Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Little Messages Through My Child

So I've been musing today.  Can my child "bring" me messages from God?  You know, confirmations or encouragement?  I will give you three personal stories as examples...

Story #1 -

Note:  I HATE public restrooms and usual enter armed with wipes and hand sanitizer and go all Scrubby Bubbles on the joint.  

We were driving home from our family vacation about a month ago.  It was potty break time.  The stress of the trip had brought on an insane concussion related headache, which brought on nausea, shakes, etc.

I entered the bathroom alone the first time - I had to throw up.  Then my little one had to potty, so I retrieved her from her Daddy.  I didn't even wipe down the toilet for her like I usually do.  "This looks like a clean enough place,"  I thought.  I knelt down on the floor while she did her business, another thing I NEVER do.  Me on a public bathroom floor.  *sigh*

My body was shaking, my head was throbbing.  Every smell and echoing noise made me want to scream.  Then my daughter said, "Look Mommy, it's my brother!"  She was point to the picture on one of those plastic toddler seats some restrooms have.  "No Baby, you don't have a brother."  But she insisted, "Yes I do.  The baby that was in your tummy that went to see Jesus.  That's my brother."

Then I started thinking...we haven't really talked about this miscarriage with her.  Only once, when I first miscarried we explained that the baby in Mommy's tummy had gone to be with Jesus, so we wouldn't get to see the baby until we got to Heaven - this was just over fifteen months ago.  We never found out if we were having a boy or girl. (I lost the baby at 12/13 weeks, but it was abnormally small, the doctor said.)

Of course I started to cry.  I'd been feeling like I "made up" this whole losing a baby thing - why was I still grieving my baby?  I felt validated.  Like it was OK to miss my unborn child.  Like Jesus had my baby and was taking care of it.  Like it was a son, I'd always had that gut feeling.

Story #2

Another concussion headache going strong.  It was bedtime a few nights ago.  One side of my head was throbbing that I could hardly see out of that eye.  I told my little one that we'd have to do our night-night routine quickly tonight, because Mommy's head hurt really bad.  She cooperated well.  As I was tucking the blankets around her, she grabbed my arm,"Mommy, don't you worry.  God says He will make your head all better.  Don't you worry."

I smiled, and a bit of tension seemed to leave.

Story #3

Headache for the last three days (a trend, yes) and I'm sick of hurting!  This concussion is really trying to get the best of me.  With potty training coming to an end (whoohoo!) I was helping my daughter finish up in the bathroom.  All done I looked at her and said, "Can you pray for Mommy today?  My head hurts really bad again, and I want to have a good day with you."  Right there, she knelt down, knees on the floor, elbows on the toilet seat.  She closed her eyes and said, "Dear Jesus, please help Mommy's head feel better.  Thank you for Mommy and Daddy.  Amen."

Yes, again this brought tears to my eyes.  She hasn't been willing to pray out-loud too often.  I hugged her and said, "Thank you."  Ya know what?  In about 5 minutes, my headache cut in half!  And as I type, it's nearly gone.

Story 3 is what made me start thinking today.  Our babies are innocent.  Their minds and hearts are pure.   Has God been trying to tell me "It's OK, I'll take care of your concussed head," this whole time but I've so busy worrying and stressing that I haven't heard Him?  How many gentle reminders and bits of encouragement from Above do I miss because I've allowed my mind and heart to be clouded with anger, frustration, uncertainty, and such?

Maybe God sends messages through our kids, maybe He doesn't.  I don't know.  But these three instances in the last month have meant something to me.  It's been special.    
Pin It!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Child Abuse - It's time to talk.

Pink Sherbet Photography
Child Abuse

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea." - Mark 9:42

 Once I got into high school, I began hearing stories of how my friends had been sexually abused.  As an adult, I still hear stories of how those I know have been abused.  Someone I once considered a good friend, is in prison for abusing children.  This is a topic that shoots a dart to my heart and brings out the "momma bear" in me.  *smiles*

In this day and time we must be aware of the warning signs of child abuse.  As caring Mommies, we want to protect our children from inappropriate TV, crude language, bullies, the flu and speeding cars.  But, we must also have our minds and eyes open so we can protect our babies from people who would physically take advantage of them.  

This isn't a topic most Mommies want to talk about.  We don't ever wish to suspect a relative, friend or our husband.  We feel "unfaithful" or distrustful or like a bad wife or daughter if we use caution and stay aware.  Perhaps you've never even considered observing your spouse or relative.  Well, now is the time to think, talk about it and put safety boundaries in place.  Openness and communication on this issue with those who are around your children on a regular basis can be a wonderful way to start!  

