Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A collection of random bits post

37.5 weeks!  On Friday, it will be just two weeks until my due date.  I know there's a decent chance that I could go "overdue" but it's so exciting to think that we will meet this little baby soon.  I think we finally have a girl's name picked out, but I'm feeling more and more like this will be a boy.  We're still finalizing the potential girl's middle name, but at least the first name is decided upon.  I think.

I'm feeling surprisingly well compared to my pregnancy with my son at this stage.  I have a fantastic chiropractor who specializes in maternity and pediatric care, and I think it's making a big difference this time around in my back and hips.  The heartburn is the only thing really bothering me now.  I had a moment at the drugstore today when I felt like opening all the bottles of Tums and just chomping them down.  Oh well, what can you expect when your stomach has been squished to the size of a walnut.  I'm starting to feel like a bit of a beached whale, except that I'm perched on our couch instead of a sandy tropical beach.  Don't tell anybody, but I don't even mind the unseasonably cold and wet weather right now, because it makes me feel a little less guilty about not being active outdoors everyday.  I've been using a bit of my beached whale time to enter contests and giveaways, and ... I won something!  I entered BabyVibe's big 5th Birthday Contest Carnival and won a $100 gift certificate to Fill Your Own, an online store that carries eco-friendly containers and water bottles.  Once you start looking for giveaways and contests, they seem to be everywhere!   I'll try to post a list at some point of blogs and facebook pages that have some of these great giveaways.  A taste of winning could be dangerous for me.  I've got a bit of an obsessive streak in my personality, so I don't want to spend all of my time entering giveaways now, even if it is free.  I would definitely not be a good candidate for a trip to Vegas.

I'm feeling rather curious, and of course sometimes anxious, about how this labour will go this time.  Specifically, how I will know when it's really happening.  I feel silly anytime I say that out loud or even think about it, because people say "Oh, you'll know!" in a rather ominous tone.  My labour was started so artificially with my son, I'm just curious about how soon I will know when (hopefully) it starts on its own this time.  Of course I'll know when it's really active labour, but what about false labour, or just knowing when to pack up and head to the hospital?

Since our federal election is scheduled for May 2nd, and my due date is May 6th, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to vote in advance this time.  That means I have just a couple of days to make up my mind about whom to vote for.  I know that the Conservatives will win by a landslide in my riding as they always do, but I still think it's important to exercise my right to vote.  Even if the party I vote for never wins.  There haven't been any all-candidates meetings open to the public in my riding at which all of the candidates are present, which is kind of ridiculous.

O.'s allergy testing was successful.  He was such a trooper; he actually laughed when the doctor pricked his skin on his back for the testing.  It was an awkward, nervous giggle, but still.  I was pretty proud of my brave little guy.  He didn't react to any of the things we tested him for: dairy, eggs, peanuts, or shellfish.  However, because I've never given him peanuts or shellfish, I still can't be certain that he's not going to be allergic to those things.  Since he's never been exposed to those things, his body hasn't had the opportunity to develop an allergy to it.  Children sometimes develop allergies before they are directly exposed to the allergen if the mother had those foods while pregnant or breastfeeding, but that is apparently pretty rare.  The doctor also confirmed that they now know it's better to introduce all foods to babies earlier on instead of holding off on introducing the typically allergenic foods until they are are two or three.  So baby #2 will have a taste of those things a lot earlier than O.  He's been enjoying his return to the world of dairy, especially cheese and yogurt.  I'm so glad that he's not allergic to dairy, but it does feel really strange to be giving him those foods when I've been so careful to keep them away from him for so long.  I feel a little bit conflicted too, because I happened upon a lot of literature in my reading about dairy allergies and in vegan cookbooks that suggest that dairy isn't healthy for people to consume anyways.  I think that he'll probably consume less dairy than the average kid just because I don't use it in family meals because of my own allergy (and I'm way too lazy to make two meals every night!) and I'll keep giving him his calcium and vitamin D supplements to make up for it.

