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What Every First-time Mama Needs to Know. . .

Written by a fourth-time mama. . .


Essential Equipment:
One crib-for baby not to sleep in because he'd rather sleep with you, he doesn't want to take a nap right now, etc.
One car seat-for all those places you wanted to go after the baby was born, only now you'd rather stay home and take a nap.
Two arms and a lap-for cuddling baby.

One father and several siblings will keep a baby entertained practically forever.

For a summer baby: five dozen diapers and six undershirts.

Delegate and ignore.

Stand in the baby's room and say, "It's a poopie diaper-who wants to help me change it?" You'll have instant privacy as every family member disappears.

Set your alarm for 2 am and make it a quickie.

Put one half of the baby's diaper in front, and the other half in back. Fasten it at the waist with something. It it falls off, you did it wrong.

Put the breast and the baby in close proximity to each other. They'll make contact.

Meal Preparation:
Serve only meals that can be prepared with one hand.

Marriage Counseling:
With the ratio of children to parents at four-to-two, you have to get along, or the kids will win!

I read this years ago in Mary Pride's "All the Way Home," and singing mom helped me find it again.


April 30, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Poetry Study Guides

Study guides for the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

(Via Carmon.)


April 30, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When I Get Home. . .

"When I get home, I thought, Iíll tap dance for Sidda and Little Shep and Lulu and Baylor and feed them peanut butter and bananas and we will talk about summer. We will talk about Spring Creek, where the sun beats down so hot on the pine needles that when you step on them they release a fragrance so pungent that you want to pick them up off the earth and tuck them inside your clothes, just to bring that piney smell in closer to yourself. I will roll on the clean rug with my babies and tickle their backs, and I will tell them stories about sailing through raging storms in a boat I built myself. We will play Columbus and journey together to worlds unknown. When I get home, I will dump that G-d- Ford sedan. By hook or crook, Iíll have a new Thunderbird. When I get home, I will hug my four babies. I will hug the man I have married. I will do my best to give thanks for gifts, strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped."

From Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Chapter 25, when Vivi comes home and embraces her life.

Reposted, just because I want to read it today.


April 30, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Exclusive Breastfeeding and HIV

A Zimbabwean study finds HIV-positive mothers are less likely to transmit AIDS to their infants if they breast feed exclusively.

. . .

They found that babies fed a mixed diet including animal milk and solids were three times more likely to die of AIDS than those fed nothing but breast milk. Babies where breastfeeding was predominant were less likely to die.

. . .

"Our findings indicate that for these mothers, delaying introduction of all non-breast milk foods will substantially reduce the risk of HIV and death for their infants," Humphrey said.

From UPI / Washington Times.
More details on the study.

We discussed this a year ago, when similar results were released.


April 29, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Helpful Websites -- Sarasota, Florida

Florida Newspapers

Sarasota County Libraries

MyFlorida.com Portal

JobFocus Sarasota/Bradenton

Mote Marine Shark Tank Webcam

SouthWestern Bell Yellow Pages


April 28, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



If I Were. . .

I've been "tagged" by Carol from Carol's Storybook / Parenting Decisions to answer some questions.

Here's the scoop on how to play: I pick 5 occupations out of the list below and post my answers. Then I tag 3 other people to post their answers on their blog. If I tag you, and you don't want to be a part of this, then that is okay. Just let me know and I'll tag someone else.

The "questions": If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

Here are my answers:

If I could be a painter, I'd go to the places I've been and felt overwhelmed, and capture on canvas the feelings and sights. My heart would be turned to the Creator in worship, as He allowed my creativity to capture just a bit of the world.

If I could be a writer, I'd head for the hills and write poetry to express my soul. I'd pen influential essays on policy issues that would land me a place in the university speaking circuit. I'd write books that would encourage people, especially as they struggle to keep their eyes on God as they live in a fallen world.

If I could be a bonnie pirate, I'd make my home on an isolated Caribbean isle, sit in a hammock and read all day while sipping pina coladas. My mateys and I would take a monthly jaunt on my good ship, to do the whole pirate pillaging and plundering thing. And then I'd return home to rest in the shade, reading and sipping.

If I could be a scientist, I'd do research related to brain development, learning, endocrinology and attachment.

If I could be a world famous blogger, I'd want to publicize a freedom movement in a former soviet state. I'd turn my blog orange. I'd help communicate the heart of what was going on--not just the political machinations. I'd get an Instalanche and people I don't even know would be visiting my lowly little blog. Oh, wait. Did that already.

Now I get to tag three people: Dogwood Blue, Blogma, and Gideon Strauss (though I'm not sure he'll want to join in. . .)


