Sunday, August 29

On picnics, sleeping, and loving babies

I've been writing in this blog a lot more recently. It isn't really that I have nothing to do, as I often wonder. Perhaps it's that I have comparatively nothing to do, when looking back at the past 6 months. It's definitely because writing helps me to relax and unwind. Greta is happily asleep now. We were at an Italian picnic today and I ate so much food! I would say "more food than I could have imagined eating" but that is no longer true after being preggo with Greta. I ate an absurd amount of food during that second trimester. As in, more food than my husband. If you know him at all, you would appreciate what a feat that is. But this time around, I haven't been as hungry, or else too tired or busy to eat. I'm already to the end of the second trimester and I wouldn't describe myself as insatiably hungry. But today... I'd like to say I've eaten enough for three days, but I'm finding myself munchy again a mere 6 hours later. However, I was so tired after chasing Greta around in the sun while Josh played bocchi (sp?) ball. When we returned home, I fell asleep for about 3 hours. How decadent! Josh amused and fed Greta during that time. Being able to sleep so long and uninterruptedly is akin to heaven-on-earth.

I had a moment with Greta when I was putting her to bed. 3 hours of sleeping by myself and I found myself missing her very much. So I gave her a bath, lotioned her up, put her 'jammies on her, gave her a glass of water, and carried her around the room while we tidied it up. She isn't much of a cuddler, but recently has taken to snuggling on my belly. I suppose that the increasing squishiness of my torso makes it a desirable pillow. I also suspect that it is comforting to have the boobs nearby even if her mean mommy won't nurse her. :) Well, we laid in bed and she draped herself over my belly and fell asleep. Looking at her sleep, with her sweet, innocent, little face so restful and reposed, so utterly trusting and content, sent shivers of ecstasy up my spine. Her chubby little arm lay over my chest like a hug, her soft head nestled under my chin. Looking down, I could see my tummy bumping around as Baby Boy tried to make himself comfortable. All over, I could feel myself both giving love, security and peace, and receiving it. If I died just then, I could honestly say that I died perfectly happy.

Really, babies are such a beautiful gift. It is beyond cliche to say that, but it wasn't until I had mine that I realized the truth in that, as well as many other simple sayings. Like anything in life worth having, they required much work, self sacrifice, dedication, patience, and good ol' stick-to-itness. The rewards, like most things of this nature, are hard to put into human words or to describe with justice. Yet it's one of those things that you "know it when you have it." Maybe that's what is meant when babies are described as "miracles." A miracle is something not humanly possibly, something of God. Being of God, it beggars description. In my case, at least, nothing in my experience compares to the joy of one's children. Perhaps this joy is God's way of making up for the sorrow that children can and do cause you later... as is the case in my family of 6 kids. But even knowing this only makes my love for my babies more intense.

Love is a funny thing. I have this fear that I will not love my other children as much as I love Greta... while feeling like I'm doing wrong by Greta to love any other babies as much as I do her. Yeah, mothers are a special bunch! But as I lay in bed with Greta, thinking about this, it occurred to me that love is not something that has to be expendable. Love can be, and I suspect is, unlimited. Instead of running out of love, your capacity to love simply increases. So the more people you truly love, the more people you have in your life to love, the fuller a person you are. Think about it... the happiest people you will know are those people who have loved much. I think back to my early relationship with Josh. When we were first married, I thought I loved him as much as humanly possible. Then I got to know him better and grew to see myself more clearly. We stumbled down bumpy roads together, laughed together, fought together, and discovered more of ourselves in loving the other. In this process, my ability to love him increased. However, I think that this "ability to love" process is accelerated when you have children. For one, if you don't love them, find joy in the them, laugh over them, life becomes very unpleasant very quickly. Secondly, God made kids especially lovable. They're just that way.

Yes, did I mention that writing is relaxing to me? Well, it worked this time. Sorry for a long and rambley topic.

Starting to think about delivering again.

