Saturday, December 24, 2011

My little Pooh Bear

I should have posted this a long time ago, today I saw these pictures on our "family computer" . As I was laying down with the boy to get him to take a pre-Feast of the Nativity Service nap I was thinking about all the blog posts I could write. A nap would have been good for me too, but I'm a horrible napper and I guess Simeon's excitement about Christmas wore off on me:)

These pictures are dated August 24th! I can't believe it was that long ago. This was my brother's Winnie the Pooh costume, my baby brother. And he'll be 17 in a few days. I can't believe it is that old. We don't really celebrate Halloween but I'm all for imagination and dressing up as long as we keep it pretty positive. So I pulled this costume out and Simeon had fun with it. I need to put it somewhere where he can access it, because he'd probably like to wear it again. We loved dressing up as kids, and we definitely didn't have any fancy dress up clothes. I would like to have a dress up box or something for Simeon but our house seems kinda crazy right now and his closet is pretty packed.

So back to the topic. I've mentioned the Pooh obsession on this blog, it really is cute and we play it up. Simeon really latched on to a book we had about Pooh and as Pooh was popular when Daniel and I were growing up we had other Pooh stuff around. So it kinda reinforced the idea. Daniel has a handmade Pooh bear from his youth, I have some books and figurines. We have also allowed limited viewing of Winnie the Pooh on the computer, unfortunately turning it off is a problem:(

Some of my favorite Simeon Poohisms:

For a while if I sang the TIgger song, he would jump up and down in the bathroom and watch himself in the mirror and laugh

Running around like a wild man, holding something over his head saying "tut, tut, looks like rain" (well it sort of sounds like that)

If we drop something or his lovey falls "Oh dear"

Recently, he taps his cheek and says "think, think, think"

We have a book that is modeled after the classic stories about Pooh in the snow, not the adult favorite around here. It's a bit cliche, but Simeon loves it and they mention drinking hot tea. So he is into hot tea, I actually got him a manly enameled steel blue tea set for St. Nicholas day and he makes us hot tea.

I guess many kids love Pooh, Daniel and I particularly love to read the A.A.Milne version "big big Pooh book" but it is a bit wordy and doesn't have many pictures. Simeon requests it often, but drives us a little nuts because he'll hardly let us read it. It is absolutely hilarious, at least to us and I hope Simeon grows into it some day. I like that he loves one of the classics and I prefer Pooh to Richard Scarry, his other favorite books. Not that I really dislike Richard Scarry it's not my favorite and we're a bit burned out. But I am glad he lets us read. It took us a while to get to the point where he would settle down enough for a book.

My little Pooh Bear seems to be growing up so fast, I'm savoring these sweet little moments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preparations at hand

Here is one of the awesome pictures my cousin in law of Quinntography took of Simeon in the fall. We ended up choosing a different one for our Christmas card. They were all so good it was hard to choose. I'm glad I have a family member who is a photographer, actually we have a few! Otherwise the child would probably not have any professional pictures made.

I can't believe how fast time flies! In a way I'm so very glad to be out of the the first trimester, let me tell y'all it was no fun. I had it easy my first pregnancy, I wasn't that sick and I was working from home so I could nap when I was tired, oh yeah and no delightful energetic person wearing me out all day. I know it was a hard time for Simeon too, and I'm honestly glad it's behind me. A wise lady from church, whose children are grown, told me that a "strong willed child" will teach you humility. Now I'm not a fan of negatively labeling children, but Simeon hasn't been the most easy going from the first. Now his personality is really fun, he is talking more and really expressive with his hand motions. I'm sure any child will teach one humility, but being pregnant and really not feeling well with a spirited, enthusiastic, non-napping 2 year old all day long taught me that I'm not nearly as gentle and patient as I'd like to be.

Since then I'm sleeping better and my tummy is better, so we are getting out more which always helps Simeon's behavior. He is so much fun these days. He wants to play all day long, when Daniel is here he is less interested in sitting with Momma and reading. I love that he becoming more and more a Daddy's boy too. Since my pregnancy especially he is kinda clingy to Momma, wanting me to put on his shoes, take him to potty, etc. But if there is fun going on with Daddy he's not as concerned with me. He is saying almost anything, it's not super clear but I understand him most of the time. He comes up with some very interesting thoughts in addition to giving me a running commentary of what is going on in his head. He loves Pooh bear and gets to watch a bit on youtube especially while I shower. It is addictive and I hate we started it, but I was losing my mind and for a length of time he is occupied. He also loves the stories and we read them often. He loves Richard Scary and we have a few books that I'm honestly wishing would disappear. I'm glad my boy loves books and I'm super excited when he'll let me read one of the Christmas books we have or something else beside Richard Scary! He seems to be grasping the concept of manners, and gentle touches to people and Barley, not that we don't have issues with these things from time to time but he knows what is expected of him.

