Friday, February 29, 2008

First attempt at gluten free bread

We're going on the big elimination diet tomorrow, and in preparation I bought a bunch of baking supplies (xanthium gum, guar gum, tapioca flour, potato flour, etc) and baked me a loaf of gluten-free bread tonight. Here's the recipe:

Dry ingredients:
2 1/2 c. rice flour (I ground brown rice in my wheat grinder)
1/2 c. tapioca flour
2 1/2 t. guar gum
1 T. yeast
1 t. salt

Wet works:
2T honey
2T olive oil
1 1/2-2 c. water
1 t. cider/rice vinegar

Put dry ingredients in food processor. Process to combine. Add wet ingredients. Process to combine. Pour into greased bread pan. Bake 350 for 30 minutes.

Now reading through the instructions, I realize I didn't put in enough yeast. Nevertheless, here's my review. It needed to bake for a good 5 minutes longer, as the middle was still raw. I also couldn't get over the fact that it tasted like a loaf of warm rice. Just didn't taste like bread to me at all. And Lacy's review was spitting it out in the garbage can. I don't think I'll be making this bread again. It's going to be hard replacing our gluten-rich yummalicious bread.

Nightweaning, days 7 and 8

I wanted to talk to Dave about how night 7 went, so I talked to him last night about it. Well, I wasn't feeling well so I hit the sack early and didn't blog about it. Oops.

Well, day 7 was a breeze! She woke up a couple times before 11 (as usual) and woke up around 12:30, had a hard time calming back down, so I took her in the other room to rock her. She calmed down after about 5 minutes, and woke again right before 6. I was so excited! Dave concurred that this is what happened, so my baby actually slept through the night!

I was expecting more of the same tonight, but it wasn't to be. She woke up several times through the night, and I was able to get her back to sleep without nursing, but boy am I tired this morning. Then she woke around 5:45 and wouldn't calm down, so I said, "close enough" and nursed her back to sleep. She's still sleeping and it's almost 9. I've got to get her on a better schedule. She needs to wake up at 8 so she has better naps and easier bedtimes! We'll work on that once the nightweaning process is complete.

Dave was not excited about going back to work in Seattle. The commute is killer, and it makes him so tired. He was so much happier working in Centralia. He told me yesterday, "You must have said some crazy prayers, because I'm working with my dream crew. They are the best workers I could ever hope to work with." So at least he is surrounded by good, hard workers! And to make him feel better about working there, they did actually beg him to come back. Dave is a very hard worker, and any company that gets him knows that he is a rare breed these days. That's got to be a nice ego booster for him!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Change of plans...

Dave is working tomorrow in Seattle, much to his dismay, but work is work and he will be getting a lot more money working than collecting unemployment, so he's taking it. That throws off our nightweaning schedule. So instead of starting phase 3 tonight (no cuddling or picking up, just pats and reassurances), we're going to continue with phase 2 until the weekend. Dave's sleep is vital when he works in Seattle! We're hoping that he will begin working in Olympia soon. He really didn't want to take this job, and thought about calling them and telling them never mind a couple of times, because the commute is so terrible.

What Lacy said to me when she first woke up

This is the very first thing she said this morning.

(In a groggy voice) Is it your birthday?

Me: Yes.

L: Happy Birthday, Mommy! (big hug)

She is so sweet!

A couple weeks ago, she was talking about her grandparents, and said her only living great-grandma's name was Wonderbread. (It's Winifred)

Nightweaning, day 6

It went reasonably well last night! Yea! She fell asleep quickly and slept for a while and woke once before 11. That's a big improvement! I'm hoping she does this on a regular basis :) Then she woke around 11:30 and had trouble calming back down. I had Dave take the reigns on that one for a while because it was after the no nursing time. Since it was phase 2 we could still pick her up and rock her. It took about 10-15 minutes to get her back to sleep. She may have woken up once or twice after that in the night, falling back to sleep relatively quickly, but I didn't notice! She woke again right before 6 and wouldn't calm back down, so at 5:58 I said "close enough!" and let her nurse. It's 8:30 and she's sleeping soundly.

You know, I don't think we could have done this had we not moved Lacy out of our bed. We'll probably invite her back in on occasion (if she would like) in another month after Rose is on a predictable pattern of sleep. Lacy sleeps on a princess toddler bed (well, the sheets are princess anyway) next to our bed. I know most normal people would have moved her to her own room, but nobody's ever accused me of being normal. I enjoy being able to hear her breathe at night.

