Friday, October 31, 2008

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity

Found this on Rixa's blog. So very cool! Just one of the many things that formula will never be able to replicate, no matter how "close to breastmilk" it claims to be.

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity to Babies

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2008)
— A BYU-Harvard-Stanford research team has identified a molecule that is key to mothers’ ability to pass along immunity to intestinal infections to their babies through breast milk.

The study highlights an amazing change that takes place in a mother’s body when she begins producing breast milk. For years before her pregnancy, cells that produce antibodies against intestinal infections travel around her circulatory system as if it were a highway and regularly take an “off-ramp” to her intestine. There they stand ready to defend against infections such as cholera or rotavirus. But once she begins lactating, some of these same antibody-producing cells suddenly begin taking a different “off-ramp,” so to speak, that leads to the mammary glands. That way, when her baby nurses, the antibodies go straight to his intestine and offer protection while he builds up his own immunity...

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo 2008

November is National Blog Posting Month! Write one entry a day for every day in November. I participated last year, and it really helped me get in the habit of posting more regularly. I've decided to do it again this year. Join me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Usborne Books

Just wanted to put it out there that I do still have my website for Usborne Books. Christmas is coming soon, and if you're still looking for a little something for your kid/s, these books make wonderful gifts. Stop by for a visit! If you want to earn some free books, I can also set up an e-show for you. All you have to do is send out emails to your friends and family and invite them to do some online shopping for some awesome books. Easy, no? If you're in the Houston area and want to actually host a show to earn free books, let me know! I don't do this full time by any means, nor am I planning to, but a show every once in a while is great fun. :o)

End of shameless self-promotion. :p

New life!

The sugar snap peas are starting to sprout. I'm so excited! I think the chives are ready to pop out, too, I think I spotted a lonely sprout. Though it may just be grass, I didn't go close enough to make sure. :p

Monday, October 27, 2008

The last few days in pictures

The last watermelon. Unfortunately, it still wasn't all the way ripe. I'm thinking they just came up too late in the season. We've had unusually cool weather during the last couple of weeks, as well, which maybe hindered the ripening process. I've decided to leave watermelon growing to the pros from here on out. It was a fun experiment, but between the plants taking over the whole garden bed (and part of the lawn), and the guessing game of when they're ripe, it's just easier to buy them at the store. Seedless, nonetheless... :p

At the church trunk or treat. Three of the four costumes were recycled from last year. And the fourth was something like 75% off the original price. We're cheap like that. Or maybe the mom just isn't all that much into Halloween...

I have a thing for matching clothes. Sorry girls!

Tyler is a cub scout! And so the fun begins, haha.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a week!

Well, let's just say I'm ready for another trip to Germany, haha! We had a crazy busy week, but then that's quickly becoming the norm around here. I can't keep up anymore. I think it was a couple of days ago that I started feeling like the baby fog was beginning to lift, but it's not. I still don't seem to be able to think straight most days, and I often think I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off... It doesn't help that Dave is gone a lot, too. Saturdays are supposed to be our catch-up-with-housework days, and we like to spend time as a family, too. Well, yesterday Dave spent the day driving around a u-haul truck, picking up furniture at people's houses that they donated for families down in Galveston. He got most places, and then drove down to Galveston to drop the stuff off. He had one other guy to help him, and it took them all day. Actually, until 4 p.m., when they had to drop off the u-haul truck. I thought I'd at least get the evening, but one of the people who wanted to donate somehow didn't make it on the list, so Dave ended up going over there to help the guy load up his donations on his trailer, which he then drove to our house, where they unloaded the things into our garage. That's right, now we have stuff sitting in our garage. And I have a very strong feeling there's going to be another run with the u-haul truck in our near future, since there were a couple of other houses they didn't get to yesterday. Fun times.

I did manage to get some stuff done around the house, and even got some gardening in yesterday. The kids helped me put in seeds for parsely, chives, and carrots. I should be getting some seeds for some other things in the mail this week, and then we'll pull out the watermelon plants and get more stuff planted. Yay!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The new doctor

