Junabun's Stats

This week I took Junabun in for her 6 month checkup. She weighs 20 lbs and is 29 inches, which puts her in the 100th percentile for weight and 110th for height. Way to go, Juju! Her head is 55th percentile.

She continues to be a delight in our home. She is very good natured and easy going, and has a high tolerance for the abuse she suffers at the hands of her big brother, who just wants to love her to death.

(Recently I was talking to a friend whose daughter is Gulliver's age and is able to talk much more than Gulliver can. She doesn't have any younger siblings, but when she was shown a baby, and asked if she thought he was cute, she said, "I want to hit him." I laughed about what we would hear from Gulliver if he could articulate his own thoughts so well. "I want to hit her in the head repeatedly with this balloon." "I want to roll over her again and again and again." What we DO get from Gulliver on a regular basis is, "I la loo, June." So sweet.)

Junabun loves to eat, so when we eat we'd better be prepared to share something with her, or else she eyes us jealously and complains a little. Recently I shared my favorite pineapple Greek yogurt with her. We polished up the container of it, and when I walked away, she got very VERY angry. Far be it to deny her the delicious yogurt, I opened up another one and we ate up all of that, too. Again, when I got up, she got REALLY mad. But I didn't want to see what eating more than a full container of yogurt would do to her, so I called it quits there.

Juju learned to roll over probably a month ago now (close to the end of 5 months, beginning of 6 months). She does well sitting up by herself, and she's starting to think about crawling. She prefer's Gulliver's toys over her own age-appropriate toys, and loves to stick dinosaurs' tails in her mouth and make me go crazy.

One of Gulliver's favorite activities is sitting down with the iPhone and looking over past photos and watching videos. He recently found the following video (he was in bed when it happened) and was enjoying watching it, but a little over half of the way through, he discovered something amazing! Junabun says "Egg!" She does say it very clearly although it's never something I would have noticed if Gulliver hadn't. He is BEYOND excited about Juju's first word. Every time he watches the video, he waits for it, and then says, "Egg!" with Junabun. He also tries his best to get her to say it again, coaxing her, "Egg! Egg!"

We are loving being parents of these two kids! Right now I'm getting ready for Halloween, and I just am putting the finishing touches on the costumes. Gulliver, Junabun and I will be sheep from Shaun the Sheep (Gulliver will be Shaun). We are not sure yet whether Murray will join us as the farmer (if only we could figure out how to do it without buying a bald cap and some red hair...).

Living the Good Life

[First, quick excuses: Work, work, work. But I want to blog consistently again, so here's a fresh start! To catch up on SOME things you've missed, check out my mom's blog! There are beach pictures!]

Recently Murray and I were talking about the fact that what we do doesn't require us to be anywhere specific geographically, as long as we can get a good internet connection. So that considered, why didn't we move somewhere more exotic for a couple years while we could! The trouble is: 1) I'm not adventurous like that, 2) I like to be near family, and 3) I'm not adventurous like that.

This Monday, Murray and I drove the Alpine Loop on a whim. Fall is by far my favorite season. I find it energizing! And I didn't want to miss the opportunity to get outside and see the beautiful fall leaves. So we packed up our little family, packed a picnic lunch, and headed out. The views and the colors were amazing, and it felt SO GOOD to be outside and doing something together as a family. We stopped at Cascade Springs to eat (no food down at the springs, so it was a parking lot picnic) and enjoyed the little hike to the springs. Again, it was beautiful, and everything felt incredibly fresh.

Gulliver loved being out on the trails and enjoyed looking for the grasshoppers. He brought two dinosaurs with him, so when we saw the grasshoppers, we had to stop and pretend that the dinosaurs were going to eat them, and that would make them jump. Great fun! All week, he's been talking about grasshoppers, dinosaurs, and the sleeping grasshopper (hint: it wasn't sleeping).

Junabun enjoyed the fresh air and the stroller ride, and I think she PARTICULARLY liked being taken OUT of the stroller to get some more personal attention.

After our jaunt at Cascade Springs, we started talking about all the wonderful things that surround us here in Utah, and decided that maybe it's wisest instead of moving away to seek a fun experience for a couple years, we should make a list of things to do here and actually do them! (This isn't the first time we had this idea... we thought about this a couple of years ago, but didn't do anything about it officially.)

So this week, I've had that in mind. Yesterday morning, Murray was working at home, and Junabun was napping. We haven't used our bikes all year. Or all last year. Or really more than once since we got married, if we're being totally honest. In fact, we had decided recently that we should probably just sell them. Well, instead I went out, pumped up the tires of Gulliver's Boot Scoot bike and pumped up the tires of my bike. We tried Gulliver's bike---which he loved---but his legs still are not quite long enough. So I put him on the high bar of my bike and we started riding around. What started out as a little ride around the parking lot turned into a ride of over an hour, and several miles! Gulliver enjoyed ringing the bike bell half the time, and we both enjoyed talking to one another. It was sweet to have him so close (he said, "I love you, Mumma" a dozen times) and to have a little date with him.

Today, we continued the trend of taking advantage of what we have here in Utah. We planned a fun trip to see Murray's sister's family in Moroni. It was so much fun! We prepared a healthy delicious lunch of Navajo tacos that was almost all carried away by flies (they were out in full force!). They allowed me to drive the Ranger (a cross between a four wheeler and a Jeep) up Maple Canyon with Murray and Gulliver. Gulliver loved it and kept pointing forward and yelling, "Gooooo!" He did NOT want to stop and look at the cows, he wanted to goooooo! (Murray, ever the protective father, urged me to not take the gradual turns at my reckless speed of 15 mph.)

After our little family spin, we went back to the cabin and loaded up everyone onto various vehicles and headed out again! This time even Junabun joined us (Murray, ever the protective father, made sure that both she and I were belted in). Murray, a little out of character for his artist personality, got his very own four-wheeler. After we were on the road, Gulliver looked back and gasped in admiration, "Daddy!" This time I was NOT driving, and we rode up very bumpy terrain. I think that both Gulliver and Junabun were thrilled!

