Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A catch up in pictures

Kaylee helped me with the painting of Hazel's nursery. She was very proud of her handiwork

But I finished it all up with a few coats to get a solid color down. Next up is constellation placement, then gray on the other walls.

On the last day of school for the year, the preschoolers had a christmas party.

And Santa even made a special trip to visit everyone. 

The night before we left Michigan for Connecticut had some fun dress up time. The astronaut costume has become a big repeat hit.

I took going away photos of Gwyn and the donkeys for peace of mind and comparison 'just in case'. It was also nice to have recent photos on my phone!

Crossing the bridge from Port Huron, MI, USA to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Customs in Canada

Goofy traveler

We made it to Connecticut on the second day of travel, staying overnight in Rochester NY. We had rain the whole way. Here Kaylee is helping Nana make pizza for dinner.

Helping Nana light candles

Christmas Eve we drove to a specialty fabric store and I found the perfect fabric for curtains for Hazel's nursery. I got a coordinating deep purple to get the length I'd need. We followed that with a trip to Nature's Art, a great store for fossils, awesome toys and beads.  We went to my parent's church for the 5pm service afterwards.

Christmas Eve and the tree is ready for the morning.

These magnet toys were a huge hit!

We made present opening last all day so my brother, who was flying in from North Carolina, could be included. Just before lunch we took a walk in positively balmy 60 F weather and Kaylee enlisted my Dad in an exciting game of duck duck goose at the playground. Kids do not see disabilities (my Dad had polio as a kid and his left leg has no muscle tone, VACCINATE YO)

Kaylee's gift to me, that she picked out at the school holiday store, winter penguin earrings

And a light up christmas lights bracelet (and coffee mug)

We made it home to Michigan, staying the night in Niagara Falls, NY, barely beating an ice storm that arrived as we arrived. Kaylee was happy to be home, though we started the morning upset because we were not able to swim at the hotel pool (we had to leave to beat the storm).

Baby Hazel has reached 24 weeks gestation, which means we have reached viability. Medical science now has an extremely good chance of keeping her alive, should she be born prematurely (though we certainly want her to cook to term!)  Prior to Christmas I was able to feel her kick on the outside and the night we stayed in Niagara Falls, Eric was finally able to catch her strong kicks. It was a special moment for us. He's just as excited about her as I am. I love my family.  Now Kaylee is the one left who hasn't felt her, but she doesn't yet have the patience to catch the infrequent kicks you can feel on the outside. We'll give it time, she'll feel eventually!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More future potential stuff... but will I follow through?

Sometimes I feel like I talk a lot about things I could do without ever truly following through, especially in regards to going back to school or doing something in regards to a career.  This is another one of those posts.

Eric and I have been looking into Aquaponics as a way to be more self sufficient. We love the idea of growing our own food, because we like knowing where things come from, and the more we can do in that regard on a small scale, the better.

In regards to aquaponics, we'd be trying to set up a small, closed system at first. Because of Michigan winters we'd likely keep this all indoors to better control temperature and light.  An aquaponics system is a hybrid of a hydroponics system and an aquaculture system. A merger of the two, it uses the wastewater from fish to fertilize plants. The plants in turn filter the water that then return to the fish.

Our system will be a recirculating system, so the water is contained and doesn't go back into the environment. At first we'll just be using goldfish so we can get the hang of growing the plants, and cycling the water appropriately. Once that's stable, we'll replace the goldfish with Tilapia!

And then we'll have fresh fish grown in our own basement. We could potentially sell the extra fish, since Tilapia breed ridiculously quickly and grow to maturity pretty fast as well. And we'll have fresh veggies through the year.

I hope it gets off the ground. I hope we find an interest in the community for purchasing the fish in order to turn this into a business. Firefly Ranch could incorporate as an aquaculture farm!

We're off to visit my parents tomorrow, so this won't be realized until the new year, but it is something that Eric wants to do. I think he was inspired by a small hydroponics aquarium I got from a kickstarter.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The start of a nursery!

I've had this idea in my head for nursery loooong before we ever got pregnant. I wanted it to be a space theme. When my mom was in DC and visiting the National Air and Space museum, she got me a few items that we could use in the room, namely an Astronaut Crossing sign and Shuttle Crossing (along with the astronaut outfits we used in our announcement).

