Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Forming New Habits

Layla kindly made this sign for me this weekend. I've been keeping it on the kitchen counter. As my family grows and we journey further into homeschooling, my daily routine of showering in the morning was becoming a thorn in my side. Oh, it works fine when children can play nicely while you shower and a baby can sit in a bouncer or exersaucer in the bathroom with you. But once your baby outgrows all that stuff, morning shower time can become complicated.

For quite some time I have been sticking Gunnar in his crib while I shower, but then I have to listen to him cry and call for me most of the time, which doesn't lend to a pleasant showering experience. The other option is waiting until nap time, which was fine when he still napped in the morning, but now he only sleeps in the afternoon. I feel gross having to wait that long to get cleaned up. The third option would be to wake up before Nate and shower. Let's just say that was not going to happen. At least not anytime soon, lol! I can just barely cope with getting up between 6:30 and 7:30 am most days, and some days not at all.

So, showering at night was becoming critical. I realized this a loooooong time ago, but I have struggled to make the change. Layla and Julius were encouraging me because they like that I am more available since I don't have to spend all that time getting ready. So I started Sunday night and I managed to repeat the habit last night, too! I just got to keep going, because it just removes one more thing from a potentially crazy day to try and get done. Thanks, Layla. I think your sign is working. You can keep pestering Mommy. I don't mind the (nagging) encouragement!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Generation Later

It has taken some time, but yesterday, Layla finally agreed to wear this suit to church. It was mine and my mother saved it all these years. As you can see, it was a bit small, but at least she wore it and we got a picture of her in it. I'll have to ask my mom to dig out the pictures of me in this suit.

If you look closely you can see the egg on Julius' forehead. After the church potluck yesterday, he was racing a tractor around the church basement and crashed right into a coat rack, snapping a hard plastic piece from off the bottom. His nose bled some, but his hard head apparently took most of the blow. After a few minutes of crying, he was back to playing. It was a good lesson to watch where you are going!

Gunnar was just a bit jealous that Layla and Julius were getting their pictures taken and wanted in on the action, too!

I have more pictures from the month of September to post, so hopefully I will get around to it this week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homeshool Readings

Since the start of school, we have read and enjoyed both Gulliver's Travels and Peter Pan. These are adaptations of the original books for younger readers. I am not always a fan of reading a non-original version, but the reality is that I am reading to a 5 and 3 year-old. I read Ann of Green Gables to them last year in it's original form, and they seemed to struggle with the overall length of the story and the mature text. These books are targeted for elementary school aged children and have many pictures throughout the chapters. The kids, especially Layla, are loving them. Julius has a harder time following an audible story. Layla wants to read Oliver Twist, next. I have tried to warn her that it is not necessarily a "happy" story. We will see what she thinks!

I was recently asked how and what we choose for our homeschooling curriculum. I will try and get around to that, soon, even though there is not much to discuss, as we currently take a very relaxed approach to schooling.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Valid Questions For Both the Right and Left

Just some food for thought. View with an adult frame of mind and try and keep emotions aside, lol!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boosting Your Immune System Naturally

While I don't have time to go into great depth on this subject, I thought I could at least bullet some ways to help boost your immune system. As we enter the fall/winter season, it seems that we become more vulnerable to colds, flues and other viruses. Dr. Mercola recently posted a video on many ways to naturally boost your immune system, so I thought I would share some of his tips. I respect the quality of his information and trust his opinion on most health topics. So here we go!

So, your throat may be feeling scratchy, or your stomach doesn't feel quite right. What do you do?

1. Eliminate sugars - Sugars are proven to impair your immune system, so at the first sign of symptoms, cut your sugars for a few days. This will give your immune system a hands up in fighting the infection.

2. Go to bed - Our immune systems function best when we get 6-8 hours of sleep. So if you aren't feeling so good, try not to burn the midnight oil for a few days. Do your best to minimize interruptions during the night(parents with young children, good luck!).

3. Deal with your stress - Research is showing that stress has a much bigger impact on our physical and mental health than we have ever before realized. While we can not eliminate stress completely, at the first signs of sickness, try and lessen your stress load. Delegate some responsibilities to others. Spend some time in prayer and relaxation. Turn off your cell phone, computer and TV for a few hours. Just let the unimportant things slide for a few days.

