Archive for August, 2010

She Didn’t

She kept it down. The salmon she ate last night didn’t make her sick. Woohoo! She was all smiles this morning as you can probably imagine. I also overheard Ashley talking to her in the bedroom this morning before they got up. With the sound of utter delight in her husky just-woke-up voice, Ashley exclaimed, “You’re not allergic to Salmon anymore Caitlin.” Our whole family is rejoicing 🙂

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“People tell you how tired you’ll be, but they don’t tell you…that you’ll be able to survive without much sleep because the simple act of looking at your baby is stirring, gratifying, energizing.” -Carol Weston



Sean is three weeks old. He now has longer periods of being awake during the day. He sleeps for three to four hour stretches and is awake for one or two hours in between. Our whole family is enjoying the opportunity to make eye contact with him. Ashley and Caitlin particularly love seeing his eyes more often. Here James and Sean share a little eye-to eye time. When James moved in quite close, Sean made a sort of gulping sound and seemed overwhelmed by his nearness. James moved his head back and all was right again in Sean’s still new visual world.

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Waiting…Will She?

It’s late and neither James nor I are in bed yet. I’m hypervigilant at the moment listening out for our Caitlin as she sleeps upstairs. Tonight we performed the annual test of Caitlin’s fish allergy. We ate salmon for dinner tonight. It’s actually an intolerance that she has and causes her to throw up 4 hours after ingesting fish. If she throws up it will occur every 20 minutes for a few hours, gradually subsiding leaving Caitlin exhausted and sad. The allergy specialist thought she might grow out of the intolerance to fish protein (the suspected culprit) and so exposure every so often is recommended.

Caitlin was very brave taking her one bite before eating her chicken dinner. She even refused a basin and a towel at bedtime, in the confidence that she won’t get sick tonight. If she can keep this down it will bode well for increasing omega-3s in her diet this coming year. I’ve included flaxseed oil in her diet on a regular basis for years to ensure that she is getting some omega-3s, but it will be a lot easier and a great deal more in quantity to feed her fish. I’m hoping for a happy girl in the morning.

Here are some photos of her taken last week. She was very keen to have her hair cut short and asked me to do it. I’ve cut their hair quite often in the past, though we also go to a great hairdressers nearby. She was so eager for me to do it that I went along with and it was a lot easier than in the past when she used to be more fidgety.

This is the smiley girl I hope to see in the morning 🙂

Before haircut:

From August 2010 Highlights

After haircut:

From August 2010 Highlights


From August 2010 Highlights

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Reading 2010

It’s been a lean year of reading so far this year. Taking care if three little ones while pregnant has taken its toll and the reading is where the impact is felt the most. I have chosen lighter fair this year, simply because I have been exhausted. Fortunately, most of the books I’ve read this year has been enjoyable and I don’t regret the time I’ve given to them. We’ll see how my reading is impacted for the rest of the year now that Sean has arrived I am a mother of four. I hope that life settles down enough that my reading time will pick up again, either for the last quarter of the year or when the new reading year starts in January 2011.

1. Stephanie Kallos:    Broken for You
2. Mary Ann Schaffer & Annie Barrows: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
3. The Bible: Jeremiah
4. Audrey Niffenegger:   The Time Traveler’s Wife

The first quarter of this year was very sparse on books as my first trimester exhaustion caught me by surprise as it continued into the second trimester. I thoroughly enjoyed the novels I read. Broken for You was set in Seattle, which always adds an extra dimension of enjoyment (all of the books I’ve read so far that are set in Seattle have been very enjoyable).

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society was a recommendation from Laura in my book club. It was surprisingly good. The story is told through the letters of the lead character with the various other characters in the book. Through her correspondence we learn about the five year occupation of Guernsey Island by the Germans during World War 2.

The Time Traveler’s Wife was very well written. I loved the concept of traveling through time, meeting your wife at various points in her life both before and after you have officially met her in your own time. I also enjoyed the concept of relying on your other self in different time periods for assistance.  I grew attached to the characters and felt great sympathy for the trauma of this time traveling for both the traveler and his wife.

As for Jeremiah, I’ll be pleased to finish the Old Testament and move onto the New. It is so patriarchal and violent and unforgiving. Jeremiah was a continuation of the same.

