02 June 2014

Surprise, Writing this Post Powered by the Sun!

RMP Baby-1

Rocky Mountain Power sent us a visitor today, and it is a joyous day for Alex. After all of our research, we decided not to do solar unless we won the power company's lottery this spring. We did not win the lottery.

Then we kept talking about solar. Alex has been really interested in and excited about it since we moved. We researched pricing on installing it ourselves, and it was significantly less expensive than paying another company to do it for us. We still couldn't comfortably afford it, so we decided not to do it.

Then we kept talking about solar. Tax refund time was coming up, so we thought, "What if we did a few kilowatts at a time over several years and tax refunds?" That way, while we would not wipe out our power bill in one fell swoop, we could still get started and reap a few of the benefits right away.  Then our cars decided to need all of our tax return this year.

Still, we kept talking about solar. So Alex sold his favorite vehicle, a little jeep we have kept around for a long time, and we scraped together enough money to do about 1/3 to 1/2 of what we will eventually need. He installed it a couple of weeks ago. We had to have an electrician hook it to our meter, and then Rocky Mountain Power sent their technician today to install a net meter, and we are good to go!

We made one funny mistake, so if you do your own, don't do this. You are not supposed to turn your solar on until after RMP comes to make sure all is well. But Alex was so excited, that he left it on for a day or two to watch what the power production was. Then, he decided to look at what it was doing to our meter. The extra power running through the meter was running the meter in the Cost Us Money direction, so we will be paying for that day or so's production. So if you install and test, test briefly! Wait for the net meter to show up.

Another thing Alex came across in his studies: It is less expensive to make your house very energy efficient than it is to pay for more solar panels to run it. So we bought a large quantity of LED lightbulbs last month to decrease our power production. If you live in our county, you should travel north to Iron County and buy your bulbs in Cedar City, because there is a state subsidy in our state for certain areas that cuts the cost of LED bulbs by around $5 a piece. That enabled us to buy almost twice as many lights. 

So that is our solar update. Let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing what this system does to our summer air conditioning bill.

13 May 2014

Chubby Buns Kenobi

The time has come for another exciting edition of Birth Stories by Rowena. As usual, if you don't like to read the details of the miracle of birth, you'll want to just skip over to Pinterest or Facebook right now.

It was a dark and stormy night. Just kidding. Alex and I went to see Captain America last Saturday afternoon, and when we got to his parents' house to pick up our kids after the movie I rather abruptly went into labor. His mother kindly fed us all dinner, and we went home and put the children to bed. I don't know what I did between bedtime and 11:00p.m., but for some reason I did not go to sleep until then. Dumb idea.

My contractions woke me up at about 12:30, after a nice, long, restful 1 to 1.5 hours of sleep. At 1:00 I called the hospital to see what the nurse on duty thought. She was somewhat abrupt, and she told me to drink some water and take tylenol to see if that would slow the contractions so I could get some sleep. I thought to myself, "No, ma'am, I will NOT be stopping my labor with tylenol thank you very much." I did try drinking water, though. I laid back down and proceeded to contract hard all night about 6 to 10 minutes apart, with awesome, deeply helpful 5 to 8 minute naps in between.

By 5:00 a.m. I was done with that, and when I got up to eat something my contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart. I woke Alex up. We called his mom, and when she got to the house we headed over to the hospital. I called Labor and Delivery again to inform them I was on the way, and the nurse was a lot friendlier, which I appreciated.  When I arrived and they checked me I was dilated to a 4 at around 5:45 a.m.  My contractions had been hard all night, and I had hoped and expected to be further along than that. They called my midwife, and when she came at around 7:00 a.m. I was at a 6. In retrospect, I should have been very encouraged at that point.

However, after a sleepless night, I think most of my logic and willpower was gone. My contractions were still a few minutes apart, and I became more and more exhausted with each one. At about 7:30, I decided that if I was not to an 8 by 8:00, that I would get an epidural. Alex and my midwife were very encouraging and told me they knew I could do it without one. Katie (my midwife) said "What if you are at a 7+," and I said, "I just can't do it anymore. I am SO tired." She said that she could break my water, and that if we did he would probably come within the hour. But I think I had given up by the time I was setting that ultimatum.  Sure enough at 8:00 I was at a 7+, but I demanded the epidural in spite of quality coaching on the part of Alex and my midwife.

