Monday, May 30, 2011

We Heard It!!

We heard it!!  What?  Why, our little baby's sweet little heartbeat, of course :)  The best sound in the world.  We put together a Memorial Day picnic with several other families and had a wonderful time.  A friend of mine there also happens to be a doula (she also teaches birth classes and has been a huge help and inspiration to me) AND she happens to have a doppler!  So, during the picnic, Brian and I snuck away with David and Michael and had our own little test to see if we could find the baby's heartbeat...and I did!  So reassuring, so exciting, and so very awesome to have that moment together.  God is good and the baby's heart sounds beautiful.



Sunday, May 29, 2011

This Week in Boys

John Paul 
John Paul lost his second tooth this week.  It's funny, I never thought that losing the first tooth would be the bittersweet moment that it was.  This one wasn't as bad and in fact, I was hoping it would happen sooner as the tooth underneath was already breaking through behind it.  Here's hoping that crooked beginnings don't necessarily mean orthodontics later.



Michael 
I love Michael being four!  He has been so sweet and silly and his personality is beginning to shine through.  His sweet cocked-head smile will melt anyone.  A few mornings he has been up earlier than the other boys so he has done his own prayers in the front room with me.  I've led him in a simple morning offering and it is so good for both of us to have those few moments together.



David
David moved into the big boys' room this weekend!  We now have two bunk beds in the room so there's space for one more boy if this little one happens to be one.  We'll see if this helps him sleep any better than he has been.  At the least, I am very happy to have the nursery open again and feel like I can use our own bedroom a little more without fear of waking him up.





Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Week in Boys

John Paul
Plans for his armory continue.  This idea is sticking around and he's serious.  For weeks, he has been planning an armory that will be built in the backyard.  It will have three floors, to be used dependent upon the type of enemy that is approaching (coyote, bear, etc.) as well as weapon used.  He wrote a list of things that he wanted to do this weekend.  Today's plans were "cut down logs" and "split logs".  He really wanted us to go to the woods down the street and come back with some trees piled on our van so we could get building.  We had to break it to him that unfortunately you cannot just go onto land you do not own and begin cutting down trees.  He's taken it well.  And I taught him some elementary embroidery this week (which is the only kind I know) and he flew with it and made Brian two pieces for his birthday with "Happy Birthday" and "I love you" embroidered on them.  Such a Renaissance child.



Michael
Michael has been getting pretty tough.  One of the boys' favorite things to do is wrestle Papa when he gets home from work.  Michael has been loving it lately and is actually getting pretty strong!  Brian is beginning to have to make some effort when John Paul and Michael both try to take him down together.  Michael is starting a fascination with shooting.  I'm not thrilled with it but I have to trust the wisdom of older moms (and my husband) who say that this is just fine and as long as it's done to protect and defend, rather than just to kill, it's all good.  We're working to make sure that he knows the difference!  But this same child still loves to bring me flowers of all kinds and the other night brought me a tiny little propeller (maple seed) "for the baby".  He also made the baby a little toy out of several buttons strung together. 



David 
David has been coming off this horrible virus cold that he caught while on vacation.  He's not sleeping well and the other day I noticed him cutting another molar.  Poor boy has spent his whole life teething.  Under the circumstances he's been pretty happy during the day and has been much more smiley than usual, which is quite fun.  He's also begun stringing words together.  He's the earliest of my boys to engage in imaginary play.  Today he was catching fish in his net, showing them to us, and then throwing them back into the water.  He still does his "sure" rather than yes, which is hilarious.  He'll ask for something, then I say it back to clarify what he just said, and he'll respond "shua" like it was your idea to begin with.  The boy already has a beginner's handle on some clever psychology.

David turns two!



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dandelion Days

(Those aren't all dandelions in the background...it's mustard weed in the farmer's field. But it looks beautiful, doesn't it?)

Last week I attended a class as part of my soon-to-be-finished doula certification entitled "Herbs for Pregnancy".  It was interesting to put my toe into the water of the huge realm of homeopathy especially regarding the use of herbs.  Most mothers know that raspberry leaf is praised for its effect of toning the uterus and keeping female functions healthy.  In fact, I have to be careful with it because even a small cup of tea sends me strong contractions.  I'm, um, blessed (?) with a very responsive uterus.  But the other weeds, ahem, HERBS, that the teacher was strongly praising were dandelion and stinging nettle.  Well, we happen to have an abundance of both here in this land of ours!  Now, the amounts she suggested drinking each day were a bit overwhelming, however, I decided to take some baby steps into homemade herbalism and thankfully I remembered that Elizabeth Foss had once posted about their making of 'dandelion syrup' and I was more than happy to follow her lead!

So, a few days ago, the boys and I went dandelion picking in our backyard and picked exactly 250 dandelion heads for our syrup.
  Taken from Elizabeth's Recipe: Dandelion Syrup

250 dandelion heads (non-treated, obviously, and apparently you must count, so we did!)
The juice of one lemon (I used a tbsp. of organic lemon juice)
4 c. water
2 c. sugar (her recipe says 2 lbs. but I'm certain she meant cups as it says cups later in the recipe!)
In a large pot on the stove, stir the dandelions with the water.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for one hour.  Cool and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, strain out all the dandelions and be sure to squeeze out all the tea!  Mix with the 2 c. sugar and the lemon juice and simmer on the stove until the mixture begins to thicken.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.  The syrup will thicken more as it cools.  Pour into a jar...we got about 1 pint of syrup and it is delicious stirred into tea, as she says.

Now I'm fairly certain that sugar-laden syrup is not the most efficacious way of benefiting from the nutrient goodness of dandelions but hey, like I said, baby steps.  I HAVE also been trying to sneak a few dandelion greens into the diet this week as they are chock full of great nutrients.  I'm thinking that will go a little better once this first trimester gag reflex wears off a bit.


I also spent some time harvesting the stinging nettle that plagues our backyard and it is now dried in the mudroom.  I'll be using that to make a tea infusion that I am supposed to drink.  We'll see how that goes...





Friday, May 20, 2011

First Trimester Burnout

I am shamefacedly returning to the keyboard trying to muster the energy to write a real post.  I'm tired. These last few weeks have drained me in every way.  I did my best to make Holy Week meaningful and real for the family and tried to do the same with Easter.  Four days after Easter we left for a 10 day 'vacation' where we spent a day in Washington D.C., Williamsburg, and then a week in the Outer Banks with my family.  While a vacation during your first trimester at first sounds heavenly, and there are many aspects that were wonderful, coming home I have been suffering complete burnout.  Mother's Day, a benefit for a close friend, a sick, non-sleeping toddler, and three family birthdays later, I am completely and utterly exhausted.  And now we are supposed to be starting our yard and garden work and I lack any motivation or energy to do so.  But it's been raining anyway. For days and days and days.  Our yard is filled with water and the weather has battered my already bruised and exhausted soul.

How's that for positive?  I'm whining, I know.  I shouldn't be but I feel like I have to give some explanation why I have not been myself and have neglected my newly born blog so early in its infancy.  That's not the mother in me, but I guess I am to be busying myself with mothering this new little one.  I have never felt so crazy hormonal as I have this pregnancy.  I don't feel like myself and I hate it.  It's lonely and scary.  My husband has been wonderful picking up the ever increasing slack I seem to be leaving.  I get so stuck and then I start feeling like this is my life from now on, though I know (and hope!) that in a few weeks this will be just a memory...God willing! I pray that the Lord will take this exhausted broken shell that is me and make me whole again.  May it all be for our good and may He grant me the grace I so desperately need to use this struggle for grace.


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