Because I respect the privacy and pain of my friends, I will not share the multiple personal abuse stories I've been told in confidence.  You will have to take my word for this - most of the abusers were trusted family or friends.  This is heartbreaking and scary.  Whenever you hear a story in the news, or someone's private story is released via a blog or book, who was the abuser?  Granted, there are those dreadful stories of children being kidnapped, but I'm talking about the children who were abused over a long period of time without anyone suspecting a thing.  We must not ignore or close our eyes to the potential possibility of abuse to our children and those around us.

In our family it's an across-the-board rule - no men are allowed to watch our daughter alone.  No grandpa, no uncle, no friend - no male ever, alone.  Not that we don't love and trust the male's in our lives, but because of statistics and the private stories I've been brought into, this is our choice.  

We don't trust many people to babysit our daughter - if Grandma or an older lady friend are not available, oh well!  And this means we don't get to go out on as many dates - but oh, it's so worth knowing my daughter is safe!  There are plenty of years ahead  and we still find plenty of "alone time" - you can date at home too!  (See Family Life Today's Romantic Nights Kit.)  

I've spoken with a counselor about our "extreme rule" and he feels we are not crazy.  In his professional experience, abusers are typically someone close to home.

If you are aware of a situation involving your children, or other children NO NOT KEEP SILENT.  Allowing a child to be abused in order to keep a marriage or family together - how can you?  A wrong does not equal a right.  A child will NEVER thank you for keeping their abusive father or older sibling around.  But, they WILL thank you for getting them out of a horrible, night-mare situation.

Child abuse should never be accepted - no matter who, no matter the situation. 

Please, seek help.  Find a counselor or legal help.  Below I have listed several organizations who will help you, or someone you know.

May God bless you as you strive to protect your darling babies.

"...Child sexual abuse is most commonly committed by someone known to the child, including family members. In this case, the act may be considered incest. Incest is overt and/or covert sexual contact or acts between people who are related genetically, by marriage, by living arrangements, or in whom a child perceives a trusting relationship, for example parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-parents, foster parents..."  

It can be difficult to recognize when a child is being abused; below are 10 common signs to watch for. Learning these signs and discussing them with those close to you is the first step in breaking the pattern of violence that hurts us all.
  1. Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child's injuries.

  2. Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in a child's behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.

  3. Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.

  4. Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.

  5. Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child's eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.

  6. Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.

  7. Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children's injuries from authorities.

  8. Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.

  9. Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.

  10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.

From Parenthood
Signs That a Person Is a Sexual Abuser 
Often after a child abuser has been revealed, those closest to the situation will recall feeling that something was wrong, without knowing how to address it or what to say. Abusers count on this feeling of confusion and reticence to cover their tracks. Instead of remaining silent, parents should learn to question the behavior that produces these feelings. Some questionable behaviors, according to a booklet on child sexual abuse produced by the organization STOP IT NOW!©, include when an adult or older child:
• Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection.
• Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (for example, talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body).
• Insists on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
• Spends most of his or her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone of his or her own age.
• Regularly offers to baby-sit children for free or takes children on overnight outings alone.
• Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason.
• Frequently walks in on children or teens in the bathroom.
Trust your instincts. If questioning these behaviors does not produce change, or if the answers do not seem acceptable, remove your children from contact with that person.
Signs That a Child Has Been Sexually Abused
No one sign (with the exception of pregnancy or the presence of a sexually transmitted disease) is conclusive as to whether a child has been sexually abused or not. Nightmares or mood swings can be produced by other stressful events, including divorce, death of a family member, problems at school, etc. If you observe a combination of signs in your child, such as these provided by STOP IT NOW!, Mothers Against Sexual Abuse and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, start asking questions and reaching out for help.

A few links from the plethora of resources available online...

Pin It!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest Bath Remodel - Reveal!

WARNING: Picture filled post!  *smiles*

So I had this mirror.  I liked the mirror, but the color never seemed to go in my house.  Bring on the spray paint!  I needed something for above the guest room bathroom vanity, and it's a funny space.

This was  my first time to invest in "quality" spray paint...and I'm so glad I did!  The nozzle swivels and everything.  I used fewer coats than the cheapy stuff AND it covered so smoothly, without drips!  Will be buying Krylon for future projects, guaranteed.  


Upstairs bathroom just after we bought the house (less than a year ago.)  
My husband could barely fit in there!  
The space was awkward, a taking pics of other angles isn't easy.

We knocked down a non-load bearing divider wall - between toilet and sink area.  
And tore out a huge cabinet to the left of the door, beside the tub.

Now, instead of a built-in here's what we have!  
(Shelf, hooks and storage cup from IKEA.)

We replaced the old, built-in vanity with a brand new, furniture-style one.
It was snagged at Home Depot on clearance, with a coupon, 
plus an additional 10% off just 'cause we asked the manager!  Yay!

