Thursday, March 31, 2011

Miss Independant

So, Claire is 10 months old as of yesterday.  She's, progressively, gotten more and more independant. . . which is, of course, as it should be.  For a while, she would only feed herself Rice Rusks and Teething Biscuits.  If cheese or Cheerios or peas or bananna slices or whatever were put before her, they were seen a things to move around the highchair, or throw.  In the last several weeks, she's seems to have gotten it.  So much so that I'm thinking she actually would rather stuff food into her mouth than take it from mommy's spoon.  Sometimes, I have to distract her with some self feeding in order for her to get a little bit of the spoon stuff in.  This works just fine.  She eats a couple bites of shreadded cheese or whatever, mommy spoons in a few spoonfuls of avocado or chicken and stars or spaghetti or whatever else can't quite be made "bite sized".  When this girl gets herself on a spoon, I think she'll be able to go to town on whatever we're eating.  Already, we're trying to cut up most of our food and give it to her, within reason.  I'm hoping she gains a love for flavor and trying new things, like mama :-) We'll see.  Can't hurt to keep introducing her to new stuff, letting her explore the world of taste and texture. It's fun to watch her do this on her own and mildly bittersweet.  She went from taking in nutrients from everything I ate to nothing but breastmilk, to mommy spoonfeeding to grabbing what she wants on her own.  It's all pretty amazing.  Guess I'm just a sentimental parent.  
Yesterday, Claire's also started to pull herself all the way up to a standing position. . . . not sure I'm ready for what this means. . .    

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick

I stole this off of a friend's Facebook page and found it so fascinating and worth reposting. 

17 March is St. Patrick's Day
by: Peter Hammond

Patrick was only 16 years old when he saw a fleet of 50 longboats heading for the shore. As the Roman Legions had long since departed Britain, Patrick's home town was vulnerable to attack. As the Irish raiders leapt from their boats onto the pebbled beach, sounding their war-horns, the population fled in terror. The attackers looted and burned the village and carried away captives, including young Patrick.

The year was AD 405. Patrick's name in Latin was Patricius, meaning "Noble". He was the son of a Civil Magistrate, but now he had become a slave in Ireland. Patrick was sold to a cruel warrior chief whose stockade in Northern Ireland was surrounded by sharp poles with the heads of his opponents impaled on them. Patrick was put to work as shepherd to care for his master's pigs and sheep. He lived a lonely existence in the nearby hills, enduring long bouts of hunger and thirst, isolated from human company for months at a time. Patrick witnessed the superstitions of the druid priests who sacrificed prisoners of war to their war gods and newborns to the harvest gods. Skulls were used as drinking bowls, heads of decapitated enemies were used as footballs.

In this strange place at "the ends of the earth" amongst these fierce people, Patrick remembered the faith of his father and grandfather, and the prayers of his mother and turned to Christ. Kneeling on the slopes of the Slemish Mountain, near what is now the town of Ballymena, Patrick prayed, sometimes a hundred times a day.

After six years of slavery, Patrick was led of the Lord to escape and run nearly 200 miles to a coastal port where he was able to persuade a captain to take him along with a shipment of Irish wolfhounds. A storm blew them off course to land on the coast of Gaul (France). Attacks by vandals had devastated the area and there was no food to be found in the, once fertile, area. Here Patrick was able to repay the kindness of the ship captain by praying for the Lord's provision and seeing a herd of pigs appear.

Patrick received a Macedonian call. In a vision, an Irishman named Victoricius presented him letters entitled "The Voice of the Irish":"We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us again." Patrick was "pierced to my very heart" and he returned to the land where he had suffered as a slave many years before.

Patrick was over 40 years old when he arrived as a missionary to Ireland in AD 432. He faced fierce opposition from the Druids. Patrick survived numerous attempts on his life and confronted the idolatry, immorality, slavery and human sacrifices of the savage tribes.

"Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of Heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God Almighty who rules everywhere."

Patrick delighted in taking risks for the Gospel. "I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and His everlasting consolation. Neither must I fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God's Name boldly in every place, so that even after my death, a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children."


At Tara, Patrick challenged the Druids to a contest. The Druids invoked demons and brought a dark fog over the land. Patrick prayed and suddenly the fog cleared and the sun shone brightly. The king ordered 27 chariots to go and seize Patrick. He prayed aloud: "May God come up to scatter His enemies and may those who hate Him flee from His face." The charioteers fell dead.

Patrick rebuked the king: "If you do not believe now, you will die on the spot for the wrath of God descends on your head." The king fell on his knees before the missionary and pledged his realm to Christ. Many turned to Christ on that day.

One of Patrick's writings was a letter excommunicating a tyrant Coroticus who had carried off some of Patrick's converts into slavery. Within his lifetime Patrick ended the slave trade in Ireland. The legend that Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland has to do with his spiritual warfare in driving the demons from the land.

The famous Lorica "Patrick's Breastplate" prayer of protection expresses Patrick's confidence in God to protect him from "every fierce, merciless force that may come upon my body and soul, incantations of false prophets, black laws of paganism, deceit of idolatry, spells of druids..."

Mission Strategy
Patrick was one of the first great missionaries who brought the Gospel beyond the boundaries of the old Roman Civilisation. Patrick's missionary strategy was to concentrate on converting the tribal kings. As the kings converted, they gave their sons to Patrick to be trained to be missionaries. From kingdom to kingdom, Patrick converted pagans, built churches, trained disciples, ordained deacons and ministers and built mission stations. Patrick provided pastors with written doctrinal standards with which to teach their people.

Faithful and Fruitful
For 30 years Patrick evangelised Ireland, converting many chiefs and kings, establishing over 300 congregations and baptising 120,000 people.

