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  • Archive for June, 2014

    Taken a week ago at my parent’s house at one of Teddy’s baby showers that was held over that weekend. Late 29 weeks pregnant here.

    Y’all. I’m officially counting down the weeks now. I can’t believe that I have just July and August to get through and then Teddy will be here! At least, of course, if he arrives around the 40 week mark instead of coming early or lingering in a little late. I like that first week of September so let’s still stick with that, baby boy!

    Within the last two weeks the emotional side of the third trimester has really kicked in. Crying over just about anything can easily happen now and there’s nothing more frustrating than being told not to cry. Well, too bad, it’s happening and sometimes it feels cathartic to just let it all out. Along with the emotional side of things has come more heartburn and a reluctancy to want to eat Mexican and Italian foods. That just leads to sleeping poorly since I have to sleep semi-elevated and attempt to keep myself from lying on my back. I love the nights when I can lay down completely flat and experience no reflux.

    Other interesting things I’m finding is that my belly now touches my lap if I sit down, breathing is getting more difficult, and I can’t eat nearly as much since there seems to be no room for my stomach. Oh, and bending over and getting up from sitting down requires a lot more effort. I still can touch my toes without bending my knees but that’s becoming more difficult with a growing belly to contend with. I’m experiencing some swelling if I stand on my feet too long and paired with the heat I tend to need to get off my feet as soon as I can in the evenings after getting chores done around the house and yard.

    I put off some of the reading I had been doing regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, and have switched to some good old fashioned fiction in the form of the newest Diana Gabaldon novel. The last novel came out in 2009 so needless to say it was about time for some time with my favorite time-traveling family! I need to pick up the La Leche League breastfeeding book again soon.

    The most interesting thing in the last few weeks has been the pick up in movement with Teddy as well as feeling different parts of his body as he pushes up against my belly. Sometimes the way he moves can be extremely uncomfortable but most of the time it is fascinating and interesting to feel. After perusing the Spinning Babies website regarding baby positioning, I believe he bounces between left occciput transverse (LOT) and left occiput anterior (LOA). As those are good positions to be in for starting labor I hope he stays that way and doesn’t switch to posterior or even breech in the next 9 weeks!

    My focus in the next 9 weeks is to get back on track with my Bradley Method exercises and relaxation practice, and getting back into walking again. It’s so hot and humid these days that I’m having to walk later in the evenings, but I really feel the need to be walking. I’m actually looking forward to being able to run and do heavy cardio this fall!

    I guess that’s about it for now. I generally have a lot of rambling and incoherent thoughts throughout the day that I’ve been meaning to write down so I should probably start taking those notes so I can remember all of the little things I worry about or dream about.

    Day 24: Watching The Big Bang Theory after an evening mowing the yard.

    Day 25: Mr. Stripey playing a game of ‘You Can’t See Me’ as I was working in the yard that evening.

    Day 26: I love the light that comes through my front windows this time of year.

    Day 27: A good tomato harvest and a few peaches off the trees. The peaches were stuck to the limbs which is why they look black at the top. They tasted pretty great, too!

    Day 28: At my parent’s house. My dad showing off how he gets to pet the cat Kylee but just about no one else is allowed around her because she’ll attack you! She’s a devil cat.

    Day 29: A surprise visit with my friend Eliana! She and Marc showed up at one of my baby showers as they happened to be in Oklahoma doing some work. I was surprised because they’d told me they wouldn’t be able to make it. It’s been over 4 years since I saw them—last saw them when we left Florida!

    Day 30: My two ‘sisters’. My brother’s wife is on the right and Chris’ brother’s wife is on the left. This was the first time they’d met each other.

    Day 31: Two big tomatoes…Arkansas Traveler and Kellogg’s Breakfast.

    Day 32: I forgot to take a photo. A hectic week ensued.

    Day 33: Going through our baby shower haul! Teddy got lots of goodies! Leo’s not sure what to do with all of this stuff and wonders what he can play with.

    Day 34: Beginning to put away the baby shower stuff in the baby’s room. Leo thought hanging out in the diaper drawer would be something cozy to do while he watched me organize everything.

    Day 35: Exhausted and forgot.

    Zebra longwing butterfly, Heliconius charithonia

    A weedy but beautiful native, Bidens alba.



    Firebush, Hamelia patens


    Northern needleaf bromeliad, Tillandsia balbisiana




    On our last day of our swamping trek through Fakahatchee Strand back in early March, I spent most of the morning hanging out at the parking area on Janes Scenic Drive at the East Main Tram gate. Chris was going out into the swamp with a few of the others that morning and I was not up for another morning in the swamp. I was still dealing with some mild morning sickness and general malaise at that time and preferred to just soak in the time spent at the cabin in the morning and relax a bit.

