Showing posts with label Bennett. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bennett. Show all posts

Sunday, August 24, 2014

B is 3 (almost): digger party!

Try explaining to a 3 year old why their birthday party is happening before their actual birthday. You'll need about three days.

I felt really disorganized, but everything came together and he had a good time. We stuck to a family only party, because in our family that is nearly twenty people. Add in friends and we need a backyard extension.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

thank you ... woman! {update on the kids}

Bennett is in an intensely adorable phase of language development. Everything is "handsome" and "fancy" right now. As in, "check out my handsome dance!" Or, "that's a fancy shirt!" The day he stops calling helicopters "hopper coppers" I will cry. Bennett uses "cool" and "awesome" a lot too, only his "cool" comes out as "kewl." He's struggling with his double 'o words right now, but the result is really cute.

We've been on the road a lot this summer. On one trip through the Burgerville drive-thru (what would we do without Burgerville?!) J placed our order to which the server said, "Your total is ----, thank you!" And then Bennett's little voice piped up from the backseat, "thank you! ........ woman!" J and I laughed so hard at Bennett's attempt to be kind.

This morning Bennett asked me if I like the color red. I said yes, then asked if he likes it. (His favorite questions right now are, "what's your favorite color?" and "how was your day?" so we answer those two things five thousand times a day.) "I like red." Bennett responded, then he paused and reconsidered. "In fact, I like purple," he said.

In fact? Where did he learn that phrase?!

Bennett's speech and language is advanced for his age. Our audiologist commented on how well she can hear and understand him (she is deaf in one ear). His grasp of words and the complex sentences he strings together surprise me every day.

Remember when he looked just like Ainsleigh?

Ainsleigh is busy and loud. I think that is what I will remember most about her babyhood. Was she ever a newborn? I feel like she's been scooting around for months. And isn't it weird how difficult it is to remember a time before they existed? I remember last summer, of course, when the anxiety of Ainsleigh's pregnancy sat heavily on my shoulders, but now the memories are hazy and indistinct. It seems like she's always been here - exploring and squawking.

I took the kids to story time at the library last week. There were a lot of kids Ainsleigh's age, but she was the loudest by far. Other parents were staring. Her hearing loss has nothing to do with it. She's just really loud. Queen Squawkers. Our sweet, sweet girl.

The hearing aid is still a daily battle. I put it in. Ainsleigh rips it out. I put it in. She tolerates it, which gives me a little hope, then rips it out. I have to outlast her, which is really hard because she is so stubborn and determined. My motivation lies in knowing we aren't hurting her, and sticking with it now may help her language develop.

Ainsleigh has her first tooth coming in at eight months, just like her brother. She is slowly starting to hands and knees crawl, but she prefers army crawling because she can move so fast. Ainsleigh likes to stand, walk with assistance, and is just starting to cruise along the furniture a little. She'll be nine months in a week!

Next up for Ainsleigh: walking.

Next up for Bennett: toilet training, which I know is not going to be an easy process because he too has a stubborn streak. I'm going to try and refrain from sharing too much about the journey because I want him to like me when he's 15, but I'm a little nervous about it all!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

beautiful music

Last night at my in-laws we were listening to music while we ate dinner. Bennett was really into the music, so I ignored his feet kicked out to the side, body rocking pose, and let him enjoy it. I've been trying to instill table manners, but sometimes enjoying a moment is more important than sitting politely at the table.

At the end of the song Bennett said, "That was a beautiful song. What was it about?"

It was one of those moments where I saw how he might be as an adult. How he'll love music and art. How he'll appreciate small moments others don't see, or recognize as important. How he'll always be busy, but he will also always hold within himself an incredible ability to sit and focus - on a book, or a nice piece of music.

Bennett's almost three and as he becomes less toddler and more kid my heart breaks open in new ways.

For all the usual reasons and a few more besides.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I hope you always love the simple days

My house is a mess - keeping it real!

