Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pregnancy Update #6: Goodbye Nausea?

My nausea has taken a big dip most days and I'm feeling human again. I hate to jinx it but the last few days I really haven't been nauseated at all. I have never had this happen before 16 weeks in a pregnancy, and usually closer to 20 weeks. It's wonderful! I'm still dealing with a major food aversion to chocolate and for the 3rd time in a row couldn't eat pancakes. Other foods are hit or miss. I've been loving hummus in several flavors - plain, garlic, roasted red pepper, and cilantro jalapeƱo.

My energy levels have been all over the place. Some days I have a lot of energy and get tons done. Other days I'm napping mid-afternoon just to make it to bedtime. Or napping mid-morning!

I still haven't gained any weight. Don't tell that to my belly though! Here is my view looking down toward my feet. Or where my feet should be. I'm 14 weeks pregnant now and called my obstetrician today to get on his schedule. My first appointment isn't until mid-September when I am 20 weeks pregnant. I'm going to continue having my hypothyroidism monitored locally by my endocrinologist. It's just easier to hop over to the local hospital for lab work every 4 weeks and I'll have continuity of care post-baby too.

I'm not having any new symptoms. Yes, I am counting my blessings!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week-ish in Review: The one with an exciting happening!

Monday Makayla left for Girl's Camp with the young women of our extended church area. She's in her 5th year of camp and is a Youth Camp Leader. She's been working and planning for several months with other YCLs and their leaders for this week.

Also on Monday was physical therapy for Mason. His PT is leaving to work in a school system so he's only got 1 more day with her next week. It's sad but change is pretty constant in medical providers. His new PT will join us for therapy next week with his current PT to help the transition. I'm hoping she and Mason hit it off.

I spent a lot of the afternoon making phone calls to doctors and medical suppliers for Mason. We got unexpected good news (a new dynamic stander approved by insurance) and several appointments scheduled for the next 3 weeks.

Other Monday activities this week were cleaning, cooking, and piano lessons. We got into the attic to change out some of our books for the upcoming school year, which is always fun. The kids are trying to browse random new titles on the shelves and so I have two shelves that are off limits as school books I know we'll use this year. By the time we start up in 2 weeks the kids will be more than willing to start so they can crack open some of those books.

We finished off the evening with 50 cent frostys at Wendy's. Yum.

Tuesday started with exercise (me), breakfast, and chores as usual. Most of the kids disappeared upstairs to play Guillotine (aff). I baked muffins for lunch, which I haven't done in a while. I also spent time organizing the history books we pulled down from the attic yesterday. I'm making a list putting them in roughly chronological order so that during the school year I don't have to think about what comes next, it will already be there for me. I also am grouping books together that are on the same topic because then it is easier to decide who will read which books. Here's an example:

Under Civil War I have these books:
  1. If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America
  2. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
  3. If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War
  4. Abraham Lincoln by D'aulaire
  5. Just a Few Words Mr. Lincoln
  6. Escape North
  7. If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln
  8. Amos Fortune, Free Man
  9. Freedom Train
  10. Across Five Aprils
  11. Rifles for Watie
  12. Stonewall
  13. The Red Badge of Courage
  14. Uncle Tom's Cabin
  15. Gettysburg Address
Those are roughly in order by age group - so younger children would be books 1-7, middle children could do books 8-12 in addition to the first 7 books, and older children could also do books 13 and 14. Number 15 is the actual Gettysburg Address, which I feel all ages could read or listen to. 

My 7th grade and under kids will begin with Native Americans move forward through Columbus, Pilgrims, Colonies, French and Indian War, American Revolution, and the founding of America, Lewis and Clark, the War of 1812, the Alamo, and Westward Movement. Depending on how slowly or quickly we go through all of that they may move on into the Civil War and so on. 

My 11th grader has chosen to begin at the Civil War and move to the present day, mainly focusing on the 20th century. She will cover topics like Civil War, Inventions, Labor strikes, Transportation changes, Ellis Island, Immigration, the Titanic, the Spanish American War, WWI, the Depression Era, Migrant Workers, WWII, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, Vietnam, etc. 

