To pink or not to pink

I'm a little bit late since they came out a few months ago so you probably have already heard about Lego's new "girl" line - Lego Friends. Apparently, it's causing a bit of a stir. What's interesting to me is actually how I responded. In general, I'm not a big fan of the crazy genderization that happens with babies and kids. Yes, I'm a fan of distinct societal roles for males and females but corporate america takes it to an extreme level when it comes to the under-13 crowd. I don't like pink and pastels and searched high and low for any (reasonably priced) clothes for Lucy in fun bright colors and I even bought her a couple "boy" diapers because I like brown and blue and though they were cute. Now that we have Jonah, I'm equally annoyed that most of the clothing in his section of the store is navy blue and covered with baseballs and dogs. Not that there is anything wrong with baseballs and dogs, but I'd like a bit of variety please!

And when it comes to toys, I do think there is a crazy level of gender stereotyping going on. It seems like every Little Tykes toy comes in two versions: regular and "girl."


Really, can a girl not swing in a blue seat?

I escape this mostly by choosing toys from smaller online stores and taking a mental inventory of what we have, I'd say 90% of Lucy's toys are gender neutral. She does have a Waldorf baby doll (but even that is theoretically designed to be appealing to both sexes) and one of her kitchen accessories is a pink and purple tea set. (Some might say the kitchen overall is a "girl" toy but I say hogwash. It is just as big a hit with our boy visitors although I will admit they tend to be a bit noisier when they stir things). But her wooden blocks, Montessori materials, puzzles, Melissa and Doug wooden barn and her Duplos are probably going to be used just as much by Jonah in a few years as they currently are with Lucy and I really like that. So you might think I'd be equally aghast at the idea of Lego friends.

But no, I completely understand why they are doing this and I will admit I'm a bit perplexed by the extreme reaction.

First of all, anything is better than Bratz (aka prostitute dolls). Why we are even having petitions over Legos while those things are still available in stores is mind-boggling.

Also, this isn't the first time Lego has had girly-colored sets. I had a few when I was younger. Unlike the friends collection, the people where the same rectangular shape as the original, but my sets were a beach scene and a horse stable and were designed for more dramatic play while the original sets were more about building items - cars, space ships, etc.

Now I don't like the general trend away from generic Lego/Duplo blocks to (often commercialized) sets with limited building options. They are doing the same thing with Duplo. It's hard to find nice sets of just Duplo blocks because most of what the stores sell is scene specific kits but that is really a different issue. And if that is the direction Lego is going, they really do need to have separate boy and girl sets because - NEWS FLASH - boys and girls play differently.

That is one of the reasons I like having the gender neutral open ended toys. Because it allows kids to use them however they want. Lucy makes chairs and tables out of her blocks. She builds houses with her Duplos and acts out scenes. When playing with her barn, she spends most of her time taking the animals out of the barn, feeding them, then tucking them back into the barn for a nap. When we have boys over to play - they build towers and knock them down, they race the animals around the room and when Craig plays Duplos with Lucy, he builds her robots. I've given them the same toys and the same opportunities for play but, young or old, it's just how things work.

Lucy has several sets of Duplo, her most recent being a Disney Princess Cinderella set. She went with my dad to Target where he let her pick out a "big sister present." I'll admit, I cringed a bit when I saw her choice as I would have gone with a more generic kit. This is the first Disney Princess toy we have in our house although Lucy only knows about Cinderella because Craig tells her the original story at bedtime (yes, with bloody feet and everything :-) But it wasn't my choice, she picked it and she loves it!

And unlike the "math is hard" barbie, Lego isn't saying that girls don't like to build or that building is a "boy" thing unless the pieces are pink, they are saying that yes, girls can like Legos and they don't have to want to build a Star Wars starfight to do it. Now, my personal preference would be to buy a big box of generic Legos and let my kids choose whether to build a house or a fighter jet but I don't think it is sexist for Lego to put out sets either.


Getting there

Lucy's had a bit of a rough transition and despite my best efforts to give her attention, she just isn't getting what she is used to and she is not happy about it. Fortunately for Jonah, she doesn't seem to take it out on him - but she doesn't seem to particularly care about him one way or the other. Perhaps she is trying the "If I ignore him long enough, maybe he'll go away" approach.

But last week, we were all hanging out on my bed and after I tickled her for a few minutes, she decided she wanted to tickle him and she was very gentle about it so I didn't even have to stop her. While I'm trying very hard not to push him on to her more than she wants, it was very refreshing to finally get to watch a nice brother/sister interaction.

