Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big Bang Theory and the Teacher Strike

Big Bang Theory is one of our favorite shows. Daniel and I don't have TV (just Netflix), but every Thursday night we stream that night's show on our laptop. We've been looking forward to this next season all summer, and a couple weeks ago I came across a news story that said it was going to be delayed. The cast of the show didn't show up for the first day of shooting because they wanted to be paid more. Specifically, they wanted a million dollars... PER EPISODE. That's an insane amount of money, and the only other TV actors to get that much were the Friends actors. The end of the article said something to the effect of "don't worry though, it won't be delayed long because let's face it...they will get the money." And sure enough, they have started shooting now because the deal was signed within a couple weeks.
I said all that to say this. As much as I like the show...it's a TV SHOW. It adds nothing of value to anyone's life (except the actors!)
A little closer to home, our teachers ( the people who add value to little lives) are also asking for something too. Their requests are a little more reasonable though. They want a fair wage (which is still too low in my opinion), and they want class sizes small enough that they can actually give our kids some personal attention. Why is the government considering this so unreasonable? Their job is important. I don't say that flippantly. It's very very important. They are not just teaching our children how to read, write, calculate, and work together. They are spending a good part of each day with our children, and as a parent, I can say that if another adult is influencing that much of my child's life, I don't want that adult to be stressed and pulled in so many directions that they can't spend the time they want with each kid.
We are already very blessed with the school our girls go to. Those teachers to the absolute best they can with what they have (which I'm sure is true in almost every school), and they do their best to teach our kids life skills as well as regular school subjects.
A couple of years ago I gave the girls a treat after school. I had accidently put one too many on the table. Tegan came over and handed it to me.
"Wow tegan, thank you for being honest!" I said.
"You're welcome. I thought about eating it, then I thought 'no, I should have integrity'" she said.
They had just learned about integrity that day in school. In fact, they still get certificates occasionally when they model integrity, compassion, and helpfulness in class.
Now, you could say, "yeah, but parents should be teaching those things at home and not relying on the school to do it." I agree with that, and we do. But like I said a few sentences up, the teachers influence our kids for the better part of a day, and it's very comforting to know that they are carrying on or enhancing what kids are learning at home. It would kind of suck if it went the opposite way, don't you think? And I'm afraid that if class sizes are allowed to increase more and more, the poor teachers won't have time to teach those things as much as they may want to, because it will take all day just to get through the basic reading and writing!

Anyways, I know I never post "controversial" things on my blog, but this is important. Give the teachers what they want. They are not being spoiled actors demanding more than they need....they are the people who are teaching our children, the next generation of adults, the skills they need to be the architects, doctors, and inventors that the world needs. They just request the tools they need to do their job as effectively as possible.

P.S. I have a 5 year old who should be staring kindergarten on Tuesday. She has been practicing her letters and writing her name for over a year in preparation. She has gotten frustrated with herself because she can't read yet and she wanted to before going to kindergarten. She has her first day of school outfit picked out and hung up in the closet. And now the day is almost here and I have to tell her that she can't go.
And why? Because the government doesn't see some of these things as important. They are important because our children need to be taught things, like conflict resolution, better than the government's level of understanding on the subject. Figure it out. Our kids want to go to school. And our teachers want to teach them.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take Time To Make Time Stop

If you think the title of this post is cheesy, just wait until you hear where I got it from! Most of my "moms of girls" friends might know.
A Barbie movie. It's from a Barbie movie. I forget which one, but they sing a lot in it...and because I usually only hear my kids' movies (they watch them while I drive), I noticed that these were the lyrics to one of the songs in the movie. It just stuck with me, and reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago about slowing down for a time to really take in the moment.
Anyways, moving on. Our life seems to be in fast forward this week. I seriously have barely had time to sit down. Thank goodness for breastfeeding so I'm forced to sit occasionally! Between cooking, canning, cleaning, helping Daniel with Reno's and answering six hundred thousand questions a day, I can't seem to finish one thing before moving on to the next thing that needs my attention.
And then yesterday, while I was sitting to nurse Sadie, I slowed down. I made myself stop thinking about hurrying her up so I could move on to the next task.
All of the other girls were playing outside, and Myka came in for a snack and asked if she could come sit with me. At first she asked to play Wii but I suggested she read a book instead. She saw one in the living room and said, "how bout I read this one? I love it!"
She sat on the edge of the couch and tried to balance the book on her lap while holding her snack in her other hand. I said, "why don't you scootch back so that your back is against the couch? That way your book will for in your lap." For the life of me I can't remember what her snack was, but this is when the moment slowed right down for me. She was thoughtfully chewing each bite and saying "hmmm" as she turned the pages. The biggest thing I remember noticing is how her feet hung off the edge of the couch just to her ankles and thinking about how soon it will be that her feet can touch the ground while sitting there. Then I got super imaginative and started thinking about she and I sitting like that when she's an adult, sipping coffee and chatting.
I quickly snapped back to the moment though and just watched her. It was such a short part of my day, but it stuck with me. I wrote it here for no reason other than I don't want to forget it, and I KNOW unfortunately, how quickly memories like that fade.
Don't grow up too fast Myka :)

