Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Heart Faces: Pets!

I couldn't resist the opportunity to show off my precious pups. Ali is the brown mutt, and Reeses is the black/white/brown half-mutt/half-corgi. They just love bath time, can't you tell? :)
Be sure to check out all the great pets at I Heart Faces this week!

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Summer Fun


I had lots of fun photos that could represent summer fun, but I really love this photo of Ella!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bye-Bye Pacifier

My husband came up with the plan. It was a slow weaning process, meant to be carried out over several weeks if necessary. I thought it sounded like a great plan. Three basic steps:
  1. Keep the pacifier (aka "fire" as my husband nicknamed it) out of sight during the day, except during naptime. I didn't think there would be any difficulty with this one. Most of the time Ella really doesn't want her pacifier during the day anyway unless she is tired or happens to see it sitting out.
  2. Don't give the pacifier to Ella when she goes to sleep at night. She almost always falls asleep very easily at night (we just lay her down with her monkey, blanket, and pacifier, play her lullaby music and walk out of the room - she's usually asleep in five minutes).
  3. Don't give her the pacifier at naptime. This is step I was absolutely dreading. Ella usually falls asleep fairly easily at naptime (although lately she's been fighting it more), but it seems like she really relies on her pacifier to fall asleep at naptime.
At the beginning of the week, I started with step one. I made sure Ella didn't see the pacifier at all during the day, unless she was going down for a nap. This step was easy. She never asked for her pacifier, and never fussed about it. This is pretty much what I expected from her.

Last night, we decided to try step two. I laid her down with her monkey and blanket, turned on her music, and walked out of the room (after a few kisses and "I Love Yous", of course). She fussed, but not terribly. It took her a little longer to fall asleep than usual, but really, it wasn't too bad at all. When I went to check on her before I went to bed, she was sleeping peacefully (without a pacifier, of course). I walked away happy, but maybe even more than happy, sad, because in the last almost 17 months I've been checking on her every night, she's always had a pacifier, either in her mouth, or next to her. My little girl is growing up!

During the day today, I decided I would try step three, just to see how she would do. I laid her down with her monkey and blanket, and she asked for her pacifier. I told her she didn't need that, and asked if she'd like a book instead. I gave her a book, turned on her music, and walked out of the room. I fully expected her fuss, cry, and whine without her pacifier. But, amazingly, she didn't! She fell asleep quickly and without hardly any fussing. So, honestly, at this point, I'm thinking it was just a fluke and she must have been really tired. Time for nap number two today. Same routine, and once again, she asked for her pacifier. I distracted her with a book, and left the room, not optimistic at all she would fall asleep for a second time without her pacifier. But she did! I was (and still am) in shock!

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that the pacifier will magically be out of our lives just like that. In fact, she had more difficulty falling asleep tonight than she did last night. But, the fact is, she did fall asleep without the pacifier, and that's a great step. I still can't believe she's already old enough to be getting rid of the pacifier . . . when did she grow up?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Proverbs 31:17

Far Above Rubies

(To read previous posts in this series first, click here.)

Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV): "She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms."

I'm a very literal person, and I'll admit that I had to really meditate on this verse to understand its meaning. I think that going through this verse by verse study has been great for many reasons, but especially because it has made me meditate on what is being taught in each verse. Too often, I allow myself to skim over a verse when reading a particular passage without truly thinking about what is being taught.

Studying the worthy woman of Proverbs 31 really should silence critics who proclaim that the Bible teaches that the woman isn't worthy. Yes, the woman's place and role is different from the man's place and role, but the woman is important, capable, and worthy just as the man is important, capable, and worthy. This section of scripture (Proverbs 31:10-31) starts out (verse 10) by describing the value of the woman who is described throughout the rest of the passage. Proverbs 31:17 describes this woman's strength. Women can be and should be strong.

The inner strength described in this verse is something the worthy woman has to work towards. She actively pursues strength. According to Dictionary.com, the term "gird" (another one of those words we don't use in our everyday speech) means "to encircle or bind with a belt." To me, if someone is girding themselves with something they mean business!

Consider, only as one example, the great responsibility of raising children, and the strength alone a woman needs to raise children. In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul instructs Timothy to teach that the younger women "should marry, bear children, manage the household, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully." Similarly in Titus, Paul instructs Titus to teach that the older women admonish the younger women "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blashphemed."

