Thursday, October 15, 2015

More talking with M4

M4 and I were sitting on the couch, after reading books together, and one of the covers of Three Little Birds ("Don't worry, about a thing, 'cause every little thing is going to be alright.") came on the Pandora kids' channel. I was singing along and M4 kept stopping me.

He said, "Wait, what is wrong? Why is he worried? Is he hurt?"

I tried to say that the song was telling us not to worry, to be peaceful, but the next time the chorus came along he said, "I don't like this song. I don't know why he is worried."

The kids, before a certain age, have all really enjoyed pushing any of the accessibility buttons for opening doors in public places. Once you hit the button the door swings open very slowly, making it less convenient when you are just trying to get into a place. We have run into trouble with kids racing to press the button, pushing each other out of the way, or the new problem of one child nagging at another to be sure not to press the button.

In general, these buttons cause some irritation and I try to get them all in the habit of leaving the buttons alone.

M4 and I go to music time at the library once a week now that the big kids are in school. Of course he feels like a big helper pushing the door-opening button and I've been trying to work on reminding him to let me open the door.

M4: (After I asked him to let me open the door.): "Who gets to push this? Why is it for?"

Me: That button is for people who have trouble opening the door. If they need to go to the library, but have trouble pushing the door open, they can use it.

M4: The door is too big for me to open. The button is for me.

Since then I've been focusing on our everyday rule of not running ahead of me. When we get to the door  I try saying a polite, "Let me open the door for you." If he wants to open the door for me I say thank you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Challenges, we all have them

The kids and I were driving the older two to piano lessons on Friday afternoon when M4 sneezed a big sneeze. M4 has powerful sneezes and then he often yells, "Kleenex emergency!" This time M2 shouted for help because it looked like M4 had a bit of a bloody nose.

Once we started driving again:
M2: Why does Matthew have bloody noses sometimes? I never do and neither does anyone else.

Me: Everyone has different challenges. You get headaches and the others don't seem to, so you have headache challenges. Matthew has nose challenges.

M3: What is my challenge? What is Rebecca's challenge?

Me: I'm not sure, let me think about it.

M3: I know! Joseph has headaches, Matthew gets bloody noses, and Rebecca's challenge is to fight a wolf!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer vacation 2015

Summer vacation is wrapping up here. I'm trying to be sure to not get so wrapped up in planning for next year that I miss these next two weeks. The kids start school August 25th. M3's first day is the 26th because she's in the second half of the alphabet and they split the kids for those first two days. The kids are excited for the year to be up and running! We installed new hooks in the entry way in hopes of encouraging organization and I smile when I see all the bags ready to go!

We've had so many fun things going on this summer, mostly in little day or weekend trips. Several were last minute plans and involved extended family, which is always fun!

* Papa and the kids stayed with the Grandparents at the end of May while I visited Uncle Dave and Aunt Nissa in California. My first overnight trip away from the kids, except for hospital stays where I was dealing with a new baby! It was a super fun and relaxing 4 days for me.

* In June we traveled to the western side of South Dakota to stay in a cabin for three nights with friends. They had flown to Colorado and then were driving through our state to get to a family reunion in Nebraska. We enjoyed doing the touristy things with them. Their kids were 7 and 2 at the time and we enjoyed getting to know them a little better. The kids had fun playing around outside the cabins. We drove through the state capitol on the way home, which was something we hadn't done yet and good to see.

* Papa had a conference in San Francisco in July. The best flight option got him there about a day and a half before the conference started and I joked that I'd like to spend a day and a half relaxing in California. We kept talking about it and on a whim I looked for a flight to join him. My parents were coming to help out while he was gone, so we jumped at the chance and decided to go on our first vacation alone without the kids. We bought my ticket on a Thursday night for a 5 AM Sunday morning flight! We even were able to sit together on our way out. I flew back after two nights and Papa stayed on for his conference. It was very relaxing and great to explore the city without kids. We even got to meet our new nephew, Jack, who was born at the end of May right after my earlier trip out there.

