Category Archives: Lillian

On having big kids

I want to be sure to document some of the wonderful aspects of having nonbabies, so that when another baby comes along and we’re back to the intensity of that season, I can look back and say, “Okay good, I really appreciated that while I could.”



Because I do appreciate it. I love it, actually. There is a whole lot of freedom in our daily life these days, and I’m extremely thankful to have this stretch before gearing up for Baby.

I look forward to having a baby in our family. I’m very excited. (In a hesitant, don’t-come-too-quickly sort of way.) So it’s not that I won’t be thrilled when the time comes for life to turn upside down. But for the moment, for the next 5 1/2 months, I want to celebrate this season.


-We can read chapter books at bedtime (currently reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
-We can leave the house with little warning: no diaper bags, no feedings, no gear…just go.
-We can play board games as a family and fully expect that everyone will be engaged.
-I can get in the shower without even telling them. I just expect them to continue playing together.

-We can let the kids play outside without hovering over them.
-We can go on walks without a stroller. Today the kids and I walked a mile, with Charlie on the balance bike and Lillian on foot. So easy!
-I can ask the kids to do something and they will likely know what I mean and how to do it. And usually they listen. 🙂
-We can take trips or spend the night away from home, and it doesn’t mess us up too much. It’s more an adventure and less a hassle.


There are challenges in this season too, of course. And there will be unspeakable joys this winter with a wee one, of course. But I’m thankful for where we are right now. For these big kids I’ve got, for their growing independence, for the friendship between them, and for the joy in teaching their maturing minds. This is a sweet time.



I could spend an entire day writing about Lillian and still not finish. This girl is a delight and a mystery!


The older she gets (almost FOUR now!) the more witty she becomes. Jeff and I are constantly exchanging amused glances over something she has said. She makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes.


Today especially, she’s been cracking me up. Here are a few examples.

– As we prepared to leave the house for preschool this morning:
“Backpack? Check! No jacket? Check! Beautiful day? Check!”

-Looking at pretend ballons in the sky on our way to drop off Charlie at school:
“It’s perfect! Do you know what’s in the sky? A Savior Jesus!”

-And on the way home from preschool:
“Daddy likes pink. Then why doesn’t Charlie like pink? He’s a stubborn kid!”


And here are a few of my favorite words she says. I’ll be sad when she learns to pronounce them correctly!

-oapmeal (oatmeal)
-porehead (forehead)
[EDIT: I just quizzed her on those first two examples, and she pronounced them correctly. *sniff*]
-“t” sound in place of a hard “c,” which creates words like: yut (yuck), tate (cake), stool (school) [Jeff more accurately typed it “stchuwool”]
-“w” sound in place of “r,” such as libwrewwy (library) and Chawlie (Charlie)


Two more favorite things about Lillian in this season:

-She’s so affectionate. Generally on her own terms, but she’s almost always ready for a cuddle. I snort-laugh when she sticks her face right in mine, with her little hands on my cheeks, and smothers me with kisses. It’s heaven.

-She’s very excited about being a big sister, and I know she’ll be a great one. She loves to comment on my belly (“Mommy, your belly is getting fat!”) and sit next to me and talk to Baby (“Hello, are you in there?”). I can’t wait to see her and Charlie when they cuddle this baby for the first time.


So we’re not morning people

Well hello, little blog!

Here’s a funny comparison of my expectations last fall of our new school schedule versus how the morning often plays out by now.

THE ANTICIPATED MORNING SCHEDULE (let’s say it’s a Tuesday morning)
7:15 Alarm: Jeff gets in the shower, I wake up Charlie.
7:16-7:41 Help Charlie get dressed, feed him breakfast, then scramble around getting him and Jeff out the door.
7:42 Jeff and Charlie leave for school.
7:43-8:09 I shower and get ready for the day.
8:10 Wake up Lillian (and Jeff returns).
8:11-8:44 Get Lillian dressed and fed, then scramble around readying for preschool.
8:45 Out the door.

REALITY (Not always, but embarrassingly often)
7:18 Alarm: Jeff takes a shower, I wake up Charlie.
7:19-7:44 Help Charlie get dressed, feed him breakfast, maybe pack him a lunch, then sit at the table like a zombie, pretending to be present in this one-on-one time with my son.
7:45 Jeff and Charlie out the door.
7:45:30 Crawl back into bed.
8:09 I hear the garage door open. Jeff comes into the room and collapses onto the bed.
8:09:30 We’re both sound asleep.
8:22 I wake and glance at the clock. Nope, back to sleep.
8:29 Drag my dead body out of bed. Wake Lillian. Jeff agrees to get her breakfast.
8:30-8:58 Scramble around getting myself presentable, while urging Lillian to put her clothes on and get her backpack ready.
8:59 Out the door.

Who’s the Boss?

We’ve known for a long while now that Lillian is going to challenge us. She has a will and a voice and a stubbornness, which add up to the occasional butting of heads. I’ll return to this in a moment.

