Friday, October 31, 2008

Warning

I'll be MIA for a while. I just bought this and I will be doing this all weekend. Although it will likely look a little more like this. But less calm and more color. I'll let you know how it goes...

Have a great weekend, all y'all!

Adoration

(this post is in participation with Karina's Alphabet Soup. Unfortunately I don't have a photo to add in. I've been procrastinating about posting this poem for a while now, hoping I'd have time and opportunity to go and take one, but obviously that never happened. Sorry, Karina, better luck next time. You guys, join in! Check out other entries! Comment!)


ADORATION

Impercievable Light

Keen as a scalpel, pure as glass,
The colors of all the tongues of earth,
Beauty of eternal morning,
Brilliance of the sun of God.
The heat of Absolute Truth
Branding on my soul a cross.

My God, my God!
Be merciful to this child of unclean lips.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A little introspection

We've been talking about abortion a lot lately. Not just on these blog posts, but also with friends and family in person, on the phone, via Skype... We've been discussing things like life at conception, the humanity of the unborn and ensoulment. It's a touchy group of subjects for me. It's been... how many years now? since our bout with infertility and our miscarriages, but there's still a very tender place in my soul under all the joy and contentment of our life now.

Lewis, In The Weight of Glory, talks about this wistful tug at the human heart, an unconscious painful longing for Something, that affects all of us and becomes sometimes unbearable in the quiet lonely moments. He identifies it as a longing for our true home and the face of our Father. I think in some way my residual pain from the loss of that child has become inextricably bound up in that longing for my true home. That deep wound to my heart has intensified in some way the "not quite right" feeling of this world full of pain.

So I suppose I can, with all honesty, say that God has chosen not to completely heal that wound. But I think He has instead used that experience to give me a sense of further investment (if you will) in the Kingdom of Heaven because I've already sent some of my belongings on ahead of me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WFMW Baby Massage

We read about baby massage right before our first child was born. I was so excited we bought a book/video kit and some fancy massage oil. How great can this be? I thought. A chance for J to bond with the baby, an easy cure for tummy troubles and a sweet bedtime ritual. Not to mention how this would boost our hippy cred...

Oh well. Sofi had other plans. Waiting an extra ten minutes between bath and NURSING was not her idea of a sweet bedtime ritual. My children tend to have distinct ideas about when they want their food. We tried the nightly bonding massage for about a month and then gave it up.

BUT. We did learn one super cool and useful thing from the video and book! A massage routine that has never yet failed to give relief (albeit temporary) to a gassy baby. Usually pooting or outright pooping occurs within the first two minutes of this massage. (instructions at the end of this post)

Fast forward six years to baby number two! I never even tried all the fancy "moves" on Judah as an infant. It never even occurred to me that (duh) being a different child, he might haves different likes and dislikes (*rolls eyes at self*).

BUT. I have just this week discovered that Judah loooves being massaged! My kids have really dry skin in the winter, so they get slathered up every night with lotion once we start using the furnace again each fall. As I slathered Judah he suddenly relaxed, his whole body went linp, his eyes kind of rolled a little and he started to hum! Pretty cute :) Yeah, he's his mommy's boy, all right. Loves him some ruuuuubs.... So now he gets some rubs almost every night!

You can buy the same kit we used here, or just google "Infant Massage" and find pretty decent instructions. If you get interested, I recommend the book and video. There are benefits to actually seeing someone else do it before you try it. And they have some really neat information about how/why all this works and exactly what kids of effects it has.

Massage to relieve a gassy tummy:


Lay baby face up on your lap. Remove diaper, but keep it under his rear-- you might need it to catch poop :) Slather your fingers with some thick lotion or natural oil. We used olive oil or apricot kernal oil. Using a firm, but gentle pressure and a slow stroke, trace a sideways "C" shape from baby's right thigh, above bellybutton (but below ribs) around to his left thigh. (Clockwise direction) This follows the direction that food moves through the digestive tract. GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECT OFTEN CAUSED OUR BABIES ADDITIONAL DISTRESS. If your child cries when you massage, be sure you aren't pushing too hard or going in the wrong direction.

