Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad y Propspero Año

Merry Christmas from us to you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

5 Ingredients or Less

I've decided to give myself a food challenge. And what better way to keep me accountable than to blog about it?

It's a five ingredients or less challenge, for six months I will not buy anything that has more than five ingredients in it. I've mentioned my plan to a few people and have gotten a wide range of responses. Some people thinks it's awesome. Some people think I should probably be committed. There is a method to my madness though. I have food allergies, and luckily for me high fructose corn syrup is one of my allergies. I'm sure that even if you haven't seen the commercials promoting high fructose corn syrup, you know that it is put in seemingly, everything from bread to jam, spaghetti sauce to juices it is everywhere.

I'm not always successful at avoiding it. Sometimes a product changes their ingredients and I don't realize it until after the fact. I do read labels, but naively, I tend to think manufactures will not change their formulas.

I chose to go with five ingredients, so that I can still fuel my hot sauce addiction. I cannot imagine life without Tabasco sauce. The five ingredients limit also gives me a little leeway in buying a few ready to eat foods... Not many, but a few. I'm excited at the prospect of making my own sauces and breads.

Six months is my starting goal. I know that when Sweet Husband returns home, he'll want to go visit all of his favorite eating places, and I would like to go with him. Hopefully by the time he returns I'll have mastered bread and he'll look in disdain at conventional bread.... Hey, a girl can dream!

Of course, there are a few limitations. When traveling the five ingredient limit does not stand. I try to take bring travel foods along when we travel, but I've had better success in theory rather than practice so far. Return trips are the worst.

So watch out 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Box to Far Away

Sweet husband requested sheets and a pillow for Christmas.

How could I say to "no" to such a simple request? So the boys and I went shopping. We started with sheets. Alex found a set of High School Musical sheets.
"Mama, don't you think papa would like these sheets?"
I bit back a smile. I could almost picture Sweet husband's face opening a package f High School Musical sheets.
"Those are nice sheets. But papa really wants cotton sheets and those aren't cotton." Sweet husband could thank me later.
Alex put the sheets back. "Oh. How about these? Are they cotton?" he held up a package of Tinkerbell sheets.
"Not enough. Papa likes all cotton sheets."
"Oh here's Mickey Mouse! ....And some princesses..."
"Oh these one's are good." I held up a set of cream colored jersey sheets.
Alex looked at me expectantly "There's nothing on them..." he said hesitantly "Are you sure they're cotton?"

Then came the pillow. Alex tested each of them, before settling on a sweetly stripped damask pillow. Then his eyes fell on a solid red rectangle of fluff.
"Mama," he said reverently "it's a red pillow"
"Mmm-hmm," I grunted as I pushed aside a mountain of pillows in from me.
"What does the tag say?" he whispered.
I glanced over absently "It says "Allergy relief"."
Alex's eyes lit up. "Mama, I have allergies."
I raised an eyebrow "That's right."
Alex smiled sweetly, a halo appeared above his head and doves began singing.
"Mama, may I have a red allergy relief pillow?"

Now sheets and a pillow sound harmless enough. Wrap them up, throw them in a box and ship them out, right? Ha! I laugh at the idea of something so simple. First I had to wash the items, and of course, once laundered they grew bigger and puffier. Armed with a few bags, some packaging tape, the vacuum cleaner, and my own personal cheering/crying section (named Spain, for any of you who might be wondering), I attacked the fluffy pile of bedding. I spent more time than I care to admit (hours) folding, refolding, twisting, turning- essentially creating bedding origami. All so I could close the box enough to tape it closed. 25 yards of tape later, I had a box that slightly rocked when touched and was completely waterproof.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

There is one thing I never heard about before Sweet Husband deployed. It creeps upon you subtly. One day you're paying little attention to the clock as you run errands, and the next, you don't leave your house until you are sure your spouse is asleep or at work. It's taken me longer to adjust my schedule for Spain's napping habits (which always seem to change at this point), than it did for me to realize that I was always by the computer twice a day. Unfortunately for me, one of those times is past my bedtime.

The phone never seems to be more than a few inches away from my hands... Unless of course it rings. The law of the universe says that the more important the phone call, the harder it is to find my phone. If it's a telemarketer or appointment reminder the phone will be in my hand. If it's friends or family, the phone will be under a bed, or left on a dresser in another room. If it's Sweet Husband the phone will be in the refrigerator or hidden in the bowels of the couch.

And once in church. Our church family is amazing! I am just blown away by how thoughtful and caring our church family is. Sweet Husband called as our church service was starting one Sunday, One dear lady took Spain to the nursery for me, while one wonderful family kept an eye on Alex for me while I stood outside and talked with Sweet Husband. In just a few minutes I became completely refreshed from and exhausting, horrible week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Room for Rent

Alex was recently introduced to the world of Pokemon, which brings an extra layer of joy to my life, as I can't even type "Pokemon" without rolling my eyes.
Recently we traveled across the Earth to visit friends and family, and all the while Alex would randomly ask "When we get home can I watch Pokemon?"
We got home two hours after bedtime. I marched the boys inside and ordered Alex to bed.
"You mean I can't watch Pokemon now?" Alex wailed
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Alex, you have to go bed. You are not watching anything tonight."
Sullenly he obliged.

Imagine my surprise to be woken up the boy begging to watch Pokemon. "Alex, you may not watch Pokemon today. I'm not sure it's completely appropriate for you to watch."

If life were a cartoon, a thunder cloud would have appeared over Alex's head. He glowered at me for a moment, then stomped out of my bedroom. He poked his head back in and announced that he was moving out.

"Where will you go?" I asked, desperately wishing I was not the only parent on duty at the moment.
"I'll buy a house. And live in it by myself!" He huffed.
"Oh. Okay..... How will you get there?"
He pondered this for a moment before answering "I'll have someone drive me."
I nodded thoughtfully. "I'll miss you. You are my favorite Alex."
Alex harrumphed.
"Spain will miss you too. You're his favorite brother".
Alex slammed my bedroom door in response.

I mentally waved good-bye to the idea of sleeping in and crawled out of bed. A few minutes later I was in the kitchen starting on breakfast when Alex reappeared.
"I'm going to have someone drive me to look at houses. Then I'll move out on my own. Without you. AND I'll buy phone that doesn't work so you can't call me. You won't be able to find me."
I nodded thoughtfully "I understand. I will miss you a lot."
He darted off as I called after him "I will still love you Alex!"

When I called him to the table for breakfast he trudged slowly and sadly to his seat. A lone tear trickled down his cheek. "I just don't like it when people laugh at me" he sniffed.
"Who laughed at you sweetie?" More than a little bewildered by this turn of events.
"People just laugh at my jokes, and I don't like it!" he sobbed.
I hugged him close, biting back a smile.
"Sweetie, jokes are things that people say to make others laugh. If you don't want people to laugh at your jokes, don't tell them any jokes."
"I just don't like it!" Alex wailed.

Naively I thought Alex had moved passed his desire to move out. As soon as he finished eating, Alex pulled a suitcase out of my closet. He opened it on the living room floor and began to bring armfuls of clothing from his room and dump it into his suitcase. He folded up the dividers that were in his drawers and stuffed them into his suitcase as well. The entire time he worked he sang a song.

"I'm going to move out.
I'm going to move out.
I'm going to move out.
I'm just going to move out"

I typed a quick note to Sweet Husband to update him on the situation, while Alex was packing. "Did you get your toothbrush?" I asked, trying to be helpful.
Alex turned his glare onto me "Yes. I'm also taking my toothpaste.

