Monday, December 31, 2007
I was in the office, using our super-duper powerful stapler. The sound of it firing the staple through paper sounds a little like a gun shot. Jackson was in the room with me, on the floor playing with something. "That scared me!" he said the first time I used it. The next time I warned him, "Ok, Jackson, here comes the loud noise again." Bang! it went. "Oh," he said with a proud smile, "that time it only scared my eyes."
Davis: I think I want two jobs when I grow up. Actually, I think I want to quit a job.
Jackson (3 1/2yo): Let's pretend you're a good mommy and I am a Star Light.
Mommy (32yo): Ok, Jackson. (to myself) I wonder what a Star Light is? ...And hey, what did you just say?
Davis (6yo): Daddy, Mommy got into a car crash today.
Daddy: She did, huh?
Davis: ummm... (pause, think, think, think) November Fools!!
Aunt Ming, hearing a commotion from the other room said, "Jackson, are you hitting Baby Weston?" To which Jackson answered, "Not anymore!"
Friday, December 28, 2007
What fun Christmas is. Such a flurry of activity and blur of wrapping paper. In the space of 36 hours, we celebrated in three different homes: with Grandpa/ma Glover, Grandpa/ma Snodgrass, and at our own home. Here are our snaps, all jumbled together.
Our little ham (he literally poses whenever the camera comes out! It makes taking pictures of him a joy!)
At the last minute, I threw a little red bell (bigger than a choking hazard) into his stocking. It was by far his favorite thing of the day. It you are wondering, the bell is in his mouth in this picture. He is doing his best to smile around it.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
We snorkeled, swam with turtles, boogie boarded (and rinsed much sand from our bathing suits), watched the sun rise from highest point in Hawaii: you drive up from sea level to literally 10,032 feet in just 20 miles of switch-back, no-guard-rail pavement...oh and you do that before sunrise so it is pitch dark. Yes, you awake sometime before 4AM to make the 90 minute drive - but you don't do it alone. It is also freezing cold up there, so the wait is frigid, but you are treated to a lovely, lovely sunrise.
The days were fun and passed by not-too-fast, but not-too-slow. When it was time to return home, we were both ready. We missed the kids on that last day. Incidentally, I called home two times that week to talk with the big boys. The second time I called was the night before we would be home. We were taking a red-eye, so I thought I could call to say good-night to them and a happy, "see you in the morning!" You know your kids are having a good time without you when "The Ladybug Boardgame" wins out over the sweet sound of their wonderful mother's voice. Yup, neither of them was willing to come to the phone for even 30 seconds. I was glad to know that they barely noticed we were gone.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Way to go, little man. Can't believe you are working your way out of babyhood and into toddlerland. What a ride!
Oh, and Miss Nanny, give us a call when he is potty trained. We'll be home that very next day.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
But let me tell you, that you don't know the half of it.
Megan, I love you more deeply every year. I was blessed far beyond what I deserved when you were born into this world, and the Lord continues to bless me more every year because of you. I count each day we live so close as a precious one, and I consider it a privilege to get to parent next to you. You have modeled for me what it looks like to sit at the feet of the Lord and wait patiently and devote fully. Your mark on my life has made me a better daughter, sister, wife, and mother. I love you, love you, love you.
Much Love, Jenne
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I wanted to attach the file in a pdf but I can't figure out how to do it yet. So, if you want it, email me at jenne @ armworks . net and I will send it to you.
Happy Wednesday, ladies!
UPDATE: Thanks to Brenda, my list is posted on her site. you can get to it by clicking here.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
A huge and public thank you to Lori for dropping everything and staying at our house so that our sleeping boys could stay put.
An IV, CT scan and $2000 later, I have a migraine. (Who wouldn't after that anyway?!?!) Sure is fun to meet your deductible 6 weeks before the New Year and you have to start all over again. Oh well. I am thankful for my health and husband who took good care of me through the whole thing.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
"Knock it off, boys!"
"You're going to watch HOW MUCH football today?"
"I said, stop touching your brother!"
Argue. Argue. Selfish. Selfish. Me-me-me-me-me.
Well, today Ryan and I lead a portion of our church's Family Sunday School class. Our job was to lead songs and teach the group Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. You can guess, then, what our ride home from church was like. Well, actually you can't because something very different happened.
