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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!

two

Dream big

mday

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!

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.

Namaste.

Breathe.

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.

JIIILLL

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!

23 books

Story time at the end of preschool

23 lunch

Lunch time. Zekey wanted to eat below.

23 lunch charlie boss

The boys and their lunch

23 sandwhich

Preschool lunch style.

23 Sun

Painting suns.

23 Boss

Boston’s O’Keeffe

23 Charlie

Charlie’s O’Keeffe

23 isaac

Isaac’s O’Keeffe

23 painting

Boston art.

23 paint

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

23 Boston

Boston’s O’Keeffe

23 Zeke

Isaac’s O’Keeffe

23 Char

Charlie’s O’Keeffe

23 boys

Such a happy activity

23 flowers

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.

February 19th: Shoe tying

22 kristoff

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

22 salt trays

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.

22 laces

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

22 shoe tying

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”.

22 reading

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.

22 clean books

Clean up

22 clean up

Clean up

22 preschool

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.  🙂

January 29th: Acting out Poems

21 writing

Today we combined zoo phonics and writing time

21 sorting

For math we had a race to fill up our tupperwares. Roll the dice and add that many legos to your tupperware. Once the first person filled their tupperware we stopped and counted who had the most.

21 tall tall tower

After the cup race we spent some time building tall tall towers

21 tall tower

The boys kept saying, “We’re using team work!”

21 block towers

When they couldn’t make their tower any taller, they decided to lay it flat and see how long they could make it.

21 zeke

Isaac coloring and reading Bob Books to himself. 🙂

21 dance

Doing the “Dosey Do” (spelling?) for our reading game

21 book

When I nannied I made up a game with my girls where I would read a book and as I read they had to act out the story. My Mom bought me this book of poems so I read nursery poems to the boys and they acted them out. They acted out dogs, musicians and they even learned a fun dance for, Farmer and the Dell.

21 bubbles

Charlie brought over bubbles so the boys went outside to play while I nursed the babies.

21 Kristoff

Dressing Kristoff

21 puzzle

I bought a fun letter puzzle for the boys. Each piece is a letter in a small word and the boys would put the puzzles together and sound out the word.

21 cars

I bought road tape and we built roads to race our cars on. We laid down states from the map puzzle for the boys to drive to. We tried to make them somewhat geographically correct. If you wanted to head to California through Washington, you would drive past Oregon first. 🙂

21 preschool

Popcorn and reading time

January 5th 2015

The girls and I made it to 36 weeks, a feat we never expected.  Dane and I took our final drive to Spokane and met with our Dr. for the last time.  Everything looked great and the girls were healthy so we had the green light to get these babies here.  It felt so good leaving the office that day with no follow-up appointments.  From that moment on I was off bed rest and all restrictions.  I felt (and looked) like I was about 42 weeks pregnant so I was more than ready go into labor.

On Saturday night my friends picked me up, handed me a Tupperware full of pineapple and walked the mall with me.  I bought the girls a couple premie outfits and walked as far as my legs would let me. On Sunday we awoke to the first snow fall of the year, which in the world of Lorelei Gilmore is a sign of good things to come.  I went to church for the first time in weeks and that night, me, Dane and my Mom sat on the couch to watch our favorite show of the moment, Prison break.  I started feeling contractions around 10 pm but I didn’t want to jinx things, so I kept quiet.  After an hour and a half of consistent contractions we started loading up the car and texting friends and family that would be helping with kids etc…

We were really excited and Dane, me and my Mom all headed to the hospital. I was 4 cm dilated when we arrived.  We were admitted to our room, met the on call Dr. and got our last ultra sound.  It was at this moment we learned we’d be having a C-section.  Remi (our smaller baby) was the furthest down, which meant she would come out first, putting Rowan at a serious risk of getting stuck/choking since she was 1.5 lbs bigger.  A C-section was our only option and I was pretty devastated.  From that moment on things progressed at rapid speed.  I continued to dilate and my contractions were getting stronger.  Bekie arrived to be a support and Dane and I got prepped for surgery.  We were both terrified, but remained calm.  The nurse made me say goodbye to my Mom, Bekie and Dane and this was the first moment I realized Dane couldn’t be with me while I got my spinal.  😦  I was scared, but the anesthesiologist told me all I need is about 10 minutes of holding it together, then the babies would be here and he could give me any kind of anxiety medication I wanted.  🙂  So the nurse and I walked to the OR and she chatted with me about my kids while I got my spinal. I was terrified of the Spinal, but it didn’t even hurt and it was in before I knew it.   Once I was prepped they let Dane come in.

We couldn’t believe our babies would be here within minutes!  Dane and I chatted to distract ourselves from the surgery. The Dr. asked if I wanted my tubes tied and after an emphatic “NO!” I continued to check throughout the surgery that she still had no plans of tying my tubes.  🙂  The surgery wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and within just a few minutes we heard our first baby girl cry.  Dane and I started crying and laughing and couldn’t believe we had one healthy baby girl.  Dane got to hold her first and I kissed her little head.  A minute later our 2nd baby girl arrived and within seconds we heard her cry too.  Dane held her and I kissed her head and we laughed and cried some more.  After so many months of protecting, growing and praying for these girls I was overwhelmed with joy at their arrival.  We laughed as we heard the echos of not 1 but 2 babies cry in the OR room.  Dane said,

Ok.  It’s finally hit me.  We have twins.

While I was being stitched up, the girls were taken to the nursery.  Dane was feeling faint so the Dr had him lay on the floor.  And when I was all stitched up they wheeled both Dane and I back to our room.  haha.  We got in the room and waited patiently for our girls to get back.  The anesthesiologist was going to give me some medicine to relax me and help me sleep, but I didn’t want that.  I just wanted to see my babies.  Bekie and my Mom got to be with the babies in the nursery and hold and cuddle them for about 45 minutes.  Bekie sent us pictures of my babies from down the hall and I kept begging my nurse to bring them to me.  They finally brought the babies to me and I cuddled them right up.  I began tandem nursing right away and the girls both latched on really well.  I was nauseous from the anesthesia so I threw up every few minutes, then went back to nursing and celebrating with Bekie, Dane and my Mom.  We were all on a baby high and so excited about these two beautiful girls.  Many of my friends and Dane’s family were texting away, dying to hear every detail about the girls despite the fact that it was 3 in the morning.

Dane went home to the boys that night and my Mom stayed with me.  The next few days were a hazy blur of no sleep, drugs round the clock and visitors.  The boys were thrilled to meet and hold their baby sisters for the first time.  After 3 exhausting days in the hospital we were sent home and life as we now know it began.

I had a rough transition dealing with the C-section recovery and wild hormones, but our baby girls were the most peaceful happy babies.   The girls are a little over a month old now and life is good.  I wake up every day feeling so blessed, barely remembering life before they were here.

twin

snuggling mom for the first time

prego

1 week before the twins arrived