"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Champagne-Wells Wedding

So I am trying to take my mind off the fact that our Nobel Peace Prize winning President has decided that Americans are his enemy and need to be punished… I am trying to focus on something positive (hrmm… its sort of working).  I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than a wedding, and I have been meaning to blog about a sweet little wedding that I attending at the end of September when my dear friend Kristen Champagne got married to the love of her life, Matt Wells!

You know, there are few things that I love more than a Christian wedding.  In Kristen’s case, I have known her for years and I have watched her date without much luck but still conduct herself with the utmost integrity throughout the whole process.  I know that she had been ready to find Mr. Right and start a family for a long time, but she was never willing to settle for anything less than the man that God had chosen for her.  Finally she met a good Christian man through her church and bible study, Matt.  I have been so delighted for her ever since he started courting her because she has just been all lit up in side!  It has been such a special time for her.  I know that feeling.  I have said before that I had the most wonderful courtship with my husband, and I have only ever wanted that and even MORE for my friends.

I was so honored to get to attend their wedding and reception.  Tears poured down my face during their wedding.  I was so happy for my friend, and I felt so blessed to be able to watch her marry the man of her dreams.  It was beautiful.

I have so many favorite stories from the Bible, but I just love the creation of Eve.  In the beginning, God creates many thing and they are all GOOD.  Finally he creates man… but something is not right!  For the first time he has created something and it is NOT good.  There was something missing and God said “It is not good for man to be alone.”  So God created a helper for him!  Wild at Heart explained that the word for wife/helper can literally be translated as “life saver.”  So women were created to be their husband’s “Life Saver.”  I think that that is such an amazing honor!  My husband is lost without me :).

I love Christian weddings because they remind me of how precious marriage is to God, and the honor that Nick has bestowed upon me by making me his wife.  The also remind of what God’s expectations are of me as a wife and how I need to be obedient to Him (God, not Nick) and fulfill those expectations.

I cried and cried throughout the whole wedding, mostly out of joy for my friend, but also because in my heart I was also worshipping the creator of marriage for making this beautiful covenant and giving Nick and I the gift of oneness.  The Pastor did a beautiful job of going into Kristen and Matt’s story and he made it very sweet and personal.  I left in a state of euphoria.

That is really how I felt, but then I had to come back down to reality a little bit.  My mom had whisked Isla out of the church (my mom looks for any excuse to get Isla away from me) the minute she made a peep, and poor Isla freaked out in a way that she never does.  She was a little tired, a little hungry, and this was also the beginning of her separation anxiety.  So she was outside the church screaming the whole ceremony and wanting her Mama!!!  Poor baby… although it was a little funny.  She would not take the bottle that my mom had tried to give her, so I left the ceremony a little bit early and nursed her outside.

Here she is in church, before the meltdown.

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We didn’t get any more pictures in that dress, because in true Mommy form, I had brought two outfits.  She needed the second outfit pretty quick because it did not take her long to cover her silk, dry clean only, Janie and Jack dress with spit up, milk, drool… you name it, it was on this dress! (Disclaimer: we did not pay full Janie and Jack price, we bought it off of eBay!)

Here is a family picture with Isla sleeping on Daddy’s shoulder!  She was so tired, but after that nap she was so good for the rest of the wedding.

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Isla also had her first dance with an older gentleman…

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It was actually just her Pawpaw (my Dad)!  She’s wearing her special Aggie dress since it was an Aggie wedding with a lot of her Mom and Dad’s old college buddies!  Don’t you just love her maroon flower bow?  I find the coolest bows in all of the Northshore baby boutiques!

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The happy and beautiful couple!

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So after reviewing my pictures, it seems that I should title this post “Isla Frances Attends a Wedding” because all of my pictures are of her! 

Oh well… I am sorry there aren’t more pictures of people besides Isla :(.  But it was a sweet, fun time catching up with old friends, and the Wann family can’t wait to spend more time with the new Wells family!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Babywise: My Tips on Putting a Baby on a Routine

So I was writing this out for a friend, and I decided to make it available on the WWW in case it helps out anyone who stumbles across it. I know that I have friends that have successfully put their babies on a routine, and I would LOVE it if you would leave your comments with your experiences.

I absolutely believe that Babywise is awesome, and it definitely worked for me, but its NOT magic and it takes intentionality, effort and work. I find that it is worth it, but not everyone does and are happy with their parenting style. It is whatever works for you! I know that people say you can't put a baby on a routine, but I disagree. I had Isla on a routine starting at 3 weeks, and would have had on her on a routine sooner if I had not had so many visitors. By 4 weeks, she really got the hang of it and was doing great! I got plenty of sleep and was happy. The book is technically called "Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep" and I believe that 100% I have given Isla a gift. I think that it is the reason that she is so happy and easy. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important indicators of mental health. All babies are different and will vary some within the routine, but ALL babies benefit from a routine. Also, this applies to NORMAL, healthy babies and not preemies or special needs babies.

