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Tag: Kids & Parenting

Social Distancing in 2020

Today we are in a place I never imagined we would be. Not quite quarantined – but basically confined to our home. The threat of Coronavirus – COVID-19 has taken over to the point where cities have banned having more than 10 people gathered in the same place. They call it “social distancing.” I call it “social isolation” or “an introvert’s dream.” If said introvert is confined with children who do not share that introversion, it isn’t quite as dreamy (not that I would know that from experience or anything).

Even though the kids are on Spring Break this week, schools have already closed for another two weeks and possibly will be closed beyond that. Schools just across the state line are ordered to be closed for the rest of the school year. Online learning is about to become the reality in our house. Businesses are sending staff to work from home. It’s all a little surreal honestly – like we’re living in the middle of a sci-fi movie.

I understand the concept. Social distancing keeps the germs from spreading. Quite frankly, the reports from other countries who have been dealing with this longer are a little terrifying. However, everything closing down is also a little terrifying and seems so extreme. On the other hand, I’ve been begging life to JUST. SLOW. DOWN. for weeks now. I guess I’m actually getting what I asked for for once.

As activities started cancelling, my kids got a little more frustrated. Soccer. Volleyball. Karate. Church. School. So far, one-on-one piano lessons are still on but that’s all we have left. It is hard to see the disappointment in their faces. They aren’t saying much, but it is there.

My daughter had a birthday this week. Our tradition of letting her choose a favorite restaurant for dinner out on her birthday was thwarted – her restaurant of choice is now closed for the foreseeable future. We substituted with Chipotle delivery, but it wasn’t what she wanted. There will be no party with her friends – at least not for a while. We will celebrate with a small family-only party this weekend, and she’s having a cousin spend the night but I know it is not the celebration she anticipated. I’m so thankful that I gave in and bought her the new phone she wanted a little early so she can at least enjoy facetime conversations with her friends she can’t see in person.

Today we’re on day 4, well technically day 6 if you count the weekend, of staying home. Other than walking the dog around the neighborhood, I have left my house a total of three times – for work on Monday (until they told us to work from home), a trip to Sam’s Club to stock up on groceries, and a quick trip to pick up meds at the pharmacy and some work supplies. Honestly, I think this is the most time I’ve spent at home since my last maternity leave…which was eight years ago.

I really have mixed feelings about the whole thing. There’s a lot of anxiety boiling up that I didn’t expect – mostly about what happens next, and how long we keep this up before returning to some kind of normal. I hate seeing my kids upset about missed activities and not seeing their friends. That part will become even harder over the next couple of weeks as this drags on. I worry about trying to do school from home, even though I know their teachers will come up with great things for them to work on. It will be challenging for my older two, but for my youngest who receives special education services at school it may get really tough. I’m trying to hold out hope that they somehow have that part covered. I do know that I am not in any way designed to be a school teacher.

There are some positive aspects of staying home though. I’m getting to spend a lot more time with my kids (when they are not holed away in their separate bedrooms). I am even more thankful for our new home, and the fact that we have enough rooms to all get away from each other when necessary. I finally am getting around to some of the projects that have been on the back burner for a while. Plus, my house got a desperately needed cleaning over the weekend!

It really is not all bad, but this whole feeling of being in limbo is strange – not knowing if two weeks from now we go back to our regular routine or if this really is the new “normal.” It has been amazing seeing how communities are coming together to help others out during these odd times. Businesses are offering so many free resources to those stuck at home. People are finding ways to reach out to each other online and connect even though we can’t do it in person. Schools and restaurants are finding ways to feed those that may be in need while businesses are shutting down. Seeing the good come out in so many ways is truly comforting. I just hope that it continues even if this social distancing thing extends way longer than any of us are currently planning for.

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Caleb – 16 Months

16 Months!

Dear Caleb,

My dear, sweet, loving, cuddly, little miracle surprise baby, I love you with all my heart. I’ll admit that when I found out I was pregnant with you I was scared. I wasn’t sure how I would manage to keep up with another baby, but I fell in love with you and all of those worries went away. I honestly cannot imagine what our family would be without you in it any more. You truly do complete us. It melts my heart to see the way your big brother and sister adore you. I just can’t see it being any other way.

