Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Siren Call of Redbox

The day dawned, and that's about all I'm going to say about that. Okay, okay...we skipped exercising. P-Daddy is still under the weather and after we came downstairs around 6am we decided to forgo working out until he feels better or Saturday, whichever comes first. So, we laid down on the couches and the 3 of us slept in for a few more hours (P-Daddy, L and I). P-Daddy decided to stay home and the kids were really good about pretending he wasn't here so he could get work done. As a treat I decided to go out and get Subway. Unfortunately so did every labourer in my area so I spent a long time standing in line with all the gardeners, construction workers, electricians, plumbers and roofing guys in my area. Finally got the three sandwiches and decided to check out the offerings in the Redbox - our nearest subway is in a gas station so that is why there is a Redbox there.

P-Daddy has been wanting to see Notorious, and they had it in so I grabbed it as a surprise. When I got home the kids (and P-Daddy who kept surreptiously turning around to look at it while ostensibly typing on the computer) were engrossed in a Jericho marathon. Spent the afternoon chilling and getting alot of housework done. Maybe P-Daddy should work from home more often because eventhough he doesn't get as much accomplished, I do.

The milk had finished fermenting so I went about making cottage cheese. I tried a new method - the Crock Pot - and it worked even better than my double boiler norm. L hasn't been feeling well, so I spent alot of time nursing her and cuddling. She also got some good naps in (which is harder than you think with three older siblings) and I think she will soon feel better. She just has a bit of a stuffy nose, but it makes breathing difficult because even with all that mucus she still breathes through her nose.

After dinner watched the movie, took a bath but C joined me so it wasn't long or relaxing. Kids went to sleep (so did P-Daddy) and I watched a little telly with L, then called it a night after reading another chapter in my book.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wet Wednesday

I don't have much to post for gardening. The garden has loved the rain we are getting and we have loads of things sprouting up. The back yard is a giant mud puddle so the floors and carpets are a disgusting shade of brown. Phil came home to work again today and he is not feeling good (nothing to do with pigs, I assure you), and the kids seem to be under the weather too (not sick, just blah). Cleaned, looked up Latin curricula online (yup, I will teach them Latin) - it is somewhat hard to find secular Latin curricula. Most are religion-based and use ecclesiastical spelling/pronunciation. I found some that can be used for young kids, and some for older. I think I will use the Minimus program for when they are little and then either flow into the Cambridge Press program and/or Lively Latinn. Go ahead, say it "Classical Geek". Yes, and damn proud of it.

Made dinner, went for a walk (we skipped the exercise this am), L was having trouble breathing because of her stuffy nose so I took care of that. Let the kids watch a movie called Hoodwinked , but C fell asleep 10mins into it. S and X liked it and then went to sleep after some milk and cuddle time. Now I am off to watch Grace is Gone in bed with P-Daddy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stranded at Wich Wich

Monday was pretty much a bust of a day. I had a killer headache so we pretty much sat around and pissed the day away. I also felt like a horrible, unobservant mother because I think I have finally figured out why X gets all emotional and uncontrollable, loses his coordination, gets confused and has problems with his speech sometimes - hypoglycemia. I was watching Mystery Diagnosis last night and a toddler had it and I just kept checking off symptoms as they listed them. The kicker and why I feel like such an idiot - I have really bad hypoglycemia!!!! I spent large portions of my late teenage and 20s years (my parents never believed me when I was a child/young teen and said I was faking it) at the endocrinologist being weighed, poked, having blood sucked out, fasting, etc. However, my symptoms are different than his - I get shaky, dizzy, my vision and hearing tunnel and then I black out. Fun shit!!! So, on Monday night right before bed, X had a massive tantrum and P-Daddy brings him up to his room where he continues to freak. P asks for an apple and some cheese to test the hypoglycemia theory. It was incredible. P said that as soon as the food hit his stomach, his body relaxed, his temper cooled down, his eyes cleared up and his speech became intelligible again. I have been pretty bad lately about my diet lately, but I am going to put both of us on a specific hypoglycemic diet and see if that helps. The difference in him is night-and-day with even just the little we have done. Going to make shopping harder but hey, he's my baby.

On to Tuesday. The boys sleep in late which is frustrating because we need to leave the house by 9:30am to get to Capoeira class on time. They finally rouse at 8:45am and I super ninja mom feed, wash, dress and load all of us into the car in record time. X loves his class, and S was pretty understanding about the class being just for X. I got to spend some time talking with other moms about homeschooling (especially teaching Latin - I took 2 years of it in high school) and knitting.
Here is a video of his class - he is the one in the tye dye shirt doing the freestyle dancing.

