Baby Led Weaning Journey #4

To say I do baby led weaning seems so trendy! I read up on it quite a bit with my third baby because it was a buzz issue. With my first two babies I did not know my philosophy of introducing food to babies had a name. It was kind of neat to read about the third go round.

My philosophy started with some research into the Weston A Price diet and what order they suggest food to be introduced to babies. So at about 9 months we started with bits of meat and then soft cooked green beans, carrots and the like. I tried to be normal and feed the first baby rice cereal, once I even gave her a jar food, but it just was not my style so those foods took a nose dive.

With our first three babies, we traveled all the time and we had to order our diet around foods we could easily make. Cost, ease and availability suggested that I use unsalted or un-sweetened canned veggies and fruit in addition to boiled eggs, bananas and avocados. We would order meat somewhere or buy a rotisserie chicken and split our food with the babies. It was also easy to find cheese, crackers, pretzels, apples, oranges and the like when the children were old enough. When we had to eat out, we tried to east cost effectively at Cracker Barrel, Chick Fil A, Sarku Japan, and local restaurants (Asian or diner style). Not all these foods were high on my list of ‘healthy’ foods, but the healthiest I could provide with our lifestyle.

Baby #4, Felicity, came along last year and shes been eating solids since December already! She is 12 months now and quite the pro! Her favorites are cut tomato and cooked carrots. She really only needs spoon fed if I am serving her my applesauce (which took some serious convincing for her to try!), I even put her yogurt in a snipped bottle so she can feed herself.

I think what draws me naturally to this philosophy is both the desire to breastfeed primarily for the first year and the idea of fostering independence. There is also a bit of insecurity of knowing how much a baby needs to eat and not wanting to over feed (maybe it is just me, I over worry). So I give the child the power to decide how much is enough. Like magic, when they are done they clear that tray onto the floor so fast!

Baby Led Weaning is a bit of a mess, but my absolute favorite part is watching those tiny fingers manage a pincer grasp with all the focus and dedication of a surgeon and put that food in their mouth with pride.


My biggest hook up is cleaning avocado, but I have made it through 4 babies unscathed


Who is Really Wasting Time?

I am a rather timely person. The very thought of possibly being tardy sends a fire through my veins and causes my heart-rate to increase. No lie, I cannot stomach the thought and even have a hard time when people are late meeting me. It is an unreasonable pet peeve of mine and I just have to forgive people all the time because not every human has to force themselves to wait to leave the house so they are not super, super early for every appointment, etc.

That being said, in my parenting philosophy I feel like children should be able to do things for themselves and do things at their own, un-rushed, pace. Sadly, my philosophy and my personality often clash. Especially when my preschooler and toddler are loading into the van. They have an uncanny ability to remember things from last year, but always try to enter into the wrong side of the van first, and climb in at the pace of a snake shedding skin. And every entrance finds new discoveries of toys or who-knows-what was left in the car from last trip.

The other day we were leaving a hotel and the kids were being pokey loading and buckling up and my son was happily finding new snacks in the road-trip snack box. They antsy part of my that always wants to do everything as fast as possible decided to think that JJ was wasting time. As quickly as the thought came, I realized that his countenance was one of a happy, contented child sprinkled with and ounce of glee over unsweetened applesauce.

He may have been USING a bit more time than me, but he was using it with wonder and excitement. And I learned that using time effectively is not always about doing as much as you can in 60 seconds, but more about the quality of the minutes you spend, and I smiled with JJ.


Family Update March 2013

My family is changing fast! In the last 6-8 weeks my 20 month old son has started TALKING!! My daughter has celebrated her third birthday, we have enjoyed Disney World and been in 13 states! Here is a quick picture update of our adventures.

This is a dress I made Adelle that has already been ruined :(


How we practice our table manners:


JJ’s Easter suit fitting, it is difficult to fit a wiggly one year old!


We got a van and this is Adelle’s first ride in it! She approves!


Someone turned three!!



What my husband and I do for now


I took her to get her nails done for the first time, she felt SO special! And it only cost $3 :)


Adelle’s favorite food! Asian anything!


