Thursday, October 28, 2010

36 Weeks

I am officially, by all accounts, 36 weeks along today. It's a random day, but it means the risks of complications are so low that no doctor (that I know, anyway) would bat an eye at delivering me from here on out. So yay for that!

I had another check up with my midwife yesterday. This little girl must be as strong willed as her sisters because I'm 4cm and almost completely effaced, but she's hanging out and staying in there until SHE'S ready (just like they did). Everything else looked really good. I didn't gain any weight this week, but I've been gaining 2.5 pounds a week for several months and it's not unusual to stop gaining or even lose a little at the end of pregnancy. My blood pressure's still my non-pregnant normal, so that's good.

And the name game continues. We finally settled on a middle name, only to come up with another possible first name. So now we're trying to decide between our original first name and the new first name. It's beginning to look like even we won't know her name until she's born.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Still Pregnant (Go Me!)

Baby girl #3 is still hanging out just where she belongs for now. We've gotten to the point where the odds are hugely in our favor that she'll be fine whenever she's born, but obviously, every extra day is a bonus. I've worked with enough babies to truly understand that a near term baby is not a full term baby. Little things like being sleepier and skinnier and having a little more trouble with their suck/swallow/breathe organization can add up. Being more susceptible to infection (especially respiratory infections) and being born in cold and flu season doesn't help either. So we've relaxed a lot because we're likely past the point of a NICU stay, but we're still trying our best to get her to stay put for now.

Earlier this week, I had my appointment with my midwife and also her back-up doctor. Aside from having every early labor sign in the book, things look really good. I had the doctor confirm that she really is a she (one of the first things I said after Sedona was born was, "is she still a girl???" so I thought I'd go ahead and get that question out of the way now). She also looks like she's a good size for her age.

Not long ago, I had a very talented friend offer to take some pictures for us before I had the baby. Since the baby could be coming any day now, we decided to stop putting it off and get the pictures done a few days ago. Didn't she do a wonderful job?!?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day by Day

My friends and family held a little celebration in honor of baby girl yesterday. They showered us with diapers and wipes and a carseat! So it seems only fitting to update on how things are going. I'm a little over 34 weeks now. I need to make it to 36 weeks (anything before that and the doctors try to stop labor), so I have to last another week and a half. I won't lie, I feel a bit like a ticking time bomb. Even though it's unusual overall (less than 10%), my labors with both of the girls started with my water breaking just like in the movies (random sounds like a carrot snapping), so anytime my back or hip pops I hold my breath for a second and wonder if that was THE pop.

My blood pressure is still good, which is good for her--high blood pressure can interfere with how well the placenta works. Her heart rate is holding steady and she's growing well. She's still head down, but has flipped over to lay on my right side (optimal positioning before delivery is for the baby to be on mom's left side). That actually might be a good thing for now, because her being in a less than optimal position makes it a little harder for me to dilate. Birthing malpositioned babies isn't fun (as I learned with Sedona), but I'll take that over delivering too early. Baby has dropped down already. It actually feels like she moves lower every 2 or 3 days.

The contractions have definitely started up though. Sometimes 3 or 4 minutes apart for hours at a time (but not getting closer together or longer). I'm about 2-3cm and 70% effaced, which is pretty on track with where I was with the girls at this point. I suspect I'll have another fast labor because of that (well, depending on when you start counting from...I tend to labor an hour at a time for weeks before actual delivery). I have an herbal medicine I take to stop contractions (I'm normally very skeptical of herbal treatments, but it worked great with Sedona and it's worked great this time without the side effects of the more traditional medicines). I also take extra calcium and magnesium each day now and that's calmed down the contractions.

So we're in a holding pattern. She could come any time now, but every extra day is a bonus and it'd be really great if I could last until 36 weeks. Maybe we'll have a Halloween baby.

Oh, and two of you have accurately guessed her name. I lied and told you that you were wrong though (which I said I would do, so I'm not sure why everyone keeps guessing!). Also, we changed Sierra's name (she was going to be Dakota) right before she was born, so who knows if we'll really stick with this name or not anyway ;-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaching Money Management

Josh and I choose to follow a budgeting system very similar to what is laid out in the book America's Cheapest Family. I keep the budget on paper because we used a computer based system for years and it just wasn't tangible enough for me to keep me accountable. I briefly explained the system back when I first implemented it.

Sierra knows we have a budget book and has asked me questions about it and I've explained the basic idea to her. She's been dying to have a budget book of her own, but didn't really have any significant amount of money to apply a budget to.

Lately though, she's had a birthday, and the Tooth Fairy, and she and I have also been going to the medical school here in town on a regular basis to be "standardized patients" (we pretend to have a certain ailment and the med students practice their examination and diagnostic skills on us). The standardized patient thing in particular pays quite well. I keep some of the money because I'm the one who really has an involved story to memorize and act up, but if she's the actual patient (which pays more anyway since two of us are "working"), I give her part of the money. All of this has added up to quite a substantial sum in the world of a six year old and I decided it was time to put an end to the "can we go to the store so I can buy something?!?" and help her set up her own budget.

