.

My what a full three months. The adjustment to two children was hard. Like, really hard. Like, as hard as they all warned you about hard. And although some mom guilt still lingers about how much less time for Sophia I have now, for the most part I am adjusted. I know how much effort it will take to leave the house, run errands, get dinner made, get anything done. I don't know how the single mommas do it. Even just this week after being out of thouse 4 hours with 5 different stops with the kids by myself exhausted me both physically and mentally. More so the latter. Even though I know how much safer car seats make life, it sure would be so much easier if I lived in the day when kids just hopped in the car and the babies laid on a pillow in the back! Ha! Can you imagine? Getting those kids in and out of the car seats multiple times is like ninja tug of war.

John is progressing through school. His spring semester was rough, throwing that new baby in the mix. But by God's grace and mercy he made it through. The summer semester is going much better so far, and I can finally realistically envision his completion. Less than a year to go. We can do this! He doesn't have time for many hobbies, but he is perfecting his chef status with his smoker he got for Christmas. He enjoys smoking various meats and experimenting with different seasonings and techniques. And we enjoy the results :) He also still keeps red worms. Much to the dismay of our fly-filled garage. Ha.

Sophia is growing too fast. She has finally, FINALLY, finally become potty-trained! I should insert a dancing GIF clip here. We felt like this would never happen. But after two visits to the GI doctor where we got better instruction on using her medicine and suggestions on behaviors and routines, it's finally happened. The last hurdle was climbed when the doctor had a few "man to man" words with her and told her she was too big for diapers and needed to try the potty at least once a day, and that she was no longer going to use diapers at nap time. After a couple days of no diapers at nap, when I went to put on her bedtime one, she vehemently told me that the doctor said she was not allowed to wear diapers to bed anymore. I tried to explain that was for nap, (thinking surely she would flood the bed at night) but she persisted. So, we went with it. I double layered the mattress protectors and fitted sheet for a quick middle-of-the-night change if needed. I'm happy to say our accidents have been fairly infrequent.

And so, now that we're diaper free, and the changing pad has been sold. A new world has opened for her. She will be going to preschool this fall. Kindergarten 4 actually. I can't believe it. My baby. We toured the school yesterday. She is still uncertain, and understandably so. I'm still very mixed in my emotions. I have a good feeling that she is going to enjoy it and excel at it. But I also have a few short memories of my own of when I first started preschool, and how terrified I was of my momma leaving me in that big, strange place. My heart hurts to think she might feel that way at first. It's a half-day program with lots of potty breaks, and even snack time with milk and cookies. But it's also academically challenging. If she meets their highest goals she will be reading short sentences by school year's end.

She still adores her brother. Only occasionally does she ask me to let someone else care for him so she can have my time instead. But 99% of the time she wants him to lay next to her, wants to hold him for a little bit, wants to smell his head (all the time!), kiss him, and give him a hug. She often climbs into his crib in the morning to talk to him and coo at him and fawn over him. It's adorable and we are so fortunate. I'm excited for when he can be more physically interactive with her. But his squeals, coos, and smiles thrill us to bits for now.

That brings me to sweet Caleb. He is so cuddly. I think I had forgotten how enjoyable a baby can be. I enjoyed Sophia so much as a toddler that I'd started to think tiny babies were kind of boring. Well, he isn't to me. Don't get me wrong, those first 6-12 weeks are hard. And when they are totally non-interactive and you're desperate for sleep, things are kinda "boring". But now that he's smiling and squealing we're just falling all over ourselves at his cuteness. The other morning we were all in the bed together just enjoying "The Caleb Show" and I felt so blessed. He really cries very little. Only when he is tired or hungry. Over the last month he's started sleeping through the night, in his crib. We still use his swing for naps quite a bit. At his 4 month checkup, he was 17 pounds and 26.5 inches with an 18 inch head. He's over 85th percentile for height and weight, and his big ole head is off the charts. For any collared non-stretch pullover shirt he has to have 9-12 months to get it over his big head! His 6 month onesies are getting snug. I did not anticipate him growing so quickly, so I've had to get him larger warm-weather clothes. Thank goodness for second-hand!

