Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pregnancy Pros and Cons

Hand in hand with that last post, I've been compiling a list of my thoughts on my pregnancies themselves. Here's what I've come up with so far.

Top 10 Things about being pregnant that I am NOT fond of:
1. The migraine headaches during the first trimester.
2. The constant fatigue.
3. Evil hemorrhoids of doom.
4. My first-ever yeast infection.
5. Sciatic pain all down my right side.
6. Trying to roll over in bed, and getting trapped on my back like a beetle.
7. The forgetfulness/absentmindedness.
8. Breast shrinkage, especially when I was so looking forward to swelling to porn-star dimensions.
9. The facial swelling/blotchiness.
10. Crampy Braxton Hicks contractions.

Top 10 Things about being pregnant that I LOVE:
1. Feeling the baby kick and move.
2. No morning sickness.
3. No stretch marks.
4. Increased love between Todd and me.
5. Repeatedly stroking my belly without being thought strange.
6. Guilt-free breakfast on Fast Sunday.
7. Growing a miracle.
8. Munching all the time.
9. The smiles and kind comments from strangers.
10. Fun maternity clothes.

I'm sure there are many more things that could fit into both categories, but these are the ones that immediately sprang to my poor forgetful mind.

Parenthood

Last night, while I was lying in bed and talking to Todd, I had an epiphany. It happened when I asked him if he was ready to do it all again with another baby. His reply kind of surprised me: "Does it matter?" I told him that I don't know if I'm ready. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster, and the ride's starting. I'm slowly, oh so slowly, inching up the hill, and I'm almost to the top. I know that as soon as I get up there, I'll pause for one quick, eternal moment, and then I'll suddenly be flung into a dizzying series of ups and downs, and whirl around and back around. I won't be able to catch my breath until I'm suddenly jerked to a stop when the ride ends. I know all this, and I'm scared. I sometimes ask myself why I even got in line for this ride in the first place; I don't like roller coasters!
That's when the epiphany hit. I really was describing parenthood! Right now, 34 weeks along in my pregnancy, I'm still on that slow climb up the hill. But I'm almost there. I'm at the scariest part of the ride, the part where I can anticipate everything that's yet to come, but I don't know for sure what will happen. What makes it even scarier is that I've been on a similar ride before, with Evie, so I know just how fast everything will come at me. But at the same time, this is a slightly different ride than the one I went on last time. I have no idea what order the ups and downs will come in. I don't have any real idea what being a Mommy to two little girls under the age of two will be like. I can't turn back; I'm already strapped into my seat, and I'm moving inevitably forward. The next phase is the top of the hill, full of potential energy. The idea of cresting that hill scares me to death, though. With Evie, my labor was induced, so I have never experienced what it's like to go into labor spontaneously and naturally. Even though I've already been through the birth process once before, I don't really know what to expect this time around. When I finally give birth to my daughter and hold her in my arms, there will be one single moment of peace and calm, but that event is the catalyst for the rest of the ride. That moment launches us into the role of parents to two babies. How do I juggle the needs of two little ones? How can I give each of them the time, attention, and love that they deserve? What if one of them gets sick? What if Elizabeth isn't as easy a baby as Evangeline was? What if Evangeline gets jealous of her little sister? Why did I think that I was ready for this? Am I ready for this? Can I be the Mommy that I need to be?
Then I think about the last ride I went on. I'm pretty sure I had similar misgivings at the start of that ride, too. In fact, I know I did, but look how that turned out. Sure, there were some scary moments, but for the most part, it was lots and lots of fun! I've loved being Evie's Mommy. She's a pleasure and a joy to everyone she meets. Why would her sister be any different? She has the same parents! I'm sure that we'll have some adjustments to make when she first gets here, but then it'll feel like she's always been an indispensable part of our lives. I'll learn how to juggle my babies and their schedules. If one of them gets sick, we'll deal with it, just like we'll deal with cranky babies and jealous toddlers. There's no real point in looking for trouble before it finds us. I know there will be lows, but we'll just deal with them when they come and look forward to the highs in the meantime. Because there will be highs, too. There will be smiles, and giggles, and hugs, and sweet baby kisses. There will be milestones, big and little, to cheer for all over again. There will be a forever family, full of love and joy.
Yes, I'm still looking forward to the future with some apprehension, and a dash of sharp terror thrown in for good measure. I think that's an inherent part of the last trimester of pregnancy, when it all starts becoming real. And I still hate roller coasters in real life. But I'm also looking forward to this little girl joining our family. I'm looking forward to my exhilarating, joyful, and wondrous ride as Mommy of this family until my journey finally ends along with my life. And even then, our family will endure to the end--eternally bound together. I think I'm finally ready.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden of Dreams

