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Monday, November 24, 2014

Conversations With My Daughter: The Animals For Dinner Edition...Or Not

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July 11
Lily: Little girls can't cut with the big knife without manners...without a customer helping...I mean without mommies supervising.

July 13
Mom: Waiting patiently?
Lily: Yup. But its pretty borin'.

July 14
Lily (pointing to a picture in her Little House book of Pa Ingalls carrying a gun to hunt with): What is that for?
(I explain what the gun is for)
Lily: But why does he have a gun to shoot aminals?
Mom: Because they need to eat. And see they are going to pick vegetables to eat too.
Lily: But they need to only pick vegetables to eat cause they don't shoot animals. They (the animals) don't like that!

July 27
Mom: After lunch you guys can go play outside!
Lily: I was thinking about doing that. To get some energy out.....And you can fart out there.

July 27
Lily: Ouch! Reuben hurt my spleen!

July 29
Lily: I wish we could go hunting for chickens. We could shoot them with a gun and pluck their feathers and then have chicken to eat.

August 1
Lily: Mommy! Don't wipe my tears away! Put them back.

August 8
Lily: You use your flashlight when you go hunting for deers to pet them.

August 15
Lily: Hey. do I have worm slobber on my hands? Cause I was catching worms at Marie's the other day.

August 22
Lily: Don't put that soup stuff on my rice. I just want plain rice. Cause I'm addicted to rice.

August 22
Lily: Mommy, your food is amazing! I love lentils. Reuben does too...apparently. He's ditching (digging) right in.

August 24
Lily: Mommy, you know, your son is beautiful.

September 7
Lily: I know what germs are! They're little fuzzy things!
Mom: They could be but its hard to see them cause they're pretty small.
Lily: No. I can see them with my big blue eyes!

September 19
Lily (snuggling with her mama): I'll make sure we'll always be together.

September 22
Lily: Mom there's a fly around his (Reuben's) diaper. And there's poop in there! Flies love poop!

September 29
Lily (hearing Reuben say "Jesus" from the other room which annoyed her): Reuben we're not going to heaven.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Crafting It Up

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The crafting bug bit me hard recently. While pinning just one more sewing idea to my Pinterest board one day, I realized that my children are growing up so fast and won't always want to wear things handmade by me and so I had better actually make all those things for them to wear before they get to that point. Walking past and catching a glimpse of the ever growing, mile high pile of fabric in my armoire certainly adds to the lack-of-sewing guilt.

So in a determined mood last week, I pulled out the vintage 1976 White sewing machine that was handed down from Andrew's grandmother to his uncle who gave it to Andrew. I love this sewing machine. I am by no means a sewing expert but this machine is smooth and there's just something about using a hand-me-down versus a brand new machine. There's history there ya know? And now that I think of it, I've blogged about this before. And sadly that was the last time I used it too.

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After dusting off the (figurative) cobwebs, I followed this tutorial I found on Pinterest and made Lily a skirt. Its not perfect by any means but it was super easy (even with my changes to it) and she loves it. I recently won a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs, SouleMama, and received a gorgeous half yard bundle of Monaluna organic fabric. My first thought was to make a quilt out of it since its all from their under the sea collection and wouldn't that be so cute? A little something to cover up the kids' dolls maybe? Then I remembered how I peter out quickly on more in depth projects like that so I switched gears and had Lily pick out a fabric that she liked. We happened to be at Walmart the next day looking at fabric and she picked out the white with black dots saying she wanted it for her skirt too. I thought a tiered skirt would be doable so I picked out the red gingham and we left, both of us happy with our selections.

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When I finished the skirt I realized that I had made it a bit too short. I like them to reach to at least just under the knee and preferably an inch or so longer. So I had to remove the bottom panel and add a longer one. Its still cute. And Lily could care less. I made her a skirt. :)

In the spirit of trying to include more crafting of all kinds in our home-life, and because Lily asks to do "a project" almost every day, I set her up one afternoon with a home-made weaving loom and let her at it. I thought I had pinned the site I used to make the loom and directions on how to weave but I guess I didn't. Ah well.

She gave up about halfway through the project saying that she just didn't want to do it any more. And that's fine. It may not be her "thing." It may be a little advanced for her too. I think I'm going to ask her if I can finish it and then hang it as a collaborative effort. I really just want to use her loom. Seriously, its the cutest thing and there are some lovely weaving tutorials online.

