"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

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"He hath made everything beautiful in His time" Ecc 3:11
Jackson Lee Jennings
Born at 12:08 am the morning of Sept. 27 (38 wks)
7lb 10oz 21" long

The miracle has finally arrived!!
What an answer to prayer!
Huge Congrats to Kristi and Chris!

Our whole family has been praying for this little guy for years, the Lord is so faithful! We were all overjoyed to meet this little man (who looks JUST like his daddy!!). I mean you just have no idea what a celebration this is! All babies are a miracle, but this little guy . . . he is the icing on the cake!
Lets just say there was no shortage of tears, LOL!

Kristi had a fairly short first labor, 11 hours. And get this . . . she pushed for 18 MINUTES!!
Yes, that is 18 minutes (I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not jealous, LOL).
No epidural . . . she ROCKS!!
In the pix above she is on the birth ball, which I understood to be her favorite spot (was mine too for 2 of my labors). They labored mostly alone, she and Chris, and from what I have heard, he was amazing as her support person.
I will admit that I was so nervous about her birth, I always am when someone gives birth in the hospital (if they are at home I am not worried at all, LOL!! I know most are opposite ;0) But praise the Lord, no complications or issues at all, everything went wonderfully, we couldn't have asked for anything more! She was treated wonderfully by everyone, even when she declined things like eye ointment and vit K and asked them to delay cord clamping (go girl!!)

Here we are in the waiting room just finding out he was born
(mom is on the phone with Kristi)

Kristi and sweet love

Jackson and Gingie (our mom)

Jackson and Papa (our dad)

Our sister Kim, making waterfalls (as her daughter calls it, LOL)

Beautiful perfect little molded head!!

The new family

Finally it is my turn

I was hoping to get more pictures of Chris and Jackson in his first Kozy ride, and Kristi's first time wearing HER very own baby in the Kozy, but there were too many visitors in and out (everytime we tried, someone would come in and want to hold him). I am about to go back up to the hospital so hopefully I can get some pix of that and post them later (when I get back home).

On and on another interesting note . . . Kristi has been in and out of the hospital all week with kidney stones (which have still not passed). She has had them before (passed one just like a month ago in fact) and the pain is supposed to be excruciating. Many compare it to childbirth. She was having kidney stone pain the day before, and then was in labor all day yesterday (bless her heart). We thought she would be a good one to ask since both were back to back and fresh in her mind, so we told her that after she had the baby she would have to tell us which was worse.
One of the first things she said when we came in the room to see Jackson was that in her experience now, she said . . . labor is worse, LOL!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kozy has a new mascot!

OK so I know I have been MIA all week, but for good reason.

Well first of all I have been a bit under the weather, then we went to Hershey Park on Sat. We had so much fun!! (Ever was just tonight talking about the Truck Roller coaster that he wants to ride again). But I think my immune system took a hit that day. No wonder, I mean I was fighting a slight cold and then I go and walk for 11 hrs, wearing a baby the whole time, chasing kids around, and shocking my system on some pretty rockin coasters!!! (LOVE roller coasters!!). It is no wonder that I woke up on Sunday morning (OK it was around noon, LOL) feeling like crap!

But alas, that evening we still managed to make it out to pick up our new family member.

This is Ptolemy (pronounced tall-a-me). Well that is what we named him, (though Xian often calls him Tallster). His registered name is OJ Recap. He is a retired racing Greyhound and is 3 ½ yrs old and 75lbs. and has massive muscles . . . that apparently he will lose with time (though he should put on a bit more weight too).

We have been without a dog for over 2 yrs, which felt so weird. We got our first dog just months after getting married. I had researched Great Danes for a long time before getting Andromeda. She was gorgeous. Several months later we got Coesoig, an Irish Wolfhound from a Wolfhound rescue. They were both the same age. Great Danes and Wolfounds are the 2 largest breeds of dogs. We loved them, but unfortunately large breeds like them are not very long lived. Coesoig died at age 6 and Andromeda was about 8 1/2 . . . she died just a week before Christmas in 06, just a few weeks before Ever was born.

