Experimental Life {Update 7}

It has been quite some time since I’ve written about this Experimental Life.  For those of you who are curious, you can read through my journey, starting with that link up there, and then moving forward in this order:

Update 1 | Update 2 | Update 3 | Update 4 | Update 5 | Update 6

Okay, my last update was 22 June. So, that means there are a few things I must catch you up on, in case you don’t keep up with me on Facebook. First and foremost, we’ve had 2 ultrasounds now, during the first of which I severely argued with the technician because I couldn’t believe what she told us literally 5 seconds after I laid down:

We are absolutely ecstatic, can’t believe our blessings, and can’t wait to meet this little guy!  In the meantime, however, he and I are going to be struggling with one another.

Up until now, there’s been nothing to update – yes, that’s well over two months! – because the journey has been SO smooth.  I have been eating within our Paleo diet almost completely, except the few carbs that I’ve gotten in emergency situations (my blood sugar has often gone too low over the past 2 months). I have been so ecstatic, especially when I realize I have gone 3+ months longer than with any other pregnancy without insulin shots! I have felt good and I wasn’t even looking that pregnant! Those two things are amazing blessings, if I could only show you comparisons from past experiences!

However, things have changed recently.  My blood sugars are suddenly spiking without a diet change.  This was bound to happen. I’m sure I’ve shared before that eventually mommy and baby start arguing about how to utilize resources and it becomes a constant balancing act.  I have, apparently, entered that stage. My fasting numbers are high (this morning, for instance, was 127) and my post-prandials have freaked me out a bit (the highest was yesterday at 242). I have an appointment tomorrow with the doctor, and we will most likely start with the small step of increasing my Glyburide intake.  If past experience compares to current experience, I believe this won’t last long and I will be on insulin shots before the end of September.

Now, this IS depressing me some. It’s not easy to handle those shots, especially with the risks they pose to baby and mommy, and the small sneaking feeling that I have “failed”. I can’t get rid of that yucky phrase in my head. However, I am continually amazed at how well everything has gone until now, and must remind myself: I’m in the home stretch, and I will be holding this baby so very soon, and that it is all worth it!

The other risk I face in pregnancy – the one that actually has caused me to be induced with two 32-weekers, a 36-weeker, and a 37-weeker, is severe pre eclampsia.  There’s some scuttlebutt in the medical community that gestational diabetes, high triglycerides (which I struggle with outside of pregnancy), and pre eclampsia are all interrelated. The kicker is, they haven’t figured out HOW yet, so all a doctor can do is nod his head and say “I assumed so” as I go down my list of issues. Some day – long after I’m done birthing babies – they’ll have it all figured out, I’m sure!

At any rate, the pre eclampsia (high blood pressure, intense swelling, and protein found in urine) is starting to rear it’s ugly head. I can feel it in the swelling in my ankles and hands. I can feel intense swelling in my wrists actually, as the carpal tunnel begins to set in again. And I assume it’s coming – the moments when I’m rushing to the hospital because the swelling is intense, the headache is pulsing without relief, the hot flashes overtake me – and the doctor says, “It’s time to have this little guy”. The risk with severe pre eclampsia, in case you don’t know (and sometimes I forget that my experiences have educated me so well!) are things like blurred vision, lack of blood flow to the placenta, even the risk of seizures to mommy. After 32 weeks gestation, the best treatment for severe pre eclampsia is delivering the baby.

So, I will continue to do the best I can do with diet and exercise. I will be thankful that I have amazing doctors who are looking out for baby and mommy, that we will be delivering this little guy in a hospital with a good NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit), and that one of my dearest friends has been a NICU nurse for a very long time and helps talk me through all of those experiences, should they occur. (God knew what he was doing when he hooked Tory and I up 22 years ago!)

I’m still a firm believer that Paleo is the way to treat gestational diabetes. It has done AMAZING things for me in this pregnancy, as compared to previous pregnancies! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would love to help you learn how to go Paleo, too!

A Non-Custodial Mom’s View: Back to School 2011

Today, children are preparing to jump on big yellow buses just in time to hit the books and rejoin their previously scheduled social lives in the halls of educational institutions around the country. In my house, one child is still sleeping while another insists on both hiccups and somersaults at the same time, causing me to be wide awake at much too early an hour. But as I threw my feet over the bed and stretched, my thoughts became consumed with another household.

I haven’t heard the sounds of my older children’s voices in over three weeks now. I have called many times, left almost as many messages, and have finally called their father’s phone, begging for a call back before their return to school. Still, nothing. I have no idea where their hearts and minds are this morning as they prepare for their first day back to school.  I only know that it is indeed their first day back to school, thanks to the wonders of technology and the school district’s website.  And, I only know which district they are in – not the name of their elementary or middle schools.

