Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That was a good weekend

Too often our weekends are spent running errands, getting things done. This weekend was different. We decided to take our Saturday and just spend time together and splurge on some treats, and it was sweet.

First we went out to do a photoshoot. I'm still working on the pics from it but I have a couple.

It was colder outside than we had anticipated. Lana wasn't thrilled about it.

but Kaya and Zoe were co-operative

and I still caught some with Lana

After the photos we went to a kid's consignment sale where they bought toys with some saved up allowance and I got them a couple items of clothing and got myself some nursing clothes, which I'm thrilled with! We enjoyed ourselves.

We then did something we don't do very often anymore (used to do all the time!) - we went out to eat. Nothing fancy, just a subway but it was great fun. Glenn sat up in a high chair and nibbled on bread and we all laughed at how difficult it is for us to all squeeze in to a booth together as our family grows. It was intimate and sweet. And we all enjoyed the food.

All day we had been telling the kids they were going to have a "treat" later in the day, but didn't tell them what it was. They knew there was some nice surprise in store but they didn't know what. After we had eaten it was time to head out to the "treat". They were guessing and getting excited in the car on the way there. Then as soon as they saw "Edgewood Theater" as we pulled into the parking lot, they started squealing with delight. They asked what we were going to watch, and we told them, "monster vs alien" and they errupted in "YAY we get to see SUSAN!!" They were excited.

We all enjoyed the movie, but for me, by far the best part was this trailer:

I can not wait to see this movie. I can't express how much!

Kaya later told me, "This is the best day in my whole life!".

We picked up Uncle Doug on the way home and had fun with him, watching Sarah Jane and sharing laughs. It was a lot of fun. I hope we have many more weekends just like it.

I heart faces - pouts and pets

This week at I heart Faces the challenge is "pouting".
I looked out this one of Kaya, who was fed up with me taking photos of her.

And this week they have a Pets category. This is George the cat. He wasn't officially our pet, he was a stray who used to come sleep on our porch at the last house we lived in. We really wanted to take him in as our own but we weren't allowed cats in the rented house. So he lived on the porch swing and hung out with the kids all day in the yard. We fed him and gave him drinks and treats. We loved him. Then one day he just never came back. Maybe he found a home, maybe something worse happened. I'll never know. But we looked out for him and listened for him. We loved George.

Check out the other awesome entries

Friday, March 27, 2009

If a little laughter is good for the soul

..then our souls are all set for a good while.

I made some double chocolate and pumpkin muffins for dessert today. Everyone was very keen, the girls were watching the oven timer count down while voicing their excitement at full volume. As soon as the muffins were done cooking, they were on the plate at the table, and half had vanished.

Zoe found hers too hot, so she asked her Daddy to blow on it. He's not a conventional kind of guy, he likes to do things his own way; the more entertaining the better. So he opted to cool it down by chucking it in the air repeatedly, much to the amusement of the kids. When he was satisfied that it had sufficiently reduced in temperature, he gave it one last toss then offered it to Zoe and suggested, "try that".

Which she interpreted as "try that", as in, try the trick I just performed. So she did. She threw it over her shoulder and we all erupted in fits of laughter while she looked around, bemused. She did enjoy the audience, so after Lana retrieved it for her, she decided to try it again. This time, it flew high in the air, went over her shoulder and landed right on Turtle's high chair tray, perfectly within his reach! We couldn't have done that if we tried and practiced for a week. His eyes instantly got all big and he started wolfing it down, like sweet manna from Heaven.

Here he is enjoying his gift from above. (please excuse the background noises - it sounds horrible, like someone is being tortured, but they were actually playing a game and were all quite happy)

I was having a bad day yesterday

Poor Zoe had the pukes and had been up all night, Turtle is teething and the older two were fighting all day. I was feeling really frustrated.

