NatureAmy

caring for creation while caring for family

Month: September 2016

THM Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks

It’s been about a month since my last pregnancy update.  I was hoping to write an update every other week, but, obviously, that has not happened!

Since my last 14 week update, things have been pretty smooth – except for the fact that I tend to forget my limitations (i.e. needing to stop and eat, rest more often, and make sleep a priority).  This has led to a few reality checks in this last month, but… such is life with three kids, busy schedules, field trips, 90 degree Fall weather, and homeschool!

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18 week baby bump – getting bigger and starting to feel the baby move around!


Check-up Fun with Three Kids

I had my 16 week appointment over 2 weeks ago and took all three kids with me this time.  It was one of those easy appointments (no tests), so I had hopes that I would not regret the decision too much!  And, thankfully, it was really quick, painless, and easy.  I checked in, was called to the back just after sitting down in the waiting area, and took my weight (7 lbs gained so far) and blood pressure – all good.

Next, we went right to the bathroom for my urine sample.  We had to wait to use the bathroom, but that 2 minute wait was the longest of the day!  I took my 2 year old in with me, and left my 6 and 8 year old waiting outside the door.  Then we all traipsed back to the exam room to wait for my OB.

My oldest took out his book to read and my ever curious 6 and 2 year old pointed at all the posters in the room, tools, cup of pee, etc. demanding a detailed explanation.  Well, we are homeschoolers, after all, so what better time for a science lesson!

My OB knocked on the door after less than a minute of intense questioning by the kids, and then they turned their barrage of questions on him!  He tested my urine with a test strip – more questions from the kids.  Then he measured my growing belly – more questions.  Finally, he took out the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat – and, you guessed it – more questions.  He was actually very patient with the kids and was not bothered by the questions at all, thank goodness!  If he was, I would seriously consider changing providers!

The kids loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  (I did, too!) They decided it sounded like “one THOUSAND horses galloping” which was a pretty accurate description.

Then we were done! The entire appointment, from check in to release was less than 10 minutes!  I was very thankful for that!


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Taking a quick snack break on our hike.

Don’t forget to eat…

In the last four weeks, since my last update, I have gotten over the majority of my pregnancy exhaustion that reappeared after I started our busy homeschool schedule.  Any nausea and food aversions also were gone.  However, these two things made me more relaxed in my routine, which led to some not so great things…

Like I said, well into the second trimester, I was getting lazy about eating.  It wasn’t so much what I was eating – I am still sticking to the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating most the time – but when.

I had to eat every 2 hours in my first trimester or I would feel sick.  But I was very careful during that time and rarely felt any nausea and never threw-up.  However, with our school schedule getting busier and extra curricular classes starting up, my eating routine started to slide.

I no longer needed to eat every 2 hours, which was great, but I found out on week 15 that if I did not eat after 3 hours, I would be sick!  Ugh- not fun!

Week 15, I had just dropped the boys off at a morning class and was taking my 2 year old grocery shopping with me.  Suddenly, on the drive to the store, a wave of nausea hit and I felt like I was going to throw up.  I looked at the clock.  Three hours had passed since breakfast, I didn’t have any snacks with me, and I knew I was going to gag right then and there.

Thankfully, I was at a red light.  I picked up an empty cup (there are good things about a cluttered car!) and threw up!  The light turned and I drove through it and pulled over to the side of the road until my head stopped spinning.  We went to the store, bought the first thing that I could find, a bag of veggie chips, and went back to the car to eat 2/3 of the bag between myself and my toddler.  Finally feeling better, we finished our grocery shopping.

You think I would have learned my lesson after that, but I can be a bit dense sometimes…

The next day we were at home and it was a particularly long morning of math with my boys.  Suddenly feeling sick, I looked at the clock to realize it was over four hours since breakfast.  I threw-up again!  Then I ate lunch, but it had been too long and my blood sugar had dropped too low.  Eating a meal was not enough.  My head was spinning still and nothing was helping.  My toddler went down for her nap and the boys got to watch “The Magic School Bus” while I took a nap for about two hours and finally felt better.

