Friday, March 29, 2013

Things I've gotten for free

I thought it would be fun to keep a list of things I've gotten for free over the year. Free music downloads from emusic (this is in addition to the tons of free downloads from google play and amazon) Free audio book from emusic Amazon GC total: $5
Monday, July 2, 2012

Real Food Summit

The more I read about Real Foods, the more I realize I need to change my eating habits ASAP--before Piper starts eating solid foods. I know I could be eating better now, while she's nursing. I think about it and I talk about it, but I haven't actually done much about it.

I decided I'm going to spend July focusing on Real Foods and learning as much as I can. I need to jump in with both feet or else I won't do it at all.

To start, I've found UnderGround Wellness's Real Food Summit webinar that starts next week. I also watched their Paleo Summit a few months ago. I'm super excited to hear all of the good info! Check it out!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My First Mother's Day

Mom and Piper

I was going to try to write something insightful about how my life has changed by becoming a mother, but I was having trouble coming up with anything. Then I read this poem and it embodied everything that I wanted to say in a much nicer way than anything I could have come up with.

It talks about not being able to watch the news without thinking about what if it had been your child. The second week Piper was alive, my mother in law was here and wanted to watch the news. I had to leave the room because all I could think about was that I was trying so hard to just keep her alive, I couldn't think to the months and years ahead where things outside of my control could happen to her.

The poem is a mother's response to her daughter who is starting her own family. It says: 

My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks..
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man
who never hesitates to play with his child.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again,
for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I knew my husband was going to be a good dad, but I absolutely love watching him with Piper and he loves taking care of her. It is amazing for us to look at each other and think we made this little person--just us--and now it is our responsibility to make sure she grows up. Compliments are "you're a great mom/dad" and sometimes we don't get more time together than a quick kiss before bed, but we feel closer than ever.
For mother's day, my husband took Piper at about 6:30am and I got to sleep until 10:30am. I woke up completely startled and worried that she was starving, but he had defrosted some expressed milk and fed her so that I could sleep as long as I wanted. It was the best mother's day gift, but it gets better! He gave me a card and a bag of Red Vines (I craved them while I was pregnant). I was quite happy with that, but then he told me he was getting me a SodaStream machine! It was a great day. I can't even begin to believe I would be this blessed in my life.

Linking up:
Saturday, May 12, 2012

Piper's Birth Story

Note: This is a long, long post because I wanted to detail every moment. Also, there is a picture of me nursing at the end. You've been warned.

The Wednesday before my due date, we went in for our appointment and my blood pressure was higher than usual and higher than the recommended blood pressure, but it was not too out of control. The midwife told me to call if I had headaches or dizziness or if I just felt “yucky”. Thursday and Friday I had a couple of headaches, but I was not too worried about it and thought it might have to do with it being my last 2 days of work. The weekend was okay, but Monday (my due date--March 19th) I was feeling a bit dizzy.

I did not want to be a hypochondriac, but I was a little concerned. I decided to go to K-Mart to use their blood pressure machine before calling the birth center. My blood pressure there was 151/90 (“safe” is below 120/80), so I called the birth center. The midwife on call called me back and I explained what was going on. She seemed not to think it was that big of a deal, but told me to go to the hospital for monitoring. We went to Sonic and then headed to the hospital.

Last belly pic! March 19th--my due date.

It helped that I had pre-registered online even though I had planned to give birth at the birth center. We got there and got checked in at about 6pm. They put us in a room in triage, took some blood and strapped on a blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitor (for the baby). They were going to monitor my blood pressure every 10 minutes until the blood work came back which usually took about an hour. I watched some repo show on Tru Tv.

My blood work came back fine, but they said there were going to monitor my blood pressure for a while longer. I was watching the monitor and my blood pressure was getting lower and lower. When it was 90/60, I jokingly asked Keith how low my bp could go and still be alive. The nurse came in and said that everything was fine and they just had to wait for the midwife to call back and approve my discharge (she had 2 women in labor at the birth center). It took another hour for her to call back and approve the discharge. At this point, it was about 9pm. The nurse told me that they would have to measure my amniotic fluid before I could go (I have no idea why they did not do this during the hour I was just sitting waiting for the midwife to call).

