MOMS club Easter Egg Hunt!

Each year my MOMS club has an egg hunt. We have never been able to attend even though this is our third Easter since we joined. Today was our first one! It was, of course, raining. But that didn’t stop us! This was the first egg hunt that I’ve really thought Elias understood what was going on. It was pretty fun to watch him. Simon had no clue what to do and mostly just sat in the grass getting his pants soaked, or follow his brother around. We made sure he got some eggs.

Here are some pics of the boys waiting for the hunt to start:

P1170475 P1170481The whole brave crew:

P1170484The hunt is on!

P1170490Checking out the loot:

P1170497 P1170500Warming up with a coffee date with friends.


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The 85 Tulips

Nathan and I wanted to make sure to get down to the Tulip Festival in Woodburn this year. We have really enjoyed it the last two years, and this weekend looked like it might have been our only chance. We packed a picnic, and headed down I-5 after church toward the tulips. It was a beyond gorgeous day…and a lot of other people had our same idea. Nathan ended up jumping out of the car while we were stopped in traffic and grabbing our picnic lunch to eat in the car. The only good thing about the long car ride was that Simon got a longer nap. He was pretty sick.

Eventually, we made it, found a parking spot, and started trekking to the fields. On the way, I asked Elias how many tulips he thought there would be. He replied, “I don’t know, I guess we’ll see.” So I asked him if he thought there would be more than 100. He said, “No, there will be 85. The whole rest of the day as we viewed the fields, he said there were 85 tulips. What a cutie.

I took way too many pictures of my boys amongst the tulips. I think I took about 100. No exaggeration. The tulips were so beautiful, the day was so beautiful, and we were just enjoying being together. Don’t worry, I have painstakingly narrowed them down here for this post. So without further ado….our tulips trip in pictures:

Once he saw the fields, Elias got very excited. He ran right up to the flowers and pointed out his favorites. He was drawn to yellows a lot.

P1170341 P1170348I helped Elias take this picture:

P1170328We had Simon in the ergo at first to keep him contained. We didn’t want to do any damage to the flowers. He was quite unhappy in there, however, especially since he could see his brother romping around. So we let him out…and tried to wrangle him/herd him/keep him out of trouble…we were partially successful.

P1170375P1170396 P1170403Elias got very into it. Here he is smelling a flower.

P1170390And pretending to eat one….

P1170413And gazing off into the beauty of God’s creation…

P1170411Like I said before, Simon was pretty sick. We found out the next day that he had another double ear infection. But I think he still had a good time.

P1170414Family shot.

P1170420Simon is trying to come and steal my camera:

P1170423The view of the mountain was also gorgeous. Here are a couple different angles.

P1170426 P1170452And Elias again….

P1170442After this, Elias had finally had enough. He wanted to see more, but was too tired to walk any longer. I wore him in the ergo. Simon was majorly jealous so I ended up carrying them both for awhile. Daddy made me stop for a picture. Look how satisfied they are with themselves.

P1170458And one last picture…Daddy and Simon shortly before we started the trek back to the car.

P1170462I am super excited because this year we can order some bulbs for our yard. Of all the beautiful plants we have, there are no tulips! We are thinking of yellow for Elias and Nathan wants purple. What a fun day! One that is especially nice to remember on a dreary day like today!


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Reflections on Motherhood: “Mom”

Elias has started shortening names of his loved ones. I don’t know where it came from. Perhaps he noticed that sometimes we call him “Eli” instead of Elias and picked it up that way. He calls Daddy “Dad” and Nana “Nan” and Baba “Bob”…..and he calls me “Mom.”

Now we’re not talking every single time here. It’s not like he completely cut the word “Mommy” from his vocabulary. I still get called Mommy quite often. But I have to say….I do not like being called Mom.

The first time he called me ‘Mom’ I said to him, “I’m Mommy.” But it did not good. I’ve never actually discouraged it because it’s not like he’s calling me by my first name or anything. But I just don’t like it.

Mom is a name that big kids call their Moms. Little kids say Mommy. Big kids say Mom. I don’t want to be Mom yet.

A little piece of my heart shrivels up and dies every time I hear him call me ‘Mom.’ I mean….I guess that is a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic here. But also maybe I’m just not ready for this change. I want my little boy to stay little just a bit longer.

