Saturday, April 30, 2011

What's New Pussycat?

So exciting news! I have been nominated for Circle of Moms Top 25 Pregnancy Journals. Woo hoo! If you would like to help me make the list, then please click through the little pink badge on the right hand side and vote for Up Mommy Creek. A big heartfelt thank you to all the readers who have voted so far! You guys all rock! The voting is open until May 18th, and you can vote once per day.

Because of this nomination, my brother actually read my blog. Previous to this, I don’t think he even knew what it looked like (although he definitely knew it existed). When Hubby posted the link about the nomination on his Facebook page, Brother Dearest commented that the blog was actually pretty good, so he threw in a vote. Now, my bro has been campaigning hard for us to name our little Peanut after him (well, for a middle name). My brother’s nickname has been Mike D. for a very long time. So he would like us to name our child Peanut (well, a real name, but we are indecisive) Mike-Dee OurLastName. For real. Needless to say, we haven’t considered it.

Yet, somehow the bargain was struck between Hubby and Brother that if Brother spread the word about the nomination, that we would consider this Mike-Dee business. So he did. And then he got interested in the outcome, since I was pretty close to the top at that time. There are 2 things I know for sure about my brother. 1 is that he is incredibly competitive. 2 is that he never lets things go. EVER. So, this has now become a personal campaign for him to win me the top spot, simply for the act of winning. He sends me morning updates about his voting, and the current status of my blog in the standings. He posts witty blurbs about it on Facebook. He is mobilizing his immense network of friends to vote for a pregnancy blog. It’s quite astounding and amusing, really. So thanks Mike D and all of Mike D’s friends. Hopefully the world of preggo-ness is a little less mystifying for you now.

Update on my sewing project (see here for more info):

After many weeks of being at a stand-still due to a malfunctioning bobbin winder on the machine (Sister-In-Law came over and confirmed it was not my incompetence. The machine is, in fact, not able to wind a bobbin), I finally just decided to use a white bobbin and purchased a pre-wound one. I had attempted to sew the pocket for the dress, and quickly discovered that in order to be able to sew a dress, you actually need to be able to sew in a straight line. Which I am not able to do. At all. Even though there are guides on the machine to make it easy. So, I decided to practice first by making a flannel baby blanket for Peanut.

The best thing about this (in my mind) was that it was super easy, since you just had to sew a square, and all the stitching would be covered up by the satin binding. And by the time I got to the binding, I would be a pro sewer. (Wait…sewer? That just spells sewer, and I know I am not a pro receptacle for waste…edit that to be seamstress.) Well, I did sew the square, in a horrendous massacre of thread and flannel. I don’t think there is even an inch of the blanket that has straight stitches. Even my Mom couldn’t say anything nice about it. It was THAT BAD. But no worries, right? It will be covered by the binding! So, I went to sew the binding, but then I broke the machine’s needle.

So really, I am the worst possible seamstress in the world. However, I will not give up! I will still attempt to sew the horrible monstrosity that will be called “dress”. A couple of you have mentioned that you are actually very good at sewing, so I may take you up on the offer for help. I think I probably have the machine set up wrong as well. This is not my forte. The good thing is that the weather has been so disgusting (it snowed today), that even if it was gloriously assembled, I wouldn’t be able to wear it yet anyway. So I will keep trying to plug along. Even though it is agonizingly painful, and incredibly embarrassing. 

Update on pregnancy:

I have entered the Twilight Zone stage. After the general miserableness (throwing up, exhausted, breaking out) of the First Trimester, the Second Trimester was like a All-Inclusive resort. I felt much better and the morning sickness eased up about midway through, and cleared up completely near the end. My skin improved. I started feeling the baby move, and so did Hubby, and it was amazing and cool, and real! I had a ton more energy, and my appetite was just right.

Well, the Third Trimester has begun, and it’s much less awesome. Things are just generally uncomfortable now. My feet are tight, my ankles are swollen, Peanut is starting to encroach on my lung space so sitting, standing, laying down, everything is uncomfortable. The awesome little kicks are starting to become creepy alien movements in my belly. You can see my belly moving and rippling. I really wonder what the heck he is doing in there. Also, he likes to perform these acrobatic feats at the most inopportune times. Mostly this involves bedtime. Also, things have started leaking. Things that have never leaked before. Very weird. Cue music…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Bit O'Politics

Ok, so it’s been awhile since I last posted. This is due to a combination of factors. Most of them are related to general laziness and a severe lack of inspiration. So we’ll just leave it at that…my apologies.

