Saturday, July 31, 2010

New HG Blog: "Living With Hyperemesis"

I found this link on the blog "Baby, You're Making Me Sick!" Check it out:

Living With Hyperemesis

Excellent blog. I haven't been through it all yet, but it is another pure-HG-only blog. She wrote part of it in retrospect, after her diagnosis, and the rest on an as-you-go basis. Her baby was born this past May, so this is a recent blog. Definitely worth checking out, and a good resource to share with anyone not understanding HG.

Thanks for sharing - excellent resource!

11 Months

On Monday, our baby will be eleven months! I cannot believe it's been nearly a year since his birth! It honestly feels like it was just a few months ago, and yet how much has happened since then.

One thing I cannot get over is the night-and-day difference between our sons - it's like they came from different parents, different states, different countries. Wow.

Our first son: A very challenging baby, though adorable. Cried for hours on end. Has been extremely bright, smart, advanced, curious, stubborn, opinionated, motivated. He has been a challenge from day 1, and he still is. Learning how to parent him has been like taking an advanced Master's degree in parenting, and I've been running to keep up with the coursework ever since he was born. Very active and extremely advanced physically - completely mobile before 6mos (he would arch his back and push off with his legs, scooting backwards on his head) and walking at 11 mos. Could climb before he would walk.

Our second son: An extremely mellow, laid-back, easy-going, sweet-tempered, delicate baby. Many more health issues (all minor) than #1, who has hardly known a day of ill health in his life. Content, plump, mild-mannered. All of our nicknames for him are descriptors of his adorable chubbiness (and thus will have to be dropped before he gets much older) - Chubs, Tubby, Chublet, Wee Pork Chop, etc. etc. etc. He is utterly unmotivated physically - at nearly 11 mos. of age, he just last week turned over for the first time. I doubt he'll be even crawling for several more months. It's not that he has "problems," but that he is simply happy happy happy. While #1 was, in a word, driven, he is simply content to sit back, slurp succulently on his hands (both at once, if possible), and watch the world go by. He can be fussy, but it's nothing on the scale of baby crankiness, and on the whole he is a dream baby.

I remember our pastor's wife saying that one of her babies was like what Jesus must have been like as an infant, and this one is very close to that.

For example: I can actually walk into the bedroom with him, he being fully awake, and put him down in his crib to let him fall asleep. Yes, SERIOUSLY! Is that not a miracle? It is wonderful! In fact, I can put him down and then walk around the room doing things, or lie down myself to sleep! Occasionally he'll be momentarily fussy, but on the whole he'll just suck on his fingers and gaze around until he dozes off. That's right! Wallow in your oozing jealousy, my friends!!

With our eldest, we had two choices when putting him to bed. We could spend an hour nursing him to sleep, or we could listen to screaming. A lot of screaming. At some point he would did learn to go to sleep on his own if he was drowsy and we played his mobile, but then we'd be rushing into his room every 2 minutes to reset it - "Quick! The mobile is running down! Run!!" And we'd have to do an army crawl across the floor after he was in bed, because if he saw/heard us, he'd be up in a second and we'd have to start over.

Can I say there's a bit of a contrast?

When our eldest was a few months old, we visited some friends who had a baby a wee bit older than ours. At some point in the evening, she left with the baby and came back a few moments later without her. I said, "Where's the baby?" My friend said, "Oh, I put her to bed." I puzzled over that mystery for YEARS. Literally, years. I couldn't figure it out. How exactly do you just "put a baby to bed"? In my mind, there were two options - a very long nursing session, or listening to a lot of crying. Nothing in between.

Now I know. And it is wonderful. Mmmm.

I am very thankful to have had what (at this point, at least) seems to be our "harder" child first. For one thing, it lets me learn all the hard lessons first and then have an easier time with the next, which I much prefer. A friend of mine told me that her first was her easy child and her second was her hard one, and her second child hit her life like a lead brick - it turned her world upside down. So did #1 for me, but I'd rather have that happen when I don't already have another child in my life!

Secondly, I know that I would have been one conceited mother if I'd had an easy child for #1. "You see that beautifully behaved child over there? Yes, that one? He's mine. And he's so perfect because of my parenting. If you parented as well as I do, then your child would be perfect too. Too bad. Tsk tsk tsk." My first child is in the business of keeping me humble. :)

Though it does make me afraid to have another - you just can't make temperaments to order! And there's no guarantee that it will stay this way. One friend of mine told me that her "easy" one actually hit the toddler years harder than her "hard" one. If that be the case for me, I am really in for it. Ye gods!

But nowadays I am just enjoying the sweets of having an easy baby!

Summer Challenge: Week #6

Anyone who has been counting will be thinking, "Hey, what happened to weeks #4 and #5?"

Don't be too picky! When one is as far behind as I am, one can't complain about semantics. Actually, I'm doing #6 because it's the easiest and the fastest, and will make me feel like I'm making the most progress!

You can read the original challenge (it's very good stuff), but in short, the assignment for the week was:

"Make your husband a priority. Ask him what his favorite dinner, dessert and drink are. Be sure to serve him all three one night this week. Bonus: cook his favorite dishes all week long!"

