Monthly Archives: May 2010

Fun with Etsy

So, just for fun, here is a more visual post with some super cute stuff I found on Etsy. If you see something you want to buy, just click on the picture. I have linked to the listing. Enjoy!  

Super Cute Organic Owl Onesie from Ruber Ryder

My daughter modeling a Yellow Elm headband

  

Gypsy Love belt buckle (with free belt!) from Caught Red Handed

Pug Magnets from Mau Studio

Felt Play Tea Set Pattern from Little Cricket

  

Reversible Chenille Bib and Burp Cloth from Sweet Little Birdie

Felt Breakfast Play Food Pattern from Little Cricket

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“Let the children come to me…”

I have been compiling different verses in the Bible that relate to parenting. There are a lot and I know I am not even close to having all of them in one place yet. I have them saved on a file on my computer but I thought I should share some with all of my readers to. This also gives me a reason to categorize them to further help in my study. Instead of just throwing them all out there with no organization, I am going to do this in parts. Today my focus is on Jesus and children. This won’t be exhaustive, just what I have come across so far. Please feel free to comment with verses I haven’t included! (For sake of simplicity, all of the verses quoted below are from the English Standard Version.)

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mark 10:13-16

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Luke 18:15-17

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:1-6

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’? Matthew 21:15-16

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:10, 12-14

(Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:51-52

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. Mark 9:33-37

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. Matthew 19:13-15

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God. Luke 9:37-43

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” Luke 9:46-48

For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Luke 1:44


My First Green Smoothie

The Ingredients

Ever since I was introduced to Green Smoothie Girl via Babies and Moms, Birth and Beyond podcast, I have been intrigued and interested in trying a green smoothie and getting into the habit of having these every day even. That was months ago though and regrettably I have not actually tried one until recently. My mom emailed me this recipe and I finally made one!

The ingredients were pretty simple and things I pretty much always have on hand, except for the green part, the kale. I have never eaten kale before and really didn’t even know what it looked like except it was some type of green, leafy vegetable. My husband insisted that kale is only for garnish, GARNISH, and who would want to eat a garnish?? Needless to say, he was disturbed. In the end though, he is the one who purchased it for me as he graciously did the grocery shopping this week so I could take our daughter on a playdate to the park. He purchased a bag with the stems already taken off and the leaves torn up and washed, ready to go. The bag was $3 but a pretty good size. The recipe only called for a cup of the stuff, so I could get quite a bit of smoothies out of it if I wanted to.

So the making of the smoothie was super easy, as easy as any smoothie recipe is. You just throw the ingredients in and blend away! With the first batch, I could see little green flakes and even had to chew a little. This did not in any way deter me, however. It was delicious! I didn’t even detect any kale flavor but definitely noticed the texture of it. So the next batch, I put on food processor mode and it blended that kale almost to oblivion. If you looked closely you could see teeny tiny bits of kale, but it was nice and smooth. My 14 month old loved the stuff, as did her mommy. She kept asking for more! I also had a friend over and did not tell her what was in it, just that it had a secret ingredient. :) She guessed it was a green of some sort, declared the smoothie delish and said if there had been some honey added, she wouldn’t have known there was greens in it at all!

If you’ve read this far and are wondering what in the world I am doing putting kale (GARNISH!) in my smoothie in the first place, take a look at these facts:

From The Health Benefits of Kale:

Kale has amazing health benefits, and when one single cup is added to a green salad, it provides almost twice the daily requirement of vitamin A, almost all of the vitamin C required for the day, and 1,300% of the daily requirement of vitamin K. That’s a lot of vitamins, but the health benefits don’t end there! Kale contains a number of compounds that most people have never heard of, and these compounds do a lot to keep the body strong, healthy, and free from damage. The health benefits are numerous.

Eating regular servings of kale is a great way to help prevent and lower your risk of getting colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate, and breast cancer.

In a nut shell, kale fights cancer, protects your vision, and boosts bone and heart health. Who wouldn’t want that, especially when it’s yummy!

The first green smoothie was a success! I am so excited and can’t wait to make and share another with my baby girl tomorrow!


