Friday, February 29, 2008

Product Review - Playtex Embrace

If you have been reading this blog for even a small amount of time will know that I am a school teacher. And you will also know that I have committed to breastfeeding my daughter. These two things could be seen as incompatible. Fortunately, I have a great employer who has worked with me to make sure I have time to pump milk at school for Charlotte to take to daycare.

To do that, I use a Playtex Embrace. I have been surprised that more people don't use one since it was so much less expensive than the Medela and other pumps I looked at last summer.

The Embrace is a double-pump with a single flange size. I am large breasted (D-E depending on how long it's been :p) and find the flanges are comfortable even though I've heard it can be hard to be comfortable pumping large breasts. I have only heard one complaint about this particular pump and that person said it was slow. I can't say if this is true or not since I haven't tried other pumps, but I am fortunate that I can afford to spend ~25 minutes for each set-up and pumping session I have.

I am not sure if this is the right pump for someone who has to pump exclusively or to help establish a supply, but it works great for me and my schedule. I started pumping when Charlotte was 9 weeks old and my supply was already established. I pump 3 times a day, twice during my planning periods, and once right after school lets out. If Charlotte isn't hungry before we leave for school, I will sometimes pump when I get to school (otherwise I'd have to wait 5 hours 2 days a week).

The bag the Embrace comes in is stylish and inconspicuous. I've pumped in the car, at home, and in my classroom with this pump. I like that each component of the pump comes in a smaller bag and they all nest neatly inside the large bag.


Contrary to what I read on the Amazon reviews, the pump is incredibly easy to clean and assemble. The first few times I tried to assemble to horns to the pump were a little difficult, but as I got more accustomed to it, things got easier. To clean it, I will sometimes use the Medela Steam Bags. Usually though, I just disassemble and throw it in the dishwasher.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

3 Random Pictures

This is a picture of Charlotte's new friend, Colleen, hanging out with her in the back seat on the way to the Polk County Youth Fair on Wednesday afternoon. We I had a lot of fun looking around at all the different submissions from my students. One of my students took a tri-color ribbon in 2 different categories. Another group of students took Judge's Prize in a chili cook-off. Colleen doesn't do Youth Fair, but lots of her friends do so she agreed to tag along. I think it was mostly so she could hang out with Charlotte.

This is a picture of a baby cow nursing from her momma cow. Isn't it cute. Bruce won't really let me post pictures of me nursing Charlotte, but I'm sure he won't mind this one. Probably because the momma cow's teats aren't showing. Isn't the baby cow adorable? I'm sorry my picture isn't so great, but I was in a hurry and Colleen was rolling her eyes at me. I won't get on my nursing in public soap box now, but no one asked this cow to put a blanket over her baby's head or to go feed her in the bathroom.

And finally, this picture shows the frost that was on my car this morning. Did I mention I live in Frostproof, FL? This isn't supposed to happen here! Even though temperatures didn't officially dip below freezing last night, we get quite a bit of wind where we live so that was probably the reason we had frost. It was on my glass too, but my wonderful hubby started my car for me so we wouldn't freeze all the way to school this morning. Isn't he sweet?

Word Cloud

I have a label cloud on the right side of my blog that lets you see what topics I discuss the most. But that is based on labels I assign to my own posts. Then, while playing around in blogland, I found this nifty word cloud, from Snapshirts.com, that scans every post to see which words come up most often. It is more objective than I am.

From the looks of this, it appears I talk about my baby daughter Charlotte a lot! And for some reason my name comes up frequently. (I think that's because it is listed as the author of EVERY post.) The word mom comes up a lot... I wonder if I mostly refer to myself or to my own mother?

On Mothers and Daughters

Recently, I've become better friends with another mother. She is a great woman to bounce ideas off of and will just let me ramble until the answer comes to me, kind of like you, my blog readers. I am blessed to have her in my life because Lord knows Bruce doesn't have a lot of patience for rambling and will just jump in with the answer if I don't get to it quick enough. This relationship is a double blessing though because I also get to be friends with her teenage daughter. She and I hang out after school a few days a week and she is smitten with Charlotte - which makes her A-OK in my book.