    I was really hoping to spot a panther crossing the road in the distance—or maybe up close—while I meandered around that area, but there was no such luck. In the third to last photo I spotted something moving across the road only to look through my lens to see that it was an alligator moving to sun itself in the middle of the road. The closer photo of the alligator, well, he surprised me. I was rambling along taking photos of the fire bush when I looked up and saw it sunning 5-10 feet away. Startled, I jumped back and gave it plenty of room and moved to the other side of the road. It made sense for alligators to be out on the road. The ditches were still in the shade and the water had a bit of a chill to it since it was still early March and a cool front had come through. Sunning in the road would provide the warmth they were seeking.

    Chris returned to the car sometime around lunch time, having hiked the 2 miles from the cabin. I’d caught a ride with another member of the exploration party so I’d avoided the solo walk down the tram—plus I had all of our gear to haul back. Chris was on the lookout for a panther print in the mud so that he could take a cast of it. We went off down another, muddier tram looking for prints but found none.

    I remember our first trips to Fakahatchee back in 2004 and 2005. I remember the first time we saw a leafless orchid. We got so excited that it might have been the elusive ghost orchid, but instead we found out it was the bent spur orchid, Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum. It was on the west side of a royal palm just off of another narrow, overgrown tram. A few years later the orchid was stolen, ripped from the palm.

    So much of Fakahatchee is barely explored. It’s a place I miss, probably not as much as Chris, but I miss the remoteness that one can feel just going a few hundred feet into the swamp, even more so when you dip deeper into the sloughs. It’s one frustrating thing about Texas, how vast this state is but how little public land is available to explore, to give you that sense of remoteness. In the time that we’ve left Florida social media has helped spread the word about swamp hiking. This can be a good thing—getting people out of their comfort zone, understanding what’s in their backyard, and not being afraid of swamps and wetlands as valuable places for recreation. And it can be a bad thing—people sharing sensitive locations, more foot traffic going to sites. It’s definitely changed in the 10 years since we started exploring that part of Florida and of course will continue to change as time passes.

    There’s still a few bits of Florida I need to share from our trip and hope to get to those soon!




    Somehow these lilies have evaded the deer this season. I’m not sure how or why, but they did. They tempted me for days with their buds, slowly swelling and then opening up to the beauty that they are. My mom was visiting over the weekend and commented that they looked like Stargazer lilies to which I replied that I didn’t really know. You know how it is with plant tags, they end up next to the plant right when you get the plant in the ground and then before long the tag is missing and you have no idea what the plant is. But Mom was right. I Googled ‘Stargazer lily’ and sure enough that’s what they appear to be. Their aroma is strong enough to get a whiff of on occassion as I pass through near the front door. I mistook it for the gardenia bush the other day and only realized later that it was indeed the lilies.

    I’m going to be sad when their blooms fade and I have to wait until next year for another round of blooms. I guess I’ll put them on my radar to look for in mid-June!

    Ok, so the main gladiolus season really was about two weeks ago however there was one plant that just finished blooming and another is about to be my late bloomer in the garden. Like usual though, I’m a little slow in getting around to documenting what’s occurring most currently in the garden.

    First up is the species plant, the Gladiolus dalenii (you can see last year’s bloom here):




    Next was a lovely lavender-pink bloomer:



    And most recently this brilliant red bloomer:





    One thing I need to do is relocate the gladiolus that I have currently planted near our front porch. They aren’t deep enough for one, and really they should be elsewhere in the garden and clumped together rather than their currently spread out state. Glad’s are one of my favorite flowers and remind me a lot of my grandmother.

    Day 16: Forgot to take a photo. I had one in mind but Chris went to bed too early for me to do it so I didn’t get around to it. Note to self: take photos early in the day.

    Day 17: The gardenia bush is blooming its head off right now. In the evening the smell wafts up to the front garden from the back porch where the gardenia is located.

    Day 18: Harvested a decent amount of tomatoes to nosh on daily. Not enough to can yet.

    Day 19: Did some gardening in the vegetable garden. Chris was able to finish about half of the perimeter herb beds so I planted several vines and herbs that have been waiting to be transplanted as well as starting other squash and bean seeds that need support along the fenceline. I’m working with the tomatoes in this photos, tying up renegade branches.

    Day 20: Some of the onion harvest curing on the back patio. Still have some onions I’m waiting to harvest as they haven’t quite flopped over yet. We had a decent harvest but not the giant onions we had two years ago.

    Day 21: A short, 15-minute thunderstorm blew through Friday evening as my mom and I were enjoying the view on the patio. Got a little windy there for awhile.

