Monday, December 31, 2007

The Fashionista

So, I should've known based on Sierra's clothing choice most days that she has an interesting style. But I still walked into the fabric store while they were having a sale one day and let her pick fabric for her curtains. Note to self: don't give a 3 year old carte blanche in the fabric store unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences.

You know you have to see a close up. The stuff is made of 10 million little threads. You'll notice they are completely NOT straight, etc... in the above picture. I'd like to see you try to sew it. It's stretchy, heavy, and you can never tell if you're on the fabric itself or just the threads while you're trying to sew.

Yes, they're....ummm...interesting. And she *loves* them.

And next time you see a clown riding a little bitty bicycle, give him a tip. It's WAY harder than it looks! Especially when you have a three year old following extremely closely behind you telling you you're doing it wrong.

Sedona learned to blow raspberries this week. Action shot:

The girls watching the video of Sierra's informal dance recital. Sierra is not actually IN the video, since she was too scared to get up there, but we now have to watch it 3-4 times a day so she can see her friends (she's out of school for Christmas break) and practice her dances. Sedona is also fascinated.

And yes, I did cut my hair shorter. Only one person noticed it the first time, so I cut more off a couple of days ago.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reading, reading, reading

After 6 months with no TV, I think it's safe to say my sewing and cooking skills have improved greatly (two hobbies I've started *really* enjoying in the last few years, but never seemed to have much time for). But mostly, we read a lot now. Besides my ever growing collection of books, we've managed to accumulate a pretty significant stack of magazine subscriptions--we get Mother Earth News, Outside, Smithsonian, Real Simple, and Bon Appetit. Mother Earth News is the only one we pay for. Bon Appetit was a gift (big thanks to my mother in law for taking note in my interest in it last time we were at her house) and the rest have been "bought" through online survey sites where you accumulate points by answering questionnaires. Now I just need to get my hands on Time, Newsweek or Money :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My girls!

Now that my mom's gotten her copy of this picture (part of her christmas), I can finally post it!

No, I'm not crazy enough to really let Sierra hold Sedona up on the playhouse like that, I'm holding on to the back of Sedona's overalls for dear life and leaning out of the way of the picture ;-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hello again

It's time for another fun filled episode of Name That Baby!!!!!

Who's who?

And I hacked my hair off:

I think I'm gonna cut it shorter, but first I need to buy some clips to hold it out of my face b/c I don't think it'll fit in a scrunchie after I cut it again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Re-Cap

It's been a whirlwind day!

Started off by taking Sedona up to the office to weigh her. She hasn't really gained anything (0.5 oz in the last week....she should be gaining 0.5 oz per DAY), but she hasn't lost either. She also had a REALLY good dirty diaper while I was there. It was yellow and everything. They've been neon green slime for so long, I was super excited to see that. (I'm such a mom) I also had to then improvise a diaper since I had left the diaper bag in the car. Since I already had a chucks pad (no naked babies directly on the scale, please!) out, I took it upon myself to use two bandaids that were right there and make good use of my cloth diapering skills. LOL When I got home and Josh saw my handy work, he insisted I take a picture:

When I got home it was time to start the cooking. This my first year to cook the whole holiday meal spread for a group of people and I did pretty okay. I kept thinking something was going wrong because it should take the whole day and I wasn't doing much of anything in the morning, but it really did only take about 2 hours to do the whole thing. I liked it and everyone ate without gagging, so I'm gonna count that as success LOL

Then came the presents. Sierra got a big kick out of handing everything out and then we all started in on opening. Sedona actually got two of hers open by herself. Sierra was doing real good until she got to uncle harry and aunt jen jen's present (a cash register to play with)---that was the end of opening presents. She just wanted to play with that and we had to keep reminding her she had other stuff to open. Every two minutes she was back at that register though! She enjoyed her other gifts, but the cash register was definitely the #1 gift this year. Before bed I told her it was time to put out her cookies and some milk for Santa and her response was, "maybe we need to try them and make sure they're still good because if they're bad now, that might make santa claus mad." kiddo. So I let her have one cookie (she proclaimed, "yeah! they're still good!") and we set out a plate for santa. She is all enthralled with the idea that grandma, papa and granny (her great grandmother) are staying at her house. She thinks it's really cool and kept asking where everyone was sleeping.

The evidence:

I thought this little hat Sedona got was the cutest thing :-)

Sierra showing off her cash register (I told her to hold it up, then said, "no, hold it so I can see your face". Some things get "lost in translation" when talking to a toddler!)

Another hot gift, the baking set. She kept saying, "I want to cook something now" As in, right now, this minute.

The cash register in action. Her new phrase is "okay, give me your money"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

My gorgeous girls!!!

So, this is the first year Sierra understands Santa Claus and can anticipate presents, etc... I admit, I have shamelessly used the Santa Claus threat for about a month to keep her in line. I had high ideals of not doing that, but it was so easy and it worked so well, that I just couldn't help it. As part of the Santa Claus thing, I explained to Sierra that she has to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. So she made cookies all by herself. Well, she had help with the oven part, of course, and I read the recipe and told her which scoops to use to measure and I did the vanilla and the salt, but the rest of it, she did! She even learned to crack eggs :-) When she was done, she called grandma to tell her "I made cookies for Santa Claus and you can have some, but you can't eat them all because they're for Santa Claus"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One less zebra

We finally got her CF results and they were negative!!! We still don't know what's going on with her, but at least it's not that!

Monday, December 17, 2007

When you hear hoof beats...

When you hear hoof beats, look for horses. When you've shot down all the horses and still hear hoof beats, start looking for the zebras.

We are officially in the realm of zebras.

Let's see....We are still waiting on RAST results (our pediatrician let us know today that the test goes to a lab in California and usually takes 2 weeks). I spoke to a very experienced (graduated med school in '53) pediatric immunologist and he said he didn't think the blood in my milk was causing any problems and said we should look for eosinophils in her stool. So, Josh repeated that experiment, using his blood as a control. Still no eosinophils (which should be there with an allergy). All this time I've been weighing her once a week. I normally weigh her on Mondays, but I cheated I put her on the scale last Friday. She's lost weight (2.5oz in the last week). That is definitely not normal. So, we called the doctor and scheduled an appointment for this morning.

Over the weekend, I did a 24 hour pre- and post-feed weight. That means I weighed her before and after every nursing and the difference tells me approximately how much milk she got. Average total daily intake for a breastfed baby at this age is 25oz and she took 27.5oz. So, she's getting enough. I emailed the milk bank and got the numbers from when they analyzed my donated milk--calorie and protein content were normal.

At the doctor this morning, he wasn't thrilled that she has slowed on her growth (averaged 2oz gain per week over last 3 weeks...3-5oz is normal), so she will be going back in two weeks to check on that. There is no more blood in her stool, which is good, but makes me think this isn't a food thing since I have not been avoiding things recently. Due to my family history of CF, he is ordering a cystic fibrosis test for her. We will go to Texas Children's Hospital for that and have a sweat test done.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Saga Continues

We took Sedona to an allergist on Thursday. We won't discuss the plethora of non-evidence based advice he gave. While I was busy trying to pick my jaw up off the floor, Josh talked to him about RAST testing. We ended up deciding to redo the total IgE incase something went wrong with that and testing for allergies to: chocolate, corn, wheat, baker's yeast, strawberry, dairy, soy, almond, peanut, rice. Since she's so little, we had to go over to the lab for the blood draw and there was only one tech there (takes two plus a parent to draw from a baby), so we got to go Friday

Then, Friday afternoon I had the chance to talk to a pediatrician I work with about it all. She had spoken with a GI friend of hers down at Texas Children's about this specific set of symptoms and she wanted to know if I had tested for blood in my milk. Well, no, I can't see any blood and haven't had any sort of damage. She pushed more...but had I tested for it? Well, no, why would I? She wanted me to test. So we did a heme-occult on my milk. Sonofa.....there's blood in my milk. Sedona's pediatrician had discussed this too and pushed the issue, but I've never seen any blood and we didn't test for it. Apparently, ingestion of blood speeds transit time, which means her small intestine doesn't have time to digest all the lactose. The extra lactose dumps into the large intestine, where the bacteria have a field day with it. All of this started out looking just like foremilk/hindmilk imbalance (where the same thing is happening for a different reason). Then I got the head's up from a well known lactation consultant that there is research out that was done in rat pups (hey, you take what you can get) that shows this lactose overload depletes their vitamin E, which makes the intestinal lining friable. That in turn would cause some temporary food intolerances. This scenario fits really well with what we've seen. It would explain why taking the offending foods out of my diet would help her get better, but not completely healed (the vitamin E shortage would keep her from healing). This LC says she's been having her clients with this set of symptoms avoid dairy/soy and take a vitamin E supplement to replenish the baby's supply of it. It's just a theory and who knows if it's really what's going on with her, but I'm so relieved to have *something* to go on, that I'm giving it a try.

