Some Superheroes Don’t Wear Capes

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Big shoes to fill.

I used to share Pinterest-pinned blog posts New York Times articles like “1001 Father/Daughter Dates”, “88 Things A Father Should Teach His Daughter”, or “How To Become Super Dad” with Mr. Thrasher. My intentions are noble. This is not about pushing or nagging or controlling (no, seriously). This is way more complicated and yet so simple: I want my husband to be equipped to be the father I never had.

Then, one day, he was in the middle of a coming-home-from-work-cuddle with Emma (yes, that’s a thing at Thrasher Home), I suddenly realized, he doesn’t need those articles. He knows when and what to say to Emma to make her feel better or praise her. He understands the importance of discipline and setting boundaries for her. He sees her need for physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation. He notices when she just pretends to be fearless but really could use some encouragement. He teaches her how to play baseball, ride her bike, make French Toast, take care of our dog, do yoga, catch bugs and build Lego.

But how does he do it?

It’s not like he has done this fatherhood thing before. Neither does he have mentoring role models in his life. At least, no one he is actually doing life with, no one who is genuinely invested. So where are his mad daddy skills coming from? It’s not rocket science, there is no shortcut or magic trick. It’s surprisingly simple.

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Like father like daughter.

His inspiration?
His daughter.

His ideas?
“The creative adult is the child who survived.”
Making ice cream, visiting a museum for airplanes, rough-housing, playing baseball, putting on adventure hats and exploring – those are things he just wants to do for himself her. 

His experience with girls?
Intuition and listening to his nagging helpful wife.

His secret?
Observe, listen and engage.

His motivation?
Winning his daughter’s heart, protecting her from harm and preparing her for life.

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Little girls love to get flowers, too.

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Always lifting her up. Sometimes literally.

When Mr. Thrasher comes home, Emma will run to the door, give Papa a big hug and tell him how much she missed him. That moment, Paul says, everything that’s happened that day just melts away. No matter how exhausted he is, if Emma has to show him something, he will take her tiny hand and follow her. No complaints. Just pride and gratitude to be her Papa.

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Slow down, little one.

It’s not always Rainbow Dash and butterflies.

Of course, there are days when the skies are cloudy, the voices a little louder and the only game played is “who has more will power”. In those moments, it is hard to show love and give her grace. Impatience trumps affection. Encouragement is conquered by exhaustion. Passion and purpose are defeated by provocation. Yet, Mr. Thrasher knows that those moments offer opportunities to shape her, teach her. He is aware that his loving discipline is needed to show her right from wrong.

Now, do yourself a favor and watch him the next time he’s around your kid. Take notes. I bet he already won his/her heart.

No cape needed.

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He had no idea how she would turn his life upside down…

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First Day of (Pre)School | A Letter To My Daughter

Credits: Surprise Lily Designs on Etsy.

Credits: Surprise Lily Designs on Etsy.

My sweet Emma,

Tomorrow is your first day of school. It’s only preschool but for me (and Papa) it means a pretty big deal. It means another level of letting go. When I went back to work after staying home with you for the past three years, you had to go to daycare every day. Compared to preschool, it was rather easy to leave you with this incredibly loving, caring woman who adored you as if you were her own. I felt at ease dropping you off at Mrs. Eva, knowing you’d be in great hands, having lots of fun and learning quite a bit. (This fairy daycare mom also potty-trained you and cut your hair.)

With your BFF Scarlett at Mrs. Eva's daycare.

With your BFF Scarlett at Mrs. Eva’s daycare.

This time, however, it’s different. Preschool is not an intimate in-home daycare offering lots of cuddles and intimate one-on-one care. This time, I’ll be leaving you with two teachers I don’t know that well, a lot more kids and what it seems, a less affectionate environment.

Here’s what I know: You will turn this experience into something magical. Because that’s what you do. Just like you use your imagination and toys to throw a party for your stuffed animals. When you twirl through the living room, belting out your favorite songs, you make my heart dance. When you reason with your Papa about why you need more grapes to heal your tummy ache (wait, that’s not how YOU cure tummy aches?), you make me proud. You are incredibly smart and inquisitive. As a matter of fact, your Papa and I will be in big trouble when you’re older and start to negotiate curfews and allowances with us.

