Thursday, February 28, 2013

"All My Days"

I have had Psalm 139:16 on my mind much this week. Its beautiful, encouraging, and strangely enough, something that I need to be reminded of often! :) The NIV puts it this way,"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Just the idea that every single episode in my life has been planned and thought out by God before I was even in this! I had read it before and loved the wording, even thought about having it in Anjuli's nursery as there were so many "steps" we took prior to becoming pregnant with her...and yet how not a one of them was a surprise to the Lord. Oddly enough, I read it again this week in my Bible study book in reference to our worry/anxiety about our situations, just focusing on whether we are really trusting the Lord in everything understanding that he already is in control...or are we careless in the way we (read I) dismiss our tendency to worry worry considering it a special virtue,"I'm a planner...I'm just a perfectionist" etc etc. It was good for me to read! (PS. The 2nd from last sentence is a "Pauline" sentence...over 40 words. lol)
Life is full of the unexpected. A Virginia friend died Thursday morning unexpectedly. We hadn't "talked" in over a year but she was one of those friends that you don't have to talk to weekly in order to feel that closeness. I still remember our little visits, how she encouraged me in my walk with the Lord, how she always brought a life and energy to the conversation that was wholly Christ focused. She didn't just have that energy with talk, she was full of it when it came to action as well...we put together a "foreign language dinner" for the homeschool teens one year and planning/executing it was such a blast with her! She was quite a bit older than me and I used to shuttle her sons and my brothers to different events, usually ending up visiting with her at the tail end of chauffeuring or pick up. She was a beautiful Christian woman who loved people and her family and it showed in her life and conversation. I know that she is rejoicing in the Lord now, but I ache for her family, losing such a precious gift in a mother and wife.
I wasn't feeling super well last week but Thursday morning I felt particularly bad. I told Lou I felt crampy and achy all over, almost as though I was flu-sick. I spent the morning at the house and then at 1 went to a friend's across the street for our weekly "juicing" date. In the midst of crafting talk we decided to run over to the post thrift store and look for baby boy themed receiving blankets. We rented a table at a craft fair the 2nd Saturday in March so we've been making little all things baby projects for the past couple of weeks, just for fun mainly. :) I felt worse as the afternoon went, so I went home to lie down and rest around 3:30 and discovered that I was bleeding. I haven't had any problems this pregnancy with that so I called the doctor's office and explained the situation, was told to go to the hospital for monitoring immediately. Providentially, Lou came home from classes right as I was texting him and he drove me over. I had to laugh later as I looked at my "hospital bag" I scatteredly packed in those 5 minutes. Pajamas, socks and Bible were the only things that made it into contact solution, shower supplies, etc....this whole "hospital bag" prep is something I'll need to get together soon! Anyways, long story short, they put me on the monitor and asked me if I was in pain, I said,"Well, I always have some pain so I'm uncomfortable but its been that way for a while now." And then they told me I was contracting every 1-2 minutes! Yikes! I felt yucky, like I said, but my contractions apparently are more of a "lower back ache, shortness of breath, cramping" kind than that whole "your stomach gets rock hard" indicator. They ran tests and did an ultrasound that showed Anjuli happily playing away inside! She was shaking her little fists up by her head and kicking as usual, praise the Lord. After that I felt much more relaxed inside, just reassured by the heartbeat sound on the monitor and her movement. The ultrasound showed no problems with the placenta and its not near the cervix so they weren't able to definitely state a cause for the sudden bleeding. They kept me until Friday afternoon, gave me lots of fluid...just enough to swell my fingers and toes nicely...and sent me home on semi-bedrest with Procardia for the contractions. I was only having 3-4 an hour when they discharged me, and over the weekend I spent much of my life on the couch. I can be up for 20-30 minutes on my feet before they kick in strongly and so I have been getting up for: meal cooking, shower, minor cleaning, laundry switches, and doctor appointments. :) Lou has taken over the grocery shopping and much of the tidying/cleaning around the house. Its so good to have him to rely on, even though I chafe at times at not being able to do these things.