This past Sunday, I was finally able to use my Mother's Day present! I planted my seeds into the pots that Todd and Evie gave me while Todd mowed the lawn and Evie played in the sunshine. I finally took some pictures of them today:
The big pot is where I planted my stargazer lilies. The smaller pot on the left next to the roses holds my onions; the matching pot on the right side holds my strawberries
This rectangle pot holds two different herbs: the left side contains oregano while the right side contains anise.
This little pot holds my impatiens.
This little pot holds my zinnias.
This is the pansy plant that Todd gave me for Easter.
My zinnias seem to be sprouting! When I watered my plants today, I noticed three little green things in my zinnia pot! When Todd came home, there were seven!
All together, my pots make a really pretty picture. I think they'll be even prettier once they start blooming!
I also plan on adding a pot of tomatoes, and another rectangle pot for fennel and basil to my little garden. These plants are actually the beginnings of a budding dream of mine. For the past year, I've had little flickers of ideas that are now all kind of weaving together to form a single tapestry. It started by thinking that it would be fun to start a family salsa garden: growing tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc. and making our own salsa in the fall. Then, a few months ago when we were thinking about getting pregnant again, I started thinking about what a beautiful miracle birth is. The day that my daughter was born was one of the best of my life, and I hope that other mothers get to feel that overwhelming sense of joy and love when they have their own babies. Then it occurred to me that I could help other mothers experience that miracle. I went to this website and started doing research on how to become a doula. Meanwhile, one of the sisters in our ward that I visit-taught uses essential oils to heal those around her. We had a couple of really interesting conversations about how they work and what they can do, and I realized that there was a whole world of information that I wanted to learn about. Along the same lines, I recently had a lady come into my work looking for a tea to help dry up a mother's milk. We couldn't find it, but instead we found a tea that helps a mother produce more milk. I'd had no idea that we carried such a thing, but I was a little intrigued by the thought of being able to make more milk this time around than I did with Evie. I went to the manufacturer's website to do some more research, and found a plethora of all-natural products for new mamas and babies.
This brought the simmering cauldron of ideas that I'd been slowly adding to for several months to a full boil.  Wouldn't it be fun to grow my own fruits and vegetables and make my own baby food? Wouldn't it be fun to grow my own herbs to help stimulate milk flow? Wouldn't it be fun to mix together concoctions that could benefit and heal those around me? Wouldn't it be fun to help other mothers bring their babies into the world? Wouldn't it be fun, in essence, to be the village witch? I had a sudden vision of being the wise lady that everyone turns to for comfort, advice, and healing. And it felt right. Maybe this is what I'm supposed to do with my time. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing after all that I never finished my degree; for less cost than a single semester's worth of courses, I could gain a marketable trade that could benefit me, my family, and women around me. And I could work out of my home, and still spend time growing my plants and my children. So I'm starting small; I'm growing a few yummy fruits/vegetables, a few helpful herbs, and a few pretty flowers. I think that my next step will be checking some of the required doula literature out of the library.
Just to be clear, I'm still going to eat meat, and ice cream, and white bread without preaching about the evils of salt and sugar to anyone that will listen. I'm not one of those "organic" moms who use cloth diapers and obsess about the ingredients in baby food. At least, not yet. :) All I'm trying to do right now is help my family be healthy and happy while I learn how to be a more well-rounded and better wife, mother, neighbor, and person.

Mommy's Funny Bone

Sometime last week, I was late getting off of work, so I called Todd to tell him I was finally on my way home. He sounded a little weird and I could hear Evie screaming in the background, so I asked him if everything was okay. He said that he'd just had a nosebleed. Also, Evie was in trouble. "Oh?" I asked, "what did she do?" His reply sent me into gales of laughter, and still makes me chuckle when I think about it: "Well, I was in the bathroom trying to get the blood out of my shirt, and she wouldn't stop trying to dunk her bear in the toilet!"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daddy's Birthday