In Babywise, your babies day will start out with 5 3-hour Eat/Activity/Sleep cycles plus a dream feed, eventually going to 4 4 hour Eat/Activity/Sleep cycles as the baby gets older without a dream feed. The 3 hours is flexible and may be as short as 2.5 hours for some babies, but probably no more than 3.5 hours for a newborn. For simplicity, I am writing about a 3 hour routine, but it could be less or more for your baby. A routine is key to help regulate your babies digestion as that will help to regulate his/her sleep. YOU are the parent and must help and teach your baby how to sleep. This is the first parenting that you can do. A baby is a baby and does not always know what is good for him/her and some babies will NOT eat even though they need to, just as some babies won't SLEEP even though they need to.

So here are my Cliff's Notes!

EAT
  1. If your baby is hungry, FEED her/him! This is a FLEXIBLE routine and NOT a schedule. Babies go through growth spurts where they will not follow the perfect 3 hour routine, and that's ok and increased nursing is key to upping your milk supply. Once the growth spurt is over, return to the 3 hour routine.
  2. For the first 10 days or so, nurse whenever the baby cries.
  3. The one thing to try to be firm on is when the FIRST feed of the day is. You can vary by 30 minutes though, but not 30 minutes either way. So between 7 and 7:30, not 6:30 to 7:30.
  4. Make sure your baby takes in a full feed. This means working to keep your baby awake. The baby will want to sleep after the first few minutes because your milk is made of 3 parts - the quencher, the fore milk, and the hind milk. The quencher has oxytocin that makes YOU and BABY sleepy. If you let the baby nurse and he/she falls asleep after only a couple of minutes, he/she will not get to the good stuff - the hind milk, which makes babies healthy and fat! Also, he/she won't be able to go the full length of time between meals.
  5. It takes newborns a long time to eat, but they get better and more efficient after a month or two and it isn't such a pain to feed them.
  6. Don't be afraid to wake up your baby to eat. Sometimes babies are good sleepers, but they also need nutrients and if they want to sleep for 4 or 5 hours at a time, they will not be eating enough and it could result in a failure to thrive. Newborns should not go more than 3.5 hours between meals, other than at night, even then, no longer than 5 or 6 hours until a month to 6 weeks.
  7. If a baby has nursed for a long time (like more than 45 minutes), but still seems to want to nurse, first check to see that he/she doesn't just want to suckle on something. In that case, give the baby a pacifier. Make sure you insert the pacifier close to the roof of the mouth and away from the tongue as a baby has a tongue thrust reflex that causes him/her to spit it out.
  8. Little babies especially will like to cluster feed in the evenings (nurse ever 1.5 to 2 hours). Not all babies need this, especially bigger babies. Most babies outgrow this by 2 months.

ACTIVITY
  1. Normally newborns have a very short activity time, especially in the morning.
  2. This will lengthen as they get older.
  3. Yawning, the 7 mile stare, nodding off, eye rubbing, ear grabbing are all signs that the baby is tired and ready for sleep time.
  4. For night waking, skip the activity time.
  5. I do a wind down before naps and bed time. I swaddle Isla, read to her, sing to her, and we say a naptime/bedtime prayer. This helps her transition into sleep. You can't just plop a baby or a child down in bed and expect him/her to go to sleep. This gets more important the older Isla gets.

SLEEP
  1. Put baby to sleep AWAKE but tired. This is important. If a child needs you rocking him/her or nursing him/her or some other sleep prop, he/she will require that to go sleep even in the middle of the night. There is no need to feel guilty, newborns especially find just laying somewhere stimulating enough.
  2. SWADDLE your baby, even the arms. Babies love to be swaddled, they just came from a the womb where everything was tight and cozy. Its adults that hate swaddles, do not impose your own feelings about swaddling on a infant because you think it looks uncomfortable.
  3. CRY IT OUT (CIO). Ok, this one is a tough one. I did not let Isla CIO because I was not comfortable with it. Some parents are, and they are still great parents. I can only write what I did. When she was an infant, I would help her to sleep by either holding a pacifier in her mouth, or turning on a noise machine and patting her rhythmically until she fell asleep. She was always in her bed while I did these things. I did not rock her or put her on my chest or have her fall asleep anywhere but in her own bed. Like I said, it took work, effort, and intentionality. Early on it would take hours to get her to sleep at night, although she usually didn't need much help for her naps. Eventually, she did not need the things I did to help her fall asleep. However, Isla does sometimes have a MANTRA CRY, where she fusses a little bit before she falls asleep. She is not distressed, she does this even when I am holding her or the occasional time where we nap together. She just needs to let off some steam. She does it for 30 seconds and then is done.
  4. Do not let a baby sleep longer than 2 hours a nap, 1.5 hours is the ideal for a 3 hour routine, 2 for a 4 hour routine. A newborn is capable of sleeping up to 5 hours a time ONCE a day. You want that time to be at night. Plus, as I wrote up at the top babies NEED to EAT!!!
  5. Sometimes a baby wakes up 45 minutes into a nap. This is called the 45 minute intruder and a 45 minute nap is NOT enough unless it is an evening catnap. Sometimes a baby is hungry (if so then FEED him/her). Sometimes a baby was over stimulated.
  6. Eventually you may find that babies are waking at night but not interested in food. Try giving them a pacifier to teach them to go longer between meals at night and to satisfy their need to suckle. Also if they wake close to your preferred wake time, try a pacifier then too to stave them off. BUT if they are hungry, FEED them.
  7. If a baby wakes up before his/her nap wake time or in the middle of the night but does not cry, it is OK to leave them. Littler babies will especially coo or talk for a few minutes and then put themselves back to sleep.

Other Things
  1. The Dream Feed. Do this before you go to bed, between 10 and 11 o'clock, but no later. This is the SIXTH feeding, try to make it a dream feed where you feed your baby but don't wake them. Some women are able to do it nursing. I always pumped and had Nick give Isla the bottle. We started with a slow flow nipple, working our way to a fast flow nipple once we got more comfortable with it as Isla got older. We would pick her up, put the bottle in her mouth, it would activate her sucking reflex, she would eat it, and we would put her to bed. Try to drop this as soon as your baby is ready so that your baby really get that uninterrupted night time sleep. Its SO important. Start testing taking away the dream feed once your baby is sleeping from the dream feed to your preferred wake time, it make take a little while for them to be ready.
  2. After you have dropped the dream feed, slowly work to get your baby from a 3 hour (3 naps plus one evening catnap) to a 4 hour routine (2 naps plus one evening catnap). I found that Isla wasn't really ready until close to 5 months. All babies are different, just watch your baby and see how long he/she can stay awake and go from there.
  3. The evening naps will gradually shorten until the evening nap is just a catnap. For some babies, this nap is always a catnap.
  4. Babies can have a witching hour where they cry a lot and want to nurse all the time.

Ok, that is it! I tried to leave out my experiences and just stick to the facts, even though it was hard for me. In some cases, I could not help but include my own experiences.

The Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is a GREAT resource! Here it is: http://www.babywisemom.com/. She goes into detail on each little thing.

I also got a lot of help from the Baby Whisperer books, but I definitely agree more with Babywise where they differ. I think dropping the dream feed early on is very important, which she doesn't recommend. Also she introduced the Mantra Cry to me, and after carefully reading Babywise and the Baby Whisperer, I find that they are both saying the same thing about CIO. Don't rush in, see if the baby can settle himself/herself first, and sometimes a baby just needs to let off some steam and is not distress crying.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Little Tummy Yummies

So, Kelly and I have officially kicked off Little Tummy Yummies! We are starting this blog to painstakingly record every little detail about how we make food for and feed our girls. Our blog will contain:

How we make our own baby food
How the babies like our baby food
How teaching them high chair manners and hand control goes
Other little tidbits about babies and nutrition
And also some big milestones of Little Joy and Little Frances, our little epi-cutie-ans :).

Kelly has already gotten started, so if you have an interest in finding what making your own baby food entails, feel free to hop on over!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Isla Frances is 6 Months Old!

Happy birthday little Frances!!! This one will be a long one, and not have a bear comparison picture. I'm out of town, so I will upload some more later when I have the time.

Oh man, probably only the Grandparents and my pen pal Kelly will notice that this post is a couple of days late. I think its because I am a little bit in denial that my girl is already 6 months old. Was it really only a couple of days ago that I was talking a big game about raising her to be independent? I lied because I really just want her to stay my baby-baby forever. :( She had her 6 month appointment on Friday, which was her actual birthday and I walked around the house crying all morning because I knew that her Doctor was going to recommend we start her on solids and I was just not ready! Parenthood is the craziest thing, I keep thinking, we are 1/32nd of the way through this shindig, and we only have 31/32nds to go… its going by too quickly.

Let me start with her Doctor’s stats. Her growth curve is changing which my SIL warned me could happen, but I am just thankful that the Doctor assures me that she is ridiculously healthy. She is, and I give all the glory to our Father God!

Weight: 16 lbs 11.5 oz, between the 75th and 50th percentile

Height: 26 inches, between the 75th and 50th percentile (I do not trust this measurement as the nurse was a little careless.)

Head Circumference: 17 inches, between the 75th and 50th percentiles

Eat/Sleep Habits

I am so thankful that I reached my goal of nursing Isla exclusively for 6 months. I have really grown to love nursing and I see it as our special little time… its the only time I can get her to cuddle with me! I feel so blessed for having had this experience, its wasn’t easy in the beginning, but we both persevered and I am so glad we did. I am not ready to start her on solids, but her Doctor recommends that we start for two reasons 1) she is going to start needing a lot more iron than I can give her and 2) she is still spitting up like crazy, and the Doctor thinks that this will help keep everything down. We will start sometime in the next few weeks, but we are all traveling a bunch so I want to wait until we are home and Nick can share in the experience! I hope to continue nursing up to a year, but as I mentioned before if Isla wants to keep going, I am willing to go to 18 months, but no longer. I am not nursing past the age where she can come tug on my shirt and ask to nurse!

I plan to make my own baby food and my pen pal Kelly and I are going to start up a Baby Food Making Blog together… so be on the lookout for that! I am very excited about it. Feel free to send me name ideas, I need to sit down and brainstorm but these past few weeks have been hectic.

As of right now Isla is nursing 4 times a day. At 7, 11, 3 and 7, and she is still sleeping through the night. She did wake up a couple of times in the past month, but they did not develop into a trend, were several days a part, and at different times so I think something just spooked her. I am looking for a growth spurt to happen soon, which may interrupt her night time sleep and cause her to nurse more frequently. We’ll see…

Her naps have been so erratic! She still naps 3 times a day, but they have not been for consistent lengths. I have read that this is common because she is so aware of everything! If she hears a noise, she doesn't want to go back to sleep, she wants to know what it is! She is so sweet though. If she wakes up early, she just talks and coos and plays in crib, and never cries. I know she is thinking "Mommy will come get me." I have to go back in there and tell her that it is too early and she needs to go back to sleep (verbally and with sign language). I turn on her Sleep Sheep, and sometimes she fusses a little bit, but most of the time she looks and me and sighs, and puts her thumb in her mouth and goes back to sleep. It is so precious.

We tried NOT swaddling her for a few days, but now we have gone back to swaddling. I can't tell if it helps or hurts right now, but I think it helps make her naps more comfortable. Plus its a great way to let her know its time to sleep when we can't put her in her crib. She is so funny because I hear about all of these escape artist babies, but Isla manages to move all over her crib and still stay perfectly swaddled. She makes me laugh, I love her so :).

Activity

Isla can sit for as long as she wants to now! She actually had a bad spill when I sat her down for a minute on our rug (directly over hardwood floors) and she threw herself back because wanted to roll. I had a moment where I thought "Maybe baby helmets aren't such a bad idea..." I felt so bad because she cried, but I talked to my SIL, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner and she gave me all of the signs to look for if something was wrong. Isla was already laughing as I was talking to Tiffany on the phone, so I knew she was fine.

She's still a roller, and she can go anywhere and everywhere! She aims her little bootie or her shoulders and she just takes off!!! She's a mover. She has started rolling on her changing table, which I am working to correct. It is really for her own safety, but I think she's still too little to understand that the changing table is not a place to roll, but I'll keep working at it. Please excuse my messy house, but she started at the Bumbo chair on the top left and rolled all the way over to where I was dismantling her swing that she is now too big for!

Here she is watching the Aggie game online with Daddy!

Isla is pushing up on all fours now. She does it so well, she pushes up onto her knees and hands and then she will lunge forward. She is slowly building up her strength to hold herself up for longer periods of time, but so far the longest has been for about 15 seconds. I am making a Mommy Prediction that she will crawl by 7 months. She might not, but honestly, she is so close and trying all the time!

Since I have decided that Isla is going to be a Baby Wise baby all the way, I have started implementing Playpen Time (Baby Wise 2) and Blanket Time (On Becoming Toddlerwise). This is to teach her to play independently and also to learn to listen to Mommy. For Blanket Time, she is only allowed to play on our rug in our living room or in her room and not have run of the house. This takes some effort on my part because I have to move her back to the rug when she rolls off, but I think that it will pay off. It is going to be really hard once she starts crawling, but I know it will be worth it and I know that other Moms have had success with it, which is comforting! Once she is old enough to take on more responsibility, we will allow her a greater range in the house. The general idea is to house proof your baby and not baby proof your house, although we will still be securing furniture and covering sockets.

For Playpen time, I put Isla in the Playpen, I tell her that I will come and get her when the timer goes off, and I leave her with some of her toys. At first we started small with 5 to 10 minute play periods until she got the idea. Now she plays happily with her toys, but listens for the timer to go off, and when it goes off she laughs because she knows that Mommy is coming to get her. It so fun, I come and swoop her up and then we go and turn the timer off together. We are up to 20 to 25 minutes, and eventually we will work up to 1 hour when she is much older... like a year and beyond. Playpen time is great for taking showers or cooking!

She loves to blow raspberries. She gets so proud of herself when she gets a really good one!

She does not like the outdoors. She is like her Mommy that way. The weather in Louisiana has been so beautiful that its even gotten ME outdoors. I bring Isla out on a blanket and she just gives me a look like "I don't like this ONE bit, Mom!"


She loves ribbons and tags. That's all she ever plays with and they keep her very entertained.

Her Dad is working hard to get her to turn the pages of the books she reads! She does it sometimes, but we are not sure if it is deliberate. She's trying to figure it out.

Personality

I sound so braggy, but she is really sweet. I mean so, so sweet. The only time she gets fussy is when she is tired, but I don't blame her because I am picky about my sleep! People are always telling me how sweet, easy and calm she is. I am her Mom so of course I think she's just about perfect, but its nice to hear other people's kind words. They keep telling me that if I have TWO like her, then there will be some jealous other mommies!

Isla is a Mommy's girl and a Daddy's girl! Its been really cool because it feels like for the first time she is comforted by me, not because I am her Mom and I know what comforts hers, but just having me near or holding her comforts her. She likes my presence. She has started having some separation anxiety, and she will cry when she notices that someone other than me is not holding her. I just try to smile and pat her reassuringly so that she knows its ok if someone else holds her, and not reinforce her fears that things are only ok if she's in Mommy's arms. I do secretly love it, but I know its not a habit that I want to encourage.

Whenever her Daddy is around, she is all smiles for him! She loves him SO much, and they play together for hours. She just watches Nick whenever he comes into a room, and has a smile ready for him when he looks at her. Nick is also the best at noticing when she does new things. I should be since I am home with her all day, but he is always spotting news things, and he's the best at trying new things with her. He just knows her so well and knows what she is thinking. He plays with her in the bathtub for as long as she wants to, and they read together and they even wrestle! If you had told me when she was born, tiny little angel that she was, that we would be wrestling with her in 6 months, I would not have believed you! She loves to rough house with her dad!

Oh yes, and she WILL cuddle with Nick, but will not cuddle with me for anything! Haha, I love it though.
That's all that I can think of for now, but if you can't tell... We are so in love with our girl and she brings us so much joy! Nick and I laugh and laugh over all of the funny things she does, and she just makes everything better!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crazy Talk

 

Crazy Glenn Beck.

Crazy Fox News.

And God said “Go forth and multiply… but only as long as you can do it with a carbon neutral footprint!”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baby BOOM!

We have been waiting on quite a few little playmates for Isla to arrive this week, and they are finally all here! Please excuse the pictures as they were all phone forwarded so they are not the best quality. I have not gotten a chance to meet a single one of these babies and I am just dying too. I am going to pray that I get to meet them all in the next week and a half because I may be able to make it happen… we shall see!

Isla’s cousin, Shane Michael was born on Sunday, October 3rd to my first cousin Landon! According to Wikipedia, they are second cousins. :)

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My best friend Emily’s little girl, Ella Renee was born on Tuesday, October 5th! I bought her the little monogrammed bow :). I will definitely get to see her next week and I am so excited!

photo (3) Little Wyatt Allen, Ashley and Blake’s baby, was born Thursday, October 7th! I was right… he was a BOY. I think my streak of bad baby gender guessing has finally come to an end :) as he is my fourth guess correctly in a row!

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And finally little Waylon James was born this morning on 10-10-10! His mamma really wanted him to come yesterday and share a birthday with John Lennon, but we both agree that 10-10-10 is a pretty cool little birthday :). Isn’t this a beautiful picture? I CANNOT wait to meet him.

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I have a lot of baby visiting this week! I love little newborns, they are so cuddly. I think that I have the perfect little munchkin with one exception… she is NOT cuddly! Isla is a squirmy, rolling little bundle of perpetual motion and she has been that way almost since birth :). So I am hoping to get to love on all of these little precious ones SOON!

Isn’t God AMAZING!?!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” -Jeremiah 1:5

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Free Range Kids

I mentioned a while back that I was going to read Free Range Kids, and I actually finished it very quickly not too long after (I finished it A LOT faster than Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. WASTE. OF. TIME.), and I have been meaning to review it, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

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However, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer before I begin my review. This book made me think about many things, how I want Isla to be when she grows up, how I want to think of and depend on the society we live in, how I was raised… I have not had a book generate this much thought in a long time. I could probably do a post on each and every chapter!

The disclaimer is that I think that non Christian/non Biblically based books can have some great advice, however, I would never take their advice OVER the advice of a Christian parenting book. I just wouldn’t, I would take what nuggets I could, but I would rely on the a biblically based book where the two were in conflict.

This book is secular, and I am pretty sure that the writer is not a believer, but it is perfectly in line with the word of God. God’s most frequent command to me is to “Fear Not”, and I think that I have done a pretty good job of following that command so far in raising Isla. I am not saying that I don’t have my moments as a first time mom, but when they come up, I have tried to be very disciplined at remembering that she has belonged to God since before the earth was formed, and she has and only will be mine for a little while. This book has been instrumental in helping me remember all of the things I should NOT be fearful of because they are for the most part, completely irrational fears that are unlikely to happen.

I think we have all known couples that had kids and “got weird”. I remember my parents telling me about a family that they knew called the Beavers who just “got weird” after their kids were born. My parents could never explain exactly why… they just “got weird”. Now that Nick and I know a fair amount of couples who have started having kids, we have definitely come to understand EXACTLY what my parents were talking about. Nick and I would hear these couples talk and look at one another and later on say “they have gotten so weird!” I thought and I thought and I thought about this “weirdness” and I realize what it was… these couples had had children and were now living their lives on a constant state of fear over everything that could possibly go wrong with their kids and trying to helicopter parent all of life’s little uncertainties away. Its not pretty or endearing, and seeing what that kind of fear looks like has been very motivating!

It is also very, very important to me that Isla be fiercely independent when she grows up. Maybe its because I love being an American, and being independent is a very American quality (maybe also Canadian/Australian – other frontier countries). I have many friends who are from other countries/cultures and most of them still live at home and/or are very dependent on their parents; I’ve also seen this in Americans too, especially in the generation that started college after 9/11. I don’t think its a bad quality to depend on people, its just that I have noticed that that kind of dependence tends to correlate with a lot of insecurity and indecision on the part of the child and/or in some cases an very unhealthy codependent relationship. I want Isla to be independent, but know that we are always there to help her if she needs us BUT not require us in order to be able to function in her daily life.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars!

The Review:

Lenore Skenazy wrote this book to promote a parenting style that is conducive to raising independent, confident kids. Independent, confident children are also the kind of kids least likely to be targeted by pedophiles, kidnappers, and predators. Before you can actually have an independent, confident kids, you have to give them some room to make mistakes and try things on their own without constantly hovering over them.

Her book is not about promoting recklessness, but you can still be a conscientious parent and let your kids ride their bikes to school or attend a sleepover or play at a nearby park without you there. Each chapter in the book is devoted to debunking urban legends that parents live by. One example – there are razors and/or drugs in hidden in you kid’s Halloween candy, which has never been found to happen ONCE. At the end of the chapter she includes three “Free Range Challenges” to allow your kids to do, each one getting a little more daring as you grow as a Free Range Parent. One example – let your child bake an independence cake. The challenges range from let your child bake a cake while you watch to let your child walk to the store by themselves, buy the ingredients, come home and bake the cake all by themselves. Obviously not every parent is ready for the latter!

Free Range Kids is also very funny, intentionally because Skenazy is very witty, but also in the fact that as you read and gather actual data related to these urban legends, you realize just how ridiculous we have become as a society. One example – knee pads and helmets are now available for babies learning to crawl and walk. Babies have been falling down since time began, but only in our day and age where incessantly hovering over your child is considered good parenting can you buy these. I told my mom about the baby knee pads and she just laughed! She said “You should have seen the hardwoods that we learned to walk on! They were not smooth and we used to fall and get the worst splinters, but we were fine.” There has never been a baby hospitalized or received a serious injury while learning to walk!

Of course Skenazy also gets to more serious topics, such as abductions. A child is 40 times more likely to die in a car accident (which is why of course you should put your kid in a car seat, again this is not about recklessness) than they are to be abducted by a stranger. The head of The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is interviewed for this book, and it turns out that what the NCMEC agrees with Skenazy too! A confident child is a safe child, and a child who has never been allowed try anything, make mistakes or do anything on their own will not be a confident child.

Don’t you remember the rush you used to get when actually accomplished something on your own? I still get that rush! There is nothing like it. My parents, in many ways, were Free Rangers. I was allowed to stay home alone in the third grade, and by my early teens I was flying all over South America all by myself! I have so many stories I could tell. I survived and I am better for it. Of course my mom now second guesses herself, and says “I can’t believe I let you do that!” If I hadn’t been ready for it, then my parents would not have let me do it, but I was ready, and so they trusted the child that they had raised. Nick used to ride his bike to school, and I hope that Isla is able to as well one day!

So I completely recommend this book, and I am going to reread it soon!

Next I am going to read these two books:

Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. This was sent to me by the same friend who sent me Free Range Kids, and I am very excited to read it.

educationThe Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are. I think that this one will give me a lot of really good tips on parenting Isla, our first born. I think it is going to be very interesting how Nick and I both being the last born of our siblings affects our parenting dynamic. Its so weird to me that two babies (Nick and I) have an “oldest”. I have no idea how to parent a first born child! I can’t wait to really dig into this one.

birth order

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ella’s Baby Shower

So this is a post that I need to get out because little princess Ella decided to make her debut this morning! :) She was only 3 days early, but I had been counting on a few more days. I CANNOT wait to meet her and I am chomping at the bit as they say to get to Houston to see her!!!!!!!!

So last Sunday, September 26th I was lucky enough to throw a shower for Emily and little Ella! Yes we were cutting it close but that turned out to literally be the only day that was available for both Emily and me, and we started trying to plan this shindig back in June.

Ella is Emily’s second little girl, and I know that it is unusual to do a second baby shower, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Emily and I missed her first baby shower for Annie. I was a co-hostess for Annie’s baby shower, and I planned and planned for it. But first it was postponed because of Hurricane Ike, and then right before the second date my precious cousin Jenny past away from breast cancer, and I just couldn’t miss the funeral and being there for my cousin Wade and their two little kids Grace and Jack. Emily understood completely, but it has always haunted me that I wasn’t able to make that day to celebrate her and Annie.

Since it was her second girl, Emily already had everything she needed so we decided to do a diaper shower. Since I have been so into bows for little girls, I decided to give her a diaper cake decorated with a lot of bows and head gear! I bought her some special bows and some regular bows, and I totally stressed over this cake because I do not feel comfortable crafting, but I am happy with the way it turned out.

Here are all of the bows and hats and one outfit that went into the diaper cake! My favorite bow was the little ballerina bow on the bottom left since Emily is a dancer :). Jessica likes the little pink flower bow. I also bought a couple of personalized bows with Ella’s initials on them that didn’t make it into this picture.

P9210808This shower was a little crazy because we had a wedding 4 hours away (more on that later) the night before. So we had to have everything set up at my mom’s house before we left for Beorne, TX so that we just had to add the food when we got to her house in Magnolia, TX on Sunday.

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Here is one fun thing we did that Jessica and I had done at my friend Elysha’s shower back in January. I set up a table with newborn diapers for people to sign and leave fun messages for Emily and Jeremy at night as they were changing Ella’s diapers.

P9260831We played 2 games. One was just a simple guessing game to guess how many diapers pins were in a heart shaped bowl. The second game was probably the grossest shower game ever, but I couldn’t really find any other diaper themed game and I knew we would have a fun crowd. Basically I melted 10 candy bars into diapers and then people had to guess what type of candy bar they were. Everyone was a good sport and I got some hilarious pictures!

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The mama-to-be and me! Doesn’t she look beautiful?

P9260847All of the Pabor/Grinau girls, Hannah, Emily, Annie, Jessica and Avery! (FYI Emily and Jessica are sisters who married twin brothers! Sadly there are no more Gribnau boys left for Hannah, but she is doing just fine without one, ha!)

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Emily just reminds me so much of the bible verse “A friend loves at all times” because she is so sweet and always sees the best in people (and I am so not like that!). She is someone that I wish I was more like; she is the best! Remember this quilt she made for Isla? You know, she also came to Louisiana right after Isla was born to see her and spend time with her and has gone way out of her way repeatedly to see Isla and spend time with her. That has meant so much to me. I have close relatives that didn't even come visit after Isla was born and have barely gone out of their way to see her! That is just Emily though, she is so important to me, she is family :) and I’m so thankful I was able to do this small thing for her.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Deceptively Delicious So Far (5 out of 5 stars)

Folks, I am LOVING this cookbook!  I actually now fantasize about meeting Jessica Seinfeld and telling her how much I love her cookbook.  The recipes are easy, healthy, and delicious!  I have to give the cookbook back to the library on Thursday and I really don’t want to. :/ I also dropped 5 lbs without trying or really realizing it until one day I noticed that my jeans felt loose and I went to weigh myself… I think it is because of this cookbook because that is the only thing I have been doing differently!  Magically losing 5 pounds NEVER happens to me.

deceptively_delicious

So far I have made the following:

Green Eggs and Ham (with Spinach), pictured below: I love this and I have had it many times for breakfast along with some turkey bacon in the past weeks.  It is so good!

P9140795French Toast (with Sweet Potatoes): This one may be a cheat because I still put real syrup and peanut butter on it, but either way it is so good!

Scrambled Eggs (with Cauliflower): Yum, yum, yummy!

Chicken Nuggets (with Broccoli): These were so tender, Nick and I scarfed down almost the entire batch, and its supposed to serve 4 people!  I have never like chicken nuggets better.  I even logged onto Food.com to write a review of these :).

Beef Stew (with Broccoli): I loved it, and my sister said it was the best beef stew she had ever had.

Mozzarella Sticks (with Cauliflower):  I can’t believe I made mozzarella sticks!  These were so much better than the kind you get at a restaurant.  Nick and I also scarfed down the whole batch.  If there is only one recipe you try from this cookbook, try these!

Tuna Salad (with Cauliflower): Loved it!  And I am picky about my tuna.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (with Carrots and Butternut Squash): I’ve made it twice and it is awesome and easier than my previous home made spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

Quesadillas (with Butternut Squash): We really like this, the only bad thing is that we had a hard time keeping the tortillas together.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (with Butternut Squash): Simply delicious!  I will never make these another way again.

Sloppy Joes (with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers): Healthy. Easy. Yummy.

Tacos (with Carrots), pictured below: Delicious!

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Turkey Chili (with Red Peppers and Carrots), pictured below: I’ve made this twice I liked it so much, plus my sister LOVED it too, and she is a chili connoisseur.

