Resolving to Subtract

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is an updated version of a post I ran around this time last year. It still applies- even more so this year. So if it sounds familiar, it probably is. But aren't most NewYear's resolutions recycled versions of resolutions-past. They are for me. And this year is no different.

Happy New Year, to all y'all! Love and Blessings to you in 2010!!

My and my boys on Christmas Eve

Bloggy-land is running over this week with posts full of resolutions and goals and the best of intentions. I am no different than my fellow moms in that I have several (ok, LOTS) of areas in my life that need improvement and are in desperate need of a resolution or two.
In years past, I have started the new year with any number of things I want to change in my life in the coming months. Lose weight, get in shape, read more, pray more, yell less, spend less, ... I keep up with these things off and on, but like most people, my resolve fizzles fairly quickly. Because of my usual trend, I am approaching things a little differently this year. Instead of adding more things that I have to remember to do, to be, to accomplish.... I am subtracting. I am simplifying. Cutting out the things that clutter my mind, my day, the top of my desk. I am reading some really clarifying books that are helping me gain much-needed perspective. I am thinking of ways to keep life organized and simple and stress-free.

Beyond that though, I am taking a strong look at the ways we spend our days and "free time." Am I filling my days with things that matter and am I filling them too much? I am learning that my own whole-ness and that of my boys (young, old and canine) really depends on how well I am able to filter out the unnecessary clutter in all areas of life. Mid January will bring a big change for me and my family. I am changing jobs and I know this will have a big affect on all of us. It means more time at work and more of my home time will need to be dedicated to studying and learning my new role (BTW- I am a cardiac interventional nurse). This shift in my professional life and commitment makes it even more crucial that I take a hard look at all the other things that fill my days and decide what can stay and what needs to go. My time with my family, while being the most important thing to me, is about to diminish in quantity. So it MUST improve it quality. And that, for me, means simplifying and filtering and being intentional about the ways I spend my minutes and my dollars. So on the brink of this new year, I am resolving to subtract the insignificant, the clutter, the fluff. I am resolving to stop deciding what I should or should not be doing based on what seems to work for others or makes them popular and successful. I am resolving to decide what I want my life to look like and cut anything that doesn't contribute to that end so I can focus on the things that do.

Whatever your resolutions or goals are for the coming year, I pray that God would show you how to proceed, give you the perseverance to stick to it, and the grace to not get down on yourself if you can't. I have always been one to have very high expectations of myself. So this time I am trying to just see things for what they are and pray that God would help me make the small adjustments that will make a big difference.

I leave you with some pics from our Christmas this year! :) ...

Lucas and Caden sitting in the nativity out on my parents' front lawn

Lucas learning to ride the bicycle my parents gave him for Christmas

I got the boys these adorable superhero capes since they are so into superhero play these days. They loved them!! (Want your own? BabyPop on Etsy)

Working on his cool MotorWorks toy with "Pa"- an awesome toy with actual tools and parts and the kids put the toys together themselves. Lucas loves it!! (Check out this website...)

I made Caden a mailbox complete with felt letters and stamps and address labels that are interchangeable. It turned out super-cute!

Boys opening presents from each other :)

I also made them pirate blankets since Lucas is WAY into pirates. It was kinda inspired by one of our favorite books about a pirate pup who is looking for his treasure (his blanket).

Hubby and I with our team hats- his is the Chicago Bears and mine, of course, is my Gators.

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Jingle Be... - The Reprise

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

In honor of our recent snowfall and just because this video makes me laugh, I am reposting a video of Lucas from last winter. We were playing in the snow and he started singing "Jingle Bells." He got a bit distracted when he heard some birds flying over head. It is hysterical! You gotta watch his eyes and his facial expression. So funny! Enjoy!

