Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Crunchy Update

So much to share. Where to begin? Here it goes, in no particular order.

We are now eating grass-fed beef and pastured pork and chicken. Will be trying lamb soon..

Recently discovered The Green Polkadot Box. Think BJ's or Sam's but online. Their big thing is they do not carry a single item with GMO's.

Can't tell you enough about how much I love The Green Polkadot Box. Great prices, I can shop from home, while the baby sleeps, I can read ingredients, etc. Let's not forget that I don't drive and this way my poor husband doesn't have to suffer through his crunchy wife's analyzing of every single item that goes in the cart. Now that there are food sensitivities in our family and that I insist on avoiding GMO's there is a lot of reading going on when I shop.

 had gotten rid of table sugar. We were only using honey and maple syrup and we were getting used to smaller quantities. All that went out the window when I learned K is sensitive to both of those. Table sugar is ok but honey and maple syrup are not. What gives? Food sensitivities... What a journey...

Finally got us our first slow cooker two weeks ago. Totally in love! Dinner time is a hard time of day for K. Picture a mom with two kids, one hungry, one crying. It wasn't pretty. Now I get dinner going in the slow cooker after K's morning nap, when she is happy and playing independently for a while, and come 6:00 p.m. all we need to do is make plates.

Got an eight-quart slow cooker, so we have leftovers, which means lunch for the next day. Yummy and convenient.

Was making coconut milk at home for a while. Not doing that anymore because K is sensitive to it. Yes, she is sensitive to the world it seems!

There are so many recipes I want to try but that is on hold until we finish getting answers about K's food sensitivities. I have learned the hard way that it just isn't worth it to try new foods right now.

I have stopped using the microwave. We still own one; it just isn't used much. A lot of nutrients are lost when food is warmed up in the microwave and we have found that food tastes better if reheated in the toaster oven, so we are feeling like it is worth it to wait ten minutes for our food to be warm.

Karina is in cloth diapers, just as Arianna was. We started earlier this time, at two months. My plan was to start from day one, but she was tiny at birth and I was to avoid stairs for the first week or so. I decided to spare those helping me the extra laundry.

She is in Rumperooz pocket diapers and prefolds.

I am curious about essential oils and alternative remedies for colds and things like that but haven't gone up that learning curve yet.

Tips? I am all ears!

Very Overdue Update

So, way back when... I was pregnant with our second child and I was slowly getting crunchier, as we like to call it around here.

Fastforward to June 2013... Karina Elise was born on June 23, 2013. She weighed 6 lb 8 oz and was 20.5 inches tall. She was born at home. Yes, it was planned. Yes, we we were safe and accompanied by very experienced midwives. It was a beautiful experience, intense as every birth is. She took a while to join us Earthside. She was born at exactly 41 weeks. That being said, when she was ready to join us, there was no stopping her! We went for a walk at 12:30 p.m. and at 5:18 p.m. we had a baby! It all happened so fast my plans for a water birth went out the window.

Fastforward to today... Karina is almost eight months. She is a happy child. She squeals anytime she sees or hears her sister. Arianna loves her to pieces.

Karina has food sensitivities. That will be a whole other post. Food sensitivities, for me, have been a nightmare and a blessing in HUGE disguise. More on that another time.

Arianna is six years old. She is enjoying kinder garden. She is about to begin violin lessons. She is enjoying preparing salads for us, making her school lunch, among other cute and helpful things. Her favorite topic is "baby mustard." If you're reading my blog, you are likely a parent and you know what I'm talking about!

More later, maybe?!

Friday, November 2, 2012

We have a tiny baby and a very excited, not so tiny baby!

We had an ultrasound yesterday. Let's stop there for a sec! If you find yourself about to get an ultrasound during the first trimester of pregnancy, request a transvaginal ultrasound, really. You'll have to drink a lot of water for an abdominal ultrasound. You'll be so uncomfortable it will hurt, only to be told the baby is too small, so you need a transvaginal ultrasound after all.

