Saturday, May 31, 2008


Nate's in the hospital for dehydration.... will update when we get home (hopefully tomorrow) wireless is really iffy her at the hospital.

Friday, May 30, 2008

This is one horrid week

I think I posted about Jack being sick. (Did I? Gosh it's been a long week, I can't even remember what I did this week). He has an ear infection, Lyme disease (likely), and strep throat. Then on Tuesday I started my own adventure and now yesterday Nate got hit with something hard. At noon he started throwing up and kept throwing up every 15-30 minutes until about 8:30pm. At 11 he finally wanted to drink something and sucked down a bottle of pedialyte which thank God he kept down. Now he's got the poops! I don't get it? Strep throat doesn't cause this so it's not that (although if he gets a fever I'll be bringing him in for a test). No one else is sick! Poor Nate, he always gets it.

So I've been dealing with that and this miscarriage thing kicked up into full gear last night. I'm glad because I just want it to do it's thing and get over but it's really really difficult to deal with. I'm actually surprised just how much like labor the pains are, coming and going in their rythmic way and to realize at the end of it there won't be a baby. Last night I took a hot shower and tried to get my mindset right, I could tell I was fighting it, fighting the pain so I stood there in the shower repeating over and over "the baby is gone, let this happen and move on..... nothing can happen to the baby now" I think it helped some because the pain seemed to lessen after that.

I just wish this would get overwith. I want to be able to move on and right now I'm just stuck here, stuck in this process. I've been waking up in the night and the mornings and after a minute it hits me...... I lost the baby. Then I get sad again and have to build myself back up from it. It's much like after Alex died, sometimes you "forget" or think maybe it was a bad dream and then have to have the painful realization that it wasn't. Something else I find especially saddening is that I always thought a miscarriage was a sudden event that began and finished in one fell swoop. To walk around, go to my son's ball game and to the store and just my normal routines with this going on is strange. Something so profound is happening to me and no one has any idea. I have to just be normal and by all outward appearances I AM normal, wierd. Another thing that sucks is that since my uterus is distended from the blood (the size of about a 14 week uterus at the ER the other night, AFTER a day and a half of bleeding it out) I was beginning to wear maternity clothes and you could probably tell I was pregnant when I did, now I'm wearing regular clothes and doing my best to "suck it in" because I don't want people asking me if I'm pregnant. Just strange how it went from that to this in such little time. Now that I'm bleeding more I am losing my bump quickly thank goodness, now it's time to take down the maternity clothes from my closet and find my normal summer wardrobe that was packed away since there was no need for it this summer, sigh.

We may not have been "trying" for this baby, but we were most certainly happy and excited and were planning for his/her arrival. We thought every day about how at Christmas time we would have a newborn in the house, making a special warm holiday that much more so. It's difficult to come to the realization that it's not going to happen.

The kids for the most part really do seem to get it and have processed it and moved on. Jack is a little confused. He knows that when someone dies you have a funeral and you hold them and you say goodbye and they go to the cemetary. I don't think he quite gets this or understands. He asked again this morning when the new baby was going to be here and we had to tell him again that the baby isn't in mommies tummy anymore, it went to heaven with Jesus and Alex, he just looked at me like I had 4 heads. lol

As far as ttc, some have asked. We won't be ttc as we don't beleive in doing anything to prevent or encourage pregnancy but we will most definitely not be preventing anything. My midwife said it was ok to get pregnant again as soon as my body decided it was ready, there is no research that indicates that getting pregnant right away has an adverse outcome on the subsequent pregnancy and most of those pregnancies do go on to result in a full term delivery. God will let us know when the time is right, we will just wait for that blessed day to come. We've already decided though that we won't be sharing the news until past 12 weeks. Probably the worst part of this whole thing has been having to "untell" everybody, I don't want to do that again.

Thanks so much for all your thoughts and prayers and kind words.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Over the next few days my posts might disturb some people. I'm not going to be all shocker graphic but if you are sensitive..... who knows. Fair warning. I'm posting this for me and because over the last couple of days I've been dealing with this and it's hard to find anything on the internet to tell you what to expect. So I'm going to try to tell my story as delicately as possible.

As you know I am miscarrying my baby. I was suppose to be 10 weeks today. On Tuesday I began spotting which turned into full fledged bleeding overnight with the passage of what looked like possibly a dime sized baby at 4am. It wasn't gross or anything, it was what it was and at the time I wasn't even sure that's what I was looking at. I didn't keep it.

Well yesterday morning I called the midwife and she told me that it did in fact sound like I was losing the baby and in absence of any signs of infection or soaking a pad an hour or anything "abnormal" that it would likely just run it's course and made an appt for me to come in 2 weeks to be checked out. If I felt like I wanted a D&C just let them know and it would be arranged.

Yesterday afternoon I started cramping pretty bad, but it wasn't uterine cramps, it was all in my left side and was strong enough I had to breathe through it. It would come on quick, last about 5 seconds and then go away. Beginning to worry that maybe this was an ectopic pregnancy and not a simple miscarriage I decided to go to the ER.

