Studying Your Child

I need a hug

It had been a rough couple weeks.  I had a just-turned-4-year-old son throwing tantrum after tantrum, complete with throwing and grabbing and . . . ugh, it was just bad.  I don’t want to revisit it, really.  But lately?  So much better.  There will never be a perfect day when every child behaves every single moment (heck, I can’t even do that).  But we’ve been having some time to actually breathe and oh my does that feel delightful.

Here’s the thing: this whole process has been such a great reminder that I have to study my kids and act accordingly.  So, for my son, I know that he’s more of an introvert and he really loves and needs physical affection.  But in the moments of frustration when my son is acting out, I don’t often think of how they’re wired.  I forget what I learned about him from studying him.  And I quickly (or sometimes not so quickly) realize that I will not break the cycle until I communicate in a way that my child will receive what I’m saying and also meet his needs (not his wants–that’s a totally different thing altogether).

What does this practically look like?  Well the other day, my son was in the beginning of a meltdown.  He was under his bed and I was on the floor, at his level.  I tried to remain calm and let him talk (he hates to be interrupted and responds poorly to me raising my voice).  He then yelled, “I JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU A HUG!”  So I said, “Well then come give me a hug you goof!”  And he sat on my lap and immediately calmed down.

Another day that week, he started a tantrum over the iPad.  This doesn’t usually happen because I set time limits on the microwave and the kids know when their time is up.  But  I had a timer set so it would shut off after 30 minutes because this particular app has that.  I warned him it would happen.  But of course when it shut off, he was in the middle of something and then flipped out.  I expected it since this was a new thing I was trying so I was prepared to be calm and respond as lovingly as possible.  I also know that he is wired in a way that he HAS to finish what he’s doing before he can move on (his sister isn’t so much that way).  He threw his cup across the room and started to yell.  I very calmly and softly said, “We do not throw things.  You may go to your room and scream into your pillow and even hit it.  But you will not hurt me.  I will not let you hurt me.”  And then I thought about how much he needs physical touch and I followed it up with, “You can hug me.  But you cannot hurt me.”  And after a couple seconds, he came over to me and hugged me and calmed down.

Would I love it if he wouldn’t even start the tantrum in the first place?  Sure.  But this is major progress.  He’s a highly emotional little guy and doesn’t always think in the moment (nor do I and I’m almost 30 at the time of this posting).  So I’m all about praising the steps he’s taking and how he had the self-control to stop himself in the middle of a tantrum and make a better choice.

It’s not about perfection; it’s about progress.

“You can hug me but you may not hurt me” has become a mantra in our house.  It has been a lifesaver.  He is starting to communicate to me that he needs a hug sometimes before getting to the point where he has an outburst and other times it’s right after he starts and he is able to stop himself before it gets out of hand.  It’s tough as a mom because I need to remember to prompt him in that way, rather than just get frustrated and respond in a way that isn’t so helpful.  I don’t always succeed.  But again, we’re making progress and that’s what it’s about.

So the next time your kid is acting in an undesirable way, whether it’s as severe as what I saw in my kid with aggression or simply just a child who is out of sorts and seems a bit off, no matter the age of the child, maybe think about how they’re wired.  Study your child.  Look for patterns, pressure points, and needs/cravings you see (which may be simply a love language like physical affection, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, or receiving gifts).  What can you provide for your child to help walk him/her through a difficult time?

And, as always, I’m writing this totally for me as a reminder to myself.  I will likely forget or draw a blank on how to reach one of my kids in a moment of frustration.  I won’t always remember to try to initiate physical affection with my son when he’s upset.  I won’t always be aware when my oldest hasn’t had any play dates in a couple weeks and therefore needs that time with people.  Until my youngest starts acting out, I may not be self-aware enough to always realize I’ve been preoccupied to the point of not getting much quality time with her.  I’m human and flawed just like you.  But I’ll make the attempt and remember that every morning is a new day and I can pick myself up to try again.  Good intention is a good place to start.

 

What They Remember

Do you ever wonder that you’re ruining your kid?  Me too.  I get all pessimistic and think they’ll only remember the rough days, the days when I said no to what they really wanted because I had to hold them accountable for their poor choices.  I think that all those crafty Pinterest moms are making all the memories because they have something super tangible for their kids to remember.  And me?  Well, let’s just say I can’t figure out any craft kit even for a 7 year old.  I believe the lie that I have to give my kids these extravagant parties and vacations so they’ll have these really great experiences to remember their childhood by.

