Sunday, 28 February 2010


Yep, you heard it: Spring. That means Ganieda needs to be gearing up for Autumn before long… Here are the signs: It was daylight when I woke up this morning at 6:30. On a clear day it’s still light at dinner. We saw Striped Galloway calves on the way to church last week. We saw longhorn calves yesterday. There were snowdrops blooming in the ditch. Even in my cold wet shaded front yard, the tulips are 4-6 inches high. >contended sigh<

In other news, I traded my living room entertainment center and TV for a china cabinet. The old cabinet wasn’t “ugly,” but it was functional more than anything. The new one is quite nice looking, and matches our dining table quite well. It is a ‘reproduction,’ and isn’t solid wood, but it looks pretty close to the real thing. Bob will put pictures on Flickr.

We watched “Mom’s” 2 year old girl, Chloe on Wednesday and Thursday. She’s a sweet girl, very quiet, but hungry. : -) I thought she was a light, picky eater, but I was wrong. She’ll eat a full meal, and an hour later she wants something else! On Thursday, Ella was standing next to Chloe, and looked at her, and looked at me, and said, “Chloe’s different than me.” (No, I didn’t correct her grammar.) I said something about them both being little girls, and Ella said, “But her hands are … brown.” “Yes, that’s true, her skin is a different color.” “And her hair is…” She was looking for words, so I described Chloe’s two ponytails, and Ella decided she wanted ponytails, too. What am I supposed to say? Do we celebrate the differences or downplay them? Maybe it’s only because I’m white, but I tend to not make a big deal out of “race” – we are all Adam’s race, after all. I was raised that all colors are the same in God’s eyes and should be in our eyes, too. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, except that this is a touchy subject in America, and as a white person I feel very uncomfortable saying anything about it.

Anyway… Elijah is teething, and wanting to talk and walk. He was singing and dancing yesterday. :- ) He’s very sweet and cuddleable. And I am officially out of things to talk about. Oh, wait. Ella drew her first person this week. She was coloring, and brought her picture to me and asked, “Does this look like a person?” It really did! She then informed me it was Daddy. A very good likeness, too, with receding hairline and all. She had eyebrows and ears, too, which most early artists leave out. Being very pleased with herself, she went back to draw a picture of me, too. (Way too many ‘toos’ in that paragraph!)
Okay, now I’m done.

Monday, 22 February 2010


Blogging is on my to-do list, honest.

Right now I have a baby asleep on my right hand...

I filed my tax return without Elijah, because 3 months after taking his info up to the records person we got his passport and US birth certificate, and permission to file for the SSN needed to claim him on our taxes. We can do an amendment later if we want. As is, we paid in less this year than last, and get more back.

My bank has signed up for MaserCard's new security thing, and now I can't buy anything online. I spent over an hour shopping at online Tesco and then couldn't check out. I called the bank and they are supposed to be working on it.

Our bed frame broke while back, and we've had the box springs on the floor. But I've been waking up every day with a sore back, so we decided to get a new frame. Sunday after church we went to the on base furniture store, decided to check out the actual furniture. Found one I liked pretty well - it'd only be $9000 for the bedroom suite... Anyway, we thought we'd just get the metal frame for now ($60 sounds a lot better now, doesn't it?), but they were out of stock.

Elijah is teething. He didn't sleep well last night, so I'm kinda sleepy myself today.

Bob has just 2 more weeks of his math class. If the teacher grades on a curve he should be okay. :-)

It snowed all day today, but it's too warm for it to stick, though at one point I looked out the window and actuallt thought, "It's fasting snower than it can melt."

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Yesterday (Monday, the 15th ) was some holiday (used to be President’s Day; now I guess it is just Lincoln’s Birthday), so in typical “us” fashion, we went out. However, in very UNtypical fashion, we cleaned the house before we went. Yea! The girls went full speed to clean their sty (I mean room); Bob kept the boys in line; I cleaned the kitchen and tidied the living room. Then we got together, and so were out the door by 10:40.

First thing, of course, was food. Bob was hankering for some fried chicken (reminds me of a Veggie Tales movie), so we went to Popeye’s on base. After that, we stopped by the commissary to see if they had any marked-down Valentine’s candy (they did). Then we were on our way.

