Friday, January 21, 2011


Here is a story Jacob brought home today. This is word-for-word, punctuation, and capitalization as is. I couldn't help but pass it on. Who knew my first grader could write so much!

on thanksgiving morning mom wakes up me, kyle, alyssa, and Zachary. we pack up are stuff and go to my grandmas house. It takes us half an hour to get to my grandmas house when we get there we sit down at the table we say are prar. then we eat dinner. there is always a lot of food. sometimes I eat to much food. I really love the turkey. then for desert we have cherry pie. grandma's cherry pie is awesome! then we sit down on the couch and we watch foot ball. grandmas couch is really comfy. we watch the bears Play daddy is really happy when the bears get a touchdown. my grandma has a crawl space. she has a chair to get in the crawl space. In the crawl space we play hide the easter eggs. Its a game where someone has a basket of easter eggs and he hides the easter eggs there is always time for every kid to get a turn to hide the eggs. grandma's crawlspace is really big so there are a lot of places to hide the eggs. we take turns to let everybody got a turn. Kyle finds the best hiding spots so it takes us a long time to find the eggs. then before we leave we hug and kiss each other. my mom has a cold so we cannot kiss her. then we get in the car to go home. i sleep in the car on the way home because it had really bissy day. But it was really fun.

It's not all true, but I still love reading it. I am more and more amazed every day with the progress that he is making, and although you cannot see it, the handwriting is beautiful! I can only hope it continues!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Time Away

My first babies are leaving me tomorrow.

Now before you start to worry, let me clarify that Jacob and Kyle are going to my in-laws for 5 days. They love to go and are totally looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to it as well, but it also still makes me a little sad.

See, I have lots of friends whose children will not leave their parents to play at my house. It makes me sad, but I end up sending my children away from me since they are perfectly fine without me. Does that make me a good mom or a bad mom?

See, my in-laws have graciously offered to take the boys for a few days every summer since they were one and I never let them go until they were three. It has nothing to do with the quality of care I think they will receive, it has everything to do with me trying to hold onto them. I want to be the most important influence in their lives, but I also want them to feel comfortable when I'm not around. Since they are so comfortable when I am not around, am I losing that influence over them that I so desperately want to have? Have I swung the pendulum too far one way?

I try to remember that I get to have time alone with just Zachary and Alyssa. We are going to go to the lake for the weekend and that means that they also get to have time alone with my family. These are good things, I just keep reminding myself of that. That, and the fact they when they come home, they talk my ear off about all the cool stuff they did at Grandma and Papa Iowa's house!

Have fun boys! But know that I will miss you!

Love you!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Lake

A week ago Wednesday, my mom and I took all four kids to the lake and we stayed until this past Monday evening. My sister joined us Thursday afternoon and my dad came for the weekend.

We had a blast! There were so many new things, lots of old, and so much fun!

Alyssa started off our week of new things by wading chest deep into the water. Previously, she never wanted to be in the water, she just wanted to stand on the pier and hand you bottles to fill with water so she could dump them in buckets on the pier. She loved this little Nemo that swam around. She kept putting it under the pier and Zachary loved to chase it for her.

On Friday Jacob added his "new" thing. He swam to the raft all by himself. Previously he had been going out, but one of us had to be there to help just a little. Friday he did it with no one needing to touch him. He loved jumping off and swimming back. His freestyle is really getting good too! (Jacob is in the blue suit and Kyle is in the green one)

On Sunday, Kyle, not to be outdone, also swam to the raft all by himself. He had actually been the better swimmer, but was nervous when he got where he couldn't touch. My sister, who by the way is a great swimmer, got him to come out with some help, but then got him to swim in all by himself. I didn't even get to see it because I was inside giving Alyssa lunch. But then I got to watch him swim back out. It was amazing! He discovered that he also loved jumping off and swimming back. However, he must have been a little nervous because he clenched his teeth so hard on the jumps that he knocked his first tooth out. The one next to it is loose as well. However, neither one was ready to come out so I hope that it's all okay. We have a dentist appointment next week to check it out.

