Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some highlights from April

What are you thinking of the new look? It has some errors that need fixed. I'm not sure I'm liking it, I might change it again real soon. (sorry Rene, who stayed up too late a couple of nights to figure out the CSS sheet to make the design work...)

I'm still working through some pics from April, but here are some of my fav so far.

I love this messy face shot of Z

See the rest at my smugmug page

Praise you in this storm

After viewing the movie I made for Stellan, a lady named Eva asked me if I would make one for another baby, named Kayleigh.

So I've spent the past couple of days reading the blog about Kayleigh while collecting images and text for the movie, and praying that God would show me the right song to use.

This is an incredible little girl. Due to placenta issues, her parents were told she wouldn't survive in utero. Her mother got severe pre eclampsia and Kayleigh was born weighing only 1lb. That was 10 months ago. She has since been through many ups and downs, and even open heart surgery.

Unfortunately a recent surgery has left her severely brain damaged and the Drs say her days are numbered. Please pray for this family.

I came across many gut wrenching, beautiful songs that I desired to use for their video, but as I prayed about it, I felt this, albeit mainstream, song was more suited to this couple and their story. They never give up hope, even at this stage they are praying for a miracle.

Please join with the others who are praying for this baby and her family.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Real Milk

I'm Lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means I drink milk, eat dairy and eggs. The most convincing argument I've heard towards going vegan is that buying dairy is supporting the meat industry. Which I don't want to do. Maybe one day I'll take the plunge and go vegan, who knows.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about dangers of homogenized milk (gotta love an article that begins: "a human is not a fish") and about the benefits of raw milk. Now, this is a highly controversial subject and you will find strong arguments on either side. You know by now that I am a fan of natural and I tend to think that God knew what he was doing in the first place, so going back to nature is often the best way.

Of course there is a place for technology and we've learned a lot through science. One such thing we've learned is how to keep equipment sterile and avoid contamination of our food, which is why raw milk from a safe, sensible source, which is careful to consider food handling hygiene is much safer than raw milk used to be. It's not like you'd imagine, squeezing from the udder into an old bucket, stopping to wipe sweat off your brow then go back to milking.

Rene and I were thrilled to find a local source for grass fed, safe, organic raw milk. There's nothing like being able to see where and how the milk is made, and being able to pet the cows that produce the stuff you pour into your breakfast cereal.

(They usually are out in the pasture, btw. They don't live in this pen.) And you get to look into their eye and see that they are being well treated, they are healthy and treated with herbal medication where appropriate.

And we recently found that our friend a few miles north of us, has truly free range egg laying chickens. They are not fenced in by anything. They eat organic grain, and peck bugs from the ground. The eggs are delicious, such dark, strong, yellow yolks. And I love how non-uniform they are. All different shades, shapes and sizes. How do they even make the eggs so uniform in the chicken farms? I don't think I want to know.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I heart faces - reflections

I wanted to take a special photo for this week's I heart faces photography challenge, which is REFLECTIONS. But since Zoe and Glenn have pink eye and Kaya and Lana have sniffles, no one is really looking their best for photos today.

So I dug out this one of Zoe from Last June.

Click on the image below to join in the challenge.

Signing milk

Turtle can do the milk sign. He signs milk when he's nursing, when he wants to nurse, and when he just wants a drink of water (hasn't quite figured out the difference yet). Here he is signing milk for a drink of water (remember he has half Rene's genes)

I don't know what the weird breath holding thing was all about. That was the only time he's done that. He was just being silly I guess.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby Stellan

I've mentioned this baby before. His name is Stellan and his mommy has a very popular blog and a massive twitter following.

She is a crunchy Christian mother, who writes beautifully and shares many wonderful stories and thoughts through the blogosphere. During her pregnancy with Stellan (she also has 3 other kids, 4 and under), she was told her baby had a heart condition and wouldn't survive to be born. She continued with the pregnancy and people all over the world prayed hard. And her baby was born, apparently perfect, apparently healed. Read his story here

But a month ago, his heart flipped into SVT again, and he's been in hospital since then, has flown to Boston with his mom (while she leaves behind her young children and husband back in MN) to have a surgery which was unsuccessful; meanwhile the world is praying, taking photos of his name, making news reports, buying bracelets and constantly checking for twitter updates in hopes that this sweet baby will pull through.

I heard a song on the radio today (technically yesterday, since it's after midnight now) and thought of Stellan. So I did what I do, and I made a video.
Warning, get a kleenex before you watch it.

Please pray for Stellan.

