Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poor second child :)

I'm noticing how different having a 2nd baby is from a first. Here's a few things, feel free to add your own in the comments! :)

*With a first baby I was SO scared to cut her fingernails. She wore mittens for a week at least since I thought I'd cut her fingers off. With a second I snipped her nails within 2 hours of her being born.

*With a first baby I watched the clock and kept charts to make she nursed often enough. With a second baby I never know what time I feed her, I just nurse when she's cranky or seems hungry.

*With a first baby I moreso wanted to stick to a schedule; naps, bedtime, etc. With a second baby a schedule becomes trickier because you're still trying to keep the first kid's schedule going!

*With a first baby it didn't matter too much if they woke you up at 6am and didn't go back to sleep til 11am. You could just nap with them! With a second you quickly realize that by the time the baby goes back to sleep your toddler will be wide awake and wanting to play. And it's VERY rare for them to sleep at the same time.

*With a first baby I paid close attention to her outfits. I coordinated her socks, shoes, headband, etc- just about every day and sometimes 2x a day so she could wear everything. With a second baby I sometimes realize I haven't put her in certain clothes until they already don't fit anymore and she's lucky to get a bath every 4 or 5 days :)

*With a first baby I took pictures DAILY. I catalogued them and titled them by her week of age. I posed her, did costume changes, etc. With a second baby, I'm lucky to get one pic a week. Sometimes 2 or 3 weeks go by without a camera.

Ok....there's lots more....add yours!

Friday, April 22, 2011

WIC

This has been a busy week! Last weekend Moms and More had our last fundraiser of the year, our annual Rummage Sale. It went well and it was a huge blessing to have so many hands helping. The other coordinator even missed an extended family event to be there and the commitment of our women really made it the great event that it was.

This weekend I am part of the cast for Gateway Fellowship's Easter Sunday message, "Greater". It's been a huge blessing being a part of it. I cried learning my lines because my story in the message is so similar to what Craig and I went through in real life. My mom will be my backstage helper with Evangeline while I'm on stage :) During rehearsal Evangeline was asleep in the Ergo and I was thinking, "wow, I am definitely a mom! On stage, mic'd, running lines, with a baby asleep on me. ha!" We'll be doing 4 services on Sunday. Come on out and see it!

Tomorrow is the annual Easter egg hunt and Elly will be so darn cute :) Then tomorrow night Jacob flies in! He won't get here til almost midnight I think, but then he'll be here for almost 2 months. His room is ready and I've already gotten him some clothes. I found Quicksilver and Abercrombie today at Rock A Buy Consignment. I got 2 huge bags of clothes with stuff for all three kids for only $30!

Today my sister and I made four 9x13's of Ultimate Scalloped Potatoes for Easter Sunday dinner. There's a big shindig at my parent's house. I'm excited for Jacob to see what a Christian Easter is like and to experience a family day. And the food will be awesome!

Life has been go-go-go every single day, but I'm enjoying it and learning to say yes when I feel that gentle tug of the Holy Spirit. I really believe that's what prompted me to kindly email Craig's ex about Jacob coming. Since then there's been a few other things, but I'll blog about that later.

Miss Evie is 20lbs (seriously!) of sweet smelling baby passed out on me right now, but she has been sleeping 5-7 hours in her crib each night. After the 1st wakeup she pretty much goes back to sleep with us after nursing and I'm good with that for now. She is so snuggly and sweet and smells amazing. And she always wakes up with the biggest grins. Sometimes Craig and I just start laughing because it can be 6:30am and she'll wake up instantly happy. She's a chubby cherub.

Yesterday my mom and I spent 2 hours at Women Infant Children in Silverdale. We were on WIC 2 years ago when Craig was laid off and it was incredible how much getting the basic stuff for free really helped out. Once he went back to work we no longer qualified. Then in June 2010 Eliana got on Medicaid (state paid healthcare) and apparently her having the "Provider One Card" makes us qualify (income doesn't matter), only I just found that out last week! And really in good timing since we'll have another mouth to feed (and a pre-teen boy at that) yet we still have to pay his mom child support the whole time he is here. I used to feel shameful or some pride about accepting any government help. But having my girls on State medical has been more of a help than I can even say and without it we'd be paying out of pocket for EVERYTHING. Craig and I don't qualify and so we basically have no insurance since it's a $7k deductible, but at least the girls are covered. Anyway, for those who don't know, WIC gets you milk, tuna, cereal, lentils/beans, fresh produce, eggs, juice, cheese, and baby food. It's such a big help and I'm saying "Thank you Jesus!" It's also really nice to see our tax dollars in service.

