Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: A Sensory Evaluation, A Pregnancy Update, and Why I'm Thankful

One of the things I've been incredibly grateful for this past year is all the amazing therapists that we've been blessed to have in our lives.  This week I was especially aware of that blessing when I received the results of a report from Mae's OT that she did on her own for me, evaluating Sadie.  We've all suspected that Sadie had sensory processing issues, but I was surprised to see the whole report, probably because Sadie's sensory seeking behavior was so overshadowed by Mae's sensory seeking. But it was definitely there and shown through in about 75% of the areas tested in, showing up the most strongly in the vestibular area.

Vestibular dysfunction basically involves balance and knowing (or really in this case not knowing) the position of her limbs in space.  When I began reading more about vestibular functioning (again) I found quite a bit about it's relation to auditory processing (which is another area with big red flags) and problems with the inner ear.  And it makes me wonder if it relates to the many, many ear infections she had in her first years of life (something like 18 in 18 months).  Sadie's vestibular system under-registers her movements.

Reading about the signs of kids with sensory seeking vestibular problems is like reading about either of the girls .

Sadie with her always moving, spinning, jumping, non-stop movements and her love of the fastest rides at Disney World when she was all of three years of age (she loved Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain and because she was so tall she could actually go on them at that age) seems like the portrait of a kid who's dealing with a under registering vestibular system.

Right now I'm finding roller skating is a huge, huge help.  I had her skate for about fifteen minutes before school yesterday morning and then had her get up and do a few laps around the living room after each subject and it was amazing how much easier reading was!

I'm going a little stir crazy.  Not being able to walk long (or pretty much any) distances is definitely the challenge of this pregnancy.  Yesterday we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. It was a quick trip... maybe twenty minutes from the time we walked in until we walked out, just picking up things that we needed, and I was only a few minutes in to walking around before the very real contractions started.  Of course they stop as soon as I sit down.

Since walking is such a big part of our lives normally not being able to walk for more than few minutes is definitely a big change.  And I just have to keep reminding myself that sitting down so much is not being lazy (because sitting around this much feels really, really lazy in my head) but definitely seems to be a required part of keeping this little guy safely in place for the next month and a half!

An outtake from the weekly photo taking process.
(because I just can't call snapping a picture with my computer a "photo shoot")

For the last two days Maggie has been making huge strides.  She's talking so fast in therapy that no one can keep up with her word count.  It hasn't quite carried over to outside of therapy... usually our conversations revolve around the word "mermaid" being repeated (it might be one of the only words I hear all day once therapy ends) or "yellow fish," and she's as likely to sign to express what she wants as to say it (and the child acquires signs like nothing else... they aren't part of therapy but her sister watches Signing Time, maybe once a month on Netflix and she won't even be in the room, but she will watch Sadie from the other room where she can't see the TV and will pick up the signs Sadie is copying and use them to make requests for just about anything she wants).

I'm so thankful for all the tools she's mastering and all ways that she's finding to communicate!

I think we're also realizing that if you want to hear Mae talk, get her drawing.  She loves to draw (and look at books) and could probably spend all day at the table drawing balloons and flowers and mermaids and faces.

These days it's almost all about mermaids!

Sadie's getting to the point where she's getting more and more independent doing her school work.  While math has been a breeze, reading has, on and off, been a struggle.  During the last week I've realized, however that giving her the reading book and having her do the lesson on her own and then having her read it to me once she's read it over by herself is way more effective than anything we've done so far.  Today reading was followed by giving her a paper with 30 math problems that she proceeded to do by herself.  When I ask if she needs help she's pretty adamant that she absolutely doesn't.

Maggie is in therapy at the moment and is currently trying to jump in her skates.  Because apparently zooming across the hardwood floors in skates isn't daring enough.

We just had this conversation while Sadie was coloring a picture of a baby being baptized in her religion workbook:

Sadie:  "This is a picture of Maggie being baptized.  What was I doing when Maggie was baptized?"
Me:  "You were being pretty wild."
Sadie:  "I was.  What was I wearing?"
Me:  "A pink and yellow dress.  But all you wanted to do was run around.  You didn't want to be in any of the pictures."
Sadie:  "It was because I was so excited that Maggie was being baptized!"

