the noise

family I’ve started to realize I have way too much noise in my life. Noise from binge watching shows on Netflix, from the internet, my own dumb wants, music, social media, projects, and the list goes on. I have been horrible at listening to my husband, children, and especially my God. I’ve filled my life with so much noise that I was losing focus and neglecting the things that should be most important to me. This week I started to see and hear more clearly, and I’m thankful for the different ways God revealed to me just how cluttered my life was. Sometimes I really suck at this wife and mother thing, so I’m praying (and trying to be more consistent at praying) that God keep shaping and growing my selfish heart into a selfless one.

 

 

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easier days of late

made by soul soul's art soul's art soul's art soul's art The two big girls have been at a sleepover for a couple days, so Soul’s been enjoying some quiet time to paint and play in peace. Maybe it’s me who gets the peace because when there’s only two at home, there is for sure much less fighting.

The dynamic is so different any time one or two (or three) of them aren’t here, and Glow talks a lot more when her big sisters aren’t here doing the talking for her. There’s less cleaning and mess (and half the meals) when only half of them are home. When the baby goes for nap, I try to get as much done as possible from cleaning to emails, to getting curriculum ready for the new school year. Somehow though, I still never get as much done as I hoped to get done when they’re not here.

I’m glad the girls get to have fun, but we sure do miss them when they’re gone. While managing two at home is much easier than four, I like my four, chaos and all. Even if sometimes I feel like the chaos drives me nutso and I’m a crazy yellin’ mommy, I’ll take it.

 

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they’re squirrelly and shy

girlies girlies girlies girlies These girls are goofy and playful. If you met them, they would be absolutely silent and you wouldn’t get to see how silly they really are because they are super shy, but they are so funny (when they aren’t shy)! True is the shyest, and we think about putting her in traditional school to see if that would make a difference with her shyness, but we don’t think it would. I think if she were in traditional school, she would easily get overlooked in a classroom because she would stay on task, but she’s just so quiet, she would get lost. The other girls aren’t nearly as shy, but they follow her lead when we’re out and about. When they aren’t with her, they are much more outgoing. It’s so interesting how the oldest really influences the rest of them.

As parents of a very shy child, I find it difficult because she can come across rude and it may seem like we don’t teach them politeness. We are constantly reminding her that even if she feels shy, she can still be polite and greet people. We practice how to greet others (like here) and they meet other kids often, but sometimes that shyness just takes over. It can be so frustrating! She’s such a sweet girl, but it just takes some time for her to come out of her shell. We had a large group of friends over a couple weeks ago (with their kids), and I think it took about an hour to break out of the shyness, but once she did, oh man… all the kids were running around the house. We just need to remember to be patient with her, keep practicing, give her opportunities to practice, and praise her when she takes steps forward (and be encouraging when she needs it). One plus of them being shy is that when we are out in public, especially when dining out, they are pretty behaved. It makes us look like we have really great parenting!

But when they are with people they are comfortable with, they (even True) are squirrelly children. We are always laughing at the funny things they say and do. Soul’s always saying, “Stop laughing. Why are you laughing?!” It’s so cute.

Any of you have super shy children or were shy as a child? What are some things you did or your parents did to help you feel more comfortable engaging others? We understand their shyness is part of them and we love that, but we also want them to have a healthy balance of being able to engage others and not letting their shyness hinder them.

on me: dress, vintage from ms. tips. shoes, swedish hasbeens. necklace, handmade. on true: dress, handmade pattern in my book. leopard shoes, c/o old navy. on brave: dress, handmade by me. shoes, zara. on soul: top, misha lulu. denim skirt and jellies, c/o old navy. on glow: dress, from auntie reinna’s travels. shoes, vintage.

 

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it’s tradition

fair-years'14 Ben’s ready to give up going to the fair, but I won’t let him. It’s tradition to go, use the photo booth, and take this picture. Here are some things I noticed about this newest picture versus the rest…

True is actually smiling in this picture!

This is the first year I’m not carrying the baby (in my belly or my arms).

Ben broke the cycle of carrying Soul.

Ben’s wearing the same shorts as last year (and similar shirt). He’s a simple guy and rarely buys anything new for himself.

Read last year’s comparisons here. Another tidbit from these pictures… The one of 2007, Brave was born the very next day. All that walking at the fair helped get labor started because my water broke the very next morning (we were at the fair until late that night).

