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What is a CSA all about? Do I want to join?

CSA is short for community supported agriculture. We joined our first CSA about ten years ago back in Flagstaff, AZ. We heard about it and were immediately intrigued. We had no idea what we were in for but it was an amazing experience. We loved knowing we were getting food raised right within the community and we enjoyed really getting to know the folks that grew our food. I made us more eager to try new vegetables and we found we became healthier eaters as a result.

 

Our CSA required upfront payment for our portion, commonly called a share. Later, when the growing season was underway and harvests were in we all met at our pickup location and were each given a basket of fresh food that was reserved for us, to last us the week. It came directly from the farm and was grown specifically for us.

 

Joining a CSA is the perfect way to take the middle man out of sourcing your family’s food, reducing the carbon footprint of your groceries, plus it supports local farms and your community economically speaking. You’ll also enjoy fresher foods from your CSA farmer than you’ll typically see in grocery stores.

 

One thing about CSA’s that is different than going to the grocery store and just choosing your produce is that most CSA’s do not give you the option to pick and choose what you take home for that week. It’s not because the farmer wants to be a control freak, it is because produce is seasonal and grows best at certain times in the growing season. Most of you know this already but it really tends to hit home when you bring home a basket of produce that has unfamiliar items in it and you aren’t sure if you’ll like them or how you are supposed to prepare them. 

 

For us in our fist CSA experience, it was arugula. Lots of salad greens are typical in the early season and we just kept getting arugula. It wasn’t something we liked to eat in a salad and it was kind of hard to come up with ways to use arugula and other uncommon items that came in our baskets. Unfortunately, as consumers we’ve become accustomed to just eating a select few common produce items (tomatoes, onion, potato, etc.) and it’s not particularly beneficial for our health to eat such a limited variety of produce items. As I mentioned, our CSA eating experience pushed us to expand our produce horizons, this was a good thing though it was hard at the time.

 

When you join a CSA think of it as more than just stocking the refrigerator with produce… Think of it as an adventure in local, seasonal eating and local community.

 

As a CSA member you are becoming more connected to the land that grows your food, the land is sustaining you with freshly picked goods, you are helping a local farmer who in turn helps the community by supplying local food and you are investing in food options for future generations. What’s not to love about that?

To find out about our farm’s current CSA membership opportunities and to sign up click here: http://harvestofdailylife.com/family-farm/our-southern-illinois-csa/

This is a glimpse of what a CSA can mean in terms of feeding your family. This is a Ryder Family Farm full share in 2015 for the 12th week of our 20 week CSA program.

All before 8am on a farm…

Most mornings I’ve got Nathan to help me with a portion of the homestead chores but harvest season is upon us so he’s been off working occasional early mornings and even right through the weekends around Tanglefoot Ranch. This means I’ll fly solo for the chores here on the homestead.

Here is a glimpse of what flying solo for our early morning chores looks like:

The alarm sounds for me at 6am. I’ve got to feed Miss Everly and oversee her dressing and getting off to school. Grayson wakes shortly after I rouse Everly at 6:20am.

Everly had a rough day at school with a friend the day before so we special have plans for Everly to write the friend a feelings note this morning. Everly eats, dresses, works on her note and we head out the door by 7:15am to wait for the school bus.

While we wait, we release the chickens from their locked up chicken coop, visit with the chicks a bit, swing on the tree swing and then the bus rolls up and she climbs aboard.

Once Everly is on the bus, Grayson helps me to feed the adult chickens, 15 of them. Then I set him of the deck to watch the chickens eat while I head over to the turkey tractor to feed them. This job requires two hands and lot of bending over.

I also have to release Snowball, Everly’s cattle dog puppy, from her kennel and put her on her tether, also not a good job with a baby in your arms. Snowball likes to try to eat the poultry or chase & jump on the kids and we don’t even know what she’d try doing to the goats… She’s still got lots of obedience training to master and she’s still very young, so she’s not free to roam the homestead just yet-Her drama is a post for another day ;P

Once I get snowball on her tether and manage to get out of her “tether tangling range”-(cause she will wrap your legs in the tether and hurt you very badly), then I can move on to my next task.

photo (54)

Next I take chick feed out to the baby chicks in their enclosure. They are eager to eat, super cute little fluff balls, 19 of them, that currently swarm my feet when I climb in their enclosure with food, see how they swarm Grayson? While I’m looking down at them and taking care to NOT step on one I ram my eyebrow on a pointy tree branch. It drew blood and bruised. Perfect.

The goat enclosure is near the baby chicks so I head on down to say good morning to them and bring Poptart up to the garage for her morning milking. Poptart always tries to eat the chicken food so I’ve got to lead her directly to the milking stand without becoming distracted along the way.

It’s close to 7:35 am now, Grayson is still sitting, watching chickens eat. After the chickens eat they take turns queuing up to lay eggs in the garage. You see they made this little nest underneath a chair with some lose/ discarded hay near the goat’s hay stacks. They refuse every nesting box we make for them. We just let them continue using their makeshift nest because their permanent coop/ nesting boxes aren’t finished yet. Plus it is sure convenient to collect eggs without having to go beyond the garage.

I begin milking Poptart while the egg laying procession continues. Once milking is complete and I’ve ushered Poptart out of the garage and off the deck it’s close to 8 am. Grayson is now leaking through his cloth diaper and wants to nurse and go back to bed. Adalyn is still asleep. Once I get Grayson dry, fed and sleeping I might have some quiet time with my coffee before Adalyn wakes and I’ve got to feed and occupy her.

All I’ve got left to do morning chore wise is to water and move the turkeys, clean and refill goat waterers, fill hay feeders and release Clay, our goat buck, from his pen so he can free range for the day. Oh and I better collect all the laid eggs so our other dog, Dixie doesn’t come in and eat them.


