Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

No pics to post as we are on the road.  Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We'll be home in 2008!  I'll have lots of pictures to post then.
For now, we're having a great time with our wonderful families.  We are so lucky!

Monday, December 17, 2007

12 years ago...

I was a college freshman, madly in love. He was too. He asked me to marry him. Ahhh, and the rest is history. I was scanning these pictures and thought I'd share. Please keep in mind that this was 1995--that's why my hair and glasses look like that. Of course, back then I had the time to use some hairspray and makeup. Yes, well....

Our Engagement photo at the Rose Garden in the winter frost.


A candid that looks posed. At the park where we were married.


The posed, formal pictures. Also at the park. The dress was my mom's.



And the rings. Very simple, but I love my wedding ring. We didn't do and engagement ring, and I picked out the wedding band myself. I have since added my inheritance from my Grandma L. Amazingly enough, the rings were the same size and style. She was married in the 1930's. We must have the same taste!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Goofy kids

Just a few pictures because I finally took some and transfered them to the computer. My kids are so silly!

G is such a ham. And he is always on the go. I get tired just watching him. And I hear this from at least one person every time we go out. So I'm not alone.


Such a sweet smile. E is such a happy baby. He smiles and laughs so easily. His brothers spend a lot of time "making him happy.

"
Silly face--close up.


Hmm, maybe I should be serious. What is that thing in front of your face?


M is growing up so fast. 9 years old and so handsome. He looks so much like his dad. I think it will be eerie to look at him when he is about 20 and see C as I remember him at that age.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And the award goes to...

I don't usually post news stuff, but I couldn't resist.

From The Center for Media and Democracy,

Bronze Falsie: "Impeding Breastfeeding"

Awarding a Falsie to groups spinning breastfeeding issues seems ... well, especially appropriate. Apparently the folks at Ban the Bags, a campaign against formula company marketing in maternity hospitals, agree. They posted a call for their members to participate in our Falsies Awards survey, and votes for the formula industry came pouring in. Is this spinning a survey on spin? Our judges were divided on that question, but ultimately decided to discount survey responses where people only voted on the formula industry nominee.

There's no question that the formula industry, represented by the International Formula Council (IFC), deserves the Bronze Falsie. The September / October issue of Mothering Magazine reported on "stealth" websites that "appear to be grassroots advocacy sites, but are actually mouthpieces for the formula industry." They include MomsFeedingFreedom.com, an IFC website that opposes restrictions on formula marketing in hospitals as attacks on "women's access to information to make a legitimate choice."

In August 2007, the Washington Post reported on an IFC lobbying campaign that succeeded in getting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to pull ads that dramatically illustrated the increased health risks faced by babies who do not breastfeed. The IFC portrayed the ads as "scaring expectant mothers into breast-feeding," and hired a former Republican National Committee chair and former Food and Drug Administration official to lobby HHS. It probably didn't hurt that most formula companies are "divisions of large pharmaceutical companies that are among the most generous campaign donors in the nation."

For portraying accurate health information as alarmism and intrusive marketing campaigns as "freedom" -- not to mention helping to keep U.S. breastfeeding rates well below those of European countries -- this Falsie's for you, IFC!

marshmallows

I used to hate marshmallows. Really sickening sweet things. Then C bought some from Whole Foods. Divine. Fortunately, not long after, the newspaper ran a recipe for peeps. I really hate those from the store. But these are so yummy. I've been trying to get the recipe to MIL, but not sure it's getting through. So here's my copyright violation backup plan.... It says "if making marshmallows" because I use the recipe for making marshmallow creme. Just stop the process and use before going on the curing process. Curing marshmallows is difficult at best in the middle of a really humid week.

2/3 c cold water (divided)
2 envelopes (2 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
1 1/3 granulated sugar
1/2 cane syrup or brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
vegetable oil for the pan

If making marshmallows, line a 9x13 pan with foil and brush with vegetable oil

Place 1/3 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Put the sugar, syrup, salt and remaining 1/3 cup water in a heavy saucepan with a tight fitting lid, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover the pan and place on moderately low heat. Remove the cover after 4 to 5 minutes. The steam will have caused any sugar crystals to dissolve and they syrup will be bubbling lightly. Increase the heat to high, insert a candy thermometer and boil the syrup without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from the heat.
Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Slowly and carefully pour the syrup into the gelatin while the mixer is beating constantly at medium speed. When all of the syrup has been added increase the speed to high and whip for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be lukewarm, white and creamy. Add the vanilla at the end of mixing.
If making marshmallows, pour into pan, sprinkle with sugar, and let set out until dry to the touch. This can take several days. Cut to desired shape/size and toss with more sugar.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

blasted timing

My sewing machine, the darling of my possessions, love of my creative life, has pissed me off!
I'm in the middle of sewing below mentioned Christmas crafts, and it decided to commit to a life of sewing in reverse. And I can't fathom how I can get it to the repair shop and home and paid for before leaving for Idaho.
Good thing Mom brought me another sewing machine earlier this year. It's a p.o.s. singer, but it sews forward. Thank goodness.
In Oregon, we the Taxpayers, get a "kicker refund." Ours came this week. Wonder if I can talk dearest husband of mine into letting me go shopping for sewing machines. Only problem is I don't trust the computerized machines and finding a good, reliable, not made by some dump of a factory, mechanical machine is hard. If not impossible. Anyone know of a company that makes good quality old-style machines. Not really old, just pre-computerization. And I HATE Singer and White so don't even bother suggesting it.
What I have is a Viking 6030. It sews like butter. It is music to my ears. I just spent $100 getting it's gears fixed. Maybe I should just get things fixed on it as I go and see how long it lasts?

In other news, I found out how to calm a fussy E. Simple, take his clothes off and set him on the floor. Happy as a clam in a mud bed. He's going to be just like G in that regard I think. Then I'll have 2 naked kids tearing up the garden. Look out world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas is coming....Aaaack!

