Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pshaw, the INTERNET??

This evening Luke brought a picture he had printed off of one of the children's websites he likes to go to and showed it to Jeremy. Jeremy said, "Oh, where'd you get that from? The Internet?" Luke looked at him and started cracking up, "NO, Daddy!! Not the INTERNET, it's Yo Gabba Gabba!" The girls and started to giggle and Luke thought we were laughing at how silly DADDY was being. After Jeremy had left the room, Luke looked at me and said, "Daddy is so funny, the INTERNET?!?! Why would he think it was from the INTERNET?"

Hehehe...children are so funny, especially when they think they are SO wise! Apparently he has never heard the term, "The Internet".

So Profoundly TIRED

I had just been thinking the other day about why the last few weeks of pregnancy are so difficult. Up until just hmmm, maybe 2 weeks ago or so, I had been feeling pretty good. My body wasn't too terribly sore, I was managing just fine, so I had kinda lost sight of how difficult those last 2 months or so of pregnancy can be. Well it has hit. I am exhausted. I'm dealing with restless legs syndrome and having a hard time falling asleep at night...and ya know, when you're this far along, you have to get up to use the potty fairly between potty breaks and child/husband wakings, I'm up an awful lot at night...and falling back to sleep can be quite an effort. I'm trying to cut back on afternoon coffee, but of course, that doesn't help my TIREDNESS, but it does seem to help me sleep better.

The aches and pains have set in. My back is sore, my pubic bone is sore...I'm big and heavy and tired...and having a 21lb baby stuck to me (going up and down stairs regularly) and a husband who works WAY too much is NOT helping anything. Thankfully, Aaron has had a few good nights again (he had some illness, I'm thinking it was Roseola) where he had 4 nights of being up for HOURS with a really high fever (103ish) and was really, really fussy, but he's back to his wonderful self again and has been sleeping like a dream--both night AND day. What a blessing.

Getting through the days is very, very tiring. Really, tiring just doesn't describe it at all...I think profoundly exhausted sounds more like it. There is so much I'd like to do (like have a CLEAN HOME!!), but I just don't have the energy for after taking care of everything that HAS to be done--dishes, school, etc. Speaking of which, I'm trying to avoid cooking dinner...but Jeremy will probably be home late again tonight, so I really need to do I must go. Please pray for energy...and a baby that sleeps like a dream!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today is your birthday, happy, happy birthday....

How cool, I actually logged in to write this at 9:16pm, exactly 2 minutes before the time Luke was born, 4 years ago today. What a wonderful night. My first son. What a blessing.

Luke has been a blessing to this family from the second we found out we were expecting him. We were so excited to be adding a third baby to our family, after a very, very lengthy, wishy-washy debate about whether we should have a third (complete with a Pros and Cons list--which I still have, by the way). I'm so glad the Pros won!!

When I had my ultrasound and found out he was a boy, I was SO excited! How blessed could we be, after 2 girls to be having a little boy?!?! We had the name "Luke" since my first pregnancy. I LOVE the name Luke and wanted to use it so badly...and we were finally going to be able to. I remember when I went to the hospital on the day he was born, and my doctor said that he'd admit me since I was 5 days overdue and was already having SOME contractions (and of course, my mom kept making threats that "you know, I have to work tomorrow"), I started crying because my girls weren't going to be my "only babies" anymore. Everything changed when a couple of hours later, this precious little boy made his appearance! I remember hearing his cry for the first time and praising God that it was so quiet. He slept for 4 hours at a time IN THE HOSPITAL and was a wonderful sleeper from the get-go. He slept thru the night at 10 weeks old and was a very easy going, adaptable blessing of a baby. Nothing changed as he hit toddler-hood. He has always been a easy baby. Well, now that he's older, he's a challenge...but he's still such a blessing and has such a sweet heart. He's obedient (in general) and as sweet as sugar--and SUCH A BOY! I enjoy him so much, he's definitely MY boy.

Today we went to the toy store (what he really wanted to do) and then had ice cream at Baskin Robbins. He said he didn't like ice cream, so he only ate about half of his, which is fine with me. Then we went to Chevy's for dinner. He kept going back and forth about whether he wanted to have them sing to him or not. Finally he got brave and told our waitress that today was his birthday. When the were getting ready to come over to sing, he said, "I'm just going to ignore them" -- and he did! :) But it was cute to have that experience...and the free ice cream was wonderful too (he didn't eat it, I did!).

Tonight was going to be his first night with no pacifier. He's been hooked on the thing for a very long time...but so was Abby. Abby gave it up at 4 with NO struggle. Well, at that time Luke was my only baby and he was a dealing with sleepless nights would have been no problem, had they occurred. Well, guess what? It didn't go so smoothly tonight. He cried and cried...and he shares a room with his 2 sisters and Aaron is right next door. Not to mention my being pregnant and tired and NOT wanting to lose any more sleep. I caved. So yes, my 4 year old takes a pacifier still. It's not my dream come true, but it's my this point, sleep takes precedence over most other things...soon we'll have to bite the bullet and throw the stinky thing away, but right now I'm not going to worry about it...if it were his thumb, what options would I have?

Anyhow, I'm so blessed to be the mommy of a wonderful 4 year old sweetheart.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tomorrow.... big boy turns 4! Oh my, where has the time gone? I have so many other things on my mind, but I will refrain from posting because I have so many other things that NEED to be done. I'll be back.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Real Crawler!

Just needed to note: Aaron is officially crawling like a "real" baby now. He still scootches around on his tummy part of the time, but he can get up and get around on his knees now, and he can effortlessly go from crawling to sitting. And he can climb all of our 17 stairs like a pro--Lord have mercy!

