Perspective on Child Stages

2/8/2016

Having children spaced out over 12 years allows me a unique perspective. I look back at the parent I was 12 years ago and can see more clearly now what I did right and what I did wrong. I hang my head in shame and have regrets that I parented in certain ways. Yet I can also see the fruit of my parenting and can be proud of the success of other ways/methods.

It feels like I've been given a chance for do-overs, by having my youngest children. Each one offers me another chance to do better, to "get it right," to be the mother I want to be.

One thing I definitely do better at now is having a big picture perspective. I don't get nearly as upset over small things (the spilled glass of milk, for example). 
I hold my tongue more. I extend grace more. 
I value the relationship with my children more than I value being right all the time. I try to live in the moment more and push my kids to the next thing less.

This quote, by an unknown source, sums up my new perspective very well. 
"Each season is sweet in its own way.
Each one will be missed when it's gone.
Don't miss the beauty of the bud while waiting for the blossom. Each stage of a child's life offers us a chance to know him or her better and to grow a little closer. 
Each stage also gives us a chance to grow into a better parent as we learn the lessons they teach us about 
loving unconditionally, living wholeheartedly, 
and giving and receiving grace." 

I've always said that my children are my greatest teachers. I have learned more as a parent than I ever thought I would. 

I'm so glad that God gives us opportunities to keep learning and growing through this life. How boring it would be if we truly "knew it all" at age 18!! But to learn something new as we go, to grow as we grow up... seems to be something significant to this life! 

Daughter to Disney

2/5/2016


My oldest daughter. She's 12. She recently had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thanks to some family friends. 
She got to tag along with them to DisneyWorld! 


Our friends Steve, Michele and Regan also homeschool. We've known them for about five years, through a couple of homeschooling venues. Most often, though, we get together with them at their home or ours just to chat. With Regan being an only child, her parents gave her the option of inviting one friend to accompany the family on their trip. She chose my daughter, partly because she had never been to Disney before and neither had their family. So they all would experience it for the first time together. 


What an incredible offer and amazing gift to my girl! 


They had a wonderful time. They drove, which my daughter enjoyed because she was able to visit new states on the way to Florida. And they stayed overnight at hotels along the way, which all had pools. My girl swims like a fish, any chance she gets, so that was enjoyable. 


At Disney, they experienced all kinds of new things. New foods, fancy dinners at Cinderella's Castle and the Beast's Castle and the Rainforest Cafe. Roller-coaster rides and the monorail. 


I swear that my daughter grew a few inches while she was gone. She is as tall as I am now and will quickly be passing me up. I missed her more than I thought I would. Not only is she a huge helper to me with the younger children, but I missed her sense of humor and her vibrant personality.


She not only seems to have grown a few inches, but has matured a bit too. She handled the trip like a pro. She didn't get lost among the countless throngs of people. She was responsible with her cash and her dumb phone. She stayed away from sweets, so as to not get sick (as she has done before when she overdoes it). She wore her seabands to avoid motion sickness. She purchased age-appropriate gifts for her siblings (so I know she missed us at least a little bit).


I am so thankful to our friends for including her. With our children spaced out as they are, the chances of our family taking a trip to Disney before our oldest is out of the house (ie. within the next 6 years) is very slim. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, friends! 
Such an over-the-top, incredibly gracious offer this was! 
We are seriously humbled and grateful. 

And welcome back, Bright Eyes! 

Stress

2/4/2016

Stress. I'm feeling it lately. 

The last two weeks have taken a toll. 
Here is what's going on. 

1) My mother in law had knee surgery last week. A 2-day hospital stay was expected. It turned into a 4-day hospital stay, followed up with at least 6 days in rehab and still going! Not sure yet when she'll be released. 

2) My father in law is therefore home alone. He has Parkinson's and cannot see well and does not drive. His wife is his primary caregiver. So while she is away, the rest of the family has been trying to help out. My hubby and his two sisters are all taking turns spending nights with their dad. This means I'm seeing less of my husband these days, which is difficult on him, me and our kids. 

3) My oldest daughter has been away for 10 days on a trip with a friend. I miss her a lot. She is my right-hand helper, without whom I have more work to do myself and have less time for resting or napping. So I am more tired than usual. 

The rest of my stress is just from regular life. 
Our homeschool co-op starts back up this week and I have some added responsibilities there. I have a board meeting at church I need to attend and take minutes for, as the secretary. A weekly Bible study I joined started up recently so that takes one night a week plus 5-days of homework throughout the week. All good stuff... just the usual part of life that is stressing me out right now as I try to juggle it all. 

So I try to keep my perspective. This will all be over soon. My daughter has returned now. My mother in law should be released and be at home soon. She'll still need some help doing things (she won't be able to drive for a few weeks), but it should be less intense than it is now. Life will again settle into "normal" patterns. So a large part of writing this post is simply to remind me of all that was going on. 
And to help me appreciate the normal when it returns! 

Baby Boy is 4 Months Old!

1/26/2016 


 My baby boy is growing, growing, growing. 
He isn't much of a newborn at all now. He's actually quite big - over 18 pounds already! So at 4 months he's the size of a 1-year-old. Not surprising, though... I grow big babies!  


Big sister wants to hold him. 

Such a sweet little mama she is to him!


