My reason for this blog…

Living in California means living away from our family.  I never want my family to miss a beat as our children grow up; as long as God has us here in Southern California.  It is so important to me that they know every milestone, every step of their growth like we’re not even apart.

There are so many things that I want my children to have and one thing is a diary of their childhood. When God one day blesses them with their own, they will be able to look back and get hairy details and hopefully God-given wisdom that he has blessed me with.

I also want my friends and family to be encouraged through my struggles of parenting and life and see Christ working through me, changing me to be more like HIM.

But mostly I pray that this blog glorifies the Lord in my speech, in raising my children, in being a wife, mama, daughter, sister and friend.

So Enjoy!

All my love,

Staci

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Chasey… the days of FOUR are coming to an end!!

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Wow!  I don’t know where to begin.  This kiddo can make me laugh, smile, cry and yell all in the same hour!  He is so full of fire and energy.  He is a passionate little boy with determination and energy.  The cuteness is never ending.  Little words that come out of his mouth are priceless.  Chase has had a great year learning more about the world around him, homeschooOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAling with his brother and sister and being apart of a couple homeschool co-ops this year.  He joined gymnastics this year and is doing great.  He cracks me up with his questions… “Daddy, where do I put my banana wrapper?” (aka banana peel) or his gun is broken so he takes it to Daddy and asks if we can go to .comgun to get it fixed.  Chase is still the wildfire child that keeps me on my toes.  He is crazy fun and I am desperately trying to win the days back as I watch him get older.  He comes to me… mama will you pway with me??  He is asking so many questions about the world and everything around him trying to understand how things work in this world.  The other day he asked… “Mama are all the Cwistmas people just pwetend?”  I said, “do you mean Santa and Frosty the snowman?”  He said “yes”.  I said “yes Chasey they are all pretend but we can still have so much fun pretending.  But remember what Christmas is really about.  Who is Christmas really about Chasey? Do you remember someone that is not pretend and the whole reason why we celebrate Christmas?”  His little eyes light up and he smiles big and says “baby Jesus?”  I can’t believe he is almost five years old!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe is in preschool this year and he is having so much fun!  You will find him with three superhero capes on wearing a superhero mask swinging in our front yard with the capes flying behind him or making crazy noises as he races his cars through the house or even making mud soup with his brother and sister in our back yard.  He is a complete opposite from his mellow older brother.  I love how God challenges me with him just as soon as I thought….boys are easy, I can do this!  He is very outgoing, the first to want try something, win something, do something.  He is super strong but has an amazing sweet heart.  By now I usually have another little one in tow, but it has been fun slowing down from my chaotic life to just watch him play or cherish his littleness.  His favorite things to do are setup crazy hot wheel car tracks with his brother and sister and see how far they can fly into my walls:(  He hides from Zach almost every night when he gets home from work and Zach wanders around the house looking for him and sneaks up on him and grabs him, but sometimes Chase is so fast he may have to chase him around the house a few times as he giggles himself to the floor and then his Dad tickles him to get a good belly laugh until he can’t breathe anymore.  Chase loves to swing and be outside and has a great need to be around people.  He is a very social kid.  He also loves music.  He sits at the piano and plays constantly.  He loves to hear himself play.  We have recently had a few friends over at different times that have been super impressed to hear him playing on the piano and thought it was one of the older kids playing.  He does not bang the keys, he actually plays the same notes over again and a few times I have heard him trying to replay songs he has heard that week.  I think he will be musical as he grows up, he is off to a great start!  He has had all three of us rolling when he blows the loudest raspberries on our bellies-Hilarious!

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Wearing the getalong shirt after they spent the morning fighting. They had to do their chores together working as a team. This was quite a site to see as they tried to put their laundry away having to rely on eachother and Chase not getting dragged by his big brother…

 

One of his favorite things to do is play “fight” with his older brother, where they wrestle and tickle each other.  “Hudson do you wanna pway fight?”  Oh how this relationship is still hard but beginning to change.  These two argue, bicker and frustrate each other like there is no tomorrow.  But lately for the first time in 4 years, they have began to play together on their own, being creative and playing things like”rocketship” stacking all the pillows on the couch, closing up the rocket over them and shooting each other to the moon.  They crazily chase each other around the house and are learning for the first time to “be friends” when they are not screaming at each other.  They especially love to turn on Tron, Ghostbusters and Crazy Frog and the Superman and Batman theme songs and dance all over the family room throwing pillows at each other and showing off their new moves.  They were superheroes this last year for Halloween (Chase was superman, Hudson was Batman) and since they share that same love, I let them pick out new bedding for their beds and decorated their room with a superhero theme.  Chase is turning five in just a couple weeks, I can’t believe it.  He is my youngest and it is hard to watch him grow up.  I forever want to hear his little voice and joke with my friends how I will be labeled as a awful homeschool Mom because I won’t correct him ever and want him to talk like he is four forever!  I sure love you Chasey!  

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Chasey… His year to be three!

