Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 17 - Bourbon Chase over

We made it - we survived. 31 hours of running with our friends is complete. Leading up to the race I had a pretty bad head cold including a fever for a few days. I was still pretty sick when race day came.

 Adam and I were both in Van 2. Our van started running at about 5:15 pm on Friday. I was the second runner in our van so I got started about about 6 pm. I wore the reflective gear since it is required if you are running at 6:30 pm. Reflective gear includes a vest, a blinking light clipped to your back and a head lamp. I didn't turn on the head lamp. My first leg was rated a D for Difficult and it surely was. It was 4.8 miles and I average paced 9:20, which includes about 1/4 mile of walking. I felt confident on the first several hills but then they just kept on coming and one by one they were crushing me mentally. That "1 mile to go" sign was a beautiful sight! I finished with both ears clogged and felt very sick. I thought there was no way I could do any more.

At 5 am it was time for me to start my second run. I DID NOT want to do it. I sucked it up and started running. After the first mile, I realized I had made good time. I made even better time on the 2nd and 3rd miles. This leg was 5.7 miles. I came in to the exchange yelling Adam's name because I had made good time and I was worried he wouldn't be there looking for me yet. It was also dark and I worried he wouldn't see me. I paced 8:50 for that leg. I thanked God. That leg is what gave me courage that I could finish this thing.

My last leg was at 2:30 pm. My last leg was my longest leg, which was frustrating to run the longest leg on so little sleep. I felt nauseous from being up all night and taking so much medication, but the weather was unbelievably gorgeous and I was going to get to run on Old Frankfort Pike a gorgeous road through horse farms - that was my inspiration. I decided I would take my time and enjoy this last run. My average pace for the 6.7 miles was 9:40. I was very pleased.

Just some side extras:

I forgot my driver's license which is required at registration. My teammates graciously drove me back to my house (30 min out of the way) to go and get it.

I brought all kinds of snacks with me. I thought I would be so hungry running all those miles, but it surprised me that I was mostly uninterested in food. I ate only because I had to.

We got to see several bourbon distilleries along the way including Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Four Roses and Wild Turkey. They all had beautiful and very distinct architecture and all were set in nooks of Kentucky hills near a creak. Adam and I dipped a Maker's Mark bottle in wax to seal it. It's a very touristy thing to do.

I miss running with Adam. We used to run together a lot before we had children. It's fun to get to do it again =)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Day 14 - Bourbon Chase

 

Adam and I are members of a relay team this weekend running 200 miles. We are staring soon - so posts are short and sweet :)

Day 13 - Field Trippin'

Today Henry and I got to go on a field trip with Lucy's class. We went to Evan's Orchard which has a pumpkin patch. We had such a good time playing with Lucy and her friends. I love seeing her in her element. She was soooo excited for her field trip today. She woke up early and was dressed and ready to go (not typical). 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day 11 - Eating my words

I've eaten my own words a time or two as a parent. Most recently in relation to grocery carts.

This summer, I often went to the grocery store with all 3 kids in tow. It irked me when I would find all of the carts that have seating for multiple children were taken. I would have to use a regular cart. Henry, of course, refuses to even sit in one of those so the whole trip would be disastrous and the whole grocery store would know it. And as I was pushing a cart with one hand and manhandling a toddler in the crook of my other arm and directing the other 2 to quit skipping around each other and running into people, that's when I would see the mom with ONE child happily driving the car of the grocery cart designed for multiple children. I vowed I wouldn't use one of those carts if I only had one child with me. I would save it for the mothers with multiple who needed them.

Fast forward a few months and I'm shopping with just Henry because the girls are in school. He pitches a royal fit if we don't get one of the car grocery carts. So now I'm that mom. I will say that I shop at times when the stores are not busy and there are always a few carts that seat multiple children left for others to use. But yes - I am that mom. The situation changed. I have a new perspective that I hadn't even thought of before. My one child is used to using the car grocery cart because we usually have his siblings with us. He doesn't understand why we wouldn't use that one. It makes our morning so much more pleasant if he can do that and there are extra - so why not?

I have 3 children which has allowed me to be in lots of different situations and to see lots of different perspectives, but there are still many, many more that I haven't seen. I'll continue to form opinions to formulate rules for situations for myself and my family, but I want to always be open-minded realizing that their are other situations/perspectives that I might not understand. I don't want to fear change.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Day 10 - Scripture Bank

I've been reading the Bible through this year and I'm enjoying creating my own little scripture bank. Short and direct verses for specific moments in my life or in parenting.In some cases, I've memorized them for myself or had one of the kids look it up and read it, or even had a kid write the verse a few times. Below is what I have so far. I've given them broad categories that may not make complete sense.