As we were leaving, AC called and asked if we wanted to head over there for a playdate, eventhough we were looking after SRC that night (so AC and RR could do their labour/delivery hospital tour). I offered to get sandwiches from a shop I have been wanting to try. Got the sammies, got back in the car, and ..... nothing but the ominous click, click, click of a starter that won't turn over. Called P-Daddy (thank god we got cell phones) and he was going to head home anyway as his computer at work died so he borrowed booster cables from RR (they work together) and came to our rescue. We headed to ACs and he headed home. The kids ran wild, we came home for a bit, the SRC came over and all chaos broke out. It was hilarious!!!! They left at about 9pm and we headed to bed after getting the troops calmed down.

Here is a video of what our evening was like. Please excuse the end where I accidentally turn the camera straight up my nose - the dog knocked me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Songs that Break My Heart

I've decided as a fun little thing to do, every Sunday I will (try) to come up with a List. This inaugural list is of songs that break my heart. Doesn't necessarily mean they are sad or about love and loss, there is just something about them that makes me melancholy, verklempt, nostalgic. So, in no order....

1) Mad World - Michael Andrews. This is from Donnie Darko, not the original Tears For Fears version which I find just too bouncy...the juxtaposition of the lyrics and the beat throw me off. In this version you can hear the pain behind the lyrics, the disenfranchisement, the sense of nothingness.

2) Hurt - Johnny Cash. Shit, this is almost painful to listen to. Knowing the story of Cash's life makes Trent Reznor's words just beautiful and agonizing. Don't try to watch the video if you are depressed. And, as much as I adore Trent Reznor (and I do) his version doesn't make the hair all over my body stand up.

3) Baby Mine - Yes, this is from Dumbo, but it has always made me cry. Damn Disney and his mother issues!!!

4) Slipping Through my Fingers - ABBA. I'm not sure this would have made any sense to me before I had kids, and especially daughters, but now the words and sentiments behind it make me weep at the thought that some day my babies aren't going to need me.

5) Fire and Rain - James Taylor. It makes me hurt for my husband and in-laws.

6) Red Guitar - David Sylvian. This is one of those "moment in time" songs. Every morning my brother and I would load into his car to make the drive from the South Shore to Downtown Montreal to go to our private schools. We always got stuck in traffic on the Champlain Bridge. To me this song is my 17 year old brother in the driver's seat, window rolled down, hair blowing in the breeze coming off the St. Lawrence River. Despite everything he has accomplished and done since those long-ago days, this is the image that pops into my head when I am asked to describe him. Shit, now I'm crying.

7) The Theme song from Star Trek the Next Generation - don't ask, I don't understand it either, but whenever I watched this show the opening always left me a little misty. I think it is something tonal in the actual piece of music.

8) Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack. How can you not understand this one? Obviously she was feeling some very heavy emotions.

9) I Don't Want to Talk About It - Rod Stewart. Yup, I have a soft spot for Mr. Stewart who saw me through my biggest break up.

10) I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt. I am in love with the rough, smokey quality in Bonnie Raitt's voice, but I love the way it smooths out here. Also, she tapped into the way I felt about someone in University. Thank god for Maturity and Mr. Right (a.k.a P-Daddy).

11) I Will Follow You into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie. I always imagine P-Daddy and I as really old people when I hear this song, and it makes me sad to think about one of us leaving the other one behind. Love isn't painful, but full of joy. The thought of losing love is what hurts. Bloody Hell, I'm misting up again...I'm blaming it on the onions I was just chopping this time. I never cry in real life - I seem to reserve it for commercials and music.

12) How Soon is Now? - The Smiths. Oh come on! I was a teenager in Montreal in the 80s and 90s. You knew I was going to have this song on. It is a plea that shot straight to my soul...I didn't feel loveable, but I still wanted to be loved. Oh yeah, did I mention I had issues.

13) Ordinary World - Duran Duran. This is just a beautiful song about the loss of popularity and youth and how to relearn how to live. Reminds me of my youth and reminds me that I too am getting older.

14) The Mission - Ennio Morricone. The tonal quality of this piece is so moving, and gets me every time.

15) Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton. I can't understand how anyone survives the death of a child, especially in such a horrible accident. I would spend the rest of my life wondering what my child was thinking as he was falling, if he thought about me at the end, if he felt much pain, and worst of all, if he knew what was about to happen. Even before I actually was a parent this song just killed me.

