Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When A Baby Becomes A Toddler

          When does a baby become a toddler?  This is a most sneaky transition. One minute you are holding a snuggly bundle in your arms, and the next that bundle is traipsing through the house exploring every nook and cranny.  Childhood in it's purest definition is a series of seamless transitions made up of learning, growing, and changing. You can't quite declare the exact moment the transformation happens. It feels like a blink, a single breath escaping from your lips, and then it's over.  Your baby isn't quite a baby anymore.  Those sleepless nights you thought would never end, have vanished and there is an unexpected sadness mixed with joy. You've survived, and your baby is growing up.

          I feel like just yesterday we were bringing William home.  Though he was our biggest baby of the three, weighing in at 9lbs. and 13oz., he still felt itty bitty, the way all newborns do. It was one of the happiest days of my life, looking back at that precious little package in his brand new car seat, sleeping soundly.  His big brothers were still spending the day with Grandma and Papa, so it was just us.  When we got home, I gave him a "tour." It was his first time seeing the place, so I thought he should know his way around. I felt overwhelmed with pride showing him his very own room. "This is for you," I told him. "I'll tell you stories in that rocking chair, and sing to you. And sometimes we'll just sit there so I can look at you and tell you  that I love you. We'll snuggle and share many special moments together. Those are all your books up there on that shelf. Most of them are from Grandma, she's kind of a book fanatic." After I finished showing him his room, we looked at his big brother's room, and the rest of the house, then we snuggled down for a good feeding.
           I will never forget those first expressions of pure contentment. I love that "drunk-baby" look newborns get when they are nursing.  That first night was perfect, not that it didn't have it's challenges, but we had finally brought home the last member of our family, and all was good. That first week he spent mostly in just a diaper.  He had jaundice and it was late August, so we tried to let the sunlight seep into his sweet baby skin. Even at night, he slept next to me in just his diaper; I rubbed his smooth little back until he fell asleep.
          I think of those days often, now.  Especially when William begs to get up on that same bed so we can wrestle. He moves as fast as his monkey legs can carry him as soon as sees our bedroom door open and bolts for the side of the bed where he bangs his little arms until I give him a boost up.  Then it's all crawling, climbing and giggles. He loves to be tickled, and this has become our little game. Him, bolting for the bed, me, pretending I can't catch him until I tackle him gently on the bed and tickle him until he is breathing hard with laughter!
          It's true, this baby has morphed into a toddler somehow. He's shown all the signs, almost humorous fits of kicking and arm flinging when he doesn't get his way, destruction of all things in his path, and the requirement of constant snacks. The only sign this toddler has failed to show is to actually toddle. He'll be 18 months on the 22nd and has only taken a few steps here and there. I guess that means he's about 95% toddler. I'll hang hang on to that baby-ness as long as I can!
          Slowly it's been slipping away, but I cherish every cuddle and kiss. Last Sunday, William fell asleep on Martin, which is quite a rarity now.  I whispered to him that it may be the last time he does that.  William was snoring loud enough for probably a few rows around us to hear. And every time his little lip went in and out, a little spit bubble formed! Sigh... so precious. He may be growing up, but he'll always be my baby!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Not Just A Tree



To most people, a tree is just a tree.
They don't see it's beauty,
It's strength.
They don't see it's pattern of life,
growth, and elegance. 
The day that eyes see more than just a tree,
is the day those eyes begin to see the world.
They see truth and beauty all around.
They see hope for the future.
They see in others a new potential. 
They see that we are all connected,
 imperfect, and beautiful...
just like the tree.
So, a tree is not just a tree.
The tree is you, and the tree is me.
The tree is all of us, together,
growing, 
changing, 

giving strength to each other.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"The Princess Bride" Movie Night With Elijah

I always feel like I am going to forget little sweet moments that happen in my everyday life.  I wish I had more time to write things down.  I guess that is what prompted this post.

Last week, I purchased the movie, "The Princess Bride" while on my regular Target shopping trip.  It was only $5, and it's a classic that we desperately needed to add to our movie library.   I grew up with it being an all time favorite family movie (not realizing how corny and fun it really was until much later).  Then, a few years ago, I read a book on parenting boys.  In one of the chapters, it had a list of movies they were recommending to watch with your boys... among the list was "The Princess Bride."

