April 28, 2011

Finger Candy: My Top Ten Feels

There are certain things I can't help touching. I mean sometimes I can control the impulse to reach out and get a feel...but most of the time I just can't help myself. Here are my Top Ten Finger Candy Feels:

10. Afro hair - the texture fascinates me. And if I'm lucky enough to know you and you've got some, I may just ask you if I can feel it.
9. Ringlets - I need to put my finger through the center of a ringlet and then pull it down.
8. Velvet dresses - I won't even ask you. I'll just start rubbing your sleeve.
7. Fur coats - oh so soft. I love 'em...but no, I don't own any.
6. Fabric - can anyone go through a fabric store and not touch everything?! No, I don't think so.
5. My Grandfather's fatty fat veins on the back of his hand - they were huge. I always wondered what would happen if I pressed them. So I did. Softly. Over and over again. Grandpa died when I was 14. I miss him.
4. Chapped lips - as in my chapped lips. Not anyone else's. I love the rough, smooth, rough, smooth texture.
3. My 6 year old Elliott's back - his skin is so soft. And he loves the caresses. Which is great for both of us.
2. My pregnant outie belly button - I just like to squeeze it. And play with it. My children think it's New Baby's foot or hand poking out. They like to kiss it her.
1. Pregnant belly - I know I'm not the only one who's drawn to this one. Lots of you are. You can't help yourselves. Some of you ask me before you reach out. Others ask after contact has been made. And I don't mind. Most of the time.

Once I minded. Several years ago, I was weirded out when my friend's husband touched my belly. He was from another country. And there, maybe it's okay to do that. But I'm not from there. I'm from here. And it was an invasion of my space. In a big way. So if you're male, don't touch.

Random addition: I'm watching Fringe right now and happen to be on an episode where Peter trips out and touches Boyles's bald head. Which reminds me of another sensory pleasure. Super short hair. Like if you use #1 clippers. And then feel the head. It's like velvet. I love it!

April 23, 2011

Egg Hunts: The Hiding Technique For All-Year Fun

The last few years we have gone to my cousin's house for an egg hunt and potluck dinner. It's my all time favorite Easter activity. Mainly because they make it really fun. Part of the fun is inviting over a ton of friends and family. 

But most of the excitement comes from where the eggs are hidden. Eggs aren't really "hidden" in open sight on the grass like they are at the city-wide celebration we skipped this year. They're actually in nooks and crannies and the kids get challenged to find them. I believe my cousin has about 3 acres of property and the eggs are spread out over half of it. What I especially love is how respectful the older kids are of the younger ones. While it is true that younger kids get a head start, the older ones don't pick up the obvious or low-laying eggs. They leave them for the younger ones. I love that the older ones also want the younger ones to have fun and find lots of eggs. They stuffed and hid over 1300 this year (everyone donates candy and/or prizes).

And the most creative hiding spot? In the pool, of course. Ha ha ha. Two of my cousins' kids jumped in fully dressed after one egg. The one who got it first shared it with the one who didn't get it.
Elliott taking a break from hunting eggs to swing on the rope.
My laughs for the afternoon came though when one of my cousins combed an area that the kids had already gone through. He found probably 10 eggs. He opened each one keeping the candy he liked and re-stuffing and tossing in the grass the candy he didn't. He also found proof that the kids don't find all of the eggs every year. A couple of the eggs he brought back had little holes in the ends where animals have chewed through the plastic to get to the candy inside. Hiding eggs in random places offers the best opportunity for finding the leftovers all year round. If you plan on having a spontaneous snack sometime during the summer, you just have to make sure you find the missing eggs before the wildlife does.

Spoils of the hunt.

April 22, 2011

Sun Break

Not only has the sun literally broken through the clouds and rain today, but it is also shining on my soul. Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf! Tymon and I saw a pediatric cardiologist for a second fetal echo-cardiogram today, who we like. Not that the last one was bad. We just really like this one.  She is open and honest and easy to talk to. She respects my desire to stay with my mid-wife and have her coordinate my care for now. She straight up said that we will probably go through the birth and take home our girl and think to ourselves that we could have done the birth at home.  I loved that she acknowledged some of the politics of doctors/hospitals. So that she could "play in the sandbox nicely" with the other health care providers, she asked which of the two doctors I've seen for my ultrasounds should she send the results of today's echo to. It's amazing how a little validation goes such a long way in building trust. 

I think my belly tripled in size in the last two months.
The sun break news: 
Concern #1
Baby Girl's branch pulmonary arteries are growing but are still small. The concern here is that the blood pressure can build up and cause respiratory distress. It's not a problem now because only 10% of a fetus' blood flow actually flows through this part of the body. She is protected in the womb. An infant's heart/lungs take about 2 months to become fully normal and for the branch arteries to expand to facilitate 100% of the blood flow. The cardiologist doesn't recommend doing anything for at least that amount of time (unless Baby Girl is in distress) so that we can see what her body will do on her own. Big sigh. Chances are we won't be rushing her into surgery right after she is born.

Concern #2
Her aortic arch appears to be going to the right of the trachea (behind it) instead of to the left (in front) of it....which is not necessarily a concern (see the diagram below). There would be respiratory distress only if the arteries coming off of it happen to branch in such a way as to encircle the trachea and put pressure on it. 

Right-sided aortic arch with trachea and esophagus in the middle.

Bottom line: it's good news to have the "let's wait and see" prognosis. Perhaps, these issues will resolve themselves. Without surgery. My next step is to figure out where I want to deliver. I have the choice between 4 area hospitals with NICUs that could handle Baby Girl's potential respiratory distress...just in case we need it.

