27 April 2007

How Rich are you?

Why Homeschool has posted an interesting link to "Global Rich List". Just enter your income and see where you are in the ranking of the world's richest people.

(Hint: Not much income quickly puts you in the top few %)

Now that should give us some perspective!

26 April 2007

Mummy's home tomorrow!

Lana is coming home tomorrow! Woohoo! Everyone here is excited.
This morning Lana decided she had enough of spending the day in her nightie so dressed in her clothes. The Obstetrician came into her room and pointed at her with a question on his lips.
"I had enough of being in my nightie."
"Good," he said, "You're getting better."
So tomorrow the stitches come out and we are once more re-united as a family.
The next month or two will be a matter of many hands making Lana's life easier. No lifting or stretching until the wounds heal which means Me, Ariel, Eric and Lana's Mum will be ensuring little (big) Martin is handed to Lana rather than Lana leaning down to pick him up.
As you can see by today's photo Lana is looking great and Martin is doing well, too!

Fish Feeding Rules

Our neighbour cleaned up his fish pond and asked us whether we would like some fish. This sounded like a good idea so we cleaned up an old small fish tank we somehow had in the garage and accepted two fish.
"They'll probably be dead in the morning," was our thought each evening but somehow they have been surviving quite well.
Each of our children have enjoyed the book "A Fish Out Of Water". It contains that most important tip, "Only feed the fish This Much (showing pinched fingers) and no more." I even remember enjoying this book when I was little.
Last week Rose found the fish food container and dropped a lot more than the pinched finger full.
The very quick and greedy little gold fish gobbled up as much as he could. And this is the result. An upside down fish.

25 April 2007

The secret to living debt free

I have found this video clip outlining the core secret to living debt free. It is in accord with all my dad taught me about finance and stars Steve Martin.

Hat tip: Gary North

24 April 2007

Seven Little Australians

It's a funny thing, really. Lana and I get lots of comments and looks when people realise we have seven children but it doesn't seem too large to us. It must be because the family has grown gradually, about every two and a half years between each marvellous addition.
As a family grows this way it doesn't take long before you are used to the current size and can quickly count to X children when you do the quick head count in a shop or when leaving somewhere. (1,2,3,4,5,6 - phew. All here!)
Also, many of our friends have families averaging six children and one can easily find where the homeschoolers are gathered by the collection of larger vehicles gathered together.
Probably the biggest problem with more children is that it is harder to have a photo where they are all smiling or looking at the camera. This photo is the best one out of quite a few I took yesterday. You can see how much the children have grown by a similar photo we took when Rose was born.
Today I had a quick visit with Lana and she is recovering very well. Sleep and lots of tender loving care from the hospital staff is doing wonders. Martin has also settled down and his face is settling into what it should be. I'll have an updated photo tomorrow.

(PS This is a photo of seven little Australians although one is doing double duty as an American too.)

23 April 2007

Does this like a newborn foot to you?

Today Martin and Lana are both looking much better after last night's exciting events. The photo accompanying this morning's announcements was just after Martin arrived and he looked quite puffy from his exertions.
This first photo gives you a better look at Martin, cleaned up and pondering that most important question, "What do I want now? Food or sleep?"
His answer is the default: Food! Somehow I suspect he won't lose much weight by the time Lana and he return home.
Lana has less monitors attached to her various limbs but still is bed bound. My job today was to stay with her and provide company and requested drinks of water.
When Lana was in the recovery room awaking from the general anesthetic the attendants were talking to her.
Lana remembers one of them saying, "You sure have a big baby. You should see his feet!"
Here is a photo of Martin's feet. Not the ordinary foot size for a newborn are they?

A Bruggie Baby is Born

You can see from the photo a number of things.
1. Martin has arrived, and
2. It wasn't all according to plan.
When we arrived Lana had a "trace" which means attaching a number of devices to measure Martin's heartrate, Lana's blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level and also the intensity and duration of the contractions. Everything looked good and the cervix (the part where the baby comes out) was thinner. But there was still some time to go.
We decided to leave the hospital and watch a movie until things progressed along further. We didn't feel it would be wise to go home 40 minutes away when things had gone this far. I bought the tickets and then we went shopping for some water and snacks. Lana had to stop us at least once per aisle with a strong contraction.
"We're not watching a movie," I said and we left the store.
Lana then had me stop in the middle of the road with another contraction making cars go around us.
I returned to the cinema and handed back the tickets saying, "We can't make the film. We're having a baby instead."
"Oh!" said the girl behind the counter, "Wait a tick. I'll give you a refund."
"Good luck!" she called as I went back to the car.
The pregnancy proceeded fairly normally until the doctor checked and the cervix had expanded to 8 cm. It needed to be 10 cm for the baby to escape.
The doctor broke the waters and a huge flood came out.
"Crikey! You could have broken the drought yourself!" commented the nurse.
Normally we have twenty minutes from water breaking to birth, but for some reason Martin didn't seem to be in the right position. At each push the nurse watched carefully. Suddenly she said, "Lana. Stop! Don't push! Roll over onto you back!" and she reached past me and pressed the RED button.
Then everything happening very quickly. Footsteps were hurrying from all directions.
"I saw a hand," the nurse told the doctor. I also saw Martin's little hand poking out. He was not going to get out with his hand across his head so Lana had to have an emergency caesarian section.
Within the space of 15 minutes Lana was prepared, I had been stripped and re-dressed in blue theatre gowns and a dozen people including doctor, obstetrician, anesthetist and all the assistants were gathered in the theatre, cutting Lana open to rescue Martin.
"Crikey, he's big!" said one person as Martin was delivered and then cleaned up.
After the operation, the obstetrician said to Martin, "You're a lucky young man."
So, Martin has arrived.
Weight: 4,895 grams (10lb 12oz!)
Length: 56 cm (22 inches)
Head: 39.5cm (15.5 inches)
I waited with Martin in my arms until Lana had revived and returned back to her room. She had something attached to each leg and arm and oxygen to her nose. Then the nurse asked, "Can you roll on to your side?"
Shortly thereafter Martin finally got what he wanted and needed The elixir of life that only a mum can provide.
I left Lana and Martin attached and both content, to do my job and tell the world.

