Sunday, December 30, 2007

Proper Timing of Solids

I have been asked a lot when I am going to start Charlotte on solid food. I’ve made it clear that I am going to wait until she is at least 6 months old and begins to show interest.

Many moms ask why they should delay solids until 6 months?
Interest: It seems their baby is interested in food and that is one of the cues given on Baby Center. However, as one poster noted, our babies are also interested in the watching us type and fold laundry. Does that mean they are ready for these tasks? No. Babies have a natural curiosity about everything going on around them. This curiosity is what helps their brains to grow and develop. If we take away their best source of nutrition, we may impede their development.

Sleeping: So, let’s give the baby solid food so we can get more sleep? That seems awfully selfish to me. Setting aside the single mom who has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet (since that is the exception, not the norm), the vast majority of us can deal with waking every 3-4 hours to nurse a baby. I have said several times to those who will listen that I feel so good when I am breastfeeding. And I don’t even just mean the about the benefits to my daughter. I feel so good because the act of breastfeeding releases oxytocin (a happy hormone) into my system, giving me the desire to continue. God designed our bodies to do this so we can get through those night feedings. There are many more arguments against this reason. I highly recommend you read this KellyMom.com article that is based on research and provides links to other relevant research.

What do the ‘experts’ say?
You can find an ‘expert’ to say just about anything you want. I know that. And that 86.7 % of all statistics are made up on the spot. However, it is important to remember that not every pediatrician is an expert. They have specialties as well, areas of extra interest that often don’t include infant nutrition. I can tell from reading the message boards on Baby Center that many pediatricians give their patients ‘permission’ to introduce solids before 6 months, even though the best in their field say otherwise. Why do they do this? I can’t be sure… but most likely it has to do with the amount of time it would take out of their schedule to give more direction and support to delaying solids. I won’t get on the soapbox of declining healthcare… but I think it contributes to the early use of solids.

Since Baby Center is one of the first sites that pops up when a mom goes looking for information about how to raise her baby, let’s look at what they say.
On Sitting – “By the way, most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is sitting with minimal support before starting him on solid foods.”
On Solids -
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months — though parents will attest that some babies are eager and ready to eat solids earlier.”
“You can introduce solids any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready.”
“His digestive system simply isn't ready for solids until he nears his half-birthday.”
They contradict themselves a lot in this article. My belief is they do this so they can appease the parents who decide to give solid foods before the APA recommended time of 6 months. I think they do this so they can keep their audience since Baby Center is also a store that sells all kinds of stuff for babies and older kids.

Baby Center Message Boards
I read a few pages of posts on this thread and believe it definitely supports my idea of what the Baby Center readers are looking for. The only thing I can really agree with on this thread is that the mother needs to do what she thinks is best for her child. Notice, I don’t think she should do what she FEELS is best. We should be thinkers, that is how God designed us. He gave us breastmilk as the perfect food for a baby and there is no other food in nature that has as high a calorie content as it. It is important that we carefully consider what is happening to our babies when we give them something other than breastmilk. I don’t want to get into the breastmilk vs. formula debate here (there is no doubt what I think is best). I just wanted to focus on introducing solid foods into our babies’ diets.

Disclaimer: I don’t think moms who give formula or solids before 6 months are bad moms. I just wish there was a better support system for moms so they didn’t feel like they had to make these choies based on inaccurate information.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad!

Yeah, I know... I'm a dork. I'm on my laptop on Christmas day. But that's okay... I'm not being sacrilegious or anything. We celebrated the REAL holiday, the birthday of Jesus, yesterday. Today was about giving gifts to family members so it is okay for me to be on the computer. They are watching the movie Cars.
I thought I'd share some pictures from our celebrations.
The collage we put together for Nana, Charlotte's grandmother on her father's side. We had lunch with her on Friday.

Bruce got very excited over his big gift from me - a new camera! I threw him off so that he wouldn't expect it by dropping hints that I had just been too busy with Charlotte and work to find time to order it for him. He wanted the Canon A540 to replace his A80 which doesn't work anymore. We opened gifts with my family on Saturday morning.

On Saturday, Charlotte got pooped out from all of the excitement. Isn't it cute how her legs got folded over while she slept?

2 nights ago we decided to go out and look at Christmas lights. The particular street we choose had a backlog of cars, so we got out and walked while Grandma and Grumpy followed along. It was kind of neat and Charlotte especially enjoyed looking at the lights up close, but one street's worth of lights was enough for us. We headed back for hot cocoa after this.

A new tradition is being formed that when Bruce and I have some time off and go out of town, we like to find an art cafe and paint pottery to commemorate the occasion. This year we took my parents along. Grumpy was a bit reluctant and decided to get his hair cut at a nearby barbershop instead, but when he was done he came to hang out with us and got sucked in. I'll post pictures of our creations after we pick them up tomorrow. For now, just know that Grumpy thought this was one of the most relaxing things he had ever done.
This morning Charlotte had a lot of fun playing in her exersaucer. I wasn't sure it was possible to smile with a fist in the mouth, but Charlotte proved me wrong!

Monday, December 24, 2007

12 Days of Christmas

I am sure most everyone has seen this by now, but it is too great to not share with the last few who haven't. Plus, I want to be able to find it again for myself, so why not archive it in my blog?



My family and I are celebrating the birth of Jesus today by going to a candlelight service tonight and having a birthday party for Jesus. I am baking an angel food cake (devil's chocolate cake just didn't seem right!) right now. We'll get to enjoy it along with a reading of the Christmas story later tonight. I can't wait!

Tomorrow, we will celebrate the secular holiday with gift-giving to one another and the reading of The Legend of St. Nicholas. It tells the story of the real St. Nick in a way that children can relate to. I know Charlotte isn't old enough to appreciate the story just yet, but we want to begin our family's Christmas traditions this year so they become second nature in years to come. Additionally, we really want to make the focus more on the birthday of Jesus and the giving of gifts.