On a route we do not usually take, we were stopped at an intersection where a man with a cane, on the opposite side of the intersection, was trying to cross in the crosswalk. He walked with the severe limp of a stroke victim. Head down, his dissheveled white beard and hair kept us from seeing his face. His signal turned to the solid red hand, and he was just barely half way across. The cars waiting to turn left were stuck because he was directly in front of them. The man, in his panic, was trying in vein to keep moving forward but the harder he tried, the less cooperative his legs were. Though he was moving his legs at a furious pace, he hardly moved an inch forward. Everyone at the intersection just watched from their cars as the man struggled.
No, not everyone. My husband jumped out, jogged across the intersection ("What is dad doing? Where is dad going?" the kids asked.). The family - the whole intersection - watched Ryan kindly, compassionately and patiently take this man's arm with great dignity. "Let me help you, sir," I imagine he must have said. The man, Garrett, immediately responded and began to take normal strides and complete his walk across the street. I just sat there with profound admiration. I was astounded at the act. It is an act well within his (or anyone's) capacity, but it astounded me none-the-less. I just sat there, so thankful to the Lord that our boys could see their father demonstrate such Christ-like behavior.
Today Ryan was a living example to the kids of how we are to clothe ourselves: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Awesome. Truly awesome.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Seriously, what would it be like to hear a knock at the door and actually WELCOME that guest in without ten thousand apologies for the mess and clutter and grime in this corner and that hallway.
When piles are sprouting legs and you think you will never see the surface of that table, FLY LADY TO THE RESCUE! I think my favorite idea from the FLy Lady is her "27-Fling Boogie" where you go around your house once a day with a plastic grocery sack on your wrist and look for 27 things to throw away. Oh, and the other wonderful thing I learned from Fly Lady is how to identify and keep on top of "Hot Spots" in your house. These are the places that, no matter what, always end up with a junk pile. Once you identify what those hot spots are, you do a "hot spot patrol," taking 10-15 minutes to put away the things that have collected there so far that week/day/hour. My current hot spots (that need my attention right now, by the way) are
1. the counter next to the telephone,
2. the dining room table,
3. the top of Ryan's dresser (he may use the drawers, but I still use the top),
4. and the spot in my office just to the left of my printer/fax/copier.
I just might go set my timer right now for 15 minutes and attack those bad boys. Or I might watch my TiVo'ed episode of The Office. You know, we all have our priorities.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Angela, you have no corner on the market, my friend. I hate to "one-up" you, but really, I must share.
(just try to top that...I DARE YOU!)
Friday, November 16, 2007
There are some great resources out there from the Barnabas Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and crosswalk.com, and of course Eternal Perspectives Ministries.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
If your baby is uncomfortable (perhaps with gas pains?) when it is time to sleep, lay her on her LEFT SIDE. Did you know you can burp laying on your left side but you can't burp (without urping) on your right or on your back? It's true! Imagine what a relief it would be to a baby to JUST BE ABLE TO BURP!!
Now go ahead, drink some pop and lay down. You know you want to try it!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The popsicle sticks have each boy's name on it and are stuck to the wall with that gummy sticky stuff (is it called Sticky-Tac?). When there is one of those arguments, the kid with the stick on top gets to choose. Then I (or one of the kids) switches the sticks to that the other kid's stick is on top.
It works like a charm. Actually, it works better than a charm because now my older son "saves up" his turn for what really matters to him that day (usually being in control of the TV... he's going to be a great man someday) and defers to Jackson's wishes on van seat preference and which color of bowl he wants. Jackson has not QUITE put together Davis' logic. One day he will and I have a feeling that the stick system will outlive its usefulness. But today I have worked myself out of referee employment, and that works for me!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
But today I am a little overwhelmed by the 'tude he sports. Mostly he dishes it out when he is angry or frustrated. He crosses his little arms, gives a hard-eye look and hollars, "Well ok then, I'm NEVER gonna DO it!" Most of the time the sentence does not even make sense in the context, but in his little mind I think it makes perfect sense. The second option in his "I'm frustrated and AN-GRRR-Y" arsenol is to flop down on the floor screaming and crying like the two-year-old he no longer is. And the screams can last a long time, and he is so noisy that you can't reason with him or even ask him what the problem is. He can't hear you and you can't understand him.
