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Mom Fail

kiddo pro christmas
My daughter's 3rd birthday and birthday party are on Saturday, and at 38 weeks pregnant, my son could arrive any day.  Mom of the Year over here CAN'T FIND HER CAMERA!!!  And I need to find it by Friday at the latest, because I remember very distinctly noting that it's batteries were dying right before putting it somewhere where E couldn't get her hands on it.  I've checked all my usual out-of-reach places, and so far, no luck.  Phone pictures aren't going to cut it!  *sigh*

I'm sorry I've been so quiet over here; I do read my friends' page all the time, but just haven't been up to posting lately.  This pregnancy has made me turn inside myself a lot more than normal, so I think the production required from posting has been keeping me from writing.  And I just feel like I have no time these days, either.

We're mostly ready as far as baby stuff goes, though.  Bags are packed, the necessary changes to E's room have been made.  The cradle is in our room, but needs to be cleaned and made ready for baby still.  Big stand-and-ride stroller is put together, and we know how to get it in the various combination we'll use. We've also made HUGE progress on unpacking our remaining boxes.  The library is still housing a bunch of boxes, but those have all been gone through and sorted, we just have to clean a few things up and figure out where it's all going to go.  We've been working on the garage lately, just doing a box a night, and we're almost done.  The garage now looks like a cluttered garage, not like we just moved in. ;-)  There's a lot that's been tough to keep up with in the house, though, and I'm having such a hard time planning meals and groceries.  That is SO frustrating, because it ends up costing us money in eating out or last minute convenience food.  I hate feeling like I'm not feeding my family well AND wasting money we really don't have.

I've been getting a lot more Braxton Hicks than I remember with E, but it's harder to take it easy this time around, and I'm more likely to recognize them.  Otherwise, there haven't been any signs that labor is more impending than not.  She was a week late, so it's likely that Judah will be as well, but of course there are no guarantees. For E's sake, I'd like him to wait until his due date, at least, because then Charlie's parents will be here, and she'll be able to stay at home with them.  We have arrangements if he comes early, but it would most likely involve her needing to sleep somewhere else without us, and she hasn't ever done that before, so I'd love to avoid it.

She seems to have finally weaned herself, as well.  She's been down to just naptime, bedtime, and first thing in the morning for quite a while now, and naptime stopped pretty immediately after my milk dried up with the pregnancy.  By that I mean, both the nursing at that time and my ability to ever get her down for an actual nap stopped.  She still occasionally falls asleep in the car, but even that is pretty rare. We do quiet time instead. I started with a half an hour, and have been gradually increasing it; she's up to 55 minutes, which is pretty lovely.  And, actually, more time than I usually got even when she still took naps, since those rarely lasted longer than 45 minutes without me, anyway.  She hung on to nursing first thing in the morning for another month or two, and now the last two nights she hasn't wanted to nurse at bedtime, either.  I'm glad to get at least a few days/weeks of a break before I start over again. :-)

I have not yet met a mother here who hasn't breastfed for at least some time. So different from where we lived in Maryland, where formula was very much the norm. It's so nice.  Social life is in general so much easier for me here.  I'm trying, though, not to stress about E's birthday party.  Since family won't be here this year, we invited kids from her Kindermusik class and church for a party at the Children's Museum (they do EVERYTHING for $175!!  Woo hoo!).  So far, we have a no and two yesses, but the majority of the others are involved in soccer that is causing conflicts.  So, she might just have two kids at her party.  I'm fairly certain it won't bother her at all, except that a few of the kids who might not be able to come are the ones that she particularly adores, but she's not going to be bothered by a small group.  It's just me worrying about what the other adults will think about it, really, which is stupid.

