There’s no getting around it anymore. My oldest son is getting old. As much as I try to baby him, he’s seven now and he has OPINIONS! I used to teach third grade, and I loved the banter, the growth, and the personalities that emerged at that age. Even though it’s so exciting to see my dude approaching a familiar threshold, but it also makes me realize that I need to refresh my knowledge on things like keeping kids safe online.
I was dreading the holidays this year. It's always a hard time for me, in general. Instead of sugarplums dancing around, my yuletime memories from childhood mostly include liquor-addled altercations. There was the time my stepdad yanked the Christmas tree down on top of me, and a particularly warm recollection of him holding a snowflake ornament up against my neck like a shuriken.
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Our family travels about half the year, so it can be challenging for our kids to keep up with friends and relatives. Phone calls are tricky, since the baby and preschooler like to interject LOUDLY into our older boys’ conversations. Nate and I used to hand them our phones with Facebook Messenger on - since that’s how we tend to communicate with coworkers and acquaintances - but we’d always have to hope that the kids wouldn’t meander into our personal conversations. Then, we found a messaging app built for kids in our boys’ age group!
Growing up, I never realized that there could be so much satisfaction in being a father. Not just in having children, but in having someone you simply want to take care of and make happy. Having someone right in front of you that just takes you back in time, to when you were also a child, to when you hopped through a bounce house and sprung around trampolines and thought the world was endlessly vast. I didn't know that being a father meant both being selfless, and also indulging in someone else's joy.
Since our family has experienced quite a bit of upheaval and tragedy in the last few months (and even before that, frankly) a lot of people have asked how Nate and I keep it together. How we keep going, smiling and moving through life. We’ve continued to travel and work, leaning into each other as life whirls on around us. If you’re going through similar issues, here’s a little marriage advice to put your relationship into focus in the midst of chaos.
Our family likes travel and movies and we LOVE Disney, so we were stoked that our Disney Cruise Line trip gave us the perfect opportunity to marry that all together! Disneybounding is one of our favorite pastimes, and we decided to channel some fun silver screen characters for pirate night. There was a little sneak peek of our outfits in our post about what to pack, and now we're laying out all the details for these Peter Pan family costumes.
I have four kids ages 7 and under. People always ask if I had a set of twins in there. Nope! It's just been a solid seven years of pregnant, nursing, weaning, crawling, toddling rambunctiousness. My kids - all boys - were born back-to-back-to-back-to-back all approximately two years apart. That means that we've been elbows deep in baby food for over six years. I know a LOT about feeding little kids. And I have the magic secret to getting a baby to love vegetables.
When I was a kid, one of the coolest sets of lyrics to be put to a dope beat was "jump up, jump up, and get down." The song "Jump Around" by House of Pain included the word "jump" approximately 94 times which, coincidentally, is about how many jumps I have to do to get a full workout. Working up a sweat as an adult is SO much easier than it was when I was a kid, so our son's trampoline birthday party recently doubled as my gym visit for the day and his celebration. Score!
Our big boys started back to school last week. Second grade and kindergarten! To be honest, I was anxious after a couple of bumpy years. I've shared that we do sort of a "modified" schooling situation, pairing long stretches of independent study with a more traditional elementary school setting. This summer took us on a new homeschool adventure, with an educational consultant and lots of fun curriculum, but we ultimately decided to continue with the part-time classroom situation for at least another year. I was nervous that the kids wouldn't want to head back.