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Winter Wonderland- Wordful Wednesday

>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Although we have had a few flurries already, tonight was the first real snowstorm of the season. It started over night and we awoke to an inch or so of snow on the ground this morning. It snowed lightly off and on all day but really started to pick up this evening. I was driving home from work and was struke by the absolute beauty of the snow. The flakes were ginormous, easily the size of quarter.
If you know me, you know I am a Florida girl through-and-through. I wear flip flops as long as possible (I wore them yesterday) and could easily be convinced to join a cult that involved beach-worship. But on nights like tonight, I appreciate the beauty of this snowstorm. The white, fluffy snow falling is so serene. Of course, I didn't have to drive in it very far. :)
I can't wait to get my boys out in this snow tomorrow. Let the winter fun begin!!

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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These Still Moments

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

I sit in this chair, my baby sweetly nursing to sleep. I know he is not so much a baby anymore but we both still treasure these moments when he is cradled in my arms, being lulled off to sleep by a little warm milk. I love that moment when I can see him slipping into slumber. His eyes start to close, then quickly dart open with one last effort to hold onto the day. But then, he cannot fight it anymore and his eyes close completely. He is not asleep though, but sleep is coming. In this most precious of moments, my baby is deeply connected to me and I to him. So much so, that he is not content to simply be latched on. To be completely relaxed and soothed, he must also wrap his soft, gentle fist around my finger. He squeezes tightly as if he doesn't ever want to let go. Come closer, mama. Don't go anywhere.
I can't hold my phone to text or change the channel on the remote while he is nursing at night. But I wouldn't want to. I might miss this moment and that would just not do. I love this moment. I need this moment. The rest of the day he is a bundle of energy, climbing everything in sight and emptying drawers and cabinets faster than I can run behind him. He doesn't have many words yet but the ones he does have are said with a scream and nothing less. MAMA!!! BABA!!! (his word for his brother) This kid moves non-stop. Except right now. Right now, he is still. I need this still moment. My mommy-heart thrives on it.

He sits in the backseat, tired and quiet. This boy, unlike his younger brother, is so verbose. He just doesn't stop talking! Mommy, what animal is the predator of the eagle? Did you know that dinosaurs that eat only meat are carnivores? I think I am a carnivore. I love to eat meat. I asked Santa for an eagle toy. One that flies and says 'caw, caw'.... You get the point. The cool thing is, his brain moves even faster than his tongue. I love that about him. So even though it is at times tough to get a word in with this kid, in this moment he is quiet. He is still recovering a bit from illness and we have had a busy day. Church and lunch and a fun little mommy-and-me stamping party. I turn my head to see if he has fallen asleep. He is awake, just calm. He sees me looking at him and our eyes meet and he smiles. I say, "I love you Lucas." His grin gets bigger. I love you too, Mommy.
Last night, after his brother was in bed, Lucas sat with me on the couch to read our Advent books. Actually, he started in a different chair watching his latest obsession, Wonder Pets. When he saw me sit, he turned off the TV and came over to snuggle with me. I love this moment. I need this moment. The rest of the day he is a busy little chatterbox who frequently pushes/kicks/squeezes/lays on top of his brother and doesn't ever want to stop what he is doing to pee or eat or obey. He is your typical boundary-pushing, exasperating preschooler. Except right now. Right now, he is still. He is quiet, except for that sweet unsolicited "I love you!" which makes any moment other than this seem to fade into the background. I need this still moment with him sitting in my lap listening to me read. My mommy-heart thrives on it.

I am the mother of 3 boys. One of them I never heard utter a sound. But our eyes met and he squeezed my hand. These other two make nothing but noise all day. And I admit to having my fill of it sometimes. Add in the barking dog and I just may lose my mind somedays. But these moments, these quiet moments, are what keep me. These boys are my heart, my soul. They are no less a part of me and vital to my existence than my own lungs or brain. And when our eyes meet and they sit close and squeeze my hand, I am whole. And I am still.