We are a one dog household now. Poor sweet devoted Ernie was falling apart after Caleb's arrival. He so craves constant affection, and there just wasn't time to give him any. He was constantly escaping the yard, whining, and getting in the way in general. He went to live with a lady about an hour from us who has several acres, two other Bostons, and no kids. She has sent us a couple update photos and he seems very happy. Eby has become a little more affectionate in his absence, but still remains chill and at times even aloof. And we are totally ok with that. She also sleeps with Sophia at night. That makes everyone happy. Sophia and Eby both don't like to sleep alone, and John and I both don't like Eby in our bed :)

We are currently on Day 10 of a Whole30 program. I had lost all the pregnancy weight, and then gained 12 pounds of it back. I was looking for a way to knock out my insane sugar cravings, and lose weight. Of course setting healthier eating habits is good too :) I have to say that overall, so far, it hasn't been too bad. I plan to do a review post with recipe links once we've completed our first round.

We are going to Wyoming in August! We'll spend a week in the Mayberry-esque town my mother in law (aka Grammy) moved to almost a year ago. We'll visit Yellowstone, pet ponies, and tour her small rural critical access hospital. John hopes to get a job there when he finishes school, and I've committed to live there a year in order for him to realize his dream of living "out west" in Big Sky country. This city girl is nervous about that!

Well, I've been at this an hour and my growling tummy says I better get some healthy food in there before I make a poor choice! See ya'll next time!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Caleb's Birth Story

So I had to go back and see how long it's been, to know where to start this time. It has been 7 months. Wow. Who knows how long it will be before I crack this thing open again, but I really wanted to make sure our second child's birth was written about.

So, we found out the second was a boy, as you may have already guessed. We were really quite shocked, even though we didn't really have a preference, turns out we thought we were having another girl more than we realized.

This time around, I was induced at 39 weeks and 2 days. I've known since Sophia's birth and the complications with it, that I would not be going past due with the second. My midwife told me that in the delivery room. I was also advised to cut "white" carbs in the last trimester of this pregnancy to avoid any unnecessary weight gain. Basically, Sophia almost didn't fit, and so this time I needed to have a smaller baby. Which is tricky because subsequent babies, and boy babies, tend to be bigger. But, I managed to only gain about 5 pounds total my third trimester, so I did good. And I didn't gain an unhealthy amount overall either (23 pounds).

At 35 weeks I had a full ultrasound to check health and guesstimate weight. At that time he was running average, putting him on track to be 8.5 pounds at 40 weeks. At my second to last appointment, when we got serious about setting a plan, I was actually offered a scheduled cesarean. Apparently this is something they're required to counsel you about, because mothers who have experienced a shoulder dystocia are at higher risk for recurrence, and the only definitive way to avoid this is to avoid a vaginal birth. I declined the offer, wanting to at least give my body and baby a chance.

By 39 weeks even, I was 2cm dilated, and around 80% effaced, but still at -2 station (head was not engaged in the pelvis aka baby hadn't "dropped"). So I went in at midnight for a Cytotec induction. I was pretty familiar with this routine from Sophia's birth. When they placed me on the monitors, I was actually already having contractions, but they weren't really painful and some I couldn't even feel. I had my medication and then we proceeded to try and sleep.

At my 6am check, there was really no change. In fact the nurse thought I was more like 60% effaced. She had said this when I checked in. No big deal, these things are an estimate and vary upon the person doing the exam. I was contracting regularly, but still not particularly painfully. So, a second dose of Cytotec was placed and again, we tried to rest.

Some time around 7am John went and got breakfast and snuck me some too. My midwife came and did my 8am check. Still no real change. I was borderline that they could even give another Cytotec because I was contracting so much. I could feel them all at this point, but they were still manageable. Like a 4-5 of 10 on the pain scale. They decided to place a third dose. My midwife remarked that I have a "stubborn body".

