"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kristi's Baby Shower!!!

I cannot begin to tell you how excited our family was to finally be throwing Kristi a baby shower!! She has been waiting and praying for this little gift for so long (we all have) and we are all just thrilled. I had (and still have) like this list of stuff I want to give her for little Jackson Lee (yes she is having a boy).
Anyway, Kristi has like a ton of friends, so we just threw her a family (and extended family) shower. We did it at Kozy because that is where we have many of our gatherings . . . it is big and there is a kitchen and a huge TV and plenty of room for the kids to run around and play. I believe we had around 20 adults and 16 kids. It was a great time!!

This post is picture heavy!!

Kristi showing off her "big fat belly" (as she calls it) beside a "big fat stack" of Kozys!!

Jackson Lee Jennings . . . from her 3D ultrasound

Playing Games
This is the dirty diaper game (one of many we played) . . . it was gross but fun. Our sister Kim set it up and it was SO funny seeing all the 'adults' with their noses in diapers. But the grossest part was after the shower she and the kids were eating all the candy bars from inside the diapers (the ones who were brave enough to touch them).
Ever came up to me and said he wanted more poop . . . too much!!!

Kristi being silly

Gathering around for the best part . . . presents!!!
(I gave her a Panel Kozy, homemade ring sling, stretchy wrap, homemade baby blanket and burp rags and a lambskin . . . but there is so much more I think she NEEDS, LOL!! Don't get me started on the list of books I want to get for her!)
The 2 grandmothers (our mom is the one on the left)
Our sister Kim and 3 of her kids (and our grandma next to her)

Ever since Kristi found out she was expecting she can hardly talk about it without breaking down in tears . . . and who can blame her? She cried probably every 10 min. during the shower, I caught a few of those moments.

A little baseball outfit, apparently 23 was Chris's baseball number in highschool

Kristi, we all love you so much and so grateful to God for you and little Jackson Lee. We are praying for a wonderful birth and a healthy mom and baby! We can't wait to see his little face and sniff his newborn head . . . and see him take his first ride in a Kozy!!
You and Chris are going to be great parents! I can't wait to see y'all with Jackson in your arms!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Little Rascals

Over the years I have taken pictures of the kids doing various, well, interesting and messy things . . . sitting in a pile of flour on the floor, rubbing lipstick all over their faces, tearing into a fully iced cake, LOL!! (I need to dig up those pictures somewhere). They all got into 'trouble' but for some reason Arah and Ever have been the biggest hand fulls. They go through this stage, usually from the time they can walk or climb to they are 3-4, where they are into EVERYTHING!! I am not even going to mention the roof story for fear that CPS may end up knocking at my door, LOL!! (and for those who know the roof story, it happened again a couple times, once just the other day).

I often wonder if they get into more 'trouble' because I am busy with other kids and they are more independent and don't care to wait for me to get them things. I mean that is how Arah learned to wipe his bum, he got tired of always waiting for me to come wipe him, LOL!! (which reminds me that Ever has been trying to wipe himself lately . . . he is 2 1/2, I don't think so!!) And once they realize that they can push a chair to the cabinet and get food . . . well then there is NO stopping them, LOL!!

Arah has grown out of most of it (he is almost 5, though he still likes to write all over himself) but now Ever is proving to be just as much of a little rascal as Arah was, and ya, it started when he could walk. It isn't uncommon to have a box of cereal dumped out on the floor (and stomped in) chocolate syrup (left over from making 'Duggar' cake) poured on the carpet, and wonderful marker artwork all over the walls (or sharpie on the sofa, that was last month) and that is all in one day!!! OF COURSE I stop them and tell them that we do NOT do that (and sometimes I get really frustrated and loose it, usually if I am overly tired and it is the 5th mess of the day) but I usually handle it well. I don't blame them. They are just being kids! I blame myself for not locking the cabinets, not putting the syrup on a higher shelf and for leaving the markers out where little hands can find them. I know that, like the others, they will learn self control as they mature and then they will no longer do these things because they know it is not right. But for now, though it is a lot of work, it is also a lot of fun to see their personalities, how creative they can get, and how much trouble they can get into, all on their own!!

That said, today Ever was trying to wipe himself again so I went into the bathroom to stop him and take care of it. Afterwards I had him wash his hands. He also wanted to wash his bunny cracker (don't ask, I have no clue) so I put some soap on it and left him. A few minutes later the water was still running, which is not uncommon, he and Arah love to play in the sink (and stop it up with toilet paper as they make creations, or Arah likes to make giant wet toilet paper balls). I SHOULD have gone in there to check on him but I was trying to clean the kitchen and make lunch. So I sent Xian in and I heard him yell. This is what he saw . . .

