Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby Sign Language

Have you used it? Were you successful? Any tips, no-no's or resources you would like to share?   Sign language is one of those things that I haven't talked to anyone about really, but feel really motivated to use with Jude.  The one single thing that I am most excited about experiencing one day is talking with Jude. To be able to ask him what he thinks about something or to hear what sort of questions he has is super cool if you ask me.  But I could be partial. :) So, having the opportunity to communicate, even just a little bit, sooner is something I don't want to pass up!


The books say that 6-8 months is the perfect time to start, but I would like a little time to learn it all ahead of time. So, in the next week or two I plan on incorporating a few basic signs into my daily routine with him. Sign language has always been something I wish both Randy and I knew so that we could talk to each other across the room.  Who knows? Since our ballroom dancing class is almost over, maybe we'll take a sign language class! :)

Anyway, I would love lots of feedback on this topic!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diapering Issues

Yes, this really is a post about diapering issues.  You see my son (which is still weird to say) is very long, but very skinny.  As he's grown in length it seems his dirty diapers have had a harder time staying contained within the diapers.  We've used LUVS, size 1 and were very pleased at first. But 2 out of every 3 dirty diaper requires a wardrobe change at least.  We're looking into trying other brands, but don't want to buy a whole bunch that we may not like.  A friend suggested that his length might be an issue and perhaps we should try the next size up.  Has anyone ever had a situation like this?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Boys Should Be Boys

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons
By Meg Meeker, M.D.



Summary:

In this book you will learn how to raise healthy and happy boys—boys who are honest, courageous, humble, meek (in the sense of willingly withholding their power), and kind. There are secrets to raising such boys. Among these secrets are the big seven. I can mention them in passing here, but we’ll look at what they mean and how to use them in the chapters that follow.
  1. Know how to encourage your son.
  2. Understand what your boys need. It’s not another computer game; it’s you.
  3. Recognize that boys were made for the outdoors.
  4. Remember that boys need rules.
  5. Acknowledge that virtue is not just for girls. A healthy boy strives after virtues like integrity and self-control.
  6. Learn how to teach your son about the big questions in life.
  7. Remember, always, that the most important person in your son’s life is you.
Being a parent can often seem a daunting task. But, I’m here to tell you that almost every parent has what it takes to raise healthy sons. You have the intuition, the heart, and, yes, the responsibility to change the life of your son for the better. This book is a step toward showing you how.
Why I liked it:
It is an easy read and her stories are often pretty funny.  She has an entire chapter in support of God in boys' lives.  She seems to have a very authentic, real life perspective on how easy it is to get caught up in other things, but finds a way to remind you exactly why it doesn't have to be that way.  I highly recommend this book and will likely read it a several times before Jude is grown.

What I'm Praying For This Week: Self Control

I have spent the last week  purposefully leaving sugar out of my diet.  5 years ago that would have been an impossible struggle. 1 year ago it would have been possible, but not without some mental struggle.  This week it was cake walk.  All I had to do was prepare my mind, decide to follow through and it was done!  For Randy, that's a no-brainer.  He's pretty much always functioned that way.  He's goal-oriented so all that was needed for him was to make a decision.  When we got married, his self-control baffled me.  Life just never worked that way for me.



This week I am praying for self-control mostly because I know that its possible to learn it.  I've learned it in one very specific area and I see the need for it in EVERY aspect of my life.  Just about any problem I may have can be traced back to a lack of self-control.  Think of the people you know in the midst of unfortunate troubles - marital problems, addictions to alcohol or drugs, money issues, gossiping, all manner of bad attitudes, etc. - and you'll find someone who struggles with self-control.  Sometimes instead of praying for generic 'help the problem get better' prayers, it feels good to focus on something that can specifically improve lives in many ways.  We all could use help in following through to those goals we've been struggling to get to.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What I'm Praying For This Week: Relationships

When I pray, I often feel overwhelmed by the shoulds.  I feel like I should pray for so many things that sometimes (often) its easier to either not pray at all or just vomit out what's easiest or most pressing.  Part of my problem is time management and when/how often I decide to pray, but also there are just so many things that need God's guidance, protection and help.  And being the emotional person that I am, I want so many things to be solved or to flourish. So, while its not exactly a solution, I've come up with something to help me fight back the overwhelming shoulds.

On a semi-weekly basis, I hope to write about something I'm praying for and why I think its important.  Hopefully instead of feeling obligated to pray for everything every time I pray, I'll be encouraged to spend several prayers and meditations on an individual matter, in hopes of even deeper comfort and answers.  And if you'd like to join me in this, it can only help! 

This week: Relationships
One of my first thoughts when I pray is often Randy and our marriage.  I know first hand how volatile we can be unless we work at it so I'm always searching for extra protection.  And I want that for my friends and family, in their marriages.  But even further, I know how absolutely maddening it is to live in a world seemingly designed for the married when you're single.  So, this prayer reaches beyond married or single and really is about our relationships with others.  How we treat each other,  being at peace with our life, how open we are to accept and receive others, faults and all.  Friendships are hard, but so important.   It's even about how we treat ourselves.  I think you would agree that we all desperately need some help with our relationships.  Well, this week(end), especially in light of Valentine's Day that brings so much pressure on us one way or another, I'm going to be praying about these things.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jude the Dude!

Since Jude will be 3 months old in a couple of days, I figured it was time for an update on him.  First of all, thankfully, he is gaining weight! Slowly, but surely we're getting some fat rolls started! We haven't weighed him this week, but he's up to 24 1/2 inches long! He's growing out of clothes length-wise before he even begins to fill it out in the width! So, perhaps we'll have ourselves a long lanky fella when he gets older.