 I spent my weekend making strawberry lavender sachets out of a stained vintage quilt top I bought in Kentucky at an auction for $7. I love re-purposing vintage material, it seems such a waste to not use it and what fun patterns!
 Tiny strawberry tops took patience....two for each strawberry. Since I had a LOT of couch time, I made 40 of these little fragrant fruits!
Yesterday at my appointment my doc said he would allow me to stay home as long as I paced myself and continued along the same as the weekend. Normally I don't think it would be as big of a deal but the hospital for "complicated pregnancies" is 90 minutes' away in Tucson and many of the doctors send their moms there if they are having early issues-before 36 weeks. Really praying I won't have to go to Tucson. :) I feel very comfortable with my doctor and his willingness to work with me is reassuring through these little bumps and surprises. He is keeping me on the Procardia but said I can discontinue it next week when I'm 36 weeks' along as they won't be worried about me/Anjuli's health at that time even if I deliver. I'm glad, I had wanted to try my "gentle birth" formula my sister in law Christie recommended but I wasn't planning to take it alongside a medication so I can still start it next week and he's fine with it. He said,"Gentle Birth...who wouldn't want to try it out with a name like that?" :)
So, I'm working from the couch a lot! Ebay listing from a Rubbermaid tub of clothing I had photographed several weeks back, crafting for the little show....thinking about last minute things I need to buy ie. order online to be ready for Anjuli, its all coming faster and faster!
Just had to toss in this photo of the magnificent changing table Lou built-has a little spot for the changing pad and extra diapers and wet wipes as well. Just beautiful!
Lou has been granted 3 days' leave when I deliver so we're trying to coordinate plans, as Mom, Dad, Jess and Corrie are planning to drive their RV across country to see us and their little granddaughter! Baby due dates, definitely not a set thing! :) Actually, no dates are set in our lives.....really. We should be given a list to fill out of our "top requests" for next duty station assignment, originally it was to be in late Feb/early March I believe? Now with changes to the war in Afghanistan and other personnel adjustments the assignments aren't being announced until April, the end of April from what we hear. Lou graduates from the Military Intelligence Captain's Career Course at the end of May so that gives us maybe a month to coordinate packing/moving plans, etc. It should make for a busy time, especially with "little girl" in the picture now! I'm sure it will come together as it always does, and its just another reason to remind myself,"All my days........." :)
Lou has almost finished the crib, its a beautiful piece of work and he spent a lot of time contemplating the best way to assemble it in order to make it function as a "co-sleeper" as well.
 The entire front side is removable and it adjusts to our bed height, so we can attach it to the mattress and have a little "cage" for Anjuli during the night...I keep telling him it reminds me of our Fisher Price circus train lion a good way, of course! :)
He takes it all in stride...of course...just like our hospital stay, when the nurse was placing my iv and he said with a serious expression,"One thing I'm concerned about, will she be out in time to make dinner tonight?" I love this guy, even though he is a stinker! :) He knows just how to get a rise out of me and he loves to wait for the nickname these days is,"Little Miss Fat Belly" only because 99% of the people in my life see me and say,"Wow, you're tiny!" (The other 1% say,"Wow, you're really waddling!") He says its helps to balance my perception since being a first time mom I want to look pregnant...and also it serves as a term of endearment. This is the same man who calls his little sister "Fatness" and his brother "Toots", so I'm feeling the love. ;) He makes me laugh every day, inadvertently or intentionally. For instance, 2 days ago I FINALLY washed our hall bathroom rug...I normally take it outside and beat it against the cinder block wall to get the sawdust/debris out of it. That day I washed it and hung it to dry, then put it back in the bathroom late at night. The next morning he went into the bathroom and exclaimed,"Ooooh, I like this new rug! This is nice and fluffy!" Heehee, I had to tell him that no, it actually wasn't new but simply spanking clean for a change. When we package Ebay clothing for shipment he inputs the weight/prints the labels while I fold and and put each piece in the right size mailer. In order to cross check that we're sending out the right item (since we have 450 pieces of inventory) I have him read the description from the "sold" section...and invariably he reads,"Secret Service" in lieu of the "s/s" I use to abbreviate a "short sleeved" item. He does that intentionally! Like I said, he keeps me laughing every day!
