Friday, October 26, 2007

new poem


To be joined
is to become a
New Self.
my self
Our Self--

A body united
not understanding
but enamored with
the Power
of its
Binding Force--

Dedicated to cultivating
and Peace
And remembering
the Love
that first
Conceived It.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here's an article I wrote on infant potty training in october '06

The Forgotten Joy of Infant Potty Training--or Did you know your baby can be diaper free?

Did you know your baby can be diaper free? I didn't, but I always wondered how those Eskimo mamas carried their babies in their parkas all day without smelling like a potty. I wondered in the back of my mind what in the world moms in tribal villages did for diapers. I struggled with a daughter who held her bowel movements and wet her bed, and with boys who soiled their underpants and I wondered if there was a different way. I'm not a very commanding presence, and all the potty training books said not to pressure your kids to go potty. So I didn't. I had 3 kids who finished their potty training at around three or four years old. And that was that. Potty training was a necessary uphill battle for softy mommies like me: a rite of passage.

But one day I read an article. It said that babies could go potty from birth...that you could actually communicate with your sweet new baby about their elimination needs. I was shocked! I vaguely rememberd hearing of a mom who had potty trained her babies, but I always thought it was way too much work. I had a 4 month old baby at the time, and a 3 year old boy right in the midst of potty training, so I was open for any ideas I could get. I skeptically ordered the book the article mentioned from my local library. It had the very cutesy title of "Trickle Treat," and I wasn't prepared to take it very seriously. I had to satisfy my curiosity, however, and the night I got the book, I read it from cover to cover. It sounded like something I could actually do! Normally, don't do well doing any sort of regimented training. I'm an anti-scheduling, attachment mama, and that's why trying any "method" intimidated me.

The next day I secretly set out to try what the book said to do. I didn't tell any friends or even my husband, cause I thought they'd tell me it was too much work, or just think I was trying another crazy idea. I cancelled all homeschooling for the day, and set my baby, without diaper, on a waterproof pad and set to work. We cooed at each other and smiled and generally enjoyed ourselves. She nursed and slept and did all her baby things, and I wrote down all the times she went pee or poop. As soon as she did either one, I'd cheerfully clean it up right away, and let Saraiah enjoy herself some more.

Now, the book had told me that babies generally go potty very soon after waking, and about a half hour after sleeping. When I looked at all the times I had written down, i found that the book was indeed correct. I was getting a little more confident in the whole idea of getting to know when Saraiah needed to go, so a half hour after her next nursing, I took her, held her in a little squatting position against my chest and over our bathroom sink and said "sssssssssss." Saraiah flared her nostrils a little, got a very serious look on her face and lo and behold, the pee pee flowed! Saraiah relaxed, and then grinned at herself and her mommy in the mirror. I squealed with delight, told all my kids, and excitedly demonstrated Saraiah's amazing peeing powers when my husband came home that evening. My best friend, who's pregnant, came over and as she watched, her jaw dropped. She now is using the method with her one year old and plans on using it with her newborn!

Two and a half months later, Saraiah is going without diapers and occasionally wetting when I don't catch her. Pooping is the easiest part...that happens once a day, usually when she gets up in the morning. I've cleaned up poop I haven't caught about ten times. How does this work? The book I read said that babies are born with the ability to control the muscles that release urine and stool on cue, sort of like Pavlov's dogs being conditioned to come when a bell was rung. When a mama holds her baby in a squatting position when baby's bladder or bowels need relieving, and says "sssss," baby releases those muscles and lets it out. The position and the sound help to cue the baby to do her duty. Babies forget how to control those muscles when we let them go in a diaper over the course of several years, so it's harder to figure it all out again, thus the myriad potty training problems I experienced. This method can be used with babies from birth and can be adapted for older babies as well.

I feel like I can be a more relaxed and low pressure mom now that I don't have to stress about potty training, and I am excited to share that with whoever wants to know! It's amazing how God created our babies to keep themselves clean...with our help. Baby potty training is another wonderful part of God's design for us to be close to our babies. We can bond with them on such a sweet level when we are in tune with their basic bodily needs. We breastfeed them when they ask, and we can even help them to let out whatever their body doesn't use! What an beautiful thing, to be designed to be so in touch with our babies!

Angie and Brandon
Our children are Evangeline: 8 years, Isaac: 6 years; Levi: 3 years and Saraiah 6.5 months

Resources on Infant Potty Training

Books: Trickle Treat--by Laurie Boucke
Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Toilet Training--by Ingrid Bauer

Fall Photo Shoot of the Kids---i did it!!!