I DID learn my lesson after that time, thankfully!  Now, I’ve been sure to pack a piece of fruit, nuts, or cheese stick in my purse before we leave the house.  I’ve also been sure to stop and have a mid-morning snack when we’re home.  Just because the second trimester is easier (usually) than the first, it doesn’t mean I can neglect the needs of my body.


My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

Our family – minus my 8 year old who is taking the picture – with Mt. Lassen behind us.

Over doing it…

The second hard lesson I’ve learned this month is the importance of rest.  We always do a Fall semester weekend field trip for my husband’s students.  We bring the whole family, spend two nights in the wilderness, and everyone learns a lot and has a great time.  But, it is also a lot of work (read what I feed this large crew with an allergy friendly menu, here).

I spend the entire week before the trip buying the food, and preparing whatever I can before hand.  Then, early Friday morning, we load the kids, food, and gear up, and head to the college to meet the students.  A full day of learning, and eating, later, I have the fun task of getting a toddler, who deals with night-terrors when camping, to sleep.  We did not get much sleep the first night in our little tent.  And a full two days later, after getting home at 10 pm on Sunday night, this pregnant mama was exhausted!

My THM pregnancy - 18 weeks - Learning the hard way not to overdo it! - NatureAmy.com

About 3 miles into our hike to King’s Creek.

Normally these weekend field trips are tiring, but this time, it hit me so much harder.  My husband and I opted not to take our family on the most strenuous hike to the top of Mt. Lassen Peak.  But the 4 mile hike we did instead gave me hours of Braxton-Hicks contractions that did not stop until that evening.  Monday morning, I was spent! I was physically tired, mentally tired, emotionally tired… I had a headache… Tuesday, after more rest, I was starting to feel better, but I had a lingering headache still.  Wednesday, our busiest day of the week, I finally felt like myself again!  Thank you, Lord!


I’m looking forward to our 20 week appointments coming up soon!  We will get a chance to see our little one growing!  It will drive me crazy to not find out the sex, but I’m also kind of excited about waiting – can you be both?

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Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts from a Homeschooled Homeschooling Mom

I sat down to write one post on homeschooling, but soon realized I have a mini-series in the making.  So… this is the first of many posts to come on how we do homeschooling at our house.

There are so many different options for school and no one-sized fits all approach!  Public schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschools are the most common options for us to choose between in the United States.  The best fit for our family in this season is homeschool.  But like parenting, and so many other things in life, we homeschoolers all have to find the groove that fits our family.  I feel like that is a moving target, especially as my kids grow older and we add more babies to the mix, but that’s part of the fun of life.

I was actually a homeschooled kid for most of my school years.  This was a weird thing in the ’80s and ’90s. When I started public school in high school, no one knew what I meant by “homeschool”.  My peers thought it was  some type of remedial or correctional program – I am serious, they actually thought that!  I think they learned otherwise as I soon rose to the top of the class and graduated salutatorian.

Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts on homeschooling from a homeschooled homeschooling mom. Why its the best choice for our family - NatureAmy.com

Some hands-on learning at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

I  love how homeschool helped mold me into the person  that I am today.  Homeschooling allowed me to learn at my own speed (which was actually very slow at first – I didn’t read until I was eight!) and pursue things that interested me – which was pretty much everything.

Homeschool instilled in me a universal love of learning that I still have today.  I learned to love every subject, mostly due to my parents’ love of learning and reading.  My mom and dad read out loud to us for years – years longer than was necessary.  I cherish these memories of family reading time, huddled together on the old family room couch, on a family road trip, or around a crackling campfire.  These books opened up so many opportunities for us.  I only hope that our own homeschool can do the same for our family.

