Monday, October 31, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Much too true
AJ: "I'm going to be FIVE soon!"
MM: "And then pretty soon I'll be sixteen."
Too soon, too soon.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Just a quick post
I found out that Pro Services has ProRap diaper wrap factory seconds for just $4 each, so I'm going to buy several of those in the next size up for Baby E. I'm hoping to be able to get several other different kinds of covers and diapers to try also.
Well, I started writing this earlier in the evening and had intended to answer comments also, but Baby E was fussy tonight and both MM and I also had tummyaches today (something we ate, perhaps?) so I didn't get much done tonight. I'm headed to bed now!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Flat heads and food allergies
Baby E smiled and cooed at the doctor and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the exam. She weighed in at 14 lbs. 3 oz. and 25 inches, 90th and 95th percentile. Her head circumference was only 50th percentile, and it looks (as I suspected) like her occipital bone (the bone at the back of the skull) is overlapping the other bones in her head. She should grow out of that with no problems, the doctor said.
The main concern is that she's developing a flat spot on the back right side of her head. The doctor said I needed to either start having her sleep on her belly, or prop her head to the left when she's sleeping.
Neither of those options sound great to me because of the risk of SIDS or smothering. Whenever we lay Baby E on her stomach during the day, when she gets tired of it she plants her face straight down into the blanket and cries, making her breathing labored. And I can't see how it would be safe to put something beside her head where if she did manage to turn her head to the right, it would be up against her face.
So I don't know what we'll do. I think we'll start by trying to increase the amount of awake time she spends on her belly as much as possible, and turning her head to the left after she falls asleep.
Since we're still getting over being sick, I wanted to wait a week or so to make sure E is well before having her vaccinated. Meanwhile, I requested the product inserts for the vaccines she's supposed to get. They'll make for some time-consuming but interesting reading.
So far, I've discovered that several of the vaccinations she's supposed to get are cultured on or otherwise contain soy. That may be a problem, since she will scream for hours at a time if I ingest even a trace amount of soy and it gets into the breastmilk, and it has given her diarrhea before also. If she reacts that badly to a tiny amount in breastmilk, what would having it injected do to her?
Speaking of E's food intolerances, we've added another to the list: dairy. I bought some goat milk and goat yogurt last week, since I used to be able to drink goat milk just fine even at the height of my dairy allergies as a child. Even a moderate amount made both me and Baby E miserable for the next several hours. So now we've got the following list of foods Baby E can't handle: Soy, chocolate, dairy, anything containing caffeine. I'm also avoiding all nuts since that's a very serious and common allergen, and soy and peanut allergies often go hand in hand. Plus, of course, I'm highly allergic to both avocados and blackberry leaves, so she's never had exposure to those.
There is something else I've been eating that bothers both me and the baby, too, but I haven't yet pinpointed whether it's wheat, oats, eggs or carrageenan, or more than one of those. Other members of my family have wheat and oat allergies, but egg is the most common allergen after dairy and soy, I'm told. I'm hoping it's just the carrageenan--many people get a stomachache from that just because it's not really digestible. I have noticed an improvement since switching to rice milk free of carrageenan and other waxes (Rice Dream Original).
Interestingly enough, it seems that my body is in synch with the baby's. Things that didn't bother me before (like chocolate) started giving me problems if I ate too much of them while pregnant and nursing with Baby E.
Baby E and I get to go to our church's women's retreat this weekend. This year there will be a cottage for the nursing moms and infants. I think it's a 4-bedroom house, and there are three of us going so far. So there will be plenty of room to spread out. I'm really looking forward to it--I just hope I'll be able to eat the food at the retreat center. :)
Saturday, October 22, 2005
It was the first day in weeks I've felt somewhat close to normal again. Even though I've been over the flu for several days, until now just getting up and getting dressed completely wore me out. I was just trying to survive each day with the kids fed and cared for, and collapsing to rest any time I had an opportunity. I'm still tired and not quite back to normal today, but so much better.
Baby E actually slept from 1 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. last night again, finally! And, she's asleep by 12:30 tonight. Hopefully she'll sleep a long spell again tonight . . . I'm going over to Morning's house as soon as I get up tomorrow to help her with some things at her house. I'm looking forward to that. Baby E will go with me, but the other two will stay home with Daddy.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
A writer doing a feature for a wedding magazine saw my blog entry about Wedding Mishaps. She thought some of my anecdotes would fit perfectly into her article, so she e-mailed to ask if she could interview me for the article. She interviewed me over the phone tonight, and we had a nice time chatting.
How cool is that?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
What do you mean I'm not on the schedule?
She is such a joy . . . hard to believe she's already almost 11 weeks old and 15 lbs!
This picture is blurry because she's never still, but this is a very common facial expression for her. Such a happy kid! She's reaching out and grabbing for things quite intentionally now, and has learned how to suck on her fist.
She has been hungry almost constantly this week, and is waking up at least 3 times during the night again. I think it probably has something to do with my being sick and therefore not producing as much milk. Since I'm starting to feel a bit better, that should improve in a few days.
I was doing some research about colds vs. flu today, and it looks like we have definitely been having the flu. Hopefully it will give us some good immunity for the rest of the season. I'm still very tired and draggy, so haven't had much energy for blogging/replying to comments or much else.
