Wednesday, December 30, 2009
And just a few more pictures to wrap up the Christmas season! Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
It was a beautiful and intimate service for my dad. It was mostly just our northen Minnesota family and we enjoyed our time together. It was really nice to have so much space to gather together as a family. Usually, we all meet at my mom's house but with thirteen kids and fourteen adults, it was nice to have a little room to spread out. The boys had space to run around and the girls had space twirl their pretty dresses.
I hope everyone got in their snuggles with Christiana. She was pretty fussy when we first arrived and cried when anyone tried to hold her, but after the service and a nap in the pouch, she was passed around and loved on.
Tyler really has some skill on the piano but he is shy and wouldn't play during the service. He did entertain us in the social hall afterward though.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
My dad's family is a fun, wild crazy bunch and I'm sad to miss seeing them all together. It is a tradition that family members who are missing from important family events are represented but an inanimate object such as a pumpkin or balloon. I'm told our family is being represented by a family of moose. I hope some one took pictures for me.
After today's service, my dad will be cremated and brought back to Minnesota for a burial service on Wednesday in the town where we grew up and most of my family still lives. It's only an hour and half away so I will be able to go to the service.
I'm so thankful we are able bring him back to Minnesota. It really helps bring closure to the loss and wound that was opened 17 years ago when he divorced my mom and left. We have kept in contact, he's come to visit, we've visited him and he's always sent birthday cards and Christmas gifts, but we've missed him. It's been especially difficult when he's gotten sick and been hospitalized and we can't be with him.
It brings me peace to move forward and remember the good times and memories we made when we were all together and we were a family. That's how I want to remember him and how I want my kids to know him.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I was able to see my dad this summer. He came to Minnesota for a visit during the time we thought Grammy was dying. After everyone visited Grammy at the emergency room, we went back to my mom's house where Dad came to visit.
He had a special connection with my aunt, Sr. Maria, and she was very happy to see him and talk to him. My dad traveled with my grandparents out to California when she took her finally vows many years ago.
We treasured every moment with him because we have known for years how precarious his health was. We are thankful for the time we had with him that we didn't expect. We should view all our relationships that way. We just never know how much time we have with our friends and family. Every moment is precious.
Monday, December 14, 2009
was the third boy of five boys and two girls.
grew up in downtown Chicago.
was one of only a handful of white kids in his school.
used to help himself to the corn syrup from the truck at the candy factory near his home.
lived in a neighborhood where the houses were so close together, when he was sent to his room he could shimmy down between the houses and come around and knock on the front door. I wonder if the pain on his bottom was worth the look on his dad's face.
would escort his mother with his two older brothers to the factory where his dad worked every night so she could safely bring him dinner.
was a straight A student but quit to join the Navy.
never learned to swim. Apparently, they only teach you how to float in the Navy.
moved to northern Minnesota and became a farmer, rancher and gardener.
also worked in a mysterious place filled with dark rows of shelves containing strange mechanical parts and smelling of motor oil.
could fix any machine: tractor, lawn mower, baler, tiller.
bought me a Lady and the Tramp dog from Hardees once when we were there without my siblings. Going to Hardees was a very rare treat especially with out my siblings and especially purchasing the ever-advertisted toys. I kept it a really long time.
used to be the one to pick me up from school when I got sick.
made me bait my own hooks and clean my own fish.
completed his GED and taught himself computer programming.
rushed our kitten to the vet one Saturday morning and comforted us on the way home because the kitten needed to be put down.
taught me how to drive a stick shift in our field.
loved western movies and Star Trek.
rescued my friend's family from frozen pipes by crawling under their trailer house and using a hair dryer to unfreeze the pump's sensor.
never got used to the fridgid Minnesota winters.
taught himself computer networking.
gave me this advice about freeway driving, "Don't worry. If their car is nicer than yours, they aren't going to hit you!" It was '93 and I was in his '82 Granada.
would read anything you put in front of him.
once recommended ginger beer for female cramps. (Knowledge he gained because he read everything that was put in front of him.)
has three children and ten grandchildren.
always ended his phone calls and visits by saying, "I love you!"
after being diagnosed with lymphoma and as he was preparing to begin treatment seven years ago, I asked him what he needed pray for. He said, "You and me." He just wanted to know our relationship was good.
never liked to let us know how sick he was.
fought diabetes, liver problems, lymphoma, and kidney failure,
but in the end it was his heart that failed him.
