Monday, March 31, 2008

After further review... wasn't food poisoning. I have to retract my slandering of that Most Regal of Milkmaids.

It was a bona fide stomach virus. Yuck. So e5 and Amelia got in on the fun too. E5 climbed into our bed in the middle of the night a few days ago, and then barfed in Mommy's hair. Like she doesn't wake up enough already for nursing.

Amelia didn't wake us up, but I was quite shocked when I opened her bedroom door the next morning to find bright scarlet splatters all over her bed, like a scene from some low-budget zombie flick. Mmmm, tropical punch Kool-Aid puke.

So that was a fun day. And e5 has been having major meltdowns every other day. He loves having a new baby brother, but he hates not getting as much attention, which manifests itself in the form of huge tantrums over everything from getting dressed to playing with Legos.

Oh, and now it seems Amelia has an ear infection.


But through the magic of, well... magic? luck? good living? ... neither mom nor baby got the bug. And the little guy's nearly constant nursing is paying off with better than a pound a week of baby flesh. I did some quick calculations, and at his current growth rate, he should be about 80 lbs by his first birthday. And I'm afraid Lori will have withered away to nothing.

As for that Tech Break thing I was participating in? I was a bit distracted for some reason, so I kind of forgot. I'm sure I had a couple of no-tech days in there, but they were neither planned nor fully appreciated.

I might try to continue that tradition though. I liked it when I was conscious of it.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Catching up, plus some gratuitous baby photos

Well, in the midst of all this baby stuff, we went from flooding, to blizzard, back to flooding. With a bridge out and several roads closed due to flooding, we had an interesting time finding an open route back to our house from the hospital. (Luckily, it's nice now, and everything's drying out.)

Here's the old steel bridge near our house. You can see the concrete walls that normally mark the edges of this river:

And here's what it looked like from on the bridge. You can see the tree lines that grow on either bank:

We went to the hospital on Tuesday night last week. Here's the note from Amelia's teacher from the next day:
Amelia was sad on Wednesday. She held pictures of Mom and Dad and played in [dried] beans. That helped somewhat, but it was a sad day for her.

And when she went back to school on Monday, after we came home:
Amelia is very happy today!
Thanks for sharing O.N.'s picture.
Amelia liked sharing it at Circle Time.
So, Amelia, how happy are you to have Mom & Dad home again?

So, e5, how do you like having a new baby brother?

So, O.N., what do you think about your big brother's reaction?

Okay, a few more baby photos, just because...

Updated: How could I forget?? Word to the wise: Do not contract food poisoning when you have a six-day-old baby. Especially not when said baby is insatiably hungry, and his mother has been up all night with him. Puking in a bucket at 3am while simultaneously, um, evacuating the opposite end of the plumbing is bad enough under any circumstance. Under those particular conditions, my wife and I were no match for the children. Thanks to my mother-in-law for riding to our rescue.


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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baby O!

9 lbs 5 0z
20 1/4 inches

Despite the full range of ancient and modern birthing knowledge & techniques, 15 hours of progressively stronger contractions, led to... zero progress. Add in the other complications, and we ran out of non-surgical options.

All of which culminated in a very, very happy ending...



Monday, March 17, 2008

If this doesn't put a smile on your face...

...then nothing will.

Amelia, back when she was about ten months old:

Wish I could figure out how to bottle that laughter.

I recommend at least two viewings for optimum health benefits. Side effects may include smiling.
The clip is only 10 seconds, but in case you're on a really slow connection, just look at this picture and imagine the most infectious giggle you can...



How styrofoam is made

...according to my almost-5-year-old son.

He asked me if I knew how styrofoam was made, and I said I wasn't sure exactly how.

So he told me:

You take some water and -- well, it's not water, but it looks like water -- and you put it in some pipes. Then you get some dust from the clouds - cloud dust - that you catch in a net that doesn't have any holes in it. You put the cloud dust in and put the lid on quick so it doesn't get out. Then you take some rocks and crush them up into little tiny pieces and you add those to the other ingredients. Then you get some snow and pack it on top of everything. Then it goes through a machine and there's a lot of things that happen. And then you get stryofoam.

