Friday, December 21, 2007

A Little Update

Spud and I are in Texas eagerly awaiting the arrival of Daddy Rib on Saturday. I had a whirlwind of a week trying to get myself out the door on Wednesday. I managed to remember everything I was supposed to bring... except, of course, the thing I probably need the very most, my thyroid supplement! I realized this about 6 hours before I needed to take it, in the middle of the night. Fortunately, Texas is full of super-friendly, helpful people, and the pharmacist at Walgreens saved the day by simply GIVING me 3 pills, all I needed to tide me over until Brendan shows up with my meds on Saturday night. Disaster #1: averted! SO, if you ever need some pills... I know how to get them ;)

Wedding plans are going swimmingly for my sister, and we're having fun checking things off the list one at a time. Yesterday, we got some make-up for the wedding after lunch with my cousin and grandma. That was fun.

Also, I should note that Spud and I are feeling OK. My midwife and I talked about my spotting issues and my concerns about my activity level. She thinks the nature of the spotting is nothing to worry about, so I'm glad of that. It's easy to say it's nothing now that we've hear little Spud's heartbeat so many times. She also said that it probably would be good for me to limit my activity and rest more especially if that's what my instincts are telling me to do. I have full permission to laze about as much as I need. She's so great. She said that I'm just exhibiting good maternal instinct and that this all practice for learning to say no to too much stress/ activity when Spud is out here, and my family requires it. So, I'm feeling good about all that.

Last little thing: we had a great, but all too brief, time catching up and hanging out with Auntie Brenna and David during the 24 hr. period that our presence in Seattle overlapped. We also talked a bit about doing whatever we can to try to ensure that Brenna is at Spud's birth. Pray with us about that if you think of it because Brenna's presence would go a LONG way in my level of comfort and feeling of security on that huge day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Thing Everyone I Know is Nice

Well, it happened again. Last night in the middle of teaching the level III's, I started having spotting again. We were having a particularly good class; it was one of those times when teacher and student really meld and understand each other. They were working hard for me, and I'm starting to see such beautiful glimmers of real, natural talent in my favorite little 9 year old. I had to do this weird "Ok, everyone take a minute to do some stretching before we do our adagio in center" and run to the bathroom to find out what was going on. Then, I had to find my boss, tell her I was having issues, and watch the poor dear scramble around to figure out what to do with my class... who were supposed to have another hour and fifteen minutes of instruction, including their pointe class. AGGGGHHHH!!! So frustrating!!! Then, I called my friend to let her know that I wouldn't be babysitting in the morning. Again, I felt so frustrated. The spotting the last two times has turned out to be nothing, so I hate letting people down when there may be no reason to worry.

I managed not to cry (until I talked to Brendan) even though I'm always terrified when the spotting happens. This is the third time. I haven't had definitive instruction about what to do when it happens because we really don't know what is or why it's happening. In the past, any pregnant woman having spotting or bleeding of any kind was told to lay down and drink lots of water. However, now studies are emerging that show no significant difference between the miscarriage rates of those who use increased bed rest and those who don't. The advice to women now is leaning towards "go about your life and don't be stressed." That is extremely hard to do. That's what I did with Speck. I know that I lost Speck early enough that he or she was likely a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, but I still really wish that I had stayed in bed more. I know it's a little irrational. Part of me was relieved to hear those study results back then because it helps an extrovert like me to get out of the house rather staying home to ruminate and cry.

After my miscarriage, I read a book called To Full Term. It is the happy, but stressful, story of a woman who had a very sick premie then lost 3 babies but finally carried her second child to full term. It's full of research about the new trends medically in investigating causes of miscarriage. She had to practically bully her way to tests and diagnoses to help determine what had caused her losses and what she could do next pregnancy to prevent further problems. She had a myriad of issues including a genetically inherited blood clotting disorder and an incompetent cervix... both conditions that lead to tragic, painful late losses. It was almost cathartic to read it. Her experience was so horrible. I suppose it wasn't cathartic because in the end she was, in a sense, redeemed. She finally had a healthy baby... although a stressful and very physically taxing pregnancy. I was encouraged. One thing that definitely caught my eye was her set of comments about bed rest.