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Charlie's coming home today!

kiddo pro christmas
Thanks for the input on my polls yesterday. :-)  I ended up going to Belgrade for story time because I had some errands to run, too, and a busy morning seemed like a better idea than trying to leave in time to run errands before book club.  We had a good morning, and a laid back afternoon. She napped for about a half an hour in the car on the way home.  She was charming at book club, and not too disruptive, and went to sleep really easily when we got home.  I love my book club.  I've been in others, but this one is a really good size (there are almost always 12 people at meetings, but there'd probably be between 15 and 20 if everyone was there) and a great mix of people.  When I first started going, there was one other woman around my age, and the others were late 40s up to 80s.  Since then, two other women younger than me have started coming, and one or two more in their 40s. There's a wide variety of life experiences, but everyone is really respectful and has interesting insight. We read a good variety of genres and books, too.

I'm caffeinated and wide awake.  Hopefully I'll be able to sleep when it's time to, but I'll definitely be fine until we get back home. So the last hurdle is having to get E up to go pick up Charlie.  It's a time when she frequently wakes up, so I'm hoping it'll be a good time sleep cycle-wise and won't be too disruptive to her sleep.

Here are (finally) some pictures of our house!Collapse )

What a day.

kiddo pro christmas
I really, really needed E to nap today, or at least cooperate and stay in her room for the 30 minute quiet time.  But no on both counts. Charlie doesn't usually have nearly the problem with her popping out of her room a billion times when he supervises quiet time.  I should probably just change my whole tack and not give her Mommy milk, since it usually doesn't end up in a nap, anyway.  If I'm giving up on the nap, maybe I should try a slightly different time, too, since she has a poopy diaper half the time that needs changing partway through. I really don't want to give up on the nap because she's such a tired, cranky mess by the end of the afternoon without one and it doesn't usually get her to bed any earlier, but I just can't get her to sleep anymore.  Sometimes in the car.  Sometimes, if she's really, really tired, at home, but usually only once or twice a week, and not without a lot of anguish beforehand. It's just so nice when she does fall asleep, I keep hoping. And since she still seems to need one, I don't want to be shorting her on sleep.  *sigh*

I just ordered http://www.amazon.com/Toddlers-Busy-Book-Activities-3-Year-Old/dp/0671317741/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372292188&sr=1-1&keywords=toddler+busy+book this book to hopefully avoid days like this one.  The weather has been so sketchy here lately; it always looks like rain, so we haven't spent nearly the time outside that we should be.  I need to be better about that.  I haven't felt up to walking anywhere, and haven't had the car several days this week, and allergies have been kicking my butt the last two days.  What I need, I know, is some sort of structure to our day together so that I can fall back on something other than the television.  We did really well on Monday, and okay yesterday since we had Kindermusik in the morning, but today was bad, bad, bad. I thought she'd be going with Charlie after dinner to some friends' house and that she'd get her play in with their kids, but they cancelled a little while ago. So, Charlie and Elizabeth are grabbing dinner at some high class restaurant with a playland to give her a chance to play and me some time alone.  I've ended up with time to myself the last two nights, but I've been so busy during it and have been so stressed out before it that it hasn't given me the long term relief I need. I'm hoping I can get back to a regular activity each morning and then have something for every afternoon from the busy book, and get started on the pre-preschool structure to the day that I was planning on having this fall. I don't at all think that traditional schooling with set goals beyond whatever the particular child is interested in or ready for is a good thing at this age, but I think our day really, really needs some structure, and she's really self-interested in letters and numbers and books, so I want to make sure she has the opportunity to explore and learn what she's ready for, and I don't think I'm doing a good enough job of that lately.

She has been sleeping in her bed regularly for the last week and a half, but she comes into ours most nights around two.  Two nights ago, she slept in her own bed until 6, which was great.  The other nights, I think that her dreams are the primary problem, and I think that TV is not helpful with that.  When she came into our room last night, she woke up yelling about needing her stroller. When I told her she didn't need her stroller, she clarified the polka dotted stroller, and that she thought we had left it at the fire truck park.  I told her that we'd brought it home with us, but she didn't need it in her room. She was fine with that -- I don't think they're really nightmares for her, just really vivid dreams that she has some trouble getting out of.

