Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tussling with Daddy

Craziness at bedtime taken to a whole new level, courtesy of the Forshey family.

Busy day!

We've been cooking today!! Lemon, lime and orange curd, cookies and scone mixes (bought form the local teashop) for Christmas presents for friends, family and neighbors. Sofi is the best kitchen helper ever!!






Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sad things....

I saw a little baby in the checkout line at Walmart last night with his teen-aged, probably un-wed mother and pretty tipsy, probably grandparents. The grandfather was feeding him a bottle while stumbling around the aisles, paying scant attention to the fact that baby was frantically sucking on air as the bottle wasn't tipped enough to get milk to the nipple. He almost dropped him several times as he shifted him from arm to arm. The language used between grownups-- to each other and to baby-- was harsh and unloving at best, foul at worst. I had to stand in line for 20 mins in front of these people (stupid Walmart lines...but that's another topic) and it about killed me. It was the closest I think I've ever come to snatching someone else's baby and running. I had to call Jeremiah in the parking lot and just check in on my own babies.... *tears*

I just heard bad news about a friend of ours from church. She was in our home group several years ago and we've kept up a Sunday-morning-conversation-in-church acquaintance since then. She apparently collapsed in homegroup meeting last night, not breathing, un-responsive. They took her to emergency and my source had no further news at the time. She has four kids-- the oldest in second grade, the youngest not yet two. I just saw her in church this past Sunday!

Christmas is a joyful time of year, for the most part. But as our pastor reminded us this week-- the shadow of the cross hangs over the manger and it was our sin that made it necessary. The Lord has blessed our family immeasurably and it is especially obvious this year as we celebrate Judah's first Christmas with us, but I have to remind myself that we are not in heaven yet and there is so much we must do to reach out to those whose lives may be much less insulated against the cold of a fallen world than ours is.

Lord, don't let me get too comfortable.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lillian Lane Carpenter

Yay! She's finally here! And starting a new trend for the Carpenters by coming exactly on time!! She's beginning life in the top 1% (or thereabouts) by being born on her due date and starting out labor with Laura's water breaking (9:30 Thursday morning) before any ctx to give a warning. Labor was fast and easy and she graced the early morning with her presence at 2:02 Friday, Dec 14th. Congrats to Laura and Myers!!!! Isn't she beautiful?



Sofi's in love, too :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Teeth!!

So, yesterday Judah woke up from his nap with his first tooth! And then this morning he woke up with his second tooth! Talk about multitasking... He's been miserable today, so I"m halfway expecting him to wake up tomorrow with another one :) He's growing up sooo fast... *sniff* He's barely a baby anymore. Well, okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but the days sure do speed by. He'll be seven months old in just a little while now. I really need to post some new pics, don't I? well, guess what, I'm waaay ahead of you on that. Here they are!!!


Judah's new hat. Also known as his hair substitute....




"Helping" with the laundry



Playing games with Daddy and big sister, Sofi

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Clarifying...

I feel the need to respond to some comments on my blog about miscarriages. I think perhaps people have misunderstood my point in the original post. I am not judging those who are not deeply scarred by their own miscarriages. This post is not addressed to you particularly-- except in your contact with other women. I am also not judging those who find it difficult to understand or share in our grief. I simply intended to remind you to apply the same grace to women grieving miscarriages that you would to those who have lost children already born-- an emotion you may also not be able to fully share in. Especially to those of us in the unique situation of infertility plus miscarriage, where the loss of a child is intensified by the years (in some cases) of longing, prayer and effort that goes into those few short weeks of bliss.

The "double-standard" I referred to was not based on feeling that people didn't understand, or empathize properly, but rather that they expected me to "get over it". They "encouraged" me in a "oh well, better luck next time" kind of way, rather than validating my motherhood over this child. They were uncomfortable talking about my baby, or hearing the details of what happened. There are very few people in whose presence I feel comfortable referring to "my four children."

I don't mean to lay down a "harsh judgment" of my fellow believers, but rather to admonish (and perhaps enlighten) you regarding your attitude towards mothers of miscarried babies. Be careful, be sensitive, be kind. Ask questions, listen to what we have to say. Be ready to ask us if it was a boy or girl, what we named our baby, how long we were in labor--all the questions you would ask any other mother. Not every mom is going to want or need to go into this kind of detail, but some of us do! For some it's a part of the healing process-- and on behalf of all my suffering sisters, I want to say it can be a perfectly normal part of the process. Not morbid, not faithless, not obsessive, not extreme or narcissistic. It's not a universal part of the process, but one that we, as Christians who claim that God "knit me together in my mother's womb", ought to be prepared to deal kindly with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And the 2007 'Making My Life Easier" Award goes to...

