Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today was good. Took the kids outside to ride their bikes. It was 40 degrees. Came back in for hot cocoa and let me tell you I got a major spurt of energy! I'm sure it was the cold that did it. Sure got me off my keister - the house is looking decent!

Kids are using their glitter glue that they got for Christmas and cutting up Christmas cards to glue to their projects. I new I'd find a use for Christmas cards. I'm just not one of those people that saves every card and takes it out to look at down the road. I look - say "Aw, how cute!" and chuck it in the trash! LOL

Split pea with leftover Christmas ham and homemade rolls for dinner. Thank God for my crock pot!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas was a blast! The kids received lots of nice stuff. The biggest hits were a baby stroller for Madelaine and a tea set for McKenna. They also got lots of pj's, clothes, some games, etc...

Noel got me some herb books and a book called Wild Fermentation. One of the best books was on stories and recipes from the Great Depression. I'd been eyeballing that one on Amazon for awhile!
Besides a new phone and his AK-12 and computer hardware, Noel got a couple of new shirts and another gift that he'd be embarrassed for me to mention. Let me just say that they are in bathrooms all over the UK.

I'll get some pictures loaded up!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I sold my baby swing today and so with the extra money I went to Target and picked up two comforter sets for the girls for Christmas. Madelaine doesn't have one and McKenna has a used one I got off of freecycle. I'm glad to have something nice now for them - and they are designs the girls can grow into - nothing baby-ish.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Woo! Just sold the co-sleeper for $70. I've been anxious to get it out of my living room! Now I feel like I've got some more space. Now I just need to get rid of the Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers and the baby swing and I'll feel better. And I'll have a little more money to spend on the kids and hubby!

Have I mentioned I'm reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand? Excellent book!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our new chant for Eli is "Peter, peter punkin eater, Peek-a-Boo BAY-bee!!


Just got back from his 4 month shots - we selectively vaccinate - and our ears are freezing. The kids insisted on a walk around the block when we got back. Hot chocolate is imminent!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas trees is up and decorated! We went out yesterday to pick one up. The girls had a great time, too. We all worked at getting it up and going. Girls and I did the lights and ornaments. I like it's placement, too. I'll post a pic of it. I've decided that the girls and I need to make our own homemade ornaments. I still have some that I did as a kid with my mom. We seem to have some that have broken or lost their strings.

In the pic, you'll see a treadmill. Noel picked one up for me as in the winter we don't take as many walks. The kids have been ALL over it! I need it just to feel as though I'm staying in shape. I've never had issues with keeping weight off, but I always feel better after I've taken a nice long walk - longer than the kids will do too, sometimes!

Our day has started off well today. McKenna did letter practice and some shape recognition. She's really good at it, but I needed to follow the letter tracing with something fun, so we did that. This afternoon, we'll do some telling time and some alphaphonics. She's great at reading so far, but isn't very motivated to do it. I've done some treasure hunts with clues she had to read and I've found some readers that are more interesting than the lesson book. I'm very proud of her so far. Madelaine likes to work alongside McKenna. I usually have some coloring for her. Eli is usually taking a nap during the morning school session.

Well, that's it for now. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

I finally got around to transferring my herbs out of their plastic bags and into some mason jars. Found some nice old ones with hinged lids out in the shed that I put to use! This weekend I think we'll be doing some Christmas shopping for the kids and getting our tree put up. It's about time already! LOL Here's a pic of my china cabinet, which I'm using as an apothecary cabinet of sorts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I'm finally getting a chance to sit down! I've chopped and peeled and cored apples most of this morning and later this afternoon finished canning them. I have a photo of my 6 jars of applesauce. That's basically 3 big bags of apples, one of Honeycrisp and two of Fuji. The Honeycrisp did better with my apple corer. Which was amazing! The kids helped and it went pretty fast.
Also did 3 quarts of fire cider. Noel's bringing home sub sandwiches since I didn't get around to making dinner. :( Ah well, here are the pics!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Well, I'm working on Christmas cards today. No Christmas letter. Honestly, I hate doing that! I feel as though I blog and email and post enough on facebook that everyone knows what's up. I'm having Noel pick up some horseradish root on the way home and I'll have all the ingredients for my fire cider. I'll be canning applesauce tomorrow and will be picking up some castille soap this weekend for making herbal creations. That should be enough to get going on Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends.

I actually feel like I'm on top of things this year! :D

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Well, I thought I was going to get lucky. But, I'm sick. The girls are drying up but Madelaines still hanging onto her cold. It would have been nice to be sick for the weekend with the girls with Noel able to help out, but ah well. I made up sandwiches and snacks for the girls tomorrow in case I feel REALLY crummy, so that I don't have to do any preparation. When I'm sick, the last thing I want is to be on my feet much.

We got about 8 inches of snow a few days ago and the kids played in it once before getting sick enough they had to stay inside. They're hoping to be well enough to play in it tomorrow but I think I'll wait until Tuesday. That's the day McKenna has a PE class and I'll know by then if she's well enough to go. A few houses down someone built a snowman that is one story high. Looks pretty awesome. Noel is wondering how long it will take to melt.

Nothing much too new. We got new phones and my new one is much better. It has bigger numbers that I can actually fit my finger on and it also has a 911 button that the kids can hit if need be. Although McKenna knows how to dial 911 anyway. Noel calls it the granny phone. But seriously, I don't need a mini computer/camera/gps doodad. All I need is a freaking phone. I must be getting old! Or maybe just sensible? Practical? LOL

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Richard and Audie were over and we also had another family over. Noel works with Ryan and they didn't want to risk the bad weather conditions to Utah so we invited them over. We ended up with 6 adults and 4 children that I cooked for and it came together really well. Noel deep fried the turkey and I made the standard mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bread, green bean casserole, stuffing and relish. We ended up with 3 apple pies and 1 pecan pie. No pumpkin. I thought Richard was getting a pumpkin pie to bring, but was wrong. Not a biggie - I can always make one for Christmas dinner.

