Friday, December 31, 2010

Heaps and Heaps of Soup

It feels as though everyone I know, including many in this house, are sick. Sick with the flu, colds, coughs...

I was out and about the other day and my little one was coughing. A lady looks up at me, shrugs her shoulders and says "'tis the season". Blah. I am not a fan. 

During the "Season", I am so busy making sure that our Christmas is ready, traditions are being upheld, presents are being crafted that I just do not have the time to focus on helping others heal.  But I want to have time.

So I have thought it over and I have a solution.  Next year, the week or so after Thanksgiving, I will make heaps and heaps of soup and freeze it.  That way when I hear a friend is sick I can grab a loaf of crusty bread from the bakery and hop over with some frozen soup.

This idea makes me happy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Pray for Parking Spots

I used to often feel guilty about my prayers.  The request, needs and desires.  How could they be serious when there are so many people needing so much more.

But here is the kicker for me.

God wants to make himself known to me.  He wants me to know his goodness, kindness and unspeakable love no matter where I am at in life. He wants me to see that He is in the big things as well as the small, ordinary things.  He cherishes all of His children. Rich, poor, lost, found, hurting, rejoicing, sick, well.

All of us.

When I realized this, I stopped feeling guilty.

As a mother, he meets me where I am to show me His beauty. If that means helping a poor, tired, worn-down mama out, He will provide. Even if it is in a simple request, such as one for a parking spot.

As my mother once did, I now pray for parking spots. You see, she also believed that He is in the small things. The prayers of my mother ring so true to me now.  I can vividly remember my mother praying out loud, asking Jesus to provide a parking spot for us and more often than not he would...right up front.

You see, my mom was a hard-working, determined, mother of four that was so faithful to Him, and for that, He was faithful to her.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We are not those people

The lights are still hung.  The trees are still up.  The decorations are still displayed.  This season comes but once a year. We will joyfully allow it to stick around. Reminding us of that special day. Full of excitement, wonder, worship, giving, receiving, love and so much more!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Date Day


A simple date.  One to buy daddy and baby brother Christmas presents.

She gave the destination. Kmart.

She gave the goal. A blue hammer for daddy and a toy for baby brother. 

She showed me that she has a creative, giving heart.


She made me one proud mama.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mama's Opinion: Joovy Caboose Ultra Light

If I said I was a minimalist I would be lying. Truth is, I have six (SIX!) strollers, five of which get frequent use. Generally, I have three strollers in my car at one time, and most often I use them all within a week's time. And if I had to choose one I would not be able to. I could choose two...maybe. As time goes on I will fill you in on my opinions of all my strollers, but for now I will give you insight on my #2 stroller...

We are a busy family. We are on the go, we don't stay home often. When I have both kiddos in tow I like to pull out our Joovy Caboose Ultra Light. This stroller allows me to strap in my little guy while letting Little Girl run around and then hop on for a ride as she pleases. The basic sit and stand idea allows for flexibility for the older child, which is super important at this stage.

 This stroller is great because:

    • It is slim and not overly long
    • The awesome sun canopy allows for both kiddos to be covered equally
    • The great snack tray for the "sitting" child is easily reached and fits most sippy cups. (It is amazing how many snack tray's do not fit most sippy cups!)  
    • It is light weight in comparison to other double strollers
    • The variety of amazing colors available
    •  
      In the future I would encourage Joovy to improve the maneuverability of this stroller. I find that this stroller is stiff and a bit hard to maneuver around tight corners.  I would appreciate a more flexible wheel base with a less ridged handle bar.

     *I was not compensated for this opinion in any way.  I just wanted to tell you about it.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    How Does Santa Fit in?

    Little Girl is at that age.  An age where the wonder and excitement of Christmas is real and passionate.  We want her to know why Christmas has wonder and excitement.  We want her to know that it is a very very special birthday.  A birthday for our Savior who came to earth as a tiny baby.

    How does Santa fit into all of this?

    We are still trying to figure it all out.  Santa is exciting and elusive, but does he overshadow the real meaning? Could it be that Jesus choose Santa to be the one to deliver His birthday presents to us, as His gift to us (as in the real story of St. Nick)?  Is Santa just something she will enjoy while she is little, too little to grasp the real meaning of Christmas perhaps?  Regardless we will strive to teach her about that precious baby, a baby that came to save us!

    These are questions I am still pondering...

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Asleep on the Hay...