Uh oh. Last night, before falling asleep, it hit me like a load of bricks that I have to deliver another baby in a few short months... 15 weeks if we go the full 40, which Greta did not. Now you veteran moms of "real" deliveries might smirk a little that I'm worrying about this. After all, Greta's birth was nothing short of a freak birth. Which leaves me with the vague feeling that I've never really "delivered" a baby. No, this isn't a beg for sympathy post, but more of an attempt to make sense out of the apprehension I'm experiencing. Giving birth is scary, especially if you see it coming, as I did not with Greta. God knows what everyone needs, and apparently I needed to not be conscious of the fact that I was having a baby! Well, I have a sense that Greta's birth is not going to repeat itself. Since I have a well-concealed wagering streak in me, here's my prediction. This next birth is going to be more typical. I say I'll deliver some time between Thanksgiving and my due date, December 15th. I would really like to have a water birth this time. Hopefully the midwife will be here this time, but hopefully not early enough to make me anxious about a stranger sitting around in my house. The labor will be longer and I'll know it's happening. The baby will weigh about 7 lbs. Beyond that, I have no idea. I hope Baby will healthy and normal. I hope Greta will behave herself. Oh, did I tell you that we're planning for another homebirth? Yup. Josh's mom will probably be coming down to stay with us around Thanksgiving, until after the baby's born. She'll be around to help out with Greta, which is a good thing. I just hope that for my sake, the presence of an extra person in the house doesn't stress me out more in the last few weeks. Luckily, she is a very low-maintenance m.i.l., so I'm not too concerned. It's going to be winter when this baby is born. I wonder how that will work out. Greta was an early summer baby, so we had lots of wonderful walks together from Day 1. I wonder what it will be like to be home-bound with two babies and a husband who is working.

Did I ever mention I have a special skill for borrowing trouble? :)

I guess part of it is that with Baby 1, you don't have any idea of what to expect. With Baby 2, you sort of know what to expect, but then you don't because every birth, every baby is different, and you also have a better idea of what can go wrong. With most women, it seems like their second birth is much easier than the first. Since mine was as easy as could possibly be with the first, deductive reasoning tells me that the second is going to be much harder. How's that for optomistic thinking?

Well, here's to the third trimester and all the weight I'm going to gain :) Stats update. 25 weeks, weight 135-7. This baby is measuring 1 1/2 weeks larger that he is! So much for the nutrient-deprived baby I thought I was carrying through the house construction. Apparently he thrives on fast food and construction dust.

Friday, August 27

Fashion Sense on a Dime

I was planning on writing the second installment of my supplements/vitamins entry, but I'm just not feeling it tonight. I still have the remnants of my distaste at reading what a fashion editor for InStyle magazine can buy with a fall fashion budget of $2,000 hanging over me. Last night, I was talking to Josh about that and how impractical this is for the average woman who supports a family, depends on her husband to support her family, and can't justify spending $2,000 on anything other everyday bills. So why read InStyle? Ummm... a guilty pleasure that makes me feel like even if I can't afford or wouldn't want to afford everything they're pushing, I can still see what people are wearing and copy the ideas in a practical manner.

Because the fact of the matter is, you really don't have to spend a fortune to look up-to-date, chic, or well-dressed. I find comfort in telling myself that bargain shopping, or budget shopping is an art form. It takes no skill or intelligence at all to go out and buy an outfit off a manikin in Bloomingdale's. It takes a lot of persistence, patience, fashion savvy, and most of all, luck, to recreate a similar look from low end stores, thrift stores, clearance racks, or your own closet. So I find that InStyle is a good place to go for ideas. And c'mon... it's starting to feel like fall here. If that doesn't make you feel like a wardrobe adjustment or update, then you're a lot less materialistic than I, and good for you. But for all you ladies who feel the call of nature, then read on because I've distilled some of the more note worthy ideas from this issue's InStyle. :)

Cool styling tip - any of you moms or students wake up with red in your eyes? I do... all the time. Apparently, blue eyeshadow or eye liner makes the whites of your eyes look whiter. Cool, huh? And if your eyes are bloodshot or have dark circles under them, stay away from brown or purple eyeshadows because those colors intensify the discoloration.

What's everyone wearing - Honestly, as far as I could tell, EVERYTHING. Animal skin prints, gold metalics, something called "minimalism" (which just looks plain and ugly), and over-the-knee boots. One thing that definitely looks like it is out is flare leg jeans. Not news, huh? Yeah, well, I haven't exactly been following fashion in the past year. Everyone is wearing skinny jeans. But please, do everyone a favor and go with straight leg or bootcut if you aren't built for skinny jeans. If you don't know what that means, then just walk around the Gallup WalMart with me and you'll see pretty quickly. Some of the new fashion ideas I really liked (because honestly, I can't see myself sporting gold leggings or lepard skin coats) were the heavy bracelets, which instantly dress up any simple outfit, and the lovely, mid-calf, full skirts that are coming back into style after a long and sad hiatus. I just love the second one.
Maybe it's just me, but the look is so feminine, classic, 50's, and just ahhhhhh!.

Quick fall wardrobe update - I liked the idea of adding an earth-toned blazer to your collection. You can wear it over a simple summer dress or with a skirt, maybe add boots or a scarf, and you'll start smelling crisp leaves and bonfires. I checked Goodwill for a blazer or leather jacket today and had no success. But then, fitting any jacket is dicey when you're 25 weeks pregnant and are only getting bigger. You might have better luck.