We have had some mega tantrums thankfully at home that seem mostly brought on by exhaustion. I have tried different ways of handling them and depending on the situation different strategies are required. But after talking to our moms, and getting input from my AP group I feel more confident in the way I'm handling them and pray that they will pass. I hate to dwell on this because it is such of a small part of the day, but the negative events even short lived seem to overpower the positive ones.

Ok on to the title, the preparations I was referring to were for the Birth of our Lord. We haven't done too many for our baby yet. We will find out next week pink or blue! I managed to get our Christmas tree up this year and Barley and Simeon are having great fun undecorating it. I do love the excitement Simeon has had about Christmas. He gets so excited about the Christmas decorations at our house and around town. One thing I have tried to do this year is at the start of Advent I pulled out the Nativity set, advent calendar, and the Christmas books. He isn't interested in reading the books daily, but occasionally will let me read to him. He has a nice assortment, we aren't into Santa Claus except for teaching about who Saint Nicholas really is so all of our books are religious. But that doesn't mean we don't have variety. One of Simeon's favorite's and mine too is The Adventures of Spero the Orthodox Church Mouse! The Nativity of our Lord. We have a nice assortment with some from Orthodox authors and some classics, The little drummer boy and Babouska and the three kings. He would probably play with the nativity set every day if I would take the time to play with him and most days Daniel or I do, but not every day. I got him a wooden set that is very sturdy and he has really learned the Christmas story by playing with it. We also have an advent calendar that was given to me that he loves, it has 40 flaps that are numbered and you fold them back each day. Behind each flap is one of the Saints we commemorate for the day. We have been fairly faithful about doing this when we pray and I hate I don't have one for the rest of the year. He loves it and having a task seems to involve him in prayer time more each day. Our Christmas preparations aren't perfect and we're behind but I'm grateful I've been able to plant some seeds of our faith and teach him about God and how he came to become a man and walk among us for our salvation.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guess What

This is brief and non-clever. We are expecting number 2! No Simeon in a big-brother shirt or a baby picture, because I lost the ultrasound pic at the office after I was there for too many hours. But we are very very excited. Simeon is confused, and to a child I guess it is kinda confusing. We were hoping to get pregnant and are blessed it didn't take as long as it did with Simeon. This first trimester has been worse than my first pregnancy but it seems to be getting better. So keep us in your prayers. After that long wait at the OB's office I didn't get a due date, but I think it will be the beginning of June or possibly the end of May!

Simeon's "hero party" outside the doctor's office. He got to come with us for the happy occasion after the babysitter fell through. And after waiting for a very long time he and Daniel took a fresh air break.

Silly Like Daddy

We were at church Wed night for Vespers and Simeon was fairly well behaved, especially for a 2 year old! When the pastor's wife arrived halfway through the service and sat behind us Simeon clowned, playing some kind of peek a boo involving a lot of giggles. I didn't think much of it as he was kinda on the verge of loosing it. After church we were standing in a little walkway with the few other people that were there and Simeon ran over to the water fountain and fell out laughing. Khouria (pastor's wife) told me that his behavior reminded her of little Daniel. I was confused as I've always heard that baby Daniel was happy and laid back. But it seems toddler Simeon is exhibiting some of toddler Daniel's hysterics. It makes me happy as I love my husbands sense of humor, perhaps because it's in contrast to the one my mom says I don't have. Guess I stay on the serious side more. It is fun to watch his little personality grow. This defiant behavior seems to be worse some days and better others. I know there is a purpose to it, but I'm glad we are enjoying his giggles and it's not constant nos and tantrums all the time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

To a two year old

So what matters to a 2 year old? Well to mine beyond having his usual needs met last week and this week it has been the road construction on our road. The city decided to do some patch work on our street. Never has the boy stood at the window so long, or wanted to go for a walk to anywhere else but the park! He is still in hopes that they will come back and when we walked post road work he is finding all the cracks that they need to come back and fix.

