January 29, 2011

A Day Of Rest

Today is my day off.  Well, at least from my business, that is.  When I first become completely self-employed, it was hard to get myself to work.  Now, it's hard to get myself to quit working.  Both are significant problems and both need to be carefully monitored or disaster (to my business) ensues.  It's a balance.  Anyway, making sure that I have an actual weekend and a full 24 hours (at least) of rest is really important and often hard to achieve.  Especially because I love what I do and I want to always be there for my people.

Danny is just barely stirring from his very long nap (thank goodness, because he was up 3 times with teething trouble between 3 and 6 a.m.) so this post is going to be fairly quickly put together.

We still don't have an exact date, but it seems as though Alejandro may be able to make it home by next weekend.  It will be a total of 4 weeks without him once he returns, if he does indeed make it home next weekend.  Phew.  I'm more than ready to have him home.  I definitely miss him and I'm definitely worn down.  (Hence the great thankfulness that God commanded us to take a day of rest no matter what presses at our door.)  My Dad wrote this great post with pictures of more of what Alejandro has been up to.

I've sort of figured out some systems though, to help me get through these four weeks on my own, without allowing my business to fall through the floor, and it is an odd sort of feeling to have pride in having figured that out.  There is sort of a "I would be ok" sort of feeling if (God forbid) I ever did have to do this parenting thing on my own.  Ok, minus the crippling loss and emotional heart-wrench.  Given that, I definitely wouldn't be able to do it.  But I now get how single moms and military moms make it through.  You just figure it out.  You just do it.  And plus some simple systems help greatly.

Alright, it's time for me to go grab some Tylenol (my head is killing me) and to get Danny up.  But before I go, I'll leave you with a few new recipes over at Mi Cocina and some great pictures that Matt took of our two boys hanging out last week:


















January 28, 2011

Full

From the moment I found out I had a baby growing inside, I began to pray one prayer and I haven't stopped praying since.

"Lord, let this baby have a heart for You.  Teach him to hear your voice and perceive your presence and give him your Holy Spirit from an early age."

I've been pretty convinced my prayer was answered before tonight, but this evening at church when he raised his little hand and praised Jesus at church, I became even more certain.  I know that he will have a conversion experience some day.  I know that there will be a day when he decides to give his heart to God and a line will be drawn in the sand separating "before" and "after."  But this little one already loves to praise his Lord.

Tonight I went to the Mill for church.  I was craving it.  I dropped Danny off at Kids' Life (our church's childcare) where I deposited him into the eager arms of a woman who recognized him by name and declared him to be "the perfect baby".  Ha!  She wasn't around for dinner tonight.

Anyway, I went over to church and drank it in.  Our church has a gift for worship through music and I lost myself in the Holy Presence that filled the room and drowned out everything else.  It was so rich that when church ended, the worship band kept playing and half of the congregation stayed to keep singing.  I slipped out to go get my little bundle of energy, hopeful that he would still have some of that energy left to come back and enjoy the music for a bit more.

Boy did he ever.  As  we walked back in, he became quiet and observant.  His wide eyes looked all around at the multitude of men and women praising Jesus.  As we approached our seats (which we didn't bother to sit in), it was as though he felt the holy moment and he reacted immediately.

He reached out an open hand to the air.

He wasn't signing please or all done.  He wasn't reaching for something.  He didn't make a sound.  He wasn't waving or pointing.  He was praising Jesus with his little hand open to the air, honoring the King he was before.  And then promptly, despite everyone else standing, his mommy looking at him, the loud music playing and eyes open all around him, he folded his hands and bowed his head to pray.

The lump filled my throat.

In the next minutes, he raised his hand more.  He sang.  He asked for milk and his pacifier.  He wanted down and then up and then down again, but through it all, he remained reverent. He signed music and bounced and then raised his hand again.  It was like he was just taking it in.  I prayed over him and worshiped with him while I observed what child-like faith looks like.

