Saturday, October 6, 2018

Life & Pregnancy Updates | Baby Number 6 | Weeks 27-30 | Baby Mistletoe

I got a new haircut!! About 12" cut off! Do you like it?! I love it!!

Goodness gracious! Time is seriously flying by and I swear I have no idea HOW I am almost at the finish line already!

And because I am so super organized, I am writing this at the tail-end of my 30th week, so I'm going to do my best to remember all that's been going on over the last few weeks. I apologize if this post ends up being kind of keep interrupting me every 30 seconds and I have a feeling they're going to continue doing it until I just give up and stop writing for the day... ::sigh::

Baby Mistletoe has been so super active...kicking and punching up a storm!

My midwife, Christine came at the end of my 28th week for my first 3rd trimester prenatal visit. Everything went great! My blood pressure was still healthy and low: 90/64

My weight did end up rising...I think it's a combination of our trip to Ohio (not much walking around or moving about on my end) and my exhaustion has resulted in a whole lot of eating out. When I weighed myself on September 21, I weighed in at 187... I had gained FOUR pounds since my last prenatal visit!! What?!!

But fast forward to October 6th (nearing the end of my 30th week) and I had actually lost half of a pound. (I always weigh myself on the same scale at my chiropractor's office, so I'm pretty sure everything is accurate) I have been making an effort to cook more at home and have been drinking more water over the last week, so I'm thinking that's the reason.

I'm still not having too much of an appetite but I do tend to eat more when I'm stressed. I have been developing quite a fondness for pretzel rods. Weird, right? And I have really been wanting to visit a noodle house for ramen noodles. I've never been to one but it sounds sooooo good!

My bladder is seemingly smaller than ever. I got up, like, 5 times the other night to pee! Grrr!

Braxton Hicks contractions really amped up at the beginning of 30 weeks. Mahri and Antonio have both commented on it, sometimes worriedly asking if I'm okay. When I assure them that I am, I ask why they thought something was wrong and they both told me that my breathing changed and I had temporarily zoned out. This is all totally normal for me when I'm about 2 months away from delivering. Just my body getting ready for the big day!

My asthma has been acting up and I need to take Advair on a fairly regular/daily basis. And I actually had to go up to the prescribed twice a day here lately because my neighbor has been burning crap in his backyard over the last couple of weeks and it is really affecting my lungs, unfortunately. I really hate taking medicines, even my asthma medicine, so I try to limit taking any. So while I am prescribed to take it twice a day, when I'm not pregnant (or not having breathing difficulties), I can get away with just taking a dose every once in awhile when I feel my lungs beginning to tighten up. I actually had one doctor refuse to prescribe the Advair for me at the beginning of my pregnancy because it has been documented to cause problems with the unborn baby. But sometimes it comes down to Pros vs Cons....and I obviously have to breathe, right? So I just use it sparingly whenever needed, when my emergency inhaler just isn't cutting it.

My IBS has begun giving me problems. I'm going to go into a little too much TMI here...but hey, this is real life, right? I have a more uncommon version of IBS. With mine, I will be constipated for weeks at a time...without even realizing it (because life is going on & I don't really have time to sit down and think about when the last time I went was). Then, out of nowhere, I get severe stomach cramping and spend a few days running to the bathroom frequently. When I say "severe", I am not exaggerating. The pain from my labors couldn't even touch the level of pain I reach when I get my IBS stomach pains.

Hmmmm... what else is going on? Well, Isabel has almost completely stopped nursing. She only nurses maybe once every 3 days or so and only for a few seconds. My milk has dried up and so she is mainly just doing it for comfort...usually to go to sleep. She has also developed a fondness for taking off her diaper and running around like a tiny little nudist. (Actually, as I typed that, she ripped off her diaper and proceeded to lift her dress to show everyone what she had done. Little stinker!)

The bigger kids are doing great, too, though they aren't interested in the nudist lifestyle. Levi has a fondness for numbers and loves doing math. Austin is good at math but is more interested in learning to read, which we are working on with the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Christian has decided that he is going to be making his own Halloween costume this year. He had us take him to Hobby Lobby so that he could buy some burlap, twine and a large needle so that he can begin sewing a horror-themed scarecrow costume. I am so proud of his creativity & motivation! Mahri is researching henna tattoos and is designing her first henna tattoo to give herself. She is a great artist and I know it will turn out beautifully!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Saving Big on Groceries!

You guys. I am a little *too* excited right now.

Okay, so I recently on sung the praises on Favebook of the convenience of using Shipt versus my using Walmart Grocery Pick Up. (Mind ENTIRE bias and frame of mind revolves around the fact that we are a very large family & I am one tired mama)

I especially loved the convenience of them delivering my groceries right to my living room!

