Sunday, 29 April 2012 15:23

Proverbs 31 Woman

I feel so invigorated and renewed, I nearly don't know what to do with myself. 

I have felt an increasing level of uneasiness and discord in my life, and as a friend recently said to me 'the enemy will use any means to distract and discourage you', and so he has. 

I was almost entirely finished a lengthy blog post on Friday night about my constant struggle to juggle all of my many 'hats' - jobs, obligations, etc. when I decided to set it aside and go to bed.  After the Conference on Saturday, I feel as though much of that post has become a little outdated.

I still have all of the same obligations - as a wife, mother, daughter, friend and piano teacher - but I feel as though my life has been given a bit more focus for the moment.  One woman at the conference mentioned an online Women's Ministry called Proverbs 31 Ministries - and although I know the concept behind the 'Proverbs 31 Woman' I, for the first time, read this chapter.

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Verse 30 - almost at the end - is the key verse for me here.  The part of this whole thing I've been missing.  I can work hard, I know that.  I can push myself to the limit trying to get things accomplished, but I think the point here is that this woman 'fears the Lord'.  She doesn't do all of these things for her own glory or to impress anyone.  She does it - and she does it all well - because each of these things God has called her to do, and she has heard and obeyed and He has blessed her in her work. 

I pray this for myself in the coming weeks, months and for the rest of my life.  That I will learn to truly fear God and obey what his will is for me in my life.  Even in the little daily tasks, like 'Should I be cleaning the kitchen right now or playing with my daughter?'.  I don't believe God wants me to feel spread so thin.  He (I think) wants to help me, even with these seemingly insignificant questions, and I have simply not been allowing Him in.  I have been trying to juggle everything without consulting God on any of it.

Here's to letting Him in.

Published in Blog
Saturday, 28 April 2012 11:10

Writers' Conference Blogging Session

I am currently sitting in my first session at the His Imprint Christian Writers' Conference – 2012, in Saskatoon.

The session seems to be mainly geared towards building blogs for people who don't already have them, so while everyone else is setting up a Wordpress site, I am blogging!  I'm hoping to learn something here anyway, maybe about blogging content and how to use this blog to further my writing, as well as share what God would have me share. 

They have mentioned that, as a writer, many publishers won't even look at your manuscript if you don't have a blog for them to look over or reference.  This is interesting - I may have to start another blog and link it to this one with the purpose of simply writing!  Which is, largely, why I started this blog in the first place, although it has become mostly a journal of my life which is a great thing also!

Wish me luck!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 11:10

What's in Our Diaper Bag?

First, I'll talk about my diaper bag...

It's looking a little bit worn by now, but I love this diaper bag - except for one thing - it's a bit too small for cloth-diapering families.   It's great for us now that we don't bring along as many blankets and extra clothes anymore, and it has a ton of different pockets, so it's still super-useful.

It's by 'Lillebaby' who I discovered when I was researching the 'best' baby carrier (it's just like the ERgo, except it has forward facing as well as rear and hip carry).  While I was browsing their website, I came across this bag also, and since I was frustrated with the lack of any pockets in the bag we were using - it was big enough, but I was always hunting for things at the bottom of it - I ordered it as well.  I won't go into all of it's many features now, but one of the greatest ones is that it straps to your stroller so that it doesn't swing and hit you while you're walking and you don't have to take up space in any baskets for it. 

Ok, so on to the bag's contents...

This is not actually complete, because while I was taking these pictures, Celia was napping with a few necessary items in her room.

Here, we have (clockwise from top left) 2 Charlie Banana diapers, my camera, a spare outfit for Celia including a soother strap and a strap for 'Bo' - her famous pink bear (who is currently being snuggled in her crib and was not available for a photo shoot).  Bottom right, we have a few tiny books because Celia loves flipping through any kind of book she can get her hands on, a pack of wipes and a few different kinds of snacks. 

Also missing from the picture is a wetbag for dirty diapers, and depending on where we are going and how long we'll be away, we sometimes include plastic cutlery and a bib and facecloths, as well as a set of small, quiet, toys that Celia has acquired for bringing along.  Her Nana made her a knit 'church purse' and gave it to her with a few tiny stuffies inside.  We also bought her a 4 inch tall baby doll with it's own spoon and fork that fits inside her 'purse' also.

