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!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Great Summer Chore Switch

If you are new around the blog or just don't remember how chores work at my house please go read Chores at Our House. I really lay everything out there. This brings me to the big to-do at my house today - changing our yearly chore assignments. We make this change each June.

Here is the breakdown of the chores for each person for the coming year:


(Tobias age 1 and Samuel age 3 help people for fun, but they do not have a room assigned.)

Mason age 5 will be cleaning the living room every day. This involves picking up toys and books as well as vacuuming the floor.

Caleb age 6 will be cleaning the half bathroom and alcove it is off of. This means wiping down mirror, sink, and toilet, emptying trash, and sweeping floors.

Oliver age 8 will be cleaning the laundry room/pantry and taking out the trash. The laundry room/pantry gets shelves wiped down and floors swept.

Daniel age 9 will be cleaning the full bathroom. He'll wipe down mirror, sink, toilet, tub/shower, empty the trash, and sweep the floor.

Emma age 11 will be cleaning the kitchen. She'll clear counters, wipe down counters, sink, stove, microwave, and sweep.

Joseph age 12 will be cleaning the dining room. He'll put away items from the floor or table, wipe down the table and chairs, and sweep the floors.

Makayla age 16 has graduated from our room assignments. She's able to do all the rooms in the house. This year she's officially taken on the role of chef. She's responsible for cooking 5 meals (lunches and dinners, any mix she chooses) as well as baking 1 thing each week (bread, rolls, dessert, anything). That leaves the other 15 meals of the week to me.

Other Chore Changes or Details:


We've streamlined the kitchen helper task for the coming year. Each child has 1 day per week as the kitchen helper. They do the dishwasher and help whoever is cooking that day with any meal prep that are asked to do. We start with Makayla on Sunday and go down in age each day until we reach Saturday where Mason is the kitchen help. Again, Samuel and Tobias can help, but aren't assigned because they are younger than 4.

Laundry continues to be done by the kids. One of the older kids in a bedroom starts the laundry, a middle kid switches it to the dryer, and everyone puts their own laundry away. That means I only handle the laundry for my bedroom (me, daddy, and Tobias).

Wait! What else do YOU do Tristan?

Maybe you noticed that I really don't do much cleaning beyond a load of laundry and cooking. Does that surprise you? As mom I'm working to make myself obsolete. I'm equipping my children to be adults. I encourage. I pitch in and help. I can sweep the dining room an extra time after yet another meal with messy little eaters. I do the daily medical care Mason needs. I budget and make sure the bills get paid on time. I also do the majority of the homeschool teaching, though daddy helps on Mondays. (Daddy also works full time and is going to college as well.)

Oh, and right now I'm growing a baby. My tenth! It's something I'm pretty good at and it comes with a wonderful child to love and teach. ;)

How do chores work at your house? Are you still doing most of the chores or are your children learning some of the skills they need to be independent adults through regular required chores?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Summer Week Report with Tadpoles

It's been a great summer week and I really don't remember a lot of it because I'm deep in the fog of morning sickness that lasts all day and all night. I'm grateful for children who do their chores to keep the house running. I'm cooking meals but that's about it and there are days when cooking makes me start gagging and heaving. Here is what I do remember from our week:


Nature Study - We acquired a host of tadpoles from a friend and set up a nice habitat for them. The kids love watching them and looking for changes. Just in the last day or two we've noticed legs beginning to grow!

Summer learning happened - because my kids are great at following routines. Once you get them started they just take a routine and run with it.

Physical therapy - Mason got to start physical therapy again. We took a nearly 6 month break waiting to get in to the dermatologist to find solutions for his eczema issues. He can't wear his braces for standing/walking when his skin is a wreck. He's quite happy to be back to PT. We're focusing on several things: balance when sitting (never-ending issue because he's got nerve damage up through his core muscles), walking with a walker (safely, navigating around obstacles, building strength in upper body to handle the hard work of moving a lower body that can't move on it's own), falling safely (he's a boy, his willingness to take risks often outstrips his common sense), and more.