The one thing I had about the ER is having to explain things to 4 or 5 people. First the triage nurse who questioned whether I was even pregnant since it wasn't a "confirmed" pregnancy ( remember, today would have been my first prenatal appt), then the EMT (male) who showed me to my room and collected my urine sample (of course I had to tell him I have chronic UTI, i could just see them coming back with "That's your problem! bladder infection!" Then the nurse (male again, are there no women in this place!) who was pleasant enough but went into the whole "some spottingin pregnancy is perfectly normal"..... and finally the doctor. To try to tell these people that I'm bleeding, it's not spotting it's more than that..... I'm confident I'm miscarrying I just want to make sure it's not in my tube. I didn't come here for you to tell me my baby is fine and I'm not on the verge of emotional meltdown over it, been there, done that already.

The doctor was great. Very thorough. He did seem to have some hope though which I did not. He ordered a quantative HCG test to see what that said, did a pelvic exam which showed a closed cervix with red blood coming from it, and then ordered an ultrasound to make sure this baby was not, in fact, in my tube. The HCG said my levels were consistant with a 6-8 week pregnancy.

The ultrasound tech comes in and gets me and Craig asks if he can go. I was really surprised when she told him yes, but she wouldn't be able to tell him anything. I'm glad he could go, to see for himself and get some closure in that way.

We get into the room and she had the screen turned from me which I expected. She did some scanning and button clicking and when she was done told me that she could see a sac consistant with about a 6 week pregnancy, it was misshapen and the rest of my uterus was chalk full of blood and clotty tissue. I asked to see and she showed it to me, was surprised again. Showed me the sac which had no baby in it and showed me how it was so fragile it changed shape when the blood outside it moved around it. She gave us a lot of information for someone who couldn't tells us anything lol Both my fallopian tubes were clear, the pain I was having was my left ovary giving me trouble, again.

We went back to the room and the doctor came in. He was very surprised when I told him I was releived. He kind of looked at me like "oh no, this poor woman thinks her baby is alive". He asked why I was releived and I told him because my tubes were clear. I reminded him that I had walked in without hope, I knew my baby was gone. I was just happy I wasn't going to lose my tube on top of it.

So basically the baby is gone, I'm certain now that's what was in the toilet that night. Now I just wait to expell the rest of it, which if it doesn't happy by Monday I may just opt for the D&C to be done with this and move on. The doctor did say that usually if the bleeding starts on it's own it will complete on it's own, I really hope so. The bleeding has increased more since yesterday so hopefully that's a good step in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Goodbye little baby

I am sad to say that our little baby was not to be. He or she is now in heaven with big brother Alex. On Monday morning I had a small gush of fluid that I wrote off as normal pregnancy discharge, then I started spotting at 3pm yesterday and it progressed through the night with cramping and clotting and passage of tissue. I hope it all goes quickly.

This is my first miscarriage. Awful. We so badly wanted this baby and are heartbroken. I'm surprised at just how sad I was at 4am this morning when the cramping took over and bleeding increased and I realized that it wasn't just some fluke thing, this was it...... I honestly never thought grieving a baby you never saw could compare to our losing Alex and while it isn't the same, loss is loss and we feel the same loss of our hopes and dreams for this baby as we did for Alex.

The midwife and I agreed to wait it out and I go in 2 weeks to make sure everything has passed and I am on the road to recovery unless something warrants a visit sooner. I hope not. Craig made a good point that my body is pretty good at what it does, I should have no problem. I hope not because I really REALLY don't want a D&C.

We told the kids this afternoon. We tried to make it as lighthearted as possible and they seemed ok.

We beleive that the miscarriage was because of an abnormality with the baby and thank God that he went easy on our hearts by not allowing us to watch another child suffer being born sick, as Alex had. God is good. While we are upset and saddened, we realize that God is in control and knows what he's doing and he has reasons far beyond our desires.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow....

On Saturday morning Jacksen woke up vomiting and had a fever that hovered around 102-103 all day. He wasn't interested in eating and spent the whole day resting on the couch and slurping popcicles to cool him off since he didn't want yucky medicine (who can blame him).

Yesterday the fever had lowered a bit to 101 and I thought maybe we were headed in the right direction until about 2pm when Jacksen came up to me and said "mom, my neck hurts when I do this" and looked up at the ceiling while grabbing his neck.

My mommy alarm bells went off and I asked him if it hurt when he looked at his toes, nope. Whew, I do my best to balance my concern with rationality.

Over the course of the next 3 hours the neck pain progressed. First it hurt looking up, then looking to the right, then to the left, and finally looking down. It came to the point he would hardly move his head at all. Great.

So, still keeping my calm I call Craig who was shortly going to be off work and told him that we needed to take Jack into the ER and have him looked at. He came home and away we went.

We got there and went right back to the triage room (where they decide if you are an ER case or an urgent care case) where we told the nurse what was going on. She looked at Jack quizzically, handed another nurse some paperwork and said "ER".

While we were walking back to the room we heard the weather alert going off. We knew there was suppose to be bad storms but didn't know when. We get into the room and the medics do the usual, weight (134.5 lbs my peanut) blood pressure, pulse ox. We hear the weather alert again and hear the word "tornado............ county" and the nurse sends the medic out to see where that tornado is.

By now Jacksen is crying. When Alex died hospitals became to him a place where people die. A place of pain and mysery and death. He's improved since then to the point where he can enter a hospital with someone else as the patient and be ok but this time, being the patient himself was overwhelmingly scary for him. I sat on the bed with him while we waited for the doctor and Craig turned the tv on so we could watch the weather. After a few minutes Nate started crying so I told Craig to take him out to the lobby and Shay and I would stay with Jack and try to keep him calm.