Disclaimer: I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25, or 24 for that matter. However, because the miracle of his birth is so important, I think it is wise to take at least 1 day out of the year to celebrate God becoming man.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thanksgiving & Relatives

You are probably wondering why my post is titled 'Thanksgiving.' Well, you see, things got a little busy and either Charlotte or I have been sick for the last couple of weeks so I only realized last night that I never posted any Thanksgiving pictures.

We spent the weekend at my brothers who, as I did mention here, hosted a wonderful dinner with his wife Michelle.

[pause to go search for Thanksgiving pictures]

Umm... I don't have any! How is it possible that I didn't take any pictures all weekend? I have no idea. If I had taken them, they would be on my laptop, but there aren't any. Oh my... I've got baby brain bad!

Oh well... I guess I'll just share some pictures from last weekend. Charlotte and I went with my mom to St. Petersburg to visit her family. Charlotte had not had a chance to meet her Great-Grandfather or her Aunt Terry and the stars finally aligned to make it possible.
Here is Great-Grandpa holding Charlotte like an old pro. She is the first great-grandbaby in the family (both sides I think). We spent some time at his house (which my mom grew up in) oohhing and aahhing over the many renovations that have taken place since we last visited. From there we went to see his wife Kathy at work. (I call her Grandma Kathy, but I don't think she likes the 'grandma' part so much coming from a 30-year old). She married my grandpa (who I used to call pop-pop, don't ask, I don't know!) just a little over a month after I was born.

We also got to spend some time with my Aunt Terry. Some Christ-mas presents were exchanged then we went to lunch together. Here is Charlotte with her Great-Aunt Terry. Terry had a brain injury from a lack of oxygen shortly after she was born resulting in some mental issues. She hadn't been part of the family life for several years (I don't remember her from my growing up years). Then, recently, she has been coming back into our lives and is a joy to talk to. Charlotte is cranky in this picture because she was ready to nurse.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Decorations

I finally had a chance today to put up some Christmas decorations. I hadn't really planned on putting any up since we won't actually be here on Christmas day, but I changed my mind... clearly. :-)

This is my nativity set. It was a gift from my parents several years ago. They knew how much I admired a similar one my mom had so they got me my own. Hopefully I will have it for a long time and be able to pass it on to one of my children. There are 2 angels that go with the set but I don't have room on top of my entertainment center for them too. Yes, it is a pretty large set. It takes up 3 large boxes! I love nativities and have a few around the house. I'll try to take more pictures to share with you in the next week or so. I am also missing a box of nativities (I had several) and hopefully I will find them soon!


Here is Charlotte's first Christmas ornament. It is, of course, a Hallmark ornament. They make the best ones, don't they? Since I am not putting up a tree this year I decided to pick 3 of our favorite ornaments and place them on the stocking hangers with the stockings. Around the base of Charlotte's ornament it says, "'It must be delightful,' said Pooh, 'to be so brand-new.'" You can kind of make out my ladybug in the background.


And finally, here is a picture of our menorrah. I know, we aren't Jewish, but I think the story of how God blessed the Jews and the reason behind the Hannakkuh celebration is beautiful. We bought this one at Bombay Company several years ago. And yes, I know, this isn't a Christmas decoration. But the 7th day of Hannakkuh just started when the sun went down today so it is timely.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quick Snack

Charlotte isn't feeling well this weekend. She has a nasty headcold and a low-grade fever. She won't hardly let us put her done and has been comfort nursing every hour or so, even overnight. That really means that mommy has to hold her all of the time. I don't really mind it though... until it's my turn to clean out her nose. She hates the aspirator!



Since she is sick I decided to stay home from church with her this morning. I don't like missing church, but if I had taken her I would have missed it anyway because I would have needed to stay in the nursery with her. I did manage to be rather productive while I was home and got started on our Christmas gifts for our co-workers. I'll post pictures later... I don't want to spoil the gift in case any of them reads my blog.



Bruce called about 35 minutes before our adult Bible study began to tell me he left his lesson at home and it was our week to provide snacks for the class. Fortunately, I kind of thought it was our week and had an idea in mind. It was quick and used what I already had without having to go to the store and spending $10 on bagels or donuts. I made drop biscuits from a pre-made baking mix. I dropped those off with some homemade apple butter and raspberry jam (the jam wasn't homemade). I was able to deliver them fresh from the oven and still warm. To me, this was a very frugal, yet still elegant, solution to our last minute need.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Zombie Arm

Charlotte has developed a new syndrome. I am calling it Zombie Arm. She leaves her arm out for very long periods of time, reaching for unseen objects. Unseen by me and Dr. Dad at least.
This afternoon we went for a 2-mile walk and I wore her in the Baby Bjorn. Most of that time she was holding her right arm out, as seen in the picture below, which I took with my camera phone as we walked. Who knows what she is reaching for!

True Story

I did it. I finally overcame one of my greatest fears about teaching – and it happened purely by accident.

I was thirsty this morning, so I drank more than my usual amount before school. About halfway through our first block I had to go to the bathroom. I’m an adult so I thought, “surely I can hold it. I expect my students to do that, it’s only 30 more minutes”

After another couple of minutes, I realized I was incredibly uncomfortable and wouldn’t be able to wait. So, I asked a neighbor teacher to keep an eye on my class while I made a quick visit to the bathroom. Once I was done, I resumed the lesson already in progress.

While I was explaining the next task, a couple of my students were snickering. I hadn’t seen them talking to one another but the giggles were distracting. Little did I know I would discover something even more distracting than giggles. I asked one of the girls, “what’s so funny?” She refused to say and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. Hmmm… what could it be?

It dawned on me what was so funny and I slowly reached my hand around to the back of my skirt to discover that it was tucked into my underwear! Oh my! I quickly pulled it out so that all was covered and gave a laugh myself. It really was funny but I was disappointed that none, not even one, of my students tried to save me from that embarrassment.