In other news.....
My two girls! We still have very very little jealousy from Sierra. The worst we've had was "put sister down and play with me" on a day when Sedona was particularly needy:

Courtesy of Sierra, a picture of Sedona in the homemade moby wrap. I LOVE this wrap. Sedona spends about 6 hours a day in it at work with me. Now she's getting to the point where she doesn't want to just be held at home, she wants to be wrapped up. If she's fussy, she will immediatly calm down and start cooing when she sees me start to tie the wrap on. She's asleep in this picture, she's likes to tuck her face under one side during naps:

Check out the crayon roll Sierra is getting for Christmas! Someone in my moms group was making these and it looked like a cool idea and a good use of fabric scraps. It was really really quick to sew up too. Way cooler than a ziploc bag for crayons ;-)

And look how big Sierra's getting! She's not even a toddler anymore, she's a little girl now! :-( Yes, she's sweeping her playhouse, she LOVES to sweep.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


We heard back about Sedona's IgE yesterday. It's negative. That means she does not (as of now) have a life long atopic allergy (yay!). That also means we don't know what's wrong with the kid (boo!!!!!). The options that are left: an IgG temporary sensitivity and something completely unrelated that's not yet medically bad enough to warrant a diagnosis. A temporary sensitivity is a good thing, everything I've read says kids who avoid exposure for 3-6 months and are challenged with the offending food(s) at 1 year no longer show a reaction. Great. Now if someone could just tell me what I need to avoid exposing her to, that would be awesome. We can do a RAST test, but we need to know what we're testing for and my food log is a big giant question mark to me at this point. The plan for now is to keep weighing her, delay for who knows how long her vaccines, delay solids, keep exclusively breastfeeding and redo the CBC at 6 months to see how her iron is. If she gets worse, that all changes.

As the breastfeeder in the family, my options are to either keep trying to figure out what's in my diet that's bothering her (incredibly frustrating), or to say, "hey, her iron's good, her weight gain's okay, I'll just eat whatever I dang well please". I really really wish I was the lactation consultant instead of the "patient" in this case. It'd be so much easier to tell someone "well, these are your two options and neither one is really wrong, it's a personal choice". I hate that no one can just tell me what to do. My frustrated tummy is leaning towards eating whatever I want, but we had an accidental exposure (I believe that apple cider I mentioned had traces of soy---it was made in the soy pitcher, but they washed it first for me, I saw them) last week that was horrendous. She cried all night, didn't want to nurse, and then had the most FOUL diaper the next morning. I think eating whatever I want might give me a very temporary satisfaction that I would pay for big time the next day. Then there's that whole thing about outgrowing the sensitivity----if you avoid exposure. And since she is bleeding, she could possibly be sensitized to allergens. GAH!!!!!! But, I've gotten her into a case of giggle fits a few times now and then I just look at her and say, "you are SOOOO worth it!"

Got the christmas tree up today---I mispoke, the thing's 7.5 feet tall, which makes it 5.5 feet diameter at the base. I'm glad we moved into a bigger house. We will be hosting the family at our house for Christmas this year---I can't tell you how glad I am that I don't have to find a place to board the dog, load up the presents and kids for a drive, only to load up the presents and kids again to come back home. Very very glad we will just be here and that we now have the space to have everyone here. Bonus: it's getting Josh and I off our duffs about house projects we've been putting off or slowly working on.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is wrong on so many levels. And yet....intriguing

Twitch, the roadkill teddy bear. Product of Road Kill Toys (their website's not up yet). Even comes with a body bag to keep maggots out and a toe tag detailing his demise. hmmmmmmm

Sierra came home from school today with ornaments she made (beads on pipe cleaners). She proudly informed me "we can put these on my tree". Crap....I'm supposed to put up a Christmas tree aren't I? We actually have one (6.5 feet, but never taken out of the box), but no lights or anything. Maybe I can convince her the Christmas Tree is really the baby apple tree out front?

Tomorrow's the earliest possible time we'll hear results on Sedona's IgE test. I somehow doubt we'll really get them though.

And a "shout out" to my momma friends. As Josh says, we met up last night to kvetch. After way too much time with the totally clueless, but very sweet and accomodating college aged barrista, I was able to order an apple cider and spend an hour and a half complaining about my children with the two women who best understand my parenting style and understand I wouldn't complain so much if I didn't love them so much (my kids and my friends ;-) These ladies definitely keep me sane and help me grow as a woman, mother and wife.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More baby update

Took Sedona back to the doctor this morning. We had a dirty diaper with us, so he tested it for blood. A small part of me hoped he would say I was nuts and there was no blood, but nope, the whole thing reacted rather quickly--plenty of blood. So we did a CBC and IgE test (BIG thumbs up for the phlebotomist at the pediatric office...she was awesome and got the teensy tiny baby vein on the first try). Her platelets are fine, her iron is really good, her WBCs are on the upper edge of normal, but still fine. Her weight gain is on the lower edge of normal, but still fine. The IgE test will take a few days to get back and will tell us if she has a true food allergy (if it's elevated). If the IgE is normal, she either has a local food sensitivity (just in her gut) or something else entirely. Basically, another week of wait and see. We opted against a RAST test because it would require us to pick what allergens we want to test for and besides dairy and soy, we really don't have a great idea of what's bothering her. You can't just run the test for like 50 things because you have to have a certain amount of blood for each one.

In other news...
Another test of who's who?

