Some nights, sleep is elusive. Everything is fine, and I'm not telling you so you'll sympathize with me. I'm telling you because I'm hoping this post will make some sense.
(I can't help writing when the urge to write + time + quiet happens all at the same time.)
Several weeks ago, my area was hit with an intense hail storm. My son woke up completely wide-eyed and scared. My house sounded like it might tumble down. Cars were declared totaled and roofs were torn up.
This turned out to be quite a gift for my family because it meant we were able to get more cash for our car than we would have otherwise. This meant we could turn it in for another, BETTER car. My husband did all the legwork on this, and we ended up with a mini van.
I kind of can't believe we are a MINI VAN family, but as of yesterday, we are. I love it. Nolan loves it. I could rave about all the features, and I might if you ask me in person.
But the most exciting part for me is one of the reasons why we ended up going with a mini van: I am currently between 35 and 36 weeks pregnant. I can't wait to meet the baby girl that's been forming inside me for months. I know things will be chaos for awhile, and I will be so tired, but I feel like this part of pregnancy where I don't sleep when I really should and need to sometimes is kind of preparing me for that. Kind of.
Selah's going to show up, and we're going to get into a little bit of a groove with her. Maybe. We'll try.
A few months after she comes, we're going to start respite care with our foster-adoption agency of choice, Cobys. This means that some weekends we will be hosting a child whose foster parents need a little bit of a break for whatever reason, and we will need to fit THREE car seats and THREE kids in one car.
I am so excited about this! I am trying to put into words why I am excited. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, but I'm not sure that I can do it adequately.
I'm sure I will be back some time later to write about how hard life is and all of that. And again, I'm not going to want sympathy, just a place to write about what life is for me right then/now. But this? A house full of kids who are LOVED (imperfectly, of course. Please don't misread me and think I am declaring myself Mary Poppins over here.), personalities and chaos and lots of coffee to help me keep up with it all? It's kind of how I envisioned life for some time now, and it seems like it's happening.
I had my follow-up appointment at the diabetes center yesterday, a meeting with a potential doula (whom we've decided to hire!) last night and a non-stress test today.
My calendar is full of appointments, which serve to prepare (as best as I can) for the day I get to hold my sweet Selah girl in my arms and break up my days- making my time with Nolan feel richer and more intentional.
I hardly know my girl's story right now, yet it's being written as she moves and grows in my body.
I go to non-stress tests every week because she's measuring small. She's monitored for movement, fluid, and heart beat and she always passes with flying colors (the technician called her "scrappy" today.)
I go to ultrasounds because of a concern that my placenta is not delivering the nutrition she needs to her tiny little body. So far, the concern has not been high enough to warrant early delivery, but that may happen.
I go to diabetic appointments because my placenta is causing my hormones to go haywire and cause my body to be unable to process glucose like it should.
I just started going to the chiropractor to get everything aligned and prepare for labor, I eat well and keep a food diary, I workout and take a prenatal vitamins. I drink a lot of water, read up, meet with a holistic nutritionist, and go to my regular prenatal appointments.
I am doing the best I can to take care of a tiny life I have yet to meet face to face, and then there's no more check lists. Just one foot in front of the other. Just waiting and doing my best and waiting and trusting. Trusting in Selah's story that's being written right now, even while I can't see the details. While I have more questions than answers.
Everything will be okay. I don't quite know what that means. This pregnancy has been a bit of a complicated one, so while I'd like her to be born in perfect health (and I will do and have done everything in my power to try to make that happen), maybe that's not her story. I'm being entrusted with a breath-taking masterpiece of a child who is no more or less of a masterpiece if she isn't born in a healthiest-baby-on-the-block kind of way. No matter what happens, she will forever be part of my heart wrapped up in skin and hair and a soul. Selah has a story, and it is a beautiful one.
I am 34 (almost 35!) weeks pregnant, and just want to hold my sweet girl and know she's okay. But for now? It's one step at a time for this mama.