.... the KidCo Pea Pod Travel Bed! Why in the world was this not around when Sofi was a baby? I ask you! It is a wonderful concept, a sort of tent/bed/pack-n-play. It is approximately the same size and weight as my diaper bag when folded and big enough for Sofi to crawl into when unfolded. It has an inflatable mattress that slips into a pocket under the tent floor and light-blocking flaps that button down for sleeping, or up for play. The cool thing about it that makes it different from a traditional pack-n-play is that it provides a complete sleep environment. That is, a sleep resistant child no longer has "new environment" and "fun things to look at" as an excuse for not sleeping! I plan to use it a lot during our travels over the holidays. I've been conditioning him to it and he's sleeping in it great, so naptimes at Grammy's house should be a snap, since, as far as he knows, he's still in his own bedroom at home. Of course, I've yet to thoroughly test my theories on my sleep resistant son, but today he did take a 2 1/2 hour nap in it!! *shock*

I'll post pics of him in it as soon as I get my camera back. Yes. I left it with Sandy again....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Indignant Protest

I'm writing tonight to vent a little about what I see as a double standard in Christian circles that has caused pain to myself and some of my very good friends-- and plenty of women I know nothing about, I am sure.

So here's my beef; do we truly believe that "life begins at conception"? I know that in general Evangelical Christians 'talk the talk', but how many of you really 'walk the walk' in the lives of your sisters suffering from infertility and miscarriage? If you really believe that an unborn child at six weeks gestation is a living human being, endowed by God with all the aspects of the child carried to term and born into the world, then how can you not extend the same grace to the grieving mother of the one that you do to the mother of the other?

Now I don't pretend that all women feel the same way about their losses. Some women, blessed with fertile wombs and many children may possibly not know of their loss until it is past and may experience nothing more than a passing regret. But please, don't expect that the women who have prayed and hoped and wept and pleaded before the Lord for years for a child, will miscarry and then be back in church singing hymns with a joyful heart in a month.

So what exactly are we asking for? A little respect, I suppose you could say. An acknowledgment that our grief is just as genuine as the bereaved mother of the six-month-old, and may be just as long-lasting. An acknowledgment of the existence, the humanity, the legitimacy of our children that have died. I want to be able to state, without fear of ridicule or odd looks, that I have four children-- two here on earth, and two in heaven with the Lord--two that I will meet for the first time when I meet my Saviour. I want people to stop expecting bereaved mothers to be "normal" since it was "only a miscarriage, after all". I want my friends who are still walking in the newness of their grief to feel perfectly safe in expressing that grief. It is a child, not a biological accident, right? So that makes us mommies. Please be kind....

Is that so much to ask?

Judah eats a pickle....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The quest for the perfect boot.

I'm picky. I freely admit it. But I wear boots almost every day in the winter and I have standards! The pair I have now is almost three years old and is quickly going the way of all flesh. Several seams are ripping out and it's just a matter of time before it bursts completely. So I find myself in a position I never like to be in; that of needing an item quickly-- not having the luxury of simply waiting till I find a good bargain and buying it then. So far I've looked at: Old Navy (and the website), Kohl's, Penney's, Belks, Ross, Walmart, Shoe Show, Payless Shoes, Rugged Wearhouse and a Google search. Nothing.

So here are my criteria:

2 inch heel (or less)
Midcalf height
Leather
Size 10
Roomy toes
Soft sole (rubber-like, so it doesn't "clicketty clack" all over the place)
Reasonably priced (like, about $10 would be great!)

In addition, the cut of the ankle part has to be somewhat roomy to fit in my lift (on the left boot), but not so roomy that the right ankle swims around in it.

I did buy a "stop-gap" pair at Rugged Wearhouse (and yes, I know that's not the correct spelling, but that's how they spell it!), but they're not quite what I want. Is it too much to ask that somewhere in the great internet universe there is a boot that fits these requests!!??!!

Here's one pair I found that I think are to die for cute, but waaay out of my price range:

http://www.piperlime.com/browse/product.do?cid=26661&pid=538752&scid=538752002


Sigh. Ah well, good things come to those who wait.... Right?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things I am thankful for:

(in no particular order)
A wise and godly husband
A warm house
Christian friends
Hospitality
My daughter
"Chearee Piy"
Grace
Christ
Lots of yummy food
A car and money for gas
Time to do the things I love
Evenings
Early bedtimes for children
The fact that God opens the womb of the barren
My son
My sisters
My brother (God bless him....)
Godly parents
Grandparents
Great-grandparents

Monday, November 19, 2007

Go ahead, call me lame....

...and culturally ignorant, too, but I have just discovered Sting! :) I fully admit to my shameful neglect of the current music scene. My daily musical exposure is pretty much limited to the Twinkle Variations and various Disney Princess movie themes these days. But Polly has been here this week and I've fallen in love with the poetry in this man's music. I'm totally going to write the story behind the quick snapshot of "After The Rain Has Fallen" What a fascinating short glimpse into some gothic tale of romance and adventure.

