Monday, 24 September 2012

Baby 5: Week 4

Since I had so much fun live tweeting our fourth baby's labour and delivery, I thought it would be fun to track this pregnancy week by week with short little blog posts about how I'm feeling, what we're doing, and what I'm thinking!

How Far Along: 4 weeks 1 day (35 weeks and 6 days until I'm due!)

How I'm Feeling: A little nauseous, but not too bad. I have found the general smells of my house excessively repugnant and have spent the past 48 hours cleaning the house like crazy. The house smells a little better, but still looks like a bomb hit it. I'm also pretty tired, and find myself dozing off while sitting up. The 4 already born kids are keeping me on my toes!

What I'm Thinking: I'm so excited about our new baby! We're already working hard picking out names (we already are pretty much settled, but I'll leave that mystery for a while in). We're also praying hard trying to pick the right Godparents for our new baby.

What I've Done This Week: I went to get my blood requisition form for early pregnancy! The Doc seemed pretty excited too. I also called the local Midwives to get myself on the waiting list. We also picked up another pack of newborn Bummis diapers and an Ergo baby carrier for when baby arrives (which is useful now for baby 4!).

What I Hope To Do Next Week: We bought all the flooring to replace our nasty stinky upstairs carpet. I plan to work with my hubby over the next week to start ripping up the old carpet and prepping it for the new laminate flooring, starting with our new baby's room!

Pregnancy (Take 5)

I'm pregnant with our 5th baby! My heart is overflowing with joy and expectation! My husband is incredibly excited too, as usual, and joined me in informing anyone who would listen about our latest little miracle! We called, Facebooked, tweeted, and told everyone else we could in person, even whipping out my freshly peed on pregnancy test to show baby girl's Godmother when we found out as we were going out that evening.

I know at one point I thought to myself that maybe 4 was enough kids, but at some point my heart began to grow, to make room for another little soul to join our family. Once the post-natal fog lifted and life was getting back into order, it was so obvious to me that our family had room to grow. For the first time in the 6 years of our marriage, it took us about a year to conceive. Usually I was finding myself in possession of a positive pregnancy test between 6 and 9 months post-partum. That my youngest is 13 months might seem close to many people, but that is a huge gap in my mind! She's already walking (although crawls sometimes too), eats everything and anything, is incredibly social, sleeps like a champ, and has self-weaned. Her extended breastfeeding is the reason we didn't conceive sooner, and it was an incredible gift to both she and I. I had more recovery time for one. I also had more time to settle into a routine in our new house. I even managed to start getting more involved at our Church, which has meant a lot to me! I also found the energy to get myself started on homeschooling our eldest. With a June due date, we'll have the whole summer to recover before hitting the books again! For her, it meant longer bonding, better nutrition when she was under the weather, and lots of cuddles with Mommy.

So here we are, 5th positive pregnancy test in hand, excited beyond all belief and dedicated to enjoying every minute of it. One of the first things we did was upgrade our baby carrier to an Ergo because our Snugli had really worn out over the past three babies. We also picked up another pack of newborns Bummis diapers so we can exclusively cloth diaper from birth. I hit the grocery store and picked up 300 pre-natal vitamins (as I had run out and wanted closer to a year's supply) and have started to take them daily. With only very mild nausea I'm finding life is going on as normal, though I've been exhausted once naptime hits! The upside of my energy level staying basically the same is that my incredibly strong sense of smell which only happens when I'm pregnant is forcing me to start working on house work to keep the stinkies at bay.

