Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little Lolabug

i've got my eye on you  Lola June 27

Words really can't describe what kind of joy this little girl brings to my life. {overflowing}

Lola June 27 (2)

Raising Extroverted Boys

I lamented in this post about being an introverted mom of three extroverted boys. I grew up in a quiet, introverted family of three girls (my younger sister is an extrovert, but she is certainly outnumbered!). Life is WILDLY different in a house full of (ALL!) extroverted boys. I came across a couple articles this week that had me nodding my head vigorously. (I fully understand that personalities vary, but these echo my personal experience.)

Why Boys Are Failing in an Educational System Stacked Against Them by Lori Day @

As the mother of a female only child, my parenting experience, while not always idyllic, has been relatively peaceful. As a toddler, my daughter was sedentary and cautious, and seemed to have nowhere she needed to go. She would sit in one spot on the floor for hours with a pile of books, "reading" to herself. I could shoot from room to room, accomplishing tasks, and she would smile up at me from her place on the living room rug as if wondering, what's the hurry?

She was much like I was as a child, and nothing like the brothers I had grown up with who requisitioned large expanses of the floor plan of our house for their games, commandeering space like an army of two. The entire finished basement was needed for indoor hockey (and windows were expendable). Outdoors, acres of woods were barely enough for their imaginary villages and the conquering of foreign lands. Unwitting trees were the patient recipients of nails and ropes and bungee cords, bending uncomplainingly to the weight of whatever animate or inanimate objects were tied, strapped or hung from them.

And then:

Our modern educational system works for many children, particularly girls, but for some boys (and girls) it places constraints on a very normal and necessary experiential type of learning, not to mention the need of many children to move around rather than sit still. While it may be a cynical statement, I have often felt that co-ed schools are girls' schools that boys go to.

Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic? by Susan Cain at gives words to some of my frustration, not only with being an introvert myself, but also with my young boys who don’t seem to have some of those nice ‘pro-social’ behaviors that came with the shy nature of my own childhood.

Sitters’ temperaments also confer more subtle advantages. Anxiety, it seems, can serve an important social purpose; for example, it plays a key role in the development of some children’s consciences. When caregivers rebuke them for acting up, they become anxious, and since anxiety is unpleasant, they tend to develop pro-social behaviors. Shy children are often easier to socialize and more conscientious, according to the developmental psychologist Grazyna Kochanska. By 6 they’re less likely than their peers to cheat or break rules, even when they think they can’t be caught, according to one study. By 7 they’re more likely to be described by their parents as having high levels of moral traits such as empathy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Million Photos

Unedited, imperfect, and without commentary. They tell a story all by themselves...
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sleep


After a rough start to her night, Lola slept 8 hours straight. Unfortunately, Luke was up for about 6 of those with, ahem, digestive issues. The other two he spent in my bed. Monday came waaaaay to early.

It was the first day of VBS. During a chaotic morning of checking in, Leif decided to be his shy-stubborn self. He apparently felt unprepared for a new adventure. I pointed out all the great panda and bamboo decorations. His comment? “But I don’t speak Chinese.” Sigh. I think this kid is going to be an over-achiever.

I was so ridiculously tired when I got home from dropping off the boys that I put Lola down for a nap then promptly put myself down for a nap in spite of the catch-up I needed to do from the day before, the endless current to-do list, and all the projects I hoped to accomplish while my boys were being entertained by someone else. Lola and I both woke up just as it was time to go get the boys again.

Highlight of the day: listening to the new VBS CD and in the rear-view mirror watching the boys do their new hand motions to a fabulous rendition of How Great Thou Art.

Braved Costco again to pick up a prescription. Braved the food court while we waited for our insurance to be processed. Crawled like a snail through my afternoon, accomplishing nothing. Made brownies to take to the BBQ this evening. Came back to the kitchen to find them mangled by a (three?) snitching boy(s).


We went to Shannon and Ben’s house for a BBQ dinner. A belated Fathers’ Day celebration to cheer up Dad while Mom’s gone.

