Remember this picture? Nice yard, eh? The kids want to keep it as a prairie. The law says it needs to have a few less weeds.
I called a couple of landscape companies to give bids on what it would cost to get the yard into livable condition. Not show condition. Not stun you neighbors condition. Just passable. Back to bare bones we can plant our own plants condition.
The first bid came in today.
That's 7 Grand to haul out weeds and dump some dirt on the lawn. Then come back in the spring and sprinkle some seed on the lawn to fill in the areas where they would fill in holes.
We may be in the wrong line of work.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Posted by RasJane at 10:52 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
On Friday, we went to the pumpkin patch with our friends. What a fun day. We started with a tractor ride out to the pumpkins, where there were lots of perfect pumkins to choose from. It was a tough decision, but we managed to get 3 good ones home. After loading them into the car, the kids played in the hay maze, the playground, the haystacks and got to see the goats and chickens. It must have been an excited day because K went into labor the very next day and delivered a beautiful baby girl!
E has a new talent. Actually, he's been working on climbing a long time. Since before he could walk, really. But he just learned how to get up on the chairs without tipping them over. Is this not the look of pride in a job well done?!
Why I haven't taken as many pictures lately:
He grabs the camera everytime I bring it out. And he doesn't make a happy face when I don't give it to him. Make picture taking mayhem.
"Doggie" is his word. I think he says daddy too, but it sounds just like doggie, so you have to go by context. He signs all done. But mostly, he walks around chanting "doggie" He says it really clear to! From the time he wakes up, till bedtime, "doggie." I'm happy he's talking, I just hope he expands his repetoire soon. Parents, they're never satisfied, eh?
The backyard of the house down the street. In front is the "grassy" area. It was probably once just the regular green grass run of the mill yard part. Through the right hand gate is the garden area. Behind the greenhouse are (I think) 3 apple trees. We tasted them and they are yummy! Through the left hand arbor gate is the deck and hot tub slab. We'd probably forgo the hot tub, but it would be a great patio, and the deck has a bench which you can see the back of. There is a fire pit set up on the deck too. Not sure if the owner would take that or not, but there is a brick area all set up for it. I called a couple of landscape companies today to get quotes on bringing the yard back to neighborhood standards. I'm really curious what they'll say. We wouldn't hire it done I don't think. It's just to help our case in making a lower offer. IF we make an offer. (See Honey, I said IF. In all CAPS!)
Posted by RasJane at 3:45 PM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Today started out slow. Real slow. At 11 when my friend called, I was still my pj's. I was planning to take a shower when I put E down for a nap. I prefer to shower without his help pulling the curtain open. Anyway, I threw on some clothes since she was on her way over. I spend maybe 3 minutes handstitching a repair on her wedding dress she's selling.
Made lunch, read some. Considered doing some housework so I loaded the dishwasher. Yay me! And I put the roast in the crockpot. I find it easier to cook dinner earlier in the day. It sounds better then.
But the really good news is 2 fold. First, I finally found the listing agent on the house and she called me back. She is one person who actually seems eager to sell the house! I have entrance codes for the house so we can go check it out and have it inspected whenever we want. Hopefully we can get an offer in ASAP for the bank to start reviewing. Finally is feeling like this might happen!
Second, my sewing machine has been in the shop for 2 1/2 weeks! And they just called saying it's done and I can pick it up. Of course, they tell me this AFTER C is already on his way home, having forgotten his cell today. Oh well, tomorrow. Then I can start sewing M's costume. Think I'm cutting it close? Maybe.
I'm just excited to start making myself some clothes that fit!
Oh, and if you are in the Portland area and would like to make up some blankets (or have extras) Legacy Emmanuel Children's Hospital needs baby blankets. Email me if you'd like to donate, or just drop them off there. They can be made out of pretty much anything, just standard baby blanket size.
Posted by RasJane at 5:13 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The catalogs have started to descend upon us.