Our photographer texted me that the maternity pictures should be finished sometime this week so next post will be unlike any other of words, just photos! :) Well, I probably shouldn't promise that but it won't be as wordy, I'm sure.
God bless you during this week!

PS. We're still guessing as to who Anjuli will favor...:)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Oh Marilla, Such a Jonah Day"

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you're taking a ride on Anne Shirley's rollercoaster? Yesterday was one for me, and they so rarely happen that it caught me by surprise when at 3pm I was on the verge of tears from frustration. Yes, I do cry a lot these days...and normally its over puppies, sad stories and movies, but today it would have been a,"I want to smash a lot of things" kind of cry. It didn't start out that way. It was a good morning, one of those rare Arizona snow days.
The view from my kitchen window...before the night's worth of snow had fallen!
Monday afternoon it began snowing and it continued through the night, beautiful and cold. By 0430 am Fort Huachuca's post page on Facebook announced a late start at 10am and PWOC was cancelled. I've been going to PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) since the "semester" started in January. Its my first experience with them, at Fort Knox my day at the pregnancy center conflicted with their meeting times. Now that we're here and I have more free time, I really wanted to be involved in a womens' study and meet fellow Christian army wives in our short stay at Huachuca. I'm so glad I did, we are working through a study by Jerry Bridges on "Respectable Sins" at the moment, and with the dozen women in my small group its been just so good to read, have to think through and deal honestly with the questions he brings up. Wow, you'd think I'd be even more sanctified than normal since I'm in Bible study, and not have bad days, right? Haha!
In the morning, I processed 10 lbs of London Broil. I've been finding it at our Safeway on a tremendous sale every couple of weeks, 2.50 a lb if you buy it in bulk so the last time I exuberantly purchased 20 lbs of meat....only to realize that I MUST process and divide it into meal portions....quickly! It is a wonderful meat though, very lean and scorned by sophisticated chefs as a lousy tough poor man's choice. I love it! I found an excellent rub recipe, Sweet and Spicy London Broil and with a little experimenting got it to a point where after it "settled" for the 10 minutes tented with foil the interior was a delicate pink, perfectly done. I ended up broiling mine (we have a gas oven)  for 7-8 minutes on each side as opposed to the 6 mentioned so its something you may need to adjust slightly based on your oven/broiler. I line my pan with aluminum foil and then I have almost NO cleanup. Its great.
Possible combinations arranged, meat beaten with an ice pick, water bottle at hand to continue "hydrating" :)
I also played around with various marinades....I have one with soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic (its the Cadi Vance special :)) one with lemon slices, brown sugar, vinegar and lots of pepper, a 3rd mixture of vinegar, mustard, orange juice and then a hot and spicy one with Lou's favorite sauce, the "rooster sauce" found in the Asian food aisle, soy sauce, garlic, onion, and a little honey. I also made a chili pepper/cocoa mixture for the first time, so I was excited to get it all done before lunch and still feel human!
Love to see the progress in meal planning....even though it can feel like a lot of work at the time!
 I started having those Braxton-Hicks again after I finished washing several loads of laundry and I thought to myself,"I'm overdoing it, I should lie down" but I wanted to finish all my little "goals" for the day so I stubbornly kept moving. I think I'm having them based on what I've read and hear from friends, but sometimes its hard to know. I do know that when they start, my lower back aches unbearably in the same area where I had a back injury in high it can be very tiring.