What does your morning routine look like?    

Butter, oh butter

Making butter is quite easy but for some reason I’ve always viewed it as wasteful and unpractical. I guess I just assumed making butter requires you to use raw milk in it’s entirety (and raw milk is quite the commodity!). Plus, only a small portion of butter results from the whole gallon of milk and I was under the impression the liquid left over once the butter separates is a waste product.

I’ve never felt inclined to make butter myself. Yet I LOVE me some raw butter and as of late it’s been pretty hard to come by… and it so good for you.

The most healthful raw butter is a springtime commodity in the milking world.

Cows fed on rapidly growing spring grass produce milk that contains high levels of beta carotene and five times the amount of CLA, an essential fatty acid that has a strong anti-cancer properties.  Continue reading Butter, oh butter

Almost 3 inches of rain and a contest winner to announce…

Hope you all had a nice holiday weekend! Here we set record rainfall totals with our weekend long storms. For many plans to grill were scraped. We didn’t let a little rain ruin our fun though. We waited for a short break in the storms, it was very late at night but we grilled burgers and were happy.

Last night was the worst of the storms. We had a crazy night with power flickering, lightening flashing and thunder shaking the house. Everly was startled many times by the lights and sounds of the storm before we crawled in to bed.

Once we were both in the bedroom and trying to sleep she calmed right down though. She’s a pretty good night sleeper, even in crazy storms!

We were pretty motivated to get more of the garage under control this weekend too. We hauled in my boxes of cow kitchen decor and unpacked those.

I have quite the collection of cow stuff as you can see. The collection has been growing for almost 10 years.  I even found this cute cow drawer pull in the collection and installed it on one of our cabinets, now I’ve gotta find some more cute cow drawer pulls for the whole kitchen. I love cows, LOL!

Anyway, I’ve had a few spare moments this morning to get all the contest entries in one place so I could draw a winner. I am still getting the hang of this contest thing.

Updated Sept 10th 2009:

There were a total of 54 entries to the contest and number 43 is the contest winner number 43 never contacted me so I’ll be drawing a new winner. She’ll have 72 hours to claim her prize by emailing me her contact info.

Oh, and I’ve launched another contest: Read about it here.

Back to school with Scoolio-Von-Hoolio and OfficeMax giveaway. Get Organized Today!

Last week I was invited to participate in a “Get Organized for Back-to-School” webcast & twitter chat and it was a blast. First off I love twitter chats of any kind so I was stoked to participate, I was also interested in getting some organizational tips because our “office” is anything but organized.

The idea of the webcast was that Peter Walsh and several panelists would present organizational tips for the home, for kids and for the classroom while allowing viewers to submit questions via twitter that the panelists would answer.

N isn’t the most organized person in the world so I was stoked to get some organizational tips from the webcast. They presented lots of good info and many good reminders about organization. Here are a few:

TIPS FOR HOME
1) Find the Vision you have for a Space
2) Make Organization a Family Value
3) Use the Right Tools for Great Organization

TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR CHILD
1) Show that you Value Organization
2) Establish Clear Limits and Routines
3) Always ‘Finish the Cycle’ (Complete a Task)

TIPS FOR THE CLASSROOM
1) Establish Clear Routines
2) Involve Kids with Classroom Organization
3) Use Words, Pictures and Color to help Organize

Just before the webcast we received this surprise box of adorable cupcake themed school supplies courtesy of OfficeMax. The school supplies are adorable and were a fun gift, unfortunately we can’t really use them.

I decided it would be fun to host a giveaway here on the blog so I could pass these cute school supplies on to a lucky reader who can put them to good use. So here are the giveaway details: This giveaway is now closed.

Prize: Back-to-school supplies from Scoolio-Von-Hoolio (includes binders, mini notebook, drawstring backsack, notebook, 2 pocket folder, composition books, pencil set and pencil box)

To enter: Leave a comment on this post with your best organizational tip (this is a mandatory step). Once you have commented with your organizational tip you can make the following optional extra entries. For the extra entries be sure to use the form to enter each of your extra entries or they wont count.

  • Comment on any of my other posts (besides this one), tell me which one. Unlimited entries.
  • Follow me on twitter, leave me your username. 1 extra entry.
  • Tweet the giveaway, leave me the link to your tweet. 1 extra entry per day.
  • Follow this blog publicly via friend connect, leave me your username. 1 extra entry.
  • Follow this blog on facebook, leave me your facebook name. 1 extra entry.
  • Use another media sharing tool (stumble, technorati, digg etc), tell me what you did to share. 1 extra entry per sharing tool.

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Eligibility: This contest is open to those with a US mailing address (unless you are willing to pay for shipping costs to ship out of the USA) and will close on August 31st 2009 at midnight.

The winner will be announced here on the blog. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the announcement of the contest winner!

The winner will have 72 hours following the announcement to contact me and claim their winnings. If the winner fails to contact me within the 72 hour period they forfeit winnings and another winner will be selected and posted here on the blog.

Random.org will be used to draw the winner.

Like shooting a nail gun at your head.

Gosh, I don’t know what the damn problem is. It could be the lack of sleep catching up with me or it could be the crappy sleeping positions when I am able to rest. They’ve strained my neck I think.

Oh, I guess the ear piercing shrieks that E lets out every 30-45 minutes for no apparent reasion could also be to blame. Whatever the cause, the fact is I’ve got a killer headache that’s been around for several days now and it’s pretty annoying.

It’s like someone shot a nail gun through the top, back of my head or something and it’s making me a crappy mom right now. Her crying is sending me through the roof and she’s doing it lots today.

Wednesday she was having a good day, the last few days she’s been clingy and can’t stand not being in your arms and the center of attention. Is it the weekend yet? I am so ready for some extra hands and help with her!

