Wednesday, August 24, 2011


James has a great babysitter and little friend, Lena, who is turning one soon. They are great friends!

Having Jennafer babysit has been perfect. She's close by. James loves her and Lena. I get to work more without having to worry about James and we're doing a trade. Couldn't be better...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Within half an hour of writing yesterday's post, I realized that I had completely stood up my client who I had planned on meeting earlier in the day. So much for less brain fog... I keep forgetting what day it is. Last Wednesday, I was sure it was Friday and made plans for the following day, thinking it was Saturday. Those plans had to be canceled of course because I work on Thursdays. Sleep deprivation will do that to you.

I left my sourdough bread overnight and it had risen a bit over the top of the pans by this morning. So it is in the oven. Fingers crossed! It would be great if this experiment was successful. I really enjoyed kneading the dough yesterday. Gemma and Oona helped me. It's neat for them to see how real food is made. I grew up with my Mom making 8-12 loaves of bread a week to feed a family of seven. I've never been a huge fan of bread - even home made. But maybe there will be something different with sourdough? I'll like it better? I'm wondering if it is just that I don't like bread that is sweet and that I might like the sour and salty taste better. I'll find out soon and let you know.

And I am very vainly ecstatic that the scale indicated that I've finally lost a few pounds. It makes me feel thinner. Must work on not measuring self worth by whether I feel thin or not...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am enjoying homemade vanilla ice cream sweetened with agave and stevia. No potato, honey, or sugar involved.

My sourdough bread is in the bread pans but has not risen really. And it's been not-rising since this morning at roughly 9. It is now 6:30. Do I bake it as is? Or do I let it sit awhile longer? Was my start not good enough? This sourdough baking is a new adventure. Hmmmmm.....

Two weeks in, I think I am having less brain fog. That is a good thing. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

the new diet

is overall going well. The hardest parts are the hidden sugars and wondering if the salt on the label is iodized (and thus has potato) or not. Goodness gracious! Eliminating just potato, honey and sugar ends up eliminating A LOT of foods! Why even try? Why do it?

Elimination diets are definitely, most definitely, not for everybody. I had several reasons for trying..

1) I've never had the strongest constitution but, in the three months I didn't blog, I was knocked down by three viruses. I am so tired of being sick all the time and whatever I can do to help my body is worth it.

2) I've been struggling with sugar issues for, if I'm honest with myself, a decade now. Maybe, just maybe, this will make it easier? When I eat sugar and start getting cravings, I feel really out of control. My life right now is pretty darn chaotic and feels at times out of control. One thing I can control, though, is what I put in my mouth. I've used that control in destructive anorexic type ways in the past. I would like to use that control in a nourishing way this time around.

3) I have failed to make a dent in the thirty post-pardom pounds I would like to lose. I don't at all mind losing it slowly, but am not liking the plateau, or actually gaining when I succumb to a sugar binge.

4) I like the individualized approach - what is your body sensitive too. In the past decade I've read that protein is bad for you, that fat is bad for you, that protein is good for you, that healthy fat is good for you, that grains are what we should all eat, that we should never eat grains. One sister found out recently that she doesn't do well with gluten or egg and was encouraging me to try giving up gluten. I decided I wanted to be tested to know what my own individual body didn't like.

5) I've been very sleep deprived for the last almost five years and my adrenals are depleted, my thyroid taxed. I have a lot of things I want to do in the next twenty, thirty, forty years and want to have energy to do them. Given my constitution and family history, cutting out things that are stressful for my body is probably a pretty good idea.

6) I've always thought endometriosis is an autoimmune condition. I need to do what I can to have a happy immune system. I have not restarted my cycle since James was born (can you believe he'll be seven months on Sunday???), but am dreading the pelvic pain and painful ovulation. If this can help with that, I will be ecstatic.

What is interesting about the potato, honey, and fruit and sugar in combination, is that I'm not actually allergic to any of it. Neither is it a sensitivity. How the naturopath described it is that it is more of an intolerance. Your body finds it stressful to try to break down these foods and your liver, kidneys and immune system end up doing a lot of the job instead of your stomach and intestines.

Of course, if after six months I don't feel better, potato chips sound awfully good... That or sweet potato fries...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three months later...

And now it is three months since my last post... Mostly, we've been sleep deprived over here and just trying to keep up with the chaos of having five kids - two teenagers, one pre-k-er (I can't bring myself to call Gemma a toddler), a toddler (it's getting hard to call Oona a toddler, too. Is she a preschooler instead?) and a baby who is sitting and teething and nursing frequently all night long. Right now, Jack is on the couch reading. Patrick is working at our neighbor's print shop. Gemma is finding clothes to put on. Oona is whining because she wants me to help her find clothes - but is also very proud because she kept her underwear dry all night long. And James is on the floor crying. I read a facebook post the other day that exhorted parents to never let their children cry. I know this particular Mom to have only one kid and is pregnant with her second and I couldn't help thinking, "You just wait... When you have more than one, sometimes something has to get done before you pick up the fussing kid." For some reason, this blog post is qualifying as one of those things that needs to get done before I pick up the fussing baby. Part of that, though, is due to frustration because he's been popping on and off the nipple this morning and that hurts and my patience has run thin.

