Friday, July 29, 2011

The Flu

I have this picture of myself in the future, being the crazy lady that makes concoctions out of weeds that heal what ails you.  The one that everyone comes to when they are sick and modern medicine utterly fails them.  I'll be out in my garden with a wide-brimmed hat and rockin high heels, cutting herbs and flowers for my brews.  Then the vision gets a little theatrically witchy with a black, smoking cauldron and creepishly long red fingernails. *shivers* Holistic healing has a bad rap in my brain I guess.  Regardless, I am very interested in botany and herbal medicine.  As I said before, I believe that God has given us what we need in nature; we just need to know how to use it.  So I check out books and order books, and determine I am going to learn everything there is to know about plants and their healing properties.  I ordered two books on this very subject a couple of months ago; but the post office seemed to think I needed a lesson on patience...they aren't wrong...and just recently delivered them to me.  A few days later, we got the flu.  And I mean, WHAM! we had the flu.  It was bad.  I would have called 911 at one point when I was at home without the Jarhead and deliriously feverish...except that my daughter had decided to give my cell phone swimming lessons earlier in the day and drowned it.  In the toilet.  Thankfully so; I would have felt like an idiot calling 911 because I had a fever...even though it seemed perfectly reasonable in that moment of boiling and fire and molten lava and everything else that can be categorized as hot. 

It would seem that those books on, you know, holistic healing, would have been a God send right about then.  But instead of reading them I layed motionless, sprawled out on the couch for three days, trying to recall the words in my will. 

The Jarhead affectionately calls me "drama queen." 

Now that I am back to good health and spirits, I have had a chance to take a look at those books I bought.  One is called The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs.  I love this book.  It has a wide variety of ailments in it, including...the flu and fever.  *sigh*

The other book I am not so sure about.  It seems like a fine resource, but despite it's claims on the back of the book, the ingredients in it's Healing Tonics are far from "common."  I think it may very well come in handy for me someday, but I feel it is a bit over the top for me right now.  I mean, I don't even know how to pronounce Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu) - let alone what it is.  The part I love about this book, is the glossary of herbs in the back, along with their properties and uses.  Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu) didn't make the cut however, so I remain in the dark on that one.  The author also includes a list of resources for ingredients, which comes in great handy for "lost" people like me.  And since I am way too curious to let it go, since writing the above I Googled Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu)...I can't help myself.  It's a plant.  Duh. 

Back to that lesson I need on patience, I have been feeling so on edge lately!  I just want so bad to skip the clock a bit and be settled in our own home, on our land, our farm.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there is a purpose to this time, right now, right here, and I don't want to idealize the future so much that I miss out on the present.  I think it almost invariably happens to people used to a military lifestyle; we get close to that 3 year mark and start itching for what's next.  I wonder, how will I adjust to being settled...forever?  Is it going to be easy to stay in one place for a long period of time, or am I going to start getting fidgety 2.5 years in?  Only time will tell I suppose. 

For now, I pray for patience.  *sigh*

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birthdays and Birth Control

Today is the best day of the year.  I gave birth to both our girls on this day, 3 years ago, and 1 year ago.
One area we didn't need to change in order to fully embrace this all-natural lifestyle was in the area of family planning.  From the day we were married, the Jarhead and I wanted children and hoped they would come right away.  After several negative tests and disappointments, over a year and a half later I found out on my birthday that we were expecting our firstborn.  Blue swirled through our heads as we were positive we were having a boy.  When the ultrasound tech said "it's a girl" we were sure she was wrong, and the Jarhead held out hope all through the pushing stage that miraculously, the baby would be a strapping lad he could teach all about cars.  A well-meaning nurse had told him about a patient who had a boy after 3 ultrasound techs had declared he was a girl; it was just the encouragement he needed, and so he hoped...