The nurse took us into a little cubicle and did the ultrasound and then did it again. She told me that my amniotic fluid was measuring 4.9 and 5.1 and safe levels are between 5 and 25. She called the OB in to measure again. It took about half an hour for the OB to come and she brought two residents with her. She asked which one wanted to do the ultrasound and held the wand out to one of them. He shook his head and took a step back. She gave the wand to him and he measured the fluid. It measured just over 5. She told us that the risk of stillborn birth doubles from 1% to 2% when the amniotic fluid is low. Since it was my due date, she essentially told me that I would have to leave AMA or be induced. They called the midwife to let them know and they informed me that I risked out of being able to give birth at the birth center.

The nurse checked me and I was at 1 cm and not effaced at all. I was moved to a labor and delivery room and was given Cervadil at about 11pm. It is a 12 hour induction medication. They offered me a sleeping pill, but I turned it down. I probably should have taken it. Keith called our friends over and Mariam stayed with me at the hospital and Joe went with Keith to our house to pick up our hospital things. In the middle of the night, I had horrible chills that were causing me to convulse badly and my teeth chattering woke up Keith. I was finally able to page the nurse’s station and my nurse Liz brought in some warm blankets and wrapped me up. It really freaked me out and I started crying since the chills were uncontrollable. I also had to have continuous monitoring so I couldn’t move too far, but in the morning, I tried the birth ball for a while.

At about 11am, the midwife came in to give me the next induction medicine (I can’t remember what it was). I was at about 2 cm at this time and the intensity was that of bad period cramps. I said if it was my period, I would have called in sick to work, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My blood pressure was rising and I had to stay flat in bed. I asked the midwife for some ibuprofen and she said she’d let the nurse know. The nurse came in for the first time and did not introduce herself. I asked her if the midwife had told her I wanted ibuprofen and she snapped at me that I should not ask the midwives for anything and if I wanted something, I needed to ask her for it. I think I said something a little snotty back to her. Her other patient was suddenly needing her and I did not see her again for the rest of her shift.

Keith and I practiced Hypnobabies and I started listening to the Early First Stage CD. We did not have that track on the mp3 player, so I was listening on Keith’s computer, but the music player program kept freezing so every time I was interrupted, I had to restart the track. I never got all the way through it, but the first part really helped me. Things started picking up for me after a couple of hours, but they were still manageable. This second medicine was a 4 hour medication, so around 4pm, the midwife came in to check me. She couldn’t tell if I had progressed any, so she called in the OB. The OB checked me and said I was at about 3 cm and 50% effaced. She also broke my water at this time. They were going to start Pitocin and I knew that I could not eat after that. It was close to dinner time and the midwife told me I could take a 30 minute break and get something small from the cafeteria.

Keith and I went and walked around and I got some cottage cheese and fruit from the cafeteria. We also spent a little time outside in a courtyard at the hospital. My mom and Pete showed up from Phoenix at this time and met us in the courtyard.

In the courtyard.

The nurse (Amelia who took over for the rude nurse) tried to flush my hep-lock which was in the side of my wrist below my thumb, but it backed up. It had been painful since they put it in and the nurse could not get it to clear out to put in the Pitocin. She had to put another one in the top of my other hand. This was a little frustrating because they did not ever use the last one and they could have just waited to begin with.

By the time all of this happened, it was about 5pm when they started the Pitocin. My contractions started to pick up and I was using the Peace and Release cues from Hypnobabies with each one. I also listened to some of the Hypnobabies tracks until the battery in my MP3 players ran out. Keith was on his computer and I knew he wanted to take a shower. After a couple of hours, my contractions started to pick up and I had to groan through them and really focus. I told Keith if he wanted to take a shower, he needed to do it now because I was really going to need him soon. He took a quick shower and then sat with me. In Hypnobabies, the birth partner practices with you and has queues that they can use to help you get deeper into hypnosis. He and I worked through my contractions. We were on the same page and he was able tell the nurse the level of intensity that I was at without asking me.

My blood pressure kept rising, so Judy came in and checked me. I was only at 4 cm. I had asked not be told how far along I was unless it was time to push, but she forgot and told me that I was only at 4. I was discouraged because I felt like it was going to take me another 24 hours to go another 4cm. I asked Judy which midwife was on after her shift was up, but she told me I was going to have the baby before she left. That made me feel better.

