Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

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Bread and Milk and Blackberries for Supper

I haven't blogged in forever. I have thought about blogging at least every other day. Tonight the kids are in bed and Dan is watching a movie I don't care to watch, and it seems like a good time to just start.

You might remember bread, milk and blackberries from the story of Peter Rabbit. This is what the little bunnies had for a simple supper when Peter was sent to bed with chamomile tea. I am introducing Bread, Milk, and Blackberries for Supper as a new "foodie" feature of my blog. I have blogged about food before, and posted a recipe here and there. But recently food has become more of an interest for me.... specifically "real" food, like bread, and milk and blackberries. Let me tell you where I'm coming from.

For Mother's Day Dan got me some ducklings. When the starter feed ran out I went back to the farmer's supply store to get more and it was out of stock. I asked if my ducklings were old enough to switch to corn, and was told that they were. So I brought home a bag of cracked corn. I hadn't started giving them kitchen scraps yet, so all they had was corn and water. Being a very new farmer-person I thought that was good enough. Soon though, the ducklings started having seizures. It was so disturbing to watch that I didn't want to go out and see them. I went online to see what could be wrong with them and discovered that they had symptoms of vitamin deficiency. Especially the vitamin E found the green stuff they should have been eating. So that night I fixed them a big pan of spinach and scraps with vitamin E capsules drizzled on top. They loved it, and the seizures resolved right away once their poor little bird brains were sufficiently nourished. I started feeding them kitchen scraps with lots of green stuff and mixed rabbit pellets in with the corn, which they thrived on.

A few months later I came across a book called "Real food for mother and baby" by Nina Planck. It was eye-opening. Many books and articles and films later, I realized that I had been starving my own brain pretty much the same way I accidentally starved those little ducklings. I hadn't been eating real food. I had been eating whatever was at the store, which seems like food but is often so far removed from the actual thing, it is now something else entirely. And when you trace it all they way back to what most of this "food" is made from, you come back to......corn. The same thing my little ducks tried to live on but couldn't. I want to give my kids nourishing food. This family's brains can definitely use all the help we can get.

So stay tuned for more "Bread, Milk, and Blackberries for Supper". You can count on the bread being homemade, the milk being raw, and the blackberries being local. I will be serving up some recipes, ideas, and chronicling my new quest for real food, in between turns on the tire swing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And Baby makes....Joy!

Rewind 3 years. It is August and I sit writing in my journal by the lake on our family vacation:

"God has changed my heart. How else can I describe it? I do not just have a different viewpoint. My heart is full and it is God who has filled it with his Truth from His Word. He has turned my heart toward my children. (Malachi 4:6) Given me clear vision for their education. Opened my closed heart and mind to the blessing of more children. He has freed me from the fear of depression with this Scripture: "

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O Earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones... Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. 'As surely as I live,' declares the Lord, 'you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, 'This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in'. Then you will say in your heart, 'Who bore me these?' I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up?" Isaiah 49:13-21

God was challenging me to stop living in fear and regret. "Oh, we can't have more children because Cadi is so difficult and it might make her worse, plus I can't have a baby and take an antidepressant, plus I could end up with postpartum depression...."etc. He was challenging me to leave Acadia in His hands. Who was I to say that another sibling would be bad for her?
I did not know then that my "bereavement" would not only be the depression that our family battles, but also 2 miscarriages in the next two years, and an emotionally difficult pregnancy. I also did not know the depth of joy that a child can bring, when God chooses to bless in the midst of difficult situations.

Immediately after Beatrix was born she was quiet and alert and looking up into our faces. A week or two later she started smiling while she looked into our eyes. It really didn't matter that newborns are not supposed to smile. She was blessing our family with joy in a way that nothing else could.

