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A Magnificent Baby Journey

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“Mommy when are you going to have another baby?” my soon to be seven-year old daughter asked me.  “Olivia is our baby, she completes our family,” I gently told her.  The conversation continued on with something about her having six kids, then eight and then down to two and me saying something like, have as many as you feel you can handle.  Rocking my baby Olivia Mae to sleep, a somber realization crossed my mind as she fell asleep without being nursed and our/my final weaning of a nursing baby comes to a close.  My realization was that the day would come, my baby and I would separate from our nursing days an continue on in love and enjoyment of one another.  What I didn’t fully anticipate was the mourning of closing my womb and never having the miracle of life grow within my belly.  Snuggling Olivia Mae close, she wiggled at my slightly more smothering love.  Wanting to remember her as a baby, which she hardly is anymore in the age range of things.  We will be celebrating her birthday on August 12.  She will be one. Holding her close I remember the first time I held my own baby.  An unimaginable feeling.  Looking at him now, he is almost ten and I can hardly believe it when I look at him.  I am scared as he grows and as time passes.  I am scared because he is getting older and so am I.  Have I taught him the things he needs to know, will he grow into an exceptional man and be kind to those he comes into contact with? Will he know how to fight the battles that he faces–the unkindness and cruelty of the world–without being broken.  But then to be human is to break once in a while but not to break too many times–hopefully, though to grow majestically with each of those breaks.  Rocking Olivia, she touches my face as if to ask what are you doing and why are you holding me so tight?.  I just want to remember her. I want to remember each of my babies.  Time passes–so slowly but so quickly at the same time.  Advice from Mothers and Women who have been there, “Enjoy them while they are little, it seems forever but it passes so quickly.  You will long for these days.” Is that possible?  When days seem so long and so busy and so tiring. When I feel like I am at my breaking point.  Will I long for these days?  Though it is hard to admit, I think I might have to agree, I will long for the days of my little ones.  Not so much the yucky stuff like sick tummies or things like that but watching them grow and smile and walk and talk and becoming familiar with their world and recognizing they are alive and to live is for their joy.  I sit down with Olivia, wrap her in my fleece, I don’t have one of her blankets around. She stirs, she moans, she wakes, I stand up, rock her, she rests her head on my shoulder. She is comfortable.  Should I put her down to sleep? She is peaceful. No, I want to hold her, I am still not done remembering.  Remembering how stubborn my oldest daughter was to be born and how fast my third child came into this world and the excruciating pain I felt with his birth. And with Olivia how, yes, I am a wimp, did not want to feel that pain again and chose to be induced.  Remembering when she was born how tiny she was and what a miracle she was!  Physically my body was worn during my pregnancy with Olivia and each day I worried that she may not make it into this world.  Wondering if I would experience holding one of my newborns again and how I yearned to hold her.  Grateful, she was born and I was able to hold her.  I really thought she was going to be a boy but she wasn’t she was my most precious little newborn girl.  Each baby miraculous in their own right. Each so different and each I hold in my heart the feeling of holding their little bodies next to mine. Never really thinking about having children or how many I might have,  I am thankful for each one of their lives and the experiences I received from each one.  Closing the chapter on my baby bearing years, I mourn that time and look forward to this next set of years that lies ahead while keeping my babies snuggled in my heart.

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What was your experience when you knew you were done having children?

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Journey of an Inanimate Object

Inanimate ObjectsSitting there at the edge of the bed as my three-year old is falling asleep for nap time, I glance to the closet and see my nine-year old’s old gym shoes, sitting there, still, nothing happening.  Looking at them, I think of the life my son gives to this object, he runs, he jumps, he ties them.  He has used them, they have holes. He is so hard on his shoes!  I can hardly believe it.  Scanning the objects around me, the books, the beds, the blankets,etc.  Amazing the life we bring to them. Amazing the memories we keep from them.  His sweater, I take it down, it is blue, zips up in the front and I can picture him as a three-year old. Emotional, tears form and I think he will never be three again.  Continue with the closet clean out, I am about to give this simple sweater away, no, I am going to keep it for 30 more years. His son will wear it.  Maybe.  Years ago before having children, I came home from work, my husband was traveling, alone,  I was sitting on the couch, staring at the  blank t.v. and thought how we give so many inanimate objects life.  Without our existence they mean nothing.  They are things, they sit, they don’t move. We move, we live, we give life.  Objects they help us form memories, feelings, thoughts. My mind, returning to his athletic shoes, grateful they were sitting there and grateful for the journey of an inanimate object.

 

 

 

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Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids

It’s summertime again! I can hardly believe this year has passed so quickly.  The kids will be or are already home and there is bound to be some downtime at some point or another.  Looking through websites and ideas, I collected a list of things that could be interesting to entertain the kids with this summer.