Rockstar-Ballerina-Surfer-Girl Fashion.

Just like I know to bring a sweater everywhere in the Bay Area – especially in the Summer, I know that you will love school. Because you love to learn. Making new friends fuels you. Exploring excites you. At your young age, you already display wisdom and wit beyond expectations. Your gift to make connections, draw conclusions and question things, amaze me and those around you.

I never bothered to teach you how to write your name. You are 3.5 years old, for Heaven’s sake. Rather than sweating over your academical skills, I ache for you to understand the importance of friendship, patience, sacrifice, compassion and respect. (Besides, you have already known your letters since you were 15 months old.)

Every child knows that hearts mean love. You, however, asked Papa to spell “L-O-V-E” for you so you would know how to write it. With pride I say that you always take things further. Just when you understood that one clears their table after dinner, you asked for help to put your dirty dishes into the dishwasher. When told to clean up your room, you don’t just store your toys away, you organize them (sometimes it takes you hours to carefully wrap every.single.animal. in a blanket). God forbid someone in our house gets sick. Equipped with your toy dishes, doll blanket and band aids you come to our rescue trying to make us feel better. You serve us grapes because you know grapes cure everything. You are a caretaker, a servant.

Dr. Emma at work.

Dr. Emma at work.

That, dear daughter, makes you beautiful. People will try to tell you that your contagious smile, sunkissed hair, pouty lips and lean figure are features that make you pretty. Papa and I will always emphasize that real beauty comes from the inside. Your kindness, compassion and desire to care for others are your true beauty.

You are courageous and have a surprising sense of fairness. Don’t worry about the cool kids who think you’re not cool enough for them. Truth is: Their own insecurities keep them from being vulnerable. There will always be kids who think being friendly, helpful and honest are signs of weakness. Shy away from them, remain kind and know the truth is not what they say.

And then, there is this other side of you: You are fiery and feisty, a firecracker. We already saw (and I felt) it while you were in my womb. You were boxing and kicking non-stop. Papa and my challenge is to teach you to use your passion and conviction for good. (Good luck to us. I still struggle with that balance nowadays.) Those are your God-given gifts that make me want to pull my hair out when you use them against us.

You are a force to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, you will face trials and disappointments. People will hurt you, trying to steal your joy. Don’t let them. Happiness is from the world, joy is from God. It comes from deep within. It’s not easy to find when the going gets tough but it is there. Just like your dreams. No matter how big or small, chase them. You may catch them one day.

Baking cupcakes for your own birthday party.

Baking cupcakes for your own birthday party.

Vice versa, as you look at the desires of your own heart, I encourage you to open your eyes to the needs of people in your life. Usually, people don’t ask for help. Walk in their shoes for a day – you will know what they might be lacking and how you can meet their needs. Acts of Services is a love language. At only 3.5 years old, you already speak it fluently. Hold on to it.

I marvel at how quickly you grow up. In time, as you get older, it will be tougher for Papa and I to hold your hand, stay connected, hug and cuddle. I pray that you will always want to spend time with me.

Speaking of which, you are now gently but determined reminding me that I promised you to draw with you. So before it’s too late, I will kneel on the floor with you, coloring Hello Kitty pages and listen to Leo Lausemaus CDs.

You make me proud, sweet Emma!

In Liebe,

-Mama.

 

Let Go Of That Toy! | Be The Person You Want Your Child To Become

The other day something awful happened: Our babysitter quit. She will be working full time for another mother. (Imagine me throwing a time-out worthy tantrum that makes me want to send myself to my room.) I am upset. Disappointed. Sad. Doesn’t that other mom know the Ten Commandments of Motherhood? Thou shall not covet another mother’s babysitter. Our babysitter is wonderful with my daughter. My daughter adores her. Every Thursday morning when I ask Emma “Who is coming today?”, she squeals full of excitement her name and runs to the window hoping she would already be there.

I feel a similar sense of excitement towards the end of every Wednesday knowing that the next day, I would finally get a break, have a bit of me time to recharge my empty batteries, refresh my soul or simply run errands, clean the house, do laundry and schedule doctor appointments. I recently picked up a few freelance projects so I also need this day to work.

