Whoa it’s been a while…

So, I have not blogged in about a year! Do you want to know why? Do you care? Well, I’m telling you anyway. Motherhood. I do not know how moms can blog daily, take care of the house, keep their kid(s) from breaking things, cook dinner, run errands, and keep their sanity. Something had to go. For me, it has been time on the internet. It’s not like I totally abandoned the cyber world, as those of you that know me will testify. It’s just that I have not had much free time to spend rattling my thoughts out on a blog. I feel like I need to play catch up, but that’s a lot more than I’m willing to do. So, I’ll just pick up where I left off…. the daily stuff.

The kid is now 3, almost 3 and a half. He is 150% boy. He’s a walking, talking, running, messy little creature. His mouth and feet move at a steady pace ALL DAY! I kid you not. That is taxing on this mommy brain. But, he is a smart one. I tend to not brag on my kid because I refuse to be THAT mom. But, since you are reading my blog, I can do whatever I want. 🙂 I’ve very grateful for the kid’s growing imagination and wealth of knowledge. It is also a heavy burden to carry when you are your child’s first teacher. I think every parent should be their child’s first teacher. Some take that more seriously than others. For our family, we choose to make it a very high priority. Education begins at home. (No I was never a teacher and I did not get asked to say that.) Pretty much everything of importance begins at home, faith, fellowship, education, manners, discipline, communication…. If these life moments dont begin at home, someone else will surely be teaching your child. More than likely, they won’t be the influence that you would like. But now… off my soapbox.

You learn so much about yourself as a mom. Seriously, I do not care what any one says. Being a mom is the hardest and most important job you will ever have. I absolutely love it, even if it sucks a lot of the life out of me. I just figure, I am putting my all into something if it leaves me exhausted. Like exercise. But what do I know about that 😉

For anyone interested in doing home preschool with you child. This is what I do with our guy at least 2 days a week. The best resource I have found is www.abcjesuslovesme.com

I’ll be back sooner rather than later this time!!

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Encouragement for my SAHM’s

Sometimes, I feel guilty for not bringing home the bacon and just cooking it… and not using my education. Sometimes, I feel like I need to be doing more at church and in my community. Sometimes, I wake up and it’s Groundhog day all over again. Sometimes, I hear the lies people say about stay at home moms rattling in my head (You have an easy job, Why don’t you put him in daycare and get a part time job, Don’t you think he needs to hang out with other kids, What are you going to do when you grow up, Kids that don’t go to daycare aren’t as socialized, Going to daycare builds up their immunity, What do you do all day?) Sometimes….

“Jim Elliot famously said, ‘He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.’ Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.”

Read more in this blog post: Motherhood is a Mission Field

I need to put that Jim Eliot quote up in my house somewhere to remind me that the work I do at home could be the most important thing I ever do…. in my entire life.

Our society and culture ranks children as the last thing you should mark off of your bucket list.  This blog post, from the same woman I posted above, shares more. Where having kids ranks…

I don’t typically acknowledge the stay at home mom haters with a response. I like to remind myself that you “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you would be like him yourself. If you answer a fool according to his folly, he will be wise in his own eyes. ” (Proverbs 26:4-5) But since this is probably scientifically proven somewhere,  my child gets plenty of chances to build his immunity riding in Walmart carts, I will certainly not pay for a daycare to do a trip to the store can do for free.

All in a days work…..

Warning to first time moms

There I was, we just found out we were pregnant. We were elated. And scared. Who do we tell first? How do we tell them? We want to tell the world. We set the plans to tell our families. But the ultimate question for first time moms my age….. When do we tell facebook?!

Really, it has come to that. Why? It boggles my mind and makes me laugh. Mainly at myself. I don’t know when we “told facebook.” It was somewhere around 10 weeks or so. One thing I know for certain is that first post of “we’re pregnant” spirals into A LOT of unnecessary status updates with way too much information for the general public. First you say “we are expecting.” Then comes, “Oh, I wish this baby would stop making me feel sick.” Next it’s “I’m craving beer, bologna and pickles….. of which I can only eat pickles.” Everyone knows pregnant ladies can’t have alcohol or deli meat. That’s just week one PFA (Post facebook announcement).

