Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's day five

It's day Five gluten-free and I'm miserable, though I feel better currently than I did last night (I thank Shaklee DR for that). Yesterday my tonsils all swelled up. Also, we noticed that the whites of my eyes are tinted a pale yellow. Keith says that's true every time I'm sick, but I had no idea.

Ick.

I figure my system is cleaning up with no gluten in my system it can stress about everything else. I'm going to give myself at least a week or two to detox and see if overall things improve.

Right now this is not improvement. This stinks. I feel horrible and I'm just trying to get things done, because the house has, yet again, fallen behind.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update

Day 2 gluten free was horrible. By night time I had a raging headache and had a full-force joint flare-up-- Including my jaw attachments and cheekbones.

A nice, long, talk with my mom and I'm sticking to my guns. Perhaps my body is detoxing.

This morning (day three) my right side is stiff ad I still have a headache and my stomach is cramping, BUT nothing outside of what is normal for me.

I'm investigating leaky bowel syndrome-- which fits in some aspects, but not all. A simple urine test can verify that...

I'm also going to follow Manda's advice and have my blood sugar/insulin levels tested. That is, when I can. Insurance blah blah blah...

Keith got me a rice cooker last night to help me eat more easily. He also got me a Japanese mandolin for making pickles. I'm very grateful! He's so very supportive!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Evidence against Endo

Endometriosis only exists in menstruating women. Mom, who has gone through menopause (finally!) still has what I call the 'family' symptoms.

We can pretty definitively say that there is an inherited inflammation issue. Now we just have to figure out why and how to combat it.

As the only case subject I know the story of in depth-- I'll be trackinig myself.

This is day 2 gluten free.

Both hands and right elbow are flaring up (pretty normal for me)

Case history:

*I've always, as long as I can remember, caught every illness going around. Not only would I catch it, but it would knock me flat and for longer than my peers. I missed a lot of school.

*I have always had horeendous and disabling periods-- esp. the first day. Even now, with children, my periods have always been miserable and very painful.

*I get diahhrea frequently

*I have food sensitivities-- citrus, milk, wheat, anything tropical, anything containing sugar, anything red... like tomatoes and strawberries... just about anything containing protein such as eggs (store bought) and legumes. Home-raised eggs do not affect me as badly.

* I am allergic to alfalfa-- even if I get near it. My reaction is to have a hard time breathing and to have mt whole body 'flare up'

* Around 17 my hands started hurting and stiffening. I was feeding alfalfa every day. Two years after my last contact with alfalfa I was pregnant with my third child, I was incapacitated by body-wide joint and muscle pain. I was tested for RA, lupus, etc etc etc, All negative. My body wasn't attacking the baby so I got shrugged off.

* During my second pregnancy I couldn't keep food down for the whole pregnancy,

* I get migraiones, especially when pregnant.

* My joints still flare up without warning. I have not found a pattern in the flare ups.

* I am allergic to cigarette smoke. It makes me ill and flares my joints up.

* Currently, after baby 3, my diet and exercise are having not effect on me. I am heavier than I have ever been and, though I do usually 100 crunches a day, my abs are still separated. I'm not THAT stressed about all this because I'm still very post-partum. Oh, and I'm losing my hair. My ponytail has never been this thin.

* I should mention that I have an anxiety disorder. I pinpoint it becoming a serious challenge at around 15, though I was always displaying signs of it, A low dose of sertraline keeps me even-keeled.

* When I am in contact with something I'm allergic to I get 'itchy acne' along my chin and throat and jaw line.

* On consuming carbs or something sweet I get seriously thirsty.

* I drink about 12 bottles of water a day. I am always thirsty,

* Blood sugar and food sesitivities make me moody, and give me migraines,

Now I have the puzzle pieces and need to fit things together.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day One Gluten-Free and researching

So, in light of some developments in the family, I am more determined than ever to try to uncover some health trends that seem to haunt the family.

1) The women tend to be sick compared to the men.
2) Heavy Periods with crippling cramps
3) Food intolerences, including gluten sesitivity that does not test positive in a celiac disease test
4) Joint, bone, and muscle pain
5) Chronic back pain

In my own history I have had bowel problems, usually connected to menstrual cycles. I have food sensitivities and intolerences, I have joint and muscle pain-- was tested for RA and Celiac disease and, though my white blood cell count was elevated, it did not point to any specific explanation.

I want to get well. I want to be well.

There's some interesting facts out there. Gluten intolerance (not celiac) is associated a 'sister ailment' with endometriosis.


PLUS we already know we have it in our family and it RUNS IN FAMILIES.

It seems more likely to me that there is one larger ailment running in the family in common rather than the long long long list of problems the women in the family have. Even the trend of serious back pain could be explained if we all had various forms of endometriosis.

Also, endometriosis does not always effect fertility.

This is how diagnosis are being made:

I intend to continue doing my research on this subject and to test. If NOT the case, then at least it's one thing written out of what the problems could be. So far I have tested negative for fibromyalgia, RA, Lupus, and numerous other problems. All I have ever been told is that my white blood cell count is elevated and no one knows why.

