Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Voice of an angel

This gave me the chills.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Update on Wolfie

Remember the day before Saphira was born I spent the afternoon in the Emergency Department because of Wolfie's stomach pains? Well, I think I got to the bottom of that. After we left (with no better clue of what the problem was) I knew that it was time to do something about the problem. I'd been putting it off because I knew what a commitment it was going to take, but the problem was really starting to impair his quality of life. So I took him off wheat. I figured it had to be diet related or parasites because it was too ongoing to be viral. (It was going on two years). Wheat was the natural first choice for an elimination diet because he once broke out in hives from my breastmilk after I ate a loaf of homemade wholewheat bread (had to go to the E.D. for that too!) Well, my first guess and I think I nailed it. He's been off wheat for a month and hasn't been sick or in pain since. And his behavior/mood swings have improved drastically!! Just call me House. As in House M.D. He's my idol. Which is why I added a picture of him to my sidebar... the sidebar pictures are a good smorgasborg summary of Deena: the wannabe House, lactivist, blogging, reading, Patriot fan. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Breastfeeding the older child

I consider myself a lactivist. My rule of thumb for weaning is that it should be done after the age of one when either the mother or the child is uncomfortable with the breastfeeding relationship. One of my sons self weaned at 1 1/2 . The other one I weaned at 4 1/2. This time I'm tandem feeding. It helps to have family support since extended breastfeeding is uncommon in this society. The two most important supports: my husband and my mother, have both got my back when it comes to this. Of course, what could my husband say when his mother regales us with stories of him breastfeeding til he was five? It does strike me as slightly funny that my three year old son tries to breastfeed by challenging me to a contest of "rock, paper, scissors". If he wins he gets to breastfeed. If I win I can keep cleaning the house. Good grief.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


My least favorite word in the world: irregardless. Because it's not a word. So please don't use it. It's like nails on a blackboard to my ears.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Polygamous Raid

I just don't understand why they're separating the children from their mothers. Instead of sending all these kids into the faulty foster care system why can't we just house the mothers with them? The mom's are the victims (of incest/sexual abuse). It doesn't make sense to me. I heard on the news that the moms of babies under 12 months can stay with them. Moms of older children can move to a shelter in the same city that their children are being moved to! What kind of option is that?! I'm thankful that the babies are not being separated. As a mom of a newborn I am choked up at the thought of being separated from her. But frankly, it only gets harder as the child gets older and knows and loves you. The whole thing just makes me sad.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well I tried

That's why this blog is called Trying to raise my kids the best I can.

The kids are on school vacation this week. So I'm determined to do something motherly every day, instead of letting them veg out on the video games all day every day. Yesterday we took a two or three mile walk to a nearby park. Today, I thought, since it is Earth Day we could pick up some garbage. We were at their cousins house so we went to the park near his house which is sooooo ghetto. It's usually pretty trashed. I dragged the kids away from the video games and to the park. Strangely, there wasn't as much garbage there as I was expecting. So I ended up picking up dozens of pieces of glass from the mulch (that the parks and recreation crew would probably never get to). My good deed not only benefited the earth but the little neighborhood kids who were running around barefoot. (yikes!) My kids just played. So oh well. The day's not over so I still might be able to get them to pick up garbage outside our house. But if nothing else they got some fresh air and saw the example I set for them.

my clone. ha ha

I found this picture of me as a baby. I think Saphira looks just like me. I don't have a lot of great pictures of her yet, but this was a close one.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Moved to Tears

I was actually moved to tears watching the Pope on TV just now. He was blessing sick and disabled children. It made me think how wonderful it would have been to witness Jesus as he healed people in the street - the same way that people are bringing their sick to the Pope. I've been really impressed by this Papal visit. He has done so much healing in regards to the sex abuse scandal- discussing it multiple times and meeting with victims. I'm impressed that he has visited a Jewish Synagogue and met with Protostant and Orthodox leaders. What better use of his position than to reach out to others in peace and love.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Giving back to the community

My heart was warmed today at my son's middle school performance. The Angkor Wat Dance troupe taught some of the middle school kids traditional Cambodian dance for this Cambodian New Year performance. I thought this was really special for my son because it's great that he can learn about his culture. The really heart warming part was the 7th grade math teacher who taught the boys' dance and also danced with them. He was a crowd favorite: oohing and ahing us with his breakdancing and flips. He actually went to that middle school and first began dancing at the same New Years Performance. Here he is, all grown up and giving back to the community: a math teacher and a dance teacher to the kids who need more role models like him. I applaud him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Infant sleep study

The less sleep an infant gets the more likely they will be obese.