The moral of my story – follow your mother’s advice and always wear clean underwear, you never know who will see it. (Thankfully, I was!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Charlotte's First Trip to Sea World

Last Friday, we made a last minute decision to visit Sea World. We have a Fun Pass that was given to us as an anniversary present and needed to get a little more use out of it before it expires at the end of the year. Our trip was a lot of fun and we even got a big splash from Shamu at the Miracles of Christmas show. Charlotte got quite a look of shock on her face but braved the wet socks very well (that was the only part I didn't get covered in time).

I really enjoyed the Miracles show. They didn't try to make this about a winter holiday, but instead talked about Christmas and sang Christmas carols. Bruce has some video I might find time to upload soon, but I've been busy posting a lot today so you'll most likely have to wait, if I even get to it. At the end of the show, they had a "choir" singing along with some fancy soloist. I don't think it was a real choir though. My guess is that they had their employees all put on the blue choir robes and come out to sing for effect. The people just didn't look that into it, they way you would expect paid performers, or even a volunteer choir, to look. So that part of the show was kind of lame.

Oh, another cool part was when the discussed the miracle of children (no mention of Jesus though). A video of momma whale nursing baby whale was playing on the large moving screens and at the same time, I was sitting in the stands nursing Charlotte. It was kind of touching. For me at least. :-)

Exersaucer

Charlotte has a new toy that I put together last week. It is an Evenflo Exersaucer. I think it took about 45 minutes to assemble, but so far it seems way worth it! There are lots of little doo-dads for her to play with.

The video below is of the 2nd or 3rd time we put her in the saucer. She's pretty good at navigating around the circle. Her seat can spin if she moves her feet enough. We can lock it if we need to, but so far have let her experience the circular movement as much as she wants. Charlotte's tiny little feet just barely reach the saucer disk on the bottom, but it is just enough for her to work on strengthening her leg muscles and spin herself around. I'll try to get some pictures of her cute little toes reaching for bottom. For now though, enjoy this video!


video
Here's a picture to hold you over in case you don't have time to watch the video right now.

The 45-minute assembly was fairly frustrating, especially because I tried to do it without reading the directions. :) Normally, that isn't how I do things, but for some reason my baby brain was in charge when I put it together. There was only one time I had to ask for help from my husband, who got all of the upper-body strength in this relationship. He needed to push down on the super springs underneath those yellow caps so the exersaucer would bounce.
I like that Charlotte has a variety of toys, textures, and colors to play with. I also like that I can move the toys around (except for the book and the rolling rattle) to give her some variety and change.
EDIT: We took this with us on our one week vacation to Hilton Head in December 2007. The exersaucer easily folded down and since the toys are removable, we did not have much trouble fitting it into the car. Remember though, I drive a Ford Focus!

She's not a morning person

It would appear that Charlotte is taking after her mommy. She does not like to wake-up in the morning. This video proves it.

video

Giveaway

There are lots of blogs in the blogosphere that give away stuff. Most of it requires you to leave a comment and as I am a blogging lurker (I rarely comment) I don't participate in those giveaways. There are however, some blogs that just require you to fill out an entry form with your name and e-mail address. Challies Dot Com is one of those. I am really excited about Tim Challies' blog giveaway this month. It looks like something the youth at my church would really enjoy. Click on the link below to learn more and enter. Use referral code 40587 when you enter.


December Giveaway

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just when you thought you knew me...

I saw this on a blog I have in my reader and like Fee, thought it would be fun to share with all of you.

10 Things I liked as a teenager that I really don’t care for now

Tight-rolling my jeans
Frosted hair
Big Bows in my hair
Scrunchies
Wearing 2 pairs of socks (different colors of course)
D&G velcro bracelets
Blue eye liner
NKOTB (She's my candy-girl...)
Country Music
Staying up all night long

10 things I didn’t like as a teenager that I do like now

Sour cream
Guacamole
Biographies
The idea of having my own kids
Being uncool (I embrace my uncoolness now!)
Bruce
Listening to sermons on cd while I drive
NPR
Really spicy food
Only having a few friends

10 things that I didn't like as a teen and still don’t like

Cats
Clothes shopping
Liberals who are "tolerant" of everything but me
Bad movies
Guinea Pigs (sorry Harry)
Raw broccoli
Divorce
Being embarrased in public
Televangelists
Authority

10 things I liked as a teen and still do

Christian Pop Music
Dancing
Sweet Tea
Writing
Sleeping In
People who play instruments
A made bed
Kirk Cameron (but for completely different reasons)
Payday
Public Speaking

Random Musings and Photos

Whew! I finally got caught up with responding to my comments for November. Sorry to took so long. (That apology is mostly for Rebecca since she is the only one who regularly comments on my blog.) I really want to try and leave comments for other people on their blogs too, but it is just barely enough to find time to read their blogs, let alone think of something insightful to share.

I am trying to keep a commitment to myself to post at least 4 times a week. And I mean real posts, posts that are worth reading. I think at least one of those posts should have pictures too. Because, let's be honest, most of you 4 people who read my blog really just want updates on Charlotte Moon and endure the rest of my musings for the excitement of the pictures.

I do have some pictures too. And some commentary to go along with them.


First up, is this photo of a stainless steel sponge basket we saw at Lowe's. The price tag for this ~4"x4" basket is actually $146.08! No, that is not a typo! It is a custom basket to fit this really cool half-moon shaped sink meant to be installed in a kitchen island. This is what I call conspicuous consumption!Next, we have this cute little picture of Charlotte sucking on her toes. I know, you saw a picture of her with her toes last week. But, I'm as obsessed with taking pictures of my little girl as she now appears to be with her toes. I knew babies would like to play with their toes... but my baby girl's fascination has reached obsessive levels! She would be more than happy to just play with them all day long except that I make her wear socks. I am such an evil mommy!
Thirdly, here is a picture of the sign at my Weight Watchers meeting the week before Thanksgiving. I actually have this as the desktop background on my computer. The acronym is a very good one for the holiday season.