P9170796The only bad recipe so far… THE BROWNIES (with Carrot and Spinach)!  YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!  Of course this is coming from a girl whose brownie recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar.  They are gritty-teeth good if you know what I mean :), so it was a little hard to adjust to these healthy brownies.

In the next two weeks I plan to try the following:

  • Italian Meatloaf (with Carrots)
  • Mashed Potatoes (with Cauliflower)
  • Homemade Ketchup (with Carrots)
  • Creamy Potato Soup (with Cauliflower and Butternut Squash or Carrots)
  • Tortilla Cigars (with Yellow Squash and Carrots)

Wise Girl

I used to think that you bought an outfit and then accessorized… since having a girl, I now know better! Isla gets clothes based on how well they go with her adorable accessories :).

Her Boo sent her $100 for diapers, but I was in Gymboree and I saw this adorable owl hat and before I knew it, that $100 was spent on clothes to match! I knew Boo wouldn’t mind.

so adorable

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green owl

shy owl

Oh and speaking of owls, did you see the latest little owl outfit and lovie from His Gem? I have a 30% off coupon for the end of October to our local Christian book store, and I am praying that they will have it so that I can use the coupon! I pray for serious and worthy things most of the time, but sometimes a girl’s just gotta have a cute outfit. :) I love His Gem!

“Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 - Just thought I would add a little nugget of wisdom in this silly little post. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Shower for Baby Boyd

I was privileged enough to co-host a Peter Rabbit shower for my friend Ashley way back on September 12th (has it really been almost 3 weeks ago)?  September has been a busy month for the Wanns with a lot of exciting events, so I will try to get all caught up!

I hope that I will be able to host a Peter Rabbit shower for someone, someday when I am crazy wealthy, not working, and don’t have any kids at home because you can seriously do the cutest shower with that theme, and with unlimited resources it could be the best shower ever!

As it was, I had a ton of ideas for the shower, and not having an unlimited budget I had to limit myself, but there were a couple of things that I just thought we had to have.  1) The cookies, 2) a Peter Rabbit scarecrow from Mr. McGregor’s garden and 3) Watering can favors, since Peter had to hide in a watering can from Mr. McGregor!

It took a lot of time and shopping around in stores and on line, but in the end I am really pleased with how everything turned out.

Here is a picture of the scarecrow:

P9120827 I have to give my mom credit for the jacket!  She helped me make it and also added the brass buttons… what would Peter Rabbit’s jacket be without brass buttons?  Even though I checked everywhere (except for online), I couldn’t find a robin or black birds, so I settled for a cardinal and blue birds.  I think they turned out pretty cute anyway.  This one was a team effort as Nick was gracious enough to make the actual stand.

Here are the favors:

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P9120828 The little watering cans had a seed packet with a note from Baby Boyd, asking the party attendee to please take one and to try to stay out of mischief please!  I also already had to watering can at home so all I had to do was clean it and bring flowers.

Here are some of the other decorations:

The mama-to-be asked to take name suggestions as she and her husband are having a hard time choosing one.  I didn’t realize that they were supposed to be serious because I suggested “Reveille” for a girl and “Sarge” for a boy…

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This book was for all of the guests to sign and leave their love for Baby Boyd.  One of the other co-hostesses drew that picture of Peter Rabbit… some people are soooo talented!

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Also, another co-hostess brought all of the food except for the Peter Rabbit cookies and the food was all amazing.  She said that she picked the food based solely on esthetics, but it also happened to taste good.  I can vouch that it looked good and tasted good!

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The grandma-to-be was nice enough to watch Isla while we got ready.  Everyone talked about how sweet and well behaved Isla was.  I am going to treasure those comments in my heart forever :).

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Now highlights (well really baby pictures) from the shower!

Here is the beautiful mama-to-be mid bite!  That was the only picture that I got of her… I did manage to get a lot of pictures of Isla though!

P9120812 Elysha and Isla!  Two of my favorite people :).

P9120835There were a lot of other babies at the shower, and they decided to crawl over to Isla and visit with her.

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I think Isla is thinking “My that is a handsome face!”

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Uh oh… I think he took that as an invitation to steal some kisses!  But as pretty as Isla is, can you blame him?

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His mommy had to come over and restrain him!  I of course totally did not even think about rescuing Isla from his kisses… it was so sweet I just kept clicking away!

P9120847Here are all of the crawling babies having a blast on Blake and Ashley’s bear skin rug!  I think Baby Boyd is going to have a lot of fun playing on that one day :).  It makes me think of the Tiger rug from A Little Princess.  I always wanted a Tiger rug growing up, of course now I am older and know better than to frivolously want the skin of an endangered animal for decoration… well I sort of know better!

P9120853 It was a lovely shower and I can’t wait to see if Baby Boyd is a boy or a girl… my money is on boy!

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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