Simeon's independent self seems to be springing forth. We have a lot of "not" speaking around here. And he seems to be into everything, things previously he would occasionally be into but could be persuaded to play with his toys. I will say I'm really glad that it isn't all gloom and doom. His sense of humor seems to be expanding, that is exciting. I'm sure this stage will pass like all.

We have done a lot of fun activities with our Attachment Parenting group. It's been a great month for activities: pumpkin patch, children's museum, Ghatti Town, and today the zoo. There have been several others I'm leaving out. We had our two meetings a month. I'm so grateful for the blessing of pretty weather and fun times.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Return to Normalcy

Pictures from a teen outing about a month ago.

Ha, what is normal anyway? Today we have gotten a lot done, but Simeon has decided he didn't want a nap. Probably because he slept in till 7! And I haven't gotten myself cleaned up yet. Oh well.

Last week was definitely abnormal, because Daddy went on a 7 day fishing trip. I even told him to go the whole trip, I didn't count on Simeon teething all week:( It was a really rough week on Momma! Not only did I not get much of my attachment parenting application done by the end of the week I didn't feel like I was practicing my gentle parenting too much. I don't remember ever feeling so burned out. I had a lot of family support, but it's not the same as having Daddy home.

So we are glad that our hard working Daddy is home. He comes home after a hard day at work and does so much to help Momma not lose her mind. He's the best daddy and husband ever, thanks Daniel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Change of Seasons

For some reason this fall has been kind of special among fall seasons for me, I've always been more of a spring person. Perhaps it's having such of a high energy child who wants and needs to be outside. Looking forward to going outside at least once a day in the blazing heat just isn't as fun. So we have been LOVING the cooler temperatures!

Thanks to Daniel we replanted our garden. I kinda skipped the summer posts about it because it was kind of a failure. We planted too late again and didn't mulch well. The weather was weird, but other people I know had far better gardens than us:( Oh well here's to the fall garden. We planted some plants from seed: "weird" greens- broccoli raab, lettuce (our only true successful endeavor), and carrots. Then we set out a few tomatoes and swiss chard from the nursery and half of them died after a weekend of rain from the tropical storm. I'll try to post pictures later. I'm trying to stay upbeat really so I won't go into the compost issues...

And it seems we are changing in other ways too around here: our baby is getting to be such of a little boy. Before he turned two he went through a phase of eating less and nursing more which was odd to me, but this book warned me it would happen. A few weeks and we are definitely past that phase. There were also signs that changes were happening, he has started independent play and you momma's with babies that have been entertained with staring with their own hands for hours might not see the significance of this. But my boy really hasn't been that into many of his toys which I carefully selected at all until a few months ago. We received a play table that is in our living room and it is a great place to put his hand-me-down train, legos, blocks, colors, etc. and keep the clutter on the floor to a minimum for me:)

He is less interested in the comforts that momma can provide and really craving more social interaction, he asked for his good friend all the time and wants her right beside him. He says her name and points beside him. It is so sweet. And if there is a group of kids he wants to go stand in the middle of them, his verbal skills aren't quite up to conversing and he mostly likes to observe. He is talking more and more, but only Daniel and I can understand him much of the time. It's kind of a sweet phase in my opinion:) He is more and more ok with going on a Daddy outing without as much concern of where Momma is. Interestingly enough he is more snuggly than ever, briefly but he is into hugging and kissing us. We love it! He's always been too busy to snuggle much.

Personally I have gone through a stressful patch of Daniel working a lot, trying really hard to do it all here and kinda burning out. When I was unable to sleep one night two thoughts came to me: "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved." St. Seraphim of Sarov. I love this quote and when I reflected on my life I haven't done a good job of acquiring peace in my life. And in my former life of listening to many podcasts on Ancient faith radio I remembered a priest's wife saying that in a very busy and stressful time of her life a nun told her that if you are feeling overwhelmed with the load that has been given to you pray that your capacity to handle it will be granted to you. It was to me an answer to my prayers. So I have restarted two podcasts via ancient faith radio: one scripture readings prescribed for the day and the other one a saint or two of the day. They are short, but with a very busy two year old sometimes it takes a while to have 7 minutes where I can really listen ! I think this has greatly blessed my life. I still struggle with trying to balance everything but I'm trying to put first things first. I hope everyone else is enjoying the beginning of Fall.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Party!