16) Landslide - Fleetwood Mac. This is another one about getting older and remembering youth. Jesus Christ, I'm really not that old, maybe I am just nostalgic.

17) Superstar - The Carpenters. Okay, so this one is really personal. This song makes me sad for the loss of such a brilliant talent, and it makes me sad for the years I spent destroying my body in the same way - at least I didn't die. The song itself is sad because it is about loving someone who has lied to you and left you. Luckily I have never experienced it, and never wanted to be a groupie so I can't personally relate to the song. (the song is about a fan who has had an affair with a superstar and still believed that they will be coming back for them).

18) O Mia Babbino Caro - Puccini. Otherwise known as the song in every Merchant Ivory film...makes me long for places I have never been in times that will never be again. I am so going to add Room With a View to the Netflix queue. The lyrics are about a girl expressing to her father how much she loves a boy and the lengths she will would go to to be with him.

19) Grace of God Go I - Flogging Molly. It's just sad but true - our lives are destined and shaped by chance; pick one path and you change the course of your travels through life and you lose everything that you would have had if you had picked the other path. One path could contain joy and love while the other pain and sorrow. It is just chance, grace, kizmet which path you choose.

20) One More For my Baby - Frank Sinatra. I have always loved this song and the story it tells about the "end of a brief episode" and how you can tell that it was much more to him. However, now it has much more meaning to me as it was the song playing on the Ipod when Lorelei was born.

21) Stairway to Heaven - Led Zepplin. "There's a lady who's sure that everything that glitters is gold". Took me a long time to realize that money doesn't buy or assure happiness and I regret all the years I literally spent trying to buy joy and love.

22) Paint it Black - Eric Burdon. I like his cover of the Stones song. It is another moment in time thing - Jen Abe and I and Tour of Duty a Vietnam show from the 80s. This song is forever associated with war for me. Besides which, I love Eric Burdon and think he is very under appreciated. I couldn't find a link to his studio recording of the song which is waaaaaaayyyyyy better.

23) Fade Into You - Mazzy Star. Let's all pause for our 90s emo moment and our desire to totally be consumed and consume someone.

24) In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel. Do I even have to tell you what moment I associate this with? Lloyd Dobler!!! As a young girl all I wanted was the grand gesture of a guy standing outside my window blasting this tune at me. Then as I got older I lost the desire for grand gestures - they don't keep you warm at night, rub your aching feet nor act as your anchor when you are adrift in a sea of pain and doubt. Lloyd was a brilliant dream, but I prefer a real man. Still, Lloyd has a special place in my heart and always will.

25) This Woman's Work - Kate Bush. Equally beautiful is the Maxwell version, but I am a big Kate Bush fan so my heart stays true to her.

Sunday, Meat Day

For those of you who don't know I was a very strict vegetarian for 15 years - you know, the kind where I wouldn't eat something if a utensil that had touched meat then touched my food. A few weeks before I had X in 2004 I got my one and only graving (yes, throughout all 4 pregnancies I have only had 1 craving) and it was for prosciutto. So we started adding a little meat back into our diets. Then, it became a crutch - it is alot easier to slap some cold cuts onto a bun than to come up with creative lunches, and it opens up a vast new array of fast food opportunities. I have never really liked the taste or texture of meat (I only ever ate chicken, beef and pork) and still have some issues with the taste of chicken and the texture of beef. I have been moving us back to being vegetarian for health, budgetary and psychological reasons (you try explaining to a very sensitive child that pigs don't make the bacon, they are the bacon and you will understand). So, now we only eat meat on Sundays, and I think I may just forgo it all together again.

We were up alot last night because L was still having a rough time with her allergies. We got up and started our 2-mile Leslie Sansone walk. Yikes I thought the 1-mile was bum-busting but this one really works it. Keep smiling, keep smiling, keep smiling. The boys joined us again but lost interest really quickly when they realized the kicks weren't karate kicks.