I know, I know, I'm really too old for this teen-age obsession with a music group/artist, but seriously, folks, this guy is amazing. The lilting quality of "Moon Over Bourbon Street" is hauntingly beautiful and is still reverberating in my mind.

And he's a man of a thousand moods, too. I mean, seriously, compare "I Need You Like This Hole In My Head" (a ballad of the dolphin folk--not kidding) to "Fields of Gold". And the musical styles are just as diverse as the lyrics-- example: "Englishman In New York" (totally quirky nonsense) and the dolphin one (also very quirky) to the smooth lilt of "Fields of Gold" or "Bourbon Street".

Gosh, I could go on and on... But I won't. Suffice it to say, I feel that I have found a kindred spirit in the music world and now you all know what you can get me for Christmas! ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A new Soficism

Soficism: [so-fee-siz-um]

noun

A witty remark or sentence uttered by Sofi. As in:

"Oh Judah, you're as cute as a rug in a button!"



A textbook example of the mixed metaphor.

:)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Babies Breath

As a mother and a florist, I would like to formally register my objection to calling gypsophilia paniculata, "baby's breath". What a degradation to associate one of the most delectable fragrances known to man with a (dare I say it) weed currently relegated to prom corsages and "oops" bouquets where they are paired with blue carnations. (For those of you unaware of the phenomenon; "oops" bouquets are those $10 ones in Walmart that men buy on the way home from work on days they ("oops") forgot an important date, task, request, or some such thing. Also known as an "appeasement gift".) The breath of a breast-fed, fully sated, slightly sleepy baby is something much more akin to a delicate pink rose just opening to a golden glow in the deepest center. Ahhhh, bliss!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

When we (start) spank (ing)

All right moving on...

We started training Sofi pretty young and (as you can probably see from the last post) are doing the same thing with Judah. So far it seems to be working pretty well. Today I told Judah "No, no" when he grabbed for the dog's nose and he jerked his hand back right away. Of course he then reached back out for it, but it's a start! There was recognition in his eye....

So, the question is why bother to start so young? Well, I'll tell you. I'm a Suzuki teacher, so when Mr Pearl introduced to me the idea of starting this training in obedience at a very young age, it rang a bell for me. You see, I've been trained by learned professionals in my field that if you begin to introduce your child to his instrument at a very young age, they are able to almost effortlessly incorporate the technique into their every-day movements. Holding a violin in proper, balanced position feels very awkward to an adult for a long time. Daily dedicated practice will soon cause the adult to feel fairly comfortable with his instrument, but (and some may disagree with me here) I would go so far as to say that an adult beginner will never have the seamless accuracy of movement that belongs to the player who learned to hold his violin as he was learning to walk and run.

How does this apply to child-training, you ask? Patience, my dear reader. Let me first explain the 'why' of my violin example. The reason child beginners have an advantage is related to muscle memory. When you begin to create the muscle memories necessary for good violin technique (curved wrist, high fingers, heavy elbow) before you have conflicting muscle memories to deal with (let's say... flat fingered tendency due to long nails getting in the way after 20 years of weekly manicures), the result is a much more natural "acceptance" of the technique on the part of the child. There aren't any bad habits to un-learn.

I apply this concept to child-training in this way: if I begin to teach Judah to listen to and heed my words at the same time I am teaching him to crawl, walk, talk, eat, etc. he will have a much easier time accepting the concept than if I wait till he's established the "muscle memory" of getting what he wants and never having his will thwarted. I've seen some extreme cases where a child was never crossed in his will until almost three years old! Think of the trauma and confusion in the mind of a child who's whole world (small as it may be) is turned upside down when one day, out of the blue, he's expected to "share", "mind his manners", "play nice" and etc.

I think the reason most people object to this is an emotional reaction; "I don't want to "punish" my baby, she won't understand what's going on, she's not old enough!" I disagree. Maybe she won't totally get all the complicated ramifications, but she's going to learn the basic idea of "No, no, don't touch that" (the first lesson we teach in obedience). Just like she doesn't learn all the details of how gravity works, but she does learn pretty quickly that if she lets go of the coffee table, she's going to fall on her bum. And "punishment" is not what's going on here. We're simply introducing a "hitting your bum on the floor" aspect to mommy saying "No, no, don't touch that". I want my children to be as naturally responsive to my commands as they are to the laws of gravity. I would never try to protect my child from experiencing gravity until I feel that he's old enough to "understand" it. I might put cushions around him on the floor so he doesn't injure himself. But he's got to tip side to side a few times so he learns how to hold his own balance. My baby knows that if he lets go of the coffee table he's going to sit down hard--he doesn't like that, so he holds on tight. My baby knows that if he touches when mommy says "No, no" he's going to get a swat--he doesn't like that, so he doesn't touch. That simple.