Sin Nature Revealed

We have 3 special "babies" in this house. Their names are: Puddles, Hedgehog and Puppet. 2 are stuffed bears and one is, well, a hedgehog (can you believe it?). Puppet and Hedgehog belong to Luke and Puddles is Savannah's treasured bear from when she was 2 years old...she LOVES Puddles and I wouldn't be surprised if she sleeps with Puddles when she is all grown up.

What amazes me about these 3 "babies" is that they're really nothing special. In fact, Puppet is one of the cheapest, junkiest stuffed bears that was acquired at some holiday when you can buy those Walmart trinkety stuffed things for like $1 a piece, but for some reason, Luke adopted him/her as his own a while ago (it's pink too!) and he just LOVES it. I don't remember where Hedgehog came from, but he used to be our cat's favorite toy and then he got lost and then found years later and now is GREATLY loved (and one of the world's best hiders, too--always hiding somewhere weird!) and Puddles was given to Savannah for her 2nd birthday by a neighbor of my parents' and was loved mostly because she has a sweet smell to her that still hasn't entirely rubbed off, even after fifteen thousand washes in the washing machine. So, why in the WORLD am I writing about these guys, you ask? And what in the world does this have to do with sin? Well, you see, even though these guys aren't anything to write home about, and even though our home is TEEMING with wonderful toys, there is a very special lure about these 3 "babies". These guys are SPECIAL. Not only to Savannah and Luke, but to AARON! Aaron realizes, at his tender young age, the lure of the forbidden. Out of all of the toys, all of the stuffed critters in this house, NOTHING has the draw of one of these three things.

Today, I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready and I had to leave him on the floor and thought that when I put him down he was going to get fussy. To my surprise, he disappeared and became very quiet. Of course, anyone who has EVER had a child knows what that means: (yeah, sit back with a nice, cool drink and enjoy the silence, right?? WRONG) CHECK IT OUT IMMEDIATELY!!! At first I thought he might be trying to climb the stairs for the 15th time of the day, but no, there he to the step stool that housed (EUREKA!!) both Puppet AND Hedgehog!!! Ohhhhhh man, SCORE!!! He immediately put Hedgehog in his mouth and reached for Puppet. Now, let me just say, NOTHING irritates Luke more than a wet Hedgehog, and right now, Aaron is not only wet...but boogery, this was NOT going to fly. I had to pull them both away and distract him with a different, less adequate toy.

It just boggles my mind that at 9 months old (and even younger, for that matter) a child can recognize things that are forbidden and desire those above all else. Thankfully the things they desire at that age are generally harmless, but the principle is no different...we are sinners, we desire that which we can and should not have...and we need a Savior. It's apparent pretty much from anyone can say that we're all "basically good" is beyond me. Maybe they need to meet my 9 month old!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Aaron woke up yesterday, after a very, very lousy nights sleep, a complete wreck.
He had a slight temperature, his nose was running (clear stuff) and he was drooling like crazy. He was so fussy and so tired and so miserable, exactly NOT what I wanted to see on the morning we were having company for Luke's birthday party. He didn't seem sick, his temp went down to normal with a small dose of Tylenol and eventually, after a REALLY good nap, he was a bit more congenial. The party ended up being a good time and everything was great.

I've always been one to assume that my babies are teething for lack of any other reason for their absolute grumpiness (other than the simple fact of just being a baby which, apparently, is as good of an excuse as any for being a grump when you're a baby), but ALL of my babies have been quite old when they got their first tooth.

If I were a really good mom, I'd know exactly WHERE my children's baby books were (hey, if I were a really, REALLY good mom, all of my children would actually HAVE baby books), and I'd be able to tell you the exact age all of them got their first tooth...but being that I'm just a human, struggling mommy who lacks organization above nearly all else, I can only speculate...but from what I remember (which doesn't mean a whole lot these days as my children have sucked every ounce of brain power out of me), they were all somewhere between 10 and 12 months old when they got their first tooth. Aaron is only 9 months, so it seems rather young, but so far he's done EVERYTHING (other than sleep thru the night) earlier than his siblings.

I was thinking, the only sure sign of teething he doesn't have (other than actual TEETH) is the frequent, runny, stingy poops. Well, this afternoon that I wouldn't be at all surprised if I saw a tooth very least I really, really hope that is what's causing his issues...his sleep has not been great and I really need sleep. I mean REALLY need sleep.

So for those of you who read this, please pray. Please pray that Aaron's sleep habits would change significantly for the better. Pray that he might start sleeping more independently and peacefully and LONGER. Last night (after Tylenol and teething tablets) he slept from 8ish until 6:20am...I think that was his best night--EVER. He went back to sleep until 8ish too, what a blessing. However, that was after 2 really, really horrendous nights. I could use a good 8-5 sleep on a regular basis. I really do not have qualms with the early morning waking (if he goes back to sleep), but it's the constant wakings that really get to if getting up to pee every 20 minutes isn't enough to deprive me of my much needed rest!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A note for myself.

Luke at dinner tonight: "Eeewww, I'm not eating that, that's BE-SKUSKING"! Oh man, I know it'd be a horrible thing if he DIDN'T outgrow that adorable way of talking, but I'm not looking forward to the day when he does...I love little child words!

By the way, telling him, "No, it's BE-LICIOUS" didn't help a bit--but feeding him did. *insert MAJOR eye roll here*

If babies had the whole sleep thing down...

...they'd definitely be perfect. I guess God didn't want us idolizing them too much, so he made them cute, squishy, sweet, adorable...and EXHAUSTING (and sometimes stinky). I love them anyway, but I can definitely see some design improvements.

MuTaNt RaT!

