Showing posts with label Toddlers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toddlers. Show all posts

Combed Hair And Dirty Feet - Clyde At Four




My Sweet Clyde,

Goodness, it wasn't that long ago when I was writing letters to "my sweet baby Clyde", but you are hardly a baby anymore!  How did that happen?

This last week, you turned four years old.  At three years old I think you still fall into the "toddler" category, but over the last month or so I've been realizing that you've left that stage behind and are solidly in the preschool stage now.  Your drawings are becoming gradually more careful, you will often make comments that make me realize that you actually were listening to the book we were reading after all, and you reject all mentions of being my "baby".  I tell you that you will always be my baby boy - even when you are a grownup.  And you laugh, and your little eyes sparkle when I say that.

One of the cutest things about you right now is how you are developing your own sense of style.  You like your hair to be fixed with gel; you love to wear sunglasses so you can look "cool".  You even picked out some sunglasses for me for Christmas that look a lot like yours, because you wanted me to look "cool" too!  I bought you a comb at the grocery store a couple months ago, and you treated it like a prized possession (until it was lost a week or two later in the black hole of your sock drawer).



Despite acting so grown up when it comes to grooming and style, when I think of you at this age, I think of a little boy running around with his hair perfectly combed, chocolate on his mouth, and dirt on his pants.  You are all boy, and will spend hours outside with your siblings, sitting in the dirt, making mud pies, gathering pinecones, and riding your little red trike (that you are almost too big for).  You are so often on the go, but you will drop everything for a chance to cuddle with my on the couch.  I remember being pregnant with you and praying for a cuddly baby, and the Lord sure answered my prayer.  I still treasure our snuggle times, and I will for as long as I can fit you on my lap.

The other thing I always want to remember about you at four years old is your sweet little voice.  It was recently brought to my attention that tongue ties can run in the family, and one of the side effects of having a tongue tie can be a lisp.  I immediately thought of you.  I know I should get you checked, because I want you to be able to speak clearly as you grow...but I have to admit, there is a part of me that rejects the idea of doing anything that will change your sweet little voice.  You have the cutest hint of a lisp, and I love it so much.  I know this may change soon, may have to change soon, but right now, when I think of you, I think of your precious little boy voice telling me "Mom, you're the bethtetht mom ever!"  You tell me that almost every day, and I love hearing it from you so much.  If I could freeze time at any point, I might choose right now.  Then I could keep with me forever the little boy with the sticky fingers, dirty feet, sunglasses, combed hair, and adorable lisp.  

But instead, I get to watch you grow - though it's bittersweet, that's even better.  

I am thankful every day that God made you mine, Clyde.  I love you so much.  Happy 4th Birthday!

Love Always,

Mama


Large Family Q&A - 5 Kids Under 7



People are curious about large families.  Curious enough to ask awkward questions of strangers (I speak from experience).  I don't blame them - I am even curious about families that are bigger than mine!

With five kids, I suppose we officially fall into the "large family" category, so I had a little fun with it recently and did a video with some common questions people seem to have about big families.  Now you don't have to ask me awkward questions, because I answered them for you here!  Watch the video (or scroll down for the short answers!).





1. How many children do you have? 
Five!


2. What are their ages? 

7, 5, 3, 2, 4 months.


3. What is your family structure? 
They're all our biological children.


4. How old were you when you had your first baby? 

Twenty-two, and I'd recommend young motherhood when possible. I got all five of my babies in before I turned 30!


5. Were they all planned by you and your spouse, or do you leave it up to God? 

We had to try a bit for the first two, and the last three were surprises (sort-of).


6. What is your favorite reaction to telling someone how many children you have? 
My favorite reaction is when someone tells me how blessed I am, because that's how I feel!


7. How do you usually handle negative comments? 
Um...I don't really notice negative reactions most of the time. One of the benefits of being non-observant. Still looking for a good one-liner for the (thankfully very few) times we get a negative comment.


8. What does it cost to feed your large family? 

Well, our monthly grocery budget is currently $650, but most of the kids are pretty little and don't eat terribly much. It'll probably go up in the next few years.


9. Do you plan to have more children?  
I believe we're done, but hey, I'll never say never! Derek and I have talked about leaving adoption open as a possibility if the Lord calls us that way.