Lying
John 18:32, Proverbs 12:19, Proverbs 12:22,

Truth/Integrity/Trust
Psalm 51:6, Psalm 101:2-3, Proverbs 10:8-9,

Tattling
Matthew 18:15, Proverbs 17:9

Complacency/Laziness
Proverbs 1:32, Proverbs 24:33-34

Hate and Love
Proverbs 10:12

Guard your Mouth
Proverbs 13:3, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 29:20, Proverbs 17:26, Proverbs 26:4, James 1:19, James 3:6-8

Soft Answer
Proverbs 15:1

Retaliation/Don't rejoice in other failures
Proverbs 20:22 Proverbs 24:29, Romans 12:19, Proverbs 24:17

Motivation
Proverbs 21:2

Boasting
Proverbs 27:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:17-18, Romans 12:16

Confession
Proverbs 28:13

Peace
James 3:18

Outdo each other
Romans 12:10





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Day 9 - TV

I feel so qualified to write this post because as I am writing, Henry is watching Thomas and Friends on Netflix =)

Our kids hardly ever watch television - like they go weeks without ever watching any television. I don't usually tell people this. You see, there's not really a good way to say it without people feeling judged. If I do say it, people start making defensive statements. And I don't want to judge anyone or for them to feel judged so I just usually nod and smile if a tv show reference comes up.

But I'd like to tell you a couple of secrets about our kids' TV life (or lack there of):

They NEVER ask to watch TV - never. When they do watch TV or a movie, we have suggested it.

We have NO RULES about TV. No limits on how much they watch or when they watch. If you asked our kids what the TV rules were, they would look at you like you were crazy.

They have no idea they are restricted. It's just not something they are interested in.

Can I tell something else? I used to be addicted to TV. I'd turn it on as soon as I got home from work just to have something playing in the background while I did laundry or cooked. I'd have it on something like TLC (which used to be more like HGTV). And I still love watching a good TV show at night with Adam. But something happened - we had Caroline.

I think it was at Caroline's 2 week well visit, that we asked about TV. We were not interested in her watching TV. We had heard that babies could have seizures from being overstimulated by TVs - like just being in the room where a TV was turned on. I was expecting the answer to be something like "Oh just don't keep her right in front of the TV" or "limit how often she's around it". Adam and I just wanted to watch some of our own shows and we were those first time parents who asked the doctor every little thing. But Dr. G came back strong with an absolute "No TV until 2 years old." I thought I must be hearing things, but she continued to explain all the crazy affects and said it shouldn't even be on if she was in the room.

Anyway, back then we did whatever Dr. G said and so if Caroline was in the room, the TV was off. And something so amazing happened. I appreciated quiet. I came to love my quiet moments with my baby - with nothing but the sounds of her coos. It's hard to describe and honestly, I don't realize how wonderful it is until we have a day where the TV is on for some reason and I am bothered by the extra noise.

Can TV really do that much damage to a kid? Was our super strictness necessary? I'm sure the answer to both of those is "No." But I am so grateful we were that crazy with Caroline.

It has brought back a sensitivity to sound in our family - sounds that are voices, needs, whispers and laughs.

It has made siblings best friends because of the hours they play together.

And can I tell you another secret? In my limited, 3 child experience, I have realized that this "plan" was the hardest with the first child until she was about 2.5 years old. Why? Because babies and toddlers don't know how to entertain themselves. We are their constant entertainment and it is exhausting. There was temptation to put Caroline in front of the TV from the time I needed get ready in the morning to the time I needed to get dinner made in the evening, but because of Dr. G we were determined. And by the time she was about 2.5, she was such a great independent kid. She could entertain herself for hours with imaginary games and with her toys.

It's not as hard with the subsequent children because you have other bigger kids they are going to for entertainment at those young ages. Everyone sort shares/enjoys the burden of entertaining the youngest - except during the "witching hour" when it's every man for himself ;)

One more bonus that I attribute to our kids' TV life, is that they are never bored. They never tell me they don't know what to do. They are always crafting and playing. I'm not saying our kids are perfect. They are far from it. And they do argue and yell at each other, but boredom is not a problem we face - knock on wood.

We do watch TV. Adam and I like to watch a show together a few nights a week. We like Bloodline, Daredevil and other shows. Currently we are watching Star Trek the Next Generation. I love to pull up a show on Netflix for Henry when we are at a doctor's office or waiting for a car in the shop.

Seven years ago, I thought I was losing something when we turned off the TV. Turned out I was gaining something huge. I feel like I control TV now - it doesn't control me. And Caroline and Lucy control TV - it doesn't control them (though they don't know any different). It is a gift. And I never miss it. I often turn on the TV and realize I haven't turned it on in 4-5 days.

It is a tool - a fantastic, helpful and fun tool. And that is it's place in our family.