During our ride, we went to an apple orchard where we were able to pick our own apples. Gulliver was at first interested in the ones on the ground (easy pickings!) until we told him those were yucky. After that, he'd just look at them and say, "Gross. Yucky." Sister M helped him to pick an apple from a tree and wipe it clean, and then he bit into his delicious treat! An apple just perfectly sized for him! I think that he ended up eating at least four! He decided he was a big big fan of the orchard.

But as good as the orchard was, nothing could prepare him for what was next. Murray's sister's family are turkey farmers, and they got a new batch of baby turkeys last week. So we took Gulliver to the turkey shed to see what he thought. I mostly expected him to be afraid, since he's going through a scaredy-cat phase lately where EVERYTHING is scary. Instead, he was SMITTEN with the baby turkeys and did not hesitate to want to touch one. At first he was very gentle and cautious, but he eventually became fairly confident... so we got him out of there before he could get TOO confident. He did NOT want to say goodbye to the baby turkeys (he saw a "sleeping" baby turkey, too... oh, when do we teach him about life and death??). But that's okay, because next on our whirlwind tour was seeing the BIG TURKEYS. We went to the big turkey shed, and unfortunately Gulliver seemed just as confident with these as he was with the babies... so needless to say, I didn't even let him NEAR them!

After saying goodbye to ALL the turkeys, it was time to head back to the cabin and order some pizza. What a good day! After pizza, we even enjoyed a bon fire and some star gazing (Gulliver, who LOVES to sing Happy Birthday, performed several rounds of the song and vigorously tried to blow out the fire).

What a perfect day! We are very grateful for our Moroni family for having us over and showing us a good time all day! I look forward to hearing what Gulliver has to say about everything tomorrow. Tonight, he was so tuckered out, that he only lasted about 3 minutes in the car. (After 2 minutes, he suddenly exclaimed, "Hat!!" and put his hands to his hatless head. I reassured him that we had his favorite hat, and pulled it out for him. He put it on and was asleep within about a minute.)

The Babysitter

So tonight was a big night for Murray and me. Tonight for the first time, we got a real babysitter instead of just using Murray's parents. We have done this out in Maryland twice, but my parents arranged all of that. This time it was totally us.

We chose Miss Precocious, who is basically family. She is eleven and lives relatively close to us. She is also a very smart, very cool girl.

The whole experience was revelatory. Like, whoa, I'm totally on the other side of this now. I now know what it's like to be the parent instead of the babysitter. These were my insights as I prepared for our sitter today:

1) Parents are not super old. When you're the babysitter, they seem really really old. But now that I'm the grownup, I realize how young (and beautiful!) we really are! We are not old. And we are really cool. I promise.

2) Parents are going out and doing interesting, not boring things. A party with other grownups? Fun! A meeting with local artists and creatives? Fun! And the people we are hanging out with are not old! (Okay, I think my main revelation of the evening was that I'm not old.)

3) I really wanted to be the cool house. I wanted to have good entertainment and good food. As a babysitter, I NEVER opened the cupboards in the kitchen, even if I was told to help myself. Now I realize that the parents really meant it when they said, "Make yourself at home!" So I hope our babysitter made herself at home... Even if she didn't eat any of the delicious chocolate cookies I left out for her.

4) The parent is more worried about their own kids' behavior than the babysitter's behavior. At least that was the case with me. What if Gulliver poops?? Oh no! What if he poops?? (Gulliver kicks and squirms during poopy diaper changes, and it is a very difficult job to change that diaper!)

I left a long list of written instructions because I know I would have liked something to refer back to. And I left a Gulliver dictionary to help her decipher his language.

All in all I think it was a successful night (but I didn't get to talk to her, since Murray made it home before me and drive her home).

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.


What is more surprising than a blog post from me these days?

Finding THIS in your kitchen in the morning.

This means that either the Keebler elves got busy in my kitchen last night, or Murray, who was awake with the baby, got desperate enough for sugar cookies to make them himself.

If you know Murray, who never made Kraft Mac n Cheese on his mission because it was "too involved" and who has never understood why you would have to put ingredients in your recipe in a certain order ("they all get mixed in anyway"), then you would understand how incredibly monumental this is!

Not only did I find these cookies but I found the ROLLING PIN. Which means that these are not drop sugar cookies, they are rolled sugar cookies. (I bet he skipped the "refrigerate one hour" step.)

We don't have any cookie cutters though... So I'm wondering what he did about that part.

My favorite part of course is the gigantor cookie over in the corner, which I imagine was made from the dough scraps.

Well done, Murray! You've proven you can make sugar cookies! Next up: Dinner tonight!

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

The Birth Story

So this is how birth with Baby June went down.

On Saturday, April 2, I went up to Salt Lake City to watch the morning session of General Conference with my siblings. It was a lot of fun, but on the way home, I was feeling WIPED OUT and really felt like I needed to nap. So I went down for a big, long, luxurious nap and when I woke up, I was feeling a little crampy, which I hoped meant something! (I didn't go into labor with Gulliver, so I didn't really know what to expect.)

I went downstairs, and we soon realized that I was getting contractions if I sat for a while and then stood up. So my mom and I kept experimenting with this to see how long I needed to sit before standing to bring on a contraction. (For example, at the beginning, if I was sitting for 20 minutes and stood up, I'd have a contraction. If I was sitting for 10 minutes and stood up, I wouldn't have a contraction.) This part was actually very fun, and the contractions weren't horrible. It was pretty fun to feel them climb and get more painful, and then fade away. As they got a little more intense, I'd just close my eyes and breathe, and then as they faded out, I'd announce, "I think that was a 6 on the pain scale!!" Since they weren't happening on their own, we sent Murray off to Priesthood session and dinner, and just told him to keep his phone on him.

While he was gone, my mom and I continued to bring on contractions by resting and moving. Gulliver was with Murray's mom, so I was free to just labor. And labor was FUN! In fact, we even went out to get some frozen yogurt, and during that trip, the contractions started to come on their own. Still, it was all very manageable, and definitely fun.

When Murray came home from Priesthood, we put on a movie. Since I was in labor, I got to choose what to watch, so I chose Morning Glory. When one is in labor, one wants to watch frivolous, meaningless, funny, girly movies. Or at least I do. Again, I kept standing up during the movie if contractions didn't come on their own. By the time the movie was done, it was about midnight, and contractions still weren't regular. But we all knew that I wouldn't be sleeping, either. Bummer.

We sent my mom to bed, and then Murray and I tried to get some sleep while still timing the contractions. We used the iPhone's stopwatch, which has a "lap" function. So I was able to press "lap" each time I had a contraction, and it automatically kept a list of the timing between contractions. Brilliant! While I was lying down in bed, they were still irregular, but I felt like they were getting a little more intense, and I felt like if I were up, they'd be more frequent. So I told Murray that we should just go to the hospital. We woke up my mom and took off. This was about 2:00 a.m.

There was a storm that night (that put a lot of women into labor... the hospital was pretty busy when we were there) and it started to get bad as we were driving to the hospital. The rain was turning into snow, and it was pretty messy. But I told everyone that there was no hurry, so we drove calmly to the hospital. (Murray drove calmly. My mom hit a pylon.) It was during the car ride, and during a contraction, that Murray asked me a question. After the contraction, I politely told him that probably he should not ask questions when he can see that I'm in the middle of a contraction.

At the hospital, as we were walking in, I started having a contraction, so I just stopped walking to wait through the contraction. My mom started saying something, and Murray told her, "Cicada needs ABSOLUTE SILENCE during contractions." And then I started laughing in the middle of my contraction. Good times at the hospital!

To be honest, labor up until now was all pretty fun, even though I did prefer not to be asked questions during contractions. AFTER contractions, conversation could totally resume as normal. We did a lot of joking and laughing. We got checked in no problem. I didn't request the jacuzzi room because I didn't really see myself using the jacuzzi anyway. I didn't have to have an IV since I wasn't getting an epidural, but they did do a hep-lock, which was totally fine.

I didn't really use any special laboring positions because I didn't really feel like I needed them. I spent a lot of time in the bed because I was tired and because I was comfortable there, but I did get up and walk around the room a little, and sit in the glider chair in the room. The contractions were still all bearable anyway, so I didn't really see any need to try out any special positions.

At about 5:30, the doctor came in and offered to break my water. She explained that if she did that, things would get really intense, pretty fast. She said that it would be as intense as it would get anyway, but that it would be more intense sooner. So that sounded like a good option. After Murray and I discussed it (because I was just a little bit chicken about the whole "getting intense" part), we decided to have her do it.

She broke my water, and guess what? Things started getting a lot more intense, pretty quickly. While I had been kindof humming through my contractions previously, now my humming got a little more intense. Maybe kindof groaning. A nurse showed Murray how to put counter pressure on my knees, though, and that was a HUGE HELP. As in, I couldn't have done it without him!! And he was working pretty hard, too. I was the one saying, "Push! Push!"

I know because my mom was there that this more intense part was an hour and a half, but it felt more like 30 minutes or 45 at the most. The contractions were right on top of one another, and poor Murray's arms were shaking as he was pushing on my knees.

At least I can say that there was no point that I even considered asking for the epidural. So that I think is a major win for me.

Towards the end, I started to lose it. The doctor was there. They were saying that I was mostly all the way dilated, but that there was a little lip still, that possibly the baby would be able to push past. They were telling me that I could push when I felt the urge, but I wasn't feeling the urge yet. But just for good measure, I started pushing anyway, because I was feeling DONE. I was really worried that for some reason, things would just STALL right there, and I'd be stuck feeling this way for HOURS. And I think maybe when that thought crossed my mind was the first time that I yelled. It was, I thought, uncontrollable, but when the doctor told me, "Stop yelling and focus on your breathing," then I WAS able to stop yelling and I felt like I could control it. Until, of course, the next contraction, and then I was yelling again. Ha. It really felt like I wasn't myself, and I was definitely a little embarrassed, because I was hoping that magically I'd be able to do the whole thing perfectly.

BUT. It was only about 5 minutes of hollering (again, I'm going on my mom's word on this, because if you asked me, I'd tell you that I only yelled twice, and the total duration of yelling was probably just 2 minutes), suddenly I HAD A BABY. It was crazy. I could feel her move down, and then all of a sudden she was out, head first and then shoulders! And then they put her on my chest, and there was my baby!!

I continued making a lot of noise, apparently (thanks, Mom, for letting me know these details) because all I could say was, "Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!" Over and over again. This was at 7:45 in the morning.

Now, I've always heard about the amazing rush, like drugs, that you supposedly get after natural childbirth. Maybe that rush was the Wow Wow Wow part. Because IMMEDIATELY after, there was the CRASH. The I-Haven't-Slept-All-Night-and-I-Just-Had-a-Baby crash. It was during this crash (and while the doctor was sewing up my very little tear, I might add) that my mom took this choice photo.

Thank you, Mom.

When it was all over, I told Murray and my mom that I didn't know if I'd be able to do that again.

Two hours later, when my maternity nurse came to get me, she told me, "I heard you when you were delivering! I thought, oh! That must be the natural mom that I'm getting today!" I told her that even after just two hours, I was already starting to forget just how bad it was, and I was already starting to think, I might be able to do this.

Now, an entire month later, I can tell you, I LOVED it, and I would do it again. Even if it would cost the same (ultimately, between the anesthesiologist and the extra day at the hospital, the epidural would have cost me about $3000), I would choose to go natural. The reason is that I did bounce back very quickly (although I got the shakes, which everyone always said was an epidural side effect, but the doctor explained is just a normal reaction to child birth), and recovered very very well. It's hard to say exactly what was a benefit of going natural or not. I can't say that everything good about this experience was due to natural childbirth, and everything bad about the last experience was due to the epidural. (And for the record, my last experience was a very positive experience. I did have more recovery, but I don't know how much of that was because it was a first baby, and how much of that was because I had an epidural.) But overall, I figure that if what we're really talking about is an hour and a half of pain, I'm happy to forego the epidural. (I TOTALLY would get it if I knew that I'd be experiencing the more intense pain for an extended period of time!!)

