Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Family Holiday Traditions

I love traditions.  To the point that I yearly wear my red socks when I decorate the Christmas tree while listening to Bing Crosby.  (Sidenote: I recommend the Christmas Swing Station on  I have been pondering traditions to start in our new little family. 

For instance, on Easter Sunday morning, we'll dye three batches of pancake batter different bright colors with food dye and have a big colorful pancake breakfast!  Thanks Abby Knorr for the idea and the photos.  Now I need a tradition to commemorate the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus when he washed away our sins by his grace.  Let me know if you think of one. 

For Christmas, I already have plenty of secular traditions that I hold dear and plan to continue, but I was specifically pondering a tradition for remembering the "reason for the season" = the birth of Jesus Christ.  We will set out a little nativity scene in a prominant spot in our home and place advent candles in the center of our table.  Every evening, we will light them (adding one each week) and read the Christmas story divided into short segments then discuss during dinner.  Since we'll blow the candles out nightly, the children will also draw a picture of the candles on butcher paper to hang on the wall.  Each Sunday they will color in one flame so that even when our candles are blown out, they are still burning. 

The night we light the last candle will call for a big celebration of some sort- I need to figure that one out. 
Maybe that can be when we do our most important Christmas tradition: choosing Jesus's birthday present.  As the kids get older, we will let them be creative with this one and come up with their own ideas, but at first we'll use a resource like World Vision to donate a farm animal to a family or school supplies to students or money toward a clean well for a village.  Thank you Zilas and Nussbaumers for this idea! 
A tradition such as this will not only help families in need as God has commanded us to do, but it will teach our children to joyfully help others.  You may ask, How is giving a gift to a random stranger giving a present to Jesus?  Jesus says himself in Matthew 25: 34-40 "...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Economic Growth and Just Growth

When this little guy was born his whole body was the length of the width of my torso- when I nursed him, his toes touched my side.  That is no longer the case (because he's longer.  padoomchang).  His torso is now the length of the width of my torso. That's because he eats so well.  He's a gulper and there is no shortage of food to him. 
I am a factory. And I am currently overproducing; that is, my supply exceeds his demand. Were he paying me for my milk, I would have to drive my price down... see my customer base is very small. Then I'd likely go out of business and he would have to switch to a different company (formula-makers) via a middle man (retailers) which have a much bigger customer base and can drive their prices up to meet demand. Lucky for both of us, I offer my product for free and will not go out of business.
Although overproduction is a bit of an annoyance for me, I prefer it over the Mastitis and the clog and the fear of the thrush in his mouth that I dealt with in the last two weeks.

I'm pretty proud of myself

So this is an excellent workout.  I get to work out and spend time with my little boy at the same time.  :)  Baby is in the harness for the lower body moves, but for upper abs, back and arms, he's out.  The great thing about my "weights" being a baby is that as I get stronger he gets heavier.  Excellent synchronization... that is if I do it regularly.  Feel free to hold me accountable.

Monday, November 21, 2011

permanent. then again.

The permanency of death is hard for me to comprehend.  It feels more like an abstract concept than an irreparable fact. 
It's been 6 months since Levi died and my impulse feeling is- this should all be over by now.  Okay, we're ready for a respite.  Can he come back now?  No.  He can't.  And not not yet.  Not ever.  This is permanent. 
Instead his gravestone was erected last month.

Nov. 26 Revision:
Death is not so permanent.  We have hope that we will see him again in heaven- life is eternal, not ending.   Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hungry Goats & the Social Mommy Phenomenon

Blue Eyes and I went on a date to Princeton today while his daddy attended a lecture at the university.  I wore him in my frontal red papoose as we window- shopped in old town and wandered around a local orchard.  At the orchard, I read the growing season chart to him then introduced him to the farm animals and told him all about how excited he will be to chase chickens and feed goats for 10 cents a few years from now. 

