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Showing posts from May, 2013

back to meal planning and a sleep update

I finally sat down and planned out a month of meals. With morning sickness and general pregnancy tiredness I've been really lazy about meal planning and grocery shopping. A few months ago I got frustrated with out budget because we were always over in the food department. Instead of adjusting to the additional cost of Bennett's food I threw the entire plan out the window. This month I'm going to keep track of everything we spend and then we will redo our entire budget. Blah. I seriously wish I could hire someone to do this stuff for me. I hate it. If you have a little one with dietary restrictions, or if you yourself have them, how do you manage the food/money issue? We buy mostly organic fruits and vegetables as well as local, organic meats (most of the time). Add in Bennett's specialty foods (and my cravings) and there goes the grocery money. I wish using coupons was an option, but every time I look at coupons I get frustrated because they're for foods we don&#

a treat for b: gluten, egg, dairy, nut free bread

Sweet, sweet bread  B has been doing so well with our new sleeping routine. I wanted to do something special for him since he's adjusted so well and been a little trooper. He's a little young to understand the concept of a reward, but I still wanted to do something. I'm not really into buying toys as a reward, so I chose a bread baking day instead. I found a recipe with a handful of ingredients and went to our local health food store to buy what we needed. I felt a little like a kitchen witch, buying strange ingredients like arrowroot starch, coconut nectar and teff flour. It was expensive, but most of the things we buy for B are costly. I used this recipe , but instead of hazelnut butter I used sunflower butter. We just figured out that B is allergic to safflower, but sunflower is okay. *happy dance* We made the bread, let it rise, then I put it in the oven while he napped. The original plan was to make it after nap, but he refused to sleep then passed

toddler bed saga (part two)

Phase one is complete! Dance and sing with me! Okay, maybe not that, still feeling a little nauseous. Let's sit really still and eat chocolate instead. B understands that the toddler bed is where he must sleep. He doesn't try to come with us, or climb in my arms or wail "mama!!" when he wakes at night. Brave boy preparing for what's to come (he's not crying, he had an allergic reaction after eating toast from the trash (see last post) and his face is smeared with cream) B does not understand how to sleep through the night. That's phase two. And it is going to be a rough one. Oh mercy, tonight is night one and I already feel like crying even though he has yet to wake. After trying the two/three method I wrote about in the last toddler sleep post for a few days we realized it was  a) stupid b) totally not working for us  c) absolutely not right for B J came up with the brilliant idea to put B in bed, then step outside the door, but leav

toddler food allergies // tears // difficult seasons

While getting in the car at the grocery store today I glanced at the car next to me and saw a mom leaning over the backseat handing half a cookie to her little one. She was eating the other half, of course, and the smile on her little's face when he accepted his half almost made me cry. Why? a) because of pregnancy hormones b) because there has to be serious advance planning - and I usually have to do the baking - before I can share a cookie with Bennett. Everything comes in waves and cycles. There are days, weeks, months even, when Bennett's allergies feel manageable and easy. Then there are times, like now, when I just want to feed the kid a peanut butter sandwich because I'm exhausted and if I have to read the back of one more food package I might scream. This morning Bennett wandered into the living room eating toast crusts. I was busy writing the grocery list. When I looked up I stared at him for a second then jumped to my feet and grabbed the toast from his

the quiet days

I like being a stay at home mom much more than I thought I would. I like the simple routines and loose schedule that provide structure and shape to each day. The other day B and I went to the library, as we do nearly every week. When I told him we were heading to the library he surprised me by gathering his library books and bringing them to me. I was planning on keeping them one more week before selecting new ones, but when I asked him, "Are you ready to take these back?" he said, "Yes," so I put them in our library bag. We were not there on a toddler story time day, but the discovery room was open so B played in there for a while, then we picked out a few books for him. We went to the store to buy one item for dinner, then headed home. After lunch we read his new library books then I rocked him down for his nap. I curled up on the couch and immersed myself in an infuriating  book with excellent character development (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I need s

this is so exciting!