That morning, when I was told that I would lose that precious ‘day to myself’, I couldn’t help but wonder if the other mother cared about our family’s needs for a babysitter or if she was solely driven by the urgency her family experienced in finding someone to watch her son while she was at work. Affordability was another big deal for us. As we are preparing to adopt, we can’t afford to spend much money on the luxury of ‘giving Mama a day off‘. Our sweet babysitter didn’t charge much. Why was this blessing taken from us?

But this story isn’t about condemnation, judgement or injustice. It’s about being an example.

blog-headlines0Here’s a confession: My Achilles’ heel is that I am an emotional person. I am easily affected or stirred by emotions. Emotional eating, emotional outbursts, talking back, acting before thinking or praying (I can see my therapist nod as she’s reading this.). My girl Joyce [Meyer] puts it so well in her book “Managing Your Emotions”: Wisdom calmly looks ahead to determine how a decision will affect the future, emotions are only concerned with what is going on at this very moment. Ha!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 encourages us to confess our faults to one another so that our hearts and minds may be healed and restored.

As you can tell, I’m working on it. I am aware of Satan’s trap trying to defeat my trust in God. Just like he did that morning. I reacted based on my emotions. I know when anger arises, I need to turn to my exit strategy: Pray and call my husband or a trusted friend to vent. By all means, hold your tongue.

That morning, I needed an intervention…

blog-headlines1As I’m constantly trying to figure out how to teach my daughter to love, respect and be grateful, I’m learning so much about myself. When I see Emma’s temper tantrums and her taking a swing at our dog or worse, her own Mama, I don’t allow myself or her the excuse of “Oh, well, she is in the Terrible Twos. This is normal.” or “She must be tired.” I see emotional outbursts. I see a lack of control of her tongue. I see the need for discipline and, more importantly, I see the urgency of teaching my little girl about love, selflessness and forgiveness. Especially, when I take a look at myself and my own struggles with emotions. I would be ignorant not to be alert and start training her heart now.

I had just started reading “Don’t Make Me Count To Three”. A book about the practical application of scripture to disciplining children. According to the author, we must reach past the behavior of our children and get a better understanding of their hearts. As the heart is the foundation of all behavior. She gives a very relevant example in her book as she describes how her younger daughter is trying to take a toy away from her older brother who was happily playing with it. 

We normally would ask “Who had it first?” to establish justice. But it all changes if we take a look at where their hearts should be in such a situation. Both children are simply being selfish and their actions are basically saying “I don’t care about your happiness. I want this toy right now and don’t care what that means to you”. Can you see where I am going with this?

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That morning, after our babysitter quit, I found myself sitting on the cold floor in our garage crying to my husband who was trying to leave for work. Enter Holy Spirit. His appearance was ignited by a text my friend sent me after I vented to her. She reminded me that it is no one’s fault. It’s just life. But God will provide. Just like He once provided before.

I felt a shift in my heart.

How can I expect my 2-year old daughter to foster an attitude of love and kindness if I couldn’t be an example for her? If above all, my desire for my daughter is to behave in a way that glorifies God (and how often do we sit in our church’s moms group claiming that to be our goal?), I have no choice but display a Christ-like thinking and acting for myself. How could I teach her to not fight over a toy and learn to let it go while I was selfishly holding on to something I treasured instead of granting it to someone who obviously needed it more?

Suddenly, I felt peace. How come all these parenting books I’m reading to be a better mother are actually teaching me to be a better woman? I am not pridefully padding my back. And my story isn’t about conquering a severe or life-threatening issue either. But I am challenging you – and myself – to truly examine our own behavior as we raise our children. No matter how many books and blogs on parenting we are reading, we won’t be able to harvest righteousness in our children if we don’t display it ourselves.

What is your weakness when it comes to being an example for your kids? Do you eat French Fries and chocolate behind their backs while you preach them how bad that food is for you? Spill it, sister.
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Be Still, And Know That I Am God | A Long Overdue Adoption Update

“Be still, and know that I am God.” ~Psalm 46:10

Serenity found in Maui, HI.

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to reflect on what God can do in the face of what we are unable to do. Sounds pretty much like the headline of our adoption story which, at this time, is not necessarily a story yet. It’s more like a draft or outline.