She is now 4 and 1/2 months old and learning to laugh. We laugh at her as she jumps and jumps in her "jolly jumper". Acadia and Lily change diapers, sing lullabies, and are fantastic babysitters already. God obviously knew what he was doing, and our growing family is simply a portrait of His grace.
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Friday, January 2, 2009


I've been thinking I should blog about why I haven't been blogging. Did you catch the problem in that statement? It's actually the answer to why I haven't written. I've been depressed. Not everyday, but I have been struggling with it throughout this pregnancy and I think since I only have 34 or so days left until this baby arrives it's time to come clean. It's hard for me to blog when I am depressed, or even if I was depressed yesterday because I don't want to think about my life. I just want to get through it the best I can and not analyze it. I don't want to make my life sound any worse or any better than it is and I have a fear that whatever I write will do that. I also think about all the different people I know who read this and worry what they will think about this or that thing that I write. I just want to hide until I feel better.
Apparrently the hormones that are rushing through my body to make this baby grow are stronger than the medication I take to keep my brain from crashing. I tried taking more of it but it just made me so sleepy I couldn't do anything. I think, in retrospect, maybe I should have just tried a different drug earlier on. But now I want to wait until the baby comes and see what happens. My family, my therapist, and now all of you, know that my depression might worsen postpartum and that I would need to get more help, but there is also the possibility that I might start to feel better. So I will wait it out one day at a time. If you see me and I am smiling, know that I am not trying to pretend to be happy, I am probably just okay at that moment. I seem to be able to do and think about some things but not others. I am looking forward to seeing this new baby, and my newest little nephew, but let's not talk about money, or the middle east, or health care, or christian persecution, or missions or child abuse okay? Those are some of my recent triggers into the depths of despair and I can't seem to distance myself from the emotional part of them right now.
As for an update on Acadia...
I had a phone meeting with one of the researchers at NIH this week to answer questions about the last 6 months. I didn't have a lot written down, but thankfully I had blogged about the manic episode Acadia had in the fall and I was able to use that to answer most of the questions. I need to remember to keep blogging updates now and then just for my own sake since I'm not keeping any other sort of journal for her right now. She had been pretty stable until we got close to Christmas and then she started having some anxiety about how long it was going to be until Christmas, and what we were doing everyday. She wanted to fill up every minute of her day with some exciting activity until Christmas morning arrived. With help from my Mom we kept her as busy as we could, but we were still hearing a lot of "I'm so bored I can't stand it". It's been difficult for me to be depressed and unmotivated and not able to think of ideas and things for her to do when it seems like she often needs or wants me to do that for her. She likes to have her environment prepared for her because it decreases her stress and anxiety level so much. For example; Mom hasn't been making sure all the socks are clean, paired, and in the drawer, so she's had to go looking for socks when she needs them and gets very frustrated. On the other hand she CAN do many things independently and often does, so it's more a matter of figuring out what the biggest stressors are and trying to help her with those. And then there's the things you can't avoid, like Christmas. Thanks to Seroquel she slept great and then we all got up and opened presents together. Once that was done we told her there would be about an hour to wait until we left to go to Grammie's. This was apparently more than she could handle because she started getting agitated and stomping around the house. Then she was saying how much she hated Christmas, throwing things, dumping crayons everywhere and getting more out of control. We directed her upstairs, and on her way she flipped the bookcase over and all the kid's books came crashing down the stairs. Once in her room, she cried and screamed about how bad she was and how sorry she was, that she wanted to kill herself and that we could never forgive her. Because I sensed a desire in the midst of this verbal debris to make things right, I simply asked her if she was ready to clean up the books. She immediately came out and began cleaning up. I helped her until it was done, and she apologized to us for what she had done. We forgave her and left it at that. We went to my Mom and Dad's and she held it together pretty well for the rest of the day, but it wasn't until we were driving home that night from our last "Christmas" that she finally seemed happy and relieved. She said that she still felt bad about throwing the fit that morning, but the rest of the day was so wonderful and she loved all her presents and was looking forward to playing with them tomorrow. It was such a dramatic turn around from her attitude the rest of the day, I was amazed. I hadn't even thought of the concept that she probably couldn't enjoy any of her gifts until it was all over!
Since then, there have been a few times when I have seen some depressive symptoms. One day she put these signs on her bedroom door:
The piece of junk
Worthless Person
You wouldn't like me
Behold: the worst person
The Unloved
(I know, they are sad and funny at the same time, especially with the bad spelling they were written in.)
Acadia is difficult to motivate, often very bored, unfocused, always wants to go somewhere and is irritable at times. At other times she is able to play happily with her sister and friends. It might be the beginning of a depressive episode or it might be a good description of most of us in Maine in our post holiday slump. We will have to wait and see.
That's the most writing I have done in ages, so let's call it good and hopefully we can do this again soon.