Another interesting fact is that a tilted uterus can be a sign of endometriosis, which we already know is common to the family.

AS a note-- this research is purely for myself and I'm blogging it just to keep track of information. Hopefully I will not offend anyone by this research. I really want to find a fix for my health problems and, this time, I'm going to fight to find answers so I can have a more normal life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kasen's 4 mo. appointment!

24 inches (25%)
14 lbs 14 oz (50%)
41 1/4 cm head (25%)

The DR said that he's going to catch up with Noah soon :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

LOL

I was just daydreaming and had the realization that my three boys would be GREAT (in wigs) to play Renesmee in Breaking Dawn-- since they're all pretty and they all look the same, they'd be the perfect progression.

I'm so weird!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ok, the other boys :)

Kevin is really excelling in school. He reads really well and is the epitome of good behavior... at school. At home he's been having his challenges. I think he's just not getting enough sleep. Even when he's in bed early, he doesn't fall asleep until late-- sounds like me! He's a really fun and imaginative boy and Noah wants to be exactly like him. The other day they set up a restaurant in the backyard.

Most of the time the boys play super hero/ ninja turtle/ knights. Both boys love the Avatar and so have elemental 'powers'.

Noah is off of all juice and most sweets and seems to be getting better. He's tiny... but he is growing. He's going through the ultra-terrible threes and seems to believe that tantrums can make the impossible possible. He's back in our bed after a serious power struggle. His health is just too important right now to have him up all night.

Soon we're going to be chicken-free. We're going to eat the three roosters we somehow ended up with and give the one pullet to my MIL. We've had a really bad year for animals and I'm seriously disheartened.

Keith is still job searching. Hopefully we'll hear something soon.

I've been walking to school to pick up Kev lately, but we have to get a tire repaired now, so not today...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OK, ok, OK!!!!

I have to admit that facebook puts a BIG damper on me blogging. And it's not that I don't have a lot to say.

Kasen is growing so fast and is so strong, that I don't even know how to handle it. I've never had a baby this young be this strong, so it's all new territory to me.

Kasen can roll over both directions now. The second we put him down on his back it's POP! On his tummy and kicking his feet and very S-L-O-W-L-Y creeping away, usually singing the whole time and being excited.

He loves blankets and they go into his mouth at every opportunity. He smiles ALL the time. He's not extremely vocal. He doesn't make many sounds, except the occasional singing and then once in a while he gets upset and says 'wah'. It takes something big-- like scratching himself on the face-- to get him rattled enough to really cry.

I'm trying to get ready for Christmas while still pretending to believe that Keith was serious when he said he wanted to shop before last minute this year... it makes me antsy...

And I sold a recipe on etsy this morning! Yummy pickles! :) I can't sell the actual items because I don't have a registered kitchen :(.


Friday, October 30, 2009

I was just realizing that the very things I praise and coo and giggle over in my baby are going to get him in trouble when he's older.

"Awww! Super Pooper, Kasen! Good fartiung! Let's hear that burp!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My lovely sister has pointed out that I've been neglecting my blog.

We've had some chaos here with tests on first Kasen and now Noah. (Not related)

Kasen's vision and hearing are fine. Noah is having a difficult time with his health-- he's been losing weight and not growing for about six months. He's being tested for celiac disease as well as other issues that may be causing the problems.

I'll try to be better about blogging. It's challenging when I have to type with a baby on my lap (which is any time I'm on the computer)

Kasen is two months old now and 13.5 lbs! He's a big and smiley boy. We've had several comments that he looks like the 'Godfather', as he has huge cheeks and rubs his hands together. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Awesome!

I just came across this great tool for putting in my fall garden...

urg

Third migraine this week.

And now I have Noah's cold.

And Post-partum stinks (think wah!!!!! over everything)

Still have the best baby ever :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Comparisons

Left: Kev Right: Noah both newborn


Left: Noah Right: Kev both five days old
Kasen 4 days
Kasen 4 days




This is his little folded ear. Cute, huh? We don't know yet if it will be permanent. I think it's pretty darn cute. And, yes, his hearing is fine :)




Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Crazy Chicken

This is 'Fluffy Feet', our mutt chick that we hatched in our incubator about two weeks ago. Right now this is my favorite chick, because it is SOOOO bizarre looking. It's a frizzle, which means the feathers curl up all over, and I think it may have Turken blood too as it is NEKKID on its neck and back, though it has plenty of feathers on its feet. I want this one to be a pullet so bad, because it is so funny looking and cute.

We currently have seven chicks and three older chicks that we got at the feed store. The older ones are living in the garden structure (garden is dead) and the younger ones are in a kiddie pool in the garage with their heat lamp. I think they're ready to move out as soon as we make them a spot. We have two Americaunas, one New Hampshire Red, 1 buff orpington, 2 white Pymouth rocks, one silver laced Wyandotte, and then three mutts. It means waiting a loooong time for eggs, and there's no guarantee that all of these are pullets, but it was fun to hatch (7 chicks out of 80 EGGS????? THAT STANK!)



