The quickest post ever

Hi all,

I know Aaron did something like this a while back but I just wanted to list some sites we are working on more regularly…

www.360lean.com  – well I am in the midst of fixing this one, so stay tuned. ;)

www.bornwithcholesteatoma.net – Born With Cholesteatoma – Parents support site for kids with cholesteatoma

futurehealth.360lean.com – FutureHealth @ 360 Lean, a blog focused on digital health and medicine

ecoganicfamily.com – a sort of Digg site for natural and organic products, natural lifestyle etc.

Aaron’s main pride and joy right now is

 

The Bottle Farm - his new homebrewing blog which he greatly enjoys

so, stop by and take a look at any of these, and say hi!

5 Years Ago…

Aaron and I celebrate our 5 year anniversary today, and 9 years together. I don’t usually post such things, but I wrote this for him. :)
because he was kind, and put my foglight covers on, even before I knew him…
because he told me funny stories over the Internet…
because we saw the US become mortal in one day….
because he let me drive his stick shift in a race, of all things…
because we used to roam New England just to discover…
because he shoveled my car off in the morning when I parked on the street…
because he learned to love cats, even crazy ones…
because he understood my stranger anxieties…
because he loved the outdoors…
because he snorkeled despite getting seasick on the way…
because we watched the Subarus scream through the woods… pssssh! psssh!
because he met the family, and thought they were nice…
because he finished his degree when he could have let it go…
because he made exercising and eating mindfully part of his life…
because he bought a kayak to go with me…
because he unhooked the fish I caught for me…
because he proposed to me on a hike, next to a lake…
because we promised to help each other realize our dreams…
because we said a sudden goodbye to a friend together…
because he rode behind me when we trained…
because we crossed the PMC finish line as a team…
because he got creative in cooking…
because he took me to town after a week camping in the rain…
because he was nervous when he signed the house papers…
because he built a chicken coop with his Dad…
because he reused a pallet to make the chicks’ brooder…
because he relished being an Uncle to his many nephews and nieces…
because he cheered me on at all the races he wasn’t also in…
because he drove a sick alpaca to the large animal hospital with me in the middle of night…
because he was confident the moment he found out we were having a baby…
because he wrangled the farm animals for most of the next year…
because he joined a CSA and goes to the farmers market every week he can…
because he rode his bicycle 140 miles in a day…
because he rode another 250 miles less than a week later…
because he read several books about becoming a Dad…
because he stayed by my side when I was in labor…
because he welcomed our daughter into the world…
because he held her gently even when he was exhausted…
because he held me gently even when he was exhausted…
because he shows his daughter his love every day…
because he is excited to be a Dad again…
because he is the kindest, caring person I know…
because we are so much better when we’re together…
because he knows everything will be ok…
and because I love him…
I am so proud and happy to share our ninth year together
and our fifth year anniversary of our wedding…
today.

