Perfectionism in a 5 year old.

Preschool took an interesting left turn today and it made me feel grateful that my sons home with me so that I can pick up on certain teachable moments.

We were practicing writing our numbers on the window with window markers.  The boys love this and were having a great time, but at one point the perfectionist bug hit Boston and he became obsessed with his number 2 not looking perfect.  He normally is so proud of his writing, but today he couldn’t let it go.  I don’t correct their writing usually at all, just give them guidance when they ask so I started giving Boston some tips to make it look more how he wanted, but he wasn’t satisfied.  He broke down in sobs and could not handle it.  I gave him a worksheet to trace his 2, hoping that if he got out one 2 he was satisfied with, it would turn his mood around.  But nothing was working.  He just sobbed harder.  So we stopped and I told him he wasn’t having a problem with his twos, he was having a problem with perfectionism.  We talked about this being a good moment to step away and go do something fun, go play and come back to it later, but he still wasn’t feeling better.

At this point I changed up our plan completely.  We stopped playing, I gathered the boys and I told them we were going to play a new game.  I told them that sometimes our brain tells us lies, and the only way to stop our brain from telling us lies is to talk back and tell it the truth.  So I was their brain and I would tell each of the boys lies about themselves (it felt really mean!)

I’m your brain and you’re not cool Charlie.

Yes I AM cool!

I’m your brain and your not a good boy Isaac.

I AM a good boy!!!

I’m your brain and you are NOT good at writing twos Boston.

I AM good at writing twos!!!

As each boy shouted his truth back at me I shrunk a little until eventually I was lying flat on the floor.  (The boys were laughing really hard).  Then we played the game again and this time the brain would say things like,

You’re actually kinda cool Charlie.  Your two doesn’t look that bad Boston.  You are pretty nice Isaac.

And as the boys kept shouting their truths eventually their brains (me) started speaking truth back to them.

You’re awesome Charlie!!  Your twos are AMAZING Boston.  You are SUCH a good boy Isaac.

I told the boys that this is called self talk and the only way to get our brains to tell us the truth is to talk back whenever it’s telling us lies, but if we do this enough eventually our brain will just know the truth and we won’t have to talk back to it.  We also talked about who wants us to feel sad and bad about ourselves and who wants us to feel good.  And finally we discussed that the Holy Ghost will help us know when our brain is telling us lies and what our truth is by the feelings we get.

This self talk concept isn’t something I learned about until my 20’s and I’m still working on mastering it, so I figure these kids have a leg up on me anyway! Boston was also really tired from being up late last night and it reminded me how hard I can be on myself when I’m not on enough sleep.  It was a good reminder to be kind to myself!

I had art projects and number games planned for today, but they’ll just have to wait.  Right now the boys are eating lunch, watching Leap Frog, I have a moment to write this down and everyone is happy.  I think this is just what we needed!


Dream big


When my sister was a little girl her teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up.  My sister responded without hesitation,

I want to be a Mom

Her teacher didn’t like that answer and told my Mom that my sister wasn’t dreaming big enough.  She didn’t know my sister very well.  We’re a family of dreamers.  I mean, I. Dream. BIG.  Just like my sister. I’ve always felt my possibilities are limitless.  As a Child one of my first dreams was to be Queen of Ireland.  Over the years my dreams have changed a thousand times.  A writer, photographer, lawyer, interior designer, teacher, singer, architect, magician, herbalist, counselor and the list goes on.  I had six different majors in college.  I had dreams of traveling the world and living in big cities like New York.

I still dream about many of these things and know that one day I will take the time to make them happen.  I know what it means to dream big.  In fact I don’t think I know how to dream small, but the only dream of mine that has stood the test of time and never changed no matter my interests or age, was that of being a Mom.  It’s been THE ultimate dream for me.  It’s something I knew my life would feel incomplete without.  It’s one of the very few things I am certain I was born to do.

I’m not sure how I knew that fulfilling this dream would bring my life more purpose and joy than anything else I could imagine up, but I knew.  Maybe it was all the good women I was surrounded by.  My friend’s Mothers treated me like their own and kept me safe when I was in their care.  As I’ve grown up these Moms have become my friends and are women that I can turn to for advice as we now share this common experience.  My sisters were like second mothers to me.  They helped raise me.  My sisters all have their own children and they and my sister in law have had the largest impact, outside of my own Mom, on my parenting style.  Almost everything I’ve learned, I learned from them.

