Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Then and Now: A Comparison Between Sisters

Since Meridian was born, everyone would tell us how much they thought she looked liked Zoelle. Chris and I have only seen little glimpses of it from time to time. Not to mention that their personalities are SO far apart that it makes it harder to think they are alike, even in looks.

At church on Sunday, someone told me that they remember when Zoelle wore the outfit that Meridian was wearing. So, I had to get a picture and show you so you can compare and decide for yourselves if they look alike.

Zoelle at 32 months.

Meridian at 33 months. Please excuse the black and blue/scratched up nose. She took a little tumble down a few stairs! :(

I see similarities and for sure you can tell they are sisters, but I don't think they look identical.

What do you think?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pink vs. Blue: A Look At How Society Shapes Gender Roles

As Xiomara approaches the age of two, I have been having more and more people ask me a question that rather disappoints me, and if I'm honest, angers me.

"Don't you want to try for another so you can have a little boy?"

I know mamas of all boys get this question in regards to trying for a girl, but I feel like the pressure to have a boy is a lot higher, especially in Christian circles. Somehow we have, as a society, elevated boys to a status that is higher than girls.

It's as if society is asking the question of, "Don't you want to carry on your family name through a son?" To which I reply, "Can my daughter not carry on that name? What if she doesn't ever marry? What if she decides to marry and keep her same last name? Does a last name really matter? Her name is still being carried on in society through her or her children whether or not she changes her last name!"

Thus I get a little angry when people ask me right in front of my girls if we will try for a boy. The girls may not understand fully now what it means, but it won't take long before my girls are getting the point: boys are more important than girls.

And when we as a society start valuing one sex as more important than the other, we have lost out on God's design for both boys and girls. Thus placing a cloak on young boys, who will one day grow up to be men who have been told their whole lives they are better and more important than women. Which in turn, starts the vicious cycle all over again.

Girls are told and taught from a young age that that their cuteness will get them what they want, and that they don't have to be as smart as boys because "that's just how it is, boys are naturally smarter than girls."  As they age, society and social media turns them into a sex symbol, one who is told that they are worthless outside of how they look and dress.

It has never become clearer to me how far society has come then when my friend Heidi shared this video on Facebook. It is almost 9 minutes long but it is worth every minute of watching. I urge you to watch it. For your daughter, your niece, your granddaughter, your friend, the neighbor girl next door. It is worth it. Please be aware that this video does feature graphic sexual pictures so it should not be watched around children.

Call me a feminist (and maybe I am a little), but I want my girls to have the same rights as others; male or female. I want them to have the freedom to be a doctor, a scientist, a mom, a missionary, a politician. I don't want society stopping them.

So please stop asking me or telling me to have a son. Rather uplift my girls now for who they are on the inside, so they can grow up to be the person God intended them to be.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Little Pim Bilingual Books Giveaway

Last week I shared with you how much Zoelle and Meridian have been enjoying their Little Pim Bilingual books. Today I'm happy to give you all an opportunity to win both the Little Pim Colors book and the Little Pim Feelings book.

I'm super excited that one of my readers gets the chance to win these incredible books that are Trilingual featuring English, Spanish, and French. We have loved using them as part of our homeschool curriculum but they also make a wonderful reading book that I would recommend to anyone.

Enter below in the easy Rafflecopter form. If you have any problems with it, please feel free to contact me!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This love is ours

This love of ours looks so different to many on the outside, but then again, maybe it isn't so strange to some.

Someone asks, "Who does the cooking?" and I normally respond with a sheepish, "He does, or we cook together." all while you respond about how much you enjoy cooking and that it isn't just for the wife to do.

Most of the time, every other week, you help me clean the house. Of course you have enlisted our oldest to help now, but still, scrubbing the toilets definitely is love.

Sometimes late at night, just so I don't have to get up in the morning to a mountain of laundry, you will sit with me at the kitchen table and fold clothes as we laugh and talk through a task that otherwise would be daunting.

We dance a dance of laughter, love, and yes, sometimes even tears.

There are words spewed back and forth in fits of selfishness. These are normally followed by the tender, whispered moments of, "I'm sorry."

This love of ours has no chains of submission because we look to the beginning and see where God has called us to submit to one another. It's not wife submitting to husband, or husband submitting to wife, but rather we serve God together as one equal unit.

You listen to my dreams and I try my hardest to help you fulfill yours. You put up with my maniac researching, talking, and ranting. You smile when you hear someone describe me as effervescent! I listen to the passion in your voice and the ideas that you have that I realize very few get to hear. I smile when I hear someone describe you as shy.

It's far from perfect, but somehow through it all we find ourselves back in each other's arms, clinging to the promise of tomorrow.

This love is ours babe...and I cherish each moment I have. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

On the Possibilty of Weaning {Gentle Thoughts Needed}

Despite the fact that I am a big supporter of extended breastfeeding and letting my girls decide when to wean. Despite the fact that I let Zoelle self wean at 2 years, 8 months, and 8 days. Despite the fact that I adore when one of my girlies falls asleep nursing. Despite that tandem nursing has allowed me to nurse our little Xio even though she didn't come from my belly.