I love how you can see Pepsi in the background :)
This is a weird pregnancy. I've been having some strong contractions, but it's usually only one or two spread over an hour. I've had bloody show (I know, TMI) for the last week. I'm sure there's progress going on, but, of course, it's hard to know what.

The last few days-- esp. since Friday, I have been extremely uncomfortable. I'm crampy and achy and swollen. I'm miserable, to the point where Keith even noticed (LOL).

And we've been talking about the baby's name. We think we're going to name him Elijah Kasen and call him Eli, but it's hard, because we've been calling him Kasen this whole time, and it's a hard habit to break. I don't want to call him by his middle name. I want to name him what we'll call him. Keith has put it in my hands to make the final decision, which is... nice (?) of him, considering what a control freak he is :).

I'm just really uncomfortable and tired. And, frankly, I'm not looking forward to this labor and delivery. My last two were somewhat tramatic. I want to meet this baby so badly though.

I'm not complaining-- I'm kinda thinking 'out loud'.

Kevin's birthday was an adventure. We spent the day doing one on one time with him. We took him to the toy store to pick out a present (he got some in the morning), and then to his favorite place to eat (Gandhi) for lunch time. He got to play with his new trains with Daddy for a while and then we made a cake for his birthday together.

The party is today. Keith and I made a train cake and decorated it with M & Ms. It could be cuter :). The boys are getting their gifts from us that are the same at the party. It should be fun.

Yadda yadda. Blah blah blah. :)

That's exactly how I feel right now... BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

August is an Inconvenient Time to Have a Baby...

At least in our family, August is such a packed month that it's hard to find a time where it would actually be a good time to have this baby. Most Augusts that's true for us. This August it's more explicitly true.

So far we have fortunately missed Kev's first day of school, his school birthday (today). Over the next few days he'll have his Mom and Dad birthday and his joint birthday party with his brother. Then we have Noah's birthday, which he will have one on one time with Mom and Dad. AFTER all of that seems like it would be the best time to have this baby.

Of course, we don't get to pick and choose :).

I know that this baby will come when he's ready and that he'll decide when that is. I really don't want to miss the coming birthdays, which, esp. for Kevin are realllly important events for us. So, I'm just sitting tight and letting what happens happen... and I stink at that :).

BUT... I look at my seven little hatchling chickens. And the one with whom I interfered is the one that doesn't act quite right-- doesn't run as fast, has slower reflexes, sleeps more... So I have this reminder that interfering too much isn't necessarily a good thing. Of course, MY baby is healthy, and this chick was one who wasn't strong enough to hatch, so different story completely, I guess.

Oh, yawn, I'm sleepy and not making sense. I'm going to eat something, finish the last ten pages of the book I'm reading and cuddle for a few hours with Noah before getting Kev from school. I SHOULD be cleaning house. I'm NOT going to. I'm going to rest while I can... and NOT throw up my morning medication :).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

False Labor... Again...

With Noah, I went through eight hours of false labor.

This morning I was wakened at 3 am with contractions, pretty strong, until about 6:30, when they stalled. About fifteen minutes later I started bleeding bright blood, but not lots of it, so I ended up having to go into the women's center where they decided that it was normal bleeding from tiny capillaries rupturing as my cervix dialates. They gave us the option to stay there and see if we made progress, or go home.

We went home and tried walking. When I walk I get regular contractions, but they don't sustain themselves when I'm not moving.

As of now, Keith is going back to work. Noah is at the office with Grandma Leah and I'm here feeling very... deflated. I'm crampy and uncomfortable and I know I should try to nap, but it takes me a really long time to fall asleep under the best circumstances. I know I should sleep and I know I should eat something, but right now I'm just bummed out and I feel like the boy who cried wolf.

Friday, August 7, 2009

This Morning...

Noah and I have been having a blast together today. I've been letting him be 'in charge'-- telling me how to get dressed and what we're going to eat, etc. We were gifted with some lovely clothes for the boys last night from a couple in the ward and he's prancing around in SpongeBob pajamas (I HATE Spongebob! But Noah does look cute :))

He was sitting down to eat his noodles when he suddenly turned and said, matter-of-factly, "My baby is coming out today. I'm going to push."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My BABY!

No, not the one I'm still carrying... but Kevin!

He starts kindergarten tomorrow.

I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing-- I like his school and his teacher OK. It's just the thought of not having him around anymore than bugs me-- that and the fact that I *hated* school. Kevin is intense and I worry that that and his shyness will make school a difficult thing for him.

I also have so many worries and self-doubts that I will let him down. I know that I need to be in there volunteering as much as possible, but it's just not going to happen. I can barely face driving to school tomorrow to pick him up. In fact, thinking about that, alone, makes me stress out.

This is my *Kevin*-- my little baby who didn't want to thrive, my creative, impulsive, organized, driven, son. He isn't a cuddly child, but once in a while he'll show real affection for me. Lately he's been asking for 'Mommy Only' time in the night time and we just go to my room and talk about random things. I *love* it, and it's never long enough because Daddy gets distracted and Noah shows up, grinning, to say 'that's my spot, Kev!'

