Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Still Believe

Disclosure. The video at the end of this post is very sad. Seriously. If you are sitting at Starbucks you might want to watch it later. Or just listen, but don't watch. I am not kidding you. Grab tissues, my friend. If you are already in any sort of fragile emotional state it may bring out the ugly cry.

When I first heard this song, "We Still Believe" by Kathryn Scott. I thought to myself, "Has she heard my story?! Does she know what I've been through? It's like she has read from the pages of my soul!" Then I thought, "Man, I'd love to do this in church, but it's really so specific to my situation..."

Wow. Self-centered much there, Char? I hope I'm not alone in this. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own pain, we get so proud of our own stories, that we forget we're not alone on our journeys. We forget that, honestly, our story may not be that original.

Because here's the thing, everybody has gone through some serious crap in their lives. Everyone. Yes, some stories are a little hairier than others. A little more scary, sad, or serious. And some journeys have happier endings than others. You may think your story truly takes the cake, or you may feel like your stories are insignificant compared to other's. But no story discounts anyone else's. Your pain is your pain. The mountain that you're climbing is your mountain to climb. And we all have them. All of us. We're not alone in our pain. Someone, somewhere has traveled the same dark valleys you have traveled. And at the end of it, they either ran to Jesus or they gave up on Him.

I could list my mountains here. I could give you an earful of painful things that have happened to me, but I won't. Maybe I will another day. But today I'm caught up in this thought...

We still believe.

Through it all. The really bad things and the really good things. Somehow God has captured my heart in such a way that I could never let go. Every tragedy and every wound has eventually brought me closer to Him. He has thoroughly and completely won me. There's no hope for me now. Except what I've found in Him. I know I'm not alone in that.

Yes, my pain was awful. So was yours. And, honestly, it's probably not over. But...

We still believe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Elimination Communication With My 14 Month Old

Violet wore her Gerber training pants one day last week and kept them dry the entire day! She wore a diaper for nap. The girls had a hard time settling down at nap time so I went in a half hour after laying them down and changed Violet's diaper before laying the smack down. But when she woke up from nap her diaper was dry! I am feeling quite proud. As long as I stay relaxed and don't expect too much from her nobody gets stressed out. The Gerber training pants didn't hold much pee the first few times she wore them, but after being washed quite a few times they are doing well at preventing pee from getting all the way down her legs and to the carpet when she has a little miss.

She still doesn't tell us she needs to go. So far she does well with the potty being offered frequently. I totally understand the people who say, "She's not potty trained, you're potty trained!" I agree. I like to add the word "independently" to the phrase potty trained. Violet is not independently potty trained. But she does know how to use the toilet. To me that is worth the effort. This may be reaching, but go with me and think of it this way...we don't refuse to feed our children until they can figure out how to use a fork and spoon all by themselves and are able to clearly say the words, "Mom, I'm hungry." Babies and toddlers are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. Some things are just annoying to let them do themselves. One of the things I hang onto is Violet feeding herself her oatmeal in the morning. She probably could be learning that skill, but I don't want to deal with the mess so I always do it for her.

Back to pottying...One funny thing is that Violet keeps her pants dry better when we are out running errands than when we are at home all day. Somehow she holds it between errands, up to an hour or more, knowing I'll take her at the next stop. At home those times aren't as defined, I guess. So she wets her diaper a lot more at home.

So if you're an EC mama looking down the road ahead, I'll tell you that the Gerber Training pants in 18 month size (usually this size is only online) are working fairly well when I'm in the mood to let her wear panties. They fit her well and after a few washings they are absorbing enough to keep mess off the floor. (Violet is 14 months and just under 20 pounds). Soon I'd like to get a few of these for going out because they're waterproof. They're actually swim diapers, but they're padded just enough to hold one missed pee and they come in a very small size for Violet's tiny buns. And they are quite a bit cheaper than waterproof training pants.

Are you an EC mommy? Share the love in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Do Something

One of the difficulties of being a stay at home mom, for me, is being self motivated. I don't have a boss coming around the corner to my cubicle every so often to keep me on task. I don't even have a deadline for a project to keep me moving. Everything I do needs done again in five minutes. My husband, Ryan, comes home everyday at about 3:45. This is sometimes a kick in the butt for me. Sometimes I'll notice the clock says 3:10 and think, "Crap! I've got to get something clean before he gets here!" or "Holiness. I need to go brush my teeth." But that's the closest I come to having someone else keep me on track. Mostly, it's up to me to be productive. There may, or may not, have been two days in the not so distant past in which we stayed in our pajamas until lunch time and then proceeded to throw ourselves into the car and drive through Taco Bell, in said pajamas.

Lately, I've been feeling that of all the things I'm not getting done, the thing I've neglected most is educating my two girls. Both Nola and Violet are very good at playing by themselves. This is an awesome skill and one I will continue to encourage. But I've found that I've spent a lot of mornings lately telling them to "Just wait a minute. I'll read to you after I get the kitchen clean" or "Just let me flip this load of laundry then we'll play animals". I need reminded that the reason I stay home is for my girls. Our family has decided that in our situation, me being home is the best thing for Nola and Violet.

I don't stay home to clean the house. I stay home to raise my children.

So I did a really simple thing. On Saturday night, I sat down at my computer and chose a really simple activity for each girl for every day of this week. Just one. I wrote it in my Google Calendar. That way I get a message in my inbox in the morning saying "Reminder: Glue Cheerios to Index Cards" or "Reminder: Sing the Body Parts Song". Some days there is one age appropriate activity for each girl, and some days I chose an activity that they could both do together. Tuesday's activity was going to the Omaha Children's Museum. And Friday we're going clean our big sliding door with shaving cream.

I got lots of my ideas from Pinterest. I stumbled across this blog that is practically an entire curriculum of ideas for children under six. I checked this science book out from the library and I highly recommend it. The projects are very simple and achievable.

My goal was to accomplish just one thing with them every day. I resisted the urge to go all teacher and categorize these activites in search of one activity each of reading, math, social studies, art, and music. I just kept it simple and reminded myself that one thing is better than nothing. Children learn so much just by living life. I just needed to make sure I was taking advantage of every moment I have with them, and being intentional with our short time together. I'll let you know how it goes.

"There will always be worthwhile causes, but not always a two year old in your lap."
Freda Ingle Briggs