Pretty soon you are driving everyone crazy. NO, we don’t want to see your baby bump at 14 weeks. Honestly, if you had not announced to the facebook world (daily) that you were pregnant, you would just look like you needed to not go back for seconds.  Let me be the first to say, I can be cynical about this now. I was that girl. I justified a lot of my crazy facebook pregnancy status updates as humor, so it was ok.  However you justify in your mind, it’s not ok. Proverbs 14:12 says There is a way that seems rights to man, but in the end leads to death. Your updates seem right to you. But I assure you, someone on facebook is thinking about killing you, or is on the verge of clicking “defriend.”

Some of you may forget that you are friends with guys on facebook. Guys that may not have a wife or kids. They really don’t need to know. You do realize that first time moms are the reason facebook decided to allow you to only see news feed updates of people you interact with. All that updating you think you are doing… yeah, most people can’t even see it now. Some things need to be saved for your pregnancy journal or the baby book.

Let’s jump to the third trimester or 16 weeks PFA. For 16 weeks, people have been putting up with your antics and it’s about to get worse. First rule of facebook updates during the third trimester. DONT COMPLAIN. Yeah, everyone that has carried a baby 9 months is done with it by the last month. You are not alone friend. You’re also being a little bit selfish right? You are about to receive the biggest blessing and gift that could ever be given and you are flat out whining to the world. Ssshhhhh! Second rule of the third trimester: DO NOT update everyone on your dilation or effacement progress. Seriously. Most people that don’t have kids don’t really know what all that means, luckily. For those of us that do, I personally think that should be on a need to know basis. Your 300 or more friends on facebook do not need to know. The final rule: DO NOT update through labor and delivery.

This is a true story. Someone (lucky for them I can’t remember who it was) updated through their labor and delivery by phone almost every hour. The people that really need to know how you are doing are probably at the hospital with you. Or there are text messages you know. Then, you know what she did after the birth don’t you. Yes, you know where I’m going. Fresh outta the box pictures. GAG! I was pregnant at the time of this person’s facebook abuse. I almost had a heart attack. No one wants to see your bloody, cheesy alien. NO ONE. Now, this is worst case scenario of first time mother facebook abusers (FTMFA). I realize most people know better. For those of you that don’t, please be warned.

I’m sad that no one told me how annoying even the slightest pregnancy facebook status reference was to them and everyone else. I’m more sad that despite my pregnancy updates without warning, someone let me update as a new mom.

As if the pregnancy wasn’t bad enough, I believe the first year of the kid’s life, FTMFA’s go nuts. The problem goes to a new level with the first update about the baby’s weight and height at their first pediatrician appointment. That’s so great that your little one is healthy. If anything changes or we can pray for you, let us know. DO NOT tell us how much they weigh daily, or weekly. You’ve heard the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well for FTMFA’s we have altered it a bit. “If you don’t have anything to say besides about your kid, don’t say anything at all.” There’s also another motto that could apply here: “Get a life.” That’s just for stage 4 extreme FTMFA’s, like my dear friend that updated through labor and delivery.

I’d now like to direct your attention to facebook picture posts or updates. If you are thinking you are not a FTMFA because you just post a picture or two. You are wrong. Let’s talk about acceptable and unacceptable pictures.

Newborn: Fresh out the box

Exhibit A: acceptable. This is an acceptable fresh out of the box picture. Baby is cleaned up, but still holds that “fresh” look.

Exhibit B:

ok. I was going to put an unacceptable, graphic picture of my kid right after birth but it grossed me out. If you can see blood, cheese, or any private areas they would fit into this category.

Babyhood: any picture in the first year of life

Exhibit A: Acceptable:  Any cute, funny, happy picture of your kid will suffice

I was going to post an unacceptable picture here, but they fall into their own category. Milestones. We know what these are, first tooth, first crawl, first taste of baby food, first hair cut, first steps. The list goes on. With any picture you post of the milestone category, you must be careful. If your child sprouts a first tooth do not go through the trouble to post that picture you got that is both out of focus and made the baby cry to get it. Stick that one in the baby book and move on. Also, if your picture falls in this category and you realize you cannot post it for fear of being labeled a FTMFA, don’t status update it instead. You are still in violation.