Saturday, October 8, 2016

Henry is 2

Oh my Henry Bear. Where have the last 2 years gone? Henry is the most strong-willed of all of our children. His temper tantrums are like nothing I've never experienced before. Henry used to be so great at Time-Out. I mean he would sit there with the best of them from the time he was 15 months old! But some where around 21 months old he became the worst at Time-Out. And it doesn't matter that he has sat in time out every day for the last few months, he still acts like he has no idea what it is and by the end of it I'm basically holding him down on the floor for 2 minutes while he is beating my head and screaming. Ah - good times ;)

Another story that must be told is the ultimate example of how Henry does not like Aldi. Really, he doesn't like any store. He doesn't like to sit in  your normal grocery cart and Aldi doesn't have other options like the little racecar so he really doesn't like Aldi. On this particular day I had all 3 children with me and we were about to go out of town so the trip had to be that day. I was squeamish about the trip from the get-go - you see I was already emotionally scarred from other grocery store trips. As we walked in the store, I knew I was going to have to choose my battles so I sweetly asked Henry if he wanted to sit in the cart and I gently patted the seat. He refused with a resounding "NO!" so I decided not to push it but gently told him he needed to stay by me.  Of course that didn't last more than a nanosecond. He was pushing all the boundaries once we got in the store. I kept sweetly encouraging him to obey and stay by me trying to avoid battling "the bear", as we call it (Henry's evil twin). Finally, when he was jumping up and down on lower shelving I knew it was time to face the bear. I picked up a screaming and kicking baby bear and put him in one of the 2 seats in the Aldi grocery cart. Doing this was no easy task as his legs were kicking and his back was arched. I pulled each leg through its leg hole and then quickly realized I would need to hold it in the leg hole because he was pulling the legs out faster than I could get the other one in - how many legs does this kid have anyway? Steering became interesting as I had a hand on each of his ankles. So I steered the cart with my shoulders which put my ear right next to the screaming. Shew - early hearing aids for me. I only had about 3 must-have items on my list so I buckled down and headed for only the necessities. When I finally got the cart to the item we needed, I would nod my head toward the item and describe it to Caroline so she could grab it. I was probably having to yell above the screaming toddler. We finally got all of our items and checked out in this condition. I never knew I could steer so well with my shoulders. Motherhood helps me uncover so many hidden talents.

Surprisingly, Henry is pretty well-behaved most of the time, but he doesn't like stores. He is talking up a storm and is very musical. He is more musical than the girls were. He can hear a song one time and later you will hear him singing it or humming it. This ability amazes me. I've caught him singing songs from the radio that we don't even sing around the house. And I was teaching the girls the song "I Like Bananas" in the car on day. It has a 2 parts - one part sings "dowops" the whole time while the other part sings a melody line. It's not easy and when we got home, Henry was singing it! He sings constantly - Old MacDonald, ABCs, Twinke Twinkle, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Rejoice in the Lord Always. And he makes up songs too. His little voice is precious! Any stick is a microphone. I know he gets that from seeing his sisters. He loves to "patis piano" after his sisters practice. He sits there and will play. Watching Henry swing his hips from side to side while he sings "Na na na na na na na na Batman!" will make anyone smile. I hope he always loves music this much!

The day after Henry turned 2 he climbed out his crib and got promoted to a big boy bed. He has done very well with this transition.

We've been working on shapes, colors, letters and numbers. It amazes me how much less effort I have to put into teaching this stuff with him because he hears his sisters doing it. The other day he counted to 13 and I've never taught him that. We've never even read counting books - must just be something he has picked up from hearing the girls. The same with the alphabet. He loves to sing his ABCs. A few of the letters run together, but he's got it. He can identify several letters too which I attribute to the "Now I eat my ABCs" book. He can identify all the letters within that book just because he has it memorized, but he can also identify several letters anywhere we go - like A, B, F, M, O, P, and maybe some others. He knows his colors pretty good and he knows triangle.

I love when I ask Henry "Can I have a kiss?" and he says "Please??" so I say "Please!" and he leans in to give me one.

I love when he holds his Beebees and sucks his lower lip. His eyes grow bigger.

He loves tunnels and bridges and says a loud "Woah!" when he sees one coming.

I checked out the "How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" book from the library and now he loves anything with dinosaurs. He has memorized the book and can read it to us now.

Henry loves to pick his sisters up at the bus stop and runs towards them for big hugs everyday. He also loves to say bye to them when we drop them off at school.

When we get home, both girls start talking and telling me everything about their day at once and Henry immediately starts saying "Mommy!" as loud as he can. He senses the urgency and the excitement and just wants to be part of it.

I love when Henry asks me "Utcha doin 'a Mommy?"

Henry loves to pray at meals and bedtime. His meal prayer is usually "Dear Lord, tank tyou for 'a food. Amen" and his night prayer is usually "Dear Lord, tank tyou for 'a Daddy, 'a Mommy, 'a Caline, 'a Lucy, 'a Henry. Amen" He is starting to add in a whole list at night. I think he is going to be our prayer staller. Last night he thanked God for football and baseball and cousin Marilyn.

