Thursday, August 15, 2013

Junior High Kickball...those were the days

I haven't posted anything lately because nothing cool has really happened and also I may have been a little depressed that summer has ended. I know I have no right to complain because most people don't even have a summer break, but still, it's hard to get back to work after being in break-mode. It was SO nice having Kent home more this summer, to feel like the days weren't so long because he was home. We could go out as a family and do some fun things together, and I wasn't by myself all day.

It's especially hard starting up work after taking a year off! Yep, I started the school year with Kent teaching at Briarcrest again. This time I'm not doing Bible like I did 2 years ago. I'm teaching High School Health and PE in the mornings and middle school PE in the afternoon. The 7th grade kids I taught two years ago are now in high school, so it's really fun to have them as students again! I like being in Kent's world too, and I even get to see some of my track girls every day, which is awesome.

Everything about this opportunity is really God-ordained! As sad as I am to leave Kennedy each day, listen to how perfect this job is. 1) I had been praying for awhile that God would give me girls to pour into (having youth ministry withdrawals). The Health and High School PE classes I teach are girls only! How perfect! 2) I would have been even more sad for Kent to go off to work again if I was staying home. I had been a little lonely and restless at home with KJ last year, especially when Kent would work late, so I wasn't excited to go back to that. Now I'm starting up with him! 3)Kent is starting seminary classes this fall and we wouldn't have had the extra money to pay for them without this job. 4) I get to play games like kickball, which were my absolute favorite growing up, and also make kids workout, which you know I love to do, haha! I have no work to take home with me and I get to be outside when the weather is nice! Woo Hoo! And 5) it is only until October! I'm just taking over for a teacher on maternity leave, so it makes it much easier to leave KJ every day knowing it's for a short time. And since it's only temporary, my awesome mother-in-law volunteered to watch Kennedy, which is sooooo perfect and allows them special time together that they would never have otherwise.

GOD IS GOOD! He knows what we need even before we ask Him. And as perfect as I can see now that this job is, He really had to push me into doing it. I would have taken the easy way out and just said no if it were up to me, but now that I'm in it, I can really see his hand. Anyway, I made it through the first week, am tired and missing my baby but feeling satisfied. I do love getting to socialize with other teachers/adults and interacting with these kids every day. I love (and also hate) being pushed out of my comfort zone, being forced to depend on God and trust in Him. Then, I can boast of his faithfulness and really see his hand in my life! Pray with me that God will use me at that school, even in this short time. Just wanted to share what's going on with us and remind ya'll how God leads and guides us where we are supposed to go!

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Psalm 32:8

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. " Psalm 138:8

Hope the summer has been good for ya'll and that you are forced to depend on Him too!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Nike running shorts for babies?

Kennedy-
I know blogging about you every month is only cool the first 12 months of your life, when so much changes each month...so I promise I won't continue the monthly 'Kennedy updates'... BUT when I am in the mood and you are doing things I want to remember, I will probably have to post about it. :)

You are officially walking! Gotta go get you some legit shoes, because you only have one pair with an actual sole, given to us by some friends (and some Nike shoes too...for real! They are incredible. Except that every outfit you have is way girly and doesn't look good with Nike gym shoes, gosh darn it. Do they make Nike running shorts for 12 month olds? I think it's time to get you some workout clothes!) You will still resort to crawling occasionally, but now usually choose to walk where you want to go. You especially love to hold our hand (both dad's and mine) and walk. You are clearly so proud of yourself and laugh and giggle while you are walking on your own. This new found freedom has brought about your first tantrum. I took you with me to run errands and when I put you in the grocery cart, you immediately wanted down so you could walk. Of course, once I let you get out you didn't want back in, and if I tried to stop you from pulling things off the shelves you threw a fit. So. I can see that this is going to be a challenging new season! Lord, help me!

 My new favorite thing-When you fall asleep in your car seat on our way home from somewhere and I unbuckle you to take you out,  you STAY ASLEEP in my arms. You never used to do this! You used to cry and have a hard time going back down but now I lift you out and you lay your head on my shoulder, put your fingers in your mouth and fall right back asleep on me. I don't remember how old you were when you stopped sleeping on me but it was in the newborn stage, so I'm soaking in the few seconds where you will sleep on me again as I carry you to your crib! You do give hugs now and snuggle a little bit when you first wake up which I love! You run to dad and I and let us scoop you up in our arms and you nuzzle close. SO sweet.

