November 26, 2008

Almost Thanksgiving

My husband thinks I'm crazy, because we'll have twenty people at our house for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it, but as you can imagine, it is keeping me busy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

November 21, 2008

More Quick Takes

1. I intended to post more this week, but have instead spent most of the week with a baby attached to my chest. Before moving on to formula and totally ruining my supply, I'm trying to get it up instead. I'm taking Fenugreek, nursing a lot and trying to make sure I am drinking more fluids. I don't want to supplement with formula if I don't have to, but this is hard to keep up and I am not sure the kids have really gotten much school done this week.

2. A few years ago we read The Penderwicks and loved it. I just checked out The Penderwicks on Gardam Street on CD for us to listen to in the car. I think the kids and I will like it, but the prologue, in which the mother dies of cancer shortly after giving birth to her fourth child, is hard to take. I was crying hard.

Since I've just recently read The Four Story Mistake and The Moffats to the kids, I want to know -- what is up with killing off one or other of the parents?

3. I love Math-U-See! The kids seem to get it and I am not overwhelmed by prep work as I was with Saxon Math.

4. It seems that Thanksgiving is coming up. I need to figure out what we're making. Turkey, of course, cornbread dressing, apple-cranberry sauce, and our maple-bourbon pumpkin pie with a praline crust (which may be a long name, but it is yummy). I suspect we'll also make mashed potatoes and then I am left with the decision that is always hardest for me -- what vegetables to make. I'm always inclined towards either brussels sprouts or creamed spinach, but those have not exactly been favorites with my children in years past. I'm considering broccoli with a lemon-garlic sauce. I know they like broccoli.

5. My husband and I are going on a date tonight. I'm very excited. We haven't gone out in a long, long time.

6. My children have formed a band of super-heroes. The oldest has dubbed himself Super Strength, the next child is Power Girl, then comes The Amazing Chuckle Bunny. They've decided the two year old shall be known as Super Pork and the baby is to be called Super Short. I'm well protected by my band of heroes.

7. The baby calls. It's time to start nursing again.

November 18, 2008

Size Matters

I've been nursing babies for 80 months of my life. That's 6 2/3 years. You'd think I'd have it all figured out by now. I thought I did. The first three kids nursed happily and with no problems.

When my fourth child was six months old, I discovered he had dropped off the weight charts from a normal mid-range percentile for his first several months down to the first percentile or sometimes below. We started stuffing him with extra calories, adding formula to his cereal and other foods. He still gets Carnation Instant Breakfast along with his regular meals, but he's stayed tiny. He seems more than healthy and robust enough.

My fifth child is now doing the same thing. She was over 9 pounds at birth and at four months only weighs 12 pounds 2 ounces.

Am I just too distracted to feed the kids any more? Is there something wrong with them or with my milk? I just don't know. The doctor wants us to start supplementing with formula, which makes a happy breastfeeding mama very unhappy. But if a baby needs to eat, I'll see that she gets fed. I'm also going to try to get in and get my thyroid and other things checked out. I hope to get some answers and find out why I can't seem to feed the little ones any more.

November 14, 2008

Quick Takes

Because it's theoretically easier than writing long posts (not that I write those either) and to show my slavish devotion to Jen of The Reluctant Atheist, er, Et tu, Jen, er, Conversion Diary, I thought I would join in her Quick Takes blog-a-thon.

1. Can you ever have too much tea? My friend Jo-Lynne, who hates tea would say yes and my friend Meredith would probably agree with her, but I think that just means there is more tea out there for me to drink. When I was growing up tea was always drunk hot. I came to college in the South and if you asked for tea it came cold and sweet, unless you specified "hot tea" or asked for it without sugar.

I'm so flexible I can drink tea hot or cold and even enjoy a cup of coffee, but the true comfort drink for me is hot tea. You can imagine that my trip last winter to England was tea nirvana, right? And I brought home several boxes of some new favorites -- my most favorite of all was Fortnum and Mason's Rose Pouchong. And then I used it up and was sad. Now I'm very happy again, because my friend Patricia, back from her own extended journey through London, sent me enough Rose Pouchong to fill the air with rosy tea scented goodness for a long, long time.

2. My six year old has decided this is the week to develop an act of great oppression every time I announce it is time to do schoolwork. We've tried taking breaks and doing things she's more interested in, but eventually one must learn to do a little math, history and spelling. I'm out of creative solutions.

3. The baby has decided that the sleeping through the night thing that she's been doing for the last three or so months has been going on long enough. I think she heard me plotting to move her to her own room. She can stay with us, but I want my sleep back.

4. When you learned punctuation, assuming you did learn punctuation, how many spaces were you told to put after a period? I was told to use two. My husband informs me that in the age of the word processor, the double space after a full stop is unnecessary. I do recall reading that a lot of journals have done away with the extra space as a space-saving measure (heh) but I think it may be a sign of barbarism. Do I really need to retrain my thumb to leave out that extra space?

5. Twitter -- do I need to drink the Kool-Aid?

6. Yesterday my friend brought her four children ages twenty months up to seven over so that she could go to her first midwife appointment. They wound up staying about three hours and all the kids were great -- no fighting or fussing. Other than her little one nearly giving himself a black eye when he tripped, it was easy. Who'd have thought nine kids could be so little trouble?