I am honestly beside myself. I fast-forward to the teen years and shake in my boots. I sat alone in my car today, praying for the Lord's wisdom with this little guy. That is the very best place to go. I know the Lord will give me wisdom (enough for each day, but perhaps not a fraction more).
I am just not sure how to even help him through the frustration. Because, I know that the feeling of anger is legitimate, and you can't ask kids to stop feeling a certain way (heck, you can't ask adults!). A feeling is a feeling and you can't stop them or start them. They just exist. It is what YOU DO with the feelings that can glorify or grieve The Father.
So how do you teach a kid how to get from anger and frustration to calm response? Do you let them scream it out in their bedroom until the anger is used up or exhaustion hits? Do you get angry back (duh, no)? I have tried whispering until he is interested enough in my words to quiet down enough so we can talk. I have tried walking out of the room until he quiets down (ticks him off more and prolongs the event significantly). I have tried tickling him until he can't be angry anymore. I have tried spanking him. I have tried time-outs. I have tried... so many things.
I think I have come to the conclusion that I need to understand how anger and frustration works inside a person, and how a person who loves the Lord can bring himself down from the anger in a godly way. I need some help so I can teach my little guy some coping mechanisms for these intense responses. Any thoughts? Any resources?
You, oh Father, know my little guy better than anyone else. He is Your 'masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which You have set aside for him to do.' Give me wisdom and strength to nurture in my little guy a passion for You. Teach me to be a better parent for him. Show me my failures and successes so that I can be clear-hearted and clear-headed with him. Thank you for allowing me to parent him. Help me to lean every day on You, the perfect parent, rather than on myself.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
These days, even when I put a bigger diaper on my guy he still wakes up soaking wet - all the way through to the crib sheets and blankets. I went to buy a box of super-duper, extra absorbent, extra-EXPENSIVE diapers to alleviate these morning woes and I ran across the magic of diaper doublers. They look like the pads we wore - and hated - twenty years ago, but I promise you will LOVE THEM NOW! And here is the best part: $2.89 for this pack of 30.
And as my wonderful sister helped me realize, he is sleeping longer at night and the 5:00am wake-up has eroded...
...but as I am learning, you have to be careful what you blog. The moment you speak it into the blog-i-fied world, your children will know and they will sabotage you. My kids have been making a liar out of me all week long as they have argued more this week than they did all last month! So please, no one tell Weston about this post. ok? I am really enjoying the extra sleep.
Today I was stuggling with little Weston (11mo), to get his diaper changed. He was twisting and turning with all his strength. And he was angry that I was not letting him have his way.
He has been trying to twist his way out of diaper changes for several months now...I am trying to remember, but it has been since he was at least six months old. And the protests and have fluctuated in their intensity and frequency...we are currently in an upswing.
But today it occurred to me that these flagrant, "I don't want to do what you are making me do!" protests can actually be considered little gifts from God.
Follow me here. Have you ever wondered "when is it time to teach my child to obey?" (Of course. We all have.) As soon as they are able and have a mind to not like it, the twisting begins. Voila! You have yourself the answer.
And how do you teach it? When the protest begins, I stop what I am doing (unless I have a serious poop factor going on!) and begin to train. Give a firm "no" and pull his little arm/shoulder gently back to the changing table where it belongs. Let go and repeat as necessary - and outlast him. And here is an idea that just came to me: If you know the protest is coming, don't start the diaper change until you have laid him down and you have yourself a little training session. (I am going to try that one tomorrow!)
One of my kids was extremely persistant when it came to demanding his own way (who am I kidding? Like I can legitimately put that sentence in past-tense). I think I struggle with him in areas of obedience 5 times harder than with my more compliant child. I have learned that correction and training needs to be consistent, but you can also be creative. For diaper changes with him, I would give him a toy to play with, or sing songs or play with him to distract him from the protestation I knew would otherwise come (and of course that did not always work... often there were protests anyway... ). I figured that I had PLENTY of training opportunities with him all day long and that I did not need to (and could not possibly) fight every battle with him, so if he was distractable, I took him up on that offer. Pick you battles, pick your battles.
