getting there...

Currently 35 weeks and already feeling so impatient, which I blame on the fact that Jake came so early (at 36 weeks). So I feel like I should have next to no time left, but in actuality we've still got at least a month. Still, it was exciting to hear my doc say yesterday that it really could be anytime from this point on. We're all so ready to meet this little boy and decide on a name already!


smoky mountain air show!

Over the weekend we went to the Smoky Mountain Air Show, the first show held in Knoxville in over 16 years apparently. (I didn't learn this until we were walking in on Saturday, so I'm glad we went!) Some friends invited us to go with them--and carpool so we could use their $40 parking pass-- so we took them up on their offer even though I was a little nervous about an entire day of huge crowds, long waits for bathrooms and overpriced food. That kind of scene is never my thing, especially not when I'm pregnant and honestly expected to spend most of the day bathroom-hopping. ;) But we had a blast!

(Side note: most of the pictures are totally overexposed. It was incredibly sunny!)

Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside; cool in the morning as we arrived and plenty warm by the time we left. Deric and I got a little sunburned but thankfully we were more vigilant with Jake's sunscreen so he was fine. When we first arrived at the airport where the show was held, hardly anyone was there. So we found a good spot to watch the afternoon show and then explored the planes parked on the tarmac. We only explored maybe one-third of the entire venue but there was plenty to see.

^checking out a helicopter first

We went inside a few of the huge airplanes and climbed up on the wings of the smaller planes to look inside the cockpits.

Inside one of the planes they had some sort of artillery...things. (Bullets, basically? I'm obviously not the person to ask.) They weighed more than Jake does--about 45 pounds--and they're all stored in what looks like a card catalog. The soldiers have to load each one individually but incredibly quickly. It was impressive!

By the time we'd walked through all the planes, the air show was starting up so we headed back to our spot on the grass. The only downfall of the day was waiting over an hour in line for cheeseburgers for lunch (and paying about $40 for food and bottled water by the time the day was over, but that's to be expected).

^'Aeroshell' planes started off the show
^You can barely see it, but the planes are circling around a skydiver holding the American flag while the anthem played at the start of the show.

The friends we went with have a little girl Jake's age and they did so well all afternoon, playing together and being goofy. I didn't pack much in the way of entertainment for Jake because I thought he'd watch the airplanes most of the time. And he did watch the planes but after an hour or so, his attention wandered. That's when his little friend came in handy and they played in our makeshift tent together off and on for the remainder of the afternoon. We weren't allowed to bring an actual tent, so Deric was smart and packed a tablecloth and those clips to hold your beach towel to your chair and rigged up a tent between the strollers. It ended up being a lifesaver because by the afternoon, it felt like July outside and we didn't want those babies frying in the sun. I stayed under there for a little while too. ;)

^the grand finale, the Blue Angels! This was the only decent picture I got; those guys are fast!

As we've talked about the air show over the last few days, it seems like the jets left the biggest impression on Jake. He really loved wearing his headphones and will tell anyone who asks about how loud the jets were. At church on Sunday, one of the teens asked him about the airplanes and Jake told him that he had to put on his earrings because they were so loud. :) Close, buddy, real close. It was overall a great day and I'm glad we braved the crowds to experience something we probably won't do again for quite a few years.


Spring Break with family

I'm a couple weeks behind in recapping what we've been up to, but what's new? ;)  During the week following Easter, both Sarah and Joel and my parents came to visit for a few days and we loved having them here at the same time! Less than an hour after my parents arrived on Monday afternoon, a deck project was underway so Deric and Dad had a pretty busy week.

^enjoying Friday night on the brand new deck

Sarah, Mom, and I provided moral support (and lunch) for the construction crew, watched the boys play together, and took them swimming a few times at my parent's hotel. Jake was quite the fish but Joel was much more like Sarah and me, who weren't so excited about the cool water and tried not to get much of ourselves wet.  We've always been a bit wimpy. Mom made smoothies for breakfast each morning and a few days in, Jake heard the blender in the kitchen and immediately shot forward with a smile on his face as he said "Is that a smoothie for me??" Grandma's smoothies are always a hit!

Both boys loved bath time together--especially with Grandad and a floating race track--and read plenty of books throughout the week. Its so fun to see them growing up together and watching the 18 month age difference slowly start to close as they get older. In no time I know they'll be running around together and causing all sorts of trouble.

Almost every night after Jake and Joel had gone to bed, the adults made a batch of banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and played Machi Koro, a game that Mom and Dad introduced to us. We all love board games and Machi Koro is a fast-paced game that allowed us to play multiple rounds each night, which is good because I usually needed another chance to try to win. What can I say, the cookies distracted me. ;)

^seriously. heart eyes everywhere.