I blogged before about the demise of our first rat, Pip Squeak. He got a respiratory infection and died shortly after buying him--of course AFTER his "warranty" was up. We decided to get another rat and when he started sneezing, we brought him right into the vet (courtesy of Petco) for treatment. He didn't seem terribly sick, but we didn't want to take any chances. They kept him for an entire MONTH! He was on 2 rounds of antibiotics and he seemed to have recovered nicely, so we got to pick him up today. The children were so excited to have him back home. The only problem is: He's GIGANTIC! I don't know what they were feeding him there (actually, they admitted that he was one of the sweetest rats ever and they spoiled him rotten), but he's HUGE. We originally bought the cheapest cage we could get and figured it'd be find for a while, until the rat got bigger, but I honestly was not expecting it to happen this quickly. I had a few rats when I was a child and none of them were this big...he's like a small cat! Jeremy had joked before that he looked like a sewer rat because he's brown, now with his size he REALLY looks like a sewer rat. So, now we're on a mission to find a new cage--STAT!

9 Months Old

Aaron is a big 9 months old today. This is a big milestone, he's been in this world as long as he was in my tummy. He's getting very big (and very heavy!). He's been sleeping about the same, waking 1-2x a night. I really wish he'd start sleeping longer more consistently, if I could choose, I'd love it if he'd sleep from bedtime until around 5am, then again until 7am, that'd be a dream come true. He's still not eating a whole ton. He just doesn't seem to really love food. I try to feed him 3 meals a day, but he usually doesn't actually EAT a whole lot of what I feed him. Sometimes he'll eat a whole banana for breakfast, along with a few cheerio-s. I try to give him protein, because I know protein keeps one full a lot longer than carbs, it's really too bad that carbs are they ones that are easy to come by (and often nice and PROCESSED), it's hard to find many proteins that a baby this age can eat-especially ones that are easy to take with you when you're out and about.

Aaron crawls everywhere, has started climbing the stairs and can pull up on everything. He's good at getting back down to his bottom after standing up, but he does still crawl on his tummy and pulls himself along with his arms. It seems like a very laborious way of crawling. A couple of times he's gotten up on his knees and started to crawl like a "real" baby, but then he falls back down onto his tummy and goes on his way.

I've mentioned before, he's a big talker. He loves to babble and it's just SO cute. He's SUPER snuggly and gives the best hugs and kisses. He naps 2x a day, usually 10am-noon and then 3-4pm. He goes to bed usually when the other children do--about 8pm. He takes his bottle and falls asleep while being fed his bottle. Usually about 3/4 of the way through his bottle, he pulls off and we snuggle him on our chest, burp him and put him into his crib. It's such a wonderful, snuggly time to put him to bed. Yes, I wish he would go to sleep independently--especially without any crying--but that's not the way it is right now...and I'm trying to enjoy every moment of these baby snuggles, knowing that he is growing SO fast, and soon I won't have as much time to enjoy these precious moments.

Aaron is a generally happy baby. He likes that he can now get around and "visit" with everyone...he's a very social little guy. Luke is the one who can get him to laugh the most. Aaron ADORES Luke, and of course, Luke could take him or leave him. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that. Luke loves him and will, every once in a while, say in his sweetest voice, "Hi Aaron!" and he'll talk to him and Aaron giggles and smiles and gets all excited...but then Luke loses interest and goes about his day. It's usually just as Aaron is really getting excited and giggly that Luke stops, I try to get him to keep it up because it's SO cute to see how much Aaron loves the interaction from his big "brubba" (he actually SAID that the other day)...but I don't expect much out of an almost 4 year old boy! :) It'll be very cute to see how and when they start playing together. I hope they click more quickly than the girls and Luke did...I know that a 3 year gap is a big one, especially as you're starting to be a "big" kid and the "baby" is always trying to get into your stuff. At least when Aaron is running around, he can play with Luke outside.

Well, that's it for the update on Aaron. He's big, he's sweet, he's wonderful. What more can I say?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello Third Trimester!

I can't believe I'm officially in my third trimester. This pregnancy is FLYING by at a ridiculous rate. Today I'm 28 weeks along--only 12 more weeks to go (or if this little one follows her siblings, closer to 14 weeks). Today I had my glucose test done. It's not that big of a deal other than it takes at least an hour to do--you drink this pint or so of nasty orange soda tasting junk, I'm not sure of the sugar level in it, but it's a measurable amount of glucose. Then you get to sit there, twiddling your thumbs for an hour. At the end of that wonderfully, fun-filled hour--people watching in the lab, of all places, you get to go in and have them suck your blood! Seriously, I can't think of a better way to spend a free hour of my time!! Thus far I haven't had an issue with this test, so I just hope this one comes out okay too...if it doesn't, I get to do the 3 hour test, where you do the same thing, only they suck your blood EVERY hour for 3 hours!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homemade Baby Formula Cost Comparison Chart

Here is the cost comparison I've come up with. I did not include the cost for olive oil, whey or cream. The reason is because I buy olive oil at Costco and I generally have it on hand and use it frequently, so the cost for ME is negligible. Whey is made from straining plain, organic, whole milk yogurt. This is another thing I keep on hand and I consider whey to be something I might throw out if I didn't use it...therefore again, the cost is minimal for ME. I also did not include the cost of cream because the cost varies greatly depending on the type of cream you use. Raw cream is $11 for a little bottle, while I got the organic, pasteurized cream for like $2...I didn't even do the calculations for how many servings/container. So although my calculations may not be EXACT, you can see that the cost per ounce using pasteurized non-homogenized milk is practically not worth noting...especially considering I'm calculating the cost per ounce for the CHEAP formula you get at Costco--in the BIG container. If you buy the name brand formula, the cost per ounce would be more for the commercial formula than it would be for homemade.

We had a good 3-4 months that Aaron was drinking Nutramigen. That stuff is like liquid gold, even worse than raw milk as far as cost goes. I'm not sure what the cost per ounce for that stuff is, but each container I bought (larger than the little cans, smaller than the Costco size ones) was $34!! We calculated that we were spending $400/month on formula!!!

I hope all of my calculations are accurate...I'm a sleep-deprived, pregnant, homeschooling mommy, so I don't guarantee ANY of my work!