Henry is such a flirt with strangers. He shyly tilts his head when they speak to him. He is so much more open to other people than the girls were. Yeah - none of my kids is wide open with strangers - Henry is the closest.

I had a doctor's appointment not too long ago and the doctor went nuts over Henry. We went out to the circulation desk and the doctor said "Everyone, I want to introduce you to my new friend Henry." And all the ladies at the desk just ooooed and ahhhed over him. He sweetly blew them kisses and waved bye-bye!

Gosh - this boy gives me all kinds of feels.

He loves to be wrapped up like a burrito baby in a towel after a bath and even has his own baby voice and says "baby, baby". He also loves to be wrapped up in his Choo Choo Beebees blanket and will bring it to you and turn around expectantly for you to drape it over his shoulders. He is a lover, not a hater. Can you see how he is quickly forgiven of his wild irrational tantrums with his sweet little flirtations?

Henry was smack dab in the middle of the girls at his 2 year well appointment - well closer to Caroline's stats but Caroline is still our biggest kid.

Height: 35 inches (73%)
Weight: 28 pounds 5 ounces (66%)
Head: 49 cm

Henry, you are loved and adored by all of us. We are so thankful to have you apart of us!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Camping

We went camping 2 weeks ago with some friends. This is our second camping trip this year and ever. Our first was to Mammoth Cave where we stayed in our tent at a campground. It was pretty epic as we discovered that Henry had Hand Foot and Mouth while we were there. This trip was to Big South Fork National Park just off the Blue Heron trail. Adam had been there before on a guys' canoe trip and he has wanted to take us all there since that trip. 

This spot was a little more rugged - no bath house - yikes. But we all did great. And Adam was right - this place was amazing! The view was incredible. Pictures can't do it justice. 

We arrived mid-afternoon and immediately began jumping off of rocks into the river. 




Swimming and playing in the river was probably the girls favorite part.  While the adults cooked dinner the kids snacked. Henry wasn't feeling well so he was clingy. Caroline accidentally dumped out an entire sleeve of fig newtons. This was not good as we were worried about bears. Rather than eat a bunch of dirty fig newtons, we burned them. This is a picture of Parker and Lucy roasting the fig newtons - haha.

We had hot dogs and s'mores for supper. We also did a little fishing. Lucy and Caroline both caught fish. Of course they named the fish "Nemo" and "Nema". I found it funny that the second wasn't "Dory". Caroline's fish swallowed the hook and was sort of mangled so it got thrown back and Parker caught a new "Nema". These fish were actually our bait fish.

All the children slept through the night. Our only incident was that Lucy woke up in the middle of the night disoriented. She kept saying she was trying to get into the tent and I kept trying to convince her she WAS in the tent. She was finally convinced when I was able to crawl over to her and hold her to prove she was with us in the tent. At another point in the night, I looked over and saw Lucy curled in a ball at one corner of the tent where her feet were originally snuggled up with the sleeping bag that had been the "covers" for all 3 of the kids. Caroline and Henry were still in their spots with no covers - haha.

Lucy was the first awake of the children. She and Adam snuck out the tent and went down to the river for some early morning fishing.

Henry climbed and climbed and climbed. He was difficult to watch, but it wasn't too bad. He loved exploring.

Caroline was basically in a play the whole time we were there. She was either playing out the role of a Native American or a Pioneer. There was this leftover rusted Mosquito Candle holder at our camp spot. Caroline and Lucy both thought it looked like the perfect Native American water bucket. Caroline later tripped into the river while filling this bucket and got soaked up to her waist.

Throwing rocks with Daddy.

I got a chance to sit on top of this rock with both of my girls separately and talk to them about how good God is to us. It's a sweet memory for me.
  




We had a great time. It's so nice to be disconnected from life for a while with your family. We want to do this more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

We don't share and we don't clean up after ourselves

For the most part it is true. I don't push a whole lot of sharing or cleaning up toys after ourselves. It's not because I'm a hippy, free-range parent or something like that. It's because I've learned what's practical, reasonable and what works for us.

When Caroline was a toddler, it stressed me out to have play-dates with friends and watch them constantly correct their little ones and telling them to "share!" Anytime another little one approached Caroline and reached for her toy, I felt compelled to get her to "share" even if she had just picked up the toy and hadn't played with it yet. Of course this upset her and she'd start throwing a tantrum and then I was embarrassed at how my "parenting" wasn't working.

Thankfully, I read a popular blog post around that time that helped me understand this scenario. I wish I had that blog post now so I could link to it. But sharing does not mean to GIVE your object/toy to another person, sharing is actually defined this way:

a part or portion of a larger amount that is divided among a number of people, or to which a number of people contribute.