Most of the times, our desire to adopt seems so unrealistic, so unreachable, so impossible. Last year, we thought, we’d be in a great position to get started with the adoption process: Attend the workshops and online classes, read the obligatory materials, submit our application and maybe even complete our homestudy. You might have followed my Adoption Awareness Blog Project or joined our excitement when we announced that We Are Expecting Again. Then, Thrasher Home went awfully quiet all of last year, very few posts, no word about our adoption. Dear friends, I owe you an update:

A call to the adoption agency of our choice in January of last year made us slow down, rethink our approach and finally turn to God for advice. We were told by a very sweet agency worker that it may not be a wise decision to start the process considering the little funds we had available to us. It may not work in our favor if we had to interrupt the process while trying to save or raise more money to move on to the next step. With only one income and a tight monthly expense budget, we were only making small progress towards our adoption savings goal of $29,000. When we called the agency, we had merely $4,000 in our savings account. (Just reading these numbers again makes me nauseous.)

While I was disappointed and sad, Paul received a word from God that Sunday in church. God told him that we need to be still and trust His timing. Certainly not a mind-blowing revelation but as usual God’s timing was perfect: Paul’s regained confidence, helped me understand that we were trying too hard to force our own agenda. We were desperately trying to control the situation.

Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. ~Psalm 37:7 (GWT)

There it was.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” […] ~ 2 Corinthians 2:9

Yes, more of that, please.

Family peace.

The most important thing Paul reminded me off is that this adoption will happen. We will add to our family through adoption. Only God knows when. In the meantime, we must not be discouraged but be faithful. And surrender.

The American evangelist D.L. Moody once said that “If you partner with God, make your plans big!”. Our plans are big indeed…

Do you have any big plans that require someone like the Almighty as a partner? How did you surrender? Did you already reach the end? Do share. We appreciate any words of encouragement, prayers and stories.
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Teaching A Toddler To Be Thankful :: A Family Christmas Tradition

With Christmas being only weeks away, I wanted to share how we are hoping to teach our almost two-year old Emma about being thankful and giving back. My prayer is that you are inspired to join us and millions of others who are participating in Operation Christmas Child. (National Collection Week is only until Nov 19, 2012. So hurry up!)

For Emma, Christmas could possibly be even more about receiving since her birthday is around the same time and she is an only grandchild. She doesn’t lack anything: cute, warm clothes in her closet, delicious organic food on her plate, the latest educational, wooden toys in her toy box, a cozy bed, meds when she needs them and two parents who love, adore and protect her. We know that Emma is still very young and she likely won’t understand the concept of giving but Paul and I believe it’s never to early to begin.
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A few years ago, we have participated in the Fill A Shoe box project through our old church. Thanks to Life As A Mom, I was reminded how beautiful, simple, and fun this concept is and together with Mr. Thrasher decided that from this year on, the Thrashers will participate every year. Go ahead and read the stories on the Samaritan’s Purse website, take a look at the photos of children receiving and opening their shoe boxes. It warms your heart! Such a simple gift. Such a huge impact on a child’s life.

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As we were gearing up to pack our boxes, Emma was getting very excited about all the ‘new toys’ piled up in her room. Now, how do you explain to your toddler that she won’t be able to play with them? I picked two small gifts for Emma, showed them to her and told her that first, we’d have to pack the toys into the shoe boxes for other children but that afterwards she can play with hers. Seemed to work.
I continued to explain that some kids don’t even have socks and that’s why we will be giving them socks. So Emma took off her socks and put them in a box.

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Until it was time to put that plush reindeer with sound into the box. She had to rock and sing to Rudolph before she could put him away. As soon as I turned my back to hand Emma the next item, she had pulled Rudolph out again.

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Eventually, the boxes were filled and I asked Emma to hold my hand so we could pray over the boxes and for the kids who would receive them.

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Last action item before we drop off our boxes: We’ll include a personal note and a photo of our family for each box.
What would you put into your shoe box? Do you have any family traditions to give back or volunteer together? Do share.

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Camping With A Toddler And A Dog :: Part Two

Unlike her Mama, Emma loves camping. And so does Griffin, our dog.