I came across this article recently while browsing blog land. I hope you'll take the time to at least skim it. Even though I know not everyone who reads my blog agrees with everything I write, I'd be surprised if any of you are so concerned about carbon footprints that you would have an abortion to prevent global warming! I'm consulting my thesaurus for words to describe my personal reaction - ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous, absurd, nonsensical, stupid, foolish, comical, silly, outlandish, unreasonable, etc... I could keep going, but I trust you get the gist of my reaction by now? Since when is the health of the planet more important than the life of a human being? Genesis 1.28 commands mankind to subdue the earth, not the be subdued by it.

Stepping off my soapbox... This just might be the most random blog post I've ever made! Oh, and all 3 pictures were taken with the camera on my cell phone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Interpreting Scripture

After our Bible study on Sunday morning... I had a flash of inspiration. I was thinking about interpreting scripture so that I may apply it to my life and it occured to me that it was kind of like putting on moisturizer.

Let's say you are in a hurry one day to get ready. In your haste to apply your moisturizer you grab the bottle and start slathering it all over. A short while later, you look down and see that your have large orange splotches and streaks all over and your palms are also orange. What happened? I'll tell you - you rushed your application! You forgot to read the bottle and only now do you realize that you grabbed your sunless tanner instead of your regular moisturizer.

This can happen when we study the Bible too. If we read a passage of scripture and immediately begin trying to apply it to our lives, we can miss the important part and end up with a problem on our hands.

Take Romans 6:1 for example. If one reads that quickly and without caution, one could end up reasoning that the more sin we have in our life, the more grace we will experience. However, when we take the time to read the verse in context and ask ourselves, "what do these words actually mean?" we realize that Paul is asking the question in verse 1 rhetorically.

I strongly recommend that anyone reading the Bible pay close attention to these six questions from JI Packer: (originally found by me here and reinterpreted by Bruce below)

1. What do these words actually mean?

2. What other Scriptures can help us understand this text? How does this passage fit into the message of the whole Bible?

3. What truths does this passage teach about God, and about man in relation to God?

4. How are these truths related to the saving work of Christ, and what light does the gospel of Christ throw upon them?

5. What experiences do these truths explain, or seek to create or cure? What is the practical purpose of this section of Scripture?

6. How do these truths apply to myself and others in our actual situation? To what present human condition do they speak, and what are they telling us to believe and do?

You've lost that lovin' feeling...

Okay, I haven’t lost the lovin’ feeling, but I have misplaced my bloggin’ feeling recently. I have lots of ideas about things to write about, but the time to do so just never materializes. In the few days before Thanksgiving, Charlotte was up every two hours overnight and I had a horrible cough. Then, when we were out of town for the holiday, she slept like an angel and only wanted to nurse every 4 hours. You could almost set a clock by her! Now that we are home again, we are back to every 2 hours… Strange. I was home by 2:30 or so last night and put Charlotte down for bed around 7:45. In those ~5 hours, I must have had her latched on for 2 ½! I don’t mind spending the time with her, but it kills my productivity. FlyLady would not be happy with my piles of paper right now!

I’ll try to post some pictures from the holiday soon. But before I do, I want to give a shout out to my little brother and his wife Michelle. They did a wonderful job hosting us while we stayed at their place and our meal and together time on Thanksgiving Day was great! Kudos to both of you!

Why we honor the name of Charlotte Moon

Why we honor the name of Charlotte Moon
Charlotte “Lottie” Moon was born in 1840 to a wealthy Virginia family. Her mother encouraged her education and although it was unusual for a woman of her time, Lottie learned eight languages and earned a Master of Arts. Lottie’s intelligence and sense of humor attracted the attention of a Harvard professor who asked her to marry him. But Lottie turned down marriage and spent her life as a missionary to the Chinese people.

Single women were not usually sent as missionaries, but Lottie believed there was no barrier too great for God. She found financial support from Baptist women in Virginia and she moved to China. She served through three wars. During the Boxer Rebellion, she disguised herself as a Chinese man and snuck behind enemy lines so she could minister to suffering people. Later, during the Chinese Revolution, she took on duties as a hospital administrator when she found a local hospital had been abandoned by fleeing doctors.

Lottie spent her life trying to make the glory of God known. She worked tirelessly, and she wrote letters home encouraging more Christians to take seriously the call of Jesus to demonstrate God’s love throughout the world.

After the Chinese Revolution, a famine struck China. Lottie continued to put the needs of others above her own. As she saw people starving, she gave away all she had to save them. She spent the last of her own money buying food for others; she gave until she had nothing left to give. As she slowly starved, her Christian friends grew worried about her deteriorating health. They tried to send her back to America to recover, but it was too late. On Christmas Eve of 1912, Charlotte Moon died; she weighed less than 60 pounds.

But, that ending is not sad or tragic because Lottie did not really lose anything. She lived looking toward eternity, and now she lives forever. She lived and died believing the words of her Savior who promised that God sees our actions, knows our hearts and rewards those who love him. Lottie lived the command of Jesus: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life” (John 6:27).

We chose the name of Charlotte Moon for our daughter because we pray our Charlotte will have the same wisdom, strength, determination and faith as her namesake. We pray her name will be her constant reminder of the singular focus that should drive the Christian life. And we pray her name will also serve us as a constant reminder of our role as her parents—to teach her to love God with all her heart, all her soul, all her mind and all her strength, and to love her neighbor as herself. Whether God calls her to live that love in a far-off land is His choice.

Bruce & Jennifer Sabin

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby Discoveries

Charlotte has finally figured out that she has toes. Yep folks, our little girl now knows what those things on the end of her legs are for. They are for pulling and tugging and playing with and pretty soon I am sure she will decide they are for putting in her mouth!
By the way, this is the last day she will wear this adorable, organic cotton outfit... it is too small. I couldn't even button the top button this morning! She's growing up so fast!

Am I a bad mommy?