They are starting to look more different to me, but man, are they sisters, or what??
And this is just funny. Daddy caught her mid-blink, but it looks like, "duuuuude, this is, like, the best elephant EVER!" ROFL

And last, but not least, the new curtains I made (they'll go on a nicer curtain rod when we take down all that paneling):

Friday, November 23, 2007

Milk, Bamboo and Turkey...

Toddler nursing at its finest. I need to print this out to put up in my office. I also have a picture I took of a giraffe nursing at the Houston Zoo.

My second batch of milk I donated to the Austin Milk Bank. This is roughly 200oz (somewhere around 6 liters!!!! I've now donated about 10 liters total). Now that I'm off dairy and soy, my milk just got a whole lot more valuable (some of the preemies that receive the milk need dairy free), but I'm taking a break until we figure out what's going on with Sedona.

Our new floors!!!!! We got an AWESOME deal on real bamboo floors right after we moved in (many thanks to my parents for picking it up and bringing it to us), but we haven't had the money to buy the glue or the time to put it in. With a four day weekend ahead of us, we decided turkey day was a good time to lay floor. It's going to look SO nice, especially when we get around to doing the living room (christmas?).
The board on the right is put in to be sure the floor is square (since walls often aren't), after the rest of the floor sits long enough for the glue to cure, you go back and fill in that section. Yes, we left the baseboard there. In the interest of financial and time savings, we decided we would just add quarter round to the base board instead of taking out what's there. So there's a gap all the way around the room at the moment. The blue tape is just to help hold all the joints together in the first few hours.

And our slightly scaled down turkey dinner. You'll notice the exquisite centerpiece, courtesy of Sierra. She says there are "lots of sparklies" (gold glitter at the end of the feathers).

The results

Sedona's stool culture was negative for everything. Yay, or boo.....can't decide which. In short, we are back to square one. Only it's more like negative one, because I haven't stuck to the elimination diet since Monday (have stayed dairy/soy free) and she started improving yesterday. This leads me to believe that in addition to the dairy and soy, she is reacting to something that was on the elimination diet....rice?? I DON'T KNOW!!! And I'm not sure what to do next...keep playing with diet? Test her for allergies (not entirely reliable, and involves a decent amount of pain for her). Formula's not an option and won't be unless something more drastic happens. She's still gaining weight at an acceptable pace, she's happy, it's cold and flu season, her gut is already irritated and therefore more permeable to pathogens and allergens. No way am I giving up the immunological benefits of breastmilk right now. For better or worse, breastfeeding is my soapbox (not to mention I spend all day everyday fixing everyone else's breastfeeding issues) and I shall stand firm on it unless someone can give me extraordinary reason not to.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


So Sedona's test had to go to a different lab than the pedi normally uses and we won't have results until tomorrow. No regard whatsoever for the fact that this means we have to have a (possibly unnecessarily) restricted diet Thanksgiving :-/ Oh well, the food's not the important part.

I was able to come up with a decent meal. Unfortunately pie wasn't going to happen (no decent crust without butter or margarine ), but I did come up with vegan pumpkin cookies that were pretty good. Sierra was telling me what she liked and didn't like and she pointed to the plate of cookies and said, "oh, and I like those! Those are delicious!" LOL I didn't even know she knew the word delicious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby update

Well, we took Sedona back to the pediatrician yesterday. This time we saw our doctor (the last time we took her in we saw someone else b/c our doctor was out of town). That doctor needed me to explain normal breastfed infant stools, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, etc... and told us to just wait and see what happens. Our doctor (whom I adore) didn't need us to explain anything to him (gee, imagine that). We described the yucky stools, the food diary, the bleeding and all that. We told him we wanted allergy testing done. He told us she may have a food allergy and he's willing to do RAST testing, but since that requires a fair amount of blood (ever held your baby down while they find a vein? I have...not fun), he wanted to do a stool culture first. He seemed a tad surprised the other doctor didn't do one a week and a half ago. He suspects she has a shigella or salmonella infection and is just handling it well since she's exclusively breastfed. The food sensitivity may be the cause of all this, or it may just be a secondary reaction due to having an already irritated gut. Even most adults have fever, vomiting, dehydration and all that with salmonella and shigella is dysentery (well, there's more mild forms of shigella, but dysentery is one form of it)---if that is what is wrong with her, all I can say is "way to go momma milk". If the culture comes back positive she will need to go on some pretty heavy duty antibiotics to wipe it out (due to her age and the possibility of it becoming a systemic infection, they don't take chances, they go straight to the "big guns"). If the culture comes back negative, we will do allergy testing along with a CBC. We asked about mold being the root of the problem (mainly in regards to the stuff nose she's always had that's improved lately) and he said nothing that's going on with her has anything to do with mold. He says she is too young to have a cell-mediated response like that, and even if that was going on, her mucous membranes would be palid and she would have wheezing, etc...

