30 October 2007

add on post to in defense of noah~

I've had several of my real life friends leave me comments on my post about nursing Noah (thanks, guys!). I just wanted to clarify a little that I was feeling particuarly frustrated that day. None of you guys have ever made me feel weird. I did respond to Lori's comment, but wanted to just add on here to make sure everyone saw it.

Mostly my frustration has just come from people thinking its gross or that he is just too old for it to be socially acceptable, and I feel that is due, largely in part, to our overly se~ualized culture. My passion is my mothering and encouraging young moms (or even older-than-me moms with little ones), so I am glad to answer real questions from moms who are purely curious to people wanting to genuinely know more about it. It just makes me mad that our culture "tends" to make me feel like there is something wrong with either Noah or me for wanting to continue nursing into toddlerhood.

On a side note, preterm labor is a valid concern for some women nursing throughout a pregnancy. My home-birth supporting back-up doctor even advised me to wean Noah once I got to twenty weeks, but after five previous pregnancies and doing online research, I felt confident that I could watch my own body and would be able to tell if I needed to be concerned. It ended up being quite funny that I actually had significantly fewer braxton hicks contractions that my other pregnancies, and after having five early babies, Haven decided to be 13 days late!

One other piece of info I meant to say too was that when a woman tandem nurses (which only means nursing more than one child, not necessarily nursing them simultaneously, I had to learn that. I have only nursed simultaneously maybe three times.), her body resets itself as soon as she gives birth to the infant. The milk becomes geared specifically for the newborn's needs, the older child just benefits from that. Amazing...

25 October 2007

frugal fridays~ ebay of course!

So I haven't really done the Frugal Fridays thing in awhile, but I absolutely love ebay, so I thought I'd do a quick post on it.

Ebay is an awesome resource for several different things actually. First, of course, it is a great place to find things for cheap. Secondly, it is a great way to make some extra money. Some people make an excellent living just from selling things on ebay. And third, it is a great place to find particular, rare, or hard to find items.

I buy things on ebay all the time. I do quite a bit of my children's clothing shopping on ebay. Here are a few of the good deals I've gotton lately...

**new American Eagle jeans for Glen $.99
**new American Eagle jeans for Glen $5
(Glen is built with a long torso and shorter legs and has found that these particular jeans fit
him the best. I used to have to watch for sales and make a trip out to the mall, while still
spending at least $20, and that was only if I found them on the clearance rack. On sale, they
were still usually $30! So these were very good deals for us!)
**new baby Gap sparkle courduroy pants for Moriah $7.00
**3 new kids Gap tshirts for Caleb $1.50 each
**new chocolate brown mary jane crocs $19 (while that seems pricey, they are sold out in stores and online, and i've been watching for some for months. the childrens' sizes are rare, and when they do have them, they can sell upwards of $50. i just happened to catch someone who listed a buy it now and got them before anyone else did!)
**new baby gap lined jeans and baseball shirt for noah $8 total
**2 Gap shirts and Limited Too skirt for Anna $8
**new in pkg schikk intuition razor blades bought in bulk for $1.33 each ($3.33 at Target)
and those are just a few of the things!

As you can probably tell, though, I tend to like name brand stuff. I have fun dressing my kids, maybe it's a hobby, maybe I don't like dressing myself (the whole post baby body thing) so I put extra effort into dressing them, I don't know, but I have great fun watching for good deals on ebay.

Here is my method...shhh :o)
You can "save" searches on ebay, and you get daily emails everyday when things are listed. For example, Ethan had this baseball type shirt that was pretty cute last year. It was my favorite shirt. I did buy it new. So I thought, there will probably be some on ebay this year. So I saved a search for it, and in true Shyla fashion (my sisters tease me about this endlessly), I have now managed to find one in just about every boy size from 6 months to 5t! Some of them were even new with tags. And cheaper than buying new shirts at the store. Of course, you have to figure in shipping, but I include that factor when deciding to buy/bid on something or not.
You can save general searches, such as "jeans 5t" or get as specific as you want "baby gap button jeans 5t" (this was a particular jean I had wanted for Moriah). I do tend to like Gap jeans/pants as I have noticed through the years that they do hold up well. So I have searches saved "gap jeans 8", "gap jeans 10", etc. and have found some really great deals. I have searches saved in most of the sizes my children are currently in, as well as sizes coming up for next season.