Other Tuesday fun: It was Taco Tuesday! The kids love being able to make their own tacos with toppings of their choice.

Wednesday was my 'get to things I've put off ' day. That meant finally sitting down to organize the 5 older kids' portfolios from last school year so they can be mailed off to our assessor this Saturday. I spent about an hour in the morning doing this.

In the evening I had Cub Scouts with my little Wolf den. We're working on Code of the Wolf, which involves different ways we can use math. On this night we talked about making predictions based on gathered information, for example weather predictions. Then we learned to draw our own graphs. Each boy drew two blank bar graphs. Then I handed them one of the 'fun size' packets of M&Ms. They opened it and graphed how many of each color M&M were in their packet. We compared information and each boy made predictions about what would be the most and least found color in their second packet. Then they opened a second packet and graphed it. We compared the results. Then they counted how many M&Ms had been in each packet total and we compared the results, found an average, and made a prediction as to how many M&Ms we would find in another packet. Of course they got to eat their candy along the way!

Thursday started off with breakfast (biscuits, sausage gravy, and fried potatoes) and chores. Joseph and I ran to the orthodontist for the next step in the creation of his palate expander while Emma babysat. (The orthodontist's office is 5 minutes from home, which is really helpful.)

The boys decided today was haircut day, so we spent time in the back yard while I cut hair for 6 of the 7 boys. Tobias really doesn't need a haircut yet, he still has wispy baby hair.

Friday saw Grandma arriving at our house at 6:30am. Mason and I left the house at 6:45am to head into the big city Children's Hospital. He had appointments with a couple of his doctors, several x-rays, and we're waiting on news with a plan of action or more tests ordered. We got home 5 hours later in time for me to drop him off and go pick up Makayla at the church, where she had just arrived from Girl's Camp.

The afternoon included our usual hour and a half of medical care for Mason, playing Sleeping Queens (aff) with Caleb and Oliver, cleaning, cooking, and a little bit of rest. Daddy came home in time to grill hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.

Saturday is our one video game day. The rule is you have to eat breakfast and get your chores done first. We pull the Wii and Xbox out of the basement and hook them up to the tv. Kids get 30 minutes to play a game. Then it all gets packed away in the basement for another week. We have a new addition to the game options. One grandparent gave us their virtual reality headset recently because they just don't use it. My kids are having a good time exploring that.

A quick library trip happened this morning. This was also grocery shopping day of course. I have to admit that even with one child coming along to help I just don't enjoy grocery shopping. Many people have suggested we try out online ordering but our main shopping place is Aldi and they don't offer it. The price difference between Aldi and other grocery stores is big when you buy food in the quantity we need. I can easily spend $75 less just by shopping at Aldi. The convenience of online ordering is trumped by the budget. The rest of Saturday was more family time.

Sunday we had church of course. It was a good but bittersweet day. I was released from my callings as a Primary teacher and a Wolf Den Leader. I'll miss them. I'm still going to be busy though because I got a new calling - Cubmaster! Yes, really. I've never done that before and have many things to learn, but I'm glad I still get to work with the Cub Scouts. Our Raingutter Regatta (boat race) is this week so we are busily getting ready for that.

Sunday afternoon and evening were family time. We helped Joseph finish packing for Scout Camp and watched a movie.

Once the kids were in bed I worked on our homeschool schedule. Here are cards I made with the lessons that need to happen in a single day (excluding things like art, P.E.). Each column is a different student, so left to right it is Makayla through Mason. The two preschoolers don't have official school work. Some of this work is one on one, some is done as a group, and there are subjects here they do mostly independently too. It's going to be a great year!

Monday we waved goodbye to Joseph as he headed off to camp. His troop is going to West Virginia to camp at a lake and will attend the National Scout Jamboree for 3 days as visitors as well. It's a big deal and only happens once every 4 years. Joseph is excited for the many activities they will do!

