Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daybook - February 27

Outside my a balmy 70 degree day; although, the cloud cover and wind makes me think the current balm might soon be replaced by the threatened storms. Just so long as we avoid any tornadoes.

I am thinking...that the next few months are shaping up to be ridiculously busy ones. I'm also thinking about commitments and what constitutes healthy commitments and how some commitments--while not bad in and of themselves are not necessarily good for certain times of our lives.

I am thankful for...a good night of sleep last night. Went to sleep by 9:30, Chris was wonderful and stayed up through Blueberry's last feed of the night (generally around 10:30ish), brought her to me, took her back to bed when she was done. End result, other than getting up for a 4am feed, I slept until 7:30 this morning. Utter bliss.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...comes tongue curling! Her latest trick has been to curl her tongue up backwards. And then smile. Apparently I did the same thing as a baby. It is rather amusing.

From the kitchen...comes a mess. Need to go clean. In a minute. Creations from the mess include khao pad (Thai fried rice--made for the church potluck today--the last of which I'm currently eating out of the rice cooker as I type!), khao dom (Thai rice porridge. Never tried it before. Really easy and really good!), banana bread, and several other yummy meals currently waiting to be consumed in the form of leftovers. Still need to make GF banana bread and some regular bread for me. And seriously having chocolate cravings. Maybe some brownies need to be on the menu.

Blueberry has been loving bananas this last week. So far we've had avocado (really likes--great squishiness), pear (still not entirely sure on that one, which I find amusing as I sometimes think I'm not entirely sure on whether or not I truly like pear), and banana (loved a lot). Tried rice cereal and until this morning have had no success at this; however, I mixed up banana with it and that seemed a little more palatable to her. Must say I don't really blame her too much on not liking the rice cereal--bit nasty tasting I thought.

I am wearing...sweats currently. Just changed from my nice Sunday clothes.

I am creating...plans for my square foot garden. Yup! I'm finally going to do it. Make an attempt at a vegetable garden. Pray for me--or the plants--they might need it!

I am get a couple of baby gifts this week. Very important baby gift needs. One in particular is a result of much prayer and has come into some friends lives with much rejoicing!

I am reading.. . lots of L'Engle. Back on an author kick again. Need to start Atlas Shrugged as my husband keeps bugging me about it.

I am suddenly get a spurt of energy when I finish this blog. So far things aren't looking good.

I am hearing...the wind blowing outside and silence. Blueberry down for a nap as is her daddy.

Around the house...things are feeling more orderly. At least for now. Started back into my Fly Lady concepts last week (with some modifications), and I'm feeling good about it.

One of my favorite things...the caress of baby fingers.

A few plans for the rest of the week: continue keeping up with my Fly Ladying (was doing really good last week!), few errands, hopefully Skype with a good friend, some friends over Friday night, and a 30th!!!!!! birthday celebration Saturday (for yours truly). My birthday is not until Monday, but Mondays are awkward days (in my opinion).

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

For the full look see my other blog: My Life in Scraps

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Simple Rules

Sleep has been a topic of much thought for me for the last six months. Not to go into great detail, let's just say it's been challenging to say the least. After a lot of reading and studying and experimenting, Blueberry suddenly began to respond really well at night and now goes to sleep beautifully in the evening for 12 hours (give or take an hour or so for feedings).

Naps have been a different story. Just as night time sleep became great, her day time sleep (which had improved over the first few months of her life) became less. And frankly, in the last few weeks, it's become exhausting again. 30 minutes (if I'm lucky) was the norm even though I knew she was tired.

The two fold problems with sleep difficulties in Blueberry is that it (a) leaves me tired and makes me less of a mother because patience goes out the window eventually! and (b) Blueberry doesn't function as well. And when you consider how hard babies bodies and brains have to work, that's not a good thing. When I consider how I feel as an adult on short sleep, it can't be any easier on babies, and probably even less so just because of how much they are constantly learning and growing. Thus why I have taken this topic really seriously and have done my best to get a solution.