The first thing we did was a fairly quick explanation of percentages (by drawing a circle and showing her what 100%, 50%, 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% are). Then I dictated that she has to put money in savings first and since she is young and doesn't HAVE to buy anything herself, 50% of what she gets will go into savings.

From there, she got to take over. I explained to her what types of categories we have in our budget and she thought about what categories she wanted. She came up with: toys; candy/food; vacation souvenirs; books/learning; crafts/art.

Next I asked her what category was most important to her and which was next important, until we had prioritized the list.

Finally, we split the remaining 50% between the categories she had picked depending on how important the category was to her and how expensive things in that category are.

The final product was the decision that money she gets will be split as follows:
Savings 50%
Books/Learning 20% (p.s. how awesome is it that I have a 6 year old that not only came up with this category on her own, but also made it her number one priority with no input whatsoever from anyone else?!?)
Candy/Food 5%
Crafts/Art 5%
Toys 10%
Vacation Souvenirs 10%

There are some changes I would like to make, but I'd rather focus on her being excited about making and following a plan for her money instead of trying to push too much on her right from the beginning, so aside from the savings thing, I left all the choices up to her this time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Snaggle Toothed

The last time Sierra went to the dentist, he looked at her x-rays and proclaimed that her adult teeth were "right there" and she'd start losing her baby teeth soon.

So, of course, the next 5 months consisted of "WHEN am I'm going to lose my baby teeth?" and incessant wiggling of teeth that were definitely not loose.

Until Thursday night rolled around. After brushing her teeth, she let us know one tooth was kind of sore. A quick poke confirmed that she finally had a loose tooth.

She wiggled it all day Friday. She was excited to wake up Saturday and show us how far she could push it out of place. Every time I walked by, she was standing in front of a mirror wiggling it some more. She was even more excited to wake up Sunday and show us she could now push it side to side. She buckled down and got more serious about the wiggling.

Thankfully (oh so thankfully!) we had let her know that if she was eating something and bit down on something hard, she should make sure it wasn't her tooth. I mean, who wants to swallow their first tooth? She looked a little grossed out and said, "you mean, it'd be in my poop?!?" and I confirmed her suspicions along with letting her know that we would not be retrieving said tooth if that happened.

So on Sunday afternoon, when she bit off a piece of the lolly pop she was eating and it didn't quite feel right, she spit it out in her hand. Then she popped it right back into her mouth ('cause we wouldn't want to give up a single morsel of sugary goodness). It still didn't have the right flavor though, so she spit it out again, which is when Josh took notice and said, "hey! it's your tooth!"
To say the least, she was very excited
She was very reluctant to give up the tooth to the Tooth Fairy though because she wanted to have it to show everyone. She left a note to that effect with the tooth when she put it under her pillow. And wouldn't you know? That ol' Tooth Fairy not only let her keep the tooth (along with a note saying she had to let Josh and I keep it safe for her), she also left behind a generous $5 for it being the first tooth.

We got a loose tooth break for the rest of Sunday and then yesterday she started trying to loosen up the one next to it. The girl's on a mission and she may just get all those front teeth out before Thanksgiving...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pierced Ears

When Sedona was born, we bought Sierra a "big sister gift" (which happened to be her first bike). We've been thinking about what we will do for big sister gifts this time around and finally decided that for Sierra, we'd let her get her ears pierced. We had originally thought we'd have her wait until she was about 9, but she's been asking about it and we thought it might be a good time to reinforce the idea that she's the oldest and there are some privileges she gets that go along with the stricter rules she has to follow. Also, the timing works out that she will be ready to take out the starter studs just before Christmas, so we can buy her more earrings (studs only if any friends/family have the same idea!!!) for Christmas gifts.

After Josh and I had talked it over and made the final decision, I let her know we were okay with her getting them pierced if she wanted to do it. Then we took a trip down to the store and had them explain how it works and show her everything and she took a few days to think about it. She finally decided she did want to do it.

Then the day came and we walked into the store.

She got SUPER anxious and changed her mind and wanted to wait another day. She was getting herself more and more worked up, so I finally convinced her if she wanted to do it, it was better to get it over with. I had brought the camera to take pictures, but she needed a little hand holding and tear wiping instead, so there are no pictures. By the time we got to the counter to pay, the tears were gone and she was fine. She wanted me to take her picture as soon as we left, so here's the evidence:
When we got to the car, she told me she was glad she did it instead of worrying over it longer, so I guess I didn't flub up too much by pushing her a bit :-p I'm determined to have them heal up well, so I've taken charge of cleaning them several times a day and so far things look good, they haven't been red at all and are comfortable for her.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sierra is Officially Six

It's been 6 years since Sierra joined our family. My, how time has flown!!
one week oldFirst BirthdaySecond BirthdayThird BirthdayFourth BirthdayFifth Birthday
About one month ago

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food For a Year

Picture from the Costco website

My husband just told me a few days ago that Costco is selling a year's supply of food for one person for $800. That's only a little over $15 per week. I just looked it up and turns out that is a sale price, but the regular price is $1,000 and still a pretty good deal.