4. Probiotics - In our modern day society, new research is showing many people's bodies to be deficient in important good bacteria. This is due to our very sterilized food chain, overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial agents, and the lack of naturally fermented foods in the Western diet. A quality probiotic supplement or probiotic foods and drinks such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and naturally fermented pickles, salsas and sauerkraut can deliver much needed good bacteria to your digestive tract. It is now believed that your digestive tract makes up 85% of our immune systems, so if we take care of our digestive health, we are taking care of our overall health.

5. Eat healthy, unprocessed foods - Again, to take care of our bodies, we need to be putting the good stuff in. Healthy unprocessed foods deliver the most nutrients to our immune systems, which provide the fuel to fight off infection and disease.

6. Vitamin C - While it is easy to get Vitamin C, many doctors in the natural health circles are recognizing the importance of taking Vitamin C that is derived from a natural, whole food source. Synthetic, isolated forms of Vitamin C are not as beneficial. Dr. Mercola stated that he prefers Vitamin C from Acerola cherries because they tend to have 80X the Vitamin C of other foods.

7. Oil of Oregano - This supplement is shown to be beneficial in fighting off infection. Dr. Mercola said to look for Oil of Oregano with a high concentration of carvacrol. The higher the carvacrol concentration, the greater the antimicrobial effects.

8. Olive Leaf Extract - Research shows that Olive Leaf Extract has amazing antimicrobial actions without any toxic side effects.

9. Elderflower Extract - It is shown to support your immune system.

10. Vitamin D3 - There is tons of amazing research on the effects of Vitamin D3. If you have the time, check it out for yourself. Dr. Mercola stated that a daily dose of Vitamin D3 produces 200 to 300 antimicrobial peptides, which is basically your body's natural antibiotics.

Dr. Mercola also stated that Peppermint powder and Yarrow are also affective in boosting your immune system among other natural supplements. His main recommendation was that all supplements need to be high quality, made with raw material and processed in a way that doesn't harm the useful qualities of the ingredients.

I thought that these were a good starting place for anyone looking for natural ways to help their immune systems. On a daily basis, whether we are healthy or sick, we drink Monavie(one of the blends that contains probiotics) and take a probiotic supplement or eat some form of probiotic food. When we get sick, I try and add some additional natural supplements to our diets to help us fight and recover from the infection. We have been utilizing many of these ideas, but I will definitely have to give a few more of them a try the next time we start getting sick. I hope these are helpful, but I pray you won't even have to use them because you will remain in excellent health!

Brush Your Teeth

This morning, as Layla and Julius were brushing their teeth, Gunnar watched and proceeded to brush his own teeth with the crayon in his hand. Nice! Fortunately, he was doing a good job of pretending, because the crayon was unscathed(other than slobber) and I could not find any wax on his teeth. So much to learn from big brother and big sister!

Monday, September 20, 2010

No More Puking

Or so we think. Julius puked for the last time Friday, but did not regain his appetite until Sunday. We were out of town for the weekend and when we came home Sunday night, both Nate and I were feeling nauseous. I actually laid on the couch for a bit with a bowl, because I was not sure I would make it to the bathroom. I skipped dinner and Nate barely ate anything, as well. We got the kids in bed and went to bed ourselves by 8:30! Wow, that is early for us. It seemed to work, because I didn't end up throwing up and this morning I am feeling much better. Nate was feeling better, too. I hope we are past that bug as a family. Nate, Layla and myself managed to get through it without much fuss, while Gunnar and Julius seemed to take the worst of it. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of blogging a bit more this week. Talk to you soon! I hope you all are staying healthier than we have been!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Be Back Soon!

We have a nice little stomach bug here at our house. I've been too busy catching puke, to blog! I'll be back soon after life returns to a more normal state! Maybe I can even scrounge up a post on the best natural ways to cope with sickness. Hey, that might be necessary since we are entering flu season soon. Keep healthy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not What I Thought

I was so proud of myself the other day when I found a pair of wind pants, size XL at the Salvation Army by my parents' house. They still had the tags on them! They may be red, but Nate's school colors are red and white, so he could make it work. As he was holding them up looking at them, I thought to myself, man, that waist looks small! Nate put them on, or painted them on, so to say. I started laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. It took me a good ten minutes to regain my composure. I had a hard time keeping the camera still enough to take a clear picture! Turns out they were a youth's size XL! Sorry honey! I will have to do better next time, lol! At least some kid at your school will enjoy them!

