Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can I lock her up like Rapunzel?

I am pretty conservative, but I've never thought of myself as overly conservative. In fact, I would have thought I was barely on the conservative scale. In the past few weeks, however, I am beginning to wonder if I am unreasonably restrictive. My daughter is four. Four years old to me is still very young. I still have her watch Sesame Street with her brother and honestly I think it is extremely age appropriate. She is learning to read and such- sesame street is ALL about this. Most of her friends haven't watched that show in a couple years. Shows I think meant for tweens are now apparently being watched by most of her friends. Take, for example, Hannah Montana. Certainly it isn't a bad show, I just happen to think it isn't appropriate for a four year old.

She's also started to tell me her friends are claiming to have boyfriends. One of these friends from church is the youngest of a very large family. They are a family that home schools. I would have thought they would be MORE conservative than I am, yet their daughter is talking to mine about her boyfriend and going on dates. The other little girl is a friend from school. She told Ava she is "in love" with a boy in their class and wants Ava to ask him to be her boyfriend. Ava didn't want to do this, so she asked me about it. We had a good conversation and I think I handled it fairly well. I told her these girls were funny (not in a demeaning way). We talked about what a boyfriend was and I told her she didn't and shouldn't really have boyfriends until she's ready to get married because the REASON for having a boyfriend is looking for a husband. She laughed and said, "four year olds aren't ready to get married. why do they want boyfriends?"

On one hand, I can tell myself this isn't a huge deal, but I have to admit the larger part of me wants to pull my daughter out of preschool and sunday school and just keep her safe and innocent at home. I just don't love the idea of my young child learning thing from other kids. Shoot- I hate the idea. I appreciate that she so far has come to me when she is wondering about these things, but how long before she doesn't tell me everything?

We live in a crazy, hard world that is very sinful in a lot of ways. I know I cannot protect her from that forever, I was just really hoping to keep her innocent as long as possible. Certainly I get that many people reading this will think I am a little bit of a nut job. I know a boyfriend and Hannah Montana are bad things. No "harm" has come to my child. It isn't about these issues in particular as much as realizing that kids are growing up faster and faster. If they have "boyfriends" at four years old, what will they be interested in at 12 years old?

Can't we just stay focused on letters and princess play a little bit longer?!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life is Groovy

I haven't updated my blog in a few days and after my last post, I hope none of you think I am too destitute. Last week was tough to be sure, but it was also good. I blogged on the hardest day and I feel like God really blessed my honesty with him and my commitment to praise and lean on him. It felt like a test and ,at the risk of sounding proud, which is not my intent, I feel like we passed. It was as if we were pushed to our limit but stood our ground to praise and glorify God despite our circumstances. From that point on it just felt like God poured out blessings. We just felt him smiling upon us. It may sound hokey or weird to some, that is okay. I really felt last week like my Father watched me struggled but endure and then stepped in, put his arm around me and said, "I'll take it from here."

I felt such joy through the exhaustion. My sisters called and just told me they were coming; I suppose they know me better than to ask. They were like a breath of fresh air. I got a break from holding my little one all day and my other two were able to enjoy playing with the aunts they like so much. I just love my sisters (anyone who knows them totally gets that;). Having them around is just a good time. I was able to host our small group on Friday night and have Phin's birthday part on Saturday. All that would have happened, but with their visit it happened with ease.

Marc has been getting better daily. We were even able to drive down to Chicago on Sunday afternoon to attend a costume party with our birthing class (from our pregnancy with AVA!). We prayed about going and really felt like we had peace about it. We have a painless drive BOTH ways with zero traffic and THREE sleeping children! It was like having a date in the car. The sun was shining and we were able to talk and connect uninterrupted. I drove so Marc could lay out. We enjoyed seeing old friends and just marveled at God's graciousness to us in allowing us to go; it was amazingly such a painless trip- both physically for Marc and emotionally for both of us.

We also realize Marc's injury was a bit of a blessing in re. to his job. He's really dealt with a lot of stress lately. Last week he was forced to just let work go- his team pick up what they needed to and he realized that it wasn't something he needed to worry so much over. I think in the long run, the lesson really will be of benefit to all of us!