However, the last few months have been extremely challenging for all of us. You see, you started walking, and with that new found ability to move (fast!) you also gained a new sense of independence…and attitude. I’m really proud of all of the new advances you are making, I really am. I just need you to stop every once in a while and take a break from touching and climbing and jumping off of ALL THE THINGS! You are quite a force to be reckoned with these days and you are wearing this old mama out.

There really is no containing you any more, aside from strapping you in a car seat, which causes screams that bring the neighbors running to see what is wrong (not really, but I’m surprised they haven’t yet). You have already managed to climb over the side of your crib, have nearly gotten over the side of the pack ‘n’ play, have escaped your “baby jail”, and figured out how to open doors. This week you also managed to escape from the seat of a shopping cart (while strapped in – thankfully I turned back around at just the right second) and the stroller (while also strapped in). Oh, and also the high chair. When you are done eating you are outta there, one way or another. The only thing you have not managed to break and/or escape from (as long as it is properly closed) is the living room gate, but I’m sure that time is coming.

Once you have managed to escape from whatever latest contraption we were trying to contain you in, you are into E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! I am not exaggerating. You seriously have to have someone 1-on-1 with you at all times to keep you from getting into things that you shouldn’t. Perhaps I have not baby proofed as well as I should have because I got a little relaxed with the other two being older, but pretty much if there is anything within your sight that you want, you will find a way to get to it. I have found you standing on top of tables, on top of the back of the sofa and chairs in the living room, and even standing on toys so you could reach just a little farther. There is no stopping you.

Your other favorite pastime seems to be annoying your older brother. One of your favorite things to do is to turn the TV off when he is mid-show, or even worse, in a crucial part of a video game. You also constantly grab his glasses from his face (and mine) which gets old really quick. He’ll let you slide a couple times, but after that he gets a little angry. You better watch out because paybacks are hell, and boy do you have it coming! It’s a good thing that he loves you so much, because there is no one else he would be so patient with.

And can we just talk about this sleep thing for a minute? It took me 13 months, yes THIRTEEN MONTHS, to finally get you sleeping through the night in your own bed. I swear the first morning I woke up and realized you were still asleep in your crib I heard a choir of angels singing above me. There were 8 weeks or so of you doing this pretty much every night, with a few exceptions while you were trying to cut those horrid molars, but hey, that’s understandable. Then came vacation. You actually did amazingly well while we were out of town, despite the crazy schedule, sporadic naps, and getting to bed late pretty much every night. You ended up in bed with mom and dad a couple of times, but it was a nice big king size bed and there was plenty of room. The trouble happened when we came home.

Once we arrived back home from our trip, you forgot how to sleep without me attached to you. In fact, you pretty much forgot how to do anything without me attached to you. I can barely put you down without you screaming (unless there is food visible and within your reach, anyway). Bedtime is horrible. You scream and scream and scream until I finally give in because I’m afraid you are going to scream your lungs up. Eventually, I can get you to sleep by nursing you (which we were nearly done with before vacation but you have now let me know in no uncertain terms that the boobies are still yours) and then put you down in your bed. Some nights that works and you sleep through most of the night before the screaming commences, but others it doesn’t. Those nights are the ones when you wake up just as I try to lay you down and I wonder what on Earth ever possessed me to want to have these little screaming things called children. Ugh, mommy is tired, honey. So, you’ve ended up back in my bed more times that you should have lately and the end seems to be nowhere in sight. Seriously, mommy is tired. Sixteen months of not sleeping (shy of those 8 precious, glorious, weeks) is just too many. I need to sleep and so do you.