Blessed relief (ie epidural) came around 8:30. We broke my water, and only a little came out. I then stalled at an 8 for about 3 hours. That is so unusual for me. Usually once I get to a 7, I finish dilating and the baby comes fast, like within the hour. We tried different positions, and late in the morning another gush of water came out. Finally we tried some pitocin at the end. Kaleb was born at 12:30, and when he came out the nurses and Katie and her student midwife all exclaimed in surprise because he was much bigger than expected at 9 lbs 10 oz, and 21 inches long. When he came out that size Katie said, "It might have been more than an hour after I broke your water at that size."

I had been measuring normally. I had gone off of sweets for three months at the end of my pregnancy, and I walked or exercised religiously at least three times a week the whole pregnancy. I also did zumba once a week for part of the second and third trimesters, all in the hope that he would not be bigger than Scott was. When I walked into the hospital I was over 15 lbs lighter than I was when I delivered Scott. I am not sure exactly how much lighter because I quit weighing myself with Scott at the end. Frankly, I just didn't want to know anymore.

So who knows what good it did me? Maybe he would have weighed 10 + lbs? Just examine the photographic evidence of the cute little giant. He looks about half the size of his sister. Does he look a few hours old? I submit that he looks about as chubby as a two week to one-month old. When they placed him on me, I was filled with joy and SO glad I had had the epidural, because he was such a tank. I try not to think too hard about the fact that I failed in my goal. I just focus on the cuteness, and that helps a lot.

29 April 2014

39 Weeks, but Who's Counting?

I took this photo on Sunday, and am right around 39 weeks.

For a few weeks leading up to this point I have felt "done" with this pregnancy, and every contraction made me excited and nervous that it might be "time." Then I remembered that I had decided not to have the baby until at least May 2, and I have slept much better since that time.

Here are a few things I have appreciated lately.

* Mothers and sisters and sisters-in-law visiting me and cleaning my house and cooking or buying food for me. My front door and windows have been sparkly all week, and a pregnant lady certainly needs a little sparkle in her life.

* I informed the children that Grandma might come and sleep here if I went into labor in the middle of the night, and now they tell me to have the baby every night so that she will come sleep over. I see who is the most popular person around. 

* There is expectant mother parking at Old Navy. If you think there is a circle of that hot place worse than shoe shopping for my darling yet indecisive fashionista 7 year old daughter when I am 39 weeks pregnant, well, you are very wrong. That parking lot was a bright spot on an otherwise dreary afternoon. 

* Something I like to think about and repeat to anyone who I can entrap into listening:
Child #1: 5-10th percentile on size scale, 9 days early.
Child #2: 50-60 percentile, born on due date.
Child #3: 90+ percentile, born at 41.5 weeks, one day after my inquiries as to what pagan ritual my midwife would perform for me to get that blasted baby out before 42 weeks.

So if we go by trending, Child #4 will be in the 150th percentile, probably weighing over 10 lbs. He will be born at approximately 43 weeks gestation.  That is why I have decided to throw trending out the window. I will be performing my own pagan rituals if I go too far over on this one. What those are, I have yet to determine. Desperation is the mother of invention, right?

* I finished my drawing class tonight, which class I may have neglected to mention on this blog. I really enjoyed it, and now that I am wildly uncomfortable and basically lie around whining and not cleaning all the time, I am very relieved to be done.  My final was a portrait of Alex, and I will admit that if you stand far enough away, it is pretty decent.

* The thing I appreciate the most is that when I informed my midwife that I was worried about embarrassing myself with screaming this time, she said, "What happens in labor & delivery stays in labor and delivery." She is a kindred spirit, indeed. However, I may publish my account of the glory and drama that is childbirth on the internet later anyway.

31 March 2014

Not Exactly Tiny

I am a few days past 35 weeks along now, and I have had some funny comments. I posted a belly picture on facebook, and a few people said how "tiny" I look. I find this wildly amusing, because the last thing in the world I am feeling this far along is tiny. Tiny must be reserved as an adjective for things like ladybugs or Alex's portions while he is dieting, not large pregnant abdomens, and ever expanding rear ends.

