Monday, January 31, 2011


Me? An overachiever? Um...guilty as charged.

I graduated high school with over a 4.0 and as an honorary member of the Health Careers Academy. I could have gone to any college of my choosing, but decided to stay close to home and save money at a local community college. It wasn't long after attending ARC that I was recognized in the Who's Who Among American College Students publication, placed onto the National Dean's List, and given another opportunity to be a US Student Ambassador (which I sadly had to decline once again).

I am now in my third semester at UAA and doing very well! I was nominated for the Golden Key International Honor Society a few months back and just received a letter this week that I have been placed onto the Chancellor's List for maintaining a 4.0 while enrolled in 12 or more units. And best of all, I was just asked to join a pre-nursing program in Australia this summer through the International Scholar Laureate Program. It's a wonderful career-focused study in Melbourne and Sydney that introduces students to nurses roles in the Australian health care system. For being a Golden Key member I am eligible for a wonderful scholarship and I could easily experience this very exclusive program. I would love love love to go...but traveling out of country just before I'm due to give birth isn't the smartest idea. Nor could I imagine leaving Lucas for a few week. It was an honor to be nominated, but it's not something I can do at this point in my life.

I have been given so many opportunities because of my excellent academic performance, but have surprisingly enough chose mother hood as my top priority. School has always been something I needed to excel at, but my priorities have now shifted. Don't get me wrong- I'm still working for that 4.0, but the drive I felt once before is now gone.

With Levi gone for nearly a week I was so overwhelmed with my work load. Any time I tried to get work done Lucas would tell me to put the computer down and read him a story. It broke my heart. I don't want him to remember me glued to my books, but I also want to finish school now while he is young. I feel so torn and pulled in various directions at the same time.

I spent quite a few hours on Saturday and nearly all day on Sunday trying to catch up with the work I couldn't manage to finish during the week. Being pregnant is HARD work! However, I am very proud of myself. Instead of pushing to do work while Lucas napped, half the time I joined him. As much as I want to believe I'm a super mom and can handle whatever is thrown before me, I have to listen to my bodily ques.

I got my weekly baby newsletter a few days ago and it really opened my eyes. I have a new quote to remember:
"Pregnancy fatigue is normal, especially at this stage. That's because you're running a baby-making factory that's in business 24/7, causing your pregnant body to work harder at rest than your non pregnant body did on the run."
So putting my body and my baby first, I have been trying my best to relax and not stress the small stuff. My school work took much longer to complete than I hoped, but I got it done and that's all that matters. I worked little by little and took breaks when I needed. My life has always been hectic and on the go, but I am quickly learning the importance of down time. Listening to my body is now my top priority. It's okay to do the bare minimum once in a while...or so they say!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


We got to hear the baby's beautiful little heartbeat for the first time on Thursday! It was nothing but pure music to this momma's ears!<3 Being as sick as I have makes it difficult not to worry if everything is going well for the baby. I know that sickness is actually a good sign that the hormones are doing their job...but it's scary when I haven't been able to keep much food or water down for going on 6 weeks now. The heartbeat was very strong and exactly what I needed to hear. I'm so in love with this baby already!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Morning Lovin'

Even after 2 years of motherhood, I still dread waking up as early as I have to. If I had it my way, I would sleep in every day of the week. Thankfully, I get to start each day off with the most wonderful little man around!

(blurry iPhone photos, but adorable nonetheless)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Morning Sickness Relief

The dreaded morning sickness...why oh why have you cursed me so?

I have many friends with children and I honestly feel like one of the few women who are just completely run down during the 1st trimester. Yes, it's natural to be overly tired and sensitive to smells, but I have a difficult time keeping anything in my poor tummy. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the severest form of morning sickness in which vomiting ultimately prevents a woman from eating or drinking throughout the day. I was nearly hospitalized with Lucas because of severe dehydration, and unfortunately, I had almost reached this point again. A week ago I was only urinating once a day and would wake up so dehydrated that my lips had chapped open and were covered in dried blood. I was prescribed medication last time around that literally knocked me out. Sleeping all day is not an option for me, so I have been searching for natural methods of relief.

