Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

I'd love it if you would follow my blog!

24 May 2011

Children's Rights

A while back I was asked to address the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) ('Cliff notes here'). This request was made by Eric Potter who runs a great blog that you can find here:http://parentalrightstn.blogspot.com/

Anyway, I hadn't really thought too much about this at the time because we were pretty knee deep in DOMA and other things legislation-wise that had me calling my representatives (and writing here about it and getting my husband to bug his representatives and calling to convince my family and friends to get on the phone too!... Man, that makes me sound obnoxious... If you're just now joining my blog be warned, but I promise I'm worth it, or at least I hope I am!) So, what makes me think of this now? I had came across two passages in my reading today in two completely different places that jolted my mind right back here. So, sorry for the delay Eric, but thank you for your request.

First and foremost you have to understand that I'm leery of new legislation in general. I grow concerned over government control that seems to be effecting every aspect of our lives (don't believe me? Google the Nebo school district in UT and their plans to monitor your whole families eating habits. I wonder what happens when the data you provide doesn't match what 'they' want? Then look up children getting weighed in front of their peers at school? Are we looking for public ridicule here to move us to action/change in health? I'm pretty sure the bullies have enough ammo if your child is overweight, they don't need numbers. And CA, oh dear sweet CA, now the schools are in charge of deeming if your child is under or overweight. And if they are? You are REQUIRED to take them to the Dr and to follow their rules and noncompliance will get you reported to CPS. Good intentioned, yes, scary slippery slope to losing your child? Yes!! I may be pro health/fitness and good diet and teach my children the same, for better or worse they've been exposed to so much that they'll give you lectures and keep you on your toes about what's in your food, but if I were to feed them fast food or could only afford the processed junk that's at the grocery store, then that's what we'd do! It doesn't change the fact that I love my children and want the best for them. I don't think them being taken to foster care even though they're eating and being cared for qualifies as abuse.) Anyway! While the cliff notes on CRC provided by good ol' UNICEF provide explanations that are 'no brainers' I can't help but read the find print.

Is anything taken at face value today? I question the interpretation given to these articles because I know how well they're written and what they'll evolve into.... And once they've evolved there's no going back to the pretty outline. Of course we want our children to feel safe and to be given the basic necessities of life (that'd be clean water, shelter, etc., sorry cell phones, computers, cars and TV's are not rights!) Does this need to be legislated? Perhaps if we lived in another country I would feel differently on this matter, but I see too far into it to feel safe pushing this act. And I've watched the unraveling of the constitution to where it's now referred to as just a "suggestion," and that bothers me.

UNICEF does great things, don't get me wrong. However, they are so pro sexualization of children it's frightening, and oddly they think they're protecting them from this! Children's rights goes beyond the fluffy exterior and straight into a world where parents no longer have control. While the articles profess that government will not overrule the parent as long as the child is being treated well, who's to say what is "well"? I feel it's not only my right but my duty to school my children in right and wrong and to guard them from what is inappropriate based on age. A free right to accessing all media as is stated in one article is just down right scary to me! I don't even think most adults need to be accessing what's available!

So, what prompted tonight's ramblings was an article I read earlier that you can find here. In a nutshell the parents of a 4 month old have not told anyone what the gender of their child is, not even grandparents. The reasoning? They don't want the child to feel pressured into being boy or girl and want the child to choose for 'it's' self who they'll be. K. I don't know what to say about this one, but it made me scratch my head and send it to my husband. Regardless of my personal thoughts though, hey, it's their kid! While I think gender defines us (I mean just about everything on the planet from humans to plants and trees are male and female), they're within their right to raise their child this way and I'm not going to be running to make a law to prohibit it :-). It's interesting to me though that we ask a child to choose a way without them really knowing their options and what the consequences are for certain chooses.