But, why I'm really back posting on the blog is to share a bit about a naturopath visit and the efforts of giving up potato, honey, and sugar... More about that later. I really should see if I can comfort the baby. He's turned from fussying to crying.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter

I made some fairies for the girls for Easter. (They knew that I made them but didn't wonder where the Easter Bunny got them from...)

I'm in love with these little acorn dolls. More to come, I'm sure!

Also, can you tell this little boy has big sisters? A couple weeks ago, the girls had fun dressing him up in purple bunny ears. And of course, there is the non-gender neutral pink bouncy seat.

And a little tummy time...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

one of jack's friends, ione, took this awesome picture of him skateboarding. i think i want to get it framed because it is just so jack.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

pictures 2

James in his pink bouncy seat. This time photos by me.


All taken by Jack (window reflection) who is taking photography right now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Sleep deprivation = managing the feat of putting a disposable diaper on incorrectly (my only excuse was that it was the middle of the night and dark) = wet baby and wet bed exactly when it's time to be out the door to take the girls to school. oops. Somehow I managed to twist the diaper at the crotch and have the absorbent part facing out in front - which doesn't help much when you're diapering a boy...

Lucky for me, I was punchy enough from sleep deprivation that I found this pretty funny in kind of a "wow, somebody could actually manage that" type of way. And we weren't too terribly late. I might not have thought it was so funny, though, if he had managed to pee on me in the middle of the night and I woke up with wet pajamas and wet sheets all around.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

one of the best birthday presents

A card Eric drew for me for my birthday. It reminds me of the picture I had in my head of when I came home from the hospital with James. I felt bad about not having a photograph of that, but this is way better...

Monday, February 14, 2011

keeping chaos at bay

I just called Eric because I really needed to calm down. I had just engaged in a half hour power struggle with Gemma trying to get her to clean up her mess - which she had promised to clean up when I let her play with the toy in the first place. I was getting very very very very angry. Am much calmer now. I cleaned the beads up myself and am confiscating them - which was the consequence that I warned Gemma about a kajillion times over. (I already just this weekend took some puzzles and hid them away because Gemma kept getting them out and then not doing them and leaving the puzzle pieces spread out all over the family room floor.)

So we have a plan to keep chaos at bay. It seems so much of our collective day is spent cleaning up messes the girls make with them very half heartedly helping out because they know full well that it will get done whether they help or not and because they don't care if it's a big mess or not. They just don't see it as a mess and the consequences we've come up with have not been effective motivators. I asked Eric what he did with the boys and he said that they had far fewer toys and far less space to make a mess in. Well, we can't change the size of our house right at the moment, but we can reduce the number of toys that they can make a mess with. So that is the plan. We'll keep out the toys that they regularly play with and put away or get rid of the ones they don't.

With seven people, a cat and a dog, somehow the chaos needs to be managed. And engaging in power struggles with little ones by trying to manipulate or bribe them into the desired behavior is just way too exhausting, especially for these sleep deprived parents. We'll see how it pans out. I'm hoping for happy kids who are especially happy that their parents aren't getting angry as often.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

six weeks, parenthetical statements, and the breast crawl

James is six weeks old already. As always, I can't believe he's been here on the outside for that long (how fast time flies!) and I also feel like each day is five days (how slow time is! when will he sleep through the night so that i can be sane?!?!) In a lot of ways he is an easy baby. He is perfectly content to let his brothers or Dad hold him (something Oona would not tolerate). He doesn't fuss much when his big sisters are crowding over him, fighting for the best view of his face (is he awake, is he asleep?) What he does is grunt and squirm and wriggle and want to nurse relatively frequently (not as bad as Oona I have to keep reminding myself...) most of the night which makes sleep difficult and patience the following day challenging. My house is chaotic and dirty. The girls walls are covered in marker and crayon - a small price to pay for time to myself (or myself with James). With the first kid, time to yourself meant without the baby. With the second and third kids, time to yourself just means without the older ones.

We've had some challenges with nursing and his latch being quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I finally contacted Alicia, a lactations consultant. And she had me do the breast crawl to reset his latch. It worked! And now I think every new mom should do the breast crawl with their newborn. It might just make many nursing challenges disappear. James is much more comfortable and relaxed nursing with me semi-reclined than he is in the traditional cradle hold.

Check out this video: Breast crawl video on youtube.

Speaking of which, Mr. James wants to nurse again...

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Year's resolutions a month late...