We started trying the flat cloth diapers today, and Baby E certainly lets us know right away when she's wet! She hates having a wet/dirty diaper even with disposables, but even more with cloth. I think it's a good thing as it makes sure we notice and change her right away. We may end up using cloth when we're at home during the day and disposables for outings and possibly nighttime. We'll see.
Both of the older girls have had dry pull-ups the last several mornings and are wearing cloth training pants tonight. They both responded favorably to the idea of wearing big-girl underwear at night when I suggested it tonight. I guess limiting water at bedtime is helping! It sure was hard to deny my children crying for water and insisting that they were SO thirsty the first few nights, but they're complaining less now and drinking plenty during the day.
A and M are making great progress in their schoolwork, and still loving it.
M is really getting her letters and numbers down well, and is starting to be willing to work at things a little harder, follow directions better, etc. She's starting to really show an interest in learning to read, too, as she watches A become more proficient.
A is to the point where she's picking up random books and reading them, and needing help mostly just with words that are unusual or are exceptions to phonics rules. She read a book about Clifford the Big Red Dog and Emily Elizabeth today, and I only had to help her once! She was just playing by herself and picked it up to read out loud with no prompting from anyone. M loves to listen to her big sister read, too. She will ask A where a word is on the page or what a letter combination says, and A enjoys teaching her. A is asking questions about punctuation such as apostrophes, and sounding out even words she doesn't know and then asking what they mean.
All three girls still love to be read to or to just sit with us while we're working at the computer.
Today I got out a collection of preschool activities I picked up at a thrift shop, and we played several educational games. The girls understand the rules of a lot of board and card games now, and it's really fun to play with them. They enjoy taking turns drawing cards, spinning a wheel and counting the spaces to move.
Oh, and I received my DivaCup today and was able to try it out right away, given the timing. I'm quite impressed so far. Those of you who were wanting a review, feel free to ask questions in the comments. Depending on how I feel over the next few days it may take me a little while to answer, but I'll do my best.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Dilemmas and diapering
Tomorrow is Baby E's 2-month wellbaby check-up. I'm definitely going to ask about her continual stuffy nose. It did get better between when I cut out soy and when we all came down with this virus, so it may be the virus. But I'm going to ask about the possibility of reflux causing it, too. I definitely notice times when she urps a bit and then gets the rattly sound in her throat.
She is supposed to get vaccinations tomorrow, but I'm going to postpone them because I definitely don't want her getting multiple vaccinations when she is sick.
I'm agonizing once more over the whole vaccination thing at all.
I wonder if the kids really need all these vaccinations, and if the benefits really outweigh the risks, especially considering our family history which does have some risk factors of reactions to vaccines. I found a chart online which gives the likelihood of severe vaccine reactions compared to the likelihood of complications from the illnesses they're supposed to prevent--but what I'd really like to find is a chart comparing the likelihood of complications from the vaccinations compared to the likelihood of getting the illness and having a severe complication of the illness.
This pamphlet given to doctors by the CDC compares the risks from diseases with the risks of vaccinations. However, that doesn't to me seem a fair comparison. Vaccinated children have a 100% chance of getting the vaccination, but unvaccinated children have nowhere near a 100% chance of getting the disease. So, if 2 out of every 1,000 children can be expected to die if they contract diptheria, and 1 out of every 1,000,000 children can be expected to die from the shot, then I want to know what my child's chances are of catching the disease in the first place. If their chance of catching the disease was, for instance 1 in 2,000 then the chance of dying from the vaccination would be exactly the same as the chance of dying from the disease.
It's a complicated issue--especially considering how many parents feel their child's death, autism, etc. is a direct result of the shots, the fact that there definitely are vaccine reactions and we don't have good studies telling us exactly how likely that is, and the fact that vaccine reactions are almost certainly severely unerreported.
On another note, I think I'm ready to get started with cloth diapers.
Since I had diaper covers but only one prefold diaper, I experimented with a couple of lightweight flannel receiving blankets as diapers. After that, I decided to try purchasing some flat diapers to try. I like the flexibility of the different folds you can use, and the one-size-fits-all aspect, as well as the fact that they are easier to clean and faster to dry.
So, when I went out to buy Robitussin tonight (my doctor said I could take it while nursing, and I'm hoping it will help me actually get some sleep tonight), I picked up some birdseye flat diapers and some diaper flannel while I was at Wal-Mart. They're in the wash now; we'll see how they work. I also bought some regular flannel, and I think I'll cut it smaller to use as less bulky doublers.
I'll probably order some prefolds and a few other types to try too, to compare, since the flats aren't very expensive.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
During some of my sitting-down-to-nurse-the-baby time, I've been researching cloth diapering options.
We were given a gift certificate for a month of diaper service when AJ was a baby 4 1/2 years ago, and we still have all the newborn and small size diaper wraps (mostly ProRaps and Green Earth, with a few others mixed in). We really liked the cloth diapers suprisingly well when we were using them, but washing them ourselves seemed overwhelming and the diaper service was expensive. Now that we have a much better and more efficient (front-loading) washing machine, I think we could handle it.