What if he's overlooked because he's so quiet? What if he refuses to show his teacher what he already knows and she lables him, without realizing that he already knows how to read, that he knows it all, but he's unlikely to show it to her, because he just doesn't like being put on the spot. Even with us he'll play dumb if he's put on the spot or feels pressured...

I do want him socialized. I want him to know his peers and be able to play and get along with them well. I want him to learn social skills that I never learned, and to have a learning environment where, perhaps, he won't challenge everything the teacher says like he does with me. I am SO worried that the opposite will happen. I'm scared that school will feel to him like it did to me, and that he'll be so stressed out and scared to go that he'll do anything not to.

I've already decided that if he doesn't thrive this year, and love it, that I'm homeschooling him next year. I don't want him to think we can just quit things mid-stream, and I've been accused of teaching him that as it is, because of situations like the goats, etc. that have not worked out well.

But, you know what? We looked at the curriculum and it's all going to be review until December at the earliest for him. He knows so much about the world around him through all the things we've done together, and we've read together so much, and done numbers... I hope he walks in there and is filled with confidence when he realizes how ahead he is...

I'm going to miss him so much!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In which Noah spends $150 on ebay...

Apparently even my two year old can figure out ebay. I found out today that he bought (Buy it now option) a HUGE BEEHIVE on ebay. He only had to get to ebay, log in as me (semi-self-filling form) click Buy It Now and then confirm the purchase...

ARGH!!!! This is taking precocious too far!

Hopefully the seller will understand/believe me...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Kid You NOT!

We came home to this: a Sonoran Desert Toad apparently thought that the shiny end of our dog's leash was edible. We were unable to remove it, so Keith was forced to cut the leash...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Does anyone want to do Meat Chickens?

I've been considering doing meat chickens-- I can figure how many I can stack in our freezer for a year,-- but the cheapest/best way to do it is to split a shipment. My parents are coming to visit me September first, which means that anyone on their way back to Utah or in Utah could grab a share of any order that we did.

I'm thinking about doing Freedom Ranger chicks-- they have better mortality rates than CornishXs, though they may not get as big. They are generally processed at 9 weeks for 5 lbs birds or 13 weeks for broilers (8 lbs on average, I believe). Processing (when not done yourself) generally runs between $1-$2 a bird.

So, if anyone is interested, please let me know. I'm unlikely to do this myself, as there is a 25 chick minimum and I have laying chickens in the incubator and a 24 bird limit where I live :).

Meat chickens need lots of water and feed that is about 22% protein (can be purchased at most feed stores) and can free range on grass with table scraps, etc. (Despite what "free range organic" eggs claim at the supermarket, no chicken is a vegetarian, so they are great as garbage disposals :)) As a 9-13 week project, it's a cheap/interesting way to get better tasting meat. The non-meat home grown roosters we've had have had enough flavor improvement to be very much preferred over the store bought ones. Plus, we have the option to avoid medication in our meat this way.

So, let me know if you're interested and we'll see what we can work out.

In the meantime, if you want any rare-breed laying chicks let me know and I'll see what hatches. They're due this coming week. They'd be straight run (unsexed).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Overheard

Noah: Chickens! Chickens!
Kev: I hate to tell you this, but our chickens are dead!
Noah: No! I want my chickens!
Kev: Let's think about something else...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pepsi... and a JOB OPPORTUNITY!


We've decided to call "Banjo" Pepsi... We picked her up yesterday, though she has not been spayed yet due to a case of the sniffles. She has an appointment in September to take care of that. Meanwhile, she's adjusting nicely to family life. She's very timid, and completely Silent. We have yet to hear a single sound from her. She's had some handling somewhere, but we suspect that it wasn't the kindest. She knows how to sit and fetch already and she's very good with the boys. Her sensitivity is making her very easy to train. It's just that once in a while she flinches and runs and you know she's expecting something bad to happen to her.



Hot dogs for tricks have instilled some trust/loyalty between her and Keith and I. She'll stick to our sides like a very happy burr will sit in front of us to get affection.

She and Jade tiptoe around eachother, but it looks like they're going to end up being friends once the whole 'PFFFFFFFT!!' cat moments pass :).

Pepsi is actually a really good name for her-- she's bubbly and sweet :).

Even more exciting is that Keith has heard that he's going to get a call back to take a writing assesment test for a job he really wants. We could really REALLY use this job, so we're sending out a prayer request that we'll be able to get it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meet Banjo...

Meet "Banjo", our new dog. I actually think she may end up keeping the name the dog walkers at the pound named her.

Banjo is getting picked up on Monday, after getting spayed. She is such a mellow, sweet girl. She already walks on a leash and seems to know the command "sit". She loves the boys, and recognized me and them when we went to go see her today.

I have a really good feeling about Banjo. I think she's going to be a GREAT addition to our family!
So, because of some serious thinking and some events in the family, we bought a car... new to us... a 2000 Dodge Durango. It was below kelly blue book, but we had to put some work into it. Still, it takes some pressure off of us, we will now definately have a vehicle that safely holds three carseats. PHEW!

THANK YOU Martie! For the amazing box of clothes! I can't tell you how much it is appreciated!

We had visitors (family) this week, and it was a ton of fun. We are now, of course, all behind on sleep now :).

