Monday, September 29, 2008

Eli -Two months

I honestly don't know where the time has gone. IT seems like just last week I was in the never-ending labour and it was summer. Now it's fall and he's already two months old!

He's doing really great. Like Hana, he's a slow gainer, about 10lbs right now. He's lean like Ben is, but still has rolls on his thighs and a cute double chin. When he's awake his eyes are so bright! He coos and kicks and flails his arms. He loves smiling and sticking his toungue out, and when I talk to him I can tell he's trying really hard to say something back. I can't wait for the stories he's going to tell!

He sleeps great - going 5 or 6 hours at night! We're working on nursing without the shield and so far it's not going too bad, so long as he isn't tired. WIthin a couple of weeks we should be fine without it I'm sure.

He seems so laid back, so curious. He's very content, so long as I'm in the room at least. He hates the car, but will sleep in his swing. He loves Hana and smiles and coos at her when she tries to make him laugh. I can't wait to get to know him better as more and more of his personality comes through.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worth It

With raising Hana, Ben and I have made a commitment to always respect her feelings and do what we can to offer her comfort and teach her how to handle them. That means no yelling, no leaving her to cry alone, no spanking and doing what we can to walk her through issues. We're not always so good at it - especially the no yelling part, that one is really hard for me some days.

A lot of this we've realized is absolutely essential for Hana - she has very big emotions for such a small little girl. We don't indulge her tantrums - part of helping her walk through things is teaching her how to deal with frustration and disappointment. There are times she ends up in her room to have a tantrum, but that's her choice and she's free to come for a hug whenever she wants. We're teaching her she doesn't get what she wants by screaming and yelling, and that using words is the most effective way to communicate. We name her feelings for her, letting her know it's ok to feel angry or frustrated or sad when she doesn't understand or can't communicate. It can make things more frustrating for me at times, but I keep telling myself that showing her this level of respect and empathy will be worth it, and will make her the kind of person I dream she will be.

Today, my little girl amazed me. After her nap she was very cranky. I needed to change her, which she didn't like at all (and I think was the reason she woke up, she definitely could have had more sleep!). She was crying and just needing some love, so we curled up int he rocking chair and I rocked and sang to her. After a few minutes, Eli woke up and I could hear him crying through the monitor. I felt myself tense - I figured I' have two crying kids on my hands and that's never an easy thing to handle.

To my surprise, Hana popped her head up and said "Eli cry, sad, go get!". I was amazed. She had my full attention, and she was upset, but she also knew Eli needed me and didn't want him to be sad. She wanted to make sure his needs were met too.

It always amazes me when she does things like that - she is so compassionate and loving towards others. Yes, it gets exhausting and the constant whining makes me scream, but it's worth it.

And now I have it written down to remind myself next time we have a day like today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My local mall has instituted a new rule - shopping carts are not allowed to leave their "base" stores: Sears, Wal-Mart, Sobeys and Toys r Us. That means there are no carts available in the main mall, and there are posts at the entrances to each of the base stores preventing you from taking the carts out.

There are (limited) strollers available at one kiosk in the mall - they have baskets and you can even get double strollers.

I think this is the worst idea ever. I am a mother of two. We do not take the infant car seat out of the car, nor do we have a stroller that's appropriate for an infant, I wear Eli in a carrier. We do have a stroller for Hana, but it has a rather small basket. WE normally go to the mall at least once a week, for the change of scenery if nothing else. When the weather is bad we go more often. A usual shopping trip at the mall would involve picking up a few things at Wal-Mart (one end of the mall) and then getting groceries at Sobeys )opposite end). With the new rules, these are my options:

1 - put Eli in a carrier and bring the stroller for Hana, only pick up a few things. This means more trips to the mall as I can't get a full grocery order.

2 - put Eli in a carrier and pray one of the strollers are available. So far there have never been strollers available when I've been there, but the mall keeps saying they're going to get more.

3 - Park at Wal-Mart, put Eli in a carrier and Hana in a cart. Shop, bring everything to the car, drive over to Sobeys and repeat. This means not going through the mall (which means not getting my tea at Starbucks or checking any other stores)

4 - Carry purchases through the mall while keeping track of Hana while I go to the other base store.

So which will I choose? None of the above. All of the options either require more stress or more driving, and none of them are worth it. Instead, I'll find another place to shop. Not far from the mall is another smaller shopping center that has a grocery store, Zellers and a dollar store, so I'll do most of my shopping there. When I do need to go to the mall, I'll either make sure Ben can come with me, or leave at least one of the kids at home with him. I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Whomever decided to make this change didn't realize the impact it would have on families or on their sales. I know I'll be spending much less time there - good for my budget, bad for theirs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are you kidding me? HFCS

When I first saw the following commercials, I sort of chuckled - they're corney (sorry...) and the acting is um...great. But then as I thought about it, they kind of scare me.

