Posted by: thebyrds | June 6, 2011

Baby in a Stroller

It was a Saturday morning and I was on my way to the grocery store with my three young children. We were all content sitting in our air conditioned car while it was nearing 90 degrees outside in the hot June sun, and our bellies were full with the big breakfast I had prepared earlier. No one was crying, and I was very happy with the fact that I left my husband at home so he could get some sorely needed sleep. Bonus wife points: me.
Anyhow, I was driving over an overpass when ahead of me I saw a woman walking quickly towards my vehicle on the opposite side of the road pushing a baby stroller with a little girl in it no older than 7 months. I was shocked and scared for her at the same time. Surely her car had broken down and she was trying to get some help, I thought. For a quick instant the idea came to me that I should try to give her a ride. That was immediately dismissed by the usual feeling of protection for my children. After all it was just me and them, and I never pick anybody up from the side of the road, NEVER. As I passed by her I started to pray for her. Right in the middle of my prayer I stopped. The feeling for me to turn around and try to help her was so strong, I felt nauseous. I absolutely could not do anything but turn around and help her. The mere thought of disobeying this request made me so overwhelmed with physical chest pain, that I knew God was more than speaking to me, he was outright telling me, Help her.
I had to drive about a quarter of a mile just to turn around to get back to where I originally saw her, but eventually I saw her walking down the side of the road as she was before, baby in tow, at a brisk pace. I slowed down, unrolling my passenger side window.
“Excuse me, I saw you walking over the over pass back there and I wanted to know if you need some help? ” I asked.
“I know” she said, “I was so scared back there.”
I could see that she was exhausted.
“I live in this hotel right here, and I just want to get my baby inside to cool off.”
Pray with her, the voice was unmistakeable, I knew it was the Holy Spirit.
But before I could ask she started in on what was going on. “Things are just so hard right now,” she said.
Tears started coming from her eyes, past the large sunglasses and down her cheeks. She kept wiping then but they were replaced by new ones. I could see that she had no front teeth, and her mannerisms were a person who had been worn out, tired, and at a point of emptiness. She needed to be refilled.
As she continued on, I sat listened, and nodded an understanding head. I wasn’t just there to do my duty. She was not a notch in my “Christian belt” so I could say I prayed for one more person today. At that moment, I was her sister, her friend. I wanted to be there for her, and her pain was mine. After a few minutes of her speaking she fell silent.
“Can I pray with you?”  I asked.
“Sure.” she said.
I stretched out my hand because she was standing behind the stroller about 10 feet away. She let go of the stroller nervously at first since she did not want to leave her baby, but came right up to the window. I started to pray whatever, I felt that the Holy Spirit told me to. After it was done, I gave her hand an encouraging squeeze, spoke to her a little longer, and then watched her walk away pushing the baby stroller towards the hotel that was only a few yards away. I turned the car back around and headed to the store.
The thought then came to me to buy her diapers and baby food for her little child.
I can’t do that. Money is so tight right now, I can’t afford it. My husband is going to kill me.
As I drove a little longer, the argument came back in my head: You have a house and food on the table. I knew that meant that I had more than that woman had, and I could most certainly share with her.
I bought the same food that I would buy my own child, organic baby food, thick wipes, and brand name diapers. If I could buy my own child these things, she could have them too.
I drove back home, and I felt truly ridiculous. What if she wasn’t there? Should I really be doing this?
I prayed, “God if this isn’t your Will then let me not find her.”
As the car approached the turn for the hotel entrance I started to get dizzy. I mean, I am getting sick to my stomach, and I haven’t eaten like I should in four hours dizzy. Excuses started running though my mind in why I shouldn’t do this. The kids and I were hungry, we were tired, etc. However, despite the hunger pangs, I pushed through it and decided that no matter how I felt, I would press through and get this task done.
Driving through the hotel was an experience. There were potholes everywhere, the rooms were mostly empty with curtains half hung on their curtain rods to reveal, mattresses pile up inside each room. I knew that it was not a place I wanted to live in.
I asked a few people I could see taking out their trash and bringing in their groceries but nobody knew who she was. Disappointed, I drove back through the parking lot and past the office of the hotel.
I could go in and ask for her, I thought.
But dragging three young children in a seedy hotel was not the picture of safety. I had to bring my husband.
He’s gonna love this, I thought sarcastically.
When I got home, I told him what had happened and that we needed to back to the hotel.
“What are you getting me into?” he said with a twinkle in his eyes. It seems that whenever I follow God with what He wants me to do, my husband gets pulled into it.
We ended up driving back about an hour later, driving through the hotel parking lot, and did not see her. My husband knew he had to go into the office.
I stayed in the car with the kids.
There was one person who was already at the counter, so my husband had to wait his turn. I could see him through the window pacing and looking around. I was almost afraid he was going to get irritated and come out, but he stayed, and waited his turn. Thank goodness he had to wait, because another gentleman came in a few minutes after my husband and ended up helping us out. After my husband explained to the person in the office the situation, both the office person and then gentleman that walked in after my husband figured out who it was. While my husband was telling the story, a woman drove up with another woman in the passenger seat. The passenger got out walked in the office and dropped something off.
Must be one of the cleaning ladies, I thought.
She came out a few minutes later, looked at me, and smiled. She got in the car and spoke to the other woman quickly, and then they both looked at me. At that moment they both smiled, wide beautiful smiles. They were spanish, and were not born of this country, but I could see that they both understood that I was doing something good. Something that they don’t get to see every day in that neighborhood. It touched their lives even though the physical gift was not for them.
The office rang the room and her husband picked up the phone. He told the office person to leave the stuff at the front and they would pick it up later.
“I tried to get them to come up,” said the office worker behind a bullet proof glass window.
“That’s okay, that is not what we are here for,” said my husband.
It was no strings attached type of giving. Out of Love expecting nothing in return.
My husband got in the car after it was all done, and smiled. I never expected to see her again, but am so thankful to have met her.

