Saturday, September 29, 2007

Common Cause

In the midst of lots of bad, really bad, and even worse news from the Episcopal church lately, there is one really encouraging thing happening. Have you heard of the Common Cause Partnership? It hasn't been nearly as well publicized as the recent House of Bishops meeting, but in my view it is far more important. It is a partnership of nearly all of the splinter Anglican groups, joining together with the intent to create a truly orthodox, unified, Anglican option in America. This kind of large-scale reunification is (to my knowledge) unprecedented. As Jessica said, "Whoever heard of an anti-schism?"

My well-spoken husband wrote about it today, so I shall now refer you to him. And do click through his links and read the actual text of the Common Cause. You'll be blown away.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another favorite phrase:

"No! I want to do it myself!!!"

He is such a toddler. :)


Jonathan, please come here.
Because we need to get you dressed.
Because we're going for a walk.
Because I thought you'd like to go for a walk.
I have no idea. Never mind.

A few minutes later:

I thought we were going for a walk?
We were, but you didn't want to put your clothes on.

I'm doing my best to stay patient, but this really is rather taxing. Because this is not an isolated incident - this is my life right now. All day. If he is awake, he is asking me "why?"

Some of the questions are legitimate and have real answers. Some are silly. Some are stalling tactics. Sometimes I think it is just his default word when he can't think of anything to say but must say something anyway.

Does anyone have good ideas for coping with this?

Easy and yummy dinner idea

This is an accidental discovery brought about by staring into the pantry and wondering "what in the world can we eat for dinner?"

What you need:
1 pkg. Lipton Noodle Sides - chicken flavor
1 can diced tomatoes with herbs
shredded mozzarella cheese (jack would probably be good, too)

Make noodles according to package directions (this takes seven minutes once your water is boiling). Drain tomatoes as well as you can, then stir into cooked noodles. Serve and sprinkle with mozzarella.

I actually don't like the Lipton Sides by themselves very much. I had one in the pantry because it was free after a sale and a coupon, and unfortunately we DO have nights when I just can't think of anything to cook. :)

In any case, the end result of this ten minute experiment was good enough to repeat. Watch for Lipton Sides coupons and sales - it isn't uncommon to be able to combine them and get these for free or nearly free.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lettie, these are for you. :)

The best thing about a garden? Bringing it inside!

Standing up!

No, he didn't pull himself up (this is a little too high for him to do that) but he sure loves standing here and holding on!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

He seems to be the strong, silent type.

I'd ask him, but he isn't talking. :)

I know that Jonathan has been precocious in regards to language. And even though I told myself when Thomas was born that it would be different with this very different child, I still sometimes find myself wondering "when will you talk, child?"

At 7.5 months, Thomas is quite definitely the strong, silent type. He smiles a lot, and if he's upset he'll cry and/or squawk, but he just doesn't talk. For that matter, he doesn't really do much cooing. And he definitely doesn't use any consonants. Nary a one. By this age Jonathan had been using consonants for four months, and was starting to say "dada" specifically.

(How do I know this, you ask? Because I have been blogging my children's lives from the very first smile, my friends, and Blogger has a search feature.) :) Speaking of which, do you have any idea how very glad I am that I started blogging? This is the most amazing baby book ever created. I love it.

Anyway, that's the "silent" bit. Now for the "strong": Thomas has learned how to pull himself up to his feet! He's enjoying this new trick quite a bit - at bedtime with Jonathan, while we read his bible story, Thomas will spend the entire time pulling up, sitting down, pulling up, sitting down, using Jonathan's bed rail. And smiling the whole time, of course! Seriously, I think this child will skip crawling entirely, and not for lack of tummy time. He just knows what he wants and he wants to do this his way. Please, and thank you. That is really the sense I get from him...he knows what he wants but he'll be nice about his method of getting it.