At my 10am check, still no change. Things were starting to get concerning. We made a plan to get up, walk the halls, sit on the yoga ball, try and get his head to descend. So I did that for 2 hours. My midwife came by on her lunch hour and checked me. STILL no change. At this point we discussed options. I asked if we could try Pitocin. I was advised that that wasn't really a great option because A) I probably couldn't get an effective dose because I was already contracting so frequently and B) My cervix still wasn't ripe/favorable. That was the intention of the Cytotec. I asked about getting an epidural just to see if my body wasn't relaxed and that was hindering things. I was told again because my dilation was so minimal, and epidurals slow things down, that I would just likely stop any progress I might make. We were basically down to A) Keep going how I was and wait another possibly umpteen hours to see if  I would progress B) Go home and see if things progressed naturally and if not return later for another induction and C) A cesarean.

Because Cytotec is given every 4 hours if needed, I had until 2pm to decide. It was frustrating to be having regular contractions that were ineffective. John and I discussed it, and with a peace in my heart, we decided to proceed with the cesarean if there wasn't any progress. We had kind of "been there done that" with an extremely long, painful, exhausting induction before. We had also gone home and returned for a second induction before. Neither of those did us any good. I continued to walk, rock, sit on the ball. My contractions ramped up just a little in intensity, and in fact I started to feel them a twinge more in my back than my front, but sitting on the ball and leaning on the bed made them bearable.

So the moment of truth arrived. My midwife's attending physician came in. The felt my belly and agreed they did not think this was an overly large baby. However, I had still not really made any progress. His head was still very high. Then the doctor/surgeon gave us the big talk. He again reiterated our options, that this was not an emergency, and we could go home. Without any hard numbers he told us "We can try and deliver you vaginally and you probably will not have another shoulder dystocia. Or we can do a cesarean and you definitely will not have a shoulder dystocia and it's highly unlikely that you will have any complications. Unfortunately we have to do hundreds of cesareans to avoid one devastating shoulder dystocia." My midwife also advised me that since I am not a first time mom, my body should have responded to the medication, but it did not. I actually had a better response to it the first time around than I did the second. By now, my body should be able to more easily produce the hormones needed for delivery, but it was not.

At this point, I got a little shaky in our earlier decision. I didn't want to go home, but I didn't want a cesarean. I also didn't want to labor forever only to again have complications at delivery. Now the surgery was staring me in the face, and my providers wouldn't help to sway me with a personal opinion. The decision was solely in my hands and I would be responsible for the repercussions.

After talking with John again, and having a cry of fear about surgery and the loss of my hoped for vaginal birth, we decided for the surgery. The anesthesiologist came in and because I could only say for certain that the last time I had water and ice chips was 2pm, my surgery couldn't be done until 4pm. And I had to take an AWFUL medication called Bicitra. It's a liquid and it tastes absolutely horrible, and you can't have any chasers. Thankfully I didn't vomit right then and there.

Then my nurse began prepping me. IV fluids, antibiotics, a shave (that was a surprise to me!), a hospital gown, and sequential compression devices (leg squeezers to prevent blood clots). I was asked to get in bed for all of this, and about 3pm when they were all done, we were left alone. It was weird in comparison to all the checks I was getting before. Well, the bed was the most uncomfortable place during contractions, which were still coming very frequently. I tried to be compliant, but about 20-30 minutes in, I got back on the ball. The pain was starting to really localize to my back again, and leaning forward really helped that. My midwife came in just before the surgery, and by then I was breathing through contractions. Things were intensifying. I told her these were beginning to feel like the horrific contractions I had with Sophia.

She offered to check me one last time. Just to be sure I wasn't rapidly changing. Nope. She said his head was in "North Dakota". So off I went for my surgery.

I walked into the operating room and got up on the narrow table. I had a sweet woman for an anesthesiologist who was like a mother figure. That turned out to be such a blessing. They put in my spinal. I felt some shooting pains into my butt and down my back a few times, but it wasn't too bad. Then the numbness set in. I wasn't prepared for just how numb you are. My only experience was with my laboring epidural for Sophia. Of course for surgery they want you completely numb, and I appreciate that; it just took me by surprise. It's a very surreal experience.

