Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Conversation overheard and Jed's ramblings

This was too funny.  An exchange between Flannery (9) and Saoirse (6).

Flannery:  Can you cut up this apple?  (They were preparing a tea party)

Saoirse:  (too young to cut up apples safely)  No!  I'm not very delicate, you know.

Flannery:  Saoirse, you don't even know what delicate means.  Delicate means that you're...(pauses)...delicate.  Um......I don't know what it means either.

At this point Isabella comes to the rescue with the proper definition.

Some cute ramblings from Jed the other day:

Jed was getting ready to go outside and was putting on a jacket.  He had his arms in and then decided to pull the jacket up over his head. He says, "Look Mommy, I'm a silly boy."

While outside he put some dirt into a pail and told me he was making concrete.  "Look Mommy, I'm making concrete.  Ready?  I'm going to pour it out now." 

These are just cute, wonderful things that bring a smile to my face. This whole pretending thing is new to Jed and it is incredible to see him growing in this area.

In other family news: 
Moira continues to do better.  She is up out of bed and hanging out with the rest of us :-)  She really wanted a sub last night.  She had asked if we could celebrate when she got better.  This was requested the day after her surgery and she was NOT well at all. We said we would celebrate when she was ready.  So last night it was.  Definitely not on our diet, but diet shmiet, we were going to celebrate.  It was late when I headed out and even later when I got back.  It was one very late party! 

Poor Aubrey has a cold.  He started with some sniffles the other day. I was really hoping it wouldn't get past that, but it did.  The little babe obviously feels yucky.  He is crying a lot and wants to be held and nursed often.  Of course we oblige :-)   I hope he is feeling better soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moira is Home!!!

Moira came home Thursday evening.  I haven't had time to post this great news.  She was still running a low grade fever and was in a ton of pain.  She spent half of Thursday and Friday nights awake in pain.  So between little sleep and still having to keep the house running I haven't had two minutes to sit down and fill you all in. 

It was a rough go those first two days.  The antibiotics she was on were killing her insides.  It created a huge catch 22 situation.  She was in so much pain and was so nauseous that she couldn't eat or drink.  She would take one itty bitty sip of water every hour or so.  I told her she was setting herself up to having to go back to the hospital if she didn't start drinking more water.  We are finally on a good path out of this mess I believe.  At my wits end I called our family doctor, our holistic practitioner and the homeopathic doctor.  Our family doctor felt that what she was experiencing was normal.  The consensus between the other practitioners was the same, this was normal.  At least the other two were able to give me some ideas/remedies to try with her.  Some we couldn't due because Moira was too sick to go through with them, or I didn't have a remedy on hand.  But what we have done has indeed helped.

We started with giving Moira a full dose of probiotics every few hours.  I also put some magnesium oil on her tummy to help with the cramps.  This would bring short term relief, until the relaxation started things moving, which put her in more pain.  But thankfully we were getting things moving.  The homeopathic doctor gave me two remedies to alternate every fifteen minutes.  I also started to be more on top of getting her to take sips of water more often.  All of this resulted in a much better night than the night before.  However that morning we seemed to be where we started off at.  So we changed her remedies and kept making it a point to get those probiotics into her.  Finally, finally, she had a great night, of only waking once!  That was last night.  This morning she has been improving as the hours progress.  She is not running to the bathroom multiple times an hour.  She is also not needing the "bowl" held up to her face for hours at a time.  I set a timer for 15 minutes and when it goes off she needs to take a drink of water.  Plus she takes her homeopathic remedy.  I am making sure to keep giving her the probiotics every few hours.  She has finally started eating decent amounts of solid food.  Not a ton, but more than the wee baby nibbles she was doing before.  And those wee baby nibbles were 'forced' as she didn't want to eat anything.  The poor girl has visibly lost weight from all of this.  She was alarmed to see her wrist bone poking out!  She thought something was seriously wrong with her bone, for sticking out like that! Um, no, that's called too much weight loss in short span of time :-( 

I am so thankful for all who have prayed.  This has been a very long week for all of us.  Even the little ones are out of sorts.  I ask for continued prayers for Moira's healing.  Like I said, the antibiotics really did a number on her gut.  It will take time to rebuild her gut flora.  Due to the imbalance of flora she is experiencing other annoying problems that will clear up in time. 

