a tip for drinking enough water

[Preface] So for the past month or so I’ve been unemployed.

I’ve never particularly been one for routine, so honestly, I’ve kind of been enjoying the fact that I don’t have to get up at the same time every day and do the same things. I can eat breakfast when I want to (and decide if I want to cook it or be lazy about it), take a shower whenever, and go somewhere if I feel like it, or not. I usually choose not to because a) we’ll run out of money if I spend it every day, and b) my in-laws have every season of the show The Gilmore Girls, which I am slowly working my way through watching. (again)

Anyway, I digress. Though the ol’ “routine” and I have had some head-butts over the years, it has helped me in some ways. For instance, it is very good to have a time to brush your teeth every day. This has become a little lax since I’ve stopped eating breakfast and leaving the house every morning (just being honest here, folks). But the main routine I’ve had issue with since leaving work is consuming enough water. Every morning at work I would arrive with my 32 oz. Nalgene bottle filled and tried to always drink it all by lunch, at which time I’d refill it and drink the whole thing again by quittin’ time. It was a good routine, a good amount of water consumed during my work day, and one that I didn’t even really have to think about too much.

… Until now. I have been really, really bad about drinking enough water — which has meant I’ve been under-hydrated, had more digestive issues, and dealt with some pretty ugly dry skin and cracked lips. I’m also growing a tiny human inside me who would probably appreciate it if I’d drink enough water.

Today I finally devoted some of my lazy day brain time to the issue, and finally came to a somewhat obvious solution of what to do.

[Display of home-canned food] (LOC)

(photo credit)

Mason jars to the rescue! I realized that my problem was not a lack of trying, but a lack of a large container for my water: I don’t like having only an 8 to 16 oz.-ish glass that I have to keep refilling multiple times a day. The quart-sized mason jars are the same size as my Nalgene bottles, but are more appropriate for everyday, at-home use. I think I even drank four jars full of water today – a significant improvement from recent days!

Oh, by the way, I have to admit that my mason jar idea wasn’t original – I stole it from my pal Molly, whom I have observed doing it herself. Thanks Molly! 🙂 It’s one more great use for these jars, which I already love for everyday food storage in my kitchen, in addition to using them for canning, flower vases and home decor. Give it a try if you get the chance!

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a week 18 update

Yesterday was the 18-week mark for the little one growing inside me. It’s pretty hard for me to believe I’m getting so close to week 20 – that will be 5 months (and about halfway there)!

In case you’re unfamiliar, the pregnant woman’s possibility of miscarriage is generally measured in how far along she is – and the chances greatly decrease as her pregnancy progresses. One thing that I have been amazed at learning is that babies can still survive at a very early point in their growth. According to about.com, babies born at 25 weeks (just over 6 months of gestation) have a 50% chance at survival, and it only gets better from there. That is AMAZING! We are definitely blessed these days with medical technology and information. Fortunately, I have had no reason for any concern so far, and being pretty healthy overall, I don’t really anticipate having any serious issues.

It’s easy to worry, though, and any sane mother-to-be probably does. I honestly have had a very easy pregnancy so far, so sometimes I get concerned that something is wrong since it’s been so peaceful, I haven’t gotten much of a belly yet, and haven’t felt much, beyond a couple weeks of nausea. I think today I might have felt a tiny movement, but when I tried to feel for more, I couldn’t detect anything else. I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to the week-by-week development guide recently, so I was surprised at how big the baby is getting already: around 5.6 inches long and almost 7 ounces. The exciting stuff is bound to start happening soon!

I'm pretty sure that belly you see is mostly just weight gain, but I guess I have an excuse...

In other news, things are finally picking up with trying to go to S. Korea. We are awaiting Willy’s FBI background check, which we know for a fact will be arriving soon – probably next week sometime; and we sent off his diploma to the ID Secretary of State to get an official notarization that was required. That should also arrive soon. So within one or two weeks, all paperwork needed for applying for a job will be done! He did send in his application in today – another big step. So we are probably nearly there in terms of knowing more and having more to share with family and friends who ask, “So how are things going with South Korea?” 🙂 It will be lovely to see some progress, as it’s a process that we started in early June. Recommendation to anyone interested in teaching English abroad: start 6 months before you want to leave and you will have much less stress in your life!

I’m starting to get more excited for the future: living in a new place, having our own apartment again, meeting new friends, trying new foods, and starting a new adventure together, completely foreign to both of us in many ways (the baby included)! Life is not what I would ever have predicted, but I’m always willing to embrace change and, with the Lord’s help and his Hope, look for the good in it.

review of the “Nook” e-reader

I recently decided to buy an e-reader, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me. Frankly, I like books; I always have. My husband probably wishes I liked them less, because every time we move we end up with plenty of heavy boxes of them. However, I bought an e-reader because we are planning to move to South Korea within the next couple of months, and it seems crazy to me to either analyze and decide which books we want to bring with us when we go (suitcase space will be at a premium), or to not bring any, buy some, and then get rid of them when we leave. Of course we’ll probably end up bringing or buying a few, but I like the idea of not having to worry about what cookbooks, references or favorite novels to take with us, and instead being able to store the books I want on this little device.