Join a summer movie clubhouse: http://www.cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse

Homemade Slime: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/24/how-to-make-gak-slime/

Yo Yo Balloons: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/06/24/yo-yo-balloons-from-jessica-of-zakka-life/

Chalk Paint: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/27/chalk-paint/

Homemade Playdough: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2008/08/26/homemade-playdough/

Tape a paper towel roll to the wall to keep toddlers busy: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Pencil erasers home bowling game: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Bar of soap in the microwave to make soap clouds: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Popcorn Olympics: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Balloon Ping-Pong: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Play-Doh Filled Ballons: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Pool noodle marble track: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Chalk bull’s-eye target game: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Throwing tarp: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Paper towel roll drop: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Summer bingo: http://www.enjoyutah.org/2012/04/summer-bingo-with-resources.html

Shaving cream slip and slide: http://www.playcreateexplore.org/2012/04/shaving-cream-slip-n-slide.html

Get creative with science: http://www.pinterest.com/redtedart/science/; http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/05/science-fun-for-kids.html

STEM the summer Slide: http://www.middleweb.com/15579/ideas-activities-stem-summer-slide/

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Mommies Need Encouragement Too: Meeting Goals

Encouraging my kids, helping them to learn to believe in themselves and face their challenges has been something I enjoy helping my children do.  There will be times I tell my kids, ages eight and five that I am working on something, trying to be better at something– I have set a goal for myself.  It amazes me that when I let them know this, how encouraging they are.  If they see me slip or fall off track, they like to help me get back on track.  It is nice having support come from my kids and in turn, I know that they are able to see that there is reason to work toward something, there are reasons to set goals.  They can also see there are times that I do fall off track and that it helps to have reminders–like their little voices–to get back on track and keep on going. I enjoy knowing that my children learn that there is great achievement in goals and that their encouragement plays a role in my achievements.

 

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A Moment of Childhood Reminiscence

Walking to the park, renting a video, a bus ride to the mall on a rainy day.  I loved spending time with my Mom as a kid.  I enjoyed being at her side and the security of knowing that she was there and that she took time with myself and my brothers and sister.  The other day, I remembered the trips we used to take as kids and perhaps it was nostalgia for my earlier years but I had the deep desire to spend time with my kids and be with them.  In the world today, it is so easy to get caught up in the have to’s of everyday. I find myself doing it quite often.  I have to stop myself and be reminded they (my kids) will only be little for so long.  It is hard to remember that when in the mist of dirty dishes, messy floors and dirty laundry galore. It may not be possible to always make the time though when it really feels inspired, I say go for it.  Even on those tough days.  This time we went to the zoo.  We had fun, we walked, we saw the animals, we went into the reptile house.  I found out my daughter loves snakes.  Who would have thought?  They really gross me out.  We had fun watching the sea lions.  And my youngest was amazed with the trees and rocks.  I am glad for the moment of childhood reminiscence and the time it gave me with my kids, to build theirs and my memories.

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The Mailbox: A Letter, A Surprise, Something Special for Me

IMG_0551“It’s my turn, It’s my turn,” Isabella was expressing in her fervent voice as she ran to the mailbox.  William had already won the race to the mailbox.  I watched them as they ran to the mailbox and noticed how much they enjoyed doing this.  I know as an adult I look forward to getting mail, the fun kind of course.  As I think back, when I was a kid, I had a mailbox, one from Fisher Price or something similar.  I can picture myself looking in the mailbox, wondering when the mail was going to arrive or how it was going to get there. When it appeared, I would be there to get it! I Wondered if there might be a letter, a surprise something special in that box for me.  That must be the excitement of the little ones–wondering if there is something mysterious and fun in the mailbox.  That day, I decided that they would each get their own mailboxes. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together or how it was going to work, or if they would even like it.  I decided to have them make their own mailbox, well, at least paint their own mailboxes.  We went to the craft store, picked up some unpainted wood boxes and brought them home to paint.  William, Isabella, Daddy and Mommy and even one for Liam who was not born yet.  They enjoyed this project and the idea that they would receive mail.  We found a spot on a shelf in our family room that fits all of our mailboxes.  When the red flag is up, there is mail! I write to each child, just a simple letter.  The way I organized it is beginning with how the day was, notice some good things I saw in them during the day and remind them of some things they could work on to help themselves become better in their relationships, behaviors and actions with their family, friends and those they interact with. I include a little treat along with the letter. Perhaps it is the treat they like!  Though, I have found that it is a great way to communicate and spend time with my children. We became quite regular at our mailbox time though for some reason we stopped. I thought the kids didn’t enjoy it, I thought I didn’t enjoy it.  Today, I realized that I did enjoy it even thought it takes a bit of extra work. I also realized that it makes a difference to my kids and myself.  I have not committed to everyday of mailbox though I will work to fit it in as much as I can. If you are looking for a fun way to spend time, talk to, or read to your kids, try a mailbox!

I include below an example of a letter I write to my kids.

Dear William,

Wow! I can’t believe how fast today went.  Today was your first day of 2nd grade!  How did it go? (He usually answers *smiles*) I have noticed that you have been working really hard at being an example to your brother and sister.  That really helps mommy and daddy and our family.  Thank you for doing that.  Oh, I also noticed that you had a harder time sharing your toys today. Do you think you could work on sharing when your sister is asking?  Alright, time for bed!

Love,

Dad and Mom

I usually include this as part of our bedtime routine.  It is relaxing for the kids and for me. I have found it is a good way to wind down the day.

Have you used a mailbox with your kids? Does it work for you and your family?

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The Student is Me

I was reflecting the other day about the time in my life when my husband and I decided to bring children into our life and share our world.  My husband and I looked at each other, our lives were going good.  Not too much that we weren’t handling.  We had been married for two years and felt as ready as we could.  I thought to myself, time will pass and it will be good to be able to share the time with a little one, teaching, inspiring, directing.  A little student!  Little did I know that it was me who was going to be the student!  As I have been in the role of parent, I have been taught, inspired and directed more than I ever imagined!  It is a miraculous learning experience and I continue to learn and grow everyday.