Monday, March 31, 2008

An Argument FOR Children's Television

I'm just gonna go right out there and say it. I love children's tv. Not for me (although it is pretty entertaining), but for Owen. And he loves it, too. I was 100% anti-tv before I had and when I first had Owen- I even went out of my way to find a school that did not have a tv in the building (his school link is on the left there and they are wonderful). I read all the articles and books and definitely did not want a fat, mush brain type child. But, someone- I think it was Lisa Banks- gave us a "Barney Goes to the Farm" video. Owen was really into animals (still is) and that's where it all started. He loved to watch the farm, animals, sing the songs and Barney was so darn educational and fun (for an odd purple-ish dinosaur). He watched about 15 minutes of it a day from the time he was about 9 months old. From there, we've expanded out into other tv shows, but Barney is still a favorite. I feel a little bit better about admitting this since Owen is over 2, now- the age when doctors/ people in general allow you to not feel guilty any more about your child watching tv- but he did watch it before then. I'm sure Harris will even get more exposure since he loves to hang out with his older brother.

Here are some good guidelines about watching tv that I agree with (and we do most of them):

Owen normally watches about an hour a day (20 minutes in the morning and about 40 in the afternoon). This is my lunch pack time, dinner prep time and overall get things ready time!
His favorite shows are (these are in order of importance- and they rotate):
1. Barney
1. Little Einsteins (notice they are both #1- this is a tie- Barney went first because it was his first love and is alphabetically first)
3. Mickey Mouse
4. Wonder Pets (his parents' absolute favorite- I hate that it has gone down in the rankings recently)
5. Dora (this was a kick for a while, but has kind of faded)

There are other shows that randomly pop up, but these are the best.
We record all these on the DVR and have them handy for everyday watching and/ or "emergencies" e.g. getting ready for church.

Here are the thigns that Owen has learned from this educational programming (notice I am not endorsing your child watching COPS or anything of the sort):
1. He bursts out into song or choreographed dance like Barney and friends do- much to his parents' amusement.
2. He knows all animals and their sounds (and dances for several- ducks, elephants, monkeys)
3. He's picked up fun catch phrases: "What are we going to do?", "Oh Tooooodles!" and "This is ser-wee-us" come to mind.
4. Problem solving skills (okay, maybe this isn't quite perfected, but all the shows do teach that- with an eerily similar theme for about every show.)
5. Best of all, he hugs and kisses us every night (like Barney does) and sings the I Love You song.

Long live the TV!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Pediatrician's Office

We visited our pediatrician today to check on Harris's cough. We all have a little congestion- minor crud- but I'm most concerned about Harris becuase of his previous exposure to RSV and because he's kept us up the past 2 nights. Turns out he has a virus which has allowed him to have an ear infection. Dr. Patz, our wonderful pediatrician, prescribed Omnicef, the antibiotic that worked last time, but also turns poop red. I didn't know that the first time we used it, so you can imagine our diaper shock (similar to sticker shock). Hopefully the antibiotic will wipe out the ear infection and if there is a trace of anything bacterial with his cold, then it would help with that, too. Viral infections seem to be the norm for us. Those are the infections that you can't do anything about; you just have to wait and let them run their course- usually about 10 days. That's pretty much what I pay my $25 to hear. :-) This is a picture of Dr. Patz with Harris today. Harris's cute outfit with his name monogrammed on the front was courtesy of newest cousin-in-law Holly E. nee' R. and Marcus. Thanks guys! We love it! (See #3 below- but he had this on before we were scheduled to see the doc!)

After many trips to our doctor's office, I've observed several things:
1. The pediatrician's office is a social hot spot. You'd better have on makeup because you are bound to run in to somebody. I saw 4 moms I know there today and I see about 2 on average per visit.

2. People on the "well" side of the doctor's office waiting room are pretty smug. I used to be among them until now- when I have been on the sick side more times than I can count. And that's where all the other moms are anyway, so the sick side is more fun.

3. People with their first child- usually for infant well check ups- have at least 2 parents with them and sometimes a grandparent. Again, I, too, used to be there. We would get so excited to see how much Owen weighed and how far off the chart he was (he has never been on the actual growth chart). Also, these parents have their children in adorable clothes... that they have to take off as soon as they get in the patient room, but they look really cute in the waiting room.

4. They have germ infested toys in the waiting area for germ infested children to play with. Who thought of this plan? No wonder I see tons of moms here! Our kids keep getting sick from each other!

Thank goodness for modern medicine and our doctors! What would we do without them?
Suffer 10 days with no medicine for a viral infection, I guess... :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Bay-Bee-Sees

Owen is really into the ABCs- or Bay-Bee-Sees lately. We have the big foam mat that is a puzzle with the punch out letters of the alphabet that he always asks to play with. (This is wonderfully entertaining until you have to clean it up. I would not buy it again, but he loves it SOOO much. See his love here <---.) (This is what I'm talking about, in case you don't have children. And I surely didn't pay $40 for my misery, um, I mean, this wonderful educational toy. I got it for $12 on clearance at Hobby Lobby.)