The small diaper covers I have go up to 14 lbs, which will fit baby E for, oh, about another 10 minutes before she grows out of them. Actually, they'd probably fit for a week or two at least. So I'll probably buy a few cloth diapers and give them a try.
Disposable diapers are convenient, but they are expensive. Although cloth diapers are economical and environmentally friendly, my main reason for wanting to use them is that I don't like all the chemicals and synthetic materials next to my baby's skin.
Synthetic disposable feminine products are made of the same materials. They make me so uncomfortable after a few days that I've been looking into other options and finally found one I'm going to try (the DivaCup). As I was researching products for myself, I kept thinking that if the disposable products are irritating to me in the few days each month I use them, how must the baby feel being in contact with them 24/7.
I know I want to try cloth diapers, but there are so many options to choose from. The ones that seem most appealing to me are the chinese prefolds or fitted diapers combined with a diaper wrap, or the pocket-style diapers. The pocket-style diapers get rave reviews for being leakproof and keeping the baby dry with no rashes, but they are expensive.
I did briefly consider sewing my own diapers, but I don't think that's really practical at this time.
My goal is to find the best combination of economical, leakproof, ease of care, and comfortable/dry for the baby. There's a site at diaperpin.com that has a lot of great information and product reviews--very helpful. Also, this site by juliacat has a lot of great information, including price comparisons for each type of diaper. Here's another good page at Sunshine Diapers.
So, what do you think? I'd love to hear from anyone who has used cloth diapers about what you did and didn't like.
Here are some of the options I'm considering (with links to the best deals I've found on the internet for each):
Flat diapers with diaper covers. Cheapest option, most customizable, easy to get clean with fewer wash/rinse cycles, the only true one-size-fits-all diaper option (wraps still don't fit all sizes), most inexpensive option, more complicated folding, more prone to leaks.
Chinese prefolds with diaper covers such as ProRaps (on sale here for $4.35) or Bummis. Basic, dependable, easier to use than flats.
Fitted diapers, such as the Kissaluvs, Motherease, Sammy's or Snappis, with diaper covers. Easier and more leak-proof than previous options, more expensive.
Countoured diapers like Imse Vimse and Kissaluvs Countours, with wraps. Sort of a cross between fitted and prefold diapers. Easier to use than flats/prefolds and cheaper than fitted.
Pocket diapers with fillers. The most popular seem to be FuzziBunz with a special high-absorbency insert sold by Cotton Babies (free shipping and insert), but a lot of people also seem to like the Wonderoos or Happy Heinis(same deal with insert/shipping) with the Wonder-Fulls hemp inserts. These are the most like disposables for ease of use, leakproof-ness, etc. Best protection against diaper rash unless the baby is sensitive to polyester. Synthetic material holds smells more than natural fabrics.
You can also get the FuzziBunz-type fabric in liners and doublers to put inside other diapers, helping keep moisture away from baby's skin.
I think I might start out with a small supply of prefolds and a few diaper wraps, and then get one each of a few other options to try.
Oh, and a note about the DivaCup: You can get it just about anywhere for $32.50 with free shipping, but I found a deal with 3 free cotton liner pads for just $1.50 more. Similar items available from other sources include the Keeper and the Mooncup. I chose the DivaCup because it is hypoallergenic silicone (which can be boiled to sterilize) and has a 1-year money back guarantee.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Stew; the perfect fall meal
This kid doesn't want to miss a thing! She manages to stay awake for many hours at a time if there is anything interesting going on. But she's sleeping for a stretch of 7 hours or more at night, so I don't mind. :)
I had forgotten that I generally get a flare-up with the first big weather change of Autumn. Even with my deficiencies in eating and sleeping the last couple of months, this one hasn't been as severe as in the past. I'm tired and uncomfortable, but am still able to do most things. The girls are still sick with coughs and the baby with a stuffy nose, so we've all been taking long afternoon naps whenever we can.
As the years go by I seem to get healthier and get fewer contagious illnesses as well as milder and less frequent flare-ups. That's so encouraging.
Baby E is still so much happier now that I've cut soy and chocolate out of my diet. I'm getting better at finding soy-free foods to eat. It's actually forcing me to eat healthier and plan ahead a little more.
I was excited to discover that my favorite chips don't have any soy products in them. Terra chips are like potato chips, but they're made of taro, yucca, sweet potato, batata and parsnip--all root vegetables similar to potatoes, but with a unique flavor and great variety. They're cooked in canola, safflower and/or sunflower oil, not soybean oil like so many other products. They're expensive (about $5 for a 7.5 oz bag), but so good, so I will very occasionally treat myself to a bag.
The Safeway I shopped at tonight had really great customer service. A couple of the employees even went out of their way to find me a place where I could sit and nurse the baby when she got hungry. I've been known to walk around feeding the baby discreetly while pushing the cart and selecting groceries with the other hand. But with a bigger baby and as tired as I was, I wanted to find a place to sit down. Safeway let me use their breakroom and even arranged two chairs and pulled a curtain so I could put my feet up and relax in privacy. I was very impressed.
