Friday, October 29, 2010

Sippy Cups - Good, Bad or Ugly?

So I have a love-hate relationship with sippy cups. I personally believe that there is no reason for a child to ever use sippy cups as their full time cups. I understand that fluid requirements for a formula fed baby are a little different but a breastfed baby can get all of it's fluid from breastmilk directly up till about a year. After that point most children are very capable of using a regular cup. Of course this will depend on how often the mother nurses but generally speaking, if your baby is thirsty, just feel free to nurse him/her. But then there are a lot of moms out there who don't share this viewpoint or are not able/willing to let their baby nurse for thirst as well as hunger. Enter the sippy cup.

I'll start with some of the things that I don't like about them.
Speech issues: because of the way a baby/child sucks on the sippy, it hinders the proper movement and development of the jaw and tounge and can lead to speech delays and/or speech impediments. Kids who live with a sippy cup in their mouth are more likely to need speech therapy.
Cavities: when a baby/child drinks from a sippy cup the drink deposits on their teeth. It's very similar to the reasons that you should let your baby sleep with a bottle of anything other than water. Water in a sippy would be fine, milk is alright but walking around with juice or *gasp* pop! in a sippy should be no-nos.
Delayed cup skills: a baby/child (fyi: I say child because I know plenty of 4-5 year olds who still use sippies) using a sippy cup won't learn to use a normal cup as quickly. They don't learn that tipping causes spills and they can't control the flow of their drink as easily. Since they're not used to it, it's going to take them longer to use these skills. Yes, they will eventually learn but will they still be having issues when they hit kindergarden? Is that really the best time for a child to learn that a cup spills if they bump it? (This depends on how long the sippy cup is used of course.)

I will be honost, I REALLY don't like sippies. I have a couple that I started using with Caleb but he was drinking on his own from a cup at a year so we've never really had a big need for them. I also took the valves out so they were more just a cup with a pour spout (you don't suck the same way on a pour spout). Caleb is perfectly capable at 2.5 to drink from a regular cup. He can even drink while he's walking (I can't even do that, I need to stop walking)! He's very good about trying not to spill (though he's only 2.5 so sometimes he spills his drink, sometimes he spills mine, that's just life with a toddler). He only gets water when he wants to drink elsewhere than the table. He only gets a little bit of water when he wants to walk to the other room with it (less spill to clean up). Milk and tea stay at the table.

That being said, sippies can come in very handy. We've used them on car trips (mostly to the midwife) when we're driving and trying to do a meal at the same time. I put water or milk in it and he can put it in his cup holder or give it back to me. That way if we go over a bump or he drops it we're not dealing with a major spill in the car. I think that's pretty much the only time we use them. I could get a bottle with a spout that I know he will use just fine in the car (at this age anyway, maybe not a year ago) but I already had the cups in my house. Though he got frustrated with the lack of control over the flow so he stuck his finger through the holes in the spout.... not much of a sippy cup anymore lol! I'm still a big fan of cups with lids and spouts (Tupperware has some great ones) and I think that I'll buy some of those when the next baby hits that 1.5 - 2 year mark and decides he/she needs water in the car just because mama has her bottle.

So that's a bit of my thoughts on sippies. And now I'm off to have a nap... or maybe I'll read a bit... darn I just remembered I have to fold laundry before Caleb wakes up. The job of a mom is never done is it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Steps to a Better Life

I just read a really inspirational post on trying to "do it all." I came across this mama's blog a while back and she had some very similar ideas about lifestyle that I do. She called her post "The Impossible is Possible."

There are some really terrific women in my life who seem to have it all together. They eat the the right kinds of foods (unprocessed, whole ingredients, made from scratch etc) and homeschool their children, exercise regularly, volunteer, garden, keep a clean house, spend personal time studying Scripture, run a business, do "crafty" things, and still have time for playdates and husbands! I am so far from being organized (or energetic) enough to do even half of that. I know that these women didn't accomplish this all overnight. But I have still looked at them and thought "I wish I could do that." I have tried to stop saying things like that. I don't want to "wish away" chunks of my life. I want to be content where I'm at in life and enjoy each stage of life that I go through.

