Friday, December 30, 2011

How To Help Your Wife Get Through The First Trimester

As I sit here, I'm 10 weeks, 5 days pregnant, which means my first trimester is blessedly coming to a close. In case I haven't mentioned it before, I have the most awesome husband in the world. Since this is our third pregnancy, and we've been married for close to 8 years, we've learned to communicate well. But I know that many couples are going through pregnancy who might not have the best communication skills, and they don't have the years of marriage under their belt that we do. I remember what it was like during my first pregnancy, and so I wanted to write this article for all you husbands out there who desperately want to help your wife in her first trimester, but really have no idea what to do. Here's what you need to know:

#1: We're crabby. 
Do not take this personally. It's not that you're the problem, per se. It's just that you're the most likely one to get dumped on during this time. Is it an underlying resentment because you played your part in our situation, but you get none of the somewhat unpleasant physical side effects? Maybe. But more likely it's just horomones. So how should you handle your wife during this time?

BE A SAINT. Don't argue with us. Consider us "right" for the next 9 months, and your life will go much more smoothly. Oh, and don't constantly ask us what's wrong or ask us why we're mad. There's a fine line between irritating us and showing genuine concern.

#2: We're nauseated.
You know that feeling you have when you realize you're about to experience the stomach virus? You know how crappy you feel? You know how all you want to do is lie down and not be talked to or bothered until you're back to normal? Okay, that's the entire first trimester for some women. Add into the mix that we realize we're also supposed to be eating the healthiest, most nutritious food for our growing baby. Think about how guilty we feel downing that milkshake instead of an organic spinach salad with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette!

#3: We're worried about gaining weight
I'm convinced that every woman freaks out about weight gain. In pregnancy, you're actually doing the right thing by gaining weight. Even if your woman had no body image issues before, she probably does now. Here are things not to do:
  • Do not joke about her getting fat.
  • Do not say anything to the effect of "honey, you might want to stop gaining so fast."
  • Do not say anything to the effect of, "Wow! You're doing a great job putting on the pounds!"
  • Do not pretend you can't reach around her waist anymore. That's never funny.
  • Do not talk about women at work who are losing massive amounts of weight. 
  • Do not talk about other pregnant women who aren't gaining much weight at all. 
  • Do not talk about how she's going to lose the weight after she has the baby, unless she specifically brings this up, in which case you should listen to what she says, and then tell her the weight will come off after she has the baby and that you don't even care how much she gains. Go even further and tell her how proud you are of her, of how she's doing this awesome thing by carrying your child.
In fact, it's a good idea to basically not acknowledge that she's gaining any weight at all. You should know that the average weight gain for women is between 25 and 65 pounds. More than likely she'll go from worrying about not gaining enough to worrying about gaining way too much. Your job is to not make an issue out of it.

#3: We're exhausted.
Even though we haven't gained a lot of weight at this point, and our bellies aren't huge, we are exhausted. It's the hormones. Don't comment on this. Just accept that we're exhausted.

#4: We feel gross
So to recap: we feel tired, fat, pukey, and irritated. Overall, we just feel gross. We don't feel very feminine. Add to that the fact that our hormones are taking us for an emotional roller coaster ride, and you have a very delicate situation on your hands. As the husband, it's your duty to make us feel good about ourselves. Here are some things you can do to help:
  • Make her dinner (and breakfast, and lunch, if possible.) "Morning sickness" can stick with a woman all day long. Usually, a lack of eating makes it worse. The problem is that it also grosses us out to cook. So, take over the kitchen duties for now. Which leads us to...
  • Clean the kitchen and do the dishes. Your wife's nose is about a billion times more sensitive to smells. In fact, if you could also help out with the rest of the housework, you'll earn serious brownie points.
  • Encourage your wife. Say sweet things for no reason, even if she's being quite the hormonal nightmare.
  • Make sure she gets plenty of rest. This is especially true if you already have kids. Tell her you've got the kids while she takes a bath, or chills out by herself, or takes a walk. (Warning: don't suggest the walk, or she might think you're saying she's fat. I'm really not joking.)
  • Give her massages. (This is not just a first trimester thing.)
  • Realize that financial security is more important to her right now. Don't go around being irresponsible with your money. If you're not already, get on a budget and stick with it.
  • Don't talk about other women. Period. 
The good news is, the hardest part of pregnancy is the first trimester. Once your wife gets past the 12 week mark (give or take a week or two!), she'll feel more like a human being, and things will get easier.