I haven't done it yet, but I did ask him (though I forgot about the drink part) and wrote his answers (peanut chicken and lemon icebox pie) into the menu for the week. Consider it done!

He got the funniest look of alarm in his eyes when I said, "So, hon, what's your favorite dinner and dessert, because I'm going to make it this week." I could just see the buttons going off in his head. "Wait, what's the special event/anniversary that she's remembering and I forgot? Or what is she going to ask me for? Or tell me that she did? Ack!" So I took the opportunity to reassure him that this was just me being nice, not a forgotten occasion or my chance to spring a horrible surprise on him. ("Guess what, dear? I've just bought a new car with a credit card I got in the mail!" etc. etc. etc.)

I'll have to think twice before taking up a challenge again! It's been fun, but I simply cannot keep up with these weekly assignments. Yikes!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Monday - A New Era

Monday is going to be a big day around here - the beginning of preschool! Or really, "pre-preschool," as I signed our 4y0 up for a 2x/week 45-minute class that falls within the boundaries of the city's preschool program but isn't their "real" preschool - that will start in September. But technically, it's still "preschool."

I am a nervous wreck.

Not so much about "starting preschool," because I'm pretty sure he'll hate it anyway. Or rather, not hate it, but hate being left - he is especially clingy at the moment. Right now I'm thinking along the lines of unrepentant bribery to make this thing work. No, what I'm nervous about is more about "Are we really doing the right thing?" You see, I have never come to a place of complete peace in the school v. homeschool debate. I simply can't feel 100% at peace with either decision (I've tried them both on for size). When I decide on school, my mind immediately goes into the "But we should be homeschooling!" mode, and when I decide on homeschool, I right away begin to think "But I don't want to homeschool!"

Being that I am a nervous wreck having any decision in my life open and unmade (I have an intense need for finalized decisions, even over issues that may never come up in our lives), this has made me extremely uptight for the past year. I have been praying intensely that whichever decision God truly wants us to make, he would make that abundantly clear to us so that I could (1) make a decision and move forward in it without doubt and fear, and (2) stop this eternal struggle in my heart about what is right.

So, as we start preschool, here are the things we will be watching for:

(1) Does our son enjoy it?

(2) Do we, as a family, enjoy being a "school" family?

(3) Are we dealing with continual rounds of illness?

(4) Is our son becoming, in the words of a friend, "peer dependent"? (My friend put her kids in preschool and eventually decided to homeschool because she saw her children transferring their allegiance, source of example, and source of beliefs to their peers rather than their family.)

(5) Do we see good results - socially, academically, morally?

If any of the above results in negative outcomes, I am open to reconsidering the homeschooling question. In the meantime, I'm trying to force it through my thick skull that we are just trying out this non-homeschool option, and that it won't be too late to re-make our decision after we start preschool if we decide that that is not for us. In other words, I'm not signing our names in blood just by signing him up for preschool!

Honestly, if I had a full time housekeeper I'd be much more open to homeschooling - I'm just so tired of living under the incredible strain (for the past 5 years) of having a home that is messier than I can handle emotionally - plus the "no free time" issue - as a former only-child, that has been beyond-stressful.

Of course, the school (for K-8) that we're considering, is a 60%-in-school, 40%-at-home program, so we will still be "homeschooling" to some extent. And a friend of mine, who is officially homeschooling, considers preschool with the city to be just an extracurricular that she adds onto her daughter's school program. So there are different ways of looking at it all around.

Being a stress-case type of person, I have entirely too many unmade decisions in my life for my liking! Let's see:

(1) School or homeschool?

(2) More children, or not? And if so, planned or unplanned?

(3) DH's job - he is not really satisfied where he is, so the possibility of move is a constant

(4) Birth community involvement - Right now I'm just a birth blogger, but I would eventually like to be more involved - and I have no idea how.

(5) Church home - We've been looking for 7 months now, and are no closer to finding a new church to call home (except in that we have crossed quite a few churches off the possibilities list)

When I think too much about these things, I just want to scream! As I've said, I do NOT do well with unmade decisions. All of these decisions are now on my prayer list, and I'm hoping to be able to cross at least some of them off at some point in the near future - i.e., the decision has been MADE and I don't have to think about it anymore!

Okay, enough venting! I need to go wake the kiddos up. As I just posted on Facebook, our youngest son has gotten into the habit over the past week or so of waking up in the wee hours of the morning fussing/crying for a good hour, then laying awake and cooing/thrashing/partying, then eventually falling asleep (oh-so-conveniently) just before our alarm goes off. So Yours Truly is not experiencing a lot of sleep! Hopefully that phase will be over soon.

And when I get another chance to blog, I'll write about all the positive things that are going on in my life! :)

Have an awesome weekend, all!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pre-Conception Diet, Update

Last night, after discussing it with DH, I decided that I am going to try going straight to Phase III of the "Pre-Conception NVP-Prevention Diet" instead of going through the torture of Phase II "just for fun." I'm also going to work on reducing carbs overall, learning gradually to eat like the diet recommends and collecting recipes that work - kind of a gradual process. I'm also going to continue to work on getting sugar and white flour out of our diet. Then hopefully, when (or rather, IF) the time comes that we want to do the diet "for real," I'll be more prepared to jump into Phase II than I was this time. I think I needed more preparation time (to research, to gradually reduce refined carbs, etc.) than I allowed myself this time.