So, the ultrasound... Baby was measuring seven weeks, two days, giving us a due date of June 18th. Heart rate was 132 beats per minute, so right on track.

Ari got to see the baby on the screen and the tech gave her a photo. She is one thrilled, happy big sister! My favorite part was when the tech handed her the photo and she was so happy she had watery eyes. Priceless.

I'm thinking I'm carrying a boy. Ari is hoping for a girl. For what it's worth, I was right last time! Let's see what we learn come mid January! In the meantime, I am enjoying Ari's happiness and her many questions. And I am feeling grateful for the lack of morning sickness this time around. I am super tired, but other than that, I feel great, especially when I crave chicken and my sweet husband runs out to pick up chicken at 9:30 p.m.! Poor guy!

Oh, and it goes without saying that I am thrilled to have another little one on the way after all the rethinking, trying, hoping and waiting!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Update on our trying to conceive adventure...

So, no baby yet, last I knew. On the upside, I finally have answers.

We did cycle day 3 blood work in April. Basically, on day three of your cycle, blood is drawn to determine whether or not your body has appropriate levels of certain hormones, such as estrogen. My blood work was normal, perfect, in fact.

We also did an HSG. The goal of this test is to find out if a fallopian tube is blocked. Again, normal. Both tubes were clear.

Seeing as how both tests came back normal I was told I should wait it out another few months. I could start taking a medicine that would support/cause ovulation. I decided against it for a number of reasons.

I know my body. I have noticed specific symptoms for a while now. I felt that all these symptoms should be addressed as a whole. I didn't know what exactly I needed, but, somehow, I knew there must be something else. Picture a puzzle. You know you're missing some pieces. You just don't know what they look like. That is how I felt.

So, I decided to get some advice, a second opinion. I met with a homebirth midwife. I knew she would not be able to help me directly, but I knew she would know who could. She recommended a hospital-based midwife and a Chinese medicine specialist.

So I did my research, braced myself for the expenses, and began scheduling appointments.

Must speed it up because it's bedtime! Now the crunchy mama drinks yucky cups of Chinese herbs twice a day! Did I ever mention that I am simply not a tea person. Every tea is beyond yucky to me, even chocolate and ginger, which I love! But, there you have it. I gagged the first few days, but I am used to it now.

I did a few sessions of acupuncture, but I am currently taking a break. I don't understand exactly how it would help and it is pricy. So I am focusing on the herbs and on traditional medicine.

I met with the hospital-based midwife. After asking me a few questions, she was fairly certain that my progesterone level post-ovulation is low. Basically, after you ovulate, your progesterone level rises. You can do a blood test four to six days post-ovulation. Ideally, you're about 18. If your level is lower you start a progesterone supplement.

Guess what? Yours truly is at SIX. We have tested the past two cycles. 7.2 last cycle and 6.4 this cycle.

Now, here is where I get incredibly frustrated. I shared a detailed list of symptoms with my old care provider. I specifically asked if having a short, light period means anything. She could have run the progesterone blood work last November.

Currently, I am allowing myself some time to feel the frustration so I can move on. I am grateful for this new midwife. I am grateful that I have answers and that there is something I can do. I am trying not to think about the possibility that, perhaps, I have conceived a number of times and the baby didn't implant because my progesterone level was low and the endometrium (uterine lining) was too thin.

I am ok with waiting. I really am. I have been thinking about another baby for 2.5 years now, in fact. But I do feel the need to get answers and keep moving, rather than doing nothing. Also, now it's not just about me. Ari really wants a sibling. She daydreams of having a sibling often. She sees families with two kids, talks about how she wants to be a big sister, take care of the baby, etc., etc.

At any rate, why am I sharing this? I am a very private person. But I opted to share my story because maybe it will help someone out there. Whether you are trying to conceive, you are ill, or whatever it is, go with your gut. If you don't feel that your provider is thorough, don't let the sense of loyalty stop you. Get a second opinion. I love how sweet, friendly and available my former provider is. But, clearly, that isn't enough. This is simply not her specialty. She is great at other things.