When my husband and I had kids, he knew right away that we were going to homeschool them.  In fact, he told everyone that.  (He was never homeschooled himself, but he saw the benefit of it.) I wasn’t so sure, only because I knew how challenging it is to be a homeschool parent and that the majority of their education would fall on me.  However, as our oldest grew older, I started to look into our options.

Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts on homeschooling from a homeschooled homeschooling mom. Why its the best choice for our family - NatureAmy.com

A field trip to the local zoo – the kids love any chance to see animals up close!

Our local schools are good schools and the teachers and administration are very good people, so I was not concerned there.  However, as I saw my young and very impressionable son interacting with other kids at the park, I noticed some things I did not like.  He learned to copy other children’s behavior, especially bigger “cool” kids, just from an hour or two at the park.  And that behavior was more “Lord of the Flies” than it was good Sunday School kid.  I didn’t like it.

My husband and I knew that we wanted to be the biggest influences of our children, not some cool kid on the playground.  We wanted to know what was going on with them everyday and to be able to pour life and love and grace into them throughout the school day.

I knew from my oldest’s personality and learning style that going to public school would be tough on him and we decided when he was only three and a half that homeschool would be the best thing for him.  We have not regretted it at all.

Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts on homeschooling from a homeschooled homeschooling mom. Why its the best choice for our family - NatureAmy.com

Making a recycling truck out of recycled boxes during a unit on recycling.

Homeschooling gives us the ability to allow our kids time to be kids.  At most schools today, kids are not allowed the time to just play that they need for their cognitive development.  Many, if not most, schools have all-day kindergarten.  Homeschooling has let my kids be kids.  Kindergarten work takes 1-2 hours of our day and the rest of the day can be spent exploring nature, running around, building with Legos, and just letting their imaginations go!

I love that my little boys are not made to feel bad or be punished for being wiggly kids.  My kids don’t come home from school with a “frowny face” for not being able to sit still or wrestling with another kid.  I can give them the time they need to wiggle and move and wrestle.  For most little boys, and many little girls, this is normal and not something to be punished or medicated.

Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts on homeschooling from a homeschooled homeschooling mom. Why its the best choice for our family - NatureAmy.com

Our first day of homeschool EVER! The boys had some fun with math and trains practicing numbers, addition, and subtraction.

Now that I have a third grader, we spend more than 2 hours a day doing school, but it is still much shorter than the time his peers spend in public school.  He is starting to be able to work independently, for a short time, and I love to see how his brain is developing.  His attention to detail with science and history just astound me.  I am so honored to be able to spend this time with him and see him grow into the man he will become.

Another reason homeschooling fits our family is because it allows my kids to have a very special and tight bond.  Although my kids all have friends their ages, they are also very best friends with each other.  And although they do fight on occasion, as all kids do, for the most part, they get along very well.

It was the same for me and my siblings growing up.  If we weren’t friends with each other, who were we going to play with during the day?  Sure, we had other friends, but not “at school” with us.  I think the sibling bond is one that should be cherished and nurtured.  Siblings just tolerating each other, fighting constantly, and making each other miserable is just not acceptable.  We work hard to maintain that bond between them.  It is worth preserving.

Why Choose Homeschool? Thoughts on homeschooling from a homeschooled homeschooling mom. Why its the best choice for our family - NatureAmy.com

Becoming Jr Rangers at Lassen Volcanic National Park

The final reason we have chosen to homeschool is because we can integrate our faith into our daily studies.  We open each day with a prayer, allow the kids to take turns praying, and practice Bible verses.  And although we don’t use Christian curriculum (more on that in my curriculum post coming soon), I make sure to integrate our faith whenever I can – which is often!  The opportunities abound to share the importance of God with our kids and I try to be intentional to take these opportunities when they come up.

So, were you homeschooled or is it something that you have chosen for your children?

I’d love to hear about what works best for your family.