Could it be that she's finally realized he is the world's cutest littler brother?


What I'm into


Charlotte Mason's writings. I had read Volume 1 before but after reading A Charlotte Mason Companion last month I  felt compelled to start on the whole series. I re-read 1, just finished 6 and am trying to decide which one to move to now, probably 5. Starting these right before Jonah was born was probably a bad idea because now I'm all inspired but I have to be practical and spending 4-6 hours outside every day with a newborn isn't very practical.


Debussy: Yes, this is related to the above readings. I've wanted to be better about listening to classical music during our days but it never seemed to happen. So I've decided to follow along with amblesideonline's composer study. This "semester" we are listening to Debussy. I made a list in spotify and now when I open it up, that's the first thing we listen to before moving on to Raffi, Steve Green's hide 'em in your heart and the Sound of Music soundtrack. It's been about a month and I'm really starting to enjoy it. I recognize the songs and can tell I'm starting to really get a feel for what makes a Debussy a Debussy. My favorite is Clair de Lune but I like Children's Corner as well.

Lucy: Lucy's sung before but right now it seems like she is almost never not singing. She loves the songs from the Sound of Music and is actually pretty good at keeping the words straight. She also loves her Wee Sing bible songs but isn't so good at keeping the words straight - a few days ago she kept singing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam to L - M - N - O - P!" and then later I heard her singing "Who built the ark. Noah. Noah. And the rains came a tumbling down and the house on the sand went splat." At least that mix up makes a little more sense. She also loves the abc song (which yes, she learned even though I didn't really want her to until she knew all her letter sounds, oh well). But her very favourite song right now is the bible song "Who did" - as in, who did swallow Jonah down. I'm not sure if she likes it because it has Jonah's name in it or because she likes the idea of him being swallowed :-)


All things pumpkin. I blame pinterest. Several of the recipes I have tried were flops (pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin oatmeal) but pumpkin french toast and pumpkin rolls were both pretty tasty. Craig requested a pie for his birthday and I really wanted to make pumpkin but he insisted on apple. Now I think I might go on an apple kick.


Not maternity clothes. I'm still in that weird transition phase but I did go buy a pair of jeans. I haven't worn jeans in so long I almost forgot how much I love them. I just can't wait until I'm a more normal size again and can justify shopping for more than just "get by" stuff.

My baby! Last week was babywearing week and I really wanted to get a picture of me wearing Jonah but I did not. It isn't that I'm not wearing him. I've worn him in both the moby and my ring sling many many times already but not normally when Craig is around (if he's around, I'm normally snuggled with Jonah on the couch or playing with Lucy on the floor) and I want to get realistic pictures, not weird contorted mama in the bathroom mirror pictures. But I'll be trying hard to get at least a couple this week. I realized that while I have a million pictures of Lucy, I only have a few of me wearing her and that was such a big thing for us and I don't want it to happen again.


Advent: You know me, I'm always planning something. But I seem to have this canny ability to pick the worst time to want to do an activity. I tried to convince Craig that making me a new coffee table was something we should start when I was 37 weeks pregnant but he, very wisely, talked me out of it. And since this is still not really a good time to embark on any big projects, I've decided to think a bit more in the future and start planning advent things. That way I can plan to my hearts content but I don't actually need to start implementing for a month or so. Win-win. At least until I decided I need to do some crazy-fancy advent project that needs to be completed before advent starts. But I can always rely on Craig to talk me down off that ledge if need be.

What about you? Any obsession (books, food music - anything) you just have to share with someone else?


Better late than never

Craig had a birthday the weekend before last but since we were all sick,we didn't get to do the fun fall festivities I had originally planned.

 Lucy and I did bake him a birthday pie though - complete with a d for daddy on top. 

But don't worry Craig, we went with a "d" because Lucy only knowns her lowercase letters so far but you are definitely a daddy worthy of a capital D.

But since we were all feeling better this past weekend, we made up for the last by heading to a local pumpkin patch on Saturday. We saw some farm animals, rode on a hayride, Lucy got her first taste of popcorn (although I'm worried kettle corn may have ruined her) and finally picked out our pumpkins - one big, one little. I'm finding 2 to be a very difficult year to photograph - we get a lot of cheesy smiles mixed in with cranky, you can't make me smile pictures as well as some wide open mouth shots but regardless of what the pictures show, she really did have fun!

 First taste of popcorn

Yes, there's my brother, he exists 

 She was happy before and after I took the picture. Just not when I held up the camera!

