Saturday, March 28, 2015

If I Were Doing Weekly Updates...

...during this pregnancy like I have during my previous three pregnancies, I would, first of all, feel hopelessly behind!  I haven't taken a picture of my growing body every week, nor have I written a record of all that I've been thinking and feeling during each precious week of this significant time.

But I'm not going to feel guilty about this!  I'll do what I can; and even if I haven't been as consistent as I have in the past, I still have some pictures and some thoughts to write down.  So let's just call this the Weeks 13, 14, and 15 update, shall we?  ;-)

Oh, but these first two pictures are from when I was 9 weeks, so we could officially extend this update all the way back to Week 9, I suppose!  :)
The streamers were left from the decorations Jeff and the kids put up before I returned from Canada--a cheerful surprise when I wearily walked in the door after a loooong trip home.  But that's another story.  ;-)
To tell you the truth, I hesitate a little every time I post something about this pregnancy for one simple reason: I haven't told you the beginning of the story!  I have a post started that chronicles the first part of this pregnancy journey, but it's not done, so here I am publishing part of the middle of the book, so to speak, before the first chapter is even written.  So much for Julie Andrews' advice to "start at the very beginning, a very good place to start"!  ;-)

Let's talk about weight, shall we?  Back in the fall of 2014, I became concerned enough about the way my weight had crept up (or perhaps more accurately, the way my weight had not ever gotten as low as I wanted after Moriah's birth) that I started paying a little more attention to what I ate and how I moved and was able to drop from about 164 pounds to just under 160 pounds.  By Thanksgiving, I was in the 159.something zone...159.6 maybe, or possibly 154.4.  Something like that.  ;-)

But then...Thanksgiving.  You know how it goes.

And then all the festive foods leading up to and culminating in Christmas.  My opportunities for indulgence increased, and my self-discipline did the opposite.  The almost-5 pounds I had lost by Thanksgiving had found me again, so my weight when I discovered I was pregnant in early January was back to about 164.

But here's something I'm grateful for.  Probably because I was carrying some extra weight to begin with, my weight didn't go up at all during the early part of this pregnancy--and even went down some, hovering sometimes in the 162 or 163 range.  Even though I was feeling some nausea (more on that in a bit), I wasn't throwing up, so I wasn't losing weight because of that.  But my tastes had changed, and certain foods that I had really enjoyed before getting pregnant (tortilla chips from Costco, for example, which were something I had eaten every single day) no longer appealed to me in the least.  It was naturally easier to eat less and eat healthier (for the most part, although if you saw my late-night snacks of milk and Oreos, you wouldn't call it healthier!) after I got pregnant than it had before, and I was sure happy about that!

When I had my first prenatal appointment (on February 18), my weight according to their scale was 168 pounds, which didn't startle me in the least because my weight is always higher on their scale.  No surprise there, since at home, I weigh first thing in the morning before I eat anything, and I...ahem...wear fewer clothes when I weigh at home than when I weigh at my midwives' office!  ;-)  When I had my second appointment (on March 4), my weight according to their scale had actually dropped to 166.5 pounds (and my blood pressure was down to 126 over 80, an improvement from the 142 over 78 I had had at my first appointment).  

Here at home my weight didn't really climb above 164 until 13 weeks or so, when I started seeing weights of 164.4 and so forth, although sometimes it dipped down below 164 again.  I don't weigh every day, so I'm not really sure what my weight is at now, but I'm not concerned.  Really, the only reason I spent this much time writing about this is because I'm guessing it might be the first time in my life when I've been able to basically go through the entire first trimester without gaining weight!  ;-)

Even if I wasn't gaining weight, however, I was gaining girth, as these (slightly blurry) pictures that Josiah took of me when I was 13 weeks and 5 days prove!!  ;-)

The time for maternity clothes has come, although some of my non-maternity clothes are big enough or cut just right so that I can continue to wear them.  For the most part, I'm actually really enjoying the clothes I can wear now; I guess after 5 previous pregnancies that required maternity clothes, I've collected enough that I like and that can be worn comfortably at different stages of pregnancy (and believe me, the maternity clothes that fit me at 16 weeks don't always ever fit me at 39 weeks, so it helps tremendously to have, even within the category of maternity clothes, different sizes!) so that it doesn't feel like much of a hardship when my regular clothes no longer fit.  In addition, I've been blessed through the years by people giving me some maternity clothes that have become some of my favorites.  So for the most part, I'm having fun with my changing body shape and my transitioning wardrobe!

