24 Jun
2016

Parenting the Littles

Something has been missing all week. Someone actually…two someones.

Our oldest two sons have been at summer camp this week which is the first time half of the children have been away at the same time. It’s been interesting to see our third son step into the role of oldest for the week. He’s been extremely helpful and attentive to his sister. He’s enjoyed being the leader instead of the one who tags along with whatever his older siblings want to do. That is until today.

Today he cried uncle. He just wants his favorite playmates home. His sister also claims the house is far too quiet for her liking. I’ve rather liked the decreased noise level but also want all my children back under my roof. I don’t like the feeling of missing pieces or that my children are somewhere without cell service. I don’t like not knowing what is going on in their daily lives. I don’t like knowing that this feeling is something I’ll have to get used to as part of motherhood.

a mom and two children at a waterfall

It has been interesting to see the dynamics at home change without the two oldest boys. The littles have quietly played together moving from one game/set of toys to the next. Our house resembles the years when we had toddlers running the place. All the toys we own seem to be living on the floor in every room. Dress up clothes have been thrown willy-nilly in two of our bedrooms. The hose has been run threw enough times to leave a significant mud track in the backyard.

two siblings running through a backyard sprinkler

It can be tricky raising children with a seven year age gap. It’s difficult, at times, to find the balance that makes everyone feel included and at least partially enjoying themselves. Our older boys enjoy more physical play and would rather watch a Marvel movie over the newest animated feature. There’s more backtalk with the big boys, even if it’s disguised as a debate and sarcastic ribbing. There are more hormones ready to strike at every turn. I’ve enjoyed watching the littles just be little.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this week, I’m ready to hug those big boys of mine. I want to hear their summer camp stories and welcome back the normal vibe in the house. It’ll be noisy. There will be eye-rolling. The six-year-old will rat out her teenage brother several times a day for every conceivable minor infraction. I will claim to be losing my mind. That will all happen in the first 24 hours we’re all reunited, and I can’t wait. This family of mine may be messy at times, but they’re mine.


 
Travel Wyoming, Collect Free Stickers
By     |    Jun 14, 2016
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Travel Wyoming, Collect Free Stickers

I had a sweet sticker book when I was in elementary school. I collected stickers and carefully placed them in the book, sort of like a sports card collection, but with smelly and puffy stickers. Three summers ago, when we realized the Wyoming Office of Tourism had a free souvenir sticker program available to travelers, I knew we’d have to collect them all. The stickers have a vintage look with muted earth-tone colors and artwork themed for an area in... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Dinosaur National Monument
By     |    Jun 13, 2016
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Take a Trip: Dinosaur National Monument

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. I have a box of plastic dinosaur figures in various sizes in our basement. Each of the boys went through a dinosaur-loving phase during their toddler years. While they no longer play with the dinosaur figures, they remain intrigued by fossils. The love of fossils comes from... [Read More]

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Mama, They See You
By     |    Jun 6, 2016
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Mama, They See You

I’ll be limping across the finish line this week on the last day of school wrung-out and emotionally drained. Our 5th grader has had A YEAR. I cannot tell you anything specific academically he learned because academics took a backseat this year to some serious life lessons. There have been difficulties in the classroom with another student. There have been laws to study and bureaucracy to wade through. There have been meetings and emails…so many meetings and emails. We seriously... [Read More]

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Our Traditional Summer List
By     |    May 26, 2016
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Our Traditional Summer List

I have to stop looking at my social media feeds for the next two weeks. I have several friends, in and out of state, who already are on summer break from school, and I am jealous. The end is in sight for me but not close enough. We have eight school days remaining this school year. The kids are excited for the field trips and picnics and less-rigorous final days of school, but I’m over it. I want to wake-up... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Petrified Forest National Park
By     |    May 16, 2016
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Take a Trip: Petrified Forest National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Petrified Forest National Park is located near Holbrook, Arizona and rivals Wyoming for ridiculous wind. The wind wasn’t mentioned in any of my spring break planning materials. Trust me when I say there should be some sort of asterisk footnote in travel guides warning people that wind... [Read More]

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May Madness
By     |    May 13, 2016
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May Madness

The month of May is when I’m in high-mama gear. Four school-aged children means that on any given weekday from now until the last day of school, someone has a field trip or track or junior Olympics or an assembly or a concert. Some days it’s multiple children requesting a parent make an appearance. If field tripper was a profession, that would be my career in May. The build-up to the end of the school year starts at the beginning... [Read More]

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A Birthday and Loss
By     |    May 11, 2016
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A Birthday and Loss

Today our third son celebrates his ninth birthday. I cannot believe he’s already nine, but also feel he’s older than those short nine years. He’s a joy-filled, sports-loving boy who was born at a time when his mama needed him most. Ten years ago I was pregnant for the third time and over-the-moon excited to add to our family. Eleven weeks into the pregnancy I experienced cramping and was placed on bed rest. Two days later the cramping turned to... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Canyon de Chelly
By     |    May 5, 2016
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Take a Trip: Canyon de Chelly

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. If there’s a theme to our vacations, besides national parks, it’s canyons. There’s not a canyon rim hike we haven’t enjoyed, from the Grand Canyon to Canyonlands to Yellowstone. We love the views across a canyon and peering into the depths below. We’ve watched videos and viewed... [Read More]

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Surreal Moments of Mothering
By     |    May 2, 2016
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Surreal Moments of Mothering

Mothering has been a series of surreal moments lately. Last week, I traveled with our oldest and a large group of his 7th grade classmates two hours from our hometown to the University of Wyoming, my alma mater. UW is the only four-year institute in Wyoming. Both Craig and I graduated from there. Much has changed in the decades since we called Laramie and the university home. I was giddy leading up to this field trip. We’ve taken our kids... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Flagstaff Area National Monuments
By     |    Apr 27, 2016
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Take a Trip: Flagstaff Area National Monuments

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. When anyone inquired where we were headed for spring break this year, I answered northern Arizona, which translated as Grand Canyon to everyone who asked. While Grand Canyon was on our list of stops over break, it was just one of several. The Flagstaff area is home... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park
By     |    Apr 18, 2016
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Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. We spent years talking about visiting Grand Canyon National Park. We couldn’t ever peg down a good time of year to visit. There were other national parks ranked higher on our wish list. Excuses piled for why we never chose the iconic American spot. This year was the... [Read More]

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