Funemployment in Hawaii

For the first time since I started working (oh, about 15 years ago), I’m unemployed. Have been for months.

At first it was super fun! Like a vacation! I could get up whenever I wanted, instead of some time before 6am. I could stay up as late as I wanted without any worry about being a zombie the next day. I could watch movies, play on the internet, even do chores. Whatever I wanted to do I could!

It gets old fast, man.

I started my working career like a lot of kids, I think. I babysat and cut/edged the lawn for a little extra cash. When I turned thirteen, I took advantage of a work-to-ride program at my stable, and became a junior councilor. Things just sort of kept rolling from there.

The thing is, I actually like to work.

Hmm, well…I like working when I have value. I thrive on being busy. Boredom and I are mortal enemies. I would literally rather physical pain than boredom. At least if I stub my toe or sprain something, I have to attend to it. Clearly I’d rather be bored than lose a limb or something, but you get what I mean…

The worst thing about “funemployment” (a term coined by my MoH, LC) for me, is that it stopped being fun about two months ago. That, combined with my recent lifestyle changes and preexisting issues [read: OCD] have made me a little…wonky. My stutter is back. I try not to focus too much on it, because stressing about it only makes it worse and it really, really bothers me.

I also just feel generally bummed out. It sucks on two levels. The first being that it simply isn’t nice to feel blue, and the second being that it really doesn’t do any good to complain about it. Even writing it out here makes me uncomfortable. I really don’t like being a whiner, guys.

Today I met with a headhunter, so I’m hopeful that something will come out of this and make all the rest not even matter. In the grand scheme of things, four months off is nothing, right?

Still, I’d really rather have a job before I’m pregnant. I suppose being a month or so into it wouldn’t be terrible either, but I’d rather not be newly employed and a jerk who goes on mat leave after a few months in the bucket.

I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what happens…

In much more uplifting news, the annual combined birthday party at my in-laws was celebrated yesterday. It’s always themed, and this year we did Blue Hawaii. There were lots of leis and grass skirts, one particularly spectacular mustache via my SIL S in the style of Thomas Magnum, and a flowered coconut bra sported by my other SIL E. The breezy sunshine, great food, and fruity drinks all combined perfectly to make it feel like we all really were hanging out on the islands. It was a little weird not to have a cocktail, but I mixed a sparkling punch that worked almost as well with a little paper umbrella. (It’s difficult to find something that wouldn’t be improved by a little festive colour.)

As far as the food, I made a vegetable tian with green and yellow zucchini, beets, and leeks for my savory offering. (Mostly because I thought the colours would be pretty together.) For the sweet I did a Thai Banana Cake that I would highly recommend. Used some black bananas I had saved in the freezer months ago and it came together with no real fuss. Both just added to the overflowing cornucopia of food that any of these family events ends up being. All the food is so good, and there is so much of it, it’s really impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t been to one.

There’s a joke/story MFH likes to tell, about my first event with his family. (I believe it was Easter.) All together there ends up being about 15 of us. For desert alone there were four pies, a cake, and various cookies. I honestly can’t remember the main meal, but I feel like it was spread over three tables and would have please even the pickiest of eaters. I turned to MFH and asked, “Who else is coming?” He found that hilarious and could barely choke out that we were it.

The party also marked day 63 of my 90-day preconception plan. May has been my goal starting date since last May. It’s so surreal that the year has past so quickly. I’m really happy (and not going to lie, a little surprised) that I’m having no second thoughts about any of it. This was my plan from the beginning, and it’s almost time for fruition.

Now here’s hoping that the fates fall in line for me. 😉

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Preconception Cocktail

Last time I promised to give info in my whole preconception prep insanity, when I had some time to do it justice. I do my best to be a woman of my word, so here we go!

It’s not that it’s all that complicated, it’s more that there are a couple different subsections to the process. So it’s not somuch of complicated as just loooong. Also, maybe boring.

The thing is, I really feel like it’s helping me. My irregular cycles have gotten their (her?) act together. My skin looks amazing and my body is fitter. My hair is finally getting over the insanity of my gall bladder diet and looking less like that of Frankenstein’s Monster‘s bride. I get a a lot of complements. (On my “glow.” As of today, no one has complimented me on my regular cycle. Although, a ultrasound technician did tell me last Summer that I had a perfect uterus… So there’s that.)

Is this the only way? Clearly not. This is just my way.