As I was calming down, drinking a beer and cooking a meal, I overheard Kaya consult with her Daddy about a computer game she was playing, where she's a teen girl and she has to keep her well maintained. I heard Rene tell her,

"Your relationships are low, your hygiene is low and your learning is low. You need to get out and talk to people, have a bath and go to school"

I couldn't help but giggle to myself at the accuracy of the statement.

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing everything wrong and everyone hates me and I'm ruining my kids, and I'd be best to just ship them off and have a break. But today has been a better day and I'm loving having them near and watching them grow and learn. I guess I'm growing and learning along the way too.

My silly hair

I thought I should say something publicly to explain my hair. It seems I've been freaking some people out, when they come to visit and don't expect me to appear the way I do.

See, I have 3 hair pullers in the family. Lana likes to twist her own hair, but if she gets the chance, she especially enjoys snuggling up beside me and twisting my hair. Zoe also seems to have developed the twist mummy's hair gene. She does her own hair occasionally but not very much, mostly, it's mum's. And recently Glenn has jumped on the bandwagon too. Not much he loves more than scooping up a huge fistful of my hair and yanking on it while trying to shovel it in his mouth.

Of course, I'm glad to be a comfort to them. But it flippin' hurts. And I get this aggressive feeling when my hair gets pulled. It's like the red flag to the bull thing.

2 years ago I tried to tame the hair pulling by cutting my hair short. Sounds like a good idea.

Problem was, it looked really stupid. Plus, I feel sort of naked with short hair. It doesn't feel right.

I don't like to mess with my hair. I prefer the natural, witchy look. Just leaving it all messy and tangling up over my shoulders. But I needed to try to get it out of the kids' reach so I tried a few ways of wearing it. I tried a plain old pony tail. But it annoys me. The hair band pulls at my hair and my head doesn't feel flexible enough with a pony tail. I tried a french braid but I suck at them and they keep falling out, plus it makes my head look taller.

So recently I've been pulling my hair into two braided piggy tails. Lana says, "Mum, you look beautiful. You look like a little girl".

I know, I look like an overgrown girl scout. I look ridiculous. Yes, I wear it like this in public too. But ya know what, it's so comfortable. It doesn't get tangled in my diaper bag strap, or in my camera strap, the kids can play with it and it doesn't hurt. It just works. So get used to it.

Also, sorry for all the scary photos of me. I've been playing with the webcam. A girl's allowed to have a little fun right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My boy has started solid foods

And his diapers are a testament to that. Gone are the sweet days of wiping cheese sauce off a tiny baby bottom. Now we're officially onto the dunking diapers down the loo and sloshing them around to try to shake the solid bits off. Oh joy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prayers for this baby

And their family.

Prayers for Stellan

Click on the pic above to visit their blog and read their story. I just discovered it today. This precious baby is their miracle baby and is in need of prayers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It's so hard to make a decision when you're 2 years old.

I had just finished changing Zoe's diaper and she was fighting me when I tried to put her trousers (no I don't call them "pants" yet, that means underpants in Scotland and I can't bring myself to call them that) on. So eventually I gave up and said "ok, you can keep your trousers off".

As soon as I said that, she decided she wanted them on after all, but then when I agreed to put them on her, she changed her mind. And it went on like this for quite some time. As I was crouching down to help her (in front of a laundry basket of clean clothes and a pile of stinky ones - sorry about catching that on camera) I noticed my flip was right there in arms reach, so I figured I'd capture her temper tantrum. I know, it seems cruel, but she was doing it anyway, and it makes memories...

After I pressed stop she fought with me for a bit about whether she wanted a hug or not, but eventually agreed to one and we snuggled on the couch beside Turtle, and within 2 minutes she was laughing and bouncing away as normal. Ahhh 2s.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Led Solids

When Kaya was a baby, the advice was to start solids at 4 months old. I think we waited a week or so after she turned 4 months, and by then everyone around me seemed to think she was going to starve to death. So I started her on baby rice. Yuck. Have you ever tasted that stuff? It's disgusting, processed, tastes horrible, runny, much less healthy than breastmilk, and babies usually don't even know what to do with it.

