Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pigs are flying


For the last year or so my Bloglovin feed has been exploding with personal stories of people who have participated in the Whole30 program and have found it to be immensely beneficial to their health and sense of well-being.

(For those of you aren't familiar, Whole30 is a program that requires participants to abstain from all grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar for a period of 30 days, which allegedly "resets" your system and makes you feel ha-mazing--after you are finished with the sugar withdrawal period, of course.)

And for the last year I have been sort of skimming over those posts, because pasta is delicious, especially with a cream sauce, and whyyyy on earth would you do that to yourself? I had zero intention of ever trying it myself, especially not when hugely pregnant.

But lately I have been especially conscious of how crappy my food choices are making me feel, specifically in wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels and crappy sleep quality. Being in my best physical health is going to be a HUGE factor in how I deal with the stress of introducing a newborn into our household (in ~6 weeks, yikes).


The Whole30 program alleges to fix both of those problems, and a plethora of others. And all I have to do is give up sugar, grains, and dairy? Sign me up!

Actually that was a pretty tough call to make.

As a stay-at-home-mom of two toddlers, I'm kind of limited in the type of fun I can have during daylight hours. Due to being surrounded by impressionable young minds and grabby hands, anything I do for me must be able to be completed within ten seconds of dodging behind a closed door. So watching an episode of True Blood is a no-no. But wolfing down half a sleeve of Thin Mints works perfectly.

So you see my dilemma.

But ultimately Nemo and I decided to give the program a go, not just for our own health but to try to create a healthy family food culture.

My worries going into this were that I wouldn't ever feel full, that I would be a raging maniac without sugar, and that the kids would go on a hunger strike.

It turns out that I may have been worried about all the wrong things.

 Noni actually ate three of these Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups the other day. Like whoa.

After a more or less successful Day 1, I was ready to call it quits. Not because I was hungry or that I missed ice cream and Indian food, but because I had grossly underestimated the time that would be required to cook all of this delicious and nutritious food THREE TIMES A BLESSED DAY.

All the time I spent planning, reading, and pinning, never once did I stop and remind myself, "But, Eva, you HATE to cook, and you would rather eat glass than wash more dishes than you absolutely have to". I blame the pregnancy brain.

We are now on Day 8, and things are smoothing out a little bit. Cravings and hunger have been intense but manageable, the kids are eating their vegetables in unprecedented amounts, and practice has made...well, not perfect, but at least better the whole process of cooking and cleaning up.


In just 22 days we are going to start eating grain and dairy products again,  hopefully in more moderate amounts than before we started the program, but we'll wait until Easter to get back on the sugar train. Totally doable! Unless Ender shows up early (her due date is 2 days after Easter)...in which case all bets are off:)


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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, February 13, 2015

{SQTs} It's OK, because...


This post contains seven things, so I thought I would link up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum. Totally legit.


So here I am, steadily limping my way through the third trimester.


And I do mean "limping". I have two pregnancy-related conditions that make it difficult to walk, and unfortunately treating either one of them tends to make the other worse so...I'll be on the couch if you need me.


At this point in my previous pregnancies I was neck-deep in finalizing my birth plans. After two unmedicated labors, I'm so over the "natural birth or bust" thing. I think Jenna at Call Her Happy said it best on her Facebook page when she said her birth plan was, "epidural and get baby out".

So, with the birth plan squared away, I am spending what spare energies I have coming up with an after-birth plan. Ew, that actually sounds kind of gross. Maybe it's better to call it a postpartum plan. Yeah. Let's go with that. 

Given my experience with postpartum depression the last time around, I have been more than a little bit anxious about the possibility of history repeating itself. Luckily, my post-hospitalization therapist, who was the best therapist in all the land, taught me a very helpful game called:

"But it's ok, because..."

Basically, when I'm freaking out, I have to hit pause and think of ways to complete that sentence. Stops an imminent anxiety attack like THAT. For me, anyway.

So, I'm freaking because Ender might be colicky
because I might get depressed
because I might not be able to sleep
because what if I'm not cut out for three kids?

Whew, take a breath. Those things might happen,

{1)
 But it's ok, because...I will not be breastfeeding.

I had breast reduction surgery in 2004, and while I knew this made exclusively breastfeeding my children a near impossibility, I was still determined to give CJ and Noni as much breastmilk as possible. This involved a lot supplements and prescription medication that messed with my head, round the clock pumping that messed with my sleep, and a constant sense that I still wasn't doing "enough".