The Proverbs 31 Woman

A friend recommended a website called Girlfriends in God that has daily devotional emails. I recently subscribed to these and found them to be a blessing to me. This month, since it is the month of Mother’s Day, a lot of the devotionals have focused on motherhood, specifically the Proverbs 31 woman. I have really learned a lot through these devotionals and been reminded of what my role as a Christian wife and mother should be. I wanted to share some excerpts from the series thus far in hopes that they will be a blessing to you as they have been to me.

From “A Mighty Warrior”, the first in the series, I really liked this list of things to specifically pray for for my child:

“In my Bible, I keep a 4 x 6 laminated card with prayers for Steven that is my defense against the enemy’s attack.  You, too, can pray that your children will:

Know Christ as Savior early in life. (Psalm 63:1, 2 Timothy 3:15)
Have a hatred for sin. (Psalm 97:10)
Be caught when guilty. (Psalm 119:71)
Be protected from the evil one in each area of their lives: spiritual, emotional, and physical (John 17:15)
Have a responsible attitude in all their interpersonal relationships. (Daniel 6:3)
Respect those in authority over them. (Romans 13:1)
Desire the right kind of friends and be protected from the wrong friends. (Proverbs 1:10-11)
Be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Be kept pure until marriage (as well as the one they marry). (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
Learn to totally submit to God and actively resist Satan in all things. (James 4:7)
Be single-hearted, willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)
Be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or wrong places and that the wrong people cannot find their way to them. (Hosea 2:6)

A mother wears many hats during the years of raising her children.  And while we take off those hats one-by-one as they grow and mature, there is one that will always remain – the hat of a mother who prays.”

In “How to Enjoy Your Family, Part 1”, I read something it is good for me to always be reminded of. Trust is something I always seem to struggle with. This excerpt specifically was an encouragement to me:

“Proverbs 31:11 tells us that “her husband has full confidence in her.”  “Full confidence” literally means to trust, to take refuge in or to lean on. The Proverbs 31 woman spent a lifetime building trust. She trusted God and had a personal relationship with Him. We cannot be trustworthy if we are not trusting, and if we don’t trust God, we cannot truly trust others. If we are not “taking refuge” or “leaning on” Jesus Christ, when others take refuge and lean on us, we will crumble and fall. Trust shatters fear.

Psalm 56:3 “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me?” (NIV)”

I enjoyed this sweet story from “How to Enjoy Your Family, Part 2”:

“From childhood, making the bed was one of my kid’s daily chores. I told them that one day a week, I would make their bed for them. It could be on a day when they were running late for school, when they were too tired or didn’t feel well. Whatever the reason, I would serve them by making their bed one day a week. One morning, I was running behind and in a hurry to visit my husband was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. I had been at the hospital day and night and was exhausted. I got up very early, took one look at my bed and decided I just didn’t want to make it. I went to take a shower, hoping it would wake me up.  When I came out, Danna, our eleven-year-old daughter had made my bed. To love our family, we must serve with joy!”

“How to Enjoy Your Family, Part 3” contains a lot of wonderful truths like the following:

“Psalm 141:3 ‘Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD: keep watch over the door of my lips.’ Before speaking, ask yourself the following questions:

T       is it true
H       Is it helpful
I       is it inspiring
N       is it necessary
K       is it kind

Think before you speak. Use the five to one ratio when correcting – five positive remarks to one negative comment. The harder the truth, the more love we should use in saying it. It is our responsibility to use our words to train and instruct our family about the daily things in life, but more importantly, to instruct them about the eternal things. We are very concerned about providing for our children when we need to be more concerned about caring for our children. The greatest care we can give is to disciple them by speaking words of truth. Guard your tongue.”

“The final way to enjoy and love your family is to remember who your audience should be.

Proverbs 31:28-31 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

It’s so easy to live life before the wrong audience. The truth is that our audience determines how we run the race. Our audience should be God, our mate, our children and then others. One day we will stand before God as keeper of the family He has loaned to us for a short time. Will He be pleased? Will He say “Well done?” Will our family stand and bless us? Will others say this woman loved and enjoyed her family?”