You know what they say about HFCS? that it's in a whole lot of processed food (in Canada it appears on labels as "fructose-glucose", so keep that in mind); that it is supper processed itself (how else would they get sugars out of corn). Some people also claim it's more of a health risk than sugar, but I have to admit the corn refiners association is right - it is the same amount of calories.

What bothers me about this campaign is that people are going to forget that consuming large amounts of sugar isn't good for you, especially processed sugars (did you know table sugar comes from sugar beats and isn't naturally white?). Western society (myself included) is addicted to sweets, and sugars have virtually no nutritional value.

There are alternatives - honey and cane sugar can be used to sweeten things and aren't over processed - a much more natural route. You can also use fruit juices, or get used to things not being so sugary. Our palates have been trained to expect more sugar than there should be in things. For example, apples are a very sweet fruit. In fact, there is the same amount of sugar in an apple (13 grams) as in the average cookie. Naturally occurring sugars may not be better for you, but they are in foods that have more nutritional value than the average prepared food that is full of processed sugars.

So no, HFCS won't kill you, but it's definitely not the best choice out there. Advertising like this only contributes to the bad state of health in North America - this is another example of the media misleading public opinion for cooperate monetary gain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For my American Readers

Have you seen this?

It's information from about contacting your local senator about Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act. The purpose of this bill is to secure funding and make tracking child predators online a priority.

Please, I'm begging you, take the two minutes to copy and paste the letter on the Oprah site and send it to your senator. I've been online since I was 12, using chat rooms and messengers and I was propositioned more times than I can count - thankfully I was old enough to recognize pedophiles (most of the time...eventually), but not every child is so fortunate.

We need to make protecting children from pedophiles a top priority. The pedophiles themselves band together online in forums and web communities (even Christian ones) where their feelings and actions are not only understood, but normalized. Through participation in these forums the men (and women) involved loose their feelings of guilt and feel justified in their attractions to children. It's not a far step from normalization to action. With all the support and encouragement these pedophiles get, it's vital that we stand together against them to protect children from them.

Please pass on this information to all Americans you know - I can't really think of a reason why someone would be against this bill passing, regardless of their political affiliation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So now what?

Through another blog, I stumbled on this article. Yeah, I know, you're not going to read it. It's about Ray Boltz (you know, "Thank You", "The Anchor Holds" etc.). He's gay.

This has me wondering what the Christian community will do about it. I know a lot of people won't care, but for others it could be a tough spot. Will those songs be banned in churches now? Will people feel a need to criticize Boltz or publically denounce his career (and all the good it has done for the Kingdom)? Basically I'm wondering how much of a mess the North American church will make of this situation.

I could be optimistic and hope that it will enlighten more Christians to the fact that homosexuals are not evil, God hating individuals, but that might be too much to hope for.

I guess my frustration is the fact that so many people seem to hold homosexuality as this huge horrible sin, worse than murder. Never mind that the Bible states not to hate, a homosexual relationship is worse. If we treated every other sin the way we treat homosexuality (yeah, that's going to get people riled up on the other side of the issue, isn't it. No, I don't think that homosexual relationships are what God intended for His people, and I define sin as knowingly acting against a known law of God (yes, it's the act, not the attraction) I don't, however, feel that living a homosexual lifestyle means that a person is cut off from God. Like any other habitual sin, it will impact a Christian's life, but it doesn't make it impossible for someone to have a relationship with Christ, make sense?) then our churches would be empty - no one would qualify.

Why can't we be about celebrating that someone has a desire for God and helping them along that journey with Him, trusting that He loves them, knows what is best for them and will convict and change them as he sees fit. Yes, it is our job to correct an errant brother - to bring them back to seeking God when they go wandering away from them, but if someone is actively seeking God then it's not our place to push them where God hasn't asked them to go. I think if we're honest, we all have things in our lives that we know wouldn't be there if we were perfect, but we don't go railing on each other about them.

Ok, so most of that made no sense, and I'm sure I've offended just about everyone and haven't expressed my own views properly. This post may be edited as my own stupidity is pointed out to me and I have more time to think about this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Budget Builders

I joined a gym. I'm super excited ab out this - it should improve not only my physical health, but mental as well, plus improve my family dynamic. It gets a little rough being home all the time, just me and the kids. Ben works long days and likes having time to himself, so this works for him too.

Thing is, it's a luxery, and money isn't something we have just laying around. We're getting by, and building a bit of savings too, but there's not a whole lot leftover.

So I need to find 55 extra dollars a month in our budget. I figure not eating out once a week (because I'm too stressed out/tired to cook) will cover most of that, but any extras I could find would be great too.

And so I'm asking for ideas - what are ways you save money or cut back expenses? We don't have cable, but internet is a must (I need to connect to the outside world somehow!). We try to avoid processed food, but I do pay a bit more for some organic items.

Give me more ideas people!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My kids

First of all, not only does it still feel odd using the plural of that, there is still a part of me that has a hard time understanding that I really am a mom.

