Mommy and baby moxa

Part of my “trying-to-get-pregnant” regimen involves daily moxabustion treatments.  It’s a chinese medical practice, and it’s pretty simple.  The point of moxa is to bring heat (and with the heat comes extra blood and warmth) to a cold part of the body.  In my case, I hold the moxa stick over my belly at a point about two inches below my belly button, and I gently warm the area for about ten minutes-ish.

To do moxabustion, you use a moxabustion stick, which starts off as a 4 inch long black stick about the circumference of a small cigar made of compressed incense.  To light it, you hold one end over an open flame (like a candle) for about a minue or so until you can tell that it’s “caught fire.”  It doesn’t flame or anything, it just smokes a bit.  I have some kind of low-smoke moxa stick from acupuncturist, but once I get my moxa stick lit, I always take it outside to actually do the treatment.  I have a small bowl of sand that I keep next to me, and as the stick smoulders, it makes ash at the end.  So, every few minutes I have to tap the ash off into the bowl.

When there’s not much left of the moxa stick (usually takes about 10-15 treatments to get a moxa stick burned down), I get out a new one.  However, the last time I had a small stub of a stick, I left it in my sand bowl for some reason (probably laziness).  When I got out a new stick the next time, Jujubee was with me.  I asked her if she wanted the small moxa stick, and she was delighted.  I (obviously!) didn’t light her stick, but I did light mine.  Once the stick was lit, she and I went outside together and we moxa’ed together.  She had fun pretending to moxa her belly, and I enjoyed actually moxa-ing mine.

She named her stick “Baby Moxa stick” and mine is, unsurprisingly, “Momma Moxa stick.”  She feels very proud to have her own moxa stick and be just like her Momma.  Every once and a while, I gently hover my hot moxa stick over her belly button, and while she thinks that’s pretty neat, she never likes it on for too long.

And it’s nice for me to have a relaxing moment with my little girl, a little girl who I was blessed to conceive through other moxa treatments four years ago.  I hope these treatments are just as successful.


discipline = more teaching than punishment

I love both of my daughters with all my heart.  They are the light of my life, and I would do anything for them.

That said, they are still sinful little girls, and they exhibit their sinfulness on a regular basis, which presents me with plenty of opportunities to discipline them.  I adore my girls, and I don’t want to discipline them harshly, but I do want them to learn.  I also want to respect their unique personalities, so I try to teach/ discipline them in a way that is most effective without being unnecessarily punitive.

This is not an easy task. Continue reading

potty training

I thought all summer about potty training Jujubee, but things always came up that made me put it off, things like trips to Arizona, Oregon and Wisconsin, plus busy summer days in between back in California.  But, finally, last Thursday, I decided that The Day Had Come, and I began to potty train my almost-three year old daughter.

When Lyd was young, a long-time member of our church who ran a daycare for many years advised me to not try to potty train a child before the age of three.  She insisted that it wasn’t worth the time and effort when kids are younger, and that it goes much faster and works better when they’re a more mature three.  I have always held that advice in my head, and that encouraged me to be more inclined to hold off potty training my kids.  But, this past week I decided to give it a go.  She’s almost three, and I was ready to do it.  So, off we went.

I more or less used a combination of elements of the “Potty Training in a Day” method and the “Naked and $75” method.  Jujubee was bottom-less for most of the day, and I fed her all the juice and water that she could hold.  She spent much of her day sitting on the potty, and she got two M&Ms every time she did what she was supposed to do.  I read her lots of books while she sat on the potty, and later we moved the potty in front of the TV, and she sat on the potty while watching PBS kids.  It all went quite well; she even pooped on the potty during a moment when I wasn’t in the room!  Hooray!

The following days still had successes, but had their share of failures, too.  She only has two pairs of cotton training pants and two pairs of actual panties, and on more than one day she managed to pee on all four pairs.  I had to do an extra load of laundry every night in order for us to be able to try again the next day.