I know I shop at one local store often because they have a supervised, free childcare area that my two older girls love to go play in. If a store set up a semi-private area with comfortable chairs where people could sit to rest, wait for someone, or nurse a baby, I'll bet that would draw more customers to shop there. I think I'll make that suggestion at the grocery stores I frequent.
At the store I bought the ingredients for a hearty stew--beef, red potatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, spinach and mushrooms. I'll add a few things like herbs from my garden, onions, garlic and squash and put it in the crock pot tomorrow morning. Usually I'd add some beans or lentils, but I'm not sure I want to risk that. I've been avoiding all legumes lately since soy bothers the baby and nuts are closely related and a huge allergen, and I'm not sure about beans.
With the colder weather, a stew will be perfect for dinner tomorrow along with a loaf of homemade bread.
With my bread machine, it's so easy to just dump in the ingredients and a few hours later there's a loaf of bread. I really like my bread machine. Actually, I have two bread machines--one was a wedding gift and I picked the second one up at a garage sale for $5. It's nice to have two, because one loaf of bread is enough for about a day for my family--or two meals if it's good bread. I like to have two or three different kinds of bread at once, especially if we have company and will go through more than one loaf of bread in a meal.
There's something about colder weather that makes food more appealing and cooking more fun. My mouth is already watering thinking of tomorrow's dinner.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
What I Need
Seen many places, but notably at One Bright Star.
To do this, just Google your first name or pseudonym with the word needs, putting quote marks around the phrase: "purple_kangaroo needs". A lot of people googled their first name but replaced it with their pseudonym for posting.
It comes up with some funny results.
The very first result on mine was:
Angela needs a vacation. (Oh, yeah! Bring it on!)
The rest of the top results, in order:
Angela needs to complete a psychological evaluation. (Hmmm, you think so?)
Angela needs a crew of volunteers that day each for a 3hr time period. (Oooh, sounds good to me! They can start by breaking down the empty boxes in the garage, then cleaning the carpets, and then . . . ")
Angela needs to possess the essential attributes of front-line staff, such as patience, good communication skills and a genuine desire to help others. (Well, I do need those things for my job. Young children require a lot of patience, communication and help. As do many other parts of my life. :) )
Angela needs to take her father off the pedestal she put him on so she can make her transition to womanhood. (I think I did that a few years ago when I, you know, became an adult. No inappropriate pedestals here--I see my dad as a human being: not perfect, but a great person; and I respect, love, and enjoy spending time with him a lot, as do DH and the kids.)
Angela needs prayers. (Oh, but always.)
Angela needs help! (Yeah, probably.)
Angela needs to complete a psychological evaluation and
follow the recommendations of the evaluator. (We said that already. Is someone trying to make a point here???)
Feeling better and fluttering
I must say, it's been wonderful to actually be at home for an entire weekend and not have to go anywhere. Even though we haven't been feeling that great, we're enjoying just being home, relaxing, and puttering around the house.
DH and I finally got some much-needed sorting and decluttering of books, videos, and piles of papers last night. We even did a few things we've been procrastinating on, like watching the video and reading the manual that came along with our alarm system. :) We worked very slowly and casually, just a few minutes at a time, mostly sitting down, with lots of breaks. But we made quite a dent in our clutter.
I slept most of the day yesterday and all morning today, so I'm starting to feel a little less like I got run over by a train. DH and I are taking turns resting and keeping the kids etc. taken care of. Right now it's his turn to rest for a few hours. The baby is sleeping, so I clipped the girls' nails and we had fun collecting the fuzzballs on the vertical surfaces of the stairs that the vaccuum doesn't pull off. It's fun to see what simple things amuse the kids, and I really enjoy working on something together with them.
Today I'm planning to organize my bags and boxes of yarn piled in the dining room area (big job, but not too labor-intensive) and sweep/decobweb the front porch. I'm taking part in the FlyBabies 30 Days to a Cleaner Home Challenge, and the zones for the first week were the entry area, front porch and dining room.
I missed some days this week, but I did get a lot of decluttering done in those areas. I didn't do all of Kelly's Missions, but I did at least a few minutes of decluttering most days. It's amazing how much you can get done in 5-15 minute increments.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.
My 23rd blog post was January 15th, 2005, and was posted on my old Xanga blog. The 5th sentence of that post:
"Although it's slightly too romanticized to be wholly realistic, they do have a few issues and conflicts they have to work through."
And, the 5th sentence of the 23rd post on this blog:
The 50-some-odd affidavits questioning the PVS diagnosis were from health professionals who either didn't see Terri in person at all or who observed her without actually performing a medical diagnosis, and wrote affidavits based on some combination of video/audio tapes, examining medical records, reading trial transcripts, etc. rather than actually examining her--why?
I'm not going to tag anyone because I think most people who want to do this meme probably already have. If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged--or ask in the comments and I'll tag you.
Five Love Languages and Two Quizzes
Even though it's been a challenging season of life with young children and prelabor and then a newborn, I feel so very loved and supported. Everyone from my parents, sisters and inlaws to friends and neighbors have given of their time and energy to be with and help us. My "love tank" is pretty full at the moment.
What are your love languages?
The Five Love Languages are from Dr. Gary Chapman's book of that name. You can find a lot of information about love languages (and the book) on Chapman's Five Love Languages website.