So there you have it. My natural childbirth experience! I recommend it, if you're curious! As far as hypnobirthing goes, I think the two big things I got out of it were 1) I didn't go into labor afraid of the pain, so I know that I didn't bring any of that tension into the experience, and 2) the breathing techniques did give me something to focus on during the contractions and definitely helped me to be calm and have an enjoyable labor.

And now for a few photos of the baby at 2 weeks, taken by Nicole Hill Gerulat!

I'm Alive!

It's been forever since I posted. So let me do the quick recap:

I had a baby.

I had a few more gallbladder attacks.

My mom left town.

I had gallbladder surgery.

It didn't go perfectly.

I was in the hospital for four days (it was supposed to be outpatient surgery).

Two of those days cost $32,000. I just got the bill.

Don't worry. While my insurance doesn't cover having babies, it DOES cover gallbladders, so I don't actually have to pay that. But still. $32,000 for two days in the hospital... and that DOESN'T count the actual surgery itself. Wow.

I stayed a few days with Murray's parents.

I came back home, but made Murray stay home with me.

I took lots of naps.

And NOW, a month after having my sweet adorable baby (exactly one month from today) I finally feel like I'm back to my normal self. I'm taking maternity leave, which is wonderful. Yesterday and today, I've felt like SUPER MOM. I've been taking care of two children, cooking proper balanced meals, cleaning the house, addressing and stamping birth announcements, going on family walks to promote a healthy lifestyle, and generally loving life (the sudden GOOD turn in weather may also be contributing to my overwhelming sense of joy right now).

And RIGHT NOW... right at this VERY MOMENT... BOTH my children are napping. So I actually have time to update the blog. Let's see if I can write about the birth story while they're still sleeping!

She's Here!

Our little baby girl arrived Sunday, April 3rd at 7:41 a.m., weighing 9 lbs. 2 oz and measuring 20.5 inches.

I haven't posted about it because I have barely even touched a computer, which has been blissful!

Serve with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Okay, if you didn't read that last post, PLEASE read this.

DISCLAIMER: I express strong opinions here which are entirely my own, and I make no effort to be diplomatic. If you have a different opinion from me, my intent is not to offend, but you can hardly blame me for how I feel about this subject!

Okay. Phew. Now that THAT's out of the way.

So I know that I've talked about health insurance before. It's tricky when you're self employed. And here in Utah, there's no maternity coverage. So if I wanted to have an epidural, I would have to plan on spending about $2000.

That seems like an awful lot of money to spend on something that only lasts a few hours. And sometimes they're not even administered properly and so I wouldn't get the relief anyway, and I would STILL have to pay for it. So I may as well spend the money on something I really WANT instead of on the anesthesiologist.

In this case, this is what I really want:

Isn't it beautiful? It's the only rocker/recliner I've ever seen that I wouldn't be embarrassed to have in my home (that's not the part that I thought might offend some of you... but it might, too, I guess).

So the point of this whole post is actually to tell you about what we're doing to PREPARE for natural child birth. My doctor and her PA both told me that if I don't prepare, it won't matter HOW much the epidural costs, I will get one. Okay. So I signed us up for a hypnobirthing class. By all accounts, this is an excellent method to help you through natural child birth.

I had already read the book before going to the first class, so I was pretty prepared. Not only was I prepared for the good stuff that I could buy into, but I was also prepared for the anti-medical stuff, that I don't have as much of a tolerance for. I know that the medical system isn't perfect, but I also know that swinging totally the other way and resisting any and all medical help isn't the answer, either. (It helps that we have a doctor whose opinions we really trust, and who we know has our best interests in mind.)

What we WEREN'T prepared for was the pot roast.

At our second class in the home of our hypnobirthing instructor, as soon as everyone was comfortably seated, our instructor apologized for any lingering smell of pot roast, explaining, "I've been processing placenta today, so you might still be able to smell it." She went on to describe what she does. She cooks the placenta, then dries the placenta, then pulverizes the placenta, and then encapsulates the placenta into gel gaps so that you can ingest it as pills.

(To do all of this, you need a license, and so to my minor relief, she also explained the process of how she then has to clean and sterilize the entire kitchen and any tools used... but you'd better believe I won't be drinking another glass of water in her house again!!)

This, my friends, is what we call CANNIBALISM! (This is the part where you may choose to be offended if you are a placenta-eater.) Oh my GOSH! There are NO WORDS! Except that there ARE words, and those words are HOLY CRAP, I HAVE SMELLED THE SMELL OF HUMAN FLESH THAT HAS BEEN ROASTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF EATING!!


And the rest of that evening, any time we were doing a relaxation exercise, I couldn't actually relax because just as I was relaxing,


(If I could make that text flashing, I WOULD because THAT is how I felt.)

Okay, so the REASONING is that there are nutrients in the placenta. (Which, after we told my doctor about this today, and after she expressed the appropriate amount of horror, she pointed out that there probably aren't very many nutrients LEFT once you process it.) But you know what? There are also nutrients EVERYWHERE in the human body, and it's not as if I'm going to request my gallbladder once it's removed so that I can stew it up. I also didn't keep my bunions (but there was calcium in those boney outgrowths! And now I've lost that calcium FOREVER). And if Murray had to have a leg amputated (because we talk about weird stuff like this), it's not as if we'd roast up the thigh muscle for a family dinner!

Hey, we talk about burial vs. cremation vs. making dead bodies into diamonds in my family, too. Now this is a FOURTH alternative that we'd never considered. Maybe when my mom dies, we can just process her into pills and then we can all EAT OUR OWN MOTHER! Then we can all benefit from the source from whence we originally came.

I am scarred for life.

Have YOU ever smelled the smell of roasting human flesh?

Some Thoughts on This Pregnancy...

Right now, I am 39 weeks pregnant. My due date is Monday, March 28. So I figured I should do a recap of this whole pregnancy, more for my sake than for yours, but feel free to read and maybe even enjoy it!