Which then was a topic in Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young. (As a side note this book is fabulous, I'm loving it and am really excited that they sent me an extra copy to Giveaway to you! I'll let you know how to win it when I write my review later this month). They brought up some very interesting points and ones that my husband and I have discussed a lot lately... especially every time we drive by the high school and the sign is flashing to go 15 MPH. Yah, the speed limit by the elementary schools is faster than that! What are we raising here? Anyway, some of the things the Young's wrote about is how we're preparing our sons. We have a reverse model of how to raise our children. 'Here, make your own choices, get all you want, but you don't have to deal with the responsibility that comes with those choices.' My favorite example from the book is how stressed our our society is that schools are serving French fries and sodas at the schools and so we worry that they'll choose those, and yet we're all for sexual education and the idea that it's totally fine for children to experiment with those behaviors. Huh? I'm pretty sure your child's choice to engage in behaviors that are emotionally out of their league and could end in BIG consequences is more pressing then if they ingest a few extra calories a day.

Basically the end point was we treat our children like children until they're 18 and then all the sudden turn them loose and wonder why they're not prepared. Conversely, given too much freedom to make choices on everything also leaves them ill prepared. Weird huh? Guess there isn't a one size fits all to this parenting thing, we actually have to spend time with our kids, figure out their individual needs and then adjust as needed. There's no amount of legislation or self-help books that is going to give you the magic key to this, you have to do the work.

So back to Children's Rights... what do you think? I personally have seen enough acts being as one thing and then turn their ugly head as soon as possible. Of course religious groups are okay with the wording, it's been written so that they would be! Duh. Might we go back to CEDAW and how accepting that has opened up the grounds for pro-abortion groups in countries that once prohibited abortion.... they were told they were violating the treaty even though there is nothing that even closely refers to abortion in the treaty!

WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!! Don't let what looks fine on the outside be a cause for you to encourage and/or look the other way. As a homeschooler I feel that my right to do so is being threatened when parents that do send their children to school allow the school/government to take a majority role in their children's lives. Are we really going to give someone else the ability to raise our child in every aspect of their lives? If we charge the schools with providing all the needs of our children guess what... THEY WILL! And do you know who becomes obsolete? YOU AND ME. Cause once they have you, they're going to want more and will come after me. Take a stand. I don't care where your child is educated, you need to do what is right for you and your own family, but please be involved! Watch what's happening around you and if you're not okay with something SPEAK UP! So many people irritate me to no end because they talk about all the horrible things their children face in school and how sad they think it is, and then pretty much end with "oh well." What? YOU HAVE POWER, YOU HAVE A VOICE... USE IT!! THE OPPOSITION IS MUCH SMALLER, BUT THEY'RE VERY LOUD AND THEY WILL WIN IF YOU CHOOSE TO BE SILENT.

21 May 2011

My Educational Goals

I posted the other day about The Mother's Educational Course, and have been busy gathering my resources and setting my goals/plans ever since. So, this morning I actually posted my goals/plans with their yahoo group and wanted to repost them here. I'll add hyperlinks and stuff later, but I at least wanted to put up my thoughts in both places in case anyone else was looking for some encouragement or a buddy to study a long with. As a side note, I don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed by my plans... if you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty intense person when it comes to me and I don't expect others to be quite so masochistic (for instance, a marathon and Ironman triathlon are on my short list of goals fitness-wise, and my hope for you is just that you'll attempt a 5k or sprint triathlon, see... I'm realistic :-D). As for all that I have planned "educationally." you have to understand that I'm using this as a way to keep my brain busy cheaply. I REALLY wanted to do a Master's program, but couldn't find $10,000 laying around, so this is great for me and I love the focus on Divinity, I think that will make a big difference for me and my family in a way that yet another piece of paper with my name on it never will (not that I won't be going after more of those, it just isn't in the plans at the moment).
As for time, well, that is always and interesting question isn't it? I like to study/learn before my children wake up, while they're awake, while they're napping or having quiet time (if I don't have to nap myself and sometimes I get to do both), and after they go to bed. We don't watch tv, so that frees up a lot of time... with kids in bed by 7:30 that leaves some good daylight and waking hours for both my husband and I to read/research before retiring. Plus, I have to admit, the added pregnancy insomnia helps me get in a lot of extra reading! These timeframes are also what I use for exercise.... I really like this quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. I spend time teaching and being with my children, but I think it's also good for them to have the chance to see me actively doing what I'm asking of them. Anyway! Without further ado, here's how I'm going to finish out 2011 and if one or more things on my list sound like something that you'd like to do, by all means join me!:

"I figure writing things out is a good method to figuring out how I want to go
about accomplishing my goals/plans. Accountability is a good thing :-).