I know you have a lot going on. You are growing like a weed – 34 inches (>98th percentile – off the dang growth charts!) tall, and nearly 25 pounds. Plus, you just cut your first 4 molars and 4 incisors all seemingly at once – a total of 16 teeth! Besides all of the walking, climbing, and exploring, you are trying really hard to learn how to talk. You have several words that you use, but you spend a lot of time right now pointing and making sounds that we are supposed to translate into words.  Your favorite word seems to be “daddy” as you go around saying it over and over and over again all day long. Sadly, when he tries to pay attention to you, you push him away. You can also say mommy, zach, evie, hi, hello, please, this, bopbop, yay-ya, something that sounds similar to caleb, and many other words that you repeat when you hear them. You also have started dancing whenever you hear music. I love that you are doing this and often turn music on just so I can watch you. It is the cutest thing. We used to have lots of dance parties in our house and I kind of miss them.

It may seem like I’m complaining a lot, but the truth is, I really just want to remember every little bit of your babyness. It is flying by so fast. I feel like I miss out on so many moments with you because I’m busy working, or busy with your brother and sister. I struggle to find the time to just sit and snuggle, which is why when you wrap your arms and legs around me and won’t let go as I’m trying to put you to bed I don’t struggle with you very long. We go right back to my chair and snuggle until you fall asleep in my arms. I know just how quickly these days will pass and you will no longer want to sit and snuggle with mom. You will be grown before I know it, though I hope you’ll still come back for a hug now and then. Until then, I’ll cherish ever minute of time with you I can get.

I love you so much, my little monkey!



p.s. Sorry for the lack of photos. You don’t hold still long enough for me to take them anymore!


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Change of Pace

Hard at work

As of today, I am officially one week into my new part-time schedule. This is going to take some adjustment time for sure. For now, I am working 3 hours in the office Monday through Friday, picking up the two younger kids, then working another 2.5-3 hours at home after that. It is a bit of an odd schedule, but works out the best as far as cutting day care costs down. This way, Evie is still able to go to preschool every day. She just comes home in the afternoon instead of staying and taking a nap at school.

The schedule, for me, feels a little chaotic. In time we will figure out a good routine, but for now it is a bit crazy. I leave work at 12:15, pick Evie up, pick Caleb up, then rush home to get Caleb down for a nap, scarf down my lunch, and get Evie settled in so that I can sit and work. The kids are doing pretty good with it, although Evie is pushing my buttons a bit. I think that will settle in time too, as she figures out what she will be able to get away with. The part I hate is that I have to wake Caleb up from his nap every day to go pick Zach up from school. It is so nice for Zach to be able to be home earlier and not have to go to the after school program though.

A little fresh air for everyone on this beautiful day!

I’m finding that there are good and bad things about the new schedule. I LOVE being home in the afternoons. I love that I can throw in a load of laundry mid-day and not be waiting up at midnight for a load of diapers to dry for the next day. I love that I can take my laptop outside and work while the kids play on a sunny day. I love that our evenings don’t feel so rushed. I am also responsible for dinner prep now (it has been hubby’s job for the last several years) which is both good and bad. I’m not a fan of cooking, but I do like that I can introduce a better variety of meals now.

There are things I miss about being at work full-time too. Primarily, the paycheck! I miss having my lunch hour to run errands. I miss getting to actually eat my lunch without sharing. I miss lunches with my mom, especially when I didn’t get to take her our for her birthday this week. I miss zoning out in my office with my music cranked up in my headphones while I work.

Quite content with our new afternoon schedule.

I am learning a few things too. I have to really schedule and prepare for the work I am taking home every day. Some things are easier to do from home than others. Also, my kids eat A LOT. I was not prepared for the amount of snacking that they seem to think they need to do. Evie, in particular, is constantly wanting something to eat. I don’t know if it is just because she is home and it is available, or if the girl has been starving at school all this time. Zach also comes home wanting food immediately. I would pack them bigger lunches, but then they just tell me they don’t have time to eat it all. So, snacks it is. I apparently need to do some stocking up.

It feels a bit challenging as we adjust to this change, but I really think it will be good for our family in so many ways. It still feels really weird to me to be home during the day, but in a good way.