So in order to SHARE a toy, a child would have to break apart that toy into equal parts and distribute it evenly  with the other child. This is actually impossible with most preschool/toddler toys. Once you start getting older and have legos, Barbies, etc it is a much more reasonable request. 

What the parents in this situation are actually hoping for, is that their child will take turns with a toy except parents often don't let a child finish their turn. The good news (that we as parents often forget) is that children this age have SUPER short attention spans. So their turn is likely to be 2 minutes tops and then they will lose interest in the toy. For this reason, if a child approaches my child and begins reaching for or even asking for the toy my child has, I say "Can you wait just a minute Johnny? Henry is having his turn with this toy and he'll give it to you when he is finished." I then turn to Henry and say, "Henry, when you are finished with the toy, will you let Johnny have a turn?" This almost always works because Henry is uninterested in the toy in no time at all. And the best part is I'm not making an unreasonable request of my kid and then feeling like a lousy parent when my kid doesn't comply with my unreasonable request. 

With my girls, I often remind them, their friend is waiting and they shouldn't take too long. Their attention spans are longer so that actually can be a problem sometimes.

Sharing is required more with my girls as they have gotten older. Their toys are more complex and there are pieces, but guess what, they want to share because it is a toy or a game designed to be shared. Also, they are old enough for group play - a concept toddlers are usually not capable of. They value group play and enjoy it. All of those things make sharing easy for them and it isn't something I have to work on often.

I also don't really push the constant cleaning up after ourselves. Toddlers and preschoolers have short attention spans and switch to new toys often. They also combine toys. They also leave a toy and come back to it just a few minutes later. We would spend half our day cleaning if we cleaned up after ourselves. We would also be getting the same toy out over and over and over again in just a few hours.

Instead I have times of day when we clean. A child's room must be clean before they eat a meal (especially breakfast) and then also before bed. (Before breakfast, a child must be dressed with bed made and room cleaned. If they cleaned their room the night before, this is an easy task.) This allows so much more freedom in our day and freedom in their play. Big kids need this freedom to combine toys too - it encourages so much imagination! Get out the play-doh and all the play food. Make pieces of food that we don't have in our play food stash with the play-doh. Then get out the baby dolls and feed it to them. While you are doing that, get out the dress up clothes and dress like fairies who are serving all this food. Have a ball, but when I give the 10 minute out dinner-time warning, clean it up.

These two resolutions have offered me so much freedom in my parenting and so much freedom for my kids.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Lucy is 5

Lucy Lu,

I knew this was a special year for you and me. I treasured these days with you because I know what it's like to not be home. Most every day we snuggled and read together for more than an hour. Some days we even napped together. You are such a sweet and thoughtful young girl.

You make friends easily where ever we go and I don't know exactly what it is but people are drawn to you - adults and children. When we are at a playground or the library, you almost always have met someone new and enjoyed playing with them and adults even are drawn to talk to you in stores. I loved that you invited random children to come over and join your birthday party and 2 did!

You think of your friends and others often and pray for them or talk about your concerns for them. I'm always amazed at what you know about people. We walk away from somewhere and you know several names and can describe what people look like and what they are wearing. While I could say you are a good prospect for an FBI agent, I mostly think you are just interested in people.

You have such a heart for God. On January 23, you told us you had asked Jesus into your heart. You told us that you trusted him and were not worried about Minnie Mouse blanket anymore. For months you had cried thinking about leaving Minnie Mouse blanket behind but now you were fully trusting. We never set out to have deep spiritual discussions with you, but you drive them and ask super hard questions. We haven't pursued baptism or profession of faith at church. We know you'll ask about them when you are ready and understand them. Your innocence and faith challenge me everyday. I'm so thankful for conversations with you about God. You teach me so much! I love that you unashamedly tell other children about Jesus. You surely have the "child-like" faith Jesus describes.

You are a reader like your sister. The bug hasn't quite bit you yet. You enjoy reading, but you don't get lost in books. (Caroline didn't get bit till the end of Kindergarten) However, you are reading chapter books - Cam Jansen, Katie Woo, even some Magic Treehouse, Magic Fairies, and Ivy and Bean. You haven't completed a Magic Treehouse, Magic Fairy, or Ivy and Bean book yet though. You read those for about a chapter and then aren't interested anymore. I can't believe you were reading these things before you turned 5. It really is incredible.

You swam on the Masterson Station Swim Team this summer and were just amazing. Your little body the tiniest of all the bodies and you hung in there. At the beginning of the summer you couldn't make it all 25 M without touching the side, but at the very last meet of the season you did it! You shocked us truthfully. You had been holding back for sure proving that you would do it on your own time and no bribe of mine was going to change that (though you did get a Dollar Store trip for that accomplishment).