But, we’ve had more successes than failures as the past seven days have gone on.  In fact, she has stayed dry during two naps in the past week, and she even woke up with a dry diaper last night.  Today, she managed not to wet her panties at all (until after supper!), and I was even able to take her to her art class and to the grocery store during which time she kept her panties dry.  So, we’re making good progress.

I’m not sure why she often resists sitting down on the potty, but then will produce the desired outcome after a minute or two.  Perhaps it’s her just getting used to her body’s new signals, or perhaps she misses the convenience of having a diaper; I don’t know.  But, once she actually makes pee, she gets a big open-mouthed exuberant smile on her face, and she announces to anyone who is nearby “I made pee on the potty!”  So, I try to give as little emotional response to her protests as possible and just distract her with something else, usually a book.

The pooping has not gone right the past few days.  Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s used to pooping in a diaper while standing up; sitting to poop is foreign to her.  She seems to really not like the sitting down aspect.  I’m not quite sure how that will end up, as she has been unsuccessful in getting her poop in the appropriate place for the last four days.  I’m sure that, whatever her issue is, she is unable to verbalize it to me, so I’ll just have to continue being as supportive – and watchful – as possible.  Her big sister had issues with pooping on the potty, too, and I know some tricks for dealing with that if I have to.

But today was a day of big successes.  Jujubee stayed dry for two hours while we were away from home, and she stayed dry for the vast majority of the day, only losing it when she was tired in the evening.  I am delighted.

When she and I were at the grocery store today, she asked if she could push a little kid’s cart.  I agreed easily, and that’s the only cart we used.  She pushed it around the store SO well, not running into anything (except the back of my legs once or twice) and patiently waiting at the deli counter and in the checkout line.  She even returned her empty cart to the appropriate location all on her own!  She was so ridiculously grown up today, that it made me teary-eyed for a moment.  Her speech is so easy to understand these days, her personality is (usually) so delightful, and now she’s pretty much potty-trained!  Wow!  My baby is growing up!

I’m hoping I get blessed with a pregnancy soon.  I don’t know if I can handle not having a baby around anymore.  Although, Jujubee vehemently insists that she is still my baby. 🙂  What a darling girl!


I’ve been feeling rather “off” lately.  I’m not quite sure what’s wrong, although I’m sure that the dose of my homeopathic constitutional remedy that I took last week has been part of it.  I was quite jittery in both body and mind by the end of last week (and the stressors I mentioned last week certainly didn’t help my situation!), but now that the new week has started, I’m starting to feel a little better.

However, my body still doesn’t feel quite right.  I’m getting close to ovulation, but it feels more like I am PMS’ing.  I’m not sure what to think about that, but like most things that are cycle-related, it likely won’t last forever.

Today I felt mildly dizzy a few times.  And tired.  I’m still quite tired.  However, ever since we returned home from WI, my husband has been very good about getting to bed by 10pm or 10:30 at the latest.  He’s got three airplane trips planned to WI and the East Coast this fall, and he doesn’t want to be completely thrown off every time he heads to a different time zone.  So, he’s been better about getting to bed at a decent hour, and that makes me more conscious of getting to bed, too.  I’m not sure why I’m so tired, but I’m trying to go for walks and get my blood pumping a little more frequently.  Hopefully that will help.

Of course, stress is tiring, too, and like I mentioned, there is stress.  My husband lately has been carrying lots of Pastor Stress, which is comprised of things he can’t talk to me about.  I hate that; I mean, I don’t hate that he can’t tell me, but I hate that he has to bear these burdens alone.  I wish he could share these stresses with someone, but that would betray the confidence of those who have confided in him.  It’s hard to see him feeling down over things he knows that are happening in his parishioners’ lives.  I guess that’s part of being a pastor — knowing the whole story and not being able to tell anyone else.  A pastor has to bear a lot of burdens – and criticisms – in silence.