I candled the eggs I set last weekend today (well, some of them) and it looks like all is developing really well in there! Yay! There were a few infertile eggs (clear), but, luckily for me, they were all of a breed I wasn't too keen on, so that's all for the good.

Hatching these eggs is actually kind of nerve-wracking :) So much is at stake!

The boys and I are going out this afternoon to go pick out a birthday present they really want-- a beautiful Border Collie from the pound. We spent a while there yesterday and she stood out with personality by far. I'm going to go do the paperwork later, as Keith didn't decide until a little while ago that getting her would be OK :).

I *am* a little concerned that she will have been adopted in the meantime, but that's the risk we have to take, right?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ok...

So, we lost our whole flock early this week. I don't want to get into details, but a coyote jumped our 6 foot fence and slaughtered everything, then piled them neatly and started eating. We saw him eating our favorite hen, and, when he saw me, I watched him jump back out of thie yard. The goose was apparently the first to go... and the coyote left nothing-- so... ducks, goose, three leghorn chicks, the remaining six laying hens... gone. Wasted.

So, I'm going to try my hand at incubating again to replace them, though it means no eggs from our own yard for about 23+ weeks. Yeah, like six months :).

I'm trying to get a good variety of eggs-- lots of different colors and breeds. We'll be sending off some to the feed store on consignment, and roosters, of course, will have to be dealt with. We want to end up with 10 laying pullets.

In the meantime, we have to coyote proof our coop and yard more. Who knew they could jump like that? I didn't!

Our first batch of eggs arrived today and so far we have:

Araucanas (rumpless, blue egg layers)
Rhode Island Reds (standard chicken, brown eggs)
Salmon Faverolle (five-toed breed, brown eggs)
Cuckoo Marans (DARK egg layers)
Silver Leghorns (a prettier version of the classic white-laying hen)
Buff Cochins (feather-legged and mild mannered, lay light brown eggs)

We have other varieties that should be coming too... so we should have a range from green/blue to nearly black eggs, which will be fun. Of course, they all taste the same, but, I figured... might as well have fun!

I haven't hatched eggs in a year, so I feel like I'm starting over. We'll see what kind of hatch rate I get.

And yes, this is probably stupid timing considering my due date :). We should have chicks 21 days from setting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stress tests are going fine so far-- we've been able to get in and out in about 20 minutes each time, so nothing too horrible about the experience. It's a little tedious, but preventative attention is always a good thing :).

We had a storm the other night and somehow Silver ended up in the alley. Keith found dog prints and pieces of her everywhere, so we lost our favorite chicken. Then, this morning, he found our one female duck dead. We've lost four birds in the last two weeks, which is so hard to deal with.

Because of that, Toot and the ducks are going to freezer camp. We think the goose is pretty responsible for at least half of the deaths.

We've replaced some of the lost chickens and currently have three young little leghorn pullets in their own pen within the chicken pen. They've been names Butterfly, Rosie, and Dandelion.

Kasen seems a lot lower/deeper today than he has been and I'm walking a little more easily, so I think he's 'dropped'. As it is we have 3-7 weeks left to go!

Monday, June 29, 2009

F U N

Starting tomorrow evening, twice a week, for the rest of my pregnancy, I'll be going into the Women's Center for non-stress tests for Kasen. My midwife said that it could take as little as 20 minutes per appointment to about 2 hours, depending on how active/reactive he's being.

Honestly, I'm not thrilled about this, but I am appreciative that they're taking my history of pre-partum baby weight loss (meaning my boys have apparently both lost weight before birth) and my circumvalate placenta issues seriously enough to really keep an eye on any problems that might arise.


Saturday was extremely hot and we lost Kevin's new baby chicken, which we need to replace. Noah's little leghorn is very lonely, it's not good to only have one chicken of a certain age, they get neurotic and can go crazy (remind me to talk about my MILs chicken, Blanca....)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BAD day

Yesterday was a bad day. Lots of things happened, some of which I won't blog about...

I didn't sleep well and woke up around 6 (early for me) and was up for the day. Magic the chicken escaped into the alley and it took us a long (HOT!) time to trek around and catch her. The boys were cranky, it was horribly hot and then... apparently Toot (the goose) crushed and killed Dancer, one of our favorite chickens-- the one that always let Kevin run around with her. It was horrible. Keith was on the verge of tears and was stroking her when he picked her up. On top of just the general bad-day stuff, it was devastating. We really miss her. Our other easter-egger isn't laying right now, so we're now green egg-less.

Maybe it's silly to get so attached, but we know each and every one of these chickens and this one was SO full of life and personality. She was extremely graceful and lovely, which is why we named her Dancer. Toot has been getting very territorial about water bowls right now, and we think that she was killed by Toot while attempting to get some water. Magic was in bad shape after her alley excursion, but she's doing well now, so I guess we'll still have our one easter egger (not laying right now).

I think if it had been Silver (our favorite chicken) Keith would have commited Goose-icide immediately. He was close to it last night, anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Greif (GERD)!

I have a hard time sleeping as a norm. When pregnant, I take unisom for nausea anyway, and that, supposedly, helps me sleep, but it's still not a great pattern.

