Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Spring in Our Steps

Spring has invigorated our chickens. They seemed to be fine during the snowy winter but the warmer weather has made them more active and perky and the longer days have increased their egg production.

Laying an egg

Look at these lovelies

We are finally FINALLY getting green eggs. Our chickens were supposed to start laying sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Henny Penny (may she rest in peace) started laying right after Lewis was born, if I remember correctly, so sometime in September, and then we started getting eggs from at least one other chicken. One of our chickens is supposed to lay green or blue eggs so for months we would eagerly check out the nesting boxes to see what might be there, only to find just brown eggs. As time passed, we started to lose hope on the colored egg issue. Then, finally, at the end of FEBRUARY, we found our first green egg! This means that our Ameraucana hen hasn't been laying this whole time. Slacker. And I am rather surprised that there is such variance in when these hens started laying; they were all the same age to within a few days of each other.

But now! Now that there are more hours of sunlight, we are getting lots of eggs, one nearly every day from each chicken. Mrs. Benedict (pictured up there in the nesting box) lays smaller brown eggs, Drumstick lays big brown eggs (she was the second one to start laying, after Henny Penny), and Ella lays large green eggs. Supposedly within about a year year their eggs will get larger but they will lay less frequently; then they will be HUGE, because they are already as big as the biggest ones you buy at the store.

Kindergarteners playing soccer

This spring Grace is playing soccer at one of the city rec centers here. She's been asking to play soccer for quite a long time now but I missed sign-up deadlines and games were at inconvenient times and so forth until this spring. Her team is made up of kindergarteners and they play other teams of kindergarteners meeting all at the same time. Her team was assigned their uniform colors and they have dubbed themselves the Penguins. This whole team sport thing is new to me, as the closest I came to a sport growing up was ballet and running cross-country in high school. I think she is super adorable in her little cleats. They were significantly outmanned in their first match but in the weeks since then they've played teams more on their level; Grace has even scored goals! These small people seem to have the best luck when their approach is kept very simple-- kick the ball as hard as you can in the right direction and then everyone run after it.

This past weekend was soooooooo busy but also so wonderful. Rob's parents came in town to visit and we had an Easter church extravaganza which included me playing piano AND our church's big resurrection party AND a baby dedication for Lewis. Easter is becoming one of my new favorite holidays since we moved here to Salt Lake; celebrating with our church community here is such a gift. We did this song from David Crowder's new album this year, and I am really loving it now. We got up on stage with all the other babies and their families and read a Bible verse we picked out for him and then people who we love prayed for him and us.

Up on stage at church

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of.
Philippians 1:9-10

Praying for Lewis

In the afternoon, we had a HUGE PARTY up in the neighborhood where our church has its office. My friend Becky has lovely pictures of it all her beautiful blog. There was beautiful food and warm sun and a bounce house for the kids and a couple baptisms and lovely togetherness. The weather was amazing, and the view, and the experience of being with people we love as we celebrated resurrection and new life for all of us.

Easter view

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Springtime and the Living is Easy

Spring = backyard picnic

Spring has come in fits and starts to the Salt Lake Valley. We have had such balmy warm weather with blue skies and wafting breezes and backyard picnics, interspersed with spring storms racing through the mountains bringing snow and cold rain and getting the fleece jackets back out for a few days. I don't mind the waffling weather one bit; I know that summer will arrive in all good time and meanwhile these back-and-forth days are lovely, each in their own way.

One of my very favorite things about the advent of warmer weather is being able to wear skirts with bare legs and sandals-- my very favorite way to dress. So easy, so comfortable. This does also mean the beginning of pedicure season, which is kind of a pain, although also sort of nice. I feel conflicted about all the rituals entailed in our society's feminine beauty norm. On the one hand, it takes so much energy and time and it is problematic to think of your body's "natural state" (whatever that means) as unacceptable. On the other hand, self-care is good and these rituals provide a framework for caring for your own corporeal self. And sparkly toenails!

Spring has been achingly lovely but our enjoyment of it has been besmirched by illness. We were very lucky all through the winter but we've had a string of colds and stomach bugs around here lately. Violet has been hit the hardest, as she always is. Grace, in contrast, almost never gets sick. When Grace was a toddler, I was so smug about how she never got sick. "Oh, it's because I breastfed her for so long. And look at what healthy food I feed her!" Then Violet came along with the same length of nursing and the very same food and she gets sick much more frequently. Grace just has some kind of immune system of steel, I suppose. Anyway, it's been since my dad's last visit, so... over a month of various little viruses, shared amongst us to one extent or another. Right now Violet is getting over a cold and is in a TERRIBLE grouchy mood, and I am in the throes of it with a nasty cough and laryngitis and feeling like crap.

In other health news, I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I had Graves' disease in my early 20s, the autoimmune version of hyperthyroidism. I never had bugged-out eyes but I was losing a bunch of weight and was jittery and exhausted and my heart raced all the time. I saw an endocrinologist who had me on thyroid-suppressing drugs for about 5 years, gradually tapering off until I was declared in remission. That endocrinologist always told me that patients like me usually end up going hypothyroid later in life, and well, that time has apparently come. My thyroid has decided to give up the ghost and quit working. I had an annual check-up with my midwife last week and she checked my thyroid levels like I always do at check-ups because of my history. They've been in the normal range for almost a decade now off any drugs, but this time they came back VERY hypothyroid. It's probably the autoimmune version again, although they haven't checked for the thyroid antibodies yet. I have been feeling rather tired and losing the baby weight has been slower this time than after my other pregnancies, but I just attributed those things to having a new baby + two other children, being a few years older than after my other pregnancies, etc. I started on the thyroid hormone drug (you just take in pill form the hormone that your thyroid would normally make) this week and I will be pretty happy if suddenly I am full of energy and get super skinny without having to work very hard. On the other hand, I am now probably facing taking a pill every day for the rest of my life, which is kind of a bummer. Not in the grand scheme of things, I know, as spring and a joyful baby and warm weather and Holy Week would like to remind me.