Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stamps

This is a fun Gabriel story for Alex.

When Gabriel was little, like 3 ish, we went to Walmart. He has always been a people watcher. On this particular occasion, he fixated on a "gentleman" that was tatooed from stem to stern. We know this because he used the "shirt" qualifications loosely. He was wearing one of those leather vests that snaps shut. He had tatoo "sleeves", all on his back, and chest; all the way up his neck, even.

At this time, Gabriel was in daycare, as I was working to get Ethan through graduate school. When he had good days, he would get ink stamps on his hands and on a behavior chart. If I didn't scrub him really well, sometimes they didn't wash off by the next day. At which time he would tell me that he had a really, REALLY good day, because he had two stamps.

So, Gabriel starts jerking my arm, then jacket, then pant's leg..."look at that guy. Look at That Guy! LOOK AT THAT GUY!!!" "Baby, Shhh!" "Mommy, LOOK AT THAT GUY!!! HE'S HAD SUCH A GOOD DAY!!!!! Look at all his STAMPS!!!!"

Swimming

We joined the YMCA again today. We quit about this time last year, as I was feeling yucky and about to have a c-section, and I knew I would not be able to get back to swimming for a couple of months at least, and then it would be summer...which introduces a complication, Elise. (I'll expand on that later this week.)

But I got to swim laps today. I LOVE to swim. Some people do yoga, some meditation. I swim. It is physically satisfying, and emotionally/spiritually satisfying. It truly exercises me, but it also wraps my heart and soul in peace.

When I was originally baptized, they were "sprinklers". I requested to be "dunked" somehow, but there were no options. Since then, I have been "dunked" because the Baptist denomination requires it. As I had made a private and public confession of faith, I knew myself to be saved. But I really loved being dunked. It was an experience that was powerful and touched me somehow at a deeper level.

I am not a fan of Kate Chopin. She is a talented writer and I understand why she was a part of our high school curriculum, but I didn't like her stuff. I had a serious problem with most of my high school reading curriculum. I believe that you can have talent and positive stories that run parallel. My entire reading lists consisted of depressing and more depressing...and in high school, aren't we all dealing in dark days, anyhow? Do we really need to add fuel to the fire?

However, one of my favorite quotes comes from Kate Chopin: "The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clearing, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in the abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace."

Isn't that just amazing? And I need not say more on that today. That pretty much says it all!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giveway!

I have used the lotion by this WAHM and it is WONDERFUL!! I found a giveaway and would love to win...I highly recommend trying some if you don't do the giveaway...the prices are great and the products are great quality!

http://08melissab.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Psalm 121

This is my all time favorite Psalm. It is something that I need to revisit about once a month. I am revived and brought back up...refreshed. I thought I'd share tonight...as it was my refreshment this evening...

Enjoy:

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Friday, January 22, 2010

words and names

SO, I'm am stealing my sister-in-law's idea today...granted, hers is a little more timely, as she just had her baby (my first niece that I am blood related to!)....and everybody wants the story on her name...Although, lately, I have found quite a few Keziahs...so perhaps not as uncommon as I had thought!

But I digress as usual. I decided that in case my kids forget down the road the story of their names, they can go back and find out again...but by then, blogs will probably be archaic...but hopefully the love affair with words will not be.

I LOVE words. There, I've said it. I think they are luscious. I think in words. Really. If your name is spelled in a certain way, I see it in my mind as I say it. When I ask how a name is spelled, it is giving me the visual on you...and I am never confused by Sarah and Sara, because to me, in my mind, they really are different. On, the flip side, if I get in my mind that your name is spelled a certain way, and I was wrong, it really does loop me for a while...and don't even get me started on birthdays...right Sarah? :)

So, if I am obsessive on words, can you even begin to see my struggle with naming my children? Then, you even have to figure in Ethan...and his associations with words and names...it is a dirty, labor intensive decision-making process.