10. What is your family vehicle? 

Minivan, baby!


11. Do you ever eat out?  
Not very often, and if we do, it's usually fast food.


12. How much milk do you go through in a week? 
Two gallons? We probably could go through more, but we drink water more often than milk.


13. How many rolls of toilet paper do you go through each day? 
I don't even know!


14. What is your favorite go to meal? 
Burritos or some sort of noodles.


15. How do you spend one on one time with each of your children? 
I usually take one of them with me for the beginning-of-the-month grocery shopping trip, though we still need to get back into that since Georgie has been born. Homeschooling is also giving me some one-on-one time with the older kids while we do their work, and I totally count that. We bond over math.


16. How do you manage the clutter? 
We do pick-up times at designated times of the day, but let's just say I've become a lot more laid back about messes.


17. Do you homeschool, private school or public school? 
Homeschool!


18. How do you manage the chaos? 
By getting used to it?


19. What do you do IF you get free time? 
Blogging, dabbling in doing these videos, and reading.


20. What is your #1 tip for other large family moms?  

I don't know! I don't think I'm far enough in to give advice. Someone give me some tips!



If you have a large family, feel free to grab the questions and let me know where you answered so I can check it out!


How I'll (Hopefully) Help My Toddler Adjust To The New Baby



I think it's natural to moms of more than one child to worry about how their older child will handle the new addition.  I am really blessed in the so far, my kids have ha a fairly easy transition!

However, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I'm still worried about how Clarice will handle this new baby.  I've been worried each time, so this is nothing unusual, but I'm particularly concerned for my youngest darling this time because she seems to be currently thriving in her role as the youngest.  She thinks my lap is her spot, and gets upset if even one of the older kids sits in my lap.  She likes to be carried as often as she can get away with it.  She is a ham and loves being the center of attention.

(Affiliate link below.)

These are my strategies for making the transition on Clarice as easy as it can be, but I'd love to hear more ideas if anyone has some!


1.  Talk to her about the baby as much as possible.
This is always easier when my belly gets bigger, but I will point to my stomach and say "Baby in there!"  It was surprising with my other kids how much this helped it sink in.

2. Read books about new babies.
Tommy Nelson just came out with a book called God Bless Our Baby and as soon as I saw it, I snagged it!  It's super-cute, and details all the fun and sweet things that come with a having a new baby - like making them laugh, helping with bathtime, and having a new friend.  It also has pages that talk about things like mama's growing belly, feeling kicks, and staying quiet while baby sleeps to help little kids know what to expect. I also LOVE that they have one page that includes adopted families.  I think this will be a fun book to get my younger kids excited about having a new baby around!



3. Work on being "gentle".
Lots of practice with baby dolls, stuffed animals, and people, and excessive praise when she succeeds.

4. Put the baby down sometimes for lots of snuggles after baby arrives.
I always try to be aware that  all my older kiddos need some extra attention and love after the new baby comes home, especially the child that was just ousted from the youngest position.  I will get as much snuggles in with my new munchkin as I can, but I also want to make sure to intentionally put the baby down so I can hold or play with my other kids.  They need to know they are still just as important to me, even though babies take more time in the beginning.



5. Ask the big kids for help.
My kids feel so useful and proud of themselves when they are able to help me - and a little praise goes a long way in making them feel loved and needed!  For Clarice, I'll ask her to bring me a diaper or wipes so that she can feel a part of taking care of the new baby.


What am I missing?  Were any of you worried about one of your kiddos with a new baby on the way?  How did it play out?


Note: I received a copy of "God Bless Our Baby" from the Tommy Mommy program in exchange for the review in this post.  This is my honest opinion!  Also don't miss my giveaway of this book on Instagram!  Double entries if you enter on both my accounts! @CallieNicole7 and @ThroughCloudedGlass



Life With Four



Ever since Clarice was born, I've been wanting to do a day in the life post.  So many people have asked me what life is like with four kids - and I guess this is the chance to find out!  It's honestly not too different than three, except with one extra kid to dress and feed each day.  I love being a mama to four!

I recorded this day a few weeks ago, before we started school again after Christmas break.  I'll try to record a school day soon to give you an idea of how we manage that, but this day is probably more representative of most of the days during Clarice's first year of life.  Enjoy!