We're always bummed when family leaves town but at least we know they'll all be back in just a few short months to meet the baby!


Easter weekend 2016

I always look forward to Easter for months, mostly because it signifies the beginning of spring and spring is hands down my favorite season. For the past two years I think, I've observed Lent in some capacity which is a relatively new experience for me and I've realized it makes Easter much more special and meaningful. Last year Deric and I gave up extra sugar and this year, Whole30 was kind of our Lent (but ended up being a major distraction, unfortunately). Still though, sacrificing in some way makes Easter something to really really look forward to-- both on a spiritual level and a chocolate level. ;)

I feel like this year we celebrated Easter all weekend long rather than just on Sunday. We didn't plan to make the whole weekend anything special, but the weekend began on Thursday night with the Seder supper at church. Its one of my favorite traditions and each year I worry if Jake will make it through a rather long dinner, but he's always done great. This year he got to drink the juice with us and break the crackers, and I love seeing his involvement in such a time-honored tradition.

On Friday Jake and I used plastic eggs to paint (for a whole five minutes, but you know). Later we went on a family date to a nearby restaurant and sat outside enjoying the sunny and warm weather. It wasn't anything too fancy but just marking it as a 'family date' (plus the gorgeous weather) made it more special.

We dyed eggs on Saturday morning which was quite the adventure and involved a million mini heart attacks on my part each time Jake narrowly missed dumping dye all over the place. But he had a good time and really got into trying different colors on the eggs and combining the colors as well.

That afternoon, we had the Easter egg hunt at church. I love that the egg hunt is actually the last part of the event and the majority of the time is spent helping the kids interact with the resurrection story in some way. We had ribs cooking away in the crockpot all day so dinner on Saturday was exceptional and easy, my favorite kind of dinner!

^showing me his basket

On Sunday morning, we all woke up nice and early with Jake. I pulled him into bed with us and to give myself a few extra minutes before starting the day, we watched the Bible for Kids app on my phone. It narrates a story from the Bible and the kids can touch various things on the screen to make people move or talk. We listened to the story of Jesus' death and then the Resurrection. In that story, Jake could touch the stone and roll it in front of the tomb and as I talked to him on the way home from lunch, I could tell that it helped solidify his understanding of that part of the story.

Speaking of, Jake was telling me about Jesus dying on the cross while we were winding down for his nap and he started it by saying, "Jesus died on the cross. Yeah and he took off his pants!" So I'm guessing that at some point he saw a picture of Jesus wearing just the loincloth deal?? Shortly after this little tidbit, he told me he was going to sing the song about Jesus on the cross. He's been really into songs lately but usually changes the lyrics to include trucks or whatnot, so I was definitely interested to hear his song. He starts to sing to the tune of Jesus Loves Me but instead of singing the lyrics, his version went: "Jesus loves dying on the crossssss..." I laughed out loud, and still do each time we talk about it. I'm pretty sure Jesus did not enjoy dying on the cross, but he does love you buddy. ;)

Anyways, church on Sunday was followed by lunch with plenty of friends and a small egg hunt for the kids. Jake got to jump on their trampoline with some big kids and had the time of his life. After a delicious lunch we all napped hard, woke up for a simple dinner and then gave Jake his Easter basket from us. Bubble bath, fresh chalk for the summer and a giant jar of bubbles sets us up well for a fun spring and summer, and we headed right outside to break in the chalk and bubbles on the driveway.

Soon after, Sarah and Joel got here and will be with us for the week! My parents are on their way today so the fun is gonna last all week around here. Bring on the cousin and grandparent love!


Whole30 wrap up + a plot twist

Tomorrow is the last day of Whole30 for this household. Man, was that a long month! ;) Deric still has about a week of reintroduction to do, but the hardest part is over. Looking back, I'm proud of myself and of Deric for disciplining ourselves enough to stick to it. It was quite the experiment but I am honest to goodness so glad that its complete.

Overall, unfortunately it was not a good experience for me. Deric didn't really enjoy it either, for some of the same reasons as me (I'll get to that in a sec). He's pretty sure he lost around ten pounds and I can tell. I actually noticed before he did so the other day at one of my doctor appointments, he snuck on the scale after I did to confirm my suspicions. Ha! 

