Thursday, April 30, 2009

Punch me

Punch me in the face. That would be better than what I have had to go through today. I went in for my routine 12 week OB visit. My midwife used a little doppler ultrasound to listen to the heartbeat. When she couldn't find it, she assured me this is normal at this point of the pregnancy. Still, we went to the ultrasound room for the "peace of mind". As soon as the ultrasound tech found my uterus, and baby, she turned her head, and gave the midwife this look. I immediately knew something was very wrong. I said: "that's not a good look!".

It really wasn't. They told me that the fetus was dead, and that it had probably been dead for 4-5 weeks! That is a LONG time! After all of the problems in the beginning, then the new hope, and joy of seeing a heartbeat; this is just heartbreaking.

Right now, I am going through waves. I'll be okay for a little while, and then I just break down and cry. It's especially hard when I have to tell someone on the phone, or even when I read an email from someone saying how sorry they are. This is the part where I am sooo happy I only told a select few people about the pregancy. I can't imagine having to tell the whole world what happened. (of course, the whole world can read this after I post it, but that will be several months later)

My midwife gave me 2 options. I can either wait, and see if my body with expel the baby naturally, or get a D and C. If it has taken this long, and can't imagine waiting around to see when/if it will come out. So my midwife is trying to get me scheduled for a D and C on Monday. It will be hard, but I think it will make it easier to feel closure that way.

Luckily, my midwife told me, that I don't have to wait a certain amount of time before trying for pregnancy again. She said that as soon as I have my normal period, things should be good to go. Also, this miscarriage shouldn't mean that my chances for another one go up. I guess the chance of a miscarriage (after medical confirmation of pregnancy), is about 11-25%! It's not until you have 3 miscarriages in a row that they conside you to have a realy "problem". Or as Joe likes to say "a hostile" (think Lost).

Where to go from here? I just need to cry, and cry some more. Then, we need to try to get pregnant again. If/when that happens, I need to TRY not to be an emotional wreck the whole time, fearing the worst. I am just so thankful right now, that I have 3 healthy children. I can't imagine going through this for a first pregnancy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Support Ginger

So I entered Ginger in the Parents Magazine cover contest. You could do me a huge favor. Please go to Ginger's photo's, and rate each one of them a 5. If you don't like any of the pictures, meet me at the bike racks after school. Just kidding.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cutest kid in America

Do you have the cutest kid in America? I think I do! Parents Magazine is doing a contest right now, to find the cutest kid. This kid will be on the cover on the magazine! And, if you submit a photo, you'll be entered for a $10,000 prize. Go here to see all the details.

Here are some pictures I am considering submitting. You can submit up to 6 per child, so I need to look, or take some more pictures

12 weeks

It's getting more tempting every week to tell everyone about the pregnancy. But then I think about how much cooler it will be if I can wait another month. It's so much fun to watch people's faces when you tell them you are 3 or 4 months pregnant. I can't remember if I wrote this already, but with Ginger, I didn't tell anyone (except family) until I was 20 weeks! You should have seen the amazement on people's faces when they found out. Plus, it gives me extra incentive not to gain any more weight then necessary.

I was just doing some research on weight gain during pregnancy this morning, and it was interesting to see the trend over the past 100 years. Back in the early 1900's, women were put on restrictive diets to prevent difficult labor, as well as "preservation of figure". They were told to gain no more than 15 lbs. In the 70s, the recommended range was 20-25 lbs. Currently, we are told to gain 25-35 lbs. I believe 35 lbs is way too much! What a difference it makes to gain 25 vs 40 lbs. I know, I did both. With Winter I gained 40, while I only gained 26 with Sterling. Winter's labor brought a bunch of complications with it, that could have been avoided if I hadn't eaten for 2.