After procrastinating for a long time, I finally took the plunge and picked a family doctor. I guess it helped that Tyler started having problems with asthma; I was forced to choose someone. How sad is that? I'm sure Elly wasn't too upset about the procrastination, as it's spared her from getting shots for a few months. I delay and selectively vaccinate, anyway, but it really was time. So off we went on Wednesday. As expected, Elly is a happy and healthy baby. Not that I was worried. I figure after 4 kids, I would have known had something been seriously wrong. She got one shot in the leg, which she didn't like. But what do you do. The doctor is totally awesome. She's a family practitioner, so I'll be seeing her for myself, too. We had a FP in Logan, and I really liked having one doctor for the whole family. I've also found that FPs tend to be a lot more laid back than pediatricians, and I don't have to fill out charts about developmental milestones. Yeah, they actually talk to you, imagine that! Okay, maybe I just had a bad experience with a pediatrician... Anyway, back to this doctor. She was super nice. Dave had taken Tyler there two weeks ago, and the first thing she said when she walked in the door was "So I'm seeing Tyler's sister today!" Yeah, I liked that. :o) She looked Elly over, talked to me about her, asked questions, wanted to know if I had questions - it was great. I brought up the immunization issue with her. Sometimes doctors give you a hard time if you don't vaccinate on schedule. Not this one. She was totally understanding of my reasons for wanting to delay/selectively vaccinate. In fact, she went over the list with me and explained to me what she thought was and wasn't important. She even has her own delayed/selective vaccination schedule. Awesome. So yeah, other than Elly getting poked, it was a good visit. The office itself is huge. It's a medical group, so there are a few FPs, several pediatricians, and a few other specialists. The waiting room is more like a waiting hall. Pediatrics is on a separate floor (not the one we were on for FP), which I was actually glad about, as we weren't exposed to sneezing coughing germ distributing kids. Not that I'm a germaphobe, but there are certain places I just don't like to go. :p I was a little worried about going to such a huge practice, but overall, I had a good experience. In the end, I think it's all about the doctor you see, not so much how large the practice is. And the nice thing about them having so many different specialists is that we're already patients there, so it should cut down on the paperwork should we ever need one. Anyway, it was a good visit, as far as doctor visits go. I'm going again next month for Kaylee (and another shot for Elly), and then again in December for Elly's 9 month check-up. The doctor and I should get to know each other well. :o)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yay for exercise!

Now that I have my new stroller (which is totally awesome, by the way), I've started going walking in the mornings. I go with my neighbor friend and her dog. The walk is about 1.5 miles (as mapped out on MapMyRun, cool tool), and it takes us just under half an hour. We're fast like that. :p On Thursdays, my friend goes to bible study in the morning, so I go by myself. I've decided to make Thursdays my walk/jog day (can't really jog the other days, the dog is too old, hehe). Today was the first time I tried to do some jogging. It went something like walk 5 minutes, jog 30 seconds, walk 5 minutes... To my defense, I did push a 20 pound stoller with roughly 50 pounds worth of kids in it. Okay, and yes, I'm totally out of shape. :p The walk is just a sidewalk all through the neighborhood, but there's a short jogging trail that I go on Thursdays. It's about a quarter of a mile long. My first goal is to be able to run the entire jogging trail. I think I got about a third of it today. Told ya I was out of shape. :p

Garden in October

I put the snap peas in. And put out fire ant bait certified for organic gardening. I hope it works, they are all over the place. I need to treat the lawn, too. I've found 4 or 5 ant hills in the last few days, and with the size backyard we have, I'm guessing there's at least twice that many colonies. Yuck. I think the grass also has some kind of fungus, there are yellow spots all over the place. I'm going to order a lawn care book on amazon to see what I can do to get my grass healthy again without too many chemicals, but for this season, I'm afraid I'm going to have to just rely on the quick fix fungicide. I'm supposed to winterize now, too, or so my friend told me. Guess I'll be busy these next few days. I'm also going to need to tear out the watermelons at some point, and put in the carrot seeds. Trying to figure out what else I want to put in. Maybe kale and kohlrabi, though I need to get seeds, still. And zucchini. My tomato plant is going crazy, so we should get a good tomato harvest soon (barring any bug infestations).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Kaylee took this one, all I did was crop and fix the lighting a bit (it was way overexposed, you can still tell).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Productive Day!

I'm feeling quite accomplished today. I mowed and edged the frontyard, did laundry, and weeded my garden (which took 45 minutes, and I could have easily spent another half hour, but Elly was waking up from her nap). Now all I have left to do is take a shower. I'm hoping Elly will cooperate and take one more nap this afternoon. It's only 1:45 p.m., so there's hope. :p

Speaking of garden, I was in for quite a surprise when I got home. The watermelon plants decided to have another growth spurt. There are vines with flowers everywhere! I'm going to have to tear them out, since there's no way we'll get any more ripe watermelons out of those before winter. In fact, one of the watermelons is still on the vine, since Dave picked the second one and it still wasn't ripe. That marks three months from the time the plants started emerging... I'm going to give it one more week, then I'll have to tear out the plants so I can get my Fall garden ready. My tomato plant is growing like crazy, too. There are tons of flowers on it, and a bunch of small tomatoes! I can't believe how much growth happened in the two weeks I was gone. I suppose the cooler temperatures helped, and the fact that there was quite a bit of rain last week. Of course, seeing as all my plants decided to grow like crazy, it's no surprise that the weeds did, too. Thus the need for lots and lots of weeding today. I do have one spot ready for the peas, maybe I'll have the boys help me put them in after school today. Since I'm in the mood for work outdoors. :p Oh, and you true gardeners will understand my excitement at finding two huge earthworms in my garden bed today! It's nice to see the garden come to life, as I have no idea what the previous owners did with it. The only life I could do without are the ants, really. I have yet another fire ant colony in one of the corners. I just can't seem to get rid of those. I did find organic certified ant poison, but it doesn't work quite as well as the other stuff. Oh well, it'll have to do. I suppose I could do without the grubs, too, but fortunately I haven't found too many of those. Nor other pests. I'll stop there, before I jinx myself. :o)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home again

Once again, I'm amazed how well the girls did on the flight. 10 hours on an airplane certainly gets ME cranky, but they were awesome. The first night back was a bit rough. Elly was up from about midnight on, though I was able to keep her in bed and at least semi-asleep by nursing her, more or less continuously, until about 5:30 a.m. Who knew learning how to nurse laying down would come in so useful. :p I hope tonight goes better, and we all make the time switch quickly. I think the only thing worse than 10 hours on the airplane is getting over the jet lag.