(Me and Charlie with Coesoig and Andromeda when they were 8mo old, this was '99)

We have wanted another dog since then but the time was never quite right. So we finally decided to take the plunge and get a rescue greyhound. We would love another Dane and Wolfhound (I am the Great Dane gal, Charlie loves the Wolfhounds) and will get them eventually, but there are more Greyhounds needing rescue and seeing as how they are large, but not as large (for reference, Andromeda was 34”, Coesoig was 36” and Ptolemy is only 27-28”) they are clean and shed very little, have fairly low energy, are really laid back and can be good with kids . . . it seemed like the logical choice right now (keeping up with the shedding hair of 2 giant dogs was overwhelming at times!!).

He is a sweetie. We saw several dogs but he was obviously the most laid back, the kids didn’t phase him and he wasn’t scared or hyper acting . . . so he was the obvious choice (not to mention he was our favorite color). He is still a bit timid right now, not sure what to make of things. He has spent his life in a crate only going out to potty and run. I am not even sure how much he got to walk in grass (because he seems to think it is really cool). These dogs have never been in houses and often times never seen kids, other animals or other dog breeds. So he was a bit timid going up and down stairs, he wasn’t sure about stuff like the sliding glass doors, and any noise makes him jump and then he will slide around on the wood floors, so sad.

He is used to being with other dogs 24/7 so he doesn’t like to be alone at all (even if we are all just in the next room). But slowly he is starting to act like a dog and come out of his shell. He has been coming around us more and he growled and barked at the cats tonight, LOL!! The kids love him. Greyhounds will often bolt at any moving object they see but Ptolemy is pretty good about not doing that so far (I guess he was ready to retire and isn’t anxious to start running again, LOL).

Xian likes walking him around outside. Arah follows him around the house constantly. Piper loves on him and likes to brush him and Ever keeps throwing things in his crate and bugging him while he eats (he practically puts his face in the bowl with the dog, though Ptolemy doesn’t care one bit . . . I said he was a good dog!!).

For more information about these dogs, check out The Greyhound Project

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

International Babywearing Week

It's coming up, Sept 21-28 2009
The Theme is "Close Enough to Kiss" which I LOVE (that is one of my favorite things about babywearing, being able to easily kiss and sniff that sweet little baby head).

So put on your baby, kiss that little head, go out, and spread the babywearing love!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rush and a Push

So we went out the other day to get the kids some stuff for soccer (they needed new shoes and stuff) and I got some beads and Michael's because I have some designs I wanted to play around with, and Charlie got some stuff to re-wire his necklace. Anyway, while we were out driving around I noticed that the gas hand on the Expedition was on empty. I told Charlie I was surprised he hadn’t gotten gas yet, because the last time I drove the car (down the mountain to take the kids to the lake like 2 days before) it was on empty then . . . and here we had been driving all around town too!! But he is pretty good at guessing when it needs gas (he knows how far below the E it can go, or so he thought). And it doesn’t phase me because growing up we ALWAYS waited till the gas hand was buried before getting gas.

For most of you who don’t know where we live. We live on top of a mountain, about 2500 ft. It is a neighborhood but most of the houses are at the bottom (there are only a handful at the top with us). We actually have an acre and ½ of FLAT land up there, because we are on the ridge and it is flat at the top. It takes us about 7 min to get to the bottom of the mountain and to the main road. There is a little gas station and store there, and then it is another like 8 miles to ‘town’ (walmart and the hospital etc.). So it takes us like 15 min to Walmart and about 25 min to everywhere else in town.

OK so we are now heading home. We are on the last stretch of road before we turn in to our neighborhood. It is all farmland and stuff for like 4 miles. So we are on the last mile or 2 and the car starts like surging and missing. I am sitting in the back (because Thrace was fussy) and I was like “ummm, Charlie, are you doing that?” and he said “no”. So I am thinking . . . great, our car is about to break down and we can’t all fit in any other car and in my mind I was going back and forth on how we were going to get the car to the mechanic because I can’t drive it with the kids because we have no way to get back because we can’t all fit in Charlies car and I was wondering which friend we could call to come help us take the car to get it fixed etc. (note the run on sentence because that is how it was playing in my mind, LOL). Then it hit me . . . ummm, duh, the gas is low. But we have NEVER run out of gas before!! So neither of us was sure if it was the gas or not, because it was doing this before (though I reminded Charlie that last time it was doing it was when the gas was low and we were like literally pulling into the gas station, LOL). I was mostly figuring that, you know, it is low so it is picking up some debris in the line or something which is causing it to miss or whatever. That is, until Charlie says “ummm, the car just cut out”!! Oh crap!

