Fluff.

I don't know why I never used cloth diapers with my other children. They are so super soft and so much cuter than disposables! I did alot of research before making the decision to use them with baby Violet and while they may be kind of expensive up front, it saves so much in the long run. It's not as difficult as I expected either. I mostly chose the pocket diapers and you just stuff them with a microfiber insert, kinda like stuffing a pillowcase. I got a few fitteds with covers too and I really like those for nighttime. I love that most of them are "one-size" and will fit her up to 35 pounds. Chris installed a high pressure sprayer in our utility sink so that I can rinse them out before they go into the pail, then I wash every other day. I had a few choice words for my HE washer while trying to figure out a washing routine, but I've finally got it down.

Here are my favorite brands and my stash thus far:

Bum Genius




Blueberry




Happy Heinys




Thirsties








Fuzzi Bunz




Happy Flute




Baby City




Laundry day-





I took a bunch of old receiving blankets and t-shirts to cut up for wipes. I soak them with purified water and add a little Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel for the cleansing solution, throw them in a tupperware bowl, and it works great! Smells good too!





First Bath.

Little Bird had her first real bath in her baby tub today. So far we've only done sponge baths because her umbilical cord spot wasn't completely healed yet. She seemed to like the water and was not thrilled to get out of it into the cool air! Lia helped me take a few photos while I washed her.














Violet Rose {newborn photos}

I tried my best to do my own baby's newborn photos. I didn't get to do everything I had in mind, and none of the ones with all 4 kids worked out, but I'm still happy with the results anyway considering I just gave birth 5 days ago.























Earthquake Feet & Potty Chairs

Obviously Levi has kept me away from the computer for several days, so I'll brief you on the past week's events.

Chris is amazing. Look what he brought me home the other night...



Levi has two big sisters and likes to play in their old pink dollhouse. He also carries around a purse at times and in baby talk tells us to eff off if we try and tell him boys don't carry those.

Backyard Fun:



















Report cards came for the girls. They both did very well, but Lia is still struggling with her reading. I wish I could figure out a way for her to be interested in it. Sometimes she says she likes it if she has a really exciting book, but it's short lived and she quickly grows bored and loses her attention span.

Levi now thinks he has 3 girlfriends. Alivia, Julia, and Lily. Only one of those little girls calls him her boyfriend. Julia, the next door neighbor, adorable with red curls, and him have become best friends the past few weeks. It's so adorable.

Potty training is not going well. Levi watched Chris pee and then tried it for himself, but mostly just stood there yanking on his junk. And then went and peed on his firetruck.







Hannah has had really gross cracked heels for months now, and we just assumed it was from a horrible dry winter as usual, tried heel balms, special medicated bandages and lotions, and nothing seemed to help at all. She never said it bothered her or hurt until this week, so I scheduled her an appt with her pediatrician. Turns out she has a form of Eczema, called Dishydrotic Eczema. It looks like there was a major earthquake on each of her heels. After searching my trusted Wiki, I found that common triggers could be excessive sweating (sometimes she doesnt wear socks), emotional stress (which she gets a healthy dose from her other parent), or some kind of allergic reaction. We got some kind of steroid cream to put on it twice daily and it's already starting to look a little better.




Chris's work schedule has been completely insane and we rarely get to see him, and when we do he's constantly on the phone or his laptop for work. Once this other guy is trained things should slow down a bit. We're starting to think more about our move to Athens. I will certainly miss our house, yard, our neighborhood, and all the kids' friends. But once Chris's guy is trained his job will require him to be closer to his West Virginia and Kentucky clinics. Plus since I'm not working outside the home anymore our monthly income is much less than before and the house in Athens is already paid for (no mortgage or rent) so it only makes sense to move. Smaller town, lower crime rate, nice safe neighborhood, huge yard, beautiful scenery, a wonderful arts community with many cultures and ethnic groups, and lots of local homegrown ORGANIC foods. And most importantly, grandma Lynn will be right down the road from us. I'm not certain when we're going to take the leap, but I think it will be soon.

The weather has been just gorgeous for the most part and I went outside several days last week and took photos of all the pretty flowers blooming, which are posted HERE.


And I suppose that's all for now :)

Easter Sunday

This weekend was fantastic. Grandma Lynn (my mother-in-law) stayed with us all weekend and it was such a nice visit. We worked on the yard a little, had lots of playtime with the kids, had several easter egg hunts, and lots of good food. It was a much needed good family time for all of us :)


























It's pretty fascinating to me that 2 years ago, Levi was born on Easter Sunday (March 23rd), the second earliest day Easter can fall, and will not happen again until the year 2160. It's also kind of neat that I was born on Labor day, Hannah was due on Mother's Day, and Lia was due on St.Patrick's Day. Haha.