While we were gone, Tyler lost not one but two teeth. Remember this post from just about a year ago? Well, teeth #3 and #4 finally came out, too. He's starting to look so grown up. And I'm starting to feel old. :p

Friday, October 17, 2008

Packing, again

Wow, two weeks go by fast, don't they? I can't believe we're going back home tomorrow. I'm excited to see my boys again. Kaylee is even looking forward to playing with her brothers. Who knew? After so much adult attention, I think she's ready to have some kids to play with again. And I think Dave is ready to not have to do laundry anymore. Or take care of the garden. He's really good about doing stuff around the house, but some things are better left to me. :p We sure enjoyed our time here, and I think I'm ready to get back to being the responsible adult. You know, the one who has to do the shopping, cleaning, helping with homework, chauffeur kids around to various activities, etc. etc. etc. Life, I guess. Come to think of it, I'm already looking forward to our next trip. :p

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Potato harvest and trip to the zoo

So my parents have an awesome garden. They grow tons of stuff. One of my favorites? The potatoes! We just so happened to come during the right time of year, potato harvest time! Kaylee had a blast helping over the weekend.

Yesterday was a beautiful Fall day. We decided to go to the zoo. It's a really small zoo, you can walk through the whole place in about an hour. When we were done checking out the animals, we had some ice cream and played at the playground. Fun times!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The incredible edible fungus

This one's for you, STM ;o)

So we went mushroom picking last Wednesday. I finally managed to get some pictures uploaded. We had lots of fun. Well, I did. Kaylee kept getting stuck on wild blackberry bushes and such, so she didn't enjoy herself much. But she survived, and even wanted to go mushroom picking again after all was said and done (you wouldn't have guessed from the whining she did while we were walking through the woods...). Elly slept in the sling through most of the fun. She obviously hasn't learned to appreciate mushrooms just yet. Without further ado, the pictures.

Yes, you can eat those!

all cleaned up and ready to cook

Thursday, October 09, 2008

October 9, 1989 - Wir sind das Volk

October 9th, 1989 marks an important day in German history. Not as memorable as November 9th, perhaps, but important nonetheless. Starting in September, there had been what came to be known as Monday demonstrations in Leipzig. They started out fairly small, and October 9th marks the day the demonstrations went from small to big scale. During the weeks following, protests grew bigger, and more and more people joined in. Demonstrations also started taking place in other cities, eventually leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989. All of that happened really close to home for me. Of course, I was only 11 at the time, and in fact, I remember being scared more than anything. I suppose the indoctrination at school had been successful, as I had visions of fascists and Nazis invading East Germany and World War III breaking out... Some of those things really have happend, if not in the same way I invisioned in my 11 year old mind. And democracy and freedom have come at a price, as the roughly 25% unemployed people in parts of East Germany will be quick to tell you. You never get the good without the bad, right? Corruption called by any other name is still just that. But that's a post for another day. Happy freedom day, or rather, freedom months to all of my formerly-oppressed friends. :D

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nature Walk

After a couple of rainy days, the weather is beautiful today. I love Fall in Germany. As we drove home from the airport, I couldn't help but be amazed at the way nature changes, and the display of colors that mark the end of summer. My mom and I decided to take the kids on a walk this morning, and it was really fun. We found chestnuts, which are going to be turned into an art project in a little while. Kaylee and I also went for a little walk through the small woody area right by my parents' house. We found acorns, colorful leaves, and pinecones. We also saw a toadstool. On Thursday, I want to go mushroom picking. Something I don't think people do in the US, and boy are they missing out. :o) Of course, we're only going to pick the ones we know are edible. No toadstools for dinner. :D

Saturday, October 04, 2008

We're here!

The girls and I made it safely. The flight went really well, and it was great not having a layover. Kaylee and Elly both were awesome travelers, and it's been so fun being here. I know these next two weeks are going to fly by, so if the blog gets neglected, it's because I'm having too much fun to be spending time on the computer. :p

Thursday, October 02, 2008

We're leaving, on a jetplane...

But we do know when we'll be back again. October 18th. :p The girls and I are about ready to head out. Wish us luck on the long flight. Fortunately, we have a direct flight this time, which should cut way down on the stress of traveling with two little ones. Actually, I've done this with three kids before, so two should be a breeze. Hopefully. :p I'm beyond excited. It's been almost a year and a half since our last trip to Germany, and I'm so homesick it's not even funny. It gets really hard for me when we go past the year mark. We're only staying two weeks this time around (instead of the usual six), since half of the family has to stay back for work and school. But I'm looking forward to relaxing and spending time with my family. And meeting up with some "old" friends.