In his book "Preventing Miscarriage: The Good News," Dr. Jonathan Scher explains his belief that nature intended women to get more rest during the early stages of pregnancy, hence the fatigue and the frequent nausea. He believes that extra rest can sometimes curb bleeding and prevent miscarriage.
While the value of bed rest to ebb bleeding is considered questionable, from my own experience with bleeding, when I was up more, I bled more. Each woman needs to make this decision for herself, but for me, my body clearly told me that I needed to rest.
Darci Klein, To Full Term: A Mother's Triumph Over Miscarriage

The last two times I've had spotting, I was up and being super active. The first time, I was leading rehearsal and costuming 40 5 year olds. The second time (last night), I was teaching ballet for 4 hours. While teaching isn't as physical as taking a class, I do have to do a lot, especially with the 5 and 6 year olds. I bunny-hopped across the floor more than once! I also did the very bad thing... back bends. I have no business, with my back injury, doing that, but sometimes I just can't resist. BAD JESKY. So, I think I might be in that category of people that need to lay down more often during a pregnancy. It's only been twice, but the correlation of the spotting and activity worries me.

Two things suck the most about this... well, maybe 3. The number one thing is, of course, that I worry about Spud. #2: Having to impose/let down people around me. #3: Not knowing why. Funny how all these things require trusting God. Praying and trusting my God are the only things that I know for sure I can do and that I know for sure will "work." They might not result in a totally healthy pregnancy, but I'm certain they'll lead to the result that is the very best for me in light of God's kingdom. I can't be everything that I wish I could be. I can't be super-helpful, always there for you teacher/babysitter/friend. Good thing Jesus is always available to the needy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Baby, Baby, can't you hear [your] heart beat?"

Yeah, we can!

I had another little spotting scare last weekend in the midst of the Nutcracker madness. That was stressful. So, I called my midwife to ask if we could come in for a listen. I felt pretty sure that everything was fine, but I'm about to leave town and wanted to be really sure. I'll be through week 12 by next weekend when I'm there, so I figured if I heard the beat one more time that would allay any fears that might arise with any more minor spotting in Texas.

We went this morning, and it was pretty funny. She uses a little doppler machine to detect the beat. The first doppler machine was really static-y, so she changed the batteries, hoping that would help. It didn't. So, she found another one. That one was a different kind, and she couldn't find the beat with it because the beam (probably the wrong word) couldn't be pinpointed enough to find it. So, she went to get a third machine from her car. We barely heard the little beat... and the batteries died! She changed them, and then finally we were able to listen and search long enough to find the steady, little throb. Once she found it, we sat and listened for a couple of minutes so it could really sink in that everything is fine.

I wasn't worried, and all the delays didn't really make me anxious. I'm getting better at taking things one step at a time. As long as she wasn't worried, I was fine. I had a great time listening to Spud. I wish so badly that I could just put my hand over my uterus and feel the little beat! Of course, that may get a little maddening over time :)

Our short appointment ended fittingly. She wanted to run a copy of a page in a book that shows the approximate size of Spud, so that I can take it to Texas with me. The copier ran out of toner! After she fixed the toner, all the other faxes and reports started printing first, so we had to wait. It was hilarious. But, "all's well that ends well."

Monday, December 10, 2007


Just when I thought it was safe to go out during the holidays... I've been sucked back in!!!

(A note to my readers: I know this looks long... cuz it is, but I don't talk much about these feelings with anyone because they make me cry. So if you've ever wondered how I feel about it, here you go.)

I first danced in The Nutcracker when I was 7 years old which, by my calculations, was in the year 1990. I will never forget (unless dementia has something to do with it) the magical, overwhelming feeling of walking into the Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium (which is actually huge and nice) and seeing the amazing scenery for the party scene. Whatever virus it is that causes a performer to yearn continually for the stage, the smell of the lights, and (for a dancer) that Marley floor entered my body instantly and stays there infecting me to this day. I was just a "party girl," and the littlest one at that. However, I was the very first person to walk on stage. I could still do that whole part from start to finish.

Fast forward 9 years. When I was sixteen, I performed almost every big part in the show that there is (at different performances, of course). I was the Snow Queen, the Dew Drop Fairy, and even the Sugar Plum Fairy for the benefit performance. For the rest of the shows, a guest artist from some real ballet company would do it. I still remember most of the choreography for all those parts too. I felt like a real ballerina, and I was wildly happy.

By the time I left Amarillo, The Nutcracker was nothing but fantastic memories. Even though, that last year, I was extremely sick for most of my shows. My doctor bought a front row ticket. He said I probably wouldn't be able to do it... he was not familiar with the irrational, adrenaline and artistic spirit driven ability to dance under nearly any circumstance because the SHOW MUST GO ON!

Then, I moved to Seattle and had the grand privilege of dancing in the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker. It's crazy. It's this Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) designed version of the ballet choreographed by Kent Stowell (whose choreography is a little crazy). Incidentally, his Nutcracker is my favorite thing he choreographed that I've seen. The choreography is very emotive and festive. I LOVE his snow scene. That was my favorite part I performed with PNB. Of course, no big parts for me out here. I was just another fish in the pond, but it was wonderful all the same... at first. Everyone in a professional company has a love/hate relationship with The Nutcracker. We love it because we get to dance a lot, and younger company members get the opportunity sometimes to do a soloist role. However, we also stinkin' hate it because you have to do it a BILLION times. Most of the magic disappears around show 10... then you have 24 or so more to do. Your body starts to rebel; you miss Thanksgiving and Christmas with your family (at least I did); and you HATE anything resembling holiday cheer because it usually involves the absolute inability to escape from The Nutcracker score anywhere you go: Safeway, Nordstrom, even Old Navy.... it's everywhere!!!

Then, my Nutcracker bitterness was sealed forever on November 29, 2002, 12 years after my first show. Most people who read this know what happened. Stage hands made a mistake, and I wound up with a partially herniated disc and a fractured vertebrae that eventually ended my dancing career at the ripe old age of 19. All my glorious associations with the music and dancing were covered with new associations like these: Spanish music = searing low back pain, Snow Scene = searing low back pain, Flowers = searing low back pain... and so on. It was horrible. It still is horrible. I've cried every 11/29 since then (and many other days too). I then had a 4 year break from The Nutcracker.

So now, in 2007, I'm back to The Nutcracker. The studio I teach for just did their first performance of a medley of Nutcracker pieces. It was a rough day. I had all sorts of sad memories swirling in my head. If I hadn't been injured (and, I KNOW, who knows what could have happened), I might still be performing the ballet with a professional company not corralling a bunch of 5-7 year olds and whisper-screaming from the wings, "No, Ashley, this way!!!!" Of course, I was on my feet for a good 6 hours through the dress rehearsal and performance, so my back was killing me. For the little Spud's sake, I couldn't take any Ibuprofen either. The searing low back pain associations work in reverse from the above. The pain instantly makes me long for the ability to dance and perform and that virus that I caught when I was 7 years old throbs inside my heart.

That was the painful side of what was going on in my head and heart. There was a warm fuzzy thing happening too. Because God is supremely good and loves me and has given me the ability to see his wisdom (although, I will never completely understand it) through the mist of my severe pain over the whole thing, my redeemed soul was so happy to be given the opportunity to share the joy of that ballet with a bunch of little girls who are just like I was when I was their age. I made them ornaments to commemorate their first Nutcracker experience. I taught them about stage etiquette. I gave them a warm-up. I showed them their tape marks on the stage. I was so happy that those little, cute girls got to have the fun of doing that stinkin' ballet.

The next day, we went to Bellingham to watch Brendan's cousin's daughter perform in her first Nutcracker. That was actually almost harder for me than being backstage for my students. I had to actually sit and watch the whole thing. I relived so many moments that afternoon, good and bad. Even the good are somewhat bittersweet now. It was a strange feeling watching the highschool students (a couple of whom seemed quite talented) perform those roles that had so greatly satisfied me: Snow Queen, Dew Drop, Sugar Plum. I felt their pain when they each consecutively messed up their fouettes. And I thrilled along with them when they held their balances and nailed their pique turns. I wanted to run backstage and find them all. But, I didn't know if I wanted to say, "You're great! You can do it! Keep going. I'm proud of you, bizzaro version of me! You might just make it!" or "RUN AWAY! GO TO COLLEGE! THEY'RE GOING TO STRING YOU ALONG AND THEN CAUSE YOUR DEMISE! NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT YOU! GO BE A DOCTOR!" I just sat in my seat and quietly cried.

