Friday, May 30, 2014

27 weeks and counting!

bump picture

After looking at this photo, I think it's safe to say I probably shouldn't wear that shirt in public again.  Also this was the first time I've seen myself up close in a full length mirror in a while.  Feeling HUGE, and yet I know I'll get much bigger.  I cut my legs out of this picture, and even as I write this I'm contemplating my head as well.  Just not feeling the pregnancy glow this time. 

We have a cold this week, but thus far I seem to have it to a lesser degree than Dawson, my mom, sister, or Joe.  Still, I am tired.  In fact, I feel like I complain that I'm tired all the time.  Dawson has been up a lot in the night, both from being in a new room (pics and post on this soon, not quite done!) and from feeling yucky.  Him and his Auntie seem to have gotten this crud the worst.  

There isn't really a lot to tell from the last week! We have mostly stuck close to home.  I'm having one of those weeks where if it can go wrong, it does.  They are little things, but I'm noticing my patience for it is zilch.  I've been ready for bed at 7pm all week just for the simple reason that if I go to bed, I can't spill or break anything or find some disaster that needs fixing (like the open juice that poured all over the fridge earlier this week, without me noticing for a day or two.. Awesome!) 

This weekend I'm hoping to get the nursery finished up.. Things that still need to be done:
  • Pick out paint
  • Paint the wall
  • Refinish an old ikea table (there will be a DIY post on this if it turns out well!)
  • Assemble and "dress" the crib
  • Hang the new curtains
  • Find and hang artwork
  • Find a blanket or quilt for the chair
The list actually looks longer than it is.  We will see what we can knock out this weekend!

How far along? 27 weeks 3 days pregnant.. Baby is the size of a head of rutabaga!

Weight gain? Weighed myself this morning and according to my scale, I'm up 8 pounds total! 

Belly button? Still looking extremely flat and deformed.  

Wedding rings on or off? Still on. 

Movement? I think I was right about the growth spurt last weekend.  She's out of control in there and actually hurting me at times.  This didn't happen until much later with Dawson.  I don't remember him doing a lot of body rolling like she does, he was more into sticking his feet up in my ribs and pushing his butt out as far as he could.  I walked around with a lopsided belly A LOT that last trimester.  

Maternity clothes? Yep.. Looks like I need to retire some of them already though.  I need to just stock up on dresses for summer and stop trying I think.  I already feel like I look gigantic anyway.   

Symptoms? Feeling? Big..  Tired.  Hips are killing me.  Rib pain has been haunting me this week again too.  Oh, and I would like to burn my bras.  Just saying. 

Mood? The crankiness is off the charts.  My patience is thin.  It reminds me of when Dawson was a baby.. Not a good feeling.  I'm having a lot of manic episodes and over-doing it physically, still.  Trying to take it easy this week though.  I just need to keep chanting "It will all get done, it will all get done.."  

Missing? Alcohol.  Oh, and alcohol.  Did I mention alcohol? Yeah.  I bought a bottle of cheap moscato this week and I'll be mixing it with sparkling water so I can at least enjoy a little bit.  Judge away.  I'm also really missing running.  I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to squeeze my run in with 2 kids.  I still haven't figured it out. 

Looking forward to? Scheduling the ultrasound next week to make sure baby girl is doing well.  And of course the shower- only a week or so away!  

Sleep?  I'll sleep when I'm dead, I guess.  Between my hips, my neck, my nose (allergies) and Dawson, I'm not getting a lot of sleep.  (This is the same as it was last week.. Ugh) 

Exercise? Does cooking count? I've spent a lot of time on my feet in the kitchen.  Also, Memorial Day I got over 5000 steps according to my fitbit.  I was a cleaning, organizing, moving machine.  I paid for it.

Any cravings? Baked goods.  Fresh fruit.  Candy bars, although I have only given into this craving once.  Alcohol, as stated above.  It feels good to actually want to eat again. 

Food aversions? Steak looks like yuck this week.  Fried foods.  Anything greasy pretty much. 

 Until next week! 
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Easy Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta

I don't know how it happens, but we always seem to end up with just a little chicken leftover from one dinner or another.  I always hate to throw it out.  I thought I could use the chicken from earlier in the week (about 1/2 a Cajun seasoned chicken breast) to make some sort of pasta dish.  I'm making Enchilada Pie in a couple of days, so decided I better steer clear of anything Mexican.  Easy Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta is what I came up with, just out of the things in my pantry and freezer! 