I can't believe (of course) that Ainsleigh will be eight months in two days. She is busy, curious, and sporting her first black eye. She loves to stand, army crawl and play with Bennett. Ainsleigh just learned how to sit from a lying down position. Lately she's been doing it in her sleep, which wakes her up, which makes her grumpy. If she wakes up too much she pulls herself to a stand and jettisons whatever is on the changing table next to her crib. My constant refrain: "Ains, sweetie, what did you do?!"

Today I took the kids on a day trip to McMinnville. And now I am in a lot of pain. I felt like I was on the mend, but I think I overextended myself today. We went to the bookstore, then an indoor play place, then Bennett and I ate a picnic lunch in the back of the Subaru. We read our new books and ate cold pizza and freshly picked berries while Ainsleigh slept.

As Bennett and I have more fraught moments (toddlers are tough!) I'm trying to create more simple days where we do fun stuff that is low key. (Okay, that play place was not low key, but I thought of it at the last minute so ...) I'm trying to put my phone down, set aside my laptop and just hang out with him. He said his favorite thing about today was our car picnic. And I understand why. It was just us, reading, chatting and eating. It's amazing how much focused time kids need. The pace of life makes it difficult to move in a slower stream, but I'm trying to spend more time in the shallows. There will be time for rapids later, if I want to engage them.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

toddler fashion: summer shoes

Summer shoes: what you call the toddler's new sandals so he'll feel delight when sliding the handcrafted shoes on (instead of screaming, "I want my brown shoes!!")

The color is not what we expected, but the owner of SoulPath Shoes has been open to our communication and criticism. Since shipping to Canada is expensive exchanging is not a feasible option, but a discounted pair of shoes was offered.  I think we'll have to say yes to that offer, don't you?

Image from SoulPath Shoes

A slow shuffle to the sandwich shop was the inaugural trip for these shoes. (It was either go for a walk or break the TV because B has discovered Blue's Clues.) B did really well in the shoes. The fit is a little big because we want them to last all summer, but he didn't trip or stumble.

I'm never I'm probably not going to put my little ones in flip-flops, and J has very strong opinions about shoes, so these were a great discovery. They are a little spendy, but we'll save them for baby A, and they're not much more than full price Keens.

 To visit SoulPath Shoes click HERE

*I'm not getting paid or receiving any incentives for this post. I just want to share these great shoes with you*

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

the firemen came to visit me!

I can hear Bennett talking to J in the kitchen. He is detailing his day, which was very eventful.

"Daddy the firemen come to see me. They did. About the crackers. The firemen tell me not to eat the crackers ..."

While I was at the specialty hospital this morning having Ainsleigh's eyes looked at (all is well) Bennett was at my mom's with my sister and her kids. When my sister stepped out of the room my three-year-old niece opened the pantry door, got down the goldfish crackers, and handed out snacks to everyone.

My sister wasn't sure if Bennett ate anything, but his lip began swelling and his breathing changed so she called 911. The paramedics and firemen spent thirty minutes at the house monitoring Bennett. By that time I was on my way home so they left with instructions to watch him closely for the rest of the day. Bennett is not allergic to wheat - he's intolerant, but not allergic - but my sister was very proactive about calling and making sure someone with medical knowledge and equipment was in the house just in case the situation worsened.

It's so hard for me to stay calm when things like this happen. I know he was in good hands. He was probably in better hands with my sister than me honestly. My sister is very good in terrifying situations, especially if the terrifying situation has anything to do with blood, or hospitals, or paramedics.

I worry about taking Bennett places and after a day like this it's hard for me to resist putting him in a bubble and keeping him with me at all times. Every birthday party is a minefield. Everywhere we go there are foods that can make him sick. A couple weeks ago we walked into an Asian restaurant. I stopped in my tracks in the doorway and looked at J. "Peanut sauce!" I said. Peanut sauce and eggs! It's everywhere!" We haven't gone to a Chinese, Thai or Asian restaurant in two years because the risk is too high. When the restaurant was suggested we thought it sounded good because we hadn't gone in so long. I didn't realize why we had avoided those types of restaurants until we walked in the door.

