Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Limping Home

Well, we made it safely back to VA last night, but we have had it rough, healthwise! I thought Grace was getting better on Saturday, because she was sleeping better and wasn't quite as fussy as she had been. But Saturday night was bad again, and Sunday was awful. Since the other kids were still coughing and hacking, Mom volunteered to stay home and watch the kids while Bob and I went to church. So we said goodbye to Dan, Melinda, and Emily, who left to drive back home Sunday, and then Bob and I had a nice date to church and out to Panera Bread for lunch. We tried a new church, a church that identifies itself as a 9 Marks church, like our one here is VA. It was good, but we are just so spoiled by our pastor here. His sermons are sooo good!

When we got home, it was obvious that Grace was not doing so well again. She was fussy the rest of the day, and the night was once again terrible. She really only slept if I was holding her, which meant not much sleep for me. Plus, she was running a fever again, and bothering with her ear, so we decided that I would take her to the ER at Wright-Pat Monday morning. When we got there, I was prepared for the long haul, based on how many people were there, and how long they had been waiting. Thankfully, however, we were seen fairly quickly. As it turned out, the doctor said that her ears did not look infected right then, but that there was tons of stuff oozing out of her right ear, so it must have ruptured. I had actually noticed this weird lava-like flow of stuff in her ear that morning, so that made sense. The doctor said the hole would most likely mend itself, and that she would probably feel better, now that all the pressure wasn't there anymore. We're just supposed to keep an eye on her, and if she starts running a fever again, then take her back in because it probably got reinfected. So, poor baby, she really was not doing well on Sunday! I should have taken her in then! Oh well, she is doing better now, and the ride home was not too bad with her.

Nathan, who you may remember started off this whole plague 2 weeks ago, started complaining about his upper jaw hurting on Monday, and he also started running a fever again. I'm wondering if he doesn't have a sinus infection, so I have an appointment for his this afternoon. Jonathan and Anna are still coughing away, but they've been sleeping fine, so I'm not too worried. I think they are on the mend.

We also generously passed this bug off to my mom (tis the season for sharing, you know), so she has also been coughing and all stuffed up. Hopefully now that our germ-laden presence is out oft he house, she will start getting better!

The last few days I have had a very hard time with my blood glucose levels. I guess it's just the stress of everyone being sick and again me not sleeping, but it is so discouraging. Sigh. My next appointment in on Jan. 6, so I am hoping that things improve before then. With that in mind, I am off to the treadmill. I am thrilled to say goodbye to the old exercise bike at my parents' house! My poor pelvis is eternally thankful not to have to get back on that thing!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Christmas Tradition

Every year we have a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas, complete with cake, the song, etc. Last year the kids asked why we didn't give Jesus any presents, and this year my mom had a great idea to remedy that in a tangible way. She asked our family, my brother's family, and my aunt and uncle to all donate some money, and then we would look through the Samaritan's Purse gift catalogue and pick out something to give that would help a needy family somewhere. The gifts are things like shares of livestock, shares in a well for a village, stocking a fish pond for a village, food and medicine for a new mom and baby for a month, and so on. The stories are so touching, and the needs are so great, that soon you find you wish you could just give all your money! The boys really took a lot of time looking through the catalogue, with Nathan even marking the things he was interested in. We decided we would give a flock of chickens, as well as a share of a livestock animal, with our money. The boys decided to donate the dollars that the stranger had given them in Wendys on our trip out here, and they are excited to save up this next year so we will have more money to give! So it was definitely a good idea, and one we will continue to practice.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I know I'm a day late, but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did. It is so great to be here with my family. The only problem is that we have brought with us some terrible coughing ailment, which is passing through the family, and I'm sure we are sharing it with Dan's family, as well as Mom and Dad. Nathan started coughing the day before we left VA, and since then Jonathan, Caleb, Grace, and Anna have also been coughing up a storm. We went to the Chrsitmas Eve service at the chapel, and Jonathan sounded like he was going to hack up a lung. I should have kept him home!

Grace really had a hard time sleeping for several nights with her coughing and snuffling. She also ran a fever, so she really wasn't feeling well. We borrowed a vaporizer from Amy, but that didn't work any miracles. I discovered that when I am feeling puny and also not getting any sleep, my blood sugar numbers are not good. It was really amazing. No matter what I ate, even a salad and turkey/lettuce/cheese sandwich, which I ate for dinner one night instead of pizza, my numbers were higher than 120. Oh well. Today I am finally feeling better and a little more well-rested, so my numbers are back down where they normally are.