But more and more, my Shipt shopper has been reporting back that "the store does not have the requested product"....and I was starting to feel the burn (as work heads into the "slower season") of Shipt charging extra on top of Kroger's already pretty high prices. And the fact that I was usually tipping around $20 a week for delivery. 

It was adding up. 

So today I checked out AmazonFresh & realized that their prices usually beat the Shipt prices! Sometimes by a good margin! And I hear that they have more selection & better substitute options. So I was riding high on knowing I was about to save some major bucks by switching.

But then, as I was peeing for the 10,826th time today (hello, 3rd trimester!!!), a thought I frequently encounter on the toilet re-entered my mind: SHOPPING IN BULK.

As in Costco, Sam's Club, BJ's, etc. We used to have a BJ's membership and a Sam's Club membership....many, many years ago when we were a small family with only 2 kids. Back then, the memberships just weren't worth it. Money was so tight for us back then and I couldn't justify spending $XX on 3 months' worth of groceries, even if it ended up saving me $50 or so. It didn't make sense. We needed to break our money up into smaller payments over those 3 months, even if it meant we'd be spending $10 or so more per week. (Ya'll following me so far?)

Antonio apparently had the same bitter memory because anytime I had mentioned checking out Sam's Club again, he shot my idea right down. Reminding me of the times when boxes and cases of food were just sitting on our shelves for months.

But today, I sat down and ran the numbers. Typing items into Shipt, AmazonFresh AND Sam's Club. (I decided on Sam's because they carry more of the brands we use)

Dude. We are about to save a sh*t ton of money. Like. A lot. 50% more toilet paper (Charmin Mega rolls) at the same price!!! Crackers are half of what I'm paying and I'll get double or triple!!! I'll be saving about $14 on a month of diapers per baby (we have been LOVING Pampers Pure...Isabel rarely gets rashes now and we saw the change immediately). I'll get about 100 oz more Tide for the same price as what I'm paying now! I could go on and on and on with all I'm going to save on....but I'll spare you all the juicy boring details. But I'm thinking that I may just have to start doing grocery haul videos again.... ::huge smile::

What about your family?? How do you save on groceries??

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Are We Making This Too Hard?

           I'm a parent (a mom to be exact).

You might be one, too.

And my question is...are we making this whole parenting thing way harder than it needs to be?
Don't get me wrong: no matter how you slice the Parenthood Pie, it's going to be challenging.
But I'm starting to wonder if we are purposely going the extra mile to add even more layers of difficulty to the whole thing.

But it may not necessarily be all our fault. Let me explain this a little further...

While I'm not exactly a Helicopter Mom, I am with my 5 (soon to be 6) children an extraordinary amount of time, what with homeschooling them. And when I try to give them some "free range"-type time, my husband freaks out that I am not right there on top of them, watching over their shoulders. And beware that one of the younger ones bumps their head or gets a minor injury...because there is going to be the 3rd degree on where I was and why was I not able to stop it from happening.

He worries. I get it. I do.

But I also think that kids need space to learn (especially from mistakes...theirs and others) and grow and to gain confidence in their independence and choices.

But if you pan out the Camera of Life to look at the bigger picture, I'm starting to wonder if the current generations of parents (myself included) are doing many other things to create additional stress and difficulty where there doesn't need to be.

A big part of me thinks that our grandparents and parents were on to something....

"You kids go on outside and play. Don't come home til dinner time/when the streetlights come on."

Having a little drink in the evening to calm the nerves and ease the stress of the day. (Excessive drinking and alcoholism are not what I'm talking about)

"You kids take that fighting outside! I don't want any furniture to break!" (I'm actually known to yell that one at my boys)

Kids riding bikes around the neighborhood to their friends' houses. Very limited access to video games and other electronics.

Simple birthday parties with a little cake, a few kid games and presents. Instead of over planned, über expensive events that break the bank and stress everyone out. Each mom trying to outdo all the other moms.

And I'm telling you...I love Meemaw from Young Sheldon. And when she confessed (with a grin!!) that she gave Sheldon a little bit of cough syrup to calm him down...well, I honestly applauded her. Could I do it myself? Probably not. But it sure sounded a heck of a lot better than listening to irrational temper tantrums and what-have-you.

And I'm in the middle of reading ('s taking awhile with all of the breaks I have to take) The Glass Castle: A Memoir after watching the movie last night. And while I definitely am shocked/saddened by some of the parents' behavior (no spoiler alerts here...but there were some definite instances that never should have happened)...many of their parenting philosophies are ones I strongly believe in. Even my kids were awed while watching, saying how many of the quotes are things I have said on many occasions, like about how life (and living it) is the best education. 

