The Bugs are Overtaking Us……

Alright, so I’m way behind, and have too many things to get caught up on….if I can actually get them all typed out in a timely fashion, that should mean that I have enough Blog fodder to last the next little while…a backlog so to speak, which should hopefully keep things exciting around these parts…you know…as long as I’m actually able to get enough sleep to type out some coherent and hopefully funny sentances.

Siah waited until he was almost 11 months to cut his first tooth, and now hes going for a world record – number of teeth to come in all at once. No, he doesn’t have any more that are cut through right now, but he’s miserable and up at nights and you can see the outline and bumps from at least two more teeth that I’d expect he should have in the next minute or couple of weeks….just to narrow it down for ya’ll.

Well, the bugs are BRUTALLY bad right now. And we are being eaten ALIVE.

I’ve already been searching for some natural bug sprays, and I think that I’ll be making some up either today or tomorrow.

This is what I’ve come up with…….

This site here says this….

Natural Repellents

These natural products will effectively repel mosquitoes, but they require more frequent reapplication (at least every 2 hours) and higher concentrations than DEET. Because of the differences between types of mosquitoes, products that contain multiple repellents tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient. As you can see, natural repellents tend to be volatile plant oils.

• Citronella Oil
• Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
• Cinnamon Oil
• Castor Oil
• Rosemary Oil
• Lemongrass Oil
• Cedar Oil
• Peppermint Oil
• Clove Oil
• Geranium Oil
• Possibly Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic

Here is a recipe that I found using some of the different Essential Oils, and I’ll probably be following this recipe to make up some bug repellant spray.

Making Your Own Natural Insect Repellent

Herbalist Debra Nuzzi-St. Claire suggests combining the following essential oils to make a natural insect repellent:

1/2 ounce citronella oil
1/4 ounce lavender oil
1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil
1/8 ounce tea tree oil
1/8 ounce jojoba oil

Do not use this blend undiluted on your skin. Follow these instructions for diluting:

To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly.

For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.

I’ll let you know how it all works out. I know that you can get Essential Oils at a Health Food store, and even our local Pricesmart is carrying a decent selection of natural foods and health products and they have a selection of Essential Oils….in fact, they have one called “Buzz Off” which is a ready made mix of Oils that you can dilute and use to keep the bugs at bay.

Once you have the bites, however…that is a whole different story….especially if you live at our house.

I’m highly allergic to the bites, and so are the kids. Like, I will scratch for months – I’m not kidding – after I get a bite. And It’s so itchy that I will scratch until it bleeds, and even then it still itches. Gross, eh? But, not only is there the itching, but the swelling is unreal. One bite can swell up bigger than a loonie (our crazy Canadian dollar coin), and is so red and angry looking. It seems terribly unfair that they don’t see to like or even phase Jon AT ALL….little bugger!

We’ve tried a few different remedies, and one that actually seems to work and you probably have the ingredients on hand is vinegar and banana peel.

Spray a little household white vinegar on the bite, and then rub the inside of a banana peel on top. I have NO IDEA why it works, but Xani’s been rubbing herself down with these two things and it’s been working.

Another thing that has really worked for us is the Homeopathic Remedy “Apis Melifica

You should be able to buy it at your local Health Food Store, and yes…it really does work!

Let me know if you have any other good, natural mosquito repellent ideas and natural ways to deal with the bites once they’ve happened.

Starting the Summer Off Right

Yah, so today is the first day of Summer Vacation.

School’s been pretty good and crazy this year. Yah…..it’s been a crazy, hectic, stressful year; but it’s also been pretty good as far as teachers and school staff being helpful and caring and understanding…….so all in all it’s ben good.

Jeremy fell in love with his classroom pet over this past schol year and has been allowed multiple times to “babysit”….”pet-sit” the class pet guinea pig, named Elliot.

His teacher decided that she didn’t want to have a class pet next year and so she asked around for a parent to take him at the end of the school year and Jeremy desperately wanted to keep him and bring him home, and so we agreed….yah, we are just a little bit crazy.

I’m not much of a pet person, and I was not entirely certain that having a guinea pig was at the top of my “things I desire” list, but it made Jeremy happy, and that is somewhere on that list and so we’ve gone forward with it.

Last night when Jon and Chris went to the Dodo’s concert, I went for dinner at my parents house. We (me and the kids) got home around 10:30pm and after I get everyone settled, I sat down to check my e-mail and I could hear Elliot moving around and then I went to bed.

About half an hour ago – I went into the kitchen to get something and when I looked into Elliot’s cage….

THE RAT IS DEAD.

Laying over on his side in the cage half in and half out of his little tube thingy that he hides in all the time, and HE’S DEAD!