You'll have to excuse the messy bathroom (our only full bath, I can't keep it clean to save my life). What you can't see in the picture is the water was running, and overflowing and covering the floor, in the drawers, cabinets etc. I tried to hold back my laugh and was thinking . . . it could be worse, I mean water is clean and easy to get up with a few towels (a lot easier than Sharpie on the sofa). Ever acted embarassed because we were making a big deal about it. I guess the warm water seemed really inviting and he thought he should just jump on in, LOL!! Ah, gotta love them!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mmmmm, Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

I first tasted this bread when a friend of mine brought it to a 'playgroup' a few years ago. It was SO yummy!! She sent me to the site online with the recipe. I made a few changes (mostly replaced the oil, reduced the sugar and added some chocolate chips). I make this bread every other week or so. The kids love it!! They eat it plain but I like it warmed with real, raw butter. A friend of mine thinks it would be good warm with vanilla ice-cream on top . . . I have yet to try that, LOL!!

The best thing . . . it makes 2 loaves and each loaf has a cup of zucchini in it (though often I add more) and I make it with whole wheat flour!!

  • 1 80z package of cream cheese
  • 1 Stick of real butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar (I use turbinado or raw, though sucanat would be best I can't afford to use it for baking, LOL)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of pealed shredded zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (I use organic whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, beat together softened cream cheese and butter, add sugar and beat till fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Stir in shredded pealed zucchini.
In another bowl mix your flower, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir till mixed.
I add a handful of regular, semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix them in. Then I sprinkle mini chips over the top after it is poured into the pans (or you can use regular or mini chips throughout)
Grease 2 loaf pans (I use 8.5 x 4.5" glass loaf pans, but I have used smaller loaf pans and they work just fine too . . . you just have a smaller but taller loaf).
Pour batter into your 2 pans and sprinkle the mini chips over the top (how much you want to use is up to you).
Bake @ 350 for an hour.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thrace is 12 wks old!!

Has it been 12 weeks already? Unbelievable!! The time always flies by yet it seems like he has always been a part of the family!

He is so sweet, he smiles with his whole face . . . makes you want to melt! The kids love him (almost too much, LOL). They are such a great help with him. I say it is easier now with 5 because my older kids (Xian and Piper mostly) can help out so much . . . they even hold him for me if I need to change or something and Xian has worn him in the Kozy a few times (which they both love).

He doesn't like to be put down of course (like the others) but sometimes after a good nap if he is fed he will lie and play happily for a while. He doesn't particularly love the car either, but so far he tolerates it better than most of the other kids have (I can sometimes go out without having to pull over and nurse him, LOL). He has been smiling since a week old but really started smiling lots daily around 5-6 wks and he is REALLY close to laughing. He sits up well on our laps and I am guessing he will be sitting on his own at 4 mo like all the others. I finally weighed him the other day (when he was 11 1/2 wks) and he was 13 1/2 lbs. So he is growing like a weed. Everyone says they can't believe how big he is for 12 wks! But if he is like my other 4 kids his growing will slow down soon and he will just hover around 20lbs at a year . . . we'll see.
I love seeing his personality come out, he loves music, loves watching the fan spin, loves watching the kids play etc. He is a joy and we are so blessed to have him!!

Here are some pictures of him growing over the last few months.

A few days old in the Kozy

3 days old in the Belly Cast. You always look at the cast and think, there is no way a baby can fit in there . . . then they are born and they fit perfectly!! So cool!!
I am going to have to do a blog post sometime about how to make them. We have done casts with all of the kids.

4 days

8 days

9 days

5 wks

6 wks

9 wks

12 wks

He has nice fat rolls on this thighs and and creases on his arms, he is so squishy but still has that wonderful baby smell. And he can spot me across the room now and when he sees me he will call for me to hold him or nurse him (regardless of who is holding him) and just smiles and talks!!
Ah sweet baby love!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ditch the bottle, breastfeed your baby . . . doll that is.

If you had the choice would you buy your child a doll that had a bottle or a doll that was designed to nurse?

Well hello . . . no question there (for me at least). I want the nursing doll!!

I understand that bottles are sometimes needed. You have a nursing mother who goes back to work and has to pump, or that instance where a mother has to supplement because she doesn’t make enough milk (it is pretty rare, but it does happen). Hey, you know, I teach my kids what I want them to know and stress things that are important, and when it comes to them and their dolls . . . well lets just say that I have done my fair share of hiding the plastic baby bottles that so many baby dolls come with, LOL!!

I have always tried to avoid bottles if possible, both for my babies (I have never used a bottle) or for my kids and their dolls. Xian didn’t even know what one was and at age 3 we were walking through the store and he pointed at one and asked “what is that?”. I had to explain to him that some babies don’t get ‘nuk’ (what we call nursing) they get a bottle instead (sometimes it is breastmilk, sometimes formula). And if we are out and they ever hear a baby cry, you can bet the first thing out of their mouths will be “that baby needs ‘nuk’. We want them to know it is a good and natural thing. We also try to promote breastfeeding to our friends and family and anyone else who will listen. We (lactivists like myself) want to make it seem normal and natural, to encourage nursing in public so that people in this country will be come more accustomed to seeing it and maybe realize that duh . . . breasts are for nursing, nurturing and comforting our children. What a wonderful thing that God created!!