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I have approximately three days until my little one turns four.  I just finished decorating the house tonight and hanging streamers and balloons with Daddy.   I can’t help but have such sadness in my heart, I don’t want him to grow up.  Tonight he came into us after our family movie night and says…”Mawma and Daddy why didn’t you get me my wacecar twack, I weally wanted one”.  With the absolute cutest voice and face ever (he doesn’t know we got him one) and I just looked at him and grabbed him and told him he was the cutest four year old ever!!!!  We are celebrating his bday tomorrow on my bday (true sacrafice of a mother) and  we decorate every bday with balloons and streamers every year…so he asked me today… Mawma… will you pwease decorwate my woom???  and I said, why Chasey??  He says… “because it makes me happy.”  I love it when he just looks at me and tilts his head and gives a big smile, it melts my heart.  The way the Lord has made this child melt my heart and then the next moment makes me want to pull my hair out.  We were at Michaels craft store and while we were there he managed to go out one of the exit doors and  just stood there at the second exit door as if he was waiting for a ride or something.  I went crazy as I was looking for him and glanced out the doors and saw him standing there, humming some song.  He has no fear.  I will never forget the time that I lost him in Kohls.  Dakota and I were going aisle after aisle yelling for him and I could hear him calling back at me, but could not find him.  I walk around the corner after some announcement over the intercom about a lost child and I see him in the biggest bright pink monster like slippers I ever saw with two old ladies, one on each side of him, holding his hands as he was managing to walk in these obnoxious slippers looking for me.  I was so mad but when I saw him, I could not stop laughing alongside both of the elderly ladies escorting him my way.  I wish so badly I would have taken a picture that day.  The two old ladies had the biggest smiles on their faces, he must have made their day.  He slightly is beginning to know his limits but rode his bike as soon as he turned three with no training wheels and is just an amazing extreme sport kid.  He is athletic, great eye-hand coordination.  I would love to get him into parkour someday!  I have spent so much of my time this year trying to tame this wild child.  He keeps me on my toes.  His personality is fiery.  He is now fighting back his brother after the last couple years.  It has grown much more tension between them because Chase knows how to push his buttons as well as his sisters.  He has become that naughty little brother and I am constantly having to shepherd him to be kind.  He also is all boy with a lot of energy.  The thoughts that come out of his head are priceless…”Mawma, my pee is gween because I ate a cucumbaw”, he told me one day.   “Alwhite”  is alright… a spoon is a “poon” and the is “da”.  “Hudson, your going to get a panking!”  aka spanking.  He gets so excited to do school with his brother and sister each day.  He works so hard on activity bags and his little preschool book.  His sister has been working with him this year.  “EEEWWW who tooted!”comes out of his mouth every hour when it is typically him that cuts the cheese… we tried to explain that when he does it, it is not right to bring it up to everyone!!  You will find Chasey having fun at our church co-op or riding his bike or playing baseball with Daddy or racing his cars all over the floor.  His cars are his most favorite toy.  I love when he puts on his superman cape and mask and runs around the house!!  He is a tough kid.  This last year, our family go so sick with the stomach flu and he was in the first wave with his brother and sister at the same time and it was incredible to see how he would deal with the sickness so differently than his older siblings.  He took the pain quietly and just submitted to the sickness while his siblings were moaning and screaming and trying to fight it!  There have been many nights that I would sleep with him whether he had bad dreams… or he did not feel well, but I loved those nights that I could just cuddle next to him

, I know these nights will be over soon:(  He loves to dance around the family room with the music of Frozen or Wreck it Ralph blasting.  He especially loves to dance to his VBS music he learned moves to last summer.  He never grows tired of it.  Everytime he has to put his laundry away, he asks me to put on the VBS music so he can listen to it while he works.  His favorite books are the little green Truck book where he can name off every single truck in there.  He loves mackemony and cheese, pizza, oranges and orange juice.  He makes green smoovies (smoothies) with Daddy every morning counting the carrots, tomatoes and spinach as he adds it all in.  Then after he drinks it, he says…”wook at  my muscles!”  He loves to help in the kitchen whenever he can.  He is my cheese shredder.  Hudson puts the cheese in and he pushes it down into the shredder.  He is strong, he amazes me with his strength.  He absolutely loves music.  He plays on the piano and listens to music and plays his guitar like there is no tomorrow!  His chores are to put his laundry away, put the silverware away in the dishwasher, put toys away, get dressed in the morning and make his bed.  He loves getting his game time when he finishes all of these things.  He loves to play board games with Daddy and wrestle with him too.  His most favorite thing is… “Daddy pwetend your asweep”… then Zach does and he runs back and forth past him before Zach will grab him and tickle him to death.  Another favorite thing is Daddy’s helicopter that he flies.  This little guy has never-ending tummy issues.  He constantly complains of a tummy ache and NEVER wants to go to bed!!  I am needing to get him checked out at the doctor at his four year check-up.  He did break his arm on our first Trinity Park Day… I will never forget it.  He jumped off a large playset and fell on his arm.  I knew no one at park day, but managed to leave an impression as I had to leave the park early with a screaming bolistic child only to return with him a couple weeks later with a full arm cast.  He still snorts those puppy dog ears and loves that blue blanket, but we managed to pull the binky a few weeks ago which was quite traumatic.  He is doing great now and has decided to give all binkies to Baby Emmett.  He cried horribly for one long night and one long nap the next day for it, but has overcome his binky addiction and now picks at his lips constantly??!?  Not sure which one is worse?  This past year we took a trip to Sea World, Zoo, Legoland, Wild Animal Park over a couple family trips.  We have enjoyed this new season of not having a baby.  Chase is much more independent along with the other children and so it has been a new season for Zach and I as we have much more freedom and sleep these days…  He potty trained this last year on Mothers Day while we were in Oxnard celebrating with friends, he decided he wanted to go potty in the hotel, so he did and never went back into diapers again!!  This was after I tried to train him already around 2 1/2.  Lets just say when it is time, it is time!!!  This kiddo has an incredible personality so different from the rest.  He is full of life…I pray he will come to know the Lord early in age.  I pray that God will use his athleticism for His glory and that the Lord will give me lots of time to enjoy him here on earth.  Well its 1am and Chasey will be up early ready to celebrate his big day!  What a birthday present I have… to celebrate this blessing the Lord gave me four years ago!!!  I can’t believe this year has flown.  I know I will be sitting here writing a post for his 4th year in no time!  I love you Chasey!! Welcome to the big world of four!!  Never stop holding our heads in your sweet little hands and giving us the biggest

