Lucy's blessing day

A big post to play catchup with life...

Well, it's been more than a year since I've posted. Take that as a sign that I have been doing a lot of mothering to 4 small children. Since my last post I got pregnant and gave birth to our 4th child. It's been a great time, but a busy one, and certainly a bit difficult too.

The pregnancy was relatively easy. I credit that largely to the almost daily trips I made to the gym during the last 4 months of the pregnancy. I was in better shape when I gave birth to our baby girl, Lucy Jane, than I am now, almost six months later.

About a week after she was born I got mastitis, which I was never able to completely rid myself of for the next two months. I began supplementing her with Meyenberg's powdered goat's milk (which allowed my body to rest and filled her up better), and treating the infections and clogged ducts with lavender essential oil, and finally was able to resolve the problems I was having.

I was able to keep nursing her, but only just a little bit, for three and a half more months. Finally, a few days ago, nursing came to an end for us. Despite how difficult it was, I am sad to be finished with nursing. I love holding baby close to my skin, and feeling like I can supply her needs with my own body. I also wish I could provide her with the continued benefits of breastmilk, such as passing to her the antibodies I produce. Oh well, there's nothing I can do at this point.

I do give Lucy an infant's probiotic (Udo's brand), to keep her digestive track healthy. She also gets an omega-3 supplement called "Omega Swirl" (Barlean's Organic Oils brand). Lucy is growing well, with chubby cheeks and great skin color, and she is very energetic and responsive so I am certainly happy to have a healthy, beautiful baby, and such great resources to take the place of breastfeeding, since that is no longer an option.

Mavis completed the first grade in May. She has been learning Chinese and Spanish. Jack just began with Spanish school this summer. It is exciting to watch them learning languages. Mavis told me once, "I love learning my languages." She really loved her Chinese teacher, Ms. Le.

Jack says he likes "doing projects." He does really love painting and glueing and cutting. I think most of all he loves taking things apart with his tools. He is adept at removing screws and has removed many, many of them from different locations around the house. Often to my dismay.

The two older children have also excelled at swimming. Last summer, on the last pool day of the season, Mavis swam the entire length of the lap pool (75 feet) without taking a breath. That is amazing! She won an iTouch for her feat. Currently Mavis is enjoying using her mermaid fin that she received as a birthday gift this year. Jack is getting braver and more agile with each trip to the pool. Last time he swam to the bottom of the lap pool, a depth of 5 feet, on his own. He does flips and floats on his back and gets around by himself in the deep end with relative ease. Max likes hanging out on the stairs of the lap pool, with most of his body submerged, leaving his nose just above the water. The lifeguards keep their eye on them because the little goofball looks like he's about to go under at any moment.

Max is just barely two, and we have such fun watching him. He entertains with his words (often hard to translate) and sounds. He is especially drawn to dinosaurs (sawshwaourz) and enjoys growling, roaring and making his play dinosaurs eat things. The soundtrack goes something like this, "rawwrrr, raaarrrrwwwrr, num, num, num."

Lucy just learned to roll over. She gets super excited by happy faces talking to her. She can almost hold her own bottle. Her laugh and her smile are deliciously sweet. I dare say she rivals the Gerber baby for cuteness. What yummy, squishy, rolly polly little arms and legs, tummy and cheeks she has!

Josh has traveled a lot this last year, which has meant I have been on my own with the kids a lot. He is great when he's here though, often making dinner and taking the older kids with him to the pool, or on errands. My cousin Nateal lived with us for a year and half, and right after she moved out Josh's cousin, Taylor, and his wife, Megan, moved in. Having them around has helped me not feel too alone when Josh is out of town.

It was super fun for me to travel with him on his last audit. We spent the week in Rhinebeck, New York with his clients-turned-good friends. They are lovely people, super friendly, foodies, and full of interesting conversations. I was almost speechless when Deb told me one of her favorite things to do is mix colors. I wanted to quote Nacho Libre when he says "Everything you just said is MY favorite thing to do, every day!" I loved talking with her about the gospel. I was impressed with her testimony of the Bible and prayer. She has such a good spirit about her and was also delighted to spend time with baby Lucy, which was nice. I hope we will get to see them again soon.

I guess that's enough of an update for now. Time flies so quickly these days, a sure sign that I am getting older. It may be a while before I write again. Considering how times speeds up the older I get it may be years before I realize that I haven't written and ought to jot down some thoughts again. We'll see. Life keeps on going and I must too. Mavis calls, as I write, demanding some help with another project.... (making fruit leather from the apricots we picked at Stephanie's house).


