Pregnancy Diary: 8.5 weeks

BABY IS THE SIZE OF A KIDNEY BEAN - CLICK PICTURE TO SEE INFORMATION ON A BABY AT 8 WEEKS GESTATION
BABY IS THE SIZE OF A KIDNEY BEAN – CLICK PICTURE TO SEE INFORMATION ON A BABY AT 8 WEEKS GESTATION

I have felt pretty good this week.  My energy was really low over the weekend, but seems to have recovered some.  I just wish my internal motivation would improve with my energy levels :)~

  • I’ve walked 8 miles since last week and I have a goal to walk a total of 40 miles by September 20th.
  • I am beginning to feel a little discomfort from “symphysis pubis” are when walking and I think adding in some additional strengthening exercises for my hips and glutes should help.  I’ll keep you posted.
  • I purchased the MommaStrong Prenatal workout – I think there are some exercises  to help with the above mentioned areas.  I hope to start that at least by next week if not this week.
  • From the outside I still look very much like my normal self, but I can feel my abdomen beginning to thicken a bit.
  • Despite eating more starches than usual, I haven’t gained any weight yet (yay!!)  All the pregnancies I have started around the weight I am now, I only gained 10-15lbs by the end.  I am hoping to follow that pattern as I am still a bit fluffy from Ian’s pregnancy.
  • Although I’m 8.5 weeks along I still find myself worrying about miscarriage.  I experienced a miscarriage between Gideon and Ian and it completely changed the way I experience pregnancy.  As someone else described it, I feel like I’m holding my breath the whole 9 months.  Pray with me that I can continue to cast this anxiety upon the Lord.  This baby is just as much in His hands as it is in my belly.
  • EDITING TO ADD: I mixed up a batch of pregnancy tea.  It’s a little different than my old recipe, so I can’t wait to try it! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Pregnancy Diary: 7.5 weeks

Baby is about as big as a blueberry!
Baby is about as big as a blueberry!

I’ve never kept a pregnancy journal before, so this should be fun!  I am about 7.5 weeks pregnant right now.

Things to note this week…

  • Fatigue / headaches have really kicked in – sometimes I literally can’t stand up right, but thankfully it comes in waves and isn’t constant.  Eating and laying down seem to help.
  • Any strong smell makes me feel sick so cooking is a bit of a challenge, but the big kids and I trade off as necessary so I can step away from the smells for a moment.
  • I had a dream about chicken soup and the next day I just HAD to make myself some.  Unfortunately the chicken soup did not agree with me.  Go figure.
  • Nothing sounds appetizing except starch, starch, and more starch.  I’m trying really hard not to overdo it and also eat fruits and veggies, but carbs (and salt) keep my tummy quite happy.
  • I’ve started supplementing a small amount of additional magnesium and calcium as I started getting tiny muscle twinges – the classic sign that my body is craving more minerals.
  • I ordered my prenatal vitamins so those should arrive this week.
  • I’m still nursing Ian (who is 7 months old now), but I feel as though my milk is a little low.  I’ve been supplementing his diet with some “liver based formula” and soft cooked egg yolks.
  • I’m allowing myself to sleep in right now – I need it 🙂
  • I feel very grateful I started walking almost daily about 2 months ago as I think this habit will serve me really well during pregnancy.  I had trouble with varicose veins and a near unbearable heaviness in my legs with my last pregnancy that were greatly helped by walking.
  • I stating a program to help close my abdominal separation before my belly gets all stretched out again.  Mine isn’t too big – about a 3-4-3, but it’s already started to close – I’m down to a 2-3-2 (see this link to know what I’m talking about)

That’s all I can think of for now 🙂 I’ll try to post weekly.  This will be fun to be able to look back on!

Creamed Broccoli & Rice Soup

We are always look for simple healthy recipes (that the kids will actually eat!) and after throwing this one together the other day, and again the following week, I wanted to share.  It is also gluten free & dairy free, which is becoming more necessarily around our house these days.  Below is a Scott family sized portion, so adjust accordingly:

SOUP INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 quarts of water (or some sort of broth)
  • 4lbs of broccoli
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp each onion powder & garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or other alternative milk)

RICE INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 4 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1.5 tbsp each of salt, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut (or other) oil

Whisk together your water (or broth) and seasonings and bring to a boil.  As your water is heating up, chop up your broccoli a bit (stems and all) and toss it in there.  Let it simmer for about an hour, or until your broccoli is falling apart.  We like to blend ours up using an “immersion blender”, but it’s not necessary.  Stir in 1 cup of coconut milk.  While the soup is simmering, whisk together rice water and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, add coconut oil and rice, reduce to a simmer, and cook until done.  Mix together blended soup and rice.

