Thursday, May 28, 2009

More videos: signs of development

Teresa's definitely growing stronger and showing us new skills this week! She enjoys being pulled up to sit and even stand for a little while (I don't have a video of that yet). And she kicks with both legs on her changing table when she's between diapers (we call it "smackdown" and probably won't get a video for modesty's sake). Here are some other things she's done:

"Talking" and playing with toys on her Bumbo tray:

Turning herself part way over (she can twist her shoulders but can't quite flip her big diapered bottom):

Lifting her head way up during tummy time, and even using her arms a little:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Your latest dose of Teresa videos

I can almost always get Teresa to smile at me when I wave her arms around and make high-pitched sounds:

Teresa loves to touch Papa's hair:

She usually hates tummy time, but this one was successful for a minute or so:

Does this count as playing with Teresa?

Today Teresa enjoyed some time in her new (used) Bumbo seat:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family

Do you know the feeling of not wanting a book to end because you enjoy reading it so much? I definitely felt that way the whole time I was reading A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn. The author is a mom to TEN children (six of whom are adopted, 2 boys from Korea and 4 girls from Ethiopia) who homeschools her brood in Idaho. I'd first read Ostyn's writing at Owlhaven, her blog often linked to by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer (another blog I followed for a long time). When I discovered that Ostyn had written a book about her experience as a mom to many, I put in a Request for Purchase at my local public library and was delighted when they bought 5 copies (if you live in Charlotte you can place one on hold here). One came right to me and I dug in.

I did most of my reading while I nursed Teresa, which was very appropriate...I hope to begin implementing Ostyn's suggestions with our first daughter so that parenting becomes easier as we add to our family (God willing). I enjoyed Ostyn's perspectives on welcoming additional children (and the discernment involved in that decision), the resources needed to raise those children well (money, space, and training - music lessons, sports, etc.), vacations, schooling, and building relationships with and between your children. I found her advice regarding discipline, chores, and activities to be especially helpful - she has gleaned much wisdom from her experience and shares it in a humble, honest, and engaging way.

Here's an example I can completely relate to:

"Play is not easy for me. I am a ridiculously task-oriented person. Sometimes I literally have to look at the clock and force myself to play for 15 minutes straight without wandering off. But I never regret disciplining myself in that way." (102)
I highly recommend this book to anyone hoping to have, enjoy, and successfully raise lots of children. When God blesses us abundantly, He also gives us the graces we need to give Him glory with those blessings. I count A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family as a conduit of God's grace.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fist sucker

Teresa has taken up fist sucking. Sometimes she tries out individual fingers, too. It's slightly alarming when she looks incredibly uncomfortable with her fist or thumb in her mouth and yet pushes it further in still. But she's gaining control and seems to enjoy this sucking endeavor. She doesn't use a pacifier, but I'm fine with her soothing herself this way for the time being. We're definitely washing her hands more often now!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let sleeping babies lie...and take pictures of them!

These are all from May - seems I can't help myself!

She is so beautiful!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Customer appreciation II

One month ago I wrote a post about contacting companies whose products you love. Sometimes they will mail you coupons and other stuff just because you asked them to! Here's a list of the companies I've since contacted who have responded positively (with links to their contact webpages):

Jif (Smuckers) - 2 35 cents off coupons
Amy's Kitchen (organic)- brochure and coupons (3 x $1 off, 5 x .75 off, 1 x .50 off)
Eggland's Best - frequently asked questions brochure, Mr. Food cooking booklet and a coupon for a free dozen Eggland's Best eggs
CedarLane (all natural frozen foods) - 2 55 cents off coupons
WestSoy (Hain Celestial Group - they make the only rice milk without soy that I could find) - 3 55 cents off coupons
Born Free Eggs (Radlo Foods) - 1 35 cents off coupon
Thai Kitchen - 1 free Thai Kitchen product coupon, 1 free Simply Asia product coupon, 1 50 cents off Thai Kitchen product coupon, 1 50 cents off Simply Asia product coupon, and a Rice Noodle Recipes and Cooking Tips booklet

General Mills and Kellogg's both denied my requests for coupons via form emails. :( It appears the biggest brands that regularly offer coupons in the newspaper circulars and online do not mail customers coupons directly.

