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.