Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Boat Tour

We took a boat ride on a catamaran boat like the one below.  Except for the kids, Jon, myself, and Jon's parents all got a little green around the gills at some point.  We went from the southern coast of Kauai all the way around the west coast of the island to the Nepali coast and then back down.  It took several hours to get there and back.  Going up the coast was the roughest portion of the trip and I enjoyed the fresh air and being able to see out so I wouldn't toss my cookies.  It was beautiful though.  We saw whales, sea turtles, spinner dolphins, and a bottlenose dolphin.  We stopped to go snorkeling and the water was so blue you could just see them from the boat.  Jon went scuba diving, Connie and Deane took Ewan out snorkeling, and I stayed back with Isaac and Graham.  The boys liked going in the lower part of the boat (where all the adults stayed far away from due to the increased feeling of sea sickness while down there).  And Ewan knew that on boats the bathroom is called the "head". So, of course, he had to use the head and made sure that we all knew it was called that too.  We had lunch, lots of fun drinks--speaking of drinks--the bar was opened on the boat and I just couldn't help but think that boating and alchohol don't really mix--for many reasons.  One of the crew members joked with me that he thought I'd want a festive beverage for sure since I had all those kids.  I think the last thing the kids needed was a tipsy mommy helping them navigate themselves around the boat.  

Spinner dolphin next to the boat.
Humpback whale breeching.
Waving tail.
Baby humpback whale jumping out of the water.  The whales are there seasonally.  The mothers go there to birth their babies and stay for several months while the babies grow.  They drink up to 200 gallons of milk a day!  Once the babies are several months old they migrate where the mother then is able to eat.  She doesn't eat the whole time they are in the safety waters.
Jon back from scuba diving.  Telling a story.
When you are on a boat ride you get to drink fun juice--with high fructose corn syrup! What a treat!
Deane (FIL) back from snorkeling.
Scene from Jurassic Park.

Me and Graham.

Connie (MIL) with Isaac and a tired Graham.
Isaac looking out.
Jon's scuba instructor going over important details.
Graham conked out twice on the boat and this was his preferred way to sleep.  He wanted the hat over his face. 
More scenery.
Ewan and Jon pre-scuba dive.
What a (cleanly shaven) handsome husband I have!
Scenery, rough waters.

Chowing down on breakfast and enjoying the day.

Body Boarding

We rented a body board and decided to spend a few hours playing in the ocean with it.  Ewan thought it was great fun.  Isaac is still a little wary of the waves so he didn't want anything to do with it. Jon and I had our turns on it too.  It brought back a lot of great memories of going to the beach when I was a kid.  We just used a thick canvas blow up raft but it did the same thing.   

Every once in a while Ewan would have to get out of the water to warm up.  He doesn't have that much body fat to keep him warm in the cool water.  

Another memory builder.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Day With Ina May

Yesterday I went to "A Day With Ina May Gaskin" that was sponsored by Heart and Hands Doula Services based out of Pittsburgh, PA.  Ina May is a well known midwife that has a passion for decreasing the level of maternal mortality here in the States.  She has written a few books about midwifery and childbirth.  You can read more about her here.

I learned some fun and interesting things about Sphincter Law, how the use of technology has decreased the use of our hands as tools to comfort and aid mothers in labor, post-date inductions, demand c-sections, and the state of maternal mortality in the United States.  

The most moving part was learning about how the maternal mortality rate has not improved since 1982!  And how it is actually rising.  And how no one really seems to care or be doing anything about it.  She started a quilt several years ago to comemmorate the women who have lost their lives after birthing their children.  Some of course, were unavoidable--but many were preventable.  She hopes to use it as a tool to help open the eyes of those that have power to make GOOD changes in healthcare to pregnant mothers.  She started a website devoted to this topic. 

I am excited about using some of here teaching in my classes. I have read her books and was familiar with most of the information but hearing it in person and connecting stories to the material put it together for me in a new way that I hope to apply to my classes.  I got my picture taken with her as she signed my book. I'd post it but a friend took it with her camera. 

It left me thinking about what can I do to help make an impact on the state of birth and health of pregnant women.  I've been thinking about going back to school after Jon's schooling is finished to get my degree in nursing.  I think I'd love being an advocate for women by helping those who do want a natural birth in the hospital.  If I get my nursing degree it open up the door to go to midwifery school later on if I desire to go down that road.  I've also been thinking about getting certified to be a doula. I'll have a while to decide on all these things but it is something I'm chewing on. Of course by the time Jon is done with his schooling I'd be entering school in my late 30s.  That seems so old to be going back to school and starting a new career.  People do it all the time, I know.  

If you haven't read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, I highly recommend it.  It has several positive birth stories in it, and some great things to be consider as you think about giving birth.  

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Aloha! Favorite Shots from Hawaii

Climbing on lava rocks looking for crabs.

Midway through our 5 hour catamaran boat tour.

Swinging on a hammock.
Isaac and I had special time together at the playground.

Another canyon shot.

Taking a walk on the beach.

Isaac playing on a playground--right by the beach.
A canyon overlook. We are even with the clouds and close to the center of the island of Kauai. An attempted family picture with some tired boys.

Graham by a waterfall fountain at our hotel.