Recently, a friend commented that all my kids names could be characters in a Jane Austen novel. Now, that was a high compliment for me as I ADORE Jane Austen, but it was not intentional.

Gabriel. Ah, I LOVE his name. He was named after the angel Gabriel. It means "man of God" and we do want that for him! So, it is a request of God to bless him and to claim him. But in addition, in the Bible, he was God's personal messenger (Daniel 8 &9, Luke 1)...and every time he was sent to someone, his first words are, "Do not be afraid" and it is always followed by assurances of God working things out to blessings, no matter how dark or hard it will be to start! As he was a surprise blessing in a scary and difficult beginning, we were making his name a request of God's faithfulness to us, too. We gave him Ethan's name as a middle, the family continuity...also, it means "firm, constant" which we also pray for him.

Elise. I have loved this name since middle school! It was SO lovely that Ethan loved it too. We played around with a middle name up to the very end, and were pleased to give her my middle name, "Nicole", which is a family continuity...but it means "victorious"...we had no idea how appropriate that would be for her. How very many times God has helped her be victorious in daunting struggles! Now, Elise means "God is gracious." Again, we couldn't have done better had we known in advance what her little life would hold!

Amelia. This is where we got out of our little box. Up to this point, we had wanted a name that had the meaning that spelled out our prayers...but had so struggled, that we started looking for Biblical qualities that we craved for our child...and made sure that we had the verses to back it up. Amelia means "industrious" and the verses we claimed were the "Ant" verses in Proverbs 6:6-8. This was the first "long" passage I ever memorized, as I love words so much, it cannot come as a surprise that I adore Proverbs. And Rae is after then roe deer in Song of Solomon and Psalm 18:33, and a nod to "Hind's feet in High Places".

Charlotte. We continued after the quality and Bible verses claimed path. Charlotte means "little womanly one". So, that was easy. Proverbs 31 woman. How is that for a big claim? :) It also is my only indulgence to name after un-family. My best friend for 19 and 1/2 years, Andrea. Really after all she has been my friend through, she's family. Andrea means "womanly one"...so you see the connection. Andrea is a godly woman, such that I hope my girls grow up to be women like her! Abigail is "Father in rejoicing" or "Father's pride". Again, as a Godly woman, is that not a treasure to rejoice in? Godly or human father will proud! 1Samuel 2:26 and Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 chose to follow a wise path to follow God.

We had hoped to chose less common names, but there has been a surge in popularity in the years surrounding their births...Except Elise. But since we had named them for reasons, rather than popularity, we are still pleased with our choices.

I had planned to have only boys and we could have named a whole army of boys, and I will always be regretful that I did not get to name a son Archer (Psalm 18:30-39)...but, I am thankful for my girls, all my kids. I pray that my children will grow into their names and use them as goals and blessings in their relationship with the Lord.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mopping and Resolutions

I resolve to never mop again.

Well, I wish I could. I just mopped last night. It looked GREAT! Let me tell you. It was so clean it made the molding and walls look dirty. This is something which doesn’t commonly happen.

I made cheese ravioli for lunch today. It is one of my favorites! Yum. But, not only had I mopped last night, but I got all the dishes done and had cleaned the counters. It was really, really looking good! So, I decide to serve lunch on foam plates. To keep everything really looking clean, I wanted to avoid more dishes. To keep at bay any untoward event, I served up the meal and took it to the table. And dropped it. All over the floor. RED spaghetti sauce! *sigh* I guess I am glad it was me, so I didn’t say anything I’d regret to one of the kids…

But, I tell you this story, because I only ever have these incidents after I’ve done a really thorough mopping. If I leave the floor alone, there will be NO spilling of anything, for weeks, if I choose to push it that long. Why is this? Kinda an argument for the actual existence of Murphy’s Law if you ask me!

In real life, I only have a few resolutions for 2010. I figure if I write them here for the world to see I’ll be more likely to keep them.

