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Summer so far...

is going very well, except that Wendell and I are a bit sick at the moment.

We've settled into a routine of cereal, morning chores / play outside time, 2nd breakfast, school time while Wendell naps, a late lunch, afternoon outing (errands about 2x per week, a couple of fun outings, and sometimes playtime at home), cleanup, movie / dinner prep time, baths, toothbrushing, and bedtime stories. It is very helpful to plan out either the night before or first thing in the morning what all of the meals will be, what special chore we'll be doing in the morning, what the school activities will be, and what we'll do in the afternoon. Iris is especially interested in hearing the plan for each day. I'm pretty amazed at how much more smoothly the days go when they're planned out and when I'm committed to having meals ready at particular times.

The garden is going pretty well - we're getting a big handfull of berries every day, plus plenty of cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplants, onions, and a few green beans. Oh, and the kale is still going strong. We got a couple of figs this week, plus the tree seems to be setting a nice second crop. One of the plum trees has a couple dozen unripe plums on it, one of the apple trees has about a dozen small apples, and one of the grape vines has a few clusters of green grapes, so hopefully there will be more fruit for us soon.

The kids are signed up for the summer reading program at both of the libraries in walking distance of our house. The prizes include passes to go swimming at the Plunge and passes for two different science museums. We're looking forward to a few exciting days. :-)

I noticed a rough spot and a hole on one of my molars last weekend and thought I had lost a filling. When I went to the dentist, it turned out that I had actually lost a bit of tooth next to an old filling. Since I'm pregnant, the dentist just cleaned up the spot and put in a temporary filling. No painkillers were offered, but thankfully I had no pain. I need to go back and get the whole shebang (temporary filling + old filling) replaced with a new permanent filling sometime in the fall. I really try hard to take good care of my teeth and eat healthy food, although I know I have too much sugar. I wonder how much the tooth breakage was caused by just having crappy teeth, and how much all the pregnancies and nursing have been taking a toll on my body.

I finally bought a sewing machine (from IKEA of all places) a couple weeks ago and made a bunch of wipes out of some flannel blankets. We'd been given a bunch of flannel blankets that were just a little too small for swaddling babies, so we hadn't used them very much. Meanwhile, most of our flannel baby wipes had gotten pretty threadbare and were starting to develop holes, so it was nice to be able to turn something we hadn't gotten much use out of into something we will use a lot. I was also able to replace the elastic in half a dozen diapers that Wendell had been peeing out the legs of. They seemed to be in good shape other than the worn-out elastic, which is great, considering that they've been in use for almost 4 years now.

Ben and I have been spending way too much time on ancestry.com lately. About a month ago, a woman contacted me on 23andme because we were predicted to be 3rd cousins and she was curious how we were related. Because she mentioned German and Irish ancestry and most of her family having been in the Philadelphia area for several generations back, I thought the connection was likely to be on my mom's side. Unfortunately, all I really knew was my mom's maiden name and the area she'd grown up in. The woman messaged me back with, "Oh, is your mom [name]? And was her father [name]? If so, I think you're a Tricebock." And she linked me to the whole Tricebock genealogy. My great-grandmother (whose maiden name was Tricebock) had 10 siblings. I traced out a lot of their descendants, mostly wondering how large this family had gotten and wondering if I had any semi-famous 3rd cousins. I didn't find anyone famous, but I did find 3 sets of fraternal twins (not counting Neil & Zinnia), and all of their mothers are Tricebock descendants rather than the wives of Tricebock descendants. So I guess twins do run in my family. :-) Also, our combined tree is huge - most of Ben's and my great-grandparents had 6+ siblings, and several had 10+ siblings. I'm curious how common that was back in the day.

Finally, here are a couple of anecdotes about Iris and Neil...
Iris loves to look through the recycling basket in our kitchen for things to use for projects. The other day, she found a paper towel tube and an empty can that had previously contained tomatoes. She put the can over the tube and proudly showed her creation to Ben, saying, "Potato dickhead!" "What???!!!" "Potato dicked. See - it says on the can." Sure enough, the can said "Petite diced".
While we were at story time last week, the librarian read a book about a desert toad who encounters other desert animals while looking for water. The toad met a scorpion. Lots of kids were chiming in with their comments about the various animals, and Neil was trying to as well. He got frustrated that nobody was listening and said loudly, "Excuse me, I'm trying to tell you something!" The room got quiet as he went on, very earnestly, "Did you know that scorpions were prehistoric animals?" Afterwards, he came and sat quietly right next to me for the rest of the story time.

And now, it is long past my bedtime. Goodnight!


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2013 06:35 am (UTC)
Its pretty common in my family- my grandparents all came from large families, my father was one of six, my mother is one of twelve. My mother has 50+ first cousins because her father had seven siblings who all had a number of children. My generation is comparatively small- several of my mother's eleven siblings had no children, and severalmore had small families for a variety of reasons. The next generation is also growing rather slowly. I am doing what I can!

