Lexi

Love letters to Daddy

Dear Lexi,

Your heart is pure gold sweet girl and you are just filled with love. Tomorrow, Daddy is going to Florida for a golf trip with Dustin and Papa and you were feeling a little extra emotional about him being gone.

After putting Kate and William to bed, I come into our bedroom to find you curled up in our chair sulking but with a tinge of pride as you had used your banana grams to write Daddy a little message as well as write him a note.

You are just so thoughtful and sweet and I love how you go out of your way to make others feel good. As a terrible speller myself, I also appreciate how you spell the words just as they sound. Here is the letter deciphered:

‘I will miss you very much dad. I love you. Love, Lexi. PS Please say Hi to Grammy and Papa. Love, Lexi. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO (then there is a little picture of you that says ‘Me’. I miss you all ready. I love Dad. XOXOXOXO. You are the best dad in the whole wide world. XOXO Love, Lexi Sampson’

I will miss you very much dad.

I mean….how much sweeter can an 8-year-old get. Daddy is one lucky Dad to have a daughter like you be so thoughtful and someone who loves and misses him so much. And YOU are so blessed to have a Daddy who loves you as much as he does. He adores spending time with you, loves having special activities to do together, makes you laugh, silly jokes you guys have and projects you do together.

And I am so lucky to watch this special bond grow between you two.

Lexi, I pray that you never loose that genuine, thoughtfulness you have for those you love and you only continue to grow in your abilities to articulate and share those feelings with those you love. It sure is special and keeps your mom and dad swooning over you.

Love,

Mama

Chirstmas, Kate, Lexi, William

Christmas 2020

Lexi, William and Kate,

Believe. It is such a simple word but the depth and potential of this word is limitless. From believing in your intuition, to believing in others to believing in the impossible to believing in Jesus Christ our Savior—the possibilities and outcomes are remarkable. In what has been the most challenging year, belief has been a staple in keeping a positive attitude for me. Every morning I choose to believe in myself, I choose to believe in the good of others and choose to believe in God and that this year is all part of a bigger plan. I should probably write several more blog posts about this word and unpack it a bit, because I believe (see what I did there 🙂 it is a truly powerful word. So as a true believer, celebrating Christmas and the birth of Jesus at the end of 2020 is a perfect way to end the year.

The Christmas season felt like a true gift from Jesus. To me, it was just as special and magical as it ever has been, probably more so. Each of you kids are true believers in Santa and of Jesus. We had a Zoom call with Santa that my work organized and when he asked what you were most excited about for Christmas, you yelled, ‘Jesus!’ It was definitely not what Santa was expecting to hear, but I was sure proud.

Every year, you kids get a little more into celebration of Christmas. You understand the Bible stories a little better, you want to be more involved in the decorating, the baking, the gift giving (and receiving), the wrapping, the music, the lights, the Christmas cards, the books, and the movies. Everything you experience is like gold and it is one of my favorite things as a parent.

Each year, I try and add or update one piece of my Christmas decor to help balance my love for Christmas decor and desire to want our house to look and feel like a magazine. Last year, part of those dream became a reality when we were gifted a 12 foot Christmas tree to sit in our front room. However, those dreams quickly diminished as string by string, the lights started to go out. Daddy and I attempted to fix some of them by replacing each bulb in a string one-by-one, but as more strings went out, I decided the whole tree just needed to be re-done. I knew it was going to be a time-consuming project so, come November 1st, that tree came out and I got to work. The tree originally had 1400 lights on it and each light was clipped to a branch to keep it in place. My plan was to replace light for light and take one light off and replace it with a new light to ensure it looked as good it originally came. I quickly discovered that the lights they put on these trees are made for that specific tree. They have strategically placed the bulbs in specific locations on the strings (which are also circular verses linear) so they hit at just the right spot on the branch and there are no ‘un-used’ lights. A regular string of lights that you buy at the store are obviously evenly spaced out on the string so there were many lights that weren’t able to attach to the branch that the original set was attached to—which also meant I was going to need more lights than the 1400 that were previously on there. Section by section, I took off the existing lights and replaced with a new set. With 5 individually-wired sections on the tree, I had to also strategically guess how heavy or light I needed to string in order to make sure I didn’t run up short, or have too many lights at the end. I did not manage the top two sections well and they didn’t have enough lights on them, relative to the rest of the tree, so I had to re-do those. Many, many hours, 1800 lights (maybe more) and a sore back later, we had a beautiful jaw-dropping tree.

