Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last Day of September

Tomorrow is the first day of October.  The weather has been almost perfect, with midday highs in the low 80's, sandwiched between morning and evening temperatures in the low to mid 70's.  We could use some rain though.  It's been forecasted at least once a week for the last month but we haven't seen more than a few drops. 

Last week, Book-A-Holic, a local used bookstore, had their semi-annual warehouse sale.  They opened up their storage room and sold books for $10 a bag.  I went on Thursday evening and got a big bag of books for myself.  Hoping that the sale was still going on on Friday, I went back and got a second big bag of kids books for Josiah.  On Friday, the bag only cost $7.50 (not sure why) so I got probably two dozen books for $18.  Most of the ones I got for myself were hardcover and in almost perfect condition.  The kids books were a little more "used" but still a really good deal. 

Josiah had his 18 month check-up last Friday and his last vaccination until age 4 (thank goodness!).  His weight is average but his height is below average which doesn't really surprise me given his birthmom's petite stature.  He's healthy and growing and the pediatrician was pleased with his development.  The only area where (I think) Josiah might be a tad behind is in speech.  He's used a handful of words but none very consistently (except "uh oh").  I think a big part of the reason is because he uses his pacifier all the time.  Since I'd like to take the paci away completely when he turns 2, I've started to wean him from it during the day.  Most of the time he doesn't even notice that he doesn't have it until he starts to get tired or hungry.  In just a week's time, I've already noticed an increase in his vocalizations.  I've also started to work on specific words with him ("momma" and "dadda" being at the top of the list) and read to him every evening before bed.  I'd gotten inconsistent in reading to him (and reading myself!) because of spending so much time outside this summer. 
I'm not concerned about his speech and word range yet.  At this stage of life, toddlers can learn things overnight so by next week, he might be surprising us all with what he can say.  I'm just going to encourage him and help him where I can and leave the rest up to him. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Terrible Twos

I had an epiphany last week.  Over the last couple months, Josiah has changed.  He's gotten more irritable, more emotional and dramatic, more strong-willed, and has started throwing tantrums.  I, having not gone through this before, was chalking it up to teething, the weather, a weird schedule, etc.  Anything I could think of to explain why my normally happy toddler was acting like this.  And then I had that epiphany.  The terrible twos!  I have no idea why I didn't think of it before but it makes complete sense now.  I posted something on Facebook asking my mommy friends when their kids first started the terrible twos stage.  A lot of them said it was at about 18 months old or earlier.  Their words really helped me because I suddenly saw my son in a different light.  He's normal and this is a normal thing that he's going through. 

Since my epiphany, my husband and I have discussed how we're going to handle Josiah's behavior.  We've gotten some input from other people and are now working on a discipline structure that works with our son.  We've tried a few different ways of dealing with his tantrums and have found that the thing that works best for us right now is putting him in his room until he calms down.  If we allow him to stay wherever he's thrown himself, he screams and cries for a lot longer than if we put him in his room by himself.  He's able to get control of himself a lot quicker without an audience.  I've also found that knowing how I'm going to discipline him when he acts out is good for me.  I do the same thing every time so he knows what is going to happen when he acts out.  I don't need to lose my temper or try to think of how to punish him this time. 

I've also realized something else after talking with some people.  Yes, this behavior is normal for this stage of life... but that doesn't mean it's okay.  I think that, for the most part, children live up to the expectations that their parents have for them.  If I expect Josiah to act like a raving maniac for the next two years, he will.  If I expect him to act like a kind, courteous little child, he will... some of the time.  Having high expectations doesn't mean he'll always do what I expect but it does mean that I'm not going to excuse his behavior, normal though it may be, and we're going to work at changing it.

