Monday, December 31, 2007

The family funnies of 2007

Nov 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

Christmas 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.

At Grandma & Grandpa Glover's house

At our home

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.

Cousin Jenna and a bit of her purple splendor. We had to convince her to take the gloves off a number of times so that she could function (i.e. open gifts, eat her dinner, put her shoes on). It's tough to do much of anything with slipppery gloves on. But one thing is for sure, SHE LOVED THEM!

A favorite gift of Jackson's was a football helmet and uniform (Seahawks, of course). I had to convince him to remove it to go to bed that night. He is our little football fanatic. Today he woke up asking when he could play tackle with Daddy. It is going to be a long 9 hours until daddy gets home!

Davis, with a winning smile, loved everything inside his stocking...especially the oraanges!

An event worth noting, we took a staged picture of Grandma and Grandpa Snodgrass with the grandkids (we never do that!).
It was a good Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mercy Peaches

This is my grandmother (isn't she gorgeous?). My grandfather married her when I was about 4 years old. He passed away about three years ago, but Grandma Jeanette helps us keep him alive in our hearts through thoughtful cards, notes and stories.
I have always loved Grandma, but recently I have gotten to know her better - adult to adult. She is warm, thoughtful, energetic, and terrifically creative. She also has a deep faith in the Lord. I love to listen to her talk about the Lord's faithfulness and goodness. And He really is faithful and good. Can I tell you a short story?

On September 9th, after canning peaches Grandma was driving down the street when she somehow missed seeing a stop sign. She blew through it and was hit by an oncoming car. The accident was powerful, breaking her wrist very badly and totalling both cars. When her car came to a stop after the impact, there were peaches in her lap. She looked up at the car's ceiling and all around her were shards of mason-jar glass that had sunk into the interior. Miraculously, not one piece of glass hit her. When we heard of the accident and learned of how the Lord really protected her from so much more harm we were so thankful for the Great Mercy of the Lord.

Yesterday, Grandma brought us a little Christmas gift - including one jar of peaches, salvaged from the horrible crash. She was so apologetic that there was only one jar- just enough for one meal, really. I smiled at her, held up the jar and replied, "These are mercy peaches, and I'll take them however I can get them."
Merry Christmas, Grandma Jeanette. And thank you, Grandpa Bob, for marrying her into our family.

Monday, December 17, 2007

We're BACK!!

Ryan treated me to 7 nights of Hawaiian sun and surf last week in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary. The kids were well taken care of, so I enjoyed every minute of our time away. A friend asked me what my favorite part of the trip was. How do you boil eight wonderful days down to one moment? You can't. So my answer was, "the three-hour nap I took on day four." "YOU WENT TO HAWAII FOR A NAP??" she replied. Yes, I did. It is great to wake up from a nap in Hawaii.

A few other highlights... When we arrived, Hawaii was experiencing the largest storm it had seen in 22 years. Winds were 10 miles-an-hour short of hurricane force. The vacationers who had been there a week had not seen the sun once. The most ritzy part of the island was flooded out and without electricity. Our first morning (we arrived late, late and in the dark) we awoke to waters that had been churned into a brown mess (and notice the wind-blown palm trees):

But by the next day, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset, with winds that had begun to return to normal:

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 Weston!

I called home today (Ryan and I are on a romantic get-away) to discover that Weston waited until the day after we left to become a walker. You stinker!! And, I have been told, you are mastering the stairs. Our own SuperNanny said that you get half way down the stairs and can't figure out if you are going up or you squawk about your stuck-ed-ness until you are rescued.

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

Happy Birthday Megan!!

It's my sister's birthday today. She is 28 years old. Most all of you that read my blog know Megan better than you know me, so you know very well what an amazing woman she is.

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.

Happy Birthday.
Much Love, Jenne

Monday, December 3, 2007


Our back yard is looking a bit different today. This is a picture as of 10:00 AM, Monday. You can see the difference between this shot, and our blog header.

Now, where is that flood insurance paperwork...

Second Installment

Wild Hair, snotty nose and all, I love this kid.
I guess my children have a real knack for snotty noses. The snot bubble hanging from Weston's one-year-old mouth is enough to make you gag. But at least he is happy. And yes, the camera came out before the Kleenex, but not by much. My carpet has been recently cleaned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW - Winco Shopping List

Well, I have a tool that I have been using for a couple of years. It is a blank shopping list for the devoted Winco shopper like myself. Each section is for a different aisle of the store, and it goes top to bottom, left to right in the order that I shop, starting with produce, through meats & cheeses, to dairy, then back and forth through the non-perishable goods aisles. It sure makes shopping quicker and I rarely need to backtrack through the store because I forgot something.

