Friday, April 26, 2013

At 2 years old you....

*have crazy, curly hair that grows in all directions, but faster in the back
*have 18 teeth
*sleep about 10.5 hours at night and take one nap for 2-3 hours
*will eat most anything, and lots of it
*are scared of the blender, the mixer, the vacuum, and other things that plug in and make a loud noise
*wear size 3T or 4T clothes
*have tall and wide feet, making it nearly impossible to find you shoes
*are quite feminine in the way you move and the things you like
*get pretty jealous if your mom holds another child or snuggles too close to your dad
*when asked if you want a brother or sister, you say sister every time
*like to play puzzles (especially the tiger puzzle a hundred times a day), read books, chase chickens and cats
*talk non-stop to your parents, but clam up in a crowd
*hop and skip to most places, instead of walking
*know dozens of songs and dance moves
*know how to work your parents' phones to get to the pictures and videos, which are all of you
*are interested in the potty training concept until it comes time to sit on the seat

Sunday, November 04, 2012

"Red Letter Revolution" by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo

In another review of this book, I read the comment "This book doesn't quite know what it wants to be when it grows up."  I thought that was a perfect way to express what I felt after reading Red Letter Revolution.  No conversation was finished.  Very few absolute truths or hard stances were taken.  The meandering, conversation style of the book left many questions unanswered and too many gray areas.  I have a suspicion what the authors wanted was to more stimulate discussion than to lay out a defined path.  But for a mostly left-brain person like me, it is just annoying.  Unsatisfying.   Foggy.  It bothers me when I am talking to someone and they switch subjects too fast and I can't finish my thoughts or hear the fullness of what they are thinking.  That is exactly how I felt reading this book.

Basically, a big chunk of the main points the book conveyed are we need to love everyone, spend less, and live out what the church needs to be rather than relying on politics and government.  These I whole-heartedly agree with and struggle with day to day.  A number of things in the book I didn't agree with, as I would assume is the case with most.  However Shane and Tony agreed every.single.time.  Very annoying.  I thought surely somewhere in the book they would agree to disagree, but it never happened.  An astounding amount of Scriptures were taken completely out of context and used to support arguments they were not intended for, which raised my concern about people reading this who don't have a good grasp of the Bible.  I felt there was too much of the same content as Irresistible Revolution to warrant another book, though I didn't break out my old copy to compare. 

I felt Shane dominated many of the conversations, though I didn't really mind this as he is so fun to read.  He has a gift of story-telling, and if he is anything, he is consistent in his theology.  I also really like the creativity of his way of living out his faith. I admit I browsed the Simple Way (his organization in Philly) website just to see if there were more ideas, but didn't find anything noteworthy I didn't already know about.

Overall impression: mediocre, flawed theology, but thought-provoking.  Gave me some good things to think about regarding the application of my faith to my own life.  Would not recommend to new believers. 3 stars.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

At 18 months you....

*sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "ABCs" almost constantly
*can verbally communicate easily with your parents
*sometimes stick your tongue out to signal "yes" (unsure where that came from)
*love to get the mail, looking both ways down the street and saying "no cars!"
*love going to church and Sunday school class more than almost anything in the world
*still take two naps, despite efforts to consolidate into one
*sometimes will announce when your diaper needs to be changed
*appear to be quite tall for your age, though you haven't been measured lately
*wear mostly 24 month clothes, though the shirts and pants are sometimes too short
*eat like a champ
*adore "the girls", Kelsey and McKayla Corder, whom you stay with during the day
*love to color, wrap your puppy up in a blanket and rock it, get your teeth brushed, and look through books
*get all excited about Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa Blanshan, Auntie Anne, and Granddaddy Dill, but become very quiet once they are actually on the screen
*are shy in public
*can count to 13, though you very rarely say the number 5
*have long enough hair to pull into a ponytail
*are the prettiest, most wonderful, fun little girl ever, in the unbiased opinion of your mother

Monday, September 10, 2012

The MoneySmart Family system by Steve & Annette Economides

This book gives an overview of the Economides’ method of teaching financial independence to children.  They give a detailed explanation of the budgeting system they taught their kids, as well as many helpful ideas and methods in specific situations and stages of life.  They really push home the “5/500/5,000/50,000” rule.  By that, they mean that if you teach a kid a good financial principle when they are young, it will cost you $5.  If you wait till they are a little older, it will cost you $500.  If you wait longer yet, $5,000, and if you wait until they are an adult, it will cost you $50,000. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  It stimulated me to get excited about thinking of ways to teach financial principles to my kids.  I enjoyed taking their ideas and thinking of other fun things to do.  I agreed with almost everything they said, though I would have enjoyed if they would have brought out more Biblical principles about money to share.  It had a pretty secular feel to it, though they did mention church and giving money.  I especially liked the idea of giving children “raises” as they get older, because more is required of them.  I would recommend this book to all parents and hope to be parents to start thinking about making preparations to teach financial independence, even if you go about it a whole different way than what was presented.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No shampoo experiment

