Monday, January 30, 2006

Nehemiah Institute

Anyone familiar with them? I took their "Worldview Opinion Survey" online, just to see what my results would be. After all, having had a fully Christian education, I figured I'd probably score pretty well, right?

Well. They give you a numerical score that places you in one of four categories:

Biblical Theism (this is the category you're supposed to be in!)
Moderate Christian (me)
Secular Humanism

I scored a little too close for comfort to "secular humanism". How can that be, you ask? That was my question, too! I took a close look at exactly how they scored this little quiz. It turns out that my dismal score is a result of my politics. The Nehemiah Institute thinks that my Christian worldview is crummy because

1) I believe that the Bible is NOT the foundation of civil law and should NOT be the primary source of instruction for establishing civil government in all nations.
2) I believe that individuals should be allowed to conduct life as they choose, as long as it does not interfere with the lives of others.
3) I believe that Government should rest as directly as possible on the will of the people.


Friday, January 27, 2006


Someone from Malaysia reads my blog.

Picking things up

Jonathan likes to pick things up. He likes to pick up his toys. He likes to pick up Cheerios. He likes to pick up banana and avocado and smush it in his hair. He tried to pick up water (running in the sink), and was quite puzzled when it slipped through his fingers!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Elena tagged me...

so here are my rather boring responses.

Four Jobs I've Had

Pharmacy counter girl
Math teacher
Choir director
Mother (only I think this is more like a calling)

Four Places I've Lived

Tustin, CA (I was too little to remember this one, though)
Santa Ana, CA
Grass Valley/Nevada City, CA (Northern California – this is where I remember growing up. It’s absolutely beautiful with pine trees, and snow I the winter)
La Habra, CA (current residence – come for a visit!)

Four Vacations I've Taken

Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake

Perhaps this seems repetitive, but if you’d been there you’d know why we kept going back! :)

Four Vehicles I've Owned

Bicycle :)
91 Honda Civic. She was a great car and I was sorry to see her go!
Mercury Sable (I forget which year) Ugly car, and finally broke badly enough we had to get rid of it.
98 Toyota Corolla - yay for cars that never break!

Amber, want to participate?
And just for fun - see what handsome men I have in my family!
Yesterday's breakfast photo - see how much he's learning! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time times two (or three or four)

I think that perhaps one of the reasons I often get to the end of my day and wonder if I've really accomplished anything, is because I have an unrealistic expectation of how much time things take. From now on I think I will double (and then some!) my estimates. :)

This morning Jonathan and I got up at 6:15am. He'd been awake for some time, but I sat him up and responded to his talking with mumbles and "umphs" for awhile before I could convince myself to actually get up. Anyway, we got up, had breakfast, gave Jonathan a bath (which was abundantly necessary after his breakfast!), and then I put him down for his nap and took a shower. By the time those things had been accomplished, it was nearly 9am.

I guess I just don't think of things taking this long! Baby breakfasts last three times as long as mine do, and get ten times as messy. Baby baths are twice as long as mommy showers. No wonder we can't seem to get to church on time! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Life really IS beautiful

Today has been a perfectly lovely day. Aside from a few items which were added in a fit of overestimation of the hours available, everything on my list is completed. Not only that, but completed in a reasonable amount of time, without allowing myself to be side tracked by such odious inventions as the computer (yes, please note that I am only NOW blogging!)

And the completed list is only a tiny part of why the day is so lovely. On top of that, the house is clean. You all have permission to drop by. Tonight. Not tomorrow, please, for tomorrow it will have (somehow!) magically returned to it’s former state. But tonight the dishes are done, the house is picked up, the FLOOR IS CLEAR, my desk is – well, um, we won’t talk about my desk, ok?

Jonathan and I went for a lovely long walk today, all the way to the post office and Walmart. Hurrah for exercise! It had the added benefit of allowing me to do almost all my “little bits and pieces” shopping – you know the things that accumulate over a few weeks and which you can’t get at the grocery store? And I stopped at Kohl’s on the way back to try on jeans. This almost ruined my day, but it was salvaged by the happy thought that designers are probably not mothers, and thus do not have the needed experience to know how to fit a mommy body. So. There. :)

This afternoon a technician came out (earlier than they said he’d come) to install something on our air conditioner, and Jonathan and I were presentable and so was the house. He even carried his ladder through from the front door to the patio door, and didn’t trip on anything.

After that Jonathan and I took a blanket outside to the tiny patch of grass and tree outside our front door. I settled in with a book to enjoy the sun and breeze, and he took off, puffed apple cracker in hand, to explore his world. His knees will never be the same, I fear, and his face is dirtier than it has ever been, but he sure had a good time! Who knew that leaves could be so entertaining? Now if only I could convince him that they are not good to eat.

A nice side effect of all this exploration is that he wanted a nap – thus this opportunity to play on the computer. And I don’t even have to feel guilty about it, because there is not one single (reasonable) thing that I need to be doing right now!