 Monday was pumpkin carving time. And look, a nice cute shot - finally!

She had to give the poor pumpkin a hug before we started the carving process. 

Time to roll up the sleeves and get messy - 

  or not. She decided it was too icky and that daddy could do it all. 

 My job was to keep Jonah happy. 

The end.


Jonah @ one month!

The official 1 month pictures. I was torn between chair or floor images but since the picture below is the best I could get of him on the floor, I think we might stick with the chair 

Dear Jonah,

Oh my goodness, how this month has flown by. In some ways I feel like you've been a part of our family forever and in others I can't believe your actually here with us!

@ 1 day old

You are growing so fast. You were already out of your newborn clothes by 2 weeks and last week we packed away the newborn diapers. Some of them still fit you but they just didn't last long enough. You have a lot of output because you are taking in a lot. And it shows. You're getting nice chunky arms and
legs, a double chin and even elbow dimples.  Your XX inches long and 10 pounds 4 oz (gained 2 lbs 14 oz this month!). My chubster!

@ 5 days old (with a fake smile ;-)

 You're a very pretty baby. You came out so fast you didn't have much coning and your eyes weren't very puffy at all for a newborn and now you seem to be escaping without cradle cap or much baby acne. I hope that continues.

You make the best facial expressions, especially your worried looks which happens when you are awake as well as asleep. I'm not sure what big concerns you have but you've got to learn to let them go  little guy.

 But yesterday you gave us your first "real" social smile. I still don't like how social smiles are considered real but newborn smiles are considered fake because they just show contentment but I won't lie, it's really awesome to say hi and see you respond with your whole face light up with joy.  Of course, you did it 5-6 times but then started crying as soon as got out the camera.

We should have many more chances to catch it though since you're a pretty happy kid. We've been having a little bit of struggles with oversupply but you just take it as it comes. Your a big burper. I think its probably related to the oversupply but I had that with Lucy too and she never burped at all. Perhaps it's another "man" quality of yours.

I love the little meow you make when you are getting over being mad. You'll stop fussing but then let out one last small whine as if to remind me that you didn't approve of whatever it was that got you upset (most often my attempts to put you down). You tend to be a little more ruddy than Lucy ever was but especially so when you get upset. I can tell your about to cry because you start changing colors before you even make any noise.

the worried look

@ 1 week

But other than those two things, you look so much like your sister, it's amazing. The first few days it was like I was looking at her - with more hair. But now I can see differences between you two but you are definitely more similar than I was expecting. I can't wait to see how you change as you get bigger. But back to your hair, I love it! It always seems to look like I've just combed it but I never do. I reminds me of either the Calvin and Hobbes strip when he is having his pictures taken or perhaps Fredrick Von Trapp.

my perfectly coifed hair 

@11 days

maybe you have a reason to be worried in this one 

Your getting to be quite alert now. You like to look at Lucy. I'll be holding you over my arm while I play with her and when I look down you are just starting at her so intently. But you also seem to really like one on one time with me when things are quiet, at nap time or in the early evening, you just like to hang out, have your tummy or back rubbed or just look around.

I can't keep you up too late. You like to sleep. You love to nap on my or dad's chest although you nap pretty well on your sheepskin in your baby seat if need during the day. At night, you are happy enough in the co-sleeper as long as we let you sleep on your tummy. Of course, this means one of us has to stay next to you and keep on eye on you but I would want to anyway so I don't mind. Once we go to bed and you can snuggle up with me in the big bed you don't mind being on your back (perhaps because the milk has settled a bit and your not spitting up every two seconds :-) but somehow you seem to scootch closer to me if I ever get too far away. I'm not sure how you manage when you aren't mobile but apparently you've got secret baby ninja skills.

You like to lift your head up and if you're resting on my chest you can even push up onto your elbows and you just look so proud of yourself when you do that although you're still pretty bobble headed.

You are also good at rolling onto your side if we put you on your back. You've almost made it over. I think the cloth diapers make it easier for you to get onto your side but then you get stuck there since they are so bulky.

@ one month

You do not like to be swaddled.

You do not like baths. But we found out a few days ago that you do like to take a shower while being held so at least I won't have a stinky baby.

You do like car rides most of the time. You might fuss for a few minutes but then either fall asleep or just start looking around.

You like laid back breastfeeding. Apparently you like to be in control but you can pretty much nurse well in any position. You had eating down from day 2 and I can not even take any credit for that.

You have a million nick names. So far, don't answer to any of then, but even so I can often be heard calling you: Jonah, Jojo, little guy, little man and even buddy. Lucy calls her "my jonah." She slowly but surely getting used to you.