The hardest part of this stage of pregnancy is fatigue--specifically, the way my energy sometimes gives out suddenly and drastically, sending up in smoke my grand plans for all I was going to accomplish!

The only other hardship, and it's a small one, is some lingering nausea, which almost always hits me, not in the morning, but late at night.  I don't have it as consistently as I did a few weeks back, but it still shows up from time to time, especially as my stomach gets empty as the hours since supper tick away.  I have found, however, that milk and Oreos do the trick of calming my stomach.  Jeff recently found some Peppermint Oreos (probably left over from Christmas) at Sharp Shopper (our no-frills, discount grocery store), and they have been particularly effective at helping my nausea - haha!  :)  And Jeff, in his sacrificial kindness, has been contenting himself with plain ol' Oreos when the cookie urge hits him, so that I can have the peppermint ones - what love!  :)

The other newsworthy item I should mention in this update is that I *think* (I don't know how to type my uncertainty any more effectively than starring, italicizing, making boldface, and underlining!) I felt the baby move at 14 weeks.  I know that's early.  I also know it's possible.  But what I don't know is whether it really was the baby moving.  I like to think that it was.  ;-)

I think I felt the baby again when I was 15 weeks, 1 day...then perhaps again later in the 15th week, a day or two ago.  But even with those occurrences, I didn't feel any amount of certainty that it truly was the baby and not the normal gurglings of an abdomen.  As always, I am eager to feel more obvious movement from the baby.

And oh, I am also eager, eager, eager to once again hear my baby's heartbeat and know that life remains in my womb.  My next appointment is coming soon--next Wednesday, as a matter of fact, which happens to be my birthday!  I can't think of a better birthday gift than hearing that treasured sound of my baby's heart beating strongly.

I can hardly wait.  :)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Open House at My Mom's

The Alzheimer's unit of the nursing home where my mother has lived for the past six months had an open house yesterday morning; and, since it was a Wednesday which is Jeff's normal day off, he got to go along with us when we went to visit her.  It was a wonderful morning!
There were little doughnut holes to eat.
There were new friends to make... Nina, whom we have seen before but whose name I didn't know until yesterday.  She was quite taken with Moriah, especially her strawberry dress which reminded Nina of the strawberry patch her family had when she was a little girl (she told me that several times--to be expected in an Alzheimer's unit).  ;-)
There was the staff of the nursing home to greet and thank.
There was coffee (for Jeff, although Josiah asked for some!) and special hot chocolate (for the boys) to drink.
There were festive decorations, like these balloons near Shav as he helped himself--again--to the doughnuts.  :)
There were framed pictures scattered about of the residents, including this one of my mother and Lola, a resident she has become particularly close to, and another resident whose name I don't know.
And best of all, there was my family.
All of them...
...gathered together in one spot... Grandma's.
My mother's brain continues to deteriorate, her memories and abilities slip away...
...but her love remains true and strong, and that is a gift.
The most special picture in the room...
...sits on the piano that my mother has spent HOURS playing.  The picture shows not only her, but also my dad who gets a gold medal for how faithful and attentive he continues to be.  He has traveled the road to Bridgewater nearly every day since she moved there, and he continues to be a stabilizing, reassuring, loving presence in her life.  I'm so very grateful for him.
As we were driving away, Jeff summed up our visit in words to this effect:  "I can't think of a better place for your mom to be at this stage in her life."  Though it still hurts my heart to think of her even needing to be in a care facility like this, I know he's absolutely right.  She is surrounded with safety and beauty and peace and kindness...with people who understand her and don't try to make her something she is not.
And yesterday, she was surrounded, literally, by her family who loves her so very much.

Nothing will ever change that love.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Oldest Draft on My Blog {Tiny Talk Tuesday}

There's something that bothers me about my blog.

Oh, it's not something that would bother anyone else; as a matter of fact, no one else would even know about it.  But I do, and it's this.

There are 67 unfinished blog posts in my Drafts folder.

Some are barely begun--just a snippet of an idea I once had about a post I'd like to write.  A few are mostly written, but need to be revised and finished before posting them.  And at least one is completely done, but I decided not to post it (but couldn't bring myself to delete it either!).  But all of them bug me as they lounge around in their unfinished state.