The other big news pregnancy wise is that I got in touch with the Midwives at our local hospital. For most people who might read this outside of my province this may seem like not a big deal, but here in my province we've had to work hard to get Midwives with privileges at our hospital. They weren't available for my first three pregnancies, and they were on hiatus due to political issues during my fourth pregnancies. Today, with two full time midwives and one part-time midwife, I was able to make myself only second on their waiting list for June! Unless I risk out this basically guarantees me a spot! I have wanted to try for midwife care since I first heard of how midwives work, but this is the first time I've been able to sign up. I'll be sad that our regular baby-catching family doctor won't be our regular care provider as we have a beautiful relationship, but I'd do just about anything to have more personalised, natural birth focused care that won't have me alone with a nurse for hours on end. I find the nurses at our hospital range from incredible to absolutely awful. The nurse from my last birth would wait until my husband was out of the room and say all sorts of crazy things, like how I should stop being so noisy as it wasn't helping me labour. The upside about all of this is that's there actually a pretty good chance my family Doc will be in the hospital when I deliver as she is works in the Peri-Natal clinic and does regular rotations on the birth unit. I'll be praying that I get both a Midwife and my own well loved Doctor.

That's all so far. Get ready for belly pics, folks. I'm going to start taking them weekly so you can see how ridiculously fast my belly POPS!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Homeschooling Victory

So, I know it's WAY too early to call our homeschooling year a victory. But I'm going to make the leap and call our first two days a success. We started off our day with a trip to the local wildlife park with the whole family, then had a nice lunch together. While the little ones napped (I must confess our 3 year old was devastated he wasn't doing school during nap time like his sister), the big girl and I sat down and reviewed Math concepts. I discovered, to my surprise and delight, that she has an early love to simple math, and was devouring page after page of her workbooks with very little explanation needed. Per her request, we practised cutting in a straight line with her fancy scissors. After that we made salt dough molds of all their hands, which I painted once they were cooled. Today, we got to work on sight words (I found a fabulous app to support us in this, which her younger brother is loving too!) and did more math, geometry, and practised writing during the little ones' naps (this time with no 3 year old drama). This afternoon we planted a small indoor garden with tomato plants that we will be watching all year. She asked at bed time if we could do more school tonight and then tomorrow. I'm so happy she has a thirst for our school time!
Here are a few pictures to make you smile!

Big girl practising cutting in a straight line

Starting the school year off with a field trip was a big hit

The kids were all in love with the very friendly deer we met

It was the big girl's first day of school, but I'm glad we had a memory of each of them to treasure!
I hope we can keep up this level of joy and enthusiasm for the rest of the year!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

I have for your delight and delectation an incredibly delicious recipe for cake that includes a vegetable. Don't believe me that vegetables belong in cakes? Try this recipe and have your heart changed! This recipe comes from my friend Sara, which is a modified version of the recipe her Mom taught her. Her family has been adding veggies to food since before it was cool, folks. They have perfected the art of the dessert that makes you feel less guilty, more full, and not overloaded! This cake is a kind of coffee cake, but is fluffy enough to be used for birthday cake in my opinion. Sara doesn't ice it, and I agree with her completely that it doesn't need it. It's perfectly sweet without making your teeth hurt. Alright, enough rambling, time to get baking!

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce (or a little more if you want a moister cake)
1/2 cup of packed in brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of buttermilk or sour milk
2 cups of flour (you can do 1 of white and 1 of whole wheat, I did both of white and it was nice!)
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded (I put mine in the food processor, the drained some of the water, Sara shreds hers on a cheese grater)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (resist the temptation to add more as the melted chips will make the cake messy if you add much more, trust me)

Cream your butter, apple sauce and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and set aside. In a second bowl, mix all your dry ingredients (less your chocolate chips) and add to creamed mixture. Your mix will be thick, don't worry!  Stir in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. The zucchini will make your batter much less thick, but it will still have some thickness. Pour batter into either a 9X9 or 9X12 non-stick or glass pan. I sprayed a little cooking spray on the inside of my pan before pouring in my batter, but I'm not entirely sure it needs it. Bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes. At around 40 minutes, maybe earlier if your oven runs hot, take a sharp knife or wooden stick to test that the middle of the is cooked. If you tester comes out clean it's done. Let cool for 30 minutes and then dig in. This cake is good hot, cold, night, day, in pjs or fancy dress clothes. You really can't go wrong. The directions look complicated the first time, but it takes me no more than 20 minutes plus cooking time, and it is worth every second of that!