For the last decade I’ve taken notes on Jen’s passion, Jodi’s confidence in herself and her kids, Kaz’s dedication to education and the Gospel, Lisa’s compassion and kindness, and so much more.  I’ve married into a wonderful family full of women that I’m lucky enough to parent along side of.  My husband’s mother raised 2 girls and 4 wild boys.  I constantly remind myself that they all made it out alive….the odds are in my favor. :)  I’ve looked up to my Grandmothers and Aunts with great admiration.  Every time my oldest sister’s children have a birthday, I honor their birth mothers with a heart full of immense gratitude.

Many of my dearest friends are mothers, and together we’re trying to figure this whole thing out.  We’re there for each other.  I learn from their examples, their dedication, their love.  My job is made easier by them holding my babies when we’re out, chasing one of my run aways at the park, grabbing me milk when they’re heading to Wal-Mart.  They love my children and I love theirs and that has made all the difference in these early years of motherhood.

And of course my own Mother has shaped my parenting experience more than any other woman. She created magic in my childhood, read me books every day, cooked for our big family every night, wrote me letters, played games with me,  and was always always always a listening ear.  Even when she didn’t want to hear, she listened.  She didn’t judge. Just loved.  Every time I embark on a new journey in motherhood with another child, my Mom is right there, easing me in, showing me love, and comforting me when I’m scared.  She loves her grandchildren with an unmatched passion and even though I’m all grown, her parenting hasn’t stopped.  She’s there for me and my kids and we love her so much for it.

All my life I’ve been surrounded by Mothers.  Some of the strongest women I know.  This doesn’t have to be every woman’s dream and she’s certainly not less than, if her dreams look different than mine.

However, on behalf of sister, myself and all the other women that share this dream I would probably tell her teacher this,

I once dreamed of being a Queen, until I reached just a little higher, and aimed instead to be a Mom.

To those living the dream, to those sacrificing other dreams to be a Mom, to those wishing and hoping,to those supporting, to those doing it all!  Here’s to you!

Story telling

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guessing which flags belong to which states

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Building the USA

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we used stamps and colored pencils to draw pictures and tell a story with our picture

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Boston telling his story

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Zekey taking his turn

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Charlie’s turn

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Being the teacher and teaching us the names of our artists and composers

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I’ve had the kids start teaching our morning routine cause they know it so well. Boston’s teaching us our letters

Five minutes



I wake up,  I feel tired.  Desperately tired.  I would give anything for five more minutes… Times run out.  There are no more “five minutes” left.  Instead of denying the rising sun I embrace it.  Instead of hiding from my children under a cover of blankets and pillows I look them in the eyes.  I take in their little faces.

 I let love wash over me.  It’s enough.  I can take on the day, and I take off running.

Nurse Remi, gather clothes, throw a load in the wash, brush teeth, get clothes on the boys, watch Isaac go potty, Cheer for him.  Nurse Rowan, wash my face, put clothes on Isaac again ( by now he’s taken them off) . Feed the kids,  Load them into the car, rush to get the kids dropped off at the gym.  Slide into class, try to go unnoticed, I’m late.



Let gratitude wash over me.  I’m ready.  The race home begins.

Do everything I can before the first baby cries.  Unload dishes, load dishes, make lunch for boys, eat a bite, baby cries.  She needs me.  Sister cries.  She needs me too.  Isaac cries. He needs me because they need me.  I nurse Remi, while I rock Rowan with my foot and cuddle Isaac to my side.  He’s reluctantly exchanged laps for side hugs and hips for hand holds.

Panning the room my heart swells.  I feel grateful that I’m forced, every 3 hours, to sit, relax and just feed my babies, one at a time.  They are my motivation, they fill so much of my cup.  I can keep going.

More diaper changes, games played, floors cleaned, tears dried, meals made, the end of the day is near.  I can’t wait.  For just a few hours between the boys falling asleep and the girls waking up I get to be just me.  Dane and I get to be us.

I let freedom wash over me.

We watch.  We talk.  We love.  We talk some more.  I’m rejuvenated.  He is what I look forward to. We read.  We pray.  I feel peace.  I’m strengthened.  Before I drift off to sleep I think of them.  I smile.  Many hours later I awake with the girls.  Just the three of us.