Cheesy chicken & broccoli pasta

1/2 chicken breast, cooked & cubed (think leftovers, I had about 1 cup) 
8 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions (rigatoni, farafalle, elbow mac.. You choose!)
1-10.75 oz can broccoli cheese soup
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dehydrated onion
1-12 oz bag of frozen broccoli cuts


Mix the soup, Greek yogurt, garlic powder, onion, and chicken in a skillet over medium heat until heated through.  Add the broccoli and simmer.  Mix in the pasta and grated cheese until melted.  Eat! Very simple! 

We have put ourselves on a bit of a budget since our air conditioner repair, and so I'm trying really hard to come up with things that are easy to cook, so I will actually do it, and that use up everything.  I'm a huge food hoarder, so we have tons of stuff in our two freezers and our pantry and fridge to use.  My goal is to throw away less food and cook 6 nights out of the week, even if that means just pulling something from the freezer and heating it up.   I've been stock piling frozen meals, although that may just be me nesting :) 

This recipe is particularly nice because I didn't use up any additional meat, just meat that would have gone to waste. We eat meatless one night a week now, unless there's leftovers to incorporate into a dish, like this!  I suppose you could also use canned chicken or rice instead of pasta in this, although my family wouldn't be thrilled with that.   

If you happen to make this, let me know how it turns out! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

26 weeks.. Check!

26 week bump
26 weeks! Photobombed by Dawson and his backhoe 

This last week has been pretty uneventful.  We got a few things done around the house and had dinner out Saturday, which was nice since I've been cooking every night lately.  

I went to therapy last week and cried my eyes out over this whole glucose test ordeal.  My therapist (is a saint) called my midwife and explained that my anxiety and depression is worsening and I'm very stressed about it.  My midwife called and told me her concerns if I don't take the test, and then gave me the option to opt out completely.  Given that Dawson had some significant (but not life threatening) issues after birth, I decided I didn't want to opt out completely.  However, I won't do the blood test that I drink the sludge for.   I will go to the diabetes counseling center, get some guidelines, and a glucose meter.  I'll test my blood sugar every day, four times a day, for a week.  If my sugars are off the charts awful, I'll do my best to adhere to the diabetic diet.  If they are borderline, I don't want to stress myself over it.  She agreed.  So June 4th I go to that appointment.  I feel pretty good about this.  

This week I've been struggling really bad with hip and groin pain.  It feels just like after I gave birth to Dawson.  Like my legs aren't attached right, and my pelvic bones are grinding and clicking and whatnot.  It's been bothering me for a while, but not as bad as the last week.  After some research, it looks like I may have Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction.  This would totally explain why I wasn't able to walk for about a week after Dawson was born.  I'll be mentioning it at my next appointment and trying to decide how this can be treated (or prevented?) because it's making me miserable.  

Otherwise I have been a cooking machine this week! This weekend my super awesome sister is coming to put Dawson's big boy room together and help me do some other things too :) I'm excited to get it done! 

How far along? 26 weeks 3 days pregnant.. Baby is the size of a head of lettuce! 

Weight gain? No clue.  I didn't weigh myself this week.  I'm sure I haven't gained much, if anything. 

Belly button? It's flat, REALLY flat.  Now I would be really surprised if I make it to August before it pops out.  We shall see! 

Wedding rings on or off? Still on. 

Movement? Less this week.  Wondering if she is having a growth spurt.  

Maternity clothes? Yep.  Although I can still wear some of my pre pregnancy shirts (h&m and old navy!)   Ironically, some of my maternity shirts aren't covering my belly all the way already.  

Symptoms? Feeling? Like a beached whale.  I'm not that big, but I feel big.  The whole lack of mobility, shortness of breath, and waddling sure make a girl feel like a million bucks! NOT.  

Mood? Good some days, awful other days.  My anxiety has obviously been pretty bad.  I'm having a lot of manic episodes and over-doing it physically.  

Missing? Alcohol.  Oh, and alcohol.  Did I mention alcohol? Yeah. 

Looking forward to? The baby shower! I'm so excited at the amount of people that have RSVPed already! Almost have baby girl's name finalized, so I'm also excited to share that.  

Sleep?  I'll sleep when I'm dead, I guess.  Between my hips, my neck, my nose (allergies) and Dawson, I'm not getting a lot of sleep.  

