Jury Duty Rocks!

I had jury duty today! It was like a forced break. Really. As I sat waiting, did you get that... SAT! I read an enticing book and got lost in a vampire romance series I have been reading. Did you get that? Read!! I was forced to do nothing. Nothing but sit and read! No little bottoms to wipe. No one needing breakfast, snack, lunch, snack or dinner. I didn't hear the word "Mom" for 2 and half solid hours. I didn't have to keep an eye out for a baby hell bent on killing himself by scaling a chair, or swallowing a choking hazard, or climbing on the bed where he could fall and break his head, or sticking his hand in the toilet that his sisters forget to flush, or stick is finger in the light socket. Nope, none of that. There were no dishes to do, no laundry could be done and certainly no vacuuming or moping. Just sitting and waiting. As I heard the people around me mumble and grumble about how long it was taking, I just smiled and read. Luck would have it that the one person who actually wanted to waster her day at jury duty was in the first group released. Oh, well better luck next year. :)

Just Beachy!

On Saturday while the rest of the family worked to create a magical birthday setting for Jeanette, we had the duty of keeping her away for the day. Oh such work! We had a great time at Stinson Beach. This was the first time Kaitlin had been to the beach. All the kids LOVED it. I see many beach vacations in our future. Hailey played in the freezing water until her legs were numb and even Hank enjoyed crawling around on the sand. It made me miss California.

Muir Woods

While we were in California we made a trip to Muir Woods. It was a magical place for sure. Hailey thought if she would ever see a unicorn, it would be in this forest. We kept our eyes peeled but never spotted one. However we did see a doe who was very tame. Hank and Kaitlin were enthralled with her as she nibbled on the ferns about ten feet away from us.
It was pretty amazing to see a tree that had lived for 1100 years! There were little markers of major historical events along the rings of the tree. To imagine all the people who had passed by this tree, all the changes in civilization it had witnessed, and all the wars this tree had survived was awe-inspiring.
The girls didn't quite grasp the magnitude of how majestic these trees are. They were just impressed that some of them were as big as Anna's car!

We also searched for a banana slug. We found a half crushed one along the path but that was it. We told the girls about how we kissed them at camp when were kids and they were thoroughly disgusted.
Hailey thought we needed one of these trees at our house so she could make a tree house out of it!
It was a wonderful trip. The best part was the lunch Anna packed. I was feeling like royalty as we ate caprese, salmon, and a homemade pesto bread in this remarkable forest.

Hank + Grass = Epi Pen

After Hank's third outbreak of the chicken pox in two weeks, we realized that he was actually having allergic reactions. To what we are not sure but we suspect eggs. With each outbreak, it got a little worse. Then I let him crawl in the grass at the park for the first time and this is what happened.It looks just like chicken pox. Little blisters all over that pop and scab.
I took him to the pediatrician on Monday and she ran the full allergy screen so we can know how many things he is allergic to. We were prescribed nebulizer treatments, steroid cream, and an epinephrine pen in case he starts to have an anaphylactic reaction. Hopefully the allergist can help us navigate a safe course for our little guy. He is going to put his mama in an early grave.
Through the itchy and painful rash, the annoying nebulizers, and many pokes Hank has been a trooper. Even after he got tortured at the doctors he was still flirting with the nurses. He just keeps smiling.

A Happy Day!