Breastfeeding difficulties are strongly associated with the incidence of postpartum depression. True story. So Ender will be formula-fed from the start. No apologies. No regrets. It might not prevent a relapse of PPD, but it will certainly cut down on my stress level, which will help a lot.

{2}
 But it's ok, because... I'm closing my Etsy shop.

This decision was a tough one, but ultimately it will be for the best. While I still dearly love the creative aspect, the business end of the shop has always caused a lot of stress for me. So I am going back to sewing for fun for the time being. Or I might finally have a date with the mending pile. 

My shop will remain open through Saturday, February 28. After that I will put the shop in "Vacation" mode and I'll decide at a MUCH later date whether or not I will be coming back from that vacation.

I'm trying to offload some of my inventory before the shutdown to help pay for my trip to Edel, so I have discounted dresses to $25/shipped and onesies to $15/shipped. Get 'em while they last!



{3}But it's ok, because...
This here's a spring baby

Noni was born in the dead of winter, which made it hard to engage in the colic-busting activity of walking. We specifically planned tried for a spring/summer baby because that way, if we ended up with another baby who needs to be walked 12 hours a day, I can at least enjoy some fresh air.

{4} But it's ok, because...
I won't be pregnant anymore.

I have a bad habit of making up a future that stars my present self--who is pregnant and enjoys all the many lovely symptoms of that condition. Sure, I will have a newborn to care for, and it will be hard, but I will not have to do it while also contending with SPD, varicose veins, indigestion, lower back pain, food aversions and cravings, or the inability to roll over without assistance. That's a happy thought.
 
{5} But it's ok, because... 
I have family and friends who love me

Obviously I had wonderful people in my life before, but I had some sort of mental block that prevented me from "inconveniencing" them with my problems. Well that block is GONE, people.

{6} But it's ok, because... 
The kids are alright 

When Noni was born, CJ was still very much a baby and required constant interaction, supervision, and care...none of which I could provide, given Noni's colickiness. Now I have two "big" kids who can survive on fruit and string cheese and two diaper changes a day if need be.

Sure, they may WANT a lot of individualized attention but they are also content to watch a two hour block of SuperWhy! Also we splurged on tablets for Christmas, so...we're all set for a worst-case scenario.

{7} But it's ok, because...
Zoloft exists.

 My OB has been informed of my previous difficulties and she's got her prescription pad ready for me, should I need chemical intervention. She would actually prefer to put me back on Zoloft before the baby is born, but to be perfectly honest while Zoloft makes me feel pretty great mentally and emotionally, it makes the rest of me feel pretty crappy. So we're going to take it day by day, and if it turns out that I DO need it to cope, it's just a phone call away.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

All About that Cat

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram have already heard of our dear cat Pippin's brush with death, but I thought I would pound out the long version here for posterity.

From the day we brought our cat Pippin home from the shelter in a year and a half ago, he has perfectly personified his literary namesake.


He's hairy, loves to eat, has huge feet, is incredibly sweet, and gets into more than his fair share of trouble.

The kids love him, and he loves them back--which is to say he indulgently lets them carry him, chase him, etc. That's love by cat standards, right?

Everyone who's met him loves him. He's just so dang cuddly and entertaining and ridiculous.



Pippin and Noni are friends too, I just can't seem to find pictures of the two of them together.

Anyway, a few weeks ago we started stepping in a lot of cat barf. If you know cats, you know they just love to barf, especially in heavy-traffic areas. I mean, wtf? They hide under beds all day but choose to hurl right outside the bedroom door. so, given the nature of cats, we took the appearance of barf with a grain of salt and at first didn't think too much of it, but then Pippin started to act very un-Pippin like. He was skulking a lot and not participating  in his favorite activities, including mercilessly teasing our other cat, trying to trip me as I go down the stairs, and photobombing my bump selfies.



We thought, maybe it was something he ate? Maybe a hairball? Who can tell with cats?
Eventually he started looking so pathetic that I bit the bullet and made his first vet appointment here in our new town, then I got SO worried that I called back to make an emergency appointment. I really didn't think it could wait until Friday.


Everything was just starting to feel very familiar--just a few weeks after I was released from the hospital in 2013, the cat Nemo and I got when we were first married started acting very sick. A visit to the vet showed that she was in acute kidney failure, at a stage so advanced that we had to euthanize her. It hit me pretty hard.