Today we're dropping the kids off at Leslie's and we're going to a movie! Baby's waking up, better start my day!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Aaah, Childhood

Childhood is about playing outside. It's about wearing a frilly dress with muddy shoes. It's about pretending. It's about fun. Too many kids don't experience childhood. I hope my children get to experience it. Every bit of it.

"Following the Leader"
I didn't want Rose playing outside since she had surgery to remove two teeth today, but I couldn't keep her inside for anything. She had fun playing with the big kids. Well, big relative to her! The oldest one, Danner, is only 5, and the other girls are both 3.

Pretty Dirty!
I love this one, even though it turned out really blurry.
Lacy's feet when she was ready to come in.
Little Mama Lacy, discovered my belly cast (from my pregnancy with Rose)

...Rose after surgery today

Today's my last blog post as a 20-something woman. For my birthday, Dave will be making me some garden boxes. I'm so excited! We're going to get garden soil delivered, and we will start planting in about a month or two. I may start some plants right away, like tomatoes and peppers, that will need a while to get big, that don't do well in our climate. Peas and lettuce will go next, in mid to late March. I'm planning to do peas and beans, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and radishes, tomatoes, tomitillos and peppers, and possibly squash as well. My friend Emily has a 7 acres and she's going to do a lot of squash, so we might have her do the bulk of it at her house, and maybe just some pattypans for us here. I'm also thinking of doing some aromatics and I'm considering dedicating an entire garden box for herbs. Not sure what herbs I want to plant, though! Oh, we started our compost bin this week! And it's almost full! I'm going to have to have two going in order to keep up!

Nightweaning, day 5

Last night it went really, really well! She did try to nurse me a couple of times, but I was able to hold her back and get her back to sleep. I think she's starting to sleep longer stretches, too, now that she knows she doesn't get to nurse back to sleep. It's making me less tired and better able to function in the morning. She woke up around 6 to nurse, which was fine since we do no nursing from 11-6. She had to be cut off before 7, though, since she had a sedation dentist appointment this morning, and no food for 6 hours, nothing at all (no clear liquids) 2 hours before. Tonight is the last night of snuggling and rocking! Tomorrow night is just patting and reassurances! Yikes!

Dave took Rose to the dentist this morning for the tooth extraction surgery. She took the sedation medicine (liquid) just fine. But then they had to give her a shot to numb her mouth for the extraction. There were four attempts at giving her the shot. They had to hold her down for it, and Dave told me, "She's strong! I'm actually impressed at how strong she is." Well, when there's a will, there's a way! She's not very big, and doesn't have a lot of physical strength yet, but the mind is a very powerful thing and she certainly knows how to use hers. Plus she has stubbornness from both her mother and father, so there you go.

Dave got home with Rose about 20 minutes ago. She can't do any suckling, sippy cups, straws, or solid foods until about 6 this evening. It's going to be a rough day! Right now, she's getting about a half an inch of liquid in a cup. She got two cups of water and now she's working on some juice. She also got a bowl of ice cream when she got home. She's going to be one spoiled baby today. We're probably going to forgo any cosmetic baby dentures at this point. They'll probably look really fake anyway, they probably aren't covered by insurance, and I'm sure they're very expensive.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nightweaning, day 4

We are really getting in a groove here! Last night was our first no nursing night. She did really well, though I *might* have instinctively let her nurse for a little while in the middle of the night. I get so danged tired I just can't recall what I do during the night! But she woke up this morning around 8 and just wanted to nurse for about an hour, so I guess she was making up time! I did have to take Rose into the other room and rock her back to sleep for about 5 minutes last night. Hopefully she'll get the hang of it tonight and tomorrow, because after that there will be no more rocking back to sleep! Yikes!

Dave is taking advantage of his time off. He is talking to Rose's dentist today, and will be talking to some unemployment people (he can get benefits for the time being, until he starts making some money from his side business). He will be making business cards and installing some programs on his new laptop, and will be setting up appointments right away. Hopefully he can make one sale a week until the big project starts in April, so that will make up for lost wages during this time.

Dave also plans on building my garden beds and doing a few other things around the house and yard while he has the time. Once he's working, I'll be in charge of all the yard maintenance, so hopefully he can make it as easy as possible for me.