I believe that God loves The Nutcracker because it is a reflection of his creative character. It is a well made piece of art that combines the talents of so many people who by His common grace were blessed with the ability to reflect God's character. It has provided the means to teach probably millions, at this point, of children the joy of working to do something well and participating in art. So, all in all, I'm extremely thankful for The Nutcracker, but I'm not sure that I was ready to go back to it. Maybe being pregnant made the emotions more intense.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I just got the call from Brendan: "Jesky, what the heck is 'Team Strikeforce'?" I said, "Oh, that's not what it's called." Condescending laughter from Rib then began.

SO, apparently, the game is NOT called Team Strikeforce... that's just what I call it. It's actually something about a fortress... and a team... I think. I don't know. But, and I should get points for this, it came with the "Orange Box." :)

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

I know. That's like asking Mount Rainier to move over a bit (although, geologically speaking, I don't think that is entirely out of the question... interesting). At any rate, rain in Seattle in the fall and winter is just a visitor we all must accept. It's been raining or snowing (wet, slushy) since Friday. The snow on Saturday was fun for a second... until I had to go somewhere. I'm becoming a completely snow-fearing Seattlite... it's embarrassing, but true.

The really bad thing about all this wet is that several of our friends are dealing with flooding! Flooded basements, flooded apartments, etc. I feel so bad for all of them. The secondary bad thing is that it's depressing the pregnant girl. Yesterday, I actually sobbed! I vaguely felt like it was related to Brendan playing Team Strikeforce during his lunch hour on his day working from home (b/c he has a cold), but I was definitely abnormally upset about it. It was a perfect storm: seasonal affect, pregnancy emotions, and Team Strikeforce.

In case you're wondering, the computer game playing just bothers me because I'm jealous of it. Not a new issue, for sure.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Actually Been Busy Lately

After weeks of passing my days with D.J. and Uncle Jesse, Lorelei and Rory, Steve Urkel, and the occasional Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I've actually sort of had a life that brings me into contact with other, 3-D people who can actually respond when I talk to them. (Rather than being irritated when Stephanie, for the umpteenth time, will not listen when I say, "Don't do it! You know Danny's going to find out!")

Last Tuesday, I departed for Texas. Spud very much enjoyed his/her first plane ride despite my fear that s/he would definitely not given the fact that I actually puked for the first pregnant time the morning of my flight. It was the first time since I was little that I actually ate my plane snacks. Anything to keep nausea at 33000 feet at bay. My airline journey was, thankfully, extremely uneventful. Of course, I did cry in the bathroom at SeaTac for a while for the following reasons:
  1. I'm an emotional pregnant girl and can't help it
  2. I found out I was losing Speck at the airport on June 1st over the phone as I was picking up my mom. I will FOREVER associate the baggage claim area there with my little Speck.
  3. The last time I was there, I was sobbing hideously in a desperate clutch with Bethany as she and Dan were saying goodbye to us in the security line at the genesis of their world-traveling new lifestyle. I miss them SO much.
I arrived in TX delighted to see my mom and dad as mom immediately started trying to see if I was showing yet. In clothes, I'm not. HOWEVER, when I first wake up and my stomach is empty I can see my little uterus pooch beginning to show. AND, it's not just my imagination because yesterday, at my appointment with Cindie, she said that I have an anterior uterus which means it's slightly poking forward, and she could feel from the outside that it is starting to pooch out. Thanks to my anterior uterus, we were also able to hear Spud's amazingly little, but strong, heart beating. Brendan was sure to mentally capture the exact beat and proceeded to tap on things at Spud's heartbeat's speed for the rest of the night. Gotta love an excited Dad. He also got compliments from Cindie for being my bathwater-temperature-monitor.

Alright, back to Texas.

The point of the trip, aside from celebrating Thanksgiving with the Meadors for the first time in 7 years, was for me to be a wedding prep assistant for my mom and sister. We made 320 invitations by hand, stuffed, and addressed them in about 12 hours. 10 of the hours were in one day. It was an amazing feat of organization and craftization. I was very impressed. Being with my family was wonderful. I miss them terribly, but circumstances prevent me from hoping that we'll ever live in the same place. Although, Whit and Dustin are planning to move to Portland for seminary in the next couple years. That would be great. I got to witness the aftermath for my parents of a child's departure since Whitney left to go back to school the day before I left. It was so sad! They were practically bereft for the whole day. I usually cry when I leave them; but, especially now that I have the first inklings of what parenthood is like, I know that it's all much worse for the mom and dad. The other great part of the trip was seeing my cousins brand new baby boy. I almost walked out the door with him. He is incredibly adorable and holding a sweet little baby feels like about the most natural, wonderful thing in the world to me. CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON SPUD!!! But, I will wait. No early arrivals, please.