Anyway, my reason for this post is because in Spain, they have developed a baby doll for children that nurses. No bottles or pacis etc. The kids actually nurse this baby. It is called Bebe Gloton. I would explain it to you but here, just watch the news clip, you can get a better idea if you actually see it.

When I first saw this I thought . . . it’s about time!! I think it is wonderful!! I mean why haven’t they done this sooner? What is more normal and natural than nursing right? And why shouldn’t our kids have the option of a baby doll that nurses? OK so the flowers may be a bit cheesy, but I assume they work to trigger a response in the doll. But I just can’t understand why are people so bothered by this. Just search around You Tube to see other various news reports, most of them are very negative. I mean what I am seeing in some of these people is shock and embarrassment. They almost seem disgusted and the whole concept seems to make some people very uncomfortable. People are saying it is “inappropriate”, “it is too adult for a child”, or “what is next dolls that have sex?” What the heck? I just want to yell at the TV . . . GROW UP PEOPLE!!! Hello . . . it is a doll, it is teaching kids about breastfeeding and WHY on earth is that too adult of a topic for them? Why do these people think feeding babies is PG-13? Why can't they see through the nursing shirt and realize that this is NOT a sexual thing. If it were then how is this any worse than a little girl playing with her overly endowed Barbie doll?

I can understand people thinking it is a little strange or odd, I mean it is the first doll of it’s kind and most people are probably not used to seeing children pretend to nurse. But nursing is often a natural act for them and something they will initiate on their own with their dolls if that is what they know. Most of my kids haven’t been too into dolls, but Ever loves them and he will happily nurse his babies, which is precious. And I know many, many people whose little girls nurse their baby dolls. Why? Because it is what they know, it is what they see mama doing, it is normal and natural to them and there is nothing wrong with that. Why would we shelter them from something that they view as innocent and normal? There is no reason for them to view it any other way. They learn from us, and if they see us acting disturbed or horrified at the prospect of a nursing doll, or see us refusing to buy it for whatever reason, then what on earth are they going to think about nursing in general?

Ever nursing his baby doll in the bed, much the way I often nurse him

Of course we know many of these things are cultural. No wonder Spain was the first to come out with a doll like this. In other countries they have signs up in the subways showing mothers nursing promoting breastfeeding. Here we are bombarded with formula ads and commercials at every turn . . . after all . . . they are enriched with DHA and AHA and contain Bifidus BL, just like mamas milk (make sure you read that last line with sarcasm). But still, compared to other cultures we nurse our babies very little. According to Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler PhD http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

"It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer. In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age"

We have come a long way since our mothers were told that formula was better than breastmilk. There are wonderful groups like LLL that promote breastfeeding and we are getting much better with hospitals employing IBCLC’s and many striving to become Baby Friendly. And shoot, the AAP recommends nursing for a year or longer. But apparently we still have a LONG way to go if people are so freaked out over a durn breastfeeding baby doll!!

Geez, it seems like we NEED this doll in our country. Who knows, maybe if our daughters are breastfeeding their dolls then they will have a more positive, natural view of breastfeeding when they have their own children. I am doing my part in my own home. I believe in child led weaning, and believe my kids get many benefits from nursing until they wean themselves, both mentally and physically. Piper nursed till she was 5, Xian till 4 ½, Arah till 4 yrs 8mo and I am nursing 2 right now! GASP . . . THUD (that is the sound of jaws dropping, I am sure) Yes, freakish isn’t it? LOL!! Let alone the fact that I have been nursing for almost 9 yrs straight, tandem nursing for 7 yrs straight and have nursed 3 kids for a total of a year of my life. Oh the horror!! Yes I have nursed 2 kids to sleep for bed and for naps EVERY DAY for the last 7 yrs and I am still sane!! But guess what folks, that is natural too, and if I was living somewhere else or even in another time no one would think a thing of it!!

At our house, breastfeeding (be it breastfeeding a baby or pretending to nurse a doll) is as normal and as common as making yourself a sandwich and sitting down to lunch. And if you were to have lunch at our house, chances are I’ll be sitting across the table from you . . . nursing my baby!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family Vacation 09

OK so like 10 yrs ago we did a whole family vacation together in Gatlinburg. It was my parents, my 4 sisters and our husbands (those of us who were married). I believe there were 10 of us in all. We had a lot of fun and still tell stories from that weekend.
Well this year we decided to do a whole family vacation again (thanks to Kristi who always organizes these things). Our family has grown quite a bit since then. We had my parents, 3 of my 4 sisters, their husbands and 13 and 2/3 kids (my 5, my sister Kim's 5, my sister Kathi's 3 and then we can't forget Jackson Lee, Kristi's son who is currently cooking as she is in her 3rd trimester!! WooHoo!!!).