We headed for Norwich, which we’d been to once before, near Christmas last year, and did the market and the cathedral but got lost looking for the castle. THIS time we had a map, and a plan. I’d seen a science museum-thing online, and we wanted to check it out. The children have fond memories of the Omniplex in Oklahoma City and were excited to hear we were going. For any locals reading, it’s the Inspire Discovery Centre. We made it out to Norwich in record time, followed the map without a hitch, and even got parked in the first parking lot we looked at. Crowds were WAY down from the pre-Christmas visit. We had a short walk down deserted streets, and before we knew it (literally), we were there. The centre is housed in an old church. Not a cathedral-sized church, a parish church size church. So it was a LOT smaller than I expected from the pictures online, and I had to try hard not to be disappointed. But it turned out to have quite a few displays crammed into that small space, and the children all enjoyed the visit. There was a corner roped off for “under 5s” and I took Ella and William there to play while Bob took the older ones around to learn stuff. We ended up staying about 2 hours.

I got the map back out and found we weren’t far from a shopping area that boasted second-hand shops and bookstores. Hmm. It wasn’t too hard to convince Bob to go on. :-) We walked down a cobbled alley, but didn’t really see much ‘til we got to the market. Then we saw the castle and the royal arcade and the forum. Taryn bought some water color paints in a toy store, and the lady gave her enough suckers for everyone. :-) Bob went into the chocolate store across the way and got a few choice bites. Elijah woke up and we all wanted a snack, so we got directions to the McDonald’s. We squeezed in to 2 tables; I plugged Elijah in, and Bob got everybody a cheeseburger. Even at 3:30 the place was packed, but it did have actual tables (unlike the one in Bury). When we got up to leave, Bob started backing out the stroller and it bumped a man’s chair. The man didn’t turn around and say something like an American. He didn’t politely ignore us like an Englishman. He got up, pushed his chair in, and then he walked over to the door and held it open for us all to go out. !!! He was talking on a cell phone the whole time in an unknown tongue. I think if I knew where he was from, I’d move there. Very kind.

Anyway, we headed around the square and back towards the bus, wanting to be out of town before dark. I just happened to see a used book store, and Bob let me go in, but Elijah started crying (I could hear him through the window), so I pulled myself away. We almost got lost on the way back to the parking lot, but a man saw us looking at the map and kindly pointed us in the right direction. We just happened to be parked across from a Toys R Us, and Naysha wanted to go in, but we chose not to. :- ( Otherwise a very nice time, and I was the only one who got grumpy (don’t know why). It started to snow on our way home.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Sunday night I was challenged to pull a dinner out of thin air. We had baked potatoes, Vienna sausages, and um… Anyway, we had two brands of sausages – Armour and Libby’s, so I set up a little taste test. Everyone got some of each, and everyone gave their opinion on them. Armour was the clear winner, for taste and texture. Just thought I’d share. (For y’all non-Americans, Vienna sausages are little processed hot-dog things in a can with some mysterious clear jelly-like sauce. I prefer the “chicken” ones.)

Elijah is 3 months old now, and doing great. As mentioned in the previous post, he sleeps all night now. He is very happy and sociable most of the time. In a crowd, he will latch onto a face and just smile and raise his eyebrows and nod until the person responds. He’s not on a schedule, really, but will often doze off during the day (sometimes while eating, sometimes on his own). Exclusively breast-fed, he’s quite chubby. Everyone comments how he looks just like the other boys. They don’t seem to notice that Cedwryck is quite a bit different from Riah, William, and Elijah. Those three certainly look a lot alike. For me, I can’t say that I’ve lost all my weight gain, because I really can’t remember. My knees still give me fits, and my pelvis sometimes complains (I popped it Monday when closing the bus door), but I’m SO much more mobile than I was the last couple of months of pregnancy. I’m trying to make good choices for my knees, like changing diapers without kneeling on the floor, and limiting my trips upstairs. I’m eating less junk (though still more than I should) and walking (indoors).

Bob’s Math class isn’t going so well. Some of the students got a study group together, but the time settled on was Sunday morning. As we are actually attending church regularly now, he is loath to join this group. The textbook he got for the class is quite clear and helpful. However, the teacher doesn’t follow the book, so it’s a little confusing. Bob is really smarter than I am, and he is excellent at recognizing patterns, which I stink at. If we could figure out how to pool our resources, ‘we’ could ace this class. Too bad he’s enrolled on his own.