Of course I would have to have gestational diabetes. I have challenged myself with no-sugar-added, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and maybe a couple of other forms of eating. Why not throw a diabetic diet to the mix?
You guys, I have to admit, this one is tripping me up a bit. I guess the others have, too, but if I accidentally ate something that wasn't sanctioned on one of my other experiments, the consequences weren't as in my face as taking care of a growing baby that is depending on me to nurture her right this very moment.
The being responsible for a human life while simultaneously needing to relax, let things go, and not assume ALL the responsibility is a forever tension of motherhood.
I guess I am practicing.
That's what pregnancy is, in part. It's practice for the time when I will be holding a new, sweet life in my hands and making much more frequent, conscious decisions for that life.
I stress out when my numbers get too high. (I am learning to control them with diet, but too slowly for my liking.)
I stress out about Selah's blood sugar being too low at birth (something that could happen) and her being taken away from me before I can snuggle her to my heart's desire (something I have no idea if it could happen until I actually talk to my OB about it).
I stress that I won't be able to completely control my diabetes with diet. I worry that I will have to take insulin and that insulin will lead to earlier induction dates and pain and other consequences I don't want (again, I need to actually have a conversation with my OB about this. )
And then I just have to practice letting it all go. I am doing the best I can, and as I learn more, I make better choices. That's what motherhood is. That's what life is.
"When you know better, you do better." -Maya Angelou
If you have any questions related to gestational diabetes for me, please leave them below. I'll write a follow-up Q&A post.
I've read Jen Hatmaker's book 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess 3 or 4 times now, and it has really influenced the way I view stuff.
One thing that keeps echoing in my bones is that we just don't need to consume the way we do. We buy a lot of stuff that ends up being barely used, hauled off to Goodwill, or finding homes in our attics and basements. We buy at the expense of basis human rights of others because we don't have to see how poorly they are treated or because that shirt is so cute and it's on sale.
Let me tell you something. I am not rolling in money. I don't buy all handmade or local. I shop at Target.
And sometimes I need clothes. Sometimes I want to look cute. Halfway buried in me is a woman who loves to combine clothes in creative, Sarah-like ways.
For the moment, I have chosen to work part time at most, which means cutting out some luxuries. This means that buying clothes from the amazing cooperatives that create living-wage jobs for women who make adorable handmade clothes is usually not an option for me. Target prices are much more appealing when everything is looking worn and I don't have the patience to rifle through Goodwill's racks while keeping an eye on my toddler.
But that new super-cheap shirt is so cheap because whoever made it is getting paid pennies an hour for t00 many hours, barely if able to support his or her family. Plus, we really don't need to tell manufactures that we need more stuff. We don't need anyone creating new, poorly-made, poorly-obtained stuff because WE told them with our dollars to make it.
So. What to do about clothes?
For those with more patience than I have, I do think consignment shops are the way to go.
When I have a little more money to spend, I love to buy from places like Krochet Kids and Nancy's Gone Green when I can. (I do recommend checking Nancy's Gone Green regularly if you're the shopping kind. They frequently have sales and even have a Re:awakened section of gently used clothes.)
I've been thinking about alternatives to clawing my eyeballs out while trying to find the diamonds in the rough at my local consignment store or handing over more dollars than I can afford to. This is what I've come up with:
Clothing swap. I'm still on the fence about this one because most times, I buy just a few items of clothing at a time and wear them til I should really transform them into house rags, but I do think this could work well for some people. Just weed out all your clothes that are still in good condition
thredUp. It's an online thrift store that does the work for filtering through too old/too worn used clothes for you. You can shop at any hour, of course, AND they offer credit for your clothes if they meet criteria. I have yet to use it, but you can read a full review from someone who has here.
Nancy's Gone Green sales and consignments.
What do you think? Do you have any more ideas for me?