"More Party" is what Simeon told me today the morning after his party! I'm so glad he had fun. It was a lot of work, and a little crazy the morning of the party. I think Momma may have been a little impatient with the birthday boy as we were trying to get the cars packed, and get to the pool and set up. So I was really glad when it came together and he had a good time! He loved his crown, and of course I loved that. He also loved being the center of his family's attention. It was great fun being together with our families to celebrate this special day!

I still can't believe he's so big. My dad commented on the difference a year can make. Last year he had fun, but was a little clueless about what was going on. This year we had talked it up, and he was looking forward to the cake especially:)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

I'll post better pictures soon, I promise! Miso soup through a straw, oh yeah!

I have been thinking about this post for awhile. We have been wanting to get out of our house since we got married, but it hasn't happened for one reason or another. We have been steadily fixing it up bit by bit. Then the curse of the Yazoo clay got to us. The things we fixed up may have to be refixed. And this home is becoming a money pit. So it has been hard for us to be positive about this house. Daniel bought it before we got married and together I don't think it's what we would have picked. So now we are definitely going to be fixing the foundation and it isn't cheap so we're going to be here another year or two at the least. So recently I started thinking about the things I really like about our home:

-We are 2 minutes at the most from my parents and about 5 from Daniel's. That is really convenient and Simeon loves being close to his grandparents. He can identify where they live and requests to go there often. I am so grateful that he has such a close relationship with all his grandparents.

-We are in a very convenient location to almost everything. The interstate is so close.

-We have really some really nice neighbors. There are some people who have lived in this neighborhood for a really long time, several original owners still live in their homes. They are so sweet to us. We do a lot of walking especially because we have a crazy dog and not much back yard so we see a lot of people out.

-We are close to church and somehow manage to be late still. Ughh, it is hard to get anywhere with a two year old.

-I love that we don't have a split plan. I'm an attached momma and love being able to hear my child without a monitor, he's right next door. I never would have thought about this in the same way before I was a Momma.

-It isn't two story, I really can't keep this house very tidy and there are no stairs to climb.

-Simeon and Barley both love looking out the windows, and they're all really low to the floor in this house.

I won't share my dislike list, because the positivity is so good for me:)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Who is an AP parent?

Playful Parenting in Action!

Well I am, and I have thought about this a lot recently. I became interested in Attachment Parenting after watching the way a friend of mine parented her child. She is one of the most gentle, nurturing, calm mom I have ever been around. And she did things differently than me and it really worked. She could take her sensitive, high-needs child to the side and talk to her if she was having difficulty sharing and she came back with a better attitude. Our beginning ventures into discipline were not going well and it was interesting to me how well this worked for her. So I borrowed a few of her books and was sold on the theory, it makes sense and I've seen it work. A good friend of hers started a local AP group, but sadly had to move. So me and three other moms have started the application process for leadership. And I say process, I don't have much free time and the free time I have I can't always sit down and think.

So my husband and I are working out how Attachment Parenting will work in our family. There is this perception upon learning about AP that you have to be perfect to really be AP. And the goals are truly lofty. But there are a variety of moms in our local group from all sorts of situations who are working out how they can apply AP principles in their family. I have read some great books that have already enhanced my parenting. My absolute favorite is anything by Dr. Sears. Right now I'm reading his book The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care: A Medical and Moral Guide to Raising Happy Healthy Children . He and his wife are some of the biggest promoters of AP and it is very important to me that there are Christians involved in the movement. Our local group is mostly Christian and I do pray for our group, and that really strengthens me to know that God's will will be done. I know already I have learned things that have helped make me a more gentle and compassionate parent. I definitely can't do it without prayer.

So in reading about AP it is easy to picture a group of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, perfectly calm, always happy to be with their kids every second of the day moms. We all have our own unique struggles. I personally haven't bed-shared with Simeon, but the moms that do seem to get more sleep so we're willing to try it next time. And there are other benefits of course. And some of us had trouble breastfeeding or babywearing. Most of us are SAHM, but there are a few working moms in the group. And I think positive discipline is a big struggle for many of us, especially me! But we all want to build a bond of trust with our kids. So there may be more AP posts coming soon. There is a lot of research out there in favor of AP, and I am a science nerd at heart after all. So it isn't based on just opinions. But for me the clincher is it is working for our family, helping us to love each other and grow closer to the Lord.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Big Boys

I titled this post Big Boys because that seems the theme around here lately! Simeon's version is Baboos, very cute to hear him say. Although we have started some big boy transitions we are definitely not pushing him to grow up to fast, I'm certainly not quite ready to relinquish my baby.