We waited and Jack and I talked. I was not going to lie to him but promised him that as far as I knew they weren't going to do anything that hurt and if they were I would tell him before it happened and would not let it be a surprise. The thought of a spinal tap was in the back of my mind with his stiff neck and a fever and I prayed that it wouldn't come to that.

Soon the doctor came in and started looking him over. He mentioned that his lymph nodes were very swollen in his neck. I told him that he had a tick bite 2 weeks ago as I was pretty sure in my mind what we were dealing with. I have a great knack for diagnosing things before the doctor and I'm pretty accurate, it's scary sometimes really. The doctor says his ears look pretty red and he wants a strep test. If he had the bullseye Lyme rash it would be easier (kids don't always get the rash).

He tells me that he's not to the point of wanting to test for Meningitis (whew!) and that he wants to get that strep test and the ears look iffy. Since the treatment for the ears and Lyme is the same, we are going to forego taking blood from my terrified little boy for the Lyme test (which isn't very accurate anyway) and treat the ears which will treat the Lyme with it. Sounds good to me.

He leaves and I run out and tell Craig to come back into the room, as I walk out of Jack's room I hear "tornado on the ground....." on the weather radio. I ask the nurse where the tornado is and she tells me "by Dallas". My 3 oldest children are currently helping my mom in the barn a few miles east of there, in the direction this thing is moving. Suddenly we hear over the speakers "Attention all personnel, visitors, and patients..... This is a Code black" And doors start closing and hospital staff starts running around. We go back to our room and wait for the strep test.

We go back to the room and I try calling my mom. First her house phone, then her cell phone. No answer on either..... that can only mean 2 things. Either the power is out and cell service is down, or they are in the barn and have no idea a tornado is barreling toward them. I try not tha panic and after a few minutes Nate starts fussing again so I volunteer to take him out this time figuring in the lobby he can move around and won't be so fussy. We get out there and are quickly told that we can't be in the lobby, we have to be in the center circle where there are no windows (and..... well nothing!) GREAT! I let Nate crawl up and down a hall off the circle where there are no windows and soon that isn't even working. People are coming out of doors and halls now and then to look at the weather. The tv is currently unavailable because it's right next to the window and the sky looks an eerie green. I keep hearing people talking about how this storm just killed a bunch of people in MN (we are 2 counties in from the MN border) and has dropped many tornados and baseball sized hail.

As much as I hate storms I am strangely calm. I know I'm in one of the safest buildings in the county, I am in familiar surroundings (it's the hospital where I work) and the safe stairwell in the center of the building is only steps from where I stand. I know Jack and Craig are in a safe room, probably one of the safest. I shouldn't be calm because 3 of my children may be directly in harms way, 3 of my children could as I stand there be fighting for their lives in that barn. I pray as I try to keep nate happy and a strange calmness just overcomes me.

Soon Craig and Jack emerge and we get Jack's prescription for amoxicillin punched into the insty-med machine. While we wait our ER nurse comes out and says "your mom just called and says NOT to leave". I thank her and grab the phone at currently unmanned information desk and dial her number. She tells me it's awful there, the tornado hasn't hit yet and they are in the house and aware of it. I tell them to get in the basement and she tells me to stay where I am, if we head home now we are going to drive right into it.

Our medication finishes and we stand there and discuss what to do. It doesn't look too bad out where we are, just some rain and that hazy creepy sky and some lightening here and there. After a few minutes Nate starts fussing again, alerting us that he was starving and wouldn't wait any longer and we decided we would leave the hospital and go get something to eat. When we got to Burger king we would decide what to do.

The weather wasn't looking too bad so we decided that to be home would make us feel better than to be somewhere else at this point so we decided to get our food and drive home, willing to change our plans if needed. Our drive home is uneventful. We get nearly home and see a double rainbow, who's end looks to be at our house as the man on the radio tells use that the tornado warning is over.

Scary night indeed. But proof that prayers do get answered and God is always looking out for us if we put our faith in him 100%.

Jack is feeling much better today, after only 2 doses of medicine. He wanted to go for a bikeride today but we didn't get far before his legs started hurting. We remember from Shay that this can go on for many months but Jack's case really seems to be very mild compared to Shay's so we hope for a very fast recovery.

Make sure you check for ticks EVERY DAY and if you get bitten seek treatment at the first sign of illness. Symptoms can be delayed for a MONTH after the bite!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey God? It's me, Kat

And uh..... if your listening? Can you please hear my prayers about the twins thing? Cause uh, after having my nephew for 2 days...... I think I might go crazy lol

My brother and his wife have been gone for a couple days. They got married a year ago and never got the chance to get away. I hope they are having a ton of fun. It's been interesting with 2 little ones in the house. I'm lucky because my nephew is like THE most well behaved baby on the planet (aside from the getting up for the day at 4am thing, I could do without that) so he makes it much easier than it could be. But still, it's been interesting, especially in the evenings trying to bathe and get them both ready for bed and asleep without one waking the other.

Right now they are both napping like good little boys. Bless them.

Tonight Chris has a ball game in Barron which means we'll be having ballgame food for supper, yum. Not much choice really, Shay and Chris get done with CLC at 5 and the game starts at 5:15.... not much time to make a wholesome meal!

On the pregnancy front, 9 weeks today! It's going fairly fast and I think iti will continue through the summer and then drag on come fall. We have picked out names, but we're not tellin hehe. I feel great, not a hint of morning sickness. I am a little nervous about that but I have to have faith that the little french fry is happy and healthy in there. I see the midwife next Thursday.