Of course, as soon as the tree was done, you guys were begging to decorate it so away you went putting up the ornaments, knowing that I had every intention of taking every ornament off and re-doing it. To help compensate for my OCD ways, I did tell you we could set up our old tree and it could be the ‘kids’ tree. We could put colored lights on it and you could decorate it in any way you wanted. The three of you picked out pink, purple, green and blue ornaments and had fun putting all of your favorite colors and home-made ornaments on.

On a similar note, the three of you LOVE to help decorate the rest of the house with all of the decorations. Lexi put together the entire nativity scene this year and Williams and Kate loved putting the snowman shelf together.

Like clockwork, our elves, Sparkle Minnie, Sparkle Mickey and Sparkle Daisy arrived on December 1st bringing a Paw Patrol advent calendar. The elves also helped us celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th and brought us a fun Christmas painting book on the first day of Christmas break. As always, they got into some mischief by wrapping your bedroom doors with wrapping paper, getting eaten by dinosaurs, climbing up bows like a rock climbing wall on our shelf/window, taking a shower, sitting in the fridge, playing with the Tsum Tsums, and even made a visit to Grammy’s house. Finding them each morning was a high of the day and brought each of you so much joy.

Lexi, you are turning into quite the little gift giver. You listen to what others are saying and then suggest gifts that you’ve heard them mention and are really thoughtful in thinking about what the recipient would like to receive. All of the gifts you gave were spot on this year. You picked out new drill bits for Daddy, a Lion Guard figurine set for William, a lego kit and aqua beads for Ivy and a Barbie Pet Washing Station (complete with a bunny) for Kate.

At school, the Advent program was virtual due to Covid. They recorded what the program would have been like if it were in person and then shared the video link out for everyone to watch at home. You also both had fun celebrating pajama day and having an Advent party during the last week of school.

Your last day of school was on December 18th, a full week before Christmas, which allowed all of us to ‘quarantine’ for a decent amount of time and gather with Grammy and Papa and Uncle Joe & Auntie Angie, Dustin and Sheila and all the cousins on Christmas Eve. It was such a fun and much needed celebration. You kids had so much fun playing together, opening gifts, singing and just being silly. The adults ate delicious food, drank nummy drinks and played the 2nd Annual Bothwell Christmas exchange game.

The girls both received My Generation Dolls, which happened to have their same names and William received a beloved Nerf gun and a big T-Rex. All of the gifts were HUGE hits. Lexi is absolutely in love with her doll and couldn’t believe she got her own, let alone one that is named Lexi.

Christmas morning felt like a movie. All three of you kids were bursting with excitement you could barely keep your feet on the floor. Santa brought each of you what you had asked for; Lexi, a Barbie Pool and Barbie diver; William, a Dinosaur that eats people and Kate, a new purple Bunnie, Bunnie book and a dauber coloring book. After Santa gifts, you guys were SO excited to gift each other the gifts you had picked out, we went right to those. Lexi & Kate had picked out Lion Guard figurines for William and it will probably be one of the most played with toys out of everything you guys received. William & Kate had picked out a color your own squishie gift for Lexi and William and Lexi had picked out a pet washing barbie (because it came with a bunny) for Kate. The rest of the gift opening went well and was nice and relaxed. We took turns opening gifts and admiring what everyone received. The last gift that was opened was for Lexi and Kate had a huge blanket over it with a red bow and when they pulled it off, it revealed a BEAUTIFUL doll house, all hand-made by Daddy. It has a working elevator, working lights on a remote control, stained wood floors, doors between the rooms, windows, a side closet and complete with a kitchen set, bath tub and hand-made bunk beds. He spent hours upon hours building this for you girls and the details in it are exquisite. Your love for this dollhouse makes all the work he put into it worthwhile. The two of you have already spent so much time playing at it and tuck your dolls into their bunk beds (complete with home-made pillows and blankets from Grammy) every night.

After gift opening, we spent the rest of the day hanging out in our jammies and enjoying our new gifts, including a family Nerf gun obstacle course. It was a wonderfully relaxing day.

On the 26th, we got to work right away in the morning cleaning the house and getting things put away to host the Sampson’s for Christmas. It was a busy day but had a wonderful time celebrating with them. We introduced the gift exchange game with the siblings and it was a Big hit. All the kids got Lego kits, more dinosaurs, doll accessories, crafts, games and much more. It was a fantastic way to wrap up Christmas 2020.

Merry Christmas my sweet monkeys and may you never stop believing.

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Lexi is 8!