On the drive home, Marc and I talked about how content we are with where God has us. We love Sheboygan. It just fits with what we want for raising our family. We feel like God led us here and we want to be faithful to serve and glorify him here to the best of our ability! We also just have joy overflowing in re. to our family. God has grown us so much as parents. Sure there are many hard days as a mom; but I can say without a doubt that I know my children INDEED are a blessing and I am SO thankful I get to stay home and raise them. WOW, am I fortunate!! I have an incredible husband to walk through life with and I am so thankful for the leadership and humility with which he leads our family.

Sure we've been pushed near our limits in some ways but sometimes it is so empowering/encouraging to see your hands at the end of your rope and have the priviledge of witnessing how God steps in and picks you up. The older I get, the more confident I am of his provision and faithfulness!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On Monday, my dear husband took a little sleep from the bottom few stairs while carrying the baby. He was able to rally and land on his feet, keeping the baby safe, but in the process TORE a muscle in his back. I emphasize the word TEAR because it is not a little pull. He is out of commission. I have a new found respect for single mamas!

On Tuesday, he was only able to crawl on all fours- LITERALLY! He couldn't stand or sit...shoot, the poor guy couldn't lie down comfortably. The doctor game him muscle relaxors and NSAIDS. He is getting better SLOWLY. He can sort of walk hunched over, but needs to use a cane. He still cannot sit, though the MD recommended an exercise ball so we'll try that tonight. He is in pain and completely unable to do much of anything.

Take a moment to feel bad for him and then turn your attention to me- afterall, this is my blog, right. FEEL BAD FOR ME;) I basically have a fourth child. Admittedly, he is a bit easier to care for than a child- he has a thankful heart and patience. But let's take a minute to remember that I am still adjusting to having THREE children. This is HARD.

BUT by God's grace, we are making it. I can't deny that I have gone to bed in tears the last few night, purely from exhaustion. This morning I also cried when I woke up. To top off my plight, my dear baby woke up SEVEN times last night...SEVEN TIMES! When she was up for the dayat 5:45 am, I couldn't help but cry. I am tired- in the purest sense of the words. The past two days I literally barely sat to eat. I haven't seen a TV show or read a book. The only thing I've been able to do is pee and eat...and those haven't opportunities often had to wait longer than my body wanted;) This morning I was straight with God. I flat out told him I was MAD. Couldn't he atleast make my infant sleep. I am so thankful for the Psalms, because I needed the "WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" moment this morning. YET, what is wonderful is coming back to truth! NO! He has not forsaken me. In fact, despite feeling tired, I am doing well. My kids are doing well. I haven't screamed at them or lost it- that is a miracle. Yesterday morning I asked God for Chloe to fall back asleep on her own and she did- that miracle was easy to forget today, but he answered that prayer and so I know he will strengthen me through this time and give me peace and joy.

Things could certainly be worse, right? but sometimes knowing that doesn't make THIS easier. It is hard to take care of three little ones with no respite. It is hard to be exhausted and see your husband sleeping on the couch. No matter how logically you speak to yourself- it is hard to see someone else sleeping when you cannot. I really cannot do this- flat out can't do it, but you know what THANKFULLY I serve a God who promises to bear our burdens, supply our needs, and give us strength. He is good- that never changes. Life changes, but God does not. Praise his name. This trial won't be over overnight- it will be a long while before Marc can hold Chloe or Phin; I am so thankful that God won't leave us or forsake us. I need Him right now, let me tell you. In that sense, I am thankful for this time. When we are forced to our knees and have to CLING to God to make it through, we get the opportunity to see Him at work.

(Let me not forget, also to thank people here in Sheboygan. We have only lived here six months. Before we moved here, we were warned by a few people that Sheboygan isn't known for being welcoming. Thank God we are part of the body of Christ. I had two offers of dinner yesterday and ended up with a lovely lasagne that is enough for three meals. I have had encouraging words, offers of help (unfortunately my kids are still adjusting to baby, so there isn't much anyone else can do), and just over all have felt loved. Thank you guys!)

Monday, October 11, 2010


AVA HAS MASTERED THE MONKEY BARS!!! This is a huge accomplishment and cause for much celebration in our home. She has been diligently working on getting across the monkey bars for two weeks.

First I taught her how to fall off them straight down and then told her it was just a matter of building up her strength in order to get across. She is a true first born and has been diligently going back again and again to master the fete of making it all the way across. Daily we were getting reports on the way home from school. We'd go to the park on the in between days just so she could practice. The problem is she wasn't making it past three or four rungs.

