Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where?

God,

What direction do you have for me? I am unsure, yet filled with hope. I need doors to close, and only the ones you want me to walk through to open. When decisions involve my family and money, it's much more difficult to choose a path less guarunteed than another...but then, is even a "regular" job stable?

Speak to me. I need to know how to proceed, and I feel that I need to start the process of these multiple income streams sooner than later so that I have a river by the time we need it. Open the floodgates for me, Lord. Show me the way.

Rachel

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Boy Name

If you are a boy, your name will be...

Timothy

One who honors God.
After Dad's baby brother

Ethan

Strong. Constancy.
Because you are strong and steadfast.
And because God keeps putting this name in my heart for you.

Joshua

Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves.
After Mom's baby brother.

Sleepy Survival

I'm exhausted today. LoveBug and I were out late (8pm) and then waited for John to finish working on something so the two could play together for a few minutes before I put her to bed. I didn't get to sleep until around 10pm, which is hours past when I need to go to sleep. LoveBug woke up at 2:30am needing to nurse, so I got back to bed again around 3am. Up again a little after 5am, this time with her in bed with us...meaning she had to be attached to me at all times so as to not have a fit. *sigh*

I just want to drink a ton of cold water and curl up in my bed. All alone. And sleep.

Otherwise, I guess I'm doing fine. My belly seems to be getting bigger every day and I've refused to step on the scale since the weekend--I'm afraid I have probably started edging past my pre-pregnancy weight now. Oh well, it was bound to happen. We're 18-weeks along today. I still don't have the future figured out, nor am I keeping up with the present yet. Just surviving. Sometimes, that's all you can do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Babies

Dear Monkey,

You are such a part of my life already. As I sit here in my boring cubicle, I'm feeling you squirm around inside of me and it makes my day so much brighter. It also made me think about the fact that I won't have to call you "Monkey" for much longer. In 15 days, I'll know your name instead!

In my dreams as of late, your gender wasn't obvious. What has been obvious, though, is the connection between you and your sister. In my dreams, I am holding both of you. We are all snuggled together, whether sitting or walking. Sometimes, I'm holding you and LoveBug wants me to pick her up, too. So I do. I love these dreams, because to me, they affirm that I will be with both of you. They affirm that you two will be close and have that special sibling bond that so many families seem to have a lack of. I love knowing that I will be able to equally and joyously be The Mama to both of my babies.

So, little Monkey, whatever sort of baby you are, I just want you to know that your mama, dad, and big sister are patiently and joyously awaiting for you to join us. We couldn't be complete without you.

Love,
The Mama

Multiple Streams

If Monkey was actually to come on time, I will have 23 weeks and 1 day from now before leaving my current job. Thankfully, I will have a six-week cushion where I'll receive almost full pay (thanks to the sick/personal/vacation time I've been saving), a five-week semi-cushion where I'll receive short term disability (it's like $155.00/week, so not much, but every penny helps!), and a 12-week total cushion where my job will be protected by the FMLA so that I can come back to work here if *gulp* things don't work out for me to be home.

The cushions make me feel a little better, but the fact that I need to figure out a sustainable income from home before the cushion time is up looms in the back of my head every day. I always have 101 ideas of home based businesses that I could run, but each one somehow is shot down either by a lack of funding, lack of time, or other large hurdle that's uncovered in the planning. Lately, I've been hearing a lot about having multiple "streams" of income and how this is a better decision than a traditional job because they all of your eggs aren't in one basket, so to speak. Since this idea keeps popping up everywhere I turn, and I know that I need to be home when this baby arrives, I've decided to change my focus from developing one idea to developing multiple ideas, or "streams."

I'm going to start a list on the side column of this blog to keep track of my ideas and to encourage me in thinking that this dream I have really is possible.

With God, nothing is impossible!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Blessingway

"Just as a tree grows best when anchored firmly in the earth, so can a pregnant mother feel strong and capable when supported by a sisterhood of nurturing friends."
-April Lussier

I think every baby should have a shower. There. I said it. In Upstate, NY, it's not common to have baby showers for any but your first child. Doesn't matter if your subsequent children are a different gender or different time of year. Only if you're lucky (meaning have really close friends or family who think every new baby is worth partying for) will you get a second shower to help you collect your newly needed items.

When I've heard of women having showers for subsequent children, I've also heard complaining on the guests' part. Why does she need another shower? She must already have everything she needs. I gave her a lot last time! These comments make me uncomfortable to think about having a shower for my second child. Good grief, I wouldn't want someone feeling obligated or unhappy to give my child something!

I guess I look at things differently. For one, it's not like you need to give a gift when someone has multiple children. I think a home cooked meal, a nice note of encouragement and support, or a coupon for a free afternoon's worth of house cleaning would THRILL any expectant mother! Secondly, when did our focus for showers move from the coming baby to ourselves and our pocket books? The point of a shower shouldn't be simply to get gifts--instead, it should be to celebrate a new life, a beautiful birthing, and a changed family.

