Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Some things I wish I had shared when I was pregnant

I kind of clammed up here when I was pregnant with Lucas.

It was a time I thought would be full of joy and excitement. Instead it left me a wreck. I felt like I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing. Ever.

For example when we found out that Lucas was going to be a Lucas Gregory and not a Jessica Lacey (that was our girl name, by the way) I didn't know that I was already supposed to have a nursery theme chosen. If I could be completely honest, I was extremely surprised that I was still pregnant. After eight years of no-baby-whatsoever and three years of ...somewhat spotty "protection," I was kind of expecting a miscarriage. I thought something was wrong with me. Lucas' nursery was still full of boxes from our recent move. James' family joked that Lucas' bedroom theme would be "hobo chic." No help at all.

I guess after all that time imagining having a baby, I lost my vision and I couldn't really visualize what that meant. Nor did I want to. I was really scared that I would be a bad mother, that I wouldn't be able to give Lucas the love or attention he needed. That our family would many couples split up after children (but not us!).

We also had a lot of medical drama going insurance wasn't covering enough, even though it was provided through the hospital. I was anxious about the medical bills that were piling up. I was working up to twelve hours a shift on my feet, moving up large overweight people in bed by myself, worrying about abruption every time, until two weeks before I delivered. I had to have my boss change my last day of work, I was scheduled to be induced that day.

I had a velamentous cord insertion too, meaning if I went into hard labor at any time the cord could have detached before the baby was out leading to catastrophe. If they catch it early there is a 100% survival rate, but my OB didn't tell me that. I didn't like him -- he threw terms around and then gave no corresponding information. He treated me like I was stupid. My second OB was better, but it took a lot of courage to go and see her. Dr. Brenna did NOT pull any punches with me. I liked her a lot.

All the preparations I made for our new baby were mostly thrifting clothes and putting the nursery together. When we were at the hospital I had to send James to Wal-Mart for newborn diapers because we didn't have any! My little baby stash did not have enough hats and socks, and we were constantly going to the store for diapers after Lucas arrived.

Anyway that's all I have to say at the moment :) I am sure there will be more later. <3

Monday, April 27, 2015

About that essential oil fad...

I know essential oils seem to be everyone's favorite thing.

And I like them too!

(No, I do not sell them. :-P)

I "discovered" essential oils just about when everyone else did. I had been pregnant for a while and I realized that I wasn't able to have many of the medications that I was used to. No Excedrin Migraine for my -- well, migraines. No ibuprofen for the tendonitis that was plaguing me thanks to extra blood flow. No good cold medicine even. I could only have Tylenol Cold, which doesn't work for me.

So I sought out a nurse friend who I knew was a little "crunchy." I asked her what pain medication or...anything...I could take for all of the pain I was experiencing. She directed me to an arnica-based pain reliever called Traumeel. It cost almost twenty dollars...but it worked. After that I was a little more trusting of natural remedies.

I like essential oils for lots of things -- cleaning for sure. I love to make my own disinfectant with 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water, and some lavender (which has natural disinfectant properties). Sometimes I put orange or tangerine or grapefruit oil in my water and that is yummy. I put a little cotton ball with whatever oil I want (usually peppermint or grapefruit) in the chamber of my vacuum cleaner to prevent the stinky dog air from escaping :). I also make natural carpet deodorizer with baking soda and essential oils, and it works super well! :)

At night if I am wound up lavender helps me sleep. Peppermint helps me with my migraines (both pain and nausea) and I also smear it in the corners of rooms on a cotton ball to keep away ants and spiders -- it has worked so far, and this house used to have many many spiders! I have rubbed Tea Tree Oil on my feet when I have a cold coming on and it helps reduce the cold symptoms. I carry orange oil in my bag to sniff when I am feeling grouchy. While this is no replacement for a relationship with God, sometimes a prayer and a quick sniff of something bright and "happy" can put me right when we are at a family event or I am out for work.

If you are thinking about trying them, I would give you  two thumbs up! :) If you don't know where to start or wonder what things smell like, most "natural" grocers have an essential oils section. Although some brands smell better than others! :) It at least will give you an idea. I would also start using them in your cleaning products if you DIY them -- it helps mask the vinegar smell <3

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I am hiding from the neighbors.

