Thursday, November 17, 2011

No more TV

Alternately, why there will be a lot of fussing and screaming at my house this weekend.

We've gotten into the habit of letting Gage watch more TV than we would like. For the first year of his life, he watched absolutely none. When we stayed with my parents, our TV was in our room but only connected to. Netflix, and we watched after he was sleeping. Gage had no interest in TV, even. And I was really proud of that. But then, he got older and mobile, and we needed the occasional time where he was sitting quietly to do dishes or throw in a load of laundry or just sit for a second and take a deep breath.

So periodically we would turn on Nick Jr for him, he would watch for a period of 30 minutes to an hour tops, we would shut it off, and go about our day.

Then I got pregnant. And I was nauseous. And I was (am) exhausted. And I got (get) some of the worst headaches I have ever had in my life. The result was that I found myself relying more and more on the TV to keep Gage busy so I could rest. Slowly but surely, Gage has started becoming defiant when we turn his shows off, whether turning the TV off or even just changing the channel. He won't even watch football with us anymore because he wants Blue's Clues. Now, I'm not saying that all he does is sit in front of the TV because that's not the case. And for the most part, he doesn't ever sit while watching; he plays with his toys and runs around, and just lets the TV be background noise, which is good. But he has gotten to a point where turning off that background is a fight, and that isn't acceptable to us.

So, we are going cold turkey on baby TV. Er, toddler TV. Today and tomorrow, Gage can watch a little TV, up until his naptime. After nap, it is off for the duration of the day. If he won't nap, he can have a bath, then we'll try another nap. If he won't nap then, then we'll go for a little walk. We will have a bath and walk after nap if he goes down for nap easily. I'm just trying to have some fun, relaxing activities for us to do that will distract him.

Saturday, the real fun begins. Starting Saturday, for two weeks to a month, Gage will be watching no TV. There may be a special on (it's that time of year) that we watch with him, or we may need to stream a show on a phone for him at a restaurant, but during the average day, there will be ZERO TV time for him. I think it's all or nothing for him at this point. I know there will be crying, but I know the end result will be worth it. We've been having some sleep issues in recent weeks, and I think that those may be directly related to the TV he's watching.

We're going to focus more on drawing, playing together, and some learning play that will hopefully give Gage a jump start on learning. We are also going to focus more on reading books, which will be loads of fun for both of us. I haven't done as good a job on being up on his learning as I was when he was younger, because I didn't research it enough passed about a year and a half, so that's my failing. But not one that can't be undone.

I'm excited about this change. Not the fussing, but the end result. I know this will mean some "pushing passed the pain" for me (this pregnancy has been really hard so far) but isn't that what being a parent is about sometimes?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giving thanks

I am thankful for so, so many things. And this post is about those things. If that doesn't interest you, skip this post. I feel like I do an ok job of maintaining a thankful attitude year 'round, but it often gets easy to overlook my blessings and focus on what I don't have. Hopefully this list will help me remember the much cliched but not inappropriate "attitude of gratitude."

1) I'm so thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Before becoming a more serious follower of Christ, my life was kind of a mess. Brian and I were sort of happy, but we felt stuck. I'll post up my testimony one of these days and it'll be clear. Until then, just know--following Christ doesn't mean an easy ride or no troubles. It does mean you have someone to walk you through all of those times, the ultimate Teacher!

2) I'm so thankful for Brian. Who knows where my life would've ended up if I hadn't met him. It sounds lame to say he changed my life, but if you knew me back then you probably know that's true.

3) I'm more thankful than I can put into words for Gage. Being a mom has made my life complete. I'm still learning and growing, but he's been a big part of my transformation. The new baby will open a whole new chapter, and I'm thankful for him/her, too.

4) I'm thankful for the simple basics. A roof over our heads, warm places to sleep, enough money to meet our needs, food on the table, etc. I refuse to take those things for granted. Clean air to breathe? I'm thankful for it.

5) I'm thankful for my parents. They do, and have done so much for us. Not just tangible things, but the intangibles too. Supporting our decisions, being outstanding grandparents to Gage, being kind and generous to my husband are all things that I'm thankful to my parents for... But those are the tip of the iceberg. My parents are good folks.