With about 8 weeks to go until we all get to meet Selah Marie, here's a snap shot of life at this point:
Appointments! My calendar is filling up with appointments. I am scheduling adjustments at the chiropractor, non-stress tests, bi-weekly check-ups, self care appointments (like finally getting my hair cut and using the prenatal pampering package Tim bought me for mothers day), play dates, work events, exercise, family time and friend time. I think it's important to not have every moment planned so I have time to show up in people's lives to show up to listen, deliver meals, baby sit, be present, and whatever, so I'm leaving space for that, too.
I feel like I am forgetting something.
Nolan. He is now signed up for a gymnastics class which starts a couple of weeks before Selah is expected to be born and goes a few weeks afterward. I've promised him hot wheels cars when she arrives and we talk about how much she's going to love him. He uses my giant belly as a pillow and loves to give it (Selah) raspberries.
Parenting has been a bit of a challenge lately because the sunshine gives him MORE energy while I am noticeably slowing down. He often asks to go outside as soon as his eyes open in the morning and he loves to test his boundaries over and over and over. As tired as I am by the end of the day, I am soaking up the one-on-one time. We've been exploring new-to-him parks and playgrounds, making new friends, and going on lots of walks and Mommy-Nolan dates.
Baby Prep. We still have quite a bit to do before Selah arrives, but I'm not too concerned about it right now. In a few weeks, I'll start making huge batches of our meals so I can freeze most of them, packing our bags, and organizing and decorating Selah's room. We have a place to sleep, clothes, food (I plan to breastfeed), and diapers (we have some newborn, but I am hoping to cloth diaper this time around), so I am confident we will be fine.
Celebration. What's better than celebrating life? Let's spend more time commemorating birthdays, friendships, and long summer days. Last weekend, my mom threw me an intimate little shower made up of some of my closest friends and family. I was spoiled with great food, hours with people I adore, cards full of fill-up-my heart words, and generous gifts.
This is how I spent most of my shower. Feet up, food nearby, relaxing with women who know and love me so well. In a few months, I'll be doing the same thing- but with a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream in hand!
I spent a lovely weekend in DC with Tim and Nolan. My brother-in-law graduated LLM school and he and my sister are moving to Dallas, Texas in just a few weeks. The weekend was FULL and I would do it again tomorrow, if I could, but TODAY we are totally chilling. Windows open, sun shining, hanging out in the garden, playing, feet up. Days like this are blissful when they come after lots of activity.
My sunshine boxes are coming together! So far, I have a couple of bright yellow buckets I picked up from the Target dollar section and some daisy and sunflower seeds. Two talented friends are making yellow earrings to include, and I plan to order some Yummy Earth lemon drops to include. Which reminds me...
This afternoon, Tim texted me to tell me about a homeless man hanging out near by. He does this from time to time, and I love that he passes on the opportunity that I would otherwise not see. I grabbed a couple of pre-made care packages and a large, cold bottle of water and headed out the door with Nolan, telling him,"we have a present to deliver, and I could use your help." We couldn't find the man, which we were both disappointed about, but it did get me thinking that it would not be a bad idea to be more intentional when I head out the door. Grab a reusable shopping bag (I often stop when I wasn't planning to), some cold water, some necessities. Just in case. It doesn't hurt, and it certainly could help a little.
I've been tracking my blood sugar with a glucometer in lieu of drinking glucola to test for gestational diabetes. I still have a few more days left in the required 2-week period, but I've discovered that my sugars shoot above what is considered normal when I don't eat a certain way. Although I don't have an official diagnosis yet, those numbers indicate that I have gestational diabetes. I was down about it when I realized it. That kind of thing can make a mama feel like she is deficient as a mother, but wallowing was mostly short-lived because I've got a baby to take care of. I don't have another prenatal appointment til the end to the month, so I decided to make changes to my diet right away. I talked to two friends who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and did my own research. After a little trial and error and paying attention to my body and the numbers, I think I have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Bonus? I'm eating really, really well, and it feels good.
