Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blanket Time

** To see an update of blanket time, click HERE!

To help with my sanity when the baby comes, I am implementing a new activity into our (normal:) daily schedule: blanket time! This has been a lot of work, but is going to be sooooo worth it! Basically, I give Karis some toys that I know she enjoys, usually sensory things like beans, linking cubes, a box of Christmas bows, etc, and instruct her to play on the blanket and not get off. This week my goal is ten minutes, and I plan to raise it five minutes every week til she can do 30 min (hopefully enough time to change and nurse the baby :) The first day I spent the whole time disciplining her for getting off the blanket, but today she played for 15 minutes without hardly looking up at me! (OK, so beans happen to be her very favorite thing in the world and she was so excited about pouring them in all the containers I gave her that she didn't want to stop :) I love this idea for so many reasons! It teaches her patience, obedience, and hopefully how to sit still better (which should help at church!) Its also really good for her to play by herself and I just love hearing her talk to the toys and interact without my help. It also makes beans and other small sensory things sooo much easier to clean up since they have to stay on the blanket :) Eventually, once the disciplining stage is over with, it will really help me to get things done or have some time with the new baby!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A good parenting resource

18 months is such an incredibly fun age. Karis is learning so many new words, doing so many new skills, and just gets cuter every day. She loves to be Mama's helper and is such a joy to take care of. But she is also getting more stubborn and defiant as she realizes that she is capable of doing so much more. I thought we dealt with first-time obedience a while back, (ha, ha) but it is definitely an on-going process! And I can definitely see areas in discipline where I have slacked off due to fatigue, traveling, or simply thinking it was a small issue and not worth the battle. All that to say, I was recently reminded of a book and website that was really helpful to me tonight as I was reading some parenting articles. The website is called Raising Godly Tomatoes and the book is titled the same. I'm going to share with you a small portion of what I read that helped me a lot, but I greatly encourage you to bookmark the site and read the articles on teaching obedience when you have the time!

"7 Quick Steps to Toddler Obedience
If you have a toddler who is old enough to understand you, and who is capable of following your instructions, you can and should teach him to obey. In almost every case, the following general steps are all it takes:

1. Watch your child and notice when he is doing something you disapprove of. Each time this happens, stop what you are doing and call him over to you. Make EYE CONTACT.
2. Tell him clearly what you expect him to do or not to do. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.
3. WATCH to see that your instructions are carried out.
4. Correct him (with some immediate, negative consequence like a firm “No”, or a small swat on the bottom) upon the FIRST refusal to obey. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.
5. Direct your child to repeat what you asked him to do, correctly this time.
6. Repeat all of the above as many times as it takes, until the child obeys with a good attitude - one of cooperativeness and willingness to obey. OUTLAST him. This is mandatory.
7. Keep your child with you and watch him diligently, correcting every future misbehavior of any kind, in similar fashion. Be CONSISTENT.
Now those are the bare bones basics. I'm going to tell you many more things to help you along the way, but if you keep your toddler with you and follow these few short steps each time there is a conflict, you’ll be well on your way to success in no time. Always remember to encourage and enjoy your child whenever he is responding well to you and living as a godly child should."

Friday, October 10, 2008

children and imagination

...just thought this was interesting and wanted to share it.

"Teresa Belton, a researcher in England, noticed something while reading a lot of stories written by children. They were boring and unimaginative. So she looked at their schedules and noticed they had very full, very exciting days. With absolutely no dead time. Which is to say, no time to daydream, to teach their minds to wander and imagine.
The problem with this habit, Belton says, is that it kept the kids from daydreaming. Because the children were rarely bored - at least, when a television was nearby - they never learned how to use their own imagination as a form of entertainment. “The capacity to daydream enables a person to fill empty time with an enjoyable activity that can be carried on anywhere,” Belton says. “But that’s a skill that requires real practice. Too many kids never get the practice.”
--summary found at worldmagblog
--original in-depth article found at The Boston Gobe

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trying Out the Maker's Diet...