The wildness just couldn't be contained.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Feast of Saint Augustine!

Earlier in the week I settled in one evening reading Saint Augustine quotes to put together a little quote graphic for his upcoming feast day.  I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be able to pick just one because so many jumped off the screen at me.  After doing a little research on each one I was able to narrow it down to four favorites (mostly because I finally made myself stop reading!) that I could hardly wait to share for today's feast day.

Happy Feast of Saint Augustine:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My First Attempt at Swimwear Sewing: A Maternity Swimsuit

Long, long ago I got two swim passes for our family that added up to around 12 trips to a local heated indoor pool.  So far we haven't used them.  A few days ago I thought it would be a great plan to go and take the kids... and then I realized that I still can't find my maternity suit and there isn't a single non-maternity suit that I can fit into these days. 

As I was measuring out mermaid tail fabric I had an idea.  I set aside an extra yard that I'd purchased and the next night I started sewing.  I started with the bump section, measuring out an ample amount of fabric and then running elastic that I'd pulled really tightly taut down the sides.  It was something I'd seen on pinterest and it worked perfectly to make a little rounded out area for the rapidly growing bump.  Then I made the bust area and straps, brought it in a little and hemmed it and the top was done.

I also made bottoms, which have really good coverage and a separate skirt to go over it.

Here's the finished result.  I think it's one of my all time favorite bathing suits. I also think I'm going to try my hand at making one postpartum at some point next spring if I can find the time!  I loved being able to figure out the neckline and how much coverage I wanted!  And with coupons it cost around $8 to make, which is great because while there are plenty of bathing suits I see out there that I love, they're pretty much always out of the price range that I can imagine spending for any piece of clothing. 

So here's the finished result.  My newly made maternity swim suit:

Monday, August 25, 2014

I get an F for the day...

After yesterday I was determined to take it easy and rest today.  The weather forecasts I'd kept seeing were promising that it would not only be one of the hottest days of the summer so far, but that it would also be intensely humid (it is... still... right this second...) and if you've been around the blog long you've probably realized from my non-stop whining when it's humid that while I don't mind triple digit heat in California, I wilt when it's eighty degree and humid here in Michigan.  The fact that only one room in the house is air conditioned contributes heavily to my not-a-fan-of-hot-day feelings, especially since that one air conditioned room isn't upstairs, which means it isn't a bedroom. Right now my as I sit in my bedroom it is "85 feels like 91" at 8:30 pm. But I digress (and probably should apologize for writing one of the most boring paragraphs in blogging history, whining about the weather).

If anyone survived that paragraph and is still with me (Hi Mom!) I'll continue and try to stay on track..
So.  Today.  I was going to take it easy.  I saw my doctor and blogged about the appointment.  I did school with Sadie.  Mae had an awesome time in therapy. Paul slept until noon after working his fifth consecutive night in a row at the new job (job prayers are still appreciated!).

And then I had an idea that seemed brilliant at the time.  I woke Paul up and told him that I thought we should take the kids to have pizza at the restaurant he's been working at.  On days he works he gets 50% off, and after looking online I realized that while they're likely out of our price range at dinner time, they have amazing deals earlier in the day (think $2 10-inch pizzas).  And they have gluten free pasta and gluten free pizza which makes them one of about three restaurants that we can really safely eat at.

Now this "let's take the kids out" idea was heavily influenced by the fact that the kitchen isn't air conditioned and turning my oven on immediately raises the temperature in that particular room by at least ten degrees.  And my creativity in crafting cold meals for lunch has pretty much involved alternating between gluten free sandwiches and fruit and cereal and yogurt and fruit.  So taking the kids (and me!) to see Daddy's work for the first time sounded like a great idea.  I could just imagine how relaxing it would be (all of the kids tend to do really well in restaurants for whatever reason).

That cheerful mood lasted right up until the moment when our car broke down as we pulled into the parking space across the street from the restaurant.  We decided to have lunch and hope that the car turned on when we returned.

