Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Will: "Where's my Boost?! Where's my Boost? Where's my BOOST? Where's MY BOOST?"

Barrett: "Here is!"

Will, horrified: "BARRETT! That's Sandy Dunes!"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Will's Father's Day Gifts

William spent a lot of time coloring the tractor ("I'm going to color the amazing smokestack!") and drawing a picture of our whole family on the other side. In addition to our family, the picture features Nana, Papa, Pumpkin, Zoey (who is "a good kitty, not a bad kitty" in this picture), two bad guys locked up in jail, and lots of "lands." I'm not sure why he drew so many lands but, truth be told, the only thing Brian could ever wish for WOULD be lots of property- "lands," if you will. So I guess William gave Brian what he truly wanted for Father's Day. (Except maybe that one over on the right: "just another land from the parking lot." Not sure that's the type of property Brian would hope for.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

A first!

Neva's very first time in the highchair!

Will exclaimed, "That's not Neva's seat!" Oh, kid... how things change. You will see.

We have a good time.

Thursday night

Last night, Neva had a heck of a time falling asleep. She kept popping off while nursing, just to cry pitifully. I was *pretty* sure she was just overtired (and I think I was right). I'd extended her bedtime quite a bit, trying to fit in bath time and story time for the boys (while trying to troubleshoot with AT&T for a portion of the time- by the end of this week, we should have internet!).

So after popping off to cry for a few seconds, she would latch back on and nurse for a bit, repeating the process over and over. After about ten minutes of this, she slowed her pace and begin to drift off to sleep Her hand no longer frantically played with my shirt. She relaxed in my arms and her breathing slowed. I enjoyed the sight of her still face, her body totally relaxed in my arms, a suited astronaut floating through space.

Then, from his perch at the top of the stairs down the hallway, Bo let out a single, pointless bark. Neva's eyes flew open and she began to cry again. I shushed her and latched her back on; she relaxed. But then, again! Bo let out another pointless bark and woke her a second time. I calmed her crying a third time, and then a third time Bo barked- a solitairy, "curious-but-not-curious-enough-to-get-up-and-see-if-somebody's-here" bark. If it wouldn't have made the problem worse, I would have really hollered at him.

At this point, Neva was now wide awake but surprisingly subdued, perhaps from her three micro-naps. I held her up in front of me and we exchanged smiles. Then, she looked into my eyes and slowly leaned forward, forward, forward, latched onto my chin, and started sucking. Our eyes were inches apart, mine nearly crossed to make eye contact with her. I started to laugh at the funny sensation, the goofiness of her, and she broke off and started to giggle as well. She knew, sure as shootin', that she wasn't nursing. She was joking. She did it a second time, leaning forward, sucking on my chin again. We laughed again, then she rubbed her chubby fists into her tired eyes, her padded arms creased, her body a little fat ball. Once more, a third time, she leaned forward and put her mouth on my mouth. I could tell she was smiling and even though all I could think of was "germs!", I didn't pull away. My daughter was bonding with me.

The moment ended. I repositioned her and nursed her to sleep in about a minute and a half. I laid her little body down and I told her I would see her in the morning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


William just walked up as I was nursing Neva and greeted her: "Hi, you little diaper!"

Yesterday Will told me I had "long, golden hair."

Monday, June 20, 2016


Me: "You guys are my world!"
William says, "You are our mommy world!"

William randomly says, "Mommy, Cheerios are crunchy, and also cauliflower."

I ask, "So next time, instead of Cheerios, you want me to put some cauliflower in your milk??"

William says, "No! Ever, ever do that!" Barrett repeats, "Ever, ever do dat."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This week(ish)

Last night during worship, Brian and I could hardly sing at some points. Barrett, unprompted, would periodically shout "Hallelujah!" ("ha-yu-yah!") and it was terribly funny. Afterward I asked Brian, "Do you think that, one day, we will forget about Barrett shouting 'ha-yu-yah' during worship?" He answered, "Yes, I am sure we will. Unfortunately." Not if I blog about it! I know one day I will look back on these precious, adorable, heartbreaking little years as a happy blur. I'm so thankful for this blog.

