What's Your Date Night

When my husband and I relocated up north we made several changes to the balance of our family time. We began to focus more on how we spent our time and what our priorities were. One priority that we both agreed 100% was the very important to our family was our building and strengthening of our relationship. Our family will not be able to hold strong if our marriage is weak. In order to maintain our bond and passion we must take out some time to be alone and just reconnect with each other.

Right now we have started off pretty slow with one date night a month. Sometimes we go all out and get dressed and head to a fancy restaurant. But that doesn’t have to be every month. Last month we just through on some comfy clothes, grabbed some Sushi and caught a movie.

While I love my son tremendously, it is so nice to be able to head out of the house, just the two of us and be alone again. And I don’t want it to stop. I want my son to know that mommy and daddy value and appreciate their marriage. Even when we aren’t out on date nights but just taking a moment each day to spend some personal quality time together catching up on the days activities, I want our son to know that this time is important and a must have for our family.

We are blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones and family members that we have never had a problem trying to find someone who is available and we trust to watch our son.

Now the next step is for me to get comfortable enough to venture further than 5 miles away from where ever my son is. I have this desire to always want to be near and accessible which can be really limiting when it comes to choosing how we will spend our date night. I am working on it though and I am sure that with time and as he gets older I will loosing up a bit.

And the Cycle Continues

I must start this post off my apologizing if the topic I am about to share is to sensitive for you. While some may clasify this as TMI (Too Much Information), I feel that some things are better to be shared the be kept quite.

I must give much thanks and appreciation to the many other mother’s out there that were willing to share their personal experiences just like this. It was because of their posts, forums and comments why I made it through my first pregnancy.

With that being said I wanted to share with you that after eighteen long months of peace and and freedom … my dear ‘friend’ has returned to my life. While I so enjoyed these past un-interupted months, I must admit that I did miss its every 28-30 day visit.

I went through a mixture of emotions within the first few minutes that I discovered its return. It began with shocked. Although my son is just over 9 months for some reason I just wasn’t expecting it to happen yet. From what I have been told by my doula and lactation specialist fully breastfeeding a child does help in delaying or slowing down the return of ovulation, but of course each women is different so there is no real way to predict when it will happen.

My next emotion was sad. I was sad that I now had to re-learn the life that is sanitary napkins, tampons and cramps. While it had been 18 months ago, I did remember that this wasn’t my most favorite time of the month. While this time isn’t a huge inconvience, it was one less thing to have to plan and think about each month.

Following sad was relief. It was the welcome return of a system that God designed and serves an amazing purpose. The power and ability that we have to as humans to come together and produce another human being is phenomenal and just beyond truly comprehending. While many women can tell you their stories of being able to have a child without a regular cycle (IVF, Implantation, etc.) when you are blessed with a normal cycle you should be relieved and appreciate the gift.

And finally my last emotion was worry. I worried because not only am I now physically ready to carry another child, it truly isn’t it my families plan yet. But it now going to be on my mind and in my thoughts every month. Each month I am going to get a little tingle in my stomach considering the possibility that I just may be pregnant again. And conversely when I discover I am in fact not pregnant, I am going to have a day or two of walking around being slightly disappointed. Weird I know, but I am almost certain that many other women are doing the same exact dance everyone month also. We don’t necessary want to be pregnant just yet but the excitement of the moment just can’t be resisted.

Well I just wanted to share my moment with you and see how you all handled the return of your long lost friend.

A Mother's Heritage: Handling Loss

After I had my son in September my sister-in-law gave me a gift. She gave me a journal titled A Mother’s Heritage, A Loving Keepsake For Your Children by Ellie Claire. This is different from your every day journal in that instead of an empty canvas for you to free write, it has the topics and questions laid out for you. I like it because it prompts you to share insight to who you are that you may have never shown otherwise. Most of these questions are dealing with topics that, unless my children actually asked, I don’t think I would have jumped up and shared. Instead of writing them in the book, I decided it would be easier to do a blog post for each.