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Sharpies Make Me Smile

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In the midst of the sickness that has been running rampant through my home the last week or so came a bright spot of fun over the holiday weekend. I had to get out of the house. Plus, I had a list full of Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers still to buy. Why not try to accomplish both tasks at the same time? So I loaded up my family and we drove over to Staples to cross some things off our Christmas list.
I used to think of Staples as the place you go to buy large volumes of printer paper and 3-ring binders or that hard-to-find printer cartridge. Being a bit of a school/office supply glutton, that was never a bad thing in my book. I am one of those girls that has resisted the Palm calenders or using Outlook to schedule my life. I am a paper-calender, hand-made cards kind of girl who appreciates the joy of a really smooth gel pen or a pink Sharpie. So going to Staples is a bit of a dangerous place for me. I could go in for one thing and find at least 10 others that I "need."
But for this trip, I had nothing in particular in mind that I needed to buy. Well, maybe some holiday paper and envelopes for Christmas cards but that was about it. We have enough printer paper to last us 'til the next decade so I was unsure of what I would find to buy during this shopping excursion. I was pleasantly surprised.

Staples is WAY more than paper and pens. They have almost anything you could need this holiday. Lucas and I had fun roaming the aisles, looking at the cool holiday gifts. Everything from snowman tins full of peppermint bark to Flip video cameras (one of the main items on my Christmas list this year) and so much in between. Lucas was convinced we needed a ginormous bag of rubber bands and the large display of pens in every color imaginable (well maybe we do need that).
Even though we were all a bit under the weather and fatigued, browsing the aisles full of fun stuff proved to be just the little pick-me-up we needed. Unfortunately, the charm of the trip wore off quickly for both boys. They both wanted to walk around and handle everything which was a bit stressful for Hubby and I. But we still had fun picking out some cool gifts (a new iTrip for me, a fancy jump drive for Hubby, some Crayola stocking stuffers for the boys) and browsing around. And while browsing was super fun, I think next time I'll do a little bit of online homework before I go so I can narrow down my gift-search.

I am a big fan of the holidays and all the fun and tradition that comes with them. This little Staples excursion was a fun way to kick-off the Christmas season and brighten up an otherwise germ-filled weekend. Plus, I got a pretty Sharpie which always makes me smile. :)

The awesome folks at Staples were kind enough to give me a giftcard to use for my shopping fun. Thank you, Staples! It was truly a bright spot in my weekend. If you have any techies on your Christmas list or need to buy a GPS or a camera or a Sharpie, check out Staples and you won't be disappointed! :)

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Advent- on Hold

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent is upon us. It is my favorite season of the year. I love the carols and traditions and the beauty of the richness and intimacy of this time. Last year, I really got into making this time of year especially meaningful for the boys- starting traditions and planning activities for the family. I had big plans for this week, this first week of Advent. However, my plans have been a bit derailed. My Hubby was sick over Thanksgiving, all but ruining any family time we could have had. Total bummer. Well then, the boys both started running fevers on Friday when we were out trying to give Daddy a quiet house to get some sleep. I took them both to the doctor today and both boys swabbed positive for influenza. (Probably not H1N1, just influenza A, but we'll know for sure later this week.) So my plans for the first week of Advent are somewhat on hold for a few days. We did get the tree *mostly* up tonight and we have our Advent calender and wreath out. We have been reading our favorite Advent and Christmas books and talking a lot about the season. I just still feel a little behind in terms of where I wanted to be in my Advent prep and celebration. We are just two days in. I guess I need to cut myself some slack. I had high hopes of being done with Christmas shopping and travel plans and decorating so that I could focus on my soul and my boys during these next weeks. I am almost there, but now I feel like I am playing a little bit of catch up.
Regardless, taking care of my sick boys is gonna take priority this week (and trying to keep healthy myself). Add in a few Advent readings and maybe a craft or two and I'll be happy with that. I did get to go to church on Sunday (alone actually, which was heavenly and the perfect way to start Advent) so I feel like my soul is in a good place. A good place to keep my mind and heart in Advent while I give Motrin and Tamiflu.

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What I am Thankful For- Wordful Wednesday

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Savior- His grace and mercy and extravagant love

My Hubby and our 10+yrs. together and all they have brought our way. Really, all of it. Even the things that I wished would have been different, it is all part of God's plan for us and I am trusting Him to use it ALL for His glory and our greater good.

My boys, Micah (above) and Lucas and Caden (below)- words are truly not adequate to express how much they are my world.
My family- my parents and sister (above) and my in-laws (below)

The beach and my Gators- two of my passions and things that make me who I am. The beach is where I feel the most like me. I feel connected to my inner self there. On the beach, I am whole.