So for now, I try to embrace it when he calls me Mom as a sign of his growth and all of the new and exciting opportunities which will come up for him in the next few years and beyond. But boy do I treasure it every time he calls me Mommy. I never know when it will be the last time.

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Spring Cookies!

On the final afternoon and evening of Elias and Simon’s visit with their cousins, we made sugar cookies and decorated them. I try to do this with Elias two or three times a year at least, and it was fun to do with more helping hands.

Elias and Audrey were interested through the entire process. Sonya wasn’t much impressed with the dough making or cookie cutting process, but when the time for making frosting and decorating came, she jumped right in. It was fun and cute to see all of the kids’ creations.

Here are Audrey and Elias preparing the dough for cutting. It was fun for me to work with someone who can actually roll the dough. I had to help Audrey a couple times to get the dough even, but for the most part she did a really excellent job. I have much to look forward to in just a few short years!

P1170274We made a bunch of flowers and butterflies and bunnies and eggs, but Audrey wanted to make a cookie in the shape of her hand. I thought it was such a cute idea, and I would never have thought of it. I used a knife to cut around her hand. Then, she did the same for Elias. Cute!

P1170277Look at what a mess my child can make! Flour flour everywhere!

P1170278We took a break after baking for dinner. Then we came back to make homemade frosting. Here is Audrey mixing in the color with Elias and Sonya watching on.

P1170288The three kids had a lot of fun decorating. Look at this intense focus!

P1170289Simon didn’t get to decorate, but he had fun nonetheless because I let him eat a few chocolate chips and a few butterscotch chips. What a treat!

P1170297Here is Elias decorating his hand cookie. Look at that minimal frosting. He is my child through and through.

P1170301Taste the goodness. After all the hard work, Sonya is rewarded. She actually usually doesn’t like frosting so it was fun to see her try it!

P1170309I will probably be finding sprinkles in my kitchen for months. But it was worth it as always. What a fun way to spend time together.

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A Day At The Park

Friday was such a beautiful day that we just had to get outside. Elias and Simon had a fun morning at the park with their cousins. Simon climbed up and slid down all by himself a few times. Elias tried a few obstacles on the larger play structure that he had never tried before. I was proud of my boys and they had a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures to prove it!

P1170217 P1170224 P1170228 P1170249

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Zoo Trip With Cousins!

It was fun to go to the zoo with our family this week. Elias not only has a great time with his cousins, but he seems to take more risks when he is with them. During a normal zoo trip, he refuses to go through the tunnel/slide in the northwest, and refuses to climb on the lion statues. It was fun to see him get out of his shell a bit. Here was our zoo trip in a few pictures:

Can you tell he is nervous? But he is trying it…that is what is important here!

P1170122Cousin love during our stop for a picnic.

P1170132Simon and Nana clapping.

P1170135Viewing the elephants from afar during construction.

P1170152Sonya and Elias were more interested in a leaf.

P1170153Elias’ zoolander look as we stopped for a snack.

P1170165The three musketeers.


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Cousins Visit!

We’ve had a wonderful week around here! I think it may have been one of the best weeks of Elias’ life. He was just in heaven having his two cousins staying at our house for a spring visit. The house was so full of life and love and giggles. Auntie Erin, Audrey, and Sonya arrived last Saturday afternoon, and stayed until this morning. They left about two minutes before I took Elias to swimming. In those two minutes, the house was just so quiet. Two little boys can make a lot of noise…but four sweet little ones can make even more! It made me want to have more kids.

We had a couple bigger events which I will write about in separate posts, but we also spent a lot of time just having fun at home. The weather cooperated beautifully, and we were able to get outside quite a bit. The boys didn’t really need any time to “get to know” their cousins again. The four of them started off playing really well.

Simon spread the Dodger love:

P1170050The kids enjoyed playing in the tunnel a lot! After crawling through, Audrey came up with the “monster” idea. At one point, Elias, Audrey, and Sonya were all in the tunnel together. I thought I had gotten a picture of it, but I guess I only took video. Oh well. I was slightly worried they would trip or fall over, but listening to their giggles, it was hard to say no. Here is Elias being a monster by himself:

P1170047We played ball out in the driveway. After a bit, they got tired of it. The girls collected flowers. Elias climbed and jumped off the utility boxes in the corner of the yard, and Simon made a game of trying to run into the street. Too bad my boys can’t learn a lesson from their cousins about how to sit still for just a couple of minutes!