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Friday, August 22, 2014

What a Week

Grandma even came for a visit!

What a busy, busy week it has been! Actually it has been the last two weeks that have kept us on our toes. I feel like we are in super production mode! Lol.

The girls had swimming lessons every day for the past two weeks. Not just every day, but ever morning....at 9:30am. By the time we were out the door everyone was happy to go, but there was definitely a few mornings where I know we would have all rather stayed in bed! The girls did great though, and we did have a lot of fun in the pool. Sadie even enjoyed the water! This morning when we were there, the girls would put just their lips under the water and blow bubbles, and she started copying them! She would put her lips in the water, then pop back up and smile :)

We are also trying to get our house and rented trailer ready for winter (😵), and when Daniel has had days off, we have been working like crazy. He's been renovating the entryway to be warmer and more practical. The girls have been super helpers by hauling away the wood and insulation, and doing pretty much anything he needs help with. I can't wait to see it when we are all done ....it's going to be so organized! Lol.

My grandma had a knee replacement surgery last Thursday. I was lucky to get to go visit her in the hospital twice. It's hard seeing someone you love recover from a surgery like that, but she has done so well! I'm excited that as she recovers even more, her knee will be so much better. She's had so much trouble with it this year :(

Sadie had her two month checkup yesterday, even though she's almost three months (I think I have what's called "fifth child syndrome"). She's 13 pounds, happy and healthy. It's so easy to take that for granted sometimes, but we really are so blessed to have a baby like that. It makes my job a lot less stressful, that's for sure!

I've really noticed some changes in Addison this week too. Maybe not changes exactly so much as I've noticed her personality a lot more. She's really starting to " mother" her sisters. It's really awesome to see her helping so much, although I do have to say this....if I ever need to be honest with myself about things I do or say that I probably shouldn't, I just have to watch to see how she talks to her sisters. She's like a little mirror reflection of me! That's sometimes kind of scary, especially when I hear her say things that I said I would "never say" to my kids....it's usually empty threats or guilt trips :(. There is much room for improvement!
That part aside, I really appreciate how willing Addison is to play with the other girls, and how nice she is to them even if I know she'd rather be doing something else!

Between trips to town, renovations, yard clean up, cooking, and looking after the baby, I am pooped. I'm so glad that swimming is done and I can just be a hermit this next week. I am excited to be busy, but at home instead of in town. The girls and I are going to pickle some beams, do some baking, and help Daniel fin
ish the entry. And I can also use Sadie's nap time to sew a little bit, yay!

I was so distracted that I didn't think k to take many pictures of our crazy week, but here's a few snapshots :)


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five Things I'm Passionate about

Finally, another installment in the "30 things I want my kids to know about me" series!

1. God
2. The subject of abortion
3. Learning about pregnancy, breastfeeding and childbirth
4. Joy
5. Marriage

Bonus #6: baby care, like bathing and swaddling...hence my business :)

Dear girls:

To me, being passionate about something means that you think about it a lot, and when the subject comes up in conversation, you think, "ooooh, yeah I want to talk about that!" It's something that you research lots and always want to learn more about. Because of that, you form pretty strong opinions...which is cool. In my opinion, having an opinion is a good thing (see what I did there?), especially if you know lots about a subject. It gets annoying when you tell everyone your strong opinions all the time though, especially if they didn't ask.
I sure hope I don't do that! but I do enjoy a riveting conversation with people on any one of the above subjects :)

Being passionate about things is good. It's what changes the world.

I can already see each of you girls forming passions about different subjects, and it's really cool to see your personalities come out in that. On one hand, I wish you could all stay little forever....watching you grow so fast is hard for me because I want to slow it down a little! On the other hand though, I look forward to see what kind of young women you are going up to be and what sorts of things will hold your interest!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Danica's Blankie

The original blankie :)

The new one...i think she loves it.