Cute tadpole close-up!
Cub Scout Carnival - The whole family (minus the 12 and 15 year old, who were in the same building doing a self defense class) got to enjoy the games the Bear den pulled together for the carnival. It was a lot of fun!

Reading - I've been speeding through books while sitting very still on the couch and trying not to throw up. I finished up the 12 book Ranger's Apprentice series and the first two books of the companion Brotherband Chronicles. Now I'm waiting to find books 3-6 of Brotherband Chronicles inexpensively. Sigh.

Food from the Garden - We have been picking some things from the garden and eating them. So far we've had lettuce, blackberries, and mustard greens.

Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate 17 years of married life! I've almost been married for half of my lifetime. Two days later Makayla turns 16 years old. Time is flying past.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pregnancy Update #2 - Morning Sickness

Right on schedule for me based on past pregnancies I started having morning sickness at 6 weeks pregnant. I woke up just after midnight at the 6 week mark with nausea. Well played, God, well played. As I mentioned in my first pregnancy update I have had morning sickness in every pregnancy lasting well into the 2nd trimester. With so much experience I have also tried many different things to help the nausea - with little luck. I'm trying two new things this time around to see if it will help at all. I'm taking a B-6 vitamin supplement each day and using a magnesium oil spray.

I will be honest, I look forward to the nausea beginning each time because it is one symptom of my hormones rising appropriately for pregnancy. It's something to celebrate! I just wish it wouldn't hang around for more than 3 months...ahem.

I'm eating when I can keep food down, drinking water, and just trusting that this all has a purpose. Some smells are making me gag - including meats - so cooking for the family is interesting.

Funny Moment:

Day 1 of morning sickness I had mentioned feeling like throwing up and my 9 year old Daniel apparently was listening.
On day 2 of morning sickness I was breathing deeply in the kitchen trying to quell the nausea and Daniel asked what was wrong.

Me: "Nothing, I just feel like I'm going to throw up."
Daniel: "Didn't you feel like that yesterday? I hope you feel better soon, Mom."
I start laughing and say "Daniel, I'm going to feel like throwing up all day and all night for the next 3 months. It's just part of pregnancy for me."
He was aghast. "Then why would you keep having babies, Mom? That's horrible!"
Me: "They're worth it, I promise."
Him: "If you say so Mom."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Learning So We Don't Go Crazy

I don't know how other families do summer but at my house after about 2 weeks of no school routine the kids get antsy. They love the freedom to play but the arguing picks up when their entire day has no requirement beyond chores. It's too much free time, too much of a good thing.

Our solution is a minimal summer learning routine that helps keep basic skills from atrophy. They rotate through the following list each week, not everything in one day.
  • Scripture study (generally daily)
  • Reading a book chosen from Mom's list. Beginning readers work on lessons with me.
  • Writing something.
  • Math practice.
The kids chose their books from my list on this day. They will work their way through their chosen book whenever it is assigned and when they finish they choose another book from the list. Here are their selections:
  • Makayla - Fahrenheit 451. She is also reading The Screwtape Letters because she wanted to.
  • Joseph - Treasure Island. He was excited for an adventure tale.
  • Emma - Sherlock Holmes. She had already started this but it is on my list of options so she chose to keep going with this one.
  • Daniel - Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book. He loved the idea of reading less sanitized versions of fairy tales.
  • Oliver - He's finishing up All About Reading 2 and will then dive into reading from a list I have created for him. The goal is to be reading easy chapter books by the end of the summer.
  • Caleb - He's doing All About Reading 1 and we have yet to hit a lesson that slows him down.
  • Mason - He's started All About Reading 1 and is blending pretty well.
  • Samuel - He's trying to blend CVC words when Mason is doing his lesson, I'm just letting him play with it. 
  • Tobias - As the resident 18 month old he's just bringing books to be read to him often.
I'm reading aloud My Side of the Mountain to all the kids for our Homeschool Book Club. Some of the oldest kids remember it but it has been several years since we read the book. I also cozy up with all the kids who are not independent readers each day to read them a chapter book (we're starting My Father's Dragon) and stacks of picture books they pull from the shelves or we bring home from the library.

