1.31.2013

Too Many Kids??

mom and seven kids instagram

There are a million considerations to make when deciding on family size (assuming that everything goes exactly as planned), and that's usually something that people get to hash out in the privacy of their own marriage.

I don't burden people with my own opinion of what they should do, because what do I know about their situation? 

And I don't even really care about people voicing their opposing opinions directly to me, and especially not to the world at large, because I live in a free country, and I'm an expert at making my own choices while ignoring others' (maybe a little too expert). Because how does their opinion affect me, exactly?

But, there is one prevalent misconception that I would like to put to rest.

This one.

facebook post instagram overpopulation

Ok, the argument about college would take another post (that I probably won't write, let's be honest), and I'm not even sure what is meant by "traveling" here. The inevitable world travel of the kids or the unburdened travel of the parents?

Anyway, what I'd like to highlight is this idea that everyone having more than two kids today is pushing the human population past replacement.

It simply isn't true.

I too grew up seeing charts showing the numbers of humans growing exponentially, but what Thomas Malthus feared about population growth, and even appeared to be happening just 20 years ago, is no longer the case.

You know how you have 0-2 kids? And all your friends have 0-2 kids? Well, it turns out that most of the world is exactly the same!! 

And those that aren't will be getting there very, very soon. 

(Besides, do you know what the replacement level fertility rate is? It's 2.1 -- that's actually a little bit more than two kids per woman. Plus, for every woman with no kids, I get to have two more!! -- I kid, I kid.)

Oh no! You say. That may be true among the responsible peoples of western Europe, but what about those people in rural America? It's made up of people like you. Nope. Only 9 states in the United States have a fertility rate over replacement level. The fertility rate of the entire country is below that.

Ok, what about Mexico? Nope. India? Nope. Africa? Ok, it's still high, but do you see how fast it's falling?

In fact, the fertility rates everywhere are dropping, and the world's population is estimated to peak and then start decreasing in a few decades.

Now whether you think decreasing population is good news or bad news depends a lot on your other beliefs. 

Some people are excited for there to be more of everything (except pollution) for the rest of us. 

Others worry that past populations with low rates have succumbed to war and economic decline.

Those of you in this country may worry about the worker to social security recipient ratio of the future.

But, that debate is not the point of this post. The point is that you and I will most likely see the peak of human population growth (and then decline) in our lifetimes

Of course, the momentum can all change again. But, how likely are you to suddenly decide to have a few more kids? Not likely, and neither is anyone else. It would take a major cultural and attitude change all over the world caused by war (perhaps), or widespread religious awakening (hard to imagine), or the sudden disappearance of all forms of birth control from the face of the earth (pretty much impossible).

I do want to say to all of my friends out there with 0-2 kids -- You are wonderful! Please enjoy what you have!

And as you look at my family, it is fine for you to think that we're out-of-our-minds (likely), that every surface in our house must be sticky (perhaps), that my hands must be raw from all the laundry and dishes I wash (they're not), and that I must cry at night wishing my life was more fulfilling (I don't), but please don't look at us and hate us because we're contributing to explosive, out-of-control population growth.

Because we're not.

Thank you.

P.S. Babies are cute.

baby girl in wig and roasting pan instagram

P.P.S. Toddlers and kids (and husbands) aren't bad either.

dad and five kids instagram

P.P.P.S. Just a few words to the wise (in case you've missed a few other changes in the past 20 years) --eating eggs will NOT raise your cholesterol, and there is no link between autism and vaccination

You're welcome. 




Additional Reading:

1.30.2013

Past Blast: Riveting Catalog of Everyone's Hair

1-11-10

I had decided to cut everyone's hair once a year, at the beginning of the summer so everyone could have short hair when it's hot, and more when it's cold.

Herbie's hair grows so fast and is so thick, that he currently looks like he has a lion's mane. He laughs when I call him lion-head, and the whole thing just makes his cheeks look fatter. His already large head is huge!

little boy close up instagram

Ruby's hair has not been growing long hardly at all, but I am pleased to notice that it's growing thicker.

