Thursday, November 29, 2007

baking cookies

Yesterday, the kids and I baked snowman cookies.

We had lots of fun, lots of warm, fuzzy moments in the kitchen and I wondered why we didn't do this more often. They worked so hard decorating their own snowmen. Here's Maria's....I don't know why she has that spacey look on her face...

And Kain's, a chocolate snowman...

Jack's didn't last long enough to get a picture before he dug in....

Then the drama started. Jack dumped two large bowls of sprinkles all over the kitchen floor. And Maria bumped into Kain, causing him to drop his cookie, frosting side down, on the living room rug. This caused Kain to have a nervous breakdown...he *did* work a long time on that cookie...and it was still perfectly edible, but, you know, it just wasn't the same. I wasn't thrilled either. You can't tell in the picture above because of the chocolate frosting, but that sucker was doused in blue icing and after scrubbing my way through four rags and half a can of Resolve, my carpet still has a blue tinge.

Friday, November 23, 2007

my new baby...and my big baby....

On new baby news,,,we heard the heartbeat today! It never gets old. After a few weeks of feeling more "old self", it was a great affirmation that baby is indeed there and well. John was working and couldn't be there, so in a great act of corny enthusiasm that made the midwife chuckle we used my cell phone to call our home voicemail and leave a recording of the heartbeat for John to hear when he gets home tonight.

As for my big baby...we've been trying to move him into a toddler bed in Kain's room without much success. His current "bedroom" is actually our large school/play room. It's a cold and drafty room and when the temperature dropped I decided he needed to move to Kain's much warmer bedroom. I bought a little toddler bed and Jack was quite excited about the whole thing. However, he won't actually stay in the bed. After a few nights of tearful battles, John pointed out that he obviously just wasn't ready for this. I protested..."He's 3 years old! Maria moved into a regular bed at age 2 and with no problem!" But John wisely insisted that, still, *Jack* wasn't ready for this. So, that very evening we partially broke down the crib, shoved it across the house, put it back together, and wedged it into Kain's now very cramped bedroom. The toddler bed will stay where it is simply because I don't have anywhere else to put it. And even though it's a big and lunky, mattress-less, in the way eyesore, a relative peace has returned to bedtime.

It occurs to me how much grief I have brought myself as a parent when I have tried to push my kids to do something before they are ready, insisting that they "should" be ready,,,,even if they just aren't. I do try to measure such things by the "when they are in high school" yardstick. It works like this. You take the problem and plug it into this sentence...."He/she will surely be able to (insert problem here) by the time they are in high school." Possible problems that have worked here for me include weaning, using the potty, tying their shoes, pushing themselves on the swing, eating without wiping their hands on their shirt (this may be a reach), remembering to flush the toilet, learning to read, understanding fractions, sleeping through the night, and sleeping in their own bed. My theory is that if a problem fits in that sentence, it is an issue of maturity and the child should just be allowed to mature at their own pace in the name of family sanity. Not that I still don't nag Kain to use a napkin. But it does help keep things in a "this too shall pass" perspective. These are the kinds of problems that almost always resolve on their own and leave you later wondering why they caused you so much grief in the first place.

my elves

Here's our family of elves...these are so cute!