"High weight gain is associated with increased risk of both prolonged labor and cesarean birth". So I know to be careful, and not hork out. But part of the problem is that my body really does need more food. I used to be able to eat breakfast, go to church, and eat lunch at 2pm with just minor stomach grumbles. However, yesterday, my stomach was grumbling by the time it was 11am, and if I hadn't brought a snack, I wouldn't have made it home. There's just a fine line between eating enough, and eating too much. I try to just eat enough, and eating mostly healthy foods. Before I eat a piece of cake, I carefully evaluate whether that's worth all the extra calories. (ice cream and chocolate usually make the cut)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Growing slowly

Several of my most faithful readers have asked for an update on our garden. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to finally meet your requests. Honestly, after I replanted my garden, I was a little sick of it. I had spent a lot of time out there, and it all looked pathetic. Over the last several weeks I have gone out there every once in a while to water it, and maybe spend 5 minutes spraying some weeds. It wasn't until this morning, that I finally really got out there to do some more work on it.

I am happy to report that most of my plants are still alive, and slowly growing. I did loose both my cucumber plants, and 2 of my zucchini plants. I found the seeds leftover from last year, and planted some of those today. My beans are also finally big enough, so I could mulch them. They had by far the most weeds in my whole garden. After the frost I thought for sure that I had also lost my cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Luckily I didn't yank them out of the ground, because apparently only the leafs died, but the core survived. I only lost 1 of each plant.

Speaking of weeds, I have a silly confession to make. When I put the goat-poo hay and the leafy mulch down, I believed that would result in no weeds. Oh was I wrong! Grass is especially hardy, and came right through the hay. Also, in some spots where the hay is decayed a bit more, grass is growing straight out of the hay. The upside: only relatively few weeds, and most of them that do come through, are pretty easy to pull. (except the grass that was already there and now coming through). There is also one kind of weed, and I have no idea what the name is, that came through just like the grass, and seemed to be thriving on the poo in the hay. Those got the roundup treatment! And then there are some spot where I evidently didn't put enough hay/mulch down, and as a result many more weeds were coming up. I pulled those weeds, and added more mulch.

Also, I am so happy to say that I saw the first flowers. There's a beautiful yellow one, on a squash plant. Several tomato plants also have some little flowers. While looking at my tomato plants, I had to do a double take. It appears that my roma tomato plant actually has a tomato on it!! It's still really little, and green, but that's major!

I have discovered that onion plants prefer to have leafy mulch over hay mulch (I used leafy mulch on almost everything, but I ran out, so switched to clean hay). Half of them have hay, and half leafy mulch. The half with the leafy mulch are clearly bigger and greener than the other half.

The garden still doesn't look very impressive to me, but at least it's not dead. I thought it would be fun to mark where everything is located. Maybe, when the plants get bigger, it will look more green, but for now you can seen some of the plants (click on the image for a larger view)

Sleeping outside

Tonight I have our king size bed to myself. Joe is sleeping outside. No, we didn't have a huge fight, and sent him out! The kids really wanted to sleep on the trampoline. We figured they are probably not old enough to be out there alone the whole night, especially Ginger, who is just 3. Before Joe went out, he tried to convince ME to sleep out there. Crazy guy. The bugs and pollens would kill me before sun up.

I remember when I was a kid, we loved sleeping on the trampoline as well. Of course we didn't go to sleep until late, and woke up super early, but it was fun to sleep in the open. Out here there are lots of stars too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


My new recipe book from Tastebook came in today, and I am loving it. There are some issues with the photos I took, they are all too dark. That's totally my fault, because other photos are just fine. As I was making my menu for the next week, I was trying to find some recipes that call for a lot of eggs (again), and saw that flan was one of them. That got me to remember the yummy Dutch dessert called "vla". It's a yellow custard dessert, that can not be found in the US. Since it's a dairy product, they don't import it to the Dutch grocery stores.

I finally found one that didn't call for "custard powder". The ingredients are pretty straight forward: milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and cornstarch. After you mix all of them, you just have to stir over low heat until it thickens. I didn't want to risk cooking it too fast, so I ended up stirring the vla for an hour! Now it's cooling in the fridge, and I can't wait to see how it tastes (it was pretty yummy warm, but that's totally different)

11 weeks

I skipped week 10, just because not much new was going on. At this point in the pregnancy it's easy to start becoming impatient for some visible change. There has been some change already, but not too much that you can see by looking at me (unless you are me, and then it looks like you have a gut)

The only new thing this week is the progressively worse fatigue. It seems like I could sleep all day! Last night, I went to bed around 10.30, so I could have 8 hours before the kids woke up. But then, by 8, I was already so tired that my eyes we drooping. So I took a nap, until 9.30 (only because that's when Ginger woke me up). I'm sure that by the time it's 12.30, I'll be just as tired, and can easily take another 2 hour nap. If you add all of that together, that's 10.5 hours. And that's not enough to get me totally rested!