Todd's 30th birthday was May 14th, the day after Mother's Day. Unfortunately, I had to work Monday night, so we decided to have his "party" on Tuesday night instead. I asked him what he wanted to eat, and then spent all day making his favorite meal for dinner and his birthday cake. He wanted lemon cake with orange/cream cheese frosting. I made the cake from a mix, but I made his frosting FROM SCRATCH!! Then, using thirty candles, I made a big "30" on the top. The finished product looked pretty good, if I do say so myself:
Todd's loves my homemade chicken enchiladas; they're his very favorite meal! So I made sure that they were in the oven cooking when he walked in the door from work so that he could smell them baking. While we waited for them to finish, Todd opened his presents.
The gift bag was from Evie, and the wrapped box was from me; we both signed the card that I'd made. Todd seemed to really enjoy it, and Evie liked helping her Daddy open his presents.
video
In case it's hard to tell, I gave Todd the last two books in his favorite series: Xenocide and Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card. Evie gave Todd the video of last year's Christmas concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir/Orchestra on Temple Square. The one that featured David Archuleta and that I mentioned in this post. You can see part of Todd's head on the front cover of the DVD, and he's shown prominently several times during the second song. Since she seemed to really enjoy the concert both the first time around and when we watched the DVR recording this past Christmas, I thought it would be appropriate for her to be the one to give it to him.
By the time he was done with his presents, the enchiladas were done as well. I meant to get a picture of them, but we started eating them pretty much immediately. Oops. After dinner, we had cake and ice cream. Todd really liked the orange frosting I'd made. The ice cream he'd picked out was Reese's flavored. It was really good, but was kind of interesting with the citrus flavor of the cake and frosting. Evie didn't care if they mixed, though; her plate was the cleanest I've ever seen it! She was a little sticky, though. Happy Birthday, Todd! Evie and I both love you so much!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day

Today I got to celebrate my second Mother's Day, and it was awesome! The first thing I heard this morning was Todd rummaging around in our living room. Then he got Evie and the two of them came in to bring me into the living room, where Todd had set up my presents. I've been talking about wanting to grow some plants for a little while now, so my cute little family obliged me!
It was a very thoughtful and appreciated gift, and I'm so excited to plant my herbs and flowers and see if I can actually grow plants without killing them.
After much "oohing" and "ahhing" (by both me and Evie; she seemed to have just as much fun as I was!), it was time to get ready for church. There wasn't much seating left in the chapel, so we sat out in the foyer and Evie wandered all over the place during the meeting. When sacrament meeting was over, I received my traditional Mother's Day flower:
I have to say, I'm not usually much of a fan of roses, but this one is really pretty. We'd originally planned on staying for the entire 3 hour block for once, but Sunday School and Relief Society are both right in the middle of Evie's nap time, so we snuck out as usual so we could put our cranky baby down for her nap. We had lunch and then I called my wonderful mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day and to tell her I love her. She's down in Arizona for her sister's wedding, but it was good to talk to her. 
When Evie woke up, we packed up the diaper bag for another trip to the zoo! I know that I talk about the zoo a lot on this blog, but our family loves going to the zoo, and this was our best zoo trip ever!!
As usual, our first stop was Predator Ridge, home to the lions. (I took tons of pictures, but am only posting the best ones and eliminating the duplicates.) For the first time ever, we saw some lionesses--3 of them! The male sat on top of his rock for most of the time, surveying his herd, although he did turn around at one point. 
video

