Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

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).

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Happy Father’s Day!

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:








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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!


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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!


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.


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Do you have a “different” child? Or just a child not quite like you? Or a child that you don’t really understand?
I’ve recently read “Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him” by Sally & Nathan Clarkson.
LOVED IT! We don’t have the same battles she & Nathan faced (ADHD, OCD, anxiety), but I found their story to be very encouraging – particularly as it relates to parenting the child we actually have, not the child we think we have or the child we thought we’d have.
We’re at the stage of parenting where personalities are starting to develop.  Where correction seems constant.  Where it’s a more than just “keeping the baby nourished and well slept”.
Some quotes I really enjoyed:
“If Nathan had grown up in a home where he was constantly put down and corrected, I think the oxygen of God’s love would have been strangled from his heart, which needed a wide berth of unconditional acceptance.”
“As a family, we told our other children, our message was clear: “If it is God’s will for Daddy and me to have Nathan as our child (for you with your issues), it is God’s will for you to have Nathan as your brother.  All of you are what make up the design of our family.”
“Because Nathan did need to be trained, some correction was unavoidable.  But when I put myself in Nathan’s shoes, I realized that my constant correction could easily be a source of frustration, insecurity, and anger in my already-fragile child.  That constant feeling of just not measuring up can build a lifelong legacy of insecurity and even despair.  Feeling like a disappointment on a regular basis can actually shape the brain patterns of a growing child.  Failure and helplessness can become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

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Finn turns 5 next month.  In our state, that means that they expect him to start Kindergarten in the Fall.  So they send you a letter reminding you of that and giving you your choices.  In the school district we live in, we have these choices:

  • His assigned school, which teaches a “Core” program.  It’s the only elementary school in the district that does this.
  • A Montessori-based Kindergarten, which has a tract that stays Montessori through Grade 8.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is available all the way through high school.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • A normal/regular/standard school that the rest of the elementary schools use.
  • A private school (religious or otherwise)
  • Opting into another public school district
  • Homeschooling
  • Waiting a year til he’s 6 to decide.

Right now, we’re waiting a year to start Kindergarten.  For a variety of reasons, this is the right choice for him.

But, man, all the choices!  Let’s say I rule out other districts, private school and homeschooling (which we haven’t ruled out, but let’s just say) — that still gives me 4 educational options in 1 school district.  4!?!?  I’m appreciative of having choices, but geesh!

When my mom wanted to enroll me in Kindergarten, it was simple.  What’s your assigned school? That’s where you went – all the schools in that same district had the same curriculum.  Sure, you might prefer a different elementary school because you knew of the principal or the location was better, but there wasn’t a difference in how the material was taught.

Choices are good.  But they also cause analysis paralysis!

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Someday I’m going to forget all kinds of things.  I hope I don’t forget these things.

  • Finn (age 4) sings song so proudly.  At the beginning of this school year, he hated singing time at both church (Awana) and preschool.  The teachers made him stand with the group, but he didn’t have to sing or do the movements.  When asked about it, he said it was “too loud”.  He’s slowly coming out of that, but even in the beginning of the year when he hated singing time, he was learning the songs. And he’d come home and just randomly start singing them.  It’s fun!
  • Finn also tells great stories about how things have come to be.  He’ll tell me all about something he’s built with blocks.  Always an elaborate story.
  • We were going to the movie theater the other day and I asked Finn about the rules.  His answers: “Don’t Hit.”  Okay.  “Stay in your seat.”  Okay.  “And if anyone gets on the roof of the van and they want to ride up there and they beat on the top of the roof like it’s a drum, we should tell them to get off.”  What!?!
  • When Stephen (age 3) falls or something and I ask him “Are you okay?”  He always answer “I’m okay.  I’m fine.”  He always says both phrases and in the cutest voice.  (He voice is still baby-ish.)
  • Sam (almost 2) is so observant.  Call it being Kid #3, but for months now, I only need to mention something and he’s all over it.  I can just casually say “I’m going to go get the mail” and he’ll bring me my shoes.  If the baby spits up and he sees that I don’t have a towel, he’ll go get me one – without me saying a word.
  • He’s also always watching his older brothers and mimicking them.  They start dancing – he will too.  If they sit down for lunch, he will too.  If they start running around all crazy – he will too.

But I do think the thing that I’ll miss the most is right after bathtime – especially when a kid has gained confidence in their new walking skills.  I think I’ll miss seeing little naked baby bottoms running down the hallway to their bedroom.  Is that weird?  It’s weird I know.  But seeing a kid who is just so tiny but fully capable of walking is fun. And seeing them run is even more fun.

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