The dark days of winter…

I told Aaron the other night I have a hard time looking at pictures of Abby from November and December. Maybe someday soon I will not, but right now, it’s still a little close in memory. Abby was born weighing 7 lbs 3.5 ounces, and I wanted very much to breastfeed her exclusively. Since she was born over the weekend, the only chance to see the hospital lactation consultant was the Monday of our discharge, and it turns out she called in sick that day. We had told the nursery that I would be breastfeeding, and when she wasn’t with us (some time away so we slept), they brought her to me and the nurses tried, though in brief moments, to show me how to nurse. But it wasn’t their job, so we were left mostly to muddle through.
Getting home, we quickly made an appointment with a nearby Lactation Consultant, who came out, weighed her, showed me some techniques and so on. We set up another visit later in the week to measure progress. Some of these details are now a blur, but in short she wasn’t gaining weight very much early on. She got weighed at home a few times. She never lost more than 10% of her weight, but what she did lose just wasn’t coming back quickly. I talked to people, went to the mom’s group, kept trying things. I went through the weeks of nipple soreness before things started getting better, including using prescribed all purpose nipple ointment (which, by the way, is terrific!!).
Aaron was so diligent in bringing her to me in the middle of the night, so that I could get precious extra moments of sleep. With her, almost always also came a snack and water or drink. I took Fenugreek, ate oatmeal, drank more water. I read websites and books. I worried about it. Her pediatrician had not indicated any immediate concerns, and at one of her subsequent (I think 6 wk) check up, she finally seemed to be headed forward, even though she was still not at her birth weight. I remember calling the LC with the good news that the pediatrician was telling us to keep going. He did however, suggest we make an appointment for her to be checked by the GI to rule out anything else. I did, but it was going to be several weeks away, given the holiday timing. In the meanwhile, I relaxed, and tried to finally just enjoy being with her.
She smiled and cooed, she had wet diapers and pooped that glorious orangy breastfeeding baby poop regularly, and she slept a fair amount. She nursed both sides, for several minutes, sometimes falling asleep at the breast. All of these were seemingly normal baby activities. By this time, I’d started pumping, so that once in a while she was taking bottles of expressed milk as well. Other milk I was freezing in hopes of putting milk away for my return to work.
Pumping was not easy, I’d get anywhere between .5-2 ounces after feeding her or in between feedings. But all the info I had read said this too was normal, that the breastpump wasn’t as good as a baby at expressing the milk and not to measure success by output. It also hurt much more than I’d expected, so I tried different flanges, different intensities, different times. It all seemed about the same. As a new mom, I didn’t have a sense of scale – if this was wrong and how so.
And then came the 3 month check up, about two days before the GI appointment. They stripped her down, and she weighed 7 lbs 5 ounces.
At her 3 month appointment.
She was just 1.5 ounces over her birth weight.
I was crushed by that news, when I knew her peers were weighing in at 9 or more pounds by now. However, the pediatrician still didn’t indicate he saw a problem and to start supplementing. This was unusual, as I’d heard most pediatricians turn to formula pretty quickly. So I was more confused than ever, but I knew this was not right. I spent the next few days very anxiously waiting for the pediatric GI referral.
The doctor listened to what we said, then weighed her, and we sat down to talk. He was not happy with what was going on, and was stopping just short of ordering her hospitalization. We agreed to start to aggressively supplement – after every breastfeeding, we were going to give a bottle of either stored breastmilk or formula. We’d try it for a few days, with a check in call over the weekend, and if it didn’t help her to gain weight, we were going to the hospital.
I wanted to curl into a ball and cry. I still do, now… had she been starving all this time?
We went home, ready to execute the new plan. We started her on Similac organic (which in hindsight was ok, but I’d probably choose a different organic if I had to again) after she’d had access to a full breastfeeding. I read more, and we made an appointment with a new lactation consultant who rented us both a scale and hospital pump. I reviewed feeding and pumping techniques with her. She was very calming, and gave me hope that nursing and breastmilk still had a role to play. I switched to More Milk Special blend caps (from the tea/fenugreek), then ultimately Domperidone. We started weighing her every day. It was early December.
And she started gaining. In fact, in just a few days, in time for the follow up with the GI, she’d put on over half a pound. We were relieved it wasn’t a digestion or metabolism issue. But I felt guilty about how long it’d been going on, how maybe it was something I’d done, or not done. I broke down crying in the new moms group shortly after the GI appointment. It took me a few weeks to at least find some peace with going to supplementing, but it was made so much easier by seeing her gaining weight, starting to catch up to her birth month babies. And I kept at the pumping and feeding so that as I went to work, each day I was able to send her with two to three bottles of breast milk. The most I ever pumped, as a result of multiple 40 minute sessions, was 11 ounces in a day. Most days were closer to 8, just barely enough for the bottles.
It turns out she loved and loves eating. Over the next three months, she zoomed to the top of the weight chart (over 80%), where she remains today. And ever so slowly, around the six month mark, we started weaning – I cut down from three pumpings to two a day at work. I cut one nursing session, then another. She started eating foods, and loved just about everything we gave her (except peas). In a few weeks time, she wasn’t even interested in nursing as she could get whatever she needed from the bottle and food. I was ready too, though I did cherish those last few weeks of nursing the most, and it meant a lot to me to give her the last frozen breastmilk I had stored away… I get little pangs when I hear other moms say they’re still breastfeeding at 9 months, a year, whatever. Or that it’s been easy for them, that formula is evil… in truth, it’s why my daughter is just fine today.
She is the stereotypical chubby baby now, and I just hope those dark days didn’t harm her in some way we’ve yet to see.
In November:


Just recently:
beautiful girl

9 months ago…

Abby is 9 months old today, a beautiful little girl. It has passed quickly, especially since January, when I went back to work. Even harder to believe 9 months ago around this time I was getting ready to go to the hospital, still having no idea of who I was about to meet. This is a recap of her birth, which I wrote shortly after we came home from the hospital.
Sept 25 & 26, 2009
At about 10 on Friday night I started getting contractions, spaced at about 5 minutes and lasting 40-45 seconds. After a quick call to the on call doctor (our second of the day) she thought it was early and we should wait until the pain became much stronger. Around 1, I suggested Aaron go to sleep and I continued to have early labor through the night, sleeping for just over an hour. Walked the house, took two baths, and tried to go on as best I could. I woke Aaron around 6; we timed more and they were down to around 3 minutes, and lasting 50 seconds. The pain was also stronger, though not yet scream worthy. But I was afraid to get there too late also. We decided to go to the hospital. They were not expecting us (we didn’t call the doc in the am) but got me on a monitor and gave her a call. I was at 3.5 cm, the contractions were remaining regular and our doctor admitted us. There was no one else in active labor during the day, so we had the staff basically to ourselves! It was too early for an epidural, so I went to the birth tub and soaked for two hours. That felt great and seemed to help, as my next exam I was at 5 and ok’d for the epidural. We waited just a bit longer, tried out the birthing ball, and then I got the epi around 1:20. I was at 6 by then. The anesthesiologist had to place it twice due to spinal curvature (the epi doc said I have scoliosis which will bother me as I get older), but once it was in, what a difference! I dozed off, and at my next check was told I was at a 9! About an hour later, it was time to push, and up to this point things had gone pretty ideally. I think I got nervous pushing which probably didn’t help.
It took me a while to figure out what to do, and I pushed for what seemed like ages (2.5 hrs). I had my moments of doubting I could do it, but also had moments where I put everything I could into it (including some real screaming/yelling, very rare for me to do anything like that!). By the end though I was growing very tired and out of it so I was getting worried about the delivery but unable to express that well. I saw a lot more people in the room, and recall that Aaron said the baby was almost here, and the dr said were going to use the vacuum. I knew next option after the vacuum was C-section which I didn’t want so I pushed super hard when they turned it on and I think she came out in one push then (but I didn’t know she was a girl yet)! I heard her cry, and started crying uncontrollably myself, as they reassured me she was fine and I was fine. I couldn’t believe somehow I got her out, so I was very relieved about everything. I did require some stitching up but I didn’t care at that point. They brought her over to me (Aaron got to help with the weighing, cord etc) and I finally saw our little girl.

abigail

Abigail Celeste, about 1 hr after her birth

We’re jammin’

Aaron and I have been busy doing other things this summer too. We haven’t (obviously) been spending time on the blog. But, in general, this does not mean we don’t have things to say and eventually some of them will get posted. Here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to.
-Picked over 30 quarts of berries (straw, blue, rasp, black)
-Made 3 batches of jam, our first ever. I have great pictures somewhere. We have made straw, blue, and a mixed berry. We’ll make one batch of peach jam next.
-Have gotten several interesting CSAs incl. beets which means we’ve made some interesting salads and stir frys
-gone to baby birthing class, had two baby showers, and are setting up the nursery (in progress)
-Aaron’s ridden two big rides – the B2B, and Trans NH
-Have had three sets of family visitors (my parents, my brother’s family, and my sister’s family) for a total of 11 visitors over 16 or so days
-work has been stressful and busy for us both
-we had 3 more male crias, making it 11 in a row (and had one pass away earlier this summer)
-put in a clothes line
so, all in all it is just another run of the mill summer here where we sit around and do nothing… ;)
We have two more baby related classes coming up, then whatever else we feel like doing… truthfully I am ready to not have to do ANYTHING major for a while. We still have a lot to do, but whatever gets done, gets done. The rest will happen at its own pace.
I’m beyond tired from what we had on the plate…

Squid update

This may be the shortest blog ever.
I haven’t updated my Squid stats in a while, so here’s some info…
Aug – $22.81
Jul – $12.56
Jun – $22.92
May – $7.32
Apr – $6.95
Mar – $2.99
Feb – 0
Jan – $2.18
which makes a total of $77.13 for the year. I am hoping to have some more time for it when the baby comes (yeah, and a million other things). I just haven’t had any inspiration for it recently…