Upon my return, which included a $65 CAB RIDE!, I was blessed immensely by the fact that Brendan had deep cleaned the whole house, left me a nice note and flowers, and had wrapped two Christmas presents for me! He's been so wonderful of late... I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm carrying his child... but also, we've been really nice and lovey to each other thanks, I'm sure, to the fact that God has been answering our prayers and blessing us with a new closeness ever since the rough events of the summer. We went out for dinner that night, and it was SO good to be with him. I missed him more than ever when I was in Texas.

And now, the next 3 weeks will simply be a whirlwind of social, holiday events until the Ribera Juniors return to Texas for Christmas and the wedding.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Drama for the Mama

Pregnancy Post-Miscarriage = Pregnant Paranoia

On Thursday, the same day my problems began in my last pregnancy, I had a little spotting just like the kind that began my miscarriage. (Kind of can't believe I'm about to publish this on the internet... oh well, it's about time people start talking more about this sort of thing.) Needless to say, Brendan and I were both pretty nervous. My midwife said that we should get an ultrasound as that is the quickest way to see if the baby is ok. She made an appointment for us for the following day. I spent the rest of that day on my back drinking water, crying, praying, and watching WAY too much TV.

By Friday, my spotting had completely stopped, so I moved from being fearful about my appointment to being pretty excited. The spotting never stopped once it started the last time. At 2 o'clock I left to get batteries for the camera and a big bottle of water on my way to pick up Brendan from iLike. I was hoping to take pictures at the ultrasound after all it was the first time I'd ever see my little baby! The water was to make sure my bladder was full (lovely) for the ultrasound. Apparently they need it full to push everything else out of the way to see the uterus. I picked up Brendan in a pretty good mood, but as we got closer to the office I started feeling scared. What if it was about to happen again? I'm so glad that Brendan was there; he's the most calming person I know.

So, when we got there, to our HUGE disappointment there was a sign about how cameras are prohibited. Sad. But, that was actually alright because I was slightly worried about pulling the camera out (or Brendan pulling it out) only to learn that the baby was dead. (Sounds harsh, but if the heart's not beating... that's what it is.)

I got back there finally with our nice technician named Joanna who was very good at explaining everything and answering my myriad of questions. First, she did it "from the top" which means on my belly. Our fears were quickly allayed because she found the sac quickly, and I could already see the little flashing spot in what I assumed was my baby. I was right. She said, "looks like there is a little heartbeat." Unfortunately, we couldn't see things too well, and she then had to do the ultrasound in a less comfortable manner. It was worth it, though. I got to watch that little flashing heart for a long time, and it was amazing. Spud's heart is, to quote Beck, "coming to you [115] beats per minute!" That's a good rate for his/her age. S/he is about 7mm "tall," and the little "house," the sac, is 2cm.

So, it was dramatic. But, I'm so very thankful that I got to have the early ultrasound; I'd been really eager to take an early look because of never getting to see my little Speck.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spuds Favorite Foods: Part II

The fantastic cookbook that I wrote about in Part I has recipe variations for "feeling green." I would love to say that I've been trying them all and love them, but even cooking grosses me out right now! However, I'm noticing a pretty strong positive correlation between the amount of rest that I get and feeling better. Maybe with my new "one event per day" policy, I'll be rested enough to feel well enough to try cooking some more.

SIDE NOTE: "One Event per Day" is genius. This means, for people who work, that you can only do work each day. For me, it means teaching on Mondays, Babysitting one day, house cleaning one or two days, church on Sunday, social events... seriously limited! This policy may eventually suck my extroverted will to live, but we'll see. God has been so gracious to give me the opportunity to live this simply right now!