I find it so fascinating to see my two very different children develop. It is fun to look at them now, mull over their personality traits and dream about their futures. Maybe Jonathan will be a linguist or a lawyer (you know, he'd be GOOD at that, I bet, heaven help us!) Maybe he'll be a musician. Maybe Thomas will be a priest or a professor or a monk (wouldn't that make his Daddy proud!) Maybe he'll be an artist.

And now a picture of my oh-so-different boys:

Side by side you can see the differences, but the picture to the left is hanging in Gabe's mom's hallway, and if you look at it there you aren't quite sure if it is Jonathan or Thomas. I guess if they're going to be look-a-likes, it is a good thing they are so different. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Saints and Icons

Recently I put a lovely framed picture of Mary and the baby Jesus up in my bedroom. It is hanging over the changing table, so I see it often. I've been wanting such a picture for months. I searched the internet for art prints of Madonna and Child, looking for one that captured a sense of reality and peace. This is the one that I found. Isn't it beautiful and restful?

I wanted it to serve as a reminder, throughout my day, to try to be a good mother. Although I don't know much about her day to day life, I do know that she must have been a holy mother. And so I want to pattern my life after hers.

Such were my expectations. Visual stimulus as a reminder to pursue holiness. But it isn't working out quite the way I thought it would. Instead, this picture has become an icon for me.

I'm not generally a fan of icons, although I have a basic understanding of their purpose. And I find much of Marian theology to be somewhat disturbing. So why does it seem that I have a friend in the room? Why do I find myself talking to her (and quickly converting it into a "no no, I mean please God help me to be a good mother") sort of prayer? Why does this seem like a very true reality, although all my protestant training cries out against it?

I spent some time in college studying the idea of praying to saints. Eventually, I decided that I understood the reasons behind the concept and didn't think there was anything wrong with doing so. I didn't think there was any clear reason to think that they could hear us and/or interced for us; then again, there was no clear direction that they couldn't. I was drawn to the thought of prayer to saints being like talking to our friends, since death is no longer a barrier to those in Christ. But I never felt any real desire to talk to them - they seemed remote from my life.

Mary doesn't seem remote anymore. She seems like a friend, like Jessica or Ashley, who has worked her way through this life that is motherhood. She knows the joys and the sorrows of raising boys. I don't believe she was born without sin, so I think she probably knows the difficulty of being patient with whiny children, and the frustration of wishing for silence when it is nowhere to be found. She spent hours doing laundry, and making meals, and breastfeeding her children. And since God found her worthy to be the mother of his Son, I think she probably did it all with grace, and love, and patience.

I want my life to look like that. And if this picture can be a prayer window for me, if talking to Mary can help me become more like Jesus, then I think I'm glad my picture is an icon.

Another really thought provoking post

from Jen. Should we want to be sexy?

Head on over to Et Tu and join the conversation. Be sure to read the comment string, because there is some really good discussion happening there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More on birth interventions

I started to write a comment but it got ridiculously long. Plus I wanted to clarify a few things for everyone, not just the comment readers. :)

Here goes:

Jessica, I believe that the study was comparing low-risk stats out of hospital to low-risk stats in hospital. I.e. they excluded the high risk hospital births so that they'd be comparing apples to apples. I absolutely believe that high risk births should be in the hospital.

For that matter, (rebecca) any woman should have a right to a hospital birth (as pain free as possible!) if she so chooses. My concern is not with hospitals, per se, but with the routine use of unnecessary (and often inherently risky) tools such as cytotec, augmentative pitocin, episiotomies, etc.)

Regarding lawsuits: I wonder how long it will take for the suits to start going the other way. For example, there was a case back on the east coast recently where a woman sued for an unnecessary c-section that ended badly, and won. Given that there are a lot of risks associated with c-sections, (not to mention cytotec inductions, episiotomies, etc.) that simply aren't talked about these days, I wonder if there will eventually be a backlash and return to a more laid back approach to childbirth?