We celebrated with frosties. :)

I actually welcome the challenge - it should be a fun project to work on. Though I make most of our food from scratch and even do stuff like homemade yogurt, our diet does still have a lot of white flour and sugar. It will be fun to improve on that, as well as to learn more about diet. I'll post on what I find!

Here's an interesting finding: I have always had problems with fatigue - for years and years. I would get up in the morning, feel fine, eat breakfast (usually cereal or some form of bread), and then within 30 minutes crash and feel horribly drowsy, sleepy, and exhausted for the rest of the day (until late afternoon, when I would wake up). I've gone to a naturopath about this, posted on forums, done research - no dice. BUT, over the past year or so since I've been trying to incorporate more protein and vegetables and decrease wheat, I have noticed vast improvements - amazing. And whenever I go back to a wheat-based breakfast, the fatigue is there immediately. Yesterday, when I binged on granola, the fatigue came right back.

Now, I'm not saying it's always 100% - but I have noticed that my mornings are better when I don't eat wheat, and I think I'm going to try to keep up with that. I am so thankful! I have always been a low-energy person, and I tend to kill people if I don't get an afternoon nap most days, but ditching morning wheat has made a huge improvement for me. That's been a big improvement, entirely aside from NVP issues!!

Also, I notice that, for myself, I tend to use grain-based carbohydrates as "excuse" foods, i.e. foods that let me be lazy. For example - it's a lot easier to grab a bagel or cereal than it is to spend the time chopping vegetables for a veggie omelet. It's easier to make a sandwich than a salad; to add bread to a meal rather than the fuss of vegetable preparation, etc. etc. etc. Grains let me be lazy, while vegetables demand thought, planning, and prep time. Another challenge to work on!

Thoughts, anyone!

Having already overspent my allotted time, I had better get back to what I was doing! Happy Sunday, all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Greetings, all!

I hope that you all are very, very well! As any readers can tell, I am not spending a lot of time blogging, but I wanted to check in while the rest of the family is (all at once, *gasp!*) napping!! (Though of course the sound of my typing will probably wake up our eldest - if we ever buy another house, one of the main things we'll be looking for is bedrooms that are around a corner and not in a location where every event in the main of the house can be seen and heard from the kids' bedroom. Not that that's been annoying or anything. :)

I started doing the pre-conception diet on Monday - not because we're trying to conceive, just as a dry run to try it out. It has actually been harder than I expected, and I was only in Phase I - the part where you have to give up white flour/cornmeal, potatoes, white rice, and all added forms of sugar. The white rice wasn't a problem (don't really eat it), nor were the potatoes, but the sugar and the white flour have been HARD. It's not that I eat a ton of processed foods, but I do make a lot of dishes that have flour and/or sugar in them or their accompanying side dishes - barbecue, sloppy joes, chicken tetrazzini, spaghetti sauce, chicken and dumplings, cornbread, biscuits, chicken a la king, chicken pot pie - in honesty, I'd have to say that a majority of my recipes have either white flour or sugar in them in some form. And having it forbidden makes it worse (I have a bad habit of starting to crave anything that is forbidden).

Today, being that I plan/planned to start Phase II on Monday (the super-hard no-carb phase), I decided to be a little lenient and ended up blowing it big time - granola, a donut from our beloved Cherubini's, you name it. And I find myself extremely disinclined to continue the journey any further, especially as I don't have a really defined end goal in mind (i.e. "we want to conceive and I want to avoid NVP") - it was just "for fun" (plus a little weight loss thrown in. So... will I keep going? I don't know. I'll have to rally my forces and see if I can stir up enough gumption to give it another go. But passing up the white nectarines at Sprouts yesterday (Phase II is obviously no-fruit) was extremely difficult and disheartening - and I don't have a lot of will-power left! We'll see.

Well, so much for blogging - our youngest is up and squawking! I'll have to update on the rest of my life later. Happy weekending to you all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hyperemesis Poem

Becky, the HG Mama and Birth/VBAC activist at "Refuse to be a Womb Pod" posted this poem of her hyperemesis experience - very descriptive and brutally real. Thanks for writing, Becky!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Low Carb Diet - Now for Morning Sickness Prevention?

* This article is Part I in a series. To go to the next article, click here

Okay, ladies! Here we go! I'm going to try to type this up in the 15 minutes my DH and DS are gone to Ace Hardware. Good luck to me on that one!

This could be big....

A month or two ago, someone posted an article on my local birth network Yahoo! group which had been posted on the blog "The Heart Scan Blog," which is authored by a cardiologist in Wisconsin, Dr. William Davis, who treats cardiology patients using a low-carb diet approach. I've been reading his blog ever since, and it's very interesting - I recommend it.