Friday, April 24, 2009

When I grow up

Of course, I believe it is my job as a mother, to encourage my children in whatever their endeavors. Whatever career path or life path they choose to follow, I want to be there to encourage them to do their best and serve God through it all.

It is fun though to speculate, based on their personalities, what I can imagine they might choose to do for a living when they reach adulthood. I will do so now.


Kaya is made for leadership. Whatever industry she will end up in, she will have to be the boss of it. That's for certain. Maybe she'll start a charity to help feed the hungry and poor (she has a heart for that), or maybe she'll be the president of a major corporation. Or perhaps she'll be a store manager. Whatever she's involved in, she'll be the boss. The leader. The big man.

She has organization skills. She likes to watch and make sure everyone is playing their part to perfection. She has been this way since she was a newborn, she'd hardly sleep because she was busy watching what was going on around her, judging it and making sure everything was going ok according to her plan.

She has the extrovert personality. She's not afraid to be pushy. She is extremely headstrong and determined. She quit sucking her fingers cold turkey at 4 years old when her grandmother offered her a trip to Disney if she's quit. She potty trained at 26 months, and has only ever had maybe 4 accidents ever in her life (and she had an infection at the time). She potty trained in one day. I don't think she's ever wet the bed. She decides something's right and she goes for it. And pity the fool who gets in her way.


Dear sweet Lana. My partner in crime. She's a peace lovin' tree hugger like her momma. She has a passion for helping the underdog. Lana has a unique perspective on the world. She sees things in ways that most of us could only hope to catch a passing glimpse of. She sees beauty in the ugliness.

She befriends a baby spider, because no one loves it, and she believes it has good intentions. She chooses a toy bat to be her favorite toy, and loves it all the more when it accidentally becomes deformed by being left on top of a lamp and getting melted. She finds one pod in amongst a whole park full of them, which stands out to her from amongst the rest. because it is rounder, or darker, or somehow it just connects with her spirit, and she takes it in and cares for it.

Lana is a story teller. She has imaginary friends galore; I can't keep track of them all. She knows them by name and knows their story and their idiosyncrasies, their families, their loves and hates. They are well developed characters and she is very attached to them. She takes time out to share her food with them, or hold the door open to make sure they all make it back inside before the storm starts.

Lana is fantastic at her school work. She doesn't require a lot of heavily structured learning, yet she's reading and writing and doing great with maths. She picks it up intuitively and without much coaching. She listens to how words sound and tells me how different combination of letters work together and help each other to make new sounds. She even has her own stories about why and how they work that way.

So Lana will be a writer. Not just any old writer. She'll be someone who changes lives with her writing. She'll reduce people to tears, make us see the world in a different light, and make us want to try harder to play our part.

And she'll probably donate all proceeds to a local cat rescue facility (a no kill one) while she stays home with her kids all day. She says she wants to be a mummy when she grows up.


If there was such a thing as a Professional Trouble Maker, that's what I'd put her down for. In lieu, I'll choose the next best thing - Zoe's going to be a politician.

She has the determination and leadership skill of Kaya, although slightly toned down. She is ever so slightly more introverted, though next to Lana she still seems like a socializing maniac. She's a fantastic communicator. She's been speaking in clear sentences since before turning 2. She expresses herself more than adequately, in fact very impressively (but I would think so, I'm her mum), through language.

She enjoys the limelight. When she's around a group of people and catches their attention she steals the show and runs with it. She loves to entertain.

She loves to stir up trouble. Getting her hands dirty with things she's not supposed to be touching (like today, I repotted some strawberry plants, then she uprooted them, so I repotted them again...and she uprooted them I repotted them AGAIN!). She loves to go against the advice of other people (like, Zoe don't touch that, it will fall. Or I don't think you should eat that before supper). Such qualities scream politician to me. I think she'd be a good fit for the job.


He makes people feel good. I've never met a person ever in my life who is as content and perfectly happy as this little guy. He never keeps a smile to himself, or holds back joy. He is a sheer delight to be around. And I hear it all the time. Whenever I take him out, I am guaranteed to have a handful of people say to me, "He is such a happy baby!".

He has been soooo easy to look after. Being around him is a privilege. I'm still watching his personality develop, but for now I'm going to guess that he'll be in some sort of position of making people feel good. Maybe a counselor or therapist, maybe a massage therapist or an entertainer. Maybe that teacher who every kid says was their favorite. Whatever he does, I know he'll be touching people as he does it, and his optimism will be rubbing off all around, and he'll help paint the world a more cheerful shade.