The other really cool thing is how WIC is totally about advocating breastfeeding. It's really awesome. There were posters on all the walls, brochures all over the place, you get asked a couple times how it's going, and I even got a cool shirt for Evie that says, "I eat at Moms"! The ladies there are really friendly and they don't treat you like you are 'less than' because you are getting help.

So today I was able to go to Central Market and get milk, eggs, cheerio's, grape juice, and tuna and it didn't cost me anything. Such a blessing and I don't at all take it for granted. For more info on WIC, check out http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/WIC/ . There are income requirements, but if your children are under the age of 5 and on Medicaid, you automatically qualify :)

Anyway, lots of busy and crazy days coming up soon! Have a great Easter all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More fruit :)

Late last week Craig got a call that his son's mother was planning to move to Chicago with Jacob (his son) and Jacob's older brother (who has a different father). Craig's response was that he wasn't thrilled about him moving even further away than Vegas and he didn't know if we could still afford to fly him up here as flights are almost double the cost from Chicago.

Craig told me about it last Friday and I immediately felt worried that we might not get to see him this year. So while Craig was at work Saturday (yes, more overtime that is unpaid, argh), I decided to go ahead and email his ex to see if it was for sure and if so which airport I should book his ticket from. I chose to be very friendly and kind and pretend that nothing horrible had ever been said between all of us. I figured she'd either 1)ignore me, 2)be nice, or 3)be rude. And whaddya know, she was nice as well. We were almost chatting via email, can you believe that? We decided to fly Jacob up here before they leave for Chicago so he doesn't have to do the super long drive and also so his flight will be cheaper coming from Vegas. This means he's coming in 1 1/2 weeks and not in 1 1/2 months as we had thought!

I have to insert here that I am proud of myself for taking the initiative to get things going and also for being a decent human being and approaching the ex with kindness. Does this mean I've matured???? LOL

I believe Craig was slightly apprehensive just because of me. He would have Jacob live here full time in a heart beat (which we don't because the ex won't allow it), but he was worried about me already having my hands full with a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old. Basically, I know it will be very challenging at times. I will probably cry more than several times and lose even more sleep than I already am, but I absolutely don't want to pass up on an opportunity for us to have Jacob around. There will be a learning curve to us all working together cohesively as a family, but we'll get there. The other super great part is that the ex is letting us keep him til the middle of June :) This will be so great since he'll have time to really make friends and feel like he is a part of things here and not just a 1 week visitor. We'll be able to establish routines and habits and Eliana will really get to know her brother.

I'm pretty excited to have him come now that we have this great big house and he gets his own room! Through some wonderful generosity by Craig's folks we were able to buy a Queen size bed today for Jacob's room. We already had a frame and some sheets, but now he gets a nice bed! A blowup mattress for 2 months just didn't seem right. I really want things to be nice for him and to feel like his home. I picked up some green jersey sheets so we'd have a back up and I chose green because when I met Jacob he was 4 and I asked him what his favorite color was and he said, "green, just like my dad." :) Although, now I wonder if he even likes green anymore and maybe I chose totally wrong, but hopefully he's excited about his new digs.

Something I want to be cautious of is freezing him in time to whenever we last saw him. I remember my dad and relatives I didn't see would do that. My dad would talk on the phone with me about stuff from when I was a younger kid and I would think, "I'm 12 now, I don't play with My Little Ponies." But, now being the adult in the situation it totally makes sense. You're going off of your last frame of reference and kids change so darn fast! A LOT changes in a year and Jacob hasn't been here in a whole year.

I just feel like God has blessed us with this opportunity and I would be selfish, wrong, and sad to miss the chance to have him here. I'm also praying that God will work wonders and reveal himself to Jacob. 11 years old is really a time that a kid can see how real God is. He'll have the opportunity to go to church with us every week and be a part of our daily life that includes God and I just hope this is a time he can look back on with good memories and feelings of solidarity about his place in this family and who God is to this family.

I find myself getting a little teary thinking about him coming and not because I'm sad he's coming, but because I'm excited and I think anticipating great things. He will for sure love riding his dad's riding lawn mower, or "tractor" as Elly calls it. He and Elly will have to fight over it :)

Pray for us!