Hudson is the BIG Five!!

We celebrated his 5th birthday at Disneyworld this year!  Wow what a birthday he had!  I have not seen him so happy as he was as he danced around with Jake, (The Neverland Pirates) and Handy Manny!  He became insanely obsessed with Mickey Mouse after this trip.  Its fun finally seeing him love something.  Over the past years, nothing has really excited him like Mickey does!  We watch all the old classic Mickey movies that were done years ago!  He is such a joy to me.  I love this little boy so much, I can’t stand it.

He has been difficult the last year and remains so much the complainer after you ask him to do just about anything, but I am determined to love the little boy to death and just love the complaining right out of his body!  He is a wonderful cuddle.  We have had so much fun doing kindergarten this year.  I began kinder to see how he would do because he wanted to do school like Dakota and he  has absolutely taken off and done so well!  We read so much together and he is quickly learning to read as well.  He still sucks on that crazy blankie of his and I can’t wait till this phase is over so I don’t have to peel off the wet blankies from the couch and the floor all the time.  The other day around my birthday we were going over how old everyone is.  He asked if I was seven?  I told him no, I am 35.  He says” ooooohhhh… thats old are you going to die?”  I just died laughing.  Then the other day we came back from Health and Safety day for Trinity where the kids all went from station to station to learn about things like, the dentist (how to care for our teeth), fire safety (what to do in case of a fire), earthquake safety(how to prepare for an earthquake, what to do in an earthquake), health and nutrition (what foods are good for us), and police (stranger danger, wearing helmet when biking).  We were on our way home and Hudson says…”Mama wut happens if your teef (teeth) catch on fire?”  “Oh, I know” he says, “You get da hose and you fill your mouf with water to put out the fire.”  He had definitely thought Health and Safety Day through!  I never want these cute comments to end.    Life with brother seems to continue to be a battle and now Little Chasey fights back!  So Hudson does not get away with much anymore.  He is learning to be an example to his little brother, to never hit no matter what.  He still gets very easily irritated with his brother.  He is very sensitive.  Every day is a battle of will with Hudson.  He hates to do anything.  He struggles with laziness more than anyone I  have ever met in my life.  I am praying the Lord works in him to change this area in his life.  I think possibly he is the pickiest eater I have ever met as well.  He will not eat cheese if it is melted and stringy.  He will not eat any meat except a hamburger.  No chicken, no pork, no beef.  Pasta has to be plain (only tomatoe sauce).  He does not want any butter on bread and hates it when food is too hot.  He thinks that when I heat up his food, I am doing it to spite him and to burn his mouth.  He refused to eat most meals, but will not complain about how hungry he is so I do not fight it.  He just waits patiently until morning when he goes to town on oatmeal and cereal.  His favorite meal is by far breakfast foods.  He gets to pick out the family lunch twice a week so at least he eats good then too.  I don’t think I was this picky.  But come to find out Zach was and I ask myself why do I have to suffer for his sin… ha ha.

Hudson’s anger has simmered a lot.  I am thankful for that!  I think as God has changed my heart he has changed Hudson’s as well.  He really is a good kid.  He is not a sneaky typical 5 year old boy.  He is very moral and is sure to do the right thing, I can trust him as I can Dakota.  I never worry that they are up to something.  Chasey has that covered..  ha ha.  He still has a peculiar way of playing with the most odd things.  He will take home anything you find to be trash and keep it as an absolute treasure.  Straws, paper plates, cups, napkins, things you would find on a floor in a department store all becomes very exciting for Hudson!  My purse is stocked full of these things that I regularly throw away and feel so bad when he asks me later that day.. “mama, did you throw away…” .  This year we bought him a bike.  He was never really into anything that would be a challenge for him.  We took him out riding at Balboa park as soon as we got his bike and he had a blast until he kept going down a hill and had gone out of control and fell off his bike.  Thankfully, he only had a bruise on his chin.  But I am finding that he needs to be pushed out of his comfort zone and finds he really ends up liking new things.  I can be thanked for that quality I passed onto him.  I hardly try new things and stick with what is comfortable.  He really is the child I find I did not get to truly enjoy his first few years.  Having more than one, your attention is divided and then little brother came along.  That is why I am so thankful the Lord is giving me back those years with him this last year.  We went out on a mommy date and he was so different and I felt like I could just pay attention to him and I enjoyed feeling like I was getting to know him better.  He was a different kid when he was alone with me.  I see how a middle child can feel overlooked.  I am trying so hard to fight that and stop to enjoy him as much as I possibly can.