Exercise? Does cooking count? I've spent a lot of time on my feet in the kitchen.  That's about all. 

Any cravings? Baked goods.  Fresh fruit.  Peanut butter.  Smoothies. 

Food aversions? Steak looks like yuck this week.  Fried foods.  

 Until next week! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top things you shouldn't say to someone with Trichotillomania!

I'm part of a couple of Trichotillomania Facebook groups and I know some can commiserate with me on this.  I will say this post probably comes off as a bit of a rant, but you have to understand I've heard all of this over and over again for the last 20 years.

You wouldn't say something like "Gosh, I just feel SO sick" to someone in the hospital, right? Well there are other situations that require the same thinking.  Sometimes it would do us all some good to be more mindful of our audience.    Here's my top things you shouldn't say to someone with trichotillomania.  These are just my experiences, but food for thought.

BFRB Ribbon
Body Focused Repetitive Behavior Ribbon

 You would be so 'pretty/handsome/insert compliment here' if you had hair (or eyebrows, eyelashes, etc).  

Really? You just took what could have been a compliment and turned it into a big slap in the face.  My beauty does not revolve around my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, weight, and so on.  Is my hair perfect? No.  It's not.  It's not the way I want it.  But I wouldn't point out the zit on your face, so don't point out my lack of hair.  

Why don't you just stop? 

Well, why hadn't I thought of that?  While I do agree that there is some control regarding trichotollomania (again, just a personal belief), it's an impulse.  If it was as easy as 'just stopping', up to 4 percent of the population wouldn't suffer with this. I didn't choose this.  It's a constant battle, and being open about it is hard.  So if someone opens up to you about their struggle with trichotillomania, please try to educate yourself and understand that it's not that easy.  

I'm so mad I could just pull out my hair!
Again, test the temperature of the room.  I know some trichsters don't take offense to this, but I do.  It makes me uncomfortable to even hear someone else say it.  I don't have to be mad, sad, or overwhelmed to do pull my hair out.  It's a real problem I face each day, please don't discount it or my feelings, even in a casual remark. 

I bet you save a lot of money on haircuts and hair products!
No, I don't actually.  I still get my hair cut, even though there isn't much there.  I spend a lot of money on special products to help my hair grow or to help disguise my trichotillomania.  It's insensitive to imply that this disorder would be a blessing to my wallet.  

Why don't you cover it up? 
Why should I have to? Do you cover up every quirk of your personality or self? Would you cover it up if you had an illness? Maybe, maybe not, but that's a personal choice and I choose not to. 

That's so weird!
Please, don't call me or any other person struggling with a disorder like trichotillomania weird.  Many of is already feel enough shame surrounding it.  These words can be so damaging.  It's no weirder than someone that has depression, OCD, anxiety, or any other struggle with their own brain! It just is what it is,  and saying things like this does not help.  

Aren't you worried your son/daughter will do this too if you don't stop? 
Sure I am. Pointing it out doesn't help.  I do the best that I can.  Living my life worrying that Dawson might follow in my footsteps doesn't mean he won't.  I choose not to worry about it (too much) and to continue to set an example for him-  Educate people.  Accept others the way they are.  Keep any judgements to yourself. Hopefully this will show him how to be a more compassionate human being.  He might still pull, or he might pick.  I'll still love and accept him the way he is, as should anyone else. 

I'm sure I can add more to this list as time goes on.  Unfortunately this disorder is not well known and people struggle to understand it.  Heck, even I struggle to understand it sometimes!  I know many of these things are said because you just don't know. Take this as a gentle reminder to be mindful when you are speaking to or in front of someone who struggles with something such as trichotillomania, or any other disorder! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

First world problems

First world problems! Nursery edition.  We didn't have a nursery for Dawson. This is new territory.  We were living in a little itty bitty 1 bedroom condo style apartment in a high rise building when he was born. To say things were cramped would be a huge understatement, but we made it work until he was 6 months old.  

Semi attached house

We bought our house in November of 2012 and thought we had a great set up for having kids.  I still think we do, but we have a couple of obstacles in trying to figure out the nursery.  We have one bedroom (currently Dawson's room) on one end of the house, the stairwell & his bathroom, then another bedroom in our hallway and then our master suite. We have a tiny bedroom downstairs that is our guest bedroom/office.  It flows nicely, but trying to figure out what placement for the kids and us noise crying wise is a bit challenging.  I'm very excited to get to have a nursery this time, but I anticipate the baby will be in our room a lot at first.

