Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Refuse

"I can't do everything but I refuse to stand by and do nothing"
I recently heard this well said phrase at a concert. Do you ever watch the news or drive by the homeless shelter as they line up in the evening and feel a bit hopeless? I feel that way sometimes especially when I see or hear about kids and animals. Yup, the ASPCA commercials with the music in the background make me cry... every time. Every Thursday night I go to work and I drive by a shelter around the time they line up to get in for the evening and I see kids who look hungry and dirty and sad and uncertain and I cry every time. I'm so thankful for all we have and being able to provide for my own children. Being thankful doesn't seem like enough though. I wish I could wipe out poverty. I wish I could take all those kids and hug them and give them stability somehow and let them know that God loves them and there are people who care. I wish I could take all the animals away from their abusive homes and give them loving homes. The wild animals who get wiped out, disability rights, stories on the news about kids who die at the hands of the parents they are supposed have been able to trust... I don't understand it all. I don't understand why some of these things have to happen and as a human I don't understand why God doesn't just step in somehow. I know from experience that abused children are not immune to pain and they feel it in spite of my most heartfelt wishes that there would be some super natural protection. I can also say from experience that I at least was not alone, God was with me and in the hardest times I did get a bit of super natural love and protection. I also know that protection doesn't come for everyone.
These are some things that break my heart and some days (most days) I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that bad things don't happen in my world. Actually, this was my favorite approach until I heard that quote at a concert. That line and the song that went with it gave me some encouragement that I wanted to pass it along. Little by little we all can do some bit of good to improve things around us. I am by no means a superhero but I can do little things. I don't have much to give but I can and do give my time and love and a little bit of physical provision. You never know how your gift will touch someone or how they may pass it along.
As a family we prefer to give in secret so I doubt we will ever know how or if we have done much good but it's better than doing nothing.
Is it enough?
Well, am I doing all I can do with what I have? The answer is yes. We aren't perfect but we do try to do our best and I do believe that we are doing what we can for others with all that we are given. Mother Theresa said "if you can't feed a million then feed just one" I like that and I like that maybe my little bit plus your little bit plus someone else adds up to more than if I just sit here and do nothing with my head in the sand.

That's just my two cents on that. Think about it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

~If Life Was More Like Scooby Doo~

  • There would be no real bad guys, just misguided people in masks.
  • Life's little problems could be solved by food and you would stay skinny
  • My dog would be far less maintenance and people would treat him with respect
  • Car repair would be easy
  • Money would never even be a topic of conversation

 The mystery machine breaks down and it's an easy fix but conveniently not fixable until after the mystery gets solved. Money is never an issue for these 4 young adults and they get to go everywhere and do just anything they want. Scooby is always welcome into places and if he's not well then he can just hop up on 2 legs and pretend he's not a dog. The world has no real problems in Scooby Doo reality except for the occasional psycho who wants to take over the world but how dangerous can these bad guys really be if 4 teenagers can take them down? Yes folks, even in fantasy land unfortunately there are crazy people. Most people get along though and there are never really any big dividers in Scooby and Shaggy's life. You can run fast and make your body do crazy stunts and you have skills to do things you have have never tried before. No one gets  really hurt and in 30 some years of Scooby Doo I have only seen someone get sick once. (yes I have seen all the episodes) The technology rocks too, have you ever noticed how all the bad guys seem to have these crazy awesome inventions? Daphne seems to have a bottomless purse and if you really want to you could live off of some crazy good dog biscuits. Eating seems to be optional so there isn't any hunger but if you do want to gorge yourself there aren't any consequences.
Today I think I would like to be a cartoon. Can someone please call me if you're interested in turning me into a fictional animation?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joe Lando and the Federal Gnomes