Even though it sounds bad (and the antibiotics would definitely suck), an infection would be the easy, shorter-term problem answer. The creepy thing is who knows where she picked it up. She's never had anything to eat, so it could've been anywhere. My first guess would be a child at Sierra's school (or even Sierra herself) carrying a low level infection, not washing hands well after going to the bathroom and then touching Sedona's hands. I always tell kids to only touch her feet, but sometimes they've reached out before I can stop them. And that child ALWAYS has her hands in her mouth, so anything that got on her hands was sure to make it to her gut.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ctrl Alt Delete

I think I have successfully "rebooted" my taste buds. You should give it a try sometime. When you avoid all refined sugar for a week (honey still allowed), vegetables start to taste sweet. Maybe the two months I've been off corn syrup have made a difference too. No joke though, I'm starting to dislike cooked carrots in my dinner because they're *too sweet*. It's very very bizzarre. I still want frosting though, any kind of frosting. I suspect when I get it, I'll take one lick and go, "blech! too much sugar!"

Today has been extreme "spring" cleaning day. The carpet has been ripped out (we've had floor to put in since we moved, but haven't had time) and since Josh's mom thinks Sedona's issues are due to mold, I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to clean. Oh, did I say clean? I meant annihilate every living thing. So far the hallway, guest bedroom and Sierra's room have been completely emptied and every surface has been wiped down with bleach---walls, tops of doors, baseboards, floors, every nook and cranie of the windows, ceiling fan, outlet covers and light switches, shelves, everything. Yes, I know mold can live in the walls, but we've done so much rennovation around here, I do not believe there is mold somewhere here that I don't know about (i.e. the bathrooms still have some, but there are not-distant plans to gut those down to the studs and remodel). Josh had the audacity to walk into Sierra's room when I finished and say (with great disdain), "it smells like a hospital in here".

We go to the pediatrician at 9:30 tomorrow to see what he has to say about Sedona's issues. Should be interesting, wish us luck.

Feel free to email me any thanksgiving recipes that are wheat, dairy, egg, corn, sugar, fish, soy, peanuts, citrus, oats and food additive free.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Our eosinophil experiment was inconclusive--I think we messed up in trying to make the smears and then go to the lab when it was convenient.

However, in searching for things to take to the doctor Monday, I came across this abstract that describes perfectly the symptoms we're seeing. I think I'm gonna ask the doctor to run a CBC and specifically get an eosinophil level on her blood, plus do an iron test while we're at it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just Another Day in Paradise

I think the country song "Just Another Day in Paradise" pretty much sums up our life. I got a pretty good deal going...married to the best man in the whole world, two sweet, beautiful girls, parents and in-laws that love and care about us, not to mention the material things of roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my tummy. But sometimes life just gets a tad crazy...

Let's see, the first overriding event of the last month has been the shocking realization that Sedona has food allergies. At least that's our best guess at this point. We have plans to do a fecal smear with her poop tomorrow to check for eosinophiles, which will let us know for sure that it's allergies and not a vaccine reaction or some sort of weird infection (fringe benefits of being scientists). The short story is she started having these really weird green, mucousy stools, which I knew just weren't right. I cut dairy out of my diet (that's the number one allergy in babies), but had a hamburger (most kiddos with dairy allergy do not react to beef) a few days into it and she started passing blood 24 hours later. Went to the doctor for an exam to be sure there wasn't a physical problem (polyp, fissure, hemmorrhoid, whatever) and she checked out fine. She is 100% exclusively breastfed, so from a lactation standpoint, the next step was to figure out what in my diet was causing her problems. As a mom, I don't want her bleeding (and becoming anemic and therefore more prone to infections, and having an irritated gut that allows bigger proteins to pass into her system and sensitize her to other allergens). So, we started an elimination diet. For the last week I have only had: lamb, turkey, rice, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, grapes, avocado, salt, pepper and olive oil. She stopped bleeding, seemed to be getting better. Then I ate a french fry. Potato, right? WRONG! It's a potato fried in soybean oil or beef lard or who knows what else that was put in the vat that day. Back came the bloody stools. Since I was losing weight, we had to add a few things into the diet, but mostly I'm still eating what's listed above. She's getting better, but still bleeding. We go back to the pediatrician on Monday--this time armed with my food log, research that's been published in Pediatrics and requests for testing that will lead us towards healing her up (ideally fecal culture and/or RAST testing and/or CBC and iron count).

Then we made a quick trip to the in-laws last weekend. Since I can't take off work this year for Thanksgiving or Christmas (no holiday time), we were going to have to take a short trip up there for the holidays and the ticket prices were astronomical. Continental puts out specials every Tuesday for travel that weekend and Houston to Raleigh/Durham came up, so we took it. It was a fun trip and nice to get to see everyone. The girls were great on the plane both ways, but still a stressful time taking a 3 year old and 3 month old on a trip.