Oh, and a sippy cup with water.

And lately sunscreen and a hat because the weather is FINALLY warm!!!

Published in Blog
Saturday, 21 April 2012 21:43

My Week Depressively

I feel drained today, and I'm struggling to really put my finger on 'why'. 

Brian and I had a beautiful day together - his parents took Celia for a few hours this afternoon while we went out for supper together using a gift card that some friends had given us a couple of weeks back. 

It may simply be because of everything that is going on in our lives right now...

We have been dealing with the process of getting my Dad into a care home in my city, which can be a somewhat frustrating process, and we have no idea yet what to expect.

I think I had posted awhile back that my Grandfather was expected to pass away any day - he did - on Friday morning at about 11:30, and I got a call from my Aunt about fifteen minutes later.  This is my maternal (by birth) Grandpa, and despite how little I really knew him, I found myself seriously mourning him in the hours that followed this phone call.  For those of you who know my story, these Grandparents refused to lose contact with me despite my parents' divorce, and in effect they 'adopted' my Dad as one of their children and when he remarried 8 years later, they treated my step-mom and step-brother as though they were just as much a part of their family as I was.  I am so indebted to them for this - they are the reason I was able to remain in contact with my birth family, and I'm so grateful for their graciousness towards my Dad. 

I am apprehensive about the funeral, however, because in the past few years my relationship with this family has faltered.  My Grandparents moved to a city quite a distance from my own, and with five total sets of Grandparents to 'juggle', we were simply not able to see them very often.  I do feel a lot of guilt for this, because I feel as though I have fallen into the ridiculous 'suburban busyness' that drives me crazy.  I firmly believe that no one 'doesn't have the time' - they choose not to have time, because their choices make them too busy.  This is a more difficult concept to deal with when my finger is pointing back at myself.  I HAD time, I just chose to do other things with it. 

Anyway, on Monday I will drive nearly 4 hours alone to go to his funeral.  My husband isn't able to take the time off work, and considering the long drive and having no one to watch Celia - it doesn't make much sense for me to bring her along.  This is difficult for me also, because no one in the family has met her, but I suppose a funeral is not an appropriate place to 'show her off'. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 April 2012 22:13

Moms Can Be So Mean...

I am so shocked - absolutely reeling...

I was just kicked out of a forum website for mothers because I voiced an opinion that 'the community' did not condone. 

I was shocked at their response to one of my posts - because it was in no way rude or attacking or judging - I promise - and I wish I had been able to log back on to copy the posts so I could prove it, but they'd already deleted my account.

Ok, I'll just out with it and I hope I don't make any enemies here either...

There was a father on the forum who was concerned about his 4 month old infant with whom they had always co-slept, but the child was now unable to sleep at all - even for naps - without a parent within reaching distance.  His question on the forum was whether he was doing the right thing, because he had been told that co-sleeping would help a child's independence, and his child seemed to have become more dependent as it grew.

His concern was that if he tried to get the baby to sleep without him - the baby would cry, and he was afraid of letting the child cry for any length of time.

All of the other responses to this post told him to wear the baby, or find ways to sleep with the baby. (I don't know if the family had any other children). This is certainly good advice, but I felt that it was not the only option for this family - and maybe constant baby-wearing wasn't something that they would be comfortable with or even able to do.

Anyway, when my daughter was a newborn, I began leaving her alone to nap regularly - even if she cried for a bit - very early.  I felt that as her mother, I was learning to be in tune with her needs and since I knew when she ate, played, etc., that I had a pretty good grasp on whether or not she was ok to cry or not.  So, sometimes - I let her cry.  I realize that in todays society this makes me an evil mother. Or at least, I have learned this now.

Without putting down the 'babywearing' advice (I plan to babywear my second baby much more than my first for my own reasons - I am definitely NOT against babywearing...), I responded with my own experience, which I thought would give this family an alternate option .

I received an email from one of the moderators of the site - quoting my post - and saying that  they did not support - ever - letting a baby cry - and that this sort of post was not welcome there.

