Thursday, May 30, 2013

Backyard Fun

I am so happy with our back yard these days. We've gotten such good rain this spring, and our yard is so green and pretty! It makes me smile to go out there.

We're attempting a square foot garden again. Last year was not very successful, I think because we put it in too late. This year, we got it together nice and early, and so far it seems to be going well.

A square foot garden is so different from a normal "row" garden. You have to think about it differently. For example, the second picture shows two empty spots. That is where a crop (cilantro) has already finished, and I have taken it out and put in a summer crop (green beans, and some more cilantro). You treat each square as its own plot, and theoretically, you can have an ever-changing garden. However, I think that once the summer heat fully hits us, I won't be able to grow anything else from seed. Only what is already established at that point will have a chance for survival. Hopefully that will be the beans, squash, tomatoes, and cantaloupe!

As I was taking these pictures, I heard a sweet, "Cheeeeeese!" coming from being me. I turn around to find my James-man, Climber Boy.
Isn't he handsome? This spring he has shown that he's finally big enough to be left alone a little. He's not constantly eating leaves or finding dirt piles. Well, he still finds dirt. He's a boy. But he's happy to roam around and explore.

And Caleb is forever imagining. Whether it's tiny cups full of dirt--ahem, I mean birthday cake--or blocks building a science lab (his new interest), he spends much of his time talking quietly to himself, playing the part of the chef or the mad scientist, respectively.

My little plum tree has finally come into his own this year. I count ten plums about the size of grapes. I just hope a worm doesn't find them before they grow and ripen! The petunias surrounding the tree are in two separate pots, left over from a wedding. I don't normally keep flowering plants, because they seem like a lot of trouble, and then they die. But, free is free, and these petunias have been the best I've ever had! Perhaps because I've actually taken care of them. Hm.... I love the splash of purple in my yard!

And roses. I love roses! I don't know why, particularly, but I do know that I have horrible luck with them. I have killed seven rose bushes since we've moved here, I'm pretty sure. So, I made a vow to never buy another rose. Too much wasted money. Then, I happened upon some clippings of a nice big rose bush out at Hope Landing (where James receives therapy), so I brought them home and stuck them in some water. They stayed there for a long summer, at least, and then I potted them. They were in pots for another long while, and finally, for Mother's Day, Jon planted them all for me! I love it!

(This is actually one I bought that has survived.)

The red ones are the ones I rooted.
 At the same wedding as the petunias, there were great big flower arrangements using curly willow. The willow was already starting to root only a few days after the wedding! Feeling quite confident from my success with the roses, I stuck these in water, too. They put out roots very well, and Jon planted these for me for Mother's Day as well. They should grow the size of a crepe myrtle. NOT the crepe myrtle that is looking miniscule behind the newly planted trees. That little guy moved from Fort Worth with us, and I think he spent too much time in a pot. He will probably never grow, despite the fact that he's at least 5 years old, probably older. But I still love him.

So, here's the view from the far end of the yard. My tree, my purple flowers, my boys, my garden. My home. I love it.

Some silly pictures of the boys.

To top off all that Jon did for me for Mother's Day, he also put these lovely stepping stones from the gate to our patio, and from the patio to our storage building. He did such a good job, and it really helps our yard feel more finished.

My boys, enjoying the back porch.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Conversations with Caleb

Last summer, our yard and our neighbor's yard was infested with fleas. It was horrible. The neighbors had a decrepit old dog named Chip, and he was utterly miserable with the fleas.

He might have also been the cause.

By the end of the summer, the fleas were gone, and so was Chip. He had been put to sleep, whether because he was actually sick and dying, or because he was prolonging the battle with the fleas, I'm honestly not sure.

Chip was a constant in our backyard play. Caleb always said hi to him. He always peed in our general direction when we came out to play. When he didn't show up, I think Caleb assumed Chip was just sleeping in his dog house. Time went by, and Caleb never questioned where Chip was. Finally, he did, and I simply said something like, "He's not there any more." Caleb still talked about him as if he was still very much alive, and just always in his dog house.