PoiPu beach

I have almost 500 pictures so it is hard to know where to start. I'll start off by saying that Kauai is beautiful and I don't really want to go home yet. We have had a blast here and I have some fun stories and amazing shots to share. The pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the surroundings. I'm so thankful to be here in Hawaii. We are about to pack up and get ready to check out of the hotel. We have to check out at 11am but our plane doesn't leave until 9pm. We can still hang out at the hotel--but we won't have access to our room. We are going to hang out at the pool and beach for the day until we need to go to the airport. We have to fly all night and are really hoping that the kids sleep on the plane. If they don't sleep that means we don't get to. I'm nervous that we will turn into zombies by the time we land in Pittsburgh. I'll be sure and take a picture if that happens!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Benefits of Being a Third Child

It is true, once you start adding siblings to your first child you realize that you relax on some things.  Discipline, no.  Well, maybe for some.  But things like how old the second or third child is when he/she gets their first taste of ice cream or cookie get younger and younger.  Or eating off the floor isn't as big of a deal to you because you saw how your first child survived even though you were much more diligent to keep the floor swept, vacuumed, and clean.  Once your first child is old enough to watch tv, how do you keep your second/third/fourth child from watching tv?  You get slack.  Even though you tell yourself you won't, it still happens.

Ewan got his first ice cream when he was 2.  2!  I don't remember how old Isaac was but he was a lot younger.  Same thing for cookies.  When we thought Ewan was old enough to start chewing gum then it was hard to keep it from Isaac too.  Well, apparently the age for gum chewing with the third child is 18 months.  

Okay, well maybe our third child found some gum in my purse, knew what it was, unpeeled it, knew to put it in his mouth and chew.  I didn't give it to him.  But I didn't freak out after he put it in his mouth either (which I would have after child #1 or 2).  I waited to see what would happen.  I figured he would swallow it.  Or spit it out somewhere. Speaking of which, I should probably go see if I can find that chewed treasure somewhere.  But he figured out how to chew it and swallow the juices that come from a yummy piece of gum.  He chewed it longer than Ewan or Isaac did when they were first getting the hang of gum.  It was a camera grabbing opportunity--I just couldn't resist.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Ear Infection Blues

Graham, a.k.a. "The Shoveler", falling asleep at dinner.  
He is nicknamed "The Shoveler" because he loves to eat.  Anything.  Anytime.  And he loves to shovel his food into his mouth.  Eating is a joy for him.  

I took him to the doctor today because he has had a cruddy cough for the past several days that was getting worse, not better.  He hadn't (as far as I could tell) been running fever and had been pretty chipper.  He didn't sleep that great last night which is usually a sign that worse things are to come.  I called the dr. and got an appointment for him for this afternoon.  The poor thing was diagnosed with 2 ear infections--AGAIN.  This is probably the 5th time he has had an ear infection in his 18 months of living.  

As we sat down to dinner he started getting pretty spacy.  He didn't even look at his food.  Or touch it.  Jon sits across from Graham and said, "Look, Graham is falling asleep."  I grabbed the camera, took a few shots, finished my dinner quickly and got him ready for bed.  

The fun part of the day was that Graham and the older boys all got their hair cut today after the dr. appointment.  I think Graham's hair is the shortest it has EVER been.  Shorter than when he was born, even.  He looks very cute--even with his pitiful, sleepy body.  

He should be feeling better in about 24 hours.  I think I got him into the office at the right time. If I had waited another day I think he would have been in a LOT of pain tonight.  

Now, if I can just get over the fact that the pediatrician we saw today laughed at me and was very patronizing then I'll say the day was a success.  Actually, I am over it--I don't like seeing that dr. at the office we go to but when you gotta get in for an appointment sometimes you gotta take what you get.  

As a side note, Graham is 31.5 lbs and is 35 inches tall. Ginormous!  His weight gain is slowing down (which is nice for our arms while we lug him around) but he is still growing like a weed.  

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Filling Daddy's Shoes

What parents don't think their kids look cute when they put on Daddy's big snow boots?  Graham loves to put on everyone else's shoes.  

And look at his big toddler belly!

"Look at me, I did it!!"

"Um, how do I get out of these?"

Look At My Bread!

So, I've been making some changes, slowly but surely in our house.  I have a hate for High Fructose Corn Syrup and want to keep it as far away from our house as possible.  I have a GREAT breadmaker that I got for free from some friends (thank you MacDonalds!) and have decided to stop buying bread from the grocery store.  It is healthier and cheaper to make from home.  It is almost impossible to find grocery bread that doesn't have HFCS in it.  I do the dough in the bread machine then take it out to do the second rising and put it in the oven.  Homemade deliciousness!  I like the bread shape when I bake it in the oven myself.  The bread maching makes the bread more square-shaped and doesn't last as long.  

I addes some sprouted wheat berries to my bread this time too.  I didn't add to many because I wasn't sure whether or not it would disrupt the science of breadmaking but it didn't seem to mess it up. 
Oh, it tastes so good.  And smells so good.  Mmmmmmmmm.....

I've also been making our own yogurt which is soooo much cheaper as well, and doesn't have any weird additives in it.  We eat a LOT of yogurt at our house.  When you are living on a budget a few dollars can go a long way.  

I'll probably be posting some more food changes in the near future but I wanted to share pictures of my pretty bread loaf.