Chris and I took Lia and Hannah to see Alice in Wonderland at the movies last night too. It was pretty neat, although it felt as if they cut alot out for theatre sake. Levi's got so many new words and sentences every day. It amazes me what comes out of that kid's mouth. Tonight we had our first thunderstorm of the season and he was yelling at the thunder to shut up and go away or it would get in twuble. Nonetheless, he was fascinated by the lighting, so we sat and rocked by the window for quite awhile.

The Old Days

I've been working on this post for a few days but we've been so busy I'm just now finally able to publish it.

Wednesday the kids and I made a field trip to Slate Run Living Historical Farm. I do alot of child shoots here, so I'm pretty familiar with the place, but the girls have only been a couple times and this was Levi's first time he's actually big enough to enjoy it. We also brought along 3 of the neighbor girls, so I was again the only adult with 6 children! They were very well behaved, well except for Levi, and I even let them use one of my cameras. The kids kept saying "this is just like the olden days!".










































A little about the farm:

Slate Run Living Historical Farm is the era of the 1800s. You will know you have stepped back in time as you learn how to operate a farm without the use of electricity or gas-powered equipment.

The barn is multi-bay and was restored by Amish carpenters. It was originally built by the fourth owner of the farm, Samuel Oman.

The house built in 1856 is gothic revival and was restored by Metro Parks. The kitchen, living room, and parlor can be toured. You can watch the ladies as they take care of the house and prepare meals.

When you visit the farm, you will see the volunteers and staff in costume from the era doing their daily chores in the gardens, the house, and the fields. The chores, of course, will depend on the time of year you visit.

The farmers may be plowing with the help of the Percheron Draft Horses. That's right, no gas powered tractors or equipment will be found. The ladies may be canning yummies from the garden in the summer kitchen.

You'll also see some unique animals such as the Poland China Hog, the Merino sheep, and the Percheron Draft Horses. Flocks of geese and ducks make their home there as well as chickens and turkeys.

There are some great programs offered so families and children can help with the chores and activities on the farm. Depending upon the season and weather, it may be sheep shearing, husking corn, shaping wood, grooming horses, or maple syrup time. Whatever it may be, it's well worth the time and education to visit.

Slate Run Living Historical Farm is really an awesome adventure, especially for the youngins', to see and do what our ancestors did over 100 years ago.

Giggles & Squeals

The girls have Spring Break this week so today I was going to take them to the living historical farm but it was closed today. Instead we decided to hang out at the park for a bit. They begged to have a friend come so it ended up being myself (the only adult) with 5 children. But it was not very crowded and we had alot of fun :)






















The road out there was super hilly and I wish I could have recorded all the giggles and squeals as we went over each hill! It was those little girly giggles that tickle your belly and you can't help but giggle yourself a little when hearing it. :)

xoxo

I am a Vegetarian.

I've sort of been a part-time vegetarian for a few years now, mainly because I can't come to terms with chewing on a fleshy piece of blood and guts. It's not necessarily the taste, but the texture I have issues with. After being disgusted by our food industry's corrupt and inhumane ways, I have decided to take action for our family's health. Today I made a quick trip for groceries and vowed to only purchase items out of the organic/health food section of Kroger. With the exception of baby wipes, I did exactly that.










BEST TEA EVER!






























It's nice to look at the ingredients of something you're about to ingest and not see a bunch of weird big words that nobody even knows what they mean.

Several years ago I had an organic kick that quickly wore off with the limited items and hefty price tags, but this time was different. I was amazed at how many things they carry nowadays, and it didn't run me that much more than it would have had I bought regular name brand crap foods. My Kroger plus card also saved me $43. And you can't put a price tag on the feeling you get when you know you are buying consumables that will not poison those you care about the most. I'm also excited to get my own little garden going again this summer. Now that I'm not working a full time day job I'll have plenty of time to invest in one of my favorite hobbies :)

Some things I've learned while researching the food industry...

-Today, 2 percent of American farms raise 40 percent of our food animals.

-If it doesn't say certified Organic, you can bet the food has came from a factory farm. And Fast Food Corporations are their biggest customers (excluding Chipotle)

-Children are hitting puberty earlier due to all the genetically enhanced pumped full of hormones "food". Did you know they grow (with hormones) a chicken in less than half the time they would naturally (49 days instead of 60)? So much so that their internal organs can't keep up and they begin to fail, causing disease. And we eat it.