Monday, May 19, 2008


There are some things in life that, after we are finished with them rarely cross our minds again. But what if those things could be ticking time bombs waiting to get you in a world of trouble you never signed up for?

So on Saturday my mother gets a certified letter in the mail from the Hennepin County (as in the twin cities, in Minnesota) vehicle impound stating that her car is currently impounded there and if she will kindly bring $95.00 she may have her car back. If she fails to do so within 30 days the matter will be turned over to a collection agency and form a big black mark on her credit report.

The problem? All of my mothers cars are in her driveway.

After a few phone calls my mother learned that the car impounded is my sisters 1995 Dodge Neon that was totalled by my brother in 2004 and bought back by the insurance company. We watched the insurance companies paid flatbed wrecker come and collect it and whisk it away and never gave it much thought again.

We don't yet know the details but somehow this totalled car (keep in mind that totalled simply means damaged beyond the value of the vehicle, totalled cars can be repaired and made to run again) went from whomever's care it was in with the insurance company into the hands of an unknown person who never registered it (likely because he was not given a title, since it was totalled) and drove it around for 4 years on my mothers name.

I'll keep you updated on all of that.

But it makes me think. How many cars does the average person sell in their adult life? For some of us, a few. When you sign that title and collect your cash from the buyer and wave them off as they drive away in what use to be your pride and joy you generally don't give a second thought as to what that person's intentions are. You never have any idea if that person in fact ever goes to the DOT and registers that car in their own name, or if they slip an old pair of lisence plates on it and pray they never get pulled over. And what happens if that person then commits a crime in that car? The copy of the title at the DMV will never show that you signed it off, so as far as anyone knows........ that car still belongs to you.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The price of a child

So many times I am asked "How can you AFFORD that many kids?" Or hear "Your husband must make DARN good money!". Many people are completely baffled and awestruck when they actually find out how much we live on. Folks, on average we raise 6 kids (soon to be 7) on $40,000 per year. That's right, $40,000 per year. Sure some years it might creep up to near $45,000, but that's the exception.

Now that you are as baffled as the average person, lets talk about that. Let's talk about how much money it costs to raise a child. This site by the Federal Government quotes me $7,580 per year for the first 2 years.

That's a lot of money. But does it have to cost that much? Can you take care of your infant on less without depriving them of anything? Let's find out how much it cost to get Nathan to his first birthday, shall we?

Diapers: We cloth diaper (disposable at night) His stash of cloth diapers cost me about $300 and we go through a 90 count package of diapers in about 3 months making for 4 of them his first year at $20 each (actually like $17. But lets throw in the extra few bucks for arguemants sake)........ $80. Since I use disposable wipes we'll include that here as well. I buy the box of parents choice wipes for $5 which lasts me about a month. So, $60 on wipes. So Diapers Grand total comes to $440. Using cloth adds some expense to our first year, but minimizes it in our second year.

Clothes: I have gotten nearly Nathan's entire wardrobe from freecycle, hand me downs, gifts, or the free garage sale. He wears nice clothes (brand names even) so don't get the impression these are dingy holey clothes. I have though picked up some cutesy things along the way when I've spotted a sale. Clothes: $25.00

Food: I breastfed exclusively until Nathan was approximately 8 months old when he started eating baby foods. He ate about 2 jars of food for lunch and dinner until about 11 months when he was solely on table food. So baby food in total ran us about $180. For breakfast he usually ate oatmeal. A large container of oatmeal cost me $2 at Aldi and lasted him about 3 weeks. So about $6 for the 3 months he ate baby foods. For the last month of his first year he ate table food, most of our family meals cost about $10 to make so his portion cost $0.80. Throwing in some snacks we'll say for that last month he ate about $3.00 in food per day or $90. So, In Nathan's first year he ate $276 worth of food.

Medical care: Nathan's doctor visits, immunizations, and medications are covered 100% with no co-pay, deductible, or premium so he had zero medical expenses in his first year. Wisconsin is a wonderful state that now offers this to EVERY CHILD IN THE STATE regardless of income (there may be some small co-pays for meds and services in higher income brackets averaging around $3.00) Medical expenses: $0

Transportation: Since we live an hour away from the doctor's office we often double up kids on appointment day (they get their own appt, but they are back to back) . Nathan had 8 well baby visits his first year. It cost us about $25 to get to these appointments so Nathan's half of each was $12.50, multiplied by the 8 visits is 100.00. Now, Nathan also had some visits for illness. His eye, colds, ear infections. So lets just go ahead and say he cost more like $150.00 in medical transportation. Remember we live an hour from the Pediatrician, most people will not pay this much.

What else...

Pictures: Who doesn't take a gazillion professional pictures that first year. Many of us cart these little dolls into the store in ($50 outfits no less) for these pictures every 3 months or so, to the tune of roughly $100 each time. I prefer my own pictures which cost me pennies to print into glorious 8x10 works of art for pennies. Anyone can learn to take beautiful pictures. Nathan's first year portraits... $15.00

Baby Gear: Carseat: $150.00. Stroller $100.00. Pack N Play $100.00. Bouncy chair $40.00. Swing $100.00. Sling $40.00. I already had a high chair and a his crib was a gift. Gear $530. Now I could have EASILY brought this price down by buying less expensive, and still great items. I was picky.