A creek and lots of pine cones - better than a million dollar playground.

I have to admit, seeing our little Miss Sunshine explore the woods with her dog made me happy. She had a blast. Not even dime-sized blisters on both of her feet from wearing her water shoes barefoot in the creek all day slowed her down. Too much to do. Too much to discover. Too many pinecones to collect. Too many monkeys (her sign for chipmunks) to chase.

We didn’t bring a watch. Emma was our clock. When she showed first signs of tiredness, we put her down for naptime. To my surprise, she slept just fine. She neither had problems with the bright daylight, background noise from other campsites, her nervous mother, nor the heat. We brought her lullabies but quickly deferred to the white noise provided by the lovely creek. Her naps were between 2-3 hours. For the first time, I was grateful how easily kids are entertained (read: tired out) by roaming around outdoors all day. At least one of my concerns was unjustified.

As for the dog, he didn’t mind our leash-rope-construction that allowed him to roam around without wrapping his leash around every tree. Mr. Thrasher hung rope between the trees, then attached the leash to the rope with a carabiner hook. That way, Griffin could remain on leash. The creek provided a refreshing “water bed” for him. And the best part (if you’re a dog)? We didn’t stop him from digging. Heaven!

He also slept peacefully through the nights with only mild growling every now and then when a monkey, excuse me, chipmunk got too close.

Emma is taking Griffin for a walk near our tent.

Emma is a born helper. She kept refilling Griffin's water bowl all day and fed him every morning. (Also, pants are overrated.)

Dirt won't hurt. Our campsite setup:

Ugly stroller: $12 at Target. Child entertained for hours: Priceless.

Thrasher Home in the wilderness.

Our gear (download our packing list Thrasher Home Camping Trip Packing List):

I know I promised to share our reason for leaving the beautiful California Twin Lakes in a rush. After the jump you’ll find out here. Pinky swear.

Baby + Toddler Sign Language :: Look Who’s Signing Now

We're working on the sign for 'Ente' (duck).

When I was pregnant with Emma, I had the best intentions to teach her Baby Sign Language (based on ASL). I learned that “research studies show that signing with babies accelerates language acquisition, reduces frustration, enhances a child’s self esteem, and deepens the bond between parent and child.”

Even Mr. Thrasher thought it would be a smart idea. Well, that was before baby when we were determined to be Super Parents. In the end, Mr. Thrasher claimed he’s already ‘speaking’ enough languages (PHP, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Java) and doesn’t have the capacity to learn another language. So it’s just me who is signing and signing and signing. For months, I felt like a clown waving my hands in front of my clueless child without seeing any results. But I kept it up, learned my signing vocabulary with the help of My Smart Hands’ fantastic online dictionary and babysignlanguage.com, and continued to playfully teach Emma.

At the age of 11 months, Emma started signing ‘milk’. Of course. She quickly realized that Mama acted on that sign and decided to use it whenever she wanted anything – food, snacks, water, a hug. Her second sign was ‘dog’. Not a surprise either. Accompanied by a cute, grunting sound and pointing of her tiny finger at our dog Griffin, it is now the first thing she ‘says’ after waking up in the morning. You thought she would be happily throwing her arms around her Mama’s neck…

I began teaching Emma sign language when she was 6 months old. Today, Emma is 15 months old and I love seeing the results of my teaching efforts.

And truth be told, it does reduce frustration and it certainly creates a fun, interactive bond with my daughter. I can tell she’s adorably proud when I praise her for showing me the correct sign. She also seems eager to learn more. But more importantly, she seems to have the time of her life. At least, that’s how I interpret that big smile on her pretty face when she signs and we communicate with each other.

Her vocabulary to date includes about 20 signs: milk, eating, dog, cheese, flower, Papa, Jesustaking a bath, pleaseshoes, socks, (teddy) bearbed, baby, zebra, all done, it’s time/clock, gorilla, monkey and sometimes penguin.

Have you tried sign language with your baby? How is it going?

 

Sleeping In The Suburbs :: Part 5

After scaring expecting or brand new parents with Part 1 and Part 2 of my series ‘Sleepless In The Suburbs’, then leading them on with a slightly more positive Part 3 and Part 4, it’s time to proclaim the good news of victory over all sleep demons.