But nowadays it's all everything-needs-to-be-organic, elaborate birthday parties, Hollywood-worthy maternity & baby pictures, being with your child every minute of every day and doing everything for your child, so that they learn to do nothing on their alcohol, no "bad" vices, just Mommy & her Xanax. Because it can't be bad if a doctor prescribes it, right? ::sarcastic wink::

Ladies, I'm tired. Bone tired. I'd love to be able to get a shower and get all dolled up every day. Or to sit down and read a book like I used to. But it seems like that's looked at like I'm being selfish. Because I'm a stay-at-home mom does that mean that I'm relegated to a life of messy hair, organic Cheerios stuck to my clothes (then again...our food and every day products are chock full of carcinogens that weren't in them 30+ years ago) and stressing that I didn't take my kids to 5,000 extracurricular activities this week? Not to mention the Mommy Guilt that some like to shove down our throats on social media and at play dates.

Grandparents swear that it's so much more enjoyable to be grandparents as opposed to parents. Because you're finally able to enjoy kids being kids while still having your own identity. Don't get me wrong! I love being with my kids every day & being "there" for all of their milestones! I love babywearing and extended breastfeeding. But isn't there a way to successfully incorporate the two?
I wonder. 

What are your thoughts? Are we making this way harder than it needs to be?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

What's Been Going On | Baby & Other Life Stuff | Weeks 22-26

Yep. That's my life summed up in a single picture. LOL Well, I should clarify: it's how I *feel* most of the time but not actually what I'm doing. Wouldn't THAT be nice if I could lounge around in bed all day long, eh?

CAVEAT 10/6/18: This is a bit outdated. As of today, I am 30w4d. I just realized that I never finished this post or published it! Sorry!

For those of you who have somehow found yourself displaced and confused, not knowing quite how you found your way to my hidden and jumbled blog, let me give you a bit of background info:

I'm Monica. Mama to 5. Pregnant with number 6. I homeschool my kiddos. My husband and I own and operate a construction & specialty-trade business that we started with absolutely NO money (nor have we ever taken out a loan for it!) a few years ago. Business has grown and we now have employees...but I am the one that does allllll of the office work. All. Of. It. (side note: to anyone who's thinking "oh, hey, it might be fun to start my own business. It's probably super easy peasy and much more laidback than working for someone else" It's not. It is A LOT of work and responsibility to an extent that we never even imagined. But we think it's worth it.) I also have a web design hobby/side business that I keep thinking that I may take full time... I'm lucky to have 2 teenage-aged kids that help me with the littles and the housework A LOT. Seriously. They are a literal God send. And that, my new friends (we are friends, right? Please? Can we be friends? Whatever. I'm telling people that you're my bestie anyway) I was saying, that is me and my life. Welcome!

And because my weeks are all jumbled in my head, I *might* try to organize the timeline on here a bit but don't rely too heavily on that. mkay?

Week 22

On Saturday August 11, 2018 I woke up with a bad pain wrapped around my stomach. My arms also felt a little wonky but I honestly chalked that up to arthritis. Yeah. Just typing that makes me realize how much I am announcing that I am pretty much old. 

So, yep, I thought that my stomach pain was odd (and painful!) and that arthritis was attacking my arms...but that a little adjustment from my chiro would help. So off we went! He told me that he felt strongly that it was pinched nerves in my neck and back and sciatic nerve pain. I got adjusted and said that I felt better (always wanting to please the other person, ya know) and went on my merry way. But I could see the look of concern on my chiro's face as I waddled out of his office.

I was wrong. Very. Very. Wrong.

The pain got worse. The "arthritis" really began hurting. Down my arms. Into my fingers. Pain was radiating down my legs into my feet. Everywhere. I hurt so badly. I texted my midwife but I only told her that my stomach hurt...because I was still trying to convince myself that the rest was arthritis. She asked me if I thought it was round ligament pain and I said that maybe it was. She told me to take a bath with epsom salts...I told her that there was no way that I could fit in my little tiny bathtub. She LOLed and I LOLed and I ended the conversation with: Let's see how I feel in the morning.

I could barely sleep that night due to the pain that was wracking my entire body. I texted her the next morning and said that I didn't think it was round ligament pain but that I didn't want to go to a doctor just yet. She started asking questions...questions that involved things like "are you experiencing any weird rashes or skin changes?" and she may have mentioned the words "I don't think it's fibromyalgia but this is sounding weird" I freaked out a bit. Went back the chiropractor. 