‘Papa, Papa, guess what? I went on a roller coaster that went 60 miles per hour!!!’ You proudly proclaimed with a twinkle in your eyes and smile as wide as the Mississippi. Not only did you ride the Rock N’ RollarCoaster that went 60+ mph and upside down, you also went on almost every rollarcoaster at DisneyWorld and couldn’t get enough of them. You warmed up on Slinky Dog and graduated up to Rock N’ Rollarcoster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Everest and wrapped up our trip with back to back rides on Space Mountain.

Your 7th year of life or 2020 is one you will remember for the rest of your life. The year you became a rollar coaster junkie, also known as the year Covid ruled the world. So many unpredictable events happened, it feels like a dream that we can’t wake up from. From hoarding toilet paper and empty grocery shelves, to doing school at home, to deeming companies essential workers, to virtual dance recitals, to staying 6 ft away from people, to wearing masks everywhere we go, to a second round of lockdown, to quarantines, to deeply analyzing every cough sneeze and throat tickle, to incredible bonds and friendships with William and Kate, to a slower pace of life, to less activity running, to hours and hours of imaginative play, to lego re-builds and craft projects and SOO much more.

As challenging as this year has been there has been so much good to recognize with my favorite being your relationship with your siblings. You are an amazingly remarkable big sister to William and Kate. You make breakfast for them (cereal, toast) and turn shows on for them in the morning. The three of you play together for hours on end. You build forts together, play dinos/hatchemals/Frozen, you build awesome magnatile creations together, play cats, legos and so many other things. I love the way you get along and how you find a way to incorporate each of your interests into whatever you are playing. You are usually the boss, but do just as well listening and going along with William and Kate’s ideas. It has been a joy to watch the three of you learn how to play together so well this year and are genuinely sad when one of your playmates is missing. This spring, William and Kate slept over at Grammy and Papa’s and you had to stay home due to school and you were like a lost puppy without them. You missed their company the shenanigans you pull together and were just sad and bored without them. You love them with all your heart and it is one of the best parts of being your mom.

In the spring, you completed 1st grade, albeit virtually, and headed off to 2nd grade with Mrs. Kain this fall. Your reading has exploded this year and you are legitimately reading. You’re very close to being able to read chapter books on your own. We worked hard on reading out loud almost every night in the summer and all that hard work paid off. Proud of you for this! You are an excellent student and all of your teachers adore you. I consistently get comments about how sweet and thoughtful you are. You are kind and include everyone in playing, use your manners and are respectful. Keep up the good work, Lexi. I am so proud of the young girl you are growing up to be.

As delightful as you are in school, that doesn’t always translate at home when we try and do school related tasks. Distance learning last spring was a struggle for all of us. As much as I struggled figuring out how to work at home everyday with a full household, it was really hard for you to shift your mindset around doing school at home. I think you really compartmentalize ‘you do school at school’ and when ‘your at home, you play and relax’. It is a big struggle to get you to do school at home. All you want to do is play. Whenever we need to do school work whether it is homework, reading practice, math facts or spelling practice—it is met with complaining, whining, distraction and overall resistance, which makes the activities painful for all involved. This fall, we did a little bit of re-arranging and made room to put your desk in your room. The goal was to give you a place to go and do your work, that is separate from the rest of the activity in the house so you don’t get distracted as easily and it also don’t feel like your missing out on as much. So far, so good!

Before Covid took over, we remarkably snuck a 4-day trip into DisneyWord, followed by a 7-day trip to Panama City to visit with Grammy and Papa. We came home on March 11 and schools closed on March 16th—so when I say snuck, we barely slipped this amazing trip in. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe this trip—especially knowing how the rest of the year wrapped up. You can read more about our trips here, here, here, here and here. After you guys go to bed, I often find myself looking through pictures from the trip, watching the videos and hoping that Disney will go back to ‘normal’ again in the future and we can experience the joy and magic again. Age 7 was the PERFECT time to go to Disney. You were tall and brave enough to go on nearly every ride, which brought a new adventurous side of Lexi out that we hadn’t really experienced before. You loved the swimming and the Characters and could appreciate the details of Disney and adored being transformed into a stunning princess at the Bippity Boppity Boutique. You also had enough stamina in you to get through the whole day without a nap and enjoy the fireworks at night. However, you would crash hard in the stroller as soon as the night show ended.