April 27, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When in AZ

Cool, a new church plant to visit the next time we're in Arizona with family. . .

Kenneth Roth, from pastor of DeRidder PC in DeRidder, LA, to organizing pastor of Grace Church in Sierra Vista, AZ.


April 27, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ezzo in the Blogosphere

Check out these posts from the last week/last month related to Gary Ezzo, Babywise, et al.

Gary Ezzo and Babywise, from This Classical Life:
An excellent, well-reasoned summary of the problems with Gary Ezzo's parenting teachings.

The Stench of Legalism, from Chief Executive Mom:
Integrating the Gospel and grace in all areas of life, including parenting.

the ezzo nazi, from offsprings:
Interesting look at the impact of the Ezzo program in Singapore, along with the stereotypes of non-Ezzo families that Gary Ezzo promotes.

Babywise is Nasty, from dAdventure:
A guy's reaction to Babywise.

Anti-Ezzo Blogging, from Yellow Roses:
A summary, like this one, of Ezzo blogging. This is a newer blog, and one to watch.

All I Can Say is Wow, from Jenn's Blog:
Jenn has been interviewed by a Fox reporter--I wonder where this will lead?

You're Crunchy?, from Welcome to My Brain:
Thoughts on "crunchiness" from a mother who thought Gary Ezzo's ideas were good--before she had kids.

Sleeping Through the Night, from Uncle Sam's Cabin:
Questioning the holy grail of infant sleep--from a mother with an infant!

Ezzo in a Can, from @Large:
A lighthearted look at a cranky traveller dreaming of peaceful sleep, and a land where all parents use Ezzo.


April 25, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Father in Heaven, We Thank Thee!

Can a little child like me
Thank the Father fittingly?
Yes, O yes! be good and true,
Patient, kind in all you do;
Love the Lord, and do your part;
Learn to say with all your heart,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For the fruit upon the tree,
For the birds that sing of thee,
For the earth in beauty dressed,
Father, mother, and the rest,
For thy precious, loving care,
For thy bounty ev'rywhere,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For the sunshine warm and bright,
For the day and for the night,
For the lessons of our youthó
Honor, gratitude and truth,
For the love that met us here,
For the home and for the cheer,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For our comrades and our plays,
And our happy holidays,
For the joyful work and true
That a little child may do,
For our lives but just begun,
For the great gift of thy Son,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

Original Trinity Hymnal, #645


April 24, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



It's a Boy!

My sister and her 19 week old son.

From the time she told me she was expecting, I really felt that my sister was going to have a boy. On Friday she was able to get an ultrasound and this baby is definitely a boy. I'm enjoying her pregnancy vicariously, and talking with her has given me time for reflection about when my boys were still waiting to be born. Btw, the photo was taken by my 4 y/o niece.


April 23, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Black Thai Pork

Black Thai Pork

4 boneless pork chops, cut into stir-fry strips
1 cup salsa OR picante sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed, toasted if desired
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
3 cups hot cooked cellophane noodles or rice

1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine salsa, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, molasses and water. Bring to boiling, stirring often. Keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a plastic or paper bag combine chili powder, ginger, garlic salt and pepper. Add pork strips; shake until pork is coated with spice mixture.
3. In a large skillet heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook and stir pork strips for 2 to 3 minute or until cooked through.
4. Spoon the sauce onto individual plates. Arrange the pork strips on top of sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seed, then top with green onions. Serve with noodles or rice.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 420 calories
Protein 24 grams
Fat 19 grams
Sodium 710 milligrams
Cholesterol 45 milligrams

(From CooksRecipes.Com)


April 22, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Comparing Gas Prices

Now that we have a minivan, we're getting shocked by the high gas prices. (I remember not too long ago, when gas was under a dollar, and I was hoping it would go up to just a little over a dollar, since everyone in our church was in the oil industry and losing their jobs. . .)

Thanks to RealSimple magazine, I found these gas price comparison sites. In our area, there can be a 20 cent price variance among gas stations! That adds up quickly. . .

GasBuddy: Good site, links to local state gas price sites.

GasPriceWatch: Good potential, but not useful for our area.

Sarasota/Venice area Gas Prices


April 22, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Goodies from CE/P

Acquired from the CE/P Bookstore:

* Pilgrim Days: Indelible Grace II
Recommended by Marsupial Mom.

* Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children
Pastor OKCalvin has reminded me my four boys need consistent catechizing.

* Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
To replace the copy Hubby gave Dan.


April 22, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Psalm 139

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain![b]
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts![c]
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting![d]

Psalm 139, English Standard Version


April 21, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On the Cover of Elle


That's our Yulia! And yes, the women in Ukraine are tall, gorgeous and well-dressed.