Since the first one arrived on Saturday, the boys have fought over it back and forth. Now the second one is here. If you don't count Nova's catalog that comes earlier in the year. I'm sure its the beginning of the flood.
I hear chants of "an' I wan' ______". Or, "Mom, come look at this!" Yes, I already looked at the catalog dear. And no, I don't need to look at every item 15 more times just to verify that it is a wonder of a toy. Yes, I'm sure it would be lots of fun and entertainment. But, in concert with the 15 million toys we already own, and the complete inventory of that catalog that you also want, I sincerely doubt it would ever get touched. Much less remembered.
I have contemplated for weeks now dumping all they toys that get scattered and ignored, or even the ones which reside quietly in the closet upstairs. So quiet in fact I'm not sure the boys remember they own them. What if I just had one very teeny box of toys in the whole house? I imagine they would really and truly play with those toys. Or continue to play with the cushions and blankets and pots and pans and boxes they find lying around. Well, lying around because they played with them this morning and no one picked them up.
I do have a kitchen toy ban. Meaning no toys in the kitchen. I consider it a hazard to have small toys underfoot when I'm carrying hot dishes and knives! And every evening after dinner all the living room toys have to be back in their bins. We do pretty well all things considered. But I wonder what our living room would look like if I could spend that evening time folding the laundry that has taken up permanent residence on the black chair instead of hovering over the toy and kitchen cleanup. And would there be fewer squabbles if the living room and bedroom and stairs and hallway and closets were not littered with toys. One thing I learned in my degree program was that, in setting up an environment for early childhood, less is more. Children get overwhelmed by too many choices. Leaving open space and just a few toy selections leads to children playing more actively and with more focus.
So why can't I just bite the bullet and do it? One big box (or 5) and one big shove out the door. Really, that's it, right? And I know that with Christmas coming, it's not likely people will give the gift of cleaning out the toy stash. I'm guessing it's going to be more of an add-to-it proposition.
In fact, I'm getting ready to make up the boys' wish lists. Because I'm crazy. And I'm their mom. And Christmas is for fun, right?
I am trying to not be too bad though. I am going to ask that they boys receive the minimum number of toys. Yes, it's fun to open lots of packages, but I'd rather they associate Christmas with being with family and feeling that good feeling than think it's all about the loot. That way, too, I can feel good about buying one quality toy that will last rather than lots of cheaper toys that will wind up in a land fill before next Christmas is even considered.
The other thing we plan to do is Christmas for a family. We have done this in years past and it's so much fun! We find out about a family that may need a little extra help this year and gather up a box full of things we think they would enjoy. Our energy of buying and wrapping and doing gets thrown outside of ourselves. We then drop off the box at the house, knock and run. No one ever knows it was us. We never got around to doing it last year. The difference we noticed was pronounced. The years we have done a secret Christmas there has been a lot more joy in giving. Last year there was just a whole lot more "gimme's" and "I didn't get's". It was sad. So, this year, definitely going back to that tradition!
So, if you get less from us this year, know that our resources probably went to a family that needed it. And it went to teaching our children that Christmas is about service and doing and giving to others. We will still have lots of love left for you when we get together. Maybe even more because of the small stack of brightly wrapped gifts. 'K?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
G is a very grateful child. He says thank you for lots of things in his night time prayers.
Case in point: Tonight, he was looking around the room coming up with all kinds of things to be grateful for when E popped up and spit in his face.
"Thank you for playing with E and he spits in my face."
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Yes, these are all my children.
They are all, all three of them, brothers. Real brothers. Just watch them fight over the best place to watch a movie.
They are from Heaven. Same place all children come from.
I am their real mother. I really wipe the noses, tears and butts. I really deal with the "we have no bananas-so-you-can't-have-one-for-breakfast-s". I really feed, clothe and bathe them. I give them real hugs and kisses.
I really love them with all of my heart so much it hurts. They really all call me mommy.
