Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Five months of joy!




Parks is five months old as of yesterday!  He continues to be a delightful baby.  It is really fun to see his personality start to develop.  I can tell he loves to laugh and play.  He already has a good sense of humor. He is very active with a high energy level.  He constantly tries to "swim" as we are holding him.  It has become his signature move.  Apparently Jackson had lots of energy as a youngster as well and was nicknamed "Sparky" because his family said he had an extra spark plug.  Parks is pretty easily frustrated and doesn't like it when he can't grab his toys the right way or when he drops a toy. Hmmm, I wonder who he gets that from :)?  He doesn't like to sit still in any of his bouncers, jumperoos etc for very long, he likes to be on the move.  I have been a little envious at times of my friends with "laid back babies" who sit contentedly in a bouncer with their paci for 30 minutes straight. Parks sitting contentedly in any apparatus for longer than 5...okay maybe 10 minutes is a figment of my imagination.  He still doesn't take a paci or suck his thumb.  I fall more in love with him each day.  He is such a fun baby.  I wouldn't trade him for anything!



Something about this picture reminds me a little bit of Jackson

His bathtub makes the perfect seat while we are in our room

his usual self
sweet face
heeey!
Guess what? We started rice cereal yesterday.  For his first time, it went really well, I think we got about half of it down the hatch and he seemed to be intrigued.  We will try again tonight.  I figured it was an appropriate way to celebrate his Five Month Birthday! The pictures aren't great, but who cares. 


What is this? 
life as a mother, always multi-tasking


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

I like it when people do posts of their favorite things so I thought I would give it a try. 

  1. Hillsong & Hillsong United.  Some of the best worship music I have ever heard. This is one of my favorite songs right now.  It's called Stronger. 





2. Sage Creek Organics. These are some of the softest baby clothes out there.  They are in close competition with Kissy Kissy, another one of my faves, but I like SCO because it is organic cotton. 


3. California Baby: Baby Wash & Shampoo.  I like these because they are really gentle on Parks' skin and they have a rating of 2 on cosmeticdatabase.com which rates the safety of cosmetics based on their ingredients.  The lower the rating the safer it is.  2 is very low, there aren't many products with a 1. 

4. MAC Prep and Prime.  This product is awesome.  You put it on after moisturizer but before foundation or concealer and it provides a matte, velvety surface to apply makeup.  It also controls oil throughout the day and keeps your makeup looking smooth and fabulous.  Plus, it has SPF in it so you are protected from the sun.  This is a must-have in my opinion!

5. Beth Moore. Just look at her hair, duh!


6. The Real Housewives of NYC.  Right after my beloved Beth Moore. I know, I know, this show is garbage but it has me sucked in! I'm trying to be transparent out here. Bethenny is my favorite housewife (even though she isn't a wife), who is YOUR favorite? 


7. Anything made by Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa.  Let me tell you, this woman can cook!  Everything she makes is purely delectable! And most of the time, her main ingredients are "good" olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Delish! Don't you just love her classic button down shirts she is always wearing? 

8. Hip-Hop Songs.  I've blogged about this before.  I have a love for toe-tapping beats, sue me! This song by Beyonce has me in hysterics.  Seriously, watch this and enjoy the ridiculocity of this video AND song.   Just picture me bustin' a rhyme with the DIVA herself with Parks in tow, of course, and me in my j-crew ensemble and headband. 


9. Virginia Beach. Yeah, I know, it's not Hawaii, we have lots of Yankee tourists in the summer, and the water is a rather dark, murky color, but it's where I grew up and it feels like home.  I love it here and I love the beach.  


10.  Jackson & Parks. Loves of my life!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oops, earth day was yesterday...

So, I'm a day late with my ode to the earth post. Luckily I was reminded of earth day as I checked my favorite blogs.  My friend Claire is a friend I've met through my cousin Meghan. She's a wife, mom, runner and green enthusiast (among other things)! She did an awesome post about how to incorporate some green ideas into your everyday life. I loved it so much and was so inspired by it I asked her if I could share it on my blog. I am someone who truly does care about the earth and wants to be a good steward of what God has blessed us with, but sometimes I get overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole "Green" movement and I just don't know where to start. I also feel really behind the curve. But, this post gave me hope and I know that if Claire can do it, so can I! Please enjoy these ideas from Claire and visit her blog, she has an ADORABLE son named Jack!