Next time.... "What we spank (for)" a post about what situations we use spanking for and why.

(yes, I realize the titles are getting a bit labored, but I'm having fun with it :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

How we spank

I had intended to make this post a response to a few of the remarks posted to my last entry, but I've decided to stay on course with my original thought process. I don't really want to degenerate into an argument over the pros and cons of the Pearls' Methods. I instead want to present to my gentle readers the "philosophy" that Jeremiah and I have "developed" in the last five years. The quotes are there to show that we both realize that we are less than expert in this area, having only raised one child thus far. Granted, our "philosophy" grew out of many of the Pearls' ideas, but I think I would rather state it as my own, since M. Pearl evokes such an emotional response from so many.

Okay, so... how we spank....

First of all, I think spanking is for children from about 7 or 9 mths old to about 5 years old. Sofi is just starting to get to old for spanking now. (But it probably depends on the child.) And when I say "Spanking" I'm talking about a few quick, light swats with a spoon (or something like that) on the hand (for babies) or bottom (for older children). The goal is to shock them and get their attention, not cause grievous bodily harm. Perhaps I should have addressed the significance of those ages first, but I do intend to get to that in the next post.

Secondly, it is VITAL that my emotions are not AT ALL involved in the spanking. I am not angry/disappointed/sad/etc. I try to be as matter of fact as I possibly can--this is simply cause and effect. You disobey, you get a swat-- it's that simple and unemotional. I still love you and this doesn't affect our relationship in the slightest. And of course, at nine mths old I can't actually verbalize this to the child--it must be apparent in my manner throughout.

Thirdly, the spanking is an immediate and direct result of disobedience. When I first described this idea in my original email to the friend this conversation started with, I used an example that (I think now) confused the issue. I used the example of teaching Sofi to obey when we said "Come to Mama". I admit in looking back at that paragraph that it sounds a bit... calloused, perhaps? So let me try to find a new way to describe the kind of spanking I'm talking about. I'll use Judah this time, because we had our first training session just last night.

Judah was getting his first taste of rice cereal and not enjoying it at all. He was much more interested in grabbing the bowl I had sitting in front of him on the table, than in actually eating the stuff. Now, I really don't want him grabbing the bowl. It's messy and difficult to wrestle his hands off of it while trying to slop a bite into his mouth. BUT. That was NOT my motivation in beginning a training session with him. If I merely wanted to avoid the hassle and mess of his hands in the bowl, I could have just moved the bowl out of his reach. Some would argue that at his age I ought not to expect him to understand that grabbing the bowl is a bad thing and I ought to simply remove the opportunity for inconvenient behavior. But that's not the point either. Let me explain my motivation: I see this situation as an opportunity to introduce the concept of the word "No". There is a clearly defined object/action that he has not encountered before, so no previous learning experiences are confusing him here. It's not like he's been grabbing the bowl for mths now and all of a sudden I'm saying "No"and taking away his favorite game. Let me emphasize again that my purpose is to teach him the word "No", not to teach him not to inconvenience Mommy by grabbing the bowl.

So, he grabs the bowl, I say "No, no, Judah" and flick his hand with my finger. He looks at me, "Hmm, new game here". He reaches out again. "No, no, Judah." *flick* We do this maybe five more times. Then he reaches out and grabs my hand. I pat his hand and face and say "I love you sweetie!" and kiss him a little. I'm reinforcing that all this is perfectly normal and not a cause for alarm on his part. He reaches out again and "No, no, Judah", he grabs it anyway, *flick*, he jerks his hand back. Hmm, interesting game. He reaches out again, hesitates, pulls his hand back, "Good boy, Judah, don't touch!" He grabs it again *flick*. We go through all this in various permutations for about another five minutes, by which time he's pulling his hand away without touching about every other time he reaches for it, and then I remove the bowl and the training session is over for now.

Now, I have no intention of turning every feeding time into a long, drawn-out battle over touching the bowl. Each time I feed him (which may not be very often, since he showed NO interest in non-boob food :)) I will spend a few minutes with the bowl right if front of him, teaching him what "No" means. And I will find other opportunities where there are clearly defined actions/objects to use as well, since I don't want him to think that "No" is limited to food bowls. The goal is that in a few weeks, or months, he will begin to respond to the word no matter what the situation/object is. I will be able to walk into a room where I see him reaching for a vase on a table and say "No, no, Judah, don't touch", in a not-panicking, not-angry, merely conversational tone of voice, and he will stop and look at me and take his hand away from the vase. Disaster averted.