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


I got myself my very first migraine this week. I do not recommend them if you can help it. Of course we did not know that it was a migraine, and it came on suddenly, with vision impairments, dizziness and off we went to the ER, to make sure I was not having a stroke or something.

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

Clothe Yourselves...

It is not too uncommon for our family to enjoy a wonderful morning at church, you know, learning to be more Christ-like, but the moment we get in the car the lessons to which we have just nodded our heads over in eager agreement go out the window in favor of the fruits of the flesh:
"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

Fly Lady Reflections

I just love the Fly Lady. She taught me so much about keeping my house a home. If you have never done the Fly Lady thing, hop on over to her website and check it out. It is for those of us that are overwhelmed by the task of keeping the house tidy. It is for those of us who need three days notice before houseguests come (so that we can get 36 hours worth of babysitting and do nothing but scrub and declutter top to bottom). It is for those of us that are perfectionists at heart, but instead of keeping a perfect house, we see that there is no way we can be perfect, so we give up before we start - and the house ends up in shambles.

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

Oh, Isn't He Precious!

Before you scroll down, you ought to jump over to Angela's post on ugly baby pictures so that this makes sense.

Angela, you have no corner on the market, my friend. I hate to "one-up" you, but really, I must share.

And now,
I present to you
the winner
of this year's
circa June 2005

Ta Da!!

(just try to top that...I DARE YOU!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids and Allowances

So now you know the train table story, and you know that it lead me to think more carefully about how and what we were teaching our kids about money. I have sat down several times to write this post and I have to admit that no matter what, it always comes out like an overcooked turkey: painfully dry. No one wants to read a boring post (the least of which is me!), so to save you all from such a lot, here is just my "ah-ha moment," and a couple of links if you are interested in learning more:

The purpose of chores is to teach kids responsibility and contribution to the family.
The purpose of allowance is to teach kids how to handle money.
Working to earn money is another lesson in and of itself.

There are some great resources out there from the Barnabas Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and, and of course Eternal Perspectives Ministries.
Happy linking!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A small Sleep Tip addition

I was re-reading my sleep tips and realized that I have one more:

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

WFMW - Sibling Arguments

My kids were arguing about ridiculous things (ridiculous to an adult, anyway), like who would sit closest to the baby at the breakfast counter, who got to choose today's TiVo program, who got to sit in the preferred van seat, and so on. You know, there are some disagreements that require character development and training and other that just need a quick solution. I was worn down of being the referee on this one, and so I came up with this:
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

What started it all

You see to your right, the picture of what started it all. You might remember that not too long ago I was wondering how to avoid spoiling my kids. I have been doing some research and have found some interesting and helpful information that I am excited to share with anyone who takes the time to read it. That post will come soon. But first, I thought it fun to tell the story of what started it all... It was a dark and stormy night... we were minding our own business when suddenly, out from nowhere jumped the most terrifying sight a mother has ever seen: the Christmas Toy Aisle at COSTCO!! (OHHH the horror!!) Like a deer in headlights, I froze. Run! Run! I shouted to myself. But it was too late. My children saw it too.
Davis, my six-year-old train fanatic, asked for it for Christmas (to which I responded, "You never know what will be under the tree. That is a pretty expensive gift, though." He took that to mean, "No" and cried all the way home. And it was the kind of quiet cry that kids do that makes you empathize with their plight. The kind of cry they try so hard not to show you because they know they are too old to cry about things like this. The kind of cry that pulls at your heart like the sun's gravity to the orbitting planets.
The short version of the story from this point is that he decided that THIS was what he would be saving his money up for next. The last time he committed to saving up for something, it was a $40 item (Thomas the Train's Clock Tower). He saved up for that thing for more than a year. He worked so hard. His saving's focus never altered. I think he made it all the way to $15. He finally gave up and asked to go to The Learning Palace where he looked longingly at the toy he tried so hard to save up for and then chose to go ahead and buy something else less expensive. I think he quietly gave up, though he was a trooper about it. That following Christmas, the Clock Tower was under the tree and you have never seen a happier kid.
So now, he wants to save up for Costco's Train Table, priced at a "reasonable" $130. Now you know exactly what I was thinking: "That poor kid is NEVER going to save up enough money in time." By Thanksgiving the toy aisle will be replaced with spring bulbs and patio furniture. And to save $130, at $1 per week (1/3 to giving, 2/3 to savings/spending), would take 197 weeks to save up for. That's almost 4 years!
So you see my quandry. I could dash is hopes and tell him to not bother. I could encourage the little chap to work his tail off to save as much money as he can from now until he is ten, in hopes that the Train Table is still carried by Costco. Or I could match dollar for dollar what he saves so that it only took two years of blood, sweat and tears (sure hope Costco still carries it). Or I could guearantee that he get it by buying and hiding it until he earned enough so that we did not have to deal with the devastation that would come in June of 2011 with FINALLY earning enough only to go to Costco and see that the Table is no longer there. Or, I could just buy it for him for Christmas. Oh. this is a lose-lose situation. To make matters worse, Ryan recently confided to me that he does not want any more Thomas stuff purchased: we have plenty!
I actually have a happy ending to this story. It happened about a month later (yesterday). Once Davis realized that having a train table would take up lots of floor space and that whenever he built on the table he would be very restricted on how big the track could be (he currently builds his tracks on the wide open floor of the playroom), he decided that he would find something else to save up for. Today he brought me one of the little fold-out marketing tools that comes inside a Thomas toy and shows every toy the company makes (he has saved it since last Christmas and it has been folded and unfolded so many times that it is ready to fall apart into 24 equally-sized squares). "Here is what I want to save up my money for, Mom. The Sodor Scrub and Shine. How much is that one?" We looked on the computer and found our new savings goal is now only $40. So I fully expect to make a trip to The Learning Palace in the next two years to pick up one of those bad boys.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Coppin' a 'Tude