I had a great chat with Robin about the LDS canneries. We're interested in going to one to get some food dry-packed, like potato flakes, dried milk, wheat berries, oats, beans, stuff like that. I'm getting really antsy about food prices. I have this awful feeling that our dollar is going to crash and burn and I really want to be prepared with food and water supplies. Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I'd rather be prepared. I want to get soaps and toiletries as well. In fact, a friend of mine makes soap and she's asked me if I want her extra lye as she's taken a break from soap-making for awhile. I might take her up on it and just work with it when the kids are doing quiet time. Lye is extremely caustic, I believe. But knowing how to make things, basic things, is a goal of mine. Things like toothpaste. I now have a recipe for tooth powder. Laundry soap I know how to make. Herbal shampoos I can do - and of course my medicines. Noel rolls his eyes at me sometimes, but I bet he'd be happy to have a wife that knows how to make soap if the store aisles empty during some catastrophe!

Anyway, having a husband who knows how to fix and make things comes in handy, too. I feel very secure having him as a helpmate. I know that he would be able to defend us (he should with all of the guns he has!) and put food on the table since I know he's shot small game before. He's strong and always healthy. Hardly ever sick! He knows a lot about fixing cars, computers, any type of machine really. He can make bullets from excess metal he has laying around. His tools come in handy and already neighbors come to him for help or to borrow things. I'm sure if we ever needed to do a lot of bartering we'd be in good shape with him knowing all the technical stuff and me knowing how to make things that people need health-wise. I'm not trying to toot our horns here, but just to say what a sense of well-being this brings to me. I'm really a very positive person and just thinking about things going wrong really rubs me the wrong way. It makes me feel better to know we're in a good position if things do go wrong.

If the time comes when we can move to a small farm, that would be icing on the cake. Room for a large garden, a shop for Noel, a basement or root cellar for canned goods, space for chickens and a family cow. Guess it's a good thing I know how to milk a cow (thanks Uncle John!) and make butter.

Okay, I'm going to wrap this up. I've got some FarmTown to play while the kids are gone/sleeping!

Monday, November 15, 2010

There are some days when I feel myself going slowly insane! How do people with 7 or 8 kids do it?? I know a lot of my frustration comes from my inability to come up with a way to keep the house picked up and organized. I seem to find it hard to put myself on a schedule. When it comes to McKenna's schooling, I'm good. But as far as laundry and general pick-up I'm pretty awful! I did manage to organize my upstairs bookshelf. That one thing has me feeling pretty good about today. Even if everything else is a mess. I was doing for awhile and that worked well - maybe I should try to get back on that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is there anything better than fresh, homemade applesauce? With a little cinnamon and brown sugar it's simply divine! McKenna and I used our new apple corer that Noel brought home and we whipped up our applesauce in no time. And that was with Eli strapped to the front of me, too! :D

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick post today - Noel took the girls for haircuts yesterday and I went for mine today. Stopped off at target to see if they had an apple peeler/corer. They don't. Noel's been bringing home big bags of apples since they're in season and I've done applesauce and will probably slice and dehydrate some also. Wouldn't mind canning some applesauce instead of freezing it. It takes quite a while to peel those apples by hand. Also looked to see if they had a pressure canner. Target didn't but BedBath&Beyond did. For $20. more than Amazon has it. And I'll get free shipping with buying through Amazon.

We're feeling under the weather a little - except Noel. Runny noses, sore throats. We've been taking our echinacea, elderberry and lozenges and hopefully that will kick this colds butt soon. I can't stand being sick.

Gotta get lunch for the girls - more later!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Well, cold and flu season is starting up! McKenna has been complaining of a sore throat last night and this morning so I decided it was time to make up my herbal sore throat pastilles. We made it a cooperative project and McKenna actually really likes helping me make my medicines which is really neat.

So, I brought out my mortar and pestle and we got started. The herbs I use are all from Mountain Rose Herbs and are exceptional. These people put great care into what they produce and where they obtain their herbs from.

So my recipe is not really mine. I decided to use the one on the Learning Herbs website and it is as follows:

1 T rose petal powder
1/2 T powdered sage
2 T marshmallow powder
1-1/2 T warmed honey

The rose powder acts on inflammation and pain. It's an astringent and is cooling to the throat.
The sage is antimicrobial and an astringent and works to kill pathogens and also to tone tissue. The marshmallow is a demulcent and can help relieve a dry cough as well as boost the immune system.
The honey is antimicrobial and is great for soothing a sore throat. We use local raw honey that we get from Middleton, a town over. It's made from millet instead of clover but we really enjoy it. Noel likes it better than clover honey.

So I had McKenna powder the sage in the mortar and pestle and the other ingredients were ready to go. We mixed them up with the honey and then instead of rolling them into balls I thought we would try pressing them into my candy molds - flowers! After they came out of the freezer we popped them out and dusted them with some cinnamon and rose powder. They will last about 2 weeks in our fridge. We had a little sample before shaping them and they taste pretty good. I'm sure the honey helps! :) We'll have to keep you posted on how they work on her sore throat.

Monday, November 08, 2010

So I told Noel how I felt later on last night and he apologized to me. Then we sat and had one of those great conversations that seem like they could go on all night long. He's a good guy, my man!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

This is a blog for venting, just remember that! I love my husband to death but sometimes he can be a bit of an ass. Today is one of those days when I just can't do anything right and by the end of the day I feel like a worthless bit of flotsam that he just tolerates. I try to tell him that something he said hurt me and I get a justification instead of an apology. I don't even argue - I just go to bed. Until I realize that I need to get it out, even if it's just typing this entry.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The last couple of days I've been busy making salves and tinctures. I thought I'd share.

Since we're headed into winter and we're inside a lot more I decided to make a tincture of St. Johns Wort today. Besides being good for burns and skin irritations in salve form, St. Johns Wort is also good for anxiety and depression. Since I tend to get a little more depressed during the winter I'll use some of the tincture in my teas. In addition to that, I also have some echinacea tinctured from last year that's helpful for colds and coughs.

I've also made up some salve of calendula-infused olive oil and coconut oil for Eli. It smells simply superb! Coconut oil is very healing on rashes and as an added bonus I can use the leftover oil for cooking. It's apparently very heart healthy!

When our first cold comes around I'll be posting a pic of the sore throat drops I'll be making of sage, rose and marshmallow.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today was spent dropping books off at the library, washing cloth diapers, making a diaper rash salve for Eli's butt out of cococut oil and beeswax. That was really fun, actually. I love playing witchdoctor, LOL. We had an art class and a phonics class for McKenna today. We've been getting into the swing of homeschooling this year and while it's been a little intimidating the rewards are worth it. She's starting to read short sentences and is so proud of herself.