Shortly after Danica was born, I bought her an AlllyZabba blanket from BabySteals. I wanted her to have a special blanket that she could take places with her (she had a special quilt from grandma, but that had to stay on the bed). I loved the idea of the minky and satin together, and thought it could be her "special blanket." Little did I know just how special that blanket would become!
In three years she has only spent 4 nights away from it...and those were hard night, let me tell you!
"Polka dot blankie" has been hallway around the world with Danica, helping her sleep every night when she rubs the satin between her fingers. It helps her feel better when she gets hurt or is sick, and when anyone else in the family is down, she generously offers her blankie to help us feel better.
It's been a fort, a picnic blanket, a blanket for sick stuffed animals, a cape, and anything else her little imagination comes up with!
One night a few months ago we couldn't find it. Finally, after looking for an hour and a half past her bedtime, we told her that she would have to try and sleep without it and we would bring it in right away of we found it. She reluctantly agreed and left us with this: "if you see a blankie that has colored polka dots and feels soft when you do this (rubs her finger and thumb together), then that's polka dot blankie."
The blanket has held up really well for the past three years, though it's not without it's scars. There is a nail polish stain on it and a spot I had to sew back together when myka accidentally snipped it with scissors. It's not as soft as it was because you are supposed to air dry minky and, well, that didn't really fly with her. It hasn't been an issue now that she's older, but when she was two, even waiting for blankie to finish getting washed was a challenge!
I've been wanting to store the blanket in her hope chest when she's done with it, but have been getting nervous that it would get wrecked or lost before that point. Daniel suggested that I get her a new one last time they were on BabySteals and try to swap them. The new blanket arrived yesterday :)

Daniel held it up to show her and asked if she wanted to trade. I could tell she was thinking about it but said, "no, I don't want to."
"Are you sure? You should feel it!" He said.
She reached out and touched it, then quickly, almost timidly, she handed Daniel hers, grabbed the new one and ran to her room.
We walked in to find her snuggled up on the bed with it and her eyes closed. 20 minutes later I went in and found her fast asleep :)
"New blankie" has found it's way into her heart and now I'll store the old one in her memory box. And what sweet memories it holds!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Danica Day

Danica and I don't get to spend much time alone together unfortunately, but today we got as close to that as we have in a long time. My wonderful sister took my older three girls to my wonderful mother's house for the day! Thanks, wonderful sister and mom :)

So like a good mother, I took full advantage of having "only" two kids, and jumped at the opportunity to grocery shop without being too outnumbered.  I also turned it into a mommy/daughter date by getting us a starbucks. Brilliant, I know :p

We had so much fun chatting as we shopped, and she loved that she got to do all of the helping without making sure she was being fair with myka.

We got home before the girls, and this happened....

She brought me the Land Before Time movie as I was feeding the baby and said this:
"Mom, we can watch this movie? Because dinosaurs are like, my favorite. One day I had a dream about dinosaurs, you know. I was standing near it, and it said "rawr".

The whole afternoon was filled with little things like that that made it special. And I'm writing it here so I can remember it forever :)

Thanks for the fun afternoon danica! And thank you Sadie for being good so I could pay attention to her :)

Friday, August 01, 2014

How I Get My Babies to Sleep Through The Night

I will counter that rather confident title with this large disclaimer. I am NOT an expert of any sort, and I don't have a large enough test group to guarantee my methods at all (but close :)). Any day now I could be forced to eat my words if Sadie's current habits change, but for now I can say that out of 5 children, the last 3 have learned to sleep through the night quite early in their lives.
I'm not sure why...if it's my "routine" or their personality. Either way, I'm not lacking sleep right now and I'm a-okay with that!



I figured that if for some reason something I do works to help babies sleep through the night, and if that something could help another new mom, then it would be worth writing down.

I do know that every baby is different though and what works for one may not work for another. With my second daughter we dealt with colic, and this routine probably wouldn't have worked as well as it has for the last three girls.


So...here is my humble experience.