We have had some wonderful people helping us.  My sister has helped us to make sure we were on top of the medical aspect of things.  I am so thankful to have her to turn to when I am worried and have questions.  We had two wonderful friends come (one with their daughter) to help me clean the house up.  After a week of chaos my house was suffering.  They whipped it right back into shape.  Then we were blessed with two dinner meals.  What a life saver!  One was from a new friend.  We met at a restaurant!  How funny is that.  We have been trying to get together for the past few weeks and something is always coming up.  She and her whole family dropped by yesterday to give us dinner.  Through all of this we have seen God walk us through the rough spots. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Moira has continued to spike fevers

Moira is still in the hospital.  The good news first.  She is sounding like herself!! She is now able to get out of bed and move all on her own.  And she plans on eating small bits of things today.  The bad news is that she has been spiking fevers since day one.  By now all fevers should have subsided.  They took some tests that all came back normal.  They are saying that even though her chest x-ray was clean that it was still possible that she is developing pnuemonia.  But, the other consideration is that she is forming an absess.  This of course would be very discouraging.  That would mean a drainage tube.  I'm assuming she will have to be put under again for that, though not positive.  The bad news about that is that it will put Moira back to square one as far as pain and movement.  Then we will really have to worry about pnuemonia as she has only started to really move around.  Being so bed bound for so long puts her at real risk for a lung infection.

She wanted me to let everyone know that she really appreciates everyone praying.  She asked for you to please continue.  She asked me if we could have a celebration when she gets home.  Of course!!!  We are going to have ourselves a party :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another day at the hospital

It's Tuesday.  Moira is still in the hospital and will probably be there all day today as well. Her blood work was clear of infection yesterday.  However her pain level was anywhere between a 6 and 10 on a scale of 10, and that is with pain meds.  She is having a really super duper hard time with her throat.  I am assuming it is just from the tube they put in during surgery.  She wouldn't even talk yesterday!  Thankfully in the goody bag I brought her was a new notebook.  She's been communicating that way. The poor girl is *still* sick to her stomach.  At first we were worried that it could be because not all of the infection was taken care of.  But now I think it is a combination of the meds and because in the past Moira has thrown up when in severe pain.  This means that she hasn't kept anything down since Saturday evening.  She's fully hydrated by the IV, but she really needs some food to get her strength back. Due to her pain she is resistant to get up and walk.  She was up three times yesterday.  We are trying to get her to realize that if she can't push past the pain now and get moving, then she is going to remain in this pain for a *long* time.  With abdominal surgery comes a lot of gas.  And that gas is the source of her pain right now.  She needs to move so it will move.  My sister even gave me some breathing exercises she could do that would get the gas moving, but she refuses to do them. 

Jeremiah is definitely wary from the hospital life.  Today he will be 'getting out' to go to physical therapy.  It might be good for him to be in the fresh air.  The windows are tinted and so it always seems gloomy out.  Not good for the spirits.

The baby is getting fussy, and we need to jump into chores.  Today we have to be at our friends house to drop off the kids so that I can get the van to Jeremiah in time.  This is going to be a feat.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Update of Moira

It's about 12:45 and I just recently talked to Jeremiah.  He called before 9 AM to say they were taking her back to surgery.  I was getting worried as I was told that this is a quick surgery (1 hour), and here it was three hours later.  Ends up that her appendix did perforate and leak a bit.  We seriously got to it just in time.  I am so thankful for that.  They were able to clean everything up so that she doesn't have to have a drainage tube, which would have made recovery more painful from what I've heard.  She is still in pain, but not as much as last night.  I do hope that between the antibiotics and pain meds she will be feeling better soon.  I need to gather a few things to take up to the hospital.  I told her we'll have a little party.  I am certain that the staff will think so when we all walk in :-) 

Please continue to pray for her healing and pain relief.  Thank you all!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pray for Moira!-edited

Just popping on here to ask for prayers for Moira.  She has appendicitis.  I know appendicitis may seem like no big thing, but it's my baby, so it's a big thing :-)  I'm not able to be with her right now, Jeremiah is with her.  I am hoping to get to see her tomorrow.  This is hard on me because my mommy heart is aching to be with her. 

It started this morning with her complaining of tummy pain this morning.  It was mild, and we had every reason to think it was a very benign matter.  She took Motrin later in the day, and was outside playing.  Then I was putting the baby to bed at around 6:30 and she came into the room crying and basically begging me to take her to the doctors!  Woah!  Where did that come from?  I called our homeopathic doctor first.  Moira is definitely known to not be able to handle pain of any nature.  He told me to pop a Bryonia in her mouth and rush her to the ER!!!  I was totally not expecting that!  He told us to take her to the nearest hospital, even though I told him I did not hear good things about it.  But Jeremiah did take her there.  After some blood draws, some morphine and a CAT scan we got the word it was appendicitis.  BUT they don't do pediatrics there!  So she gets to ride in an ambulance to Duke. 

Please pray for her fears, and pain.  Pray that if it is not serious that they would be willing to do a round a IV antibiotics first, and wait to see if that will take care of it.  But if that's not the case then pray that the doctor's hands will be guided by the Great Physician, and that Moira will heal quickly. 

Thank you all!!