* A couple days after Papa's return we drove to Minnesota for a welcome party for Jack. He, Dave, and Nissa were traveling to Wisconsin for Nissa's brother's wedding and stopped in Minnesota for a few days. The kids were so excited to meet their cousin and just thought he was great.

* We left M.G. and M2 in Minnesota to spend a couple nights with each set of Grandparents. We picked them up the following weekend and enjoyed Grandpa M's family reunion in Wisconsin. It was a hot day on the farm!

* The following Saturday we drove to Iowa for a wedding shower/party for a relative on Grandma B's side of the family. We were on the fence about this trip, but wanted to stay in touch with family. It didn't hurt that we planned to meet up with Grandma and Grandpa B and stay in a nice hotel with a pool! The kids had a blast and we drove home the next day.

* The very next Saturday was my birthday! One of my goals for the summer was to visit Great-grandma at her house in southern Minnesota. We learned my parents were driving my aunt, visiting from Washington state, down to Great-grandma's house that weekend and decided to take a day trip over to have lunch while they were all there. It was about a 3 hour drive and the kids are great in the car. I'm glad that they might have memories of this house and town.

* Another goal for the summer was to meet up with a high school friend of mine and her family. She lives in southern Minnesota and we try to get together when we are visiting family, but it can be difficult to find open time when we have family plans. This year we decided to meet in the middle and take the kids to the Shaun the Sheep movie. The middle of southern Minnesota doesn't have much for meeting spots, so we ended up taking another 3 hour day trip a little closer to her side of the state, on the very next Saturday. We met up for lunch at Pizza Ranch, saw the movie together, and then drove home. I enjoyed watching the kids chat together - she also has 4 kiddos- and since going to the movies was one of our favorite high school activities it seemed good to have the chance to do it again.

We'll be staying close to home now, probably until Thanksgiving, so I'm glad we did our best to make it to these events. The kids are already talking about what bigger trip we could do next summer - maybe visiting their new cousin in California or going to see the sights in Washington D.C.!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Talking with M4

M4 has been a chatty little guy lately. He wants to be in on all the conversations and has a lot to say now.

Every once in a while M.G. thinks it is funny to ask for a mix of liquid and frozen H2O in her glass. M4 picked up on this and often mentions how "Rebecca calls ice frozen H2O" or he'll ask for frozen H2O in his glass and then has to make sure I understand he's talking about water.

He is at the age where he knows that knock-knock jokes are supposed to be funny, but still has no idea why. So he'll walk up to me and give it a shot.

M4: "Knock-knock. Who's there?"
Me: "Mama?"
M4: "What sort of Mama are you?"
Me: ?????

I've tried breaking it down for him, but it hasn't caught.

M4 has started to be a little sneaky, whether or not it is intentional. He was in trouble for head butting his sister and while in time-out was crying because he was in trouble when really her head had hit his head. Later he was trying to convince me that Papa had taken a train away from him when he was trying to play with it. Of course, in reality, he'd taken the train from someone else and Papa was trying to put things right.

The older three were at vacation bible school this week and M4 and I had a lot of fun on our own during the mornings. He and I were playing a game and when we finished he jumped up and did a little celebration dance. It was adorable and fun to see his personality come through a little more when he's not looking up to the bigger kids.

In other news, we have three weeks of summer vacation left before the school year starts. I'm trying to stay calm and just enjoy the time, but it will be gone in a flash. M3's kindergarten backpack and lunch box arrived yesterday and she's SO excited.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

July 2015

The kids' summer vacation is already a third over for us! We've been enjoying the days and trying to make a point to go to the pool more often, go on more bike rides, etc. Papa and I are also mid-way through a few home projects and will hopefully get them wrapped up before the summer is over!

M3 wanted to be done with naps once she turned 5 and we were ok with that. We knew we'd been asking her to nap at an older age than M.G. or M2 and she was only falling asleep about three days a week. Instead, she has about an hour of "quiet time" on her bed after lunch where she can read or play with quite toys. So she doesn't nap anymore. But what she does do is "accidentally fall asleep" about twice a week. I think her soccer clinic at the start of summer, the excitement of vacation, swim lessons now, and often a slightly late bedtime wear her out!

