Monday, October 21, 2013

Meme's 80th Birthday

These last two months have moved so quickly. Honestly, even though exhausted at times, I am glad. Time moving quickly means my pregnancy is moving along in the midst. Even now, it will be just less than two weeks until November and the start of the holidays. I told Andrew I will probably become a little more crazy as each holiday and event we have planned passes, and the full on nesting mode will set in.

I have felt a lot more energy and strength in this pregnancy. Although I hardly feel energetic at times, I can clearly remember back to my pregnancy with Blanche and just how awful I felt. I was telling Andrew just last night that I can remember back to how painful it felt just to stand and wash the dishes. Probably all of my third trimester with Blanche I was in pain. I was sore and swollen. I remember just bending over at the sink wondering how other women did it. But then again, at 37 weeks I measured 42 inches one day. Meaning I could have been as big as a normal pregnant woman two weeks past due… at 37 weeks. This pregnancy, I am measuring right along with the week I should be, and I can be on my feet all day and even though I might be tired, there is no swelling, I am so thankful for that.

Even though I am stronger I know I have to set limits for myself and Blanche as well. I tend to be a people pleaser and try to do too much sometimes. Lately though, I have been trying to work on that, as I have seen in some cases I am hurting myself and Blanche by trying to keep going. Blanche is an energetic toddler, and I can be a very tired pregnant woman. I am learning that a slow pace is a good pace.

I think I write all this because even over a month ago, when Blanche and I flew up to see my family, I thought maybe I had pushed myself too much. Flying with a toddler while pregnant, being the only parent for seven days in a completely new environment… it can be tough. To be honest, by the end of Meme's party I was almost in tears. The way our ride had worked out and how long the party lasted, I was with Blanche in a restaurant for almost three hours. I walked with her. Let her ride the mechanical horse. Set rules about staying in the room. Enforced rules. A couple of people offered to hold her, but anyone who knows Blanche knows that she doesn't really want to be held. And in the midst of it all, some distant family member thought it was the appropriate time for fat jokes. Pregnant is not fat. And I don't like fat jokes. At all. I know he was kidding, but pregnant woman aren't really known for their sense of humor are they?

I felt a little unprotected without Andrew there. I view myself as a pretty strong and independent person if I put my mind to it. But, there is something wonderful about having Andrew there to help me physically and emotionally.

But now, after I am home and look back at these pictures, I see that it was all worth it. I am so glad my dad and step mom flew me up to surprise Meme. I am happy to have these pictures of Meme, and to see so much joy from her realizing her life is being celebrated. In my post about going Meme's house the pictures I took that day also show me how happy she was to have Blanche there. That day when we left her house, she was just so happy. I have seen my Meme go through a lot of pain in her life, even just the short years I have been here. To see my grandmother not just aging but happy and joyful for her blessings made every ounce of hard work worth it to me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Making Men's Shaving Cream (And How It Can Ease Pregnancy Woes)

About a month ago I felt really ambitious during nap time. Before I was pregnant, Blanche's nap time would be my moments of freedom during the day. Memories that have good parts always get a little sugar coated in my mind. Even though it may have been only a handful of times in Arkansas that Blanche really took a good nap and I was able to be productive, it seems like it was more often in my mind. I picture myself back in our town house in Arkansas. Our kitchen was small but the natural light always poured in the window above the sink. I really liked that, but never really knew it until we left. I would make homemade granola or teething paste with real clove, or something else that made me feel productive and domestic, with an artistic flare. I think back to how I had the energy to make a huge mess and start a project while Blanche was asleep. I guess looking back it felt like I had more of a daily flow, with Andrew leaving and returning to work each day at the same time.

In my pregnancy now, I often lay down to nurse Blanche and end up falling asleep. I am just so exhausted.  I will literally be debating in my mind whether I should get up and be productive or rest. Then I wake up an hour later to Blanche requesting juice, and I have horrible heartburn. While pregnant with a toddler, most days I feel like we are just surviving. Moving across the country in the midst of my pregnancy was necessary but seems like more work at times. All of us are still trying to find our rhythm. It is hard to explain to someone who has never been pregnant, but at least for me, it is extra hard to find a daily or weekly rhythm while growing a baby. I think it is that my body and so much of my energy is constantly used for my pregnancy. I have so little left in the moments that aren't spent helping or playing with Blanche or cleaning around the house. After several months it can start to make me feel like I am not really my own person. I am mostly a person growing another little person. And keeping the older one alive and happy. Or at least trying with the happy part.

All that to say, one day during Blanche's nap and after some strong cold brew coffee, I had the energy to start a project. I decided that I would make Andrew his shaving cream. He had been on the end of his older stuff for awhile, and I had already bought or had all the ingredients. I found the recipe through pinterest from one of my favorite herbs and spices store, Mountain Rose Herbs. My pictures show the steps that they describe below. I was proud that I read and harvested my own aloe vera gel from our plant outside.

Even though it was something small, making something that day gave me hope that I will not always be so tired. There will be times ahead when I have energy. It is hard to describe myself as more than a mother when that is so much of what I am right now. I cannot even escape my motherhood. It follows me everywhere as a bump under my shirt. And honestly, I am so thankful I can create life. I am happy to have these babies and most of the time, feeling like a mother is the most natural thing in the world.


Gently melt the oil and butter together in a double boiler until just melted. Remove from heat and add the other ingredients. Using a stick blender, mix well for several minutes. Transfer cream to a jar or container to store. Check while it is cooling to make sure it doesn’t start to separate. If it does, shake or mix well to re-incorporate. Lasts up to two months and maybe longer.

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