We were visiting some dear friends over the weekend and I realized she isn't letting herself use momentum to propel forward. She doesn't reach on the swing she waits until she's still and tries to reach or drops down. I then explained to her momentum would keep her going and SHE GOT IT! All of us cheered for her and the smile on her face was priceless! She kept going back again and again to get better at it; to make it across more smoothly. When she hopped down she said, "My hands sure do hurt though." I gave them a look. This is what her hands look like.

Proof of much hard work and determination! Perhaps I should have encouraged giving herself a break! She is one tough cookie and is eagerly awaiting her "new skin" to grow so she can show off her skills on the playground at school.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ummm- yes, as a matter of fact, I do feel pretty bad!

so...for the past four nights or so Chloe's stomach has seemed to bother her in the middle of the night. She's slept restlessly after about 3am and has been obviously trying to fart and grimacing, etc. I've been racking my brain trying to think of what I have eaten to cause her discomfort!

Last night, we left her with a sitter. I was shocked that she only drank about an ounce of the bottle for the sitter and disappointed that she then woke at 9:30 hungry. It meant she didn't have a long sleep stretch all night; she was off and tired all day today.

Tonight, she started fussing when Marc tried to give her the bedtime bottle. (Chloe is breastfed, but gets one bottle a day at nighttime with her Papa.) He checked temp of milk, burped her, ect. She would start trying to drink and then cry- obviously frustrated. I read the formula bottle (we've had to buy concentrated similac for the past two weeks because the powder was recalled and unavailable and she's rejected any other formulas). Turns out even though it isn't expired, it says it isn't good past four days in the fridge.

Yes sirree, we've been feeding our kid sour milk for a few days. Last night it must have gotten to taste funny enough that she didn't want it- today she was beyond ticked about it. ARGH! I thought I learned to read directions in elementary school. I suppose the upside is that she probably won't be fussy and miserable at 3am tonight with obvious stomach discomfort. I sure do feel like a rotten mother though...who feeds their infant spoiled milk!?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Perhaps it's the Indian Summer we are experiencing that has me in a super duper mood, but I am lovin' life right now- stressors and all. I'm just gushing on my kiddos. Here are a few of my favorite things at the moment:

-Ava currently asking me to "skin her carrot". I corrected her once, but have since decided to just let her call it skinning instead of peeling for the time being; sure it may be technically incorrect, but who cares-it makes me laugh inside;)

-Phin's "Oh, Man!" when I take away his lollipop (that he steals from my candy drawer) or tell him he can't do something.

-Phin's "No, Thanks!" when he doesn't want something offered...manners before 2 are SOOO cute;)

-Ava's super helpful nature...she thinks she's a mini-mommy. Certainly, this causes problems sometims but it is also super cute that a 4 year old thinks she is SOO grown up!

-My husbands help with housework. Is anything more romantic, really?

-Ava and Phin's budding relationship. They love playing with each other and it is priceless to witness!

-Chloe's squeals of delight and pure joy at the mere sight of mommy.

-Ava's art projects. Everyday she makes about 20 different projects, they differ but atleast once a day she makes paper dolls and writes me a "letter".

-Ava working hard to master the monkey bars. She is making it farther across every day and seeing her determined to complete a task and working hard to get there is awesome.

-Phin's is hard not to tickle him all day long.

-The excitment my kids express over ice cream...we go far to often cuz it is just so fun for them!

-Watching Phin's budding imagination- Woody is currently rescuing Jesse from various situations on a daily basis. Sometimes Buzz get's to help.

-Dancing with my kids.

-Chloe's beginning to take a long morning nap on an almost daily basis...the sleep schedule is emerging- yay!

-Being able to dress Chloe however I want;)

-Seeing Phin's delight EVERY time he gets to wear his Super Grover T-shirt.

-Ava's outfit combinations.

I'll stop there...I think I could go on forever right now- MY CUP RUNNETH OVER!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chloe totally has me figured only 3 months;)

I realized yesterday that my little Chloe totally has me wrapped around her little finger. Perhaps it's knowing she may be my last natural born child or something. Either way, I am finding it harder and harder to ignore her cries of protest...say like when I dare to set her down for a minute to go pee or something;) She's my third, it is supposed to get easier- but instead I find myself just melting.