Plus N wants to try going to the fair this weekend to ride the marry-go-round and buy some yummy fair food. It will be nice to get out, if E is having a good day then.

My poor fussy little breastfed baby.

Everly was born 2 weeks ago, it seems like it was just yesterday though. Probably because we’ve not slept the whole time huh? LOL.

We are learning about this whole parenting thing and we are so in love with little Everly. Unfortunately, we’ve got a fussy uncomfortable baby that we can’t seem to calm. Everyone is saying it is colic and everyone has an opinion about her ailment that doesn’t seem to help us in treating it.

I just hate calling it colic because the name doesn’t imply any specific condition or treatment. Everyone just throws their hands up and says “Oh colic, hang in there- it will pass”. I am sorry but just accepting that it’s a mystery that she’ll out grow isn’t okay with me. Her fussing is due to something and I want to know what so I can fix it.

She’s not fussy all day, just over certain extended periods of time. Recently she’s begun fussing at the breast too and she’s really straining to poop or pass gas.

We took a trip to the library on Sunday and checked out a bunch of breastfeeding books for me to read. Some books say colic goes away and that parents just have to tough it out. I’ve read that breastfed babies can’t be constipated but many are typically gassy and strain to poop normally. I’ve also read about how a mom’s diet can cause digestive distress for a breastfed baby.

On Sunday night/ Monday morning I had to take Everly down to the nursery and spend the night with her fussing and crying all night. We left N to sleep in the bedroom since he had to work on Monday and he spent the previous night with her fussing so I could sleep.

Anyway I am pretty sure feeding is making her tummy hurt. It’s either something in my diet or it could be her nursing pattern and the fact that she’s not getting a good mix of foremilk/ hindmilk. She could be swallowing air or not properly latching on too. Basically it could be anything…

I am just overwhelmed, frustrated and at a loss right now. I want to know what the problem is so it can be fixed but there is just so much conflicting information out there and nothing seems to be working.

Today I’ve tried breast compressions during feeding. I just read about breast compression to encourage baby to finish feeding on a breast as opposed to sleeping before sufficient hindmilk is consumed.

Everly is very soothed by feeding and has fallen asleep during feeds since she was born. I chatted with a lactation consultant about this at The farm and she showed me how to compress the breast and keep her nursing longer. I had no idea that poor latch and baby’s dozing at the breast can be a cause of colic.

To get more info I am also reading about:

Help relieve abdominal pain in infants with colic.

Colic and the breastfed baby, diet issues, let-down and other causes.

Last night was much of the same fussiness. She didn’t sleep for very long and when time came for feedings she would only nurse for like 10-15min before pulling off, fussing and grunting or falling asleep. The pulling off and fussing/ grunting is hell on the nipples and I wish she would just nurse long enough to get sufficient milk. It might reduce the constant nursing and allow us all to get some sleep.

Getting back to teaching, once Tater is born.

Life never ceases to amaze me! I am marveling at how easily some things just fall in to place in life and I am super excited that another door has opened for me.

Remember how I was working with a few different colorguard/ winterguard units back in Flagstaff, AZ that we had to leave behind when we moved all the way to Indiana? Well I always knew something else would come along for me at the right time. We just weren’t really sure when that right time would be.

I had a few local contacts in Indiana and some possibilities to consider before making the big move but ultimately decided to wait on making any commitments until we were in our new city and settled. Offers came and went, possibilities were still out there but after becoming pregnant I just stopped pushing so hard to find a new school to work with.

Gotta take life as it comes and prioritize things right? We tried so hard and waited so long to get pregnant. Holding off on getting another teaching gig wasn’t a big deal to me now that I was expecting. Besides I can’t imagine having to choreograph and teach while pregnant. Talk about exhausting!

So, I’ve rested and Tater has grown. Very soon we’ll be new parents and we can’t wait. We aren’t sure how we’ll adjust or how difficult it will be but we are ready to make the best of it. We welcome the life change with open arms!

Just this last month I’ve been starting to miss teaching and being active though. I thought I should put the feelers out there again since one school year is coming to an end and another is just about to start. Sure I am pregnant and ready to pop but what is the harm in putting the feelers out?

Well I got 2 bites and just committed to a group for the 2009-2010 school year. It all worked out perfectly and sort of seems like it was always meant to be. I am very excited and super pleased.

Obviously I have caring for Tater as my first priority but I am also going to squeeze in a few 3 hour rehersals per week with my new group for the sake of my own sanity and happiness. Yay, I’ll be teaching and being active again.

And with my extra income I’ll build up my cloth diaper stash for Tater. Love it!

Free baby clothes explosion and some TMI pregnancy talk.

On Sunday we met a lady to pick up some free infant girl clothes that were offered up on freecycle. We have a love/ hate relationship with freecycle. Mostly because so many people are flakes about coming and picking up the stuff they claim they want.

Anyway, since the budget has been so tight we have not been reluctant to ask for things we need when someone posts an offer on freecycle. We’ve managed to get some pretty helpful things like pet food and baby stuff which has helped us big time. This last freecycler takes the cake though!

We expected a box or a sack of clothing items when we came to claim the baby girl stuff. She said she had a range of sizes and some various other odds and ends. She wanted the same person to take it all so she could be done with it. Sounded fine to us, we’ll just pick through it and pass on the stuff we don’t need or can’t use.

I have no problem with used baby clothes. I know some people do and N has even felt a bit bad about so much of Tater’s stuff being hand-me-down but the reality is babies grow out of stuff so fast and will only poo and vomit on things so there is no shame in reusing and recycling clothes. Saves money and is good for the environment right?

😛

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been gifted many new clothing items and we’ve even bought a few special outfits for Tater but after this recent freecycle score we wont need much clothes wise for Tater until she is in 6-9 month stuff, this makes me pretty happy and very relieved.