I have tried everything recommended for nausea. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I have a few products that I have been using on a daily basis, and thankfully I am finding a little bit of comfort. I don't think that any one of these products work well enough for me on their own, but when combined together, I seem to be able to function. Somewhat.

Lemon Ginger Tea:
I have never been a big tea drinker before now, but the soothing aroma of lemon and ginger have really seemed to make a large difference in my nausea. This has been the greatest product I have found to date! Since a friend made me a cup recently, I have become an addict! And my vomiting has decreased a good 80%!

Sea Bands:
These drug free acupressure bands can be worn at all times and are used for travel sickness. At this point I'm not sure if they are even helping...but I'm afraid to take them off. I've read sworn testimonies that they work, and others in which they claim to present a placebo effect. Nevertheless, they're staying on.

Preggie Pop Drops:
It is said that sour flavors can help to alleviate nausea, so these drug free drops are always on hand. I'm not a fan of sour flavors to begin with, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I ate them frequently when I was pregnant with Lucas, but I was still sick as a dog then.

Doctors have been prescribing B6 vitamin supplements to pregnant women for decades. Do I feel like they really help? No. But the act of sucking on a lollipop helps my body to think it's eating...which is when I feel at my best.

Anti-Nausea Spritz:
And finally, I recently joined a group with some fellow mama friends called AK Mom Approved. Free product samples are given in which we test out and write reviews on. I got a nice little Pregnancy Support Pack from Al.Di.La. The pack includes a stretch mark blend, anti-nausea spritz, back ache blend, swollen feet blend, floral water of Melissa and Roman Chamomile, and essentials oil blends intended for the use in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. The only thing I have been able to test out so far has been the anti-nausea spritz. It contains the hydrosols of Ginger, Melissa, Neroli, Rose and other essential oils to help alleviate nausea. I honestly can't tell if it's helping my nausea symptoms per say, but the cool mist and fragrance that fill the air when you spritz your face is very relaxing. I'm looking forward to trying out all of these natural products in the months to come!

Although I have not been quite as sick as I was the last time around, it has been very difficult to function. I am absolutely overwhelmed with school at the moment and caring for kiddos all day long doesn't make it any easier. Sleep has been a difficult thing to come by lately, and that really does make it worse. I started feeling like my old happy self once I reached 14 weeks with Lucas, so I am praying that will be the case this time around as well. I've made it this far...what are a few more weeks?

It saddens me that the beautiful process of creating life can ultimately make you feel like death. I do not wish these symptoms on anyone, but I hope that my review offers help to anyone looking for natural ways to beat the dreaded morning sickness curse.

Meet Alphie

Lucas has a new best friend. Alphie!

Alphie is a must have for any pre-schooler! This toy robot promotes learning by fun interactive play- and he's just too adorable! Lucas absolutely loves singing along with the alphabet card and pretending to play instruments along with the musical composition. Each card teaching valuable information from colors, shapes, letters, patterns, association and more! I have been blown away watching him match items together, and associating sounds with particular objects. Parents...get this for your child!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hannah's shop is open!

I've ranted and raved before at how amazing my best friend Hannah is...and she just continues to impress me! With the help of her sister, she has recently opened up an online shop to sell her one-of-a-kind, handmade Hannah Lenore clothing!

She is a fashion designer turned wonderful is that?! Levi's grandfather is best friends with Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the international Christian relief organization known as Samaritan's Purse. When Hannah expressed to me that she wanted to go to Africa, we knew just how to make that happen! (I like to think that we'll get some good karma as a result of aiding her in this direction!) She has been connected with some amazing ladies and has been given a wonderful opportunity to redesign clothing collections for Amani Ya Juu, a sewing and reconciliation project for marginalized women in Africa. I am so proud of Hannah for joining hands with this wonderful organization and cannot wait to see her involvement!