Then they laid me down and things got intense. They started scrubbing my belly, putting in my foley catheter, getting me hooked up to all the monitors for anesthesia, propping me tilted just slightly to one side. There were a lot of things being done to my body at once and I had no control over any of it. I started to freak out. I started talking about how I was feeling- because talking was the only thing I really could do of my own free will. I told them I felt really weird. My midwife asked if I was nauseous? I wasn't sure. Then a minute later I was sure. They gave me meds for that. Then I felt like I couldn't breathe. My sweet anesthesiologist was stroking my forehead, and explained to me that the spinal makes my rib muscles numb, so that my brain is not aware they exist and are rising and falling as my lungs work normally. I was concerned because I even felt tingling all the way to the underside of my arms, down to my fingers. She again assured me this was normal. She told me what I knew- they were monitoring all my vital signs and they are normal.

At this point I felt so bizarre and "out of body" that I asked if they could just put me out. My midwife said "You want to be awake to see your baby." I told her I did not. I told her I thought this was supposed to be the "easy way out" to have a baby. I said a lot of things. It was quite an experience.

Then, the surgeon and John came in. I immediately grabbed his hand. I was in desperate need of some normalcy and comfort. Then the surgery got underway. John watched a little. He said he couldn't watch it all because it's different when the person they are cutting on is your wife. My midwife warned me just as they were about to deliver him that I was going to feel like she was standing on my chest and I couldn't breathe, but it would be ok. Thankfully I did NOT have that sensation.

And then- they pulled him out. Crying and flailing. The surgeon brought him around really quick. I cried a little. It was odd to hear him come out crying, because Sophia was silent due to her circumstances. I knew in my head he was born, but I was so overwhelmed with all the feelings going on from the surgery that I couldn't really focus on him too much. John went over to the warmer, re-cut his cord, took some photos, watched him get weighed and checked out, etc. My surgeon and midwife proceeded to do all the uterine checking and cleaning. I heard my midwife ask the anesthesiologist if I had Pitocin infusing. I did. They continued their work and she asked again about Pitocin and the anesthesiologist said it was running "wide open". "She's boggy" my midwife said. Being that I'm an RN and have worked in women's health, I got concerned. I just said "Jesus". My midwife heard me and said "It's ok". Then the anesthesiologist gave me an injection in my arm. I knew it was Methergine. Things were fine after that and when they were doing all the sponge/needle/instrument counts and calling out all the facts of that case they said my estimated blood loss was 600ml. That was within normal limits.

John came back and they brought the baby to see me. I kissed him but didn't feel prepared to hold him. I was still very inwardly focused. All the staff were talking about how cute he was. I was proclaiming to my midwife that no one should dare ask me about a third child. She said "But they're so cute when you have them".

John went off to the nursery with him, and the staff got me transferred back into a bed. Oh my, it feels so unsafe and like they are going to just roll you right off the table onto the floor. I knew in my head that was not the case, but it's still how it felt. They wheeled me just across the hall into recovery. I started having the post-op shakes. Oh man that was the pits. I had them for two whole hours. On top of that I was feeling super drowsy from the Duramorph spinal, plus they also gave me Benadryl IV in surgery for my second bout of nausea. The Duramorph also made me mildly itchy. But I asked them not to give me any Benadryl for that because I was already so zonked.

During some of my post-op checks the nurse had to massage out some clots. Let me tell you how fun it is to get a deep tissue abdominal massage right above a 7 inch fresh surgical incision. It is NOT. She was very empathetic about it and I knew it was necessary, and I managed to resist the urge to swat her hands away.

Things got better as time passed. The nurses brought the baby and tried to help me breastfeed him, but he was sleepy and so was I. I think I held him. That period is a little foggy for me from all the drugs.

About 6pm John went and got Sophia. Oh my it was so sweet her meeting "her baby brother". John helped her hold him and he was sleeping. She said "I thank the Lord he maked my baby to sleep". She ooohed and ahhed and fussed over him. She almost had a complete meltdown when John told her she had to leave me and Caleb at the hospital. That part was bittersweet.

So, that is my recollection of how Caleb came into this world. For the second time the birth did not go as I hoped or planned, and for the second time I brought home a healthy baby anyway. This birth thing is tough!

Caleb E. White. February 5, 2016. 4:35pm 7 pounds 14 ounces, 19.75 inches

Sophia and Caleb meet for the first time

Proudest big sister