My little chef! I bought this for him on a whim and he LOVES it! Who would have thought a not yet 2 yr old boy would love to dress up. He mainly loves the apron. There is a matching mitt that is also very cute.

Beginning of our Fourth of July weekend, who could resist such a face? At the fancy shopping center close to us playing in the fountain. It is so close to us, but this is our first visit this year.
Ok naptime seems over, so trying to keep this brief. In the above picture Simeon is wearing his Little Beetle Learners, which I have been buying here and there to try to find a good price. After a few washes they are absorbant enough to hold a small pee accident and being Simeon is not going #2 on the potty yet they snap down the side for clean up of those messes. He showed some interest in pottying a few weeks ago and he actually peed without prompting too much a few times. So we decided to go for it.

He seems young to me and it's going to be a process. I guess he has always wanted to be mobile and do just what we do, so... Praise and treats really seem to help. I do have to tell him most times it's time to potty. And though this may seem pushy it seems preferable to me to the battles over diaper changes. The child has always hated them. He is so proud of his Baboos, and I think they are adorable. At home that is all he wears most of the time because he wants his shirt off to potty and putting it back on every time is not happening. Plus it is so hot here and we don't run the air at 70 degrees.

We had a few setbacks when we traveled to Memphis for our church conference, then he was sick last week. He was scary sick, like running fever greater than 103 for 3 days. Ughhh, no fun at all for anyone. He looks like he's lost weight too, he was totally uninterested in food for an entire week. Mostly all he wanted was to nurse. And although I'm mostly a quiet promoter of breastfeeding especially a toddler mostly because in our culture many see it as weird (honestly I thought it was strange too before I had a baby). But this was definitely a benefit, he was too sick for anything else and if not for nursing he may have dehydrated. It ended up being viral and we just had to treat the symptoms.

Another big boy change was adding the full size bed to his tiny room. I planned on transitioning him to the bed from the crib, but he wants no part of it. It's ok there's not a big rush. I did really enjoy having the bed in his room when he was sick, there was no way I was going to leave him alone when his fever was so high.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My buddy

I wanted to blog about something other than babywearing. From my blog you'd think my toddler never leaves my back. Really these days it is about 15 mins a day average, a mere piece of the day. But a fun and snuggly 15 mins!

So Simeon is 21 months old! And is so sweet, big time momma's boy and I love every minute of it. He has his moments, but we are better navigating the tough spots. He is talking more now and better communication makes things easier for sure. More and more words are popping up every day. He has definitely not been an early talker.

I did want to ask my momma friends out there or anyone else with any helpful ideas for a question. Simeon loves to help us, and I try really hard to let him participate as much as he can. But there are so many dangers, knives, the oven, raw eggs, pruning sheers. He is so observant and really mimics everything we do. I have a great opportunity to have a helper, because I am home with him everyday. I just need to direct him. It seems like most helper toys and even the Montessori method start at 3, but he is ready now to help! I have mentioned I really have to let go of my don't make a mess mentality. I know he has to make a mess to learn, but it is hard for me to let him do it at times.

We have a learning tower for him in the kitchen and his passion in life is "wa wa" water right now. He loves to play in a trickle of running water for up to an hour while I'm preparing dinner. He will even "wash" dishes. This drives me nuts at time b/c we have a small kitchen and there always seems to be knives and glass items in the sink, but I try to give in and clean up all dangers for one water session a day.

He helps me unload the cutlery in the dishwasher and sometimes other dishes if I'm not fast enough.

He "prunes" the roses every time we go outside now after watching me do it once. So I got him some plastic scissors to prune with.

Hanging out the diapers is a great one for a helper, but honestly that just doesn't happen enough. Now that it is already so hot we should be better about it. He likes to help me push the wet laundry into the dryer. Folding laundry seems kinda complicated to teach for now.

He really seems to be taking in no, nos but I want to give him an alternate activity. I just feel so uncreative at times.

I'm having so much fun with my little buddy even though we have our moments.

