Baby Boy Turns 5 Months Old!


My baby boy is 5 months old now. 

What a fun month this has been, as more and more personality is shining through. More smiles, more belly laughs. More kissing those chubby cheeks of his. And more of his "kissing" my face, attacking me with a wide-open mouth! 

He had his first ear infection this month. Boo! 
Sister had one at the same time. Double boo! 
He weighs over 19 and half pounds. 
Sister is less than 30 pounds so at this rate, he may catch up to her in clothes-sizes and diapers. 

We haven't started him on any solid foods yet, but we will do that in this next month. He does sit in the high chair now... just to play with toys and be at the same level as the rest of us when we eat.

This boy still doesn't sleep very well. He is up multiple times every night. He is definitely the most "needy" baby I've had. He also is very much a mama's boy, not willing to be away from me for more than about 5 minutes. But I know this won't last forever and so I try to cherish the loving and the snuggles... and not get too upset about the lack of opportunities to shower or do housework or whatever else is calling out my name. 

It has been beautiful to watch my other children embrace this one. They all have had opportunities to hold him, to entertain him, to notice him watching them and smiling up at them. It's neat to see the individual relationships develop between the siblings. 

We love you, little man! Next milestone... 6 months! 

Sweetest Girl


This little girl, let me tell you, is so super sweet. 
I have said for years (yes, basically her entire life) that she is a delight to have around. I don't know how better to describe life with her. It's truly delightful!

Her smile melts my heart. 
Her little voice is adorable. 
Her vocabulary is incredible. 
Her understanding is quite advanced for her age. 

I don't ever want to forget our conversations. 
"Daddy in red van." 
"Brother upstairs room... door closed." 
"We go o-op... see snacks." 
Or her singing bits and pieces of her favorite songs, 
like Jesus Loves Me or Good, Good Father.

This week she's been sick with an ear infection and touch of bronchitis. On top of that, she had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, so she has hives now. 
It's hard to see her out of her element.

Since little brother joined our family, she's become more maternal. She never used to play with dolls or strollers, but she sure does now!

She's my girly-girl. She loves necklaces and bling. 
She wants her hair brushed out and put up in a cute top ponytail EVERY DAY! 
This is so different than her big sister who doesn't want me to touch her hair EVER! (no joke, she jerks her head away if I even come close to touching her hair)

When big sister was gone to Disney for a week or so, this girl missed her incredibly. She wore an enormous grin when big sister returned... and brought gifts to share too!

I sure do love you, Rosebud! I cannot imagine the smiles and laughter and delight we would be missing if you weren't a part of this family. God gave us a wonderful gift in YOU!

Perspective on Child Stages


Having children spaced out over 12 years allows me a unique perspective. I look back at the parent I was 12 years ago and can see more clearly now what I did right and what I did wrong. I hang my head in shame and have regrets that I parented in certain ways. Yet I can also see the fruit of my parenting and can be proud of the success of other ways/methods.

It feels like I've been given a chance for do-overs, by having my youngest children. Each one offers me another chance to do better, to "get it right," to be the mother I want to be.

One thing I definitely do better at now is having a big picture perspective. I don't get nearly as upset over small things (the spilled glass of milk, for example). 
I hold my tongue more. I extend grace more. 
I value the relationship with my children more than I value being right all the time. I try to live in the moment more and push my kids to the next thing less.

This quote, by an unknown source, sums up my new perspective very well. 
"Each season is sweet in its own way.
Each one will be missed when it's gone.
Don't miss the beauty of the bud while waiting for the blossom. Each stage of a child's life offers us a chance to know him or her better and to grow a little closer. 
Each stage also gives us a chance to grow into a better parent as we learn the lessons they teach us about 
loving unconditionally, living wholeheartedly, 
and giving and receiving grace." 

I've always said that my children are my greatest teachers. I have learned more as a parent than I ever thought I would. 

I'm so glad that God gives us opportunities to keep learning and growing through this life. How boring it would be if we truly "knew it all" at age 18!! But to learn something new as we go, to grow as we grow up... seems to be something significant to this life! 

Daughter to Disney


My oldest daughter. She's 12. She recently had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thanks to some family friends. 
She got to tag along with them to DisneyWorld! 

Our friends Steve, Michele and Regan also homeschool. We've known them for about five years, through a couple of homeschooling venues. Most often, though, we get together with them at their home or ours just to chat. With Regan being an only child, her parents gave her the option of inviting one friend to accompany the family on their trip. She chose my daughter, partly because she had never been to Disney before and neither had their family. So they all would experience it for the first time together. 

What an incredible offer and amazing gift to my girl! 

They had a wonderful time. They drove, which my daughter enjoyed because she was able to visit new states on the way to Florida. And they stayed overnight at hotels along the way, which all had pools. My girl swims like a fish, any chance she gets, so that was enjoyable. 

At Disney, they experienced all kinds of new things. New foods, fancy dinners at Cinderella's Castle and the Beast's Castle and the Rainforest Cafe. Roller-coaster rides and the monorail. 

I swear that my daughter grew a few inches while she was gone. She is as tall as I am now and will quickly be passing me up. I missed her more than I thought I would. Not only is she a huge helper to me with the younger children, but I missed her sense of humor and her vibrant personality.

She not only seems to have grown a few inches, but has matured a bit too. She handled the trip like a pro. She didn't get lost among the countless throngs of people. She was responsible with her cash and her dumb phone. She stayed away from sweets, so as to not get sick (as she has done before when she overdoes it). She wore her seabands to avoid motion sickness. She purchased age-appropriate gifts for her siblings (so I know she missed us at least a little bit).

I am so thankful to our friends for including her. With our children spaced out as they are, the chances of our family taking a trip to Disney before our oldest is out of the house (ie. within the next 6 years) is very slim. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, friends! 
Such an over-the-top, incredibly gracious offer this was! 
We are seriously humbled and grateful. 

And welcome back, Bright Eyes! 



Stress. I'm feeling it lately. 

The last two weeks have taken a toll. 
Here is what's going on. 

1) My mother in law had knee surgery last week. A 2-day hospital stay was expected. It turned into a 4-day hospital stay, followed up with at least 6 days in rehab and still going! Not sure yet when she'll be released. 

2) My father in law is therefore home alone. He has Parkinson's and cannot see well and does not drive. His wife is his primary caregiver. So while she is away, the rest of the family has been trying to help out. My hubby and his two sisters are all taking turns spending nights with their dad. This means I'm seeing less of my husband these days, which is difficult on him, me and our kids. 

3) My oldest daughter has been away for 10 days on a trip with a friend. I miss her a lot. She is my right-hand helper, without whom I have more work to do myself and have less time for resting or napping. So I am more tired than usual. 

The rest of my stress is just from regular life. 
Our homeschool co-op starts back up this week and I have some added responsibilities there. I have a board meeting at church I need to attend and take minutes for, as the secretary. A weekly Bible study I joined started up recently so that takes one night a week plus 5-days of homework throughout the week. All good stuff... just the usual part of life that is stressing me out right now as I try to juggle it all. 

So I try to keep my perspective. This will all be over soon. My daughter has returned now. My mother in law should be released and be at home soon. She'll still need some help doing things (she won't be able to drive for a few weeks), but it should be less intense than it is now. Life will again settle into "normal" patterns. So a large part of writing this post is simply to remind me of all that was going on. 
And to help me appreciate the normal when it returns!