Miscellaneous: Let's throw the little things like pacifiers, toys, etc in here and call them about $75.00

Housing: Nathan's portion (1/8th) of our Mortgage and utilities is Approximately $1,000 for his first year. I debated adding this at all since we would have these bills with or without him but figured I would before someone emails me about it. This number is pretty tricky to accurately portray because it is dependant on how much house you have for how many people. If you have a big expensive house for a small family, each families portion is going to be much, much bigger. If one person in the family wastes electricity and water, the other members of the family will pay for that. Again, it comes back to choices.

So. I come up with a rough total of $2511 for Nathan's first year of life. Nowhere NEAR $7580 and if you compare the $2511 it cost to take care of him to our $40,000 income......... well, bringing a new baby into the family doesn't make much of a dent at all! In fact, for us it ended up costing less than $7.00 per day. SEVEN DOLLARS. And we didn't even live in a mud hut and dig for water with our bare calloused hands. My son spent his first year in brand name clothes, in great brand new baby gear eating Gerber baby food and lacking absolutely nothing.

And there are things I could have done to cut that expense even more. I purchased all my baby gear brand new and paid full price rather than shopping gently used resale shops or waiting for a sale, I used store bought baby food when I could have made my own. I use disposable diapers at night and have some pricey pocket diapers in my cloth diaper stash. I see a pediatrician an hour away instead of the one across town. Given the fact that I overdo some things and am frugal on others I think this estimate of $1511 is fairly accurate just making some simple choices to spend less. Breastfeeding and not putting my children in daycare save me extraordinary amounts of money. As do choosing to live in the state I do with the awesome medical care and cost of living.

All in all, Nathan consumed a very tiny portion of our modest income his first year, which from my eperience will likely be his most expensive year. Baby #8 will consume nearly nothing, since we have everything from Nathan still and if it's a girl, we will be using my neice's wardrobe. So if you are denying yourself another child based on the presumed expense of having one. Or if you think the income you live on is too small to reasonably allow for another child, think again. Think about what is important to you and make the choices needed to make that happen. These changes aren't huge, no one is asking you to live in a mud hut and dig for water with your bare, calloused hands.

From this you can also see that my 6 (soon to be 7!) kids are not the drain on the world's resources either. In fact, they use less than they are alloted by "average" standards!

Friday, May 16, 2008

And it is done.

Ok, so remember my epiphany about the living room? It is done.

Let me address something before I get into the "tv mounting catastrophe" story though. I got a couple emails after my last post asking me about buying/having luxury items and how that fits in with my idea of living simply. Well, I never said we don't have modern conveniences or luxury items. Our goal is to have what we have without debt. That doesn't mean we can't have nice things, we just really have to think long and hard before we buy them because we don't have credit cards to just charge everything we want. If we can't pay cash for it, we simply don't get it. Thanks to president bush, we did have the cash for a new tv and new bikes this time.

Anyway. Our living room has caused me much stress over the years because of it's layout and the need for as much available seating as possible. For starters, the front door opens into the living room and if you walk straight from the door you cross through the living room into the dining room. (nm the stuff in the pics, we aren't totally done with the putting it away part yet, also nm that the photos are not cropped and edited, I didn't have the energy)

This pathway basically made a good 4 feet by 15ish feet of the living room basically unusable. You can't put furniture in a walkway.

The next obstacle is this large (and dirty) picture window. It's basically a sin to put anything in front of a beautiful window.

So over the years we have been stuck in cramped, un feng shuay (htf do you spell that anyway?) surroundings. We had 2 couches but we ended up having to put one downstairs in the master bedroom last year, unable to part with the space it used up any longer.

Our tv was in this beautiful Pine Armoir that I spent many hours looking for and fenaggling a price on.

I have spent a good part of the last 4 years since we purchased this house trying to figure out how to get more space out of our living room. That room is the hub of our home and where all 8 of us spend the most time. Watching tv, playing games, chatting, what-have-you. It's where Nate's toys are kept which can usually be found strewn across the rug waiting for an unsuspecting foot to step on them or trip over them. A few months ago we had looked at LCD flat panel tv's and couldn't really figure out how one would benefit our living room that much so decided to pass on the idea.

Then my epiphany. What if we put a flat tv on the wall that is the pathway? It wouldn't take up any space in the pathway and we could then turn the chair and couch around and we would be using that dead space!!!!

So first thing in the morning (which lately, due to my preggo exhaustion is the crack of noon) I inform my husband of this groundbreaking idea. Being the man that he is, he wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to buy new electronics and suggested we head to the store immediately. We had just about $700 left of our free gov't money........ it was a sign.

So, we promptly went to Walmart and soon had our tv, wall mount, HDMI cable, and a gazillion other odds and ends because you simply cannot visit Walmart without buying 15 items you didn't know you needed.

Craig had to go to work shortly after we returned home and I had to take Shaylin to the eye doctor (great visit btw, she still doesn't need glasses, is only slightly favoring her left eye, and if the next appt goes well will be going to yearly appts!) so the tv and room rearrange would have to wait.

Yesterday Craig woke me up bright and early (this time it was bright and early, like 9..... who gets up at that ungodly hour?) to get to work. I don't know what he needed me for, it's not like I was actually going to participate or do anything but yell at him.