You know you're the mom of a kid with food allergies when a new EpiPen makes you super excited. (I'm not getting paid for this post. The makers of the product don't know me from Adam). Just watch the video. If you have allergies, or a little one with allergies, you'll understand why I'm excited. More information about the new Auvi-Q EpiPen can be found here .

toddler bed saga

We are on night four of Operation Bennett Sleep Through the Night for the Love of All That is Holy Please. There is a plan, provided by our naturopath before we decided to take a break from that doctor, but the plan does not seem to be working. The basics: night one we spent two minutes in the room with B using comforting words, then stepped out for three minutes, then put him down as we normally do (sitting next to his bed). On night two we went in for two, out for three, in for two, out for three, then settled him as we normally do. Bet you can guess what we did the following night. Every time B wakes up during the night we do the same routine. Our doctor said, "it works because kids get bored." Well, B is far from bored. He's mad, and maybe even a little anxious, but he is not bored. As soon as we step out of the room he flies out of his bed and beats feet to the door where he wails until we come back in. And at the end of the in and out time it takes us FOREVER t

chuff-chuff! {fun toddler activities in the willamette valley}

B and I went on a fun play date with my mom and nephew while J was at work today. There is a train park 45 minutes from here where kids can ride little trains. It was a blast. B is really into trains right now. We rode 5 times before my mom and I called it in. The trains are great for little ones, but not so friendly for mamas and grandmas. Especially pregnant mamas. My back, hips and pelvis are quite sore this afternoon, but B had so much fun I don't mind. He is currently sleeping in my arms, which makes me dread bedtime this evening as it is already 4:00 here. There are two types of trains. This type you sit on the bench while your little one sits below you. I liked this one, but B couldn't see as well. Older kids can sit on their own, of course. The other type is a very narrow bench which you straddle. B loved those trains because he could see really well, but it was very, very uncomfortable. Molalla train park is open 12-5, Su

nervous, but brave enough

This morning we stopped at J's work before doing the grocery shopping. J thought it would be fun to take a look at the baby, see if we could guess the gender. I was reluctant because we did the same thing with Charlotte and I'm wary of repeating anything I did while pregnant with Charlotte. I was also terrified of seeing a still baby with no heartbeat, but I heard the baby yesterday and felt the baby today so I knew things were most likely okay. Having J do a quick scan is a fun way for him to be involved in the pregnancy. He doesn't come to appointments - though he will be there for the anatomy scan this time - because of his work schedule so he doesn't have nearly as much interaction with the baby. B enjoyed seeing the baby and helping J scan. It was difficult to tell what the gender was because baby was curled up in a ball. And J brings home the bacon by scanning hearts and veins., not babies. He's only scanned a couple baby bellies so he doesn't have

baby three: 16.5 weeks

First of all: how in the world am I 16 weeks already?? I finally heard baby's heartbeat via doppler today. I have no idea why my babies like to hide from the doppler until 16 weeks (it's not placenta placement) but goodness is it nerve wracking. I was feeling a little worried today when it took the midwife a while to locate the heartbeat, but I felt the baby moving around quite a bit last night (first really strong movements!!) so I knew things were most likely fine. Our anatomy scan will be here before too long, and the week after that will be the halfway mark. Unless this little one comes early like its siblings. Then I'll hit the halfway mark in a couple weeks! I feel completely calm about this pregnancy and the baby's arrival until I think about B turning 2 in four months. A month or so after he turns 2 we'll be bringing another baby home! (fingers and toes crossed, of course). Thinking about it that way makes me want to start planning and organizing.

finding solid ground

I went out for pedicures and "dinner" with friends tonight. I say "dinner" because we hit up Taco Bell after our pedicure appointment. Hey, all together we're two pregnant mamas and one nursing mama: we needed tacos. After "dinner" I meandered home instead of taking the quickest route. I had a lot on my mind. I just wanted to drive, listen to music, think a while. When I woke up this morning I felt calm and renewed. It's like everything that happened last week is gone. And, finally, I don't care what people think about the choices we made for our daughter (I know this could swing back the other way, but today this is where I am). Truth is, there is some information I haven't shared. There are things we know that I don't feel the need to share. I blog a lot, yes, but some of what happened is still private. I feel like I compacted that first year of grief into one week. I had to cycle through all of the emotions - from guilt to accept

Three: Charlotte's Day 2013

On Charlotte's birthday we spend time together as a family. Last year we went to the beach, this year the zoo. Once again I spent Mother's Day crying on and off, but haven't shed a tear today. It was a tough day, but okay too. For the first time in a week I didn't think about guilt or fault or blame. I just leaned into my family and enjoyed the day. Three years ... in so many ways it feels like a blessed miracle that I'm still alive and breathing and living without her. Some of that blessed miracle is all of the people I've never met who remembered Charlotte with us today. Thank you for loving her and supporting us. If only ...