See more posts about the kids

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dr knows breast

Have you ever been given unwanted advice, and tried to smile and politely ask to pass the bean dip? Unwanted advice can be as annoying as an obnoxious bloke playing Come On Ilene continually on the duke box while you're out on what was supposed to be a romantic date (do rah do rah yeah). So this advice comes at you, unrequested, just when you were moseying along quite fine by yourself...I hope at the very least that the advice is good.

Photo by Alaa Hamed @

We should expect that the medical profession is all about encouraging breastfeeding....right? Especially considering all the health benefits associated with breastfeeding. It's natural to assume then that Drs, nurses, lactation consultants, pediatricians etc. should be all up to date with the latest and greatest breastfeeding information and advice....right?

Unfortunately, I have spoken with many women who feel they are not receiving good advice or encouragement from such professionals. I'm not trying to start a Dr bashing session here, as there are many wonderful health professionals who do an excellent work of promoting breastfeeding. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of bad advice going around. The worst thing is, we often find those in the medical profession to be intimidating and it can be difficult to overcome breastfeeding problems when we are faced with bad advice from those who should know better.

I think we need to address this issue; more breastfeeding education for Drs would be a fantastic start. To try to stop women hearing things like this:

Sarah: "With my first daughter; I had/have flat nipples and the "lactation nurse" took one look and informed me that I would never be able to nurse. I so wanted to go find that woman later, when I was tandem nursing."

Jane was asked how many ounces of breastmilk her baby was drinking at each feeding. She told the nurse that it was the oddest thing, but her breasts didn't come with ounce markings

Taylor: "When I first tried to breastfeed my son in the hospital, I was told by a nurse that I was too young to be able to produce milk, and that there was no point in trying. When I insisted on trying anyway, she rolled her eyes, stood there for a minute, and when I got him latched on (with my mom's help), she sighed, said, "Looks close enough" and walked out of the room."

Mary: "When Timmy was about 4 months old, I got a nasty case of mastitis, and called my doctor to get a prescription and the nurse who talked to me on the phone told me to make absolutely certain I DIDN'T nurse on that side at all until I'd seen the doctor and been on a prescription. I nursed anyway and told the doctor she needed to correct whoever was on the phone."

Barbara took her sick daughter in to see the Dr. The doctor sternly told her she had to stop nursing immediately, that it was the breastmilk which was causing her daughter's illness.
Turns out, her baby actually had a blocked intestine caused by the rotivirus vaccine which was later taken off the market.
She didn't stop nursing, they somehow figured it out, and her daughter is now perfectly fine.

Photo by Carin Araujo @

Julie's lactation consultant volunteered some advice: "Don't ever let your 10-month-old fall asleep at the breast. I let my first child do that, but I was wiser by the time I had my second."
Julie replies, "this is my fourth child, and I know what works for my family. I'm here for a prescription, not parenting advice"

A new mom was told to try to estimate how much breastmilk her newborn baby was taking at each feed, and to make sure it was close to 3 oz.

Gladys: "The psychiatrist I saw there told me I was a "horrible, selfish mother" for taking anti-depressants while breastfeeding. She told me to immediately wean, or she would call DFACS and have them take my baby away. There was no benefit to breastfeeding over bottlefeeding, and I could hold her the same way and have the same bond."

Well, there's exactly what a new mother with postpartum depression needs to hear!

Hazel's pediatrician told her that he "required" all of the children he saw to be weaned by 12 months because they shouldn't be allowed to ever ask to nurse. He also told her that the nutrients in breastmilk couldn't compare to baby cereal once babies hit 4 months, and that Hazel's son would fail to thrive if she didn't give it to him.

Francis: "I was told to pump and dump when I had surgery at 2 days postpartum.
Just how do you dump a *drop* of colostrum??"

Karen's pediatrician said that if she couldn't pump 32 oz in one day, she wasn't producing enough breastmilk. She told him, "I thought pumping was not a good indicator of breastmilk production." He said, "That's the only way to tell if a baby is getting enough."

I told my midwife what he said, and she said, "What? 32 oz? Does he think you are a cow?"

Gwen's doctor told her that she needed to wean her baby, because her monthly cycles hadn't returned.

Katherine: "One of my nurses in the hospital where I birthed, when I asked for breastfeeding help, told me I couldn't nurse until my milk "came in." She didn't seem to understand that colostrum was all he needed. I just told her I'd figure it out myself. Thank goodness I'd done a lot of reading..."