What I thought was funny/ironic/stupid was the news story about it I saw on TV. They did this whole story about how parents cripple their children's ability to put them to sleep by rocking or holding them. I read that study and actually see the opposite as true- attachment parenting gives babies a LOT more sleep. Between holding my baby, slinging my baby, and co-sleeping with her at night she pretty much sleeps ALL the time. Clearly attachment parenting is the healthier way to go!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cloning Humans

I was just sitting here thinking about the implications of human cloning. People get so horrified by the idea, but I really don't see the moral problem with it- other than the riskiness of it- the huge potential for loss of life... But if it were 100% successful the new human would have a completely different soul (just like in twins). And the new person would have incredibly valuable genetic information. For instance, if I cloned myself I could ...
  • get my daughter acne medication when she turns 11
  • warn her of her need for an SSRI when her anxiety disorder kicks in
  • get her involved in competitive sports at a young age- perhaps earning her a college scholarship
  • nourish her artistic and writing talents
etc. etc. Wouldn't that be just the coolest? Now, if I actually had the choice to do it, I wouldn't. I'd rather God decide what genetic being I get to raise, but a human clone would have some pretty interesting advantages.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Breastfeeding just got easier

Last night she learned the art of finding the breast and getting it in her mouth. That skill makes things much easier for me. She can only control her head, not her hands, but it's a start.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2 Opportunities to give

Not all charities are equal. For instance, the Procter and Gamble campaign to give pads to African girls so they wouldn't miss school: caused a lot of raised eyebrows amongst my friends. It didn't seem right to push an expensive item onto an impoverished group of people, getting them hooked. Many of my friends, even here in America, use reusable pads (or diva cup) for ecological and health reasons. So I thought this project to send reusable pads and teach them how to make them was a neat one.

And this good Christian woman is trying to send 1,000 Crocs to Mozambique:

My husband and I have taken a few trips to volunteer with friends of ours working among orphans and the extreme rural poor of Mozambique. And as simple as it sounds, you would not believe how helpful just a pair of good, durable shoes can be! Women walking several hours each day to get water, children outside all day long, and shoes are incredibly difficult to come by. So people get worms through their feet, and simple cuts become really bad infections. It would be so easy to make a huge difference just with a pair of shoes. I like the Crocs idea because they're durable, light-weight, relatively cheap to buy and to ship, and fun. Want in on this great project? Here are some suggestions...

1) Do you or your kids have a pair of used Crocs shoes lying around that you'd like to donate? Stick them in an envelope and mail them to me.
2) Order some from (kids or adults sizes) and take advantage of their free shipping to send them to me.
3) Collect used ones from your kids' friends at school or from folks at church, and send them to me. Perhaps a box in their classroom or your church lobby?

My address is:

Chelsea Vessenes
69 Halifax Street
Boston, MA 02130

Movie about Intelligent Design

I'm excited to see a new movie coming out about the academic prejudice against those who believe or even consider Intelligent Design. (This same prejudice extends to Christian professors of other subjects). Ben Stein was interviewed on Hannity and Colmes about the upcoming movie. One good point he made (at 2:52) was
"There is no evidence whatsoever that Darwin had anything useful to say or anything to say period about how life began or how the universe began. How gravity began. How physics began. or how fluid motion or thermodynamics began. He had nothing to say about that whatsoever. So why attribute that to Darwinist causes? Why not say it's just as likely that there was an intelligent designer who did that?"

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When I was discharged from the hospital

When I was discharged from the hospital the nurse made me compare the baby's ID number to the one they had recorded in the paperwork before they released her. As I glanced at the number I said to her "Even if the numbers didn't match, I would take this one. I like this one." lol. I'm so in love with her.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

She knows what she wants

Wow. Only 12 days old and she knows what she wants already... to be held by mom, and only mom. all the time. It doesn't bother me though. I practice attachment parenting (AP) so in my opinion, it's only right that a baby desire to be close to her mama. It does make me laugh- the way she screeches when someone else tries to hold her. Hopefully my twice a week classes will break her of some of that bad habbit. When I hold her and Daddy calls her name she completely ignores him. What a strong will she has already!