For b-fast I make bacon and eggs - fuel for the mega clean-up I had planned for the day. I had a picture of this, but P-Daddy accidentally took the camera to work with him instead of his phone (okay, you caught me, I write these the next morning, so I am actually doing this on Monday). We made the mistake of letting the kids watch television in an effort to keep them out of the way while we cleaned, but it backfired and they got really over-hyped and crazy. I tend to limit the amount of tv they watch - a few shows in the morning which have educational value, then once a week they each get to pick a movie, and maybe a learning video. Got on with the cleaning, made yogurt, made dinner (Filet Mignon with Italian gravy, diced bacon potatoes, and asparagus - filet is the only beef I will eat). Exacerbated the kid craziness by letting them watch The Mask so ended up staying up until 11pm trying to get everyone to sleep...might explain why P-Daddy mistook the camera for his phone.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Books, Food, Good Mood - Learning how to put words together

Late last night S started having trouble breathing and he kept gagging on all the mucous going into his throat - stupid allergies - so I gave him a dose of allergy medicine. We woke up the next morning and he was still stuffy and so were C and L. Despite this, S and X joined us for our morning exercise routine.

The kids love the library and I had some books to return, so we packed up and headed to our nearest branch. I also had a book waiting for me so I picked that up, each of the kids got 2 books, P-Daddy and I each got a fiction book and I picked up a copy of The Story of the World, vol 1 - Ancients to preview and see if I wanted to use this to read history to the kids. I am very interested in a history curriculum called History Odyssey by Pandia Press which uses Story of the World as a required resource. So, I need to decide if I want to use the History Odyssey or SOTW as a stand alone.

I also picked up another book to read to the kids. It is called What the World Eats . Amazon review from Publishers weekly said "Adapted from last year's Hungry Planet, this brilliantly executed work visits 25 families in 21 countries around the world. Each family is photographed surrounded by a week's worth of food and groceries, which Menzel and D'Aluisio use as a way of investigating not only different cultures' diets and standard of living but also the impact of globalization: why doesn't abundance bring better health, instead of increased occurrences of diabetes and similar diseases? These points are made lightly: delivered almost conversationally, the main narrative presents friendly, multigenerational portraits of each family, with meals and food preparation an avenue toward understanding their hopes and struggles. A wealth of supporting information—lush color photographs, family recipes, maps, sidebars, etc.—surrounds the text (superb design accomplishes this job harmoniously) and implies questions about global food supplies. Pictures of subsistence farmers in Ecuador cultivating potatoes from mountainous soil form sharp contrasts with those of supermarkets in a newly Westernized Poland. Fact boxes for each country tabulate revealing statistics, among them the percentage of the population living on less than $2 per day (47% in China, where the average daily caloric intake is nonetheless 2,930 per person); the percentage with diabetes; number of KFC franchises. Engrossing and certain to stimulate." Thought it might be good to show the kids how other children live and eat in the world.

Keeping with the food theme, we decided to try a local chain called El Pollo Loco for a snack before heading home. I made lunch then headed to the grocery store. It is my goal to keep our food budget at or below $75 per week, which includes all b-fasts, lunches and dinner. We also spend about $200 a month at Costco buying cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and bulk items, so our grand budget for food, pet food, and cleaning supplies is about $500 per month. This also includes 1 bottle of wine per week and 2 bottles of beer per week. We only eat meat once per week, Sunday, so that reduces cost and we rarely eat out. I make almost all of our food, including yogurt, cottage cheese, baked goods, granola, etc.

As you may have noticed from my title, S is getting better at finding "blends" in words - like two Os put together says ooooooooo.

We tried to watch Will Smith's movie, Seven Pounds, but neither of us was in the mood for it, and had no idea what was going on anyway.

All-in-all a pretty quiet Saturday.


Friday, April 24, 2009

TGI Phriday

San Antonio hosts a large 10-day long Fiesta every year. Today was the Battle of the Flowers Parade and it is such a huge event, P-Daddy got the day off work. No, we didn't brave the parade with 4 small munchkins, but watched it on television. Other than that, we had a good day of cleaning, catching up on things, etc.

Made dinner, went for a walk, and then watched Mamma Mia! I saw this movie in the theatre but forced P-Daddy to watch it. He is part Swedish, so is genetically predestined to love ABBA.