She did tell me at this time that she had to bring my blood pressure down or else I would not be able to be her patient any more. My blood  pressure was around 150/90 at this point. She suggested I get the epidural because one of the side effects of it was that it lowers blood pressure. Getting the epidural was the one thing I was most afraid of in the process and I really didn’t want to do it unless it was absolutely necessary. The contractions were pretty intense and I did not want my high blood pressure to cause me to have any other interventions, so I agreed to it. Around midnight, the anesthesiologist came in and started to get ready. They let me get up and go to the bathroom so that I could delay getting the catheter.

I feel that if I could have been allowed to get up and walk around, things would have been easier because the contraction I had standing up when I was in the bathroom was one of the easiest ones I had. I was very worried about having a contraction while he was inserting the epidural, but he managed to time it between contractions. The relief was almost instant even though it took about 10 minutes to fully take effect. It was a little after 11 at this point.

I don’t know if I could have made it through the epidural without Keith. He was in front of me and the nurse and the midwife were on either side. He was walking me through our hypnosis techniques and saying calming things to me. The nurse joked that we were all going to fall asleep. Even the anesthesiologist was impressed.

The pressure started to get very intense at this time and I was itching like crazy. I called the nurse and explained that I itched so badly and she gave me some benedryl. With the epidural, you can press a button for a little burst of medication 3 times in an hour and at least 20 minutes apart. I ended up using all three presses and was still feeling very intense pressure even though I couldn’t even pick up my legs because they were so numb.

I called the nurse again and kept telling her that I needed to go to the bathroom. She just laughed and told me that was because I had to push--not because I needed to go to the bathroom. I think they expected it to take longer because I had only been at 4cm, but I managed to convince them that I needed to push. The midwife checked me again and I was at 9+cm. Liz helped me with the first couple of pushes while Judy suited up and got everything ready. My contractions got very long and several minutes apart. I was able to do about 4 pushes with each contraction even though they weren’t all productive. They would ask me if I wanted to push again and I would say yes because I wanted her to be out. I had time to rest in between each contraction and even close my eyes because the benedryl made me so tired.

I was on my left side and Keith was by my head and pulling my left leg up while Liz held my right leg up (they were still so numb, I couldn’t move them on my own). We tried a mirror so I could see what was happening, but I closed my eyes during every push, so it wasn’t very helpful. At one point, I told them I did not want to do it anymore, but Judy told me I would have to be stuck like this forever if I didn’t finish pushing. I knew that it didn’t actually make sense, but in the moment, it was what I needed to hear. I remember having the thought that I would never ever do this again. 

Piper started nursing immediately.

After an hour of pushing, Piper was born. We let the cord pulse for a few minutes before Keith cut it and they put her directly on my chest. Warm, slimy new baby is the best feeling in the entire world. They briefly wiped her down while she was on my chest and she started to nurse immediately. A few minutes later, Keith took her for a bit and then they measured and weighed her. Piper was born at 2:09am on March 21st. She weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 18 inches long. Her Apgar scores were 9 and 9.

Practicing Hypnobabies brought Keith and I closer in a way that nothing else could have. Piper has brought something into our lives that we didn’t know was missing and has made us closer as a family.
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

vegan thumbprint cookies

Recipe by Shutterbean here.

I made these vegan thumbprint cookies for our work holiday party because we have several vegans on our team. Sadly, none of the vegans showed up to the holiday party, but a couple of vegetarians did and promised that they tasted good!

Now, Shutterbean calls them life-changing cookies. I'm not sure I would go that far, but they were pretty tasty. With the limited ingredients, I don't feel bad at all about grabbing a couple for breakfast!

The ingredients in the original recipe aren't entirely whole, but they can be easily changed:
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Assorted jams of your choice
The canola oil can be easily replaced with a different oil. I used honey instead of maple syrup because I didn't have any syrup.

I also used my own homemade blackberry jam--which was delicious, but it sunk down into the cookie more than her jam did. My blackberry jam was a little on the runny side, but it could also be that I made deeper impressions than she did for them jam.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kitchen Cabinet Organization and Seasoning Cast Iron

This week's task for the 52 week home organization challenge is to organize kitchen cabinets and drawers. Additionally, one of my whole food eating goals was to get rid of my non-stick pots and pans and season my cast iron.

I was able to kill two birds with one stone in a sense by going through my cabinets and making room for the cast iron.

I followed Whole Intention's cast iron seasoning instructions and it was super simple to do. I used vegetable oil instead of olive oil because I'm trying to use up my non-whole food items and I figured this was an easy way to use up the tons of vegetable oil I have without having to eat it. It is a somewhat messy process and I got to use my new apron for the first time while coating the cast iron in oil!