You also played in your first piano recital this summer. You were the first one to go. You marched right up to the microphone and said "My name is Lucy Beam and I will be playing Eensy Weensy Spider". The whole audience melted as you mounted onto the piano bench. You have done really well at piano. You started piano about 18 months earlier than Caroline (age-wise), which doesn't seem that different but it's a world of difference when you are almost 4 versus a little over 5. The teaching method was very different and slower. But you are now entering your third book a Leila Fletcher book.

You are still the loudest kid I know. Thankfully, it is still endearing to most people and your laugh is fantastic. But just as easily as you laugh, you also cry. You are like Caroline, but in a different way. She hardly sheds a tear and internalizes things, but you are a puddle on the floor with just a nasty mom-face. The weight of parenting is huge and I pray that I guide your emotions and don't scar you with too many nasty mom-faces!

What a joy it is to be your mom! To understand a glimpse of what God sees as our Father. To see how totally different children can be. Mothering a second time is such a privileged road. I am humbled and grateful for these days. You are a treasure, Lucy!




Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day 4 - Why I blog

1) My kids love reading it and looking through the pictures on my blog. Caroline has poured over it and relived memories. Watching her read my printed blog books moves me to blog more.

2) I love to see how I've grown and changed. There are a few things I've written on here that I've changed my mind about something or learned more on the subject. I'm not embarrassed by it. I hope I never stop learning and never become afraid of change.

3) I love to see how my kids have grown and changed. What amazing creations they are! They are my pride and joy! I will brag, brag, brag on here. There may be little negative said about them on here. I know some people feel the need to show people they are "real" and have "real people problems". I think most people don't have to be told I am a normal person with lots of problems and so are my kids but I'll can keep those details to myself and out of the Internet.

4) My mother died when I was 15. I miss her all the time. I often want to speak to her and ask her questions. When she was 33 she had 3 children, two girls and a boy, ages 9, 7 and 3. Here I am with 3 children, two girls and a boy, almost the same age differences. I would love to know her perspective on so many of my memories. Why did she respond the way she did when I cried because someone teased me? Did she talk to my teacher on the side when I had to apologize for forging her signature? A mother's perspective is a precious, sweet thing. I want my kids to have that. I want them to see my compassion for them, to read my anguish over parenting them in the best way and my pursuit of the best for them. I want them to see how much I wrote about them and to know I loved them so deeply.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 3 - Henryisms

"Utcha doin' a Mommy?" = Whatcha doing Mommy?

"Open the door." = This is how he asks us to open something for him - a snack bag, the cap to a  cup, a toy.

"Bye Bye! See you in da mornin'!" = said at all times of day to anyone we see and to inanimate objects. I often get him to say Bye to something when I need him to put it down and leave it and this is what he'll say.

"I did it!" or "I win!" or "Tada!" = said at all of his accomplishments or lack there of. Tonight, Lucy pedaled without training wheels for several feet. Adam and I were praising her big and Henry came running over saying "I did it! I did it!" Haha - he hadn't done a thing. He often says "Tada!" after using the potty too ;) "I win!" is usually used in hallway races where he clearly loses.


We love this precious boy!



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Day 2 - Sundays

I made it to my second post in October! Probably none of these posts will have pictures - I think that is what takes me so long.

Post #2 is about Sundays. I LOVE Sundays. Yes, I can seem a bit stressed at times as there are a lot of places to be and a lot of children to take there, but I love Sundays.

For the last couple of years Adam and I have taught the Kindergarten and 1st grade Sunday School class at our church Buck Run. When we first began attending there Caroline was in Kindergarten so we got to teach her for 2 years and now Lucy is in Kindergarten =) It's such a fun age to teach. These kids are starting to read and I love showing them that they can read their Bibles too. Every week we help each kid navigate to our story and my hope is that they are empowered and not intimidated by the Bible.

I also love teaching one of my kids at this age. If I were to attempt to teach in Henry's class I wouldn't get anything done. He would be clinging to me the whole time, but at this age, I can be a fly on the wall as I watch my girls socialize. I can observe whether they lead or follow. I can make guesses as to how they behave at school all day. It is very enlightening to watch your kids in social situations.

Anyway, then we go to service and right now Lucy and Caroline are attending service with us. This is new. Last year, Caroline came occasionally and Lucy seldom came but they never came together. Lucy usually behaves better in service than Caroline does so I knew she was ready. We do have to keep them separated. Otherwise, they try to interact and it quickly escalates. Lucy is still more engaged in the service than Caroline but this is true to their personalities. Caroline is my dreamer. She's always got something else going on in that brain of hers =)

Singing praises to God with my children close by is humbling. Two weeks ago, I was holding Lucy up so she could see the words and tears were coming down her face. I asked if she was ok and she said "Yes Mommy. These are tears of joy because God is just....just...great!"