I spent this week collecting my resources and settling out what I need to do, so
here it goes. With just a focus on the main "core" of study:

-I will read at least one verse from the Book of Mormon everyday.
-I will study for Gospel Doctrine using the New Testament, my student guide
(well, the teachers guide is what's available online, so I use that), The Life
and Teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles (which was sitting on my shelf,
which is a bonus!), and Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families (which I
purchased from Seagull book Mon or Tues and just got last night, so excited!)
-I will prepare for Relief Society each week either from Gospel Principles,
Ensign, etc.
-I will read the Ensign each month cover to cover (the church has it available
to download as a book on the iPad, it's fantastic, I highly recommend it and
love that I don't have more magazines accumulating).
-I will read and memorize at least one hymn/primary song a month.
-I will read Jesus the Christ.
-I will read To The Rescue (that also came in my Seagull order).
-I will study once a week from Preach my Gospel.
-I will read whatever article is mentioned in the section on Thomas S Monson for
the month.
-And I will record my thoughts and feelings during these readings in my journal.

-I will read an article from the Education and Literacy section under provident
living each month.
-I will read an article from The Parents Review each month.
-I will read Charlotte Mason Vol 3.
-I will read Teach ye Diligently (I'm REALLY excited about this one after
reading the reviews on goodreads and can't wait for it to get here!)
-I will read Arm the Children (which I've wanted to read for some time, I've
heard it is wonderful and what's not to love about the title? Definitely
applicable, can't wait for that to get here too!)

-I will learn to play the Mandolin (waiting for my beginners book to get here...
the poor mandolin has been traipsing the world with us for 10 years, so glad to
get a kick to learn it, which I'm hoping will inspire my husband to learn it
too. He bought it before we were married but hasn't taken the time to learn
it... my kids are fascinated by it too. Here's to starting a new family
tradition! Hopefully the husbands guitar skills will rub off on me along the
way too.)
-I will set up a practice schedule each day to practice even 10 minutes.
-I will play for our family talent show at the end of the year.
-I will improve my piano playing as well.

Langauge (Japanese)
-I will learn the alphabet, numbers 1-100, and 50 nouns.
-I will learn 1 song.
-I will read 2 books in the Book of Mormon.

and I will work towards:
-reading 5 books in the Book of Mormon.
-knowing 150 nouns, 50 verbs & conjugates, 25 adjectives, 25 phrases and numbers
1-1 million.
-knowing 6 songs
-and reading 1 Liahona

and then to:
-reading the whole Book of Mormon
-reading 3 Liahonas
-knowing 12 sonds
-reciting the Articles of Faith
-and practicing with a native speaker (or my perfectionist husband and other
returned missionaries from Japan.)

In order to fulfill my language goals I will continue using
http://hiraganamama.wordpress.com/ who I found and have been dependent on since
the beginning of the year when I first set out to teach myself and my children
Japanese. I'll also be using alphabet and other children's books that my
husband sent back from Japan when he was working there last year.
I also ordered my own Japanese Book of Mormon, a family hymnal, and a copy of
Gospel Principles to use in my studies, and I will continue to use our
children's songbook that we've had since my oldest was a baby (I'm slow, but we
know about 3 songs from memory).

I know there's a lot set out before me, but I do believe that as we strive and
continue to go forward that our ability to handle hard things and to improve and
increase in learning gets magnified. I'm excited for this opportunity to focus
my thoughts and honestly the biggest blessing is being able to structure and
fulfill things that I've already wanted to do! So, thank you for mapping things
out so my brain didn't have to, and now armed with almost all my resources I'm
reading to go forward!

18 May 2011

I Can Finally See My Followers!

Okay, so with that being said, the winners of a $10 Amazon gift card are.......

#8 Shawntae Hartson


#32 Clover and Steven Espinoza!

Thank you both for helping me get the numbers that I needed to apply for TOS's Homeschool Crew! Please leave me a message with where I should send your card and I hope you put it towards something fun!

17 May 2011

Good Things Coming!!