A few minutes later Alex found me as I was nursing Spain. Exhaustion rimmed his eyes and he looked ready to weep at the drop of a wrong word. He crawled onto the couch next to me. "I'll wait until after we go to Oma's house to move out."
I smiled and dropped a kiss on his forehead.

He left his suitcase packed in case he changes his mind though.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's the little things. Literally

I know. I've been quiet on the blog front. I apologize. I have a decent excuse, I'm just not ready to share it with you quite yet. It's a post in the making.
When you have children you know that situations are going to arise that are unpleasant, unbelievable, and uncouth. It comes with the territory, and even though we know we should expect such things, they always come as a surprise.

When Alex lost his first two teeth, he convinced me to let him keep them in a small clear plastic container by his bed so he could look at them. I'll admit, it's a little odd for me, but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a deal. The stipulation was that the teeth were for looking at only. Not playing with or touching. This worked wonderfully for several months, then one day as I was folding laundry in the living room, Alex rushed in.
"Mama, my teeth are gone."
"I know sweetie. Remember what we talked about. That's what happens. Your baby teeth fall out so the big ones can grow"
"I know that. I mean my baby teeth are gone."
"You lost more teeth?"
"Yes the ones that fell out. I lost them."
"That's what is supposed to happen."
"No. Mama. My teeth in the container are missing. I don't know where they are."

Just when I start to assume the conversation is destined to be redundant, he throws a curve ball.

We powered through the rest of the day. The teeth long forgotten in the abyss that my mind has become. Alex finally went to bed. Spain finally went to sleep, and I decided to do a quick power sweep through the house before I went to bed. I got to Alex's room, and suddenly I remembered the teeth.

That is how I found myself kneeling on the floor is Alex's bedroom sifting through a pile of debris I had swept up. Dog hair, paper bits and ....was that popcorn? When was the last time we had popcorn? Believe it or not many things can look like baby teeth on the floor. And several of them I could not identify. *insert shudder*
I found one tooth easily, and then I found what I assumed was the other tooth. It looked like a piece had broken off of it, making it harder to identify. I went through the pile again, before reaching the conclusion that the unidentifiable object in my mind was tooth like, and so was probably the missing tooth. It joined the first tooth in it's plastic prison.
I scrubbed my hands and arms like I was prepping for surgery. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I had touched teeth, or that I had sifted through dirt and touched a lot of questionable items that my skin crawling.

After I was clean, I poured myself my into bed.

Then I remembered that he had lost two front teeth. I had found a front tooth and a "molar".

Oh Lord.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Secret Life

Have you ever wondered what it must be like to live on a military installation?
I mean all the guards, the gates, the credential flashing. It's right up there with living at Buckingham Palace or the White House, right?

Allow me to share with you an email I received one morning from our housing office.

Dear Residents,

Please take a look at the attached photo and be on the lookout for the
individual pictured. He is an escapee from a Transitional Facility in
Wyoming and is believed to still be on our Military Installation after running
the gate last night. Please contact the Military Installation police
Department with any information


I've been pondering several questions regarding this turn of events.

1)Assuming they didn't leave a word out of our mass email, why was an escapee running our gate? Was he in charge of the schedule? Was he masquerading as a guard? Or perhaps he offered to fill in for someone who called in sick.
I can almost picture the scenario:

Real Guard: "I'm really hungry. I'm going to ask the next person I see to cover my shift for half an hour so that I can eat."
Escapee: "Eh, I've got nothing better to do right now. Could you bring me a sweet tea?"

2) Our Military Installation is NO WHERE near Wyoming. Why come here?
Geographically, I could think of several other places to go. However, I don't want to imply that fleeing the country from THE LAW is a good thing.

And most importantly,
3) If I was an escapee, I don't think a military installation is where I would head.
Ben&Jerry's-Yes. Springfield-Yes. Military Land-No. It just does not compute for me.
You have to use a military ID for everything on post. Except bowling... I wonder if the escapee in question was a bowler?

I received a follow-up email shortly after the first one, letting everyone know the guy was apprehended. Unfortunately there were no contact details in the second email, so my questions will be left unanswered.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A musketeer and a sheriff Joe

The best part of Halloween is dressing up.

We are currently reading "The Three Musketeers", which came about after Alex decided he wanted to be a musketeer for Halloween. When asked which musketeer he was, he answered "Just a red one".

Sorry, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. He'd rather be a generic musketeer.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Potty Talk

WARNING: The following contains graphic material and may not be suitable for everyone. Read at your own risk.

We had just returned from our camping trip, and My dear friend Mrs X had stopped by to visit. Alex was running around like a crazy person, Spain was fighting an impeding nap, and I was just glad to be out of the car.
Mrs X and I were sitting on the couch talking, Alex had disappeared And Spain needed a diaper change. Suddenly we hear a frail "Mama" wobble from the hallway. The cry became frantic "MAMA! MAMA! IT WON"T STOP!!". The hallway was empty when I peeked around the corner, the commotion was coming from the bathroom. I rushed to the bathroom and my soul withered. Alex was standing next the bathtub hopping around the floor on small dry islands, as the toilet spilled over. Water rushed into the hallway as I took in the scene.

My brain suddenly acknowledged what was happening. I raced back to the living room and handed Spain to Mrs. X. I darted to the dining room table where my phone was innocently resting by a collection of our mail. Without stopping, I grabbed the phone and raced back to the bathroom. Water was taking over the entire bathroom and a nice expanse of the hallway. With one foot I leaped onto the Go Diego! Go! stool that I seriously doubted could support my weight, and the other foot I braced on the top of the toilet tank. I simultaneously leaned over the toilet to grab the plunger from the corner, scrolled through the contacts list on my phone to find the maintenance number, and prayed fervently for the toilet, for me to not fall into the toilet, and for the rapture to happen that very moment.

My hand wrapped around the handle of the plunger as I hit the send button on my cell phone. In my precarious perch, I nestled the phone against my shoulder, adjusted my footing, and plunged the plunger into the abyss. The toilet gurgled and the water immediately started retreating down the drain. As the water disappeared the perky lady on the phone.
I calculated the odds that they would come clean the mess up for me.
"Thanks, I think I resolved the issue myself." I absently said into the phone.

I'm not going to go into detail about the clean up. Let's just say, clean up took awhile and I was very very grateful to have a bottle of bleach on hand. As I found each hidden nook of dirty water, I muttered "I quit" under by breath. Just as I finished mopping the bathroom floor, the front door opened and Sweet Husband came in.
"I'm home" he singsonged happily.
"Really?!" I wailed "You couldn't have come home 20 minutes ago, when the toilet exploded?! I can't believe this! I quit! I'm done! I can't handle this!"

Sweet husband cautiously grabbed the leash from it's place behind the door.
"I'm going to take the dog out" he called as he and the dog darted out the door.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A photo-less post about photos

Alex is constantly trying to sneak off with my camera to take pictures. Sweet Husband came to my rescue by acquiring an older digital camera for Alex. Like magic, my camera lost appeal.

Mission Accomplished.

Unfortunately, I didn't foresee the problems of giving him free access with a camera. After three days with his new camera, Alex had already taken 786 photos and gone through two sets of batteries. Most of these photos involve me looking .... Less than human. Contrary to whatever Alex believes, I do not need documentation of how I look in the morning right after I wake up. I don't need documentation of how dangerous my laundry room has become or the current state of my closet.
I prefer to airbrush my memories instead of keeping photographic evidence.

Oh but it doesn't end there.
Alex discovered that his camera takes video as well.