5. Erica Bauermeister:   The School of Essential Ingredients
6. Ian McEwan:    On Chesil Beach

I love books about food. The School of Essential Ingredients was a light but captivating novel that was reminiscent of Maeve Binchy’s short stories. Set around a group of people attending an evening cooking class, I enjoyed getting to know each character as they were presented through their interactions with others and as they were fleshed out in the chapter devoted to elaborating on their personal story.

This is the first Ian McEwan book I’ve read. Actually, I listened to this on my iPod. I loved that it was read by the author himself. I often enjoy Books on CD better when read by the author, who can give nuance to story with how they stress words or phrases in the story. The CDs also had an interview with Ian McEwan about the book and its characters. That was fascinating as it helped elaborate on some subtleties and confirmed some suspicions I’d had about possible subplots that the author seemed to allude to during the book. The story itself felt dark and claustrophobic to me as the two main characters seemed trapped in their own personal make up which greatly impacted their ability to connect as a couple.

7. Maeve Binchy:    Heart and Soul
8. Kate Summerscale:   The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
9. Kristin Cashore:   Graceling

Maeve Binchy is the ultimate comfort read for me. When I read her books I feel like I am listening to a much loved neighbor or friend back home in Ireland relating a story she heard about so-and-so down the street. I love feeling transported back to Ireland each time I read one of her books.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher was interesting and disturbing. I found it difficult to read about the murder of a child but interested in the historical details of this period and this true story.

Graceling was a recommendation from Trina, another member of my book club. I really enjoyed this teen fantasy book. The main character is such a strong female within a fierce male world. Her strength and bravery make her an inspiring role model for girls. I have another book by Krisitn Cashore called Fire, and while it is not a sequel, it is set in the same world. I’m looking forward to reading it.

10. Jeanne Birdsall:  The Penderwicks
11. Jeanne Birdsall:  The Penderwicks on Gardam Street.
12. Annie Barrows:  The Magic Half
13. Rick Riordan:   Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 1: The Lightning Thief

This month I was content to dive into children’s and teen fiction. I was nesting up a storm in preparation for the baby’s arrival and found myself using any spare time to organize, organize, organize  That left little time to read and when I went to bed I was too tired to read much before falling asleep.

The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street were great reads. Ashley and Caitlin loved listening to these and I loved reading them. Any opportunity we had during the day went to reading these. The story in the first books is of four sisters and their widowed father renting a cottage on a large estate for their summer vacation. The girls get to know the young boy living in the main house and the teenage boy who works as a gardener on the estate. Lots of fun adventures as well as deeper issues around the death of the mother, how parents parent, different levels of freedom children have and children’s’ interactions with mean adults.

In the sequel the Penderwick sisters are trying to prevent their father from remarrying when their aunt reminds him of his promise to their mother that he would date again after she died. There is lots of humor to balance the weightier issue of life after the death of the mother.

The Magic Half I read only to Ashley. It was for our times spent alone together. Annie Barrows co-wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I read earlier this year. Ashley enjoyed  Barrows’s Ivy & Bean books, which are chapter books for girls of 1st or 2nd grade age. The Magic Half is a more mature chapter book about a young girl, Miri, who is the middle child between two sets of twins. She feels left out and lonely, even more so now that her family has moved to a new house that has a legend surrounding it. She discovers a means of traveling back in time to her new house in1935, where she meets Molly, a girl her age living in the house. Molly lives with her Aunt and cousins and a grandma who is bedridden and seems senile. Molly’s aunt and cousins are abusive to her and Miri wants to help her escape to her own time so that life will be better for both of them together. Ashley and I enjoyed both the story and the time spent together reading it.

14. Rick Riordan:   Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 2: The Sea of Monsters
15. Rick Riordan:   Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 3: The Titan’s Curse
16. Bill and Martha Sears:  The Healthiest Kids in the Neighborhood
17. Evelyn Raab:   The Clueless Vegetarian

I decided to read the Percy Jackson series to discover what all the hype was about. My friend’s daughter had been reading them and then checking reference books out of her school library to learn more about Greek mythology. I loved reading about Greek mythology myself in my teens and 20s. Visiting Greece twice in my 20s just added to my interest. I thought the first book was a good book but not a great one, yet I found myself wanting to find out how the story evolved and so I’m reading through the series. The second book was much better than the first. The plot and character development were much stronger. The third book is holding the story well and I find myself interested in what is in store for Percy and the other characters.

