Sunday, August 21, 2011

Media Monday

On Mondays, I will be sharing a bit of media-Bible verse, song, television show, movie, cartoon, news article, blog post, anything media-ish that has inspired, convicted, or encouraged me.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

This morning I woke up a little earlier than I thought I 2 1/2yo needed to go to the bathroom and I thought I could sneak him out of the bed and to the bathroom without being noticed by my 7mo.  WRONG!  When we came back in, my 7yo was on the bed consoling the baby and my 5yo was watching.  So 6:30 it was.  On a Sunday.  I decided to make good use of my time by doing dishes so that they wouldn't plague me the rest of the day.  I also decided to YouTube some praise music while doing so.  I knew I was in a bad mood, and I was hoping that I could coax myself into a good mood.  I grumbled along in my morning tasks until this one came up in my playlist.

"How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough,
How amazing is Your love?
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

"I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And I fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne"

I can sing in the troubled times...and really, was my morning "troubled"?  I mean, I have a house I slept in, a bed too, 4 beautiful children, a husband who loves me and has a good job, and food to feed my family.  Can any of my complaints even qualify as "troubled"?  Probably not.

Then at church this morning, we sang this song

"Why are you looking for love?
Why are you searching
as if I'm not enough?"

"Cause I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you."

I know sometimes that I think just 30 more minutes in the morning will make everything ok, or 5 more minutes of "me time", or one more new shirt, or whatever...but that stuff doesn't make "it" ok.  God's enough, if I let Him be.  He can fill me up if I just allow Him in.  Rather than dwell on my "discomforts" in this world, I should just give my woes to Him and feel His joy.

One more song for today

"At the cross, You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees
And I am lost for words, so lost in love
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered."

"Called me out of death
Called me into life"

Wholly surrendered...boy is that something I want to say about my life.  I want to say that God is the absolute center of my life and that little things, like missing 30 minutes of sleep is not something that affects my attitude.  I have my good days and my bad days and my great days and my awful days.  For ME, it comes down to selfishness...ME me ME me...MY needs, MY wants.  But when I put my family first, instead of feeling like a slave, I feel refreshed and joy-filled.  It seems like the devil attacks twice as hard the next day though and I struggle to serve my roll with a happy face.

Today at church we had the privilege of having the youth group music team lead worship and it was really neat.  The guy singing wrote his own song and shared it with us today and I loved that he included (and changed) this in his song-

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy, when skies are gray
I'll never know God, how much You love me
You'll never take my sunshine away"

How true is that?  I love it!  One last thing before I'm done, in our prayer time today, the man praying reminded us that when we give up the fight, God throws the punches for us.  So on those days that I'm just feeling tapped out and empty with nothing to give to my kids, I just need to let Him in and He'll throw the, uh...hugs for me.  I can draw my strength and stamina from Him.  His supply is endless.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just thinking

Today I was doing some thinking about marriage and relationships. It occured to me-and maybe I'm wrong, or maybe it's just the group that I "hang with" that has skewed my perspective-anyway, it occured to me that in our society, when our parents treat us poorly, we tend to say things like "well, that's just the way he/she is, I'm used to it" but if our spouse treats us similarly we jump to divorce.  I've never been in that type of situation in my marriage (thank the Lord), but I have been there with my parents.  Often I find myself reading about marriage and divorce in the Bible and trying to fit my parental relationship into the directives that God has given for marriage and I'm realizing that that just doesn't work.  I could be wrong on this one, but the thing that stares back at me the most is that I took no oath to my parents, but I did take one to my husband...and they tried to come between that on many occasions.

I see the same thing happen to many other people too (what is with these parents?!) and they either defend their parents, or just put up with it because they think they have to.

Then I see people struggling in their marriage relationship because their spouse is unloving or "unfair" and everyone jumps to say "Oh if my husband treated me like that, I'd walk right out the door".  And many of them do.

Does anyone else see this?  Am I crazy?  It just seems so backwards to me to cling to parents who are unloving, unkind, and unfair, but to quickly flee from a husband who is the same.  People looked at me like I had 3 eyes when I "divorced" my parents...and our decision was not an easy one.  It was one we had been thinking about for almost 4 years...well, it's one I had personally been thinking about since I was a child-I used to daydream that I had been kidnapped and that someday my REAL parents would find me...but as a couple, we'd been considering ending that relationship since our now 5yo was a baby.  Is it just uncommon to draw a boundary with family and stick to your bottom line?  Divorce IS common, I know that.

