Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Funny... But Not

Out On A Limb

I'm hitting a nesting phase, I think.  That must be it.  Of course, just so it's not too out of character, it has nothing to do with feelings of wanting to clean or tidy.  It has everything to do with wanting to make Eden's room extra girly.  I found some vinyl wall decals that I love on Etsy, but I thought it might be more rewarding just to paint something myself.  I've never really painted before, not even on a small canvas, but I'm just going to take the plunge.  I've already got colors picked and I even drew it all out in pencil today.  I felt compelled.  It's not like the baby will be here any time soon, but the compulsion to prepare is strong.  Besides, if I'm going to do something to this particular wall, now's the time.  We're about to move Eden's crib across the room to that very wall in preparation to bring in a toddler bed.
Here's the picture I'm working from to create my art for my two girls.

As an aside: I visited Kirtsy tonight. First time I've ever been there and I still don't really have a clue what it's all about, but I found a creative soul I like. And what she describes in this post makes what I'm doing not look quite as crazy... and I think it's pretty darn cool.
Check out this super creative and gusty gal here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Great Idea

....from the Parent Hacks website.  There's a link to it under "Places I Go" in my sidebar.  What a great site.  There are so many useful ideas here.  Just reading this site everyday can make you the supermom you always envied.  Really what you envy most is peoples' bright ideas and organizational tools that make mommyhood easier, right?  Well, this site is a compilation of all the ideas and tools you wish you had, but are free to steal to make your existence easier (and make others envious).
One I read recently that was right up my alley has to do with how to get a toddler to stay in bed even if they wake up early.  We're on the verge of beginning the process of moving Eden to a toddler bed because we'll need the crib for the new arrival.  Right now, if she wakes up at 6 or 6:30, she can talk, grab a book through the crib slats out of the wagon next to her crib, or fuss.  If mommy doesn't respond to the fussing, she can't come waltzing into my room because she's stuck in her crib.  (I fully realize that I am blessed not to have a climber.)  What happens when there are no rails to hold her in, though?  She would be out of bed first thing, no jabbering to herself and no reading.  
I've known about this "My Tot Clock" all-in-one sleep aid, night light, alarm clock and timer for some time now.  It has so many bells and whistles that I really wasn't looking for and the cost seems over the top to me.  I just wanted a way to signal to Eden that she's not allowed to get out of the bed yet... while I stay cozily in mine.

Here's the alternative - Marie's little one was an early riser and would wake her again and again just to ask if it was time to get up.  Solution:

"She was too small to read a clock, and although telling her to look for a "6" was an option, she didn't quite get it that 5 was not OK, but 7 was. I was looking for a simple "yes/no" cue that did not require her to do too much thinking if she were to wake up in the middle of the night. I did not want to set an alarm, because I didn't want to disturb her sleep if she were to sleep in.

My hack inspiration came from an electrical appliance timer. I used it to rig her night light to turn off at 6am and told her she was to stay quiet and in her room until the light turned off. After a minor setback when she turned off the light manually to make it "time to get up," it has worked like a charm!"

So smart...

and inexpensive!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

POW... BabyBonkie

I know it's not Wednesday, but I'm afraid I'll forget this link if I wait until Wednesday to post it.
I am in love.
I have found an alternative to my favorite swaddling blanket.
Yes, there are other products out there like this, but they're marketing this one so much better, don't you think? The cool factor is through the roof... except for the weird name... and I can't get enough of the snazzy prints these swaddlers come in. 
$60 isn't too much to pay for something you'll use every nap and every night for months, is it? What's the cost per use? Like... a few cents?
Here's the link to my favorite print: http://www.babybonkie.com/Sailor-PID100-GID4-MID65.aspx
And here's a pic of one of these in action:

Ready, Set, Learn!

