Thursday, September 22, 2016

my sweet Cole

He notices Isla rubbing her face the way she does when she's getting tired.  "Isla's sleepy, Mom!"  So he gently shakes her carseat to soothe her to sleep, all the while humming his tuneless version of the "Star Wars" theme song.  After she drifts off, he enthusiastically tells me, "I did it, Mom!  I put Isla to sleep! She really loves me!"

I hear him downstairs with Chase while I nurse Isla upstairs.  "ME YUV YOU COLE!"  "I love you too buddy!" "COLE, CAN YOU H'ELP ME? ME ALL DONE!" "Sure, I'll help you! Let's wash your hands and face... now can you hold out your arms for me?  Ok, that's it... whee, lets jump down! Good job buddy! Want to come play?"

While seeing an impending epic tantrum from Chase over a desired baseball card, he says, "That's ok, he can just have it.  I don't want him to be sad."

"Who's the prettiest baby?  Who's the best baby girl?"  "Mama, I think Isla's just the best baby!"

In almost every single interaction with his little brother and sister, Cole is the BEST.  I cannot imagine a sweeter, more genuinely kind older sibling.  He is gentle and kind, endlessly thoughtful, patiently explaining each step as he helps them with their various needs.  He's Isla's favorite person, who can always coax a smile from her almost instantly.  He's Chase's buddy he goes running to when he's upset ("ME NEED COLE! ME WANT COLE RIGHT NOW!").  

If Cole grows up to be a daddy with half the patience, kindness, and gentle spirit he has now, I can't wait to see what wonderful things will happen in the next two generations.  I'm so proud of my boy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


"Children are born with wings,
but not yet ready to fly.
Some push them out of the nest,
expose them to the elements, and
leave them to struggle on their own.
Some weigh them down with criticism,
clipping their wings and
keeping them forever earthbound.
But those who know the joy of flight
nurture their strengths,
guide their fledgling flights,
and lift them up
until they're
ready to soar
on their own."

-LR Knost

These decisions about Cole's education have plagued me since day one - when do I let go?  When do I trust that he has his wings and is ready to soar, farther away from me?  Am I letting my own feelings and fear about new schools shape my decisions for his education?  What if he's not ready yet, what if I'm pushing him out of our cozy home nest too soon?

But at this point, I have to trust in my gut feeling.  As scary as it is to do change, to do hard things, to embark on new adventures - THIS is the right path for Cole, for our family.  It will be hard for a little while, as new things always are.  It will be sad letting go of the peaceful family pajama days of the past.  It's yet another tangible way Cole is growing up and away from us.  But I have done everything I can to give him a strong foundation, a strong past rooted in a loving and respectful childhood, sweet sibling relationships, and lots of mama snuggles.  

I hope he brings those roots with him on his new adventure in school.

Monday, September 12, 2016

First Grade

Oh my heart.

Cole's first day of school.

He is officially in first grade at our local Waldorf charter school.

How are we all doing with that, you ask?  We are running the gamut of emotions - you name the feeling, we've all felt it in the past week.  

Cole loves school.  He is excited to leave the house in the mornings and tells us enthusiastically bits and pieces about his day every dinner.  However, drop offs are still pretty rough - lots of tears and heartbreak on both our parts.  

The good: The school is amazing.  I adore Waldorf education for a lot of reasons (separate post for all those!) but this school is small and intimate and I already feel an incredible sense of community.  The principal greets Cole by name and sends me personalized emails.  Cole's teacher is sweet and fantastic, and I have absolutely no qualms about leaving my firstborn in her hands.  Cole reported that his class was having a wiggly chatty day and weren't paying attention - his teacher's response was to give them an extra recess so they could refocus.  Most public school teachers would withhold or cancel recess - a normal response, but not helpful for wiggly little guys.  I love how many integrated activities are part of the curriculum (Spanish and French, music, handwork, woodworking, physical activity).  I have full confidence that Cole will thrive in such an environment!  

It's nice to have some alone time with Chase and Isla while Cole is at school - not having to listen to arguing between Cole and Chase, and having long stretches of quiet time is very different and relaxing.  

I'm also hugely grateful to have a spot in this amazing school.  There's only 26 spots in each class (one class per grade), so the waitlist is 40-50 kids!  I'm so glad we got in - and siblings get first priority, so in a few years when Chase and Isla are ready for kindergarten, they'll get an amazing Waldorf school experience from the beginning.