We’ve begun the sorting and downsizing in preparation for retirement. It’s more than a little scary to think about striking out on our own. We don’t even know what town to move to, much less all the details. School, employment, market for a studio, housing costs, church, family; this all comes into play, and we haven’t got that sorted yet. Most of this is available just south of Oklahoma City, but we don’t WANT to live there. Ha. We much prefer the north-east of Oklahoma or north-west of Arkansas, but other than the Springdale/Fayetteville area (which gives me the willies), that’s all small towns with little demand for the high-culture images Bob wants to produce. So here we go ‘round again.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Babywise by Ezzo

This book (On becoming babywise) has come to my attention again lately, and I wanted to formulate my opinions on it. It seems everyone has an opinion on Babywise, whether or not they have actually read it. I have read it, but it has been a few years. My sister, who had her first child 6 months before I had mine, lent me her copy of the book. The book made a lot of sense to me at the time; it resonated with what I already believed about the marriage coming first in the family, the parents setting the boundaries, no co-sleeping, etc. But it introduced a “schedule” (more on that word later) of eat, wake, sleep. The Ezzos insisted that a baby should never be comfort nursed, or allowed to nurse to sleep, and should be woken up at the parents’ convenience to eat, then after a time of wakefulness, put to bed while awake and allowed to go to sleep on its own. This was probably a good thing for Taryn, as she always filled her diaper while eating and therefore couldn’t have nursed to sleep anyway. 

As for the “schedule” idea… The Ezzos insisted theirs wasn’t really a schedule, but a flexible guideline type thing. And that is the key, I think. Because if you follow it flexibly, (Wow, that’s really a word??) it will work. But how do you follow a plan flexibly? Depending on how flexible you are, this schedule could turn into nursing-on-demand, which is very bad according to the book, and enslaves mothers while teaching the child the rewards of its inbred manipulative nature. While the book insists that it is flexible, and that you should watch for your child’s hunger-cues, it also repeats over and over the eat-wake-sleep mantra, and positively states that infants need only eat every 2 ½ to 3 hours. Period. As the goal of following this method, dangled before tired new parents like the proverbial carrot before a horse, is a full night’s sleep, you end up with a feeding every 3 hours during the day, and a break of 6-8 hours at night. By 6 weeks.
As a new parent, as a non “baby-person,” I didn’t know what a hunger-cue was. Taryn cried, but as she had recently eaten, I assumed it was gas or colic. We patted her, bounced her, changed her, took her outside and showed her toys, eventually leaving her to cry herself to sleep. And it “worked” – she was sleeping all night by 2 months. But she was also skinny and fussy, and I was encouraged to give her cereal. And by 4 months she was on formula, and by 6 months she had nursed her last. I remember many times thinking she was acting hungry, but looking at the clock and noting it was only an hour since she ate, so she “couldn’t be hungry.”
I don’t know how the not-a-schedule worked for my sister; I do know she nursed to 1 year at least. I do know the new mother who is recommending the book to her friends has started her baby on formula after just a few weeks. I know another baby who wasn’t doing well on breastmilk and was switched to formula, and it breaks my heart.
Personally, now that I know better (and I DO know better – I’m on my 7th child now; he’s the 5th one to be exclusively breast fed, and just as fat and happy as you please) I’m more apt to recommend nursing on demand. No, it doesn’t enslave, it frees me. I’m free to just LOVE my baby, rather than view him as an enemy to be subdued by torture tactics. When he’s hungry, he eats; when he’s lonely he has someone to talk to; when he’s tired, he takes a nap. And at 3 months he consistently sleeps all night (has been for a while now). I have the joy of meeting his needs, of happy cuddles, of walking confidently into his well-baby checkups. I am free to not watch the clock and worry if I’ve waited long enough, or accidently forgot to feed him at the appointed time. I don’t have to listen to him cry for an hour in the dark because some book said it was good for us.
Now, lest it seem I am anti-Ezzo, let me qualify. It has been a long time since I read the book. Maybe I agree with them more than I realize, and I just didn’t do it right the first time. I can’t say about that. And there are good points to the program. I really think co-sleeping is a bad idea. I’ve had a baby in my bed a few times, when the room was too cold for him to sleep on his own, and he slept fine, but I didn’t.  I think some mothers need to be reminded that it IS okay for the baby to cry for a minute. And some people need a little structure. You know, the people whose 5 year old still won’t go to sleep on his own, or sit down for a whole meal? They could benefit from the teaching here. But if you tend toward structure already, or if you are over anxious about making everything “prefect” then I’m afraid Babywise will lead you too far. As far as the 2 ½ to 3 hour feeding time frame, I’d say that’s true only as an average. I don’t count feedings, but I’d guess Elijah eats 8-10 times a day, but that includes the 7 hours he’s asleep at night, and the longer naps during the day. So if you think for just a minute you’ll realize that the actual feedings are much closer together than 2-3 hours.
I’m the first to admit that breastfeeding is hard. It hurts in more ways than one. Afterpains, sore nipples, aching shoulders and wrists from supporting the baby, increased appetite, kidney infection from dehydration… But I also say it’s worth it, and it takes some work to overcome the obstacles (many of which come from without), but it’s worth it. And the thing is, from my experience, the book Babywise isn’t going to help you overcome the difficulties associated with breastfeeding. So if you think it’s worth it, then I’d more readily recommend the blog Domestic Felicity (linked on my sidebar). She has several excellent posts on breastfeeding, tagged on her sidebar (I believe). Or talk to your local expert (by which I mean mother with happy children), and see what her experiences have been. Most women are happy to talk about their early baby days if they think someone wants to hear. Oh, and if you have a story to share, feel free to do so in the comments. Mom? ;-)