I just saw a link on yahoo about eating foods to boost your mood - whole foods rich in vitamins, etc. Instead, I've made cup cakes from a box mix and some frosting. I've been on a sugar bender the past week or so. It's not very pretty. One night, I was feeling desperate for something sweet, the cake I had purchased earlier already consumed, and there was nothing readily available except for Karo Syrup. I drew the line. That was too close to an alcoholic going for the rubbing alcohol.

Sooo. My New Years was taken over by other important things other than making resolutions. So I'm making today my New Years Eve and tomorrow, February 1 will be my day to start those resolutions.

I renew my resolution to eat foods that are good for me - which, in my sugar-sensitive case, means no sweets.

That is my most concrete resolution. Others would include fulfilling my potential as well as possible as a person, mother, wife, sister. Pray more, laugh more, be more patient, and act with loving kindness and compassion. I'm not setting the bar too high, am I?

BTW, James is one month old today.

Monday, January 3, 2011

birth story

I posted on the blog at 3:30 in the morning on the 31st. I was completely frustrated by the lack of labor. The day before, I got all excited because I had strong contractions that were about three minutes apart for about half an hour. Then nothing. I was so disappointed. I had gotten so excited that this was it. So the next morning, I ignored the crampy, moderate contractions. Hadn't I been having them for weeks now and they meant nothing? I had lunch. Cuddled with Oona. The girls went in for nap time and I settled in to knit on my hat. I often knit while the girls are in quiet time. I started to have some stronger contractions but they weren't super close together so I ignored them. This is about 12:30 pm. I just knit away then noticed that it was getting hard to knit through the contractions. The contractions would come about two rows apart, then one row apart, then they started being half a row apart. I started thinking maybe I am in labor so made a few relevant phone calls. I had the surrogate grandmother come over just in case this was the real thing. I checked in with my doula and talked about maybe going to the hospital. We finally decided to go because I didn't want to have to have the stress of thinking about whether I should go or not. We got in the car and headed off. We got out of the car in the parking garage at 3:33 pm. I had three or four contractions (I had to stop and relax) between the car and the check in desk then a couple more from there to the room (they skipped triage). The nurse asked if I was planning on an epidural so I handed her my birth plan of hypnobirthing. She gave me a gown to change into. It took me awhile to change because I had to breathe through four or so more contractions. Then they checked my cervix and I was already at a 7 with bulging waters which promptly broke. I was group B strep positive so they put the IV thing in, but I guess there was debate over what kind of antibiotic because I'm allergic to amoxicillin and they never did get around to hooking it up. My doula was great and did energy work which really helped. I also had Steven Halpern Sound Healing playing on the cd player. The room was really quiet. They never got around to checking my cervix again. It was clear I was feeling pushy and they let me do mother directed pushing. I was semi on my back and did not want to change position. Some say that isn't the ideal position to be in but it worked this time around. I had a tiny tear which required a couple stitches but has not bothered me at all since then. The mid-wife allowed his cord to pulse and he was immediately placed on my stomach. I could have caught him myself but didn't want to change position at that point. James William was born at 4:48 pm, 7 lb, 10 oz, 21 inches long. Yes, it was that quick and amazing. I really felt like I was able to stay in my hypnobirthing space and could mostly relax into the contractions. I should be grateful for all the preparation my body did. It helped things move so quickly and helped me have lots of practice for relaxing through contractions. The nurse accidentally ripped my IV out while rubbing down the baby. I had so many endorphins running through me it didn't really hurt. The side benefit was that they didn't put a new one in so I spent the rest of the time there without the IV. James looked wonderful and healthy so I was really really surprised when his blood sugar reading came back as too low to measure (which means below 20). So he was whisked away to the NICU which was very sad for me. He was really really sleepy the first twenty four hours and it was hard to get him to nurse. The NICU doctor was talking about wanting to supplement and wanting me to pump to see or prove how much milk I was producing. It was really stressful. Finally, at the twenty four hour mark, he did a two hour cluster feed. Then they were able to wean him off the glucose IV and he was only in the NICU for about 48 hrs which is a really short amount of time for babies born with low blood sugar. His last blood sugar reading was just high enough for him to go home but the NICU doctor let him. I was so relieved. The girls hadn't met James yet because siblings were not allowed in the NICU because of cold and flu season. It was sooo nice to be home and see the girls and have everybody meet the baby. I wish I had a picture, but I don't think a photograph would have done justice to the occasion. I sat on the couch holding James and John, Patrick, Gemma and Oona were circled around me so happy to meet their baby brother. It was wonderful to sleep in my own bed. Going upstairs to the NICU every three hours to nurse was quite exhausting.

It was really really fast but wasn't overwhelming. It was quiet, calm, peaceful and beautiful.


with more story to come later.

Skin to skin, James William right after birth, 31 December, 4:48 p.m.

With eye medicine...

End of the NICU stay.

Packed up and ready to head home.

Big sisters.

I woke up.

The hat I knit while wondering if I was in labor or not. Is it for real this time? Less than two hours later... I finished the hat while in the hospital.