Friday, August 31, 2007


I'm thinking about breaking my addiction to chapstick/lip gloss/lip balm/blahblahblah. Now. Today. I am so sick and tired of slavishly looking for it 25 times a day and feeling uncomfortable and out of sorts if my lips are dry (which is all the time). It is a curse!

I had a friend years back, when I wasn't ready to quit the addiction, who quit cold-turkey. She just stopped. She said it was a couple of weeks of torture [GAK!!], but hadn't used it since. I'm seriously considering joining her ranks and saying, "Enough!". I've had enough. At one point in high school, when I thought it was really cool to put lotion on my hands and legs -- was I the only one? -- I felt similarly about being lotion-less. But I eventually got sick of that, too, and quit. Now I use lotion on a semi-yearly basis. I truly believe I can kick my chapstick addiction with similar results. I mean, really -- were our bodies built to be enslaved to petroleum-based products slathered on our lips? My bet is NO. And is it even good for us, to have that soaking in through our skin and/or swallowed all day long? I doubt it.

But the question begs to be asked: can I handle it? Can I take the 1-2 weeks of sheer mania? I...I...I...I think I can. I haven't put any chapstick on today, if that tells you anything. It is [unfortunately] one of the first things I do in the morning, right before bed, and in the middle of the night too. Oh, and after breakfast, and 20 minutes later, and a half hour after that, and...the list literally never ends. I'm sick of it!

Chapstick, I'm done with you!! I think. [Gulp]

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Min-ee Yoder

Here's my boy with his new dump truck shirt, his cousin - "Yee-vi", and his favorite construction vehicle of all time - the mini loader. They look a little dumbfounded, but they were more interested in looking at the loader than posing for a picture. I swear, they were very excited about it!

It is really unbelievable to me how these boys are obsessed with vehicles of all kinds. Both of them were shouting out the names of every big truck or tractor we saw on our trip. They are really, really obsessed. I can remember my nephews being crazed about trains when they were young (which is also on our list of favorites). My SIL said that my nieces might have turned their heads toward the rumbling of a loud vehicle, but that was pretty much the extent of their interest. Nature vs. Nurture -- it is so interesting! Since Starbeans has had opinions about toys, our collection of vehicles has grown from zero to plenty. I'm fascinated over the fact that he generally wasn't given anything gender-specific until he starting asking for it. How is that?? Nature.

Interestingly, I found the dump truck shirt at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago -- it is his first vehicle boy-boy shirt ever. I knew he'd love it, so I picked it up; and sure enough, it has become his favorite shirt, one that he proudly shows off. That's my boy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh my!

I am so pleased. I don't even care that Starbeans is skipping his 3rd nap in 4 days (although, I admit - I do feel a little mournful over this in spite of everything). Why, do you ask? Because, the kid said, "Potty, Mama, potty" and proceeded to pee in his potty chair after I bolted from the bedroom, brought the potty chair in, and ripped off his diaper. [We had previously been attempting to settle down for a nap.] I am so proud. I even considered saying (to save the nap), "Oh, you have to go potty?" and then leaving it at that, but thought otherwise. Consistency, woman!

It seems like the circuit is connecting more frequently. Sure, he's peed in the potty chair only a few times in the last couple of weeks; sure, he's pooped on the big potty only once in the last couple of weeks: the point being, it isn't every day, or even every other day. But, and here's the big ole BUT: he's communicating the urge. It seems to me that is the key. I am pleased even when he tells me, "Potty, Mama" or "Poopy, Mama" after the fact. At least the child is aware of what is happening. That seems to be the first step -- with the gradual move towards going consistently on the pot. I really hope this is our progression. I am very ready to stop cleaning out poop diapers, especially. YUCK. Talk about revolting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ultrasound Results

  • The babe is around 4 pounds
  • Estimated due date: 10/28
  • Head-down position (we already knew that)
  • NO PLACENTA PREVIA -- the placenta is in a fine position, along the side
  • We still don't know the gender

It was very fun to see the wee one inside. We got a couple of really good shots of the face - the eyes, chin, & nose - as well as getting to see it move. It was quite a different experience, having an ultrasound at [almost] 32 weeks vs. 21/22 weeks. The baby was so much bigger and took up a lot more space on the screen. It was fun to see it move correspondingly with what I could feel. And, of course, it was so, so cute. Squeeze was able to take the morning off from work and we left Starbeans home with the Borealis grandparents, so we had a leisurely viewing.

