18 Weeks

I visited with my doctor earlier this week, and things are going really well with the little one! It was really neat to hear the heartbeat again – still a healthy 150 beats per minute. She (the doctor) was able to find the heartbeat within about half a second of putting the doppler to my skin, which was reassuring considering it took several minutes last month. There were several times during that two minutes (or so) where she had to adjust the placement of the doppler because baby was moving all over the place. We could hear the “swooshing” sound whenever baby would scoot away and there was even a “bang” when baby kicked the doppler. Awesome!

I haven’t gained any weight yet, but I’m not terribly concerned over that since I started out heavier than I should be anyway. I didn’t gain anything with Small Fry either, and he’s just fine. The only complication we ran into was that my milk supply took a while to fully come in, so we had to supplement with formula for a while. I *think* I’ll be okay with that this time – more so than I was with Small Fry. I feel like I’m bit more open-minded than I was then. Obviously I’ll want this little one to have the same “breast milk only” diet that the others all had (except for Small Fry’s first two months), but I’ll be okay if we have to do some supplementation this time too. It was mostly hard on me with Small Fry because I didn’t see it coming. Knowing that it’s a possibility this time, I’ll be able to prepare mentally for it, and that’s a huge factor in being “okay” with the way things turn out.

At my appointment, we also had further discussion of my VBAC possibilities. My local doctor talked with the clinic from the bigger hospital for me since my last appointment, and things are still looking like I’ll be able to attempt that. She gave me the phone number for the other clinic as well as a list of three doctors within that clinic that have agreed to see me. (I came home and immediately looked at the website – all three of the other doctors are women, so I’ll be pretty comfortable with any of them.) I was told that I can schedule a preliminary appointment with the new clinic at any time, but once I have my first appointment there, I’ll have to have all further appointments there as well so that the new clinic can establish some familiarity before the birth. My local doctor suggested I do one or two more appointments with her, and then move over in about 10 weeks when I enter my third trimester, so I think that’s what we’re going to do. Especially since we’ll be moving soon, that will hopefully give us enough time to find a new place, move, and get settled before I have to switch doctors. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Morning sickness is all gone now, thankfully. I’m so glad to be feeling normally again. I still need a nap a couple of days a week, but it’s not every day anymore, which is also good. During those days, I just have the big kids watch a movie, and Small Fry and I rest together. It works out really well.

I’ll have some exciting news with my next update: My next doctor’s appointment is an ultrasound to check all of baby’s developing anatomy, and that also means that unless baby’s shy, we’ll know the gender! We’re super excited to find out. This is the first time we’ve decided in advance to find out what the gender is. (With Seahawk and Munchkin, we waited until birth. With Small Fry, we decided on the spot when she said “do you want to know gender?” that we did want to know.) We’re having a gender announcement party with the grandparents and great-grandparents on July 11th (we have the ultrasound on July 6th), so I’ll post about that appointment after the party. (I don’t think any of them read my blog, but just in case, I don’t want the surprise spoiled before the party.)


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5 Random Things This Week ~ June 5

Not a whole lot has been going on with us lately, hence the lack of blog posts. But here are five things that are happening in our family this week 🙂

1. Today and tomorrow we’re having a garage sale. We have to move by the end of August, so it was time to downsize a bit. I was unsure we’d have enough to justify a garage sale, but when we started pulling stuff out yesterday, there was actually a fair amount of things to get rid of. Hopefully I’ll have a good update next week on how it went!

2. Seahawk had to have a few “you’re almost to puberty” immunizations this week. Will and I were a little unsure of the HPV one, but we ended up deciding to have him get it. He also had to have a TDAP booster and a meningicoccal shot. According to Seahawk, the meningicoccal hurt the least and HPV was the worst. Fortunately, we have a very understanding medical assistant, and she always uses the smaller needle for him since he’s pretty small for his age.

3. On that same topic, he had a standard well child check at the same appointment and he’s officially as tall as me. I’m not sure how I feel about that 😉

4. My dad, whom Small Fry affectionately refers to as “Papa Mike,” recently blessed him with a tricycle. He’s been spending a lot of time learning to pedal in the past couple of weeks. He loves it!

5. We got our family all signed up for summer reading at the library earlier this week. The kids department (which now includes only Small Fry and Munchkin in our family – Seahawk has been moved up to the teens) gifted each child a book. Small Fry chose Goodnight Moon and Munchkin chose Wayside School is Falling Down. We read the other two books in the series as read-alouds during this past school year (I’ll have an update on how we did next week, probably), and he really liked them. So he’s been absolutely devouring his new book. I love that he loves to read 🙂

So that’s us. What’s going on in your family? Let me know in the comments!


