Big Family

Every family has a story to tell. Welcome to our big family story.

Addressing Learning Differences at a Young Age

I'll never forget the day that my oldest son's preschool called me in to talk about addressing his "learning differences." As an involved parent and a former teacher, I was acutely aware from infancy that he processed things differently than his peers. I was just surprised to hear someone else acknowledge it. Worry wasn't top of mind during that conversation, when they suggested we have him assessed by the county for an IEP and start making minor adjustments to his day at the learning center. I was relieved to be getting help.

Here’s the Booster we Take Along When we Travel

My three-year-old is in a booster seat, and I don’t even know how this happened. Basically, I blinked, and now he’s a walking-talking-functional human being with independent thoughts and ideas. I’ve mentioned how buying clothes for him is a little weird because he’s huge for his age. The car seat situation is the same. He’s too big for most harness seats, but he’s still mentally immature and needing something SOLID that keeps him contained in one spot if he wiggles a bit. With our frequent travels, we also need something that can go from car-to-train-to-Uber without much fanfare.

Mix-and-Match Clothes for Boys

What to do when your 'big boys' and 'little boys' are the exact same size? There's a four-year age gap between our oldest three kids, but they're currently ALL wearing a size six! With a 6'4" former NCAA football player for a dad, this isn't shocking. Our kids tend to grow in awkward spurts. They go through husky phases and string bean phases and it all levels out in the end. It does make shopping a bit of a challenge, though. We need cool colors and graphics to make the big boys happy, and awesomely-rugged play gear to keep the little one going. How to solve this problem? Mix-and-match clothes for boys!

Cat Ruining Couch? Here’s What to Do

I mentioned in my 4th of July pet post that I adopted some more cats recently. Thanks to my friends who know we have space on the farm and like to send me notices of a nearby shelter closing down, knowing I have zero self-control! We brought in three ladies who we call Smoky, Penelope and Twinkle. Twinkle here was named in part because she likes to tinkle everywhere in the house. Particularly in our living room, she pees and poops and scratches and claws. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she would be the death of my go-to hangout spot in no time flat. This cat was ruining my couch.

How we Manage 4 Kids in 1 Room

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We fit all four of our kids in one room. True story. It’s not that we don’t have space to split them up - the kids have a dedicated playroom that could easily be converted to another bedroom. For our family, however, keeping one room dedicated to all the kids sleeping and one dedicated to all of their playing? Well, it’s worked perfectly. There have been just a few hiccups along the way, like when we transition each dude out of the crib. Not gonna lie, that part is always chaos.

The Graco Uno2Duo Stroller Goes from One Baby to Two

What kind of stroller should I buy? This is definitely one of the most frequent questions we receive from our active readers who are looking to start a family. Most soon-to-be moms and dads have a litany of requirements. They tell me that they plan to baby wrap or babywear when hiking through rugged terrain, but their stroller needs to keep pace from city errands to theme parks. They want something that can have a car seat clicked in and fold without a ton of fuss, and that can grow from one to two babies. That last specification is the real kicker that throws a lot of options out of the running. The Uno2Duo stroller manages to check every single box with ease.

Wrangling Pants for Picky Kids

Taking four little boys out in public on a regular basis means that there are inevitable meltdowns. People often ask how we keep it together all the time, and I answer honestly: we don’t! For the most part, we let kids be kids in all their messy, creative, effusive glory. That’s how they learn about their world. We do, however, try to pick up on mood trends and adjust accordingly. If there’s one thing in particular that’s causing an issue, we talk openly with them about how we can make things better. The latest thing to be addressed for our picky kids? Pants!

I Can Read! Mighty Truck Handprint Craft

Sidekick is going from transitional kindergarten (TK) into kindergarten this year, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited! TK was an amazing opportunity for him to get a jump on school. He knows his first 100 sight words, and he can sound out ones he doesn’t know.

Learning with Movies the LAIKA Way

Living in Southern California, we're big movie buffs. I used to teach the children of movie stars when I worked at elementary schools in Los Angeles. My own kids have been immersed in Hollywood through numerous trips and even had a couple cameos in commercials. As viewers, we absolutely love film, so learning with movies is just one of the many ways we use our kids' passions to broaden their horizons.

Open Water Safety with Kids

Hooray, it’s summer! The season of pool parties and beach bashes. In the midst of everyone’s celebrations, however, it’s a sad fact that this is when the majority of childhood drownings occur each year. Most tragedies surprisingly don’t happen in pools or bathtubs but rather in lakes, streams and oceans. Open water safety is a critical consideration this time of year.