Lately, when I read to you before bedtime, you will suddenly crawl off my lap and walk out the door yelling, 'dada!' It's like you can't go to bed until he comes in and kisses you goodnight. This is your dad's latest favorite thing. You often walk through the house yelling, 'dada!'. Not sure if you just love saying the word or you are really looking for him, but it's pretty darn cute. (Although you look at me and say dada sometimes too, so who knows!)

You communicate SO WELL for your age! (Who am I to know? I think everything you do is brilliant and have no one to compare it to, so your dad and I always joke that you are 'so advanced for your age' :) You point at everything and say, "what's that?"  You can tell us when you are hungry or thirsty, when you want to be picked up or put down. You say and wave 'bub bye' and say 'hi' and 'yeah' all the time. You still call me 'baba' instead of mama, like you have a stuffy nose or something, ha! But occasionally you will say 'M's'.

Now, when we ask you questions, you will shake your head no or say, 'yeah'. Like, when I say, "Do you want to play with your toys?" you respond, "yeah". "Do you want to go to bed?" You shake your head no. You are definitely able to tell us your opinion about things now! You listen pretty well if mama tells you no. When dad says no, you burst into tears and are so upset! You are already a daddy's girl for sure!

You are so playful and goofy and do anything to get our attention. You always want to be where we are, preferably IN our laps playing, as close to us as possible. You also FINALLY let us read books to you! You would NEVER sit through even a page before. I'm so excited to finally read the endings to all the books you have!

You pretend a little, with talking on your toy cell phone or eating fake food in your kitchen. I've seen you pick up your baby doll a few times and hug her too.

You still try to shove as much food into your mouth as you can, as if you are afraid someone will take it off your tray if you don't grab it quickly. If we put too much on your tray at one time, it will all end up in your mouth until you can't even chew, and you will spit it out in a big clump. Ew. At what age does this change? You don't really care to try and use your own spoon yet. You have gotten picky about food texture and refuse to eat things you used to love like bananas. I have basically weaned you, only nursing you once every other day since I'm going back to work next week. It hasn't been bad at all (just a little sad on my part). I gradually took away one feeding a week and you took to drinking whole milk so quickly that it was an easy transition.

You are in bed between 7-8pm and up around 7:15am. You still take 2 naps a day if I stay home in the mornings (usually 9:30ish again around 3pm.) But if I go to the gym or something, we get home about 11am and you will take 1 nap for about 2 hours. Your nap schedule has never been super consistent. When I start work I will have to wake you up around 6am (NOOO!), so we will see how that changes your schedule. But you are usually super clear when you are ready for a nap. You stick your fingers in your mouth and want to be held, and once I pick you up, you lay your head on my chest.

We went to story hour last week at this place where they do a craft and have a snack afterwards. You didn't sit still for the story very well. And the craft was coloring, which you can't really do yet. You picked up a crayon and tried to eat it, and then made a few dots on the page. The animal crackers, though were a huge hit and you tried to put them all in your mouth at once. I guess we will wait a few months before trying that again.

KJ, you are so awesome. That is all.

If I'd known THIS before having a baby....

I thought I'd take a second for my soon-to-be and new moms to write down some possible helpful tips for you!

The first year of having a kid is soooo incredible. How do I even describe it? Everything is new. You are constantly in awe. Watching your little baby start out completely dependent and helpless, and seeing them grow and learn SO much every single week...it's the coolest thing. And you think you couldn't love them more the moment they are in your arms for the first time, but the more they interact with you and start to say mama and reach for you, the more their personality develops...oh man, your heart could explode with love for them! It just grows over time and is SO FUN! I'm so excited for you!!!

Things I wish someone told me when I had my first newborn:

  • Don't feel guilty about getting nothing accomplished those first couple months. If your baby falls asleep in your arms and you want to just sit and rock them and cuddle them, DO IT! Don't be frustrated at their lack of ability to sleep on their own or their constant desire to be held. All too soon, they won't let you hold them, they will be crawling everywhere, so wiggly and squirmy that you will only wish you could hold them in your arms and snuggle them again! Forget about the list of tasks you have not accomplished. HOLD YOUR BABY! Soak her in. Be in awe of how God made her, so tiny and perfect.  In a flash they are toddlers. And so people tell me, you blink, and they are all grown up!
  • Be lazy. You have a very short time where you can lay on the couch all day with your baby and read a book or watch movies and just sit with them. (Especially it you have to go back to work!) You are tired. Your baby is sleeping all the time. So kick back and be sleepy too. (I'm sure you really are!) When they are crawling and then walking, you won't be able to sit still again, ever, as you will need to chase after them and entertain them. And the next time you have a baby,  you will also have a toddler, so no resting for you! You will have the new baby strapped to you as you chase around kid #1. So enjoy this sweet time of things being slow. Relax and enjoy it. It won't come around again, so don't feel guilty like I did!
  • In the hard times...the sleepless nights, endless diapers, colic, acid reflux, remember everything is a season with babies. It's just a season. It will change and their schedule will change and it will be over soon enough, so hang in there. Also, if things are great, be thankful! That, too is a season and just when you think, "OH BOY! They are sleeping though the night!" teething will happen or a growth spurt and you will be up again. So enjoy those good times! 
  • Register for Amazon Mom! You get discounts on diapers and wipes, you can get them shipped to you every month or every other month. You can get free 2-day shipping. And getting out of the house with your baby is not always an easy experience. Getting things shipped to you is amazing! And cheaper in many cases. For me, Babies R Us is 25 minutes away and sooo annoying to drive to. I love that I can find lots of cheap things for her on Amazon and get it shipped for free.
  • Lastly, and I'm sure this is a super controversial one,  but I'd suggest kicking them out of your room as soon as possible. Kennedy actually never slept in our room. Now her room was right across the hall, so we could hear her cries even without a monitor. And we MAY have tried it for a bit if her room was upstairs and ours was down. BUT, here is why I say this. When the baby is born, everything now revolves around that baby, 24/7. Your poor husband will often feel neglected. You will be drained yet always thinking about that baby, barely sleeping, up many times a night to take care of the baby and your husband can definitely be pushed to the back burner. For Kent and I, we knew at the end of the day, we needed our sacred space, our 'us' space to reconnect and have no distractions.  It was good for our marriage to have our room be just our room. Your marriage is your first priority, even when you start having kids. (And your kids need to see that your marriage is your first priority as they grow up!). The other reason is that I'm SUCH a light sleeper, that if we had her in our room, I would awake to any and every noise she made. I way preferred to have her monitor turned on (low) and only hear the actual cries. Again, just me. We also wanted KJ to get used to her crib as soon as possible, and for us, it worked great.

Random tidbits for those who are expecting:

  • Diapers: We LOVED Pampers Swadders. KJ is a year old, a size 3, and we still choose pampers swaddlers over any other. Everyone has their preference, but someone recommended these to us and we agreed. Also, we always preferred Pampers for diapers and Huggies for wipes. The pampers wipes are SO greasy and gross and I hated them personally. We used Aquaphor for Diaper cream and never really used anything else. This stuff heals their irritated skin sooo well, doesn't smell nasty like other creams and can be used on any cuts or scars or skin irritations. It's all we use.
  • I was given SO many blankets. I don't think I have used ONE. Seriously. You can't really cover them up when they sleep til they are older. As a baby, you usually swaddle them (I had at least 6 swaddle blankets and would have been fine with 4...the aden-anais ones are the BEST). Her swaddle blankets worked great if I ever needed to cover her in the carseat. Everyone is different and I still have hope that someday she will use one of the 10 that she has, but I'm just sayin, you really DON'T need more than one baby blanket in my opinion. (I also never used the Velcro swaddle blankets, and someone tell me what you use receiving blankets for? I only needed one sleep sac for cold nights when she was done with being swaddled).
  • You also don't need an abundance of pacifiers BECAUSE you don't even know if your little nugget will use them, so maybe buy one and wait and see if he/she likes them. We have like 8, and she didn't ever really use them.
  • Clothes-everyone wants to buy you baby clothes because they are the cutest and so fun to pick out.  I can hardly resist buying clothes for other pregnant moms, myself! And everyone buys the little 0-3 month size because they're so darn cute and tiny! But the truth is, a) we would rather people buy us the not-so-fun stuff off our registry so that WE can enjoy picking out the baby's clothes. b)The mom-to-be may have a totally different taste than you for how you would dress a baby. And c) when babies are 0-3months they only need a couple cute outfits because usually you don't take them out of the house a whole lot. They just wear a onesie or pajamas for the most part. I think those cute outfits are more practical for 6-12 month olds. Just my opinion. I think that mama would appreciate diapers over clothes.
  • Speaking of clothes, putting shoes on a newborn or even an older baby before they can actually walk is a huge pain and of course completely unnecessary. Lots of the tiny shoes she had gotten (which are the cutest things EVER) she didn't even get to wear because I would try them on her at one point, they would be too big so I'd put them aside, and by the time I remembered to try them on again they would be too small. You have such a small window for your baby to wear them that, as CUTE as they are, I think they are annoying (unless they are little booties that slip on and keep their feet warm. KJ did have fur velcro boots but they were SO EASY to put on and kept her feet warm so she definitely rocked those in the winter). When you buy shoes, think of how easy they are to put on (especially a wiggly baby) and they NEED to have that little tab on the heel to pull on to help shove their foot in or it's pretty impossible.
  • Breast pumps. I bought the double electric Medela breast pump. Knowing what I now know, I would have just bought the single electric pump OR would recommend the hands free version. Here's why. In order to double pump, you have to use both hands to hold the shields on. Then after a minute or so, you are expected to push this button once your milk lets down that changes the suction-only you are using both hands to hold the darn shields.  It is really uncomfortable and annoying and I hated it. I usually just did one at a time so I had a free hand. It's also boring if you are using both your hands and just have to sit there, can't read a book or be on your phone or anything. I guess you could watch TV and that would be fine.  If you really want the double electric, they do have special bras that will hold the shields to you so you have free hands. Anyway, for me, I didn't need to pump excessively so one electric pump would have been just fine. They are so expensive so I just advise you to really ask others about your situation and what you really need before diving in and buying one.
  • Baby furniture. It's your first baby. Of course you want the newest nicest stuff to make her room perfect. as did we. However, the crib we bought her now has bite marks ALL OVER the rails. It looks HORRIBLE. She started biting it as soon as she got bottom teeth and then with the top teeth in too, plus her ability to stand up and wait for us to come get her, she has made even more marks. So next time I would either just buy a cheaper one and expect it to get scratched up or at least buy those rail covers once they get teeth! The changing table/dresser we bought also got ruined pretty quickly. We noticed all these scratches on the edge from where we would stand to change her, apparently from our zippers or belts rubbing against it (I blame Kent :) ). Sounds weird I know, but just another big frustration after all we spent on that furniture.
  • Burp Clothes: Buy a TON...but get the plain white cheap ones like these. They work SO much better than all the cute embroidered ones. As fun as those are, they don't absorb the spit up well or wash as well. I loved having a few because they were so cute, but I'm such a practical person that I would say stock up on these and only these if you don't want to do a load of laundry every day. 
  • Bibs: Having a few cloth ones for when they are infants is great (I actually never even used a bib for her because she just nursed and than I'd just use the burp clothes), especially if they are bottle fed. But when you introduce food, buy one pack of these and you are SET. Someone got us these and they are all we use. You just rinse them under the sink right after they eat and they dry quickly and you are good to go. We velcro our 3 onto the back of her highchair and they are always ready to go. They also have a little pocket to catch food she drops and she'll go search for it in there. These are awesome! No stains, or smells.
  •  Stroller: Everyone has their own preferred brand of car seat-we loved our Graco Snug Ride, but I would TOTALLY recommend getting a snap and go type stroller to click the car seat into. We used it ALL the time, it was SO easy and light weight and trust me, you DON'T want to lug around those HUGE travel systems OR have to take your baby in and out of their cozy car seat to put them into a stroller. We bought the snap and go frame off Craig's list and a BOB for jogging and haven't even needed another regular stroller. If I did need one for the mall or something (although the BOB works just fine), I would just get an umbrella stroller. Again, just my opinion. (Here are some examples of the snap and go frame for the car seat.)
  • Activity Center: There isn't a single toy for us that has been more worth our money than something like this. As soon as your baby can pull up to a stand, they will LOVE having a toy especially made for that purpose with all sorts of things for them to play with. She still uses this even now that she is walking. I say that this, and the jumperoo are worthy investments. Don't bother with a walker, as much fun as they look. Honestly, KJ is bored with most kid toys so quickly and always chooses tupperware and card board boxes and normal household items over her toys.

Okay, well I'm sure there is lots more, but that's all I got right now. Hope its helpful. I was SO overwhelmed with what to register for and what was really necessary and what brand to get. Just get lots of opinions and filter them out. Mamas? Anything huge you would add  to this list? I know it's all personal opinion but I'm just thinking off the top of my head of some things I would have liked to know.  Take it or leave it! I'm no pro. =)
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