    Photo courtesy of www.awhush.com
    "Sing me the song you sang me last night," she so graciously requested as I tucked her into bed tonight. As I sang Away In the Manger, she grew quiet and still. As I repeated the chorus, she turned to me with a deep, profound sadness in her eye. Suddenly she burst into tears, not normal “I do not want to go to bed” tears, but big welling tears with the heaves of sobs. I questioned her, while stroking her hair, "What, what is wrong? Why are you crying? Are you okay?" My mind full of question marks. Why was she so sad? I was utterly confused. Then it came slowly and sadly..."He had to sleep on the hay! He should NOT have to sleep on hay! Why does he not have a crib? (more sobs) He was all alone!" I laid there rubbing her back, cuddling her, not sure of how to answer, with tears starting to stream down my face. I assured her that Baby Jesus was indeed not alone. That his mommy and daddy were there, that many came to see Him, to worship Him. More questions came. "He was with animals, why animals? Did they bite him?" Again, I assured her that he was fine. "But he was on HAY!" This continued for awhile and she then began to settle. 

    My heart was broken by the sadness that she was feeling, but so touched by the pure emotion that this little three-year-old expressed. She loves her Lord Jesus so much that the fact he had to sleep on the hay just broke her little heart. Oh to have the eyes and ears of a child...

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    My little Rockstar

    She sings. All. The. Time. I love it.

    I love to hear her singing away in her bedroom, in the car, or just about anywhere.

    She is my little rockstar. She sings away to her music or makes up her own tune. It's wonderful to hear her joyful heart through her little voice.

    All she really wants for Christmas is a guitar.

    I am excited to see her up on her "stage" (aka fireplace hearth) strumming on her guitar, singing into her microphone.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Why?

    Watching your little one screech in pain is not easy. Ever.

    There are things I understand must happen in a young child's life that are not fun. Growing pains for example.  These just have to be. You must grow to thrive. You must experience pain to grow (in many ways).  

    But let's talk about teething. I just do not understand. I often say that my first question to the Lord when I get to see Him will be "WHY??" Why must these poor innocent little babies experience the pain of breaking teeth? I keep going back to Genesis when Eve ate the fruit and things then took a turn for the worst. Thanks Eve. Seriously though, pain in childbirth...okay, but the pain of teething?

    Why? Why must infants suffer? Does this help form them to be stronger toddlers, children and adults? One can only wonder. 

    I hate seeing my baby in pain. Especially when there is really nothing that can help him. Oh the frustration!

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    The Foundation of Thankfulness

    There are times, as a mother, that your heart melts into a puddle of joy. When you know your hard work is paying off. When you see a reflection of what you are hoping to embody in your little one. I work to set an example of thankfulness for my children. I fall short often but strive consistently to be thankful for what we have been given. Thankfulness sets a strong foundation in the lives of little ones. A foundation that will be built upon for years and years.

    Often Little Girl looks up at me, and simply states "Thank you mom". Not after a cue or direction, but on her own. It's a simple, expected, gesture and response. She knows to say it not only because we taught her, but because she means it. It's the gratitude behind her words that melts me. I am so proud of her, proud of the little girl she is becoming. There is so much more for her to learn, understand, and exemplify, but this is the ground work, the foundation upon which we can build. Much more work is to be done, but I know that the foundation is strong and for that I am thankful.

    As Little Guy gets older I see how the teachable moments can get lost in the rush of the day. Having two kiddos is a whole different ball game. But I want this joy brought to my heart from him, too! I want to teach him the Fruits of the Spirit. I want him to be grateful and kind, and he will be. I want that foundation to be firm for him as well. But I need to be here. In the moment. Teaching him daily. Even this early on, to say please and thank you. To begin to understand what it means to be thankful. 

    I need to focus more on this, it was easier to do with just one child. But I will. Because these are the things that matter. The things that form my children into the respectable human beings that I desire them to be.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Mama's Opinion: The Little Lasso

    Do you find it utterly annoying when you buy your wee one an awesome toy just to find out that it has fallen out of the stroller and is nowhere to be found?  I do.  Or how about when the sippy cup falls onto the nasty parking garage floor?  Yuck.

    Before Little Guy, I came across The Little Lasso on a daily deal site and thought I would give it a shot.  It seemed useful, was a great price, and it was stinking adorable! I am so glad I did.  
     
    The practicality of this product is awesome. No longer are we loosing precious teethers and toys.  I am also bending over less to pick something up off the floor. Have you tried bending over with a baby strapped to your back?  Not so easy.  When your little one drops something you can bet The Little Lasso will be right there holding on tight. It is machine washable, incredibly durable and can be strapped onto almost anything.  The company provides a number of different stylish fabrics which help assure this will be mama's new favorite baby accessory!  
     
    The price of $21.95 may sound a bit steep, but if you keep your eyes open this product does show up on a daily deal site every now and then. Even so, if you calculate how much you spend on teethers, cups and toys that generally fall to their fate, it will probably pay for itself in time.  

