Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Advise to New Moms

As I have friends who are now expecting I find myself sometimes giving unwanted advise. But here is some advise that I hope any new parent would appreciate receiving. I should be the poster child for "Learning the Hard Way", that said, most of this advise comes from my personal regrets. So without further ado...

10 Things New Parents Should NOT Cheap Out On...

1. Buy a good car seat! Do not accept a used or cheap car seat. It doesn't have to be the prettiest or the fanciest...just limit your high expectations to safety. As you are shopping constantly ask yourself, "Is this the safest seat I can buy?"

2. Invest in a great stroller! You will be using a stroller for at least 3-4 yrs per child, so spend the money and buy a stroller that has all the bells and whistles. You will want good storage space, easy to adjust seat belts, cup holders, even a tray for the little one, a canopy and seats that lay ALL the way back for nap time. Also, make sure it folds up easily and maneuvers easily...nothing worse than a stroller that is difficult to steer.

3. Get your kiddo good shoes. Their little feet are growing and forming and they are learning to control their awkward feet and legs, so buy comfy, light-weight shoes.

4. Buy the expensive camera. Not everyone has the money to have professional pictures made every 3 months, so invest in a great camera (and learn how to use it-take a class if you need to, somebody is always doing free photography classes!). Carry it with you everywhere! Buy the extended warranty because it will most likely take a beating if you are using it as often as you should, and get your camera serviced buy a professional if it breaks. I promise, you will value the uncensored snapshots far more than the professional pictures.

5. Buy books and lots of them! My mom still has books that my sisters and I read when we were little. Rather than buy a bunch of expensive toys, just go cheap on toys and buy the great books...they are so worth it! And on that note...

6. Rather than junk up your house with rooms full of toys...buy lots of art and craft supplies. I am not anti-toy, but from personal experience, my children...even my two year old...would rather open our craft cabinet and create something than to sit and play with a toy. Create a craft cabinet and fill it up...crafts are fairly inexpensive so you can buy one expensive toy or a cart full of craft supplies. We have a cabinet with 3 shelves, the first shelf is for anyone, anytime, and free to use without permission. On that shelf are crayons, coloring books, construction paper, and stickers. The only rules I have are all crafts have to stay at the table, clean up your mess when you're done, and only write on paper (that is mainly for Colton who would prefer to write on furniture or walls). The second shelf has glue, paint, glitter, markers, and scissors so they have to ask permission and use newspaper (and often an old t-shirt) when they use something on the second shelf...newspaper and old t-shirts are something to stock your cabinet with, by the way. On the third shelf is sewing needles, the hot-glue gun, super glue...things they have to use with my help. So at your kid's next birthday, ask guests to bring art supplies instead of toys for gifts.

7. Safety mechanisms...buy them all and buy the best. Latch everything-gates, doors, cabinets, drawers and anything else you can think of. Buy a monitor with multiple speakers...you will need it for years! If you, like me, have a child who gets up and wonders at night, you will use that monitor for several years. Put up gates, put extra locks on doors...take locks off of toddlers' bedroom doors (learned that the hard way!). Rather than buy outlet covers, just change the outlets to the new safety outlets. When your little infant starts crawling...that outlet cover will be the first thing they practice their new found "pincher grasp" on. Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, window locks, safety latch on your oven door...I could go on all day!

8. Outside activities and board games...I am a huge fan of things to do outside! Buy a swing set, basketball goal, soccer goal, baseball equipment, boxing gloves, hula-hoops, jacks, sidewalk chalk, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and anything else that will get them outdoors! Wal-Mart has this great pre-packaged set of outdoor games that we keep in our vehicle. When Summer has soccer practice or JD is at baseball practice, we just pull out this handy little bag and find something to play...it's in the sporting goods section and every family should have one. Oh, and buy lots of board games. They most always involve another person, and it's a great way to teach siblings to play together and play fairly. And sometimes the entire family can play a board game together. I have to say the old games are my favorite..Checkers, Battleship, Candyland...they're classics and never go out of style. With great books, board games, outdoor activities, and crafts - who needs to junk up their house with a bunch of toys!

9. Diapers and wipes---this topic seems to throw new mommies for a loop, so here's the breakdown.

Huggies: great all-around diaper, the most expensive, also the most
absorbant, Huggies Supremes are the best.
Luvs: good diaper, the least expensive "name-brand" diaper, fairly
Pampers: Swaddlers are the best diapers for infants, I
highly recommend them! They are wonderfully soft, almost like
cloth. However, Swaddlers only go up to size 3, after that you have to
switch over to regular Pampers, and they really aren't any better than

Soooooo, use Swaddlers for as long as you can, then switch over to Luvs. But, (just so you know) I never liked the off-brands, they all seemed stiff and uncomfortable, they fall apart easily, and caused diaper rash on all of my children. Also, Pampers Sensitive Wipes are the best! The only comparison is Parent's Choice (Wal-Mart brand) Sensitive Wipes, but they don't package them in bulk. As much as you have to clean their little bottoms - use the good wipes and don't buy off-brand diapers!

