Monday, January 31, 2011

Becoming 2


So princess #4 has turned into quite the little spazz recently.

It sort of cracks me up.

She runs around the house yelling, "AY-IE!!  AY-IE!!"

and then she'll collapse on the floor and throw her legs up in the air.

She follows me around, insisting she has poopy.

(I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  Haven't had an early trainer yet.)

She sleeps with about 100 stuffies in her crib.

I'm not kidding.

And she has to kiss each and every one of them and have them all 
"arranged" before she can go to sleep.

Even then I'll hear her for a good hour after I've left her room, talking to her friends.

 She must sit in her own chair at the table (no booster seat anymore!) and use real utensils.

She does not like me to help her brush her teeth.

She's started actually sitting still while I read her books.  Her favorite is George.  "George was curious!"

And as her command of language improves, she's become easier to handle.  She gets less frustrated, or at least isn't as quick to flip out.  She tries more words, works to make herself understood.

She's just... well...

well, I guess she isn't really becoming a spazz, she's just becoming 2.

Sigh.

Where did my baby go?


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interrupting Your Regularly Scheduled Winter


There is just something about nearly 60 degrees in JANUARY that is document worthy.

The sun is shining.

The windows are open.

Jack Johnson is blaring over Pandora.

Life. Is. Good.

(we just won't talk about how we're supposed to get snow next week....)


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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Mouths of Babes

I thought it was going to be one of those defining moments in my life.

There we were, gathered around the table for dinner.  My 4 princesses and me.

It had already been a day... a day from, well, hell.

Day 2 of fevers and sore tummies.  Day 2 of snow and ice covering the ground.  Day 2 of being cooped up.

We were ALL done.

I'd already melted down once.  When I went to make dinner (waffles) and found that we were out of flour.

When it's already been a day from hell, something little like that can really set a mama off.

I was saved by a stack of waffles preserved in the freezer that I had forgotten about.

God's little nudge that it was all ok.

I salvaged myself and got us all to the table.

That's when princess #4 said in her sweet innocent baby voice, "pway! pway!" as she reached across the table for her sisters' hands.

I said a quick blessing.

And then it happened.

Princess #3 spoke up.  And in her wise 3 year old voice began:

"I want to pray to Jesus..."

And I thought, this is it.  I've come to my very end, I'm no longer able to manage on my own strength and God is going to speak to me right now, here at my dinner table, through my 3 year old.

She stuttered around a bit as she often does when her brain gets ahead of her voice.  You could almost see the wheels turning.

She began again:

"I want to pray to Jesus that on my birthday, I want Santa to bring me..."

Uh, hold on.  This is not going the way I thought it was.

"I want Santa to bring me a DS, pink phone, iPad, computer, and light up toothbrush."

Just keepin' it real.


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Revisiting The Tiger Issue

A week ago or so I joined I'm sure hundreds of bloggy moms as I attempted to dissect and inspect the claims of Amy Chua that the Chinese method of parenting was superior to Western parenting.  And while I  wrestled with putting my thoughts into words, I thought I had adequately described my feelings on the subject.

Then I ran across this post.  Mama J is a Chinese Christian mama living in Singapore.  And when I read her eloquent letter to her son, I thought, "YES!  This is what was missing for me in Amy Chua's approach to parenting!"  Yes we push our children to be their best, and lovingly correct and guide.  But for a Christian parent, there is more to this life than being the best or earning accolades by your own strength or even just being a good person.  I loved Mama J's unique perspective on this issue and how she reconciled being both a Chinese parent and a Christian parent.

It's worth a look.  Let me know what you think!
 
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Need Some Blog Organization Advice

I've got sick kiddos at home, which has sent me on a mad cleaning spree.  And in the midst of cleaning I've found several areas of the house that are in need of re-organization.  I'm not so much a fan of cleaning, but I love a good organized anything.

So in that mindset, I'm looking at my blog and noticing some areas I'd like to organize.  In particular, I'm wanting to redo all my labels or tags.  I haven't had a good system for tagging and I don't even have them listed on my blog because I think it's messy.

If you look at my profile, I have succinctly described everything I'm about and really what this blog might touch on at some point or another.  I've decided I could tag each post with one of these phrases and it would adequately label what each post is about.

So you might notice at the top of the page now under my tabs (which currently lead to incomplete pages - another project for another day) are each of the phrases from my profile - or most at least.  I haven't gone in and completely changed the tags on my old posts yet.  If you click on a phrase, it will (theoretically, since I'm not done yet) take you to a page that has each post under that label in sequential order.