So, once again, I've ignored my rational voice that says to start Christmas preparations early. It is now mid-December and I am just now starting. Granted, I have few excuses I can whip out. New baby? Sick baby? A husband who was going to leave town for two weeks and mom and mom-in-law were going to be here the whole time to help with kids while I prepped and packed like crazy? Yes all of those. But still, if I had started back in July, like my rational voice said, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Yeah, poor rational voice.
What would also help is if I didn't have this compulsive need to craft things for Christmas. Yes, I could go to the mall and find all kinds of things for my loved ones. But then I think how much more meaningful it would be if I made something. This year, I'm buying more than I usually do. If you are one of those getting a purchased gift, please don't hate me. It just means that your yarn or fabric will have to wait for next year. Maybe I'll stack it up at the top of the pile and it will be ready by July! Yay!

One of the things that does seem like it will get done (well 2 things) are the crowns I'm making for kid1 and kid2. I was actually searching for a hat pattern, and came across this. I just had to make it. One for each of course. But it's pretty fast work. And it's not plastic, not made in China, no lead, and doesn't have small pieces to worry about in the next few months as E gets bigger. Just felted wool. And 2 of course for obvious reasons. I'm making them out of grey wool and if I get them done and have spare time, I'll stitch on some felt or polar fleece "jewels" to make it look a bit fancier.


I moved some stuff around in the living room (well scooted the couch over after getting a rubbermaid box out to the garage) and decided that an entry way bench would be ideal. After searching around on the net, I found this adorable bench from Ikea. Great price, perfect size et al. The next thought through my little brain was "wait, it would be so like my kids for M to convince G to get inside on some pretense, then close the lid and sit on it. And feel immensely proud of himself. Then wonder why I am yelling like I want to rip his head off." On to look at more benches. This seemed like a much more logical choice. Small cubbies so everyone has their own and too small to fit anyone inside. Does this say more about my kids or my parenting abilities? Please say kids. A friend of mine says that 3 kids is where you officially cross the line from "normal" size family to large--where you consider things like whether or not kids will lock siblings in furniture you are contemplating purchasing. What fun.

Oh, and further complicating Christmas prep is the cold we have all come down with. It's yucky. I felt awful last night, but a little better today. But that means that the food gifts I was planning to make today and tomorrow are further on hold. I mean, do I really want to cough and sneeze all over the gifts for the neighbors? I think not. Maybe I should work on Christmas cards instead. Only I forgot to buy them at Costco so I need to buy them somewhere-which means going out with my sick self and hyper-sick kids. Yuck again. And the printer and computer are no longer on speaking terms-which means no letter this year unless I forward it to C to print at work and hand-addressed envelopes. No biggie on that since I keep losing my address file. Hmm, a digital family Christmas card is starting to look mighty appealing. I can even say we are being environmentally friendly this year. There, you've been warned not to expect a paper card. You can thank me when there is one less card to deal with in January!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Drying out

We figured out the rucksack carry, although the wraps I have aren't really ideal--not as comfortable. E seems to enjoy it for a little while, but then wants the security of being on my front. Fair enough.
E has arrived at the time that is my favorite thing about nursing--the nursing giggle. It's where they look up into your eyes and are so happy to be eating their favorite food that they risk havin to re-latch and giggle. I LOVE baby nursing giggles. It's absolutely the best. It seems to say, "Yay! We made it through the tough beginings and now we can just relax and totally enjoy each other."
This is turning into a total E post--anyway, he learned a new trick! If we help him figure out how to open, then close his fingers on his rattle, he can get it to his mouth. Victory!
And, finally, the finished longies. I'm really happy with how they turned out. And they work great. I made them way too long, but I'm sure E will take care of that in no time!

The "Storm of the Century" as one news station called it. Whatever--here's our teeny bit of snow that then turned to gushes of rain.
The storm has finally passed on! Well, I guess that should be the plural, storms. We got hit with a triple whammy this weekend. 3 storms in 1. Yuck. I'm still not sure exactly how much rain was recorded here, but I heard that Bremerton, WA recorded upwards of 10" in 24 hrs. We didn't get anywhere near that, but both local rivers are flooded, and many more in the area are as well. Our street was partially submerged for a few hours--you could drive on the other side and the water-logged side was passable still.
Growing up in Idaho, we sometimes had flash floods from sudden downpours, but living in Oregon has taught me lots about rain. For example, I used to read stories where the author would refer to "lashing rain." Now I know what lashing rain sounds like--it's rain being blown at your window at over 50 mph. It sounds like it's going to come right on in for dinner.
The kids are happy to be able to play outside again. Not that I'm against them playing in the rain by any means--I'm all for it. This weekend was just a bit too much for my tastes.
That reminds me--I forgot to tell the last G rain story.
I sent them out in their muck-muck boots, rain coats, hats and gloves to play in the rain a few weeks ago. It was pretty cold, but not freezing. Well, G, my child who is usually the last to ever come inside, comes up to the door and is just shivering too much to talk. I ask if he wants to come in and he nods. "Fffffeeezing mommmy" he manages to get out. I start stripping clothes off him. His boots have a few cups of water each I pour out, his pants look like they've been dunked, even his shirt and lining of his water-proof coat are literally running waterways. I ask him what happened. "Go fimming mommy!" he says proudly. Seems he decided that the gutter, having roughly the water level of a kiddie pool, was a great place for a swim on a blustery day, so he tried it out. Yeah, um, not so good. I don't think he'll do it again. It took awhile to get him warmed back up. At least he had the sense to come inside!
My kids....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ho hum, stall

