8.30.2011

Why I Lack Motivation...

for blogging, that is.

Have you ever noticed that during the summer blogging frequency decreases, even though there's MORE to blog about? I think this happens for several reasons:

1) You're too busy with vacations, activities, parties, etc. to have time to blog

2) If you HAVE extra time to blog, you'd rather spend it doing something outside before the nice weather goes the way of all the earth (which, let's face it, could be at any given time...at least, in UT)

3) You're so exhausted from all of your activities that there is little, if any, energy to be cute and captivating in a blog

4) You're too busy having fun to take any pictures...and who wants to read a blog without pictures? (okay, maybe that's just us. Everyone else seems to have little trouble taking pictures)

Additionally, my blogging motivation comes in spurts. As one can probably assume, two weeks ago I had a fire in my belly. I intended to do a series of posts about different parts of my parenting philosophy (in fact, there are drafts for about 5 posts currently saved in my posts list). Then, complete apathy hit. Okay, I wouldn't call it apathy as much as misplaced inspiration. Suddenly, those posts didn't seem like such a good idea, and my motivation fizzled out. I'll probably return to that idea sometime in the future when the inspiration returns. This is another explanation for the dearth of posts on my blog.

There are several other reasons for my lack of blogging, described in no particular order:

1) I've become hopelessly addicted to this show:


I've been catching up on the third season (thank you, hulu plus!) so I'm up to date when the fourth season starts next month. I only have two more episodes left before the wait begins.

1.5) Cole and I also harbor addictions for pretty much any show with Gordon Ramsay. Hell's Kitchen is currently our favorite, and Kyle can be heard yelling, "Shut it down!" a la Chef Ramsay at any given moment.

I also enjoy Bachelor Pad (and even though he'll deny it vehemently, Cole gets a kick out of it as well). It sufficiently fills my drama quota.

2) Cole went to Texas with his younger brother a couple of weeks ago, so I got to experience single parent-hood for a few days. Let's just say I'm extremely glad I have someone to tag in when the kids get taxing. I didn't really have a lot of spare time to myself in those few days he was gone, and I MIGHT have been a few bricks shy by the time he got back.

3) In the midst of Cole's trip and after his return, we were hit with a pretty nasty stomach bug. Lucas is actually still experiencing its effects two weeks later. After being thrown up on one too many times, he and I took a trip to the Instacare on Sunday night.

4) Cole started classes again last week. He's really excited about his classes, and I think he's going to take them all by storm this semester.

5) I took a trip to the doctor a few weeks ago and discovered I had developed a rather serious medical condition:
Okay, this is not actually our munchkin...but I couldn't find our ultrasound pic and this is about what ours looked like anyway.
We are expecting our third child near the end of March! It was a little bit of a surprise, but we're definitely excited! Lucas and this baby will be 21 months apart, which is a bit closer than we originally planned, but I know it will turn out just fine. Better women than I have had children that close (or closer!) together and have fared just fine.

I've been a little sick this time around, but it's been less like morning sickness and more like my normal body reactions are just accentuated (i.e. things that made me sick before my pregnancy just make me MORE so now). I've also had a really hard time finding things that sound appetizing, so I have to force myself to eat sometimes.

I've also been more tired this time around. I'm sure this is a combination of the pregnancy and having two very active boys (one of which is still pretty dependent on me a lot of the time).

One thing that's been different? I haven't sliced open any appendages or fainted (two things that have happened with both of my previous pregnancies--here is the story from Lucas' pregnancy). I think Cole has been grateful for that.

Anyway, that's why my blogging has been sparse lately.

8.17.2011

Parenting Philosophy, Part I: To Shelter or Not to Shelter

I was perusing KSL today (Cole has turned me into a bit of a news junkie) and I ran across an interesting article:


Reading this article (and a few others in a series called Motherhood Matters) opened up my blogging possibilities and gave me the idea for a new series of posts about my parenting philosophies. Here is the first.

As my kids are growing and beginning to understand more of the world around them, I've thought a lot about how closely Cole and I should monitor the things that they watch and read and hear and play with. So far, the only thing that I've come up with is that I need more time to decide. 

Don't get me wrong--it's very important to me that my children are protected from the poisonous things with which we are surrounded these days. But, at the same time, I can't protect them forever, and what happens when that day comes? How will they handle the onslaught of worldly influences that will surely come when they venture out on their own? Isn't it smarter for me to teach them how to handle the unsavory things of this world rather than try to shut them out completely?

From my experience, banning anything (be it toys, or movies, books, or TV shows) makes it that much more alluring to children--so much so that they may seek it out without your knowledge. If my children are going to absorb information, I'd rather be there to answer their questions and address their concerns rather than let them try to do it by themselves. 

Now for the confessions...

Kyle watches Power Rangers. One of his favorite movies is The Sandlot (those kids have POTTY mouths!). I admit that we are not particularly vigilant about what he watches, i.e. there is nothing that he is expressly prohibited from watching. He is not particularly violent, he doesn't use bad language, and he is a generally mild-mannered child. I fully believe it is because we have been able to teach him what is right and what is wrong based on what he has seen. If we heard him repeating an off-color phrase from a movie, we explain to him that it's something we don't say in our house. We explained to him that Power Rangers don't use their karate moves to hit their brothers--only bad guys (I guess we'll handle what constitutes a 'bad guy' later). The concepts of 'right' and 'wrong' are still so abstract to a child Kyle's age, and we've used the things he's seen in movies and on TV to help us make those concepts more concrete.

Do I feel like a bad mom? No, I don't. I look at it like a general waging a war against evil. A general doesn't fight a war only by fortifying and defending his troops. He sends spies to observe the enemy's tactics so he knows the enemy's plan of attack and can better plan his defense. I'm doing the same thing: if I know how Satan is planning to attack my family, I can better plan a defense and teach my children how to defend themselves against his advances. 

I don't always know what I'm doing as a parent and I can't say that I have a definitive plan when it comes to being a parent. However, the one thing I want more than anything is to be able to have open lines of communication with my children as they grow. I want them to be able to come to me with ANY of their concerns with the knowledge that they will never be criticized, belittled, or judged. I feel like the best way to develop this relationship is to start by being as open and honest as I can with them, no matter the question or issue. 

Check back later for a post about discussing the birds and the bees with your kids.

8.02.2011

Breastfeeding and Me, Part IV

I couldn't consider this series complete without discussing my thoughts about weaning. Since I'm currently going through this process, I thought I'd share my experiences and ask for any advice/input/experiences from others.

(For links to the rest of the posts, check here, here, and here.)

I had been asked how long I intended to nurse Lucas. To be honest, I never really had any firm idea. At first, I was hoping to make it more than 3 months (longer than I made it with Kyle). Then, I wanted to make it six months. Then, I hoped to make it to a year. My goal length kept increasing by tiny bits.

Then, Lucas turned one. He was really only nursing between 2-3 times a day, and usually only to go to sleep for his nap or for the night. Occasionally he would want to nurse other times during the day (especially on days when he was having a particularly rough time with cutting new teeth), but it was usually only when we were at home. Plus, he still seemed so young and dependent that it broke my heart to think about cutting him off when he still needed me so much. So, I decided I'd hold off on actively trying to wean him and take more of a "don't offer, don't refuse" stance. I even went as far as thinking I would nurse him until I got pregnant again (which we were planning for sometime during the next year).

Basically, I was avoiding trying to actively wean him. I was afraid that it would end up being a huge fight...and why make my life harder when it wasn't really hurting anything to keep nursing him?

Then, last week, Lucas started walking. On Saturday, we moved him into a toddler bed and into his brother's room. These little assertions of his independence changed the way he nursed. Instead of nursing to sleep before his nap and before bed, he would nurse for a minute, and then fall asleep on his own. In fact, he wasn't even mad if I DIDN'T nurse him to sleep--it just didn't seem to matter as much to him. He hasn't really asked to nurse at other times during the day either. So, I took that as a signal that weaning him wouldn't be such a battle.

Sunday night was the first real time that I tried putting him to sleep without nursing. He cried, but I think it was more because he was overtired and was fighting sleep. After a few minutes, he fell asleep. I was totally amazed. Yesterday for naps he cried even less before falling asleep. It's been far easier than I thought it would be. I either underestimated Lucas' ability to adapt to change or I overestimated his attachment to me.

Am I sad? A little bit. Nursing Lucas has been such an enriching experience. It's made me feel powerful--after all, I was MAKING FOOD for another human being for an entire year. It's a singular experience, and I feel so privileged to have been able to breastfeed Lucas for so long. I hope that I'll be able to be as successful with the rest of my children.

Of course, I certainly won't miss the nursing pads (because yeah, I needed them ALL the way to the end), the intermittent soreness, sharing my body all the time, and the extra 10 or so pounds that stuck around because I was nursing (I was not one of the lucky ones who shed pounds without effort because of breastfeeding. I was just the opposite).

Breastfeeding moms, how did your weaning experiences pan out? What worked for you? What will you try differently? How did you feel when your child (or children) weaned?

8.01.2011

Room-Sharing, Yard-Work, and New-Found Mobility

On Saturday, Cole convinced me to move the boys into the same room so he could turn the extra room into an office. It took a lot of cajoling, because it also involved moving Lucas into a toddler bed...Lucas is only 13 months old--barely a toddler! I was pretty reluctant to let my baby grow up, but I grudgingly agreed.

The boys were thrilled to have their beds in the same room...

Lucas especially liked how easy it was to jump on his new bed.
The last couple of nights have actually gone a lot better than I thought they would! Kyle only got up once, and he settled back down pretty easily because we told him he couldn't leave Lucas alone in their room (FYI, usually Kyle sneaks into our bed at least 3 times a week). Lucas didn't wake up at all! We're still making the adjustment from crib to toddler bed for Lucas, but it's been easier than I thought it would (especially since I'm weaning him at the same time...but more on that some other time). I'm sure we still have some challenges ahead, but so far, so good. Plus, we have an office, which is definitely nice. Cole might actually get all of his homework done on time now! :)

In other news, we've been waging a war with our yard. Every Saturday, we all head outside and spend several hours maintaining our front yard (which is actually looking pretty decent right now--someone in our ward even told Cole that we have the nicest yard in the neighborhood!) and overhauling our backyard. We've  still got a long way to go, though. Hopefully we can get most of the tearing up done this summer so we can start in on the actual landscaping and beautifying. We've got a lot of cool plans, and I know that Cole has been documenting our efforts for a post of his own later on. The boys love all of the time we spend outside, and they even try their hands at "helping" us.

Kyle thinks the drainpipe is a fireman pole...

Lucas LOVES to play around in (and eat) the dirt...
We're also happy to report that Lucas has finally started walking! He's been cruising for months and months, and a couple of months ago he was really big on walking while holding our hands. But, if you tried to let go, he promptly sank to the floor. Well, last week, my mom and sister were over and between the four of us we managed to get him to take a few steps. Since the adulation and cheering were plentiful, and Lucas is quite the attention lover, I think he decided that walking wasn't too bad. Now, he's toddling everywhere, and it's so dang cute! Unfortunately, we haven't been able to catch it on the video camera--he stops walking every time we pull it out. We'll keep trying though, because that much cuteness just has to be shared.
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