No, I'm not wanting to lost weight! I've been having some pregnancy-related health issues lately which resulted in a kidney infection, so I went to both my OB and my homeopathic doc. My OB gave me an antibiotic. I hate taking antibiotics any time, but when I am pregnant, I really don't like taking them because its just hard to know if it might be affecting the baby in some way. So that's why I decided to go to my homeopathic doc. She gave me a couple homeopathic remedies and strongly suggested I do "The Maker's Diet" to get rid of all the toxins in my body. Its a safe diet that pretty much excludes all dairy, sugars, and breads for the first two weeks. But I can eat all the meats and veggies that I would want. The books claims that it helps to "stabalize insulin and blood sugar, reduce inflamation, reduce infection, enhance digestion, and help balance the hormones in your body." I was pretty leery of this diet when I first heard about it; I mean, how can a diet change do all that? But over the past year, many people in our church have done it with pretty amazing results. One of my friends got rid of thrush (a yeast infection) just by cutting out the sugars, dairy, and bread. And another successfully cleared up fibromyalgia symptoms.  And another had early onset arthritis but it doesn't bother him as much on this diet.  It might take a bit longer than the antibiotics, but it seems a lot safer so I decided to try it. Its been really tough, but I have learned a lot about cooking healthy! I made a salad dressing from coconut oil, strawberries, and lemon juice which was actually pretty good and so good for me! I think I'll continue using it even after I'm done with the diet :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Books on discipline

One of my friends recently asked me about books I would recommend on discipline and as I e-mailed her back, I thought I might as well make a post out of it :) Discipline is a HUGE issue and I have definitely tried to read as much on it as possible. But it is still a huge struggle for us. Honestly, it seems to change each month. For a a while, my toddler will listen so well and obey, and then all of a sudden, she starts disregarding our commands completely! It is amazing to us. I think part of it is because of the stages she goes through as she changes and grows, and another part is definitely our fault. I think that when she is doing well for the most part, we ease up a little and maybe let her get away with little things because she is doing so well overall... and then she starts to think she can get way with everything! So believe me when I say that we are still trying to figure it out and will welcome any comments giving us advice :) I think the main thing is to remember to be consistent, even when I am trying so hard to get something else done or when I'm too stinkin' tired to care :) Because if I ease up one day, I'll regret it the next!

But here are the best materials I have read that have helped me the most: (sorry about the different font types -- my copy and paste function is weird :)

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp -- I read this book for school and it is just awesome! It really gets to the most important part about discipline -- reaching your child's heart. It is a must read for all parents!

Don't Make Me Count to Three: a Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline by Ginger Plowman -- this is perfect for busy Moms -- its a short, fun, and easy read and has all the basic concepts from Shepherding a Child's Heart, just not as in depth

Growing Kids God's Way: Biblical Ethics for Parenting -- by Ezzo: I had heard really good things about this study (my church back home used it for a parenting study group and other friends recommended it as well, so I was excited to find it at our school's share shop. I'm still working through it, but have learned a lot already. It starts with the basics of theology and salvation as a necessary foundation, but then goes into more practical stuff on how discipline works. Its more something to read on and off for a couple of months than a one-time read, but its good info.

For young babies: Most of the other books I mentioned really deal with the heart issues in a way that I can't quite yet do with my toddler. Once she really starts talking and understanding more, than we will be able to discuss the why of discipline with her. Right now, we are just trying to get her to understand that we expect her to obey the very first time we give her a command. And the best I've read on disciplining young babies is found at THIS LINK.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kids' Health Book Review

I just finished reading How To Raise A Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert Mendelsohn and I just wanted to recommend it to all my Mommy friends. I have some issues with it -- Even though he's a doctor, he's pretty redundant in his opposition to going to the doctors in most instances and isn't all that nice to the medical field. I have some friends and family in the medical field and don't believe that they are all just out to get your money :) However, I think this book is invaualble in helping Mommies recognize common childhood problems/illnesses and gives great advice on how to handle each one. He spends a chapter on everything, from headaches to tummy-aches to fevers to vaccines. I learned so much and feel so much more confident in handling most things at home. I especially appreciated the chapter on fevers because that is really the only symptom my toddler has ever had in either of her two sicknesses. He reassured me in what I already knew, that a fever should be allowed to run its course because it is fighting the sickness. Its so hard not to pop the Tylenol, but I am determined next time to let nature take its course. He did also give tips on what to do with a high fever, but I'm not going to go into all he said; you'll have to read it yourself :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My First Birth Story!

I was 5 days overdue and wanted to see my baby so badly!!! I had actually been hoping to get her here early, and so had been walking for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours each morning for the past month! Obviously, she was quite cozy in my belly and didn't really care how hard I was working to get here out! Luckily, I had an incredible pregnancy and although I got really worn out by the end of the day, I really had not experienced a lot of the backaches, sciatic nerve, and leg pain that most pregnant women feel once they are that far along. I don't know; maybe it was because I walked so much.