She ate it, but it took a long time to get it in her, and she cried a bit. It would have been much faster to just pick her up and put her to the breast. In fact, that's what some of the advice at the time said; if baby gets frustrated, take a half time break and breastfeed them, then give them some more when they feel calm and their tummies are filled.

It all went completely against my natural instincts. She did ok with it, and we eventually got her onto fruits and veg. I must admit, I really enjoyed using my Annabel Karmel books to make up my own healthy baby purees, and I felt like mum of the year. But looking back, I realize now there's a much better way to go about it.

It seems God figured out the baby weaning process far before we ever did. He's built it into us to know how, what and when to eat if we are left to do it in our own time. Baby led solids is all about letting your baby eat when they want to, skipping on the frustrations of spoon feeding purees and letting them skip to finger foods and self feeding. Contrary to what you might think, it's actually been shown to reduce risk of choking.

Gill Rapley from UNICEF conducted research, backed by the World Health Organization, which concluded that the baby puree stage is unnecessary. Previous research had found that introducing solids before 6 months could be harmful to baby's health, and after 6 months there is no need for pureed food. The benefits of child led solids include better chewing skills, reduced risk of choking and improved motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.

Read a news article,
a blog post,
another article or listen to a discussion for more fascinating information on the topic.

Glenn is 6 months now, and right on queue, he decided it was time to start solid foods. We were eating lunch, and he started fussing, so Daddy picked him up and sat him on his lap while he ate. For the past few weeks Turtle has been watching us eat, while he drools and pretends to chew. He's been building up to this for a while. And Saturday was the big day. As Daddy was eating a banana, Turtle yanked it out of his hands and started chomping down. He knew exactly what to do, like a pro.

Of course I ran for the camera.

So we've started letting him sit in the high chair at meal times, and giving him some finger foods to play with.

This morning was the first try with a spoon. It's all just experimental right now, figuring out textures and playing around. I may have scarred Lana for life when she walked in on me squirting breast milk into a bowl of porridge for her baby brother this morning. But it made the porridge nice and creamy, and Turtle didn't seem to mind.

He didn't quite know what to do with it at first..

But he figured it out eventually...

What a big boy. Where is the time going?

I heart faces - no flash

I made seventh place last week! Yay! There are hundreds of people who enter these contests and I've entered 3 times and have made the top ten twice already. How lucky! Thanks for all the congrats.

This week's challenge is "no Flash". Join in here. I very rarely ever use flash anyway. I much prefer natural light.

So I figured I'd just chose a recent photo that I like. I took this one of Lana last week.

And I'll do the adult one again too. I don't take a whole lot of adult photos, but here's one from a wedding. I love backlight/sunflares. It gives a bit of a heavenly feel.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fix it Friday

I figured I'd join in with the I<3Faces fix it Friday thing, where you all take the same photo and play around with it in your photo editing software, then share the results and the process.

It seems everyone's all about actions these days, and I'm just behind the times. I don't really use them. I mean, I make my own actions and use them, but they're mostly little functions, like opening a curves layer, or apply a sharpen filter. It's to save me time clicking extra buttons. I do have one that converts to black and white. Otherwise I do everything manually. Maybe I should start thinking about getting in on the whole action thing, I'm just a bit snobbish about making the whole thing be my own work. There are some awesome actions out there though, and it probably would improve my photos...

Anyway, here's my edit. (it's a cute boy called Weston, I don't know him)

Here's the original.

The process:

I started with curves. I always make an adjustment layer for my curves, so I can tweak it later if I need. I made a few curves layers, to gradually brighten and keep the details dark.