I love the saying that we are a work in progress. That's totally how I feel. And it's kind of great knowing that the Lord's not done with me yet. I don't have to feel like I've "arrived" because, until I get to heaven or the Jesus comes again, I haven't arrived. I still on the journey. So I reflected a bit last week on how I've grown in mostly intangible ways and I want to take a bit of time this week to talk about some of the steps that we've made toward the lifestyle we feel called to.

Over the last few years a BIG change we have made is in our diets. We used to buy a lot of premade meals (I didn't cook a lot) and processed snacks. I now cook most of the time (I still throw in a frozen lasagna once in a while) and try to make sure that those meals are well-balanced (i.e. enough veggies). Our snacks usually consist of crackers n cheese, or fresh fruit, or yogurt, or homemade (healthy) muffins or cookies. We also only do whole wheat bread and pastas. It was much easier for us to get motivated to eat healthier when Caleb started eating more with us. I really don't want his little body to get filled up with junk. I want to give his body things that are more natural and flow through his system without clogging arteries or filling him up with foods that have empty calories. I want him to learn to take pride in the body that God has blessed him with. In order to do that, we need to do it ourselves. That doesn't mean that we don't EVER have chips or cake (remember the apple pie I mentioned last week?). It just means that we choose not to keep that kind of stuff in the house on a regular basis. Adam and I are also learning to take better care of our bodies and we feel much better for it. It's amazing how a couple of eggs, whole wheat toast, homemade hashbrowns and a glass of milk make you feel for the rest of the morning! And then something as simple as spaghetti with whole wheat noodles and ground beef and tomato sauce with corn or carrots mixed in makes for a delicious healthy dinner.

Another change that we made was the switch to cloth diapers. I originally thought about doing cloth right from the time that Caleb was born. But I never got around to it. And when I signed off my business when he was about 10 or 11 months old my reward was to switch to cloth. It felt like a LOT of work at first but I was so passionate about the switch and since I used it as a "reward" to officially closing my business it was a lot more fun. Plus I was able to focus on the cute diapers that you can get when you do cloth and the fact that we were saving money and saving the environment... it was just a very exciting time. Next step is to hang my diapers to dry instead of putting them in the washer. My baby step toward this is to hang Caleb's nighttime diapers. He only has about 6 or 7 a week that I wash and need to hang up so it's very easy to take the few minutes to do so. When the newborn comes in a couple of months it will be more like 20 diapers every other day that I will need to hang. But I can still do baby steps and choose to hang them even once a week, or once a month if that's all I can manage. At least it will be a step closer to my goal.

Another accomplishment that I feel really good about is some volunteer work that I've had the opportunity to do. I get to support other mothers and even though it's really only a couple days a month that I put in regularly, it's great knowing that every little bit counts.

I have a list of 4 items that I want to plant in a garden next spring. I would love to have TONNES more but I feel like I can handle 4. Over the winter I'm planning to read about how to grow these items and how to prepare the soil etc. And I'm going to get Adam involved too (he can do more of the manual labour) and I know that Caleb will just have a blast finding out how seeds grow. Caleb already loves the dirt so it will be a really fun family project to do together. That's the way I'm looking at it. If I think about all the work involved and all the things I want to plant in the future then I will get overwhelmed. But a 4 item garden next year is better than no garden this year.

I've also read a lot about homeschooling and talked to a number of moms I know that have homeschooled or are currently homeschooling about how to start off with a toddler. It's very exciting that Caleb is getting old enough to "learn." But then I have to remind myself that he's been learning so much all of his life. Adam was always supportive of "my decision" to homeschool but it's been really great to see him not only support me but become pretty passionate about the topic himself. That's a huge step forward. I would love to buy a really great preschooler curriculum for Caleb right now and dive right in. But in reality he's 2 and a half! I do have somewhat of a more relaxed game plan for him over the course of the next year. A large part of which consists of going to the library regularly. He LOVES to be read too and will often sit on the floor with a book and "read" to himself. He was actually finding letters on the cracker box on the way home from groceries today. ("F, F, F, bigger F, where's Q? S, *sss*, *sss*, BOOM!" In addition to the library we walk around the farm and just talk about the animals and the plants and we talked a lot about harvesting. We've been talking about babies and birth a lot. Next spring we'll talk about gardening and where fruits and veggies come from. It'll just be living life. Way simpler than a full curriculum!