But teaching our children "No" is not the main goal of our child-training! This is just an example of one way to teach one concept of obedience. There are (obviously) tons of other ways they need to learn to obey, but "no" is one of the first and easiest. I'm just trying to illustrate how the thing works.

Let me offer a caveat here, these are our goals and theories of childraising--I am faaaar from perfect in implementing them!! I don't hold myself out as any kind of model of great parenting, for sure. Our children are far from perfect as well, despite all our "philosophies". And I don't mean to imply that if you disagree with me you are a rotten parent. I am simply explaining why we do what we do and it's desired results.

And as a slight defense to our theories, let me state that we have seen a measure of success in Sofi. We, obviously, wouldn't still be advocating this if it had failed us in our first attempt. Sofi is, in general, an obedient child. Like I said, she's certainly not perfect, but she has the habit of obedience. And that is the goal of this kind of early child-training. To establish very early the habit of obeying the parents' words.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Why we spank

Okay, so to start with, one of the main disagreements between my friend and myself was over the usefulness of spanking. We believe that spanking is the most effective way of training a young child and has the least long-term detrimental effect on the parent-child relationship. I'm comparing spanking to time-outs, with-holding things, and verbal reactions (scoldings, explanations, etc.) when I say this. They seem to be pretty much the common alternatives to spanking. I see it as the easiest way to have a direct, quick response to an incident of disobedience. It is quickly implemented, not easily argued with and is quickly over and the relationship is quickly restored between parent and child. I especially dislike "time-outs" for young children because their short-term memory (speaking pure biology here) is not adequate to handle a "consequence" that's more than about 45 seconds long. And a 45 second time-out is just not effective. Verbal stuff seems to be way to easy to get emotional over and with-holding privileges usually ends up with a long drawn-out argument and sometimes temper-tantrums. I don't want any discipline I use to seem vindictive to my child. I'm not really aware of any other common methods of punishment--at least that I can think of right now.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Politically INcorrect

So, we left (okay, okay--I left) our camera at Mom's this weekend, so we will have no new pictures to post until the middle of next month when Polly brings it up here for us. So I've decided to dedicate my blog to some discussions on parenting! I am having an email discussion with a good friend about this topic and it dawned on me that I just don't get to talk to people about this often enough. So I'll be posting bits and pieces from our emails and other rambling thoughts and I'd love to hear from those of you who read and are interested! (either by posting here or by emailing me personally)

The conversation got started because one or the other of us mentioned the book "To Train Up A Child" by Micheal and Debbie Pearl. This book was our introduction to a new idea (to us at the time) in parenting --a positive and pre-emptive approach to training and discipline. My statement to this effect triggered a discussion first about the legitimacy of the Pearl's teaching in general and then about the advisability of spanking as a training tool for young children. We firmly believe in the loving use of the rod at a tender age as an excellent way to introduce to our children the idea that it is better to obey than to have one's own way.

So that's all I have time for tonight. My friend warned me that this is a sensitive topic and one that may initiate hot argument. But I am prepared! I eagerly invite all comments--not because I intend to shoot you out of the water with my brilliant counter-arguments, but because I really want to hear what you have to say. Especially if you disagree. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Plug For Polly

This is a post to send everyone reading my blog to my sister's blog for the evening. She has written a bit about her experiences (and those of my whole family to some extent) recently with my dear grandmother who is slowly fading from us into the fog of Alzheimer's. It is touching, and somewhat profound--even if she is my own baby sister. :) Thanks, Polly, for making me cry a little tonight. The experience you and Tessi are going through with ministering to Grandmom this way will serve you in good stead when it comes to marriage and child-rearing, for sure. God bless you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Grief and God

A dear friend lost her longed prayed-for baby on Saturday and I am grieving with her and her husband this week. It surprises me every time just how tender I still am over our own still-recent grief-- despite the joy of Judah. This loss in the life of a friend re-opens an old wound for me, the more painfully for seeing that grief reflected so freshly in her life.

My grandmothers on both sides of our family are seriously ill right now, and Dad's mother may not be with us even come Christmas (barring God's intervention).

As a result of these things, in our nightly discussion Jeremiah and were pondering the nature of the grief of God. How does God view death? In what way does He grieve with us?

Jeremiah commented that depth of grief seems to be related to knowledge of the dead. In other words, the death of a little-known great-uncle (hypothetical--don't think I even have any great-uncles...) who lives 100 miles away is less grievous to me than the death of the Grandmother who was a daily part of my childhood for seven years. The death of our unborn child last year, versus Sofi or Judah's death. See what I mean?

So we wondered if God, who knows each of us more intimately than anyone, would grieve for our death more deeply than anyone else. But God, I think, views death a little differently than we do. We're on the losing end, but He's on the receiving end. When my precious little one went to be with the Lord, I grieved for her loss, but God received her with loving arms and cherishes her even now, I am sure, as He would any child of mine that He would see fit to call home.