Wendy: "When my son was 9 months I went into the ER with a severe bladder infection and the Doctor there gave me a prescription. When I asked if it was a kind safe for breast feeding he said rudely "No, you've already breast fed for 9 months, that's enough. There are no benefits to breastfeeding after 9 months."

After getting over the shock of his rudeness (and a good cry) I asked him to find me a prescription that was safe."

Diane was told that she must be mistaken, she couldn't be breastfeeding her son because he was adopted...there was just no way. She replied, "Hmmm...that's funny. I have been for 2 years and he is thriving."

When Bridget's second daughter was just born, the doctor suggested that she might not have milk yet and that she might need to give formula. (Has he never heard of a thing called colostrum?)

Lynn's Dr told her that all infants need to be weaned at 4 months.

Debbie: "When I got pregnant with Milly, Anna was just barely a year old and still nursing about 5 times a day and a few times overnight. The PA at the OB's office informed me that I HAD to have Anna weaned within a week, or Milly would not get the nutrition she needed in my womb."

Abby: "The Lactation Consultant at the hospital had me in tears because she said that if my 37 week twins (who didn't stay awake for anything very long) didn't nurse for more than 10 min, then I couldn't "count" that as a nursing session"

Lucy was directly asked if her daughter was drinking cows milk at her 15mo check-up . She said no, but that she still nursed a lot. The Dr replied, "Well, you should consider weaning her soon. You know there's no real benefit at this age - it's mostly just water by now."
(Strange how this incredible milk, packed with nutrients, magically turns into very white looking water when your baby turns 15 months.)

A woman brought her baby with digestive issues to the Dr. The doc didn't look into the mother's diet, just labeled the baby as "allergic to breast milk" and recommended she switch to formula.

Natalie: "I don't know what class the Postpartum nurses around here took, but they all think you should apply grape jelly to the nipple, to entice the baby to nurse."

Jill: "The dumbest 'professional" advice I got was to make sure I waited long enough between feeding to "refill".. What's sad I believed it"

hangin out in the sunshine

sort of.

It's gorgeous out there. Truly.

This is what I'm missing out on. K and L are outside playing. Zoe woke up so snotted up and her eye was stuck together. And Turtle is coughing and sneezing. Plus, I am still on these pain killers and they knock me out big style. I get super drowsy. So I'm staying indoors today.

The air smells gorgeous, and we're still enjoying getting into the spirit of Summertime. This was from the webcam about 90 seconds ago.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Well, I missed this week's I heart faces

Because I was a wee bitty out of it yesterday, and I didn't get the chance on Monday.

This week was self portrait. The kids category was self portrait with a kid. If I had got there on time, I would have submitted this one, which I took of Turtle and myself at the Hyvee egg hunt. I love pics of him in the sling. He's so snuggly and content in there.

For those of you not in on the I <3 faces yet, go check it out. It's a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thanks for the love

You all made me smile. Thanks.

Anon, I wish I knew who you were, that was funny.
I hardly even remember making the video hehe. I don't mind having a laugh at my own expense. That's a good thing, right?

I'm enjoying the codeine now. I have stitches/sutures in 3 of my gums/cheeks, but not in the tooth that was sore, because it was decayed badly and sort of fell out easily I guess. It hurts in between doses of meds but is not too bad. I'm still pretty sleepy.

Rene's doing amazing with the kids, took them to a farm today and everything. He's the best ever. And he's been feeding the milk to Turtle from a cup, not a bottle, which makes me happy. He's gulping it down like a pro.

Some friends brought over soup and bread pudding for us! Thanks Matt and Annie. How very very kind.

Again with the I'm-so-blessed thing.

I'm home

I will regret this video later probably. I'm swollen and look really stupid.

I need ice cream

Those were Zoe's first words this morning. At first I thought she had been dreaming about ice cream, and it seemed like a sweet way to wake up. But then she started screaming, "I need bum cream. Owch. I need bum cream"

I guess she got the words wrong first time. Poor girl, it sounds like she has diaper rash. Rene took her and changed her up and put diaper rash cream on her, and it sounds like they fell back asleep in the livingroom...not sure. I hope she's ok.

And I'm thirsty, but not eating or drinking this morning, because I'm going to have my mouth cut to pieces so they can dig out what's left of my 4 wisdom teeth. Not sure how sleepy I'll be after, or when I'll feel up to getting on line again. Hopefully not too long. So anyway, wish me luck, and I'll update when I can. I have loads of blog posts I've written in my head, and don't find the time to type up. Or when I do have the time, I waste it playing bejewled blitz on facebook instead (that's a seriously addictive game!).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Booth

There was this really cool Earth Day even in Lincoln yesterday. We went along to support Nebraska Friends of Midwives who had a booth there.