Edited to add;
It was looking like one of our goats, Honey, was in labor today.  She had all the signs, but still kind of hard to tell.  Isabella and Moira were making plans to stay up all night with her should she not have her baby/babies before nightfall.  I say 'babies' because this goat is HUGE!  We are thinking she may have twins. Well, as you can imagine, Moira is going to be very disappointed that she will have missed out on this big adventure.  We still have one more goat who is due soon, so she may not totally miss out, but still, I know she was excited about tonight.  Moira unfortunately has always been one to have to miss out, forgotten, or the like with a lot of things in life.  She is the only one.  I am assuming that God must have a special plan for her with the qualities He is trying to impart in her.  But it is still hard to see her go through disappointment after disappointment.  Pray that she will see God's hand in all of this.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Frugal Friday

Saving money.  One area that I couldn't bring myself to pay out was in haircuts.  I think I've had my hair cut twice in the past 5 years.  Isabella had her hair cut all of 3 times in her life (one was to fix her attempt to cut it herself at age 4).  I think the other girls had their hair cut once at a shop.  Besides those, all other hair cuts over the past 13 years have been given by me. 

This means that we don't sport the latest trend.  But I figured with 6 kids, and $10 a haircut (sometimes more), we are saving a lot of money!  This weekend was a hair cutting fest.  I cut all the kids hair.  I had one mishap, leaving Moira with much shorter hair than I attended to!  Oops!  The boys got buzz cuts. and I've been mourning that decision ever since.  Ha!  I really prefer the boys to have some hair on top of their heads :-)  Thankfully it will grow pretty quickly. 

Now to get you all started with some money saving sites.  I think I've linked to them in the past.  It's great that someone is willing to share the results of their work on all the great deals out there. It will make things so much easier for the rest of us.  I mean, check out the deal that Walgreens had with their generic diapers.  Pretty nifty and thrifty at $2.50 per package!

Money Saving Mom

This will be the only site I post today as the other ones are saved on the other computer. 

Here is a peek at the new haircuts:

Took a few of the girls on the porch to take these to put up for this post.  Isabella had asked a year or so ago to get her hair cut short.  She got it cut to just above her shoulders and then proceeded to wear her hair in a pony tail every day since.  I am not kidding.  I think there was only one day in the past *year* that she wore her hair down!!  So this time around she asked for it to be cut short again and I said, "No way Jose!!".  What's the point of me spending the time to cut it short and then you wear it up.  Every.  Single.  Day.  ??  I bought some scissors designed to thin the hair.  It helped a lot with managing her very, very thick hair.  She was happy and that makes me happy :-)

I think Moira looks great!  I just didn't intend to cut it so short!  I always, always end up with one side longer (the left side) than the other.  I was careful to cut it to match and I ended up cutting the left side shorter....oy!  So she doesn't have an even bob, but I don't think it's too noticeable.

I was really enjoying Flannery's long hair.  Flannery has matured a lot this past year and I think her long hair added to the look of maturity (NOT that I am trying to hurry things up, not in the least!).  Flannery is blessed with not too thick or thin hair, with a bit of a wave.  It would be easy for her to make it straight and easy for her to give it some curl.  Lucky her ;-)

I really think Saoirse is cute with shorter hair.  This isn't the best picture as she is kind of scrunching up her shoulders.  For Saoirse it is much easier to manage her hair with it shorter. Her hair turns into a rat's nest incredibly quickly.

Jed and his buzz.  Of course the boy's are still cute as ever, but I think for Jed he needs the longer hair to help with the shape of his head.  Just my opinion.

Now Jonah, I was really bumming about.  I *much* prefer him with longer hair on top.  I just keep looking at him and it's just not clicking with me :-)

I forgot to get one of the baby.  Not that he has any hair to speak of, but just because he's so cute! 

If anyone knows of any online tutorials for cutting hair please pass them along.  I've looked and not come up with any good ones, or ones that I can use.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Blog

Call me crazy :-)  I really enjoy reading blogs that post large pictures.  Just a preference of mine.  We tried to make my blog wider, but failed to figure it out.  So I decided to start a blog dedicated to some of my edited pictures.  Not sure how often I will post there, nor am I sure if I will somehow make it known that a new post was put up.  I suppose I can try to get one of those blog lists on my side bar that actually tell you when the last time someone posted.  That sounds like a good option.  I plan on trying to customize it a bit.  All in good time.  I only have one post up so far, just to see how it will work.  Let me know what you think.

Find me at:

Capturing Life...With Full Hands

Friday, March 11, 2011

Frugal Friday

Simple title.  I thought of: Frugality with Full Hands Friday. But it seemed a bit long.  I'll stick to keeping it simple, since everything else about this won't be :-)

I sat down with the girls last night and got them on the frugal bandwagon.  That wasn't too hard since I told them they would get a percentage of the money saved to split among themselves.  Not sure what that percentage will be. Although I need to talk to them about the expectations I have for them in using that money.  Like NO candy buying!  Ha, ha!  We sat and thought of areas where we could cut back on.  I encourage you all to make a plan suitable for your family.  Then link to it in the comments for all of us to encourage one another and share ideas.  I know there are ways to link up (like with Mr. Linky) in each post, but I don't know how to do that yet.  Maybe in time. We can try to post on Friday's with our progress.  Not necessary to do that every Friday, but it will give us a day when we know we can check up on each other to see how we are doing. 