I also don't think that death itself causes God grief because He has conquered death through the resurrection of Christ, why should it hold any power of grief for Him? And so I think I've settled on this for now; God grieves over death for our sakes-- those of us "left behind", for the pain it causes us to lose that which we have loved or longed for. There is no longer any pain or sorrow in death itself, only in being left behind. And even that, for a believer, is tempered with the knowledge that our loved one is going from our arms to the arms of one who loves them even more than we ever could and some day we will join then there.

Thinking about it this way really brought home for me just how significant the difference is between the Christian and the non-christian when faced with the reality and cruelty of death. Imagine the pain of the finality of death without Christ. It is completely "loss", there is no one on the receiving end for the loved one who is leaving us. How sad....

Monday, October 8, 2007

Latest Pictures

Well, Sofi has the big news this week. She's going to be a Pollichinelle in the Rockingham Ballet Company's production of The Nutcracker this Christmas! Very exciting and we are so proud of her. Not that auditions were that exclusive, but she did have to audition and she did get a part. This means a lot of extra commitment on our part for practices and paying for costumes and such. But we decided it's worth it. She's really motivated to dance and eve practices her steps at home on her own. I have a feeling she may break her Grammy's heart and be more into dance than music or drama. Although I suppose dance is the perfect marriage of the two....

Susi and Violet are coming for Christmas! It's going to be a great holiday this year--much different from last year's depressing lack of family. We'll have Grandmom and Pop-pop (who just moved into the doublewide at Mom's) and Susi and Violet. Hopefully this will motivate Sam to ask off work (better start lobbying now, Sam) and then we'll all be together for Christmas again. Except dear Uncle Ben, who will be sorely missed :( But then next year......!!!


Judah, unhappy about the whole elephant thing...



Am I cute or what?!




Read to me, big sister!



Two bugs in a rug :)



Dancing at the H-burg International Festival



Very tired of getting his picture taken!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Catching up...

Okay, here's a photo essay of Sofi's birthday! It was her first big party (I'm not really into parties for the "under sixteen" set...) with 15 kids attending! Some were big sisters and brothers of her friends, because she decided that she wanted to invite "the whole family". Enjoy!






Baby Gabey: the youngest member of the party....














More pics soon, I promise!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Still not about Sofi's birthday...

Okay, an event in the life of a friend has superseded Sofi's birthday again. The Lord has granted Denise and Jonathan the desire of their hearts! They are expecting!! (albeit rather tentatively atm) Those of you readers who know our two year journey through Infertility can appreciate how near to my heart is their joy in this matter. This is their 26th month of TTC and it has been a hard one at times as, despite many, many tests and procedures, no diagnosis or cause for their IF was ever discovered. But now the Lord has opened the womb for them and a new journey begins. One still fraught with hardships and heartache, but filled with joy as well. Even if the Lord does not grant that they meet their son or daughter in this life, they are now parents. Congratulations, Jonathan and Denise!! Praise the Lord!! Our prayers are still with you daily......

Monday, September 24, 2007

Not about Sofi's birthday

Okay, I know there are some of you expecting me to blog about The Party of The Century, but I don't have the pics yet, so I'm postponing that till then.

Instead some random "catching up"....

I'm so thrilled these days with the way the Lord is blessing our business! (My Sisters' Weddings) It's been our goal to do about six or so weddings a year and we realized this month that we are averaging two a year for the last three years! Now that might not seem like a lot, but it's 1/6th of the way there! Yay :) We are interviewing with another bride right now for a wedding next summer. So this year we interviewed with three brides (not counting this one) and got two weddings and we're now interviewing for next year's crop of brides. It's so encouraging! So, pass the word around, you guys!!

Judah has begun night-time sleep training-- Marc Weisbluth style. For those of you who have read "Healthy Sleep habits, Happy Child", you know what I'm talking about. For the rest, it's basically a program of eliminating night-time waking. And yes, we do let him cry. I know it's very controversial, but it worked wonders with Sofi and so far it's going really well with Judah.The idea is that the crying is simply that of protesting lack of interaction, and for the sake of your child's health (and your own sanity) you have to teach him that bedtime is inviolable. Judah is much easier than Sofi in that his crying is not the heart-wrenching sobs of an abandoned baby, but rather indignant shouts of protest. He really doesn't cry, he just yells. We called Mom and Dad tonight to let them hear it :)

Anyway, after three nights of no waking for feeding on my part (we turn the monitor off), I am a new woman!! I think maybe we can handle four or five kids! :) Just kidding. Two is enough for now. I believe that God in His wisdom would never give us twins. We can only handle one baby at a time over a several year time span.