All you ladies who have been or currently are pregnant: What are some things that you really appreciated when you were pregnant? Do you have any words of wisdom to share with any husbands who might be reading this?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Exciting Changes

This blog has been sorely neglected. Of course, the thing about this blog is that the outdated posts are really quite helpful, because Infant Potty Training Techniques don't really need to be updated. However, I do have some exciting news!

I am pregnant with baby number 3! My husband and I are extremely excited about this. Now that this blog is established, I plan on thoroughly documenting Infant Potty Training from start to finish. I plan on making some video tutorials, and providing week by week details of how fast this baby progresses.

In the meantime, I'll be writing some about pregnancy, parenting, and random IPT related things. More to come soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Infant Potty Training Is Fun

One of the huge bonuses you get from practicing Infant Potty Training is the fun you'll have with your baby! Infants are by and large exhausting little bundles of joy, but there's something that's just so entertaining about a baby who poops on the toilet.

The typical baby poops between 8 and 10 times a day. If parents do the traditional diaper thing, more than likely they will argue with each other about whose turn it is to change the poopy mess. The occasion is rarely, if ever, met with enthusiasm or joy.

Compare that to a baby who signals his need for the toilet, and then poops on the toilet. I tell ya, it is a JOYFUL experience, each and every time it happens. Even after all my experience, I am always amazed when it happens. There's just something so fun about seeing a baby who seems tiny and helpless in so many ways take control over his body.

Babies also make some hilarious faces and sounds when they're going poop. If your baby is in diapers and making these faces and noises, they might seem funny, but there's also a sense of dread at what lies ahead. However, when your baby is doing it on the toilet, it's just good clean fun. Well, kinda. :)

To me, it's also a lot of fun to save money. And if you do Infant Potty Training, you're going to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So, come on, try it! It is fun.

Friday, October 28, 2011

To Homeschool, Or Not To Homeschool, That Is The Question

These days many more people are considering homeschooling their children. The reasons they choose to home school are varied. As a mom of a five year old, this is something I debate in my head constantly. I do not want to harm my children. I only want the best for them. But yet I can see possible harm in either choice. So today I'll lay out what I see as the benefits and risks of both choices.  

Actual Education
The first thing I think we have to ask ourselves is "Why do we send our children to school?" The main answer, in my opinion is, "To give them an opportunity to acquire knowledge in a variety of subjects so that they can become successful in life." There are other answers, and we'll get to those in a moment.

So far, homeschooling has produced outstanding results, compared with public schooling. Homeschooled students score 30-37 percentile points above their public school peers on standardized tests. Furthermore, while a big minority gap exists in public school test scores, the gap is basically gone among homeschoolers. This idea that homeschooled kids do not get a good education simply is not backed up with any data. For example, homeschoolers average higher college GPAs than their public/private school counterparts, from the first semester all the way until graduation. Home schoolers are also more likely to graduate college than their traditionally educated classmates.

Many people will probably agree that homeschooling provides an obvious advantage on the education point, but where many have a problem is on the "social education" point. They would argue that home schooled children are too isolated. That they won't be able to function, socially speaking.

The idea is, kids need to be around other kids all the time in order to learn how to function in society. To keep them in the home all the time is to deprive them of social interaction, which is vitally important to a child's growth.  However, there are many flaws in this argument. Ask the vast majority of homeschoolers, and they'll tell you that they go on field trips, get to interact in the real world more often than those in traditional schools, and in general have an excellent social life.