I have lots of pictures below (if you want to see them larger just click on them).

Kristi knows a lady who has this amazing house that she doesn't live in and so graciously lets others use for FREE. The house is amazing, there are 3 full kitchens, and everything in it, from the mouldings, to the counters, to the bathrooms, to the tile to the ceilings etc was top of the line!! Flat panel TV's in every room! There are 4 bedrooms in the main house, then the pool house is 2 stories (and a full kitchen and 2 full baths) with plenty of room for my and Kathi's families. We stayed on the top floor of the pool house

The cabinet on the left (you can see it behind the archaid game) has a murphy bed inside and it just pulls down . . . so cool!! Wake up, play games, shoot some pool then jump in the pool!! That is pretty much what the kids did all day . . . swim, play games, eat, swim, play games, eat . . .

This picture above was taking from the top deck off our room. The pool was amazing! There was a kiddy pool (with fountains) hot tub, and I loved the little walk way into the pool (that is where Ever liked to hang out). We really didn't have to go out anywhere, we just hung around the pool all day. Oh and a complete sound system inside and out . . . so we were rockin at the pool!

The main house on the left and pool house on the right. Below is a view into the bottom level of the pool house (those doors close to make a full wall and close in the room). Notice Kristi sitting there in red . . . with her big baby belly!!!!

I couldn't resist including this picture below!! Ever likes to be au natural!!
Thrace loved the hot tub! It wasn't super hot, around mid 90's. It was his first time in a 'pool'. I didn't put him in the main pool because he still seems sensitive to temperature (more so than the other kids) but he loved that hot tub.
The 2nd time he was in it with Daddy he stayed in for like an hour!!

Here is me and Ever. When I was in the pool (which unfortunately wasn't often as I usually had Thrace) he pretty much rode around on my back the whole time!
Xian and Piper. Xian just learned to swim like a week or 2 before this. The goggles did it. Once he could go under and could see and didn't have to hold his nose that was all it took! He is even diving off the diving board!! Now he needs to learn to swim without the goggles, LOL!
Arah doing his cannon ball!
Ever, Arah and Xian
Thrace and PaPa (my dad)
All the grandkids together getting ready to have cookies and watch Princess Bride

Friday, August 7, 2009

Curse you John Deere!!!

(Disclaimer: OK just a little CYA from me. I talk about babywearing while mowing the lawn so I issue the disclaimer . . . “professional driver closed course” LOL!! Seriously though, baby wears ear plugs, is completely covered by a wrap to protect little skin and keep him held tightly to me. But for reference I am NOT advocating or recommending cutting the grass while babywearing got it!!! Oh and heads up, this is an epic! Only Kelley could write a novel about a lawn mower! ugh)

I really enjoy cutting the grass. Growing up we had a push mower (self propelled thank goodness). We had to do all the cutting (5 girls in our family) and our yard was not small. I HATED it. It was hot and nasty work.
BUT, now that I am an ‘adult’ and have a riding mower I actually really enjoy it (I enjoy ‘riding’ equipment of any kind actually, I would love a Hog someday). I mow pregnant (sometimes like very pregnant) I mow wearing baby (see disclaimer above) not because I WANT to but because I often can’t put them down. It’s no biggie really, I just have to sit back and steer. So with Charlie doing so much work around the house (building storage buildings, additions, screen porch among a million other things) I am the one who cuts the grass and I am fine with that . . . as long as my mower runs!!!

Our history with lawn mowers hasn’t been too great. The ones we have owned never seemed to work right, and even the time we used others mowers even they crapped out on us. So when we moved out here (we have an acre and ½ to mow here) and bought a used John Deere (from Charlies dad’s friend . . . dirt cheep, probably 1/3 of what it was worth) I was thinking . . . FINALLY a quality machine that will WORK!!

Well the problems started right away. OK it isn’t about the mechanics of the mower, the mower is really good. But everything like this needs maintenance. After the first cutting session we noticed the tires going flat, that is fine we just used the air compressor to blow them up. But it got worse and worse. Eventually we were having to blow up flat tires every time we cut the grass . . . so annoying! I mean it would take me 10 min to blow them up!! But the tires are big and expensive so I was willing to spend the extra time inflating them . . . for a while. Eventually we had to replace the blades too, which is fine. Our yard isn’t like a normal yard. We are on top of a mountain and we have tons of rocks up here, so when you mow it is like you are going through an obstacle course, weaving in and out of things, going down slopes, having to stop to pick up rocks in your path etc. I try REALLY hard but I am also pretty hard on machinery, LOL!! I have lit up my fair share of large rocks in the yard! Needless to say, we replace the blades often, LOL!!