As I said earlier, I've done a lot of research on this whole topic, and if I had to pick out three rules that have really revolutionized my understanding of how to help her sleep, they would be as follows.

1. Babies have a short wake time. I never realized this until I started reading about sleep. Apparently babies can't stay awake more than two hours maximum for quite a long time (i.e. get them in bed for a nap before the two hours are up). And, frankly, many babies will take quite awhile (think months) before they hit even that two hour wake-time capacity.

2. If you don't get them down for their nap within the right time, they get their second wind and consequently will be up for way later than they should be (or will really fight being put down for a nap), and will probably nap less. In other words--sleep begets sleep. Staying up longer does not mean they will sleep better. In fact, her night time sleep began to improve the most when we started putting her down to bed between 6 and 6:30.

3. Waking up crying (at least for Blueberry) means she hasn't slept enough. Let her cry for 5 minutes or so, and a lot of times (if the first two rules have been met) she'll go back to sleep and wake up happy. I don't like letting my baby cry. I really struggle with this, but this is a struggle I have realized that I needed to deal with (sensibly of course--there's always a level of commonsense that really needs to be applied to parenting!) because sometimes a few minutes of crying won't her and actually can help in the long run.

Now, the dumb thing is that I somehow have disregarded these rules these last few weeks. I guess we thought from some other signs that her daytime wake hours had increased to the two hour mark. Or maybe it was wishful thinking because I wanted to be able to do more/be out longer during the day. I don't know. Either way, yesterday, I decided enough was enough, and in an attempt to fix this no-nap issues, I put her back to bed after only being up for an hour (and then later in the day, after an hour and a half).

End result? Yesterday she took three one-hour naps (an improvement from what we were doing before--and for each nap she went down and was asleep with little or no fuss within 5 minutes). Today, she just woke up from a beautiful two hour nap having taken a solid hour and 20 minute nap this morning. Nope, she's not ill. She's smiling at me right now (I just went and got her) and is ready to go for awhile.

Why couldn't I just remember to follow the rules that I knew? Oh yeah, sleep deprivation! Someone remind me of this post the next time I get tired and frustrated over naps, please?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh Me, Oh My

I fear I am a woman of contradictions.

I want to be efficient, but my perfectionism stops me from accomplishing efficiency because being efficient doesn't necessarily equal being perfect.

I feel lonely and depressed when I'm on my own and have had no contact with anyone (thus feeling like no one cares), but I also procrastinate on contacting others, and I crave alone time and get irritable when I don't have enough.

I desire a simple life and fill it up with bits and bobs and clutter and things.

I get overwhelmed and need help, but then don't take help when it is offered.

I seek to save but wind up spending.

I establish a Plan, and then I turn around and do something else entirely.

I love and respect my husband deeply, but find myself criticizing those very things that are essential elements of who he is.

I want my daughter to grow up to be herself, but I want her to fit into routines and structures that don't necessarily match her.

I know meal planning ahead of time would save me time and work, but I can't find the energy to create the menus.

I try to be wonder woman (or maybe the Proverbs 31 woman), but I get overwhelmed when I do to much and feel I succeed at nothing.

I desire a sunny day and stay inside in the shade when I get it.

I seek to be a good friend and then fail to do things that a good friend would do.

I want to exercise more because I know I feel better if I do, but I sit as my chair is so comfy and relaxing.

I try to live up to everyone else's expectations (or what I see as their expectations), and find that I'm not even living up to my own.

I think life in bygone days seems idyllic and so much better than the fast paced world of today, and I then I grumble over my microwave taking 5 minutes to heat up my lunch.

I want to eat more healthily and instead make chocolate pudding.

I plan and dream and scheme for what to do in the future and the present slides away from me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Daybook 2/14/11

Outside my is dark and getting cold again. However, it was nice enough earlier today that Blueberry and I went for a walk. So nice.

I am thinking...that while I agree that Valentine's Day has become a rather over-commercialized holiday (although one might ask what holiday's haven't), I'm a little tired of people claiming it as a "greeting card holiday" only.