Exhibit B1: Unacceptable by means of how you achieve this picture

Exhibit B2: Acceptable Milestone picture. Look he’s cute and crawling

I still want to warn those of you that want to post milestone pictures. Do not do it as to boast that your kid is the most intelligent, gifted, advanced child ever to grace the earth. Yes, your kid may crawl at 5 months, but I guarantee by age 2, it won’t matter which kid crawled first and which said mama first. Wait, you haven’t met my kid. I’m pretty sure he’s the most intelligent, gifted, advanced child… sorry. (You know that’s what you were thinking. That your kid is all that and some so it couldn’t apply to you). Wrong.

If you have to take the time to make a conscious decision as to whether your facebook update or picture is in violation or puts you in jeopardy of becoming a FTMFA, just don’t do it. If you know someone who is a FTMFA and doesn’t know it, send them a link to this blog post 🙂 Make it a joke. Hey look what this crazy girl said, it’s funny, you might get a laugh. Slide the hint in that way. Don’t lose a friend over it.  I wish someone had warned me.

It’s true. I became a FTMFA. I’m happy to say I’m in recovery. I may still update about the craziness I deal with in having a kid. But I refuse to go back down that road. I have committed to not sharing TMI with my social media friends any more. Please, don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. If you read this and realize that you too are a FTMFA, there is help out there. It’s called reality and you have to find it. I’m here for any support and to make fun of you. We can laugh at ourselves together.

This also applies to twitter. Don’t think you are left out. Luckily you only have 140 characters.

A new post…. why not

I’m taking advantage of the rest of nap time to release some thoughts your way…..

A fellow blogger friend (check Britt out here) has posted some of her lessons from motherhood. I believe I have posted some previously, or at least some products I love and why. I’m at a different place in motherhood now and the lessons continue to arise, daily. I decided to share some of those with you.

My kid… he’s pure crazy. I guess he gets it honest. From his dad of course, who were you thinking? Well, this crazy child has taught me, as if there were any doubt, that we are born sinners. Before he uttered a word he bit me. Just recently he has found it amusing to do things he’s not supposed to just so I will say “NO.” I finally decided that every time he climbs on to the arm of the couch and run from side to side hoping to fall and do it again, I’m just going to let him. If I tell him “NO” he does it anyway. If I let him, he seems to lose interest sooner. I’ve also implemented this technique with his new hobby… hitting. He walks by and hits the chair, hits my leg, hits the wall, whatever. I think he started doing it continuously when I told him “NO.” Now I’m ignoring him. Hit me in the leg buddy, I don’t feel a thing. Then he doesn’t do it again. I hope the “ignoring bad behavior” technique doesn’t come back to bite me…. I also hope the kid doesn’t bite me again. My conclusion is that he does things for attention. If he doesn’t get attention, he gives up. We did not teach him to bite or hit, and he’s not around other kids that do it. We haven’t taught him to be defiant. He, like the rest of us, are little sinners.

Can’t you just see the mischief in that face?

Another lesson from the little guy… Music is our first language. Before he started biting, he started dancing. He stops everything he is doing when certain songs come on the radio. Yes, we listen to our music around him. I can’t handle the toddler songs with adults singing them (weird), and he has shown little interest in it either. It started with bobbing his head, then it progressed to bouncing in place before he could crawl. Now he stands, spins, stomps his feet, claps his hands and “snaps” his fingers (ok, so it doesn’t make a noise, but he rubs his index finger and thumb together). Before he was mobile, he was interested in objects making noise. He played with an egg shaker before we got him a toddler percussion set. I’m fairly certain that most kids are similar. Maybe they don’t take as much interest, but most dance before they talk. I also believe it’s a testament to God. How he calls us to sing praises and worship…. He created us this way. You may be like me and can’t sing a lick, but when you are in your car, you might as well be Mariah. We all love it, whether we are planning to audition for American Idol or not.

