Monthly Archives: November 2010

Back to Work

It has been a long time since we have loaded our four children into our one car to take Proeun to work. Last night I realized that we hadn’t really prepared them for the return of a “normal” schedule so I said simply, “tomorrow Bpa (Cambodian for Daddy) is going back to work.” The older children accepted it just fine in the way us older people realize we often have to resign ourselves to situations we don’t like. But Mavis would have none of it and refused. But it couldn’t be helped.

Actually even though Proeun says he doesn’t feel ready to go back we both think a return to a more normal schedule is just what our family needs. I actually woke up today feeling quite good. I know what is expected of me, and what I need to accomplish before the end of the day, like eat something, and get a nap in. That’s my goal for the day and make a few appointments for later in the week. Oh and blog and wrap up some Hmong Times stories from this weekend, wash the sheets. Normal stuff like that feels so good right now.

I was talking with our midwife yesterday about just how difficult it is to wrap my mind around the fact that Christmas is almost here. I still feel stuck somewhere back in mid-September or early October mentally–when I expected Effie to come. The weather was warm, there were a ton of projects and fun things to do outside and Christmas season seemed so far away. Mentally I am in a time wrap. I need more time process. But I think getting into a normal routine will help immensely. The children want the Christmas tree and Christmas cookies–maybe next weekend.

For the most part my physical recovery is going well in this postpartum period. I am still dragging from the low hemoglobin, but that should get better and finally nursing is going a bit better. I will share the story soon.

Venison–4 ways

I am pretty sure I have said before that I wasn’t at all enthused about the idea of marrying a hunter. Luckily for our 4 children the good qualities outweighed what I percieved at the time to be negatives. However over time as I have interacted with my husband, his family and other hunters I have found that most of them operate from a deep respect for the natural world and the natural order of things. I have learned that conservation projects take money and most often that money comes from hunters. Our DNR does not operate without funds from hunters.

Anyway enough of my soapbox. I have to say I really enjoy venison and wild game. While due to the birth of our 4th baby Proeun did not get to actually participate in the hunt this year, our family brought home 5 deer after nothing for the past 2 years.

Monday was butchering day and since then we have enjoyed venison 4 ways.

The first and I promise the most controversial was “al dente” as Proeun put it. Yes basically raw venison tenderloin marinated with lime, salt, hot peppers and cilantro. As Proeun’s uncle prepared it I heard Proeun telling him, “oh she’ll try it,” This as my brother-in-law ran from the room to hide. I honestly was steaming thinking “how can my husband ask me to try this in front of people, especially the children.” See we had decided that the children would be free to try foods hopefully without us projecting our negative feelings onto them. So often I have to grin and bear it and sometimes discover I like it but if I don’t the children normally do.

So that is what I did and you know it was really good. I ate it with heaping spoons of jasmine rice to cut down on the rawness but the flavor was good and meat melt in your mouth. My midwife Tracy said, “your body was probably really craving it,” speaking of all the iron I am supposed to be eating.

Next there was hot pot with venison, shrimp, squid and a host veggies.

Here Avril and Proeun chop veggies for venison sausage–another hit. and our 4th way this week venison jerky. Yes my husband is a pretty good cook. Looks like I will have to hone my skills cooking wild game.

Postpartum Survival

I remember when Two was born. He was our first baby and born unexpectedly at 35 weeks, which means early. Proeun had saved up alot of sick time and the Doctor said he should be home for 7 weeks to help with nurse our son up to a full-term weight. We went home to our little cave and virtually stayed there day in and day out for weeks. Just the 3 of us. We were tired and exhausted, our schedule was off but we were together and looking back things were actually pretty peaceful.

When Avril was born Proeun was working overtime to try and support the family on one income. He did take 2 weeks off but all too quickly it was just me and our 2 babies for what seemed like weeks at a time.

Mavis I thought I had it all together. We had a routine down, Proeun was working only 40 hours a week, and our family was settling into a nice schedule. We had a very clear game plan for our family and were ecstatically happy with both where we were and where we hoped to go.

This time around I realize that things are different. Wednesday we tried to take all the children out of the house to run some errands. It took us 20 minutes to get everyone in the car, not to mention trying to walk around a store and keep it all together. I thought, “there is no way I can do this by myself.” and I realized that something has got to change. I need to plan, organize and be more proactive in our family. Our home needs to be more organized, this feeling of organization I hope will go with the children when we leave the house and make it easier for the children to organize their behavior.

To help me start out I ordered Large Family Logistics

I have been reading a little of it here and there and making plans. I will keep you posted as I make improvements to our family schedule and lifestyle. I have added a post catagory called, “Family Logistics.” Along the way though I do have to say I have been feeling very bluesy and out of control. Yesterday I read a really good quote from the book I would like to share. . .