Resolutions for 2010:

1.) As soon as I get the go ahead from my doctors, I plan to work out and/or eat less to accomplish a weight loss of 10 pounds this year. I think I could lose more than that, but I want an attainable goal.

2.) I plan to do more regular devotions. I tend to read a weeks worth of devotions locked in the bathroom when I feel like I am coming to the end of myself. I really need to do them more regularly. Locked in the bathroom is still probably the best place, but I need to try for it at least every other day, if not every day!

3.) God is poking me…I am trying to listen better and see if this is a “start right now” thing or, “I’ll be asking this of you in the future, so get ready” thing. So I guess I resolve to listen more regularly.

4.) I resolve to read, out loud, to the kids at least twice a week.

5.) I resolve to get myself into bed earlier than 11:30pm. I will be much more able to keep all of these if I do that!

6.) And like I said, I resolve to mop less…to keep the AWFUL spills on hold!

sleep

This was written for several friends that have been fighting the same battle as I am with Charlotte right now. I hope that it helps someone a little.

Sleep. That illusive treasure that people desire above all. Really. We are willing to purchase drugs and herbs; buy expensive pillows, bath salts, beds…you name it. Now, add a baby to the mix, and the price goes up. Way up.

When you have a baby, sleep becomes a commodity worth more than gold. If you needed more on the high end of the 8-12 hours, then you are REALLY sleepy. If you were on the lower end…closer to the 4-6 hours…which, really, you know that’s a lie, right? Because if you were sleeping only 4 hours, then you were taking naps, weren’t you? BE HONEST!

To get a baby to sleep, then you try EVERYTHING…you beg, you plead, you pay millions for books with tips to make that baby sleep…nowadays, you also top it off with hours researched on the internet when the books fail ya.

There is the standard put-the-baby-in-the-bed-and-pat-it-to-sleep. There is the crunchier put-the-baby-in-the-bed-with-you (which, frankly, I find very practical.) There are various cry-it-out methods, which can work for some people. (Me? That’s hard for me.)

The things that have worked for me? Different with every baby.

Gabriel? Did the pacifier thing. He had a baby for every day of the week. He wanted to lay cuddled, in a rocking chair, on the sofa, or in the bed with us. He slept well. He was an angelic baby. He only hooked us in the nose every once in a while. He would sleep in our bed whether or not we were there. He loved the big bed. It took us a while to figure that out. As soon as we did, we put up the bunk beds that were Ethan’s. He was 11 months old, the little stay-in-bed-brackets on both sides. That was his silver bullet.

Elise? She was and is a pocket baby. They closer she is snuggled, the happier she is. If she is tired, she gets a little Tasmanian Devil…to make her sleep? Bear hug her. But you have to make sure her hand is free because she needs to pet your face or her Care Bears. BUT only her Care Bears…she can tell in the dark it they are newer ones or her babies…she is happiest petting your face and eyebrows or eyelashes. She started out twirling her hair. When all her hair fell out due to the Chemo, she moved on to ours. When she was alone she started petting her own eyebrows and eyelashes, they never fell out. She also needed a cushier bed, we put egg shell mattress in her crib…and presto!

Amelia? Kiss her, pet her, love her. Give her Elephant, and stop touching her. Oh, my goodness, it killed me. I LOVED the touch-y time with the older kids. It was so sad to me that I couldn’t sleep with her! She needs cuddle time, but when it is time to sleep all she wants is her baby and HER space. She slept well.