OK so we are coasting down the road. We are like ½ mile from the gas station but we can see it in the distance, and I am PRAYING it is just out of gas!! I am thinking . . . do we pull off now and walk to the gas station or do we risk cruising there and not making it off the road in time and blocking the whole road? There is a car behind us so Charlie puts on the hazards, but the stupid car never passed us. I tend to just kind of want to jump in and do something in these circumstances. So I am in the back and I figure . . . OK, Charlie can jump out and push and I can jump in the driver seat and steer, so I jump up between the seats (I am literally squatting on the console between the front seats) ready to jump in his seat . . . but he isn’t moving or anything and I realize that I just came up with this plan in my head and I never explained it to him, LOL!! So I thought “forget this, it would be easier for ME to jump out and push”.

Meanwhile the car is going slower and slower and slower but the gas station is right there! And that stupid car behind us is on our tail UGH. So I open my door in the back and tell Charlie that I will jump out and push, I mean we are really close to the gas station now. But then I look down at the road (and the car behind us) and I looked at my flip flops and the fact that I had a wrap tied around my body (a stretchy wrap because I was wearing Thrace in it and had just popped him out when we got in the car so it was still wrapped around me). I wasn’t too sure that jumping out of a moving car with flip flops on and all that extra fabric tied to me was a good idea. Not to mention the fact that since having kids, my balance hasn’t felt quite was it was like 10 yrs ago, LOL!! (those of you who have babies know what I am talking about!). I pretty much envisioned myself landing on the ground and immediately biting the dust!! So he is like “why aren’t you jumping out?” and I was like “you are going too fast” and he said “We are only doing 10 mph” but I assure him that when you are staring at moving pavement below you 10 mph looks very fast!!! So I wait a few more seconds for the car to slow down more (I think it was like 5mph at this point) and I jump out and start pushing (wondering what the people in the car on our butt are thinking, LOL). We are literally almost to the gas station, so I push the truck another 50 ft or so off of the road and into the parking lot and Charlie hits the breaks. We could not have timed it any better unless we had a few more seconds and could have coasted up to the pumps (I couldn’t push it anymore because it was a bit uphill and I mean . . . it is an Expedition . . . not a small vehicle and I am a wimp).

Charlie was like “OK now what do we do now” and I am thinking that we go inside, ask for a gas can, get a couple gallons of gas, put it in the car and try to crank it up. But before I could share my plan with him 2 guys come over and ask if we need a push (the gas station was not un-busy). I was like YES please!! They said that if the problem wasn’t that we were out of gas they had a rope in their car and could pull us to a parking spot or something. The pumps were only like another 100 ft from us. So I got in the drivers seat and Charlie went back with the 2 guys and they started pushing. Fortunately the car was lined up perfectly to be pushed right up to the pumps, which is good because I could hardly turn the wheel.

So they are pushing, s l o w l y, and I all of the sudden I see this swarm of guys running towards us at all sides. OK so it was only like 3-4 guys but it seemed like a scene from a movie and we were moving so slow it felt like slow motion. A guy comes running out of the store and over to help. Another gets out of a parked car to my right and runs over and an old man who was pumping gas on my left comes running over and they all join in the effort to push our big black truck up the incline to the gas pump, LOL!! I was laughing so hard I could hardly see!! OK so I was a little embarrassed too but it felt very good to have so many people wanting to help! And to think they couldn’t even see inside the car so they had no idea we had 5 kids (one being a baby) inside!!

So we get up to the pump, totally embarrassed, I tell them thank you as they all disperse and we start to put gas in the car. We are also laughing really hard, at, well, the whole situation!! I was hoping it would crank because that would save us tons of trouble, but a part of me was hoping it wouldn’t so we wouldn’t have been so stupid to run out of gas . . . for the first time ever!! We finish pumping, crank the car and it cranks right up, LOL!! OK so we are far from perfect at guessing when the car needed gas but at least we didn’t run out of gas on the side of the road with no gas station in sight . . . I mean some of these are country roads . . . how silly would we have felt then!!
On the drive up the mountain we were talking about it and how one acts when in a situation like that. I wanted to just “do” something and Charlie said that when the car cut off and we were just coasting down the road he had his foot pressed all the way down on the gas till the car came to a stop, LOL!! He knew in his logical mind that it wouldn’t help but he just couldn’t stop himself, LOL!! I guess that is instinct, I mean you want the car to move so you press down the gas . . . almost willing it to move LOL!!