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2:30 AM - I stumble out of bed to grab Clarice, who has been alternating crying and talking to herself for two hours. I think cuddling her for a bit will settle her down.  It doesn't.  I put her back in her crib and try to sleep over her chattering (she rarely wakes up in the night anymore, but this time she did).

7:05 AM - I am awakened by a crash and rolling sound from upstairs.  I spring out of bed and find Gwen with a coloring book and markers, sneaking back to her room.  I confiscate the markers, tell her she can play in her room, and see if I can sleep a little longer.

7:25 AM - Gwen comes in my room to inform me that Clyde broke the light in his room.  What? I head upstairs and find that the overhead light cover is on the floor, cracked into pieces.  Thankfully it's only plastic.  I throw the pieces away, tell the kids to read quietly in their room for a few minutes until I come back upstairs.  I read my Bible quickly, because I can already tell this is a day I should really start by reading my Bible if possible.  I read quickly because I hear a squabble and crying form upstairs. 

7:35 AM - Clyde comes downstairs crying to say he's sorry.  I'm not sure what for.  The light?  I tell him I'll be upstairs in a minute.

7:40 AM - Go to the bathroom to brush my teeth.  Clyde comes down again to say sorry. I tell him it's okay and send him back upstairs.

7:45 AM - I wash my face. I hear another squabble about who gets the cool Hot Wheels car.  I ask the boys to please just read in their rooms for a minute.

7:51 AM - I hear crying and "I'm in trouble!" from upstairs.  I give up on trying to get ready for the day and head upstairs to prepare breakfast and reassure Clyde that he is not in trouble (it was an accident!).

7:54 AM - Instant apple cinnamon oatmeal made.  The kids pray in unison before they eat their breakfast (which makes me smile because it's so cute).  Gwen tells me about the good dream she had last night while she eats.  I empty the dishwasher.



8:03 AM - Get Clarice upstairs and settled with her breakfast.  I grab Clyde's clean sheets and go in to make his bed.  I usually have the big kids make their own beds, but I still straighten out their covers a little to help the process.  Nevermind, I decide to take Gwen's bedspread off for an overdue wash.

8:09 AM - I tell the kids to get dressed and make their beds when they are done eating breakfast.  Throw the bedspread in the laundry room on my way to fix my makeup.  I make the bed before heading back upstairs.



8:47 AM - We are in the middle of potty training, and Clyde is doing great!  Success, except for a potty chair spill on the way to the bathroom (just like on that commercial).  I get out the mop.



8:48 AM - The kids' rooms are still a mess.  I'm frustrated.  I get them started on fixing their beds and rooms again.

8:50 AM - I get some coffee brewing and sit down to write a quick book review.  Clyde climbs onto the bench next to me and says "You look pretty, Mommy".  I kiss his sweet little cheek! I'm interrupted three other times, but not so pleasantly.  Crying and squabbling abound.  I'm getting irritable and impatient, and I really don't want to spend the whole day breaking up disputes and telling the kids what to do.  I think that's where we are headed, but I want it to be a good day.

9:17 AM - I get the review published, and help Clyde and Clarice get dressed for the day.  I put away the kids' laundry that Derek and I folded last night.  Wyatt is mopping the floor again.  I change Clarice's diaper, and she says "diaper" as clearly as I've ever heard a baby say it.

9:31 AM - I decide that I think we all have cabin fever, and tell the kids to get in the car.  The big kids head downstairs and I tell them to buckle themselves in. I make the kids some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while Clarice cries at my feet because I'm not hiding and/or feeding her.

9:48 AM - Sandwiches are finished.  I gather up the lunch bag, coats, a bag full of spare clothes for Clyde, and Clarice in my arms.  I stuff my feet in my shoes on the way to downstairs.  I go outside to find the car with all the windows rolled down in the dead of winter.  Certain children may have gotten in trouble for not being in their seats.

9:50 AM - Run back inside for socks and wipes.  Reheat the coffee that I totally forgot to drink while writing my book review earlier.  I turn it into holly jolly coffee and add whipped cream, but I've added too much, and it spills down the side of my to-go cup when I squish the lid on.