Anyway, here are some of Spud's favorite sickie-Mom foods:
  • Brown, whole grain, organic rice cooked in low-sodium V8 and chicken stock
    • good way to sneak in some "vegetables." If I'm up for it, I'll throw in some frozen broccoli or green beans. I even put cooked chicken in for a little protein the other day.
  • Gingerale
    • Sandy gave me the great tip to keep the lid off of it in the fridge so that the tummy-irritating carbonation goes out. Thankfully, I really like flat soda.
  • Frozen waffles
    • Every morning
  • Apples!
    • Don't know why, but I get the major jones for apples... sometimes with peanut butter
  • Yogurt
  • Plain baked chicken
  • Red juice
    • Cranberry, Pomegranate, Berry... you name it. It's red? Oh, I'll drink that.
  • Cheese sticks
  • Key Lime Pie
    • Can't explain it. I had a craving, I guess. It was $5. I consumed a quarter of it in one sitting... kind of made my tummy hurt... DUH!
So, to the vegetable loving me, this list is really sad. Everything is either a shade of beige or brown or pinkish red. OR, in the case of the key lime pie, lime green... thanks, food dye! Gross. Reading ahead in my library of pregnancy books a few weeks ago, I scoffed at the idea of being nauseated or turned off by vegetables. It's true, though! SO SAD! I'm going to try to get a salad down today. I feel like a simple carb-bloated mess. Complex carbs... I want complex carbs! And protein; thankfully, chicken doesn't make me sick.

Of course, I don't think the Spud is suffering nutritionally. I'm taking all my vitamins still: Cod Liver Oil, Iron, Folic Acid, and Calcium. Spud has a busy week! S/he is going to double in size! And, s/he sort of has a face now; it's still pretty weird looking... a face only a mother (and father!) could love ;). S/he's going to have little elbows by the end of the week! I'm so excited to see how s/he turns out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ah, the Sickness

We had a wild weekend in which Spud attended his/her first concert (Cassius, Don't Come Home... Uncles Mark and Jordan's band... well, Josh Miller is the lead), first wild party (Ferka Gyftaki at Gypsy Manor ala Steve Hardin), and first dinner party (Bryan and Christy Smith's).

This was also the weekend that the sickness kicked in. I can't call it morning sickness because it's more like 24/7 sickness. All my well-laid plans about food have been tossed out the window for the sake of eating whatever doesn't make me want to puke. The new menu will make for an exciting Spud's Favorite Foods: Part II.

I'll also post some fun pictures from the festivities.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Spud's Favorite Foods: Part I

I've always been into nutrition to some extent, mostly a result of being a dancer. Being pregnant is a great time to really start being interested in earnest. (No, not Ernest movies, but those are fine too.)

Thankfully, I kicked my Jack-in-the-Box habit a couple of years ago. Until I got pregnant, I'd maybe go once every 3 months or so (rather than once every 3 days like in the old days). Now, of course, fast food is WAY off the list. The other habit I finally whipped was my Coke consupmtion... Coca-Cola that is. When I was dancing, I'd get to the studio every day and go right for the vending machines to purchase my Cherry Coke and Snickers Bar breakfast to eat while I stretched before class. Crazy. I don't know how I ever gained any strength or endurance. I must've been eating good lunches and dinners. I also have found a way to curb any Coke craving that may come along. Blue Sky Organic Cola Nut Soda. So good. So not bad for me... well, sugar.

So, I've pretty much filled the places of Coke and junk food with whole foods, especially vegetables. I can't get enough of the veggie tray at any party... and I usually bring it, so it will have weird stuff that only I like anyway like mushrooms, radishes, green beans, etc. I'm also a lover of beets and brusselsprouts which have sadly been given a bad rap for so many years. I think they're awesome, and beets have lots of folate, naturally occuring folic acid... critical in pregnancy. According to my wonderful pregnancy cookbook, The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook by Karen Gurwitz, beets can also help prevent anemia... something I'm dealing with now. Don't eat canned beets! They taste gross, so it's no wonder so many people think they don't like them. On that note, don't eat any canned vegetables... it's just as easy and MUCH better for you to eat fresh veggies.

The other vegetable about which I'll wax rhapsodic: Kale. Another revelation from the magic cookbook, Kale is a wonder vegetable for pregnancy it's full of vitamins C and A and calcium. I don't like milk, so kale is great for me. One serving has as much calcium as half a glass of milk, and the calcium is thought to be in a form more easily absorbed be the body, according to Gurwitz. I put kale in everything now. I was having some frustrating cramping at the start of the pregnancy, and Cindie ( said that increasing my calcium intake could help. I started eating kale everyday and taking a calcium supplement at night, and my cramps are totally gone. Might be a coincidence, but whatever. I'm just glad to feel better.