So every time I write one of these posts (which I am not publishing yet, until I make my pregnancy public) I am afraid that I'll accidentally hit the publish button. Because that's my habit, or it could happen by a wrong click of the mouse. Anyways, I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal at this point, although I would really like to wait until I have my 19 week ultrasound. I probably won't be able to pull it off, just because my pooch is coming on strong, but wouldn't that be cool? That way, I can shave off 14 weeks of questions from people "how are you feeling?". I know it's meant in a good way, but it gets really old. Especially since I don't have morning sickness, and feel fine (besides the fatigue) I'd rather suffer in silence, so the pregnancy doesn't seem as drawn out.

Oh, speaking of telling people. I had to lie for the first time last week. My friend asked me, around a bunch of ladies from church, if I was pregnant yet. I had told her while we were trying, that we were trying. But I wasn't ready for her or the other ladies to know yet, so I straight out lied to her face. Hope she forgives me when I finally do tell her, and she figures out the math....

I'll probably start taking weekly photos starting next week. I'll have to find a shirt that I can wear all the way through the pregnancy so you can really see the growth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Over the past few years I have started developing some pretty bad allergies. The first year I remember having it, was when I drove through a field to my friend Jill's house. That must have been in 2004 or 2005. I would start sneezing when I was in between the fields, and it would go away when I was out of them.

The allergies got really out of control when we moved to Texas. Last year was my first spring here, and around the beginning of May, I couldn't even open my windows, or step out the back door, without getting a sneezing attack. I mean bad! I would get the watery eyes, and itch in my throat. All of this would trigger a sinus infection, so then I was miserable for at least a week.

I have noticed the past few days that I sneeze (like 5 times in a row) whenever I am in Plano. They must have different pollens there. But today, when I was feeding my ducks, I started getting some symptoms. Not quite an attack, but when I rubbed my nose, it actually started itching. I quickly retreated back to the house, and resolved to see my doctor for this problem.

They will have to do some tests I guess, to see which pollens drive my nose into war mode. Then, I'll probably have to go on some strong meds, to keep the attacks from coming back. Luckily, I mostly only have these allergies during the month of May. How do our bodies suddenly develop this kind of reaction? Seems so strange, especially since I never had any issues while I was younger

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

callings and trips

I am such a slacker! It's not that I don't want to blog. More like I totally forget, or when I do think about it, I just don't have anything interesting to write.

Joe got a new calling.... as Elder's Quorum President. At first I thought this wouldn't be a big deal, until the stake president in the interview said that it required Joe to visit the members two nights a week. We have so many projects around here, that usually only get done in the evening. So this takes a big chunk of Joe's productive time away. But I am going to be supportive. (that doesn't mean I can't whine once in a while, and vent on the blog).

Yesterday we made a quick dash down to college station. It's about a 4 hour drive, so 8 total. That's a lot for one day (for me at least). Joe's little sister Ruth had her senior project. It was a wonderful musical program with everything ranging from Japanese flute to guitar solos. Ruth has the most amazing voice, so it was fun to hear her perform too.

I have a confession to make. I hadn't touched my harp since Christmas, until last week. That's over 3 months! I don't know why I go through these fazes where I either play a ton, or don't even glance at it. It's important that I keep playing though, because I can tell my soul starts missing the music.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy 5*th

This post is dedicated to my dad. He turned 5* today. Happy Birthday dad!I have been working on my own recipe book for the past year or so. I used to just print my recipes, and put them in a 3-ring binder. The problem was that pretty soon the recipes got disorganized, and I had a bunch of loose recipes. Also, They weren't organized well, and they were all in different formats.

