Star Student

The ride home from daycare is a special kind of hell if I don't have a snack for Caleb. The whimper starts as we approach the car door. It's his warning sign. Ma! You better have some food. 

The other day I was buckling him in his car seat and his usual cry begins. I had goldfish with me, however it was a Costco size bag. I didn't want to just give him the entire bag because portion control and well, that would end up on the floor of my car in .323948 seconds. So Liam started handing him a few at a time. This, of course, was not good enough for Caleb and he was still crying. Nay, screaming. He screamed the 10 minutes home. He screamed on the walk into the house. He screamed all throughout dinner and refused to eat. He screamed if I held him. He screamed if I put him down. He screamed if I put him in his room with the door closed. He screamed if I opened the door. There was all the screaming.

And then there was Liam. Hands over his ears he tried to comfort Caleb. We got home and he quietly started cleaning up the house. Every toy. Every dish. Every object out of place was made right. He cleaned the house for thirty straight minutes. When I was at my whit's end, he immediately stepped right in.

Yesterday was his parent/teacher conference and I left the school teary eyed. Nothing but compliments and glowing remarks. He is his teacher's right hand guy. He is kind and loving. Socially and academically aware. Smart. Capable. Hard working. Shows initiative. While we see those qualities at home, it's amazing to hear he behaves similarly at school as well. The teacher hugged me as I left and said how much she appreciated what we're doing with him at home. I have to say though, that's all Liam. He is sure to do his homework the second we get home and loves math problems and reading. He's like his mama. Doesn't like to procrastinate and is a perfectionist.

Last week he earned the honor of being Star Student for the week. He was able to bring in a few things to show his class. On Wednesday, he brought his favorite book "Ninjago, The Green Ninja" because that is so Liam. Thursday, he brought in a picture of his family and explained who we all were and mama has a baby in her belly too! Another day he got to bring in a toy for show-and-tell and when I asked him how it went later that day he said, They were talking a lot when I was showing my car but don't worry, I told them they weren't respecting me.

He is growing up to be a fine young boy and has grown into the role of big brother well. I have no doubt he will excel at brothering his new baby brother. I'm go glad he's our first born. He's been such a privilege to parent.


Liam at Four

As my first born, Liam was our guinea pig. We figured out {kinda} how to parent with him. What was important to us, things we would let slide, and the man we wanted to raise. A grand responsibility and one we took so seriously.

Liam is also our biggest challenge. He's headstrong, stubborn, bold, knows what he wants, won't settle for less, and opinionated. I do believe these characteristics will serve him well in life if he channels them appropriately. He will change the world, this I am confident of. But he's put up a fight in the way we've raised him and I hoped that one day, one day, our parenting would sink in and he would grow out of the fits and the rage.

I think the real change in him started a few months into Caleb's life. He saw our needs and he yearned to help and care for his brother. The fits stopped, like immediately, and out came this mild tempered, sweet mannered, generous little boy. He stepped into the role of big brother seamlessly and took to the change better than the rest of us. He ran for diapers, burp clothes, whispered when necessary, and remains a constant giver of hugs and kissies.

I ask for him to get in jim jams. Ok mama, I'll do that right away!

Mama, Caleb boy spit up!

Can I please have a banana? I mean, may I? Actual words spoken to me yesterday.

When I give him goodnight kissies and tell him I love him. And Jesus too, Mama, and daddy and Caleb.

You never really know if you're mothering the right way. I mean, what is the right way? There isn't one. But when your kid seems defiant to everything you try, you feel desperate. I must be doing something wrong. Is it me? Is he learning these traits from me? Am I being a model parent? I still ask all the same questions, but I also know that's what makes a good parent.

I'm so proud of that little boy. We still hit bumps in the road and will forevermore, but he's made HUGE progress and I just beam with pride when I look at him.

You, my Liam, are a delight to mother. But you're too big to throw anymore.


On kindness and inclusion

It seems as life gets busier, the blog gets pushed to the side. And in a world where social media and electronics are thriving and taking over, I'm ok with the distance.

Parenting is hard, says every parent ever. But as this world is getting scarier and more chaotic I have this need to preserve my children's innocence while explaining to them what's going on in the world and their part to change it. I don't want to shield them and I don't want them to feel ill-equipped.

Liam said yesterday,

Mama, I have bright white skin. But my friends have dark skin. They're my best friends. 

He is becoming aware of people who are different than him and I don't want him to be color blind. I want him to see the diversity and embrace it, even seek it. I don't have answers but I sure hope I don't have my blinders on. My heart aches and is angry about Vegas, Charlottesville, Dallas, and on and on. It seems that saying "prayers for Vegas" is enough for some. And prayer is good. Yes, necessary. But what can we DO? Raise children who are kind, open, and on the front lines.m

Anywho. Here's some pics that are irrelevant. Off to hug my kiddies a little harder.


Boy Mom

I knew once my maternity leave was over, the laissez faire lifestyle we had all grown accustomed to would soon end. And oh, how quickly it did. Once back at work, I got a promotion which has proven to be challenging and rewarding in every way. (Side note: hip hip for getting a promotion two weeks after being back at work, eh?) Thomas' schedule got more intense as a UPS driver and his hours have been longer and longer. Caleb is teething and eating solids (which makes dinner time more interesting), and Liam is soaking up learning letters, spelling and reading books every day.

All wonderful things but the challenge of being a working mom has been more prevalent than ever. I don't get home with the boys until about 5:30 and from there I hit the ground running. Dinner, packing the next day's lunches, making sure Caleb has enough milk to bring to daycare, baths, and laundry all greet me the second I get home. And then there's that little bit of trying to spend quality time with the boys.

Some days it feels seamless and others....well, not. Liam is grumpy, Caleb is hungry and wanting to nurse for an hour and my arms are stretched thin. When one of the boys has a bad day, it wears on us all. We are all tired at the end of the day and it can be difficult to be patient. I can get so focused on all the things I need to get done before I go to bed that I forget to just love on my boys.

Like when I keep saying "later" to Liam after his incessant requests to read a book together.

When I let Caleb play too long in his gym instead of cuddling him.

When I take things too seriously instead of remembering that in 5 years, the tempter tantrums will diminish.

Since Caleb was born, I've learned how different my personality is from Liam's. Caleb has my temperament and Liam has Thomas'. He's emotional, dramatic, sensitive, pushes boundaries, needy, and so NOT a people pleaser. He has been my greatest challenge. On a particular difficult night, I called my mom in desperation. She reminded me that I am exactly the mother that he needs. When God created Liam, he knew I would be the perfect mama for him. Perhaps it's good for him that I'm easy going. Imagine the tiffs we would have if we were both tornadoes!

As Caleb matures I notice how him and Liam balance each other out. They are so different from each other and I'm so thankful for that. Caleb LOVES Liam and does not care that he lays on him, pretends to be Batman and fight the bad guys with him, or squishes the crap out of his cheeks (I don't blame him for that one). I hope that love for each other never ends.

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