Now go check out more stuff that works for other people!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Am I the only one?

Am I the only person who had never heard of the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival? This is pretty cool. You should definitely check it out. But later. After the kids are in bed. Seriously. I've spent the ENtire naptime for two days entering the bazillion and one giveaways, adding new blogs to my addiction blogroll and generally time-sucking away! Watch me not win a single thing. Well, not quite. I've already got me a free Starbucks drink! Whooo-hooo!! The blogworld ROCKS :)
Found a great fabric shop on Etsy during my bloggy entering this morning. Thought I'd share it with my other crafty readers (hint, hint, Jenny!). These are super darling fabrics. Love them. Pricey though, unfortunately.... check it out! (button's on the sidebar)


ETA: The button's working now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A little dry...

My blog has been suffering lately. I've been pouring my creative energy into Sofi's school and whatever's left over goes into posts at Inspired Bliss and all the political discussions on Susi's, J's and Chris' blogs. I don't seem to have enough quiet, contemplative time to do all that and this blog, too-- something is going to suffer. Well, I've got four posts queued up at IB, so I think I'll be able to get back to this blog this week. And I'm really trying to not get too involved in the political stuff. It's really not good for my blood pressure.

I've been mentally percolating some posts... but unfortunately, I seem to do my best composing in the shower these days and I can't take the laptop in with me. I think maybe it's the heat and steam combining to thaw out my creative juices and get them flowing. But regardless. It's a sad situation. Here are some ideas that are hiding in the recesses of my brain, too timid to come out and be written so far.

1) A post about Mommy guilt-- how we all have it and what to do about it

2) Thoughts on how fast Sofi is growing up. A perennial subject on this blog.

3) Thoughts about teen novels that deal with very adult issues. Are we trying to get our kids to grow up too fast? Or do they really need to address the issue of suicide in sixth grade?

4) My WFMW post this week is (hopefully, if I ever get it finished) about infant massage.

...and probably some other random stuff I can't remember right now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Discussing Abortion

I know I don't get a whole lot of respose here when I ask for contributions, but I'm going to go out on a limb again. I would really like you guys to head over to J's blog and join in on the discussion about abortion and the sanctity of human life. It's a subject that we are discussing a lot with our family and friends lately and would appreciate getting some more people's view and thoughts on.

Please keep in mind as you comment that J and I are fully commited to the pro-life cause. We are simply engaging in a discussion about WHY we believe what we believe and seeking to facilitate a discussion about these topics.

Also, if you would, check out Susi's recent post on a similar issue and join the discussion there as well.

I don't want to discuss these hot-button topics here on my own blog right now (for various reasons) but would really appreciate having my bloggy friends join me in talking about them in these other friendly forums.

THANKS!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Judah Performs His Animal Sounds

You heard him sing EIEIO, now enjoy the animal sounds!

(notice how silly Sofi gets as soon as she realizes she's "on camera"? That is why we don't often get to see Sofi "on camera"!)






Once again, note the absurd amount of energy my children have at this ungodly hour of the morning and pity me...pity me.

Little Dipstick

I swear I am not making this up. He's dipping his onion rings into his apple sauce. There's a close-up to prove it. See what those F genes can do to an otherwise normal child????


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Girl Time

I always forget, as my life gets crazy busy from time to time, how much I am buoyed up by the company of other women. Sharing, laughing, commiserating, comparing, encouraging-- I just need that time to connect with other females. All too often I am caught up in the need to "do it all myself". I think it's a common failing of the homeschooling/sahm/homebirthing/crunchy, green mama set. That is, to become so self-sufficient in focus, that we tend to deny ourselves the reality of our need for camaraderie and The Sisterhood.

Reaching out for the companionship of other women involves sacrifice.

Sacrificing the facade of "I've got it all together". I have to admit that I'm not perfect, that I am who I am. I don't usually like to do that. I like to "be" who you think I "am" so you'll like me. If you are really going to have a friendship, though, it has to be based on the truth of your character. And the truth of your dirty floors and overflowing sink. And your less-than-perfect kids. Sometimes that's hard for me.