10. Lastly, never-ever cheat yourself or your child out of time together. It is priceless yet it doesn't cost a dime! Conversation with your little ones, time spent laughing, cuddling, playing, and reading. Time spent praying and going to church together, even time spent in correcting and disciplining is well invested.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

10 Things...

10 things I never, in a million years, thought motherhood would make me do...

1. Use a public restroom with the door wide open because I can't fit the stroller in the stall with me.

2. Use an infant diaper as a "sanitary napkin" because I was out and about and didn't have anything else.

3. Tell my son that if he blows really hard then the hot dog will come out of his nose.

4. Tell my other son that he may NOT have an apple because he already wasted his oreos.

5. Consider a PB&J sandwich a balanced meal.

6. Know the entire song of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Blue's Clues.

7. Get cursed out at Wal-Mart for having a crying baby. My response, "Lady, you should spend a day at my house!"

8. Seriously consider homeschooling.

9. Buy my kids boxing gloves so they can just go out in the yard and fight it out.

10.Sit on my back porch with a glass of sweet tea and watch them fight it out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Last 1st

Today is my baby's first birthday. She is my last child so this day is very bitter-sweet for me, as will her second and third and forth birthdays be as well, I'm sure...you get the picture.

This post is for Sydney. If others choose to read it I hope they enjoy it, but today I write to you, Pooh Bear.

I'm sure it is of no coincidence that you were born on St. Patrick's Day. Your heritage is partly Irish. I suppose that since God decided not to give me red-headed children...which I SOOO wanted, he thought he would at least give me a leprechaun.

I have to admit that finding out I was pregnant with you was a surprise, but I tried to enjoy every moment of it knowing you would be my last. This year I have been so thankful to be home with you and Colton. Being able to see all of your milestones, not missing even one, has been the most precious gift that your Daddy could have ever given to me. Thank you Jeff for letting me stay home with our children, I am so thankful!
Syd, if I could switch places with anyone in the world, it would be you. You are hands down the most loved little girl I have ever met. Some people search the world over trying to find love, but you came into this world already owning more love than most people receive their entire lives. And that's just one of the perks that goes along with being the baby!

You have a big sister who dotes on you and carries you around like you belong to her alone. Her words toward you are so gentle and affectionate. And, oh Sydney, JD is so protective of you! He watches over you like a bear to a cub. Even I have received a mean look and a harsh word from him if he didn't think your needs were being met quickly enough. For a lifetime, I know you have a big brother who will sacrifice his wants and needs to care for you. And although Colton is still learning how to be gentle with you, you are his best friend and favorite playmate. The two of you will learn so much together and from each other. I imagine in the future the pair of you will be as thick as thieves.

Pooh, your Daddy is crazy about you. I love to watch the two of you together. He is simply mesmerized by those beautiful blue eyes. But don't think I don't know what you're doing when you drop that head of yours and heavily bat those eyes! I have a Daddy too, I know how it works! You've learned how to capture his heart, haven't you...but don't worry, we'll keep that secret just between us girls (hee,hee).

You have completed this family, you have made us whole. But don't think that your role in the family is just to receive love. We are more than just individuals living under the same roof, we are a team. When you are the member of a team your job, your goal, should be the betterment of the whole unit. You have a responsibility to love and support your parents and siblings as much as we will do the same for you. Do not go through life being a taker...so much has already been given to you. Be a giver...give to others the love, encouragement, kindness, and gentleness that has been given to you. Be a giver of forgiveness, be a giver of help to those who need it, be a giver of wisdom when you have it to offer. Do not take for granted the position...the blessing...that God has placed you in.

See sweetie, being the youngest...the baby...is a great place to land in a family. It is an easy place to grow up, often with less responsibility than other positions. Be thankful to God for such an easy entrance into this world, and show him that you appreciate his blessing on you by offering your life as a living sacrifice to him.