Have you ever wondered where all your socks go as the disappear over time? Have you ever lost something REALLY valuable? How about the caps to bottles and the twisty tie that goes on your bread?
Ladies and Gentlemen I have the answer!
A couple of years ago I lost $200 cash. I set it down in a "safe place" and we never saw it again. We hoped to find it when we moved but it never did turn up. We decided that someone needed to take responsibility and logically we blamed some random garden gnomes. But what use would garden gno
mes have for expensive items and cash? Alas!  It MUST be federal gnomes. (everyone knows that the govt has to have created something to help with the national debt) The federal gnomes also claimed my wedding rings for a time but after much negotiation (weeks of frantic searching) the rings were returned (in my bathrobe). We (and by that I mean I) have lost a few things since then and had to blame the gnomes.
Joe Lando (Now)
Joe Lando (then)
Where did Joe Lando come into all this? Who is Joe Lando? Shortly after we got Direct TV there was a Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman marathon on tv. I hadn't seen it in years and I enjoyed reminiscing in this once loved tv series. Aaron was pretty sure he was getting punished for some unknown wrongness he had committed and he took every opportunity to make fun of the show, it's actors, and the characters. Joe Lando plays Sully on Dr. Quinn and when they were promoting the marathon he did many of the commercials for it. Let me just tell you that I really prefer to see Joe Lando in iconic Native American garb with long unkempt hair. We decided that he didn't have much of a career and that what he did have (Dr. Quinn) was long depreciated. Joe Lando must have a hobby.... but what could he be doing these days? The only thing that we could think of is that he must secretly sneak into all the American homes and steal worthless things like (but not limited to) socks, trinkets, puzzle pieces, and pens.

Next time something goes missing in your home call the government or Joe Lando. Beware though because both parties collect keys and cards from your wallet and you don't want to annoy the gnomes or Joe Lando.

Cloth Diapers- the HOW and WHY

Aside from the adorable, cute, bulky tush of a baby in cloth diapers why would someone put themselves through this process and how is it done in these modern times?

