Before the new baby! (tips for the end of pregnancy)

Question: I wondered if you can relate to the stress and tiredness and being overwhelmed before a new baby, and if you had any tips on things that you think are the most important to focus on in those last weeks?

Answer: Yes, I can relate! Here are some tips for the end of pregnancy:

1) Listen to your body. If you are tired, rest. If you are energetic, go for it! No guilt allowed. Your body knows what you need.

2) Get the baby clothes washed and ready. Get the baby’s little station set up (changing area, etc).

3) Pack the hospital bag. Or, if planning a home birth, gather all the needed supplies.

4) If time is dragging, do what you enjoy but don’t normally have time for. I resorted to Sudoku puzzles at the tail end of some pregnancies, reading a fiction book at the end of others.

5) Buy a special nightgown or pajamas for the hospital and for postpartum. Anything to help savor the stage you are in and to give you little boost along the way.

Continue reading “Before the new baby! (tips for the end of pregnancy)”

Patchwork Post {March 2021}

The Household and the War for the Cosmos
This is an excellent series with deep and relevant content. We have watched the short videos and are soon going to be reading the book. I wish every Christian parent today could hear, understand, and emulate these concepts. From the book description: Because people saw themselves as part of an ordered whole, they also believed that they had obligations to the people around them. They were not just autonomous individuals, but members of households with unique duties to past and future generations. Words like “piety” and “religion” did not refer to what you did in your quiet time, but were more like the seemingly obsolete values of “duty” and “honor.”

Ring-a-Majigs
I found these little toys at a consignment shop while we were deep in the winter doldrums about a month ago. I was instantly taken back to my childhood! I had these toys as a child, in the same container. Anyone else remember these? Turns out they are as much fun today as they were back then.

K’nex
Also during the winter doldrums, this classic toy provided hours (literally hour upon hour) of constructive entertainment. Toby and Sammy especially enjoyed making some very complicated creations, including some with moving parts connected to a little motor. We have some books of designs with detailed instructions which helped them with ideas and specifics. Did I mind having K’nex all over the living room floor, 24/7, for weeks on end….? Yes, but not really, if that makes sense.

Continue reading “Patchwork Post {March 2021}”

Patchwork Post {February 2021}

Without social media, it’s harder to share daily life. Although we feel that exiting Facebook et al. was the right decision for us to make, I have to admit I miss it.

So here is a “patchwork” post… various items of note, combined into one rambling post, kind of a “facebook not facebook” if you will. 😄 I’m hoping to do one of these every month. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or hear from you personally!

Here I Stand – A life of Martin Luther – by Roland Bainton

I’ve been trying to read this book for quite a while. I’m ashamed to even admit how long it is taking me! But, I’m determined not to give up. I found out that Joshua is also reading it for his Reformation History class. I’m struck by so many things as I poke along through this book. Here is one quotation:

“I will tell you straight what I think. I am a Christian theologian; and I am bound, not only to assert, but to defend the truth with my blood and death. I want to believe freely and be a slave to the authority of no one, whether council, university or pope. I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council.” -Martin Luther

Luther only made this statement after hours and hours of trembling on his face before God. He didn’t strike out on a limb without knowing Whom he really must answer to. God help us to raise warriors with this kind of courage! And help us to be those kind of warriors ourselves!

BJUGrass

Joshua has taken on a new venture. He is now the string bass player for BJUGrass, and has the opportunity to travel out several times this semester to minister in churches and various venues. This weekend he is in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. All those violin lessons and summer Fiddle Camp experiences have paid off!

Continue reading “Patchwork Post {February 2021}”

Showing mercy with cheerfulness

“The one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:8

Showing mercy is pretty much the business of motherhood. Here are two definitions of mercy that seem SO fitting when applied to the everyday life of a mom:

  1. Compassionate treatment of those in distress.
  2. Compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.

Don’t you love that… “those in distress”? Sounds all. too. familiar.

Continue reading “Showing mercy with cheerfulness”

If you give your child your phone charger

If you give your child your phone charger, she will use it to charge the tablet in the living room. You will get a vague sense that she may have moved it to one or two other rooms in the course of the day’s events. Since you are too tired to worry about it, you will go to bed and your phone will not get charged. The next day, you will write on your to do list, “Look for/find phone charger.”

The next day, late in the afternoon, you will go looking for it, starting in the room where it was originally taken. Seeing no sign of it, you will track through the other two rooms in question, but will not find it. You will ask the child in question, “Where is my phone charger that you borrowed yesterday?” Continue reading “If you give your child your phone charger”

Did you enjoy mothering and staying home right from the start?

Question: Have you found it more enjoyable to be home with your children the more you have had and the older they have gotten, or did you really enjoy staying home and mothering right from the start with one baby? I love staying home and I love my baby, but sometimes I wake up in the morning and think, “what do I do all day long with a 1 year old!?”

