September 21, 2011


Many people know that I've had concerns about Ben's speech development since he was about 4 months old. The week after his 4 month check up, he just stopped babbling and didn't often make noises except for crying. Since then, I've noticed some slight delays in many things speech-related.

95% of people that I've shared this concern with think that I'm just comparing him with Jack, and I'll admit that I do that sometimes. Jack's language development was exceptional, in the same way that Ben's gross motor and fine motor development have been exceptional (we're amazed at his understanding of how things go together, the stuff he builds with blocks and the way he can manipulate small pieces and things together . . . the train systems he creates with our railroad set are pretty amazing for an almost-2-year-old).

But comparison aside, I still feel like there's something that's keeping him from saying what he's trying to. He has lots of words, and when I voice concerns people always tell me not to worry and that he has more words than average for his age. But still, it's not just about the words . . . when I see him try to tell me things, I can watch his mouth try to make the sounds he wants to as he gets frustrated. He can identify probably 10 letters and the sounds they make (thank you, LeapFrog: Letter Factory) but when he tries to put the sounds together, he gets stumped.

I don't think it's a major delay or anything and you can call me a helicopter parent if you want, but I think there's something to say for a mother's intuition. I'm just hoping that at his 2-year visit next week, the doctor will at least take my concerns seriously.

Up until today, when we'd count things with Ben, he'd point and say, "One, doo . . . NO MORE!" Sometimes he'd get to three, but he'd usually drop out at two.

So you can understand why I sat in my car and cried during preschool pick up today when Kyle sent me this video.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

September 19, 2011

Jack's second (and last) year of preschool

First day of preschool, 2011

We started back to preschool with Jack right where we left off. New teacher and new drop off line, but we kind of got back into the swing of things with no problem.

I haven't had many encounters with his teacher, but I can already tell that I'm going to L-O-V-E her. Jack has great things to say every day and at dinner when we did our best/worst parts of the day tonight he said his best part of the day was school because "my teacher taught us SOOOO much." I love it.

Here are a few pictures of Jack (and Ben) from the first day of school last week. He was so wound up that I finally told him just to SIT DOWN because he wouldn't stand still. And yes, I'm aware that he needs a hair cut.

Oh, and please ignore our nasty-looking front porch.

First day of preschool, 2011

First day of preschool, 2011

First day of preschool, 2011

First day of preschool, 2011

First day of preschool, 2011

And this is how Ben felt about Jack leaving for school without him.

First day of preschool, 2011

It's crazy to think that this will be Ben going off to preschool next year while Jack's at Kinde . . . I can't even say it.

First day of school, 2010:

First Day of Preschool

Baby girl update

I'm feeling baby girl move more! Not so much over the weekend, but Monday - Wednesday of last week, I felt her every day, multiple times a day. Kyle and Jack have both felt her move now. Ben still doesn't quite get it, but he does hug and kiss my belly each night.

She didn't move a whole lot yesterday, but last night, she gave me a kick that reminded me of what it was like at this stage with the boys. I can sometimes see her poking out now when she moves. It's amazing what a difference an anterior placenta makes. I have discovered that when my bladder is full, I feel her move more, likely because she has less space. I have to admit that sometimes I wait before going to the bathroom just to see if she'll start moving!

I had an appointment last week. Wait, no . . . it was on September 3. Time flies.

Apparently, part of my bowel is wrapped up in front of my uterus, causing the painful cramps on my right side. Lovely, right? And the contractions are from . . . well, taking care of two little boys and everything else that my life entails right now. My doctor didn't seem concerned and neither am I.

Speaking of my doctor . . . I feel so lucky to be seeing the same one that I did with Ben. I loved her then and I love her now. She's friendly, straight forward and listens well.

I feel awful that I lost all of my belly pictures when my phone was stolen, but I will take a 26 week picture this week. I promise.

September 18, 2011

In 15 minutes or less . . .

1. It's shocking how quickly 6 days can pass . . . it feels like I wrote my last post yesterday.

2. Jack and Ben are now sharing a room. We're all adjusting to the change. Last night was the easiest bedtime ever. Tonight . . . not so much.

3. I love both of my kids but over the last two weeks, they've both become incredibly difficult. Disobedient, disrespectful and WHINY. I'm sure it has to do with adjusting to the new schedule and being with ME more rather than a team of college students who dote on them non-stop. But it's getting tiring.

4. I threw a shower for Jeanette last weekend and Ben's birthday party was yesterday . . . I have a month until the next shower and that'll be a nice break from party planning. Both events were a lot of fun and I can't wait to post photos.