What's going on with you lately?
I believe that most of us want to be a part of making the world a better place. We want to see broken things made whole, the deep spaces in hearts healed. We know we only have so much time, and we want to leave our mark.
I am a stay at home mom who works for fair-trade-local-farmers-treat-the-people-AND-earth-well kind of store on the side. I have limited funds but a lot of antsi-ness to DO. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
As I drove to work yesterday, I let out a simple prayer, "God, show me what step I should take next."
A few hours later, I saw it. It was only one step, to be sure. Nothing big, but it screamed THIS IS IT.
It's happening today, and in case you're looking for your one little next step, I know I have to share it with you.
I discovered the Angels and Warriors Love Flash Mob. Angels and Warriors gathers small donations to meet needs in a very tangible way. No one is allowed to donate more than $25- it's hundreds and thousands of people pulling together pour out a simple act of love.
Today's love flash mob will be poured out on five families. The first is a little girl who lost who mother and the following four families will be receiving funds in honor of the woman who died:
Tara is currently fighting cancer and has two kids. Funds will be raised for Tara today to pay for her son's preschool and pay for her mortgage.
Eileen is a teacher who is changing the lives of her students and is also currently fighting cancer. Funds will be raised for Eileen to be able to pursue treatment.
Amanda is married with 3 kids. To date, she has raised over $40,000 for other people fighting cancer. Amanda is not expected to live much longer, so funds will be raised to send her and her family on a beach vacation together.
The last woman on the list today is simultaneously fighting cancer and for custody of her baby boy. For legal reasons, details are limited.
ALL of the funds go toward the people I'm telling you about today. Everyone who works for Angels and Warriors works for free, so there is NO OVERHEAD.
For more information, check out the Momastery blog. Angels and Warriors are doing something beautiful and offering to take us along for the ride. I'm off to donate...please tell me if you've chosen to join me!
Last weekend, I made a comment about being excited to work toward a "hot body" after Baby Girl is born. You know what my husband said? Among other encouraging things, he reminded me that I will miss pregnancy when it's gone so I should enjoy it.
Here I am, 28 weeks pregnant. It is hot outside and only getting hotter. I want to wear shorts and tanks in effort to stay cool while continually growing out of my clothes, and sometimes I just feel out of control of my body.
In a lot of ways, I am. And that's okay. I can do what I can do and then let the rest go. Kind of life parenting. Kind of like life, right?
All the while, there is a little masterpiece growing inside of me, and I am bonding with her as the days go by. Friends and family and friends of family and family of friends are celebrating because NEW LIFE IS HAPPENING. It's beautiful and it's exciting and it's suspenseful because who is she going to be? I would never have guessed Nolan's personality, and I'm excited to learn hers.
PS. Her name is Selah Marie. It took me awhile to say tell because it sounds so much like my own name, but we knew her name is Selah for a long time. Marie is my middle name along with part of the name of two women I adore- my own mother and my grandmother, Charline.
A few more facts about this pregnancy:
1. My sister is due with her first baby (also a girl!) a couple of weeks before Selah is due. Did I already mention this? It's been wonderful to be able to compare notes through our pregnancies so far.
2. I opted to use a glucometer (test my blood sugar via a skin prick system) vs. drink glucola for my glucose test. My friend and holistic health coach, Kelly, encouraged me to go with my gut on this one, and I'm so glad I did. It's been fascinating to get a different look at how food effects my body.
3. For exercise and labor prep, I am currently walking, doing a belly dancing for labor dvd, practicing prenatal yoga, and doing The Perfect Pregnancy workout. Kelly is helping me make my health and self care a priority. The commitment is a little more of a challenge than I anticipated, and I'm grateful for the help. When mama's happy and healthy, the rest of the household is likely so, right? I am also drinking red raspberry leaf tea or a pregnancy blend for the health of my uterus.