I should say here that I am in NO way an expert in nutrition. I do a ton of reading on the subject, but I find the subject baffling in that there is an immense amount of information and opinion, much of it conflicting. The only concrete personal conclusion I have come to is that I believe the official information given by the government is pretty much dead wrong. On other subjects, I'm still reading!

Anyhow, the article posted was this one:

The Low-Carb Gynecologist

(*Clock ticking while I wait for everyone to read the article....*)

For those naughty readers out there who didn't read the article (shame!), Dr. Davis records his interview with Dr. Michael Fox, a fertility doctor in Florida who uses very-low-carb diets in his practice to treat fertility disorders and promote IVF transfer success.

Originally, the diet developed by Dr. Fox's center was used primarily to treat PCOS/PCOD (polycistic ovarian syndrome/disease), but they now use the diet with all of their fertility patients. Because I don't want to waste time rehashing what the article already said about the history of the diet and how they use it, just refer to the article (read it now!).

So anyway, I found this information fascinating - but, naturally, what fascinated me the most was the little sentence in the paragraph regarding pregnancy nausea:
"We know that pregnancy hormones dramatically worsen insulin resistance that is responsible for the condition, gestational diabetes. If insulin resistance is worsened, then reactive hypoglycemia is worsened. One of the biggest symptoms of hypoglycemia is nausea. So, in response to this, we have counseled our patients on the diet in pregnancy and have found a dramatic reduction in nausea. We recommend snacking every two hours in pregnancy."
After seeing this, I immediately hopped onto the center's website and emailed Dr. Fox to find out more - specifically asking him if he would recommend the diet for prevention of HG. Several weeks later, I received a very gracious letter from him, in which he stated:
"I would definitely recommend the diet. Our patients that follow the diet experience little if any nausea. Nausea is due to the hypoglycemia produced from the dramatic increase in insulin resistance in pregnancy. Our most dramatic example was a patient who actually had electively terminated about 7 pregnancies for nausea and came to us with that story."
That one sentence really got me. A woman who has electively aborted multiple babies due to HG is someone dealing with serious HG - and she was able to have a pregnancy without undue nausea. That is BIG.

He also said:
"The other areas that appear to be dramatically changed by the diet in pregnancy are gestational diabetes, hypertension in pregnancy and reduction in the weight gain in pregnancy."
Dr. Fox sent me the center's diet sheets, and he has given me permission to share them (as well as the content of his emails). He recommends that a woman be on this diet for at least 2 months pre-conception so that her body can get used to it. Post-conception would NOT be the time to try this diet, in my opinion, as once NVP/HG has developed, carbs are often the only helpful foods. This is really a pre-pregnancy diet.

A few notes:

(1) Either one lives on this diet (and is okay with surprise babies) or conception has to be planned around the diet.

(2) After studying the sheets, I can tell you frankly that this diet is NOT EASY. It is not just low-carb, it is VERY low-carb. Coming from someone who lasted 48 hours on the last low-carb diet I tried (24 hours if you want to discount the 24 hours I spent cheating) and who has an ongoing love affair with carbs (I went to school to be a pastry chef, for goodness' sake!), I can say that this diet is extremely difficult. Dr. Fox says that many of his clients require nutritional counseling (plus a whole lotta discipline) to make this diet work. You have been warned.

Also, I make no guarantees. This may or may not work in individual cases. Do not try this diet and then say "You promised it would work!" I have no idea if it will work in any specific case. It's just a "give this a try and see what happens!" sort of thing.

Additionally, if you do use this diet, please get in touch with Dr. Fox and let him know how it went. They have not been able to study this phenomenon formally, but they would love any input.

I'm going to be trying this diet starting tomorrow - not for conception, but just to lose some baby weight if possible. I will report in! Phase I (which lasts 1-2 weeks) is the easiest phase (it's just the phase that gently "weeds" out bad carbs, so it's cutting out added sugar, white flour, white rice, and potatoes).

And there you have it! Thoughts?

On the diet document - I can't figure out how to upload it to my blog - does anyone know how to attach a document to a blog? In the meantime, if you send me your email, I will email you the document.

Okay, let's try this....

Pregnancy Diet Sheets

That seemed to work. Cheers!

* One later note: All users use this diet at THEIR OWN RISK. Please do your research and come to your own conclusions as to whether this diet is safe for pregnancy. There are those who think that low carb diets are not safe for pregnancy. I am not one of them - I believe that low carb diets are perfectly safe, pregnant or not, and I am completely comfortable with doing a VLC diet while pregnant. Further evidence of the safety of this diet comes from meat-eating cultures who live their entire existence on low carb (or no carb) diets, such as the Inuit people and the Masai. However, this is YOUR body, YOUR baby, and YOUR choice to do the diet, so please do your research FIRST.

* Later note: Now click to Part II in this series, "The Answer to the Big Question," for more updated information and tips on doing this diet.