Boots are a big deal right now. They are worn with everything, but the cropped pants/ankle boots stood out to me. However, I'm just not an ankle boot person, so I'm on the lookout for mid-calf boots that are narrow enough for my skinny legs. Maybe now that I'm preggo and fattening up....?

A couple more neat makeup ideas - Try using bronzer and a light blush together for a natural, light, everyday look. When you apply it, use a large brush and put it on in the shape of a number 3 - start on your forehead, then curve down to your cheeks, then down to your jawline. Accentuating your jawline lightly gives more definition to your face and helps to make your neck look longer. Random, isn't it? For a natural, easy lip tip, use a lipliner that matches your real lip color. Trace the outline of your lips with it, then fill in the middle area with plain ol' chapstick or a light lip gloss.

That's all for now. If I think of anything else interesting or read anything worth sharing, I'll post it later.

Thursday, August 26

Supplements, good things to eat, healthy thoughts in general - Part 1

Dear eager reader,

You are about to learn something about me which I have not hitherto revealed (Victorian English, how I love thee!). I think I've covered most of my primary interests in this blog already... babies (the making, bearing, delivering and raising of them), husbands (mine, anyhow), cooking, reading, movies, random observations... it's all here somewhere buried under a mysterious heading. But upon further reflection, I concluded that I've never given you my spiel on health foods, supplements, vitamins, and all that good stuff. I'm not sure why except that it just doesn't sound as interesting as say, how to select a good nursing bra. But believe me, it is. Every week, an array of supplements that promise to make me feel good, beautiful and in the prime of life waylay me at our local Co-op, and I cannot get to the checkout without first paying homage to their outstanding qualities. So let's just say I've tried a lot, talked to a lot smart, knowledgeable people, and spent A LOT of money, much to my dear husband's chagrin. So I'm no expert, but I do want to see what my other mommy friends, girl friends and the occasional health-nut guy friend are taking and why. I'll share my thoughts and impressions - why I take what I take and how it works - and we'll go from there.

First principle of supplements - don't over do it! The purpose of "supplements" is just that... to add something to the preexisting norm. In a perfect world and perfect diet scheme, we would eat all the nutrients we need from fruits, veggies, meats, whole grains, etc. However, we don't, so we add to our lousy, American diets. So how do you not over do the supplements? Try first to improve your overall diet. Watch what is going into that shopping cart. Shop the circumference of the store... the veggies and fruits, the meats, dairy products, etc. first. I know my friends and so I'm not going to preach about what is a balanced diet, but I've been paying special attention to what we're eating since I'm rather guilt-ridden about all the fast food we ate during the house remodeling, and am seriously trying to hone in our eating habits. Make sure you are eating a wide variety of different colored veggies for proper nutritional support. The Bradley birth method, which focuses on keeping you healthy during pregnancy so that you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, so that you can have a natural birth, recommends that pregnant women eat leafy greens every day, yellow veggies twice a week... and you'll have to look up the rest because I'm drawing a blank here :)

Second principle - NEVER NEVER buy supplements at WalMart or your local drugstore. Ok, all my non-hippy friends can start throwing things at me about now and telling me how they can't afford to do otherwise. But here's why. The processing of the supplement makes all the difference as to whether your body can absorb the supplement or not. So you might be religiously taking your Women's Prenatal or Daily Multiple and your body may not be able to use any of the minerals there. Why? First, because the nutrients and minerals therein are synthetic, as in, your body does not recognize them as food and therefore, does not know what to do with them, and out they go with your waste. Second, while the supplement may claim to be "all natural," the processing of the supplement may have destroyed whatever nutrients were originally present. The most infamous offenders are your traditional, hard pressed pills. The heat and compounding destroys the good stuff your body needs. Gel caps or powders are usually more easily assimilated by your body.

Third principle - Sorry friends, real supplements are not cheap. Which is why the WalMart option is understandably attractive. But look at it this way. You are healthy and good looking now. Wouldn't you rather spend some money now to invest in your future well-being?  Think of the time you spend PMSing, having colds, enduring menstrual cramps, dealing with headaches and dizziness. Oftentimes, eating properly and using the correct supplements are the "ounce of prevention" that prevents the "pound of cure." 

So what DO you use or should you use? Well, the hard answer is do your research. Things to look for? Raw foods, organic, freeze dried, cold-processed... all are good things to look for. A midwife or your chiropractor are outstanding resources for good supplements. I'm not pushing one variety of supplement over another. Check my next post if you're interested in what I've taken or am taking, like, dislike, and why.

Sunday, August 22

A nothing post

I'm just in a mood to write something, but haven't the foggiest what I am going to write about. So....