The Almost Worst Thanksgiving Ever

Yesterday morning was a rush of activity...John was working, so I was getting the kids ready to leave for Thanksgiving dinner, making our salad, cutting up our giant slab of finally cooled fudge, packing diapers, sippy cups, and coats for the soon to be below freezing temperatures. We needed to leave by 11, and it was tight. To top it off, the kids were fighting like a pack of wild cats and I was dreading even spending the next hour and a half trapped in a car with them. Finally, right at 11, I was gathering everything for the kids to haul out to the car, and I couldn't find my car keys. Not an altogether unheard of occurance around here, I dispatched the kids to look in all the usual places...under piles on the kitchen counter, in the couch cushions, etc. After several minutes, I was feeling desperate. I called John at work, something I try to avoid because he's always busy. Sure enough, he was in the process of transferring a patient to the ICU when I called, but he did come to the phone long enough to tell me that he had accidently taken *my* keys to work, which meant now we had to find *his* keys. After several minutes looking in *his* usual places (the pockets of previously worn pants and jackets, various drawers he likes to stash things in), he called back to say that he actually had BOTH SETS OF KEYS. Starting to cry at this point, I hung up the phone quickly, not really angry at him (much), because I knew he felt really lousy and because I'm air-headed enough to have done similar things in the past, but just so disappointed to find our day unexpectedly shot to hell. I told the kids, and we sat down on the couch and cried (Well, Maria and I cried. Jack was off playing with his trains and unaware of the whole drama, and Kain asked if this meant he could get back on the computer.) I sat there and tried to gather myself together, realizing that I could still pull off a decent day for the kids at least if I could get over my own disappointment. I was racking my brain for possibilities....Walmart was surely open, I could go over there and see what I could find to put together some kind of Thanksgiving-ish dinner...maybe Blockbuster was open and we could rent some movies...or I could buy a couple of new board games...and then the phone rang again. It was John, and he said that actually there was a spare key in the back of this one drawer (one of his places to stash things). Sure enough, there it was, the original dealer tagged key. And just like that, the day was turned around. We finished loading the car, the kids now happy and getting along, perhaps realizing now that getting to go to this dinner was a gift. And, on our way out the door, we offered our day for those that were alone for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day preparations...

Today we are making homemade fudge, as well as a 7-layer salad as our contributions to the family Thanksgiving dinner. John will be working as he does every Thanksgiving- a small price for having Christmas Eve and Day off. We will have our own little turkey dinner here at home on Sunday for him. And for us. You can't have too much turkey! And I do make a yummy one, if I do say so myself.

On our own menu, our usual list of favorites....

...sage stuffing (aka, "turkey butt stuffing", something I named it as a kid and refused to eat it because I really thought it came from the turkey's butt)
... cranberry sauce
...mashed potatoes
...sweet potatoes with cranberries bean casserole
...7-layer salad (yep, another one. It's my dh's favorite, so we need one for him.)
...pecan pie
...pumpkin pie

Enjoy your holiday! Yum!

Monday, November 19, 2007

2nd trimester

Well, boys and girls, I am 14 weeks today. Feel free to applaud. Here's a baby photo....

The kids are horrified to learn from our baby book that Peanut is *peeing* now. "EWWWWWW!" I tried to convince them that it was all sterile and not a big deal, but they remain unconvinced. The baby can also suck it's thumb and make facial expressions. I sometimes, especially at night when I'm in bed, think I feel tiny little stirrings in there...but it's not strong enough to really convince myself yet.

I'm feeling better...I'm not nauseated anymore. In fact, I'm hungry,,,*very* hungry at times. That bone-crushing fatigue is gone. But, I don't feel quite like myself. I feel rather PMS-y the last couple of days. Hope that doesn't does everyone I come in contact with, I'm sure. We've been doing a lot of running around, a lot of eatng on the go, and my diet has not been great. I'm buckling down and adding some more protein and getting back to my big daily salad. On the whole, I'm feeling rather un-pregnant, in fact, what with the first trimester symptoms gone and no baby kicks to report. I have another midwife appointment this Friday and I'm hoping to be able to hear the baby's heartbeat. That would be a nice lift!

Coming up after Turkey Day...a "Day in the Life" of our new and improved school plans, as well as our Advent celebrations. I love Advent, and we have lots of fun traditions in place already, as well as a new one or two to try.

one reason it's weird when your husband's a nurse

John, calling me from work at 9am- Hey, I might get to come home in a little while.

Me- Cool! How come?

John- Three people died last night, so they don't need me.

Me- Oh,,,well, that's, um,,,,great, honey!

Monday, November 12, 2007

changing homeschooling gears

The time has come (the walrus said) to make some changes. Homeschooling has changed for us this year. I don't know if it's adding another child to the mix, or pregnancy and the addition of midwife appointments to our schedule, or Maria's changing workload and the addition of vision therapy to our schedule....but school is not fun. Somewhere in the last few months I turned into Fascist Mom, dragging unwilling kids through a list of assignments, just trying to "get it done" in between loads of laundry and dishes. I can't even remember the last time we did anything fun, much less anything fun *and* educational. It's all become drudge, plug, plug, plug away during the week and then exhausted Mom tries to recoup and catch up on housework all weekend. I like our curriculum, I really do. But it's not been the best fit for my hands-on learners. And the stress of trying to keep up with the syllabus is getting to me, especially with this baby's birth looming in May.