One thing that will also be helpful is getting the downstairs completely unpacked.  Right now, we are in the process of majorly working on that, but it means it's more chaotic than ever.  I was going to make her a felt board today, but I couldn't find my glue gun.  I have everything I need for that, I just haven't done it yet.  *sigh*  Charlie is teaching a Biblical Greek class at our house starting on Tuesday, which is the deadline we've set for ourselves for getting the library and the family room completely put together.  It sounded doable this weekend, but Charlie had a migraine yesterday and allergies have hit us both hard, so we haven't been able to get nearly as much done as I had hoped by this point.  He also hasn't been able to get much work-work done, and we also have to get ready to go camping next Thursday.  We've reserved a forest service cabin, so we won't be in tents, but we won't have running water, and I'm just not sure what all we need to bring with us.  It's been a loooooong time since I've gone camping, and never as an adult, never as a mom.

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kiddo pro christmas
If we would stop thinking that we could judge parents by one moment or one action.  I'm so tired of it, and I've been running into it all over the place lately.  That nice long letter to the mom on her phone about how much she's missing.  Yeah, except maybe she's taking 15 minutes on her phone out of her entire day and she needs a break.  Needs some kind of interaction with someone other than her children.  Maybe her children keep looking at her because they're used to having her attention all the time.  Or the people deciding that the dad who posted the pictures of his son crying for all the umpteen reasons that toddlers cry doesn't know how to comfort his child.  (Please understand that I am not commenting on any of the other things that cause people to dislike this blog, just this one aspect of the complaint.) It takes all of a minute for me to take a picture on my phone.  I can promise you that when my daughter is crying because she's mad about something that I can't fix or won't fix (like when I told her not to pull the pillow out from under my head and handed her another pillow and she decided to throw a tantrum about it) I can do NOTHING to comfort her in that first minute other than let her get her anger out.  This is not our normal approach to parenting.  We have never let her cry it out.  She has nursed on demand.  I don't believe that crying is a necessary part of childhood or that it teaches her any lessons.  But I have tried every other approach to comforting her in those moments, and they don't work.  I have to just let her cry.  If she hurts herself, or is scared, or wakes up in the middle of the night, I comfort her immediately.  And I'm good at it.  When she's mad because she can't make her penguin hat fit on her head inside out?  NOTHING I do will make her feel better right then.

If someone decided to videotape me for a day, they could pull out a hundred moments of bad parenting to judge me on.  But if they paid attention to the whole day, most days, they'd see a pretty good parent.  I think most of us feel this way most days.  So why are we so quick to judge each other on the few moments we see?

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Quick E funny

kiddo pro christmas
Two nights ago, I was out in the living room for a while around 2 am because I couldn't sleep. E woke up crying. I got to her in about thirty seconds, but she said as I walked in, "I cwied and cwied and cwied!"

Last night, I was at book club at her bedtime, so she was asleep before I got home. Charlie had told her I'd be home when she woke up, so she woke up about an hour later calling for Mommy. When I walked in, she said again, "I cwied and cwied and cwied." I started laughing, and she added, "It worked."
kiddo pro christmas
Breaking a bit from my usual posting habits to be less personal and strike on something that's been on my mind a lot lately. These will also be public, and linked to Facebook. I am an introvert, and I realize more and more that my daughter is, too.  It's difficult for me to remember to treat her the way I like to be treated sometimes because we live in an extroverted world, and many of our expectations are shaped by the extroversion that surrounds us.  This is not a response to a recent attack or anything, but my response to some comments and questions I hear all the time.  This first post will be a little different than the others, but it's important to me to get the definitions down right away so that we're understanding things the same way.

What introversio isn't:

1 An Excuse
Introversion isn't something that people claim just to get out of being hospitable.  I know that some people are rude, and some people are shy, and some people use it as an excuse to being polite.  But it's also a real thing.  Introversion and extroversion are descriptions of how people get their energy, or how they refuel themselves.  Some people get refreshed by being alone. Others get refreshed by being around people. Sometimes I do need to excuse myself from a social activity because it's been too long since I've had time to myself and continuing to extend myself leaves me stressed out and exhausted. My family suffers the brunt of this, so I try to keep it from happening.  But I also try really hard to be polite about it.

