Category Archives: child development

Laurel turns 3!!!


Yesterday was Laurel’s big day.  It’s tough to be the youngest and have the last birthday of the year for the family.  She was a trooper though and kept up with daily asking “It my birthday now?”

It’s always fun when a birthday falls on the weekend, and we can celebrate with everyone on the day of the actual birthday.  After worship we headed to Pizza Ranch for lunch.  Once everyone was filled, we headed over to a kite festival that was going on nearby.  The kids loved seeing all of the gigantic kites.  I think their favorite was easily the caterpillar that rolled back and forth on the ground over them.  We definitely need to upgrade our kite collection though since our cheap, plastic Elmo kite just wouldn’t fly.  (Thank you Brad for trying so many times to get it going!)

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After our fun at the kite festival, we headed back to our house for presents and ice cream cake.

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In the end, it was a full, fun day.  We are so incredibly blessed with a super sweet girl!  Happy 3rd Birthday, LJ!


Happy 5th Birthday, Jilly Mae!!




We have a “rule” in our house that you wait until your 5th birthday before you get to have a friend birthday party.  To say that Jilly was excited to turn five, would be an understatement.  She went through countless theme ideas before finally settling on a Lalaloopsy party.  I was thrilled since it meant that I got to do all kinds of fun sewing projects to go along with it all.  The day was incredibly hot and incredibly windy.  I might have gotten slightly stressed over not being able to decorate the table as I had hoped due to the wind, but luckily 2-7 year olds don’t pay too much attention to decorations!

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Following her celebration with friends on Saturday, she got to celebrate with family on Sunday.  We had a low key, stay out of heat, home celebration.  She seemed to have a great time, and thoroughly enjoyed her moment in the spot light as everyone’s eyes were on her as we sang Happy Birthday to her.  (Don’t you dare tell her that isn’t a real American Girl doll!  She is quite certain that it is!!)

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After a couple days of break from celebrating, it was time for the actual day of her birthday.  She was thrilled to get to spend part of her day at preschool and celebrate with her classmates.  After opening gifts, she picked Jimmy John’s as her choice for her birthday dinner.   Although we were slightly surprised by this choice, we all enjoyed our meal.  Then it was back home for more gift opening with Grammy and Grandpa and a show before bed.  Happy birthday, Jilly Mae!

the lost, lost tooth



This just happens to be the week of Jilly.  The girl loves attention, and she sure does get to have the spot light on her a lot this week.  Saturday was her birthday party with friends, Sunday we celebrated her birthday with family, today is her first day of Preschool 4, Wednesday is her birthday, and Thursday she starts back in ballet class!  This much attention just wasn’t enough for her though – she needed to add to it.

After a very traumatic (for all of us) experience of having her first loose tooth pulled by dad, we decided to let this second one take its time.  Over the past week, she had started to talk about wiggling it – a conversation that would previously cause her to have a melt down – which let me know that it must be getting close to time for it to come out.

As we headed up to quiet time today, she mentioned that her tooth was bothering her.  I looked and noticed it was bleeding quite a bit.  (Here is where you need to know that I cannot stand loose or wiggling teeth or gaping holes where teeth one stood.)  I, being the brave obligated mom that I am, asked if she wanted me to try to pull it.  She, being the stubborn independent girl she is, said that she would do it.  And she did.  With just two tries, that tooth came right out.

Somewhere in the excitement of trying to find my phone so she could call her dad and share the news, the tooth got lost.  I thought that would cause a meltdown, but she was more than happy with the idea of writing a note to stick under her pillow.

What a little more attention for such an adorable girl!?!

Keep on coloring kids!


I recently had to take an emotional look at what it looks like when my kids sit in worship with me.  Very rarely, since Brad is often the one preaching, do I have help with the kids in worship.  In fact, by the time the kids get up on Sunday morning, Brad is already out the door and off to the office.  Sunday mornings are tough.  It’s a lot of work to get everyone up, fed, pottied, dressed, brushed, shoed, coated, buckled, driven, and across the mammoth parking lot on my own week after week.  Often times I’m frustrated and exhausted before I ever even walk in the door.  Sadly, I honestly dread the Sunday mornings when one or both of the biggers say that want to go to worship with me rather than Sunday School.  Sad, but honestly true.  I want worship time to recharge, refuel, and honestly provide a break from an already busy morning.  It has become more and more regular lately for the biggers to want to join me though.  For quite a while, I would grab a Children’s Bulletin for each of them, and let them work on that during the sermon.  Unfortunately though, I was fielding questions about “what do I do on this part now Mommy?” and “Mommy, is this right?”  It’s really hard to catch much of the sermon while this is happening!

I knew something had to change, but what?
I have worked with kids for years, I have study child development as I obtained an elementary education degree, I taught elementary school, I have been a parent for 6 1/2 years – I have a pretty good understanding of kids and what is and isn’t age appropriate at different ages.  Sermons (even those preached by their father) are not geared towards kids.  Many kids are able to focus better when actually doing something rather than just sitting like a lump on a log.  Also the learning style of a teen or adult is different than that of a 4 or 6  year old.  In my opinion kids coloring in worship IS GOOD!  There had to be something better than the Children’s Bulletin though.  Within days of my emotional mess of a day over this, the Lord provided me with a new way of allowing the kids to color which would be much more beneficial to them and myself!