Here are some ways to incorporate kale into meals:
  • Add to soup, even just canned soup, for lunch
    • I put a handful of kale in the pot during the last 4-5 minutes of heating the soup and put the lid on. This steams the kale into the soup.
  • Saute with eggs for breakfast
    • This is especially good with a little chopped onion and some cherry tomato halves
  • Steam or Saute as a bed for a chicken or beef entree.
    • Brendan did this for me last night as a side for our seared tenderloin with balsamic mushroom sauce
Kale is sort of a pain to prepare initially because you have to wash it thoroughly and devein it. So, I buy a bunch of it, come home, float it in water, rinse it, remove the stems and thick veins, chop into bite size pieces, and store in a large ziplock bag with paper towel. It'll keep well for 2 weeks. Then, it's easy to add to anything.

Kale is not only good for pregnancy, it's good for all women! At 25, a woman's "bone bank" closes. This bank can accept deposits of calcium until age 25, but from then on, it's withdrawals only. It follows that poor calcium intake as a young woman requires increased calcium intake and supplement as an older woman trying to prevent osteoporosis.

The last thing I'll go on about is cottage cheese. It's a great replacement for sour cream. The taste effect is similar, so it's great in soup, on potatoes, in anything that needs sour cream. I even put it in my fajitas the other day, and it was great. It has some protein in addition to, of course, the calcium.

One afternoon a week is Soup Cooking Time. This week, I made curried butternut squash soup (pureed it in the blender and everything... kind of a pain. I need to buy an immersion blender.). It is especially good with cottage cheese.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stupid Layout!

Sorry, the pictures got all screwed up. Woops!

Crafty C. McCrafterson

Now that I have lots of time on my hands (due to quitting of jobs and slowing of others), I'm super excited to start doing more crafty stuff! As I'm sure most can imagine, the majority of my crafts are centered on a certain new, little someone.

Here are some of the ideas I have:
  • A Painting/Lettering Project based on the words from Philippians 4:
    • true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy
    • will be supercute on baby's walls... not to mention instructive
  • A Knit Baby Blanket
    • solid colored: something cheerful and bright like orange or yellow
    • checkered: alternating squares of knit and purl
    • requires purchase of new knitting needles! Mine are all over the city thanks to my teaching so many people to knit three winters ago :)
  • Tye Dyed or Painted (no, NOT puffy paint) Onesies
    • Kind of want to wait on this until I find out if Spud is a boy or a girl
  • Sewing Maternity tops
    • Barbara's letting me have her sewing machine for a while!
  • Knit Hats and Booties
    • Cliche, but easy and fun!

I made this little Spud hat to get warmed up! Of course, then I realized... Baby's due July 7! Oh well, for air conditioning protection... because there is so much air conditioning in Seattle. Yeah.

Another daily craft of sorts is planning my meals. It's like composing an art project. A meal has to have all the right elements to say to my body what I need it to say. Calcium says, "don't cramp." Vitamin C says, "stay well." Iron says, "perk up!" I'll have to do a post one of these days about all my fun new ways of adding great nutrition to each meal. Super fun... and delicious. There's a reason its called culinary... art.

Alright, one last thing...

Spud has a Sporty-Spice Daddy!

Soccer Dad! They were in first place for a while... until last night, actually. Their team was a little short on regular players, so that probably hurt them a bit.

Biker Dad!
w/ cool spandex, warm clothes and a new helmet!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Having a Baby Makes Me Feel Like a Baby

I'm so sensitive! I feel like some delicate thing that could be broken by the slightest inconvenience. That's probably, to some extent, because I'm an American. I'm so paranoid about eating when I need food, what food I eat, taking naps, not overexerting myself, etc. Of course, a lot of that is because I'm nervous because of last time even though I know I didn't lose Speck because I did something wrong. However, I think a lot of my babying of myself is a little over the top.

Does that mean I'm going to start eating McDonald's, staying up until all hours, and dancing like a banshee every chance I get? Even, *gasp*, eating something that was not organically grown? No. (Although, I do like banshee dancing...) I think I'm just ready to be able to relax a little.

Still, though, it really is harder for me to do things these days. I'm dreading the next day and a half because tonight I have to teach ballet for 4 hours, 2 of which are with the 6/7 year olds who are CRAZY, and then I have to get up at the crack of dawn to go babysit for 4 hours tomorrow morning. I'm sure I'll be fine, but I'll be super tired, (hopefully not too) crabby, and a little sick.