Ok, so the real reason I was 'kicked out' probably had more to do with the email I sent afterward, but I was so shocked! This is North America!  Are we not able to have different views without feeling threatened or bullied?

The email I sent afterward was again - very careful - but probably not very nice.  I cautioned the site to be careful about judging differing methods of parenting as 'wrong' - and although I admitted I didn't 'fit in' there, I voiced my shock at having been 'bullied' out of the forum.  One response post had suggested that a parent who would 'let their child cry' is an inattentive parent - and I made a comment about how I feel as though I'm an extremely attentive and devoted mother - and just because I may have a different 'road' to get there - doesn't mean I won't raise wonderful children.  In fact, I parent very similarly to how many of 'our' parents and their parents 'parented' - were they evil parents? Are we all awful people because of their parenting?  Is that why work-ethic and independence and self-confidence have actually DECREASED over the last 20 years????

Anyway, I need to end this, but I had to get it off my chest. 

Some of that may have come out badly, but I'm feeling a bit defensive and hurt, so I apologize if this insults anyone.  Thanks for 'listening'.

Rant over.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:56

Pregnancy Update - Week 12

This week we went in for the down syndrome screening ultrasound - which I'm not overly concerned about, but I always like to see extra pictures of my baby!  This image isn't really clear, but the head is on the right and at the top I think you can see baby's left elbow, and maybe even a couple of little fingers.  Baby is kind of curled inward facing down - the larger white area in the face is baby's mouth and we could see it opening and closing in the ultrasound, as if baby were trying to talk to us!

Here is an update on my pregnancy so far - almost through the first trimester!

How far along? 12 weeks, 4 days

Feeling: I really can't complain - I feel nauseous usually in the evening, right before bed, and I'm extremely tired but other than that pregnancy is pretty easy on me...

Maternity clothes? For a month now! Since my last pregnancy was pretty recent, and I never really lost the belly weight, so I couldn't gain an ounce without needing bigger clothes.  Not that I minded - maternity clothing is really quite comfortable!

Sleep: I lie awake at night, unable to fall asleep but when I finally do, I'm like the dead.  If Celia cries in the night, poor Brian has to get up to deal with her because I just don't hear her - or anything!

Food cravings: The other night at about 10pm I had a sudden craving for Tomato Soup (Campbell's, of course), so I made a can, thinking I would save the rest for lunch the next day - but no, I ate the entire can... which was crazy because it was 10pm and I'd NEVER eaten an entire can before.   Typically, though, my appetite isn't nearly as good as it was when I was pregnant with Celia - and I'm guessing this baby will be a pickier eater because suddenly many things that I used to enjoy are no longer enjoyable...

Movement? Nothing yet, but I keep lying very still and focusing...

What I miss? Being able to eat anything! Meal planning is much more difficult when almost everything turns your stomach...

Best moment this week: The ultrasound, and watching my baby touch her/his face and knees!

What I'm looking forward to: It's finally starting to look like not-winter outside (seriously - it snowed here two days ago...) and Celia LOVES playing outside!

Next Appointment: I probably should have written that down...

Milestones: Baby's liver is making bile and kidneys are secreting urine in the bladder. Happy yucky stuff!

Thank you to Growing Up Geeky for letting me steal your format for this... I'll probably personalize it a bit overtime, I was just so excited to post my latest baby 'pic'!

Published in Blog

Today, my 16-month-old daughter experienced her first bump on the noggin (see last post)

I am NOT a nurse, but I called a local health-line to find out if I should be seriously concerned about Celia, and this is the list of questions they asked me, and things they gave me to watch for (in brackets are the 'good' answers):

  • Pupils - are they the same size as each other? (yes)
  • Is there swelling, and is the swelling 'soft like a marshmallow' or 'firm like a grape'? (firm, like a grape)
  • Does she have any bruising around her eyes, or behind her ears? (no)
  • Is there any kind of fluid coming out of her nose or ears? (no)
  • When she walks, does she wobble as though she's dizzy? (no)
  • Hold your finger, or another object, about a foot in front of her face and ask her to reach out and grab it. Does she seem to have trouble following this command? (no)
  • Is she speaking clearly, or as clearly as she normally does? (yes)
  • Is she able to use all of her limbs completely and normally? (yes)
  • Is she crying or fussing endlessly, and seemingly inconsolable? (no)
  • Does she confused in any way, not knowing where she is, or who you are? (no)
  • Does she seem afraid of you? (no)

I don't know what the opposite answers to any of these questions mean, but the nurse told me that if anything changed in the 6 hours following the injury, to call again or to take Celia in to the hospital.   In her case, there was no blood (they did ask me this), and I assume there would be a number of extra questions that would go along with a bleeding injury. 