Following Disney, we drove to PCB and as always, you had a blast with Grammy and Papa. We spent hours on the beach splashing in the waves, doing Survivor challenges, swimming in the pool, playing cards on the deck and playing with your cousins Ruby and Pearl who happened to be 5 doors down visiting their Grandma and Grandpa at the same time.

Other notable things about you at age 7:

  • You have lost 7 teeth. You pulled your 7th one out at school all by yourself last month
  • You got 3 cavities filled summer—including a silver cap. Two were in baby teeth, one in an adult molar
  • You did a dance recital and opted to not do dance again this year
  • We made a few trips to the cabin and you braved the cold Lake Superior water and swam out to Moss Island with Mom and Dad
  • You love all things Rainbows, Fairy’s, Unicorns and hearts
  • You love to watch The Decendents and High School Musical, but aren’t always allowed to watch those and often select shows like Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Bluey, Muppet Babbies and Mickey Mouse. You’ve started to recognize that you’re growing out of these shows and most of your friends at school (particularly the ones that have older siblings) don’t watch these shows anymore. You did not want to include any of these when you were filling out your star student poster because you though kids would laugh at you for liking those shows. However, at home you actively choose to watch them.
  • Favorite books are The Rainbow Fairies Series, Sophie Mouse and The NeverGirls. You put up a big stink in starting a new book series, but once you get into it—you want to read every book.
  • You love to play outside with Luke and Anna and William and Kate on the swing set, making up games together, riding bikes or scooters, playing tag, making creations in the sandbox and just being kids. You guys played outside together almost everyday this summer, all day long. To me, this is what a kid is being all about and I am so grateful your getting a chance to do that.
  • You are an amazing eater. You eat pretty much everything I put in front of you, with the exception of fish, and eat your entire meal. Girl, you can put the food away! You are growing at ravishing speeds. You are in a size 10 clothing, size 4.5 tennis shoe and well over 50 inches tall. You’re tall and skinny, but proportionate.
  • When you grow up, you want to be an artist. You love to draw and color and have done some really awesome drawings through YouTube How To Draw XXX tutorials.
  • You love swimming, prefer the scooter over the bike, love doing the monkey bars and climbing trees, are self-conscious over the freckles on your nose (even though I tell you they are beautiful) and continue to love pink
  • This spring you began to suffer from seasonal allergies (not a great time to discover you have allergies because the symptoms are very similar to COVID) and are allergic to Birch, tree pollen, and dust mites. So far they haven’t been ‘seasonal’ as you have been suffering from them all fall and winter so we might have to do more…
  • You are fiercely competitive and want to be the best at everything at home and often get frustrated really quickly if you don’t get something within the first few try’s and want to quit. We spend a lot of time talking about practicing and working hard to accomplish things and you’re not going to be great at everything the first go-around.
  • For Halloween, you dressed up as your beloved Decendent’s character Evil Audrey

Lexi, having you as my daughter is one of my greatest joys and accomplishments. You are kind, sweet, thoughtful, hardworking, silly, smart and creative. I am proud and blessed to be your mom. I pray that God can continue to lead me to raise you to be generous, thoughtful, smart and driven for I believe HE has remarkable plans for you.

Love,

Mom

Lexi, William

William’s First Day of Kindergarten and Lexi’s First Day of 2nd Grade

It’s here! After 6 months of spending every waking hour together, we’re attempting to return to some sense of normalcy. You are both heading back to school, full-time! Can I get an Amen? Things will look different, but honestly—anything is better than distance learning and I’m so excited for both of you to get back into a routine, see your friends and get a little bit of independence.

We are one of the few schools that I’m aware of in the metro area that are going back full time. Most schools are doing 100% distance learning or a hybrid model where they go into school for two days and then do distance learning for three days. Fortunately, St. Vincents is a pretty small school which allows for a little more flexibility than many of the public schools.

I’ve been so impressed with everything the school has done to prepare over the summer and the communication with parents keeping us updated on the plans. They sent several surveys, updated the air filtration system, converted all toilets & sinks to motion sensors—including installing sinks in every classroom, created a guardian angel room for kids experiencing COVID systems, modified the lunchroom, recess & mass process, replaced shared tables with individual desks, are ONLY allowing teachers and students into the building, specialists will be visiting the classrooms verses traveling to other rooms, modified the doors kids enter school from, are going to try and do as much learning outside as possible (each child has their own Yoga mat). Generally, it feels like a great plan.

In prep for school to begin, we dropped school supplies off outside at a table for each grade since there wasn’t an open house. Teachers sent videos giving kids a tour of the classroom and showing the students what they looked like without a mask and what they look like with a mask and a shield on. Lexi has Mrs. Kain and has 3 of your closest friends in her class and William is in Mrs. Yosef’s class.