The Healthiest Kids in the Neighborhood is an educational read. Some information is not new because I am generally interested in food and healthy eating. There are some great explanations of how the right foods are good for you and why the junk for you is bad for you. It makes it easier for me to share nutritional information with Ashley and Caitlin. I have been conscious, but not extreme, about their diet, over the years and this book provides a lot of information to share with them as they learn about making healthy food choices throughout their life.

Evelyn Raab is my favorite cook book author. I have her other two books Clueless in the Kitchen and The Clueless Baker, which I use a lot. Her books are the rare cook books where I use many of her recipes and any time I try a new recipe, it turns out very good. I bought The Clueless Vegetarian a few years ago after I bought the other two. I was interested in its content but haven’t really used it. Coming back to it now I find myself earmarking lots of recipes in it that I would like to try. I am particularly keen to get started on the soups section. Winter is coming and that means good comfort food for cold days. Lots of possibilities within this book.

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A friend of mine is a very talented bag designer. When I originally heard that Laura made bags using glitter vinyl, I have to admit that all I heard was “vinyl” and was very sceptical about these bags looking any good. I am very pleased to say that I was so wrong! On seeing her bags I immediately fell in love with the orange glitter vinyl and ordered the bag you see in the photo above.

A few months later Laura and I spoke about designing a bag for me with a penguin on the front. We settled on the penguin image I use on the back of greeting cards that I make. Laura mocked-up the image for me and then encouraged me to try the new design of bag she was experimenting with, the zipper and single ribbon strap as opposed to the snap button and double handles design. Voila, my penguin bag. I love it. The design is perfect for all my basic day-to-day accessories: keys, phone, garage door opener, sunglasses, purse, small first aid kit and then there is still room for a couple of nappies (diapers) and a small pack of baby wipes or, when I’m without babies, a regular sized paperback book. I love my bags.

I also love dragonflies. Laura came up with this design for me.

Caitlin and Ashley love my penguin bag. For Caitlin’s birthday in May she asked for a Glittersweet bag and designed the image herself. She explained in great detail to Laura how she wanted her owl to look. When Laura presented her with her bag before school one morning close to her birthday she was so thrilled with how her idea had been transferred to the bag.

Ashley also chose a bag as her sibling gift for Caitlin’s birthday (we buy one gift for the non-birthday children). She too came up with what she wanted on the bag and described it to Laura. My girls and I are very satisfied customers.

Laura’s bags are available at Glitterweet studio online. I’ve been eyeing her bag with the truck on it. I can see Ethan loving it to tote around his little cars, buses and trucks. I wonder if James would appreciate a Glittersweet man bag for Christmas. Though that sounds very much like the ultimate oxymoron to me 🙂

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“It is a curious commentary on our society that we tolerate all degrees of explicitness in our literature and mass media as regards sex and violence, but the normal act of breastfeeding is taboo.” – American Academy of Pediatrics

A little something to add to the world about breastfeeding:

From August 2010 Highlights

Here is a sight that we will be seeing again in our home over the next few months and then we will be done. The pump and bottles are sterilizing here but not because we are starting to collect milk to feed to Sean by bottle, which we will no doubt do from time to time as we did with our other little ones. No, we have started this so soon to relieve engorgement which I can frankly say has surprised me. I thought that  tandem nursing Ethan and Sean would mean that there would be no discomfort from my milk production. Oh my was I wrong. I don’t remember this when I was tandem nursing Ashley and Caitlin, but it may be that I have just forgotten after all these years. (After all, with the five year gap between births I completely forgot about the ring of fire until the very moment it happened during the birth with Ethan. Ouch! If I can forget that then I can believe my memory capable of anything!) I only hope the adjustment is short lived and my body stabilizes the milk production, or over-production, soon.

The Monday Musings archive (1-40) can be found over here at my old blog site.

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Archiving Begins

This blog was originally hosted over at blog-city.com and you can view it here. Blog-city will close by 2012, so over the coming months, archives from this previous blog will be showing up here as I transplant earlier blog entries to wordpress. If you subsribe to this blog by email or RSS feed you will see them appear as they are added. Be sure to check the date when you read the post so that you’ll know if it is a current posting or one from the archive. Think of the archive postings as a chance to walk down memory lane with me 🙂

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