Friday, April 19, 2013

Baby Lu - 21 Weeks

21 Weeks

Total weight gain/loss: -17 lbs

Next appointment: 5 weeks - will put me back on track and then start appointments every 2 weeks.

Maternity Clothes: Pants pretty much 100% of the time.  Still wearing normal shirts though.

Sleep: Clara NEEDS to start sleeping in her own bed… for everyone’s sake!

Movement: Yep - daily

Food cravings: Nothing in particular – it’s nice being able to eat again though

Contractions: nope

Best moment of the week: Ultrasound!  Was wonderful to see Baby Lu is be all accounts at this point, healthy!  It was weird seeing and feeling the kicks at the same time.

What I miss: Lots of coffee

What I am looking forward to: settling on some names

Milestones: signed Clara up for the Sibling Class!

PS - I got a new laptop (and iPad!)!  Blogging is so much easier now - I LOVE IT!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How We Spend a Friday Night...

This is how we spent last Friday night…
at a club lamb and pig sale! 
That's my 4-H friend Mandy!  She and her husband raise and sell club lambs

Mandy's rack of lambs at the sale (photo courtesy of Sommers Club Lambs)

Definition:  Club Lamb (or pig, or calf) is a term given to animals specifically bred and raised as show animals.  Usually market animals.

For the 4-H youth I work with, this sale is the first step in a project that will span until September.  These animals will go home to be loving and meticulously cared for – fed a strict diet, watered, exercised, washed, brushed, groomed… all in attempt to place well in the show ring this summer.
Junior livestock shows teach youth a wealth of valuable lessons.  They learn responsibility, how to handle disappointment, how to win and lose graciously, how to care for an animal that, in essence, is a professional athlete.  They learn about the livestock industry, how to talk to people, how to present an animal in the show ring, and a host of other skills.

These are good kids.
Kids you would want working for you someday.

Because they know how to be dedicated to something, how to work hard, how to be accountable.
Like I said, good kids.

Going to this sale reminded me of the numerous sales my sister and I attended during our 4-H years to select and purchase our show animals.  The first few years, mom or dad came along, but as we got older, Carrie and I would borrow Grandpa’s truck (because it had a topper) and head out with our checkbooks in our pockets.  We liked to attend an annual sale that was about 3 hours from home, so we got lots of sisterly bonding done too.  At the sale, we would check out all the head, asking questions about sires, feeling the lambs, and marking our sale catalogs with good prospects.
We learned that we were pretty good at picking out lambs when our first choices would go for much more than our budgets would allow – apparently others agreed that those lambs were good.  I did the bidding… even on Carrie’s lambs – we had it worked out that way.  We would spend our money, load up our purchases, and head home – usually arriving after dark and then hauling mom and dad out to the barn to check out our prospects in the dim light of the barn. 

A long summer of feeding, exercising, and training would follow.  We showed our lambs at the county and state fair, usually with good success.
I enjoyed that time with Carrie – working together, talking sheep.

Clara will show livestock someday – the specie will be up to her, but the junior livestock show world is exactly the world I want her to grow up in.  It teaches valuable lessons and provides lifelong memories and friendships.
I should know – I’m a product of it J
PS - After the sale, Clara declared that she wants a pig...  we'll see...

Paul and Clara watching the bidding action

Clara crawling on the stands - she'd had enough of the auction!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baby #2 - Baby Lu - Due August 29th!

In case you missed yesterday’s post – we have some big newsto share!  Clara is going to be a big sister!  Paul and I are thrilled – Clara has no idea what is going on :).  God willing, in late August or early September we will be a family of 4!