In just a few days (basically over the weekend), he's seemed to hit the 3 month stride.  He has started to 'talk' a lot more and discovered how to blow through his lips. Since Saturday night he has started sleeping through the night and becoming more efficient in his eating (so it takes less time than before).  All very good things for his momma!  His aunt Tara (who I believe got it from the lovely Carisha Hullet) gave us a leap frog bouncer/play seat on Sunday and he LOVES it.  I'm not sure if he was bored before, but as soon as he figured out all it could do, he's just lit up with activity in it.  So, Jude Xavier is doing well and bringing us much joy!

His dad has a lot of fun, needless to say.


Proud Papa

Doing the sprinkler!

Thoughtful face

Chillin' with Grace

Ready for a fight!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Expectations Are Killing Us

How much do any kind of expectations influence or, in some cases, control your decisions in life?  It's easy to say, "You're not the boss of me. I do what I want!"  But it's as though we're confused. We do what WE want when it comes to honor, respect and good deeds and then blindly perform when it comes to social custom, media assumptions or false entitlements.  We can (mentally) spit in the face of someone 'suggesting' we do something good (like singing at a nursing home, visiting the sick, etc.) but we let society's standards shove us around. 



No matter what stage of life you're in, there are false ideas forging false expectations in our minds.  As a child, princesses and superheroes - both fantasy that while not necessarily bad they shape unrealistic expectations that are indistinguishable by impressionable minds.  Teenagers - false expectations about the opposite sex, sex in general, and what 'freedom' looks like.  (Young) Adults - school, marriage, cars, body image, working - what is necessary and when is it mandatory - false expectations swirl around it all, often leading to fouled up circumstances.  We haven't even discussed consumerism - the things we're convinced we need to buy - deserve to buy.  And that is a continual influence from childhood on.  All of this can create trouble. Trouble in finances, when you deserve more than you can afford.  In marriage (one of my greatest struggles), when you expect your spouse's words and actions to be like something out of a movie.  What we look like - we're obsessed  with it and know better but if we're not like the cover of a magazine, we're going to worry, self-hate and starve until we do. At work, when working hard feels like something you should celebrated for every day and if you're not maybe you'll just quit.  I could go on and on.



It's frightening to me how many arguments I've gotten into or bad decisions I've made because of some fake scenario or expectation to be 'like everyone else' that usually completely ignored reality and wisdom.  And I've done it all. I've gone shopping to 'make myself feel better' when I didn't have the money and whatever I bought didn't change the reasons I was feeling bad in the first place.  I've compiled all romantic relationships from all the movies I've seen and then built up the most suitable for myself, expected grand things from Randy (while not really informing him) and leaving him doomed to fail, disappoint me and not be very happy.  No matter what weight I've been, I've always hovered around discontent bordering on self-loathing, assuming the rest of the world is laughing at me.  Last but not least, I've gotten out of hard work lots of times. And when I decide (or am forced) to work really really hard and then I don't get a huge pat on the back or reward, I'm upset, throwing a pity party. 

Some things are human nature, sure.  We compare.  Keeps us honest, maybe.  But much of this is a direct result of American society.  I'm thankful - oh so thankful - for the freedom and little to no persecution we experience here.  But America's gifts aren't all good.  I don't have the answer (if you do, please share!), but look a little closer at why you expect things, out of yourself and those you love.  There's a good chance, sooner or later, that you've been lied to.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mortality

Most people don't like to think about death.  I don't either, but sometimes I get caught up in it.  My vicious relationship with fear leads me to prepare for that which I fear - usually an unknown.  And in some ways, what's more unknown than death? From all sides, it just has a hard time feeling good.  Separation, loss, and all the unknown makes for a dreary disposition.  But, I'm on a 'let's deal with it as it is' kick instead of pining over what I wish it was.  So, in light of the reality that our life and the lives around us will one day end here on earth, shouldn't that affect how we live?



Whether you are thinking about your spiritual readiness or just what kind of regrets are you comfortable having, we have to think beyond the physical feelings of right now.  Will I regret all the time I spent on my electronic device of choice?  Will I regret those camping trips?  In light of the fact that our days together are numbered, is it ok with me that I've continued to say hateful things to my husband or gossiped about friends? And I guess this is what really gets me: When I look back on the life of my child's (future children) time in our home, will I be proud of how we spent it? Did my life teach him good things about God? Did we really live and love or was it spent near the edge of exasperation all the time?


I've spent a lot of time running away from things and trying to comfort myself with physical things.  And I DO regret it and have very little to show for it.  Now that January is gone and the season of resolutions is about up, I am convicted to spend less time on things that just tread water.  Treading water is wonderful in crisis or just trying to survive.  But that isn't or at least shouldn't be the state we live in continually.  I want to feel satisfaction and peace about death.  The only way I can see to do that is to live vibrantly and purposefully for God which includes living daily the things I want to be proud of when my life is over.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow, Snow, and Yes, More Snow!

I have said it before and I'll say it again. I LOVE snow! Yes, it certainly changes everyone's plans in a heartbeat, but still I love it! Everything is so beautiful and quiet.  Makes you slow down a little, I think.  It helps with almost a week of snow days to contemplate life, but just the very nature of snow causes you to pause for a moment to take it all in.

We cannot wait for Jude to big enough to actually play in it.  Until then we took him out for a bit (less than 2 minutes because it was FREEZING) to witness his first real snow.  He's bundled in a bear cub suit that is obviously still a bit big on him, but it looks cute and did the trick of keeping him warm.









Clearly, he wasn't all that impressed.  But just wait until he's big enough to throw a snowball at.