Posted by: thebyrds | June 1, 2011

Babies (The Documentary)

I recently watched the documentary, Babies directed by Thomas Balmes. It basically is about four babies and how they grow up from birth to one year old . Each child is from a vastly different area: Ponijao is from Namibia, Bayarjargal is from Mongolia, Mari is from Tokyo and Hattie is from San Francisco. I was perusing movies on itunes, and came across the advertisement. Being a mother of three, and an avid lover of the cuteness of babies, I thought, what could be more interesting? I wasn’t disappointed. There were a couple of scenes from the San Fransisco couple that left me thinking, “Really? Is this who they could find to represent an American baby being raised?” I was a little embarrassed by the mother of the child’s um ahem…freedom. Here is an example:

The scene cuts to a picturesque scene of San Fransisco. A mother is holding her baby in a hot tub on a sunny day. They were on a rooftop, and you could see the tops of a couple of buildings a few stories tall, and then the street and city behind that as the street took a gentle slope downwards. The baby was a little fussy and the mother was trying to calm her by putting on the bubbles. All of the sudden the mother decides to get out. Before I knew it, I realized she was completely naked in the hot tub. Is it too much to ask to put a swim suit on? Now I am an avid supporter of breastfeeding, so the other shots of women breastfeeding their children do not bother me, in fact I think it is an awesome thing. But naked in a hot tub with your child? That seemed a bit sketchy to me.

The other scene that made me laugh out loud was the same couple from San Fransisco, but this time the father had taken their baby to some sort of baby music class. They were singing about how the earth is our mother (hand motions and everything). I have participated in many children’s music classes with my children (hand motions and everything) but something about the lyrics of this particular song was awful to me. Apparently the little girl who we as the audience, were following thought so too. She got up from her daddy’s lap and walked promptly to the door trying to get out. Probably one of the funniest moments in the entire film.

All in all the film was great. I let my children watch it too, (explaining why certain kids did not have clothes like we do, and why Ponijao was eating dirt, and that we shouldn’t try to do that). It was a great look at how different cultures raise their babies, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favorite baby featured? Ponijao, and her family were great. Loved the way they all pitched in to help raise a child. This film is for parents or people who really really really enjoy children. Rent it on itunes, you won’t be disappointed.