At home, we started preparing for school by going to bed early and getting up early to start to get you into a routine. On Labor Day, I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Put stuff away. Washed all of the beach towels, swim suits and basically put summer away. The school year is kind of like the new year—its a moment to reset ourselves up and having a clean and organized house feels like a great wya to do that. Overall, you were both pretty excited to get back to school. Each day, William would ask, ‘how many more days until school starts?’

Since parents aren’t allowed in the school and I wasn’t going to be able to walk William in to his class, we put that responsibility on Big Sister, Lexi. We talked through how Lexi would walk William into his classroom, help him find his locker and make sure he got into the right classroom. She was pretty excited and proud to have such an important role and show him the ropes. Night before—talked about how Lexi would walk William into school. She would help him find his locker and get him to his classroom. She was pretty excited to show him the ropes and be the big sister.

While putting William to bed, I asked, ‘Are you nervous or excited?’ He responds, ‘I’m just SO excited!! My teacher said we were going to have lots of fun! I can’t wait.’

Lexi requested to have her hair curled in the morning instead of a braid and really wanted to have it all down, but compromised with it half up. Said she didn’t care about how early she needed to get up to have it curled.

On Tuesday, I woke up around 5:20 to make the kids request, pancakes and bacon.

Lexi also requested that I curl her hair and she didn’t care how early I had to wake her up to do it. Around 6:10, I woke her up and she popped right up and came downstairs to get dressed, brush teeth and eat while I curled her hair. I woke William up around 6:20 knowing he takes a little bit longer to get going in the morning. Daddy made awesome signs—as usual describing all things Lexi and all things William. The goal was to leave around 7:10–but by the time we were done taking our pictures it was closer to 7:15-7:20.

Cars line for drop off was crazy. Cars snaked all around the parking lot, down the street and the way past the school. When we finally got to the front door, William was flustered getting his yoga mat and backpack out the door and was pretty pooky walking in, but Lexi grabbed his had and walked him to his locker, while my eyes pooled with tears.

I have such conflicting emotions. After being together every single day since February, doing distance learning, figuring out a new way to work, having constant distractions or interuptions has been really hard. So a big part of me is thrilled for both of you to go back to school so all of us to get some space, independence and shift back into a more structured routine.

There is this other part of me that is really sad. I’m really sad that we weren’t able to go into schools for a little orientation with William’s teacher. I’m sad that I didn’t get to walk him into school today. I’m sad that they are wearing masks. I’m sad that everyone else he sees and interacts with will have a mask on. I’m sad the kids won’t be able to give their teachers a hug or vice versa. I’m sad they won’t be able to see others smiles. I’m sad that William won’t get an 8th grade buddy or a 5th grade ready pal. I’m sad they won’t get to go on field trips. There are just so many exciting things that typically happen and I’m sad he (or Lexi) won’t get to experience them

And granted, I know just being in school is a HUGE blessing and we are so fortunate and things could be much worse, but it still doesn’t take away of those other feelings.

Overall, both Lexi and William had a ‘GREAT’ first day as William said. He loved everything about the day and Lexi couldn’t stop chatting about everything that happened and every conversation she had. Cheers to a great year!

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Dance 2020

I think this was the last year for dance, for awhile. You just were not into it and never wanted to go. You did have fun while you were there, but it was a contact battle to get you to actually go.

It was your third year in the kindergarten/1st grade program and I’m not sure if you were bored or if you just don’t like the structure of it because you LOVE to dance at home and I regularly find you dancing in your room in front of the mirror—especially to The Decendents. You say you love Jazz but not ballet and tap so much…so we’ll see. I would not be surprised if it is something you come back to in a few years.

Here are a few pictures from your Halloween celebration and your Christmas performance.

Similar to everything stopping in March, dance went virtual. You had a Zoom call once a week and they tried, but it just wasn’t the same. Surprisingly, the recital turned out adorable.

They had each dancer come in one at a time and recorded you performing your dance as if you were on stage. The room was dark and they had the spotlights on you and you were able to follow Mrs. Gina since nobody knew the dances very well. Considering the circumstances it was very cute and made you feel like a star. There was a little red carpet and you got a little prize goodie bag. Then the production company is going to produce a recital video Brady Bunch style of your class dancing together.

Lexi, I have loved watching you dance and am excited to watch and cheer for you in the next activity you embark on.