Dear God,

Build high your hedge of protection around Sydney. Guard her little eyes, ears, mind, and heart from the ugly things of this world, help us to keep her innocent and naive as long as possible. Pour out your blessing on her life, that she may always know joy, contentment, love, and most importantly that she may always stay near to you. Help us to raise her in a way that she will grow into a beautiful woman of God. She is already so beautiful on the outside, but make her beautiful on the inside as well! And Lord, at the end of her life, may she return to you as pure and innocent a woman as you first gave her to me as a child.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just breathe through it

I can handle being broke, I can handle being short a vehicle, I can handle being so busy that my head spins, but I can hardly stand for one of my children to be sick! And 2009, thus far, has not been a "healthy" year for the Taylor-DeBruler gang.

First, Colton shoved foam so far up his nose that it had to be "surgically" removed (he has since put a cheerio and a french fry up his nose as well). Then he got an infection from the foam, which shot his temperature up so high we had to rush him to the ER.

Summer got such a bad case of the strep virus that it caused painful stomach cramps so awful that we were sure it must be appendicitis. She also was taken to the ER twice in the same week - the second time she was so terribly dehydrated from not eating or drinking that she had to receive fluids.

Right after she got better, little JD got strep. Within a few days Colton had to be treated for it as well! Then on Monday of this week, Summer wakes to tell me that she, again, does not feel well...so off to the doctor we go because I was sure she had strep again! Thankfully she did not, but was treated for a very yucky sinus infection.

As I sat quietly on my couch last night after everyone had gone to bed I heard the"chorus of coughs" echo through my home. First JD, then Colton, Summer chimed in with a lovely hacking sound, even little Sydney...who was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday at the hospital...was participating in the chorus. I think Jeff even threw in a few coughs of his own. And I have to say...I am drained! Not only does it take a toll on a child when he or she is sick, but mommies just can't sleep if they have a sick little one! It just upsets my entire day. And I think about Colton and Sydney especially. They are too little to tell me how they really feel...Does something hurt?..Do they have a headache?..Can they breathe through their little nose?..Does it hurt to swallow? I mean how horrible to be so little and so sick and not be able to explain it.

Dear God,
I beg you, please make my children well. We are all so tired and worn out from the constant illness. It has drained my family physically, emotionally, and even financially. I am so thankful for all your many blessings in my life, and I am also very thankful that my children are only battling small illnesses. I lift up those parents and little ones who have greater battles before them...illnesses a lot worse than just strep throat. But please do keep a watchful eye on Pooh Bear. Heal her from the pneumonia and give us all the health and energy we need to enjoy your abundant blessings, as spring is right around the corner and I want to enjoy every minute and give you all the praise. In your son's name I ask these things, Amen.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bugs and snails and puppydog tails...

Today I taught Children's Church and I had a classroom full of boys...not a girl in sight! Eight little boys varies ages, ranging from 5 to 9ish and I have to say...we had great time! If you attend LWC and had a son in Children's Church today, you should be proud! Your sons were a joy!

We talked about the prophet Elisha and the 5 miracles that he performed in II Kings 4 and 5. They were intensly interested, and after the lesson we talked about things that had happened in their lives that they KNEW were miracles. I got to listen to their stories about family members being made well, missing pets returning home, and all kinds of cool "farm" stories. We talked about sports in relation to giving credit to a team member who scored points or who played a great game. In the same way, we need to give credit to God when he performs a miracle in our life. Don't just discount it as luck or chance, and most importantly, don't keep it to yourself.

Thank you LWC parents for raising such awesome boys! You should know that they love you and they recognize the things that you are doing for them. They will grow to be amazing men someday, and will bless and honor their parents, church, and their God!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In the trenches

I am so hopeful that my lapses in blogging are over! I have missed the outlet. I've looked to temporarily replaces it over the last few months with quick fixes, but I'll tell ya...nothing soothes me like blogging.

"Where have I been," you may ask?

I could give you a run down, but basically...life happened and it just about mowed me over! Seriously, if it hasn't been one thing, it's been another and I've been in the trenches! The old saying, "When it rains, it pours," that's been the last 2 months for me.

Let me say...nothing tragic has happened, just LIFE! Busy, chaotic, not in my datebook, LIFE! For instance, (and mind you, this is just the most recent yucky happening) last week Summer was terribly sick. Terrible, terrible. Like two trips to the ER...sick. This week JD is sick with similar symptoms, and just last night baby Colton started with the same issues!

Can I get a breather here!!!

Poor Colton wants to desperately to go "ou-side" and of course, the one awesome day would be the day that he is dreadfully ill. I can't stand for my kids to be sick, I just feel so awful for them!

But I am hopeful for spring and that this winter yuckiness will soon be gone.

Thank you, God, for beautiful days like this one to remind us to have hope, better days are just around the corner. You knew just what I needed today!