The Books:
These guys get top billing for two reasons. The first being that books are awesome, and make me feel happy. The second is that a lot of what these two advised me, I picked up and used myself. (I would like to add that I’ve read/am reading several others, but this is the preconception shelf.)

Without further ado:

Before Your Pregnancy

This was my first foray into the Pre-Preggo world. It was literally the only thing I could find regarding the crazy (Read: OCD) desire I had to plan planing to get pregnant. I read it last August. It gave me the idea of having a three-month countdown.

Of course, the fact that my 30th birthday was followed in three months by May…which is sort of the perfect time to start trying to conceive if you don’t want to be hot during months 5 through 9…also helped.

The Everything Getting Pregnant BookMom got this one for me. (Actually she got me two, but the other one was more for couples who are really having problems getting preggo. Fingers crossed I won’t need it.)

Most of the information was doubled, but there was a small section on some useful herbs that sparked my interest and (after an extensive search) led to one of my major daily activities…

(See below, The Tea.)

The Pills:
I was never a fan of THE PILL, as it seemed to do nothing but really make me feel terrible. I mean, I guess it also helped me out with not getting knocked up. I just feel like it only did that grudgingly. (Look, if you haven’t figured out by now that I’m a little (a little?!?) neurotic, well, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.)

But I’m getting off topic here.

What with cooking a new human being, the body of a pregnant lady needs both more and different things than the body of…well, everyone else. And the really creepy thing? If the stuff the Spawn needs isn’t there, it will actually start leaching it from things regular people need. Like, pulling calcium out of bones. The Spawn is like a nutritional vampire!

So, to counteract said leaching, you’re supposed to eat really well. Also supplements. LOTS of supplements.

Here are mine:

Folic Acid

Last Spring, I got my annual checkup. Despite having to go in for further more…internal tests, the doc did suggest I start taking Folic Acid. Even though I didn’t want to get preggo for a year. Her words: “This is good. Just in case. That way if mistake, is still okay.”

The focus always seems to be on the girls and the eggs. How many times have you heard that Folic Acid is super important for guys and their swimmers too? Never? Yeah, neither had I, until I started researching preconception.

In a move that seems to be sort of obvious to me, guys who take a good multivitamin and Folic Acid supplement 3+ months before conception also have less instances of children with terrible things like Spina Bifida.

So, since MFH is…well, fantastic, he’s been taking the 1mg a day with me for almost a year.

GNC Prenatal with DHA

Prenatal vitamins are super tricky. I mean, google it. (I’ll just wait here.)

I KNOW! 3 Million results! Crazy, right?

It’s even crazier when you’re trying to make sure that you find one with everything you need. So why did I pick GNC‘s formula with DHA? Couple of reasons.

I adore that I have to take three a day, because it makes me feel like good stuff is in my system longer. Also, it makes it less traumatic on my stomach. If I do have morning sickness, three options to absorb the goods seems like a better option than a one-shot.

On top of all the general goodness you’d expect from a prenatal, it has Choline and Biotin. Bonus points for the extra DHA.

I couldn’t find anything comparable up here. As I often do in such cases, I outsourced to the USA.

Vitamin D

MS runs in MFH’s family, so vitamin D will forever be a part of our lives. The data is inconclusive, but vitamin D seems to help in prevention and symptoms. We take extra beyond our multis because:

  1. Not doing so would brake my MIL‘s heart.
  2. We live in Canada. It’s dark a lot in the winter. Some years winter is really freakin’ long.
  3. I’m notsofond of the Sun in general. I realize how crazy that sounds but the only thing lots of sun ever got me was some serious burns, heat stroke, and super crowded beaches and amusement parks. I like having porcelain skin and looking 5 to 10 years younger than I actually am. I also enjoy a brisk 68*F to 71*F (20 to 22 in Celsius). Ergo, I avoid the Sun in general more than I should.

The Diet:
Let’s get one thing clear right now. I’m not talking about something one goes on to change total body mass. I’m using the word in the strictest definition only. (Per Webster: “food and drink regularly provided or consumed”)

It’s pretty basic. Lots of real food (not in packages), as local as possible, mostly green or other bright, intense colours. Meat from farms, not factories, fed vegetarian food. Low mercury fish.

No alcohol. Cutting back on the caffeine. (The diet coke withdrawal is probably my weakest point in this entire enterprise.)

Also? Water. SO MUCH WATER.