Love,

Mom

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Coved-19 week 10

Lexi, William and Kater-Taters,

Hallelujah!! School is out. For Summer. After 10 weeks of distance learning, we are done. To say this experience has been a journey is a minor statement. I felt like we started off strong with schedules, a routine and consistency. However, with each passing week and warmer weather each one of those things deteriorated a little bit. We kept trying to adapt and adjust and find something that worked and I think the constant adaptation was the only thing that did work.

Lexi, I know you act differently with Daddy and I than you do at school, but boy am I grateful for all that your teachers do. As hard as these last 10 weeks have been, I’m also really grateful for them. It has been really wonderful to have special 1:1 time with you and be more involved in your school work. I can see areas that you get excited about (Art & Science) and areas that you need a little extra help in (math). Now I know the things we can do at home to give you that extra practice to build up your confidence. Your reading also has really improved a lot these last 10 weeks. We have been much more consistent in read-out-louds and you’re getting better and faster everyday. I’m so proud of you.

William, you have been done with school for a few weeks and I’m astonished at how much you have grown and learned this year. At the beginning of the year, the only letter you knew was ‘W’ and now, not only can you identify the uppercase and lowercase, you can write them and identify the sounds they make. You are thoughtful, respectful, a good listener and very inquisitive about how things work. I am so excited for you to go to Kindergarten next year and really have very little stress or worries about it. I know you are going continue to learn and love kindergarten.

This week, Daddy also started working on remodeling our Master closet. The space hasn’t been working for us for quite some time, so it will be nice to get some drawers and and more hanging space and have things be a bit more organized.

As excited as I am for school to be complete for the year, I’m also a little scared about what this summer is going to look like. We can not continue to ask you guys to brush your teeth 7 times and nobody doing it. We just can’t fight these battles everyday. So starting on Monday, you kids need to brush your teeth, get dressed, do a chore and some of your workbooks before you can play outside, watch TV or play with toys. We need to get into some kind of routine where the basic things aren’t so challenging.

As far as Covid goes—the stay at home order in Minnesota was officially lifted and many stores were able to open back up. Restaurants, salons and experiences that are harder to social distance are still closed, but should be able to open in early June. About 100,000 people have died in the US from Covid at this point with the sweeping majority of them being 80+. As awful as it is to know so many people are passing, it is encouraging to know that most people contracting the virus are recovering at home and it isn’t quite as scary as I thought it was going to be when this all started to unfold 10 weeks ago.

That is all for now my favorite little monkeys. It is Memorial Day weekend and we’re looking forward to an outdoor BBQ at Grammy and Papas. Let’s have an awesome summer!!

Love,

Mommy

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 9

Munchkins,

I’m not sure if it was the sunshine and the 70 degree temperature today but this week was a pretty good week. Pushing the school work to the evening has really helped my mental sanity and Lexi is a lot more cooperative about completing it in the evening. Next week will be the last week any assignments are given with the last official ‘day’ being May 29th!!

You three have been really really good about cleaning up your toys. All toys have been picked up every single night since last Monday so you didn’t lose any additional ones and even earned back all the ones you lost–which are all still sitting in a bin untouched, so it shows how much you really ‘missed’ those toys.

The whining, complaining and attitude was maybe a tinch better–but still needs some work. Lexi lost TV & iPad for two days because she turned on YouTube without asking and then lost playing with Luke for the week for lying to us three times in a row. William also lied and lost playing with Luke for two days.

Yesterday, we did a good-bye parade for William’s preschool. We were able to give teacher gifts and pick up all of William’s things and then headed out to the Vossen’s to wish Avery a Happy Birthday. It was nice to get out of the house and also see some friends, even if it was only 20 minutes.

Daddy did a great job of keeping you out of my hair this week so I could work. Last night, I worked from 9:30 until 2:30am (and have done that about once a week). As hard as it is to work late into the night like that, is one of the few times I can actually focus and dig into some stuff without being interrupted or distracted every 30 minutes by one of you kids, have a meeting or be IM’d by someone. It also does help reduce some of my anxiety.

As a result, Daddy works in the evening from 6-11:30 or so while I do dinner, dishes, clean-up, baths and bedtime. It makes for some long days, for both of us. It isn’t ideal, but is manageable and better than you three running rampant.

The governor also lifted the stay at home order and ‘allowed’ people to start gathering in groups of 10 or less with retail stores able to open to a 50% capacity. Salons, restaurants, bars etc… are still closed with the hope of opening June 1st.