Noah is in 8th grade, Faith is in 5th grade, and Chloe is in 3rd. That’s as much as I know. What will they wear today? Do they pack their lunches, or stand in a long line in a cafeteria? Do they really ride a bus, or does someone drop them off at school? When they are done at the end of the day, will they go straight home and start homework, or is there another plan? Do they regret, as much as I do, that now truly the end of summer is here and they only spent 5 days with me? Or, is that the furthest thing from their hearts, as the busy-nes of life overtakes them?

Whether they can hear my voice or not – whether they ever read this blog or not – I must say a few things.

Chloe, continue to dance like no one is watching. Remember that God placed that dance in your soul. You will always be an inspiration to others, most of all me. Let the freedom in your heart always supersede any worries in your mind.  Always allow the Lord of the Dance to lead your life, and none other. In this quest, even at your young age, I know you can be amazingly successful. I love you more, Flutterby.

Faith, continue to love and care and wear your emotions on your sleeve. Do not let anything break you down, and always be proud of who you are. Remember that God painted absolutely every part of your body and he does not make mistakes. He gave you that smile, those beautiful curls, that love, and even that skin, for a very specific reason. Rejoice in it and love who you are constantly! You have reminded me so often that it’s the little things in life that are more important than the big things, so today I will celebrate you by pausing for the little things and letting the big things pass me over without worry. I love you to the moon and back.

Noah, be yourself. Do not let others influence your behaviors or your thoughts. Be strong in who God calls you to be, not in who those around you want you to become. Do not let ANYONE look down on you because you are young. Set an example to those around you, instead. You have reminded me of that scripture many times, as I have re-visited our conversations from this past summer. I am confident that if we both continue to run the race in front of us, the outcome will be much different than it was this summer. I love you forever and a day.

To all three of you: Feel the wind through your hair today and know that the binding force between me and each of you is the Creator that can reach down and connect us in such small ways. I love you all. My heart is with you as you start the beginning of a new journey, even if my hands can’t guide your moments. Never Forget and Always Remember:

Think of me everyday.
Hold tight to what I say,
And I’ll be close to you,
Even from far away.
Know that wherever you are,
It is never too far.
If you think of me,
I’ll be with you.

What’s That You Say?

Enjoy your incredible Labor Day weekend! In honor of all the hard work you do all year long, the country has decided you should each get one day off.

Hmmm.

Except for Mamas. Because Lord knows the world would fall apart if Mama took a day off.

Coffee Table turns Ottoman

As I wrote yesterday, Mr. Marine had a very long weekend at home.  Now, that doesn’t happen very often … but, when it does, it almost always means some sort of big project will be tackled.  And – those projects are usually always his idea.  So, he’s the brilliant mastermind behind, “Hey! We could turn our coffee table into an ottoman!!” It’s ALL his fault.

This was our coffee table:

Forgive it’s sad state. It has served it’s purpose well, serving many Marines through the past 4 years. But, it needed to be repurposed and retired from it’s previous job of serving beer and food to hungry and thirsty Marines on fight nights. Mostly because we were tired of looking at it in it’s sad state. Not that I mind distressed furniture – most of ours is – but the top of this piece was becoming a bit TOO distressed.

However… said table was MUCH too tall already. We’re the kind of family that puts our feet up on the coffee table. It’s MY house – I’M the mom – I make the rules now! But, the table was too tall to do so comfortably before its transition, so we knew it would have to be cut down.  So, Mr. Marine went to work.

With a tiny little handsaw. On my living room floor. Which left lots of sawdust.

But, he did it. On all 4 legs. Which is rather impressive to me. But, apparently it’s just all in a day’s work for a Marine. (On weekend liberty. Forgive his unshaven look!)

See! ALL FOUR LEGS. That’s a lot of work!!

Uhm. I swear. There were four legs. Anyway – there’s 3 of them.

We bought 3 different pieces of 2″ thick high density foam for this project because … well, because it was the cheapest way to purchase VERY expensive foam. So, it required some cutting down. Which one apparently can accomplish with a bread knife. Never knew, did ya?!

See, I DID do something other than take pictures for this project! I cut the batting to cover the foam. Hey, it was HIS idea to do it, so he had to be taught a lesson. Or, my belly is getting way too big to move around very easily. Yikes.

I think this is the, “What the heck are you doing with that camera again?!” face. Actually, this is the part where I helped, because it really required two sets of hands.  The fabric and batting had to be wrapped around the foam and the table to be stapled on the underside. For a 36″ square table, we bought a 45″ square piece of fabric. Let’s just say that if you don’t like cutting it close, you might want to buy more fabric than that for your own project. I was a bit stressed out.

And because Mr. Marine is overly careful about everything he does, he then hammered the staples to make sure they were in there good.

Okay, this is not an impressive picture. But here’s what it proves – one CAN saw four legs off with a handsaw in a living room in the middle of the city, then remove the metal thing-a-ma-bobbers that were in the legs previously to allow the large screws to tighten into, then drill new holes into the new shortened legs for metal thing-a-ma-bobbers, and then in the end … it DOES all fit together! I can’t even tell you how delighted we were that the legs didn’t split, that it all fit together SO snugly, and that no humans were harmed in the production of this ottoman. WHEW!

