Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review - Protecting the Gift

April Book

Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)
231 pages

This was a surprisingly fast read. I just couldn't put it down. It's all about keeping kids safe. And the author is a security specialist--not a local cop or crazy mom.

The things I learned are to be realistic about dangers. Don't turn a blind eye to your intuition. Listen to it and figure out if you're in danger. And then take appropriate steps.

One of his big things is that we can predict and prevent violence. Maybe not the random violence, but he says most violence isn't random. So, don't be afraid to question that guy who creeps you out. Take the recommended safety measures when you're running. Listen to your kids when they talk about their friends parents, etc.

Be realistic.

He doesn't intend for people to live in fear but to be prepared to fight back.

I enjoyed this book. I feel confident, I'll just say that. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What is Livy doing?

She's a mover. She gets all over the house now. She's super happy about it, too.

Trying to stand and go up the stairs
Many nights she crawls her way over to the stairs and works really hard to get her foot or knee up on the first step. She also spends a lot of time trying to stand up next to the couch or tv. I don't think it'll be long.

Her three top teeth have come in and she's working on another one. Teething never bothered Ivy & Jamey, so it's new that she's so cranky about it.

I've finally given up making food or just giving her milk. She wants food and lots of it. She likes Veggie Straws, yogurt, breadsticks, and whatever baby food we picked up at the store.

Biting & Pinching
Ooooh, this girl is a biter and a pincher. It makes nursing less than pleasant. We're working on it, but man, I'm ready for her to stop it.

Playing Peek-a-Boo
She puts her hands over her eyes and pulls them down--waiting for a response. It's super cute!

Watching Conan
Because she's on a non-traditional sleep schedule, she gets to watch Conan with us most week nights. No matter what she's doing, she stops and stares at the tv as soon as the Conan song comes on. She even laughs at the right spots.

What is Jamey doing?

Swimming lessons
Jamey swims once a week at Foss. He's in Little 3 (moving up to Little 4 for the summer session). He's learning Tiger Paddles and Bird Flaps. And to flip over on his back when he needs to breath or rest. He puts his face in for Red Light/Green Light and LOVES kicking. In fact, he really loves all of swimming lessons.

He breaks out in song all the time. He spent about 30 minutes the other day singing "BINGO" over and over again. His favorites seem to be BINGO, I had a little turtle, EIEIO, The BIBLE, and Going to the Promised Land.

This boy can throw fits with the best of them. Over anything and everything. He gets super mad really fast. The only positive is that he seems to work through it really fast too.

Making Crayons
My mom gave the kids a crayon maker for Christmas. You melt old crayons to make new ones. He'd do it all day every day and does sometimes.

Riding Bike
We picked him up a Cars 2 bike last week. He's got the matching helmet and bell, and he couldn't be happier. He's learning to pedal but doesn't last long before he gets frustrated.

He ate 4 hot dogs for dinner one night. And then had a whole ton of mini corn dogs another night. With Bethany living here (all vegetarian like), we've been eating less meat. But this boy LOVES meat!

Playing outside
Both Jamey & Ivy like to play outside. They are pretty good about staying in the approved areas. They asked Vic next door if they could play in his backyard--he has a big wooden swing. They are having a great time back there. They dig, pick flowers, run around, pick up "treasures," and imagine the hours away. I love watching them out there. When they're outside, they rarely fight or hit. And I'm really happy they have such a big space to play.

What is Ivy doing?

Swimming lessons
She swims once a week at Foss. She's in Middle 4, learning to do the breaststroke and butterfly. She tries really hard and wants to do whatever her teacher tells her to. At the end of the Winter Session, she had a breakthrough. She had been struggling to listen, to do the strokes (at that point she was learning freestyle, backstroke and side-breathing). One day, she just got it. She did it all and made it look easy. Since then, she's just been attacking everything at lessons full force. 

We cut paper into quarters to make scrap paper. Sometimes, it's been drawn on (on the backside). She has gone through about 20 sheets of paper this week (80 squares)--she uses paint, markers, crayons, or this glitter paint from her Easter basket. We constantly need more coloring books and art supplies. 

Riding her bike
Last summer, she was pretty nervous about riding her bike and didn't want to go down the slope at the end of the driveway. This spring, she's gung-ho. She rides that Princess Bike up and down the driveway, the street, and all the way across the school parking lot. And she's getting speedy. We need to teach her about the brakes, because she drags her shoes on the ground to stop. She has a princess helmet, a princess bell, and a pink & white basket. It's super cute.