Healthwise, he is doing better.  We found out last week  that he does not any longer have an egg allergy.  He still is allergic to peanuts and has new environmental allergies.  This was a bummer.  As far a development, he is up in the night with leg cramps and growing pains.  He is very tall for his age!  He is up to par with his peers after all the therapies and prayers.  He is my toughest cookie when it comes to being sick.  He does not complain when he is sick.  He just mans up and fights until I realize he has a high fever and then I feel bad because I did not know he was sick.

For the first time, Hudson has really made a couple good friends.  Austin is a new friend that he immediately hit it off with from our homeschool group, Trinity.  Ryan is another friend that goes to our church and is in a lot of his church classes.  He does not play a lot with others and I am thanking God that he has put these two boys in his life to teach him about friendship and what it means to be a friend and just enjoying others.  He tends to play on his own a lot.  This is an answered prayer!  This year he has enjoyed going to classes and has felt no separation anxiety which is another answer to prayers.

He is just growing up.  I love his little voice and all the ways he talks like he has an accent from New York.  He is so precious in so many ways and I can’t get enough of him.

Dakota is seven! My little baby girl is growing up…

cropped-20121124_0128_edit.jpgWow, it is unbelievable to me that she is so big!  I am amazed everyday by  her creations she will come up with.  She has incredible creativity and determination.  Every night I get hugs and nose kisses and she will not go to sleep until the deed is done.  She is in second grade this year and doing a beautiful job!  She is a very good reader and I am impressed at her love for reading!  I praise God for her good influence on her brothers.  She is a very hard worker.  These last few weeks of homeschooling she has been waking up and finishing quite a few subjects before I even am out of the shower and out.  I have her making lunches for her brothers each day and learning to cook simple meals for lunch each day.  She is learning so many things this year.  She has learned to roller skate, ice skate, play soccer, play softball this past year.  She has a gift to take music she hears and play it back on the piano with simplicity all by ear.  She loves to play the piano and her Daddy is teaching her, but she is determined to play by ear and not learn music.  She is a wonderful helper to this family.  She leads the boys in doing their chores.  Because she has gotten up each morning and began school, her brother Hudson will do the same thing each morning.  So I set out a worksheet for him to do as well.  Her chores have been to empty dishwasher, make her bed, clean up toys/room, put away laundry, set and clear the table.  She often exceeds my expectations with doing her chores without grumbling and complaining.  It is such a blessing.  She is the joy in our home, she makes everyone laugh and feel lighthearted.

God is teaching me so much through her. CONFESSION: I have truly put the things of this world above my children.  The stuff has become more important than the relationships with my little ones.  A few weeks ago Dakota had spilled some hand sanitizer on my new slipcovers I had just gotten a few weeks prior and I absolutely lost it and screamed at her in my anger.  She melted away into her room and had felt so bad.  It was my unending anger that told me where my heart was.  She did not mean to do it, it was an accident and not purposely done.  I acted as if it was done purposely.  Even so I cared more about the stupid slipcovers than my own daughter’s heart.  I had to just pray that the Lord would break me of this because I did not have any desire to reconcile with her for even a week after, but I did the very next day despite my feelings. I prayed the Lord would soften my heart and change me so that I would not prioritize the stuff over my family.  I am thankful for Dakota’s forgiving heart.  I pray that one day she will truly understand the forgiveness her Father in heaven has shown to us.  I thank God for using my children to draw out my sin and cause me to try to work on dying to myself.  I can tell you in the next week to come; the Lord continued to test me with “my stuff” as many things began to break as the week went on.  I had to just laugh by the time the fourth thing broke… Is this a joke Lord?

Back to my not so little girl… I have to post that we got matching shoes and I will put up a picture.  That is the fun stuff about having a little girl.  Even all the things I could do while she was little, I can’t do as much anymore.  Like pick out her clothes, do her hair.  I am having to let go already to my desires of what I want her to do and just fight the important battles.  I am needing to trust her and give her the independence she deserves.  I can trust her and I thank God for that.  I know this will be a struggle for me because I love to have my hand and control in every detail of life.  I still love the tickle fights as she runs around the house saying “no tickle, no tickle!”, I can’t even catch her anymore!   She has had her first few slumber parties and its so surreal having the talks about what is appropriate and what is not.  I hate it that I have to have these conversations all together to protect her purity at seven years old.  Lately she has been lonely sleeping in her own room and wishing she had a sister her own age.  I told her tonight to be content with the family God has given her.  I want a sister for her as well but I realize that even having a child now, she would be in such different worlds from her sister because the gap would be 8 years.  As they get older they would have that blessing of sisterhood, but I am sad she does not have that now like her brothers do.

I have seen the Lord working in her heart and causing her to come to me randomly and ask for my forgiveness when she did something that was not right.  I hope that it is the Lord working in her and not just pure guilt.  Areas that I need to work on with her is nagging, being the kind of friend that glorifies the Lord, (example: sacraficing what she wants to do for what they want to do), not becoming easily frustrated when she has to learn something new and hard in school, and not letting her dissapointments in life cause her to be frustrated at others who are not experiencing those same trials or hardships (example: my toy broke, wishing Hudson’s broke too).