The last few nights Charlotte has wanted to nurse every couple of hours. On Sunday morning, around 4 am, I looked over at her and actually asked her, though my sleepiness, if she was in league with the Devil to keep me from church that day! Does that make me a bad mommy?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ApronThrift Girl Video




I don't really expect that most of you who read my blog will be interested in a video on thrift store shopping. However, I thought it would be neat to point out myth #3. I have a few items in my wardrobe that were thrifted and no one knows which ones they are. It is my fun little secret!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fingerprint of God

Isn’t funny how you can know a song forever and then hear it one morning and be struck by it in a completely different way?

I was listening to the song “Fingerprint of God” in the car this morning on my way to drop Charlotte off at day care. I have known this song for a long time and was blithely singing the lyrics when we arrived. I kept humming the chorus to myself as I walked around to get Charlotte. When I saw her, I started singing the chorus to her (no snide comments about my singing now!) and as I sang these lyrics and looked into her eyes she gave me a smile filled with so much delight it near broke my heart. She is the fingerprint of God and there is no other baby just like her.

She is a “living breathing priceless work of art.” I have many works of art on my walls, some of it super cheap and some of it kind of pricey (which still might be cheap by some people’s standards), but none of it is as breathtaking as my daughter. I’ve said before how I am capable of staring at her for hours (if only I had even an hour to just stare!) and it is because she is so captivating.

Here are the partial lyrics to “Fingerprint of God,” sung by Steven Curtis Chapman. I’ll try to come back later and post a link to the song so you can hear it.

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started and…

Monday, November 12, 2007

Breastfeeding Isn't Easy Folks

It makes me sad to read an article like this. So many women miss out on the joys of breastfeeding because of perceived obstacles that can be overcome with just a little bit of effort. I get that the mother working at a fast food restaurant may not be able to pump on her 15-min break as easily as I can on my 2 ½ hour planning break, but even that obstacle can be overcome if the mother is willing.

I have to applaud the Regency (where I delivered) for having great support with 2 lactation consultants on-site. However, they lose points in my book for the sheer volume of formula they sent me home with, even though they knew I was planning to breastfeed exclusively. I am sure I came home with about 30 single-serve bottles and another 4 cans of powdered formula. Oh and I think there were 2 packages of single-serve formula in glass bottles as well.

It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to establish our breastfeeding dyad. I did have sore nipples and some cracking because Charlotte took a couple of weeks to get a hang of nursing. Using Lansinoh and nursing on the less sore side more often helped. But those problems were not insurmountable compared to the lost benefits from giving her formula. Nothing man-made could ever be as good for her as my milk. We have to do more to encourage moms to continue nursing past 3 months.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First Virus Times Three!

Yep! That's right. Sweet, little, darling Charlotte gave her Mommy and Daddy the gift that keeps on giving - her virus. I woke up Saturday morning with awful, horrible stomach cramps and by the end of the day her daddy had them too. I spent most of the day laying down and sleeping. Daddy was a super-trooper and took care of Charlotte all day. I didn't change a single diaper Saturday. I was so dizzy I was scared to pick her up to do anything with her. Fortunately, around 9 pm, relief came for both of us, but not in any way that you would want me to describe to you (think cookies).


Now though, on Sunday evening, we are all feeling better though we don't have any appetite. I think I ate less than 1,000 calories today. Not good for keeping up my milk production, but I think one day like this won't be the end of the world. I'll be keeping a close eye on that this week.


In more fun news... I was telling my mom tonight about Charlotte being all grabby lately. This is a new thing to her and she grabs everything. She grabs Mrs. Wooten's pinky when taking a bottle at day care. She grabs my shirts while nursing. She will be content to hold onto to a finger if she is fussy. She grabs Daddy's chest hair when he holds her up right (I'm told that is painful). She will even keep a grasp on a rattle for quite a long time. She is starting to realize that she can make things happen, as in, make the rattle make noise. Here is a short video of her grabbing something else... we've got to get this worked out of her system before she gets much older. :-)

video


I also have a cute picture of Charlotte with her Grumpy taken a week or so ago that I forgot to post. Here you go Grumpy! (You should be able to click on it for a larger resolution one you can save.)

Tim Hawkins

Friday, November 09, 2007

Blogger Coffee - Part 3

From Like Merchant Ships: As we swept up the crumbs in the post-party quiet, Christy wondered if more bloggers are introverts than extroverts. If so, are the most popular bloggers also the extroverts among us? Or do you think the Internet enables even the shyest to adopt a more outgoing personality?

I'm a little behind on adding my comment to the 'coffee' but if you read my post below I have a good excuse.

I really don't think introverts or extroverts are attracted to blogging in greater numbers than the other. Personally, I'm an extrovert (ESTJ) and blog in part because I like the feedback and attention I get from family and friends. Of course, I also blog to keep a record of Charlotte's life for her to enjoy reading some day. There are so many stories from my own childhood I don't know and am only just learning. For example, my mom and I just got off the phone and as we were discussing Charlotte's trip to the ER my mom told me I was in the hospital at 5 months for bronchitis. She told me how awful it was to walk in and see the respiratory therapist beating on my back to break things up in my chest.

As for the more popular bloggers... it is hard to know if those are the extroverts among us. The fact that they put themselves out there might lead one to believe they are extroverts, but on the other hand... the fact that they might be anonymous might lead one to believe they are introverts.

Overall, I don't think one's I or E status has an affect on one's likelihood to blog, or to have a large reader base. Ultimately, it is the content and whether or not it meets a felt need of people browsing around blog land who stumble upon our musings that matters the most.

First Virus

They don't put a spot for this in the baby books. But if they did... we'd have our entry as of last night.

Charlotte and I went for a lovely photo session yesterday afternoon and then decided to visit a friend's house for a little party. Just as we were getting ready to go, Charlotte decided to leave the contents of her stomach for our hostess. (Who, coincidentally, had been dealing with her own sick baby.) Once we got her all cleaned up and out of her now yucky dress, we tried again. About 5 feet from the door, she said, "Wait Mommy, I have more to leave behind." So I cleaned her up again then soothed her so we could make our journey home.