4. A few favored foods right now: cheese. hardboiled eggs. chips. GIVE ME ALL THE SALT.
This is a day that reminds us to thank our moms and tell them we love them, right?
I happen to have a mom AND mother-in-law without whose love and care have made the life I live and love possible. I'm SO GRATEFUL for them.
I think the biggest thing about Mother's Day, for me, is it's really saying "all those behind-the-scenes/mundane/sacrificial things you do and we might not see or otherwise acknowledge? ... we want you to be appreciated for those. We know you're awesome, although we don't know or talk about EVERY detail why."
I'm a mother of a 2 1/2 year old with another on the way. Today's "my day," too, and I like it. It's sweet to know the world will acknowledge the work I do at least once a year. ..but I want to talk about the behind the scenes right now.
I might not say it just right, and I'm sorry for that, but here it is.
Because there are handfuls of people whose love, time, and energy are molding me into the mother I can be proud of. Parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, my husband. More than that and maybe too many to list, but certainly the whole "it takes a village" thing is true. I am a mother, but I am not doing this alone (even when I feel alone), and my family is better for it.
There are women who have said goodbye to babies and children who left too soon. Mothers who said goodbye to children they couldn't take care of in hopes their kids would live a better life.
There are people whose mothers aren't around today and women who mother children that aren't their own in official and unofficial ways.
There are men who are taking over the mothering roles and men (like mine) who encourage and enable women to be even better moms and grandparents who become mothers a second time around.
I am thinking of you today. Celebrating, honoring, and appreciating you. You aren't unseen. You are loved, and you are on my mind and in my heart today.
I'm 27 weeks pregnant and in full-swing of this preparing to mother TWO kids thing.
I can't say that's been the case my whole pregnancy. I'm been up and down with feelings and eating and exercise. I am grateful to have been able to allow myself to be where I was at and work through. I'm grateful to friends who just let me BE where I was at and to another very special woman who offered me free prenatal health coaching sessions and has helped me tremendously to move in a healthy direction mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I'm at a comfy little spot of owning where I am and loving it. Also, the sun does not hurt the situation.
I'm the mother of a 2 1/2 year old little boy we call Nolan, who keeps me laughing and on my toes. I'm also the mother of a girl who seems to have staked out as much space in my belly as she possibly can. It has been hard to imagine having the same heart space for her as I have for my firstborn, but I'm in love with her now, and I'm so excited to meet her face to face.
And when I'm excited, I plan.
I'm some kind of hybrid of a planner and a scatter-brained creative, so I make LOTS of lists to check off.
A few lists I'm working on right now:
Freezer Meals. I'm looking for meals made of whole ingredients, preferably more on the vegetarian side of things, and dairy-free or using some form of goat cheese. (Newborns tend to be lactose-intolerant for the first two months.)
Tips I learn in my (amazing!) prenatal yoga class. My instructor is always handing out useful information, like how to know how to stay home as long as possible before going in to the hospital or things I can request or refuse. I think I'm going to remember it all, but let's be honest, pregnancy brain is real.
To do before birth. This is mostly about the freezer meals (I love to eat!), getting Baby Girl's room ready, getting Nolan ready, packing for the hospital (I'm especially excited about putting together this kit), workouts to prepare for labor, and stock up on a few things (like diapers! I'm still undecided on whether I want to go with cloth or not).
And not related to labor- what to put in my sunshine boxes? I'm working on putting together boxes of cheery and bright yellow or orange items that I can put together and give away at a moment's notice. I pilfered this idea from Pinterest, but the ideas I've seen are full of food from companies I'd rather not support, so I'm trying to come up with my own ideas. So far, I've got handmade earrings and Yummy Earth Lemon Drops. I'd love to put together boxes made up of organic, local, and/or fair trade products that aren't SUPER expensive. It's a tall order, I know. I'll keep you posted .
Any ideas for me? What are your favorite freezer meals?