Busy days!

Raina sifts through recycling bins too.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 07:42 am (UTC)
I find genealogy stuff really interesting too, though I haven't devoted much time to it. All four of my grandparents had around 10 siblings (they're Mormons on one side, Catholics on the other, and 3 of the 4 were raised on farms). I think my great-grandparents had large families as well, though I don't know for sure - but from what I've heard, large families were especially common among farmers, which many of my ancestors were. In contrast, my parents (the first generation not mostly born on farms) each had 4 siblings, and most of my cousins have one or none.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 07:44 am (UTC)
(But I did have plenty of Mormon classmates who had a half dozen to a dozen siblings, so that trend is certainly not universal - though it does seem to hold even with with my Catholic cousins, all of whom are hitting or past menopause with 1-2 kids each.)
Jul. 2nd, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Roman Catholics in the US frequently disregard the official church position on birth control, and are even willing to say so, in large numbers, when taking simple surveys about the topic.

J and I were prepped for our (Roman Catholic) wedding in the standard Roman Catholic ("pre-Cana") classes, and even the priest running those immediately followed up his overview of the church's position on birth control with a vivid description of the "bad old days" in his own childhood (when, in his view, women often felt trapped into pregnancies that were ruinous to their health, and couples often felt trapped into trying to take care of more children than they could care for well), and a reminder that at a higher level the church also stressed the importance of following one's own conscience, above all, even when it conflicted with a current official church position.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
Even my very Catholic grandmother got permission from her priest after her fifth child to go on birth control in 1955, because having so many kids was really taking a toll on her body. It was probably way less common then, though. :)

I don't think Mormons are necessarily opposed to birth control (though I should ask my Mormon friend to be sure), but there is a lot of social pressure to have a large family if you can.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 02:30 am (UTC)
I think it was definitely less common then. I've heard that well into the sixties there were many stressed-out Catholic moms taking the kids to church but not receiving communion themselves on Sundays because they'd made the decision to take the pill without any such permission and felt that that meant they weren't in a state fit to receive.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, some of the large families on both sides are farm families. But my mom was born on a farm and only had 2 siblings, and Ben was born on a farm and has 1 brother and a half-sister (who was born much later, and not on a farm).
Jul. 2nd, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC)
Hmm, since personal anecdote is the bane of good social science, I turned to my sociology textbooks with the question. They don't have much information about occupation as it historically relates to family size, but do stress that there has been a steady decrease in the number of children per family in the United States, attributing it to greater educational attainment of women, older age when starting a family, and better access to birth control. They also discuss the rising cost of children as a potential factor.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 09:29 am (UTC)
I think pregnancy and breastfeeding, but mostly pregnancy, has a heavy toll on teeth. Not to mention having less time for self care with an increasing family! I've had dental problems in both pregnancies so far (broke a tooth the first time, two fillings this one). It's funny that they won't do fillings - the dentist was happy to do so here. It's just the xrays they don't want to do.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, man! I missed that you were pregnant again (and I had even read the post where you mentioned it). Congratulations!

The dentist had wanted to do an X-ray before replacing the filling, which was when I mentioned that I was 6 months pregnant (the hygienist kind of laughed because she'd noticed right away, but the dentist had been oblivious). I got the feeling he thought that the painkiller would've been okay, just that he wasn't comfortable doing that without a note from my doctor.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:37 am (UTC)
I meant to message you, just to say that you'll only have a couple of months to let me know how that five-kids-are-like-four thing goes! I'm due at the end of November
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've heard that.

The last bit though, "Scientists have also suggested a few other reasons for the link. Many dentists may be reluctant to treat pregnant women, and mothers with several children may be more likely to partake of the junk food that their children are eating." surprised me. I think I've eaten much better in the past few years as I've been very motivated to buy and cook healthy food for my family (and not have junk in the house so that nobody whines for it.)
Jul. 3rd, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
Sorry, anonymous comment was me! Didn't notice LJ had logged me out.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 11:19 am (UTC)
I've started a calcium supplement in hopes of easing my bad teeth. I keep them super clean, but they still betray me at regular intervals.

Hope you are well again soon!

Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been taking calcium + magnesium supplements too, and my vitamin D levels are great, so I should be absorbing it fairly well. I don't know - I certainly had plenty of cavities pre-kids too.
Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
I've had teeth filled with painkiller during pregnancy. Usually the dentist leaves off the epinephrine, which I ask them to leave out even when not pregnant, since it makes me feel out of it. Which reminds me...I think I have a filling that needs to be fixed.

I think larger families were much more common before birth control. Both for the obvious reason, but also because people sort of expected large families. My maternal grandmother was one of nine (one set of twins). She herself had five kids in about six or seven years (no twins).
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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