So, after my last post I've been trying to get my life back... and in between midday naps and crazy nausea (my poor husband, he really wants a girl, but if this doesn't quit in the next week or two I'm pretty sure we'll be welcoming another boy! Our one and only daughter is the only time that I wasn't sick for 9 months and got to enjoy some of the "oh, you'll feel much better in the second trimester" comments that the liars told me when pregnant with my first (a boy). The only relief I got with him and subsequent males is when they were born... I guess we'll really be solidifying the trend if this keeps up!) , okay, refocusing, I've done a pretty good job of getting things back together.

Last week some saintly friends took our children, (the older two to one friend and the younger two to another), and we were able to go to the LDS temple in Albuquerque which is a good little drive from here, so we stayed the night at a nearby Air Force base, it was great! The one thought that kept popping into my mind while I was there was about my education and spiritual goals and how that would influence my children, shocking huh? *laugh* Here I am pulling my hair out not knowing how things are going to come together but really feeling like I just need to do something and who knew? That was my answer. GET GOING. Sunday comes and just my oldest son and I go to church (we had one runny nose, a perpetually screaming child, and one that just wanted to spend time with dad since he has to leave soon), so it was a fairly quiet meeting. The overall spirit of the room was oddly calming and inspiring, the talks were on goals (anyone else feel like they catered this just to me?), and I got hit by the thought that I needed to come home and take a look at A Mother's Educational Course for Latter-day Saints. I found this website a while ago and thought it was incredible so I joined their yahoo group, got all jazzed and year after year I have not actually written out goals and determined to follow the schedules these amazing women have put together. I get updates in my email, so I've pretty much stalked this group for over 3 YEARS, and I was not even remotely thinking about them at the time this thought popped into my head. So... I guess that was my sign it was time that I make some strides to get on board with them! I wrote an introduction to them on Sunday when I got home so now I would be accountable and not hiding in the background, and I've ordered books and resources to help me stay on task and increase my knowledge. I have to tell you I'M TERRIFIED. Which for me means that I'm on the right road to stability for myself and family and the adversary is going to play head games with me until I can officially start and shut him down. I may be a bit overwhelmed, but not in the way I was last week... this is different. I'm different. I'm excited and so impressed that this was sitting right in front of me all along and the whole last month and getting knocked down to what felt like nothing opened the door to where I was finally able accept and embrace something different in my life. I'm usually able to direct everything myself, but I needed this to help find some direction so that I could do that once more, and my Father knew where I needed to look.

Anyway! I feel like this is the answer I've been looking for both me and my children and wanted to share it with you. The course outlines and everything being offered is free (which is my favorite number!) I appreciate the kick and redirection as well as the ability to interact with others embarking on your same field of study or studies, and there's a certain element of encouragement and accountability that is sometimes lacking in your everyday life. So, that's my first good thing that I'm working on!

Secondly.... drum roll!!!!!!!!

I MADE THE TOS CREW FOR THE 2011-2012 SCHOOL YEAR! I'm really excited about this! I've enjoyed reading review posts over at Our Busy Homeschool and have wanted to have the opportunity to share some of the same experiences with my children. As TJed-er's of sorts, we don't really have too many "set" things throughout the day or curriculum that we rely on too much. We like a lot of things and find them to be great resources, but we change at a moments notice and just try to have fun and enjoy things as they come. I felt like reviewing curriculums/products would be especially fun because when something showed up we'd have something most likely completely new and that I hadn't thought of (I'm not really a creative person, can you tell?) So! I thought this would be great for all of us here to shake things up especially during times when dad is away, so I'm super excited to have found out that I made it! From what I know we should start getting things to review come June, and I can't wait to share those with you!

Which then leads me to finally rewarding my followers for their efforts to help get me to the minimum number of followers needed so that I could apply in the first place! I don't have the cool little box thing that other giveaways have, I'll have to find that sometime, but here is the data from the website I use to randomize the winners, that's right! Because I'm excited about my new direction I'm giving away 2 Amazon gift cards!

Research Randomizer Results

1 Set of 2 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 33 -- Unsorted

Job Status:

Set #1:
32, 8

So.... well, I was going to tell you who had those numbers but I can't for the life of me pull up my followers at the moment wither through blogger or on my page, weird! Okay, well, stay tuned for the next post and I'll let you know that and then you can send me your information so I can get you your card! You'll have 48 hours to claim your prize (that way I know you are really reading this ramble :-D), after that I'll be picking another winner and so on until both cards are claimed. Good luck!