I called Daddy who was driving home from a training session and told him about his sick little girl. Once I pulled into the driveway I heard a familiar sound. Yep, Charlotte was heaving and leaving more 'gifts' behind. I could hardly get her out of the car and into the house due to my extreme nervousness. She has thrown up before, but never anything this long and with heaving!

Oh my! What is a new mom to do when over the next hour, her sweet baby girl continues to heave and bring up yellow stomach acid because there was nothing else left in her little belly? Call the pediatrician of course! The doctor on call for our practice said to watch her and if she continued to throw up over the next hour to take her in to the closest ER. At this point, she was still alert and didn't have a temperature.

Of course, I know better than the doctor and when Charlotte tosses her cookies 5 minutes later declare to my husband that we are going to the ER. Yes, I know it's late and you have to be at work tomorrow, but no, I am not going alone. This is too traumatic. Once there, she heaves a few more times over the course of an hour or so, and they tell me to give her pedialite and monitor her for 12-24 hours. If she keeps vomiting after 12 hours, bring her back in. They weren't much help for this new mom's rattled nerves. In all fairness to the doctor, I would have still taken her if we waited an house and probably have received the same advice from the ER anyway.

So by 9:30 pm, home we went... she managed to fall asleep in the car on our way back. That was a blessing because at this point she hadn't slept any since about 2:30 this afternoon. She stayed asleep long enough to be taken out of her car seat and placed in her swing (which we didn't turn on). After another 20 minutes she woke herself up by getting sick yet again! Hasn't my little daughter had enough?

We carry on with her throwing up every 20 minutes or so. Of course, there's nothing but bright yellow acid coming up. I google that and decide it really isn't so bad until the vomit turns green (bile). At 2 am she is really hungry so I give her 1 ounce of expressed breastmilk mixed with 1 ounce of pedialite (per the doctor's instructions). She hungrily takes it in and then just as quickly gives it back to me. I knew motherhood would come with a lot of gifts, but didn't realize this would be one of them!

By now, I've not had more than 10 minutes of sleep because every time she makes a noise I have to check that she is okay. At 3 am she heaves again, but nothing comes out. Her little body seems to have given up the ghost. Through Charlotte tries, she can barely muster a good cry. We both fall asleep in Daddy's chair until about 4 am. Somehow, I don't feel refreshed after that nap.

At 4:30 am she is no longer satisfied with sucking her pacifier and she hasn't kept anything in her tummy since 6:30 the night before. She quietly takes 1 ounce of pedialite and goes back to sleep. Miracle of all miracles she keeps it down! At 5:30 am, we try a little more fluid. She keeps down another 1.5 ounces.

Now that it seems we have moved past the vomiting stage, we got to move into the diarrhea stage. Strangely enough, I find this MUCH easier to handle than vomit. It doesn't involve my little girl straining her whole body and she can soil her diaper without much effort. It seems this next phase of her virus is easier on her body as a whole.

It is now a little after 9 am and I just finished giving Charlotte another bottle, this time 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 pedialite. She has kept it down and even managed to play in her swing a little. While changing her last diaper, she gave me a smile that could light up New York City. I love being her mommy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blogger Coffee - Part 2

Did you use a silly pen name and live to regret it? What would you do differently, if you were starting your blog all over again?

I can proudly say I had no silly names for my first blog. What I did have was a really boring name - Jenn's Journal. I just couldn't think of anything more unique that that. In my defense, most of the blood was rushing to my belly for little Baby Sabin so that didn't leave many resources for my brain! As a matter of fact, I'm still using that excuse... my friend Angela calls it ''Baby Brain" and says I can use it as an excuse as long as I am a mother.

Honestly, I don't think I would do anything differently in my start to blogging. I'm happy with the way my blog has turned out and the ways it continues to grow and change with me.

I have been considering privacy issues recently in regards to my photos and names though. That is one reason I added my Creative Commons license at the bottom of my blog. But, since my blog is read widely by friends and family, and relatively few strangers I don't think it will be a major concern of mine. And... if you are a stranger to me, leave a comment so we can become friends!

I am glad I changed my blog name recently though. I was actually inspired in part by Like Merchant Ships, the blog hosting this lovely coffee. I loved how she had taken a scripture and turned it into her blog name. I looked around and considered other passages from Proverbs before I finally settled on Family Musings.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Blogger Coffee - Part 1

Since I don't have many real life friends who blog (okay, none really), I decided to make some blog friends by participating in an on-line coffee party. Today, the conversation turned to who reads our blogs.

Does your husband read your blog? Does your family know about it? If so, does it cause problems or keep you real?

My husband does read my blog. As a matter of fact, he usually proofs my posts for me. By that I mean, when I am done with a post that I think is grammatically perfect with no typos I announce that I am done and he is the first to read it. Then, he lets me know what I missed so I can really perfect for the rest of the world. This is important because I am an English teacher and need to have as few mistakes as possible in order to maintain my reliability. :-)

My family knows about it also. I figured since I call my blog Family Musings it would be a good idea to let them in on my bloggy ideas. Also, one of the reasons I originally started blogging was to help my family, who doesn't live terribly near us, keep up with the progress of my pregnancy. I have continued to keep my blog to share the growth of our baby girl with them and whomever else happens upon us.

So far, there haven't been any issues with my family knowing about my blog. Except my brother. He won't read it. I wish he would, but only in a vain, I want attention sort of way. Besides we both know that his lovely bride reads it very faithfully and she tells him the good stuff and shows him the pictures of their niece.

I enjoy having my blog so much and often tell my family, in response to questions about Charlotte, "well, if you'd have read my blog..." They are starting to get the hang of it. I even made it easier for them by creating a subscription service they can use to be e-mailed all blog posts. Pretty nice of me, eh?

[EDIT: My 'real life' friend Rebecca pointed out that she blogs also. You can check out her adorable new bouncing boy here. I hope she gets into blogging more, I think she must have lots of wonderful stories with her big, busy family!]