I always wondered about that.


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Friday, March 14, 2008


Care to guess what this is a graph of?

The stock market? The US Dollar? Property values? New petroleum discoveries? My retirement plan?

Nope, this represents the likelihood of our baby being born at home. It's pretty much zero now. C-Section futures are way up.

Actually I just stole this graph from the web somewhere, and I have no idea what it actually represents. But it illustrates morale here fairly well.

Despite days of bed rest for her and household double-overtime for me, Lori's blood pressure is frustratingly drifting upward after an initial drop. Her swelling is way down (well except that belly... ouch! hey!), and her battery of tests all came back clear, but just on blood pressure alone, the redline is getting close.

As recently as this afternoon, we thought our odds were improving. But alas...

At some point I may get into why we've put a lot of importance on this, but not right now. I'm tired, and priorities are elsewhere. And circumstances are making it somewhat irrelevant.

In attempt to keep everything in perspective, I'll say that Lori's still feeling fine physically, and the baby is at full term, quite active, and by all indications, healthy.

And we may be meeting him very soon, which does help put this whole thing in perspective.


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Monday, March 10, 2008

A flurry of posts, part III

Top Ten Things to Do When You're Snowbound

10. Lay around in your jammies and vej out.
9. Pretend you are a flamingo
"Cold! Cold! Cold! Cold!"

8. Make Doughnuts
7. Take cover until the sun comes out

7. Bask in the sun when it does show up

6. Take advantage of a ready-made snow fort

5. Do some renovation and remodeling on the snow fort's front entryway4. Install a personalized "Memory Snow(tm)" bed for your snow fort

3. Try a new formulation for soil blocks that is, hopefully, somewhat further from concrete than last year's batch. (Sorry, forgot to take pictures.)

2. Forget your Tech Break commitment twice, by watching the bonus features from The Business of Being Born DVD, and the last five minutes of an exciting basketball game involving your alma mater, both of which your wife was watching and that you got sucked into. Then get two calls from work requiring you to get online briefly, really throwing off that whole low-tech thing.

1. Find out your blood pressure is rising and your extremities are getting puffy while you are 39 weeks pregnant and really hoping to have a home birth, once again riding the Emotion Roller Coaster; Consulting with the experts who advise bed rest and various other possible remedies, and keeping fingers crossed.

I don't recommend that last one. It's kind of a pain.


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A flurry of posts, part II

Well, it may or may not have qualified as a blizzard, depending on your definition. But it did snow quite a lot, and got very cold and windy. I don't even know how much snow accumulation there was, because it was drifted all over. Some places it didn't even cover the grass and other places it was knee deep. 48 hours before these photos were taken, we had no snow at all.

You can see the snow blowing. You can't see the bottom half of that shelter.
I was glad there weren't goats to be fed out there right now...

Remember those salvaged greenhouse materials?
Remember that truck cap doubling as a chicken fort?
Yeah, all that stuff is under there.

Too bad the sparklies don't come through in the photo.


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A flurry of posts

Get it? Flurry?

But why aren't you laughing?

Okay, how about some pictures then...

We've had some really wacky weather lately.

First was the minor ice storm, followed by a heavy hoar frost, which made everything look a bit strange...

Then came the fog, which, combined with the snow cover, made the entire outside world disappear...

Then it all started to melt, which resulted in some crazy icicle formations sliding off the roof of our pole barn.

Then it all dissolved into a big sloppy flood.
This was after the water had gone down quite a bit, but if you click to enlarge, you might be able to see the continuous stream of water all the way to the far corner of that pasture, at the upper right corner of the photo. At the maximum, the entire foreground of this photo was submerged.

Up next, "blizzard" photos...



Friday, March 07, 2008

Good, bad, good, bad, etc.

The good news is that the rains stopped long enough for much of the standing water to drain away. The bad news is that we're now replacing rain with snow. There was no snow at 9:00 this morning, but it's been coming down in drifts since then. The roads are a slippery, sloppy mess. They've closed down a stretch of I-70, and I saw four cars off on the six-mile not-that-busy road between here and town. We may get 15 inches by tomorrow night. Now there are probably some readers in the higher latitudes (or altitudes) who scoff at anything less than a good ol' Canadian metre of snow, but we're clearly not set up for it. I think they close schools here if there's a chance of snow in the 5-day forecast. The good news is that e5 can romp and play and burn off some energy. And the other good news is that weather forecasters almost always wildly exaggerate, at least around here...