10 May 2011

A Little Overwhelmed

Today as I get ready for the day, I'm actually a little scared. As I consider what I want to do and how to inspire my children my mind has drawn a blank. I spent some time reading through past Daily Inspire emails that I get through Tjed Online to try and gain some needed inspiration and I'm just stuck! I think I've read so much about curriculum's that people are starting that I'm doubting myself.... add to that the fact that I'm just getting back to running my household, and it's a recipe for disaster. (Speaking of which, if you remember my post on Learning to Work might I throw in that RETEACHING your children all those lovely habits after they have done little more than veg in front of the computer for about a month is not fun... it's even less fun than the initial learning process. Unfortunately, despite my desperate plea that the children at least do their daily stewardships while I was down, my husband was a little to overwhelmed himself and the children didn't do anything. And I blame them getting the stomach flu on the fact that not everything was wiped down at least once a week with Clorox Anywhere Spray. Regardless, it is all really my fault, I've made my husband pretty obsolete as far as doing things around the house and I actually don't apologize for that but the explanation will probably have to have it's own post! Here's to hoping things work like clockwork after this baby comes and the children don't need the directions to get their work finished.... they would have this time but the computer spoiled their brains.) :-)

So, as to my difficulties today as I contemplate facing my children. My husband and I have a vision for our children. We have desires and hopes for them that they will cultivate a love for learning and an appreciation for the world around them. We desire that they will learn to work for what they receive and understand that they are a part of humanity and that they need to give just as much or more than they get. Our vision of life down the road includes scholarly discussions with children who come to us with topics that they've chosen and set off to engross themselves in and enrich the rest of our lives with their insights. We see congregating in front of a fire or lantern and discussing the scriptures with each other. I can see everything that we want, and I normally have no problem keeping that in perspective, but my path is considerable cloudy as I try to get my life back at the moment. I'm pretty spoiled, we decided early on that we wanted to homeschool, and we figured out when our oldest was 3 that the Thomas Jefferson Education Philosophy made the most sense to us. So, we've never had to "come off the conveyor belt" and reprogram our children.... until now. My children need to be reprogramed and I fear that my lack of energy will take us no where. Which then leads me to want to rely on some kind of curriculum, which is fine but can get very convoluted very quickly so that makes me a little leery.

Solution? Well, I have no idea... hence sending my thoughts out into the abyss :-). I know that baby steps will at least do something, so I'm going to focus on reading and trying to help draw my children in today. While breakfast is getting ready we'll open the scriptures, and after breakfast I'll set a timer to see how much of a stewardship we can get finished in 15 minutes, and then I think we'll grab our Little House in the Big Woods book that we've been reading aloud and perhaps I'll pull out a puzzle or some pattern blocks that little hands can play with while we learn about the Ingall's life (which we think is pretty fascinating.)

Anyway, I know we'll get where we're going so long as we never stop. I don't want to miss the learning and teaching opportunities that are available to me and my children at this time in their life, but I thought you should know that I get overwhelmed too! I definitely have had a lot of "what am I doing?!" moments lately and I felt like my readers needed to see the imperfection that lays beyond my carefree exterior. I do know that I'm the best teacher for my children (well, not at the moment, but that's just one of those deep down truths that I can't change despite myself and will eventually re-realize when the superficial stuff that's bogging my mind wears away), so pressing onward we must go!

05 May 2011

Running Crazy

Nothing like an attempt to get moving to make you feel a little crazy, regardless of where you're starting from! My husband always does something to get his heart rate up, even if it's a 20 minute go on the treadmill, and states the the problem with American's is that we think we have to do big grand things and then when our schedules and life get in the way of our plan and then we do nothing instead of even just a little something. Does that make sense?

Anyway, for a lot of people just getting started with some kind of fitness routine and sometimes the whole staying with that and putting it as a priority is tough! I'm with yah! I was never a runner until my brain conjured up visions of being one after baby #4, and viola, a crazed runner was born! I've put more mileage in over the last year that I have over the course of my whole life! The husband also made an observation about why it's so hard to get started.... because it is! After recovering from hernia surgery at the beginning of the year and being down for about 6 weeks, my man that used to run 7-8 miles daily was now having a really hard time getting back. So, it just confirmed to him that you really just have to stick with something to get good at it. It is hard for a bit, and then it gets easy! Simple, I know, but it's the truth! Feel free to test out our hypothesis :-).