Do you have a child that gives you a run for your money? I do. He was the kind of kid that when you gave him the choice, "Are you going to obey or disobey?" he would look you in the eye and say, "disobey." I could not believe that he would rather have a spanking than submit his will to me. I was encouraged that, after a year, his answer started to (ocassionally) be "obey."

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

WFMW - Diaper Doublers

Can a Safeway product be a Work For Me Wednesday? (Who makes these rules, anyway?)

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.

Diaper Changing Wigglies

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

Dinnertime chatter

I do just love paying a little closer attention to my kids' chatter. Today at dinner, Jackson's meatballs were too hot so he asked me to blow on them. So like the dutiful mother I sometimes am, I got my face nice and close to those steaming balls of meat (which were slathered in marinara) and gave a few gentle blows.

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 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.

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

Sleeping Tips for the New Mom

I just went to a baby shower, where I gave the same thing I give EVERY first time mom: the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. But this time, I included in the card a short list of my best sleep advice. I thought it would be fun to include it here.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.)

  3. 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.

  4. (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 was apparently not ready to be awake!

  5. 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.

  6. If baby is not comfortable sleeping on her back, try her on her side.

  7. Start each morning at the same time, which will usually mean waking baby up. It feels impossible, but it pays huge dividends.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Did I mention Heathy Sleep Habits Happy Child?

What would you add to the list?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bestest Friends

There are some things that really must not go unnoticed. Like, for example, how God has faithfully answered my prayer that Davis and Jackson would be the best of friends.

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

Does anyone mind if I spoil my kids?

Yeah, I thought so. And really, I don't want them to be spoiled. But I have to be honest, my kids pull at my heart strings. And when they earnestly desire something, I do earnestly desire to get it for them.

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.
  1. Think through what kind of consumers I want them to grow up to be
  2. Think through what kind of consumer I am modeling
  3. Compare that to God's standard
  4. Modify modify modify. (Me.)
  5. Read up on the "wiser-older's" ideas
  6. Come up with a way to show the kids what Daddy and Mommy think about when we spend money
  7. Involve them in it - so opportunities to talk about money come up in new ways
  8. 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

Meet the Family

Jack, our "middle boy," goes first.

Silly, sweet, sincere. He is a bundle of three-year-old boy energy. He is creative and cuddly.

Minutes after meeting you, you will be invited to play a rousing game of tackle football. He does not want to pass the ball, he wants you to wrestle him to the ground and yet fail to actually get the ball from his grip.

First Born, Davis.

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..."

The Baby. Weston Drake.

Content, Quiet, Cute. Except for middle of the night diaper changes and need for a bottle, this kid is the ideal baby. (I have heard that the third child is often like that at first, but then something is unleashed. This remains to be seen in our little guy.)

Watch out if you are a man wearing shorts. Weston sees those leg hairs and things, "Great handles! I think I'll pull up to standing using them."

Ryan. The Man I married.

Determined, delightful, dashing, dynamo. I have grown to love him more every year. it has been ten years since we said "I do." Ten wonderful years. In the past 5 years he has amazed and impressed me with his drive and determination to make his dreams come true. I love watching it happen!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The blogging effort begins...

I have purposefully avoided blogging, knowing that it would either be like scrapbooking - always behind, always feeling guilty, or would become my latest obsession causing me to neglect the children I would certainly write so much about.

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?