Inspiring Example
Patrick became an inspiring example for Celtic Christians. His life of continuous prayer, his love for the Scriptures, his love of God's Creation and missionary vision inspired many hundreds of Celts to take the Gospel to Scotland, England and throughout the continent of Europe.

Although Patrick is commonly called Saint, he described himself as a sinner. Although Patrick is the Patron Saint of the Irish, he was not actually born in Ireland, but in England. It may also surprise people to know that Patrick was never canonized by the Roman Catholic church, but has been considered the Patron Saint of Ireland as a result of popular devotion and long-standing tradition.

On the last Sunday of every July, up to 30,000 pilgrims pass Saint Patrick's statue and climb to the top of Croagh Patrick, commemorating Patrick's 40 day fast on that 2,710 foot summit.

The greatest legacy of Patrick was the tremendous spiritual movement he launched in Ireland and his followers who sent out missionaries to evangelise not only the rest of the British Isles, but much of the continent of Europe.

Dr. Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cogito Ergo. . . Ergo!

I love, love, love my babycarriers.  I just told someone, recently, that I am addicted to babycarriers.  I really, really am.  When she was very little, I wore her around in the Mobywrap.  Only problem, it was a little warm for my summer baby.  I actually have two Moby's, although, I've recently loaned one to someone who needed one.  When Claire was about 4 weeks old, I decided I needed to check out some newborn carrier options that didn't make me want to sweat out my my own weight.  So off to Belly Sprout I went, on a mission.  The girl working in the store showed me a couple of carriers and I settled on the Zolowear Ringsling.  Loved that carrier.  Took it to Colorado on my trip to our family reunion.  It was fantastic on the airplane, through the airport and during the reunion.  I would take her on walks in the ringsling around the neighborhood and carry her around the house when she was fussy. Some of the best money I've ever spent.  But the heavier she got, the more I was thinking I wanted something else.  I had been coveting the Ergo Babycarrier for a very, very long time.  Finally, I decided to use my Babies R Us giftcards and order one. product.  I love how I can get things done (cook, clean, hike, shop, direct a church musical or school play) and she rides along with no problems.  She gets to learn about what I'm doing while I'm wearing her in the Ergo and even takes a good nap every once in a while.  Jives with one of my favorite No Greater Joy articles.  Babywearing is conducive to child training too! My mom loves it.  My babysitter loves it. It is a serious hit at our house and beyond.  
I've since bought a Boba carrier. Zulily had a special and was selling it for $60.  Score.  Similair concept as the Ergo but it has little stirrups for your toddler to put his/her feet.  Ergo claims to hold up to 35 lbs while the Boba will carry 45 lbs.   Haven't used the Boba yet but I'll work on it.  Don't feel the need to cheat on my Ergo quite yet.    But having more than one carrier like this will be fantastic, especially when we have more than one baby and each of us can carry a baby.  Sure is a blessing to hold my girl close and get things done and train her and show her what mommy does all at the same time!  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

 Well, it had to happen sometime.  We'd been enjoying having the best babysitter in the world two days a week up until about January.  But she and her husband found an opportunity to move into a better apartment, closer to her husband's work in a really, nice city. . . 45 -50 mins away.  So, we had to say goodbye and I began to scramble to find a new sitter.  Not finding one immediately, I turned to a friend who I knew had connections to a small, private preschool that had infant care, and who took infants part-time, a rarity.  I had visited them before when I was impressed but glad I didn't have to go that route as of yet.  But it apeared as though, I was going to enroll my girl.   They were wonderful, kind, excited and caring.  I knew Claire was in very good hands. But the very weekend after she enrolled, Claire came down with a mercilessly runny nose, cough and chest congestion.  I tried not to worry, as kids get colds, but when she started pulling at her ear, I, the newbie parent, decided to take her to a Urgent Care Center down the road, just to make sure her, apparent, ear infection wasn't too bad.  She did, in fact, have an ear infection and a throat infection to boot!  So, I was left with a decision.  Being a "natural parenting, natural healing" type, I was not as interested in giving my barely 9 month old daughter Amoxicillian, but I was also nervous.   So, I gave it to her.  The whole 10 day dosage.  Then, looked up every blog, natural-type friend, book whatever, I could get my hands on in order to prevent this from happening again.  A good friend at church suggested the Ear Oil from Henry's which contains Mullein Flower, Coptis Root, Garlic Bulb and Amica Flower.  She uses it on her girls each time they come down with a partiularly bad runny nose and hasn't seen so much as an ear infection since.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I think antibiotics have their place in modern medicine and I believe allopathic medicine is amazing. I'm also certain this won't be the last time my little girl finds herself taking an antibiotic for something.  But as much as I can treat my family naturally the better for their health and for our bank accounts.  But I digress.
Claire returned to the school after a week of staying home with mama and various family members.  This was hard because the week she missed, we still had to pay.  I understand this from a business standpoint. I really, really do.  But we were having a tough time affording tuition as it was and then to pay when she was gone. . . I had a hard time writing that check.  That weekend, she was sick again.  Fever spiked to about 102.5, we think, at one point (stupid thermometer isn't real reliable. . . we've since bought a new one). About that time, a friend of our former babysitter agreed to watch her two days a week.  She actually seemed excited, elated even to watch my little bundle of giggles.  I couldn't believe my luck.  However, I knew the daycare had a "two week notice" policy.  I called, told them the situation and the WAIVED THE TWO WEEKS!!  So, Claire busted outta daycare.  She will, possibly, return for preschool.  I really like their program.  We'll see.
Anyway, for now, she's crawling all over the house, pulling up on furniture, figuring out how to feed herself politely (this is still a long work in progress), terroizing the cat, and listening to Daddy's jazz albums.  
Whew, more posts to come this month.