Saturday, September 13, 2014

9 months

 

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Emily is 9 months old! She is about 19lbs, wears 9-12 month clothes and wears size 2 shoes. We’re pretty sure she’s working on all 4 top teeth. I’ll miss the two toothed grin!

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And look! She sits! Going places is sooo much easier now. Tonight we went to two stores, out to dinner, and for ice cream and she was happy the whole time! That would not have been a good time a month ago. She loves sitting in the big car shopping carts with Kylie.

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She is also taking consistent naps. At least 45 minutes in the morning, and at least 1.5 hrs in the afternoon. She’s working on dropping the third nap, but right now with teething she’s been sleeping a lot more. The only good thing about teething is that she’s more cuddly and falls asleep on me more often!

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She is a total Daddy’s girl. As soon as he comes home you’ll hear her “slap slap slap” crawling as fast as she can. And if he doesn’t pick her up she’ll cry and pull on his boot laces. Then she’ll cry outside the bedroom door when he’s getting changed. He still gets the best laughs and smiles – even more than Kylie! And she will stand at the window and watch him the entire time he’s mowing the grass.

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She gives open mouth kisses (that’s what she’s doing to Josh’s nose) and will consistently mimic “dada” and raspberries. She also says “baba” and “mama”, but not as often. She is very comfortable on her feet, and Josh saw her stand for a few seconds when Kylie pulled away the thing she was holding on to.

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She is into everything. When Kylie was this age I thought I would teach her to not open cabinets or play with the toilet paper or mess with Beaker’s bowls. I wasn’t successful with that until she was about 15 months old, so this time my expectations are much lower. ;) Emily has already found things that Kylie has never thought about, like outlets and the fireplace. Kylie is actually incredibly helpful with this. She keeps finding higher surfaces for her library books and cups and always tells me when baby is eating paper (Emily’s favorite mischief). The other day I heard a cardboard box opening while I was in the bathroom and started yelling to Kylie, “Go see! Baby can’t have crackers!” Sure enough, Kylie found Emily gnawing on a sleeve of Ritz crackers that had been in an unopened box.

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She is pretty brave (especially compared to Kylie) but not reckless. If she hits her head it’s usually because someone has knocked her over. And she’s not overly friendly, but she will interact with people. We usually have the same grocery bagger and he gets a kick out of the fact that when he’s pushing the cart she will grin, turn her head, then slowly cut her eyes back at him.  She absolutely loves the indoor play place we go to and has never been overwhelmed.

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She is doing OK with eating. Her favorites are things she can feed herself, particularly peas, corn, and grapes. She eats a little better than Kylie, but just like Kylie she gets mad quickly and I’m always trying to coax her to eat more. She’s not a fan of the spoon. She’s figured out the sippy cup and will take a few sips of water. She hasn’t figured out the straw cup yet.

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She is not particularly interested in Beaker, and he is way more comfortable with her than he was with Kylie. She and Kylie are the best of friends, which has been incredible to watch. Kylie doesn’t often say L’s and calls her “Emmy boo”. And I think Emily is going to hold her own and keep up with her big sister just fine.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

cloth diapers

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We have put away our cloth diapers, so this is my summary/advice post. Since starting solids, Emily is having problems with rashes again. She really would benefit from using diaper cream all the time to prevent them, and I finally decided that in my stubbornness to continue with cloth I was not doing what was best for her. (yes, I tried cloth diaper safe options but nothing works like zinc oxide and aloe)

We did not fall in love with cloth diapers. I just couldn’t figure out the leaking. In the end, we were only using them when she was home and awake, because I was changing her every hour, and it hardly seemed worth it. If she grows out of the rashes, I’ll probably try again to see if they work better on a bigger body.

If you really care about creating less waste, cloth diapering is huge! I can’t even imagine the mountain of diapers Kylie has created. And if you want to save money, it can also be huge as long as you’re smart about it. I think we could have liked it better if we did some things differently, so here is my advice!

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Try them out before you buy a whole stash. My friends have been so helpful with figuring all this out, and I wish I had asked around to see if someone had a few I could try out. It’s possible that the type we got just doesn’t fit Emily great. Also, she started getting rashes the same week we started cloth diapers – I actually thought they were to blame at first. If I had only bought one or two to try, we might not have bought any more.

Don’t bother with all-in-ones. We had to use extra liners with them anyway, and pocket diapers are usually cheaper.

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Sun them! The sun is magic on stains and I’ve read that it kills bacteria. Not putting them in the dryer is greener and saves money, whichever is your motivation for cloth diapering. I would put them outside until they were almost dry, then put them in the dryer for 20 minutes to make them soft.

A diaper sprayer is a must have. (unless you’re starting with an older child) It makes a huge difference with stains and smells. And you don’t have to do as many rinses in the washing machine. And they don’t smell as bad while they’re waiting to be washed.

There is no perfect laundry option. I spent way too much time reading and fretting about soaps and detergents. You can find positives and negatives about every single option. Everyone has a different opinion. Do some research, but at some point, stop wasting your time and just pick one.

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So that’s my two cents! I really wanted to like cloth diapers. I didn’t mind the laundry, but the leaking drove me nuts. It’s so nice now to leave the house for three hours and not think about her diaper.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8 months

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Emily is 8 months old! She wears 9 month clothing, a size 4 diaper (since I wasn’t sure if we could make it through a big box of 3’s) and still just has two teeth (even though I was sure I saw one coming in on top a few weeks ago!)

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She is busy, busy, busy, and so happy to be mobile. She still army crawls most of the time, though she can do all fours, and she’s standing up on everything. She still won’t sit! The other day I got her to sit for about 10 minutes. I put a bucket of toys in front of her and backed away without her noticing. As soon as she saw I was no longer touching her, she put her hand on the ground. Since she doesn’t like to sit, she still hates the grocery cart, though she is doing a little better in a restaurant high chair.

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She and Kylie are great buddies, and they really do play together. Emily looks for Kylie when she’s still sleeping.

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Grammy and Papa visited this month and it took Emily a little longer to warm up to them, but she eventually did.

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She is way better in the church nursery than Kylie was at this age. She drinks her bottle, they are often able to get her to sleep a little, and they don’t say anything good or bad about her, which I think means she’s does just OK. Her comfort objects are her Aden and Anais blankets, though any thin fabric will do in a pinch. She only chews on her finger when she is tired and has a blanket.

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She likes finger foods and we are done with purees. She’ll eat a lot of rice cereal, bananas, and sweet potatoes, and will never turn down a Cheerio.

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We have a really great schedule, finally! I’m sure that eating more solids has helped. She has been dropping her third nap this month, so evenings are rough.

6:30-7:30 wake up, 8oz bottle
8:00 breakfast with Kylie
8:30 45min nap (this might be later if we’re not leaving the house, but most days we run an errand or go to an activity for Kylie after this nap)
10:30-11 6oz bottle
12:00 lunch
1:00ish nap (both of them at the same time! whoo!)
2:30-3 wake up, 6oz bottle
5 dinner
6:30 8oz bottle
7:30 bed

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She is LOUD whether she is mad or happy, and often finds herself hilarious. She laughs and smiles easily, especially at Kylie, and kicks her legs when she’s happy. She started clapping this month and is so proud!

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She is full of mischief, but I’m so glad she’s entertaining herself more. I am always pulling something out of her mouth that we didn’t know she could reach. But her favorite thing is probably to crawl off to Kylie’s room to play with her toys. Kylie’s come a long way with sharing, and we have very few problems with that. They are really really sweet together!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

#TBT: Cast Iron Skillet

Throw back to before I made friends with the cast iron skillet here. Five years ago, I would have never believed that I would love using it all the time. I’ve learned the secret is to use a much lower temp than you would with a normal pan, and to let it preheat for a loooooong time. I’m still working out how to clean/season it, though.