Sacrificing time that might otherwise be spent on school, house chores, gardening, planning, catching up and a galaxy of other things bellowing my name in the background. Time that might be spent making myself look good-- either physically (think; exercise!) or by taking on another supermom project. Or two. Or three.

It means being available.

Ready to take someone's kids for the day. Ready to make a meal and drop it by. Ready to lend a car, or a sewing machine, an ear, a shoulder to cry on or the proverbial cup of sugar. Being genuinely interested in the other woman's life and problems. Caring about her kids and how she feels about her kids.

And lest all this sound like a burden of vast proportions, let me say that the rewards are sweet indeed. No husband fully appreciates the bargain of a $15 blazer from Ann Taylor (I am sooo not making that up). I'm sorry. My dear J is a gem among men, but he just doesn't get it. The ear of a girlfriend is a strongbox into which you can pour your irrational fears/rage/despair, receive all the needed reassurance/admonition/encouragement and go home to your husband and children with a smile on your face and a song on your lips. And never fear that those things will affect your friendship or ever be referred to again.

I am so thankful for my friends and sisters (and mother ;) ). They fulfill all these roles, make all these sacrifices and are always this available to me. I hope I can be as much a blessing to all of them as they have been to me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm baaa-aaak...

Didya miss me? I've been absent for quite a while now. Well, a while for me, anyway. Why, you ask? Why have I deprived you of my company for so, so long? Well, I've been in a funk about this blog for a few days. I've been stewing over several political posts (of my own writing and those of many, many others in the mommy-blogger world), debating about whether or not to post them. Wondering whether it was a place I wanted to go ever again. But every time I sat down to write, the only thoughts swirling through my head were about the current state of our nation and how troubling it has been to me to see the body of Christ breaking up into factions of people name-calling and mud-slinging, just like the rest of the world. It's really been upsetting.

But, as you can see, I've decided not to get into a discussion about politics again. I just want to spend a few minutes getting this out of my system and then I'll back to my happy little world of mommy/babies/work/play.

I just have this one thing to say. Why can we not have a calm, respectful discussion about our differences of opinions? Why does every conflict of ideas have to involve name calling and accusations of the sort I do not even want to reproduce here? You are talking to your Brothers and Sisters in Christ, for crying out loud. Show some respect. Why not give them the Grace of assuming that they have good motives, even if you disagree with their methods?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Go read

... Further Up and Further In. Good post, good post. And I'm too tired to post my own stuff tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can ya help a girl out?

Help, help! I have an opportunity to interview an author for my column at Inspired Bliss. But I have noooo idea what questions to ask or what to talk about. Any ideas? He writes science fiction/fantasy young adult novels....

What have you always wanted to know about your favorite authors?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Veggies

My mom taught me that traditional methods of canning rob your food of significant amount of nutrition, so we've had to come up with some alternatives this year as we harvested our first crop of our very own organic veggies! Here's what we did:

We chop the tomatoes



Then some get bagged and go straight into the freezer for chili or skillets meals.



Some also get turned into salsa and bagged and frozen. To prepare, run under hot water until thawed and add a bit of tomato paste to thicken the "broth". We eat a lot of salsa around here!



We chop the peppers,





and freeze them on trays (well, whatever doesn't go into the salsa), and then put the frozen pieces into ziplock bags. This means we can take out as much as we need for a dish without having to thaw out the whole bagful.



The hot peppers go in the oven on about 150 till they're dry. Then they're chopped into flakes in the Vitamix (don't breathe this in!!)



I'll also freeze our corn on the cob, and dry my herbs. Sorry no pics of that yet. And now my freezer is full and Sofi says we are ready for the winter!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....

(Lord, please don't take that too literally... It was really just poetic license. I'm sooo not ready for snow.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Review Up At Blissfully Domestic!

This week's book review is about our favorite children's Bible! Check it out here, and be sure to have a look at all the other Inspired Bliss articles this week :) I like this one in particular! Very cute stories. And remember, leave some comment love for all the hardworking ladies!!