So this pregnancy started off a little differently than Gulliver's. I did throw up (once!) with Gulliver, and I haven't thrown up at all with this pregnancy. But I did feel like my stomach would get twisted in knots early on in this pregnancy. It was hard for me to eat much without feeling sick afterwards, and unfortunately it was all the healthiest foods (that I was craving because it was summer!) that were the worst offenders, like fruits and vegetables. I could manage grapes without getting sick. Otherwise, I'd have a lot of plain foods and carbs like breads.

That cleared up at about 12-14 weeks, which was nice. The middle of my pregnancy progressed without much interesting to report---quick doctor's visits, no problems eating, the assumption that I'd have gestational diabetes during the last third, and very little overall discomfort. I even began to wonder just when it was that I got so sore last time that I couldn't roll over in bed without Murray's help.

Oh, I did have sciatic nerve pain (not so much that it really interferes with anything I need to do, but it made things like sitting on the floor, bending over, and cleaning Gulliver's toys up a little more challenging). But it actually cleared up for the most part at a certain point. In future pregnancies, when I read back on this, I'll wish I made a note of when it started and when it ended, but I can't remember anymore!

A pretty common theme with both my pregnancies so far is that I don't tend to look as pregnant as I am. I'll be honest---a lot of that is probably weight. But I've also seen women who are about my same weight, and they CAN look a lot more pregnant than I look. I chalk it up to the fact that I have a long torso and short legs.

When I entered my third trimester, I was surprised by two things. First, I was surprised to find out that I did NOT have gestational diabetes, and I wasn't even borderline. That was a big shock. I'd been planning recipes and meals to eat during that time AND I was slightly looking forward to it because it would mean that I'd be really really good about my eating. (To prepare for this, however, I ate a cupcake from my favorite cupcake place, Cupcake Chic almost every day.)

Second, I was surprised that I still didn't need Murray to turn me over in bed, and wondered if I just made that up the first time.

But by about week 32, I think I suddenly had to always have a pillow between my knees when sleeping, and it's gotten worse and worse. I'm not complaining, but I am saying that definitely the last couple of months of pregnancy is when the discomfort starts kicking in for me.

Around that same time, all of a sudden EVERYTHING was harder. Bending down, picking up Gulliver, I felt like I could hardly do anything, and that I was going to be like that for the rest of my pregnancy. But then it kindof stopped, and things got easier for me again, so I assume that the baby was just in a weird position for a few days.

Still, right now, I'm at the point where it really really is a big help if Murray will put on my pants for me.

At week 35/36, I had my gallbladder attacks and spent a little time in the hospital. And so while I didn't have to follow a gestational diabetes diet, I was put on a low fat diet (25 gr a day) instead. Which, I must say, I am enjoying for the sense of control that it gives me and for the fact that it will help me avoid putting on unnecessary weight at the end of my pregnancy (although I don't regret enjoying every single one of those cupcakes now that I can't... I knew I was preparing for SOMETHING). Also? The low fat diet saves me from MINI EGG SEASON, which is the WORST. Since I have to continue eating low fat until my gallbladder can come out 6 weeks after I have the baby, I'm looking forward to the diet helping me to lose weight AFTER the baby and while I'm nursing. Fingers crossed on that one!

Right now, I feel like I'm eating the SAME THINGS EVERY DAY. I'm working like a maniac trying to get all my projects done before the baby comes, so that doesn't leave too much time to cook. So to be totally honest, we haven't been having proper meals around here very much. I'll just make myself soup or pasta, have some yogurt and fruit, and call it a meal. I can't WAIT till my mom gets here on Monday and can start doing meals for us!! I welcome her creativity!

So I guess that basically summarizes most of the physical aspects of this pregnancy. At my first cervical check (guys can stop reading here if they'd prefer), I was about 2.5 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I'm now about 3 cm and 80%. My doctor figures that the baby will come pretty quickly once my water breaks. But since she said that, I have all these dreams about my water breaking. I was talking about water breaking with my mother-in-law and how you don't actually hear about it happening in public THAT often. She said that she always heard that if you're in the grocery store when it happens, just grab a jar of pickles and drop it. Then everyone will just think that all the mess is from the pickles. I told her that I should BUY a jar of pickles and just bring it everywhere with me. So if my water breaks in the middle of church, I can just drop my pickles and say, "Oh no! I dropped my jar of pickles!! Well.... gotta go!!"

I'm VERY glad that this baby has stayed put so far. I'm getting to the point where I feel like I'm wrapping up most of my work projects, and that everything will be manageable (there's only one project that should go beyond the baby's birth, but it's my favorite project of the year, and Murray will actually be helping out with it quite a bit). And my mom comes out on the due date. So as long as I don't go into labor in the next few days, then my mom will be able to be here and to help. And we MIGHT even have a couple of days for activities like bowling, manicures, and a trip to the dinosaur museum, all of which we did in trying to get Gulliver to come (and none of which worked, by the way).

On the whole, I actually love being pregnant. Even with the discomforts I'm feeling now. I look forward to doing this a couple more times!!

Chicken Enchilada Dump Soup

Today I am on Day 3 of eating my Chicken Enchilada Dump Soup. When I have a lot going on, I don't like to stop to cook. And I am perfectly fine eating the same food day after day. So I make a big batch of soup, and it covers my lunches (and dinners if needed!) for days!

A few years ago, we had nothing to eat in our house. It was one of those raid the pantry or go to the store kinds of nights. So I started looking through the pantry at what we had, and put together a dump soup, where I just started dumping cans of food into a pot. I was a little skeptical, but I LOVED what I ended up with! Now this is a no-time staple of our household!

1 large can green enchilada sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, rinsed
1-2 cans chicken
1 carton of chicken stock (really, this just depends on how much you want, but I use 32 oz)
1 onion, chopped
rice (optional)

Saute the onion (I actually skipped this step this last time to save time and to save the fat from the oil that I normally saute the onion in, and it didn't make much of a difference) until transparent.

Dump everything else in, except rice if using.

Bring to a boil.

Add rice if using (when I had gestational diabetes, I added a TINY bit of rice, since I had to watch the carbs... now that I am pregnant and on a low fat diet, then I add LOTS of rice to really bulk up the soup and give me some extra calories).

Turn to low and simmer for a while (without rice, 20 minutes... with rice, 40 minutes so that the rice gets good and soggy).