Nate was good sport enough to let me take his picture and he gave me permission to put it on my blog! He took his own picture with his phone and sent it to friends for a good laugh. I refrained from taking a picture from behind because they were really tight! I figured Nate didn't need a picture of that floating around the Internet! Thanks honey. I enjoyed the good belly laugh. Thanks for having such a great sense of humor! Hopefully others will get a kick out of this, too!

Monday, September 13, 2010

End of Season Garden

My garden is an overgrown mess, full of weeds, half-dead plants and the first of fall's dropped leaves. I can never seem to keep my act together for an entire season of gardening! I was doing quite well until the last few weeks of July, then our summer got crazy busy and before I knew it my garden was out of control and I had lost all motivation to re-tame it! Oh well, I will have to do better next year!

So, for your viewing pleasure, I took pictures of the last remaining spots of beauty in this jungle of a garden. I made sure to take them at certain angles so not to ruin their beauty with some of the unsightly plants that they are next to! Now I am looking forward to those first few frosts that will do the rest of the garden in and I can chop it all down and dream of next year's garden!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Layla did this all by herself! I just gave her another calender for reference. Her numbers are neater than mine! Just look at my chicken scratch in the upper right corner. She has been doing this for me for the past few months, but this is by far her best job. Good job, Layla!

It's Cool Outside

The kids and I have been enjoying the cool and comfortable weather. It's such a pleasure to be outside wearing jeans, but still feel some warmth from the sun. Gunnar found a secret little place to dig and play. I try and remind myself that it is good for them to get nice and dirty. Though I did ask Layla and Julius to quit throwing dirt into the air, because I had a heck of a time scrubbing dirt from their scalps a few weeks back!

Visiting Daddy's School

We went with Nate last week to the open house at his school. While he greeted parents out in the hallway, Layla, Julius and Gunnar raided his equipment closet. Man, just seeing this closet brings back memories of gym as a kid. Does every gym closet look like this, lol! We had to stay in his office because the gym floor was covered with dirt and debris because all the gym lights were getting replaced. It was a hot and humid evening, so I asked Nate if he had a fan that we could use to cool off his office. He brought me this.

A little overkill, but it kept us cool! The kids always love visiting daddy at work!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do Over....Please!

Yesterday morning was....interesting. Before Gunnar, Julius and I even made it halfway down the stairs, crying, pouting and general disobedience were already taking place. A few minutes later, Layla came down to join the rest of the family and added to the already chaotic environment. By the time Nate was kissing us all goodbye and wishing me a better turnout of the day, I had made my decision that we needed a "do over."

All four of us watched daddy drive away and then we marched back upstairs to bed. I let Layla and Julius take a magazine to their beds, and Gunnar came to bed with me. For the next 25 minutes I rested my eyes and Gunnar quietly laid next to me. I could hear Layla and Julius enjoying their magazines in their room. After almost a half and hour, the baby was ready to get up. The four of us headed back downstairs and enjoyed a more peaceful morning routine. Sometimes you just need to ask, "Can I start over?" Thank goodness, yesterday we could!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Links for Delaying Solids

At the request of a friend, I wanted to offer some links to articles regarding the delaying of solid foods in an infants diet. Here ya go!

Why Delay Solid Food?

It's Baby Food Time

Heed Natural Timing before Infant Introduction to Solid Foods

I really enjoyed rereading over this information again. I hope you enjoy it too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School

We had our first day of school today, along with all the other local kids. We watched the buses whiz by our house as we sat at the dining room table to do our work. We kept things pretty light and easy today, like we always tend to do. We will save the hard core studies for when they are older. Julius worked on some letters sounds and tracing over letters. He also did a bit with shapes. Layla stuck with some basic addition. She was having a hard time concentrating with Julius at the table. She is not used to having another student around! She kept wanting to help him with what he was doing, but she needed to focus on her own work. The baby was getting a bit frustrated that he was not at the table, so I set him up with some crayons and a coloring book. After just a bit of work it was back to all play. In the afternoon we read the first two chapters of Gulliver's Travels. Layla was not excited at first, but after just a few pages she was very in tune to the story. She even wanted to discuss the book at dinner. She was curious why those little people tied Gulliver up and took him as their prisoner. All in all a great start to the school year!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Officially Weaned