I believe that fall comes early to Princeton and leaves late.  Okay not really.  But it really does seem like it.  Today, the colors are finally fading, but when Blue Eyes and I were here last week for his 2nd doctors app, the air was warmer and the colors more brilliant.  That day, we had a picnic in a park near the Europesque campus.  That was my first time to experience the social mommy phenomenon.  If you set 4 single women on 4 corners of a grassy square, the likelihood that any 2 of them (much less all 4) would strike up a random conversatoin is low... Now make that 4 women with babies. Suddenly they are destined to convene.  "How old is yours?"  "How much does he weigh?"  "Cute hat."  "How was labor?"  "Are you nursing?"  It came so naturally and did not seem odd, even up here in New Jersey where people are generally less approachable than they are in Texas. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Autumn Post

Nov. 10- Were I not ever picking leaves out of my 5-week-old's carriage, he'd be camouflaged within 10 minutes.  We picked a perfect day to go on a long walk and the trees picked a perfect day to shed- 65 degrees and sunny.  I sit now on a red park bench under a canopy of bright orange.  The audible breeze gently tugs leaves free and rattles the rest.  When I walk again, the peaceful sound will be joined by a pleasant crunch. 
My eyes trace the leaves from the sun-illuminated clusters above to the crowded ground below.  They seem to fall in slow motion and twinkle in the sunlight as they tumble.  My son's eyes are closed, but soon he'll be able to trace things too since he is currently learning tracking.  There will be no leaves then... maybe snow flakes. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A few things I've learned

I've learned that when you become a mom, you also become a lighter sleeper. I typically wake up to hungry "O o-o o o"s before the crying starts. One night, however, I was particularly exhausted (not that that is rare or anything) and he reached the crying stage before I woke. When Chris nudged me, I was patting myself on the chest. Apparently I dreamt the baby was lying on my chest and I was trying to calm him down.

I've learned that when infants pass gas, they dont skip a beat. Eating- no disruption. Playing on the mat- no interruption. But this morning, while dozing off, he tooted so loud that he startled himself.

I've learned that it's not easy to clean spit up out of a little ear.

I've learned that not all "0-3 months" clothes are the same size. And that babies do not enjoy trying them on to see if they fit yet.

I've learned that making eye contact with your baby for a whole twenty minutes while he nurses is not boring at all. In fact, I enjoy it immensely. I talk to him and sing to him and pray outloud for him about his character and future.

If you give your son a bath in the sink, you run the risk of him peeing on your coffee pot.

Four sets of pajamas is not too many. Expect to wash them as fast as you can and likely change them in the middle of the night. That goes for the baby's pajamas too. (As in expect spit up on both of you).

You'll need a nail brush to clean the diaper rash cream out from under your fingernails... daily.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

black-eyed pea to blue-eyed boy

I reread An Announcement today- the blog post in which I announced our pregnancy.  In the post, our 8 wk ultrasound picture was compared to a peanut, a gummy bear and a black-eyed pea.  I looked down at the month-old baby in my lap and told him that just 8 months ago he looked like a black-eyed pea.  He didn't seem as amazed as I was.  Is that not crazy?!  This "pea" transformed into a baby!  How do people not believe in God? Psalm 139:13.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Nursing

I elected to breastfeed and though I had read stories of women who struggled with the undertaking, I did not expect to have problems myself.  Ouch!  Yes, I am having problems.  If you are not interested in my nursing experience or in the potential TMI of this post then don't read it. 

At 3:45 this morning, I emailed some experienced friends for advice through tears while clutching an icepack to my chest.  Sometime in the last 2 wks, baby and I lost the ability to nurse correctly.  He seems content, but I nightly cannot fall back asleep for up to an hour after feeding due to post-nursing pain.  I finally fell back asleep at 6am this morning then he woke again at 6:30 ready for another meal.  I started crying and asked Chris to please feed him the pumped milk from the fridge.  Chris is a sweetheart.  He got up and handled everything so I got to sleep until 10:00am. 
I responded this evening to my friends' helpful email responses:  "I was so scared today that I just pumped and bottlefed, but just now I had a surge of stubborn confidence and nursed him. I feel like I dont have enough hands to follow all these pointers correctly, but I know that I don't have very many failed attempts left in me and I really really don't want to quit this. So I enlisted Chris' help and he acted as one hand while I focused on positioning his head and widening his mouth. It worked. We got him latched on properly on both sides. Now we are done and I am not facing a followup hour of pain. I'm very excited! I think for the next few days I am going to nurse during the day and pump at night. I am just not awake enough to focus at night and cant fall back asleep due to pain once I've done it wrong. Once Baby and I are both back on track, we'll return to nursing nights. :)"  Hooray!