The Your Baby Can Read experiment begins tonight!  I've been hoping every day that THAT day would be the day a box was delivered with "Your Baby Can Read" on the label.  Today was the only day I hadn't thought about it... and today, it came!  Hooray!  Eden's napping right now, but the fun begins as soon as she awakens.  It's a seven month program, and although a baby that begins at three months old may not be able to read by the completion of the program, a baby Eden's age should be able to.  That means, by the time she's two, she'll probably be reading!  I'm just so excited for her, I can hardly contain it!  
Not too long ago, I finished watching the 1 1/2 hour intro video and I now feel pretty prepared and extra motivated to dive into this adventure.  One thing I'm particularly excited about is that this program gives us fun, educational activities to do together every day that will produce big, life-long results.  It's totally a win/win for our family.  I don't have to wonder what I should do with her when she gets bored and she gets the benefit of enhanced learning the rest of her life - oh, and she has fun too.  I'm also relieved that this will be a great family activity for us to do together after the new baby comes.  Eden will be through with the program by the time our new girl is three months old and can begin, but I'm betting she'll love going through it with her baby sister and helping her learn.
I'm also planing on incorporating signs in any way I can.  I had decided to stop signing with Eden about two months ago, because I felt like she wasn't bothering to vocalize even though she seemed to have the ability.  She seemed content using the signs.  I regret that now because, even though she has begun to build a verbal vocabulary, there are still words she can't say yet (of course) and if she could sign those words, she might be a lot less inclined to fuss and whine.  She's not only learning to say new words, but it seems her desires (their range and their specificity) have grown significantly faster than her vocabulary has.  Her ability to communicate what she wants seems to have stayed the same percentage-wise... if that makes sense.  
In other words, a couple of months ago, she would have been content to say "eat," "milk," "all done," and other simple signs, whereas now that she can actually speak some of those words, there is so much more she desires to communicate.  Now "all done" does double duty for "I'm done eating" and "I want to get out of my highchair."  The complexity of her needs and desires has increased more than her verbal skill set allows for and I haven't been giving her any new signs to communicate her new desires.  Her fussiness has also spiked (see My Alien Child) which, more than likely, directly correlates to her lack of ability to communicate her needs.  Sigh.  Bad mommy!  I'll know with the next one.  And I'm starting back to signing immediately with Eden.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Favorite Friday

My new favorite thing to do at free moments during the day is to find new ways to make my blogs cooler.  You've probably noticed, I recently found a way to use specialized fonts on my titles and sidebar.  It took a REDICULOUS amount of time because I had to utilize about 4 different websites, juggle open windows, copy and paste, and re-do it all after making one mistake.  If you want to try it for yourself, here is the place to go.  It's all free... as long as you have some free time.
This is where all the free fonts are... and they're super-cute!  There's over 300 so it's hard to choose. 

Here's the specific link on how to put the fonts on your blog.

Have fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cry Me a River

Narrator of the show House Hunters on HGTV:

"Although these two college sweethearts are engaged to be married, they live with their parents almost twenty minutes apart!"

Joe, fiance to Tanya, in the car, driving to her parents' house:

"I've probably been doing this drive for about four out of the five years we've been dating.  It's killin' me!"

Come ON.
Do you see anything wrong with these statements??

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Reason for God

A while ago, I began reading the book The Reason For God and learning a lot about the logic of the existence of God.  It's a great read, but a bit exhausting because the author packs a cerebral punch with every sentence.  Reading paragraphs twice was not uncommon.  I set the book down a couple months ago and almost forgot about it.  Eden reminded me yesterday by pulling all the books off my end table.  There it was, underneath some Kenneth Hagin tapes (yes tapes, they're my parents'), a couple of journals and two copies of The Power of a Praying Wife (no, I don't know how I ended up with two copies).
Last night, while Chuck was on call, I decided to read a bit before bed and pulled The Reason For God back out.  I just had to share how neat it was that the next section in the midpoint of the chapter where I had stopped reading months ago was all about how Christianity is set apart from all other religions and even the term "religion" by the concept of grace.  What have I just been studying in my other reading?  Grace.  Pretty cool that an incident of seeming forgetfulness or laziness turned into information from two different sources explaining the same concept that I really need some work on.

I'd like to share a short excerpt from the reading I did.  It highlights beautifully the wonderful unique quality of the gospel to join humility and a great sense of worth all based in grace.

 "The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued and that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time.  It undermines both swaggering and sniveling.  I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone, I do not think more of myself nor less of myself.  Instead, I think of myself less."

What a wonderful truth!