It’s been a road to get here.  A road I haven’t really shared with anyone. 
We decided we were ready for another baby in September of2011, which is when I had my IUD removed. Months and months of trying, negative hpt’s, crying, yelling, praying, feeling down in the dumps followed.  Soon it was one whole year since we had started this journey.  When I went in for my annual check-up in late October 2012 I talked about the situation with my doctor.  She was very supportive and gave me several options of where we could start our next steps. She referred me to the OB who specializes in fertility at the clinic we use.  I set up an appointment with her for mid-January 2013.
We continued to try on our own, but weren’t optimistic.  Then in mid-December, I started feeling symptoms that were vaguely familiar. Since I had been tracking my cycle for the last 15 months, I knew when I had ovulated, counted the days, and figured it was time to pee on a stick.  I’m so impatient and can never wait the 3 minutes before looking, and when the fluid passed over the space where the second line is supposed to be and nothing came up, I sighed and threw it in the garbage.  I continued to get ready for work, but something kept telling me to look at that test one more time.  So I dug it out and faintly…ever so faintly…was a line.  I tried to figure out if 10 minutes had passed – it had to be an evaporation line – but I didn’t think 10 minutes had passed, so it had to be positive… a line is a line is a line I have read. 
Still not convinced, but out of pee, I grabbed a digital test I had under the sink and threw it in my purse.   Just before lunch I texted Paul a picture of the test - there is nothing like seeing it in black and white – the word “pregnant”.  I didn’t have to decipher a line or a plus sign… it was right there.  Our prayers had been answered! 
It felt amazing to call the clinic and change our visit with the specialist to a first pre-natal OB appointment. 
After New Year's the morning sickness hit full on - I couldn't keep anything down for 2 whole days.  My doctor put me on Zofran, an anti-nausea medication and it was truly a God send.  I only stopped taking it regularly a few weeks ago, but still get waves of nausea quite frequently.  The difference is I can function, but don't feel the best. 
We told our families in early February by donning Clara in this outfit: 

Like I said before, I don't think Clara really has any idea what's going on... we talk about the baby and even ask her if she likes names that we pick out.  We've asked her if she wants a baby brother or a baby sister - depending on the day her answer changes.  Should be an interesting few months!

We're excited, but I don't think it has fully sunk in what's ahead!  Pray for us!  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baby Lu - 20 Weeks

Did I mention Baby #2 is on it's way?
I've been out of practice with these weekly updates, but I have found myself looking back at my posts from my pregnancy with Clara and comparing.  Might as well get back into it! 
Baby Lu - 20 Weeks

Total weight gain/loss: -15ish pounds at the last appointment a month ago

Next appointment: April 18th – ultrasound!

Maternity Clothes: Pants pretty much 100% of the time.

Sleep: could use more...

Movement: Yes – It was kinda dejavu-ey at first…

Food cravings: Chocolate milk and orange juice.  But not together… that’s gross.  J

Contractions: nope

Best moment of the week: definitely NOT the snowstorm this morning…

What I miss: Lots of coffee

What I am looking forward to: Ultrasound next week

Milestones: we are half way there!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bunny named The Bunny

As I mentioned in my post on Saturday, we got a new rabbit… her name is Bunny. 
Or The Bunny, if you ask Clara.

While I think The Bunny is waiting for her new-ness to wear off so she can be left alone, Clara is having a great time with The Bunny – her new friend!
The Bunny has been in the house a few times since Saturday, and Clara has great fun toting her around and playing with her.  Rabbits aren’t quite as quick as cats, so Clara can easily catch her.

Rabbits do have nails though, much like cats, and Clara has the scratches to show for it.  It was pretty funny last night when I told her she needed to take a bath so we could wash the scratches, then she called to me to let me know that the scratches weren’t washing off! 
She rocks The Bunny like a baby, pushes her in her baby stroller, snuggles her on the couch, pats her leg and tells The Bunny to “come here!”

So far – a fun new pet! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Swap Meet Saturday

Ok - First of all, I want to say that I suck at taking pictures... (don't tell my mom I used the word "suck") - As I sit to write this post I can think of at least a dozen photo ops today that would have enhanced this post.  But alas... I was too busy hawking poultry and chasing a 2 year old. 