Besides those 67, there are numerous other posts that I want to write and sincerely intend to someday write; but that day hasn't come for them.  I'd estimate that I could easily find 100 topics or events to write about; and based on that, you can see why, when I was in a bookstore recently and saw a special journal-type book that included a writing prompt for each day, I had to laugh.

If there's anything I don't need, it's writing prompts!  :)

Tonight I wanted to do a blog post, but could not be enticed to leave the computer in the warm living room to go downstairs to the computer (which has my photos) in the cold library, so I decided to look in my Drafts folder and see what the oldest post in it was...and, if possible, finish that post, regardless of the fact that I wouldn't be able to add photos.  I'm not making any promises that I'll continue this trend and work my Drafts folder significantly down to a much lower number, but maybe I'll rest easier if there are only 66 unfinished posts, rather than 67?  ;-)

At any rate, what I discovered was that my oldest draft was a collection of things my children had said--things that had put a smile on my face, things I wanted to remember.  Sadly, it's been so long that I can't remember the context of each quote I had jotted down; but quite a few of them were so memorable that I at least have some idea of what was going on when the comment was made.

I used to write this type of thing down in my posts in a category called Tiny Talk Tuesday.  In my old blog, they can be found here; and in this blog, I discovered as I searched the archives that there were two such posts: here and here.

Well, now there is one more.  :)

Here then are some funny things that my kids said.  Never mind that they might have been uttered five or six years ago!  ;-)


David, perhaps four or five years old, happened to be wearing a tie one day when the subject came up of him going over to visit our Old Order Mennonite neighbors.  His response?  "I'm sure I can't wear a tie over there.  They'll think I'm the President!"  Although I'm *pretty* sure they wouldn't have mistaken him for the president, it was considerate nevertheless of him to want to avoid any unnecessary confusion.  ;-)


Several times through the years we've lived here in Virginia, we have been privileged to take a short family getaway to Massanutten Resort, usually in the off-season, staying in a condo there (made affordable by the generosity of a friend) and enjoying a day at the indoor waterpark, one of my family's all-time favorite places.

During one of those mini-vacations, we decided not to take dry clothes to change into after our time at the waterpark, since we were staying nearby and could very quickly get back to the condo to change where it was more private and convenient.  David was wearing his wet swimsuit and was wrapped in a towel, sort of stumbling along as we left the waterpark, still entranced by the sights and sounds around him, oblivious to our decision to wait for the condo to get into dry clothes...that is, until we walked out the door, and the cold air hit his legs.  "WHERE'S MY PANTS??" he exclaimed; and I'm not sure who laughed more: Jeff and I or the other waterpark guests who were standing right outside the entrance and who were amused by this little boy who had suddenly realized, to his great shock, that he was missing pants!  :)


Also during that getaway, we ate out as a family at a delicious restaurant not far from the resort, the kind of place where you inevitably get messy as you pig out on BBQ ribs with all the yummy side dishes.  As we got close to the end of our meal, I was doing my motherly duty of getting baby wipes out of the diaper bag and passing them out to whoever needed them--and also assisting, of course, in the scrubbing of smeared faces and sticky hands.  When I got ready to pass a wipe to David, he indicated that he didn't need one.  "I keep a wipe in my mouth!" he chirped; and to prove his point, he opened his mouth and began to use his tongue to clean up his hands and as much of his face as he could reach.  Imagine that: those built-in wipes sure are a handy invention!  ;-)


At some point, we must have had Mozilla Firefox on our computer as a web browser (I don't know enough about computers to even know if I said that right).  One of the boys--I seem to think it was Josiah--used to call it Mozzarella Firefox.  :)


David, professing his great love for his youngest brother who might have been a year at the time, give or take a year ;-), once said this:  "Shav, I still love you, even though sometimes you're a little stinky and you don't want anybody to get too close to you."  Is this what the Bible means when it talks about speaking the truth in love?  ;-)


This is a more serious one that I jotted down and wish I would remember more of the context because I always treasure the conversations we have about heaven, but sadly the details are lost in the sands of time.  Apparently we were talking about drowning in a river, and one of the boys said, "Maybe heaven would pull us out!"  And I thought, "Well, yes. That's exactly what would happen if we drowned in a river."


Another one without context, although I did record the speaker.  Tobin asked, "Who stole my river?"  Seems to me that's a pretty tough thing to steal, but sure, son, I'll help you look around here and see if we can figure out who the culprit is.  :)

And another time someone said, "There's something in my nose.  I think it's a chicken!"  :)

Maybe someday when the boys read this post, their memories will be jogged and they will be able to remind me what was going on when these comments were made.  :)


I had written down this phrase--"Maybe this milk feel me better."--and I'm pretty sure it was Tobin who used to mix up his words and say it that way.