Snoozing with her best friend.

Back in July/August of last year, after we started with the CIO (Crying It Out) method, Emma quickly showed that she was very well capable of sleeping for 12 hours in one stretch without the need for extra fuel or attention. She was 6 months old at that time. All this nursing in the middle of the night was simply because she wanted the comfort of Mama’s boobies. (Mr. Thrasher says, he can relate.)

For the first few months as new parents it seemed like a never-ending story and I kept asking God why He had to punish test us with such a difficult baby. Today, I can barely remember when Emma decided that napping in her crib is absolutely refreshing and that she would be ok if I just put her down in her own bed, said ‘Gute Nacht’ and left her in her room to fall asleep. After six stressful, sleepless, exhausting months for all family members, Emma had finally learned to not only go to sleep without fussing at night, she was also cooperating during daytime naps.

As lots of wise (wo)men, doctors, sleep experts and research confirms, babies need the predictability of a daily routine – including naps. (Thrasher Home is not a scientific or medical blog so you won’t find the facts here. But I encourage you to read more about it if you doubt it.) Therefore, we decided that Emma’s sleep schedule, especially bedtime at night, would take priority over our social life. And if that required for either Paul or me to stay home in the evening while Emma was sleeping or getting a babysitter, so shall it be.

The reward for our sacrifice is priceless. Let me share a summary of Emma’s sleeping habits as of the age of 6 months:

  • We do feed her before bedtime/naps but she’s always awake when we put her in her bed.
  • Emma doesn’t cry when put in her crib and left in her room to fall asleep on her own. Only when she thinks she doesn’t need a nap, she objects loudly. However, this doesn’t happen at night.
  • Bedtime is 6.30pm. She is fast asleep by 7pm.
  • She mostly goes down for her naps during the day without fussing.
  • At almost a year, she still naps twice during the day: around 9.30am and 2pm. I always try to be home or in the car around these times to give her an opportunity to sleep. (She refuses to fall asleep in her stroller.)
  • Starting at 6 1/2 months, Emma was sleeping through the night from 6pm to 6am. She usually woke up once around 11pm, fussed softly for less than five minutes and went right back to sleep.
  • Emma often plays quietly with her toys after waking up from a nap.
I know some of you have been exploring CIO? How has it been going for you? Tell me.

iFamily :: Electronics In Today’s Homes

We may as well call each other iDad and iMom…Mr. Thrasher and I share seven screens in our home. That may not be a lot for a home in the Bay Area, the epicenter of tech startups and Apple HQ. On occasion, four of those screens are in use at the same time: A movie or TV show is showing on the TV screen while Mr. Thrasher is quickly fixing a bug (that’s code for he’s software engineering something) and I was just reminded by something someone said on TV to look something up. At some point, both of us receive at least one text or alert which brings our cellphone screens to life. Only the iPad is peacefully resting in its sleeve on the bookshelf.

Do I really want to let my toddler play with a $600 device? Source: Thinkgeek.com

Quoting an article in the NY Times “technology has become an alienating force in the contemporary home”. Unfortunately, I agree. All too often, I am spending my nights with my husband but not together, while both of us are lost in our own virtual worlds. The other night, we started a game of Words With Friends while we were lying next to each other in bed. Knock, knock. Who’s there? Certainly not romance.

That’s when we realized we had to make a change. A while ago, I invented ‘opening hours’ to limit the time I spent online and thus allow me to focus more on offline quality time with friends and family. I’m happy to report that my daughter definitely benefited from my newly found self-discipline to control the use of electronics. I never neglected my baby because I had an important email to write or text to send. But now I’m also interacting more with her while she’s eating instead of texting or reading her a book in the morning instead of checking emails or having a pillow fight in bed instead of logging into Skype to see if my family in Germany is online.

Back to iDad and iMom and bringing sexy romance marriage time back. If you haven’t noticed, I need rules and guidelines and going cold turkey to deal with negative habits. Might be the German in me. So I started by deleting all my social media apps from my phone (read here why I took a hiatus from Facebook a while ago), I’m also turning my phone off on most nights and am charging it in the living room instead of next to my bed, on road trips we’re using our phones only for navigation purposes, to find a kid-/dog-friendly restaurant on Yelp or to make phone calls. By the way, car trips are excellent opportunities to connect with your spouse. And don’t forget to ‘talk’ with your toddler on the backseat.