9:58 AM - We are ready!  Almost.  The kids brought some extra toys that I didn't catch earlier, and I run them back inside.  Cue the crying.

9:59 AM - Back in the car.  I buckle in, start my talk radio, and paint the nails on my right hand (I did my left hand nails the night before).  Driving is the only time that I can be sure I won't mess up my half-dried nails.  I realize I forgot to eat breakfast and grab one of the pop tarts I keep in the console.  The kids are upset that I don't have one for them until I remind them that they already had breakfast.

10:01 AM - We're off!

(Photo not taken while the car was actually moving.)

10:19 AM - A child who shall remain nameless confesses to getting a midnight snack out of the kitchen. Wyatt chimes in and says that when he grows up he'll have lots of money and let his kids eat lots of food.  I briefly feel like a horrible mother, and ask if I'm not feeding them enough.  Wyatt says I am (probably to spare my feelings).  It's a good thing I brought snacks.  (For the record, my kids do eat three full meals a day, plus snacks.  But I guess they are growing!  I remember always wanting more to eat at that age.)

10:33 AM - I crest the hill coming into town, and see that it's hazy out.  It's pretty with the winter colors, pale yellow, grey, and light blue.  It has me envisioning watercolor paintings.

10:55 AM - I decide the holly jolly coffee isn't doing it for me today, and head to Starbucks for a pink drink.  I pull up to pay, and the barista tells me the lady ahead of me bought my drink!! THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE!  It was such a nice surprise!


11:12 AM - We arrive at the Children's Museum.  The kids are so excited, but the parking lot is insane!  I drive around for ten minutes before finding a spot, and I decide we will eat lunch in the car first in the hopes that it will slow down by the time we head in.


11:49 AM - Lunch is eaten, I take an awkward photo on the sidewalk by propping my phone on top of a trash can, and we head in!




















1:23 PM - We emerge!  Successful visit.  No one has been hurt or lost, and the kids declare it a "fun day".




2:16 PM - We stop by the library before we head home.  I pick up a stack of books on US Presidents that I reserved to read with the kids when we start school back up next week.



3:22 PM - We arrive home.  There is a package at the bottom of the driveway.  I get Clyde and Wyatt out of the car, but Gwen is still sleeping from the drive and I know Clarice will want me to hold her, so I run the trash out to the shed first.  I notice a diaper on the ground that must have fallen out of the trash can.  I pick it up, and notice a plastic bag.  Pick it up, and I see another one.  I round the corner and see a bunch of trash strewn behind our shed! Ugh.  I quickly pick everything up.  By the time I get back to the car Gwen is awake, and both girls are crying.

3:33 PM - Everyone is inside, Gwen and Clyde are down for an attempt at a "nap".  I know it probably won't last.  I give Clarice some milk and settle down with her on the couch, kick off my boots.



3:46 PM - Put Clarice down in her crib for an attempt at a late and destined-to-be-short nap.  I hold up her favorite bear, and she grabs it around the neck, squeezes, and grins.

3:47 PM - I finally settle on the couch and fiddle with my phone for a while.  I edit a video and pictures for my Instagram story on our trip to the museum.

4:08 PM - The kids come tumbling out of their rooms, talking about dump trucks or gum drops, I'm not sure which.  If it was earlier in the day I might make them try to nap again, but I give up on nap time today.  The big three are up, and we read three of our Presidents books.  "George Washington: Farmer, Soldier, President";  "George Washington's Teeth"; and "Smart About The Presidents".  The kids are riveted (I'm serious, they were).  I think we need to add a couple of these to our "to-buy" list.





4:34 PM - I hear Clarice and go ahead and get her up too. She snuggles against me.  I sit down on the couch to hold her for a little while, but she wiggles out of my arms and on the floor to play!

4:39 PM - The play tents appear in the living room.  I poke around the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner, and start boiling some water.  I take out the trash again (is it just my nose, or does the whole house smell like trash?).  The light outside is pretty.  I come inside and light my "Warm Woolen Mittens" candle to clear out the trash smell (or is it pot from the neighbors? Gross.).  I finally throw that bedspread I pulled off of Gwen's bed this morning into the washer.