 Dawson's current bedroom shares a wall with our laundry room and is directly over the guest room.  It's also the furthest from the most noise in the house, and our bedroom.  We put him in there when we moved because we figured he would be disturbed less (little man was not an awesome sleeper.)  The other bedroom upstairs shares a wall with the hallway, and our bathroom.  Here's where it gets tricky.  Now, I love our house, and the builder did an excellent job.. BUT I could happily shoot him for not insulating the wall between our shower and the other bedroom upstairs.  It sounds like Niagara Falls when you are standing in that room and someone is taking a shower.  It's the ONLY wall in the house they seemed to neglect, as our house is an Earth Advantage Energy Saver certified home.  Dawson used to wake as a baby if you even cracked a knuckle.  To say it was annoying and obnoxious is an understatement.  How the heck am I going to get a baby to sleep in this room and still be able to shower?! Gah.  We made the decision to move Dawson to that room.  It's bigger, and he sleeps like the dead once he is out.  I'm hoping this doesn't backfire and that he's excited for a new room.  The transition might be rough.   We will see I guess, because it looks like next weekend we will be disassembling his room and moving it! 

Kids bedroom
Let the taping and painting begin! 
We decided to paint a wall (just like in his current room) and he got some new furniture from IKEA.  He even got to help Grandma K and me pick out a paint color. He's obsessed with planets, so we are painting the wall blue and putting planets up on it.  I'm going to look for some curtains to match, because his don't seem to block enough light for him to sleep.  We are going to move some of his toys upstairs and see how that works out.  It would be nice if he could play in his own room when I'm having a rough morning, or need to shower.  Then all that's left is to paint the wall in the nursery, Dawson's current room, and put the crib together.  Luckily we have used a closet system for Dawson's clothes and we just bought some more to put in his new closet.  A lot of his stuff is getting left behind for the baby and I am hoping he doesn't feel resentful.  Again, first world problems.  So many kids don't even have their own room, but how do you explain that to a three year old? 

Has anyone else moved their child for a second, third, fourth child to come?  Please tell me I'm not crazy! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chinese Spaghetti

This is a recipe I got in high school from an awesome teacher- Mrs. Griffis- and I altered some. It's pretty simple and quick to make and is a nice twist on traditional spaghetti.  In fact, chinese spaghetti is nothing like regular spaghetti, except the noodles and ground beef!

Chinese schezuan noodles


1 pound extra lean ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) 
2 Tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or sesame oil
2 to 3 cups of carrots, julienned (think matchsticks!)
2+1 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2+2 teaspoons corn starch, divided
1 teaspoon sugar 
Dash of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 to 2 teasonpoons of Chinese chili garlic sauce (pictured below- the more, the spicier)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions

Before you begin gathering your other ingredients, place in a bowl or a ziplock (less clean up) 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons corn starch, sugar, and black pepper.  Crumble the ground beef or turkey into the mixture and mix together.  (if you do this step earlier in the day it's best, but not necessary!) Gather your ingredients, chop/slice your veggies while this sits.  

Mix the chicken broth, 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons corn starch in a small bowl (I just use my 2 cup glass measuring cup).  Set aside.

Brown hamburger or turkey in a large skillet or wok.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pan, add your oil and heat over medium high heat. Add garlic, green onion, chili garlic sauce, ginger, and carrots.  Stir fry 2 to 3 minutes.  You want your carrots tender but not mushy!  Throw the browned hamburger back in the pan with the carrots and seasonings.  Stir fry another minute.  Add chicken broth mixture and stir until it begins to thicken.  Drain your spaghetti and add it to the pan.  Mix well and enjoy! 

I also like to add broccoli to this sometimes, or mushrooms or water chestnuts, or whatever veggie we have on hand.  If there isn't enough sauce for you, you can always increase it.  It's an easy recipe to just play around with.  I sometimes will mix up the ground beef with the marinade and cook ahead of time which cuts out some prep work.  I also "cheat" and buy my carrots already julienned :)  

Asian chili sauce

 If you have trouble finding the chili garlic sauce, this is what it looks like! It lasts forever but I add it to a lot of asian inspired dishes to give it a little kick.  Just remember that a little goes a very long ways! 

25 weeks pregnant!


