Holidays, Observances, and Literary Celebrations: January–April

holidays1

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Introduction

Champ always gets quite depressed after we take the Christmas Tree (which, I can assure you, we did in a timely matter, at the beginning of January). To cheer him up, I embarked on a calendar project, compiling holidays and observances, national and international celebrations.

I included Christian holidays, and then added some Jewish holidays, and then looked up literary birthdays as well.

As you might have guessed, the project began to take on a life of its own, and I still haven’t finished it. However, I thought there might be some other families out there who’d like a list of holidays that expanded upon the public holidays each month, so I thought I’d share what I’ve got so far.

Many of these national celebrations were taken from an exhaustive list found at Brownielocks.com. The literary holidays were compiled from birthday lists of authors. I never found a complete list, and many of the writers and poets I just looked up individually.

This is a perpetual list of holidays, meaning you can come back to this list each year. I do have downloadable calendars for 2014 at the bottom of this post that you are free to print and use!

How it works

MONTH

Each month has a theme. Some are nationally or internationally recognized, and others are just suggestions (take February for example—”Celebrate the ones you love Month”). Each month also has a list of authors born in that month. The idea is that older children or parents choose from that list and read a book from one or more of the authors during the month.

WEEKS

The holidays listed under the “weeks” are holidays that occur on a particular day each year. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always celebrated the third Monday in January.

DAYS

The holidays listed here are celebrated or observed on the same date each year. New Year’s Day is always January First. I’ve included birthdays of poets on these lists, so that on their birthdays, we can read one of their poems. It’s a gentle reminder to me that I need more poetry in my life, and it’s an excuse to read poetry to my children at least a few times each month.

OTHERS

Some holidays aren’t based on the Gregorian calendar. For example, the Chinese New Year is celebrated in January some years, and February other years. I have 2014 dates for these holidays marked on the printable calendars. For subsequent years, you’ll have to look them up. I’ll include links when I can find them.

January

MONTH

  • Resolution Month (Choose a motto for the new year, make a collage, etc.)
  • Human Trafficking Prevention
  • Authors: Tolkien, A.A. Milne, Poe, Lewis Carroll

WEEKS

DAYS

  • 1/1 New Year’s Day
  • 1/3 Tolkien Day
  • 1/8 Midwife’s Day, Elvis’ Bday
  • 1/18 Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A. Milne’s Birthday)
  • 1/19 Edgar Allan Poe
  • 1/27 US Holocaust Memorial Day (day of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp), Lewis Carroll
  • 1/29 Puzzle Day

OTHER

  • January or February: Chinese New Year
  • Last week in January: Lead up to Super Bowl

February

MONTH

  • Celebrate the ones you love Month (Read some classic love stories, compile stories of how your family members met & fell in love)
  • Winter Olympics Month (every 4 years)
  • Authors: Dickens, Jules Verne, Lemony Snicket, Laura Ingalls Wilder

WEEKS

  • First Sunday—Super Bowl Sunday
  • Second Monday & Tuesday—Westminster Dog Show
  • Third—Engineers Week
  • Third Monday—Presidents’ Day

DAYS

  • 2/1 Langston Hughes
  • 2/2 Groundhog’s Day
  • 2/8 Elizabeth Bishop
  • 2/14 Valentine’s Day
  • 2/15 Susan B Anthony Day
  • 2/27 Longfellow

OTHER

  • February or March: Carnival / Mardi Gras (day before Ash Wednesday)
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Lent
  • Purim (Esther’s Feast)

March

MONTH

WEEKS

DAYS

  • 3/4 National Grammar Day
  • 3/6 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • 3/14 Pi Day
  • 3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
  • 3/21 First Day of Spring
  • 3/26 Robert Frost

OTHER

  • March or April: Easter
  • Passover

April

MONTH

WEEKS

DAYS

OTHER

  • April or May: Yom Hashoa (Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Download the 2014 Calendar

  • Download the plain 2014 calendar (with federal and public holidays) here.
  • Download our family’s calendar for January–April (with various religious, literary, and geeky observed holidays) here. (Subscribe by email or follow me on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when the other months are ready!)

Coloring Pages

Annual List of Holidays, Observances, and Literary Celebrations | Bewildered Mother

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A Baby Lion is Born

Nants ingonyama bagithi, Baba, sithi uhm ingonyama

(“Here comes a lion, Father, Oh yes, it’s a lion”)

In three words?