Interventionist birth: the new normal

Anyone who knows me, or has been reading this blog for very long, probably knows that natural childbirth is something I care very much about. So I was fascinated by this article, which discusses the "new normal" of interventions in birth. Induction, pitocin to "speed things up", artificially rupturing membranes (again, to "speed things up"), episiotomies, forceps, often culminating in an "emergency" c-section, have become the new normal.

But it doesn't have to be this way. The article notes that during Hurricane Charley (back in 1994) the c-section rate at Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Centre dropped from 29% to 17% (and only 6% if you exclude the scheduled c-sections from the data). Why? Because the power was out, and although the hospital had a generator, it was limited. So women were told to go back home until they were in active labor. When they were admitted to the hospital, they had their babies within hours and with minimal intervention.

The article also refers to a 2005 study (yes, this is the full study) published in the British Medical Journal, that looked at over 5,000 midwife-attended low-risk births. 12% of those babies were sent to the hospital; only 1/4 of those for urgent reasons. The cesarean rate was less than 4%. No mothers died and 1.7% of babies the babies died either during labor or in the next thirty days...which while incredibly tragic, is comparable to low-risk hospital births.

So why do we, as a nation, accept so many interventions? How did this become the new normal? Back in the 40s and 50s, there was a trend away from anesthetized births and toward "natural" (un-medicated but still in hospital) births. In the 70s and 80s, the use of midwifery for home births soared, only to crash in the 90s. Twenty years later our national c-section rate is pushing 1/3 of all deliveries and interventions such as pitocin augmentation are so routine they are sometimes given without even asking the mother's permission.

What happened? And why? And where should we go from here?

Please do discuss, but keep it nice, ok? This is a hot topic and I don't want to have to moderate my comments. :)

Hat tip to Amy for the link to the original article.

Life before kids

Jen over at Et tu? is always good for some serious thinking. She's also often good for a nice long chuckle. This post will give you both. Here is a bit from the beginning (and trust me, the end is even better so you really should go read the whole thing.)

What I miss about not having kids...

The travel? Nah. Living in a little loft downtown? No. Being able to sleep in on weekends? Certainly not, I relish every waking moment with my precious children, even if it's first thing in the morning! (I'm lying. I do miss that one.)

Anyway, the events of the past 24 hours have made me realize that there actually is one thing that I really, really, miss about my life before children: having this whole parenting thing all figured out.
Now go read the rest! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Useful hobby

A very long time ago, my mother attempted to teach me how to sew. I was a terrible student, but I did learn some basics. And I wore the final result of her tutelage - a lovely rayon skirt - through college. But I hadn't actually sewed much of anything (other than the occasional button!) since about 7th grade.

Some months ago Jessica started teaching herself how to sew. When she first started talking about it, I thought, "well, that just isn't me" and forgot about it. But she's made lovely cloth napkins, and dresses for her daughter (dresses! and they're cute!) and a mei tai baby carrier that I have used on occasion and is wonderful.

How I wanted a mei tai! But I don't sew, you see. So I looked into buying one.

Mei tais cost about $70. I decided that I'd better reconsider learning to sew.

And now I think that the sewing "bug" just may have bit me. Because it is fun! And more than that, it is useful! My first "project" (mostly just to get the feel of sewing back in my hands) was to zigzag stitch the edges of all our cloth diapers. They've been wearing thin and I wanted to make them last longer. I only messed up one of them, and the rest of the three dozen are going to last significantly longer because of my work.

Then I went to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out material for a mei tai. While we were there, Jonathan discovered the most wonderful fabric in the world: "Mommy mommy mommy! John Deere tractors!"

So instead of embarking immediately on the mei tai, I spent yesterday and today working on a pillowcase for Jonathan. See? Useful!

And he is oh-so-happy about it! Of course, I probably could have bought a plain white pillowcase for him for less than the $12 that I spent on fabric and thread, but I couldn't have bought the joy (for him or for me). Besides, it gave me more practice before actually sewing the mei tai (which is definitely more complicated.)