    In my opinion, The Little Lasso rocks.  Try it, my bet is you will love it.


    *I was not compensated for this opinion in any way.  I just love this product so much I wanted to tell you about it. 

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Thursday Date Day

    Little Girl had been showing signs of needing some extra special one-on-one mommy time.  Excitement built as I told her that I had a very special treat for her on Thursday.  I had been hearing that the new movie Tangled was a hit and wonderful for little kids.  I was excited to take her.  Just watching a little one experience something for the first time is captivating.  I love taking her to do new things.  Seeing a movie in a theater is still new to her and this would be just her second time.   

    Little Girl was eagerly waiting for me as I drove up to get her from preschool.  We headed downtown to have lunch and walk to the theater.  Luckily, we were the only ones there and it was great to have the theater all to ourselves so we could chat away during the movie!  I was impressed by how much she recalled from Rapunzel and we were able to talk about the "good" and "bad" things going on in the movie.

    As the credits started to roll, the music started rockin, it was time to dance.  Running down to the front of the theater we spun, swayed and shook it.  We danced 'till the music stopped and then danced some more.  Ah, memories in the making.   Bliss.

    The passion I have for this little life, the love is so deep, strong, pure. Watching her grow, develop and experience some of the "perks" life has to offer...oh, I will cherish this time forever!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Today

    Today was one of those days.
    Cold, crisp, beautiful morning.
    Happy kiddos.
    Checking things off the list.
    Enjoying time with mom.
    Doing some shopping.
    Visiting with old friends.

    and then it hits...

    Nap time does not go off so well.
    Knees are scraped.
    Teething babes are not so thrilled with life.
    Husband gets home late.
    Dinner gets cold
    and
    it all just.piles.up.

    But really...

    Tired wee ones are cared for.
    Scrapes are cleaned, kissed and bandaged.
    Babes are strapped in the backpack and calmed.
    Dinner is served (albeit an hour and a half too late).
    Littles are tucked in.
    Calm arrived.

    It was a great day.  A normal day.  A frazzled day.  A wonderful day. 

    Thank you Lord for today.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Mama's Opinion: Anglecare Movement and Sound Monitor

    Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is stressful. For me, sleep was hard.  I was concerned.  I would check on my baby a million times over, just to make sure she was breathing.  She was sleeping peacefully, so why couldn't I?  I tried having her in our bed, but then I was concerned about rolling on her and still I could not sleep. 

    I was a confident new mother, but when it came to her sleep I was a wreck.  I read enough about SIDS to know that it was serious and real.

    I then got my hands on the Anglecare Movement and Sound Monitor.  It was the first night of peaceful sleep I had had since I left the hospital.  It saved my life as a mother and allowed me to rest.

    Slip the Sensor Pad under the mattress and it observes your baby's breathing for you.  If 20 seconds pass without your baby moving an alarm will sound.  We did have a few false alarms that made me jump out of my skin, but once we had the sensitivity set right it was perfect.

    The monitor can be purchased with a number of different configurations.  Our monitor came with the Sensor Pad, Nursery Unit and Parent’s Unit. I did try to use the Parent’s Unit a number of times but found that there was quite a bit of static and interference. Since I purchased my monitor, Angelcare has expanded their product line and updated a few features.  They now have a movement only option allowing for the use of a better sound monitor if necessary.

    I highly recommend this product to any mama with a new baby!


    *I was not compensated for this opinion in any way.  I just love this product so much I wanted to tell you about it.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Individual Attention

    As a mother, life can get busy. Our attention is stretched so many directions, often the one-on-one face time a child needs can get lost in the bustle. The everyday actions of being with our children, nurturing them, playing with them, feeding them, and heck, even dancing with them are great expressions of how much we love them. But I want more for my children. I want them to understand that I love and appreciate them as an individual. I desire to know my children, separately.    

    I value what my children have to say, and want to give them the freedom to say it. When Little Guy was born, it was very evident that although I was spending quite a bit of time nurturing and caring for Little Girl, she needed more.  She needed me to sit down, look at her in the face, and be there, just for her. She longed for my undivided attention without a baby on my hip to know that I was listening to her. She may be three, but she has things to say. And when Little Guy is older, I want to give him the same attention. 

    In our home we have "Mommy/Daughter Date Day".  On Thursdays, I pick Little Girl up from preschool and we head off for our "date". I do not feel like the act of what we do is the important part, but being together is what really counts. It's that time. My undivided attention.

    Check back each Thursday to hear what Little Girl and I did for our date that day.  It's great bonding time and I encourage you to give it a try!

    How do you handle paying attention to your children individually? Do you have any sort of special "individual" time carved out for your children?