It was fast.

leading up to the birth

My idea was to live tweet the birth on Twitter. Nearly all of the tweets, however, were leading up to his birth day, because once we got to the birth center, I didn’t have time do do anything but labor this kid into the world! So block quotes below are from my Twitter account, @bewilderedmom.

Little Champ was born at 37 weeks on the dot, right as I had somehow predicted (Read his birth story here). I had the bags packed for him at around 35  weeks. With Lion, I figured I’d have some time after my water broke (if it did) to pack my bags, so I dawdled getting everything together.

I started having contractions before the 37 week mark, like I did with Champ.

April 18:

The Captain and I were married during a blizzard. Champ was born during a hurricane. Today, even though it’s April, we are experiencing a snowstorm. Baby Lion, you don’t have to keep up the tradition. At least wait until tomorrow, please. Today you’d still be considered a preemie!

On the morning of April 20th (37 weeks + 1 day), a day on which I really didn’t want my child to be born,  I had a ton of contractions in one hour, so I attempted to chug a gallon of water to see if they were real labor pangs or false labor. I do not recommend this. Just so you know, that’s a crapload of water. I got about 2/3 through before vomiting. Fun fact: throwing up pure water through the mouth and nose is really uncomfortable, yet leaves one feeling surprisingly clean afterward. Anyway, after that morning, Captain and I had our bags packed and ready.

April 21st through the 24th, I had more and more early labor signs, like bloody show and lightening (when the baby drops). I didn’t experience these signs with Champ, so I felt like a ticking bomb over those few days. I knew I could go into labor at any time. April 23rd I did a complete overhaul in our bedroom, hoping that deep cleaning would speed up the process. I spent the 24th recovering.

April 22:

Dear #babylion, there’s still snow on the ground today, but this weekend will be sunny & in the 60s! You won’t want to miss it, kid. #hint

ANOTHER winter storm tonight? Fine. #babylion, you can stay put until Wednesday.

Barometric pressure drop broke my friend’s water today in CO. Broke mine in NC in 2010. It’s starting to fall fast here in MN… #babylion

Thought Winter Storm Zeus might pack a bigger punch and break my water, but instead it seems to be just poking Minnesota in the ribs, repetitively, while laughing.

April 23:

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 5.29.07 PM

Captain has confirmed what my bladder had me suspecting– #babylion has dropped. Any time now, kid!

“In subsequent pregnancies, lightening does not generally occur until just before labor begins.” #YoureKillinMeSmalls #babylion

April 24th:

Ow! You know #babylion, I don’t really want you to come right now. I want a nap and ice cream and pie. Let’s wait until tomorrow, okay?

April 25th. Forecast: 53 and sunny. Anniversary of Robinson Crusoe, Ella Fitzgerald’s b-day. A good day on which to be born, son. #babylion #hint

the big day

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 5.32.41 PM

I had been up from 2 am to 3:30ish with carpal tunnel pains, so I wasn’t in a deep sleep at 4:30 when I rolled over in bed and found myself in a puddle. Got up as quickly as my hippopotamus body would allow, and by the time I’d waddled into the bathroom, I had left a stream of water trailing behind me, and my contractions were already on top of each other, not terribly strong, but coming every five minutes. I called my doula, Laura, and then paged the midwife on call. The midwife got back to me just before 5 am and asked if I could meet her at the birth center at 6 am. I called my grandmother to come watch Champ.

I toweled up the river in my bedroom and woke up Captain. He took a shower and I scrubbed some dishes while waiting for my grandmother to come, then I downed some oatmeal and a banana (recommended to me by my doula as a good breakfast, easy to digest in case I got nauseous).

By the time my grandmother came over, I was already bouncing through the contractions on the balls of my feet, unable to talk (or think straight) through them. Captain installed Champ’s car seat in her van, and we headed off to the birth center. I had the Captain call Laura and ask if she could pick up an egg McMuffin for him, since he hadn’t eaten. She said she’d grab one on the way. Doulas are the best!

When we turned onto the road leading to the birth center, I pointed out how foggy it was. Then we smelled the smoke. And as we got closer, and the smoke cleared, we saw the lights of fire engines. It appeared that the hospital was on fire. Thankfully the birth center was on the other side of the street. Later we found out it was a grease fire at a chicken restaurant next door to the hospital.