As is only natural in this season of my life, I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. Watching my 2 friends has given me an opportunity to reflect on what happens when 2 women in the same house disagree about something. Now that I am experiencing the mother side of the relationship, I realize that the responsiblity for 'doing it right' is in my hands now. I have to be the grown up. I am now the example to my daughter of what a woman should be in this world. Geez, isn't that a sobering thought?!

DISCLAIMER NOTICE: My intent in this musing isn't to give a complete biographical sketch of my own relationship with my mother, so many, many details wills be left out. I'll just share the pertinent ones for the ideas I am pondering today. And before I go on, no mom, I'm not trying to vent or air our dirty laundry. I love you and think you are great! This is my perspective as the daugther...

Thankfully, the fighting with my own mother ended about 10 years ago. We were trying to plan my wedding while living in different cities and it seemed to be making both of us miserable. My mom remembers this time differently than I do, but she didn't see my roommates faces when I came out of my bedroom after one of our blowouts on the phone. I can honestly say though, I have no memory of what we were fighting about. Wait, I do remember one of the topics - what kind of salad we would serve at the reception, caesar or garden. I also remember that I felt helpless to change the situation we were in. It left me both mentally and physically exhausted. Regretfully, what should have been one of our happiest times, was probably the worst time in our relationship. (And really though, even then, it wasn't that bad.)

As I watched my two friends fight recently, I was struck by how it seems every mother and daughter must go through some strife before they make it to a place of peace in their relationship. It made me take a step back and look at my own daughter and wonder what our relationship will be like when she becomes a teenager. Is it truly inevitable? Will she look at me one day, with hate in her eyes, and use all of her self-control to NOT tell me how much she hates me in that moment?

When I was talking to the daughter-friend about what was going on with her own mom, I implored her to NOT tell her mom that she hated her. I knew her mom already felt it and that saying it wouldn't actually make the daughter feel better. In the end, she didn't say those awful words to her mother and things seemed to have settled down between them. Gratefully, I can't recall ever saying, "I hate you," to my own mother. I think I instinctively knew as a young woman that those words were too hurtful to speak. (Mom, feel free to correct me if I am wrong and did utter those words. I do wear rose-colored glasses you know.)

Why do women have to go through this rite of passage with their mothers? Is it hormonal? Does the mother feel threatened by her daughter? Are there jealousies at play here? Are expectations too high? I have never seen a mother-daughter relationship that didn't at least have a season or phase similar to what I experienced with my own mother or what I see in my friends' lives now.

What I want to know is, how do I prevent this tension in the mother-daughter relationship? How do I teach her to be a lady and to not resent the expectations her father and I have of her? How do I encourage her to be her best without being a nag? How do I help her understand a social situation from another person's perspective when hers is perfectly legitimate as well?

After a brief search of the Bible (because I think the answers to all of life's questions are found in it), I didn't find a manual for how to be a good mother (but that doesn't mean the answer I am looking for isn't there). There are even lots of mothers in the Bible who set not so great examples (Rebekah, Maacah, Mother of Herodias's daughter) of how to handle a child. Even after re-reading Proverbs 31, I feel as if that speaks more as to how to just be a Godly woman than how to be a good mother.

Maybe though, that is where the answer lies. In authenticity.

Maybe striving to be the best daughter of the King I can possibly be is enough.

Maybe if I model how to properly handle emotions and hormones I can show her that God is in control of our bodies.

Maybe if I strive to be my best I won't demonstrate jealous behavior when my daughter does something I can't or couldn't do and she will learn to rejoice in the success of others.

Maybe if I base my expectations in the reality of my daughter's strengths and not in my unfulfilled dreams, she will gracefully grow into them, possibly even surpass them.

Maybe if I use reason and patience, my encouragement won't sound like nagging.

Maybe if I model consideration of other people's feelings and needs she will naturally follow suit.

It is a big task, but just maybe I can do this...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 2nd Edition

My blog hasn't even been around a year, but people do go looking for it on occasion. I'm not sure why anyone would want to read my little blog, but they go searching for me (or completely unrelated topics) and these are 13 of the best phrases they use to find me.
  1. "jenny sabin and new baby" No one calls me Jenny anymore so this must be someone from waaaayyy back... if that was you, you should have left a comment and said hi! And seeing as you've been back several times using that search phrase, why don't you just save my homepage as a favorite, or add me to you blog reader? It would be easier than always have to go to the same post.