Final Preparations

The contractions may have slowed down when we left hospital but they hadn't stopped. Gradually over Saturday and Sunday morning they increased in frequency, strength and duration (a sign they were indeed doing something). During 11:00am Mass Lana had six relatively strong contractions evenly spread so we decided to spend a family day in town not far from the hospital.
We had an enjoyable day, eating a fine fare of pizza and chips and playing in the park. I receive one fine comment from a sales assistant at a computer shop at which we dropped in. Eric was with me and just asked if he could go and look at the computer games. I said yes and off he went.
The sales assistant then said to me, "Your kids are some of the best behaved kids. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You must have one of the largest families in town yet when your kids come in here we have less trouble than some families with one or two kids."
Now that was a very helpful unsolicited commentary.
Anyway the contractions were too strong for us to return home so we went to the hospital and arranged for Lana's parents to drive into town and pick up the children. It looked like Martin was really coming this time!

21 April 2007

Home again, Home again, Jiggedy jig.

After all the excitement and disturbed sleep we are back home. The doctor popped in around 7:00am and did a check and Martin was still too high up. After all the contractions and excitement, Martin was still in denial that his time to arrive had come.
So it's back to waiting a little longer.

There's a man in the bed!

While we were waiting for Lana's contractions to pick up speed we went for a short walk and stopped by our room. I figured it might be a good idea to get a little power nap so I lay down on Lana's bed. Lana preferred to either sit or walk.
I next awoke to a voice exclaiming, "There's a man on the bed!"
"Umm, Hello," I said, reaching for my glasses.
"You're not a woman in labour," she said, rather obviously.
"No, my wife is the one in labour."
"Do you know where she is?"
"She can't be far," and then Lana returned to save me from pretending to have a contraction or something to make the woman happy.
The lady was a doctor who had come in to attach the Canula to the back of Lana's hand. I'm still not sure she had recovered from the surprise by the time she departed the room.

Woman in Labour coming through!

We're back home with Martin still returning his eviction notice unopened. **Sigh**
But getting to the hospital was exciting.
We didn't want to drink town water so we stopped in at the first service station (gas station) to buy some bottled water. As we stopped a fellow spoke to me before I left the car and said, "Are you going South? A truck has jack-knifed and the road is closed. Probably for several hours."
"Umm," I replied, "My wife is in labour now and we are going to the hospital."
The man's expression was priceless. "Ooh" he replied, unsure what to do now.
I went into the store and asked the three truckies who were standing around. (You will have to imagine rather strong Australian accents)
"How bad is the road closure?" I asked.
"Stuffed." replied one driver.
"Yeah, no-one's getting through for hours" added the other.
"Up to eight hours I reckon." joined in the third, smiling at the exchange.
"My wife's in labour and we need to get to the hospital."
The three looked at each other and then me.
"Hope she can wait." said one dryly.
I picked up the bottles of water and spoke to the lady behind the counter.
"How about I call the cops and see if they can do something?" she offered.
"That would be great." I repied.
Once she had called and was waiting for a reply she asked, "Is this your first?"
"No," I replied, "Our seventh."
"Seven!" she exclaimed.
"Don'cha have a TV, mate?" added in one of the drivers.
"Is that how it works?" I answered with a smile.
"I had one and that was enough" said the lady, "He was destined to be an only child."
Then the phone rang and the police had arranged for an ambulance to pick us up.
Not long later the ambulance arrived and the two paramedics were quick to tell us their names, Rob and John. They were obviously hoping for a role in the naming honours.
I followed in my car. As we approached the long backlog of cars the ambulance turned on its lights and I followed with my hazard lights along the verge.
The police had specially worked a path through the waiting trucks and cars so that the ambulance and me could get through. At the police roadblock the policeman said to the ambulance driver, "Have you got the pregnant lady on board?"
"Hello!" Lana smiled and waved from the back of the ambulance.
"Hi! My name is Scott and I moved some trucks aside so you can get through!"
As we passed through the paramedic said to Lana, "It sounds like he personally made a track for us! They'll close it right behind us once we're through."
As they neared the hospital, the paramedics asked Lana if we had picked names yet. Martin" answered Lana.
"That's alright then. That's the supervisor's name. He'll be happy."
So we made it to hospital in great style.
And then the contractions slowed down.