Inside the following conversation occurred:

Me: "So, do you think we should walk home after lunch?"
Paul: "No.  I'll figure something out."
Me:  "It's hot out there.  So we'll have to figure it out fast."
Paul:  "I know."
Me:  "It's really not that bad."
Paul: ...
Me:  "Look, a breeze. Doesn't it look nice out there."
Paul: (making some sort of incredulous sound to express his disbelief.. perhaps realizing that I'd made the argument that it was too hot to wait for help, followed by the argument that it wasn't really all that hot...)
Me:  "We've walked this far plenty of times.  To the zoo. To the botanical gardens.  To the law library.  To Impression Five.  All of those are further than this."
Paul:  "All of those were bad ideas."
Me: "No they weren't.  We were fine."
Paul:  "I was just thinking of all the times I had to rescue you on walks in Florida."
Me:  "But not here."
Paul:  "It wasn't as hot as it is today on those walks."
Me:  "Yes it was." (Okay. It probably wasn't.)  "It was on the law library day."  (well maybe in temperature but not in humidity).
Paul:  "You shouldn't be walking that far in your condition."
Me:  "My condition.  Pshh.  I'll be fine.  Perfectly fine.  It'll be good exercise."
Paul:  ...

And in my mind I totally thought I could do it.  It just didn't seem that far.  Sure I'd probably have a contraction or two, but I have that just standing up.  Usually they ease up once the sitting to standing transition is complete.

Paul did put in a good effort in his attempts to find someone to give us a jump in the restaurant, but almost everyone had walked to work and we had no takers.  And we were still hoping that maybe, just maybe the car would start.

It didn't.  Paul pushed the van back out of the parking place and an elderly gentleman stopped and gave us a jump.  The car started... and stayed on until we were in line to get out of the parking lot.  A worker from the city (who owned the lot) jumped the car again... twice.  And we made it half way home before we got stuck behind a lady who appeared to be paying more attention to her cell phone than the road, which caused us to have to slow way, way down to a crawl, causing the car to die a fourth time.

We managed to coast into a parking place.  The kids were wilting in the heat since the car no longer had the juice to run a fan and so we unloaded them.  Paul wore Patch in the carrier and I started out pushing Mae.  We were okay for a solid two minutes until the first contraction hit.

And then two minutes later:  "So... um... guess how long it's been between this contraction and the last one?"
Paul:  "Two minutes."
Me:  "Yeah."
Paul:  "I knew this would happen."

Unfortunately I'm
a little bit
past using
the carrier...
The next hour unfolded like this.  Contraction. 2 minutes.  Contraction.  1 minute.  Bad contraction... the kind you can't talk or stand up during.  1 minute.  Another bad, bad contraction.  Sitting down on the grass by the side of the road thinking "well I guess one good thing about not having particularly effective contractions after so many c-sections is that these aren't actually doing anything." Walking again.  2 minutes.  Contraction.  2 minutes.  3 minutes (mini celebration).  2 minutes. 1 minute. 1 minute.  Contraction, contraction, contraction.

All. the. way. home.

For an hour.

I knew that I just had to get home and get out of the heat and sit down and they would stop.    And finally we were home and after a few minutes of drinking water and laying down on the couch in the cool living room while Patch attacked me for my water (he had his own, but obviously the water in my cup tasted better) I was as good as new (or at least not having contractions anymore).

So there you have it.  Epic fail on the relaxing front... hopefully tomorrow I'll be slightly more successful with that particular goal.  My new goal for the moment is to not even leave the house...

32 Week Appointment... Giganto-Baby Continues to Grow...

I was out of the house early this morning for my 32 week appointment.  Everything went well.  Baby looks good.  The doctor referred me over to manipulative medicine because I've been having excruciating pelvic pain again this pregnancy (I'm blaming the giant babies we seem to grow) and nothing I've tried (like making sure to keep my knees together when standing up) is helping anymore.  It would be great if it did help because it makes things like walking and sitting up a challenge, but either way I'm focusing on being in the home stretch now and if it's anything like last time the pain will hopefully go away once the baby arrives.

