Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kicking and Kale. And Cookies.

I started feeling the baby kick tonight.  I've been feeling flutterings inside for a while, but tonight was the first time that I could feel the kicks with a hand on my belly.  And I have a belly.  I've already started getting comments about how big I am for being four months along.  Actually, I fudged a bit, since I'm not actually, technically four months yet.  I'm seventeen and a half weeks, so close enough.  With my first, I was constantly asked if I was carrying twins.  I gained over forty pounds, and it was pretty much all belly, so I looked like I was defying gravity.  I love feeling the baby move around inside me; it is my absolute favourite part of being pregnant.  Granted, there aren't many favourite things about being pregnant to choose from.  I am so thankful and thrilled to be having another child, but I am not one of those people who loves being pregnant.  You know those people - who say that they've never felt better than when they are pregnant.  I am not one of those people who don't know that they are pregnant until quite far into the pregnancy.  I knew before the pregnancy test was even certain enough to be conclusive.  I remember the doctor saying: "Well, if you are pregnant, it's just barely."  I knew!  I was hoping that the nausea would continue to improve and completely go away, but I think it has plateaued.  Oh well, it's definitely more manageable now, and probably a little less severe overall than with my pregnancy with my son.  I had to be hospitalized a few times during that pregnancy for several days at a time because I just couldn't keep anything down. Thank the Lord he turned out fantastic despite those early months of pregnancy.  Today, he surprised me by draping his blanket over his head and explaining to be that he was a shepherd.  Then, he wrapped it around his arms and said he was a bat, flying.  He's starting to pick up so many things that I'm not even aware of.  Which is great, and scary!  I'm really trying to cut down on the amount of TV that he watches.  We were doing so well with TV until this pregnancy.  It's so much harder to give him the attention he needs and deserves when I'm feeling sick and exhausted.  Grace, grace, grace.  This too shall pass!

I'm glad I have a husband who appreciates and even loves my quirks.  I'm a bit obsessive sometimes when I get an idea in my head.  I started making some more egg tree ornaments this week, and have been really enjoying creating snowflake eggs in my quiet moments when the little one is in bed and said hubby is off at evening meetings.  I bought a couple dozen eggs, and was disappointed to discover that they had been mechanically scrubbed, meaning that they don't absorb the dye properly.  I only discovered this after making a handful of them and then putting them all in the dye, so that batch of eggs didn't turn out that well.  He suggested finding some eggs from a local farmer, so that I could ask about how they are washed.  I checked on craigslist and found a local farmer who delivers eggs to your house for $4 a dozen.  I'm sure they are great - they are free-range and non-medicated.  I'm actually allergic to eggs, ironically enough.  I emailed and asked for any of the odd-shaped, sized, or coloured eggs, and he said he would give them to me for $2.50 a dozen.  So, the egg man came that night with two dozen unscrubbed eggs for my current decorating obsession.  Here are some of the recent additions:









I ate two bunches of kale tonight.  I saw some "kale chips" at the store a while ago, and they looked strangely delicious.  I tried making them once before with only so-so results, so I've been trying a few different variations on recipes lately and I think I've figured it out.  Kale is supposed to be very nutritious, so I thought it might be worth figuring out a good way to eat it.  Wikipedia it if your are interested in finding out more about the nutritional value.  I use nutritional yeast in this recipe.  If you haven't heard of it, I'm not surprised; most people haven't.  It's a fantastic product and has made my dairy-allergic-life much more enjoyable.  It's a deactivated yeast that is high in B-vitamins and protein.  You can find it at health food stores, and Real Canadian Superstore even carries it now in their natural/organic aisle.  It has a kind of cheesy taste to it, which is why a lot of vegan recipes use it.  To make the kale chips, here's what I did:

  • Wash the kale.  Apparently, kale is one of the dirty dozen in terms of retaining pesticides, so it's best to buy organic if you can find it.  
  • Tear into smallish pieces, and discard the tough middle stem.  
  • Dry the leaves as well as you can.  I used a salad spinner, and this worked quite well.  
  • Combine a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar and oil.  I used olive oil, but I'm sure other oils would work too.  Mix with a fork or whisk.
  • Put the kale in a large mixing bowl, and pour oil/vinegar mixture over kale.  Using your hands mix it all around so that the oil/vinegar coats the kale leaves.  
  • Spread the kale out on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle with seasoning salt (optional) and nutritional yeast (also optional, but delicious!)
  • Bake at 200 degrees F for 2 to 2.5 hours, until the leaves are crispy but not burnt.  There are recipes that instruct you to bake it at a much higher temperature for a shorter time, but apparently this destroys some of the nutritional value of the kale.  It's also easier to miss that window of time between crispy and burnt at the higher temperature.  You can eat it before it gets crispy too, but I think I prefer the crispy style.  You can also use your food dehydrator instead of the oven if you have one.  I haven't tried this method since that would involve getting my food dehydrator out of the bottom of the linen closet.  Which would mean organizing the closet.  
I think they are delicious, and my two year old gobbled them up too.  My hubby wasn't super excited about them, so I guess they're not for everyone.  But worth a try if you're trying to figure out a way to eat that mysterious green vegetable.  