Right now, as soon as church lets out we zoom home. I usually turn around backward and entertain Henry so he won't go to sleep. Just a 5 minute snooze in the car would mean no nap for the afternoon and that would be terrible! We eat the fastest lunch I can scramble together and then today, I went back to church.

For the next few months the choir is having Christmas rehearsals on Sunday afternoons and Adam and I are taking turns going. Today was my turn. I love to sing. I love it when it is my turn! Singing makes me happy. Singing praises makes me happy. Christmas music makes me happy. So this is a very HAPPY time.

Then the crazy goes to another level when the person who stayed home gets to take the girls to their Sunday swim practice. The girls have joined a year-round swim team with the YMCA. They swim 3 times a week - shew! Today this was Adam's job.

When choir practice was over, I drove over to the YMCA to switch places with Adam. Adam went to get setup for our C-group and I showered the girls when they were done and brought them to C-group.

And C group - I feel like I breathe in relief and sweet spirit when we arrive. It's at our house most of the time but lately we have been meeting at a spot in the park because the weather has just been so so beautiful. The kids run around and play. The adults run around and play. It is just a good time. We have prayed big things together and laughed a LOT together. Adam facilitates our group discussion. We currently have 15 adults and 12 precious children who play hard together! It's another tender moment each week when I see adults praying together and hear children's laughter in the background. Oh man - C group is something I look forward to every week.

And "that's what I love about Sundays". (line from a country song)



Saturday, October 1, 2016

Post everyday - Henry and the big PT

I'm gonna attempt this post everyday thing that a lot of bloggers do in the month of October. I'm not planning to link up, but just trying to push myself. My "theme" persay is just to catch up and write on my blog about my family. I have several posts waiting in the wings that need lots of TLC before they are posted. I hope to get those completed in October, but many of my posts will be just short going-ons posts. And such is my post today.

My Henry is potty trained (the big PT). And in contrast to what everyone says he was the easiest of my 3 to PT. And I don't give a second of credit to my "method" (or lack there of) because I'm a third-time mom and I sure know better than to think I have some special insight into life that makes me superior at PT. Nope, all credit for this goes to my little man and to God. Shew - God sure knew Henry and I need a win.

You know what I mean by "a win". We need for something (anything) to go right because it seems as though most everything goes wrong. He's a tough one, my Henry. He's what they call "strong-willed", and "passionate". I find myself walking on egg shells trying not to upset him or rock his boat. Ugh - how did I get here? Walking on egg shells with my own kid? This is not to brag, but I've had parents impressed with my parenting. They've said things to me about how obedient my kids are and how well-mannered they are and what did I do to achieve this. I apologize to anyone I have ever given an answer to because Henry has me undone and we needed a win! We need a daily win where I can praise him and tell him how awesome he is.

Who knew it would be PT? But at 25 months he was a boss at it - hardly ever has an accident and conquered everything in about 7 days.

So what did I do? What was my method? Have you not read the rest of the post?

Thank you God for a WIN!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Caroline 7 is Heaven

Caroline,

Your seventh year has been oh so sweet. It just keeps getting better. It is a privilege to watch you grow into a young lady - to discuss real life issues and to watch you learn.

Parenting has gotten complicated this year in a new way. I'm sleeping through the night most every night. Physical exhaustion is not a part of my daily routine, but my heart has already been broken for you as I've watched you be disappointed, frustrated and hurt. You're an empathetic young lady and you feel all the time. I'm praying for God to guide me as I mother your tender heart. Your tenderness is a gift and I pray it will bring God glory.

I read a book about mean girls in the early elementary years - yeah, it breaks my heart that I needed to read that book to help my first grader. There was this girl, who you kept calling "friend" but she was using you. There were times when I wanted to really tell you what I thought of her (not good thoughts). But you can be pretty bossy a leader in your own right. I'm comforted by this. If people won't enter your imaginary world, you continue even if they laugh about it. Though your heart may be sad, you don't waiver and you tell people exactly what you think. You really aren't a very good follower except with adults. You are always the kid presenting the ideas, making the decisions and when/if they don't follow you continue, often by yourself. So the book is also helping me teach you to listen to others. Good leaders listen.

You've read so much this year. I can't emphasize that enough. I estimate that you have read about 1500 chapter books this year, but the reading machine isn't just for chapter books. You tear through any books you can get your hands on. Before your 7th birthday you had read some pretty difficult books for a 6 year old including The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Peter Pan by J M Barrie, all of the Mary Poppins books by P L Travers, the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (at least 3 times), and countless Boxcar children books. Now that you have upped the ante and are reading longer harder books, you are going through fewer every week, but you still read between 15-20 chapter books a week on top of school and goodness knows how many little books each week. The chapter books include anything from Boxcar children level to classic children's novel level (3rd - 7th grade). This summer you read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, A Little Princess and King Arthur

By February, we had to establish a new rule with you at school. You weren't allowed to have any books at your desk. Even after library time, you had to turn over your new library book to your teacher. You were and still are unable to hear ANYthing when you are reading. Once I was volunteering in your room and the teacher called the students to the carpet, everyone went to the carpet except you and you didn't even notice. You were engrossed in a book.