Crunchy reads

Before I get into the boringness of my rambling thought I'd post a few pics from our first family zoo trip! We went with our dear friends and their kids (our godchildren). It was a wonderful time. I just had to include a babywearing photo. This is my prized kinderpack in a standard size with standard straps. Unfortunately it appears that Simeon is a bit tall for it. It doesn't hurt my back and it doesn't bother him, but maybe I'll sell off my Beco and with some birthday funds in August try to track down a toddler sized one. But if not we love this carrier (we as in me and Simeon, poor Daniel would never wear the flowers) and will get more mileage out of it. I love not having to deal with a stroller and the ease of picking him up and down.

I sent this to a family member a few weeks ago trying to describe what attachment parenting is about. Our local chapter is just getting started. After praying, discussions with my husband and priest I have decided to get involved with the group. Having a support group is great, most of the moms are devoted Christians which is important to me. We are definitely all different, and do things a little different. Some of us work though most of us are at home with the kids, some co-sleep, some nurse children beyond a year, some babywear almost all the time. Making changes have already very positively affected my relationship with Simeon and our day to day interactions. It doesn't come naturally yet.

Here is a great article we discussed at our last meeting. We talked about babywearing and it was really helpful to me. One fascinating thing is that the tribal babies in the article that are worn and included in everyday life are incorporated into the work of the tribe at an earlier age than we incorporate children in our society into working. Now I'm not advocating child labor, but I've always wanted my children to help out in the family as they grow up. Not in an overbearing way, but in a natural way. Simeon really wants to help now and I really try to let him. It often ends up being a mess, but then he helps clean up the mess. I have really had to learn to not over-react and stay cool, clean up the mess, and go on about things. To me if a child grows up only knowing how to be entertained the transition to entering the workplace or the work of running a home is rockier. Anyway it's a fascinating read.

Daniel got me a summer weight ring sling for mothers day and I have been trying to use it more, like we bring it to church. It seems to help Simeon's behavior even if we can only contain him for 15 or 20 mins of the service. I used it to wear him into a few boutique type stores I didn't want him to wreak havoc at last week. I probably wouldn't have gone to those places otherwise. Strollers are hard to navigate and a ring sling is just so lightweight and handy. Now that I have the hang of it. They can be a beast to figure out as I failed my first ring sling attempt.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pascha 2011 and a new approach

Christ is Risen! I hope everyone had a joyous celebration of Christ's Resurrection. More pictures of our church celebration can be found here.
My handsome hubby and one of our teens hiding eggs for the big hunt!
Simeon and one of our teens hunting for eggs
A posed but beautiful shot, talented photographer!
Our little man

Unless you are really bored, you may want to stop reading here:)
The mom I want to be is calm, doesn't yell unless it is some emergency that warrants it, she prays twice a day plus before meals with her son, she always has some healthy foods prepared, and a relatively clean house. Oh and she is not grumpy after being up through the night with her child. She is patient and mentally present, teaching her son as they encounter life experiences through her day. I really do want to be this mom and I feel like I am closer to being her than I used to be.

One of the secrets to being this mom is prayer, and that is a struggle. How easy it is to be distracted and lazy in this regard.

One thing that I have found helpful for me as a stay at home mom is mommy groups. I have mentioned before that I wish I had gotten involved in La Leche League when Simeon was younger, some of my stay at home isolation would have been relieved. Now I feel like we are kinda graduating that group. I like the other moms there and still enjoy going. Simeon is at a busy age and a little rowdy to be in that type group. Also though he isn't weaned, gasp I do not feel like the group isn't quite as useful to me when we were in the throws of nursing as the sole food source.

So my very good friend Cameron loaned me her attachment parenting book and as I have mentioned before if only I could do it over again I would have implemented some of these ideas. I started reading more Dr. Sears books and now I have a few more attachment parenting books that are so helpful. Daniel is so gentle and sweet natured already, but I have found the suggestions to being a more gentle parent very helpful. I'm currently reading Adventures in Gentle Discipline which I ordered from the la leche website b/c Amazon was sold out. I have a few more on the list to read. With my household chores and mental fatigue it takes a while for me to get through a book.

And then to my delight Jackson has started up an Attachment Parenting Group. I guess you could say I'm sold on attachment parenting, I've seen it work very well for my good friend Cameron who like me doesn't have the most easy going child. I have also seen some changes I have implemented work well for Simeon and I. We have met 3 times and let me say, these meetings have helped my mommy fatigue more than anything else I have done other than prayer.