Gear for the First Year

As we are preparing for baby number two, I've been thinking a lot about what baby gear I really loved with Ella, and what baby gear I could have (and sometimes did) done without. I know every parent and child are different, but here are some of the products I thought were great to have with Ella. At the end of my list, I've also included a few things I want to get next time around that I didn't have with Ella. I bet this post will be continually edited/added to as I think on it more. :)

Gear I couldn't live without:
  1. Swing. I particularly liked this style of swing that swings in two different directions.
  2. Bouncer.  A lot of folks will tell you this is a waste of money, especially since you only get a few months of use out of it, but I thought it was wonderful to have - especially when I needed to take a shower or get something else done. For example, I could put her in the bouncer in the bathroom while I showered, and always have my eye on her.
  3. Swaddling blankets. I did not have this particular brand of swaddling blankets (I actually had some pretty cheap ones that didn't hold up well), but I've read that these are great quality swaddling blankets. As a side note, in case you don't know, not just any blanket works well for swaddling!
  4. Halo Sleep Sacks. These are great for the baby to sleep in!
  5. Burp clothes: We needed lots of these because Ella spit-up a lot (turns out she had a milk allergy and that is why she spit up so much), but babies spit up and make lots of messes and burp clothes are great to use to clean up these messes.
  6. Bottles (if you plan to bottle feed at any point): I tried three different kinds out with Ella (Nuk, Playtex Ventaire, and Playtex drop-ins). I liked the Nuk ones the best, but I also liked the Playtex Ventaire bottles. I HATED the Playtex drop-ins, but maybe that's just me . . . I know a lot of people recommend them.
  7. Pacifier (if you plan to use a pacifier): I'm really thankful that Ella took a pacifier (it helped out in lots of ways), and it wasn't too hard to wean her!
  8. Happiest Baby on the Block. I have not read the book, but we watched the DVD in the hospital (I believe all the information is the same, just different formats). He has some really great tips for calming babies. They worked great on Ella!
  9. Your Mama Don't Dance. Ok, this isn't just for the first year, but for a lifetime of parenting. This is really a great Christian parenting book.
  10. Car seat. Obvious, I know. However, in my opinion, it isn't necessary to get an infant car seat that has weight limits above 22 lbs. By the time your child is that large you DON'T want to carry them in the infant car seat any more, and it is somewhat difficult to buckle them/get the child in and out of the car in the infant seat (if you just leave it in the car rather than taking it out).
  11. Pack and Play. We used this as our bassinet for the first few months (in our room), but we've also used it extensively when we traveled, as well as when we are out at a friends house and want to put Ella to bed.
  12. Moby. I loved being able to wear Ella.
  13. Boppy. Great for nursing, as well as just holding her in my lap. A least a couple of slipcovers are useful as well because it does get dirty!
  14. Stroller. There are lots of mixed opinions about the type of stroller to get. I've liked ours, although it is somewhat bulky (it is kind of a middle-sized stroller that our infant car seat would snap into).
  15. High chair. Some folks recommend the spacesaver type (which I also have for traveling and eating out - and like for those purposes), but at home I much prefer to have a regular high chair. If I was limited for space, I might think about this differently.
  16. Camera. I didn't get this camera until Ella was a little older, but a camera (of some sort) is absolutely necessary!
  17. Camcorder. I've used this a lot more as she's gotten older (after all, new babies don't really do much) but I'm still glad I had it when she was a newborn.
Gear I thought was nice to have, but not absolutely necessary:
  1. Diaper pail. I used this a lot in the beginning, but found that I just ended up throwing the diapers away in the regular trash most of the time. With that said, we take our regular trash out frequently - if you don't, you will most definitely want one of these.
  2. Mobile. I really liked one that was battery operated (rather than wind-up) and had a remote control so I could start it back up without disturbing Ella.
  3. Jumperoo. I was tempted to put this under the "I couldn't live without category" but I realize it isn't a necessity. Ella loved this thing though!
  4. Bumbo seat.
  5. Playmat. Ella liked this, but it wasn't something we used for a very long period of time.
Gear I want for the next baby that I didn't have with Ella:
  1. A good nursing cover. I absolutely HATED the one I had, but I really want something that hangs around my neck (rather than just using a blanket). If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!
  2. Noise machine. I'm not sure about the specific one, but I'd like some sort of white noise machine. White noise is great for newborns.
Moms, what gear did you like for your little one?

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Father's Love

Two words: Nose kisses!!