The five love languages are, in no particular order:
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
Most people enjoy giving and receiving all 5 (I know I do), but one or more will be much more meaningful to them than others.
Knowing someone's love language can help you to communicate love to them in a way that is most meaningful to them. Knowing your own love language can help you understand yourself and your responses better. Learning about the love languages that are "foreign" to you can help you both communicate love better to others, and also recognize when someone may be trying to communicate love to you in a language other than your primary one.
I used to try to communicate love to my husband with gifts, but I quickly found out that gifts have very little comparative meaning to him. His far most important love language is physical touch--the one which just happens to be at the bottom of my own list. Just a hug or a touch on the hand carries so much more meaning for him. So I really have to work at remembering to communicate love to him in that way.
I found two online quizzes about the five love languages, and thought it would be fun to take them both. My scores were slightly different on the two.
This one at greaterquest.com was the simpler of the two, I thought. It gave me the following score:
Score Love Language
8 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
3 Receiving of Gifts
9 Acts of Service
0 Physical Touch
How to interpret your Profile Score:
Your highest score indicates your primary love language. Your second highest score indicates your secondary love language. If two scores are identical, you are bilingual (you have two primary love languages). If the scores of your primary and your secondary language are close (for example, 10 & 9 respectfully), it indicates both are important to you. Whatever a significant other does to express love in either of these languages will get emotional points with you. The highest possible score for any language is 12.
Having a clear picture of your primary & secondary love languages will explain much of your past behavior Think back over the past and ask yourself "What have I most often requested from significant others?" Chances are your answer will lie within the scope of your primary & secondary love languages. You have been requesting that which would meet your deepest need for emotional love.
This one at selectsmart.com has a different format and questions, and came up with slightly different results for me (note: possibly offensive advertisement may be on that website):
The list below is modified by your input. Note: The selector author alone determined the questions and scoring of these results.
#1 Acts of Service
#2 Quality Time
#3 Receiving Gifts
#4 Words of Affirmation
#5 Physical Touch
I think the first quiz was more accurate in ranking the order of importance of the languages for me, although I would give both gifts and touch a higher score than the quiz did. I don't think Physical Touch is actually at a 0, but it's definitely the least important of the five languages to me.
I notice, though, that I tend to show love to others slightly differently than I receive it. I think that's part of the reason for the differing results--because the second quiz had a few more questions about what I would do to show love to someone else. Gifts and physical touch rank higher in how I show love than in how I best receive it, I think.
How would you rank the five love languages in importance to you? Is there a difference whether you're showing or receiving love?
Friday, October 07, 2005
They don't seem to be seriously ill, though, and I'm hoping it will be a short-lived illness. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers; please do keep them coming.
My sister Amy was going to babysit tonight so I could take DH out on a surprise date, so I'm disappointed we missed that. The girls and I really enjoy spending time with my sister, and DH and I would have enjoyed dinner out. We'll have to do it another time. :(
After having some Tylenol, AJ felt well enough to get up and get dressed, so I made pancakes and the girls asked to do school. So we did phonics and handwriting worksheets, AJ read two books to me, and MM found particular letters and sounds in another book while I read it to her.
My friend "Morning" came over today as planned, even though I thought she would decide not to come with sickness in the house when I called to let her know. But she wanted to see us and of course I always love to visit with her.
She wanted to help out, since she knew I was dealing with a fibromyalgia flare-up as well as with sick kids. So she cleaned up the kitchen, swept and mopped all the linoleum downstairs, wiped down all the wood trim and cupboards, washed windows, and vaccuumed while she visited with us, as well as being a second tutor/audience for the kids' schoolwork and another pair of arms to hold the baby.
I mixed up some banana bread to salvage a couple of bananas that were about to spoil, picked up a bit, made a stir-fry with canned chicken and rice noodles for lunch, and spent most of my time sitting down or lying on the floor while directing the kids' schoolwork, feeding the baby and visiting with my friend.
The girls and Morning all worked together to rub my back to try to relieve some of the muscle spasms, and that helped quite a bit. It was cute to see the girls wanting to help too.
I am so humbled and grateful for this dear friend giving of her time and energy to me. I've gotten to the point where I'm able to accept that type of gift, but I still don't know quite how to respond. I always feel at a loss of what to say and do when people do things for me.
After lunch the girls went down for naps, and Morning and I had a little bit of time to talk and pray together before she left and I laid down for a nap.
It's so wonderful to have a friendship where we can help each other, play games and go on fun outings, talk about everything from fun to serious topics, encourage each other in our faith, and pray together.
She's thinking of joining the fellowship group/Bible study DH and I are in, too. That would be fun, especially since she already knows most of the ladies a bit from game nights at my house.
We decided today that we'd like to read a book together and discuss it--particularly one that would encourage us in nurturing healthy family relationships (loving our husbands and children a la Titus 2). We're thinking of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands since she's heard good things about it and has a copy at the moment. I don't know much about it, so I'm going to try to check it out at the library and see what it's like. Has anyone read it? What did you think of it?
