Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Day Musings

We had a pretty good day today! Daughter went through 5 shirts, 2 pairs of pants and 2 baths today! The sand pile was pretty muddy after all the rain we've had, but they had a great time playing in the mud!

For home school, Big Brother is learning to sound out some words from learning the phonics of the letters he's learned so far. (He's up to the letter F). We painted Autumn Leaves to mimic the ones we picked up in the yard. He learned the parts of a feather and the difference between frogs and toads. We also did character lessons and his Bible verse.

We all went for a walk and enjoyed this perfect Autumn day. I got so many stares from people driving by! They were actually slowing down and looking in their mirrors. I had the two older ones in the double stroller and the baby strapped to me in the Moby Wrap. The kiddos came home with a hearty stem of red clover.

Before dinner, we picked through the garden. We gathered the last of the watermelons, one banana pepper and two hidden tomatoes that grew wild. We also picked off some dried beans. Daughter LOVES the job of pulling them out of their pods.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sesame Street

Sesame Street Naughty Before Katy Perry

Sheesh!

Future Farmers of America


Unless the Lord directs us otherwise, you're looking at (well, read the blog of) future farmers of America! In the meantime, we're praying a LOT, doing research, working on saving up money, and dabbling in the micro-farming of our own little piece of property here at the cottage. This spring might see us some goats and chickens!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Boys

On a fine September afternoon, my oldest insisted on trying to fly his kite. Daddy was right there to help him with it. Unfortunately, the weather had a sense of humor and the wind ceased while the kite was out of storage. As soon as father and son were returned inside, curled up on the recliner, the wind picked up again.

Can you see why I love living here? That is the view I have daily.

And yes, that is my poor, pathetic garden. This year was a weedy bust.

I just love that long, blank stare my baby boy has before he drifts off to sleep. Binky-free now for 3 months, but he's found his fist and is working on getting that thumb to suckle on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whenever I Have a Cold

Whenever I have a cold I miss a part of my childhood.

I miss laying on the couch in the dimly lit living room, staring at the glow of the kerosene heater, and listening to some old timey radio and my mother moving about in the kitchen. I didn't have a care in the world other than getting better and I was allowed to just lay there and recover. Now that I'm a mother, I'm no longer offered "sick days," but I can give them to my own children...minus the kerosene heater.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn Begins

I love where I live.

As I look out my bedroom window over at the farm, I see a gorgeous start to Autumn.

White moths flutter and dance over the still-growing alfalfa despite the cold nights.

Beyond, the corn is golden with just a speckle of green here and there.

In the distant tree line, a red maple is already a blazing burnish.

The clear, blue sky is streaked with wisps of clouds in a liquid pattern.

I hear my husband just outside the window chatting with and instructing a boy from church who is helping him cut firewood.

I look forward to hermiting again.

Autumn starts with a cold, too. Daughter has a cold and the rest of us feel one threatening. I've been bumping up vitamin intake and including teas, echinacea, grapefruit seed extract, and an elderberry syrup I made from my own elderberries into our daily supplementation.

How begins your Autumn?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

3 Months and Counting

3 months and I'm still breast feeding exclusively and on demand! Who knew going exactly by the nature God created would make for success thus far and all the man-made "advice" would lead to failure!? LOL!

While I did buy Baby Boy some pacifiers last month, he hates them all and won't use them. I only bought them because he likes to use me as a pacifier and sometimes I just can't lay there and let him pacify. Sometimes, I do need to go to the bathroom, get something to eat, care for my other children, etc. So, I thought for those times I'd let him suckle a pacifier. I did buy the pacifiers with trepidation that doing so would kill breast feeding as some advocate groups assert. Never minding that, Baby Boy won't take them. Instead, he loves his Mommy and discovered his perfect little fists for sucking. Otherwise, he likes the meaty part of my thumb and my forearm which bears a tell-tale hickey.

He's chubby, as a baby should be. I still have good let-downs. He's never had a bottle and I haven't pumped since the first few weeks.

I breast feed everywhere. I can't believe how silly I was with my first two kiddos in that I didn't breast feed in public. I would schedule trips between feeds, but inevitably they would want to cluster feed and I wouldn't accommodate, thus making us both stressed and upset. Now, I just chuck a blanket over my shoulder and nurse away. I don't care about the stares....even the creepy guy at the fair who I'm sure got a pretty good glimpse of my anatomy. I do my best to be modest, but my child's hunger pangs trump someone else's problem with breasts. I even quit hiding out to nurse at church. I nurse right there in the sanctuary, well covered by the blanket. Baby Boy does not eat as well under a blanket, though, or even away from the comforts and routines of home, so I try not to leave too much, or if he is having a hard time under the blanket, I'll seek quiet solitude so we can both concentrate on his feeding.