Fast forward to last summer (08). It is September. I am like 7-8 wks pregnant with #5 and I have 24/7 nausea and am tired of course and ALONE. Charlie was working out of state for 2 months (because of hurricane Ike, he does insurance). We were planning a huge get together here for Xian’s birthday and I was trying to get ready (not easy being alone with 4 little kids and being sick and pregnant). So I was doing yard stuff, digging holes planting bushes etc. I mean shoot, I don’t care how sick and tired I am, if people are coming over I am going to make the yard/house look presentable. The grass was in dire need of cutting but I was trying to work out the logistics of how I was going to cut the grass with a 20 mo old who LOVED the mower and insisted on following me around when I am on it (and no one else here to really watch him). I figured I could distract him with TV and have Xian watch him in the house. I have it all planned out ahead of time.

Those of you with kids know that there are ‘windows of opportunity’ during the day to get things done. Between fixing food, cleaning up, nursing someone, helping kids with things, playing referee, and doing e-mails in between, it is often hard to find time for ‘extras’ but if I plan right I can. Don’t even get me started on the days we go out . . . I get like nothing else done around here, LOL! (it takes so long to get them dressed and ready and then ½ an hour to get anywhere, I prefer to stay home most days). I also have kids to nurse to sleep for nap (and I nap with them). I usually can find time before lunch and before dinner. Most other things I do after they are in bed (though I can’t cut the grass at midnight). Anyway, I have to plan these things out and take advantage of the time when I have it.

So when the time comes to mow, I have the kids fed and happy, I get Ever distracted, give Xian instructions on watching him (and not going outside) spend another 15 min trying to find the stuff to pump up the tires and then I FINALLY start mowing. I get about ½ way through when I hear a funny noise and the mower stops cutting (it is still running, just not cutting). UGH!! So I drive it to the house, lie on the ground and peer up underneath it and try to see what is wrong. Don’t ask me how I could see a thing up there but I could and it looked like the belt that is connected to the blades was off. I have this saying . . . I can function fine and get things done as long as the things around me (including computer and in this case lawn mower) are WORKING!! If they quit working, well, lets just say I get really stressed out (especially if I am pregnant and sick and tired and alone). I am so frustrated and I am so quickly loosing my ‘window of opportunity’ to mow. So I call Charlie in to vent and get his advice (he wasn’t a ton of help, though how could he be when he isnt’ there). I find the john Deere book to try to figure out what the heck the problem is. I get back on the ground look under the mower and see a wheel is off of the bottom which has made the belt come loose. Thankfully, the screws that had come off were sitting on top of the deck! I needed to put it back on but of course after a couple more calls to Charlie I still can’t find any tools which doesn’t matter because my ‘window’ is gone and now I have fussing, hungry, tired kids.

The yard that needs mowing!!

So the next day my goal is to fix the mower (did I mention I REALLY wanted the grass cut?). I find the tools, go out there, wriggle under the mower, and contort my body to reach everything (the book said to drop the deck but I was not going to go to that much trouble, my arms are small enough to fit anyway). And ya know what I did? I put the wheel back on and I put the belt back on (oh and did I mention I was newly pg and sick and tired?). I mean it was like a puzzle but I figured it all out. I get everything ready to mow again (myself dressed, the kids distracted, tires pumped up) and I start the mower put the blade down and it works!! Yes! I ROCK!! I start mowing feeling VERY good about myself. And that lasts all of like 5 minutes when the blades stop turning again. I am literally about to cry. I look up under the mower, again, and the belt is off and the wheel is stripped. I mean it is shot like it can’t be fixed or put back on, it is ruined!!! I was thinking . . . oh crap! I put it on wrong. So I went from feeling great to feeling like crap! Come to find out the bearings or something were bad and I needed a new wheel. But I am determined to fix this durn thing.
It is SO much easier to have a husband who takes care of these things, but I didn’t have that option at the time and I went from feeling sorry for myself to being mad. I was me against the mower now and I don’t loose!! I can do any durn thing I put my mind to (always have).

The John Deere place is on the way to soccer so on soccer day I stopped by. I handed them the messed up part and they gave me a new one. Then I double checked with them about putting it on (YES, I HAD put it on right!!) all while trying to keep the kids off of the mowers on display. This is how determined I was to have the yard look nice when we had people over, LOL!! The next day I did it all again like I did the first time, I fixed it, it worked (and still works). I fed the kids, pumped up the tires, distract Ever and mowed the lawn (thank you Lord). Let me say again I ROCK!! LOL!!!

Fast forward to a few wks after Thrace was born. We finally got new tires like, literally 3 days before Thrace was born (because I told Charlie I was not going to pump up those tires anymore, it had been like 2 yrs, LOL). It is amazing how something as little as having good tires on the mower, and not having to pump them up before mowing, can really make my day!!! Charlie had mowed the last couple of times (I last mowed at like 39 wks and had trouble walking for a day after that, LOL). Thrace is just a few wks old but Charlie was out of town again and the grass was getting long and I was getting tired of looking at it. I really hate being at home all the time with the grass long and everything looking messy (we have enough mess around here, short grass makes the other mess look better, LOL). Sooooo, I decide to mow the lawn.

