Pregnancy/Fertility Thoughts

28 Oct

29-weeksAlmost 7 months pregnant!

I have been growing this little one with so much joy inside my heart. It is different though, after secondary infertility and fertility treatments. I think that was why I was so anxious about the birth of this one even from the very beginning. For so many months my body had failed to give me what I wanted, and I don’t think I was truly trusting myself, even after my pregnancy continued to progress smoothly.

The first time I got pregnant, it happened after one cycle of trying. This time it took 2 years almost exactly from the date I wrote “We can start trying!!!” on our Google calendar to getting a positive pregnancy test. By the time it finally did happen, we were trying so many things at once, only God knows what did the trick. It takes three months for eggs to develop from follicles; the egg for baby boy #2 originated from the month we were doing our anti-inflammatory diet. I was going to acupuncture every two weeks. I had an endometrial biopsy the previous cycle. And, we did a Femara IUI cycle.

I think there honestly is a different feeling (for me) to getting pregnant in the quiet intimacy with my husband vs the public happenings at an RE’s office. I suppose some people can hide that aspect of their lives, but I needed the support of my friends and family throughout our years of trying. And by the time I was going to an RE’s office several times a week, it’s hard to hide from the “did you take a test today?” questions — not that I minded. I enjoyed sharing the journey.

The book on orgasmic birth really did help my anxiety. While there were things I didn’t like about that particular book (the author was a bit aggressive, for one), it helped me get in tune with the feeling that “all this is natural, just let your body do what comes naturally.” And that’s when I realized I had a block against those type of thoughts because of how this little one came to be. But the truth is, if God, or the universe, hadn’t wanted it to be, it wouldn’t have happened, no matter how many interventions. I know many people who try fertility treatments for years with no success. So I’m slowly getting back to that assurance I had with Walter that my body knows what it is doing and can handle a birth. Can more than just handle a birth.

My goal this time is to push the baby out with a smile on my face, instead of hyperventilating. My goal is to feel the joy coursing through me every moment of his birth, as I have for every moment of his pregnancy… well, since the unbearable nausea ended. It’s amazing to me how negatively I felt, after trying so hard, when I finally got my wish granted. I’m glad that has passed, and I’m only looking forward to the things to come, like holding this little one as close as possible for as long as possible, and sharing him with all those who love our little growing family.

What to do with apples

25 Oct

We had a full bushel of apples when we came home from apple picking. Besides eating as many delicious apples as we could (plain and with peanut butter, which Walter declared was worth his taste buds), we scoured our canning books and the internet and came up with some good recipes.

Dave made apple jelly and “Mom’s Apple Pie in a Jar”, which is something you’re supposed to put on top of ice cream and other desserts. Some are going out for Christmas presents while others are waiting to be opened and consumed during the cold, hard months of winter. And we still have lots of apple cider leftover to use elsewhere.

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Walter and I made apple pie, apple muffins, and applesauce muffins.

img_20161018_171937The best of our three attempts at pie crust was Walter’s version. I had made some modifications of Julia Child’s recipe after one failed version and one medium success (we used less water and had to figure out the flour ratio since we had pastry flour instead of cake flour), but still. He worked that dough all by himself, and it was great.

img_20161019_163639769Only had to cut up 1 million golden delicious apples.

img_20161019_174019511We made these for an early family Thanksgiving lunch in a couple weeks, but we just had to try one slice before it went in the freezer. And it was délicieux.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins by Smitten Kitchen

Because of this recipe I’ve started substituting whole wheat flour in other muffins and wow. My banana bread muffins have never tasted so good. Just replace 1 cup all-purpose with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour.

Apple Pie by Crafty Creative Gal

We used the pie crust recipe directly out of a Julia Child cookbook, but the filling and everything else from this recipe. And YUM.

Applesauce

For the applesauce muffins, I just did my banana bread recipe but replaced three bananas with homemade applesauce from three apples. Boy, a kitchen never smells as good as when apples have been simmering in cinnamon and sugar all day long. I did the slow cooker version, which turned the apples a lot darker than the picture, but as it was going in to muffins, I didn’t care.

Most of the muffins are sitting in our freezer waiting for midnight snacking sessions after nursing #2. I can’t wait for those all-night cuddle sessions. Just 2 1/2 more months to go!