On a regular basis, I am pretty strict when it comes to what I let my children watch.  I knew eventually I wanted all of the kids to watch this movie I had grown to love, but when was the right time?  How old is old enough for sword fighting, death, and true love? We decided this would be a good movie for Elijah who just turned seven, but Owen, our four year old, would not be allowed to watch it just yet.
I was still a little questionable, thinking about the content of the movie... Elijah has really only seen cartoon/kid movies - all rated G.  However,  the parenting book I had read said watching good movies together and talking about the themes and ideas presented with your child, allows them to begin to connect his inside world with his outside world.  I had never really thought about it that way before. I was always very aware of the content and watched for reactions and we'd talk about themes in the movie, but this idea of helping him to take steps to understanding the world... well that seems pretty big.

Other good movies recommended were:
The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Wizard of Oz (which he has seen)
Old Yeller
The Miracle on 34th Street
Stagecoach
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Lion King
Babe
The Iron Giant

These were recommended specifically for boys, but of course are great for any child.
They all have a certain theme of good vs. evil, fighting for what is right, and lots of adventure, which kids are fascinated with.

Knowing all of this ahead of time, I was anxious to see Elijah's reactions to "The Princess Bride," but first we needed the unique opportunity to watch it alone with him. This opportunity came unexpectantly last Tuesday night.
We were at the dinner table and Owen refused to eat his food. (this is somewhat typical, but he is required to take at least 4 "thankful" bites, which he was having a very hard time with).  Martin realized he was being more difficult than usual, but neither of us caught it was due to being overtired... until about five minutes later.  We looked over and Owen had actually fallen asleep with his arms folded and his head tucked in them right on the table!
Martin carried him to bed, we cleaned up, and there was an opportunity to watch a movie with just Elijah awake!
The special scenario made the movie more exciting and enjoyable for Elijah, I think. It's not often he gets to stay up late and also have both of his parents to hang out with.
He watched the entire movie with such intensity, it kind of caught me off guard. He paid attention to every detail. (I do have to admit, there was one section where I pushed the mute button.  Since I can pretty much quote the entire thing, I remembered the one swear word just in time... he didn't really need to hear that part right?)
My favorite thing about the whole night was at the end of the movie when they are all four riding away on white horses, Elijah smiled and said, "I'm glad she gets to ride horses again, because that's her favorite thing to do."
He said that was his favorite part about the whole movie- the girl getting to enjoy her favorite past time.  Oh, my sweet boy! i just love him! I thought he might say the sword fighting or something else, but no, he was glad for the girl getting to enjoy riding horses!
I'm looking forward to many more memorable movie nights with these wonderful boys of mine. And soon they will all be old enough to enjoy the classics!

P.S I just heard that "The Princess Bride" is being made into a Broadway Show! wow... Inconceivable!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Living Things" Day One

     Our weeks of themed summer fun have kept us going.  We've been learning new things, experimenting, and tapping in to our deep creative side! This week (and possibly next week), we have chosen the theme of "Living Things." It's quite a big umbrella to tackle, so we are starting small and working our way up.
     Yesterday, Monday,  we learned about plants, what they need to grow and flourish, and some of the other living things that help them... bees.  We made our own flowers using toilet paper roll centers, and some construction paper, and bees using paper and craft sticks.  The boys loved learning about a bees "job." They got to practice is for themselves by playing with their own creations... pollinating flowers!

 Our next project was planting our very own tree!  This may have been their favorite part of the day!  They got to dig, make piles of rocks, and get really, really dirty! Daddy did most of the heavy lifting and digging, but our little guys were still a big part of this living thing!  Now we will have the privilege of watching it grow in front of our house for years to come!







Saturday, June 29, 2013

Time to Hero UP!