I love that we are more aware than ever that the way we are living is affecting our beautiful planet. And because it's EARTH DAY today, I thought I would share a few simple ways that I have changed the way I live and consequently become more green! Maybe you'll pick up a few tips that you'll incorporate into your own lifestyle and I hope you'll share some of your own green ideas in the "comments" section at the end of this post!

1. Take the paper towel roll off the counter. I have it under my sink, out of sight, and by doing so, I hardly ever grab a sheet here and a sheet there for quick clean-ups that I can easily use my sponge for. And for those of you who don't like the idea of using a sponge in your kitchen b/c of the scary commercials that portray sponges as killers, with deadly bacteria...all you have to do is throw it in the dishwasher every once in awhile OR fill a bowl with water and microwave the sponge in water and it sanitizes it. Additionally, I hardly EVER clean with paper towels anymore. I have a large stack of rags under my sink next to my cleaning products. And b/c I clean with earth-friendly and non-toxic products, I just use rags to clean, wash and use again. For over a year now I've lived by these practices and I've noticed that the ONLY time I actually use a paper towel is to cover something I'm reheating in the microwave. A roll of paper towels lasts well over 2 months in my house.

2. I use cloth napkins for every meal. It's nice to not have them reserved for only the holidays or special occasions! Everyday is worth it! I picked up this practice from a friend of mine. And it adds a nice touch to ever meal when you have a cloth napkin in your lap, even if it's just eating a sandwich alone and checking your email, there's something, old fashioned (maybe?) that I love about it and can't see myself ever going back to using paper napkins or paper towels! And to answer the question I know you're asking yourself....how does washing cloth napkins end up being green when you have to wash them? Well, if it doesn't get too dirty, we fold it back up and use it again. But as for the dirty ones, we simply throw them in the wash (that we are already doing) with our other laundry. And between Matt, Jack and myself (and the size of our washer) I do enough loads to where we've never had the issue of not having a napkin for a meal.

3. Store everything in tupperware. I can't remember the last time I stored something in a resealable plastic bag. And if I do...when I'm done I rinse it and reuse the bag! Even when I pack a lunch for Matt, I go as far as putting chips (for example) in tupperware, same with his sandwich-everything!

4. Recycle EVERYTHING you can!

5. Buy Organic! I try to buy as many organic products as I can. Some items are more important to buy than others. Meat, produce, milk, eggs are some of the ones I always buy organic. Some things can be dramatically more expensive than the non-organic version, so I price shop between publix and super target, and found that super target beats publix's prices when it comes to most of the organic products I buy. And for the baby mamas out there, target has the absolute lowest price on Earth's Best Organic baby food. I use their jar food and rice cereal, and no one is cheaper than target!

6. Make your own cleaning products! This sounds like a huge job. But honestly it's one of the easiest ways to clean green and save green! Lavender oil and Tea Tree oil are natural disinfectants, you mix them with water and clean counter tops, sinks, floors, any surface really. I bought a book by the company Seventh Generation called, Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning it has the recipes for the cleaning products, along with alot of other great information. The oil is a small investment initially, but it last SO much longer than a bottle of product from the grocery store. And it's so much safer...especially if you have little ones crawling, touching and eating everything!






These are just a few small things that I thought of and wanted to share! Please leave any of your GREEN ideas in the comments section to share!

chw oxxo
Thanks Claire!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

working at home



Now that I am a full time stay at home mom, my role as wife and mother has become my vocation.  This has always been my dream.  In college I did have seasons where I wanted to be in broadcast journalism or be a lawyer, but I always knew that ultimately I wanted to be a mom and stay home with my kids.  Little did I know that God would give me my dream so early.  At 21 I became wife to Jackson and at 22 I became mommy to Parks.  I consider it my biggest honor, privilege, blessing and joy to serve these two men.  