My question is:  Does this make sense?  Would you use this?  Would it be helpful to you to be able to click on, say, Natural Childbirth Enthusiast and have all my posts covering childbirth in one place?

I want to make sure that this is not confusing.  Of course, all posts will show up on the main page as they are published, but would also appear on their coordinating label page.  I'm also not sure about the appearance as they are.  I haven't had a chance to fiddle with the html or create buttons or anything yet, so as it stands does it make sense?  At some point I can pretty it up, but I have no idea when I'll have the time for that and retagging EVERY post is going to take plenty of time on it's own.

One other option is to put these label links on my About Me page instead.  That would unclutter my main page, but I wonder if it would get lost buried in another page?  Thoughts?

So give me your feedback please!  I don't want to waste my time on something that might not be used!
Thank you!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On The Subject of Facial Hair

I have to come clean.

Thus far I have painted a beautiful picture of a perfect marriage between hubs and I.  And truly, we rock at this being married thing.  We're good for each other.

But.

We have one point of contention.  Well, maybe more, but one I'm going to address today (this isn't Dr. Phil afterall!).

Facial hair.

NOT mine.  (really now?)

His.

I'm kinda not sure about facial hair.  I like goatees ok and soul patches aren't too bad.  Mustaches need to disappear off the face of the planet (sorry Tom Selleck, doesn't do anything for me).  And I've got this thing about beards.  As in, I'm not a big fan.  At least not on my husband.  I'm sure this aversion to a beard on hubs originated from the fact that my dad has a beard.  In fact, I've never known him without one.  He has NEVER shaved it off in my entire 33 years of life.

Clearly (and rightfully so in my opinion), beards are VERY paternal for me.

You can see how this would cause issues with hubs' beard.

When the hubs and I met, the first time (or actually second time... long story - I do need to share that at some point), he had long Jesus hair (no joke) and I think no facial hair.  I say I think because honestly I didn't really give him a second glance.

The second (third) time we met he was still clean shaven, but his hair was clean cut too.  Apparently this worked for me because we became inseparable then.

Little did I know that his prior little stint with growing out Jesus hair was a clue to his fickleness when it comes to hair.

Fast forward 11 years and the hair on his head has gotten thinner and thinner to the point where it's just better to shave it all off.  Trust me, this is a much better look.

Once we got the issue of the receding hairline addressed, I thought that would be it for hair conversations.

I was wrong.

The beard has begin making it's appearance more and more over the last few years.  Hubs claims laziness, boredom, and desire to totally aggravate me as the top reasons for the growth.  I think he enjoys taunting me with this way too much.  And I'm not talking a little baby beard here either.  Hubs is the kind that has a 5 o clock shadow by noon.  When he jokes about growing a Santa beard, he really could do it.  This my friends, is scary.

Hubs with a recently trimmed beard.  Imagine about 2 months worth of growth and that's what I'm looking at now.  Sigh.


I thought I had won a battle recently when I asked him when the beard was going to go away.  He replied that he was going to shave it off very soon.

Yes!

Then he smirked at me in a way where I knew he about to show his full hand.

What?  I asked.

"I think I'm going to wear a mustache"

Lord help me.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Lost Blogger

If you've followed my blog for any length of time in the last year, you've probably noticed a stark decrease in postings since December.  I've really been wrestling with a few things in my life that I finally decided I was going to deal with, instead of just ignoring.  Addressing those things has cut into my blogging time.

One of those things is my process of becoming a childbirth educator.  I received the books last Spring, and have had grand plans for my progress, but up until this month had I finished a book?  Nope, not even one.  So I've been rededicating nap time to my study time.  I've blazed through 2 books already and am on to my third.  I'm rediscovering the passion that drove me to pursue this line of work in the first place.  I actually look forward to pulling the books out now and learning new things.  But that does take away from time I normally would have spent reading blogs and writing for my own.

The other issue I've been dealing with is carving out quiet time.  I think all of us, in some form or another, need to have quiet time.  For me this time needs to be specifically devoted to reading the Bible and just sitting in God's presence for awhile.  And I have to admit that it has been a loooong time since I've really done that.  At any given moment I can think of a thousand other things that need to be done, pushing out any possibility of actually sitting down and having some quiet reflective time to myself.  A couple of weeks ago, during a period where I was feeling particularly dry and lost, I expressed my frustration to the hubs about how easy it was for him to just sit down at the table with all the chaos going on around him and still focus on God's word.  At the moment I uttered the words "I'm envious" it was as though God spoke to me clearly and said, "Did it feel good to get that out?  Are you ready to stop whining now?"  and then He showed me time I needed to devote to Him.