  2. "pottery pictures" "pictures of pottery" This search seemed odd to me since I am not a pottery blog, but it brought someone to my site at least 7 times, and this is where they ended up. I'm proud of my family's artistic endeavors, but I doubt this is what someone was looking for, then again... 7 times?

  3. "family musings" I suppose it is only natural for someone trying to find my blog to use the name of my blog. What surprised me is that my blog came up first on Google search! Yeah for page rank!

  4. "baby in his belly" Ew! I don't think Bruce would like people to believe that he ever had a baby in his belly... and Bruce doesn't eat babies so this is just bizarre. After a little sleuthing, I finally figured out how someone landed on my page with this search string... it goes back to my giveaway post and a comment from this reader.

  5. "organized doodles" Hmmm... was Rick looking for himself? If so, he found what he was looking for here. Maybe if more people come looking for him through my site he could give me some sort of discount! (hint, hint...)

  6. "distinguishing watermelon from orange pregnant bellies" I didn't realize this was hard to do, but glad someone thought I could help! What would the world do without Google to answer these tough concepts?

  7. "phuny" "phuny photos" "phuny pictures" At first, I was appalled that someone would spell funny so horribly, then I remembered this post.

  8. "throwing up light green bile" Ahhh... this searcher helped me remember my most fun weekend as a new mom! Not!

  9. "the 4 methods to interpreting scriptures" See, I can be serious on this blog too.

  10. "proper way to give solids at 6 months" "research supporting delay of solids to 6 months" "breastmilk v. solids at 6 months" It seems like my efforts to educate part of the world about baby nutrition are paying off. All three of these phrases landed on this page about delaying solids.

  11. "could gaining weight make my legs hurt?" Duh! Seeing this though is a reminder to get back on my weight loss bandwagon.

  12. "foods with moon names" Huh? Are there any? If so, this searcher didn't find it at my blog, instead they found out why we honor the name Charlotte Moon.

  13. "pitchers of pregnant ladies giving birth any where" I can only imagine why anyone would want a pitcher full of pregnant ladies, giving birth none the less. That would be awfully messy. The person looking for this must have been disappointed to find this link on my site. He, or she, didn't even get to see any pitchers, or pictures!

Go read more Thursday Thirteen fun here!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Personal DNA

I love taking personality quizes. I love to know what some computer thinks about who I am. They usually all pretty much say the same thing - that I am a leader and that I tend to be outspoken. So it was no surprise when my most recent test labeled me as an 'advocating leader.'
















You cane read my report here: My personalDNA Report I think it is fairly spot-on.

Speaking of DNA... I always thought it would be cool to take the DNA from our family and combine it to make a work of art like this or this:

Image courtesy of Healthline.com.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Horsey is a Giraffe

Charlotte's favorite lovey is a yellow stuffed animal. I christened it Horsey early on because, well, that is what he looks like to a new mom who isn't getting enough sleep. And because I am the mom, no one questioned me. Until tonight.

Tonight, we were out to dinner with another family and Charlotte was playing with Horsey while we ate. Now, we know their daughter is bright. I am even known to tell my eighth graders that they are NOT smarter than this particular fifth grader. And now we know that we might not be either, at least not when it comes to identifying animals. When she heard me call him Horsey she asked why we call him that since he looks like a giraffe. Then she pointed out the 2 horn-like things sticking up in between his ears.

Are you smarter than this fifth grader?

Irrelevant, but related picture - Charlotte has a new seat for when we go out. Isn't it cool?

One Thing I Need

I have been challenged to write about the one baby product that I could no survive without. It took me less than 30-seconds to figure out that it was our Arm's Reach Co-sleeper. It makes having a happy family and well-rested momma possible.

I knew about half-way through my pregnancy that co-sleeping was the right fit for our family. Dr. Sears' research into the habit is pretty clear that it is best for the majority of families. The biggest reservation I had to co-sleeping was what if Charlotte rolled off the bed, or what if I needed some extra wiggle room and didn't want to wake a peaceful baby. The main reason I wanted it is because I knew going back to work would make getting enough sleep very important. The co-sleeper solved all of these problems for me.