Prayers for tonight:

Sleep for all of us (always at the top of my list)
Sam's health
Laurie's recovery and Josiah's continued health
Denise and her little baby beans
My husband--that God would uphold him always
My children, that God would give us grace and wisdom in raising them
Myself, that God would enable me to truly love my children (for only by His grace can I love unselfishly) and that I would be able to communicate that to them daily, that they would never doubt it

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baby Beardsley makes an appearance!!

Welcome Josiah Thomas!! All the relevant info is on the Beardsley blog (see sidebar). Laurie had a disgustingly fast labor-- for a first time mom... But we are glad for her sake :) (Also somewhat jealous)

Congratulations to Mom and Dad!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Life with Judah

He's teething, so life with Judah this last week has been... interesting. Not much daytime sleep and lots of night time waking. Today he finally got a decent nap and is sooo much happier, but even with ouchy teeth he's such a happy, jolly baby.

So many of my friends are on baby watch these days.... Denise waiting on the results of her little precious embryos, Laurie waiting for little baby Beardsley to make an appearance, Laura C. with only three months to go before baby Lillian arrives, Tabitha, and all the others. Such a wonderful time in our lives as women. Even with all the heartache that it can bring, the gift that God has uniquely given women-- of participating in the giving of life-- is such a precious one. Lord make us faithful stewards of this gift! Give us wisdom and strength, teach us to lean on You for both.

Sofi got to try out for a role in the Rockingham County Ballet Company's performance of The Nutcracker this weekend! She was very excited ahead of time, but somewhat disappointed when it turned out that the audition consisted of "doing the same old stuff I've been doing in Miss Cindy's class...." Mom was glad to know that it was all very easy for her, though. They'll be choosing and assigning based on the girl's ability to follow instruction and not fall apart on stage. Both things I believe she's capable of. We'll find out in two weeks what parts she got! Check back for details.... :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Checkin' in again.........

So, it's been a while... We've been sick, sick, sick. The flu, or something like it--haven't eaten well in days. Experienced the scary phenomenon of my milk supply dwindling to almost nothing as a result. It's funny how much I take that for granted, even though some of my close friends have experienced difficulties in that area. It's another one of those things, like infertility, that strike close to one's identity as a woman. I guess a parallel would be the feeling a man might get when unable to get a job to provide for his family. Breastfeeding for me is "providing" in the same way that Jeremiah's work "provides" for our family financially. Anyway, it's been a very emotional week.

In lighter news: Sofi and I have created a recipe for a great summer snack that we'd like to share with you. It's sugar-free and can be low-fat if you'd like. Tastes sooooo good!


Sofi's Banana Pudding "Milk"shake:

2 frozen bananas
1 cup yogurt (more or less depending on the consistency you want)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a blender and blender at high speed until smooth. ENJOY!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mothers and Daughters

I had all these profound thoughts the other day about having a daughter and then I never got a chance to blog that day. So let's see if I can remember some of what was going through my head at the time..................

Sofi made the salad for dinner all by herself so I could bathe Judah. (Okay, she got a little help from Daddy, but mostly by herself) It got me thinking about daughters and mothers. She was so eager to help, so good-natured about it--and so competent! At only five (almost) she's quite capable of providing real help to me. And not just physical labor, she's such a great companion, too. We laugh and joke, have serious conversations about life and tell stories to each other every day. I'm thinking ahead to the friends I have that are expecting daughters in the near future(Laura) or have recently given birth (Susi, Kendra) and I'm so excited for them! What a joy it is to have a daughter :) Now, I'm the last person to confer sainthood upon either of my children--I live with them and they both definitely have sin natures. And I'll be the first to admit a need for regular adult conversation and interaction. But Sofi has a quality about her that is truly precious to me. It reminds me a little of Jeremiah (very endearing), but is also just "Sofi". She is sweet, funny, curious, smart and she has this capable nature. If I take the time to teach her, she can do just about anything. Even if it's not perfect, she'll give it a good try. Reminds me of a speaker on education we heard recently who says this about children; "If they don't know, they'll have a go". There's something important there that is missing in your average adult. That eagerness and excitement at each opportunity to experience something---anything! I want to be so careful not to crush that eagerness in her. It's hard some days to match it with an eagerness and openness on my own part. Busyness takes the fun out of the chores for both of us. Busyness on my part quickly leads to bad attitudes on hers and crossness in me. But if I take the time to smile and laugh, tickle a little, tell a story, PLAY, then the day goes so smoothly. Lord, why is it so hard sometimes? It's not about what I do, accomplish, it's about who I am-- in Christ, modeling Him to my children. Remind me every day that it's the process, not the product that matters; that the only justification for my existence today need be that today I was a mother.

Now, I'm new to the whole "son" thing, so give me a year or two and I'll have more to say on that subject.


