The morning was spent working on a project from my things to do before baby list. We pulled a couple of unsorted bags of clothing from the attic, sorted them into the appropriate size bins, and cleared out some things from the attic while we were up there.

In the afternoon I got to do something exciting - become an active Thirty-One consultant again! I've got a website to make shopping easy for my US friends. (International friends I'm sorry but I can't ship outside the US.) I saw the new Fall/Winter catalog that just opened this week and couldn't resist. There are some beautiful, functional items I can't wait to add to my home. I've also got my eye on several items that will be fun gifts during the birthday and holiday season. This week you can also still shop from the Spring/Summer catalog and snag some of the retiring prints and items before they are gone.

Here is a sneak peek at some things you'll find at Thirty-One.

And one more!

Tuesday is here and our morning has consisted of play, puzzles, and dropping Makayla off to work at the veterinarian office. It's a cloudy gray day and I've got some school planning to do. I think the kids want lunch first, so I'm off to cook.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Long Overdue Week in Review

Ha! Pregnancy certainly takes a lot of energy in the beginning and I found this post just languishing in my drafts. The last general week in review update was in mid-June! I figured I ought to just update this quickly and post it.

The week of June 19th started off with a surprise trip to Ye Olde Mill for ice cream cones on Monday. The kids chose quite the variety of flavors from vanilla and chocolate to Moose Tracks, Blue Moon, and Superman. I had peach - it was delicious!

We are still doing our summer learning several days a week. That means kids are reading scriptures, reading a literature book, and then doing 1 other activity. Math one day, writing one day, art or some other subject one day. We pulled out the oil pastels and watercolors on Thursday to get creative.

The week of June 26th flew by with extra chores for me. Why? Because Makayla was been gone all week at EFY camp - Especially For Youth. That leaves 1 crab, 1 snake, 2 bearded dragons, a colony of dubia roaches, superworms, and a cat to feed and take care of. Oh, and tadpoles. We still have tadpoles. Some of the pet chores other kids have pitched in to help with, like feeding the cat and tadpoles, but others really take someone older to do carefully.

The kids still at home have enjoyed a relaxing week with summer learning several days, tons of Lego building, reading great books, play, and a daily movie in the afternoon while I nap (more on this in my most recent pregnancy update). We're still reading aloud My Side of the Mountain and it always surprises me the connections kids make. We read about Sam meeting a raccoon and right away the kids start talking about our reading of Rascal and the live raccoon we saw while we were reading that book. We read it last October!

The week of July 3rd Mason got his next IV infusion at the hospital for his osteoporosis. He did pretty well with that and his side effects in the following days were minimal, just tired and achy. We kept a pretty low profile that week as a family and did a lot of playing games together. We also spent one afternoon and evening without power after some big storms.

Last week (July 10th) we took the week off from summer learning just to relax and enjoy our days. Makayla has still been shadowing a group of veterinarians each Tuesday and loves it. Joseph started the process for braces. He's getting a palate expander put in over the next few weeks and will use that for a while before the actual braces. I'm still doing Cub Scouts along with Oliver and Daniel. We also had Homeschool Book Club last week to talk about My Side of the Mountain. Our next book is Tuesdays at the Castle and it sounds great!

That brings us up to date! We have these last two weeks of summer and then plan to begin our school year the first week of August. I'm knee deep in preparing our school shelves with the books for this year. As a matter of fact, I need to get back to work on that right now. I'll try to post about our school plans soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pregnancy Update #5 - Projects and Theories