The place where three states meet. Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma


Route 66 rest stop


The cart on our way up the St. Louis Arch


Jjs first ever “bicey Lollie pop”


Snow adventures


St. Louis Arch

Last week our family had the privilege of driving from Dallas to Detroit! My husband knew as soon as we started preparing for the trip that we were GOING to see the Arch in St. Louis. I had not given it any thought, but after he shared some history and excitement with me, I made sure that we actually stayed the night in St. Louis and got to see it a little longer!

The Lord blessed us with an absolutely AMAZING deal on Priceline, and we stayed at the St. Louis Hyatt at the Arch! We did not arrive in town until after dark, but we drove around down town and lamented the reality of our short trip. It felt like a Midwest version of D.C and we would have loved to do more site seeing.

The next morning, we went downstairs and ate pastries from Starbucks for breakfast, packed up, and walked right across the street, in light snow, to the Arch. I can imagine the park surrounding the monument is beautiful in spring and summer, but it was frosted and sprinkled with snow as we enjoyed it.

Inside the base is a little museum arranged in chronological order describing life for natives and settlers alike. My children loved looking around, but older children would have benefited more from the history lesson.

The cars of the tram that take you to the top are quite small!! My tiny family of four fit, but four adults would have been cozy. The amount of noise made me a little nervous as we went up, and up, and up. And then I got thinking about how long it would take to descend down the stairs in an emergency. But there were none :)

On the top the windows were disappointingly small, but I understand why! When you lean against the wall to see out the window you can look straight down! My kids thought it was great. My son especially loved walking back and forth across the sloped floor.

I would definitely recommend this monument! It is as exciting as any monument can be, and I learned more about the western expansion than I knew. It symbolizes a significant piece of US history and it is a trip any preteen or adult would remember for a lifetime.





Cultural Experiences

Imagine yourself in a cultural experience that is completely foreign to you.  Maybe something you have heard of before, but never truly experienced or never understood.  I took an anthropology class in college, and I have to admit, the study of culture intrigues me, but experiencing differing cultures is much more exciting.

I grew up in a neighborhood that would be considered multicultural so I was familiar with people who looked “different” from many Americans, and even being a red-head I was used to being the one who was “different.” But it was still my culture. The children I went to school with all lived like I did, so honestly, it was not a different cultural experience.

My first shocking multicultural feeling was in the Los Angeles airport.  After I was near our terminal, I looked around and saw almost no one but Asians! I had a few Asian friends in school, but I was not used to being in a place so foreign.

Granted, I was flying to Hong Kong and should have expected it. Nevertheless, I was not used to being  in a place where EVERYONE else spoke the same language as each other, and I was completely unfamiliar.  Had it been Spanish or Creole, I would have felt at home and understood the general topic of conversation, but not Cantonese or Mandarin!

That brief moment passed and I arrived (after a long flight) to Hong Kong.  The sights, sounds, smells and faces were all very different from home.  I tried, at first, to be polite and smile at people much like people do in the South. Did not work! Apparently the feel is a little more like NYC, so I decided it would be more polite to mind my own business :)

Our trip to Hong Kong was to college age students to teach them English and be their American friends.  But after my initial impression of Hong Kong, I was terrified. I mean, if all the people do is avoid eye contact and ignore smiles, what was it going to be like to teach?! But I was super wrong to be nervous!

Teaching in Hong Kong was SUCH a BLESSING! I was able to teach some practical things, humiliate myself with games :), and share my testimony before dozens of students.  They smiled, interacted and were quite huggable once you got to know them.

That night, we had dinner at a restaurant with our Chinese students, and I got my next dose of Culture Shock…CHOPSTICKS!  We NEVER ate Chinese food growing up.  I’m not sure why, but we didn’t.  I must not have thought my trip out, because I had never even tried to use chopsticks in my life!  My graceful new friends, showed me how to use chopsticks, but that was not the end of the experience.