Now I understand why people always add "in your/her condition" to what they believe pregnant women should or shouldn't be doing. It really is a condition.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Here We Go Again!

I'm pregnant! I don't think I've ever been so thankful for anything in my whole life! When the test finally pronounced "pregnant," I actually fell to the bathroom floor and with raised hands, hyperventilating lungs, and tearing eyes, I praised God.

We've told almost everyone we know. I had to: I told God over and over again that I would praise him and ask everyone else to do the same when he chose to give us another baby. Not to mention the fact that given what happened last time and the lessons I've learned about prayer as a result, I want everyone to be praying for Spud.

Yes, we're calling it Spud... in utero, at least. The last baby was called Speck because it was just that size. We've committed to an "SP" name for all unborn babies. However, no, we will not being doing matchy-matchy real names for all our kids once they're out here.

I really can't believe that God has given me another little one. The summer was such a roller coaster, and I'm relieved to feel like it's finally coasting to a stop. Of course, I realize that I just stepped onto another one. Who knows how this one will feel. So far, I've made it past hurdle #1. Last pregnancy, I started having bleeding problems 5 days after I found out I was pregnant. That day was yesterday, and I'm feeling fine!!!!

I did just start thyroid support meds today because my thyroid function is low. I also need to pick up an iron supplement. My progesterone looked normal on my blood work, and I'm extremely thankful for that. Last time, the progesterone was looking sort of low. But, we didn't know if that was causal in terms of the miscarriage or just an effect. At any rate, it was fine, so I'm on Cloud 9.

I'm going to try be good about updating now. I know people would like to read about how Spud is doing. When I start looking pregnant, pictures will be fun!

Here is one of me the day I found out about Spud, at the start of week 5:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Summer of Bummers 2007

I'm sad. One miscarriage + 4 dearest friends moving away for good + 1 dearest friend moving away for a little while + church stress + friendship stress = one sad jesky'bera

Good thing Jesus warned us that we'd have tribulations and know that we're not here to have a good time. Also, I know for sure that God is good all the time, even when summer is a mega-bummer. In fact, in the grand scheme I consider that our "light and momentary troubles" are really just that, light and momentary. I've been so hugely blessed. I love my husband, and he loves me. He and I both have great jobs (I actually have 3 little great jobs.) Not to mention, the Creator of the Universe has decided to include us in his plans and has saved from sins that we don't even know about yet even though we are absolutely unworthy of even his slightest notice.

I have hope. Hope is going to be my theme for the year. Not just ultimate hope in Christ (even though that's a HUGE part of it), but I also want to focus on hope that God cares about even my tiniest requests, needs, and deficiencies. I can even already see the ways that he is satisfying my every longing Christ right now. My sinful, sluggish soul is sometimes slow to catch on, though. I just have to remember that, at the core of it all, I've been asked to do 2 things: love God and love my neighbor. Of course, I'm going to suck at those, but I have Jesus love and power to use as my own. SO HOW ABOUT I START TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THAT!?!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Can't Believe it...

WHAT AM I DOING!!! I'm anti-blog... and here's why:

I don't want to assume that anyone cares what I have to say. Blogs are sort of a way for nobodies to pretend that they're somebodies. As if the fact that they published themselves means that they are published... in that fancy, "Oohh, I'm a published author" sense. Of course, let's not forget that even I am operating under this ridiculous assumption even as I write. This is my virginal blog post; and even now, I can feel my tone changing to that gross blogger tone.

Well, considering the fact that I'm a jerk who is constantly being shown my own jerkiness by the humility, loveliness, and loving charisma of so many of my friends, I need to rethink my blog-related judgmentalism. Maybe I've been anti-blog because I'M the one who's arrogant. "How come everyone cares what so-and-so has to say? [IN MY HEAD: I'm way more interesting than that sack of hot air]" So...

I'm giving in. I'm a journal-keeper. This is the journal of the current age, so I guess I need to get with it. Maybe someone (Mom? are you there?) cares what I have to say just like I care what my husband, and Sarah P, and the African adventure twins (ha, ha... Yes, that's what I'm calling you) might have to share. But, even if no one else is interested, it will be good for me to get it all out now and again.