Goals....Valentines is tomorrow...and this is where I had my "moment". I had carefully packaged and weighed the boxes I planned to send my beautiful nieces and nephews (all 18 of them!) to figure out what would be the most economical way to send their candy and granola. Candy, because I remember the excitement as a kid when I got candy from Grandma for Valentines and Halloween, granola because I didn't want to only rot their teeth on the holidays! I have been dehydrating strawberries for the past several weeks with great success and combined them with our family recipe for granola out of  From God's Natural Storehouse cookbook. Not only delicious but healthy....relatively speaking. :) Priority vs. priority flat rate vs. Regional Rate A boxes....I got it all figured out, the boxes packed and sealed to the max...labels printed with the correct addresses and they were ready to send, Voila! Lou offered to take them to the post office but I told him it would just take me "a couple minutes" and I didn't want to make him late for class, so off I went...also I had a rendezvous to purchase some burlap from a local Sierra Vista woman. I arrived to the post office and stood in line for 20 minutes, somehow there were 20 people waiting...which is a rare thing. Got to the window and stacked my boxes, breathing a sigh of relief that I still had 10 minutes' grace time! The postal worker looked at the boxes and said,"Oh, we don't mail these anymore...we  can only send them based on weight...and these will run you around $18 apiece." Ackkkkk! I'm never a huge fan of mailing boxes but I had carefully researched my options and decided the "Regional Rate A" were the best choice...less costly than flat rate even though they were being sent to the furthest zones from AZ for the most part. She casually said,"Well, you can just slip them into flat rate mailers and re-address them, that shouldn't take long." I'm not sure why today it seemed the end of the world...maybe it was my swelling feet, hurting back, the fact that I'd spent all that time at home packing and re-packing stuff into boxes that would work best...or that I was supposed to meet someone in 10 minutes who was a 5 minute drive away...and had stood in line 20 minutes prior to this, but it was a huge deal inside. I had many things I wished to say that could not and should not be said. I amaze myself sometimes with how uncharitable I can be inside...while maintaining a semblance of composure on the outside. I'm a good hypocrite! Reading Bridges' book is making me more aware of those moments when I want to jump up and down and shout, and how God is still hard at work in my life...and that's a really good thing! So, I took the boxes back out to the car since I was out of time, slowly began backing out of my parking spot only to have the woman beside me also start backing out, unaware that I was halfway behind fact she would have backed into me but I managed to honk my horn! Long story short, I purchased the burlap, ran back to the post office, relabeled, taped and repackaged the boxes...stood in line and shipped them...and they should be there by Valentines. It all sounds so simple and uncomplicated when I type it out, and downright silly to be angry. And it is. Its funny how little things can affect me so much at times. I wonder if some of it is hormones and yet I suspect that a great deal of it is my sin nature. I'm thankful that God is much more patient with me than I am with people at times!
I have to say that my day ended with a lovely little surprise, my mom sent me a text that sent me into tears with the words "long distance baby shower" and this photo attached. this pretty stuff!
I had been talking to her earlier about needing to find more 0-3 month baby clothing before Anjuli arrives and she took it upon herself to put together this beautiful layette for me. My mom has amazing baby clothing shopping "skills"! I can't wait to see our little girl wearing all this lovely pink girly clothing....and of course I'm a huge fan of the little sailor dress. :) I'm 33 weeks today and feeling more and more "bigger" each day.
Lou took me to the gym for several swimming lessons and the feeling in the water is wonderful, weightless compared to my norm. I am finally learning how to swim, its good to get over my fear of drowning.....because prior to this Lou said that my only goal in water seemed to be "not to drown" instead of actually propelling myself effectively towards the opposite end of the pool. He is a very patient instructor. :)
Lou is almost finished with the changing table/dresser he built-just putting some last coats of paint on the drawers.
The humble will have 3 large side mounted drawers and the top is built to drop the pad inside, as well as hold diaper wipes, etc.
1st coated and sitting outside our kitchen door so the oil based paint fumes won't fill the house!
Next he's going to start the "crib project", and he says its none too soon.....time is flying by and she'll be here! We're having a little photo session on Sunday afternoon with a local photographer, and I made these little things to incorporate into one or several of the photos.