I really liked my back-up doctor. This is the first time I had seen a male OBGYN; he was very cool; in fact, aside from my Nurse Practitioner in Minneapolis, the best doctor at an OBGYN clinic I've seen. He out shined the rest, by far. When we parted ways, he said, in the friendliest of tones, "Let's hope we don't see each other again!" [Although, I will be seeing him again, because I'll be bringing in the new babe for the initial check-ups, record of birth, etc. I wonder if he'll put up a stink over choosing not to vaccinate?]

Sunday, August 26, 2007

11:11 and Borealis Grandchild #11

I swear that I've looked at the clock at 11:11 almost every day this week. Today and yesterday, for sure. Probably the day before that, too. I even looked at 1:11 this afternoon. It is uncanny how frequently it happens. I swear it!

My SIL & BIL are in Guatemala meeting and picking up their 13 month old daughter this week. All the kids are at my MIL & FIL's house while they're gone. [Bummer, though, because Starbeans caught Squeeze's cold and there is no way I'm going to spread it around. He's got lots of energy, but the snot and sneezing is copious. We might get to see them later in the week.] My new niece is a half-sister (by blood) to their son, also adopted from Guatemala. The birth mother requested that she be placed in the same home, if possible. We are pretty excited about her: she is fat and chubby and almond-eyed, just like a baby should be. Her hair is dark and she's got rolls, baby, rolls. I love that.

Their process was slowed down pretty badly by governmental issues [Guatemala is considering nixing international adoption] and they've been waiting for over a year to finally pick her up. The whole family is very relieved and pleased that she is finally coming home: we've been waiting a long time! I must say, though, that amidst all the excitement, I'm also saddened by the heartbreak she will inevitably go through. Now that I've had a babe of my own, I have a fuller understanding of one year olds. A one year old knows who they belong to. It is going to be traumatic for her to be separated from her foster family -- I could cry thinking about it long enough. It takes many months to acclimate, if not longer. I'm just glad she'll be too young to remember the trauma. The poor babe. I really am excited, though! We've all been waiting a long time for her to come home. It will be good to finally have her as a physical part of the family.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's dreamy

We just found the best book at our library: Flotsam by David Wiesner. It is amazing; really. Amazing! Starbeans asks to read it ["'Nother book, Mama"] several times a day and I find myself getting lost in it every time we page through it.

There are no words, only illustrations, so there is a lot of flexibility with attention to various details. It is wonderfully fanciful and I...I...I...just love it! Even if you don't have a child to read it to, I highly recommend checking it out from your local library. It would be worth your time. I am completely smitten.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Because I know you were wondering...

My most-used kitchen utensil? Without a doubt, the cheese grater. I use that sucker every single day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I've been making a mental list of the things I don't like about living in SW Minnesota, rurally or not. But, for the record, I live on a 15 acre farmstead a number miles north of "town".

  • The humidity is outrageous. Literally. Papers curl, even books pages are wavy; this scares me a bit, as I am afraid that our books will be ruined. Is it possible?? In addition, I can't get 4 out of the 6 most used drawers in our bedroom furniture opened or closed. I am not kidding!! We bought them at an antique store years ago and have had nary a problem until moving out here. I can't get them to budge. I'm hoping that once the summer (errr...humidity?) ends, everything will go back to normal. Oh, and a lot of the doors don't shut properly, either. All the wood is swollen. Bah!
  • The flies and mosquitoes are enough to give you full-body shudders. I'm not kidding! There must be a fly boon around here, because all of a sudden, they are everywhere. In the house, in the car, swarming. I must have killed 10-12 of them yesterday inside our house. How are these buggers getting in?? The mosquitoes aren't so bad anymore, but that first month we were here (July), you couldn't go outside at all in the evening or near any kinds of trees/bushes/grass during the day. It was sick. I hate mosquitoes.
  • As previously posted, the small-town public library is a blow-out. I don't want to be too harsh, because I know they are wheeling and dealing with less money; but it is quite a shock to the system to go from urban and suburban library systems [which I now know are outta this world] to a one-room small-town biblioteca. Seriously: shocking. I don't think I'll ever be able to browse the shelves again. My only salvation is inter-library loans, which, by the way, I was able to easily request two books I've been looking for: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by my girl Barbara Kingsolver, and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The second of the two, granted, is coming through MNLink; but the Kingsolver book was sitting on a shelf, available to me, in my own library system. I thought that was a little strange -- I figured I'd have to put it on hold and wait a few months.
  • Bugs again: The crickets are insanely loud -- 24 hours a day! I'm not kidding. The chirping of crickets is a constant background noise. It used to be a night-thing only, but they've upped it to high-gear and are going for bust. I suppose they need to mate ASAP. I actually really enjoy insects, so please don't think I'm a bug-hater. I suppose I'll just get used to it.
  • The birds are insanely loud -- at 4 am. No more sleeping with the window open (or, at least, not all night). The birds wake up with gusto and sound like they are flapping their wing and hollering with the excitement of being up for another day. I suppose the small-operation milkers enjoy this, as it might help them wake up. But me? I'd rather be sawing logs at 4 am.