Chalktoberfest

10 Oct

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This weekend was just one of those insanely gorgeous Atlanta fall weekends with the perfect temperature and breezes. We had a relaxing Saturday morning in the backyard and walking the dog, then we headed off to Chalktoberfest in Marietta Square.

It is by far my favorite street festival that I’ve been to in Atlanta. Not too crowded, a great cover band, food trucks, awesome chalk artists, a long row of craft beers (which I will partake in next year), and clean and cleverly painted porta-potties (these were important for my six month pregnant belly).

chalktoberfest-1We sat and played for a long time on the shaded grass in the middle of the Square listening to the band and watching the sun flicker through the trees. We brought sandwiches to eat, but others had full-on picnics and camping chairs. Good ideas for next year.

img_20161008_150658280Some people had barely started their chalk drawings, but others were well on their way. They were pretty amazing to see, even unfinished. Next year we’ll go on Sunday so we can see the completed works!

img_20161008_150840485_hdrI especially loved anything with folded cloth. There were three streets on the Square filled double sided with groups doing the chalk art. I had been hoping to see those really cool perspective chalk drawings, but they were pretty much just fine art replicas. Still, pretty incredible.

img_20161008_151913556Walter finally found what he was looking for! This was his favorite chalk drawing.

img_20161008_161040772Their loot from the Soda Pop Candy Shop store. Dave said it would have been his dream store when he was 12 years old (though his enthusiasm didn’t seem diminished 20 years later!). There was an entire wall of taffy, so much so that Dave took pictures so he’d know what they were eating once we got home. I was, meanwhile, looking around the Local Exchange next door, which is definitely more my kind of shopping experience. Marietta Square is awesome and we’ll be heading back often, festival or not.

One of Those Perfect Days

9 Oct

Friday was a really glorious and fun day. A friend turned me on to Goldstar, and it’s quite great to buy cheaper tickets to an event you want to go to. I saw the listing for Disney on Ice, and I thought that Walter and I would probably enjoy that. So I bought some seats.

I debated with myself if I wanted to drive down there and park at Philips Arena, but I truly despise navigating through downtown and trying to find (and then pay for) parking. Walter had never been on a train before, so I opted for us to ride MARTA as part of the all-day experience. I knew he’d enjoy the very long escalators at the stations too, and I wanted to stop at Dua Vietnamese for lunch on Broad Street after the show since we’d be in the area. It’s our #1 favorite restaurant; Dave and I used to eat there 3-4 times a week when we attended GaState.

img_20161007_101209He thought maybe the train was never going to leave the station.

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He drew a map of the tracks and Five Points station where we’d be transferring. He was also very interested in what MARTA does and does not allow to happen on the trains.

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I didn’t take any pictures while we were there, mainly cause it was so awesome I never pulled my phone out. I loved the show, and Walter never took his eyes off the rink (except to stare at the colorful whirly toys that kids around us had). I love when Walter enjoys himself like that.

Afterward we walked from Philips Arena to Dua, which was only about half a mile away. I love walking through Georgia State campus in the early fall because it reminds me of meeting and falling in love with David in the fall of 2008 and all the fun we had in college together. Dave met us at the restaurant, where the bun bo hue was fresh and as delicious as it’s ever been.

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We rode with Daddy back to his office, then continued on to our car, where Walter fell asleep on the way home. I was jealous. It was a great day for a great boy.

The Dining Room

8 Oct

One of the things we had the hardest time figuring out at our old house was where to put the formal dining room. For a while we had it smushed in with everything else in the living room, where you couldn’t push the chairs out all the way or you’d bang in to something. Then when we remodeled we turned our master bedroom into a pub room (dining table, piano, dart board, pub table, and TV all in one), and that was kind of awesome, but it turned our three bedroom house into a two bedroom. So when we looked for a new house, we knew we needed a separate dining room.

Voilà! The perfect size room for all our dining needs. And the door on the right leads to the kitchen.

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If you look closely you can see how old the carpet was, and that once it was some kind of shade of pink or maroon. This carpet was so gross that when Walter played on it (despite us telling him to please quit doing that), his skin would turn red. My mom’s dog got an eye infection (she’s a small dog and thus had more contact with the carpet). Walter even christened it once when we were in due diligence with projectile vomiting the day he came down with strep. Luckily though, the carpet hid beautiful hardwoods underneath just waiting for the floor guys to labor over and make perfectly smooth for us.