Hubby and I have been talking politics a lot lately, as this big election is coming up. This is truly one of the only times that I feel that I don’t have any choice. Going in to the poll, I think I will still not have a clear idea of who I will vote for, and that is a little bit sad, to be honest.

First, let me start off by saying that my vote probably doesn’t matter at all. I live in Stephen Harper’s riding. In a city that has not elected a different party since who knows when. In fact, Calgary is such a sure bet, that virtually none of the leaders chose to campaign here at all (cowboy hats off to the Green Party’s  Elizabeth May for actually caring enough to stop in and say hi). How pathetic is that? Candidates are not showing up to community debates in the ridings. There are barely even any election signs out. To be honest, I didn’t even know the name of the candidates in my riding (besides Mr. Harper, of course) until today. And I found them out through a daily newspaper running articles on each of the ridings. Pathetic! Just pathetic!

In a time when the country is in a fuss about low voter turnout, voter apathy, and “every vote counts” I truly feel that mine does not. In fact, my vote matters so little that I don’t even know who my choices are. When I did find out who I could opt for, I was even more discouraged.

We live in a country where you are supposed to vote for your representative, not the leader of the party. But what if I don’t want to vote for ANY of my representatives? Here are my options:

NDP: Actually, this is the best option out of the bunch. Her experience seems very relevant, she’s experienced, and she seems to have a good idea of what are the key issues in my riding.

Green: His blurb sort of lost me when he stated legalizing cannabis was a big issue in my riding. Really? I’m all for open debate on this issue, but is this really a key election issue for suburban Calgary? I think not…Other issues included the incredibly vague “economy and health care”. Sigh.

Liberal: Ok, I give you the fact that this lady has experience. But she’s 76 years old. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but when she stated senior’s issues as one of the biggest issues in my riding, she loses me there. Yes, I agree that we need to address these issues, but I somehow feel that she doesn’t have a very good pulse on my demographic. At all. Also, she stated she’s not really in favour of income splitting, as it’s no use to single parents or seniors. However, it’s of huge use to me and my family…so once again, not feeling the love. What about us middle-aged family people?

Independent: Oh man, don’t get me started. I couldn’t think of a candidate who could alienate me more than this one did with the following statement: “The biggest issue in our riding is restoring the Supremacy of God back into the running of our country, therefore defending the unborn children’s right to life.” SERIOUSLY?! Oh come on, you have got to be kidding me! The biggest issue in our riding is the amount of abortions people are getting?!?!  Needless to say, he does NOT get my vote.

Conservative: Stephen Harper. I am sure you are all familiar with him. Actually, the article said he was unavailable for comment. Guess he was "busy" with "other things". Pffft. 

(info from Metro News, Calgary)

So, putting parties aside, I suppose my best option is voting NDP. However, if we were voting for the party itself, I would not vote NDP. So, now what? And after all this agonizing and deciding, I will go in and vote, and it will not even matter that I did in the first place. Stephen Harper will win my riding by a  landslide, and I will sit back and wait to find out what the rest of Canada got to decide.

Why is it so hard to have a party that fully represents me, and candidates who fully represent their parties? Where is that party, or that leader that gets me excited about politics and wanting to vote? It seems that so many Canadians end up voting for “the lesser of the evils”. They don’t want to vote for ANY party. No wonder voter apathy is on the rise. No wonder the youth could care less about voting. There is nothing to get excited about! And even if I am interested, the options I have make me want to stay home on election day.

It was really exciting and inspirational to be in Calgary for the last municipal election. The candidates were enigmatic, they were vocal, and they ran an exciting campaign. Calgary broke out of its predictable routine and elected a young, vibrant, personable mayor with (in my opinion) great vision and ambition. While I would like to believe that this momentum will carry over into the federal election, I just don’t see it happening. I would love for one riding to shake things up and prove to the parties that they can’t just overlook Calgary and take our votes for granted, but I just don’t see that happening.

