Thursday, September 26, 2013

Confessions

I feel like I need to make a confession.

I just spent $2 in order to get rid of advertisements on my one and only toddler app on my phone.

And it took me 9 months to spend that $2.

Why am I so stubborn and ridiculous?

My whole life has been turned upside down.

Rufflebum can no longer order us life insurance.

She can no longer call India without me realizing it.

And she can no longer purchase a life time supply of socks.

I feel so much freedom.

And from now on I promise to pay for any children's apps I put on my phone to spare me months of hovering and panic and continually having to check my bank account in case someone in India has emptied it.

(Who me?)
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On the other hand I didn't hesitate to spend $2 on books this week at our local grocery store (they were having a sale).

They are the worst books I've ever read.

Rufflebum has learned so much more from her flashcard app than she ever will from these horrid books with no plot line.

I take that back. There is a plot line. And it sucks.

Sorry for saying "sucks". Sometimes it just comes out.

But I need to watch my mouth more closely these days because Rufflebum has officially become a "mimicker".

I know this because she's started saying, "Oh shoot" and "I need chocolate".

Just kidding about the chocolate statement. Though wouldn't that be hilarious?

If she said that, I'd totally give her chocolate.

Don't tell her that.
(I heard that!)
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Thank you to all of you who prayed for me this morning as I shared how God has been working in my life the last few months in front of a room of women. I shared a refined version of this post: http://thepamperedbird.blogspot.com/2013/07/welcome-back.html

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Oh, and remember this post? http://thepamperedbird.blogspot.com/2013/09/learning-to-show-mercy.html

The one where I talked about teaching Rufflebum to speak respectfully?

Yeah... that lesson totally back fired on me.

Today I was asking her to do something and she was not responding. After several tries I finally said, "please" and she immediately did what I asked, and responded with "thank you."

Very humbling moment.

Very.

Humbling.

Moment.

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That said...

THANK YOU for reading this little blog and for all your comments, texts, emails etc. when a particular post resonates with you.  I would keep writing even if you didn't give me feedback, but it's good to know there are others out there going through similar things, feeling similar ways, and learning similar lessons.

Have a great weekend!

I mean...

PLEASE have a great weekend!

Love,
The Pampered Bird

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bye Bye Brain

I know last post I said I would talk about what I'm learning about friendships... but to be totally honest I cannot for the life of me remember where I wanted to go with that.

I do know these things:

Quality girlfriends are invaluable.
Being a quality girlfriend is the best way to get quality girlfriends.

Profound huh?

And for now that's as far as I'm going to take that train of thought.

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I can't seem to entertain very long or deep thoughts these days in any category.

Could be this baby kicking and punching me all day and night.

Could be our really busy schedule.

Could be I have a toddler who doesn't sit still.

If Mr. San Antonio had walked home just 5 minutes earlier tonight he would have walked in on me laying on the sofa playing a game on my phone while Rufflebum watched Sesame Street on the computer. See those dolls below and how peaceful they look resting? Imagine me like that, except with a phone in my hands.


But I managed (not on purpose) to look really productive when he got home - and was in the middle of putting pajamas on a clean toddler.

Now I'm patting myself on the back.

Once for actually bathing my toddler instead of saying, "eh... she didn't sweat that much today, let's hold off."

And once for putting clean pajamas on her instead of saying, "eh... these aren't that dirty... if you squint."

And a final time for some how tricking my mother into coming to my house and folding my laundry by saying something like, "I made muffins, and you can play with your granddaughter."

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Rufflebum's three current favorite games go a little something like this:

1. Hide-and-seek. She covers her eyes for about 1 second which gives me a chance to throw a designated item somewhere in the room. She then tries to find it. And I've discovered the trick: just put the item behind your back. It tricks her every. single. time. And she is delighted when she finally discovers it.

2. Animal noises. I say, "does the cow say "woof woof?" and she says, "noooooo" with a big grin. I proceed to ask her if the cow says a whole variety of incorrect noises. Finally I ask, "does the cow say 'mooo'"? And she says, "yeaaaah". In a tone like, "wow, Mom I never thought about that, but you're right the cow does say "moo".

3. Take care of her baby dolls. By "take care" I mean smother with blankets (see picture below), force feed from her milk cup, and drag around by the arm/leg/neck.

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On a final note, tomorrow I start my third trimester.

That's all I really have to say about that. Again because I have no brain cells left.