Me too… but God

I wrote here about mommy solidarity posts. The ones that share how hard it is and how much we fail and end with encouraging each other to “hang in there.” Up until a few weeks ago, I was all about those posts. I was liking them on Facebook and commenting that is was nice to know I wasn’t the only one. I would have looked at the tired mom of a screaming newborn and said, “It’s gets better. You’ll outgrow the nasty hormones and she’ll outgrow the gas and reflux. She’ll start to crawl and eat cheerios and she’ll get happier. It gets better.”

It does get better, but now I want to find a way to say, “But you can get better before it gets better.” When James 1 says to have joy in trials, it doesn’t give exceptions. (Though wouldn’t I love to make hormones one. “Count it all joy… except for about four days a month when you can just lose it.”) “We think a change of scenery will fix the problem… We think the answer is a new environment when the real answer is a new me.” (James MacDonald, When Life Is Hard)

A few months ago I was in a store by myself and heard a baby crying. My jaw clenched and my shoulders tightened and I felt completely beat down. A few weeks ago I was grocery shopping with the girls. When we got to the cashier, she looked at Emily and said, “Oh it’s you that’s been making all that noise.” I stared at her for a second, because I hadn’t even been conscious of the fact that Emily had been so loud. For some reason, on that day, I was confidant in the fact that I had done everything I could for her, and if she wanted to be mad I wasn’t going to be stressed about it.

It took me six months to get to the second story, and it was still a rare occurrence. How can I say to other moms that we should be able to “count it all joy” when I’ve spent so much time deep in baby blues?

I was thinking about all of this in the car this morning, and then it happened. I got tested, and God miraculously helped me pass.

It had been a rough morning. The baby had been crying from the moment she woke up, and the toddler didn’t want to wake up and then didn’t want to use the potty. I was very tempted to just let us sit in our misery, and I was proud of myself for having the courage to go ahead to our planned outing.

And then. Toddler desperately needed to use the potty, didn’t want to go in her diaper, didn’t want to go on the big potty, and didn’t want to leave the fun activity. And completely lost her mind. It was the fit of all fits, the worst one ever. In the middle of a very public place, I had tried in vain to calm her down, to strap her in the stroller or to carry her with one arm and push the stroller with the other. So I sat on the floor with her in a bear hug and felt my eyes begin to burn and my natural cycle begin. That would be to cry until we got home, dump her in bed, call the whole day ruined, and crash with some junk food and TV because “it’s just been too rough.” And then a lightening bolt from heaven told me that the only thing I could control right now was myself. So I held it together. Somehow I got her to the car and strapped in her seat, and by the time we got home she was cheerfully talking about the birds. And I could talk cheerfully, too, because I hadn’t let my emotions take over. I did crash on the couch with an ice pack, because wrestling 29lbs of crazy isn’t the best thing for your back, but then they took amazing naps and I got a lot done. And when Josh texted to ask how it was going, I was able to say “not so great but I’m handling it well.”

Some of you relate to this, and some of you don’t, but I have never displayed that much control over my emotions before. Which means I didn’t do it.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God immediately gave me an answer to the questions I had in the car, which is just incredible. In all my weakness, I can still share the truth with you. Because I am not boasting about my power, but His.

So mommies, we have got to let God help us find joy through the hormones and blessing through the screaming. PLEASE God, continue to shock me with Your power in my life! I most definitely do not want this to be a one time deal!

“Whatever you are facing…your situation is your opportunity to shine the light of Christ to those who observe you. You can display the superiority of a life lived in God. Realizing that reality and embracing it with your whole heart allows first a sprinkling of joy…and then a stream and finally a downpour to flood your soul. But you can’t come to that conclusion coping on your own. You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your face with food to dull your pain. [ouch] You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your mind with entertainment to dull that pain. [ouch] You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your heart with anger to dull that pain. And you can’t come to the joyful conclusion when you’re filling your body with substance to dull that pain. Only by considering why you are here, and what life is really about and where you will be going very soon can you consider your trial joy.” (James MacDonald, When Life Is Hard)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vegan Taco Salad

This was the first time I attempted to make taco salad without using any dairy, and it was really pretty good! Avocados are awesome. Too bad they’re so stinkin’ expensive! Recipe here.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

truth seeker

I’ve been noticing that the name “truth-teller” is becoming a catch phrase. Well I am a truth-seeker. It is probably the strongest fire in me that I have no real explanation for. And so many times I feel like it’s a burden.