The boys have really been enjoying 2 new games they received--electronic Battleship, which Amy got them, and Star Wars Monopoly, which Dan and Melinda got. I would say Anna's favorite gift was a pair of pink dress up high heels that Melinda got her. She wears them all the time! We got Grace a doll of her own, since Anna is rather bossy about the dolls at home, all of which are technically hers. But so far Grace has not been able to establish complete control over this new doll either, LOL. Anna is just a bit too bossy.

Bob's parents give us money each year to buy something, and this year Bob went out early Sunday morning and bought a surprise for us, which I opened on Christmas--a laptop! With that and the mp3 player we bought before leaving VA, this has been a very technological Christmas for us. I guess we finally decided those were 2 "fads" that were staying, so we better jump on the bandwagon at this late date, LOL.

Dan and Melinda and Bob and I got to go on a double date Tuesday night. We went to a local restaurant, and it was very nice! I had pecan-crusted chicken, which was absolutely delicious. We had a fun time with Dan and Melinda. Mom and Dad held down the fort back at their house with all 7 kids. We'll be sad when Dan, Melinda, and Emily leave on Sunday to drive back to TX. And then we will leave on Tuesday! Back to the old routine . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here in Ohio!

We made it safely here on Thursday, about 20 minutes before Dan and Melinda drove in! We had a nice drive with good weather, and we got halfway through The Bronze Bow, our book on CD. I have fond memories of the middle school librarian reading that book aloud to us during library time. It's really good.

We did have an interesting experience when we stopped for lunch. We stopped at a Wendys in West Virginia, and the people were very friendly. A nice elderly man talked to us in line, and later he told us that he had 8 children, and it was nice to see a big family, since you just don't see that much anymore. As we were eating, a man came up and started talking to the boys, who were sitting at a table behind me. He asked the boys if they were excited for Christmas, and they all said yes. I sort of turned around and told him we were on our way to Grandma's house. Then he handed each boy a dollar bill and told them to have a merry Christmas! They were thrilled, and as I turned around to remind them to say thank you, he put a twenty dollar bill in front of me! He was a younger man, around Bob's age I would say, but he told me he was all alone for Christmas--his parents were dead, and he didn't have any siblings, aunts, uncles, anyone. So he wanted us to have a merry Christmas. It was so sad, and I didn't really know what to say, other than how sorry I was and thank you! No one has ever come up and given us money before, though. That was a first!

We are having a great time here with everyone! The 3 little girls are so cute playing together with their dolls! They really have done a good job sharing, so we haven't had many incidents! It helps that there are plenty of dolls to go around.

I have been doing well with my glucose numbers, surprisingly. Of course, I have been exercising like a mad woman. We even went to Young's last night. I only had half of a turkey bacon club sandwich, and half a scoop of ice cream, and then I went home and rode the bike for 30 minutes. But my number was 103!!

I must go help with dinner!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Diabetes Update

Well, I think I am settling into more of a routine and getting more comfortable with the whole thing. My numbers have been great. My highest was 114 after dinner the first night I checked. Yesterday we had our annual neighborhood Christmas party at our next door neighbor's house. He always puts on a nice spread, but I was very careful to eat mainly protein choices and veggies, but i did have some sugared almonds for dessert. My number after dinner was 106. Then today we had our monthly fellowship meal after church. I followed the same plan--half a piece of chicken breast, a few bites of 3-bean chili, salad, and green bean casserole, with a brownie for dessert--and my number was 101. Yay! Of course, as soon as we got home from both these events, I jumped on the treadmill, which brings me to the exercise part of my regimen.

I have been exercising at least twice a day. Most days I do my big workout on the treadmill in the mornings (at least 40 minutes), although some days I will do a pregnancy workout video. Then after lunch I either do my pregnancy pilates video, or I walk another 20-30 minutes, but this time at a more leisurely stroll. Sometimes we swim after dinner, although it's not like I'm swimming laps, just splashing around the pool with the kids. But I'm still active. Now you might be wondering when in the world I am fitting in over 1 hour of exercise a day. It has become a temporary high priority, so there are things that are not getting done, that's for sure. I'm glad this is December, when I don't have high expectations for doing tons of extra schoolwork, for example. Nathan and Luke are doing math, grammar, and Latin daily, and we are listening to Story of the World CDs in the car. Sometimes we do spelling and memory work, but not always. Caleb and Jonathan get fitted in, but not as regularly as they were. It's funny though--having a little bit of a breather for Jonathan in reading has helped him, and he's become a lot more confident.