We got to the birth center at 6:07 am. My midwife, Mary-Signe, was wearing a red t-shirt that said “START SEEING MIDWIVESon it (a parody of this)Midwives are the coolest.

And just so you can picture where I gave birth, it was here:

Pretty, right? To the right is the shower / bathroom.

Pretty, right? To the right is the shower / bathroom.

I mentioned nausea to Mary-Signe and she handed me a barf bag. Respectful women, don’t read this: [It looked like an elephant condom.] I was determined NOT to throw up in that thing.

A moment later Laura had arrived, with Captain’s breakfast. I told her I was feeling pretty nauseated, and that I had eaten a banana and oatmeal for breakfast.

“Oh, yeah, I totally threw that up when I was in labor,” she said. “I couldn’t eat bananas or oatmeal for months. I just recommended it because it’s easy to throw up.”

Gee, thanks.

I asked if I could take a shower, knowing that would help me to feel less nauseous and also help a bit with the contractions. Laura already had to apply counter-pressure a couple times to my lower back before I could even get the request out.

Sure! Of course! Do whatever you want! It’s your labor! These were the kind of answers I got. This is why an out-of-hospital birth is so glorious. I abandoned my modesty more quickly than I figured I would—that old lady nightgown I brought never left the bag—and stripped down to get under the hot water. Several times I called Laura in to apply more counter-pressure, as I clung to the bar in the shower. I’m so thankful I had a doula at my birth. When I couldn’t communicate more than a word at a time, all I had to do was call out her name, and she’d be there, pressing on my back until I got through the contraction. Don’t get me wrong, Captain was a WONDERFUL birth coach during Champ’s labor, and his counter-pressure was the only pain relief I needed during that hospital birth, but it was nice having a female doula, one who had given birth herself and intuitively knew what I needed. It also freed the Captain up to eat his breakfast. When I came out of the shower, he was sitting on the couch reading a fat historical novel. Apparently he thought we’d be staying longer than I did.

The shower relieved my nausea, but it didn’t relieve the contractions, which were nonstop at this point. I flopped onto the bed and had contraction after contraction—I couldn’t even change position they came so fast, I just lay there like some giant pregnant leviathan.

“Did you want to do a water birth?” asked the midwife in training after checking my progress (“Five to six and, oh! Stretchy! Good!”).

After another contraction I responded, hair in my face, “Kinda, yeah! Now I do!”

She started the water and I rolled over onto my stomach, then got onto my hands and knees, rocking and wailing through the contractions. Apparently I was making quite a bit of noise, because I heard Mary-Signe’s voice, far off, saying,

“It sounds like you’re pushing. Caitlin, are you pushing?”

“Er…Can I push?” At the hospital with Champ, I had to wait and wait until the OB said I could push.

“Do you feel like pushing?”

“I feel like I need to poop.” Translation: Why yes, I do feel the sensation that I should begin pushing. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t just say yes. Labor is glamorous, people.

Laura tells me that she and the midwives looked at each other and nodded knowingly.

rafiki-it-is-time

I got into the tub. Oh, who knows what time it was at that point. Captain got in with me. First I tried hanging over the edge of the tub, but I had nothing to hold on to. So Captain put out his arms. He’s a very strong, very attractive man, and his arms are big and steady. Still, though he could hold me stable, I didn’t like holding to him off on one side, and I just wasn’t feeling that position. So I turned over to the other side, where there was a bar, grabbed on to the bar, and squatted so I could more easily bear down.

I pushed once or twice, long and hard, roaring through each one. I pushed each time until I physically couldn’t push any more, then stopped to rest for a second, and breathe.

“Can you feel the head?”

I really didn’t want to reach down there to feel around, but I did, and could touch just the top. After the third long push, I could tell he had crowned by what some refer to as “the ring of fire.” If you’ve ever torn a muscle, it’s kind of like that. It’s when all the stretching occurs. After that push, I definitely whimpered a bit. Captain says that sound was much more difficult to listen to than all the war cries I had been making before. And now that I consider that during that push is likely when I tore, I feel a little bit better about whimpering and not going full-on Amazonian War Princess.

