Tuesday, August 24, 2010

7 Years

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. It has been a wonderful 7 years, with 3 beautiful children joining us along the way. We are indeed very blessed, and very thankful.

But today my heart is heavy. David is over 3000 kms away today. He went back home for the funeral of our best man. It is hard to be happy today, knowing that Brian's wife and sons, the oldest of whom is just a few months older than Judith, are grieving his sudden loss. He was only 30. It seems so unfair. His funeral was yesterday.

RIP Brian, we will miss you.

His oldest son with Judith, when they were babies.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dance!

I finally got the DVD of Judith's dance performance. Judith is the one on the right, the taller of the blonde girls. This is a video of a video, so the quality is quite poor, but you get the idea.

EDIT - Sorry, Blogger seems to crop my videos and so Judith got cut out a lot in the video above! You can go HERE to see the full video.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Natural Birth

I have been meaning to do a post for a while on natural birth, especially what I learned at the Water Birth workshop with Barbara Harper.

There is SERIOUSLY so much I learned (and I thought I knew a lot already, I'm a bit of a birth junkie!), and I don't think I can begin to try and write it all out right now. Barbara Harper is an amazing woman, and I highly recommend that all expectant mothers at least read her book, Gentle Birth Choices, before they make their decisions about how they would like to birth. Natural birth certainly isn't for everyone in our culture, but for some mothers it can be amazing and is totally worth it. Interventions are great and necessary when they are warranted or wanted, but I have a feeling that a lot of women don't know that they even have options. And of course there are so many women that have unnecessary traumatic births, especialy with their first (and that leads them to actually find their options for their future babies).

Anyway, the thing that impacted me the most about the workshop is really seeing how birth works. That babies were designed to be born. That if you just keep your hands off, everything will most likely be fine. It's good to have skilled people there in case of problems, but the key is to only intervene when there actually are problems, and not to go causing them in the first place. I always knew this, but the workshop hit it home for me. Watching so many births where no one touched or bothered the mother and baby were so powerful. People in our culture are complete control freaks, and it seems to impact birthing in such a negative way. Birthing in the water is so natural, peaceful and beautiful. It was amazing to see the babies come out, and then "snap" into themselves, and be drawn out of the water on to their mother's chest (the "habitat"). It was so, so amazing. It was incredible to see that there is truly no rush (baby won't try to breathe until his skin feels air, and as long as the placenta is still attached he gets all of the oxygen he needs), and that the baby usually knows how to birth itself. Baby and mother are both programmed with reflexes to ensure a safe delivery, if only they are allowed to work together, unhindered, to get it done.

There is so much more I could write (and I know this isn't written very well, but I don't have much time for writing, or thinking, these days). I believed deeply in birth before, but now I have more faith than ever. I can't wait to be able to be there for women going through this awesome journey (no matter what they choose of course, every birth seems to move me, no matter how it happens, but there's just a different dimension to natural, water births for me).

Here is a video I just came across that I like. I especially love how no one pulls on the baby at all to get her out. Everything just happens perfectly. And YES, this is a birth video so there is nudity.

Also, preparingforbaby has a lot of great videos on YouTube (check out her playlists, especially the waterbirth one). Here is part 1 of 4 of that series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DTwuiGgnHY

Maybe some day I will be able to post more about what I learned, but in case I don't, I just wanted to get a quick little thing out there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

4 & 6 Months

Whoops, I kind of missed a couple comparison shot posts!

I managed to get family portraits done when each baby was 4 months old.

April 2006

August 2008

April 2010

Awwww, we're so cute.

Now, here are the 6 month shots of each bebe.




Such sweet sweetness!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cinnamon Buns

This is how you do it!

~1 tsp white sugar
~1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
~1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in water, let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

~1/2 cup milk
~1/4 cup white sugar
~1/4 cup butter
~1 tsp salt

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in sugar, butter and salt, stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

~2 eggs, beaten
~4 cups all-purpose flour (I actually used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat bread flour)

In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl) combine yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour, stir or mix well to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (or if you're me, let the stand mixer knead it for about 5 minutes).

~1 tbsp olive oil (approx)

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

~3/4 cup butter
~3/4 cup brown sugar
~1/2 cup chopped pecans

While dough is rising, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with pecans, set aside.

~1/4 cup butter
~3/4 cup brown sugar
~1 tbsp ground cinnamon
~1/2 cup chopped pecans
~1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter, set aside. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and raisins in small bowl, set aside (do not combine with butter).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into and 18x14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tbsp melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered. Sprinkle with the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at the long side, tightly roll up dough, pinching seam to seal. Brush outside with butter. With a serrated knife, cut roll into 15 pieces (I actually made 16). Place rolls in prepared 9x13 pan, face up. Brush tops of rolls with remaining butter. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from pan onto the rolls.


(In retrospect, I would also make up another batch of the butter-sugar mixture, and add that to the top and sides of the rolls as soon as they came out of the oven, before flipping them out, because some of the edge rolls were a bit dry. They were still delicious though!)