See? Yikes.

Oh, and today I actually fixed a rather important $70 undergarment, instead of giving up on it and buying another one. Surprisingly, it took about ten minutes, which comes out to $400 an hour. Not a bad hourly wage, eh? ;)

I'm having such a good time. After the mei tai, there is a skirt that I really want to try making. I found a truly gorgeous fabric on a "just looking" trip with Jessica that is just crying out to be sewn into something beautiful, and found a pattern online that is exactly what I think it should be. It is next on my mental list.

Jessica, I'm glad you're braver than I am and made the attempt first. I don't think I would have tried this now without your example.

And Mom, thanks for teaching me how to sew. All those frustrating hours (for you!) may just pay off after all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our life in pictures

Lately Jonathan has been playing with our small plastic farm animals. I actually just got them out for Thomas, but Jonathan is enjoying them the most!

He did this all by himself!

Autumn and Hunter come over occasionally to play. Autumn LOVES playing with "Baby Thomas".

This particular day I had worn them out! So we all collapsed on the couch with books to recover.

Sometimes Gabe and I will take the boys down to the pool to swim. It isn't our favorite thing to do because neither Gabe nor I are crazy about the water. That alone wouldn't be such a problem; the real issue is that Jonathan, who begs and pleads to be taken swimming, will very often refuse to get in the water. "You do it, Daddy." Poor Daddy!

Still, we do sometimes succeed in getting both boys into the water. Thomas enjoys it if he's not too tired. And Jonathan is slowly but surely (with lots of good encouragement from Gabe!) getting more comfortable in the water. Sometimes he'll even "jump" off the top step into Gabe's arms! And last time Gabe taught him how to kick his feet behind him while held up (and very very safe!) on Daddy's chest. He's such a good Dad - even in the things that he really doesn't like doing!

I should re-nick-name this kid "smiley". If he's not tired or hungry or sick, he's usually smiling.

And he's out! This is Thomas' method of choice for falling asleep. I go in after he's quiet and take the diaper off his face. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

I've been trying all day to put into words what I think today, the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I couldn't do it. I read lots of "I remember" posts around the blogosphere, but most of them seemed to fall flat. I do remember, and I want to remember, but simply saying "I remember" feels trite. We've been "remembering" for six years, and it seems that not much has come of it.

This evening I read my sister's post. She says exactly what I wish I'd been able to articulate. So please go read it. It is very, very good.

Say what?

The other day I told Jonathan that Hunter and Autumn were coming to play that afternoon. A bit later he happily told Gabe that "Huntum and Otter" were coming over. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007


Amy was diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2006. If you have a minute, go read her faith-filled blog entry about her diagnosis. She, her husband Brandon, and her little son Gary have spent the past year in and out of hospitals, diligently seeking remission and health and life.

I started reading her blog some months ago and was overwhelmed by her faith in the face of a great fear - not dying, for as she said, that was her "easy part", but of leaving her family to have to go on living without her.
We wanted to raise our son, to grow old together, but God has different plans for our family. And as much as we don't understand them right now, we know that He is sovereign over this as well. Please pray for us, and for my family especially. My part in all of this is rather easy. I get to die and be with my Savior in glory. I get to miss out on all the suffering this world holds. It is my family who bear the grief and the pain day in and day out. It is for them that my heart breaks.

Hold your loved ones a little closer for me today. Live life a little more -- wear your dressy clothes around the house just because life is really short and stains don't really matter. Don't get impatient about the little things.

Someday we'll understand why.
Amy fought the good fight, and today she finished her race. She is rejoicing in her Savior's arms now, but Brandon and Gary are going to miss her so very much. So please, take a few minutes today, and tomorrow, and and next month, and pray for them as they grieve.

You can read Brandon's recounting of Amy's last minutes with him. Also, Shannon has a really nice remembrance posted.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

He has a mouse?

