Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

My grandiose plans are crumbling around me. I had it all figured out. After delivering my sweet little bundle, I would come home, rest two weeks, then begin my 'after baby weight loss campaign'. I was sure that it would only take eight to ten weeks to be back in pre-pregnancy shape. The degree of my presumption had not quite hit me. But hit me it would.

My plan involved taking full advantage of our long driveway, since walking to the mailbox and back is a full half mile. The children and I even planned into our school day a half hour block to go out and walk together. A lovely walk in lovely weather all the while losing those unlovely was all going to work perfectly! Allowing the boys to run off some energy in the middle of school was a fringe benefit that made the whole thing almost too good to be true.

You know that verse in Proverbs (16:9) that says, 'A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps'? It's true. Ask me how I know. God uses various means to get our attention, and change our big plans. This time my lesson was hammered home with, well...a sledge hammer. Having it fall from a four-foot high shelf onto my bare foot has precluded not only driveway walking but also my presumptuous predictions.

So, while the children are busy having a Crayola-esque 'Name That Color' contest for the purpley-blackish-green color of Mom's foot, I will be meditating on scripture. Something along the lines of 'Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that' (James 4:14-15). Yeah, that.

I wonder if they make toe nail polish in this unnamed color?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Battling Illness Naturally (Part One) ‘The Why’

So why do it anyway? What could possibly be the point of making your own medicine? The bottom line answer is simply that the 'run-yourself-ragged, get sick, pump in antibiotics, feel a little better, then repeat' method does not work. It is a failing system. You know what I mean, too. How many families do you know (or even your own?) that seem to just get over an illness when they start battling another? It is a cycle that repeats all winter long for far too many families.

As I have been studying over the last few years about the overuse of antibiotics, and the poor state of folks' natural immunity these days, I have become determined to find a better way. Before antibiotics, people did not die from every minor cold. Our current desperate reliance on antibiotics forgets that God did not leave us defenseless. We do have immune systems that, when properly cared for, can fight off illness. This plan makes us stronger in the process instead of weaker, like the antibiotic model.

From my studies, I have developed a two-fold plan of attack for dealing with illness in our family. The first is building (sometimes from the ground up, starting from scratch) our immune systems. I have learned that the immune system is more directly affected by what is happening in the digestive system than by any other factor. Weird but true. The second part of the plan is treating an illness once exposure has occurred naturally with homemade herbal medicine.

Our fledgling attempts last year to boost immunity and naturally treat illness were very successful. Starting earlier, and armed with an extra years' worth of studies, I hope to raise the bar this time. Not only are my hopes that we will "not get sick", but also, that we will continue to strengthen our immune systems enough to be able to serve sick people (i.e. not leaving Grandma and Grandaddy to fend for themselves when sick).

I will be posting Parts Two and Three about building immunity and treating illness, and a special episode about how to make herbal tinctures and syrups at home. Stay Tuned!

P.S. All our efforts to prevent illness do not detract from our understanding of God's sovereignty. He is sovereign-no question. Sin has caused sickness and death to enter the world-it is a fact. There are times when illnesses are our own fault for not being good stewards of our health (i.e. living on Dr. Pepper and M&M's), and other times when God allows them for our good and His glory. My goals: (1) simply to be obedient to the amount of knowledge He has allowed me to have and (2) to not be laid up with illness knowing all the while that I brought it on myself by slothfulness or foolishness.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Free Advice and Infants

I love free advice. Especially when it comes to infants. All those folks who bombard me kindly offer and explain the 'proper method' for raising a baby do me a great service. I imagine they have no idea what a valuable commodity their words of wisdom have become in our life.

I do not actually follow their advice of course. I am fairly picky about my sources. Unless it is basic Biblical principles being shared, I just smile sweetly and thank the offerer kindly, promising to "remember that". In cases of methodology, I do not take advice from anyone with fewer or younger children than my own. Nothing personal, but when I do more laundry in a day than an advisor does in a month, their advice is less-than-helpful.

Besides, if after seven times I have not figured it out, there is obviously a learning curve too steep to for me to surmount, and the advice would be wasted anyway.

Just this week I was encouraged to, "Give dat baby a sucker and strap her in a highchair". The fact that "dat baby" is only three weeks old and cannot hold up her own head is apparently irrelevant. I also have, in the past, been urged to give a 2 month old infant a chicken bone to gnaw on. My Grandfather swore that he always did that with my Dad, and that he turned out fine. The whole thing sounds way too similar to that 'Your-Dad-Has-Brown-Hair-Because-Of-A-Diaper-Accident-While-I-Was-Busy-Watching-Football' story. No thanks, Pop.

All this great advice could be a product of simple geography. Where else but in the Southern U.S. might I find a young mother to assure me that a slice of fatback was by far the most effective pacifier for a little one? I get a little weak in the stomach just remembering the end of a jiggly white slab rhythmically moving on her toddler's lips. But she was right-revolting as it was, it did appear to be a good pacifier.