He's also starting to think that I might have a hernia so... pregnancy fun abounds!  I guess we'll see during the c-section (since the suspected spot is pretty close to my scar).

In totally unsurprising news, the baby is measuring two weeks ahead of schedule, shocking absolutely no one.  I think this baby is determined to have me outgrowing all my maternity clothing by the end of this pregnancy.

Right now my bottom half still fits into small maternity clothes and my top half is outgrowing some of my L-XL maternity clothing.  Which is probably why I'm starting to find myself thinking of this kid as Giganto-Baby.

Sensory Playground Time

The first picture in this post really should be the last picture... but it's one of my all time favorite pictures of Mae and I almost felt like it deserved it's very own post.  It's a picture of Mae calmly swinging after getting basically all the sensory input that she needed (for the moment!) from running around and swinging at the playground:

I think we've finally discovered that there is one thing that she loves to do at the playground more than climbing.  And that thing is running:

But it can't just be running anywhere.  She loves to run on concrete (and has the scrapped knees to prove it).  I have a feeling it has to do with her sensory seeking tendencies and the tendency of her joints not to register impact like other people's joints do.  After watching her for quite a while I think that her love of running on cement has to do with the impact that she actually seems to feel when she goes sprinting across it.  Grass and wood chips just don't work as well.

And then, after getting enough running, it's time to swing.  The closer to upside down the better (on particularly sensory seeking days she makes being upside down her goal pretty much all day long).  

And then, finally, after all that prioprioceptive and vestibular input from playing on the playground, she's finally ready to relax and swing on the swings and grab my hand and walk to the car when it's time to go home.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The reason I didn't make it to Mass...

When I went to bed last night I had a feeling that I wasn't going to make it to Mass in the morning.  I wasn't feeling great and figured that I was coming down with something.  And I sneezed and felt that horrible pain from earlier in the pregnancy... but it went away quickly and everything seemed fine.

Until I woke up and found that it was back and in my head went over my doctor's advice to go straight to Labor and Delivery if it happened again...

It was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do because the pain would go from extreme to non-existent (my doctor thinks they're uterine adhesions) and during those moments when everything felt fine going to the hospital felt really, really silly.

But he said I absolutely should go if it happened again... and there was no denying that it was happening... and that I was feeling pretty sick from the pain... and so I went.

Thankfully the baby looked good.  Somehow I was dehydrated and my blood pressure was dipping when I stood up, which felts ridiculous because I drink water pretty much all day (yesterday I kept track and apart from juice I drank 144 ounces of water over the course of the day), so they hooked me up to an IV...

In other pregnancy news apparently my uterus was being "irritable" and they were concerned that I was in early labor.  But I explained that contractions are pretty much a fact of life all day, all the time from the second trimester onward (at least for the last three pregnancies).  

After about four hours of monitoring and a total of something like five hours on and off of watching HGTV it was time to head back home where I was greeted by a rather moody Patch who needed immediate Mommy cuddles to reassure him that everything was as it should be.

Starting to feel better... and ready to go home.

Now here's hoping for an uneventful seven weeks without any additional trips to Labor and Delivery before the big day!

Answer Me This: On Sunglasses, Cheese and Boycotts

This may be the last installment of Answer Me This and so I just couldn't miss it.

1. What is your favorite picture book?

I have so many favorite kids books that it's just about impossible to pick an actual "favorite" but I thought I'd share this particular book that is definitely worth reading if you have a wiggly kid who loves to move.  I think Gina first suggested it to me and I went right over to Amazon and ordered it.  And while it doesn't have enough mermaids to hold Maggie's attention just yet, Sadie loves it. Press Here doesn't have spectacular pictures.  It starts with a simple picture of a yellow button.  But as you press, shake and slide that "button," following the author's instructions, giggles are almost certain to follow.

Be warned though.  It is definitely a book that you may find yourself reading again and again and again... even with a child who doesn't usually make repeat requests to hear the same story repeatedly!