During my research on the internet, I found a lot companies that would print your recipes in book format. Then I found Tastebook. This company prints the recipes on individual pages, that go in a binder. So in essence, it's the same as my binder, but they have great formatting, plus it just looks a thousand times better. You can upload your own photos, and put in any notes and details you want.

It took me a while, because at first I wanted to add only my own pictures. When that took too long, I just hunted around on the internet for photos that looked like my recipes. So far, I have 63 recipes. When you order a book from Tastebook, you can order a 100-page book, and just add additional pages later. I am really excited, and think this will help me with my menu planning too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Signs of the time

As a parent, I thought I still had a while, before we got into teenage issues. Maybe I was wrong.
I laughed so hard when I saw this sign! Where did she get this idea? Must be some show on TV, although she really doesn't watch much other than some cartoons. If that wasn't funny enough, maybe this will tickle your funny bone (posted next to the ladder on the bunk bed)Winter gets frustrated sometimes when it comes to the cleanliness of her room. She shares her bedroom with Ginger, so often while she is at school, Ginger gets some toys out. After school I usually make all the kids clean their rooms, and the moans of injustice start. Ginger really isn't very good at cleaning, and sometimes Winter ends up with the brunt of the work. I know, not fair. Right? Mostly. See, Winter is notorious for throwing her clothes all over the place. Wherever she takes something off, that's where it stays. So often when the room is a huge mess, it's because the whole floor is covered with clothes, towels, blankets, and some toys.

I'm not writing this to ask for solutions, because I know what to do there. I should just help Ginger clean all of her stuff before Winter gets home from school. That way, it's not unfair for Winter, and I can easily say: it's all your stuff.

All of this stuff reminds me of when I had to share a room with my younger sister. Wendy was always much messier than me. (maybe that's a younger sibling trait). We finally just divided the room in half, drew an imaginary line, and were both responsible for our own halves.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hospital rip-off

We just got our hospital bill for our latest ER visit. I had expected a pretty big bill, but not this big! For 3 hours in the ER, no medications, 1 ultrasound, and some bloodwork: $4324. At least we have decent insurance, so after their contractual adjustments and payment, we "only" owe $855. This includes a $500 deductible for the year. I can't really count that part because with the pregnancy, I definitely would have paid that, even without this hospital visit.

Still, I had expected maybe $700, not $855. Especially since when we took Sterling to the hospital a few years ago, and he had an overnight stay, the bill was $700. That included a night's stay! So I started examining the bill, and already saw a mistake. For some reason, they had billed for two $658 ultrasounds. I don't know how they could possibly come up with this number, but I intend to resolve it. Also, there are charges on there for pharmacy $480, and the only thing I got was 1 Rhogam shot. Oh, and yeah, it cost $1378 to test 7 vials of my blood.

All of this is so ridiculous, especially since you can get plastic surgery for $6000. Would you rather spend $6000 for that, or $4300 for 3 hours in the hospital where they don't even do anything except tell you, you had a threatened miscarriage, and to take it easy and get a follow up visit with my doctor. And this bill doesn't even include whatever the on-call doctor decides to charge.....

A few years ago, I had heard some people say that most hospital bills have discrepancies. Things like double billing, charges for things that were never done, and so forth. I intend to get an itemized hospital bill, and then look up all the billing codes and see where they tried to screw me over. The thing that gets me is that the insurance companies just pay whatever the bill says. They could save so much money by doing a little investigation, so see if there are any major errors.

After I get all the mistakes taken off, I also intend to negotiate my bill with the hospital's billing supervisor. I know that only about 10% of hospital patients pay the full amount, so why should I be part of that small group? It's not uncommon to be able to get a 30% discount, especially when you are willing to pay the full amount due in cash. The hospitals would much rather get this bill off their books, than having to deal with small monthly payments or collection agencies.

So here I start my investigation and redemption with the hospital. This also reminds me why I don't "just take my kids to the emergency room". Any time I have in the past, it has cost me an arm and a leg. Of course, since I have met my deductible for the year, I am in the clear for the rest of the year. Then, it will "only" cost me $355 for a 3 hour visit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stink bomb

I smell like skunk right now. After watering the garden and giving the chickens some fresh water, I was enjoying the weather and petting one of our small chicks. This is the only chick of 30 incubated eggs, that's still alive. We lost 2 of the other chicks over the weekend, when they were left out of the coop.