I bought my Nook a week or two ago, and so far it’s been great. Here’s a short pro/con list as far as functionality goes; and I’m sure you could find better reviews elsewhere, but these are major points that I would make:

Pros:

– Fairly inexpensive ($139 for the e-ink version I bought)
– Touch screen (Amazon’s Kindle that is priced similarly does not currently have this)
– Long battery life, especially compared with a laptop
– Can read multiple document types, notably PDF and EPUB files (EPUB is used for public domain/free books found online)

Cons:

– Amazon’s website is much easier to use than Barnes and Noble’s website

I must write a little bit about e-readers in terms of development and current usability. I feel that right now, publishers, retailers and other businesses are definitely not maximizing the opportunity they have to offer good services and products to customers using e-readers. Right now, if I want to download a book to my reader, it’s rather expensive – on average, most books (not in the public domain) cost $9-12: not much cheaper than a paper copy. Obviously publishers still want to make a profit from what they produce, but considering the fact that an e-book is just a digital copy, I would think they would be significantly cheaper or have better special offers. So far I haven’t experienced that. I also can’t use coupon codes and such when buying books from the Barnes and Noble website. I think I can buy books from Amazon, but I haven’t looked into it yet; I’ve just been trying to understand the B&N system.

There also isn’t a whole lot out there if you can’t afford to buy books frequently. I was really hoping to find some sort of online lending service (where you can lease and borrow e-books for free or a small fee), but from what I’ve seen these are not very developed or are restricted in some way (such as only allowing particular books, or only allowing Kindle users). I also have been looking into borrowing e-books from my local library, but neither the Moscow or Twin Falls libraries have this service yet (apparently it is expensive). I’m hoping I can use my parents’ account for the Las Vegas library system, as they’re more likely to have it.

There are free books you’ll find online – mostly classics that are public domain. This is good, but it really is limited. And sometimes even current well-known books don’t have an e-book version available. And sometimes if they do, it costs more than the paper copy! Also, I’ve found other people mentioning online that the B&N website has lots of free books, but they are mostly garbage. Apparently most anyone besides me who owns an e-reader likes trashy free novels…

I’m not trying to complain about it all, though. I guess I just see a lot of potential for options that doesn’t exist yet. I’m still glad I got my Nook, and I really think that since the number of e-reader users keeps growing, there will be more options within the next year or two. Currently I’m aiming to enjoy my Nook and get the most out of it that I can while being frugal and finding the best options for using it.

baby steps, baby steps

I am currently 15 weeks pregnant. We know, our families and friends have been told, and now we are part of the club where we get to share in many moments of excitement, wonder, worry, and frustration as we welcome a new member into our family.

There’s lots on my mind today because yesterday was the first day that I had an actual appointment with an OB and we got to see a little person who is residing in my body and who seemed very comfortable swimming around in there. He or she had a head, a brain, a torso, legs, arms, toes and fingers. Oh, and an umbilical cord, and a heart that we could actually see beating!

One concept I’ve reflected on a lot over the past few years – which is again on my mind – is that I want to celebrate the present and not get hung up on the future. This is probably somewhat due to my tendency to become overwhelmed at times. I especially get frustrated by societal and cultural influences that constantly push us to perform well, succeed and make a name for ourselves. These things aren’t wrong or bad in and of themselves, but they don’t determine our value as human beings. Truly, the Lord is the one who determines our value, and we find our worth and purpose in Him.

As a relatively young person, I don’t like feeling the pressure of expectations from others. I’m sure I’m not the only who has had this experience. Fortunately I don’t feel constant pressure from parents, like some, but I think people unknowingly say things out of turn; and a lot of the time, it’s people who don’t know you very well. For instance, I remember being laughed at a few years ago by the spouse of a colleague of my dad’s when I told her I’d graduated from college but still didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with my life. She condescendingly told me something like, “You’d better figure it out.” And just last week when I was on a work trip, a random woman told me that I needed to go to grad school, and not to wait too long. Never mind that I had not expressed any interest in grad school to her, and don’t have any plans to go, and don’t know what I would even do if I did go (isn’t that kind of the point of getting another degree?)…

Anyway, having a baby is no different than any other life milestone. People like to make small talk and like to know your plans for the future. In fact, yesterday the doctor was already talking about what to bring to the hospital and what their birthing plan looked like. People have already asked me about names – and I know that some people do decide those things quickly. But I’m not even showing yet! The questions that both we think through ourselves and that other people ask will probably never end, and I think I’m just now beginning to come to terms with that.

And like a lot of similar moments in my life, I’m probably not going to do what most people would do and I’m not going to make decisions the same way. I am okay with this, but it does lead to either 1. smiling and nodding when people tell you what they think about your life, or 2. trying to have a real, honest discussion about what you believe. Either choice is difficult.

Anyway, I want to again commit my mind and my heart to doing what I know is right: celebrating the present and not freaking out about the future. Sure, it’s crazy to think about becoming a parent when I didn’t really intend to, and how hard breastfeeding might be, and how cranky I will be from lack of sleep… but it really won’t do much good now. I can only absorb so much information at once, and I don’t want my current life to be consumed with obsessing over becoming a parent. Why worry? The Lord has always blessed me, no matter how much I deserve it or not, and I will praise Him in this moment, at 15 weeks when I don’t have a big belly yet but I know there is a tiny life twirling and swirling inside me. God has given me life, grace and love and now I get to pass it on to someone else. THAT is worth celebrating, dwelling on, and being excited about.