Please take a look at Hannah's shop and view her beautiful designs! Because the trip is missionary based, Hannah will need to raise all of the funding necessary to make this trip possible. The shop has been set up as a way to do so, and direct donations are greatly appreciated. It's apparent that people like her stuff because they just made a sell in Switzerland! Now that's awesome! Hannah has a heart of gold and is going to have a lasting impact on the lives of so many women. Please help her make this trip a success!

She is set to return within a month, but the length of her visit will be directly affected by her funding. Let's get Hannah back to Africa!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to school.

I'm normally pretty excited about school, but this morning sickness nightmare has made getting through the day almost unbearable. And adding school back on top of everything isn't something I was prepared for. We tried to plan it so that I was in the second trimester as this semester started...but we all know that didn't work out.

Classes officially started on Monday and I am taking quite the intense load this spring. I am working to finish my Psychology minor and will be done doing so just in time for baby. I was fortunate enough to get each of my 4 courses online...but that sure doesn't mean they are any easier. I am currently taking a Philosophy course and three Psychology classes (Abnormal, Personality, and Human Relations). Two of my psych classes are upper division courses so this load would have been intense even if I weren't sick and busy being a mommy and caregiver.

On a quick education note, I decided against doing the Direct-Entry Midwife courses. Instead, I've decided to pursue the Certified Nurse Midwife option! As soon as I graduate from nursing school, I will embark on a two-year path to getting my Masters in Midwifery! There are a few schools that allow you to get your Master's online, but Levi is being overly supportive and is giving me free range to decide our living situation. We may just move out of state for me to work on this journey when the time comes.

And onto my little man!

I found some wonderful preschool books for Lucas at Target. Although they are rated for ages 3-5, he is doing wonderful!!

I think I've created a monster because all my child wants to do anymore is school work. He's come in to our room before the sun has risen on a few occasions yelling, "I want to do homework, please!"

He caught on so fast to these books and we completed one in just three days! The second one we are working on is a lot of fun and he loves finding the images to circle.

This was one of my favorite pages that we did recently. I just love the sloppy color work!

At least Lucas' homework is exciting! Mine is full of lots of reading and discussion board posts (which are quite annoying when everyone in my class writes as if they are still in high school). I'm happy to escape my busy load every day to help him. Wish us both luck!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Personalized Birth

When I mentioned to Levi a few weeks ago of my desire to birth outside of the hospital this time around, he was surprisingly supportive! I thought that he would have a difficult time with this concept, but instead has attended multiple consultations with me to meet some of the local midwifery companies.

We have narrowed it down to two different places, One Family Birth Center and Birthways Midwifery (which consists of three midwives who have recently branched off from One Family to begin their own practice) Unfortunately, I am having a far more difficult time deciding than I imagined I would. I have a list of pro's and con's with each place and I feel that where one company lacks, the other prevails....and vice versa. I hope to make a final decision by this week or next so that we can begin their wonderful and personalized prenatal care.

With both places Levi and I will be in complete control of our care from day one. Anything that we choose to have done we can have, and anything that we feel is unnecessary will be left out. It is OUR care, and we personalize it to fit our needs.

Although I have not narrowed down which set of midwives I am going to work with, I have decided on a number of aspects that I wish to be different this time around. I had an amazing birthing experience with Lucas and feel that I want the second to be even more personalized and precious.

Here are my top priorities for birth #2:

* I am really leaning on a home birth. When I was younger I always though that women who birthed at home were crazy, but this is now something that I want to experience for myself. If for some reason we decide against being at home, we have decided on a birthing center (which is just a cozy room with a bed, tub and fire place!) I have no intentions of going back to the hospital until my baby is born.

* I would like to attempt a water birth. This was something I was very interested in doing last time around, but I was so far along when I made it to the hospital that nature just took its course. Both companies offer tub rentals to set up in the home.

* I am going to delay the cutting of the cord until the placenta is expelled. Studies have showed wonderful benefits to allowing the newborn to reincorporate the blood from the placenta back into his or her own blood supply. Not only does it help to regulate breath rate, heart rate and body temperature, but it also reduces the risk of jaundice.