We're having them taken in a canyon nearby with some excellent views of the mountains so it will be a fun time, I'm sure! Can't wait to share them with you all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding The Balance Between KidHistory 6 & Jack Lalanne

One of my all time favorite Youtube videos has to be "KidHistory #6", friends introduced us to the whole "KidHistory" series and Lou and I cried laughing watching this particular one, it brought back a lot of "growing up" memories for Lou. We had to share it with Mom Crist and the family because most of the nutritional drinks/foods shown in the movie Mom either made or makes and her boys are not slow to voice their disapproval of "health food". Once Mom was adhering to the George Malkmus "Hallelujah" diet in an attempt to improve her health and the menfolk in the house all started demanding "dead food"...meaning meat, instead of the "live food" salads and vegetables she was giving them. So, it will come as a surprise to many folks who know how Lou prizes his meals that we started eating "live food" by choice here in the last month! We've been trying to eat healthier these days... we didn't consciously start 2013 with that as one of our "resolutions", in fact we're not resolution makers as a general rule. It started back in the fall with me integrating more vegetables and fruits into our diet in an attempt to keep my digestive system working. Sad fact is, the "Canfield stomach" is a legend in our family (my mom's side of the family) and we attribute most of our stomach problems, digestive problems, gallbladder issues to this catch-all phrase "Canfield stomach". :) It covers all the fun things like irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, reflux, gallbladder flare ups, constipation, etc. I have my own share of these delightful issues and hopefully will not shock you all when I tell you that since becoming pregnant I've had to take medicines to "normalize" my fact, it tends to completely shut down with any length of road trip, plane flight, restaurant food....which doesn't sound like a big deal, but can be incredibly uncomfortable and make one feel like a nursing home resident, daily emphasis being on elimination! There, now that the nurse is speaking....hopefully I haven't grossed you out too much but it provides a background into why changing my diet became a thing of paramount importance. :)
I had been reading a lot on integrating dietary fiber, switched to eating lots of oatmeal, fiber filled vegetables and purchasing foods based solely on fiber amounts listed, and still it was ineffective. I began drinking water in large quantities, from morning til night and even having a 16oz bottle by the bedside that I would down by morning...still no consistent results. I would tell Lou,"Oh, this says it has 25% of my daily fiber intake, this should be great for me!" only to have him tease me,"Yes Kim, but the normal person's daily requirement is 1/10th of yours...." and sadly enough, it seemed all too true. :)
We have a Netflix subscription and saw the movie "Hungry for Change" listed as a suggestion after finishing "Freaky Eaters". Our movie tastes tend to be incredibly eclectic, as we're watching "Construction Intervention", "Dr. Who" and "Undercover Boss: Canada" at the moment, but we gravitate towards documentaries, mysteries and fix it upper shows as a general rule, with some blood and guts military/spy thrillers thrown in randomly! Anyways, "Hungry for Change" was intriguing to us, we don't buy things/theories simply because we watch them but it brought up some good points as far as pre-packaged food is concerned and we decided then to start eating even more "live foods" to see if it helped us increase energy/overall feel. From that movie we saw several of the people interviewed had been in the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" and decided to watch it as well. I enjoyed it immensely, and while Joe Cross obviously went all out in his attempt to regain his health, it was encouraging to see his protegee, Phil Staples, a normal man with serious health problems also become so dedicated to restoring his health that he stuck with the juicing diet! If you haven't seen the film, its truly amazing because Joe does his 60 day juice fast while traveling through some of America's best food cities....I watched him walk down the streets of NYC past pizza joints, doughnut shops, he is a man with incredible will power! Check out this site for a synopsis, or better still, watch the movie for free on! :) It makes me laugh now to hear myself and Lou talk about juicing because if you didn't know us, you'd think we were those folks that buy into every new invention/diet idea......we're not. However, we started talking about Joe's metabolic and physical changes brought about and just how remarkable it was. I said,"Lou, what if after Anjuli's birth, once I've recovered we try a little juice fast, maybe just 7-10 days." He came up with the idea of starting something now, on a much more balanced scale, skipping lunch for an entire week and instead juicing. So, we decided to give it a whirl! I printed out a stack of suggestions for juice combinations, which once we tried....several were delicious and some were downright horrible!  I bought a combination of vegetables and fruits for juicing: red apples, granny smith, lemons, limes, beets, kale, collards, parsley, cilantro, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and ginger.
Arranging a week's worth of juicing ingredients to make for a smooth assembly line process!