The past few months the Lord has really put homemaking on my heart.  This is funny because right now, we don't actually live in our own home.  We are living with my parents while our house in Charlottesville closes.  Nevertheless, I have really felt a call to honor the Lord in my current role by serving my family as homemaker.  As I have studied Scripture on this topic and listened to some great sermons, I have been encouraged by God's plan for women as homemakers. Titus 2 is a passage that I've been studying lately and it gives very specific instruction to women.  

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.   Titus 2: 3-5

The more I learn about the heart of God, the happier I am being a wife and mom.  I don't feel less significant because I don't have a career, I know that I get to do the most significant job ever: teaching little impressionable hearts to know and love God.  A job with eternal significance!  It has also helped me to really view homemaking as a job.  My contribution to the family is keeping our home running smoothly and efficiently and taking care of our children, just like Jackson's contribution is being the financial breadwinner for us.  Household chores are not my favorite thing to do and staying on top of things can be a real struggle for me at times.  With the Lord's help, I am improving and doing my best to serve our family in the role God has ordained for me.  If you are a mom, be encouraged that you are doing something that is God ordained and worthy of praise!  I know there are many trials and hardships that come with being a mommy but I am convinced there is abundant joy to be had as well.  God is faithful and will help us in whatever he has called us to. 

What has helped or encouraged you in your role as homemaker or future homemaker?

     



My Buddy

I am so thankful I get to stay home with this precious boy every day! He is a blast and I love watching him grow and change! 




Here are two little videos of him playing, he is very active! 


video video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boundaries in Marriage?

I closed the poll with a total of 31 votes!  Holla for more readers! I think my very first poll back in 2007 had only 4 votes, thoseandrews has come a long way :)

So the verdict was that most of you think toothbrushes are something you would rather not share.  I agree, surprise surprise! I get the heeby jeebys about sharing a toothbrush.  However, a decent chunk of you say that you are not grossed out and are fine sharing everything with your spouse.  This opens up an interesting discussion about being one flesh but maintaining certain boundaries or privacy within a marriage.  Is it better to have no boundaries and truly be "one flesh" or are some boundaries good for a healthy marriage?  I think whatever you find builds intimacy and oneness is good.  Sometimes boundaries and privacy create an opportunity for a more intimate atmosphere and other times too much privacy might prevent intimacy.  It's about what works for your marriage.  I enjoyed looking at the poll, I think it is fun to see what other couples think!  Thanks for voting!  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let Me Clarify

I think my wording of the poll was unclear.  I'm not referring to the rare use of a spouse's toothbrush in a desperate situation, i.e. on a trip when one spouse forgets their toothbrush.   I'm referring to the habitual use of a spouse's toothbrush at home when both spouse's have their own toothbrushes.  Please vote according to that scenario. 

 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sleeping Update

Warning: This is a totally baby related post, if you have no interest in baby sleep habits, don't read. 

Parks has returned to sleeping through the night (from around 8 pm  to 6 or 7 am)!  We didn't try the rice cereal yet, but I did let him CIO (cry it out for the non-mommy bloggers....gasp!) for two nights in a row.  He woke up at around 4 and I let him cry, he only cried for 20 minutes and went right back to sleep.  I of course went in his room and patted his back and reassured him I was there and he was ok and then I left.  The next night he only cried for ten minutes.  And ever since then he is back to sleeping through the night.  My pediatrician assured me that once he demonstrated he was capable of sleeping through the night, it was A-ok to let him cry and he would certainly be able to make it until morning before needing to eat again.  In fact, it was his advice to let him cry instead of establishing a new pattern of feeding in the night.  

My next accomplishment is putting him in his crib awake for naps and letting him learn to fall asleep on his own! I have gradually gotten to this point.  When he was first born, I would literally walk him around the house patting his back to lull him to sleep.  When he reached about 12 pounds, I couldn't take that anymore.  So, I started rocking him to sleep for naps and nursing him to sleep at night and had been doing that up until a week ago.  The bigger he gets (17 pounds now), the harder it is to even rock him! So, I have finally moved to putting him in his crib, drowsy but awake and guess what....he sleeps better and longer!  Now when I put him down he barely even cries and puts himself right to sleep.  What freedom! I feel like every month my life becomes a little more free. Oh the simple joys of being a new mother, maybe some of you can relate :) 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Skinny Jeans: Not Just for Stick Figures!