I don't know where I'm going with all this...maybe I just need to process it.  I certainly didn't articulate how I feel very well here, but I tried.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?  I can't wait until my husband gets home and the kids are in bed so I can talk through this.  It's like a traffic jam in my brain right now.

And I just wanted to add that I'm not saying anyone whose parents ever mistreated them SHOULD end the relationship.  I think it's very individual and you have to decide if continuing a relationship with parents will threaten the sanctity of your relationship with my parents was erroding away at my family, my marriage relationship, and my ability to parent properly.  I was recently told to "be Jesus" to my parents...but at what cost?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Update on the MIAness

I have been doing a horrible job blogging! It's been busy here though. Last week my pretty princess turned 5! We had our biggest birthday party ever with 11 kids (including our 4) total and 4 adults (including us). I made her a Rapunzel dress, which is still not finished, I'm just's missing something, but I'm not sure what. And I need to lower the neckline a little. In my effort to make a modest version, I put the neckline all the way up to her neck...and she's got a great big head like Momma. So we need a little more room up there to pull it over.

I bought and started reading The Backyard Homestead. I'm loving it!! The wheels in our heads are turning about how we'll maximize our gardening potential in whatever house God blesses us with. We have been planning on buying next summer for quite a while now, but we may have the opportunity to rent a larger home from the same people who own the house we are renting now (it's getting toooooo small for us, we really NEED a third bedroom), so we're going to look into that. If we do, I guess we'll just keep up with container gardening for a few years until we decide to buy (they told us to buy that bigger house, but it comes with more property than we could afford next summer). But I'm already thinking about what next year's garden will hold.

Our garden this year was late getting planted, but it's doing awesome. The 4 tomato plants we have in one 18g tote are going crazy, with leaves anyway. I'm waiting for the flowers. The 2 tomatillos we have are just covered with flowers! It's amazing. Our peas are doing ok, they're teeny, I hope they grow up some soon. Our cucumbers are doing pretty good too, and I can see a few small cucumbers growing! The strawberry plant is filling the bucket up with shoots, which I hope means we'll quite a bit to show for it next year. Our carrots and scallions aren't doing all that great, which is a bummer because the carrots are one thing I know we'd eat the heck out of. Oh well.

We all had a small cold this week. We knocked it out quickly with homemade elderberry syrup. Well, ok, not so much syrup. The recipe I found calls for honey, but I didn't have any, and I wasn't going anywhere, so we used just a little xylitol. It was not yummy, but it worked REALLY well and I encourage anyone to try it! It was super simple too. 1/2c of dried elderberries to 3c of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Mash the berries, strain, and done. Even the baby (7mo) took it.

We "started" homeschooling back up. We didn't take the summer off, we chugged along through, just at a slower pace. We did take last week off so we'd have time to prepare for the birthday party (mostly so I'd have time to sew). I think I have a new plan for working through this year though, for my oldest. He really has a hard time staying focused on his work for extended periods, so I think we're going to break it up and do Math, then Bible, a break, and then Language on M/W/F, then History and Science on T/T. My 5yo only has Math and Language to do, and at this point, I just have her do as many or as few pages as she wants in each book as long as she does at least one page.

I've also been trying to reopen some mental issues with my parents and work through them. I was challenged recently to consider reaching out to them sometime in the future, but after thinking on it a lot and talking it over with my husband, we've decided that it's not the best for our family at this point in time to reconnect with them. Our original plan was to step back and give God time to soften their hearts and keep an open heart for when/if they try to contact us with a genuine apology (not the usual snippy "I'm sorry...but it's all your fault I treated you that way")...and I think we're going to stick to that plan. I've wondered this whole time if I had truly forgiven my parents for the way they treated me, and I know I have for the childhood abuse-minus the sexual stuff...I'm still having a hard time with that, but I'm also having a hard time with fogiving them for how they treated me as an adult, undermining pretty much EVERY parenting decision I made, and trying to be a wedge between my husband and I...and I'm just not over that yet. My husband asked "what is forgiveness?" and we talked about it and he asked if I wish for bad things to happen to them...and I don't. So I'm on the right path. I'm not keeping my kids from them to torture or punish my parents (though I know they'd say otherwise). I'm keeping my kids from them so that I can protect my kids from all their "crazy". So yeah, my mind has been very occupied this last week.

And for my "excuse" reason for not internet and/or my computer hate me. It seems like everytime I think of something to blog and sit down (or stand, I don't mind) to type it out, my internet cuts out or my computer locks up. I know my computer is "old" (4y), but I'm not sure why my internet cuts out everyday between 11am and 3pm.