She was a girl.  And we wouldn't trade her for 100 boys.  And the Jarhead is teaching her all about cars. 
 I used to piously proclaim that I wasn't on birth control because I was trusting God to give us children in His time.  That meant I wanted children right then, in my time.  I went through alot of anger towards God in those 19 months for not giving me children, and fear that we wouldn't be able to have children of our own.  When I finally let it go and sought forgiveness for that anger, we conceived. 
During the ultrasound where we found out we were having a girl, the tech seemed very quiet to me, and it seemed to take a long time, as she took multiple pictures of our baby's head.  A few days later, while we were vacationing with our family my OB called.  The ultrasound revealed cysts on my daughter's brain.  I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.  My wonderful OB gave me the medical terminology for the cysts, so I could look it up and see what they could indicate.  The more I studied, the more I wept.  The cysts were possible signs of a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18.  Down syndrome is Trisomy 21, but unlike down syndrome, babies with Trisomy 18 are severely retarded and less than 10% of babies live past their first birthday.  The thought of losing our precious child was agonizing.  But then an incredible peace came over me after alot of prayer, and I knew that everything would be alright; even if our daughter did have this awful disorder.  After an extensive 3D ultrasound, the Dr. gave us a 1 in 500 chance of her having Trisomy 18. 
She was born perfectly healthy and beautiful.  After she was born, the Jarhead and I decided once again that we were going to trust God to give us children, in His time, but this time in earnest.  "Natural family planning" did not generally please the Dr's that were very curious about our birth control strategy, but that's okay.  We have always wanted a big family.  We thought 5 or 6 kids would be the perfect number, and that two years apart was the perfect gap, and that would be it for us.  Then we started thinking; was it hypocritical to say we would trust God for when to give us children, but we wouldn't trust Him for how many He wanted to bless us with?  That was a scary thought.  I mean, we really, really don't want to be outdoing the Duggars here!  We were up in the air.  Then I found out I was pregnant again, and due on July 10th, the day our oldest was due.  I was sure this baby was going to come early though, since I started having contractions very early on.  Then, just like her sister, she ended up having to be induced at a week overdue.  Two years...and two hours apart; our perfect gap.  It was as if a sign from God saying "trust Me."
So we are.  Trusting God for His timing of when He wants us to have children.  Trusting Him for how many children He wants us to have.  That is our family planning strategy.  

Please believe, I am far from presuming to tell you what your family should do.  This is just the conclusion the Jarhead and I came to after much prayerful consideration.

Now if I find out on my birthday again that I'm pregnant, and the baby is due on July 10th....God's got an incredible sense of humor.  And I'm already putting in a special request for a boy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Schedules and Diaper Stripping

To me, summer usually conjures up images of family vacations, cook-outs, and freckled, red-headed 12 year olds zooming down water slides....or maybe that was a Wet n' Wild commercial...I guess their ad campaign worked on me, dogonit.  The leisure that is so indicative of Summer has been elusive for me so far this year.  Then again, I'm not 12 anymore.  Or red-headed.  Or freckled...sun spots don't count.

My dry-erase board calendar has been chock full this month, and it's been difficult to find the time for blogging.

  I have always been excessively talented at making lists and schedules and on paper I am an efficiency expert!  Try as I might though, I can never seem to get them to translate to real life.  FlyLady to the rescue.  My Mom signed up for FlyLady way, way back when I was a teen and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was.  I mean, the point was time and home management, yet there would be 57 emails in her inbox from the beloved woman every time she checked her mail.  You can't get nothin' done reading emails all day, FlyLady!  So I dismissed her and continued with my ineffective list-making.  Then I got a care package in the mail from my Mom, with a stack of printed papers from the FlyLady: instructions on how to get with it by making a control journal.  *sigh*  I thought I had told my Mom already that I thought FlyLady was ridiculous and probably in cahoots with maid services everywhere. *eyeroll* But since she had gone to the trouble to mail it, I decided I should go to the trouble to read it.  The Jarhead probably heard something like this: 
"Wow....not bad." 
Followed by a, "wow, sounds good." 
Then a, "Wow, let's do this thing!"

Yes I was impressed.  And I desperately need help with my time management these days due to our new lifestyle.  The extra steps involved in cooking from scratch, making cleaners...just about everything involved in being green takes time and effort.  It's absolutely worth it, but it is a crunch nonetheless.

