Thumpity Thump

midwife 1

I had my first official prenatal appointment today. A full hour. Much conversation. Much information. Much laughter. A teeny tiny heartbeat. Wonderful.

Although I do not have any prior OB/GYN prenatal experience to compare this with, I’ve had my fair share of cold exam tables, pap smears, and long walks down corridors of exam rooms at the gynecologist office. Let me tell you, there is no comparison. I had blood work done (at a lab a few miles away), pee-ed in a cup, had my blood pressure and pulse taken, and a thorough medical history review; however, it was in a warm, inviting living room, there were no other clients there, and I was given loads of information. We chatted about what I’ve been eating, how I like to stay active, the fun story about us being in Paris when we found out we were expecting, the two births that occurred there over the weekend, and how she intends to make at least one visit to our home (yeah, that’s right, a house call) within three days of our baby’s arrival. At the end, she gellied-up my lower belly and wiggled around an old-fashioned doppler until we finally heard a tiny thumpity-thump-thump.

Official due date is September 10th, although I was told to expect to go a little later as a first-time mother. Another appointment in a month.

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Food: 2/28-3/6

Thursday

Breakfast-bacon and eggs

Lunch- Cody out, Meagan at midwife appointment in Chattanooga

Supper- hamburger steak with A1, fried potatoes, small salad

Friday

Breakfast- bacon and fruit

Lunch- leftover hamburger patty with baked potato

Supper- cornbread, pinto beans, stewed squash and onions, cabbage, tomatoes

Saturday

Breakfast- bacon and eggs

Lunch- ranch chicken salad with deviled eggs and lettuce

Supper- baked chicken with leftover cabbage and beans and sweet potato oven fries

Sunday

Breakfast- scones with icing and whipped cream

Lunch-salmon patties with brown rice and green beans

Supper- chicken and dressing, green beans, creamed potatoes

Monday

Breakfast- scones with whipped cream

Lunch- leftover chicken and dressing

Supper- meatballs with spaghetti sauce and cheese, broccoli, parmesan roasted zucchini

Tuesday

Breakfast- bacon and fruit

Lunch- plain leftover meat balls with A1, boiled eggs, fruit

Supper- ham steak with pineapple, black eyed peas, homemade cole slaw

Wednesday

Breakfast- leftover scones with fruit and bacon

Lunch- tuna salad

Supper- Tricia or out

Snacks– Greek yogurt with honey and fruit, cinnamon chick peas (forgot to make last week), grapes and cheese, pickles

 

Rolling

It occurred to me today that although this blog was intended to be about our finances, it has come to be more about our life. Here’s a little money post.

change

We’ve got a long list of upcoming expenses to prepare for: midwife fee (thankfully we were able to retrieve some money from Cody’s old life insurance policy to cover the bulk of that), doula fee, childbirth classes, cloth diaper purchases, another big trip to Dry Tortugas National Park in April, several home improvement projects that need to be completed before the baby comes, etc. On top of all that, this last full semester of graduate school combined with the pregnancy exhaustion I’ve been experiencing has resulted in me working very little in the past month or so. Although I do plan to continue to work as much as possible, it is becoming obvious that I’ve got a full plate regardless. Our chicken project, big plans for a massive garden, budgeting and bill paying, housework, cooking, and baby-growing are also almost solely my responsibility. Whew!

Obviously, frugality is a top priority at this point in our lives and we don’t foresee letting our financial guard down anytime in the near future. After the list above is complete and the baby is born, we plan to really buckle down and work on chipping away at our mortgage. I’m spending much of my free time thinking about and planning ways to save money. Meal planning has made about a $30.00 difference in our grocery budget each week. I’m on the hunt for canning and freezing supplies and plan to put everything we grow plus bulk produce that’s cheap here in Alabama like tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, etc. into the freezer or pantry in the next few months. We’ve gone without cable before and I’m slowly persuading Cody to cut the ties again. I’m working on stashes of cloth napkins and rags as well as DIY cloth diapers to supplement the Econobums we plan to purchase.