The gorgeous marble top was FREE from the lady who installed our kitchen counters.  
She only charged us for the under-mount sink plus labor.  Wow!

One side of the bathroom has a slanted ceiling - it's the toilet and sink wall.  
It's, well, difficult to work with.  Finding the right light was tricky.

The shower curtain, ceiling light and floors are just my style 
(of course, I picked it all out, duh!) - classic with a vintage flair!
Tile and lighting from Lowes.

Shower fixtures and sink faucet are matching Price Psfister we were given, new in the box!

Now, if it were up to me, I would not have a purple bathroom.  But when that bathroom will primarily be used by your daughter, and she ASKS, OUT OF THE BLUE if her bathroom could be purple...well...

And there you have our guest bathroom!  
A much more open and easy to maneuver space.  Not to mention fresh and more up to date.

Pin It!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Product Review - Munchkin Star Fountain and a Glow In The Dark Bath

With our July 4th Celebration at an end, I didn't want to just pitch my daughter's glow sticks in the trash.  Instead, I let her take them with her into the bath.  Such super, silly fun!  You should try it!

As a gift, my daughter was given this cute star bath toy that sprays water into the air!  The "nose" lights up and it's where the water comes from.  Battery operated, water is sucked in through little holes on the back/bottom and is forced up through the "nose" on the top.  The star floats nicely around the tub.  Only issue we've had is when a piece of fuzz got sucked up into the bottom holes - but we quickly removed it, and things worked just fine.  Amazon and Target carry them.   Price runs between $7 and $10.  (But being the cheapskate I am, I'd prefer if the price were under $4.  *BIG grin*)

Munchkin Star Fountain
via Amazon

It was a SHINING end to our Happy 4th of July.  
A GLOWING mommy and baby girl headed off to bed that night.
Creativity and fun doesn't have to end just 'cause it's time to go to sleep.  *smiles*
Pin It!

We're building a deck!

A previous post had deck ideas and inspiration.  And now we're building our own!  Instead of hiring a company, (and yes we got bids, outrageous bids!) my husband asked a group of friends to come help get things started!  With volunteer and paid friend help, we're gradually finishing up!

We're also putting up a fence, just a good-size play-yard for our little one.  Just over two acres of open space is marvelous, but a lose German Shepherd and then a Pit Bull kinda made me want a protected place for my daughter to play.  So excited to have things complete and then on to designing landscaping!  *smiles*

One trouble we ran into was the septic!  
The tanks are exactly beneath where we are putting the deck!
Posts had to be set in different places, etc.

And of course my baby girl got in on the action.  *grins*
More pics of the final product will come, soon I hope!

Pin It!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Healthy Summer Snack

Plate #1

Plate #2

Fresh.  Alive.  Clean.  Energy giving.  Home-grown.

(Tomato from our organic bucket garden, pickle grown and canned by my Grandma, cucumber grown in our neighbor's garden, organic baby carrots, avocado and raspberries, organic rice crackers with almond butter!)

While everything I feed my family isn't home-grown or organic, I try.  We're certainly not as "green" or "natural" as some, but we've made many choices in that direction.  Often, I say, "If only I ate like I feed my daughter, I'd be a size 2!"

Eating healthy summer snacks has it's advantages, for sure.  But one things I'd found is I feed my little one all the day long.  And I do mean all day long.

Today for breakfast, she had 2 eggs and a piece of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast.  AS SOON AS the last bite was gone she said, "Mommy, can I have a snack?"  Thus, a plate filled just like Plate #1.  

AS SOON AS plate #1 was finished I heard, "Mommy, can I have more snack?"  Bring on Plate #2!  

This was all in a 3 hour period.  Oh, and don't forget the 3 sippy cups that were also downed.  *smiles*

There are days I run out of "good stuff."  There are days I cave, and she has potato chips, or too much fruit or french fries.  But that's not the point.  My GOAL is to feed her well.  And sometimes life happens.

Trying to feed and fill-up an active child with healthy, well-balanced snacks can be difficult!  In the back of my head I can still hear my mid-wife, "Protein!  Protein!  Protein!"  *grins*

Having the time to actually plan snack-time is a dream, huh?  Usually I just grab what's handy.  The weeks I keep quality produce, snacks and meats on hand, she eats well, and I can see the difference in her behavior.  When I let chips and fast food slip in her diet *sigh* not only do I feel guilty, I don't eat as well either!

And what DO you feed a child when you're on the go and raising her gluten, dairy and sugar free?  Uh huh, thinkin' cap/creativity time!  *winks*

Do YOU  have any tips or favorite healthy summer snacks?
Pin It!