    Day 22: Enjoying breakfast with my mom. Made some pancakes (and realized after I’d made them that I hadn’t paid attention to the Bob’s Red Mill mix I had grabbed wasn’t gluten free so I had to start over from scratch with the gluten free baking mix for her) and a fresh melon from the grocery store. I’m not usually one for cantaloupe as they can be very bland, but this one was a tiny cantaloupe and it was incredibly sweet. Can’t wait until our melon vines are producing fruit in a few months.

    Day 23: The view from my kitchen table. I absolutely love this view! I wish the entire wall was one long picture window, though.





    I’m digging through the last of the Florida photos from March and have several orchids I want to share with you, this species being one of them. This is a tiny, epipyhytic orchid with small purple flowers resembling the purple utricularia, a species of carnivorous plant that lives in the water, hence the species part of its name. There’s some other interesting information about this orchid in the Dade chapter of the Florida Native Plane Society’s newsletter here if you scroll down about 3/4 of the way.

    It’s a sweet little orchid that is easily passed by if you aren’t looking for it.


    I can’t believe it is nearly mid-June and I’m 28 weeks pregnant! Whattttt? Time has flown by. I’m slowly feeling the panic rise, that the summer is going to breeze by me and I won’t enjoy it as fully as I should, and then soon fall will be knocking on the door and I’ll be nursing an infant. It’ll happen like *that*. I know it will. So, I do my best not to foward-think too much and keep trying to enjoy June.

    Chris and I finished our last Bradley Method class the other evening. I’m so glad we took the class, it was a learning experience for both of us. I feel so much more prepared for a natural childbirth than before and I truly think that as long as me and the baby are healthy when 40 weeks approaches, there’s no reason for not having a successful natural birth. I know the cost and length of the class scares people off (10-12 weeks and $250-$300) but it was money and time well spent, especially knowing that many women desiring a natural childbirth go into it more unprepared than they think for birth itself but also for what they may face at the hospital intervention wise (based on stories I’ve read on blogs and forums…women with failed natural births the first go-round, realizing they weren’t as educated as they thought, end up making more an effort for a successful natural birth the second go-round). If you are thinking about having a natural birth, absolutely check into the Bradley Method and read the associated books that go with it (Husband Coached Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way).

    Now that we’re done with class I’m trying to stay focused on doing the daily workouts that are suggested, continuing to eat well, and focusing on my relaxation. I had my glucose tolerance test a week ago and I didn’t hear results for a week. Typically they don’t call anyway if there’s nothing wrong, so by week’s end I had decided that I’d probably passed the test. The nurse called me yesterday and said I did pass with a 134 and the level had to be below 140. I went online to see if I could read more about the numbers and it seemed a bit all over the board with what doctors consider passing, some say 130 and below, others said 140…but then there were women who had results in the 170s and higher so I didn’t feel so bad having a 134. What I thought was most interesting were a lot of the pregnant paleo bloggers who were failing the test, likely because their body’s weren’t even used to sugar and carbs anyway so downing the glucose drink probably threw everything into a whirl. I’m not paleo, but I have tried to watch what kind of sugar I’ve been eating, though probably not as good as I should (damn you seasonal Blue Bell ice cream flavors…and you 1/2 price Sonic shakes…), but that morning I only ate two eggs and skipped my usual morning snack of fruit and yogurt prior to the test. Anyway, the glucose drink was not awful, but it wasn’t tasty. It was an amplified Hawaiian Punch, with a twinge of a chemical after taste. If it had been offered to me as a soft drink I probably would have had two sips and called it good. Just too much sugar….blech.

    I’m realizing there’s so much to write about since the few weeks I last wrote. I’ll get to the books soon.

    Last week we also took our hospital tour. We wanted to get it out of the way so that we could work on finalizing our birth plan before my next checkup. The hospital only does tours once a week at 5pm, which was definitely annoying, but it worked out. We weren’t the only couple there, about four other couples joined us. The maternity ward itself was fairly nice and while the birthing rooms were huge, the recovery rooms were smaller and more hotel like but not nearly as nice, obviously. I’d written down a list of questions to ask and I was the only one with a list. I felt like a huge nerd, but at the same time I felt prepared. We threw the nurse giving the tour a few times, as I’m fairly certain they don’t see many natural births. While it seemed that most of our questions could be accomodated, the biggest one that we’ll have to resolve with our midwife is the issue with IVs. Since I’m not having an epidural and won’t be on pitocin, there’s no need for me to have an IV. I need to be able to move freely about without being tethered to an IV. And since I won’t have an IV I’ll be eating and drinking as I feel comfortable, hourly. I guess I worded the IV question wrong because the answer I got was “Everyone gets an IV. No food or drinks.” Well, something to that effect. Chris and I continued to prod her and finally she relented to say that they do whatever the doctor tells them to do, which reinforced to Chris and I that we have to talk to our midwife about it and get it on the birth plan that we don’t want an IV. (More information on actual evidenced based facts regarding IVs here). Our alternative if anyone insisted on having some portal set up to my veins was for a hep-lock to appease the minds of those not used to a natural/normal birth (or in the case that I end up Group B strep positive when they test in the last month and have to get antibiotics at birth.)