Not just a crunch in the time department either.  It costs more.  Some people may argue that point, but when you are in the position of not being able to grow/raise your own food, it's definitely more expensive to purchase organic products.  There is trial and error involved as well.  I have found some organic products are abysmally awful, and others that are exceptional.  Very soon I will write a post sharing with you my findings and recommendations.  For now, just know that I will get better and be more consistent with my blogging so bear with me.

As if I didn't already have enough to do, my poor diapers suffered a great deal in my ignorant, cheap hands and began repelling.
I had originally purchased some Rock N' Green detergent when I bought my diapers, but I noticed after a while that my diapers were kind of funky, my daughters' pee was smelling much more...amonia-ish, and they were starting to rash up again.  I suspected the detergent, and decided I would just use my normal laundry soap, Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin, on the diapers to see if it helped at all.  It is a free and clear detergent, so I thought it couldn't be too bad.  The first time I washed them, they looked brighter than they had in a while, and my girls didn't rash up with it.  I thought I was a genius and would save loads of money using the cheapo, more effective soap, rather than the expensive stuff.  After a few washes though, my diapers were not getting clean like they had before, they were funky, and to my great dismay, my GroVia AIO's had small holes along the seams.  *GASP!*  I put them on my daughter and she leaked right through.  Twice.  My diapers were repelling.  I contacted the diaper lady here and told her to warn all her customers to never, ever use that soap and it's bad juju on their dipes, and asked her what to do to fix my poor, sad, leaky ones.  She recommended putting two Tablespoons of Original Dawn dish soap in with the diapers, and then rinse them repeatedly in hot washes until there were no more bubbles visible while it was agitating.  It worked.  *Whew*  And I purchased more Rock N' Green detergent.  I discovered our water is hard, so I changed to Hard Rock, and it seems to be doing the trick...for now.  I am on the hunt for something new though; funk ain't my friend.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Egg Zoo

It's been a busy week.  A hectic, crazy week.  The kind of week that requires some fun and relaxing recreation for the weekend.  And with that purpose in mind I loaded my girls up this morning and we headed for the egg shop.  There is nothing inherently fun in an egg, I know, but the egg shop here is a very unique place.  It's a mini zoo; a bakery with the most delicious puff pastries to ever tingle my tongue, and of course it has loads and loads of fresh, fertile eggs.  They are so fresh and fertile in fact, that in a mental lapse I spent at least a half hour researching how to hatch eggs.  Youtube appealed to my every maternal instinct with videos of sweet little fuzzy chicks kicking and squirming their way out of their shells.  Awwwww.  Thank goodness I regained my sanity.  What on earth would I do with a chicken?!  A few days later I was relating my delirium to the librarian, who informed me that he had a chicken, but it was luring snakes to his yard with it's siren clucking. For the safety of his family he tried to give it away.  No one wanted it.  So he drove up a mountain and dropped it off.  I think that is the only time in the course of my life I have ever felt bad for a chicken.

My daughters had a great time looking at all the animals.
They particularly liked the bunnies.  Good thing too because I recently added them to our list of must-have farm animals.  I had pet bunnies when I was a little girl and really liked them...until one decided to bite the tip of my middle finger off when I was trying to give him a carrot.  It's eerily reminiscent of my run-in with my best friend's horse.  I think I shall leave the feeding of our animals to the Jarhead. 
Despite my bad experience and flat middle finger, I would love to keep some angora rabbits for their wool.  I recently met a fellow military spouse here who spins her own yarn, and being completely fascinated by this, I've signed up for a spinning class.  I just know I am going to fall madly in love with it, and have closets full of afghans I've made from the backs of my bunnies.  Nex step: learn how to knit. 
Then we came to the semi-large animals, and the shaking and crying and clinging commenced.  Yes, we want a farm.
After a tour of the zoo, I used up just about all of my local currency on creme puffs.  Fresh Eggs can wait for another day.  And those puffs....totally worth all the happy shrieking from my two sugar-high toddlers on the way home.