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I wanted something to do that impacted the people outside the 4 walls of my house.

I wanted it to be something short-term, didn’t involve a lot of commitment for the future and was practical.

I knew I couldn’t do anything GIGANTIC like cure cancer or end poverty, but I knew that I could do SOMETHING that made a difference for SOMEONE.

And I knew I didn’t want to end up cutting my hair again.

So, I did a WHO (Women Helping Out) Homelessness.  It went well. I think I’ll do it again sometime – with different ministries.

Essentially, I invited women to contribute items (or money that bought items) to make Blessing Bags for a ministry here in Omaha that help the homeless.  The ministry, Least of My Brethren, helps the homeless, particularly with a bent towards getting those that are ready to get off the street and get into apartments.  They have a specific bent of outfitting those apartments with furniture or bedding or sheets or dishes.

But they also hold monthly breakfasts for the homeless, passing out these Blessing Bags that contain items that make life on the streets a little easier.  I had a goal of 100 bags and we ended up doing 110 bags.  40 were targeted to women and the remaining 70 to men.

Lots of women contributed items and several women came to my house on a night to assemble the bags.  I’m very thrilled!  The ministry said it was one of the biggest offerings that they’ve gotten – especially since it wasn’t backed by a corporation.  Well done women!

Each bag got at least:
-Shampoo
-Bar of soap
-Toothbrush
-Toothpaste
-Toilet Paper
-5 razors
-Deodorant
-Chapstick
-Q-tips
-Sunscreen
-Pony tail holders
-Plus extra items (lotion, insect repellent, $5 gift card, extra soap, extra toothbrushes, extra toothpaste, or hand sanitizer)
In addition, the women’s bags got feminine hygiene products and a purse! Men’s bags got a pair on underwear!

WHOHomelessness

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Our Baby Ben is 1!  He turned one last week, but he had his well baby visit today.  He’s growing well!

He isn’t walking yet, which I’m actually thrilled about!  My other boys were walking by 11 months, so I’m secretly hoping he’ll be a lower-energy child.  (I can hope, right?)  He’s still well within range of normal.  I think he’ll be walking soon, but not like tomorrow, ya know?  He cruises around furniture and the fireplace and has recently decided that he hates the feel of cement & grass on his knees, so I think that might be incentive to start walking.

We celebrated his birthday twice – once with my side of the family at a restaurant called Surfside Club and once in Columbus with Jeff’s family – we kind of stole Father’s Day as a holiday!

His scrapbook page:

month12

Recent pictures:

BenAge1

Dear Youngest Child

Dear Youngest Child,

I get why there are so many pictures of you.  You see, my child Ben is my youngest and all of a sudden, I feel an urge to capture all kinds of moments on film and video.  Because it’s likely for it to be the last time I see a child of mine:

  • Give that pouty, frowny little face that only babies can make.
  • Wear certain outfits.  Especially for us since my boys wore hand-me-downs, so I’ve seen a lot of our outfits worn by all 4 of them.
  •  Hear the thump, thump, thump sound that only a crawler makes as they rush across the kitchen floor.
  • See a bunch of baby teeth come in all at once.  Seeing a tooth-less grin replaced by a tooth-y one.
  • Bop up and down to the music of a push toy.  Dancing as best as you can.
  • Mimicking your brothers – particularly around clapping to “If You’re Happy And You Know It”.

It’s adorable and bittersweet – trying to eat up the last of these baby days before Ben moves from a crawler to a walker (aka: toddler-ville).

It’s Father’s Day!

For the last few years, I’ve taken individual pictures of the boys holding a letter such that it spells out “DAD”.  Now that we have 4, I’ve expanded it to DADDY.  The pictures are printed individually and put into a collage-type frame that he has, but I’ve combined them here just so that I can remember them:

2017:

DADDY2017

2016:

DADDY2016

 

2015:

DADDY2015

1 year as a SAHM

Today’s my “SAHM”-anniversary.  I’m sure Hallmark has a card for that, right?  It’s been a good, hard year.  In some ways, it was a big adjustment.  After all, I added a 4th kid into the mix just a couple of weeks of leaving my job.  In other ways, it wasn’t that big of a leap because well, they’re my kids.

I realize now how different the time that I used to spend with my kids is from how I spend time with them now.

Before, I worked full time, just giving me evenings and weekends with them.  But a year before that, I was just part-time and I worked mornings.  BUT…my kids napped a good chunk of the afternoons, so I wasn’t spending much more active time with them than if I was working full-time.  (The oldest was starting to drop his nap as I moved from part-time to full-time).

Before, I didn’t have to feed them lunch — my sister (as my babysitter) did or the daycare did.  Believe me, having to plan for lunch threw me for a loop for a bit!

Before (especially the year they were in daycare), my house stayed clean during the weekdays.  Now? We spend our days cleaning it.  Cause we keep making it dirty!  As you’d expect, when people are in a house, it gets used.

There are things that have been really good:

  • Getting a handle on Finn’s food sensitivity issues.  We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re WAYYYY farther along than we had been.
  • Being able to take Finn to pre-school.
  • Letting my kids nap when they want/need to instead of pushing a schedule.  I’m still a big “babies do better on a routine” gal, but the daycare environment just didn’t suit me as far as that was concerned.
  • Seeing what areas we still need to work on (aka: being out in public).

There are things that have been really hard:

  • Similar to what I realized my first year of marriage (with Jeff at that time), they (the kids) don’t go home.  They’re already home.  That means that I’m actively with the same group of people from like 5:45 AM to 7:30 PM.  That’s a long time.  When Jeff gets home, I jump at a little break.
  • Figuring out the food sensitivity issues.  It’s a hard thing to do because it can take 3 days before something shows up and you have to be very disciplined.  Me and food aren’t known for our great discipline with each other.

 

This isn’t a complete list, obviously.  But I’ve realized that if I wait until I have the time or energy or desire even to document all the things in my head, it just won’t ever get done!

 

Did you know that carseats expire?  Oh yes, they do.  #thingsyoulearnwhenyou’reamom

Well, our infant carrier just expired and we moved baby Ben up to a non-infant seat one this weekend, so our infant carrier is officially retired.

Goodbye old friend.  You served us well with all 4 of our babies!

CarSeatCollage

From left to right, top to bottom: Finn (Phinehas), Stephen, Sam (Samuel), Ben (Benjamin)

1) I’m kicking myself (not really) for not getting a picture of Stephen in his carseat as we left the hospital. I thought I had everyone.

2) Sam isn’t in his official “going home” outfit as he soiled it quite thoroughly right before leaving. He’s got his hat though.

3) I see now how itty bitty my babies are — I think I found out later that Finn was technically too small for the carseat as he came home at 5 lbs, 1 ounce.

Carseat5Years

Finn graduated from Preschool!  (Which is a strange thing to write – since when did preschools have graduation?  I don’t think I had one?)

Anyway, they just had a little program where the kids walked up in their little graduation hat and tassel and hugged their teacher.  They sang some songs before and after and that was it.  Short and sweet.  He was beyond fascinated with his tassel – kept touching it during the program.  The tassel of the kid next to him kept falling off, so Finn helped him put it back on his hat a couple of times.  It was cute.

We went home and had brownie sundaes in our pajamas.

Anyway, I was the mom who forgot to take good pictures of him with his teacher or at his program.  So I had him “re-enact” it a couple of days later in front of the fireplace with his hat and tassel.  He humored me!

PreschoolGraduation

Graduation

GraduationCollage