Monday, August 22, 2011

21 weeks!

Steve and I had a great day yesterday, just being together and spontaneously choosing to do whatever came to mind at the moment.  We went on an early morning dog park expedition (pretty exciting with three poodles).  Breakfast followed, then packing up our stuff to take home (we were house sitting).  Then Steve got a wild urge to go to Crow Creek Mine in Girdwood, so off we went.  We went all the way up to the Crow Creek trail head, and went on a very pathetic little "hike" (more like slow saunter on the trail - I'm not supposed to be over exerting myself but I needed to get outside).  Then we went back down the muddy dirt road to the mine, and wandered around checking out all the old buildings and the active mining going on down at the creek.  So fun!
This is the entrance to the historic Crow Creek Mine picturesque :)

And, of course, Riggs is growing like crazy causing my belly to rapidly expand!
21 weeks, 1 day

Matters of the Heart

Sometimes life holds things we do not expect or anticipate at all.  This is a concept I am constantly trying to remember and struggle to embrace;  I am a planner, I like things to go the way they are planned.  This past week has been a case study in this concept for me, and maybe also a little reminder that I need to slow down and worry less.  What's strange is that regardless how many activities I'm actually doing, I'm almost always the same amount stressed.  I've been thinking a lot about that this week, as I've had the chance to see what that stress is doing to my body and mind.

Tuesday I began a whirlwind of medical visits and unanswered questions when my midwives informed me that I had an abnormal heartbeat that they wanted to have checked out, immediately.  My blood was drawn from both arms, and I was sent off with haste to the Alaska Heart Institute at Providence Hospital to get an EKG done.
I've included a picture to demonstrate what exactly is entailed in an EKG.  I was very nervous, for no reason at all other than the suddenness of everything.  After the test, I was told to go home, do nothing to raise my blood pressure, and go to the emergency room if I felt any new, uncomfortable symptoms.  

I received word from my midwives the next day:  my EKG results showed a problem as well, and they had scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist at the Heart Institute.  I was to have a full cardiac checkup with him, and once again I was left to worry and stress over it all.  What was wrong with me?  And more importantly in my mind, was any of this going to affect my baby?  Luckily the answer to that last question was no, the concern was 100% for me.  Apparently baby is like a little leech, getting everything first, and leaving mamma with the leftovers :).  

Long story short, I have to get more testing, in the form of an ultrasound of my heart tomorrow, and then I get to wear a chest harness monitor for the next 30 days.  But the good news is, the cardiologist told me he's not too worried, because I'm very healthy and my blood pressure was ideal.  Both he and the midwives mentioned that one of the main causes of heart issues like this is stress.  Which would make sense in my case, since being pregnant has sent my worrying tendencies into overdrive.  As a result, I have spent this down time reflecting on my problems being a stressed out, worrying person.  I've learned a few things from this ongoing ordeal, but what stands out the most is the need to take deep breaths, smile, and let things go.  So if you see me in the near future with my eyes closed and a forced smile on my face, that's what I'm doing. 

Hope it's a happy Monday for everyone :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

life without plastic...and other random things

With a new baby on the way, Steve and I are really trying to make some choices now that will impact our child's life right from the beginning for the better.  One thing we feel pretty strongly about it choosing to raise baby with the least plastic possible.  Mostly, we are concerned about plastic dishes, spoons, forks, cups, etc.  Although most plastics now are BPA free, we still know that there are other ways for plastic to leech into our foods.  We have no idea exactly what chemicals are put into plastics, and many of the chemicals we do know are in plastics make them very hard to recycle (here's an blog post about just another plastic scare).  Plus, we try not to microwave very often, and when we do it is NEVER in plastic, so there's not really any point to storing things in plastic anyway.

Currently we use a variety of glass bowls for our leftovers, but since I plan on making my own baby food, we will undoubtedly need more.  I am planning on purchasing this set from Amazon at some point in the near future.
Anchor Hocking 10-Piece TrueSeal Storage Set 
These storage containers are made in the USA (really important too) and their plastic lids are BPA free and don't really come in contact with the food.  

I am not adverse to the idea of feeding baby out of glass, but once they are feeding themselves and have a greater chance of knocking the glass off the table, I would like to avoid things like glass shards in our feet (from crawling toddlers, to pets, to us adults, to running nephews, the likelihood would be high that there would be some sort of incident).  So something else I've been thinking about is wood for when baby is older.

Life Without Plastic <- This is a really cool website with plenty of products for eco-minded moms and dads.  I found some great items I would love to purchase here and thought I'd share!

Children's 4-Piece Japanese Wooden Lacquerware Set  Children's 5-Piece Japanese Wooden Lacquerware Set  Munchkin All Natural Wood Bowl & Spoon - BPA Free

I also found an amazing website with too many wonderful things to list for baby and child.
 <- SO many cool things here!

I guess I'm done for now, I could just keep adding and adding and adding things!  GO VISIT THIS WEBSITE! lol done now :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

nearly halfway there

growing bump - 19weeks 2days


August has been my favorite month so far this year.  We got to find out the gender of our baby, fall is coming soon, AND it's been rainy the whole month!  The mixture of fall and the holidays on their way and pregnancy induced nesting, I have been going crazy around my house, cleaning, crafting and baking.  I am still sick, but am starting to feel better.  I've had a couple of bad nights (like last night) where I'm up all night coughing and coughing and coughing) but I can tell that I am on the mend overall.  Today I made Steve a German Chocolate Cake, and I am waiting for it to cool to assemble it so that it's all pretty and ready for him to come home.