I finally dragged myself--and my daughter--away from the lions, and was ready to head for the zebras. Then Todd suggested we go up a little dead-end path first, just to see what was up there. I wasn't too optimistic because the place is called "Pahali Ya Mwana" which means "Place of the Young," and I didn't think there were any new baby animals at the zoo. He said there was no harm in looking anyway, though, so I shrugged and pushed the stroller up the path. By the end of the path, I was running! There was a whole den right up against the glass that I'd never seen before or even known was there! The two male lions who are usually in the main exhibit were lounging lazily right next to the glass, so Evie finally got to see her lions up close and personal:
video
Notice the half-eaten banana lying on the rock. Apparently, my little girl really is a lion after all; she certainly loves growling like one! And the one lion on the rock kept gazing at Evie like he recognized a kindred spirit. In my head, I named him "Aslan."
I turned around and came face to face with that first male lion we'd seen today. There were windows in that little place that looked into the main exhibit, and he'd descended from his rock to come stand it front of it and stare at me:
Then he turned around and walked back towards one of his lionesses who kept pacing in front of the rock.
When I turned back around to return to my family, I found that the second male had crawled up onto the rock and snuggled next to his buddy.
I finally, and reluctantly, declared that we needed to move on from the lions if we were going to see anything else in the zoo today, and we headed back down the path to the main track. I have to say, though, that I'm a little irked that I've been missing the best part of the zoo all this time, and I greatly look forward to going there during every future trip! It was awesome, and we all loved it!!
It wasn't the only awesome part of our trip, though. The next exhibit on our journey was the zebras, and for the first time, they actually came over to our side of the enclosure instead of hanging out in the back corner like they usually do. In fact, they got into a line, and headed straight for us, then turned and walked along the fence in front of us. Evie was thrilled!
 How many can you count? Bonus points if you find all four!
They walked back into the shade, so we turned around to continue our journey. Waiting for us was a peacock strutting his stuff in all his glory:
On our next stop, we were looking forward to seeing the tigers, but they weren't in their enclosure, and their entire building was blocked off. We really hope that they're okay; maybe they're having more little cubs soon! I sure hope so! We did get to see the other felines, though.
The second snow leopard kept pacing back and forth. When they looked our way, though, you could see the absolute beauty of these giant cats. Such gorgeous eyes! 
Then I stepped over to the regular leopard, who was lounging on a platform right above my head. 
The idiots standing next to me kept chortling about how this was "obviously a dude" leopard until I wanted to sock them in the face and tell them to grow up. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was getting disgusted, because the leopard suddenly got up and jumped down. I was lucky enough to catch a picture mid-leap, which is really pretty cool:
Once we finished with the felines, we moved on to the giraffes, but instead of being outside as usual, they were in the Giraffe House.
I accidentally left my flash on, and the resulting picture reminds me of that scene in "The Emperor's New Groove"--"Aah! Demon llama!" Hee hee!
Evie finally made the connection between her stuffed giraffe and the real thing.

She thought they were fascinating. Our favorite part was the mommy giraffe with the two babies. I even got a picture of her kissing one on the head!
Then I realized, "Hey, I'm a Mommy with two babies, too!" So I asked Todd to take a picture of me and my girls. I meant in front of the giraffe family, but this one worked out, too. 
We left out the back entrance to the building so we could see the hoofed animals on the other side of the loop that we never see. I don't feel bad about never traveling that side of the loop, though, because we saw only a single antelope.

We were decidedly underwhelmed.
On our way back around to the front of the loop, we discovered that Evie was soaked through, so Todd ran with her at arm's length to the nearest bathroom. I waddled as fast as I could after him until I saw these cute little goslings.
There were signs everywhere that said "Do NOT chase the baby geese. Adult geese will attack." When I stopped to snap these adorable pictures, there was a goose nearby that kept edging closer and closer to me. When I was done and started walking away, it visibly relaxed. I hurried to catch up to Todd and Evie. He'd changed her diaper and outfit, but she'd leaked on him and since the zoo was closing soon anyway, we decided to just head home.
We came home, tossed a frozen pizza into the oven, and watched Sense and Sensibility while Evie took her second nap. Halfway through, my dad called me to wish me a happy Mother's Day. It was good to talk to him, too. I have the best parents in the world, and can only hope to be as awesome for my own kids one day! Today was pretty great, and I thoroughly enjoyed my second Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hot Mama

Geez, Louise, it is warm in here! It figures, though. I'm normally very coldblooded, so when I was pregnant with Evie, I kept eagerly waiting for the heat wave that all of the other pregnant women I knew were experiencing. I thought "Well, I'm going to be pregnant during the winter, so maybe I'll actually be warm during those months for once!" It never happened. Instead of producing her own heat, Evie seemed to suck away what little body heat I was able to produce and hoard it for herself. Of course, as soon as she was born she became a little space heater who sweats while she naps, even if she's only wearing a diaper.
This time around, I seem to be making up for last time. I'm warm all the time and often feel like a sweaty melty mess, even at my air-conditioned work. And I'm not due until July...the middle of summer. So this time, instead of wanting gooey brownies fresh from the oven, I want Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra ice cream (seriously, the most delicious flavor in the world! Do yourself a favor and try it!) fresh from the freezer. And I might stand in front of the open freezer door while I eat it. Naked. Well, maybe not naked; we do live with my in-laws after all, so that particular dream will never be realized. Maybe next time! ;) Or, on the other hand, maybe next time my body heat will finally regulate itself and I won't tell a difference at all. Here's hoping!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Belly Shots

For almost a month now, I've been safely into the third trimester. Tomorrow, I start my 31st week of pregnancy and last week, on Tuesday (30 weeks along), I finally took my first belly shots of this pregnancy.
See? I finally look pregnant enough that I get congratulations from complete strangers. Hooray! Only 9 more weeks to go!