Then I used a curve layer to reduce the red on his face. I brought down the red of the whole photo, then applied a mask to the curve layer and masked off the whole layer, then painted back in the face part with a brush set at 40% opacity. That made the face a little less red (it had become really red with the lightening earlier)

Next I did some work on the eyes. I made a new layer via copied merged layers, so I could work on it without losing my other layers incase I needed to go back. I took a soft brush, set to multiply mode at about 40% and zoomed in real close, and started painting with black (or v.dark brown) around the pupils to make them larger.

Then I took a brush and painted some light grey/blue to enhance the catchlights. I selected the eyes using quick mask and applied a smart sharpen to them.

Then I zoomed back out and flattened my image then made a copy of the bgnd layer to work on. (oh, I made a history capture first, in case I'd need to go back later).

First, I used the healing brush to take out skin blemishes. Then, I applied a dust and scratched to this new layer, then masked it out and airbrushed back in the face and neck, but not details like eyes and lips. I repeated the process with a box blur. This all softened the skin tones. I also made a box blur layer which I set to 10% opacity, on soft light, to increase contrast.

Lastly, I burned in a vignette around the edges (using the burn tool), and burned in his shirt a little, to make it stand out more. As one final tweak, I applied a new curves layer over the top to slightly reduce the contrast and improve color (added a little yellowish highlight and slightly blue shadow)

And that was it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's not just me, right?

He genuinely is the cutest little boy ever, right? It's not just my imagination...

I'm so in love with this guy.

Breakfast ideas

We're trying to get away from eating processed cereals before they kill us.

We were starting to get a little fed up of oatmeal and pancakes, so I tried some new things. They turned out dee-lish so I thought I'd share.

Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl

Based on this recipe but modified to suit. Also, I made it in the crock pot so it was ready in the morning. I'll be making this again for sure. It made loads of leftovers to just throw in the micro.

Strawberry Panzanella

Yum! From this recipe and it was a huge hit! Made with homemade bread. It becomes sort of candied in the oven, nice and crispy too, and the strawberries on top are so yum.

Strawberry and Mango Smoothies

Strawberries, mango, yogurt and honey. You could do it with tofu and syrup to make it vegan. We all loved it.

Feel free to fire any other vegetarian breakfast suggestions at me. We also do scrambled egg, garlic mushrooms, beans and roasted tomatoes sometimes. And banana toasties. And of course, waffles and french toast.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Breastfeeding in public

At 1.30 today, there will be a public hearing for bill LB 499 at Nebraska capitol building. You can watch it live here

If we get it passed, the new law would state,

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast-feed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."

Currently, there's nothing to stop a women from breastfeeding in public, but there's also no law to protect our rights.

My two cents worth on the topic (this is MY soapbox, remember); I think we need to have more exposure to breasts in their correct context - nourishing a baby/young child. Unfortunately, the only time most people see a boob these days, in America, is on the top magazine rack or a billboard in Florida, or an obnoxious Internet pop up. This is just reinforcing the suggestion that breasts are only for sexual pleasure and therefore feeding a baby with them is yucky or strange.

I disagree with the well intentioned folks who offer, "breastfeeding is a beautiful intimate experience between mother and child and should be kept discrete". Thanks for trying to be supportive, but it is not a private, intimate function. It's a practical way to nourish your offspring, and should not be considered more private than feeding the baby a bottle. Breastfeeding is a fantastic way to help our next generation to be healthy, lower the rates of obesity, and raise the IQ level. It's great for humanity. It's great for making our children feel secure and confident.

Sending us to the public bathroom to feed our babies (who in the heck wants to eat in there?) is only going to reduce the number of women willing to breastfeed, and at the same time, it will further reinforce the squeamish, sexualized taboo this culture has created about breasts. I think the more boobs we see, the merrier. It will help our daughters to grow up in a breastfeeding friendly environment, and to learn how to do it, so they won't feel so lost when they have their own babies and begin to feed them. It will help our sons have a healthy respect for the female body, as a nurturing, nourishing body and not just a sexual object.

If you're in Nebraska, why not write to your senator and let him know how you feel about this issue?

I make milk. What's your superpower?

