Tuesday, December 31, 2013

5 months.

Dear Henry,

You are such a big boy!  You have grown and developed so much over the past month!

We started feeding you solids when you turned 4 months, and in one month you have transitioned from a timid eater to a spoon-fed pro!  So far, you have tried rice cereal, oatmeal, squash and sweet potatoes.  You have liked everything you've tried so far, but sometimes it does take a few tries :)

You love being active.  You love standing up (with help from Mommy and Daddy.)  You have rolled over several times, although you still need something to kick off from.

You love your feet.  You hate your socks.  One of the funniest moments of this past month was during naptime.  You woke up early, so I decided to let you stay in your crib to see if you would fall back asleep, but I was watching closely on the monitor.  You pulled your feet up, pulled off one sock, then the other, and promptly fell back asleep...as if your socks were keeping you awake.  Funny boy!

You are talking up a storm!  So far, you can say a few consonants: m, b, g, w.  Most of the time, you stick with ooohs and aaaahs.  Sometimes when Mommy sings to you, you even sing along!

You are such a great sleeper.  Right now you sleep 10-11 hours at night, and take three good naps during the day.  You still don't love naptime.  When I'm rocking you before naptime you kick, you arch your back, you talk, you cry, you smile at me...all attempts to distract me from my purpose of putting you to sleep.

You have discovered Molly and Selby.  I'm sure you've seen them before, but recently you look at them and laugh or smile.  You especially love when Selby licks your hands.

You are ticklish.  Your tickle spots are under your neck, and on the back of your ribcage.  If we tickle you, you just scream with delight.

You are definitely teething.  You drool everywhere, all over your shirt.  Sometimes you seem to be crying for no reason, but you stop if I massage your gums.

You are VERY easily distracted.  When I feed you, sometimes I have to turn out all the lights or cover your head with a blanket.  If the tv is on in the same room, you will stop whatever you are doing to watch it.  I finally caved and let you watch your first movie.  It was only because the cleaning ladies were here and we needed something to do while we were temporarily kicked out of your room.  We watched Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and it was the perfect length to keep your attention.

We love you so much!  Every month gets better and better.  We feel so lucky to be your parents!


Mommy (and Daddy)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas wonderment.

This year, JP and I have been discussing Christmas.  A LOT.  Like every day.  Multiple times a day.

You only get to introduce your child to Christmas once.  We want to do it well.  Not cut any corners.  Not sell it short.

Today we had a Christmas event with our refugee kids.  In thinking and planning on how to possibly explain Christmas to a bunch of kids who don't know Jesus and weren't raised in America, we spent a lot of time analyzing what a typical American Christmas would look like to a kid.

When we stepped back and analyzed Christmas through this lens, we didn't like what we saw.  GREED.  SELFISHNESS.  MATERIALISM.

When did Christmas become so shallow and petty?

Why is the birth of Christ not reason enough to celebrate?  We have to add Santa and reindeer and elves and LIE to our kids about the true meaning of Christmas.  These things are so innocent and seem harmless, but from our perspective, anything that sells Jesus short of who He is and what He sacrificed, is just interference.

We want our kids to know and cherish this time, not because of what is under the tree, but because of the Father who sent His Son, and the Son who came to give His life.

We're not crazy.  We will have a Christmas tree.  We will give our kids gifts.  But we will limit the amount of secular hoop-la.  We will limit the Christmas gift giving.  We will give more than we receive.  We will worship Jesus.  And we will try to forever instill the wonder of the season.

Henry's first Christmas lights

Thursday, December 12, 2013

4 months young.

A little late, as Henry turned 4 months old...oh, 22 days ago, but we have been BUSY!

Solids Foods: At Henry's 4 month check up, we got the go-ahead to start giving Henry solids foods.  We started with rice cereal, once, twice, then three times a day, then did the same with oatmeal.  We now alternate between oatmeal and rice cereal at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Henry loves eating big boy food.  It took some time for him to get the hang of the spoon, but now he is so easy and cooperative.

Teething: Henry is chewing on EVERYTHING.  His hands, my hands, his car seat, his clothes.  We bought him a Sophie giraffe, but up until now, he was very unimpressed.  Now that he's teething, he loves to chew on her...especially her face.  I don't feel any teeth coming through yet, but I know it's only a matter of time, now.

Sleeping: Henry is now sleeping 10 hours at night, with 3-4 naps during the day.  He learned how to self soothe this month, which is a big relief for Mama!  After I rock him for a few minutes, I put him in his bed, he rolls onto his left side and sucks his thumb until he's asleep.

Playtime:  We started putting Henry in his activity gym this month, and he LOVES it.  I have to admit, I didn't understand the concept of an activity gym.  I have no idea what exactly is so fascinating to Henry, but he can lay there and play for quite a while.  I can almost see the wheels in his head turning.  We bought him the SkipHop alphabet gym, which I would recommend.  It is very bright and colorful, is gender neutral, and has lots of figurative "bells and whistles."

Development: Henry has rolled over in his bed a few times.  I say that he is cheating, because I think he uses his the side rails to kick himself over.  He still enjoys tummy time, and can lift up his entire chest and head for around a minute at a time.  He "stands" with assistance, which is one of his favorite things to do.  He get so proud when he stands up.  He even lifts his feet as if he's taking steps.