Today, I went to Home Depot to pick up paint samples. I nailed it. First try.  The plan was to have one wall be a deep blue and put stars on it. While there I found a deep deep purple, that looked almost blue. Then I looked at grays.

They had a 'lunar surface' gray. I put the rest of the gray chips back. It was fate, I knew it.

I picked up some whites tinged with purple, red and yellow to be my stars. You can barely see the color in these whites unless it's a large surface area.

It's since been organized a bit more than this to prep for painting the inner wall to the left in this photo.  All the furniture is what we used with Kaylee.

My phone does not show the true colors. The dark color is the deep purple-blue. The upper gray is lunar surface and on top of that is a very very pale pink. I wanted to maybe do wide stripes on the other walls but after testing determined it would be too busy for such a small room.
I got the paint home and immediately had to get it on the wall to test. The purple scared me going on. I almost thought I had made a mistake. But I got it on thick and walked away to let it dry. I also did some in the corner and got the gray right up next to it. The gray also scared me. It looked almost yellow/brown.

But I walked away. Because you can't judge a paint in its wet state.

And when I came back, after everything was dry, it was EXACTLY what I wanted it to be. I'm going back tomorrow to get bigger cans. and get to work. I am SO stoked. I nailed it. I didn't even consider alternate colors in my samples and I won't need to keep sampling.

Yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Big sister and little sister!

We had our gender reveal party yesterday since my Mom was in town for her consulting job. I don't expect to get a baby shower but I did want to celebrate in some small way that I could organize, so gender reveal it was!  I provided all food and onesies and fabric paint to decorate, the same as I'd done for my friend Cheryl's baby shower a year ago.  Plus, for this baby we have family and friends who care about kids, unlike last time, lol, so it was nice to have a party. It was a small get together, my mom, mother in law and her husband (step father in law), sister in law and her husband and our friends with their two kids. 
My awesome cake that I ordered from a local bakery. It was only $20 and was absolutely delicious!!

Strawberry flavor for the pink!  Everyone's reaction when I lifted the slice out was just perfect! 

Decorating onesies!

Drying and 'curing'

And now individual photos of each, some have a front/back. It's such a great activity and you get some really personal touches from friends and family!

My supplies included a spray fabric paint, thick fabric markers and narrow point fabric markers and various stencils.  I had a plastic lined tablecloth to protect my table and cardboard to slide between the shirts so the paint wouldn't bleed through.
One of mine, done with the spray type paint and a stencil

Top is front, bottom is back. Made by my mom friend that I met through a reddit group when we were both pregnant with our first kids at the same time.  The paper airplane is the group's logo.

Another I made that I'm not happy with. I should have verified a good flesh tone....

Made by my friend's three year old. I love it!

Top is front, bottom is back. Husband made this one. He was aiming for geekier but couldn't condense the message, lol

My final one. It says WILD at the top

Sister in law made this one. She did an excellent job with the stenciling!

I think Kaylee made this one with help from Nana

This I know that Kaylee made with assistance from me and Nana to work the spray. She chose the colors and the stencil.

Step father in law made this one.

Top is front, bottom is back. My mom (Nana) made this one. She knows kids. LOLOLOLOL. We will forever do double takes when Babydos wears this onesie because of diaper blowouts. She nailed the color.

Sister in law's husband did this, but I did the lettering at his request.

Mother in law (Grandma) made this one. She runs. I like the idea she used with the starfish!

Top is front, bottom is back
Sister in law also did this one. She's a big MSU fan and alumna

I loved how we were able to introduce Babydos, Hazel Ophelia, to our family this way. It was a low key, low stress, no obligation kind of party for a second kid. I stressed that no one needed to bring anything in the invitation.

We had polled family at Thanksgiving to get their prediction and Boy was the majority winner for guesses (from myself and Eric too!) Our clothing choices for the party were under intense scrutiny, and the fact that even my hair elastics were both blue and pink was a cause of great distress, much to my amusement.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mental Health

It's a little scary how necessary horses have become in my life. When I didn't have Gwyn immediately following our move to Michigan, things seemed hopeless and awful and I hated everything. As soon as Gwyn got here, I was so much better. Really, as soon as I had that weekend of camping at the endurance ride things got better.