They do have a birth mother. She loves them too. We love her. I imagine I love her in the way a man loves his wife after seeing her give birth and provide life for his children.
Her personal history (and the boys' personal history) is none of your damn business. Are you prepared to discuss your personal and sexual history? All the foods/drugs/substances you take or don't take? The most intimate and personal decisions you've made in your lifetime? Then why are you asking me in the grocery store?
My children know they are different. They see it every day when they cuddle with mom and dad and big brother. They see it as they play with hundreds of toys and books that are all filled with white children. When they see other families who all look alike. When they get older they will deal with the pain inflicted by the asinine assumptions by others that skin colors makes some sort of difference in a person. They have a hole in their heart the size of which most of us can never even fathom. They know what it is like to be born expecting to be loved by the mother who bore them. And then to be raised by another. That is lasting pain. It never goes away no matter how much love and stability they have. That is the loss of a mother at the most vulnerable time in life. Please don't spend our busy time pointing all of these things out to us.
I have lots of answers about adoption. So do lots of professionals. If you have an honest question, tell me. Ask me how to contact me. Give me your number. I would love to discuss this miracle with you and help you grow your family in this amazing way. I do have references for agencies, lawyers and websites. Over the apples when my children are screaming and hungry and tired of being in the store, or in front of my kids period, is not the place or time. If you are hit by a fit of idle curiosity and see us as a freak show, shut your trap. Turn around and head the other direction. I can often tell why you are asking. If you get a snarky answer, well you were asking an inappropriate question. Save your huffing.
I am grateful every day for my kids. I am grateful the Lord trusts me enough to be their mom. But we have typical days. I do not think about how they came to our family every day. They are just my kids. We get up (often too early). We eat breakfast. We have good days and not so good days. Just like you. We have sick days and healthy days. I wonder at the speedy growth of my kids. I cuddle them and love them. We have dinner squabbles and bedtime routines. I get frustrated with my lack of patience and mothering skills often.
They get frustrated with my lack of patience and mothering skills too.
Are they grateful? I don't know. They may not know until they are in their 20's and reach a developmental stage where they can process that. Maybe later. I don't know. For now, they love their mom and dad. They love doing fun things. They don't like being told no. They don't appreciate that they can't have everything they want. They get tired and cranky. They are kids. Do your kids thank you for being their mom and dad? Probably not. My kids are no different.
This is my family. I wouldn't change a thing. Try not to judge me harshly by what you see in 5 minutes or maybe even 5 years, and I will try to return the favor.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
No, not that sign yet. We're working on it though. Anyone want a cute house in a great neighborhood with 3 bed/2.5 baths and cool backyard? Ask around. Please??? :)
No, the sign I'm talking about was suggested by M last Monday. We'd had a bit of a rough day. It happens. But M was apparently fed up with his sad position in life. He called me back up to his bedroom that night.
"I just want to let you know that I'm putting a sign in the front tomorrow. It will say, '9 year old child lives here. Needs new parents.'"
I expressed that we would miss him and wished him luck. I may have suggested too that he ask around Village Home the following day. "There's lots of really nice families there."
Gah, I'm so not a nice mom. Maybe I'd better start a therapy savings account for him now, rather than a college account.
Monday, October 06, 2008
So I only got a couple of questions, but you can keep asking!
Lanna expressed concern over the safety (mine) of birthing at home. My birth with M was indeed fraught with troubles, but they were all iatrogenic, meaning the hospital caused them.