Apparently he likes documentary style videos. He sets the camera on record and trains it on me as I go about my daily tasks. He's recorded everything from me talking on the phone with my brother to me drowning in laundry. Somehow, the laws of universe dictate that the worse I feel the more he records.
Last week I was nursing the "ICK". My head was floating two feet above my body, and I couldn't summon the energy to do anything other than lay on the couch with glossed over eyes.

"Alex please don't record me."
"Okay" he absently agrees.
"Are you still recording?"

I don't want to demand that he stop. He'll have evidence that I stifled his creativity!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pajamas and Hips

When Sweet Husband and I were first married, I introduced him to the cottony bliss of men's flannel pajama bottoms. Over the years, my stash of men's flannel pajama bottoms has dispelled and his stash has sprung up. Much to his chagrin, occasionally, I'll borrow a pair of his pajama bottoms when my sleep shorts are MIA.

The two of us were up late on night folding laundry and discussing an upcoming deployment.
"While I'm gone" he started, "...If you want to, you can wear my-"
My heart started speeding up and my insides were starting to feel warm fuzzy.
"My PT shirts." he finished.
Warm fuzzies fled. PT shirts have a course gritty feel to them, definitely in contrast to the soft cottony cloud of flannel pajama pants.
"Your PT shirts?" I repeated woodenly. "Really? I thought you were going to say 'pajama bottoms'. You almost made me melt."
"Well, I'd let you wear my pajamas, but I'm afraid you would stretch them out."
I blinked in surprise. Warm fuzzies sought refuge in Bulgaria.
Genuinely confused, I asked the question that begged asking "How would I stretch them out?"
"Well the red one's are a little tight on me, And well, it's just that your hips are so much wider than mine."
I stared at the love of my life in dumbfounded amazement.
"My hips are not wider than yours." I told him in righteous indignation.
He looked at me skeptically "Are you sure?"


Would you believe it, even after we established my hips are smaller than his, he still didn't offer me the use of his pajama bottoms. *sad face*

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A lot can happen in 72 weeks

When this picture was taken I was about 7 weeks pregnant with Spain.

This was taken the day Spain was born. It's 4 am in this picture.

Spain was born at 36 gestation, this is Spain and I now, at 36 weeks post-partum.

Yup, a lot can happen in 72 weeks.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A fish?

Alex slipped a note to sweet husband that read "can i ge[t] fish". With his hands clasped to his chest, he shared with sweet husband how he desperately wants a pet fish to call his own. "...I'll feed it two times a day, in the morning and at night. Please!" With this last plea, he raised his clasped hands to his chin, earnestly looking at Sweet husband with his big brown eyes.

Sweet husband melted.

I came into the room a few minutes later. Sweet husband handed me the note Alex had left and tried to appear nonchalant. My spidey-senses tingled. Sweet husband had that twinkle in his eye that told me he was already trying to decide between a fresh water fish tank or a salt water fish tank.

"Um... Fish are a big responsibility." I said.

Sweet husband nodded "Alex said he was ready for it. I told him I would talk to you."

"Oh. Okay. He tends to forget to feed Matrim and Ginge, fish aren't as vocal when their hungry."

Sweet husband nodded slowly, the fish-fever slowly fading from his eyes.

"Maybe in a few months. IF he can keep up with feeding the animals we do have."

Sweet husband gave a satisfied nod. "I think that works."

The next morning Alex came into the living room with his fish note. "Mama, I'm ready for a fish."
I sat down on the couch, and pulled Alex toward me. "Sweetie, I know you think you're ready for a fish. Fish are a big responsibility though."

Alex cut me off "I'm ready! I really am!"

"Alex, you're going to have to show us that you're ready for a big responsibility like fish. You need feed Matrim and Ginge, every day. And do school. When you do these, you're getting ready for bigger responsibilities.... like fish."

Alex glared at me. "I hate school. I hate this day. I am ready for fish!!"

"Alex," I said slowly "Have you fed Matrim and Ginge today?"

Alex's glare softened "Not yet..." he inched backward.

I raised an eyebrow. He spun around and raced down the hall where the food dishes lay. "I'm feeding them now mama. See? Do you see me? Mama, can you see me? I can feed them! Now am I ready for a fish?"

I decided to go back to bed. Sweet husband can take over Fish Talk 2011.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gone fishing

Spain isn't the only one in our household charging forward to grow up.
We took the boys camping this past weekend. The last time we went camping, Alex was a year and half old. Alex was completely captivated by camping. Almost as soon as the tent was up, he was "ready for some shut eye", just so he could stay in the tent.
By dawn the next morning he was ready to go fishing.

Alex was crushed when he found out we had to go home. "I just wanted to stay for a week" he sobbed before he fell asleep in his carseat.

When the teething gets tough...

The Theether gets decked out in amber.

To mark the day he turned eight months old, Spain's first tooth pushed through his gums. That's right. A small sharp  tooth is now marring the pristine smoothness of my son's bottom left gum line.

To combat the nastiness that accompanied this developement, Spain has been rocking multiple pieces of amber jewelry. Thank goodness for amber!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baby's first soccer experience

Spain witnessed his first real-life soccer game this past weekend.
There was a lot of running and kicking.

Some public displays of excitement.

The overall opinion?

Spain LOVED it.
It only makes sense, the poor baby was named after the 2010 FIFA Champions.

Oh, and number 12 was definitely his favorite player.


"Look Mama!! I have ears like yours!"

The Peanut Gallery

Let me introduce you to my very own Peanut Gallery.

We have Spain, munching on his fist, and ignoring the dancing lion dangling in front of front him.
Alex is next, rocking the pirate monkey pajamas. And of course, our dog Matrim (a.k.a Attila the Hound).
Their favorite activity is supervising my cleaning endeavors, and heckling at the appropriate times.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To act or react, that is the question.

Lately I've been feeling convicted about my parenting. Not convicted like "My-children-are-going-to-unable-to-love-and-will-have-to-spend-years-in-therapy-to-break-the-cycle-of-dysfunction-that-I-have-scarred-them-with. On-the-other-hand-I-hear-prisons-are-nicer-now-more-like-a-boarding-school-than-a-correctional-facility-so-it-it-all-bad?", but a conviction about how I react.

My mom used to say "Act, don't react", to which I would roll my eyes and stomp off, because she clearly did not "get it". Ten years later I finding myself muttering "act, don't react". A perfect example happened as I sat down to work on this entry. Alex was starting on his homework with a pen in his hand.
"Alex, you have to use a pencil. You may not use a pen for your homework."
"That's okay. I'll use my pen."
"Alex, I said you need a pencil."
"I said a pen is fine."

Don't react. Don't react I whisper to myself.

Situations like these pop up every day. Sometimes he just doesn't understand what I want from him, and other times he's trying to find out where the boundaries are. But everytime, I get to make the decision to act or react, and however I decide to act will shape the way he will act later.

On the way home today, we witnessed a hit-and-run at a stop light blocks from our house. A motorcyclist was having issues with his motorcycle, as he was wheeling it off the road, the driver behind him decided to shoulder past. We watched as the sedan hit the motorcycle and then sped off.*
I couldn't help but wonder if the driver's parents exhibited signs of road rage. Did they inadvertently teach their son impatience? I am in no way blaming this man's actions on his parents. I fully believe that as an adult, he is responsible for his own actions. Did he act on his own or did he react to his impatience?
My parents are cautious drivers. I can't recall them exhibiting road rage. But, sometimes I struggle with road rage. A fact I didn't even realize until someone in the backseat piped up one day and said "Dude, it's green!!"
While I am grateful he wasn't calling out obsenities and flipping other drivers off, I am embarrassed that my lack of regard for other people has started to rub off on him.

