Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life Lessons

Apparently 4 is the age at which meanness begins.

Not meanness like when a toddler hits another over a toy. Or when babies push each other down. The difference is intent. In those cases, the child is upset and merely acting on his/her anger. It's simply a case of not being able to control his/her emotions yet. I have witnessed this countless times in my own kids and the mastering of emotional control is a long process that comes with age.

But I'm talking about meanness. Hurting someone intentionally in a way that you know will stir their emotions. Sadly, kids learn to do this at a fairly young age and I think I just got a little glimpse of my future when I saw it in action this week.

The other day Sam's preschool teacher let me know that one of the boys on the playground at school told Sam that he "didn't want to play with him." Now, Sam has heard this before, it's just come under the guise of sisters and brothers. For some reason, it doesn't hurt as much when it comes from them. Maybe it's because you know that they love you, they're just saying it in a fit of anger ... I'm not sure. I just know that it feels so much different when a friend, a peer, says that to you.

The teacher told me it was no big deal, the boy apologized, and they went on their merry ways and everyone had forgotten about it five minutes later. She just wanted to let me know because she knew it hurt his feelings. She said she could see the hurt in his eyes when the boy told him to go away. My eyes started to well up right there and I had to get out of the carpool line quick so she wouldn't wonder what kind of pushover mom I was when I started tearing up about a simple everyday thing that happens on playgrounds all over the world.

But it's never happened to my kid before. My sweet Sammy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He is so caring and just wants to be friends with everyone. What was wrong with that other kid? Why did he have to take advantage of my sensitive guy? And then I realized I was talking about a 4 year old and I laughed a bit at that momma bear instinct that was momentarily ignited. I'd better toughen up because I have a feeling there is a lot more of this in my future.

Sam told me about the incident later and we talked about it for just a bit. I asked him how it felt when the other boy said those things to him and he said it made him sad. So we talked about how words can hurt people and we have to be careful about what we say because we don't want to make others feel sad. We talked about including others and being kind to others in the way that God wants us to be.

Kids are so resilient though. He hasn't said a thing about it since and I know that this is something that all of my children will continually go through as they grow and find their identities. It's hard to teach the lesson about loving others when there are so many people out there that don't love back. This really had been the hardest part of parenting for me thus far - teaching my children our family's values through their own life experiences. Life is a tough teacher, I guess that's why it sometimes takes a lifetime to learn some of the most important lessons.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Picture of the Week - September 23

Soccer has begun and the girls are the younger ones on the team this year. Can you tell?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NYC in 48 Hours or Less

Last weekend Matt and I got to take a short and sweet trip to New York City for the weekend. It was great to get away after Matt's busy season of work and it had been too long since we'd been to the city. Luckily, we know New York pretty well (Matt even lived there for a summer), so we were able to make the most of our few short days there.

We started off the first night at a restaurant in the West Village that we've been waiting to try for several years. It did not disappoint.

We spent a lot of the next day walking around the West Village, an area we haven't really explored much. The atmosphere is great. We walked there via the High Line, a park that has been built on an old freight rail line that is elevated above the streets of the city. It offered some great views and it was nice to be able to walk through a park while also getting the views of the streets below.

We had a great lunch at Joe's Pizza, highly recommended by my sister (a resident of the West Village a few years ago). It was as good of a pizza that I've ever had. We're glad we got there when we did because the line was out the door by the time we were finished.

The rest of the day was spent wandering through the streets and shops ... my favorite way to explore New York.

That night we headed off to Central Park to see one of our favorite bands, Ben Folds Five, who was just kicking off their reunion tour. It was awesome to walk through Central Park to the amphitheater and to spend a few hours there listening to them while the sun set. The weather was gorgeous.

The next morning we were up early to squeeze as much as we could in before our afternoon flight. We headed down to the 9/11 Memorial and I am so glad we did it. The memorial is amazing and sobering, as you can imagine. I'm excited to come back and see it once it is fully completed.

We finished off the day by wandering through the Green Market in Union Square. We've been here before and it's awesome to see ... a farmer's market on steroids. We made to sure to do a lot of taste testing (as any seasoned Costco customers would).

It was such a great time, I wish we could have stayed longer. I love going to New York because there's always something new to find, explore, or try. I hope our next trip is sooner rather than later!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Picture of the Week - September 16

I'd have a hard time choosing too ...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Scream, You Scream

I'm not usually a McDonald's fan but you can't pass up $1 cones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's Next?

 Lately I've been wondering what's next for me.

Not in a doom and gloom type of way. And not with a feeling of urgency. I am happy and content with where my life is right now and I am not aching or asking for change (even though I know it can come at any time).