Nalgene Water Bottle

See this 32oz BPA free bottle? I have this exact one. (So cute, right?)

I put back at least 3 of these suckers a day.If I’m in reliably close proximity to a bathroom, I’ll pound as many as 5.

That’s right, be awed by the power of my bladder!

Or…you know what, don’t be. That’s a super weird thing to be awed by. Also, MFH insists that I have the world’s smallest bladder, so there’s another point against.

The Tea:
I like “natural” and “organic” stuff. I’m not a blind follower of either, but I do like both a lot. I especially like when the use of herbs and such are proven alternatives to drug store fare. The thing about herbs/plants (and I’m going to try and stay off a soapbox here) is you can’t patent it. So lets say sunflowers cure ear cancer (I’m making shit up). It would take a lot of nonprofits a lot of time to pull that study together, because no pharmaceutical could say sunflowers were theirs to sell to ear cancer patients.

Enter in the healers. Thanks to literally thousands of years of anecdotal evidence, some herbs/plants have been looked at in traditional medical studies. Some of the time, science proves what healers have been saying for years.

This is how I got onto Red Raspberry Leaf and Red Clover Blossom. There are actual medical studies that have shown that women who take Red Raspberry Leaf are less likely to need a C-Section, extra help (vacuum/forceps), or days to give birth. It’s also supposed to be really good for fertility. Red Clover Blossom helps regulate cycles and cleans the body.

I take a high concentrated tea of both (along with some peppermint for flavor), at least two cups, every single day.

So that’s it…It’s hard to say if all of the above, combined with my exercise and BBT charting will make any difference until I actually start trying to conceive. What I can say is what I have said before: my cycles have normalized; I’ve been told I look great (I also feel like I’m looking better, but it sounds less narcissistic if other people say it.); and my overall energy is way up.

But more importantly than all of this? I actually feel ready to have a kid.

Or at least as ready as anyone can ever be…

Hoppy Easter!

I’m not a fan of Facebook. I know, it’s weird. Everyone’s on Facebook. Except for me and the elderly…and even some of them have nifty pages that their grandkids hooked them up with. I refuse to even get on for all those great “Like” deals.

So it’s not exactly a secret, but I don’t walk around with an “I’m not on Facebook” t-shirt either.

Here’s the thing. It’s not an arbitrary choice. I’m not on, because I’ve noticed that people tend to forget real-life contact (at least with me), when I’ve been on Facebook in the past.

This happened again recently when I found out via Facebook (of a friend) that my Mother went in for emergency surgery. Yeah. It felt about as good as you’d figure it might. She’s fine. But still, my point is the same.

So that’s how I started my Easter week. I spent a vast majority of the time I should have been planing my Easter yumminess losing my skull over the health of my mother. (OCD + Stress = Ugly)

The thing about Easter yummies, is that there is sort of a non-recognized baking competition between the attendees of my in-laws’ Easter. The first year I ever went, I made a gingerbread and Key Lime Pie. MFH’s aunt M made a Key Lime Pie as well. Totally weird and random, especially since there is not so much of the Key Liming in Canada. But it gets better. The next year? Tres Leches. Both of us. Again. IN CANADA. I was convinced she had a video camera in our house. How else could that have happened?

This year I wanted to try something totally out there and different. Something that even though AM and I seem to channel each other’s plans, I would be the only one with this idea.

So what did I come up with? Whoopie Pies. (Both Chocolate and Vanilla.) Did a basic marshmallow filling for both. Added some Easter colour. Bam! And though AM mentioned that she had thought about doing creme-filled donuts, (seriously, she’s in my brain!) they ended up being the only Whoopie Pies up for this year’s consideration. :p

Look at the pretty colours!

Mmm...Easter

Mmm…Easter

Easter was also the one month (and 4 day) checkpoint for me having a baby friendly body. (No alcohol, LOTS of vitamins, crazy amounts of lean meats and veggies, and enough water to float in.) One down, two to go…

Of course, now’s the time to get super buff…er, at least more buff than I am now. My go-to for the past year has been Barreworks. I love the classes, they kick my ass, and I see results literally the next day. I’ve also not gone for like three months. Today was my first class back, and it felt like it. I’ve booked classes every Monday through Friday in April. Tomorrow I’m going to hurt so bad. Hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday, my body will be like, “Oooooooh, right…we’ve done this before, we can do it again.” But until then? Lots of pain.

The really sick part?

I’m totally looking forward to it.