Here is what we ended up keeping:
baby clothes hanging to dry

This is the newborn & 0-3 month stuff that is hanging to dry after being washed. We don’t have a dryer yet (well we do but it doesn’t plug in to the outlet right now) so this is how we are drying clothes when we can’t hang them outside.

baby clothes explosion

I know, it looks like an explosion of pink baby clothes. Don’t laugh, it saves us money with the electric bill too! Also, the pink might make my eyes bleed but I can’t complain when it is free right?

baby clothes waiting to be washed

This box overflowing with clothes contains all the 3-6 month stuff and some blankets that still need to be washed. We got lots of good stuff! There were 4 total trash bags full of clothes, we are keeping about half of it. Freecycle was good to us this time around!

Now for the TMI pregnancy updates, flee if you don’t want to know about my cervix and other lady parts stuff.

I am still 50% effaced and am now 1cm dilated since my last visit a week ago. I’ve gained 4 more pounds (yep 4 in a week, enter your baby weight guess soon!) and have had more frequent BH contractions since last week too. Oh and I am now having some brownish, light spotting that my midwife says is just the result of the recent cervix check. The cervix check didn’t hurt today either.

Haven’t started leaking fluid and haven’t noticed the loss of my mucus plug. I am also not having any painful contractions though I am noticing some pelvic pain that is not accompanied by tightening. I’ve got irritable uterus it seems (Hot Belly Mama opened my eyes to this) and I need to be drinking more water.

Yesterday I ate an entire half of a watermelon in addition to drinking like 4 glasses of unsweetened iced tea. Still need more water though.

We’ve got 23 days until Tater’s “due date”. She is full term on Thursday and in 11 short days I’ll be at The Farm waiting for labor to start. Time is just sort of flying by.

Why all-in-one-diapers ROCK! BumGenius 3.0 fun and info…

The BumGenius 3.0 diaper I ordered is here and let me tell you, it made my freaking day! I’ve been learning about modern cloth diapers online for months and was sure they were the way to go for us but to finally have one in your hands is the absolute best way to understand all their glory.

So many people have remarked “You are so brave” or “I know I couldn’t do it” when they hear our plans to cloth diaper. People really don’t understand how modern and improved cloth diapers are these days. Everyone seems to need the low down on them, even N and I had trouble understanding all their features until we held one in our hands.

Here is how the diaper was all packaged when it arrived:

The velcro makes the width of the diaper totally adjustable. The outer pink material is super soft on the outside but on the inside it is a plasticy waterproof material made of polyurethane laminate waterproof fabric (or PUL).

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Then their are 3 snaps that run along the front. Those are to adjust the height of the diaper, which is helpful for accommodating an infant and their healing umbilical cord. Plus it is one of the features that makes this diaper truly all in one, it’s size and shape grows with baby.

When you look at the inside of the diaper you’ll see the white inner lining, it is suede cloth. This is what comes in to contact with baby’s skin and gets pooped on. It is super soft and way absorbent.

Between the inner liner and the outer cover there is a nifty pocket where the inserts are placed to absorb liquid and moisture. When you look inside the pocket you can see the shiny, polyurethane laminate side of the outer fabric.

Here are the two inserts that come with the diaper. One is the infant size, the other is a size adjustable (via the snaps) regular insert. The inserts can be used individually or can be used together for more absorbency. They are also made with super absorbent suede cloth.

Here is what infant the pocket looks like with an insert inside. You just slide it right in the pocket and fold the flap closed keeping the insert inside and hidden.

And there you have it, the BumGenius 3.0 cloth diaper. I think they are pretty darn nifty, don’t you?

In other news yesterday marked the start of my 32nd week of pregnancy. N went in to work early to cover a fun story and make some extra money. We succeeded in getting all our crap (including the motor home) off the premisis of the old place.

We’ve still not heard back from the slumloards about a walk though inspection time and thus haven’t returned the keys to them. We’ve also kept posession of the garage door openers to intice them to actually contact us so we can officially end this madness. It looks like they wont though.

Tomorrow is the date of the Arizona baby shower being thrown in our honor. We are both excited and also a bit nervous that the turn out wont be great. We’ll see… I’ve got Tater’s nursery all spiffied up as best as possible for the video conference we’ll be doing during the shower.

That is pretty much all there is to report right now. It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend and we don’t have that many errands planned to tackle so hopefully it will be a somewhat calm and quiet time. Probably not though 😉

Hopefully the sun is shining and you are going to have a nice spring weekend in your neck of the woods.

Oh, my grinding pelvis and popping back. My bones are LOOSE these days!

Everyone knows that with pregnancy comes stretch marks, boob growth, morning sickness and so on. Nobody ever said how much your bones and joints act up though (except Veronica, she did blog about it)! I’ve started to notice pains in areas that I never knew could hurt, guys…

I mean I’ve got some major grinding and pain at my pubic bone that is hellish! I know it is just my pelvic bones separating and preparing a path for baby but “oh-mah-holy-hell” (a phrase stolen from Hotfessional) it freaking hurts! If I keep my legs really far apart and waddle while walking I can ease the grinding but who wants to see that?

Also, whenever I move it seems something is popping or cracking in my back or hips. All the relaxin and progesterone are really making me a flimsy, bone grindy mess! I roll out of bed to pee for the millionth time and pop, my hips cracks. I bend over and snnnnnap there goes my tail bone.

I even went to see the chiropractor today to be adjusted but as soon as I was snap-crackle-popped and back to normal things moved right back to their wrong places again.

I am not the only geriatric, wobbling mess in the house though. N is in some major pain these days after beginning the moving process. He is doing all the heavy lifting and loading of things in and out of the car. I am packing and unpacking. So, he is sore and to make matters worse, while we were making the bed he managed to crack his tail bone on the window.