So, most of the emails I skim and pass up, but if there is an item I am interested in, I click on the link over to ebay, and then click "watch this item." I don't usually bid until almost the end of the auction time. A day or so before the auction ends, I get an email saying this item is going to end soon. That is when I decided whether or not to bid. If it has already been bid up to the amount I'm willing to pay, then I just ignore it. What I typically watch for, as in the case of the American Eagle jeans for Glen and t-shirts for Caleb, are items that have not been bid on, with very low starting prices, often $.99. I then bid on them. Sometimes things go really high, sometimes things just get passed up for some reason, and I get great deals. The trick seems to really be the saved searches and just watching for things that are low.

I've also sold quite a few things on ebay as well. Either my children's extra and/or old stuff that I know is worth my time to list or great deals I've found at the store that I know will sell (I don't do this very often, but I think it is how some people really get into selling and making money). Most of my children's outgrown stuff I just give to various friends, but there are a few things that are worth taking picture of and selling. One thing I had some fun with this summer were Hannah Montana folders and notebooks.

For anyone that has a girl over the age of, say 5, and is out in public at all, has probably heard of Hannah Montana. We are actually in the process of learning some important life lessons about culture and idols through Hannah Montana, but that is a different story (I say that a lot...sorry.)

Anyway, Anna wanted to see if there were Hannah Montana folders on ebay that she could use for New Song. When I checked, I saw that people were selling these sets of folders and notebooks for like $10 plus! I just waited. I then happened to see in the Target flyer that weekend, that they had Hannah Montana school supplies (I didn't know that when I was looking for them on ebay), and that particular week, they were on sale 50% off! So, I purchased a bunch, knowing I could return what I didn't sell. So....guess what happened! I listed these sets of 2 folders/1 spiral notebook for approximately $8 each. I sold all of them, and they only cost me $2! I think I had like 16 sets. It was a lot of fun, but that's really the only like that I've done.

So, that's my Frugal Fridays tip of the week....ebay! Have fun!

**And a special thank you to my sweet friend Rachel for all the wonderful girls clothes! My girls spend a good week going through all of the great stuff you gave us, they felt like they were getting to play dress up every day. Moriah was hunting around for that pink vest jacket she's convinced is her size just last night...so she could sleep in it :o)

24 October 2007

in defense of noah~

First, for those of you who don't know me, I have a confession...

I am still nursing my two and a half year old. Yes, I am proud to say, that sweet little boy with the mischevious grin and sparkling, vibrant blue eyes noticeable from across a room, has never had a drop of formula pass his lips. He's only had regular cow milk a handful of times. I am feeding him God's perfect food. So tell me....


I wish people would leave me alone already! The "when are you going to cut him off?" questions, the second glances when they realize I'm nursing him and not the baby (of course I nurse Haven still), but what especially gets me is the outward "that's great, I'm supportive of you" but I can tell what they really think is "gross!"

Any doctor, nurse, medical professional, the AAP, the WHO, and the list goes on and on will tell you that b~e~st milk is best for babies and children, but in our over-s~x~ualized western culture, any mother nursing a child over the age of say, six months max, is viewed as weird, abnormal, or even worse as a deviant. Argghhh!

I made a conscious decision to continue nursing Noah. When I found out I was pregnant with Haven, Noah was 14 months old. I realized I needed to be proactive, and make an educated, conscious decision on whether to wean him or continue nursing. I did online research as well as talking to several women in my MOMYS group regarding the benefits vs difficulties, emotional and physical (for me being pregnant as well as the baby's health and Noah's). He is my first child that I have nursed past the age of twelve months. Do I regret it? NO! I do not. Was/is it difficult at times? Yes, it is sometimes a sacrifice. But all health benefits aside (and those are too numerous to even begin to talk about), when that little boy pats me on the shoulder, whispers "milk mommy, milk," and cuddles up with me, rubs my face or drives his little car around my neck, I am glad I made what I know was the best decision for him. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I am not weird, there is nothing wrong with me, and no, I do not get any physical pleasure from it. Sorry if that is too much information, but that is a common misconception. Nursing through a pregnancy was actually often painful. But it still was nutritionally and emotionally comforting for Noah, so I stuck with it as long as he wanted. I don't plan on intentionally weaning him at a certain age, the majority of children who nurse into toddlerhood give it up on their own.