Now, despite staying a part of horsey activities, like the Distance Derby meetup, I'm finding that I'm still falling apart and fraying at the edges. Last month I had crazy anxiety about the birth that I was able to simmer down and feel reassured after meeting with one of the midwives.

But yesterday, after meeting with the OB again, I had a breakdown before I was able to even leave the office. The poor nurses who found me, they kept asking if I was alright, if my appointment went well, if the baby was okay. And yes, everything was outwardly fine and I couldn't explain why I was sobbing uncontrollably.

Personally, I think it's a combination of a lot of things that are all piling together, one or two of them alone I could handle, but all of them is a recipe for disaster.

1. I do not trust medical doctors. This goes back several years to when I was considering starting the process for bariatric surgery. We had just moved to Washington and I went to establish care with a new primary physician. I laid out the difficulty I had with losing weight, the strategies I was trying and what my general diet was like.

I was told to stop drinking soda. I did not drink soda. It soured me, but not fully until I went to have a well woman check for a pap smear. I was intrigued by the concept that I could use a midwife for those check ups and made an appointment. The person I had looked into was on maternity leave, instead I met with her substitute, Elias, also a midwife. He looked at my history, saw that I had mentioned my science background and thought that was cool and proceeded to talk to me and send me science journal articles to support the advice he had given me. I talked to him about my same concerns, my heavy period, trouble losing weight, and he helped me come up with a game plan and strategies we could try, different foods to focus on once he had a hormone panel back that showed slight irregularities.

I followed his advice and suddenly I was successful with my weight loss, without adding in any more exercise. That experience was so positive, I drove out of my way to use him for my prenatal care when I became pregnant with Kaylee. He was worth it to me. Even later, seeing more doctors about similar weight issues and minor stuff, I kept feeling like I was being brushed off, or talked at. So I wouldn't really bother going in for stuff for me.

It's probably why I waited so long for my leg pain.

2. That damn leg pain. Somehow I think I still haven't fully processed the bilateral PEs and my DVT. I feel fine, just as healthy as before, only now I have medicine I take twice a day. It's either that or I resent how this has changed my life. Michigan was supposed to be awesome where I could just go out and ride and I can't do that.

3. Not riding. This is killing me more than I care to admit. With this most recent breakdown I talked with Eric and we're taking a position of "my mental health needs to take priority right now".

So screw the blood thinners. I'm going for a ride today. Bareback, in the arena, at no more than a walk, and probably no more than 20 minutes. But I need it. Just making the decision that I would do that today has perked me up considerably. Screw the doctors. I warned them this was going to be bad for me. I TOLD THEM when I met them.

That all being said, I'm fairly certain I was triggered at my appointment, in a very subtle way. At my previous midwife appointment we worked out a plan where I could ask to alternate care with OB and midwives in the practice, rather than doing only OB. I was told I would be 'allowed' to see the midwives if he, the OB, was in the office at the time of the appointment.

I asked about monitoring my blood glucose rather than taking the gestational diabetes test and he very begrudgingly told me maybe, if I tracked a couple days to show that I was doing okay on the glucose monitor (which I now need to dig up and make sure it works).  In pressing to assert the kind of care I want and received with Elias last time, I was chided because my 'condition' was very serious and DVTs and bilateral PEs are not something to take lightly.

Fuck dude. I UNDERSTAND THAT. I just feel like all control has been taken from me. I'm trying to snatch it back in bits and pieces. Work with me, explain why, come up with a plan with me, don't just tell me what to do because I'm going to dig my heels in if you do.

Anyway, I asked to talk to Joanne, the other midwife, who was thankfully in the office that day. I explained a lot of this to her. And she got it. She talked me through some things that I was worried about (induction, mainly) and I did feel better at the end.

I don't know that they realized how serious this is to me. And how much Eric and I have been strategizing labor. We're laboring as much as we can at home. If we go in and are sent back we're going to just go and walk around a nearby mall depending on the weather. We're semi-seriously joking about delivering at the mall because we'll probably wait too long. Eric gets me and he's going to be an excellent advocate for me, just like he was with Kaylee. I trust him wholly and completely.

So, now excuse me while I go throw my middle fingers to the sky and all my medical care team, screaming FUCK YOU while I ride my horse.

Because they'd all have an aneurism if they found out.