All that to say, I can be thankful for those diaper protests that begin so very early because it is a real in-your-face-mom window into my child's heart, so I can know what is being stored up there and what needs to be trained out. And I can see that as a real blessing.
Friday, November 2, 2007
In the mean time, Jackson was huffing and puffing (sort of like you do with a sneeze... breathe in a bit, a bit more, and a bit more...no exhales between them until your lungs simply cannot hold another molecule of oxygen... Now just add in some dramatic, cartoonish inhale sounds and you've got the picture). With that huge lungful of air, Jackson let loose on his meatballs as though trying to blow the house down. My posture, mind you, has not moved from my gentle blowing. Coming full force at the plate of spaghetti and me is all the wind and spit of a three-year-old.
"Ugh! Jackson, Mommy did NOT like that. There was lots of spit in that blow."
About 10 minutes later, his mind has come full circle and he is talking about spitting in mommy's face. "That was FUNNY!" says he.
"No, Jackson. It was not funny," says I.
"Well it was FUNNY TO MMMEEEEEEE!"
And what do you say to that? Nothing, really. Not then, anyway. Oh, but Davis had something to say about it. He leaned over to me with the back of one hand near his mouth so Jackson's ears might be shielded and whispered, "You can just ignore him, Mom."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
- Do not leave the hospital until you are taught and are very good at "burrito wrapping" your baby. Find a couple of different nurses to show you how they do it, and then PRACTICE A TON at the hospital. You will need this skill.
- Remember (And this is related to #1) that your little sweetie just came from a cramped little place, where she felt incredibly secure. When you put baby into the crib, your baby will feel most secure (and therefore sleep better) when you can mimick the security of the womb. Burrito wrap her, then use a receiving blanket, folded up to look like a long, flat snake, and tuck that around her head tightly, and then put a firm, rolled up blanket on either side of her. (This image shows the "flat snake" and buritto wrap.)
- Begin super early (like in the first 2 weeks of life outside the womb) to allow baby to cry in her crib, both to go down to sleep and when awaking. A decent rule of thumb is allow her to cry for one minute for every week she has been home from the hospital. She needs to learn to self-soothe and she needs to be taught how to sleep. If you are too quick to go in, you might actually interrupt a sleep cycle...she might be "crying out" but not actually awakening.
- (Related to #3) I always used a timer because I really hated letting my babies cry. That timer gave me a mental break because I knew when it was time to go get by baby. I would hear that cry and immediately go set the timer. You would be amazed how often baby falls back asleep...hint hint...baby was apparently not ready to be awake!
- Especially in those first couple of weeks, put baby to sleep in her crib before she is tired. This gives her the chance to enjoy (because she is not too tired to enjoy it) being all bundled in her crib, looking around a bit and quietly drift to sleep all by herself.
- If baby is not comfortable sleeping on her back, try her on her side.
- Start each morning at the same time, which will usually mean waking baby up. It feels impossible, but it pays huge dividends.
- Sleep begets sleep... the better your baby sleeps at naps, the better the night sleep she will get. It is completely counter-intuitive, but starving your baby of sleep will not a better night-sleeper she make. Trust me.
- If you think that getting your baby to sleep through the night is all about YOU wanting YOUR night's sleep, think again. Your baby needs that solid uninterrupted sleep way more than you do. So don't play yourself the martyr, thinking that you are doing what's best for the baby if you get up at night whenever she "needs you." By 10-12 weeks, what she really needs is sleep. So do the right thing and begin to teach her to sleep through the night as soon as Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child says to.
- The best baby book out there to teach you how to teach your baby how to sleep (did you follow that?) is Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Read it and reread it. And then read it again. It is an incredible reference, and it does not make judgments upon families for the choices they make: co-sleeping, family bed, cry-it-out, no-cry method. No judgments (how refreshing). You just get his research findings in an easy-to-swallow writing style.
- Did I mention Heathy Sleep Habits Happy Child?
What would you add to the list?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I cannot say they never argue, but I can say that it is a weekly, not daily or hourly occurrence. They play nearly all day together without incident. I am so thankful for the friendship these two have thus far in their little lives, and I pray that Weston is included in this blessing and that it continues "foreverly-long" into adulthood.