When we first brought Charlotte home, she would go down each night in her co-sleeper and stay there until she was hungry. When she woke up hungry, I would sit up in bed and lay my pillow on my lap to nurse her. It took about 8 weeks for her to big big enough and good enough at latching to successful nurse while laying down, so our co-sleeping didn't really begin in earnest until she was about 2 months old.

She still goes down each night in the co-sleeper which means that the first 2 hours or so of my sleeping time are baby free. I really like those 2 hours and can get into a deep sleep which helps me in the waking hours. When she starts to fuss, I can roll over and pat her on the back if she needs it, or pick her up and bring her into bed with me. Once she is latched on to nurse, I can fall back asleep. I was just telling my mom today that I tend to be a pretty light sleeper and am fairly well tuned into her noises, especially now that she is 6 months old. Sometimes after she nurses I will put her back into the co-sleeper and be able to sleep on my back for a little while. Right now, Charlotte probably goes back in there 1-2 times a night.

Since we nurse on both sides each night to prevent engorgement, I don't want to worry about her potentially rolling out of bed, especially now that she is getting more mobile and wiggly. Having the co-sleeper right at bed height means that if she did, she'd drop less than 6 inches onto her own mattress. I know it would wake the both of us up, but she wouldn't be harmed by that drop. This gives me great peace of mind. For the record, she has never rolled off the bed, though sometimes her arms or legs hang off; that is kind of cute.

The amount of sleep I get each night varies, but I know that if I had to walk across the house to her crib 2-3 times a night to nurse her I would never be able to get back to sleep. Being a middle school teacher means I need to be alert and on my toes as much as possible. It's amazing what kids will try to pull on you these days!

My co-sleeper was a baby shower present from my mom. I only had a vague idea that something like this existed when I first started considering sleeping arrangements. She is the one who found the actual co-sleeper that we now use. Fortunately for us, Charlotte is small for her age, so at 6 months old, it is still a great fit. For anyone that is looking to increase both their sleep and their ability to respond to their baby this is a great choice.
To find out what other moms can't live without, visit the Group Writing Project at Does Mommy Love It?

Friday Night Firsts

While technically, Charlotte first tried sweet potatoes on Monday evening, tonight was the first Friday night she had them, so it still counts! Please excuse the video quality, I was trying to feed her and videotape her at the same time. I was mainly trying to capture how she likes to lean into the spoon instead of waiting for it to come to her.
Oh, and I updated the SabinDome site. Check out pages 9 & 10.

Links I've Been Meaning to Share

Thursday, February 21, 2008

7 Days - 13 Reasons

That's how long it has been since I posted to this blog. I have some good excuses for not being here in the last week, but you probably don't care. Just know that the threat of having the Barones move in next door was enough to get my keister back to the keyboard!

1. I was visiting my mom last weekend.
2. Then I was taking care of a sick husband.
3. Then the sick husband got pink eye so he couldn't entertain Charlotte.
4. I cut caffeine out of my diet, but Charlotte isn't sleeping more, so we are playing more.
5. We have gone to bed early a few nights this week due to 2 & 4,
6. I get home later now that I go to Curves each day after school.
7. I have to shower after I workout.
8. I couldn't find my camera to post pictures.
9. I was too busy reading these forums.
10. My planning periods were too busy to post a blog.
11. I'm sleeping in later so no time to post in the morning.
12. My baby brain can't remember all of my great post ideas.
13. Did I mention I was spending more time playing with Charlotte?

Even though I used excuse number 8, I found my camera today and here are some pictures from the last week. First, this is Charlotte on the big heart day. This outfit doubled as Christmas and Valentine's Day attire.
Next, we have Charlotte hanging out with her Auntie Beverly.
Hmmm... I wonder what she is pondering?
Finally, this one is especially for Grumpy.
Visit Thursday Thirteen for more fun.

Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Visit other blogs that participate regularly in Thursday Thirteen!



Friday, February 15, 2008

Contest Winner

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I won a prize giveaway in the Bloggy Giveaway carnival hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. Today, I received my gift. It is a business card for moms. I can't remember who I won it from though. Maybe she reads my blog and will remind me?