Now he is bruised and has sore, over extended muscles. We are both gimping it up these days! He thinks he will be able to move our entire house by HIMSELF too, he is seriously delusional! We have some heavy, antique furniture and I have no idea how he thinks he’ll get certain stuff up the stairs and in to the master bedroom alone…

If he gets hurt and can no longer lift for me I am not sure how laundry and vacuuming will get done, if he throws his back out who will scoop the cat boxes? LOL! For the next 3 months we’ll just be a few gimps in smelly, dirty clothes in a house the wreaks of dirty cat box and has pet hair all over the carpet. I can just see it now!

If you haven’t already check out my online baby shower here. Be sure to stop by to sign the guest book and play a game or two. Oh and you’ll be able to see some cute photos of the baby bump (and hear her heartbeat) there too!

Gestational diabetes screening in pregnant woman, how my situation unfolds.

I seriously debated whether or not to post my last entry because I felt it was an unresolved issue that left me open to the possibility of getting tons of “you are a crazy hippy, listen to your doctor” feedback… You guys are amazing though!

I never imagined I would receive so much helpful information as a result of that post and I am now very glad I choose to share my vulnerable moment with the internet. There really is so much knowledge and support out there!

Basically after reading all the comments you left and after chatting with many people about it I’ve got some direction and resolution. I found out that my mother also failed her GD tests with each of her 3 pregnancies. After failing the tests all they did was advise her of ways to eat a better diet. Essentially they did nothing more to treat the issue, my brothers and I we were all born fine…

Also, my midwife is not concerned about my failing the gestational diabetes screen by 1 point. When I talked to her she said her major concern for me was to watch my blood pressure and any potential swelling (you know preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension).

She also suggested that I get my hands on a blood glucose meter so I could monitor my own blood sugar levels at home (for peace of mind). She said I didn’t need to follow up with the second 3 hour blood glucose test like my OBGYN wants. Nothing wrong with saving myself the stress and the insurance company money.

She did say we should keep an eye on my sugar levels with a meter for a few weeks just to be sure nothing funny really is going on. If I do show blood sugar problems with day to day testing then we’ll dive right in to diet modification.

Even if I was officially diagnosed with GD after the 3 hour blood glucose test I would only be advised to change my diet. In rare cases when a woman’s blood glucose level is super high insulin can be given as a treatment method but with my test coming back at 140 (which is normally the highest normal result with other physicians) all this is a bit funny to be getting worked up over.

For most women GD is something that can be managed and even avoided with the proper diet and nutrition. It’s not a world shattering thing for the average woman like the doctors make it out to be.

We’ve decided to decline the 3 hour blood glucose test along with the RhoGam shot the OBGYN is pushing. Either they will respect our decisions about it all and back off or they will continue pushing and we’ll just cancel our appointments and discontinue care with them.

We are definitely planning to get a blood glucose meter to keep tabs on by blood sugar here at home just to be sure we aren’t ignoring any potential issues. Plus, the glucose meter will help me to see what foods (if any) are impacting me.

We are pretty sure there is no blood sugar problem, I just need to focus on eating more good stuff like I was trying to do back in the first trimester before the bad advice from the OBGYN.

Eating well is always something I’ve had to conciously focus on, if I let my cravings dictate my eating I’ll eat nothing but crap, I knew that when I discovered I was pregnant. Then I let the OBGYN make me feel bad for not eating what I was craving, now I need to just go back to my initial way of thinking. I can do that!

Hump day is kicking my butt!! All I want to do is sleep.

Man, I am drained today and have no idea why! It is a nice day, not to cold and not to warm. Spring is upon us and the garden is showing first signs of life.

I’ve got plenty of things I should be doing like cleaning house, finishing up building the cat house, packing, crocheting etc. I just can’t muster the energy to do any of it.

I was at least able to get some blog posts written up in advance for the weekend since we’ll be off doing other things. Like seeing the midwife and celebrating my birthday…

Yeah, I’ll be 27 on Friday- the first day of spring. Happy birthday to me. I am sad to not have friends and family to spend my day with but N and I are doing are damnedest to have a good time!

He booked us dinner reservations at The Melting Pot (my favorite!) so that will be nice, plus we’ll be driving to The Farm to see Pamela so the car trip will be fun. Getting out of the house is always nice right?

I am excited to have some fun birthday plans, I am also pretty excited to be sealing the deal on our new place. I am bubbling with excitement but none of it is showing externally, can I blame the pregnancy hormones?

Tater is kicking and pushing like crazy right now and I would like to capture a video of it to share with you guys, problem is every time I turn the camera on she stops. The TV guy and the performer are going to have a camera shy child, nice huh?

This morning Tater and I awoke to the noisy trash truck on our street. She was jumping and moving away. The books are right, she really is starting to respond to sounds now.

Well I am off to nap, happy hump day all!

25th week prenatal appointment updates and brain dump.

Yesterday was my 25 week prenatal appointment with the useless OBGYN. Got the all clear on mine and Tater’s health. Things are still going normally and are on track. I weighed in at 123.5 lbs which is 4.5 pounds more than last checkup. That is perfectly normal when you remember the recommended weight gain during the 2nd trimester is 1 to 1.5 lbs per week.

I got my dreaded Glucola drink for the next appointment in two weeks. They are doing my blood glucose test and will also be running my blood work to check for any antibodies that may have been developed during pregnancy. I hate having blood drawn, remember how I passed out at our first prenatal appointment? I hope there is no repeat of that incident at the next appointment!

I am now on 2 week visits as opposed to once a month visits which means the fun with our useless OBGYN is about to get even better! She’ll be out of the area for the next appointment though, thankfully I’ll get to deal with another doc instead. But she’ll be back for the following visit…

The frequency of theses visits it just a bit overkill for me. I mean seeing her once a month is already pointless and now we will get to see her every two weeks for a while… We are firing her right before my once a week visits begin since we’ll be down in Tennessee with The Farm midwives watching over me at that point (only 13 weeks to go till we are at The Farm waiting for Tater to come!).