* An Even Later Note: See my final summary post from November 2014, Avoiding Hyperemesis Gravidarum With a Very Low Carb (VLC) Diet

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical care or advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before undertaking any dietary changes. Under no circumstances, shall the author be liable under any theory of recovery for any damages arising out of or in any manner connected with the use of information or documents from the site.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Birth Faith: Preventing Morning Sickness

One of my favorite Birth Bloggers, Birth Faith, has both announced a new little one on the way (hurray!!!) and posted a most interesting article regarding her thoughts on morning sickness prevention via diet. This is not the same diet information I'm going to write about (whenever I manage to get around to it), but it's fascinating and contains a lot of the same information. Both theories center on pre-conception diet. Thoughts, anyone?

Reviewing Morning Sickness History

~ TMI Alert ~

This week I received the news that my fertility has, alas, returned full force. I had hoped to stay it off with extended exclusive breastfeeding, but no luck! So now it's back to the two weeks per month of stressed-out wondering - "Is this the month?" and the 2-5 days of semi-panic while waiting for my period. *Sigh.* Well, it's been a nice year and a half!

So I got out my NFP charts yesterday and started a new chart, and it was interesting to see the history of baby's conception. With our first, I was not charting, so I don't have definite dates - all I know is that the nausea started up about a week after I got a positive test (so somewhere around 5w0d). With our youngest, I have chapter and verse for every date from ovulation onward, and I saw on my chart that I noted nausea beginning at 3w3d - almost 2 weeks earlier than with #1. I had to start taking front-line anti-nausea meds (that is, Unisom/B6) at around 3w6d, before I could even get a positive test (I got a positive test the next day - on Christmas!). Yikes. Does my body get more sensitive to baby-hormones with each baby? That makes me very nervous about future pregnancies.

Fun to look back, though! What a Christmas that was. Moving into a new house, dealing with nausea, and keeping a baby-secret from my folks (we told them 2 days later), which was both fun (a baby!) and panicky (nausea!). Now that our precious little one is here, it's fun to look back on!

More later on that diet I promised to tell you about....

HG Study - Controls Needed

Rixa at Stand and Deliver has posted this request from the ongoing-HG study - they need controls! That is, they need women who have not had HG to register for the study to act as study controls. Therefore, if you can, please forward the request to your non-HG friends (or HG friends - they really need both). Participating in the study is easy - you just register, and they send you a swab for you to send in a saliva sample, and you mail it back. That's it!

I, unfortunately, can't participate in the study because I don't fit the bill for their definition of HG or non-HG... so I'll just do my bit by spreading the word.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Road Untraveled

Or, "How Our Trip to Texas Became a Vacation in Tucson."

Alternate (and alliterative!) title: "The Diary of Direful Disasters that Derailed our Dallas Destination into a Different Domain."

Here we go! What an adventure we have had!

This year we decided to bite the bullet and make the long road trip out to visit DH's grandmother (who is the most adorable woman in the world - I wish you all could know her!) and associated family. We have wanted to go for a long time, but the 18-hours-each-way car trip has discouraged us from it (yes, yes, I know you all do twice the distance regularly without complaining). We did consider flying out, but the fact that flying would quadruple the price made us decide that the car would be best.

We set our departure date for this past Saturday. But then, due to some health issues of DH's grandmother, we were asked to delay our trip a week - so we reset our departure date to this coming Saturday. Then, last Thursday, they asked us to reset our date back to the original time - meaning that we had less than 36 hours to prepare for a 10-day trip, with all the associated shopping, packing, cat-sitting arrangements, yard care, irrigation plans, etc. YIKES! But we succeeded. After a crazy day of preparation, and working till 10 a.m. on our departure date, we finally set out - only 3 hours late!

So we started out! With only half of our worldly possessions packed into the car! Almost immediately we were hit with the fabled "Are we there yet?" - in multiple forms! I hadn't yet experienced that parental legend, so that was amusing - apparently it's an inborn trait in all children. I handed out stapled bags with little surprises in them at intervals, and that helped a lot (thank you, Laura!).

We stopped for lunch in Marana, which is just north of Tucson. It was blisteringly hot!

After lunch (by which time both DH and I had decided that we thoroughly despised long car trips), we headed back out and got on the freeway.

About 3 miles down the freeway, our car sputtered. And then sputtered again. And again. After a moment of shocked silence, I shouted "Quick! Get off the freeway!" while DH cut across three lanes of traffic to catch the off-ramp we had nearly missed. The car cut out completely on the off-ramp, and we glided silently to the bottom of it.

After five minutes of unsuccessfully trying to restart the car, three people from the gas station kindly came down and helped us push the car around the corner and into the gas station.

At this point, things were interesting. DH (by now a stress-case) was feverishly looking under the hood while I poured water into and over the kids to keep them cool (it was brutally hot). DH wondered if it could be vapor lock, although he thought our car was too new for that. He undid the gas cap, and coincidentally, the car restarted, so he wondered if we had found the problem.

We drove out of the gas station and drove up a street so that we could talk. Should we continue to Texas? Stop and find a mechanic? Was this a one-time thing?

After about 4 minutes of driving, the car sputtered again. And again. "Quickly!" quoth I - "Get over! Now!" So DH did - but for some reason, he got over into the left-turn lane (on a major street) and the car promptly died. We were now stuck again.

DH tried to start the car while we waved people around us. This time, a man so kindly stopped his car across the street and ran over to help DH push the car while I steered through the intersection into a bus stop.

