Nov 27, 2009

jesse tree

Advent is nearly upon us and in place of the standard store-bought Disney-branded advent calendar we're going to do a Jesse tree again.

We did this last year too, but it would appear that I completely didn't blog about it! How about that.

From one of the numerous sites about Jesse trees
The Jesse Tree is a centuries-old family Advent devotion that has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. It has particular value since it helps both kids and adults alike to locate Jesus, the Messiah, within the lineage of the shepherd boy who became King of Israel--David, son of Jesse.

The whole idea of the Jesse Tree comes right out of a classic Advent passage from the prophet Isaiah: "A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit" (Isaiah 11:1). The Jesse Tree is hung with ornaments representing Old Testament people and events and lead up to Jesus. The traditional symbols hung on the tree are based on the genealogy of Jesus as reccounted by the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.
A selection of sites about Jesse trees, including some where you can just download and print out the various symbols:
Jesse Tree-an Advent Tradition
Download Jesse Tree Ornaments
Jesse Tree Advent Custom
Jesse Tree Instructions
Making a Jesse Tree

We're planning to bake our ornaments out of gingerbread-man dough and hang them on a branch. Only time will tell if we're actually organised enough to do this! :) The first baking day will be tomorrow, and we'll do a week's worth each Saturday. Worth a shot.


Nov 21, 2009

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Break out your tinfoil hats, people!

This interview with John Taylor Gatto is fabulous. If you've never come across this perspective on schooling before, you will be rolling your eyes at his breathtakingly nutty conspiracy-theorist ravings.

And then you will begin to wonder if perhaps he has a point afterall...

An interview with John Taylor Gatto

A couple of things you may like to keep in mind:
1. Until the end of WWII, eugenics was not a dirty word - it was considered a noble and patriotic pursuit throughout Europe and the US
2. Even though NZ's schooling history is different to that of the US, the current trends, goals and ideals of schooling and educational theory are often American in origin.


Nov 14, 2009

Heads in the sand

This protest action tickled my fancy


Nov 8, 2009

Elephant on a trampoline

We have a new favourite video clip in our house

Resulting comments from various members of the family;
"Careful, Mr Elephant!"
"Don't believe this, Mum, it isn't a true video"
"Hmmm, they've got the physics a bit wrong there..."


Nov 1, 2009

Night feeding

This baby seems to be the one for trying out new stuff. I never got the hang of feeding lying down with either of the girls, but its working out this time. Yay. Especially "yay" for the first thing in the morning feed...

My big discovery was a way to keep my shoulders and arms warm and snuggly, while not completely covering the baby with the duvet. The solution is simple, once you think of it - I wear my dressing gown to bed! ta-daa. The duvet only gets pulled up to my waist, thus keeping the baby's head well clear of a soft, downy smothering, and I stay super-snuggly warm.

Image (and nice position instructions) from ParentingWeb

So that is what I do first thing in the morning - or if MrBaby doesn't re-settle after his normal night feed, which I still get up and do on the couch while listening to National Radio.

I know some people successfully bed-share with their babies all night, which theoretically makes feeding during the night a cinch. All good if it works for you (and if you never attempt it after consuming drugs or alcohol, don't smoke, and don't have too-soft, fluffy bedding - all of which dramatically increase the chance of SIDS when combined with bed-sharing). But, as Merl will tell you, I am a world-class fidget in my sleep.

I cannot stand to stay in the same position, or even facing the same side for much longer than about an hour and a half. But moving the baby wakes him up. And I don't want to turn my back to him. So total bed-sharing is out. When MrBaby was very very little he slept with us most nights, so I know of what I speak.

So we 'co-sleep' - he's in a bassinet in our room, which allows me to respond to him before he gets majorly distressed, and most nights he ends up in our bed sometime around 5.30am. Then he feeds, I doze off, and generally we have a good cozy start to the day/end of the night.

The 3am-ish feed is a different kettle of fish. If I feed him in bed at 3am then I fall quite deeply asleep while he's feeding and then he, quite naturally, doesn't want to go back to his bassinet - and who can blame him? But then I have the 'aargh, I can't fidget and roll over' problem I described before. Instead, I get up and feed him in the dark in the living-room while listening to the radio. He's much happier to go back into the bassinet this way, though I'm not entirely sure why.

The radio is great - it keeps me from falling asleep on the couch and waking up horribly stiff and sore, and there are some really interesting programs on - mostly repeats of interviews and documentaries from during the day when I don't have the radio going. Yay for National Radio. An added bonus is that our radio is also a flashlight, so I can briefly switch it on to get MrBaby properly latched without needing to turn the main lights on.

Our torch-radio (flashlight) (except ours is yellow)

After 2 months, it's nice to see that we're getting to know our little guy and working out how he's different from either of the girls, and learning the kinds of things that will work for both him and us.
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