2. Are you a boycotter?

Only about one particular topic.  Abortion.  If a company gives to Planned Parenthood we don't shop there or buy their product. And yes, that means that there are lots and lots of things that we don't buy.  I'm not big into talking about it or convincing others to do it.... but I just haven't been able to get past the lump in my stomach of buying something from a company who I know donates to support the major abortion provider in our country.  I don't do it for any other topic, but giving to PP is too big for me to ignore.

At the same time I respect other people's right to boycott stores they disagree with, and am more likely to drive a couple extra miles to pick up the craft supplies that I need at Hobby Lobby, instead of the other two major craft stores that are closer to our house, because they've taken a stand that I agree with and I want to support them.

And of course over the years I've had plenty of people point out that such a small number of people boycott the things that we do that it doesn't make a difference to the company, so why do it?  The answer is that it makes a difference to me because I know that I'm doing whatever I can to spend less on companies that are using their funds in that way and so I personally can't in good conscience make any other decision.  And believe me... I've tried... and just felt sick about it.

3. How do you feel about cheese?

So ever since Patch came along with his dairy allergy and I had 16 months without any sort of dairy my already probably-not-entirely-healthy love of all things cheese has been intensified.  I think I can probably blame it, at least in part, for my current gigantic pregnant size, because I keep thinking that I should eat all of the cheese (or ice cream) that I possibly can because with two out of three kids unable to eat dairy what are the chances that this next kid won't follow his older siblings example and have some sort of allergy by two months old?  By the allergist's laughter when I asked that question I would say "not very good."
Already allergic at this point...

And so at the moment I'm kind of obsessed with cheese... and I'm really hoping that this next kid loves it too (and can eat it!)!

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

One pair that has not been broken by a) being dropped on the ground by my own clumsiness or b) been pulled apart by twp cute little sun glass destroyers in my life.

Especially this one.  He's developing a special love of stealing sunglasses and putting them to the test:

And I hate it when my sunglasses finally do end up breaking.

When Paul and I were dating I once mentioned how almost completely impossible it is for me to find sun glasses that don't look totally ridiculous with the shape of my face.  He didn't really believe me. Then he was with me when I tried on sunglasses and was rather surprised how pair after pair looked so very wrong.  So when I find a pair that works I hope that it lasts for a very long time.  Although Patch and/or Mae almost always ensure that that doesn't happen.

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

Back when Sadie was this little.
Is it bad that I can only figure this out because the last time I went to the dentist they didn't do x-rays because I was pregnant and I happen to remember which pregnancy that occurred during.

And it wasn't this pregnancy.  Or the last one.

And Maggie is four years old... so... yeah.

One of these days we'll either have dental insurance or extra money lying around to go to the dentist, but until then four years and a half years (and counting) it is.

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

Lourdes. Sadie has made me watch The Song of Bernadette many, many times, and read her little book about Bernadette nearly as many times and so it's the first place that comes to mind.

If I was returning somewhere we've already visited I would have to struggle to narrow it down between Mount Tabor, Gethsemane and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

At Mount Tabor shortly after finding out we were expecting Sadie.
For more Answer Me This head over to Catholic All Year!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

32 Weeks and Where Have the Last 8 Months Gone?!?!

Today I hit the 32 week mark, after staying up last night to edit and put together a series with the latest pictures included in it (minus this week):

I'm still a little shocked every single time I realize that in (what is at this moment) 7 to 7 1/2 weeks (at the latest) we'll be meeting this little (or not so little) guy.

And I'm curious to see if my prediction, which is that this baby feels like he's bigger than the last two, will be right.

And to see if he tops our longest/heaviest baby who at 22 inches and 9 lbs 4 ounces still holds the record in our house:

Dainty she was not.
When the doctor delivered her she said "I knew it!  I knew she was going to be huge!"
I'm still amazed at how fast it feels like each subsequent pregnancy has gone by.  When I was pregnant with Sadie, I felt like we were waiting for her forever.  The third trimester dragged on by.