And he's started to sing the ABCs all the time. It's really funny when he picks up in the middle and you can tell he's been singing some other portion in his head. He does this with a lot of songs and we're left trying to figure out what he's singing-- more times than I can count in a day.
After his nap today during afternoon snack, I caught him on video rolling through the bay bee sees and started filming about half way through the first go around. And then, when he's almost done with the second... well, you'll see what happens. Let's just say he gets distracted by shiny objects- a little like his mom. I don't want to build it up too much, but I was trying hard not to laugh. Enjoy! (This video is about a minute.)

Invisible Women

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Land of Good Intentions

I've decided that I used to have it together, but since Harris was born, I just live in the land of good intentions.
Examples from yesterday and today:
1) Grocery list- I made one. Found it on the floor beside the door after I got back from the grocery store. Here are the things I forgot: Honey nut Cheerios and Kleenex. (I'm actually pretty proud of myself, now! I thought it would have been more!)
2) Coupons in paper- we take the paper on the weekends just for the Sunday coupons which I promised myself to clip and use. I have 3 Sundays worth stacked up right now!
3) Cloth bags for grocery shopping- I always have these in the car. And I actually used some today!! Hoorah! I'm saving the world one cloth bag at a time.
4) Eating healthy- As I scarfed down FRIDAY'S leftover pizza on the way to the grocery store, I just knew I would look for healthy food when I got there. That was a so-so venture.
5) Flowers for cross on Sunday- if you read my earlier post about buying flowers for the flower cross at church, I did buy them... and they're really pretty on my breakfast table! I forgot to take them!

Back to work... as I intended to do today!

Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter week. Last weekend we went down to Dothan to see my parents, sister and grandmother and had a nice time. Here are some pictures of Owen egg hunting with my almost 6-year-old nephew Gavin.
And one with my grandmother. I think Harris is her 9th great-grandchild!

And my mom loves to put reading glasses on Harris.

Then this weekend, we had the whole Easter Egg-stravaganza. Easter outfits, eggs, baskets, knee socks, shoes... even a last minute Easter dress for me (8:30 pm Saturday night- Stein Mart... and I wasn't the only one there getting Easter clothes!). The only thing about the Easter craziness is that we sometimes forget to be thankful for the Easter Jesus! I tried really hard to focus on God and our many blessings in church, but without a church nursery on Easter Sunday, that makes it a little difficult. I was feeding Harris, grabbing Owen from his new best friends (the people beside us) and then, about half way through the service, realized that my new Easter dress was only zipped half way! I had a sweater on over it, thankfully, but I felt weird the rest of the service- like a funny breeze was on my back.

Thank goodness for Easter Monday- when moms can relax and come down from the sugar rush of Easter- in more ways than just the candy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on its way!

This morning we went out to Connie and Irv's (Jason's parents) house for lunch and an Easter Egg Hunt with family and friends. Carrie (Jason's sister), Ismael and their 2 girls- Megan and Maya- were over from Atlanta and Chris and Jeannie (family friends) came over with their children- Wesley and Josie. We had 6 children eating/ playing together and Owen was the oldest- at 2 1/2! Thankfully Connie and Irv have the perfect setup for this chaos. They blew up the big bouncer out back, which has a cool feature of making your hair stand on end:

They also have a wonderful swing set (that they built and painted themselves!) and a great backyard:

Look at all these dads in action! I'm so proud!

Of course we hunted eggs, too!
After the initial eggs were all picked up and the original candy mostly all found, the hunt then began through other people's baskets to see if THEY had any M&Ms left in eggs that they had forgotten. We do teach them to share, right?? That's what this picture is. It's totally not Owen's basket, but he's scavenging for candy.
It was so nice to relax and have fun with family and friends. We are super duper blessed. Here are some other shots I couldn't leave out!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Very Good Friday

Today was a wonderful day. I had both kids at home today and (most of) the day off.

The weather was absolutely beautiful! Seventy-two degrees and sunny and not a cloud in the sky! We met friends at the Botanical Gardens this morning for a bird show and to see the Dinosaur exhibit. Owen sat through about 5 minutes of the bird show and we got to see 1 dino. But, we did have a really good time seeing friends. Connie met me there, thankfully to help corral Owen and hang out with Harris. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her!

Then this afternoon we all went to the park down the street to play since it was such perfect weather. Owen stole, uh, I mean, borrowed a kite AND a football from 2 different families (we're GOT to start bringing our own toys to the park) and had a grand ole time playing.

All this seems trite compared to the gravity of Good Friday. It's because we know of Easter Sunday, though, that we can rejoice in today. Thank you, Jesus! Amen!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What am I thinking?

Okay, I've kind of been inspired to start this and really don't know what I'm getting into or doing! Like that's ever stopped me before...
Hopefully this will look nice and put together before anyone reads it.
Right now it's 10:30 pm. Everyone is asleep and I've got to go feed Harris his "midnight snack". We "dream feed" which I'm sure is looked down upon, but if mama can sleep then I'm all for it! He's been sleeping through the night since 12 weeks, so no complaints here!

I'm looking forward to Easter. I love to see Christ revealed year after year and it renews my heart to wallow in the joy of Easter! Our church does a big cross where you add flowers and it always looks beautiful by the end of the morning. I've got to remember to get fresh flowers for that this year. We have the best picture of it from last year (I'll post here if I can figure out how to do that) and I was about 10 weeks pregnant. Oh- that seems like a world ago!

Hopefully I'll figure all this out soon! Good night!

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