I made a major oversight in my last post about allergies: chocolate!  How could I forget about that dreamy, dark delight?!  I'd like to think that I forgot to write about chocolate because I've been avoiding it during this pregnancy but...I haven't.  Confession time.  Some people still drink coffee while they are pregnant, so a piece of chocolate now and then can't be that bad, can it?  Anyways, there are some great dairy-free chocolate options available nowadays.  Here are some of my personal favourites:

For your everyday chocolate chip needs, President's Choice Decadent chocolate chips are dairy-free.  Use them in this recipe for a dairy-free chocolate chip cookie experience to remember.

Dark chocolate is generally more likely to be dairy-free than milk chocolate, but that's kind of obvious, now that I've written it.  My favourite dairy-free chocolate bar has to be Cocoa Camino's mint chocolate bar.  It's not cheap, but it is really, really good.  It's also fair-trade and organic, so that should erase any guilt you might feel about spending more than you would on the average chocolate bar.  Cocoa Camino also has a couple of hot chocolate mixes that are dairy-free.  I've tried and loved the Drinking Chocolate flavour, and I'm planning on trying the Chili and Spice flavour once my perpetual heartburn eases up.

My next quest is to find some dairy-free white chocolate.  Mmmm....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hammers can fix anything...

My little boy is in his big boy bed tonight.  He's had a few successful naps in his bunk bed so far, but this is the longest that he has been happy to stay in his big bed at nighttime.  Usually, he asks to sleep in his crib, or, if he agrees to go to bed in the big bed, he changes his mind before I've even turned off the light and closed the door.  He's not a climber, so he hasn't tried to climb out of his crib or climb the ladder to the top bunk, but I'm sure he could escape the crib if he really tried, so it's time to make the transition.  I thought about taking the crib apart to remove that option, but the thought of taking it apart only to put it back together in a matter of weeks for the new baby makes me tired.  I've been feeling that enough already lately - tired.  At the same time, I know that this will pale in comparison to the exhaustion of having a new baby if it's anything like the first time around!  I'm trying to get enough rest to feel like a responsible mother, but I'm also trying to squeeze in lots of time to do things that I enjoy doing before the baby comes.  I know that my priorities will be sleeping, eating, and basic hygiene once baby arrives, so I may as well enjoy some good crafts, reading, and organizing in these "waiting days."  I just read that paragraph and realized how selfish that sounds!  I really, truly am terribly excited about having this baby and any challenges pale in comparison to the joy that I'm already feeling about this new little life.
I was organizing my yarn stash today when O. attempted to steal a ball of baby boucle attached to a blanket I was working on.  He loves to take a ball of yarn and wind it around all his limbs, and then trail it around various pieces of furniture.  He can accomplish an astounding level of tangle in a short period of time; sometimes I let him have fun with it and sometimes the answer is no.  After a bit of a tug of war with the ball of yarn and some instructions to give it back to mommy, the yarn snapped and separated from the blanket.  He quickly started crying after realizing he had broken it, and after I asked "What do you say to Mommy?" Expecting an apology, I was surprised when he scampered off to the other side of the living room.  I was about to repeat the question when he said "I say 'I get my hammer and fix it, Mommy!"  He then fished the hammer out of his toy tool set to fix my yarn.  Oh, sweetness.
My blog has been somewhat quiet lately as I've been soaking up these quiet times, along with some lovely visits with family and friends.  My other reason for not writing is that each time I've started to write a post a couple of times in the past weeks, it always starts to sound complain-y.  And nobody likes hearing complaining, do they?  I'll try to pepper my complaints with some positive notes, as I really don't feel as negative as it seems to sound when I write it out.  I've stopped weighing myself except at the midwife/doctor's office, so it's kind of a fun guessing game when I step on the scale now.  With this pregnancy and with my son, I stopped mentally keeping track of the weight gain once it hits forty pounds.  Now, when the inevitable question arises about weight gain, I just leave it at "over forty pounds."  That's apparently shocking enough for most people judging from the last time I gave that answer.  I already feel a bit badly for people who literally grimace when they see my gargantuan belly.  I feel like I have to reassure them that I will be okay.  The size of my belly has created some heartburn issues, but fortunately I now love Tums.  This feels like a bit of a miracle, because I have never liked them, even to the point of not taking them when I've had heartburn in the past because I disliked them so much.  Now, I kind of crave them and have to keep track of my maximum daily dosage.  Perhaps this is another strange pregnancy craving?  I kind of hope not, because it would solve my problem of always forgetting to take my calcium supplements.  I also discovered that I like the smell of crayons and pencils.  Don't worry, I'm not eating them or smelling them all day long, but I find the aroma generally appealing when doing colouring crafts with O. as opposed to the first trimester when the smell of crayons sent me for a trip to sing into the porcelain bowl.  Strange.  My status as a W.O.U.S. (woman of unusual size) has also led to some rather clever ideas if I do say so myself.  My suggestion to maternity stores out there is to market satin sheets for pregnant women.  It would make turning over from one side to another so much more manageable, especially with matching satin pajamas.  At this point, rolling over takes considerable effort and usually wakes up my dear husband with the sheer force required to move this body.
I think that part of the reason why pregnancy comes with challenges is to allow us to embrace the inevitable step of birthing the baby.  I'm starting to approach the state of mind where the prospect of childbirth doesn't seem as daunting at continuing to be pregnant forever.  Not quite there yet, but getting closer!  My excitement about meeting this baby is also growing, which also serves to lessen the anxiety about the birth.  The arrival of a smattering of new babies in my circle of friends and families has begun, and holding my new nephew this weekend made the reality of this baby so much more tangible.  Sometimes I focus on the pregnancy so much that I lose sight of the end result: a baby, as paradoxical as that sounds.  My sister-in-law, also my new hero, gave birth to her third son at a planned homebirth that went smoothly even though he was 11 pounds, 3 ounces!  That gives me hope.  Not that I hope to give birth to a baby that large, but that it went well!
Now, for the more visually inclined, here are some photos of my recent goings-on.  I hosted a pysanky party for my friends last week, and there was something kind of neat about decorating eggs with three other pregnant friends and one who just had a baby.  Even though I planned on putting the supplies away after the party, they are still out almost a week later and I've been using my spare evening moments to pysanky away.  I wanted to try some more traditional Ukrainian designs this year, but I couldn't resist trying out some other ideas, including a self portrait.  An egg seems like a perfect canvas for my likeness right now.   Here are a few photos:

In the organization department, my sweet husband has indulged my request for a shelf to be added to my craft corner in the office/craft room.  He was a little fearful that a shelf meant that I had plans to fill it with new crafting items, but I really just wanted some vertical storage space to free up my desk space for actually doing some crafts.  Or taxes.  Note the pile of taxes on the desk - I finally finished doing our taxes the old fashioned way with a calculator and pencil for the first time in about eight years.  I also re-did all of our taxes from 2006 onwards after realizing we missed some opportunities to reduce our taxes...fingers crossed!

My better half also put up a couple of much needed shelves in the bathroom, since it looks like I will be diapering two kids very soon barring the miraculous success of my last-ditch effort to potty-train O. in the next couple of weeks!  Some kind soul on craigslist was giving away a collection of pocket diaper shells (bumgenius, fuzzy bunz, and baby kangas) because the elastics were shot.  After some trial and error, I managed to replace the elastics and give them some new life.  I had to buy some inserts for them, but still a sweet deal for a boost to the diaper stash.

I've taken a little break from the crocheting while my egg-decorating mini-obsession is in seasonal bloom, but here's a little taste of what I've been working on lately.  I'm hoping to create a collection of crochet patterns and open my own etsy shop.  It will be a slow process, but I'm hoping that I can do something with my interest in crafts to actually add to the financial well-being of this home, instead of crafts only appearing in the expenditures column of my mental budget.  Perhaps a table at a craft fair this Christmas season with some of my surplus eggs and crochet animals?  We'll see.  Here is the evolution of my elephant pattern, still in the works.

Time to be responsible and get some sleep.  Maybe just one more egg tonight.  

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