I might know what happened to those two now. One possibility is our big scat cat, but since he never bothers my chickens or chicks, I think it was the skunk that came over to visit this afternoon. First I saw him by the bush hog. A little while later, the chickens started to make a ruckus, and when I looked in the pen, there it was. It was drinking some water, and when he looked like he wanted to go through the little hole, into the coop, I was going to block his entrance.

The only problem was, that as soon as I opened the door (on the other side of the coop), he saw the light and walked into the coop. Worried about him eating eggs, or even killing some chicks, I summoned the man with the gun. Joe. I love that man. He will come out and shoot anything for me. He used a 12 gauge shotgun at point-blank range, and took care of my egg predator (sure enough he was eating eggs)

Unfortunately he didn't die until he had blasted a stink bomb. Now, we have a dead skunk in our coop, and you can barely even go in there. I think I need a gas mask, and full-on space suit to get it out. But I do want to get it out soon, so hopefully the stink won't stick too long.

garden and foster update

So I know my posts have all been about gardening lately, but honestly, that's because that's pretty much all I am doing these days. Soon after I saw that all my plants had died, I determinedly went to the nursery to get some more plants. Unfortunately they were out of cauliflower and broccoli since those are considered cold weather plants, and cold weather is supposed to be gone...

The garden center in Greenville has pretty good prices, and I was able to get zucchini, squash, and 5 kind of tomatoes for about $13. 4 hours in labor later, I have a garden again, almost as if the frost never happened.

Today is a very nice day, without much wind, which will be good for my plants to get weathered. I think there's supposed to be really bad winds tomorrow, and I think I'll just cover all my plants up, so they don't get whipped dead.

On another note, we have another quarterly review for our foster license today. Funny, since we have never had a placement, but for some reason they still need to make sure we are following the rules. We did actually get a call for an adoptive placement yesterday, but never heard back. What's new right? I think they keep waiting to submit our names until they have siblings, since we indicated that we are willing to take up to 2 children. I think I'm going to change our preference down to one child, and maybe we might start getting some calls for individual children. Maybe not. Who knows? At this point I have lost all faith and hope in my agency's ability to get us a placement.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It's all dead..... argggggg

Monday, April 6, 2009

Frost = Death

I heard a quick announcement after dancing with the stars was over, mentioning freezing temperatures. The message didn't really sink in, until after I watched the movie Twilight again. I went to to see what the deal was, and found out that there's a freeze warning starting at 3am tonight. Of course a lot of my plants are NOT freeze proof and will die if not protected. So I hauled Joe outside, and started covering up my warm weather plants.

I am very worried though. When I felt some of the squash leafs, they definitely felt hard and frozen. The hose was also stiff, and I got really scared. We finished covering up the veggies, and went back inside. The thermometer next to the house says it's 4o, but I'm sure it's colder out in the field. The weather website insists that it's currently 42, but I'm just not so sure.

I guess I'll know by morning, whether all my work was wasted. If they all die, I will probably fork out another $30, and buy new plants, a spend a few more hours planting them again.....
Or I might just give up and never do a vegetable garden again in my life (just kidding). Realistically, even if they do die, it won't be that much work. The most work was getting all the ground ready, spreading out hay and mulch. But it would still suck!

9 weeks

Not much to report this week. I did have my official first midwife visit today. She asked me about my other babies, and was amazed that I had had a 9.0 lbs baby (Winter was 9 lbs). They took a bunch of my blood for some more silly tests, my yearly checkup, and then the same old questions about how I am feeling.