Because my personal income is very little, I feel horribly guilty about spending money on things for me. I spent two days and went to countless stores last week before I finally broke down and spent $12.00 on a new bra that I desperately needed. I’ve purchased very little clothing for the baby because I’ve had such a hard time finding the gender-neutral items I’d like to stock-up on before we find out if it’s a he or she in early April. Thanks to Cody’s cousin, I’ve spent only $20.00 on maternity clothes that I’m now beginning to need. As far as the nursery, the McNuggets just moved out yesterday so I have yet to begin the obligatory decorating process. I bought a $1.00 Peter Rabbit book at Target a few days ago because I want to use a Beatrix Potter theme. We’re on the hunt for a baby bed to borrow or buy used. Linens, bedding, and curtains I’ll make myself with the help of my mother. I’m doing a whole bunch of Pinterest-looking, web browsing, and window shopping but precious little buying.

But sometimes, I just want some spending cash. That’s what this post is really about. I don’t keep extra money in my checking account, hate to withdraw funds out of savings unless it’s necessary, and feel bad taking money out of our vacation cash stash. Tomorrow, I’m meeting-up with my best friend, Alyson, for breakfast and thrift shopping (she’s a fellow frugal-minded gal). Frankly, my car is on E and my last $1.00 bill isn’t going to buy the gravy biscuit I know I’ll want for breakfast. So I rolled.

After digging through my car, all my purses, two baskets Cody tosses his change in, the bottom of the washing machine, and random drawers, I rolled $29.00 worth of change. That’s an entire day of entertainment for this girl! A squirt of gas, carb-loaded breakfast, and a few hours thirfting with a good friend… sounds like a wonderful time to me.

This goes to show you that if you don’t get into the habit of treating yourself all of the time, very little can seem like a fortune.

Food 2/21-2/27

Winn Dixie is doing another five for twenty dollars deal. I plan to get four Hormel plain pork roasts and one cooked shrip ring with cocktail. If I can stratch up an extra twenty, I might get another five roasts for the freezer.

Thursday

Supper- gumbo with chicken and shrimp, brown rice

Friday

Breakfast- bacon and eggs

Lunch- leftovers with leftover corn bread

Supper- Honey Chicken Kabobs with green beans

Saturday

Breakfast- banana oatmeal cookies with strawberry butter

Lunch- veggie salad with added shrimp and whole wheat noodles

Supper- Cafe Rio Pork with cauliflower

Sunday

Breakfast- cookies with strawberry butter and fruit

Lunch- Caden’s birthday party

Supper- chicken, spinach, and mozzerella quesadillas with salsa

Monday

Breakfast- bacon and eggs with fruit

Lunch- tuna salad (with leftover wrap)

Supper- sliced pork loin chops with english peas, roasted sweet potatoes, and deviled eggs

Tuesday

Breakfast- sausage links with fruit

Lunch- leftovers

Supper- quiche with spinach and feta, bacon, fruit

Wednesday

Breakfast- bacon and eggs

Lunch- tuna salad

Supper- Tricia

Snacks- spicy nuts, Greek yogurt with honey and fruit, homemade creamcicles, cinnamon and honey roasted chickpeas, dried strawberries, grapes and cheese

 

Food: 2/14-2/20

Friday

Breakfast: bacon and eggs

Lunch: leftover quesadillas from Tricia’s

Supper: leftover chicken and rice from Mildred, English peas, corn on the cob

Saturday

Breakfast: bacon, kiwi, strawberries

Lunch: deviled eggs, tuna salad, tortilla chips

Supper: bunless burgers with baked potatoes

Sunday

Breakfast: blueberry scones with cream cheese frosting and whipped cream

Lunch: out?