*happy sigh*

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Red belt!

Yup, I got one! This means that I am considered "ready to test" for my black belt. I don't know exactly when the exam will be, but probably within the next few months.

The really cool thing was that on Tuesday (the night I got it) I felt like a martial artist again for the first time in way, way too long. For the last many months it seemed like something was always in the way - pregnancy, recovering from the c-section, exhaustion due to mothering an infant, shoulder injuries, etc. I just couldn't recapture the mokso focus. But on Tuesday it was there again! I hope I can maintain it now that I remember what it feels like.

It has been such a long road getting here. It is nice to have the goal in sight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Solving crankiness with cuddles

About a week ago I realized that Jonathan was being a lot more cranky. And I was being a lot more frustrated with his crankiness. Not a good situation. So I sat myself down and did some thinking about why we were in said situation.

I think that what happened is this: Jonathan got a lot more mobile, and a lot more self-entertaining, very quickly. And as I realized that I could put him down and let him be on his own, I did. The result, I think, is that he didn't feel nearly as secure. Yes, he can play on the floor with his toys while I do other things. And he does and he should. But that kind of alone time needs to be limited...he's only 9 months old, after all! I think that I just sort of lost track of the fact that he's still a baby who needs me. And as I'm consciously choosing to remember that and act accordingly, he's being much less fussy.

It feels good to be a proactive mom. I'm spending more time playing with him on the floor - he sits in my lap and plays with toys. He's still getting lots of new experience and stimulation, but he's feeling safe and happy because he knows I'm right there with him. And we sit on the couch and cuddle and read books in the morning. And in the afternoon I try to anticipate his more fussy time by carrying him in the sling. Yes, I don't get much done around the house after 3pm...but Jonathan isn't crying, either. We're both happier at the end of the day, so I think it's a great trade-off!

Isn't it neat to see a thought-out parenting choice actually work the way you hope it will work? :)


When Jonathan is getting sleepy, and I've been intelligent enough to put him in the sling instead of letting him get fussy elsewhere, sometimes he'll lay his head down on my shoulder and suck on his fingers. Those are the moments when I know that I'd rather be right here doing this than anything else in the world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fun development!

Jonathan is enjoying time spent reading together! I’ve been trying to read to him for months, but without much interest on his part. So we’d read in 30 second bursts, pretty much, and then he’d try to eat the book. :) But lately he’s been so much more fascinated by the pictures and by my voice. So encouraging! This morning we snuggled on the couch and read (some of!) the poems in Eloise William’s Poems to Read to the Very Young. I’ve always loved that book, and it’s so fun to see Jonathan enjoying it too!

Monday, January 16, 2006

My kitchen baseboards are clean!

This makes me a successful housewife, right? ;)

In other news, my wonderful husband mopped the kitchen floor for me tonight while I put Jonathan to bed. Isn't he nice to me?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Playtime with Daddy!
A close-up of our adorable son.
Isn't our new color-coordinated bedroom lovely? I think that curtains and pillows make such a difference! The cute kid helps, too. :)
Jonathan's new skill. Now, if he could only figure out how to sit down again. :)

Overcoming neatness

I am a very organized person (stop laughing, everyone who knows me - I know that's an understatement). :) I dislike messes and would be quite happy if the house could just stay in "neat as a pin" order all the time. I like everything to have it's place and more than that, everything should BE in it's place at all times.

Life isn't really like that. And life with a baby REALLY isn't like that. So I'm working on overcoming my unreasonable desire for a perfectly neat life. And I'm finding that this takes quite a bit of effort. For example, I just watched as Jonathan dumped his wooden blocks, his plastic blocks, his other plastic blocks, and a basket of sundry toys all over the floor. Does he really need to play with all of them? Of course not! But is it good for him to learn that pulling on something results in gravity dumping them on the floor? Absolutely. He's exploring his world and I need to encourage that and worry about picking them up later. Last night is another good example: Gabe and I were feeding him dinner and Jonathan didn't want to be fed. He wanted to do it himself! So I mentally braced myself and then gave him his own food. Which he promptly spread all over his tray, hands, face, arms, and legs...but some of it did get in his mouth. :) Was it a mess? Completely. In fact, we had to give him a bath afterward. Was it worthwhile? Of course! I could sit there and watch his mind processing so much as he worked to pick up food from his tray and practiced bringing his spoon to his mouth.

I think that this will probably be an ongoing process for me. It's not a natural reaction to think "heck, let him get his food in his hair - he's learning!" But I think that it's probably one of the most important things for me to be learning right now. Because I want to raise an adventurous boy who will jump in puddles and play in the mud and explore his life without fear of a mother sighing and saying "not again" to his dirty clothes.

So friends, you can pray for me as I learn to overcome neatness. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Discipline thinking

Jonathan is just starting to get old enough and active enough and "know what he wants when he wants it!" enough to make me start really thinking/considering parenting styles, particularly in the realm of discipline. And I’d love some discussion and ideas.