This afternoon Jonathan and I were reading a a story about Mr. Mouse. The picture of Mr. Mouse in a car elicited the following comments.

Jonathan: "Oh look, a mouse!"

Me: "You’re right. Do you think that mice really drive cars?"

Jonathan: "Mm hmm. Mine does."

WFMW - Brand Loyal Edition

I've been (in)conspicuously missing from Shannon's Works For Me Wednesday carnivals lately, mostly because I ran out of interesting, bloggable, things that worked for me. At least, I ran out of ones I could think of quickly. :)

But this time I have a GREAT one.

I am usually the least "brand loyal" person around. I will buy the spaghetti sauce that is on sale, with a coupon, doubled. Thank you very much. So when Jonathan was born, I bought the socks that were on sale at Target. And then I tried the socks that were really cheap at Walmart. After that, a basic package at Kohls. Oh, the frustration! Those silly cheap socks weren't worth the money (little though it was) that I paid for them. Either they were too loose and they'd slide right off his kicking little feet, or they were too tight, cut off his circulation, and and left sock band imprints around his tiny ankles.

Then when he was about six months old, someone gave me a belated shower gift that included BabyGap infant socks. And it was love. They were soft. They didn't slide off his feet. They didn't leave ugly painful red marks on his ankles. They had anti-slip grips on the bottom. They were perfect.

They are $2 EACH, and I have to make a special trip to the mall to get them, but we haven't bought our socks anywhere else since.


This is also why I generally don't get around to memes, even though it gives me warm snugglies to get tagged. ;) So thank you, Laane - I'm sorry I can't play along right now!


Both of my children are in "phases" right now. As in "I hope this is a phase and a short one too!"

Jonathan had his first public tantrums last week; three in the space of four days. This is calling for some decided thought and creativity on my part as I try to anticipate, redirect, and (unfortunately) handle the results of said tantrums. It is a lot trickier than I had considered.

Thomas is, I think, highly frustrated with his lack of mobility in a very mobile family. Crawl, child, crawl! He wants to be carried a lot right now and if I put him down and walk away he has developed a very loud, very carrying, very obnoxious grunting/squawking sound that has a similar effect on me as that of nails on a chalkboard. Well, it is effective, I'll give him that. :)

On a more positive note, both kiddos are also blossoming in beautiful ways at a truly amazing pace. Jonathan seems to be having another language explosion. His sentences are becoming quite complicated, and he's experimenting with a lot of new grammatical construction. The results are sometimes funny, but he's getting better by the day. Sometimes Gabe and I will just look at each other and say "did he really just say that? Our two-year-old?"

Thomas is starting to add "lalalala" and "yaya" sounds to his previous cooing. I'd forgotten how much fun this stage of language development is.

My mother just mentioned that I may have forgotten to post about the result of our potty training experiment. It worked. :) Jonathan is now in diapers only for sleeping. He has occasional accidents, but they are usually my fault rather than his (as in: "Mommy, pee's comin' out" followed by "oh dear, hold it, um, while I find a bathroom, after I pay for the groceries, um, can you make it until we're home?") :)

Computer time

I'm finding blogging time to be seriously limited right now. Mainly because of two things: children and...ok, just one thing.

When Jonathan was younger, he would get upset if I sat down at the computer. Now? He wants his turn. We've actually had to set up a 15 minute "computer time" rule - he gets to sit at the computer once a day to look at "trains and airplanes!!!!!!!" (thank you, YouTube!) and when that time is up, it is up. :)

It is strange to me to have this be an issue with my two-year-old. It makes sense, I suppose, since Jonathan sees Gabe working on the computer all the time, and I spend a fair amount of time there, too. Still, it is something I hadn't thought I'd be dealing with until he was quite a bit older.

In any case, since I'm limiting Jonathan's time, I think it is only fair to keep my time on the computer limited as well, especially when he's awake and aware of it. So if I owe you an email, I am oh-so-sorry. Perhaps I'll get to it in 2023.