When we got home I realized something . . . all these guys were at the back of our car, hands on the bumper, helping us out pushing the truck to the gas pumps, and what was staring them right in the face . . .

My lovely circumcision bumper sticker located just above the bumper in the middle of the car, LOL!! Of course it doesn't embarass me (or dh) but I sure hope none of them were embarassed by it, LOL!!

Of course had they looked up at the rest of the back of the car they would have seen this . . .

I hope all our Libertarian, Ron Paul, Palin stickers didn’t make them angry either (though seeing where we live, my guess would be that the larger number of them probably liked them. Yes, we are one of those crazy bumper sticker cars . . . though I only take credit for the Kozy and circ stickers, charlie added the other 3 :)

A few days later Charlie took the truck by himself to pick up a table, then the next day I took the kids to a friends house. I got in the car and where was the gas hand?? Sitting on empty (not above empty, but ON empty). Alas, looks like someone didn't learn his lesson? LOL!! Believe me, I made sure to stop and get gas at the bottom of the mountain. I do NOT need to run out of gas by myself with the car full of kids!!

When we pulled up to the pump Arah said “hey, this is where we ran out of gas and all those old people came to push the car” LOL!! OK so he sits on the left side and saw the old man running over so in his almost 5 yr old mind, we were being pushed by old people.

How cute is that!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red is the color of . . . our house

Despite the fact that Charlie had been sick with what we think was the flu (neither of us has ever had it so we weren't sure) thanks to tons of raw garlic, he was feeling a bit better.
So this is what we spent our Labor Day weekend doing!

Someday I'll post pictures of the "befores and afters" with our house. We have done a ton of work . . . adding an addition, porches, bathrooms, floors, ceilings, plumbing, electrical, even that building in the background (though to be honest, Charlie has done most of the work :0)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A magic 'formula' for easier parenting??

Here is the disclaimer for this post. While of course I believe that breastfeeding is by far and away 1 million times superior to formula, I also know that there are moms who end up having to supplement with formula for one reason or another, maybe they have a medical condition, or an adopted child (though I recommend finding donated breastmilk or using raw milk formula if possible, I could write more about that later). That said, I really think it is the exception, it is really rare for a mom not to be physically able to nurse her baby, especially if she is getting the right information and support (unfortunately not everyone is).

OK that said. I heard about a disturbing new formula that is being put out by Enfamil. Have y'all heard of this thing? It is called "Restful" and it is for nighttime feeding. And here is what it does . . . according to their site, it is "specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better" and "it thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly".

Does anyone else find this extremely disturbing and just plain wrong? It sounds like a diet pill . . . "designed to make you feel full longer so you eat less". I'm sure you have heard those diet ads. That is exactly what this is doing. It is thickening in baby's tummy so that they feel full longer so that they don't wake up as often needing to eat and disturbing your precious sleep. Wow! What some companies won't do to make money? This is not just completely unnatural but I would go so far as to argue that this is potentially dangerous. Babies wake at night for a reason, not just because they are hungry but because they need us. I think it is part of an instinctual survival type thing, they don't want to be alone. But I googled this and found that some even think that this could lead to an increase of SIDS. I know it seems far-reaching, but if you think about it, SIDS seems to occur more often when babies are in a deep sleep, and this product would seem to encourage that by expanding in the tummy to make them feel full, thus helping to prevent them from feeling hungry which would naturally cause them to wake.

I can see some moms finding this product very appealing. I mean I am sure getting up multiple times at night is very tiring. But after 5 kids I can tell you that I have only gotten up in the middle of the night with a baby a handful of times . . . seriously! I breastfeed and co-sleep. So when baby stirs to nurse (they don't even cry) I can latch them on and go back to sleep. Sure it took me a while to get used to it when I had my first, but it is so natural and eventually became like second nature. I am with them constantly, I hear them breathing, I know if something is wrong, I am right there!! Shoot I have ALL the kids still in the bed, and I would argue that I still get way more sleep than the mom who doesn't co-sleep! It is just downright easy!