So I have been avoiding skinny jeans for over a year now.  I swore to myself that "I just wasn't the skinny jean type".  I'm not one of those tall, lean people who look awesome in skinny jeans.  I'm only 5'3 and I always figured skinny jeans would make me look short and stumpy and just overall unflattering.  On Monday I went shopping with my mom (who is very fashion savvy) and she insisted that I give the skinnys a try.  I was shocked...they actually looked good!  They were surprisingly flattering!  I purchased my first pair of skinnys on Monday and have been proudly sporting them since.  

The early months of motherhood can make you feel like you are in a serious fashion rut.  Your hair is often in a ponytail, you go for days with no makeup, and when you are wearing clothes instead of pajamas, they are often cotton with spit up on them.  I have two sisters (both with no children) who are very fashionable and chic and I was starting to feel like a total house frau when I was around them.  In a moment of despair, I told my little sister I should be on "What Not To Wear".   I knew I had to do something to get myself out of this rut and quick.  I am proud to announce that I have recently rediscovered my inner fashionista!  The moral of this post is...don't write off skinny jeans or anything else you think won't look good on you.  Be adventurous and at least try it on, you might be pleasantly surprised! 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Smooth Operator

No squinting for this baby! Gramsie bought him some shades to protect those baby blues from UV damage! Thanks Grams! 



Boy Meets Girls

Parks was in heaven this past Friday.  He got to meet his friends Ila and Kate for the very first time.  In fact, this was his first time ever socializing with girls!  He was excited to say the least.  When they both came over his eyes got huge and he started moving his legs super fast.  It was adorable.  Parks loves the ladies! 

Ladies Man

Aunt Lindsey w/ Parks and Christina w/ Ila
Kate, Ila and Parks 
Hannah & Ila, Blair & Kate, Me & Parks

Parks' First Easter

We had a wonderful time as a family of 3 this Easter!  I can't wait for Parks to do an easter egg hunt, maybe next year.  I hope you had a blessed Easter!  He is risen!   




Saturday, April 11, 2009

bald spots...and not on my baby

I'm sitting downstairs this morning and my hair is in a ponytail and my mom proceeds to point out that I now have two bald spots thanks to post-partum hair loss. Me: "Really? Bald spots?!?!?! Aren't babies the ones that are supposed to have bald spots?" I ran to a mirror to see for myself and it's true! Luckily, they aren't visible when my hair is down but it still begs the question, why, Lord, why? It's all hard enough already and to have bald spots on top of it all? It's more than one should have to handle...there's nothing like motherhood to humble you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Babe

I think we could use a little comic relief around here.  I was beginning to not even recognize my own blog.  Here are some pictures of the babe, I hope they put a little joy in your day! 


Check out my ribbon belt, oh yeah!
I never give my mom good smiles for pictures, but she thinks I look cute anyways. 

My favorite time of day is when Daddy comes home from work! I give him a big smile! 

My Daddy & Me
What did I do?
The light blinds me mom!
Not again! 
Aunt Shannon loves my sweet fauxhawk! 


Here is a video of me playing with my Daddy! He is so much fun and I love touching his hair and giggling! 

video

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Intolerance & Ignorance

I don't really want to re-hash the last debate, but it is my blog so I get the last word :) Something that really bothered me about the whole thing and about controversial topics in general is that if someone stands up for what they believe and it happens to not be "in vogue" at the time, they are automatically labeled "ignorant" and "intolerant". These two words are grossly misused and overused. The arguments made that were accusing me of being intolerant lack good logic. Example:

Person A: My view is that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Person B: My view is that marriage is between two people who love each other.

Here's the common problem. Person B accuses Person A of being intolerant. But their accusation of intolerance is in itself, intolerance! If Person B truly embraced tolerance, then they would welcome another view that is different from theirs, like Person A's views. But this doesn't happen. Instead, they are only tolerant of those who agree with them.