5. Jack started preschool this week. Again, photos are forthcoming. I stopped taking photography clients back in the spring, because I was losing my creative edge and I really don't have the time with all of the design work I'm getting. After 6 months, I'm just starting to really enjoy taking my camera out again. I'll be taking some pictures for a few friends and I'm actually looking forward to it. It's amazing how much a nice break will help to refresh your creativity.

6. As a part of my desire to relax and slow down a little bit, I'm reading the Hunger Games trilogy. It's a little embarrassing to love a series of books written for young adults so much, but I do. I read the first book in a day, but I'm half way through the second.

7. The flooring is essentially done. We're going to try and pick out some carpet for the bedrooms this week, but our bedrooms have more square footage than we had estimated, so we might have to downgrade a little to stay within our budget. We'll see. I love, love, love our floors and am so happy with how they turned out. And while we've had some slipping and sliding, for the most part the boys like pretending to ice skate on them! Lots and lots of socks with rubber grippers are in our future!

My time's up!

September 12, 2011

Any guesses?

Being due so close to Christmas, everyone makes guesses as to when this little girl will arrive more than they did with the boys. So, I thought we'd take a little poll. And to sweeten the deal, I'll buy dinner (in the form of a gift certificate) at the restaurant of my choice for whoever is closest!

Here are some things you may want to consider:

1. My original due date was December 25.
2. My due date was adjusted to December 28 at my first Dr. appointment.
3. During my 19 week ultrasound, her measurements were ranging from Dec. 24 - Dec. 31.
4. Jack was a week late. Ben was 10 days late.
5. A random lady walked up to me at Jack's preschool open house and asked if I was having a boy or a girl. I told her a girl and she said, "She's coming on December 15." It doesn't really have any bearing on the issue, but I thought it was kind of funny.

If you'd like to play, leave a comment here, send a message on facebook, reply on twitter, etc. I'll add you to the calendar.

I'll close the poll in November. Good luck!

Edited to add: Be sure to leave a time, too, in case two people choose the same date!

September 11, 2011

Where were you?

I was watching the news yesterday with Jack and he asked what "9/11" is. So we talked and I told him enough to satisfy his four-year-old brain without going too far. I had the news on this morning when I was giving them breakfast which was a mistake. I was way more emotional than I had anticipated and Jack had ALL kinds of questions about why the two buildings fell down and how it happened to "our country."

I explained what I could and quickly turned on an episode of Curious George.

The week of 9/11/2001 was the week that Kyle and I officially started dating. I remember that my mind was so consumed with our relationship that week . . . mainly because I thought I would be searching for a new job and ready to leave camp and wondering if I should move forward with that search or plan on sticking around for a while.

That Tuesday morning, I was at work and must have missed the news coverage by just a minute or two when I turned the television off to head to work because I normally left my apartment at 8:55. At about 9:30, I left work and drove to the post office to pick up the mail and was listening to a Christian radio station. They were interviewing a member of Third Day who was talking about the tragedy that had struck America and I was puzzled. As I pulled back into camp, I saw Chuck and Linda standing at the intersection by the office talking. I rolled down my window and they told me what had happened. We all went to the staff lounge and watched the news coverage. We watched in horror as the first tower collapsed, and shortly later, the second tower.

Remember how the news coverage was 24 hours on every network station for almost a week after the attacks? I had a little tv at work and watched almost continually. Probably too much. I remember crying and wondering how any group of people could ever be so full of hatred.

I checked my e-mail that day (I had to dial up and log on to check my e-mail, so I only did it once or twice a day . . . my, how things have changed) and got one from Kyle asking if he could come over that night. We spent the next few nights watching the news together.

I think it's surreal to most of us that 10 years have already passed since that day. Probably because it still affects so much of our lives and the heartbreak is still so fresh.

September 8, 2011


I just flipped my calendar from July to September.

What happened to August?

It was a super busy month, but not as busy as September will be. October's kind of packed, too. And then holiday card business will be in full swing and . . . poof! We'll have another baby before we know it.

But back to August. My 33rd birthday was August 9. We were in the middle of a camp, so it was about as exciting as working on your birthday can be. Kyle surprised us at our morning staff meeting by bringing donuts and juice, so that was fun. I definitely feel older, but I think that has more to do with my pregnancy fatigue and aches than it does anything else.

I'm now 24 weeks pregnant. I had been taking belly photos on my phone for the last few weeks, but my phone was stolen at the end of August. So frustrating. I left it in the car on a shopping trip. We were rushing into Target to beat a storm and when I came back out, it was gone. I went in and searched Target, thinking maybe I had accidentally stuck it in my purse, but when I used the guest services phone to call Kyle, he tracked it and saw that it was moving away from Target. It was gone. So, a new phone is fun. Paying for it when my old phone was perfectly good was not fun.

Our floors are almost finished! Photos of the flooring makeover are forthcoming.