And last Saturday my grandmother decided to pet a rattlesnake. Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly her plan. She was cleaning windows and dropped something in the flower bed. When she went to pick it up, she heard the rattle and jumped back, but was just a millisecond too slow. One fang got the very edge of her hand. 16 doses of anti-venom, a helicopter ride from Carrizo Springs to San Antonio and a 6 day stay at the hospital at Lackland Airforce Base and she's finally back at home, though with an oxygen tank (side effects of anti-venom are many....she ended up with lots of fluid in her lungs). We got home late Monday night from the in-laws and made a day trip to San Antonio on Tuesday (3 hour drive each way, lots o' fun). When we saw her, her oxygen saturation level was dropping to the low 80's anytime she did *anything*, I'm assuming that's a little better now since they released her, but I'm kinda scared to call her since I know she needs to rest.

And I'm on a wild-hare to rip the carpet out of the house. We have bamboo flooring to put down (gonna take a while to do), but I just suddenly want the carpet gone, like, yesterday. I think I've convinced Josh it's going this weekend and we can lay bamboo all Thanksgiving weekend.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. A friend of mine commented a little while back, "The Omnivore's Dilemma rocked our world". I think that's probably the best summary I can give. If you are at all interested in a self-sufficient life style and sustainable living, this book is a must read. It's in three sections--the first is "the industrial" and follows the politics and business of corn growing in America (try reading it at precisely the time in life that you've had to remove corn from your diet due to your baby's sensitivity to it and it'll make ya really mad). The second section is "the pastoral" and lets you follow along the typical running of a truly sustainable and harmonious farm. The third section is "the personal" which follows the author through personally creating a meal from meat he hunted, and fruits/vegetables/mushrooms he gathered. The book is very well written and follows people on their own farms instead of just dealing with the theory. It's quite interesting how he attempts to follow corn grown in a certain field through to a burger at a fast food restaurant (unsuccessfully, of course, since industrial giants won't let you see them make high fructose corn syrup or observe the kill floor of a slaughter house). And it's inspiring to follow the natural order on another farmer's more sustainable operation (where the animals live like they're supposed to and the food is sold locally).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How about....

Just fair warning...whatever habits you have will be amplified and pointed out to you when your toddler reaches that verbal/logic/debating age. So, my habit of "how about we....(go to chick fil a, vaccum and then play, just read a book right now)" has turned against me and everything we ask Sierra to do is rapidly shot down with "how about we......." She also calls us "guys" as in "hey guys, come here!" or "how about we just go swing now guys?"

And the funny Sierra conversation of the day (yes, we play with her, but she's not yet great at playing by herself for more than 5 minutes, so by the end of the day we're pretty much done)
Sierra: Momma, will you come play with me?
Me (nursing sedona): not right now, in a little bit
Sierra: Daddy, will you come play with me?
Josh: not right now Sierra
S: somebody needs to play with me!
Me: why don't you call grandma and tell her how mistreated you are?
S: And then grandma come over and she have lots and lots of treats in her purse! grandma have two, three, four, FIVE treats!!!! (all said with HUGE theatrical expression)

And conversations you don't want to hear in your house:
Josh (while changing an electrical outlet in the living room): uh...momma, come here please
Me: yes?
Josh: what would lay hard eggs in an electrical outlet
Me: snakes
Josh: hmmm
Me (after a second of thought): oh...ewwww we don't have snakes, do we???
Josh: welll........

That's when I looked and saw the crushed shells of about 6 or 7 eggs. The one unhatched egg went straight outside where I crushed it open. Yup, snake. Thankfully VERY old egg, but how exactly do I make sure the snakes are gone?!?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Life without TV

I'm so glad we have broken the TV addiction (again). As a side effect, we are now solidly addicted to a few weekend NPR programs...Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and A Prairie Home Companion. I heard "Harvesttime Blues" on APHC for the first time tonight and I think it may need to be the new Hill family theme song

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where'd the Texas heat go??

I've been thinking about it for several days and I've decided that I HATE getting up in the morning. Truly, fully despise it. As if it's not bad enough forcing my eyes open at the ungodly hour of 6:30am (I don't think that would ever be okay for my body, not even if I went to bed at 8--and I do go to bed by 10), it is now cold. So I have to drag myself from my nice warm bed and sleeping, snuggly baby girl just so I can change from my nice, warm, cozy pajamas into cold, not comfy work clothes. It's seriously the worst part of the day. And it sucks that the worst part of the day is the very first thing that happens every day. Though I suppose you could argue that from there "it could only get better!" (stinkin' happy morning people). One day last week I decided I'd take a shower to warm up. I had a grand scheme where I took all my clothes into the bathroom with me and turned on the water real hot so it'd steam up the whole bathroom and make it all warm and cozy, right??? WRONG! I spent 30 minutes huddling under the oh so nice and warm water while a thin stream of icy cold air slipped past a little wrinkle in the shower curtain, taunting me with me own lack of forethought (at 6:30 in the morning, remember. I never claimed to have great logic at 6:30 in the morning). I'm a Texas girl. I LIKE the heat. I don't even mind the humidity. And while everyone else dances around and talks about what a nice day it is and how they're so happy the high's are in the low 70's, I'm COLD. And when I ask for summer back, Josh cruelly reminds me that we haven't even finished *fall* yet, much less gotten through winter and spring. As Josh and I say.....I have woe.

