Archive | November, 2017

Pregnancy #3: 22 Weeks

21 Nov

This pregnancy is flying by! I can’t believe that I’m over halfway already.

23722368_1675810179115964_8792944856374028945_nThere’s not a whole ton more to talk about in the past 4 weeks that I didn’t address in my first bump update but we did have our anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks and found out that…

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!

We actually had the ultrasound technician write the gender down on a piece of paper without telling us what it was, then we gave it to our neighbor, Andrea, along with a black balloon and both blue and pink paint, and she filled the balloon for us. Then we pinned the filled balloon to a blank canvas and shot it with a shotgun (a little overkill?). The paint was blue! I posted the video on Instagram if you’re interested in watching (@specialkkluthe).

Travis is very excited about having a boy, and I am too, though ever the practical/responsible one, I’m also thinking through all the clothes, blankets, etc. that we’ll have to get for a boy, since all of our stuff after having two girls is pink and ruffles. But I’m trying to look at it as being exciting and not a chore. 😉

Annabelle had no reaction to the news that Jellybean is a boy, but Emma started sobbing over how she had wanted a sister (even though whenever we asked her before finding out, she said she wanted a brother). She’s not that sad anymore (though she still refers to the baby as a “she”), and I’m sure she’s going to have a blast with a little brother. I did remind her that I grew up with a younger brother, and I dressed him in dresses, put makeup on him, played Barbies with him–just because he’s a boy, doesn’t mean he won’t do stuff like that. But he’ll also think of fun games to play with Emma that she wouldn’t have thought of. And she likes rough-housing and getting dirty, so I’m guessing they’ll get along just fine.

Name

We had a boy’s name picked out for Annabelle (since we didn’t know what gender she was until she was born) so both Travis and I had assumed that we would just use that name, since we both still like it. But we apparently can’t agree on whether the full name would be what Jellybean goes by, or if he would go by a nickname. Travis says nickname, I say full name. I feel very strongly that we should name him what we want him to be called (that was the same case with Annabelle…she is not Anna or Belle, her name is Annabelle). So the jury is still out on the name.

Movement

I started feeling Jellybean kick around in my belly around 18 weeks. At first, it was just when I was lying down or being still, but now it’s pretty much all day long. It’ll be fun when his kicks are strong and consistent enough for the girls to feel them from the outside! (We took both of them to my 20-week ultrasound, thinking they’d find it interesting, but their attention span lasted about 5 minutes. Live and learn.)

Clothes

I’m pretty much fully in maternity clothes now. I still have some pre-pregnancy shirts that fit, but most mornings, it’s just easier to put on a maternity shirt, since I know it will fit. I bought a few more maternity shirts from Target, but they’re the kind without ruching on the sides, so I can wear them even after baby comes. 😉

I’m definitely needing more maternity pants, though. I lamented this when pregnant with Emma, and it’s still an issue–you would think that finding maternity pants that fit would be easier than finding regular pants because of the whole stretchy waistband thing, but nope, it’s just as hard. I looked at the limited stores around here with no luck, which is not surprising. I do love the jeans I bought from Old Navy a few months ago, and am probably going to just buy another pair since I know they fit well.

I also really want some maternity leggings and ordered some from Blanqi, but I tried them on and even though they were super comfy, they attracted dog hair like no tomorrow. So back they go. They’re not something I would wear to work, and if I can’t wear them around the house without being covered in dog hair, they are pretty much useless.

Food & Cravings

I don’t really have that many cravings these days, though I have been loving raw veggies and dip, and spinach artichoke dip. My main challenge these days is that I’m so tired, and have been so busy (way, way too busy), and Travis has been traveling for work, so I haven’t been meal planning like usual. But after Thanksgiving, my schedule is a lot more open, and Travis is done traveling for a while, so I’m hoping to get back into the habit of actual dinners.

Exercise

This is also something that has suffered with Travis’ travel schedule. I just do not have the energy to work out and watch the kids at the same time, or get up early/stay up late to work out when they’re sleeping. And since I usually end up falling asleep with Annabelle for her nap, that time doesn’t work either. So I haven’t been working out really at all. With Travis back now, I’m hoping to start doing at least 1-2 days of Pilates, and walking on the treadmill or outside. The girls and I haven’t played outside in weeks! (yikes) We’re due.

Sleep

The last couple weeks of sleep have been less than stellar. I’m already sick of sleeping on my sides, but my belly is not really comfy anymore, and my back is only comfy for so long. But if this is the worst of my pregnancy woes, I’m still lucky.

And that’s about it for 22 weeks!

Confessions of a Deer-Hunting Widow

7 Nov

Ah, deer hunting season. How I hate thee.

I knew when I married my husband that he liked to hunt. He grew up hunting, almost his entire family hunts, it’s just their thing. But when we were dating, and then got married, Travis was at his all-time hunting low–as in, was doing the least amount of hunting in his life. (On the other hand, I was doing the most hunting of my life. One deer season. One day. HA!)