He bumped me to the front of a very long waiting list of patients to see me immediately. He stood by his belief that it was pinched and irritated nerves. That the pain was being caused mainly by inflammation. Honestly, I wanted to believe him but this pain was BAD.

Guys, when I tell you it was bad, let me elaborate: I couldn't get out of bed by myself because I couldn't support my weight on my arms. I couldn't hold a fork or a pen. I had trouble holding toilet paper after going to the bathroom. I laid in bed for 2 days. The picture at the top of this post? That's from when I was stuck in bed. I could barely walk...and even then someone had to help support me as I hobbled along. I was terrified that this was going to be permanent.

But then...after a few days and one more adjustment....the pain and numbness slowly began easing away. But my midwife was still concerned. She came over to draw blood in order to begin testing for autoimmune diseases. As she said, at least we can start ruling things out, in case there IS a problem.

About a week later, I was almost all the way better! To tell you the truth, I was relieved because I had to fill out and sign everyone's paychecks and paperwork for work and by Friday, I was able to hold a pen well enough to do just that! And a few days after that, my midwife let me know that all of my tests came back perfectly fine, apart from a smidge of anemia.

My chiropractor was right the whole time! It was just some stupid pinched nerves!!

Now let's start with the lumping together of the weeks and goings-on, shall we?

Baby Isabel is currently 16 months still nursing although she's only nursing about once or twice a day, usually around nap/bedtime.

Heartburn has been a nightly occurrence and it sucks. And I'm being a big ol' baby about it. I know that taking some Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar will help nip the heartburn in the bud...but I can't bring myself to drink it right now. lol

On August 23, 2018 I got a phone call from Ohio. My grandpa Jim had suffered a heart attack. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, but he ended up passing away on August 24th. We packed up a few bags and the kids and the dogs and tried to make it in time to say goodbye...but we didn't make it in time. We stayed in Ohio for about a week so that we could attend his services.

And that about sums up weeks 22-26 of my pregnancy with Baby Mistletoe!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Weeks 15-21 | Baby Number 6

I think this picture of Isabel and I sums it up nicely:


My tummy is getting so extremely large. Those of you who have known me through at least a few of my pregnancies know that my stomach gets REALLY BIG, REALLY FAST.

Most people say that it's because I've been pregnant so many times...and usually that's what I joke, too. But the truth is, I have been like this with every single one of my pregnancies. I remember getting into a very enthusiastic argument with an older gentleman at the laundromat when I was pregnant with my first. He was quite certain that I was having twins. I had already had a couple of ultrasounds at that point and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was only one baby in there. But he continued to insist that I was enormous and therefore there must be more than one baby.


I can't argue it too much because I gained a whopping SIXTY POUNDS with my first pregnancy!! 60!!! I was 103 when I went in for my first prenatal visit and was 163 on the day that I delivered.

BUT I gained nowhere near that with my subsequent pregnancies and my stomach as always been quick to expand. I love it, truth be told. There's not too many "is she pregnant or does she just really like tacos?" looks that I get because it's pretty obvious early on that there's a baby in that thar hill! hahaha

Belly shot at 18 weeks pregnant with Baby Mistletoe (#6)

So...anyway...let's catch up with all that's been going on over the last few weeks with Baby Mistletoe, okay?

Still not a huge appetite increase. For awhile, I was craving Popeye's Spicy Chicken but that only lasted a week or two. Then I was back to the only thing sounding really good ever was fresh fruits, sometimes veggies, and pasta.

Unfortunately for my efforts to watch how much weight I gain with this pregnancy, we discovered THE most delicious authentic Italian restaurant in Buford, Georgia. The baby adores it and so do I (and actually the entire family, so it's bonuses all across the board!). We've been there twice in the last 2 weeks...probably it was more like twice in a week, maybe a week and a half...but the thing is: it's almost an HOUR away, depending on traffic! But cravings don't care about that sort of stuff, do they? I really must make an honest effort to find delicious Italian food a bit closer to the house.

I was having really bad insomnia at the beginning of the pregnancy but that seems to have mostly subsided, thank God! I was waking up around 5 am every morning...desperately try to go to sleep for an hour...then Isabel would wake to nurse at 6 am...I'd try to fall back to sleep but had to be up for work at 7 am. It was killing me.

Speaking of Isabel nursing, she's been going back and forth. I am fairly certain that my milk has mostly "dried up", though I do have a little. Just a few weeks ago, she was nursing every couple of hours and then seemingly without warning, she cut WAY down. She was nursing once...maybe a 24-hour period and pretty much cutting out all nighttime nursing. I've cried about it some because I am mourning that relationship that she and I shared. But I am also extremely grateful that we got to have it (despite all of the challenges, especially in the early days) and that it has lasted 15 months. I was also starting to get nervous because I only have one truly functioning breast due to a lumpectomy I had when Mahri was just a few months old. So as much as I love the idea of tandem nursing, I just didn't see it very feasible (or good for my sanity!) when I only had one breast to offer two babies.