In good times and bad

In good times and bad

The past few months have been ones of high stress and not a lot of relief for me. My dad has had a lot of mental issues, declined very rapidly, and finally stabilized in the past few weeks. My husband, who is my hero in life, is a lover of risk and has decided to quit working real estate and has gone full time into his computer business. I feel like any solid ground I have built my life on is crumbling on. I need to be strong for my children, because now I'm the grown up, but I just want to curl up and cry. I do a lot of praying, because I know God's not changing, and he's still there, waiting and listening.
I can't control my tongue. What is in my brain comes out in before I have time to reel it in. So my frustration with the kids or my husband, and mostly my own inadequacies is inflicted upon those closest to me.
They always say money splits up marriages the most, but I think it's always the straw that breaks the camel's back. Lack of clear understanding in communication is what really does it. It's and issue that everyone has their strong opinions on...the spender and the saver, the miser and the giver. I tend toward the miserly and saving type, and it drives my husband crazy. I have come more to depend on this frugality as our finances are super tight during the latest business venture. My financial priorities don't match those of my husband, and I don't know how to reconcile them. So I try to communicate better, but then my mouth says something snippy in the moment, and all the work we've done in our communication is shattered. I don't know how to say how I feel without encountering a relational "firewall." If I say anything exactly how I think it in my head, it's misconstrued as negative and unsupportive.
So this is my prayer, God, please help me speak the same language as my husband! I love him so much, and just can't figure out how to say what I want to say, without my frustration and anger showing through. I need to give up anger. I need to try to sympathize.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fall poem

Today I had the kids write a poem about fall. first i read them poems by other children their ages, then read "To Autumn" by Keats. Quite a contrast, but I wanted them to see the huge differences allowed in the realm of poetry.

Of course I had to write a poem too....
You have to keep in mind I was thinking of our homestead...the fall leaves, the dying tomato vines, the goats needing to be sheared, the ripe pumpkins, the muddy hill etc.


the crumpled leaf
and withered vine
full grown fleece
and shearing time

with ruddy cheek
and apple sweet
big baskets filled
and pumpkin meat

in squishy mud
and boots to wear
scarves hand-knit
and longer hair

we greet the season
long and dim
think of these things
grateful for them

Monday, September 17, 2007

my first poem in who knows how long

Here's a poem I came up with today when I had the kids write poems for the first time.
I decided if I was going to have them write a poem, i might as well too!


Babies are
a seed pod
with Life

by the thin
of Time.

What about a Barn Raising?

I wrote this in the spring, but figured since it never got published anywhere, I'd publish it myself!

It's spring time and the sun is bright. The tulips are finishing off their debut and the lilac and iris are taking center stage. The sun appears more often...even if it's just a teaser. Kids wander outside barefoot and dig in the mud, squealing at each earthworm or grub they dig up. I can't help but be caught up in the beauty of all this growth and newness. It makes me want to create, to plant, to clean!

I am so inspired, that my mind goes a thousand different directions, planning out all the projects I'd love to get done. I go down my mental list, trying to work out the logistics of mowing the lawn or spreading fertilizer with a baby and 3 young children scattered about me. My mind wanders to the barn I'd love to build someday for the many projects and animals our family takes on. And I think, wouldn't it be nice if we could go back to the old fashioned days of a barn raising?

I know the majority of people have no use for a barn being built in our technology-driven society. Most of the time, people are thinking about what might be the best way to store their digital photos or which storage unit would work best for all their stuff. What's the true spirit that drives the barn raising?

I think it must be the joy that comes from people gathering together to make the work of life a little more possible, and a little more fun! When people team up to tackle a project that seems insurmountable for just one person, or one family, it's a load of fun, and a ton of work gets done! Are there projects in our everyday lives that we could tackle just like the Amish approach the construction of a barn?

Many of us have participated in work days, where people gather together to do a good deed for a person in need. We all know what a blessing our help is to that person. We help to create a minor miracle in their lives. We are very much being the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Sometimes we might never know exactly how much our help has impacted their lives, but we walk away from all that work feeling good. There is something inside of us as God's creatures that is satisfied when we give part of ourselves, whether in hard labor or some smaller act of kindness.