When we first started homeschooling, I tried putting together my own curriculum for a while, and it was a bust. I tried to put in too much. Every cool resource I saw I wanted to use, and keeping up with my self-imposed lesson plans was harder than keeping up with someone else's. So now....I'm going to try something different. Something that's less than a lesson plan but more like a sequence of events. Instead of having this list of stuff that needs to be completed in 5th grade grammar, I'll have a list of grammar goals to be met over the course of their education before high school, written loosely with plenty of time for the child to work at their own pace and for life to happen around us. I am also switching to materials more suited to my kids and easier for me to use but still based on Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. The morning work looks something like this...

Reading/Phonics/Spelling- We have Teach Your Child to Read in 100 EZ lessons, though I'm thinking about switching to something different for Jack. Once about a third of the way into the book, start the Explode the Code series. When this series is completed, start Phonetic Zoo for spelling. They also have reading time assigned after lunch.

Grammar- Once working well in Explode the Code, start First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, a pair of books with three years worth of oral grammar exercises. Begin the Easy Grammar workbooks and hopefully finish in time to start 9th grade. We will also still memorize poetry from Harp and Laurel Wreath.

Writing- Handwriting without Tears, copywork, narration and dictation, and then finally composition exercises, mostly related to history and religion reading. Maria is also learning to type.

Math- We'll continue with Saxon. I researched other programs, but although Saxon drives me batty sometimes I still think it's got the best long-term track record.
Since we school year round, we skip a big chunk of review in the beginning of the books.

Religion- This will largely still follow the course laid out in MODG...memorizing the St. Joe's catechism, reading Faith and Life and stories of the saints, the Bible, etc. The kids enjoyed all these things.

Art/Music Appreciation- We will use Seton's Art books which are a combination of art appreciation and applied technique, depending on which year you are on. We also use Mommy, It's a Renoir in the early grades. Music is pretty loose, mostly selections used in the car. I'm hoping to get a piano in the spring and start piano lessons as well.

Latin- We will continue to study this pretty much as outlined in MODG. It's a slow, manageable pace. Starting around third grade, we work through English From the Roots Up flashcards, then Prima Latina, Latin Christiana I and II, aiming to finish LC II in time for starting Henle in high school.

All of this takes about 3 hours of morning work for Maria and I, about half that for Kain. I start with half an hour or so working with Jack, and then work with Kain while Maria works on her own, and then working with Maria for what she needs. We do not do it all everyday. We try to hit math every day, and religion, and the rest falls in as time allows. Then we will take a long break for lunch, rest, chores for mom...

So, are you still with me? In the's the fun part...I have a rotation of four days.

A.- Nature walk with guides and journals. I want this day to happen weekly, even if it means losing one of the other days below in busy weeks.

B.- History- We are starting a chronological study with Story of the World, a series we've used before and loved. The first day will be doing the Story of the World reading together, doing any maps and coloring sheets, Maria will read the related material from Kingfisher History Encyclopedia on her own while Kain and I do related library read-alouds. Kain will do a narration from the Story of the World while Maria will outline what she reads in Kingfisher. Then Maria will read from a related library book. Maria will also work on a timeline.

C.- Science or Geography- We will work on science projects of interest, whatever strikes our fancy. The kids wanted to do something with "animals", could they be any more vague? So, we are working our way through Kingfisher's First Animal Encyclopedia and making a big classification display on the wall with photocopied and colored pictures. We will bring home related animal books and videos from the library as well. After the animal project, I'm thinking maybe a human anatomy unit with "My Temple of the Holy Spirit" from CHC, and then planting projects from "Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots"...but those are just ideas. Maria is also working with her monthly Young Scientist kits and loves those. We will also work through Catholic Heritage Curricula's geography projects, Tour a Continent and Tour a Country, and a study of Arkansas history. Again, this is all over the next few years, not just this year!