We love you, Grandpa Ken, and we hope to see you again!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
We got this fun ABC puzzle from our neighbor. Beneath each letter is a picture that starts with that letter. It was fun to watch Mike and Amanda play with it one evening. She would pick up a letter and he would say the letter and tell her the picture. She would then find the picture. I was impressed. Now, she knows the names of most of the letters, the picture that goes with each letter and where it goes on the puzzle. Although, when she wants us to do the puzzle with her she will hold up a puzzle piece and holler, "Mama!" until I say the letter name and picture.
As much as I enjoy teaching Geometry, Grammar and World History, I really enjoy teaching preschool! I get more time to teach preschool these days since Mike has taken over all of the other schoolwork correcting and teaching in preparation for February.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Seriously, that was the best one of the bunch that I took before the little girls started to melt down.
We decided to go with this mosaic of pictures to send out as our Christmas picture.
I made this for free on some web site but it's in low resoultion so we didn't think it would print well. After realizing it was December and too late to order something else, we just decided to print this one out on our computer. I started by writing out notes to everyone, but today Amanda just helped me stuff envelopes, tear off the seal and paste the postage stamps. Hopefully the post office doesn't care of they are upside down or sideways!
I hope all your holiday preparations are going well! I'm still fighting constant nausea but enjoying the wild acrobats of this little baby in my belly, catching lots of giggles, smiles and snuggles from Christiana, watching Amanda grow smarter everyday, appreciating Tony's progress in kitchen clean-up and laughing at Tyler's refusal to wear a warm coat. It's going to a long winter for him!
Friday, November 27, 2009
But here she is! Traveling to visit family, learning to walk again, celebrating her 90th birthday and enjoying her grandchildren and great grand children. What a blessing!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The first thing I did was to pull out one of the sewing machines that my neighbor had brought over. They were extra from her quilting club at church. The first one I picked sewed perfectly right away. Yeah!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Amanda is growing up so fast. She can hop and get two both feet off the ground. She likes to jump off of the couch and jump down the stairs while holding on the the railing and some one's hand. She is beginning to try to sing every song she hears and is learning to do her alphabet puzzle. She can almost count to ten. It's not completely understandable but gets the right number and order to her words for the numbers. Today, she counted as she put away the rolls of toilet paper. She can put on her boots and her mittens by herself and one day she walked almost a mile. She enjoys singing in church and follows along with her finger in the book.
I secure Christiana's flat fold diapers with a Snappi and then pull on the wool longies. When she wakes up from her nap, I remove the longies and lay them over the heating vent. While Christiana is awake, she is just in a cloth diaper with a Snappi that I change as soon as I notice it's wet. I keep her sitting or lying on a waterproof pad. When I'm holding her, I notice she is wet before I get wet. When she's ready to go back to bed any dampness in the wool is gone and there is no scent. Stinky diapers and covers have always been a huge problem with the Super Whispers.
I would love to have some pairs for Amanda, too. Her waterproof training pants are always stinky, too. I may not like the wool longies for a breastfed baby because of the runny, leaky bowel movements, but I guess I'll find out in a couple of months. It depends if I learn how to wash them without shrinking them and can impress this same knowledge upon my laundry helpers who are just now comprehending the cold pre-rinse/hot wash regime. Once I had a load soaking in cold water and one of them put the sopping wet, dirty diapers into the dryer and turned it on. Gross. "Something is wrong with the washer, Mom. It still has water in it."
Recycled wool longies are so easy and cheap to make if you have the right resources. I often imagine myself going to a big church rummage sale at the end of the day and finding mountains of leftover wool sweaters for really cheap. Even a thrift shop might have wool sweaters for little cost that can quickly and easily be made into cute wool longies with just a little bit of sewing. However, ahem, I never leave the house except to go to church or the doctor's office. It's just not worth the nausea involved, so I'm either going to have to (gasp) buy some wool longies online or have somebody else do the sweater hunting for me. Too bad rummage sale season is pretty much over in our neck of the woods.