The really sad thing (yet exciting too) is that Morning and her husband are looking into buying a business several hours away. It's been her husband's dream to quit his job and be self-employed, and the dental company where Morning works will soon be opening a branch in the same town as the restaurant they're looking at buying. So they may be moving. They have family and friends here, so would come back to visit frequently, but it won't be the same. We'll stay in touch and see each other as often as we can, of course, but I'll still miss her deeply if she moves. Friends like her are few and far between.
I want to go over and help as much as I can in getting her house ready to sell in case they move, and I'm so excited about being able to give back a little of what she's done so often for me. The first project we have planned is taping and covering her living room floor in preparation for stripping the paint off the fireplace--applied by the house's previous owners. (Who in their right mind would paint over a gorgeous brick fireplace, anyway?) Since I like to cook and Morning doesn't particularly, I'm also planning to cook and freeze some meals for her to heat up when she gets home from an especially tiring day at work. I love doing things like that.
I am feeling a little bit better today. It's fluctuating quite a bit during the day, so I'm able to be fairly fuctional off and on--at least enough to take care of the absolutely most important things.
As I commented to Morning today, it's so funny how relative things are. I've gotten so acclimated to a low level of pain and fatigue that it's harder to cope with a moderately high level now. But what's a bad day for me now was a moderate to good day a few years ago. I'm so very thankful that a level 6 or 8 of pain and fatigue is a "bad spell" now rather than a respite from the intense, constant 9's and 10's. I'm out of practice in dealing with severe, constant pain and fatigue, and that is A Very Good Thing.
So, even though I don't feel good at the moment, I'm sure it's temporary. I'm so very thankful for my life, relative health, friends and family. The pain and sickness in our home allowed me to be incredibly blessed today by a dear friend, reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for, and is encouraging me to lean on God and seek support from others. It's not fun, but I'm finding things to enjoy and be thankful for even so.
The past few months have been tough, but I must say I'm feeling so loved and supported by all our family and friends through it all. My husband, sisters, parents, in-laws, church family, friends, neighbors, and even you online friends have been so supportive and helpful. Thank you all.
James 2:2-4 says:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
One of the couples in our fellowship group summarizes it as "Yay, trials!" That's become sort of a catch-phrase for all of us--a group "inside-but-not-so-secret" joke. :)
Now I'm going to take my aching bones to bed, and try to rest as much as possible this weekend. I'm so glad it's Friday.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that she'll get better quickly, and that it won't be anything serious. Also that the rest of us won't get sick. I'm especially worried about the baby being vulnerable, and also me since I'm still in the middle of a FMS/CFS flare-up.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Hitting the Wall
The girls wrote their first real letters today. After some practice writing letters and numbers on worksheets, and working in phonics workbooks, I decided to give them some stationery and let them try writing letters to Aunt J who is off at college. They came out really cute.
I helped very little, mostly with spelling when asked for AJ and showing MM on another piece of paper how to write what she wanted to say. The girls did a great job actually writing a couple of sentences each. Well, I can tell what they say, anyway. Hopefully J will be able to interpret the scrawled letters and imaginative spelling. I found it gratifying that they both wanted to tell Aunt J how much they love school. I guess I must be doing something right. :)
We had fun taking a walk up to the mailbox to mail the envelope with our three letters, and then I made bread while they had lunch.
The last few weeks have really gone well. I've been enjoying life and feeling like things are starting to normalize and get under control. This afternoon I was planning to get some housework and decluttering done while the kids napped and/or had quiet time.
Then I hit the wall. Hard.
It came with no warning, which is unusual for me. Usually when the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome flare up I can feel it building over a few days. That gives me a chance to cut back and try to get more rest to hopefully minimize or stave it off.
But this time there was no real warning. Of course, there was that nagging voice in the back of my head saying things like, "Come on now . . . just because you've gone for weeks on very little sleep without a bad flare-up yet doesn't mean you're invincible--no matter what you might think." But I kept thinking, Oh, tonight or tomorrow I'll start going to bed as soon as the baby does, and I'll be fine.
All morning I felt pretty good, and then suddenly this afternoon I reached into the energy (or adrenaline) well and it was stone-dry. I just couldn't go on. My muscles started stiffening up and the pain jumped above its normal "annoying but tolerable" level to where I could no longer ignore it. I had to stop in my tracks.
I left things half-done and collapsed into bed while MM and Baby E slept and AJ played a Winnie-the-Pooh computer game. I needed to put away the food and dishes from lunch, pick up the house and prepare dinner before the babysitter arrived so DH and I could go to our fellowship group. But I just couldn't.
DH got home after work and fixed a quick stir-fry while I dragged myself upright and fed the baby, and we managed to get to group. Now we're home and I'm hoping a hot bath will help the pain and muscle stiffness enough to let me get a good night's sleep. I have to be at the mothers' support group bright and early in the morning, ready to lead my small group.
I guess all those weeks of sleep deprivation, with the addition of a couple of weeks of doubtful nutrition are finally cashing in. (I ran out of vitamins and the prescription had expired, and it seems there's almost nothing I can eat, between my own food intolerances and Baby E's--all nuts, legumes, soy, dairy, chocolate, avacados and a few other things are off limits.)
I am really frustrated with myself for not making a better point of getting enough rest and nutrition. I have got to learn not to push myself quite so hard. Sometimes, sleep is more important than not leaving dirty dishes in the sink when I go to bed.