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When your little girl does not have much hair…still…

Bald babies are super cute and all of my kids have been essentially bald with nothing but a few wisps of hair.  The advantage to this is that they don’t get a bald spot from sleeping that way!  They already have no hair!

With my boys, the baldness never bothered me and they both grew beautiful silky blonde hair and needed their first haircuts by the age of one or 18 months.  Their straight blonde hair was hanging in their eyes and they had little blonde mullets in the back – time for a trim.  And they looked so handsome in their classic boy cuts – not too short – no spiky crew cuts for my babies.

When we had our baby girl, Addamay, I was thrilled!  However, I did not have high expectations for hair in her first twelve months of life – none of my kids had much hair, which I am told is quite common with blondes.  However, I was hoping that she would grow hair at least at the rate of her brothers. But no, Addamay has the slowest growing hair of any of my children.

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Less than 24 hours old, her brothers kissing her little almost bald head…

So out came the bows.

And I started to make bows…

The first headband I made. This started to get addicting!

The first headband I made. This started to get addicting!

And she still wears bows…

Addamay is now 28 months old and still has very little hair.  She is starting to grow bangs and her hair is several inches long at the very middle of her head.  That is all.  She has no bangs in her eyes.  She has no mullet.  She has no beautiful Shirley Temple curls… sigh…

At 28 months old, she still doesn't have much hair, but it's getting thicker and longer at the very top.

At 28 months old, she still doesn’t have much hair, but it’s getting thicker and longer at the very top.

She gets called a boy in public if I dare dress her in anything but pink.  Turquoise blue is the worst offender.  It does not matter that the shirt is covered in girly flowers and she is wearing a skirt – if she is wearing blue, she is always called a boy.  Thankfully, I am not easily offended.  I just chuckle and gently correct them, or not… it really doesn’t make a difference if I’ll never see them again…

I also get asked all the time if I cut her hair.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Really?  Why would I cut my little girls hair that short?  I can see a nice cute bob with bangs, but cutting her bangs up to her hairline… I don’t think so…

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Addamay’s first birthday pictures with Jennifer Jens Photography – super cute – but still mostly bald

I know she comes by the bald headed-ness honestly.  Although my husband had nice thick blonde hair in his first birthday pictures, I, sadly, had none.  I wore a cute hat instead.  And my second birthday pictures were not much better.

But, there are advantages to her very short hair – the most obvious being that I don’t have to wrestle a very strong willed two year old every morning to brush her hair and get it out of her face. But, I still would like to try…

I know so many moms of little boys with long beautiful hair – curls or just straight and thick – and the complaint I hear most often is that everyone thinks they are girls.  I get it – and I don’t have a problem with their child’s beautiful locks – or maybe I do – but it’s just jealousy…

Really, why do the little boys get such gorgeous hair?  Sigh…

For now, it is still about baby headbands at our house… And in honor of my little hairless girl, I am giving away two adorable baby headbands handmade by me on Instagram.  I make these for Addamay, for friends, and for gifts, but these are not for sale, so they are one of a kind and made just for this occasion!

Win these adorable headbands over on Instagram @amylovesnature

Win these adorable headbands over on Instagram

Head on over to my Instagram for details!  Even if you don’t have a baby girl in your house, you probably know one and these make great baby shower and birthday gifts!

Good luck!

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THM Pregnancy Update: Hello, Second Trimester

I am happy to say that I have officially made it into the second trimester!  The first trimester is always the toughest part of pregnancy for me (even though I am a bit spoiled that I don’t get very sick).

The first trimester is tough. Even though you don’t look very pregnant yet – and most people don’t know you are pregnant at all if you wait to announce like we do – you are exhausted, hormonal, and nauseous.  But, you pretend like everything is fine, even though all you really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week! Read about my first trimester experience here.