But the last few nights I've had a new visitor that has made sleep impossible-- GERD! The second I am remotely horizontal acid and anything I've eaten in the last five hours comes surfing up my throat and I start gagging and burping and throwing up into my mouth. So, I'm up a lot in the night trying to deal with that. It's less of a problem when I am upright, but still present, and I am, and always have been, completely incapable of sleeping upright... and when I'm pregnant I get faint from trying, so I'm drowning in stomach acid, literally... not fun.

Kasen is still extremely active and I'm still having contractions (BH?) every six minutes or so all day and all night.

Keith has been talking about wanting Kasen to come early, but I keep remembering Kev (not early) being under-sized and not being able to figure out eating for so long and I just shudder. I don't need another tiny baby! I need a healthy, happy, good-sized baby who can latch on and nurse without months and months of work. I also don't have a back-up plan if I do go into early labor-- my boys would have to be with my MIL who would take them to the office with her and it is not the best environment. I'm stuck, though, if I'm away from home for any stretch of time, then my poor boys will suffer for it.

I'm 31 weeks today (plus a couple days if you consider my shorter cycle, like with the other boys) 9 weeks to go, and sooo much is going to happen in that time. It's intimidating! Birthdays, Kindergarten starting, preparing for the new baby... and just the daily stuff that seems to be getting harder and harder every day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Busy B

Keith went shopping (grocery etc) with Kev Saturday morning before Noah and I were up. After he came home I discovered he had found a LOT of cheap produce-- so we got to work, all together, and canned (jarred :)) six jars of pears, three jars of apricots, three jars of blackberry-strawberry jam, and three jars of strawberry jam. It was a lot of work, but worth it!

Next on the to-do list is applesauce and hot pepper jelly and (I want) pickles. I'm tempted to try some carrots as bread and butter pickles. Something tells me that would be really yummy.

I have lists and lists of stuff I want to preserve. I need a pressure canner to do all I want to, but I can deal without for now :).

It does make me really aware of gardening and seasons. My oldest brother gave me an incredible month-by-month LOCAL garden book for Christmas and I have been making lists of what to put into the garden... why? Because the next time I should start planting is in AUGUST when my baby is due!

We had our ultrasound appointment for Kasen on thursday and he's doing very well. He weighed in at an estimates 2 lbs 14 oz and was 61st percentile on size-- really big for my babies! He's strong and healthy, and already has masses of long hair that we saw floating along in the ultrasound. He's truly beautiful and already looks like my other boys.

Kev suggested that we consider 'Kay-ven' as an alternative name... you know, Kevin with an 'A'? He also suggested that Kevin is a great name and we could reuse it.

Kev is reading really well these days. He can sound out just about anything and spends his 'coloring' time copying pages out of books. Today it was from the 'Joy of Cooking' "Protect the fingers as you hand-grate". He asked me what it meant :).

Today's dinner is chili (from scratch with dried Kids-beans (kidney-beans)) and I just whipped up some goat-milk ice cream (milk, sugar, vanilla, little salt) in my new ice-cream maker (it is SELF REFRIDGERATED!) Very yummy :). I'm supposed to go later tonight to get some more canning jars, pickling salt, and look at some herb plants, etc.

After our white chickens escaped and dug up half of our flowers I had to clip their wings. Keith was shocked at how humane it was (did he think I was going to cut the WINGS? It's just the flight feathers!) One of the pullets glared at me the whole time and another one grabbed the scissors and ran off with them with my boys shrieking in hilarity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Checked the Jars this morning...

... And they are all sealed like they are supposed to be! Yay!

I had a half-jar of strawberry jam leftover that I put in the fridge yesterday and we took it over to my MIL's house-- it was a HUGE hit! Very yummy! A little on the runny side, but, in this family, that's all for the good :)

Keith loves having me have a project that he can SEE the results of and is talking about doing pears next. I think we need to hit a U-Pick farm and really lay some stuff away.

YUMMY :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Done!

I have four pints of canned peaches in light syrup and four pints of strawberry jam cooling on a towel in the kitchen. I won't know until tomorrow if the canning process was successful, if it wasn't, I don't know why that would be, as I followed the instructions as perfectly as I am capable of following instructions :)

And I'm TIRED! Been on my feet all day and haven't eaten enough.

I sure hope it all turns out good!

And the game of the day is called...

Canning!

Yup, you heard me right! I've been wanting to try my hand at this for years, but was, stupidly, waiting for my Mil to show me how to do it. Right now I have my first batch in the boiling-water bath. Did you know almost 4 lbs of peaches makes about 4 jars of peaches in syrup? Oh, and shock-baths for skinning peaches are touch and go if the peaches are a little under-ripe.

I've made some mistakes, but I'm learning, and very grateful and I started with the peaches and not the strawberry jam which is next on the agenda.

We'll see if any of this turns out :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dear Mom and Dad...

Dear Mom and Dad...

I wanted to say 'thank you' for all you've done for me, but, specifically, for my childhood.

Patience is listening to several layers of children 'practicing' instruments in the background without going crazy.