*SIDE NOTES: Make this even easier on yourself by buying pre-chopped broccoli or frozen broccoli.  Also, my kids like to add a dash of hot sauce to their bowl.  We like it spicy!

Sourdough Oatmeal

If you’re a fan of oatmeal and all things “soaked, soured, or fermented”, this recipe is for you!  I’ve always been a huge fan of oatmeal (particularly it’s budget friendliness), but after eating it just about every morning for years it began not sitting well with my gut, so I gave it up.  Occasionally we’d try it again, but it never ended well.  I tried soaking it (with whey, with lemon juice, with vinegar, with yogurt, with kefir, etc) and it made no difference for me.  So in one last ditch effort to see if just maybe I could make oatmeal work for us, I added a cup of my sourdough starter to my oatmeal the night before to let it sour overnight.  I ate it (and it was delicious) and I suffered no ill effect at all!  I’ve since repeated this experiment enough times that I’m sold on this method for making oatmeal for our family :).  Here is a Scott family sized recipe for you:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups of oatmeal
  • 12 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • fruit and other toppings of choice

The night before put your oats, water, and sourdough in a pot (or crock pot) to soak overnight.  In the morning add your salt, and coconut oil.  Cook over low heat stirring regularly until thick.  Since it has the sourdough in it, it tends to stick a bit to the bottom if you don’t stir it.  We like to make ours in the crock pot because the wonderful DaddyScott wakes up early and turns it on high for 1.5-2 hours and there is no stirring required while it cooks.  Serving it over slices of banana with pecans is very yummy :).  Sourdough oatmeal has a nice savory flavor, so you may find you don’t want to sweeten it at all; we usually don’t.

Distracted

I’ve been so very distracted as of late.  I’ve been “busy” reading a book series, but in all truth has not really added any value to my life, yet has occupied way too much of my mental energy.  Life is humming along quietly for the most part, but there are hundreds of little things that get left undone that at least some of them I know I could tackle if I just made some sort of plan.  I hate making plans to be honest… Well actually, I love making plans.  It’s just that I make them and never stick to them.  Or I follow them for a week or two and then forget they exists.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!  I listened to a wonderful podcast today from the “Ask Pastor John” program, in which I was reminded how good it is to intentionally “unplug” from the virtual world.  I’m going to give this a try.  Its way too easy for my smart phone to be the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I look at before laying down to sleep.  Maybe it’s time to get an alarm clock again so I can leave my phone downstairs and remember just a little bit what it’s like to live in a less digital world.  I’m even considering a locking box in which we all place our “devices” in for period during the day.  It’s just so easy to slip into “checking on” this or that or playing a mindless game when really all our mental attention and energies are much needed elsewhere!  Maybe I’ll even get a separate digital camera, wouldn’t that be something :).

Speaking of distractions… here is an adorable little “distraction”.  We all are very. very. distracted by his 3 month old cuteness!

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Are Name Brands Supplements Worth the “extra” cost?

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The “name brand” SJW is on the top. The store brand (in this case, from Walmart) is on the bottom.

In the case of herbal supplements, they sure are!

Several months ago I purchased a store brand “St. John’s Wort” supplement. I took 1 capsule and proceeded to get a head ache. I tested it again on 3 separate occasions, and each time I got a head ache after taking it, so I just assumed I was one of the few people who get “side effects” from taking St. John’s Wort. Then I read this article recently, and it told me what I already “knew” in my head, but was in denial about to be honest.

So I decided to buy a good name brand supplement and give St. John’s Wort a try again (I need some emotional support postpartum and I’m trying to avoid going back on Zoloft). On the recommendation of a midwife, I took 2 yesterday morning – no headache. I took 2 at lunch – no headache. I took 2 with dinner – no headache.