The magic ingredients I consider to be: GINGER and LEMONS/LIMES. You can make almost any drink palatable with the infusion of one or other, plus they are excellent for you. Lou said he would have never thought of the ginger, but he's a huge fan of it now! So, we did it...and we starved the first 2 days, until I decided to introduce a "snack on the side" to go with our lunch juice. Its usually mini sweet peppers or triscuits with hummus, toasted almonds with sea salt, or tortilla chips with homemade salsa/pico de gallo. This helped us tremendously...and by the end of the week Lou lost 5 lbs, mainly around his stomach area. For me, it wasn't about losing weight but gaining some energy during this pregnancy, and oddly enough, even though we juiced and I didn't end up drinking all the "fiber" pulp as a result, by the 3rd day I was completely regulated and was able to stop taking my colace, which I'd been dependent on for the entire pregnancy so far! I also saw a decrease in the swelling in my feet, which had been noticeable since our trip back east over Christmastime. I really saw this as a breakthrough, something that encourages me I'm getting healthier on the inside and as a result will be in better condition when Anjuli arrives! So, I wanted to write this blog post to give you all a heads up on some of the changes we're making and how good it has been for us, its really been a wonderful thing! We didn't want to go all out and change everything about our diet because I feel that switching 100% leads to a short lived exuberance followed by burnout, but in this case I think we're on the right track. Vegetables and fruit can be so expensive, but so is poor health in the end. Its fun to try different varieties of juice combinations, I tend to dislike celery and prior to this the only "juicing drink" I had was a combination of celery, carrots and apples, very sweet and with that celery "zing". Now we're doing a lot of these types of combos:
We have a two person process, I wash everything in the right side of the sink and transfer to a bowl on the left after cutting off brown spots, quartering, trimming stems on a small cutting board balanced in the center-then Lou takes it directly to the juicer set up on the left and runs it through. Works well for us with minimal mess!
Juice for (2) 12 oz glasses:
1 cucumber
2 red apples
5 carrots
1 lemon
5 leafy stems kale
3-4 handfuls spinach
1 stalk celery
We taste it and if it needs a little more sweetness...we add another apple or carrot. If the "green" is not evident we add a few more kale or collard stalks. Collards are actually amazing in juice, they taste nothing like the "southern collards" I remember eating as a kid, bitter and just downright gross!
"I know its green...but what else is about it?" Favorite KidHistory quote. :)
Here are a couple of other recipes we've played with and found to be good:
Carrot-Kale Combo
1 Green Apple
3 Handfuls spinach
6-8 Kale Leaves
4 Large Carrots
1 Piece Ginger (thumb sized) 

Green Lemonade
1 Green Apple
3 Handfuls Spinach
6-8 Kale Leaves
½ Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
½ Lemon
You can substitute a thumb size piece of ginger for the citrus in the juice and its a totally different drink. I never peel my lemons/limes, just wash them and quarter them along with the other fruits. We're continuing to juice at our lunchtimes during the week, even if we eat a small meal with it. We've consumed over 4 bags of spinach, 25 stalks of kale, 15 collards, 2 bags of red apples, 2 bags of granny smith apples, 10 lbs of carrots, 10 lemons, 2 limes, 8 cucumbers, ginger, and 2 heads of celery since we started on January 14th. Although I'm not a proponent of exclusive juicing, I'm also honest enough to admit that we'd never have consumed all those had I bought them at the store and prepared them with dinners/lunches, etc. They would have invariably sat and wilted until fridge cleaning day, for the most part. :) I also discovered much about herbs through this, for example, parsley is excellent for vitamin c/a and vitamin k, while cilantro is a strong anti-oxidant and cleanses the body of heavy metals, while serving as an antibacterial/antifungal agent. Even just a small amount in the juices or chopped and put in our morning omelet helps...every little bit helps.
Hope this little blip into our January experiment encourages you if you're wanting to get healthier but hasn't made that initial step towards it....try a 7 day "juice at lunch" experiment and check out the changes for yourself! We use the Juiceman Jr. juicer we were given as a wedding gift, but there are many good ones out there....I'm sure that a friend will let you borrow theirs as well! My two neighbors and I have started a once a week "juicing get together" to try new recipes and mixtures, just for the fun of it. :) I'll let you know if we come up with something amazing, lol.
Next update promises to be about Baby Anjuli, Lou's school and moving possibilities.....