Here is our very skeleton of a plan.

Grocery budget
On the site I linked to yesterday she gave a $90 dollar limit per person for each month.  She said it was based on how many were in your household.  I know Aubrey isn't eating table food, nor will he for a while to come, but I figured  I would count him in.  That gives us $810 for the month for groceries.  Now here is the hard part.  In our family grocery budget, things like toiletries, paper, small kitchen items, etc are counted in that.  Sometimes even clothing.  I think her numbers are for food only.  So lets keep our numbers to food only.  I will have to set some sort of number for those other things, which I haven't had time to figure out yet.  This will be very hard for us to do, but I want to make an attempt.  At least if I keep diligent track of the numbers I can see how much we are really spending and where we can do better.  It will be a learning experience.  We already talked about having set times to eat.  And that we all eat together.  One of the problems we have is no one is on the same schedule and I can't keep track of how much food is being eaten.  My kids eat a LOT of food.  I know we were feeling more hungry at the start of this diet, but that is starting to get a bit better.  I was able to make a HUGE pot of beef stew, that will last us for four meals.  However, I made a pot roast, a large one at that, and it was eaten all up in one meal.  Way too expensive to be doing that!!  So lots of little changes need to be made in the menu planning department.

Energy budget
I think last year or the year before last we tried for a couple of months to cut back on our energy usage.  Jeremiah was skeptical that we could make a difference, but we did! So the girls and I thought of ways we could but back on our energy use.  Things like cutting back on our heat and AC (when appropriate), using our laundry line to dry our clothing, shutting of lights, fans, and maybe the computers,and not leaving the fridge open just to look around.  These are definitely the areas where the girls can help.  We also have a heat lamp in the barn going 24/7 which is not needed except for night time.  If that. 

I averaged out the last few years for March and it came to $249.  So we will be trying to beat that number. 

Clothing and other areas
We try to buy cheap.  We have gone to the Good Will a few times to get clothing as well.  But I think we could definitely improve in this area.  Our biggest pit fall is not buying ahead of the need. We have growing children and clothing will be needed.  We need to buy six months ahead with sales, used, or homemade so that we are not forced to buy full price because we need something *now*.  I would really like to get into making or repurposing clothing.  One area that we can really save is in diapers.  We spend probably about $70 a month on diapers and wipes for all three boys.  We are pretty motivated to get the older two boys potty trained.  And I have a whole stash of cloth diapers for Aubrey that we could be utilizing.  Seems silly to be throwing money away with each diaper change, when we don't have to!! Yes, cloth means more work.  But "work" we could be getting "payed" for! 

Gardening can, if we are diligent to do the work this spring and summer, save us a lot of money.  We eat a LOT of salad.  Lots of tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Plus other things like green beans, and fruit.  We have four blueberry bushes to plant.  However it will probably be 3 to 5 years before they are producing of us.  That's the problem with some of this.  We have to spend the money not only on the blueberry bushes now, but on the blueberries we need to be eating today.  So more cost now so that we can save money in a few years.  Actually four blueberry bushes will hardly get us a few weeks worth of berries.  We will need a lot more bushes.  I was just reading someones blog for the first time, so I can't remember who they are, but they were growing some 22 fruit and nut trees, had chickens, had a swing set for the kids and a veggie garden on 1/5 of an acre!  Whoa!!  We really need to look at the use of our space differently.  I would love to plant apple, peach, and cherry trees.  Also plant some blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  I'm sure there is much more, but those would be what I would start with.  So the money we will be saving in those other areas will be put towards these money saving projects (the fruit trees, and such).

The type of foods we buy are the foods that do not have coupons for them.  However that being said, there are ways you can work the couponing system with stores like Walgreens and CVS where you can actually make money on items.  My goal will be to start that and use that money for our paper products and toiletries.  The girls are really excited about clipping coupons.  Not sure how long that will last :-)  But I let them have that job.  I will make sure to link to some of the sites that tell you what deals are out there that you can combine coupons to make money.

Well that is a start for our frugal outline.  As the plan becomes more concrete, or changes need to be made, I will update in the following weeks. 

I found that blog I was talking about with the 22 fruit/nut trees.  I am most certainly putting it in my favorites!  Here was a great article on "How Sustainable is Your Kitchen".  This reminds me of another way to save, bartering.  Yup, bartering.  I was at our local in-home grain shop to buy some coconut oil.  The owners go to our church.  I asked her if they took 'cards' (our visa bank card) and she said they took card, cash, checks and barter.  And she was *serious* about the bartering!  She and her husband are really trying to get people to see the importance of making your local communities more reliant on you and your neighbors than the government, or businesses over seas.  You should check them out some time.  This *link* is for their store, and this one is for their *food prep site*.  My friend that I got the goat milk from barters as well.  I needed milk, and had some freezer meals that we didn't get to before our diet change.  So we made the exchange.  Dave, from church (you'll see him on the food prep site), advises that you learn a skill that will be valuable for bartering purposes.  Another good use for homeopathy!  See, I could barter my services.  Who doesn't get sick?  Ha, ha! 