Let's take this argument in a different direction. Which makes more sense? A child being directed in his everyday life and studies by his parents, or rather have him guided by children who are by and large immature? Teachers, for all the good they do, simply cannot substitute for parents. Furthermore, in what other situation in life (think job, church, other social gatherings) are you with a group of people who are exactly your age? You're not. Real life dictates that you constantly interact with people of varying age groups. As it turns out, homeschooled children actually are more active in their communities and a much larger percentage of them vote as well. (For statistics see this article)

This idea of sheltering goes hand in hand with the socialization argument. The argument is that if you home school your kid, you won't teach him opposing viewpoints. Some would accuse home schooling parents of giving their children a very one sided education.

First let me say, I believe the best thing you can do for any child is to give him all possible sides of the argument. But what's very interesting is that the same people who will accuse home school parents for teaching creationism, are not shouting from the rooftops that creationism needs to be taught in schools. In other words, public school instruction is, for the most part, extremely one sided, and those who agree with the one sidedness do not mind it being one sided. They only care if the one sidedness opposes their viewpoint. Science, as it is taught in schools today, has become much more like a dogmatic religion than it is actual science. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should watch Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled".

Again, while the danger does exist that a homeschooled child will not learn ever side to every argument, that doesn't disappear by putting him in a public school. In addition to that, parents can and do overprotect their kids, whether they put them in public, private, or home school.

So far, I've decided to homsechool my kids. In fact, I've already kind of started. Even though my son is only 5, he's able to read simple books, and he can do simple math. Not a bad start, I'd say.

If you have any comments or additional points to add which I didn't cover, please comment below!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How To Keep Your House Clean When You Have A New Baby

It's ironic. Even if you're not much of a neat freak before you have a baby, odds are you'll be much more paranoid about a dirty house when your little one arrives. The ironic part, of course, is that your life is much more hectic than it was pre-baby, and keeping your house clean is much harder. But there are some easy ways to get your house in order, and keep it that way.

A Load Of Laundry A Day
This is perhaps the hardest habit to get into. It's easy to let the laundry pile up and pile up until we are forced to tackle it, due to not having any clean underwear for the next day. A load of laundry a day is so simple to do, and when it is no longer an all-day neverending cycle of wash, dry, fold, and put away, you will stop procrastinating. And here's a bonus: you'll be so far ahead on laundry that you'll start looking around for things you haven't washed in a while (sheets, in my case), and you'll finally have the time to wash them.

Get Rid of Clutter
No matter how well you clean your house, or how often, if you have lots of clutter, your house is never going to feel clean. The less clutter you have, the easier it is to actually clean your house, and it also stays cleaner longer. It's a good idea to get rid of clutter with a new baby around, because if you're not organized, it's very easy to let your baby be around dangerous items (small or breakable things), without even realizing it. The best tip for decluttering? Ask yourself of each item in your house, "Do I LOVE this?" If you do, then keep it. If you don't, toss it. Don't let junk clutter up your life.

A Load of Dishes A Day
The average family has enough dishes to justify running the dishwasher at the end of each day. The key is to always unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning, load it throughout the day, and then start it after supper. If you do this, your kitchen will be a much cleaner place.

5, 10, or 15 Minute Increments, Working As Fast As Possible
Most people hate cleaning house. And so, they dawdle. They take all day to do a task that should take an hour. And then they hate it even more because it took up the whole day. To break yourself of this habit, give yourself a set amount of time to clean. Depending on how much you hate cleaning, you might try 5 minute sessions. During that session, work as fast as you possibly can. You will be shocked at how much you can get done, in a very short amount of time.