You can garnish with sour cream and cheese (both of which I could do last pregnancy, neither of which I can do this pregnancy, unless I go out and buy low fat sour cream, but the point of this soup is that you are just using what's in your cupboard anyway).

If I'm feeling REALLY fancy and I'm NOT terribly low on time, then this is also a nice addition:


Cut a few tortillas into eight wedges each. Lay out on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 375 until crispy (flip and rotate them while baking), about 15 minutes, maybe. (Also an addition that I can't enjoy right now because it adds fat.)

Gulliver Loves

I thought I'd do a quick post about Gulliver. Murray and I probably talk about ten times a day about how much we are in love with him. He can pretty much do no wrong in our eyes. Except for all the mischief he can get into, but even in those moments, our annoyance doesn't last very long.

Lately Gulliver loves his hat. He wants to wear his hat all of the time---even to bed if possible. The other night, Murray put him to sleep and took off the hat. For a few minutes there wasn't a peep. And then Gulliver started crying, "Hat!... Hat..." as he fell back to sleep.

This morning he looked to me like he was standing in a bread line. I was making breakfast, and he came to me wearing his hat, begging for food. He got a measuring cup out of the drawer and brought it over so that I could put some cottage cheese in it. So I let him keep it for breakfast, and he ate out of his little measuring cup this morning.

Gulliver loves toothbrushes still. This would be great if it weren't for the irrational hatred of ME brushing MY teeth. For some reason, I brush, and he STILL gets very upset, sometimes to the point of throwing a full-on fit. If this continues a little longer, he might even be able to verbalize to me WHAT is going through his head that he is SO upset that I'm brushing my teeth. (He wants the toothbrush, and it doesn't matter how many other toothbrushes I give him, if I'm brushing my teeth, he wants MY toothbrush.)

Gulliver loves books. The ones we read the most to him lately are Duck on a Bike (he asks, "Guck! Guck!"), Green Eggs and Ham (he asks, "Ham?"), and Drumheller Dinosaurs.

Gulliver still doesn't love elephants. Please don't ask me why. Murray imitates an elephant for him all the time that makes him laugh. And Gulliver has no problem making elephant noises himself. But if he ever SEES an elephant in a book, on TV, or on the iPhone or iPad, he gets very very very concerned.

Gulliver loves Mickey Mouse cartoons. Even more than his dad. It's been Murray's DREAM to collect every single Disney cartoon, and we have the complete collection of shorts on our Apple TV (I should write an entire post dedicated to Murray's Apple TV...). He constantly asks for Mee Moush? Mee Moush?(Because we are good parents, we don't constantly LET him watch Mee Moush. But hey... when you need a little down time, a little Mickey doesn't hurt.)

Gulliver loves to talk. He says a lot of things lately. He is good at saying prayers. This is a sample prayer:

Ha Far,
Good day,
(more gibberish.... sometimes a LOT more gibberish... and he's generally good at mentioning others around the table, too)

Gulliver also repeats a lot of questions that we ask him. So when he does something funny and we are all laughing, he'll ask, "Is it funny?" When he's eating something he likes, he'll ask, "Is it good?" On a regular basis, he asks, "Is it cute?" He also will say "I sorry" randomly.

Gulliver loves kids. He gets excited when he thinks we're about to go play with kids, and he'll say, "Kids? Kids?" He loves going to nursery at church now and we tend not to have any problems while he's there. Two weeks ago, a nursery leader brought him to me because he kept telling her he was "dirty." She couldn't smell anything, but he was insisting that he was, so she thought she'd bring him to me just in case. I thought that was funny because Gulliver usually just says "Poop!" But then I realized that I'd sent him to nursery with his favorite toy, Ghostie, who he calls "Dotie." I realized he kept trying to tell her about "Dotie." And sure enough, he wasn't dirty when I changed his diaper.

Gulliver loves Grandma and Grandpa, who have been pitching in BIG TIME lately to take care of him. He was able to stay at their house the whole time I was in the hospital. Grandma helped us to figure out how to fix his eating problem---we've had a hard time getting him to eat. But Grandma cut way back on his milk, and suddenly the boy can eat! Not perfectly all of the time, but most of the time, he's able to get in a good meal now. Big improvement! The foods he loves the most are grapes, bananas, canned peaches, yogurt, cottage cheese, and peanut butter from the spoon. He is getting better at eating some messier foods on his own, like yogurt, but he seems genuinely bugged when he spills on himself. And he says "Ow!" when he does.

Gulliver does have weird food temperature issues, where anything warm is too hot to eat. Most foods get one chance, so I try to make sure it's cool enough before he tries it, because if it's hot once, it's hot forever.

Gulliver loves riding on his rocking moose. Whenever he does, we sing Bulls-Eye's theme song from Toy Story II (just saying "da da da da da da"the whole time). So now he'll get on and start rocking, and start singing "da da da da da" himself... although sometimes he even sings "ma ma ma ma ma ma."

Right now, as I'm typing this up, Gulliver is walking around with Murray's shirt over his head so that he can't see where he is going. This is a great game. I wonder how long it's going to take before he hits his head on a sharp corner...

Gulliver loves pulling all of the shoes out of the shoe shelves. I do not love this.

Gulliver is affectionate and still loves giving kisses. Whenever it's time to leave Grandma's and Grandpa's, we ask if he can say good bye, and he goes to everyone and gives a kiss. He also continues to give kisses (sometimes VERY INTENSE kisses) to mumma and dadda.

I think that's about good for now! Gulliver loves a lot of things and we love Gulliver!

My Sudden Vacation

Hello all! I'm writing you from the priciest vacation resort I have ever stayed in, also known as the Hospital! And now is when you start scrolling down, looking for pictures of my second born. Don't bother---she's not born yet. She is still safely kicking me, even as I type.

No, I came to the hospital for another, less exciting reason. The short version is that I had a gallbladder attack that made my pancreas very angry, and so I've been here for the past three days and nights, enjoying the most expensive vacation of my life (which, thanks to Aflac, which we had in place for the baby, will be significantly less expensive than it could have been).

