Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I know in my last post, I talked about not wanting to waste a moment of my children's lives in frustration or anger. I hate to say it, but I think that's impossible. I know it's possible to not REACT in frustration or anger, because I spent much of yesterday patiently keeping my voice at a reasonable tone and not going crazy. But I don't think it's possible, with little stinkers who actively try to push your buttons, to not FEEL frustrated. And it's just not my fault if I feel frustrated with them. Lately William has this little ditty that he likes to sing, it is made up of entirely nonsense words and sung to the tune of the popular playground "neener neener neener" chant that punky kids do. The last part that he sings goes "injey injey inj inj" - and I don't even know what that means - and it gets stuck in my head and it drives me bonkers. Do I ever tell him to stop? NEVER. And I say that makes me a nice mom.

I am doing well with my calorie counting. I have spent the last few years trying to find a diet that would excuse me from counting calories. Low carb. Paleo. Primal. I finally succumbed to the good old method and I am so thankful. Now, in the afternoons, when my energy is at its lowest and my carb cravings are at their highest, I can grab handful of something carby or sweet and I don't have to feel loads of guilt for "going off my diet." I just log the calories. And I still lose weight. I've been having a massive craving for waffles and syrup. So this morning I had one (leftover coconut flour waffles from the freezer). I weighed my waffle and I weighed my syrup and I enjoyed every delicious bite. It "cost" me about 250 calories and I do not feel guilty at all. Now I understand why people say there is no "bad food." It's all in moderation. It's extremely, extremely liberating to realize that I can eat whatever I want and still lose weight. Those other diets were playing to my desire to eat however much food I could stuff into my stomach. This method teaches me portion control and moderation. I think in the long term, this practice will pay off much more than restricting certain groups of food and gorging myself on others.

Neva is so warm, snuggly, and sweet. I call her my baby bunny. Every time, William cries, "She's not a bunny! She's a girl!" Yesterday he really was trying to convince me. He explained that she doesn't hop like a bunny and she doesn't have big ears like a bunny. I had to acknowledge his logic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Birthdays make my heart hurt.

William turned four yesterday. It seems like it shouldn't be possible to have such vivid memories of him as a newborn baby, as a one, two, three year old. And now he's four. For some reason, four years didn't seem that long when it was High School, or when Brian and I were celebrating our fourth anniversary. But when you look at a child, and how much they change in 4 years, well- the difference seems like it should have taken 10 years, or 15. Nothing has made me more aware of my mortality and the fleeting nature of my days, than having children has. Adults don't seem to change. Five years, ten years... year to year, they seem the same. But children change so rapidly. So much of my heart wants to slow it down. I want to enjoy it more. There is not enough time to soak it all in, the way I want to. I realize that God didn't make it so that we could just sit around and enjoy our children every hour of every day. He made it so that we would have other jobs and responsibilities to take care of. I can't feel guilty about having a to-do list every day. And yet, I wish I didn't.

On Will's birthday, the Monday he turned four, I put my to-do list away for a day (as much as I could). It was a sweet day.

On Sunday night, the prior evening, my parents gave him their birthday present. It was the only thing he wanted, a Frank the Combine toy from the movie Cars. Frank can chase and catch Lightning McQueen and other matchbox-sized cars. William must have caught Lightning McQueen a hundred times at least, between Sunday evening and Monday. All day long on Monday, at least 5 or 6 times, he said, "Mom, this was the present I always wanted!" My heart was warmed that his expectations for his birthday were so simple. I know that when we go up north in a few days, his nana and papa and all of his aunts and uncles will make a big deal about him on his birthday, and then when we get back, in June, we will have another simple family party to celebrate his birthday and Aunt Dayna's. I almost wish we could be done celebrating his birthday, just because he was so satisfied with such a little bit, and a grateful child is a joy. (And I find that with even the best kid, the more presents they get, the more they want.) But at the same time, he is such a great kid and deserves to be celebrated a lot.

