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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Friday, October 05, 2007

Respiratory distress

Not the words you want to have to use to describe the condition of your newborn.
E caught the boys' cold big time. By Wed. night he was having really rough time breathing. I called the advice nurse for Kaiser and she said to take him to the local ER. I was worried by that point, because Kaiser is not known for their eagerness to pay out-of-network. So, off the the ER I went. We got there at10:30pm. By 11:30 we were looking at a chest X-ray that was a little fuzzy. The dr. made the call to transfer him to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. He was worried enough to send him by ambulance.
Fortunately his oxygen saturation was good enough that he didn't need anything really. The local hospital had tried to dilate his airways using an albuterol-type drug. That didn't work to help his breathing any, but it did seem to wake him up enough to get him to eat. Since he was eating and the super-nose sucking device worked it's magic, we were able to go back home that afternoon.
I'm beat. So is C. Needless say, he has a bigger pile on his desk at work. I'm so glad he's able to stay home again.
The doctor (who, coincidentally, was G's dr last year during his Kawasaki's bout) gave me a great idea. G is now allowed to kiss E as much as he wants--on his toes! I felt bad about saying "stop kissing your brother" but then, look what came of it. I was ready to lay down the law. So this is a great compromise I think.
Also, as much as I was creeped out by the idea of a hand sanitizer with chemicals that stay on your hands for up to 3 hours (I mean, really it's quite disturbing, don't you think?) G will now be sporting a new scent anytime he is around other germy-situations. Anytime we leave the house actually.
We shall have to see how they respond to the FDA. However, it has been in use the UK for awhile now. My in-laws quite like the stuff. We'll see. I'm more concerned with E breathing for the duration of the winter for right now

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

cute bebe pictures

I have the cutest kids. See?

G always wants to kiss the baby. Then he exclaims with glee, "Him likes me!"

Everyone wants kiss him, so we decided to share. Altogether now, Awwww.

The best way to travel is by sling. Or by wrap or mai tei, or pouch, or you get the idea. This is E in the old ring sling. See how his fingers are already chunking just a teensy bit? I think he is going to be a roly-poly like G.
Unfortunately, G is really good at bringing home viruses. Could have something to do with the fact that he always has his fingers in his mouth. Who ever heard of a 3 year old who compulsively bites his nails? Anyway, he brought home something yucky and has shared it with his brothers and father. The big guys are uncomfortable and going through tissues like crazy. Emergen-C is the drink of the week. But poor little E. Only 3 weeks old and already suffering from his first nasty cold. Newborns can't breathe through their mouths. So when the nose is stuffy it makes life very difficult. I steamed him this morning in the bathroom, I put saline drops in his nose and attempted to suction (didn't get as much as when he spit up through his nose last night), and I am rubbing essential oils on my breast a ways above where his little nose hits so he can have the benefit of that. Only, none of it seems to be working very well. Fortunately, when he does drift into a deeper sleep, his breathing gets a lot smoother. My heart just breaks for the little angel. I need one of those mommy-magic-wands. Anyone know where those are kept?
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