Natural cleaning products…

Whoa, two blog entries in a few days? Amazing! Soon I will be snapping pictures to share again when the flowers and green stuff is up, but it’s not quite there yet. I’m missing the chickens after work by just about 15 minutes, they head in at 6:30 now. In a few weeks I should be able to hang out with them after work too. But I am digressing.
I have been meaning to write up some of my experiences with natural cleaning products, some good, some less so.
Over the last year we’ve been trying to migrate toward more natural products to clean around the house. We still have quite a mix of items we got before this, so we are really only partially there. But I have already tried many different cleaners. We’ve also tried to do this economically, which isn’t easy, but we’ve found some items we could get in bulk. I should add that we have not ventured into the vast world of making your own, and I know this can be done with ingredients ranging from castile soap to vinegar. But I haven’t had the time and inclination to do this.
The winners so far, and why I like them:
Charlie’s laundry soap
By far the star of the bunch, I got some after working out the math of a large petroleum based liquid container versus the Charlie’s soap. In addition, there were many great testimonials at the Charlie’s soap site. I got bags of powder, which are 80 loads each @ 1 scoop per load (which is tablespoon sized). The more you get the bigger the discount (and they also sell an enormous tub of it). Anyway, at the quantity I got, the cost per load is $0.17. By contrast, the cost per load of Tide powder is .$22 cents in bulk, and liquids are even more, like .$26 to $.28 cents. It’s not much, but over time that can add up quite a bit!
And Charlie’s is both made from natural ingredients and has no fragrances or irritants. Our clothes come out smelling clean and looking great. I’ve stuck all kinds of dirty stuff in the washer and it gets out nearly everything. Charlie’s advises you to run a mini load at first to strip your washer from stuff gunked up by other cleaners which tend to leave a residue on both the hoses and your clothes. They also have good info for hard water, or custom uses. Anyway, we’ve been using this soap since last summer now and I just love it. I still have some Kirkland soap left over and can’t bring myself to use it up instead of the Charlie’s. I will have to someday though.
Charlie’s all purpose cleaner
This is a more recent addition I decided to try after the success with the laundry soap. I’ve just started using it as a general purpose cleaner. It works well for floors, counter tops, bath fixtures, etc. I do not recommend it for glass or mirrors as it does not dry streak free. All in all, though, one container can be diluted to varying strengths and used for a wide range of purposes. I know many have tried it for much more than we have, and I’ll keep branching out as seems reasonable. For general cleaning, we are using 50% Charlie’s and 50% water in a spray bottle. The cleaner is clear, and has a slightly ammonia-like smell, but it is very faint compared to real ammonia.
Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner
Well, not particularly exciting, I mean, we’re talking about a toilet bowl here. But it works – it does a comparable job to traditional cleaners. It smells nice also.
Method hardwood cleaner
Tried this as we were looking for good ways to clean our floors and we didn’t want something that would leave a film. First, it smells great, like almonds, and does a nice job on floors that have been swept. It comes in a very easy to use bottle which makes mopping go quickly, too. The bottles are smaller but I was able to get a discount through Amazon Grocery.
The losers so far:
Seventh Generation dishwasher gel
Our dishes aren’t always clean and glasses sort of have a film to them. We have more to use but I don’t think I’ll be getting it again.
Seventh Generation dish liquid
I don’t mind this, but Aaron isn’t a big fan. It is clear and does seem a little more runny than a bottle of Dawn or Palmolive. We’ll try some others.
So, anyone using natural cleaning products – what do you like and what are you using them for?

Shifting thoughts and priorities…

Well I realize I haven’t blogged in too long of a time. This too will be a short entry but I promise I will be back with more in the coming weeks and months. For now, I will just say that I won’t be doing a half Iron triathlon this year, after all. More on this later. It will remain as a 2010 or 2011 goal. Aaron will be riding – I will be a crew member for the TransNH which will make me want to probably ride it myself. I will also be helping a friend complete his first tri season which should be a lot of fun. And, we’re still planning to sell some of our own goods at the farmer’s market this summer. It will undoubtedly be another busy year, and with the first teases of spring this week, while there’s still snow yet to come, the time to return to the outdoors is not far off. That’s a good thing as it has been a long winter around here!