Homemade Baby Formula--First Trial

I've been researching what it would require to make my own baby formula for quite some's always been a bit intimidating, especially before I knew what most of the ingredients were. The more I've learned, the less intimidating it's become, although I have to admit that there are still some "scary" things about doing this...mostly because it's an unknown for me.

I finally got all of the ingredients--of which there are many. Many, obscure ingredients. Yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought my raw milk and cream and this morning I took the plunge. All of the ingredients are pretty normal, other than the fermented cod liver oil--YUCK!! Yes, it smells as bad as it sounds. Thankfully, the other day when I took a dose (it's supposed to be REALLY good for you), I didn't really taste it.

Here's a link to the video of how to make this stuff. Homemade Milk-Based Baby Formula. There is great comfort in giving your baby something that contains ingredients that you've put in there, that you can pronounce and that don't require a chemistry degree to understand the process behind. Some of the ingredients serve to help the baby digest the formula more easily and some are there just to fortify the milk so the baby gets all of the nutrients s/he needs.

Aaron took it just fine at his nap this morning. It's hard to figure out the cost per ounce because of all of the ingredients...maybe one of these days soon I'll get ambitious and do the calculations. Here, a quart of RAW milk costs about $4.89. That will make 2 batches of this formula. The next most expensive ingredient is the fermented cod liver oil. I'm sure you could use other cod liver oil from the health food store...but the fermented is arguably far more nutritious and beneficial than the other stuff...not to mention less processed, yada, yada, yada. I bought it because I happen to have a loving, wonderful sugar daddy who lets me buy whatever I want--hehehe...just kidding. I bought it because that's what it called for and I wanted to make this the way it is supposed to be made, then I can tweak it from there. The one ingredient I did NOT do is the butter oil. It's INSANELY expensive (well, so is the cod liver oil at about $50/bottle-shipped!).

The other option with this formula that I am going to try next is to use PASTEURIZED, non-homogenized (otherwise known as CREAM TOP) whole milk, cultured with kefir grains. I don't have a whole lot of experience with raw milk, so I don't really have an opinion as to whether raw is better or safe or whatever. I know that it contains so much good stuff that is killed in the pasteurization process that helps it to be easily digested, which of course is a good thing...but I cannot speculate on the digestibility of raw milk versus pasteurized, non-homogenized, cultured milk. All I know is that the cream top milk is about half the cost of the raw...and in my opinion, money talks!

So there you have it...if you were ever interested in making your own baby formula, I'm being your guinea pig. So far, it's a lot less "weird" than I expected!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brussels Sprouts

MANY people I know have told me, "Eeewww, Brussels Sprouts, I don't like Brussels Sprouts!" To which I reply, "Noooo, no,'ve got to try MY Brussels Sprouts before deciding you don't like them." I've made a believer out of many people, so I'm going to share my recipe/technique for delicious Brussels Sprouts.

Delicious Brussels Sprouts
any amount of Brussels sprouts
fresh garlic, diced (use as much as you desire)
1/2 stick butter
chicken stock
kosher salt

Wash Brussels sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Melt butter in large skillet. Add Brussels sprouts and garlic. Cook on high, covered, until one side of Brussels sprouts are browned. Flip over. Add 1-2c. chicken stock--about enough to come a quarter to half way up the Brussels sprouts (you can always add more if necessary, you don't want mushy, wet Brussels sprouts). Cook covered for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and test tenderness of sprouts. If they're still rock hard, cover and cook longer. You want them tender, but not mushy...not too firm, not too soft. Take off lid and let moisture evaporate and the stock will condense and make a FABULOUS glaze. You may need to add a bit of salt and definitely pepper. These are fantastic!

Oh the joy of having a husband!

Jeremy got back this evening...just before bedtime. He's upstairs putting Aaron to bed for the first time in a week...what a blessing it is to be able to tuck the big kids WHILE Aaron is going to sleep instead of making the big ones wait or rushing through their routine because there is only so much of me to go around. Not only that, but now when I take a shower and if Aaron starts to fuss, there is someone to tend to him so he doesn't get hysterical and take another hour to calm down and go to bed.

Parenting many children is just no fun without two parents...I really feel for those I know whose husbands are either deployed frequently OR work weird schedules. I've been there/done that, but not with so many children. I don't know how I'd do it.

So glad you're home, sweetheart!!


I've never gardened in my entire life. I want to garden. I cannot think of anything that could save our family money and provide nutritious food the way a garden could. I don't really live in a place where a garden is feasible...I mean, I could build some planter boxes...somewhere, I suppose. I'm not really sure where as our home is under a very, very large redwood tree and a very, very large magnolia tree. They're beautiful, but they don't allow for a whole lot of sunshine for growing fruits and veggies. Then comes the issue of actually STARTING the plants. Where do I do this? I'd love to get some wonderful non-GMO seeds and start plants from seeds. Not only would it be a great homeschool activity, but it'd be the best way to ensure that we get the least expensive produce and the healthiest at that. HOWEVER, I only have 2 window sills in my house that get decent sunshine...and they're about 6 inches by 4 many plants could I possibly grow?

So, my thought, mission, idea, if you will, of the day is this: HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO GARDEN? (Nevermind the fact that I cannot bend over AND breathe at the same time at this point). Hmmmm...I guess I need to research how to organize a community garden and contact housing to see if this would be something we could do. There is so much empty land around here that is just begging to be used for SOMETHING productive. It's really too bad we can't have chickens, too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Girls

I feel like I don't post enough about my girls. They're bigger and don't say and do all of those cute things that they used to do when they were little, but they're still absolutely darling.