I have a little boy

Who wipes my tears and plays the harmonica for me while tears fall until my eyes burn. He says, "Mama, mama, mama" with some distress as he gently dips his tiny fingers into the tears covering my face. I say, "Sorry, sorry, sorry. I miss your sister." I feel like half a mother. Because she died. Because three years on  I still think maybe, just maybe, it was my fault. Because I can take a picture wearing the sweater I wore the last time I held her, with my boy on my hip and new life starting to show in my belly and that's as complete as our family picture will ever be. I love the little boy who calls me "mama," and I love the little soul we don't yet know, but I'll always feel incomplete; like this holiday isn't for me because I wear motherhood so awkwardly, misshapen as it is by grief and sorrow.

it's a choice

While working on the Save the Children project I asked the Lord to keep me humble and help me mind my words. I feel so much pride when I get to share about Charlotte, but I wanted to curb the pride so my words didn't become about me, or how amazing I think I am. I wanted the focus to be babies and what can be done to ensure children have the best start at life. When I checked my blog traffic mid-morning I noticed a lot was coming from a site I've had problems with before. My stomach dropped. I didn't realize sharing our story would stir the anti-midwife / out of hospital births pot. I stewed for a while. I posted on my personal facebook page and grumbled to the Lord about how I wanted to be humbled, not put through an emotional wringer. I went on a long walk with a friend. She reminded me that Satan uses our weaknesses to bring us to our knees. Because I've found strength and hope in the Lord throughout this time the enemy will try anything to lower my spirits and

11,300 babies (US) // 1 million babies (worldwide)

Photo credit: Save the Children A couple months ago I connected with the non-profit Save the Children. They put out a "State of the World's Mothers" report every year with a specific focus. The focus this year: newborn health. You can find the full report HERE and a little bit about my experience with infant loss in the sidebar on page 58. (Charlotte's story is in USA Today as well as The Huffington Post. Find those articles HERE   and HERE ) A few facts from the report: "The US ranks as the 30th best place to be a mother." "The US has 60% of all first-day deaths, but only 38 percent of live births." "Newborn deaths now make up 43% of child deaths (under 5)." "When first-day deaths in  the United States are compared to those in the 27 countries  making up the European Union, the findings show that  European Union countries, taken together, have 1 million more births each year (4.3 million vs. 5.3 million

cease all functions

In late April/early May I swear there is a switch in my brain, or body - maybe both? - that flips over and renders me useless. I can't make phone calls. I don't want to shower. I can't remember anything. I have lists all over the house: e-mail this person, message that person, call about this, call about that, do the laundry, sweep ...  After two (or more) weeks of staring at the list with "get referral of endocrinologist" I managed to do it this afternoon. It wasn't hard, but it felt hard. I honestly thought about calling my mom and asking her to call for me, but then realized I will be 30 soon and I mean, really, how pathetic can a person be? I can take care of myself (iffy) and I can make sure B is fed, clothed, freshly diapered and loved, but I can't manage much else. J does a lot around here when I'm pregnant, but now that we both have the May blues this ship might go down. You know how I said it's not bad this year because I&

for charlotte

I think one of the reasons this May feels a little easier is because my focus on Charlotte is a bit different than usual. I've been bursting to share something with all of you, but didn't know what exactly was happening or what my involvement would be. And, well, I still can't share everything, but I can promise that in 4 short days - May 7th - I will tell all. What I want to write about tonight is how it's making me feel - if I can do so while still skirting the issue. I can say I've been involved in a very small way with the non-profit Save the Children and their annual report on worldwide maternal and neonatal health. It's been so nice to feel like I'm doing something concrete in memory of Charlotte this year. Working with Save the Children has kept me busy, distracted and focused on how to help others. It's reminded me I can do more than sit in the pain and wallow. It's reminded me I can shape my unending sorrow and build an unexpected

may ritual

At the beginning of May I make a batch of egg free chocolate chip cookie dough. I press it into a glass container, snap the lid closed. When I feel sad, or overwhelmed or angry I take the container from the fridge, unsnap the lid and spoon out a bite of cookie dough. If it's a bad day - looking at you Mother's Day - twelve spoonfuls helps a little. There is something comforting about cold cookie dough and salty tears. This year is not too bad so far. It seems like there's a little less grief crouching behind the smile. Last year was bad . There were a lot of spoons in the sink. There have been some tears in the car - for some reason they often come in the car - but overall it's not too bad - yet. This helps. And of course B soothes much of the raw ache. I still see her in him. 3 years. Whew. Here it comes.