As evidenced by my lack of blogging, things have been more busy than usual around here. Or maybe I am just getting VERY pregnant, and even small tasks are taking more time and energy. Last week, I figured out something I had been wondering about for years. Whenever I get to this point in pregnancy, or sometimes a little sooner, I have a recurring pain on my left side, about level with my belly button, but 5 or so inches to the left of it. It feels like a bruise on the inside of my skin being shoved on. I figured that all my kids, who like to face that way, just like sticking their limbs into this tender spot. When I mentioned it to my midwife, she immediately suspected that it is, in fact, something called "umbilical hernia", which in most cases is harmless and not that unusual. I, for one, am never bothered by it unless I am very pregnant. It did make me change a few habits, though, such as making sure I never end up having to lug our five-gallon water bottles onto the water cooler any more (they weigh over 40 lbs), and no longer picking Miriam up at all, but rather just sitting down and having her climb onto my lap. I also wear a maternity support band more often now, though not daily (like I should). These things help a lot, but as I said, most days it doesn't bother me much to begin with, only on days that I am on my feet working all day.
Keeping up with the housework is becoming a bit of a challenge. My biggest problem area is probably laundry - there is always so much of it. Most days, I run 2 or 3 loads, sometimes 4, plus a diaper load every other night. I only get around to hanging it all up and putting it away once a week. Last week, I moved Miriam into Solomon's bedroom at their mutual request, which freed up her half of our bedroom as my new laundry station. There is a partition wall from the side of the room that we sleep in to that part of the room, so I don't have to look at the undone laundry when I go to bed. The area needs some more organizing, but it has already improved the laundry flow a lot. Today, with the boys' help, we got like 12 loads hung/folded and put away, which took about two hours. As of right now, Isaac and John share a room, Solomon and Miriam share one, and my husband and I only have Becky left in our bedroom in her little toddler bed next to my side of the bed. We also have a guest bedroom/office with a spare bed in it, which is the room I am planning on having the baby in. It has lots of room to put up the birth tub, and has its own bathroom. Plus, it's on the other side of the house from the other bedrooms, which gives me the needed peace and privacy during birth.
Grocery shopping is another huge chore, considering how much food a family of 8 (remember, I am eating for two...) puts away daily. Between making meal plans and grocery lists, shopping, putting all the food away, cooking, baking all our own bread, and then washing the dishes, I probably spend a good five or six hours a day on keeping us all fed. I usually really enjoy this whole process, but it has become more of a drudgery lately as I am just almost never hungry any more, and thus rarely in the mood to cook. I think it has to do with the baby completely cramming my stomach, which beats lap band surgery any day! In the last two months, I have not gained any weight at all. I only weigh myself at the midwife's office, so I never know what to expect when I go there.
I have also noticed that it is so much easier to get work done around the house while the kids are sitting down eating, so lately, I do not eat dinner with them any more. Sometimes, I do story time while they eat, to shorten the bedtime routine. Other times, I get the kitchen cleaned up for the night, or do some other chore. As soon as they are in bed, I fix myself a dinner of whatever I am craving, and enjoy it in peace and quietness. I also like to turn on the Bible on my laptop (mp2 files, read by Alexander Scourby) during that time, or listen to preaching. Last night, I listened to Psalm 100 - 150, and it really helped me wind down and have a better day today, in spite of how much work there always is. It can be so discouraging because I feel like no matter how hard or how long I work, I am always behind, and the next day it starts all over again. But time is flying by - weeks seem like days, and the kids are growing up so fast. I know I am going to miss this craziness very soon, when they start leaving home.
Tonight for my "private" dinner, I had a yummy whole grain roll that Trader Joe's just started carrying, with butter and prosciutto, with some fresh grapes on the side. Oh, it was so good! In fact, I am thinking about having another one. The rolls are actually made in Germany, and they taste just as wonderful as I remember them. I have been trying to find something like that here for years, and was thrilled when TJ's just started having them. For some reason, whenever I am pregnant, more than anything I crave German and Hungarian foods. Lucky for me, we have a both a German bakery (which does NOT have whole grain rolls for some strange reason) and a German butcher in town. They also carry lots and lots of other German groceries, and many really nice cooking and craft magazines that I also miss.
In one of the magazines, I found directions for making a wooden puppet theater/castle, and patterns for crocheting 6 puppets to go with it (king, queen, princess, knight, jester, and dragon). I decided to make the whole set as a Christmas gift for the kids, and started working on the puppets this weekend. I am almost done with the first. They looked really fancy and complicated, but are actually pretty simple and very fun to make. Tonight and tomorrow night, I am taking a break from that project though, as I am finishing up on Becky's birthday gifts.
She is turning 2 on Wednesday - I can't believe how time has flown by! Out of all the kids, I think she looks and acts the most like me. She is very funny, and keeps us all in stitches all day long. But, like her sister was at that age, she can be very fussy, and oh so stubborn!!! Being strong-willed can be a good thing, but she takes it too far sometimes (or a lot...). I remember having that same battle, only much worse, with Miriam when she was that age. My Dad was visiting at the time, and looking on as Miriam would just throw a hysterical fit rather than give in, no matter the consequences. He gave me the parenting advice that finally got through to her: stick her in a cold shower. (Mind you, there is really no such thing as a "cold" shower in Arizona, as the outside temps are so high that even the water out of the cold tap is anywhere from lukewarm to hot depending on the time of year.) And so I did, clothes and all. It only took doing that a few times, and she has never acted like that ever again. Sure, she has her moments, but no more out-of-control hysterical fits on the floor. She was the first and only child I have ever had to resort to that with. Now she is such a sweet young girls, it's hard to imagine her ever having acted that way.
Last Friday night, our church hosted a surprise baby shower and a surprise maternity shower for two ladies in our church. Everyone knows what a baby shower is, but a maternity shower is less well known. We basically host one for all first-time moms, and focus on celebrating the pregnancy and pampering mom, with gifts for her rather than the baby (i.e. maternity clothes, body care products, etc.). My good friend from church, who always helps me with these events, came over first thing in the morning and helped all day to get the food made, decorate the building, and get everything ready. It was a lot of fun.
The weekend was busy as usual, so tonight after doing all that laundry, going grocery shopping, and dealing with the general weekend aftermath, I felt very worn out, and bedtime was still over an hour away. Solomon cracked out some glow sticks he had bought for himself and the other kids, and they played with those in the dark office while I sat and took a break. Then it was time for the boys to shower and the girls to take their baths, but I hated the idea of interrupting their playing, while at the same time not wanting to push bedtime back too much. I had the brilliant idea to tell them to shower in the dark, with only their glow sticks in the shower, and they had a blast with that. The boys usually shower on their own, but tonight they all wore trunks and showered together. When they were done, there was standing water on the bathroom floor - they got a little wild playing together. In the meantime, I bathed one girl after the other in the big kitchen sink - so much easier than trying to sit by the side of the tub with my big belly! Plus, using the kitchen sprayer makes washing and rinsing their hair a snap. I turned out the kitchen lights and they played with their glow sticks in the water. Becky finally stopped having a screaming fit every time I try to wash her hair about one week ago, which has made bath time a lot more pleasant.
Well, I better get on with those presents before it gets any later. Sorry for such a wordy post with no photos, I'll have to upload some next time. Hope everyone has a great week!