Things on my to-do list:

Clean up the garden
Sell some cloth diapers on Ebay
Fold laundry
Make sore throat pastilles (which should be yummy - made of rose, marshmallow and licorice powders) Once I get some slippery elm I'll have enough ingredients to make my cough drops.

Enough for now - love and kisses to all!
Part 2 of our trip!

In Connecticut we met up with Noel's side of the family. His mom and sister picked us up from my sisters place in the Adirondacks and we headed to his Aunt Roseanne's house. She very nicely put us up there for the week and it was so comfy and much nicer than a hotel would have been. Besides, the kids would've missed out on that fur rug in front of the fireplace! O-lala!

So we all got together for pictures on Tuesday I think it was (I'm already mixed up on what we did on what day) at Wal-Mart. Noel's grandpa was there and we had his mom and his sister and her family - Jay and Alyssa and Savannah. We got some pretty cute pics there.

Annie spent the nights with us at Roseannes place - she slept in the spare room with the girls. Everyone was curled up together and apparently very comfy - Noel and I had a nice double or queen which was nice. Even now that we're back from CT Madelaine wants to sleep with her sister in McKenna's twin. I'm happy to let her do that as they'll be in the same room in the next couple of months anyway what with Eli moving into his own room eventually.

We did the Big E in Massachussetts while we were there and we pigged out on maple sugar and cream donuts and cotton candy and you name it. The girls went wild for the funhouses and we have tons of pics of that. Alyssa, who is ten, I think wanted to go on the free fall so her Aunt Sarita reluctantly agreed and we had a blast! We went twice as a matter of fact! We did ferris wheels and the kids did the slides and the carousels and we checked out the little chicks hatching and the huge Clysdale horses and some incredible artwork.

This whole time Eli slept all through the nights and wouldn't you know he decides to get me up twice a night when we got back to Nampa.

We did a birthday party for McKenna on a Sunday and all the family came. Noel has 5 aunts and so we met up with them and their kids and took pics in the backyard. Had dinner at a really nice seafood restaurant one night and I ordered the Maryland crabcakes, which I haven't had in a long time. I would have gotten lobster or crab legs, but they were REALLY expensive and Noels mom was paying. We did get clam strips for the kids which really brought back memories and they loved them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Well, we are freshly back from our trip to New York and Connecticut. Having family in both states makes visiting both pretty easy as the distance between the two states isn't too terrible.

We packed light, as we'd have access to a washer/dryer while back east. Turns out it was a good plan because as it was we were loaded down with backpacks and computer cases and kid stuff. I've never dragged so much stuff onto a plane before!

The kiddos really loved the plane ride over. They were glued to the window the whole time, only taking breaks to fight and play - take your pick! LOL - it really wasn't that bad. I brought a bunch of dollar store toys with me for them to explore and that kept them busy when they weren't checking out the view.

So my cousins wedding was on Saturday. George and April got married at the Historical Society in Lodi, NY - it used to be a church and I could see why. High wooden ceilings, beautiful stained glass. The service was short and sweet and the reception was fun, too. I had so much energy. I managed to get Noel to dance with me a little although he preferred sitting and taking pictures. The kiddos wanted to dance - Madelaine only if you were holding her, though. The reception was held at Veterans Hall. That's not what it was called but I can't think of the exact name right now.

We had a bonfire afterwards at the grooms house - a Christmas tree plantation - because the hall only stayed open until ten. The bonfire had to have been at least 10 feet high and was the largest I've seen - even bigger than the ones we used to have on Seneca Lake. I did my first jello shots there. Anyone who knows me knows that I hardly ever drink - usually just a glass of wine with my dinner once a month or so but those little things were so tasty! I must have had 7 or 8 of them. Half were made with wine and half with vodka. I was a little tipsy by the end and had laughed harder than I've laughed in a long time. The college kids that were there and their stories probably had something to do with it.

My family and my brother and his oldest daughter Logan were all staying at a little cottage that my parents had rented on Cayuga lake - so that's where we headed back to. The kids had the upstairs bunks and Ethan had the front enclosed porch. Noel and I had a back room. The little place was cute and was owned by my mothers second cousins Dar and Barb. I found out while I was there that my grandfather had built the kitchen. The place was right on the lake and there was a dock. We got lots of great pics of the kids out on it.

My Uncle Gary and cousin Mary came by in their motorboat and took us for a ride. We went across the lake which was about a mile and a half wide and saw Wells College, which used to be an all female college. Saw some kayakers while we were out there.

There was a reunion at the old Usher barn, which is a simply amazing piece of craftmanship. It's huge with a large lofty ceiling. I'll have to post pics. There's no way for me to describe it appropriately. About 40 family members showed up for the reunion and we got a pic of all the first cousins on some hay bales inside the barn. Mary, George, Kim, Eric, Sarita, Ethan, and Charlene. The kids played in the dirt outside when they weren't eating and seemed to have a wonderful time.

The next couple of days to went to Taughannock Falls, the tallest waterfall on the east coast, I believe. We walked in the quarter mile and Logan and McKenna had a misunderstanding which led to Logan crying the entire time. I love the girl, but several times during the trip I found myself yelling at her to mind her manners and respect her father. If you're reading this Tish, I didn't want her behavior to rub off on McKenna, otherwise I would've let Ethan do his 1-2-3 thing with her. Other than a few times, she and McKenna got on really well together and McKenna enjoyed playing with her.

We had a dinner party one of the nights for all of the aunts, uncles and cousins and basically had a Thanksgiving meal - it was also my birthday, so I think that was the excuse for having it! :) Earlier that day Dad had taken me wine tasting. The fingerlake region is swarming with vineyards and wineries and most are incredibly beautiful. We went to Lucas Vineyards and picked up a red Tugboat wine and a "Nautie" white wine called Miss Adventurous. They were both excellent, as were many of the others we tasted while we were there. We had our wine with the dinner and it was really yummy.

Next morning we stuffed ourselves on homemade cinnamon rolls that my lovely cousin Mary made. I think is was Friday that we went to Rochester to the Museum of Play for kids and they had a blast. Bridges and ships and science areas and fancy old kitchens with hand pumps at the kitchen sink and tons of other stuff for them to explore. The entire museum was one big library, too. Everywhere you go there would be a wall of books here or just a little end table with 3 books there. It was the cutest thing. The kids especially loved the mini supermarket where they could "buy" things and check themselves out at the register.