I feed on demand. Just like babies aren't born with a sleeping schedule, they also aren't born with a feeding schedule. Their main goal in life is to drink milk, and lots of it. However, they have tiny tummies and high metabolisms, so to get all that growing done, they need to eat often. My youngest three babies have been exclusively breastfed, and I have fed them all on demand. Sometimes there was a 3-4 hour stretch between feeds in those early days, and sometimes they nursed almost constantly for a few hours before falling into a deeper sleep. Someone once told me  that our bodies work with our babies bodies to regulate both the milk and a feeding schedule to suit their needs and by feeding them this way, I have always kept a good supply and have established a routine in the first couple of months.
I don't remember where, but somewhere along the lines of me learning about breastfeeding, I also learned that your milk is more watery in the mornings to hydrate the baby better, and it's fattier in the evenings to help keep their bellies full at night...cool!
In my experience, my babies start life by eating quite constantly for the first week or two, and it doesn't take long for us to "find our groove" and a natural routine to form.

Though I formula fed my first daughter, I don't remember much about it, but I would assume it's a similar concept!



Some days babies just need more milk or need it more often....and as they are gearing up to sleep for longer stretches of time, cluster feeding...whether by breast or bottle...is a great way for them to get enough to last longer between feeds at night.
My three girls who slept through the night at an early age were also swaddled. When Tegan was a baby, she had a traumatic experience and as she was recovering a wonderful lady from the child development centre came to my house to keep an eye on her. She taught me the benefits of swaddling and how to do it properly, and I've swaddled my babies ever since. I've done it right from birth, every time I'm going to rock them to sleep. Over the first few weeks, it becomes a routine that when they start yawning and seeming sleepy, I will swaddle them up tight and either nurse them or give them the soother until they are asleep. It seems to work well as a signal that it's time to sleep and it helps them settle. I always swaddle with their hands near their face...and when they are old enough to break their arms out of it easily, like Sadie does now, I wrap a second swaddle over the first one to secure it. I find that they wake themselves up much less due to the Moro reflex because of this.



I also snuggle them lots :)

So, those are the things I do all the time, day or night. When my babies are newborn I just go with their nighttime schedule, but at night I keep it as dark as I can and don't interact much with them. I try to just feed them and put them back down. I only change their diaper at night if it's necessary.  As they get to about 4-6 weeks old, I start to implement a couple things to establish an actual bedtime.

When they start to get fussy and tired in the evening, I swaddle them up and nurse them until they are asleep or almost asleep. I bathe my babies about 4-5 times a week in a nice warm bath too....on fussy days, this really helps :)

I gradually start to put them in the crib when they are not quite asleep. Then the cycle starts of them fussing, me putting the soother in or rubbing their back, then leaving the room. I usually have to do this quite a few times for a few nights, but they have always started to fall asleep faster and it never takes too long. When they wake in the night, I go into their room, nurse them, and lay them back down as soon as they are done...I don't unwsaddle or talk to them, and it seems to work well for signalling to  them that it's still night time.



Wow, that was longer than I intended! I get too detail oriented when I write sometimes, lol.
But always, those are my little "tips" and routine for how I've gotten my last three babies to sleep at night. I sure hope Sadie keeps it up and doesn't make a liar out of me! LOL

At 8 weeks, she is currently going to bed consistently around 9-9:30. She usually wakes at 3:30 to feed, and twice now, she has skipped that feed and slept 10 full hours.
During the day she usually has 2 long naps, with a bunch of catnaps in between. I like to snuggle her during the cat naps because there is so little time to snuggle them when they are this little!!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

This n' That




This weekend has been pretty awesome :) Because the girls and I were at his parents' house over the past few weeks, Daniel and I hadn't been on an anniversary date, so yesterday we packed up Sadie and went to Grande Prairie for the day! It was a really nice day too...we ate pizza at famoso for lunch and went to all our favorite stores, like home depot :) we drank iced teas from Starbucks and played with Sadie a bit, and were home in time for Daniel and the girls to play Mario kart before bed. 


Also, Sadie nailed the smiling thing finally, and I got it on camera! I love your smile, little girl :)


As for my thought of the day...I've been thinking lots on the topic of worrying about your kids. I'm starting to think that's one of the most exhausting parts of being a mom!
A few days ago I learned a friend was pregnant. We were excitedly texting, and she started asking questions about things that were worrying her about early pregnancy. I answered the best I could, then sent a text that said, "try not to worry about it." 
As soon as I hit send, a tidal wave of epiphone and emotion hit me and I sent one more text. 

"Although I know that from now until forever, you will never stop worrying about this little baby."


And now I've been thinking about that all weekend, and it's been making me really sentimental when I look at my girls. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with each one, they have been on my mind almost constantly. I've worried about everything and done my best to make sure none of them ever hurt. I always thought I would be a "tougher" mom and not get emotional at every little thing. I am not that mom. I'm the emotional one...and really, I think we all are when it comes to our children :)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!
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