After about ten minutes, his little one-and-a-half-year-old body reminded him it was way past his bedtime and he started to fuss like the Danny I know when he's cranky and tired.  I grabbed his cup that he dropped. Then the pacifier that he threw.  Then the cup that landed on the floor again.  Finally I grabbed our coats and we headed out to go home.

That transition, from awe and praise to tired and cranky, just helped me see a little more clearly that I was not mistaken or blind in my mommy-hopefulness.  Rather, my son saw the King of Kings tonight, and I couldn't be more full.

January 27, 2011

No Complaining

I am on overload.  I have simply hit my limit on the number of things my brain can process today.

This week I have done really well.  I called a friend last night and she said I was totally hyper and really "up."  She was right.  I totally was!  And I am still content.  Just fried.  I truly LOVE working.  I realize some of you are gagging in your mouths every time I post something about how much I love what I do, but I am just so thankful for it and I wish everyone could experience it.  I think it's how God designed life to be.  For us to truly LOVE what we do.

Alejandro sent me this picture of himself yesterday.


Wait, wait...  Here you go.  


Yeah.  So, now you know he's actually painting.  :)  

And since I'm on overload... I'll share a post I started the other night and never actually put up:  

No Complaining

I was listening to the Mary Kay Hotline yesterday (a motivational phone recording changed daily) and my business mentor was talking about the idea of complaining. She is reading, "The Success Principles," by Jack Canfield (someone who definitely lives big) and one particular section of the book talked about how we only complain about what we have the power of changing. He drove the point home with the example of gravity. No one complains about gravity because there's nothing we can do about changing it. His point was that we should never complain because anything we might be complaining about is something within our power to do something about. Even if the only thing we choose to do is change our attitude.

I was thinking about this, and I think that from the perspective of someone who knows Christ, there are two situations we complain about. (1) There is the situation we either have no control over, such as the death of a family member, a health condition, or financial loss of a job due to the economy, etc. I think these are situations we are dealt and which we experience because we live in a fallen world and which God most definitely WILL work through in our lives. If we operate under the understanding that God is in control, that He holds us in His hands and that nothing and no one can separate us from His love, then there is no reason to complain. Indeed, to complain is to say, "God I reject this situation that you have allowed me to be in for the shaping of my spirit." It is a rejection of His perfect will for our lives.

I'll be the first to admit that many situations He has chosen to work through in my life were NOT what I would have chosen, but in hind-sight I can see the way He wove His perfect plan for my life through that situation and even used it to build His Kingdom in the after-math. This separation due to my husband's work is a prime example.

(2) Then there are situations that we complain about that we have every ability in the world to change, but we choose not to. An example is someone who complains about living paycheck to paycheck but who won't go out and get another job. They may even have a noble reason for not wanting to work, like being a stay-at-home mom, but if this is the case, they still have no right to complain. It is their choice, and they wish to stay in that situation. Another example is someone who complains about being in an unhappy marriage. They whine and whine, but they won't leave, nor will they do the work to improve their marriage. (I am not for leaving marriages for any reason other than those stipulated in the Bible, but that gives us no right to complain about the calling God has given us in our marriages. And yes, your spouse IS your calling.)

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm a complainer. I've even complained on this blog from time to time. (No, really?!) That's why this principle of Mr. Canfield's convicted me so much.  Either change my attitude or change my actions.  But either way, zip it.  No more complaining.

And ya'll can hold me to that the next time I whine on this blog.  ;-)

He's Helping Cook Dinner

Me está ayudando a cocinar la cena.

January 26, 2011

Dear Daddy,

Today Mommy and I played blocks. We played for a long time. I built towers six blocks high several times, all by myself! I was building using the triangle, square and cylinder blocks that go in the fit-the-shapes-in-the-right-hole toy and I figured out that I have to turn the triangle a certain way or the other blocks can't set on top. I felt pretty smart.

Also, I figured how to fit those blocks into the right holes all by myself and I know how to get them out, although Mommy has to help me because the string is hard to pull.