Now I have to plan things differently this time as I have a baby now (though thankfully I don’t feel sick and have more energy). So after much thought I make a plan. I have the kids fed, I have Dora on TV for Ever, I get dressed in my mowing clothes, I feed Thrace, change him, put on my wrap, spend about 10 min getting ear plugs in his ears (I had to cut them to fit), get him in the wrap and cover his legs etc. I prefer a wrap for cutting the grass because it holds them very snug to my body and I can cover all exposed skin . . . though . . . wait . . . what am I saying? That doesn’t matter because you are not supposed to be wearing a baby while cutting the grass anyway (see disclaimer above) DUH!!!
So after about ½ hr of prep, I am ready. I head out to the mower and IT WON’T START!!! What the frack!! First time I have not been able to get this mower to start. I tried and tried, called Charlie for advice, tried again, called Charlie to vent, tried again, then I wanted to cry because like I said, I can function well as long as the equipment around me WORKS!! And I had such good intentions!

Ends up Charlie couldn’t get it started either, it took a couple weeks before we got it running, right before we had another big birthday party at the house. But of course after we got the mower running we couldn’t get the weed eater running so Charlie went around the whole yard with garden sheers until his back hurt. Then he went to WalMart and bought a cheep electric weed eater, LOL!! But none of that matters because it wasn’t my deal, he was here, he was doing it and he the one stressing over it!

Me (wearing Thrace in a Wrapsody) on the mower the other day showing my true feelings

OK, fast forward to a couple days ago. This is the last story I promise. So we are going out of town soon for vacation and the grass is LONG (hasn't been cut in like 3 wks) and it needs to be cut before we go. But again, Charlie is out of town for a few days and he won’t have time to do it, so I say I will. Once again I plan ahead. The FIRST thing I do is go outside and crank the mower . . . yes!! It starts right up!! Hallelujah! I sit there on the cranked mower thinking of what I need to do before getting ready to mow. I checked the gas tank . . . ooh, it is pretty low. So I called Charlie because I can’t find the gas can. And ya know what? It is EMPTY. Well I go off, just a little bit, because it would have been nice if I would have known that ahead of time (or if he would have filled it for me, much easier for him to do it than for me to get 5 kids dressed and drive to the gas station when we were not planning on going out . . . that right there is like probably an 45 min of my day). But he thinks I have enough in there to at least cut the front yard. Ok that doesn’t work with my plans (I was going to do the side yard first . . . I have my reasons . . . remember I have this planned out) but I figure I can do the front yard first if I have to.

So once again, I go in the house, get dressed to cut the grass, I have the kids fed, get my wrap on, nurse Thrace, then I give Ever a ride around the driveway so he will be pacified while I am mowing (they are going to be playing outside and I don’t want him fussing for a ride). I am very proud of myself for being so on top of things and really planning ahead (hand. pats. back). So Ever and I get off the mower, I leave it running while I go in to get Thrace (Xian had him). I get him, put ear plugs in his ears (he wasn’t too happy about that) pop him in the wrap, head outside and . . . wait . . . something is wrong!! Didn’t I leave the mower running when I went inside? I DID! But it is no longer running!! I believe I said “no, no, no, no, no” or something like that! I go out, try to crank it . . . NOTHING! ARGH!!
It was out of gas!! So much for me having gas to cut the front yard. It is pointless for me to get gas because if I do my ‘window’ is gone.

I go inside, call Charlie and go off about how I have decided that trying to mow the lawn with all the kids here alone is just too stressful for me if the mower doesn’t work so I am not doing it again, he can do it!! (just a note, Charlie is wonderful, he works so hard around here and at work, so none of this is his fault, I was just venting and frustrated).

Of course that was a bunch of bull. I think he knew that wouldn’t fly because if he isn’t here to do it he knows I will cut it instead of looking at a jungle all day . . . he knows me. He came home the next day (just for the night, not long enough to cut the grass himself) and got gas and filled the mower for me (because he knew if he didn’t and I had trouble lifting a 5 gallon gas can and couldn’t do it myself then he would NEVER EVER hear the end of it). I am really not hard to live with. really, I just want stuff to work!!

Anyway, I am proud to announce that I mowed the front yard today!!!!

Our nicely mowed front yard (and Ever)

Thrace doesn’t like being put down at all but usually after we nap in the afternoon he is in a great mood and will tolerate me not holding him, sometimes for as much as ½ hr (he doesn’t really like others holding him except for me unless he is being worn by them, but after nap he will tolerate it more). So after nap I nursed him and let him pee and I put him outside with the kids where they could watch him while they played in the sandbox (having older kids to help is wonderful). I could see them from where I was mowing the front yard and thankfully he was happy the whole time. He just sat and looked around at the trees and the kids playing. Good thing too because I had to get off the mower like a million times to pick up toys hidden in the long grass and that is so much harder to do when I am wearing him.