Well, he just finished breast feeding, so now it's time to get changed.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Saving Your Seeds


I read in a magazine a reader submission that they simply didn't see the financial advantage in gardening. I'm guessing it was their first year in gardening. They said they added up all their costs and compared it to their yield and determined that it was cheaper to buy bags of frozen veggies at the grocery store. Here's where I can't agree with them.

1. You cannot compare fresh off the plant, homegrown, organic veggies to bags of frozen veggies from who knows where. Granted, I can see their point. They weren't necessarily interested in eating fresh, organic veggies. They were more interested in saving money. However, gardening can still be cost effective if:

2. You consider that start-up costs for anything is always more than maintenance because:

3. You can save money by composting and befriending a farmer who's all too glad to get rid of his overabundance of manure. Both methods are free. I do believe this reader bought bags of compost and manure at the hardware store.

4. You can save money by starting your vegetables from seed rather than buying plants at a greenhouse or Lowes.

5. You can save even more money by saving your seeds from year to year (and looking into seed share/plant share programs).

Of course, you must weigh all options. I prefer to purchase already well-established tomato plants every year. However, if I even invest in a greenhouse or grow lights, I will start my own from seed.

How else to do keep your gardening costs down? Please share!

Birth Control Culture and Pregnant Wives


In this birth control culture we live in, there's an attitude that affects many wives who get pregnant "again!" I faced this a little bit with my last pregnancy. There's this attitude of, "Couldn't you have done a better job of preventing it?" After all, I had the "perfect boy-girl family" already and times were tough with a career change for hubby and all.

What this cultural attitude doesn't realize is that people who still have sex, no matter what the course of birth control, can still get pregnant. (Just as an aside, we were using fertility awareness, but I was a week off.) Also, the attitude assumes that the baby isn't "wanted." Oh, my Baby Boy was not only wanted, but NEEDED.

The world is filled with women who've had babies while using some form of birth control.

There's a saying that goes, "Do you know what you call couples who use the rhythm method? Parents!" Well, that saying can go for all forms of birth control, and even in the rare instance, sterilization! I know of a woman who got pregnant twice after a tubal ligation.

I've seen people rear up this ugly attitude towards wives who get pregnant, often by "accident," during a difficult time, such as hubby's lay off, severe illness, even separation. They give her the, "Couldn't you have been more careful" attitude, not realizing that yes, these things do happen.

How about a little support? How about a little love and understanding? How about acceptance and celebration for the new life?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patriot's Day


I was standing in my parents' living room when our neighbor called to tell us to turn on the news. I saw the first tower smoking and the second plane hit the second tower. I felt terrified when the pentagon was hit. I felt pride, saddness and fear all rolled into one when the passengers of the plane fought back and crashed in PA.

I remember 9/12. It was so eerie, so strange. I remember not seeing any jets, planes or helicopters in the sky. There were none of those white streaks that jets leave behind in the blue sky.

I remember hating that my brother's honeymoon was interrupted as he was sent to serve at ground zero.

I remember the Patriotism that rose up. I remember how quickly it seemed to fade.

I remember 9/11

Friday, September 10, 2010

Preschool


Yesterday was my oldest's first day of home school preschool. I decided to do preschool with him to help us both get used to home schooling when the time comes for the "real deal." We've decided to home school because we're both certain he can get a better education at home. Our private schools are either way too expensive or not up to snuff academically. Our public school is one of the worst in the state for safety and education.

Here's what we're doing this week:

We're learning about the letter A; reading it, writing it, phonics.
We're learning about the number zero; reading it, writing it, understanding the amount.
We're learning about part of the story of David, a Bible verse, God's promises and the importance of keeping promises.
We're learning about the color red, coloring within the lines and following directions.

I'm reading out loud from The Boxcar Children and other smaller books. I ask my son questions about what we've read. I think this is an important beginning to reading comprehension.

For science, we took a trip to a farm and when we came home my son drew observations in his journal (a la Sid the Science Kid). Today, we're going to make applesauce and he'll draw more observations.