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This was their dining room, which I planned to use for our regular kitchen table, since we were removing the eat-in area in the actual kitchen.

Ta-da! And talk about vintage wallpaper and light fixture put to good use!

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The whole glorious room. The bigger part had been their second, formal living room.

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We frequently puzzle on this table and love inviting friends and family over for dinner, so it really does need its own space. This blue accent wall was the first thing I painted one night after we bought the house, and when I finished, I was pleased and excited for how the house would turn out (aka however we wanted it to!). Because we always knew we were going to sell our old house, I never felt like I could make it uniquely my own. This little gem, however, I’ve clearly gone to town with my design decisions.

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In a couple weeks we’re going to pick up antique chairs from David’s aunt that date back in his family several generations to put in each of the corners. Let’s just hope the cat doesn’t ruin them right away.

DIY Postcard Backsplash

6 Oct

Because my husband has the coolest family, I got the idea for our backsplash from his aunt. In her kitchen she has several photos in the same color scheme repeated like tiles, which I always thought was funky and cute. When Dave and I were trying to figure out what we wanted to do and our kitchen budget was running low (thank you awesome farmhouse sink… and all the other things we thought were must-buys before purchasing a backsplash), I thought, I could do like my aunt-in-law! When I asked her about it, she said she slapped them up on the walls with some Elmer’s glue 25 years ago as a temporary backsplash until she figured out what tile she wanted (ha!).

One of the biggest appeals for me (besides the cost being under $100 total for the project) was that if I ever changed my mind, tile could just be put up on top of the cards. No big deal.

I didn’t want to use personal photos, so I bought sets of Paris-themed photo postcards from a seller on Etsy. I used 8 blanc (white) sets, 3 gris (gray) sets, and 3 vert (teal, really) sets for some variety while trying to keep the photos as neutral and un-busy as possible. I unfortunately found out that the postcards were sold out and not going to be printed ever again (apparently) when I was running low and wanted to buy some more mid-project. I had to get creative to finish!

img_20160924_090847438I find it necessary to always have a supply of Mod Podge and foam brushes handy in case of any impromptu projects. I foolishly thought it would take a night to do all of this, but in reality it took three days. If you’re going to do something unique, you better be precise and make it look as good as possible. I glued them on and then after they dried I covered them in another layer of Mod Podge (matte finish). I plan on polying around the sink and coffee maker for extra protection once I’ve verified it won’t turn anything yellow.

dsc_0043I honestly wasn’t really sure how it would turn out, but I like it more than I thought I would. And the key was that my mom didn’t come into my kitchen and immediately notice that she didn’t like it — in fact she didn’t notice at first that I had done anything at all! When I had originally told her of my idea, she told me I shouldn’t do it, and she’s pretty good at design decisions, so I was happy she approved of the final product.

dsc_0044I wasn’t sure if Dave should caulk the bottom of the cards where they meet the granite with white or clear, so for now it’s bare. Gosh I love our kitchen sink.

dsc_0047It took me a while but I finally figured out how to use our new Nespresso machine. Délicieux.

dsc_0046No Parisian kitchen is complete without a little Julia Child sign-off decal! Bon Appétit!

dsc_0045To save on postcard usage, and because I had the idea mid-project and I’m totally in love with accenting our house with Deep Sea Dive, I had Dave help by painting the wall behind the vent hood. I love that we did that. It was the perfect final touch.

Our Total Kitchen Remodel

5 Oct

The biggest thing we did to our new house before moving in was gut and remodel the kitchen.

Because it looked like this. Not the worst, but not what we wanted either.kitchen-4-a

We had our contractor remove everything of course. Only took him a day! Walter thought the kitchen fell through a tiny hole in the floor into the basement.

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I ordered white, wood cabinets from ProSource that are made by the Amish in the United States (thank you to Bobby for helping me design the new kitchen!). They also have soft close drawers! And they were only a week late on delivery!

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I had everything so tightly scheduled so we could move in in a month, that both the flooring and granite people ended up at the house at the same time. No, that month wasn’t stressful at all!

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The house started coming together. It was fun to watch the process. It was slightly less fun to make sure everything got done on time and done right, but luckily I’m Type-A enough that I did enjoy that too.