The other good news is that Lori's hemoglobin has vaulted past the magical homebirth threshold, and her blood pressure is holding steady inside the acceptable range. Coming up on 39 weeks, and All Systems are Go at this point. The bad news is that we may be starting in on a new round of colds. The other bad news is that we may be snowed in for a bit. The good news is we have everything we need. Well, except maybe midwives.

Got all that?


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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bad Shots?

Before you get your little ones vaccinated read this article: Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court.

(Or this one: US to Award Vaccine Damage Payment.)

From the first article:
After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

Some say the mercury(?!) in some shots is the culprit. Others say it's all hogwash. Here are the Government's words exactly:

"The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD."

Just so you know, there's mercury in flu shots as well...



Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ups, Downs, Skunks, Rain, & Ducks

My Tech Break Sunday was pretty good. The weather was nice for the first time since, oh, September, so I spent the day outside working my butt off. I was sore and exhausted by sunset, but that's not a bad thing. Like I told Lori - I don't mind hard work; I just get frustrated by work that isn't productive. Luckily it was pretty productive. I moved a ton or two of hay, I started on a small pen, and I hauled some fencing materials from where they were to where they needed to be. And in the process e5 and I got to meet our newest barn resident - a skunk.

He was nesting in behind the hay bales, and since it was mid-day at that point, he was snoozing. I'm glad I didn't startle him. He seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, which seems typical of the few skunks I've known. And so far his worst crime has been making the local barn cat - and our car - stink to high heaven. The cat and the skunk have had several encounters, and I'm not sure why the cat hasn't learned. Maybe a role-reversal from the Pepe Le Pew cartoons or something. The skunk hid under a wooden pallet, and Kiki was actually batting at the little tufts of skunk fur sticking up through the cracks. Anyway, apparently they must have had one confrontation near the back of our car because it's been skunky for a week. The good news is it's now very hard to forget where you parked it.

Things are going pretty well for us in general, but today was definitely not the best.

On the baby front, Lori found out that despite extensive countermeasures, her blood pressure is up and her hemoglobin is not. This defintely lowers the odds of a home birth. It may not sound like a big deal to most people, but it's become pretty important in our house, so it's been a discouraging and disappointing development. And tomorrow morning Lori gets to go to the O.B. to get pressured for various medical interventions.

We're also in the midst of the most significant flooding we've seen since moving here. Our driveway was nearly impassible, at least without oars. There was a good 100 yards of water almost up to the bottom of the car doors this morning, and it was hard to know if you were still on the driveway or veering out into the Mud of Doom. Our truck had to be pulled out of the Mud of Doom just yesterday, and then promptly towed to a service station. It entire exhaust system has fallen out, and it's starter seems to have gone bad.

Our big pond overflowed it's banks a bit and flooded the area in and around our barn (which was already pretty spongy from the snow melt). We're actually in better shape than our neighbors, who appear to have an actual river running through their barn at the moment.

I was surprised to see the chickens actually wading through the swamp, rather than hanging tight in the high and dry Chick Shalet. Our small pond (a.k.a. Crater Wetland) is usually dry or nearly so, but it's full to the brim and backing up the drainage ditch toward the house. I wonder how much longer our sump pump can keep draining water down that way. There's alternating rain and snow in the forecast for the foreseeable future, so it may get worse before it gets better. I'll try to take some pictures sometime soon.

And to top it all off, some things didn't go well at my job today, to the point that I'm writing this blog entry between work tasks. It's about 10:30pm, and I've been periodically pushing work buttons almost all night.

And nobody got enough sleep last night. So Grumpy is the order of the day.

But at least the red-winged blackbirds, the killdeer, and even one of those lovely hooded mergansers are starting to arrive, so Actual Spring must be close.

(Not my picture - Thanks ODNR!)

We should start hearing those beloved peepers before long!


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