Much of the day had been overcast, a muggy 80? degrees. The evening was a little cooler and sprinkled a drop or two of rain. It certainly wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits. The boys played and played and played like crazy people. Ben made lavender lemonade and burgers. We played our first of the season game of family softball. (Lola hung out on a blanket with Ivy. Levi was off in his own little world. Luke and Leif were awesome softball players.)

Shannon and Holly served strawberry shortcake (with heart-shaped shortcakes). Yeah. I have an awesome family.

I’m having great trouble uploading photos today. We’ll see if these two pictures work, and I’ll post more later.






Flopped myself in bed at 10, unable to stay up a minute longer. Feel asleep to the cool breeze coming in the open window and the patter of rain.

And I slept for hours. Thank you, God.

Luke didn’t wake up for, uh, business, until 4:30ish when Russ was up getting ready for work. He went right back to bed, Russ left for work, and I fell asleep again to the patter of rain accompanied by a multitude of birds singing (or it may have been angels). Lola didn’t wake up until after 6am, joined shortly thereafter by Luke. I had to wake Levi and Leif at 8am to get ready for VBS.

Another day begins.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Re-entering the Swim World

swim season

Today’s ‘real life’ isn’t particularly funny or soul-baring, but it is certainly real life, nonetheless.

Sixteen years ago, I met Russ at a swimming pool. He was managing. I wasn’t swimming. (But that’s another story.) Russ had spent the previous 9+ years breathing the chlorinated pool air. He was on the Albany high school and age group teams, competed through college (Willamette University in Salem), life guarded, taught swim lessons, led swim exercise classes, managed pools, and coached.

He managed/coached/taught at the Lakeview pool (for the third year) during the summer of our long distance relationship. Right after we were engaged, he took a position coaching in Reedsport on the coast, where I joined him after we were married. We soon moved back to Albany, and he found himself coaching the Lebanon age group team. Basically, we spent our first few years together at swim meets until the road of our life curved in a different direction.

I figured there would come a time when we’d be back. That day was today, at Levi’s first swim meet… In (and for) Lebanon where Russ used to coach.

Levi's 1st Swim Meet

Since Levi has only been swimming with the team for a few weeks, our expectations for this meet were very simple. We hoped he would start and complete each of his two events without any major catastrophes or emotional melt-downs. Mission accomplished. I think he really enjoyed the experience, as well.

Did I mention something about coming full circle? Yeah. Russ’s high school swim coach and mentor (someone who had a huge impact in Russ’s life) is now the pool manager at Lebanon (after coaching many years out of state). My absolute favorite moment of the whole morning was watching Russ and Coach Arzner watch Levi’s first race. Russ said that out of years of coaching, he has never been so nervous as when Levi started his first event.

That full circle thing again? Yeah. Russ has been swimming with the team during practices and signed up to compete in three open events at this meet. Not only that, but a high school swim buddy (and one of the groomsmen at our wedding) is now coaching his son’s team. They attended this meet. And his son swam against Russ. How’s that for full circle?

Russ and Coach Arzner/Russ Swimming

Nicely done, Honey.

Russ Swimming

Levi's 50 Free: (He hasn't had much practice on the starting blocks, so he started from the edge instead.)

Levi Swim Start Levi Swimming 50 Free

I can tell you this parenting two little boys and a baby at a swim meet is a completely different thing from being the coach’s wife. Lola is entering the very wiggly stage. She is less and less content to sit in once place. (It didn't help that she was soooo tired.) Anyone recognize the "I don't want to be held" flopping body? She did enjoy 'using' the stopwatch, though.


Luke took this one (and about 3,749 more):

Me (by Luke)

And the very proud swimmer:

Levi and Lola

I guess this is a sight we'll be seeing for a long time to come.

swimming pool

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Random Real Life: Part VI

Anyone wondering how long I’m going to keep this up?!

lola bella lola bella (2)

Bed at 10:30ish last night. Up at 1:15 with Luke who wasn’t feeling well. Tooth hurting (please tell me there isn’t a root canal in my future!!), got Ibuprofen. Couldn’t go back to sleep. Lola up at 1:45, fed her. Finally back to sleep. Lola awake again at 4:30. Fell asleep feeding her. Crawled back in my own bed around 5:45. Both Luke and Lola awake at 6:30.