She drinks about 6 ounces of soy formula every four hours during the day. I had her on a three hours schedule when she was on breastmilk, but it just dawned on me the other day that she could go longer between feedings. She goes 10 to 12 hours at night between feedings. This schedule seems to suit her very well. She is sleeping better and seems much more calm during the day. Shortly after writing my post about her need to be swaddled and patted to sleep, she began to learn to fall asleep by herself. By three months, she was consistently falling asleep on her own with very little fussing.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It feels like a really short time when I consider that Christiana still wakes up several times a night so we can't put her in Amanda's room yet. She no longer needs to eat at night, so I just change her diaper and put her back to bed. She often has a bowel movement in the middle of the night, so I can't just ignore her crying. We also don't have a second crib yet and we're not sure if we're ready to move Amanda into the single bed in her room. Right now Christiana sleeps in a bassinet in our closet. We would have to clear it out in order to make room for a pack-n-play or crib, so hopefully she starts sleeping better before she outgrows the bassinet.
Thank goodness she doesn't have Mike's genetics. Tyler outgrew the bassinet in a couple weeks. He was nearly two feet long at birth. We didn't even bother with Tony. We probably won't have as much time in the bassinet with this baby. At 19 weeks, this baby's head measured for 19 weeks, but it's femur measured for 20 weeks. I can imagine this little baby will pass up Christiana in height and weight in a very short time.
Until then, I will just get through today and look forward to meeting this little baby in February.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
This was certainly a comfortable and unique court experience. The girls were napping and the boys were playing games in the basement.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
2. My blood pressure was 100/50. Isn't that almost dead?
3. I am an offical card-carrying member of the Rogam Shot Receivers Club.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Starting at about three weeks, Christiana developed a bumpy rash on her ears and neck. It spread to her face, scalp, back and diaper area. Our chiropractor suspected a milk allergy and suggested we switch to soy formula. Mike couldn't believe soy formula would be better than the donated breastmilk and she wasn't really having a digestive issues.
We did our best to treat the rash with a variety of ointments, oils, lotions, etc. Nothing seemed to help. She also developed redness under her arms, the rash around her diaper area worsened and she began losing her hair from the cradle cap. Our medical doctor also thought the rash on her face and neck was caused by a milk allergy and also suggested soy formula. She did say that the under arm redness could be yeast and prescribed an anti fungal cream. She also recommended hydro cortisone to reduce the swelling.
It was frustrating to try so many different things and see no improvement. Finally, I went back and checked the archives of a blog I had started reading. She had also be dealing with a little boy with a crazy rash and food allergies. I remembered her doing a post about all the things they had tried to relieve his discomfort. I actually went to look to see if there was something I hadn't tried, but what I found was the answer that has really set my mind at ease.
What she had found was that her son was suffering from Infantile Seborrhoeic dermatitis. It's similar to the condition that causes dandruff in adults. The pictures and descriptions matched Christiana's condition exactly and the treatment was the exact opposite of what we had been trying. Instead of infrequent bathing and keeping her moisturized, we needed to give her daily baths and keep her as dry as possible. Of course, this is the exact opposite of everything I have been taught about African American skin but I was willing to give it a try.
The problem is over production of skin and oils and a suseptability to yeast infections. We have been using hydro cortisone and the anti fungal cream during flare-ups, keeping her in cloth diapers and wool covers, bathing her every day, changing her shirts frequently and using corn starch to keep her creases dry. She has been doing much better and we are managing it. The hardest area to manage is her diaper area. I remove her diaper the minute she wakes up and try to give her as much air as possible. She's had terrible flare-ups on days when she is stuck in disposables all day.
She should outgrow this condition by six months but it could take longer. The condition is not necessarily caused by a milk allergy but many babies with this condition also have food allergies so we have had her on soy formula since running out of the donated breastmilk. I am counting down the months until I can provide allergen-free breastmilk for her. Only three more months to go.
So, these special needs, in addition to the pregnancy, the toddler, the teenagers and school work, I haven't had much time for pictures or blogging. I'm sorry! I think of you often! I read your blogs when I get a minute and hope some day to catch up on my blogging, including writing more about our time in Florida.
Do you think that will be any time soon? :)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Hopefully, the fact that her name was spelled wrong on the notification documents doesn't mean it was spelled wrong on the other court documents. Otherwise, we might just have to give up and concede to calling her Christina.
No, not really!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It takes a little time and a lot of aloe vera gel to make it look nice. Usually it is up in a large, heavy bun out of the way of dirty diapers and baby spit. During a season in life when I don't feel very good, having a short, fun cut makes me feel less frumpy when I have to get everyone out of the house and don't have the time or energy to fuss with my hair.
I decided to go big and get enough cut so could donate it. I tried to donate my hair when Tony was two but he got into the pony tail and pulled it all into a terrible mess. Here's the pony tail we cut off. I'm keeping it hidden from Amanda until I can get it mailed off.