I am thankful for...sister in laws who make fantastic lemon-meringue pie. Am currently eating the pie out of the pie pan (it's a mini-pan). Feels very decedent.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...Blueberry has almost mastered sitting up. Tooth number 3 has not yet materialized; although, it's obviously thinking about it. Wish it would hurry up. These random teething days are annoying. Blueberry has also begun paying much closer attention to the dogs lately. Mara Jade just kind of keeps her distance; however, Calista will be friends with anybody who will pet her (or poke her in the eye, apparently!).

From the kitchen...comes a pathetic lack of not much today. I had great plans for a nice romantic meal for Valentine's Day. Not so much. Did make Thai fried rice for lunch. Does that count?

I am jeans (yay! my old ones were all dying at the bottom) and a red, tunic/nursing top (also newish). I normally refuse to wear red or pink on Valentine's Day (it's the principle of the thing), but I broke that rule today both for me and for Blueberry. After all, we were experiencing a rather pathetic lack of Valentininess, so at least we could look the part!

I am creating...a new price list. As I've been not keeping up with sale shopping/CVSing for the last year-ish, my price lists have become woefully inaccurate (thanks to all the cost increases). So we're having to do some hard-core reworking of the price list. Time consuming but high money-saving value in the end.

I am do our taxes at some point this week.

I am reading.. . my newest Blogging for Books book. I've also been reading through the Wrinkle in Time series. I am, as always, awed by Madeline L'Engle's imagination and writing. She both inspires me and causes me to look at my own writing and shake my head woefully.

I am hoping...for a few good chunks of sleep tonight. Very tired.

I am hearing...the sound of the heater, my dear (and not feeling so good) husband playing on the Xbox and blissful silence. Thank goodness. Blueberry has finally mastered night time sleeping--as much as anyone and especially a 6 month old can master it--but naps have now gone out the window, much to my sorrow. I love her so much. But there at times when I desperately need her to just take a nap. It's a vicious cycle. Sleeping Blueberry = tired/highly needy; Refusal to nap = even more tired/needy = tired mommy.

Around the house...we have a mailbox again. That's good. I've missed my mail the last few days!

One of my favorite the way Blueberry reaches for my hand while she is nursing. Sometimes just to hold it; sometimes to play with my fingers. Always that desire for physical, skin-to-skin contact. There's nothing so soothing as holding a drowsy baby's hand.

A few plans for the rest of the week: go to several stores--we need groceries very badly; taxes; teach; hopefully see some girl friends; get some writing/editing work done; keep up with everything else like laundry and food!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing:

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 16)

#1 - We woke up this morning to discover our mailbox decapitated and spread across the lawn. Fortunately, the executioners were very nice and put a note by our door saying sorry and explaining that they slid off the road and leaving their phone number. Sigh. Add it to the list of things to do. Hope they weren't too banged up by the experience as they slid straight into our rather deep ditch.

The Mailbox Before:

Poor Thing Didn't Know What Hit It:


#2 - For the first time in quite awhile (over a year?), I think I'm glutined. Not 100% positive on the cause; however, I'm thinking it's the rice-cereal from WalMart. We are on WIC and one of the things you can buy is cereal. Normally I shop at Dillons and had tried their GF rice cereal and did great. Last time we went to WalMart and I got theirs. Pretty sure it's making me sick. Probably just cross-contamination (which they do warn about). Going to go off of that for awhile and see if it helps. I hate this feeling; general tiredness, headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach. Plus I'm now gunked up with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Not sure if it's in addition to feeling glutened, caused by the gluten, or just my immune system got shot down by an overload of cross-contamination. Either way--yuck. Living on hot water with honey and lemon right now. And a lot of quit-deao (Thai chicken noodle soup--the best food ever when feeling sick).


#3 - After a foot of snow and then an additional few inches of snow, it's supposed to get to 50 this weekend. I can't wait! I'm so sick of winter. Global Warming.....really?


#4 - I have health insurance again at long last. The week of the foot of snow, I literally didn't go anywhere for a week because my insurance didn't kick in and somehow it seemed like just begging the fates to get me by driving on roads that were poorly plowed in a city that freaks out and drives like maniacs when the weather report says that their might possibly in the near future be a flake or two of snow or ice or rain.