Sunday, August 26, 2007

Well, it's been HOT here lately. Alternating between temps in the upper 90's and severe thunderstorms. Last night we even lost power for about two hours. Not fun. Especially at the end of that particular day. Some evil fairy exchanged my easy-going, even-tempered, wonderful-sleeper son for a changeling child with an endurance for sleepLESSness that far outpaces my own. I don't do very well when my children don't sleep. The more cranky and bad-tempered they get, the more cross and stressed out I get. Poor Sofi and Jeremiah had to put up with both of us. And to top it off, we were supposed to go out with friends for dinner. Since power was out all over downtown, and Judah had still not succumbed to sleep by 6:00 in the evening, we had them over to our house for takeout. Turns out the Lord orchestrated the whole thing, I'm sure. Had a great relaxing time (yes, he did finally pass out from exhaustion) getting to know one of Jeremiah's fellow teachers and his brand-new wife. So today the naps are going a bit better--although right now he's in his bed talking to himself and refusing to sleep again. At least we managed one solid two hour nap this morning. That is a definite improvement over yesterday. And he was happy enough to get a good 3- month photo shoot in! Enjoy!





Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cuteness

Interesting experience of the day: explaining the Old Testament rules for the Sabbath to a five-year-old.

"The Pharisees were mad at Jesus because he wasn't obeying their rules about not doing anything on the Sabbath. You weren't supposed to work or play or even walk very far. Just sit and read the Bible all day." (yeah, Dad, I know, less than accurate, but it gets the point across)

"All day?!! But then they would be exhausted from not getting any naps!"

LOL

Okay, I'm seriously betting Susi a dollar that Judah crawls before Violet. You guys are my witnesses... Take me on, Sue? I'll try to get some vid of our "tummy times" so you can all appreciate the amazing strength of my little he-man! In the meantime here are some pics from this week. Enjoy!



Getting the grabbing thing down pat...



Ooo, tastes so gooooood!



My little princess :)



"Now, just let me 'splain somethin' to you...."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Laughing a lot these days...

Judah is laughing now! Cute as can be. So, question.... is the first laugh really the best? Zeke Trainum and I disagree. He says each laugh is just as precious as the first, but I say the first stands above the rest--which are equal. Thought, anyone?

Sofi is making us laugh :) Her newest adventures in language are to describe things as "bizarre" and to complain that she has "a serious headache". We are getting really excited about school starting up soon. I've been exploring plans for our first year of semi-formal home-school. Sofi spent the past year learning some of the basics of phonics and has made us very proud (as well as provide more opportunity for laughter--albeit, behind her back) by really taking off in the writing department. She loves to bring me "lists" of things she's written. Here's an example:

CROCUDILE
ALGATR
APL
COSTRE

That last one made the list after we discussed the breaking of all but one of my coasters on the living room coffee table. The lists always seem to contain totally random and seemingly unrelated items, but then, who can fathom the mind of a child. Here are some more fun examples of the mind of a child:








Here are some links that I found in my home-school research and thought some of you might be interested in. Some free curriculum downloads and other miscellaneous stuff.

www.tanglewoodeducation.com
www.starfall.com
http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/contents.asp

And last, but not least, here's a link to a vid of Judah talking and bouncing around in his johnny jumper:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why I dislike computers and other news...

Okay, so I actually did post earlier this week, but the stupid computer froze up and died. Stupid computer :(

It's been REALLY hot. Over 90 degrees every day. Most days over a hundred. So we've been hanging out at the pool a lot. Sofi is now swimming under water and Judah is learning to float. Pics as soon as I remember to pack the camera in the pool bag and then remember to to take pics and then get around to posting them.

We've also been spending some time under the sprinkler while watering the grass. Here's Sofi and her friend Josh keeping cool:







Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Here's a humorous, pictorial example of being a "surrendered wife" to a Computer Whiz..... Not to hold myself up as a shining example, just wanted to share a moment with you :) In order to fully appreciate the significance of the situation, you have to realize that there are four computers in my living room atm. Three useless PCs and a laptop. I could complain and moan (which I certainly have done in the past), but this time God gave me grace to find a compromise ;)


Oh look! Another useless PC!!


Oh look! A handy little table! Wonder where that came from....



(thanks to Susi for the help with the photos...)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fun with the cousins

My sister, Susi, and her daughter Violet have been visiting with us these past two weeks. It's been so cool to see the three kids together. Violet loves playing with Judah's feet and Sofi is in seventh heaven with TWO babies to play with! This virtually ensures that at least one of them will be in good enough mood to sit on her lap for a few moments at any given time. I will let my pictures speak quite a few thousand words as far as how the visit went....


Playing in the backyard:


Tub Time!!


Playing footsie :)



Tummy time...who will crawl first...


Getting ready for the pool