When Pippin's bloodwork came back it was the exact same diagnosis as our previous cat--acute kidney failure, probably due to a toxin or a physical injury--and I immediately assumed the worst. Maybe it's the hormones, or maybe I just really like this cat, because I was an absolute wreck.

The thing about veterinary care is that it is super expensive, and I really struggled with shelling out the amount of money it would take to treat him ($1000+) with no guarantee that he would recover. The outlook was pretty grim, but we decided to gamble on him, since he seemed to be at a less advanced stage than the previous cat, he was still interested in eating and drinking, and the kids really like him, dammit.

Even so, you could have knocked me over with a feather when Pippin's bloodwork showed dramatic improvement the next morning. The vet was equally shocked--thanks dude.

It was a very happy day when we got to bring him home from the hospital. Unfortunately, the damage to his kidneys during this crisis is permanent, and he may continue to have some health problems because of it. But gosh am I glad that the kids didn't have to lose their best friend.


And I have definitely found a new appreciation for all the ways he brightens my life.


Cudding the Ender-Bump

But I still reserve the right to be grumpy with him when he tries to trip me on the stairs.
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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

{Kids} Noni Turns Two

So, Noni had a birthday recently.
 Noni at one.

 Noni at two.

I suspect that I'm *supposed* to say that this year has really flown by and that I can hardly believe how grown up she is. Well, I can't believe it--can't believe we finally made it past the baby stage! If you've read this blog before you'll know that Noni's babyhood was very challenging, to say the least, but lately it seems like things might be turning around. She's got acres of personality and grows more delightful by the day.

I am going to cautiously say that she is starting to grow out of her stranger (read:anyone but me) anxiety. She recently let her gymnastics instructor, who we have seen every week for 4 months, pick her up. It was big, let me tell you.


 

Her primary hobby continues to be screaming at me for not holding her 24/7, but over the past year she has developed quite a few ancillary loves, including: Pigs. ElsaAnna (Frozen). Beef Stroganoff. Pigtails. Winnie-the-Pooh. Fashion accessories. She is a very well-rounded little girl.

When I was getting the kids up from their nap/quiet times the day before Noni's birthday I discovered that CJ had actually fallen asleep, so I grabbed the opportunity to sit Noni down and ask her some questions while know-it-all big brother was otherwise occupied.


Me: Ok, Miss Noni. How old are you?
Her: Two
Me: You're two today?No, how old are you right now?
Her: Pink.
Me: Mmkay...

Me: Where do you live?
Her: Ride in pwane.
Me: Oh really, a plane? But where do you live?
Her: On pwane.

Me: What is your favorite thing to do?
Her: ...

Me: What makes you happy?
Her: ...

Me: What makes you sad?
Her: Happy!

Me: What makes you scared?
Her: dfjghlksdgbbv (she usually speaks very clearly but I could not for the life of me understand what she said)

Me: What's your favoite book?
Her: ElsaAnna

Me: Who do you love?
Noni: ...
Me: Do you love Pippin?
Her: Wuv Pippin
Me: Do you love CJ?
Her: Yeah
Me: Who else? Do you love Daddy?
Her: Daddy work times  (I think she meant that Nemo was at work right then)

Me: What does Daddy do for work?
Her: Epic (which totally is the name of Nemo's employer)
Me: And what does he do there?
Her: ...Watch broken. CJ watch. (That's ok Noni, I don't really know what he does there either)

Me: What does mommy do for work?
Her: Daddy.
Me: Oh, just Daddy works? Mommy doesn't work?
Her: No.
Me: So what does mommy do?
Her: Mommy wite. ( I wish I could say that she was referring to blogging or working on a novel, but she meant that I was jotting down notes at that particular moment)

Me: What are you going to do when you're grown up?
Her: Two!
Me: I know you're two. Are you going to work at Epic?
Her: Yeah, Epic.

At this point Noni farts rather magnificently.

Me: giggle
Her: giggle giggle.

Me: Oooohkay, Noni, last question. What's the meaning of life?
Her: Dis. *holds up a crumb leftover from her snack* Pumpkin bwead.

Lol.


Interview with CJ on the Eve of His Third Birthday

Noni Turns One




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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{Project} The Mini-Mudroom

I think we can all agree that winter weather is no fun unless you're at a ski resort. Besides being cold all the time, one of the things about the season that I find particularly challenging is organizing all the winter weather gear. There are only four of us living here, but we seem to have enough mittens, hats, and boots to outfit a large polar expedition, and somehow all that crap ends up on the hallway floor. I blame the toddlers, naturally.