Follow The Ten Commandments
Zig Ziglar, in his book "Success For Dummies", provides some excellent tips on overall self-improvement and self-organization. If you have a chance, I'd highly recommend adding it to your personal library! Zig suggests that everyone in a household follow the Ten Commandments:
  1. If you open it, close it. 
  2. If you turn it on, turn it off. 
  3. If you unlock it, lock it up. 
  4. If you break it, admit it. 
  5. If you can’t fix it, call someone who can. 
  6. If you borrow it, return it. 
  7. If you value it, take care of it. 
  8. If you make a mess, clean it up. 
  9. If you move it, put it back.
  10. If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it. 
If you get into the habit of doing these things, your house will always be in relatively decent shape. Remember to nicely ask your spouse to get on board! If you would like to know even more about home organization and keeping your house clean, I highly recommend

Do you have house cleaning tips? Please share them below!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Five Ways To Save Lots of Money on Baby's First Year

Everyone always talks about how expensive it is to raise a baby, and with good reason. The estimated cost for baby's first year is around $10,000. For most people, that's a lot of money. Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to make having a baby a whole lot cheaper!

The biggest chunk of money is spent on daycare. A lot of moms had jobs before children, and assume they'll need to keep that job in order to keep the family afloat, financially. However, if you put pen to paper, you might realize that if you stay home with the baby, your family can make it on a single income. Conversely, you can look into finding a stay at home job. If you don't like those two options, you could find a job that offers flexible hours and work when your spouse is at home. If you keep an open mind, there's a good chance you won't need daycare.

Breastmilk is by far the best thing for your baby. Ironically, many moms don't even try it because they feel like they need to go back to their job after having the baby, which they might not even need to do if they would cut baby expenses to the bone. The problem is, formula is really expensive. Like, $100 or more a month expensive. I know it's challenging, especially if you're like me and you're not from a family of breastfeeders. Do your homework while you're pregnant, and be sure to talk to people who have successfully breastfed their children. Do not spend your time talking to people who didn't get the hang of breastfeeding. It will discourage you, and it might even keep you from trying. When you want to succeed at something, it's always best to surround yourself with successful people, and breastfeeding is no exception.

Infant Potty Training
Of course, you knew this one was coming. You can save thousands over the course of each child's life by practicing Infant Potty Training. Not only will you save a ton by not having to buy diapers constantly, but you'll also save time and gas money because "diaper runs" won't be necessary. This blog is a great place to start, and I'm always happy to answer any questions! Check out these books for even more information and perspectives: Infant Potty Training Books

Ditch the Baby Food
Yeah, you heard me. Baby food is a ripoff. Let's do some math. Say you buy a 4 oz jar of Gerber Carrots for $1.19 at Walgreens. That's 29 cents per ounce. That comes out to $4.64 per pound of carrots! That's ridiculous! What's worse is the stuff tastes like dirt. Lest we forget, Gerber hasn't always been around. So, what's an alternative approach? You could make your own. And that'd be great! Except, most moms really can't find the time to do that. What do I recommend? Simply let your baby eat the stuff you're eating. (Caution: You may start eating healthier when you realize that your baby is going to eat what you're eating!) Of course, use common sense. I let my babies eat grown up food cut up into small bites and now as a 5 year old and a 2 year old, I have the best eaters around! They'll eat all the different fruits and veggies and meats. They're by no means picky!

Go Sale-ing (Yard Saleing, that is)
The last real expense is all the clothes and baby paraphernalia. Yard sales and kids consignment sales are your best friend. You'll be shocked at just how much you can find, at extremely low prices. Heck, a lot of the stuff is hardly even used! Join Yahoo groups like Freecycle, where people routinely give away big bags of baby clothes. It's very easy to keep your baby clothed that first year. Bonus tip: don't buy many (if any) 0-3 sizes. It's better just to get 3-6 months and let it be a little bit big on your baby.

