Saturday, March 28, 2009

Music for the soul

Had the privilege of hearing Chanticleer again Thursday night at The Porter Center of Brevard College. Nice foggy trip over the mountains to get there... kinda like that 13 mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway the night before our wedding, LOL.

Their program this time was titled Wondrous Free and (understatement alert) "demonstrates the diversity of song in America." Though most of the pieces in the program were in English, spanning several hundred years brought in quite a range of styles--from spirituals and fuging tunes to madrigals by P.D.Q. Bach. Most interesting modern piece was The Homecoming, a poem written by John Stirling Walker in 2003 and set to music by David Conte. Haunting, though-provoking... Program notes can be found on-line here and include the text of The Homecoming.

For those of you who haven't heard Chanticleer before, following is their rendition of Shenandoah. This video doesn't do hold a candle to hearing it live, front -n- center in the third row as we did Thursday night, but it'll have to do. ;-)

Chanticleer is currently on a brief tour up and down the Eastern seaboard. If you're anywhere near New Canaan CT, Richmond VA, Morrow GA, Huntsville AL..... Get tickets and GO HEAR THEM!!!

From their most recent CD...

Absolutely incredible. Breath-taking live. Especially from the third row. Did I mention that we were dead-center in the 3rd row?? :-D I really need to track down the gal from the Porter Center's box office & hug her.

I am a happy woman. Nothing like beautiful music performed with excellence to lift the spirits!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Of Copperheads, Crayfish, and Creosote

Yeah, it was an interesting day!! :-)

The cat brought us a small (freshly-killed) snake with "suspicious" markings. It looks like the same kind of snake we had around last fall that my neighbor said was a baby copperhead, so I've done some research (gotta love the Internet)! It's actually a brown snake. Non-poisonous. Yeah for that!!

In the midst of researching what kind of snake we had, found out juvenile copperheads have bright lemon yellow tails for the first years of their lives--easy to spot & tell-tail (pun intended, sorry!) sign that they're dangerous. This snake is the size of a juvenile copper, but is actually full grown. No snakes in this area bear young so early in the season anyway. Should've known it couldn't have been a juv. copperhead, but now at least I have proof. :-)

Went down to get the mail today and heard something rustling in the leaves in the ditch. Something red... moving... probably just a big beetle. Hmmm... Having never seen a beetle big enough to make *that* much noise, decided to track the sound. What the...??? It looks like a baby lobster!! OK, so I know there are crayfish native to SC, but I've sure as heck never seen one in the wild! But there it was.

I wish like anything I had had my camera with me, but who carries their camera to the mailbox every day just in case they see a cray-fish?? LOL I'd have gone up to the house, gotten the camera and come back for a picture--if for no other reason than to reassure myself that I wasn't hallucinating--but our mail box is kinda precariously perched on the side of the road above the ditch... and the baby was howling... and the older two were up to no good when I got back to the house, so I have no photographic proof to offer. But I swear... it was a baby lobster, LOL.

And just in case the day wasn't weird enough...

Our neighbors like burning things. Today it was a pyre of creosote soaked railroad ties with kindling of Styrofoam... oh, and a good dousing of lighter fluid for good measure. Glad none of the kids are asthmatic!! Sheesh!

The neighbors are feuding. Boy and girl grow up across the street from each other. Get married, have kids. Things go sour--really sour. They separate. BUT both sets of in-laws still live across the street from each other. (We live next door to the nice ones.) The other in-laws (kitty-corner across the street from us) are the ones who like to burn things in their yard.... But only on really dry, really windy days. Like "no rain in the forecast for a week and the flag flies straight out" dry and windy days. And only when said wind is blowing toward us (and their son's ex-in-laws) across the street. *Eye roll*

Now in fairness, I wouldn't burn when the wind were blowing toward my house either, and usually they burn a lot closer to their house. (As they're on a couple of cleared acres, it's not like they don't have the room.) But come on! Today's pyre got built right in the corner of their property nearest to the ex-laws. *sigh*

It would be laughable if it didn't smell so bad! ;-) I can't tell you how many days these past 2 summers I've had the lines full of clothes & had to go bring them in lest they smell like burning...whatever the neighbors decide to burn that day. At least the road will make a natural fire-break...

Saturday, March 7, 2009


The youngest baby dragon gave me his first smile right after his one month check-up last month. Probably he was just expressing graitude that he didn't have to get shots, LOL. But since then he's been getting better at returning smiles, and finally this week will hold one long enough for the camera to catch him in the act. Not bad for 8 weeks & 13 lbs!!!

Cute eh?? :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Vipers in Diapers?

I used to say I'm lucky, but I really don't think it's luck. Babies are hard-wired to communicate their needs. Specifically. Like BD#1's cry changing tone and timbre during those diaper changes right before the middle-of-the-night feedings. First it was his "Momma, I'm dirty" cry. Once that diaper was fresh & dry though--even before you could get his PJ's snapped back up--it was very clearly "Momma, I'm HUNGRY--FEED ME NOW!" LOL.

What has me ranting about babies and their God-given ability of communicating their needs??

Just a recent comment made from the pulpit about children, and how utterly sinful they are. (Yes, I know, we're all born with a sinful nature, and a bent toward "our own way" as Isaiah put it.) But the comment was (1.) made by a young guy with no children (2.) in that tone that implied "children are bent on destroying everything good around them and controlling/manipulating everyone/everything they can--don't let them!!!" or what I like to call the children are merely "vipers in diapers" attitude. And it bugs me, badly. Made me want to ask him if he'd been reading up in Ezzo's Babywise already. 'Cause BabyWise does that a LOT. Implying there's a need to differentiate between a baby crying to present a need and some OTHER kind of crying--to manipulate their authorities or demand attention? Who looks at infants that way??