Saturday night we spent at my sister's cabin in the Adirondack mountains near Forestport. Her little magical place is so beautifully decorated. There's a little rock lined path up to her door and an pretty little wooden rocking chair made of twigs outside her front door. A little creek hung over with trees flows quietly by and she can see it through a huge window when she wakes up in the morning. Some of the antiques and things she has collected throughout her life decorate the cabin and there's really not a square inch of wall showing! There's a little loft upstairs where Noel and I stayed the night with Eli and the girls and Logan shared a blow-up mattress downstairs. Madelaine really loved the loft and was up there a lot scaring us because she kept leaning out onto the scythe that acted as a rail at the top. We had a delicious pork roast for dinner and concord grapes to munch on. We sat at their campfire with Tiki torches around the perimeter after dinner. It really was incredible and when we come back east again I want to spend more time there.

As I am running out of time I will blog about the Connecticut portion of our trip next time!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Eli is turning into quite the little chunk! Not sure what he weighs right now, but I'd bet it's in the 8 to pound range. I have to use a pillow to put under his hind end when I'm nursing him now. He's got a little double chin and I am amazed that something I produce could cause him to grow so well! He's doing better sleeping at night. He seems to now go to sleep between 8 and 9 pm and usually will wake me up every two hours. Sometimes we're awake for a good chunk of time in the middle of the night, but that's starting to become less and less.

The house is a perpetual mess. I blame Facebook for that one. There's three games that I'm currently addicted to and honestly they take up too much time. I'm going to have to drop one of them, I think. And get back with Flylady. When I was doing that, the house looked decent!

Mom and Dad are on there way to NY. They were in Wyoming last night and Dad wants to take a month to get across the country. Mom thinks that won't happen. One the the arteries in Dad's heart is occluded to about 20 percent, maybe less by now. His doctor didn't want him to go on this trip, but evidently Dad wants to see family before he is unable (or the surgery makes him unable) to visit family. I'm worried that he'll kick the bucket while on this trip. Mom is too, and Sherri is REALLY worried and was trying to convince him to come back this summer for the surgery on his heart. Dad says the surgery probably won't happen until after Christmas since he says they'll be on the road that long!

Anyway, back to surfing the net. And laundry - diapers are currently in the dryer and can I say I love the Kissaluvs and pocket diapers I'm using right now for Eli? They are amazing and so easy to deal with. Madelaine might be potty trained before our trip this September. She is VERY interested in peeing in the potty chair and is quite successful at it. Only one poop so far, though.

All right, I'm sure we don't all want to hear about my childrens bowel habits. I'm off for now. Love to all!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Little Eli has some serious sleep issues! He takes a long nap between 7pm and midnight and then is awake until around 3 to 5am... sleeps well between 6am and noon and then is awake kind of between noon and 7pm. His schedule is really messing me up... I want to have him awake early in the morning, but to do that I would have to get up that early and after being up all night that's the last thing I want to do. I try to keep him awake between 7 and 10pm but it's really hard. He just sleeps through whatever I try to do to keep him awake. I'm glad Mom is still here to help me out during the day. At least I can get a nap in when Maddy and Eli are sleeping during the day. McKenna is good about being quiet. Well it's 1am and guess what? He's NOT sleeping and I need to go up and check on him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm really depressed and fatigued today. Overwhelmed thinking about how I'm supposed to take care of three kids, educate them, keep the house picked up and make dinner every night. Laundry, etc... I'm going to try to get back into flylady and see if that helps. I'm keeping track of what I'm eating to see if that might have something to do with how fatigued I am. And it's not just post-baby - I've been like this for awhile. If it doesn't get better I'll probably see a doc and try to rule out dairy or gluten intolerance. Maybe it's something as simple as that! I can almost see why some moms would start taking stimulants to keep them going! Don't worry, I won't.

Eli's doing great. Keeps me up until 2 in the morning most nights and the other kiddos have me up by 8. Not terrible, but not great either. I'm trying to keep him more awake and alert during the day. We had an appointment yesterday at the Baby Place where I delivered and he's up 7 ounces from his birth weight. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just some notes on my recovery - mainly for me so I don't forget. It wasn't the best, considering how well I did for the birth. The uterus is supposed to contract down pretty quickly, which is helped by breast-feeding and of course I was doing that. But my uterus was non-compliant! I ended up with clots that had to be 'eh-hem' removed! I lost a bit of blood and ended up with a shot of pitocin to help everything clamp down. My first trip to the bathroom left me dizzy in the middle. Jerusha transferred me to a rolling chair but the minute my butt was in it I passed out. She and Colleen carried me to the bed where I was revived with smelling salts. I had the craziest 'dreams' while I was out and remember coming to seeing a small point of light and then everything pulled back and there were their faces right over me. Felt like a cartoon. I remember saying "Whoa!" in a very stoned, stuperous sort of voice. Makes me laugh a bit now. So I looked like a ghost for awhile. Ended up staying at the birth center for about 28 hours, then they let me go. I would still get light-headed being on my feet for any length of time, but short walks were fine and I felt that I could be light-headed at home just as well as there.

I did end up with what they call a skid-mark when Eli was born. It's given me a bit of trouble and at times it looks like a tear, but it's starting to look and feel better every day. This morning is the first morning Noel went to work and my mom will be by later to help with the kids. I've been putting Eli in the mini crib downstairs since all he does is sleep, but he's been more alert - especially yesterday- so I may see about wearing him in the sling today. That's what I'd like to do most of the time when he's awake.

We took him to Dr. Butuk, his new pediatrician yesterday and he has a slight touch of jaundice which we can fix by keeping him near bright lights for a little bit while he's awake. He also had a little spot above his penis which the doc said to put an antiseptic on and watch for anymore as it could be a sign of a staff infection! So we've been carefully watching and cleaning him for that issue.

I love the little squeaks he makes and I know that he'll outgrow it all too soon. They don't stay these little helpless infants forever. And this is my last one! Madelaine is already really not a toddler anymore! She'll be 2 on the 25th of this month.

Enough for now - I need to do a load of laundry and since the baby monitor is quiet, go up and check on my son anyway. LOL

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This is the birth story of Eli! If you are squeamish and don't think you'd like hearing about blood, mucous and perineums then this might not be the read for you. For everyone else, enjoy! I am very proud of this birth.