The kids are free to choose when they do their chores and summer learning list but that if it isn't finished before lunch there are specific consequences triggered (like missing out on Kindle time during Mason's hour and a half afternoon medical care). It is always interesting to see my kids as individuals and how they handle time management. Some dive right into the work to get it out of the way, others do 1 task then a break, then another task, until it is finished, and there are even those who put it off and then push through things right before the deadline. To each their own!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pregnancy Update #1 - The Back Story

I've decided that I'll share some irregular pregnancy update posts this time around. If you're not interested then you can safely skip these posts, I don't mind. They're as much for my own journaling as they are for others. I know that I love reading about other people's pregnancies and it is rare to find a large family mom blogging about pregnancy. I would love to read it if someone else wrote it, so I might as well share my own.

A bit of pregnancy background:

This is my 14th pregnancy. If all goes well we will welcome our 10th child next January. I have had 3 miscarriages and 1 ectopic/tubal pregnancy with an accompanying emergency surgery that left me with one less fallopian tube. These have been spread over the years as pregnancy number 2, 5, 8, and 12.

I have had morning sickness in every pregnancy. It lasts all day and usually begins around week 6. It ends between 16 and 20 weeks. Nothing gets rid of it. I've tried pretty much every suggestion out there over the years.

My first 6 babies were born in a hospital with a midwife. My body does not sustain contractions - so I've had Pitocin for some portion of every labor. An example, I had my water break with one baby and walked into the hospital dilated to a 7 - the part where you are supposed to be in the agony of transition - with no contractions. My body is weird and I just accept that. I haven't had an epidural - I would rather hurt than have a needle in my spinal column. Just a personal preference.

My 7th baby was a bit different. We knew during my pregnancy that he had serious medical needs (spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and more). It meant changes. No more midwife. I had specialists and many appointments. I was high risk. He had a delivery team. We had to deliver a bit early because of the fluid increasing on his brain. Because his spinal cord was open and outside his back we knew we would have a C-section and I had a spinal block for that. (He was my first breech baby as well).  Let me just say that recovery from surgery while you're in the NICU with a child who had his first surgery at 7 hours old and his second at 7 days old isn't fun.

My 8th and 9th babies left me with a dilemma. Did I want to continue to have C-sections now that I had one or did I want to find a doctor who is pro-VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)? I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to doctors, nurses, hospitals, and friends to find a doctor and hospital that are truly VBAC friendly. I found my high-risk pro-VBAC doctor and hospital 45 minutes away from home. Baby #8 was a successful VBAC, and so was baby #9.

That brings you up to date. I'm doing things a little different this time around. I'm still planning to use the same doctor group and hospital, but I'm not going to begin appointments until close to the halfway mark of pregnancy. Baby #9 was the one after my ectopic pregnancy and emergency surgery so we had lots of early and frequent appointments to monitor things. I don't want to deal with that this time around, so I just won't contact my doctor until late this summer. They can't do anything for me anyway. The only thing I do need monitored is my thyroid levels because I am hypothyroid and my endocrinologist is doing that. I'm having blood work every 3-4 weeks so she can adjust my medication as needed.

How I'm Feeling:
Right now I feel fantastic. I think I am about 5ish weeks along. I'm not having any morning sickness yet. I'm exercising regularly, drinking lots of water, and eating well. I'm not starting this pregnancy off at a healthy weight, unfortunately. We've been dealing with my crazy thyroid for the last year trying to get my medication right - after 6 months of having my general practitioner mess with it the wrong way I finally got in with an endocrinologist. During all those medication changes I gained 20 lbs and am currently 200.8 lbs. It was really frustrating. It means that I will need to be especially consistent in my exercise and eating well to keep my pregnancy weight gain from going crazy.

 I'm excited to be adding another child to our family. I'm also always aware of the fact that things may not go as we hope. In the last 13 pregnancies I have only ended up with 9 babies to hold and raise. Four times I've had empty arms and tears. But God is good all the time! He has a plan for me and for these babies he sends. I try to enjoy every minute of pregnancy so that I have no regrets.