Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's All in the Eyes

  • Over the weekend, my parents came for a lovely visit, and Ricky journeyed to Charlotte, NC to take a test for higher certification in his career. He feels good about it!
  • Aolani's antics: can now sing "The B-I-B-L-E", carries books with her to do her #2 business, enjoys bossing Micaiah around and making him laugh, communicates with me a lot, does not wear pull-ups when we go out anymore, and has peed in her crib during nap time six of the last seven days (despite practice, I don't think she understands that she can let herself out of her bed because she has not gotten out yet and continues to call me when she wakes; she'll figure it out, though).
  • Micaiah's mishaps: measured 29" long and 18.5 lbs, has a fever right now and is acting wimpy and clingy (does not want to be put down or play with toys), wants to play by my wheelchair (at my feet) when I am the only one around, when Aolani climbs up onto my lap Micaiah will come over to us and start trying to climb up my footrest (precious!), and... this is sad for me... I think he is done wanting Mommy. He is all about Daddy now. [I was hoping the Mommy-infatuation-stage would last a little longer, like one-year.]
  • What we do for a fever (no other symptoms): draw it out with cold washcloths (on forehead, head, neck, and inner wrists) and take Elderberry Syrup (I take it five minutes before nursing to pass on the immuno-benefits through my breast milk for infants). And pay attention to the child :)
  • Our current routine -- 7-8: kids wake, nurse both  8-9: we all get ready  9: Ricky leaves for work and we eat breakfast  9:30-10: organize/clean/laundry/play  10: Micaiah nurses 10:30-11:30: Micaiah naps while Aolani and I play (I try to plan fun stuff for now) and eat a snack  11:30-12: change diaper  12: nurse Micaiah  1-1:45: Ricky comes home for lunch  1:45-2:30: tackle nursing them both and getting them down for a nap  4: Micaiah wakes, change diaper, read  4:30: nurse Micaiah, Aolani wakes  5: nurse Aolani and eat a snack 5:30-6: Ricky joins us  6:30 dinner  7-7:30: Micaiah gets ready for bed and nurses  8-8:45: Aolani's bedtime routine  9: we breathe 12: we go to sleep  [Notes: Micaiah still wakes 1-2x a night to nurse. Also, their may be another diaper change in here depending on his bowels ;) This is more like a routine than a schedule; all the times are subject to change daily! Aolani usually talks and sings to herself at night for 30-45 minutes. Aolani sleeps ~10.5 hours at night and ~2 hours during the day. Micaiah sleeps ~12 hours at night and ~2.5 hours during the day.]

  • My mom got these adorable dress-up outfits for the kids to wear tonight, and we tried them on (too cute). Halloween: Our current feelings about this day is that if you aren't going to use this opportunity to witness, then don't celebrate it. Since we did not have a single visitor last year (or tonight), we did not want to make today special. So, we are dressing the kids up tomorrow in honor of All Saints' Day (and eating treats). However, we do want to go out door-to-door and pass out tracts (or small books, more likely) when Aolani gets a little bit older. Like a reverse Halloween! [Knock on a door. Opens up. We have a treat for YOU! Give book.]

    • Okay. So I made a board book using this cute idea, a Book of Eyes, showing just the eyes of family. It's suppose to be baby-friendly; however, Micaiah kind of chewed the edges before I got around to taking pictures of it (sorry). [Note: I should have cover the whole thing in packing tape for an indestructible, truly baby-friendly toy.]

    • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Dear New Mother,

    A few days ago, we had the privilege of opening our home up to a young family with their first newborn child. While we had a lovely time, their baby was a little unhappy (not colicky, just crying -- as if he could not quite get comfortable). As any new, caring mother would, the Mommy nursed, held, and rocked the baby to no avail. I could tell she was worn out and just wanted to go home and go to sleep (and put the squirmy bundle to bed).

    Anyway, my heart just went out to her as my own memories were stirred, and past-recent feelings quickly flooded to the surface. I knew I should have spoken to her my "words of comfort" (not really knowing if they applied to her or not). But, I didn't say anything. So, I emailed her later my thoughts. [I'm sorry I wasn't brave enough to vocalize them, if you read this!]

    Now, I don't really think these words helped her, but it sure helped me to write out these thoughts of mine, as I don't think I had gotten them out of me yet! Because I need this pondering of mine recorded in my journal (and this site is my family and personal journal), I am including the email below:

    "I know how hard it is to go out with newborns especially. Conscientious of their every breath and attending to their needs and making sure they're okay and don't need anything, hoping all will go smoothly -- they'll nap and nurse like perfect angels, never whimper ;) -- not wanting to impose on anyone or disrupt them or me thinking that my baby might be annoying people with their crying... Most of all, the hardest thing for me (which I didn't realize was true until I read it on a blog and realized just how this articulated my feelings as a mother) was that each cry felt like a little dagger, from my precious baby directed at me, as if to accuse me, "You are a failure of a mother. I have a need and you aren't meeting it. You are a failure." And, it was true (for me). I would feel like this every time my baby would cry. And when we were out, it was worse because then I would feel embarrassed (I'd think "now others know and see and must agree that I am a failure and must be doing something wrong or he wouldn't be crying (like this)"). I always prayed everything would be quick, so I could get in and out without my babe causing a ruckus that made me want to hang my head in shame. That's one reason why I hated going anywhere with my baby -- to avoid the judgement from others (that I felt, whether it was real or not) about my mothering ability. Anyway, no pat answer. Just recognition for me. Satan's lie over me was evident once I saw it written out -- because I am not a failure of a mother. I love my kids, keep them safe, warm, fed, and give them lots of attention and affection. Most kids in the world cannot say that. Remember: babies cry and that's their job. Check them and meet their needs. Hold them and be near them. If they still cry, just shrug it (not them) off. It is not a reflection on your mothering ability.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Outdoors to Indoors

    • We had an action-packed weekend (and idyllic weather)! Ricky's parents came for a visit (park, lunch, cupcakes at the local bakery...), and they babysat after we put the kids to bed while Ricky and I went to some friends' house to play Settlers of Catan (and laugh and munch) until the wee hours of the morning! [We had so much fun!] Sunday afternoon, after the grandparents left, we went to our church's fall festival, which was at a member's local, 100-acre farm (complete with cabins, a petting farm -- Aolani's first, a tepee, games, a bonfire, wagon rides...). We skipped nap times, which was tough for them, but a worthwhile event!
    • Micaiah has had more trouble teething than Aolani -- nonstop tears and snot sometimes, fussiness, frequent wakings... I didn't know what to do that we weren't already trying. My mom got him an "amber teething necklace" (my sister-in-law said they work!) -- google for more info. It is just for wearing, not chewing, because amber helps with pain-relief when it touches the skin. Seems bizarre, but I think they must be helping because he has not had a nonstop crying episode since he started wearing them a month ago! [I will add that people are now calling him a her because of the necklace ;)]
    • I just started leaving Aolani's crib unlocked today for naps, which will mean no pull-ups during nap time because she can get out by herself. We'll see...
    • Aolani had her first real sickness this week. She woke Monday morn with a fever. From 11:30 to noon, she sat on her potty just staring out and resting. Then, she bent over on the couch and started sleeping! I asked her if she was tired and wanted to nap, and she replied yes. After a three-hour nap (from which Micaiah woke her), she spent the rest of the evening lying on the couch with cool washcloths and blankets. Her highest temp was 102.5 degrees F. No other symptoms though! No fever at all today :) Don't know what it was... maybe it was over-exhaustion from the weekend and then skipping a nap and messing up her routine..
    • Aolani's antics: calls Micaiah "Daya", can unlock the fridge and laundry room, figured out how to open doors and drawers even with two different childproof locks on them, yells "No, baby" when Micaiah starts beelining for the open bathroom or bedroom or refrigerator, colored her first leaf rubbings, and... In the morning, Ricky will often get up before the rest of us. When we are all awake, I call "Rick!" into the monitor to let him know we are ready for him to come help us. Well, Aolani often joins me by shouting "Ridt!" It is hilarious! She calls him Daddy the rest of the day; I guess she just thinks that's what you say in the morning if you want Daddy to come and get you ;)
    • The first four pictures are from August:

    • From this past weekend:

    • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 6:9 ~ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Resting and Battling

    "Look around you and be distressed,
    look within you and be depressed.
    Look to Jesus, and be at rest."
    ~ Corrie ten Boom
    "The future of America doesn't depend upon what lost people do, but what the saved people do."
    ~ Richard Land
    "When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith."
    ~ Abraham Kuyper