The midwives were chattering and I could tell we were almost there. Especially when Mary-Signe repeated to me to stay low and keep the baby under water until his whole body was out. I also knew that the most painful part was over. One more push and the head was out. Stay down, stay low. I was determined to get the baby out in one last push. Then I’d be done. One more.

Somebody caught him and I sat down in the water so they could hand him to me. The water was disgusting now, but he was there, and he was out of the water on my chest, and he was breathing.

It was 7:21 am. He was still attached to the umbilical cord, and I could feel it stretching out of me, attached to him. So weird. Then they clamped the cord, Captain cut it while I looked away (didn’t want to see the squirting, thanks so much), and I just sat holding my newborn baby until I delivered the placenta. I never saw the placenta during Champ’s hospital birth, so I took a look this time. Placenta is Latin for “flat cake,” I believe, and yeah, it looks like a cross between a lung, a steak, and a pancake.

So, Lion was born. He weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz, which none of us could believe because he is so tiny, he doesn’t look like he could weigh more than 7 pounds, and Champ was only 6 lb 11 oz. Nineteen inches long, half an inch longer than his big brother.

Capt-Lion

The rest is a bit of a blur. Mary-Signe took the baby so I could get out of the tub, I got tucked into the bed and handed Lion to cuddle with. Captain took a couple pictures before I realized, I could really use some eye liner and a comb. Then Lion and I took an herbal bath, both to clean off and to soothe our bodies.

me-lion

Four hours later, and we were allowed to go home!

going home

It was a beautiful spring day—the first day of spring we’d had yet in Minnesota, land of eternal winters.

Champ was at Nonna’s house so we could take a nap after getting home (that’s why the birth center lets you go home—so you can take a long nap after birth, uninterrupted by nurses constantly checking your vitals. You take your vitals yourself when you wake up).

So Neville got to meet him first. When he saw that there was a baby in the car seat, he FREAKED OUT, and jumped into Captain’s lap and just shook for a while. Then he got really excited, and he hasn’t stopped being excited and wanting to give the baby kisses. He does not leave Lion’s side, and gives me a look whenever I leave Lion in his bassinet to go pee. Captain says he feels like Mr. Darling from Peter Pan, and that Neville is like a miniature Nurse.

nev-1

nev-2

After our nap, Champ came home and got to meet his baby brother.

c-l 1

c-l 2

c-l 3

family

 

And that’s our family of four!

Champ is very curious and eager to help with Lion. (Sometimes a bit too eager.) It’s very sweet and melts my momma heart.

champ-lion

 

It has taken me longer to write this blog post than it took me to give birth to my baby.

baby lion

I’m off to cuddle. Hasta la vista!

 

 

Surviving the Third Trimester

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

In just a matter of days, I’ll be full term with Baby Lion (full term is 37 weeks to 42 weeks). I was “lucky” enough to have Champ right at 37 weeks, so I haven’t shared the misery of some ladies that go to 41+ weeks, but I’ve still had my share of late-pregnancy woes.

And I’ve been in my third trimester in the South during the summer, and in the North during the winter, so I’ve experienced a range of annoyances. Thankfully for you, I’ve also found some relief for these annoyances. (“Some” being the key word.) Here are the four unfortunate symptoms I’m most familiar with, along with a list of home remedies to relieve them.

Note: I’m not a doctor or midwife, and my only license is a driver’s one. So be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes. These remedies worked for me, but I can’t be held responsible if they don’t work for you . . . sorry.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Swelling / Carpal Tunnel

Both swelling and Carpal Tunnel are caused by water retention. Carpal Tunnel, for those of you who don’t know, is when the swelling pinches a nerve in your wrist, numbing your thumb and first couple of fingers. It may or may not be painful, but it will likely keep you up at night.

I’m listing these roughly in order from what works the most to what sometimes / maybe works.