We flew out to California to surprise GrammaNette for her 60th Birthday two weeks ago. We had a great time visiting with family and doing a few tourist trips. I have too many pictures for one post, so I hope to get them all up over the week. Things are a bit crazy at our house right now with school ending and Hank is really struggling with allergic reactions. But I promise to get them all up eventually. It was a great surprise when Jeanette came up to the Villa after school on Friday. Anna, Sam, our family, John, Cheryl and Grandma Sylvia were all hiding. She opened the door to a huge surprise! That was the first round of tears. The second round of tears of joy came on Saturday where all her closest friends and family sang Happy Birthday!
The third round of tears came as friends and family told funny memories of times with Jeanette. I think Anna's Pretty Pony story took the cake. Everyone enjoyed all the things Jeanette has brought to our lives. Anna had asked everyone to have a memory to share and I had written mine. However, speaking is not my strong suit. 1. I get too emotional and start to cry. Then I start talking talking in this high pitched voice as I am sobbing with snot pouring out of my nose. Second, trying to talk while wrangling kids is never a good idea. So here is what I wanted to say.
The modern feminist. That is how I see Jeanette. She is like my second mother and has taught me so much about being a woman and mom. I was raised in a very woman empowered environment. After my parents divorced, my mom drove home the expectation that you always need to be able to take care of yourself and your kids. I had big career plans and in general thought that life as a homemaker and having kids was second to career and “doing something with my life”. I embraced more of a traditional feminist view and felt the quintessential female qualities as unimportant.

As I have grown-up and become a mother, I find I look to Jeanette more and more in what it means to be a feminist. She has this mother earth thing going on. She embraces all things feminine but rather than seem meek and submissive or less, it exudes a confident power.

She was the one who gave me the confidence to keep nursing Hailey when it was so hard and painful I literally had thoughts of suffocating Hailey. I had so many doubts about if I was doing it right and the doctors continually filled me with fear about giving her enough. Jeanette had this serene quality that told me God had designed me to do this and that I could do it, if I would just trust in myself. Her confidence empowered me to keep nursing. Nursing has been without a doubt one of the most special times of my life, and I owe it to her.

Jeanette has embraced the kitchen like no one else I know. If you know Jeanette, you know this girl can cook! I have never had a meal that she prepared that didn’t taste fabulous. Cooking was another area that I never paid much attention to in my younger days. Why would you want to slave away in the kitchen all day when the meal would be eaten in ten minutes flat and you have a pile of dishes to do? I now understand the joy that comes from creating a delightful and healthy meal for your family. I hope to impart on my kids how special they are because I choose to make special meals for them.

Sewing and knitting. Can you think of anything more stereotypical of a woman? She has taught me everything I know about both of these. The quality of my work is not a reflection of her, I am a slow learner! :) I never imagined I would get so much pleasure out of creating things from strings.

Devoting your life to your kids. This has been one of the biggest feminist movements Jeanette has impressed upon me. In all the little and big things she has done as a mother from home schooling to allowing her son to follow some girl to Colorado, I have been taking notes. Her love for her children is apparent in all she does down to the lovely meals, the knit sweaters, the staunch support, and the many prayers. Jeanette encompasses the word mother in all ways. I am blessed to have her as a feminist guiding light and am honored to call her my mother-in-law.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You know I love you because I drug 4 kids under the age of 7, 4 car seats, and 3 suitcases a 1000 miles. Not to mention the dooly! :)

And a Baby Makes 3.5!

Sorry Ruth, I know you think you are the "three" now, but things are about to change. We are so thrilled to announce a new baby will be joining our family in November! I know your little bean will bring so much joy! Daisy did not take the news with the same enthusiasm. In fact, she wanted me to pass this note to Ruth.

Dear Ruth,

I am sorry to hear the news a baby is coming to your house. Live up these last 6 months of being the only child. Ah, how I remember the good old days. The days when I got to sleep in the bed, under the covers. The daily walks, the trips to the dog park, and getting to go on vacations. I was so loved that I was even a brides maid in their wedding. Now I sleep on a mat in the family room. I am not even in the bedroom. I only see a leash when it is time to go to the vet and I haven't been to a dog park since two babies ago. With each baby I went further down the totem pole.

I just don't see what the Mr. and Mrs. see in the drooling, stinky, loud thing they call a baby. They make messes, pull your ears, eat your chew toys and dog food. It is like the Mr. and Mrs. don't even notice your around unless the baby wants to crawl all over you. You can kiss your wet dog food good bye. They blame it on something called diapers. Now I am lucky to get fresh water and food each day. And Christmas presents. Yep, those are gone too.