Kicking the soccer ball around
She has just brought out the soccer ball this week and has been kicking the ball up & down the driveway for 20 minutes at a time. 

Hitting the T-ball
She has been out with our neighbor Sam and his son playing "baseball" a few times. She's a good hitter! I looked for t-ball for her, but it's all started already. Here's hoping there's something through the city this summer. 

Imaginary Play
Ivy loves to play house. I think she likes to be the baby, but every once in a while I hear her be the mom (she wears her doll sling and shushes her baby). She also likes to make food in her kitchen and have picnics on the floor.

She's been on some runs with me (and Jeremy or Bethany). She ran 1/3 mile the other day without stopping at all. And even though she was visibly tired, she kept going. She's excited to try a Kid Race next summer. 

Ivy has finished the preschool and kindergarten workbooks from Sing, Spell, Read & Write. And she's done a few Disney preschool workbooks that I picked up at Barnes & Noble. She doesn't like to sit down to read much, but she does like doing the workbooks. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

To Kegel or Not to Kegel?

I've heard and read a ton lately about why women shouldn't be doing Kegels.

Like this one and this one.

There was a short seminar at Blooma last spring about it.

There's a DVD about it.

Now, as I'm looking at all this information in one place, it's all by Katy Bowman.

Even though she says kegels don't do anything, I have firsthand experience they do. I didn't wet my pants last night when I really had to go. I do kegels whenever I think about it. Mostly when I'm driving or nursing. And they work for me. I suppose if they didn't, I'd look to Katy for help. She's got some good stuff.

Monday, April 23, 2012


We went to the WaterPark of America yesterday as part of a fundraiser for the MS150. The event was from 4-8 pm.

This story really starts two night ago, though. On Saturday, we had two couples and their kids over for an afternoon of playing and they stayed to dinner. Our kids were a little grouchy early in the afternoon, so I put them down for a rest. Ivy & Jamey both slept for about 90 minutes. Friends came & went. It was a great afternoon. But when bedtime rolled around, neither of the kids were tired. At 10ish, Jeremy found them playing with GU in Auntie Bethany's room. Thankfully, those buggers are hard to open, because preschoolers on GU would be horrendous.

It was surprising that after going to be after 10 on Saturday that they still got up at 6:30 on Sunday. So then we headed to the waterpark at 4. We stayed for a couple hours before they started complaining about being hungry. Jamey just flat out asked to go home.

We got changed and were in the car around 7. Jamey fell asleep before Jeremy had even backed out of the parking spot. Ivy followed about 3 minutes later.

This just feels like it got really long. They didn't wake up for dinner. Slept almost 13 hours.

But we set out bread with peanut butter, applesauce, and their water bottles at night, so when they woke up they could eat right away. They LOVED it!

Ivy asked if I would set out breakfast every day. So maybe I will.

She just said I forgot vitamins. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012


It really seems like laundry is never ending. I feel like I'm always doing laundry. A couple weeks ago, I ran out of laundry detergent and used that as a great excuse to not do laundry for an entire week. Here's how much laundry I did this week.

Sunday - washed, dried & folded a load of towels and a load of dark clothes (2 loads)
Monday - put away the two loads from yesterday
Tuesday - No Laundry
Wednesday - washed, dried & folded a load of white clothes, a load of dark clothes, and a load of towels & baby blankets (3 loads)
Thursday - put away the three loads from yesterday
Friday - wash a load of dark clothes (and then totally forget about them until Saturday)
Saturday - dry, fold and put away the load from last night (1 load)

That makes 6 loads of laundry this week. And only one day that I didn't do some part of the laundry process. I've tried doing all the laundry in one day, but it's too much to do all at once.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hidden effects of birth control?

I read this the other day and want to THANKFULLY say I've never experienced any of these comments or attitudes. It's talking about the "hidden effects of birth control." 