Despite all that...

I. am. ready. to. be. done.

Or at least just down to one.

Honestly, I wish our little Mer would wean. The girl who I seriously wondered if she would make it to a year nursing, is still going strong morning, before nap, and at bedtime.

Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I hate it and just wish she would "forget" for one of the sessions. Instead, I feel like she is wanting to nurse even more often now. I'm considering something I never thought I would do.

Weaning her.

Or at least gently pushing her in that direction. But, I need tips!! I have no idea where to start or how to convince her to go that way. I remember feeling this way with Zoelle right around this time, but she stopped on her own.

I do want it to be gentle. If I thought she was too attached to it, I would not consider it. I feel like she is just doing it for something to do and not really to nurse or even really snuggle. It almost has become a game for her.

It just has become not fun, relaxing, or bonding for me with her. Quite honestly, sometimes I feel stressed at the thought of nursing her again. I really don't want to end on a bad note, but rather would love to remember those good nursing memories. Secretly, I also hope that weaning one girl will help me lose a bit of weight that I cannot seem to lose while nursing so much!

So go gentle on me here and offer me loving advice and tips please!! I do not take this decision lightly.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Little Pim Bilingual Books Review

When I started our homeschool year, I intended to do a bit more of a bilingual preschool. However, life has just sort of gotten in the way and I am not doing as much Spanish as I had hoped to be doing.

This is where I am thankful for Little Pim. Last year, we reviewed a Spanish DVD with the captivating bear named Pim and we fell in love. I even counted Little Pim as one of my top 10 items that I have reviewed.

Thus when Little Pim contacted me about the new books they had available, I jumped on the opportunity to add one more bilingual item to our homeschooling routine.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that both of the books we received, actually featured three languages: English, French, and Spanish.

Little Pim Colors provides children with a fun, exciting adventure in identifying the correct colors using flaps and tabs to engage the children in reading. I was so excited to hear Meridian trying to find the rojo balloon. I honestly had no idea she had picked up on any Spanish yet!

Little Pim Feelings captivated the girls with the various pictures of children and the expressions on their faces of how they feel. I loved the short phrases the pictures offered my girls, such as "She is shy".


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Buy It!

If you are looking for a way to incorporate another language into your child's reading, then I highly suggest you take a look at Little Pim and all they have to offer!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Monday, February 6, 2012

DIY Hair Accessory Holder {Guest Post by my Husband}

With having three precious little daughters with heads full of gorgeous hair comes an over-abundance of hair accessories!  My wonderful wife would find cute little hair clippies here or some neat headbands there.  Big, fluffy, flowers in all shapes and colors seemed to overflow at least one drawer of our girls’ dresser.  We had very quickly created a monster that was in dire need of organization!

Vanessa kept mentioning to me that we needed some other way to organize our many “hair things.”  She had seen other types of organizers online and wanted me to make her something that would be both visually appealing and, at the same time, very practical.  Everything I had seen thus far, I knew, would not work for the number of pieces we had so I had to think of something else.

As with many things I have done in the past, when faced with a particular problem or task, I just go to the store.  This is where my thinking happens and where my thought process shines (wink).  I can’t just sit down and draw out a plan.  I have to see what there is available and, with that, let the pieces fall into place in my brain. 

I had a general idea of what I wanted to do as far as size and colors go but wasn’t really sure how I was going to actually tie it together.  It all started with this frame I found at our local craft store.  It was a good size and a good price. (very important! ha!)  I decided to attach tiny little clothes pins and small wooden pegs to the frame around its perimeter in strategic locations so as not to cover up too much of the picture that was to be in the frame.  All of the wood pieces were stained dark mahogany to match our home’s doors and trim and then sprayed with satin polyurethane for a nice sheen. 

Most of the hair accessory holders that I had seen thus far had used some sort of ribbon or ribbons hanging down that were used to attach the various bows and such.  I knew I wanted to use this idea as well and set out to find the perfect ribbon.   Vanessa has always really liked hot pink and orange together so that was going to be my “theme” colors.  I found some ribbon that worked very well and stapled that to the back of the picture frame across the bottom and let the ribbons hang down about 15 inches.  

 I really wanted to personalize this project for my girls so I found wooden letters and purchased one that stands for the first letter in each of their names.  These letters I painted hot pink and glued to the frame as shown. 

Lastly, I found a photograph that features all three of my girls, all with different hair accessories and placed that in the frame.  The photo was made smaller than the frame so I could place an orange background behind the photo to continue with the hot pink and orange theme of the project.  This offset the pink of the letters on the frame.

So there you have it; a completed hair-thingy / accessory holder!  Once completed, we were happy to see it would hold nearly all of our accessories and make them much more accessible and visible when trying to match them to outfits.

Feel free to borrow the idea and make your own organized chaos.  It’s a fun project that the whole family can get in on and relatively inexpensive too!