At this point, we knew that we needed a mechanic. The car restarted after 10 minutes or so, so we kept going.

(If you keep in mind that my DH lives on adrenaline-overdose in any stressful situation, and the fact that our 4yo degenerated into panicked hysterics every time the car quit - he told me later that he thought the car was going to sink into the road when it quit - you will get an idea of what was going on.)

This time the car conveniently quit just in time for us to slide into a gas station. Hurray!

We unloaded everyone into the mini-mart in order to cool off, and for DH to ask for the whereabouts of a mechanic (and one, moreover, that would be open on Saturday). We also bought ice creams (my first time ever in a mini-mart!) for DS and myself.

By this time, to be honest, I was really enjoying myself. I had been positively dreading the trip to Texas (due to the travel time), and by this time it seemed like there was a good chance it would be called off. Additionally, I found it quite easy to assume an amused, detached attitude that looked on the day's occurrences as an adventure. I was along for the ride and having fun, though it was quite stressful at the same time - kind of a "Let's see what on earth is going to happen next!" sort of thing.

We hopped back in the car, and it (of course!) started up again. We got a mile or so down the road and saw an open Midas, so we pulled in and DH asked if they could help.

They could, so Joe told them he would bring the car back after getting us unloaded into a hotel room.

We headed off down the road. This time (#4) the car quit, again conveniently, in front of another gas station, so we again slid in, parked, and unpacked everyone to head inside (it was too hot to wait 15 minutes in the car).

On our next attempt, we made it to the hotel! It took us about 30 minutes to get settled in before DH could set off back to the Midas. Our adventure, from first-stutter to hotel, had taken about 3 hours. Our youngest was so exhausted that he fell asleep on my shoulder. Our eldest was just happy to have somewhere to play with his new train (his big "trip toy").

DH made it back to Midas and was shuttled back. The Midas people got back to us shortly to tell us that our fuel pump was out, and that they could fix it but not until Monday. We were stranded for 48 hours!

At this point, I was shocked but also in seventh heaven. We were ON VACATION!

I should explain. In my family growing up, "vacation" meant hopping in our trailer and traveling the country to see the sites, hike, camp, eat outside, see new places, etc. etc. In DH's family growing up, "vacation" meant driving to stay with family and visit with family. Period. Now, while I love visiting with family, that is not "vacation" to me - it's "visiting family." During our entire marriage (7 years) we have NEVER once been on vacation as I define it - that is, traveling together as a family (or even as a pre-kids couple) to see sites and spend time together. I have been longing for it, but we have never been able to afford it (couldn't now either, but thankfully it was forced upon us!). So I was absolutely delighted to be stranded.

We had a wonderful 48 hours. We swam in the pool both nights, spent time hanging out in the hotel room, had ice cream at Dairy Queen, etc. The first night we walked to a darling little plaza:

We also walked down to a golf course near the hotel and watched bunnies on the green, as well as the most curious lizards that had banded tails which they curled up over their backs as scorpions do (looked it up; I think it was the zebra-tailed lizard).

We also had a fun experience at the pool. When we were wheeling our stroller around it, two girls in the pool shouted out "Stop! Don't roll over the bat!" They had found a little bat drowning in the pool and had pulled it out and plopped it on the side. We thought it was dead, poor little thing, but as we swam it started to lift up its wee head and look around. We decided that we didn't want to leave it to get doused and stepped on, so we put a washcloth in a basket and took it with us by scooping it in (it was 3-4 inches long). However, we decided on second thought that to have a panicked bat in our hotel room would not be good, plus the fact that the hotel was cold, so we put the basket (with some fruit) under a bush to conceal it (by which time said bat was crawling about quite smartly). DH went to check on it later, and it was gone. Farewell, sweet bat! May you live a long life, quite unassociated with future bouts in the pool! (I love bats - they are beyond cute.)

On Monday our car was finally ready, so we got it, jumped in, and went site-seeing (we'd decided to stay another day and then head home). We went to the Mission San Xavier del Bac (the "White Dove of the Dessert" mission), about 16 miles away - lovely! We stayed about 30 minutes and saw most of what was there - it is still an active church. DS did quite well, though his only comment was "I want to go back to the hotel room." Clearly a connoisseur.

We also brought home our one and only souvenir of our trip - two empty (used) candle jars - they give them away for free (I'm cheap!).

On our way back, we decided to stop along the road and take pictures of the places we'd broken down (hence the pics). DH decided that he wanted Chick Fil-A for lunch, so we pulled into the drive-through.

And then the car stuttered. And stuttered again. DH and I glanced at each other with a "You've GOT to be kidding" look, and then the car died. Joe gave it one push with his foot out the door, and managed to push us onto the slope so that we could pull into a parking space. Since I conveniently still had the camera out, I was able to turn around and take a picture of breakdown location #5.

We went inside, ate lunch, nursed the baby, and let DS play in the play area. Then DH dropped us off at the hotel so that he could take the car back to Midas. So much for our planned site-seeing! We were stranded for another 24 hours.