Posted by: thebyrds | May 24, 2011

Top Baby Things I Like Part 1

I am a mother of three children who are 5 years old and under. Due to this fact, I would say I have some experience with all things accessory to baby. Here are my top  things that I have really found useful and tested thoroughly that I have finally decided to write on the blog to help other mothers (or people buying baby shower gifts) with their research on thing to buy for baby from birth to about 6 months.

1. Sleepy Wrap
This thing is awesome. It is a long piece of fabric that wraps around you and turns out to be a carrier for your baby. When you first unravel it, it looks a bit daunting. However if you watch the how-to video on their website BEFORE you get the package, you will be prepared for the 50 5 yards of fabric that has been shipped to you. I have had other baby carriers but this is the only one that does not hurt my back after carrying my child around, and when my baby falls asleep in it I can secure her head with some of the fabric so her head doesn’t wobble all over the place while stooping down to tie one of the other children’s shoe, pick up food they have dropped, etc. If you are going on your second or more child, this is for you.

2. Fisher Price Deluxe Jumperoo
I have had this for five years and it is still kicking! The kids love it from about 4 months old on, and the older ones like to jump right along with them. I have had more laughter watching our children jump like crazy in this thing then I have had with any other toy. My middle child used to fall asleep in this because of wearing himself out. Even though it seems bulky to store, it does fold slightly from the bars that meet at the center. Since this toy will only be used until baby is 9 months it is okay if we leave it out until then. It is an easy place to put the baby when you have to do something with baby free hands, and it helps the younger baby that can’t stand or walk feel like they are part of the older sibling crowd. My youngest will sit in her jumperoo and scream and laugh while the older ones are running from the tickle monster (aka daddy).

3. Evenflo Smart Step Exersaucer
This is also one of the most used items in our house. This thing has been used for two children and it is still in great condition. Everything comes apart so I can wash it, and there is so much to do on it, I can constantly switch the toys around to keep them busy. I used to put a rolled up blanket/towel around the empty space in the seat so my child wouldn’t wobble all over the place when she was in her younger months. Three to four months old was when they all started to play on it. (Depends on how your hold can hold their heads, etc.) Note: spit up does find it’s way in the crevices of where the seat meets the actual toy ledge so cleaning that up is necessary or else you will have to clean up a crust of stuff when you remove the seat for washing. Yeah it’s yucky but that’s the truth. Um, did I just say yucky?

Baby number three is crying, so I will continue this later.

Posted by: thebyrds | June 4, 2010

Top ten things people do in church

The church I go to is huge, think auditorium style seating, so many many people attend our church any given Sunday. I am a back-seater in the church seating arrangement and because of this I see all walks of life take their seats, settle in and listen to the message (or pretend to). I like to take it all in, from my nice seat in the back row, and just relax. Due to this fact, I see a lot of people doing other things than listening to the pastor’s message.  Now I am not trying to call anyone specific out, but Hey, I’ve got the good vantage point so I see all as they say. Well, I see close to all.

Here are the top ten things I have found for instance that you can do in church.

10. Get caught up on your beauty regimen.
Yes that is right folks, I have seen people file their nails, put make up on (Mostly lip gloss), and brush their hair. Occasionally I have seen nail polish come out, but that has been in the youth services.

9. Get a nice Back rub by your spouse.
Now I am not going to lie, this one kind of wierds me out. Why oh why do you rub your spouses, shoulders, neck, arm, or anything else in church while there are a thousand people around you trying to concentrate on the message? Can’t you wait until you are in the car? I am concentrating on Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the next thing you know I look over and James is giving a massage to his wife Jane, and now all I am thinking about is a Swedish hot rock treatment.

8. Text.
If I had a dime for every text sent during the church message I would seriously be a very rich woman, and have someone else type these blogs while I dictate. Yeah, I’d be THAT stinkin’ rich.