I love the Blessingway model of celebration, and think it's a beautiful compliment or alternative to our standard baby showers. Started by the Navajo Native Americans, a blessingway is like a shower, but it focuses on the mother instead of the baby. While blessingways were ceremonies designated for all sorts of different life passages in the Native American culture, the most common one still held today is for pregnancy/birthing.Women who are close to the expecting mother all come together in the days before her birthing to bless her with encouragement, prayer, support, and love. There may be prayer, singing, foot washing, or special readings at a blessingway, holding firm to the traditional feeling of a ceremony. Belly casting, bead giving, and henna painting are all common activities with the purpose of empowering the mother for birthing and to celebrate her pregnancy.

In my research, I've found that many doulas and a few midwives offer blessingway services. They'll help you organize a blessingway and come run it to ensure smooth flowing from one activity to the next and a positive environment for the participants. Even for people who have never experienced a blessingway before, though, there is plenty of information available on the Internet to help you plan your own celebration.

The basics of a blessingway: http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/blessingway.html
The blessingway's Navajo history: http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/navajo/BlessingWay.php3
Outline of a blessingway ceremony: http://www.birthbeads.com/Blessingway.html

Unfortuntately, I don't know anyone who has either thrown or been the recipient of a blessingway before. I'd love to hear first hand the effects on a mother-to-be from behind upheld in this very spiritual and joyful way in the days before her birthing!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baby Wiggles

Lovin' feeling my little Monkey wiggle all around and try to push his (or her) way out of my belly. :-)

This is the best part of pregnancy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Time is ticking...

I haven't been feeling well this week. Naseous, crampy...I even threw up on Monday in the car. The gross thing is that the bucket (with lid) is still sitting on the floor of my car. I just keep forgetting about it when I get home. Yuck. I've got to get on top of things in my life, geesh. There's a lot of stuff going around at work, so I don't know if I have a mild version of something or if this is pregnancy induced.

Amara slept all night from 9:20pm - just before 7:00 am! I haven't had 8 hours of sleep in...I don't even know! It was great and I really need it to happen every night, because I am already feeling totally worn out.

My body has undergone changes lately. For one, I have a belly. I couldn't even button my pants this morning and had to rig up two hair ties to keep the pants in place. I'm trying to get by with two pairs of maternity pants and two pairs of draw string pants, but it's difficult. I also don't have any warm maternity tops, so I'm doing my best to wear bigger shirts with layers. It's working for now, and I'm hoping I can hold out until spring or summer which I have shirts for! Frankly, I want any "extra" money to be spent on paying down debt and buying the things we will need for our babies.

I'm 17 weeks pregnant now, and I'm getting worried that I won't have anything ready for this new kid. I am a failure at maintaining anything but a disasterous home, have no time to make anything for this little one (though I am DETERMINED to either make a quick quilt or some cloth baby shoes!), and just feel so worn out by the time I get home from work and picking up Amara, that even figuring out something for dinner is a huge task (it doesn't help that I can't keep up with the insane amount of dishes, either, nor that the kitchen is ice cold and I don't want Amara out there for long--and I have to wear a coat!).

Okay, so here's my "I'm accomplishing something" list to try to encourage myself:

* Last weekend, I made double batches of cheeseburger pie and an upside down pineapple cake which will go into the freezer. One meal down! My ideal thought is to freeze one meal/week so that I have a decent stockpile before Baby Monkey shows up.

* I have been dilligent at working room by room to get my house organized, even if it's still a disaster. But the bathroom is a lot better, Amara's room is up to date (other than the closet), and I've been faithful in preparing for my Life More Simply blog's "Organize My House!" event.

* I have spent time snuggling and playing with Amara, who will all too soon not want to play with me or who will want to but I can't because I'm taking care of a littler baby. So I consider time with her to be well spent even if it means I wasn't doing something else. I must keep this in perspective!

Yeah, that's it. A measily list of 2 real items. But it's a start, and that's all I can muster up at this point.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gender Dream #2

I found out yesterday at our WIC appointment that Amara's anemic. So now I'm concerned that either 1) she has a poor diet, or 2) she has something bigger going on that's causing the anemia. *sigh* If only mama's always had the answers.

In other news, my other little bugger is awake a LOT. I really would expect this little belly-baby to sleep more, but he is constantly rolling around and poking at me. I love it. :-) I had my second "gender" dream last night: I was in my parent's house in my old bedroom on the second story. The Civil War was going on outside, and instead of my small closet, I had a small stand up shower. I gave birth by myself in the shower, and wrapped the baby in a white cloth when we were done. I think he nursed and we took a nap before I went downstairs to show my family. They wanted to know how long he was and how much he weighed, at which I responded "well, I don't know, but we'd better find out because he's probably already lost weight!" We got out the baby scale, put him on it, and found out he was 2 lbs and some odd ounces heavy.

That was it. I'm the queen of weird pregnant dreams. This one could have been due to my sister recently having a slightly premature son, in which case I'm not convinced we can throw this dream in with the "determining the gender" pile. My sister's son was 7 lbs 1 oz, though, not 2ish lbs. So who knows. In 28 days from today I will know the name of my child and won't have to rely on dreams. :-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We are loved

God loves my family. I don't know why, because it seems like all we do is struggle and survive instead of thrive.