“The Lighthouse” demonstrates how a mother is like a lighthouse beautifully. Here are my favorite excerpts:

“I have always seen a mother as a lighthouse, or beacon in a child’s life.  Think about it. A beacon is a landmark that her children can always count on. She shines the light of Christ at night and she serves as a landmark by day. She is watching out over the sea of faces to protect her tiny fleet.  Like the Proverbs 31 woman she ‘watches over the ways of her household.’  She is present.  She’s available.  And she’s on guard.”

“Her gaze is not a casual glance.  She doesn’t just give her children a ‘once over’ before they rush out the door to make sure their hair is combed and their socks match.  This is a mother who actively guards, protects, saves, guides, and attends to those precious to her.”

“Being physically present is not the mother’s primary goal. Having the greatest possible impact on her home is.  You can be physically present and still not make a positive impact.  You can be there, but not be all there.  You can become so wrapped up in other pursuits, so focused on relational struggles, so preoccupied with keeping the castle clean and checking items off your “to do” list, so engrossed in television or a good book, that you are oblivious to the chubby fingers tugging on your skirt or the teenager who has become withdrawn and sullen.  If you are going to be there – then be all there – mind, body and soul.”

I absolutely loved the verse “Oil for My Lamp”. To me, it was a sweet reminder of how as mothers we also respond to the nighttime needs of our children.

“Her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18 NIV).

“I thought about the mariners who were so dependent on the lighthouse’s searching beam to lead them safely to shore. What if she ran out of oil?  What if she didn’t shine?  The ships were relying on her to be prepared and well supplied with oil.  Then I thought about my own life as a mother. Suppose I ran out of oil, my light grew dim, or worse, burned out altogether.  What would happen to my little fleet?

The blessed mother in Proverbs 31:18 also had a lamp.  Scripture says that “her lamp did not go out at night.”  I used to read that verse and think, “Doesn’t this woman ever sleep!”  But then I realized that it wasn’t so much about her staying awake all night, as it was about her lamp.  She never let her oil run dry.”

Anything else you would like to add about the Proverbs 31 woman? I hope these have been encouraging and uplifting to you as they were to me.


Homemade Chicken Broth

I was inspired recently by a post from Cheap, Healthy, Good which linked to an article which linked to this article. Don’t you just love web surfing? Anyhow, I have wanted to try this whole rubber chicken thing that I’ve heard about and seen blogged about all over the internet for quite some time now but I will admit, whole chicken’s scare me. I will do it one of these days though. I will conquer my fear!! 

But, that is not what this post is about. What I really want to write about is homemade chicken broth. I don’t use it all that often but when I do I’m annoyed at the cost of it and am also not too happy about what is possibly in that can of broth. So, after reading some and thinking about it, I decided to start saving my leftover cut up vegetable pieces and parts. I have a gallon size freezer bag about full sitting in the freezer just waiting for me to get brave enough to buy that scary whole chicken and cook it up. Right now that bag contains red onion paper/skin and ends, celery stalks/leafy parts and ends and well, I think that is pretty much it. Oh, I did throw some green onion ends and tips in there yesterday. I had basil but wasn’t sure if that would make my stock bitter. I read that online somewhere. Who knows if it is true. I also threw out my cilantro (poor, sad, mushy and never got around to be enjoyed) because I wasn’t sure if it was okay to put in stock either.

What I would love to know is if one of my very smart readers knows what vegetables are okay and which are not okay to save for stock. Or is there a comprehensive list somewhere on the internet? Also, any other tips on how to actually do this and what spices I should add (if any.) Just maybe, with the help of my readers, I can finally make my own stock and no longer fear the whole chicken beast.

Edited to add on 6/3/10: I DID IT!!! Now I have tons of stock and am freezing them (this part is taking awhile because I only have 2 trays) in 1/4 cups in ice cube trays so when I need some broth, I’ll just take out how many cubes I need, defrost and voila! So happy I tried this!


How Motherhood Came to Me

This is a story I wrote for Mothering Magazine’s Writing Into Motherhood writing workshop. Since it is no longer available on their website, I decided to post it here.

An hour after birth, at the birth center

The first time I saw her face I didn’t believe it. Maybe I still don’t in a way. She swam up to us and I turned around, looked at her father, my husband, in disbelief. She’s real, she’s here, she is the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe she’s mine.