I was checking through my feeds, wishing someone would update their blog so I had a reason to stay on the computer and ignore my dishes awhile longer. Then I realized that I haven't posted here for a few days and figured it's a good time for that. You all are way more important than my dishes. Feel loved?
Randomness:
The homestudy went just fine. The social worker sat on our couch, asked a few questions about E and the family. Q's such as, how's he eating, growth, what the boys think of him, what life is like with 3 kids, what do our families think of him, church, friends etc. Then she said we looked great and left. I'm thinking that since this is adoption #2, this is just a paperwork thing and I don't have to stress a bit. In fact, I'm not really stressing. I just hope this all goes lightning fast because I don't like being a "legal babysitter" at all. I want to be the legal mommy.
Aunt J came over today and watched the boys, ran a few loads of laundry, cooked lunch while I got my hair trimmed. For a second I thought about getting 10-12" lobbed off, but thought better of it. I knew I'd be so sad if I cut off all my hair (well, less than half I guess) and had to wait for it to grow back. I really like having long hair. It's easy. Everyone always asks if it is so much work to have long hair. Umm, no. I wash it, comb it out and stick it in a ponytail or braid. Always a braid before sleep so I don't strangle myself in the night. (Can you imagine the headlines? Crazy cloth-diapering, non-vaxing, cosleeping, breastfeeding adoptive mother kills self and infant with hair in midnight stupor. Officials believe the lack of vaccines and the elevated prolactin levels are to blame. Story at 11). If I had short hair, especially MY hair, I'd have to wash it every day, see a salon every month or so, keep it styled and spend a fortune on gunk to keep it in place. Ughh. I'm busy enough. Or I would be if I wasn't on the computer. Or maybe I'd be less busy if I backed away from the computer and did my dishes. Nah.

It's cold. Last night when C got home from work, giant white snowflakes were drifting out of the sky. M was thrilled. He has high hopes of more snow this year. Looks like he may get it. He loves winter clothes, sledding, shoveling, hats, scarves and gloves. It took me hiding his gloves this summer to get him to quit wearing them. He had eczema flare ups from the heat rash. G on the other hand... G darted out to said snow with only a T-shirt on last night. Didn't bother him in the slightest. I caught him at the end of the block in the pouring rain in just a shirt and pants a few weeks ago. Soaked to the bone. At least he had pants on that time. Here I am trying to protect his future reproductive abilities by keeping him out of disposable diapers and he's out half naked in the snow. Eh, I guess the cold is better than heat?
E is growing, of course. That's what babies do. His favorite pastime is eating, of course. I made a slight mistake over Thanksgiving. I knew that peppermint is a fine way to dry up milk and so avoid it like crazy. I had read and promptly forgot that sage is just as or maybe more effective. I ate lots of sage. Then I wondered where all my milk went. I get to start over I guess. Grrr
On other E news, I have started a pair of longies for him. Longies are a type of diaper cover. They are like the old-fashion soakers knit from wool (of which I have a few pairs), but they are pants. Wool is awesome in that it breathes, absorbs oodles of moisture, but doesn't let it through. I use lanolin on the wool to help it repel moisture too. My plan is to be able to put E in a couple of nice thick diapers and longies at night and avoid diaper changes. Right now I'm using disposables to accomplish that. Yuck. They smell. Here's the pattern I'm using. Just scroll down to "the longies pattern."
I'll try to post pictures of everyone soon. I think I had better do something with my kitchen so there's enough space to make tacos tonight.
Here's my GF flour tortilla recipe. Caitlin? Maybe you can use it?

1 ½ C brown rice flour
¾ C tapioca starch
½ c arrowroot or other starch
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 C boiling water.
Extra water to make a soft dough

Combine all ingredients in mixer. Pour in water and add the additional water to bring dough to a soft but not sticky consistency. Let rest for 5 minutes. Press small balls in a tortilla press or roll out between 2 sheets of oiled plastic. Cook in a very hot fry pan approx. 30 seconds each side. Tortillas will roll some when hot for use in burritos and enchiladas. Can also be deep fried.

Please note, this is my recipe, I made it, I sweated over getting it right. If you use it somewhere and someone asks you where you got it, please be honest. Thanks.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Post placement visit--finally!

Our social worker called last week to set up an appt for a post placement visit finally. I was starting to wonder. A postplacement visit is a visit by an adoption agency to see how the family and child are adjusting to life together after an adoption placement. We need two visits before the agency can file the recommend for finalization.
So, since she is coming on Monday, it seemed like a good time to pick up a bit around the house and recover from TG.
Here's pictures to prove it. I know it's not totally clean. I still need to fold the blankets on the couch so they can be unfolded again by kid1 and kid2. And I've decided that my kitchen counter will never, ever be clean. Until we move out. But I do have a crockpot of soup on! Turkey and dumpling soup tonight!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fabulous Thanksgiving

G and his friend, N hugging. They are so cute together! He walked right up to her and offered a hug, which she accepted. They both laughed. Then we asked them to do it again so we could take pictures. They hugged and hugged for the longest time, well for 3 yos hopped up on turkey and chocolate pie LOL.


Our awesome friend, D. She loves my cooking and yelled at me when I tried to help her clean up. She's mine!!

I really meant to take pictures of the food. Really, I did. It was awesome! I was so busy worring that all would turn out and keeping E happy and fed, that I forgot until after we were eating pie. Oh well. But we had turkey with sausage stuffing, squash with vegetarian stuffing, separate dishes of each of the stuffingings, wild rice stuffing, yams, green beans, pan-dripping gravy, wheat rolls, GF rolls, cranberry sauce, tofu pumpkin pie, and tofu chocolate cheesecake. I'm still too stuffed to move much. I think I'll feel like this for a couple of days.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is Coming!!!!