Well, kids, I’m probably going to fail you at giving you everything you want and the best of the best.  And I’m learning that that’s okay. [Read more…]

Sharing Our Stuff

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Ah, teachable moments.  Don’t we just love them?

My daughter is usually a pretty giving person.  But she’s 5 so that isn’t always on her mind.  Let’s be honest: it’s not always on my mind either and I’m almost 30 (eek–that really is coming up soon, isn’t it?).

The other day, she got all huffed and puffed (no, she didn’t blow our house down) and she declared that her friend was getting a computer and it’s not fair that she doesn’t have her own computer too.

Yes, dear, because you’re 5 and you need your own laptop.  Of course.

Let’s also keep in mind this is the same girl who, practically every morning, has nothing to wear and can only wear sandals in 40 degree weather.  #itssohardtobefive

Enter teachable moment.

We talk often about not complaining about what we have and instead being grateful.  I remind my kids that there are children who don’t get a choice of which shoes to wear (if they have any at all), both locally and across the world.  But today was a little different.  This was an issue of, “She has something and so I should have  it too.”  I know, it’s a long road ahead.  I knew this day would come but didn’t think it’d happen this early.  I remember vividly wanting certain sneakers and clothing as a preteen because that’s what others had.  My mom simply said that if I wanted to spend $50 on a pair of sneakers then I could save up my money to buy them.  The alternative was to spend the $20 she was offering up for a less expensive pair since my feet would be growing and I wouldn’t be in that size forever.  Wise woman.

With the topic of the laptop, I sat my daughter down and explained that just because someone else has something doesn’t mean we need it too.  Everyone has different things.  I may have something that one of my friends doesn’t and vice versa.  And that’s totally okay.

I then led this into a brief discussion on sharing what we have with others.  We read in Acts 2 how the early Church would share their resources and they would give to those in need.  So I explained to my daughter that by the kids sharing a computer with me, we then can save the money we would’ve spent on another computer and use it to help others.  We talked about how when I have something that someone else doesn’t, I can share it with them.  And when others have something I could use, they can let me borrow it.  We do it often with friends and neighbors.  I may not need a saw more than once in my life but my friend may need it often.  So instead of buying my own, why not borrow it from my friend?  And I may have a printer that they barely ever need so why don’t I allow my friend to print off some things every once in a while rather than them purchasing a printer for themselves?

I’m not just preaching something to my kid–I’m trying to live it.  When we thought we were done having kids, we gave away a lot of our baby stuff and it went to people who truly needed it.  When we found out I was pregnant with baby #4, I started to regret having given it all away.  But my husband reminded me that God would provide just as He always has . . . and that He wouldn’t have put it on my heart to give the stuff away if there was a reason and purpose for it.  Well, just this week, a friend gave me a ton of baby clothes/bibs/swaddles that she didn’t need.  Just that morning I was thinking how I’d have to go out and buy something for the baby to wear for the cold weather and how I didn’t really want to spend $20-30 on something that he’d only wear for a short time but inevitably needs (and I found it super handy with my other son in the winter).  Well, in with all those clothes was exactly what I needed.  You can’t tell me that wasn’t totally a God thing.

Yes, sometimes sharing means that it is a little inconvenient.  Maybe it’d be easier to just buy everything we need, even if it’s only for that one time.  But what I think trumps the inconvenience is the fact that it brings us into community more.  (And of course I love having fewer possessions in my home but that’s another thing altogether.)  We are forced to interact with one another and live in community.  It usually prompts discussions and check-ins and we find out more about the other person than we otherwise would’ve.  We get a chance to step outside of ourselves.

So I shared with my daughter that for right now, she doesn’t need a computer.

Does she now have this grand appreciation for everything she owns?  Does she have a heart full of gratitude and a desire to share all her possessions with others?  Probably not.  But it’s these intentional conversations we have with our kids over and over and over again that will hopefully result in some heart change.

Let’s set a good example and share what we have with others, building community in the process.  And take advantage of these teachable moments with the kids in our lives because whether we realize it in the moment or not, it’s all getting inside those little hearts.  