N and I are revisiting whether or not we’ll consent to the RhoGam shot. They usually administer it at 28 weeks but since my blood/ glucose test hasn’t been run yet I’ll be due for the shot at 29 weeks if we opt for it. We are going back and fourth weighing the issues, it is quite a hard decision and finding the complete information on the pros and cons has been difficult.

When we asked our useless OBGYN to explain the reasoning behind giving the shot during pregnancy as opposed to just having it after delivery her response was “we give it to everyone that is rh negative as a precaution”… That was the end of the discussion. Helpful huh?

I am leaning towards not having it while pregnant, all the information I’ve found makes it seem like it is an unnecessary intervention done “just in case” but it actually carries more risk than benefit in my eyes. When I deliver I’ll totally get the shot if Tater’s blood is Rh positive I am just not convinced of the safety and necessity of getting the shot while she is still inside me…

We met with the slumlord “slumstress” this morning to turn over a rent check and to take the next step in officially getting out of our lease. Nothing is officially signed yet as her signature is invalid since it’s not on the original lease. Her husband has to sign the release, then we will and it will be done. So we are still waiting to seal the deal on that one.

We’ve made good progress on packing and cleaning. I’ve done tons of budget figuring and basically we’ve spent our income tax return on buying this new house. We haven’t stretched ourselves too thin but we also wont have any extra money for things like Tater’s nursery furniture or our Nissan repair. We are still saving for our out of pocket costs to birth at The Farm. Once the birth is done and paid for we’ll just shift our saving focus to the other stuff.

Eventually we’ll save enough to pay for all the stuff we need, it is just going to take tons of time. It would be nice to have it all immediately, you know instant gratification and all but that is not the way life goes.

So don’t ask me about photos of Tater’s nursery okay? It wont be set up or complete until about 6 months after she arrives. She’ll be sleeping in our room at first anyway.

Well I think that is it for the latest news… I am tired/ fatigued and have been over the last few days. I think it is because Tater is having a growth spurt so I am off to nap some. Happy friday the 13th everyone, have a great weekend!

Purring Cats on Pregnant Bellies… 24 week pregnancy thoughts

Well yesterday was the beginning of my 24th week of pregnancy. Other than the belly button pain and the occasional rib cage or back pain all is well. The bump is growing but I was surprised to see that I didn’t gain much weight over the month.

I’ve got a prenatal appointment with the OBGYN next week and I am sure she’ll make a comment about the lack of weight gain this month but N and I aren’t worried. According to all our reading Tater is just starting another growth spurt so I’ll probably pack on several more pounds shortly.

It seems my weight gain is not really a gradual thing, I pack on a good amount one month which puts me over what is deemed normal then the next month I stall out and don’t gain much… It is hit or miss really. Good news is I am still eating like a mad woman and I’ve put on 20 pounds since becoming pregnant, I think gaining another 20-30 pounds in 3 months is not going to be a problem.

This morning I was happy to see it was again a warmer day and we were able to open up all the windows and enjoy the fresh breeze. We are fresh air and sunlight people. We love our windows to be open so winter is sometimes a downer for us, especially when we don’t get enough pretty snow.

The morning email checking was nice with the cool breeze blowing through the house. Andrew one of our cats climbed in to my lap and took a nap as soon as I got up. These days all the pets have been less interested in hanging out with me, probably because they sense Tater is coming. So it was nice that Andrew came to see me today.

N snapped a photo of the love fest on my lap so everyone could see how the belly is looking…

It is kind of funny how Tater responds to the cats purring. She can totally hear them and she will kick when ever they are purring near my belly.

I told N she is either going to be super soothed by the purring when she’s born or she’ll go crazy wanting to play with them when they purr. What do you think?

Birthday month and demon possessed kitchen electronics…

Some of you already know that March is my birthday month.

My birthday is also typically considered the first day of spring, it’s March 20th.

Sunshine over at … and the pursuit of happiness is linking to all the March bloggy birthdays over on her site and she gifted me with this nifty button to spread the word about my birthday and I thought including it in this post was the perfect way to “spread the word”.

I am not particularly excited about the coming birthday (which annoys N) but I know he is making an effort to plan something simple and enjoyable while we are down in Tennessee for our prenatal appointment that weekend.

If you feel so inclined you can buy me a nursing top from my target baby registry or a shaved ice maker for when I am in labor or something pregnancy/ mommy related, lol!

I’ve got the links to all three of our baby registries right there on my sidebar under the baby development widget (especially for you Krystal, added the furniture one ;-P). See ————->

Anyway, the chuckle worthy tidbit I wanted to share today is actually not about my birthday, it is about the crappiness of this house (big surprise huh?). Right now the wild birds are pecking away at things in the attic and it is making lots of noise but that is not the doozie. This is:


Yep, we had to move a lamp to the bathroom so we could shower and pee with some light!

The electricity is off in the bathroom, the dining room and also one plug in the kitchen. We had to flip the breaker off when the garbage disposal wouldn’t turn off this morning. *sigh*

At this point I am just laughing at every new crappy thing we are having to deal with… It is good blogging material but we just want to be done renting already, good blogging material or not!

23 weeks pregnant: baby kicks and stormy warm nights…

Yesterday was the beginning of my 23rd week of pregnancy. I must say this whole thing is just kind of flying right by, it is kind of scary how fast it’s going!

I thought it would be cool to try recording some of Tater’s movements so I can show her once she is older. I captured a few short/ good videos of her. You can see them here and here.

Last night we had thunderstorms, which N and I both love very much. We had windows open enjoying the fresh cool breeze and we loved hearing the rain/ thunder. Unfortunately the pets decided the weather was their cue to act completely insane all night.