Other than that, I've made some observations on things I didn't know about before. Like, for instance, bigtime corporate "farms". Dairy farms, in particular (although there are enormous barns filled with chickens and pigs that never leave their pens either). I love milk. I can't help it -- it is so wonderful. But to see where your milk comes from when you buy the regular super-market milk is a little disconcerting. Why? Because it has been milked from cows who never, ever leave their enormous barns. They stand there, on cement floors, with hundreds (if not thousands) of other milking cows all day long. Every time we drive by, they have their heads through the bar-things (yes, I know a lot about barns...LOL), eating. They don't go out. It doesn't look like they even get to move much. I've recently read that conventional milk cows live only a few years before they become hamburger, specifically because their legs give out from the stress of their living conditions. From what I've seen, I believe it. Maybe someday I'll be able to take a tour of one of them [the sign says visitors must check in at the main office] and be able to tell you more up-close observations. I think that would be fascinating.

Meanwhile, I'm going to work towards my goal of locating a small dairy in the area to buy milk from. One of the neighbors up the road is a bee-keeper and from what I've heard, she is the person to ask about natural food connections. Her name is Walentyne (pronounced Valentina), she is Polish, has been bee-keeping for who-knows-how-many-years, and is in her early 80's. I'm excited to meet her! The lady across the street said that she would bring me over to meet her soon. [I don't think I've mentioned her -- she's a couple of years older than me and has twin 3 year old boys that Starbeans is wild about. We have been hanging out once a week, which has been very nice.] I'd like to glean as much knowledge from an old-timer as possible; especially a bee-keeper. Doesn't that just seem so much more thrilling??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The toothbrush solution

I am finally able to brush Starbeans' teeth. Finally! I've been trying for probably a year, but he keeps that snapper shut. I haven't wanted to turn it into some kind of traumatic situation, so he'll equate brushing his teeth with some kind of terrible experience, so I've been pretty laid back throughout this whole time -- trying to get in now and then, but not going overboard and turning it into a nightmare for both of us. [By the by, Squeeze used to take weekends and summers off from brushing his teeth when he was a kid. Gack!!]

He "brushes" his teeth twice a day, during his morning bath and before he goes to bed. [I give him unfluoridated toothpaste, so I don't have to worry about him eating it; I feel much more secure that way. Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry.] He loves brushing his teeth himself, which mostly consists of him chomping on the brush and pretending to spit. But until this week, I've had only a handful of opportunities to brush those pearly whites myself. And I am so pleased to announce that I finally found a tactic that works!

The solution:

I found a kiddie toothbrush at our co-op in Minneapolis this weekend. It is small, cute, and the package had a butterfly on it (which he loved). So, for the last few days, I've been giving him his old toothbrush, which has a bear on it, for him to brush his own teeth first. It is totally mangled and probably worthless because he's chewed on it so much, but it's his toothbrush. Like he knows the difference! After he loses interest, I get out his new butterfly brush, act all excited, and tell him that this is the toothbrush I'm going to brush his teeth now, with his (gasp!) new butterfly toothbrush!!! How thrilling!

He totally buys it.

He has let me brush his teeth twice a day since I tried it, and I've even gotten a little chunk of oatmeal out and said, "See this food? That is why we brush our teeth -- to make them clean!" (He smiled in response and actually looked interested and proud.) It works on two different levels, as well: because he can't chomp the new toothbrush to smithereens, it is effective in the actual cleaning of his teeth (unlike the old one, which could be cleaning faucets right now).

I am so pleased. I really hope this isn't just a 3 day fluke. Mamas, don't tell me it is!

Monday, August 20, 2007


My midwife and her apprentice came to our house today for our prenatal appointment: I have good news and unsettling news.

First, the good news:
  • I am measuring right on target (up until this point, I was measuring a bit large). I suppose this could be considered neutral news, but I was pleased nonetheless.
  • My leukocyte count was down to +25 from +500 last month. Not eradicated, but genuinely improved. I'm so glad, because I was starting to get disheartened with my slim-to-none carb & fruit diet. This gives me the drive to continue forth with renewed zeal. I am also starting to take Zymex in addition to my mondo probiotic. Let's kick some yeast-booty, Borealis.