When I ran out of blocks to build towers with I pulled over the basket that has all the balls and regular blocks. I dumped them in my lap like always.

Then I sorted out the colored blocks I was using before and put them in my lap to keep building. Did you know that balls don't work to build towers? I tried. It doesn't work. So I quit trying.

Mommy got tired of sitting on the floor so she leaned on my orange pillow. I got mad and took it away. It's my pillow and she can't lean on it. You can't either.

At lunch I tried to get her attention by acting like I was going to throw my food on the floor. She said "no" and ignored me. That didn't work. So I didn't throw it. I ate it and dropped the spoon instead. So then I had to eat with my fingers.

Now it's naptime so I'm dreaming of you and when you come home. And ice cream. And marshmallows.

I love you, Daddy!

Danilo

Milk Mustache

This is Danny's attempt to smile and eat cereal at the same time. It's got me in stitches this morning!

Renee

January 25, 2011

Cloth Diapers 102 - Why?

Photobucket

As promised (long long ago in a far away land - just kidding), I am back with my second post on cloth diapering.  I'm here to answer the question, "Why on God's green earth, would I want to use cloth diapers in the first place???"

I'm so glad you asked.  Ahem.

Well, God's green earth actually is a big reason.  But alas, I must admit, it was not my first reason.  My first reason the simple fact that I'm cheap frugal.

Have you ever added up the cost of disposable diapers???  Holy moley, it's ridiculous, especially if you don't buy the generic store brand - which I do on the rare occasion we need a pack of disposables for longer travel.

The kind owner, Dani, of Baby Cotton Bottoms (my favorite cloth diaper store) has given me permission to use all of her research and content (because Heaven knows I won't be doing that myself), so if you want the full scoop, just click on over to her site.  And nope, I'm not being paid for this review.  I just really like cloth.  And Baby Cotton Bottoms.

But what was I saying?  Oh, yes, the cost... There is a myth out there that cloth diapers end up costing more than disposables.  Well, I suppose the up front investment is more, especially if you don't include them in your baby registry, and if you use the most expensive brands, and if you buy enough for five days without washing instead of 2 or 3 (gross), and if you opt for a diaper service rather than washing them at home.  But consider what Dani says:

"Your baby will go through about 6 -12 diapers a day ~ or about 9000 diaper changes by the time he/she is potty trained. At $0.24 a diaper, that adds up to about $2,160! Disposable wipes will cost another $400-500. In contrast, purchasing your own cloth diapers and cloth wipes to wash them at home will cost somewhere between $300 and $1000. Considering your laundering costs (about $.50 a load or $120 over the course of 30 months) you will still save about $2,000 - $2,500 over an average 2.5 year period! And if you reuse your diapers over multiple babies, you can multiply this savings!"  That was plenty reason for me.

"Washing every third day for about 15 minutes (that's about what I spend loading, unloading, etc) translates into 300 wash loads per baby or 75 hours total. If you saved $2000 by cloth diapering, you just paid yourself over $25 an hour! If you wash every other day, you still pay yourself about $17.75 per hour. I don't know about you, but I can't argue with a wage like that!"

And if you decide to use cloth wipes too, the savings are even bigger.  Why wouldn't you? If you're going to wash the diapers, you might as well wash the wipes too. Dani figures on an average of 84 wipes per week. At 4.4 cents per wipe, that's $480.

So there's the monetary savings.

My second consideration was that I really did like the idea of cloth on my baby's bum rather than disposable materials.  I knew nothing about the actual contents of chemicals in disposables, but Dani does.  She shares all about it here.  Here's what I found out by experience:  My little one's newborn tooshie had much less diaper rash with cloth and when I used my wipes juice solution, than when I used disposables from the hospital.  I found that it left his skin hydrated and soft.  Much better.

My third consideration was God's green earth.  I am all about taking care of this planet He gave us.  I'm not a fanatic, but these numbers just grossed me out.  First of all, have you considered that it is actually illegal to throw away human waste in a trash can?  It must be specially disposed of.  Just check out any hospital.  And yet, what happens to dirty disposable diapers each day?  Ick!  All that should be dumped down the toilet, rather than a trash can.