Perhaps because I'm entering third trimester?

Is that documented science yet?

Oh, and I'm supposed to share how God has been working in my life in front of a bunch of women tomorrow morning, so if you think of saying a prayer I'd appreciate it. You might want to pray something like this, "Please God, give her some brain cells back. And don't let her start making animal noises while she is speaking. And thank you for her mother who folded her laundry today so she'll have clean clothes to wear tomorrow. Amen."

Love,
The Pampered Bird

Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning to Show Mercy

I'm going to try something new today: stream of consciousness writing.

Usually I don't post unless I have something specific to write about. A story, a recipe, an update of some sort. But that causes a couple problems:

1. My life really isn't that interesting. And so if I'm going to wait to write only when something sorta-kinda-maybe interesting happens... well then as you've seen my posts are pretty spread out.

2. I wrote a few weeks ago that I want this blog to be a place where I share what God is doing in my life and in my family's life. But too often I (we) think that it's not worth talking about unless God is doing something very obvious in our life (those "lightning bolt moments" where it's really obvious that God is at work). But the truth is that if you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and are spending time with him (praying, reading the Bible, etc.) regularly... then He is always at work in and through you even in really small ways that you might never get to see the result of (see end of post: Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

For those two reasons I'm going to try to write more frequently. And not care so much about having the perfect story to share. Hopefully just being honest about the things I'm thinking about and praying about will encourage someone else and bring glory to God.

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This week has held two themes.
A. How should I approach disciplining Rufflebum? Tactics, motives, etc.
B. How can I be a better friend to the women God has put in my life right now.

Discipline:
I had an experience last week with disciplining (teaching) Rufflebum about speaking respectfully to me. I realize she is 20 months old, and 20 month-old children whine and yell and do whatever they can to get you to respond because they don't always have the vocab or the patience to get your attention in a more respectful way. But Rufflebum knows how to say "Please" and "thank you" and other respectful words. She simply was not choosing to use them. And one day it got really out of hand. Eventually I was fed up with correcting her every time she yelled at me, and decided she needed a time out to understand that I really meant what I was saying to her. She sat on her time-out pillow for 1 minute and I went in and asked her if she was ready to be polite and say (whatever the word was I was trying to get her to use at the time I don't remember now). She said "no" and refused to say "the word".

So I said she needed to spend another minute in time out.

For 20 minutes we had this stubborn battle. Every minute I would go in and ask her to speak nicely, and each time she would say no. Slowly she started to whimper, then cry and then bawl.

After 20 minutes I realized that we had passed the point of her understanding the lesson and had moved into a territory where she just felt overwhelmed and depleted and uncertain of what her future held. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to let it go. To be willing to drop the fight and just comfort her and offer her mercy and forgiveness WITHOUT her being repentant.

Because that's what Jesus did for me.

He died on the cross while I was still dead in my sin. He died for me before I was even born. Before I had ever turned my back on him. And loooooong before I ever felt sorry for the things I had done. He died for me and forgave me before I asked him to forgive me.

So I went in and knelt down and asked her if she wanted to pray. She said "yes".

I told her I forgave her for being disrespectful and rude toward me. I told her that I love her and will always love her. And then we prayed. First I prayed (out loud so she could hear) for my heart. And asked God to forgive me for all the times I am disrespectful towards others and toward him.  Then I prayed for her heart, that she would see her own sin, and one day repent of it and accept Jesus's sacrifice on her behalf.

As we stood up my thought was, "well I lost that one, no way did that message get through to her, I'll have to just suck it up through the rest of the day and deal with this again tomorrow."

But she did get it. Not once the rest of the day (and rarely in the last week) has she yelled at me, or whined, or spoken disrespectfully. She has said "please" and "thank you" almost to the extreme.

My prayer (now) is that I didn't scare her into behaving because she doesn't want the consequence. My prayer is that her heart accepted my forgiveness and my unconditional love as a very broken representation of Jesus' love for her, and that she is simply responding to that grace with renewed confidence and appreciation.

Too much to expect from a 20 month old? Maybe...

Disciplining has so far been the aspect of parenting that stresses me out the most. Am I too harsh? Am I too soft? Will I scar her for life?

And I'll just be honest. I know there are a TON of disciplining methods and strategies and an equal number of studies and reasons to do each one (and I have dear friends in almost every camp of the discipline spectrum). But when I look at the Bible I see this:

To those who outright turn their backs on God and choose to have nothing to do with him - God treats very harshly.