My friends that already think know I'm crazy are probably about to start thinking I've gone off the deep end completely, but if the funds are available, buying a packaged deal like this sounds like an easy way to build up food storage to me. One order could feed a family of four for about 3 months (probably a little longer since the kids won't eat as much as the adults). If nothing else, such a thorough food storage would protect against a big part of the uncertainty that can come with sudden job loss. I've mentioned before that it is tangible things like shelter and food storage that make me feel physically secure. I'm not completely sure why, but once I had children and realized I was responsible for protecting them no matter what, I also became acutely aware that at the end of the day money is nothing more than fancy paper.

So back to this package from Costco. According to their website, the order includes:

* 8 Cans of Instant White Rice (48 servings per can)
* 12 Cans of Hard White Winter Wheat (44 servings per can)
* 3 Cans of 6 Grain Pancake Mix (50 servings per can)
* 2 Cans of Elbow Macaroni (45 servings per can)


* 6 Cans of Dehydrated Potato Chunks (42 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn (46 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Green Peas (41 servings per can)
* 1 Cans of Dehydrated Chopped Onions (45 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Mushroom Pieces (48 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Broccoli (47 servings per can)


* 2 Cans of Organic Apple Slices (48 servings per can)
* 2 Cans of Freeze-Dried Strawberries (45 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Blueberries (50 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Freeze-Dried Blackberries (49 servings per can)
* 2 Cans of Freeze-Dried Raspberries (48 servings per can)


* 6 Cans of Powdered Milk (43 servings per can)
* 3 Cans of Chocolate Drink Mix (48 servings per can)


The taste and texture of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is consistent with real meat, making it a great addition to vegetarian diets

* 3 Cans of Bacon TVP (47 servings per can)
* 3 Cans of Beef TVP (44 servings per can)
* 3 Cans of Chicken TVP (45 servings per can)
* 2 Cans of Taco TVP (42 servings per can)
* 6 Cans of Pinto Beans (49 servings per can)
* 1 Can of Black Beans (49 servings per can)
* 2 Cans of Lima Beans (49 servings per can)
* 3 Cans of Lentils (52 servings per can)
* 6 Cans of Whole Eggs (236 servings per can)

Cooking Basics

* 2 Cans of White Sugar (46 servings per can)
Information from the Costco website

Each of the cans is a #10 sized can (gallon-sized), so you can see it's quite a lot of food. It's all also shelf stable for many many years. Of course, ideally, you would add this food into your food rotation and periodically replace it with fresher items both so you have fresher food in your storage at all times and so you get comfortable cooking with the ingredients. One of the bigger "problems" I can see is there is no flour. They provide you with wheat instead, which is the only feasible way to store flour long term, so you would need a food mill. They also don't specify if the milk is fat free, but I'd suspect it is, and I'm not sure if you can make cheese from non-fat powdered milk. Not that cheese is a necessity, but it's something I'd sure miss if I had to give it up completely. And lastly, I wouldn't truly use this as a full food storage, you would want some other things like salt, oil, vinegar and baking soda that would come in handy. Overall though, it's a dang good start that's easy to buy.

Some websites that would help you out on how to store and use this food:
Everday Food Storage
The Food Storage section of the Daily Survival Blog
Food Storage Made Easy

Daddy's Back!

There are some things daddies can do that hugely pregnant mommas just can' play Twister ;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sierra's Birthday

Sierra's birthday is coming up and with the lack of swimming this summer (it's just not warm enough in Montana the vast majority of the time), she was determined to have a pool party. So I waited as long as I thought we could and then we did the party early (and it was still too cold! Probably should've done it one week earlier). I wasn't up to planning/hosting a big party, plus Sedona didn't get a party this year, so we kept it small and just invited her two best friends over to swim at the hotel pool. I think it's safe to say she had a good time.
The girls working on their ballerina sticker books at the end of the party

And I have to share this picture from earlier in the month. We attended a fundraiser for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy at the local Ben & Jerry's and the girls had a great time running around chasing their friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting..."

This baby is still crazy active. Josh thinks she's more active than her sisters were, but I disagree. She has long periods of sleep where she's very still, but when she's awake, she makes LOTS of STRONG movements. She seems to be a bit irritable too--this morning I popped my back, which woke her up (she usually sleeps in quite a bit) so she went crazy kicking and shifting around, then she got the hiccups, which seemed to tick her off even more. She's now calmed down and gone back to sleep.

For a couple of weeks, I was having a lot of contractions. They were manageable and not all that much more than what I had with the girls, but being on my own with the kids made it hard to rest when I needed to. So Josh made arrangements to come back early and he's been here almost a week now. The difference is amazing...maybe 1/10th the contractions I was having before he got here. We've settled into a nice little routine. I make the trip around town in the morning dropping the girls off at school and him off at the lab, then I go back around later to pick everyone up. Having help to get the girls ready in the morning and calmed down at night and being able to run errands without getting them in and out of the car makes all the difference.

Everything else is going really well, overall. This is my last week off before we start weekly visits for prenatal check-ups.

32 weeks along
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