There are some things that you'll want to buy new. Remember that you'll receive gifts at the baby shower and from friends and family. Create a registry and put that in your invitations. People are more than happy to buy what's on the list! Be wise about what you put on there. The most expensive items are the carseat/stroller combo, a crib or Co-Sleeper, and a baby swing. Put these on your registry. Many times a few people will go in together on an item, so don't be afraid of asking for something with a high price tag.

When you do buy new clothes, try to get the most bang for your buck. Don't get designer clothes that are going to get spit up on them immediately. Go for bulk packs of shirts or onesies. Your baby will still be just as cute!

So there you have it! Five excellent ways to save money on your baby's first year (and beyond!) If you have any baby related money saving tips, please share them in the comments section!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Diaper Graduation During Infant Potty Training

One important thing to remember when you're practicing Infant Potty Training is that to get to "graduation day" in the shortest amount of time, you're going to have to get out of that comfort zone.

When you start IPT, you'll definitely be stepping out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, infant potty training isn't the norm (yet!), and it takes some courage to step out and do something different. The key is to keep advancing toward your goal, which is having a baby who uses the potty consistently with very few to no misses. (Do not misunderstand, this is not demanding perfection from your child when she's 2 days old! It's a process!)

The biggest challenge for you, more than likely, will be diaper graduation. Each time you step down, from disposable to cloth, from cloth to training pants, or from training pants to regular underwear, you're going to face the being out of your comfort zone. There are two possible scenarios:

A) You stay in your comfort zone, with your baby in disposable diapers until "he's ready" to move into cloth. He keeps having a few misses, and you keep putting it off. Eventually you get really frustrated because he's not making any progress toward the goal of being completely potty trained.

B) You step out of your comfort zone. Your baby has a few misses every now and again, but you take off the disposable diapers anyway and put him in cloth diapers. Suddenly, you don't have nearly as many misses! You get a little more confident and think to yourself, if he improved that much by moving to cloth, then let's try cloth trainers! And then let's try regular undies! He's trained! Whooo hooo!

The worst thing you can do, however, is go from Disposable diapers and then "graduate" into Disposable Pull Ups and then wonder why your child isn't progressing. Both products do their job really well: they keep your baby feeling nice and dry. On the other hand, graduating him down into cloth trainers or undies makes him very aware of miss. Granted, cleaning up misses are not fun, but if your kid is going to learn how and why we use a toilet, he's going to need this awareness. Luckily, most kids are quick learners, and it only takes a few misses before they get it.

Here is a quick guide of my suggested timeline for diaper graduation:

Birth-1-2 weeks old: Disposables (Mainly until Mommy is feeling recovered)

2 weeks - 2 or 3 months old: Cloth diapers

3 months - 6 months: Cloth trainers

6+ months: Regular undies

Of course, you can tailor this time line to suit your needs/comfort level. You can even graduate down into undies more quickly, if you want.

Some people have asked me where I find undies that tiny! Well, sometimes you can find training pants size 18 months at Wal-Mart. A quicker, easier option is to simply buy them from Amazon using this link:

Don't worry. Size 18 month trainers actually fit a much smaller baby (around a few months old, in my kids' cases. And you can move on up to size 2T in regular undies way before their second birthday.

Remember: if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Wimps? Part 2

In my last post, I went on a bit of a rant about how we are not helping kids when we reward mediocrity and punish success. And wouldn't you know it, I saw this story yesterday that is a shining example of just how screwed up we are in America (and especially in the public school system). Here's the video:

Boy Banned From Scoring Touchdowns

So, what is the school teaching the kids by enacting this rule? One, it teaches the kids who aren't as good as Demias that in life, instead of practicing and getting better, the government should punish the ones who are excelling so that we "level the playing field." This rule punishes excellence and rewards mediocrity.

And what does it say to Demias? It says, hey kid, you're doing too good. You shouldn't succeed so much. For a lot of kids, this would be a big de-motivator. In an effort to get more playing time (which is why kids play sports to begin with), many kids would get the message and lower themselves to mediocrity to please the powers that be. Luckily, Demias isn't listening. He knows that next year he can score as much as he wants, which will probably be a lot.