4:50 PM - I open the Amazon package, another book on the Presidents inside.  I bought it because I thought it would be a good resource, but I flip through the pages and decide I don't like it.  Make a mental note to send it back.

5:02 PM - I come upstairs and goof off for a bit because it's too early to finish making dinner.  I show the kids the Instagram story video I made, and they laugh and laugh (they love seeing themselves on film).  Wyatt tells me about his plans for making a cave, like the one at the Children's Museum.  He thinks he'll need more wood though.



5:17 PM - I decide to start on dinner.  I'm making ravioli.  The raviolis are frozen, so I pull them out of the freezer and look for spaghetti sauce.  Realize I don't have any.  I make do by pureeing diced tomatoes with spices and parmesan cheese.



5:24 PM - The kids are rowdy and loud, and I have called out "be careful!" several times.  What are they doing?

5:25 PM - I'm a little scared to look around the kitchen corner, but they are just running in circles around the couch.

5:25 PM - I get a text from Derek, saying his bus is broken down.  I'm on my own.



5:33 PM - Clarice is crying at my feet, Clyde is crying "Mommy, I NEED you!" from his room.  Gwen starts crying from somewhere in the house.  Wyatt is still lapping the couch.  I wave the white flag, get the kids in their pajamas with promises of playing PJ Masks.  It's witching hour, after all.

5:38 PM - Clarice says "I love you, Mama" in her baby dialect while I'm getting her dressed.  (Yes, I asked her to say it to me.  So what?  It counts.)  She climbs into my lap, wraps her arms around me, and trys to rock me back and forth (which is her way of telling me she wants ME to rock HER back and forth).

6:01 PM - I start PJ Masks.  The kids all sing along to the theme song (even Clarice).  I finish making dinner, and I let them watch while they eat.



6:17 PM - Derek is home!  Sooner than expected!  I thought he'd be home way after bedtime.  Choruses of "Daddy!" from the kids.

6:31 PM - Derek lets me escape for a bit to write up part of this post.  He cleans the kitchen, does Bible time with the kids, and gets them in bed.

7:07 PM - I put the laptop away and give Clarice a kiss goodnight.  She presses her lips together and pushes her face against my cheek (her kisses).  I get my pajamas on and go upstairs to kiss each of my kiddos goodnight.  They give me sweet smiles and kisses on my cheek, and all three ask the same question as every other night, "What are we doing tomorrow?"

7:20 PM - I talk to Derek while I make some raviolis for myself (Derek opted for leftover soup for dinner).  I fill the dishwasher back up and get ready to start it.

7:27 PM - We watch an episode of Expedition Unknown, one of our current favorite shows.  This one is about the Minoans.  Did the volcano eruption really kill them?  Some geologist says no, but I don't trust their dating methods and still say it was the volcano, one way or the other.

8:24 PM - Derek came home without working out to help me with the kids, so now he heads off to get his workout in.  I sit down to type up the rest of this post, but I tell him not to workout too long, because maybe we can watch another Expedition Unknown if he doesn't get back too late (it is Friday night, after all!).

9:31 PM - Even though it's late when Derek gets back, we decide to sneak in one more Expedition Unknown anyway.  We learn about a lost Mayan city, but the show ends before they can find it (of course)!

10:43 PM - We finally get in bed and read a little before turning out the light.

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There you go, a full day in my life!  If you have any questions about having a "big" family (though really, four isn't that many), now is the time to ask! Other moms of 3+ kids, how do you manage everything?




A Homeschool Usborne Book Wishlist (First Grade)



One of the most fun things about homeschooling so far has been researching and trying to decide on different curricula.  For Kindergarten we haven't really done a curriculum per se, we've just been working our way through a bunch of different books, doing crafts, and working on reading and math skills.  I haven't quite made up my mind what curriculum we will use for first grade this next year, but I've been searching through different options, and I've come to a conclusion - whatever we pick, I want to use (or build) a curriculum that uses real books.



We got Wyatt the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia for Christmas, and he poured over it for two days.  He asked me questions about all the pictures, and I told him what the words on the page said, and he was just fascinated.  It was so fun to watch him learning just for the joy of it.  While I think we will follow some sort of curriculum, I want to make sure we have plenty of interesting books around that fit in with what we are learning, to make the whole year more fun.