20 April 2007

Well, we're off!

It won't be long now and we'll be off to the hospital for Martin's birth.
This morning we went for a CTG. This is where Lana gets to lie down on the hospital bed and they place two monitors on her stomach. One higher up to measure any contractions and one lower down to hear the baby's heartbeat. All was OK and there were a few contractions.
These have grown stronger during the day - much more than last Friday.
They are stronger, longer duration and getting closer together. So in a short time we will be off to the hospital.
Next post will be the first one of Martin.
Thanks in advance for all your prayers.
(This is a photo I just took. See how Rose is in MY side of the bed to give Lana some comfort. We'll wake up Ariel and she'll sleep in our bed so Rose won't find herself alone when she wakes.)

16 April 2007

The waiting begins

On Friday I awoke at 5:30am ready to depart for work. I had showered, eaten breakfast and gathered my bag when Lana softly said to me, "I don't think you should go to work today."
"Are you having contractions?" I asked.
"Yes, about every half hour and they're pretty regular."
"OK. I'm working from home today."
Now that was a promising start. Martin was due last Saturday, so a day early was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately by the end of the day Lana's body had calmed down and all the contractions had stopped. Bah.
We had already resigned ourselves to waiting about a week or two after the due date in line with all the past births and now this false start has mucked up our mental preparations.
Oh well. Back to waiting again.

13 April 2007

Let Me Help, Mummy

Rose is always very helpful. Sometimes more help than we require but still well-meaning.
This photo shows Rose helping Lana. A few month's ago Lana had told off Rose for pulling at Lana's skirt and pulled it back into position.
Now whenever Rose thinks the skirt may be in a less than perfect position she helps Lana correct the defect.
Rose has been told Martin is coming. She looks at us and then points at Lana's tummy saying, "There Martin? There Martin?"
I am sure it will all be much clearer soon.

11 April 2007

The Belly Shot

There is a tradition on the Magnum Opus email list to pose for a belly shot not long before birth. Lana is too modest so I attempted to stop Ariel taking a photo of her.
If you look carefully you can see Lana hiding behind me. I don't think I was big enough. ;-)
Rose is looking on wondering what Dad is doing.
Martin (the new baby) is officially due this coming Saturday, but we reckon he will hang in there for another week or so.

Easter. Time of joy!

We have been enjoying the most important time of Easter together as a family and a Church. The Easter Triduum is full of history, symbolism, worship and memories. Lent comes to a close with the three day combination of Holy Thursday (Last Supper and Agony in the Garden), Good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.
Once more the local monastery hosted the Passion Play. This Passion Play has been performed now for the last 17 years and Passion Plays have been performed since early days of the Church, almost 2,000 years ago.
As human beings we are physical and spiritual beings. Passion Plays are a very good way of teaching the faith via all of our senses.
This time Lana and the two little girls stayed at home as Lana is now finding it too uncomfortable to walk long distances. (We have only between one and three weeks to go!)
In this photo you can see Ariel and her other girl friends all dressed for their roles as "Weeping Women" or women that gathered around the outside fire during the trial. Ariel played the part of Veronica and the boys and I did an important job as spectators and "the crowd".
The day began with a very heavy and constant drizzle. We figured there would only be a couple of hundred brave souls, but there ended up being over 2,000 visitors. The rain stopped just before the scheduled start time of 11:00am and held off until after it was completed at around 1:00pm.The actors in the play were drawn from the Monastery's regular supporters include many Polish pilgrims and lots of our homeschooling friends.
We all follow Jesus and the other actors from scene to scene, starting with Palm Sunday, Judas accepting his 30 pieces of silver, the Last Supper, Agony in the Garden, betrayal by a kiss of Judas, Trial before the Sanhedrin, Trial before Pontius Pilate, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with thorns, Carrying of the Cross including Jesus' falls and his meeting with Veronica, Mary and the wailing women, and the Crucifixion and burial.
Just before Ariel's scene she approached me very concerned about her forthcoming public scene. I told her to "just do it" and she did very well. The crowd of onlookers all jostle for position and each scene happens whether the onlookers are ready or not. Luckily I ended up in a great position to catch Ariel (Veronica) wipe Jesus' face with her cloth. She spoke very clearly so all could hear and in a moment Jesus had moved on towards the Crucifixion. Ariel didn't have time to think about the scene as she next had to move on and follow the Cross to be there at the end.
This type of thing really helps the children (and adults) understand the full story of what happened at that time. Too often we read about the events, or perhaps see it in a movie, but experiencing the scenes as they are replayed before our eyes, ears and all our senses is very exciting.