Yesterday we went to church so Dave and I could fulfill our callings. We would have stayed home because of Lacy being sick. As the chorister, I can't miss Sacrament meeting, and Dave teaches on the fourth Sunday of the month in Elder's Quarum, so he needed to be there during the third hour. We would have played tag team church if we weren't getting a second opinion for Rose's dental care! Anyway, after a long Sacrament meeting, we talked to Bro. B, the dentist. Lacy found her teacher and told her, very sadly, that she couldn't go to Primary. Her teacher gave her the activity and we took it home. Then I took Lacy home for a few minutes to trade cars and get everything we needed for the birthday party. We forgot to get gas on Saturday, so I had to fill up the truck as well. Then Lacy and I picked up Rose and Dave and we had a blast at Leslie's house for family dinner and birthday time! Dave and I got a couple gift cards, and Turner got a huge amount of gifts from family. It was so fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nightweaning, day 3

I really don't remember much of last night. I have been so tired at night I just can't remember how the nightweaning goes! I think I did nurse her back to sleep around 4 am, but other than that I didn't do any nursing to sleep at all-- just a couple minutes here and there as she woke up, according to the plan.

Tonight is the big night-- no night nursing at all! Just cuddles and loves! I'm hoping it goes well, because we have three nights of this, and then four nights of not picking her up, just reassurances and pats.

Yesterday Dave took Lacy on a daddy daughter date. They dressed up-- Lacy wore her flowergirl dress and Dave wore a suit-- and saw a live musical, Rapunzel. Lacy enjoyed the musical, and sat on Dave's lap almost the entire time. She is such a daddy's girl! After the play, she got to hug Rapunzel. Then they picked up some ice cream, came home, changed, and ate it (and shared with us girls at home).

Today we had the big family birthday party at my sister's house. Boy was it loud! There were nine kids (okay, one was an infant, so he wasn't very loud, and Rose isn't very loud, just quietly destructive) and all of the sibs and our significant others, if applicable. So eight adults. We were outnumbered, and the kids let us know! They played outside for a while. Dave brought a couple of toys he bought for himself at Toys R Us yesterday when we went shopping for birthday gifts- a big styrofoam airplaine and a foam rocket launcher thing. They had a blast playing with the toys, and all the kids were running around outside. It wore both the girls out and they are sleeping quite soundly now. I'm thinking the outside air will help Rose finally start sleeping through the night! We had lasagna, bread, and two salads, opened a million presents for Turner, who turned 3 on the 21st, and two for Dave and me (thanks, guys! We are excited to go on a date together with our gift cards!). We played pin the Superman logo on the Superman poster, tried to destroy a Superman pinata, and ate Superman cake and ice cream. Dave bought a laptop from Mark while we were at it, and the Les, Dix, Kurt, Jackie, Dave and I all talked about the family commune we one day hope to live on, and what types of yurts will best suit our needs on this commune. I think with Kurt and Jackie, who work with their hands and love gardening, Dave, who has worked on a farm and knows everything about every kind of construction, and my dad, who is a general handyman, get-it-done guy, and also worked on a farm as a kid, we'll probably be okay. As for the rest of us... well, Les, my mom, and I can take care of the canning and other domestic tasks, but other than that, we're not really homesteaders. But we can learn!

Off to enjoy another night of nighweaning! Tomorrow's a busy day-- home blessing hour and lots of errands. Dave is currently between jobs, and he has a lot of running around to do. Fortunately the next guaranteed job is coming up in about five weeks, the one where he will be working 12 hour days 7 days a week for 3 months, and there is another tentative job possibly starting this week. Until then, he will get things done around the house, make presentations for the side job he's doing, and spend time with the family.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nightweaning, day 2

Last night was hard for us. Rose wouldn't let me put her down from her bedtime at 8 until 10:30 for more than 5 minutes before she would wake up and wander down the hall to find me again. This made it very difficult for me because we had guests over and were trying to watch a movie. I guess it's a good thing I've seen the movie before. Well, last night went no better than earlier in the evening. It was all such a blur because I was so exhausted from the whole thing. The biggest problem is that Rose is getting a little bit sick so it was hard for her to sleep I think. I tried not nursing her back to sleep, but I'm not sure if I did or not because I was so tired! Dave got her to sleep a couple of times. Unfortunately she will only sleep for about 20 minutes at a time lately. She did sleep in this morning (we've been getting up at 7). We will try it again tonight and hopefully it will work a little better. If it doesn't, we'll probably do one more day of this and then we'll start with the second phase on Monday instead of Sunday.