It's just that life is such an intricate and rushed whirlwind for the first 30 years of your life. Between school, sports, best friends, hurt feelings, first kisses, middle school dances, SATs, college applications, deciding what to BE when you grow up (does anyone ever really know that for sure?), and graduations, we are 22 years old before we know it and setting out in the world. Then comes more dating, break ups, proposals, finding "the one," careers, lost jobs, marriage, moving, adjustments, children, and before you know it you are 30 years old and everything you have been anticipating in life is over. Done. Kaput. You have a husband and a family, a life you love, a career you have chosen ... so what's next?

I've spend the past three decades checking items off of life's To Do list and now I don't know what, well, TO DO!

Again, this does not mean that I'm unfulfilled or unhappy. I love my life right now and it is busy, busy, go, go, go, all of the time. I'm not bored and I love the current stage of life. It's just that there's always been a goal, hurdle, or upcoming event that I am able to mark on my calendar. Something I'm looking towards in the future. What do I look to now?

And today, while mediating cat fights and trying to get four kids out the door to school, it hit me ...

THEIR lives are what I have to look forward to next.

Sam's first day of kindergarten. Peyton's first ballet class. Adah's first 100% on her spelling test. Luke's first date. Sam's applying to colleges. Adah's fiancee. Peyton's first little newborn.

I get to live it all again and I get to do it times four. How wonderfully awesome is that? And I know, I know, I promise not to be the meddling mom that lives vicariously through her kids. But how great it will be to get to support them, cheer them on, and love then as they experience all the triumphs and failures (hopefully less that me) that come so quickly in those first twenty or thirty years.

And hopefully, while I'm enjoying the fast paced tenure of the next few decades of their lives, I'll be able to bring a piece of wisdom, a perfectly timed hug, or a shoulder to cry on. And I'll do it all while enjoying the much slower and less rapidly altering pace of my own life. A place where I get to grow towards God now that I have slowed down enough to see what really matters. A place where Matt and I get to sit and learn to love each other even more that we already do. A place where I get to teach my kids what it means to love others, to be kind, and to point towards God with their everyday behavior.

So what's next?

 Ask my kids.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Picture of the Week - September 9

A perfect Sunday morning ... Coffee, 58 degrees, and a beautiful view.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of Preschool

I'm having a hard time adjusting to the fact that this time next year I will have three children in kindergarten. At least I have a year to prepare!

If you need some free entertainment, stop by our house. I've got four different acts you can watch any time you want. The pictures speak for themselves.

And of course, the dreaded picture of all four of them. We actually got a pretty decent one this year despite the fact that someone just HAD to be in the front ...

Happy September and first days of school to everyone!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Lone Ranger

Sometimes I worry about my littlest man, Luke.

I don't worry about his development or his speech. I don't worry about how much he sleeps or eats. I don't even have to worry about his bathrooms habits (much) anymore since he's been potty trained for almost a year.

What I worry about is his status as the fourth triplet.

Peyton, Sam, and Adah have always had each other. They've never been the only child in their family who is in a new class or in a new situation. And even though sometimes I know they get on one another's nerves, they are happy to be together everywhere they go.

But Luke?? He's got it just a little bit harder. He spends his days playing and running with his brother and sisters. They include him in all of their games and fun and it really is like he is the fourth triplet. They cannot remember a day when he wasn't in their lives and he has always been part of the pack.

So my heart hurts a little bit for him when he sadly watches his entourage, his closest friends, skip into their preschool class or their soccer practice and he is left behind. Sure, he has his own class and practice to go to, but it's just not the same when your three best friends aren't there and you know that they're off having fun, TOGETHER, without you.

I always make sure he has a few extra hugs and he always lingers a little longer by my side before he gets up the courage to head somewhere alone. But, deep down, I know that this is helping him. He is becoming brave and independent, something that you tend to develop a little later in life when you are a multiple.

In fact, he is actually developing character in an area that the triplets haven't explored yet, even though they are older. He is learning to adjust and enter new situations on his own. He is figuring out who he is apart from his family, which is something every child must do. He's learning to forge friendships and relationships at a young age, something that will be invaluable to him for the rest of his life.

The triplets still have a lot to learn when it comes to independence. Yes, they are individuals and have their own unique traits, interests, and friends. BUT, they have always had the assurance of having someone familiar by their sides as they navigate any times of novelty or uncertainty. My prediction is that a certain little boy will soon become the teacher in a couple years when they are finally forced to learn what it's like to be the lone ranger.

Monday, September 3, 2012

One Last Time

We spent the past week in the mountains one last time before school begins ...

Sunday, September 2, 2012