Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Power Of Dirt

John always reminds me that boys/guys/men bond by DOING stuff together. These boys have a common love for trucks, wrestling, dirt-like any boy their age. 

On a day when their mamas wanted to chit-chat, the weather was good, and the dirt was prime, they had full access to get as dirty as they wanted to. What cute smiles!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Bigs & Littles With The Fountain!

Here's what I do around here: I take pictures of a little outing with my children, add some overthinking words and hit "post." After a slight evolution, that's the main dish that I serve on my blog. This post is a perfect example. 

Early one morning towards the end of summer, we hit the fountains downtown. There was hardly anyone there-such a stress reliever! I didn't have to keep my littles from being knocked over and my bigs from knocking people over. 

Rewind to the days I only had Burl and Fern, we filled our time with these little baby outings. (As Fancy Nancy says, "outings is a fancy word for short trip.") They've slowed down considerably, because of two reasons. First, wrangling four kids has kept us more homebound than usual. The outings are still there but they are not as numerous. Second, with one foot in big kid world and one foot in toddler/baby world, engaging everyone is becoming challenging. I have to integrate small activities with ones that engage the big kids' freedoms. 

Now the big kids are in school and it's just me and the babies, but I remember these summer outings fondly. I love this mom gig and doing fun things like this is my speed. 


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Chores, Roaming, Pool, & Screens

Where are all my boring friends at? I see you, I get you. Hopefully, you'll read this post and think, "yeah, it's fun doing nothing special at all, isn't it?" Yes it is. 

Now, that Burl and Fern are full-swing in school, I'm reflecting on our summer. As we open our next chapter, I can't help think about the chapter we finished. The summer break chapter. If you know me in person or through the blog, then you know that I like to schlep my kids all over our area exploring what our region has to offer. Having small children hasn't slowed me down, but ramped up my drive to explore. Anything within an hour's drive is sacred ground. I'll find a trail to walk or a treat to eat anywhere and take my kids there. Until now. 

This summer I put our gear in neutral and coasted. Logistically, I couldn't figure out how to manage four young kids between naps, feedings, abilities, and my own personal sanity. I know that we will be back out there later but this summer was definitely on slow speed. 

I heard someone describe it as a 1980s summer. 
Yes! Perfect! Straight from my own childhood. 

So here were my personal margins:
-paper plates for lunch
-same lunch everyday
-pool time on the reg
-summer of savings (we didn't spend money on our activities, mostly)
-harry potter 2, read then watch
-screens were more than allowed (sh! don't tell all those people doing all those studies on the effect of screens on children)
-roaming the neighborhood (as a family or big kids getting big privileges) 
-no social media (besides some light blogging on my part)
-new card games
-chores (the children learned quickly that complaining about chores earned more chores and they got very good at "yes ma'am") 
-my love of pen to paper was rekindled (journals, letters, notes, and doodles)
-and last but not least: lots of empty time where the kids figured out how to entertain themselves (go ahead and tell the people who do the studies, they love this!)

In many ways, it was the best summer of my life. Besides the dark cloud of Fern starting school, it was good. I got overwhelmed at times at the loud amount of chaos in the walls of my home and frustrated at the amount of toys that littered the floors, but I also held those negative feelings loosely and John and I got very good at laughing at ourselves. We do not say that this time goes by quickly, instead we say that it is a small, short time in our lives. We are good at seeing and knowing that this time of pouring out is a blip of time on the span of our lives. When it gets crazy, we get crazy a little, and most of the time we remind each other of the important work that we're doing. The tiresome, rich work (more rich than tiresome-always!)

We've landed back into our school hustle, and Burl and Fern are really enjoying their school days. While I remember this summer, I'm dreaming about next summer and asking "what else can I shave away? Do we really need a trip to the beach?" I've loved being at home with all four children doing nothing special at all. It's given me the gift of watching them grow on their own terms. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sitting Up Lark

Normally with my big ole babies, sitting up takes longer than most. It's a lot of weight to hold up. We start with a Bumbo, then we move to propping them up on their arms and they're stuck, then there's actual sitting up with heavy supervision. After what seems like a very long process, they can finally sit on their own. 

A few weeks ago we started the process with Lark. During an intense game of cars in the incredible masking tape city I made, we gave it a shot. "Let's see what Lark can do!" Well, despite being the biggest baby in all the land, he nailed it. 

There were a few tips and turns, but for the most part he sat up straight and looked more surprised than the rest of us. 

We snapped pictures. We cheered. We gathered around for a group picture. 

Regrettably, this happened on laundry day when the only thing that was clean was his hilarious camo onesie. Sometimes, though, it's good to remember the home-style (i.e., Fern's bathing suit).

Now, Lark is being propped all over the house to play and watch the madness surrounding him. His eyes dart back and forth, and his cheeks hang like Christmas ornaments from his face. Sitting has given him a new form of cute. 
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