brief update on Harry


Harry is doing just fine, we are very happy to report. I had a lot of bloodwork and the big ultrasound screening done this last month, the results of all being completely normal. No gestational diabetes, no other causes for concern for me, and Harry passed his u/s with flying colors. He appears to be a completely healthy, normal baby.

At this last appointment we went over our birth plan with my doctor. Most of what I requested was acceptable, and for the most part the others aren’t really that big of an issue. But I still left with a distinct unease. I think this is pretty normal in the states as well — that all pregnancies are treated as high risk, or potentially high risk. For example, I’m to meet with the anesthesiologist at around 30 weeks, just in case. At 37 weeks, I have to go in at least once a week for non-stress tests, just in case. They want me to abstain from eating and drinking during labor, just in case I need anesthesia. Etc., just in case. There is also at least a three day hospital stay — really four days, as the day you give birth is counted as day 0. With Liam, I left the hospital 36 hours after his birth, and I was already climbing the walls at that point. It’s not so much that any of their standard operating procedures are THAT big of a deal, just that I don’t see the need for them. And I don’t want to feel like Harry’s birth became some kind of kowtowing to procedure, rather than the beautiful experience for Jesse and me that Liam’s was.

So tomorrow, after the holiday, I’m going to call the midwife we were in contact with before I lost Isaiah. If she does not already have too many patients due in early September, we are going to go with her. She does both home births and runs a birthing house, or birthing center as it would be more commonly called in the states. Part of me loves the idea of the home birth, but we really don’t think Liam’s at an appropriate age to be able to understand that my moans and groans and pains are just part of the process. We think it would scare him. And we don’t want to send him off somewhere. So better to go to the birthing house. It has all the equipment necessary for the process, plenty of room for us, and, for anyone concerned about safety, is just minutes from only hospital in the area with a specialized neo-natal department. The midwife has a good working relationship with her local hospital, and I have no worries on those grounds.

Our military insurance wouldn’t cover her services because she wasn’t employed by an actual hospital, but our new insurance should. Even if it didn’t, medical care is so much cheaper here that it’s not much of a concern. The only concern I really have about this is that she doesn’t speak English. Her son does, although he’s currently in the states. And if she can work with us, I’ll be working daily to improve my French and learn the specialized terms I’ll need to know.

We’ll let you know what we find out.

School Days

No gorgeous child pics, but I thought I’d take a moment to brag about Liam’s school work. The alphabet is old hat now, and he’s beginning, bit by bit, to try and sound out short words, which is great. We’ve been working more on numbers recently, and things like days of the week and the months of the year. He really enjoys his “learning” time — if I call it school, he digs in his heels, but he loves “learning time.” There’s nothing like hearing your 3 year old say, “Mama, I want to learn some MORE!”

Yes, learning he loves; drawing/coloring, he hates. That’s why I’m so impressed with these worksheets he’s done recently. He finds them fun, thankfully, so he’s willing to give them a try and I’ve seen a marked improvement in his pencil skills just since Easter vacation, which is when we made the choice to keep him home and let him learn with me.

First is a simple maze. Obviously, he gets the concept, and he’s working on the control.

He can count to about 20, but recognizing numerals is a new thing for him. As you can see, however, he’s off to a good start.

But this is the one that impresses me most. I figured we’d done enough crayon work for the day, so I started to put things away. Out of the blue, with no prompting whatsoever (really), Liam said, “I want to write my name.” So I left him a blank sheet of paper and the crayons. And he really did it. After he wrote the L, I prompted him for where to put the I, and explained that for an A he needed to make a circle first and then the line, but other than that this is all his own creation. Silly me, slipping into TeacherMom-mode, tried to explain the proper way to write a small M. But he ignored be, rightfully, and did his own thing. He says it’s an M and also a jellyfish.

Not bad for a three year old writing his name for the very first time ever, eh?


A week ago, Jesse gave Liam another haircut. This has gone from being a torturous event, when Liam used to cry hysterically and be so upset that he’d still be red and sobbing half an hour later, to a fun adventure that he really looks forward to. Mind, that doesn’t mean he holds still and cooperates the entire time. He laughs and shrinks away from the tickling, which makes for a few little nicks in an otherwise seemless haircut. Still, I think it looks great. It also makes him look older every time he gets one!

Liam couldn’t hold still when I was taking his picture. I’m amazed the camera managed to get a clear shot of him — if you look closely at his hands, you’ll see the blur of motion.

Pay no attention to the dust and shriveled balloon under the desk. Instead, let your eyes feast on that grin… and the stunning artwork behind Liam. Jesse’s going to take that to work and hang it in his office.