I also noticed yesterday that he writes his letter loops clockwise when he should write them counter-clockwise, so in art today we're going to practice counter-clockwise loops.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Quick Kitchen Hint: Frosting

You know that homemade frosting recipe that's made out of butter, a bit of milk and a TON of powdered sugar? I always found that WAY too sweet. I discovered today that cutting the sugar by about a third with arrowroot flour is a really great alternative. I also used coconut milk instead of cow's milk for a bit of a different taste. Turned out nicely. I might try a frosting that's more Nourishing Traditions next time using butter, milk, arrowroot flour and maple syrup.

Wee Hours of Motherhood

Mother and Child by James John Hill

Mothers see many wee hours. Whether we're awake with an active, sick or fussy child or whether we're awake because our minds are racing with all the cares of motherhood, we mothers and 1:30 am are well acquainted.

What are we to do within those wee hours?

We have two beautiful options.

Pray

and

Worship

A child is burning with a fever and rests fitfully within your arms. Pray and sing soothing hymns.

A baby is teething and colicky. Pray and sing soothing hymns of praise.

A teenage daughter is up with tearful concerns. Minister and pray.

Husband sleeps like a hibernating bear beside you and you're wide-eyed staring at the ceiling (and slightly resentful of his ability to compartmentalize and thus fall into a peaceful, thorough sleep at the drop of a hat anywhere). Pray and pray and pray.

We mothers often find ourselves short of time in spending time with the Lord. We promise an early rise to spend half an hour reading and praying before starting the day, and lo and behold, the children decide to wake up a half and hour early, too. Before you know it, it's time to tuck them back into bed for the night and you've barely cracked open the Bible or said, "Good-morning, Jesus". You figure you can read before falling asleep only to hear the piercing scream of a teething 1 year old who's sharp little cuspid decides to stab through tender gums mercilessly at 8 pm. When, oh when am I going to find time with the Lord.

In the wee hours.

In the quiet (sometimes) wee hours.

The soothing drone of your quiet whispered prayers or readings of Bible passages can lull a child into a sleep surrounded by the love and knowledge of Christ.

The calming resonance within your chest as a child leans his head against your breast while you sing a lullaby of a hymn is a great ministry.

Prayers, whether on your own or to or with a child minister to them and to you and all those you pray for.

The enemy can turn those wee hours into hours of anger and resentment. Turn them into hours of and for the Lord, instead.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Moby Wrap Giveaway!

http://raisingolives.com/2010/09/moby-wrap-baby-carrier-giveaway-review/#comment-29991

Visit Raising Olives to enter to win a Moby Wrap!

Going to School?

Now that my son is four and it is September, he is constantly being asked if he's starting school this year. Here where I live, 5 years old is the normal kindergarten age, though we don't have to start our children in school until they are 6. However, it is quite the norm to start children in pre-school as early as 3.

I just smile politely, and respond with, "No, we plan on homeschooling," to which I generally receive a funny look in return. Some respond with great favor while others get verbally defensive. The latter usually back off when I explain which school district we are in, which is a really good indicator that I SHOULD NOT send my child to such a school.

To be honest, I don't think I could send my child away. I don't think I could wait with him at the end of our driveway and willingly place him in a school bus driven by a stranger and full of children we've never met before. I don't like the idea of him being away from me for 6-7 hours in a day in the hands of people I barely know where I can't see what he's doing and what others are doing around and to him. I can't tell what his influences are. It boggles my mind that I'm expected to do this with my 4 (or 5) year old little boy!!

That's just me. I'm not saying moms who do send their kids away are somehow wrong. I just personally can't justify it with my own child.

And yes, a part of me does like the nostalgic (and convenient) idea of sending my child off to school as I was sent off. But, when it comes to reality, I think as soon as those school bus doors opened to receive him, I'd grab my son and run for the house.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Children in Photographs

Daughter: sweet, wild-child of mine. She totally rocks pigtails.

Baby Boy: Who could ask for anything sweeter?! And yes, he's turning into a redhead!

Big Brother: Aspiring farmer, super-cuddler

We had some fall-like weather recently and I just HAD to put Baby Boy in his flannel shirt and slacks for church!

Here's daughter with a stuffed ladybug I made her out of leftover fabric from her ladybug quilt I made her. Ladybugs are her "theme."

An August evening walk through the woods and farm fields. Here they are tromping through alfalfa and inspecting the wrapped bails.

Baby Boy on our walk. He's all wrapped up in one of my moby wraps. I have two so I always have one handy should one get dirty.

Through the woods.

Hand-in-hand.