Tuesday, April 11, 2017

March 2017 In Our Home

They play while I read

Garden Beds
So exciting to see these beds! We've dreamed about them for so long!
     We have been dreaming of our own garden for many, many years. We attempted a container garden nearly every year we've been married, but had poor results. (Tricky to get the soil composition just right). When we moved into our house, we immediately began talking about putting in a raised bed garden. David carefully calculated the cost of all materials and we put funds aside when we could until we had the full amount to complete the project. Over the course of one weekend, David built all the beds and filled them with the various soils. I then got to determine what we'll grow and where. (This was very exciting to me and quite the privilege! I know nothing about gardening whereas David grew up with one, and so it would have been easy for him to simply do everything himself. Instead, he gave me the opportunity to have a hand in it as well. Since, I don't have a background in gardening I relied on the Farmers Almanac Vegetable Garden Planner to determine square foot gardening and companion planting. I also consulted various other websites to determine how many plants we needed to plant for our family (and some to share!).) Hopefully, it will be a productive gardening year! It will certainly be an educational experience for me. I'm so looking forward to fresh vegetables from our own backyard! I'm also looking forward to the children getting to see where food actually comes from beyond products in a store. 

    The adjustment to caring for three children three years old and under has been challenging to say the least. Attitudes and behaviors have been at an all time rotten. I've realized how my poor attitudes and behaviors while I was so exhausted during pregnancy and during these newborn days have so negatively and so deeply impacted the children. We've got a lot of work to do to dig out of this hole. 
1 month old!

    Breastfeeding has had a rocky start. Once again, I'm an overachiever milk-producer. As in, if I were to pump I can obtain 7-11oz in one session. Breastfeeding for us is "drink or drown." He was getting so much so fast by week three that he would projectile vomit many of his feeds. He was also having an issue with milk becoming trapped in his nose, which is problematic when you're an obligatory nose breather. Because he gets so much milk so fast he tends to gulp and gag during nursing sessions (all my babies have done this). All that gulping results in a lot of ingested air. One of our greatest struggles is a painful gassy belly and resulting sleeplessness. Again, this is the third time we're experiencing breastfeeding as such. It's heartbreaking to watch him struggle with his belly. It's also exhausting for Mama and Daddy to need to do so much to try comfort him (..all night long). I contacted a local lactation consultant and we determined another way to try to decrease supply. I'm hoping to hold out a little longer with breastfeeding, but I also know this path well. Poor sleeping and eating habits established early on are so very difficult to redirect later. (And, honestly, I'm struggling many days on only four hours total of sleep every night.)

     We're back with "tiny tot school" and "tot school"! I had really missed having an activity to do with each of the children each day. The approach of having just one activity per child per day is continuing to work out really well. 

      I've also desired to have a more purposeful activity for our outside time each day. Free play is great, but eventually they grow disinterested in the toys or area provided. One of my goals this summer is to provide something new for them to play and explore. Since we have been working on our garden this month, I thought it would be fun to provide a vegetable garden for them. I purchased some inexpensive plastic vegetables and buried them in their exploration bins. I also set out a bin of flowers and plastic pots for a flower garden. And then there was also the gardening tools and watering can that they already had. I've brainstormed a list of ideas I hope to incorporate each week. They don't have to play with the planned activity, but it's an additional option. 

Lessons Learned
What would I do without a baby carrier? Love the K'Tan!
    We're one month in to family and home life with three young children! Although I have many, many more lessons to learn, the Lord has already begun guiding me greater. A few areas within which I've been learning:

    1) A schedule is more essential than ever- If I'm going to adequately care for three little ones, meals and the housework all day everyday, then I must pre-determine what or who needs my attention when. Otherwise, I'll be expecting more from myself than possible and no one/thing's needs will be met (not to mention I'd be a fried and frazzled mama). A schedule also helps me keep everyone productively occupied throughout the day. Otherwise, the children will quickly fall into disputes with one another or make colossal messes in the house. Because Huxley's eating times can vary each day, I've found it best to use a basic framework in creating a schedule each day and then adjust the times as needed. I create the morning portion at the start of the day, and then write the afternoon portion at naptime. Anything we didn't accomplish during the morning gets moved to the afternoon. Scheduling helps me tremendously. I have intentions to begin taking photos of each element of our day and creating a photo chart/timeline to give the children a visual. I believe this will help them understand each piece and transition well. 

2) My approach to parenting has to be refined- Though I've been a parent for three years, I've come to the realization that I've had it all wrong. We have been so authoritative in our style. However as I examine the children's individual personalities and behaviors in terms of responses to situations,  I'm becoming painfully aware of how damaging that approach has been. The children have such different personalities, and they need me to learn and approach them according to how they can best be reached and respond. I cannot approach them both according to my personal parenting philosophy. I also cannot parent my sensitive child as I would my spirited child. Or, conversely, parent my spirited child as I would my sensitive child. None of these approaches work, and I fully see that. The Lord has really burdened my heart with a desire to learn and grow towards better parenting. This has meant laying aside former notions of parenting and learning new ones, as well as becoming a student of my children in terms of who they are and how to best relate to them individually. Their behavior is so heavily influenced by my parenting style. With three children now, I want to end the power struggles and begin enjoying each of them greater. 

New Books We're Enjoying This Month:
     I like to purchase at least one new book for each of us each month. For an additional look into the books we've enjoyed in our home, click the "Bookshelves" tab at the top of the page and then follow the links to our various online bookshelves. 

Note: The "*" indicates the inclusion of an affiliate link. I am personally an affiliate with Amazon.com, and as such receive a compensation for purchases made through the links. (Thank you!)

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