Then, there’s the fact that I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to move.  JJ does not have a Call, nothing has happened, but I have this very intense intuition that our lives are about to drastically change.  I both long for it and dread it at the same time.  I’m trying not to think about it too much, but things seem so dramatically different this year than previous years.  I feel a very strong need or organize and sort through more stuff, and JJ is encouraging me along these lines, too.  We know that if/when a Call does come that we would take, we won’t have the time or inclination to go through all the stuff, so it will probably just all end up getting packed.  And who wants to spend the time and money packing junk?  But, in order to properly and effectively go through stuff, I have to do it with the idea in my head that we might be moving, and that’s a strange idea to hold for a long time in your head when in reality, you’re not actually moving anywhere (yet).

Also, Lyd is in first grade.  To me this is just … weird.  She has started piano lessons.  She is reading more and loving math.  We get math questions all the time from her.  It just makes her seem so grown up.  And she’s getting SO tall.

Plus, Jujubee is potty training.  This will get an entire post in itself, but the idea that my baby is potty training is … wow.  I’m really ready for another baby.  I even got told that at church a few weeks ago!  I apparently looked quite blooming and pretty, and was told so by a member of our church.  She followed up her compliment of me by saying (in a very non-threatening way), “It’s time for another baby!”  It’s true: I really feel like I’ve pretty much recovered physically from having another child.  She regularly sleeps through the night, she does more and more things on her own all the time, and while Jujubee still refers to herself as a baby, she’s really not.  So, that is different, too.

Another thing that’s different is my teaching schedule.  The lousy economy is finally being felt here in Silicon Valley, and my boss is seeing a marked decrease in enrollment.  It makes sense: when money is tight, an easy item to eradicate from the budget is toddler music classes.  But, for the first time since I began teaching, I won’t have my Tuesday morning class.  I have ALWAYS had my Tuesday morning class.  That was the very first class I ever had!  But, alas, it is no more.  There weren’t enough families enrolled to run the class.  That feels very weird to me.

A thing that’s not completely different but has become more of an issue lately is my arm.  I do not have carpal tunnel in my right arm, but I have something wrong with it.  I think it has something to do with my mothering; perhaps it’s the fact that I always lay my baby’s head on my left side and change her like that, or maybe it’s the fact that J usually holds my hand on the right side and yanks it funny, or perhaps it’s something else.  I don’t know.  But the muscles in my right arm, from my wrist to my shoulder, hurt like crazy when I’m on the regular house computer.  (However, JJ and I switched computers tonight.  He’s working on the house computer, and I’m working on his laptop in a comfortable living room chair.  My arm is barely hurting at all in this position, so I can type easily.)  I’ve been actively avoiding my computer during the day (which is probably a useful choice anyway!), and massaging and stretching my arm quite aggressively, and that does seem to be helping.  I had this same problem when Lyd was about Jujubee’s age; it’s as if my arm just gives out after three years of nursing and rocking and reading stories and changing diapers and carrying babies and putting kids in car seats and who knows what else.  Apparently, my arm can only handle so much.

The other change, a welcome change, is the new Kindergarten teacher we have at our tiny school.  I cannot begin to express what a joy it is to have someone around who comes from the same WELS teacher background that I do and who understands viscerally what it means to be in the public ministry.  She is truly a blessing to our church and school – and to JJ and myself.  With her happy smile and helpful ways, my girls have quickly learned to love her, and I am grateful to have someone my own age in the church with whom I have so much in common.  It’s a big difference, but it’s a good different.

All of these major and minor changes have left me feeling a bit … discombobulated.  Life just feels very different.  On the surface, things are going as normal, but on the inside, I feel all mixed-up and rearranged.  That’s probably not all bad, however.  No one wants to be stuck in a rut.

There are lots of changes happening.  We’ll see what else the future holds.

a bossy big sister

It has happened more than once in our house as the girls go to bed in their shared bedroom.  Jujubee bounces around on her bed and makes noise, so her big sister tells her to be quiet and lie down.  Jujubee does not like it when her big sister tells her what to do, and she begins to throw a conniption fit: “No!  You NOT tell me to be quiet!  YOU be quiet and lie down!”

You can only imagine how efficiently this system works.

But let me back up.  Jujubee continues – and has increased – her tendency to Continue reading