Now the first trimester seems to drag a bit (mostly because I get so nervous waiting for things like hearing a heartbeat and seeing the first ultrasound) and then we hit twelve weeks and go into some sort of time warp where the baby is suddenly about to arrive.  I have an appointment on Monday morning bright and early and I can hardly believe we're already to the two week appointment mark and that it's already been two weeks since the last one since I kind of feel like it was a couple of days ago.

And actually now that I think about it, when I asked my doctor he said we'd set the day of the operation at about six weeks out... and that's coming up pretty fast!  Maybe we'll have an estimated date of arrival on Monday!

Happy Feast of Saint Rose of Lima!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Triumph of the Morning!

We had another big moment this morning during therapy:

I explained that I couldn't fit into the skirt... but she wasn't convinced and obviously wasn't happy with the answer. Her therapist handed her a piece of paper and crayon to distract her from the skirt and she quickly sat down and drew picture #2...

A frown, complete with eyes, nose, ears and a mouth!  I could hardly believe my eyes!

7 Quick Takes Friday: Gunfire, Fabric and the Awesomeness of Playing Mermaids

So... in our local news this week our little city has apparently just had it's ninth shooting (of the week).  Last weeks the news included a report that the school district we happen to be in scored in the lowest 5% in the state (which was kind of shocking, even after following the statistics on roughly half the students dropping out before graduation, because I still would have thought we would have had a slightly higher percentage ranking simply because we're in the same state as Flint and Detroit who both rank so high on those yearly crime lists when they're released).

It's kind of funny because growing up on the edge of the woods I found shell casings pretty constantly.  It was sometimes unnerving how close those casings were to our house and pasture but not nearly as unnerving as finding this outside on the sidewalk when you live pretty close to downtown:

Let's just pretend my nails don't look like I painted them hot pink with Sadie
and then couldn't find nail polish remover... for weeks.
And I think Paul is finally thinking I'm a little less silly when I pause and say "fireworks or gunfire?" when we hear those familiar pop, pop sounds at night (probably because working nights just a few miles away and being in the law library so much for the past two years he hasn't heard nearly as much of it as we do here in the house... and I'm feeling about a million times safer with him being home so much more.).

On to a much more fun topic.  Yesterday I made these and had so much fun doing it!  I'd been at a loss for what to use for the cords for the necklaces I was envisioning and then I discovered a package of silicone necklace cords that I'd had for years and couldn't find beads that worked well with them and knew that they were the perfect match for these silicone teething beads that I've also had for quite a while.  The finished result is below:

Yesterday I had a solid half hour of panicking when I found out that the Paypal buttons on the chaplets page hadn't been working and had been saying that most of the chaplets I had up were sold out (they weren't!).  I erased and recreated the page, and while it definitely needs more work on descriptions now, it is up and working again.  And I added two of my all time favorite chaplets, both  versions of the chaplet of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  Little by little I'm getting the chaplets and rosaries that I've made over the last few years photographed and placed on the page so there should be a few going up each day!

Last night I cut out the fabric for a few mermaid projects that I'm working on so that I can have examples up of various mermaid-options.  The camo-sparkle fabric on top is for a certain 21 month old who wants costumes that are shiny like his sisters.  He's also a big fan of frogs as of yesterday (who knows how long that will last) so maybe I can figure out some sort of frog outfit... because I have a feeling he would not do as well as his sisters do at hoping around in a tail... even if he thinks they look really fun!

This picture just doesn't do justice to the fabrics colors!
--- 5 ---

An actual conversation with the littlest person in the house:

Me:  "Ouch!  That's not nice Patch!  Why did you do that?"
Patch:  "I. Am.  Big."

  He is becoming quite the handful... and sometimes it's really, really hard not to laugh when he "explains" to me why he just did something he definitely shouldn't have been doing:

I put this on the facebook page but it was such big news that I had to share it here too:

Monday morning I have another doctor's appointment because we're up to the "appointment every two weeks" point.  Which leads me to wonder where this pregnancy has gone.  Because I feel like it started about five minutes ago, the way the last almost eight months have zoomed on by. The new baby is going to be here before we know it!

Sometimes it feels like each pregnancy has gone faster than the one before it.  Probably because certain someone's are keeping me too busy to think about how many weeks have passed!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!