I try to be calm about Bennett's food allergies. I do my best to be relaxed because I know his allergies are inconvenient, but I have to keep him safe. I can't explain the feeling in my stomach when a mom pulls out a bag of snacks at the park or coffee shop. I live with so much fear, but I don't want to pass that on to Bennett. And I don't want him to feel like there's something wrong with him.

I know I've written about Bennett's food allergies and my concerns, but it's a constant element in our lives. There's so many things we can't do because of potential hazards. Tomorrow night our church is providing child care so parents can spend time together for Valentine's Day. It sounds like a great event, but they will be serving pizza and Bennett is too young for me to put him in a situation like that.

When Ainsleigh was first diagnosed I was talking to our pediatrician about how I was coping. When I told her I felt overwhelmed she said, "Ainsleigh's issues are really intense right now, but in the long run they will be easier to manage than Bennett's food allergies."

You know what? I agree.

I'm tired of spending so much time thinking about food, packing food, looking out for potential food hazards and creating an environment that makes Bennett feel normal while keeping him safe.

I know I'm going to receive comments about living with food allergies, how it's manageable and everything will be fine, but I honestly don't want to hear it tonight. Tonight all I can think about is my baby boy and what he went through today.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

oh bennett

We do this game at story time called "Elevator." You put your kiddo in your lap, pretend to press a button -"ding!" then lift them up in the air before setting them gently on the floor - first floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, down!" I don't know if that little explanation makes sense, but I hope you get the general idea. 

The other day Bennett was really struggling so I sat him down on the couch and said, "What is going on? Why are you pushing Mama's buttons? What do you need from me?"

Bennett looked at me with confusion, then understanding dawned on his face. He reached his hand forward, pushed an imaginary button and said, "Ding!"


J took B to the store a few days ago. When he came home he asked me if Bennett pointed to items and yelled, "get it out!" while we were shopping. I said, "no, maybe it's a new thing." Yesterday at Costco when Bennett asked for a snack I pulled a granola bar from the bag. He rarely gets granola bars. They are really expensive (because we have to buy them at the health food store) and the only reason we have a box at home right now is because he had allergy testing and we wanted to give him a treat afterwards.

As soon as he saw the granola bar Bennett yelled as loud as he could, "TREAT! GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!"   


This morning I told Bennett we had to dress in layers. "We're going to the library for a concert and we'll probably have to wait outside," I explained as I was dressing him.

A few minutes later I was taking care of Ainsleigh when I realized Bennett had disappeared. I found him standing by the back door. When I asked him what he was doing he said, "wait outside concert."

"No, no, no!" I said, "Oh, honey, we have to go to the library and wait!"


And here is one of my better moments, brought to you by sleep deprivation and the general stupidity that comes with children:

"Angela, I'm going to the store after dinner. Do you need anything?"

"You're just going to the health food store?"


"No thanks then. I want chocolate, but all they will have there is an $8.00 free range chocolate bar."

"Free range chocolate bar! What's that?"

"Not free range! Fair trade! I meant fair trade!"

"Nope, I like free range. This grass fed chocolate bar ..."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

holding the pieces together

Our family is so blessed. We are being loved and served well during this time of transition. From friends who stop by at the perfect moment with cupcakes and kiddos to distract the Bennett whirlwind, to the gifts that keep arriving, (I admit, gifts are one of my love languages) to my mom who has given up days to help us manage our lives.

Three birds for three babies 

Custom bowl - three eggs for three babies 

This is a delicate time as I find my way in the parenting of two (ahhh it's hard, how will we ever leave the house alone??) while still holding space for Charlotte. I find myself in a strange place as I try to incorporate Ainsleigh into my parenting narrative. I could not connect with her, or comprehend what it would be like to have a living daughter, before she was born and now I have three unique life strands I am trying to blend into a cohesive whole so I can better understand who I am as a person and mother. I am lucky to have so many acknowledge our three children, our family of five. It gives me permission to be confused, and it allows me time to find my footing as a mother to two living, one gone. 