I guess I played FM/CFS roulette one too many times. Now I'm just hoping I can drag myself back up out of it quickly. If I manage it well, it doesn't really affect my life too much. But I learned the hard way how debilitating it can become if I don't take care of myself.
I hate having to take good care of myself, LOL. I think I tend to think I'm not worth it. In a way it's sort of a good thing to have my own personal alarm system that lets me know in no uncertain terms that I have to be more careful about rest, nutrition, stress management and basic self-care.
OK, OK, I hear you. I get the message. Now go away.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Happy 2-month Birthday, Baby E
Baby E is two months old today. She already doesn't seem at all like a newborn.
Now that I'm not eating soy or chocolate, she is almost always smiling and cooing or intently observing the world. Soy is extremely hard to avoid (even things like soup, bread, candy and canned tuna contain soy products!), especially since I'm also avoiding dairy products. I really miss chocolate. But it's so worth it to have a happy baby.
With the colic gone, she is an easygoing, joyful kid. She doesn't insist on being held most of the time, although she does demand that you look at and talk to her frequently. Most of all, she wants to be where she can see and coo at us.
She naps very little--I think she's just so interested in everything around her that she doesn't want to miss out. She really fights going to sleep if there's any activity around her. She does get fussy spells occasionally, but they're usually short-lived and fairly easy to solve. Right now her stuffy nose is making her uncomfortable and interfering with naps, but she's still amazingly cheerful.
Baby E's favorite games right now are watching her hands move and trying to put them in her mouth. She also enjoys looking at and trying to grab various toys, but her absolute favorite thing is people. She loves to be able to see and interact with anyone, but especially her Mommy. :) She really lights up whenever she sees me, which of course melts my heart.
She's quite strong, and holds her head and body up well. I can carry her in one arm or in the front-pack carrier facing out, and she supports herself just fine. She likes being able to see the world that way.
Baby E's life is still one big growth spurt. As you can see, she still has those kissable chubby cheeks. At 2 months of age, she weighs 13.5 lbs. and is starting to grow out of some of her 3-6 month size clothes.
I'm discovering that I really need a camera with a faster shutter. Baby E is always moving these days, so most of my photos of her look like this:
She moves her head so much that face pictures often look like she has two noses:
She's going to be rolling over and then sitting up in no time. A couple of days ago I propped her up on a pillow on my bed while I was getting dressed, and she rolled off it (the pillow, not the bed).
Oh, and my favorite milestone . . . she's regularly sleeping through the night. Almost every night for the past week or so, she's slept for at least a 7-hour stretch. Hooray!
About Me MeME (Eleventy-One Things Extra)
I'll add it to my Eleventy-One Things About Me Index (along with a few other posts like Things I've Never Done and Five Things) even though it's not numbered.
Daddypundit listed about five items in most of these categories, but I had too many to choose just five on most of them, so I'm doing a dozen. It was that question about my husband that made me decide I couldn't limit it to five. :)
Things I want to do before I die:
1. Make sure my husband and children, friends and family know how much I love them.
2. See my children develop a personal relationship with God.
3. Nurture my children to be healthy, happy, well-adjusted and loving people with the life skills they need to flourish.
4. Enrich the lives of those around me.
5. Create laughter and happy memories.
6. Learn (and teach my children) not to be afraid of sadness, pain, silence or solitude. Embrace the tears and struggles as part of life, and learn from them.
7. Record my life story in writing.
8. Get my home and life organized.
9. Be healthy.
10. Write something significant.
11. Know my grandchildren.
12. Fulfill my purpose.
I decided to add this one since I didn't really do the last question in this meme: Things I hope to do in the next 30 years
1. Finish my bachelor's degree, and perhaps get my master's.
2. Study women's ministries. Then live it.
4. Be used to speak hope and wholeness into people's lives.
5. Have a mentor.
6. Mentor someone.
8. Read the Bible all the way through each year.
9. Own a pet again.
10. Learn to dance (with my husband).
11. Have a second honeymoon (with my husband, of course).
12. Be a good listener.
Things I can do:
3. Run on adrenaline (a.k.a. fake energy).
4. Make people feel comfortable, at ease, and cared for.
5. Help them find their wings.
6. Use a hammer and saw.
7. Build a fire.
8. Tame animals (and sometimes people).
11. Sell (things, ideas, whatever).
Things I cannot do:
1. Keep the beat in a syncopated rhythm.
2. Do complicated math problems in my head.
3. Ride a unicycle.
5. Care more about material things than about people and immaterial things.
6. Be "normal" (whatever that is, LOL).
7. Remember a lot of names, dates and numbers.
8. "Not write."
9. Fix the world.
10. Stop caring.
11. Stop hoping.
12. Forget God.
Things that attract me to my husband:
1. His big, deep, melting brown eyes.
2. His tender, sensitive, gentle heart.
3. His courage and perseverance.
4. His willingness to face the unknown and to ask the tough questions.
5. His strength and conviction.
6. His deep love for God and people.
7. His face, voice and hands.
8. His ability to see beyond the obvious--he has great insight and wisdom.
9. His extraordinary expressiveness.
10. His "magic touch" with children, babies, and other people.
11. His great blend of intelligence, fun and seriousness.
12. His refusal to wear a mask and his love of the genuine.
Celebrity crushes I've had in the past:
Um, honestly . . . I don't think I've ever had a celebrity crush.