This past month also included a trip to the pumpkin patch and Halloween.  I felt really lame taking my son trick-or-treating when he can't eat any candy.  Obviously, everyone would know the candy was for his parents :)  We decided to make a few stops to see friends, and spend the rest of the night at home welcoming trick-or-treaters.

We made another trip to Oklahoma to see family.  Since I was working Thanksgiving day, we went up to Tulsa the weekend before.  Oh, what a mess.  We were supposed to fly out on Friday at around 9:30 pm, but by 10 am that morning the flight was already 2.5 hours delayed.  Ouch.  I was not looking forward to flying with a 4 month old at midnight.  So, we packed up the car and decided to drive and save our flights for another time.  The trip was a little tougher than last time.  Since Henry is awake quite a bit more, he got kinda bored and restless sitting in the car for 9 hours at a time.  He had one breakdown on the way up, and one on the way back.  Not too bad for 18+ hours in the car.

Henry's aunt Kerry graciously agreed to keep Henry on Saturday so JP and I could go with the Miller family to the Baylor-OSU game.  Another Ouch.  I'm going to guess the wind chill during that game was somewhere in the ballpark of 15-20 degrees.  I cannot remember ever being so cold.  Add the fact that Baylor played the worst game I have seen in a while, and it was a pretty miserable day.

We ended up getting "iced-in."  There was snow and ice south of us in Oklahoma, so we decided to stay an extra day to avoid some potentially dangerous roads.  Still, it was a nice 5 day change of scenery.

Wow, what a month!  We have been so busy, and the days just fly by!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Woman's Gift

And I'm back into philosophical mode and quite possibly into soap box mode...we'll see how this goes.  Just so you know, you've been warned.

I recently read a blog post that has been circulating around pinterest, facebook, and various other social media sources.  It's so unfair when a blog post goes viral, because inevitably people who don't belong to the target audience end up reading a post that was usually just meant as a personal collection and sharing of thoughts.  HOWEVER...we live in a global world.  Every time you click publish on a blog post, you have to know that many different people from many different walks of life are going to read what you write.  Not all responses will be positive.  I have a feeling I will make more people mad with the words that follow here, but I am willing to take that risk.  My heart has been burdened with the need to get this off of my chest, so here goes.

The gist of this blog post was about big families and having multiple children.  I have nothing against this, really.  If that's your desire and you have the means to support a large family, go for it!  There was one thing that stuck out to me that just did not resonate well with me, though.  The author said something that basically communicated that fertility is God's gift to women.  I don't necessarily disagree at surface level.  Yes, God decided to bless women and not men with the ability to carry and deliver children.  That is a simple fact of life, and something that separates the genders.  

But it got me thinking.  I think one of the BIGGEST ways the church fails women is in communicating this one little statement.  [I say church with a little c, meaning people who attend churches, versus church with a big C, meaning the collective bride of Christ.]  Every time the church tells women that their only job is to be a wife and raise children, I think they (we) run the risk of alienating a large group of women.  These women include working women, single women, widows, women with fertility issues, etc.  

I have to admit, I used to have a hard spot in my heart for stay at home moms.  This callous-ness was more a result of feeling judged by people than it was an actual dislike for women who stay at home.  I have many friends who stay at home with their kiddos and I think it is wonderful.  But a part of me cringes every time someone gives me a look that communicates they either disapprove of my desire to work, or they assume that I am working because I am financially required to work.  Both insult me.  Why can we not come to a place where we all acknowledge that the decision to work or stay at home or attempt both is a personal decision with no right or wrong answer?  But, I digress....

I fear that the church diminishes our role as women every time it implies that our only contribution is in birthing and raising children.  This is a HUGE role!  I have only come to realize how huge in the last few months.  I am not in any way trying to minimize the task that us mothers are given.  

HOWEVER...if birthing children is the only way we can serve God, then what does that say about the many women who will never have children?  What does that say about the many women who desire children so desperately but can never have them?  What about those courageous women who volunteer to raise other people's children through fostering, or women who choose to adopt children that they didn't physically birth?  These women still serve the Lord with the hearts, their individual talents, and their wonderful lives.  

I admit, I have never miscarried, and I have never struggled with fertility issues.  I can only imagine the distinct hurt and grief that those of you struggling with these issues go through.  I have heard women say that these are silent hurts that they feel they have to struggle through on their own.  Maybe this is because it is a deeply personal hurt that women don't want to share.   That is certainly a possibility.  But I wonder...if the church tells you that your only gift is to raise children, and you can't have them, does a small part of you feel like a failure?  If this is true, then shame on us, church...WE are the failure.  

We as a church are supposed to create an environment where people feel safe and loved.  Unfortunately, I fear, we have created an environment where people feel they have to meet a certain check list just to be allowed in our doors.  We've lost it, church.

There are so many examples of women in the Bible, and women in recent history that have brought so much glory to the Lord through lives without children.  These women are to be celebrated!  

To wrap this all up and attempt to tie it all together with as pretty a bow as I can manage...God tasks us all with different jobs.  You may be asked to be a mother, a teacher, a missionary, a preacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, an accountant...the list goes on and on.  Whatever we are called to do, let's do it well and quit picking on other women just because their calling looks different than ours.

That is all, Internet world.  Hopefully, I have managed to not offend at least a few.