Some changes for me include
- doing a better job of keeping my cool or avoiding the situation, taking time to help Simeon clean up or just leaving it till I can clean it up. He is doing a better job of cleaning up these days, but sometimes if I know my fuse is short it's better to avoid a blow up than expect more of him than he can give me developmentally.
- no more spankings during diaper changes, diaper changes have always been difficult for us. I wasn't beating him, but it seems like a pop was the only way to get his attention. I'm trying to make it playful and if he does start kicking I just hold him down till I can finish up. These seem to be going smoother and he's not hitting me anymore.
- when there is a tantrum I acknowledge his feelings (frustrations at not getting his way usually) but remain firm on the subject if it's important or meet him in the middle if it isn't a very important matter.
- nap times had gotten ugly and now instead of leaving him screaming in his room, after our routine I "sleep" on his beanbag chair and after he winds down he goes to sleep. The first few days he tried to engage me, but he has learned that mommy is "asleep" on the beanbag so she is not going to converse. It is much more peaceful this way and sweet to be there as he nods off, I have a hard time being patient b/c I'm ready for a break but it seems worth it.

I'm excited for our AP group, it is a method for me to make some positive changes in my parenting style. I think it is an answer to my prayers.

As I have typed this we have had to move from outside playing in the driveway to the bathtub because of a busted knee and stepping in cat poop not once but twice in two different pairs of shoes. Ah real life, I think I could have been more patient. We have had a challenging morning despite a special breakfast date with Ba Ba. Maybe it's the molars coming in causing this whiny behavior. I do have to put myself in his place. It must be hard to have a sore mouth, be asked by your mom in a disappointed voice what you have on your shoes when you have no clue, and not be able to communicate well, not to mention scraping a knee for the 5th time in one week! Putting yourself in your child's place in the heat of an incident isn't easy. Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring is here!

Ok these are old pictures, but as you know I have to be in the right mindframe to blog:)

For my salvation

A few pictures to get you through this post:)

Momma and Simeon at our favorite bakery, Great Harvest

Sweet boy taking a nap, we don't have many sleeping pictures because he's not a great sleeper and I usually don't want to chance waking him up!

I have had this post on my mind for quite some time. When we were in our marriage counseling our spiritual father and pastor Father John told us that in marriage we should be helping each other along the path to salvation. What a beautiful image that is. And honestly in the early days this wasn't always easy. I certainly have plenty of rough edges that need sanding down, and becoming more selfless and growing closer to God isn't always painless. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful, faithful, God-loving husband. He is such of a hard worker, he rarely takes time out for himself. He is always working hard for his family, or the church.

I did do some spiritual reading while pregnant about raising a child in the Orthodox church. And we are very fortunate that we belong to a church where so many experiences can be shared with our children. There are things going on in the services that involve all of the senses. Sight, the beautiful icons- depictions of the saints, Mary, and Jesus that we reverence by kissing or touching. Simeon loves to kiss icons too, what better way to teach him about our Lord and those Christians that have fought the good fight before us. We hear the prayers and beautiful chanting during services. Simeon's grandmother and godfather are in the choir, so he particularly enjoys watching them sing. Smell the incense in the censor, which Simeon also loves to watch and listen to the bells on the censor. Touch, we make the sign of the Cross often during the services and touch the priests garments as they process while carrying the holy gifts. And taste, we allow children as soon as they are baptized and chrismated to partake of Communion.

I had seen other children in church and was looking forward to teaching him about God through our Orthodox worship services. Oh my goodness I just didn't realize what a challenge just surviving the services would be. It has been worth it though and teaching Simeon about our faith has drawn me closer to God. Having a child and trying to raise him right has been the most challenging thing I have ever done. You can be a "nice" person to most people, but trying to be loving and patient to a sometimes demanding little person who keeps you up at night and is constantly in need is very challenging. I definitely feel like I'm growing closer to God and becoming more selfless.

Father John also told us that children are closer to God. Simeon has always had an affinity for his guardian angel icon. And in the morning he will often go to the prayer corner and want to pray. Now he is done about one sentence in, but I am trying to nurture the seed that God planted in him. It's a good thing I have our church "village" to help me, because on my own I don't have the strength.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What is a good baby?