I love, love, love Thanksgiving. I love the food, I love having family and friends together, and I love to cook all the foods! I am so excited for tomorrow.
First of all, I let the kids play, play, play. Later they'll get to watch a movie. M has been helping me some too. I put E down to get some more bread cubes out of the oven. He loved looking at everything on the floor. Wouldn't you love to be the one to get to pick up before company comes tomorrow??
3 loaves of bread cubes. 2 left to go. Yes, we are only having 5 people, plus the 5 of us (that translates into 8 people who will be eating the food). But we love stuffing so much I have to make a ton. Otherwise there's not enough left over for everyone to have a big enough bowl the day after. Then I'd be in hot water. So, I make oodles.
Pie! One big pumpkin, one big chocolate. One small chocolate with M safe chocolate, one small pumpkin with no cinnamon for our friends' daughter.


E's new trick. He loves to stick out his tongue as far as it will go. Then laugh. Apparently this is the best trick ever. His brothers encourage it enthusiastically.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Homeschooling

I haven't posted as much as I thought I would. Hmm, sounds like the rest of my life.
Homeschooling is another way in which I qualify as "crunchy." It is actually one of the few things I planned to do before having kids that I have done with my kids!
Both C and I were fairly bored in school. We did well, but were bored. There were lots of other things I would have rather been doing, that would have been educational, that did not involve sitting at a desk in a room with 29 other kids making turkeys out of brown paper bags. So I decided that when I had kids, I would homeschool them. I think I may have had a bit more of a structure invisioned than what happens in our real like, but we are definitely not schooling!
I have one of those children who does what he wants. I have spilled more tears and yelled more horrible things at my child over a math worksheet. I finally wized up (with occasional slips back into coercion) and we are true unschoolers. Unschooling is often defined as child-led, organic, or unstructured learning. In our "school," we learn from life. Babies learn every day and their parents support that learning. There is no curricula needed for learning to walk, or talk, or learning colors, or the names of family members. This doesn't really change just becuase a child reaches the magic age of 5 or 6. We learn by reading books, cooking and making things in the kitchen. We visit people of many walks of life. We watch movies and use the internet. We make decisions like what's for dinner, what activity would be appropriate for today and is this choice right now going to leave me the ability to do that other thing I wanted to do. This is big for me. In school, everything is external. The schedule is 100% determined by adults. Of course there is time for lunch, math and art. It got scheduled in back in May, taking into account only the state standards and the need of the teaching professionals. Our schedule is definitely organic. M is learning that if he spends all morning playing computer games, he will be hungry and not dressed when his friends come out to play. (Getting him to apply this to the next day is a challenge--he is 9 after all). We make up our day based on the needs of the individuals in our family. We have a young baby so life is a lot simpler than it was just back in August. When E gets older, we'll do more. When we're sick, we lay around and take care of our bodies. Learning doesn't stop. We have fabulous lessons on the human body and immune systems when we're sick!
The questions I always get are 1) what about socialization? 2)what about math? 3)how will he adjust to the "real world?"
1) We are sometimes over-socialized! We keep very busy. But mostly I respond, "what is normal socialization about living your life with 3o people who were all born within 12 months of you? And if you have an August birthday you are always the youngest, and and October birthday, you are always the oldest? You won't always be the oldest or youngest. You may have nothing in common with those 30 other people. How do you as an adult pick friends? By interest, talent, personality, similar circumstances at least. My kids have friends of all ages. I often get amazed compliments on M because he will sit down and carry on a real conversation with adults. He had a great conversation with an elderly lady at the park one day. Like, a give and take conversation. She was appalled. Pleasantly. He's also great with little kids, and actually likes them.
We do take part in Village Home, where we take classes and M is leading a member activity this term. We go to church. We take community classes from time to time. We are on the fund raising activities committee for our library.
2)Math is a part of life. We cook, we measure, we learn about space and area and shapes. We learn about more and less. How many books will fit on the shelf and how many do we need to get rid of? When M wanted to know more about pieces, he learned about fractions. He is still exploring them. But he will probably never forget his lessons about fractions, because he's learning of his own volition. I have not forced it on him. When he wants to figure out something else, he'll learn the math concept he has to. I'll help him. And honestly, how much algebra do I use on a daily basis? Only the story problem kind! And I haven't needed calculus yet.
3)We live in the real world. Just like my statements about age-grouping children. We learn the things that interest us or that we need to know. We live in our world. We have a garden and learn about the Earth and how amazing it is. We go to the store and learn about commercialization and how we can take care of our bodies and families and minds by making our own choices without resorting to brand worship. We learn about Heavenly Father and his love for us and how important this life is--how every human has value and deserves love and respect.
Our children learn from us the things we feel are important. I get to spend every day with the people I love most in the whole universe. I get to watch their faces when they make a new discovery or "get" something they have been working hard to understand. I don't have to wonder how they spent their day or what they were told by another child or adult. I don't have to worry what junk they were fed by the cafeteria or if they were in a safe environment. I know the answers.
Homeschooling is the best thing I've ever done. It is also the hardest. M has knack for pushing every button I have, repeatedly, and hard. I question my decisions. I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. But I also know that he would have the Spirit crushed right out of him in school. I suppose it's being a mom to question and to worry. Especially with the oldest. But I know in my heart that I'm doing what I should be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Updated gift lists

With Birthdays over and Christmas coming, I've update the gift lists. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

M's Birthday!

M is 9! We had a great science birthday party to celebrate. Despite my vow to take lots of pictures, I didn't. I meant to take pictures of the kids doing the experiments we did. Let's see, we made gak and played with magic mud (cornstarch and water), we mixed water and powdered sugar and alcohol to learn about the holes in the water. We also put things into red cabbage water to see how acids and bases turn it different colors. And, the hit of the party I think, we played with dry ice in the driveway.

Here is a picture of the extension of our dry ice play--dry ice in our fruit punch. Everyone got a kick out of seeing the juice "boil". I had fun too!