Either way, I am so excited and can't wait to get some printed up, hopefully in full color. As an added bonus, it matches my new Vera Bradley hipster bag! The quality of the card doesn't look so great here and I deleted some info to protect myself from stalkers. But maybe if I meet you in person one day, you can receive the real thing!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It Would Be So Mice...

It would be so mice...

... if you would be my valentine!

I found the inspiration for these cute little mice at one of my favorite blogs, Scribbit. In an effort to use what I have on hand, I replaced her cute googly eyes with pen dots and found a bunch of tiny heart stickers in my scrapbook folder to use for the ears. Even though she posted this idea with kindergartners in mind, I made these for the workers at Charlotte's nursery and my fellow teachers at school. I hope the recipients enjoy them!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pictures Again?

Geez? Hasn't this blogger shown us enough pictures of her little girl? I mean, we get it, she's cute. Okay? Fine, I'll look at more pictures if you're going to make me! At least this time there are stories to go with the pictures.

Here, we have a picture of Charlotte in her carseat. She has a fun mirror like toy that helps me see her while I am in the driver's seat. The toy used to light up and play music, but the battery died soon after we installed it. Since you need a screwdriver to get to the battery case the batteries have remained unreplaced for about 4 months now. Sad isn't it? Charlotte has this cool looking Baby Einstein toy and she can only look at it and wonder how cool it might be. Maybe her daddy will read this post and replace the batteries for her sooner rather than later. Of course, now that she is tall enough to kick it, she might not like it anymore.

We have been working on Charlotte's relationship with her Grumpy's dog, Mickie. Everytime Mickie gets close to her, momma freaks out. At first, it was because I was worried that Mickie might hurt her since he has never been around children, much less babies. Now though, I am worried about Charlotte hurting him. She has a death grip when she gets hair in her hand. Trust me, I know from experience and have taken to wearing my on hair up everyday to avoid it. As it stands now, Mickie loves to lick Charlotte's face and hands, which she doesn't seem to mind. Momma on the other hand...

And here is the happy trio! Grumpy was so proud of himself for being able to hold Mickie and Charlotte at the same time. As a matter of fact, he exclaimed, "I need a picture of this! Someone get the camera quick!" Come to think of it... he says this practically EVERY TIME Charlotte is in his lap. I never knew him to be a camera hog until he got a granddaughter. You really never know how babies can change people!


Did you know that babies can drool a lot? I thought I knew how much they could drool until Charlotte had to have a change of clothes today because her shirt was SOAKED! I don't mean just a little wet, I mean so wet it comes up when you take a picture of it wet! When I picked her up and noticed her in a onesie and her shorts instead of her t-shirt and shorts, I was confused. She has had her fair share of diaper blowouts so it wasn't unusual to see her in a different outfit, but she couldn't have gotten her t-shirt dirty and not her shorts, could she? Not unless she becam a drool monster that is!

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Sunday Love

These pictures are 8 days old already, but I just found them on Bruce's SD card. After looking through all of them and cropping my favorites, I couldn't settle on just 1 to post. So, here are the 2 we liked the best. Which one is your favorite?





Dad, I know you took some pictures this past weekend... will you e-mail them to me? Thanks!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Time Away

It is rare that I get a chance to go somewhere without Charlotte. She pretty much goes with me everywhere (except work of course) and I don't mind it one bit. However, every now and again, it is nice to jump in the car and not have to worry about whether I have enough diapers or a change of clothes for the little girl.


Recently, I had 2 chances to go out on my own. The first was to a bridal shower for a couple in our Sunday morning Bible study class. While there would have been several women to cuddle and love on Charlotte, it was a pleasant experience to not have to worry if she is fussing for them or if she needed anything. And, her and daddy had a happy time at home... until the last 15 minutes or so. I was preparing to leave when she decided that momma was the only thing that would make her happy.