Well had you asked me that about 17 mos ago, when my little prince was about a month I would have said not my son. Now that I am a more experienced mom, I know how much I have to learn. I do know Simeon was a high needs baby. I don't think I'm going to ask people anymore if they're baby is good anymore. And it is a very faulty system of categorizing babies. Really how could they be bad, God made them that way. They aren't choosing to be fussy. I'm going to try to avoid this classification system.

Recently my good friend, C gave me her attachment parenting book by William Sears to read. And it has been wonderful and so different from what I expected. If only I'd had this book 18 mos ago!

A high-needs baby is many of these: intense, hyperactive, draining, feeds frequently, demanding, awakens frequently, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super sensitive, unable to be put down, uncuddly, not a self soother, and separation sensitive. It is harder to mother a child that is higher-needs, but somehow we survived. For me when I quit comparing Simeon to other babies and just went with the flow it got easier, if you read my blog you know this took a while.

If you have a baby or want a baby and haven't read him, I'd highly recommend it. I sped through the Attachment Parenting Book, I will definitely need to reread that. I'm working on The Fussy Baby Book and I have The Baby Book on the way. I love the flexibility of his books and the common sense approach. I didn't expect for him to spend so much time talking abou taking care of yourself and having a support group. When you have a baby I think you tend to parent similarly to how your parents did. Before I went to La Leche I didn't know too many people that babyweared or breastfed their children beyond a year.

Several people have told me to cry it out and for us it has been a complete disaster. I do not like having Simeon cry it out, I'm sure most parents don't but feel like it's a last resort. I'm not going to say you're bad for doing it, I'm not judging anyone. But for us other soothing techniques have worked better. And as a last resort he has cried in my arms or with me standing beside him rubbing his back, but he's not alone in his crib in the dark crying.

Mellowing has been the process that has happened with Simeon in the last few months. Maybe I stumbling all the way met Simeon's needs enough in first year and a half and now he trusts me to meet those needs. We still have challenging times, but on the whole life is much easier. He naps beautifully and sleeps better at night, we are still working on nighttime but things are much better. He is fairly adaptable, and generally a sweet boy. He does pretty well in church too. I know we will have rough times, but I'm really appreciating the good times.

Perhaps God sent Simeon to me so his future siblings will benefit from the things I learned. I definitely want to try things different next time. I want to babywear more, and now I know where to get help I am determined to be more successful with it. I also want to check out getting a co-sleeper to attach to our bed. And I'm going to give myself a break, let things go, and enjoy my tiny baby more. Don't worry there's no Rootlet on the way no, I'm just thinking ahead. I'm so thankful for our sweet boy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where to begin

Really where do I start. It's been since Halloween since I blogged!

I will give a quick catch up on what has been going on with our family.

In early November we lost my grandfather after a difficult stay in the hospital. He went to the hospital to have a tumor removed from his lung, now it has been so long I can't recall when he went in. I know he ended up in ICU for most of the fall. This was hard of course, but PopPop had been suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for years and had a hard time getting around. After the summer before last when he and Granny didn't plant a garden we knew he wasn't well. PopPop had told me some time back that they knew Grandfather Graves (Granny's father) was getting less able when he couldn't plant a garden. And I knew when Pop Pop didn't plant a garden he wasn't doing well. PopPop was a very devout Christian and I have no doubt he is with the Lord now, but we do miss him.

Christmas was joyous, but kinda sad. We lost mine and Daniel's grandfathers this year and to me change is one of hardest things to cope with. Realizing that the Christmas's of my youth are gone forever and that we won't ever have Christmas at Granny's in the same way was sad for me. Of course I'm not sad for Aunt Phyllis or PopPop because I know they're with God.

One of my fondest memories of my PopPop is of him and Granny coming up to Simeon's baptism. He loved us all and was so proud of us. Although he was a Southern Baptist and didn't believe in infant baptism he wanted to support his great grandson's entry into Orthodox Christianity. PopPop didn't really understand Orthodoxy, but he knew that my Daniel is a good man and if he was Orthodox then it must be ok. Simeon's baptism was before another service, so it was really long. Trying to find a time my mom could attend was pretty tricky, because of her work schedule. So my grandparents came and worshiped with us all morning long. What a wonderful memory I will cherish.

The weather in January was pretty cold, and we have spent a good bit of time inside trying not to get cabin fever too bad. We have had some play dates to keep us sane. And February is halfway gone now too. We have some busy weekends coming up soon and plenty of things to do in between the weekends. I have some great blog post ideas in my head, maybe I'll get them done sometime before next Halloween!