Tomorrow I hope to mow the side yard. Though I have stayed up so long writing this and I have to pack tomorrow, it may not get it all done. Ah well, if I don't at least the front yard is done and at least I know I try.

Here is the side yard today that needs to be cut.
Looks better in the picture than it does IRL

The field also needs to be cut, but Charlie can do that when we get back.

Like I said in the beginning, I really do enjoy cutting the grass . . . as long as John Deere cooperates!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Pit to Distress" . . . reason number 101 to stay out of the hospital

OK what do y’all think of when you hear that . . . Pit to Distress?

I am sure a few things could come to mind (maybe related to peaches . . . or Brad ;0). Though if you frequent birth related blogs, chances are you have heard it already as it has gone viral.

When I was browsing a message board a few weeks ago and first read the words ‘Pit to Distress’ I unfortunately knew exactly what it meant, despite never having heard it before. And how on earth can I not have heard of this? . . . in all my 10 yrs of researching childbirth?. “Pit” is short for Pitocin (a drug used to induce/augment labor) and Distress is . . . you guessed it. It refers to the baby showing signs of distress during labor. It basically means cranking up the pitocin till the baby shows signs of distress so that an ‘emergency’ c-section can be performed!!! No, I kid you not, you don't need to clean your glasses, Yes, you read that right!

Now I love learning new things about labor and birth and childbirth practices, but this . . . well I don’t have to tell you that it is extremely disturbing. But the sad thing is, when my cynical self was made aware of this practice I was not the least bit surprised. Though I was outraged along with everyone else and the blogosphere has been a buzz about it since Jill of Keyboard Revolutionary blogged about it back in July (check out her blog, having had a c/s with her first, she has a unique perspective . . . though probably not as unique as it should be, considering 31.8% of births in the US end in c/s).

Of course most logical minded people would think that there is no way this could be true, there is no way Dr’s would endanger the life of a baby and ultimately the mother, by cranking up the pit in order to do a c/s!!! I hate to break it to ya, but I have read enough supporting evidence in the last week to be able to say with confidence that it DOES happen! Now I am not saying that all Dr’s or hospitals practice this. I know there are some decent dr’s out there. But seeing as how the practice is mentioned in books and newspapers, and is a fairly widely known term . . . I don’t think it can be easily refuted. Jill at www.theunnecesarian.com has blogged about it and has some pretty compelling quotes to back up it up. In an effort to save space (because I am sure to be long winded) I will just link to her post rather than quoting all her research (she even references a Wall Street Journal article and a nursing textbook) HERE is the first post, and the follow up.

I am sure many dr’s won’t use that actual term, and heck, I will even go far enough as to say that some who do it probably don’t even realize what they are doing or maybe they don’t do it intentionally. They are just SO used to cranking up the pit for a ‘dysfunctional’ labor that they don’t think twice about the consequences or the fact that they are the ones causing all these babies to go into distress, the reason for the 'emergency' c/s (though I certainly believe some are callous enough to prescribe ‘pit to distress’ intentionally and have such a huge God like ego that they don’t really even care). For an example, please check out the Nursing Birth blog post about Pit to Distress and the comments from other nurses that follow (heck, check out the whole blog, it is wonderful and as an L&D nurse she has a unique perspective). She describes a scenario where an OB demanded she turn up the pit to ‘hyper stimulate’ the moms uterus . . . the way he went about it, was very nonchalant, like, what is the big deal? it is just what they do. He probably didn’t even think twice about it . . . and that my friends, is the most disturbing aspect of all of this, that it can be done without even considering the consequences. She lists several other examples that she personally has dealt with as an L&D nurse. It is eye opening!!

These are peoples lives they are playing with!! We are talking about childbirth here, it is a NATURAL process. Why are we letting ourselves be managed by people who obviously do not respect us our our bodies or the beautiful process of giving birth? It doesn’t need to be rushed, or managed, or augmented or put under a microscope . . . it needs to be left to progress at it’s own pace, the way it was designed be. We need to be left the heck alone!!!

The fact is that the use of pitocin to augment labor is staggering. It will vary by dr and hospital, but I have read about numbers as high as 60% of all women giving birth having labor either induced or augmented with pitocin. On Rixa's blog, she talks about a medical article and study in which a hospital was lowering it's pit rates and getting better outcomes, I am with her when she states . . .

I had to blink a few times when I read that the hospital's rate of Pitocin usage began at 93.3% and declined to only 78.9%. Seriously? Less than 7% of all laboring women did NOT have Pitocin? I cannot imagine any reasonable justification for Pitting 78% of all laboring women, let alone 93%.
Read more at her blog HERE

Lets go over the list of complications from Pitocin usage shall we . . . from the Internet Drug Index

Anaphylactic reaction

Postpartum hemorrhage

Cardiac arrhythmia

Fatal afibrinogenemia

Hypertensive episodes



Premature ventricular contractions

Pelvic hematoma

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Hypertensive episodes

Rupture of the uterus

Excessive dosage or hypersensitivity to the drug may result in uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction, or rupture of the uterus.