Since William had a nap yesterday, I set him up with "books on bed time." He was using his new headlamp from Aunt Kelly and Uncle David and poring through a stack of Berenstain Bear books. ("I only want Berenstain Bear books, not other books.") While I was in the shower, Brian had to go up and kill a tiny moth that kept flying around him. When I was done, and sitting next to Brian on the couch, we heard him once again on the monitor start to cry. I went upstairs to find him with real tears streaming down his cheeks. "I don't want to sleep," he told me. "Little bugs like dust are flying around me." He was right. There was a fly literally the size of a dust particle periodically flying around the light. I told him very frankly that sometimes bugs get into the house, but that bug is not going to hurt you, and the truth is, they just like the light. "Mom," he implored, still in tears, "you guys can't leave the windows and doors open." We talked some more and he calmed down, then elected to turn off the headlamp and go to sleep. "There's a light over there," he said, pointing to the night light, "that the bugs can like instead." Being with William makes it all too familiar, being a child. I see in my kids all the same fears and questions I had when I was young. Becca told me the other day that she thinks I project all of those things on to my kids and that's probably true. I feel an incredible amount of empathy for anything they are going through that I particularly struggled with. (For things that weren't a struggle, though, I adopt more of a "suck it up" attitude.) I have to remind myself that kids survive even when their parents are not "emotionally attuned" to all of their struggles. But it's just the way I am.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Saturday morning, awake at 5:45 and hardly anything done two hours later.

William thinks that our "yard" is called our "neighborhood." The other day as I was spraying RoundUp on our walking path, he followed me around with a stick, waving it in the air, telling me, "I'm getting rid of all the flies in our neighborhood!" Later, when I was digging in the front bed, he ran up to me and said, "Mom, while you're.... changing our neighborhood... I'm going to go draw with chalk."

Neva started babbling this week. She makes a T sound and an S sound and then... started saying 'dada!' It's very cute, when I pick her up after she has JUST woken up, she'll be whispering her little word, like she's woken herself up with her new trick. I can't believe she's six months old today. I'm soaking her up, but she's growing too fast. My feelings about her babyhood are much more patient and reflective than they were with William and Barrett. She is a very similar baby to them in a lot of ways. Recently she has been going through a phase where she won't nap for longer than 30 or 40 minutes. When William and Barrett went through that phase I experienced so much frustration. Hearing them wake up on the monitor made me grumble. But it's different with Neva. I feel like I can just see her life racing by. When I hear her wake up on the monitor, I do wonder what's going on (why isn't that little girl wanting to sleep, if she's so cranky?) but I can honestly say I don't get all worked up, like I used to. I know this phase will be over as soon as it came. I wish I had adopted a more laid-back approach with the boys. Those days with them are gone forever, and I wish I could hold a six-month Will or a six-month Barrett one more time.

One of the greatest joys of my day is seeing how my kids love each other. The boys adore Neva. William is always saying things like, "Look at my pretty sister!" Yesterday at lunch time Barrett decided to forgo his food and instead took his blanket and laid on the floor next to her. He spent about 10 minutes just smiling at her and talking to her. I feel like I'm always saying, No, no, no! Gentle, gentle, gentle! Too much, too much, too much! But no matter how fast they want to spin her in her jumping jack (not allowed), or how hard they want to bounce her in her little bouncer (not allowed), or how many stuffed animals they plop on her face (not allowed), she just beams at them with the biggest smile. She just glows at their attention. As Fillmore says in the movie Cars, "There's a lot of love here, man."