Zachary didn't have any huge breakthroughs, but he loved this slide that the neighbors have next door. They have been so nice in letting us use the slide whenever we want and they weren't there for a few of the days. He was very sad whenever his brothers would go to the raft. He so wants to go so he started really working on swimming, but he's just not there yet. We'll do some more swimming lessons over the winter and hopefully he'll get there next year. Just since we've come home, he's able to go down the slide at the pool and swim to the side. I'm sure he'll get there next year, which is a whole year younger than his brothers were, but boy does he want to keep up with them!

We also went blueberry picking. The kids are great blueberry pickers. Still not sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the berries that we picked.

On the way up we stopped at the "I Love Toy Trains" store. It was pretty cool, but it was really small. I did get Zachary a video and a CD--one for his birthday and one for Christmas--not sure which will go where yet.

We went to the Loft for pizza and ice cream one night. The boys (and Alyssa) love to run around the miniature golf course they have right outside along with a wooden train they can climb on.

The boys also played a lot of catch, trackball, and went on boat rides. Jacob and Zachary love the paddleboat and we had Alyssa in the speedboat for the first time.

Alyssa had a couple of rough sleeping nights, but all in all did pretty well. Everyone was up early (like 6 am) but we were able to keep a pretty good nighttime schedule. Jacob did fall asleep on the pier Monday afternoon while we were packing up to go home. A perfect end to a perfect week!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alyssa Update-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 months

Oh my, where has the time gone? I was really hoping to post every month and get a good snapshot of Alyssa's first year, but here we are and I am 9 posts behind. So, I am going to try and catch up, maybe give you a couple sentences and a picture for each month. So, here goes...

9 months-Alyssa has been crawling for about a month and a half and pulling up and letting go for about a month, so I wasn't surprised when I looked over at the ottoman where she was standing, saw her let go, and take a couple of shuffle steps. She has also figured out how to navigate the single step from our kitchen to our family room. By the end of the month she was able to walk about 7-8 steps on her own. She also has started pulling everything out, she got a little purse and she empties it, her diapers all come out, she pulls Zachary's trains out of the box. It's a great game! She's still very smiley. She takes 2 good naps a day and we try to fit them in around the boys' school schedules. It's a fun time!
(November '09)
10 months-Alyssa has learned how to stand up from just the floor--not needing to pull up first. Once she figured that out, there was no stopping her. About a day later, she has chosen to walk exclusively. She now only crawls if it is absolutely necessary! I feel as if she is going to talk any day now, but we'll see. She wasn't as interested in Christmas as I thought she would be, she was just happy to walk around looking at everything. She is starting to roll over in her swaddle during her naps, so I know it's time soon to get rid of it. 10 months--I didn't even know it was possible to swaddle that long. She's doing better at night, but is still often up a couple times for a pacifier or who knows what. I am hoping that still gets better!
(December '09)

11 months--As you can see, we are still working on getting hair. I can't believe that she has stayed bald for so long! Zachary had so much hair, and even the boys had their first haircut at 11 months. She got this rocking horse for Christmas and she loves it! She can really get it rocking and she loves the song it sings when you push its ear. Her other new fascination is scarves. She is always reaching for mine on my coat. She loves to put it around her neck and walk around with it. She comes over to me with this amazingly proud look on her face. We also got rid of the swaddle and she is actually napping very well. She will nap for at least two hours in the morning and I will often have to wake her up to take Zachary to school. It's fun because then I get to spend all the time Zachary is at school with her and she is awake for all of it. Sometimes, she will take another nap before everyone is done with school and I have a neighbor who is in middle school come over off the bus and watch her (translation-sit in my quiet house while she sleeps) until I get everyone picked up. It's great!

