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) 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,

 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.

 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.