Nurturing their gifts

Nurturing their gifts

Sometimes it’s difficult to fight the urge to not want to create little mini versions of myself.  It’d be so much easier if all my kids were wired in the same way as me so we could all just “get” each other.  They’d understand why I need things to stop being so loud sometimes, why I need some space, why when I get an idea I get the urge to just hop on it before my creativity is gone.  But of course I also know that’d be a recipe for disaster.  None of us would remember anything, we’d have unbalanced bank accounts, and we’d likely have too much excitement going on that it’d scare people off.  So it’s good that we’re all different, with each of my kids showcasing passions and gifts that are wired within me but also ones in my husband . . . and some of their own altogether.  The tough part is remembering that I need to be nurturing their true selves, even when it feels unnatural for me.

Case in point My 5-year-old wanting to plan a party for every single person she knows.  Just because it’s Fall.  Oh wait, no because it’s Halloween.  Heck, how about a party for both?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about planning.  I want things to be organized and well thought out.  I don’t like last-minute plans being made.  This is one reason my husband and I get along well.  We both like to be early (definitely not late but even on time is a little nerve-wrecking for us).  But sitting through all the details of planning something can become boring quickly.  And planning a party for a ton of people?  That’s hair-raising.  Having just one or two couples over for a meal is good for me.  I can handle that.  I have no desire to host some big event or plan it.  I’ll leave that to my super extroverted and planning-savvy husband.

But my daughter has captured pieces of both of us.  And so she got an idea in her head and can’t get it out (me) and she is in ultra-planning mode thinking through all the details every single day of her life until it happens and she can close that box (my husband).

When Lily said she wanted to have a party, she immediately had to start talking about it in detail.  Without help, she was coming up with a food list, a decorations list, and those she wanted to invite.  Of course it was organized on a piece of paper and she was thinking about where she could purchase her party supplies and food.  She literally wanted to invite like every single person she knew.  It became a bit too much for my somewhat-introverted self.  But I wanted to nurture her gifts and passions.  I know she likes to plan things and I know she would be around people 24/7 if she could but I simply can’t let her.

So I said, “You know what hunny?  I think Daddy would be a great person to plan this party with.  Daddy loves to plan and he’s really good at making sure all the details are thought through.”

Dodged that bullet.  #delegationatitsbest

They sat down and narrowed the list down to 12 guests, 3 sweet foods, 1 savory, 3 drinks, and supplies.  Then I was able to help by bringing Lily shopping for her party and making sure we got all the invitations to everyone.

She spends her rest time in the afternoon making preparations (which means making piles for each guest and some special hand-made treats for them).  She goes over her list on a daily basis to make sure she hasn’t forgot anything.  She has created a space for all of her party supplies so she knows exactly where everything is and stays organized.  It’s insane and yet precious.

So why am I telling you all this?  Because we need to remember to allow our kids the opportunities to use their wings to fly in the areas that they are capable and willing.  It sometimes means making a sacrifice on our part but it is beautiful when our kids can take flight and soar, isn’t it?

Tomorrow is the “big day” and you know what I get to do the day after?  Attend an intimate wedding of a dear friend and enjoy the celebration and not plan a single part of it.  The timing couldn’t be better.  🙂

For the record, my prediction is that in the future our family will be like the Partridge Family but in the event planning business.  We’ll see how things turn out.
Joe: CEO/Director of AVL
Lily: Event Planner/Booking Manager
Colby: Bookkeeper
Me: Communications/Marketing
Leila: Artist 
New Baby: TBD

Family Breakfast Intention

Family Breakfast Intention

Ok I have a confession.  I would totally get on my husband about letting my kids watch so much TV when he was primarily at home with them back when I worked full-time outside the home.  Self-righteous for sure.  But the longer I’m at stay-at-home-parent, the more I find myself resorting to the TV babysitter to give me a break, especially when I’m feeling on edge (like when I don’t get my uninterrupted 1.5 hours in the morning before my kids wake up).

Yep, I confess to you that I have on too many an occasion resorted to turning on the TV instead of engaging with my kids.

(Here’s where you say, “Me too!” even if it’s a lie so you can make me feel better.  I can totally overlook the lying without judgment in a case like this.)

But time and time again, I am reminded that the more my kids watch TV, the worse our days are.  I know there are studies out there that prove it too but I ignore that sometimes because it’s easier. [Read more…]

I Love My Kids: Jan 2015

Leila (our 3rd) is already almost 8 months so I guess it’s time for the latest edition of what I love about my kids.  In case you’re new to this, I do a post every few months (ideally about twice a year), sharing what I love about each child, highlighting their individual characteristics, quirks, and things that make me laugh and smile.  It’s my way of keeping a record since I don’t do scrapbooks or baby books . . . because I just don’t remember.  🙂  So here’s the latest!