  • Drink a TON of water—at least a gallon each day. More if you are in a hot or humid climate. The less you drink, the more your body decides it needs to hoard water in case of emergencies. Like a camel. Camels have skinny calves, sure, but they’ve also got those gigantic humps on their back.
  • Stay cool—keep indoors in the A/C if it’s warm outside.
  • Elevate above the heart—for carpal tunnel, this is your wrists. For foot swelling, that’s probably your feet. Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous feeling to raise your feet above your heart, but that’s how to decrease swelling. If I’m trying to sleep, it only takes about 90 seconds for my fingers to go numb if my arm isn’t elevated. Use pillows. Sometimes I awkwardly drape my arms over by body, above my head, or on the Captain to keep my wrist elevated. He’s a good man.
  • Wear a wrist brace for Carpal Tunnel—I can’t sleep in these. The idea is to keep your wrist straight when you sleep. A straight wrist means your thumb aligns with your arm, not your palm. Your palm should angle up. If you don’t know what I mean, then put on a brace to see what position your wrist should be in. Also, don’t sleep with your hands under your head.
  • Limit sodium—Salt contributes to water retention. But sodium and salt (including table salt, which has iodide in it) are important, so talk about your diet with a health professional before making any changes.
  • ExerciseApparently this is supposed to help, especially if you sweat. The only exercise I get is chasing a toddler around the house, trying to get him into his underpants, and hauling him onto and off the potty and into his crib. That’s enough cardio right there.
  • Take a bath—I think this is psychological, but I feel like when I take a shower or bath, my body realizes it doesn’t have to hoard all the water itself, because there is plenty water accessible to me at any given time. So be grateful, body, because many parts of the world don’t have running or clean water.
  • Cold / hot compresses—these may give relief to your wrists or feet.
  • Vitamin B6, Calcium/Magnesium supplements—these could help, too. I already take these supplements (as you will see), so I can’t tell if they are making my carpal tunnel better. It could be much worse without them, I don’t know.
  • Hazelwood and/or Baltic Amber jewelry—I wear these primarily for heartburn (see below), but have been wearing my Baltic Amber necklace tripled up around my wrist lately.
  • Nutritional Yeast / Brewer’s Yeast—My midwives are awesome. Saw one today and she said I should get Brewer’s Yeast for my carpal tunnel, that it’s an anti-inflammatory, and that I can sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, and that some people put it on popcorn (apparently it tastes like cheese!). Picked some up, but haven’t tried it yet.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Dry Skin / Itchy feet

I’ve been so itchy with this pregnancy, and I blame the cold weather that just sucks the moisture out of me. Now that I’m retaining water, I’m not as itchy all over (hooray?), but it could become unbearable/ here’s what worked for me:

  • Warm, not hot, showers—hot showers will actually dry out your skin more, I’ve been told.
  • Lotion or baby oil—some people don’t want to put baby oil (mineral oil) on their bodies, or Vaseline, because they contain petroleum. You can decide what you want to avoid in your lotions or oils and find products on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I’m fine with Vaseline and baby oil, but I’m not okay with parabens. I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks (note, its current, paraben-free formula is not on the database). Whatever you choose, put it on your body while it’s still damp from the shower to seal in the moisture.
  • Ice water—when my feet WOULD NOT STOP ITCHING, I got a bit desperate. I ran ice-cold water from the tap over my feet until they were thoroughly chilled and I couldn’t feel the itching sensation anymore. Then slathered baby oil over them, and put on socks over that. It seemed to work, because after two nights of doing this, I haven’t had to do it again, and that was about a month ago. Desperate times call for frozen feet. (Er…don’t give yourself frostbite or anything)

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Restless Legs

If you’ve ever been in bed and had your legs FREAK OUT like all of a sudden you were James Brown singing “Sex Machine,” then you know what restless legs are. Sometimes restless legs cramp up, and you get Charlie Horses, too! Fun fun, especially for anyone who gets to share a bed with you, and finds himself being forcibly kicked at random in the night. Here’s some remedies—start at the top and work your way down.

  • Eat a banana every day—this could be the only change you have to make to find relief. I know other moms that swear by it. Worked for me in my first pregnancy.
  • Take magnesium supplements—I’m going to reference magnesium supplements over and over again. See how much I take at the bottom of this post. And talk to your provider about how much you should / can take.
  • Keep feet raised—if your feet are swollen, you should already be doing this. Keep them elevated above the heart while sleeping.
  • Stretch your calves—One of my midwives showed me a stretch that can give relief. One foot at a time, press the pad of your foot against a wall, keeping your heel on the floor, and pull yourself closer to the wall, pushing your foot into the wall and stretching your calves out. I just walked on the pads of my feet, doing lunges, on the way to and from the bathroom during my mid-night pee runs. Yes, it felt like I was part of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • Grab some Vicks VapoRub—This was another one of those dire moments, drastic measure things. Pretty sure Vicks VapoRub is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but since I couldn’t find a definitive answer, you should probably ask your provider if it’s okay. Anyway, my solution? I dabbed a bit on the backs of my knees, right in the crease of the skin. Tingly? Yes. But it somehow draws the tingles out of the rest of your legs, like sucking out snake poison. Pretty awesome and worth a try if you (or your spouse) are miserable. I’m no scientist, I have no idea why it worked or how I thought it might. But believing it will work is half the battle, right?