P1170059We had a movie night. Frozen is pretty huge right now with the girls, and we had never watched it. We got out the old stir crazy and had popcorn while watching the movie. Simon got tired of being ignored somewhere in the middle and brought every noisy toy he could think of into the room where we were watching the movie. But we made it through nonetheless. It was definitely a good movie. I enjoyed it, and it has a good message, but I don’t really see what all the hype is about.

P1170068The kids read books together too. Audrey, finishing first grade, is quite the accomplished reader for her age. Elias really enjoyed having Audrey read to him…and Simon did too!

P1170205They built forts! One morning while I was cleaning up a bit from breakfast, I was also listening to the kiddos playing together in the other room. They rigged up a set of boxes and covered it with blankets, and took turns being in the fort. Simon even got his turn eventually. Here is Sonya popping out of the fort.

P1170072Bubbles were also a fun activity we enjoyed more than once. Audrey and Elias tried many different types of bubbles, including the ones Elias got from his preschool teacher as an Easter present!

P1170255P1170262After all the bubbles were gone we let Simon play with the leftovers.

P1170265He showed us what he thought of being given an empty bottle.

P1170269It’s good for the boys to be exposed to girl things. Sparkles and princesses. Headbands. One morning the girls were trying to get Simon to wear a headband. He wasn’t having it. He took them off so fast I couldn’t even get a picture. Oh well.

P1170077It was such a great week. The cousins will be missed!

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Little Boy Jeans

Look at these jeans:

P1170040That is the knee of Elias’ jeans.

When did my baby grow up into a little boy who gets holes in the knees of his jeans? I thought I had a few more years at least!

I noticed in the late afternoon that Elias had a hole in his jeans. When I asked him about it, he really did not want to talk about it. I don’t know if he was traumatized from the fall, or thought I would be mad that he ruined his jeans, or just didn’t care to talk about clothes….but he wasn’t having it. So…it is a mystery.

I half want to keep these jeans forever as another momento of his transition into little-boy hood. And I half am just frustrated that I can’t keep them anymore as a hand-me-down!

He is growing up too fast!

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Reflections on Motherhood: The Lie

I always swore that I would never lie to my kids in order to manipulate them to do something I want. I was one of those people without kids who judged parents. I’d hear a mother in the store: “Come on, Johnny…..It’s time to leave…..Ok bye. We’re leaving.” (Parent pretends to leave the child behind). I always hated that. Like a parent would ever purposely leave their child behind! How manipulative! It’s such a short-sighted way to parent. What are you going to do when the child is old enough to figure out that you won’t leave them behind?

As you can see….I’m still passionate about the subject. When I had my first child, I was still firm in my resolve to never lie to my child to manipulate him. And I never did. For awhile. Yes. That’s right. I’ve fallen. I’ve fallen into the ranks of the liars. Many things change when you become a parent. But I still don’t think it’s right.

I’ve fallen and I’m confessing it here to everyone on earth except the one to whom it matters. Here’s what happened:

Elias is a very picky eater. Lots of other parents try to say that their child is picky too. Yeah right. You don’t got anything on my son. Don’t even try complaining to me about picky eating. So…as a result…going to restaurants is not very enjoyable for us. A few weeks ago we were at McGrath’s for my brother’s birthday celebration. As we looked over the menu trying to decide what we might be able to coax him to eat, I noticed that pears were a choice for a side. There was nothing on the menu that I knew Elias would eat….but I thought to myself…”Hmmm….pears kind of look like apples. They taste sort of similar to apples. Elias likes apples. I’ll just tell him they are apples and he will eat them!”

See….I should have seen right there that that would be a lie. A lie told to manipulate my son. But I did it anyway because I just wanted him to eat something.

The food came and I pointed out his apples. My mom even unknowingly tried to help me out. She exclaimed…”Ohhhhh Elias! You have pears!” I quickly explained to her that they were apples …..not pears….and she looked at me confused but didn’t say anything else.