Sometimes I prefer the days when I am also babysitting other people’s kids and there is more going on, or when we go help at someone else’s house, but I also want to take good care of and enjoy what God has given me. I want to make the most of my time but do not always feel very productive or fit to the task of staying home with my baby.
Maybe that’s more than one question!

nest
The children found this nest on the ground with one beautiful egg.

My long and rambling answer: Thanks for the good question; it has been helpful for me to think through my answer over the past few days.

What I hear you saying is that you are somewhat underwhelmed with your job right now, you feel lonely some days and you sometimes feel inadequate for the task at hand. I hope I have understood the heart of your question correctly.

As I have thought this over, my answer has turned out to be longer than I thought it would. 🙂 I don’t ever mean to sound “preachy”; truly these are all lessons that God has taught me along the way, little by little. He is so gracious and He leads us along gently.

I hear you and I understand. To be perfectly up front and honest, I haven’t always enjoyed staying home. I don’t always enjoy it now. Continue reading “Did you enjoy mothering and staying home right from the start?”

Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!

I wanted to create a “collage” post of ideas and thoughts about this quarantine period. So, a few weeks ago I asked– What has God been teaching you? What activities have you been doing with your family that are a little bit different from your normal routine? What recipes have you tried? Has something funny happened that you’d like to share? Has your family found a unique way to encourage others? Please send me anything you’d like to share, and I will put it all together into one post.

I have been so blessed and encouraged by the various contributions that were sent in. Keep it up ladies, building your homes during this time! It’s what we do best! God has uniquely gifted you to provide a haven and a place of comfort for your dear ones.IMG_5922

Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute to this post.

From Connie (my sister in law, mother of four boys, ages 11 and under):

Take a hike! No, seriously, with all this “stay at home” going on, those of us with children need to get them outside and run that energy off. If we don’t, it turns into sibling rivalry, unpleasant attitudes, discontentment, and general mayhem at home. Continue reading “Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!”

12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling

Question: Hi Jennifer, Could I ask you for some parenting advice about dealing with sibling squabbling? This is a new problem I am just starting to have in the last few weeks. The girls are just bickering constantly. It’s like they can’t be in the same room together without fighting. It’s just non-stop pettiness…

“She said I did a bad job on my chore.”
“She keeps moving my paper into her box.”
“I have more grapes than you do.”
“She glared at me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t get your chore.” etc etc etc etc.

I alternate between feeling like I need to referee each incident to deal with the problem-causer and try to teach good manners and virtue (We don’t say things to hurt others. We use a nice voice to talk to others. God wants us to be kind, etc.) and being overwhelmed and telling them I don’t want to hear about their bickering and they need to work it out (which they do not seem to have any ability to do). Any advice would be much appreciated!

IMG_7846
Apparently I don’t take pictures of my children when they are squabbling, only when they are having angelic moments. So on this post we will picture angelic moments while we talk about squabbling.

Answer: As I’m sure you’ve realized, there isn’t a fix-it-all answer to this question. Squabbling between siblings is just an inherent part of mothering. There are, however, various approaches that can be taken at various times. I will list my ideas here in no particular order.

1.) You gotta nip it in the bud. (We don’t normally turn to Barney Fife for parenting advice, but in this case, he’s on to something.) This is probably the most effective approach, but the caveat is that it requires mom’s attention and listening ear, and the children need to be playing where mom can hear them. As soon as mom hears the first child mis-step in their behavior, she nips it. Continue reading “12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling”

Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday

I am happy to bring you another guest post by my sister-in-law Esther. She is married to my brother Matthew, and they are raising four sweet and adorable little people who are currently ages 7 (Ger), 5 (Ellie), 3 (Adaline), and 18 months (Naomi, or “Mimi” as she is affectionately called). Esther wrote this over three years ago, before Adaline was born.

Ellie
Esther wearing Ellie.

Dear Young Mom I Saw In Target Yesterday;

I don’t go to Target very often. In fact, this was the first time I had been to the Target in this area. But I had some gift cards for the store and had determined to use them toward a new infant car seat for our soon-to-arrive third baby.

While I was looking at car seats I heard your infant cry in the next aisle. I knew he couldn’t be very big from his cry. While selecting a car seat, I heard him cry a couple more times. Continue reading “Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday”

I don’t mean to disagree with my husband

Steve said these are arrows, not dominoes.

At Joshua’s high school graduation, as I envisioned each child reaching this same milestone in quick succession, I remarked that the “dominoes were beginning to fall.” Steve replied, “Not dominoes. Arrows. Today the arrows are beginning to fly!”

edit4I know he’s right, of course. They ARE arrows and it’s super exciting to watch them fly.

But I have to be honest, it sure does seem like dominoes at times. All of a sudden, I find myself looking around and thinking, “Where is everyone? Is this everyone I’m supposed to have?” Continue reading “I don’t mean to disagree with my husband”