My face is not allowed in this pregnancy update.  Trust me, I did it for you!  I feel like a hot mess lately.  Note that I'm still in my pajamas :) 

Let's see.. it's been a couple of weeks.  The air conditioner got fixed, and cost about $900.  While I'm stressed about having to spend all that money, throwing up half the night one night because I was way too hot convinced me it might be a first world problem, but for me it's a necessity.  The home equity loan did not go through, and we are hunkering down and reducing spending, to pay some things off before we try again.  Now that I have a rough 'plan' in place, I feel better about that.  

I saw my midwife on Friday the 9th, and complained about the shortness of breath I've got going on.  She thinks it could either be that I'm anemic, it's my allergies, or my seasonal asthma kicking up.   This is a no win situation.  It was bad enough when I went to have coffee with a friend on Monday that I thought I was going to pass out.  It feels similar to asthma, but my rescue inhaler makes me dizzy.. so yeah, that doesn't seem like it's going to help me.  I'm taking Zyrtec per her recommendation and praying that it lessens.. although I'm not feeling hopeful.  We also discussed my next ultrasound, which looks like it will be somewhere between 30 and 34 weeks.  I was really hoping for sooner.  

The office has been pressing me to do the one hour glucose tolerance test since I was 8 weeks.  This is because I supposedly had gestational diabetes with Dawson.  My OBGYN's office at the time was horrible, the test was not done well (um, hello wrong blood draw times.) and they misplaced my one hour test results until I was nearly full term, where they insisted I do a three hour glucose tolerance test (You'd think doing that at 38 weeks is a bit late...)  I failed that by just a couple of points.  Dawson was born average size and I don't think any issues he had were related.  Fast forward 9 weeks after he was born, I took another three hour glucose test and my results were the same.  They labeled me pre-diabetic.   So I don't have high hopes that I will pass the one hour test this time, but I don't think it has anything to do with being pregnant.  I'm REALLY stressed about having to do this test because keeping that drink down for an hour is not going to be easy, and historically I do not have good luck with blood draws.  Lucky me with my ghost veins that like to flatten when a needle gets anywhere near them.  She said if I can't keep the drink down or I don't feel like I even CAN drink it, to just cancel my blood draw and we'll figure something else out.  Except I'm not seeing her at my next appointment, it will be another midwife.  ACK! Deep breaths..

How far along? 25 weeks 1 days pregnant.. Baby is the size of a cauliflower! 

Weight gain? According to my midwife's scale last Friday I'm up a total of 6 pounds.  My scale today says 4 pounds. 

Belly button? It's flat.  I usually have a really deep belly button, but it's flat now.  Also, it's numb. That happened with Dawson too.    

Wedding rings on or off? Still on. I'm attributing that to the fact that I haven't gained much. 

Movement? All the time.  She's much more active than Dawson ever was.  I'm eating my words on that. 

Maternity clothes? Yep.  I would probably look like something out of People of Walmart if I was trying to get into my regular clothes at this point. 

Symptoms? Feeling? Nausea comes in waves now.  The really bad waves come with vomiting.  New symptoms this week would be major shortness of breath, and reflux like feelings.  I've had some dizzy spells lately too.  Hips still killing me, ribs are bothering me off and on.  

Mood? Pretty restless still.  I'm putting meals in the freezer like it's nobody's business.  Less emotional this week, thankfully.  

Missing? Sleeping on my belly.. oh lets get real- sleeping, in general.  Getting out of bed without my pelvis grinding and snapping.  Breathing normally.  Food.  BEER.  Cocktails.  Those last two should actually be first on my list. 

Looking forward to? Baby shower on June 7th! Excited to see everyone!  Painting Dawson's big boy room and the nursery. 

Sleep? This isn't going well this week.  If I'm actually sleeping, I'm dreaming about something weird.  Most of the time I can't seem to sleep though.  I hit my sleepiest time at between 6 and 7pm and then it's like I hit a second wind and I can't get to sleep until 2 or 3am.   

Exercise? Yeah, no.  The shortness of breath and the warm weather has put a stop to even walking much I'm afraid.  According to my Fitbit, a good day is 3000 steps and an average day is more like 1500 steps.  That's hard to look at.  

Any cravings? Fresh fruit.  Coffee, like from a coffee shop.  Sweets are starting to become more tolerable and desired.   Doughnuts sound good this week.  

Food aversions? Not too many things.  Ironically, Greek food sounds disgusting, where just a couple of months ago I couldn't get enough.  Grilled chicken still sounds and looks gross.  