I have to say, I put off seasoning and using the cast iron for a while now because they are so darn heavy! I think that is one I'll just have to get over. The other reason I put off using them was because they came pre-seasoned, but they were weirdly greasy and sticky. I did not realize that I could season them again myself. Seasoning them in the oven fixed the sticky/greasy problem and they are perfectly fine to the touch now.

waiting for the oven to pre-heat (yes, my range is very dirty!)

When she says it is going to get smoky--boy is she right. I don't think my oven has ever been turned up to 500 degrees and all the crap stuck on the bottom started to smell bad. I have a big window in the mud room where my oven is, so I had that open, but I actually had to go get a fan and turn it on to direct the smoke out the window. I was actually worried that the neighbor might think my house was on fire.

While the cast iron was seasoning, I went through my cabinets and pulled out all of my baking items. I did not want to bite off too much, so I left the other stuff in the cabinets for another day. I stacked like items together (since things currently do not live together in my kitchen). I was able to get rid of 3 pie tins, a bread pan and quite a few pots that are all non-stick. I had 8 pie pans! I can't believe it. I don't think I will ever have 8 pies going, so I just kept the 5 Pyrex ones.

I did keep two very small frying pans that we make eggs in until I find some stainless steel or cast iron ones to replace them. The other non-stick items I kept are: muffin tins (for now, I'll line them with the paper liners), wok, a couple of electronics like my waffle maker. The waffle maker is the only one we use regularly, so I'm going to have to look at alternatives to that too, though I like the convenience of the electric one.

Slowly making steps to getting my house organized and living a healthier lifestyle.
Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: The Nourishing Diet

Image from Amazon

I stumbled across Dyno-Mom's Blog and was super psyched to see all of the awesome information she has posted on there about eating a Nourishing Diet. That was the first time I had really heard of Dr. Price and his philosophy, but I have been interested in eating healthy, locally and eating foods with the fewest added chemicals for a while now. The problem is, I did not know where or how to start and I'm honestly a little lazy.

When I saw that Melissa had just published an e-book that simplified and explained the whole process, I decided to try out the book.

The short version of a nourishing diet is foods that are selected and prepared as naturally as possible--"real foods". I laughed when I read the line in the e-book that chickens are not vegetarians and we should eat ones that have been allowed to eat bugs and worms along with other parts of their natural diet.

This book is pretty short--only 20 pages, and I admit, when I first started reading, I was not sure the e-book was going to really give any useful information. I was wrong about that and by the end of it, she had answered all of the questions that popped into my head when reading it.

The book is broken down into "types" of foods: Dairy, Meat/Poultry/Eggs, Plants, Fats, Salts and Beverages. Then each food type is explained and nourishing alternatives are offered and explained. Included is also ways to prepare the foods, but it is not a cookbook. (With a little searching though, there are TONS of recipes online--including on the Dyno Mom Blog).

I really liked that the book has lots of references to find the facts behind the claims she makes and the resource section is extensive. I've really only scratched the surface in looking at the resources she's listed. The best part though, is at the very end, she walks you through some first steps for getting started because by page 16, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the choices and changes!

One thing I would have liked to see in the book would have been a little more explanation in the beverages section on why someone should choose those beverages. I read that section and none of the drinks sounded all that good to me and the beverage section got bumped way down on my list of nourishing food priorities. I did some more research and found more information on water kefir and its benefits and it has moved up on my list of priorities.

Changing my diet, not only for me, but for my (growing!) family is one of my biggest goals for this year. I want to make lasting changes though, so I am taking baby steps so that I don't overwhelm myself. I know if I take too big of a bite to start, I won't follow though.
Here is what I'm going to start with:
  • silicone mats for my aluminum cookie sheets (yay for leftover Bed, Bath and Beyond gift cards from our wedding!)
  • replace aluminum and non-stick pots with cast iron (I only have a few aluminum and non-stick pans left and I have cast iron that needs to be seasoned).
  • Start a sourdough starter
  • Begin water kefir fermentation and introduce it to diet
  • find alternatives for soy-based products in my kitchen
  • participate in Get Real 2012 by Once a Month Mom
Until February 3rd, Dyno Mom is offering her e-book for only 99 cents! Check it out! She is also offering a give away until January 10th where two people will get a copy for free.

I received a copy of this e-book as a gift and am not receiving any compensation for my review. I just enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with others!

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