As KatieKind put it in her comment on parenting toddlers--equally applicable to parents of the very young as well--"If they could simply tell you, "Don't listen to me, I know I'm being irrational about this, I'm totally exhausted and not thinking straight" like a girlfriend would, things would be different." But they can't. And I'm afraid this attitude... this assumption that babies are hell-bent on manipulation and control of their parents from their very youngest days... is doing great damage to relationships between parents and children in the Church.

Where in Scripture are children EVER referred to in such a denigrating way? From Isaiah's "can a woman forget her nursing child?" to Jesus' "suffer the little children and forbid them not," I'm not finding a Biblical defense for this prevalent attitude toward children--anybodys children--but especially not children of believers. If the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing (I Cor. 7:14), how much more their children?

And don't get me started on the Pearl's. From the introduction of Pearl's To Train Up A Child: These truths are not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, but rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train His children. Um... really?? God trains us like the Amish train their mules? Really?? My Bible says He knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. And the verses before and after that?? Psalm 103:8-18...

The LORD [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep [his anger] for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust. [As for] man, his days [are] as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD [is] from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
In short, God doesn't view us as "vipers in diapers" so why should we allow our children to be viewed this way?

What do we do with vipers? Off with their heads!!
What ought we to do with our children? Love, train, nurture. Even when they cry. :-)

In the words of Barbara Curtis (found here): "Why ... worry so much about parents being ruled by their babies? Why even choose that framework? When I cry out and God meets my needs, is He being ruled by me?" Worth thinking on, yes?

And a fantastic series on grace in parenting by ThatMom, the latest installment of which is found here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Irony of Ezzo and AP, Part 1

Back before we had BD#1, a few of the young mothers at church read Gary Ezzo's On Becoming Babywise. I think someones friend gave one gal a copy & she mentioned it to a couple others of us. It was a casual mention--definitely not a church-sponsored Growing Kids God's Way class or anything like that. I know at least one mom or two of the moms used the ideas from Ezzo's book with reasonable success. I was intrigued enough with their comments about BabyWise that sometime during my pregnancy with BD#1, I picked up a copy of Ezzo's book & skimmed it.

His presentation was straight-forward enough, though perhaps a bit over-bearing (to the point of obnoxious) and derisive of anyone who didn't see things his way. Obviously there was no love lost for those poor deluded attachment parents with their constantly interrupted sleep and chaotic child-centered child-dominated lives. But his presentation of his own ideas sounded reasonable enough... We're all happier with predictability and routines, right?! Therefore:
  • Work the baby into your schedule instead of rearranging your entire life around the baby--baby will feel more secure that way.

  • Get baby into an eating schedule as soon as you can (starting 2 weeks after birth)

  • Be aware of (and take steps to promote) baby getting full sleep cycles rather than cat-naps

  • Feeding baby at regularly spaced intervals will help regulate baby's metabolic processes which in turn help baby sleep through the night sooner than demand fed babies (because your baby will get full meals instead of snacking, therefore less waking during the night from hunger.

  • Eat-play-sleep routines (rather than play-eat-sleep) will lessen the likelihood of baby being nursed to sleep which in turn cuts out the lay-sleeping-baby-down and tip-toe out of the room with-fingers-crossed exercise.

  • Put baby down to bed while awake--teaches baby to fall asleep alone rather than with "sleep aids" and eliminates that dreaded tip-toe routine.

Having done my fair share of baby-sitting as a teenager, I was a bit too familiar with the rock-baby-to-sleep and lay baby down only to have him or her wake up howling to be held again. As annoying as that was to me as a teen-aged baby-sitter, I couldn't imagine having to go through that routine every night for a year or so with each kid we might have. No thanks!! Plus, the concept of attachment parenting, co-sleeping, etc., was one I was NOT interested in. No way, no how. My bed is MINE thankyouverymuch!

Ezzo's ideas all sounded reasonable enough to this order-loving first-timer, but we had child-birth classes to take and furniture to re-arrange so I didn't put too much more thought into the book or Ezzo's ideas until after BD#1's arrival. Once BD#1 was in arms instead of in vitro I had no mental energy to re-read anything. All I could remember was Ezzo's claim that an eat-play-sleep routine would be best for all of us, so off we went. And it worked. Really. It worked.

A bit too well, in fact. He slept so well on is own early on that he never learned the art of falling asleep outside of his crib. So when Memere came to visit, snuggling baby to sleep was a no-go. (Partly because I was a new momma and insisted on trying to keep baby on his "routine" (bag over head--Sorry Mom!!!) But once he aged past that wonderful snuggly newborn phase (hastened I'm sure by my insistence that he sleep in his crib at all naps & nighttime), he absolutely would NOT fall asleep anywhere outside of his crib.

SO... word of warning to those who think not rocking a baby to sleep every night will bring you freedom--it won't!! You'll have to be home by the baby's bedtime--every time, 'cause he won't fall asleep anywhere else. And to this day (almost 4 years later) it's still true. Bed ='s sleep. Therefore, no bed ='s no sleep.

To be continued...

Couple of links from others if you're interested in more information on Ezzo...

From the horses mouth:
Growing Kids God's Way

From those who jumped off the wagon:
Jenn's story
TulipGirl's files
ChewyMom's files
KatieKind's files
Camille's adventures becoming an attachment mom and her research on Ezzo.

Deconstructing the wagon: