Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Value of Stewardship

I've had a hymn stuck in my head the last while. It comes on and off and has been circulating through my head for probably several months.
The hymn is "Living for Jesus" and it's by Thomas Chisholm.
There's a link to the tune/lyrics if you've never heard of it.
I think that it's been on the tip of my tongue lately is because living for Jesus is something that I really want to do and want to teach Caleb how to do.

I was just cleaning up my kitchen (and singing this song) and got to thinking about what kind of values I would like to instill into Caleb. The value I was thinking of tonight in particular is being a steward to the earth. As Christian we are called to take care of this Earth that God created for us. I look at my garbage can on a regular basis and can't help but think about this mandate. Is all that garbage really necessary? What is it doing to the environment? Is there a better way?

I do cloth diapers but the biggest reason I switched to cloth was so that Caleb would potty train earlier. The fact that they were cheaper and environmentally friendly were just bonuses. I recycle my bottles and cans because I get money back on them. Adam tells me that all of our garbage gets incinerated anyway so it's not a big deal. But it's still a little unsettling to go through a bag or two of garbage every week. And we've only got three people, I can't imagine how much garbage a bigger family goes through!

It's not as easy (in my mind anyway) for us to recycle paper and such. We don't have a blue box that we can set out on the curb every week. First off, I don't have space to put another bin for it and secondly, it's kind of a pain to drive it into town to dump it every time it's full (that sounds really lame even as I type it). I am going to take it one step at a time.

I have decided to start composting. I don't know a lot about it but I have a bowl that I have been putting leftovers and egg shells in. I am planning to make a composte pile in the old horse pasture next to our house and am hoping to till some of the pasture next spring to make a vegetable garden (another thing I want to teach my child(ren) but I have never done). Step 1 is to composte. Step 2 might be to find space for a paper recycling box. Step 3.... I'm not sure yet. I'm sure that there's much more that I could do to become more "green" but I haven't thought that far ahead.

I never thought that I would lean towards environmentalism. To be honest, the word always left kind of a bad taste in my mouth. Let's face it, I live in Oil Country, good ole Alberta! But the more I think about it, the more I want to instill in Caleb the fact that we have been charged with taking care of this world. It's a pretty high calling and if I want him to take God's word seriously then I should too, shouldn't I? Children learn best by example so I better learn to be a good example for Caleb. Any beliefs and values that I want Caleb to learn, I better live them too. Wow, I have a lot to learn if I want to teach Caleb to be the man of God that he's going to grow up into!

Stewardship, reading his Bible and praying everyday, how to treat his future spouse, attitude of gratitude, loving everyone (even if you don't like them), trusting God's providence, putting Christ on the throne of our heart (and keeping Him there), making disciples of all the nations..... I have a lot to learn! Praise the Lord that He gives us the opportunity to grow as our children grow and learn as our children learn. I used to look at all of this and get overwhelmed but have learned to be ever so grateful that I don't have to teach Caleb all of this alone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An evening out for Mama

So Caleb is finally back into his normal(ish) routine. He has no extra teeth and I still haven't figured out why he was so restless last week. But I think that responding to his cues is definatly paying off. It might seem late to some moms (especially those who have done "sleep training") but Caleb fell asleep without nursing. He usually nurses for a bit when we crawl into bed and then unlatches and wiggles/rolls until he's comfy and then falls asleep. I was gone last night to a scrapbooking workshop club that I'm in (more on that another time) and so Adam had the privilage of spending the evening with Caleb. Actually, Adam played computer while Caleb played on the floor and watched a movie.

I came home to my two men fast asleep in bed. It's not the first time that someone else has put Caleb to sleep. I've been away in the evening before and Adam rocked Caleb to sleep, or he's been at my mom's and she rocked him to sleep. There was jsut a difference in the air last night though. Adam put Caleb's jammies on (aka his night-time diaper and cover) and they layed on the bed and Caleb was asleep in about 5 mintues. I crawled into bed and neither of them stirred. Caleb slept till about 3 am and probably would have gone back to sleep with just a back rub but I was dying to nurse him by that point.

I'll just say that it was incredible to see Caleb so completely and utterly content without his mama for the evening. He was happy that I was back of course but he knew I would be. It gave me warm fuzzies to know that he trusts his parents so much to be able to sleep that peacefully. And it was very cute to see both my men sleeping on their tummies with their arms in the exact same position!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lots of Kids

I offered to watch my friend's 3 children today and I just got home. It was great! I think that it helps that her kids are usually pretty well behaved. Her boys played really well with Caleb and her duaghter was such a little snuggle bug. It was a little bit of an opportunity for me to see how challenging 4 kids could be.

I learned a few things:
- 3 years apart is a good age because then you always have a helper for the little ones
- kids play the Wii with WAY more energy and jumping around than adults do (did you know that you need to jump even in baseball?)
- Caleb gains a pound per kilometer of walking (when he wants me to carry him)
- Caleb is the only 19 month old that I know who can go for (at least) a 13 hour day with only a 20 minute power-nap
- God gives you the energy and stamina to keep up with your own kids, but not necessarily someone elses
- I need to plan at least one cup of coffee per day, per child.

And with that, I'm going to watch Caleb run around the house, while I sit on my butt behind the computer wondering where he gets all of his energy. It's certainly not from his mama!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

I had started to take Caleb's sleep pattern a little bit for granted. I know this because his sleep pattern has changed the last couple nights.

Caleb has been a great sleeper since the day he was born. He sleeps when we sleep and when he wakes up in the middle of the night he usually goes right back to sleep. I just got used to the fact that, as a mother, I'm probably never going to get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And I'm totally fine with that. But the last few weeks my night weaning techniques have really seemed to be paying off. I nurse Caleb down and then slide him over into the crib. (We took a side off the crib and raised the mattress so that it's level with our bed.) He would sleep there till about 5am and then crawl into bed beside me for a nurse. Then he'd sleep till about 9am when we get up. I really liked this pattern.

Then Caleb got sick a couple weeks ago so I nursed him just about all night for two nights straight because it was the only way that any of us were getting any sleep. I was a little stiff but at least I was well rested and more able to give him the time, patience, and snuggles he required during the day. On the third night he nursed down and went into the crib again with no problems. We went back to that routine for about a week and a half.

The last two nights he has slept for about 3 hours and then woke up every half hour. Yikes! He pretty much never does this. The room is cool enough and the humidifier was running (2 very important things for him to sleep well). There is no logical explanation as to why he should be waking up.

Isn't it funny how when he was sick I was totally willing to nurse him all night but now that he's healthy and shows no real reason for needing it, I just want him to go back to sleep? As moms, we feel like we should to justify their nighttime needs. It's almost like we don't want to meet them if there's no reason for them. Yet needs they are so we, as mothers, step up to the plate to make sure our little ones feel the extra love that they so obviously crave at a time like that.

So this morning when I got out of bed I was pinned between Caleb, who felt the need to spread himself out and snuggle right up next to me at the same time, and Adam, who crawled into bed after morning chores. We have a queen size bed but some days if feels much smaller! It was a little tricky to maneuver myself out of my spot without disturbing any one's sleep.

The mantra of a mother: This too shall pass, it's just a phase. It makes me feel better to know that moms who claim that their child slept through the night at 5 weeks old has nights like this too. All kids have good nights and more restless nights. I have to remind myself of that in the middle of the night when I tell Caleb to "just go back to sleep!" FYI, telling a baby to sleep just doesn't work. I'm hoping this doesn't last too many more nights. Mostly because it disturbs Adam's sleep and he's got a lot on his plate right now.

I think I might nap with Caleb today. And I'm checking his mouth for a tooth. Maybe that's why he's restless....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pregnancy Tests

So now that I've got your attention with the title of this entry I'll begin by saying no, this is NOT an announcement. I am NOT expecting. We are still waiting for God to speak to us as to when He would like to introduce another child into our family.

I was just thinking the other day about how exciting it was the first time I found out I was pregnant. I wasn't even late yet but I had taken a test the month before just so I could "try it out," even though I knew I wasn't pregnant. I didn't think I was either. I was due for AF in a couple days and went to the drugstore to buy "supplies." While standing there I decided to buy a test too. It was cheaper to ge the 2 for 1 box, so I did. I had been at the office all morning and then doing errands most of the afternoon so I REALLY had to go. Then I figured, "why not? There's two tests anyway." So I took the test and I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when it turned out to be positive!

It was a very strange hour waiting for Adam to get home from work so I could share the news with him. When he finally did, he looked at the test (I actually giftwrapped it for him lol) and asked, "What's this?"
Me: "It's a pregnancy test."
HIm: "Yeah, I know that. But why are you showing it to me?"
Me: "Two lines means I'm pregnant!"
Him: "Well, yeah... but there's barely a line there."
Me: "Yes honey, I'm barely pregnant."

It would have been fine if it ended there. But this went on for a while. Here's about what happened...
Him: "Are you sure?"
Me: "A line is a line is a line."
Him: "It's still not really a line though."
Me: "Would you like me to take another one?"
Him: no response

He thought about it for a while. I started talking about the baby and what it would mean. I also made the mistake of trying to get him to talk names with me. He wasn't really into that. Once sufficient time had passed, I took the other test (I figured there's no point in saving it because I wouldn't need it next month anyway). Same thing, two lines! Adam was still a little unsure. So the next day (I think it was his day off) I went and bought a digital pregnancy test. You know the kind, they're like a magic 8 ball. You ask it if you're pregnant, you pee on it, and it tells you Yes or No. There's not maybe answer. I took it as soon as I got home and showed Adam. I think that was when the reality set in. You can't argue with a stick that says "yes, your wife is pregnant and you're going to be a dad!"

Unfortunaly for us, our little girl (I say girl because of a gut feeling I had right from the beginning) finished her mission on earth too quickly and we said goodbye to her when I was 8.5 weeks along. My doctor told me that it was a clean miscarriage and that I wouldn't need any procedures or anything. He gave us the green light to try again. I wanted to wait but Adam wanted to try again. So we figured we would wait till my next AF and go from there.

Not quite a month later I thought that I may have ovulated again (I was temping to track it). We went on a vacation with Adam's family (the first va-k to BC I ever went on with them!) and I took my trusty 2 for the price of 1 pregnancy tests. We stayed a couple extra days after his family had left and I took the test shortly after they did. It was positive! So of course I grabbed the camera :) I told Adam later that evening as we were on a golf course overlooking Mara Lake. He didn't doubt me this time lol! I took the second test too, just because it's way more fun to get positive results than negative ones and it's so much fun watching those two little lines develop.

So anyway, now that I've had a bit of a walk down memory lane, I'll fill you in on why I started thinking about pregnancy tests to begin with. Adam and I were in the kitchen and I saw something that reminded me of all this. I don't know if you've ever taking a pregnancy test but the whole "pee on a stick" thing sounds messy and gross to me. I found that it was way easier to pee in a cup and dip the stick in. I told this to Adam and the look on his face was absolutly priceless! I think that everyone reading this knows what was going through his mind at that moment:
Which cup?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Love in the Midst of a Flood

This is the continuation of my frustrations at the water cooler...

"Spare the rod and spoil the child."
(Proverbs 13:24 "He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently")

"Thy rod and staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4)

These are the two verses that came to the forefront of my mind in regard to discipline. I certainly don't hate my son and I want him to learn certain boundaries. Especially when there are negative consequences to not following those boundaries. But instead of the common thought that the first verse gives to people about harsh punishment with the rod, I try to remember it in the context of a shepherd. The Great Shepherd in this case. I read a book by Francine Rivers, The Prophet. It was about a shepherd and it really opened my eyes to the use of the shepherd's rod in regard to protecting and guiding his sheep. I can't help but think of the visuals that Rivers put in my mind through this book. How Jesus, as our Shepherd wants to protect us from dangers and uses the crook of his staff to pull us from danger. It was a comfort to Amos' sheep (in the book) to feel the rod pull them back to safety, sometimes more harshly that others. They knew that he would protect him.

That's the way that I want Caleb to feel about me. I want him to know that I set the limits so that he can be safe. I don't want him to respect me out of fear but out of love and a want to obey. As bad as it sounds, however, it's defiantly easier if he's afraid to touch the water cooler.

I know that the Bible also says not to put stumbling blocks in front of people that can cause them to sin. I finally figured out a way to keep Caleb from touching the water cooler! I accept the fact that he's just too young to understand the consequences of playing with the water cooler. Even with all the repetition he just doesn't get it. It's not a character flaw in him, he's not doing it to be bad. He's doing it because he loves to play with water (whether that be in the bathtub, a puddle, the sink while doing dishes, cat water dishes etc).

Solution: We turned the water cooler around into the corner. Yes, it's a complete pain to turn it back around every time that I want a glass of water. But I would rather take a bit more time to get a glass of water that put something in Caleb's way that tempts him to disobey a boundary I've set out. He was a little upset at first. He didn't understand why he couldn't find the taps. We'll see how it goes over the next few weeks and then try turning it around again. Maybe he will understand that he's not allowed to touch it or maybe he'll grow bored of it. Or maybe not. But it's much easier on all of us to just take the temptation away right now.

I probably could just watch him closely and keep repeating that he's not allowed to touch it. It's just not a big enough concern for me to do so (unlike when he was learning to stay on the lawn and not run onto the gravel). The biggest thing that I've learned about discipline from this is that when I run out of patience with Caleb, I need to take a step back and put myself in his position. I can't look at him as an adult that understands the logical explanation of all the reasons why he shouldn't do certain things. I shouldn't punish him for something that he just doesn't understand. It's not like he was hurting anyone or himself with this. He just wants to have some fun. I've found that going face to face with him and looking him directly in the eye, I see that he's not out to be malicious. Not that I really thought that, I just lost sight of the big picture because I was more focused on my frustration with the situation that I was on him and his needs.

Discipline is a time to reconnect with my son and learn how to understand him more. I've learned that he REALLY enjoys playing with water. This is a great tidbit of information because it means I have a way to occupy him throughout the winter. I can plop him in the tub, even if he doesn't need a bath, and give him some cups and containers. He could probably entertain himself for quite a while (with me sitting in the bathroom supervising of course, beauties of a laptop or a good book). I also know that he will be helping me often with washing dishes (the floor is lino and clothes can get chucked in the dryer). Mama just needed to relax and take advantage of this learning opportunity.

I feel way better about things now! And I'm sure that Caleb does too because now his mama is going to give him exactly what he wanted, except within the allowed boundaries of course.