Perserverence is reading bedtime stories until your voice runs out.

Ambition is driving a car full of kids across the country EVERY SUMMER.

Dedication is having dinner at 6:00 every night as a family together, even when the dinner was for two and consisted of fried egg sandwiches :).

Tolerence is letting your children experiment in the kitchen and pretending to like the inedible creations.

And thank you for teaching me that I can do anything I want as long as I am willing to put in the work to make it happen. Thank you for the love of learning, of books, of green things... for knowledge in a broad spectrum of subjects. Thank you for supporting my interests, even when they weren't on the 'agenda' :), for a passion for good food, for an understanding of cause and effect... and for about ten million (or more) loads of laundry and dishes (DAD!) which have spoiled me for housework.

Thank you for driving an hour to get us to school, for meditating during seminary out in the parking lot come cold or heat. Thank you for music lessons and dipped cones and movies... for being open to the spur of the moment. Thank you for accepting boyfriends and girlfriends who became husbands and wives into your home (especially mine!).

Thank you for the willingness to try, the restlessness to seek improvement and change, the palate to appreciate the rare and special (in food and elsewhere). Thank you for teaching us that you help and help those around you, even if you have to pay for every good deed ten-fold.

Thank you for open tool boxes and sewing kits, for knitting lessons and geology lessons, for hikes in the summer and black berry picking. Thanks for never being content to go the same direction as everyone-- for teaching us to QUESTION EVERYTHING!

Thanks for the vitamins and advice, science fiction books 'appearing' from nowhere, hundreds of thousands of hours of concerts and performances, manuscript reading, and overall-- BELIEVING in each and every one of us.

So, yeah, THANKS, for everything that looked so easy when you did it... and that I'm learning is NOT SO EASY!

And Thank you for teaching me that mistakes can teach us the best way to do things right!

I love you! Thank you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goats Gone, Changes...

So, we actually sold the goats. We didn't get quite what I wanted, but it has been worth the drop in stress levels for me-- and the drop in noise levels. I think I had been figuring that they were just two more animals so 2/14 of the work. Little did I realize, until they were gone, that they were about 90% of the work and stress.

Keith immediately set to work making the chicken pen (which is large) secure. We moved a kiddie-pool in there and threw in some hay that we have left over from the goats. All of the birds are in there now, which means that we have reclaimed our backyard! We've already had a BBQ out there, even eating out there, which was not possible with the goats here.

We've also started putting in some major improvements in the yard-- we found someone who had 400 sq ft of leftover turf from their backyard and were able to purchase it for $50. We also took advantage of some Memorial Day sales and got two rose bushes and a jasmine plant ($29 total!). Then, the other night, we went back and got some flowers for a flower plot. All that, on top of how green the garden is getting, means that the backyard looks amazing! It also means that Keith is exhausted!

I had an appointment yesterday to check on Kasen. I've been having regular contractions and have been really exhausted lately. My blood pressure was at 108/60, hence the exhausted feelings, and apparently my uterus is REALLY toned right now. My midwife was saying that this should be a much quicker labor and the real trick will be keeping him in there. He's very strong. He's also really big and his head is really low. My mantra is 'stay till August'. This has been a really strange pregnancy all around, so we'll see what happens. We have another ultrasound scheduled for the 4th of June, so I should have some pics to share (hopefully!).

I also had to do my glucose test yesterday. Ick! I sent Keith and the boys to the library so they wouldn't have to be bored during the LONG wait. It worked out fine, and I had reserves, so I now actually have stuff to read.

Meanwhile, our fridge is too full of eggs-- like 50! We need to use them up-- I keep thinking custard, ice cream, bread pudding... all that good stuff :) I just need to find my trusty ice cream maker and get into gear!

We were driving home the other night, after the goats were gone, and I mentioned that it was really nice not to be stressed over expecting to see little goats racing down the road in front of us. Keith was shocked! He had no idea how many horror situations I imagined with the goats. Considering all the tragedies and travesties of the horse business, I find it hard not to expect the worst at all times.

And... the boys can run in the grass. I can stop and literally smell the roses, and the loudest thing in my backyard is angry chicken scolding the goose.

Ahhhhhh.... peace!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baby Blues?

Last night my SIL called and told Hubby that we needed to go out for dinner-- and we did. It was nice to get out of stale atmosphere and to have some down-time. What was frustrating is that I still couldn't snap out of it. I'm NOT by nature a negative person. I just feel... tired? I don't know if that's even the word for it!

I HAVE been wondering if the fact that I've had a bad day every day for almost two weeks might have something to do with my pregnancy. I have trouble catching my breath a lot and I've had dizzy spells where I've almost fainted. When it's hot I get swollen and puffed-up and I get a lot of contractions, every time Kasen moves. (Norm for me-- extremely 'irritable uterus') If I get stressed out I'll also have contractions, and when I get a contraction I can't breathe...

All of this, of course, is just typical of me being pregnant.

I haven't been eating well, because nothing ever sounds good to me, and then, when I do eat, I have no appetite and take a couple bites before I'm done.

I'm guessing it's 50% pregnancy and 50% summer. My body hates summer and heat.