So Eli William Noel has been born! He was born at 6:53 am on July 9th, a day after our 10th wedding anniversary! He was 6lbs 8 ozs upon arrival. I am writing this up now, only 2 days after birth because I won't be able to take naps during the day until I do! My mind simply keeps playing over the events that I don't want to forget. This birth was done with Hypnobabies hypnosis and was absolutely perfect.

My labor started the morning of July 8th and contractions were about 5 to 7 minutes apart from the very beginning. My mom came over that morning as she and dad are up visiting for about a month. My 'guess' date was July 21st, by the way! All morning, I walked, squatted, laid on the couch, and tried to stay as active as possible. I really wanted to walk outside but it was in the low nineties and the humidity was very high. I ended up just staying inside with our swamp-cooled air.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had worked towards this natural birth since the moment we found out we were pregnant. I figured out pretty quickly that if I wanted a completely natural birth I would have to step away from the OB/hospital birth that we initially were signed up for and go with a midwife/free-standing birth center birth and I'm glad that we did. Just to give a little background, my first birth was by C-section and even though at the time I was happy with it, after doing more research I believe my section might have been avoided by doing more walking/activity during labor. My 2nd child was a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and again, at the time I was thrilled with the outcome but the recovery was made difficult by the epidural/pitocin/episiotomy/vacuum extraction train that I boarded. Just recovering from pain from the episiotomy took a full year!

So as I was laboring at home and looking forward to my 3rd birth, I knew what I was hopefully avoiding. I knew there was a small chance of transfer to a hospital from the birthing clinic but accepted that that might happen and that it would be because of a true emergency. So, midway through the day I started listening to my hypnosis tapes and one of the suggestions was inhaling relaxation and exhaling peace - I took this and ran with it! I would inhale and upon exhaling I would use my peace cue and say 'peeaacce' through the first part of my exhale and 'open-open-open-open' through the last part of my exhale. It allowed me to focus my anesthesia going to my middle and also to visualize my cervix opening. I believe this, along with the abdominal breathing was critical to the superb birth experience that I ended up having. It produced supreme relaxation. (As an aside, I read up on abdominal breathing because exhaling to the count of 8 had always given me trouble. So what I did was inhale first into my abdomen, and then fill up my lungs. My exhale would push the air first out of my lungs and then out of my abdomen. This gave me more to focus on instead of just the counting in to 4 and out to 8.)

By evening my contractions were more intense but I was staying nicely on top of them and was feeling very relaxed. I was listening to my 'easy first stage' CD and my 'deepening' but at times also just using my peace/open exhaling to relax through them. We started watching the Da Vinci Code as mom had never seen it. I watched through about half and then went up to bed to try to rest. At some point I had a contraction that took me by surprise and was a bit difficult to get through and because I wasn't able to feel high enough to see how much I was dilated I decided to go down around midnight and let mom and Noel know that we needed to leave for the birth center.

We arrived at about 1am and upon stepping into the building I immediately had to squat next to the couch and go through a contraction. The midwives were there and everyone stood back respectfully and let me do what I needed to do. I believe at this point I wasn't yet actually saying my peace/open exhale out loud. I was more whispering it to myself. We got set up in their largest birth suite and I proceeded to squat, lay on the bed, toilet sit, and do a variety of positions that I hoped would get him moving down. Danny, the lead midwife checked me and I was a four and suggested we wait a bit before getting into the tub. So after a couple of hours I was checked again and was 5cm and then got into the tub. Holly, the student midwife would some every half hour and check on the heart beat and his heart rate was always wonderful which was a relief. The water felt great with the first contraction but after that my contractions must have heated up because the relief soon left me. I started moaning my peace/open chant out loud and kept on top of the contractions for awhile. The pretty LED colored water helped, too! lol After a bit, probably around 4am, I decided to get out as I was getting too warm and though I was doing great relaxing through the first and last part of the contractions, I started loosing my concentration during the peak and would tense up my body. I decided a change of position might help.

So after getting out of the tub, I tried laying on the bed for awhile. I listened to my hypnobabies a bit more but didn't want to stay in one position too long and so I tried some toilet sitting while hanging from my moms shoulders. This position was really effective with allowing me to relax my abdominal muscles upon inhalation. As I would inhale into my abdomen I would allow my muscles to just droop forward and down and it felt really good! I managed a couple that way before they again got the best of me and I decided I wanted back in the tub. My husband was putting some more hot water into the tub but as I was going from toilet to tub I ended up making a beeline for the bed. I got on my side and grabbed my MP3 player, which was still playing through my playlist, and heard Kerry's voice say "and your pressure waves are SO comfortable". I was in the grip of a tough contraction and I yanked the earbuds out of my ears and tossed the mp3 player on the table and yelled "they are NOT comfortable!". I laugh now about this. Mom told me later she thought that might have been when I entered transition. Anyway, then I had a contractions that was WAY different from the others. It felt like it just kind of took over my body and I didn't like it one bit. I was laying on my side when I felt something pop down through against my perineum. I told mom I felt something so she went and grabbed the midwives. Holly, the student midwife came in first and she looked and said "uhhh, Danny?" Mom said she looked like she didn't quite know what she was seeing. Turns out it was the intact water sac just inside of me! Mom later said that she thought Danny and Holly were surprised that I was moving along so fast. With the next contraction, it popped out of me, still intact and when Danny touched it, it popped. She then was able to check me and said I was at 10cm.

Up until hearing that it was the amniotic sac they saw and that I was at a 10, incredibly, I didn't realize that these new tough contractions were pushing contractions. I remember thinking that it must just be my mucus plug and when I felt it come out I briefly thought, "prolapsed cord!" I just thought they were a new plateau I had arrived at and that I had several more hours to labor through. This was only around 6:45am and at 4am I had been only 5 centimeters!

So I had another contraction while side-lying on the bed and Danny said she saw his head just inside my perineum. I remember thinking, 'that was fast!' because it can take a LONG time sometimes for the head to descent from cervix to perineum and with me it happened in one push! Yay! I reached down and felt his head there but I told Danny I did not want to deliver in a side-lying position, even though it's really a great position for preventing tears. She said, 'well move fast' and I got down and used the birthing stool that was had discussed as a possibility. (The other high possibility was a water birth, but that wasn't going to happen at this point - the water was too cold). Once on the birthing stool, I felt SO much more in control of my contractions. In fact, I barely felt them. I did feel the so called 'ring of fire' but looking back it wasn't that bad. I pushed twice on the birthing stool, once to get his head about 1/3rd out, at which point I reached down to feel it again, and the next push had his head out. His shoulders rotated nicely and he just came down and out into the midwifes arms. His cord was short so I couldn't pull him up too high, so I held him more in my lap while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. It didn't take too long as I had already started some separation bleeding. Noel cut the cord and that was that!