So he sets to cutting a hole in the wall (to run the wires through, because it is SO tacky to see wires running down the wall and I was having none of it) and we find out, not surprisingly that the kitchen wasn't the only place the old owners simply sheetrocked over plaster. Nice. So Craig is cutting a hole in the 4 layers of wall and I've got a damp cloth and the vacuum running lest my little nate inhale lead particles into his fragile lungs.

So, i'll spare you all the drama but let's just say that by the time we left at 4:30 to go to Christian's baseball game we had JUST finished getting the tv up and working. I kid you not. 7 hours and 4 trips to the hardware store and a few Oh shit moments and a few "screw it this damn thing isn't worth it" moments and it was done hanging in all it's blissfull glory on the wall.

After the game we set to rearranging the other furniture which took until approximately 11pm. This is how it looks now. And yes, that recliner IS as comfortable as it looks, it also has heat and massage and no, you can't have it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gosh I love warm weather!

It's been nice out. Not overly warm but not cold and we've been making the best of it. Yesterday, thanks to our stimulus check, we went and bought new bikes and a trailer for Nate. The last 2 days we've been riding everywhere and it's been wonderful. I haven't had a bike since I was probably 10 or 11. I had gotten a brand new 10 speed a year before and when we moved, we moved with nothing but a few garbage bags full of clothes and toiletries and our tiny tv. We had to part with everything else. I never did get another bike, until yesterday. We were at the store intending to buy Austin and Jacksen new bikes and I told Craig about how I hadn't ridden bike since I was 10 and told him the story. He insisted then and there that I allow him to buy me a bike. It was very sweet. So we decided to get him one too and the trailer so we could all enjoy bike riding. I should be able to ride pretty much all summer and riding bike is oh such good exersize for a preggo, so I'm going to keep it up as long as possible.

Then last night I was laying in bed and had an epiphany. We needed to better utelize the space in our living room and in order to do so we needed a flat wall LCD tv. Craig, of course, had absolutely NO problem with my sudden need to go and buy this so we picked it up today, a 32 inch Widescreen LCD HDTV. Hopefull it's installation tomorrow goes smoothly.

Christian has joined baseball this summer. Tomorrow is his first game in the neighboring town. He loves baseball and is quit good at it so I think he'll have a great time playing on an organized team all summer. They have practice every monday and games on Thursdays so if any family/friends want to come watch just let me know and I'll give you info.

That's all I got. My brain is slowly turning to mush as it becomes closer to bedtime.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lyme disease photos and info

Since the Lyme season is upon us, and in light of finding our first deer tick latched onto Jacksen's stomach yesterday I thought I would recycle this post to share some photos and my experience having had a child with the disease so you can watch for it.

The bullseye rash. Here are 3 photos of the rash on my daughter. The first is where the actual bite occured and the rest showed up in random places. In the first photo you notice the bite in the middle that is red, a slight clearing around that, and then red around the outside of that. That is the "bullseye" pattern you hear about.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

At the time I noticed the rash, she also spiked a high fever (102-104) and was downright miserable, refusing to move off the couch. Later (during treatment for her) she developed leg cramps. She dehydrated quickly so pushing fluids into her became top priority. She spent 3 weeks on antibiotics and thankfully seems to have recovered fully. We never saw the tick that bit her, adult deer ticks are the size of poppy seeds and immature ones can be smaller than the head of a pin.

Lyme Disease can be fully cured if caught early during the initial rash and fever. If left to progress the rash and fever will go away but the disease will attack joints and at this stage cannot usually be fully cured.

Removing a tick: Most people think the head is the part to worry about. It is NOT. The body is where the blood is (from you AND everyone else the tick as bitten). You want to grasp the tick below the head and pull, DON'T squeeze or you will squeeze the blood back into your body. The head may stay attached and despite common belief, that's OK, the head doesn't cause a problem and your body will reject it as it does any foreign object. If it being there bothers you, you can try to scrap it out but I don't recommend digging for it and opening yourself up to infection from the sore you create. This information came from my child's pediatrician.

Friday, May 9, 2008

No, it's not a secret club

So, I've had people coming out of the woodwork today asking me if I knew Michelle Duggar is pregnant with #18. If you are unaware of this family (cause you live in a cave or something) please visit, and then come back.

For starters. This large family thing isn't some big club. We don't know each other or have family dinners (I don't even like tater tot hotdish thank you) or have dress making parties or what-not. So Michelle Duggar herself did not call me to announce her pregnancy, I found out on the internet like everyone else and I have the same information you do. So you can stop pm'ing and emailing me about it, thanks.

As always when Mrs. Duggar announces a pregnancy which as her eldest son said when he heard the news "well yeah, it's been 9 months...... that's about right" the internet goes crazy. For some reason this woman announcing her pregnancy to the world becomes her personal open invitation for everyone to decide what is best for her family. And maybe it is, since they are so very public about their lives. But in turn, it also becomes an open invitation for the world to judge the rest of us as well.

It seems everyone has this strange idea that all large family households are like the Duggars. That we make frumpy dresses that match and wear girl-mullets and don't use carseats properly and don't make a point to eat particularly healthy (did I mention I don't even like tater tot hotdish?). That we have husbands named Jim-bob and follow some strange naming scheme and hold church services in our living room and homeschool our children and build houses with our bare hands and drive buses. They assume that we force our innocent children to become mothers to their younger siblings by the age of 7 or 8 and make them cook and clean while their brothers hunt and gather for the family.