M wanted a slime cake. Here it is in all of it's disgusting glory. I made a chocolate, chocolate chip cake (gluten, egg, dairy, nut, potato-free!) and covered it in marshmallow creme (homemade) frosting. We added green food color and mint oil. Then M drizzled agave syrup over the top for extra effect. Some kids were a little leery of eating it, but I didn't see any leftovers!
Make a wish and blow!

We also made sandwiches and and headed out to the playground to burn off the sugar. All in all I think it was a success. And M got spoiled of course :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Halloween Pictures, and the tooth

GrandmaJ found this outfit during her Halloween shopping expeditions. It fit E perfectly. It says, "my little pumpkin" on the side.
Big brother holding him. It's so nice to have a big big brother. He's a huge help. You can see that the back of the playsuit says, "trick or treat" on the bum.
Swimmer Guy and Robert the Bruce in their Halloween splendor. G decided that the trick or treating business was great. After a few houses, he stops, looks in his bag and then back up to me with wonder in his eyes. "Him give me candy! I liiike this!"
And he figured out that everyone thought his costume was great so he showed it off at every house. When M told people he was Robert the Bruce, they just looked at him cross eyed. Then he'd say, "you know, King of Scotland?" and they'd just nod. G definately had the better candy bag to raid that night!
And the teeth. This was taken Sunday night. It looks pretty good now. Of course, it's also obvious from this picture that we will be talking to all our friends and our awesome dentist about orthodontists in the near future. Genetics suck!

I'm a drug manufacturer!

I have been trying to consume enough herbs to make at least some milk for E. But these herbs get mighty pricey! Especially in the form of tinctures. And most of them are hard to find. And if I find them, they are in such small quantities, I would have to swallow the entire bottle to have the effect that I need. So, when the Mountain Rose Herbs catalog came in the mall, I was sooo excited! All the herbs I need, organic or wild crafted, at decent prices, and the stuff I need to make them consumable. So today, our package arrived with the herbs, a capsule machine, capsules, glycerin and other things we found in the catalog that were just too good not to order. And now, I have capsules just the way I want them! I mixed the herbs in the picture below in my trusty coffee grinder (usually used for flax seeds). This was to make them fine enough to go into the capsules. I didn't use fenugreek in this batch for 2 reasons. The first is that I still have a bunch of fenugreek caps. The second is that I have to take so much fenugreek that it wouldn't be worth it to combine it with the other herbs.



The capsule machine after I finished using it. A bit of a mess, but the instructions forwarned me to use a pie pan. Thank you instructions!

The finished product. It takes awhile to make them, but then it's faster than filling them by hand! And it beats the heck out of drinking them in a tea. Yeah, tried that. Gag! Talk about bitter herbs.

So with the fenugreek and E nursing round the clock, I am getting drops of milk. Not lots, but I know he is getting breastmilk at each feeding. And I can still express drops when he's done nursing. I can't pump any, but I'm wondering if he's getting a fair bit anyway. I'm hoping that by adding these herbs in the amounts that I know I'm supposed to will make it so he gets a few ounces a day. It's not a lot, but better than nothing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Updated family picture

My parents came for the weekend and Mom wanted a shot of us all together on the couch--so here we are! Some goofy expressions but aren't we cute? I can't believe how fast E is growing. I know I say that about all my kids-just like everyone else. I put away all the newborn size clothes and got out the 3-6 month stuff. I need to get him into a scale and weigh him.


M had a little mishap on his scooter on Sunday. He was playing with PapaCoyote and lost his balance. He landed face first into the porch and broke 2 teeth! Ouch. Fortunately he didn't break them too bad and we waited till today to take him into his dentist. He patched him up pretty well. He did manage to crack one of the front teeth above the gum-line, so we have to wait about 6 months for the permanent fix on that one. No nerve or root damage thank goodness!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, I've made it 31 years in this life. My mom says I can't be her daughter anymore. I have to be her sister or niece or something. That's okay. She'll still spoil me.
E has been up till midnight for the last 2 nights. Ugh. But when he woke up to eat this morning, I realized he had slept for 5 hours!! Yay! I'm hoping this means we've turned the tide towards sleeping for longer periods of time. I don't expect him to sleep for 5 hours consistently, but maybe 4? That would be lovely.
I got presents from the rest of the family too. C gave me a lovely 12" stainless steel omelet pan. It will be so nice to have a larger pan to cook for this hungry family of ours. And M picked out one of those herbal/rice hot packs that you heat up in the microwave. Sooooo nice for my shoulders which are getting mighty sore. Especially since G wants to be carried more. Whew, he's heavy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Miscellaneous pictures

I have not been keeping up on the blog very well. Sorry. So here's some pictures to make up for it;)

I had a woven wrap for G and we really liked it. I was looking for wraps for E when we found out he would be born, and really liked the Moby. I just can't convince myself to pay oodles of money for a length of fabric, however. So I looked up the measurements and figured some cotton jersey would work well enough. It does. Oh, how it does. I use this wrap every single day. Several times a day, for hours at a time. He loves it, I love it, it's heaven. He hates the ring sling. That's okay, as he gets bigger, the ring sling gets to be hard on my back after awhile, and he feels so secure in the wrap. I can tuck him in just where I want him. It is also versatile since it can be tied in many different ways. I could even wear G and E at the same time if I had any suspicion that G would want to be held for long enough to make it worth tying him in. It wouldn't, trust me. Anyway, here's E in his preferred environment.

M went out yesterday to see if his friends were available to play. He found them staring up at the roof of one of the neighbors houses. Seems a heron decided to check out our (very dry?) neighborhood. It stayed for quite awhile and so we got some pictures and a chance to see a very cool bird.


And, of course, Halloween pics! M wanted to be a knight. Easy enough--if you have a grandma who volunteers to sew you the coolest knight costume ever! Grandma J made all the sewn stuff, while GramRe picked up the awesome accessories in Scotland.