My almost 6-year-old daughter McKenna was at the birth, but as we arrived at 1am at the birth center, she slept in one of the other suites while I did most of my laboring. My mom brought her in when I was pushing a bit on the bed. She and I had talked about birth and had watched a few videos so she was prepared for blood and yelling or possible none of that. When I was on the birth stool, she was on the floor on a pillow kind of turned away but when the midwife said 'here comes the head!' she popped right up and got in there to see. I remember hearing her say a very enthusiastic "WOW" when he came out. I'm glad she was present. I'm hoping it will create a very special bond between them. She liked touching him and then watched his first bath. Danny cleaned off the blood, but left the vernix so he's kept his sweet baby smell for a few days. It's actually all absorbed into his skin by now.

So overall, excellent! I am very happy with how everything went and if this wasn't my 3rd child, I'd be chomping at the bit to do it again. Amazing experience! I credit the hypnosis for keeping me positive and calm during the pregnancy and giving me great cues to help me focus through my contractions. I credit The Bradley Method with the vital abdominal breathing I ended up doing. The midwives at The Baby Place were so kind and respectful and let me lead the show. I am still on a baby high right now! Thank you, thank you!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Early labor continued...

We had KFC and Noel got home. Played some Old Maid and my contractions have picked up in frequency and intensity... about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about one minute. I'm doing my best to stay focused on relaxing my abdominal muscles and using my hypnosis 'peace' cue when I'm working through a contraction. It's quarter after 10 now and I'm debating whether to go to sleep, haha or to just stay up and work through them. They will be more effective if I'm in an upright position. More soon... maybe after baby is born, the way I'm feeling!
So last night I was having regular contractions about 5 minutes apart. Thankfully, they went away and I slept through the whole night. I woke up having them again 5 minutes apart and as of 6pm they are still with me. I've tried a bath to see if they would go away, and though they spaced out to 10 minutes apart, they were back to 5 minutes after I got out. Mom and I and the kids have been playing Old Maid and Connect 4 and just basically hanging around. I haven't felt too much like a watched pot! LOL I'll keep updating the blog as things progress. Noel should be home soon.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Well, I'm huge. It's official!

I've gained 20 pounds in this pregnancy which is really good, considering it was 13 and 15 with McKenna and Madelaine. They think he'll be about 6 pounds when he's born. Despite having pain in the afternoon/evening in my pelvis/groin and having problems turning over in bed with same said pain, my pregnancy is going very well. I'm tired of peeing every 2 hours and I'm exhausted and snappy with the kids. However, once the baby is born and I have my bladder back and the pain gone, I'll be in a much happier state of affairs.

We're getting ready for our July 4th party tomorrow. I'm working on cleaning house today and will make a couple of sides tomorrow and then everyones bringing something to the party. Right now McKenna and Noel are out getting fireworks and Madelaine is sleeping. My neighbor just dropped off some baby boy clothes, which is awesome and also a little play mat thingy. I don't even know what they're called. Activity center?

Anyway, not much else to report. I'm starting to get a little freaked out thinking I'll be doing this birth away from a hospital with no pain meds, but I'm looking forward to the end result. Me not drugged up in pain with an episiotomy or c-section and the baby not drugged up, either. I believe my hypnosis will really help me out. I'll let everyone know how the hypnosis worked and will post my birth story as well. Still have to get our bags packed and am waiting on my new cloth diapers, covers, a sling and some leg extenders for a co-sleeper I bought off of craigslist. Everything should arrive before I go into labor, I hope!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just odds and ends today........

Our china cabinet arrived today. My sister had it shipped out from Bedford, NY and it is all newly polished and cleaned and set-up where the old one was. It looks beautiful and the wood is a lighter color than the other one, which I like. The smell sure brought back memories of the cottage and my Grandfathers wood shop (where it was made).

We picked strawberries today and there were quite a lot of them! Biggest haul we've gotten since they were planted 3 years ago. Of course, they'll get ripped out this fall and new ones will go in next spring. Raspberries are also coming on slowly and I managed to tie up my tomatoes in the florida weave system I like so much. All Early Girls.

Today was a better day attitude-wise for the kids. The house is still a mess and disorganized but I'm hoping to get that taken care of soon. I'm always hoping that! ;)

Just called Noel and we're going to meet up in Boise for dinner tonight. It's either that or grilled ham and cheese sandwiches - oh wait, we don't have bread! Never mind, it's definitely a restaurant tonight!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Be forewarned, this is going to be a rant.

Today is one of those days when everything goes wrong, no one is happy and the older one tries to 'help' by bossing the younger one around and makes things significantly worse. My children have been banished to their bedrooms for quiet time for fear of what Mommy was going to scream in their faces or do to their precious little bodies. Of course, I'd never hurt my children but I definitely needed some 'me' time. I know I'm not in the best mood today and that rubs off on the kids. McKenna's been getting lots of 'no's' and 'not nows' and was really feeling a bit rebuffed, I think. This is one of those times where I wonder what the heck I'm doing having a third child! LOL
Then I sit back and think about how much joy and love and chaos he'll bring into our house and I think the first two will be enough to cancel out the third.

I'm waiting for the nesting to really kick into high gear because our house feels so scrunched to me. I have a mini crib sitting in my kitchen with nowhere to go because there's no room to put it right now. I have a co-sleeper that will need to be set up soon. I'll be full-term in 2 weeks and things need to start getting done. I feel like there's crap everywhere and no place for it all. I HAVE made some progress with certain items. Things that need to go into a yard sale, for instance. The old china cabinet, an old rocker, another old dresser with busted rails that I'm not sure anyone would pay anything for. Our garage and shed are full and I just feel ready to set things out on the sidewalk with a 'free' sign on them! This Saturday I'll try to get Noel to help me move some of this stuff out to the yard for a small, mini yard sale. Otherwise, it'll go REALLY cheap on craigslist or get hauled to the local Goodwill.

In regards to baby news (really have to get a name for him settled) the midwife told me at my last appointment that he's in the perfect position for birth and he's probably about 5 pounds or so based on my weight and what she could feel. About the weight of a honeydew melon. I feel so relaxed and confident with my birth plans and the midwives at The Baby Place and I'll be happy to share my birth experience with everyone when the time comes.

In other news, everyone is sick but me. Noel stayed home yesterday with a bad sinus situation. The kids have runny noses and coughs and I'm sneezing but am pretty sure it's just allergies (for me).

We had a blast camping up north of Idaho City last weekend although we ended up on a tick hunt 2nd to last day. Found one on Joe, one on McKenna's head and two on Christi's head. Other than that, it was fun. The kids went hiking with the guys and did well. Climbed a decent sized hump in the earth. McKenna brought me back flowers from the summit. They also got a chance to get into their bathing suits and splash in the river. Next time we go I'm hoping it will be warmer and we can try out the cabins that we did a couple/three years ago.

I think I'll end this and submerse myself in the mind numbing game which is Farm Town on facebook. Good way to zone out when your mind is zooming along at prestissimo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So all day today I spent shopping and packing and preparing food for our camping trip. We're going up north of Idaho City to Ten Mile campground with Patty and Joe and their kids. Boy, I really didn't think about how much working all day takes out of you. I'm slow to begin with and all the bending over and lifting of kids and packing stuff has really worn me out. My whole pelvic area feels brittle and ready to snap but I know it's because the boy-o's head is really low and almost engaged. It's just exhausting and we haven't even left yet. I think I'll let Noel do a bunch of lunch/dinner prep while we're up camping. The kids seem excited to go. It's supposed to rain one of the days we're up there and we're staying for three days. It should be fun.

Enough for now. I've got the TV babysitting the kiddos so I'm off to surf for awhile.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rain has come again. It's so wet my strawberries haven't done anything yet. Since I made that freezer jam, I'm thinking I might skip picking strawberries at the berry farm, or at least have hubby and the kids do it. I can't see being bent over for any length of time. My belly's just getting too big. I will however, be out for the raspberries!

June will be a busy month for us. We have a birthday party to attend and some camping north of Idaho City we'll be doing. Then we'll be throwing a 4th of July party. My parents will be up the first part of July and I'll have a birth and a birthday for Maddy to think about. Should be interesting!

Well, this will be short. I'm expecting a china cabinet to be delivered from NY from my sisters house and I need to move the cabinet that's currently in the spot we'll be putting it in. I need to box up some fragile stuff and move my tinctures and medicine-making equipment.

More later!

Monday, May 24, 2010

We've been having lots of rain lately. I've been collecting it for a couple sensitive plants that I have. I wish we had a rain collection system, we'd have a ton saved up right now.

Well, I'm planning to either grow or purchase in-season fruits and vegetables and can or freeze them this summer. We have plenty of meat in our freezer, but I'd feel much better having other stuff handy. I'm going to hit the Berry Farm with McKenna in June to get a bunch of strawberries and raspberries. I'll probably do jam and also freeze some for later use. We have some peaches from last year that I froze in a light syrup that still taste really yummy. Only 2 bags left, so I think I planned it pretty well. We have a cherry tree in our front yard that's more ornamental but the cherries it puts out are very nice. Good enough for a pie and to can some. I'm tempted to buy some cornish X chicks to raise but I doubt I'd get away with it in our subdivision. A friend of mine raised about 30 and then had them butchered at the requisite time and had a whole freezer packed with them. You may think I'm weird but I want to learn how to butcher a chicken on my own. In a way, I wish I'd been raised on my grandparents farm in Interlaken, NY. I would have gotten a good education on milking cows and raising chickens.

Anyway, my dream is still to end up on a nice large piece of property where we can at least have some chickens, maybe rabbits too - and have a well and be much more self-sufficient than we are now. It would be a good education for my kids. One possibility that I'm looking into is a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You purchase a share of a farm, and then receive a portion of what is grown on that farm every week throughout the growing season. Some of these farms require volunteer work and some don't but will discount you 50% if you come and help out! That's probably where I'd end up getting that education for my kids. Only thing is the shares are about $500. per growing season. Some take payment arrangements, so I'll have to look into it and see if it's feasible. Maybe next year. This year, we're working on baby and NY vacation.

Enough for now - I'm planning on freezing a whole bunch of strawberries that Noel brought home from the store. There's no way we'll eat them all up before they go bad!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Noel and the girls took me out to The Melting Pot in Boise. It's a fondue restaurant. We had an excellent time and it was so expensive we probably won't eat out for the rest of the month! LOL
They took a picture of us which should be up on facebook in a couple of days, they said. I'll keep an eye out and maybe post it here.

Kids are doing fabulous. Madelaine is talking more... lots more understandable words and she understands almost everything you say to her. Loves snuggles, especially from Daddy and is really turning into a Daddy's Girl! She likes to hang out in the garage with him when he's working on his car. It's pretty cute. McKenna would much rather hang out with me, usually - except when he gets home from work and then they both won't leave him alone for tickles!

Noel got my bike in working order, and with the bike trailer and the bike he purchased for himself off of craigslist, we've been taking bike rides as a family. McKenna keeps up really well and Madelaine is in the trailer since she's not pedaling her bike yet. Only steering it when I decide to push her. For Mothers Day yesterday we rode through our subdivision and into the next one, which connects to a lovely bike path. There are 4 geocaches in that area and we found two of them. On one Noel had to walk out over a big canal on some old metal beams that stretched across, get down on his belly and feel underneath. He came up with a film canister - we signed the log and replaced it. On the fourth geocache, which was in a nasty thorny bush we found some cheap toys, so I traded out some double AA batteries and the girls each took a small toy. I can see us doing this kind of thing more often now that the weather is turning nice.

Babe inside me is doing well. I'm due in a little over two months and have only gained 13 pounds, which is the total I gained with McKenna. I've been trying to eat plenty and good stuff, but it's hard when I have a pretty small appetite. Next appointment at the birthing center is next week Monday I believe. I'll probably meet the 3rd senior midwife at the facility since I've already met the first two.