Oh, one more thing… Get yourself a support network. If you have a friend who is going through the same thing, great. If you don't, find forums/message boards. You will get emotional support and you will learn a lot. You will be better able to advocate for yourself if you know what questions to ask your provider.

Here is to hoping that Ari's sibling-to-be joins our family soon!

Mother's Day 2012

My last post was two months ago. Oops!

Making up for lost time. Here it goes!

Mother's Day this year was very low key but wonderful and beautiful. Ari understood what it was about and she had a lot of fun making plans with her dad. It was adorable!

The day before Mother's Day they went grocery shopping and came back with flowers. The funny thing is that daddy gets me flowers every now and then, a handful of them. He told Ari she could choose the flowers. And that she did! She picked a bouquet of 2 dozen flowers! You may want to rethink that next time, Daddy!

We had the flowers for three weeks. We would look at them almost every day. She would remember mother's day, would give me hugs, tell me how much she loves me, and how nice it was to pick out flowers for me.

On Mother's Day we went for a family bike ride.

As I said above, simple but definitely worth remembering. Some day, years from now, I'll be rereading old posts and I'll probably cry!

As for Father's Day, we are seeing friends we haven't seen in ages, we're doing a whale watch and we'll enjoy some pool time. Oh, and Daddy is very much enjoying his early present – a PS3. My husband is such a workaholic I argue in favor of games, contrary to what most women say they do.

More posts coming!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Update on us...

Ari continues to say the funniest things! Example: the other day she told her dad he couldn't put her to bed because he doesn't have boobies! I thought her statement was hilarious because she hasn't nursed before bed in a very long time now, years, in fact.

Speaking of nursing, shh, you didn't hear it from me, but I think she may have actually finished weaning herself. I think she hasn't nursed in over a week.

Ari started swimming lessons last December. She has had nine or ten lessons at this point. She loves her lessons, is jumping in the pool, and is starting to swim short distances. She is very proud of the fact that she is starting to swim without a kickboard or a noodle.

Ari and I talked about babies a few weeks ago. She says she would love to have a baby sister and that she would like her name to be Lisa. She said she would need to stop nursing because the baby would need a lot of milk to grow.

Speaking of babies, we have been TTC (trying to conceive) for 15 months. I just started all the testing. Blood work was perfect. I have an HSG tomorrow. It is a test where we find out if there is a blockage in my fallopian tubes.

My hope is to get some answers so that we can make the big decision. Do we keep trying? Do we turn to ART (assisted reproduction technology)? Do we sign up with an adoption agency?

As I told a dear friend the other day, you know how you feel when you're about to go down a really cool looking slide, super excited, but also nervous? That is exactly how I feel right now.

What else? We spent a long weekend in Austin, TX the second week of March. It rained almost the entire time and it was quite cold for Austin. We did get to spend time outside one day. That one day was enough for me to decide I love Austin! It seems like there are many parks/playgrounds surrounded by restaurants. You enjoy your lunch at a picnic table, you get to talk to your friends and your kid gets to play. We got to catch up with our friends and Ari had playmates for days. It was great all around.

Spring break is coming up. No earthly idea what we're doing. Hoping for play dates.

I am currently working on becoming a La Leche League leader. It will take a while, but it will be worth it. I am looking forward to helping out fellow mamas. I remember how helpful and encouraging it was to have support during those early days.

I am also working on starting a family and marital mediation practice. Running my own business is really not my thing. I hate uncertainty. I'd love to just show up to a job and not have to worry about how the business is doing. But... I have a BA in psychology. I don't drive. I don't have an MSW. I got tired of job hunting. And I am very much looking forward to helping families problem solve and hopefully stay together or separate as amicably as possible.

Daddy remains super busy with his five jobs. No, not exaggerating! We do get to have dinner with him most nights and Ari gets to spend time with him on the drive to school every morning and on most nights before bed. And that, to me, is priceless. That is what life is about. When she grows up, she will remember that we had dinner together, that we hugged and played a lot, that her dad is the silliest man on earth, and that we're a team.

