I had this great moment of realization and reassurance awhile back.

My oldest was asked to babysit for a friend.  Her boys are at just the right age for his first experiences babysitting for someone other than his siblings all on his own.  I was impressed to see how enthusiastic he was in this adventure and her boys were happy to have a “boy babysitter”!  The thing is that I recognize how rare of an opportunity this is.  No matter how much of a natural instinct boys have for caring for children it is always going to be the girls that will get a call to babysit first.  I get it…when Sam and Jake were still young enough that they needed a sitter and the girls were just little I didn’t feel quite comfortable having another young man in the house to make sure they got into their jammies, tucked them in and give them a snuggle if they needed it.  Somehow that worked okay for a young woman to take care of those things with my boys but not the other way around.  Having said that I have met a few guys over the last few years that I may have reconsidered for and my experience as a momma of older boys has given me some perspective on that as well.

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Passage of Time

Today marks the anniversary of Ryker Leif’s birth and death.  To be honest I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel today.  There are certainly less tears shed as time has passed.  They still come on occasion but less frequently.  I thought perhaps the day would pass as every other day has with the acknowledgement that there is still grief but the sharp pain of it has passed to a dull ache.  But truthfully the past week has brought different waves of sorrow.  I have seen countless pregnant bellies, newborn babies, and toddlers.  I’m not sure if perhaps I’m uber aware of them at this moment in time or if the Spring has truly brought about so much new-ness of life.  Whatever the case I feel acutely aware of the should have beens.

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Should Girls Be Highly Educated“…There are rarely things that get me super heated I feel the need to respond with such tenacity but this was the title of a blog post I came across on Facebook today and felt physically ill as I read it.  Perhaps in reading her commentary I misinterpreted her points but honestly being in the place I’m in at the moment, it felt like a punch in the gut.  I will NEVER underestimate the value of the time I’ve had at home with my children as a mother.  I know being able to stay at home with my babies was a blessing many mothers are not afforded for a variety of reasons and some by choice.  What I found so hard to swallow was the mindset this viewpoint portrays.  Being thinly veiled as a “biblical” principle with a few select verses to support her argument I found it, quite frankly, incredibly arrogant to presume that the role for all women, of all time is to be keeper of the home, family and her husband.  Below are some of the snippets I found particularly “intriguing” and while I tried to be fair in grabbing things that may have provided equal evidence to her argument it all seemed equally distasteful…

“I’m always surprised to discover these questions typically come from college graduates; teachers, nurses, and others turned homemakers. They have exchanged their diploma for their MRS degree, believing (as I do) that the most important place for a mother is in the home. In the face of cultural opposition, they see the value of a homemaker and understand her importance in light of Scripture….

How many unhappy marriages, broken homes, miserable, desperate wives, and rebellious children will it take before we admit that intentionally preparing our daughter to be keepers of the home is not just “a nice idea,” but a necessary one?…

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I’m pretty sure no one ever told me raising boys would be easy!  In fact I’ve never heard anyone say raising any child(ren) would be easy.  I do feel privileged, in a way, to have the experience of raising two boys and two girls.  You see, there is an interesting dynamic that occurs between brothers and one that occurs between sisters.  I could probably write a series of books for both, but for the sake of today’s post I’ll focus on all things “snips and snails and puppy dog tails”!!!

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Living with the blur

We all know there are times when you just aren’t sure exactly what the plan is and you don’t even know where to start to figure it out.  I feel a little like that these days.  I have nothing to complain about in the big picture of things so I won’t do that, but I do often wonder what the bigger picture actually looks like.  This week has already been amazingly interesting and it was only Tuesday night when I started this and it’s only gotten more intriguing, although, I guess in fairness there isn’t much in my life that’s just quiet and slow-paced.  Most of my life is lived in a bit of a blur and while I know there is constant encouragement from various places to just slow down and live in the moment I literally feel like this stage of my life is somewhat out of my control when it comes to the pace.  I know I can choose to add things or not but quite frankly there is little I can take away at this point.

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FOR FUN…

I’ve said it before but I’ll gladly say it again…my husband is SO CREATIVE!!!  Whether it’s being creative at work, creative at parenting or just plain creative with life, his mind thinks in ways I cannot fathom.  The latest creative endeavor in our home has been sandwich bags made uniquely for each child.

Now let’s just clear the air from the start.  There is no possible way for me to claim that this is environmentally friendly, in fact it’s probably quite the opposite.  However the anticipation it creates for my children to open their lunches makes it easier for me to justify my contribution to global warming.

James came across a designer’s blog some time ago that had fun ideas for using your creative skills in your child’s lunchbox.  He showed me some of the unique creations and then expressed the desire to do something similar with his kiddos.  So he started one Sunday evening with one black and one red sharpie.  The result was stunning…four drawings on a ziploc baggie for each of his kids.  The picture was something special to them and a way for him to let his kids know that he thought of them throughout the day.

Three weeks later and said creative idea going strong, I decided to fill his “toolbox” with a whole set of colorful sharpies.  The result was wonderful…

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I was in the car this morning with three, sweet four year olds.  As I drove and listened to their banter I smiled, it was innocent and beautiful, silly and ridiculous but their laughter and joy filled the van.  They were giggly and chatty, as they always are when they first get together.  I love hearing their little voices calling each other by name and catching up on the details of the days they’ve missed.  It never ceases to amaze me how children can spend hours with their friends and the next time they see each other, whether it be hours or days later they have countless details to relay. Continue reading

While we have not yet reached the point of jetting off to some luxurious, tropical vacation during the kids spring break we do try to find a few fun things to entertain ourselves with.  This break so far has been VERY low-key…we’ve basically hung around close to home as both James and I still have regular work schedules to maintain.  Thankfully we’ve been blessed with some sunshine, albeit rather cold sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless, which means the kids have been able to get outside for a few hours a day playing hockey in the driveway, riding bikes and rollerblades or jumping on the trampoline.  I think James and I half expected to have a Saturday full of rain and neither of us brought up plans for the day.

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TED

Hmmm, I am not 100% sure all the time how to begin posts!  I don’t always have a pithy comment or witty statement to really feel like I’ve engaged a reader.  That being said, most of what I write is for my own reflection anyway, so perhaps I shouldn’t try too hard.

In any case I really did enjoy many thought-provoking statements I heard from Bruce Feiler on a recent TED talk he conducted on Parenting.  Let me first clarify that I’m not an avid TED talk “watcher”…James is the one constantly scouring through recent presentations, looking for valuable thoughts and ideas that he can apply to work and life, in general.  I’ll admit that sometimes when he gets super passionate about a specific presentation I roll my eyes.  He knows that and as a result, has become savvy in what he chooses to share with me. Continue reading

Familial Traits

James sent me an article a few weeks ago about “introverts”!  We had been discussing family dynamics, differences between his family and my family, differences in our siblings and parents and how we saw various familial traits in our children.  It’s kind of one of those on-going discussions you have as adults, trying to be self-aware and as parents, trying to do the best you can with these unpredictable, little people that you are responsible for.  The thing is that if you don’t “get” your spouse it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to really get your kids since they’re half you and half your significant other’s! Continue reading