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Lily, I love that:

you sing your heart out about 3/4 of your day (the other 1/4 you’re sleeping, or so we think).

you can make up a song on the fly and often times, it’s not too shabby.

you love making cards for anyone and everyone.  You’re super thoughtful.

you love praying.  You always prayer for Sristy, our Compassion Child, and have the sweetest prayers.  You’re a marathon prayer but we’re okay with it. 🙂

you love to learn and that’s an understatement.  May we foster that and never quench that thirst in you.

you have an impeccable memory, still.  Seriously, it’s like out of this world.

you are a planner.  It will serve you well as you grow, even if you take it to an extreme sometimes now.

you can make your baby sister smile just by looking at her.  She’s obsessed with you.

you are such an encourager.

you are really maturing with how you respond (usually) and taming your emotions.  It makes you much more lovable. 🙂

while it can be annoying, you are very particular and it serves you well (and will continue to) in a lot of ways.  You’re organized, neat, make your own bed without being asked, and know how you like things.

you love people and are a super extrovert.  You become friends with everyone and love putting on shows.

you love to read.  I’m so glad you finally can read a good chunk of words because you can do this on your own more now, but I’ll always enjoy reading with you. 🙂

you are finally expanding your taste buds a bit.  I thought this would never happen.

you are so helpful.  You almost always jump on the opportunity to help.

Lily

 

Colby, I love that:

you still talk adorably.  Sure, it’s another dialect altogether and needs to be learned but cute nevertheless.

you are so touchy-feely.  It makes a mama’s heart melt.

you love puzzles.  It’s cute to see how excited you get when you finish one.

you are obsessed with your baby sister.  She doesn’t so much like when you try to hold her hand but it’s cute you love her so much you always want to touch her in the most gentle way.

you are always looking out for Leila.  You put her bottle in the sink when she’s done and console her when she’s sad.  You love pushing her around in her walker and giving her toys to play with.

you so love your Popi, always wanting to make pictures for him and him only.

you are following after your sister and constantly talking about the Yordy’s.  We think they’re pretty amazing too.

you love to help put dishes away, clean, and are great at putting toys away when you’re in the mood. 🙂

you all of the sudden say, “You faking me.”  We still don’t get it but it’s cute.

you still haven’t quite given us a hint at what you’ll be into as you grow.  You’re a mystery.  What we do know is it probably won’t be artistic or involve sitting for long periods of time. 🙂

you love Trey, aunt Stephy’s fiance.  When he visits, it’s apparent we need some more testosterone in this house for you.

you are obsessed with lights.  Christmas was fun with you getting excited over even just one strand on a house.  Love the low expectations, bud.

you love sleeping.  You may say you don’t want to go to bed but as soon as you agree, your head hits the pillow and we don’t have any struggle with you.

you are like your mama in that you enjoy your alone time.  It’s funny when you tell me you want people to go home or I see you go off by yourself when you’ve had enough of big crowds.  I feel ya, kid.

you love trains.  Daddy loves it too.  Sorry I’m no help with the track-building process but that just means it’s a good father-bonding project.

Colby

Leila, I love that:

you can finally sit up and roll over and even make crawling attempts (backwards nevertheless but it’s a step).

you almost never cry.  Still.  Seriously, where did you come from?

just like your siblings, you initially fall asleep with your hands behind your head.  So random.

you pretty much have a wide open mouth for 75% of your waking hours.  You’re just happy, we’re sure, but we’re wondering if maybe you’re playing some kind of catching game that we haven’t figured out yet.  Do you have some insect friends we haven’t met?

you love everyone.  You’re not shy and will go to anyone without tears.

you don’t give us trouble with sleeping (yet).

you laugh at the big Dora plush toy.  And when Dora is on TV.  It’s pretty cute.

you love your Daddy to pieces.  At dinner you just want him to look at you and you’re content.

you love being in the mix of things.  We can already tell you’re super social and we’re okay with that.

you love pianos.  Another music-lover in the family is always okay by us.

you are so ticklish.  And you rub your eyes when being tickled.  So strange but funny.

you are so goofy already.  You love jumping like a crazy kid and making this deep growling sound.  You mimic and love bouncing and flailing your arms.  You once were super chill and now you’re a jumping bean but we love it.