Once N and I finished watching our recorded episode of American Idol at around 2am we went to bed (by the way tune in to American Idol next week to see my old choir buddy Scott MacIntyre’s performance).

Anyway, The cats stayed up all night bouncing off the walls. There were several times when they jumped on our faces/ pillows as a means to “springboard” up to the headboard where they like to perch. Also, there was all sorts of fighting between them for access to the fresh air coming through the open window in the bedroom. Basically they kept us from really falling fully asleep which means we awoke unrested and grumpy today.

N went to pick up a vacuum that was offered up on freecycle this morning (since ours has melted and the manufacturer wont replace it) but the person giving the vacuum forgot to leave it out for him to pick up. So we still have dirty carpets… I was hopefull vacuuming was going to be possible soon, oh well. One less chore right?

By the way all the cats are laying on or near me right now in bed snoozing as I write this. Hang on I am going to yell and jump on the bed a bit to wake them all up…

Okay, I am back now!

I was gifted Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth(among other things that I’ll share about soon) and am already hooked on reading it. Also my newest Mothering magazine just came in the mail so I am reading like crazy today, I was missing having good stuff to read so now I am excited to read again. Yay!

Our letter goes off to the landlords tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed that they let us out of here early! We are also looking at several other possible rental homes tomorrow. Hopefully we find something!

Welcome to the midwest! We're ice storm virgins from the westcoast.

We are at the OBGYN right now My OBGYN is closed as a result of the level 2 state of emergency Evansville is in thanks to the power outages and road conditions! So I’ve scheduled this post to keep you all occupied until we get home, gather our thoughts and are able to draft up a post about our latest pregnancy news, stay tuned!  Better yet subscribe to the blog so you’ll know when the post goes live first!

Actually, the OBGYN never even tried calling us to inform us of the office closure so we’re not sure when we’ll be rescheduled for the ultrasound, guess we’ll be waiting a while to get news on Tater Tot’s gender… Tater Tot is jumping and kicking all arround as I type this, he too is bummed about the appointment.

Back to the post about our insane storm. Tuesday nights ice storm/ winter weather was pretty crazy for us. Sure we’ve seen our share of several feet of snow and have had driven on slick roads before. We aren’t snow virgins by any means but ice storms are an whole other ballgame, I freaking hate them!

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The beginning of the ice storm. Click the images for a larger view.

Last night after N got home from work we had dinner and were watching TV before bed when we started to hear the cracks and moans of tree branches. Rain was falling and the temperature was also below freezing so that meant everything that got wet ended up encased in layers of ice. The rain kept falling and the wet kept freezing until tree branches were covered in a good 1/2 – 1 inch of solid ice.

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I love how the fallen leaves froze during the storm. It kind of looks like icicles coming up from the ground.

The trees began to sag thanks to the added weight of all the ice. N parked our car out on the street since our driveway is covered by a nice big oak tree that was not looking to sturdy as a result of the ice.

We would hate to have that nice new soft top we just bought for the car to be ripped and destroyed under the weight of a huge fallen oak tree branch! On the other hand parking the car on the street meant it could be smashed by a person sliding along on the slippery road, it seemed road parking was the safer bet.

So we were relaxing and listening to all the unhappy tree groans when the cracks and crashes of the spent tree branches began. One after another branches came crashing down, some down the block or next door. Others came down in our yard and even right on top of our bedroom. We were amazed and shocked all at the same time.

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The first fallen tree limbs in our back yard.

Then the arcing of power lines began. You see when the tree branches come crashing down they often take out utility lines and poles. This results in the most deafening pops and explosions and also illuminates the night sky with blue flashes.

It was a crazy thing for us to experience since we’ve never been though an ice storm before. You see the real scary part of it all is not the loss of utilities for days on end, the poor road conditions or the frigid temperatures. It’s the unpredictable, huge falling branches and trees that are all around your house.

You just don’t know when or where the next branch will come down, you hear crashes against the house and you know if a big enough piece comes down it could very well come through your roof and kill you.

We debated sleeping in the basement or in the hall, you know a more interior room but figured the odds of something coming though our roof were slim. Needless to say we had a pretty sleepless night on Tuesday evening.

It is hard to sleep though the crashes of tree against your roof and the electrical explosions. Thankfully we only lost power briefly at about 2am and nothing came through our roof. Others in the area were not as lucky!

We are though the worst of it all now and are just waiting for the snowploughs to come and for the ice and snow to melt. It is a beautiful day now that all the harm is past. I love the snow! Here are some shots of the area:

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Photos of the aftermath of our January 27th ice/ snow storm in Evansville, IN. A pretty shot of the ice covered tree and the blue clear sky the morning after the storm.

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Debris in the road from our oak tree that couldn’t hold the ice weight.
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See how much ice coated the trees?
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Some icicles hanging from our window awning.
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Here is our bird feeder all covered in ice and snow.

Some insect ate my face and we had fun sightseeing in Tennessee!

I got to attend my prenatal visit at The Farm with a giant swollen bump on my face from a spider or something! It was swelling and itching and I even had itchy red eyes for part of the day. Add that to the giant cold sore on my lip and I was a walking face full of nasty!

Other than the prenatal visit and the face of nasty we did have the pleasure of sightseeing throughout Nashville and neighboring areas of Tennessee. We stayed at a cheap Red Roof Inn Saturday night and had linner at Whole Foods that day (linner is a combo of lunch and dinner. A un-word N uses for fun).

We were both really beat by about 5pm-6pm that day. After all we did wake up at 5am to make the trip out to Summerfield. So we checked in to our hotel after our linner and then we laied down for a nap after the prenatal appointment. I got to put a hot compress on my spider bite before napping and we also got some natural cortizone type cream for the bite at Whole Foods.