Over the last few months, something went wrong with my hair.  I'm not sure what happened, but it had just become more and more difficult to manage.  I consulted hair stylists.  I got a new cut.  I "invested" in some pricey, salon quality shampoo and conditioner.  It seemed the harder I tried to make it look ok, the worse it looked.  I just started pulling my hair up in a ponytail every day because I couldn't do anything with it.  I am way too cheap and way too low maintenance to put a whole lot of effort into my hair.

I should add that most of my life I have had stick straight hair.  However, the older I get, the more waves and little curls I get, especially in the back of my hair.  Odd.  I also should confess that I tend to have dandruff too.  Yuck, I know.  I've tried most of the anti-dandruff shampoos available, with minimal benefit.

Anywho, I had been hearing some about this no shampoo method and I was a little interested.  I read a few websites about it just to get a sense of what it was.  I found this site helpful and interesting.

Then I ran out of my $10 bottle of investment shampoo.  So what better time than the present to try it out?

Here are the supplies:

And here's my method:
1.  Use baking soda mixed with a little bit of water to scrub your scalp with your finger tips after your hair is wet.  I read a bunch of different ratios online, but the one I tried first was 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 tablespoons water.  I found this too thin.  Now I just eyeball it, putting a little bit of baking soda in a small bowl and sprinkle water on it until it gets like I want it. 
2.  Rinse hair out.
3.  Use a apple cider vinegar and water mixture to "condition" your hair.  This ratio I use is 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water.   I put this is a water bottle and squirt it on my hair.  You are supposed to stay away from the roots of your hair, as this will make it look greasy.
4.  Rinse out.

That's it!  I've been doing it almost three weeks, and I love it.  My hair looks a lot better than it has in a long time!

The dandruff is gone, my hair is less greasy and feels softer, and I haven't needed to wash it every day!!  It is super, duper cheap, and gets rid of a few more chemicals in my house.
As far as the ratios are concerned, the general consensus seems to be: do what works for your hair! If your hair is more greasy, use more baking soda. If it is dry, use less.  Or if it is greasy, use less vinegar and make sure to stay away from the roots of your hair.  Some people dissolve the baking soda in water, some people make it into a paste.
The only real downside is it doesn't feel as "luxurious" to wash your hair.  The baking soda/water mixture doesn't bubble or feel smooth over your hair like traditional shampoo.  But it's not a big deal to me.
After a few weeks as your scalp adjusts to having less harse stimuli, you are supposed to be able to stretch out times between washing.  The lady from the website above only washes her hair about once a week.  I'm not there yet, but I could probably go to every third day now.  Some people have a "transition period" where their scalp goes into overdrive with oil production in response for a few weeks, but I didn't have that.  There is a ton of information on the internet about this method and a million different ways to it, and I encourage you to try it out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Life. Updated.

Ok, so it's been 4 months since I updated.  Forgive me.

Sometime back in March, we were reaching a point where we just didn't know what to do next.  Time till Bob's graduation was drawing near, and we still had not made a decision about what life direction we were going to go  We had options, but none really were sitting well with us. 

Then Bob got an email.  "Maybe come to Louisiana" it said.  "You could fill a need here."  He forwarded it to me.  I read the first line or two at work, sitting alone, and closed it out fast, not daring to read the rest because I knew.  I knew that was where we were going to go.  We had prayed the night before, again, pleading with God to show us what to do, because we were so tired of being in limbo.

We went and visited.  It fit.  We said yes.  I cried a lot.  First for the reality of leaving the family that adopted me, who gave me their name.  I had already left my first family and now I had to do it over again.  Secondly, I cried for the reality of not being an international missionary.  Yes, yes, I know all about "being a missionary where you are" and all that stuff.  But I wanted to go to a land I did not know, to travel, eat strange things, learn a language, to walk with those in true poverty, and work with people who do not think like me.  Now that did not seem like it was to be.

(side-note: I will likely have a whole other blog post about life in Louisiana and how maybe this is a country all its own, but that will have to come later.)

