Friday, November 7, 2014

Out to Play

It is definitely fall around here, but we still try and go outside any chance we get. Sometimes when it's raining, sometimes when it's windy but we are trying to soak up any last glimpse of "nice" (not rainy) weather. The boys need to be outside. They need to jump in puddles and run and play with sticks and go down slides and swing. So we do our best to get out when we can. Here's to hoping we keep our sanity over the next 9 rainy months!

Ezra - 16 Months

Hard to believe this kiddo is 16 months old! He is the sweetest little guy but also has a mind of his own. He still doesn't have many (any) words, but he knows what he wants.

He has the "point and grunt" nailed. If he wants some he points his little finger and grunts repeatedly. If you guess wrong he shakes his head "no" and if you guess right you get an enthusiastic "yeah!" (Okay, he does have one word). 

He still loves to eat and eats constantly. He has swooned his way into having the nursery workers at church feed him endless amounts of crackers.

We have been enjoying some one on one time while big brother is at school and I think it's been so good for both of us. It's still so foreign to me that he sits and plays with toys or reads books. Sometimes I panic when I realize it is quiet only to look over and see him sitting and playing with something. He also enjoys eating crayons, taking baths, and anything outside. He is a little daredevil and likes to climb on chairs and tables and will even go down big slides by himself.

Cohen Goes to School!

Cohen started preschool a few weeks ago and so far I think it's going well. When I ask him what he did at preschool he generally says "nofing". He goes Monday, Wed and every other Friday.

 He didn't shed a single tear, which I expected, and I held it together until I got in the car. I had to work that day and Danny was off so we were both able to drop him off and then I went off to work. I may have cried the whole way in. We are so proud of this kid.

Last week he even got to start riding the bus to school which I think was a dream come true for him. He was asking us constantly to ride the bus, so finally I told him it was time! We stood outside and waited for the bus and he got so excited when he saw it coming. There are only a couple other kids that ride the bus and the bus driver is pretty great. She had the music on and handed him a bucket of toys. Although now he keeps telling me he wants to ride the big bus (he rides the little bus to school).

Waiting for the bus!

Here it comes!

He seems to be doing well in school and he enjoys going. The transitions between school and home have been a bit challenging, but we were expecting that. I'm so happy for him because I think he really does enjoy it. One day I picked him up and he told me "Mommy you fogot to pack my snack but my fwiend shared a granola bar with me". He gets Physical Therapy at school once a week so I will be interested to hear how that goes as well!

Parenting for the End Goal

Things have been a little quiet over here, we have been busy and in a challenging season of parenting. Raising two toddlers, both pushing and testing to find the boundaries. A three year old going on 16. Lots of changes and adjusting and trying to figure out how we deal with all of this as a family.

Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It's also one of the most rewarding. I have been struggling to know what is the best way to raise our boys, when to let things go and when to teach and help them grow. I get caught up in the daily challenges, the screaming, the fits, the big feelings. Toddlers have lots of big feelings. Especially toddlers with sensory processing problems.

I have been feeling weary. Worn out. Like maybe I'm just not cut out for parenting toddlers. We have been doing a Beth Moore Bible study at church. (If you ever have a chance to do one, take it! For real!) Yesterday we watched the video that was all about relationships, the highs and the lows and what God calls us to in these relationships. I found myself scribbling down quotes and nodding my head vigorously. Relationships require vulnerability, the ability to put ourselves out there with the potential of being hurt. We have been there. A relationship with a child we don't get to raise, so much hurt. Raising a child that we don't always know what he needs and what is best. She talked about how facing the depths, the deep hurt also allows us to know the joy of the good times, the gladness. This is a lesson that we have learned over the last few years. Without the deep pain of losing Carter, I'm not sure we would have the same perspective about what a gift our children are (a challenging gift, but a gift).

And then she said this: You can only know the joy and the gladness when you have been in a relationship you thought would kill you. This may sound a little extreme to some of you, but honestly, there are days when I feel like I am going to pull all of my hair out. I love my kids to pieces, but it is a challenge. There are days when I don't know what Cohen wants or needs. Where he screams for an hour over something that he can't put words to. Where I have to put him in the stroller naked and screaming (with a blanket on) because he won't put clothes on and it's the only thing that will calm him down. But when the good days come, they are so much BETTER because of the hard days that we face. The hugs and kisses are that much sweeter after the fits.

The turning point was when she talked about the ultimate goal - to have kids that love Jesus. This was a huge change of perspective for me. So often I focus on the day to day, because it feels like I just need to get through the day. It made me really think about what I am doing to show Jesus to my kids. Am I living in a way that they will see Jesus in me? As they grow up will they know that a relationship with the Lord is the most important thing? Am I teaching them to act like Jesus and be kind and loving to others? Is my end goal to have kids that love Jesus? Whew. That was a pretty big perspective change for me. It has been rolling around in my head and making me think about my decisions and the words that I say.

I'm not perfect and never will be. I will still stumble, lose my wits, maybe even pull all my hair out. I will still wave the white flag and call Gramma to see if the kids can spend some time at her house. But I hope that someday when my kids are grown, they can look back and see how much we love them and that even though we aren't perfect and we make mistakes, that they will have seen Jesus in us.