Lacy and Dave have a daddy-daughter date today to see Rapunzel. She was supposed to go to her first Primary activity, but I don't think it's a good idea because she has been coughing and has had a runny yucky nose. Dave is going to dress up and Lacy gets to wear her flower girl dress on their date. They should have a fun time together.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nightweaning, day 1

Last night was our first try at nightweaning. It went surprisingly well. I was so tired that I didn't want to do it, but I stuck it out and we did okay. So on the first three nights, they can nurse for a couple minutes but then you have to put them to bed awake. You have a seven hour stretch of the night where you do this. So basically, anytime between 11 pm and 6 am, you are working on the nightweaning. Any time before or after is the same as before. Last night, a couple of times I think she was pretty drowsy and drifted off to sleep right away. Another couple times she was having nothing doing and screamed her head off. But after about 10 minutes I was able to get her calmed down and back asleep. One time I had to rock her to sleep in the other room. That worked pretty well, but it's not something I'd like to do every time. And it was just the first night, so we're okay.

Two more nights of this and we're on to phase two. Yikes! But I think we'll do really well if we stick to the plan. After the nightweaning is done, we're going to work on staying asleep from bedtime (8) until wake-up time (7). We may have to have her bedtime at 9 once she's sleeping through the night on a regular basis. We'll see.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nightweaning, starting tonight

I'm so tired of Rose waking up so many times at night, that I'm going to start the nightweaning process tonight. This is the perfect time to start because Dave isn't so tired all the time from a long commute to Seattle. It's going to be hard, but I have to do it. I can't keep this up any longer. We're going to be using the Jay Gordon technique, Changing the Sleep Pattern in the Family Bed. It's a 10 day program, and I'm hoping we can get through it rather quickly. I just can't keep it up anymore!

Dave and I had a couple's massage today. It was awesome. I really needed it. Thanks, honey! They did a great job, and we want to come back! Soon!

This morning as we were getting ready to go to the massage, we got a call from Key Bank. There were several suspicious charges on our account, and they wanted to verify that those were valid charges. Well, glad they called us because there were five charges on our account that we didn't make. They canceled the card right away, credited our account, and we will be filing a police report about this. It is almost $1000 worth of fraudulent charges. Thank goodness they were caught so soon, and that we aren't liable for them at all. In the meantime, Dave has no debit card, so he got an ATM card and he will have to activate his line of credit card from the bank if he needs to use a Master Card.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Update on Rose's Teeth

We picked up Rose’s dental records today. There is a dentist in our ward who has agreed to take a look on Sunday and give a second opinion. We want all our bases covered to make sure we’re getting the correct treatment. If he concurs that this is the best thing for her, she will have two teeth extracted on Tuesday under nitrous oxide. Thank goodness, that $100 a pop sedation drug (that Rose spit half of it out) was really starting to add up. N2O only costs us $20. So we’re going to have a toothless wonder girl soon. She can get baby dentures when she’s a little older, so we’ll have a gummy grin there for a while I guess. Thank goodness they’re just baby teeth! She looks so cute even with a huge gap in her mouth. Hopefully she’ll be extra cautious about her oral health because she’ll remember not having those teeth as a child.

We found out today that the dentist that neglected to diagnose her decay back in July at her first appointment has skipped the country. I took her in in July because I was concerned about the brown spots on her teeth. He told me that there was nothing to worry about and her dental records say “no sign of decay, low risk.” We took her back in November because I was extremely concerned, and he diagnosed her at that time as “high risk.” He left in the beginning of December and so we didn’t get work done until yesterday. He left to presumably avoid a lawsuit. Great. So at least I know I was doing my part to get her treatment asap, it was just my dentist who was incompetent. Lovely.

Dave was super sweet to me today and got me some kitchen gadgets, a smoothie, ice cream cupcakes, and an hour massage at a new massage place. What a guy! He knows what I need. And as for me, I have had kids asleep since 7ish with Rose only waking up twice (and it's already 9 o'clock!) (Can you see my eyeballs rolling yet?)... I folded a load of laundry during my free time and have another waiting for me. And I have a ding dong in the freezer that I'm going to eat because darn it, I deserve it. Dave just got back with pictures of tonight's lunar eclipse. It looked so cool! I had to stand on a ladder to see it, since there were trees in the way and I couldn't leave home.