I took Noah, as well as two of the other children, to the doctor today for well child visits. I didn't used to even do well child visits, but I began to for a few different reasons. I like to support Mercy Children's Clinic, there are obvious "toys made in china, how much lead paint has Ethan eaten off Superman's head" issues, and unfortunately in this currently "Christians are extremists" culture, I like to have my bases covered in case of any accusations made by a certain neighbor (long, bad, yucky story) or anyone else that our children are neglected and/or abused. I hate it that I even have to worry about that...but that's a whole other topic.

Anyway, they were asking me all of the general questions they like to know, and the nurse said "Do you give him whole or 2% milk?" Nursing wasn't even a choice! When I told her he still nurses, she kind of looked at me and hesitated. I can understand that she's probably not used to that as a common response, but I had hoped that maybe, at the doctor's office, I would get at least a "that's good for him" comment. It was like the nurse filling out the questionnaire, as well as the doctor, chose to ignore it completely. The doctor didn't even address it other than to ask me if he eats solid food! Of course, he's a two and a half year old boy, not an aberration of nature! What does the child not eat?

Has anyone bothered to notice that "hmmm...he doesn't seem to catch whatever is going around the general public, not to mention our house?" That's because he's getting a superfood from me, packed full of antibodies against whatever I, and by default he, has been exposed to?" So...I would think the doctor would say "good for you, that is the best defense against sickness as well as brain building food there is!" Moms will play Mozart for their kids, but not br~astfeed. They'll fork over all kinds of money for the newest and best educational classes, videos, toys, etc. but look with contempt on the one thing proven throughout all of time to be the best thing for their babies. And I am the one made to feel shamed...I won't even start on my frustration with the lack of support for breastfeeding over the age of 6 months yet the pushing of this new Gardasil vaccine! (This is not at all a slam on Mercy Children's Clinic, I think they are awesome. I left an openly Christian, father of 6 doctor's office that I thought was great in order to support MCC. This is a frustration with the medical industry in general.)

Did you know that there have been studies done on an hour to hour break down of a baby's nutrtional needs/deficiencies, and the compostion of a mother's milk changes, literally, from hour to hour to meet the needs of her baby! That is amazing!

It frustrates me that something that is so obviously God-made is viewed so weirdly by our society. We have had to pass laws allowing women to nurse their children in public. I am not an advocate of in your face nursing, I try and be quite discreet. But it saddens and frustrates me that while I will feed my baby in public when he is hungry (which is almost anytime I go out, and even then I feel like an odd ball and that I should be apologizing to everyone I might offend), I feel that I have to hide Noah when he starts saying "milk, mommy" and tell him no. I do nurse him at church as our church is a little more "granola" than the mainstream, but even there I feel the need to escape to a private place (unless I'm feeling particularly rebellious that day ;o). And I often field lots of questions. I don't mind the questions as I like to encourage moms, but it is sad to me that there are so many questions to be asked. I think sometimes about Hannah and Samuel in the Old Testament. If I were Hannah, I'd be nursing that little guy 24/7 as long as possible before I had to send him off to live at the Temple.

So, to everyone, yes, I am still nursing Noah because I want to. And I would appreciate a little more real support and not this snarky, outwardly supportive, inwardly thinking "weirdo" vibe that I feel from pretty much everyone I know. It is good for him, everyone knows it, so get past the everyone else weans their babies a way long time ago comments.

I know, this doesn't really sound like me, but I just needed to vent a little, and this is a pretty safe place to do it. So thanks for listening, and next time you see a mom nursing, give her a big smile :o)

I make milk....what's your superpower?