We ran some errands, now time to eat lunch.  Moira has asked me no less than 5 times if she can start on the garden.  I need to put that child to work :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I want to join this challenge!!

Check out this post at Modern Alternative Mama. (MAM)  Let's just say I would be embarrassed to put up my months grocery budget!!!  There are a few different challenges I would like to attempt with saving as much money as I can being the goal.  We have a lot of debt, and a lot of home projects needing to wait for the funding.  My sister and I had this talk in the past, and I may have mentioned it here on my blog at one point.  The reality, in my case, of not being in the work force and being able to contribute to the family budget.  I already have a job !  :-)  I just don't get paid in dollars for it :-)  So I am going to write up a plan of action.  What things I would like to do to make a dent in our extremely large grocery budget that we have. Don't get me wrong, I am VERY grateful that I have the luxury of such a large budget.  But to be honest it has made me lazy in being diligent.  So I will put together my own challenge that hits different categories in the budget.  I know it would be a LOT of work to write everything down as I do it, but how else will I see the rewards?  I really would like to be diligent to take that saved money to put towards our debt and home projects.  Some things that I would like to buy, will in the long run save us a lot of money.  For example, fruit trees.  We eat a LOT of fruit.  Too bad we can't grow bananas!  We go through those like no tomorrow.  I really want to get the girls involved in this.  They are always looking for ways to make money, but we have overlooked the money making ability of saving!  I think this would be a GREAT homeschool opportunity.  I can have them help me to keep track of everything.  Plus this means a lot of home made products and work, *and* giving up of some luxuries.  I'm getting pretty excited just thinking about all of this.  Once we make a plan, I'll post it here.  Then each week or month or some sort of scheduled time frame I will post our results.  And although I want to be diligent, I want to be realistic that I have a newborn.  So anyone want to join me in this journey?  Just leave a comment.

Also, if you are looking for a really healthy, and GAPS friendly cake/cupcakes check out MAM's white bean vanilla cake.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm really excited about trying it.  What a great idea for our many celebrations.  Last night we tried the peanut butter fudge recipe found *here*.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Everyone raved about it!!!  I mean this was seriously good stuff.  And what a wonderful, wonderful way to get that good for you coconut oil in to you.  It makes me feel good to see Jed down these!  He loves them.  He also loved the peanut butter brownies.  He ate like 4 of them!  Lots of calories.  Of course we are doing this diet because Jed isn't utilizing the calories we are giving him, but it's good to know that once his body heals we will have some high calorie, high nutrient foods to give him.

Must be off! 

Busy with life

The days seem long around here.  Trying to get a handle on everything.  The baby has been very fussy.  Very.  I had to get on the GAPS e-loop to ask some questions.  Those questions had to do with Aubrey and my milk supply.  I've been worried that my supply has gone down.  The jury is out till tomorrow, when I weigh Aubrey.  There have been a lot of changes in how he was behaving, and in me.  At someones suggestion I cut out my probiotic.  I had only started taking one when we started the diet last week.  They thought it might be causing too much 'die off'.  Well after days of Aubrey doing a whole lot of crying he finally had a really good day!  Thankfully!  He is still having a hard time getting to sleep at night.  But he's been sleeping 7 hours straight for the past four nights or so.  I am hoping that means he's ok in the milk department.  Oh, it's so hard to know!  I don't want to harm Aubrey in any way, and at this point as far as his behavior is concerned, he is not acting hungry.  If my supply has gone down, evidenced by a weight loss, then I will add in some gluten free carbs, like rice and quinoa.  Quinoa has a surprisingly high carb load. I would only have to eat a little bit to get a LOT of carbs.  I am assuming, if my supply is low, it would be due to the lower carbs I am consuming.  I'm still eating carbs, but we went from eating a TON of carbs, to a moderate amount.  It might have been to much of a shock for my body :-)  I was able to get some raw goat's milk from my friend so that I can make yogurt for myself.  So once it is made, should be ready by tomorrow afternoon, then I should be able to get some dairy in without it affecting the baby.  At least that is my hope.  Goats milk is supposed to be much easier to digest.  Goat's milk was what we made Jedidiah's formula out of a few years ago. 

So I've been nervous, waiting and watching the baby.  One might think why I would even bother to go through this not knowing the out come.  Well for two reasons.  One is that I did research before hand to see if it was safe.  And since then I've read of others experiences.  The second is for Jedidiah's sake.  I think it would be 100 times harder had we only had him do this diet.  Not to mention the rest of the family really needed it as well! 