My last lesson for today…. I wouldn’t trade anything I had before the kid for what I have now. When you are in the day-dream land of wanting to have kids one day, you see all the sweet, happy times. Yes, they are amazing and prominent. No one tells you the ugly side. They don’t even tell you that you will inevitably go to the store in your ugly side. I don’t go anywhere without makeup. But when you have a kid and you have 30 minutes to go to the store and back before he has to eat again, you will go with hair you havent washed since yesterday, no makeup, forgot to brush your teeth,and hopefully you remembered your bra. Ok, so not all of those have happened to me at once, but they have at one point or another. You will, also, lose your body. I have been fortunate to lose my baby weight and then some, but some people never do. Although I have, my body is inches wider than it was. A friend told me your rib cage widened. I thought she was kidding. It’s true. We all assume our hips widen, but ladies, there’s a good chance they wont return. My kid wanted to stay in the pool longer so they had to force him to evacuate. Now I have a 6″ scar that no bikini bottom will cover (except for those grandma ones that come up to your belly button anyway). Praise God for tankinis 🙂 Did I mention that a portion of my stomach is still numb. A constant reminder that I was sliced in half. I know, that I am blessed and fortunate to be able to have a child. Some people can’t and I don’t want to say this to make you think I take it for granted. I DO NOT. I do think there needs to be a bigger warning sign. Maybe it’s just the female in us. We have all these lofty, romantic feelings toward meeting Mr. Right also. It never happens as we dream it will. Then you get married. That sure as heck isn’t a fairytale. But at the end of the day you wouldn’t change a thing. I suppose that would be the same as having a kid. The reward is far greater than the sacrifices.

Perfect timing, the crib rail is shaking so hard it sounds like a herd of buffalo coming through the walls…..

Day 10- Poop

Do you struggle with vanity? Do you ache for people to think you are attractive? Do you try to keep up with the cover of magazines on the rack? Do you desperately want everyone’s approval? Do you care about appearances? Do you judge others by their appearance, behavior, circumstances?…. I have the answer… well, an answer…. HAVE A KID.

I’m serious. But only have a kid if you are married….let me not lead anyone astray on that one. Being a woman is tough. The competition our culture breeds between women and the approval women seek from men will sabotage anyone. Having a kid will change all of that.

My mom’s small group is studying Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas. I have mentioned him before, but I honestly do love this author. This weeks chapter is titled “The Glory Behind the Grime.” It begins with a quote from Rachel Husk, “With the baby’s birth, a lifetime of vanity vanished into thin air.” HOW TRUE.  As much as magazines or television may appeal to younger women having babies and how glamorous it could be, having a kid is less than glamorous. Kids are nasty and stinky and unpredictable. They poop when you don’t want them to, they puke at less than desirable times, they scream in public. One awesome biblical relation the author makes in the book is that Jesus came as a child. He pooped in his “cloth” diaper, he drooled all over Mary as she held him, he probably did his share of puking too. God. He came in the form of a baby. Talk about humbling.

There is no possible way to be a mom and be “glamorous” unless you have a nanny, a maid, a personal trainer, and a stylist for your entire family. Not happening. Life isn’t about that. It’s about the relationships. It’s about the lessons. It’s about glorifying God.

One great quote from the book, ” Parenting in particular, wakes us up from our self indulgence and invites us to get involved in something bigger than adventure and even greater than glamour– the shaping of a human life and the destiny of an eternal soul.”

Being a mom has taught me a lot. It’s only been a year. Probably one of the biggest lessons is this…. that little pooper has made me humble. I’m so blessed that we have him. I know that life is now unpredictable. I dont wear jewelry because it will get snatched off. I usually dont have time to fix my hair. I hardly ever wear heels if the kid is around. I’m probably going to have some “gift” on my shirt-whether it be drool, snot or half chewed goldfish. It really doesnt matter. My mission each day is to teach and nurture my child (and do some things around the house). My mission is not to impress anyone else around me.

I am thankful for poopy diapers, drool, spit up, and all the grime that comes with that little blessing. I am thankful he teaches me new lessons every day.

Day 6- Simplicity

We finally saw “Date Night” with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. This movie is ridiculous… (could have done without the language, but that is pretty much every movie) Aside from that, this movie is hilarious. Of course, the two best comedians of today in a movie together… I should have expected no less.