Lest you think too much of me or Ryan and our ability to parent, I think it has mostly to do with prayer, some to do with personality, and only a touch to do with parenting.
But I was wondering what you have done to foster friendship between your kids? One intentional thing I did starting when Jackson was about 12 months and ending when he was about 2 1/2 (you know, that period of time when kids are difficult to play with because they don't understand - or are not well-versed in - concepts such as and sharing and "don't knock down brothers blocks," and "don't intentionally or unintentionally destroy the train track brother just built," and so on, was do my best to protect Davis and Jackson from each other. While Jackson was still learning, I was careful to not expect too much of Davis. (Ah ha, let me explain...)
Imagine folding an entire week's worth of laundry, only to have your toddler come over and find it a fun game to throw it all over the room. And then imagine that happening everyday, several times a day for about 18 months. (You might not have to do too much imagining here!) Anyway, I thought it was asking too much of Davis to constantly put him in this position. (Heck, it was almost too much to ask ME to be in that situation.) So I rescued Davis from little brother, with the express intention of preserving their relationship. I knew that the season of (mostly unintentional) destruction would not last forever, and that if I could prevent the resentment that would likely build, it would pay off.
A note on training: With my sweet Jackson, he gave me PLENTY and NUMEROUS opportunities to train him in obedience, so I chose not to pick this as a battle, because my higher goal there was to preserve a precious friendship.
Now at six years old, Davis is well able to handle the frustrations of playing next to little Weston Drake (who is approaching one). He has skills to think through how he could play differently since brother is there, he knows all about moving to a new place to play the same thing, and he knows how to put his own desires aside for the sake of someone else's. Jackson, however, is still learning these skills so I have began to do the same thing for Jackson & Weston's relationship.
Jackson is a bit more of a firecracker, so I have had to employ some additional training tools, like setting the timer for "Weston playtime," where Jackson can learn to play a little longer each week next to/with Weston, sharing his beloved cars with him and patiently showing him how to play too. Jackson is so much more willing to share those cars if he knows there is an end in sight. And when that timer dings, I swoop in and preserve that relationship, rewarding Jackson for his kindness and patience, and preventing Weston from getting knocked in the head with a metal double-decker Matchbox bus.
I pray that this preserves their relationship so that when both boys are a little older, they will be free to play and play and play together, like bestest friend brothers. Just like Davis and Jackson.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
When the kids act like little stinkers, it is easy to say "no" to whatever they want. And when money is super tight I may not want to say "no," but our hands are tied: the answer is "no" whether a heart string is pulled or not. But sometimes they are good, and sometimes we do have a couple of dimes to rub together.
So I am in search of wisdom: how to walk that middle-class line, where you could afford this or that, but are just not sure how often to say yes and when to draw the line.
But you know where this is headed, don't you? If I decide to teach my kids about how to be a good steward of money (theirs and dad's), I might have to evaluate MY OWN spending wish list long before I take a gander at my kids'.
Authenticity. Oh ick. I have to live out something difficult in order to teach them something. I can't exactly tell them "no" to that train table they have drooled over for half their lives and then leaf through that Pottery Barn catalog and order up a new couch.
Here is what I am thinking the steps are to get this whole notion moving.
- Think through what kind of consumers I want them to grow up to be
- Think through what kind of consumer I am modeling
- Compare that to God's standard
- Modify modify modify. (Me.)
- Read up on the "wiser-older's" ideas
- Come up with a way to show the kids what Daddy and Mommy think about when we spend money
- Involve them in it - so opportunities to talk about money come up in new ways
- Let the kids earn money/receive an allowance so they begin to learn to manage their money in light of everything new they are absorbing.
Well, I have the child labor/dime-a-chore part going on already, but I see I have some work ahead of me. I am off to start on my list. If you have any thoughts or resources, pass them on!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Kind, careful, correct. He has been that way every day of his six-year old life.
He takes "right and wrong" seriously. You very well might find him out playing football with Jackson, but prepare to hear his patient yet corrective tone when Jackson makes up the rules as he goes along. "No, Jackson, that's not the right way to play..."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
But something pulls me in.
It is my desire to be a more contemplative mom. What better place to contemplate than in front of the entire wired world?