(Via Google News)


April 19, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hooray, A Minivan!


Hubby found a minivan. Great condition, well-cared for, decent price. It's amazing what a relief it is to have a source of transportation.

I was driving Mom B's minivan yesterday with the kids in the back and listening to a Sovereign Grace sampler. Oh, my. It felt so free and weird and peaceful and normal. I did get lost twice, though, even though I used to know the Sarasota streets well.

Each of the boys had rough moments yesterday. I can see the jet lag kicking in, mixed with some transition feelings. We read a great little book from the library yesterday, This is Me and Where I Am. They laughed at every page and we talked about being here, where we are, in Florida.


April 19, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Crunchings and Munchings**

I'm crunching on some yummy corn tortilla chips and dipping them in Pace picante sauce. Tortilla chips could occasionally be found in Kyiv, but chips and salsa were one of the things I missed the most while we were there.

And, I just found out via Annie, that tomorrow is Ben&Jerry's Free Cone Day tomorrow, April 19th! Woohoo! I think we'll try to get down to St. Armand's and enjoy some ice cream as we walk around the Circle.

I know life isn't all about food, but boy, special foods are one of the things most missed when in a different country.

**Brownie points to anyone who can name the allusion.


April 18, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Receiving Mercy and Finding Grace

Hebrews 4: 14-16

ďSince then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Ē

C4 has been going around the house quoting this all week. It's one of the verses he learned last week as part of a CMI program. One of the things I so appreciated about the CMI children's program, was that the teachers were husband-wife teams of grandparent age, with a few older high school/college aged children. I like when children's education is taken seriously.

But with the boys all reciting this passage, it's been in my mind. Good fodder for meditation.


April 17, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Library Happiness

I got my library card today! Actually, I was still in the library system, so they just had to update my info and issue me a new card. (I was surprised I didn't have any fines from nearly a decade ago!)

I've been having so much fun looking through my Amazon wishlist and choosing books to request. *grin* I've missed the library.

I picked up a Carl Hiaasen book today. He's a Florida crime fiction author. Not a genre I often read, but Hiaasen is a great writer and portrays Florida in a humorous and earthy way.

So, what are you reading? Anything that I should request online from my library?


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Minivan Madness

So we're in need of a vehicle. A minivan.

Hubby's done some research and has an idea of what we want. I'm more vague--used, decent condition, reliable.

It's crazy needing to buy a minivan after 3 1/2 years of using the metro, minibuses, taxis, trains and walking. I liked not having and not needing a vehicle.

But I'm looking forward to the freedom of having one again. And if anyone has leads on a decent minivan for sale, let me know!


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



To the Soul in Need of Mercy

Written by John of Landsberg, 1555
From A letter from Jesus Christ to the Soul that Really Loves Him

"One thing I have to warn you of especially is your constant tendency to grow fainthearted under the weight of your faults and oversights and an inclination almost to despair when a sudden lack of confidence reduces your firm decisions to nothing. I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief. You donít move towards Me but desperately imagine that everything that you have ever done has been utterly lost and forgotten.

This near despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride. What you think was a state of absolute security from which youíve fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability. Profound depression and perplexity of mind often follow a loss of hope, what really ails you is that things simply havenít happened as you expected and wanted. In fact, I donít want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else. As long as you rely on yourself you are bound to come to grief.

You still have a most important lesson to learn: Your own strength will no more help you to stand upright than dropping yourself on a broken reed. You must not despair on me. You must hope and trust in me absolutely. My mercy is infinite."

-- John of Landsberg

Transcribed by Mom B while listening to a Sonship tape from World Harvest Ministries.


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Faith in our Covenant God

"I'm holding onto the covenant promies of God for our covenant children with the white knuckles of faith." --Dal Stanton

The white knuckles of faith. . . That phrase gripped me when I heard Dal talking last week. Holding on to God, holding on even when our faith is weak. . . Not just for our children, but for ourselves and for all that He has promised.


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Notes on Healthy Immunization

These are notes from my friend Penny on giving immunizations in a way that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the risks. I'm posting them as a reference point, as we get our boys caught up on the immunizations. As with all health care concerns, I encourage you to do your own research and make the best decision for your family.

On Immunization
Presented by Stephanie Cave, M.D. under the topic of "Chelating Heavy Metals". Dr. Cave's special interests are in autism, ADHD, allergy, environmental health issues and nutritional medicine. She is in practice w/ Dr. Amy Holmes and has been instrumental in developing the proper chelation procedure for heavy metals in spectrum children.

She practices in Baton Rouge, LA.