Today the weather was beautiful–sunny and 70 all day. You guys literally played outside from about 10 am until 7. You three plus Luke and Anna played in the sandbox, rode scooters, played hide and seek, played on the swing set, played Star Wars and Decendants and there was almost no tattling or crying. Daddy even was able to golf with Uncle Joe this afternoon. It was a good day. Daddy

Here’s to more days like today!!

Love,

Mama

Day to Day, Kate, Lexi, William

Mother’s Day 2020

Lexi, William and Kate,

One of my favorite things about Mother’s Day is ability to reflect on the indescribable amount of gratitude I have for all of the mother’s in my life, the role that I play in your lives and the role you play in my life.

The photo below was taken at 9:00 tonight, in the middle of our bedtime routine. It is far from perfect. But I love it. It represents our life today. Blurry. Everyone focused on something else.  Full of laughter and joy.

The three of you are my greatest blessings, best teachers, proudest accomplishment, biggest challenge and without a doubt my biggest worry. It is amazing how you three little can bring so much joy and fear at the same time.

To my first born, Lexi, who made me a mom. You are blossoming into a kind, fun and adventurous little girl. Your teachers say you are kind to all of your classmates and everyone always wants to play with you. You have an incredible imagination and love love to play with your toys and have taught your brother and sister how to use their imaginations as well. You watch out for them, but are extremely competitive and always looking for an opportunity to beat them. You’re weary of new people and experiences and are gaining courage to explore new things and almost always love them. I look forward to reading together at bed each night–hearing you learn to read and reading to you too. I love to hear how you process things in the books, how you’re feeling or just general observations.

To William the Badger, who made me a boy mom. I’m in awe of how thoughtful, tender and caring you are to your sisters, friends and cousins. You just do things (without being asked or told) to be nice to your sisters, like taking their laundry up the stairs or stopping playing because you were worried about Kenzie getting hurt. You have a heart of gold. You rarely talk back or have attitude and just go with the flow. You love learning and only want to read non-fiction books or watch non-fiction shows. You love to run, play soccer, ride your bike, play with your sisters, draw, do puzzles, play dinosaurs and cuddle at night. I love how much comfort you find in us laying with you while you fall asleep, often listening to you ask questions or process the events of the day.

To Kate, the bookend baby in my journey as a mom. You are silly, loud, confident, demanding and joyful. I love watching you experience joy in the small things of life, like a flower, an extra treat, or seeing your nooknee. Your eyes dance with excitement and it is impossible not to smile watching your expressions. You move a million miles a minute and will not be pushed around by your big brother and sister. You love bunnies (nooknees), the color purple, Lexi, Badgie, and being outside. I love when you snuggle your whole body on mine, pull up your shirt and beg for your back to be rubbed.

And to my own mom who has and continues to teach me how to create a warm, safe and nurturing environment for you three kids to grow up in. She taught me the importance of family, built and exposed me to faith, showed the importance of friendship, instilled importance of working hard, the value of a good education, giving back to your community and so much more. But of all of those things the most valuable was giving me the space and ability to figure out how I bring those foundational values elements into our home and family.

Your grammy is a pretty incredible woman and I owe so much of who I am and where I am to her. I pray that if I can be even half of the mom to you three that she was to me, we should be in pretty good shape.

Thank you Lexi, William & Kate for being three of the most incredible and happy things of my life. I love you more than you can ever know.

Love,

Mom

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, Uncategorized, William

Covid 19–week 8

Lexi, William & Kate,

Deep breaths are things I often remind myself to do. This week was really, really hard for me and felt I was very close to breaking down. Work is crazy busy right now and the lack of routine is making things a bit challenging. It felt like everything was just unraveling. You three kids were running wild and doing whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. Monday afternoon, I came outside to find you had rattled through an entire box of popsicles. You each ate three popsicles one after another, without asking. Toys, dishes and clothes were scattered throughout the house and the attitude, whining and talking back was out of control and we needed to make changes.

First was the toys. Anything that wasn’t picked up off the floor before bed time became mine. After lots of warnings about picking things up, toys were still all over the place when bedtime came. There were some big tantrums thrown as a result, and I picked up an entire bin of toys that became mine until you could go for a week with all toys being put away each night. But, I haven’t had to do it again yet. You have picked things up every night.

Next was having Daddy or I be near you guys at all times and not having both of us try and work at the same time. This allows one of us to actually focus on work and not be distracted by your constant interruptions. This mostly means Daddy has you for the days and I have you guys at night, since I’m in meetings all day.