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Time Marches, Baby Crawls

    • Over the weekend at church, we (Ricky, really) got to share about our love for the Persecuted Church and invite others to learn about and pray for our brethren (samples of inspiring short stories here).
    • Ricky had to work from home all day Saturday on another 900-page transcript that is due this Friday :( It's a doozy.
    • Ricky surprised me on my half birthday last week by bringing home cupcakes (from the local bakery) and a Redbox. [We watched October Baby. Oh man. I bawled through the whole thing -- highly recommended!]
    • Well, the biggest news around here is that we have begun closing doors again (the pull-up bar in the bathroom doorway is down). Yep, Micaiah has started crawling, several days before he turned 10 months old. [Aolani rolled over at 4 months and crawled at 8 months. Micaiah, 6 months and 10 months. There is a similar 4-month window!] The video below is right when he started crawling. In a week's time, he can move much faster now. He loves the washer/dryer/laundry area; he follows me into the bathroom. He does not like being left alone but wants to be where we are. He squeals with delight as he crawls, as if to say Here I am! Look at me! I'm coming!
    • Micaiah's mishaps: the day after we get home from Florida, Micaiah begins to clap and play peekaboo (I think he took notes from his one-year-old cousin), is constantly spinning around while sitting, enjoys tasting and touching the wheelchair, pulls up on his knees, is slowly moving towards chunky baby food (we tried some table food but gags on most still), flips the pages of the book when we read, loves the water, likes to open and close the oven door on the play kitchen, lights up when Aolani plays with or includes him, poops daily without us feeding him prunes anymore, always demands Ricky's attention when Ricky is home (wait, so does Aolani... and me... poor hubby -- he says It's good to be wanted though), cries easily (may be emotionally sensitive like Ricky), etc.
    • Aolani's antics: counts up to eleven, put Ricky in timeout and spanked his thigh tonight (!), never cries or complains when the baby wakes her up at night, her toddler go-to word is yes (not NO), still has nightmares occasionally and wakes up crying until I go in and comfort/rub her, is still struggling with that sickness she got last weekend (except that now it is just a little cough at night that Micaiah shares too, of course, so the humidifier is on at night), her favorite toy has become wooden building blocks, does gymnastics on all my handrails in the bathroom, helps set the table and clean up after dinner, understands everything (it seems), is getting better at pretend-play, and always wants to be involved in what we are doing!
    • I don't think I could adequately portray how much these two love and adore each other, but it is sweet for me to behold (i.e., they have this game where Aolani squeezes and kisses him and they both giggle -- repeatedly -- while he is on my lap trying to nurse after his morning nap). Micaiah even responds to her calling, "Baby!"
    • I nurse them simultaneously in the morning, and they are so adorable then -- touching, rubbing, holding hands... I had read that tandem nursing may help with sibling rivalry; seems true so far.

     The toddler perch (seriously, putting the changing table in front of a window has been a great thing for baby and mommy)
     We put Micaiah in a box with some toys in the kitchen one evening while Daddy cooked -- contained and content (and with us) :)
      Micaiah's first crawl and clap [and our homemade hoop]
    • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 6:8 ~ Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Taken with Mercy

    There is a scene in the movie Taken where Liam Neeson aims his gun at some bad guy, who is pleading for his life to be spared, and pulls the trigger anyway, taking this man's life. Showing no mercy. And, on the inside, I cheer -- yes!

    I mean, granted, this bad guy is more than bad (by our human definition). He is d-e-s-p-i-c-a-b-l-e. Like, sick-to-your-stomach, nauseating, repulsive, "please kill this wretched being!"

    However, after the movie was over, all I could think about was this scene and how I felt. I was glad that Neeson killed him. Moreso, I was glad that this bad guy did not receive any mercy because he sure did not deserve any!

    And, it hits me like a ton of bricks: in God's eyes, I am that bad guy. I am no better. I do not deserve to be shown ANY mercy! I, the wretched woman I am, deserve death. Period.

    Thank goodness that Liam Neeson is not God! Because God does offer mercy, not because we deserve it but because of His loving goodness, in the person of Jesus. Believe in Jesus = receive mercy (and forgiveness and eternal, abundant life). Reject Jesus = reject mercy (and receive the death, eternal torment in hell, that bad guy had coming).

    Yes, thank God for loving me enough to send Jesus to pay my debt and offer me mercy so that I can have a different fate! Now, in God's eyes, I am clothed in righteousness, covered by Jesus's blood, and He sees His Son.

    Mercy = simply defined as not getting what you deserve.

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Hooray for Vacay!

    • I'm short on time playing catch-up (bills, budget, meal plans, groceries, laundry, mail, etc.), so this post will focus on our vacation last week. I'll do a kids' update next week.
    • We had the privilege of joining my family (parents and brother's family) in Marco Island, FL for a week! We met my brother's family at the airport and flew there together (which Aolani loved). Simply, we spent most every day at the pool. The kids would nap in the hotel rooms. We'd eat breakfast and lunch in our rooms and go out for dinner (back before 7 p.m. for bedtimes). And, we ate a ton of sugar; I mean, desserts twice a day some times! Ricky and I got to enjoy four dates together (leaving the monitor with my parents in the next room over): dessert on the beach one night, dessert and a movie at the local theater, relaxing in the adult pool during a nap time, and a cafe reading session during a nap time. [Vacation for me = reading a Christian historical fiction book. This one was A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers, and I devoured it! Superb!] I got a little sunburn on my legs and spent the final two days avoiding the sun and the pool (which might explain why I got heat exhaustion one morning, from wearing clothes and not being able to cool off in the heat). Ricky took the kids in the ocean one day, and he also was treated to a round of golf. Aolani enjoyed her first time in a hammock. Ricky and I befriend our maid :) And, I cannot emphasize enough how much fun it was for the two toddlers and two babies to have playmates! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for it all!
    • The only downside was that Aolani got a little sick (producing a lot of mucus) the day we were leaving, which is likely the reason why she barfed after the plane landed (but not in the barf bag, mind you). It was a big mess.