G was a little more challenging. I expected him to want to be Lightning McQueen or Mumble or something similar. Maybe even a tiger or lion. But no, he wanted to be a "fimmer die." Fortunately I knew that that translates to "swimmer guy." Still, I was quite surprised. I asked what would make a swimmer guy costume. "Gloves. Mask. Air tank." Ooookay. Good thing Grandma J is very creative! Didn't she do an awesome job?

The 4 of us with our pumpkins fresh from the garden. We carved 2, made one into soup-in-a-pumpkin and gave one to G's good friend--well, we plan to if I can remember to take it over to his house... You'll notice that Kid3 can't really stop eating just for a picture. And the sun was very bright. We have no open-eye pictures. But we just love having sun so much right now that we don't care.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just a quick picture post

I really mean to write more, but I have no time. Seriously, I don't even take the time to give my middle child a nap when he needs it. He has to do it himself--See? First, he had to go to all the work to empty the bins of toys. Then he had to fall down in a sleepy lump. Busy day, no?


Methinks he's growing! Here he is cuddled up in GrandmaJ's gift of a new carseat cover.
Tres Chic. As long as he's awake, he's really a very happy baby. He even wanted to be a social happy baby between the hours of midnight and 4am last night (or this morning rather. Heck, he was there, I was there, his brothers were not, let's make the most of it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Breastfeeding

As already related, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper my children, but that was really about as crunchy as I was at that point. I had decided that I would give breastfeeding a try--maybe for a few months. I didn't really see the advantages of nursing past 6. I mean, they get solids by then right? Well, fortunately my doctor was pro-breastfeeding, and the WIC office in Moscow, Idaho had a great lactation consultant on staff. And my mil had nursed all 4 of her children for over a year. So I had good support. Good thing too!
At about 4 months, M was diagnosed with food sensitivities through my milk. I had to go completely off of dairy and we tried lots of other foods too. I went on an elimination diet while nursing a child who threw everything up. My calories needs were through the roof. We got him fairly settled after a while and he did much better. I took him to an allergist who told me to be careful with the hypo-allergenic formulas because with M's profile, he would develop an allergy to them within 6 months. I did have to use some formula due to school. I had a 5+ hour class that didn't really allow for pumping time. My sister-in-law did bring M by to nurse during a break I had set up with my profs and that worked pretty well. But with M nursing so much even at this point (he was nearly a year old) I didn't have milk left (or time left) to pump. So he had formula 3x/week or more. He did, indeed develop an allergy to it. I wish I knew then what I know now. Anyone else feel that way?
So, with M limited diet, we went on to nurse for nearly 3 years. Probably saved his life, certainly his health, and possibly a shred of our sanity. I don't claim to have all my sanity anymore-that's for sure. But by being an "extended-nurser," I ran across lots of information I may not have otherwise been exposed to. Other women who had nursed their children past that magic first birthday came out of the woodwork to offer friendship and support. And of course, reading Mothering and cruising the boards at MDC, I learned A LOT! I found out I was not just providing a food my son could tolerate. Breastfeeding is about so much more. I have a totally different take on it now.
The WHO and other organizations say breastfeeding should continue for AT LEAST one year. Not yank the baby off the breast on their first birthday and expect them to be happy about it. Breastmilk changes in composition during the day and over the years. It always provides just what babies and toddlers need. I really wish I had been able to continue nursing G and provide more milk for him because he is such a picky eater. If I knew he was going to nurse several times a day, I wouldn't worry about it since breastmilk would provide him with the nutrition he needs--much more than a bowl of rice can, which seems to be his meal of choice.
The milk also provides nutrients that scientists either a) haven't been able to identify or b) cannot synthesize. That means that there are hundreds of components of breastmilk that may never make it into formula. Some of the most important of these are the immune factors that mom passes onto baby. A child who is breastfed over a year has a good chance at facing illnesses his mom has been exposed to in her lifetime.
Beyond the milk, breastfeeding provides other benefits to mom, baby, the family and the world at large.
Mom has higher rates of cancer, especially breast, uterine and ovarian, if she chooses not to breastfeed. The longer she breastfeeds, it appears, the less her risk. Breasfeeding also acts a natural birth control. It's not guaranteed, but nursing on demand for every feeding will suppress ovulation. Even though I used some bottles and a pacifier, I still got to be ovulation and period free for 16 months! Breastfeeding is also EASY. Really, after the learning period, it is so easy. For most (I have heard valid horror stories). Food is always ready, always the right concentration, nothing to wash or measure or pack. With M, all I had to pack up when we went somewhere were a few diapers. How easy is that? And all that "I didn't have enough milk" is bull. What you didn't have was enough support. To have enough milk you need good food, plenty of water and rest. There are some reasons why women may not have enough milk, but they are so rare compared to what people make it out to be. And even if your supply is low, there are herbs to increase supply, and supplementers if need be. Hey--I have almost no supply! I adopted my 2 youngest.
Benefits are numerous for baby. Many are common knowledge like the healthier infancy--less sickness and all. Baby is allowed to do what they were born to do. Breastfeeding gives baby the cuddle time they will need regardless of whether or not they are breastfed. If you don't want to cuddle your baby, you won't get out of it by bottle feeding. Actually, if you don't want to cuddle your baby, either don't get pregnant in the first place, or contact a reputable adoption attorney. Ahem, moving on. Bottle feeding drastically increases the likelihood of diabetes, obesity, and allergies, as well as other autoimmune disorders. Some of this is because of mom's anitbodies, some is from the nutrition in breastmilk. For obesity and Type2 Diabetes (which are closely linked anyway right) it comes from the simple fact that baby controls the amount of food he gets. When bottle feeding it is so easy to force baby to take a little bit more, or stop because the bottle is empty. Baby learns that his hunger and satiety cues are not important and that someone else should be in charge of that. At the breast, baby nurses until full and asks for more when hungry. He learns to recognize the feelings of hunger and when he is full. This carries over into adulthood. How many adults are obese because they can't really tell when they are full?
The community at large benefits from breastfed babies. Formula is hard on the environment. Every factory is another contributor to pollution. And then, all those canisters, scoops, boxes, paper tubes, lids, bottle liners and old bottles really add up. Not as much as disposable diapers, granted, but still it is a huge impact. The health care costs are high as well. Formula feeding leads to more ER visits and just plain more doctor visits. The government could save millions if it didn't give away so much formula through WIC.
Unfortunately, I have to use formula. I did my research and found an organic formula I feel pretty good about. I am also taking nearly 4,000 mg of fenugreek, plus a blend of other galactogenic herbs. I also eat oats every day and try to get in some greens (need to be better about that one) and drink lots of water. I could take Domperidone, but haven't felt that is right for us yet. Maybe I will later. Since I can't make enough milk, I supplement with formula at the breast using a Lact-Aid nursing trainer. It is awesome. E likes it too. He'll take a bottle, but prefers me. That is especially nice for me. Since we didn't get that 9 months of bonding time in utero, it is nice to have a way to get to know each other and get familiar with each other. I hope I can breastfeed him longer than I did G. He made it about 9 months. I hope I have learned a few things that will help us go longer. Maybe I can even build up more of a supply so that after he is well established on solids, we won't even need the trainer any more. Could happen. I am so grateful to be able to breastfeed my boys at all. I am also grateful for my good friend who donated milk to me last time and has offered to again. That means so much to me.
Breastmilk rocks!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How cruchy are you?