I decided I needed to look closer at these supplements. Upon examining the store brand capsule next to the name brand capsule, they were not even the same color!  I opened both capsules and poured them on to a plate. The store brand smelled vaugely of SJW (short for St.John’sWort), but also had a strong “burnt” smell. The name brand smelled fresh and like the dried whole herb of SJW that I have in my pantry. The store brand felt like ashes when I touched it. The name brand felt like other reliable sources of powdered herbs I’ve dealt with.

Moral of the story – if you’re going to give the natural remedy of herbs a try, don’t skimp. Go for the trusted names. In the case of herbal capsules, I prefer the “Nature’s Way” brand, which is the name brand I went with.

How We Fight the Flu

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I just wanted to share what we do when we have illness in the house and the various remedies that have been very helpful in keeping illness at bay, treating symptoms, and hastening the healing process.

****As with any medication or natural product with medicinal action – please take the time to educate yourself on any herbal remedy you might take or give to your children.****

The first step is prevention during times of increased exposure to illness – we try to stay on top of taking elderberry syrup religiously through the cold and flu season.  I have a recipe you can find here with details on how we use it.  Also avoid excessive amounts of treats (which is hard with the holiday season happening, I know!) and processed foods will go a long way in keeping your immune system in tip top shape.

When anyone in the house starts to feel a tickle in the throat, a funny feeling in the nose, starts to cough a little bit, I give them a weight appropriate dose of astragalus root, echinacea root, licorice root, and additional elderberry or elderflower, all in the form of tinctures or glycerine extracts, 2x a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.  I make most of our herbal remedies at the moment (which saves our family hundreds of dollars over the course of the year), but high quality extracts are available.  For children – “Herbs for Kids” is an excellent brand available from many online retailers including Amazon and Vitacost.  For adults, I have been pleased with the product I tried from TriLight Health, but any brand of herbal extract will do – most come with clear dosing instructions and or possible contraindications.  Licorice root is the only one that may need to be omitted or reduced depending on the pre-existing health conditions of the person taking it.

If viral illness has taken hold already or if it seems severe, I increase the frequency of how often they receive the same herbal dosage as above to 3-4x a day.  We’ve seen first hand how it has gone for one child who did not receive adequate herbal support right from the get go vs one who did with a severe viral illness (hand foot and mouth disease) and the difference was striking.

Natural Symptom Treatment Options:

For Swollen Lymph Nodes & Sore Muscles: We use a blend of lavender, frankincense, copaiba essential oils diluted with olive oil and gently rubbed into the lymph nodes and for sore muscles we dilute it further and the sick person gets a little massage with it :).  Any of these would work on their own, but I like them as a trio.

For congestion (head or chest congestion): fennel seed and/or anise seed extract (or a syrup made just like the elderberry recipe using a mix of half fennel and anise seed instead) has been very effective at thinning and breaking up congestion, preventing mucus build up and decreasing the likeliness of infection.  This also prevents that dreaded “thick cough” that children can get that can cause them to gag and throw up in the middle of the night.

For that dry tickle in the throat: Humidity is always and ally, as well as “cooling” essential oil vapors (such as peppermint, eucalyptus, & tea tree), but there are hundreds of blog posts on those and I actually reach for a different remedy more often than those.  We have a tea we make called “Peter’s Cold Tea” because I first made it combat the cough that my Peter usually gets.  Mix equal parts marshmallow root, peppermint leaf, and lemon balm leaf and make into a tea.  Sweetening with honey adds to it’s cooling / soothing properties.  Using a glycerine based peppermint extract is also effective – the peppermint cools and glycerine is a humectant, drawing moisture to itself helping to create a soothing barrier on the throat.

For a deep seated thick cough: Along with the above treatments, licorice root is a potent remedy that reduces inflammation in respiratory tissue and helps to thin mucus.

For Fevers: A blend of yarrow and peppermint tea, or extract is a time honored way to bring down a fever and has worked well for us.  Also, for older children and adults, peppermint oil applied directly to the skin can also aid in bringing down a fever (I prefer to dilute our oils in half with olive oil in a roller top bottle (purchased in bulk from amazon) when using them in this way.

For Sore Throats: Nothing makes a sore throat feel better than a cup of cinnamon and clove tea 🙂 The tea mentioned above works well too (Peter’s cold tea).