I am challenged by my own small needs to think of the greater needs that others might have, but even more so to the smaller, more everyday needs other moms just like me might have. I feel like I'm so wrapped up in the world of mommy-hood, that I just couldn't possibly have time to raise a barn. If I think of those little projects I have that need doing, I only need to go a step further to think of what “barns” I can help raise in my sphere of influence. I have a friend who's a mom and needs to finish some painting projects. Everyone needs help with weeding flower beds. There are people who are sick and need a meal. It's possible! We can all help to raise a barn in our own ways! Let's all look around for the next barn to build, and help lift other people out of the bog of projects they are mired in. We might just have a barn of our own built along the way!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Top Ten List for Eva

Top Ten Reasons I love Evangeline Malia

  1. You know how to do the cricket “nee-nee” sound with me and Emma

    9. You can read a whole book in a day

    8 You can find ducks when no one else can after searching forever.

    7. You can type better than I can, because you type with your fingers in the right place.

    6. You remember things that other people don't remember

    5. You are really good at cursive.

    4. You can fold your clothes and organize them in your drawer amazingly well.

    3. You come up with really cool and fun games to play with isaac and levi.

    2. you are good at playing yahtzee.

  1. You have a beautiful smile and a kind and giving heart!

Top Ten List for Isaac

    Top Ten Reasons I love Isaac Aaron

    10. You are the perfect giver of magnet hugs.

    9. You can do math problems in your head.

    8. You like to switch around the words in “ I love you, how much, all the world” to How much, I love you , all the world.

    7. You have the most hilarious laugh ever, and you make me laugh.

    6. You are good at making Saraiah laugh and stop crying.

    5. You are super good at video games.

    4. You did well figuring out how to use your tech deck.

    3. You have nice glasses and handsome eyes.

    2. You think about the parts that words are made of, like Outerspace.

  1. You were a beautiful baby and now you are a smart and handsome young man.

Top Ten List for Levi

    Top Ten Reasons I love Levi Gabriel

    10. You know how to catch chickens and ducks really well.

    9. You are not afraid of bugs and worms and you can catch them.

    8. You can make the letter L really well.

    7. You can jump really far on the stairs.

    6. You are really good at folding washcloths.

    5. You are really good at doing your job of putting away silverware.

    4. You know how to make things work, and not work. Like you can turn off the electric fence and you can open the garage door.

    3. You can catch pearl.

    2. You give the best Levi Hugs ever.

    1. You say “mom, I love you” all the time.

Top Ten List for Saraiah

    Top ten reasons I love Saraiah Jean

  1. You can go potty in the sink or anywhere you go.

    9. You have pretty lips

    8. You smile all the time.

    7. You like all animals, whether they are goats, cats, fish or birds.

    6. You get really excited and kick your legs whenever you see someone you love.

    5. You look just exactly like your daddy.

    4. Your hair is soft.

    3. You pat my back when I pat yours.

    2. You like to go on slides.

    1. You are just the baby I prayed for.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

who's to blame?

Who's to blame for a garden overgrown? Should I blame the rain? God? The weeds? Lack of help? Why is it that if anything goes awry, I have to find someone or something to shoulder the blame? Why is it so hard to blame me? I was lazy. I didn't make time to weed. I didn't figure out a way to get mulch. All the hard work of starting the plants indoors in the cold of winter is crowded out to make way for the jungle-like weeds that leave the food plants stretching desperately for sunshine. Really, i have never seen cabbage grow such tall leaves, trying in vain to outgrow the horsetails and thistles that surround them.

So what's a gal to do, when her garden fails, just the same as it does every year? Shall I tell myself it'll be better next year, when the same thing will probably happen next year? Does optimism have any worth without planning. Action taken is worth more than 1000 lists of things to do and great intentions. How do I figure out what I should let slide? Shall I pray for God to give me clones? I have 6 little hands who could help with work. The children could help, but for some reason I don't let them. I guess I am too proud. Each year I think i can do it on my own. I can keep up with a large garden, 4 children, and a house to clean. I keep telling myself, "Next year you will be super mom."

Who is this super mom ideal and who gave her life? Where did I get the idea that I have to do it all? Why is it so hard to ask for help, and to delegate work? Does it really all come down to the simplest, silliest worry? Is it possible that fear of rejection or resistance is what keeps me stubbornly pushing my way along through the waist high mud of life when I could be on the high road? I have to allow myself to give up worry about the plans swirling in my head and filling the lines on the yellow legal pads. I am sure that it is possible to have a decent garden. That's why I am so headstrong. I have faith that I can do better. Maybe I'll just plow down these tall plants and remind myself of the lesson learned. Worry gets nothing done. Actions, no matter how small, are what will help me arrive at my goal. Maybe by the time I'm 99 I'll have it down. For now I'll take it one weed at a time.