I murdered our pet

OK... more like "put it out of its misery". Timmy had this beta fish. He didn't take good care of him so about a year ago I put it on the front porch with a bunch of free stuff- hoping to find it a good home. But Timmy protested, so we kept the fish. Then a couple of months ago the fish got sick. He has languished on the bottom of his bowl on his side since then. I kept asking Timmy to please google beta fish diseases and buy his pet some medicine. But he never did. It was just getting really pathetic and nasty to look at. So finally I talked Timmy into flushing the poor thing. As he dumped the fish in the toilet I prayed "Please be a painless death. Please be a painless death." (I would appreciate no comments describing how fish die in the sewer system. Thanks.)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

An inspiring sermon

Today's sermon was inspiring for me. It was from 1 Corinthians 1. (Interesting tid-bit: I found the reference by googling "God chose idiots". The reference came up first choice!)

26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."[d]

This was inspiring on several different levels:

On a personal level - I can take comfort that even when I don't live up to the world's standards, God wants me.

A reminder to be humble. Like the book I wrote: Humility and How I Achieved it. Kidding. Kidding.

A little hope concerning my husband. I've worried about what the future holds. Will my husband ever mature enough to give me the security I need? Pastor Charlie was describing how messed up some of the people in the Bible are... You know who I mean... Peter, Matthew, David, and the one who reminded me most of my husband: Moses. He killed a man impulsively and then ran to the dessert for 40 years. Then came back and led his people to freedom. (On the other hand... even Moses' wife couldn't take him. She left him. But aside from that, it's an inspiring thought)

You too can take hope that God likes people with faults and makes it a point to choose fools for Christ. I don't know about you, but that makes me a perfect candidate.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Other baby notes

She's nine days old. The birth seems so long ago now. Isn't that funny? She brings me so much joy. It makes me want another one. That always happens though. Luckily I don't ovulate for about two years. I forgot to mention in the birth story that the cord was wrapped around her foot a couple of times. We didn't notice it until we went to cut the cord- which was a while after she was born.

After the birth the midwife was concerned that I was bleeding too much. She gave me cytotec for that. (which I agreed to because I wasn't pregnant any more). It didn't seem like an unusual amount of blood to me though. (shoulder shrug)

Saphira came out with a red eyelid and nose and lip. We think it's just bruising from coming out so fast. Time will tell. Because of that, I agreed to the vitamin K shot at birth.

I got to hear Timmy's version of the events. He was about as overwhelmed by the birth as I was. He said that he was really concerned about being in this big, unlocked house, with two women, -one of whom was his wife in labor- and how he would protect us if someone broke in. Next time I'll make sure the doors are locked, so he doesn't worry so much about that. It was a valid concern. There is basically no security. It's not like in the hospital. On top of that, was just the basic medical concern that it was just him and a midwife. (Imagine the panic if I'd actually gone through with an unassisted home birth. ha ha). When my water broke he stepped out of the room because it was too much for him. He went to the front door to see if the other nurse had arrived yet. But that's when things got crazy. He heard the midwife telling me to stop pushing and he knew he had to man-up and help. That's when he came over to restrain me. I didn't even know he had stepped out of the room. Obviously I was a little distracted.

She's such a good baby. She hardly cries, but expects to be held and fed all the time. I don't mind though. There's nothing else I'd rather do. (It's even curing me of my internet addiction). She has tachypnia (fast breathing) so I had to bring her in for an EKG and chest x-ray, but they were normal.

In nursing school I learned about angular cheilitis, which is a fancy name for cracks in the corner of your mouth. It's caused by iron deficiency. I found it fascinating that I got angular cheilitis right after giving birth - when I'm sure my iron levels were extremely low. Knowing the cause however, I popped iron pills like candy (Ok, not exactly) and it cured in me in just days. That was pretty cool.

My transition back to school (so far) has gone amazingly smooth. Timmy gives her a bottle while I'm at class. Since she's so young, she isn't protesting to it. (thankfully). I only missed one lab, but I've already learned what I missed and next week we have the catheter certification and, assuming I pass, I'll be right in step with the class again. Whew!


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