Then, the unsettling news:

  • The midwife noted that the placental tones are low in my uterus: she heard them all along the under-side of my belly. This could possibly indicate placenta previa -- a condition that requires a c-section for delivery, no exceptions. It is caused when the egg implants too low in the uterus and the placenta blocks the baby's way out. If the placenta comes out first, the baby dies from lack of oxygen. Enough said.

The midwife recommended that I have an ultrasound completed at the appointment with my back-up doctor (already scheduled for next Tuesday); through that, they will be able to see clearly whether I have an issue with or not. More than likely, I do not have this problem; the ultrasound's purpose would be to confirm it either way. Here's to hoping for good news! [My goodness.]

While the health and life of the baby is obviously the most important [duh], it would be devastating for me to have my baby through c-section. I would feel as if my powers were stripped from me, not to mention the fact that it is major abdominal surgery. I think this is a common reaction for women who have had c-sections (from what I've read). I know that it doesn't truly de-frock women of anything, but I can't help but feel mournful over even the potential of the event. I will try not to think of it over the next week -- there is no use worrying.

We were in Minneapolis over the past weekend; picking up the birdbath we left behind, going to stores we don't have access to in the Rolling Prairies, hanging with our BILs, SILs, nieces, & nephews, and attending Squeeze's 2nd cousin's wedding. It was very good to be back, if only briefly. I feel a firm emotional attachment to Minneapolis and while we've only been gone for approximately 2 months, I honestly can say I felt like I was home. I felt like that when we returned as well, once we got to our house. My heart is divided, but I don't feel stressed by it -- I think I actually like it. We stayed at our friends' house (they were out of town) and it was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Plumb disappointed.

Well! I over-cooked the plum butter; so much for my grand schemes and peacock-like vanity. It is so firm that it is more like candy than jam or butter. Sheesh. I followed the instructions, which indicated to cook it until it thickened, about 45 minutes. judgement of the appropriate thickness was after more like an hour and a half. Sheesh, again.

Needless to say, we were severely disappointed when Squeeze pulled it out tonight to spread on toast. Let's just say that there was no spreading. The stuff was unspreadable. I guess we all make mistakes, especially at the beginning of our journeys. Hey, hey, hey, that's me! Vain as a peacock and as silly as a goat.

Yesterday was 30 weeks. Only a couple of months to go!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Plumb Proof

Feeling proud of my Plum Butter, just as I thought. [Strange name, Plum Butter.] It came out to precisely 2 cups, as I predicted. Atta girl, Borealis.

She Laughs, Plum Butter, and YEAST

If you're looking for something to grapple with, please go to Carrien's recent post at She Laughs at the Days. I love this girl.

Meanwhile, I will continue to type out my usual fluff. Today I am making yogurt and plum butter. Squeeze's grandparents came to Southwestern MN for a visit this last weekend [they live in Western WI], bringing a gallon of fruit from their plum tree. The plums are extremely ripe; not necessarily good for munching on, so I thought I'd give preserving them a try. I won't end up with much - perhaps a cup or two - but I know I will still feel proud over my accomplishment. I hope to hone in on my food preservation skills over the years. It is so exciting to me, to know that I will actually have the chance to do this with fruits and vegetables grown on our own land. I don't think I ever felt this level of thrill with bought produce; I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I'd have to buy so much of it to actually do something big with it, or because I wouldn't have the fire under my butt of Use or Lose, or because I didn't work hard to get it, who knows. I can even see myself throwing over-ripe fruit away a few years ago, which my present-self is ashamed to admit. We travel many roads throughout existence, don't we? Always learning and changing...

In health news:
I am currently battling a systemic yeast infection. For anyone who noticed that my face has had a rash-like zit infestation on my chin (and then the bridge of my nose) for the past year, it was the yeast. Can you believe it? I have had virtually no vaginal symptoms, but my face has been a BIG problem. While I have a ruddy complexion, zits have been a rarity in my life until the last few years and extremely commonplace since last fall - especially the rash-like covering over my entire chin. It has been sickening and embarrassing; but because I've never dealt with yeast before, I was completely bewildered as to the cause. Within recent months, I have also had rawness along my upper gum line/inner cheek, with is another sign of a systemic yeast problem.

The last time I saw my mom (in May), she wondered of the potential of a yeast issue. I had been upping my B vitamins and taking acidophilus since the winter (in addition to the incredibly soothing apple cider vinegar baths), when I did have a vaginal yeast infection - which wiped that out, but did nothing for my face or mouth. Then, the last time we met with our midwife, she did a urine analysis that showed my leukocytes were raging - indicating a full-out yeast infection (again, with no vaginal symptoms). So I got serious. I've radically altered my diet over the last month -- zero white sugars [not much of a problem to begin with], virtually no fruit, very little carbohydrates. It has been terrible!! I didn't realize how many carbs I have been consuming: pasta, breads, cereals, corn, potatoes -- endless potatoes! And fruit! I miss fruit!! I can't have vinegar either, which I love. But all I was doing was feeding the yeast in my body. Ack. I am also taking a mondo probiotic -- no more wimpy acidophilus pills from the co-op. I went with a mega producer this time, with a number of strains of good bacteria. It cost a bundle (three times as much as what I was taking), but it will be worth it.

I have been eating a lot of brown rice, vegetables, eggs, yogurt, beans, cottage cheese, nuts, and some meats [I just can't hack too much meat, although I have made a killer buffalo meat loaf twice]. It has been tough, but I am seeing the results. My face is clearer than it has been in many, many months. The rawness in my mouth is disappearing, little by little. Seeing improvement has encouraged me in my daily battle of choosing what to eat. I have caved, but try to severely limit it; the carbs I have eaten have been spouted grain breads or whole wheat flour (in pancakes), and I have eaten some locally grown, stupendously delicious cantaloupe. Oh, and sour cherry jelly (alas, filled with white sugar) made by Squeeze's aunt on sprouted grain toast. It was divine.

I will prevail, you nasty yeast! Just you try to continue to thrive in my body -- you'll suffer a painful death from starvation, because I'm not feeding you. Good riddance!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My [first] cast-iron skillet

I bought my first cast-iron cookware this past week: a 12 inch skillet. [I can't believe I am so behind the culinary times, but it can't be helped.] I'm in love!

Good-bye toxic teflon, I won't be missing you. We are down to one small egg skillet and a waffle iron for teflon in our house (and have been for awhile). I plan to buy a small cast-iron skillet the size of Squeeze's beloved teflon egg skillet, and then begin the hunt for a cast-iron waffle iron. Then we will be teflon-free, hallelujah! In the case that someone may be unaware of the reason for my spite, it is because teflon releases toxic gases every time it is heated up; not to mention the icky flakiness of the non-stick coating as it ages AND the fact that the pans don't last very long or hold up to much intensity of use. Get it outta my house!

7 years

Friday, August 10, 2007

El fin

I stayed up into the morning hours to finish HP and the DH -- I knew I would just stay awake thinking about it if I stopped, so I threw caution into the wind and read like a maniac. I'm glad I did; it was excellent.

I kept the book near my side the entire day yesterday, reading it at any chance (Starbeans didn't nap, the rascal). It was very, very thrilling the whole way through. If anyone wants to talk about it, email me! I'm up for discussion. [I will be gone until mid-afternoon, though.]

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Can't post.
Can't write in complete sentences.
Can't think of anything but Harry Potter.
Can only read during precious naptime.
Must eat.
Must read.
Must stop waking up in the middle of the night, trying to figure out the plot.
Must continue to ignore spoilers.


Monday, August 06, 2007


The crickets seem to be working OT -- perhaps they chirp both day and night towards the middle-end of the summer?

Today is cool, so I am making chicken stock; it reminds me of the winter months, which led me to realize that fall is the only time of the year where I am not wishing it were another season. During summer, I wish it were fall or winter. During winter, I wish it were spring or summer. But during the autumn months, my, my, I'm thankful for every chilly-warm day I have. It is just lovely. Only a month to go!

And a month after that, I'll have a new baby...

Weird beyond belief.

Two years old

We had an almost all-week-long birthday celebration for Starbeans last week. We somehow rigged it so he opened one present a day, for four days (it was accidental, but it spread the fun out - and he's too young to care at this point). We sang Happy Birthday to him almost every day as well, which he loved. His birthday was last Monday, but here he was, last Friday, blowing out his candles for the family birthday party. He had so much fun (so did we). He is spending a lot of time singing, "Happy Day Day-go!" along with "Twinkle Twinkle Twinkle".

And yes, I made that yellow cake from scratch. I feel the need to brag! It was delicious; very buttery and the sweetness is much more subtle than boxed cake mixes. Down with the mix! Up with scratch, baby!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tragedy and Destruction

35W collapsed over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis last night - 64 feet above ground, 6:05 pm, rush hour, 50-60 cars on the bridge. I don't know how many times I've been over that bridge and never thought an ounce about it. Those poor people.