Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [10 Wonderful Children's Books for Counting to 10]

One of the best ways to help a toddler learn to count is with books! These are a few of our favorites!

1-3. Over in the Garden or Over in the Meadow or Way Up in the Arctic (or any one of these particular books written to the same tune, rhyme and give wonderful information about the world we live in!)

4. How Many Kisses do you want Little One? by Varsha Bajaj and illustrated by Ivan Bates is a wonderfully cute counting book all about night-night kisses.

5. My Remarkably Sparkably Purse by Hayley Down is one of my daughters favorites because it's a little girl filling her purse with all the things Brielle loves (like tiara's and shoes and necklaces).

6. Turtle Splash: Countdown at the Pond by Katherine Falwell is one I like because (like it states) it counts down from 10, changing it up a bit.

7. Ten Apples Up On Top 'cause you can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss!

8. Five Little Ducks - a classic illustrated by Penny Ives - is one that I recommend. I realize it only goes to 5, but it's still worth reading!

9. How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? is another great one. I love any of Jane Yolen's "How Do Dinosaurs...?" books. They are pretty fantastic.

10. The M&M's Counting Book because who doesn't love counting with chocolate candy?!

If you're interested in finding others, here's a longer list with a few books I can't wait to check out myself!

A bonus:
 I've Got an Elephant by Anne Ginkel, illustrated by Janie Bynum, is a cute counting book where the character adds an elephant every time she does something - all because they get lonely. What does she do when she hits 10? Perfect book for counting, predicting, and laughing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [College Memories!]

I write a lot about how many mistakes I made during these four years of my life, but I haven't really shared what made it memorable. Looking back I'd make a lot of changes, but these ten memories are one's I'll treasure, pry because of who I share the memories with....

Sledding with borrowed lunch room trays.

Jumping on the living room couch and trying to get flying pictures. I think we may have busted the couch...

The summer I lived with my BFF, which included a trip to the Ozarks, a Little Big Town Concert, and plenty of YMCA madness.
Yup. We went mini-golfing with those hats on. 

It was also the summer that Megan ran over me with a tractor...
It was copy cat day so Meg and I decided to switch places for the day...

The night all the Gamma seniors decided to go bowling. We had a ton of fun and I'm pretty sure that Robyn walked outta there with her bowling shoes still on, leaving her flip flops behind.
And then on the way home we randomly found these glasses and had more fun with them than bowling I do believe...

The night I threw my own Gamma Phi-esta all by my lonesome, which was also the night I met my husband Kyle. (Read more about that here.)

Our dance parties in the bathroom as we got ready for the night ahead. Sometimes we just stayed in the bathroom... which were the best nights...

The Halloween we dressed up as the Ninja Turtles. Our costumes were epic... only because we had so much fun putting them together and then posing for pictures such as this...

Dressing up for themed parties was definitely a favorite mostly because of the time we spent getting ready, which included a trip to the local thrift store. We found a lot of treasures there... 

All those early mornings before greek week hanging out on the balcony watching all the groups hand out pledges, or hanging out on the balcony during those warm Friday afternoons after class, or hanging out on the balcony going from quad to quad hanging out with friends... the quad balcony holds many memories...

The time Kyle and I traveled to Colorado so my family could meet him and Kyle came down with a bad case of strep throat. I ended up taking care of him. It was when he realized he loved me.

Greek Week (aka Hell Week) hold many memories because of the girls pictured throughout this post. It's there I met some pretty amazing girls that became my best friends. We don't see each other nearly as much as I'd like, but they all hold a very special place in my heart and it all began with Greek Week.

Those moments when we'd pull the couches together in our living room, reminiscing of all these times together laughing and soaking it all up - 'cause four years went way to fast.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Postpartum Depression, the Bible, & Discipleship

It's no wonder women struggle with postpartum depression. Considering hormonal changes, the sudden change of day-to-day life, the overwhelming responsibility that consumes mom's as they care for a child that's totally dependent on us for everything, sleep deprivation, &etc.etc. I'm surprised only 20% of new mommy's experience it (source). I know of at least four mommy's that experienced different levels of depression, one of them being me. I'd say my "case" was mild, but I know had I addressed my sadness, irritability, crying, and exhaustion with a doctor I would've been diagnosed with postpartum depression. If you've been hanging out with me here you'll have read Briella Bean's birth story, my hemorrhaging experience afterwards, my baby's colic, and my year long struggle with the outcome. All things considered, I'm not surprised I struggled!

I say "struggle" lightly. I had good days and I had bad days, but each day was met with the same effective "treatment". It was not simple, some days were not fun, but it was a learning process unlike any other. 

Let me start from the beginning: as I was checking out of the hospital one of the things they want to educate you on is postpartum depression. I declined with the explanation, "I have the Bible for that." Although I received strange looks galore, I was dead serious. I wasn't interested in the counseling hoopla that tries to empower young women in taking away feelings of guilt or sadness on their own, I wasn't interested in anti-depressants, and I definitely was not at all interested in the worldly advice on how to solve problems. 