I arrived at the hospital in full transition--over 6 cm dilated. The paperwork and check in crap made labor slow a bit, but I still felt tense and ready to fall over the edge into laborland. But the "professionals" kept me too cerebral. I started to get kinda panicky and worried that this was going to take days. I was also hungry, but knew better than to ask for food. The dr offered to break my water and I readily agreed. A woman in transition will agree to ANYTHING. That increased the intensity of my contractions, and a nurse gave me a pain reliever through an IV. I had asked for no IV. I also had a bright red band on my wrist indicating my allergy to codeine and derivitives. Lot good that did. She gave me something related to codeine and my bp started to plummet. M's heart rate did too. I was ready to push (when, by the way, same nurse came in practically demanding I have an epidural--brain dead freak) and the dr was concerned enough about the 2 of us that he cut a big huge episiotomy and M came out fast. He wasn't breathing because of the effects of the drugs. Combined with our low blood sugar (which I have anyway--the hard work of labor just made it worse) we were in tough shape. My bp was 40/30 ish. It came right back up as soon as someone brought be a piece of bread and juice. M nursed right away once they got him bagged, and we were fine. Until the Hep B shot, but that's a whole 'nother post!
With a homebirth, I will not leave the comfort of my home. No one will offer me pain meds or interventions. My midwife will not even be in the room with me if I don't want her in there. I can eat whatever and whenever I want. She will monitor our heart rates about every 1/2 hour but that's it. I can deliver in whatever position I want, and anyone I want can catch baby.
So far, I don't really think I want a waterbirth. I kind of envision standing for the delivery or maybe kneeling. Obviously not on my back or laying down. That's a guaranteed way to have problems! For some reason though, hospitals are the only ones not to have figured that one out. Even cave women were smart enough not to lay down in labor!
The kids will be home for the birth as well. I will start preparing them in a couple of months for what birth entails. M is very excited about the prospect so far. We'll see. I will need to find someone to help with the kids for sure, but I have a while to think about that and get it all worked out!
As far as allergy stuff. I am really not sure. So far I'm just focusing on eating what sounds good. Not doing so has nasty consequences. I'm lucky enough to not have to throw up, but I definitely feel unsettled if I try to eat something based on what I think I should eat instead of what I crave. I do eat a much better diet than I did 10 years ago--no doubt about it. I am also trying to eat more raw and fermented foods--well at least I'm telling myself I should, I just need to work on actually doing it. I think a big factor is that I haven't had much trans fats in a couple of years, I will refuse the Rhogam while actually pg and the baby will have no vaccines. Those seem to be the biggest triggers as far as I can tell. I am trying to do more research to see what else I need to do. The problem is that no one really knows what caused the allergies, so it's all conjecture and he-said-she-said. I'll just have to prayerfully consider it all and do the best I can. Meh.
I need to go call the county assesor about that house up the street. Since the Real Estate agent doesn't seem to be all that motivated to call me back. Seriously, any recommends for agents in the SW PDX area?
Saturday, October 04, 2008
I keep forgetting to update on M. We've been seeing a Nutritional Therapist for several months now and seem to be seeing results.
Obviously, for his allergies to be so bad, there was a lot of stuff going on with M. I was worried about heavy metals, and the dr said that yes, he does have mercury, aluminum and others (those being the main 2), but his system wasn't yet ready to deal with them. First, we worked on getting the pituitary gland in working order. It's the control house. We did this through herbs--all of it, really is herbal. The chemical overload of western med would, in my opinion, be way too much for his already damaged system. Plus, western med doesn't recognize most of his issues. Anyway, since his pituitary wasn't fully functional when we started, it was having a hard time making enough HCl for his stomach to digest food with. This was the source of the increased allegies-all the new allergens. Food particles were not being broken down by the stomach, passing to his intestine where they are absorbed. But large food particles are recognized as invaders by the immune system. Hence the problem. So, getting him started on the acid supplement made a huge difference. No new allergies since that started. Whew!
Then we needed to work on draining some of the excess toxins from his kidneys and liver. Also herbal. That took awhile. The dr wants to go slow so nothing gets dumped on his system.
Awhile back we increased pro-biotics. That helps the balance in the gut. And since food is more digested, it's getting us somewhere now. His skin is mostly cleared up.