Next was sticking to the punishments for talking back, doing things without asking and lying. Lots of timeouts were given and Lexi lost TV for the week for lying about the popsicles and blaming it on Luke.

This isn’t perfect and we still need to work on some sort of routine to help make our days more predictable and figure out a better schedule of work for Daddy and I. But, it is a start.

Considering we are 2 months into quarentene, it feels like you guys are pretty unaffected by it. You definitely prefer going to school and learning from your teachers versus us. You have also made some comments like ‘It feels weird to be driving in a car Mom. We don’t really ride in the car anymore.’ You haven’t been into a store since before we went to Florida. Most stores are asking only one person from a family shops and some stores don’t even allow people under the age of 16 inside. Occasionally, Kate will request that she wants to come to the store with me and says, ‘The Virus is all gone away now. I can come with you’. And William refers to it as the Corony Virus. But given all of the changes that you have gone through, you seem to roll through each day unaffected. You love to play with each other more than ever and have even taught Kate how to play your ‘stories’ and rarely, if ever, complain about not being able to do something because of the virus.

As far as the macro-economy goes–over 36 million people have filed for unemployment as businesses have been forced to temporarily close. More than 80,000 people have died in the United States–with more than 80% of them being 80+ years old. Children have been pretty unaffected–meaning they show very mild symptoms or no symptoms. Our official stay-at-home order started March 27th and is expected to lift May 18th as most business have put plans together to re-open in what the government deems a safe way. This mostly means a limited number of people in stores, closed or limited dressing rooms, employees and customers wearing masks and truly going to a store for a given purpose and not to just shop and browse.

One of the most challenging elements of this whole situation is knowing what to believe and how to navigate as a result. Most of the news outlets are telling the narrative that everyone’s life is at risk, which is different than what the actual numbers reflect. Doctors and people that have different opinions or data than what is being shared in the news are silenced. They post something on social media and their posts are removed in what is being stated as a ‘content violation’. Yet nobody can explain what a content violation is? Or why is it a content violation? Are individuals not allowed to have and share different opinions? There are facts out there stating the US was funding the research of the lab where this virus came from in China. There are rumors out there that big pharma companies are behind this. Politicians are taking advantage of this situation by trying to work their personal agendas into bills that need to pass. Then, there are people who won’t see anyone and think they are going to die if they get this virus, which they might, but pretty unlikely based on the numbers being reported. Then, there are people who think this whole thing is completely over-exaggerated and think we should just continue to operate as we normally do. It is confusing and really hard to make decisions on what is OK and what isn’t OK to do.

Hopefully, our stay-at-home order will get lifted next week and we can start to test the waters by opening businesses up and seeing people more freely and pray our medical systems have prepared enough that they can support the individuals that need the medical assistance.

Love,

Mama

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 7

Lexi, William & Kate,

The highlight of this week was spending a few days with Kenzie at our house. Auntie Sheila and Uncle Dustin dropped Kenzie off on Sunday evening as they were preparing to go to the hospital to welcome your new baby BOY cousin, Lincoln, into the world. The weather was amazing so you guys had a lot of fun playing on the swing set, in the sandbox, drawing with chalk, running, reading books and just caring for sweet Kenzie.

It was so fun to watch you all interact together, but it is amazing how quickly I forgot how much work little kids are, changing diapers, getting them down for naps, the extra messes they make and watching them like a hawk to make sure they don’t get hurt or put things in their mouths they shouldn’t.

As a result of the extra attention Kenzie needed, I became much more lax about the school work and started doing most of it at night while the other kids were getting ready for bed. But it kind of worked. We also found out that school will officially be over by May 22nd. At first, I was stressed about this as they are supposed to go to school for another two weeks. As I sat on this information the more OK and relieved I became. It is one less thing to keep track of, worry about, and lets be real… it is getting harder and harder for Lexi to focus and be motivated to do her work. We started off doing all of these extra things to keep a routine as much as possible but, now 7 weeks in, we are doing the bare minimum.

Work has gotten much more stressful. Projects are starting to kick off, which means a lot more meetings and the kids seem to be interrupting a lot more and I’m just having a really hard time focusing and being productive when I need to be. I’ve worked late several nights this week in an attempt to get caught up, but I just never feel like I can dig myself out of the hole I’m in. I’m working on finding time to go for a walk, do yoga and just get some endorphins flowing to help with the anxiety.

With all that said, we have so much to be grateful for and continue to thank God for what we have and what we do know.

Love,

Mama