I had the shockingly bad luck to get a stomach virus over Christmas break. Did you even read my list, Santa? I specifically said NO stomach bugs. Anyway, I was sick and miserable and everything seemed pretty terrible--and then I got on Pinterest, because what else is there when you are too nauseous to watch Netflix? Anyway, after a long sick night I was convinced that all my life problems would be solved with the addition of a mini-mudroom like this:

It took me a lonnnng time to bounce back from all that tummy drama, and by the time I could reliably remain vertical for several minutes at a time I was more than ready to get started.

Step 1: Clean out that closet. Yeesh.


 Step 2: Remove coat rod, shelves, and base trim. Spackle holes I just created.

Step 3: Begin building the frame for the shelves; realize I am in over my head. Weepily call for reinforcements (Nemo). Do a little painting. Wonder why in the world I didn't put off this project until we could replace the crappy linoleum.


Step 4: Install bead board on walls. Run out of bead board, wait until Nemo gets home to run out for more. 

At this point my body was all like, "Whoa there, crazy lady, dial it back a notch or seven" so it seemed like a good time to take a break.

Step 5: Give up correcting the toddlers when they insist that I have made a bunk bed for them.


Step 6: Install hooks, sew slipcover for cushion, wait impatiently for storage baskets to come in the mail. 

Step 7: Celebrate the completion of this crazy project by blogging about it while eating too many lemon bars.


The financials:

Lumber: $65 (a large chunk of that was the bead board!)
Hooks: $17
Paint: $30 (used the same can of paint on the whole hallway too, with plenty left over for other projects)
Baskets: $75
Foam and fabric for cushion: $35

Total: $222

Welp there goes my Christmas money. But not tripping over boots and slipping on tiny mittens makes it totally worth it.



But I suppose only time will tell if this mudroom will fulfill its intended purpose or if it will remain a toddler hideaway forever.





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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Things I want for Christmas, but probably won't get (SQTs)

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum again this week...


{1}
For some wise entrepreneur to open an Indian restaurant with a drive-thru, or curb-side service at the very least. I can't tell you how many times I've driven by a restaurant and thought, "man, I could really go for some paneer pakora right now...but I really don't want the drama of getting everyone out of the car.
Come here, you.

{2}
Come to think of it, a lifetime supply of lamb tikka masala and paneer pakora would be nice.

{3}
For some miracle worker to develop a vaccine for gastrointestinal viruses. The barfs are going around town right now, like they tend to do this time of year, and I very much do not want them right now. Or ever again.

{4}
Maternity long johns--I've scoured the interwebs and they really don't seem to exist. Seriously, how is this not a thing?

Oh, right, because most pregnant women get nine months of their own personal summer. Unfortunately this has never been true for me, and I've been wearing my big fuzzy bathrobe over my clothes since September. I am so bored of being big and red. My kingdom for the ability to wear a cute outfit and not have my lips turn blue!

This popped up on my Pinterest feed the other day. Story of my life.


{5}
To have fresh episodes of This Old House on my Roku in perpetuity.

{6}
The ability to drink enough caffeine to feel awake during the day, and still be able to fall asleep at night.

{7}
For toddlers to find sewing supplies way less interesting. Also for sewing fairies to come while I'm sleeping and wind bobbins.

***

Oh,



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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dramarama

I've had a lot of mildly stressful days lately. We all know that when you have a bunch of those in a row, things are going to escalate and you will eventually have a BAD DAY.

CJ and Noni love to make each other miserable. This has been going on since Noni was nine months old, when all she had to do was look at CJ slyly and say, "Bup" in a particular tone of voice to make him burst into a Psycho-esque fit of screaming. Family members and ladies at the gym daycare comment on their mutual love of making the other cry, so I guess it's not totally normal behavior? When we decided to give him a sibling, I  imagined that I was giving CJ a friend for life, but I guess they're turning out to be more like the sworn-enemy siblings in fairytales. Ah well. You can't win them all.

Anyway, screaming. It's been a constant presence in my life for many years now, and I'm still not used to it. Lately, the screaming has been more pervasive than usual (how is that even possible?), which brings us to today's BAD DAY.

After Noni screamed for 15 straight minutes during the drive to her gymnastic class this morning, I decided that after we picked CJ up from preschool, I would be taking the day off.

And that's exactly what I'm doing.

Clearly. 