OK here starts my little rant . . . . about this "Restful" formula . . . we are really a screwed up society if we buy into this!! It kind of goes along with the age old question that every new mom is asked by everyone once their baby is born . . . "is he sleeping through the night yet?" WHY is sleeping through the night so important? WHY is this some type of milestone that most moms feel they have to reach? Sometimes I think people just ask this out of habit, because they want to ask us something. I used to get asked this question all the time and I was baffled . . . ummm, before having kids *I* didn't always sleep through the night, LOL!! I know, I know, we do miss out on sleep when baby wakes up at night, and it is an adjustment, but that is part of being a parent!! But it is like the moment a baby is born, moms are looking for ways to get their lives back to the way they were before baby. Sorry folks, that isn't going to happen!

People talk about how important sleep is, how important it is to 'train' baby to sleep. Why? Why must we train them to sleep . . . is something wrong with them? I mean they know when they are hungry, and we feed them . . . they know when they want to be held, and we hold them . . . they fuss when they are tired, and we rock, nurse, and sometimes (especially if they have reflux or gas etc) we will pace the floor to help them calm down to sleep. And they wake up again because they are hungry or uncomfortable, or they want to be near us and they are lonely etc. This is the nature of babies. Beautiful little people who need loads of attention and love all the time. We are not parents just during the day. Parenting is a 24 hr a day job, and that includes NIGHTS! Are we really so desperate that we need a magic formula to help our babies sleep longer?

Yes it is hard! Parenting in general is hard. It can be tiring and frustrating and sometimes we would love to just be able to use the bathroom in peace! And believe me, I have been known to at times exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!" (most of y'all are hopefully old enough to remember that, LOL). But when you have a baby, they come first because they are so helpless and so needy and they cannot wait or reason or understand. During my writing this Thrace (who is 3mo old and lying next to me) has woken up 4x and though I may be in the middle of a thought or sentence and I do NOT want to stop writing, I stop and nurse him (or give him my pinky to suck when he just nursed a ton and spit up 10 min before, LOL). Because that is just what I do, that is my job. And if you look at things from a different perspective, as overwhelming as it can be, you know that as mothers and fathers, we are the most important part of their lives. What a privilege that is!

Some of my kids have been better sleepers than others but none of them sleep as well alone as they do with me (or on me). Why? because they are BABIES, they are completely helpless, their whole being screams to be close to us, to be held, to be protected by us. We are their only source of food, we provide comfort. They know our voice, our smell they are bonded to US. For young babies, they spent the majority of their lives inside our bodies. Why on earth would they not want to be with us every second of their short lives on the outside? So what do we moms do? Lets see . . . we spend most of our time trying to schedule their feedings, trying to get them used to not being held too much and ignoring their calls for us (don't want to spoil them right?) and trying to get them to to sleep through the night so we can sleep undisturbed and shoot, if a formula comes along that will help with that, then woohoo!! Lets buy it!!

As a mom who carries her babies everywhere, nurses them till they are ready to wean, sleeps with them, nurses them throughout the night, and answers their calls promptly, I can attest to the fact that they DO learn to sleep through the night on their own eventually, . . . when they are mentally and physically ready to do so. I help them sleep and do things to encourage sleep (sleeping with them, making them warm and comfortable, wearing them often, keeping them close). But I don't have to 'train' them to sleep, they always end up doing it on their own in their own time when they have matured a little (and every one is different in this way).

I encourage you to respect these little people the way that they are. Respect their little bodies, how God designed them. Respect the fact that they need us so much and those ingrained needs are a part of every fiber of their being.
What an amazing thing to have a person who needs us and loves us so desperately. And they don't just need and love us because we give them food, but because we are their parents. These little people who can spot you across the room, who know your voice when you think you are out of earshot, who look to you for comfort when a stranger is near and who can't stand for you to even leave the room. They do grow, they mature and change, this is but a brief moment in life. We don't need a formula to help make parenting easier . . . we need to simply cherish every moment!!


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