My biggest concern is that because Dakota is the oldest, she has my highest expectations because I know she can do really well!  But I had a conversation with her a while ago that I don’t want her to feel like what she does is not ever good enough for Mommy.  I have needed to work on my perfectionism tendencies and allow her to do her best and be content with that.  I don’t ever want her to grow up not realizing how amazing she really is because of her Mom’s expectations were never realistic and my sinfulness of perfectionism!  She is an amazing little girl.  I say it again, I do not know what our family would be like without her!

Chase in his Terrible Two’s…If I would of had him first…

Little Chase…. my passionate, fiery, full of energy, all boy little compact cute creation.  If I would of had him first, I would of had no more.  Ha ha!  He gives me a run for my money and wears me out physically.  He is so much fun to watch and hear.  His vocabulary and his physical abilities just blow me away.  He is very athletic and determined.  He is super cute and says he is all the time.  “I am super coot Mom”.  He is very well mannered and we cannot figure out what we did differently with him that he  has picked it up so fast.  “Tanks Mom”, he will say when I help him or get him a drink.  He is a very fast learner and can be very independent.  I will definitely see him off before any one them, I think.  He just wants his independence and is insanely determined.   He is very coordinated and intense.  We wonder what sport he will play professionally some day.  See, this is very wierd for us non-sports minded family.  He loves his brother and sister so much and will not take a nap unless he can hug them goodnite each day and night.  We had to take down his crib because he was climbing over it, so he just graduated into a big boy bed with his big brother, Hudson.  cropped-20121124_0673_edit.jpg

Hanging with Hudson

My little boy, Hudson….He turned four this year and he has had a lot of very difficult transitions.  Although, he is completely done with all his therapy now and is growing physically and mentally amazingly.  Emotionally, life has been hard for him.  We moved to a new house, started him in some new classes and still working on his relationship with his baby brother, Chase.  Hudson is a lot like Mommy in that he is not a fan of change.  A lot of changes have happened in our family this past year and he has been struggling to adjust. He continues to ask when we are moving back to our old home and not because this home is any less than the last, we have taken a leap of improvement and blessing in moving in this new house.  But for him, its different and new and unfamiliar.  We recently put Dakota into her own room and moved Chase into Hudson’s room and Chase has kept him up a bit the last week as he talks, but he is getting better.  For the next couple weeks after we moved him, he would cry that “I am done moving”.  We did not understand why he was saying that at first, but as he explained to me, he did not want to be in with Chase.  He has lived in a room with his quiet sister for the past couple years and this too was new for him.  Hudson is the one child who brings me to my knees because I have felt like no matter what I do in disciplining him for his bad attitude or upsetting/hitting his brother, nothing will change him if he does not come to know the Lord.  I pray often for his salvation.  He feels no remorse or repentance when he upsets anyone.   He is also my barometer of my own anger/frustration.  I always can tell when he is going out of control, I have to get myself more self controlled in how I am speaking to him or how I am disciplining him.  He merely responds to me and how I deal with him.  I have learned a lot about my anger through his anger.  I praise God for him because he reminds me of how sinful I am against a Holy God.  When day by day goes by and he is not getting any more obedient no matter how consistent or how many privileges I take away.  I have to remind myself of my own habitual sin.  He had a very hard time with leaving me this year.  A very heavy case of separation anxiety, but so bad that his anger would rise up and he would become violent, screaming at me, telling me he hated me, crying, kicking, wailing when I would drop him off at church or Monday study.  That, praise God has just started to get better this last couple months.  We tried everything from talking it out, to removing privileges to full on discipline with Daddy.  A very difficult year.  We pulled him out of Cubbies to alleviate some of the battle.  His relationship with his brother Chase grieves my heart.  He truly dislikes him and Zach joked the other day that it reminded him of Cain and Abel.  If he could kill his brother, he would.  I just ache that he will never love his brother.  Chase loves him and tries to be like him and play with him, and I just pray that one of these times it melts his heart to want to love him back.  Another piece of him that I know may not change unless he becomes a believer.  I try so hard to love and tickle him to pull our relationship together so that he knows how much I love him even when he is hard to love.  These past couple weeks, God has just given me a new love for him.  I just want to cuddle him all the time.   He is my utmost favorite to tickle to death.  I love his giggle and how he wiggles so much he can’t catch his breath.  I love to just hold him and have him near.  I pray that I can win his heart over with love.  He is so hardened.  It does not matter, what I ask him to do, he is not one to have a good attitude or heart.  He is a heavy complainer and hates helping and hates working hard.  I struggle not knowing what to do with him.  I am determined to see his heart change.  I pray that he comes to know the Lord at a very early age.  My heart aches for him, he is so unhappy and discontented and angered child.   Lord please give me wisdom on what he needs.  How do I train him, love him, draw him to you?  This young boy puts me on my knees.  I guess God knew exactly what kind of boy to put in my life, one that would make me depend on the Lord more.  I love him so much.  I long to understand him better, to be a better mommy to him, to not let him be the overlooked middle child.  He has such a cuteness about him.  The other day he asked me when I burned something cooking…..”Mommy, you need to turn on the sucker-upper.” a.k.a oven vent.  He cracks me up…. again that is just God’s grace.  I think I am going to start him in kindergarten this next year.  He has a very big desire for me to do school with him each day…  He has potty trained this year, yippppeeeee!   Hudson is God’s gift to our family.  This gift does not look like your typical cheerful gift, a gift of remembering Grace.  God’s grace to me each day, I am reminded when I have to forgive him for the millionth time that day and am sure to have a few hundred moments more, just as God has and will forgive me.  Speaking of grace, this past summer, when we were in Santa Barbara, Zach told him if he did not eat lunch, no dessert.  We were planning on getting dipping dots at the zoo and of course he did not finish his dinner.  Zach bought everyone dessert and even Hudson and told him that he was giving him grace.  He did not deserve the ice cream, but still got it.  Now smart little cookie always asks… “Daddy can I just have grace”?  Eating habits are no fun to fight in kids.  Hudson is a VERY, EXTREMELY picky eater and a ton of food allergies with egg and peanut and will only eat nutella sanwiches, pizza and macncheese.  So usually the poor child does not eat, he refuses to eat, but does not ask for any food, goes to bed hungry most nights.  We pick our battles, as long as he does not wake up hungry, I am okay with him not eating.  I only pray his eating habits get better.  We don’t eat his choice foods much, so this leaves a meltdown every time he asks what is for dinner.  Lord, you put this child into our family, tailor made him perfect for our family dynamic, let me praise you for him daily!!