I am also thankful for my amazing friends and my job and my church family (I just don't have pictures of these things).
I am thankful for the blessed life that I have. Even the moments when I feel knocked down, like the wind has been taken out of my sails, I am still so very lucky and blessed to have a family that loves me and all my basic needs met.
I am kinda at a crossroads in my life. I am done having babies (99% sure), getting close to weaning Caden, taking a new job,... I am figuring out what my life post-grief/post-child-bearing will look like. I am figuring out who I am in this stage of raising my boys and focusing a little more on me and trying to enjoy every minute. And in this moment, I feel SO VERY thankful.

I pray all of you have a very blessed Thanksgiving, full of love and gratitude.

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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Eye, Eye Matey!!

>> Sunday, November 22, 2009

I seem to have this unfortunate inclination towards eye injuries.

When Lucas was just a little older than Caden is now (September '07), he was playing with blocks on the floor and pitched one at me. The block hit me just under my right eye and left me with a pretty serious shiner and a fractured cheek bone. I had a black-eye for just about a month. It hurt like crazy, took forever to heal. But just one of those things right...

Well, this week I experienced eye injury round two. I can't really blame this one on the kiddos, although it was in the evening and both boys were in full toddler-meltdown mode which significantly contributed to my frazzled state-of-mind. I leaned over to pick up a piece of trash off the kitchen floor. I misjudged a box sitting nearby and the corner of the box went right into the corner of my left eye. OUCH!! It immediately started to throb in pain and was totally swollen shut within an hour or so of the injury. I didn't go to the doctor until the next day when my vision was totally blurry in that eye. The opthamologist said it was a one inch long scratch on my cornea and another scratch on the underside of my eyelid. No wonder it felt like sand-paper was in my eye every time I blinked. He put this little "patch strip" in my eye and then a patch bandage over my eye as well (no pics this time... but trust me, I looked ridiculous!). I had to go back the next day to get another internal patch and I have to go back two times this week for the same thing. Eye injuries are NO FUN. Let me repeat, NO FUN! When I had the eye bandage on, I though Lucas would think it was SO COOL seeing how he is so into pirates these days. However, when he saw me, I asked him if I looked like a pirate. His response... "No mommy, you don't have a sword." Oh, well.
It is starting to feel much better, although my eyelid is bruised and I still have blurry vision in that eye (mostly now due to the ointment and drops I have to put in). What is it with me and eye injuries! Raising boys is a contact sport, I suppose. :)

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Mother who works or Working Mother?

>> Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let me start by saying, I miss blogging. I miss feeling like a regularly could process my thoughts and life here and get feedback from my fellow moms. I miss reading blogs and commenting and being part of your lives too. I really hope to get back into my blogging groove soon. Don't give up on me yet. I value you, my blogging (and RL) friends.

Thank you to all of you who chimed in with some great advice and encouragement on my last dilemma. It was so helpful to read your comments as I tried to decide if I should let my little getaway be the time for weaning Caden or try to hold on to nursing for a bit longer. As it turned out, I did pump twice a day while I was gone. Caden did great with no nursing (and no bottles either, the stubborn little fool) for the almost 5 days we were gone. Then when he saw me, he picked it right up as if we had never been apart. In fact, he wanted to make up for lost time. I do think that my milk supply and hormones were affected by the break. I have some further evidence to that end that I won't share here. TMI. But, Caden is still nursing and I am glad he is. But I didn't let the pumping get in the way of our fun. We had a fabulous time celebrating a big Gators win and our 10yr. anniversary.

With that dilemma behind me, I move on to the next.

I am a nurse part-time in a cardiac interventional lab (angioplasty, etc..) . I love my job, I love what I do. I worked really hard to get here and so I feel good that I am keeping my foot in the door and keeping my skills and knowledge current and using my hard-earned degree. Not to mention that the extra $$ helps our budget tremendously. We would have to live MUCH tighter without my income. And although I only work one day a week, I have always thought that once the boys got a little older and in school, I would probably increase my hours a bit.
In an unexpected turn of events, I am now faced with a work-decision that I didn't expect to have to make for several years still. I am being asked by some of the MDs that I work with to join a fairly prestigious sub-specialty team within my department. It would be a great move for my career and I am very honored that they want me. It would also mean more $$ and a few other perks too. No brainer, eh? Not so fast.
The rub of this new job is that I would have to work Tuesdays and Thursdays- Lucas' preschool days. I currently work Tuesdays and my mother-in-law drops off and picks up Lucas from preschool on those days. To take this job, I would have to give up MY day of being involved in his preschool life AND I would have to find someone I trust to pick him up and watch Caden while he is in school. I would be able to take Lucas to preschool. This new team is so determined to have me jump on board that they are willing to let my work day start after I take Lucas to preschool. And Hubby gets home from work around 1pm so the boys would be with Daddy in the afternoons (which is awesome!). But still...
I chose this preschool for Lucas because of how caring in involved the teachers are. The pick up process is very experiential with the parents having to come and stand next to their child and the teachers coming to each mom to tell them something their child did that day. It is great and I would miss it.
Beyond the added stress of finding childcare that day and not being involved in Lucas' preschool life, I feel like this is a mental shift that I was not prepared for. I feel like I am going from a "stay-at-home mom who works one day a week" to a "part-time working mother" which feels WAY different.
I can tell myself I would be doing it for them, for the family. More money to pay off all our debt and be able to do more things as a family. But truthfully, it is really about me. It is MY career and wanting to do this for ME. Which isn't a bad thing. Not at all. But I am really feeling the tug. I am torn. I do want to take this job. I would have a hard time turning it down. And yet, I want to be there for Lucas and be a part of his preschool experience and not miss a minute of his life. He won't be 3 much longer and I have the rest of my life to work.

AHHHHH!!! What should I do?

Honestly, I am leaning towards taking the job. If. If I can find a childcare/preschool pick up solution I am comfortable with. If I don't chicken out. It would mean some stressful weeks for me as I am trained and learning this new specialty. I would have to spend a fair amount of time outside work studying to be at the top of my game. But that's not bad either, right. Some priorities would have to shift. Things would change a little around here if mommy works 2days a week and needs to study when I am home. The good news is, my days/hours are only fixed until the end of the spring. After I am trained, I have been told I can work whatever days and hours I want. I just have to figure out a way to make it work in the meantime.

I know this is a spoiled problem. In this economy, there are people who need work worse than I do. And I know that my children are well-loved and nurtured and cared for- even if I had to put them in daycare or something one day a week. But spoiled or not, this is weighing heavy on my heart. I just want to make the right decision for myself and my boys.

I know God will help me make the right decision. And as we try to put the pieces in place, I am hoping it will become clear whether or not this is the right thing for our family. Your prayers are, as always appreciated. :)

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Gotta Get a Boba

>> Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being somewhat of a babywearing aficionado, when I hear there is a new carrier on the scene I MUST try it out. Otherwise, I may always wonder if it is maybe that one perfect carrier that will meet all my carrier needs. (Truthfully, my ring sling is probably that carrier but it never hurts to check out all the others too.) So when I learned that my beloved Sleepy Wrap was coming out with a soft-structured carrier, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Introducing, the Boba carrier!!

The Boba is structured carrier similar in style to the Ergo or the Beco. It has the wide body, the buckle waist belt with safety strap, back-pack like shoulder straps, and the chest strap buckle. However, there are some cool features to this new carrier that set it apart from the others.
First of all, the Boba carrier is made from 100% organic cotton. Even the lining. The fabric is super soft and, even though I can't put my finger on why, somehow it makes me feel better that the fabric touching my baby's sweet skin is all natural and organic. The shoulder straps of the Boba are nicely padded, just the right amount. I am not a huge fan of padding, actually. I love my ring sling and woven wrap and mei tai. That has always been one of my biggest complaints with the Ergo- the straps are a bit bulky and awkward. But the Boba straps were comfortable and not at all too bulky. I also like that the carrier body is longer and comes up higher on baby's back. This gives that extra bit of support and makes babywearing more comfortable for mama and baby.
Another totally cool and totally new feature that you won't find anywhere else is the leg strap feature of the Boba. It helps ensure proper leg and spine positioning and gives your toddler a place to rest their feet. I tried putting Caden's feet in the straps and it took a little bit of playing with it to figure it out. And truthfully, for someone his size it isn't really necessary. But, I can see the benefit when carrying a larger child for an extended amount of time. It would take the pressure off the nerves running through the pelvis and reduce any pressure on their spine. Either way, I think it was a very ingenious idea and am impressed with their forward thinking. I love seeing the babywearing world progress and respond the the needs of moms and kids out there.
Another major difference between the Boba and other SSCs is that they are marketing themselves as a carrier meant for age 1 and up. The Ergo has to have an insert in order to wear an infant (again, bulky) and the Beco Butterfly has the built-in insert (which is wonderful and a great way to do back carries with smaller babies). So there is really no need for Boba to try and grab a piece of the infant carrier market. They have their stretchy jersey wrap, the Sleepy Wrap, that is meant for newborns and infants. (BTW~ I really love my Beco Butterfly and my Sleepy Wrap. Both great carriers that I recommend all the time!) The Boba is meant for use with kiddos 15lbs and up and can be used through age 4 (45lbs). So it is meant to be used later and longer.

Overall, I really like this new carrier. The Boba is soft, organic, not too bulky, and very supportive for both me and my passenger. It comes is several very earthy, organic colors. It is a great option for carrying your 11+ month old on either your front or your back. And while it probably isn't that one perfect carrier for all my carrying needs (again, that's usually my ring sling), it is still pretty great and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable 2-shoulder carrier for toddlers and bigger kids.

Let me know if you have any questions about this or any other carrier. I am always happy to share my passion for babywearing with those who are interested. Blessings to y'all!

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Am I unintentionally weaning?

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

As I write this, Hubby and I are driving to Jacksonville from my parents' house in Ft. Walton Beach to go to the Gator game. Hooray!! This is one of the biggest games of the year and I have ALWAYS wanted to go. This is the beginning of our 10th wedding anniversary celebration. After the game we are driving to a house on the beach for a couple days before we head back to my parents' to pick up the boys. 4 kid-free days, a Gator game, time on the beach, sleeping in, lots of quality time with Hubby... It is gonna be awesome!

There is just one thing I am a bit concerned about. And, truthfully, I am not sure there is anyone left reading this blog as I have been so unfaithful to post lately. But if there is anyone reading this, I could use your input.
I have never left Caden overnight before. And while he has been doing great at sleeping through the night lately, I feel a little nervous about it. I know he'll be fine. He adores my parents and they'll keep him occupied and soothed. I am not really worried about that. I am worried about the nursing. I left my pump at home so I went and bought a cheapie hand pump so I could attempt to pump while I am gone. But, will 4 days of no nursing be the end of nursing for Caden and I? Will he be done or will he pick it back up as soon as he sees me?
And even if he wants to, will there be anything there for him after no baby stimulating milk production for 4 days?
He is almost 15 months so it wouldn't be the end of the world for him to be weaned. But I am not ready and he still nurses several times a day. At least he used to. Lucas nursed until almost 2 so I thought Caden and I had more time.
I am trying to mentally prepare myself that this may be the end of nursies. And it would REALLY be the end since Caden is most likely my last baby. Should I let this be the weaning process for Caden or be diligent to pump several times a day with this little hand pump and try to hold on?
I can't save any milk pumped 'cuz I have no way to get it home. It would be pumping just to try to keep the milk flowing. And if you know me, you know that I HATE pumping and I'm not super good at it.
Thoughts? Anyone? I could use your advice and/or encouragement. If anyone is still there, I mean. :)
Thanks for sticking with me if you are here.
And Go Gators!! Beat Georgia!!

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And He's a Reader!!!