We have no Whole Foods in Evansville (or any decent natural food store for that matter) so hanging out at the Whole Foods in Tennessee was a treat for us. We also stocked up on my favorite breakfast item, Strawberry Hemp Granola! 2 pounds wont last long but it sure is a great treat!

Sunday morning after a good nights sleep we awoke and headed out to sight see. We took a guided tour of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN and had a blast. For some reason we enjoy guided tours of old historic places. While in Flagstaff, we attended a tour of the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff, AZ that we also really enjoyed.

Anyway the Carnton Plantation is not only cool because it is an old plantation house with tons of history. It is also noteworthy because it was a civil war field hospital during The Battle of Franklin and is now a final resting place for 1,481 men who were killed during the Battle of Franklin.

Carrie McGavock, wife of John McGavock who resided at Carnton Plantation was in the midst of The Battle of Franklin on November 30th 1864 when the Army of Tennessee passed around her home headed toward battle. Carrie took in hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soildiers during battle and the day following battle. The florrs of the home are still stained with the blood of those who were treated there.

It was a very educational and historic place for us to visit and we had a great time learning and reflecting upon the history of our country. We even kind of like the outlying areas of Nashville and would consider living there.

It was an amazing place for us to visit because as natives of the west coast we never really got to visit and take in all of the sights and locations that played such a huge role in civil war history. Sure we are well aware of the way Native Americans, Cowboys and Hispanics have shaped the west coast’s history but we’ve never been face to face with civil war history so we really enjoyed the day.

Oh and I got the stress cracks on my MacBook fixed up at the Nashville Apple Store. We didn’t have an appointment with the genus bar because no appointments were available during the time we were going to be there, so we talked with a concierge about the cracks and explained we were from out of town. They were nice enough to out us on a waiting list, in case someone was late for or failed to show up for their scheduled appointment.

We waited about an hour in the store but they managed to squeeze us in and they even fixed my cracked MacBook at no cost, right there in the store. It only took them 15 minutes! We figured I would have to send my Mac out for repair and that they couldn’t fix it in store. Amazingly they did and were super friendly about it too!

So all in all the trip was lots of fun and also a great success. We found a place to have our natural birth, got to have some fun while learning about civil war hisstory, got the MacBook fixed and we may have even found the place we want to live after N’s 3 year contract is up here in Evansville. Productive don’t you think?

We toured The Farm and are super pleased!

Well, we visited The Farm on Saturday and were super pleased with our midwife Pamela. It was pouring the whole way from Indiana to Tennessee and the drive was long but we made it safely in one piece and were super glad we decided to take the trip.

Pamela spent over 2 hours with us discussing policies and options. We talked about my health, the progress of the pregnancy, took my stats and she even did an internal examination of my pelvic structure. All went really well!

Shoot I even gained another pound and a half between Thursday and Saturday, I weighed in at almost 112! My blood pressure was normal (100/60) and she agrees that my weight gain of about 12 pounds over the course of 16 weeks of pregnancy is great for my body type and is also normal in pregnancy.

I told her about how upset my OBGYN made me about the weight thing. She said that my OBGYN was most likely just commenting on my weight without taking my body type and personal history in to account. Besides, she agreed with the info in my book that says 14 pounds weight gain is typically the average gain for the end of the 2nd trimester. She also noted that those numbers are only averages and that typically smaller women gain more.

We talked about lots of diet and nutrition stuff, got many pointers on what I need to eat and why. I even asked her about the possibility of “being too small” for a natural birth. She did an internal exam to see how wide and deep my pelvis was and confirmed that I had ample room to birth a baby naturally.

Apparently the visible size of our hips and pelvis from the outside does not indicate the size of the pelvis cavities internally. She even had a pelvis (one of those educational skeleton thingies) to show me and she went over all the measurements of mine compared to the pelvis she was showing me.

We talked about potential complications in natural birth that usually warrant a c-section, things like breach positioning, the shoulders getting stuck or multiple births. She assured me that they have delivered babies in all these situations naturally and that it is no challenge for them, since I am already in their care.

I guess they do turn people away who show up months before delivery wanting a more complicated natural birth (VBAC, breach or multiples) at The Farm who have not gone through prenatal care with them. They are very particular about prenatal care, they want you to have proper attention during pregnancy (even if it is though your local doctor) and they want to thoroughly assess all your risk factors before agreeing to do a natural birth with you. It is not all about making money for them, the want to do what is safest for you and your baby so that means turning people away sometimes.

We also learned that Pamela has EMT training and that all the midwives in the area also participate in the hospitals neonatal intensive care unit training course as a means to further their education. The Farm also has LPN’s and RN’s on staff to, that was a fun tidbit of info for us.

Also, CPM’s are legal in Tennessee and The Farm midwives have a great working relationship with staff at the regional hospital so in the case of emergency (or if the mom simply requests it) there is no hesitation in transporting to the hospital to finish the delivery.

We toured a birthing cabin despite the pouring rain and learned that each room is equip with oxygen, baby warmers and all the essentials. They’ll even analyze my child’s cord blood after delivery to determine if the RhoGam shot is even necessary (which they also have on site to administer.

Both N and I were super pleased with Pamela and are sure birthing at The Farm is right for us. We aren’t required to travel down for anymore prenatal appointments but we are welcome to if we want and are able to work it in to the schedule.

They are working with us to make things convenient with regards to how far we live from The Farm. Pamela will be chatting with us once a month by phone following each prenatal appointment with our local doctor to get updates on the progress of the pregnancy.

We are also forwarding my prenatal charts from the OBGYN to Pamela so she has all the most up to date info on my health and the pregnancy developments. It looks like birthing at The Farm is the direction we are going, for sure and we are so relieved! It really is the best of 2 worlds for us and our birthing needs!