Yellowstone Summer Trip 2010

Fun times with the cousins this summer at Wendell's parents' cabin in Island Park, just west of Yellowstone. We saw amazing wildlife including a black wolf, up close, a coyote, some moose, elk, bison, squirrels, and my favorite: a hawk swooped down from the sky, caught a fish from the Snake River (about 100 feet away from the cabin) then flew through the air with the silver fish in it's talons. It felt like we were in a NatGeo special. We drove to the top of Sawhill Peak (is that what it's called?) which is so high there are no trees, and although it was hot, end o' summer weather down below, the icy wind blasted right through our layers as we posed for the last picture on top of the peak. Stiff, frosty snow gripped the trees along the road as we neared the top, and the ground was covered with ice. We also floated the river for several hours one day. Max even came with, which slowed us down a bit as Janet and I shared a boat and she had to paddle all alone, against the wind, while I nursed Max during the first half of the ride. Slow going, but fun, and a work out. We were all tired afterward. We saw Old Faithful, of course, and ate icecream at the snack bar there. Josh noted that he'd been waiting a whole year for that icecream (we did a trip to Yellowstone last year, just Josh and I and Mavis and Jack) therefore, he couldn't, or wouldn't share when I asked for a taste of his. I guess he really loves the icecream there. Josh and the guys took scuba tanks so they could explore the depths of the Firehole while the rest of us swam around up top. What a beautiful place!


A little monster that isn't very scary

This monster is going on the quilt that Amberlee is making for Max. I'm excited to see how it turns out. I went with her to the fabric store yesterday to choose all of the fabrics and discuss the design she had made. We altered a few things in the design, and she set to work.


Stand For the Family

My new favorite book:

Stand for the Family by Sharon Slater.

I love it because of it's powerful messages: We can make a difference in the world! and, Motherhood is the most important, and most rewarding of all the jobs I can choose to do. This is a great read and has renewed my commitment to my marriage and family, and to the betterment of the lives of all the people of the world.

(Ok, I do have to add a warning...now that I've actually finished the book. I do not recommend this for younger readers as it talks about too many sensitive subjects in too much detail for the younger crowd. It is an adult read, that gives parents information that they can then talk about with their kids, screening the info to make it age-appropriate for their needs. It is a book full of the first-hand experiences of the author during her 10 years attending UN meetings and "World Congress of Family" meetings, in addition to a great set of research to show the scientific backing for why the traditional family unit is the best way, and really the only way, to go. Sharon Slater also succeeds in providing a host of ways to help protect and promote the family, which gives me hope and renewed energy in my daily efforts as a wife, mother, and wanna-be activist for the traditional, nuclear family.)


Chocolate Mint Tingle

My favorite dessert:

by Josh Blackwelder

Serves 4.

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (we like Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa, or Callebaut)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
24 cubes frozen whole milk (freeze 4 cups milk in ice cube trays)
10 to 15 peppermint discs (20 to 30 ounces)

Heat unfrozen milk and sugar over medium heat. Whisk in cocoa until dissolved. Pour chocolate mixture in blender. Add milk ice cubes and pulse blender until cubes are all blended up. Add peppermint candy and run blender on high for 5 seconds or until candy is finely chopped. Divide among four 12-oz. glasses. Serve immediately.

Note: use a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix for best results. We burned out a few cheap blenders making these before we finally got a real workhorse.

Another (less important) note: This has a lot less fat and less sugar than the average chocolate shake made with icecream, and costs less to make too.

p.s. I would post a picture but am having trouble with the blog...can't seem to get the "add a picture" function to work. Maybe later when someone a little more tech-savvy gets home from work.


Max's blessing day

A nearly perfect day. A beautiful blessing given by Josh. Beautiful weather...blue and sunshiny. The only regrets: I let myself stress out for a few minutes after church when we were trying to get the food ready, and I completely forgot to invite my grandparents!! Duh!! I really feel bad about that and wish I could go back and change that.


It's about time for a family picture

I don't think we have had a picture of us all together since Valentine's day last year... so we set up the tripod and set the timer for some shots of us against the newly painted blue family room wall. Not quite profesh, but about as good as it will get for now. Maybe some day I'll pay someone to take some family portraits. We'll see.