I was a little bit worried about her being doomed to thin, wispy hair for life, but it's thickening up. She'll never have Herbie's hair, it's too fine, but it will be respectable.

little girl close up instagram

Moses has never had a haircut, and is finally getting hair, period. When it's humid, he has sweet, little blond curls. When it's dry (like now), he has flat, uneven wisps.

toddler boy close up instagram

I'm sure that a haircut would improve his appearance, but I decided to cut hair just once a year, and dang it, he's just going to have to wait!

toddler boy close up instagram

Woo's hair is at the stage where is sticks up in interesting ways when he takes a shower the night before. The first month he conducted Sacrament meeting he had some particularly amusing formations. One Sunday he forgot an announcement (which can happen to anyone). He scurried up to the podium, hastily mumbled whatever it was he'd forgotten, lurched back to his seat before he was completely finished, his words trailing off, his hair bouncing comically on his head... I looked up to see the ward organist laughing quietly to herself.

I have the super thick pregnancy hair right now. I also realized when Woo's parents came to visit, that I no longer own a hair dryer or a curling iron. The last time I remember curling my hair is for Josey's wedding... I do get a new haircut after every baby to avoid that dumpy-mom feeling, but I'm probably failing.

P.S. Herbie did get to give a talk in Primary yesterday. It was harder than he thought: I had to help him, and he spoke in a barely audible whisper, but he was quite pleased with himself, and asked me this morning if he could give another talk next week.

P.P.S. I'm due in 3 weeks! (with Linus)



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PAST BLASTS are weekly emails I wrote to family and friends over the past 5 years. Pictures are current with the email, but have been added at a later date.

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1.28.2013

And She Walks!

As predicted, Penelope decided to step it up (now that she's no longer the baby in the house) and start to walk. It's not her primary form of locomotion yet, but it probably will be by next week.
Woo: Is this the Cambrian Explosion? When Penelope suddenly starts walking and talking all the time?
Yeah, probably.

baby girl taking first steps instagram

And yes, once again, we have footage of Ruby excitedly prancing around the new walker while we try to film it. 

It's tradition.

little girl crown noodles instagram

Penelope got to go with the big kids to the ice rink for the first time, where Woo gave her rides on the sled, and she did some crawling on the ice.
Me: Did you have fun, Nel-Pee?
Penelope (nodding up and down): Es.
kids on a sled outside ice rink instagram

Lots of people ask us who Archie looks like. Usually we say Herbie, but honestly, at this age (and especially from this angle), he could be any of them.

newborn baby close up instagram

Moses and Linus have a new favorite game of dressing up in Penelope's clothes.

little boy wearing sisters girl clothes instagram
Moses: Mom, did Satan make the big, cold heaters? 
Me: The big, cold heaters? 
Moses (pointing to the return vent on the opposite side of the room): Because they take the hot air. 
Woo: Obviously, yes.
little boy wearing too small dress and tights instagram

Herbie has a little bedtime routine that he goes through every single night. 

After I hug and kiss him good night, he complains about some ailment (My throat hurts. My belly aches. etc.). To which I say something like, "Uh-huh?" or "Well, sleep is the best thing for that." 

Then I walk out the door and he says, "Good night, Mom!" and then yells, "Be safe, Mom!" as I'm walking down the stairs.

And I guess it always works because he always feels better in the morning, and I've always had a safe night. 

little boy holding newborn brother instagram

Well, that's all I've got, folks! Hope you all had a great week!

1.23.2013

Past Blast: Holiday Recovery

1-3-10

Herbie finally got to start Primary today. We had a bit of a scare that our branch would wait until next week for the change, but they changed their minds at the last minute.

Herbie picked out his favorite sweater vest and new "jeanies" the night before.

little boys instagram

I think that overall he had a good experience, but he did regretfully tell me that he didn't get to say a prayer or give a talk. Maybe I'll have to talk to the primary president about that... I doubt he's the first on their list.

Moses has learned how to climb to the top bunk. He's quite pleased with himself, and likes to go up there with Ruby and have her read him a story. He can't climb down yet, but he likes it so much that he never calls out for help. We just usually go save him when we figure out we haven't seen or heard from him in awhile.

little boy tweed suit coat instagram

The midwives decided to have pre-natals at our house since we live between the two of them. Within the first 30 seconds of their arrival, Ruby had told them that Herbie was starting Primary the next day at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that she was almost 6, that she'd be baptized when she was 8, that she'd gotten a police costume for her birthday, and that we were going to eat at a restaurant as soon as they left.

