Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building Blocks

As I was falling asleep last night, I was thinking of ways that I could bring a little more "personality" to my blog. For privacy reasons, I don't want to post pictures of my kids on my blog. But I wanted to use some of my photos somehow.

I thought of the photos I have taken of my daughter's (from here forward referred to as "K") artwork and creations she has made with blocks and legos. I realized that I have pictures from when she was 3 years old up until now. (She is 6.) I thought it would be fun to see how her block building has changed through the years. So here we go!

June of 2009 - 3 years old

February and May of 2011 - 5 years old

2012 - 6 years old

It's so much fun to look and see how her creations have grown more and more elaborate over time. She still enjoys playing with blocks and I think she will for some time. It's one of her favorite things to do. Sometimes I wonder if she'll grow up to be an architect. You never know!

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Today Means To Me

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. What does this day mean to me? A whole lot.

50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of millions and told them about his dream. His dream that one day people would be treated equally. It's still not entirely fulfilled, but we are much closer now than we were 50 years ago. The part of his speech that really stands out to me is this:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I have two children. My husband is black, and I am white. It was only just recently that we were allowed to mark two races on forms that we fill out. When I filled out my son's birth certificate form, I had to put "other" because they would only let me mark one race. Why do we put so much importance on this, the color of our skin? I know it harkens back to slavery days and what not, but why is it still so important years later. Why do I have a fill out a form and mark that I am Caucasian? Why do I have to mark that my child is black, white, or "other"? My husband has taken to writing in "Christian" as his race, and I have to say that describes me much more than a color or "ethnicity".

We SHOULD be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin. But these color lines are so prevalent in society still. My daughter is in first grade. She told me that one of her friends saw her dad pick her up from school one day and asked her, "Is your mom white?" Kids are asking these questions. Will the day come when they stop asking these questions?

I am thankful to Martin Luther King Jr. We would not be even close to asking these questions if he had not done what he had done 50 years ago. We still have so far to go, but we've come so far. People still look at my husband and I like we're crazy. They still ask questions. He is still denied jobs, I think because he is a black man. I was attacked by a relative of his simply because I am white. Some women still give me mean stares when they see me with my family. Do they wonder why he's with me or why I'm with him? I don't know, but I hope that one day soon, MLK's words will ring true and there will be no more stares, no more questioning looks. No one saying that it will be "tough" for my kids.

I'll leave you with this.
My daughter drew a picture of the family. In her picture, I am the same color as her dad (dark brown). I asked her why. She said, "I didn't have a peach marker." She didn't see that I was the "wrong" color as being a problem. She just colored with the markers given to her. I hope we can do the same and realize our color is the marker God gave to us. Sure, we can't change it. But we can change how we treat others because of their color, judging them on the content of their character, looking underneath the surface to what's really important.

Thank you, Dr. King.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Undervalued Father

My husband recently posted a status message to Facebook that got me thinking. Basically, he was upset about all these anti-father posts, e-cards, jokes, etc. on Facebook and Pinterest. For example, this one from someecards.com:

Now I have been staying at home with my newborn for 2 months and I am exhausted, believe me. But I would never say that my husband is never exhausted and I would never claim that he doesn't do anything because he's not at home with the baby all day. I don't know where this lack of respect for fathers came from, but it is really starting to upset me!
I started to think about how there are some fathers that run out on their responsibilities. Young men who aren't ready for a child and leave their "baby's mama" high and dry. Everyone always blames the father, but could it be, even just a little bit, that women's attitudes are to blame too? When we have attitudes that say fathers don't matter, that they don't do any work, and that they're only there to provide money, that's what the fathers start to think. No wonder they run out on their responsibilities when they don't have an accurate idea of those responsibilities!

So, though some of you may find this card from someecards.com funny:

I do not. Father's Day should be just as important as Mother's Day. I would not be the person I am today without my father and I would go nuts if I didn't have my husband around to help (with more than just "bringing home the bacon").

End of rant.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Mother's Inventiveness

What is that saying? "Necessity is the mother of invention?" Well, I went on an outing to the library today and I had to be quite inventive. Knowing that it would be difficult to find a private place to breastfeed in the library, I packed some frozen breast milk that I would defrost if I needed to do so. I expected that there would be hot water in the bathroom, but that was not the case. The bathroom had those automatic faucets that turn on when you put your hand under them. The water was a set temperature, so it would be of no help in defrosting the frozen breast milk. Luckily, my son was not screaming his head off yet, but I could tell he was getting hungry. A mother knows.

I thought on my feet. What was in the restroom that was hot? The air dryer! It was one of those air dryers that blasted so hard that the skin on your hand moves, so I knew it would be pretty warm. I defrosted that milk with the air dryer, my son got his bottle, and all was right with the world.

When have you had to think on your feet? What did you do?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Feeling Overwhelmed?

It happens every week or two. I have a bad day or night with the baby. He cries all day, won't take a nap, or he wakes up for a feeding and then won't go back to sleep. I get quite overwhelmed, but I get over it by the next day. I've already said three times that I was going to quit breastfeeding, but I talked myself out of it (with a little help from my husband). I wanted to share a few pieces of advice for what I do when I am feeling overwhelmed.

- Take a breather. You've been holding the baby for 30 minutes and he won't stop crying? Nothing's wrong, his diaper is clean, he's been fed...usually for my baby this just means he's really tired. This generally happens when I am also very tired. It won't kill your baby to be alone crying for a few minutes. Breathe. Lay him down in his crib and step away. It's better than getting frustrated. The baby can sense that and he will just get more upset.

-Use pacifiers! Some parents swear they won't use them because they will have to ween their kid off of them. My baby doesn't use his every nap time, but the times he is especially fussy I will give him a pacifier. Unfortunately with young babies you sometimes have to hold the pacifier in their mouth to get them to take it, but once my baby does he calms down pretty quickly.

-Other soothers - find something that works...rocking, singing, crib soothers like First Years Gentle Vibrations Crib Soother or Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse are the products that work great for my son. You will find what works and you'll feel quite relieved when it does.

-Ask for help! Whether it's pumping some bottles (if you're breastfeeding) so your husband can get up with the baby every once in a while for overnight feedings or simply asking your husband if he can hold the baby for a while to calm him down, don't feel like you need to do everything on your own! Ask for help! It's a good way to help Dad feel connected too since breastfeeding takes so much on your part.

-Pray! This is my number one! If I am feeling really overwhelmed, I pray for the Lord to give me the strength to carry on. I say a prayer every night that my little boy will have a good night, sleep well, eat well when he gets up. This does not make everything turn out perfectly, of course, but for the most part things have been pretty smooth. I have had a few setbacks, but I pray and sleep on it and then I feel better in the morning.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, what do you do?