I have pretty strong views about social issues, and am usually rather firmly content with where I stand politically. This election has called that into question, for a variety of reasons. So I truly do not know what I will do on May 2. What’s a young voting Canadian in a pre-determined riding to do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep While Pregnant

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but after getting only 5 hours of restless sleep and being up since 4 this morning, I thought perhaps it was time to give it a go. It has become increasingly difficult for me to get a good night’s sleep as my pregnancy progresses. I always thought I was pretty lucky, as I never really had any sleeping issues for the first and most of the second trimester, aside from constantly falling asleep in the middle of TV shows, or at 7pm. Sure, it was tough to deal with being sleepy all the time, and I’m glad I have more energy now, but it was NEVER difficult for me to fall asleep. In fact, it was too easy. However, everything has changed in the last few weeks. As my belly gets bigger, things are getting more difficult, and it’s becoming a huge challenge to get a decent amount of sleep.

I am sure this is due to many factors. The first is that I have restless legs every evening. It drives Hubby crazy while we are sitting on the couch watching TV, but it drives me crazy when I am lying in bed trying to sleep. The second is that I have to get up to pee at least once every night, no matter how well I think I’ve planned it. So this usually means I get up about 3 or 4am, and then I have to try and get back to sleep after, which is difficult. Also, lying in bed is incredibly uncomfortable, no matter how I try and do it. My hips hurt as if I’ve been lying on the hard floor rather than a soft mattress, my arm falls asleep from lying on my side, and it’s just plain uncomfortable to suddenly have an extra 20 lbs added to your frame, most of it sticking out of your middle. This extra middle-ness also tends to have a very acrobatic baby in it, practicing at un-Godly hours of the night. Also, I have some situation specific factors which include a mentally-challenged cat, and a snoring husband. So all in all, I’m fighting an uphill battle here.

So, there is a long and a short answer to this sleep conundrum.

The short answer is this: You can’t. It’s impossible. So don’t bother trying.

The long answer is more complicated. Let me begin by addressing how I’ve attempted to rectify the aforementioned issues.

Restless legs: I have yet to find a solution for this one, although I’ve recently received some suggestions (thank you, dear readers!) which I’ve yet to try. So far I have been trying to eat bananas, as potassium is rumoured to help. I really dislike bananas, so I’ve been incorporating them into smoothies and muffins where they are masked with other tastes, and their mushy texture is eradicated. I suppose I have seen a marginal improvement, if I am being honest, but it still is an issue. I do find it really helps to take a hot bath, but usually this is only a temporary fix. So I try and have a bath before bed, and then I usually have a break long enough to fall asleep.

Middle of the night pee breaks: There is really nothing that can be done here. I try and refrain from drinking too much before bedtime, and of course to drain my bladder before bed multiple times, but this is just something that us preggos have to deal with. Short of getting a catheter, I think we are hooped here.

Uncomfortableness: This one is where you can get the most creative. I thought I had it pretty easy since I sleep on my side anyway, so I didn’t have to break any habits of sleeping on my tummy. However, I find that even my old standby fetal position does not work anymore. First I tried propping up a bunch of pillows behind me (also helps with the heartburn) like a throne, and then sleeping with a pillow under my knees. This is a back-laying position, but alleviates the issue of putting pressure on the artery and restricting blood flow (which is apparently why you “shouldn’t” sleep on your back). However, I soon found that sleeping in a semi-sitting position was too difficult, as I always want to lay on my side eventually, and then it’s just really bad for my back, as the mid back is twisted in this position. So I scrapped that. Then I started getting some hip pain in my ligaments, so I needed to start sleeping with a pillow between my knees for support, and made a nest of pillows around my head and shoulders to be more comfy. This worked for a bit, but eventually the pillow between my knees (an L-shaped nursing pillow) would end up at the bottom by my feet and I would need to wake up to rearrange everything when I needed to roll over. Finally, I caved in and obtained a Snoogle pillow, which is a pregnancy specific body pillow which is supposed to cure everything. In Canada, it is very expensive (at least I think $70 for a pillow is expensive), and so I was very reluctant to spend money on something I didn’t think would work. I found a slightly used one for much much cheaper, and so have been using that one. I have to say, it solves the problem of having to rearrange every time I turn over, since it’s just one piece, so I just flip over and the part between my knees can go either way. I use it with my L-shaped nursing pillow by my head so that it basically works no matter which way I turn. By no means am I comfy, but it is an improvement there.