It was nice having P-Daddy home on a Friday and the kids were really excited. I sent them out on a worm hunt to see if our escapees were hiding under the small hugelkultur pile we have started...idea shamelessly stolen from Suzanne at Sweep Gentle. Need to get this book (Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture) I've seen mentioned.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stupid Dishwasher - The Flood of '09

Morning routine was, well, pretty routine...woke up, nursed L, worked out, drank coffee, made b-fast, packed P-Daddy's lunch, kissed him goodbye and sent him off to work. After he left, I decided to pack the b-fast dishes into the washer and run it, while at the same time doing the sink full of dishes I neglected the night before. All of a sudden, I felt something wet on my feet and thought to myself "wow, I must have splashed alot of water out of the sink", but the rest of me wasn't wet. It took my nursing-brain a good thirty seconds to realize that I had not, in fact, peed myself and was now standing in it it, but rather the dishwasher had overflowed and the entire kitchen floor was filling up with boiling hot which point I also realized my feet were very warm, burning, in fact. So after sending the kids screaming upstairs to grab whatever towels they could grab, and grabbing a set of sheets out of the laundry basket that was still waiting to go upstairs (score one for laziness and procrastination) I got the mess cleaned up and spent the morning emptying, refilling, rerunning, remopping, plunging and finally using copious amounts of vinegar and baking soda before winning the Battle of the Flood, and defeating the evil dishwasher (which is pointless anyways as dishes coming out dirtier than they went in, so I essentially use it just to sanitize).

By this time it was 1pm and we had a late lunch - cheese, crackers and apples for the kiddos and a big bowl of edamame for me. I love edamame. There is something almost zen-like about popping the beans out of the salted little pods. We had a pretty quite afternoon. The kids were part of a preschool homeschool activity bag swap back in February, but I wasn't able to go as I had just given birth 2 days prior. A friend went to get all my bags for me and dropped them off yesterday, so the kids had a grand time looking through them and playing a ring toss game that was included - pretty simple but provided alot of fun - 3 bottles are filled with rice and placed and various distances. Then, 7 rings made out of pipecleaners are tossed onto the bottles.

I still couldn't see any worms in the bin, so I decided, when P-Daddy came home at 5pm, to dump out the compost and sift through the whole gross mess (properly gloved, naturelment) worms dead or alive. Looks like they may have escaped (read:run away) when I moved the bin into full sun next to the garden and it got too hot. Now I need to start all over, but I have done more reading on vermiculture and vermicomposting so I am more prepared to be a worm mom (yes, I anthropomorphize everything so I am taking this abandonment personally - I envision a giant mass of worms stealthily checking out the neighbour's yard and wondering if they have Skittles and pie, much like my human kids do).

P-Daddy suggested to me as I lay in my sobbing, fetal position cradling the composter, that maybe we should go get Pizza at a local place (Double Dave's) that has an outdoor patio with playground, so I can take it easy. It was good, but next time we will go for the buffet, which I found out after I ordered and paid, would have been cheaper because 1 child 5 and under gets to eat free with each paying adult. Oh well, live and learn. Come home, L and I go for our walk, and by time I get home the kids are bathed and ready for bed, so we all sit quietly together until C falls asleep and I decide to take a relaxing bath and read more of my homeschooling catalog (can you guess where my vote on the homeshcool issue is leaning?). Then, off to bed.

I promise more pictures in the blog, but P-Daddy keeps taking the camera - I forgive him because he is just so darn lovable.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Words, Wine, and Dreams

Woke up, worked out, and got on with the simple things in life. We decided to stay home and rest today. The kids were expecting their new video from Netflix and we eagerly checked the mail at 2:30pm, 3:30pm and then had P-Daddy check on his way home. The mail is always here by 3:00pm so it would figure the one day the kids were excited about something coming in the mail, they would have to wait. S has been very resistant to learning his alphabet visually - he has known all the letters since he was very small, but for some reason had a mental block about what each letter looked like. I was getting extremely frustrated, and on the recommendation of some other moms looked up and rented Leap Frog's Letter Factory DVD. It is AWESOME!! Within two views something clicked with S and he now recognizes all his letter and their sounds. He is suddenly also really into doing handwriting practice so I have found a colouring/alphabet tracing dinosaur book online and print some off for him every day. He has surprisingly good penmanship for someone his age and is an exacting colorist who uses subtle shading and colour pairings. Well, today was the day that Leap Frog Talking Word Factory was coming and they were excited about learning how to put words together. X already knew most of his letters but was very sensitive to S's refusal to visually learn them so pretended he didn't. Now he is free to spot all the letters he wants. After one viewing of the Word Factory DVD tonight, S is already spelling short 3-letter words like PIG and LET. Looks like I may have to start reading and handwriting programs sooner than I thought.

The kids weren't the only ones excited about a movie coming - P-Daddy and I settled down with the movie Bottle Shock last night - story of the 1976 taste testing in which California wines beat out French wines and brought the Napa Valley wines to the worldwine arena. I grew up in a wine culture so love anything to do with it. I even turned P-Daddy into a wine snob. One of the part-time opportunities I am considering is becoming a direct wine marketer. Might be fun.