The only real news is that my pants are definitely getting tighter. There are actually several pairs that I don't even dare to try on anymore. The ones I am wearing today, are going in a box after today for sure! It shouldn't start this early!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

General Conference

Every 6 months, our church has a "general conference", which is a broadcast from Salt Lake City (the headquarters), to all the world. The conference is broadcast to our church buildings, as well as on some TV stations. There are four 2-hour sessions, 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, which makes for a LONG weekend for the kids. Although it would be great if we could listen to all four sessions, we usually end up only listening on Sunday. We are fortunate enough to have parents that have satellite in their home, so we won't have to torture our kids with 4 hours of sitting still and listening to old men speak (that's their outlook)

This morning, we settled down to do the three P's. Pyjamas, Popcorn, Prophet. The nice thing about watching at home, is the freedom to watch and listen in casual clothes instead of fancy Sunday dresses. The popcorn and other snacks are also great to keep the mouths occupied, and the tummy satisfied. We printed out some fun activity packets, so the kids were actually paying attention, trying to hear specific words. Once they heard them, they got a candy for each one. Candy is often the best motivation for my kids!

We just finished lunch and still have 2 more hours of great Spiritual instruction to listen to. We'll probably put the kids in bed, so both them and us will be happier when it's over.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Garden Progress

Okay, it's high time to get that nasty post away from the top of my blog, and replace it with some much cuterYesterday the weather was reasonably nice (meaning the wind was "only" 24 miles/hour), so I went to a fun nursery in Greenville. I find the vegetable plants at places like Walmart and Lowes are way too expensive. Especially Bonnie plants. I mean, why should I have to pay for Bonnie to ship their plants all over the country, and pay for fancy containers?

The vegetable plants that I bought are: 4 kinds of tomatoes (including yummy cherry), Bell pepper, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, and Watermelon. I also bought some Green Bean seeds and Sugar Pod Peas (which, after I got home I realized, it's much too later for) I was bummed that they didn't have Broccoli plants, but I guess they are also kind of a cold weather plant.

My approach to my garden layout is a lot different than last year. Last year, I tilled a large portion of my fenced-in garden area, and started just planted everything very spread out. That totally flopped! The weeds quickly too over, and I got discouraged. So this year, I planted everything as close as the instructions allow. The other difference is that last year, I planted all the plants I bought. Problem being: zucchini and squash plants are sold in 9-plant flats. Who needs 9 zucchini plants? Not my family of 5! So I just had to keep telling myself that more isn't always better (when it comes to veggie plants). I ended up with 2 cucumber plants, 3 zucchini plants, and 4 squash plants. If all of those survive, I'll have those coming out my ears.

The next step in my new garden plan, is weed prevention. Thanks Kezia for giving me the idea to use goat soiled hay for the areas between the plants. We have plenty of that! We actually probably have enough of that to cover the whole fenced in area -- I might just do that, so I won't have to mow around the garden. Joe drove his truck to the goat pens and filled up the back. Then, we drove it down to the garden area, and shoveled it into a wheelbarrow. From there, I spread it around, about 3"-4" thick. Try to grow through that! weeds!

Oh, another new thing I tried, is something that the lady from the nursery recommended. I explained to her that I was tired of all my plants dying as soon as I plant them in the ground. She told me that wind can be very damaging to little plants. She told me to get some milk jugs, cut the top and bottom off, and then put them around each individual plant. Pepper and Tomato plants have an especially hard time at first, with the wind. How lucky am I, to have a husband that collects random things like milk jugs???? So lucky! I found several jugs around the shop, and also used some metal cans (that I just took the bottom out of). I only had enough for my tomatoes and peppers, but I wish I could have had enough for my squash too. This morning, the squash plants looked a little wilted. I gave them some more water, but I might just go on a jug-hunt, and see if I can't protect those as well.

I still need to plant the watermelon, and decide how I am going to plant my larger tomatoes. I have wanted to try doing "hanging tomatoes", where you plant the tomato plant upside-down in a buck (with a whole in the bottom of the bucket) and hang it from some kind of stand. There wouldn't be as many weeds, ant infestations, or the need to stake up the plant. The only reservations I have about doing that, is that I would have to water them much more frequently, because the water would evaporate much quicker. Also, the lady at the nursery told me that they don't taste as good, as tomatoes that are just planted in the ground.

This is my garden right now. Still needs some work, but I am extremely pleased with the result so far.

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