SierraDragon, the Elmo Slayer

Another Halloween has come and gone. Sierra initially chose to be tigger, but had a pretty decent panic attack trying on the costume at the store (she has issues with putting things over her head), so she settled on a "dragon" costume (I think it's really supposed to be a dinosaur, but hey, whatever!). She then proceeded to bug me every single morning and afternoon (she thinks when she wakes up from a nap, it's a new day) about whether it was halloween yet. She was VERY happy when I told her this morning that, yes, she COULD wear her costume to school. She put it on, crawled on to the bed and growled at Sedona, who burst into tears and looked like she might actually have a heart attack from fright. Took Sierra a little bit to get over her shyness, but after she did, she started saying "can we trick or treat more?!?" after every single house. Here's the evidence:

Getting ready this morning (you're just gonna have to ignore the large pile of laundry, we both work, it was 7am and the kid's happy, which is the important thing ;-)

About to go trick or treating

Showing off her best dragon roar for the camera

Trick or treating on sorority row. You'll notice she has the same trick or treat basket as last year. It was cute then (she was dressed as elmo), but this year we were such excellent parents that we forgot she needed something to put candy in, so we decided we could claim that she was a particularly ferocious dragon and had slayed elmo.

one of the sororities went all out and had (among other activities) a cookie decorating station

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Riddle Me This

I think the stinkiest side effect of having a baby is the post partum block of time when you can't fit into your jeans. About once a week, I get out my jeans and try them on. My hips have finally gone back to normal and I can pull them up, but the baby belly's not totally gone, so they don't yet button. The jeans I've been trying on are size 7 Arizonas (please no "oh poor kim, you can't fit into a 7 three months post partum" comments....I don't mind being a size 8, the irksome part is that all of my decent work clothes are size 4, so they don't fit and I loathe spending money on clothes). Anyways, I accidently grabbed a different pair of jeans yesterday and they fit!! But they're size 5 Arizonas. How can a *smaller* size of the same brand fit?!? I pulled out the 7's again just to make sure, and they still don't button up. what the.....

And you know you've been appropriately indoctrinated into mom-hood when you get thrown up on twice in one morning (well, the toddler took her turn in the middle of the night, and Sedona really just spit up, but it was a copious amount and she never spits up) and don't once feel ill or grossed out yourself. How is it our own vomit is repulsive, but our children's is not really a big deal??

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Okay, just in case there's anyone else out there who doesn't get this....When you buy a house, there's something called the "closing". You sit down, sign ten million pieces of paper and the seller gets a (hopefully) fat check. And then that's IT. It's the closing. As in, closure. As in, I'm done dealing with you and jumping for joy that the ridiculous demands you tried to bring up at the eleventh hour are no longer my problem.

We sold our last house about 4 months ago. This week has been the first of cold night weather for us. Tonight, we get a call from the realtor. Apparently the people who bought our house have been bugging her this entire time for little things and she basically (though, in a much nicer way, I'm sure) tells them tough luck. Well, now they want to know if there is some trick to the heater or if it's hooked up or whatever. Here's another public service announcement....if you don't even know that turning on a gas heater requires more than just flipping the switch on the thermostat (like, the pilot maybe?!?) you probably should not buy a duplex where you are responsible not only for your own living space, but your renter's as well. I'm still having guilt twinges that we left our very nice, single mom, renter with a very obviously clueless landlord. I once had a shirt that said, "every day of my life I'm forced to add another name to the list of people who piss me off". My current line of work has forced me to develop MUCH better social skills as well as personal insight, but really, some people are just beyond help and some situations fall into the category of "not my problem". Since we have no interest what so ever in these people ending up with our phone number, Josh is going to find a random phone to call them from tomorrow and explain how to light the pilot on the heater (cause we're sure the renter has no heat either).