When they first sat down to the meal, the native Hong Kong residents started washing the bowls in a large container of water in the middle of the table. They proceeded to pass the bowls back out, and when dinner was served, everyone grabbed food out of the serving dishes with their own chopsticks.  After we finished all the food served to us, the waiter brought us more! The problem? I already ate my fill thinking it was all we were getting! How was I supposed to know? And my generous friends kept insisting I try everything! What a night!

Everything about that dinner was different than usual.  I don’t usually wash my bowl right before using it (although, this is merely a custom now, I was told they wash the dishes before serving them now:), there was absolutely nothing on the table I recognized, I was clumsy with the chopsticks (someone really should have recorded me trying to eat rice), and, where I’m from, we have special service utensils.  That is not even all the differences, but my point is, it was an amazing experience! You can sit in class and learn about different cultures, but you could never understand just HOW different they are without joining them.

To be honest, I have experienced culture shock in the States to some extent.  The humor in New Jersey is unfamilar to me, and that fact that many people in Pennsylvania do not even offer you sugar with coffee baffles me. But different cultures are not inherently wrong, different cultures are to be respected and enjoyed.

1Corinthians 14:10 – There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them [is] without signification.

11 – Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh [shall be] a barbarian unto me.

As a missionary, this concept is very important to me.  I will be living in a place where the people with think and behave differently from  me.  I am not moving to Namibia to teach people how to be Americans.  When I move, my first goal will to be ADAPTATION.  I will be learning to speak Afrikaans, and moving into one of their homes, shopping in their markets and eating their food. Pointing they way they do (probably with their lips?), waving like they do, conversing like they do and this list goes on and on. (seriously, if you have never traveled to another continent, you would be ASTOUNDED at just how many things can be different)

The point of my post? I am sure you are faced with different cultures all the time, see what you can learn.  Learning a little about a friend’s culture can bring you closer to them, it will help you understand them better (you  know, now that I think of it, men have their own culture and this thinking can benefit a marriage :).  Learning more about different cultures will also help you adapt to people, shape you into a more well-rounded individual, and maybe, just maybe, make you a more patient person.

What was your most most interesting or difficult cultural experience?anth

SVG map of Hong Kong's administrative districts.

SVG map of Hong Kong’s administrative districts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Gettting Through ER Visits with your Sanity Intact

When my daughter was an infant, she was sick almost twice a month.  After being pushed around through many different hospital visits (in a different hospital every time!), we finally learned a thing or two about hospital visits.

1.) HOSPITAL POLICY — Take hospital policy with a grain of salt.  If it is really there (many times it is not), ask to see it (ask politely :).

We were told that hospital policy dictated that our daughter was not allowed to do a spinal tap with a parent in the room.  We were told they got the fluid on the first try, but our daughter had three holes in her back! Three! They lied to us, and we have refused to allow medical personal have our daughter without supervision (she had a few taps after that one and many, many different tests). Four different hospitals have tried to kick us out of the room, and four finally agreed to allow my husband to stay. YOU are the parent and YOU are responsible for your child, do not leave him or her unsupervised.  If I ever give birth in a hospital again, the same principle will apply.

2.) ASK QUESTIONS — Obviously ask for medical lingo to be translated for laymen, but that is not where you are to stop.  The most important questions you can ask are:  A. What are the risks of this test/procedure?  B.  What is the success rate of this test/procedure?  C.  Is there a medical alternative, or a natural alternative?  THE most important question may be D.  Can it wait? – Do not allow medical staff to pressure you into anything. Try to wait on a decision and do your own research. Yes, the staff may hate you for it, but their desire for efficiency is not always good!

3.) YOU ARE NOT AN IDIOT — You already knew that, right? Don’t let triage fool with your emotions! My daughter’s temperature is always 97.4. She is prone to high fevers, so I take it often. If she gets to 99 its a fever for her. If I take her temperature rectally, orally or otherwise it is almost the same and the doctors would take a degree away if I took it rectally (which was the most reliable reading). We try to treat infections as early as possible, and that has led to doctors treating us, as parents, like we are over-reacting, and my daughter like an average person. Averages are great, they help us understand many things, but do not allow yourself, or child, be treated like you are average.