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Caleb – 7 Months

Dear Caleb,


They say that the last child is forgotten in photos, that their life as a child is not documented as the older children’s are. For you, this is certainly not true. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t snap a photo of you. I’m not sure whether to blame it on my increased love of photography or the fact that my iphone’s camera makes it so easy to pick up and snap those everyday moments, but I do know I treasure each and every photo.

Where I do feel I have failed you, my third (and last) child, is documenting your life in words. While I will never truly consider myself a writer, the most precious words I have ever written are those documenting the lives of my children. Sadly, I find it difficult to find the time to sit down and type the words out that I want to say so often. As you pass each new milestone, I try to reach back into my memory to compare you to when your brother and sister passed the same milestones and my memory fails me. To find my memories, I go back to the words I have written, and only then do I remember the details that are growing fuzzy. This is why I am so sad that I have not recorded the same memories for you.


You are seven months old, quickly coming up on eight, and you are the happiest baby I have ever had the opportunity to know. You flash your beautiful smile around to everyone you meet and almost always receive a smile in return. It is so rare to see you unhappy, that when you cry I know something must really be wrong. The last couple of weeks have been a little rough as you have been working on cutting some teeth, and then got a nasty cold on top of that. The last couple of days have seen great improvement though, and your joyful personality has been shining back through.

Developmentally, you are right on track. I have to watch your hands as you will grab anything within your reach. You can sit up on your own now, which makes it much easier to play with all of the toys we still have around from when Zach and Evie were babies. You have the fastest army crawl I think I’ve ever seen and are on the verge of full-on crawling (as soon as you figure out how to not tip forward). I keep thinking you are going to take off on your knees any day, but you are taking your time. That’s okay though, you move fast enough as it is. I already have to remind myself that I can’t leave you sleeping on the bed when I take my showers anymore. I may have to invest in a pack ‘n’ play for every room of the house to keep you contained.


You have started saying a few sounds that resemble words. The first clear repetitive sound was “da-da” (even though I’ll try to keep denying it). I’ve caught a “mama” a few times, and potentially an “ee-ee” here and there. Other sounds are still pretty random, but I have no doubt that you’ll be spouting off all kinds of stuff soon.

You have cut four teeth now, two on bottom and two on top. I’m glad they are coming in because you LOVE to eat. You seem to be quite bored with the mushy baby food though and would really like to eat what the rest of the family is eating most of the time. You love to feed yourself, so I’ve been trying to find soft veggies and fruits that you can pick up on your own. In the last week or so you’ve started fighting for the spoon too, but I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that mess yet!


The one thing you are doing slower than your siblings is using a sippy cup. It isn’t that you can’t or don’t want to use the cup, its that you don’t seem to keep down any liquid other than milk so I’m not sure what to put in the cup. You are still breastfeeding like a champ, but I can barely seem to pump enough milk for your bottles at day care so there isn’t any extra to try in the cup. I’m hoping this issue resolves itself as your reflux lessens, but for now, water and/or juice are not really an option.

I think your absolute favorite time of day is bath time. You seem to know what is coming when I undress you and as soon as I start walking toward the bathroom you start squealing and laughing. Your brother and sister fight nearly every night over who gets to take a bath with you. I think they secretly just enjoy getting to have you all to themselves for a few minutes. You love to splash in the water and play with the bath toys. I think you also love the slippery surface. You flip yourself back and forth from back to tummy, no matter how many times I try to keep you from doing it. You have no fear of the water and love to put your head and/or hands under the stream when the tub is filling.


As infectious as your smiles are, your laughter is even more so. You seem to have a great sense of humor already, and laugh often at the silliest things. You tease your daddy and giggle as you sit in his lap. Your brother and sister can crack you up in an instant. You absolutely love all of our animals and laugh as you put them through your very own brand of torture. (Fortunately, they don’t seem to mind losing clumps of fur too much.) My favorite though, is when I get you right on your best tickle spot – just under your neck, along the collar bone. It was a little tickle there that resulted in your first belly laugh, and I’ll never forget it.