2.Shyness
This is not to say that introverts aren't shy.  Some are; probably a higher percentage of introverts are shy than extroverts.  But I've known several introverts who aren't shy at all, and my best friend is an extrovert who used to be incredibly shy.  But as a definition, introversion is not a dislike of people or a fear of people; it's a need to have time away from people.

3 A Result of a Difficult Childhood
I read a memoir lately in which the author identified herself as an introvert, for many good reasons.  She then went on to attach her trust issues to her introversion and blame it all on her difficult childhood.  I can see why she made the connection between her introversion and her trust issues; in her case, both kept her from getting close to a lot of people.  But the connection isn't really there.  Plenty of people with tons of friends don't trust them at all.  Introverts don't have an aversion from getting close to people as a result of their introversion.  They just need time away from people and prefer small groups of people to crowds.  Related to this, introversion is also not a sign of mental illness.  Just because the few people who decide to bring guns to schools are often described as loners, doesn't mean we need to profile them and expect the same out of all those who exhibit signs of introversion.

4 A Comfort Zone
When we moved, I asked in a pastor's wives forum for advice as to how to start off right at a new congregation while being an introvert.  I was asking for ways to get to know people and to become a member of the church community without overwhelming myself with social activities, even more than a pastor's life is already pretty full of social activities.  I got some very helpful ideas, but I also got several comments basically saying, "You may just have to get out of your comfort zone and get over it and be friendly."  It's not a comfort zone. I don't have a need to go to church, sit by myself, and not say anything to anyone.  I do have a need to put a limit on the amount of time I have to be out and about and surrounded by people.  It's not a limit I place selfishly, or something I can work on and grow out of.  It's a limit that I have learned to place because my energy gets used up.  I don't want my family to suffer.

5 A Bad Thing!!!
How many times have you heard someone say that another person just wasn't a "people person?"  I've heard it too often to describe why a pastor wasn't fit to be a pastor of a particular congregation, and it's just not right.  God doesn't call particular personalities.  God calls who he calls.  Many introverted pastors have been a great blessing to the church -- they're usually the ones who can spend hours and hours studying various points of theology, or doing similar work that would tire an extroverted pastor who would be itching to get back out with people. A pastor isn't less of a pastor because he reserves some of his private life or because he puts limits on the times that he spends with groups of people.  Extroverts are better suited to some jobs, and introverts are better suited to others.  This doesn't make one job better than another.  Some jobs can be filled by both personality types, though their execution of the job may look different.

I also hear a lot of adults pushing their children to talk to others and play with others.  These are obviously good things to encourage, but it's also a good thing to allow children to become comfortable with places and people and expectations before we ask them to perform.  Particularly young children who are still learning how to speak may find it difficult to speak to strangers in a strange place, even if they're not being asked to say anything they don't know how to say.  Most of us can identify a few things that, while we can do them on our own, we may feel very differently about doing them in front of a large group of people.  And while many children thrive on new experiences and being around people, others will need quiet time to recover from that sort of stimulation.  This is NOT a failing.  It is a personality trait that can be tended and appreciated like all the other aspects of a personality.

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kiddo pro christmas
January has been overwhelming me as a reader.  I'm reviewing books again, plus I agreed to critique a book for a friend (more on that in a minute) plus a long biography for a book club, plus trying to fit in books I actually want to read that Charlie and I are both reading.  So, I'm going back on my plans and I'm going to be a little more laid back for this year, at least for a while.  I think a big part of my problem this month, though, has been that I've been trying to read too many books at once.  I do a lot better if I'm just reading one book at a time.  So I'm going to try to work on that for a while.

The book I'm reading for a friend.  *sigh*  She self-published a prior book through Amazon.  I was pretty impressed with it, but it could have used another edit, and it felt self-published to me.  It's better than self-publishing used to be -- it looks professional and everything, but it feels self-published, if that makes any sense.  She's a good writer, though.  That book was chick lit.  This one is fantasy, and unfortunately for her my Hollins friends have spoiled me for what reading someone's draft should be like.  I think she expects to get these comments back (I'm one of eleven readers) and edit/revise, then publish.  She's already doing photo shoots so the artist who's designing the cover can get started on it.  This feels like a first draft to me, second draft of some chapters, and I'm used to writers who go through at least three drafts before even thinking it might be done. It's got real promise.  It could be really good, but it needs rewriting, not just revision and certainly not just editing to me.  Although, most of my issues are with world-building, so major, major work on the first four chapters might make the rest of it work better for me.  I'm just hoping that I'm able to say what I think needs to be said without making her hate me.