D.- History- On this day we will do a hands-on history project from the Story of the World Activity Book and continue with our library reading. Maybe the occasional related library video as well.

We are also going to make time for our favorite thing, liturgical year projects, and the above mentioned afternoons will get the boot for a day or two to make room for celebrating various seasons and feasts. I am in the process of putting together the materials for this Advent unit study, and this will take a good couple of afternoons a week during the Advent and Christmas season. The kids will also work on their Blue Knights/Little Women materials on these days.

So there we are. It looks like a lot, but remember, this is over several years! And the beauty of it all is that there's no deadline. There's no "finish this stack of books by June". We will be able to work at a pace that keeps things sane, taking off days for fun field trips and weeks to enjoy the new baby. On slower-paced weeks we can be more productive at home and on crazier weeks we will do what we can do and Mom will *not* have a nervous breakdown. When each school year starts, we will keep going where we left off. When we hit high school with Maria...well, who knows what will happen then? At this point I imagine we will enroll her with MODG and have her follow the syllabi for their high school courses.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

our first brush with cooties

Last year's cold and flu season was pretty brutal to I've been trying to gear myself up after a long and healthy summer. Last week we had a small taste. Maria, John, and I had a bit of cough/sore throat, and my cough settled in my chest where it has wrecked havoc with my asthma for days now.

Today Maria, Jack, and I went to Hobby Lobby because Maria had some allowance and tooth fairy money to burn. Jack had woken up twice the night before for undetermined reasons, but he seemed fine by morning. He started doing this little coughing thing while we were shopping, but nothing too dramatic. Then, while we were in the check out line....he blew chunks of curdled milk everywhere. It was all very sudden. He just kind of gave a little cough and up it came. I stood there helplessly, my hands bowled under his chin trying to contain it all (being a nurse gives me a high tolerance for wading in body fluids). On a burst of brilliance, I barked at Maria to get a diaper out of my bag and open it up. She did, and reluctantly held it under my hands while I emptied the contents into the diaper and wrapped it up. That saved the floor, but Jack was still hit pretty hard. I left Maria to pay for her purchases and moved Jack out to the car. I striped his messy shirt and wiped him down, thankful for the unusually warm day. On a previous burst of brilliance, I had stashed several empty walmart sacks in my trunk and used these to hold Jack's shirt and the wipes.

On the drive home, I felt a little irritated that no one in the vicinity had offered to help or even a kind word. But then I realized that I had done the same in a very similar situation. What is it about other people's sudden catastrophe that freezes us to the spot sometimes? For some, it may have just been repulsion at approaching the puke, but not for everyone...not for me. Somehow when something like that happens right in front of me, my first reaction is to feel like the person would resent my interference for some reason. That's rarely the case of course, and times when I have stepped in to help someone they have always been why do we still hesitate to jump in and help others?

Jack, anyway, seems fine now. Once home, he had a cautionary lunch of saltines and water, took a long nap, and hasn't thrown up since. When I was changing his diaper and finishing his clean-up at home, he said, "Hobby Wobby". I said, "Yes, did you throw up in Hobby Lobby?" And realizing that he didn't really know what that meant, I acted it out for him, much to his amusement. He got it. He nodded seriously and said, "Yes, it got spilled."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

things kids say....

Me-- Kain! Jack dumped your legos out all over the floor! I told you to make sure to put them up where he couldn't reach them.

Kain--- Aunt Mel, sometimes my brain just gets full of too much stuff.


The docent at the museum we visited today-- When I say the word "Cherokee", what image comes to your mind?

Maria--- The casino?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

quick question

So, if we bolt out the door after dinner to get Maria to choir practice, and upon returning home, when I go to the kitchen to clean up the leftovers I find that one of the cats has attacked a piece of ham steak and dragged it to the kitchen floor, it would be *wrong, wrong, wrong* of me to pick up the steak, use kitchen shears to trim away the chewed on edges, rinse the steak off, and return it to the plate to be feed to my husband when he comes home. Right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

All Saint's Day pictures...