The possibility of increased blood loss and afibrinogenemia should be kept in mind when administering the drug.

Severe water intoxication with convulsions and coma has occurred, associated with a slow oxytocin infusion over a 24-hour period. Maternal death due to oxytocin-induced water intoxication has been reported.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the fetus or neonate:

Due to induced uterine motility:


Premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias

Permanent CNS or brain damage

Fetal death

Neonatal seizures have been reported with the use of Pitocin.

Due to use of oxytocin in the mother:

Low Apgar scores at five minutes

Neonatal jaundice

Neonatal retinal hemorrhage

Wow! Sounds like something I wouldn't want routinely used on me and my baby . . . how about you? Not to mention that the wide spread use of this drug undermines us as birthing women. Our bodies are not flawed and WILL give birth in their own time . . . just as God designed them to do (He didn't make a mistake when He designed us to give birth). I guess according to the Dr's 3 of my 5 kids wouldn't have been born because my labor was dysfunctional (contractions 10-20 min apart the whole time) . . . oh wait . . . they WERE born, and they were fine and healthy and born in their own time!! Wow what a concept!!

And to support the fact that maybe some Dr's use pitocin because they are impatient and don't want to wait for our slow butts to give birth . . . there has been at least one study done (that I know of) that supports the fact that the some c-sections are done for Dr’s convenience. Quoted from Wikipedia

” Research into reasons for emergency cesareans found that 66% occur between the 25% of day shift hours of 8 AM and 3 PM, and the least between 5 AM and 6 AM leading the authors to conclude that physician convenience is a leading cause of "emergency cesareans." (Goldstick O, Weissman A, Drugan A.The circadian rhythm of "urgent" operative deliveries.Isr Med Assoc J. 2003 Aug;5(8):564-6.)”

Aw, well aren’t us birthing moms and babies nice to wait for ‘working hours’ to have all of our 'emergencies' that require a section! Don’t want to inconvenience the good Dr now do we?

I know I am being sarcastic, but this is really a very serious matter. C-sections are the most common surgery among women in the US. And the list of possible complications is not to be overlooked . . . infection, bleeding, atony, lacerations, hysterectomy, placenta accreta, blood clots, nerve injury, wound breakdown, uterine rupture, bladder injury, adhesions, UTI, delayed bowl function, fetal injury. For babies born by c/s, they are more likely to have respiratory problems and more likely to spend time in the NICU.

Yes, some of these things occur after vaginal births too, but a vaginal birth is normal and natural, if a complication occurs it is an exception to the rule. Where as with an unnecessary or 'pushed' c/s you are taking steps to intervene in the natural process, and from there complications become . . . well . . . manmade.

C-sections have become so commonplace in our society that no one even bats an eye about it anymore!! Heaven forbid a mother feel bad about having one!! In truth there are very few reasons why a c/s should be needed (placenta previa, cord prolapse, placenta abruption and a few other rare complications of pregnancy). The WHO states that it should be around 15% for all countries world wide (remember, in the US it is 31.8). I know that many homebirth midwives have a rate of 1-3% and IMO that is really what it should be for low risk healthy women.

Look I am not anti c/s. I think it can be a life saving procedure and I am grateful to live in a time where it is a possibility and would be so grateful for the ability to have one if really needed (though I would still mourn the loss of a gentle natural birth for myself and my child). But it is being abused . . . women are being abused by placing their lives in the hands of providers who are so ingrained in the medical model that they can’t see anything else. They are placing (intentionally or unintentionally) their wishes over ours . . . and for those Dr’s who do this, those Dr’s who are playing God with our lives and our babies lives, it is wrong!!!

What can we do about this? How can we stop this? We have to change our mindset. Dr's do this because they can. Because we let them. Because for some reason they have this power over us that whatever they say we blindly follow . . . and because we love our babies and want the best for them, and when a Dr throws the 'dead baby' card at us, in our lack of knowledge, we crumble. We need be strong, to stand up and remember that the Dr works for us, that we can refuse things, that we can do our own research and come to our own conclusions. The Dr doesn't "allow" us to do anything, we call the shots!! We need to remember that the Dr is not God, he is only human just like we are. That our births belong to us . . . they are our responsibility regardless what we choose, and the health and well being of our children and family is in our hands. And we need to be proactive and surround ourselves with positive supportive people so that the chances of being faced with these interventions is reduced.

The choices we make regarding who will give us care, provide us with information, share in our experiences and whom we will TRUST is very personal and it is a huge responsibility and decision . . . make it an educated, informed and empowered one!!


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