Another change was getting rid of cleaning chemicals. I'm not really one to put a "plug" in for a particular product but I would just like to say that I LOVE Norwex. I know that there are other great companies out there who sell similar stuff but my favorite thing is the antibacterial clothes. They came in especially handy when Caleb was potty training. I could just wipe up the mess (pee anyway), rinse the rag, and hang it up ready to use for next time. I also love them for when he was a newborn and I dropped a toy on the mall floor. I could just take my rag out, wipe it up, and know that it was clean. Plus they're still super soft but grippy enough to use when he's got jam or peanut butter or spaghetti sauce all over his face.

I have a number of other things that I would love to do with my time but for now I am just taking it day by day. I'm so thankful for the strength and guidance the Lord has given me so far and I know that He will continue to guide our steps towards living a healthier, simpler lifestyle. So that was a little longer than I intended but I hope that you enjoyed reading about some positive things. Like Kelli mentions in her post, there are many areas that I need to work on but I'm trying to be the kind of mom God wants me to be and live the life I'm called to live!

Feel free to leave a comment either here or on my facebook with some of the positive changes that you've made to your life in the last few years :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


As I am enjoying some quiet time while Caleb is napping I realized that I'm quite bored right now. Sure there are plenty of things that I could be doing. Well... most of it consists of different aspects of housework. Instead I'm sitting here eating my second piece of pie (and last because it's all gone now) and reflecting a bit over the last year. I realized that I've had this blog for a whole year now! And what a year it has been.

I've learned so much about myself and my family. Did you know that raising a toddler is a lot more "work" than a newborn is? A newborn's needs are (usually) easily filled (diaper, snuggles, nursing). A toddler is mobile and has opinions and is essentially a little person, minus the logic and reasoning skills that adults have. (Or should have?) Watching Caleb put his boots and coat on to play in his sandbox is absolutely incredible. It's amazing how independent he can be. But then he gets tired and cold and still needs his mama right there too. He's super excited when I wake him up to go to Little Lambs (a children's story hour at my church) but then needs me to sit with him for 5-10 minutes before he's comfortable enough for me to leave. I really enjoy reading to Caleb (which we do a LOT these days) and doing puzzles and baking with him. I love that he wants to go out to work with his Papa as often as he can. I love that he wanted to follow his Opa & Oma (my parents) back to their place when they came by to tell me happy birthday. It's amazing to watch Caleb's vocabulary take off and see his interests expand and develop.

I've learned that my purpose right now is to create a safe and loving home environment for my family. It was very hard for me when I gave up my career to stay at home but I certainly don't regret it. I love being able to build my life around my family instead of trying to fit my family into my life. I've become a lot more content with my role as a SAHM. I'm still not keen on the cooking and cleaning end of things but I try to remind myself that those things are a way of serving my family. It helps that Adam doesn't mind having spaghetti at least once a week as long as I throw in an evening of shake n bake chicken once in a while.

I've spent the last year doing a lot of reading and learning about birth and breastfeeding as well as homeschooling. It's been fascinating to find out all of this neat stuff that I get to apply to my family's life. And it's been great to see Adam become more and more excited about homeschooling too. He was always supportive but excitement about it is even better.

Caleb and I have made some great friends over the last year and had tonnes of playdates. He's starting to get better with sharing and he not only remembers his friend but is finally saying their names. It's awesome to be able to to tell him which friend we are going to visit and he gets excited to play with them. He even recognizes vehicles when they pull up in the yard! Though I have learned to not mention the playdate until right before we leave or right before they arrive. Saves us the heartache if plans change or if he skips his nap out of excitement.