September 3, 2011

Dear Jack, Months 48, 49, 50 & 51

Dear Jack,

You turned 4 years old this summer. It doesn't seem like a "milestone" birthday, but it was for me.

I remember the night after you were born . . . you were about 30ish hours old. We had been moved to one of those tiny little nesting rooms in this hospital to wait out your 12 extra hours of observation. I was holding you and bouncing around in what little floor space there was in the room, trying one of the millions of techniques I had read about for soothing a baby.

June 2011

As I was bouncing it hit me like a ton of bricks . . . I had read everything there was to read on caring for a baby. But I knew that someday you would be 4 years old. I don't know why I chose that age, but I did.

I stared at you and kept thinking that. "Someday, he'll be a four year old." It panicked me. I knew what to do for your first year, but after that I was clueless. For the next few years, I'd find myself in moments of panic thinking "I'm going to have a four year old someday. What on earth do I do then?"

June 2011

But here you are . . . 4 years old. We made it. But now all I can think about is that you'll someday be a teenager.

We've had a good summer. You've matured a lot . . . for a four year old, that is. You listen in on our adult conversations and will bring them up at other times, wanting to talk about whatever it was we were discussing. This week, there was an earthquake in Virginia and you just caught a few seconds of it on the news. That night, you wanted to pray for the people who "had their house shaking." You can understand more than I sometimes give you credit for.

Our spring butterflies, May 2011

You've grown spiritually, too. I love the questions you ask and I love to hear you pray. They're not "little kid" prayers any more. You talk to God about what's on your mind, pray for people who you know are hurting or sick and thank God for everything he's given us. Last night, you even prayed for the person who stole my cell phone out of our van. I've heard you telling Ben that he needs to be thankful for what he has because some kids aren't lucky enough to have what you do.

Jack is four

Speaking of Ben . . . he loves you so much. Sure, you guys fight sometimes, but for the most part, he copies everything you do. It's funny to watch, and I know sometimes you get frustrated when he tries to do and say everything you do, but if you're asked, you'll say that Ben is your best friend. I love that about you guys.

From the time you found out we were having another baby, you were intent on having a baby sister. You got your wish! You're such a good brother and I know she'll be so grateful to have you.

June 2011

You've loved hanging out with all of the counselors this summer, and as it's come to an end, I see a sadness. You built such solid relationships with them and I appreciate how much of an influence they have on you. It's just you, Ben, me and dad now . . . I know I'm not always enough, but I sure do try to be.

June 2011

I don't always know how to handle you Jack. You're so smart and sometimes that intelligence leads to mischief beyond your years. I'm not always sure how to react when you laugh as I try to discipline you. I don't always know the best consequence for when you sneak a sucker from my desk drawer. I'm not always sure what to do when you disobey. I yell sometimes, because I don't know how else to get your attention . . . I'm sure that frustrates you, too.

July 2011

I really do always try my best. I hope that some day, as you're chronicling the mistakes of your parents, you'll run across these letters and feel assured that though we're not perfect, we love you and are doing our very best to help you become a good person. A kind person. The kind of man God is calling you to be.

I love you!


September 2, 2011

Coming soon . . . another big boy bed

The time is coming . . . Ben will soon transition to a big boy bed. We haven't quite figured out when, or what we're going to do, but it'll obviously happen sometime before December.

I feel mildly guilty because I never really finished Ben's nursery. I repainted and bought new bedding, but the wall art I was designing is still sitting in my "to do" folder, untouched for over a year.

August 2011

With Jack, I was ready to move him to his big boy bed. The last couple of months having him in a crib were a nightmare so I was anxious to move Jack. I'm so hesitant with Ben.

August 2011

He can climb out of his crib . . . but won't unless someone prods him. And even then, he's hesitant, because really? Why would he when he can just sit in his crib and jabber until someone comes and lifts him out?

August 2011

Ben sleeps so well. He goes down at night well an he stays in bed well. The thought of moving him out of the crib is killing me because the situation is so ideal right now. Our original plan was to put bunk beds in Jack's room for the two of them, but I'm not feeling confident that Jack can make it down from the top bunk safely when groggy. So we might purchase a toddler Bed until we feel more comfortable with bunks.

August 2011

The thought of just having this baby sleep in the bassinet in our room for a month or two and leaving Ben in his room for the first few months has crossed my mind, but I think that might make the transition harder later. Moving him in with Jack well in advance of the baby coming might keep Ben from feeling like the baby took his room.

August 2011

I'm just worried that we'll ruin the great sleeping habits he's got going. I have to admit that I'm a lot more emotional about moving him from crib to bed than I was with Jack.

August 2011

This age isn't always perfect, but sometimes I wish I could just keep Ben at 23 months old forever.