As much as I must say the Duggars do have some great family values, they seem very loving and I admire their debt free way of life I really HATE that they are the model for large families! Where was the application process to sign up for this and why wasn't there a vote? Because this family, as sweet as their J-name, matching clothes wearing, girl-mullet way of life is, is NOT YOUR AVERAGE LARGE FAMILY!!!

They are also NOT a good example of quiverfull living. Michelle weans her babies early in an effort to regain her fertility. This does NOT fit with the quiverfull way of doing things. We do not prevent pregnancy and we take no steps to promote it. We have......... er....... marital relations when we feel like it with no thought as to the outcome (isn't that great and liberating? lol). We allow our babies to self wean and our fertility to return naturally as such. On average this will result in pregnancy every 2-3 years, the average quiverfull family has SIX children.... not even close to 18!

So please, not only do I not know Michelle Duggar personally and call her for baking tips. I also do not so much appreciate being compared to her or having it assumed that people with large families, or who beleive in the quiverfull way of life are in some way emulating this woman and her husband.

I am truly happy for them and their 18th blessing. They DO represent a loving, seeminly happy, self sufficient large family. Congrats Duggars. And might I suggest the other 25 letters of the alphabet?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Only in Wisconsin...

Or Pennsylvania, or maybe Indiana would this ever happen. I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up.

My phone rings Monday early afternoon. It's my mother.....

MOM: I didnt' tell you about our excitement last night

Me: Oh? What's that? (thinking with my mother, it could be anything

MOM: Well, you should come out to the house with your camera...

Me: Why?

So this bantering goes on for a bit until she realizes that I'm simply not driving all the way out to her farm with 6 kids in tow after a chaotic evening of after school programs, parent-teacher conferences, dinner and homework unless there's a dang good reason.

So she tells the story. A story that was nearly surreal to listen to. A story that could only happen here, and only to my mother.

So, she begins. We (her and her boyfriend...... it kinda creeps me out to call him my mothers boyfriend, I don't really know why..... I should ask my therapist. Anyway) We were sitting on the couch watching tv last night and we heard a noise. George looked out the window and said "there's a flashlight coming up the driveway". You know how I am (that would be paranoid) so we let Tigger ( their obese black lab that with all the table scraps he eats probably has coronary heart disease at the ripe old age of 4) out to go and scare them away (yeah, that'll work ma). Well, they didn't run away so we figured they weren't a burgalar (apparently in the land of oz burgalurs aren't afraid of dogs like everyone else).

So, she continues. We called Tigger back in an went out there and up the driveway comes this Amish kid, all bloodied up. We brought him inside and cleaned up his hands and found out what happened to the kid. Turns out he and his buddy were racing buggies down the road and the horse stumbled and he lost control and the buggy rolled into the ditch. It's still there.

I SWEAR I didn't make this up lol

When we are out at my moms I always have my camera in tow and can usually be found stalking Amish buggies coming down the road to get a good picture of one incognito. My moms house is surrounded by Amish, she may in fact be the only person in the area with electricity, i'm not sure. I have yet to be able to capture a good picture of a buggy because the brush in the ditch isn't yet long enough to hide in. You see, the Amish are terrified to have their picture taken, so when taking their picture you have to remain hidden, out of respect of course. So usually I get the back end of the buggy with some tree in the way. As the brush grows this spring into summer I should be able to stake out a better vantage point.

I'm sad to say I did not in fact get out to my moms to take pictures of the "totalled" buggy. I am very sad about that. I will, this summer...... if I have to battle garden snakes, frogs, crickets, and the obese black lab crawling through the brush like a soldier with my trusty Nikon D40 instead of my gun, get a picture of the Amish and their buggy. So help me God.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I didn't forget!

I got a comment a few days ago asking me if we were going to have a homebirth with this baby. I didn't forget about ya, promise!

As a Doula and being just a little crunchy, the idea of homebirth to me is perfect. I truly beleive that when women are allowed to follow their instincts and run the show, and be in a place where they feel in control and are comfortable that birth happens faster, easier, less painful, and with less complications than if she is in a setting where she feels she is at the mercy of others who know more about what her body is doing than she does. In a sterile, uncomfortable environment where she is not in control in any way. In a hospital, she doesn't call the shots, someone else does. This can inhibit labor immensly.... her body is telling her to move, moan, etc and she feels in doing so she has an audience of strangers.

Having said that. I do not birth at home. I have been fortunate enough to find a hospital that allows me as much freedom, control, and comfort as possible. I birth with a midwife in a hospital that offers water birth. Birth takes place in a dim, quiet environment with the mother directing the show. The bed is not broken down, the lights are not cranked up, no one gowns up in a monkey suit. My husband catches our babies and the medical staff are there to watch and intervene if needed. After birth we stay in a "family room" with a queen sized bed and a pull out sofa so our children can stay as well if they wish. There is very little bothering by the nursing staff, at the beginning of their 12 hour shift they come in and introduce themselves and take vitals on mom and baby, and at the end of their shift they come in to say goodbye and see if we need anything. They do not bother us at all through the night.

Why do I choose this over the comforts of home? Then answer comes from the happenings in my life on January 28th, 2006. At 2:32 am I gave birth to a 36 week bitty baby boy at the hospital. At 4 lbs 14 oz he was a scrawny thing but checked out wonderfully. The pediatrician looked him over in depth and declared him healthy as a horse, for being so tiny and told us we'd take him home in a couple days pending he passed his carseat test (a test on preemies to make sure they can breathe well in an upright position)....