This update covers about 2 weeks and on my mind has been projects - as in projects to be done before baby arrives. This baby will be born on the heels of the holidays and adds an 8th birthday to the 5 month birthday streak we have from October to February. Here are projects that are now in progress or on my to do list:
  • Decluttering. Again.
  • Buying birthday presents and Christmas presents early. This needs to happen in September/October.
  • Going through kid clothing to weed out what is stained/torn/no longer useable, as well as get item counts to a good number (one child in one size won't need 18 t-shirts, but somehow things add up). We started this weekend with going through everyone's current clothing. We have a plan to tackle the stored off season clothing over the next few weeks.
  • Figure out a better clothing solution in bedrooms. Fitting clothing for 12 in our 3 bedroom house with very small closets needs worked on because fitting clothes for 11 is a struggle right now.
  • Baby wish list - I've started a wish list on Amazon to remind me of the things we need to get for this baby. There are also things I'm interested in checking into more for baby but that may not make the cut. Once we find out baby's gender we will also need baby clothes, ours have pretty much been used up after 9 babies. And with the last 6 babies in a row being boys I don't even own anything for a girl if we end up having one.
I did start one other project. Choosing recipes for freezer meals and preparing them for the 3rd trimester and after baby. I got a start on this by choosing new recipes and preparing 13 meals on Monday with my hubby. We will use them over the next few weeks to see what everyone likes and make more before baby arrives. The meals were a mix of stir fry sets with different meats, sauces, and veggies, apricot chicken and green beans, company casserole, chicken noodle casserole, a taco bake, balsamic beef roast and carrots, etc.
Symptoms for the last two weeks

My nausea has been less constant. There have been moments and sometimes hours of each day where I actually don't feel sick to my stomach. I still have a few foods that make me gag, the chief among them being chocolate. I am not having any food cravings.

I've not been as sleepy in the afternoons. By bedtime I'm worn out, but I'm not napping during the day. I'm not sure how that is working because I'm not sleeping as well at night. I'm waking pretty often right now.

Exercise - I finally decided that it was time to get back to exercising despite my morning sickness. I know what a marathon pregnancy and labor are and need to be in decent shape for that. I aim to be more active. Some days I wore my Garmin Vivofit to track my steps. It gives you a little notification (a red line) that gets longer the more you are sitting, so with a quick glance I can see if I need to get up and move. Other days I did exercise dvds. I have TTapp dvds, Walk Away the Pounds dvds, and others. I kept my exercise bouts to about 20 minutes.

Weight - I still have gained no weight this pregnancy and just in the last week have lost a pound. This makes the next item pretty funny.

This was me before this pregnancy one pound heavier than I am today. This is me at 200 pounds.

This picture is me yesterday at 11 weeks 4 days pregnant. I weigh one pound LESS than I did in the pre-pregnant picture, 199 lbs. I've got a very obvious pregnant belly now. I have a couple of theories about how my body can make such a big change without gaining weight:
  1. My muscles have waved the white flag of surrender and given up. This is totally possible for a 14th pregnancy. This is the theory I'm most in favor of.
  2. My body is sucking the weight from elsewhere on my body as my belly grows. Also possible I suppose, but not likely.
  3. I'm pregnant with twins. This is the least likely possibility but the one that some of my children are very much in favor of. I have zero history of twins in my family. This theory is highly unlikely but could explain the quick belly growth. I can't rule it out until I get an ultrasound, which won't happen until I actually tell my doctor I'm pregnant - probably in about 2 months.

There you have it, my pregnancy update! Feel free to leave a comment with your most likely theory about how I can be so obviously pregnant without gaining any weight. ;)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Pregnancy Update #4: Daily naps


As of yesterday I'm 10 weeks pregnant. The biggest symptoms I'm having are still nausea and exhaustion, but exhaustion has taken first place this week. A daily nap is a must right now. I simply can't stay awake and do the mothering of 9 children without a solid nap. That means each afternoon I turn on a movie for the kids while Tobias is napping, I curl up on the couch, and I tell them not to talk to me until snack time. Movie going, kids making noise, it doesn't matter - I'm asleep quickly.

I tried to eat meatloaf this past week. I don't know what I was thinking. It was a really bad idea and I barely gagged one tiny bite down before giving up. And the mere thought of chicken makes me shudder. Thank goodness for beans.