Anyway, on the actual day of his birthday, we kept it pretty simple. I told him we could do whatever he wanted to do. He wanted to make purple sugar cookies, so that's what we did. He wanted to play with his new Frank the Combine toy, and he definitely did that too. He certainly wasn't expecting any more presents, after getting Frank, but we had a couple for him (to his tremendous surprise and joy!). I found a great Mater's Tall Tales book at Salvation Army, so we read that a few times. He had also fallen in love with a submarine toy he had seen at Meijer. I hadn't seen him so enamored with a toy is a long time, and I had to get it for him. (Of course, I felt bad leaving Barrett out, so I picked up a tugboat from the same manufacturer (Green Toys) and wrapped them both together as a "gift for the boys to share." When William unwrap the submarine, he was almost shaking with joy. "Mom! This was the other gift I always wanted too!" They played and played with those boats, running around the house for a "boat race" and driving them in the dust outside while we ate watermelon, and then begged me to let them take a bath. After the bath, and after we put Barrett and Neva to bed, Brian and I stayed up late with William and played with his other gift, a big set of big boy Legos. We watched William build the different cars and we were both impressed with how well he did. He has such an agreeable little way  of saying "Oh! Okay." when he puts a piece on wrong, and then realizes he's got to fix it. Brian and I kept smiling and looking at each other. Brian didn't play with Legos as a kid, but I and my brothers did, and this was the gift I really wanted to get for William. (Brian had really wanted to get him a bow and arrows, so he ordered one, but after he found out that I got him the Legos, he decided to give him the bow in a few weeks.) It is hard not to buy things for our kids. They are so grateful and they love their toys so much, but there is an internal voice that reminds us that more is not always better.

When it was bedtime for Will, finally, I asked him if he wanted to sit in the rocking chair for a couple songs. His face lit up. "Yeah!" And this was the best and the worst part of the day. The two of us there, in the dark of the room, his precious little big boy body, sitting in my lap so long and lanky, so different from the tiny little baby I rocked in the same chair to the same songs only a few years ago. My heart almost physically hurt. Please, God, I begged. Don't let it be another year before I rock him in this chair again. And don't let me waste a second of my time with these preciou children in anger or frustration.

Barrett, right about now.

Barrett is delicious. He just really is. He is so babyish, so fat, and yet learning more and more every day, constantly saying things he never would have been able to verbalize even a month ago. The other night the boys did not finish their dinner and Brian gloated a little bit while he ate some of the jelly beans that were supposed to be the incentive dessert. At bedtime, when Brian came up to help lay them down, he was eating another handful of the jelly beans. (Little did I know that Jelly Belly's are one of Brian's favorite candy.) After we prayed and Brian kissed them and he left, and I remained in the dark room nursing Neva in the rocking chair, I heard a whimper from the corner. "What's wrong, Barrett?" I asked. His little voice answered pathetically, "Daddy... eat my candy beans."

The next morning, when I went upstairs to greet them, I picked Neva up from her crib and sat down with her on Barrett's bed. He got excited to see "Neva Mae," and I asked him, "Barrett, do you love Neva Mae?" He said, "Yes. Love Will, too."

He is in a cuddly phase lately. Many times during the day he asks me, "Momma, hold me?" The other day I simply couldn't, but I offered to let him ride on my back in the carrier- something he hasn't done in about a year. He loved it. Since then, several times, he has asked, "Mama, ride your back?" I I try to let him, whenever possible. Barrett is such an affectionate little guy. When I read them books, he likes to stand behind me and play with my hair, or put his arm around me. He loves to be held and to snuggle. At night, every time I sing him "his" song before he goes to sleep, he whispers, "Hi, Mommy." And when I'm done he asks, "Sing Will's song?" He wants to make sure I won't forget to climb the ladder and sing William his bedtime song as well. This little guy has no chance, at least at this point, of being the ignored middle child. He is so cute and funny that Brian and I watch him constantly.