Two days ago, our neighbor happened to come out into the back yard. In true Caleb fashion, Caleb ran to the fence and said:

"Excuse me! Do you have a dog named Chip?"

"I did, but he died." And with that, the neighbor went inside.

For months, I've been protecting this little secret that I knew would break Caleb's heart. And now, there it was. Boom.

Caleb turned to me, his face fallen, his lower lip starting to poke its way out. He slowly walked over and told me what the neighbor had said. Then he asked, "What about the other [indoor] dogs? Will they die, too? I think they will, and then we won't have ANY dogs!"

His lip started to quiver.

"I think I need to pray to God."

Then, out came a heartfelt prayer that can only come from a child: "Dear God, Chip died. And he is my favorite dog...and Freddy.* Can you please bring him back from Heaven? Amen."

It was sweet. And a good lesson. How many times do I immediately run to God when something bad happens? And how often have I asked God to perform a miracle? Truly the faith of a child!

I explained to Caleb that Chip was happy in Heaven, and that he would want to stay there.

And that was that! A moment later, Caleb was on to something else. Occasionally, when we're outside playing, he will sigh and say, "I miss Chip." But, to be fair, he also says that of the veterinarian receptionist who left for another job a year ago. He lives for the dramatic.

*Freddy is Caleb's stuffed dog that he sleeps with. I suppose he didn't want Freddy to feel slighted by what he said about Chip being his favorite.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

12 Weeks

Twelve weeks tomorrow!

Before I start with my normal post, I have put up some other posts that I wrote a few weeks back. You can find them here:
You might want to read those first. Totally up to you. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post....

The biggest news is that I've had my first OB appointment. Here's the rundown:

I have, indeed, gained 6 pounds. Dr. W said that it didn't worry her at all, and actually made her feel that I was getting enough nutrition, so she was happy with it. (This, I think, was in response to my telling her that I maintained a mostly vegan diet at home.)
My blood pressure was 98/68.
The baby's heart rate was 170. Dr. W said, "Nice and fast! You know what they say about a fast heart rate.... You've got a 50/50 chance of it being a girl!" As a side note, I love hearing the baby's heart beating. You just can't get the smile off my face when I hear that strong swoosh, swoosh. Love it.

Questions I had for the doctor:
  • I have had my vision go funny when I've gone long periods without eating. Is that low blood sugar? Yes, it is. Because I have not had the constant gagging feeling that I had in the first two pregnancies, I have not been eating as often. Dr. W said to make sure I ate every 2-3 hours. 
  • Can I get a prescription for a breast pump before birth? Yes. Did you know that insurance companies now cover pumps for nursing moms? It's evidently a part of the new healthcare system. Anyway, a couple weeks before James was born, I started pumping minimally, as recommended by the doctor, to help with natural induction of labor. After he was born, I pumped almost exclusively for four months, and my pump took quite a beating. (Hey, it's hard to wrangle a baby, a 1-year-old, and curious pets without knocking that darn machine over every once in awhile.) By the end, it was not working properly. I haven't taken it back out of storage, but it's good to know that a pump is covered if I need a new one. Those things are not cheap.
  • When do you do an ultrasound? 20 weeks for gender determination and health check.
  • Are we taking any precautions because of my previous experience with chromosomal abnormalities? (James, obviously, has a chromosomal abnormality. Plus, very early miscarriages are usually due to chromosomal abnormalities, which means I have two counts against me on that.) Yes, we are. 
    • Dr. W discussed prenatal testing with me. The different tests can tell us if the baby has a likelihood of having certain things (Ds being one of them), but they don't tell us any of the health issues the baby might have. So, if we had done prenatal testing with James, we would have known he would probably have Ds, but we would not have known he had a heart defect. The test would have meant I would have had a more indepth ultrasound to see about the health issue. So, to us, the prenatal tests are not necessary. They don't change anything. 
    • What I really want to know is: Are there any health issues with my baby? You can imagine I want to look over every bit of his heart, his intestines, his everything. Well, because of my history, I can get exactly what I want. The doctor wants me to have a Level 2 Ultrasound at a hospital in Little Rock. I get to skip right over the prenatal testing part! 
      • It will happen when I'm at 18 weeks, so sometime in July. 
      • It should show things as detailed as the red and blue streaks showing blood flow in and out of the baby's heart (I am familiar with that from all of James's echocardiograms), as well as things like spina bifida or other issues. 
    • Jon is not particularly excited about this Level 2 ultrasound. To him, getting more information just confirms that there is a higher likelihood of something being wrong. And he's right. There is. But from my point of view, the more I know, the better. If we find something like spina bifida, that can be fixed in utero! And if we find something like a heart defect, we can make sure to be in the right place at the baby's birth, so the right team of people can take care of him. Plus, the "science-y" side of me kind of loves the fact that I get to see all this cool stuff about my baby.
    • Of course, at this moment, we are assuming that our baby is happy and healthy inside me. But we do have to accept that my chances of an unhealthy baby are higher. And for that, I'm glad there are things like Level 2 ultrasounds to give us good information.
Whew, that was a lot of bullet points. It was a very informative visit. The only other addition was that she suggested I add a 500mg calcium vitamin every day, since I ate mostly vegan at home. I don't think I emphasized enough how much cheese sneaks its way into my "vegan" cooking.... But I have complied.