Okay, so why I'm really writing this is because I'm going out of my mind! *laugh* (I don't know that I was ever officially IN my mind, but you know what I mean!) We hit the track yesterday as a family, and even though I had intentions to walk I at least wanted to TRY to get a few 'jogged' steps in. Yah, at about 3 I realized that this just wasn't going to happen, OH THE PAIN! Yes, yes, I can walk, so I did that for about 3 miles, but I really miss running these days! I couldn't do my last triathlon of the season in April because I was recovering, so I'm planning to do a 5k next month (I knew I was going to do that puppy even if I had to crawl! At least I can walk :-)). But I really would like to go faster than that! I may not win my age category like I did last year, but the competitor in me would really like to at least finish before those that are doing the 10k get back!

Turns out your body heals REALLY slowly while you're pregnant. Boo! I realized that my stitches still haven't gone away, so the internal healing is super slow.... which may have something to do with the whole stomach muscles naturally expanding plus having to mend. Anyway, my irritation is your gain. I've found fun stuff that motivates me even though I can't do a whole lot at the moment!

Cafe Press has some awesome shirts, they're great quality and I got mine at a super discount thanks to active.com:

I found some Running Skirts and there's even longer ones that are more modest:

I picked up a couple books:
Kara Goucher's Running for Women (she actually suggested running skirts, hence me looking. The husband thinks they're weird, I think it might be comfy and worth a try!) Anyway, her book is pretty straight forward, nothing fancy. Just encouragement and what she's done. A few training and eating ideas and some extra information for pregnancy and after... it's kind of comforting to know that she went a little nuts not being able to move as well as before too!

Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules. Both very well done. Michael is an investigative journalist who started researching food a few years back and has come up with a lot of the same realizations that many of you reading this have. His overall message is "eat food, not too much and mostly plants." It's nice to be reminded of why we we do the things we do. I mean buying organic and plant material for an ever growing family is not a cheap venture, but both my husband and I know that it's important, so we budget more for food now and stay away from processed stuff so that we don't have to pay the dr.'s bills later :-)

I revamped a quote that was bugging me:
This bugs me to no end! I get what they're trying to say, but I don't like the message. So, on the little white board in my kitchen I changed it to "Nothing tastes as good as being healthy and fit feels!" Hey, there are plenty of sick skinny people in the world. Being healthy and strong has very little to do with being skinny! I want my children to grow up strong and confident in who they are regardless of size. Standing at all of 5'6" my super active husband with the nickname "PT Nazi" (lovingly given to him by the people that he would run into the ground for physical training) is considered overweight on the BMI scale. He is the picture of health and can run circles around people, myself included. On the flip side, I have a friend who's daughter is within the BMI recommendations and she is sick, she's too skinny and thinks she should be more so and that's leading to eating disorders at a very young age. So, health is the main goal here!

I found out that the Air Force Marathon in Ohio is a qualifying race for Boston (neither race is on a Sunday!!! That's huge!)

And last but not least, I found a blog of an old friend who started a series called 5k Friday. I find it motivating, and Darci is quite possibly the most creative person on the planet, so she's worth taking a look at! She's also the reason I went out and picked up food rules because of a post that she did on it here.

K, so, those are the things that have been on my mind and I've used to try and soothe the fact that I'm just not at the point that I can run yet. However, I can do SOMETHING and so can you! I like to take the kids out and we walk 2-3 miles. If you can run/walk stairs for 10 minutes or to a few jumping jacks, or pop in a fitness DVD (I'm still a BIG fan of Lindsay Brin at www.momsintofitness.com/">momsintofitness.com and she has some free 5 minute web clips you can workout with. Her regular DVD's are broken down too so that you don't have to spend much time and you get a great workout! The kids can join if you want, or you can do it before they wake up/at naptime/or when they're in bed.