But it didn’t last long. The fall after we moved to Colorado in 2007 commenced Travis’ family’s annual week-long pilgrimage to the Rockies in search of the elusive elk. That pilgrimage remained a strong tradition until 2016, when Travis opted to hunt antelope in Wyoming instead, and then this year, opted to fish for a week in Canada instead of hunt out of state.

And that was just one season of hunting. Before we had kids, Travis hunted elk, deer, antelope, and ducks. All different seasons. All back to back during arguably the busiest time of year (fall and winter). One year, Travis shot FIVE animals: 1 elk, 2 deer, and 2 antelope. After butchering and vacuum-sealing meat for what seemed like two months straight, I told him he was never allowed to shoot that many animals again.

Then there was the time that Travis had been hunting a lot, and I jokingly (but not jokingly) lamented, “Hunting is taking over your life!” We laughed about that then, but somehow since having kids, that joke isn’t quite as funny anymore.

Because once you have kids, hunting is no longer just a hobby for one spouse. It’s a SACRIFICE for the other. (Unless both spouses like hunting, I guess, but from what I’ve seen, that’s a rarity.)

It’s taken me literally years to remember that hunting doesn’t involve just the time in the stand, or even the time at deer camp. It’s also setting stands. Brushing trails. Cleaning guns. Site-ing guns in. Assembling gear (which for the elk pilgrimage involved two pickup trucks completely bedded down with stuff, including a wall tent with wood stove). And then if the hunters are successful, retrieving the animal. Butchering meat. Grinding meat. Vacuum-sealing meat.

And one year, this process also involved Travis boiling an elk head and scraping out the brain cavity with a tiny wire in order to make a European mount of his bull rack, which we now have displayed in our living room. (He learned to have it done professionally the second time around, and that European mount is in the basement awaiting its placement.)

The hardest part about hunting for our family is that it always happens in the fall (with the exception of duck hunting). And ever since we’ve had kids, fall also happens to be the time of year when Travis’ job is the busiest, and requires the most travel. So it’s no wonder that every October and November, I find myself at my wit’s end. And actually, that’s a very mild way of describing it. Perhaps I should say, I find myself drowning?

Because that’s how it feels. Every moment, my body is consumed with a frantic panic similar to what I imagine a caged animal feels. No matter how much I dislike my circumstances, no matter how stressed out or overwhelmed I feel, I am stuck, spending what feels like endless days and nights by myself with little humans who do what I don’t want them to do, and won’t do what I do want them to. Little humans who refuse to go to bed without tantrums, or who get sick and won’t sleep, or who seemingly break out their most unruly behavior at the very moment I need them most–for my sanity’s sake–to behave. (Thank God for technology, or I would completely lose it for good.)

Then there are the annual marital fights over the H word: how much hunting costs, how much time it takes, how many seasons he should hunt, etc etc. Because Travis’ family’s “thing” is hunting, the amount of time we spend with each side of the family gets brought up defensively. Last year’s argument included my throwing a Camelbak water bottle, complete with expletive, at the wall, breaking the water bottle, and puncturing a hole in the sheetrock. (That happened after Travis said, “I really haven’t gone hunting that much.”)

After that shameful but ultimately productive incident, I was finally able to put words to my feelings and tell Travis, “I know you love hunting. And I want you to continue doing the things you love to do. And I want to be supportive of you doing them. But right now, I can’t be more supportive than simply telling you through gritted teeth that you can do them. I want to have a good attitude about all of it, but I just don’t. And I don’t have the emotional capacity to change that. Because I feel like I’m drowning. And I can’t do anything more right now than just survive.”

And that’s where I find myself again this hunting season, even though now I work two days a week (a change that was brought about by last year’s hunting season). Because Travis has traveled for work 4 out of the last 6 weeks, and is set to leave for another 5-day work trip on the last day of deer season.

But what can I do? I know for a fact that if I asked Travis not to hunt anymore this season (since he HAS already shot two does), he wouldn’t. He doesn’t blaze a hunting trail with no thought to his wife or kids. But if I do ask him not to hunt anymore, then I end up feeling like the needy, no-fun ball-and-chain who doesn’t let her husband do anything. And I honestly do want Travis to continue doing the things that he loves. So even though it’s hard, and I don’t have the attitude about it that I wish I did (because honestly, how can I?!?!), I will grit my teeth and tell Travis to go have fun while I change poopy diapers and wipe poopy butts, diffuse umpteen fights over toys, assemble meals that do not get eaten, and keep my girls from destroying my in-laws’ house.

There is no tidy wrap-up to this blog post because this is an issue that we are still working through, and I imagine will work through until the day our kids can take care of themselves, or go hunting themselves. Rather, I write this more to say that if you find yourself a hunting widow with young kids, and you’re having a hard time maintaining sanity, I understand. I’m there with you.