She's losing some teeth

Rose's front tooth has been pretty much scraped away by the dentist. Dave is extremely angry because she didn't even have an x-ray of her mouth. We're getting a second opinion on Sunday at church. I think the dentist was overly aggressive and now Rose will have a tooth missing in the front, possibly two, until she gets her permanent teeth. I feel incredibly guilty and angry at the same time, because I first took Rose in to the dentist about six months ago. Six months! And she's still losing her teeth. Dave has talked about looking into getting an attorney. I've been upset since yesterday. I almost passed out. The more I think about it, the angrier I get.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dentist Appointment Tomorrow

Tomorrow Rose gets her teeth fixed! I'm excited that she'll finally not be in pain every time we brush her teeth. Poor baby. Today I took Dave to the dentist to fix his teeth. They are done! No more fillings or root canals! He has a dentist appointment in a few weeks for a cleaning and they'll make the treatment plan for getting his dentures. I'm a little annoyed because I thought that was part of the current treatment plan. I guess not.

While I was there waiting for Dave (I have to drive him because of his anxiety issues he takes valium before appointments) I met with the new pediatric dentist concerning the appointment tomorrow. I so miss the old pediatric dentist I used to have. I was open with him about Rose's nursing status and he always shrugged and said "Oh, okay," and never said anything about weaning/night weaning/bottles of water instead, and never implied that any decay was caused from nursing. He left in December and I'm really missing him now.

I've been really open with this new dentist that Rose still nurses multiple times at night, as well as during the day, and to go to sleep for naps. She probably nurses 10 times a day still on average. The dentist didn't say anything negative about extended nursing, but she certainly seemed shocked that I'm still nursing her. She suggested nightweaning, trying bottles of water instead of nursing, etc. Well, I've tried nightweaning her, even before her suggestion, but so far.... it ain't happening. And I'm okay with that, for now. The trouble is, the dentist is pretty insistent that the decay is caused by the nursing. While I don't doubt that in the past, nursing at night after a less-than-thorough job of brushing teeth probably contributed to a lot of the decay, especially considering where the decay is located on her teeth, I don't think it is the real reason why she has decay. Especially considering the decay Dave has had to deal with. What I've determined from my own research is that on its own, breastmilk is pretty benign. When her teeth aren't brushed as well as they should be, the milk reacts with the other foods she has eaten and causes the decay. Also, that dental carries are actually contagious-- a portion of the population have an increased amount of a certain bacteria that causes dental decay. This can be passed on through saliva. I'm certain Dave has this type of bacteria and has passed it on to all of us. Notably, my oral health has diminished in the past several years, despite impeccable dental habits.

So at the consult, the dentist was clear that Rose should not have food or milk 6 hours before the appointment, because of a risk of aspiration. While she did not specifically say no breastmilk, I took her words to imply that since she knows I still nurse Rose. What bothered me most, though, is that she said if she was really hungry, she could have some toast. So I don't understand why my milk is such a risk, but toast isn't. My friend Emily pointed out that dry toast will digest very quickly, so it is not as much of a risk as other foods, and it is sound medical advice. I responded that breastmilk is considered a clear liquid (no other milks are classified as such) and digests very quickly as well. I'm just afraid the dentist she considers breastmilk to be the same as cow's milk, which it very clearly is not. And I'm afraid that she doesn't approve of my nursing relationship with my child at all, but hasn't said anything about total weaning, just night weaning/bottles of water instead of nursing, because she is a nice person and wants to have a good relationship with her patients. So based on the information I have read, I plan on treating breastmilk as a clear liquid and will withhold it starting at 6 am tomorrow (for her 8 am appointment) but no earlier than that. If the doctor asks me straight out, I will have to lie. I cannot risk Rose not getting the dental care she needs based on erroneous ideas about breastmilk. While I am honest almost to a fault typically, I feel in this case a little fib is appropriate in order to get my child the treatment she needs.

This is decay that cannot wait for a new dentist, and we only have one choice of pediatric dentists in this particular clinic, which we have to use for insurance purposes. Open enrollment for our insurance plan is next month, and I plan on switching dental providers at that time to another dentist who will be more compassionate toward breastfeeding relationships than my current dentist. I feel like, even though the dentist is really nice and so cheerful about everything, and the kids really like her, that she is really judgmental about our nursing relationship, and it is really bothering me. I just get that vibe from her that the niceness is covering up a distaste for extended breastfeeding, which I thought she would be more open to since she is not from the US. Or maybe (probably) I'm just being overly sensitive, which I tend to be a lot. But for the next few months at least, I have to put up with her, since my children have dental problems that need to be fixed fairly soon. But I'm emotionally drained after today, and I'm bad with confrontation. I'm a people pleaser and I just want her to like me and my kids and not make me feel bad that I don't want to push the nightweaning if my daughter is not ready.