For the last few days, Josh and I have been 'nesting.' Oh yes, guys do it, too, only theirs is more obsessive-compulsive. He's been organizing the basement, which I swear to God will become his man-cave. With all the beer bottles down there, it already looks the part. Throw in some tools, a comfy chair, and a large ass TV and there you have it. I, in the mean time, have been "home making" upstairs... my territory. My kitchen is turning into a thing of beauty and joy forever and my bathrooms... well, I don't want to make anyone jealous :) The reality is that they are small, with no trim or floorboards, and the ceiling in one isn't painted. But they are mine and there is not one, but two of them. I have obsessed for my entire married life about renting or owning a place with two bathrooms. And now I do. Hence, joy and gladness.

Last night, we raided WalMart for furniture, and as usual, I came back victorious and slightly more broke than I went. I found a coffee table for 10 dollars. Granted, the top is probably paper, but it's sturdy enough and matches all the dark wood furniture in the living room. I'm living another dream here... matching furniture.

This week, after Josh finishes up another exam, we are moving Greta out of our bedroom. This is indeed bittersweet. I like having her nearby, I love watching her sleep, I HATE nursing her now. She is 15 months old and since pretty much the moment I got pregnant, it has been torturous to nurse her. Yes, she has teeth, but I think it's more because the pregnancy makes my nipples sore (sorry, TMI....). Ok, not just sore, horribly painfully sore. And I've put up with this for her good for 6 months now. Time to go, Greta. The thing is that she doesn't even nurse to eat, she nurses for comfort when Mommy is too tired or lazy to get up and feed her. This can be understandable because sometimes she takes it into her head to be starving at midnight, 3am, or 6am... all inappropriate times for small children to be eating, as far as I'm concerned. So hopefully, getting her into her own room will help along this weaning process. Wish me luck.

Well, the hubs is out of the shower and we have our midnight snack of ice cream to eat. I love that husband of mine!

Sunday, August 15

The State of New Home Owner-dom

And.... we're in. Moved in on July 28th, if my foggy memory serves correctly. What a time. I think I have blocked out most of the ugly parts, leaving just a vague feeling of exhaustion and goose-bumpiness when I think back on the last two weeks of July. I remember crying my head off the first night at the house when all the boxes, tools, and appliances stacked in our bedroom and living room threatened to eat me alive. Luckily, Josh came to my rescue and cleared out our bedroom so there was some semblance of normal living in which to sleep. Ahh, those pregnancy hormones'll always get you.

Since that unpleasant 'first night,' things have gradually gone uphill. Not one day has past since that some project has not been completed. I have Dan and Zaz to thank for that. Eliza was on perpetual Greta-duty, to the point that Greta thought Eliza was some unpaid servant of hers. Daniel and I knocked out small and large projects together (do not say "that's what she said," Daniel! Thanks to him, this summer has been one long, ongoing, "that's what she said" joke). Our latest and last was to landscape the front yard and finish the new bathroom. Seriously, that boy has learned some major house building skills. Don't know what we would have done had the two not come out this summer. Thank God for the gift of family.

Now the kids have gone home and all of a sudden, life seems to be settling down. The house is far from finished, but it is livable... very livable. And in spite of it's unfinished-ness, I'm beginning to detect what I call "beauty spots"... areas in a room that make me smile, sooth my nerves, bring a sense of peace and rightness to my soul. It might be as simple as a plant in the corner of a room, near a window, where the sun strikes it just so. Or it could be the serene shade of green I've painted our bedroom, which remains lovely no matter what the lighting or time of day. Sometimes, it is simply a room put in order or a clean floor. But once beauty spots start appearing, my house becomes my home. Today we uncovered a few more beauty spots when we cleaned out the future Greta room/current guest room. That room had been used to stash clutter, but in honor of Josh's friend coming to visit tonight, we scrubbed all the paint off the floor, swept up the plaster debris in between the walls, hung a curtain over the closet, put up a few pictures, stuck a plant by the window, made the bed, and there you go! A snug, cozy, happy room with yellow walls, blue curtains and a white rocking chair stuck strategically in the corner, where you fall asleep smelling pinon pines and watching the pine branches dance through the shadows of the filmy curtain. I'd stay.

So the long and the short of it is that yes, I like my new house. In fact, I may go so far as to say I love it. Of course there is lots to be done, but maybe it's also the unfinishedness of the house that I love as well. Working on it, caring for it, making it more beautiful and homey appeals to something in me...which is why I've always concluded that "homemaker" was my vocation. Finally, I have a home of my own to "make"... quite literally, too! Good lord, to this day, I cannot look at the walls in my bedroom without thinking of puttying and sanding said walls. I guess it will be that way for awhile.

El husbandito is calling me to see what he's done in the basement, so I will leave you to your imaginings about what this dream house actually looks like. Stay tuned next time or some time after that for pictures.