 

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traveling with four kids

travel with kids travel with kids travel with kids travel with kids travel with kids travel with kids travel with kids We’ve done a lot of traveling this summer, at least for us. Ben and I left for Singapore, then the whole family went to the East Coast, and we were off again for a few days this past weekend. There’s been a lot of packing, unpacking, and laundry set on repeat all summer long. When we left for our D.C. – Williamsburg trip, we wanted to pack as light as possible. We were flying into D.C., then taking Amtrak to Williamsburg, then flying out of Richmond with lots of taxis and shuttles in between, so we didn’t want to have to lug around a lot of stuff. Four kids going to and fro was already going to be a handful.

This was our first time flying with all four, while we have the whole road tripping thing with four kids down, flying with them is something we aren’t familiar with. Somehow, I managed to get 5 days worth of clothes (for all of us) in one carry-on suitcase. My mom was pretty surprised at how little we packed, and another mom on the flight who packed for the same amount of days (for a family of 5) was surprised how we were able to do it with no bags checked-in. I’m not an expert at all, since it was our first flight as a family of six, but we seemed to manage well enough, so I’m glad to share what worked well for us here with you all.

We took a red-eye, since it was the most economical and direct way to get to D.C., but I had no clue how the girls were going to do on that flight. Once the plans were in place, I tried to do a little training beforehand. For a couple months leading up to the trip, every time we saw a plane, I would ask Glow, “What are we going to do on the airplane?” And I trained her to respond, “We’re going to sleep!” So that’s what she said every time I asked. I hoped if she said it enough, she would do it when the day came.

Our flight left at 11:45pm (the kids are normally in bed by 7:30pm), so it was already a late night for them, and we didn’t let them sleep on the drive to the airport. I was thinking it was going to either backfire and she would be so tired and cranky that she would wail on the plane, or she would just fall asleep. All the girls were so excited about flying, and take-off was pretty exciting for them, and after take-off, Soul went to sleep and the big girls knocked out soon after. There were some kids sitting in front of us who were watching cartoons (and Glow could see the screen), so she would try to watch, I had to do some maneuvering to block her view between the seats, and after some tossing and turning, she fell asleep. Whew! Then, I fell asleep once I knew she was done for the night. Since it was a direct flight it was only about 4.5 hours, but the kids seemed to sleep well the entire time (it was a different story for Ben and me) and we woke up just a little bit before landing. Once we landed, the girls were so excited and ready to go. We had a shuttle pick us up, and thankfully, we were able to do early check-in at the hotel, so we spent about half an hour just reorienting ourselves with the area and plans for the day before we set off exploring with only about 5 hours of sleep in all our bodies.

The plane ride home was just as smooth, even though we had a layover, and all the girls fell asleep on the plane ride again. I’m thankful that they didn’t throw any plane tantrums and they all did a really good job on all the flights. You just never know with kids, so this first experience with all of them turned out really well.

Now for the packing tips, I packed the exact amount of clothes needed (no extras), one set of pajamas for each person (we bathed each night, so I figured they would stay clean), and I think what made the biggest difference in getting it all to fit into one carry-on suitcase is that I ironed everything. I ironed all the clothes to free them from wrinkles, then folded them to be put in the suitcase, and ironed them all again folded to flatten it even more. I totally think that did the trick! Everyone pretty much only had one pair of shoes and those were the shoes we wore on the plane, so we didn’t have to worry about packing any shoes in the suitcase (though I did throw one extra pair for the girls just in case). All our toiletries were travel size and Ben had them in his messenger bag (not in the suitcase), and I put enough diapers in the carry-on suitcase to last the 5 days we were gone. We didn’t bring any laptops, just an iPad, and I made each of the girls their own mini backpacks and in it were their books, crayons, and a light sweater. I had one backpack, and in it was my camera, wide angle lens, and wallet. We also brought our light umbrella stroller with us too, and that’s that for everything we brought along. Packing light made it really easy!

The girls knew they were each in charge of their own backpack, and since we only had one stroller, they knew their little legs had to do all the walking and complaining wasn’t going to get them very far. I’m pretty proud of them because they were such troopers the entire trip. Sure, we had to stop here and there to break up a fight or put one of them in time-out, but overall, they all did a fantastic job.

What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with children?

 

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