(I did want to add on here that in no way do I wish to hurt anyone who wants to nurse, but has difficulties with it. I realize there are valid concerns and problems with nursing. I also realize that deciding to nurse a child into toddlerhood is a personal decision and am in no way critical of weaning older babies. I got to a point where I knew my decision to continue nursing or not was just that..a conscious decision that would have benefits as well as consequences. In no way to I want to hurt anyone or impose my decision to nurse past the age of one year onto anyone :o)
I just needed to vent the lack of criticism and support I have had with the choice I made...)

22 October 2007

love notes from ethan~

Part of what I started my blog for is just for me to look back years from now and remember things. So some of this is really just for me, but as I find it pretty sweet, hopefully it will bring a smile to your day too...

Two memories I have from Ethan...

Once, when Ethan was probably late three, early four maybe, he walked into my closet with me as I was getting dressed up to go somewhere. I must have been dressing up more than usual, because Ethan came over, hugged me around the legs and kind of started swaying back and forth. He looked up at me and said, "Mom, sometime can you dress up and dance with me slow like this...?"

One thing we do around here is the children take turns having "errand day" with me. I go and do errands on Saturdays and the kids rotate weeks getting to come with me. The others get to stay home, play, and do projects with Dad. This past April, when I was within a few weeks of giving birth to Haven, Ethan and I were walking into O'Charley's for lunch (I typically let them choose where to eat lunch, which means I get to enjoy everything from Jasons Deli..yum! to chicken mcnuggets..yuck! to O'Charley's). Ethan grabbed my hand and was just holding hands with me as we crossed the parking lot and walked into the restaurant. Now, as he is a grown man all of five years old, I very much appreciated this public dispplay of sweet affection, so I looked down and smiled at him. That's it, all I did was look down and smile. And you know what that kid said? He said, "I love it when you smile at me, Mommy..."

For all the messes, laundry, meals, kitchen cleaning...did I say laundry (?) and everything else, I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world. I, among all women, am truly blessed...

pleasant places~

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I am ever mindful of the Lord's Presence;
He is at my right hand; I shall never be shaken.
So my heart rejoices,
my whole being exults,
and my body rests secure.

You will teach me the path of life.
In Your Presence is perfect joy;
delights are ever in Your right hand."

~Psalm 16:5-6,8,11~

**taken from the NIV and the Hebrew-English Tanakh

risk #1 of living in the country~

As you can see, they had lots of fun. Back to normal...except one thing....

I have a mouse trapped under a trashcan in our schoolroom....blech! I think this should fall under the category of...say....Husband of The Year duties????

rainy monday~

What's a Mom to do?

Monday is our "new song homeschool focus day." All the little guys, except Haven, of course, go off to Myr's house, and Anna and Caleb get free run of the house for a good part of the day. We focus on whatever New Song "parent intensive" work that needs to be completed, they do their regular "home" school work, and general jobs around here, but other than that they're allowed to have fun doing whatever "big kid" stuff they want. This has been a new thing around here this year and has been quite sweet really as it has given the big kids a break from being, well...the big kids, and has solidified their relationship even more. They have great fun together.

So anyway....8:30 is job time, and it still amazes me (you'd think I'd learn by now) how children disappear every day around 8:25. Suddenly, everyone is best friends and playing at something conveniently out of ear shot from Mom (who would really rather curl up with a good book while the baby is sleeping) :o) So, today, with piles of things I'd like to accomplish, school and home related, it is now 9:30, and Anna, Caleb, and Ethan are playing in the rain. They planted my flowers for me too!

So, back to my original question....

What's a Mom to do? Isn't this why I homeschool? Culture and Biblical discipleship aside, family relationship is much more valuble to me than scheduling. Is it necessary for Caleb, who is only 7, to practice his times tables and division? Is Naya Nuki (the book Anna is currently reading) and fractions more pressing than mud puddles and sticks and swings and, lest we forget, the all important factor of any problem can be overcome and worked out amicably by ourselves or Mom will realize we're not here...?

Real life learning, two brothers and a sister, six acres, trees, a pond, sticks, a custom built by Dad swingset, a basement full of tools and scrap wood....I wonder what they're doing at the little school down the road? Probably not playing in the rain :o)
"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November