So there you have it. That's what's been going on with us here. Maybe I can get back on track in the next week and start blogging properly again. Maybe.

Friday, August 12, 2011

F is for Friday-Food again!

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F. Your F can be different than mine though!

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

Pancakes! A favorite here at our house. We don't just have them for breakfast (though we did today), we can eat them for lunch or dinner too.

I found this recipe online, somewhere, a few years ago and have adapted it over time to be exactly what we really like.

*1 1/2c of flour (we are working our way towards all whole wheat, but for now we're up to 1 1/4 whole wheat and 1/4 unbleached ap flour)
*1 1/2c of milk
*1 egg
*1Tb softened butter
*1/2c pumpkin puree (100% unsweetened) or 1/2c sweet potato pureed/mash
(when we use either of these, we use less milk)
*3 1/2tsp baking powder (or now with my corn issues we use 1 3/4tsp baking soda + 7/8tsp cream of tartar)
*1/2tsp salt
*1/4tsp cinnamon
*1/8tsp nutmeg

*You can also add other things, like today we added 1 1/2Tb of golden flax seeds.

Mix it all together (it'll be thick, I've found the thinner it is, the longer it takes to cook...well, ok, when I use too much milk, it never finishes cooking, just awful).

Use a 1/4c measuring cup to put it on the griddle (I like to butter each spot before dropping the batter). The thicker batter never really does the "bubble" thing, so just check after a few minutes to see if the bottom is golden brown and then flip.

We get 12-15 pancakes depending on the day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

F is for Friday

F is for Friday
Friday is basically a free for all.  I plan on posting about things like Food, Fitness, Family, Fun, Festivities, etc.  It doesn't have to be about "F" things, but look forward to me doing my best to make (ridiculous) links to the letter F. Your F can be different than mine though!

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine.

F for FIRST tooth!  My sweet little Babykins just got her very first tooth yesterday!  I'm excited, but saddy-sad too because it means that she really is growing up.  She's 7mo now (and the latest teether too, my oldest son was 4mo and got TWO teeth, my older daughter was 5mo, and my youngest son was 6mo) and she's closer to her first birthday than to her birth!  *cry*

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

7 years and 11 months

7 years and 11 months ago I got to start the journey of a lifetime, nourishing my babies through the gift of breastmilk.  I do not take for granted how extremely blessed I am to be able to breastfeed successfully, I've had it really easy except for a few blips here and there. 

I didn't set out to breastfeed initially.  At least not before I got pregnant.  I remember actually walking through the baby department putting together my list of "necessities"...crib, bathtub, carseat, formula.  Yes, I read the canister and tried to figure out about how much a baby would go through a week and made up my mock budget.  We weren't ttc (trying to conceive), but we'd talked about it (and later changed our mind, then later got pregnant because I can't do math correctly apparently).  Breastfeeding didn't even occur to me...I knew that I was breastfed for 3mo and my younger brother for 6w, but I'd never seen anyone breastfeed and I didn't even know that you could breastfeed as the sole nutrition for your baby.  I thought you HAD to feed formula.

But somewhere (A Baby Story or one of the parenting magazines I got in the mail while pregnant probably) I heard about breastfeeding and it finally struck me to start researching it.  And I was sold, 100%.  No formula would pass through the lips of my baby's, God willing.  When my mother tried to convince me to buy some "just in case", I refused.  When the neighbor passed on two giant cans she didn't need anymore, I donated them.  I didn't want it in the house at all.  I didn't want that option, I didn't want to give myself an opportunity to fail.  I had faith that if I kept at it and prayed, that God would teach us how to be successful.