*We were able to get the license plate number and reported the incident. Sweet husband stayed with the motorcyclist until after the police and paramedics came. He was taken to the hospital for some injuries to his knee and back.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something about the best laid plans.

We were inspired to start having a semi-formal sit down family dinner once a week. The plan is to have at least two courses and a dessert. No tv, no background music. The first week went smoothly. Dinner was delicious. Dessert was delicious. There was practically an ethereal glow surrounding the whole affair. The next week Sweet Husband was called away. Alex, Spain and I carried on, but the empty place at the table yelled at us the entire time, reminding us that we weren't complete. Then there was last night.

To make up for last week’s sad attempt at Family Dinner night, I planned on dinner AND a game. While I rushed around getting things ready for dinner, Alex sat in the couch and fell asleep. Napping is a highly unusual activity for Alex, but considering the busyness of our weekend I wasn’t too surprised to see him sleeping. What surprised me was burning my lips an hour later when I kissed his forehead.
Sweet husband came home, and moved Alex to our bed, where he slept for an hour before waking up. He stumbled into the living room and snuggled up next to Sweet Husband. The next hour was spent trying to cajole Alex into drinking or eating a little something.

Fast-forward another hour. Sweet husband had made a bed for Alex on the floor in our bedroom. Alex was sleeping, Sweet husband was sleeping. Spain was marathon nursing. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was already half asleep.
Then Alex woke me up at midnight… And again at 12:30. Our dog started whining because Alex was in his spot. Spain woke up and loudly announced that he was starving. Our cat started racing from one side of our bed to the other. Sweet husband, was somehow completely undisturbed by the midnight circus.
I got Spain back to sleep, then snuggled next to Alex until he went to sleep. The next step was evicting the cat and dog. The cat was unperturbed by being shut out of the room, but the dog was deeply wounded. The emotional wounds cut deep. If he had opposable thumbs he would have put on sackcloth and ashes. Instead he had to settle for verbalizing his despair. I went back to bed, trying to ignore the wailing from the dog. At this point Spain realized listening to other creatures lamenting made him hungry, while we nursed, Sweet husband got up let the dog in, who in turn woke Alex up, who wanted to discuss life’s mysteries with me.

Sweet husband did re-exile the dog, and I got to switch from the floor to my bed a few more times, before the night ended. Yes, there was more serenading from the dog.

Tonight I have dibs on the couch.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metamorphosis in Seven Pictures

Six Years ago my world completely changed. My precious blessing Alex suprised us with his grand entrance. Six years ago I was scarred spitless at the realization that I had to grow up fast.

His first birthday was truly a time of celebration. A celebration of life and love. From a terrifying hospital stay to a roly-poly happy baby. We've gotten to watch his bloom into the young man he is today, and I know he's not finished yet.
Each year his personality has become more intricate and fascinating. We've seen him discover a favorite color. Taste delicious food. Find excitement in places that we've ignored.
Alex is ready to test out his independence. He knows where he is going and how he is going to get there. As far as he's concerned Sweet Husband and I are only along for the ride.









Sunday, August 7, 2011

We're going to the garden and we're goin' get dirty!

Lately we’ve been on a food hunt. We’ve really enjoyed visiting pick-your-own farms in our area, and picking our own fresh fruits. We decided to venture a little further out and we found a peach orchard with the most amazing peaches. We came home with a bushel and a half, and probably ate half a bushel while picking.

Not having internet has spurned me into new depths of pioneer-dom. I’ve gone back to my roots and started canning. I won’t lie, I slightly puffed with pride at the idea that I have stocked our pantry with enough jam to give us plenty of PB&J choices for the next year… Or at least 6 months.
Bonus points to me, as most of them are sugar-free jams. We have:

Agave peach Jam
Agave Cherry Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb jam
Strawberry jam
Agave Cherry-peach jam
Peach jam

When I got bored with jam I ventured into pickles chutneys and syrups. Oh, and an enormous amount of pasta sauce. I can almost smell a self-challenge coming on.

I have to admit. I really surprised myself.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today I became fully qualified to start a new blog; Things I’ve melted in the oven.

The latest victim: A bottle of vitamin C tablets

Sadly, I did check the oven before I turned it on. Somehow I missed the plastic bottle tucked in the corner, until the smell of lid liquefying over the oven racks alerted me.

Note to self: Stop storing things in the oven.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our area was blessed with a "freak snowstorm" in February. The light dusting of snow that graced our vehicles was enough to send some people into a frantic panicked state. Alex had been praying for snow for over a year, so my sweet husband bundled the boy up and took him outside to try and collect enough snow to make a snowball. I snuggled into the papasan chair with a still very new baby.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that we realized the true implications of our "freak snowstorm". For the first time ever, I had planted my garden according to the timeframe printed on the back of the seed envelopes. I had spent several hours on my hands and knees digging and planting and all that other crazy stuff, while heavily pregnant. I felt a little closer to June Cleaver. During our cold snap, my little garden, which had begun to sprout, held on for dear life. Three weeks after the snow dusting came, we knew it was over. One small radish plant was the sole survivor.
Unfortunately, our radish suffered from PTSD, and was prone to horrific flashbacks of that fateful day. No amount of therapy seemed help. The final straw was when rogue sweet potatoes from last year's garden, pushed their leafy green sprouts through the soil. The lone radish, overcome with the unfairness of these events gave up the ghost.

Our garden this year, now consists of a bell pepper plant, mint and a lot of sweet potato foliage. Of course this is the year Alex has delevoped a burning curiosity about where our food comes from and how it is grown. We took him strawberry picking at a small hydroponic farm in a neighboring town.

It was love at first bite.

For all of us. We ended up leaving the farm with strawberries, tomatoes and basil. Oh, and plans to go back again!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day three (written last week)

Today has revolved around teeth. The boys and I started the morning by packing up, diapers, books, bouncy seat and borrowed GPS and setting out on a epic journey to find a specific dental clinic. The military likes to keep people on their toes, instead of addresses, they prefer building numbers, and no, the numbers are not sequential. Since I was venturing into a completely foreign area, I halfway expected to get lost. I was armed with a GPS, and directions to the clinic from one of the staff members, so I hoped my paranoia would be just that.

I made it within two blocks of the clinic before getting lost.
I drove up and down the stretch of road, searching for some clue as to where I was. before I broke down and called the clinic for a little help.

“I’m pretty sure I’m completely lost.”

“Are you on the bowling alley side?”

“I passed a bowling alley when I came in.”

“And you see a McDonalds?”

“Well, it’s behind me. It’s off base on the other side of the gate.”

“Where are you now? Do you see any landmarks?”

“I’m at the corner Dentalclinic Ave and Thatplace RD. There’s a big water tower.”

“A Water tower? Where’s the water tower?”

“It’s to my right, and there are planes to my left.”

“You see airplanes?!

“Yes… Err… or probably jets. They fly in the sky. They’re all over the place! ”

“…. *talking in background* Is there anything else? Signs? Flags?”

“Okay, there’s a sign for the Airman museum.”

“Does it say “Special forces”?”

“It says “airman”. Okay I’m at the fire station on Imsolost blvd and Whathaveigotteninto Dr.”

“...We have a fire station?”

At this point I had a minor meltdown and started describing everything around in vivid detail. Thankfully something finally clicked.

“Okay, go left on Dentalclinic Ave”

”Going left… Okay I’m coming up to the museum sign again.”

“Does it say special forces?”

“… It still says “airman”.”