And in good news, we still have the cutest kids ever. I have come to the realization that Sedona is not a remarkably easy baby, I'm a different mom. If you have time, read the article And So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes. I totally believe every parent has to whole-heartedly believe in their chosen parenting style. I mean, sure, everyone has those moments of "aw, crap, I really shouldn't have said that", but you have to believe in the overall philosophy you follow because we all want to do the best we can by our kids and there's entirely too much guilt involved in thinking, "I should've done it ALL different". With that disclaimer behind me, I'm a HUGE proponent of what is commonly called "attachment parenting" and what in our situation might more acurately be called "back to nature parenting". For us, this includes: unmedicated birth, on cue breastfeeding, bed sharing, baby wearing, child-led weaning, no spanking, a willingness to admit fault if a parent screws up, giving the child choices where possible, and a slew of other things that are so much a part of my normal day I can't even think of them as something to point out. We had this basic frame work in mind when Sierra was born, but it was at a very basic understanding--we wanted to respond immediately when she cried and we wanted to breastfeed for a year. In hindsight, I realize it took us about 6 months (miraculously the time I can say Sierra was not quite a miserable baby anymore) to really get into the groove of baby wearing and nursing on cue. Before that time, I was spending a HUGE portion of the day "fighting" her. I would spend hours trying to put her down, then she'd cry, and I'd pick her up, and I'd be frustrated, and she'd cry. Sedona's been sooooo EASY. Hmmm....not so. Sedona's birth and first days of life were TOTALLY different, but beyond that, Sedona was nursed at the first peep (the difference it makes being a breastfeeding counselor before the child's born!! I spent a lot of "she can't be hungry again" time with Sierra and would've quit at about day 5 if Josh hadn't calmly said at 2am that no, I could breastfeed and it would work out and if I really needed a break we could put breastmilk in a bottle, but that was it), and Sedona was constantly held for the first 3 weeks (having a toddler to watch running around made me appreciate more how quickly that baby would grow up) and then introduced to the moby wrap and she has been worn since then. Whereas I "fought" Sierra to get her down for a nap, Sedona just snuggles up against momma's heartbeat (the most natural place in the world for her) and goes to sleep when she pleases. When we get home in the afternoon, she is happy to nap in her crib for 3 hours (most likely because she's had her fill of physical contact). If someone asked me, I would be at a total loss to tell them how many times a day or how long she naps. I'm already incapable of saying how often she wakes at night...I simply scoot her closer to me and let her nurse and we both fall asleep again, I have only a foggy idea of how many times that happens in a night. I didn't really realize that she is most likely NOT an "easier" baby until Saturday when I tried to do a batch cooking day while I was home alone with the girls. I tried to get Sedona to spend the morning (when she's usually at work with me and in the wrap) in her swing so I could cook and she fussed and cried and screamed and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I finally put her in the wrap out of desperation and she almost immediately fell asleep (at which point she was happy to be put down in the crib). I know, some people might say she's spoiled or she's manipulated me. Oh well, they get to raise their babies their way, my way is right for my baby. She's so little and so precious and if she wants to cuddle with momma that's the least of my "troubles". Like Dr. Sears says, "babies don't spoil" I'll give her all the love and cuddles she wants while she wants them. I may have gotten a late start with Sierra, but we did eventually get to this parenting philosophy with her and ironically enough, it's made her all too independent. The theory is that the kiddos will learn they have a secure "home base" to return to and become more independent when they are ready for that. It's worked for Sierra. She stays close by while she warms up to a new situation and then she strikes out with hardly a look back. She comes back for cuddles every once in a while, but sometimes I look at my big kid and wish she still wanted to snuggle with me for hours at a time. My only regret is that I didn't know to do this with Sierra from day 1. I missed the newborn time with her and I didn't appreciate it while it was there and now I'll never get it back. I appreciate my "easy" baby though and I'm thankful for the skills I've learned that let me spend my days with her head nestled against my chest instead of feeling anger rise in me while I listen to a baby cry. Back to that song I posted at Sierra's birthday..."let them be little"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quote of the day

This is from The Omnivore's Dilemma, but I think it extrapolates quite well to childbirth and breastfeeding issues as well:
The problem is that once science has reduced a complex phenomenon to a couple of variables, however important they may be, the natural tendency is to overlook everything else, to assume that what you can measure is all there is, or at least all that really matters. When we mistake what we can know for all there is to know, a healthy appreciation of one's ignorance in the face of a mystery like soil fertility [or bringing forth a new life, or nourishing a new life] gives way to the hubris that we can treat nature as a machine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm melting!!!

Okay, I know, weird title, but anyways. This picture just has to make your heart melt. This was Sedona's very first "giggle fit" I'm not sure what was so funny, but she really got going. Isn't it just the cutest picture ever??? Well, except for Sierra's smiley baby pictures, but we know the girls are really twins, so they can both be the cutest ever ;-)

And here's Sierra and her cousin Aiden going for a ride. They have the same birthday, Aiden is 2 years older.

And in super good news, I got my packet from the examining board today. Not only did I pass the exam, I got a 90%!!!!! They won't release the statistics for this exam for quite a while, but I found the stats from 2003 (can't find last years for some reason), and very few people (like 30 out of 2100) get a 90 or above.
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