I could not be more excited to pull out the Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils each week now – they actually join me more frequently now, and I actually mind less than I use to.  I know that many blessings will result from my kids being allowed to color during the sermon each week.

Here is a glimpse at what Nate (age, 6) has done over the past few weeks:

{during a sermon on Acts 18:24-28}

{during a sermon about “God is Vast”}

{during a sermon about God is perfect}

{while at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City this weekend}

(on  the right, all of the people are thinking about being with Jesus – I had to ask what all the black circles where – thought bubbles of course!)

It is such an incredible blessing to ask Nate after service to explain his picture.  It’s even more of a blessing to know that by allowing him to color, he is able to express the truths that God is teaching him.  Adults take notes (and doodle) during sermons, he takes notes with pictures.

How does it work?  I went to Target and bought both Nate and Jilly a sketch pad book along with a pack of Twistables.  Neither the books or the Twistables are allowed to be used outside of a worship setting.  They are to listen to what is being talked about during the sermon, and draw a picture that relates to what they hear.  I always date the page, and they are limited to the front and back of one page to help teach self control.  Obviously, Nate has a better grasp on this than Jilly does.  Most of Jilly’s colorings are completely random and abstract at this point.  I know though, that she will grow in this as she gets a little older.  My expectations for her vary from what I expect from Nate – as they should.  Seriously though, this often time frazzled each Sunday morning momma is just a little more at peace now, and lot more blessed!


Happy 2nd Birthday Laurel!!!


Last Saturday Laurel Jane turned 2!  Again, time is flying by way too fast, but there is no denying she is growing up.  She is a chatter box that will talk your ear off about Elmo and anything else she can think of.  She mostly mastered potty training by her 2nd birthday – there were 5 1/2 really rough days that led to some major success.  She definitely has the mood swings of a two year old, and plays the role of terrible twos quite effortlessly.  😉  Her birthday celebrations of course had to include her beloved Elmo!  She had a great time celebrating with family!

FoUr!!!!! hApPy BiRtHdAy JiLlY mAe!!!!








It has been nearly 2 months since Jilly turned 4, and she loved every moment of celebrating.  Her birthday was extra special since it was also the first day of preschool.  She was super excited to finally wear her “four” shirt I had made a few weeks prior to her birthday.  She also loved her Groovy Girl filled birthday presents.  They have been great bedroom toys for during quiet time ever since!  It’s amazing that it’s been four fast years, but we are thrilled with the quickly maturing four year old we have been blessed with!



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big girl in a “big” bed



Both Nate and Jilly’s move from crib to a big kid bed was necessary due to a younger sibling needing to take over the crib. I figured since Laurel doesn’t have a younger sibling chasing her out of her bed, we had plenty of time to just let her hang out in her crib. Then she started to show more and more interest in the potty and showing more signs of readiness for potty training. My plan of just letting her hang out in her crib forever weren’t going to work. What were we going to do? Nate got Brad’s childhood bed. Jilly got my grandma’s bed once my parents purchased us a new mattress for our bed and she got the hand me down mattress. After thinking through several options, I ran across a $15 toddler bed on facebook. Perfect!

Laurel has spent 2 naps and 2 bedtimes in it and done amazingly wonderful. She stays on it when we put her down, and when she wakes up she waits for us to come in her room before getting off the bed. (This morning she stayed on it for 30 minutes after waking up before I opened her door!) Like I said, AMAZING! We’re leaving the crib up for now in case we have a set back in her staying on her bed and in her room, but so far it’s all good. Yay!


bike riding battles


We have learned a lot about parenting and raising kids in the past 6 years, but sometimes something get’s thrown at you that just frustrates and perplexes you.  It has turned into a major ordeal as we attempt to teach Nate to ride his bike without training wheels.  He is quite content with training wheels and doesn’t have a lot of desire to learn to ride without them.  When we got him his new bike a few months ago, we figured he’d have to learn.  Problem was his lack of desire coupled with our lack of time to work with him led to no success in the 3 or 4 times he went out over the course of 2 or 3 months.

This weekend we decided to take a new course at trying to teach him.  Brad went out and picked up a pair of training wheels big enough for his new bike.  Unfortunately though they don’t quite work with his bike.  Brad got them on, but we have to tighten them regularly or they don’t stay on.  We set them high enough that he’s riding quite crooked when he’s leaned to one side or the other.  He hates it.  Now he isn’t just not interested in learning, he HATES even trying.  Tonight he screamed and cried the entire time.  (Seriously, the entire time.)

I’d love to just lower them and say we’ll try again next summer, but since the training wheels aren’t a perfect fit for the bike that’s not going to work.  I wonder if I can just hire someone to teach him.  (I’ll look into that when I discover someone buried money in my backyard and I’m a millionaire.)