Hey the bright side is once those stinky and annoying babies grow-up they turn into little humans that love to play with you and pet you the way the Mr. and Mrs. used to. The only problem is now I am old and too tired to play. The other positive is that they don't bath me as much. I hate those cold baths. I guess they are too busy washing those stinky babies all the time. Best of luck and if you ever need someone to bark to, I am only a yard away.


Please Pray For the Shaws

A friend of mine and her daughter were recently killed in a car crash. She had two of her other children in the car that were injured but are ok. Robyn was a nurse and her husband David is a doctor. We shared a passion for children and breast feeding. Her death as deeply saddened me. The similarities in our lives makes it all too easy for me to imagine what it must be like for her family in this time. The thought of her almost 2 year old son and 5 year old daughter growing up without a mother makes my heart break. Her teenage son will have to navigate so many turbulant times without the steady love of his mom. And for her husband, I can hardly imagine what agony he must be experiencing to lose not only his wife but his precious 9 year old daughter too. On an ordinary day on their way to school a family was tragically torn apart. Robyn's brother passed away just three months ago, so her parents are in need of extra prayers. Please pray for her family. In times of grief this magnitude the only thing that could bring comfort is God's love.

You can read about Robyn and Tori's funeral here. The picture gallery is heart wrenching.

Now I Have Seen Everything

Well, now you don't have to wait to enjoy that adult beverage until you have weaned the baby. They now have a breast milk alcohol test kit. For just a dollar a test, you can rest assured that you can drink AND breast feed. Here is a description from the manufacture as listed on amazon.com:
"Every woman metabolizes alcohol differently so Milkscreen allows Mom to relax and remove the guesswork.
Milkscreen measures the amount of alcohol in the breast milk to help ensure that there are no negative impacts on baby; created to extend the life of breast feeding.
Fast and easy-to-read results.
Pediatrician recommended and Lactation Consultant approved."

Wow. Now I have seen everything. I am thinking this would be a great gag gift for a baby shower. Maybe paired with a cheap bottle of wine and a card saying "Welcome to motherhood!" :)

The Good Times Just Keep Rolling

On Thursday Karlie came down with Fifths disease. Luckily it has been very mild, she just looks bad. It is beginning to feel like a leprosy colony over at our house. The good Dr. John told me the silver lining is that while this virus is in her system she can't get the swine flu. The bad part is that my pregnant sister was over for Hank's party when Karlie and Hank were contagious. She is not too pleased with me now that I have exposed her to TWO infections that have the potential to seriously harm her baby if she is not immune to them. Dr. John also said the only thing else going around that we haven't had is Mono. Since the girls have all had the Chicken Pox vaccine I am hoping they will be spared. Hailey has had Fifths, so I guess that means Kaitlin is up. Please pray for health in our house. :)

Fifths Disease is "especially common in kids between the ages of 5 and 15, fifth disease typically produces a distinctive red rash on the face that makes the child appear to have a "slapped cheek." The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs. Fifth disease is actually just a viral illness that most kids recover from quickly and without complications.

A person with parvovirus infection is most contagious before the rash appears — either during the incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) or during the time when he or she has only mild respiratory symptoms. Because the rash of fifth disease is due to an immune reaction (a defense response launched by the body against foreign substances like viruses) that occurs after the infection has passed, a child is usually not contagious once the rash appears.

Parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus. Some fetuses may develop severe anemia if the mother is infected while pregnant — especially if the infection occurs during the first half of the pregnancy. In some cases, this anemia is so severe that the fetus doesn't survive. Fortunately, about half of all pregnant women are immune from having had a previous infection with parvovirus. Serious problems occur in less than 5% of women who become infected during pregnancy." Taken from Kids Health.

Oh Now They Do It!

I can't believe it! I have been saying for years Victoria's Secret could make a killing if they entered the maternity and nursing side of bras. I was shopping for some much needed new bras and saw a nursing link. What? Now! Now that I am weaning and my nursing days are over they come out with an attractive nursing bra! Figures. Well for all you nursing moms and soon to be nursing moms, enjoy!