It's a good thing we don't have any dark, dark secrets to hide from the world, because they wouldn't last long.

little boy girl instagram

I'm happy with my midwives. I think that I may have finally gotten through to someone that you can't judge my labor based on my distress level, dilation, rate of contractions, etc. I'm looking forward to being believed before I'm actually pushing the baby out.

I never really measured my girth with the other kids, but my belly seems to be out there more than it ever has before. I've had several people think that I was due the next week, when really I had 8-10 weeks left. I'd love to have twins, but sadly, it seems that I'm just gigantic for nothing (or a gigantic baby?).

I once again attempted to make Woo his traditional seafood for New Years. It's a bit hard, since I've never eaten the stuff, and refuse to taste it. I have no idea how it's supposed to turn out.

Buying it was an adventure. The kids and I walked down to the asian seafood market down the street. The store has tiny aisles, and was very crowded. It took us quite a bit of time to maneuver a double stroller and large pregnant woman to the back corner with the fish tanks. I wasn't a big fan of watching them pull stuff out, and then club it until it stopped moving.

Fortunately, Woo didn't want anything nearly that fresh.

Unfortunately, it was all in another corner of the store.

Even though I won't eat it myself, we made all the kids try some (Ah, it's great being the mom :) All kids ate scallops without complaint. Only Ruby would eat shrimp.



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PAST BLASTS are weekly emails I wrote to family and friends over the past 5 years. Pictures are current with the email, but have been added at a later date.

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1.21.2013

First Week With Archie

First off, we're all thrilled that Archie could make it in time (with the help of some blue and black cohosh) for Ruby's baptism and his own baby blessing. 

Ruby had been looking forward to this day for a long, long time, and we didn't feel good about moving it back. It was nice to get Archie blessed too, since we already had all the family there.

dad and little girl baptism instagram

All our babies have been good babies, but Archie has officially unseated Moses as Best. Newborn. Ever.

It seems like our newborns usually have at least two nights where they have the whole day/night mix up thing and spend at least part of the night awake. Archie has had 0.

Instead he took that many nights needing a feeding in the middle of the night, and now regularly goes that 8-9 hr stretch where I'm sleeping without needing to be fed at all.

It's honestly a little bit unnerving (I didn't even think it was possible yet!), but he's healthy on all accounts, and I like to sleep, so I'm not letting it bother me too much.

Maybe the third baby's a charm and the sixth's a miracle?

mom holding newborn baby boy instagram

I haven't had a baby this tiny in a long, long time (since Herbie?). I notice it especially when I'm changing his diaper and looking at his scrawny little legs. 

I took this picture to show you, but it looks like the camera adds 10 lbs to newborns too. 

Still cute, though.

newborn baby boy instagram

And of course, Penelope looks like a giant next to him.

newborn and toddler lying side by side instagram brother sister

All the kids love him. Penelope squeals and waves and laughs whenever she sees him. Everyone wants to hold him. 

baby girl close up face instagram

Moses is already looking ahead, praying for us to have another baby, and asking me to bring home another one next week.

But, Linus is by far the most interested in him. He always wants to hold him, and he thinks it's his job to help me carry him into my room for his naps (embracing his blanket) and put his other blanket on once we've got Archie all settled. 

little boy holding newborn brother instagram

Lots of hugs and kisses are part of the job as well.

little boy holding newborn brother instagram

Woo gave Archie the name Archimedes with Archie being the end goal, and we're all perfectly happy calling him just that. Except Herbie, who insists on calling him Archimedes. Kind of like he would prefer that we all call him Herbert. 

little boy wearing homemade crown pajamas instagram

Archie's recent birth seems to have influenced Ruby's future career plans:
Ruby: I'm going to be something REALLY dangerous when I grow up!  
Me: Oh yeah?  
Ruby: I'm going to help sharks deliver their babies!!  
(breathless with excitement) It's really dangerous because if a mom shark sees you with their baby, they will try to get you!  
Me: Is that really something that sharks need help doing?  
Ruby: Yes! Because some sharks have diseases, and you have to protect the other sharks from them!
First, I have to wash my hands really good ... (prances off listing to herself all the exciting things she'll have to do).
little girl holding newborn baby brother boy instagram
Ruby (singing): I'm sexy, and I know it ...  
(pausing)Who actually is Sexy?  
Moses: Sexy is a boy!  
He has superhero powers!!
Have we failed or succeeded as parents if our kids think that "sexy" is the name of a person?

little boy making crafts instagram
Moses (cleaning and singing): Sweep. Sweep. In hea-ven-ly pe-ace. Swe-ep in heavenly peace.