Sports teach kids a lot about life, and a lot about our wonderful free market system. It says (when it's not tampered with by bureaucrats) "practice hard, play well, and your efforts will be rewarded", and "don't put any effort in, don't try hard, and you will lose, and losing stinks." But instead, when the government run schools get involved, we see that the message is now, "Everyone be mediocre, that way no one's feelings get hurt." What a horrible message to send to this generation of kids.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are We Raising Our Kids To Be Wimps?

The other day I was listening to the local Christian radio station, which I normally really enjoy listening to. However, on this particular morning they brought up a bone of contention with me. They started talking about how a coach was being mean if he didn't give much playing time to kids who weren't very good.

The reason this irks me to such a great extent is that it's indicative of the problems that are permeating our culture. We are terrified to take any risk, and don't want anyone to ever have their feelings hurt. Every kid gets a trophy, every kid gets promoted to the next grade, every kid is a "terrific kid". We do this all in the name of building self-esteem, but are we really doing the opposite? Are we hurting our kids?

What happens if you tell your kid they're the best singer ever when they really can't carry a tune in a bucket? They go on American Idol auditions and get mocked by the whole country. What happens when we pass a kid all the way up through school with social promotion, and then the kid can't even read when he graduates high school?

On the flip side, what message are we sending to those kids who are excelling? When your efforts to be the best player on the field earn you just as much playing time as the kid who is only there because his parents are making him, who doesn't even try that hard, what message is it sending? It's telling the kid, "It really doesn't matter if you try hard or not, because your efforts aren't going to be rewarded."

I played sports as a kid, and I'll tell you right now, I've been on both sides. I was a pretty solid softball player, and it was rare that I was sitting on the bench. But, I was only a mediocre basketball player. In middle school, I rode the pine a good bit. You know what it taught me? It taught me that I needed to work hard if I wanted more playing time. I was a better player by the end of the season, because I had a coach who realized that the incentive to work hard is to only give the good players a lot of playing time.

I am not saying we shouldn't encourage kids! Heaven forbid that. An encouraging teacher, who believes in her students, even if the students aren't doing well yet, is a gift to a child. Encouragement does not mean giving everyone an A and hoping it will make them into a good student. It's about giving them the F when they deserve it, but encouraging them to do better next time.

When these kids get to the real world, they're going to expect unearned promotions, and a secure job no matter how little effort they put forth. On the other hand, if we continue to not recognize the achievers, I'm afraid they'll simply become mediocre. We already are seeing this attitude emerge as we hear our politicians demonizing those who are successful in life (the rich), and praising those who aren't being productive.

What do you think?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dr. Manny Is Wrong

A week or so ago, on Fox News I saw a news story about a breastfeeding doll. Apparently there's a kerfuffle because this doll comes with an apron that the girl wears. There's a magnet or some sensor in the apron in the general vicinity of where breastfeeding happens, and that activates the doll's sucking reflex. Dr. Manny was claiming this was horrible, because it was "blurring the line between womanhood and childhood." A mommy blogger was also on there, and she told Dr. Manny that if he couldn't see breasts as anything but sexual, then that spoke more about him than it made any points for his case.

Now, I think the problem is, there are a lot of people in this nation who weren't breastfed. I wasn't. I was kinda creeped out by the whole thought of it until my sister-in-law talked about breastfeeding with me, and I was able to ask questions. Eventually I breastfed my babies, and then I really started to understand what it is all about.

Now, back to Dr. Manny's issue. His belief is that by giving a girl this doll, the girl would be confused as to whether she was a woman or a child. Presumably, he has no qualms with giving a girl a doll with a baby bottle, and feeding it with the bottle. And yet, that's exactly what this breastfeeding doll does. It gives a girl an opportunity to pretend she's a breastfeeding mommy.