With all this exercise, I am burning over 300 extra calories a day. Now remember, the dietician put me on a 1800 calorie/day diet because I was 10-15 pounds overweight when I got pregnant. Well, the first few days of that, I was starving! I think Carri is right--it's just not enough calories, especially with all the exercise. So I took it upon myself to increase my protein. Instead of the "6 almonds" that would be a protein serving for a snack, for example, I would eat a handful. Or have an extra spoonful of peanut butter, or a little more meat at dinner. That has helped. I'm also drinking a ton of milk, which is helping me feel full. Of course, with all this milk and peanut butter, I worry about allergies . . . and this will be an odd-numbered baby, which for us tend to be the allergic ones . . . but oh well, what can you do. I can't deal with anything else right now. I may switch to sunflower seed butter, but I'm not switching to rice or soy milk.

I am thinking that if I keep on this diet after I have the baby, the baby weight (plus the extra 13 pounds!) should melt away! That is a happy thought. But then I wonder if I would be able to keep up my milk supply . . . I guess we'll see. I know I won't be able to keep up this exercise schedule! At some point, real life (and a nursing baby!) will have to take priority!

So now we are preparing to go to my parents' house for Christmas. We'll see how I do with the diet and exercise there. I have an appointment with the doctor on Wednesday, before we leave on Thursday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just like in cartoons!

Our homeschool co-op had their Christmas skating party yesterday morning. Almost as soon as he had started around the ice for the very first time, Caleb fell forward and totally landed on his face, which gave him this lovely goose egg. I had just finished putting Jonathan's skates on and was going to take a picture or 2, if I could see the boys, when a group of girls came over to tell me that Caleb was hurt! He was crying, but it really was just like a cartoon--this huge egg sticking straight out from the middle of his forehead! A staff member got some ice, so we iced it for awhile. I had a bottle of infant motrin in the diaper bag, so I poured that down his throat. The lump went down pretty quickly. Obviously he looks like he's doing just fine here, and he did indeed get right back out there and skate the rest of the time. He's a trooper! To be honest, we've had our fair share of goose eggs, so I wasn't that concerned. I'd much rather deal with a goose egg than a broken bone!!

Nathan and Luke had a great time. They whizzed around, playing games with their friends, and having a ball. Jonathan went around a few times by himself, clutching the side of the rink, but mainly he went with Nathan or Amanda to hold onto. The girls and I froze on the metal bleachers by the rink, LOL.

After everyone skated for a little more than an hour, we had a pizza party. I was a bit concerned, since this would be the first time I had pizza since starting to check my blood sugar. I had 1 1/2 pieces of cheese pizza, a handful of chips, and a rice krispie treat. As soon as we got home, I hopped on the treadmill again (I walked 40 minutes that morning) for another 25 minutes, and when I checked my levels after 2 hours, they were 108. Yay! So far so good with the levels. I've been pleased. We'll see how Christmas goes, however . . . I forsee a lot of exercising, LOL.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Diabetes Clinic

So I had my diabetes orientation clinic this afternoon. It was long--from 12:30-3:00--and there were 7 of us there. First the nurse talked about gestational diabetes, and then she showed us how to use our new handy-dandy glucometers. This is where it's nice to be military--we all had bags from the pharmacy with the glucometer, 100 test strips, control solution, 200 lancets, and a box of alcohol wipes. All set to go! My blood sugar reading was 104 two hours after eating lunch, so that was good. It has to be under 120 2 hours after a meal, and under 95 in the mornings before eating. The nurse was nice and funny. She was pretty laid back about the whole thing, not in terms of the seriousness of it, but she definitely felt like we could all do this and it would be fine. She did say that stress raises blood glucose levels. Hmmm. No stress around here lately, LOL.