Jack as St. Gabriel....

Kain as St. Louis IX....

And Maria as St. Anna Wang, chinese martyr....

as crunchy as I wanna be

Two people have emailed me recently asking me to define "crunchy", as in the name of this blog. Apparently they are afraid to publicly show their ignorance in the comment section. Do not despair! I was crunchy before I knew what crunchy was. Maybe you have some closet crunchiness too! If you take the quiz to your blog, post a link below!

"Crunchy" generally means someone that lives a bit alternatively, a modern day hippy of sorts. The term "slightly crunchy" applies here because we are weird enough to look alternative to most mainstreamers, for sure,,,,but compared to some very crunchy types we look like, well,,,mainstreamers. Then, someone sent me this It was fun. I scored a 113, for "whole grain crunchy". Below are my answers and the reasons for them.

Do you have homebirths?
15 points for “yes” (unassisted)
10 points for “yes” (with a midwife in attendance)
5 points for alternative birthing center
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth”
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
----Yes, Jack was a homebirth, with a midwife. This one will be an ABC birth unless I change my mind, but if it goes easier than Jack's we will probably return to homebirth. I love homebirth. For now, for a variety of circumstances, the ABC is making more sense. I guess I'll take an, um,,,8 points?

Will you circumcise future sons?
5 points for “no”
-5 points for “yes”.
---NO. I'm rabidly anti-circumcision. Years of holding babies down on boards to be circ'd can have that effect on you. But even before that,,,I had no strong pulls either way until I gave an oral report in nursing school on circumcision and researched the lack of reasons for doing this traumatic procedure.

Do you use cloth diapers?
20 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own)
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
----We use cloth, and wash our own. Jack is actually in disposables now, but we used cloth for the first year and a half and changed without conscious decison due to some crazy life events that were going on at the time. We will use cloth with this baby. Love cloth! It feels so good.

Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family
Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?
10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control/ttc) or you use ecological
breastfeeding/lactational amnorrhea
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
---Yes, we use NFP to try to conceive, and we use ecological breastfeeding. We haven't had to use NFP to try *not* to conceive at this point. We of course do not use artificial birth control for Catholic reasons, but even if I wasn't Catholic I would never use the pill or anything. Yikes. Scary stuff, very bad for your body!

Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes”
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).
---Yes, part of the ecological breastfeeding....

Do you co-sleep/family bed?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night)
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.
----We co-sleep with babies/young toddlers. I try to get them to at least start the night in a co-sleeper/crib in my room just so I can fall asleep comfortably. Then they move to my bed when they wake up to nurse. I did train Jack to take naps on his own once he was a few months old or my experience, they just quit napping well in the sling once they are out of the little baby stage, and with homeschooling and all I just can't indulge in napping with a baby for a couple hours a day. We train gently though. I'll take all 10 is all night every night for a good long while, depending on the child.

Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes”
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
----Yes, love the sling. My babies lived in them, especially Maria, my "high needs" baby.

Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning
(even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?
15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).
---I gave myself a 13 here. :) Maria nursed until a week shy of her 4th birthday. It was not totally child-led though. She was still nursing at bedtime and I kind of bribed/pushed her out of it. Jack self-weaned around 2- 2 1/2.

Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy and tandem nurse)
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”(wouldn’t consider it).
---This was pregnancies are too far apart to even have to worry about tandem nursing. I gave myself a 5 because this is what I think I *would* do. I would probabaly tandem nurse if I had back to back babies...but if I had an older toddler, like at least 2 years old, I would probably want to wean before another baby was born.

Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat?
15 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store,
grind own wheat, vegetarian, etc.)
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic,
use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
---We get a 5 here. I'd love to edge more towards a 10. We do grow some vegetables. If we lived out in the country I'd totally have some chickens and goats, but we don't.

Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
----This is hard. I gave us a 5 here. The kids do see pediatricians. Especially Kain, who has severe asthma. Jack saw a homeopathic practitioner for recurrent ear infections. I don't really know if I believe in homeopathy or not! It sounds crazy to me in theory, maybe because I'm a nurse. But we were desperate and so I tried it. It seemed to work. He hasn't had an ear infection since. But we haven't used it often enough to make me a true believer. I have used some herbal stuff, and I rarely go to the doctor, but I'm not comfortable dosing my kids regularly with herbs. I don't know enough about it to feel like I know what I'm doing is safe. We take more of a "supportive" approach when the kids are sick. I'm slow to go to the doctor and believe in supporting their immune systems and giving their bodies a chance to heal themselves first. But we will go when needed. John goes regularly for "old man" screening stuff, and I imagine I will be soon too. I think there's a lot to be said for preventative medicine.

Do you homeschool?
10 points if “yes” (currently homeschool)
5 points for “yes” (will homeschool)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).
---Um, yep!

What's your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaxing on schedule.
---5 points. We do selective, but generally on schedule vacinations. We don't get vaccinations as newborns, but we do start some of them at 2 months. I could be swayed to vaccinate less...John is pretty adament about most of them though. I am for the ones that are for serious, debilitating illnesses like pertussis. I think the ones for chicken pox and flu are silly and likely a bad idea for an otherwise healthy child. Kain does get a flu shot because of his severe asthma. We try weigh each vaccine against what is best for that child.

Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else's baby
or have someone else bf your child?
10 points if yes (have or someone has bf your baby)
5 points if yes (would)
2 points if maybe 0 if no (wouldn't consider it).

---I have done this. Please suppress your gasp of horror. It's just a booby, and the mom needed help. It felt really odd when she asked me to do it, but then I realized that this was just my own uptightness and that women have done this for thousands of years before Enfamil and breast pumps were developed. Even my great-grandmother used to "pacify" her grandchildren this way.

Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if yes (make own)
5 points if yes (buy own)
2 points if thinking about it
0 points if no.

---No. I'll take 2. I'm not opposed to it. I have thought about it, mainly because I have, um, some personal issues with disposable products that I won't go into here. I've never been motivated enough to really look into such a thing though.

120 – 140 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama
90 – 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!
60 – 89 Pretty Crispy
20 – 59 Sprinkled with Granola
5 – 19 Instant Oatmeal
0 - 4 Jell-O

I will say that when Maria was younger I belonged to a couple of uber-crunchy playgroups and there was a lot of pressure, not from them so much as from within, to make certain decisions that just didn't feel comfortable to me or work for my family in the name of fitting in with a particular mindset. With my added maturity as a mom though (stop laughing), I no longer make choices to try and fit in with any particular parenting/lifestyle philosophy. Most "crunchy" choices were made by me when my oldest was a baby. She was a very colicky, needing to be held constantly baby, and I went looking for information on how to parent such a child. These choices, (the sling, co-sleeping) were the only sane things that worked, and I didn't know until later that there was some kind of label assigned to them. Other choices, like no-circing and whole foods, came from researching these particular choices and choosing what made sense to us. Some things, like not vaccinating and some other health care decisions just didn't sit right with either myself, my husband, or both. And other issues, like making my own diapers, growing more of our food, etc., are good choices that I just have chosen not to take on right now. I can't do it all. My only hard and fast guidelines are to be a good Catholic. Many of these choices, like ecological breastfeeding and homeschooling, are choices made specifically with our faith in mind. Other choices are made based on what truly works best for us. So don't take the above quiz as parenting advice. Do what works for your own tribe, and don't step on my vibe, man. :)

a little of this, a little of that....

So, I didn't post about All Saint's Day/All Soul'd Day at all...because I don't have pictures! Our homeschool group had an All Saint's Day party and one of the mom's was taking nice pictures of all the kids, and I have been waiting to get those back....but she has out of town guests, so it may be a while. Of course, we went to mass, Maria was serving, and Father compared the communion of saints to these guys...

.....our network of support, so to speak, praying and interceding for us,,,,I thought that was cute.

Today I have an appointment with my midwife's back up obstetrician for a risk assessment appointment. This appointment kind of medically labels you as low risk and clears you for homebirth. The clinic is an almost two hour drive, and John is working today,,,,so it'll be a long day for us!