4.)  DO NOT DISTURB — After being in a hospital for several days and CONSISTENT vital readings, we found it most pertinent that my daughter slept undisturbed. This may upset the nurse on duty, but have them refer the person in charge to you. I can tell you how many wet diapers she had in the morning.

5.) RELAX — If you brought your child, they need to know that you are in charge. Keep your cool, it gives them a feeling of security. Your child knows you, your child trusts you; if you seem fearful and tense your child will know. The staff will also know and you may lose your credibility and the hospital staff will make your decisions for you and may not keep you completely informed.

Get comfortable! You are either going to be there for a long time, or you are not. It doesn’t matter. Whether it is just you, you and a spouse, or you and a child be the only people in the room. Play games, take silly pictures, read a book. Try not to worry about what is going on and enjoy where you are the best you can. Eat a snack, get some water. Just take it easy!

ER visits are not easy! Do not get pushed around, the most important thing you can do is stay calm and think clearly.

JJ’s Natural Birth

My husband, Jeff and I found out we were expecting our second child when our first was only 6 months old!  We were so very excited. With the long, crazy, uncomfortable, delivery (not to mention the unnecessary induction!) with my first I decided to switch to a midwife.

Jeff and I are missionaries who travel around the US raising support to move to a foreign field (Namibia to be exact). When I was at 28 weeks gestation I went shopping with a pastor’s wife and a few other missionary women in a city about 7 hours away from home.  That evening I began having contraction 6 mins apart and they were awful! After a few hours of it we went to the hospital to make sure I was not actually in labor. I wasn’t!
The rest of my time pregnant was not any fun! The contractions never went away and I was on  bed rest until I was full-term (9 weeks!!).  I could not tell you how many days felt like “The Day.” My due date came and went and I decided to quit guessing if the contractions of the day were going to result in delivery. 9 days after my due date I had contractions all day, they were bad, but just like they were every other day so I tried to ignore them and play with my daughter.

While I was planning dinner the contractions jumped from 6 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart and alternated between 2 mins and 1.5 mins apart. I called my husband and he suggested I call the midwife. I did, and we had a conversation for several minutes and I had several contractions without stopping the conversation (natural labor is a million times more tolerable!). When she asked if I could still talk though contractions I was worried I may not be in labor.

We drove to the birthing center (a *long* *bumpy* 20 minute ride!) and I checked out at 7 cms!

That was at 6:30, and almost immediately I went into transitional labor. I was so hungry from skipping lunch I ate a granola bar between contractions and paced the floor (I opted out of the IV and LOVED the power to choose my own medical care!).

The contractions were painful, but I was able to manage them on my own with my husband, best friend, and sister close by.  Everything was relaxed and I did not feel the need  to look at the clock every few minutes like in the hospital. At some point I asked the midwife to check me because I thought I felt like pushing. I was almost fully dilated and they let me choose to push or wait (SO unlike the hospital!). I choose to push.

I believe it took between a half hour and an hour of pushing. That was the most difficult part of all!  The *ring of fire* is real!  I saw the midwife’s assistant bring the oxygen tank and some supplies closer and I just assumed it was protocol and stayed in my own little world.

After my son was born one of the first things I heard was the midwife saying, “Oh my! You have a three-month old!” She was right, he was big, and he decided to keep his hand on his face during delivery and wait until he was halfway out to turn into birthing position! Stubborn boy ;)

We decided since he was big like Daddy was to name him Jeffrey Jr (JJ from here on out).

Soon after his first nursing session he had his newborn exam, on the bed he was delivered on with me present! I loved that about having a midwife, no secrets from mommy and no taking baby away privately! I took a shower and we left.

My birthing center birth was not easy, but it was SAFE, and it was AMAZING! I showed up at 6:30 pm in labor, and was in my own bed at home by 12 AM. No one pressured me into making decisions and I delivered a 9 lbs 12 oz baby without any  interventions.

If the Lord grants me another baby, I will try to have him or her at home!