Midas discovered that the true villain was the feeder pump, which, being broken itself, had killed our original fuel pump and then the new fuel pump just installed. Now we needed a new fuel pump (again!) and a new feeder pump.

So we went for more walks, swam, walked to get dinner out (at Las Margaritas, now one of DH's favorite restaurants) and enjoyed the time.

Tuesday afternoon, we got the car back. After nap time, we headed out to a local historic cemetery. We started with the Protestant side, and enjoyed looking at names and dates. I know it's weird, but I do enjoy cemeteries - the older the better. It's a melancholy experience, but very peaceful. It always reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes: "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart." (v. 7:2) We saw some graves that were very sad (babies, teens) and some that were very sweet - of old couples who were married for 50 years and had loving inscriptions or Scripture verses on their tombstones.

Here are some pics (yes, that is our Midas in the background):

This was definitely not DS's favorite place. We didn't really want to get into what cemeteries are (haven't had to deal in depth with the death issue yet), so we were a bit cloudy on information - and it was again extremely hot. His main concern was how soon we were leaving.

This was one of my favorite stones - you can't read the bottom inscription, but it says "A True Woman of God." That is my life-goal! I had to get a picture with it.

We then did a drive-through of historic downtown, but by that time it was rush hour and pretty much a hopeless endeavor. Maybe next time!

Wednesday morning we did the other cemetery - the Catholic cemetery (they also had a Jewish cemetery that we drove through). The Catholic cemetery had the loveliest statuary - quite beautiful:

We then went back and checked out, and drove through the University of Arizona on our way out. What a beautiful place! And BIG! At my college one could walk to all of one's classes, but definitely not here:

After lunch, we were off home! The kids slept most of the way home, and we were able to talk and relax.

Our conclusions:

- We loved Tucson. We want to go back to see more! There is SO much more to see! (DH loved it so much that he spent part of our trip trying to convince me that it would make a great place to live.)

- We want to make family vacations a yearly reality. We're working on the budget issue.

- If we want to make vacations a reality, we can't eat all our vacation meals out! Yikes!

- We had a lovely time, made wonderful memories, grew closer as a couple and as a family, and have unforgettable memories.

- More than anything, we are and were blessed beyond measure. God blessed us so much on this trip - by letting us break down in town, and not in the stretch of dessert between Phoenix and Tucson.... by sending wonderful people to help us move the cars and give us advice.... by helping us to break down in convenient locations.... by helping us to find a mechanic open on Saturday.... by keeping the kids from suffering any ill effects from the heat.... by gifting us with the vacation we have been needing so badly.... in so many ways, we were blessed.

And with the trip and the car combined, we spent more money than if we had just bitten the bullet and flown to Texas! :) Of course, our car would have gone out sooner or later.

We still have our trip to Texas to do, but we will have to wait for fall for more vacation time - and we will most likely fly out, despite the cost. DH and I have decided that we are simply not cut out for long car trips with kids - we both despise them like poison (the trips, not the kids!).

And there ends our first family vacation!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jumping to Conclusions

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing some research into a pre-conception diet that may have the possibility to mitigate morning sickness and/or HG. It's been very exciting stuff, and I am going to post about it soon.

Of course, I mentioned this to DH, who was immediately enthusiastic.

DH: "Great! So that means you'd be willing to have another baby?"

Me: "Mmmm..... Maybe."

DH: "Terrific! I think we should get pregnant right away. Immediately."

I found out later that he spent the last week telling his coworkers that we were going to have another baby.

That was a "MAYBE," my dear! A very "maybe-ish" sort of "maybe." As in "give me another five years to think about it, and I might get back to you on that one" sort of maybe.

And now, having whetted your appetites suitably, I shall have to leave you in suspense for a while, as we are leaving on a trip quite soon. But as soon as I can, I shall publish what I have found out. No promises, but it should be interesting reading at least!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Challenge: Again, 3 Weeks Behind

I..... will..... catch...... up...... sometime!!!

The challenge for Week #3 was to pray for my husband daily. Check! Thankfully that's something I already do, so I don't have to do anything except write this blog post. Hurray!

Of course, there is vast room for improvement! I am by no means the woman of prayer that I want to be... but progress is being made! Let me tell you about my latest improvement.

I am terrible with being regular about prayer and prayer requests. Why? Because whenever I write out a schedule (i.e. on Monday pray for A, B, C; on Tuesday pray for D, E, F, etc.) I get overwhelmingly bored with the repetition and predictability within a week or two, and out go my careful preparations. This has happened more times than I can count.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me that she wrote her prayer requests/concerns on popsicle sticks and kept them in a jar, and picked out a few every day. I thought that that sounded lovely (no more predictability!), and decided to try it.

And then began a several-year-long saga of trying to remember to buy popsicle sticks at the grocery store!

Last month, I finally tracked down those wily popsicle sticks.... only to discover that they bleed horribly when written on with black sharpie pens, and that I couldn't stand the messy look! So I ended up cutting up a cracker box and using the strips of cardboard instead. So much for my popsicle-stick quest. :)

And there you have it! I have written out all prayer requests, both permanent (i.e. "DH - job concerns") and temporary (i.e. for a friend's troubled marriage, etc.). I pick out three every night, at random, and then put them in another box till I work through them all, and then I can start again. Out-of-date requests are culled in-process, and new ones added as I think of them.