Dakota just turned BIG 6!!!

Wow!  I look at my little baby girl and she is not such a baby anymore… There are so many things I can be thankful for when it comes to our family and Dakota is a biggie!  I see such a willingness to love on her brothers and help mommy all the time with Chase and will randomly take Chase on a walk through the store so that I can concentrate on shopping or whatever (within my vision, of course).  This year has been a  year of so many firsts……  She lost her first tooth and has been so excited.  She has been waiting for this to  happen and ran into us when her Dad and I were taking a Sunday nap and had an amazing excitement in her eyes as she showed us her tooth!!  That night we broke the news that there wasn’t really a tooth fairy, that is was just Mommy and Daddy, she seemed okay for it and was just excited and called us Mr. and Mrs. Tooth Fairy the rest of the night.  We sprinkled fairy dust all over her pillow and filled her tooth box with a couple dollars that she decorated with stickers and put in a note: Dear Tooth Fairy, Can you please take my tooth.  Love, Dakota….

She began kindergarten and went to school for the first time and did an incredible job most days working 5-6 hours/day on homeschool days–not by my choice.  She began her journey this year at Northridge Community School – sort of like a Homeschool Christian co-op, but she is actually taught at the school 2.5 days/week and then I would homeschool her the other 2.5 days.  It was a grueling year for me and truly for her too.  We went from light structured days to grueling  hard full school days.  Spent way too many hours for a poor little kindergartner to have to go through.  But her willingness to push through many days without a complaint, dealing with a mother that was not always the best teacher and not always excited as we would embark on are 4th hour as my other two little ones are going nuts.  It was a difficult year and she shined through and is an amazing reader and has great initiative to become better at everything she struggled through, phonics, coloring, penmanship, math.  It did not matter if the standard was hard, she was determined to do amazing.  She made great friends, as I did as well and loved her teachers so much!  Mrs. Mersch and Mrs. Hixson were her kinder teachers and she absolutely loved them!  She would come home often with such excitement about her day at school and what new thing she learned or got to do.  She took many field trips and had lots of class parties with me as room mom- a tough job for a new homeschooler-  part of the intense year. She loved it when zero the hero would come bearing gifts for the class- a little yellow happy faced man who always left gifts on every 10 days of school all the way to 100!  She loved going to lunch with her teachers when she finished all her sight word lists.  She won 1st place in the Speech Meet for her kindergarten class as she recited “Three Guests by Jessica Nelson North”.  She was one of the few that represented her class in the spelling bee, only to get out on the first try- very sad moment.  I think the word was “drip” and she spelled it with “t” instead of “d”.  She had opportunities to dress up in a chicken costume for Harvest Day and an indian girl on Thanksgiving Feast Day.  She was mentored by one of the graduates, Hannah Mersch which she loved.  She got to run her first Jogathon with a few laps with both Mommy and Daddy but mostly holding hands with Amelia the whole time as they ran.  Christmas, Teacher’s Bdays, Valentines Day, Easter Parties, End of Year Parties GALORE!!  I know she will miss NCS for first grade, but we recently broke the  news to her that she would  not be returning next year so we can give homeschooling full time a shot.  I thinks she is most dissapointed that she won’t be with her friends and that she doesn’t get to buy a roller bag for first grade next year- something she has greatly looked up to the 1st graders for all year and not have to take naps as well.  Most have told me it will be much easier than what I endured this year and so I am open to trying it and seeing.  I am not  excited that she will miss out on fun times and moments with her friends and teachers and opportunities that will be missed by not going to school.  I am just praying that I be faithful to be the best teacher for her that I can be and be sure she has playdates and is involved in sports and outside activities with other children.  So Dakota has graduated Kindergarten with flying colors and a true hard worker and determination awards along the way.

In the land of many firsts, she learned how to ride her bike the same day her little brother Chase began to walk.  She comes running inside and says Mommy, I rode my bike all by myself!  I asked her where her training wheels were and she had gotten a wrench out of Daddy’s toolbox and took them off herself and had been practicing out front until she could do it!  She just got a new shiny bike for her 6th bday from Grandma and Grandpa.  Days before her bday she would remind Mommy and Daddy that she really hopes she can get the Barbie one because that is her absolute favorite, but if we have to get her a different one, she guesses that will be okay giving us few options of which bike should we get her?  She first learned how to read and write all by herself this year and is a great reader!  She even came out one morning so excited that she had put her very first ponytail in her hair- and it sure did look cute!!  She first learned  how to swim this year as well at her swim lessons this summer with Mrs. Casey.  She learned how to tumble and dance at the YMCA.  She learned to count to 100 even.  Its all the things we already know how to do, but so precious seeing her do it for the first time and get this sweet excitement in her eyes that she did it!  This truly has been an exciting year for Dakota.

I am truly excited that I see a desire in her to learn and know more about Jesus. She will ask her Dad and I questions all the time and ask us to read the bible to her- pretty amazing!  I pray that she will come to know the Lord at a very early age!  She is so faithful to pray for others all the time whether it be Grandpa or a friend at school or even me.  The other day Hudson and Dakota were at the table eating and after she prayed, he said, “you did not pway for me to obey my swim teachaws”.  As you can see she even prays for Hudson to “close his eyes while she is praying” and often prays for Hudson to do the right thing.

She makes me want to be a better Mom because of the amazing daughter she is to me.  She loves me so unconditionally and serves selflessly all the time doing things to help me even when I don’t ask her to.  She has such joy in her and the cute giggles we get when we tickle her or play with her is so fun.  She is a sweet special gift to her mom and I love her so much. I can’t imagine the joy that will be missing when she is off on her own one day, I ache for that day already.  She makes heartfelt cards for new friends, some that she barely even knows.  Like when we went to the Chea conference last weekend and she saw two girls from a bday party she had gone to last month and met for the first time.  She made them a cards on the way to the conference the second day. I asked her why she was making them cards and she said because she was so sad that she would not see them again after the conference was over.   It took her 45 minutes to make them cards on the drive and wrote them each a a sweet note.  She did the same for Sophia and Samantha Eisman because she felt sad that she would not see them as much since we were moving.  In the card she wrote “I love your family” with lollipops taped onto the outside of each card that she took from her own little candy stash.  With her bday money she bought herself a remote control car and one for her brother so they could play together.   I love her heart and her desire to love her family and friends so preciously and tell them how much she loves them as  if tomorrow  may never come.

Lately I love how when I tuck her in she gives me eskimo kisses with her nose crinkled like a little piggy.  I love it!  I love how she has to give me hugs and kiss me goodnight at every single naptime.  I love how forgiving she is even after I yell at her in anger.  I love that she will remind me to reconcile with her when it is needed.  For her bday she got a guitar so she could learn to play like Daddy and she asked on the way home from Toysrus…. “Daddy can I use one of your toothpicks when I play my new guitar?”

In the lists of favorites: Favorite movie of the year: Repunzel- 1st movie I have ever seen her cry at….Favorite song:  Repunzel soundtrack, favorite food: “juicy chicken” otherwise known as tempura chicken, favorite dessert is always candy, favorite toys: Loves to ride her bike, play legos, play repunzel, play barbie and she would make woodsy salads outside a lot, slipnslide, lincoln logs, read books, color, play plethora of games with her Daddy for sure.. Her most favorite is computer time playing PBSkids.org or the bunny, mystery game, or even mario cart.

Dakota is 5 and movin on out!

Hangin with Hudson

Wow.  She is five years old.  I cannot believe she is starting school!  I am going to have such a hard time on August 31st!!  She will say to me… its okay mommy, you don’t have to be sad, I will be home soon.  She is so much fun and challenging me all at the same time.  We have been working on the heart of obedience.  We have learned to obey right away, all the way, without grumbling or complaining. Her attitude can be the most gentlest and sweetest and then she can turn completely around.  She loves to get her brother in trouble and so we have been dealing with the tattling by explaining there are certain times when it is okay to tell mommy or daddy when Hudson is endangering himself, property or you are unable to reconcile on your own.  We have been teaching her Matthew 18- to go to him first and then if he still does not listen or say sorry or if she cannot get him to do the right thing then she can come to us.  Then sharing strains came along.  Everyone wants the same toy at the same time.  So we started saying that they had to go to each other and ask when the other is done, may they play with that toy- 1 corinthians 13- love is not rude.  It would be rude to take the toy away from Hudson while he having so much fun playing with it.  It has worked tremendously well.  I praise God he gave us wisdom on what to do in these areas of training and discipline.  Sharing a room has been a bit of a challenge.  Hudson will keep Dakota up at night and one of them wakes the other up in the morning- which is hard!  I don’t know what it will be like when Chase and Hudson share- Yikes!  I love watching Dakota and Hudson play so much more now- it is such a joy to have them so close.