Elias picked up the pear. He took a bite. He looked at the pear a bit funny. He took one more bite. And he said, “Those apples are not good.”

Well so much for the plan….it got two bites out of him. It was a bummer, but I quickly forgot about it…until the next day. The next day at lunch I served Elias apples for lunch. He wouldn’t eat them.

Noooooooo! I thought I had ruined one of the few foods he does eat. I tried to explain that those were at the restaurant and the ones on his plate were yummy home apples. It didn’t do any good.

At lunch the next day I offered apples again. Elias did not want to eat them, but I finally convinced him to take one bite, and he decided to eat them all. Phew!

We went to McGrath’s on March 22nd. I’ve offered Elias apples almost every single day since them. And every single day he says, “those restaurant apples were not good. these are not restaurant apples.” I have to assure him every day that these are the good home apples before he will eat them. Every. Single. Day.

What have I done? I have given my son a complex about apples just because I was trying to exert power. Trying to manipulate. What kind of mother am I? What am I teaching him?

It’s a teeny tiny lie about a couple pear slices for goodness sakes, but it has become a big deal for me. Mothering is not only in the big things. Mothering is in the small things too. In the day to day life. The small conversations. The small tasks. No moment is too small to teach your child what it means to be a good person.

So I am trying to renew my commitment here not to lie to my child. Ever. Period.

And the next time he brings up the restaurant apples, I am going to confess to him what I did. I don’t know if he will understand or not. But teaching my child how to own up to mistakes has to start some time. Let it start for me today.

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Easter Art Projects

Ever since my second child was born, I always want to do more with the kids. More art. More reading. More letter of the day or other such activities. I especially wished I did more to help Elias observe advent, but since we moved among other things, it got a bit overlooked. So here we are in lent. I wish I could say we were doing something really cool and Elias was learning a whole lot. But….no. I did manage to print out a visual for the 40 days of lent, and he gets to put a dot marker dot on each day. He can see us getting closer to the cross….and the resurrection.

The other day when he put his dot for the day on the sheet he traced his finger over the remaining blank squares and said, “only this and this and thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis and Jesus will be here! I think Jesus will actually come tomorrow. I want him to come tomorrow.”

Me too, buddy. Me too.

But anyway….I digress.

I’ve been wanting to do more to prepare Elias for Easter so that he can really understand (or be closer to understanding) what it means when the day arrives. Since one or both of the boys have been sick for three weeks now, I am suffering from severe cabin fever. The rain is not helping. This morning we woke up with nothing to do and two sick boys. I decided to break out the Easter art! We did two Easter art projects today:

Project 1: The Cross

When Simon went down for his nap, I gathered some paper, paint, and masking tape. I taped a cross onto the paper, let Elias choose his paint colors, and let him at it. I asked him if he wanted to use a paint brush, a paint roller, or his fingers. He told me that I should choose so I chose the roller. He used that for about ten seconds, and then switched to his fingers. I think feeling the paint was therapeutic or something. He really got into it.

P1170019He was quite serious about filling the whole page.

P1170028They actually turned out quite stunning. I don’t think the picture below does them justice. If only the paper hadn’t rolled while drying. Maybe next time we’ll try it on a canvas, or perhaps I can try to flatten it under some heavy books. Anyway, here are the finished products:

P1170034Project 2: Crayon resist Easter Eggs

Later in the afternoon, it was time for another art project. I cut out some egg shaped papers, and got out the watercolors and a white crayon. We colored on the eggs with the white crayon first.

P1170030Then we painted over them to see our drawings magically appear.

P1170032This one was a bit of a dud with Elias. He did the project, but I think he was glad when he was finished. I thought it was super cool, but I guess they can’t all be winners. Here are his finished products. Elias did 3, and I did 1. Can you tell which one is mine?

P1170036This little monkey did a bit of art while we were painting eggs. I discovered about halfway through, though, that I wasn’t watching him close enough and he was mostly eating crayons, not coloring with them.

P1170033I looked in his mouth, and there was wax caked on the back of his front top teeth. Gross. It was not easy to get off! I spent about five minutes scraping and rubbing his teeth with a washcloth, getting bitten every few seconds. Once it hurt so bad that it brought tears to my eyes! That little rascal! Needless to say…this one won’t be using crayons again for awhile.

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