7. Comment on the message that Pastor is talking about.
I admit, I am super-guilty of this. However, I see many other people, lean over while our pastor is making a good point and add to the message. Almost like giving a play by play or having your own personal cliff notes. It doesn’t matter that the poor person next to you, (Sorry my wonderful husband!) has to deal with us giving an additional sermon over the top of what is already being spoken in church.

6. Sleep.
Many many many people have slept in church. There are three levels of sleepers in my opinion.
The Light Sleeper: a person who if there is an amen or a slight agreement in the crowd, the person’s eyes flutter open as if nothing was going on. Their head is usually kept in the upright position, the only thing that is different is that their eyes are closed. Pretty tricky.
The Moderate Sleeper: This person nods off deeply, however, an appropriate applause will rouse them. Look for the head leaning slightly to the right or left and hang there for awhile.
The Sleep So Deeply, Either They are a New Parent, or Up All Night Working: Even if Jesus came back that very moment this person would not wake up. Although very rare, I have seen this form of sleeper. It is especially fun if you let them sleep while everyone files out of church at the end of service.

5. Read anything other than what pertains to the message.
The inserts provided on the seats, mail in your purse, surf the web on your iphone, and seriously, I think I saw one of those ebook readers. One person does get bonus points however, they were reading their bible, but might have been catching up on their daily devotion reading that our church is doing.

4. Watch the Ushers walk around doing their official business.
Our Ushers at our church are uber-cool. Why, you ask? Well they have these ear pieces that make them look like secret service men, and they always have a look of official business about them. Every now and then you can hear a tiny voice from the other end of those earpiece thingys, which make you feel like you are in a movie where Harrison Ford is bound to play The President of the United States. So when more than one usher congregates together, me, along with half the congregation seated next to them look over in interest to see what is going on. Forget it if there are three of them talking together, our pastor might as well push the pause button on the message.

3. Doodle on the Given Notes Sheet
We have many artists in our midst. Many. Even though they try to be good and are attempting to take notes about the message, somehow the name Mary becomes a flower, or a building or even a cloud if you feel whimsical that day.

2. Go to the bathroom 20 times
Unless you are pregnant, sick with a stomach virus, or in the 70+ range, the restroom is only necessary once. Seriously. On a Side note, if you are sick with a stomach virus, why are you attending church? We have a church online option, which I am pretty sure cancels out the chance of anyone catching what you’ve got.

1. Watch the Boom Camera Operate up and down
If you are a newbie at church you don’t realize that the camera on a boom operates right over the heads of the people sitting in the back left. It is especially fun to watch those people actively listening to the message, really interested in what Pastor is saying when a 1,000 pound camera dangles just feet over their head. Bonus points if you catch them look up casually, and jolt in fright when they realize this fact. Uber points if a slight shock emits from their lips.

Posted by: thebyrds | May 13, 2010

Shine Bracelet

I have a bracelet I bought from an annual Christian Women’s conference called Shine. It is a silver charm bracelet with a star at the clasp with the word “Shine” engraved in pretty cursive. Each year as I attend Shine, I buy a charm for it. The charm changes from year to year, representing what the conference means as a whole that year.

This bracelet is one of my dearest possessions. Sure, it is just metal fashioned in one form or the other, and if I lost it, I could probably find most of the exact charms either at the church or online somewhere. However it is not the bracelet itself that makes it so special. It is the meaning and the memories associated with the bracelet.

The bracelet as a whole means freedom for me. Freedom to be who God created me to be. Freedom to be a woman, freedom to be passionate, freedom to cry, and freedom to worship. Without those things, I am not me. These conferences over the last four years for myself has helped open up the vision of what a woman really is. Embracing not only her own life, but those around her. How pleased God must be when He sees a woman truly grasp the purpose for which He created her for. I bet His Smile is so Big that the universe can hardly contain it.

For me, each charm holds a memory of the year’s experiences. Some of family relationship healing, some of getting to serve God in simple and encouraging ways, and some very important encounters with God. I have gotten to choreograph and dance at many of these conferences and each year God shows me a new facet of why he has me serve in the capacity that I do. I have seen through dance practices, and prayer, dancers give their lives to Christ, getting free from things that have had a grip on them, and relationships form that are God-breathed.  People would come to dance for just another performance, to experiencing Christ in a real way, that is not hokey or fake.