Then the dietician came in. She was one of those people with a big phony smile who talk really slowly, as if no one had ever even heard of a carbohydrate. She spent forever going over her stuff, which was not filled with anything electrifying or new, so that is what took so long. She talked to us individually and gave us each a diet plan. Mine is for 1800 calories, with 3 meals and 3 snacks. Some of the snack options are pretty gross, like "6 saltine crackers and 1 T butter". Yuck! That's not going to be a part of any snack of mine! I'm still working out what will be good things to eat, and how to count them. I knew that keeping track of a bunch of "meats, starches, fruits", etc. was going to be the hardest thing. Sometimes I feel like keeping track of just one more thing is going to make my head explode. Hopefully everything will settle into a routine. My blood sugar was 114 after dinner, which was 1 cup beef barley soup, a whole wheat biscuit with 1 T butter, and 1 cup salad. That's okay, but I guess I expected it to be lower, and I was so hungry and crabby by the time in was snack time, around 8:30! I ate 6 wheat thins, a slice of colby jack cheese, and an apple for snack, so I'm feeling better now. We'll see what my number is tomorrow morning.

When the nurse was talking, I got some more insight into how Bethesda will be as a place to give birth. I'm not planning on taking their tour, since they only offer it at weird times or in conjuction with a childbirth class. I definitely don't need the class, and who wants to make another trip all the way to Bethesda just for a tour?! So it seems like it is a pretty standard military teaching hospital, definitely leaning on the side of "rigid", as far as birthing options. Like I said before, I'm glad it's not my first, and hopefully they will just leave me alone. They have a really high epidural rate, as well as c-section rate, although the nurse kept making sure to say, "But we see a lot of high risk patients". She did say that they often induce gestational diabetic patients at 39 weeks, which is not something I want, since I had such a bad induction experience with Grace. I guess we'll see how I do at controlling my numbers. I am already praying that I just go into labor a bit early on my own, even though I haven't gone into labor myself the last 3 pregnancies, so I'm not holding my breath and expecting to.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Good Weekend

We drove up To see Bob's family Saturday morning, and it was a good visit! We got there after lunch, and his sister Jane and her husband Terry came over soon after. We got to spend some one-on-one time with them and his parents, and it was really nice. Jane and Terry always get big gifts for the kids (as in they take up a lot of physical space), but they really try to think hard about what they get, so the kids always love the gifts. This time they got a Dora ride-on thing for Grace, a Little People house for Anna, a little Thomas "laptop" for Jonathan, a big Magna-doodle plus a golf game for Caleb, a Bionicle for Luke (they actually bought him a game they had already given to Nathan, so they took him to Toys R Us and let him pick out something himself, which he LOVED), and the game Apples to Apples for Nathan, which he had been wanting. Everyone was very happy with all this largesse, and then Bob's mom brought down presents that his sister Rose had left there the previous weekend--things like a doll high chair for Anna, and a huge carton, which contained 4 boxes, each of which had 2 Nerf guns and a ton of ammunition. So . . . 2 Nerf guns for each boy? Wow--it will be like Armageddon around here! I told the boys that we would only open 2 boxes at a time, LOL. Anyhow, by this time, the living room was getting piled high with boxes, and we were all a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to fit everything in the van for the ride home, which is actually a pretty common concern whenever we go back there for Christmas, LOL. Amazingly, it all fit, but there were things under people's feet, and the back was totally stuffed to the top.

Later Bob's sister Ann and her family came over, including her daughter Christi and her new husband Andres (who got married back in May, with Anna being the flower girl). It was great to see them there! They drove up from Richmond because one of the ski resorts nearby had free skiing. Bob's brother Paul and his wife and son also were there, so the room was quite crowded, but it was good. Lots of people played pinochle, and Luke amazed them all with his hand of 2 straights. It's good for Bob's family to be reassured that we are teaching our kids the essentials of life, such as how to play pinochle.

Speaking of impressing, my one talent that impresses his parents got a mention as well. I try to be modest about this, but I am somewhat of an expert Etch-A-Sketcher. One year I wrote my name in cursive, and one year I drew a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was what got mentioned on Saturday, with his dad even asking if they still had that. He was sure they had never erased such a masterpiece, but no one could find the Etch-A-Sketch, which was probably just as well, since I don't actually spend much time "etch-a-sketching" these days (we don't even own one), and I'm sure whatever I could do now would only disappoint them, LOL. It's nice to admired for something, you know?

The next day Bob's brother Dennis came over, so we got to see all of his siblings except for Rose. That rarely happens in a weekend! Dennis was fresh off the hunting success of bagging his 5th deer of the season the day before. He brought his laptop so we could all see pictures.