That’s all for now!

sweet and sensitive, silly, and just plain sneaky

No pictures, but I thought you’d enjoy this glimpse into Liam’s personality over the last 24 hours…

sweet and sensitive

Last night, just before turning off the television to start Liam’s nighttime “routine,” he and I were watching the news. He said he wanted to “see what’s happening in our world,” which I must give as a reason a lot of the time. CNN was covering the Greenburg tornado and the ensuing devestation. There was a film of a twister itself, and Liam asked what it was, so I explained. Then they panned the remains of the town and he wanted to know what he was looking at. I explained that a large tornado had gone through and destroyed the whole town, and what he saw were the sticks and rubble that remained of houses. The people, I told him, don’t have houses to live in anymore.

Liam was quite concerned about this. He said, “We have to do something. We have to think of something to make them happy.” Then he paced around the living room with his head between his hands (not sure where he picked that up, but it was cute), til he suddenly stopped and put his finger in the air, as if to say “eureka!” He said, “I know, we can give them our house!”


This morning Liam had a bath, and I was giving his ears a long overdue scrubbing. I jokingly told him that he’d be able to hear much better after I had removed all the dirt. He said, “My Pa can’t hear very good. Maybe you should wash his ears.”

just plain sneaky

Apparently, this morning Liam wanted a strawberry milk box. He knew not to ask me, because it was too close to lunch and I would have made him wait. So he snuck into the furnace room, grabbed the white plastic chair we keep back there, opened the fridge and positioned the chair, climbed to the top and, reaching far far farther than I thought he could, got himself a milk box from the very top shelf of our extremely tall fridge. Then he shut the door, put away the chair, and returned to the living room innocently clutching his prize.

What will he come up with next?

fun in the sun

It’s been nice here lately — warm enough to be outside and enjoy ourselves, but cool enough that we still have the will to move. Come July or August, I may not leave the living room. So we’ve taken advantage of the fine weather and gotten outside.

I surprised Liam one morning — rather than make him get dressing in the morning, after breakfast I took him outside for a painting extravaganza! He really loved getting his feet all oozy with paint, then slip-sliding his way down the paper. When it started to get too slick I suggested he use his hands. He loved that as well!

Yesterday we went to Parc Paradisio for the first time this year. In 2005 we had season passes, but didn’t use them very often. Although the park is beatiful, for a kid that’s not walking it’s just not that big of a ta-do. Last year we opted out due to concerns about bird flu, but this year Liam understands rules like, “don’t touch bird poo” and the like. So yesterday we went and got our season passes. Our first stop was the aquarium.

Don’t ask me why he had to pose in front of the garbage can. I tried to get him to step away, but I guess he needed the support. The pink building houses quite an aquarium! Liam really enjoyd seeing all the fish, turtles, lizards, snakes, etc. Sorry, no pics from inside. It’s not allowed and I doubt you’d be able to see anything anyway.

This was taken about two hours later, after having walked miles. I’m not sure, but I think he’s yelling “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Shortly thereafter, we called it a day. The little trooper slept like a rock on the car ride home.

Liam likes to wind up for a good run. And, like all three year olds, he runs EVERYWHERE.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print for now!

New converts

As a man of science and reason, I had no choice but to become vegan after reading “The China Study”. And, as a man of conviction, I am more than willing to tell anyone whose opinion I respect what I’ve learned.

Recently, two people I’ve spoken to about this book have read it, and came to the same conclusion as we have. My step mother Karen, and the one true mentor to me in the Air Force from some 25 years ago, Glenn.

Karen wrote me a short note that she’d stopped eating meat a short while ago. I don’t know if she and her husband Mike have gone completely vegan, but I will find out.

Glenn just called me this evening and told me he got this book, and was waiting to pick it apart and tell me how full of crap it was. But he found, as I did, Dr. Campbell’s science and conclusions were simply too solid. To have Glenn agree with me about this is one of the highest compliments I’ve got in a very long time.

In fact, we’ve made this such a part of our lives, that we no longer consider it terribly remarkable and Karena hasn’t made an entry here for months.

I should mention, she ran into a recipe to make firm tofu into bacon that is for all practical purposes, completely indistinguishable from proper pig bacon. Add that to the mayonnaise she can make with firm silken tofu and I can make as good a BLT sandwich on rye as I’ve had anywhere. I’ll goad her into posting the recipes.

Thanks for the compliment Glenn, and good eating. Welcome to the dark side. Forever will it control your destiny. I only recommend this to people I don’t want to die, you know. Next, I recommend a book, Mad Cowboy , by Howard Lyman. He discusses the meat eating world from the supply side. There’s shit in the meat.