Interview with kids

I posted this to facebook, and thought it might be nice to post it here too

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Kaya: Good morning
Lana: I love you
Zoe: No

2. What makes mom happy?
Kaya: When I give you treats
Lana: When I hug you and kiss you
Zoe: You

3. What makes mom sad?
Kaya: If I ever go away from you
Lana: When I be bad to you
Zoe: Sad (then did the asl sign for sad)

4..What makes your mom laugh?
kaya: If I take funny pictures of things, like Zoe
Lana: When um....I do crazy things
Zoe: ha ha ha ha ha

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Kaya: Her mum and dad kept saying, "we tease you because we love you"
Lana: When you were playing with your brother
Zoe: No, I'm a girl, princess

6. How old is your mom?
Kaya: 27
Lana: 27
Zoe: no, I can't

7. How tall is your mom?
Kaya: Daddy is just a little bigger than you
Lana: You're a bit like yogurt
Zoe: I no know

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Kaya: Spend time with your children
Lana: Spending time with me and Glenn
Zoe: Thing to do, it's broken (her necklace broke)

9. What does your mom do when you are not home?
Kaya: Lie in bed, doing the laptop. Sometimes get up to eat
Lana: I don't like going outside to play
Zoe: Daddy's go to work

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Kaya: Because you were really good at doing pictures
Lana: For being good at smiling
Zoe: Glasses

11. What is your mom really good at?
Kaya: Making meals for us
Lana: Giving Glenn milk
Zoe: Why not?

12 What is your mom not good at?
Kaya: Being brave when you see bugs or when you go to the zoo with crocodiles
Lana: of being afraid of spiders. A spider's on you mummy!
Zoe: macaroni, banana.

13. What does your mom do for a job
Kaya: Do pictures
Lana: Keeping us safe
Zoe: Ponies

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Kaya: vegetarian stuff
Lana: lick
Zoe: I eat! I hungy.

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Kaya: I'm proud of you for making lots of food every day
Lana: um..kittens. I don't want to do this one. And zebras.
Zoe: huh?

16. If your mom were a cartoon character who would she be?
Kaya: Sarah Jane
Lana: Sarah (from land before time)
Zoe: Strawberry shortcake

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Kaya: We have special times
Lana: play together
Zoe: together, mummy

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Kaya: We both like harry potter and sarah jane, and at least I like Dr who and daddy watches it with me, even though it is scary sometimes.
Lana: I think you have the same ears as me.
Zoe: no

19. How are we different?
Kaya: You have dark dark dark brown hair and I have brownish blonde hair. And your eyes are different from my eyes.
Lana: Chin
Zoe: a poop

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Kaya: Because I just know. And you say it to me all the time. And you do stuff for me, and get stuff for me, and watch movies with me, and once you let me play your laptop.
Lana: Because you sing my song
Zoe: a poop

21. Where is your moms favorite place to go?
Kaya: to that band you like to listen to.
Lana: the tent
Zoe: a poop (I'd better go change her!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Steps towards sustainability

I think it's wise with the recession and uncertainty of future, to take steps towards becoming sustainable. It's my dream and goal to one day have my own wee solar and wind powered homestead with a pet goat, egg laying chickens and an awesome vegetable and herb garden.

But for now, in our wee cramped up ex base housing 3 bedroom rented, where we're not allowed to plant in the ground, we're planning to start with a container vegetable garden this year. We've bought (too many) seeds and started some seedlings. We don't really know what we're doing, and I already think I ruined some pepper seedlings by not having the soil warm enough. But we're giving it a go, and whether it all turns out well or not, we're enjoying the process.

We're having a go at strawberries, loofas (for sponges, not sure if it will turn out as they need 120 day growing season but it's worth a try), tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, salad greens, summer squash peas and beans. Oh and some flowers (some edible, others just to attract beneficial insects) and some herbs. And the girls are having a go at a venus fly trap. Seeldings don't look so happy just now though, for the venus fly trap. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I heart faces - green

This week's I <3 faces challenge is - Green. Join in here

Here's Zoe (last year) for the kids entry.