The bad: I miss my big boy!!  It's a HUGE transition.  It's a little bit heartbreaking to realize that I will never have the time at home with Cole that we've had for his whole life.  The days are long - it's a full school day away from home which is a lot!  Also, I loathe change... and this is a BIG change!  It will take a while to get into the groove of a new routine, and it's extra tricky trying to meet all three kids' needs - making sure Chase and Isla get their naps on time while still making sure I pick up Cole and drop him off at school on time.  We've never really been tied down to someone else's schedule, so it's tricky to wrap my mind around having to be somewhere at a certain time.  I miss Cole a lot when he's gone ALLLLLLL day - I miss him for him, but I also miss his help!  He's a huge help around the house and with Chase and Isla. 

It will be awesome.  Cole will do SO well and I'm so excited for him to begin his education journey!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Enchanted Forest

On our way home from Portland last weekend, we stopped in Salem at the Enchanted Forest.  It's right on the side of I-5 and I've always wanted to check it out!  Meg and Rowen joined us, which was the highlight for my boys who just adore their "COUSIN WO-WO!". 

So the Enchanted Forest is a kitschy "theme park" based on fairy tales - here's Humpty Dumpty:

The hills were a little steep and narrow for a double stroller, but we made it!

Cole and Ro braved the slide down the witch's hair!

The crooked house - my favorite was the poses these hams did!

This happy little girl enjoyed herself too!

Cole even rode on his very first roller coaster!  

Olde English Village:

I love when we get our kids together, the cousins get along SO well and always have a blast! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Enjoy the Now

Oh my daughter.

Already, you are eleven weeks old today.  Time is flying by so, so quickly, even as I try with all my might to slow it down.  I think that's one of the major distinctions between your childhood and your brothers' - with Cole, even somewhat with Chase, I was so excited to see what the next stage would bring, so eager to move on with the "hard" and get to the "good"... well, sometimes I rushed things a little too much.  Sometimes I was too busy looking ahead and not enjoying the now.

But with you, darling girl, I have learned my lesson.  I've learned on behalf of your brothers, too.  I am spending every single moment just soaking up my family, the magic that is childhood, the beauty of watching you discover each new skill.  I'm not counting down the days until you sleep through the night, I'm not eagerly awaiting the crawling, walking, talking, eating solids.  I'm holding you a little closer and a little longer, not taking the opportunity to put you in your crib so I can do laundry.  I'm putting off my lunch for an extra fifteen minutes so I can sing to you on the floor.  

Such is the blessing of a third child.  When Cole was tiny, I remember being so overwhelmed - so unprepared - so surprised at how much he needed me EVERY SECOND of every day.  I'd text my mom, exasperated that he would never let me put him down. That he wanted to cluster nurse for 45 minutes every two hours.  I felt like I never got anything done! Taking care of this tiny needy baby was a full time job and then some.  

But now, I know better.  I know how short the time is that I get to hold a sweet smiling wee babe in my arms - Chase is already spilling and wiggling out of my arms as I hold him, and I can't remember the last time Cole held still long enough for me to sit him on my lap to hold.  I can bury my nose in your hair and smell that beautiful newborn smell - not the sun-drenched and sweaty heads of my big boys.  I can dance with you in my arms in the kitchen, while I can't remember the last time I even lifted my big six year old boy, all long gangling limbs.  I can revel in your gentle stillness, your peacefulness, your ability to hold so still - while rejoicing in my active, loud, boisterous boys who never seem to stop moving, a revolving door outside, tornadoes of energy bustling through the house. 

May you stay tiny as long as possible, dearest girl.  And may I always remember to enjoy the now. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

All About Isla

This sweet, beautiful little girl has just slipped right on into our family like she was meant to be here all along!  Isla is an easygoing, peaceful baby; there's not much she has strong opinions about!

 Look at those beautiful blue eyes!


Isla loves faces (especially big brothers'!), books, music (singing!), and being outside.  She loves her bedroom - the mural on the wall captures her attention every single time we go in there - and ceiling fans.  She loves her crib, the co sleeper, and the car seat.

Doesn't love:

Isla's not a fan of baths, her pacifier (she makes a face like she's going to gag!), and cold wipes on her bum!

I was a little nervous about going from two kids to three - this daughter of mine is making it a pretty seamless transition!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Big Brothers

There's no doubt about it... this sweet girl of ours is going to be in danger of being SO spoiled by her big brothers! They love her so much - I'm just as excited to watch their sibling relationship with her as I was with their brotherly love!
Cole requested some photos of him and his baby sister for his birthday photo shoot!

My favorite!

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