I think that is about it for us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some funny/surprising quotes...

So much to say. I'll start with Miss Ari's latest statements before I forget them.

The other day she wanted to have a sugary cereal for her before bed snack. I'm not a fan of sugary cereals. Basically, we get her Cookie Crisp every now and then as a treat or as a "we're in a hurry, let's go" snack. Needless to say, she wasn't having sugary anything just before bed!

Me: You can have a glass of milk.

Ari: Daddy, she does not control my tummy.

Wait, what? She said what? Sorry, kid, actually, I do, to an extent!

Earlier today, Ari and her cousin, five, were playing.

Ari: Well, if you want, you can marry me.

Cousin: Nah, I'll marry the ball.

I love when they use words as if they know what they're talking about, but they have no clue what they're saying!

Last but not least! Daddy asked Ari and her cousin to clean up. They ran upstairs and, you guessed it, not much of anything got picked up. Daddy decided to grab the toys that weren't picked up and put them in the basement for a day.

Daddy: I picked up the toys. They'll be downstairs for a little while.

Ari: Ah, ok, I don't play with play dough anymore.

Daddy: Oh, then we can give the play dough set to another kid who will use it.

Ari: Or, we can sell it.

So, the idea that she would get the point and clean up tomorrow… Out the window! She didn't give a crap!

And, apparently, the entrepreneurial spirit is hereditary. Big freakin' sigh!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All about carseats...

Catching up with my blog feed and I just read this:

Carseats are very, very important business. A big thank you to Logical Mommy for putting this together. I can tell it took a lot of time and it's not like parents of three young kids have tons of time to just sit back and do whatever! Thanks, mama. Very well done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Article: How to Take Care of Yourself Emotionally While Raising Your Child

Last one for today!

Article: Self Care: When Your Child Pushes Your Buttons

I know I've said it so many times, but I have to say it again. Laura at writes such wonderful, inspirational parenting articles.

Getting crunchier: homemade deodorant

I decided to try it about two months ago. I haven't gone back! I don't think I will go back.

Super simple. Super easy to make. Super cheap. No wondering about the ingredients and what they may do to my body.

There are tons of recipes. This first time I opted to go with the simplest one. Corn starch and baking soda, a one-to-one ratio. Mix. Grab some with your finger tips and apply. That's all there is to it!

Corn starch dries. Baking soda removes odors.

It really does work!

The only con I can think of is that it can be messy because it is a powder. So I do it over the bathroom sink. Problem solved.

I spent a quarter, maybe. I've been using it for about two months and there is enough for another month easy.

Come on, take the plunge! You know you want to!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Article: Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Please read this one. No lumps. Very aggressive cancer. Please read and remember the signs.

The author passed away yesterday:

I didn't know her. Didn't know her blog until yesterday. But I can't stop the tears. I keep thinking about her little boys, one of them born in 2007, just like my Ari. I keep thinking about her husband. I keep thinking about what she must have gone through, knowing that her time with her family was so limitted.

One of Ari's teachers was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. This horrible disease... It is everywhere. It shows up, out of the blue, and takes over people's lives.

The teacher at Ari's school is receiving lots of drawings from the little ones, cards from the parents, support from the staff. A few of us moms from her classroom are now collecting gift cards so that she can get whatever she needs.

It is beautiful to see all the love, all the families trying to help. But it is so sad. So many thoughts. So many questions. How is she doing? How is it looking, i.e., what stage? Will she come back? I so hope she can. I so wish we could do so much more than send her gift cards.

Pardon my French, but cancer is an asshole and I so wish we were a lot closer to finding cures. I wish people were doing more than talking about the color of their bra. I wish more people knew that some nutrients apparently do manage to help shrink tumors. If it is true that some nutrients are so effective, I wish oncologists were combining chemo and alternative medicine more often.

There is wishing and there is doing. What you can do:

Give blood.

Give platelets.

Donate your hair.

Donate money to a cancer research group.

Donate your time at an oncology unit.