Through the years I had told myself that I really would never have a child. Even all through my second pregnancy, even after we had passed through the time our first child had died in my womb and we were in unchartered territory, I still wouldn’t, couldn’t believe this day would come. And I guess, in that raw moment, my first emotion was shock, disbelief, even in spite of all the facts and evidence to the contrary.

The moment I knew my first baby was dead was almost not real, but at the same time very real. The doctor who performed the ultrasound wouldn’t tell us. He knew, but he wouldn’t tell us. What he did tell us was he hoped everything would be okay.

We were in the car when we found out for sure. My midwife told us over the phone. We were parked right in front of the building, where anyone coming out the double doors could see us. We cried and cried and grabbed onto each other feeling the grief full on. Then the numbness set in, the reality, the phone calls that had to be made that were too painful for me to make. I couldn’t say it outloud to anyone yet, couldn’t admit it. I had my husband do it. He broke down on the phone.

My baby, the baby that was still inside me, no longer had a tiny beating heart. It was still.

I cried every night for weeks, clinging to my husband, his arms always around me. We stayed at my parents for a couple days. It was the place we drove to after the ultrasound, needing to drive somewhere but unable to go home. I couldn’t go home yet. The books, the stretch mark cream, all those reminders lying around, would torture me. There was no way I could face them. My husband kindly removed the evidence before I went back home.*

And then there was the waiting. When would my dead baby leave my body? It was 6 hours of the most horrible pain I had ever experienced. The pain was like a vice grip around my uterus squeezing and there was so little time between each squeeze; 6 hours of unrelenting pain and still nothing. I remember feeling so — I can’t even describe it — like I wanted to come out of my body, telling my husband to make it stop, make it stop, make it stop. We were up all night. I had gotten about an hour’s worth of sleep when the alarm went off. My mind said “need to go to work”, and so I did. It seems insane now, but I needed something that made sense because my world was falling apart. They graciously sent me home with a week’s worth of bereavement pay. I’ll never forget that kindness.

I ended up needing 2 surgeries. The miscarriage went on for 2 months. It was a living hell. But God provided us with a beautiful miracle in between the 2 surgeries. My baby, my teeny tiny, not even-as-big-as-a-penny baby, did come out naturally*and we saw him and we got to bury him. I still don’t know how it happened, but what a rainbow! What a merciful and loving God to give me the desires of my heart in that raging storm. The worst part of the surgery, the part I abhorred, hadn’t even occurred. My baby was whole, not ripped from me as I had thought.

That year, the year 2006, was one of the worst of my life, but it was what I had to get through to get to the birth of my baby girl 3 years later.

If you would have asked me in my teen years if I thought I’d have children, I might have said no. I was just not maternal in any way. I’d never changed a diaper or babysat. I didn’t hold other people’s babies simply because I never had a desire to. I just didn’t get the way other women loved babies.

I was also terrified of childbirth. I once said, “Why can’t they just knock me out and take out the baby?” How I got from there to here took many years, but started with the pill. I always knew I didn’t want to take the pill, but was never really sure of an alternative. I remember thinking that there had to be a natural way to prevent pregnancy, but all I had ever heard of was the rhythm method and I knew that that didn’t work. So I starting taking the pill in the months before my marriage.

I stumbled upon some information about the Fertility Awareness Method and finally found what in my heart I knew had existed all along. I found a group of women online who used this method and formed friendships with these women I still have to this day. It was through them that I discovered a different approach and attitude toward birth.*

They led me to Henci Goer’s A Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, and my life was changed forever. It was the catalyst I needed to finally make the decision that my birth would not be the conventional hospital experience. My birth would be just that: MY birth on my terms.

And it was. I loved her immediately. I was in a swirl, a fog. as she was laid on my chest, as I cradled her tiny, vernix-covered body. This little girl was very real and she had been wanted for so long, even before I knew I wanted her myself.

She came out screaming, which was unexpected, but makes perfect sense now. I always heard water babies were calm, but calm has never described my daughter. She came on her due date, right in the beautiful sunny spring morning hours. I had labored all night without even realizing it. It felt like time stood still.*

Labor was smooth, steady, quiet, peaceful. Warm water, dim lights, soothing voices, calming hands. It was the aftermath that was unpleasant. The bath water was red, too red, and our hour together felt too short and not as private as it was supposed to be. Something was wrong. There were needles. Why where there needles? Why weren’t we alone?

I remember telling my husband I wasn’t done yet. I knew I had to be stitched up, but I didn’t really have any idea how true that was. One moment my midwife and my husband were lifting me up to walk to the exam room. The next, I was back in bed, but had no idea where I was. Is that my husband? Why is his face so close? I asked him where I was. And then I started to remember. I had had a baby. I was at the birth center. Something was wrong, but I didn’t understand what. I heard the midwives say they needed to transfer me to the hospital. I told my husband I was scared. I still didn’t understand. Later I was told that I had passed out and had a seizure when they tried to move me, but to this day, I have no memory of that. My husband didn’t leave my side. We rode in the ambulance to the hospital.

I didn’t get to hold my baby much. I wasn’t with her and this fact still kills me. The ambulance ride was strange and not part of the plan. I had had too much blood loss. In the end, I needed 2 blood transfusions. Barely holding my baby for her first day of life was beyond horrible to me. It took me awhile to bond with her and to nurse correctly since I didn’t hold her most of the day. If only I could do that part over again, I would have insisted that I hold her.

Breastfeeding was rough at the beginning, but I am so glad I persevered. When I heard my baby cry, I dreaded the pain of feeding her. I dreaded the struggle of teaching her to latch correctly. Thank God for my mother, Jack Newman and the La Leche League. They got me to the place where I am today. Now nursing my baby is one of the joys of my life.

Night nursing is especially precious to me. I love having her so close to me at night. Sometimes I gaze at her sleeping and try to soak her in. I know soon that she will be across the hall, sleeping on her own. But for right now she needs me. She wants me. I know too quickly she won’t be my baby anymore. Already she’s toddling around, terrorizing my house. But at night, she is still. She is quiet. She still enjoys turning around after nursing and snuggling next to me. I always thought by now I’d want her in her own room, but instead I find myself dreading that inevitability. I treasure this precious gift God has given me.

Kwanzaan cherry tree

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering before my baby girl, but I do. I remember my baby in heaven, buried beneath the Kwanzaan cherry tree, the baby that my husband makes sure to tell our daughter about every night. I remember that I should have a 3 year old this spring, too but that wasn’t to be. That baby will always be asleep.

Maybe losing a child that you never got to meet makes you more attached to the one you have or maybe this is how I would feel even without the miscarriage. I will never know. I do know that I want my lost baby but there’s no bringing him back, and that another baby can never replace the one you lost.* I know I love my baby girl with all my being and don’t care if that means I’m more “mother” now than anything else. I won’t apologize for “losing” myself to motherhood. On the contrary, it is with motherhood that I have found myself.


Graco Classic Wood High Chair: Product Review

Thanks to our Shepherding Group, we have this beautiful high chair that we love! It is the Graco Classic Wood High Chair, pictured below. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it is super easy to use. It has a dishwasher safe plastic tray that overlays the wooden tray that is easy to clean. We can’t fit it in our dishwasher so we just wash it in the sink. When you take off the tray there is a smaller “snack” tray underneath so I can leave my daughter in the seat while I go put the tray in the sink or whatever. I know some other chairs I have used when not at home that didn’t have anything once you took off the tray so I felt like I needed to immediately take her out even though she was strapped in.

The seat pads are easy to wipe clean but if they do need a more thorough washing they wash up very nicely in the washing machine. They dry quickly (I always air dry them), as well. I have had lots of foods that normally stain get on it and they came out very easily.

Another really neat thing about this chair is that it converts to a normal chair when our high chair days are over. You just remove the tray, pads and snack tray and it is a nice wooden chair.

I like that it is eco-friendly without a lot of plastic like most high chairs have and that it will grow with us instead of being yet another piece of baby gear that we will only use for a short time. As far as safety, it has a 3-point harness so she is nice and secure in it.

We would definitely recommend this high chair and are so thankful we received it! This was one of the items on our registry that we really wanted to get but would not have be able to purchase ourselves so we were so thankful for it!