Hopefully I've found a method that will work for the long-term!

And now I'm only two weeks behind! Hurray!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Challenge: Only 3 Weeks Behind

Sheesh! You'd think I could do better than THAT!

To try to keep up on the summer challenge I committed to - here is the assignment from 3 weeks ago:

"June 21 - Remember Your Vows - post pictures of your wedding day. We will review the sacredness of this day."

Well, I flop on this one - I have no idea where our wedding photos are! Okay, actually, they're in an album in the living room, but as far as the CD of pics that my sister-in-law took and gave us (and is around... somewhere), I couldn't find it if I had to! (I am really, really bad about photos and keepsakes. Really bad. Number of photos I've printed out of either of our children = zero. Yup, bad.)

So I'll tell you our wedding story!

There actually isn't much to it - not because there isn't a big long story, but because I really didn't have much to do with it. Long story.

Anyhow, DH and I got engaged after 1 1/2 years of dating, and then were engaged for one year before getting married after I graduated from college. Since I was the organist at our church, and Joe was the youth pastor, we knew we'd be inviting the whole church to our wedding, as well as family and friends. So it was a pretty big event! We chose to do it at a grumpy Lutheran church a town or two over, as my church was too small (and too ugly!!!). I say it was a grumpy church because we actually had a really hard time convincing them to let us have our wedding there - my pastor had to intercede for us and twist their arm (he had done his internship there, so he had a bit of pull). It was an absolutely gorgeous church - like a mini-cathedral.

There was a ton of prep work to be done - all the usual shopping, dress-hunting (I still can't believe I paid $700 for a dress I wore ONCE - if I had to do it over again, I would borrow, rent or find one used), etc. A lot of fun! I had 3 bridal showers - one for church, one for friends/family, and one for my girlfriends, who brought me a bunch of darling little "outfits" (tee hee) - none of which fit now, LOL!

One absolutely hilarious bit was having to deal with the church's wedding coordinator. My mom dubbed her the "Wedding Nazi" because she was so, so, so uptight about every detail and every rule. She enjoyed enforcing rules just because they were rules, and it was sometimes infuriating. "Why can't you have a ribbon on the unity candle? Because it says right here in the rule book that there shall be no ribbons upon unity candles! That's why!" And etc. etc. etc. A few years later, upon talking to a member of that church, my mom learned coincidentally that the wedding coordinator was also called the Wedding Nazi by her own congregation!

We had a lovely wedding - very relaxed, no major crises. DH and I were very strict about not seeing each other before the ceremony, so we kept in contact via cell phone to make sure that we did not accidentally run into each other beforehand.

A funny note on that one: We interviewed one wedding photographer who was adamant that photos should be shot before the ceremony. He came to my house and gave us a 30 minute lecture on why we should do photos before the wedding, and why anything else would be a disaster. It was like being in the principal's office. Afterward, he said "So, what do you think?" DH and I looked at each other and said "No." That was the end of that. We hired another (much better) professional photographer who easily managed to do all of our wedding photos after the ceremony and get us back to the reception before all of the guests had even exited the church.

We had a beautiful cake, made for us by my SIL. The reception hall was so incredibly hot (mid-June, California, no air conditioning) that the cake began to melt before the ceremony even started. The crew went to work frantically setting up fans to cool it, and trying to prop it - and it survived beautifully, and was absolutely delicious (my SIL does everything well!).

Our reception was lovely. DH and I, after a brief break, decided that we really ought to greet our guests, so we spent the entire evening - about 4 hours - going from table to table, taking about 5-10 minutes per guest/group, saying hi and talking. It was so much fun. We were actually the last to leave, pretty much, and they ended up chasing us out and telling us to get lost. :) My SIL and her husband gave us a ride to our hotel, their car suitably soaped for the situation (thankfully they avoided the rice). Their gift to us was two nights at the Mission Inn, a lovely time that I shall remember - we want to go back there to stay sometime (when we have mega bucks - not cheap!).

One of my clearest memories of those two days is of DH in the bathroom, suddenly deciding that it would be a great idea to see if he could belch the lyrics to some song or other. He could, and did. What a honeymoon memory!

Our honeymoon was a camping trip - something I was quite used to, but it was DH's first camping trip. Such fun! We had a rough start, though - Our first night was in Pismo Beach, and the state park was full - so we had to camp in an RV campground - about 10 feet from the train tracks, so we were blasted all night, and then soaked by the sprinklers in the morning. The next night, DH insisted on a hotel! Thankfully he agreed to give camping another go, and we became pros. We camped up and down the coast of CA and OR, and had a lovely time - and ate wayyyy too much fried fish. And we broke our bank account going back for blackberry cobbler at the Trinidad Bay Eatery in Trinidad, CA - one of my favorite restaurants in one of my favorite towns.

And then we were off for Arizona!!

Much love, all! I'll go do something productive now! I'll try to catch up on last week's assignment soon.