This is a Snoogle. I use the smaller end between my knees. It is a very odd looking thing...can nothing be cute in pregnancy?!?

Then there are the factors beyond my control. I cannot make my little baby stop practicing his jumping jacks, or swimming his laps, or whatever the heck he is doing inside there at 4am. I also cannot help my mental midget Kitty. Believe me, I have tried. But I can’t keep her from crawling onto my chest and purring in happiness. If I lock her out of the bedroom, she sets herself up so that she bangs on the door with her back legs like Thumper. And this is infinitely more annoying. Also, I can’t help her from scratching on the bathroom door so she can go in and worship her faucet. In fact, this has become slightly more annoying since we put those plastic claw covers on her, since now she squeaks when she scratches. Sigh. If I could help her, I would, but unfortunately she is just beyond help…Snoring Hubby is also a challenge. I usually just elbow him and tell him to roll over, and this buys me 20 minutes where I can try and quickly fall asleep again.

So, there it is. My sleep plan. While I haven’t found a solution, I have figured out how to make it slightly more tolerable. I know this is just going to get worse in the next 3 months, and then I will have sleep issues of a completely different nature once my little gymnast gets his lungs working. I suppose this is just the preparation for what is to come…crap.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Happens When Hubby is Away...

Ok, so it's a beautiful Sunday morning, and Hubby decided to go skiing, since he had some lift passes to use up. He left at an un-Godly hour this morning, and of course since my sleep is very sporadic lately on my giant nest of pillows, I was up at 6:30 with him. Sigh.

I started with the plan that I would try and re-start my sewing project, and went to Wal-mart to find the bobbin winder so perfectly presented online, to find that they do not carry it in store. I guess I have to actually go to a sewing store. Which is very intimidating. So instead I came home and did something I can actually do pretty well: make food.

It started out with me feeling pretty guilty (see Mommy Guilt) about my eating habits lately, which have been pretty atrocious, since I have been leaning towards comfort foods (read full of fat and cheesy goodness). Being preggers, I feel like maybe I should make a better effort, so I wanted to make some relatively wholesome food today.

I found a recipe for Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins and thought these would be a must. I am trying to eat more bananas, since I have this pregnancy related restless leg thingy that happens every night while watching tv, and it's driving both Hubby and me crazy. Mostly Hubby though. So apparently potassium helps with that. But I hate bananas. So I usually put them in smoothies where they are disguised by more delicious fruits. So this recipe was perfect, and it fit the wholesome bill, since they are made with whole wheat flour and applesauce and blueberries and bananas. All good. And they taste delicious too; nice and moist. Big win there.

After that, I was still pretty bored, so I thought I would make a refreshing dessert (I originally typed desert, but that would be pretty silly wouldn't it? Since when have you heard of a refreshing desert?). My mom had us over for dinner a while back and made Gordon Ramsay's Lemon Posset for dessert, so I tried it myself. Man, is it easy! And it tastes sooo delicious. I also think this sort of fits the wholesome bill, even though it's only whipping cream, sugar and lemon juice. Mostly, I think it fits because it's stopping me from eating a chocolate bar, or 10 cookies for dessert. For those of us not in Britain, "double cream" is something we don't have the closest we can get is whipping cream. It works fine. Also, caster sugar is apparently just super fine sugar. The more you know. 

And then I started thinking about how I wanted to make something for dinner as well, even though there are tons of leftovers in the fridge. But that's what happens when I have all of Sunday home alone. I make food. So I picked up some sole to make some graham-crusted sole. This was lacklustre at best when finished, so I won't even bother posting the recipe. And I thought I would try making risotto for the first time ever. So I tried Red Pepper Risotto. I have never tasted risotto before, but I have to say that this is my new favourite thing. Oh my gosh it was sooooo delicious. I ate like 3 servings of it, and I'm dreaming about eating it tomorrow for lunch. I think red peppers are my new favourite flavour. Also, I couldn't forgo the cheese all together today, so that probably helped endear the dish to my heart...And then I roasted some asparagus, to keep in line with the more veggies and goodness thing (and dumped some parmesan cheese on it too...I just can't stop myself!).