So when I wear this bracelet, or even look down and see each charm dangling from my wrist, I see moments of laughter and joy along with prayer and weeping during dance rehearsals for the event, I see my mother’s face smiling up at heaven with tears streaming down her face experiencing the Love of Jesus for the first time in a real way, I see women dancing on the After-Party dance floor having the time of their lives enjoying each others’ company in a non-threatening way, and most importantly I see the chances God has given me to dance for Him, to serve Him, and to grow me to be the woman and daughter He has chosen me to be.

Posted by: thebyrds | December 31, 2009

My Christmas Present

This year I had made a certain number of diaper cakes to give away this Christmas Season. When I give diaper cakes away, I pray about where they should go, and then wait expectantly for an answer.  I had the cakes ready to go in November, and the first week of December I started doling them out.
I regards to one particular diaper cake, God showed me precisely where it should go. On a weekday morning, in the light rain, I packed the diaper cake into the car along with the kids and drove down the street a little ways to what I thought was a pregnancy crisis center. I had driven by this place many times, and thought I remembered seeing that it was a Christian center for unwed mothers. However when I pulled into the driveway, I saw that it was a very small church. Actually it was smaller than any place of business I had seen before. I would say the size of the building was as big as the car wash part to the gas stations that offered a free car wash with the purchase of gas. Yeah, it was that small.
I figured I had gotten the wrong place so I pulled back out of the postage stamp, uh I mean parking lot, and went on further down the street looking for a pregnancy crisis center. I did not find one. So I made a u-turn at a light about a mile away from the original place I was looking at.
“Let me just go take one more look” I said to myself. I did not know exactly what I was going to be looking for, but perhaps I had overlooked something.
As I pulled into the parking lot again, I noticed that there was only one car in the small lot, which was a church van, obviously used to transport the church members from their homes to service. The parking lot was a narrow one, stretching from the front of the tiny building all the way to the back, allowing cars to turn around only in the rear of the lot. My car crept to the back of the building, turned around and went to the front of the building with me turning my head this way and that trying to see if anyone was around. There were no windows on the side or back of the building, so I looked in the windows when I got to the front of the building to see if anyone actually was in there. I stopped the car, and peeked in. All the lights were turned off except for a little Christmas tree lit in the front entry way.
I second guessed myself. I must not have heard correctly. Perhaps I am just going crazy and it really does not matter where this diaper cake is going. I could just give it to anyone and they would be blessed by it. It seems ridiculous to go out in the rain with my young children to this place where no one is even here. I sighed.
“Really?” I asked God.
I looked again at the window to see the service times of the church that were noted. “Open Sundays and Wednesdays.” I saw a phone number under the pastor’s name.

Call them.

Well, I might as well, at least to leave a message and see if anyone actually will be interested in this diaper cake.
I took out my cell phone dialed the number and let it ring. After about 10 rings an answering machine came on with the pastor’s voice. Now I am not going to lie, I do believe there was some type of Barry White music in the background and his voice seriously was the same. I was trying not to giggle as I left the message. Hey, each church is different, and God has a plan and purpose for each one, right? I basically told them who I was and what my company was about and asked if they had a pregnant woman or a woman who just had a baby that could use this cake. I would not expect them to pay money, I was not advertising anything, and wanted to donate anonymously. No strings attached.
After leaving the message I turned to look at the church again. It was small, and different, but God’s Love transcends all differences, right? Although I thought they might not feel the same about me. What if they think I am some weirdo trying to sell them something and not call me back?
Give them until the 24th. If they choose not to accept it, then I will find someone else to give it to
, I thought. I put the car in gear and pulled out and drove home.