Quality time with Chase

She loves her brothers and constantly says “oooh I don’t want to Chase to grow up, I want him to stay little, he so cute!”  So what does she love these days…. she is very excited to start school, she has been working on her letters a lot lately.   I think her love language is quality time which we still have faithfully every time Hudson is doing his therapy.  Lucky her, we will have a lot more when she starts homeschooling part time on her off school days.  I got to take her out school shopping the last couple days and she is so much fun to shop with.  I am so blessed to have a little girl.  She picked out a bunch of dresses!  The things she loves… movies, strawberry shortcake, Kelly dolls, lincoln logs, that crazy dump truck that she played with at Joey and Vinnie’s house two years ago and they got it for her 5th bday.  She loves to play with her friends at playgroup.  She loves to play with her Daddy- especially video games and PBSkids.org.  She still dresses up and dances around the house.

For her 5th bday we did a beach party at the beach of course and played beach bingo, beach ball hot potatoe, ate sand pail castles and beach relay- it was fun!  She played in the sand and opened presents with a few select friends that she really wanted to be there for her big 5th birthday and it was a blessing!  Praying to the Lord that he would call her his own as we prayed over the food was a joy as well.  We anticipate that day.

Dakota at 6 months old- Chase's age

Dakota at Chase's age- 6 months

Today we went to a bday party and she slid down a water slide and some how bumped her bottom on something and told me later the afternoon that she hurt herself and now there was a hole down there.  I said oh honey, that is suppose to be there, that is where the poo poo comes out.  She said but mom there is two holes!  Funny how these things happen when Daddy goes out of town for the weekend!  She thought for sure that she had made that hole in her body by bumping herself on the water slide as she slid down!

Other postings I posted on facebook over the last few months of funny things she says..

At the Dodger game we went to a couple months back we sat down and she says….. “I don’t want to sit so close to the sky!”  Zach and I just about died- we were of course in the nosebleed section- she explained it right!

Dakota to Zach:  “Why are barbies legs so fat, I can’t get her clothes on!”

Dakota at dinner: “Daddy why does your fur (whiskers) grow so fast?”

In a test Dakota took to start kindergarten: they ask: what growls… she says “my tummy”. I am sure they were expecting cat, tiger and so on….

Dakota- praying at lunchtime….. Thank you for this food and God can you pwease pwease please help Hudson to be quiet and fold his hands when I pray. amen.

Dakota taught Hudson how to pray the other day, she said; “okay hudson repeat after me….thank you God….” I am sure Hudson meant the prayer from the bottom of his heart…

She says the most amazing things…She is so intense and she is God given to hold me accountable with my patience toward her and her brothers.  She will often remind me that I need to ask her for forgiveness because I was yelling at her or her brother.  The other day she knew we were having people over for dinner and so she told me she and Hudson are going to go clean up all their toys in each room so the house would be nice for our company.  I was stunned I did not need to even ask her.  She took the thought from we are having friends for dinner and that means mom wants a clean home and so lets help mommy by even involving her brother cleaning up with her- giving him small jobs to do.  That was not even the best part- the most awesome part was as she was making the bed in the guest bedroom from her nap time she was singing as she cleaned- what an incredible blessing that God gave her to this family to be able to watch and be an example of joy and love and obedience!  Her joy is infectious!  I love her so much.  I cannot believe she is going off to school in a couple weeks.  Hudson, Chase and I will miss her.

The room switcheroo

Well we finally did it… we put Dakota and Hudson together in her room and moved Chase out of our room!  He is over 4 months old and we decided it was time.  Hudson took his first nap in there but was not happy, he had a huge tantrum and cried for awhile but eventually fell asleep.  Then that night Hudson cried and did not understand why he was going back to sleep in Kota’s room.  So Daddy explained and we tucked him in and he went to sleep right away.  Then 30 minutes later we tucked in Dakota.  Successful right… until we hear Hudson crying, probably woke up a bit disoriented and I would hear Dakota saying… “its okay Hudson… Its okay buddy…. your alwight….”  SCORE!!! She calmed him down all by herself I did not even have to go back in there.  They both went back to sleep.  But the next morning they were both up at 6:30am when Dakota normally wakes up around 7:30-8am.  Then… the next day.. he would not take a nap, instead he played- bad boy….. That night we put Hudson down and when we brought Dakota in he was not asleep yet.  We went in there after we heard a big thump and Dakota and Hudson were in the Dakota’s bed and she sits up and says…. I told him to go back to his bed but he wouldn’t ( this was a couple hours after we put them to bed)… So we put Hudson in his bed and they go to sleep.  The next morning was more successful we propped the door open so that he would not wake her up getting out of bed and leaving the room and she was able to sleep in more which was great.  So last night Dakota comes out and says Hudson needs some water and takes him a sippy of water and then we go in after we put them to bed about an hour ago and Dakota is sitting in Hudson’s bed reading him a story after we just had the conversation for Hudson to stay in his bed…. so funny.  So tonight we put them to bed at the same time because it was late and we go in almost 90 minutes and I hear little voices…. STOP!!! and then crying and so I go in and she says… Hudson is kicking the wall and talking and waking me up….So I talk to Hudson and tell Dakota to ignore his talking so she can go to sleep- tonight was the hardest by far in this transition.  Chase looooves having his own room and finally being in his crib with his mobile- he is a happy camper!!  Daddy is happy that we have our room back and now if I can just get Hudson and Dakota to go to sleep at night.. that would be great!