1.18.2013

1.17.2013

Public Service Announcement

Some of you might be wondering what happened to my kitchen.

I did, in fact, get everything done that I wanted to before Archie made his appearance. With weeks to spare, even.

But immediately after I finished we had a string of dark, stormy days (bad for pictures). And then I got the flu. Then I was recovering from the flu, and then it was Christmas.

THEN I was totally self-absorbed, working on getting that baby out, and watching the time tick by.

By then I had a new baby, and well, a girl can take a break now and again, can't she?

So, for those of you who care, I'll start up again with the house updates in the near future.

Thanks!

1.16.2013

Past Blast: Winter Wonderland

1-9-11

So far Utah has been turning out to be exactly what we would thought it would be in the winter.

Even though I still like warmer weather better, it's so nice to be able to get out and do fun stuff in the snow easily.  I don't miss the pointless cold and dark without snow in St. Louis.

Thanks to gifts and hand-me-downs from grandparents, etc.  and a couple of garage sale snags, we all are equipped with snowshoes and poles.  Woo, Ruby/Herbie and I have cross country skis.  Ruby, Herbie and I have ice skates.  And Woo splurged on a new snowboard and gear for Ruby and Herbie.

Woo is really enjoying his weekday snowboarding pass.  He can be on the lift in 15 minutes after leaving our house, and he goes every morning it snows.  He has a friend a few blocks away, who also works from home, and goes with him, and he's looking forward to taking the older kids with him occasionally, since they're still free for a couple of years.

I thought that running with snow shoes would be good exercise, but it's incredibly exhausting.  I'll have to be in better shape or less pregnant or both before I try that again.  Just walking is fine for now.

There's a groomed cross country ski trail around the perimeter of the park, but I haven't tried it yet.  I've been happy on the snow on road, but Woo prefers the deeper stuff in our yard and pasture.  I think he feels that's more authentic.

The free ice skating rink two houses down has been fun.  I skate better than the kids (so far), but not better than Woo, thanks to his roller skating past.  Hopefully, some youtube tutorials and practice will help me catch up.

little girl instagram

Ruby almost always spends the first day learning a new skill crying, and acting like what we're asking her to do is impossible.  The next day is better, and after a few days she's in the swing of things.  She seems to enjoy skiing, but is the most excited about ice skating right now.  She's not really gliding yet, but she can shuffle around all over the rink, and get herself back up when she falls.

little boy dad snowboarding instagram

little boy snowboarding instagram

Herbie has been super, super, super excited to snow board.  Soon after Woo told him he was ordering one, we found Herbie's snow gear and a bike helmet in front of the bathroom mirror.  We assume he was checking himself out and imagining himself on the slopes.  He's about driven us crazy repeatedly asking when the snow board was coming.  Then when were we going to open the package.  When he could try the stuff out, and now when his Daddy Day is (where he assumes he's going to the ski resort).  He seems to be willing to do what it takes to learn.  He was out in the yard learning the basics almost twice as long as Ruby and Moses, when they all finally got to try.

little boy fake mustache instagram

Moses is not really a fan of the cold and the snow.  He never wants to go out and play in it, but he gets excited to go to the rink or out to the try the snowboard.  He's the most comfortable of all the kids being swung around on the ice.  The first time he slipped on it he said, "That was fun!"  He had some fun on the snowboard, but came in after a little while.

He is only 2, I guess.

baby boy hoodie instagram

Linus is not that fun in the snow.  Mostly because he can't walk or even stand.  We bundle him up in a baby carrier sometimes, but usually he stays at home with either Woo or me.  Once we left him at home napping while the rest of us went to the rink for a bit.  When we came home he was still alive, and no one was the wiser.



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PAST BLASTS are weekly emails I wrote to family and friends over the past 5 years. Pictures are current with the email, but have been added at a later date.

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