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And then, suddenly — oh yeah and a few extra months of work later — it was finished!

As a reminder, it looked like this:

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And now!!! I love having the kitchen and living spaces together. Makes for cozy, comfortable living.

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The dog and cat happily posing.

Who doesn’t want all their appliances crammed in together?

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Ah, nice and bright and open! And our awesome woodworking friend Alex made and installed our floating shelves for us.

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They had a little eat in area (and a window we made disappear).

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Which we turned into the fridge/pantry area.

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Lovely giant wall in the middle of the room!

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Brought up to the 21st century! I kind of have a Parisian café/1950’s diner theme going.

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It’s much, much smaller than our kitchen in our old house, but once I got everything organized and realized I don’t need a million cabinets to store stuff I rarely use (hello basement storage!), I love it.

Apple Picking

2 Oct

October 1st in Atlanta and you can smell Fall in the air. You can also smell neighbors burning their yard refuse in Cobb County, as it’s the first day to legally do that since summer ended, and of course we joined in. But first we went apple picking.

Ellijay, GA is one of my favorite places in the world. We spend two of my favorite days every year there: birthday tubing in the summer and apple picking in the fall. And it’s just beautiful; mountains in the distance, trees, and lots of glorious sky. If we ever went really rural and didn’t move to the Canadian West, I think we’d choose Ellijay.

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It’s just so pretty.

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We stopped at the first tree in the orchard to eat a golden delicious.

dsc_0012Two years ago Walter was in an apple coma from eating so many apples. This picture represents the extent of Walter’s apple eating this time.

img_20161001_140332205_hdrWe found the Red Apple Barn the first year we went picking. Last year our choice was crowded and not very pretty, so we knew we’d head back here this year. I love this one because of the way it is laid out, they give you a wagon ride to and from the orchard, and the cold apple cider and an apple cider donut when you’re done. Yum.

img_20161001_135227174Just getting started.

img_20161001_140208279He was equally interested in picking flowers as he was apples.

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img_20161001_140823209Walter wanted to make sure his apple was in the picture too.

dsc_0018David promises he’s going to can most of these.

family-shot-editedThe three and a half of us had a really fun day in the country.

Orgasmic Birth?

27 Sep

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Before I even got pregnant with Walter, I had studied to be a doula and was really passionate about it. The mothers I nannied for had had unmedicated labors, I was a fan of Ina May Gaskin, so I knew what I wanted for my own birth experience. Despite many people telling me how hard or awful it would be, I knew what I knew, pretty much ignored any nay-sayers, and ended up having the labor with Walter that I wanted.

Sure it was hard, sure it was painful, sure it was scary, but I did it. I knew I could, and I did. Thousands (millions?) of people run marathons, and I don’t think any one of them describes that as easy, but they do it for the rush and the sense of accomplishment.

Given all that, I don’t really know why, with #2, I am mostly filled with fear and anxiety about the birth. I don’t want an epidural or narcotics — and I’m mad the US does not support gas and air during labor! But I think it would be terrible to continue to feel this way up until the birth. Our minds play such an important role in how we labor… so I figure I need to study again. To delve into the world of births.

I just ordered a book on Orgasmic Births (wouldn’t that be nice!??), and I’m hoping it’ll jump start that feeling I once had that despite any fears, this is doable. More than doable.

Gosh I’m excited to meet little boy. You know, after that whole giving birth thing.

Science Experimenting

16 Sep

Walter’s most frequent request since we started homeschooling is, “Can we do another science experiment?” I bought a kit online that shows you how to do 11 different things, usually involving changing colors with acids and bases and making things fizzle. Yesterday we did a really fun one that I had never experienced before. I’m pretty sure no science teacher has ever talked to me about non-Newtonian liquids — or if they did they never showed me this really simple experiment that would make it stick in my mind.

I suggest even adults should do this one night if you haven’t already. Or if you are talking to your child about solids and liquids, this is something fun to play with.

In a bowl:

Take 1/8 cup of water (add a couple drops of food coloring if you want. We didn’t have any and it was fine without it).
Mix in 5 tbs of cornstarch.

Now, as you play with it and squeeze it and drop it and softly touch it and knock on it and try to stir it with a spoon, ask yourself, is that a solid or a liquid?

Apparently even scientists don’t know yet why it does what it does!

newton5Homeschool is cool for everyone.