To those who try to love God (in spite of being broken, and sinful, and messing up over and over and over), God shows mercy (he allows there to be consequences for their actions, but he never destroys them, he always draws them back to himself with love).

So I'm going to try my hardest to show mercy to my children. To combine consequences (because there are always consequences to our sin), with prayer and forgiveness and unconditional love.

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Today at lunch Rufflebum had a mouth full of milk and I did something that made her laugh and the milk went flying all over. She looked at me with wide eyes - full of fear and embarrassment. She hadn't done anything wrong, but she was worried that she had. Immediately I grabbed a towel and as I cleaned up I assured her that everything was okay and told her a story about when I had milk in my mouth and laughed so hard it came out my nose. Her face changed into a grin and I continued with our game that had made her laugh in the first place.

That's the kind of mom I want to be all the time. I want her to know that I'm on her side. That I am not surprised by her faults. That her imperfections (and her sins) aren't going to deter me from rooting for her, for praying for her, for loving her.

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I don't know how coherent all that is. And I wrote more than I expected so I'll share about learning to be a better friend another day.

In the mean time, keep pressing on in whatever God is calling you to do in your stage of life. And if you don't have a relationship with Jesus I'd love to tell you more about mine - just shoot me an email mgbondurant@gmail.com

Lots of love,
The Pampered Bird

Verses mentioned above:
Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Banana Bread

Now that Rufflebum is old enough to stand on a chair in the kitchen without grabbing knives, tipping the chair backwards, or simply falling off head first - I'm trying to include her in simple baking/cooking activities. Not only does this get her used to helping me in the kitchen, but it prevents her from unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper while I'm cooking and/or emptying the tissue box of Every. Single. Tissue.

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Now I want to smoothly transition into a banana bread recipe but I have pregnancy brain and my thoughts are not cohesive this afternoon and so just ride the crazy train with me for a minute and I promise we'll get there in the end. 

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Side note: If "ride the crazy train" has a meaning that I'm not aware of and I just said something inappropriate I apologize. 

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Ok so banana bread is a staple in our house because:
1. I love baked goods
2. I have a rule never to buy baked goods, I can only eat it if I've made it
3. It has fruit in it so it's "healthy". 

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I've tried at least 10 different banana bread recipes since we've been married. Some have yogurt, some have whole wheat flour, some have applesauce instead of oil, some have nuts, some don't, etc. 

But after 4 years and many many many loaves of banana bread, I've decided that the only recipe I will use from here on out is my great-grandmother's original (not fancy, not "healthy", just regular old) recipe, with two small changes on my end. 

Original Recipe (with my two changes in parenthesis):
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup sugar (I only use 1/2 a cup)
2 beaten eggs
3 bananas (I use 4-5 and make sure at least some of them are in the "black" category because they are much sweeter - hence why I can decrease the sugar content above)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I don't use nuts I use raisins, because Mr. San Antonio loves raisins)

(My mom added the tradition of sprinkling about 1 TB of cinnamon/sugar mixture on top before baking)

Bake in greased loaf pan, or 8x8 or 9x9 at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

How I make it:
I start by getting out all my ingredients and turning on the oven to 350 degrees. I do this while Raffi plays in the living room and Rufflebum is contentedly "shaking her sillies out, clapping her crazies out", etc. (Please tell me someone else listens to Raffi?!)

Eventually the noises coming from the kitchen win out over "wheels on the bus" and Rufflebum frantically tries to bring her chair in to "help" me.  

As part of prepping I like to melt the butter almost all the way liquid when I'm letting Rufflebum help mix- it's much easier for her.  

The butter and sugar are put in the bowl, Rufflebum is handed a wooden spoon and she starts "mixing". 

(side note: these pictures were not taken at our house, this is Mimi and Granda's house)

I realize she's wearing something I'd prefer not to wash banana stains out of so I pause to undress her to her diaper. 

Once half the batter is securely splattered on the counter, wall, floor, and her hair I add the eggs and have a "mommy's turn" at the stirring. 

Then I add the mashed bananas and give Rufflebum another turn at mixing (which she does with one hand securely immersed in the batter and the other hand clutching the spoon which goes from the bowl to the counter to her mouth and around again). 


I add in the dry ingredients and have another "mommy's turn". 