Our first family picture with Jojo!

But this version may be a more accurate portrayal of someone's feelings :-)


Because I'm crazy

I know I said that post-partum women should take it easy. And I do mean it. So what would possess me to load up both kids, drive about an hour away by myself, and go to a political rally for Todd Akin?

Well, not Todd Akin. Yes, I'll be voting for him but I don't like him enough to go through the trouble of going to a rally. You know who I do like, the Duggars! Yep, I met the Duggars!

I was very torn about whether to go not. Last weekend we all had colds and I wasn't sure if we would be over them but Tuesday I felt pretty good and was no longer chasing Lucy around with a kleenex or having to suck snot out of Jonah with one of these things so I decided to join Neighbor J, her kids, her mom and another friend and her toddler. They rode in one car and I followed behind, praying that the drive would go well. Luckily, Jonah seems to be a pretty good traveller so far and I filled up his tummy before we left so he just looked around for a while before dozing. We went a little early and let the kids play at a nearby park and eat lunch.

The rally itself wasn't as big as I was expecting which was great. We were only in the 4th or 5th row. The family sang and played their instruments. The music portion was longer than I was expecting and actually, they were better than I was expecting too. Lucy has been temperamental that morning but she was great throughout the rally. She loved the singing and got very excited about how they were "singing about Jesus!! Mommy, Jesus!" and when they played their violins she sat in her seat and directed them with her fingers. I'm not even sure how she knew how to do that.

Cute kid! Actually, I'm testing the camera since it isn't my usual - but she's still cute.

After the music portion, Jim Bob and Michelle told their story and then talked a bit about Todd Akin. The information wasn't new but it was nice to hear it in person instead of just written in their book or a clip here or two from their show.

Almost my turn!

Afterwards, we got to meet them and get their signatures. I got my book signed and Lucy had a picture signed - although I'm not sure she really gets that they are the same family as the "show with all the kids" that she likes to watch. Josh and Anna are very personable and we talked for a few minutes about home births (Anna had both of her kids at home too) before Josh made fun of my being an Aggie (Lucy was wearing an Aggie jacket) and we moved on. Jjust kidding, there were others waiting to talk to him :-)I talked to Jessa and Jinger before getting my picture taken with Michelle and Jim Bob and talking to them as well. Honestly, they are all just as nice as you would think from the show.

Please ignore the fact that it looks like I'm straggling my baby. He had just woken up and was arching backwards to tell me he wanted out and fed. 

In this pictures I am wearing Jonah in the moby and holding Lucy on my hip so Michelle reminded me that there is reason it describes the Proverbs 31 woman by saying "her arms are strong for her tasks." I talked to them both about how much I appreciated the sections of their second book when they related their struggles with Jim Bob's dad's brain tumor and how I ended up reading that right as my mom was her final days and found it so encouraging and they talked to me a bit more about those experiences and the show.

Although there were people waiting after us, I could tell they didn't feel rushed talking to me or my friends right behind me and made sure we all had an opportunity to really feel like we met them - as opposed to a handshake and that's it. Very gracious people. I know some people question their choices on issues and I can't say I agree with them 100% but I simply love their attitudes, their love for others, even those they don't even know, and their obvious joy in the Lord and I was so blessed to meet them.

But that was yesterday. Today, I promise, we are taking it easy!


Montessori Baby: The Munari Mobile

I talked back here about how I wanted to buy or make some montessori mobiles before "baby" arrived. I ended up making four (Munari, Octahedron, Gobbi and Dancers). Several look a bit homemade but I still love them, especially since I made all for for less than $15 total! I'll try and get pictures of each one and include a link to the tutorial if there is one.

The Munari is the first one we are using, it's geared to babies 3-6 weeks although we put it up at 2 weeks because I wanted Craig to get around to it before he went back to work :-)

I used this tutorial which helped a lot but it was still the trickiest of the four to make and balance.

Jonah seems to enjoy it for the few minutes he'll lay on his back (we have some oversupply/reflux issues going on so back time doesn't last long as it often leads to massive spit up time) but hopefully as that resolves, he'll be able to enjoy it more.

Until then, we'll keep using these black and white art cards since they can be used with Jonah propped up on our knees. My SIL got them for Lucy when she was just a baby and they were a bit hit her first 6 months. Now she loves to show them to Jonah and tell him what sounds the animals make. It's a lot of fun to watch such a small baby focus so intently on something - even if only for a few minutes at a time.