I wrote the above last night, and didn't have time to finish it up.  So I weighed Aubrey this morning.  He was 12 lb 1.0 oz on Tuesday.  And today, two days later he was 12 lb 2.5 oz.  So a weight gain of 1.5 oz.  We are headed in the right direction.   Now he should be gaining 1 oz a day.  Being that it has only been two days there needs to be a bit more time to get a better picture.  However, I think for my own peace of mind I may just add a wee bit of rice or quinoa to my diet.  Then when Aubrey returns more to his normal self I may remove it.  I definitely know that there has at least been changes in my milk (if not the quantity, then the quality--but quality for the better) that he is reacting to.  We have all been having changes.  Again, not earth shattering, but they are there, and the baby is no exception.  I am eating a LOT more nutrient dense foods.  So the quality most certainly has gotten better.  I was eating a LOT of grains.  Way too much. 

Jonah is still falling apart easily.  Not only that but he's been fearful of things.  The first was a fear of trucks.  We are thinking he had a bad dream about trucks.  He's always loved trucks.  He points them out as we drive around town.  He wants to read truck books, he wants me to draw trucks for him.  Then one day he started to *scream and cry* when he is close to a truck, or hears a truck!  It was literally over night.  Then last night Jed said something about our dining room light.  Not sure what it was, but Jonah was *freaking* out about our light falling.  He wanted to leave the house!!  He was sobbing and shaking over this!  It took us 45 minutes to calm him down.  This is not normal behavior!

Jed on the other hand has been talking up a storm (for him).  His quality of speech hasn't improved, but the quantity sure has :-)  Plus I've noticed that he is starting to pretend play on his own.  He will do pretend play with his sisters, but usually not on his own.  The other day he took his stuffed pig and put its legs into his boots and put a cowboy hat on it.  Then he told me to look, and said, "See?  I'm a cowboy!"  He's done that a couple of time this past week.  Pretty neat.  Plus, I noticed this week that he's done a LOT LESS screaming.  His screaming was getting pretty bad!  He screamed about all sorts of things.  Some days it seemed non stop.  It was pretty neat to realize that he has gone FULL days without screaming!!  So we are definitely seeing changes.  And I am glad that I am recording them, because some of them are not huge, but they are certainly positive.

Thursdays are usually pretty chaotic.  Thankfully today's won't be :-)  I sat the girls down yesterday to go over a schedule I put together.  Since the baby came we've just bee flying by the seat of our pants.  I thought it was time to get a wee bit more organized.  I think they are actually looking forward to some structure.  I know I am!  I hope to give it a good week or two to see how it will work for us and then tweak it.  I'm still not sure how we are going to fit in certain things, like our outside projects.  I would like to do a little bit during the week.  Other wise our weekends are just jam packed. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

Baby monitors

I think I wrote on here that we pulled out the baby monitor to see if we could get by using it safely.  As some of you know Jed is very sensitive to wireless devices.  I wanted to see if we could use it because I was finding it a hassle to keep checking on the baby every 5 to 10 minutes (if you read my post on the blanket, then you know he wasn't sleeping well).  So we went up in the attic and found it.  I was really enjoying using it.  I think we pulled it down last Friday or Saturday.  Our plan was to make sure to turn it off after each nap.  For the most part we did.  But getting consistent in doing so was going to take a little bit of time.  There was a night when I forgot to turn it off.  I'm not sure if that was Monday night or not.  Either way, come Tuesday morning Jedidiah threw up.  Granted it could be a tummy bug.  Or maybe, just maybe the diet.  Though I doubt that.  One day's worth of our diet wasn't going to make that much of a difference. 

On Thursday, in the wee hours of the morning I woke up to see that I had not shut off the monitor.  When I got up all the kiddos were up already.  I saw Jed laying on the couch. Oh, oh, that's not good.  I asked him if he was ok, and he told me his tummy hurt.  I went to get the bucket.  Just as I was walking up to him he threw up.  Ugh.  Just like on Tuesday he was fine an hour or so later.  However, I noticed that he seemed pretty lethargic.  I wasn't the only one.  I didn't say anything to his speech therapist about any of it.  But I wasn't surprised when she came out from their session on Thursday and told me that he was very 'docile' and 'low energy'. 

Now it is possible that it could be the diet, but again I'm doubting it.  But it is possible.  It's also possible that it was a weird tummy bug.  I doubt that more than the other possibility.  I know he has mercury in him and maybe the diet is freeing some of that up.  We are eating a lot of eggs after all.  But he's eaten a lot of eggs before and never thrown up.  Which is why I am doubting it is the diet.  But time will tell.  We have stopped using the monitor.  So if he continues to have these tummy issues in the mornings then we will know it was the diet and not the monitor. 

The Miracle Blanket

I just had to make sure to write about a new purchase we made recently for the baby.  I read on someone's blog that they were excited to try out the Miracle Blanket (mb), and the  name alone got my attention :-)  So I looked it up.  I have been trying to train Aubrey to go to sleep on his own.  I have most of how I've been doing that almost written up.  So for specifics, stay tuned!  Aubrey was having difficulty staying asleep.  He would wake up consistently at the 7, 20 and 45 minute marks.  Every.  Single.  Time.  It made nap time very difficult for me because I had to be there to help him get back to sleep.  This would take up at least an hour of my time for each nap.  But more often than not it took two hours.  So things have not been getting done around here, and it shows!  After reading about the blanket we immediately bought one. 

 We were already swaddling Aubrey for each sleep time, but none of our blankets were large enough.  That meant that he would get unwrapped.  Or if he didn't get unwrapped he would loosen it up enough to move around too much.  While I was waiting for the mb to arrive I was having second thoughts.  I was wondering if it was a splurge more than a need.  Let me just say that after I wrapped him in it for his first nap and he slept for the whole nap through, I deemed it a necessity!!  WOW!  This blanket has transformed my life :-)  Plus I had nothing to lose as the blanket comes with a 100% guarantee!!! How incredible is that?  If I didn't see a change I could just send it back and get a refund.  I assure you this blanket will NOT be going back.

Here is even more incredible news.  Their customer service is amazing.  We had the blanket for a few days when I noticed a small hole next to one of the seams.  I knew I could repair it, but we only had it for a few days.  So I looked up their policy about exchanges.  On their site they say that even if the baby's older brother runs the blanket through your paper shredder (in the first four months from purchase) they will give you a new one.....FREE.  Plus, if they can repair the damage, they send the repaired blankets to a charity for special needs babies.  How amazing is that?  The company knows how horrible it would be to be without this blanket so they ask you to take a picture of the damage and email it to them.  They then send you out a new one, along with an envelope with return postage!  This way I got to keep our damaged blanket and still use it and wait for the new one to get here.  It came yesterday.  So now I just have to wash the new one to use, and wash the old one to send back (they ask that you wash them before returning). 

How I wish I had this blanket for all my children!!  I was reading the multitude of testimonies on their site.  At first I didn't see how many there were.  The customers were RAVING about this blanket.  I was beginning to wonder if they were fake.  But then I saw just how many there were, and I knew that it was probably legitimate.  And I assure you that they are, now that I see what this blanket does for our baby. 

So if you have a newborn, are expecting a baby, or are looking for a baby shower gift,  BUY ONE, or two, or three :-)  Ha, ha!

Check the Miracle Blanket out for yourself, the testimonies and videos are real.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

GAPS update

Not sure how often I will give updates on our gaps journey.  I suppose I'll just write about any changes I see as they come up.  We have only been on the diet for three days, but it seems like three months.  All I think about is food.  Well it seems that way.  I have to be on top of what we will be eating over the next couple of days to make sure our meat is defrosted, or we have other necessary ingredients.  I have major, major brain fog.  That is more due to the high protein than anything else I believe.  I haven't been able to remember simple words.  Nor am I able to follow some of the conversations around here.  I had to ask Saoirse to repeat herself a few times, and Moira as well.  I think they were getting a bit frustrated with me.  It was like I couldn't understand what they were saying, the words just were not making sense in my head.  Very, very weird!  I also couldn't remember the previous sentence someone spoke.  Which made following the conversation hard, as each sentence stood on it's own!  Thankfully that is not happening every minute of the day, but still, it made today a hard day, even though nothing went 'wrong'.

So are we seeing any changes?  Yes and no.  The only positive, and it's very positive, is Jed is eating a lot!  But any changes have had more to do with the increase in probiotics, causing stomach pain.  We've also seen some odd rashes pop up on a few people.  And with the increase in probiotics I have been able to eat a lot of eggs and not need the apple cider vinegar.  Very cool.  But the baby has been  more fussy the past couple of days.  That could be a coincidence as he hasn't had enough 'great' days to know if the diet is effecting him (through my milk).  Jonah had a really hard time coping with life today. The poor guy was a basket case!  Enough to have the girls ask what is wrong with him. 

I really wasn't expecting there to be any big changes.  Now if we were doing the intro diet, that might have been a different story.  I've read quite a few peoples testimonies about being on the full diet, or a similar diet and not seeing the big changes they needed to see.  Then when they went to intro they had major changes within 48 hours.  I was reading on someone's blog (hi Lusi) how that was the case for their son.  She has some great info on the reason for that.  We will continue on the full diet for the next few months and then see if we need to go to the intro diet.  I suppose the key factor will be if Jed is gaining weight. 

I made our own mayo last night.  It's easy, but very time consuming.  You have to s  l  o  w  l  y  drop in the oil to make sure it emulsifies.  It worked!  And it tastes great.  A bit too much lemon but other than that it was a big hit today to use it to make deviled eggs.  I think all my attempts in the past to get more probiotics into our diet has really paid off now.  For one thing they are not foreign foods.  So when I introduce a new fermented food it's not received with suspicion.  The mayo was fermented.  Jeremiah was saying I don't need to ferment everything.  And it's true, I won't be, but fermenting a food not only makes it a probiotic, but it increases the foods nutritional value.  Usually the amount of vitamins available increases significantly. 