Here are some interesting tid bits and thoughts that I would like to share with you about my stay.


First of all, after my first gallbladder attack and ER visit on Wednesday, I was not prepared for the two subsequent gall bladder attacks I would have in the three days following. And had I been properly prepared for these attacks, I would have been told to tough it out, and it really sucks, but there's nothing they can do until the baby comes. This is what I was told when we came back to the ER on Saturday, when the pain was unbearable and I was convinced that something was definitely very wrong.

Until they got the test results about four hours later and said, "Oh wait! Nope! Just kidding. This IS serious and we're admitting you to the hospital."

My take-home lesson of course, is listen to my body, use good sense, and if I'm 36 weeks pregnant and in the worst pain of my life, there is no need to let pride keep me from calling Uncle and heading into the ER, even if I'll be told for the next several hours that I was just supposed to tough it out.


During this whole gallbladder ordeal, I have reflected many times on my aunt's gallbladder removal when I was 8 years old (I am the proud FOURTH generation of women on my dad's side of the family to need a gallbladder removal---thankfully it still won't need to happen before the baby comes). There is one main reason that I remember visiting her in the hospital post-surgery, and one main reason that my memory has been the topic of much conversation over the past week. You see, when I was a sweet young 8-yr-old girl, my not-so-sweet, young, 10-yr-old brother told me an inappropriate joke. That we both thought was extremely funny at the time. So funny in fact, that I felt I should share it with my aunt in the hospital in the presence of her guests (none of us can remember who the guests were though). And the joke caused her to laugh till she was crying, and she kept saying, "Cicada! Stop! Stop telling this joke!" which I thought meant that she was REALLY enjoying it, so I made sure to tell it through to completion. Well, I'm sorry to say that the joke is entirely too inappropriate to share on the blog, so you'll never know what it was. But I HAVE repeated it to most of my family members this week as I've shared this memory with them all, and it has brought most of us to tears. Less because of the joke itself, and more because of the image of an 8-yr-old sharing the joke with her poor aunt in mixed company.


So let's talk insurance! The GOOD news is that I got lazy this year and did not change our insurance coverage, even though it would have meant a reduction in monthly premiums. It would also have meant that we would spend less during the year in overall medical expenses (baby excluded) IF we had a year like we had last year (well baby visits, a trip to the ER for stitches, and a few miscellaneous doctor's visits for me). It would have meant spending MORE in case of serious medical issues or accidents. Well, call it laziness, call it intuition, call it inspiration, I didn't change my policy. So while we still have to meet a hefty hefty deductible (rhymes with sore mouth and collars), that deductible is 1) for me and both children AND 2) for the whole year AND 3) means that everything else (baby delivery excluded) is covered at 100 percent! So now's the time to start making a medical wish-list of things that can be done this year. And if Gulliver needs stitches again, bring 'em on!

The OTHER good insurance news, as I mentioned above, is that we have an Aflac policy for me that was meant to help offset costs for the baby! We certainly didn't anticipate using it for anything else (besides baby #1, I have never needed to stay in the hospital!) but half way through this process, we realized, oh my goodness, there is a pay-out for this, too! So we can basically cut that [sore mouth and collar] deductible in half! Major bonus.


About the food. You know that people complain about hospital food. But do you know what is way worse than hospital food? No food! Because the pancreas is responsible for the enzymes needed in digestion, and because my pancreas was terribly insulted, we needed to give my pancreas a rest. For over 12 hours, that meant absolutely nothing. Not even ice chips. And then, over 24 hours after I'd last eaten anything, I was finally granted ice chips and 1/2 a popsicle every 8 hours. Wahooo! The next day, I was upgraded to clear liquids and THEN to full liquids. Bring it ON. I have never enjoyed Jell-O or chicken broth or PUDDING so much in my LIFE.

You would think that with all these restrictions, and with a baby eating away my body's stores, that I would have lost a little weight. But the bed (which has been secretly weighing me without my knowledge or consent this whole time!) reveals that I have gained three pounds. Who knew! Win for the baby, I guess!


As you're in the hospital for a few days, you get pretty bored pretty quickly. That is why the realization Sunday afternoon that it was OSCARS NIGHT was a huge and fantastic realization! Murray and I had a two-person Oscars party together, complete with 1/2 a popsicle and ice chips! In fine Murray tradition, he tried to fudge his numbers a little, claiming that he got more predictions right than he actually did, but don't worry. I kept him honest and reminded him of the ones he definitely got wrong. We were both excited that our prediction (and the favored film) won best picture. We loved The King's Speech. We are less excited that the decision has been made to censor it for American audiences by muting 2 of the 5 f-words to make it PG-13. I mean, I'm all about making it PG-13, but I really felt that in context, the language should not have made it R in the first place.


Murray's family has been wonderful to take care of Gulliver during this time. They live pretty close to the hospital, which is also very convenient. Gulliver has come to visit a couple of times. He cut his ear on his first day with Grandpa, which made me feel more sorry for Grandpa than it did for Gulliver. When Gulliver came to see me, I asked about his owie. Completely oblivious to his ear, he immediately pointed to the IV tubes in my arm, VERY concerned. We think it's funny that he knows this is an owie, because how does he know they're going into my body instead of just taped on top? Anyway, as a very concerned 2-yr-old, he made sure to give them a couple good tugs to see if he could take care of it himself. Much appreciated, Gulliver. Now I've got some good bruising there to show off as a trophy when I get out of this joint.


Speaking of getting out of this joint! I should get out of here today!! My blood work came back this morning and everything is back to normal. Yippeeeeeeee! Now it's simply a matter of maintaining a low-fat diet (and hopefully avoiding any further attacks) until the baby comes, and until I have the gallbladder surgery 2 weeks later! (So long Mini Eggs! Hello Marshmallow Peeps!)

(That is SO NOT EVEN CLOSE to an acceptable substitution, for the record, but NOTHING is worth the pain, not even my beloved of all candies, Mini Eggs.)

So that I think about wraps up my thoughts and feelings so far on my stay here! The staff have been excellent and overall, I've been well taken care of here! Now I just have to get ready to COME BACK here possibly some time this month! And I'll even share some pictures of that hospital stay with you. I think it's okay not to share any pictures of THIS hospital stay.