If you've made it this far into the post, you definitely deserve a photo! My blog has been lacking in photos lately! Here is a picture of me today, wearing my first maternity dress to church this morning.

Kind of reminds me of this post, where I was almost 16 weeks along with Caleb. Newbie3 is definitely making his appearance early!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Newbie3 Coming!

I am 11 weeks along! The due date is December 9, but neither of my boys hit anywhere near their due date, so I'm thinking sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas and leaving it at that. The video was taken when I was about 9 weeks along.

I go to my first appointment this Thursday. Any other tidbits I might want to share, I think I've put in posts that I've been writing along the way, and not posting yet. I'll post them up soon!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

9 Weeks

Here we are at nine weeks. They say every pregnancy is different, and I have found that to be true. Well, mostly true.

Similar to 1 and 2, I have not had any morning sickness. The previous pregnancies, I have had a constant feeling of "gagginess" that required me to snack all day long. I can't really describe how I feel this time around. The gag feeling comes and goes. For example, when I started cooking dinner tonight, it made me feel gross just to smell it. This happened to me last week, as well. That time, I only picked at my dinner, but was able to eat it the next day with no problems. I am rarely hungry and get full faster than normal...and yet, I have had more snacks throughout the day. That might account for the (ahem) six pounds of weight

And completely UNRELATED, there is no hope of me fitting into my normal clothes. I had stashed away a couple of pairs of jeans that were a size or two larger, and those are serving me for now. But, it turns out that one of those jeans has paint on it (funny how you forget those things when it's stored away for two years), so I ended up pulling out a couple of honest-to-goodness maternity pants to make up for it. So there you go. Nine weeks in, and I've already made the plunge into maternity-wear.

Let's see, with Caleb, I made it to 16 weeks before switching. And with James, I made it 19.5 weeks! What does that say about this baby?? Granted, I haven't fully delved into it, but I'm pretty sure once everyone knows I'm pregnant, I'll be pulling out the ol' panel-topped shorts and the empire waist shirts.

As far as other pregnancy symptoms, the huge one for me this time around is FATIGUE. I remember being tired--as in, hit-by-a-Mack-truck tired--but I am TIRED. By the time the boys are in bed, it's all I can do to get myself to bed. Forget dishes, work, laundry, or even just hanging out with my hubby. Tired. I'm ready for this to go away.

Tomorrow we go for another sonogram with our favorite sonographer, Kathy. We are going to take Caleb and James with us, and that is when we will tell them. I'm super-excited about Caleb knowing. I wonder if he will laugh or cry...or if he'll understand at all when he sees the sonogram?

And of course, once Caleb knows, everyone will know! I hope that he will be excited to tell everyone, so we can tell brothers and grandparents. My Mawmaw got it out of me today, but everyone else will find out tomorrow, probably through a few Skype/Facetime dates.

That's it for now!