To alleviate any guilt I might otherwise feel from not putting into practice any of these sage approaches, I utilize the words of wisdom in other ways. Whenever we need some stress relief, or someone is crying, all I need to do is whisper to Mr. Visionary that somebody needs to get that child a chicken bone. The snickering over the chicken bone (and retching over the fatback) lightens the mood tremendously. I told you they were a valuable commodity-we just added to our family repertoire of 'inside jokes'.  

Now we can prove two scriptures in one fell swoop. "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" Proverbs 11:14. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" Proverbs 17:22.

Did I mention I love free advice?

Fussy Baby

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Buddy System Begins

Systems are good. They work for McDonald's, large families and human digestion. The more planned-out and  prayed-over  the system, the greater the benefit from using it. The more variables involved in any given process, the more necessary a system becomes.  If even folks like the Duggars, who have crafted for themselves a life apparently void of many variables, need the Buddy System, then perhaps I do as well.

Case in point, the children and I went on our very first outing alone since Babydoll's arrival to run a few errands this week. Mr. Visionary had put me on restriction during my last trimester, as going into labor in public with six children in tow did not meet his standard for prudence. It had been ages since the last time I was out alone with the children, hence, we were not only out-of-practice, but in our former outings, everyone could walk, and the whole process involved one less carseat. Variables, you know.

Throughout our preparations to leave home (a full-hour process from the time I said, "OK, I think we're ready-let's get our shoes on".), as I was, I realized that we were sorely lacking in the system department. The old "system" (Mom standing fully ready, chanting, "You-go get a sippy cup",  "You-make sure there are wipes in the bag", etc.) would no longer work. Not that it was a well-oiled machine before, but with fewer variables, we could wing it.

These days, with diapers that flood on the way out the door, the weather changes necessitating a whole new arsenal of excursion paraphernalia, and a new van-seating arrangement to get used to, the Buddy System has become a requirement for sanity smooth exiting strategy. The Buddy System involves an older child being paired up with a younger child to help them with miscellaneous tasks. In a pre-departure moment, this would involve Literary Lady double-checking Babydoll's  diaper bag for 14 diapers, 12 changes of clothes, burp towels, etc., The Flower Child packing a snack for Doodle and making sure her shoes and socks stay on the entire 50 feet from the mudroom door to the van, the Engineer helping Little Napoleon tie his shoes, and The Dreamer making sure Mom has her keys, glasses, purse, directions, grocery list, etc.

I'm making lists for the Buddies to post by the back door, packing emergency backups in the van, and planning in an extra hour to get out the door.

If that doesn't work, I'm going back to never leaving home with the children without Mr. Visionary. Somehow emergencies always seem like adventures with him around.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bald is Beautiful, But Hair is Nice, Too

Granted, His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and there are a myriad of reasons for His workings that I will never understand. It is just a given. We're dust, He's God, and that's that. I do, however wonder if sometimes His reasons are for no other purpose than just a fun blessing for us- a sweet surprise to keep us from putting Him in a "what-God-always-does" box.

Although she may one day use her hair to glorify the Lord in some way (at the very least bless her husband), the chances of my daughter becoming a circus acrobat that swings from her hair are slim. Anyway, judging from our other girls, the amount of hair at birth has little relevance to how much they will eventually have. I know this-I've mistaken their hairbrushes for small furry animals before. So the logical conclusion is that Babydoll's hair is simply a sweet present from the Lord.

For those unfamilliar with the usual hair models bald-but-beautiful babies our family has produced, a quick picture show:

Literary Lady

The Literary Lady~ 15 months old

Flower Child

The Flower Child~6 months old

The Engineer

The Engineer~5 months old

The Dreamer

The Dreamer~6 months old


Little Napoleon~on his first birthday


The Doodle~2 months old

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Our Newest Bundle Has Arrived!

The moment I have been waiting for has come! Our newest Little One has arrived, and we couldn't be more blessed:

Babydoll 9-03-2006

Newly born Friday afternoon, and already we can't remember

life without her (nor would we care to).

Babydoll was almost a pound heavier (8lb. 6oz.) than my previous heaviest baby.  Since I didn't gain any extra weight, the midwife attributes it to the dietary changes I made this pregnancy. Fascinating stuff-but more on that later. Stay tuned-especially if you're interested in the Nourishing Traditions approach to healthy eating.

I'm gonna take a blogging break, but I'll be back. I can't let these days and nights of exhausted ecstasy pass without soaking up all that wonderful baby smell, as well as all the coos and cuddles I possibly can.

P.S. After a bit of research, we were able to determine the identity of that dark substance on her head. Having never witnessed it on any of our babies before, we were a little taken aback. But the verdict is in: It's hair.