Modesty, Thy Name Is Cicada

Today I went to Deseret Book to buy some materials for my CTR-5 class at church (Murray and I started teaching the 5-yr-olds in January, and we absolutely love it). Of course, being the self-absorbed design snob that I am, I only purchased materials that I had designed myself (except for some rubber CTR rings).

It does, in fact, feel a little bit weird to buy something that you, yourself made. (Also? My total came to over $40!! Holy crap! I'm expensive!)

When I was at the cash register, I had to resist every urge to say, "I made that! I'm a designer and I made all of this stuff! It's mine! All mine! Look at meeeeeee!" Instead, I said, after the cashier commented on how cold it was, "Maybe it's the fact that I'm pregnant, but everyone seems to be complaining today about how cold it is, and I honestly haven't even noticed."*

And in that fashion, I avoided embarrassing myself like Kathy Proctor.


Murray asked me if I was going to tell the kids that I made their bookmarks and their stickers, and I told him no, because it could seem like a lie to them. Or if they went home and told their parents that their teacher made their stickers and bookmarks, the parents would think that their kids were WAY off base, and they'd correct their children and say that their teachers just GAVE them the bookmarks and stickers, not that they MADE the bookmarks and stickers, and then the children would just be confused.

*This was, in fact, another modesty moment, because what I truly wanted to say was, "Maybe everyone in Utah is just a big fat baby because I grew up in much much worse weather conditions that this, and I'm not even wearing a COAT today (sorry Mom and Dad) and when I was a kid, we didn't HAVE snow days, and we walked to and from school in -40 degree weather, and our thighs FROZE and we would have to wait for them to THAW when we got inside (which causes deep tissue itching and much redness of skin)."

Car Seat

Okay, Internets. I'm at work, working hard at a MASSIVE catch up game, after spontaneously leaving the office last Wednesday (or Tuesday?), going home, crashing, and ALMOST DYING OF HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE ILLNESS.

Not really almost dying, but I wanted to die. Among the downsides of being self employed is that it's actually really hard to just call in sick. Thankfully, my clients were all incredibly understanding, and let me have time off to be sick.

My brother, El Senor, was not so understanding, and went forward with his wedding yesterday, despite my illness (thankfully by then, it had cleared up enough that I was in fact able to leave the house).

Congrats to El Senor and La Senora!! I'll come out with a post all about them soon, I promise!

But this post is about ME.


Okay, but here's a picture of Gulliver from the wedding.

Okay, NOW onto me.

And when I say "me" I mean, the baby on her way, because she is stressing me out a little. Today I had my 30-week checkup, which means that I'm now on the 2-week schedule. And then, just after a few appointments on the 2-week schedule, I'll be on the 1-week schedule. And then, just after a few appointments on the 1-week schedule, I will have a whole new human being for whom I am responsible!!

And that's if she comes ON TIME!! What if she comes EARLY???? I don't even want to think about it.

So anywho, we really haven't done much to prepare for her arrival. But I had better make a list soon.

One thing on my list is to buy a car seat for her. And this is where you come in. I would like you to simplify my process by telling me which car seat I am supposed to buy. Please chime in now.

To consider: I would like the carrier type so that she can stay asleep when she falls asleep in it. We also own a Honda Civic, and it will be one of two car seats in the back, and will more than likely have to be put on the side, not in the middle seat. I'm okay with buying a smaller type, since I would likely prefer to purchase a Britax seat to match Gulliver's when she's big enough to fit into it and move her into that (Gulliver moved into his around 7 or 8 months).


Merry Christmas!!

Okay. So I did Christmas cards this year. Now, ideally, I would have sent these all out on time, and you would have all gotten them, and then I would have posted our Christmas card just in time for Christmas! But as it is we hit a few speed bumps in this, my first year of being a responsible adult and sending a Christmas card (I AM, after all, THIRTY now!):

1) We kept waiting for snow, and finally by December 12, I realized I could not wait any longer. So my sister-in-law, Tin, took the pictures for us at This Is the Place, which was an EXCELLENT suggestion, as it lent itself to still looking Christmasy. (We have ABUNDANT snow now.)

2) The NIGHT we had the pictures taken, Murray and I did them up into the Christmas card and ordered them and paid extra to have them guaranteed to arrive December 17.

3) They didn't arrive on December 17.

4) They arrived on December 23, which is significantly different from December 17.

5) I addressed them all and got them in the mail December 24!

So now that I've heard that my cards have reached the Canadians, I figure it's not spoiling anyone's surprise to post the card to my blog! I did these up as actual post cards, and one friend who received it said that at first, she thought it was junk mail, and then she recognized my face. So... you know... if you didn't get your Christmas card this year, you may blame your significant other for throwing it in the trash...

(This is just an iPhone photo of our cards... if you want to see a better version of this photo, visit our about page!)

The back, of course, has our address and personal info, but I recapped the year in haiku. Here are the poems, adapted of course to our blog names (I used parentheses where our blog names don't fit with the syllables).

We are self employed!
We take lots of vacations!
The healthcare sucks though.

Cicad(a) is pregnant.
Gullie will have a sister
by the end of March!

Gullie got stitches--
seven on his lower lip.
Don't stand in the tub!

Murr(ay)'s eyes were hurting.
He thought he was going blind.
He just needs glasses.

And for those who were paying attention, our sentiment was ALSO a haiku:

Hope you have a great
[insert holiday of choice]
and happy new year!

Belly Picture

I know you're all dying for a belly picture, to remind you all that I am actually pregnant. Well here's one! Giving baby all the love she can get at Five Guys!

Today at the Hospital...

Today at the hospital as I registered and got all my info in the system, the following unbelievable conversation happened:

Employee, pointing to my doctor's name at the top of the order for my Rhogam shot: So... This "Shelly" chick...

Me: Yes, my DOCTOR.

Employee: Right. I shouldn't have assumed it was a woman. It could be a man's name.

Me: My doctor is a woman.

-- Post From My iPad, with apologies for the typos and for the self righteousness of admitting I have an iPad.