I just have to say, I could NOT manage my life as it is without my precious daughters. They are such big helpers to me. They fold laundry, put dishes away, clean up after meals, clean the bathroom and most importantly, help me with Aaron. All I ever expect of them with Aaron is to entertain him for short times when I have to do something, but their help is INVALUABLE to me. I've been told that having babies gets easier after the 4th because of the help you have from the older children and I can attest to that...especially since my girls are quite a bit older than Aaron.

I need to make more of an effort to recognize the sweet and wonderful things my girls giving random kisses, picking bouquets of wild flowers (recently it was tree blossoms and lavender!) or writing on the white board, "I love my Mommy"...those are the blessings of having OLDER children, who may not say and do silly, sweet, little child things anymore, but who have not lost one ounce of sweetness. I love my big girls.

**Edited to add**
This morning I just did NOT feel like getting up. I like to do the time change on Saturday so we have the whole day to get used to the new time, so when my clock read 7:50am (and I knew it was only 6:50am) I was NOT feeling it. I knew I should get up, but I've just been SO tired lately. I fell back asleep, knowing that if I DIDN'T get my rear up, it would mess up the whole day since I've got to work on getting Aaron on this new schedule--the big kids are no big deal when the time changes. So the next thing I know, my watch says 8:15am and I hear Aaron playing happily downstairs...I let my eyes close and fall back into sleeptown 8:30am I decide I had better get myself out of bed...I go downstairs and there are all of my sweet children, Aaron included, playing happily, watching Arthur...what a blessing. As I said before...without my big girls I would not be able to do what I need to do. They are SUCH blessings.

So here's the deal, Facebook Friends...

As I stated before, I'm taking a break from Facebook. Unlike many of my friends, I find myself getting sucked into cyber land as an escape from reality more than I'd like to admit. There are many things that I need to do and want to do that I don't get to because I end up getting online and wasting a lot of time...and the majority of that time is spent on Facebook.

Today I was talking with my dad and he thought that it was a bit, I don't know, perhaps undisciplined of me that I cannot seem to find a happy medium. He seems to think that perhaps there are people that derive great pleasure from reading my rants and random thoughts and that I may be taking away from the lives of others by my lack of discipline and consequent NEED to abstain from social networking.

Soooo...what I've decided is that, since I've been wanting to blog a lot more and Facebook LESS, I'm going to SHARE my blog entries during this sabbatical time. So, although I have to log in to Facebook in order to share my blog posts, I'll make that exception. That way you can all still have a little peek into my crazy life and I don't have to worry about wasting hours on Facebook...basically, I'm important enough to share with you, but you're not important enough for me to check on you. JUST KIDDING!!!! Please understand I'm THOROUGHLY interested in your lives, and I'm sure I'll break my "fast" and check on you ALL from time to time...especially as I have a couple of friends who are due to have babies--some any SECOND! I couldn't miss that! :)

Boys are sweet.

I love boys. I really, really love boys. Girls are wonderful, but what they say about a mommy and her boys is true, they have a special place in my heart, probably mostly because they're so different, yet so sweet.

We got Lady Bug Land for the children for Christmas. We ordered our ladybug larvae and when they came and hatched, the children went outside scouring the plants for aphids. Thankfully (the only time this may be true) our flowers outside were loaded with them. It made the ladybugs very happy.

So the other day, quite some time after all of the ladybugs had passed on to ladybug heaven, Luke came in with a little flower for me..."Mommy!" He said excitedly, "It's FULL of bugs, too!" Hehehe...apparently he didn't realize the bugs were for the ladybugs and not for me! What a darling little guy.

Today he was the "flower delivery man" and kept ringing the doorbell and "delivering" flowers to me. Does it get any sweeter than that?

Just like babies.

I was thinking as I was putting Aaron down for his nap this morning. We are very much like God's babies. We depend on Him for food, for protection, for provision, for rest...for everything. There is not a thing we can do for ourselves, it all comes from Him. We go around, getting into things we shouldn't, making messes He has to clean up after and hurting ourselves...He continues to follow us, to protect us from ourselves (and other dangers) and wipes up after we've finished our own pursuits. Sometimes we get tired and throw ourselves onto the ground in an all out fit, and He comforts us, nurtures us and gives us the rest we need for our weary souls. Just like a good momma, only much, much better.

The reality of it is that even though we may have our own agenda (hopefully not QUITE as destructive as my 9 month old's), He is free to swoop down, snatch us up and put us on a completely different path. Just like when Aaron is on a mission of clearing out my cupboards and I close the door, grab him, strap him into his car seat and head out to go grocery shopping. He has nothing to say about it...he's just along for the ride. Yes, he can complain, he can cry or he can enjoy this new journey.

I was thinking about those people in Japan--facing the destruction of a MAJOR earthquake and tsunami...they were going about their own business when--WHAM--things changed, majorly. This can happen to any of us, whether it be a natural disaster, illness, sudden loss (or gain), anything. God is in control...He knows the future...either we can embrace His plan and seek to find joy in the trials and hardships OR we can fuss and complain...but it's not going to change HIS agenda. He has a mission...He has a purpose. So do we, but it's His that really matters.

Mommy, what's your real name?

Luke was making me a picture on his Disney Magic Artist program this morning. He wanted to put my name on it--how sweet. He asked me my real name, which I'm SURE he knows, but I told him anyway. He asked me how to spell it. I was UPstairs and he was DOWNstairs, so I was kinda yelling each letter to him...after I thought we finished, he yells to me, "Mommy, what's your real name?" AGAIN. So I said, "Shequanda". He yells back, "Oh, how do you spell that?"