7 things you probably do not know about me

Got tagged to do this on Twitter so here is my contribution. For most reading this anyway, these facts will be new, and perhaps interesting.
1. When I was young, I taught myself how to wiggle my ears independently because I wanted to communicate with horses better (or just thought it was cool that they could).
2. I have been to 4 of the 7 continents – North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. It’s Africa that usually surprises people. ;) I went to the Cote d’Ivoire as part of a US information agency exchange program when I was 15. The USIA is basically a PR arm of the US government (though I didn’t know it then). It was the most unusual trip I have ever taken, and included dining at the US Embassy in Abidjan, then the capital of the Ivory Coast.
3. I held a job in high school which included as a task retrieving roadkilled badgers for scientific study. Other tasks were weighing wild rabbits, measuring available grass cover in between cornfields, and radio tracking tagged pheasants. I was working for a wildlife biologist, and I loved it. Somewhere in college I ended up in tech instead of a career as a wildlife biologist.
4. I met my husband via a Subaru internet forum in 2001. I had just gotten a Subaru WRX and wanted to learn more about it so I went to some of the car meets. Aaron installed foglight covers at one of the first meetings and I could tell he was very kind. Several months later we went out to a movie… then dated… and got married in 2005!
5. I have been to the following military bases: Fort Huachuca, AZ (Army), Wright Patterson (Air Force), NAS Key West (Navy), Newport News (Navy), Indian Head (Navy/Marines), Fort Stewart (Army), Hanscom (AF), NAS Brunswick (Navy), CENTCOM (MacDill AFB) and too many USCG stations to list. The non-Coast Guard stations have been for work, while the Coast Guard stations were during operations as a USCG Auxiliarist from 1997-2001. I even got to serve at STA Boston Light during the 4th of July, which was truly an experience. 360 degree views of fireworks from the light.
6. In grade school, I flubbed my big opportunity for spelling bee greatness on the word (of all things) klutz. This was particularly humiliating since I was able to handle many longer words adeptly. I tried to spell it with a c, like clutch in a car. To this day I am vexed with my childhood self. ;)
7. My posting name, Tyga B, is from my cat, with me since 1994. I found him as a orphaned kitten, and he was so tiny he fit into the palm of my hand (and that’s tiny!). He had to be fed formula. His name is Biji, and he has tiger markings so… Tiger B = > tygab. Most people think it is “ty gab” when reading it though. He’s now going on 15, and is slowing down in ways typical of an older cat. He’s had diabetes since age 12, so I give him shots 2x a day.
And there you have it!
Who to tag… some of my 7 candidates have been taken and since we’re talking twitter specifically I’m going with 4.
So,
@m750 though largely for the benefit of twitter people
@jeremychase
@thisisemily
@jpitkin

A mini-blog

Just a few quick thoughts for this evening…
1. Why do cats after falling or some other clumsy moment invariably look like they were trying all along to do something else (like scratch or clean themselves, or rub your legs etc)? Today our bright kitty went sailing off the bathroom countertop. Of course she then proceeded to try and make me think it was fully intentional. Too funny! She does this a lot though, so I was only mildly amused by it.
2. I think our alpacas have learned how to turn on the barn lights. We have a weatherized outlet missing its top and the light switch is exposed. This is the second time “someone” has mysteriously turned on the lights!
3. I picked up a 23 lb fresh local turkey today, for a big feast sometime in the next few days. We weren’t able to get one for Thanksgiving since we were out of the area, but I ordered one for this season instead. YUM!
4. There is nothing prettier than driving around snowy rolling New England backroads just at nightfall. People have their barn cupolas illuminated and it’s just beautiful with the lights of the season glinting all around. We have a cupola too and it really is lovely when I turn on the light. Too bad no one can see ours (well, maybe the neighbors can). I think all barns should have one. I think I may go on a cupola photography binge.
5. Our fish have gone back in the tank and seem MUCH happier. We’re hoping for it to stabilize and introducing some cleaner crew in about a week.
6. The egg count is being restarted. The storms of the last two weeks threw it all out of whack. We think we’ve gotten 48 eggs in that time though. The storms may have disrupted us, but not so much the hens!
7. Last, but not least, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone reading! Enjoy the time with your loved ones!
We’ll be back with more soon!