Tolerance is not acceptance, it is tolerating. Only in recent years has it taken on a whole new meaning. In our society tolerance now means rejecting all moral absolutes. It means that no one can say that there is right and wrong because it is up to each individual to decide that for him or herself. 'Who are we to judge?' is the common refrain. This logic is problematic when carried out to its neccesary conclusions. Can we say with certainty that murder is wrong? Can we say with certainty that stealing is wrong? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is, we are in essence "judging" the person who did those things, and with good reason. What if I said, "Well, in the name of tolerance, I must accept that for this individual, murdering is ok between him and his god." No way. This whole tolerance issue is a slippery slope.

I believe there are moral absolutes in the world that both Christians and non-Christians can agree on. I just find it so ironic that the people who are the most vocal advocates of "tolerance" are also the ones that show no tolerance for those who disagree with their views. Don't get me wrong, this goes both ways! Person A in my example can be equally as intolerant of other views, like the people who terrorize and harrass gay couples who get married. I don't agree with gay marriage and I will vocalize that opinion, but I don't go around harrassing people who do. I tolerate them and understand that we live in the same community and may share things in common. But I am allowed to think that gay marriage is wrong and STILL be tolerant of those who think it is not. Just like someone can believe gay marriage is great and STILL be tolerant of those who think it is not.

Ignorance is a separate argument, but the same logic applies. If you disagree with the mainstream in our society, you are labeled "ignorant". Ignorant means lacking knowledge, learning or information. If you put four people in a room and present to them the same facts, you can still end up with four different interpretations or opinions. People are different, praise God! I'm glad we are not all the same. My point is that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that they lack knowledge, learning or information. Calling someone ignorant implies that if they had the knowledge you had, they would agree with you. That is simply not how things work. People genuinly disagree over the same information and to call someone ignorant who simply disagrees is arrogant and not an appropriate use of the word. I know some very intelligent, learned people who believe different things than I do. I would never call them ignorant because they aren't, they just have arrived at a different conclusion than I have. That is alright.

People are allowed to have opinions and differences. We do not have to denounce our deepest beliefs and convictions in the name of tolerance. But, we do need to treat all people with dignity and respect.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Changes

It's hard to know how to respond after the passionate discussion sparked by my last post.  I honestly had no idea how many people read my blog, and trust me, it's not that much at all compared to other blogs, but I thought it was only like 30 of my family and friends.  I was wrong.  I am able to see how many hits I get a day and the geographic location of the visitors, and how they found the blog. So I know there are many, many people who read this blog that I don't know.  The effects of the last post have caused me to seriously re-think the purpose for my blog and the current structure or lack thereof for guiding discussion sparked by my writing. After discussing this with my husband, here are a few principles and changes we've agreed to going forward:

  • I welcome anyone to read this blog.  I enjoy reading other people's blogs that I have not personally met and will continue to keep this an open blog. 
  • The purpose of this blog is to be a place to share my life, pictures, thoughts, stories and opinions.  When I write, I'm thinking of my friends and family.  These are the primary people with whom I discuss my blog and they are often my inspiration.  
  • I have a Christian/Biblical worldview and that serves as the premise for my writing.  I enjoy talking with those who share different views, but will not apologize for and defend my opinions on this blog ad nauseam.
  • I welcome constructive, respectful comments and will attempt to answer all comments, even those who hold a different view.  However, the purpose of this blog is not for me to spend all day defending my beliefs to people who are just looking for an argument.  
  • I will no longer allow anonymous posting.
  • I will enable the "comment moderation" feature so I will approve comments before they appear on the blog.  This is not to silence those that don't agree with me at all;  I welcome different views.  However, I will not accept comments that are rude or include a personal attack on me or someone else.  My blog is mostly funny and upbeat, and when I do write about something more serious, I always want to keep the tone respectful.  

