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?
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


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.