NEWSFLASH Dr. Manny: babies who breastfeed turn into toddlers who pretend they are breastfeeding! Both my kids, a boy and a girl, by the way, pretended with stuffed animals that they were breastfeeding. They'd raise up their shirt, and put the stuffed animal there. It was no big deal, and in fact, it was pretty darn cute!

I think this simply speaks to the larger issue that there are a lot of "child experts" (psychologists, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, etc) who simply don't understand breastfeeding at all. This is especially harmful because they'll go spout off about these things that they don't understand, and discourage women from breastfeeding in the first place.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5 Great Gift Ideas For Your Pregnant Wife

Pregnancy is a wonderful time for a married couple. Sure, there are the mood swings, uncontrollable horomones, and sometimes downright crankiness, but there are things a good husband can do for his wife. He might not be able to take his woman's place although he claims he would, but there are 5 great gifts that can help a woman get through the next nine months before the joyous arrival.

1. Sea Bands. I cannot say enough good things about this product. Morning sickness is, in a word, horrible. Sea-Bands help eliminate the ever present feeling of nausea that can make the first trimester miserable.

2. Pregnancy books: After a few weeks, it's time to start the required reading for pregnancy. My favorites were What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition, She's Having a Baby - and I'm Having a Breakdown, and
Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth.

3. After a couple of months, the novelty of pregnancy wears off somewhat. Then the best gifts are the ones that can actually get her mind off of pregnancy, childbirth, all that could possibly go wrong, and of course, all those other things that go running through her head. On top of all that she's exhausted from those pregnancy hormones. All she feels like doing, more than likely, is lying on the couch. If she's a reader, why not get her Kindle like the one below?

This can help make room for baby by storing over 3,500 books in this portable, 7.5"x4.8" device.

4. By the time she's well into the second trimester, she's bound to start getting backaches, pains, and just general discomfort. One of the best ways to relax her is by heat therapy. Enter the bed buddy:

I can say from experience that the Bed Buddy can make those aches and pains go away, and a husband that will go toss the Bed Buddy in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds will score some major brownie points with his wife! You can even toss it in the freezer to use it as a cold pack! It's a multitasker!

5. The homestretch is the last 3 weeks before delivery. A woman at this stage usually feels like a beached whale. She only wants to keep her mind busy so that she won't feel like these last couple weeks are excruciatingly slow. But she's so tired at this point that she can't really focus on books. This is the point when she wants mindless entertainment. What she wants is an iPhone. I mean really, these things are incredible. There are tons of free games (mindless entertainment) and she can also facebook about pregnancy from the comfort of her bed, couch, or wherever else she happens to flop down. As a bonus, she'll keep this addictive phone with her at all times, so she can call her husband when she thinks she's going into labor (and then again when she's actually going into labor!) She'll also get plenty of use out of it after the baby is born, since she can take pictures of the bundle of joy and post it on facebook with the same handy gadget. This is a good thing for new mothers with "mommy brain." She'll be lucky if she can remember whether or not she had breakfast that morning; remembering to upload photos from her digital camera will be way down there on the list, right after, "remember to find digital camera and take pictures of new baby."

So there you have it: 5 great gifts for your pregnant wife. If you have any others to add, please comment below!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Infant Potty Training At Age 2

Infant potty training is such a neat adventure. But when you're first starting out, you might wonder just how good your kid will be at going to the potty by a certain age. Well, my daughter just turned two years old. She can now tell me clearly when she needs to go potty. She can also undress, climb up onto the toilet, and go all by herself. The only thing she really still needs help with is the wiping part.

The only time we have any type of "regression" is when she starts teething. During the teething time, you can expect to have a few accidents. That's life. Don't panic and think that Infant Potty Training was a bad idea, or that the regression is permanent. Usually it lasts a day or two and then you're right back on track. I promise.