Supper: baked chicken, green beans, oven roasted potatoes

Monday

Breakfast: leftover scones with whipped cream and strawberries

Lunch: tuna salad

Supper: pinto beans, corn bread, corn on the cob, stewed squash and onions

Tuesday

Breakfast: leftover scones, bacon, fruit

Lunch: leftovers

Supper: pork chops with onions, cauliflower, green beans

Wednesday

Breakfast: bacon and eggs

Lunch: leftovers

Supper: Tricia

Snacks: scones, oranges, bananas, tortilla chips and salsa, cheese and pepperoni, kiwi, grapes, Greek yogurt

Anti-McNuggets

    chick7

Early this morning, I received a call from our local post office informing me that my chicks had arrived. I rode home with the stinky box above and opened it to find the cute balls of fluff below.

chick6

I’ve been getting McMurray Hatchery catalogs since I was a little girl but have never ordered from the company. I was pleasantly surprised to find my entire order alive and quite alert, if a little disoriented from their overnight trip from Michigan to Alabama.

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A day old White Leghorn

chick4

I ordered twenty-five male White Leghorns, a breed that is supposedly ideal for butchering because of their white feathers, light skin, and early maturity. We decided not to order hybrid breeds like Cornish Rocks this year because they tend not to reproduce very well. We’ll keep a couple of males to breed with our hens (we will be getting a few more soon from a neighbor). Hopefully, we won’t have to invest in more birds unless we are super impressed with the Leghorns and decide to get a few more next year.

chick3

I also ordered an assortment of fifteen male heavy breeds. Looks like we got two turkens, two with feathers on their feet, and at least three other breeds. These should also be ideal for butchering and one or two will be lucky enough to hang around as the king of the coop for a few years.

chick2

This sickly looking fellow is actually just fine. He’s a turken, otherwise known as a “naked neck.”

The Leghorns were $1.11 each and the heavies were $1.27. Including shipping, we invested $62.00 in this project. We’ll see how much these guys (I figured males would be easier to kill when they all begin to crow simultaneously) eat, but I’m estimating that we’ll spend around $100.00 on feed between now and the time they’ll be ready to process. No only will our homegrown chicken be healthier, it will also be a little cheaper than even the sketchy-looking Tyson birds at the grocery store. We’re also building a new, larger pen but are using almost exclusively scrap materials, so it’s only going to cost us around $40.00.

So, why are we going through all this trouble, stench, and nastiness for something we can buy at the Winn Dixie two miles down the road? First, these chickens will be fed quality grain scratch from the local co-op, scraps from my kitchen, garden odds and ends, and whatever bugs and acorns they find. Secondly, they’ll receive no antibiotics, steroids, or other medications. They’ll have happy lives, probably be semi-smothered by my niece and nephew, and enjoy plenty of sunshine this spring. Sometime around June, they’ll be killed humanely and processed by my husband, me, and some friends then frozen whole in ICE bags. I’ll be grateful for healthy food for myself as I nurse our new baby and homemade nuggets when our little babe is old enough.

Instagram-o-rama the third

photo

Tonight

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Geoff knows his days in our bed are numbered

i3

Rocky preventing reading 

 i3

So far, my favorite place in the entire world. Makarios in Birmingham, Alabama. Fatoosh Feta and Hummus with Pita. 

 i4

 Us, before marriage. Circa 2008-ish.

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Generative Grammar  i6

Wee clothes for the babe and larger ones for me

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A silly nephew

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Chi-weenie in a sweater

i10

An unusually warm winter night on the deck. Also, the day we told Cody’s family our grand news.  i11

Flowers from a Paris market and Notre Dame’s exterior carvingsphoto (6)

Also tonight. Ten weeks and a tiny bump.  photo (8)

An upside down niece 

 photo (9)

Notre Dame’s insides

follow me @meaganleap

Food: 2/7- 2/13

Last week’s meal plan was pretty successful. I only deviated a few times and, thankfully, my mother-in-law fed Cody last night while I was in class, so we saved a meal there. I found one pound packs of ground turkey for $2.50 and Hormel pork tenderloins for $5.00 (!) at Winn Dixie about a month ago. I still have some stocked up in the freezer so I decided to make use of them this week since the $217.00 cell phone bill from our European coversation is due.