So what have we been eating the past few days.  Eggs, LOTS of eggs.  I am beginning to wonder if all the chickens in NC can possibly produce enough eggs for our family alone!!! Ha, ha!! Seriously, we are eating a lot of eggs.  We've had a smoothie for breakfast, eaten a chicken salad for lunch, and a soup at dinner.  Although today's lunch we had "tacos".  I made a yogurt sour cream, beans, taco meat (I use my own seasoning), tomatoes, green onions and avocado (for me only).  We put all of  that on a Romaine lettuce leaf and rolled it up.  I figured it would be pretty good, but I wasn't expecting the girls to be wild about them!  I seriously thought they were going to have some sort of celebration over it.  Before breakfast I have everyone take a probiotic pill.  We also get probiotics from the kefir I use in the smoothie, and lots of water kefir being consumed as well.  Lots!  A fresh batch of kombucha should be ready tomorrow or Friday.  I would like to add that to our dinners.  I also have the ingredients on hand to make a fermented mango chutney.  Sounds delish. 

There are alternative flours, like almond or coconut, that I've seen used to make baked goods.  I would definitely like to try my hand at that sometime.  For now I want to keep it simple.  I made up a list of 14 meals to make for lunch/dinner.  Things that we are pretty familiar with, or are close.  I figured as time goes on and we desire more of a change, the kiddos will be more open to the new flavors. 

It is time for bed!  I will have to write a raving review of the Miracle Blanket soon!  Good stuff, good stuff. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Asthma Prevention

I've done a lot of research in the area of health, which is quite a large topic.  But the more I studied the more that large field grew smaller.  Most of you know that I pretty much put most of my stock in the gut being the center of our health, or lack there of.  Most of mainstream medicine focuses on trying to halt the symptoms of disease.  Their research focuses on which chemicals will put a stop to a person's symptoms.  However trying to stop symptoms is like trying to plug up a hole in a dam with a paper towel.  Eventually it is going to give way.  There is a root cause of the disease that needs to be addressed so that true healing can take place.  But most people in our society want a pill to fix them up so that they can be on their way.  I hate to break the bad news, but a quick fix pill does not exist.  Oh, it may temporarily stop your current sympotms, but eventually the symptoms return OR that little pill caused your body to counteract the pill's attempt to short circuit your body's distress signals (symptoms). 

So our family has finally started to try to heal the root cause of our health issues.  And it may come as a surprise to some, but our gut's health determines our overall health.  The root of many, many, maybe most ailments that plague our society start in the gut.  I am sure many have taken notice of the HUGE increases in allergies, asthma, cancer, autism and so forth that have blossomed in the past few decades.  And it should not go unnoticed that there has been a huge rise in pestisides, antibiotics and fake foods.  The correlation between the rising of both catagories is not a coincidence.  Now, back to asthma.  One thought of it's rise is that we live in a too sterile environment.  We have antibactarial soap, antibacterial (ab) wipes, ab sprays, ab medications, and the list goes on.  When we kill the bad germs we also kill the good germs that are there to keep those bad germs in check.  And it's first come, first serve.  Meaning which ever bug now gets into our sterile environment first will have reign.  So our attempt to keep everything and everyone clean has been back firing on us.  Now granted, we need proper hygeine, as it does help to keep us healthy.  It's just the excess of cleanliness that tips the scales back to sickness.  So our household is doing it's share to use preventive measure against things like asthma.  Around here it looks like this:

Ah, proper supplies of water and dirt.

Jonah, I think you missed a spot, there on your right cheek.

Jed, good form buddy, good form!  You have the proper depth of mud.

Sometimes we need a little help from our siblings if we get stuck.  Jed was calling out, "Help, I'm stuck!"  Jonah was there to help pull him out.

Oh, wait, never mind, it was a false alarm.

We need some more supplies.  I picked these up in the dollar section of Target.

It takes skill and determination to keep asthma at bay.   A little to the left, Isabella.

Good job!  You did it!

Look at her focus!

And we can't have a lack of art in our asthma prevention protocol.

She was very focused and determined to do a good job.

Oh, and this little guy?  Well he pretty much just lays around keeping our spirits up by smiling at us.  But some day he'll be instructed by his siblings into proper asthma prevention.

See?  How cute is that?

One, more. Just because he's so cute.  He was laying on the floor while I washed everyone else off.  The lovely little mud pond turned into a mud slinging war zone soon after I came in.  Let's just say that evey square inch of my girls was covered in mud.  Along with that came mud in my kitchen, mud in the bathrooms, mud in the tub, mud....Nothing like being thorough in our attempts to keep asthma at bay.

I can't vouch for the effectivness of our anti asthma plan, results may vary, please consult your sanity before beginning such a program :-)
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