#5 - Tried a new recipe for gluten free crumpets the other day. Yum! Very pleased with how they came out. Not quite the same texture as the traditional British crumpet that I love so very much. But still a really, really good bread. Am going to be making this one a lot more! I love light bread, and this definitely falls in that category. Recipe from Betty Hagman's The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods.


#6 - Baby-led feeding (BLF) decision. For those who still don't know what this BLF thing is basically it's the idea of not pureeing, spoon feeding, flying food into your kids mouth but allowing your child to feed him/herself from the beginning of starting solids. As one web-site put it: "You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t." (see Baby Led Weaning for a further, if brief, description of what it's all about).

For the most part I really like this concept. The general warning label that comes with it is that this is a messy experience, especially at the beginning. One website talked about preparing twice as much food as you think baby will eat. Half for flinging everywhere and half for consuming. In other words, you're letting your baby experience food, real food, play with it, learn how to handle it, swallow it on her own, reject it if she doesn't want it, etc.

After doing some reading and evaluating, I think I have a plan. Because I love plans. Even if the plan doesn't quite work out as I intend. As Eisenhower explained it: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."

There are two potential downfalls that quickly came to mind when I was looking at doing this over getting into the whole puree/airplane scene.

1. Learning to eat this way could take awhile. Now, for me, not a big deal. I want Blueberry to breastfeed for a good amount of time. But I know for some people getting baby off of milk and onto food is a priority--and this wouldn't be the fastest means of doing that.

2. Given both my food issues and Chris', I do have concerns about introducing some foods too early. And I want to watch out for combining foods too quickly and not being able to check for reactions, etc.

So, given that concern, basically I'm going to follow the general idea of baby-led feeding but introduce foods a little more carefully than what others following this idea might do. In essence, introduce foods one at a time more like people traditionally do with purees, but do it in more of the BLF style. Then as I know which foods we're doing okay with, mix it up a bit more. So far we've had avocado success and a very green mess! Pictures to be soon posted on My Life in Scraps.


#7 - It's 9:20 and I'm still in my PJ's. Off to go make myself look marginally more presentable. Not planning on going anywhere though given the way I feel. But there's just something about being dressed and looking at least half-way decent that makes you feel better, at least it does me. Happy Friday to all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lessons from my 6 Month Old

Yup! That's right, folks. Blueberry turns 6 months today. I know! It's crazy. I cannot possibly be the mother of a 6 month old. And yet I am. I have also been the recipient of a number of lessons via this same 6 month old. Sometimes I wonder who is learning more--her or me?

So what have I been learning?

Lesson #1: Patience. With myself. I make mistakes; I have bad days; I can't figure it all out perfectly every time. I don't know what she wants all the time, I get frustrated because I feel like I should, but I don't! I even have had moments when I simply have to put her in her crib and walk away for a few minutes because she's driving me up a wall. I can't be wonder woman and manage to do everything that I want to do and still keep my sanity. And I'm learning to be more okay with that. Of course there's always a dangerous, slippery slope of being too lackadaisical as well, but we'll fight that battle if necessary.

Lesson #2: Trust my child. This is a lesson I didn't expect to have to begin learning so quickly, but the reality is that I have worried less and been less stressed when I just accept that she's going to grow and change and learn in her own time. I can't force her into anything, nor do I want to. She is her own unique little person. I want to respect that, to believe in her (and her designer). It's so easy to slip into the comparison game. You know the one: Baby X was born around the same time and they're already doing such and such--why isn't my baby doing that? Instead there is the act of stepping back and looking at this beautiful, charming, dainty little girl that I've been blessed with and realizing that every milestone will come when it will--until then, enjoy her as she is.

Lesson #3: The world is a curious place. And it is worth slowing down to enjoy this curiosity. The best way to do so? Watch her. Look at the world from her perspective (and her height sometimes!) and see what she's seeing, appreciate the whirring of her little brain as she makes discoveries and solves mysteries. And as I take the time to see the world from her point of view, I find myself appreciating many of the smaller, beautiful points of existence that are far too easy to overlook as I go about my adult years.