The Fisher-Price Potty On-the-Go comes in so so handy right now at this age. We've been working on our new farm a lot lately, and it's so convenient to have a portable bathroom available for the kids to use. Our girl also enjoys using her Little Potty. It's so easy for her to use, and it comes in quite handy when other people are using the toilets in the house. She also loves her Sesame Street padded toilet seat insert. You can tell she's so proud of herself when she climbs up on the toilet without any assistance.

At this point, I'd say my girl is a graduate of Infant Potty Training. She was very close at 18 months, and even before that, at a year accidents were rare. But now that she's so independent, I think she's trained.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why I Don't Celebrate Easter

It has come time again for Easter. It causes a lot of confusion for believers and non-believers alike, because they wonder how bunnies and eggs have anything to do with Christ’s crucifixion. And they should be confused too, because they are totally unrel...ated. Easter comes from the pagan worship of Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth, and even Venus. These are different names for basically the same pagan goddess down through history. She was a goddess of fertility. Worship of Ishtar, where we get the word Easter, involved fertility rites, what we could safely call orgies. The history is easy enough to find in books or on the Internet, but really I’d like to look at the Bible and see what it says. 

Jeremiah 7:17-20, “Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, Mine anger and My fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.” What’s interesting about these verses is the phrase “queen of heaven”. According to Gesenius’s Lexicon, the term “queen of heaven” refers to Astarte. So, if you reread those verses with that knowledge, things hit a little closer to home. 

Most churches hold their own Easter egg hunts, which in my opinion, is like bringing idolatry (in this case, worship of Astarte) into the house of God. What about sunrise service? Ishtar was also honored by “dawn rites”, meaning people would worship the sunrise on her holiday. Again, what does the Bible say? Ezekiel 8:14-18, “Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. (Tammuz was an idol of vegetable and animal life) Then said He unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.” And He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then He said unto me, “Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose (The original texts read “My nostrils” but it was changed by the Sopherim because they thought it was too anthropomorphic). Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.” What is the "branch"? The word in Hebrew is Asherah and it was an idol connected with Ashtoreth aka Astarte. It was shaped like a phallus. If you reread the verse realizing what the branch was shaped like, it gives a whole new meaning to why God is upset. Again, all this goes back to the worship of the fertility goddess Astarte. And yet, we have let these traditions slip into the Church.

So many times the traditions of men go against the Word of God (Col. 2:8, Mark 7:8, Matthew 15:6). Well if we shouldn’t celebrate Easter, what is Acts 12:4 all about? The word rendered “Easter” is actually “pascha” which is the Greek word for Passover. 

Passover is celebrated on the 15th day after the vernal equinox. (Conversely, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox…a whole other study could be done on how Biblically, things to do with the moon are related to Satan.) Nisan, the Hebrew month started on the vernal equinox. Christ was crucified on the 14th day of Nisan, the “preparation day” or the day before Passover. This corresponds to Exodus 12 in which the Passover lamb was slain the evening before the Death angel “passed over” the Hebrew families who had the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts. Of course, Christ became our Passover, meaning that His blood protects us from death, that through Him we have eternal life. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” So, instead of teaching our children to look forward to the Easter bunny coming, shouldn’t we instead be teaching them about Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins, who defeated death, who gives us eternal life IF we believe upon him? I know it gets tricky, even if you know all these things regarding the pagan aspects of Easter, because many families get together for a big meal and have an egg hunt afterwards. I believe each person has to decide for themselves how to handle these situations. After all, if your children are taught correctly about the crucifixion and resurrection, and if they are taught that the Easter celebrations having to do with eggs and bunnies have nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity, then perhaps you could be confident to let them participate in these traditions. Each person has to make up their own mind. 

Personally, I don’t celebrate it, and I won’t do the whole Easter bunny thing with my children, but to each his own. I’ll close with this verse: II Corinthians 6:16-18, “And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? for ye are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Wherefore “come out from among them, and be ye separate”, saith the LORD, “and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters,” saith the LORD Almighty.”