        I never would have guessed that I would know all the names of nearly every superhero, what they do, what weapons they use, and even which villain they are most evenly matched with. I even know how to pronounce Mjolnir. And if you are as cool as me, you would know I am referring to Thor's Mighty Hammer, of course!  Over the passed two years, as my boys have reached the target superhero age, my knowledge and their interest has exploded! And honestly, I've been loving it. I know I was meant to have boys, if not for this alone!
     Needless to say, Monday kicked off our terrific SUPERHERO WEEK! It wasn't hard finding things to do related to superheroes! Many of the boys' things are already some sort of hero.  Along with all of our activities, I thought it was also important to talk about some superhero qualities and characteristics. What makes a superhero a true hero? Are there real live superheroes? Yes... superheroes do exist and you can be one too. All it takes is a generous amount of courage, selflessness, and the will to fight for true honor and justice. These are noteworthy things, of course and why we all really love a hero.

Here are my little heroes in action...




I was thrilled to find matching superhero shirts at Target for $2!!!

Owen doing his: Hulk Smash! (yes we made this mask... out of foam)

We made quite a few of these stick puppet heroes and put on a show using last week's dilapidated cardboard rocket.



I love the way they play! This video of Owen using his puppets makes me smile! They are so cute!

New superhero outfits from Grandma!


Superhero puzzles!

Superhero stickerbook! Owen loved just looking through this at all of the heroes!


Ironman and Captain American paraded the neighborhood!

Painting projects... Elijah made this jet and painted it.

These painted cans are going to be a windchime when all put together.




Elijah and I worked together to make some hero symbols out of a craft media called "bendaroos"

No-sew Hero Capes!


These are just men's t-shirts with the front and arms cut off! Elijah used the leftover arms to put on his head and his legs! Silly boy!!!

William got to be included for this one! Super-baby!



I loved this... Owen lifted up William's cape and said, "Look mom, he's flying!"
My little hero's and I spent a great week together getting in touch with our brave side.  There's never been a better time to be a superhero! (And I have three all to myself!!!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rocket Week Part 2

School has been out for two whole weeks which means my life and daily routine has changed drastically! The days seem three times longer since they aren't split up by driving to and from school. And the opportunities are endless! There are a million fun things I want to do with my kids, however a few roadblocks already stand in my way. I knew of course that it would be challenging planning things around a baby's schedule and needs, but what I didn't expect was the amount of laziness and whining from my older two! oh my goodness... you would think I was torturing them just to get them to do a few simple things. "Mo--oOOOOmmmmm! Do I have to? Uh... why? Can't I just watch a show, or play a computer game?" Uh no... it's kind of beautiful outside and I don't want your brain turning to mush on my watch! They are allowed a certain amount of "screen time," but I want the summer to be filled with so much more than that!

Last week we finished off Rocket Week an extension of the first themed week of the summer. We ended up doing some pretty fun things, but our week was a little more relaxed than the first week. We started out trying an experiment using mentos and Diet Coke. The "Wow" factor was not quite what I had hoped for. It was suppose to shoot up into the air causing much excitment and amazment... nope, ours just kind of bubbled and sputtered and then quickly exploded over the top without really going high up into the air.


I registered the boys to be a part of the summer reading program, so on mondays, we go to the library and they get a sticker and a small prize for showing their reading log of books we have read.  Half of the books we are reading are rocket-related, and the other half are just fun ones that they wanted. We also started reading a chapter book during story time called "Ghostville Elementary," which they are loving! I could read to them all day and never get tired of it, but we have to mix it up a little...

One day we made miniture rockets out of toilet paper rolls. They had a lot of fun doing that... lots of cutting and pasting and creating...



Then we hung them from the curtain rod as you can see here.  The rocket names were from the week before. Another cut and paste project we did was making a collage. We chose things that either started with the letter "r" for "Rocket" or were related to rockets/ space. Here are some picture of their collages:

I love that there are so many resources out there for EVERYTHING! We have been watching "the Magic School Bus" which happened to have an episode about going to the moon! We also have that particular book, which we read a few times this week.

The vote is still out for next week... it's a tie between Superhero week and Living Things... maybe you can help us decide. We'll end up doing both and probably for more than just one week. When there is so much fun to be had on just one subject it's hard to spend only one week on it! I have a lot of ideas for both themes...