Dani says, "a single baby goes through about 9,000 diaper changes before they are potty trained. That adds up to about 2 tons of used, non-biodegradable waste per baby when disposable diapers are used! In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.  Estimates suggest that 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.8 million tons of wood pulp (1/4 million trees) are consumed each year in the production of disposable diapers. In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers..."

"No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.  Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste."

"Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.  The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth."

"In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale."

Yikes!

Why use cloth diapers?  It's better for our Earth.  It's better for baby's skin.  It's better for your bank account.   Enough said.

January 24, 2011

Sittin'. Waitin'. Writin'.


Well, our weekend in Albuquerque visiting with Alejandro and our extended family is over and we are headed home.

It was a wonderfully relaxing, romantic, precious weekend.  Alejandro and I are more motivated than ever to get back home and get to work so we can be back together.  Of course, *I* can't do anything to make his work go faster, but I think moral support can do wonders.  For those of you who are wondering, we still don't have an exact date of his return... but it will probably be two more weeks.  That doesn't seem so long anymore.

I wrote here about how I thought this time apart would be good for us.  It has been hard, but I do think it has been good.  Our appreciation for each other has been renewed and we have had to renew our efforts to improve our communication, making sure that it is not only clear, but also full of love, appreciation, affection, and encouragement.  I feel I have a lot of work to do in that area.

I have been reading Teaching Tuck and Ty lately.  Trisha lost her husband suddenly to illness on December 23rd, just one short month ago.  This blog has me thinking A LOT about making every moment count, and cherishing the times we do have together.

I have more thoughts on that now, but we are boarding, so I'd better sign off.  See you all in Colorado Springs!

January 23, 2011

A Walk Outside Inside

Apparently I've done a rather poor job of keeping you all updated on just how much Danny is walking these days...  because Alejandro's jaw dropped at how fast and how much this kid toddles all around the place and he's only been gone two weeks.

We have spent the weekend in a hotel here in Albuquerque and one of the ways we've kept our little man entertained is by letting him explore the hotel.  He leads.  We follow.  Last night we rode up and down the elevator about six times as he turned corners and enjoyed total freedom to go anywhere doors didn't prevent him.  Here is two minutes of his 45 minute walk around the Sheraton.



____________________Español____________________


Una Caminata Afuera Adentro


Aparentemente, no he hecho muy bien and mentenerlos informados del progreso de Danilo y como está caminando en estos días.  Alejandro ha estado en California por dos semanas por el trabajo y él se quedó  sorprendido de cuan rápido y cuan fácil Danilo camina por todo el lado, y solo han sido dos semanas desde cuando lo vió de último.  .  

Estamos ahora en la ciudad de Albuquerque, en Nuevo Méjico, y unas de las mejoras formas de entretenerlo a Danilo es dejarlo caminar por todo el hotel mientras le seguimos. Anoche subimos y bajamas en el elevador seis veces mientras Danilo exploraba.  Aqui es un video de dos minutos de la caminata adentro que duro unos 45 minutos total.  


January 21, 2011

Aaaaah

My feet are up and Danny's choosing room service while we wait for Alejandro to arrive from the airport.

January 19, 2011

stream of consciousness

i have a totally blank mind and have no idea what to write.  well, maybe a more accurate statement is that my mind is chock full of a million things and i have no idea where to start or what to share.


in t-minus-45-hours, danny and i will in albuquerque, meeting alejandro for the weekend.  but who's counting, right?  right.  


i'm pretty excited.  my mom and step-dad and his family are all meeting there for a weekend of hang-out time.  it's half-way between colorado springs (where i am) and san diego (where alejandro is), so it worked out perfect for us to break up our time apart about halfway through the length of it.  the original plan was for him to be gone for 3 weeks.  i think we both knew that it would probably stretch longer. we don't have a return-date yet. 


