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35 Weeks Pregnant and Updates

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going. Time is slipping away so quickly.

I haven't written about my pregnancy (or our family in general) in the past 10 weeks. How did that happen?

Well, we moved to Timber Bay Camp at the end of April and Mitch officially began his job as Caretaker on May 1st. We LOVE it here. It is so amazing--the camp, our new home, the amazing talented sacrificial people we get to work with. We are still in awe that God brought us here.

When we first moved in, there were no leaves on the trees, and there was still ice on the lake. That all changed VERY quickly!

Within a couple weeks everything exploded in green, the ice disappeared (in hours, it seemed), and the kids started swimming in the lake (crazy Minnesotans).

 {The view from our living room}

I have definitely been more active since we moved to camp. I love to take walks with the kids. We go down to the barn to check on Rachael's garden and animals. I think the horses are getting to know us. :)


Our kids got to help put the docks out. We had loads of volunteers over the month of May come out to help get camp ready for summer. It's so very cool to learn about how camp works!

Oh man, Eevee loves being at camp too. She is so curious about everything. She tries to guard our house for us, but there are a lot of people coming and going, so we're working hard on teaching her not to least after we say to stop. We keep her on-leash almost all the time, but we sometimes feel comfortable letting her off. She loves to run through the water. She's really good at coming back right away when we call. She seems to be a neurotic mix of scared and curious about any critters we come across. In the picture above, she was intent on getting a bumble bee that was on the flower. Thankfully it just flew away instead of attacking her. 

We also brought Eden's kitty, Marbles, to camp with us. A couple weeks before we moved Eden adopted a second cat. Marbles and Eevee already got along well and would often play together. The new cat hated both of them. She would literally attack them. I called her Jezebel. (Her real name is Sapphire). Josh is very allergic to cats, but he seemed to be doing well with Marbles in the St. Cloud house, so we decided to give it a try. He usually doesn't have a reaction as long as he washes his hands after he touches her. She doesn't shed. Marbles is enjoying being at camp too. She's very playful and fun. She loves to watch the birds outside, and she howls to be let out. Sometimes she runs out when the door opens. I ordered some flea and tick medicine for her so she doesn't bring any back inside with her. So far she doesn't stray very far from the house, and if she's out for too long, she goes straight for her litter box when she comes back in (does she not realize she's outdoors in the great litter box?). She is also good at coming when I call for her. I'm afraid of some larger vermin carrying her off, so we try to keep her inside. Tirzah claims her as her cat, so they share a room. Tirzah has done very well at learning how to care for Marbles. Meanwhile back at the St. Cloud house, Sapphire is no longer a Jezebel. She's so friendly and cuddly and sweet (as long as we don't bring Eevee with us). 

Speaking of St. Cloud, I've been back every week for appointments. It's very interesting that all our appointments in June ended up being on Thursdays. That makes things easier. The trips are usually much more hectic and busy than I plan in my head. I hope I get used to it since that will be the norm for at least the rest of the summer. I love it because I can visit my regular shopping places and I usually get to see the older kids at least for a few minutes (and I've enjoyed spending a bit more time with Caleb). There is usually someone around the house that is willing to babysit during appointments, and I'm thinking I need to start crediting their rent after all the favors I'm asking, LOL. I think that our visits to St. Cloud have really helped Genna process the whole move. Depending on who she wants to see in St. Cloud, she will ask if we are going to "Caleb's house" or "Katie's house", etc. I imagine that at some point I may switch us to seeing doctors that are closer to camp, and I'll eventually learn to do my shopping in Brainerd (I've been there twice so far), but for my mental health, it has been nice to keep some things the same.

Backing up a little bit, our move went smoothly. We are thankful for all our friends who volunteered to help us in St. Cloud and at Timber Bay. Together we accomplished quite an amazing feat! We had the largest U-Haul you can get and we also had a friend's long enclosed trailer. Surprisingly, it didn't take that long to unpack and get settled in. I had done a lot of pre-planning and organizing. I had a few problem areas, but I also had lots of help. It was so cool how even something as simple as a friend giving me some organizers ended up working perfectly in those difficult areas. We had to switch two bedrooms around, but otherwise, things generally worked out like I planned. The boys are sleeping upstairs, and the girls and Mitch and I are sleeping downstairs. I've even gotten the baby's things ready. I think the only major thing left to do is hang pictures, but I'm still pondering that. After the summer we need to finish moving up our tools that are in the garage and make sure that the kids can park two cars in the garage in St. Cloud.