(January '10)

(January '10)

12 months--Oh my, a whole year has gone by already. As you can see, we still have no hair, and we still are not saying any words, but just recently, she has really started to understand what we are saying. It's fo fun to ask her, "Where's your pink blankie?" and to have her start searching the room for it. She is still sleeping really well for her naps. She still wakes up at night, but maybe seems to be getting a little bit better. All in all, she is such a joy. She is still a peanut. She weighed in at 19 lbs. at her one year check up. We hope to hit 20 lbs. soon!

(February '10)

13 months--Ah, the weather finally warmed up enough to get outside a little. As you can see, we still have snow, but Alyssa got her first real pair of shoes and she wanted to get outside in them! She is loving walking around with her new "pink" push toy that Grandma just thought she had to have for Christmas!

(March '10)

14 months--As we start to head into the warmer months, Alyssa just keeps on growing. She is now pretty much eating everything that we do. As you can see in this picture, she especially loves chocolate chip cookies (or maybe this was an oreo--this is the problem with doing this so much later). Anyway, she eats most everything that we put in front of her. She likes spicy chicken a lot and lots of veggies as well. She has all 8 teeth in the front and by the way she is chomping on her fingers, I would gather that we will be getting some molars soon!

(April '10)

15 months--We finally got into May. That's always one of my favorite months. School is getting ready to get out so the kids are excited and we get to go to Pella for Tulip Time. Alyssa wore the same top she wore last year. However, this year she needed a skirt to go with it. She looked just darling and loved looking and touching and smelling all the tulips. I love this picture because I think it's hilarious that the tulips are taller than she is. She is getting ready to wean down to one nap, but with Zachary starting preschool at 12:45, I just can't give that to her yet, so she will take one big long nap from 10:30-12:30, and then I try to put her down again when the boys get home from school, but with soccer it makes it really hard, so she has been a little tired this month. She has been sleeping pretty good at night. I'd say about half the nights we don't hear from her at all and the other half she will cry out, but we don't often have to get up with her anymore. Hopefully we're getting there!

(May '10)

16 months--Wow! This is when things really start to get fun! I love this age. When my children get to this age, this is when I start thinking, "Gosh, I'd like to have another one!" However, we won't! :) Did I mention we are addicted to the pacifier still. I guess I'll try to start taking it away around 2. She is really good for the most part and we keep them in the bed. As you can see, she still can manage to sneak one on me every once in awhile. In the picture, I had been drying my hair, so she went in her room, grabbed a pacifier, and climbed up in her recliner to read! She loves books (the teacher in me is so proud!) and loves to be read to as well as read them on her own (even if they are upside down!). Her hair has started to fill in and it's been fun to put little pigtails in them. She has become a climber as well. I don't remember any of the boys being able or wanting to get up on things like she does. We'll just have to see where that gets us! She has transitioned seamlessly to one nap. Really, she has been the easiest of the four. She will sleep for about 2.5-3 hours each afternoon, but I'm not sure where I'm going to get all that time once school starts again! She has now gotten three of her four molars and seems to be working on the fourth one. I love watching her little brain work and I'm still waiting for the day when words just pour out of her mouth. So far, we have mama and dada--I think.

(June '10)

17 months--And that brings us to where we are! Here you can see my little fish up at the lake! She is loving summer! She aches to be outside and I can't keep her still once we are. She loves to put her suit on and seems to think that swimming diapers are for pooping in (if only they weren't so expensive, potty training-done!). She loves to interact with her brothers and all of the sudden we are starting to get some real words! She says, mama, dada, no, I don't know, uh-huh, ball, book, bug, bee, and sometimes Cassie (Grandma's dog). There are other things that she will say on occasion, but I wouldn't call them words yet. Although I can do pigtails in the back, I am still waiting for some hair to grow in on top. I want to do ponys on top of her head! Hey, she's my only girl, let me have my fun! :) Anyway, she is a very bold and brave little girl. Just yesterday I found her sitting on top of the kitchen table. I wish I had run for my camera! I'm sure it will happen again. She gets knocked down often, but only lets it bother her when she is tired. As I pass through each of these stages for the last time as a mom, I am trying to treasure each one and hope that I have enough pictures to help me remember each of them. Each child has been different, but fun in so many ways!