I struggle with the idea of self-publishing.   Because I know so many writers, I know so many people who work so, so hard to go through the traditional promise.  When their books make it, they really, really, really deserve to make it.  I know some books that haven't been published yet that so NEED to be published.  And this book will be published whenever she wants it to be, whether it deserves it or not.  And whether it deserves it or not, her friends will buy it, and people will "buy" it when it's free on Kindle.  As it is, it would get blasted in reviews, so I really hope she does the work she still needs to do, but it would still be out there. Because of the e-book market, there's a lot of books out there now, on virtual shelves right next to books published by traditional publishers even though they haven't gone through the processes of revision and editing by professional editors and publishing by professional publishers.  Your average reader can't tell the difference. I hate that we're losing that gatekeeper.  It was flawed, sure.  A lot of crap gets published in the traditional way because it has a big name on it or because it has something other than quality writing that will make it sell (I'm looking at you, Fifty Shades of Grey).  But publishers still pushed the books that were really, really quality, and a lot of those shone through the piles of books published each year and got the recognition they deserved. If everything is just thrown out there equally, it's going to be a lot harder to find what's really, actually good.

I know this is all just opinion, and a lot of people disagree, so feel free to argue if you want to. ;-)

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Books I Read in 2012

kiddo pro christmas
http://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/243892

Hopefully that link works.  I'll work on a better way to list the books I read in 2013 before next January, but this should link to a page of the books I read in 2012 on Goodreads, if you're interested.

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Respect Yourself...

kiddo pro christmas
There's an image that's been popping up on Facebook and Pinterest lately that has me pondering this morning.  The quote is, "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."

I hate it.

I can see the good idea behind it.  I know what it's trying to say, and the terrible situations that it's trying to encourage women to get out of.  It is aimed directly at women, and perhaps there is a need for more women to hear the message behind it.

But as a motto in life for a person with a generally healthy lifestyle?  It's not respect, it's selfishness.  If you are in a friendship or a marriage or a job that is causing you physical or mental harm, then yes, you need to consider walking away.  But to look at everything in terms of what you are getting out of it is selfish.  I know the "or" makes it easier to read it in terms of respect, but still.  There are times when my teaching job was not serving me, growing me, or making me happy, but I was committed to it.  It was my vocation.  It was not my  job to consider how my job was serving me, but to consider how I was serving others through my work.  My husband is amazing, but he has his days when he is not serving me.  Sometimes those days coincide with days when he is not making me happy, and I doubt I'm growing much through my grumpy fog.  But it's not time to walk away.  I'm committed.  My daughter brings an amazing amount of joy to my life, and I have grown so much as her mother.  But there are times when no matter how hard I try, if I'm looking for what I'm getting out of it, I can't find a thing.

I think that's what bugs me about this most.  Maybe selfish isn't the right word, but it's certainly self-centered.  If we examine everything based on what it does for us, it is so much easier to see the faults and the failings of others and the sacrifices of ourselves.  If we examine things from the perspective of what we can do to serve others through that relationship or that job or whatever, it's so much easier to see the growth and the joy when it happens.

Respect yourself enough to know the limits of what you can bring to the table, maybe.  Respect yourself enough to draw the line at abuse.  But otherwise?  Respect yourself enough to see what you can do for others.  Respect yourself enough to honor your commitments.  Respect yourself enough to stay where you are and see the blessing you can be.

/end soapbox

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kiddo pro christmas
Before...
023
(This June, on our trip to Washington, D.C.)

After...
356
(At the pumpkin patch in early October)
As a sidenote, that was how Elizabeth tested all the pumpkins. ;-)

And a bonus Halloween picture!

430

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