Because it leads me to be an annoying person. To sit in the front of Bible class and raise my hand too many times because I get that excited to learn. To ask you 100 questions about why you do what you do because I want to understand it, without realizing that you feel like I’m beating you up. To give a friend cold truth when she came to me for affirmation. To wake Josh up at 11pm with questions like, “If I truly loved God completely, would that solve all the other problems in my life?” To doubt every statement that’s not connected to specific chapter and verse. To have to bite my tongue every time someone makes a statement that makes Satan sound omnipresent or makes Jesus sound like your bff.

Why can’t I be the person who loves easily? Everyone likes that person. But I’m coming to realize that my passion for truth is maybe my part of the body of Christ. That I can be the left hand of truth-seeking to the right hand of someone loves easily. I know I have much to learn from them, and instead of seeing myself as a burden, maybe I can see opportunities to encourage and push them, too.

I recently received some reading material from a large Christian organization that has had me pacing the floor in concern for myself, my friends, and particularly the women of our generation. Because I see us being drawn to speakers and writers who are oozing with love, but not a lot of scripture. People who are doing good, but only preaching the most basic gospel. I am afraid that we are emphasizing love and work so much that we are skipping over truth and righteousness. If we are trying to love and work without filling ourselves up with truth, we are making ourselves vulnerable.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

For example. Blog posts in the name of solidarity. Especially the mom ones. The ones that tell you that it’s ok that you had a hard time liking your kids today, or that you never remember to sign their reading sheets, or that you just need a break from them, because – me, too. It is important to encourage and support each other….towards godliness.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness (1 Timothy 4:6-7)

I am completely preaching to myself right now, because I got very convicted on this topic after watching a 19 Kids and Counting marathon. Yes, I will give you a second to laugh. But I don’t think I had noticed before that Mama Duggar can hardly speak without quoting scripture. Yes, it’s TV, and reality TV is not really real. But there’s something to learn from her. I also read the book written by the four oldest girls. It’s not a super well written book or anything, but it is a great testament to their parents. So many times when they explained why they do what they do, they said “Well Mama and Daddy searched the Bible…”, from their appearance to how they handle tattling. You might interpret verses differently than them, but I am so inspired by their desire to really live their lives by the Word.

While we are encouraging each other, it is easy to get stuck in sharing our struggles and saying “you’re doing your best” without ever moving on to “how can we do better.” There’s the mommy blogger who makes me feel better about myself because she shares my feelings and even has some ‘worse’ ones. Then there’s Mama Duggar who tempts me to feel bad about myself with her joy and peace and statements that always end in “children are a blessing.” But who is speaking truth? The one that’s basing her attitude and actions on scripture is a good bet. While I should not compare myself to Mama Duggar or feel bad about myself (Galatians 6:4-5), I can strive to be like her. We can still say “I struggle with that, too”, but instead of saying “it’s ok, this will pass/it’s just a season/you’re doing your best”, how about saying “let’s find a way to be better with God’s help.”

I have gone all over the place with this post, but this is all a lead in for the best part. All of this is what’s been keeping me up at night the last few weeks: can I defend ALL my choices with scripture? is my love for truth a burden? is my generation devaluing truth? what is my responsibility in speaking the truth?

So that explains why when I opened our bulletin today and saw the sermon was titled “Knowing and Doing the Truth”, I punched Josh in the arm. Because I knew it. I knew our pastor would give guidance and order to these things that have been swirling around in my head. I still have a lot of questions about what my responsibility is in defending the truth, but I was so encouraged and fired up today. I put my sermon notes in a separate post so that they’re not confused with my own thoughts. Please read them here and be convicted to be passionate about God’s truth.