In all this talk of discipline and right behavior, the main reason why we discipline can't be overlooked.  After all, right behavior does not a Christian make.  We discipline with the hope that our children will see themselves rightly (sinners destined for hell) and realize their need for a Savior.  Good behavior may be a by-product but it is not the end goal.  I want our home to be a place of grace and love, a place where people can mess up and be forgiven, a place where misbehavior is dealt with properly, where people are not constantly reminded of their mistakes but instead, reminded of the One Who died to remove the stain of sin. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Brass Teapot and the Power of Money

I just finished watching a movie called "The Brass Teapot."  It was a fascinating movie about a teapot that had magical powers.  It would magically produce money ($100 bills) when the owners of the teapot would hurt themselves.  Over time, hurting oneself paid less and less but then the owners discovered that if someone else got hurt, the teapot started producing again.  So of course the owners went around trying to find people that were in pain.  Again, over time, that paid less and less until they discovered that intentionally wounding each other and other people emotionally paid a lot.  Finally, they got to the point where they were willing to kill someone (a "bad" person, like a pedophile) just to get the money.  Thankfully, they didn't go through with the murder, but the teapot was stolen and they were witnesses to a 4-person murder as two different groups of people fought over the teapot.  This convinced the original owners to get rid of the teapot for their own sake.

This movie really hit home with me.  I don't think I'm alone when I say that I sometimes struggle with the desire for more money.  And to make matters worse, rather than just confessing this sin and bringing it to the One who can break the power of that desire, I will try to appease the prickings of the Holy Spirit by listing all the "good" things I would do if I had more money.  It's pretty frustrating for me to struggle with this because, as I've written in the past, I'm naturally a pretty generous person.  I love giving money away and helping other people.  I truly do.  I don't know why I struggle with this sin except that maybe God allows this struggle in my life to keep me from being prideful about having a gifting of generosity.  It's God who empowers me to be open-handed with our money and if I did not have His Spirit working within me, I know I'd be spending every penny on ourselves, to heck with those in need. 

For people like me, being rich would almost certainly ruin me.  The Bible warns us repeatedly about the love of and desire for money; that we can't pursue both God and money.  If we are pursuing and loving money, we've rejected God and are (probably) headed for hell.  If I was rich, I think that would be me, and that's a very scary and troubling thought.  I pray that God only gives us as much money as is good for us and I work at continuing to cultivate a spirit of generosity in my life so that money never becomes something that has power over me. 

1 Timothy 6:9-11  "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Here Comes Fall!

My goodness, summer has flown by and we're heading into fall!  I've spent a lot of hours canning peaches, peach preserves, peach jam, beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  I feel very "Proverbs 31 Woman" when I'm canning: "She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family..."  I now have both a water bath canner and a pressure canner so I can preserve any type of fruit or vegetable.  I'm already planning on putting in more garden beds next year so we can produce and can even more vegetables.  I'm glad I can go to the grocery store and buy fresh or frozen or canned fruits and vegetables but I'd prefer to grow and can them myself.  I don't know that it's necessarily cheaper but it's definitely healthier and I like to know what my family and I are eating. 

The Kansas State Fair is going on this week.  After fighting the crowds on a Saturday last year, Daniel was planning on taking off a morning during the week this year.  He has a few things to finish up on the yearly audit though so we're waiting to see if he can get those done today.  If not, we'll have to go on Saturday.  Fortunately, waiting until the last half of the week or the weekend has turned out to be a great idea.  The weather at the start of the week was mid-90's but a cold front came through last night and it's supposed to be 70's or 80's the rest of the week into next week.  Friday is supposed to be a high of 59.  I'm definitely ready for fall, although this summer hasn't been near as bad as it could've been.  And after fall - winter!  And Christmas!  I've already started to think about Christmas gift ideas for the little guy.  We'd like to get him a full-size wagon but we might wait until his birthday in March for that, since it'll be closer to the time when he'll actually be able to use it outside.

Speaking of the little guy, I gave him his third haircut a few days ago.  The previous two were more like trims than actual haircuts but not this one!  I took off a couple inches from the front and back and made it as even and professional-looking as I could.  I know some parents like to take their kids to children-oriented salons for their first cuts but I'd rather spend that kind of money on something else and cut his hair myself.  Besides, if I get good enough, maybe my husband will let me cut his hair. 

Well, I suppose I should sign off and get some things done today.  I know I had a few weeks lapse in posting but I'm determined to get back on a twice-a-week or more posting schedule.  I enjoy writing and I need to keep it up, if not for others' benefit, at least for myself.  Sayonara!