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Next up on the craft to-do list is an autumn tree that the kids and I are planning to decorate with colored leaves. We also have pine cones I plan on making into a garland to hang. Bring on everything fall!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thoughts on Little Boys Growing Up

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Earlier this week I received an email from Andrew who was at work. The topic of the email is an issue that has been near and dear to my heart recently. I wasn't expecting this email from him and I had no idea that he had taken my disjointed, rather one-sided conversations about the issue to heart as well and had been thinking about what to do to fix the situation. As the (sometimes over-) emotional one in the relationship I often feel like I'm the only one who ever worries about these things. It was nice to hear the same concerns in his voice. Here's the email. Minus a few words meant only for me. :)
So I wanted to write a note about the kiddos. Now I hope I'm conveying this concept correctly but if not (and of course as always) feel free to discuss it with me (and I'm sure you are aware of it and all so let's not have that discussion).

So Lily was born a tiny, wrinkled, pooping machine. And we loved her and we knew she would be capable and awesome. Of course Reuben followed in those steps. And that is the problem. See, he is following Lily and we see that.


In other words, we don't see him as blazing his own trail. Lily gets to sit on the stove/counter while you make pancakes, but Reuben (often because he didn't get there first) is left standing. We don't see Reuben as being as capable as Lily because we see how capable Lily is and are "waiting" for Reuben to reach her level.


So I think that is why he is very frustrated so much. I know that we don't get down on his level and take time with him. I know that we don't teach him sign language (which he loves) any more. We just don't do the many things with Reuben that we did with Lily and I think we need to re-focus and re-evaluate our approach until we treat him like he is the first born also.


Do you know what I mean?
I stood there in my kitchen holding my phone in my hands and crying tears of joy. Yes. Yes I do know what he means. He gets it. He was able to put into words what I've been feeling but didn't quite know how to say. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on but knew something wasn't right. Something was missing.

I often reminisce about the time when Lily was really little. About 6 months old or so. We were living with Andrew's parents for the time being. They have a house in the country and we had two small rooms to ourselves. The door to the outside world was always open and we would often sit out there on a blanket, just the two of us, "talking" to each other, playing with blades of grass and laying on our backs watching the sun filter through the trees. We spent so much time together, just her and I.

I've never had that with Reuben. From the very beginning of his life he's had to share me with an older sister. There have been moments here and there where its just been him and I, but most of the time my attention is divided. He's always been content to play by himself or with his sister. He doesn't require a lot of attention. As a result I've always let him do his own thing and I've watched him grow into a capable little guy. But at the same time I would like to have those moments with him too and I don't know but maybe he feels the same but not knowing any different just goes along with things as usual. I want those moments though. Moments where we can just soak each other up, enjoying the small, insignificant details about each other. I know its not too late.

Another thing is I'm constantly comparing him to Lily, developmentally speaking. Ok, maybe constantly is a strong word, but the mentality of comparison is there. I've tried hard not to do it knowing full well that he will blossom in his own time. Usually it comes down to his speech. Lily was speaking in completely intelligible 4 word sentences at 18 months old. Reuben at 27 months old occasionally speaks in 3 word sentences that are sometimes difficult to decipher. Lily was also using her sign language well past 2 years old whereas Reuben has all but dropped his. I think because of all this I often look at him as less competent than Lily. He has a tough time conveying his needs and wants so I find myself doing things for him or guessing at what he needs (and sometimes getting it wrong) and not giving him the independence he wants.

Ever since reading that email I've been making a conscious effort to let Reuben do things first more often. Also making sure that he gets to try doing things on his own such as putting on his shoes instead of me quickly doing it so that we can get out the door faster. Lily gets herself dressed head to toe every morning but I find myself doing everything for Reuben. So this is going to be a change in mindset from "but he's my baby!" to realizing that he's a competent little boy who wants to do these things for himself. I need to step back and allow him the time and space to work on his own abilities. There probably won't be frustration free moments all around (at least not on my part) but its a step in direction of letting Reuben pave his own way.

I've also been working on fitting in moments during the day to focus on him whether its as simple as a secret smile meant only for him or sitting down, just the two of us, to read some of his favorite books. He may not completely understand what's going on, but I know he loves those special times and they mean so much to me.