Charlotte? Still trying to figure that out! She likes night lights. She likes white noise. She LOVES her bunny. She loves to nurse, 24/7. I love to hold her, but she takes that as an invite to midnight snacking. She did really well swaddled. SUPER tight…as soon as she started rolling over though, we had to give that up…but while the getting was good, it was very, very good.
SO, in a nutshell, here is your checklist:
Dark?
Light?
Pacifier?
Thumb/fingers?
White noise or common sounds?
Humming or lullabies?
Quiet?
Softer bed?
Firmer bed?
Lovey baby/stuffed animal?
Blanket or trimmings to twiddle?
Rocking or some other soothing movement?
Caressing?
No touching?
Patting?
Your bed?
Your room? Their own space in your room? (Comforting sounds/smells)
Their own space/room?
A routine?
A bath or massage to calm them and assuage the day from their tired bodies?
Bedtime snack?
Need an “empty tummy” to keep reflux at bay? A 2 hour space to let things settle?
Tummy sleeper? (Whatever the “Back to Sleep” campaign says, there are babies that need to!)
Back sleeper?
Side sleeper?
Too hot?
Too cold?
Something on/off their feet?
Preferences in pajamas? (materials, bunching, freeing, layers, etc)
Pray over that baby!

I will give it some more thought and perhaps add, but, the thing with this list is the combinations that they can come in!!!

I know that this is the ultimate goal…and that there are certain ages where something may change. And if you are my friend, I’m praying for you. If you are not my friend and are desperate none-the-less email me, message me or post, and I will be happy to pray for you. Where two or more are gathered, and all that! So, “…Go to sleep in peace, God is awake.” –Victor Hugo

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Smell of Ice

I can smell ice. I can't smell it coming, but the smell that wafts in the door, I can tell by the scent. It smells like metal and you can taste it in the back of your throat.

Snow is similar, but not as metallic.

We got snow yesterday. It came down in an impressive way. Big fluffy flakes that poured from the sky...dropped like lead. It was crazy. But it covered and was powdery...unfortunately, not wet enough to stick...No snowballs or snow-men for us! The kids are seriously disappointed. But it is GREAT sledding snow. Too bad we don't have a sled.

Thankfully, we have a broken snowboard. All three kids lined up on it because no one was willing to wait for a second turn. They went down and it caught (from the weight of all the bottoms) and dumped them all off at the bottom. The howling and crying that ensued should have awakened my protective motherly instinct, but it awakened my fatherly side and I started laughing.

I remember sledding when I was a kid. I remember being stuffed into a snowsuit that pulled up funny because I was too tall for it, and having difficulty moving at my joints...I remember the metallic smell in my sinuses as we pelted down Dead Man's Hill. So called, because the legend was, some guy fell off the 3 foot drop at the end and into that lake and died from hypothermia. Was this true? Maybe. Very plausible. Was this a story made up by my father who believed everything was more exciting with a little danger wrapped in it? Very possible.

I remember the ice that got stuck in the wrists of my mittens and sleeves that hurt. I remember sweating as we walked up the hill to race down it again. I remember my father pulling us on the toboggan (the SERIOUS sled kind, not the little beanie caps) up and down major hills to the sledding one...huffing and telling us that it wasn't really that cold...that we had no idea what cold was, as it was a measly 17 degrees...and it wasn't really cold until it was -28 degrees...that he grew up in Wisconsin and North Dakota....and this was positively shorts weather...

I remember getting back home and getting our snowsuits yanked off and the wet socks sticking...I remember the hot bath where our fingers and toes BURNED as they thawed. I remember the hot chocolate, while we listened to stories of when my Daddy Was a Little Boy...I still think he is one of the best story-tellers of all time. He could and can make ANY story hysterically funny. Whether is really is or not.

So, as I heard the yelps of my children as they were thrown off the snow-board, I got a flash of tearing through the brambles at break-neck speed and getting sticks shoved through my mittens...and remembering my own suffering...and told my kids that they "were fine!" and if they'd stop whining, I'd make them hot chocolate after they were done sledding...and smiled...trying to decide if I would torture them in the bath...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mother-ease Giveaway!

These are my ABSOLUTE favorite diapers!!! And a new site (to me), that I am excited about is doing a giveaway...and it is a parenting/coupon site! Yay, who couldn't use coupons!?!

http://couponmommyof2.blogspot.com/2010/01/mother-ease-review-and-giveaway.html