(July '10)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy Social Calendar

We went out to dinner last week Friday, as per our usual custom since school has started. On the way there we were discussing what we were going to do the next day. Zachary has learned how to ride a two wheeler, but doesn't really want to do it. I wanted him to see that if he keeps going, he can go on a bike ride, just like his brothers. So, I started talking about all the places they could go Saturday, the bike path, the park, etc. It was supposed to be beautiful so I thought it was a good day to be outside.

Kyle takes in all the conversation, and then says, very boldly, "That sounds like fun Mom, but I don't think I can go. I have a playdate with Reece tomorrow."

Excuse me, what?

I have not been informed of this playdate, so I say to him, "Honey, I haven't talked to Reece's mom to see if he can come over."

Kyle says, "That's okay Mom, I'm going over to Reece's. I just need you to tell me how to get there."

Well, at that point, Kyle and I had to have a serious talk about how playdates work and how I have to talk the the other child's mom and so on. Anyway, fortunately, the next day was beautiful and all his friends were outside playing and he kind of forgot about it. However, I did talk to Reece's mom and she said that Reece woke up saying, "What time is Kyle coming over?" So it was definitely planned between the two of them.

I'm having trouble adjusting to him getting so big and being so social and I'm starting to feel left out. Reece's mom said that she would love to find a day to have Kyle over (that was just not a good one) and if/when that happens, I won't be staying and that will just be another part of his life that I don't know everything that happens. Letting go is getting harder and harder and while I'm ready in some ways, I'm definitely not in others. I want to make sure I can still guide him, we all know he still needs it. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep it altogether, both physically and emotionally. What a big boy he is!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

Yesterday in school, Zachary had to color a turkey and on it his teacher wrote all the things that Zachary told her he was thankful for. He turkey read like this:

"I am thankful for my trains, my cars, Kyle, my mom, my dad, and my baby Alyssa."

When I talked to him later, I said, "I think you forgot someone."

He replied, "No, Jacob is not my friend."

A little sad, but I found it funny too because every day after school Zachary just can't wait to play with Kyle while Jacob is usually throwing fits because he is so tired. Jacob usually wants to play with a grown up or gets mad at Zachary for every little thing they do together. I can understand why, at this point in time Zachary might not consider him a friend.

Little does he know that he has three friends for life, and I am so grateful for all of them!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

I was telling Alyssa's birth story the other night to some friends and I had a memory that I had forgotten about. I wanted to write it down so that I don't forget about it again because I think it is just about the sweetest thing that my mom has ever said to me--not that there haven't been other sweet things, but this has stuck with me.

My mom was supposed to be with me for the birth of Alyssa--my only daughter, my last child, I wanted my mom in there. However, due to the speed of her birth, my mom didn't make it. She arrived about 10 minutes or so after Alyssa was born, around 10:00 or so. She stayed with us and hung out through my recovery time and through the move to the postpartum room. My mom has this intense fear of being over-present in our lives so she tends to go a little too far in the opposite direction and I wish she was around a bit more.

So I kept waiting for her to feel like she was intruding and say she was going home to get some sleep, it was after 1:00 in the morning by now. However, she stayed, and I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something like, "You don't have to stay if you don't want to, but you are welcome to." Her response was something that just struck me and I don't think I'll ever forget it. She replied,

"I'm not ready to go yet."

I don't know why I love her so much for saying those words, but it makes me tear up just thinking about it and picturing that night. It just reminded me how much Alyssa and I are connected to her and how much I want my daughter to grow up to be just like her. She is so strong and seems to need no one, but at that brief moment in time, I saw that she needs us, maybe not as much as we need her, but some, and that meant all the world to me.