Funny enough, the other thing I keep getting asked is, "Are you due any day? Almost done, right?" I like these comments better. They acknowledge that I am, in fact, very large. I have done a lot of work here, and I want some recognition for that. I am starting to feel more ready for the following rewards.

1. A cute little baby
2. Ability to pull weeds without grunting on the way up and down
3. Ability to see the front of my ankles
4. Ability to shave the front of my ankles. Yesterday I put on some sandals to go to church and realized that I had missed that spot for at least a few weeks in a row. Whoops.
5. The space to hug my loved ones or hold my other small people on my lap
6. Possibility of rolling over in bed without waking completely up to muster my strength
7. The opportunity to change the laundry, rake, vacuum, go up the stairs, and any other variety of common daily tasks without becoming slightly short of breath
8. Did I mention a cute little baby? That is what I want the most. I keep seeing the little newborns in my neighborhood and having mad baby hunger cravings.

Alex and I are within 7 lbs of the same weight. He claims he wants to lose more, although I have tried to forbid him. So within the next few weeks maybe he and I will meet in the middle. Luckily, his biggest loser contest ends today. 

23 February 2014

Sunday, Blessed Sunday

"Get dressed, children."

"I am dressed, Mom." 

"Not in your play clothes, Henry, your church clothes. Grace, you cannot wear that shirt under that sweater dress. I can see the pattern of flowers. Henry, you cannot do anything fun or entertaining until you are dressed, even in your Sunday shoes!" 

5 minutes later:

"I am dressed. Now can I watch a show?"
"No, I said even down to your shoes. And socks!"

10 minutes later:

"Can you tie my shoes."

Fight, fight, fight, eat, eat, eat, spill on Sunday clothes, nag, nag, nag.

We arrive at church with tie-less boys who have uncombed hair, and one with macaroni and cheese yellow streaking down the front of his previously pristine white shirt.  Did I mention it is 1:00, so there is not really an excuse to be disheveled like this, since we had four hours more prep time than the early people?

Today in church one of the songs was "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain." When we got to the beginning of the second verse, I sang the words "Holy day, devoid of strife" and could not sing for the rest of the verse because I was seized by a fit of completely irreverent maniacal laughter. Pregnancy hormones? Maybe. Maybe not.

14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Day

I decided that starting February first I would go without treats until the baby is born, because my sister read somewhere that high sugar intake makes your skin less elastic. My Day of One Treat Prior to Delivery was to be only my birthday in April, because there is a Marie Callender Chocolate Turtle pie in the freezer which I bought on sale a few months ago for my birthday.

However, after a couple of weeks off of sweets, I decided to allow myself one treat day a month. So I get to have a treat today, one in the middle of March for the kick off of birthday season in our house, and one for my birthday.

For this auspicious occasion, I asked Alex to get us some See's chocolate. I will be eating one white key lime chocolate, and a caramel of his choosing. I have been thinking about these chocolates a lot, and I am excited that it is Valentines Day!

I got the children each a coloring book and one of the extra packs of Skittles from Henry's box, because his kindergarten class does not have 25 children. I was feeling pretty rotten as a mother last night, since I had got them nothing. Then I remembered those things were stashed away, and felt much better. 

I am not sure if it is sugar deprivation adjustment, but earlier this week I seem to have entered the fun hormonal part of pregnancy. Magically, every time the song above comes on the radio and I am in the car I burst into tears. Both times (yes, it has happened twice this week) I have been thinking about something else mildly troubling, but it seems to have been the song that set me to pull over and finish crying mode. May you all have a Happy Valentines Day and enjoy this beautiful song. It probably won't even make you cry. 

29 January 2014


I am currently making candied pecans in the oven instead of exercising. Maybe not my brightest choice for health in the new year.

I just read this post called "When Life is Burning Down," over at Segullah, and I really enjoyed it. My awesome neighbors lost their unusually bright, athletically gifted sports star twenty year old son to stinky old Leukemia this month, so I have been thinking a lot about mourning and grief.

I definitely need to improve in the mourn with those who mourn department. Listen to the song linked at the end of the post. It is beautiful.