“What the-”

At this point I was driving past the building with the museum sign in front of it, and beheld the most wonderful sight. “J.D Dental Clinic” written in a small nook over the front door.

“DENTAL CLINC!!!!!” I screeched into my helper’s ear. “I found it!”

“Oh good.” Came the reply “I still have no idea where you were.”

Later that night, I was feeding Spain on the couch, when Alex emerged from the bathroom where he had been brushing his teeth in preparation for bed.


“Yes, bug?”

“I lost my tooth. It just came out.”

Alex’s first tooth (again).
I’d been preparing myself for this, since last month when our family dentist mentioned that Alex had a loose tooth. I just thought I had a little more time to prepare. But here we are. Alex is losing teeth, Spain is getting teeth. I have two sons teething at the same time.

“Mama, I’m just so proud of myself!” Alex confided to me, as I hugged him close.

“Sweetie, I’m so proud of you too!”

July 26, 2011

I’ll be honest, I don’t want to write about what has been happening this week. Sweet husband is on a mandatory “camping trip” for the entire work week, leaving me to be sole dictator of our home *insert evil laugh* and children. Monday we piled the boys into the car at 4 am to drop sweet husband off at work. Thankfully they slept through it. Kind of.
Usually Alex will wake up, talk through the entire drive, both to and fro, and insist as soon as we pull into the driveway that he is “done sleeping”. This time there was minimal talking and he fell back to sleep almost as soon as I laid him on the bed.

Four hours later, I awoke to a *thump* “AAAAAHHHHHHHH”. With lightening speed I bolted out of bed and raced down the hallway toward the sound. Alex stood in the middle of our kitchen, balancing on one foot, covered in orange soda, wailing “MY TOE! IT HIT MY TOE!”.
I mopped the soda off of his face and extremities, pulled his saturated shirt off, and sent him to change while I finished cleaning up the mess. We had had a game day the day before, playing board games and drinking a rare treat of natural sodas. In our haste to get back to the game, we put the cans on the counter to deal with later and then forgot.

Today seemed so much smoother. Spain was cooing happily while I prepared breakfast for Alex and Myself. On cue, as soon as I set my plate on the table, Spain realized he was also hungry starving to death. I decided to multi-task. I brought Spain to the table with me thinking he could nurse, I could eat. Win-win. I grabbed a bottle of hot sauce and started to shake it. The cap flew off. Green sauce splattered everywhere, and Spain began to scream. Panic does not begin to describe the icy fingers that frantically stopped my heart. I hauled Spain into the bathroom as fast I could. A blob of green hot sauce sat on the bridge of his nose, right in between his eyes. Please, God” I prayed “not in his eyes. Please let it have missed his eyes.” I rinsed his face off, then began to wash his face with calendula soap, while searching my brain for some idea of what would help the burning. “Vinegar” a soft voice whispered to me.

EUREKA! I grabbed a cotton ball, and poured vinegar onto it, Spain squirmed while I wiped the wet cotton across his face. He closed his eyes and I could see the angry red splotches from where the hot sauce hit him. His eyes had been closed. All during this Spain kept trying to spit. I knew some had gotten into his mouth, and judging from the reaction he wasn’t a fan. Go figure. I had to get him to nurse, but he kept resisting. Finally I tucked him into my bed, I laid down next to him and offered him a breast. He latched on, and in moments stopped writhing. Slowly, he fell asleep. While he slept, I gently wiped another cotton ball saturated with vinegar across his face.

Ten minutes later he woke up. There were no angry red marks anywhere on his face. His face broke into a gigantic grin the moment he saw me. My heart finally started beating again.

Thank you Lord!

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 uses for oil

When my sweet husband came home on R&R during his last deployment, I was so overcome with excitement, endorphins and hormones, that when he bought a deep fryer I didn’t protest. In fact, it wasn’t until several months after he returned for good that I started questioning my sanity regarding the deep fryer.

The novelty of being able to eat French fries again wore off the first time I tried to deep clean this monster. Let’s face it, old cooked on oil is one of the most miserable substances to clean off of things. When faced with an appliance covered in this goo, my first thought was to throw it out and start anew. Unfortunately, the pesky thrifty do-gooder in me came out, so I scrubbed.

And soaked

And scrubbed.

And soaked.

And scrubbed.

After hours of scrubbing and soaking and asking everyone else I knew with a deep fryer what their cleaning tips were. I declared the fryer “clean enough” and hid it in the back of a rarely used cabinet.

A year later, we pulled it out of it’s dark corner, filled it up with oil and proceeded to feast on deep fried ethnic food. Deliciousness. Once again the novelty of the fryer blinded me to the hidden evils. I realized the error of my ways, as I stood in front of the fryer, nervously eyeing my fingernails. It can smell fear I reminded myself. Stay calm. I glanced around the kitchen nervously, and a chorus of angels sang loudly as my eyes fell on a bottle of oil surrounded by a halo of light.

OIL DESOLVES OIL echoed through my head. Of course! The OCM method*! It was worth a shot. The worst that could happen was it didn’t work and I would be back where I started. I uncapped the oil and pulled some paper towels out of my secret stash. Methodically I rubbed new oil on to the oil, rinsed with hot water and repeated as necessary. 10 minutes later the oil holding canister for the fryer was squeaky clean. Amazing!

Oil cleansing method of skin care

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Our internet is suffering a slow and painful (for me anyway) death. When we moved into our house, we had a delay of several weeks before we were “online”. Some of the wiring outside the house had started to decay, and made it virtually impossible to use. I never questioned what had been done about the wiring once the problem was resolved. I was too elated from the novelty of being able to Google again.

But then a few months ago, we noticed our connection getting slower and slower. It got to the point where the connection would cut out completely. I kept threatening my DSL modem that I was going to start shopping for a new internet provider, and in retaliation the DSL modem would start flashing red. Leaving me Google-less.

Finally after hours (literally) of sitting in front of the DSL modem, and waiting for four magical lights to change green long enough for me to hack into my AT&T account, I got the information I needed for tech support. After doing whatever it is they do, to check my connection they promised to send a tech out. Our tech had bad news for us. The wiring outside had given up. It was dead. Completely dead. He switched over to a secondary line to await the permanent fix, and warned us that the secondary line was only in slightly better connection than the first.

So, here we are. Waiting for the red tape to get taken care of, so that AT&T can tunnel across the street from our abode to replace the wiring. Our modem senses our desperation and toys with our hearts. We’ll have four solid green lines while the computer is off, and as soon as it’s booted up they switch to flashing red.

At the risk of sounding like a junkie, I’ll confess that I miss the internet. I’m at a loss without the world wide web delivering my “hippy” products directly to my door.

Three easy steps to becoming "crunchy"

Step one:
Take your shoes off whenever possible. Embrace being barefooted. If shoes are required, choose the least amount of shoe that is still appropriate for the environment. In other words, for grocery shopping choose flip-flops over sneakers.

Step two:
Adopt a cause. Here the choices abound. You can choose the classic “boycott a large corporation/conglomerate” or a public education crusade or even challenge the way society views something as “normal”. Whatever you choose, your cause should be something that is dear to your heart, something that you can share with others.

Step three:
Occasionally eat some raw produce. It doesn’t necessarily have to be organic or even local. The simple act of eating raw produce gives you “street cred”.

Once you’ve mastered these three easy steps you can progress on to contemplating chemicals in food, cosmetics, clothing, and toys. Not all at once of course, but slowly, and one at a time.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Someday, when Alex is old enough to drive, he will stumble across my blog and pray that he’s just having a bad dream.

Six years ago, I was sitting on a couch stroking my growing belly and contemplating motherhood. Today I’m surrounded by laundry, and in my hands is a pair of true big boy underwear.
Alex has been out of diapers for a few years, but his underwear has proudly proclaimed his preschool status. Underwear that sports the Mickey Mouse clubhouse characters does not boast “these belong to a mature young man”. It’s been easy to overlook how quickly Alex is changing and growing up. Folding Mickey Mouse underwear had lured me into a false sense of security. A sense of security, which came crashing down the day sweet husband and Alex went on an underwear run. It wasn’t until I was tossing their newly acquired purchases into the washing machine that I discovered the new underwear.
My breath caught in my throat as I realized the implication of what I had found. There were no characters on this underwear. The funky halfway hole (is it really necessary?) had potential to actually be functional. Fabric aside, the very cut of these undergarments erase any pretense that they could belong to a preschooler.

In one shopping trip, my little boy has gone from sweet little baby boy to a young man.
No one ever told me that after I became a mother, underwear would have the power to reduce me to tears.

Public Humiliation

Alright people. Things are about to get real.

Statistics show that with the increase of our household, there are 3.497 non-morning people abiding together in our home.

Generally we’ve learned to adapt to this fact of life and work around the malady. Unfortunately for Sundays, we don’t have our act completely polished yet. As, our entire congregation had witness a few weeks ago.
We had woken up late, yet somehow managed to arrive at church TWO WHOLE MINUTES before Sunday school. I fleetingly wondered how we had managed to shave off so much time, as we hustled to our seats.

We got all the way through Sunday school, and through the song service, when my stomach became an angry bi-polar storm. My eyes flew open in horror as I realized the secret to our punctuality- We hadn’t eaten breakfast. On cue Alex poked me. “I’m hungry” he pantomimed. I passed Spain off to the sweet husband and started riffling through the diaper bag while praying Please let there be snacks in here! . A single serve tube of peanuts sparkled at me from the bottom of the diaper bag. It was beautiful. Normally I would have made him wait until after the service, but I FORGOT to feed the poor child. I wasn’t going to make him wait it out.

I ripped a corner off the bag and handed the peanuts to Alex, and settled back in my seat thanking the Lord for that divine bag of legumes. At this point I have to interject and really set the scene here. We decided to sit in the balcony this particular Sunday. Unlike the rest of the sanctuary, our balcony is uncarpeted. And a there is slight echo for every sound made.

My revelry was interrupted by the crashing sound of legumes exploding over the balcony. Alex had tried to widen the hole in the bag, and the entire tube split in half, sending peanuts shooting out from between his hands like confetti. Have you ever heard a bag of marbles being dropped on a floor? Fun Fact #19: peanuts scattered along wooden floors and benches, in an echo-friendly area, sounds quite similar.

Of course the balcony had a large crowd that week. Six heads simultaneously turned to Alex, who sat in his seat with an impish grin on his face, holding the incriminating, tattered remains of the peanut tube. All I have to say is: THANK YOU GOD peanuts are easy to clean off of a wood floor.

From now on we may be late to church, but Alex will be feasting on three-course breakfasts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Naturally living or living naturally

I'm trying to eviromentally friendly and health conscience. I want to instill in my family a respect for our planet and a taste for healthy, living foods.

But it can be overwhelming.

It's so much easier to remain blissfully unaware about what we're really putting in and on our bodies. There's so much out there, and when it feels like EVERYTHING has some type of poisen, what's the use? I get so overwhelmed sometimes. The active ingredient in Sweet Husband's shampoo is linked with reproductive cancer. My facial moisturizer has a endocrine disruptor in it. The baby sunscreen that I've stalked our house with has worse side effects than an actual sunburn! You get the idea. It seems almost impossible to find safe products in an actual store.

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.

In a world where instant gratification reigns supreme, it's hard to watch slow changes take place.
My goal is to have a safe home for my children. Maybe it won't ever be completely free of toxins and ickyness. But I'm also setting an example for my children. I'm teaching them how to make decisions for themselves, and not blindly follow the crowd. To weigh the individual pros and cons for every nature vs. technology choice they will run into. I may not be able to attain a toxin-free house, but if I teach my children how to make informed decisions I will be able to rest easy.

For now I'll focus on baby steps. Limited processed food. Lots of produce. A moisturizer that's a little less frightening and a sunscreen I can put on my children without guilt. Those are my building blocks.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shipping smiles

In a sudden *whoosh* of reality, I realized that it's been far too long since I catalouged life's events online. It's not that I forgot about blogging. Someone in as desperate need as I am of a 12-step program, cannot simply "forget" to blog. In fact several times a week something happened that I would mentally note to blog about it. Inevitably once I got the computer to myself to write, my mind would be wiped as clean as a forgotten chalkboard. Meaning, there's residue lift, but not enough to formulate any words.

Someone somewhere decided that life was to dull, and to spice it up they would change all the house numbers on our street. Unfortunately this wasn't a teenage prank. As such I now have two house numbers and no mail.
Oh sure, the junk mail finds me. I'm pretty sure I could immigrate to Antartica, leave no forwarding address and I would still recieve AMAZING pre-approved credit card offers from companies I have never done business with. In some strange twist, they also manage to consistantly spell my name correctly. It's unnatural.
Of course things that I've actually requested and paid for never show up to the house. To pour salt in the wound the delivery confirmation cheerily informs me that my package has been "delivered", but my post office has no record of it ever coming to them. To say that it made me livid, would be to understate the emotions I felt. What I felt, was white hot ire and cruel bitter betrayal. During deployments and involuntary separations I have contemplated having our paycheck sent directly to the USPS. I mean, it makes sense to cut out the middle man. Let's not even bring up the amount of craft stuff I purchase online and have shipped through USPS.
Our local post office insists that it's not their fault. They haven't seen the packaged cross their facility. It's the sorting office's fault.

I muttered under my breath for days about our postal system. I thought of the exact wording of my response when they told me my packages were never in their facility. I must admit, I'm not proud of my thoughts, or the rants that I railed to my very patient husband as I wrestled with laundry. Finally I broke down and sent my husband to the post office. He came home with the expected answer and the address for the sorting facility.

The next morning I was trying to work on too many things at once when the doorbell rang. I answered the door to find the FedEx man in my porch holding this box.

I imagine the my expression looked something along these lines;

The FedEx guy looked at me nervously while I squealed in excitement. "I'm sorry." I babbled "I've been waiting for this for a few weeks. I was afraid the post office lost it!". He smiled a shakey smile that clearly indicating he thought I was losing my mind. He set the box on my living room floor and sprinted back to his truck as if we had the plague.
Granted if I had gotten that reaction while delivering a breast pump I may have had the same reaction.

I was still on my high about the breast pump arriving, and profusely thanking God that Ameda had sent the package via FedEx, when the door bell rang again. A mail carrier stood there sheepishly holding a bundle of my mail. As he handed me the bundle of packages he said "I guess these got lost with your hold. Sorry about that.".
I could have hugged him on the spot. I would have hugged him, but I didn't want to cross any boundaries and I really want to keep recieving my mail.I settled for repeating "Thank you! Thank you!" over and over like a four year old hyped up on birthday cake.
Although, in my defense, what's not to love about craft supplies and fluffy mail.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Driving skills...

"I need to wear a helmet in the car. Then I can be safe when you drive mama."