I took this quiz and scored 174. I would have scored higher if I had given birth to my last 2 children. That's crunchier than Grape Nuts folks.
Please, those of you who are interested, take the quiz and let me know how crunchy you are. I''m curious.
My plan is to follow up with a few posts documenting my journey to the land of Grape Nuts. Cuz I didn't really start here. Honest!

My cloth diaper journey

These days, I am a decidedly crunchy person. Very crunchy. But I didn't really start out that way. Well, a little crunchy. But I was as mushy as gruel in comparison to the modern me. Where did I start my journey to the crunch? With cloth diapers.
I watched my brother wear cloth diapers--of course, that was 1980 and still common practice. But my mom is a huge advocate of cloth diapers and I had that background. So in 1998, when I discovered I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to use cloth. Not just for the environmental reasons, but for cost reasons as well. All I knew of cloth was basic home-made diapers or prefolds, or flats of course. For covers, I knew about the basic plastic pants. And pins.
So I outfitted our changing table with prefolds and flats (the prefolds were from my friend's mom), plastic covers, and a couple of packages of pins. I also bought commercial wet wipes.
M wore disposable diapers for the first couple of months and then switched to those cloth diapers. He did great in them, we figured them out and it worked for us. When he was a little over a year old, I made a life-altering discovery: Mothering Magazine. I had been doing research on mainstream parenting magazines--and not finding very positive things let me tell you!-- when I happened upon this amazing magazine. The first thing I saw on the cover was about co-sleeping. When I opened it up, I found an ad for cloth diapers and covers. Wow! I didn't realize people were still selling them--real cloth diapers I mean. Not the cheap crap Gerber passes off as diapers in variety stores. I immediately went out trying to find a copy of this magazine to buy.
I was thrilled. I also saved enough money of our piddling college student funds to buy a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and some doublers. I felt very fancy indeed! I still use this wrap on G some 8 years later. They've changed the design ever so slightly (and I have 2 of the new ones) but they are really great wraps. When M was big enough to outgrow the prefolds I had, I bought premium, or toddler size, Chinese DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds. Those suckers are thick and heavy. It was a dream to switch to those from the old little prefolds. I also got better at hunting for cloth diapers at thrift stores and picked up a few more odds and ends for M until he graduated from cloth.
Fast forward to 2004 and our adoption of G. I had been reading Mothering for 5 years and participating on the online community MDC for nearly as long. I knew lots more about cloth diapers-and other things as well which I'll discuss in later posts. This time around, I made some fitted diapers out of old flannel sheets I bought at the thrift store, and later from flannel I bought on sale at the fabric store. I also had discovered what was then the One Stop Diaper Shop, now called Very Baby. I bought PUL from her as well as Aplix and elastic and pattern to made covers much like the Bummis cover. I love those covers and I like the fitteds a lot. G wore prefolds a lot too. I even experimented with making some pocket diapers. Those were really nice! But best of all, I discovered the Snappi! Now more pins!! All in all, diapering this time was lots easier than the first time around. I was having fun and I was hooked. Yes, I think cloth diapering is fun!
Now, with E, I have expanded my fun. I have posted pictures before in the last month or so, of AIO's I have made. My sister-in-law, J, even cut out and made a few for me, so I would have enough of a stash. I broadened my horizons and bought colored PUL and included these in the AIO's and in a couple of new covers. So, in using my old fitteds and my new prefolds, and even a couple of pockets, I was missing something. Prefolds! So I bought a dozen infant prefolds (the nice tiny ones) and a new Snappi (just because) and they arrived in the mail yesterday. I washed them all up and quickly put one on E. It was so satisfying. I can't explain it. Something about that nice, thick cotton diaper folded just so onto my baby's bum all fastened with a Snappi. It just feels good for some reason.
So yes, I much prefer cloth diapers. No, I don't mind washing them. No, I don't soak them--it's a drowning hazard in house with young children. Yes, my diapers get stained periodically. Do I care? Why would I? It's a diaper for crying in a bucket! Here's how it goes:
Remove wet diaper. If it's poopy, wet a washcloth with nice warm water and use that for a wipe. Set aside and put nice fresh, chemical and perfume free diaper on. Admire look. Place diaper bundle in pail. For older-solid poo, shake in toilet. Otherwise, don't sweat it. When pail is full, dump the entire thing in washing machine. Run through a cold rinse cycle with Bi-O-Kleen Bac-Out or Baking Soda. Run a hot, heavy duty cycle with Bi-O-Kleen laundry detergent (not premium kind). Run through a quick rinse cycle or transfer straight to hot dryer until dry. Enjoy a pile of clean, fluffy diapers that I don't have to run to the store to buy, or put up with the smell.
Unless my kids run across a food that causes a problem, or don't get changed often enough, they rarely have a rash problem. I always have diapers on hand. My family thinks I'm crazy, but I use them when traveling too. I just really like them. And I'm not alone. Google cloth diapers. Seriously. You'll faint. When you are a total cloth diaper convert, you can blame me. I'll still love you.