    So, the hospital tour really reinforced that we have to be firm in our wishes while weighing all of the benefits, risks and alternatives to suggestions by those in the hospital. But it also reinforced to labor at home as long as possible before arriving at the hospital. So many natural birth blogs and stories involve the phrase “show up pushing” if you want an intervention free birth as possible in a hospital setting.

    Finally, the books. That’s quite a stack, most of them thanks to the library. The top one and bottom two are mine, so I can take my time with them. I need to get through Birth Matters quickly since when I borrowed it from the library I was second in line. If I can recheck it I will, but I think it is a popular book. The other library books are all nursing or birth books that I want to peruse soon.

    I did start reading the top book, The Diaper Free Baby, which is about Elimination Communication. I first heard about this five years ago when we were in Florida from some friends of ours who were doing it with their son. I believe they had success with it and continued it with their second son. It really appeals to me especially after seeing all of my friends and family potty train their 2-4 year olds and how much of a pain it is to do so. The great thing about EC is that you can be a full-timer, such as the stay at home parent who starts it early and does it on a daily basis, or a part-timer such as the working parent who works with the baby mornings, evenings and weekends. There’s even the ocassional ECer who might do it a few times a week. The gist of it is that just as your baby sends you cues for hunger it is also sending you cues for the time to go potty. Since you learn the feeding cues you can learn the pee and poo cues, too. You then assist them in certain holding positions over a toilet or a small bowl when they are newborns and small infants, but as they get older and can hold their head up you can assist them to sit on infant potties, cueing them until they learn with a sort of “pssssss” sound. Apparently it works pretty well. I even asked the female half of our Bradley Birth coaches and she said after she found out about it when her son was six months old she tried it a few times and it worked, she just ended up not being consistent with it to continue. I’m definitely curious about this, so if you have input on EC please share! Plus, hey, if I can get my kid potty trained by 12-18 months I’ll be a happy camper. Chris is on board with it, too, so that helps out a lot.

    The other book I’m trying to work through is the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which is put out by the La Leche League. Breastfeeding horror stories abound just as much as birth horror stories, so I’d like to be as knowledgeable as possible about issues and alternatives regarding breastfeeding as they occur. I plan on attending a La Leche League meeting at least once this summer and will probably sign up for the hospital’s breastfeeding class. I personally only know one person who successfully breastfed and pumped for a year, whereas most people I know did it for just a few weeks or months, switching to formula for various reasons ranging from returning to work to latching issues. So, I’m definitely in a realm of my own in this category, with few people to really lean on to learn and ask questions. Actually, we’re in a realm of our own on a lot of this, but we’re ok with that. Learn, research, apply…do our best.

    I guess I should wrap it up…I think I’ll end up writing more soon since this one was already too long!

    Day 8: Pulled all of the lettuce for the season.

    Day 9: Harvested the first tomato of the season, a Tomande variety.

    Day 10: Last minute self portrait before I got into bed. We had our Bradley birth class that night and were exhausted when we got home.

    Day 11: Oops, I forgot to take a shot!

    Day 12: Blue Beauty tomatoes….looking forward to trying this new variety.

    Day 13: Received my issue of Taproot in the mail. I love getting this quarterly and look forward to a slow read each time.

    Day 14: My hard working husband busting his butt to get the closet renovated in the guest bedroom and creating a closet for baby Teddy.

    Day 15: Two of my favorite lazy bums. Notice the state of disrepair the house is in with mattresses in the kitchen and a crib in the living room.

    Today was National Trails Day and I was unable to get out and enjoy a local trail as we were working on house related activities. I thought I’d take a few minutes and share a photo from some of my favorite hiking trails and areas over the years.

    01 31 11_8402
    The Florida Trail in Ocala National Forest…you might see a black bear!

    Caprock Canyon State Park, Texas

    The view down to the Lake of the Clouds Hut from Mt. Washington. White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire. Appalachian Trail

    kissimmee prairie state park 1-12-08 145
    From the trails at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida

    backpacking texoma 014
    On the Crosstimbers Trail. Lake Texoma, Texas

    From the trails at the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Florida

    cacheapalooza december 6, 2008 060
    Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Florida

    cosumnes 17
    One of the trails at the Cosumnes River Preserve, California

    Bluebells at Tandy Hills Natural Area. Ft. Worth, Texas

    Aasgard Pass
    Aasgard Pass at Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

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