After dinner, while Brian and I sat together with cups of decaf, William and Barrett ran to the coat closet and randomly fetched the brooms. Usually a move like this is prompted by William. "Come on Barrett, let's go sweep the floor!" They poked the bristles around the floor for a minute or two before they started running around with the poles held high in the air. They were so cute and pleasant with each other. Thankfully, there is no "but" to the story (this time). Despite William wailing, at one point, "Barrett hit me in the head with the broom!" - the brooms made it back into the closet without a single smashed mirror or fallen picture.

Getting to know you...

Sometimes it's a giant mistake to play my Rodgers and Hammerstein Pandora radio station while I clean the kitchen and Neva bounces around in her jumping jack. I end up taking her out and waltzing with her around the kitchen whenever a song from The King and I comes on. I'm pinning some high hopes on this girl. I dream that she will love musicals as much as her mother does.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"Show them my magic wand!"

It was heart wrenchingly adorable when Will picked this out of the prize box at the dentist's office. He thinks it's a sword, a light saber, a magic sleep wand like the one in a favorite Berenstain Bears book. He was so serious about showing it off to Grandpa and Daddy. To their credit, they were suitably impressed.


"I am going to punch you in the face


with my mouth

because I love you"

See my big muscles!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Barrett discovered his backpack as we began packing up for New York. He wore it all day. I must have put it on him 17 times. Initially, he'd ask, "My packet?" By the end of the day, he was calling it "My packpack." Vocabulary development at this age is SO fascinating!

After bedtime, I heard Neva squeaking, screeching, and squealing over the monitor. I was pretty sure she'd flipped herself over from stomach to back (she sleeps on her tummy, and hasn't mastered rolling yet), and she sounded pretty happy, so I took several minutes to finish cleaning the kitchen before going to help her. When I opened the door, sure enough, there she lay on her back, pleased as PUNCH. You should have seen the giant smile she gave me. I picked her up and she just about burst with pride and joy. "See what I did, Mom???"

Monday, May 9, 2016

My snuggly girl

Neither of my other babies ever did this, that I can remember. It's not just when she's sleepy; Neva is often content to just rest her head on me. Sure, many times she likes to look around, her tiny peanut head bobbing all over the place, but every time she just cuddles up against me I just stop and soak it in.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Today, the storm door just up and ... fell off the house. It split down the side, broke in half, and fell off. I didn't see it right away when Brian gestured into the window for me to come onto the front porch. Then I noticed it. Just laying there, broken clean off. Brian, who was not having a good day (particularly regarding the house), stood on the porch and glared at it. I just couldn't contain my laughter at the ridiculousness.

Tonight while I was washing dishes after dinner and Brian was working outside on the ant damage in the garage, the boys were running around on the porch and in the courtyard area. Will kept running into the house to update me. (This was before the door fell off.) Once he ran in and said, "Barrett stepped in a puddle!" Another time it was, "I peed off the porch!" Then, "Barrett dumped DIRTY WATER on the soccer ball!" Finally, "We are making pictures of chalk for YOU. They say, 'I love Mom.'"

Will has a bad habit of arguing with everything I say. Everything. Even as he's obeying, he's offering a different "suggestion." It's a habit I'm trying to break. All day long, dozens of times, I hear this phrase: "Wait a minute, Mom..." 

Barrett has this habit of gasping dramatically at the least dramatic thing. For example, he looks out the window and gasps- a long, three-second, high-pitched inhale of shock. "What is is, Barrett?" "Deer, all gone!"

Are you looking into my soul?
Putting gloves on a two year old is like putting pants on a millipede.
They stayed on about as long as it took to put them on.
I turned around for a second and he was asleep!

What have we here?

I came into the room after putting some laundry away in the linen closet, and I heard, "Mommy, come and find me...."

Looks like just a picture of Neva relaxing in the bed after morning wake-up...

Not so fast! Look again!

Someone is still a little sleepy.