6) I'm thankful for Brian's parents. Brian's mom is a super mother-in-law, and I am so blessed. She is really good to us, and another wonderful grandparent to Gage. Brian's dad loves Gage so much, and really is a great grandfather to him as well. I think Gage is so blessed to have so many people who love him and grandparents that want to be a part of his life.

7) I'm blessed for the grandparents I had. I will always miss my maternal grandparents. They were great people, and they loved me so much..... And I always knew it because they showed it.

8) I'm thankful for a good dog companion, Chevy. I miss her counterpart every day, but I'm glad he was a part of my life for the time I had him. And I'm glad Chevy is sill here and healthy.

9) I'm thankful for good friends who love us and faithfully share our ups and downs, and invite us to share theirs. It's sure a blessing to have people in our lives that care.

10) I'm thankful for my family's health.

11) I'm thankful that technology allows us to stay in touch with folks we've met and moved away from.

12) I'm thankful for no longer being friends with some people who have been very negative impacts on my life.

13) I'm thankful Brian has a job that allows me to stay home. We aren't getting rich, but we've got what we need.

That's all I've got for now, although there is so much more important can't put into words. I hope you have a happy, blessed, beautiful Thanksgiving, and remember all of your blessings today, too.

Odds and ends

I'm baking bread today. I kneaded it with the Kitchenaide for around 7 minutes and it is rising now. It looks gorgeous and smooth, so hopefully it will bake well. I've got the bowl covered in plastic wrap instead of a towel, and I'm hoping that with all of my adjustments to my technique, it will come out really nicely.

Gage woke up at 4:45 this morning. I got him back to sleep for a few minutes, then he woke up, and Brian got him back to sleep for a few minutes... Then he was awake for good. Needless to say, there's a lot of tired around here today. Especially because Brian works a full day today. Because he's tired, Gage is a funny mix of clingy and playful. It's extra cute. He's also having a foodie day; having eaten a bunch of cereal, a yogurt cup, a whole piece of buttered toast, a cup of milk, and two and a half bowls of applesauce. That was all before 10:30, so lunch is yet to come!

I've been reading a lot of people posting about being thankful all November, trying to put up one thing a day they're thankful for. I have so many, I'm not sure I could condense them into a month! Instead, I think I'll make a thanksgiving post that I can add to across this month, then post it on Thanksgiving day.

I thought I had more, but I guess that's it, really. Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Tonight, we left Gage in the capable hands of my mom and dad (they were in charge of putting him to bed, and he did great. He's never gone to bed without me before, so I was happy that he was comfortable.) We went to the Sox Place fundraiser at the Comedy Works South in the Denver Tech Center.

I have to be honest here. In my head, the fundraiser became an opportunity to get out of the house, to dress up, to enjoy an evening away from home. I did not realize that I would have the wind knocked out of me, or that I would leave the Comedy Works totally humbled, feeling blessed beyond belief, and with a semi-broken heart.

Maybe you don't give a lot of thought to homelessness. I haven't, really. And we're somewhat closely acquainted with Sox Place - we donate clothes, I'm donating a lot of time writing, etc. But we don't frequently see the impact. The real people who have had their lives changed forever because of what Sox Place does.

Three street connected youth stood up in front of a room full of people to tell about how Sox Place has affected their short lives. I won't give you all of the details, but suffice it to say, their stories were heartbreaking. And while each talked, all I could think was that this was ALL they knew. These stories that humbled me and broke my heart were simply all they knew, what they had grown up with, the pasts they live with every day. Broken homes doesn't even begin to describe these kids' backgrounds. Living hell is closer to the truth. It blows my mind to think of innocent little children being put through what these kids have been through.

Sometimes I feel down on my life, I wish we had more money or newer cars, or all the things that Americans want. But to hear stories of the people touched by Sox Place, I think we are so much more fortunate than so many. We have a roof over our head, a safe place to live, warm food, electricity, beds to sleep in, working vehicles, Lord, I could go on and on. The blessings my family enjoy are ENDLESS. Not because we have an abundance of wealth but because we have what we need.

If you feel like you have a little extra money this holiday season, and want to share with a charity that makes a very real, very obvious difference in the lives of young people, please consider Sox Place. If you can even afford $52.80 a month, it is a huge help. Maybe it doesn't seem like too much money, but it makes a huge difference to the street youth of the Mile High City.

Visit Sox Place online to find out more info, or to donate. Even if you can't donate, please just keep these kids and the staff of Sox Place in your thoughts and prayers.