The impending arrival of our new little one is coming. I actually have a frozen meal in my freezer (which is more than I had with Caleb) so hopefully I can get some more made so we don't starve. We are still trying to figure out sleeping arrangements as Caleb is still pretty keen on snuggling really close to me at night. He also still likes to nurse down so it will be interesting to see how those things will need to be adjusted when there's a newborn in the bed too. My hope is that Caleb will snuggle more with his Papa instead of me. We've also been talking about how babies need lots of diapers (to which Caleb replies that he doesn't need diapers because he's a big boy) and that they need lots of "milkies." Caleb is usually pretty good with saying he will share milkies with the new baby so that's a very good thin. He also hugs my belly and says "hi" to the baby. I'm in the process of making a book for him on his entrance into the world with my digital scrapbooking program. I still have a lot more work to do on it though so I will really need to make the effort to get it done by Christmas.

I think that Caleb is about to wake up now though (I can hear his breath change in the monitor right now) so that's all for now folks! Happy Birthday to me and Yay! for a whole year of blogging!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Exclusive Club

So last night when Adam came in from milking he wanted me to listen to a song. He said that the words really spoke to him. The song was "I Believe in Angels" by George Canyon.
I had heard the song before but I don't usually pay really close attention to the words when I'm listening to the radio. Adam listens to the radio pretty much all day every day when he's working in the machinery or milking in the parlour. Not to mention that he has an amazing aptitude for deciphering and remembering lyrics anyway (i.e. he knows what AC/DC is saying!).

Anyway, back to the song. There is a line that says "to watch them sleep how could anyone say that there's no Heaven? Man, there's no way" That was the line that Adam really wanted me to hear (and we actually had to replay that part because I coughed or shuffled a plate or something during those two seconds *oops*). He mentioned that it was a great line in a great song but there was more to it than that. We both sat there and totally agreed with George Canyon. We've spent countless hours just watching Caleb sleep. Not to mention watching Caleb do such simple little things like smile or eat breakfast or play in his sandbox. And the "bigger milestones" like learning to laugh and crawl and then walk and talk. How could such a tiny person know exactly how to do all those things if there wasn't a Creator with an awesome plan for him and his life?

We kept talking about how people without children don't understand how incredible that feeling really is. Other people listen to that song and think "oh how sweet" but it isn't really until you have your own children that you truly understand the depth of it. When you become a parent you automatically belong to this "club" that understands heaven in your child's eyes. A club in which you can talk to another mother (or father) and completely understand where they're coming from when they talk about their relationship with their children. A club that allows you to understand more deeply the joys of actually raising children, despite the poopy diapers, sleepless nights (with newborns or teenagers!), financial responsibility, and the difference that it has made in your marriage. All those things can be looked at as negatives.

I have heard so many people say that they are not ready to give up their current lifestyle. "They ruin your lives" and "they cost to much" are the most common two that I hear. Yet if you ask anyone who has children, neither of those have come to fruition. They will tell you that children have enhanced their lives and that somehow they always manage to make ends meet. And yes you might have to do without some luxuries but if you ask a parent whether they would choose to have their child or an annual all inclusive vacation, or a new car, or more nights out with friends, they will tell you that they would never give up their child to go back to their old lifestyle.

As many of you know I read, a LOT, and some of the things that I've been reading on are the values that society tries to teach us. We are being raised to have a "things before people" mentality. Or "if it feels good, do it." Become a parent puts you in an exclusive club that has proven time and time again that putting people first is where you find "true happiness" (such a corny phrase and I hate using is but can't think of anything better) and that life is not all about you. Contrary to popular belief, people are much happier when they are putting another's needs in front of their own. When you have a child you have very little choice but to put his/her needs before your own. And that's not only okay, it's exactly what we were created to do.

So to all the parents out there, I'm glad to share membership in this club that is based on self-sacrifice, giving without receiving and yet feeling more fulfilled that those not yet in this club.