And this week I figured I'd throw in an adult's entry too. I took this at a civil war re-enactment, which was fun.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Scottish word of the week - 13

PEELYWALLY (pee-lee WAH-lee) .adj
meaning pale, desaturated or off color.

One might look peelywally while travelling on a bumpy bus journey or shortly before puking.
Here's Rene

Friday, March 13, 2009

She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak.

I've been locked inside your heart-shaped pizza for a week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Looky what I can do

Not bad for 5 months old!

Budding artist

Zoe loves to draw. The off white walls in the house just look like giant canvases to her.

When you hear a scribbling sound from the other room while you nurse your youngest, you might want to worry a little. When you hear your 2 year old proudly exclaiming, "WOOK! I MADE IT!!!!", you definitely want to worry.

On my way to the livingroom, I saw this wall

and this wall

and this wall

And then I made it to the livingroom.

Of course my first thought was, "where's my camera", and it was funny. It was felt tip pen, it wiped off easily and Kaya was keen to help.

However, when she did the same thing the next day, with crayon, it was not as funny (though she thinks it absolutely was).

Ah well, at least she's got the creative gene. And have I mentioned before that she's left handed? I think I have. I think it's pretty cool. Her dad is lefty as is my dad.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Um......Zoe's birthday

So sorry it's taken me so long to post about it. I wanted to wait until I had the pics on the computer, and it's taken me an age to get that done.

Anyway she had a great time turning 2. She got straight into her presents as soon as we woke up. She got clothes and a ride-bike-toy thing from Grammy and Grandpa (which she LOVES, thank you!), and 2 books, an elmo toy and a toy keyboard.

Then we had birthday cake for breakfast!

Chocolate cake with pink cream cheese frosting. I made the natural pink color by emptying the juice from a can of beets onto a stove and reducing it for 5 minutes or so, then adding it to my frosting. And it was sweetened with honey. Healthier than all them E numbers and refined sugars, and it tasted awesome.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

It was a snowy, flipping freezing day on Zoe's birthday, the 28th Feb. A high of 18 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -8 Celsius, and I doubt it even got that high. It was cold. So we decided a trip to the zoo was in order.

And I'm telling you people, this is the way to do the zoo! There's no point in ever going on a stinking hot day, when it's busy and you have to stand in line and buy bottles of water, and push past people. The place was deserted other than one coach load of Asian tourists. We could totally go at our own pace and stop to stare at the animals for as long as we wanted. I know the whole zoo thing is laced with ethical debate, but I do value the educational aspect for my kids.

We had a blast. Next time we go in the winter, we'll leave nice and early so we can spend the whole day there. It was a fun day. There are loads of indoor places to go and see the animals in the warmth. We had to totally strip down in the desert dome, where we completely forgot it was still winter.

Fun day for sure. I hope this collage displays ok for y'all.


My kids love telling jokes. Or at least their versions of them.

I remember years ago when we lived in Scotland, Kaya telling a room full of people, "knock knock"
"who's there?" we replied.
"I stepped on a rainbow!"
And that was it. We all laughed.

In the car the other day Kaya and Lana were telling jokes again. Kaya's starting to get the hang of it now. Here are a couple I can remember:

Q. What do you get when you leave a sick cat out in the cold?
A. A catsickle

Q. What did the tree say when the cat climbed up it?
A. Nothing, it's a tree!

Lana still doesn't quite get it. Her attempt went like this:

"knock knock"
"who's there?"
"kitten who"
"kitten mattin. Mattin means the kitten jumped up on the towel in the bathroom with it's paws!"
And then she erupts into laughter.

She did have one sweet joke though:
Q. What did the heart say to the brain?
A. I love you brain.

How sweet is that?