I've been making book lists galore, but today I wanted to focus on Usborne books!  A friend of mine, Brittney, asked me if I would host an Usborne Facebook party, and it sounded like a lot of fun - so I've been going through their thousands of books and making a list of the ones I'd like to get for school next year.  I'll share the ones I'm thinking about getting, but first, let's talk quickly about the ones I have, shall we?

Usborne Books We Already Have




The Children's Encyclopedia - Like I said above, this one has been a hit.  I think it's the full-page gorgeous illustrations that have really sucked Wyatt in.  I'm not going to lie, there were a few pages I felt the required more explanation (like the world religions or aliens pages), but they are easy enough to skip if you don't agree with or your child isn't ready for some of it.







How Things Work - This book is just so cool.  It's a flap book, and under each flap it gives pictures and descriptions about how the different things in this book work. 






Horses & Ponies and Weather - I bunch these together because they are the same type of book.  These books have fun illustrations and less text because they are meant for younger readers - but I love it because the few words are used really well, and these books get a lot deeper into the topics than you would expect them to.  They have a bunch of these on different topics, and I'm hoping to get more!




Birds Pocket Book - Have I mentioned that our family is really into birds?  We don't know a lot about distinguishing birds, but we would like to learn more.  All of my kids love flipping through the Audubon bird app on my phone, and this is like the book form!

Starting Chess (not pictured) - I forgot I had this one until I sat down to start typing!  Derek is very good at chess, and I picked this up as a supplement for when Wyatt is ready to start learning (which probably is sooner than I think).

So those are the books I have, now on to the books I want.

Usborne Books On My Homeschool To-Buy List

These are the books that I would love to have as we introduce different subjects over the next few years, in addition to the ones I already have.


Science And Nature

The Outdoor Book - I think we would love this for ideas of activities to do outside and nature study!

Human Body Reference Book and Shine-A-Light Human Body Book - This is my area of interest (biology), so I think this looks fun.  And the shine-a-light book adds an interesting element!

Poisonous Animals (etc.) - This is one of those great books for young readers!

How Things Grow - I think I need this book to help my black thumb.

Astronomy And Space Reference Book - I don't know if I even need to explain this. Yay for space!

100 Science Experiments - Someone told me I need this, and I think I do!

History

Big Picture Atlas - I think this will be good for context with different historical events.

Living Long Ago - I'm still not sure my kids grasp how different life was 200 years ago, so this looks great!

Christopher Columbus - One of the few American history books.  Usborne, I know you are British, but more on the American History front please!

See Inside Exploration And Discovery and The Story Of Inventions - These looked really interesting to me.


Reading and Writing

Illustrated Grammar And Punctuation - We are a way off from needing this yet, but my grammar nerd is coming out!  I love this idea!


Illustrated Classics: Huckleberry Finn And Other Stories - This is one of a few classics collections that are condensed and rewritten for young readers, and I am really curious about them.


Miscellaneous (aka. Just For Fun)

Over 50 Secret Codes - I would have loved this as a kid.

Fingerprint Activities: Animals - This just looks adorable, and would be so fun for everyone, including the little two!

First Book About The Orchestra - The kids love Maestro Classics (#affiliate), and I think this book would be a great visual to understand the different instruments.

Big Keyboard Book - We are still hoping to teach our kids how to play the piano, and this looks useful!



I could go on, but you get the idea! There are just a lot of really fun books.  Clearly it's probably going to take me longer than the next year to collect all these!  Maybe I should retitle this post "Usborne Books For Early Elementary", because I think all of these will last well beyond first grade!

Now for a little plug - the Facebook party is tomorrow night at 8 PM EST, and Brittney has a bunch of fun things planned - including a drawing for a book prize!  So if you want to check Usborne out, this is a good chance! If you comment below saying you want to join, I'll send you an email to add you to the party!  Or if you have your eye on something and want to buy without attending the party...can you purchase through any of these links and select my eShow on the left before checkout? Because then I can earn discounts on books! (Shameless plug, I know.)  Party is open until next Monday!

Do any of you have some Usborne books?  What would you recommend to me for the elementary school years?  

I'd love to hear!




P.S. Brittany also made me this handy graphic for Usborne books that go with different curricula!  Pin this!






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