I've been experiencing mild heartburn as well as occasional headaches.

I think I've been keeping my mood swings pretty well in check, for the most part. Well. Kind of. hahaha 

I have yet to buy anything for the baby. All I've bought thus far is a fish net scoop thing for our home birth. That might sound silly...but seriously, I think I ordered that sucker from Amazon the second that two pink lines showed up on that pregnancy test. See, the fish net is to get out...things that happen...while laboring in the water. 

Poop, people. Okay? POOP. It happens.


Anyway, my BIGGEST fear with my water birth with Isabel was that I was going to poop in the water. And I did. But my midwife assured me that they could easy peasy scoop it out with a fish net and it would be gone before anyone ever knew it was there. So that's what I was counting on. It was also among the two things that I asked my husband to buy for the birth. (the other thing was the adaptor for our shower head to attach the hose to fill the birthing pool) He assured me he got it. It was ready to go for the birth. So the birth is happening. I poop in the water. He brings in an ENORMOUS pool cleaning net!!!!! The midwife and doula just stared and said "Dude. We can't use that. The poop stays."

And stay it did.

And that is why my very first--and only thus far--purchase for this baby is a small fish net.

There will be no lingering poop in the water with me, ya'll.

Not this time.


We went for an ultrasound the other day to make sure that Baby Mistletoe is happy and healthy in there. Since we don't want to know the gender, there was no peeking at that region at all. Baby was sleepy...the ultrasound tech said that it was because I hadn't eaten lunch before the visit (no time what with trying to wrap up work and get 5 kids out the door in find parking in downtown Atlanta), so there were no great photo ops given to us by Baby Mistletoe. S/he yawned once and it was adorable but over before the tech could snap a pic.

Now for the boring, yet important, medical details:

At my last prenatal visit, my blood pressure was great at 112/72

And my weight was 174.

I've been going to the chiropractor every 2 weeks and that helps so much with back and hip pain! I highly recommend going to a SKILLED chiropractor if/when you are pregnant!

I look like I have 12 chins in this picture but you can quite clearly just what I'm talking about when I say that my belly gets big. This is at 20.5 weeks. (seriously, Mahri, thank you for capturing this amazing moment!! I love you!!)

Well, let me get going...Isabel is in the next room throwing a temper tantrum, so I need to go see if I can diffuse the situation a bit.

How have all of you guys been?!!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Week 14 | Baby Number 6

So this may be a total fluke that I'm able to do an actual weekly post instead of lumping a bunch together...but either way, here ya go!

Week 14 was tiring but otherwise pretty uneventful in terms of symptoms.

One of my closest friends, Brenda (and her awesome hubby and kids) came to visit us on their way back to Ohio. Technically they visited the day before I turned 14 weeks but I'll include it here! We planned on having a pool party...but Mother Nature had other plans. Like a bunch of rain. But the kids swam in the rain anyway since there wasn't any lightning.

We hung out at their hotel later in the evening and the kids swam some more in the indoor pool, which my kids thought was pretty darn cool.

Later in the week, Christine (home birth midwife) came for my prenatal visit.

She found it humorous that my pregnancy app says that Baby Mistletoe is the size of a troll doll. hahaha

Baby did not want to cooperate in terms of letting us hear his/her heartbeat. We caught a snippet of it before they swam off to hide for an extremely ridiculous amount of time. Christine finally caught up with the little stinker and we got a "strong heartbeat" (Christine's words) in the 150s.

As I mentioned on Facebook, the only two babies that gave me that hard of a time when it came to hearing their heartbeat were Austin and Levi. So I Baby Mistletoe a BOY? hmmmm

My blood pressure was good: 108/72

And my weight was 168.5 which means that I have LOST 2.5 pounds since our last visit!

That's not too big of a surprise since Isabel is still nursing and my appetite is not very big. Which the whole lack-of-appetite thing during pregnancy has only ever occurred during my pregnancy with Isabel. So....maybe Baby Mistletoe is a GIRL?? hmmmmm

I feel like my exhaustion is palpable....

We also rescued 2 baby bunnies from Sophie & Gypsy (our dogs)! After making sure the dogs couldn't get to them anymore (their nest is in our fenced in pool area), I put them back at the entrance of their nest and they hopped right back in.

And that was my 14th week! I hope you had a fantabulous week, too!