I actually grappled this year with whether the ability to hear while reading is a learned skill or something you just get better at as you get older. (I have not found anyone who knows for sure or any literature on the matter so I still don't know)

Another scenario that played out at school was you hiding a book just under your desk to read it while the teacher was teaching. I walked into your classroom one morning and saw you doing that. You didn't even notice I had walked in the room. We had a talk about deception that day after school and how any form of deception is lying.

Finally, we (with your teacher) decided to take books away while at school. You read plenty at home.

You have continued to enjoy piano this year. I love watching you get excited for a particular piece to play or when you go back through your old books to play some of your favorites. I also love watching you help Lucy. More and more we are able to do some duets. That is also a joy. One day you will be able to do duets with your sister. I look forward to that.

You seem to be more average height this year in your class especially by the end of the year. I think my short genes are starting to catch up to you. You were 70% in height at your well visit.

You moved to a new school again this year and I love how easy this transition was for you. You were not afraid. You were in a special accelerated class for students and had Mrs. Bryant who was amazing at taking each student to their next level. We are forever spoiled and I'm sure no teacher will ever measure up.

You quickly excelled in your class and finished first in your class in the race of Math Facts. By the end of the year you had passed Division 6s (able to take a 25 question test on Divide by 6s in under 2 minutes). You also were 3rd place in the entire school for Reading Counts points. Reading Counts are points collected for books you have read and taken a Scholastic test on for comprehension. I know I'm biased but you could have easily have been first if we had known about it earlier. We didn't start until mid-October AND you only took tests on about HALF the books you read all year.

During recess in the Winter, Mrs. Bryant had several options for indoor activities including dancing and board games, but you always preferred to make crafts. You would come home with the strangest crafts like paper babies and paper stores all make from scrap paper with old tests written on the back of them. You are always creating something.

Caroline you were are first strong-willed child. You have a mind of your own and when it is set it is hard to change it. Mostly so far this has been a negative. There have been tantrums and melt-downs. But I'm starting to see a lot of positives. On a few occasions this summer. A friend of yours would want to do something I would not approve of - like sprinkle sand on the carpet in your room  - and you wouldn't do it even though everyone else participated - you didn't. And some of the girls at school left you out of their group because you don't have Shopkins. But you have never once mentioned getting Shopkins. You could careless what is cool.

Caroline, you are smart, creative and beautiful. Being your mother is the greatest joy of my life. You teach me so much about life and God. I'm excited to watch you lead and create this year.

Love, Mommy

Friday, April 29, 2016

Feb - April

Just a series of photos mostly from my phone that represent different things from Feb - April

I love this duo. Each of my children has a special relationship with each other. It's so fun to watch it develop. These two play as equals more and more each day. Henry is less of a baby in Lucy's eyes and more of a playmate with each passing day. Here they are singing a duet.

And this girl is blowing me away with her stamina to color and write and work on an activity. She did this color by number page with no help. She read the colors that she was supposed to associate with the numbers and did the whole thing in one sitting.

Occasionally we visit Adam for lunch. His days are unpredictable so it doesn't happen often, but it's always a treat. The Capitol is so beautiful.

We love the First Ladies exhibit.


Henry walking from chair to chair before C-Group. Our Community Group meets at our house every Sunday night and Henry thinks he is in charge.







Just windexing the mirrors - sweet helper.



Caroline's 2-wheeler skills are really great. She has been so brave. The joy I feel as a parent when they overcome a fear is so fulfilling.

Caroline has also been rocking out on her Math Facts test. She takes a timed math test once or twice a week. Her little sass on the back of this test surprised me. I guess she had extra time. She has also drawn herself riding a bike on the back and written "Bikes are fast and I pass."

The girls had a little Christmas tree in their room through the Christmas season. Lucy grew accustomed to the light in their room at night and was fearful for a while. She slept in Caroline's bed until we bought her a night light.

Adam's Birthday. I made a Red Velvet cake.







A little Mardis Gras fun:



A little Valentine's Day fun:









Filling out brackets for March Madness





Lucy wrote her first letter. It was to her cousin Trey. I was very proud of her handwriting and spelling. She spelled most everything on her own and I think most anyone would be able to figure out what she was trying to write.








Just picking up Caroline from the bus stop.


Lucy in a sack race at a bday party =)









We had a trip to SC to see cousin Crystal in a play.



















Caroline made an alphabet book for Henry. It's precious and uses words that apply to him.