I did not hear from them the whole month of December. My mind would go back to them every now and then, but the promise I made to myself stuck. I would wait until the 24th, and if they did not accept it, I know God would find someone else to give it to.
Christmas Eve came and interestingly enough, I was to drive to Christmas Eve service with the kids by myself. My husband wonderful man that he is, had to work, and my family would meet me there because it was convenient to take the same car. The day went very smoothly, almost as if in a dream. It was weird, kind of like things were preordained for me, all I had to do was just move.
Church was at 6pm and it takes me about 30 minutes to get to church. I knew I had to be out of the door by 4:45pm to drop off the diaper cake and make it to the church service on time. As I was getting ready thoughts came in my mind about how I didn’t have enough time to do this. That I was just being crazy, and really, I could find someone else to give the diaper cake away to anyhow. After that last thought came in my mind I knew that if I didn’t try to at least deliver this cake, then I would feel guilty about me not doing what I possibly thought was God’s Will. I had to try no matter what.

The kids and I were dressed and ready to go at around 4:30pm. I was shocked, because that never happens. I ushered them outside after saying goodbye to my husband, and gently laid the diaper cake in the back of the car, packed the kids in, and got into the front seat. I prayed.

“God, if this is not Your Will, then please let the place be closed.”

When I pulled out of my driveway and glanced back at the house a joyous feeling came over me. It was out of my hands now, I was doing the right thing. It took me not too long afterward to get to the driveway of the church. Instantly I saw that the usual church van was still parked where it normally stays, and something else… Another car was parked right in front of the building. A light was on in the back of the church.
I pulled up right beside the car, and seeing that no one was in it decided to leave my children in the car, take the keys with me, lock the doors, and walk about 5 feet to the front door. Hey, even though I was right there, it still was a dangerous neighborhood. I didn’t know what or who was around.
The minute I stepped out of the car, I felt instant Peace. I walked up to the front door, and looking to see if the door was locked, my hand grasped the handle ready to feel the door stay stationary. It swung open with ease, almost hitting me in the side of my head. I peeked my head in the door and looked around. I saw one gentleman in the back who glanced up at me and went back to what he was doing.
“Excuse me… sir?” I said while half holding the door open.
“Yes Ma’am.” he said, dropping his work and walking to the front lobby.
I explained again who I was and that I had left a message. He half nodded when I mentioned the message indicating that he indeed got it and remembered me. At that point I thought that perhaps he was the pastor of the church. The whole time I was speaking he looked at me, guarded but not in a threatening way. He was about 6 feet or a little taller, African American man, who’s eyes were a little red, but always intent on what I was saying. His face was full of peace, but there was something else about him that I couldn’t figure out.
I finished telling him the purpose for me being there and again reiterating that I wanted nothing from him or the church. It was a no strings attached kind of giving. To show God’s unconditional love for the women who receive the diaper cakes. There was uncomfortable silence for a few seconds. Then I just blurted out without thinking, “Do you want to see the cake so you know what I am talking about?”
He nodded almost reluctantly. I opened the door I had been half-holding since I did not want to be too far from my children. He motioned for me to go ahead, and I walked out first.
“How did you hear about us?” he asked.
“God led me here.” I said matter of fact pushing the door widely so he could come too and looking at his reaction. He was taken aback by that statement. I glanced back and said as I walked to the car, “You do believe that God speaks to you, right?”

“Oh yeah, yeah most assuredly I do.” he said.
Skeesh, that was the most I had heard him speak since I had begun talking with him.

We went around to the back of the car with the other cars on the heavily trafficked road whizzing by us. As I opened the back door and handed the diaper cake to him, he couldn’t believe it. I could tell by his reaction that it was something he had never seen before and was amazed at it. I explained what was inside the cake, the scriptures on the card, and the purpose again was to show God’s Unconditional Love for the women they go to. He just sat and looked at the cake.
The whole time I was talking to him, he didn’t really say much. It almost looked like he was going to cry, but I wasn’t sure.
“Thank you, thank you very much.” he finally said. “Can I pray with you?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely, “I said eagerly.
He had the diaper cake in one hand and took my hands in his other hand. As he was praying God’s presence was so full and thick that tears streamed down my face. He prayed for things that were encouraging and edifying, and wanting only God to get the glory for the things I was doing. He then started praying for the woman who was to receive the diaper cake. Instinctively I put one hand on the cake and just prayed with him for the woman.
After the man finished praying I gave him a side hug and thanked him, wishing him a Merry Christmas.