My own top reasons for using cloth (in no particular order) are as follows
  1. It's cheaper- You save $2000-$2500 per child if you use cloth from birth through potty training. The saving depends on what brands of disposables you usually use and also how much you spend on your cloth diapering system.
  2. It makes me feel better about myself- I'm not really very organic and super environmentally conscious but I do feel better about now throwing away all that extra trash. Anyone with kids can tell you how much more trash you have.
  3. It seems better for the baby- I don't don't the science on it. Some will swear that all the chemicals in disposables are really horrible and maybe they are although common sense tells me that so many kids use the disposables and they seems fine. It just seems better to me to not have all those extra additives constantly on their skin for 2-3 years straight.
  4. It's as easy as disposables- It all boils down to the work in the end. Can you handle it? I have found that once I knew how and had a routine down it really wasn't any more work than the disposables. You have to dump them in the washer and that's just as hard as taking out all that trash.
How do I do it?
Everyone has a different method. It seems like we all start out pretty similarly but with time and experience we all do it differently and that's ok. Take what I have to say and use what you can and throw the rest away... like anything else you read or hear.
There are 2 basic kinds of cloth diapers and in those 2 types there are tons of variations. You have prefolds and covers (more traditional) and there are covers and inserts (less bulky). I have only ever tried using prefolds and covers though did I just buy some FLIP inserts for on the go to use with our EconoBums.
There are 3 parts to cloth diapering that I guess would be the most helpful if you are considering it or just getting started.
  • Supplies
    As I said there are many variations within each category of diaper systems. For the cover/prefold system I use the covers, prefolds, liners, and snappis are nice but not essential. No matter what you are going to want a wet bag for when you go out.
    I prefer the covers with the PUL (thin plastic) inner liner. These covers can be wiped out and reused unless you get a major soiled diaper. Yes, the diaper still breaths and no the plastic isn't on your baby's skin. Other cover might have microfiber or fleece or cotton on the inside but those are 1 use covers and you will need to buy more of them. The cost of diaper covers really can add up so I use this kind. I recently bought 6 diaper covers when I re-invested in a diaper system. I have gotten by with 4 in the past but I like the extra assurance of having enough. I found 1 size covers this time which is nice because I used fitted covers in the past. I liked the fitted covers but it was a repeating cost every time Davin outgrew them and I couldn't afford to keep up.
    I use prefolds which is just a fancy word for a really nice cushy bit of cloth that your baby does it's business in. It's slightly rectangular usually has multiple layers and there are a few different kinds. You can buy them from Gerber in the store or you can buy them as part of a system or order the sized ones online. Mine came as part of my diaper system.
    I use diaper liners which ties into clean up. The liners are a bit thinner and stronger than toilet paper. You put one on between your baby and the prefold and it lets liquid through but catches solids. When you change the baby flush the liner.
  • Clean-UpI just mentioned diaper liners. Your other option is a diaper sprayer. It attaches to your toilet uses the water from the same pipes and you just spray off the diaper before you throw it into your pail. Speaking of a diaper pail, you're going to need one. Again, there are a lot of ways to utilize it. I have used pail liners (plastic bags) and those are ok. I have found it just as easy to put some water with a bit of pre-wash in my pail and simply put the diaper in it. At the end of the day you dump the whole mess into the washer. My pre-wash is made for cloth diapers (though I don't know if it's made for soaking) but it has anti-microbial stuff, odor stuff, and fights stains and all that. Before I found the pre-wash I used just a small amount of detergent and followed the pre-soaking instructions on the soap box. I put the diapers in the wash before I went to bed and dry them in the morning. No biggie. Don't put your covers in the dryer!!!
  • TechniqueI debated even talking about technique but then I read a review for some cloth diapers on BabiesR' and some lady really had no clue and had posted a rant about not having any leg holes so maybe I have too much faith in the ability of people to just figure it out.
    -Lay out everything you need. before you change your baby. Get your prefold all situated at this time and a new cover ready if you need one. To prepare your prefold simply fold it in thirds into itself and put a liner on top. If you're not using any snappis of anything you might want to put the prefold into the cover in advance as well. With practice you will get used to how you roll. Take the old diaper off and clan up the baby, flush what you need to and put the soiled diaper in your pail. Put the prefold into the cover at this point and under your baby. Pull the corners of the prefold out from under your baby but don't undo how you folded it in thirds. Bring up the front and pull out those corners a bit. if the prefold is too long just fold over the extra at this time as smooth as you can and tuck either side around your baby. Bring those back corners out and around, either use your snappi to secure it or hold them in place while you close up the diaper cover. Now that you have your diaper cover closed, tuck away any of the prefold that might be showing especially in the back and around the legs. now you're done! If it sounds like a lot it's just becaus eI broke it down step-by-step. -Try mentally telling someone how to change a disposable step-by-step and you will see what I mean.  
I hope this helps, it's a lot easier to show someone rather than write it all out but I have been asked by SO many people and I see a lot of questions about it on some of pregnancy discussion boards that I cruise once in a while so I thought is might be worth blogging.

The New Strong-Willed Child

I thought I would post on this subject since I am at the beginning of a new learning curve in this journey.
I recently started read Dr. James Dobson's The New Strong Willed Child. It is a revised version of the 30 year old classic that many parents have come to know and love. In the last 30 years as you can imagine there have been developments in what we know about child development and of course Dr. Dobson has seen some things work more than other thus he decided to revise the book.

Let me start by sharing about my own strong-willed prince here at home. He has driven me to tears on many occasions which may surprise some who remember what I was like as a child. I only have 1 friend who has a child who has a comparable strength of will.
Cole is an amazing, smart, discerning, honest, thoughtful boy. He also has an iron clad will that I would love to break through with out breaking his spirit. I have questioned so many times; is he normal, does he need testing, behavior modification? Am I doing something wrong? Am I a bad mom? I don't recall dropping him on his head as a baby but sometimes I wish I had that to blame. He isn't bad but he will give you a run for your money and there doesn't seem to be any reason for it.