Cute, kid.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Just one of those days

Today I ran around the city searching for a plain white t-shirt for Alex to wear. It's his costume for his recital tomorrow. We found white tanks, colored t-shirts, and white t-shirts in every size except Alex's.
Finally, my nerves got to me. Alex was trying to channel his inner shopping cart daredevil and send me into early heart failure. Spain needed a diaper change and couldn't decide whether or not he wanted to eat. Our choices were the tshirts that showed Alex's belly button or the shirts that covered his knees. I grabbed the shirt that went to knees, threw it in the cart and sped to the checkout lane as fast as I could.

When we were back at home, I tenatively started dinner. I was waiting for the sweet husband to call when he needed to be picked up from the office "camping trip".

Guess what's flammable-

Garlic bread.


I stuck it under the broiler and set the timer. My brother called, and the next thing I know the garlic bread was on fire. It was like a huge vampire hating candle.

How long have I been cooking?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Climbing Mt Morelaundry

I've been doing laundry for the last two days.

Wash. Dry. Sun. Fold. Hang. Put away. Sort. And repeat.

I have socks stuffed into random cervices. The carseat box that I haven't taken to the basement, has become a perfect place to hide socks. Same for the changing table, and my yarn basket. Oh and the basket that holds the phone chargers...
In case you can't tell, matching socks is not my favorite activity. In fact, I liken it to putting a incomplete puzzle together. It's just not satisfying because you can never finish it.

*deep sigh*

Doing laundry is like washing dishes. You are never really finished.

Note to self

Always always always check the oven before you begin heating it. For future reference, a bag of chips will melt, when allowed to stay in a hot oven. And the smell may turn you off of nachos for a while.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Several times I have stumbled upon scenes just like these. Alex snags every chance he can to interact with Spain. He makes up songs to sing while I'm making dinner. Crawls next to us while Spain is nursing for double cuddles. Or like in this picture, will lay down next to Spain and start telling him stories.

A big brother shares his experiences with his younger couterpart.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pumping with a Purpose

While Spain was in hospital, I once again had the opportunity to become rather intimate with a breast pump, which I jumped on.The sweet husband and I agree that supplying our children with human milk is absolutely a priority. I won't say that breastmilk is best, I think that misleading. I will say that breastmilk is the perfect nutritional substance for infants. It actually changes with your baby to give them exactly what they need.

As soon as I could, I started spending quality time with the hospital's pump. 30 hours after birth, Spain's doctors were concerned that I wouldn't be able to produce enough (He was 30 hours old, but on day 3 of life), so we began to discuss alternatives. We agreed to use donor if needed. After intense calculations regarding the rate of production and frequency of pumping our doctors agreed with us, that we would only need one bottle of donor milk (3 oz), but to be safe we would order two bottles. Thus began the ordeal with trying to get milk form the Mothers Milk Bank of Austin. We were the first family to request donor milk, and as a result no one in the hospital had any idea how to go about getting it. Sweet husband and I called the milk bank for clarification on ordering protocol, the lady handling our case was AMAZING. She was so sweet and sympathetic. I remember thanking God while I talked with her. She assured me that she would call the doctors and they would sort everything out, so I did not need to worry about it. She did exactly that!

A few hours after we had talked. I was sitting behind a curtain practicing kangaroo care with Spain and praying that everything would fall into place, when I got the news that the milk was coming! The sweet husband and I were overjoyed.

Sweet husband I went to forage for food shortly afterward, We were waylaid by the dietitian they had sent instead of the lactation consultant I requested. She told us that she had placed the order for the milk. I asked how many bottles she had ordered, and to my horror she told me fifteen bottles (45 oz), because she didn't count on me being able to produce any milk until day of life six. Never mind that my milk had started to come in.

In addition to being horrified, I felt awful. We had gotten the milk as a safety net, and were given priority because Spain was in the NICU. To top it all off there was a milk shortage!

Spain received less than 1 oz of donor milk. I had no trouble keeping up with the demand. In fact we went home with 30 oz of milk I pumped and 39 oz of frozen sealed donor milk.

Even though Spain is solely breastfeed, I pump every morning after I wake up. This isn't an emergency supply of milk. It's not so that I can sleep in, or go out. This milk is for a baby who desperately needs it. This is my way of giving back. This is my way of thanking the mother who donated to us.

Current pumped total- 74 ounces

26 ounces to initial donation.

ETA: Shortly after I wrote this entry, I heard about a mom who needed breastmilk for her preemie. We were able to give her the leftover 39 oz of frozen milk that we received from MMBA while Spain was in the hospital.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letters to my child

Dear Little One.

I'm not sure where you got this crazy idea that I won't feed you after the sun goes down. As I haven't been very far from your side since you were born, it does boggle my mind a little. Did your brother tell you something? He is a bit of tease.
I know it's a whole ten minutes since you last nursed. And while you may think you're starving, I want you to know that you're not. I'm not going to lock up the milk, or start refusing to nurse you. That nasty thing making the whoosing noise is just a breast pump. It's not your rival. I'd much rather nurse you than pump. In my mind there is no comparison.
Now my sweet boy, it's getting late.
Morning comes sooner for me than you. I love these midnight cuddles. All to soon they'll be over. I want to imprint these moments in my mind because they won't last forever.
I love you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The unassisted birth of "Spain"

On January 26th around 2:30 am I woke up to a slight pain in my back. I rolled out of bed to use the bathroom. I didn't bother turning the light on, because, well let's face it, the bathroom had become my second home. When I pulled my pajama pants up they were oddly wet, I flipped the light on and was greeted by the sight of blood. Panic seized me. I waddled to my closet to get some fresh clothes, and had to make another stop at the bathroom. On my way I woke my sweet husband up to tell him I was bleeding. When I reached the bathroom I turned the light on, and with a rush of relief I realized that I was only losing my mucus plug. So I cleaned up and crawled in bed with that sweet guy I married. I couldn't sleep, so I lay there cuddled up next to him until he had to leave for PT a few hours later. I was having some contractions, and stupidly I decided to time them. Of course, there was no real pattern.

I got up to continue on with the day. I made breakfast, and started on dinner for some friends that had just had their baby. My sweet husband came home to get ready for work, and made me promise to call him if anything changed. At 9:30 I called his supervisor and asked for him to be sent home so he could take me in to the hospital. It's important to note that without traffic it takes about 25 minutes to get to the military hospital that has the L&D floor. I had one contraction on the way to the hospital.

I got to the "birthing center" and immediately pissed off a nurse when I explained that I would not consent to a cervical check or the EFM, and that my "plans" had been discussed with the head of the OB program at the hospital and he agreed to it. The OB who saw me on the other hand, thought it was great. Turns out his mom was a certified nurse midwife, and he had gone on several rotations with her whenever he was considering becoming an OB. He had never gotten to use a fetoscope, and seemed excited at the opportunity.
The overall consensus was that I was in early labor, but it would probably be a few days before anything happened. The baby wasn't even close to being engaged. My contractions were super irregular, and I was far enough along in the pregnancy that they wouldn't try to stop labor, so I was sent home.

My wonderful husband went back to work (after making me promise to call him if anything changed). I updated my mom, then called our Pastor to update him, and the leader of the Awana program at church to let her know I couldn't fill in for Cubbies that night. Lastly I called this wonderful lady that God sent into my life. We chatted and prayed together. Which really helped to calm me down. I had been frantically praying for labor to stop all day long. I just wanted a few more days to enjoy my pregnancy, and make sure the baby was "fully baked". Alex brought his backpack to my bed, and we started working on his schoolwork, while we waited for the husband to get off of work.