We've gotten our selves into some financial strains as of late. John hasn't had any carpentry jobs to help supplement my income, I haven't been working my second job too often (honestly, it's really tough for me to be pregnant, have a toddler, work 40 hours at my desk job and then pick up a 12 hour ambulance shift on the weekend), and then came the Holidays and me being too tired to cook at night when we get home between 4:15-6:00pm. All of these things led to more spending than usual with a lower income than usual, and then more convient-food (Subway, frozen pizza, and the drive-thru) has come about to our table due to my cooking inability and John's cooking refusal. *sigh*

We had planned on receiving the $8,000 first time home buyer's credit a few months ago. Of course, things took 16 weeks instead of 12, and then we were flagged for verification. Even though I sent the paperwork back THE DAY after we received it, here we are, a month later, and still no word. Unforuntately, we have been racking up credit card debt thanks to the financial situation above and then trying to make some needed home improvements. Well, the home improvements have stopped until we get more money, so our house isn't quite put together, and it's now time to start paying the credit cards...we had fully anticipated being able to pay everything off in full before it was even due, using the $8,000. Yeah. That didn't work out. So here we are, like the typical American, having spent more than we have. *sigh*

John called me two days ago and told me that we didn't have enough money to pay our bills this month. This, of course, sent him into an even deeper depression due to his feeling like a personal failure (thank you, economy that won't give him a job!). It breaks my heart to see him suffer like this...but God loves us, and continues to provide even though I feel like if we  were smarter somehow, we wouldn't be in this situation.

The same day that John said we couldn't pay all of our bills, I went home and opened mail from the DDSO only to find out that our HEAP money went through. Hooray! So we don't have to pay our $120.00 gas bill this month. Then, I found a bag of stuff that I still had a receipt for from Wegmans, so I'll take that back and it'll be another $30.00. I listed some things on Craigslist, and have yet to hear from anyone, but who knows?

We're definitely not out of the hole, and I still don't have things worked out to pay our outstanding medical bills, start paying John's school loans back (we're on deferment for the 2nd time), or to pay for this college class and textbook that I need to get my CTRS (I'm enrolled for next semester--am trying to get financial aid to go through (though I'll still initially have to pay...with someone's borrowed money), and I'll try to get the textbook interloaned from the library until I can afford the $66.00 to buy one...hopefully). Let's not also forget the due credit card payments--not sure how we're tackling that, yet.

BUT. The HEAP and returnables help! Also, I have a WIC appointment today, which means we'll be able to get a few groceries to go along with the beans, pasta, and frozen chicken we're surviving on for another 3.5 weeks. I just looked up the food packages we'll be receiving, and I actually got tears in my eyes from how incredibly helpful this will be right now:

For Amara:

Grains

Two 18 ounce boxes iron-fortified cereal;
Two pounds whole wheat bread; or Other whole grain options.


Vegetables and Fruits
Two 64 ounce containers vitamin C-rich juice
$6 cash value voucher for fruits and veggies


Dairy

Four gallons of non-fat (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk (whole milk for 1-2 year olds);
More allowed substitutions.


Protein
One dozen eggs;
One pound dried beans or peas; or Four 15 ounce cans beans or peas; or 18 ounces of peanut butter.


Pregnant Mama:

Grains
 Two 18 ounce boxes iron-fortified cereal;
 One pound whole wheat bread; or Other whole grain options.

Vegetables and Fruits
Three 12 ounce cans frozen vitamin C-rich juice;
$8 cash value voucher for vegetables and fruits

Dairy
5 1/2 gallons of non-fat (skim); or low-fat (1%) milk.
More Allowed Substitutions

Protein
One dozen eggs;
One pound dried beans or peas; Or four 15 ounce cans of beans or peas;
18 ounces of peanut butter.


Thank you, Jesus! I'm so glad that we are loved regardless of our actions, abilities, or attitudes!

16 - 1 day Checkup

We had our almost-16 weeks check up yesterday. I was measuring at 15 cm, am 1lb less than my first weigh-in, and no problems noted. I had just told our MW that I think I've got a pretty active kid inside when I laid down so she could find the heart beat. It took a while to find it because the baby kept kicking the doppler and moving away, which I thought was pretty darn cute; and it just confirmed my belief that I really do have an athlete in there even though his kicks aren't strong yet. I've been feeling pressure changes, lumps, bumps, and nudges since about 14 weeks. The bumps are slowly developing into "pops" now, and I'm expecting those "thud" type kicks any time. :-)

I say "he" because I had my first gender dream last week. This is the first dream I've had where I saw my baby's face and clearly knew the gender. I had two awful miscarriage dreams early on in which I saw the baby's head at least, but I refuse to count death dreams towards figuring out what I'm having. So this was my first gender dream that I'm counting. In it, I was holding a beautiful baby wrapped in a colorful blanket. I went to introduce my son to another person, when the baby opened his mouth and flashed a full set of teeth. Yes, my child was born with all of his teeth.

Maybe we're having a boy? Hopefully a toothless one at that. :-)

Exciting news: February 11th will be our ultrasound!

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