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Heartburn / Reflux

I got heartburn the first time when I was 8 years old, and have had it ever since. When you’re pregnant, the relaxin hormone that allows your hips to stretch out—you know, so you can actually push a human being the size of a melon out of your body—also wreaks havoc on your esophageal sphincter, that one-way door that is supposed to keep food in your stomach. That door “relaxes” so that the acid party in your stomach spills out, into your throat. Fun, fun. Oh, and then your baby gets bigger and bigger and pushes up on your stomach, squeezing everything out of it like a squirty bath toy.

I have a very large list for this one, so don’t expect too much organization here.

  • Eat small mealsthe less and more frequently you eat, the less of a chance your tummy will be filled to overcapacity. You can still eat a ton of whatever you’re craving, just split those meals in half and break between them.
  • Don’t drink during meals or after meals—drinking before or between meals is better, so you don’t fill up your stomach as quickly. You could try drinking a glass of water 15 minutes to half an hour before a meal to try and wash away any acid, but that could backfire, making your stomach overcompensate.
  • Watch how you sleep—sleep upright, at an incline, or on your left side. You’re more likely to wake up with vomit in your throat if you sleep on your right side. Isn’t pregnancy super glamorous?
  • Fight the acid—take TUMS (but don’t take too many!), drink water with lemon, or sip apple cider vinegar. Lemons and apple cider vinegar seem very acidic, but when they hit your stomach, they balance out your Ph. Lemon water is the tastier option; apple cider vinegar can be more effective.
  • Take a calcium/magnesium supplement—Are you seeing a pattern here? This stuff works for swelling, restless legs, and heartburn. Talk to your provider about how much you can take, and be sure to include how many TUMs you are taking so you don’t overdose on calcium.
  • Increase fiber—constipation is common in pregnancy because your digestion slows WAY DOWN to ensure your baby can take as many nutrients from your food as possible. If your plumbing is plugged up down south, expect that traffic jam to back up into your stomach, giving you heartburn. Lots of fruit and veggies, and complex carbs. Note: read the comments at the end of this blog to see a discussion about how Papaya and other P fruits can aid digestion!
  • Wear hazelwood and/or Baltic amber jewelry—Hazelwood neutralizes acid and Baltic amber works as a natural, safe anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. I order my jewelry from Hazelaid.com (some styles are also available on Amazon.)

If you get heartburn on an empty stomach:

  • Eat absorbent foods—Again, I think this is a psychological thing, but if you get heartburn on an empty stomach, eat something that will absorb that acid, like rice or bread. I’ve even tried marshmallows. They’re spongy, right?

Sometimes, in an effort for your body to close that esophageal sphincter, it tries a bit too hard, and your whole abdomen might cramp up to stop the acid. Definitely talk to your provider if you have abdominal pain! If it’s caused by heartburn, though, here’s what you can try:

  • Drink peppermint tea—Warm drinks soothe and relax, and peppermint does the same. Drink warm peppermint tea to soothe your tummy. DON’T suck on peppermint candies or chew peppermint gum, because those will just relax your esophageal sphincter further.
  • Try tummy massage and warm compresses—Warm compresses can offer relief from muscles cramping. Pair this with the peppermint tea, and you’ll warm and soothe inside and out. For tummy massage, I use the “I love you” massage I used on Champ when he had baby reflux, but do it on myself. Start on your left side, where your stomach is, and smooth down towards the pubic bone. The “L” starts under your right breast. The “U” starts at your pubic bone on the right side and ends on the left side.

massage

If you still have heartburn, don’t give up hope yet.