Last night Mom and Dad came by and picked up the kids and took them for a few hours. They went to the playground and to McDonald's for a treat. They had such a blast, and they came home beaming, with lots of stories... and to boot, each of the boys had a new Hot Wheels car. As a treat, Brian and I let them take their cars with them to bed. I told Brian I would deal with any of the fallout when the toys inevitably got lost and when the boys woke up in a disoriented haze crying about their lost toy (this is why we have a rule about no toys in bed, because it always happens). Sure enough, around 3 in the morning, William woke up crying because he couldn't find his car. Being in a sleepy haze myself, it still only took me about 2 seconds to find the car, which was right underneath his blanket. I stuffed it in his pillowcase and told him to go back to sleep, that when he woke up in the morning he could play with it. Of course he had no recollection of this moment, and when Neva woke up at 5:45 to nurse, Will was already wide awake and wondering where his toy had gone.

This week has been quite busy, getting ready for William's party on Sunday and also trying to landscape the front beds (which naturally means having to work on other areas of the yard as well). I've gotten a lot done, but it's Saturday now and I am getting tired. I just can't wait to sit and enjoy my kids and my family at the party tomorrow. This is what life is all about. It is a perfect life.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


William is struggling with arguing. Oh! It seems sometimes like I can't even tell him to go pee without him opposing it (even absent-mindedly). By the time it was bedtime I had had enough and I scolded him quite a bit. After that, it was a blur of bathtime, trimming nails, cleaning ears, brushing teeth, etc., and after it all, after prayer and lights out, as I sat in the rocking chair with Neva, I realized I didn't want to end the day without connecting with him. When I laid Neva down, fast asleep, Barrett was already asleep after a long day. I climbed the ladder up to William, and he was still awake, his big, bright eyes peering over the blanket that he holds to his nose. 

"I want to tell you four things that made me very proud of you today," I said to him. "One, you obeyed me at the park. You stayed by me and you listened to me and you ate your food when I told you to." I held up a second finger. "Two, you played so nicely with your friends at the park. You took turns and you were kind and you had fun with them. Three, you spoke very nicely to Miss Marge and Miss Dolores today. You answered their questions very nicely and you spoke loudly and respectfully. Four, you played very creatively with your car today. You made up lots of fun stories and used your imagination. And five," I said, holding up a bonus fifth finger, "you rode your scooter very well today. You were going so fast! And those are things that made me so proud of you today."

By the time I got to number 5, his eyes were glowing with pride. It took him a second and then he replied, holding his fingers up just like I had done, "Mom, one... you beed good at the parking lot. Two... you, you, you..." *long pause* "you eated good at the table. Three, you..." *another very long pause* "were very kind, and five," he added, skipping a number, "you were very good!" He was so eager to compliment me back.

Man, I love my kids!

Barrett always wants to be held these days, and lately, only MOM will do. I refuse, I absolutely refuse to let myself be frustrated or annoyed with his constant requests. Sometimes I have to tell him no, because I simply can't, but if I possibly can, I am going to hold that chubby little perfect boy (or at least let him ride ("ride your back, mom?") in the carrier) as long as he wants me to.

Neva is perfect. She is just so snuggly, happy, and soft. Her head is soft and warm, her hair growing longer and more downy. She is putting everything into her mouth. She sees me now and knows me and wants me to hold her... not that she grows fussy, but I can tell by her body language that she needs me. She spent the whole trip home from Charlevoix in her carseat, with no stops. That's a new record for our kids. I'm telling you, she's perfect. There's no love song that doesn't apply to her, and if there were, I would just change the words to make it fit.

Today we met Grandma Jo Anne and her two friends at the park. William made new friends and spent the whole time having adventures with them (I overheard something about killing a "giant spider monster"). Barrett spent a good deal of the time in my arms at the picnic table, while Grandma "JoJo" held Neva. It was nice to hold my baby boy in the shade! When he finally went to go play with Will, he got into trouble throwing wood chips and had to have a time out, through tears. Despite not having gotten enough sleep the night before (their faults, not mine!) the boys were very good.