So I've recently reframed my days to encompass these two very important moments, and somehow in the midst of it I've lost my drive to blog.  I'm conflicted by this very much.  I adore the relationships I've created in the online world, and I so look forward to hearing from readers.  I love to read blogs and comment and validate other writers.  I desire strong connections and reciprocal relationships.  But I know now where I need to focus my energy and time, and I'm not sure how blogging fits into that.

Because let's face it, it's not very fun to put it all out there if no one reads it or responds.  We want people to hear our words and share their own.  That communicative aspect is really what drives blogs to be successful.  But is that possible if you only write every once in awhile?  I guess this is what I'm wrestling with.  If I can only write once or twice a week now (as opposed to nearly every day), and the number of faithful readers I have dwindles down, would it still be fulfilling for me?  Would it still be worth my time?  I know no one can answer that question for me, but I just wanted to throw it out there anyway.

I'm not planning to stop altogether, but I think I need to figure out what I want from this and then go from there.  :-)

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Are You A Tiger?

I'm sure by now all of you have heard about or read about Amy Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on the news or other blogs.  If you haven't, here's an excerpt from the book that was posted in the Wall Street Journal online Life and Culture section.  Do take the time to read it because I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In a nutshell Chua chronicles her own parenting journey, breaking down what she believes to be the Chinese method of parenting and why it is superior to Western methods.

There is SO MUCH to discuss with this method of parenting, I'm not sure I could even begin to scratch the surface.  As I was reading the excerpt, so many times the protesting began in my head, despite my best efforts to keep an open mind and not think as a "Westerner".

So instead of trying to digest it all here, I just want to pull out one quote in particular.  It is one that ironically, although I personally felt instant aversion to it, several of my friends and women I speak with were in agreement with.  I wanted to flesh it out here to see if I could put thought behind my initial reaction.

"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it."

 My first thought here is that that statement can't possibly be true.  Nothing is fun until you're good at it?  What constitutes fun?  What constitutes good?  The parameters here are so broad and general and yet this is the key point used to justify requiring your child to practice 2-3 hours every.single.day at an instrument that they maybe didn't even want to play in the first place.

My second thought is, I think I want my children to enjoy doing something that they aren't very good at. Princess #1, for example.  She sucked at soccer.  I mean, truly.  She tried her hardest, but she wasn't aggressive, and much preferred for someone else to have control over the ball.  But she loved it.  She looked forward to practice (as much as I loathed the 2 day a week commitment) and couldn't wait to play every Saturday in the league.  And every Saturday she would run up and down the field with a huge smile on her face, while I would sit there, praying that she wouldn't make any grievous errors like kicking the ball into her opponents' goal.  She had no idea that she wasn't any good.  She was just having, oh, what's that word?  FUN.


And finally, I think my aversion to the above quote stems from my belief that being the best at something is not the be all end all.  I just can't get behind the idea that you've got to be good (read: the best, since according to the article Chinese parents accept nothing less) at something to enjoy it and I think it's setting up an expectation that will be difficult to live up to.


I know there are so many things at play here in this book, things I can't even begin to touch.  And they are deep, foundational issues:  culture, belief systems, parental childhood experiences - all these things that are poured into how we parent and cannot be easily swayed.  I believe at the heart of it all, this author wants her children to grow into responsible, successful, compassionate, contributing members of society.  I just happen to disagree with her method of getting there.

My friends, these are just some of the rambling thoughts that have been floating in my head today.  So this post is intended to be a discussion.  I want to hear from you on this!  Respond to the quote or to the article as a whole.  

  • What are your thoughts?  
  • Do you think a person needs to be good at something to have fun doing it?  What experiences have brought you to that conclusion?  
  • Do you see value in her method of parenting?  
  • Is she off her rocker?  
  • On a parenting scale of 1-10, if she is a 10, where do you fall?  Why do you think that is?


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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shakin Her Groove Thang

Just a little fun for your Saturday morning.  Enjoy!


Untitled from planet pink on Vimeo.




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Thursday, January 6, 2011

It Takes A Special Person To Be A Christmas Baby

It means your mama was in labor on Christmas Day.
Your very first Christmas was spent in the hospital.



It means that forever you will have your siblings (and the rest of the world) open presents on your birthday.
That's sort of not fair.



It means that the days leading up to your birthday are consumed with busyness, shopping, baking, travelling...
Often that results in plans for your birthday getting lost in the shuffle.



It means that for the rest of your life when asked you will have to engage in this conversation:

you: My birthday is December 25th.

someone else:  You were born on Christmas?!

you: (sigh) Yes.  Christmas.  