David was talking with me about some plastic figurines we have from the Narnia series, and he said, "I haven't played with these in a LONG time!  I didn't want you to get rid of them, so I played with them."  He knows me well.  Unused items around here sometimes tend to disappear.  ;-)


And speaking of disappearing, this post in my Drafts folder is soon to be gone,  Pushing the "publish" button means I get to knock down that absurdly high number by one.

That's almost as much fun as throwing away unplayed-with toys!!  ;-)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Happened Today

Josiah and David performed in a wonderful concert with their Junior Strings group, playing a movement from Mozart's Symphony No. 1 and several selections from Fiddler on the Roof, and...
 ...I reached 15 weeks of pregnancy!
Important note: Josiah HAS had a growth spurt this year, and he IS getting pretty close to reaching my height.  HOWEVER, these photos are deceiving.  Because of the hill we were standing on, he looks like he's practically as tall as me; and he ISN'T in real life.

Yet.  ;-)
A bunch of other stuff happened today, too, of course.

But those two are the big things worth mentioning.  :)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Stop the Presses! I Wanted Jeff to Get More Animals!

Through the years, Jeff and I have had a few, shall we say, differences of opinion about how many pets the Fisher family should have and precisely what kind of animals they should be.  (One small example here.)

Bottom line: the only animal I ever wanted was a collie.  But somehow, during the nine and a half years we've inhabited this blessed corner of God's creation, we've had a few others.  Let's see...

~ fish
~ a cat
~ rabbits
~ a turtle
~ chickens
~ goats
~ lambs
~ calves
~ a horse
~ a bird
~ four dogs that were quite certainly not collies

And I think that's all, but it's entirely possible that I suppressed some memories of other animals along the way.  ;-)

After we got Jed, I was pretty much content to stop acquiring animals at that point.  Not that my plan worked.  ;-)  But I wasn't spending much time yearning for other living creatures, that's for sure.

Why then did I recently ask Jeff if he was planning to get chicks this spring and letting him know that I was really hoping that he was?  Had I lost my mind??

Perhaps.  ;-)

But actually, I was remembering how cute little chicks are, and how much I enjoy hearing their tiny and constant "peep, peep, peeps."  I was thinking back to other times when we've gotten chicks and how much fun it was to watch our kids have the delightful experience of holding baby chicks.  I was recalling how relatively quickly the chicks grow and are moved out of our house into the great outdoors as they are assimilated into the chicken yard with our other chicks, so even though they're a little messy at first, it doesn't last very long.  Most of all, I was regretting how few eggs our current seven chickens gave us during the winter; and I was craving an abundance of eggs!  (The real truth emerges...)  ;-)

I didn't know Jeff was going to get the chicks Wednesday when he was running errands in town, but I really wasn't too shocked when he got home with them since he tends to surprise us with his spontaneity from time to time.  :)

He bought seven chicks: six tiny hens and one little rooster.  Our old rooster died...oh, I don't even remember when.  You can tell I wasn't too emotionally devastated at his loss.  ;-)  It will be good to have a rooster again, and I'm looking forward to hearing this one try out his voice as he learns to crow.  :)

Of course, as soon as Jeff walked in the door, all other activity ceased, and we crowded around and admired the new babies and held them and were generally full of jubilation.  I was especially interested in Moriah's reaction, and she didn't disappoint but was appropriately intrigued by the chicks and eventually learned how to hold them carefully in her small hands.  It was a special time.

It was also historic, since I actually asked for and wanted these animals; and that's not likely to reoccur anytime soon!!  ;-)

Shav did not immediately fall in love with the chicks, especially when the warning was given that they might decide to poop at any moment!  He handed this one back pretty quickly.  ;-)

At this point, I gave Josiah my camera and asked him to take a few pictures.  He took way more than a few (and I'm not posting nearly all of the ones he took!).  ;-)

Eventually Shav got over his reluctance and decided to hold a chick again.
He seemed to enjoy it more this time around.  ;-)
And it didn't even poop on him.  ;-)
We've only had the chicks for a couple of days, but already we can tell that they are bigger than they were when they first arrived.  Chicks don't stay little for long!

Neither do children, but at least their transition to adulthood doesn't happen quite as fast as a chicken's does!  :)