As for my experience, I didn't reap any of the benefits that originally motivated me to try Whole30 in the first place: increased energy and relief from chronic constipation (I know that's TMI, but if you've been pregnant you know how it goes..). (I'll also refer to it as 'digestion' from here on out so as not to be totally gross.) To be fair to Whole30 however, I only completed the first six days without dairy. On day six I talked to my doctor and she asked me to keep some dairy in my diet for the calcium. So I added milk and cheese back in, as those two are the only dairy items without added sugar. For the next two weeks, my digestion actually got much worse. Dairy and bread are the two main culprits for slow digestion so I assumed that the one week without dairy allowed my system to heal at least a little and then adding dairy back in sent it a little crazy again. It was a miserable few weeks, whatever the reasoning. I stuck to Whole30's guidelines in every other way during this time and did experience more stable energy levels throughout the day, most noticeably during the afternoon. More often than not, I would nap while Jake napped but I went a week or so without needing to nap at this point. 

Twelve days into Whole30, I had to take the glucose tolerance test because I was 28 weeks along. There was no way around it and so I did the test, experienced a sugar headache the next day and erratic sleep for two nights, and was back to normal a day or so later. And then the doctor called and told me I failed the test, so on day 15 I had to take the three hour glucose test. I just hoped that the major influxes of sugar wouldn't totally set back my hard-earned progress, as halfway through the program is when the 'tiger blood' phase begins: when your energy is up, your system is functioning at its highest capability, and you're feeling great. I never really felt like I could take on the world at this point (and neither did Deric), but I'll blame it on pregnancy for myself. 

Around the third week of Whole30, my previously stable energy levels totally dropped off. I'd sit on the couch and feel like I couldn't even lift my arms. I woke up in the morning feeling like I'd been run over, even after going to bed earlier than normal. I figured it must be a growth spurt for the baby or something, but then the doctor called and said I'd failed the three hour glucose test. I was therefore diagnosed with gestational diabetes and this past Wednesday, we went to the doctor for a crash course in treating diabetes. Turns out, that was definitely the cause of my low, low energy. Maintaining a consistent amount of carbohydrates in your system is crucial for stabilizing blood sugar and on Whole30, I ate very little carbs: only those in potatoes (which I had maybe 4-5 times each week) and in fruit. I also realized around this time that eggs and meat can also contribute to slow digestion (yep, still dealing with that at this point) and because of Whole30, I'd had eggs and meat every single morning for breakfast--something I had maybe once a week for breakfast prior to this. So the upswing in iron from eggs and meat weren't helping my digestion, and the lack of carbs was killing my blood sugar. 

At this point, I quit Whole30. With gestational diabetes, it was no longer safe to eliminate so many carbs. I didn't reintroduce dairy, grains or gluten according to the Whole30 guidelines (which are structured so that you can really pay attention to how each food group affects your system), but rather I watched my portions and ate what I needed to to maintain blood sugar. And so far, I've been fine on that front. My digestion has actually improved in the last few days as well. I attribute that improvement to the reintroduction of oatmeal (good source of fiber) and Greek yogurt (good for probiotics) and elimination of eggs for breakfast, at least for a week or so. Since my appointment on Wednesday, I've been keeping a food journal and testing blood sugar four times a day and am well within the parameters set for gestational diabetes. Things are looking up.

All of my wonderful pregnancy issues aside: towards the third week of Whole30 (before we knew about the diabetes) Deric and I both were so mentally exhausted from Whole30. While we appreciated the discipline of the program, it had become too obsessive for us. Whole30 is supposed to help eliminate cravings for junk food, but Deric and I both started to obsess over the foods we couldn't wait to have when we were finished. (Salty snacks and Reese's for him; anything bread related for me). Whole30 definitely got in the way of our social life for two reasons: 1) we had to be pretty picky about restaurants (as mentioned in my last post about all this) and 2) we were spending so much on groceries that it wasn't worth it to spend money on eating out when all we could eat at restaurants was grilled chicken on salad. (I realize there are plenty of other things to do with friends but in our area, eating out is the most popular option. It is what it is.) While we felt like we were becoming obsessive about the foods we couldn't have, we were also becoming obsessive about food in general. I was at the grocery store probably every other day, plus I spent so much more time in the kitchen for meal prep that these major time sucks started to really interfere with our daily routine. And the cherry on top: I just tallied up our grocery bill for the last thirty days. An average monthly grocery bill (which includes household items like toilet paper, etc.) for us is just under $400, but this month we spent $656. Ouchhhhhhh. That's an expensive experiment. 

So in closing of a very lengthy post, Deric is still finishing out the reintroduction phase right now so he can see how his system handles each food group. I'm now eating a diabetic diet in an attempt to control blood sugar without insulin. Maybe the best part of all of this is that while the diabetic diet is pretty strict, its nowhere near Whole30! So I actually feel like I've got a good amount of freedom even as I watch my carbs closely. 

Even though our experience with Whole30 wasn't overwhelmingly positive, I do still respect the program and support the creators' vision to help people detox their systems and understand their bodies better. We can all use more fruits, veggies and protein!