 Until next week! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I love some good comfort food.  Homemade macaroni and cheese is a go-to for us in the winter months.  Especially if you have leftover ham from the holidays.  Yesterday we had family come to visit and my job was to make mac and cheese (and make my house presentable of course, although that's no fun!) to go with the ham my mom brought. 

This is a recipe I really just pulled out of my you-know-what.  I have had it for so long that I don't even know where it came from, but I think it was from experimenting with beschamel sauces at least 8+ years ago.  Now I pretty much know it by heart.  Also, this is comfort food.. So I wouldn't call it healthy!

Baked macaroni and cheese


8 oz elbow macaroni (or whatever shape you prefer)
1/4 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 to 1/3 cup flour (it isn't an exact science to make a roux!)
3 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
Cooking spray
Breadcrumbs  (optional-I don't use them)

First you want to spray a 9x13 inch pain with cooking spray.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Start a pan of water boiling for your pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions (you can do this while you make the sauce!)

For the cheese sauce go ahead and slap that stick of butter into a medium sized sauce pan (I used my 2 quart) and turn on to medium heat.  Melt it completely.

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Next you will want to add the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, to make a roux. Whisk it constantly. After you have added it, cook it over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes, still whisking constantly (it will burn if you stop!) I know, I know.. How the heck are you supposed to keep a close eye on something with a kid at your feet saying "pick me up mama, hold me!"  Lesson learned, make this during nap time or while a very interesting cartoon is on! 

It should look like this now:

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Now you will want to add your milk, slowly while whisking.  

Homemade mac and cheese

Just looks like plain old boring milk now, right? Reduce your heat to low and add all but 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. 

Homemade mac and cheese

Continue to stir constantly over low to medium heat until cheese has melted.  If you can't get it to melt all the way, that's okay.  Sharp cheddar sometimes is tough!  Just do your best and keep stirring. 
After it's melted, you'll want to turn up the heat a little bit until it thickens.  It should look like this by now:

Set it aside and let it cool a bit.  Meanwhile, pour your cooked & drained pasta into your greased 9x13 baking dish.  Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir to coat.  

Homemade mac and cheese

Next step is to spread the remaining cheese over the top (and/or your breadcrumbs if you would like) and dust it with paprika. 

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Now bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly! Or you can cover and put in the fridge and bake later, too.  Enjoy! 

 I wish I had a picture of this finished but Dawson decided he had to have some before it even came out of the oven.  After that I completely forgot.  Oh well! Still a great recipe and we ate nearly all of it! Joe is polishing off the leftovers right now :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

HRT and Stimulus Control for Trichotillomania

HRT- what is it and how can it help with your trichotillomania

HRT, also known as Habit Reversal Training is a therapeutic technique that has helped me personally with my trichotillomania.  The jist of HRT is to reverse the automatic behaviors and learn to be more mindful.   Here's the Wikipedia definition

Everyone pulls for different reasons.  Maybe you're tired, maybe stressed.. Or maybe you're just watching TV and you hadn't realized you were doing it in the first place.  Here's where HRT can help. 

One of the biggest pieces to this puzzle for me- stimulus control techniques, or habit blockers. I know this doesn't work for everyone, but again I'm just speaking about things that have worked for me.  I would also like to add that I don't hide my trichotillomania with my habit blockers.  Some choose to but that can easily become a crutch and you may find yourself pulling more because you feel like it doesn't matter, because no one can see.   The idea behind these blockers is not that they will not STOP you, but that they will help you become more aware of your actions and give you the chance to use a competing response instead of giving in to the impulse to pull. 

This can work for all types of pullers (and even skin pickers too!)  Just put bandaids on the fingers you pull with.. I know, I know- what if you pull with multiple fingers on each hand?! Wrap those babies up.  Reducing the sensation to your fingertips can help tremendously.  I've found that the blister bandaids work best for me,  because they stay on for days at a time (even through showers!) and aren't that noticeable.  I know some people have had more success with the fabric type fingertip bandaids too.  

Hats, scarves, headbands
Specifically work for scalp pullers, obviously.   Not much to say about these.  I have limited success with these kinds of things, mostly because I make the choice not to even put them on.