What a silly boy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chatty Aaron

Aaron has been talking a lot lately. He clearly says "Dada", "Mama" and "Papa". He loves to play Pat-a-Cake and tries to say the words while he claps his hands and "throws them in the air", it's absolutely DARLING. He is super smiley and loves to communicate. His favorite word is "Dada", but that's no surprise because he's pretty attached to his's very sweet. The other day Jeremy came home and Aaron was super fussy. I didn't know what was wrong with him, but as SOON as Jeremy walked, Aaron threw himself into Jeremy's arms and was happy as can be. I guess he just needed his daddy! I know it's wonderful for Jeremy because although the other children are attached to him and love him, Aaron seems to have a special affinity for's so wonderful to see that father/son bond (and it's nice for me to have someone to relieve me of my duties at the end of the day). Jeremy is in Virginia right now and man am I missing him. Not only the company, but the burden he takes off of me. Life right now is more on the difficult side than it's been in a long time...what with an almost 9 month old and entering the third trimester of my pregnancy, I'm VERY tired. I'm still maintaining okay, but it definitely wears on me...especially without Jeremy here. The burden he lifts for me is indispensable!

I'm starting to get a bit worried about what life will be like 3 months from now. The thought really does scare me a bit...I know I need to trust in the Lord and in His perfect plan...but my tiredness and lack of time (due to the very mobile almost 9 month old) does not make it possible to be in the word as much as I'd like to be. And I know that that doesn't help my waning faith in God's wonderful (and CRAZY) plan! So if you're reading this and can spare some time...please lift me up to my Lord and hold me there for a while. I NEED His mercy and His grace and His strength (and His patience wouldn't hurt either)...I need the renewal of energy and zest that can only come from Him, especially when this little blessing makes her appearance and I'm doing double duty with babies. I'm very excited about what this is going to do for our family, but also very anxious. I know a year from now things will be fairly's the sleepless months before that that concern me. I know that one day I'll look back on all of this and smile and be able to see nothing BUT the blessings, but right now as I look forward, I am scared.

One last mention before I go to bed...Aaron seems to get particularly chatty in the car, it's WONDERFUL to listen to his sing-songy little voice...and last night we were driving home from Costco and he was singing a little baby song and he went something like this, " YEAH". It was SO funny and sounded SO cute! Of course he was rather impressed with himself at the response he got (gee, when does this guy NOT have a huge audience of admirers??) So, so adorable!

Why I'm giving up Social Media for Lent

First of all I must say that I've never observed lent. I'm not Catholic, so whenever I'd hear people talking about what they're giving up for lent, I never really gave it a second thought...I like the idea of sacrificing in order to prepare myself for the celebration of my Risen Savior...I mean, Easter really IS the most important holiday.
So, while I still wouldn't claim to observe lent, some of us need a bit of a kick in the pants to do things we really should have done a while ago and for me that is taking a break from social media. Don't get me wrong, I think Facebook is a great tool...the web groups I belong to help me out and I've gleaned a lot of information from them, but they also tend to be sink holes. At this point in my life, there isn't a whole lot I can do that requires much of an attention span. My life is busy, I don't have much spare time, not to mention brain for me, Facebook (in particular) has become something I can flop down in front of and zone out on for a while while life goes on around me...much like someone would do with the television--but if I turned the television on, I'd be hounded to watch yet ANOTHER episode of Shaun the Sheep, which really wouldn't be relaxing for me.
I'm also a very social person. This is something I didn't really recognize until I had children. Now I'm THAT crazy lady that talks to random strangers in the grocery store. I need social interaction. I don't have time for a lot of friends, nor do I WANT a lot of friends (that's a whole other post in itself), but I like to keep in touch with Facebook is a good way to know what's going on in everyone's lives without having to be on the phone or out "calling". The phone is one of the most disruptive tools in the homeschoolers phone call can throw off our entire school day (what kind of teacher answers the phone in the middle of class??), so although I do keep in contact with a very small group of friends (mostly those who refuse to submit and get on Facebook), that small group and I don't talk often, so a phone call can often last over an hour--in which time my children have sneaked off and effectively avoided doing their work for that entire time.

Soooo...why then do I feel the need to give up something that can be such a great tool? Because I've let it become a master rather than a slave. It has become an escape for me. I find myself thinking of witty status updates while I'm doing my housework. I find that as soon as the baby is in bed, or the children are settled into their school work that I escape to Facebook to see if anyone has commented on my latest witty status, or darling video of my child.

At this point in my life, there are so many other things I need to be doing...things that may not be "fulfilling" or "relaxing" to me, but need to be done...and things that I've thought about wanting to do forever but have put aside because it's too time intensive when really, if I were just to do a little bit at a time, I'd be able to do what I want. It's time to start living my life rather than talking about it. It's time for me to engage and overcome some of those obstacles that are surmountable at this point in my life--there are many insurmountable ones at this time, but that's neither here nor friends on Facebook are wonderful, but my children are more important...and lately I've gotten that switched around.

So although I'll continue using email and blogging, my facebook account is logged out and my other web groups shall not be accessed. It'll be fun to see what I can get accomplished without these "distractions" in my life.

Now, would it be wrong to "Share" this on Facebook?
**I found out I must be logged in to Facebook to share, so I guess I can't!**

Friday, March 4, 2011

Eggs, cont'd...

Another thought I had today...why is it that when you see "organic" or "free-range" or "pastured" eggs, they're always brown??? And the cheap ones are always white? The color of the egg has nothing to do with the nutrients therein, nor with the TYPE of egg it has to do with the color of the chicken. So what gives? It'd be refreshing to see the plain vanilla eggs labeled "Free-Range, Pastured, Cage-Free" you think as many people would buy them? We're definitely trained to see certain things and think one thing or another as consumers. I was reading an article the other day on regarding those wonderful Horizon Organic milk boxes we mommas are so fond of buying for our children--especially those of us who frequent Starbucks and feel guilty that we're buying OURSELVES a treat and not getting one for our children (no, that is NOT me--anymore!). She (the author of that blog) was going over the process of ultra high temperature pasteurization (the process they use in the Horizon milk) and the appalling fact that they proudly say, "ORGANIC" on the box. Not only are the boxes lined with BPA and filled with boiling hot milk (thus releasing chemicals INTO the milk), there is no way that you can heat milk to that temperature without totally destroying EVERYTHING good that was once in that milk--hence the shelf-stable for 3 months milk your child is drinking. HOWEVER, they put that milk in the refrigerated section because studies show that if we see those milk boxes in the refrigerator, we are more likely to buy them thinking they're "healthy" because they're organic. YUCK!