XO ~ D

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Discipline; A New Chapter in Parenting

This week we began a new chapter in parenting a 2 year old; time-outs! Last week I had two friends over and their 3 sweet children. As is normal there was a bit of arguing between the 3 oldest kids about who gets what toy. However my "always sweet (joking)" 2 year old threw the tantrum of the century! I had never seen anything like it or even close to it come out of her. It was crazy and totally caught me off guard. Not cool. After that it was like, well yeah I guess it's time to start time-outs. So two days ago after telling her many times not to, she got into baby sissy's clothes again. Yes, it's cute, but a toddler should not be wearing and stretching out size 6 month clothes. So I told her, "These are baby sissy's clothes and they are too small for you. If you choose to get into them again, you will go in time-out. Do not get into these clothes." And that was that for the day. Then yesterday she appeared after a dangerous 15 minute disappearance wearing 3 layers of infant clothes! I knew I'd already told her the consequence and even though that was the day before, I needed to follow through asap. I have a very difficult time being around the "if you do that one more time you'll be in time-out. Child does it again. Do you want to be in time-out? Child does it again. You better not do that one more time, etc etc etc." type of parenting. Can't stand that! In our home you are warned and if you choose to disobey you get the consequence. No warnings needed. So anyway, she got into the clothes, time for her very first time-out! I held her hand and walked her over to the bottom step of our staircase and said, "Eliana, sit here for 2 minutes. You are in time-out. Mommy told you not to get into baby sissy's clothes and you chose to get into them anyway. Sit here and think about what you did and I'll come get you in 2 minutes." Amazingly, she stayed there! She cried and said "uppy mommy, uppy!" and came into the kitchen once to get a kleenex, but it was nothing like the crazy screaming fits you see on Supernanny. When the timer went off (btw it's one minute of time-out per year of age) I went to her and coached her to say "sorry mommy" and give me a hug. I told her, "I love you and I want you to do the right thing." Wow, it went well! We went on with our day after that and it was no big deal. I felt sort of relieved that I had recourse now when she disobeyed and that consequences would be clear to both of us. Later in the day she went and got into my computer, digital camera, and printer. I clearly told her earlier that day that if she did she would get a time-out. Alright- time-out take 2! It was basically the same as the first one but at the end I decided to add, "Elly, say will you forgive me mama?" She said it as best she could and I said, "I forgive you."
The same thing happened this morning and it went well. I guess I thought it would be awful and she wouldn't understand why I was making her sit somewhere for 2 minutes, but it's been great. For now I will try to give time-outs only for obvious misbehavior or things I have told her she'd get a time out for. I want the boundaries to be clear as we're figuring this out and I also don't want her to feel like she can't breathe without getting a time out. And most importantly, if I outline the boundary and she crosses it, she'll get a time-out. No warnings!

Why did we wait until 2 1/2 to do time-outs? Well honestly, they weren't needed. Eliana has a tender heart and up until now simply a word of reproach was enough to bring her to tears and change the behavior. But now as she's getting older and a bit more stubborn there is a need for more clear consequences.

My mom's group is going through Boundaries with Kids. It's a good study and I think causes some thought about how we are all parenting. Thursday's session said that you cannot be a good parent if you can't tolerate your kids hating you. Life isn't fair and it cannot always be 'even'. Children do not necessarily like to be disciplined, but the result of boundaries and discipline is a happier, well mannered child.

I have also been thinking about the heart of discipline and what I hope to achieve in teaching Elly's heart.  I hope to take Elly from the very human place of , "well I had it first, give it back!" to , "you are my friend, I am grateful for you and I'm grateful for all these toys. You may have it regardless of who had it first." This seems to be opposite of our culture. Our culture feeds envy and teaches us the "I had it first" mentality and this is generally just normal parenting. But I want more for my girls. I feel that if we teach them to have a grateful, tender heart as children they will continue that way for life. The way God parents us is how I hope to parent my children. I believe God wants us to be grateful and giving and let go of envy and selfish self-preservation. I have a great friend named "M" (you know who you are, didn't want to post your name without asking) and she is a wonderful example of this type of parenting. It's about teaching our children to be 'self-less' instead of 'selfish'. I think some people believe this means making your child a doormat, but it really doesn't. A child can still say, "please don't hit me or please don't take this toy from me or that hurts my feelings" without screaming and saying, "I HAD IT FIRST!" Which is what we all normally hear at play dates. "M" is teaching her girls self-lessness and I love it. She recommends the book Sheperding a Child's Heart. I haven't read it yet, so I can't say too much about it, but I like how it's playing out in my friend's discipline. I've heard the book talks about physical punishment and I honestly am not a fan of that for most children, but my particular friend does time-outs and I believe we can take the good out of a book and leave the rest.