  • Reduce or eliminate acidic foods from your diet—I had a cheeseburger each day with Champ. No wonder my heartburn was so awful! I’ve blogged about acidity before, so you can check that out.
  • Keep a food journal—You’ll be able to reintroduce some of those acidic foods if you 1) eat mostly alkaline and 2) figure out what your triggers are. For example, I can eat sausage pizza but not pepperoni. I can’t eat nuts on an empty stomach.
  • Eat ice cream—I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite. If I know I’m going to eat red meat, I eat a small portion and eat it early, pairing it with some greens. Then an hour or so later, I reward myself with ice cream. Maybe it’s just because I love it so much, but ice cream seems to be the only dairy product that reduces, rather than increases, acid in my stomach (milk and cheese are acidic!).

Be Patient

Just remember as you are dealing with pregnancy woes what joy awaits you! Soon you’ll have that precious child in your arms, and your mommy brain will make you forget most of what you had to put up with in pregnancy. You might even be so crazy to want to endure it all over again, to add to your family. I’m one of the crazy ones.

Note: this post may include Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase from these Amazon links, a very small portion of the profit will be returned to me. If I ever make money off these links, I’ll buy more cloth diapers with them.

Puppies and Rainbows

Today was the kind of day that left me giddy as a kindergartner. We picked out a puppy and saw a luscious rainbow on the drive back from the farm!

First, I probably need to give some backstory since I’ve been gone so long.

I haven’t been posting lately because any post would have been a downer. Joblessness, homelessness, infertility, a miscarriage. Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely been seeing God’s blessings through everything–yes, even through the loss of our child. However, even when I would mention any of our troubles, along with the blessings, people would focus only on the apparent hopelessness and not seem to remember that I was encouraged by my faith.

Well, now I am writing to you from the living room of our beautiful rental house that is more than we could ever have hoped for. Our landlord / the owner is a Christian doctor and his family that are going to move to Chad to do medicine and missions for the refugees from Darfur. The house is in a great neighborhood and has plenty of room for the three of us. It makes me wish even more that we had additional children to enjoy it! Our new home is without a doubt a Godsend—it is amazing how He brings people together for their mutual benefit.

LT got accepted into an engineering program at a private school in Minneapolis and is joining the Marine Corps Reserves later this month. It will be quite an adjustment for him to go back to college again for a second degree! (He was a History major before graduating and then going to Officer Candidate School, followed by many more months of Officers’ training.) This fall he should be promoted to a Captain in the Reserves!

Little Champ did better than we could have hoped for on the long drive to Minnesota from North Carolina. Usually a very healthy boy, he’s been sick since the first few days of July—double pink eye first, followed by an ear infection, and now a cold that just won’t quit!

Originally LT and I decided we would get a dog after having our second child and potty training Little Champ. Now, since it will be quite some time before we will have another child (if the Lord would grant us another), we decided there is no time like the present. We have a new house, and we want Little Champ to have a companion to fill the gap between children. Yesterday we went to a pet shop to see the puppies. As fun as it was, it confirmed that 1) we can’t just get any dog, since I have terrible allergies to some breeds, and 2) we’d prefer to get a puppy from a breeder. The puppies in the shop seemed completely terrified, and while the shop owners seemed to really enjoy the dogs, I just don’t think pups should be cooped up like they were.

I had been in contact with some Havanese breeders for a month or so now and finally heard back from one that had a puppy available (all others had been previously claimed). After hours on the phone talking to the breeders and owners of the puppy’s parents, we decided that we definitely wanted to meet the little guy.

Here’s the photo they emailed me:
Today we went out to meet him, and on the way, I was just praying that he would either be our favorite by a landslide, or he wouldn’t want anything to do with us. From the photos of the litter, I’ll admit he wasn’t my first choice, but going to see all of the puppies together made me certain that he was the one. He was the first to jump up to greet us and was playful yet super cuddly. We are SO EXCITED to be bringing him home, but we are going to wait until Tuesday. We figure it’s better for him to get one last day with his mommy than to be traumatized when the movers come to our house on Monday.

We haven’t named him yet, and I only got a couple photos of him from our visit today, but I’m sure I’ll post more about him once we have his name chosen and have him home with us!

Four out of the five puppies in the litter. The one I originally thought was the cutest ended up just sleeping in the corner the entire time!

Our little prince. We’ve yet to pick a name for him.

I also foresee a puppy + two-year-old photoshoot on the horizon, since Little Champ’s birthday is next month!

P.S. Curious about the Havanese breed? Read more about this virtually hypo-allergenic dog here (on Wikipedia, of course).