I tell ya, there comes a point in ones life when you either want to learn more and do something about what you're learning (as I said before, really the only way I see to do it is to produce the majority of your own food) or you have to hide your head in the sand and ignore the atrocities that are happening in the food industry. The food we eat today is not our parents food and CERTAINLY not our grandparents food. Yes, we're living longer, but we're also seeing a rise in some of the weirdest, rarest forms of all kinds of diseases and conditions.

I firmly believe in finding a balance though, I don't think we can get totally crazy and never allow sugar or refined flour or processed foods into our diets...unless you're really committed and organized and diligent, it's nearly impossible in this crazy world we live in...but the more we can eat natural, from the farm foods the less we'll NEED to eat due to the nutrient density of the good foods and the healthier we'll be (and the less expensive it really is since you're buying less and getting more, if you catch my drift).

Am I being duped?

We went to Whole Foods the other night to look for some fancy ingredients I need to make Aaron's formula, rather than buying it. This is not a money saving issue, as I'm sure it will end up costing us more in the long run, but it's a health issue. The more I read about the process of making baby formula (the commercial kind) the more I'm horrified about what I'm putting into my tiny man's body. I mean, he's still at the age where he gets the majority of his nourishment from liquid and since I'm not breastfeeding, it's from formula. We bought a Berkey water filter a while back (yes, we had to SMUGGLE it into California--LAME!) because of the fact that we put more water into our bodies than anything else. If that water we're drinking is contaminated with even the slightest of things our bodies don't need, it builds up over time. I'm a big water drinker and I don't want yucky stuff in my body--if I'm going to have yucky stuff, it's going to be from something tasty--something fried, preferably! :) Anyway, my point is...shouldn't we look at what we consume as a majority and start there with eliminating the bad stuff and adding in the good stuff? I mean, grass fed beef is fantastic, but if you only eat beef 1-2x a week, but drink 3 quarts of water a day, doesn't it make sense to focus on drinking PURE water before buying that grass fed beef? Makes sense to me!

So anyway...I digress. Back to Whole Foods. We were in the egg aisle, looking at the myriad options of eggs they carry--fertilized, free range, cage free, pastured, plain ol' brown, etc. A woman walked up and grabbed a dozen "fertilized" eggs and before she walked off, I asked her, "Do those taste any different than other eggs?" (Yes, I'm THAT annoying person that strikes up conversations with random people in the store). She said, "No, they're pretty much the same", so I asked, "Do they LOOK any different?", "No", she said..."they have a little somethin' in the yolk, but nothing really noticeable." So I go to the next logical question, "What is the benefit of buying fertilized eggs over regular eggs?" She didn't know. She said she had always bought them and honestly couldn't tell me why. Hmmmmm. I know that that's the kind of consumers we tend to be...we "hear" something is what we should be doing, so we do it. We don't question it, it seems logical, so we do it. So here I am...from what I've read, PASTURED eggs are the way to go. They're able to stretch their sweet little wings, they eat bugs, if they have to be fed grain, it's organic, good stuff...not soy and nasty other stuff that chickens aren't supposed to eat, etc.
So, although they were $6.99/dozen, I thought why not? I'm going to give them a try. We eat a lot of eggs, so if they ARE much better for you, it's worth it, right?

Soooo...this morning I decided to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. I thought I'd do a little experiment. I had generic, mass produced, white eggs from Costco--you know, the ones that are like $3 for 2 dozen? Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. Then I had bought "Organic Cage Free" eggs from Trader Joes, they were around $3/dozen, then I had my "Organic, Pastured, Fancy-Schmancy, ridiculously overpriced but worth it from what I've heard" eggs from Whole Foods--$6.99/dozen. I cracked them into separate ramekins and examined them. I took photos, but I'm not sure how good they came out, maybe I should take a video instead?!?! Anyway...I could see NOOOOOOOO difference. The yolks were ALL pale, the yolks were all fact, the Costco egg seemed to have the largest and darkest yolk out of all of them. So if they all LOOK the same, could they possibly be any different nutritionally? Sure, organic is better...and knowing they're eating a healthier diet (not other chickens--YUCK!) is better...but $5.50/dozen better? I think I was robbed.

Unfortunately, I don't have a pocket nutrition analyzer, so I honestly don't KNOW what is better for me...I have to go by what the "experts" tell me...and that is NEVER a good thing. My solution, if I could do it? Get my OWN stinkin' chickens, feed 'em bugs and eat their eggs. Now that would be ideal.

Now don't get me started on the raw milk sitting in my refrigerator that I'm too scared to open and $25/gallon, including CRV, I'm afraid of spilling a drop!

The Simple Joys of Life

One of the greatest thing about having children is their simplicity. The things that bring them joy are just so basic it melts my heart. Bubbles, splashing in rain puddles and a fun one we got to experience yesterday--carrots with the tops still on! :) What a simple thing, but it's not something you get to have often unless you garden yourself. When I got my shipment of produce yesterday, Savannah dug through it and found the carrots with long, green leaves on them. She was so excited. I asked her if she would like one and she giddily said, "YES". We washed up 3 of them for the big kids (Aaron munched on the left-overs later but ended up with a green leaf stuck to the back of his tongue--silly baby!), and they had so much fun munching on those carrots.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Babies are SOOOOO gross!