And then my son was born after a difficult labor (induced unnecessaril because my water broke and contractions didn't start right away and complications arose from all the medical-ness of everything).  When they finally brought him to me, I tried to get him to latch on, and he did for like 3 half-hearted sucks, and he wouldn't again.  I tried and tried with him every hour (minus the 2 1/2ish hours that my mother would NOT let me hold him while my exhausted husband slept).  The lactation consultant came by and tried to help us, but he was not interested.  The (mean) nurse came by and kept threatening us with formula, but the lactation consultant got wind of that and stopped the madness.  The nurse was claiming that my son was starving but the LC ordered a blood glucose test and he was well within normal limits.  She still left us with another threat that he'd have to have sugar water soon.  14 hours passed and the nurse rudely dropped off a bottle of sugar water and told us he HAD to have it soon.  My grandmother was there and trying to get him to drink it and I noticed him take ONE suck and demanded my baby immediately.  He finally nursed, Lord I was SOOOO happy.  The next few weeks were rough, he was a lazy sloooooooow frequent eater and often I'd cry and pray through every feeding, begging God to help us get it right.  On average, he'd nurse for an hour, and sleep for an hour, then nurse for an hour again.  It was hard, but at the same time I liked it because it meant that no one got to hold him much, and I'm really not a sharing Mommy.  I like to hold my babies.  It did drive my mother crazy though, and she fought hard to convince me to wean him and told me all the time that he must not be getting enough because he was eating so often.  My little man was a chubster though!  All of my babies have started small (he was 6lbs15oz, my oldest daughter was 6lbs12oz, youngest son was 6lbs5oz, and my youngest daughter was 7lbs14oz...ok, she wasn't small) and they were all 12lbs by 12w, and 16lbs by 16w, and 18lbs by 6m, and so far they've all been 24lbs by their first birthday.  No chance of a starving baby here.

My second baby came out hungry!  She nursed within the first hour and never had any problems.  We weaned her and her older brother at 3y9m.  I had wanted to do child-led weaning, but my husband said it was time, and I obliged.  In hindsight, I think it was the perfect age for MY kids.  I plan on weaning the rest at the same time (barring any medical issues that would require them to have breastmilk for a longer period of time).

My third baby was 4w1d early and he was ready to eat too.  I was worried that maybe he'd have a tough time, but he was a pro.  And he's still nursing, usually twice a day, sometimes though he asks a few more times and I'll let him.

My 4th baby was ready to nurse not long after birth.  She's in that distractable phase right now that oftentimes leaves me soaking wet and exposed, but it's all good.  And she's a big girl!  19lbs even at 7mo.

One of the alleged "downsides" to all this breastfeeding here is that none of my babies have taken a bottle.  Ever.  We tried at least 12 different bottle/nipple combos with my first, and he just wouldn't ever take one.  My mother ended up straw feeding him (holding her finger/thumb over the top of the straw to hold the ebm (expressed breast milk) then moving it to his mouth and dripping it in) on the few times she watched him for an hour or two, and by 5mo he could drink out of a straw.  We tried a few bottles with my oldest daughter also so that I could leave her home while I went to a weekly church group when she was over 6mo, but she wouldn't have it.  She could also drink from a straw by 6mo.  We didn't even bother trying bottles with the youngest two, but they could both drink from a straw by 5 or 6mo.  I really don't mind that they won't take bottles though because I'm never away from them (leaving my oldest was soooo hard, I cried everytime.  I hated it, but I did it because everyone said that you "have" to, bologna I say now!).

I've also donated ebm twice.  I felt a heavy conviction when my oldest daughter was a baby to donate, and I did to an adopted baby for a total of 7-8months.  I wanted desperately to provide her with 100% ebm, but I could never get more than about 20oz in a day and it wasn't long before she was taking close to 40oz a day.  Her adopted mother tried desperately to lactate and fed her with a Lact-Aid device, but it just never happened.  I think it's neat that she still got that "nursing" bonding experience though.  I felt a strong conviction again this time to donate, and I did for 4 months, again, maxing out around 20oz a day.  This time my milk went to two different babies, one adopted again!

I look forward to one day seeing my beautiful daughters snuggling their sweet babies and nursing them, and I look forward to hopefully having more of my own to nurse.  It truly is a glorious feeling to nourish your baby in this fashion.  It's worth the milk-stained clothing and waking up soaked in bed and not being able to have anyone else "help" with the feeding (honestly, I prefer to do all the feeding myself).  I just love it, and I'm so thankful that God has worked it out for us.



I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transparent Tuesday

Transparent Tuesday
On Tuesdays I want to make myself transparent and share something that God has been working on my life, whether it be small (like cleaning my Suburban so I'm not humiliated when I open the door at the grocery store and trash falls out) or big, like submitting to my husband on an issue that needed to be addressed for many years.  You don't have to share this as many of these matters may be very private, but I encourage you to participate privately if you so choose.

Psalm 51:1-4
1)Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2)Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3)For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4)Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

Today my heart is broken for a few of my friends.  They are suffering some big hurts in their lives right now.  If you would please just pray for them, I would be so appreciative.  I know that anything is possible with God, even if they don't see it right now.  Pray for their healing (physical, relational) and for their faith.  A few of them may be teetering.  And pray for their families.  Please and thank you.