16 hours after he was born he stopped breathing in my arms. They couldn't intubate him. He desperately needed a certain medication to stay alive.

If we had delivered at home he would have died before an ambulance arrived, even if CPR were started immediately. His heart didn't work and his lungs and his heart didn't have the normal connections, only the fetal connection that was closing quickly. Without that medication, that could only be administered in a hospital with a ventilator and close supervision, he would have slipped away while we waited.

Most of the time it all goes right. And most of the time when it doesn't, help is nearby and a midwife or even mom and dad can keep the child alive until help arrives. But sometimes that isn't the case and although my son did die at 6.5 weeks old, I know that he was given EVERY chance to live. If he had been born at home I wouldn't be so comfortable in that knowledge.

So there ya have it!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I don't get it

So, with all my babies i join online message boards to talk to other people due when I am. It's a great way to keep up with the new things pregnancy brings (can we eat tuna now? or no?) and to offer some of my wisdom (yeah right) and get some in return.

I am realizing that there is something I will never understand about Obstetricians. Why do they feel the need to torture their patients? Do they get some twisted thrill out of it? I can't fault the women for this, they are, after all, worried new mommies. Some of them have had miscarriages, chemical pregnancies, blighted ova. They hang onto any bit of information they can get and hope it's a sign of good things to come. That's moms for ya.

But these doctors, these sick folks running some kind of funhouse and playing with emotions. They have these women come in days after getting a positive pregnancy test. They draw blood every 2 days, do transvaginal ultrasounds (sounds fun, eh?) and just basically stir stress in these women who should be making a point to AVOID stress. These women walk around with sets of numbers in their heads in a constant state of asking "are the numbers good?" "your numbers aren't like my numbers, does that mean I'm miscarrying?" they couldn't see a fetal pole at 5 weeks 3 days, is my baby ok?

It's just maddening, it's maddening for me so I can only imagine how it must feel for them. These pregnancies, are for all intents and purposes most likely just fine but these women are made to worry by the numbers, by the pictures on the screen. They compare this and that when as little as 24 hours difference in ovulation and implantation times can mean a different picture on the ultrasounds screen, can mean a 2,000 digit difference in "normal" numbers.

Why? Why bother? I ask? I haven't met ONE woman who is reassured by anything they see on these early ultrasounds or by these early HCG counts. They always come back asking the questions, loaded with worry. "We saw the baby but the heartrate was only 112, is that bad?" or "my HCG didn't double in the last 48 hours, but it's still really high, but i'm worried i'll miscarry cause it didn't double". They are not reassured by any of this, they only worry more. And even if, God forbid, the baby is not doing well or implantation did not go well, what is knowing your HCG number going to change? They cannot save your baby, spare you the pain of miscarrying, so how is this helping anyone?

Meanwhile I sit in ignorant bliss. Could my baby be in trouble? Sure. But for all I know my HCG number is right where it should be and my baby is firmly implanted in my uterus. He/she may not be, but I have no reason to doubt that he/she is because nothing has given me a reason to doubt in God's beauty and perfection. Maybe I will miscarry, and that would be very sad. But even if that were to happen at least I get these weeks of ignorantly thinking my baby is probably ok. I get these weeks not of stressing myself out over numbers and pictures and heartrates, but of thinking of that tiny baby forming a nose and eyes in there right now. I'm not going to change the outcome, but I can change how much turmoil I have in my life.

If it was something that could change the outcome ti would be different. But it isn't. And it saddens me that these women are put through this. And to the women who "demand" ultrasounds at 6 weeks, why put yourself through that? Sure, if you really are 6+ weeks you will likely see a little baby with a perfect beating heart, but if that baby implanted a little later, or you ovulated a few days later than you thought you may not see anything, then you are setting yourself up for so much worry you didn't need.

Sometimes, ignorance is certainly bliss.

So I laid in bed last night unable to fall asleep, formulating todays blog post in my mind. The problem is, I forgot it. Bummer.

My thoughts are so jumbled lately and I can't seem to be able to sit down and write about one subject. My mind drifts from this to that and back again and soon it doesn't make sense to me, let alone anyone else.

Today is cleaning day. Which is why I'm sitting on my ass while my helpless children slave away. No, actually I have gotten a lot done today including bagging up 5 garbage bags of winter clothes for the free garage sale, this week will find me going through the 10-12 totes and bags full of summer clothes to sort out what fits, what doesn't, and what is no longer liked. Now it's time for the children to clean the space I allot them in my castle. Which always means drama, drama, and more drama. Someone is hitting someone, someone isn't cleaning, someone threw a baseball through the window, someone stole a car....... Ok maybe not that far, yet. Days like today, having a gazillion kids isn't so fun. Too bad we can't just wallow in squallor and be happy. Wait, THEY could..... Too bad I can't wallow in squallor and be happy. So, until I figure out how to adore filth, we will have these lovely cleaning days.

So, I'm frustrated and crabby today and I think Craig was actually happy to run off to work a bit ago. So now I sit here with a 12 year old drama queen who's acting like she's 2, her 7 year old prodigy who is sitting on the floor at my feet because she won't stop screaming and can no longer be allowed to interact with her siblings, and 3 lovely little boys who are actually doing what they are told. I think I want this baby to be a boy......... I've changed my mind.