I've been working hard researching the best, most healthy way to feed my baby. I want to give him the best nutrients I can, the least chemicals and toxins possible and also make his diet tasty and appealing. I've been buying organic as much as I can and making him tasty concoctions using the limited foods he's able to eat at this stage. He still doesn't LOVE eating, but he's getting better. Chicken and sweet potatoes are some of his favorites, and he also likes rice. He loves smashed banana and enjoys chomping on a mango pit when we have one available.

Tonight I had one of those mango pits and some chicken and sweet potatoes for him to eat. He ate decently, but not all that heartily. Pretty much par for the course for Aaron...but when I got him down out of his high chair and had him critter around the kitchen while I got things cleaned up, I noticed that the floor around the garbage can was quite disgusting. I grabbed the sponge and wiped all of the compost-ish items into a pile so I could pick them up. Faster than a bolt of lightning, there was Aaron...shoving the nasty bits of egg shell, coffee grounds and goodness only knows what else into his mouth as if it was a gourmet feast made just for him. What is the deal????? Should I just feed him compost and throw the good stuff on the floor and hope he'll eat it that way? I do NOT understand baby logic.

I have so much to learn!

I have so much to blog about, and so little time. Life has been so busy lately--yes, I feel like I've said that before. Aaron is officially at the "I don't know what else to do but to give you Tylenol" stage. He'll fuss and fuss for no apparent reason: he doesn't want to be held, doesn't want to be put down, doesn't want to eat, doesn't want a bottle, doesn't want to go to bed...he just doesn't know what he wants, so he fusses and fusses. Oh, this stage is so much fun! He's also becoming INCREDIBLY mobile. He not only crawls now, but he is pulling himself up on everything he can get his little paws on. He's just starting to practice getting down in a controlled manner, but doesn't always succeed...which leads to MORE fussing! :) Sooooo much fun. I'm really not a big fan of this stage, other than the fact that he's SO cute and he's saying "Dada" and "Mama" all of the time and it's just SO adorable.

Yesterday while he was trying to climb something, he fell and got his first real boo boo. He got his cheek bone right below his eye on the corner of our entertainment center. He's got a little black eye now, but nothing too major. He cried a bit, but got over it quickly. Thank God.

Aaron had been sleeping really well--generally from bed time until 3-5am ish and then again until 6:30 or so...he rarely sleeps past 6:45ish. He's definitely more like Savannah was and is (Luke had to be awakened the other day at 10am!!). Then we went to my parents house for a visit and his sleep got all out of whack again. It seems like we're starting to get back into the routine again, last night he slept until 3:30am and then until 6:30, so pretty good. I keep having these panic attacks of what in the world will I do with 2 of them?!?!!? But I have to keep reminding myself that His grace is sufficient...I will get through, and hopefully Aaron will be past this super fussy stage and will be just a bit more independent in a couple of months.

I don't have any updates on my pregnancy...I haven't been to the doctor in a while...I go on Thursday for a check up, but other than making me take the gestational diabetes test, I don't think they're going to do anything really exciting. I'm actually thinking about switching doctors because Jeremy really wants me to deliver close by instead of having to drive an hour in traffic to Berkeley. That really sounds good to me too...I really don't want to have to be stuck in traffic, not to mention that I want my children close by so they can come visit me!! I'm 26 weeks along, little Lilah is wiggling a lot, especially when I give Aaron a's pretty cute to sit there and feel my two babies.

As for our home...with an 8 month old all over the place, it is both extremely difficult to keep things clean, and extremely necessary! I know I may be crazy to hope that Aaron has kinda gotten over his "put EVERYTHING in my mouth" stage...he was actually outside on the grass the other day and did NOT eat anything!! Yay!! It is still necessary to make sure all choking hazards are picked up and everything stays mostly clean. Yet my time is very limited due to having an 8 month old who is happy one second and needy the next. I was thinking the other day, "Hmmm, it's strange how I can find time for facebook, but I don't have time to do alot of the other things I'd like to do" when it dawned on me...facebook doesn't take much time or brain power. I can log on, read a few little blurbs, reply and move on with my day...other things require a lot more planning, time and brain power. Like right now, I'm in the process of creating master shopping lists that go along with my master menu so that I can go grocery shopping LESS and have everything prepared for meals and not have to think about what I'm going to make. It requires a lot of thought and planning and TIME though! The only time I have TIME is at the end of the day, when I'm tired and so ready for bed...and I have very little brain power.

Sooo...I've decided that I'm going to take a Coast Guard-esque approach to training my children. Actually, think Coast Guard + Boy Scouts. There are a few household skills I want my children trained in before I have this baby, namely: laundry, dishwasher loading and unloading, setting/clearing the table and cleaning the floor after a meal, vacuuming, etc. The things that need to be done and I sometimes can't get to due to taking care of a baby. I want to be able to say, "Sweet heart, can you please go start a load of laundry?" Or, "Would you please switch the load over to the dryer?" and know that my child will be able to do what I need correctly. My children really have minimal work to do around the house and as they get older, I not only want them to have MORE responsibility, but also I NEED them to help alleviate my work load so that we can all have more time together. So I'm going to organize this task much like one would go about getting their "Practical Skills" signed off in order to earn a badge. actually has badges that you can buy that they can put on their "uniform" or apron or whatever, I think that could be a lot of fun! Sooo, in all my spare time, I'm hoping to design a home economics course of sorts to use with my children. I'm also hoping to develop a nature study curriculum specific to what I want my children to learn--namely PRACTICAL skills and PRACTICAL knowledge. It's all fine and dandy knowing astronomy and chemistry, but if it doesn't apply to REAL life (like how does baking soda work and how does it differ from baking powder), what does it matter??? I know they're going to need all of that one of these days, but right now, I want them to know stuff that MATTERS, stuff that they will USE. is going on around me...even though my big kids are not awake yet (at 8am) and I must get moving for the day. I'm still working on my organization mission and am coming along--VERY slowly, but surely.