(it happens you know, babies don't have calendars in utero)




It means that you will always have to share your day.
It will never just be your own.


But.


It also means that your birthday will never be forgotten.
That will be especially helpful for your future husband.



It means that you get extra special treatment
Because mommy wants to make sure that you're not overlooked.



It means extra presents.
Nothing bad about that!



And it means being birthday buddies with 3 very important people in our lives:

Jesus Christ

Great Grandpa

and Nana.



You are one lucky little lady.
Happy 6th Birthday my sweet Princess #2!
You bring so much joy to our lives.
Your smile is infectious.
Your heart is so big.
You are so loved.



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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art 101

In the last week, I've had two different sets of friends give birth to their first baby.  In the world of parenting, it's always interesting to watch reality unfold for these couples as they are first handed that slimy, squirmy, wrinkled newborn and told, "Congratulations!  Now good luck!".


Princess #3, fresh.
If you've ever had an, "Uh, now what?" moment, this is it.

The reality is, whether we like it or not, we all walk into parenting with certain expectations.  Even the expectation of having no expectations.

I really dislike unsolicited advice, so I tend to shy away from offering any myself.  But if asked, my favorite thing to say is, "Hang on tight.  Just when you think you've got them figured out, they change the rules."  And it's so true.  It pains me so much to see new parents desperately trying to fit their baby into the mold that was described in The Book, when so many times the baby is making their own mold (and breaking it in the process).

I figure bringing home a baby for the first time is like looking at a blank canvas.  I can't imagine for the life of me why a parenting couple would try to frame the masterpiece (in other words, choose a parenting style) before it's completed.  What if the frame doesn't fit?  What if it doesn't match the style of the artwork?  What if they accidentally get paint outside the frame and on the wall?  What if they just don't like the frame they've chosen once they get it home and get it on the wall?

Sometimes the most beautiful works of art don't begin with a calculated plan.  Sometimes, the artist who allows the paint to flow freely without restraints of "How To" books discovers the most honest work.

Expectations are bound to exist.  But I think true parenting beauty can be found when we allow ourselves to look beyond the expectations, past the "rules" that babies are supposed to follow, and we embrace the true work of art given to us, and build a frame that's truly worth the beauty it encompasses.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm Just Gonna Put It Out There

I am glad my girls are back in school today.

It was time.  T.I.M.E.

You will not see me posting on Facebook, lamenting the end of a beautiful Christmas break, and wondering how on earth I'll manage the day without my princesses by my side.

I am not that kind of mom.

I think that's ok.

We need our space from each other.  The princesses seem to have this idea that I am their cruise director.  And they want guidance on what to do next every.waking.minute.

This does not put me in a good mood.

Nor does it put the princesses in a good mood.  'Cause when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

I don't think this makes me a bad mom.  I used to read those status updates on Facebook and wonder what was wrong with me.  Why do I more often look forward to the first day of school rather than bemoan the fact that limitless days with my children are at an end?

The answer is simple.  Because I'm me.

As long as I'm true to me, and work within the framework that makes up my personality and character, and accept my limitations and shortcomings, we are all happy.  Because I'm not trying to "fix" me, or trying to be something I'm not.  I'm just being me.  And that's exactly who I'm supposed to be, and that's the best kind of mom I can be for my kids.  It's what they need.

Will I miss the princesses today?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I know they are growing, they are learning, they are socializing.  And they are gaining insights into the world that I cannot offer them when they are constantly underfoot, whining about being bored and begging to do something "fun".

Yes, the space is a good thing for us.  It makes our time together much happier.  Today is a good day.

My friends, have you learned to accept the kind of mom (or parent) you are?  Do you wish you were different?  How do you strike a balance between growing as a parent and yet still coming to terms with certain personality limitations?

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here's What I Just Realized:

Once I get the princesses to bed at the end of the day, I clock out.  Mentally, my work day is done.  It is almost physically impossible for me to convince myself to tackle the mountain of clothes waiting to be folded, or the dirty dishes that need to be rinsed and put in the dishwasher.  I know they're there, waiting.  And the guilt is there too.  But I just can't.  The couch and all it's relaxing splendor is too tempting to resist.

In my mind, it would be like Hubs clocking out at work and then going back to do two more hours of work off the clock.  Do you think I'd be ok with that?  Um, no.  Who would?

So I've trained myself to operate the same way.  Jammied kiddos, brushed, tucked, and snuggled.  Songs sung and prayers said.  Kisses to all and lights out.

Click.  Mommy's clocked out.  Overtime only available upon request.

PS.  Hi my friends.  I've missed you.  :-)

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