God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NCV)

This week’s journal question was … When I lost someone close to me …

Thankfully I didn’t have endure much loss during my young years. In fact it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I lost my first close relative, my paternal grandfather. My brothers and I were blessed to have our grandparents live with us for most of our childhood. I was maybe four years old when they migrated from Jamaica to join the family in America. It was because of them that my parents were able to comfortably return to work and know that we were taken care of. So it was hard for my family when my grandfather past away. It was even harder when about seven years later my grandmother past away. I was just glad she was alive to watch me get married. And I know they are both looking down on their great grandson now and being very proud.

Co-Sleeping: Limited Edition

This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.

So I used to think our family was a anti-cosleeping group. but now that I have begun to read more into it, it seems we have been co sleepers all along.

Many terms related to infant sleep are used interchangeably, which can create confusion. API uses the following definitions:

Co-sleepingrefers to sleeping in “close proximity,” which means the child is on a separate sleep surface in the same room as the parents. This includes the use of a cosleeping bassinet or “sidecar,” which is a crib-like bed with only three walls, with the fourth side remaining open and pushed up against the parents’ bed. For the older child, this can include sleeping in a separate bed in the same room as the parents, or two or more older siblings sleeping together in a separate room.

Bed-sharing, also called the “family bed,” describes a sleep arrangement where the family members sleep on the same sleep surface. This practice is recommended for only for breastfeeding families using API’s Safe Sleep Guidelines.

My family believed that co-sleeping and family bed were the same thing. We once talked about it and said that we did not feel that having a family bed would be the best situation for our family. However, according to the Attachment Parenting International, we were co-sleeping for the first five months of his life and since then have been occasionally sharing a family bed.

When our son was born, we actually had no choice but to co-sleep. At that time we were living with my parents and only had one room for my husband, myself and our newborn son. We had his pack n’ play set up next to our bed and that is where he slept day and night.

No however that we have our own place to call home, our son has his own room. Where he does spend 90% of his night sleep time. But occasionally, mommy will be super tired at night … too tired to saw awake to feed him. So what ends up happening is I pick him up and bring to our bed to lay next to me as I sleep and he breastfeeds. It doesn’t happen to often.

Other than that I am happy to say that my son is quite happy and content with his own spacious room and knows if he ever needs to he can come spend the night with mommy and daddy in their bed.

Baby Proofing Time

We may be just a little late on the planning curve for this but it is time that we being to baby proof our home.

In all fairness prior to now we were still living with my parents and didn’t feel right messing with the structure of their home. Then we finally moved into our own home but our son wasn’t really showing any signs of crawling, in fact it wasn’t until he was six almost seven months that he really began turning over fully enough to move around and be more mobile.

However, now he is eight and a half months old and he is not only a crawling master but is always starting to pull himself up on furniture and walking across the length of the couch or table. It is a very exciting time in our home right now. He is busy exploring and learning and we are having the time of our lives watching him discover the world around him.

On the other hand though we have realized that there are many areas in the home that aren’t so safe for him to explore. In order to protect him for those areas we have had to baby proof the areas that he is allowed to enter. What we have done so far is:

Child proof the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.

We have put those cabinet stoppers on all the doors except one cabinet, the one in the kitchen were are the unbreakable lunch containers and Rubbermaid containers are. He hasn’t quite figured out how to open cabinets yet but when he does I am sure he will enjoy having that cabinet to play with.

Protect all the plugs.

We primarily use power strips to protect our electronics and conserve electricity so we have several unused and exposed sockets around the home. We simply got the plug fillers to block his access to them. I hear that in a few years he will figure out how to remove them and get to them but we are hoping to educate him on the dangers before them.. (High hopes).

Gated Access

The way our home is laid out we only need one gate to really protect him from the ‘forbidden’ areas. Which really we don’t have that many areas he can’t go to yet. Right now we either keep him in the living room when we are having family time. Or we move over one hallway  block access to the kitchen while I am cooking. The other rooms like the bathrooms we just shut those doors.

Door handle stoppers.