Acrylic or gel nails 
Works for some women.  I found it especially helpful with skin picking.  Before you have them put on, you have to ask yourself if it's in your budget (they need to be maintained every couple of weeks or even every week) and what part of your fingers you pull with.  I tend to pull with the very ends of my fingers, so the longer my acrylics are, the harder it is for me to grasp a hair, and the longer I have to come up with a competing response, like "I don't want to do this, I'm not going to do this."   For some people shorter nails work better as a habit blocker.  I've heard good things about the pointed nails.  

Oils, gels, Vaseline, hair masques
These are great for scalp pullers and eyebrow pullers.  Coconut oil is natural and actually pretty great for your hair and skin.  If I know I'm going to be home a while, I'll put some oil on and let it soak in.  The hair is slippery enough that it's harder to pull, which may make you more aware.  Or maybe just more frustrated but that's part of the process!  Vaseline is great on eyebrows I've heard.  I don't have any personal experience with that.  For me, these kinds of things only work to a certain extent.  Having "dirty" hair seems to be triggering for me.  

This is one thing I just can't do.  Gloves drive me nuts.  BUT for some people it's a great subtle thing to use outside of the house.  Great for people that pull while driving or watching tv! 

I know, sounds silly.  I know some people swear by their Tangle toys.  Sometimes just sitting with some silly putty or a rubix cube type toy can keep your hands busy.  It's making the choice to pick one of these up before you start to pull that can be difficult. 

This is just a drop in the bucket.  There are many things that work for people, and what works for one may not work for another.  Again- these aren't going to "cure" anything, but it may help you become more mindful and challenge yourself to say "I could pull this hair or pick this spot, but I really don't want to."  Now do I still want to pull? Heck yes! But I don't want to deal with the consequences.  In the moment, giving myself the chance to choose what's more important to me is huge.  It can mean the difference between a really terrible day or a great one.  

Obviously using and implementing this doesn't always work for me.  Right now I'm in a low spot.  I did wear my bandana all week, and then some, but I wouldn't say I was pull free.  I just greatly reduced my pulling.  Hey, it's something!  

What blockers do you use? What situations does it help you cope with? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kids Academy Learning App Review

Disclosure:  I was compensated for this blog post by Kids Academy Company.  Kids Academy Company gave me this application to review it and write this blog post. Views expressed in this post are still, as always, 100% genuine.

Here's a link to my Amazon review, and I'll elaborate more! 

I downloaded Preschool and Kindergarten learning kids games for girls & boys ∙ Prep reading, interactive ABC, alphabet tracing, phonics song with educational app based on Montessori match letter quiz & logical math puzzle games for toddler HD by Kids Academy today.  I'm a little ashamed to say Dawson has been busy with it for almost 2 hours.  I'm having a pretty rough day, and it's better than cartoons by FAR so I'm just not going to let it bother me I guess.  I see some of you judging me and that's okay :) 

First, it downloaded quickly which was nice.  Setting up his picture, name, and setting the sounds (Yes you can turn off the music but leave on the voices! SCORE!) was super easy too.  Unfortunately little smarty pants figured out the parental control button pretty much right away.  No biggy, he wasn't interested once I showed him the rest of the app.  

I would say most of this app is tracing letters, numbers, and shapes.  If your kid isn't into tracing or isn't old enough for that kind of skill, I wouldn't bother.  The app says its for ages 0-5 but I can't imagine even 6 months ago Dawson would have had any fun with it. However, he had a blast with it today.  The rewards were spot on, and motivating him with fireflies worked beautifully.  He's been doing the same numbers over and over and seems to be happy with that.  Dawson knows most of his letters and numbers, so for him the letter identification part of the app is not terribly educational for him.  I can honestly say he hasn't paid much attention to lowercase letters until looking at this though and now he's very excited that the big K has a baby.  Adorable :) He's also learning the sounds letters make through this and I think that will be beneficial.  Dawson seems to learn much better from a device or a TV show than he does from us, his parents, because you know.. we are the dumbest people alive (if you ask him.) 

$9.99 seems like a lot for an app, but we don't have cable television so splurging once in a while for entertainment that's a little more on the educational side and hands on works for us.  Maybe not for everyone though!  We are glad to have added it to our little app collection! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

23 weeks down, 17-ish to go!

This was a rough day.. Boy do I feel round!

How far along? 23 weeks 4 days.. Baby is the size of a grapefruit! Doesn't that seem smaller than a papaya?  Weird.  

Weight gain? According to my home scale I'm at my pre pregnancy weight.  So +/- 0.  