This is the finished project! I know most ottomans have those great little button thing-a-ma-bobbers (really, can you tell that I’m not overly technical-minded?) that make it look more “finished”, but we decided to skip that part. We’re going to purchase a couple of serving trays to use on the ottoman, so we can still have drinks and/or food when we want, and figured the buttons might get in the way of that.

What a fun project! I’m off to figure out what we might do with our next long weekend off!

P.S. Please forgive the fact that I’m not a professional photographer. I was really more worried about the project than the actual pictures of the project. Thank you kindly.

Operation Jack’s Wish: Vietnam Vets’ Dreams Come True

Our dreams are so different, person to person. The Creator did an amazing thing when He created us each uniquely. The following shows a dream come true for three American heroes. I was allowed to be a “part” of this journey by capturing it in a digital scrapbook, through which I was amazingly touched. Thank you, men, for your sacrifices, for sharing your emotional pictures so openly with me, and for reminding me of the blessings we receive while my Marine serves in this era, much unlike your time of service.

Title Page

The Introduction of Operation: Jack’s Wish – a letter from my husband to an amazing military supporter, Christina. From this letter came an outpouring of love and support.  The monies came from people who have never known Jack nor his friends, but took a stand and spoke for a country full of gratitude for their sacrifice and service in the Vietnam Era.

The Drive and Comraderie

 

Iwo Jima Memorial at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington DC, along with a performance by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Team

Arlington National Cemetery and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I have never visited – not yet! – but the picture in this first page had me in tears, seeing the magnitude of sacrifice in such a pictorial display.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

I am blessed to spend most of my life surrounded by Marines, so I know this statement by Ronald Reagan to be so amazingly true. And, it never fails – Marines WILL make friends with random people EVERYWHERE they go. (Then again, so will Marine Wives.)

The following two pages are the photos I put together last. I simply could not stop crying. These men entered the states following the “Vietnam Conflict” (because we’re stupid enough to not give them credit for participating in a war), being spit on, ridiculed, criticized. To see the emotions on their faces as they experienced such reminders of not only their sacrifices, but of those that were lost in battle … I struggled.

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument

Marine Corps Museum, Quantico, Virginia

Cloth Diapering

I have been asked MANY times over the past few months why in the world I would switch to cloth diapers.  People seem astounded by this choice, or never even have contemplated doing it in their own family. I have heard every reason under the sun for not using cloth, most of which stems from simply not understanding the process.

So, first – WHY did we switch? The answer is simple: our daughter had some heavy duty rashes on her bum from the use of disposables. The only thing that would clear it up was to keep her fully out of diapers, which isn’t really possible with a young two year old who has no desire to use the potty yet. The pediatrician shook his head when told of this issue and said, “This never happened when they used cloth all the time.” And – that’s what changed our minds, immediately.

The cost to get started stressed me out a bit, so I did some figuring to see how we could afford the change.  What I found surprised me!

Not only could we afford to do it, now I knew we HAD to do it! For ONE child, I could save over $1,000? And now, expecting another little one?! Goodness, that’s a lot of savings!

I cut costs even more than that chart shows. I only wash twice a week, I have bought used covers and inserts, and I’ve bought (mostly) gender-neutral covers so that I don’t have to purchase again when our little boy shows up.

And, who can resist how absolutely adorable this looks?

If you are interested in cloth diapering your kiddos but have questions about how to get started, how to wash, or any other thing, PLEASE feel free to contact me!

 

I’d Like To Teach The World to Sing

I’d like to teach the world to sing

In perfect harmony

I’d like to hold it in my arms

And keep it company

Oh, I am so so sad. I just Googled (when did using that term as a verb become grammatically acceptable?!) enough to find out that those words came – originally – from a Coke jingle! NO! I mean, I KNEW it was used for the purposes of advertising Coca Cola, but that it was originally written as such? *sigh*

Ahem. That wasn’t at all what I meant to start out writing.

I’ve often said that if I can share my life experiences with someone else so that they either not have to go through the same thing at all, or can at least feel less alone as they do walk down the same path, then I’m glad to share. In fact, I feel it might even be my calling to do so in life. Recently I was having this very discussion with a couple of good friends …

…at separate times…

…in separate states…

…via telephone/instant messenger…

(lest you become concerned that I have managed two good friends in one town and have not shared said good fortune with you, my readers)

…and it was mentioned during both conversations that perhaps my blog would be a good place to follow that “calling”.

So, this is your chance! I’d love to hear from you about what you’d like me to write about. My life is an open book, and just because I haven’t shared it yet doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t. If you’d rather not publicly comment on my blog or Facebook, feel free to email me instead! I look forward to hearing from all of you!