A Chip off the old Block

As I listened to the radio on the way home from church, a pastor and author of several parenting books whose name I cannot recall at the moment, shared a bit of wisdom for dad's.  I thought it might be appropriate to pass it on.

He said that dad's need to remember that their son is a unique individual that God created for a specific purpose.  Many dad's dream of their boy growing up as a mini-me, a carbon copy of themselves.  They're tempted to support the interests that match their own and discourage or ignore others.  They need to be reminded sometimes that God didn't give them a son to raise to be just like them, but to be just like Him.  A dad's greatest responsibility is to point their son to God and get fully behind whatever it is that He wants to create in their life.

I thought that was good.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grace Based Parenting: Chapter 2

Once again, a very moving experience for me. There is so much in this book that is revealing my life, my upbringing, the current issues in my heart. My mom and I were just talking (after that email I posted on) about why we act and react the way we do towards each other, what my feelings are about the way they raised me and how those feelings are affecting my decisions about raising Eden. This book is actually answering a lot of the questions that we weren't able to answer about why I respond the way I do to certain things they say. I was telling her that I would have never wanted to be raised without the standards, Biblical knowledge and discipline that I was, but somehow there's a disconnect to me feeling free to become my own adult person and there were a lot of times growing up when I realized, after the fact, that other people did things differently than we did... and that it wasn't sinful, as I had thought... just different.
I'll share just a few things in this chapter that resonated with me.

In regards to my concern that grace is an excuse for lazy parenting with no boundaries, Dr. Kimmel says

"...grace does not lower the standards in our homes; it raises them. It doesn't push people away from holiness; it pushes thim toward it. It doesn't cause them to despise truth; it propels them to embrace truth all the more. It encourages people to aim higher in their relationship with God and helps them dream bigger dreams."

He quotes Titus 2:11-14, part of which says:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives..."

In regards to staying "safe" and keeping our kids "safe" in our cocoon of Christian environments, Dr. Kimmel offers a story of a father who visited a youth group, the group that the Kimmel kids attended.  This visiting father was very disturbed that Dr. Kimmel would allow his kids in such a seemingly secular youth group.  There were all manner of clothing styles, from modest to midriff baring.  A row of boys in the back even had their hats on... backward... in CHURCH.   The music was in the style of rock and the father noted that the worship leader seemed to be more like an MTV MC on a music countdown.  Dr. Kimmel explains to this concerned father, who he describes as blinded by his passion for Godly obedience,  that at least the kids struggling with drugs, premarital sex, and rebellion

"were there in the church- the hospital that God left behind for them.  They were the very kinds of kids I wanted to see in our youth group, rubbing shoulders with young people serious about their faith."

He goes on to say,

"I felt that these were exactly the kind of young people I wanted my kids to reach out to."

Wow.  Others focused and not inward focused.  Confident and not fearful.  That's how I want to raise my children.
Good stuff.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Alien Child

I am sooooo frustrated right now with my daughter!!!  I just want to whine and cry right back at her when she whines and cries at me all day.  Yes, AT me.  Not just generally to the universe, but to me specifically about things I can not possibly begin to guess the reasons for.  There are three reasons it's driving me insane.  The first is the most obvious:  I just can't stand that sound, or group of sounds.  She varies them in pitch, tone and volume, just to make it interesting.  The second has to do with the fact that I have absolutely no clue half the time what in the world is making her so upset.  She'll be perfectly happy, cooing and giggling with a toy in her hand and then let loose with a yell like something just stung her.  My protective mommy instinct wants to know what the heck is wrong so I can save her from whatever is causing her so much pain.  But I guess the solution is just ignoring it??  I don't want to be the mom that is so desensitized to her child that they can't get her attention when they need it.  Sigh.  The third relates to the fact that she's just plain never been this fussy before.  I used to have a well-behaved, obedient, independent, content child and now she has been replaced with a whiny, fussy, needy, obstinate, screaming child who gets upset at the drop of a hat and gets angry if she can't be involved in whatever it is I am doing (or eating whatever it is I am eating).  
Anyone have any advice?? or sympathy? :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


My pick of the week is the great month number stickers I found on Etsy. These were designed to be stuck to any onesie or t-shirt and look like they were made to be a part of the shirt.
Each month, stick one on your new baby's shirt and take a pic to have a super cute reminder of how fast your little one grew. I think I just might try them. There are really sweet designs to chose from for both girls and boys. I'll know next week which to choose!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Y'all are getting spoiled with all these posts in one day... If I don't post for a week or two, I get a repreive, k? :)

I just wanted to update the "Your Baby Can Read" situation. My parent's are getting it for us as a gift! Horray!