My sweet baby, you are so surrounded by love. Your brother and sister absolutely adore you. Your cousins just cannot get enough of you. Your grandparents, aunts, and uncles love you so much. You have so many extended family members thinking of you, praying for you, and loving you from afar. As for your dad and I? Words can not possibly describe how much love we have for you. My hope is that you always feel that love as you grow and depend on it when things get hard and you need an extra little push in life.


These letters to you may be few and far between. I may not be able to keep up with every milestone or every birthday. Even if I never write another one, I wanted to at least get this down, to remember this time in our fast-paced lives. I hope that somehow, somewhere, this letter survives and that you have the chance to read it someday. When you do read it, I want you to know what an unexpected blessing you are in our lives. I can’t imagine a world without you in it.

Love always,




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Two Months

Now that I finally got the birth story written out, I can go on and whine about how my sweet little baby is already two months old. Time is cruel. It just keeps speeding up faster and faster. I really don’t know how two entire months could have passed by so quickly. But, here we are.


We had a few very frustrating days with Caleb this week because he suddenly decided he didn’t want to sleep during the day. He was fine until late afternoon/evening, then he turned into Mr. Crankypants for several hours until he finally would give in and sleep.


The good news is that he finally seems to be breaking through this little phase. The better news, is that he has slept for a six hour stretch the last two nights without waking up. You won’t see me complaining about that!


Caleb is also figuring out how to move his hands and feet and is starting to grab at things in front of him. He has a special interest in Mommy’s hair and necklace, but will grab at his toys on his car seat or play mat as well.


We have found that he’s very ticklish, and a tickle on his belly or toes will more often than not earn you a big smile. There is nothing better than a baby smile to turn a bad day around for me.


At two months old, this little guy has us all wrapped around his little finger.

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Caleb’s Birth Story – Part 1

I woke up Sunday morning ready for a lazy day. I had convinced Evie to stay home with me while the boys went to church because the doctor had put me on bed rest for the weekend. I promised her a movie and some snuggle time, so we settled into Daddy’s big recliner with our blankets. “Annie” was her movie choice for the day, as it often is when it is just the two of us.

Soon after we started the movie, I realized that I was having some pretty regular contractions. They had been off and on through most of the weekend so I wasn’t surprised, but they were getting a little closer together. I decided maybe I should start keeping track and started timing. 10 minutes apart. I debated whether to call Hubby and have him come home from church, but I decided to wait a little longer and see what happened. Instead I texted my mom so she would be prepared in case I needed her to come quickly. Evie and I snuggled through the rest of the movie while I continued timing.

The contractions were fluctuating just a little, but on average continued to be about 10 minutes apart. When our movie was done, I decided I better go take a shower – just in case. I was getting a little nervous and was pretty sure that we would be meeting the newest member of our family by the end of the day.

Evie and I had a light lunch and then headed back the the chair for more cuddle time. Shortly after that, Hubby and Zach returned from church. I was very happy that they were home. Evie ran off to play with her brother. I stretched out on the love seat and was able to get in a much needed nap.

When I woke up I was a little frustrated because it seemed like my contractions had really slowed back down. It wasn’t long before they were back though, and even stronger than before. I talked to my mom and decided that she should go ahead and come over to the house since she was designated to watch the big kids when it was time to go. She was waiting for my brother to pick his kids up from her house and then she would head over.

I started trying to gather my last minute things, double checking my bag, and making sure the kids had something to entertain them while they waited at the hospital. I had Hubby make the kids some dinner while I tried to finish packing. The contractions were coming much closer together and were so much more intense that I had to sit each time one started.

My mom finally arrived and I decided it was time to page the doctor. I talked to the kids and told them what was happening and that Grandma would be bringing them to the hospital to meet their baby brother in a little bit.

We waited for what seemed like forever for the doctor to call back. The contractions were getting closer and closer together. When they were under five minutes apart, I decided we were just going to go to the hospital anyway. I wasn’t going to wait any longer for the doctor to call. I gave the kids hugs and kisses and Hubby and I headed out the door.

When we arrived at the hospital, just before 8:00 pm, my contractions were only about two minutes apart.


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