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Think Like a Native

Regular readers will remember that we spent a weekend in British Columbia, Canada back in April. And that I was in the throes of morning sickness (actually a mild case of hyperemesis gravidarum) during that trip. But Will and I decided that we wanted to take the trip anyway. As miserable as I was, I would have felt awful (emotionally) if we’d missed out on a family mini-vacation just because I didn’t feel well.

Doing this required a few modifications to our original plan, though.

When we were first looking at “fun things to do in British Columbia,” options like renting a boat for whale watching really caught our eye. Those things weren’t expensive, and they would have been immensely memorable. But then I ended up feeling lousy. We’d both hoped that I’d be feeling better when it came time for the actual trip. (I started feeling bad late on Wednesday, and it escalated on Thursday. Thursday night, I was finally able to keep some gatorade down by sipping it slowly and going to bed basically as soon as I’d finished it so it didn’t have time to come up. Friday morning, the day we left, I felt amazing. But by the time we stopped for breakfast two hours later, it was bad again and didn’t let up until I got medical help late Saturday night.) So, the hope that I’d feel better and we could maybe do some of our original ideas didn’t pan out. This left us with trying to figure out ways to make sure everyone had a good time without participating in activities that would be more likely to exacerbate my illness.

So, what did we do? We explored things like a local instead of like a tourist.

We asked the locals for their favorite spots to hang out and favorite restaurants to eat at. And we did those things. Because the people who live in a town are going to want to do different things than the people who are just visiting, and a lot of the time, you miss out on knowing about some of those things if you focus on the tourist areas. Even things that could be considered “touristy” take on new light when you do them with a local flair. Take shopping, for instance. We visited a mall and a Dollar Tree. We have both of those things near our home, but they were very different in Canada. Public transportation? We spent $10 (Canadian) on the Sea Bus. We took our kids to the park. None of those things were what some people might consider “vacation activities,” but they all worked well with our restrictions for that trip. And thesee are things that can be applied to a trip anywhere.

So, the next time you’re planning a vacation and want to do things that are out of the ordinary, just remember those four little words: Think Like A Native.



O, Canada {Part 3}

O Canada

If you’re new here, welcome! This post will make more sense if you read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series before reading this one.

When we last left off, our family was resting in our motel room. After sleeping just fine throughout (most of) the night, we awoke right around 8 am and headed down for a continental breakfast before checking out. Remembering that I was still incredibly sick, I really hoped that Will would decide to just come home rather than going into Vancouver for the day. By the end of the day, even though I still hadn’t eaten anything, I was glad he didn’t make that decision.

Vancouver, British Columbia is a big city – bigger than any I’ve spent any time in before. There was so much to do there, and it was difficult to decide where to go first, but as you’ll see, circumstances beyond our control made those decisions for us.

Our first destination was Stanley Park. We thought that would be a great place for American tourists because there are things such as the local aquarium and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park there. Unfortunately for us, the aquarium was closed the day we were there, and the carriage ride was out of our price range. So instead, we wandered the park for about an hour before leaving in search of other things to do. But before we left, we were greeted by a Canadian Mountie horse who was “docked” in the same parking lot where we’d left our car. This horse was not there when we’d parked an hour earlier, so it was a real treat for the boys, especially Small Fry. All three of them (and Will and I) had a good time looking at the horse, talking to him (her?), and petting his nose with the blessing of the Mountie.

From Stanley Park, we decided to go to “downtown Vancouver,” or what our hotel concierge (do inexpensive motels have concierges?) called “what you think of when you think of Vancouver.” It was just a short drive from the park, and it was chock full of interesting souvenir shops and neat things to do. The funniest thing about this portion of our trip was that we parked at one end of the pier (keep in mind, parking here is NOT free) and walked around for a while. When we realized that we were pretty far from the car – and didn’t have that long left on our parking stub – Will and Seahawk decided to go move the car to a spot closer to where we currently were. Munchkin, Small Fry, and I looked around a couple of the shops trying to find souvenirs for ourselves and the grandparents during this time. (We were very successful. We got a Christmas tree ornament for our family, magnets for Will’s dad and stepmom and my mom and stepdad, and a keychain for my dad. Each of the big boys got a pocket watch, as well as a pencil for themselves and their friends, and Small Fry got the hat you see in the picture.)