JUST DO SOMETHING! And let me know what you did :-). I really like to hear about people signing up for events... they're awesome, motivating, and I personally found out that last year that I can't live without them and that they're worth every penny! There's nothing like putting down a registration fee to get your moving regardless of how tired and unwilling you are to do something... I'm not going to lose that cash! I realized that even with a husband who is rarely home, and lots of tiny children (including one who was only 2 months when I started training for my first triathlon) I didn't want to have to be scraped off the course, so I'd better get to work! Find a goal, write it down, be accountable to someone, and go for it! Your body and your family and friends thank you for taking that time to make sure you'll be around to enjoy life with them for years to come!

04 May 2011

Why I Don't Do Tests Offered in Pregnancy, and Then A LIttle More

So, I'm weird right? Let's just start there....

This last week I had an appointment with my midwife and it was the first time that we had met her (the husband was able to come with me). Now, one of the most important questions that we ever ask, yes, it's very near and dear to both of us, is what the provider thinks about the glucose test. **If you're unfamiliar with this test, it's usually given sometime in the 2nd trimester (between 24-28 weeks) and involves drinking a sugar mixture, then you wait an hour, do a blood draw, and from that you can kind of get an idea how your body is handling sugar. However, if you fail this test or it's inconclusive then you get the joy of a 3 hour test... drink sugar, sit for 3 hours, then blood draw.**

Now, I learned with my first pregnancy that we would be denying any screening of our baby beyond a basic ultrasound. After discussing options with our OB then we realized that half or more of the tests the offered are likely to give false-positives or false-negatives, so we really didn't see the point. Additionally, the very thought of an amniocentesis (a big long needle being stuck in your belly to extract fluid) to confirm a diagnosis that may or may not be true and that may or may not cause a miscarriage, just wasn't for us. If you do these tests that's fine by me, it's your body, not mine, you do what's right for you. MIght I throw out that my current midwife has seen over 300 positive tests for downs syndrome and that only 2 of those babies actually had it when they were born and 1 other baby she delivered had it and the test was negative? She said it was pretty terrible because the positive results really affected the bonding between the parents and child beforehand and caused some rocky roads. Anyway! That was just what I picked up this week, thankfully we realized early on our own that the stress and pressure of dealing that kind of information would be just too much and that we'd rather just deal with things as the come!

K, so the one thing that I didn't have worked out before the first baby (besides don't let people bully/scare you into an epidural, even if they're closely related to you maternally *cough* Even though my oldest is 6 I can still feel where the epidural was, no thanks! Hello natural childbirth my old friend! I'll take some pain and immediate relief once they're out any day!), okay, I'm focusing now, the one thing that I didn't have worked out was the whole glucose test thing. They said I needed it, I was nervous since I know better than to just shoot up straight sugar without having something to balance it out, but we really need to know if I have gestational diabetes because that could affect mine and baby's health... yah, I now know that's just what silly people say :-).

Alright, don't get in an uproar, yes, diabetes is serious and can cause large babies etc., but let's talk a walk down common sense lane shall we?? Have you gained an abnormal amount of weight? Are you measuring larger than you should despite how old an ultrasound says baby is? Do you have diabetes in your family? Have you had diabetes in previous pregnancies??

For MOST people, the answer is no to all of these! Do you know the percentage of women that actually have gestational diabetes? It's somewhere between 3-10% depending on the demographics of the area you're looking at. The most correct average I've seen lays around 6%. So.... we test 100% of pregnant women with this horrendous test because 6% might have it?? This is a fairly new phenomenon, the whole testing everyone thing. Before you were only tested if you answered yes to those questions above there. There is no woman that I've ever talked to that had glowing reviews of this test. Personally, I almost puked (which means you get to start all over again!), and the very thought of having to do the 3 hour test made me a ball of tears.

So, since that time I've denied the glucose test, and have come in contact with some really nasty people :-). In Korea the lady was so upset I got a good lecture, through which I stayed calm and I'm pretty sure she hated that more than anything else I could have done. She then informed me that I had to sign a waiver, to which I smiled and said okay, and that was that. Subsequently I've met some interesting people that are more holistic but still think that it's important (Yah, sorry, unless there's some huge red flag waiving about me that you think I absolutely need to take this test... yes, I would do it then.... then the answer is no), and others who I just down right catch of guard.