Monday, November 05, 2007

Maya Angelou Moment

I had a Maya Angelou moment today in class. A few weeks ago, before I came back to teaching, my students read an except from Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In it, the main young, female character (Maya) has the opportunity to carry the groceries home of a well-respected elder woman (Mrs. Flowers) in her community. While there, Mrs. Flowers reads to Maya from Tale of Two Cities ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."). Maya can hardly speak when the older woman is done reading because the words sound completely different coming from Mrs. Flowers' mouth than from the page. This is when Maya begins a love relationship with books and words.

Now, I don't think I inspired any love relationships, but I did show my students the power of good reading. While reading the diary entry Forest Fire, by Anais Nin, I stopped and asked them all to find a phase or sentence that vividly described the fire. There are several extremely vivid examples in the two short pages. I have a favorite one and when no one pointed it out, I read it aloud to them.

Most of the students just stared at me after I read it (which I am sure was their sugar-induced comas), but a couple were really struck by the sounds of the words I read. (I'd write it out for you here, but I left the lit book at school today.) One student in particular said she had read that part, but it sounded much more interesting when I read it and she felt like Maya in that 'caged bird' story.

It made me feel nice inside that I could show students how exciting the printed word could be. I'll come back later and post some of her great, vivid language.

Menu Planning Monday

I'm going to try something new this week and participate in a meme called Menu Planning Monday. It is part of my quest to bring more order to our life, which I can really use right now. You can learn more about it by clicking the button below.


Here's our menu for the week:

  • Monday - Church Supper (yeah, somone else cooks and cleans for us!)
  • Tuesday - Turkey Burgers w/ frozen veggies
  • Wednesday - Shrimp Scampi (from MGFK)
  • Thursday - Soup and Sandwiches (thanks Grocery Game)
  • Friday - Chicken Sausage over Pasta and veggies with Parm cheese
  • Breakfast is almost always cereal and fruit
  • Lunches will be leftovers or homemade lunchables

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Visitors

Grumpy & Grandma came to hang out with us today. Grandma won't usually let us take her picture but we got this cute shot of him and Charlotte. I promised to share it with him here.


Grumpy, click on the picture for a larger version you can save to your hard drive.

Oh, and the SabinDome site was updated again today! I'm on a roll... I added 2 pictures that Bruce took this morning while he was showing the dome off to Grumpy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

1st Time Mom

Being the first time mom that I am, I came back today to share another video of my stunningly amazing daughter, not just demonstrating that she can roll over, but that she is ambidextrous when it comes to flipping from her tummy to her back. Allow her to demontsrate:


video

And she got to sit in her Bumbo tonight. Yes, this is the same product that was recently recalled, and no, I am not returning mine. Seriously, why would a parent put their child in one of these on a high surface? In addition to the warning on the box, there is this little thing called common sense...

New Shoes

Charlotte has shoes for months to come due to a GREAT sale I found online at Darling Shoes. You can enter coupon code city85 and get 85% off your total order... not just clearance prices! Here's what Charlotte got:

· 1 of : Girl Gear - Sz 2
· 1 of : Lil' Princess Pack - Sz 4 (inc the black & pink pairs)
· 1 of : Skaters - Navy - Sz 1
· 1 of : Teeny Tiny Tennis Shoes - Lime Green - Sz 3

When I measured her feet to see what size she is now, they only went about 3/4 of the way to the size 1 mark!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Video & Picture Fest

video

I thought it would be fun to lead with that! Exciting isn't... and on her 12 week birthday. Yep, that's right, our baby girl is 12 weeks old today. My how time flies. When I put her down for tummy time this afternoon she was trying to flip herself over almost before I let go of her. She was definitely showing off for Mommy and her company this afternoon. She also knew when I had the camera because this was the last time she flipped over today. Once I put the camera in front of her she just did a lot of kicking.

video

Since I had the camera turned to video mode this afternoon, I decided to fulfill my curious desire to see what Charlotte sees when she is lying in her crib watching her new mobile. Because I don't believe it would be prudent to actually crawl up in there, I shot this footage. How long do you think you could watch this without getting board?

video

And now for some photos...

Saturday Dr. Sabin and I put on some of the finest clothes in our closet and headed out to celebrate our status as Homecoming King and Queen. Charlotte wore her Eeyore costume and was adored by many. These are the only pictures I have from our camera that are worth sharing. Our friend Tina took some and they can be found here.

On Sunday, we took Charlotte for her first visit to Bok Tower in Lake Wales. The lighting was good that day since it was just a touch overcast and here are some lovely pictures of our family. I'd love to go back some day with a professional, or even a really good amateur, and have portraits done. There is nothing about this first picture with Bruce and Charlotte that I don't love.

Here, I thought it would be cute to execute the pose below... instead, it looks like she is an unwilling participant in a sacrifice to the tower.

Here's a more loving photo between mother and daughter. This is my favorite one of the two of us from our fun picnic at the tower.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not a Children's Movie

I was recently made aware of the movie The Golden Compass and it strikes me as one that I would not want any child to see. What one sees as a young child embeds in the brain more strongly than that which we see as adults. I can still recall a certain Dean Koontz book I read as a teenager that affected my thinking about love into early adulthood. It took quite some time meditating on 1 Corinthians 13 to get the twisted idea of love the book portrayed out of my head.
I encourage all parents to be informed about what is out there waiting to influence their children. I also think it is important to expose them to the reality that not everyone agrees with their family values. However, when those values are presented in such a contemporary and entertaining way it will be hard for children to not accept them as the truth.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4.8

You can learn more about this movie here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Phuny Photos

Bruce snapped these the other day and wanted me to share them with you.


This first one is Charlotte wearing a favorite outfit of mine. The shirt says, "I love my Moomy" (no, that isn't misspelled, the shirt has cows on it) and is the only "mommy" outfit she has. There are lots of "daddy" outfits in her wardrobe, but only one for me. However, the shorts are still too big on her so I clipped them up with a clothespin so she could wear them without having them fall off.