Anyway, it all turned out delicious (except for the average-at-best fish), and Hubby appreciated my efforts. He can't wait until I am home from work and can "make delicious food all the time". Rrrriiigghhhttt...

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Very Special Cause

I was contacted by email to see if I could publish a post about a struggle one brave Canadian family is enduring right now.

The story is about a woman named Camara, and her adorable little girl named Anaya. Anaya was born with Infantile Krabbe Leukodystrophy; a rare, terminal disease with an average life expectancy of 2 years. You may have heard of this family's journey on CBC (the link is here). Anaya is fed breast milk to keep her alive, and so the family is in need of donated breast milk. There is also an Initiative which has been set up to cover various needs for Anaya. Here is what Anaya needs in Camara's own words:  

"I'm looking for breast milk donations for my daughter Anaya. She is terminally ill with Krabbe Leukodystrophy. We were told to expect her to die at 13 months. She is now 18 months old thanks to breast milk! She does not tolerate formula. Please, please help me keep my baby alive. We can have milk shipped from any city in Canada."

You can read more about it on The Anaya Initiative Facebook Page or on Camara's Blog

Please take the time to check out the links, to donate if possible, and to share the story with as many people as you can. It's comforting to know that so many people have helped already so that they can enjoy every precious moment with Anaya. Hopefully this family can have some peace and healing in such a difficult and trying time. Thoughts and prayers are with you Anaya and family! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nothing but Failure...

I am seriously getting discouraged with this whole sewing thing. I was this close to throwing the bobbin and the bobbin case out the window this morning. The only thing stopping me was that there is a massive snow storm (oh yeah, another thing that has me super cheery today...) and I didn't want to get cold, since the room was nice and toasty. So instead, I threw them on the carpet and stormed out of the room.

The thing about it, is that it's not my ineptitude that is causing the problem, it's that the machine won't wind a bobbin. (I am a little bit proud of myself for knowing what a bobbin is now). So even if I can eventually get it to wind a bit, it's all uneven, and then I can't sew because the whole thing falls apart underneath, and I have to start all over again. And every time I have to start again, my frustration level rises until I eventually had a Chernobyl-like breakdown and stormed downstairs. I didn't even get to sew 1 crooked stitch (which WOULD be due to my ineptitude...apparently sewing straight is not something I possess in my skill set). Hubby has wisely not said anything and is upstairs hiding until he judges it to be safe to come down.

I did start on my dress, and definitely realized I am in over my head, but I know that I will try and finish it, even if it looks hideous. I thought I might try and sew a simple flannel blanket for Baby, since it is really very easy (just stitch in a straight-ish line 4 times), and would give me some practice for the dress. Well, I haven't even been able to get past pinning the blanket because of the machine, and so I am in severe danger of giving up. I am the type of person who needs to have some successes if I am to continue doing something. Having nothing but failures is very dangerous, and leads to me getting so upset I never pick it up again. Which is very common, and most likely why I have absolutely no hobbies. It is not feasible that I can do things well on the first try, but if I can't, then I quit. Sigh...

Anyway, I looked online and it seems that you can purchase a bobbin-winder device for a rather small fee. So once the condo people dig us out of our house, I will head into the Large Store of Insanity (i.e. Wal-Mart) and pick one up and try again. At least that is the plan.

So now I am sitting here fuming at an inanimate object. And I can't even go for a walk to clear my head because I don't own snowshoes. Perhaps I should go and bake something. At least I know I am pretty decent at that, plus it has the added bonus of me getting to devour whatever sweet deliciousness that results to ease my pain.

I will most likely make this: Pioneer Woman's Raspberry Crisp (delicious, but still slightly "healthy")

But I wish I could make this: How Sweet Eats' Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake
(Stupid snowstorm is keeping me from getting the required ingredients...)

Also, I wish I could finish a nice bottle of red wine as well, but I guess that is not the best thing for a preggo to be doing these days...


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