Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Rose

I am not an avid gardener, but I kind of want to be.  There are so many life lessons that can be learned from gardening.  I took a trip to the nursery in late fall and hoped to fix up my front gardens with some things that would grow over this wet and dreary time of year.  Low and behold, without much attention, my beautiful winter roses have bloomed.
'Did she say bloomed?' oh yes I did.  My roses just started blooming this past week.  This brings me much hope.
The other day as I was spending time reflecting on some of the difficulties over this past year, my trials and sufferings, I looked out my window to see these flowers budding and felt so hopeful.

I want to be a winter rose.  Growing and blooming despite hard soil, wind, rain, snow (the rose bush had a foot of snow covering it before the flowers bloomed a few days later). I look around and in this time of year and weather, nothing else seems to be blooming.  That's the type of character I want to have.  That's the type of person I want to be.
I want to bloom in the difficult seasons.  I want the endurance, the perseverance and faith to wait for the fruit and the beauty, through the darkest times of my life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parenthood: Risk Management and Vaccinations

Jason and I have come to realize that so much of parenthood appears to be weighing risks.  It's frightening living in this day and age.  We have access to so much information and media on the internet. With that, comes the issue of weeding through all this 'information' and making informed decisions about our children's' health and well-being.  Who do you trust to give you accurate information?  Websites?  Peoples' experiences?  Dr's?  No one is purely objective and no one can be trusted (is what we learn in this generation).   

Take the issue of vaccinations (a big one).  Do you, or do you not vaccinate? What once was a clear decision (in an era where every second child got debilitating effects of polio) is now complicated.  What about autism?  What about other terrifying 'reported' neurological effects of vaccinations?  For me, having seen the effects of polio on children in rural Africa, it seems to be an obvious decision- the risks of vaccination are clearly outweighed (to me) by the benefits.  But then, what if, after giving Silas 3 shots today, he somehow comes down with autism?  What would I think then?  Who am I to question many parents' real experiences of their children going in for shots one day and developing autism shortly after?  

Gah!  Not only is making an informed choice difficult, but then feeling confident of that decision is even harder!  Hmph. How does any parent live with any decision they make?  

Jason and I struggle through over-analysis-paralysis.  I feel overwhelmed, most of the time, about trying to make 'the best' decision.  I don't want to be under-informed, but often being over-informed causes me more headaches and frustration.  Especially because I never feel confident that I DID make 'the best' decision.  For example: if I be overprotective and don't let Silas climb trees, or play outside, or run around the neighborhood, then perhaps he will live in fear or not develop as a normal boy should.  But then if I let my son do these things and he falls from a tree and becomes paralyzed for life, or is hit by a car, or gets abducted-then did I make the right decision?

Parenthood can be terrifying.  Every decision comes down to risk.  There's risks to not vaccinating, but also risks to vaccinating (until they do more research and absolutely conclude there is no causal relationship between vaccinations and autism).

My conclusion to these ramblings: How does any parent navigate this world today without God?

I'm working on thankfulness this month and so I am thankful that ultimately, God does see all things and protect us from many awful things. However, when bad things do happen, this doesn't negate the existence of God or disprove that He is good.  I believe that God does allow things to happen in our lives for our good.  I may not understand in this life.  I may not want to accept life's circumstances because of how hard they are, but His ways are above mine.  I cannot live in fear, or should not, because God will never change and will always be my sustainer and foundation in and through any circumstance. I'm thankful that in the midst of feeling overwhelmed and over conscious of all the things that could go wrong in parenting, I can still trust that God is good, He is control, and that all that happens in this life will one day be swept over by the glorious life to come.

Side note: I watched this documentary today on vaccinations and it was very informative.  Frontline (PBS) in the US does a great job of providing objective, free, documentaries online:
 Vaccine Documentary 

Monday, January 17, 2011

You Know You're a Mom When....

Comical insights I've learned over these past 12 (gulp) months of initiation as a Mom.
You know you're a mom when....
-you finally have to buy concealer cause the bags under your eyes are just too big
-you use the bottom of your own shirt to wipe your son's nose
-you're not ashamed to stick your nose down your child's shorts to take a good 'wiff' (hey, it's the best way to tell if they've pooped or not!)
-your diaper bag is your purse (or your purse is your diaper bag?  either way, it's true)
-you don't mind eating teeny, tiny pieces of discarded food from your child's plate
-you go out of the house with either spit up on your shirt or food stains.  And you don't care so much anymore.
-you get excited about buying toy bins at ikea
-*personal mom-comment ahead*: you walk around without your nursing bra snapped in for most of the day
-even if your son's face is covered in snot, food, and has a rash all over it- you still think he's cute and can't resist sudden urges to kiss his cheeks off
-you think every noise-making-toy sounds like your crying child when he's down for a nap
-you clap hysterically whenever your child does something new- even if it's the smallest thing
This has been quite the year. I feel so privileged to have Silas along on this adventure with Jason and I.  He's brought so much joy and laughter, and has filled up all the empty spaces of our life (and home).  I'm excited to see what this year brings and slightly scared to death.  Now begins the rumblings of discipline and spiritual guidance of which I'm terrified of.  Lord help us raise Silas well!
*Getting into present opening

A few new accomplishments of my one year old:
-he stood up without holding onto anything (for a few seconds) the other day!
-he stands all the time now and cruises all over every bit of furniture
-he can clap when we say 'yay' and lifts his hands straight up when we say 'praise the Lord.'  We're still working on some baby sign language but I think he can say 'more' with sign language and knows the sign for 'milk.'
-he climbed stairs for the first time the other day (only a couple steps and only a few times)
-he loves it when I throw something to the ground and say 'ka-boom'  (oops, should I be teaching him this?)
-he's a great eater for the most part but has a particular love for fruit and breads....he also has a post-yogurt-tantrum because he loves it so much and gets upset when his container is empty!
Sporting his birthday boy crown- made by his 5 year old friend Micaiah!
Hanging out with cousin Allie
Standing away!
"My work is done here..."
Showing off his fashionable 'faux-hawk'
Enjoying the Montreal BioDome
Family shot at the BioDome
Yes. We really did leave him just sitting in the snow while we cleared the frozen pond (so we could skate on it).  He enjoyed his little command post, really!
Lovin the snow with Daddy!  I guess there IS a bit of ontario in his veins
First bites of cake.  Pre-choke-fest.  Then he didn't like it anymore.
OH how we love this little boy and are thankful to God for entrusting him to us! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

my baby Aniwools

I've been waiting for quite some time to post one of my fall 'crafts.'  I didn't want to post details because they were Christmas presents for our nieces and nephews.
Thanks to my friend Kim who re-taught me how to crochet! I've decided to name them 'aniwools.' Think I should start a side business?
Here they are (minus the polar bear and orange elephant)
Some of the kiddies with their stuffies!
Let's see if I'll have time to accomplish a quilt before back to work....doubtful.
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