I'm so excited! My mom ordered it today and it should be hear soon. I can't wait to experience the results!!

This Can't Wait

Man! God totally has my number in just the first chapter of Grace Based Parenting. I didn't think I would post about this until later in the week, but there was just so much stuff that spoke right to me in the first chapter that I can't go to the next one until I document some of what I'm learning about myself... not so much for your benefit as mine. I know if I write it, it'll sink in better than if I just read it.

Gaaah! I've got the music channel on, been listening to the Contemporary Christian channel all morning. I just finished reading all this really phenomenal and tear-producing stuff about parenting. My heart is so soft toward Eden right now... and what song comes on?? Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle! So now I'm trying not to bawl. Geez Louise! Gimme a break!

Ok, got through the song... Let me put my glasses back on. Onward.
The biggest theme of this first chapter that I sooooo needed to hear was that all the decisions we make as parents ultimately won't matter when we look ahead to the adult our child will become and the choices they will make without us if those decisions are based in fear. So that means that if I home school, require modest clothing, spank, lead my kids to Christ at an early age, teach manners, don't allow my kids to date, and whatever other ultra-do-good things you can think of... those decisions, although some would consider them wise and even Bible mandated, will not, I repeat, NOT produce the adult I was aiming to produce by doing all those things IF my child-rearing decisions are based in fear. That's the key. The "heart reason" behind all these seemingly honorable choices in child-rearing is what really makes the difference.
This is so hard for me to swallow, because every fiber of my being screams that "grace" is just a Christianized way to say "lazy, lax, and boundary-less." And why wouldn't a child with all these aforementioned boundaries naturally be better off as an adult. They will have avoided so much pain. They will have made (with plenty of guidance, aka. control) such good choices... Ok, crying again... glasses off... just a minute. Alright back to this.
They will have so much less emotional and spiritual baggage that all the people who went through public school, dressed less modestly, weren't "properly" disciplined, came to Christ as a teen, and dated around will. RIGHT?? What am I supposed to do? just let Eden make mistakes, get hurt and have a testimony of how God brought her back from the pain in her past? NO. I still don't believe my child's story has to be one of pain and mistakes to be real or effective.
Here's what I'm learning. Rules, even if they are God's rules, can only affect the outside. You need grace and love to affect the heart. The heart/Spirit is what I want changed in my children because that is what will take them through life. They need a heart-purpose, attitude and compass to take them into the world they will live in. In order to minister to the lost (our WHOLE purpose here), they will have to go to where they are. My life right now.. and my parent's life, by the way, pretty much consists of a Christian bubble. Christian bookstores, Christian music, Christian education, Christian friends... all good things, except if we have nothing else to show when we get to heaven. Can you see me now? "But God, I raised my kids right. I only fellowshipped with other Christians. I only watched movies rated highly by Christian sites. I only listened to Christian radio, jazz, classical and oldies. Aren't you proud, God?"
Once again, the fearfulness in me screams, "So I'm supposed to surround myself with secularism, not bat an eye at an R rated film, and go witness to folks in brothels?!" Well, maybe to the last one.
It's a huge struggle for balance within me that I can see isn't going to end any time soon. The main thing is to let the main thing be grace not fear. Right now, if you asked me why I don't want to send Eden to public school, my answer would start with, "because I'm afraid that..." If you asked me why I don't think Eden should date, my answer would say a lot about all the unhealthy, unnecessary stuff I think can be avoided, but once again, my motivation is fear. Until my decisions are not motivated by fear, but by God impressing on my heart that this is His way for His child, they won't amount to a hill of beans.
I could go on, but I won't. I need to think. I need to pray. I need prayer. I need help. I need grace. I need God. That is clear.

Reading is Fun!