Then, this morning, while I am at my parent's for the weekend, I left Charlotte with them and went to Target. I like Target and can always find something that I "need!" To be honest though, after about 90 minutes or so away from her, I really missed her and wanted to have her back i my arms. I think I'm going to have a hard time letting go of this one. She is too sweet for her own good. :-)

My Other Blog

In case you forgot, I have another blog. Last night, I made a special post there about Charlotte and thought that my faithful readers (all 5 of you!) might like to see what she has been up to. Head on over to EatingItUp to check her out.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Valentine's Day

I love attention - that is why I started a blog. I knew that there would be a lot of interest in Charlotte and thought I could horn in on it by being the bearer of all news Charlotte related. Now, I have found another way to get attention - beg people to send me a Valentine's Day Card. Don't worry about not having the proper postage, just click the button below to send me a personal V-day message that I won't be able to open until the 14th.

My Valentinr - kitchenista
Get your own valentinr

We Made It

I am very please to announce that Charlotte and I made through our first 6 months of breastfeeding! We followed the advice of all the medical professionals knowledgable in the subject and the advice in my heart and made it! I am so happy knowing that I did what was best for Charlotte and also that I can continue to do it even though I have to work outside of the home right now.

As some of you know, I've had to pump at work so Charlotte can have momma's milk at daycare. My employer, Frostproof Middle School, has been great in accomodating me. They made sure I had planning periods scheduled so I could pump and no one has looked at me cross-eyed once! I even had a meeting a couple of weeks ago with another staff member while I pumped at my desk. In case you are wondering why the milk in the bottle is gold, "it's colored gold as a reminder that mother's milk is like liquid gold." And anyone who has ever spilled or spoiled a bottle of pumped milk knows that is the truth!

I have been very blessed that we experienced only minor issues along our breastfeeding journey. I am an avid reader of the forums over at KellyMom.com and know that there are many things that could go wrong. Through this experience, I've learned there is nothing more valuable than a strong support system to continue on in breastfeeding. To that end, I'd like to publicly thank my husband, family, and anyone else who has not been freaked out to see me nurse in public, or in their homes. I appreciate that no one (at least to my face) questioned my decision to do this for Charlotte. I feel it is one of the best gifts I could give her - me. It has been amazing to watch her grow and know that God designed the milk from my body to give her just the right kind of nourishment for the first year of her life. He is awesome!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Politically Active

I know this post is a week over due, but I am just now having a chance to climb out from under a huge pile of e-mail. My Inbox has not been pretty this week. For a girl who likes to keep it under 20 e-mails seeing it balloon to 87 tonight lit a fire under me to get my evening routines finished quickly so I can try and conquer this mass of information!

All of that to say... we took Charlotte with us to vote in the Florida primary last weekend and I want to share the picture with you (taken with the camera phone, which is why this is an e-mail issue).

Campus Crusade for Christ

One thing we hope to instill in Charlotte is a passion for mission work. To this end, we have set up an account for her to save money for her first mission trip. We also hope to give her a lot of exposure to real, live missionaries so that she knows they are normal people just like the rest of us sinners. Another way we hope to help her discover a passion for missions is by being faithful to give to missionaries and to help support their work.


While visiting Serbia in 2003, I made a friend named Ionel (pronounced Your-nel, pictured left). He has worked amoung the Serbian people for several years now and has a deep desire to see them come into relationship with Jesus Christ. A little over a month ago, he sent us the following letter and gave me permission to share it with you.


Dear Friends,

In the beginning of September I was on my way to Serbia for another year of ministry among college students in Belgrade.
We had a great ministry start! We've begun distributing 6700 copies of "VOX" our student magazine and we've got 122 surveys with contact information. Marko, the first student I've met with got involved in the discipleship process. I agreed with him to meet every week for two ours to talk about basics things in life with Jesus. It was for the first time in my seven years of ministry in Serbia when I met a student and the very next week he get involved in discipleship! In the beginning of ministry we had to wait mounts socializing with students only to be able to share the Gospel, and now it took only one week for Marko to get involved in discipleship! that's amazing! Praise the Lord!

As you know in beginning of November I had to return in Romania because of health problems. By god's grace I'm healthy and safe, now. Thank you for your prayers! I appreciate it very much! However, since then you've never received from me any news about Marko or ministry in Serbia. the fact is that I'm still in Romania, I wasn't able to return in ministry because of financial difficulties. My monthly support is with 600$ less that the expenses to live and do ministry in Belgrade. To be able to return in Serbia and to stay there till the end of university year I need more $5800.