So today, after the appointment, I was really grumpy and unhappy, and I couldn't put my finger on why. I was especially annoyed with Dave, who was getting over the valium he needed to take this morning. He unfortunately threw up his first pill and had to take a second before we left, and I think the first one had at least partially absorbed so he got a larger dose than usual, which made him extra tired. I don't like naps for adults, so I was quite annoyed that he was napping while I was working. I know I was being unreasonable, but at the time, it was completely reasonable to me that he should help me despite the fact that he was still drugged. I had to leave after Dave had recovered sufficiently and go to the fabric store with my sister. Dave stayed with the kids. I really needed a break from them, and to do something fun that I enjoy doing. I'm glad I was able to do that. After I got back, Dave went fishing, and I was annoyed with the girls all afternoon. I couldn't figure out why. I talked to Emily on the phone, and she straight up told me that I was being unreasonable and that I needed to look at it from a different perspective. After our phone call, I realized that I was acting this way because of my children's dentist.

I put so much effort into making sure that breastfeeding would work for me. I got the support I needed, read book after book during pregnancy, planned for an intervention-free birth so my baby would come out more likely to be able to nurse right away, didn't give them pacifiers or bottles until after nursing was established, etc. I did it because the health reasons are so compelling. I married a man with asthma and allergies, poor dental health, digestive tract problems, chronic ear infections as a child, and migraines as an adult. I read everything I could about keeping those aliments at bay as long as I could. While I realized that breastmilk is not a miracle elixir, I know that on average breastfed babies fare better than their formula fed counterparts, all other things being equal. I am thankful every day that Dave was breastfed into toddlerhood. I can't imagine how much worse his health problems would be had his mother given up. Thank goodness she was the kind of woman she was, and was able to nurse all of her boys. I also did other things to decrease the chances my children would have health problems-- I delayed solids until at least 6 months for both the girls (infant guts close around the 6-7 month mark, so earlier solids can cause digestive tract issues), I avoided antibiotics during infancy and treated ear infections with homeopathics and herbal remedies (antibiotic use during infancy is correlated with higher instances of asthma as adults), and delayed the introduction of cow's milk in both my children. I also made a goal to nurse my children for 2 years minimum, and weaned Lacy at 3 years 3 months of age. I plan to nurse Rose for at least 2 year and possibly as long as her sister, though it is still up in the air (I kind of want my body back for a while... I've been nursing almost 4 years straight now). I know that my decision to nurse Lacy as long as she nursed was a wise decision. Within weeks of weaning, Lacy broke out with eczema. She had it mildly before, but never to the extreme she now has it. I don't think it is coincidental that the eczema hit as soon as she was weaned. I believe that it was a protection to her. I also believe that had she not been nursed at all, her eczema would be much, much worse.

Anyway, my point is that my decision to breastfeed did not come lightly. I took this decision very seriously, since my children's health is my highest priority. And I now realize why this meeting we had today is so upsetting to me. This decision to breastfeed was a conceived very carefully. It was done for health reasons. I feel like she is only seeing the very narrow picture of poor dental health, and thinks I am foolish for allowing my children to nurse to older than typical (in the US) ages. And I'm the type that just wants everyone to like me and not judge something I'm doing as wrong or foolish, especially when it is something so important to me. It really hurts.

I've learned a lot today. I realized karma is a very powerful thing. I am not always tolerant and compassionate, and I need to be more so. How can I expect tolerance and compassion for myself when I don't exhibit it more for others? I think I need to spend a lot of time on my knees figuring out how to achieve this for myself.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The cousins- with their ages

Here are the number pictures of the kids... I think they turned out very cute! And hilarious! I posted all eight pictures because they all make me laugh.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is me today

Now for why this picture is an accurate depiction of me today.

My sister and I finally got all 6 little kids together and had their numbers all ready for pictures today. We had this great idea that we should take a picture of the little kids after Marilyn turned 5 and before Turner turned 3 so that we could have them lined up in a row, holding a number corresponding to their ages. We only have a month time frame to do this, so we had to act fast, since Turner turns 3 next week! So we have Marilyn (Kurt's girlfriend Jackie's daughter) who is 5, Regan (Leslie's) who is 4, Lacy is 3, Turner (Leslie's) is 2, Rose is 1, and Cooper (Leslie's) is 0. The pictures turned out okay, actually pretty good considering the camera we used is on the fritz and we had six little kids to deal with! Les has the pictures at her house so I'll post them when I get them since I forgot my camera. Duh.