I'll conclude with a few thoughts on how I approach blogging.  I read blogs of people I like.  I enjoy what they write and often find it encouraging or inspirational or just funny.  I don't understand reading and commenting on a blog that you profoundly disagree with.  I write from a Christian worldview and if you don't share that, you probably will disagree with much of what I write.  That is ok.  I'm thankful that blogs can be a way of sharing opinions and learning from others.  I want to make it clear that I welcome people with different views to visit my blog and comment. However, if my writing is going to continually be a burr in your side and you will find it difficult to comment respectfully, I recommend that you don't read my blog for your own well-being.  Otherwise, enjoy!  I look forward to more great discussions.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Designed to Sell

Most of you know, our home is for sale since we moved to VB. We've had lots of traffic and good feedback but no offers yet. I thought I would post some pictures of our house because I've promised pictures of the updates Jackson and I did while we lived there. Also, I figure any exposure is good exposure so if someone happens to read this and know someone moving to Cville, tell them about our house...please!








Thanks moms!

Thanks to all the moms who gave me advice on the rice cereal question! I really appreciated what each of you said. I think there is pretty much no right or wrong time to start rc, it's more a matter of preference. I've been reading about sleep regressions from the link sent by Kristie (thanks Kristie!) and I think I am going to try to ride out this 4 month period and see if he returns to a normal schedule in a few weeks. If not, bring on the rc! I'll keep you posted on our adventure with solids :)

The Peasant Princess

I just have to share this gem Jackson and I absolutely love. Mark Driscoll, Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, is one of our favorite teaching pastors. We watch the videocast for his sermons often. In the fall of 2008, he began a series called "The Peasant Princess" on the Song of Solomon. It is the best teaching on love, sex, marriage, dating, roles of men and women I have heard. Jackson and I look forward to sitting down together and watching these whenever we get a chance, which means when Parks is sleeping :) I would recommend this to anyone, married, single, dating whatever. It is such sound biblical teaching on a topic the church too often shys away from. I only wish I had seen it sooner. This series will open your eyes to God's plan for dating, love, marriage and sex and it might suprise you! Mark Driscoll's style is so relevant, engaging and humorous I can almost guarantee you will enjoy watching him. I have put the first sermon out of 10 below. If you choose to watch it I hope you be blessed by it as we have been! For more of the Peasant Princess series or other sermons from Mars Hill click here.

blog-i-dentity

My blog is in an identity crisis! I am trying to find background I like that reflects my personality and what I want my blog to be but I'm having serious difficulties. I'm not really tech savvy enough to create my own background and then write the html code, etc so I'm stuck with the templates provided by blogspot and the "Cutest Blog on the Block" backgrounds, which are cute, but not fantastic. I'm almost willing to pay someone to design a sweet background. Any takers? In the meantime, I apologize if I put the blog through frequent background changes in hopes of finding "the one". Just wanted to give you fair warning.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Calling All Moms


I'd like for my mom readers to weigh in here. I'm debating trying some rice cereal with Parks and I'd like some opinions. First of all, my goal was to nurse exclusively for as long as possible (probably around 6 months). Then after that, I'd continue to nurse in addition to feeding him solids for the first year. This past week has called my plan into question. Parks has been sleeping anywhere from 10-12 hours at night for the past 5 + weeks. Lately, he has been waking at 4:00 am wanting to eat! I nurse him and he goes right back down. Now I know some of you moms are like "Oh cry me a river!". I realize one 4 am feeding at 4 months is not much to complain about, but for a baby that was previously sleeping 10-12 hours, I'm not real excited about returning to the early morning feeding. So, my question is...is this a sign that he is ready for more calories, i.e. time to try some rice cereal? Also, his naps have not been nearly as solid and he wakes frequently during them instead of sleeping soundly for 1.5 to 2 hours like he used to be doing.

Will it hurt him to try this early? I've been hearing the longer you can nurse exclusively the better. Is hunger likely the cause of his sleep issues? He is 16 pounds and in the 75% for weight, so I'm thinking his body might demand more calories sooner because he is a bigger baby. Is there anything I can try before I do rc? Any help would be appreciated! Also, if you read this blog and I don't know you, please feel free to comment! I've been loving the comments from the previous post and welcome anyone and everyone to join in on the discussion!