This little man hasn't nursed for the past week, so I'd have to say that a chapter is finished in his precious life. No longer a baby, but on to becoming a big boy. 17 1/2 months of nursing. Wow! I have never done that before, lol! Layla only nursed for 10 1/2 months and poor Julius only did about 7 1/2. I feel horrible, but my views on health and nutrition were so different a few years back.

I think the reason I was able to successfully nurse so long is because I handled his food introduction much different than with my other two kids. With Layla and Julius I began introducing cereal around 4 to 5 months and quickly proceeded to fruits and vegetables. Layla got exclusively homemade baby food and Julius got only store-bought baby food. I noticed that as soon as I did this, nursing became less and less of a priority to both them and me. They struggled to nurse efficiently throughout the day and then wanted to chow at the milk bar all night long. It was not fun times.

But with Gunnar, I had read some interesting theories on food introduction that differed quite a bit from what conventional doctors and baby sources teach. Four months, five months and six months passed and I exclusively nursed. Around six months of age, about once or twice a week I would give him a little bit of mashed up avocado. And then, still only once or twice a week, I would let him have some mashed banana. These special treats only happened between nursings, so that they would not fill him up and make him too full to nurse. This happened over a period of 3 or 4 months.

During this time I made sure he had lots of "tastes" of goodies from our meals, but never very much, because I didn't want to take away from the priority of nursing. This way his taste buds became very accustomed to tastes and flavors of what we ate, without diminishing his feedings.

Gunnar at 10 months old

At 10 months old I began to feed him several times a week, and by12 months old he was eating most meals with us, right from our table. This kid never saw a lick of baby food. And I can say from experience that getting to feed your little one right from your table is much easier then hassling with baby food, whether you are making your own, or stocking up at the store. Plus, he has been my least picky eater because he knew no different than what we eat everyday. This kid will eat everything from fish to Brussels sprouts, beans to pork, you name it, this kids is likely to eat it (on most days).

At 12 months old, Gunnar was still nursing early in the mornings, before both his naps each day, when he went to bed and a few times in the night. As the months past and he grew older, he dropped his morning nap, which dropped a feeding. Soon he was no longer needing to nurse in the morning either. By 16 months old, he was rarely nursing in the day and only nursing about twice a night. These last few weeks he dropped to one nursing at night. Last week I decided that I was ready for a full nights sleep, and I quit nursing him entirely. The first night or two he seemed a bit put out, but since then he has been good. I am happy that I was able to give him such superior nutrition for the past year and a half and I wish I could have done better for my first two kids. I will definitely be proceeding very slowly with food with my next baby since I feel it made all the difference with successful nursing and created an excellent eater. Hope this is helpful to any of you mamas out there!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Keeping Out the Heat

Yesterday we kept the curtains drawn and the fans on exhaust to try and keep the house as cool as possible. Layla and Julius got set up with a little Milo and Otis during Gunnar's nap, a special treat in our house.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Has God Had His Worship Today?

Have you worshiped the Lord today? I know many days I forget. I tend to get in my Bible reading and some prayer, but often forget to partake in worship until I am at church. Worship is not just for church time, but can happen anytime. Today while wiping up crumbs from the table, "You Are Good" came to mind and I began to sing. I haven't sang this song in quite some time. We used to attend a church that played these songs during their worship service, and I forgot how powerful they were. I quickly did a YouTube search and before long the kids and I were enjoying a very spirited little worship service of our own. Maybe these songs will help you enjoy an impromptu worship time of your own. If they are not to your liking, find some of your favorite songs on the web, your Ipod or put in a CD. Let's try to remember to give the Lord the worship He deserves!

(On a side note, music is not the only way to offer worship to the Lord. Pastor Robert Dickie has a wonderful book called What the Bible Teaches About Worship, that talks in depth of the variety of forms of worship that the Bible outlines. It's a great read.)