I am now on chapter 4 of this new book. Let me tell you that it is EXTREMELY validating! I may mistakes as much as any parent but it is really great to know that Cole's struggles are not a direct result of some critical missed parenting error. How do I know what this book says to be true? The book is very helpful in giving us some insight as far as what life might look like from the point of view of one of these children. As I read some of these pearls of insight it all sounded strangely familiar and even comfortable. Yes, I was also a very strong-willed child. I was the kid who when I threatened to run away and my parents said "go ahead" it never occurred to me not to follow through with my threat. I made it to Nana's house (about 5 miles) at the age of 6 or 7.
Let me please share some bit of insight to you who perhaps see but can't understand our struggles with Cole and for those of you with a child just like Cole and maybe this will give you some encouragement. Let me remind you that I had forgotten and have been reminded and can confirm that as a strong-willed child this is indeed the case. These children do not have a behavioral problem, it simply does not occur to them to not challenge anything they are told. Punishment is really hard because it isn't punishment from his point of view; it's just another challenge. Challenges are fun, this isn't an epic battle for Cole like it might be for me; it's like letting a wild horse stretch it's legs for him. Cole sees everything in a very black and white fashion and it makes sense to him and he can't possibly understand why everyone wouldn't see it his way and he WILL enforce it if challenged. As you can imagine this attitude not only creates friction at home but his poor friends and teachers have and will also encounter it.
OK, so I understand my kid a little better, now what do I do about it? From what I can tell the only thing to do is to hang on for the ride and be persistent. It's exhausting and there are daily battles, I actually didn't know that there are actually some parents some parents who don't have several power struggles incorporated into their day everyday, such a life seems pretty alien to me. As parents Aaron and I have goals for our children we want to instill in them values which we have decided are important. This is the general job description for a parent but it appears that if you have a strong willed child the only thing to do is keep pounding against that rock hard personality of your child because the consequences of not doing so are much worse than the daily grinding battle that wears on a family.
I am so thankful for this new and wonderful insight and for the fact that we have a huge family support network. Our parents live in our town and they are wonderful about taking at least 1 child every single weekend for us. It may seem like a lot to some people but this is our saving grace. Without this bit of relief to gather ourselves and reset our hearts and minds I think the strain on our family and on our marriage would be much greater. God gave us these children to raise up and it gives me some comfort that at least he knew what he was giving us.
The light at the end of the tunnel for me is that Cole's will is SO strong and think of what a warrior he will be if he uses his will for God rather than against the world. This is my motivation and this is what really gets me through even the most trying days. I have seen what happens when Cole intercedes in prayer for people including our whole family and a certain 50mph head on collision that we all walked away from. I have seen the great things that he does when he is allowed to put his strong mind to work and I know that in the end it will all be worth it. I also know that these are all easy things to say right now because Cole is at his grandparents as I write this. I know that I need an almost daily reminder by midday to keep my own heart and mind in the right place as I butt heads with him for the 100th time.
If you don't have a child like this then I hope you now have some insight into our daily lives and that before you form well meaning opinions of us you now have some understanding. If you have a child like Cole all I can say is from one parent to another; hang in there and be encouraged that God knew what he was giving you and you can do this through him. It's all worth it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why should I have a blog?

I always kind of thought blogging was stupid but in the last few months I have had some epiphanys and I have opinions like anyone else. Where can I put these things?
My head is crowded.
Facebook is WAY too public.
oh yes, here we are on my very first BLOG!

What will I blog about?
-EVERYTHING that I want to!-
Nothing is off limits and I get to be nice and smile and nod in the real world but here on this new found little corner of the web I can put what I really feel. Politics, religion, random observations, life lessons, and recipes are among my favorite notions.
This is me and I don't have to be politically correct here, I like that. I'm not fancy, I'm not flashy, most of this will be boring  and not so sensational but there may be a few pearls along the way :-)