Next up, maybe breastfeeding?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun with GramRe and PaR: Part 2

I meant to post more about this yesterday, but I'm sure you can imagine how that didn't happen.

C's parents were here for the weekend. We had lots of fun with them. It was especially good to see them because they've been gone for so long and they were gone when E was born. GramRe was eager to see her new grandbaby! And the grandbaby seemed to really like them.
We spent some time here, went to Bridgeport Village and ate dinner at PF Changs (yay GF menu!), visited Woodburn Company Outlets, and Washington Square. And PaR went to all of them with us. He's gotten astoundingly brave in the last 12 years since I first met him!


"My brothers were right; you're not so bad. I think this can work out!"

"Take another picture and I swear I'll figure out how to control this fist. But you can tell me again how cute I am."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fun with GramRe and PaR

G and PaR found a great way to hang out together. Poor PaR probably felt it the next day. They spent a long time doing this.

video

Friday, October 12, 2007

I finally feel like we are settling into a "normal" life. Whatever that means.
Homeschooling right now (well, I've always been very much an unschooler) consists of M and G working on their getting-along skills. Needs Improvement.
Actually M did discover Nova videos. Seems Nova has put up many of their episodes online and M has had a great time watching them. C too actually. So the funny story that stems from this... I took all three boys to E's follow-up visit from his cold. We are standing there waiting for his PKU test he hadn't had yet and the lab tech was in the room. M had a paperclip he was playing with and trying to find something magnetic to stick it too. He stops and says, "isn't it amazing that gravity is so strong, but the electro-magnetic force is stronger? And the Strong force is even stronger than that!" The lab tech paused for a bit to size up my son. Yep. About 8-9 years old. He didn't say anything, but kept looking at M sideways. Too bad I can't take any credit. LOL
G is still adjusting to not being the baby. He's doing really well though, much better than I expected. He often wants to hold E and even got to feed him some of his bottle last night. A definite highlight. What's more, he is now potty training himself in earnest. Yes, himself. Potty training M was so disastrous, I swore off pushing any future children. Let them wear diapers till their 5 if it means no bathroom struggles. I have helped a bit by encouraging him to use the potty at regular intervals. I also bought pull-ups (gag) for when we are out of the house. He doesn't want to wear diapers, or the cloth pull-ups I made, but he doesn't necessarily give a lot of warning for when he has to go. I figured it was a fairly good compromise. He pooped in the first pair before we left the house. Oh well.
E has spent the last 4 weeks in a state somewhere between sleeping and waking. Fine during the day when I can play the latch on again game repeatedly. At night--well, I'm a little tired. But he has (and I hope I'm not jinxing this) slept a little better the last 2 nights. As in-wake up to eat, then go back to sleep. Granted, it's only for a max of 2 hours at a stretch. He's cute enough to make up for it though. And all the on/off eating is paying off. He's about 9 pounds now. Not as fast a grower as M, faster than G. And he is right at 50th percentile--like right on the big black line. If you are one to put any stock in those things.
Yesterday morning, I put him on the floor in the midst of his brothers playing. He loved it. Wide eyed and tracking them around as best he could. Then he slept for a good hour and half. Watching them wears me out too!

I am now wondering why I didn't do any food prep before. It has been so nice to open the freezer and see several dinner options just minutes from being a hot dinner. I think I'll have to make this a regular event. That would be easier with my commune. Sigh. I'll make that a separate post. I have a dream....
I'll get some more pictures up soon. I need to finish a letter to the boys' birthmom and maybe even get dressed before noon. Maybe that is too ambitious. I also need to get ready for the in-laws. Honestly, I am so blessed. I actually look forward to visits from my il's and I'm sorry when they leave. They are very sweet people who are kind and considerate. And, hey, MIL always leaves me with a clean kitchen! What's not to love?!

Monday, October 08, 2007

First, the baby pictures. ;)

Such a sweet face. He sleeps very peacefully. He just does it in 20 minute-2 hour snatches. He'll get better. He can't be like M, he just can't be. I'm too old for that.

He's smiling! Off and on. I don't think he totally understands the power he holds with this simple facial expression yet. But I think it's a magnificent smile. Well, duh, of course I do! The funny thing is, he's the first of my kids to smile for me first. At least I think he is. If not, C isn't saying anything so I can have that fantasy. M smiled for my mil first. I think G smiled for Aunt J, or maybe M, I'm not sure. But E gave be a few tentative smiles, then a big one. Melt my heart!


My mom rocks! She has decided that she can put all her awesome fabric to good use making bags. She does an incredible job. But then people found out what she had planned, so they started giving her more fabric. This woman can measure her fabric in cubic feet. She needs no more fabric. (You're welcome, PapaCoyote) But the fabric she keeps is really vintage fabric. This cut is obviously from the 60's. I was looking through her completed bags and was ooh-ing- and ahh-ing over this one. She said I could have it!! Yay! I have a cool diaper bag at long last. At least that's what I'm using it for now, for obvious reasons.
If anyone wants an original, very well made bag of any size/any use, let me know! I'll put you in touch.
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