Coffee Tables are good for lots of things



Friday, October 10, 2008

Moms for Modesty

Sofi is six this year. Six years old (but in a size 8) which apparently is the new 35. The new slightly racey 35. Or, if you will pardon a glimpse of my southern roots, Fast. Or maybe, Trashy. So six is the new, Fast, Trashy 35. See?




Seriously, would you put your six-year-old in any of the above? It's really troubling to me. Sofi is still just a child. I don't want her dressing in such a revealing/sassy way even when she is a teenager, much less now. But what are we to do? This is what the T@rgets and W@lmarts of the world have for those unfortunates who wear a size 8 at age six. Or any age under 30.

It didn't use to be much of an issue. I had time to sew and made most of her clothing. Plus, until this year, she was in children's sizes where the styles are a little more reasonable. but now school and Judah haev eaten up most of my sewing time and creative energy. So I'm kind of stuck. I've been trying to buy nice things on Ebay from places like Old Navy and The Gap, where classic is still in style (for the most part).

Well, now you can at least make your voice heard. Moms for Modesty is an online petition that allows me to voice my indignation at the trend of girl's fashion in this country. They have a blog where they are gathering on-line "signatures" to a petition about modesty in girl's fashion and dress. I've signed their petition, will you? You can read their mission statement and grab a button for your own blog at their site. And leave me a note to tell me you did, so I know I am not soapboxing in vain here...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

(WFMW) Attachment Parenting Month


October is the official Attachment Parenting month and I wanted to dedicate some blog space to the importance of AP and babywearing in our lives. I thought I'd combine it with Works for me Wednesday this week, since it is indeed something that has worked for us.

I was only 22 when my daughter was born. I'd been married less than two years, had never lived alone and could barely navigate the mechanics of check-writing. Seriously. I was naive. An event in that first day after her birth affected me on a emotional level so deep it was years before I realized its significance.

She was fussy at first, probably a reaction to the difficult birth. She nursed frantically for hours (literally) and screamed with rage whenever I attempted to distract her, or put her down. My well-meaning relatives, in an effort to give me some rest persuaded me to give her to them to take outside for a walk.

"Babies love the outdoors. She'll calm down in no time. You close your eyes for a while and we'll wake you if she doesn't stop crying."

Against my own feeble instincts I gave over my hours-old dollbaby and drifted into sleep. Several hours later I awoke to find that my precious daughter had screamed nearly the entire time and had only just fallen into an exhausted stupor.

Oh how I cried and cried when I found this out. I held her and apologized over and over for leaving her,for putting my own needs above hers. I promised I would never leave her again. I determined in my mind that she would never have to cry again. At the slightest peep from her I would give her whatever she needed/wanted.

Now all of you reading who have children and a proper perspective on their needs can imagine that it wasn't long before I realized the futility of such a resolution. Babies cry and that's a fact of life. And I did learn to let her cry at times. And I learned that some crying is from thwarted will, not true need. And I learned that leaving her isn't always a bad thing. And I learned that putting my needs ahead of her wants sometimes was for her own good in the end. (Ie: getting myself some sleep, a shower, food, etc.)

But one result of that early experience was my embracing of a concept that I hadn't yet heard of, but would recognize years later when it was popularized and given a name. And I unconsciously began the practice of "babywearing", also never having heard of it. I had a ring sling and a backpack carrier that I re-made from one my parents used when I was a baby. (This was long before the days of Mei Tais at the Target checkout line. I had to make do with what I had) She went with me everywhere. She slept in the bed with us at night. She was on my back while I made dinner. She sat in a basket at my feet while I taught. I nursed her in the sling during the lessons-- thanks to the tolerance of some really awesome moms who were breastfeeding advocates before it was a celebrity endorsed activity. She helped me clean and sew and garden. She was my righthand man and constant companion


Except when Daddy was babywearing ;)



The results were amazing! Her verbal skills far outpaced the average. She was obedient and helpful. She was secure around strangers and never hesitated to give a smile to anyone. She learned amazingly quickly and was eager to participate in anything I was doing. Today she continues to be exceptionally bright (I'm not just saying this-- she really is! no prejudice at all...) and quite well-acquainted with the workings of a household. She has her own sling and practices the art of babywearing with her own "babies".