Thank you Andrew for speaking "out loud" what was on my heart. I'm glad you understand.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Conversation With My Daughter: The Little Mommy Edition

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May 17
Lily (watching Reuben eat his snack): This kid sure likes goldfish!

May 20
Lily (sitting on my lap getting a head massage): Ahhhhh! I needed that.

May 27
Lily (with hand on hip): How can the (ceiling) fan be scary without a imagination? But if you draw a face on it then it will be scary! And I will say "ahhhhhhh!"

May 31
Lily (protesting the pace at which we were walking): I'm a little girl. I can't walk as fast as you.

June 2
Lily: Tomorrow can we go to the hospital and get a baby?

June 5
Mom: I don't want you kids getting in the dirt and then going in your pool. You're going to get the water all dirty and then you won't want to play in it.
(pause to think about it)
Mom: Ya know what? Never mind. As long as you're having fun.
(turn to walk back into the house)
Lily: We're having fun! We're being kids and getting dirty!

June 7
Mom (driving the car on our way home from church): Did you like the puppets?
Lily: I love you and all...Its just that I don't like yogurt...I want to stop buying yogurt.

June 7
Lily (tucked in bed for the night): I ate your hair Mommy. Its lemon flavored. I have lemon flavored hair too. Actually I have watermelon flavored hair. (smiles a happy little smile with her eyes closed as she cuddles her blanket close) We can talk about that tomorrow.

June 9
Lily (to Reuben): You’re stepping on me and my bones that are in my skin!

June 11
Lily: It’s ok to cry and freak out.

June 15
Lily: Reuben this way! Focus on what I'm doing! (follows him) Focus...focus...focus little man!

June 16
Lily: Mom when we get home can we watch TV? Cause its been quite a day.

June 16
Lily: You know Mom, I'll never stop loving you.

June 17
Mom (watching Lily chew on a hanger): Is that hanger tasty?
Lily: Yes. And its refreshing too!

Friday, September 19, 2014

4 Years Old

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^Taken on June 27 at 10 something am. Four years to the minute (plus a few) that she was born.^

Inspired by this idea I found on Pinterest I asked Lily these same questions last year and will ask her every year till she's oh, probably 18.

1. What is your favorite color? Pink
2. What is your favorite toy? A car
3. What is your favorite fruit? Apple
4. What is your favorite tv show/movie? Tinkerbell
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Macaroni and cheese
6. What is your favorite outfit? My bee dress
7. What is your favorite game? Pirate game (Lego video game)
8. What is your favorite snack? English muffin with peanut butter
9. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe
10. What is your favorite song? Cotton Eye' Joe
11. What is your favorite book? Panda book
12. Who is your best friend? Emilie
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cinnamon cereal (Chex)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with cars
15. What is your favorite drink? Orange juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Birthday
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Sophie
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cheerios
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Macaroni and cheese
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Go on the computer

For Lily's big day back in June we celebrated in much the same way as we did Reuben's. It was a quiet and relaxing afternoon just family, food and the great outdoors of Central Maine. Late morning we drove into town, picked up my sister Lydia, grabbed some food items at the supermarket and headed to the park for lunch. We were the only ones there and the kids had so much fun running around, playing on the playground and dunking their toes in the cold...nay...frigid pond. I am so appreciative that my children find immense pleasure in activities that don't require electronics of any kind. In fact they prefer to have their fun that way. Countless times I've watched Lily turn the TV off here at home and tell her brother "Let's go play outside!" We've consciously worked towards instilling in our children a love for nature and the joy that can be found in doing simple things like building blanket forts in the living room or having spray bottle battles outside. Its nice to see our efforts pay off.

But wow. My little girl is 4. Nobody warned me about 4 year olds. They have minds of their own. ;) Hers is pretty special. And opinionated. I'm enjoying learning how to parent a preschooler. Its challenging I'll give you that, but my goodness, is it ever rewarding. I'm never short on conversation around the house. She's an excellent conversationalist and brings up topics that I wouldn't have thought of and looks at things from an entirely unique perspective. I love the minds of children, as yet untouched by the expectations of the world. She makes my day brighter and I'm so happy for the privilege of calling her my daughter. Lily Bean, I love you sweetheart.

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