Leila

We hit the jackpot with you three.  We’re excited to see how you all mesh over the next few months, especially as Leila learns how to try to share your toys without verbalizing yet. 🙂  Here’s to a great year!

The #1 Best Potty Training Tip

I’m no expert and I know that some people have had tremendous success using various techniques with potty training.  Kudos to them!  For the rest of us who aren’t so lucky, this is for you. 🙂

Pottytrainingtip

This is the most frustrating part of early childhood, in my opinion.  Anyone else with me?   I know people say most kids won’t go to Kindergarten with a diaper on but I’ve wondered if my kids would be the exception.  I’d sit there and watch them do a 40-piece puzzle in a matter of minutes, be able to identify not only all the letters but spout out their sounds, and even be incredibly trustworthy for their age when it comes to the baby . . . yet consistently use the toilet?  That’s a whole other story.

While I haven’t gone so far as to pick up a book on potty training (I’m sure they exist), I have spent more time than I’d like to admit reading articles, asking the Facebook community, and talking with friends about how to best get my kids potty trained.  I’ve shed some tears cleaning up yet another accident, cleaning poop out of underwear, and gone so far as thought maybe those crazy toilets that make noises or better yet the ones with ipad holders just may be worth it (I resisted, don’t worry).

Let’s just say this has been a big thing for us.  And my 4 year old no longer has accidents (though occasionally I’m sure she will) and she stays dry even through the night unless we were out late and she had something to drink later in the evening.  My son, who just turned 3, has been staying dry all day and even many nights.  Occasionally he’ll use the Pull-Up for its intended purpose but generally-speaking, we’re in the clear.   [Read more…]

5 Tips for Fostering Kindness

Kindness is something we should be living out ourselves and teaching the younger generation all year long.  But I think we can use holidays as a platform to really emphasize the importance.  It’s already being discussed in one way or another so why not capitalize on that?

My 4 year old daughter, Lily, has a precious heart.  She prays for our Compassion Child and wants to send her dress up clothes.  At dinner, she prays that kids would have houses, good food, and everything they need.  It warms my heart.

And then she has this “gimme” side that comes out, where she thinks that if she wants something we can just go to the store and buy it . . . today.

I’ve been very intentional about trying to foster a thankful and kind spirit especially in her so we can work on this now, rather than when she’s 13 asking for the iPhone 20, claiming she needs it or will die.  And I have seen progress for sure.

So here are some ideas that we have either lived out ourselves or I found recently and will be trying out.  Hopefully this helps you (as a single, a couple, or a family–the ideas are not limited to doing with kids!) as you dive into this season of giving and thankfulness. [Read more…]

Being a Brother: A Letter to My Son

I’ve seen this bond develop between my son and our youngest daughter that is too precious for words.  People warned us that there would likely be jealousy . . .  but I’m finding just the opposite.  There is this overwhelming love my son has for his baby sister.  It is as if she has instilled a desire in him to be a man, at 2 years old.

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She cries and you rush over to her.

If there’s a storm, you tell her, “It’s okay, don’t be scared, I’ll keep you safe.”

If she’s in the swing, you stand beside her, (usually) gently pushing her.

If she’s laying on the floor, you’re laying beside her.

If she’s sitting in the bumbo, you’re sitting next to her, holding her hand.

You wants pictures with her and want to share your toys with her.

If you hurt her accidentally, I can see you take on all her pain by looking at your face.

You shower her with hugs and kisses (and of course, lots of feet touching . . . still).

You talk to her to make her smile and you light up when she does, making both your days (and mine).

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This may not last forever, son.  I know you will get upset with her when she’s able to take toys away from you . . . and when she’s learning how to be gentle and accidentally (or maybe purposefully) hurts you.  I know you will likely get into screaming matches and you will eventually feel “too cool” for her as you get older.

And, so, it is my desire that your Daddy and I can nurture this love you have for your baby sister right now . . . that it will continue to grow and get rooted deeper and deeper.  I hope that you will continue to love her and protect her (especially when it comes to the mean kids she may face and the boys who don’t respect her).  I want her to know that you will always be there for her, even if you don’t always see eye-to-eye, knowing that even if your Daddy and I are no longer here, she has you to take care of her.  I hope you will open doors for her, take her out, and show her that chivalry is not dead.  As she grows, I want her to hear her Daddy tell her she’s beautiful and for you to follow in his footsteps.  I hope that you will stand up for her when she needs it, encourage her even if she doesn’t think she needs your affirmation, and challenge her to do what’s right.  I hope that as she’s looking for a future husband, that she will look for someone like you because you will have shown her that all hope is not lost when it comes to finding a man who loves Jesus first and will treat her with the utmost respect she deserves.  May she not settle for anything less because she knows no differently from you.