I had the strangest dream last night. I have no idea what it means or represents, but hey, here it is. I am on the phone with C who tells me she is bringing her new love home for Thanksgiving. But, the catch is he is a Rasta. So, I am being all cool on the phone and telling her we are down with it, and just to let me know what he would like to eat. But, the whole time I am freaking out wondering what the hell I am going to serve because now on top of serving X's Indian/Jain g-friend vegan food, I need to come up with raw foods for a Rasta. However, subconsciously I am screaming out that this has to be a dream because no way would I be this cool with my baby becoming a Rasta, because let's face it, there is nothing more posseur than a blond-haired, blue-eyed white chick with dreads subscribing to a religion with roots in a history based in Africa and on the politics of slavery. And the last thing I need is to be imaging my C-girl as a ganja queen.

Maybe I am way more screwed up than even I think.

And yes, I am one of those white people who loves Bob Marley, not because of the herbs but because of his politics and impact. P-Daddy says I need to link to Stuff White People Like (see #125) or this reference might come off as weird. Hey, the authour is a fellow McGill alumn so I have to give him his due.

My First Gardening Post

Seems somewhat prophetic that my first garden post is on Earth Day.

Phil decided that he would garden as his hobby. So, after much research we decided to do some square foot gardens, and some container gardening. We rent our house here in San Antonio because we still own our home in Lawrence with G-Ma and some roommates living in it - why we didn't garden back there, I am not sure. We also want to put some plants out front, but in movable containers.

So, the saga begins. P-Daddy decided to build his 1st square foot garden out of cinder blocks so we maximize the space - plant inside the cinder block holes as well as within the garden. He planted carrots, cucumbers, radishes, cantaloupe, watermelon, lettuce and pumpkins. He and the kids deeply enjoyed rooting around in soil while L and I looked on. I can tend to be a little bossy and take things over, but I promised to just be a bystander on this gardening thing - um, yeah, right. So, everyday the kids and I water and tend to the garden while P-Daddy is at work, then he comes home and tends to the plants.

Being an eco-loving family I have always wanted to compost our kitchen waste, but never got around to it. Some of my fellow San Antonio API / Gardeners have these wonderful worm composters so we decided to give it a go. I traded some homemade cottage cheese and yogurt for 500 worms, built the composter and have let them go to town. I am a little worried that the maggots (from soldier flies - see post below) may have taken over and all the worms may have died because all I can see in the composter is the maggots. The worms make actual usable compost, but the maggots still get rid of the waste so either way we are good, but I am kind of attached to the worms so I hope they are okay.

We have also started a compost pile where we stack all the twigs and leaves from the yard, let it settle then stir it up. Supposedly great in setting up garden beds and the worms love it.

I have chicken envy. Several of the families I know raise them because it is legal in SA to have a few. Apparently if you handle them from chick-hood they are not mean. Besides which, there is just something so Earth Mother about being able to send the kids into the yard to get fresh eggs. Maybe I will call the HOA and see if they have some regs against it.

Next, we want to surround the patio with cinder blocks and grow herbs and flowers in them. Then add some containers with citrus trees to the patio, and maybe a Topsy Turvy tomato grower also. Also, add some more gardens as finances allow.

Here are a few pictures of the yard just to get a sense of what we have to work with. We have little or no grass and lots of shade.

Crazy Tuesday

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yikes, I am sore this morning, but we plow ahead and do our exercise video at 6:00am. After this, I need to swig back a gallon of coffee. Today X is going to a trial Capoeira class recommended by N, one of my fellow API SA moms. We eat a light breakfast and start getting ready to drive across town to the gym. Getting ready with 4 kids requires me to start about an hour before we need to leave because, invariably, L wants to nurse, someone else needs to hit the potty before we go, I need to secure all the toys and otherwise edible things from the marauding hordes of pets,and then the actual process of loading into the mini van takes a good 15 minutes itself. Of course, you have to tack on a couple minutes for going back to the house for the things I undoubtedly miss or forget in the chaos. All said and done, we got going and were at the gym 15mins early. S decided to do the trial class with X, but will not be joining in the actual class. Spencer is extremely outgoing and gregarious, and sometimes (unconsciously) takes over. Xavier is more laid back and quite so we decided to enroll him in a martial art to give him more coordination (he tends to be clumsy) and something all his own that he can show off. He really liked it and the teacher says he is fearless and does really well for a 4yo who has never done it before - he loved doing the headstands. So, keep posted because N's 6yo son can do spinning headstands and handless cartwheels after a year of classes, so I am sure X will want to show off when he gets some moves down. S has been very understanding about not being able to take the course (after his initial disappointment) but I think it has alot to do with the fact that we had a rocking playdate with N and her three kids afterward and I promised that we will go to the park and meet up with other homeschooling families for picnic lunch after each Capoeira class.