-Swine flu originated on a factory farm. Mad Cow disease came from the practice of feeding animal parts to cows. And each year 650,000 people get sick from Salmonella-tainted eggs.

-Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities.

-The average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store.

-Transporting that food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

-You may see thousands of brands in a grocery store, but did you know they are all owned by only a handful of huge corporations, such as Tyson and Smithfield.

-Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers, pollute surrounding communities, are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.

-In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA's decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed.

-High calorie, sugar laden processed foods coupled with our sedentary lifestyles is growing our waistlines and contributing to serious health issues like diabetes, heart ailments and cancers. One-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

-In Food, Inc. we meet Barbara Kowalcyk, whose 2 year old son, Kevin, died from E.coli poisoning after eating a hamburger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million Americans are sickened, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses.

-Factory farms cram egg-laying hens into cages so tiny they can't even spread their wings. Breeding pigs and veal calves are stuffed into cramped individual cages barely larger than their bodies. They can’t walk or turn around. They all stand in their own feces day in and day out.

-Many of the workers in factory farms are illegal immigrants, work for several months or years, and then get picked up by immigration officers and deported. These factory owners have a deal worked out with immigration. They never get raided so their production never stops, in turn they provide names/address of these immigrants homes so they can still make their busts.

-Currently, up to 45 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as is 85 percent of soybeans. It has been estimated that 70-75 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves--from soda to soup, crackers to condiments--contain genetically engineered ingredients.

-A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer.




Some highly recommended films to see regarding these issues. Reading about it is one thing, but watching the horrifying truth and seeing the visuals associated with it will persuade anyone with half a functioning brain to dig a little deeper.

FOOD INC.

KING CORN.

FOOD REVOLUTION.


THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH.


SUPERSIZE ME.


Click HERE for a whole list of free health/food documentaries you can watch right now on your computer.

It is so important that America become educated, and CARE what we are putting in ours and our CHILDREN'S bodies.






RIP Jimmy.

Just a short note today..

Chris' stepfather passed away this morning. He was a great man and will be missed by many. Please keep my mother in law in your thoughts during this difficult time.

RIP James Anastas.




Obituary

James Anastas
(Died March 27, 2010)


U.S. Veteran James S. Anastas, of The Plains, died Saturday morning, March 27, 2010 at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, Athens.

He was born of Greek emigrant parents in Clarksburg, West Virginia and came to Athens by way of Ohio University. He had been in the restaurant, tavern, and candy business. He was also employed by The Athens National Bank and Bank One. A veteran of World War II, whereas he served as a sergeant in the infantry.

James is survived by his wife, Lynn W. Anastas; a brother, Jack Anastas, and sister-in-law, Laguardia Anastas, of Delray Beach, Fla.; four nephews- Joe Yanity III and John Yanity of Athens, Steve Nichols, Jr. of Austin, Texas, and Roderick Baarstad of Highland Ranch, Colorado; four nieces- Julie Mary Baarstad of Mesa, Arizona, Jennifer Yanity of Coshocton, Ohio, Catherine and Amy Yanity both of Athens; a step son, Chris (Sara) Patton and step grandson, Levi Patton, all of Canal Winchester, Ohio; a brother-in-law, Steve Nichols of Mesa, Arizona; a brother-in-law, Joseph B. Yanity, Jr. and sister-in-law, Joyce Yanity of Athens.

He was preceded in death by his former wife, Betty Gilham Anastas and sister, Mary Nichols of Mesa, Arizona.

Calling hours will be observed Monday from 2-4 and 7-9PM at Jagers & Sons Funeral Home, Athens. Funeral service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 64 University Terrace, Athens, on Tuesday at 11:00AM with Rev. Economos Michael H. Kontos, Jr. officiating. Burial will be West Union St. Cemetery.

Memorials gifts may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 64 University Terrace, Athens, Ohio 45701; O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, 55 Hospital Drive, Athens, Ohio 45701; or Appalachian Community Hospice, 30 Herrold Ave., Athens, Ohio 45701.

Progress!

Making lots of dollhouse progress! (To give you an idea of how big it is, Levi can sit on the top porch like it's a chair)

I'm finally starting to enjoy it now :) I even super glued some of my fake flowers to the flower box and found some mini door knobs with keyholes to put on the doors. I did all of this by myself without any help from Chris! Go me!






All that's left is the shingles, porch posts, chimney, trim, and interior :D