At the park in the last couple of weeks, I've met some ladies with kids near my kids age and have had great conversations. They live really close, one lady I can see her house from our front door. She has 3 boys and McKenna enjoyed playing with them. The other lady has an 8 month old boy and a 3 year old girl. I'm glad I'm meeting people who live really close by. It's nice not having to jump in a car every time you want to visit someone!

Well, the morning Curious George show is almost over so I'm going to go and clean house/entertain kids!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This baby likes to kick! He's a strong one, that's for sure. :)

I had my first consult with the head midwife at The Baby Place in Meridian and I felt SO comforted and supported after talking with her. She took an hour to sit down with us and answer questions and it was fantastic. I mean, the longest appointments I ever had with my OB was about 10 minutes, including the internal exams - that was just with him in the room. Colleen was very open to all of our concerns and it sounds like I'll be free to move around, eat, drink, take a walk, get in the pool, etc and won't be pushed for inductions/monitoring/pain meds, etc. She will do intermittent monitoring of the baby with a hand held doppler but that's what I DO want, so it works out! The clinic is just gorgeous. It's a free-standing clinic not associated with any hospital. Closest hospital is about 10 minutes but they could send me to St. Al's which is our in-network hospital if they have 'best outcome' for whatever problem I might be having. The Baby Place also takes our insurance, which is nice as well. I've included a link to the clinic and you can see the rooms. When we went on our tour we were pretty happy with the facility. They have birthing pools in every room, and an area set aside for the baby if it needs extra care after the birth. I can't wait to share my birth story with everyone, I'm getting pretty pumped about it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Well, Madelaine is in her own bed now. Bottom bunk. She still sleeps in the crib during naptime but I have to pull it away from the changing table, otherwise she climbs onto it and gets down. Not a big deal, but I imagine I'll have to put her in the bed for naps soon, too. She's talking and saying words. She can say 'book', 'ow', 'mommy', 'daddy', 'kitty' and knows the signs for most of those, too. She can also say 'Wii' when she wants to play the Wii. We all take walks around the block and she has to stop and examine every crack in the sidewalk! Lots of curly hair still on her head, too. We'll see if it fades away like McKennas did.

For those who don't know, we're having and boy due July 21st, although I think he'll come sooner. I'm using a hypnosis course called Hypnobabies for my 'birthing time'. I'm already very excited about it. Just have to figure out if I'll be using a midwife through the hospital or through a free-standing birth center. I'm having stress and anxiety about the hospital. 1 out of every 4 women who walks into a hospital ends up with a C-section and I'm trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and my odds are even worse because of it. Having a midwife and trying for a completely natural birth with no meds or inductions greatly improve my chances of having a successful VBAC and so I'm not too worried. A birth center would be fantastic as it's more home-like, but they aren't equipped for emergencies and so if I had one I'd be transferred to the nearest hospital, which probably would be an out-of-network hospital in regards to insurance. Let's hope the little guy doesn't turn breech or anything! I have an appointment with the birth center and also another appointment with a 2nd midwife for the hospital so I'll have lots of options to examine.

McKenna is very excited about the baby. I'm feeling a lot more confident about her behavior toward to baby when it's born. She hasn't exhibited any aggressive behavior towards other kids at all when playing, so I'm not worried about having to keep an eye on her too closely. She's a good big sister to Madelaine!

McKenna also has graduated from her speech therapy class at Snake River Elementary and is now in the average range, so she's done with that for now. I do have her enrolled in a homeschool P.E. class through the rec center and she loves going to that. Her favorite tends to be the running around an upper level 1/4 mile track they have. She also liked the rock climbing even though she wasn't very good at it. McKenna also wants to be at the birth of her brother and see him born so I've been preparing her by showing her some fairly mild births on youtube. I have no issue with this as it's a natural function and am expecting that if she becomes overwhelmed in the delivery room she can always leave with one of her grandmas, who will both be there with me!

We're slowly working on reading with her and she wants to be able to read like her friend Christi, but won't give me her undivided attention for more than a few minutes so we try to work it in whenever we can. I've also started her on a program called Math Mammoth and she's really liking it. We're just concentrating on addition for now.

She's also become enamored of taking showers. I usually will take one with her and with this pregnant belly it's easy not having to bend way over to wash hair! Of course, Maddy's not ready for the shower yet. She's been in it a few times and usually wants out after a couple of minutes.

Well, I need to work on dinner. Meatloaf, baked potatoes and a healthy salad tonight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So I'm about 15 weeks along now... not really showing yet but I'm having a hard time getting into some of my jeans. I've had some massive cravings for burritos and Krisy Kreme donuts lately. For those that don't know, we're finding out the sex of the baby on the 24th of February. Keep your fingers crossed for a boy!

So with pregnancy comes chaos, it seems. I feel so busy, but I'm not tiring myself out at least. Tuesdays we have the homeschool PE class for McKenna at the Rec Center. I signed her up since she's been a little cabin-feverish lately. Wednesdays seems to be when pre-natal and other appointments fall, Thursdays are McKennas speech therapy class at the local elementary school, which is being taught by the Art teacher. Does anyone else think that's odd?? The speech therapist we've only seen twice out of 12 or 13 visits now. Every other Friday we get together with our friends for dinner, either at their place or ours. I play Bunco every month on Friday which gets me out of the house and is really fun. I signed McKenna and Madelaine up for a homeschool Valentines Party at the Caldwell Library on the 14th of February and we'll be making Valentines for that. We'll be busy, but it's all good.

Other than that, looking forward to a vacation to NY this year for my cousin George's wedding and a trip to visit a friend who lives in Oregon. We want to do at least one short camping trip with our friends Patty and Joe, but I'll be massively pregnant by the time warm weather comes around, so we'll see. We also are hoping to not go into debt over this pregnancy, but I think we'll do fine. I'm just glad Noel still has his job and we're all healthy. No flu yet this season. We've been taking extra Vitamin D and I've been making elderberry syrup. Lots of hand-washing, that kind of stuff.

McKenna and Madelaine are doing fine. Maddy can say "uh-oh", "ow", and "up". She says 'ow' ALL of the time!! I think she started after watching McKenna getting her hair brushed. Evidently, I'm the wicked witch when it comes to brushing hair and Daddy can do no wrong!

Ah well, gotta go. We received a Wii for Christmas (thanks Annie!) and I'm currently practicing golf. Kids are upstairs and quiet, maybe too quiet - but I'll hopefully get to play a little before they decide they're sick of each other.

More later!