Just before 5:30 I felt another rush of blood, so I scurried into the bathroom. The baby was still high, but the small of my back started aching. I called for Alex to bring me my phone, and I climbed into the shower. Alex brought the phone into the bathroom, and as I was instructing him to call his Papa, the baby turned partially transverse (sidewise). The pain at that point intensified beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I knew the dangers of laboring with a transverse baby and I instinctively dropped to my knees.

There I was on my hands and knees rocking back and forth in my tiny shower stall (The shower in our master bathroom is the size of a standard refrigerator. Seriously.), praying for the baby to turn and trying to find that special sound that vibrates through your body, helping to reduce pain. I heard Alex talking on the phone to my sweet husband on the other side of the shower door. "Papa, mama says you need to come home. Spain is coming."

The baby turned back into the vertex position (vertical, head down) and I slowly stood up. With a "pop" the bag of waters broke and I fell into a prostrate postion. The song "He's got the whole world in his hands" sprang to mind and I kept singing it over and over while I rocked. I placed my hand between my legs and felt the baby's head bulging against my perineum. I knew my husband was only moments away, I tried to ignore the urge to push but my body had taken over. The head began to emerge, and I pulled myself into a squatting position, out of the water's range, In a blink, I was holding a brand-new infant. "Alex call Papa! Spain's here."
I reached up to turn the shower off, then cracked the shower door open and grabbed a towel to wrap the baby in. Alex was shouting joyfully into the phone "Papa, Spain got out! Spain got out!"

My sweet husband flew through the bathroom door moments later. He crouched down in the doorway of the opened shower, next to Alex, and I handed our brand-new baby to him. My poor sweet husband missed the birth of our son, because he stopped to buy me flowers.

I even can't begin to describe how much I love my husband, my oldest son and my youngest son.

We did transfer to the hospital after the birth, just to make sure everything was alright since I wasn't at term. The ER staff cleared us and offered to send us home, but we opted to transfer to the other hospital with the L&D ward, just to be sure. I'm so thankful we did, because Spain was showing signs of respitory distress that the ER doctors didn't recognise. We got to spend a week in the NICU, but that is a series of other posts that will come soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Breastfeeding and the Bible

". . .the Lord does not in vain prepare nutriment for children in their mothers' bosoms, before they are born. But those on whom he confers the honor of mothers, he, in this way, constitutes nurses; and they who deem it a hardship to nourish their own offspring, break, as far as they are able, the sacred bond of nature. If disease, or anything of that kind, is the hindrance, they have a just excuse; but for mothers voluntarily, and for their own pleasure, to avoid the trouble of nursing, and thus to make themselves only half-mothers, is a shameful corruption."
John Calvin, commenting on Genesis 21:7

"And she added, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
Genesis 21:7 NIV

"If God Almighty came to you and said, "I myself have designed a special food that will strengthen your baby's body and develop his brain, which will comfort him and cheer his heart, and lay the foundation for his lifetime health and well-being. I have given this food into your keeping; I have placed it in your body; it is my loving provision for your child" - who would reply, "No thanks, no divine gifts, I'd rather give him a can of Similac"?"
Juli Loesch Wiley

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me.
Psalm 22:9-11 NIV

"For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance." For this is what the LORD says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."
Isaiah 66:11-13 NIV

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:15,16 NIV

Want more breastfeeding related scriptures? Breastfeeding and the Bible.

Mother's milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies because it is nature's perfect food.
Robert S. Mendelsohn

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trivial Pursuit

I thought it might be fun to mix things a little. So instead of me writing about something specific, let's play a game.

True or False

Eating and/or drinking during labor is dangerous.
A Cochrane study reports that there is no benefit to withholding food or drink during labor. From a personal viewpoint, I wouldn't go hiking without food, so why labor without food?

Any pregnancy over 40 weeks is "overdue".
"Term" is actually considered to be 38-42 weeks. 40 weeks is just the middle value. Overdue doesn't happen until you pass the 42 week mark.

VBAC is more dangerous than a repeat c-section.
On the contrary a cesarean is major surgery and carries all risk associated with major surgery in addition to special risks to the baby, and the addition of possible fertility problems later.

There is a risk of catching on fire during a c-section.
In fact it happens more often than you might think. Operating rooms are full of flammable materials like oxygen and alcohol solutions, combine those with lasers and possible electrical sparks and you have a story. In 2008 the American Society of Anesthesiologists flash surgical fires occur approximately 50-200 times a year.

Laying on your back is the best way to birth.
This is called the supine or lithotomy position. It restricts your pelvis, and forces the baby to fight against gravity to exit the mother. Dr. Roberto Caldeyro-Barcia and his researchers found that this position is the worst one for laboring women because it adversely affects every facet of birth: makes labor more painful, reduces uterine activity, and can dangerously lower blood pressure. He says, "Except for being hanged by the feet, the supine position is the worst conceivable position for labor and delivery."

(Roberto Caldeyro-Barcia, past president of the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, leading researcher in perintology)

Homebirth is always risky.
It seems that only in America is homebirth considered dangerous. A list of links concerning U.S homebirth safety.

Labor hurts.
Let's face it, the definition of "labor" is hard work. And yes it can be painful, but it's an entirely different type of pain than breaking your leg. On the other hand, women have been know to orgasm during birth. An orgasm comes from a release of hormones and contracting muscles. Labor and birth involves the same release of hormones and contracting muscles.

There's no real benefit to laboring.
Natural labor helps get the baby's lungs get ready for breathing. It stimulates the release of oxytocin, the "love hormone", that helps establish bonding and breastfeeding after the birth. Benefits of natural labor

An epidural is risk free.
False. Even if you ignore the fact that epidurals slow down labor, there is still a long list of side effects that should be taken into consideration. Including septic meningitis, neurological disorders and fetal distress.

Electronic fetal monitoring improves outcomes for the baby and mother.
No, it doesn't. In fact it's associated with HIGHER chances of cesareans because of inaccurate readings. EFM began being routinely used in 1970. In 1976 the FDA received authority to regulate medical devices. EFM was grandfathered in.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Misoprostol and pregnancy don't mix

Cytotec (misoprostol) is a drug commonly used to induce labor. But what mothers aren't told is that Cytotec (misoprostol) is a drug used to prevent stomach ulcers, and the manufactures warn against using during pregnancy and labor. Some of the known side effects include birth defects, premature labor, uterine rupture, maternal and perinatal mortality, and in the infant, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy occurs when oxygen is cut off to the brain. This can cause long term damage like cerebral palsy, delayed developement, seizures and of course, death.

That's not the whole story behind Cytotec (misoprostol). When RU-486 (aka the abortion drug) was approved by the FDA, they also approved Cytotec (Misoprostol) as a companion drug to complete the termination of the pregnancy.

The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation was started by the family of a young mother. She was in perfect health during her pregnancy, and induced just under 42 weeks. She was given Cytotec without being told the risks, she suffered hyperstimulation of the uterus and an emergency c-section was performed. Both Tatia and her newborn daughter died.

While there are risks associated with any drug you take, it's important to point out that the FDA has not approved the use of Cytotec (misoprostol) during labor. And that the manufacture has publicly asked that doctors stop using it to induce labor.

If Cytotec isn't approved for labor and pregnancy, why is it commonly used? Unfortunately the answer is "because it's cheap". Hospitals are businesses. And like all businesses they try to keep their overhead expenses low. Does that make it okay to use Cytotec for a purpose not only it isn't made for, but that the manufacture has not approved? Absolutely not. I'm honestly not sure with is more appalling, the fact that this drug is so commonly used in the U.S despite known complications and warnings, or that health professionals don't feel the need to inform their clients about the possible dangerous side effects.

Cytotec induction and off-label use by Marsden Wagner, MD, MS