Then he started opening up about who he thought might use this cake. I told him that he could just pray about it and whoever God told him to give it to, that it should go to her.
“My wife is pregnant so…” he trailed off quietly.
Without skipping a beat, I looked straight into his eyes for the first time since I met him and said with confidence, “Then maybe this diaper cake is for her.”
He nodded and got quiet again. The look of disbelief on his face and quiet thought, almost as if he was going to cry came over him again.
After a moment more of small talk, I got in the car, closed the door and buckled my seat belt. He waved again at me as he headed inside and I put the car into gear to pull out onto the busy street.
“Thank you Jesus for this moment.” I said, as I pulled out of the driveway. I thought about it and realized that when we were praying for the woman who was to receive the cake, that he was unknowingly praying for his wife. That this whole situation was perfectly planned down to the minute by God. That the timing of this moment was not an accident.

Excited that I got another glimpse of what saying yes to God can do, my heart was so full. But God was not done yet. As I was driving to church my young daughter, son and I sang these lyrics to a song with all of our hearts at the top of our lungs, “Jesus you’re all I want, and I can’t help but sit and cry, cause you give me everything, cause you give me songs to sing, You lift me when I’m down. You are my World.”  I didn’t teach them those lyrics but yet they sang them with all of their hearts, their joyful little faces full of excitement.

And that was one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever gotten.

Posted by: thebyrds | October 20, 2009

Body Rash to Vaccination

Both of my children have been vaccinated. When they got theirs, I had them separate each vaccination for each child, (so instead of getting two at a time they only got one, waited for a month, and then got the other.) YES it cost us more in doctor’s visits, but I wanted to be careful. Quite honestly I was scared to vaccinate my children because of reports of Autism, and other things happening with children and vaccinations. I researched a lot, talked to both pediatricians, and prayed about it. Because of our future plans to do ministry, and possibly sail around the world, I knew that all of our children should have vaccinations at some point.

My daughter had very mild, if no reaction to the vaccinations. My son however had some trouble with them. At first it was a low grade fever, or pain and soreness in his legs, but as he got older and he was getting his fourth “installment” on his shots (Namely DTaP and Prevnar) he had a bad reaction. Oddly enough both reactions happened two weeks after the shots. Nothing else had changed in his diet, or anything else. When it first happened with the DTaP vaccination (his fourth) we went through every possible situation. Perhaps it was poison ivy, or laundry soap. However, we did not find an answer in environmental things. The rash that he got all over his body started on his stomach and rear end, and then moved to his legs, arms and face. Benadryl did not help, just time. He wasn’t hurting, just his body looked like it was swollen and red. The rash lasted for about four to five days, with the 2nd and third days being the worst.

Then it happened again. This time with his Prevnar shot. Two weeks after his shot, the same rash came back. It would get red when he was hot, but lighten if he was out in the cold air. I am certainly convinced that he is allergic to something in those vaccinations.

I post this in hopes that other parents who might be looking for some support if their children have had this happen to them. What I did was call the doctor to let them know what had happened, took pictures and documented when it happened, and had the doctor put those pictures in my child’s file. At least if their are enough complaints or evidence that the vaccinations do cause reactions in certain people that it would be part of the vaccination description, since I do not find in the Prevnar description any type of this reaction (total body rash). Parents should be warned that this could happen.

Also any antihistamine medications did not work on him. What did work is time and some cool baths.  I monitored his temperature. If his temperature had shot up, I would have called the doctor right away. I would have called  if he had difficulty in breathing, or was acting listless or unresponsive to me.

I am NOT a medical doctor. This advice is just what I would do, and should not replace what your doctor tells you. ALWAYS call your doctor first off to check to make sure you are doing the most to help your child. That’s what you pay the doctor for, so CALL them if you are concerned in any way.