We got there much later than I wanted, because Rose took a longer nap than I expected. So we rushed out the door. I noticed there was a clicking and a red light blinking as I was driving over there. I figured, either a bomb will go off and my car will explode, or else I need to call the Kia dealership tomorrow to find out what's up. So other than it disrupting radio transmissions, it was all good. After Leslie left for violin lessons with Landon and Cooper, I gave the girls a chance to play until I had to leave. At about 3:25, I gathered up our stuff and took the kids outside.

As soon as I opened the car door, the alarm went off.

I didn't even know I had an alarm. And of course, I had a key copy and not the alarm key which was at home. Apparently Rose had been playing with it a couple days earlier, and must have triggered the alarm.

After opening my car manual which didn't help me worth a darn, I saw my highschool friend Chanda coming out of the house with her kids. She had no idea how to help but said her husband would be home soon and maybe he'd know. She was nice enough to stick around and keep me from feeling like a total loser the whole time.

Then Leslie's neighbor came to the rescue! After about 10 minutes, she figured out how to disconnect the wires from the alarm and I was able to go on my way. But not before Leslie returned from violin lessons to witness the madness! At least the alarm went off for 20 minutes!

So yes, I am the loser that everyone in the neighborhood silently (or not-so silently) scolds... "Can't you turn that darned thing OFF!"

Well, no. No, I can't.

Amazing-- breastmilk contains stem cells!

Wow! I just read this article, and all I can say is, WOW! I knew that breastmilk had many ingredients that formula could not replicate. I just had no idea that stem cells would be among those ingredients! It's so exciting knowing that there may be a way to ethically harvest stem cells in the future!

And for your reading pleasure, "Breast Milk Contains Stem Cells" by Catherine Madden

The Perth scientist who made the world-first discovery that human breast milk contains stem cells is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting them to research treatment for conditions as far-reaching as spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

But what Dr Mark Cregan is excited about right now is the promise that his discovery could be the start of many more exciting revelations about the potency of breast milk.

He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood.

“We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.

He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled.

“It is setting the baby up for the perfect development,” he says. “We already know that babies who are breast fed have an IQ advantage and that there’s a raft of other health benefits. Researchers also believe that the protective effects of being breast fed continue well into adult life.

“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”

It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.”

His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too?

His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.

He presented his research at the end of January to 200 of the world’s leading experts in the field at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in Perth.

“We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says.

If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos.

Further research on immune cells, which have also been found in breast milk and have already been shown to survive the baby’s digestive process, could provide a pathway to developing targets to beat certain viruses or bacteria.

She knows what she wants!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Dave surprised me with two bouquets of flowers yesterday! I guess he didn't want to brave the crowds at the stores today after work. Smart man! Today we're going over to Leslie's house to take pictures of the kids. Yea!

I almost forgot this story, but it was too cute to forget to share! The other day, Lacy and Rose got out cans from the pantry. I thought I had put them all back, and locked up the pantry so I wouldn't have a big mess everywhere. Apparently I was wrong. Later that day, while I was in the back on this very computer, probably blogging, Rose brought me a can of mandarin oranges. And a can opener, which was put away in a place that I thought she couldn't get to!

So, we had oranges for snacktime that day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Silly faces

These are very recent pictures we have taken at our house. In most of them, you can see Lacy's eczema around her eyes. Right now, it's under control everywhere else, but her eyes are terrible. At least they're not bleeding. I might call the allergist tomorrow for advice. Anyway, we have fun taking pictures around here, as you can tell! And most of the ones of me are taken by Lacy. Some of them are actually pretty good! Lacy takes a lot of pictures of pictures... we have them rotate through on our screen saver, and she takes pictures of what she likes. She's so fun!

Both kids and Dave in Lacy's new toddler-sized bed.
Rose with her legs bandaged together. Don't ask.
Pretty smile Rose-- if you look closely, you can see where she needs dental work. Poor girl. At least she'll have an even nicer smile next week-- she has an appointment to repair some of the damage on her front teeth.

Lacy insisted on doing her hair in curlers one Sunday before church.
And because I love embarrassing my kids (in the future that is)... potty pictures. Yea!

Right after her nap
Right before bedtime

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Date night!!!

Finally, Dave and I had our second date since Rose was born. It was a lot of fun! We ate out at Outback Steakhouse and spent a wad of money there. Then we wandered the mall for a while and I bought some awesomely cute clothes at Christopher & Banks, my favorite store. We ran into Dave's aunt Joni and her family while we were there. Finally, we got in to see the movie.