Okay. So now Will and Seahawk have rejoined us in the shopping district. Will decides he wants us to try to find the Sea Bus, so we start walking. We ask a woman working in a shop right on the water, and she tells us it’s about seven city blocks up the way. No problem. We routinely walk farther than that, so we decide to make that trek. We walk. And walk. And walk. No sign of the Sea Bus anywhere. Eventually, Will realizes that we’ve walked a long way from where our car is. We’re not in danger of running out of time yet, but he knows that I’m not feeling well and probably won’t want to walk all the way back, especially if the Sea Bus is much farther than we’ve already come. So the younger boys and I sit down to rest while he and Seahawk move the car. Again.

At this point, we think we can see the Sea Bus, so we follow the water around a huge building. We have no idea what this building is, but it appears to be either closed for the weekend (we were there on a Saturday) or abandoned. But it is huge. We end up walking around three sides of it – still haven’t found the Sea Bus yet – and upon coming up the third side, we discover that we’ve walked probably over half a mile only to end up about fifty feet from where we started. Sigh. So we walk up the street, and finally – finally – find the entrance to where the Sea Bus is. The ticket terminal isn’t clear on fares for children, so we buy five adult fares, just to be on the safe side. We board the Sea Bus and ride it across the water. All passengers are required to get off at the other side, so we move as quickly as we can to get back around to the entrance so we can get back on for the return trip across the water. (The Sea Bus isn’t super fancy; it’s just a ferry for locals to get across the water to their homes and/or jobs.)

At this point, it’s been quite a long day. We stop at a fast food place to feed our children (A&W), and I have a root beer, which ends up being the first thing I’m able to keep down in days. I don’t even try any food. We get back to our car with mere minutes before our parking stub runs out of time, and we head out of the shopping district, deciding it’s time to head home since we have an 8-hour drive ahead of us.

The only map we have is the one that feels like it was the back of a tray liner from a fast food place (it wasn’t; we got it from the motel), and it doesn’t have all of the streets on it. It’s too basic for that. But we do our best to follow it. Will’s got a pretty good bump of direction, so he’s confident he’ll be able to find the road that will take us back to America; all he has to do is drive away from the water, according to the map. So he does this, and things are looking good. We drive over a bridge, right about the place where the map says there is one, and we’re feeling pretty good about our location. But then we enter a residential area. Not exactly what we were expecting for a big road that will turn into the Canadian equivalent of an interstate, but okay. After driving through this residential area for several miles, we begin to think that maybe we’re lost after all. But we have no way of knowing, because none of the streets we’re passing are on the map.

Finally we get to a place that is on the map: the University of British Columbia. Which is pretty much the exact opposite direction we need to be. But at least we know where we are now. We turn around and get going the right way.

We cross the border back into the United States around 5 pm, and just like in the movies, the border agent says, “Welcome home.” Six hours later, right around 11 pm, we get back into our hometown. Will drops me off at ER and brings the children home to sleep in their beds. I spend the next three hours getting my nausea under control and being rehydrated, and Will and the boys sleep. When I’m discharged from the ER, I call Will and he leaves the boys in bed and picks me up. (We live less than a mile from the hospital, plus with Seahawk being almost 12, we were okay with them being alone for those 10 minutes we were both out while they slept.) After our exciting weekend, and my still-questionable health, we decide to stay home from church that week.

After getting “fixed up” at the hospital, and everyone sleeping in as late as they wanted, we were all feeling pretty good by Sunday night.

And that was our first experience taking our family outside our homeland.


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I’ll have one more post about our trip up, probably next week, but it won’t be a chronicling so much as how we “coped” with being on vacation while I was so sick. I hope you’ll come back for that.

O, Canada {Part 2}

O Canada

So, you remember that I’m pregnant, right? Well, with that comes morning sickness. It’s just a part of the early stages of pregnancy, and while I don’t love it, I’m okay with it.

That was, I was okay with it with the three boys. With them, it was “eat a quick breakfast because there’s no way it’ll stay down. Throw it up, feel better for the rest of the day.” Annoying, but tolerable. Well, that has certainly NOT been the case this time around. It started the day before we left for Canada, and if we hadn’t already told the boys we were going on the trip, we probably would have postponed it. I was that sick.

But we had, so we didn’t. We went on the trip as planned.

We got through the border crossing, we bought gas, and from there, we traveled the half-hour or so to Langley (a suburb of Vancouver), where our hotel was. Once we were checked in, we got settled in the hotel (meaning we assigned beds – one for us and one for the boys – and found something to watch on the TV while we decompressed from the drive up). When everyone (but me) was feeling better, Will and Seahawk decided to go out exploring the town. They were gone for an hour or so. Munchkin and Small Fry played together while I rested, hoping to get feeling better. (At this point, I hadn’t been able to keep anything down – food or drink – in over 24 hours.)