I was in awe at the multitasking skills of some of the women who were able to nurse their babies in slings while educating the public at their booths and tending to their toddlers at the same time.

I was lucky enough to have Rene there with me to help with the kids so I was able to stay focused. I am an introvert, and the talking bit was scary, and I hope I didn't scare too many people off. But I eventually got into it and was having a great time talking to people about midwives and birth options and legislation in Nebraska. We met some very cool people.

Here's Sen Haar, the awesome senator who sponsored the bill this year which would allow CNMs to attend homebirths (only NE and Alabama don't allow this). So far the bills are still sitting in committee, for who knows how long.

And the kids were cute.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sterilizers, breast pumps, bottles

It all feels so clinical.

When Peach was here, I don't think I ever expressed milk. When Kaya was a few months old I started expressing and freezing some. Partly because I just thought that's what nursing mothers were supposed to do. And partly because my Annabel Karmel recipes said to include breast milk in the purees.

In the end, I threw out tons of frozen milk that never got used, it just sat lonely in the freezer until it was past date. So by the time Lana got here, I didn't even bother expressing any milk. Nor for Zoe.

None of my babies have ever had a bottle, ever. It's all been milk directly from me. I've enjoyed it that way. It's simple, convenient, a bonding experience, on tap, sterile and at the perfect temperature. No measuring, mixing, freezing, storing or reheating.

But next Tuesday I'm going under general anesthetic to have all 4 wisdom teeth surgically removed, and after that I'll be on powerful painkillers. I've been told I'll need to "pump and dump" (express milk, then discard it) for at least 6 hours after the surgery.

So I've started building up a supply of milk for Daddy to feed to Turtle while I'm doped up. Yesterday, I worked hard at it and only got 1 oz. I guess I'm inexperienced. But today I tried pumping one side while Turtle fed from the other, then I swapped over. He's better at stimulating the let down. And that worked. I got 5 oz in like 10 minutes. So that went well. I'll need to do a bunch more.

I guess sterilizers, breast pumps and bottles are a good thing for situations like this. I still feel kind of sad, looking at the bottles that will be standing in for me. I'm thankful they're there, so I won't have to give him drug filled milk. But it still feels kind of sad.

I'm sure you've all seen this before..but for anyone who hasn't..

A wee wifey fae Scotland. Not too far from where we used to live.

Embedding is disabled, so you'll have to make the effort to click here to see Susan Boyle for yourself.

It's worth it. Click it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sometimes, as a mother, I find myelf saying things..

..that I didn't expect to ever say. Sometimes it's something shocking, or so obvious it shouldn't need to be stated. Such as, "no Zoe, shoes are for our feet, not our mouths"

Other times it's something completely random and obscure. Like today, when I heard myself say, "no Kaya, let Lana choose it's name. It is her kiwi after all.

Yes, my vegetarian daughter names her fruit and vegetables (I think the kiwi was named, Henry). And yes, sometimes she refuses to eat it if she gets too attached to it. I never claimed she wasn't quirky.


Oh sweet weetabix.
How we love thee.
You taste like home.
You soak up the milk in the bowl,
so satisfactorily
And stick to the table like cement.
What other cereals can claim such powers?
There is none equal to you, oh beloved weetabix.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I heart faces- Easter

I took one today, especially for I heart faces. I'm glad I did, cause we had fun drawing on the sidewalk, and I'll cherish this photo.

(click to see larger)

See more entries and join in here

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oh dear...

Zoe came and handed me a tub of toothpaste and proudly said, "I eat it aaaaaall wup"


Friday, April 10, 2009

One ha' penny, two ha' penny

Hot cross buns are a bit of a British tradition to eat on Good Friday. I was always told the cross represented Jesus dying on the cross. Whatever the symbolism, I start to crave them around this time of year.

So I decided on a whim today to make a batch with the kids. Unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients, plus I accidentally left some out. They ended up tasting more like cinnamon rolls. Yummy, but not quite what I was going for. Hopefully next year I'll get it just right.

We had fun though.

Heavy photoshopping

I'm not usually a huge fan of the heavy photoshopped look, but when I shot these photos, I had PS in mind, and wanted to go for the digital urban look. I'm not thrilled with them, but I thought it would be fun to show the straight off the camera pics beside the photoshopped ones.


SOTC (straight off the camera)





This one was a fav shot of mine, and the original was messed up






See the rest here