And Zoe had a go too. She starts yelling from the back seat,
"KNOCK KNOCK!!!!!!!"
"who's there?"
"ah boo boo who?"
"BOO BOO BOO BOO!!!!!!!!!!!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mastitis and natural remedies

I woke up on Saturday, and noticed I was feeling a little fluish and my breasts felt rather full and hot. The day went badly, with the bunnies dying and all, and by the end of the day I was feeling really horrible.

I missed church on Sunday and got progressively worse through the day. Fever of 104, aches, chills, worse headache than I've ever ever had (and I've had some bad ones), double vision, an area of blurred vision, my right breast red, sore with a blockage and a lump, stiff neck, and just generally feeling completely miserable. I tried taking hot baths, but I cried as I got in and out, just walking to the bathroom, and being wet while having the chills, it was not a fun feeling. I've never felt so ill, ever. My whole body felt bruised, like I'd had a beating. By this point I was certain I had mastitis.

Antibiotics supposedly clear this right up, but I didn't want to go that route for a number of reasons, not least of all that I couldn't stand to even get in the car never mind wait in a waiting room or fill in paperwork. I couldn't leave bed.

So after some internet research we found that raw garlic is a powerful antibiotic, without the side effects prescription antibiotics carry. So I've been taking two cloves at a time, chopped into about 5 pieces each, swallowed like pills with orange juice and followed up with a banana, to help with the taste. I don't even like garlic. They're easy enough to swallow, without gagging, but I do smell of garlic now. Even my milk smells of garlic. I'm sweating a lot with the fever and my sweat smells of garlic. It's pretty gross.

I'm also using hot compresses and massage and a breast pump to try to clear the blockage. Turtle is my 5th baby and this is my first real case of mastitis so I'm pretty lucky.

I've read that another good thing is to nurse your baby on all fours (called the cow position); it's a little awkward and undignified, but it makes use of gravity to help drain the breast. Just try to resist the urge to say "mooo". I tried but my body was too achy to stay in that position for long.

I've broken my fever now, I think the garlic really has helped with that. And as the fever left, so did the double and blurred vision and the dizziness. But the blockage is still there. I'm going to keep working on it. But yay for (stinky) garlic.

Creative Cropping - I <3 faces

I made 4th place last week! On my first week joining in. I was chuffed. (Is that a Scottish word too? sometimes I can't tell anymore)

So here's week 9. Creative cropping. Join in here (you know you want to)

Here's my entry

And this was the before crop image.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

They all died

All baby bunnies died. We're devastated.
It turns out, they were all peanut bunnies, meaning they all had the double dwarfing gene. Mom and Dad bunnies are both dwarfs. Peanut bunnies don't usually live more than a few days. This was day 3.

Neddy was such a good mommy, she took such good care of her babies. She's looking dejected now. My heart breaks for her.

Rest In Peace "Sparky"

It turns out Neddy, our mommy bunny, actually had 4 kittens, not 3 as we previously thought. She seems like a wonderful mommy, but the cage is just not good enough, and whenever we go in and check, there seem to be baby bunnies on the floor. They manage to escape through the gaps in the bars.

I've been losing sleep over these bunnies, and praying for their lives. They are so precious and we are so in love with them.

Today we lost a bunny. We called him, "Sparky". I went in to check and he was in the nest, already dead. He wasn't one who had been escaping. I think he might have been number 4 to have been born, he was weak from the start, and he just died in the nest. It's so heart breaking. I removed him, and Neddy keeps looking like she's trying to find him.

His body was so tiny and so perfect. We buried him and I cried. Zoe kept looking at him and saying, "aw cute. Aw sleeping". :(

We had tried so hard to patch up the gaps in the cage, with cardboard and pillowcases and hay. But these feisty baby bunnies kept finding a way out. I hadn't wanted to relocate the bunnies because I didn't want to spook the mother, but we finally decided it was the least of two evils.

