Monday, August 25, 2014

4 Years

Today my little guy turned four.  We had the best two days celebrating this strong-willed little boy.  He had so much fun and pretty much had a permanent smile on his face the entire time.  We heard polite "thank you's," witnessed some sweet moments of sharing his new toys, and best of all, listened to his excitement and stories about his birthday.

It is hard to believe that four years have passed since we welcomed him into our family.  After a brief hospital stay, we brought home this tiny little boy and started our life as a family of five.  While we have had many moments of joy and happiness, we have also had many of despair.  For weeks our sweet little boy cried and cried in pain.  Eventually we found dairy to be the culprit and things began to look up.  We (who are we kidding here, I) spent night after night up with this little boy who did not want to sleep.  Exhausted did not even put a dent in how I felt caring for three little kiddos.  We endured 18 ear infections between him and his sister before both had tubes put in.  Life was hard and all of this happened before he was even ten months old!

We also witnessed three kiddos become the best of friends.  We've seen them grow and watch out for each other.  They spend their fair share fighting as siblings do, but for the most part, they get along great.  There is never a dull moment.  We've also seen sweet gestures of kindness.  Today our oldest daughter gave her partner in crime three gifts:  a picture she colored especially for him, a bookmark, and a quarter from her money jar.  She wrapped them carefully in one of her blankets and brought it upstairs to give her brother.  Precious.

My oldest son does his best to not rock the boat.  Our little guy is going through a phase where he wants to be first to do everything.  He also doesn't like to lose.  His older brother, with the sweetest of intentions, does what he can to please him.  He is smart.  He doesn't want to listen to the temper tantrum that will ensue if his little brother feels put out!

I will be the first to admit there have been many times I was sure we were drowning.  These four years have been hard.  Sleep is a luxury and we have had few nights in the past four years where we have slept uninterrupted.  Our little pack outnumbers us and at times their antics get the best of us.  They are just kids having fun, but they can be a force to be reckoned with.  Who knew words like butt, banana, and burp could elicit such laughter and craziness from these little people?

Four years ago our lives changed dramatically.  Through the ups and the downs one thing has remained:  these kids are my everything.  I look at them and thank God I have been blessed with four beautiful, healthy children who are the best of friends.  I know these years will not be easy, but in the blink of an eye they will be gone.

Happiest of birthdays to our sweet little guy.  Your zest for life and energy are abundant.  You give the best hugs and kisses and your smile shines through your eyes.  I love you, sweet boy, and hope the next four years don't go quite so quickly!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today's the Big Day!

Back to school week is here.  I am not sure how I feel about having three kids in school this year!  Two full-time and one part.  Hmmm...most of you would probably think I would be relieved to have a "break" in the action.  There are messy days around here when I think the same, but once this becomes our everyday routine and the novelty wears off, I think there's going to be some sadness.

Nearly four years ago we welcomed our third child.  Our oldest was only 3 1/2 at the time, so to say life has been busy ever since would be an understatement.  While it has been challenging and exhausting, every second of the chaos has been worth it.  Our children have grown to the be the best of buds and though there are times this heavily works against our favor, I love seeing my big family grow so close together.

We often say our middle children, just sixteen months apart, speak some sort of twin language.  They are two peas in a pod and get into plenty of mischief together, but the just adore each other.  My little guy is going to struggle with his big sister and playmate gone all day every day.  Luckily he will have preschool four afternoons a week to fill the void and step out on his own, but I can imagine after school and weekends will be filled with as much playtime together as possible.

People always tell you the days are long but the years are short.  In the middle of the chaos it is hard to believe, but in the blink of an eye they are school-aged.  Those innocent early childhood years where their biggest dilemma is what to play with on any given day are coming to an end.  The time has come to head off to school to learn, make new friends, and experience the joys and heartache that will come with those friendships.

Today I send my second baby off to kindergarten.  Lately the tears have come in the late hours of the night or early hours of the morning.  My sweet girl is off to face the real world and I pray she finds acceptance, kindness, and joy in her days at school.  I hope we have taught her well and she, in turn, does her best to be kind and accepting of others.

Another milestone reached.  They seem to be coming all too quickly...Blessings on your first day sweet girl!