Unfortunately, it was so stupid we couldn't stand to watch it once the popcorn was gone. Good thing the movie tickets were complimentary. We saw "Meet the Spartans." I kept waiting for a point or a punchline or something to keep it interesting, but after way too many homosexual references and a lot of pointless potty humor, we walked out. It wasn't our first choice, but all the movies we both wanted to see started too late for us (we needed to make sure we got home at a decent hour just in case the girls started falling apart and wouldn't go to bed), so this was a compromise movie because it started at a good time for us. There were a couple funny parts-- it was hilarious when the Spartans linked arms and skipped to the battle ground singing "I Will Survive" and Dave and I both really enjoyed the stepping and breakdancing, but other than that, the movie pretty much stunk. I guess you have to be a teenager to appreciate the type of humor in that movie, though I have to say no teenager of mine will be allowed to see that type of movie.

After Dave got a haircut, we decided to trek on home to make sure the girls got to bed. Unfortunately, Lacy and Rose both refused to go to bed, so we had to get them to that point. Hopefully tomorrow's stake conference won't be terrible because of it! I think we'll hang in the Primary room instead of in the chapel/gym. Otherwise, I don't think we'll be able to get through it. They both need baths and their hair washed. Hopefully nobody will notice they're stinky, because I think they won't have time for a bath tomorrow morning!

Last night, after Lacy went to bed, Dave ran up to Spanaway to pick up a toddler bed for Lacy. It came with princess and Dora sheets! It was a good deal and came with a mattress, so we decided to get it. It is totally cute, but a lot bigger than we thought! We got it to set up in our room, so Lacy would have somewhere to sleep besides our bed. And because we are paranoid about our children's safety, we decided to keep her in our room! I know, I know-- a little over-the-top, no? Anyway, Dave put her in the bed last night, and this morning, she woke up, "I'm in a princess bed!" She was so excited! Hopefully the novelty won't ware off for a long time, because I'd like her to stay in her own bed. At least most of the time, anyway. It's nice having a little extra space to move around. And, now that it's 2008 and it's okay for me to get pregnant (not that we're trying, mind you), we needed to clear up a little extra room in the bed. You know, just in case. So Lacy won't feel kicked out if and when a new sibling comes around. Of course, that could be in 4 or 5 years still, so it might be a moot point. Or it could be in 1 year. Who knows? All I know is, Dave is considering buying a (gulp) mini van, so it might not be too far off. And I am turning 30 this month, so the clock is ticking!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Woes of a Potty Trained Toddler

Some would argue that there are many benefits to having your young toddler potty trained, as my 20 month old daughter Rose is-- not having to change poopy diapers, less laundry to do and/or fewer diapers to buy, and, did I mention? No poopy diapers to change. While I appreciate all the many benefits that come from early potty training, there are a few drawbacks.

For one, she can't speak very well yet. So she relies on banging on the door, whining until I take notice, or taking off her pants to let me know she needs to go. Since she relies a lot on getting my attention to take care of her toileting needs, she has accidents frequently. Sometimes two a day on a bad day. Sometimes we don't have any at all, but frequently we have at least one accident per day. Not a big deal, she's still learning. I don't mind cleaning up after accidents if it means no more diapers for me to deal with.

Lately she's taken it upon herself to take care of her toileting needs on her own. This means I will very often find her sitting on the potty in the dark of the bathroom, alone. This is usually a great thing!

I decided to take up an exercise routine today. While I was doing my yoga, Rose got into the one cabinet that she's allowed to get into. She got out the nesting plastic mixing bowls and played with them. Next thing I know, I see her with her pants down, sitting on the largest bowl while I'm bent over in a downward dog.

And she didn't just go #1, either.

So, I'm just trying to look at the positives here. She's now so reliable that she's essentially bathroom independent at 20 months old! Yea! But it's really hard to overlook the fact that she used my mixing bowl. Gross.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Nacho Curse

It seems as though every single time I make myself a nice, nighttime snack of nachos, my sweet little Rose wakes up. And not only does she wake up, it takes her five times as long to settle back down and go to sleep. So while my nachos sit on the stove getting cold, I sit nursing her back to sleep. For what seems an eternity.

Tonight was no exception. I shredded some cheddar, topped the chips with it on a baking sheet, and no sooner had they come out of the broiler, I heard crying. It's like that every single time. Why, oh why, must she ruin my nachos every time? Perhaps she senses the satisfaction I get from making the nachos, and must wake up to keep me from my delicious snack. Perhaps she wishes to have some for herself. Perhaps it is all just a terrible coincidence. Whatever it is, I will no longer be making nachos after she goes to bed. It is far too risky an endeavor.