We have had to learn all new rules and boundaries here at camp. Right away the first week of camp we learned quickly that we needed to rein in the kids (if they don't clean up their toys at home, how do I expect them to keep the game room in the lodge clean??). Bike helmets are required 100% of the time when riding bikes at camp. This is true for the campers, so it's true for our kids too. Funny how they ignored that rule at home, but are following it well here. Life jackets are required when on the docks for fishing or going boating (adult supervision is a requirement there too). Kids should be in groups of 3 or more. No going down to the barn without an adult (most of the summer staff are adults, and sometimes they let the kids tag along). The kids get plenty of opportunities to go out with Mitch or me, but they are not allowed to wander off on their own. No one is allowed to be bored. :) We don't have WiFi set up in our house yet, and I haven't given in to their requests for screen time very often. It's great to see the kids playing together.

I am really thankful for the camp residence. I planned for our upstairs living room to be a quiet place where we could hang out and read or meet with friends. I didn't want a TV or video games in that room. All our books are lining the walls and I love it! The kids can often be found sprawled out on the couches with their noses in books. I would say their reading time/interest has increased significantly. Our downstairs family room has the TV and electronics and is a fun place to hang out (or avoid, lol). It has a nice closet right there in the room, and we used it to organize and store all our board games. In our St. Cloud house those used to be in our walk-in closet in our bedroom, hidden away from the rest of the house. It's nice that they are accessible in a more public place now. I combined our school room and my crafting space. Also, all our "office" stuff found its home in that room. I trimmed down much of my craft supplies and tried to be creative with storage. We have a functional space that's easy to clean and use. I had planned for Tirzah and Mercy to share one bedroom and Genna and Selah to share the smallest bedroom. The smallest room doesn't have a closet, and when I started unpacking all the baby stuff I found out very quickly that I couldn't organize it that way. We did some brainstorming and ended up moving Tirzah into the smallest room by herself, and have the three smallest girls in the larger room. They all love it now! This weekend we found a neat captain's bed with a bookcase headboard at a thrift store. It will further help storage in Tirzah's room--she can't wait for Mitch to go back and pick it up this week. I developed a new system for laundry so that I could transfer some responsibility to the older boys to learn how to do their laundry. That has gone well too. One day I asked Tirzah to help me fold laundry. That evening at supper I asked the kids for their highs and lows for the day and Tirzah said her high was getting to help with laundry. Well, ok then!! LOL, I wouldn't mind if that enthusiasm would stick around. 

Some other highlights at camp: Seeing Josh really connect with the summer staff and volunteering to help out. He has been in the kitchen washing dishes and out helping mow too. Last night they invited him to come play board games with the group. He also got to join in a crazy game of capture of the flag with the junior high groups that were here this weekend. 

I also have loved watching Mitch thrive in his job and be encouraged by the people he is working with. Saturday was his day off and he warned me that if I didn't have anything planned to do, he would go work, "Because it's fun." Haha. We went to Brainerd for a few hours, then we came back to camp. He did fix some ladders on the dock, then we hung out with the junior high groups that were here for the weekend. Today as we waved bye to the campers Tirzah asked why they have to leave already. That's going to be a downside to camp, I think. At least we get to look forward to the next time they come!

I have no words to describe how dynamic this community is. Mitch had already spent many weekends here before we moved up. Now I am also getting more and more comfortable here. I love, love, love it when I get to spend time with the staff and volunteers too. I get so excited when people stop by the house. I love how they love on our kids. Mitch and I hired one staffer to babysit for us so we could get away for a few hours. The kids often tell me how great of a babysitter she was, and at least one of the girls says she is their favorite. They just finished staff training week, and we celebrated on Friday night with root beer floats and a loud game of Apples to Apples at our house. And of course, I love it when our St. Cloud friends or kids come to visit too! 

One day I was out walking with the kids and Eevee. There was a group of social workers on retreat here, so I was trying to hurry everyone along and not disturb their peace. One woman was standing and staring at us, and for whatever reason, that made Eevee bark. So the woman approached us (while I tried to get the poor dog to hush). She was very sweet and petted Eevee, which did the trick. As we chatted about dogs, I began to tell the story of how we adopted Eevee from a woman in Redwood Falls. The lady interrupted and said, "I'm from Redwood Falls! I bet you're talking about M----!"  Wow, how cool was that! I asked her next time she sees M- to please tell her that we moved to camp and Eevee is so happy here. 

On a sad note, we took our van to have it looked at the week before we moved to camp. It had some issues we thought needed to be fixed. It turned out that as our mechanic looked into it he found HUGE issues that needed to be fixed. A new timing chain was needed...and then suddenly we were needing a new engine. A rebuilt engine (ideal) for our van would cost over $4,000, which was way more than we had on hand. We asked him to wait while we considered our options. We figured we could take out a loan against the title of the van (which is valued at $3,300) or we could shop for a different van (still would like to keep it under $5,000). What we found is that the large passenger vans are still quite hard to find and that people often ask for twice the value of what is listed. We remembered how blessed we were to find our van 8 years ago for less than $5,000. If I saw a comparable van today, people would be asking over $10,000. Mitch went back to the mechanic and talked with him. He offered to spend time tinkering with the engine and basically go through it and rebuild it himself. It will take quite a bit longer, but we were already able to pay him what we could afford. In the meantime, some loving friends loaned us their 8-passenger Expedition. I am praying that our van will be finished before the new baby arrives. We are so blessed and feel at peace with what God has done for us.

Between moving, getting used to new routines, and only having Mitch's (5-passenger) car, we did not get to church at all the first month here at camp. Last Sunday and this Sunday we visited two different churches. Everyone was welcoming at both churches, and it felt good to be back worshipping with God's people. A combination of introversion and social anxiety makes it hard for me to be in new places, but both congregations made it so easy. Both churches we visited were small. I grew up in a small country church, so that was no problem at all for me. It was a little different for the kids, though. The church we visited today had a lot of younger kids their ages, and they loved that. 

So back to pregnancy news...everything is going really well overall. I failed my one-hour glucose challenge test (I had 50g of glucose, then my blood-sugar level an hour later was 146.). So I had to go back for the 3-hour test a week later. That was a fasting test, so I scheduled it for the morning. For that test, you have to drink 100g of glucose. An hour later, my blood sugar was 130. I wondered how it could be LOWER with twice as much glucose. But the doctor said it was a more sensitive test. I also guess that it was affected by the move. I passed the test easily for all the blood draws. Between 28 and 32 weeks, I didn't gain any weight. I think my weight may have bounced around, but from appointment to appointment there was no net weight gain. At 32 weeks I came down with a cold. It wiped me out. A few days later our family got a stomach virus. Some people were affected by the virus for several days. I thought for sure my net gain from 32-34 weeks would be zero again. On Monday morning (34 weeks) I weighed 161 lbs. On Thursday afternoon at my appointment, my weight had jumped to 166 lbs. By that evening before I went to bed, it was 168 and my ankles were swollen. I drank tons of water all day and all night too. I peed all night as well, LOL. By morning my ankles were normal size and my weight was back down to 162. At my appointment, my blood pressure was nice and low: 112/67. The doctor didn't seem worried about the weight gain and told me to enjoy the excuse. =D  The pattern of swelling ankles and gaining water weight throughout the day then losing it overnight has continued since Thursday. Just another new pregnancy experience for me that goes to show even number 11 can be unpredictable.

{34 weeks}

I am now in that uncomfortable state of "large" where it is difficult to get comfortable when I'm sitting or sleeping, and walking too long causes me to be tired. I have to get up many times a night to pee (even if it's only a dribble, LOL). Selah is a very active baby, especially in the evening. It is common to have her moving constantly for 3 hours or more at night. This usually results in me needing to pee about every half an hour when I first go to bed. I have lost my balance and fallen three times (two times I got nasty bruises and once I got a bloody knee). And I really can't bend over to pick things up off the floor (squatting is preferable but not always easy to get back up from without something to hang on to). It's super embarrassing when I drop something out in public. Help a pregnant lady out!

At my 36-week appointment next week I will have a growth scan, biophysical profile, non-stress test, and the group B strep test. I don't need a "why" for the extra ultrasound, but the doctor suggested we do it because of my age. I laughed. I love getting ultrasounds so I won't be offended that I'm not 29 anymore. After that, I go every week until she is born! Earlier in my pregnancy, I asked the doctor if she would be willing to induce (especially since we live an hour and fifteen minutes away). She said there are many good reasons to schedule an induction. I'm sure that my 36-week appointment will give us some insight and guidance on whether I'm still a good candidate for induction and when that should be. And just in case you're worried about me driving that far if I go into labor on my own, I did get good feedback about the hospital in Crosby, which is only about 30 minutes away (could get there faster if we needed to). So that's my backup plan if there's an emergency. Not to mention that the nurse practitioner I saw at 24 weeks gave me a run-down of what to pack in the vehicle in case we aren't going to make it. :) My goal is to get that kit packed this week.

Well, it sure does feel good to get this update written, even if it is super long. I feel all caught up for now. I still am nostalgic for the days when I blogged multiple times a week. That's the ebbs and flows of life I guess. 


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