I am so very thankful we are simple people. I am thankful for our routine. I am thankful we don’t have a lot of surprises. We live a simple life. We are your typical married 20somethings with a kid. Looking down the road, we will probably always be simple. We are actually a lot like the couple in the movie. The biggest difference between us and the Fosters….. we will NEVER take anyone else’s reservations. Not just because it’s wrong, but our luck, we would find ourselves in a terrible situation we are not equipped to handle!

“You know, I would do it all again. I would choose us, me and you, every time.”

Today, and every day, I am thankful for simplicity!!

Day 4- Modern Medicine

My little guy went to his 12 month appointment today. 12 month appointment=shots! He was not a happy camper. I take that back. He was happy until the vaccines. His pediatrician is fabulous. Every pediatrician at this practice is fabulous. One of the doctors, Dr. Hill, writes for a number of publications. I like keeping up with what he’s doing. It gives me faith in the doctors that take care of my child. We have seen Dr. Hill twice and loved him.

Anyway…. the vaccine debate. I am a mom. So, yes, I am worried about what goes in my child’s body. However, I am not a doctor. The doctors believe and have tested that vaccines, more likely than not, do not cause harm to children. Their benefits outweigh the risk. We vaccinate our child to protect him from death. We do not withhold vaccines from our child for the fear of a disorder. Our conclusion, we would rather have our son alive (even if it meant with a disorder… we dont think vaccines cause autism), than not have our son because we chose to keep him away from vaccines. If he died from our choice, we could not live with ourselves.

Our pediatrician said to me at one visit… “We go into pediatrics because we love kids and want to see them healthy and happy. Why anyone would believe otherwise, I dont understand. If we thought vaccines harm children, we certainly would not administer them.” That makes perfect sense to me.

One day, we may find what triggers autism in children. What we do know now is that we have vaccines for preventable diseases. Diseases that once killed people. I can only trust our doctors.

I thank God for these doctors, for people that go into medicine to help treat and cure people, for vaccines that prevent us from untimely death. Modern medicine has provided so many cures and they are continually working on more. There are so many things that medicine has provided to give us all a better standard of living… especially compared to third world countries. We should all be so grateful.

Today and every day, I am thankful for a God of healing that has provided us with medicine and wonderful doctors!

Day 3- my J.O.B

When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, we just assumed I would return to work. Staying at home was just not an option. Not necessarily because we needed my income, but I did not think I was cut out to do it. For as long as I can remember, I have been career and achievement minded… at least according to worldly standards. Little by little, God took away opportunities that would have fueled that spark in me. Now I see why. If I had taken one of the numerous career choices I aspired to attain, I would have never been in a position to quit my 9-5 job.

I assumed, after maternity leave I would return to work. I did. My sweet baby was 10 weeks old. The evenings were chaotic to say the least. My husband and I were so unsettled in every area of our lives. Then, the baby got sick. I prayed and cried and blamed myself. I was still at work. During this time, I was tossing around the idea of staying at home. Could I do it? Could we afford it? How would this work? What if I quit my job? Then one Sunday, the message at church was about steps of faith.

On paper, quitting my job makes no sense. When does God ever call us to something that makes perfect sense? My husband and I both agreed this was the right step, no matter how hard. So, there we went, stepping out blindly, praying for God to work out the details.

Soon after I put in my notice, my husband began doing some contract employee work in addition to his 9-5 job. That additional income would make up some of the difference. He has continued that work. God provided when we stepped out. Sometimes I am amazed at how easy that works. As if we should expect less from God. Yes, we reign in on our expenses more than we did. Yes, we have to rely on God to make sense of what we don’t understand. But, we love the reward.

Tomorrow, our little guy has his 12 month check up. I was thinking about all the amazing skills he has mastered in the last few months and how much more advanced he is than…. well everyone. 🙂 I’m so proud of him and his little brain. I truly believe that he has developed his motor, verbal, problem solving, and other skills because I am able to give him one on one attention.