Watched a little tv when we got home and just chilled until dinner. Went for my post-dinner walk, then spent a quiet evening with Phil.

***we are not yet a homeschool family, for those of you wondering. I am still trying to make the decision whether to let S try Kinder in the Fall or just keep him home. I am not sure his style of learning will mesh well with the public school system. Also, after looking at the Texas standards for what kids need to learn, I am not sure what I feel is important will be covered. I want to engage them in the learning process and wow them with the scope of history, geography, literature, language arts, music, art, science, math, world religion, nature, etc. Basically I want to give them a classical education which will set them up to succeed in whatever they chose to do with their lives. I am conflicted. P-Daddy is worried that I will sacrifice my life and dreams for this, but I think I can handle their dreams and mine at the same time. I love that he worries about me, but I am looking into some part-time opportunities, and think I will send my C.V. to the local community colleges and try to teach a few classes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maggots? Cool!

Monday April 20th, 2009

So, in my quest to get back in shape I have determined that we should wake up at 5:30am every morning and work out before the kids wake up. Then I will dance with the kids in the afternoon, walk in the evening and do some kind of yoga or meditation at night. Woke up at 5:00am to nurse the baby, and promptly went back to sleep. Screw exercising!! Okay, okay, calm down. I didn't wimp out on Day One...just got up at 6:00am instead, dragged our flabby bottoms downstairs and did the intro workout on a Leslie Sansone DVD. Jesus bleeping Christ I am out of shape. Leslie S kicked my ass. But, I sucked it up, walked to the park with the kids for a park date with AC and SRC, then did my 1.5 mile walk after dinner. In the meantime, I made cookies (yes, I know it defeats the purpose of exercising, shut up, I love raw dough) and made Jamaican Jerk chicken with mangoes and coconut rice for dinner. Ran masses of laundry, vacuumed and watched Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico.

Where do the maggots come in? Well, about a week ago, I built a worm composter. I have been adding kitchen scraps to it in an effort to reduce our waste. I went out to feed the worms today and the bin was full of a seething mass of wiggly white things. I kind of grossed out about the whole thing until I learned that they were probably from soldier flies that came with the worms and were, in fact beneficial to the composting process. However, because my composter small, the maggots could have out-competed the worms, so I moved the composter away from the house, and covered the soil, worms, and food with a heavy layer of dried leaves. That is supposed to make the maggots either die or leave. It was pretty disgusting but interesting in a vomit-inducing way. Nature...gotta love her. By the way S wanted to know if Mother Nature still communes with us - after figuring out where he learned the proper usage of the term commune, I answered in the affirmative as evidenced by the beneficial relationship we have with our worms. Now if I could only convince P-Daddy that we really do need chickens......

Relaxed in the evening after having a glorious bubble bath (I love the soaker tub more than I can express in mere words - hell I love it so much I birthed a baby in it) and watched Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Called it a night after that so brought L upstairs and after getting her to sleep, headed that way myself.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Starting normalcy again....maybe

So, the one of you who actually reads this may have noted that I stopped blogging on February 16th. That is because Lorelei Rebecca Mary was born on February 17th, safe and healthy and always happy at home after a very fast 2hr 20min labour (exactly the same amount of time I was in labour with Cordelia and they were both born on Tuesdays).