Friday, 5 February 2010


As it is Friday, I wanted to make something a little "extra" for dessert tonight. As it is, I didn't pretty it up like the recipe suggested, but I really hit on something. Think about this for a minute, especially those who know how I like to eat: this cake was SO GOOD, I didn't even want seconds. Really. So of course I have to share.
Double Decadence Chocolate Cake
Grease and line bottoms with parchment 3 9" round cake pans.
Combine 1/2 c chocolate chips and 1 1/2 c hot coffee; let stand, stirring occasionally to melt chocolate. (Trust me, Mom, you can't taste the coffee in the cake! I even used real coffee, not the instant mocha stuff.)
Sift together 2 1/2 c flour, 1 1/2 c cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt; stir in 3 c sugar.
Beat 3 eggs til thick (it takes a while). Beat in 3/4 c vegetable oil, 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or sour milk), 1 tsp vanilla, and the coffee/chocolate. Add dry ingredients and beat just til well combined.
Bake at 300*F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool in pan 10 minutes, turn out to racks to cool.

Chocolate Truffle Filling
Melt 4oz semisweet chocolate (I used Nestle Chocolatier) and 8 TBSP butter (that's 4 oz). Stir in 1/4 c whole milk. Stir in 2 1/2 c powdered sugar. Spread 1/2 on 1st cake layer; top with 2nd layer; spread remaining filling over that; top with 3rd layer.

Chocolate Glaze
Melt 4 oz bittersweet chocolate and 1/4 c whole milk. Stir til smooth, let stand about 10 minutes. Spread over top of cake; let stand (or chill) to set up.

The recipe suggested grating semisweet chocolate over the top, but I don't think this cake can hold any more chocolate. It is terrific. (Riah says the glaze is gross; it is kinda dark.)

Have fun.

Monday, 1 February 2010

not much

Well, month 1 of the biggest loser is over, and we tied. We both lost 2 pounds. :-/ Well, at least it wasn't a gain, right?

Our church had a footwashing Sunday; the 3rd one I've been to. Pretty cool.

And I'm helping Bob be confused about Algebra. hehe. I was taught to do math by the shortcuts, and he just doesn't agree with that. Shortcuts confuse him as much as all the steps lose me.

As you can see by the sidebar widget, we opened a SmugMug account. It should grow to contain our best pictures, available for purchase. I bought a few pics from my brother's SmugMug, and they turned out well. Get the word out! Oh, and tell me if the "bio" part is too corny, or pushy, or what.

That's about it. We've been sorting through closets and piles. I found some maternity shirts... oh well, only 6 months late. Now I know where they are for next time.

Better go; Elijah calleth.