* I want Lucas present. By birthing at home Lucas will be in a familiar environment where he can come and go as he pleases. The midwives all spoke positively of having older siblings involved and said that they are always wonderful during births. I can already envision Lucas hoping into the pool with me to admire the baby once it's out!

* And finally, and most importantly, I want for either myself or Levi to catch the baby. I don't feel there is any reason that our hands can't be the first to touch and welcome our baby into this world. Both companies are entirely supportive of this notion and in fact, they highly recommend it!

I'm not sure if having an existing child already has made me feel the need to take more control, but I have complete faith in my body and its natural process of bringing a life into this world. I had a great labor and delivery experience at the Alaska Native Medical Center, but I feel strongly in my desire to do things a bit differently this time around. If natural midwifery care is what I am striving to achieve in my personal/professional life, I suppose I had better practice what I preach!

Friday, January 7, 2011

My amazing boys!

I know I've said this a million times, but I just LOVE these boys of mine! How did I get so lucky?!

Being sick and practically unfunctionable these past few weeks has been really tough, but having these two around helps me to always smile and laugh. Lucas is so sympathetic towards me and is always asking if I'm alright. I think I've made a mistake in allowing him to see me vomiting however, because on three different occasions I've caught him hunched over spitting on the living room floor. When I asked him what the heck he was doing he told me that he was sick too and that he needed to go ni-night. This kid is always cracking me up!

I was feeling awful this evening so Levi offered to run into the store and grab some more ginger ale and a pair of Sea-Band, natural acupuncture wrist bands for nausea (since I can't for the life of me find the pair I already own). We were waiting for Levi for what seemed like forever so I jokingly asked Lucas why his daddy was taking so long. I complained that I was sick and needed daddy to hurry and bring me some medicine soon. His response was absolutely priceless. He said "don't worry mommy, daddy will fix you!"

My husband has been an absolute godsend and I cannot imagine getting through these last few weeks without him. I feel like I have completely failed on my wifely duties, but he has sure picked up the slack better than I could have imagined. I honestly haven't made dinner in over two weeks and my house is a total disaster. There are even dishes in my sink...which NEVER happens! (The last time I allowed my home to look so messy was when I was pregnant with Lucas.) He has been diligently cooking and cleaning and helping with the most important job of all- caring for Lucas! That boy loves his daddy and they have spent lots of quality time together lately. His first 2-yr molar just popped through and as a result he woke up at 1, 3, and again at 5 in the morning. Guess who got up with him each time? Yep, my amazing hubby!

Every time I sit back and watch the two of them together it fills my heart with so much love and happiness. These boys are my entire world and I cannot imagine a life without them in it! I am one blessed mommy and wife!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Showing Already??

I can honestly say that this pregnancy has been quite different from my last. I expected to have reunited with my porcelain friend on a hourly basis by now, but I have been doing surprisingly well! I have been quite nauseous for the past few weeks, but have only had to run to throw up 4 times. I told myself that I just don't have time to deal with being sick...hopefully my body got the message. (Or at least part of it!)

On a wider note, I CANNOT button my pants. Seriously. This is absolutely crazy! I have a small protruding baby bump and my pants are nearly unwearable. I am only 6 weeks and 6 days (7 weeks tomorrow) and I didn't begin showing with Lucas until 12 weeks. It was as if a little bump decided to grace us with its presence this morning. As Levi was about to leave for work I caught him staring at me as I walked across the living room. He then commented on the noticeable belly, where I then replied..."it's too soon to be showing!!" His response? "I hope it's twins!"

Levi was pretty heart broken when he found out Lucas was a single baby and is really rooting for a duo this time around. I can't image carrying twins, let alone caring for two newborns with a toddler already. Oh. My. Goodness.

This was me at 12 weeks and 2 days with Lucas:

And this is me now at 6 weeks and 6 days:

Not much of a difference, huh? What's even scarier is that I started out at a lower pre-pregnancy weight this time around. When I said we were trying for two, I meant child number two...not two at once! Yikes...I'm nervous!