Speaking about books, we were talking about some parenting books at my mom's group and a few were mentioned, "Love and Logic", "Shepherding a Child's Heart", and "To Train Up a Child". We didn't go in depth about them at all, but when I got home and googled it I realized that To Train Up a Child is written by the Pearls. The Pearls (or rather their books) have been a part of numerous cases involving child abuse, even to the point of death. Watching 20/20 last night about Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches and the abuse that happens there the Pearls and their book was once again brought up. Early last year I came across their website and was outraged reading it and how they instruct parents to spank young infants- as young as 3 or 4 months! They talk about breaking their will from the moment they are born and it's referred to as training. Many a mother has had failure to thrive babies because of this. The Pearl's condone getting a newborn on a schedule and often that schedule is not enough for a baby to thrive. To tell a mother she can only nurse every 4 or 5 hours is like breastfeeding suicide. Good luck keeping up your milk supply or growing your baby if you do that! Today I was on their website searching for those old articles and it looks like a lot of it has been replaced with politically correct articles or has been deleted. That's good I suppose but the scary thing is that thousands of parents are following the Pearl's methods and receiving their newsletter. So yes, I definitely believe we can and should pick and choose and basically just filter whatever we read, but the Pearl's message is so scary it shouldn't even be read.
Here are some references:


1) The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). They recommend whipping the bare skin of "every child" (p.2) for "Christians and non-Christians" (p.5) and for "every transgression" (p.1). Parents who don't whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are "creating a Nazi" (p.45).

2) On p.60 they recommend whipping babies who cannot sleep and are crying, and to never allow them "to get up." On p.61 they recommend whipping a 12 month old girl for crying. On p.79 they recommend whipping a 7 month old for screaming.

3) On p.65 co-author Debi Pearl whips the bare leg of a 15 month old she is babysitting, 10 separate times, for not playing with something she tells him to play with. On p.56 Debi Pearl hits a 2 year old so hard "a karate chop like wheeze came from somewhere deep inside."

4) On p.44 they say not to let the child's crying while being hit to "cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking." On p.59 they recommend whipping a 3 year old until he is "totally broken."

5) On p.55 the Pearls say a mother should hit her child if he cries for her.

6) On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway. And "if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher." "Defeat him totally." On p.80 they recommend giving a child having a tantrum "a swift *forceful* spanking." On the same page they say to whip small children on their bare skin until they stop screaming. "Don't be bullied. Give him more of the same." They say to continue whipping until their crying turns into a "wounded, submissive whimper."

7) On p.47 they recommend their various whips, including "a belt or larger tree branch" to hit children.

8) The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant's hair (p.7), and describe tripping their non-swimming toddler so she falls into deep water (p.67). They recommend ignoring an infant's bumped head when he falls to the floor, and ignoring skinned knees (p.86). They also say "if your child is roughed-up by peers, rejoice." (p.81) And on p.103 the Pearls say if children lose their shoes, "let them go without until they (the children) can make the money to buy more."

9) The Pearls claim their "training" methods are Godly, yet they have *no religious training or credentials* They never mention Jesus' injunctions to forgive "seventy times seven" and be merciful, and they decry the "extraordinary ignorance of modern psychology."

I'll also add that the Pearls have ZERO formal education in child psychology, discipline, breastfeeding, nutrition, etc. They are just two people who decided to start a 'ministry' (yikes!).
So yeah, please don't buy that book!!!

Let's love our children the way God loves us and let our discipline be an extension of our love. God doesn't attempt to break our will. He loves us and gets at our heart. It's always about our heart isn't it? Our loving Father has given us the best example of a parent and I'm sure He planned that :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sleepy Ramblings...

I'm sitting here on the couch not really watching the TV with my little big Evie passed out on me. We are not doing CIO at night, for now, although ironically once we quit CIO she decided to still cry for an hour each night while I was holding her and loving on her! Last weekend I was out late with her both Fri and Sat night and she did well at both things but then our nighttime routine has taken a beating ever since. I'm thinking she may be getting past the newborn stage where you can do anything and mess up their schedule without big consequences.