Here's what I've learned:
-For 25 years the medical community has known that you can use jelly beans for this lovely test. However, if you take all the information in the world to your provider they won't think anything of it. It's true though! The research is there! (this test was suggested by the more holistic midwife who surprised me with her adamants that I take the test in the first place... and then we moved and the midwife here gave me more stats as to why a blanket test for everyone was silly).
-And secondly, I don't know what it's called but there's a blood test (no sugar added :-D), that you can have drawn which gives an accurate reading of your blood for the past 3 months then the glucose test every will. I'm really not going to speculate as to why we're being subjected to a less affective test than what's available, but as always I'm thinking money probably has something to do with it.

Anyway! Ladies, do your research! Be in control of your health whatever it may be. The treatment plans for gestational diabetes involve eating right and in right portions, exercise, and monitoring baby. Really? I need a test to tell me to do what I need to be doing anyway? Maybe you do! I don't know. The point of the matter is, that I think the whole business of having babies has become so complicated and medical that people don't know where to start! I seriously got a bag on my first visit to the office that had baby formula and 10 magazines. Things you should take to the hospital, what to do about xyz. It was incredible! My favorite part?? A lot of the information was conflicting :-).

Having babies is a natural thing, promise. I'm so grateful for people that have knowledge on how to intervene when things go awry (cause they sometimes do, that's why we have ours naturally but in a hospital), but for the most part, just relax! Eat as well as you can... sometimes I can't eat at all and sometimes I need more food then I think I should eat... try to stay active, drink water and enjoy life! And remember, this baby is YOURS. Call the shots and don't let anyone pressure you or scare you into making a choice, know your options and what you can handle and make sure your spouse is on board.

Want a for instance? I am a REALLY harsh critic of pitocin. I have several friends that don't go into labor without it (including a really cute mom of 10 I met when I was pregnant with our first), so don't judge me here, I do know it has it's place and if I absolutely had to have it for some medical emergency then we'd acquiesce. However! I think my second child and the experience I had delivering her saved my forth child's life.

We had just moved back from Korea, the husband was going to be school through the Air Force full time and our daughter was due about the 2nd week of school. I have a sister who literally planned all 6 of her kids thanks to pitocin, so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal to induce her on a Friday so that the husband could have a few days off with me before going back to school (we also had a 15 month old at the time). I still get nervy when I think of all the contractions that I felt with her and how hard they were hitting on top of each other, it just wasn't right! Something went wrong with the epidural, although they don't know what and now I'm pretty sure it was just Heavenly Father saying "remember this!", so I felt everything. They got things situated, I fell asleep for a little bit, then the next thing I know nurses are flying around me and putting an oxygen mask on me. It was pretty scary, I had no idea what was going on and I didn't care for having that thing on. Turns out our daughter's blood pressure had dropped pretty severely so now they were trying to do what they could to keep from having to do a c-section. What?? I didn't even know that was a possibility. Well! I do now, and a whole lot more.

So, baby #3 we just decide to go all natural, didn't take any classes and everything was great. It was all new territory so things were a little scary (I had NO idea what transition was going to be like or how long it would last, or what it was!), so when contractions hit on top of each other without letting me relax and I was just told that I was like a 5 or 6 I wasn't sure I could last, then wouldn't you know, they checked 5 minutes later and then rushed to get the Dr. because this baby was ready!

Baby #4 had a funny delivery. Labor started and stopped a few days before he was born, then I woke up one morning and my water had broke.... which was weird because that's never happened before right before baby is born.... I'd have really strong contractions, then nothing, and that lasted ALL DAY LONG whereas normally from 1st contraction to baby for me is pretty quick. We didn't understand. I was dilating slowly but surely, but things would just stop. I was asked from 12 hours from water breaking on if I wanted to start pitocin and was happy to turn them away for hours! I knew from our little girl that stuff wasn't any good! Then when he was actually born (I just decided that he was ready at one point and decided to push contraction or not), there was a true knot in his cord! It only happens in 1% of births, and I was just lucky I guess :-). Immediately the midwife explains that she's heard before about the body slowly and starting pregnancy because it knows that if things move too quickly that knot will pull tight and there goes baby's life support! BIG NOTE TO SELF, if they would have started pitocin it would have moved him too fast and could have potential caused an emergency situation. (*I"ll spare you a picture of an umbilical cord, but this is exactly what happens to it when there's a true knot).

So, get educated, learn from experience and enjoy the ride!