    Young couples are thought irresponsible when they get pregnant right away.
    Seriously? I don't know anyone who thinks that. Or has said it out loud. And I know a lot of people. Opinionated people. I know people who wait 2 years, 5 years, 10 years. Huh, I don't know if I know anyone who got pregnant right away. People thought we were raring to go, but we waited a year. And it's a good thing, too. We fought like cats and dogs and had a lot of adjusting to do. I can't imagine being pregnant and prepping for a baby on top of that. 
    Was it planned?" is no longer deemed a rude and quite personal question, but in fact, is seen as a natural question.
    Again, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this. To me or anyone else. 
    Children are often seen, and even referred to, as an "accident."
    I have heard this. And I don't think it's necessarily negative. Maybe a less emotionally charged word is "surprise." But it means the same--we weren't expecting this. Surprise is usually positive, and no one ever wants an accident. 
    Large families are often seen as incredible (and thus, put on an undeserved pedestal) or insane (and thus, sneered at behind their backs).
    How large is large? 20 kids seems unreasonable and probably irresponsible. Coming from a large family of 7, I scoff at 10. Double digits seems ridiculous. But that's my opinion. If some couple wants to have 100 kids AND can provide for them, why would I care? 
    Anyone who has clearly NOT bought into the birth control culture at any point is seen as fair game for jokes, criticism, or invasive questions, because (it is assumed) they "chose" something different.
    This woman must have a lot of negative experiences and crappy friends. Again, I know A LOT of women who have never used "birth control" and are not made fun of at all. This lady is jaded. 
    By extension, because they "chose" their family size, the larger-than-average family is often expected to never lack, to never struggle with discipline, to never be tired, etc. even by Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
    She needs to get off her soap box. She's just having a bad day. 
    A young professional women is "throwing her career away" if she opts to stay home with her new baby.
    Really? I threw my career away and I've never had any negative remarks about it. I have had some other moms say things like "I couldn't do it" or "How can you do it" but I don't think of them as negative. Just like I say "I couldn't get my kids & me out of the house by 7 every morning" or "Do everything I do AND work, no way." 
    Couples are often shocked and dismayed when they struggle with infertility.
      To put it bluntly, this woman is a pious bitch. Couples are shocked and dismayed about fertility because it's supposed to work for everyone. Whether you use birth control or not. People were all designed to make babies. It has nothing to do with controlling when you make them.  
      I wonder if this author has a problem with Natural Family Planning? Is her problem just with the pill or other hormonal contraceptives? Condoms? Paraguard? 

      Saturday, April 14, 2012

      Loving the kids

      I read this article and cried just thinking about losing one of our kids.

      Reading stories like this always make me remember the times I've yelled at the kids, been impatient, locked myself in the bathroom to get away for a minute.

      And then I want to wake them up and snuggle-buggle them.

      Instead, I recommit myself to being the kind of parent I want to be.

      Sunday, April 8, 2012

      Shrine Circus

      We went to the Shrine Circus in St. Paul on April 1. The kids have been asking about the circus for a long time--I'm not sure where they heard about it.

      They had a great time.
      Finding our seats

      The acrobats were our favorites.

      Jamey LOVED the Cannon Lady!


      Here are a few pictures of decorating Easter Eggs. We made 5 dozen.

      We took a few pictures before church.

      We Don't Say That Word

      Months ago, I told the kids "we don't say that word." That word was "stupid." They were calling each other stupid, and I was tired of hearing it. More than that, I want them to be nice. I digress.

      Recently, Jamey was in the bathroom with the door closed, and Bethany said "This is so stupid." Jamey opened the bathroom door and hollered out, "We don't say stupid!"

      There's getting to be quite a list of things we don't say around here:

      1. Stupid
      2. Hate
      3. Dumb
      4. Shut Up (or anything that sounds like it or begins with "sh")
      5. Idiot
      6. Mean
      I'm going to add to this, because there are a ton more words the kids have decided we don't say. It's pretty funny. 

      Turning 35

      I celebrated my 35th birthday on April 6.

      The Run
      Jeremy & I were going to go swimming together, but the pool was closed. Instead, we got up at 6:30 to run. We ran almost the same route. From our house, down the trail to Cleary Lake. Then he went around the lake, and I went part-way. We met up with about 1.5 miles to go and ran home together. It was a fun way to start my birthday.

      I was planning to make scones, but I forgot. As soon as we got home, Jeremy picked up pastries at Edelweiss Bakery in Prior Lake. Yum! That, along with some coffee, perfect.

      Swimming Lessons
      Ivy & Jamey had swimming lessons. Then we grabbed smoothies.

      We made lunch at home and let Livy take a long nap. And we had Red Velvet Cake! My favorite!!

      Cliff Fen Park
      I saw this park a while ago and have been eager to take the kids to play. There are a lot of climbing toys and tons of kids to play with. They loved it!

      Sculpture Gardens & Loring Park
      This is one of my favorite places to take the kids downtown Minneapolis. They love running around and scaring me to death on that huge bridge.

      Joe's Garage
      This is seriously my favorite place to eat ... ever. Love it!

      Sebastian Joe's
      Okay. Maybe this is my favorite place to eat. :)