Tired, tooth hurting, throat sore (still!!), head congested (still!!), house a disaster (still!!), and lots of errands to run today (a Saturday) with four children. Russ was working in Salem. Sigh.

The boys have no sense of urgency. They hear ‘get your tasks done; we have to leave shortly’ as ‘please enjoy yourself; snails will be rewarded.’ They even knew there was the possibility of bread sticks at the mall, and still they goofed off. We dropped books off at the library--they lost the privilege of going in because of their unwillingness to do their tasks this morning.

We *finally* made it to Target. I looked down at Luke’s feet. No shoes. Levi had the brilliant idea that I should just buy him some more when we got in the store. I told Luke he was free to buy some with his own money. Levi told me it was my job as a parent to buy shoes for Luke. I told him I already bought Luke three pairs of flip flops. My obligation was fulfilled. It was Luke’s obligation to get them on his feet *before* we left home.

nice shoppers

I told the boys that it was their responsibility to stay with me, not my responsibility to stay with them. We filled the cart with all the boring necessities of life (Benadryl, chocolate, wipes, dish soap, birthday cards, toothbrushes…) which always add up to a staggering amount of money. I saw two DARLING sundresses for Lola that I had to pass up. Leif and Levi wouldn’t stay with the cart no matter how many times I told them the rules. At the check-out Luke announced to the checker that he had poison oak and diarrhea. She made a noble attempt not to laugh at my expense. Luckily I know her, she has grandchildren, and she is always entertained by my crazy family. Luke was much more willing to part with his money for a pack of gum. Go figure.

crazy shoppers crazy shoppers (2)

There was wailing and gnashing of teeth when we didn’t get bread sticks. I told the boys that was the consequence of not following the rules. Luke complained that HE had. Only ‘cause you had no shoes and couldn’t get out of the cart, kid. No shoes=no walking through the mall. Sorry Charlie.

I knew better than to push my luck at Costco. I hoped to get back there after Lola’s afternoon nap, but it didn’t pan out. Lola and the boys are in bed, but Leif keeps getting up like usual. It is always a struggle to get him to sleep. I wonder if I’ll have the energy to ‘clean’ the house before heading to bed, myself…

And in other random news:

A blistering 72 degrees today. With blue skies, that is about perfect in my opinion.

Lola’s fingernails grow SO quickly and they are ridiculously sharp. I often look like I’ve been through WWIII. Why don’t MY fingernails grow that quickly?!

I’m mulling over the idea of finding a kids’ ballroom dancing class for the boys. Is that crazy?

Levi’s first swim meet tomorrow. Russ is competing, too!

And now I shall ‘clean’ the kitchen, which is a very different thing from cleaning the kitchen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Random Real Life: Part V

You all are spoiling me with your awesome comments. I’m so glad that this little ‘series’ has blessed others!!

There’s a reason I don’t do this all the time, though. You’d get sick of the monotony, LOL! Look… it’s Lola in her high chair. Look… the boys are making a mess of the living room floor, again. Look… I’m eating stuff I shouldn’t. Look… I fed the boys NuGo bars for lunch (again) and called it good. Ooooh, the boys are riding their bikes. Another poopy diaper. Such excitement.

Today I made dentist appointments for the family. That’s as exciting as it gets, folks.

Lola had a very long morning nap. Making up for last night, I guess. I wish I could have taken a nap, too, but I was at least totally lazy, avoiding all the to-do list…. and strangely in a great mood.

Luke piano

Math, handwriting, piano practice, chores, laundry, something posing as lunch…

We made the trek over to the pediatrician (we LOVE her, so we travel an hour or so round trip) to weigh Lola. Bonus: the nurse took one look at Luke and asked if I wanted her to call in a prescription for him. Nah, he’s fine….. Well, okay. Why not.

Lola is up to 20 pounds 4 ounces (at one week shy of 9 months). Not bad. She was 18 pounds 7 oz (and 28 inches) six weeks ago, so she has gained close to 2 pounds. Still smaller than the boys. (Luke hit 19 pounds at 4 months, and all three of them were over 20 pounds at 6 months.) (Just for fun, here is Leif at 9 months.)

At the Dr.