I have the Bible for all of that.

The more I read the Bible the more I learn that it's the power of the Holy Spirit working in me that takes away those feelings of guilt or sadness; that because of my faith in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross I can give each feeling to Him and let Him do the work. The more I read the Bible the more I realize that self empowerment is not helpful, it's reliance on the Holy Spirit and the work He is constantly accomplishing within me that is. The more I read the Bible the more the Holy Spirit enlightened the eyes of my heart to HIS solutions on how to relieve anxiety, worry, and sadness. And replace it with hope, faith, and joy. 

Using the Bible as my source for encouragement (as I still do, hence the present tense explanation in the previous paragraph) was only the beginning of my healing. God has a specific design in mind for His church. One of the major components of my healing was discipleship. You have heard me talk endlessly about the effect of discipleship and God's Word in my life over the last few years, so I have two things I want to accomplish from here:
  1. I want to show you what the Bible says about worry, anxiety, and sadness and then how God's Word allows you to replace it with hope, faith and joy. 
  2. Share someone else's testimony who was directly affected by postpartum depression and the effectiveness of God's Word and discipleship in her life.
Over the next few days this will be the topic on my blog in hopes of helping other Christian mommy's wanting to fully rely on God and strengthen faith in His incredible healing power found only in His Word.

My Bible is tattered and torn as a result of that first year of motherhood. I've often heard it said that a Bible falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't.

I couldn't agree more.

(Side note: sometimes anti-depressants are a necessary component to aid in healing. I know women who benefited from doctor prescribed medicine. I avoid medication if possible and I have two specific stories where it was avoided because we relied heavily on prayer and God. This post exists to give hope and encouragement to all mommy's who are struggling with postpartum depression and pointing them to the only true source of healing.)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Spilling the Beans [May 2015 Edition]

With a plate full of food Brielle commented, "so much eats my tummy hurts!"

Aunt Mandy was changing her sister Ele's diaper and Ele was making it known (loudly) that it was not appreciated. Brielle was so concerned that she told me, "Mommy, go check on baby Ele!" It was pretty darn cute.

She told me, "I's tired." She points to her eyes, "Two tireds, see? 1, 2!"

After her bath these days she prefers to air dry and run around naked. On one particular day she throws her head side to side (that's how she "looks" for lost items) and asked, "Where my bathtub go?"

We created a playlist for Bean including her favorite princess songs, Wagon Wheel, and Barbara Ann. (Her Poppy sings that song to her with the words, "B-B-B-B-B-Brielle!") When the song came on I began singing it to her and she told me to stop because it was Poppy's song. Guess I'm not good enough.

As we were plunking around on her play piano she was asking what each of the keys were; so I began singing along with each as I called out the note (c, d, e, f, etc.). She interrupted me as she slammed her fingers down on a few keys and said, "How about W?" (I didn't have the heart to tell her that music doesn't include her favorite letter....)

Everything is Brielle's these days. Every time she mentions that such-and-such "is Brielle's" I try to plant some selfless, God-centered theology into that little brain with this statement that outlines the truth found in Chronicles 29:11-12: "There is not one item in this house or the house itself that belongs to us. It all belongs to God. Therefore we need to glorify God in the way we use it." (I use this in terms of how we treat things, how we share with others, &etc.) When we purchased a van she immediately labeled it as "Brielle's band" (band = van). So I repeated this phrase she hears 100 times a day. Her reply, "But I can ride it."

When she sings and dances to Frozen's song "Let It Go" she mimics queen Elsa when she throws her crown. However, instead of a crown she yanks tufts of hair and throws it. (Ouch?) I'm constantly having to explain to her not to yank her hair out, just pretend to throw the crown. Thanks to this stupid movie my daughter is going bald.

The last time Gurma (aka Grandma, my mom) was here she made Bean a blanket with bug print. She calls it her "bed bug bwankwet". The edges contain a variety of bric-a-brac and she insists on having her favorite sprinkle (aka sparkle) edge nearest her face. The irony is that she absolutely loves this blanket and is obsessed with anything bug... until one lands on her and then the sky is falling.

She believes the medieval knight armor is a robot. She found a book at the library with knights on the cover and kept asking for the "robot book" - oh my word - it took me forever to figure that one out.

We got a swing set as a gift from Grandma and the weather has been so rainy and chilly that we haven't used it much. The times we can, however, are enjoyed.

Aunt "Symie" (Sydnie) has her hands full entertaining Bean and holding Ele for the first time.

Splashing in puddles.

We had a "NO MORE PACIFIER!" party to celebrate the girls being all grown up as they threw their pacifier away. It went really well and I can't wait to share that experience with you.