For the 6 hours, I was supposed to check her at least every 30 minutes (if she went for a nap, to only allow her to sleep 30 minutes at a time), and then to check her every 3-4 hours after that for about a day. 

The nurse told me to watch for signs of confusion after waking from a nap - a 'deer in headlights' look, indicating confusion or uncertainty about who you are or where she is. 

It's nice to have 24-hour numbers to call for things like this...

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 21:03

First Big 'Owie'

Please read my blog post from a day or two ago about child safety, and toddler helmets... obviously God has a sense of humour. 

Not 48 hours after having that opinionated rant-fest, this happens...

Actually, I don't exactly know what happened, but I was sitting at my desk in the living room and my daughter was on the couch, looking out the window, which is one of her favourite activities.  If you're thinking I'm completely irresponsible for leaving her alone on the couch - maybe I am - in my defense, she knows how to get off the couch safety.  I have hovered over her many times and I have NEVER had to step in and actually stop her from falling - she has never before fallen.

Then I hear this insanely loud BANG!

I look over to see my daughter lying in a heap between the couch and the coffee table (not a big enough space for her to comfortable fit in the way she was oriented), and I realize what has happened, just as she begins to wail.

She has thwacked her head against the coffee table.  My memory replays the BANG, and thinks surely that could NOT have been my daughter's head...

I picked her up gently and held her while she cried, watching her for signs of a concussion or something worse.  She cried normally, like she always does when she hurts herself.   She was wearing a bunnyhug (sorry, 'hoodie', we call them 'bunnyhug's in Saskatchewan...), so her head was all surrounded in her hood and I couldn't see most of her head.  I had this terrifying image of peeling back the hood to reveal a head full of blood, but there was nothing. 

Gently, I brushed the hair around on her head, trying to find out where she'd hit, and then I find it - a deep, dark purple stripe about 2 inches long above her right ear.  No blood, but it looked really deep.  Also, I was terrified of a concussion, and absolutely shaking in fear, so I called the local health-line.

As I was looking for the number, (after only about a minute or two of crying, really) Celia became distracted by something and decided she was finished crying.  It seemed miraculous to me, that she suddenly seemed COMPLETELY normal, and entirely herself.

I stayed on the line, though, and answered about a million questions asked by a nurse who's job it is to determine if I should be taking her in to a doctor or emergency, or if I have nothing to worry about.  She gave me a list of things to watch for in the next 6 hours or so, and told me that if any of these things occurred, to either call back or take Celia in.

Sigh... crisis over.  She seemed fine.  She still seems fine.  I'm still setting my cell phone's alarm for every 15 minutes to go in and look at her, but she's ok.

And, for the record, I will NOT be purchasing a toddler helmet for her to wear around the house, although I will probably watch her a bit closer on the couch for a little while...

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 09:38

A Day in the Life - TAT

This week, Growing up Geeky and Love, Lattes and Lullabies are hosting Toddle Along Tuesday with 'A Day in the Life'.  I find this theme to be quite daunting - and I'm nervous to admit what I do (or don't do) on a given day.

A typical day for us starts at about 8am (my husband has flexible work hours, so he lets his alarm go off until he feels like getting out of bed...), which is about the time Celia wakes up and starts talking to us through her bedroom door.  Brian grabs a bottle of milk for her, and brings both Celia and bottle to lie next to me in bed while she drinks.  I love this almost-cuddle time, but it often ends up being more of a wrestling time, since Celia seems unable to stay still while doing anything.

Celia then rolls herself off the bed (with a little help) and I reluctantly follow.  Then I typically forget to change her diaper and settle her in to her booster-chair to have some breakfast - usually oatmeal, cream of wheat, waffles, or pancakes.