Okay so probably not the technical term but that is the best I could come up with. We only have one door that we could use the handle stopper on, and that is the most important door, the front door. All the other doors inside our home have the long horizontal pull down handle, not the round turning handles. I haven’t seen many child proof handles for those types of doors so if you know of any please help out.

Table Corner Protectors

We have a massively strong  and large wood center table with extremely hard corners. We knew immediately those would need to be covered some how. We were able to find some foam covers that you just tape on and so far they have worked like a charm.

That is all we have done so far. We are still looking for other ways to enhance the protection around our home. If you have any suggestions or see any areas that we have missed please share what we can do to improve his protection.

Mommy Time!

I have read several post by other mothers on how important it is to set aside some time each week alone. A time to rejuvenate your senses, relax and focus on our own needs for once. As mothers we are by nature and design consumed with the needs, desires and cares for our husbands and children. By God’s perfect design we are conditioned to be sensitive and open to the feelings of our family and become selfless toward them. While we may enjoy this role as wife and mother we were never meant to forget ourselves. We are still beautiful creatures, our value to the world and to God is immeasurable. If He thinks of us that way we really have to acknowledge our value and take care of ourselves likewise.

Over the past few months, since my family relocated and I began working full time again, I realized that I was becoming increasingly more tired, agitated and short with my family. I wasn’t enjoying caring for nurturing my family in the way that I knew I wanted to. I was becoming drained and felt very lost at times. My actions were becoming routine and I didn’t do much for myself and my own personal growth. I have many goals set for myself this year including writing an eBook and designing a planner/organizer for mothers both of which are not where I would like them to be. The year is pretty much half over and I haven’t made time to focus on those projects as much as I would have liked.

One day I woke up and realized that I can not continue to be a supportive helpmate for my husband or a strong leader and example for my son if I didn’t start taking time for myself regularly. I knew it didn’t have to be a long extensive time away, just enough to rejuvenate my senses and concentrate on my own personal agenda.

I wanted to do something that wouldn’t take me too far away in case of ’emergency’ but far enough to where I wasn’t being disturbed. The perfect solution for me … Starbucks. There is a nice quiet Starbucks that is in walking distance from my home, just under a quarter mile that opens at six a.m. I find that I am the most focused and productive early in the morning so I head out Saturday morning after my son wakes up for the morning and gets his early morning feeding. I gather all my material the night before and set it at the door so I can head out quietly and quickly. All I need is nice two hour stretch and I leave feeling so refreshed and accomplished.

A Mother's Heritage: Holding my Child

After I had my son in September my sister-in-law gave me a gift. She gave me a journal titled A Mother’s Heritage, A Loving Keepsake For Your Children by Ellie Claire. This is different from your every day journal in that instead of an empty canvas for you to free write, it has the topics and questions laid out for you. I like it because it prompts you to share insight to who you are that you may have never shown otherwise. Most of these questions are dealing with topics that, unless my children actually asked, I don’t think I would have jumped up and shared. Instead of writing them in the book, I decided it would be easier to do a blog post for each.

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. – Ephesians 1:16-17 (NLT)

This week’s journal questions is … Holding my child for the first time I felt … and The prayers I have for my children …

The first time I held my child was right after I gave birth. While still attached with the umbilical cord he was placed on my bare stomach and chest for about ten to fifteen minutes. Most of that time was a blur to me. Everyone was still all excited and in enjoying the moment that he entered the world. And me personally I was mostly in shock. I partially was still in denial about the whole situation of being pregnant and having a child so when I actually laid eyes on him and felt his skin I was in shock, excitement and slightly disbelief. It wasn’t until a few hours later when I held him and fed him again that it really settled in and became truth for me. That was when I first realized that I was capable of loving another person more than myself. I have loved and continue to love and honor my husband and put his needs and desires before mine … but the love for my son is totally different.

I have so many prayers for my son. I mentioned in a previous post about a great book The Power of A Praying Parent. That book has really helped me pray some focused and direct prayers for my son ranging from health, salvation, happiness, growth, relationships, education. I know he is only nine months old now but the is no harm in starting the prayers early.