Our neighbors to the right of us are a nice man and his wife. They have a teen daughter and a daughter in her early twenties who has problems of all stripes it seems. One day this past winter I returned from a grocery shopping trip on a particularly dark evening to find the police very carefully searching their property. There were six or eight officers there with flashlights. When I asked if everything was alright -- but really hoping for an explanation as to what was going on just feet from where my infant son slept -- I was given a gruff "yes."

These neighbors are particularly nice. The husband tries to visit with James and I and he is a little strange. I don't know if it is the high pitch of his voice or the way he always tries to ask questions about what it is that we are doing, but it always feels awkward.

Today the Jeff and his wife (I don't actually know her name) are taking care of their yard. Often, because the adjoining yards are so small, they take care of ours. I am embarrassed that they do this. I could see them through the one really uncovered window we have -- about eighteen inches wide by four feet high -- raking, using the wheelbarrow, the leaf blower. I worry they will see me in my pajamas after a day of heavy cleaning working on the computer and think how lazy I am. So instead I am here in my bedroom, Molly snoring on the floor, with the door shut so they can't see me on my laptop, watching Scandal after I put the baby to bed. He has a cold and so do I.

As James left for work today I said the words that always mark a busy day for me "I think I'll just take it easy today." Hostess coaching and training in the morning, followed by an afternoon of cleaning. It was one of those bursts of cleaning that I only seem to get done in fall or spring -- the type where because you spill something on the floor you end up wiping down the cabinets, inside and out, watching cleaning videos and tutorials in the hopes that you can scrub everything down once and it will never get dirty again.

I cleaned the laminate floors with hot water, vinegar, a little soap, a little rubbing alcohol, and a little lemon oil. I had lots leftover so I started on the cabinets, the vinegar gently stripping away all of the dirt and oil deposits from all those months of use.

I don't remember how it started but I cleaned the dishwasher too. We have been having a problem with it for a while. There are deposits left on every dish and glass, regardless of how well they have been rinsed. The specks are black, and I thought they were just crumbs or leftover food. James gives me a look every time he takes a glass out of the cabinet, freckled with black. I asked a friend if she knew any tricks for cleaning dishwashers and she said Pinterest might. I got the hint. Five minutes later I unscrewed the filter to our dishwasher to find something worthy of a nightmare. Undulating mushrooming fungus. Black, red, tan. I took a picture and sent it to a friend I know whose dishwasher smells when the dry cycle runs. I said "If this is what mine looks like..I am happy to do yours if it squicks you out."

I have spared you the "before." This is after two hours of soaking, gently removing the fungus with a "cleaning" toothbrush, and soaking in bleach for an hour.

After putting these out to dry, I carefully stowed them and the screws that attach them to the appliance and began the journey of washing almost all of my dishes by hand. Soaking and carefully swishing and wiping to remove every speck of black mold smattered across our dishes and glasses. The problem is on its way to being solved. It looks though like there is a little clog that is keeping the dishwasher from draining all the way that James may have to see to.

In the meantime, here's Lucas in a sink bath. <3 I like to give sink baths to adorable babies. Having the coffee pot nearby is a plus. We have since switched to evening  baths in the bathtub because daddy works late. Bathime is really just a time killer for mommy. I love this little man. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I was cleaning the carpet on Friday afternoon when it started. Lucas was sleeping in his crib as the machine buzzed over our heavy traffic areas, removing all evidence of the spring rains. Usually when I clean I talk to myself about things I have to do or I listen to music. Anything to fill the silence.

But the buzzing noise makes music or anything else pretty much out of the question. And yes, I have tried. But as the Rug Doctor whooshed and buzzed and jackhammered its way across my floor the words started coming. Out of nowhere I missed writing. Writing just for me, just for a few friends to read.

Sometimes when you run your own business there is this veneer you are supposed to keep. A glass wall that people can see through a little but not get to. It's cold and hard and shiny, and sometimes I spend all day trying to make sure that every fingerprint smudge is gone. That no one can see my feelings and fears and mistakes. That the upbeat is what is available, and that's it.

I mulled it over for a couple of days. I remembered and thought and came to the conclusion that I missed Xanga. Well, we all know that Xanga is gone. So I guess you could say that I missed blogging.  And blogging in a private setting, where only a few friends are privy. When I re-installed windows on my laptop last week I carefully made sure that all of my important pictures and everything made it to the safety of an external drive so that nothing got deleted.

My Xanga archive was there.

I read through the posts I wrote before I found out I was pregnant. And I thought about all of the things that had happened since then. The ups and downs. The extreme wonderful highs and the lows too.

And I missed having those memories.

So I 'm back.