He's still a cuddle bug and loves to be held. He enjoyed some snuggles with Grandma K earlier this month.


He now can stand up in the exersaucer...


And sit in his bumbo seat.

This month he gained a lot more head control. His eyes are tracking with our movements more. And he is starting to sleep longer stretches at night (yahoo, says this tired mama). 


He also can "walk" in his walker now. 


Here's big brother and little brother. 


Handsome fellows!

We sure love you, little man! You are a gift from God and we are enjoying you to the fullest! 

Wisconsin Christmas

1/6/2016 

We just spent a week in Wisconsin, celebrating Christmas with extended family. A nice time was had by all, which included fun holiday parties as well as down-time to just relax. Ahh!

Here a few highlights as seen through the camera lens.




Traveling. 6 hours in good traffic and good weather and super short pit stops. Our trips usually take us 8-9 hours these days, with little kids who need to get wiggles out and/or babies who need to eat often. 


A nice picture of me with my 3 brothers and my dad. 


Happy smiles from my youngest boy, celebrating his first Christmas.


And my little boy meeting Aunt Becky and Cousin Briannah for the first time. 


My mother and my oldest daughter, sporting their festive headbands. I love their smiles!



They had a good amount of snow in Wisconsin so the kids enjoyed some outdoor playtime. Here's my oldest son with a snowman.


My hubby making lefse. Lefse is like a potato pancake/tortilla. Very thin. Sweet. This is a family tradition, though my grandmother and mother have always prepared it. 


It was high time that we gave it a try. Well... I was holding my baby so hubby gave it a try. He was great at it! The tradition will live on! 


This picture just makes me laugh, as it's very symbolic of our family Christmas gathering. My silly brother Brett, always with a smile and something witty to say. He's holding his son Traeson who wasn't feeling well that night and felt like he might vomit. Brett's holding up a gag gift, still in the box, in case Traeson does vomit. This year "someone" (we don't know who does some of these gag gifts) gifted many of us with old, strange-looking Christmas decorations. There were some strange Santas (who looked devious, devilish or high on drugs) and some nasty looking snowmen (like this one who was more like a chicken and was not white, but more of an old beige color and smelled musty like it'd lived in someone's attic for a decade or more). Man, oh man, the looks on folks' faces when they opened these gifts. Hilarious! 

There's a glimpse into our holidays. 
Fun family times! 

Christmas Gifts

12/28/2015


Here's a peek at Christmas gifts given and received at our house this year. 



One important gift was given... SMILES! 


The littlest man received some rattles and a bumbo seat.


I received a wall plaque with a nice message, a candle, slippers and a beautiful grandmother mantle clock! I didn't get a picture of my husband with his gifts, but rest assured that he was there with us! 



2-year-old Little Miss received a sit-n-spin which was probably her favorite toy. She also received a necklace, some bath toys, a Little People car with 2 people, and a tunnel to crawl through. Lots of smiles and giggles from her!


My older son received a set of cones, a test-tube science kit, a mini-drone, a Lego truck and some candy. He was really excited about all of his gifts, but he loves all things Lego so that was probably his favorite.


My oldest daughter received a pair of roller skates, a spirograph, a mini safe, a slinky and some MadLibs. Sounds like a lot of retro toys, doesn't it? All things from her list that she is excited about it. The spirograph was the first thing she got out to experiment with and quickly shared her beautiful designs. 


Love Christmas morning with these silly kids! 

We've had years of lean and years of plenty. This was a year of plenty for us. A year where we saw clearly the Lord's favor on my husband's employment. We give God the thanks and praise for that! We were able to give more than we've ever given at Christmastime because of His favor on us. Truly, we give because God is a Giver, who gave first to us! 

Merry Christmas!

12/25/2015


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Baby Boy is 3 Months Old

12/24/2015


This baby boy is three months old now! 
It's been a month of smiles and first belly laughs!



He smiles with Mommy!


He smiles with Daddy!


He smiles in his sleep! 


He likes to play with on his activity mat in the playpen. 


And he likes to watch and "play" with his big siblings.


And, of course, he's excited to celebrate his first Christmas!


And when it's all said and done, Mama is still his favorite person in the whole world and he doesn't like to be far from her for even a minute! 

We love you, Little Digger and are so thankful that God blessed our family with you! 

Happy Birthday, Little Miss!

12/14/2015



This growing girl just turned 2!


I still remember giving birth to her. We waited to find out the baby's gender until the birth. So I asked "So! Is it a boy or a girl. I don't have my glasses on and can't see a thing!" The midwife held her up and said "It's a girl!" That moment was one of the best in my life. So exciting. 


And, as all kids do, she has grown and grown and grown. 


Last year she was too young to enjoy her birthday or Christmas very much. This year will be different! 


This girl has the sweetest, helpful spirit about her. She is quick to help out with cleaning projects, throwing away diapers, and loves putting dirty clothes (and sometimes clean ones too) down our laundry chute. 


She speaks very, very clearly for a 2 year old. I've heard from many people that they know 3 or even 4 year olds who doesn't speak as clearly or have the vocabulary she has. She strings 4-5 words together to make sentences and regularly uses words like "probably" and "Christmas tree" in her conversations. She's a talker alright! 


We love you, Rosebud, and are so very 
thankful to have you as part of our family. 
Happy birthday, sweetheart!