Today, my only duties are feeding the kids something food-like on occasion and making sure the house doesn't burn down. No cleaning, no cooking, not even any sewing.

I've prescribed myself a diet of tea with toast and Nutella, an afternoon of couch rest, and much Netflix. I just hope I can hear the TV above all the screaming.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Happenings (SQTs)



Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum, the new home of Seven Quick Takes!

{1}

So!

I bought a ticket to attend the Edel Gathering in July 2015! I'm still not sure how it's going to work out, what with the distance, cost, and the having of a three-month-old who may very well take after her colicky siblings, but I am bound and determined to make this happen!

{2}
It was recently discovered that Baby "Ender" is a girl! I guess that means that we have to stop calling her Ender now. Or do we?
She is about 22.5 weeks right now, and continues to demand and inordinate amount of ethnic foods. Just yesterday I was forced to make an emergency run to Aldi to get the fixings for Greek salad, including peppercorn feta cheese and pickled beets. I recently read on Wikipedia that putting beets in Greek salad is only a thing in Detroit. Silly rest of the world. You don't know what you're missing.

{3}
Shameless self-promotion: I got these toddler dresses listed in my Etsy shop this week.



Due to some policy changes, my Etsy shop hasn't done well over the last year or so, and I'm beginning to explore other markets, i.e. Facebook, and I also was recently accepted as a vendor at a big local craft show taking place in February. Hey, I've got to pay for that ticket to Edel somehow.


{4}

There is a lot of growing up going on here. CJ has mastered counting by twos and by fives and, though he usually eschews drawing in favor of writing out the word for whatever it is he is asked to draw, he recently drew a pair of scissors.  


At the age of 22 months, Noni has jumped from being basically non-verbal to speaking in four or five word sentences. All I can say about that is THANK SWEET HEAVEN. There is still a lot of screaming, such as when I refuse her request to "My turn up please" because I'm in the middle of cooking dinner, but at least I KNOW why she's screaming.

{5}

For your amusement: Christmas 1986
 
(I'm the one who looks like Noni)

{6}

A few weekends ago we had family pictures taken for our Christmas cards. My Facebook feed is full of kids that smile for the camera, but my kids seem to have a positively Victorian attitude towards being photographed.

 Let's sit here and look angry.

Every. Single. One.

{7} 

With 40 minutes remaining in "nap" time, I am off to wrap presents for St. Nicholas' visit tonight. And maybe to eat one of the chocolate coins.


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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Un-Fancy Thanksgiving Weekend Kitchen Remodel

While my in-laws were in town for Thanksgiving weekend I had the opportunity to go to Home Depot ALL BY MYSELF. While there, I couldn't help but notice a really sweet sale on cabinets.

Now, the kitchen in our new house is perfectly usable, unlike the kitchen in our last place:

  A sink base, an upper cabinet, and a fridge in a different room. That was it.

 Sure, our current kitchen is a tad outdated, but it has all the appliances, a vaguely workable floor plan, and even a few cabinets to boot! But for one pesky detail I would never even consider a renovation right now.

All of our wall cabinets are mounted a mere 13" above the counter, while the general population enjoys a height closer to 18" So the vast majority of our counter space was rendered useless, and it was especially annoying when it came to the peninsula area.


In the end we decided NOT to jump into another full-scale remodel--as long as something could be done about that stupid cabinet over the peninsula.

With only an hour before the in-laws had to leave for the airport, Nemo and his dad got to work removing the cabinet. It turned out that the cabinet over the peninsula and the one to the left of the window were all one piece, so it was quite a job.

We were left with tons more counter space, but a bit of a lopsided appearance.


So to solve THAT problem I convinced Nemo to steal a cabinet from the other side of the kitchen. It'll be a quick job! I said. 

Not so. (It never is. When will he learn not to listen to me?)

The original owner of the house designed and built it himself,  and he wasn't messing around with this kitchen. There was a particular nail (really more of a railroad spike) that gave us a bit of trouble (hence all the wall damage), and we eventually had to just break the cabinet off the wall. The nail remains firmly embedded in the stud, as you can see.
I'll just fix the wall later. 

After a few hours spent rebuilding the cabinet, Nemo installed it to the left of the sink and BAM.

Acres of food prepping space, plus a clear view of the kitchen table. Hopefully this will cut down on the sneaky oatmeal-smearing that is rife in this house. Find a new favorite activity, toddlers. I've got my eye on you.



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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.