Next time people, next time.

So we went to a small animal swap today.  This was my first swap, as I have had to work the past few years on the weekend of the swap, but Paul and Clara have been faithful attendees.  This year we also took a few things to sell - which was one reason Paul needed some extra hands!

Paul was up before 5am to catch the several dozen laying hens, ducks, and bantam chickens we planned to sell.  There was nothing wrong with these birds - we just needed to thin the flock a bit.  We loaded the birds in old rabbit cages in the back of the Acadia and headed to town.

First great photo op would have been Clara's expression when she realized she was sharing the middle seat of the car with a cage of chickens...

Swap meets are crazy things... everyone basically pulls in, opens up the backs of their trucks/cars/SUV's, and sells their wares from there.  As soon as we pulled in and opened the door, we were swarmed.  We had both the laying hens and ducks sold in the first 15 minutes of being there.  The banties took a little longer, but we sold all of them too.  We could have sold more if we would have had the room in the car to bring more!

Swap meets are great outlets for people like us to sell birds that we have too many of.  There were also people there selling rabbits (both pet and show quality), geese, goats, quail, pigeons, doves, sheep, baby chicks, hatching eggs, and a host of supplies as well.  There were
even a few parrots and a tortoise!

The one photo I snapped... Happy Girl!
It was fun to talk with the other vendors as well as the people who had come to buy.  I would say that we came home with an empty car and pockets full of money... but, well... Clara was getting cranky a few hours in and Paul bought her a bunny as a reward. 

Best $5 we have ever spent.

So we came home with empty cages, a bunny, and $5 less.

Clara did have a few breakdowns as she realized "her" chickies were being transferred from our cages into other cages and boxes and walking away with other people.  Already we begin the conversation that these animals aren't pets and that we raise them for food and to support our family.  She's a little young to understand, but it will continue to be a part of her life, so we might as well start now.  When we got home, we went to the barn to assure her there were still plenty left there for her to take care of!

What a great way to spend a weekend morning as a family! 

and afternoon naps all around... :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Farm Kid and Proud of it!

The other day, we cleaned out the chicken coop.
It’s not my favorite task in the whole world, but the chickens need a clean, dry place to live… so out we went with our shovels and brooms.
I never thought I would love cleaning chicken crap quite so much. Not because I love cleaning chicken crap, but because I have chicken crap to clean up! Having to clean up crap means that we have chickens. And if we have chickens, we must be living in the country. And if we’re living in the country, we have been blessed with the opportunity to raise our daughter in the perfect place!
I will admit I wasn’t always on the “owning a place in the country” bandwagon. There were times I would have been fine living in town, if it meant we weren’t living in our old house. Living in the country isn’t cheap, and Paul and I aren’t made of money. Not only is there a house to up keep, but out-buildings, fences, pasture, a large lawn, and livestock… The expenses add up quickly. I wasn’t sure we could swing it.
But seeing Clara working outside shoulder to shoulder with us even at a young age is amazing. At this point she loves putting on her boots and digging in. We sorted sheep the other day and she insisted on being inside the pen, not on the outside of the fence – she didn’t want to miss out on a thing.
My childhood on the farm is one of my greatest treasures. Sure, I complained about haying on a hot summer day, going out to chores in the cold, and shed a few tears over the death of a beloved animal. But life on the farm was great – lots of space to run and explore, livestock to love and care for, a never-ending list of things to do. It’s a wonder we ever got “bored.” My siblings were my best friends. My parents worked hard to give us a comfortable life on the farm. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we were never lacking in what we needed. We learned responsibility, compassion, problem-solving skills, a host of vocational skills, and to be hard-working.
There are still times I’m not sure we can swing it, but I know that it is worth it to try. We make sacrifices, learn to live on less, and make less last longer. My parents did the same for me, and for that I am eternally grateful. One way I can repay them is to offer the same to my child.
I’m a Farm Kid, and there’s no one else I’d rather be!