alejandro is really good at what he does (i know, i'm biased) and he sort of accumulates more work wherever he goes.  it's a really great thing.  don't get me wrong, i really miss him, but this trip is a very good thing for us, since he was laid off six months ago.  i am amazed and so proud that his handyman business (both here and out of town) has provided a full time income for him in such a short amount of time.  god is good.  and this trip is really helping.  anyway, enough said.  it will be really good to see him.


today, melissa gave me the day off to work, by taking danny all day.  it was awesome.  no, really.  i love working.  i mean i love  working.  it's sort of hard to do when i've got danny with me 24/7.  i always knew, before i had kids, that as a mom i'd need something to do besides be a stay-at-home mom.  i have never wanted to put my kids in day-care, but i also knew that if they (or for now, he) were my only "thing," i'd go stir-crazy.  i'm a better mom when i have my time away to dive into my other god-given calling.  


melissa said i looked markedly refreshed when i walked in.  she was right.  


i'm way behind on reading up on all ya'll's (can i do that?) blogs and responding to comments.  i'm so sorry...  


i have more food in my kitchen than i know what to do with.  i've eaten at all my friends' houses more times in the last week than i've eaten at home.  


i really need to go to bed.  i'm loving my haircut.  i need to get up bright and early.  


this post is now probably a total waste of typing, but what the hey, i'll post it anyway.  :) 




g'night all,

January 18, 2011

Hair Cut

Look, Honey... See my haircut?


Oops.  I blinked.


Dorky smile.


See the side?


Oh, that one's blurry.


Boy, I need to clean the mirror.
(Yes, I write all over it.)


Scratch the sexy-bite-your-lip-look. 


Well, I guess that'll do. Oh wait! The back...


What do you think?  Yeah, I know I didn't change much.  I'm trying to grow it out.  

January 17, 2011

Milestones

Danny hasn't quite been himself lately. I was starting to wonder what on earth was wrong with him and I figured he was just having a really hard time with Alejandro being gone. Then last night I remembered to shove my fingers into the back of his mouth to see if any more teeth were coming in. Remembering things is a challenge lately. Yesterday, as I was headed out the door to go to Matt and Melissa's house, I went upstairs four times and forgot to grab my wedding ring all four times, but grabbed other things instead. I finally decided they wouldn't forget I was married and I could go have Chinese food without my ring.

Anyway, I remembered to feel for teeth. The "aha" that came over me was all-encompassing, as I felt around and found that all four of his first molars are coming in and one of them has already cut through. Well no wonder he's been a grump!

Commence come-apart moment hour. Yeah, I lost it. All of the frustration and emotional exhaustion that I've experienced over being a temporarily-single working mom of a teething 18-month-old (complicated by several other things I've not shared on this blog) came crashing down and I melted into a blither of tears.

Let me just say that Melissa is the kind of friend you want to have around for life. (And I'm sure she will be.) She just hugged me and said I was doing a great job and prayed with me and let me cry. Matt took the two boys and let us be emotional mommies for a bit.

I'm not very good at asking for help. Ok, ok, I royally suck at it. I'm not even gonna' get into why. Suffice it to say that I need to get better at it.

Anyway, Danny seems to be lots better this morning and so am I. Sometimes I wonder if it's just my knowing what his issue is that makes him feel better. It's as though he's just wanting someone to sympathize with him. I can relate to that.

He has done all kinds of fun new things this weekend. Friday afternoon I put him down for his nap at 1pm and got busy packing for an overnight at my college-friend, Catherine's house. (That seems gramatically wrong but I'm too excited to tell the story to fix it.) He played. And played and played. And played. "At least he'll sleep in the car on the two-hour drive north," I thought. Once I was all ready to go, I loaded everything in the car and headed toward his room to get him up and put him in his car seat.

I should've known something was awry. As soon as the door was just a crack open, the worst smell of poop EVER hit me. I walked in and there stood Danny, with the most delighted look on his face, peering at me from his crib, stark naked from the waste down.