 I let their littleness wash over me.  I soak in the quiet of the night and our time alone.

Tomorrow the sun will rise… much too soon and I will spend the first 15 minutes of the day fighting my body, fighting the noise, fighting the light.  But my five minutes will soon be up and when they are I’ll stop fighting and soak in the beginning.  The beginning of another day.  Another day  I don’t deserve, but am blessed to have.

Here we go.


Georgia O’Keeffe day

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, we highlighted one of our favorite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe.  She’s known for her larger than life flowers so it seemed fitting that we ring in Spring by painting like Georgia.  She also painted skulls and animal bones that she found in the New Mexico desert.  Pretty cool lady!  We went over our zoo phonics during lunch and ended the day in story time.  Painting was the perfect way to celebrate Spring!

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Story time at the end of preschool

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Lunch time. Zekey wanted to eat below.

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The boys and their lunch

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Preschool lunch style.

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Painting suns.

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Boston’s O’Keeffe

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Charlie’s O’Keeffe

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Isaac’s O’Keeffe

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Boston art.

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We played a guessing game to see what color, two colors blended, would make.

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Boston’s O’Keeffe

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Isaac’s O’Keeffe

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Charlie’s O’Keeffe

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Such a happy activity

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I bought a 3 pack of canvas from Walmart for $4 and drew Georgia’s “Leaves of a Plant” on the canvas, in a sharpie marker.

St. Patrick’s day 2015

Charlie’s Mom had the idea of a leprechaun hunt today.  So I wrote some clues and she printed them up in tiny tiny print.  So tiny, we had to read them with a magnifying glass.  ;)  This made for a wild day of preschool.  We had a Leprechaun visit early this morning.  We tried to catch him but he was too quick.  He left us a note saying he’d return later that day.  When he did return we called over our preschool buddies to help us find him!

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“Top o the morning Lads what a nice little trap but I can’t be caught just as easy as that A little treat for your efforts now I really must run but keep your eyes open I’ll be back for more fun”

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The trap made with the help of Dad

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Lucky left us these in our trap

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“I’m Lucky the Leprechaun a very fast little man. Let’s play a game called catch me if you can. I’ll leave you some clues I’m not far ahead You’ll find your first clue on top of a bed” The 1st clue said, “I rested a minute after writing this clue but before I could run I had to go poo”.

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Like all Leprechauns I like things that are green. You just might find me by the washing machine (lucky for us we actually own a green dryer)

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I feel a bit hungry, I’ll look for a treat Bet you can’t catch me, I’m quick on my feet!

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I’m nice and full now but I’ve sure made a mess I’ll take a quick bath to clean up and rest

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“You guys are quick you know just where to look. Try to catch me before I finish my book.” Inside the book they found this clue, “Well I’m getting bored, this is taking all day Come find me outside in the house where you play

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Leprechaun treasure in the play house

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The loot

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Leprechaun slimey tracks

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Leprechaun tracks

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Tracks down the monkey bars

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and over the fence where he made his escape

Before we started the hunt we did a little chant.  “Hey, ho, a leprechaun hunting we go!”   I told the kids,

I’m 30 years old and for 30 years i’ve been hunting leprechauns but  have never found one!

Imaginations stirred and our adventure began.

February 19th: Shoe tying

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The boys decided to dress Kristoff as silly as possible today.

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I’ve been combining Zoo phonics with writing a bit more lately so that the boys are connecting writing and reading. The boys looked at a zoo phonics letter then said it’s phrase and wrote the letter in the salt tray. The salt trays are always a hit.

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I decided to introduce the boys into shoe tying. It’s more of a kindergarten skill but I thought it would be good to start familiarizing them with some of the things they’ll be learning in Kinder. The boys are “building their teepee” right now

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Paperplate shoe tied! I found a cute shoe tying poem on pinterest, it goes like this, “Build a teepee, come inside. Pull it tight so we can hide. Over the mountain, around you go here’s my arrow here’s my bow”.

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Story and popcorn time. We read for a half hour. It’s the boys favorite time. We also talked about our favorite books we’ve read in preschool. Charlie asked if we could get them again…so I’ll have to find them at the library.

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Clean up

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Clean up

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Hiding from Charlie’s mom for pick up.

We’ve had a couple sick days this month, so it was good to be back to preschool.  :)