Thanks again, Sarah, for the tips on Amy's and Eggland's Best. Also, Carrie received free product samples when she contacted Lansinoh. Does anyone else have stories to share?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book Review: Bless Me, Father, for I Have Kids

The first book that I received from The Catholic Company through their Reviewer Program was Bless Me, Father, for I Have Kids by Susie Lloyd. I chose this book because it's created a buzz in the Catholic blogosphere lately and I wanted something faithful and lighthearted to read while nursing.

I read Lloyd's first book, Please Don't Drink the Holy Water, when it was published several years ago. I remember thinking that she was an admirable woman for raising six daughters and finding the time to write. I also remember thinking she wasn't a very good writer.

Wanting to believe her writing had improved, I dug into Bless Me, Father as soon as it arrived. Alas, it failed to satisfy.

Lloyd tries to share her thoughts and experiences with various aspects of parenting and homeschooling a large, Catholic family in a funny way. Her stories of teens driving, kids telling family secrets, and families attending Mass together are supposed to be humorous. Maybe they are, to people with a different sense of humor than I have. Maybe I'm too critical. But I have to admit, I didn't laugh. I just didn't think the writing was very clever (it's reminiscent of Erma Bombeck but falls way short of her wit). Some of it really bothered me (Lloyd treats drunkenness, smoking, anger, and violence too lightly and makes fun of her husband in the book). But I made myself finish Bless Me, Father so I could give a fair assessment in this review. I've seen Lloyd's approach described as "offbeat" - well, it's too offbeat for me.

If you are looking for sweet, short stories about Catholic life from the perspective of a homeschooling mom-to-many, I HIGHLY recommend Danielle Bean. She is just fabulous, as is her writing (clever, vibrant, and either highly amusing or deeply thoughtful, depending on the article). I loved My Cup of Tea, and I'm pretty sure Mom to Mom is great, too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Love is all she needs

So says the shirt. But how can we NOT love this cute baby? :)

Teresa's health update

On Friday we went to see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. He was a very friendly, very laid back doctor. We explained everything that has happened with Teresa in the past 3 months and all the steps we've taken to try to help her. I told him that I'd last seen blood in her stools about 4 days prior. It seemed to appear every 3 or 4 days, just a tiny bit, even when I was on the elimination diet. The doctor reviewed our family medical history (which is rife with G.I. illnesses).

And then he said Teresa should be just fine. He suspects she has allergic colitis - an intolerance of the milk and soy proteins that make their way into breast milk. He hopes this allergy will clear up by the time she is 6 months old. He told me there is no need for me to avoid any other foods or to stop or supplement my breastfeeding. He tested a fresh stool sample for blood and the test came back negative. Then he did a brief (but painful, for dear Teresa and her protective papa) rectal exam and said he found nothing of concern. He ordered some blood work and we agreed to see him again in 3 weeks.

Shortly after we left his office, Teresa pooped again...and it had blood in it. We've seen blood in her stools at least 5 times since the appointment. We wonder whether the doctor aggravated her rectum with his (well-intentioned) prodding. When we return to his office we will ask more questions.

One thing is certain: Teresa is a much happier baby today than she was 2 months ago. Her fussy times are far less frequent and it's not too difficult to console her. Nursing continues to go well, and now that I can eat a lot more I'm feeling better, too. The improvement (or, I should say re-broadening) of my diet may have contributed to Teresa's stools improving in color, too (from green to yellow).

After Mass on Sunday I spoke to another mom whose first child had blood in his stools at 10 weeks of age. Her doctor had her stop nursing and put the baby on the super-expensive hypoallergenic formula Nutramigen. A colonoscopy revealed that the casein protein had inflicted much damage on the baby's colon: it was highly ulcerated. Yikes. What made that case different from Teresa's? Could her condition be more serious than our doctor suspects?

We're still not on top of this, and we continue to be grateful for your prayers for our sweet daughter.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

1st Mother's Day as a Mama

Thank you, Frances, for being an amazing mother and wife.

Thank you for bearing Teresa into this world.
Thank you for helping to bring her up in Holy Mother Church.
Thank you.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Surprising, awesome video

This message is set to air during American Idol's season finale, according to a post I read at Faith and Family Live. I'm not going to give it away...just watch and tell me if it doesn't make you think, "Wow!"