I would like to invite you to partnership with me in the ministry in Serbia. Would you prayerfully consider giving a special gift to help provide this extra $7000 that I need? This will help me to return in Serbia to continue discipling Marko and the ministry among college students in Belgrade.

If God leads you to give, please make your check payable to Campus Crusade for Christ and send it to:
CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST INTERNATIONAL
P O BOX 628222
ORLANDO FL 32862-9841
And please specify: “for Vlasceanu Ionel, account no. 2430335.”
For on line donations, click here.

Thank you for taking time to read my invitation!
God bless you!
Love in Christ,
Ionel Vlasceanu



If you feel led, please join us in praying for and supporting Ionel. Leave a comment and let us know if you decide to support Ionel.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Guest Blogger: Charlotte's Debt Problem

Jennifer asked me to guest blog about Charlotte’s huge, mounting debt. It’s really getting out of control and I worry about her future. Of course, Charlotte’s not out racking up the credit card debt or spending her evenings at the track. She just learned to sit up, after all. The problem is our politicians are spending her future.

George W. Bush just announced his proposed 2009 federal budget. It calls for $3.107 trillion in spending, which is about 20 percent of the entire US economy, or about $10,241 for every man, woman and child. With that, there is a $307 billion deficit. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Charlotte can be a high-maintenance girl sometimes, but I’m at a loss to understand how she’s using more than 10-grand in federal government services.

The little girl can’t even eat pork yet, but she sure does owe a lot of money for it. Part of her debt came from the $2.4 billion Congress spent on her behalf to build the eight C-17 cargo planes the Air Force said it doesn’t even want. And I’m sure, once she is potty trained, she’ll be glad to know she owes money to finish paying off the $13.5 million that was used to fund important projects, such as the World Toilet Summit. At least some of her debt goes to things she can use; one day she’ll be able to visit the Sparta Teapot Museum , in Sparta , NC . Why wouldn’t she want to visit the museum that the federal government spent $500,000 to build?

The sad part is that Charlotte isn’t even learning from her mistakes. She continues to rack up this debt. The federal government’s current total debt, per person, is more than $30,000. Charlotte already owes the equivalent of a good college education, and she hasn’t even started playing with Lincoln Logs. And her debt increases an average of $4.75 each day. The federal debt has already increased 65% since Bush became President, and that doesn’t even consider the additional $307 billion deficit proposed for the President’s new budget.

I love the little girl, but I think she needs to get into rehab, credit counseling, or something. She just can’t continue racking up debt like this. I tried talking to her about it, but she just cooed like it was no big deal. If only she had a Harvard MBA, like the President, so she’d understand economics a little better. But how’s she ever going to pay for the degree when she already spent the tuition money on other things?

Bruce

Baby Brain

Ha! I knew it wasn't just me (or my friend Angela). Science has proven that my absent-mindedness is not just mental laziness. I think the majority of my forgetfulness is due to a lack of sleep. I am always tired.

I don't mind the regular night feedings, I just know I appreciate a full nights sleep even more now!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cotton Candy as Baby Food?

I was reading this article about an adoptive mom and her struggles to care for her brain-injured niece and stopped dead in my tracks when I read this:

"She loved to eat Cheetos and cotton candy."

Really? The she being referred to in this quote is a 3-month old baby? How can it be that a 3-month old baby loved to eat Cheetos and cotton candy? How could she have possibly eaten those things? While someone I know and love tried to give Charlotte a french fry around 3 months, I don't really think he was teasing more than actually trying to get her to eat it. I can't possibly imagine what these parents were thinking by giving these treats to an infant.

Charlotte is almost 6 months old and won't be getting any table food for awhile. Now that we've made it 6 months, the minimum recommended age by the WHO and a whole slew of other medical organizations, I am waiting for her to show the signs of readiness, as defined at Kellymom.com.

Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include:

  1. Baby can sit up well without support.
  2. Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
  3. Baby is ready and willing to chew.
  4. Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
  5. Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.

She has already mastered #1 and #5 in this list. I am still waiting to see #4 while she is playing with her toys before I try solids. I don't expect that I will know about #2 & #3 until I actually try to give her something. I can assure you though, that even when I do decide she is ready for solids, it won't be Cheetos and cotton candy!