I attempt to add back in the batter that's been spread around the kitchen (germs will die in the oven right?) and I pour the mix into a 8x8 or 9x9 pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar. 

Bread goes into the oven, Rufflebum goes into the bath or out to the hose (who am I kidding? she gets a baby wipe rub down - who wants to go through two bath times in one day!?). 

I only bake mine for 25-30 minutes (which is significantly shorter than the recommended time). This is partly because I use an 8x8 instead of a loaf pan, but also because our oven cooks fast, and also I'd rather have slightly underdone banana bread than too dry banana bread. But that's just me. 

When it's done we eat half the pan because: 
1. I'm pregnant
2. There are bananas so it's "healthy"
3. Life's too short to only eat dainty bites of banana bread in a sitting.


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What do you like to bake/cook with your kids? 

Love,
The Pampered Bird

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is My Toddler Lying: A case study

How to know if your toddler is lying: A case study.

Conversation to be analyzed:

Me: Are you tired?
Rufflebum: No.

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Sources of Information used to analyze the above conversation:

1. Facial Expressions
2. Body Language
3. Use of blankie
4. Tone of voice
5. Actions taken after conversation was completed.

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The following facial expressions were observed in the respondent:
- Grimace
- Half closed eyes
- Tightened lips
- Upturned nose

The following body language was observed in the respondent:
- Rubbing eyes with hand
- Rubbing eyes with blankie
- Laying head down on sofa
- Lying down completely on the floor


 The following use of the blankie was observed in the respondent:
- Using blankie to rub eyes
- Using blankie to cushion head while lying on the floor
- Draping blankie around shoulders


The following tone of voice was observed in the respondent:
- "No" was actually spoken as: "NOOOOOOOO"
- I detected an unnecessary volume in the response, as well as an unnecessary use of vehemence.


The followng actions were taken by the respondent after the conversation:
- Sobbing
- Walking to her room and trying to climb into her crib
- Frantic searching for her pink doll, her blue doll, and her purple blankie (she had already been holding the turtle blankie throughout the time we've been discussing).
- An inability to choose a naptime book without dissolving into tears.

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The above observations led me to the following conclusion:

- My toddler was not telling the truth when she responded "no" to the question, "are you tired?"

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Final thoughts:
I believe this study can be duplicated in all future verbal interactions with my toddler in order to discern whether or not she is telling me the truth.

Final final thoughts:
Apparently the zoo is an excellent way to exhaust my toddler.


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Love,
The Pampered Bird

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rufflebum 19 month Update

Summer break is over and our routine is changing back to how I like it - structured!

I spent last weekend at a bachelorette get-a-way for a dear friend which was a great, relaxing way to finish off the summer. 

Then this week we jumped into Community Bible Study training (I'll be teaching the 3-year-olds again this year - check out this post to see my first experience with this age group - If only they knew....). 

When I picked Rufflebum up from the CBS daycare on Thursday she said, "Hi Mommy! Fuuuuun!!" So I think she had a good time.

And here is a quick update on where Ruffle Bum is developmentally.

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She is 19 months and counting. 

Things that made Rufflebum cry this week: 
1. I put away the mop.
2. I stopped brushing my own hair.
3. I offered her breakfast.
4. I offered her a snack.
5. I put the mop away again.
6. Mr. San Antonio accidentally touched her blanket.
7. She couldn't find her doll.
8. She found her doll.
9. It was the wrong doll.
10. I told her she couldn't draw on the sofa.
11. I told her she couldn't draw on the chair.
12. I put away the mop, again.
13. My mother offered her cheese.
14. I didn't sing loud enough in the car.
15. And finally, I put away the mop for the 100th time.

Words Rufflebum says in a British accent (despite not spending time with anyone with a British accent):
1. Turtle
2. Okay

Her favorite activities around the house (in no particular order):
1. Diving into a large floor pillow.
2. Jumping off the fireplace hearth.
3. Climbing up and down any piece of furniture she can find.
4. Drinking out of "daddy's cup"
5. Drinking out of her "purple cup"
6. Mopping the floors.
7. Dancing to music.
8. Wearing mommy's shoes.
9. Taking care of her baby dolls.

Number of times she asked for her purple cup this week:
1,567 (give or take a few)

Things Rufflebum has a borderline attachment disorder with:
1. Her purple cup.
2. The mop.

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Hope you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

love, 
The Pampered Bird

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