So we made a transfer. We moved the bedding and mommy's hair, and the nest and the food and water into the cage Daddy had been in (Daddy aka Nicky, had been moved to another room), after cleaning out the cage of course. Then we let Neddy have a sniff around in the new cage before placing the babies in beside her. Then we put the cage in the place her other cage had been in and put the blanket over. I was surprised to see Neddy stood over one of her kittens right away and started nursing him. I had read they only nurse them at dusk and dawn. She doesn't seem as nervous around me at all anymore.

I hope I've done the right thing. I hope they thrive in their new environment and that we don't lose any more.

I think I'm projecting a lot onto these bunnies. I'm projecting my own maternal instincts, and the fact that I've lost a baby to the cruelty of nature. And I'm projecting some sentiments about my children's souls. Rene and I have found a bunch of old friends from our Youth Fellowship and Powerpoint days on facebook, and have found many of them are no longer Christians. There was a guys from Back To The Bible giving statistics on Children who were raised in Church. Apparently 2 out of 10 remain walking with Jesus in adulthood. What a scary statistic. Having my baby die was hard, it hurts. But I know she's in Heaven. If I were to lose my kids souls, that they turned away and ended up eternally seperate from God, I can't stand the thought. I pray fervently for them every day that they'll choose Jesus when they've grown.

I think I feel like I'm desperate to defy statistics and have my kids all grow up in Christ, and I'm depserate to defy the statistic (dunno how reliable it is) that many bunnies lose their whole first litter. So I'm projecting and that's why the baby's death is hurting me so bad. Maybe. I dunno, but it is seriously affecting me.

What's the deal with that?

Yes, I did notice, but thanks for telling me in case I was so stupid I was completely unaware of my own activities.

I don't like vista.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vomit, testifying and new babies

We're having a very adventure filled day today.

Last night, right after drama class, in the car ride home, Kaya started complaining of an upset tummy. As soon as we got home she went straight to our bed and puked all over it. Glenn had just spent the past 2 days puking up his guts, but he only eats milk so the vomit was easier to clean. Thankfully he didn't dehydrate, he was still happy and alert and is now keeping everything down.

Kaya spent all night puking, and daddy was tending to her. In between tending to her, he was writing his testimony for today's hearing at the State Capitol. We're members of Nebraska Friends Of Midwives, an organization trying to increase access to midwifery in the State. We're trying to put through 3 bills and Rene will be testifying on the 3rd bill, which is one of allowing CNMs to attend homebirths in Nebraska (only Nebraska and Alabama don't allow this!) You can watch him testify live online through this link! He'll be in room 1510. It kicks off at 1.00 but I think he'll be on closer to 3.30-4 ish.

And this morning, at maybe 8.30, we had a bit of a homebirth in our own house. Kaya came rushing through to my bedroom, telling me her rabbits had babies! WHAT? Rene has been trying to tell me they are male and female and I guess I didn't believe him. So there are 3 baby bunnies. I separated the one I think is the male. Jeepers, I hope I'm right. Thankfully we had an extra cage for him.

I'm hoping and praying these babies are going to live. The mother had pulled fur, which I read is a good thing. I've placed a little box with nesting material in there, and I put the scattered babies inside. They were cold. I have a heater in the room. The mother seems protective, she stands over them if we go in the room. There is a blanket covering most of the cage, and I am keeping the kids out of the room, and trying to not go in there much. I've made sure the mom has plenty food and water. I'm trying to read all I can online about what the heck I need to do now.

These little babies are so darn adorable. Oh my gosh. They make these tiny little squeaks. I took a couple quick photos. They're not great quality, but I am trying to just stay out and not bother mommy bunny. She's our nervous bunny anyway, the one who's always been least friendly with people, and more timid. I know she needs space to feel safe. It's how I feel too, when I give birth. I don't want people's hands poking me or my babies, I just want space, peace and quiet, privacy and intimacy. Kind of appropriate that they were born on the day of the hearing.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. I've read a bunch online about the first litter usually all dying :( I hope that doesn't happen.