I just finally finished a fantastic book by Pamela Druckerman, an American woman who is raising her children in Paris. She compares and contrasts the cultures of parenting in America and France. Not only is it a delightful read, but it also offers eye-opening nuggets of sound parenting wisdom. I decided to practice one of these on Lillian today.

According to Druckerman, French parents have a saying that translates, “It’s me who decides.” She says, “Parents say [this] to remind both their kids and themselves who’s the boss” (p. 226).

So, on our way home this afternoon after lunch with Jeff’s parents, Lillian was talking about things she wanted to do this afternoon. I said, “The very first thing we do when we get home is quiet room time, remember?”

She said, “No. I don’t want to do quiet room time.”

[My kids always always always protest quiet room time, but they pretty regularly seem to enjoy the alone time once it is forced upon them.]

I gave her my best Mommy-is-the-boss look, then said, “It’s Mommy who decides.”

She stared right back at me and responded, “It’s Lillian who decides.”

And Jeff, trying to drive, was in silent hysterics.


Do you ever have a project on your to-do list that just doesn’t get done? This little nagging task that weighs on your mind, but you feel either too lazy or too incompetent or too busy to face it? This seems to happen frequently at our house. High on my list of neglected household tasks has been installing more smoke detectors in our home. We have one in the hallway by all the bedrooms that was here before we bought the house … and that’s it. Long ago we did buy additional smoke detectors, but they remained in unopened packages. Last year some time, I did prop one up in Lillian’s room when she decided she wanted to close her door at night. But that preference was short-lived. Finally last night, after scribbling this task on countless to-do lists over the past few years, I convinced Jeff to install them. And now it’s done! Just like that! As Lillian would say, “Y’hoo!”

Firsts of fall 2012

**My baby boy, who is very much not a baby, started kindergarten a couple weeks ago.


At 5 1/2, Charlie:

  • much prefers to be with people than alone.
  • loves playing baseball, frisbee, golf, tennis, stomp rockets…especially in the side yard with daddy.
  • likes the thrill of spending money (grrrr…).
  • is very capable of being sweet and thoughtful toward his sister, and does often choose to be.
  • has long known his letters and sounds, and is now recognizing words and sounding out some.
  • is extremely curious and wants to receive solid answers to his questions.
  • likes to expound on game rules, jokes, stories, and memories until he’s exhausted every last detail.
  • proudly uses big words in regular conversation.
  • has an impressive memory for Bible stories and loves singing songs from this summer’s VBS.

**Then just last night, the kids started Awana. This is the first year they can both go without a parent working in Awana. It’s hard to believe I’m old enough to have a child in Sparks!


**This morning little Lillian went off to school too. It felt very surreal, walking into preschool and leaving Lillian but taking Charlie back home with me (he’s only in half-day kindergarten for another few weeks).


At 3 years old, Lillian:

  • is full of spunk and attitude and independence.
  • loves all things girly: princesses, nail polish, clothes, long hair, baby dolls.
  • is most definitely a mama’s girl.
  • really enjoys stick-on tattoos and band-aids.
  • has an impressive vocabulary and ability to express herself, but doesn’t care much yet about the alphabet.
  • is happy to spend all day in her dress-up clothes.
  • makes up creative stories and tells them with grand hand gestures.
  • loves watching Blues Clues, Boz, and My Little Pony.
  • could spend hours cutting up tiny pieces of paper with her green plastic scissors.

It’s a big year with a lot of changes for all of us, but there’s a lot to be excited about and thankful for!

Lillian’s surgery

It’s hard to believe, but we’re finally on the “after” side of Lillian’s kidney surgery (nephrectomy). I’ll post more details soon, but for now, a few hospital pictures:

Our overall experience at Children’s Mercy was awesome. Lillian seems almost back to her spunky self, just with a bandage on her left side and a regular dose of pain meds. We’ll keep things pretty lazy for a few days, then follow-up will include an ultrasound in two weeks and an appointment with the surgeon in early December.

A new era?

Last Friday, Jeff and I were just crazy enough to try something new with our kids: putting them to bed at someone else’s house, then transferring them to the car, then transferring them to their own beds. I know many people do this regularly, but 1) we’ve never been brave enough to try because 2) both of our children have been, well, not so great in the sleep department.

But Friday Jeff called from the golf course to say that some friends had invited us over for dinner. Sounds great! I said. Oh, and their invitation included staying late to play games. Something came over me, and I was suddenly bursting with confidence that the kids would surely fall asleep just fine in someone else’s home. So we gave it a try.

And it worked! It took Lillian awhile to stop calling for me, but eventually they settled down and slept like wee angels. We played a crazy, violence-inducing card game late into the night and had a great time. We carried the groggy kids to the car and endured just a minute or two of whining and flailing. Not too bad! I was worried most about moving Lillian from the car to her crib, but she snuggled right in and went back to sleep.

We have a new freedom! We just keep inching further and further away from the baby stage. It’s bittersweet, but we’re definitely enjoying the relative ease of both kids being a bit older.