You’re a wonderful big brother and I know that if you keep loving her like you’re doing now, she won’t be able to help but continue loving you back.  May your bond go stronger each day and may you not forget the importance of that bond and the crucial role you play in her life now and forever.

 

 

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To my 3 munchkins

This is kind of a “what I love about my kids” post but in a different format since I just did one not too long ago.  🙂
So we had Leila (baby #3) in the middle of May and I kind of feared for my life . . . that someone would have a jealousy issue.  When Colby (#2) was born, Lily just loved him and we didn’t have any problems with jealousy that I can recall.  They were born fairly close together so maybe it’s because Lily didn’t have much time to get too used to being by herself.

Now Leila has come along and I thought someone might act out.  While both Lily and Colby have their difficult days (nothing out of the norm), we haven’t dealt with any crazy jealousy (yet).  They are just in love with Leila.  So here’s a little “tribute” of sorts to my now three munchkins.


Lily . . . you are a fantastic big sister, always talking to Leila in a sweet, high-pitched voice.  You are often saying things like, “Aw, you love me you sweet little girl.  You just love me.  It’s okay Leila, don’t cry.”  You love holding her and have learned to say, “I’m done” rather than just dropping your arms (thankfully you learned that quickly).  You are so gentle with the baby and enjoy helping to burp her.  Before Leila was born, we seemed to be butting heads a lot.  But since she’s come into this world, a real sweetness in you has emerged, coupled with a gentler spirit.  You still have your moments of course (after all, you’re MY child so naturally you are going to let your emotions get the best of you), but I’m so enjoying this other side of you and hope that our relationship continues to grow stronger as a result.

Colby . . . you are in love with your baby sister.  You have been shocking me with how well you are with her.  I don’t have to worry about you being too rough with her.  You may like to try to pick her up sometimes but you always listen when I say that’s mommy’s job.  I think you believe your sole job in life right now is to find the pacifier.  As soon as Leila fusses, you’re running to her rescue by finding a pacifier, keeping track throughout the day of where one is.  She actually doesn’t LOVE the pacifier as much as you think she does, but it’s sweet that you do what you can to help calm her.  You ask to hold her sometimes but more than anything, you like playing with her feet (surprise surprise, my foot fetish man).  You lay on the floor or couch with her, sucking your thumb, and rubbing her feet.  It’s a little weird but it’s still adorable.  You love talking to her in a sweet voice and can often be found giving her kisses on the head.  You’re just a little lovebug.

Leila . . . you poor thing, being thrown into our loud world.  You are a trooper!  You’re a fantastic sleeper already, at almost 2 months old, following in the steps of your siblings.  You used to be able to sleep through all their craziness but those times have passed.  Thankfully, though, we swaddle you and you’re golden (seriously, whoever invented those pre-made swaddles is a genius).  You also love being outside or on the changing table (I still can’t figure out what you’re staring at).  You are a ridiculously laid back kid.  Sure, you cry sometimes but overall, you are relaxed and not phased by much.  But you sure are squirmy!  I wonder if you’ll skip crawling and go right to walking.  You love being on your belly or, even more so, sitting up, not so much being laid on your back unless you’re swaddled and going to sleep (or eating of course).  By the way, speaking of eating, you’re a champ with the bottle.  Thanks for making that transition easy peasy.  I can stick any bottle in your mouth and you’ll drink from it.  You love when I touch your upper lip–I get a smile every time.  And oh that hair!  You have this mohawk that can’t be tamed.  You’re a rockstar in training.  Don’t worry, we’ve got pictures for your wedding day all lined up.  Most importantly, you are in love with us all.  You are smiling more and more these days and it makes our hearts melt.  I can sing you, “Good morning” and you light up.  Lily or Colby can come up and say hello and you shower them with smirks.  And all you need to hear is Daddy’s voice and you’re a happy girl.  Thanks for reminding us that it’s the small things that can bring us joy.

Love you munchkins!