I have a history of going into labour at about 36 or 37 weeks - I just bake my kids quick. I was totally expecting the same thing to happen this time, but should have known better. This pregnancy was very different and when I was about 28 weeks along we discovered that the baby was breech. I still decided on a homebirth for a variety of personal reasons including the fact that we had just moved from Kansas to Texas and I made an instant connection with the homebirth midwives. Well, fast forward to about 37 weeks along and I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a while (which I had also never had before) and was getting very frustrated that nothing was happening. On my visit to the midwives, they checked me and discovered that because the baby had been lying breech (she flipped about then) my cervix was still in the back, but that I was already dilated and effaced. One of the midwives (Stacey) moved my cervix into the proper position, and we all prepared for the baby to come that night because even as she moved it, I dilated further. No luck. This was Saturday and by Thursday I was really getting anxious. Joi (the other midwife) came over to see what was going on and discovered that my cervix had slipped back and that I had actually closed up a bit (went from 4cms back to 3cms). I was going out of my mind and getting really irritated and irritating. I couldn't figure out what was going on, thought maybe the baby had flipped breech again, or that there was something wrong. On Monday night, I was talking to Stacey and she offered to come over the next day and bring me some homeopathics to help relieve the stress and anxiety. While she was here, she offered to check me. Turns out I had silently dilated to an 8 almost 9cms, but the baby had her arm up by her face and her elbow was stuck behind my pelvis - that is when it all came together in our minds - I had been going in to labour for probably a few weeks, hence the Braxton-Hicks, but because of her arm position she couldn't go anywhere and the labour stalled. So, Stacey said she could move the arm, but that the instant she did, my water would break because it was ready to go any moment. I called Phil home from work, and my friends Rohina and Aaron came over with their daughter, Sofia to distract the kids.

At about 3:30 pm, Stacey moved the arm, my water broke and we all got ready. I ran the tub and hopped in while the kids played downstairs, the midwives did some prep work and Phil bounced between me and people downstairs. All in all it was pretty boring - no, seriously. I was listening to music (Lullaby Baby and Puccini) for relaxation but honestly, I wasn't feeling anything. I am not sure if it was the magic power of the soaking tub, the homeopathics or whatever, but I pretty much just hung out in the tub until I finally felt like I needed to push. I still wasn't feeling much of anything, but I was starting to feel more and more, and that is when I suddenly remembered "oh yeah, this shit hurts" and I got a little scared. Luckily Phil was there and the midwives were very calming. I pushed for longer than we all expected (we expected one push and I actually tried for about 5 mins) with no results and not much pain, so the midwives checked and it turned out I had a cervical lip. Stacey tried to move it, but the pain suddenly came on full force while she was doing it and I made her stop. I hate the sensation of losing control (as I am an intense control freak) and I started to feel like I was hitting that stage. I am sure I was not at my most courageous at that moment. Joi and Stacey informed me that it was my choice to either push through the lip which could take 2 or 3 hours, or I could let them move the lip and the baby would probably be born within moments. I sucked up my fear and feelings of helplessness and let Joi move the lip. The baby came flying down and within a few pushes (which I am assured lasted no longer than 10 mins, but in my state of loss-of-control and pain, I thought was hours) the baby's head came out with Phil supporting it, then the shoulders after which he was able to lift her up for me to hold. In all, the labour took 2 hours and 20 mins and she wasd born at 5:40ish pm on February 17th, 2009. Although the kids had wanted to see the birth, Xavier and Cordelia stayed downstairs the whole time, and I kicked Spencer out in the final moments, because I didn't want him to see me completely lose control. They rushed in just seconds after her birth. Granted they were a little concerned by the red bath water (yes, there is blood during birth and it looks like a lot more in water because it gets diluted and diffused) but were so excited to find out they had a sister. Lorelei stayed in my arms and nursed until her cord stopped pulsing and then Phil cut it. After a little bit longer, Lorelei went to be weighed and measured in our room (the bathroom is en-suite so I was able to see the whole time) and then went downstairs to meet Aaron and Sofia (Rohina came up a few minutes after her birth to see her). I stayed in the tub until I delivered the placenta and then got out and into bed (I did have to go downstairs to get the baby back), while Joi gave all the kids a lesson in placentas and what they are for - Spencer and Xavier left quickly but apparently Sofia and Cordy were enthralled by the whole thing. Within the hour, I was being served beer and pizza. Homebirth rocks!!!

We have spent the last 8 weeks enjoying watching Lorelei grow from a newborn into an integral part of the family - I hardly remember a time she wasn't here. For a recount of everything that has happened between then and now, please hop over to Phil's Blog - Philanthropology - I have limited computer time these days and he is a much wittier and interesting writer than I am.

I have promised myself to start on a journey back to ME. The ME who is not just a mother, but a wife, friend, lover, teacher, and someone who can discuss topics other than baby poop. Granted I will still talk about the kids and poop but I will also try to chronicle my journey back to caring about myself, my mind, my appearance. I used to actually be hot and skinny, not jump schlumpy and well-padded. Granted I got sick, and had 4 kids, but dammit how long can I use that excuse. No More!! I refuse to concede the battle to middle age yet. I still look too young for that. Viva Me!!!!! Wish me luck!!!