7. For those of you who are Catholic -- do you fast during Advent? Some people I know do, but it seems like most don't. However, to really prepare for the coming of Jesus, fasting does make sense. We're thinking about doing something as a family, but the selfish part of me doesn't really want to do anything that would interfere with all the Christmas parties that take place during the time before Christmas.

November 13, 2008

Opus Dei Kool-Aid

I haven't actually drunk the Kool-Aid, but I did go to their monthly Recollections service last weekend. What else could I do when my husband said, "Go to Recollections. I'll watch all the kids."?

Although not held at my parish church, most of the women there were familiar faces and one of my favorite priests gave the talks. I've never really had a chance to go to any sort of Adoration all by myself and it's amazing how much more one gets from silent prayer when one isn't watching several children and whispering over and over for them to stop wiggling, stop talking and sit still.

I don't think I'm interested in joining any extra groups, but I did like going to Recollections.

November 11, 2008

Elephant-y Goodness

I realized over the weekend that Advent is almost upon us. I'm not planning to make every present we give this year. Some people just don't appreciate a handcrafted gift and a gift is for the recipient, not the giver, after all. But, I do like making presents when I can and I have several things in mind for this year.

My first craft of the season is a little stuffed toy for my 1 year old nephew. I bought a copy of Horton Hears a Who for him and although I wasn't up to trying to make a Horton look-alike, I thought an elephant would go nicely with the book. Especially, because his room is decorated in a jungle theme.

I sketched out an elephant shape (which my son informed me looked like a Republican elephant -- I wonder why I had that in mind?) cut it out, pinned it to some fabric I'd had lying around. I cut a fairly regular seam allowance around the edges, traced the pattern shape onto the back of the fabric to make it easier for me to stay true to the shape, braided some yarn for a tail and pinned the whole thing together inside out with the tail in between the pieces.

Then it was just a matter of stitching it all together, making sure to give extra strength to the parts that need reinforcement. I left the spot between the legs open, snip snip snipped around all the curvy spots, and then turned it all right side out. The trunk was hard to turn, but do-able. It was also hard to stuff, but again, it could be done. Once the shape was stuffed, I hand-stitched it closed, embroidered on the features and called it done.

I think it took about an hour and that was with a lot of "helpful" on-lookers, commentary and a nursing break.

November 10, 2008


We're rather fond of her.

November 09, 2008

Dooty Time

Is it wrong spirited of me to tell my two year old that I'm giving him a diaper change he can believe in?

November 07, 2008

Forever Geeky

Usually when we're driving in the car (that is when the kids and I are in the car), we either listen to a story, the Math-U-See skip counting CD or I pretend that since nothing is coming through the speakers that the bickering in the backseat is really the "sound of silence." I thought some music might be a nice change yesterday, so I popped in a little Frank Sinatra.

Groovy. The kids were enjoying it and so was I. Then the song "Jealous Lover" came on. "Mom, what's a jealous lover?" asked the six year old. I told her the singer's girlfriend is afraid that the singer wants to find a new girlfriend. That was a good enough answer for my six year old, but then my eight year old chimed in, "Oh good. He's using jealous correctly. So many people misuse it these days."

Keeping It Hidden

After five babies, I have finally discovered a system of clothing that works for me and allows me to nurse without showing my belly -- which after five babies, I know you'd agree, needs to remain hidden.

I didn't have much of a problem after baby number one. I wasn't toned and flat of tummy any more, but everything seemed to be covered fairly easily, but as shirts got shorter and the skin on my abdomen stretched more and more, I tried several different options and was pleased with none. Nursing camisoles were a pain and always squished my chest into a mono-boob. Plus they too were shorter in the waist than I liked.

This time around though, I went to Target and bought a few long Hanes tank tops. They tuck in and are long enough to stay tucked in and the neckline is low enough that I can just pull it down when I'm settling in to nurse. No flashing skin and with our old drafty house, extra layers in the winter are welcome for their warmth as well.

November 05, 2008

We Do Live in Music City

Sigh. I'm glad I went to bed early, because being relatively well rested is about the only good news I got this morning.

Still, my children have become song writers and in a spirit of sharing their, um, "talent" and because well, I don't want to be a sore loser, here's their latest musical offering:

Joe the Biden (to the tune of Yankee Doodle)

Joe the Biden went to town a-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his hat and called it Mccain-roni.
Joe the Biden keep it up,
Joe the Biden dandy,
Mind the polling and the step,
And with Palin be handy.

We can always laugh.

November 03, 2008

I'm Not a Doctor, But I Practice on My Children

My diagnosis of my baby daughter's lump as a hemangioma seems to be correct. Friday morning, I took the wee one to the local children's hospital for an ultrasound. Other than the patient wanting to coo and wiggle rather than lie still, the ultrasound was easy enough and we were told we'd hear the results on Monday.

On Saturday morning, I got a phone call personally from our pediatrician. I love the pediatrician we go to. Other than our year in Alaska, all my children have seen her since the day they were born. She's calm, not interested in over-medicating when a simple solution exists, and calls me herself when she has fairly important things to talk to me about.

The results of the ultrasound were indeed consistent with a hemangioma. There's little else for us to do at this point other than keep an eye on its growth, but as a precaution the pediatrician wants us to talk to a pediatric dermatologist, which won't happen until December.

Until then, I will just be hoping the lump won't grow much.