>> Monday, October 12, 2009

Lucas has always been a very verbal kid. After the obligatory "mama" and "dada," his first actual word was "thunder" (at 13months) and it just took off from there. Now, the boy rarely stops talking. He could spell his name by 18months and has always had a vocab way beyond his age. I know all kids have their special gifts. Language and learning just happen to be part of his giftedness. And now, we can include reading in this list!! :)
We have been working with flashcards and teaching him phonics. He loves the show Super Why which combines his love for stories and language. He sits for hours and "reads" books on his own. Then, tonight, it clicked. He saw the word "log" on a card and read it without any prompting!!! Admitedly, it is early. But, I am so proud I can't help but bubble over! :)
He is still getting the hang of it. But the flashcards are really helping it make sense in his little brain. The words and sounds he has learned through the flashcards he can now read in a book when he sees them. Hooray for my budding little reader!!
But just when I think he has truly got it, he looks at the word books and says "b-o-o-k-s." He makes all the correct phonic sounds "buh-oo-oo-ka-sss." He says it 2 or 3 times, getting a little faster each time. Then, he gets this adorable little 3-year-old grin on his face and says "frog!"
One step at a time. My little boy is a reader!

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10 Years Later

No, that isn't the time span between my last blog posts! Hehe!! I have been so hit or miss here lately... and I don't really have a good excuse. Except that more often these days I am leaving my laptop off and curling up under a blanket on the couch and falling asleep. It is heavenly! I highly recommend it! Or I am off doing other things, keeping oh-so-busy. I miss this blog though... my personal spot to reflect and process and share my life with those that I love. I am vowing now to try to get back into the groove. My soul and my poor, cluttered brain need it! :0

In the meantime, Hubby and I just celebrated our 10th college reunion this weekend. What a trip! It was strange to be back on campus and see so many familiar faces. People I haven't seen or really even thought about in almost 10years. We went to chapel, we walked around campus, we showed our boys the dorms we lived in and the places where we used to hang out. In my own mind, I might could still fit in with the hip, cute 20-somethings bopping around campus. But I am sure they looked at me and wondered "Who is that older woman and what is she doing here? She must not have much else to do." :) I remember thinking that when I was a student about people who came back for homecoming. Lucas loved seeing all the sights his Daddy tells him about in stories. (Lucas loves to hear stories before bed and always asks for a story about Wheaton College.) He loved seeing the Bell Tower and hearing the Edman Chapel chimes. It was very cool to be back there with my boys!

(first picture up top) Fall '96- Oh, young love!

(left) junior year-Spring '98
(right) in front of the same house- Fall '09. Seeing how we both have aged in 10years is a bit unsettling!



(left) senior year- Feb '99; the Wheaton tradition of going up the Tower to ring the bells when you got engaged. The baby in this picture now babysits my babies and the little guy in the front just got his driver's license. Yikes! I'm in the front in the red sweater and Hubby is in the blue shirt behind me.

(right) visiting the Tower with my boys this weekend (Caden's asleep in the sling). Life coming full circle...

Walking out of chapel on Friday, it was pouring down rain. Hubby and I just walked hand-in-hand down that familiar path from chapel to the dining hall, silent. No words needed. It felt sweet to still be holding his hand, to still be loving him and being loved by him, 10 years and LOTS of water under the bridge later. It was moving, refreshing to my soul. Neither of us would ever have guessed we would walk through all that God has put before us. We thought we were going to live in Nashville, have our 2.5 kids, adopt from China, ...blah, blah, blah. Instead we went to Baltimore and came back to Chicago and all along the way had to maneuver our way through some major bumps in the road. Bumps that you don't exactly talk about over pizza in a tent with people who you probably won't see for another 10years. But things that have made us who we are. Holding Hubby's hand and walking through the rain and carrying our boys as we visit places from our past, I couldn't help but feel like one of the luckiest gals around. I wouldn't trade my bumps for anything. Well, that is not totally true. I might change a few things if I could. But my life is what God has meant it to be. He has directed the last 10 years, bumps and all, to bring me here-at my 10yr reunion with my class-mate and soul-mate and our two amazing sons.

Those 20-somethings don't have any clue what life will hold for them. I know I didn't. But I am blessed. Old, but blessed. :)

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