"Oh noooooo,"I uttered.

I always wondered if Danny would ever pull the play-with-his-poop stunt. Well, Friday was the day. Fortunately, he didn't actually play with his poop, just his diaper, but it was still pretty gross.

I stepped towards him and with a lively giggle, he thrust his dirty diaper towards me with a pleased look as if to say, "Look what I did Mommy! Isn't it great!?" Oh how I wish I'd had a camera in my hand for that moment. All I could do was laugh. An hour later Danny was bathed and we were in the car on our way north.

At Catherine's house, Danny was delighted to play with his buddies, Luke and Joe.


This was the only picture I got. They sort of didn't stop moving the entire time, so my phone camera didn't really suffice.

On Saturday morning, Danny woke up and looked at me from his pac-n-play before I had gotten anything but a groan out and said, "Mow-en!" (Translation: "Good morning!") He had the perfect inflection and everything! It was too cute.

A few minutes later he asked for a tissue I was using. I gave him a clean one and he wiped his nose with it. He even tried to blow a little, and then wanted me to blow into the same one. I declined. Yesterday he did the same thing and he made a "pbbbbbb" sound with his lips. Apparently he realizes that noise is part of the nose-blowing process.

Oh, this stage can be SO fun! (When he's not upset about his teeth or playing with a dirty diaper, that is.)

Later Saturday morning, Catherine and I took the boys swimming. This was Danny's first time (unless you count Costa Rica when he was six months old). Danny wasn't a huge fan, but the rest of us had fun. He mostly clung to me while his lips turned blue. Oh well. We'll try again sometime. Maybe when Alejandro's back.

Danny LOVES his shoes, especially the ones he doesn't fit into yet, because he can get them on. Yesterday afternoon, he put on and took off (with help) four pairs of shoes. He usually puts them on the right foot, even. He finally settled on a pair of flip flops. In January. That's my boy!

Last night he proved to me once and for all that he understands every single word I'm saying to him.

Matt and Melissa have three stairs that lead from their family room up to their main level. Danny was headed toward them and got up to the top stair before I told him, "No."

He looked at me.

"No," I said more emphatically this time.

He looked at me.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

Silence.

"I know you know what I'm saying," I said.

He stepped down two stairs.

"All the way."

He came down the last stair.

"Now come on back in here with us."

He walked back around the couch to where we were.

My conversations with him haven taken a dramatic turn for the more mature in the last 12 hours. It amazes me how much he's capable of understanding!

Ok, one more story. This morning he went over to the closed laundry-room door and tapped at it while looking at me. "No," I said, "We're not going to play in there." Five minutes later when he would not give up but persisted without throwing a fit, I asked him what he wanted from inside of there. I opened the door and he went in and got the broom.

I have a feeling our floors are going to be immacately clean soon.

Ok, maybe not. One can only hope.

January 12, 2011

Play Dough

PLEASE EXCUSE THE PICTURE QUALITY.  
THE ONLY THING WITHIN REACH WAS MY PHONE.

The other night, Danny and I made play dough.  


He totally loved it.  So did I.


He tried drinking the remains of the flower from the cup.   


I let him stir the little empty bowl while I stirred a larger one, although he managed to reach the spoon into my bowl several times.  


Yep.  He got it everywhere including his face helped.  He also picked the color.  I held them up and he pointed to blue.


He was content to watch me stir the hot play dough from his step-stool safely out of arm's reach.


He wasn't too keen on the smell or feel when it was time to knead the warm dough, but in this cold snowy weather, it felt wonderful on my hands!


The first thing he did was try to eat it.  


He gagged (as evidenced by the red teary nose and eyes in this picture, although it's hard to tell) and he did not try eating it again.  


I helped form shapes.  He squished and experimented.  


He wasn't to sure what to do with a big blob of it but once I made forms out of it, he got more interested.  



We are definitely going to have to do this more often.  


Want the recipe for the home-made play dough?  Just click on Mi Cocina for it.