The icing on the iCake, however is the No-Screen Sundays at Thrasher Home: On Sundays we refrain from logging into our computers, playing games on our phones or turning on the TV. Only exception: If we have truly important things to take care of that can’t wait. Speaking of important…my iBaby just woke up from her morning nap. Which means my computer goes into Sleep mode.

How iFamily are you? Do you let your toddler play with your electronics?

Dinner’s Served :: Meals For New Parents

While a lot of events from those early days as new parents are now just blurry memories, Mr. Thrasher and I still remember almost every dish our friends brought us during that time. Paul goes as far as claiming that the meal delivery was the best thing about having a new baby. (We won’t tell our daughter.)

Image source: annies-eats.com

As mommy and daddy will worry about feeding baby, good friends and family often offer to feed mommy and daddy. Especially a new mom will need regular, healthy, nutritious food to boost her energy to keep up with the demands of a new baby.

Inspired by never-ending news of pregnancies in our circle of friends and thus many more meals to take to their homes, I thought I’d share some tips on how to ensure that your meal delivery is indeed a blessing.

  • There’s an app for that. You’ll still have to make and deliver your meal but there are a lot of websites available that make scheduling the meal deliveries easy as pie (pun intended). Personally, I’m a fan of Meal Train. It allows you to enter details like preferred drop off time, dietary restrictions and you can save your delivery date into your Google calendar.
  • Use disposable containers. Being a fan of jute bags and hater of paper plates and plastic silverware, I cringe a bit putting this tip on my blog. But I think this is a valid exception as you really don’t want your friends to worry about keeping track of who brought what serverware.

    Don’t forget to include heating/cooking instructions with your dish.

  • Is your meal appropriate? When choosing a recipe or dish to bring consider specific dietary needs, allergies or if your mommy friend is nursing. You may want to avoid any foods that can cause gas for mommy and baby, for example: beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions. Look for long-lasting dishes like soups, stews, and curries instead of a mixed salad that will be soggy after a short while. Casseroles may be old-fashioned but they are easy to prepare, heat up and last for several meals. If your friends are from another country or even another state, they might be thrilled to receive a traditional meal that reminds them of home.
  • Make lots of food. We loved it when friends brought enough food for us to enjoy for lunch the following day. So grateful for that extra blessing!

Salad, bread, sides, dessert, beverages, napkins and a snack for later make a complete meal delivery.

  • Make it complete. Add a side (those pre-packaged salad mixes are easy to fix) or a loaf of bread, an after-dinner treat and beverages. If you’re time-strapped and can’t afford to spend hours in the kitchen, think about picking up a pint of ice cream or pre-made fruit salad. And for the beverage, Daddy may enjoy a chilled beer. I know Mr. Thrasher did. Think about treats like cupcakes or cookies that Mommy can enjoy single-handedly while nursing the baby.
  • Make it pretty. Add a special touch by writing a cute card or label the food containers with hand-written stickers and include pretty napkins.
  • When to drop off your meal. Plan on delivering your meal at a time that’s most convenient for the new parents. Call ahead to confirm your ETA. Think about preparing your dish the night before or sign up for a weekend day to bring a meal if your family or work schedule don’t give you much time to cook an extra meal.
  • Don’t linger. Even if your friends don’t say anything or seem to be having a great time, now is not a good time to ask all your questions about their birth story. Keep your visit short. New parents need rest and privacy. And they probably can’t wait to enjoy your meal!
  • Leave the kids at home. This is probably easier said than done. Every new mother/father is different but I remember very well how stressed and overwhelmed I was with the simple task of opening the door for my friends. You don’t want to burden your friends by having your own child running around or possibly spreading germs. Ask your spouse to watch the kids while you make your delivery.
  • Speaking of kids…If you’re cooking meals for adults and kids, make something age-appropriate and check with the parents about food allergies.
Now, off you go and bless your friends, you wonderful person! I can promise you they will be grateful for years and probably tell their offspring beautiful stories about you.

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