Unreal! What a way to start the summer holidays. Jeremy cried and is now asking what we are going to do to replace Elliot and that’s the LAST thing that I want…..another gunea pig. I mean, we already have all the gear an food and stuff, but I don’t want a stupid furry rat in my house….no matter how “cute and adorable” they are.

Is is bad that I was a teeny, tiny bit happy that the rat died….is that bad of me….well, I really don’t care. I feel bad that it’s dead. I feel bad that Jeremy is sad, but I am not sad that the stupid thing is no longer something that we have to take care of……

I’m really hoping that it’s all uphill from here. It should be, right?

I heard it “tick”

Well, I think that FINALLY…..after almost 11 months, ‘Siah has his first tooth.

I don’t have a picture for you of his adorable toothy grin….but I’m hoping soon.

I actually can’t even see a tooth yet. So, can I really count that he has his first tooth. I think I can.

See, he’s been working on this tooth for a while now, and he’s been UNBELIEVABLY MISERABLE the past week. Up in the middle of the night crying and crying and crying and it’s not a mad “pick me up I’m so angry” cry. It’s been more of a I’m hurting cry.

Today when he woke up, we noticed that it looked like he had a nasty blister on his bottom gums, and sure enough, if you felt right there – he would flip out and cry.

I wondered when it might finally cut through, and tonight when I was feeding him some food with a metal spoon, I heard a “clink” or a “tick” as the metal hit the tooth. I wondered if if was just my imagination, but it happened again and again, and I highly doubt that he’s got a cricket loose in his belly that just happenes to be chirpping at the same time that I tap on his lower front gums.

I’m so excited. His first tooth….

It seems so silly to be so excited over something so insignificant, but still I’ve been waiting a long time for some of these “firsts” to happen, and I’m so thrilled to be able to say that this one is finally here.

Happy Birthday, Mum!

It’s my Mother-In-Law’s Birthday today. She has been blessed with 60 years.

I think that’s amazing.

She has an amazing story to tell of the past 60 years and the ups and downs of life and travelling all over the world and raising her own boys and helping so many throughout the years.

She is a wonderful person and I’m grateful and thankful to have her for my Mum.

We are headed in to spend the day with them, and I’m sure I’ll have some pics to add to this post.

But, I just wanted to say…….

I love you, Mum; and I hope that today is a great day and that this year will be the best year that you’ve ever had. That it will be full of love and laughter and blessing.

The Wisdom of Children and another funny-ism…

As I’m about to cheat and bite into a piece of a chocolate brownie, Xandra turns to me and says,

“Are you a FOOL?”

Apparently, I am or I was or whatever…..

And then the other night we had a form come home because the Grade 5’s were going to have the “Puberty” talk.

We”ve talked with all out kids about things…we are pretty open in our house, but we’ve not gone through an actual “TALK” from the start of the life cycle all the way through….it was a bit of a shock to have only one days notice, but it was all good.

The next day, we were eating dinner and Jon asked if Xani had heard what we were talking about….about sex and stuff and she nodded her head. So he asked what she thought about it (meaning sex) and she answered,

“I think it’s good.”

Yah, try to not laugh at that one. She’s so sensitive that if we laugh, she gets hurt, but these were just too cute to not share.

It’s In You To Give!

I don’t remember why I started giving blood.

As I laid on the chair yesterday, I tried to remember when I first started giving blood and why.

It was kind of a special day yesterday….see, it was my brother’s birthday. The same brother that almost died just over a year ago and has been able to use other people’s blood to help give him life.

I joked with him that I was donating in his name (seeing as it was his birthday), but unfortunately, I wasn’t giving forward, I was just paying back what he’d already used up.

I really can’t rememeber when I made the decision to start giving blood, and I wish I could. What was my motivation? If I look on my card, the first recorded time on this card was May 2004 and that was the last time before I had all my losses that I gave blood, and it says on the top of the card that I gave 3 times before that, so I’m guessing that it was sometime in the fall/winter of 2003.

What happened then? Did I just want to give back? Did it have something to do with 9 11? Although, that was a pretty slow response on my part if it was? Ahhhhh, I just googled “Wars in 2003” and that’s when the war in Iraq was happenning….I wonder if that was part of my reasoning…Hmmmm.

Regardless of my reasoning, I’m happy that I can do this….happy that I have done this, and happy enough to continue to do it…

It takes less that an hour, once every 56 days – no side effects, aside from a bit of a sore arm (for me), AND….you get free juice and cookies. What could be better than that.

If you’ve ever thought about giving blood and you just haven’t, may I encourage you to give it a shot….ha ha ha…give it a shot….but seriously, grab a friend or even just venture out yourself, and donate.

If you’re in Canada, you can check out the Canadian Blood Services website at www.bloodservices.ca to find answers to any questions that you might have or call 1-888-2 donate.

It is a way to give back or to give forward or just to give.

But it’s something so simple and easy and requires so little effort….mostly just time – and a little blood.

Now, I now that not everyone can give blood and I’m not meaing, IN ANY WAY, to make anyone uncomfortable or guilty – just to encourage you to think about giving.

Do you give blood? Do you have a special reason as to when and why you started giving?

Snap Happy!

It was the perfect picture taking day on Saturday morning. The sky was grey and bright with high cloud cover and it was perfect.

We tried to get ready in a hurry, but for whatever reason….all 8 thousand of them…we didn’t leave the house until after 1pm.

And by that time it was sunny. Was I ever upset to see the sun. Can you believe that I even typed that down let alone thought it? I know, it’s horrifying after all the bad weather that we’ve had, and we are exactly 5 days away from summer…not cool…not cool at all.

So, we made it to City Hall and everyone piled out of the van and as I scouted out the best location and flicked my camera on…..I realized that I had left the battery…………in the charger…………at home!

So, we had to pile everyoneback into the van and drive back home, but fortunately, City Hall is only about 5 minutes or less away from our house – so not the end of the world….just slighty frustrating.

We made it back to City Hall and once again everyone piled out of the van and took off across the grass.

We got the kids and Daddy “Happy Father’s Day” special shot as evidenced below….

The kids were pretty good, well except Jeremy decided that today wasnot a day for just normal smiling, and so that made things a bit difficult as evidenced below…..

Apparently, I’m liking the phrase “as evidenced below” today…it’s a good one. Try it out, let the words rooooollllllll off your tongue. I’ll try to see if I can fit it in a few more times in this post…..special like, just for you.

If you click on the first picture, it’ll take you to the pics that I didn’t delete because I considered them okay….I could probably mess with them in photoshop for some of them, but you’ll get the general idea. I was LOVE the pictures of Geli. She’s been known to take some REALLY bad photos in her day, but on Saturday – that prize went to Jeremy.

If you click on the picture of him, it’ll take to you the other pics that I didn’t delete, but only because they were so funny. There were almost no good pictures of him, but oh so many really good, bad pictures.

Which ones are your favorite?

On Being Unconventional……

I read this comment on this website the “Happy Foody” everytime I check over there and it always gets me thinking.

“I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.” – Dean Ornish, MD

and then while I was already thinking about that quote again for the umpteeth time, I floated over to “Owlhaven” and read this post on “What do we owe our children?” It stems from her recently sharing about her family of 9 and sharing some ideas on being frugal and being able to eat well for less.

She talks about how some have just recently critized her and have insinutated “…..that in keeping our food costs low, I might be somehow depriving my children or feeding them subpar food.” She goes on to say, “…I only have to look at a plate of food at an average dinner to know that our diet is varied, healthy, and delicious.

I think that some of what is said and even not said between the first quote and the second situation summs up a bit of how I end up feeling in regards to our whole way of eating.

I’m not planning of becoming vegetarian, but I will admit that I’ve been looking into some well balanced vegetarian meal ideas. I’ve thought about doing a vegetarian meal 2 or 3 times a week. As long as it’s balanced, I’d be interested in giving it a try. Not to mention, that it would cut the grocery costs a little bit, and every little bit helps, right?

I’m not talking about a meal of just lettuce, but of taking into consideration protein, carbs, veggies, oil and finding a good and delicious balance.

See, we’ve already cut most processed things out of our diet. We mainly eat veggies and fruit with grains and then some lean meats. I don’t buy too much of anything that is boxed or packaged besides things like Almond or Soy milk, and some Brown Rice Pasta from time to time. I don’t buy cookies or snacks for the kids….I make granola bars or popcorn or once in a while I will bake something with honey or brown rice syrup or maple syrup as the sweetner instead of sugar.

Compared to “normal” North American diets….we eat so bizarre. But going back to that quote from the beginning and just recognizing that TO ME it’s bizarre to think that a diet filled with chemicals and additives and processed food and gallons of sugar and all the other crap that is out there is considered normal. That it’s normal to be on drugs to fix or maintain issues created (in a large part) by our diets….that it’s normal to eat chemically created food so that you can lose weight on a lowfat diet…that it’s normal to eat food that is just not normal ……I can recognize that some would say that we (in our family) eat strangely, but I think that most “normal” choices are strange.

I know that our choices are unconventional, but to me it makes so much sense.