Then it's playtime with her toys.

I'm hoping to change her schedule a bit, but recently, Celia has taken her long nap from about 10 or 11am for about two to three hours.  For this reason, I rarely tackle leaving the house in the morning, so I have to admit that we don't get out much. During her nap, I spend some time online, do some house cleaning and since being pregnant I often have a nap myself.

After Celia wakes up, it's lunchtime, and then playtime while I clean-up. 

Then, we don't have much time until one of Celia's babysitters comes to watch her while I teach piano.  I have three different pre-teenage girls (two of whom trade me babysitting for piano lessons) who watch Celia in her bedroom or downstairs while I am teaching. 

Then when Daddy gets home, it's supper time (which I've hopefully prepared before I began teaching), and then playtime with Daddy while I continue teaching. 

Every two or three days, Celia has a bath before bed (she's started really disliking them, so we don't push it).  Then at about 7:30 or 8, it's time for another bottle of milk, followed by tooth brushing.  Then storytime, prayer and bedtime.

If I have energy after that, I do a bit more house cleaning and read a book or watch TV with Brian. Then I have a bath, and go to bed!

I'd like to say we go out more, but I don't have a vehicle while Brian's at work, and the weather here has been a bit too cold to go outside even still.  I can't wait until it warms up!

Published in Blog
Monday, 16 April 2012 22:00

Be Ready for Anything...

I've been trying to read more news articles - particularly on children and parenting recently, and there's a significant trend in reporting on the concept of 'helicopter parenting', and it's quite a controversial topic.

This article on the Today Moms website, talks about crawling helmets being made for babies - not for riding on a bicycle or anything like that - but for everyday crawling around the house.  To protect them from normal baby bumps and bruises. 

I doubt that a helmet on a baby at 8 months will significantly affect how this child behaves when he is older, but the pattern indicated by the parents who require this at this age might just indicate a level of paranoia that will probably significantly affect that poor child when they are old enough to realize just how abnormal their parents are.  By putting a helmet on a crawling baby, you might decrease his risk of a serious head injury, but you are also likely increasing his risk of a serious psychological imbalance.  I have seen children who are 'babied' to a small degree, and they become adults who are not really confident in being adults.  They have been told that they need help and protection from everything, so they go along with that, and never branch out on their own or do anything productive for themselves.  They become unproductive and unsatisfied people. 

I have a 16 month old daughter, and not a week goes by when I don't panic about some terrifying possibility or another.  My daughter could get hurt someday - but honestly, there are no lengths I could go to that would protect her from everything.  There is ALWAYS - no matter what I do - the chance out there that she could get hurt, or even killed.  My daughter is mortal - someday she will die - and I pray that it is not for at least another 80 years, but no one has that guarantee. 

So, with every choice I make with her, I have to think about the immediate consequences as well as the long-term ones.  Ultimately, what will this choice do for my daughter, and what is the likelyhood of each possible consequence?

If I allow her to go to the park unsupervised, is the 0.0002% risk that she could be kidnapped enough to outweigh the 48% risk of her having less confidence as an individual if I keep her home, and never allow her in public without an adult closely present?

Will she be required to wear a helmet while riding a bike? Absolutely.  Will I demand she wear a seatbelt in the car? Of course.  Will I teach her how to protect herself and be wary of strangers? Yes. 

But there will come a day when she will the leave the house and I won't see what she does.  She might be 13 and riding a bike with her friends helmet-free, or 17 and getting into a vehicle and choosing not to wear a seatbelt.  Someday, she may choose to trust someone who shouldn't be trusted and allow herself to be taken advantage of.  And I will have to pray and trust that I have taught her well, and that she will choose by herself - with no one watching her - to be as safe as she can be.

As her mother - from the moment she came into being, I began the process of letting go.  The process of realizing that she is not part of me, but an entirely separate being, and is learning how to be 'herself' more and more each day. 

Yes, I want her to be safe, but I want so much more for her to be HER. Even if that means taking a few bumps and bruises along the way.  I have to accept the fact that anything could happen, and that is part of life, but I will make every effort to make sure that she is free to be herself. 

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