Belly button? Looks ridiculously odd. I don't think it will pop this time.  It didn't with Dawson.  

Wedding rings on or off? Still on. 

Movement? Pretty consistent.  She's a wiggler.  

Maternity clothes? Yep.  I actually picked up a few more pairs of shorts and a dress this week since our weather seems to be warming up.  Although it's supposed to rain today.  Make up your mind, Oregon! 

Symptoms? Feeling? Nausea is nearly all day still but I do have moments where I feel okay.  I've thrown up more this week than I have in a while, but I seem to be staying hydrated. I'm not hungry at all though.  The only time I seem to be getting hungry is the middle of the night and first thing in the morning.  My hips hurt so bad I could cry (and I totally have.)  My tailbone is acting up again, and I've had several nasty headaches this week too.  Just full of awesomeness over here. 

Mood? Restless.  Extremely emotional, although who knows if that's pregnancy related or related to not being able to take my medication.  I'm still in nesting mode and starting to enter panic-there-aren't- enough-weekends-between-now-and-August mode.  

Missing? Sleeping on my belly.  Eating whatever I want whenever I want with no repercussions.  Sitting wherever without hurting.  Walking long distances without my back and hips killing me.  Not waddling. 

Looking forward to? Still working on a name.. So I'm looking forward to locking that in.  Putting the nursery and Dawson's big boy room together! 

Sleep? Hit and miss.  Some nights I sleep like a rock, others I can't get to sleep.  I never feel rested.  Getting comfortable is getting really difficult and rolling over on bed is killing me. 

Exercise? Yep, nope, none of that happening.  I took a walk at ikea and that's about it.  I did put my fitbit back on this week.  I haven't worn it in months.  Looks like according to fitbit, I am getting about 3000 steps a day, even when I'm just at home.  So that's good.  I wish I could be more active but I'll take what I can get. 

Any cravings? Fresh fruit.  Coffee milkshakes.  Chocolate chip cookies. 

Food aversions? Almost everything.  Nothing I actually eat sounds good, I just make myself eat it. I'm trying to just roll with things that look like they might be good.   Even some of my "safe" foods are backfiring this week.  

This week has been rough.  Dawson has been in quite the crap-tastic mood.  Monday and Tuesday there really was nothing I could do to make him happy.  He napped, and then I paid for it when he decided 1AM seemed like a good time to finally sleep.    I did get the bedroom downstairs cleaned out some and I'm feeling good about that.  I'm struggling to do much in the way of that kind of thing, though, because I just hurt so bad.  

I just feel so tired and very stressed this week.  It's been warm here and I love the nice weather, but it's been much harder to enjoy while pregnant.  When I get too hot, I get really queasy.  I haven't slept a whole lot this week either and I'm sure that's contributing to feeling yucky too.   

Our air conditioner stopped working this week and it's looking like a very costly repair.  Partner this with all the medical bills I have been paying due to hospital visits, and our inflated food cost purely for convenience and lack of energy on my part and we are hurting a bit.  Just like any other time, we will get through it.  We have also been trying to get a home equity line of credit to consolidate credit card debt and that's been more difficult than it should be.  Lately it feels like if it's not one thing it's another!  I went to see my therapist this week and she reminded me that 90 percent of these things are not things I can control, so I shouldn't try.  We won't starve, we have a roof over our heads, and we are in a much better spot than most families.  These are first world problems.  I am just going to repeat that over and over. 

Yesterday Joe and one of his co-workers installed a laundry pedestal that my dad built for me (Thanks Dad!!)  I am so excited! It's very heavy but it only took them about 20 minutes to get it in.  It will be so nice to not have to bend over (quite the job) to do laundry!  Getting our 350 pound washer up the stairs when we moved in (just Joe and I) was awful, so I had some anxiety about how hard it would be to get underneath the machines but Joe and his co-worker rocked it :) 

That's all for this week! Hopefully I have happier news to report next week :) 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Win a $250 DICK'S sporting goods gift card!

Are you a strong mom? Know one? We've got you covered, just in time for Mother's Day. , Just fill out the form and press "Submit & Pin" for a chance to win. You can also enter on Instagram by uploading a photo of a strong mom using #STRONGMOM. 

Dick's Sporting Goods is giving away 8 of these puppies!  Enter between now and May 11th to win!

What have you got to lose? It will only take 2 minutes!  You do need to have a Pinterest OR Instagram account :)


**Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  I will be compensated per entry. **