When my son was born, I was prepared. I'd read about Attachment Parenting. I'd researched babywearing options. I'd made a wrap. I was ready! It was sweet, sweet. This dear little bundle nestled against my chest, almost as though still in utero, but visible and kissable. We were here again, and it was a familiar place. Sweet, I say, sweet.



I've added a list of A/P and babywearing links on the sidebar. As a disclaimer, let me say that there are plenty of ideas and practices associated with the Attachment Parenting movement that we do NOT agree with. But in general, the idea of our children participating in every part of our lives in a physical and intimate way is very important to our family. Check out Rocks In My Dryer for other ideas that work for other families!

(Imagine a really, really profound title...)

I've greatly appreciated watching Sofi become aware that not all people look/sound/act alike. In particular I've enjoyed watching her adjust to the different races. We live in a town that is fairly diverse, particularly for a town its size. There's a large population of Hispanics, Russians, Asian exchange-students and (of all things) Kurds, in addition to your usual Southern-small-town smattering of African-Americans. So she's gradually been introduced to a wide variety of people that do not look or sound like her. And you know what? She's been fine with that. It hasn't really affected her beyond a casual curiosity about what it would be like to have different color skin or eyes or hair.

And there's the key. The thing that inspires me.

I grew up in the South. My parents were in no way even remotely affected by race, but the larger community around us seethed with undercurrents of racism. As I got older I became more and more aware of this, and more and more uncomfortable. A local pool that we joined had an unspoken policy of segregation. An acquaintance mentioned that her pastor taught that "blacks were of the accursed race". My dear Great-grandmother, saint that she was, called the 30-some year old African-American man who cut her grass, "the colored boy". Etc. It was all around. And it made me become self-concious about the way I spoke around people of other races. Afraid that something I said might be mis-construed or cause unforeseen offence.

But at six, Sofi has not yet been corrupted by those undercurrents in our society. She refers to her African-American friend ("BEST friend, Mom") as "black-skinned". I think that is profound. Black- skinned. Not "black", not "different". She recognizes the superficial nature of racial differences. It's only a difference in skin color. It's not a label, it's descriptive. It's not a devide between us, it's a curiosity. Like having red hair, or detached earlobes, or a hitchhiker's thumb, or any of the myriad of other genetic differences that don't cause war and hatred and oppression and division.

I pray that she is able to keep this innocent perspective as she grows. I pray that the taint of this country's history of racial division doesn't stain her precious childhood friendships. And I pray that her generation will continue to take our society further and further away from its shameful history of racism and suspision of those who are different.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A View of Life

(this was written during a long separation from J, hence the less-than-cheery tone)

This world is weeping.
Trees bend their branches to the grass,
Tears streaming from their leafy fingertips,
And silent blades drip sorrow to the ground

Steeples coldly reaching,
Tips piercing clouds to catch their tears.
Griefs blending darkly stain the standing walls,
In silent testimony streaking down.

A girl sits watching.
Rain pours down weeping windowsills,
Grief driving torrents down the broken panes.
She sees the world through sadness, somewhat bent.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Saturday!

And my regular posting ("The Reader Writes") is up on Blissfully Domestic today in it's regular Saturday spot. Go check it out! Comment! Participate! Critique!

Thanks, guys, you all rock :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Baby Geniuses

And yes, I do realize his bow hold's a little off, but we're working on it! :)









(In case anyone's interested, she's just about to start "O Come Little Children")

And oh yeah, by the way, this is my 200th post! Cool, huh? Who'da thunk it?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!!!!!

IT'S UP, PEOPLE, MY VERY FIRST BOOK REVIEW IS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't belive this is the first chance I've had all day to sit down and post a link here at home for all you people who haven't already gotten all my annoying emails :) Go! Go quickly and comment and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside about how many people love me :) :)