It just seems so surreal sometimes to believe that I have the full time responsibility of two tiny people. It feels wrong sometimes - I'm only 25, right? On bad days it's easy to think of all the things I "could" be doing instead of changing poopy diapers and listening to Elmo sing the alphabet song. Sometimes my head is so full of kid stuff that it can feel like I've lost myself. Sometimes I don't have the time I need to think or process what's going on around me. Sometimes it feels like I've lost the ability to just be me without being a mom, to have a conversation with adults (let alone a conversation that doesn't involve kids). It can be overwhelming and frustrating.

But then I look at these two beautiful children and I'm just in awe - that I've been trusted with these two lives, that I've been part of the process of creating these two people, each with their own personalities and ideas and futures, it blows me away. They challenge me and help me grow, the amaze and entertain me. They fill me with so much joy I couldn't imagine being as fulfilled any other way.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Working on it

Notice some changes? I'm playing around with things, this isn't the final product, but at least I'm getting started, finally

Sunday, September 07, 2008

House of Prayer

I heard a very good message lately that used Jesus' cleansing of the temple as text. The key point was that God's temple was intended to be a house of prayer.

That stands in stark contrast to most churches. It's long been established that prayer nights are the lest attended events at a church. How often do churches want to be known for their programs, their music, their preaching or multimedia. How many churches are known for their prayer?

I know how hard it is to get people to pray, and how other things, preaching, worship etc. are also important. We must keep in mind, however, that worship, sacrifice, teaching and community were part of temple life as well, and yet it was still to be known as a house of prayer. All interaction that happens between people is limited and crippled if there is no interaction between the people of God and God Himself.

If we put as much time and effort into prayer as we do the other aspects of church life, I think three things would happen. First, we'd have to spend less time, energy and stress on the other things and put them into better perspective. Second, relationships would grow deeper - it's hard not to connect to those you pray with and pray for. Third, and most important, we'd see and experience the power of God because we would (finally) be open and available to it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politic Policies

I usually keep my mouth shut about politics. That is partially because I spent a lot of time around Americans the past few years and realized it was just easier to be quiet, and partially because I don't really care enough to have more than just a surface opinion about most subjects.

There is one thing in the current election race that has stuck out to me tho. Normally, I find it repulsive when opposing parties try to bring up dirt about the past, family or personal life of their competitors. Unless it relates directly to the issues at hand (and it rarely does - people are allowed to change their minds over time), it isn't relevant.

But now there is this controversy involving Sarah Palin and her family life. Her seventeen year old daughter is pregnant and her son has Downs Syndrome. On a forum I'm a part of, it was brought up that perhaps spending more time with her children during this time would be wiser than running for office.

My first reaction - leave her family out of it. Honestly, unless she feels politics are interfering with her family (or vice versa), then it shouldn't be an issue - we shouldn't even know about it unless she's the one who tells us.

Then I got thinking. She (and McCain) have built her up as such a family woman. A hockey mom etc. It's obvious her family is important to her, and they're trying to use that as a selling point to get more votes.

So now, what becomes worse - using your family as a bargaining chip (and thus leaving them (justifiably) open to exposure, or trying to find dirt on your competitor?

Either way, Obama gets points for considering the whole thing off limits. I wonder if McCain/Palin thought about that.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

22 Months

I'm trying not to think how close Hana is to two years old. Time is flying by and it seems like I can't catch my breath. It's just so hard to believe that my babygirl is almost two!

She has been doing really great these last few weeks. She's learning (through plenty of reminders) that she doesn't get what she wants through screaming and crying. The biggest issue right now is that her vocabulary never matches her desire to communicate - she knows so many words, but still has trouble. Yesterday while nursing Eli I sat in the rocking chair for a minute to answer the phone, and when I got up Hana had a bit of a meltdown. She calmed down and said "Sit, chair" and was very adamant about it. We're trying to help her understand she can't tell people what to do, so I said no. A huge tantrum followed, and I couldn't figure out why. Eventually she ended up upstairs to calm down. When she came back down, she went over to the chair with her soother and blankie and said "Chair, snuggle, pleeeese" with the most sincere look on her face, and it finally clicked - I had been rocking Eli in the chair and she felt left out, she wanted some snuggle time too, but couldn't find a way to get me to understand that, especially because she was upset. It was a reminder to me that tantrums happen for a reason, she's really not just trying to drive me nuts.

In her quest to communicate, she's also become very observant - picking up new words and gestures from us. One thing we often do is say "OH!" when we figure out what it is she's trying to say. So now, in what I think is an attempt to get us to understand faster, she asks for something, repeats the word and then says "oh!" nods, and repeats it again. It's cute.

She's really loving colouring right now, and looking through books on her own. The other day I sat nursing Eli with Hana sitting at my feet looking through a book and singing to herself, it was so perfect.

She's so gentle and loving with her brother - she plays with him, gives him kisses, and loves it when he looks at her or does anything(so long as he doesn't touch her, her clothing, or my hair).

This is such a fun age - she's so full of energy and curiosity I find myself looking for ways to keep up with her and fill her mind. We're having so much fun learning together.