Motherhood is a life of sacrfice: it is a life poured out for our children. So what are we to do to get some space from it all? When we are honest with ourselves, we know that it is not “Me Time” we need or “Girls’ Night Out.” Children are not a burden to escape or endure: they are a blessing that drives us to Christ because we are incapable of parenting well without Him. God is who we need. While there are helpful strategies we can employ in order to have a more peaceful day with our children, the number one thing we must do it to deny Self and cling to the cross. pg. 87

That helped put things in perspective. That’s right I can’t do this by myself, luckily I don’t have to.

Induction of Labor . . .Naturally

Effie Luoth is finally here. While we had hoped for homebirth things did not turn out that way. Finally after waiting and waiting and waiting we decided that going into the hospital would be our best option. By the time we arrived we were already dialated to 8-9 but still no contractions. Luckily the only thing labor needed to really getting going was breaking my water. Effie was born about 1 1/2 hours later.

While labor was really intense it was relatively quick and in the end we had our beautiful “little” baby. Yes Effie was good sized. The official weight was 9′ 12″ and 21 1/4″ long with a head of 14 1/2. I was able to get her out in 2 pushes and one contraction but I could definitely tell that she was much bigger then my other children.

My mother was able to arrange her schedle to watch the older children and luckily as we expected it didn’t take too long.

One negative as far as the children are concerned with a hospital birth was after meeting their sister they had to wait a whole day for mama and baby to come home. When they found out I would have to stay in the hospital they asked if Effie could come home. The biggest challenge currently is monitoring the baby holding partially for safety but also so no one monopolizes the baby too much.

I was surprised that Two who never really talked about the baby before she was born is so addicted to her now.

I think she looks like Proeun’s dad and my sister-in-law said the same thing but Proeun says he can’t tell.

The talk of the hospital was the girls and what a handful they would be for Two as he grew older.

Now we are settling into a home routine. It feels like ages since I have had a new born even though I know it’s only been 2 years. Looking back I can’t believe have done this 4 times but am so thankful for each of them. Our house seems literally bursting with life.

Battle Creek Regional Park

Even in the midst of waiting for baby number 4 to make its arrival I am finding outdoor time for us a huge blessing. Of course when we were farming we were out of doors a lot but that is not the same thing as the relaxed atmosphere of a walk in a local park. We really have not used Battle Creek Park enough. Honestly the broken glass in the parking lot can be a deterent but if you go during busy hours you should be fine. Recently we took another family hike out to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some pictures from our adventure.

Proeun and the children practicing some deer calls in “the valley.”

Hanging in there.

MY favorite picture!

10 Days and counting

Yes I am actually overdue by 10 days! Apparently there was a neighborhood “pool” as to whether I would have the baby on Halloween or All Saint’s Day. I guess the joke is on me. Not even election day. Blue Collar Daughter our friend and neighbor even felt the situation worthy of mention on her blog. Maybe it will drum up a bunch more prayers for me.

Yesterday we went in for a “biophysical profile,” a special kind of ultrasound that looks at the baby’s breathing and swallowing reflexes, placenta health and umbilical cord blood flow. The verdict is the fetal health is “just dandy,” and I will simply have to wait a bit longer. Based on the size of the baby (8 lbs 13 oz, approximately) the profile gave me a new due date of November 1st. So I am still over due but only by 2 days versus 10 according to last period.

At my last prenatal yesterday it seemed like things were finally changing. For those in the know dialated to 4-5 versus 3. The midwife said that once you get to this point it moves relatively quickly, whereas you can sit at 3 for several weeks. Don’t I know it, try 9 weeks. So hopefully soon, like today would be good.

Meanwhile the list of things that I was planning on starting once the baby comes continues to grow, like a reading program for Two, organizing and putting away our greenhouses and other farm equipment, analyzing our season and recording output from our field, and cooking on a regular basis again. Today I finally made bread again, for the first time in at least 9 weeks. I had run out of the homemade bread my grandmother gave me while on bedrest and grown oh so tried of “boughten bread” as my grandmother would say.

This weekend we tried a few more home remedies to start labor including
-caulophyllum 200X (a homeopathic treatment)
-labor tincture with blue and black cohash and wild ginger from Minnesota Herbalist
-hiking up and down the hills of Battle Creek Regional Park
-and taking the children on a marathon trick or treat session. Avril started saying her bucket was too heavy and I knew it was time to go home.

For those interested here are my little blessings in full regalia for the day.

We had a lion, spider man, and Chinese princess. Proeun did all the face painting. I thought for sure this year would be a “baby’s first Halloween” but no luck. And so we wait a bit more. On a side note looks like we have another “feisty,” strong-willed female joinging the family. During the ultrasound she kept kicking away the instrument and obviously she has a mind of her own. I wonder where all these girls get it?