Today she woke at 7:30am and napped for 40 minutes around 10:30am and then didn't sleep again until 6pm! It was a crazy day with her. On our pediatrician's recommendation we tried sleep training during naps today and it was awful. The first little nap was fine but when she passed out nursing at 2:30 I had to try for 2 whole hours to get her to sleep and it was completely unsuccessful. She's exhausted, but she fights it unless I'm holding her or she's in her swing. So I guess for now she'll either be with me or in the swing. I can't do 2 hours of crying and anxiety every day. Our ped said it could take 2 hours but I didn't think it actually would. And honestly at the 2 hour and 10 minute mark she was not at all winding down. My thought is that although she is chubby enough to sleep fine on her own she may not have the emotional or mental capacity to calm herself down yet. Today she would get in a tizzy and then pause like she was about to go to sleep and then within 30 seconds she'd be screaming again. It was as if she wanted to calm down and go to sleep but she literally couldn't. And then after the 2 hour nightmare she was all smiles! What a nut. So now perhaps I just need to adjust my expectations- she will not be sleeping through the night on her own from 4 months on like her big sissy :( Poo! Here's the deal, I wouldn't mind at all if I could put in her crib or bassinet and she'd sleep for a few hours and then wake to feed and then go to sleep again and then wake, etc. The problem is that she seriously won't sleep unless she's with me at night. Laundry, making dinner, paying bills, relaxing, cleaning, etc- yeah, not gonna happen. Nighttime is MY time. Or so I thought. Not yet I guess. Sure I can watch TV or Facebook while she's on my lap but that's about it. In the great big picture of life I know I'll look back and miss this time. I'll wish she'd still sleep in bed with me. But right now it's hard and I'm so tired. Last night I think she was up like 5 times (between 10pm and 7am)....she's 18lbs so clearly she doesn't need to eat that often, but eat she did. I will continue praying for peace in our home and for God to direct our parenting. I want to love and have grace for Evangeline regardless of where or how much she sleeps :)

So yesterday we got started on our veggie garden. I put Evie in the Bjorn since I thought she'd prefer to be looking around and Eliana had her gardening gloves and froggy boots on. It was a little crazy and I'm wondering how you moms get your planting done with infants? Within minutes Evie was fussing. How do you bend over to plant with an infant on your front? She's not old enough for back wearing yet and I can Moby, but she likes to be looking around and a part of things when she's awake. So between trying to keep her upright, keeping an eye on Elly digging up my just planted seeds, and getting things planted....hmmm, challenging! We managed to get 2 kinds of sugar peas (one bush, one pole), walla walla onions, and carrots planted. My personality likes to just go in, crank it out, and call it good. But with kids life takes more flexibility than that. I'll plant what I can and hopefully within a couple weeks it'll all be planted. I had Eliana place the seeds with me and when we covered them with soil we said," nigh-night peas, sleep good, grow us a nice dinner!" She liked seeing the 'baby carrots and onions", which were really just the seeds :) I think gardening is wonderful with children since they learn so much about where food comes from and what it looks like unprocessed.

The plan was to try and plant a lot more this weekend since it's supposed to be decent weather but it looks like Craig has to work :( I have my own feelings about him working weekends and I know he feels really bad whenever he has to deliver the news. For a lot of people working weekends is great since you either work less during the week or you get extra pay for the extra hours. Craig gets neither. He is salary. I have come to believe that salary is just short for " work extra hours nearly every week without extra pay." I feel....hmmmm, honestly probably anger, to think that he is working his butt off all weekend, without pay, instead of spending time with us. Yes, definitely anger. And then part of me says, well at least he has a job. And yes that's true, but it's still maddening to think that I wait all week to see him and so does Elly and then we don't even get a weekend with him nor do we get a larger paycheck to justify it. Ick. If he got overtime, or even normal pay, I would probably be ok with it. It would feel like he is working for something. This just feels pointless. And let's be honest, we don't go to work out of the goodness of our hearts. For most people if they didn't get paid they'd be home! But Craig is a worker bee. He will work just as hard this weekend as he does on a day he's getting paid for. I will continue to pray that someday we'll have good insurance and someday he'll get overtime.

Things are going well in the Farmhouse. It's feeling like home and I almost can't remember what it's like to be in a teeny tiny house. I'm getting a good workout going up and down 2 flights of stairs all day! Eliana is a pro on stairs now and loves playing around the house and hiding and getting into things :) I'm so thankful for this house. A couple years ago I remember us going through some really tough stuff and Craig was really frustrated and said something to the effect of, "we tithe, we love God, we work hard, we try and do the right thing, why is life always so hard? Why are we not seeing any 'fruit'?" I couldn't really answer him other than to say that a lot of the hardships we faced were consequences to actions he did before he even met me. Consequences don't just disappear when we start following the Lord. I told him we should be diligent and that fruit would come, eventually. I feel like this house is fruit. And if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about- learn about bearing fruit. It was a long time coming and it's nice to see some fruit, it feels like "yes we are doing things right. God is watching and he's rewarding." I imagine it's easy for people to think things are easy for us. We have two beautiful children, I'm a stay at home mom, Craig has a job, how hard can life be, right? Hard. Life can be hard. This particular time of life, other than the sleep deprivation, has been beautiful and fairly easy. The 5 years prior to this had been quite rough though. It's good to remember we all have a story and no matter how beachy someone's life looks, they may have faced unimaginable hardships. So yes, after some rough years, I'm super thankful for this house. Thank you Jesus.