We took advantage of being a city away and stopped by a new grocery store. Not really a good idea with all four kids. I know this, and yet I still torture myself. I would have taken a picture of us inside the store, but, really, it was all I could do to put a couple things in the cart and get. out. of there. The boys ate bananas (one of the things I managed to buy) in the truck while I nursed Lola, then we headed home.

We used the driving time to listen to our poetry, hymns, and CC memory work CDs. At least I hope the boys could hear the CDs over the fighting in the back seats… The sun finally came out on our way home at 3pm. I think it hit all of 71 degrees.

Swim team practice (Russ took Levi), Applegate hot dogs, family swim night, and bed. Our work here is done.

blue skies

bird poop and blue skies


Off topic: I’m totally working myself up to a huge new project. I’m getting inspired here and here and here and here and here and here and here, too! I bet you can’t guess what it is! Ha! My husband says he is tired already. At the rate we’ve been accomplishing things, it will be done in 2014.

Random Real Life: Part IV


Levi finished up his cursive workbook, so I wanted to write out a poem for him to copy on his handwriting paper. I’m used to Handwriting Without Tears print, and I do a pretty good job of it (even if I do say so myself). But I have never tried HWT cursive until yesterday. I was astonished at how hard it was to write my letters exactly how they are taught in the workbook. When you are used to writing a certain way, it is difficult to override habits! HWT cursive isn’t the prettiest writing, but I’m positive Levi will put his own spin on it once he gets past the preliminary learning stage. I was the kid who was constantly changing and experimenting with the way I formed my letters. Sometimes my Ts curved at the bottom, sometimes they were straight. I loved making fancy cursive capitals. Did your writing change a lot? I also loved to write with colored pens. Purple and green, in particular.

I’ve been working on getting the boys to do more around the house. Luke took over Levi’s job of emptying the dishwasher (he has it empty in about 2 minutes flat compared to Levi’s 2 hours). Levi’s been doing some of the dishes. Yesterday I taught him how to clean the bathroom (minus the bathtub…maybe that will be today’s chore). I’m really liking the idea of not having to clean the bathroom any more…

Since my bathroom was clean cleaner (and I actually did my hair and makeup today...even if it took until 3pm to get lipstick on), I was inspired to snap a few pictures in the mirror. (I've obviously not practiced that much. Look DOWN at the camera, Heidi.)

Lola and Mommy

Lola thought it was very serious business and wanted to help.

Lola the Photographer

Look, it's me! (It is I? It is a picture OF me?)


Luke’s poison oak looks awful. Yeah, so much for that photo shoot I had planned. Poor kid. He’s doing really well, though. He’s the kid who thinks it is really cool to look like he has the plague. (Leif is just silly.)

Leif and Luke 

Luke Poison Oak

Lunch was late. Lola didn’t wake up until 8ish yesterday morning (wahoo), and she is up for much longer periods of time now. This puts her morning nap rather late. I think it should still be morning if she is still asleep! She woke up at 1:15 while I was finally making lunch.

Lunch: whole grain toast, celery (grape tomatoes for Leif), almonds, cranberries. At least they didn’t go hungry. (Cold, leftover gourmet pizza for me).

Lola ate sweet potatoes and chicken with rice cereal. She is getting much better with solids, but she’s still eating jarred baby food. I was so industrious with Levi, making most of his baby food. See what happens on the forth time around?

At dinner I snuck some roasted cauliflower in her mouth and she loved it! She was really getting the hang of mashing it with her front gums and two teeth just coming in. She didn’t like the chicken so much, though.

 Lola Messy

The boys were being naughty, so they got sent to bed early. Lola and I snuggled in the living room and watched So You Think You Can Dance. There are some amazing dancers on that show, and I marvel at the creativity of those choreographers. I went to bed at a decent hour, but it didn’t matter because Lola was up a lot all night long.

I called the dentist twice to make appointments and got the voice mail both times. At least I tried. And I didn’t finish my photo editing project. I wonder what today will hold. Maybe we’ll jet over to the pediatrician’s office to get Lola weighed just for fun. She hadn’t gained much weight at her last appointment because the solids thing wasn’t going well. I bet she’s gained weight recently, though!