Diabetes-wise, I actually did pretty well over the weekend. I packed a few peanut butter sandwiches so I could have an afternoon and evening snack on Saturday, and I didn't eat much junk at his parents' house. Then on Sunday morning, I ate breakfast with the boys at the hotel, and then I exercised while they swam. This hotel has a nice glassed-in exercise room right in the pool area, so I could keep an eye on them while I was on the treadmill. Bob fed the girls breakfast, and then they came to swim as well. I joined them after my workout was done. The pool was nice and warm, like a bathtub, so everyone had a great time. Even Grace is really coming along. She let me hold her just under the arms while she kicked her legs!

We went back over to his parents' house until 3:00 of Sunday, when we left to head back. Sherry and Brandon were there too, as well as Christi and Andres, and Ann and Wally came over after they had skiied for a few hours. This was when Dennis came over too. Unfortunately, this is just too much interaction and commotion, and his parents were getting edgy by the time we left. As Bob said later, we got out of there just in time, and sure enough, Ann called this afternoon after they got home to tell me she had talked to her dad, who said they were all hogs and not welcome there anymore. Well! Glad we missed the combustion!

I did not do so well on the way home, however, and I snacked on teddy grahams and cheez-its. There is something about not sleeping in my own bed and being around a lot of people that makes me edgy too, LOL. I guess I take it out by snacking. Wednesday is when I go in for my class, so then I'll be able to see what my numbers are, and what we are actually dealing with. Should be interesting!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Last night we all went swimming, which means that yes, I was seen in public in my maternity swimsuit. Actually, not mine, but Amy's. I borrowed all her maternity clothes a few pregnancy clothes and still have them. And now I just refer to them as "mine", LOL. Anyways, even though it is a cute suit, I am rarely seen in it--think "ivory-billed woodpecker sightings" rare.

We've been on a bit of a swimming kick lately. First, before Thanksgiving, we got a free week-long trial membership at this hoity-toity health club that has just opened up about 15 minutes away. We all went swimming there once, and Grace absolutely hated it. In fact, as soon as we opened the door from the locker room to the pool area, she started fussing, and she barely poked a toe into the water. Bob took the rest of the kids swimming there a few more times during that week, but apparently they use some super-duper chlorine there, and Nathan kept breaking out in a terrible rash. It was just as well that the pool was only okay--it was open weird hours that weren't really all that child-friendly, although that could have been because they haven't yet been able to hire enough life-guards. Bob and the boys also went rock-climbing there, and Anna tagged along to watch, but as it turned out, she couldn't even be back anywhere near the pit, so that didn't work out so well.

On Saturday, Bob was going to take the kids swimming at our local county recreation center and buy a pack of passes, but when he got there, he found out they now have monthly memberships, which are a good deal if you have a big family! So he bought one of those, and they've been swimming a few times without me, plus the one time with me yesterday. This pool is much more child-friendly, with lots of play stuff, and even a water slide. The whole pool is only 3 and a half feet at the deepest, with more shallow areas for smaller kids. There is also a "lazy river" part with a current that carries you along. Grace has gone "swimming" there twice, and by the end of last night, she was actually walking on the gradual ramp into the water up to her swimsuit! That may not seem like a big deal, but believe me--it's huge! Everyone else is enjoying it too, so we are thinking we'll get a monthly membership every other month or so, especially through the winter. It's nice to have a place to go in the evenings to get exercise, and it hasn't been crowded at all when we've gone. I can't guarantee how often I'll go, however. I'm not that big into swimming even when I'm not pregnant, and now I just feel like Shamu. Now when Bob takes all the kids and leaves me at home . . . . well, I can certainly handle that just fine!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A New Challenge

The doctor called this afternoon a little after 4:00, and I do indeed have gestational diabetes. Sigh. So I go to a class next Wednesday afternoon at the hospital to learn how to check my blood sugar, etc. She said she would order all the stuff I need so it would be there for me. I guess it's good that this happened back at a military facility so I don't have to worry about dealing with Tricare claims. The real hassle, other than worrying about what I eat and checking my blood sugar all the time, is that I will have to be seen every week or 2. Since just a routine appointment pretty much takes at least 2 hours out of a day, I can foresee that not a lot of school is going to get done the next 10 weeks. I'm not surprised, but I will say I am still adjusting to the news.