Thursday

Supper-grilled Dale’s chicken strips, brown rice, broccoli, and baked pineapple

Friday

Breakfast-bacon and eggs

Lunch- leftover chicken on a salad with boiled eggs

Supper-grilled pork loin slices with Ms. Dash, baked potato/ sweet potato, peas

Saturday

Breakfast- strawberries and whipped cream

Lunch- egg salad, tortilla chips, pickles, mandarin oranges

Supper- pinto beans, corn bread, corn on the cob

Sunday

Breakfast- apple cinnamon oatmeal with fruit

Lunch-loaded baked potatoes with bacon

Supper- Italian chicken breasts with green beans and potatoes

Monday

Breakfast- sausage links and fruit

Lunch- leftovers

Supper- turkey meat sloppy joes with cheese, cauliflower, green beans

Tuesday

Breakfast- cereal with fruit

Lunch- tuna salad with tortilla chips, fruit

Supper- Philly cheesesteak stuffed baked potatoes

Wednesday

Breakfast- sausage links with fruit

Lunch- leftovers

Supper-eat with Tricia or out

Snacks

coconut crack, oranges, bananas, yogurt with fruit, fruit with whipped cream, homemade oatmeal raisen cookies, cauliflower cheesesticks with pepperoni, homemade cake of some sort with cream cheese icing

 

Midwife

Yesterday, we hired a midwife. Here’s why:

  • I have been disappointed in the care and advice I received from OB/GYNs in the past.
  • I am healthy and have no reason to expect complications to arise during this pregnancy.
  • Here in Alabama, the Caesarian section rate hovers right around 37%. Should I choose to birth in a hospital, I’d have greater than a one in three chance of undergoing major abdominal surgery.
  • We have particular ideas about how we want to parent and a hospital birth is not conducive to the aspirations we have for our child in the first few days after birth.
  • Establishing a good breastfeeding relationship is very important to me, and a hospital setting will not facilitate that as well as a homebirth.
  • I hope to establish a relationship with a trusted midwife who will oversee my physical and psychological wellbeing during my childbearing years.
  • We appreciate the role a healthy diet and active lifestyle plays in a healthy pregnancy, more so than unnecessary medications and procedures.
  • I (not we, because Cody isn’t so certain) am not comfortable placing a limit on the number of children we will have. That being said, I want to do everything I can to prevent a C-section and the need for subsequent surgeries should we want to have more children.
  • We want our birth to be centered on our relationship and the life we are bringing into the world. I’m not interested in getting an epidural so that I can still converse with my mother, mother-in-law, and best friend while I push then feel I need to fix my hair and put on some makeup so that I can hand-off my baby to assorted friends and family members hours after it emerges from my womb.
  • There are many standard hospital procedures that we are skeptical about and do not want to be pressured into making important decisions without being completely informed.
  • We want to learn everything we can about pregnancy, birth, and taking care of our baby during this pregnancy (our midwife has a first time mother’s program that requires us to read several books, take three courses in her office, and either a Hypnobabies or Bradley Method course).
  • My health insurance will not begin to provide maternity coverage until Oct. 1, 2013. Our baby’s due date is September 10, 2013. Financially, a midwife whose fee is $2,700.00 is a much smarter decision than a hospital birth that would cost upwards of $10,000.00 without an epidural or any complications (notice that this reason is lowest on the list).

There are probably several other great reasons that I’ve forgotten because pregnancy brain is, in fact, real. I cannot explain how relieved I was to find that the midwife we met yesterday met my expectations and answered all the questions I had perfectly. Our consultation lasted about an hour and she told us to expect all my prenatal visits to last an hour as well. My first official prenatal visit is at the end of this month. I’ll be twelve weeks and a few days then and should be able to hear a tiny heart beat.

We understand that we are first time parents with so many surprises ahead of us. We also understand that midwifery care isn’t for everyone. However, Cody and I are both so thankful that this option is available to us, despite all obstacles. You see, midwives are not licensed in Alabama and homebirths are illegal. Our midwife is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, about an hour and a half  away, and I will be delivering our baby in her home. I am so excited about this journey and sharing everything we learn with my scattered handful of readers!