And I DO need some resolution as far as the goats are concerned-- either they need to go or we need to find a way to fence them without Star ending up on a 10 foot tall cinder block wall (yes, happened!)

If they stay we also need a solution for the fact that they seem to think they need to 'tell' me everything all day. MAA MAA MAA MAA MAAAAAAAAddening!

The only reason why I'm hyper-analyzing this is that I really need to FIX it. I cannot face three more months of feeling like this and I cannot bear telling my kids one more day that mom just doesn't feel up to anything.

Of course, this is precisely why this is our last baby.

I guess I never should have gotten the goats, but even that thought makes me really sad. I do enjoy them, when they're behaving, and their behavioral issues are all my making. They just need to learn to be goats... not people. I have really been looking forward to having milk from them and I hate closing that door... ARGH!

It all comes down to that stupid JOB! We need a job! We need some CLUE whether we're going on to get a PH.D or if we're going the job way!!!!

Maybe THAT is the base of all of this. I'm pregnant and standing on the edge of the unknown and it's knocked me for a loop!

One more hour and half before Keith gets home. Sigh.

Spooked...

Please, SOMEONE tell me what the significance of LeLand, Idaho is!

I had a dream this morning involving it and woke not being able to stop chanting it over and over again. I looked it up and it's close to Spokane, WA. And I can't figure out why I would have a dream and such a STRONG feeling to look up a place I didn't even know existed!

It's just bizarre-- my brain is still in a hubbub, trying to figure out why it's so important.

WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

WIW

AKA... WHAT I WANT--

I'm restless by nature, always trying to move on to better things and improving myself. Every night I lie in bed and try to think how I can improve. Many things don't come to fruition (like laundry and that dreaded kitchen sink), and many of them-- so many! are not practical for now, so I let them slide... in a way.

I never stop researching and learning. I spend a ridiculous amount of time online trying to learn everything I can, so that, when the time comes, I'll actually know how to do what I want to do.

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading about preserving the food that we grow. Not that my garden is very successful, but so that I CAN preserve food for the future. I've also learned how to build and design a smokehouse and how to make homemade sausages. I've learned the complications and diseases that affect goats, calves, fowl, sheep, and pigs. I've learned about what kind of nutrition different animals need, and even, to an extent, how to butcher and use them to the maximum.

It doesn't really help with the restlessness, but I feel a drive to know how to do all of this stuff.

Other research turns to rammed earth and straw-bale housing, solar panels, wells, and self-sufficiency.

I read about making cheese and the complications of making butter from goats' milk. About fencing, and predators, and neighbors and how to stock a stream...

I want my boys to be comfortable with animals and understand where our food comes from, so they'll appreciate it and the world and nature more. I worry about public education for them and learning futility from teachers who just don't care anymore.

I don't want a big farm. I want it to be small enough that I can do the chores myself. I want to never lose the thrill of watching Kev catch chickens and show me his triumphs. I want to know every animal, every plant, every part of my life, intimately.

I wish there were more rainy days, like today, when I think more clearly and don't feel so overwhelmed...

It's hard to address my dreams without running into a brick wall-- I HAVE to take into consideration my husband and what he wants and needs to do for him. Though I would love to go someplace cooler and green, he thrives in the heat and the desert. I can't be selfish.

And there little to do with romanticism with my dream. I feel this overwhelming NEED to know I can provide for my family without outside help, or with as little as possible. I need to know that we'll be OK in times of hardship in the world.

I also personally know the health needs of myself and my family, and they are not being met by the mass-marketing world.

If I ever went back to school I would go to learn how to better fulfill this dream. There's so much I don't know about how to raise animals and how to grow things.

Sometimes I think about how it would be easier to not have goats in the backyard. To not have to worry about my duck asking for breakfast at five in the morning...

But what would I do with myself? This stifled, burning, energy that's inside of me?

Where would I get that satisfied feeling I get when I sit outside and watch the animals run around and graze... the chickens scratching, the goose floating in the kiddie pool, the goats begging for a scratch on the head... the garden slowly leafing up and the first bite of something WE grew.

I'm not drawn to other things like I am to this. This to me, is CORE, is REAL.

It's so complicated, and there are so many reasons it keeps getting put on the back of the shelf. I live in possibly THE worst place to attempt any of this. It feels like, though I don't want to, we need to wait until Hubby has a job and is settled in to try any of this...

... and then I get scared, because everything I try ALWAYS ends up in disaster. I've been dashed up against rocks so many times that I'm almost scared to swim.

And every day that ISN'T purpose-driven drags so slowly, and part of me dies and I stand in a messy house and feel like it's a weight on top of me because I hate it so much.

I just need a little "piece of earth" to find my "Peace on Earth".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last grade in for Hubby...

He got another 4.0 this semester! He graduated with a 3.923 cumulative GPA!

GO KEITH!

Ode to Angry Chicken



Oh, angry chicken!
I empathize
with wild maternity
raging in your eyes
hormones are such a dreadful thing!

Oh, angry chicken!
You shriek and shout
and boss everyone about
And site your eggs as the cause
I can so relate!