A few thoughts and many happy wishes for my Blueberry's half-birthday.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby-Led Feeding

So I've been looking into the concept of baby-led feeding (also have found it called baby-led weaning--no idea what the difference is or if there is one) as an approach to starting baby food. So far, Blueberry has started to show interest in grown-up food but really more as a curiosity thing than an actual, "I need more food" thing. This got me thinking about starting solids and when to start solids and what to do and so on and so forth. I'm wanting to breastfeed for as long as possible, but at the same time, if she's interested in playing with food--why not?!

Any of you readers of mine out there have much knowledge on this topic?

Presumptive! Mere Churchianity not C. S. Lewis Standards

When I picked up the book Mere Churchianity by the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, I was drawn to the book’s title. Not necessarily in a good way, more in terms of wondering “Who is this guy who thinks so highly of his own writing that he would label himself as C. S. Lewis’ equal?”

Then as I read the book description, I found myself intrigued. I am very familiar with the movement of people who are leaving the church. Whether it is that they question whether they are welcome because of the cliques that often seem to drive the church body or because they question the apparent values of “the church” (bigger, better, glitzier), the fact remains that I know an awful lot of people who are questioning “the church” as it exists today.

So, with a bit of skepticism and a bit of intrigue, I read through the book.

Overall, I would have to say I was not impressed.

The basic principal of the book is that Christians need to be living a life centered on Jesus and not on “Christianity” as the church teaches it. In other words, get into the Scriptures, realize who Jesus actually is, and live based on that criteria instead of the “rules of religion” that most (at least Spencer seems to indicate “most”) churches preach instead. I don’t entirely disagree with this concept. I have seen too many churches in which the rules and regulations are more important than people. I have seen too much show and to little reality. The problem is that I have also seen Christians in these churches who are following Christ. Do we condemn all people who attend church buildings because that automatically means they are not following God? I would hope not. But that’s what Mr. Spencer seemed to indicate in this book. And I have seen an awful lot of people who have left the church because they didn’t want to follow biblical principles—but it was easier to blame the church than to examine their own beliefs.

I found Spencer’s logic a bit off from the beginning when he uses the story of the Prodigal Son as his basis for his arguments. In this story, he describes the son who did not run away and have to be forgiven by his father as being a “strait-laced, do-the-right-thing, outwardly conforming” individual. OK. Yes, this son did not run away. He did not squander his inheritance. And yes, he did struggle with the blanket forgiveness his father displayed for his younger brother. But it’s stretching the story a bit for Michael Spencer to simply assume that just because the son stayed where he was, served his father to the best of his ability, and didn’t need a big party or show of forgiveness, he was therefore only “outwardly conforming” or “strait-laced” or any of the other derogatory angles Mr. Spencer portrayed him as.

Unfortunately, as this story of the backbone to the rest of the book and gets referred to over and over throughout the rest of the book, it makes the rest of Michael Spencer’s points a bit suspect.

In fact, the first two chapters of this book give a nutshell representation of how the rest of the book went for me. (To read just the first chapter--the Introduction--click on this link: The Dairy Queen Incident). I would read one chapter and find myself thinking that I agreed with this Internet Monk. He had some thought-provoking, biblically sound points. But then the next chapter he would go on to say things that were not so reliable, in fact were not even always logical, and were often more blanket statements that would be great for someone who might be reading the book simply looking for somebody to back up their personal resentments.

Short summation: If you want a book that will challenge you to go back to the basic principles of Christianity—CHRIST—and to be wary of getting caught up in the man-made rules and ideas of what the church is, this is a great book to read. But read with caution. Evaluate every statement. Consider the logic of it. Reread the scriptures mentioned yourself and make sure that what he saying actually is biblically based and not just personal opinion.

Final Note: If you’re not familiar with Blogging for Books, it is a book review program in which I got a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for reviewing it.

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...