But comfort in God's will prevailed and the tears dried, though they resurface occasionally.  We put our little house on the market.  We planned another trip back to find a new place to live and get a job for me.

I truly job-searched for the first time in my life.  I marketed myself to where there was no job posting.  I came to the conclusion that nurse practitioners barely existed in Louisiana or the market was saturated.  I learned later I was right; I was just one of many NPs.  And it's all about who you know and I didn't know anybody.

We came down for our second visit without much of an agenda, which is not what we wanted.  I had been unable to find a job.  We looked at a bunch of rentals, and saw too many cockroaches for our liking.  Someone mentioned maybe teaching nursing, which I had not thought about.  I found a job to apply to at a university, but couldn't get the fax machine to work for a few days.  Finally, I got it sent off.  We found a place to rent we liked, but it was pretty much already taken unless we could rent it that day.  We still hadn't sold our house.

The day came for us to leave.  We were feeling quite guilty at this point, because the church had paid for our trip down there and we had not accomplished much.  On the way to the airport, we starting thinking it probably would be better just to start paying on the rental house to reserve it.  We would say "Yes" to coming though we didn't know how we would with a house to sell.  The landlady was pleased we wanted it and picked us over another applicant.  We sent a deposit check back with our ride to the airport.  Whew, we had a place to live.

Earlier that morning, I had received a call from the university.  They liked my resume.  We talked in the airport while I was waiting for my plane.  I didn't know much about the job at that point, but they seemed to be offering it to me if I wanted it.  We set up a video interview for later.

We got on the plane.  We started down the runway, but then we stopped.  The pilot came on, saying there's weather in Houston, folks.  He let us turn on cell phones on while we waited for clearance to take off.  A few minutes later, my phone rang, and it was our realtor, saying our house had sold. 

Whoa.  In a matter of hours, we found a place to live, I seemed to have a job offer, and we sold our house.  Praise the Lord!  It was as if He was saying, "Come on, take a step in trust, and I will take care of the rest." 

Our flight got cancelled completely, and we got to stay another night, to come home to celebrate with our new church family.

We packed up our house, I quit my job, and those that do not believe thought we were crazy.  But here we are, learning our way around, picking up a few new words and eating a few strange things.  We feel the Lord has led us here, though we do not know His full purposes for us.  But for now, this will be our mission field.

Monday, April 30, 2012

At 12 months you.....

*still have eight teeth
*weigh 21.6 pounds and are 2 feet, 6 inches tall
*are walking like crazy
*can stack blocks
*successfully smashed cake all over your face for your birthday
*have tasted formally forbidden foods: cow's milk, honey, chocolate, etc
*spend most of your day wandering around pulling things off shelves
*like to be chased
*are scared of the vacuum cleaner and the mixer
*still freeze, drop to the ground, and put your face down whenever you first see Grandpa Blanshan
*eventually warm up to Grandpa Blanshan after making him work hard for your attention
*mooch for food
*ask for books all the time
*are growing up way too fast for your mommy and daddy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

At 11 months you....

*have eight teeth
*imitate lots of words and sounds
*have walked short distances between people
*are sleeping through the night again, mostly
*love the swings at the park and the warmer weather
*can climb up uncarpeted stairs no problem
*enjoy playing with other kids
*have some mild separation anxiety
*like puppies, as long as they're not in your face
*like to strum the guitar and ukulele
*have all sorts of new dance moves

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At 10 months you.....

*scrunch your nose up when you smile
*have started waking up in the night again
*have added tickle, hi, book, and no to your vocabulary
*stand on your own occasionally
*cruise around furniture effortlessly
*crawl up on all fours very quickly
*enjoy all sorts of foods, a few favorites are macaroni and cheese, chicken, bread, cheerios, bananas
*throw your food and/or drink on the floor when you're done
*like to turn the radio off and on, then turn the volume up and down
*can climb up carpeted stairs
*are in constant motion

Saturday, January 28, 2012

At 9 months you....

*have six teeth
*enjoy clapping
*can crawl quite quickly, though you still use the army crawl technique
*love feeding yourself chunks of food
*have said momma and daddy for sure, and possibly cookie, yum, and yay
*often greet us after naps standing in your crib
*like to play hide and go seek with your parents
*love music and dancing
*got caught eating dirt from a houseplant
*go for something naughty (i.e. cords, plugs, plants) when your parents leave the room
*pull yourself to standing whenever you have the chance
*hold the phone to your ear
*are acquiring more bumps and bruises from your attempts at independence
*seem to have a new trick every day