The second trimester gets easier for a couple reasons.  The first being that most women are lucky enough to get their energy back and nausea goes away!  The second reason is that by then most people know you are pregnant.  They suddenly open doors, tell you to take a nap, not carry things, or sit down and rest.  The ironic thing is, you probably feel better than you did the first 14 weeks! (Of course I am generalizing here. I do know a few women who were very sick throughout their entire pregnancies. I’m sooo sorry.)

So welcome second trimester!  Welcome baby bump and maternity clothes!  Welcome energy and feeling good! Welcome food cravings and goodbye aversions! Welcome finding out the sex of the baby – oh wait – my hubby REALLY wants to be surprised this time – so…never mind!


a2a9b5b592cc078f836a9bf12380411aSo, a little update on my last two weeks, starting with…

Hormones – from week 12 to 14 I had a terrible onslaught of hormones!  I had so little patience with the kids and everything set me off! This is not like me.  Normally I am pretty level headed and calm, but not so in week 12! My poor kids…

Week 13 was better than week 12, but the excessive hormones were still there.  I also was very tired on week 12, even though I had felt great from 9.5 weeks until then.  And although I know the pregnancy had something to do with the exhaustion, our first full week of homeschool also contributed to it, I’m sure.

Weight gain – the scale has bounced around a bit and is now at six pounds gained. That is in my normal fluctuation range so I am hoping it doesn’t continue to climb too quickly from here.

Cravings and food aversions – thankfully I can eat eggs again!  I can also eat meat and was craving a steak, which I got on our date last week. Yummy! I have been craving salads again, which is a nice change from the carbs and cheese sticks I survived on in my first trimester!  And fresh pesto from the garden. Enough said.

My favorite craving this week has been a quick cooked apple dish that I whipped up.  I will write up my recipe and publish it later, but basically it is just apple pie filling made from fresh apples (tis the season), cinnamon, cloves, and some THM Super Sweet Blend cooked with some water.  Oh my goodness!  It totally fulfilled my baked apple cravings and is completely healthy!  Pregnancy win!  I’ve made it three times this week…

Advanced maternal age – don’t you just love that term!  This is my first pregnancy in the “over 35” age bracket and now I get a bunch more fuss because of it!  Oh joy!  I refused all the extra testing on the baby, but I could not get out of the early test they do for gestational diabetes since I am apparently “at greater risk for it in my advanced age”. Fun!

I asked my OB if I could do an alternative test to the sickly sweet “glucola” drink for the 1-hour glucose test, but he was pretty insistent that the dreaded drink was the best test. I was reluctant to take the test, even though I’d never had trouble passing it in the past, because I had not had processed sugar in over a year.  I wasn’t sure how my body would react.

But honestly, I was actually curious, so I didn’t fight him on taking the test.  I simply informed him that if it made me sick, I was going to refuse it when I had to do it again later in pregnancy.

So I prepared for the test by having a low-carb breakfast of eggs and bacon which I read helps . I drank the glucose drink.  I was right behind a lady who chugged hers in seconds, but when I tried that, I immediately felt gross.  I drank it slowly instead (over about 4 minutes) and waited out my hour.

I waited to feel sick or to get a massive sugar headache, but surprisingly, other than feeling hungry near the end, I felt fine.  They drew my blood and found out I passed with flying colors.  Thank you, Lord!

Some women who have been off sugar for long periods of time have gotten headaches, thrown up, or had terrible sugar cravings after the test.  I wondered if I would experience the same thing, but thankfully, I did not.

Drinking that sickly sweet drink made me realize how thankful I was that I was no longer addicted to sugar.  However, if they had given me a gigantic piece of cake instead, I don’t think I would have found it gross, but I’ve come too far from my days of sugar-addiction to test that theory.


On a sad note, this past week my phone died.  I can’t even blame my kids because I was the one who dropped it.  It hit just right to crack the screen and now the screen is completely black. So, as a result, I don’t have many pictures for this post… Oh, well… C’est la vie!

Hopefully that will be remedied soon and I won’t have to go too long without pictures!

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