Enough with the vegetable talk.  I'm exhausted but I think I need to bake some cookies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two steps forward, reverse. Repeat.

I think I'm starting to feel a bit better.  Somehow, whenever I have this thought, the nausea sneaks up with a vengeance, as if I've offended it.  I've been feeling well enough to at least sit up most of the time on the couch, and start to tend to my shamefully messy house.  The kid videos are not playing non-stop anymore, and I've picked up my crochet hook again.  I've even returned to my cloth diaper stash in the last couple of days.  As much as I dislike using disposables, I have to admit that I've been using them pretty much exclusively in the past few months.  NVP (Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, because I refuse to call it by its misnomer, "morning" sickness) has overridden my ideals in many areas of life recently!  Disposable diapers, convenience foods, Diego & Veggie Tales overload, and my meal planning and budget-wise shopping have been replaced by shopping sprees for whatever looks remotely appealing to me.  Sometimes, you just have to get through the day.  Or the hour.  Thank goodness for a wonderful husband and extended family who have been filling in the gaps, and for other family who have helped us get through the last few months.
This period of time where I've been resorting to anything that reduces my work load reminded me of something that we gave up almost a year ago: our microwave.  Last year, while visiting a family member at Christmas, I asked to use their microwave to warm up some food for sonny boy.  I was so shocked to find out that they didn't have a microwave, and that I had to heat up the food in a pot on the stove.  It was so hard for me to even imagine not having a microwave oven.  And yet, they were managing just fine without one.  Their family has been affected by cancer too, and was part of the reason why they decided to get rid of the microwave.  I also learned about how microwave radiation decreases the nutrition of the food.  When I thought about it, it made sense.  I was making so much effort to avoid radiation from cell phones, and effects from other electronic devices.  When we were looking for a house to buy, we immediately ruled out any house that was anywhere close to major power lines.  And, yet, here I was radiating my food.  Food that we ate every day.  Baby food.  Ughhh.  We had always been "careful" about using the microwave.  We didn't put plastic containers in the microwave, even when they said "microwave-safe," and we tried to use the microwave only when necessary.  But I thought that it was necessary at times.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to give up using the microwave if it was sitting in the kitchen.  So I moved it to the dining room on a trial separation period.  After about a week, the microwave was relegated to the shed outside, where it has been sitting ever since.  Surprisingly, I rarely ever miss having it.  It hardly took any time to get used to the idea of warming food in the toaster oven or  on the stovetop.  I was surprised too, that the quality of the food is actually better when you don't nuke it.   The food heats more evenly, and doesn't overcook so easily.  The only time I've missed the microwave is when I've wanted to heat up a magic bag for a sore back or to warm up my always-cold feet.  Although, I'm sure resting a bag of dried peas & beans that have been nuked hundreds of times on my body is probably not the greatest thing either.
Two posts in one day - I must be feeling better!  

What a Glorious (Rainy) Day.

Yesterday was a glorious, rainy day.  We drove into the city, which took almost two hours because of construction.  Thank goodness I have a toddler who rarely seems to mind long car rides.  He sings and chit chats to himself, and gives the occasional exaggerated yawn.
We deposited our youngster with my in-laws for the day and continued on to the cancer agency for my hubby's regular checkup.  This checkup marked five years since he started into remission.  This December 9th will mark six years since the day we found out and life changed in an instant.  We saw our wonderful oncologist, who has been on maternity leave for the past year.  She reassured us that the chances of this type of cancer recurring now are very small, and my expanding belly assured her that the chemo has not killed my husband's fertility after all!
Sometimes, it feels like a lifetime ago.  It was such a dark time in our lives, sometimes I want it to be a lifetime ago.  I want to forget being sick with worry, feeling such despair and helplessness.  There are things I don't want to forget that stem from that time in my life.  People surprised us with their genuine care for us.  People who just sat with us, let us cry, and prayed us through it.  I want to remember not to take people in my life for granted.  I want to remember how we were comforted in that time, and how to care for others going through difficult times.  I would never, however, wish the experience on anyone in order for them to learn what I have.  I'm still learning from the experience; and I still struggle with it.  I was so surprised with myself that one of the most difficult parts of the whole experience was right after my husband went into remission.  Of course, I was overjoyed and thankful beyond expression.  I think I had been in some kind of an emotional survival mode during his treatments, so I didn't process a lot of the negative emotions that come naturally when your spouse is diagnosed with something like cancer.  I slowly started to deal with the grief, anger, and fear.  I went for a session of counseling, and went through a whole box of tissue in about ten minutes.  Seriously.   Ugly cry et al.  But it was very helpful in showing me the peace that comes from giving up the illusion of control in my own life.  A lesson on which I seem to need a refresher every once in a while!
How much our lives have changed in six years.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him, all creatures here below.
Praise him above , ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.
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