People I want to do this next:
Everyone! If you want to do this meme, consider yourself tagged. If you don't have a blog or don't want to post on your blog for some reason, you're welcome to do it in the comments here.
Feel free to tweak the meme to your liking and leave out the one I added if it seems redundant. If you don't have a spouse, you could list things or character traits that you find attractive, or just make up a different question. You can do any number of items under each question you like. Some of the people I saw doing this meme didn't even number them, and had different amounts under each thing.
I think I'll name a handful who are either new bloggers or whom I'd like to see blogging (or blogging more).
3. Matt and Jacinda
4. Sparrow's Flight
7. Figured Out
9. Douglas Coombs
10. Camera Obscura
11. Kevin Edwards
12. Anonymous (I'd like to see each of the anonymous-es [anonymice?] get a blog of their own and put a name on it--or at least start putting a name on their comments!)
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Forget-Me-Not Logo #1
Here's the original:
It really needs to be more legible and a little more interesting. Since the name is Forget-Me-Not Gift Baskets, Mom really wanted something with forget-me-not flowers in it. Something that conveys the idea of a basket might be nice, too, and we're playing around with the idea of keeping the butterflies.
Here are a few variations on one basic idea I've been playing with tonight, using different fonts and colors:
The logo won't have the grey border--Blogger added that and I'm too tired at the moment to mess with trying to get rid of it. You can click on each image to see it in a window by itself without the border.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. I'm going to be trying to come up with at least three completely different looks for her to choose from, with perhaps three or four color/font variations on each. Next, I'll try something besides using the forget-me-not as an O in the words.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
I sure hope they at least tag it so they know if it's getting too close to civilization--or better yet put it in a zoo. Best yet, kill it. I like animals, but have no tolerance for man-killers.
Why would they deal with a situation like this by simply relocating the beast? It doesn't make sense to me.
Baby E has her first cold
Baby E officially has her first illness.
What started out as a mild cold is becoming more severe for myself and Baby E. The older girls still just have mild runny noses, and that seems to be going away, thankfully. But Baby E is stuffed up enough that it's having a substantial effect on her nursing and she has a hard time breathing through her nose.
I really hope it doesn't get worse. She is sleeping a lot and I'm nursing her as often as she'll take it, so I hope that will help. My cold is moving down into my chest and turning into a cough, so E and I will stay home from our small group get-together this afternoon.
I hate being sick and having sick kids.
One Week of School Down
My main concern is going to be fitting everything we want to do into the week. I'm thinking about setting a rough schedule, or at least doing things in the same order each day. I want to allow for a lot of flexibility, especially since the kids are so young, but we all really enjoy some predictability and structure.
Having the days somewhat planned ahead somehow makes it easier for me to get up and get going in the morning. Just planning things takes so much energy--I like getting up in the morning knowing exactly what my first step needs to be and what to do next. For instance, if I lay out our clothes and think about breakfast the night before, getting ready in the morning is so much easier.
Of course, it helps that Baby E has slept through the night (6-7 hours or more) quite a few times now. Last night she slept from about 10:30 or 11 until 7 or 7:30 a.m. Hooray! 8 1/2 weeks old and well on her way to better sleep. That longer stretch of unbroken sleep sure makes a difference. Now if I can just get myself to bed earlier, so I can sleep while she does . . .
I've decided that since the weather is getting cooler and rainier and I really need to get in shape, we're adding P.E. to our curriculum. It helps break up the "chair work" and we all get some exercise.
On Friday we did phonics and math workbooks after breakfast, then we read and discussed a Bible passage. After that, we turned on a low-impact aerobics video and exercised until Mommy got tired (LOL). We had a lot of fun with it even though we all had a little trouble keeping up and getting the moves down. Then we were ready to sit down and practice reading for a while.
I notice that having the structured lesson time really makes the kids appreciate quiet time to play by themselves, so I'm going to schedule in "recess" breaks once or twice during school time, too. We really only do a couple of hours or so of academics, but by the time we add exercise and a craft or something fun, plus a break for lunch, and I spend some time reading to them and/or playing a game with them, it takes up most of the day.
AJ is really taking off with her reading. She's reading at least one book a day (on Tuesday she read three!) and it's getting smoother and easier. I'm impressed with her reading comprehension, too!
MM really wants to read, too, but getting her to sit down and work on learning her letters is a challenge. Yesterday I made little cards with capital and lowercase letters and pictures of items that start with each, and that worked better. AJ and MM worked together to put the capital letters in order and then find the lowercase letter and the picture that matched each one. We'll play games like Go Fish and matching games with them, too. MM seems to enjoy a hands-on learning style. She likes being able to manipulate objects with her hands and play games with them much better than just sitting at a table working on learning the sounds.
As the weeks go by, I look forward to figuring out what combination of learning approaches works best for each child. I'm learning a lot, too!
It sure doesn't leave me much time for anything else, though . . . it may get easier after a few weeks, but I expect blogging will be light on school days.