That particular day, I was incredibly busy. I don't even remember exactly what all I did, but I just remember what a relief it was when I finally got in the car with Mark and sat down. I decided to go to class with Mark that evening because he was giving a presentation that I wanted to hear. Plus, I had been having contractions on and off all day long and sure didn't want to be home by myself if I went into labor! As soon as I sat down in the classroom, I saw the clock on the wall. It was 7:00 and I began timing the contractions. From the time I sat down, they were exactly five minutes apart! I didn't want to mess up Mark's presentation by getting him excited or worried, so I didn't tell anyone. I had to work really hard to not let my face show how much pain I was in! The class lasted two hours. I knew I was having regular contractions, but it was so hard to believe that I was finally in labor! It kinda felt like one of those things that you look forward to but don't really expect to actually happen :) So I went downstairs to chat with some friends and all of a sudden, my water broke! I'll not describe it, but I will say that my contractions intensified 100x over once my water broke! Needless to say, I was in shock! I was so overcome that I couldn't even find the words to tell Mark what had happened! But he figured it out soon enough and we ran home to grab our bags and soon were off to the hospital, calling everyone we knew to let them know that the time had finally come!!!

I had a great support group!  Both my parents and Mark's parents were there, along with Mark. I was soooo glad to have them in the room with me! We got to the hospital around 10:00pm and I didn't start pushing until around 9:00 the next morning, so they kept me company during that miserable 11 hour stretch. I labored without medication until about 5:00am, at which point my Mom thankfully convinced me that I wouldn't have any strength left to push if I didn't get some rest. I was unable to sleep at all because my contractions were so frequent and so strong. I had almost been awake for 24 hours at this point and was almost delirious. What an immediate relief that epidural was! It was painful to put in, but nothing near as painful as the contractions!!! Definitely worth it!!! I was finally able to doze on and off in between nurses checking me.

Finally, at 9am the nurse said that I could finally start pushing! It was truly the most exciting thing I have ever done! The nurse said that it would probably take several hours, but it just took about 1 :) I had decided to let both of the grandmothers be in the delivery room because they were so excited about their new grandbaby and I just really wanted them to be able to be there the moment she arrived! Plus, I really wanted my mom's support!

She finally came!  Undoubtedly the most exciting and emotional moment of my life!  She was waaaaayyyyy bigger than anyone expected! 8 pounds, 13 ounces and 21.5 inches long! I definitely would have had a quicker recovery if she had been early and not so big, but she was so incredibly healthy that I wouldn't change it for anything! She nursed like a champ the first time and every time after and was a fabulous sleeper. I really think it had a lot to do with the fact that she had time to grow big and strong inside me.  I am so thankful for my sweet baby girl!

As soon as they took her away to clean her up, I was immediately reminded of how hungry I was -- I hadn't eaten in about 15 hours! Note to expecting Moms, no matter what they say, unless you are like 8 centimeters already, please hide food and eat while waiting! Who knows how long it will be before they say you can push? I felt so weak from no food! But don't drink water while you are actually pushing....I begged and pleaded and was immediately sorry :)  But none of it matters now that I have my sweet baby girl!  Every bit of pain or sickness was more than worth it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finger foods!

One of my friends asked me what I feed my toddler now that she pretty much refuses to be fed by my spoon. And it is tough when all of a sudden you can't feed your baby what you've been feeding her for the past couple of months. So I thought I might as well share my suggestions and maybe some other Moms would comment and give me some new ideas! So here goes:

(This post is updated in 2009 to say that I no longer feed my babies any type of grain until after their first birthday and until they have grown their 1st year molars.  Until then, they do not have the digestive juices necessary to digest grains properly.)

--I pretty much let her try any bit of fruit, veggie, or meat (if tender) that we are eating. She doesn't like casseroles, but she loves whole pieces that she can pick up and eat :)

--avocados and egg yolks-- the doc and other books I've read all say that those are the absolute best foods you can give a baby because of all the fatty acids in avocados and the protein in eggs. The avocado cuts up nicely into chunks and she loves it. I hardboil the egg and I admit its a little messy because its crumbly, but its so good for her that I still do it. I try to get her to eat at least a half an avocado and 1 egg yolk every day. She also LOVES scrambled eggs!

Chunks of cheese

Home-made granola or cereal

Pasta swirls -- I use organic brown rice pasta swirls (Tinkyada brand) and she loves them. I usually make extra and refrigerate them and give them to her to eat while I am preparing the rest of her meal so she's not impatiently waiting for me.

banana, apple, pear, and mango chunks -- She gets excited about all of them!

kiwi chunks -- Kiwi is one of the best sources of vitamin C and like avocados and sweet potatoes, are easy to take on the road because they make their own bowl when cut in half. I just use a spoon to dip out a bite for her.

Sweet potato chunks -- I make ahead of time and refrigerate. When cold, they make great chunks for her to pick up and are a great source of vitamin A.

Grapes -- I still peel and quarter them for her and she loves them!