I’m not trying to deprive my kids from the “wonders” of life….as in sugar cereal and sugar snacks and pop and everything else out there. I do try to come up with healthy alternatives….Frozen Fruit Juice or Fruit Smoothy Popsicles or Homemade Granola and Granola Bars or Popcorn flavored with spices or Homemade Crackers or Cookies made with ingredients in fairly close to their natural state. You can make Chips and Popcorn balls with honey and nuts…..the possibilities are endless, and the food is healthy for you. I have a HUGE fruit basket and a TON of veggies in the fridge and the kids are allowed to eat whenever they are actually hungry (as long as it’s not in the hour before a meal).

I would however love to deprive them of a life of obesity and diabetes and heart problems, and thyroid problems and fertility issues and any other of the various problems and issues that can be traced back to our diets.

My kids eat. They eat well and they eat a pretty balanced and varied diet.

Would they like to eat sugar cereal day in and day out or eat countless boxes of candy and pizza and McDonalds? They probably think they would, but considering that because we don’t eat like that, on the odd occasion when we do cheat, they end up feeling gross and they are starting putting two and two together that the gross feelings are actually tied into the crap food.

I’m trying to make the best choices for my family and I’m trying to teach my kids to make good healthy choices. It’s a process and one that keeps evolving as we go along and learn new things. I’m surprised at how far we’ve come over the past almost 2 years, and I expect that I’ll be even more surprised at where I’m at in another 2 years…..

So, Do you eat “healthy”? What is your standard of “healthy” eating? Why are you making the choices that you are making? What prompted you to evaluate your diet? Or have you not really thought about it?

I’d love to hear what your choices are and why you are making them, and what you think about all this.

Snotfest June 2008

Yah! Alright! PAR-TAY!

No seriously, it’s a freakin’ party around these parts. Jeremy came home 2 maybe 3 days ago coughing….one of those nasty barky kinda coughs. Like when you feel lie you have a film of sticky gooey flem coating the entire back of your throat and lungs and you can’t quite catch a proper breath because the flem keeps sticking and choking you up.

It was AWESOME!

So, I did my little “stay away from the baby, Jer! I’m serious! JEREMY! I’M SERIOUS…..GET AWAY FROM JOSIAH RIGHT NOW…NO NO NO! DON’T…DON’T….don’t cough all over his face. :mumblingundermybreath: of course you had to cough right into his face didn’t you” freak out to absolutely no avail.

And on Tuesday night when I put Siah to bed he was wheezing and crackling a little with each breath. I really hoped and prayed that it was just a little extra mucus floating around…everyone has a llittle extra mucus from time to time, don’t you? No such luck.

Siah was up just about every hour coughing and wheezing and crying and to say that it was a fun night….well, that would definately be a lie. A COMPLETE AND UTTER LIE!

Yesterday he was coughing a bit during the day, but it really wasn’t anything too bad, but by evening, I knew that we were in for another night of fun filled pleasure and delight.

He had a harder time than usual going down to bed, and it was all because he was SO PLUGGED UP. It’s so sad that you can’t suck and breathe at the same time. So, we popped on and off a million bazillion times, until I finally gave up and then Jon rocked him and he went straight to sleep.

He woke up at 2am, and had a wicked fever. I don’t like to give Tylenol unless it’s totally ncessary, because I figure that the fever is the bodys way of fighting off the infection but this was hot…like HOT HOT!

He was able to nurse back to sleep and when he woke up again at 4am the tylenol was doing it’s job – no fever! YAH!

He’s been the snot monster all day today, and i have more snot on me than has made it into a kleenex. The long strings that are sneezed all the way onto the floor where he is sitting playing with his toys….those are my favorite. in fact, I just tried to tak e apicture of a GIANT snot bubble that he sneezed and stuck between his nose and his shirt….it was equal parts awesome and gross all at the same time. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how badly you wanted to look at it) he was uncooperative when I got the camera out and then promptly smeared it all over my leg – and let my tell you THAT was awesome.

He’s got a bit of a fever right now, but seeing as he’s eating (food) and nursing (after I use the snot sucker – man he hates that thing) and is playing (albeit a bit crankily) I’d say we’re all good and just running though a virus.

I’m hoping that we’re all done with it soon though, cause it sucks….on so many levels.

Holes in Everything

Jeremy was using a little medicine cup this morning for his syrup so that he could dip his pancakes.

The bottom of the little cup has a stand up rim on it, and he was using it to cut holes in his pancakes – like a cookie cutter. Then he started talking about holes….he had holes in his eyes, and holes in his nose, and holes in his pancakes, and he was a whole Jeremy and he was cutting his whole pancake into little holes…..

This went on for a few minutes until Xandra – who was at the table making her lunch right beisde where Jeremy was sitting eating – pipes up and says, “…and you have a hole in your butt.

That’s my classy little girl, for ya.

Thanks for pointing that out, and taking the conversation to a whole ‘nuther level.