Someone, knowing that I was staying home with my child asked me, “Have you decided what you’re going to do when you grow up.”  It still burns my biscuits. I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do and what I’m doing. I am being a mom, and a wife, and taking care of the home I have been given. I have worldly achievements. I had great grades in HS, scored high on every standardized test they ever threw at me, graduated from college, and volunteered with plenty of organizations. At the end of the day, my current occupation is my greatest achievement. Not only am I serving my husband and child, but God.

“God does not call the equipped. He equips the called”. I understand that now. I would never in a million years thought I had the patience and homemaker skills to do this job. But God provides.

I could still be working and we would all be perfectly fine. I know that. People do it every day. My parents did it. But we would not be satisfied outside of what God wants for our family.

So today, and every day, I am thankful God has provided a way for me to be a stay at home mom.

Toddler Bathroom

When we moved into our lovely abode while I was pregnant, we did not make any big changes to most of the bathrooms. Check out this before pic…. (this is from home inspection day—not our decorating choices)

We used some shower coordinates we had for the upstairs bathroom and painted the terribly hideous mirror. We never managed to take a picture of the bathroom, post move-in-pre-toddler, sorry 😦

Now, as our wee one is approaching toddlerhood, we decided to give him a toddler bathroom of his very own. We found this awesome shower curtain and coordinates at Kohl’s.

I painted the room “yellow green.” No really, that’s the color on the little swatch. It should be renamed “slime.” But it’s the color on the chart between plantain and palm…. so they call it yellow green… not very creative for such a crazy color. Anyway, I painted the room. Kilz first, then 2 coats, pretty much by myself in one day. The next day, I cleaned the tube, sink, and floors. Then the fun part…. decorating!

Here’s the outcome. Shower curtain, rug, toothbrush holder, and hand towel all from Kohls. Bath towel from Target. Soap dispenser from Walmart.

We are all very pleased with our Monster Themed bathroom. Jameson likes the monsters. Plus, there are mom friendly messages 🙂

DIY Crib Rail Cover

Within hours of finding out I was pregnant, I think I started planning the nursery. Like anything else I have 9 months to decide upon, I changed my mind 100 times. The first decision I made and stuck with was the furniture. We thought the best option was to invest in the convertible crib. After all, you can use it longer. And who doesn’t want to get the most for their money. We also didn’t want to buy furniture that cost more than our bedroom furniture. I guarantee we love this kid, but I think some things are borderline ridiculous. Little did I know, a woodchuck would soon take over my perfectly simple little forest of a nursery. How much wood can a baby woodchuck chuck?

The first time I saw the damage, I could have cried.  Instead I laughed at all the little brown specs of finish on the woodchucks face. Then I built a bridge…. or crib rail cover.

We researched rail covers. Everything was a little pricey for something he would just keep biting. Or I thought it was too cheap looking. Or there were toy attachments and we don’t want him to think crib time is play time. So… I made one.

Fleece DIY Crib Rail Cover:

Materials: 1/yd fabric, scissors and 30 minutes

I went to JoAnn’s Fabric on the hunt for fleece. I chose a basic green color that would match the bedding. If you consider a pattern, dont use anything too busy. You may not be able to see much of the pattern in the final product. I bought 1/yd for $5.99. Beats the heck out of $15-30 store bought covers.

Step 1: Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise. Depending on the length of your crib, you may need to trim excess off the ends. Don’t cut it too short or just right, may come out a little short in the final product.

 

Step 2: Make sure your fabric is draped evenly on both sides. Starting on one side. Cut slits alongside each of the crib rail slats (right and left). Don’t cut any higher than the bottom of the top horizontal rail. Do this for both sides of the fabric. You will have a strip that covers a slat and a strip that covers the space between.

Step 3. Tie the strip you just cut on the front to the strip on the back. I just double knotted them. Don’t worry about the strips covering the slats, we will handle that soon.

Step 4: Continue cutting slits and tying strips along the rail.

Step 5: Once you have all the knots tied. Cut the excess strips off.

Step 6: I recommend trimming the ends of the knots. Don’t clip them off, just tidy them up and even them out.

Step 7: Look….. you just made a crib cover that’s cute, comfy and cost $6!

When I laid the woodchuck down, his room was dark. I have a feeling he’s going to be disappointed he can’t finish his carving project.