I love hearing what M4 is thinking about. A few days ago I asked what toppings he'd like on his bratwurst. He said, "a hot dog!" Last night we was talking about Papa's haircut and wondering when he'd get a haircut. He started saying he had "booms" on his head that needed to be fixed. It took us a few minutes to realize he was thinking of "bangs!"

And just because it came up recently, when we gave M2 a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe for his 2nd birthday he always called it his "Happy Birthday car." It stuck and now Papa and I still call those cars, when seen elsewhere, "happy birthday cars."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 2015

I just get to the point where I decide I've finished blogging and then get tempted back so that I can remember the little details down the road...

Often after bedtime, when he should be trying to sleep, M4 will peek out his window at a bunny nibbling on clover in our yard. Now if the bunny is there we'll hear, "My friend bunny is here! I'm going to watch my friend bunny!" This morning we were playing outside and a bunny hopped into our neighbor's yard. M4 said, "My friend bunny!" Although he was sad to hear that the bunny wouldn't come over an play with us.

He's on day 3 of undies. We have a stretch of time at home here with less going on and that doesn't happen very often. So far we seem to just be proving why toddlers wear diapers.

M3 had her kindergarten physical yesterday. About 25% for weight and 60% for height. Our doctor, whom we liked a lot, has left and we tried a new doctor yesterday. I'm not sure if we were a good fit, but I've heard good things about her. She referred us to a cardiologist for a heart murmur that our previous doctor never mentioned, so I guess after that I'll have a better idea of my opinion of her!

M3 did really well with her appointment. She is so well spoken for her age and, in realizing we didn't have any concerns about diet or sleep, a pretty easy going kid. She knew she'd get a shot (MMR this time) and was not too concerned. The nurse had me hug her during the shot and asked M3 to count to 10. The injection happened on 3 and M3 suddenly turned bright red, looked so surprised and hurt, and almost started crying. Then she continued on with a wavery 4 - 10 before letting out a wail. She recovered quickly and was fine after that. I think she forgot how shots felt!

Blogging is probably winding down for me. I need to find a better way to record the little details, other than Facebook. I would love to do vacation posts and milestone posts again and remember my impression of our days, but I'm less interested in blocking out the time it takes to compose my thoughts and have less time anyway. Also, the older kids are getting too old for me to share my thoughts about them as easily. This has turned into space for M3 and M4, which is fine, but feels incomplete when the older two are often amazing me too.

I read an interesting article about parenting teens. A line has stuck in my head from the article, "Children are characters in the family story we tell — until, one day, they start telling it themselves." I notice a shift in M.G. While M3 and M4 and most of the time M2 surprise me and do unique things, I still can predict the general arc of their behavior and reactions. Sometimes M.G. will say something and I will realize that she is her own person going off in her own directions. When I share my thoughts about her I feel like I'm betraying her privacy and I can no longer easily relate her impression of family events and feel truthful. So, we'll see. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

M3 - career plans

M3 has finished preschool and daycare! She's so excited for kindergarten. M4 and I went along to the zoo with her preschool yesterday and it was a fun way to end the year. She had some really good questions for the zookeeper who introduced the students to a few reptiles.

For a while she has been saying she wants to be a librarian when she grows up. A few weeks ago we were talking about authors and she thought that sounded like fun too. She's been asking questions occasionally about how the story gets from the author to the people.

Yesterday she asked how books get made so that more than one person can have a copy. So we talked a little about that and how publishers get books ready to sell. At first she wasn't interested in selling books. She wants to write a book, print a bunch, then walk around with a wagon to deliver the books to all of our neighbors. After talking a little about how some authors try to make money for food and other stuff through selling books she decided that she'd be a librarian who wrote books about being a librarian and then people would check out the books she wrote.