I am waiting for grief to wash over me. If I have learned anything in the past 3.5 years it is this: grief is circular and thinking one is beyond a certain stage only guarantees a swift and painful fall into darkness. But it may not come for a while. I cried enough tears while in labor my heart may not have any more just yet. There have been a few tears while nursing as the quietest, sweetest mama/baby moments find their existence within those frequent feedings, but it's very different from the early days with Bennett when I wept absolute buckets. 

Having a deep net of support beneath us is helping immensely. There are so many in my life who know and understand this confusing path, and those who have not been to this particular place of deep joy and great sorrow have been silent witnesses and strong shoulders. I've always felt that we are blessed to know and feel so much love as we build our family. Thank you for celebrating Ainsleigh, spoiling Bennett, and remembering Charlotte.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

this is pretty perfect

I was trying to prepare and make a double batch of hash for Bennett, but he was not having it. After ten solid minutes of "I watch!" "Sit lap mama!" "Kiss!" "Kiss!" Kiss!" "Pick up!" "Hug!" "Hold!" I gave up and spent some time cuddling him. He is really, really into spending time together right now. I wouldn't have it any other way. The hash was quickly finished when he went down for a nap (without rocking or getting out of bed!!). I probably won't get the double batch of winter stew prepped, or the double batch of tortillas made like I wanted to, but there is time enough for that tomorrow. And that last "kiss, mama!" picture is the sweetest. I might have to print and frame it. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

bennett's second birthday: the party

It's a good thing birthdays only come around once a year because they turn me into an emotional crazy cake which makes everyone around me miserable. This year the madness was amplified by third trimester pregnancy hormones which really made everyone around me miserable.

Celebrating Bennett's birthday always makes me miss Charlotte. I get all weepy about how I'll never plan a party for her, or buy her gifts, and then those thoughts eventually turn into I'll never get to watch her grow up thoughts and then I can't stop crying. This raising Bennett while grieving and missing his sister is complicated and emotionally messy.

I thought we weren't going to have a cake, but thanks to a friend who introduced me to her friend (does that make sense?) I was able to procure a cake Bennett could eat. As we were packing up my mom asked Bennett how his party was and he said, "I ate cake!" And this evening when we asked him if there was anything he wanted to thank Jesus for he said, "Cake" with a big smile. Cake for the birthday boy; a simple thing but I nearly cried when I saw the joy in his eyes.

And let me tell you, Bennett on a sugar high is something else. He was cracking J and I up this evening. We bought him a little backpack for his birthday because he is into carrying five thousand things with him wherever he goes. He put four leftover water bottles from the party inside and proceeded to stumble around the house like a toddler on a bender. We asked him if it was too heavy. He said no, even as he fell over trying to walk into the family room.

 Nothing went as planned, which sent me into a whole new realm of crazy, but when Bennett looked over the train park today and said, "Choo-Choo! Steam! Eng!" I regained perspective on what we were doing and why. I get so caught up in doing things a certain way I lose sight of what really matters. I have to remind myself over and over and over that birthdays come and go, and how one little party turns out doesn't make much of a difference. What we're really celebrating is Bennett's life and the joy he brings to ours. That kid is a firecracker who has no idea how much healing and hope he has brought into this house.

Love you to the moon and back, sweet boy.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Bennett is two today! (Here's his birth story) I love how his little personality is starting to develop and shine - he's a little trickster. Honestly, this post is more for me than you, but I hope you enjoy it.

I love how Bennett:

- says "choo-choo."

- opens and closes his hands when he talks about birds.

- says "yand" for "land" and "yike" for like.

- enjoys reading and loves the "bia bia!" (library).

- says "moon, back" when I ask him how much I love him. I'm still waiting on that first "I love you!"

- calls his daily vitamin his "ibis."

-  calls "bis" bacon and "pis" pizza.

-  names his friends and cousins when we are discussing daily plans because he thinks every day should be spent with friends.

- can carry on a full conversation with us now.

- still wants to be rocked to sleep at nap time.

- bends over and slaps his knee when he finds something particularly funny, or when he thinks he is being clever.

And of course I love how wonderful the last two years have been.


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