Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Could wheat be interferring with your baby's sleep?

There is a LOT about wheat out there.  A lot.  I personally love wheat, and am dismayed that it seems to be wreaking havoc in my family.  Sigh.  We were eating wheat about once per week.  Granted I have NOT been preparing my wheat products by soaking/sprouting.  I know that this can lessen wheat's impact on our systems.

You may be thinking that babies shouldn't be eating wheat.  Of course!  But I am finding, for us, there is a direct link to me eating wheat and Merida's ability to sleep soundly (she is exclusively breastfeeding).  So what ever bad things wheat has been doing for me (foggy brain, and lots of stiffness and aches/pains), it is getting through my milk to her and causing problems for her.

Merida has been a wonderful sleeper from day one.  No joke. Don't hate me :-)  Seriously, from day one she slept 5 to 6 hours nightly.  As the weeks went on that went up to 8 to 10 hours nightly.  She just turned 4 months old a few days ago.  I recently taught her to fall asleep on her own for naps.  She would sleep 1 to 3 hours each nap.  She was a wonderful sleeper up until the past few weeks.

At first I thought she was going through a growth spurt.  I expected a day or two of her not sleeping well.  But that one to two days has been 3 solid weeks!  Each week being worse than the week before.  She was not sleeping more than 10 minutes at a time for naps, and waking every 1 to 2 hours each night.  On top of that she was crying when I put her down for her naps.  She had only done some minimal crying the first few days of sleep training.  What was going on?!?

I also started noticing that I was stiff and sore when I woke up each day, and that stiffness/soreness stated lasting longer and longer each day.  Then the light bulb moment....I felt that way before we had gone on GAPS and taken out all wheat.

I found myself in a catch 22.  I was sore, tired and fatigued due to the wheat, but that meant the thought of cooking wheat free was overwhelming since cooking in such a way takes a lot more energy and time! But now I not only had my own symptoms, but I was also dealing with not being able to get anything done due to a non-sleeping baby, who herself was starting to act miserable due to lack of sleep.  Oy!

I had no other alternative except to JUST DO IT.  I started yesterday.  It is hard to believe I would see a change so soon, but I am.  Yesterday Merida slept for at least 45 minutes for each nap.  Her fussiness was about cut in half when I put her down for her naps.  Her night time waking stayed about the same, but no waking was less than 2 hours apart.

Today?  She has gone down for each of her naps without any fuss!  NONE!  Just wiggles a bit to get comfortable and is asleep within 3 minutes, no joke!  She has slept from 1 to 2 hours for each of her naps so far.  This is only day two, but I KNOW this isn't a coincidence.  Merida has been happy all day as well, smiling and babbling to us.

I know there are a myriad of ways to address this wheat issue, and I am working on what I can.  I am attempting to heal my gut with the means that I have right now.  I feel that I need to avoid it currently as it definitely not only effects me, but my baby.

I've had babies that were clearly effected by what I ate, but it usually presented itself with digestive issues.  I never made a correlation with my diet and their sleep.  Has anyone else seen this correlation to what they eat and their baby's sleep? 

Sweet dreams!

Shared with the Homestead Barn Hop

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I never thought I'd be here....

I could write a very long post on this.  I suppose I will some day, for my memory's sake.  For now I will just keep this brief.

Sixteen years ago I held a wee babe in my arms.  As any new parent I was filled with all sorts of thoughts and dreams for my first born child (and for all children there after :-)).  I can't really say what exactly I imagined life was going to look like sixteen years into the future (I am being prompted to remember that it is almost seventeen years!), but I know one thing...I didn't think it would be like this.  And the good news?  I'm glad where I am.

I knew from very early on that Isabella was an animal lover.  For the longest time it was a tie between dogs and horses. But now horses are the rule of the day.  Even when horses started taking over I still didn't imagine we would be where we are at.  I mean, who can afford horse riding lessons?  The good news is that you don't have to be able to afford them, you just have to be willing to work for them :-)

The girls have been into making videos lately.  Isabella has made a few horsey type videos, but they have been with other people's clips.  Tonight I saw a video that was made from either her clips, or from her sisters'.  And I have to say, it 'says' Isabella.

In the beginning you will see her with a horse.  The person you see next, riding, is not her.  The location is either at her old barn, or a new location, that she will soon be working at.  She will have two barns that she works for.  One teaches Dressage, and the other teaches Jumping. You even get to see Flannery dancing in the video.  The rest of the footage was taken at the Rodeo.  You get to see the Drill Team, and some pony rides.  I mean, a rodeo?  I never saw that one coming!!  Ha, ha.  I suppose I better get used to it :-)  Isabella is determined to do barrel racing, as well as eventing....Oh, and while we are at it, the Olympics as well.

Anyways, this is getting longer than I anticipated, so let me leave you with Isabella's video. I tried embedding it, but it wouldn't allow me to, here's the link instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B67etJEydj4

Monday, May 05, 2014

Making It Work....Laundry

The first part of my new series is on laundry.  With our size household, there is no shortage of it!!!  Before I begin I thought I would give a very quick summary of what this series is all about.

"Making It Work" for starters is NOT about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  It IS designed to be an encouragement to make do with what you have.  I suppose I can't be the only one who has struggled with sitting on my bottom waiting until I have all the time, or supplies I need before I begin.

 Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for that.  For example, we plan on pulling up our carpet and painting the sub-floors.  My first rule is that we won't pull one thread up until we have all the supplies we need.  Otherwise there is a high likelihood that we will be walking around on bare sub-floors, getting splinters, for weeks to come.  For our bathroom project we *needed* to pull things up since it was a matter of getting rid of the mold as quickly as we could.  But, our bathroom has been unfinished for over a year...hence our wait on pulling up the carpet.

I can sit around waiting until everything is just perfect, which leads me to a life of inactivity (with 8 children, I am not actually sitting on my bottom, but I think you understand what I am trying to say :-)).  I have decided that it was time to 'get up' and do something about the ideas in my head.  This is how this series came about.

Laundry.  We all have it.  There are a ton of ways one can handle it.  I encourage you to find a way that will work for your family.  No one way is the *right* way.  I know my mother would just about keel over and die if she knew that I pretty much throw my laundry in the washer without sorting.  I know, a true crime!  Though, to be fair, I do have three piles.  One for diapers, one for towels and the last one for everything else.  The exception is a new article of clothing that could seep it's fresh dye into the laundry water, I would wash that separately for a few times before throwing it in with the 'everything else' pile.

This year I wanted to extend our outside laundry line.  We saved a lot of  money last year by hanging our laundry out to dry.  The biggest savings come during the spring through fall time period.  We try to make do without the AC or heat (spring or fall) which in itself saves money.  When it is time to put the AC on, we can still save some money by hanging the laundry. This way the AC unit doesn't have to work against the heat from the dryer running half the day.

We have at least three loads of laundry a day, if not four.  Our dryer, for what ever reason (we've looked into it), takes a cycle and a half to dry our clothing.  That puts each load drying for one hour and thirty minutes.  That means our dryer is running for at least four and a half hours, and sometimes 6 hours daily.  Last year I found it difficult to get all our clothing hung on the lines we had.  If I started early enough, and it wasn't too humid, with at least a slight breeze, I could get all our laundry dried on the line for the day.  If the conditions were not right, then the dryer was used for some part of the drying process.

This year I wanted to extend the lines we had available to us.  But, alas, lack of funds for new poles led me to find a way to "Making It Work".

We have trees.  Lots of them.  Not sure how conducive it will be to have our laundry in the shade for half of the drying time, but trees are what I have to work with.  I walked around our property, close to the house, to see where I could make this new line.  My new place is working, though not perfect.  There were some things....like goats....that determined where I could put my line.

Here it is, in all it's glory :-)  I took one end, tied it to a tree, then just kept walking, stopping to wrap the rope around a smaller tree, then kept walking, until I ran out of rope.  Nothing fancy here!  After using it for a couple of weeks there is one spot that I need to wrap around a tree as there is too much slack in the line, otherwise I am very happy with how the line is working.

Here you can see the start of the line (around the large tree in the foreground), and the end of the line (tied around the T-post between the two large trees).  I found that I can not use part of the line that leads up to the T-post as the goats on the other side of the fence can reach over and pull my clothing off the line.

 Most people think that goats will eat anything.  That is not true.  However, they are like babies who put everything into their mouths!  Our two brown goats in particular love to play with the clothespins.  They pull on the laundry until the clips fly off, find them on the ground, and nibble on them.  Either that or they like to nibble on the newly hung wet laundry. One way or the other, my clean laundry finds it's way to the ground. That wouldn't be a problem if my line was strung over lush green grass.  Alas, it is not.  Again, making do with what I have, and that sometimes means I have to rewash an item or five :-)

See?  We are clearly lacking in the lush green grass!  But I do have these lovely rock formations, smack dab in the middle of my strung up laundry lines.  I have to be careful when I am hanging the laundry by the rocks because there are smaller ones that I always seem to trip over (these are not small rocks that I can pick up and throw, but large ones like the above, that are only sticking up a small amount).

And here is one of our brown goats.  We have let them into this area temporarily to munch on some of the brush.  I just have to make sure to shoo her out before I hang any laundry.

These are the extra lines I hung up last year...on our porch.  They are still there.  These are much more limited in their usefulness since I can only hang smaller items.  I can hang larger items if I lay them across multiple lines, but then I run out of room very quickly.  But, again, trying to make this work with what I have.

Brown goats in the back, and white chickens up front.  No, the chickens don't pull our laundry down, but they do come up sometimes to lay in the shade of the laundry.  And if not the chickens, then definitely the cats!

For years I have wrestled with the best way to handle the clothes pins.  We used to have a hanging bag, with multiple pockets. I made a clothes pin bag another year.  I've had miscellaneous buckets to hold the pegs. Finally, after years of trying a new 'system' for pegs I found something that works best of all....these huge pockets (seen above), that happen to be on my....

apron!  Those two, very full, pockets happen to be holding two loads worth of pegs!  This allows me to have the pegs at the ready without pulling along a hanging bag.  This also means no bending over to grab pegs from a bucket.  I had seen a tutorial for a waist apron to hold clothes pins when the light bulb over my head went on.  I have an apron with large pockets, let's see if it will work.  And it does!  Again, see what you have to make your ideas (or in this case other people's ideas) work.

How do you all handle your laundry?  What type of obstacles have you had to overcome to make a system work for your family?

A large span of lush green grass, multiple lines in the sun, would be ideal, but not all of us have that to work with.  I was just driving by a house yesterday and saw their laundry line.  At most it could hold 4 or 5 shirts on one line.  They had three, maybe four lines, for a total of possibly 20 items to dry at a time.  This wouldn't even hold one load of laundry for our family.  But, if that is all you can do, then that is one load less, possibly two, depending on your climate, to take it's turn in the dryer.

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