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Posted by: thebyrds | September 11, 2009

I Need to Restudy Geometry

Seriously. This montessori stuff is stretching my brain…in a good way. My beautiful daughter was standing in front of the language shelves a couple days ago, when she picked up the homemade color box. (It was purchased at the dollar store and was colorful and had an interesting shape to it to draw my children’s attention.) She then picked up a metal inset on the shelf above that was the exact same shape.
“Look mommy, it is a…….”, looking expectantly at me to say the correct name of the shape.
I gotta tell you, I had no idea what the name of that shape was. Suddenly, flashbacks of my high school geometry class came whirring through my mind. Was it a rhombus? No no, a parallelagram. The disappointing look on my geometry teacher’s face loomed in front of me. Why did I choose to pass notes during class instead of listening to what she had to say? I should have known that 16 years later, I would have to know this stuff when my child would ask it.
Then a light from heaven shone down on the geometric cabinet control sheet. Well, really, it was the light from the closet, but at that point it was the same thing. Slyly I peeked over and found the shape.
“A Trapaziod!” I said confidently.

Now you tell me, would you have gotten that? Oh hush, no one wants to know you were a geometry whiz in high school anyway.

Posted by: thebyrds | September 7, 2009

First Two Weeks in Review

The first two weeks of school FLEW by. The kids are happily engrossed in school work because… well it’s FUN. I see the sense of accomplishment that comes through completing a project without mommy helping them. I also have two children who LOVE to wash the table and dust. Hmmmm, should we advertise for cleaning services yet?
The way we have been going is this:

Bonjour Song (we are studying French)
Bible Study/Scripture
Pledge of Allegiance
Free Work Time
Circle Time
Au Revoir Song

The children have been working non stop for an hour and a half to two hours depending. Baby Bear will of course stop and rest, eat a snack or whatever he likes to do and then continue, but my daughter will work staight through. (She is a workhorse just like her mommy!)
BTW, the picture of the apples is my big circle time debacle. I was supposed to cut them in half at their “equators” not the other way. When I did the first one, I tried to get all the seeds out to count them and was thinking that the circle time activity that I got from Montessori Story did not turn out how I expected…. Well, being the smart, ahem, person that I am figured out that I misunderstood the assignment yet again, and cut the second apple CORRECTLY the second time. The original lesson was to point out that the apples were the same on the inside (because they had the same amount of seeds),  no matter what they looked like on the outside, but my lessoned turned into the many ways you can cut an apple. Woops.

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Posted by: thebyrds | September 7, 2009

I Know I Did the Right Thing

Often doubt comes in my mind about the path I am choosing for my children when it comes to homeschooling. Every time that doubt tries to creep in my mind without fail, something happens to reassure me that indeed I am following God’s Will for these children. This week was no exception.
Noodlebug, who is almost three and a half stepped into her teacher role this week with her little brother, Baby Bear who will be two at the end of the month. While I know the Geometric Solids presentation officially should not occur until they are about three, Baby Bear thrives on imitating his sister and in turn has become quite proficient at an earlier age with most things both mentally and phisically. (Although jumping off of the couch is NOT one of them.)
He had picked up off of the shelves the Geometric Solids basket which had about 5 different solids in it. I usually will let him feel them and name the solids for him if he looks at me expectantly for an answer to what this strange shape is, but I never push him into memorizing them. I marvel at how his little hands will turn the object over and over, sometimes stacking them and experiementing on what will stand up on it’s own, like a cube, and what will roll over, like an ovoid. Too much fun.
But I digress, I was kneeling to Baby Bear’s left and about to name an ovoid, when Noodlebug steps in and starts a three period lesson with him.
“Show me an ovoid….Good. Put the cube in my hand….. Great job. Put the sphere over here. What is this?”
Seriously, I was taken aback. I did not realize that after a short while of actually doing the three period lessons with her, that it would translate to her brother. I could see in her sweet little face the satisfaction from taking on the teacher role with her brother, and actually knowing the names of each solid. After all students teaching other students correctly and finding satisfaction in it and having a new sense of independence  is part of the Montessori philosophy, isn’t it?

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