I also have begun to notice that someone looking in on our situation would often times just laugh at me. She never naps very long- perhaps ONE nap longer than an hour all day, but still I act as if I haven't seen her in ages. It is something about the smile she gives me; it totally turns me into a mushy gushy. It is as if her smiles communicates "HELLO! I have missed you SOOO much and I am SOOOO glad you came." I even find myself saying back to such a smile, "Hi! Baby girl, I missed you!" In truth, I didn't even have time to miss her- I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get a thing or two done before she woke again, but in that moment, I mean it.

I am captivated by this little one...truth by known it's probably true about all my kids. I thought I would be a tough, strict mama. It is so much harder than I thought it would be. One grin and I find it terribly hard not to give in;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

OKay...maybe overnights aren't SOO bad

I was going to come home tonight and gripe on here about my dear first born. She spent the night at her friends house on Friday. While she did surprisingly well (I expected to have to drive down to Kenosha and pick her up at bedtime)and had an excellent time, she came home tired. The past two days have been a bit difficult to say the least. She is whiny and grumpy and quite frankly I have wished we could just give her to someone else to deal with until she catches back up on sleep!

Tonight, she came out of her room three times with different excuses as to what she needed from us. Keeping my tone kind while firm, was tough. I admit, I wanted to scream at her to "PLEASE STAY IN YOUR ROOM AND SLEEP...SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP". By God's grace, I didn't... we all know how ineffective that would have been. I can only imagine the meltdown it the meltdown it would have caused in her over-sensitive state!

Anywho- the final time she exited her room was to request that we turn her space heater off, because she felt her room was warm enough. I went back up to check the temperature and adjust the settings (her room is VERY cold in winter and tonight it is supposed to get to below freezing here). As I was leaving her room, she said, "Now I think I will spend some time with God and ask him to help me to a better job of doing the right things tomorrow." She stated this so matter of fact, but I melted. How proud I am that my little girl is learning where is the source of help! I told her I thought that was the best thing she could do and that God always helps me when I ask him.

I never know what Ava totally does or doesn't understand, but she's gotten this and I am SO SO happy. If she learns to turn to God for help when she's four- I can only imagine the awesome things he can do in her and through her! She knows she can't do it on her own...I pray she never forgets that!! If it took an overnight and being overtired, for her to turn to God- she can go every Friday night;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

For Memories Sake...

Blogging in general is pretty self-indulgent. I love to read other people's blogs, but I also LOVE knowing people read mine. It's a great place to vent but also to brag about things, like your kids, in a way that is somehow socially acceptable. It's also a great way to file away this time in my life. I plan to print it all out and bind it. People always say they forget these years...some days I'm looking forward to being that far out the the trenches, but most of the time I am smart enough to know I want to remember as much as possible. Here is what I'd like to remember today:

Chloe found her voice yesterday! Before then it would take her obvious effort to coo and communicate with us (except crying, of course) but all of a sudden she figured it out and she is talking up a storm. She talks to her mobile and bouncer and us, of course. It is just adorable. She is quite an animated little one and her sounds are just melting my heart!

Phin is obsessed with two things at the moment Veggie Tales and Lollipops. The VeggieTales thing is pretty cute. If you ask him what his name is, often he will reply "Bob/Larry". He constantly asks to "watch a Bob/Larry show" and when I say, "no, not now, buddy", he acts as if I must not understand him and very slowly says, "Watch Bob/Larry MOVIE, mommy." Because he asks so often, the answer is almost always "no" so he's taken to asking EVERYONE and ANYONE, including the cashier at Target, in hopes someone will give in to his cuteness.

The lollipops are a litte more of a problem. I have a candy drawer which he has discovered. It now needs to move because everytime we turn around the kid has gotten a lollipop. I have taken away countless lollipops and still find them randomly all over my house. Today I found him with two in his mouth. (notice the candy drawer is still open behind him- such a stinker!)

Ava is coming into her own little person. She is adorable one moment and maddening the next. She can be very helpful but she also sometimes thinks she knows it all;0). She is so sweet with her younger siblings. She loves to get Phin out of his room in the morning and has started to help him make his bed and put away his books. She really is getting so big. Yesterday she made me laugh so hard when she said, "Mom I feel like I am 9! I can brush my hair so well and tie my shoes all by myself. I didn't think I'd be doing this stuff until I was like 9!" So here is my darling with 9 fingers up, proud as can be of herself;)