First, does anyone have experience with the writings of some of the parenting/discipline gurus (particulary Ezzo, Pearl, Lessin, Tripp, and Dobson)? Have you read any of their literature, and if so, what did you think of it? These are the five whom I have heard/read most strongly criticized, but I know that my own parents found Dobson’s writings quite helpful, and I think I remember seeing a Tripp book at home too. Thoughts? What other authors might you recommend instead?

Second, what do you think of attachment parenting? I know that is totally a broad question, but I’m really curious. Do you think it’s a great idea, or sort of weird? Are there specific aspects you like or dislike?

Third, (and this is kind of where I’m going with all this), what about physical discipline? For little ones – hand slaps or no? What do you think the pros and cons are for either choice? At what point (age, understanding, etc.) do you think it might be appropriate? For older ones – spankings? Why or why not? As a child gets older, do you think modesty concerns could be an issue? At what age? Also, do you have ideas on discipline in general – time outs, loss of toys if misused, etc.? What do you think would be effective and why?

I should say that I haven’t read much on the subject yet. There is so much out there, and the reviews are so mixed that I thought I’d see what friends have to say on the subject before I dove into the sea of literature. I have read Babywise, and found it awful, so anytime I read a review on amazon that associates a book with the Ezzos, I get concerned. However, some reviewers say that Dobson’s ideas are in the same category, and that leaves me a bit confused.

I lean toward attachment parenting in general (there are always exceptions, of course, but generally!) But most AP people don’t agree with spanking as a form of discipline, and I grew up thinking that spankings were just a normal part of Christian discipline. Part of my head thinks that I’m a bit crazy even to question this…but part of me is really drawn to alternative ideas and worries that perhaps “spare the rod, spoil the child” has developed from a faulty understanding of scripture. It’s just an idea, but if Christ came to show us so much grace, oughtn’t we to show grace to our children as well? And I’m not sure grace-filled parenting is as punitive as many think.

Please understand that I do not currently have a “position” on this at the time. I’m looking for as many thoughts, book suggestions, ideas, etc. that I can get. And I figure that this might be a good place to start, since I know and respect most of you who read my blog. (Heehee, now you can all wonder who I know and don’t respect.) j/k!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Energy conversions

Today has been a very frustrating day…and I think I just figured out why.

I woke up this morning after a fantastic night’s sleep, full of energy and ready to go. I laid great plans to do all the chores I’ve been putting off doing: sweep and mop floors, clean the high chair, scrub the sink, vacuum, etc. But I’d hardly got a decent start on it all before Jonathan became Fussy Central.

So all that “must clean the house” energy got rather sharply diverted into “must hold the baby” energy. Somehow it just didn’t convert well.

I think Jonathan must be in the midst of another growth spurt, or something, because he’s been all out of kilter for a few days. Crazy naps that last over two hours some days, and days (like today) when it’s hard to get him to stay asleep for more than 45 minutes even though he’s desperately tired. And crying jags over (seemingly) absolutely nothing that last far longer than I’d expect. Poor kid. I suppose this is as hard on him as it is on me!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Look! He takes after Aunt Libby!

Sorry for the lack of posts!

No, I didn't fall off the planet. There was a lot going on in our family over the Christmas season.

Ok, to update:

Jonathan is THIS CLOSE to crawling. He has figured out how to move both hands and one knee correctly – but is entirely confused as to what to do with that last knee. So he gets up on his hands and knees, rocks back and forth a bit, inches forward on his hands, pulls up one knee, and then looks confused, rocks backward, and sits down again. He is able to move around this way, just not very quickly.

As of yesterday, he can pull himself up on the coffee table fairly reliably. He’s done it a few times previously, but I think he’s actually figured out how it works now. He knows to move his feet to get them under himself so he’s not just hanging on by his fingertips. :)

Along with the new joys of mobility come the joys of discipline. Jonathan has very decided ideas of what he wants, and gets very frustrated when he can’t have them. Unfortunately, “what he wants” seems to gravitate towards Daddy’s books and Mommy’s computer cords. Thankfully he hasn’t discovered the curtains yet. Those are the three “no no’s” which Gabe and I decided to focus on. Everything else we can move out of his way, and we think that having three consistent “no’s” is probably reasonable to expect Jonathan to understand. It’s interesting and a little scary to be moving into this new stage. I worry about reacting appropriately as he does things he shouldn’t: does he know what “no” means yet? Is he exploring innocently or doing something wrong on purpose? Did he just forget or is he refusing to listen? When do you just move his hand away and when is it appropriate to slap it gently? He’s a really persistent little kid – I can move him halfway across the room and give him other toys to play with, and he’ll often head straight back over to that which he isn’t supposed to touch.

Amber recommended The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears for an attachment parenting take on discipline. I have it on request at the library. Does anyone else have suggestions for good books on the subject?