*Use thimerosal free vaccines. (no mercury)
*Do not vaccinate ill children.
*Space vaccines where possible. Do not try to cover 9 organisms in 1 day.
*Give Vitamin C before and after (150 mg to babies, 300 mgs to older children)
*Use DTaP consistently
*Monitor children and report problems
*No live vaccines to immunodeficient children
*No vaccines if child is allergic to one of the components (yeast-Hep B) (eggs-MMR) (neomyacin-MMR or varicella)
*Give natural form of Vitam A and keep at a safe level for age (cod liver oil)
*Separate MMR into 3 components
*Delay HepB until 4 yrs of age if not in daycare
*Delay Varicella until 4 or 5 if not immune
*Give vaccine titres before boosters @4 or 5 years of age and only vaccinate for the ones needed. (Don't give MMR to a child who only needs measles vaccine.)
*Keep children on nutrient rich diets
*Limit environmental exposure as much as possible

VACCINE SCHEDULE (all thimerisol free)
8 MONTHS - Hib
15 MONTHS - measles
21 MONTHS - Mumps
27 MONTHS - Rubella
4-5 years - Varicella
4-5 years - Hep B
4-5 years - DTaP IPV booster
4-5 years - Test titres for MMR and do not give unless immune. Immunize only for vaccines found to be negative.


April 15, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Maintaining Routine and New Experiences

So, I'm waking up slowly, sipping coffee and checking my blog and e-mail while the kids eat breakfast and play quietly. You know how important it is to maintain routines during transition times. *eg*

Woke up in the middle of the night famished, and was thankful for Mom B's stash of chocolate on top of the fridge. The boys woke this morning around 5:30, and we started breakfast then. Mom B prepared the coffee maker before going to bed last night (she's that sort of planning person *grin*) and so all I had to do was flip the switch to start coffee this morning.

I talked with my Dad at length last night. But I was exhausted and Mom wasn't home, so I'm going to call today. My sister called, but I was a zombie on the phone. I'm looking forward to having a real conversation with her today. My brother is still out of the country.

In our first twenty-four hours in the States we visited a library (no cards yet, though J8 was very purposeful in asking the librarian "Do you have the fifth book in the Prydian Chronicles?" He hasn't been to a library since he was old enough to remember it.)

We got driver's licenses! Dealt with a weird bureaucrat in one place and several very kind and sweet state workers in another place. We walked in a minute after closing, and they still were pleasant and helped us get our licenses. Pictures are horrid, though. And neither of us are ready to actually drive. It's been 3.5 years for Hubby, though I did get to drive a little bit a year ago.

Our first meal in the States was a sentimental trip to the Waffle House. Scattered, smothered and covered. Last night we hit Taco Bell. Even though we paid the same for a meal there as we would have for a fast food meal in Kyiv, I still had sticker shock.

I'm avoiding going into a grocery store. My Mom B stocked her pantry with goodies for us and the boys, including several types of breakfast cereal. She has a better selection in her pantry than Billa, the "big" grocery store in Kyiv.

I find myself comparing/contrasting everything between here and Kyiv. Not necessarily judging better or worse--but I do feel the need to verbalize the differences I see. Hubby is doing it, too. So far we've seen the south part of the county--an area that was less "home" to us than the rest of the city/county. Mom B. has told us about so many changes in Sarasota, and we're not quite ready to see them. I cried when I saw the Denny's downtown was gone. We had so many dates there.

Mailed our taxes.

Did two loads of laundry. Washed, dried, folded. Ran the washer at the same time as the dishwasher, coffee maker, and computer without tripping the fuse. The clothes dried in no time. I'm starting to think that it wasn't entirely my fault that I could never catch up on laundry. I think it had something to do with my miniscule washer, no dryer, and electrical restrictions. Feels good to have more clean clothes than dirty clothes.

Looking for a minivan. Ack. We have a small nest egg from selling our minivan three years ago. It doesn't look like it will go far in buying a replacement. I fought with the carseat, trying to get C4 hooked up.

Making doctor and dentist appointments. People are so nice.

I know I haven't really blogged about our plans, our transitions, our decisions, leaving Kyiv, the next chapter and all--and haven't even really e-mailed my close friends about it. But it feels like I need to just take one step at a time.

I'm looking forward to worshipping in English. We won't be able to make it to our home church this week, though. (No vehicle, a city north of here. . .) I think I'm glad, though. I think seeing so many people we know would be too much too fast.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to post all of these feelings and impressions online during this transition. Ah, well.

The air smells so green. I felt embraced by the world last night, the smells, the warm breeze, the sunset. All overwhelming.


April 15, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



How Do You Do This?

Last night Hubby had to teach the boys how to flush an American toilet.

We're back in the States.

Posting may continue to be light.


April 14, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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