April 20, 2011

A Little Crumbly

I wanted to make some bread this morning...and use some of the large variety of flours in my pantry. I decided it was time to open my teff flour. Teff is an ancient grain of Ethiopia...and gluten-free. I noticed this morning that it's high in iron. As in 20% of your daily iron value in 1/4 cup. I got distracted from baking some bread and decided to try the peanut butter cookie recipe instead. Because each cookie gives me 5% of my iron. Increasing my iron levels will make my mid-wife happy. And cookies sound better than a constipating iron pill. These are the best looking cookies I've made in a long time. Maybe ever.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for convection).
2. Combine 1 and 1/2 cups teff flour and 1/2 tsp. sea salt.
3. Blend 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup peanut butter.
4. Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
5. Shape into walnut-sized balls and flatten with fork.
6. Bake 15 minutes (12 for convection).
7. Makes 2 dozen. (Leave on cookie sheet a minute or two after pulling from the oven...sooner creates more crumbs.)

The only drawback? They're crummy. As in this is the remnants of ONE cookie that Jocelyn ate. Somehow, Jett was able to eat one without too many crumbs. He's got a "method" he's pretty proud of for doing that. Which means, I'll need to try a couple more recipes before giving up on it. Ha ha.

April 9, 2011

Girl Smiley

I love that we caught her smiling 
Maybe she knows something we do not. 
Like how it doesn't matter that 
her branch pulmonary arteries 
are growing at a normal rate 
(not faster like I want) 
and it's okay that her aortic arch goes to the right 
instead of the left 
(at a 90 degree angle with a risk of pinching). 
She will be okay. 

Next month we will plan her birth 
with the pediatric cardiologist.
It is what it is.

I will be okay.
I will not sit up in the wee hours of the morning.
Google search after Google search.
Getting educated.
Trying to gain some control.
When I have none.

Look at her sleeping.
So sweet.
I think she has my nose.
And maybe a touch of hair?
That's my hope.
It makes the heart burn worth it.

Her sleep comes and goes.
It must be fleeting.
I'm being constantly hit. 
Or kicked.
Or hugged?
I love her.

April 4, 2011

Parenting 505: To Be VS. To Do

I've decided to dump my School of Hard Knocks approach to parenting and enroll in Parenting 505. It's a divinely inspired 10 minute course I listened to yesterday afternoon during the world-wide conference of our church. I loved the distinction Elder Lynn G. Robbins drew between being and doing and disciplining children. "Because be begets do and is the motive behind do, teaching be will improve behavior more effectively than focusing on do will improve behavior." (3:48 -3:58) I love the examples Elder Robbins uses to show us the positive qualities we should focus our disciplining on (rather than only addressing the negative actions that need to be corrected). As I change my focus, I will also become a more effective parent. My negative disciplining do's (frustrations and anger) will decrease and eventually disappear (probably about the time I'm an empty-nester).

One of my favorite quotes related to the struggles of parenting a challenging child makes me laugh every time I hear it:
Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the pre-mortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and an opportunity to become more God-like yourself. With which child will your patience, long suffering, and other Christ-like virtues most likely be tested, developed and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you? -Lynn G. Robbins (6:18 - 6:48)

My next step? Apply my newfound Parenting 505 knowledge to my own children... That'll take a little longer than 10 minutes. Focusing on the be rather than the do will require conscious effort...but I'm pretty sure it is pre-requisite to moving to the next level

April 2, 2011

Last Place

Previous years, the MS Walk has been on a beautiful warm spring morning...as it should have been today. The weather was decent for most of the three miles...and then at the rest station there was a downpour. 

We were the last group to cross the finish line. I'd like to say hanging out at the rest station was the reason we were last, but that would be misleading. Most of our group continued on at that point.

Perhaps, the cause was that our team took a while to get assembled in the beginning. But that wasn't really the cause. There were several groups behind us when we started out.

Maybe it was pulling over a few times for stroller adjustments (I think our group had 4 of them). But that's not really why we were last. Stragglers eventually took short cuts to catch up.

I think the real reason we were last is because this lady who is nearly 7 months pregnant (me) was feeling pretty heavy by the end. And shopping at the outlets after the walk totally did me in. I came home and sat, listening to our biannual church conference. Then lay down. Then moved to my bed. Then slept for a couple of hours. And I'm a bit sore. Still. I've had more exercise today than I've had in the last couple of months...

For me, the best part of the walk is talking with other team members. We don't usually have an opportunity to talk very much and it's great to catch up with others and get to know people that I haven't talked to in a while.

April 1, 2011

Bursting Bubbles

Poor Jett somehow got his finger infected. No burn. No cut. No nothing. It's a mystery how this came about. But it did hurt him.

It swelled (over a day and a half) to twice the size of his other finger. I called the doctor this morning and got an appointment for this afternoon.

The doctor basically popped the blister and got a culture of the pus. Hopefully it's nothing serious. But it's so strange. Taking out the pain issue, he thought it looked like a cold sore manifesting itself on the finger. But alas, we haven't had any cold sores of late. So Jett's now on an anti-biotic and hopefully it'll heal quickly.

The best part? The pharmacy was selling grape bubble gum...the kind I used to get as a kid. I gave Jett some money to buy a pack and we enjoyed memories of my childhood Jett got a piece for being so brave. He also shared with another couple of kids in the waiting area. They were happy to be included and shared some of their stickers with him and Jocelyn. I really like it when kids are kind to one another and make friends so easily. After they left the good vibes carried right on over to the next guy in line who had a great time talking/interacting with Jett.

I blew bubbles all the way home and snapped away to my heart's content. Grape gum is pretty much the best ever. Now the poor piece has been retired to the trash, hard as all get out. But I loved it while it lasted.
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