When we came back from Rockaway with his kin itchy again, it gave the dr another clue. He has put him on an iodine supplement so his body can better use fats in his diet. The theory being that even though he's eating lots of good fats, he can't really assimilate them, robbing his skin of it's protective oils. If this works, his skin should be much healthier.
And finally, since some of his organs are doing a bit better, he has started chelation therapy. This is to start moving some of the heavy metals out. We had to wait since before, with his liver and kidneys needing some help, the metals would just be re-deposited around his body. This is really, really low-level. So it may take awhile to complete, but will be easier on his system.
I can definitely tell when he starts something new. He doesn't sleep as well, and his attitude gets a little worse. But overall, I think we're making progress. We just don't have the major, huge meltdowns anymore. We still have meltdowns, just not as big! Progress!
On the food front, we took out grains for quite awhile, and have been putting them back in. I had read that soaking grains made them easier to digest. I was a little skeptical at first. But in the spirit of things, M's first re-indroduction to grains was soaked teff. Then soaked millet. He was doing just fine with them, so I went ahead and whipped up some pancakes with flour straight out of the bin. Big mistake! He was raging, evil monster all day! Totally had no emotional control and lashed out at everyone over everything. It was kinda scary. We're back to just soaked grains. That just means that I mix up the flour and liquid the night before and let it soak on the counter overnight. Or whole grains. Just like you would soak beans before cooking them. Simple, but effective.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Life has been crazy here of course. Not too long after my last post, I took the 3 boys to the coast with my parents. Dad has great pictures at PapaCoyote. So I'll just direct you there, and you can look at his awesome pictures! Who, Me? Lazy?
On the 27th, we celebrated G's birthday. He's 4 years old, people! 4! He got a skateboard and went right out, got on it, and started trying to learn how to do tricks. Naturally. Sheesh. My mom made him a great blanket, Aunt J bought him pads to wear with the skateboard, and GramRe and PaR gave him a Cars playset. And, he got books and clothes. None of which are nearly as exciting a big ol' sugary cake.
Which he begged for for breakfast the next 2 days running. For some reason, the rest of the cake disappeared soon after.
The next day, Sunday, we blessed E at church. It was awesome to have mine and C's parents, and Aunt J there. And our ward family, of course. E wasn't too keen on having all these men put their hands on his head when they could just as well toss him in the air and play with him (I mean, Really!), but he did very well. Next step is a trip to the temple to have him sealed to us.
In other craziness, we have decided to sell this house and buy another before baby comes in May. Yeah, craziness. But I don't want to move with a newborn, or 4 children period, really. And I don't want to give birth in a remodel. We may have found a house. I always assumed we'd move up close to Portland, but in writing out my reasons for moving up vs staying here, the list looks a little pathetic. We have established lives here for 5 years now and there are a lot of really good reasons to stay. Not least of which is our awesome neighborhood. So we have been talking about the house up the street. Is it silly to move 3 houses away? But it's 2,300 sq feet, 4 bedrooms plus a den, and a gardening-ready backyard. As in-greenhouse, garden area and mature apple trees. And who knows what else is in there. The house has sat vacant for about 3 or 4 months now and it's hard to see through all the weeds.
When we went into the backyard (tresspassing, I know!), the kids had a blast. So M said he definitely wanted to buy it. A few days later when we were talking about the amount of work the house needs, he caught something about yard work to be done. "You mean you'd cut out the jungle?" When told we would, indeed, "cut out the jungle," he expressed that any house is as good as the next then. LOL
So, anyone out there an expert in buying a pre-foreclosure? Know of someone who is? Any tips and advice? I'd love to hear it!
But, now I need to get to work getting this house put into shape to sell. And interviewing a few handymen to do the work on things like the shower, ducts and whatnot.
Hey, at least I have my midwife and love her. I can give birth, I just need a home to do it in. That brings me to something else. I want to do some posts about natural birth. Any questions about it? Things you'd like me to cover? Questions about homebirth? Shoot. Even you, David.