I'm instituting a "No TV Tuesday" at least for this week. I got four books in the mail from Half.com (great place to buy new and used books cheap, sometimes cheaper than Amazon) and I have no excuse not to read them. I'm starting on Dr. Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting today. I'll let you know what revelations I have while reading.

I'm completely convinced that we need to get the Your Baby Can Read system (www.yourbabycanread.net) for Eden and the newest addition. I saw the infomercial a while ago and was intrigued, but skeptical. I just saw a new infomercial for it late last week and was completely convinced that Eden would benefit greatly from this system. I'm strongly considering homeschooling and this just seems like a first natural step. Besides, she LOVES books! She "reads" them aloud to herself already. I want to give her the gift of really being able to read the words on the page. She loves to have a book in the car, she looks at books during her playpen time and frequently asks to be read to throughout the day. She will LOVE to read! The only obstacle is the price. It's not so much that we don't have the money, it's just deeming the program worthy of the money it requires. I think we'd be getting a deal since we'll educate two for the price of one. If any decisions are made, I'll post about them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Favorite Friday

My favorite for today is - having a pink room in the house. Random, right? and currently something I don't have, but I certainly plan on it... maybe in the next house...if Chuck will allow it. I just keep seeing these lovely, grown-up rooms in magazines that I'm drawn to and then I realize the walls are pink. I used to think pink was reserved for nurseries, but I love it in living rooms, bed rooms, closets and, in the picture below, a mudroom.

Nice, huh?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mommy's Talk

Mom and I had a talk today, a good talk. She admitted that she should have asked where we stood on the issue of bringing Eden to the movie instead of just launching into her opinion about it based on her swirling thoughts over the past week or two since we saw them. She also said that, in the future, she won't say important things like that in email, but in person. We both recognized that it would have saved a lot of trouble if she had just started saying the same things she did in the email over the phone because I could have just stopped her and told her things had changed.
We talked without breaking into tears, which is an accomplishment. We talked without defensiveness and without suspicions of hidden meanings. We talked with intent to listen and learn about each other. We didn't understand each other perfectly or totally agree on everything, but we both expressed the desire to continue the dialogue that will be our road to growing our relationship.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Motherly Wisdom

While we were in Atlanta, we saw the movie UP and really liked it. It was poignant, exciting, cute, witty, adventurous, funny and thrilling. I have learned not to recommend movies to my parents any more, because it turns out that their past hurts and present stage of life caused them to feel saddened and depressed by the very same movie that we so enjoyed.
Because we liked the movie so much, we decided then and there to add it to our small, but growing collection of Blu-ray discs... sometime in the future. We talked openly at my parents' about how we thought it would be a great, wholesome kids film, and, mainly because of the dog, Doug and the bird, Kevin, we thought Eden would really like to watch it. Just like anything anyone says when they think of it first off, we reevaluated after we got home and decided that she definitely couldn't sit through a whole movie in a theater yet, and that there were too many scary scenes with mean dogs and the bird getting hurt, etc. All in all, not a great idea for her to see it yet. Just another one on our list along with Wall-E and others that she'll enjoy someday.
I got an email today. I want all opinions from other moms with moms to balance my perspective here please. The email I got was from my concerned mother about why it wasn't a good idea for us to let Eden see UP. She copied an excerpt from a Baby Center article about how a child under 3 doesn't have the ability to focus long enough for a full-length movie. Then she continued with the concerns her and my dad had about the scary scenes and other stuff too. At the end, she capped it off with how much she trusts God and us with Eden and knew we would do the right thing.
I was bristly after reading it. She couldn't possibly know that Chuck and I had already thought through all that, but I guess I would have appreciated her just putting out a feeler question... "Are y'all still thinking of taking Eden to see UP?" Then she wouldn't have had to stress about all her issues and would have been able to hear that it wasn't even a question with us any more. Am I being too touchy that she just sent me this email of admonishment? I really like the fact that they were involved parents while I was growing up and had something to say (Biblically) about every aspect of life we, as a family, encountered. This email is pretty much just an extension of that... a continuance. And I wish now that it wouldn't continue so much. I don't want to shun the wisdom offered from my parents...
I just want to ask for it first.

What do you think?