EDIT: I think this adoptive mom is doing a great job and I want everyone to know that my opinion about what the little girl was fed at 3-months old doesn't diminish my admiration for this woman taking up the care of this sweet, little girl.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Winner

I can't even begin to express how much fun I had during Shannon's Bloggy giveaway this last week. I must have visited over 300 new blogs, which explains the lack of activity here at Family Musings.



Reading all of your cute and funny and touching baby stories made for a good week. It was hilarious to read that so many little ones wanted to know when their daddy's babies were due. We often tease my dad about having triplets any day now! And the cute baby noises, my daughter makes those too! I shared this video and this video of her noises previously. And I was touched by so many of you who wanted to share this gift with someone you know who just had or is expecting a little one soon. Some of you even gave me things to look forward to in raising my own children, or comfort that I'm not the only one that makes mistakes (honey nut cheerios aren't okay?). I was encourage by those of you who shared that you are nursing your babies, so few women do these days.


I really wish I could afford to send something to everyone that shared a story, but I can't - I have a baby! :) After using the random interger generator at Random.org, the winner is post number 59, The Holladay Family.


She wrote, "My favorite baby story is mixing up my own twins. My mom would correct me with my own children! Sadly, I still get them mixed up once in a while if they are turned around and not looking directly at me! My other favorite baby story is my son Spencer who has a muscle disease didn't know he had arms to use until he was three months old. He came out of the womb holding his neck up, completely aware and looking around. He wouldn't use his arms to move, he would hold them close to his body and throw his neck and then move his legs around. Even when he was a tiny week old baby he was always turning upside down in his crib at naptime. At three months old, I put a mobile above him on the floor and he realized he could reach for it! He has been using his little arms and hands ever since! My new baby coming in April is a girl and I am looking forward to seeing how he will interact with her! So, those are a few of my fav. baby stories. Thank you for you having such a generous giveaway! I would LOVE to win!"

And win she did! In case you missed it, this is what she won. I'll be sending her an e-mail shortly to give her the good news. Now, let's hope I win something in one of those 300+ giveaways I entered!

Smitten

I am so in love wih my daughter. There doesn't seem to be anything she does that doesn't automatically prompt me to kiss her and tell her how cute she is. I think about her all of the time and when she is sleeping I like to look at her pictures and watch videos of her. (I hope this is normal.) It really isn't fair though for Bruce and I to keep her all to ourselves though, so here are some pictures and video from the last week or so.

This first clip is from last night. We had company over and their oldest son found Charlotte's masochistic side. Everytime he would drop to the ground as if he had tripped, she would let out this infectious little belly laugh. You can't reallysee Caleb in this video, but you can hear him and he had a grand old time making our baby girl laugh. She has never quite given anyone this much laughter all at once. It went on for quite a long time and when the adults got a bit tired of the gig, Charlotte and Caleb were still going at it!

As I mentioned previously, Charlotte has really honed the skill of sitting up straight. Except for the drool she is constantly trying to share with others, she really is quite the little lady. Last night I was trying to help Caleb, a kindergartner, understand that Charlotte is about 6 months old. He doesn't understand fractions yet though, so I asked if he had ever had an apple. Of course, he had. So I explained that a 1 year old baby was lilke a whole apple, but Charlotte was just half of an apple. He seemed to understand that better and it helped that Charlotte had apples embroidered on her outfit.

And while this last video isn't nearly as exciting as the first, it does show off more of Charlotte's sitting up skills. She loves to beat things now that she knows how. This includes beating mommy on the back in an attempt to burp mommy, beating the ground to make noise, and beating mommy in the nose to wake her up in the middle of the night. I don't mind the first two, but a simple noise or wiggle would be enough to wake me up! You can also see though, that she is able to pull herself back up into a seated position after leaning over to play the drums ground.

Last night while we were at dinner with our friends, Charlotte experienced another first. I wish I had pictures of it, but she sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time! This skill of sitting up is coming in handy for us. I did put a pillow in there so she wouldn't get worn out from being in the chair and so she would be more comfy. Sorry though, no pictures of the chair since I didn't have my camera on me.

Stay tuned... I'll announce my giveaway winner soon!