The next picture reflects how little Charlotte can be aware of her own body and how flexible a baby can be. She didn't even notice her ear was stuck!
Oh, and I also updated the SabinDome website today. Check it out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Survived

Today was my first full day back at work and I managed to make it through until 3:15 when I got to see my dear, precious Charlotte again. Honestly though, it was tougher than I expected. I had done fairly well the first half of the week when Charlotte was at the day care for half-days so I thought today would be just as easy... but it wasn't.

The morning at home went great. I even ended up with an extra 10 minutes to play with her (over and above the 10 minutes I had already budgeted for morning play). However, once we got to the day care it started going down hill. I arrived about 5 minutes before their official open time (6:30 am) and no one was there. No big deal. Maybe Janet is running behind. Well, she wasn't. The person who was opening for her was though. It was probably 6:35 before she showed up and by then I had had enough time to start to really think about leaving my baby girl. When I realized that Janet wasn't coming in today it kind of pushed me over and the tears started coming. Not crying buckets, sobbing so my whole body shakes kind of tears, just watery eyes that kept spilling over onto Charlotte's outfit kind of tears. Eventually though, I tucked her into the bouncy seat and headed out to work.

I decided to show my students some pictures of Charlotte that showed how she had grown over the last 11 weeks (yep, she's 11 weeks old already!) and a slide show to go over my classroom rules again. I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page expectation wise. We took some fun personality tests... you know, like the kind you get in forwards that ask you to describe a body of water as you walk through the woods... completely in fun of course. Then, after taking 4 of them, I let my students write their own. I can't wait to find out what it really means if I want a red shirt from Aeropostale!

I am proud of myself for not breaking down in class and even prouder of myself that I was able to pump enough breastmilk today for Charlotte to have tomorrow at day care. It took some extra effort on my part, but it was worth it!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Big Week!!!

Ahhh... 10 days and no blogging. Forgive me for being selfish, but I was trying to use all of my time for my daughter since this is the week I go back to work. Yep, you read that correctly. I am going back to work this week. Charlotte was taken to her daycare for a half-day today and will begin full days on Thursday, when I am back at school.

This morning I got out of bed around 5:15 (I'd been up and in and out of sleep since about 1 am already) and started my morning routine. I've written it all down so I don't forget anything important since I now have 2 people to get ready each morning. By 6 am I had to wake Charlotte up for a final nursing session before we left. Out the door by 6:20 and at the daycare by 6:30, when they open. I spent about 20 minutes there with Mrs. Wooten and Charlotte before I finally conceded it was time to go. I really could have stayed longer but it wouldn't have been productive for setting a routine. The good news is that neither of us cried, at least not before I left. I am proud that I held up pretty well emotionally until I called Bruce to tell him how good I was doing. Then, just talking about having left her made it more real and I got a little teared up.

Since it was not quite 7 am, I decided to get my grocery shopping done. Silly me, grocery and drug stores don't open until 8 am. Oh well. Since I wasn't going for any sale items at Publix I decided Wal-Mart would do. And since I had some extra time on my hands, I found a couple more clothing items to wear to school. They are a late birthday present to myself since the items I ordered online didn't fit right and had to be returned.

I discovered that retail therapy didn't really work for me though. I felt really lonely in that Wal-Mart without Charlotte. I've hardly been anywhere without her for 10 weeks now. Sure, I've left her at home occasionally to do the grocery shopping or go to something at church, but this was different, more final. I'm not sure how to explain it. Maybe it was the sense that this is my 'new normal' and I didn't like it. I really am praying for God to make a way for me to be home, or at least make my time with her as fulfilling as possible - for both of us.

On the upside, I'll probably have more time to blog once I am back at work since I have more planning period time than I need.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Belly Monster Returns

After my post earlier today I assumed it would be a few more days before I had anything to write about. Well, my cranky little baby decided she wanted more attention in the blogworld, so here it is!

She rolled herself over from her tummy to her back today! I hadn't expected her to do anything like this so soon. Most of what I read said babies develop this skill between 4-6 months. Now, this really isn't a skill yet since she only did it once. But she did it! I was so excited I cried big, ol' alligator tears all while laughing excitedly. She was one confused looking baby. :)

One reason for the tears that I haven't blogged about yet is my return to work on Thursday, October 25. As it turns out, my short term disability only covered the usual 6 weeks. I feel blessed that I don't have any medical reasons to need to stay out of work longer, but still wish I could afford to stay home with Charlotte until January. When she rolled over it just reminded me that I will miss lots of events like this in the next several months.

Bruce and I talked about it and we hope that when she does new things like this at daycare they won't tell us. I'd trade blissful ignorance about her new skills there for the chance to see her do them at home and believe they were first accomplished in our presence. I'll need to remember to discuss that with them when I drop off her paperwork.

Charlotte also received her 2-month vaccinations this week. That left her pretty fussy these last couple of days. We are done with shots now though for another 2 months.

Waning Creativity

My verbal wit is waning these days... I don't seem to have as much to share about my dear, sweet Charlotte or anything else for that matter. I have started and stopped more posts this month than we've had days. Nothing just seems to come out as eloquent in words as it sounds in my mind. So, to substitute for my own writing, I've been reading the blogs of other Christian moms to inspire me. I have been inspired to do some things around the house and today made beautiful mini-loaves and muffins of Chocolate Chip-Banana Friendship Bread. I have 6 starters also. Anyone want one?

I also had my blog rated and came out with this:


Dating

I earned this rating because I've used the word 'breast' 3 x and the word 'hurt' 1x. Hmmm... just goes to show that breastfeeding doesn't get the respect it deserves and that this software doesn't take context into account.

Okay, I can also add this picture of the 3 living generations of women in my family (because to do 4 generations and include the unliving would be creepy, even if Halloween is fast approaching).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Passionate Housewives

While I am not married to my house, there is a book coming out soon that I am very interested on reading. It it called Passionate Housewives. I've really been working on being a better wife recently and this book is definitely in my que to read at the moment. Of course, it won't be published for another couple of weeks, but I can wait. :-)

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood has a great post about the book on her blog and is also giving away 10 copies of this book this week. Go on over and check it out.