Other pregnancy related symptoms:
  • I'm doing great at drinking lots of water therefore I'm in the bathroom a lot.
  • While constipation tends to be a pregnancy issue I'm not dealing with it this time. Two factors are playing a part in this - all that water and the probiotics I'm taking.
  • Headaches - I've had a couple headaches lately. Not usual for me and annoying. It's meant I've been double and triple checking what essential oils I can use while pregnant to get some relief.
Looking Ahead
The kids are having a lot of fun suggesting names for this baby. Mason is convinced I'm having twins, one boy and one girl, and that he gets to name the boy. Ha! I'm not sure how people manage two newborns at once. As I have no history of twins in my family I'm pretty sure this will be just one sweet baby - and I'm great with that!

I've started thinking about when to move Tobias out of the crib and just where we're going to put him. He is almost 19 months old and still sleeps happily in the crib in our bedroom, so we'll probably leave him there for a while yet. When we move him out he will most likely join his brothers in the boys' bedroom. We don't have a bed for him though. The 6 older boys are on two triple bunk beds. There is room for a toddler bed so that is probably what we'll get for Tobias.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pregnancy Update #3 - 9 Weeks and Food



Well, my nausea just keeps increasing. I feel pretty miserable most of the time. That is normal for me, my nausea increases for several weeks until about 12 weeks pregnant, then it just hangs out there until 18 to 20 weeks pregnant. I am 9 weeks pregnant today.

The magnesium and B6 supplements do not seem to be helping but I'll keep using them and we will see. I have found that the following 3 flavors help:
  • peppermint
  • sour lemon
  • dill pickle
Pretty much any time I want to be sure to be able to get food in without gagging I have to start by eating one of those flavors. I also have to keep my meals small or the nausea is worse.

Food Aversions
One weird food aversion so far this pregnancy - chocolate. I just don't want it and if I try a bite of it I gag. Ick! It even extends to things like Nutella. Most meats are also on the 'please don't make me smell that or eat it' list but it is pretty random which meats make me gag on a particular day. One day I can grill a hamburger and eat it and the next I'm dry heaving at the thought of beef. Strawberries have been really hit or miss for me too, usually I pass on eating them. They just don't sound good.

I don't throw up. Sometimes I wonder if I would feel better for a while if I did. Oh well.

Exercise has simply not happened. Other than the usual on my feet caring for my large family I'm not getting any exercise.

I've also had more exhaustion. I'm falling asleep any time I get to curl up on the couch. I'll cook for the family and then go nap while they eat. Obviously this baby is doing some growing and making demands on my body right now.

Weight gain so far hasn't happened, which is a good thing! I'm still sitting at about 200 lbs. My body shape is changing and things are not fitting. Anything with a waistband make the nausea worse so I spend a lot of my days in maxi skirts or dresses.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Hot and Busy Week

Whew! I'm glad we made it through last week. We started with our 17th wedding anniversary on Saturday June 10th, church on Sunday (with Daniel home with a headache and throwing up - I suspect migraines with this boy.) and a birthday celebration on Sunday evening for Makayla's 16th birthday on Monday. Daniel and Oliver had Cub Scout Day Camp every day this week so there was driving them to the drop off and picking them up each day. It was a hot week, in the 90s every day. Makayla is shadowing several veterinarians in a large practice every Tuesday this summer so there was driving her there and back. Grocery shopping. Piano lessons. And then taking my pregnant self to Cub Scout Day Camp as an adult helper on Friday. What was I thinking?!

Saturday was a craft day at church to end the week.  Here is what I made at the craft day:
Have you ever done string art? I made this CTR shield for the girls' bedroom.
CTR stands for Choose The Right.
The blue one is for my boys' bedroom.

This is a large pillow cover (22" square) that I painted
with the word "READ". The kids are only allowed to
snuggle up with the pillow when they are reading.

It ended up being a great week and an exhausting one. So exhausting that I didn't get around to posting this until a few days later. Look for a pregnancy update later this week!