When Will and Seahawk returned, they told us about the things we’d found, and we all decided to go out again. It wasn’t anything super non-American, but it was still neat to visit places like the Dollar Tree (which boasted “everything’s $1.25!”) and the mall. The kids’ biggest fascination with visiting Canada was that they could actually buy things with the Canadian money. (It looks nothing like American money. It’s very colorful, and the newer bills are plastic, not paper/cloth.)

After having dinner at a steakhouse (I just had soup, figuring it *might* be easy enough on my stomach that I could garner some nutrients from it, but if not, the broth would be easy on my throat coming up again). This was quite an experience, too. They had Burger King-style crowns for the kids, but instead of crowns, they were deer antlers. The menu had some familiar things on it (burgers and steaks, fish and chips), but also some unusual things (pasta, chicken sandwiches with decidedly non-American toppings). In the end, everyone pretty much played it safe except Will (who had one of the aforementioned chicken sandwiches).

After our night out in Langley, we headed back to the hotel to get the kids into bed and begin the wind-down process for the grownups as well. Because the next day, we were off to Vancouver!

***To be continued***


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O, Canada: Our Trip out of the Country {Part 1}

O Canada

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that our family recently got passports. If you’ve been reading my blog for very long at all, you’ll also know that we’re studying French (the language). These two items go together because we’re hoping to take a month next winter and spend it in France. We have to have passports and know the French language to accomplish that goal, so we’ve been studiously working toward making that a reality.

But going to France is a huge goal, both in the time commitment to learn the language and to save up the money to get over there (and still pay the bills at home while we’re gone). And it’s not really very fun to have passports and not use them. So we took a weekend recently and drove up to Vancouver, British Columbia (about an 8-hour drive from our home) for a few days. It was the first time any of the children had been out of the country, the first time I’d been to Canada, and the first time Will had driven in a foreign country. So a lot of new experiences all around.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take pictures while we were there – we forgot the point-and-shoot camera at home, my phone was broken at the time, and Will’s has a cracked camera lens. So we just have our souvenirs and memories of the trip. But that’s okay; we still had a wonderful time.

We left on Friday morning, a little earlier than we normally wake up. We didn’t leave early enough to avoid rush hour traffic through Portland, though, and that was a mistake we’ll hopefully not make again! We stopped for breakfast just over the border in Vancouver, WA, and then pressed on from there. We had lunch outside of Seattle, and made it to the Canadian border just a couple of hours after that.

Getting through customs was a breeze; we didn’t even have to leave our car. When the border agent passed our passports back to Will, Will asked him where we could go to get them stamped. The agent just kind of sighed and held his hand out. Will gave the passports back, and the agent stamped them for us. (With the new passports being fairly high-tech and having electronic components even though they’re still paper, customs agents can just scan the barcode and the computer stores the information. You have to specifically request a stamp. This might be different in other countries, but from the U.S. to Canada, a stamp wasn’t automatically given.)

Once we made it over the border, the gas light came on in our car. This was unfortunate for a couple of reasons. First of all, gas in Canada is much more expensive than it is in the U.S. Even though the Canadian dollar was worth roughly 75 American cents during the time we were there, the gas still ended up being more (about $1.15-1.20 Canadian, per LITER, not per gallon). The other reason this was poor timing for us was because we (Will and I) didn’t have any Canadian money yet. About a month before our trip, we’d gone to the bank and traded the kids’ allowance money into Canadian currency, so they had some, but the grownups didn’t. So we had to “borrow” from the children for gas and repay them after we hit the ATM.

So, through customs and gassed up. Now we were ready to continue our trip!

***To be continued***


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Picture of the Week: An Announcement

You might have noticed that things have slowed down here on the blog in the past couple of weeks. Here’s why:

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Yes, we found out two weeks ago that we’re expecting our fourth child this fall. And I got a nasty cold right on the heels of the positive test, so I’ve had virtually no energy recently. It’s about all I can do to get through the day without letting things like housework and homeschooling fall by the wayside. So for the next few weeks, things might continue to be quiet on these pages. I’ve got another Tales on Tuesday story all set to start next week, and when I think of something I really want to write about, that’ll go up here. And a few reviews, of course. But for the next month or so, until I get out of the first trimester and regain some of my energy, I’m not going to stress about blogging. I fully intend to get back up to a 3 posts a week schedule, but now’s not the time for that.


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