Here are a few pictures of why I love August...

and last but certainly not least...

The fair!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Books!

I have read so, so many pregnancy books throughout my life that I find those a little boring right now.  I want to read about once our little boy is actually here.  A few items that are of particular interest to me are foods for baby and baby sign language.  I found a baby sign language book at Value Village a few weeks ago, and have been slowly perusing through it as I feel like it.
Sign With Your Baby: How to Communicate With Infants Before They Can Speak (Revised, ASL - English Edition)

I got some new books in the mail this week from amazon about food and babies that I'm excited to get started reading.  One is actually a cookbook packed full of information about food and our bodies.  It includes a large section on breastfeeding mothers and babies, so it's just one big exciting book that I'm sure will become a favorite.

The other two books are more baby centered, and highly recommended by other bloggy moms, as well as by the reviews I have read online.

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater        Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby's First Foods

I've been too buys this week doing other things to begin reading them, but as the weather gets chillier, I'm sure they will be calling my name.  Right now I'm more interested in getting our little one's room ready (as if it's a high priority, he's still got 21 more weeks of growing to do before he'll need anything in his room).  It is so much fun right now to get his little clothes and diapers washed and organized and ready for him, and plan some fun crochet and sewing projects to get started and finished up in time for his arrival!  Steve and I both feel this great sense of impatience, now that we know it's a he, we want to meet him!  But I know he's in there for a good reason, we don't want a little 8oz baby now do we?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's a BOY

It's a boy!  We got to go to our ultrasound appointment early today (instead of Thursday) and had the best time ever seeing our beautiful, perfect little boy.  Too excited still to write much, but I wanted to share the pictures :)

 Perfect little boy arms :)

 Heart rate

 Pretty self explanatory lol

 Beautiful little face

blurry little profile :)

Monday, August 1, 2011


About the book (from the back of the book): Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial food pipeline to live a rural life- vowing that, for one year, they'd only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.  Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth:  You are what you eat.

I have been dying to read this book, and I finally remembered to look for it when I was at Titlewave the other day.  I can't wait to start reading it, especially when I have been think so much about being self-sustainable.  The way the American economy is going, I find it pretty scary to rely on anyone but myself and my family to provide the things I need to live a healthy, comfortable life.  Especially being in Alaska, a place where 90% of merchandised cargo is brought by barge to the Anchorage Port from downstates.  So what happens when one day that barge never comes?  Sounds a little hokey but it is something I think about a lot.  Another element in our own lives that makes Steve and I think about this quite often and quite seriously is the nature of Steve's job.  He has an amazing job that we are very thankful for, but all it takes is one (even minor) injury and he is out of work, possibly for a long time.  Even if we have a very modest and manageable home mortgage, that's a very large payment to be coming up with each month, on top of other living expenses of a family of soon to be three.  

Call us crazy but we would prefer to own everything outright that we can, or at least strive to only borrow in amounts that we have budgeted to pay off within one to two years (probably nothing over $20,000 - and yes, we would adhere to a strict budget to pay it off in the most timely manner possible).  This is one of the reasons we bought property in Homer, and the major reason we plan on building a small place there, rather than trying to buy in Anchorage.  Not only do we have family there who we would love to spend more time with (although, of course, we would miss our friends and family here in Anchorage), but we have enough property there to live in a much more self-sustaining manner than we could really afford in Anchorage.  Also, buying anything in Anchorage would involve owing a lot of money to a financial institution that I just don't think I can trust for the next 30 years.  Only God knows the future, and I trust in him, but I also believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of what he has given us here on earth.

 clearing a spot for the foundation, July 2006

Having fun while working hard

getting there!

view from the other side of our property, overlooking 
Diamond Ridge, and to the left, the Homestead Trails;
I love it there!

Our then three year old post-hole digger, Ivan

yep, we even put kids to work :)

Visiting last fall...bittersweet because we love it, but can't live there yet 
and have to leave the beauty and serenity to go back to 
the city. 

Over the last five years, owning our property and taking time to work on it together as a couple has been so rewarding and has given us something to look forward to and feel happy about while living in Anchorage.  It has also sometimes been a source of stress, as we sometimes have doubted our decision to keep it rather than just give in to Anchorage life, selling our property to buy a place in the city.  But the older we get, and especially now as we are waiting for our first little one to arrive, the more secure we feel in our decision to keep it, cultivate it, and eventually build our little place there to settle down once Steve is done with his apprenticeship here in Anchorage.  That time is drawing very near, and so we are getting a little more active in our planning stages to move down there. Our plans for our small house are done, and now we are trying to decide the best way to go about getting started on building.  This is an exciting time for us during a very scary time in our country, and world, as a whole.  In the mean time, I am trying to learn more and more about self-sustainability and making it work for us.  

One quote from Kingsolvers book that already stands out to me is as follows:

"This is the story...of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air." 
And this one I saw on the internet last night and loved:

"Only when the last tree has died, and the last river been poisoned, and the last fish been caught, will we realize we cannot eat money." 
-Cree Proverb