Saturday, October 15, 2016


Since it's almost time to celebrate Cole's birthday party, I thought it would be a good idea to get Bennett's done and documented.

Somewhere along the line of last year he developed a love of dinosaurs. He's been asking for a dinosaur party for as long as he realized he could actually put in a request for the type of party he wanted.

I actually loved the idea, and knew we would be able to use a lot of his dinosaurs for decoration. I've also had to let go of the fact that things are going to get reorganized and redecorated despite my best efforts. I'm learning to loosen up and embrace the "help".

Sure, it may not look "perfect" in some eyes, but it does in mine. Because I know that there were some cute little hands that worked very hard to make their display look party worthy.

All the dino's lined up and ready for the party to start!

 Grandma Bonnie helped make us the volcano while the boy's cousins were visiting from Germany. And then the boys got to finish it up and help paint it. Which turned into a huuuuuge mess that I won't even go into details about. But it was a mess and they nearly lost having their volcano at all.

I had some nests around that we threw up there as dino nests filled with cupcakes and rock candy.

In my heart of hearts I wanted to have "herbivore" and "carnivore" snacks....but when it came right down to it, I just didn't have the energy or time. And decided it wasn't worth the stress, so we kept it simple and stuck to oreo "dirt" cupcakes and "swamp juice".

The boys just love all their cousins, so we decided to have some fun with them. I got everyone dinosaur masks. They looked so cute, and the littlest dino didn't seem to be very enthused about the mask idea.

P.S. You know your cousin is completely comfortable and right at home when she packs up her slippers to wear at the party. :) 

 We had a dino egg scavenger hunt. Which was brought to my attention that no, they were not actual dinosaur eggs, but plastic Easter eggs. Duh. We all raised a bunch of literals. Once they moved past that little fact, they hunted and found eggs stuffed with dinosaur tattoos, hatching dino eggs, and something else...I can't really remember now.

The best part happened when Cole announced that I needed to pass out goodie bags. And I looked at him completely confused and told him that I didn't have goodie bags....he went running inside and came out with ziplocs full of "stuff". He had made everyone their own goodie bag! In case you forgot, he breathes for parties and picks the ball up when I apparently drop it. We all got a good laugh and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the things that he randomly put in each bag. This one included a game piece (thank you Na for giving it back), a bracelet that he had made, one solo purple crayon and a sucker. He needs to be my party coordinator from now on....

We did all the normal party stuff like opening presents, playing, story time for my littlest bookworm, and of course cupcakes.

Mmmm....cupcakes. Easiest recipe ever! Yes, usually I'm all about cupcakes from scratch, but I was in the mood for a white based batter, and I just needed easy. Plus, I could have eaten a bowl full of that oreo frosting by itself.

Davis thought so too....he would have gladly gone for a few more cupcakes. I'm pretty sure he sat there saying "pease?" in his sweetest voice. Let's just say he gets lots of extra cookies and sweets that I never would have allowed his brothers....perks of being third child I suppose.

It was such a fun day celebrating my big boy! I'm so thankful for all who showed up to make him feel dinosauriffic (too much?)

We love you sweet Bennett boy, happy (very late) 4th birthday dude!

Friday, October 14, 2016

He's wait, 4.

I kid you not, I almost wrote, "how did this boy turn 3????" Well, he's not 3, he's now 4. I tell ya, when will I ever be able to keep my kids ages and birth dates straight? Probably never.

But seriously, soon he will be marching his own two feet into his kindergarten class. Some days it seems like forever and an eternity away....and then there are days, like today, where I could cry, it seems to close.

But I'm going to get real, like really really real. I have sat with this half written blog post open on my computer for the past month. I could not bring myself to write about my Bennett boy...because we were in a thick fog of hard. There were days I felt completely and utterly defeated.

Days I wanted to throw in the towel.

Days....I kind of did.

Days that I spent more time crying and feeling like yes, I have finally lost my mind.

Days I actually convinced myself that I am really not made for this mom thing.

So, here this blog post sat until I could clearly articulate (or try) this season of life with Bennett.

This boy, gosh, I love him dearly, and so much that it hurts. BUT he hurts my pride, he pushes me to the max of where I never thought I could go. He digs deeper and further than any of my boys. And he is so much like me...mostly in the areas I dislike the most about myself....but it's like a reflection of my own downfalls and sinful nature. Yet, there is beauty. Sometimes it is a bit harder to see...but it's there and it's amazing and wonderful and all things God intended.

Allow me to give you a glimpse of a typical morning. We now have to drive Cole to school ever morning. This is like a sprint to a very long finish line that must be achieved in a matter of seconds. Some mornings it seems merely impossible. But we manage...most of the time. I have to try and leave early, because there is one boy (this post is about him) that moves slower the faster I need him to's like trying to make a slug pick up speed. And the more I ask him to move faster the tinier his steps become. It is not uncommon for me to look like I'm dragging my now 4 year old into the school that promotes love and God and all things Biblical. And every morning, I probably look like the stellarist of all moms, exemplifying an abundance of grace....I'm sure.

Yesterday, was a particularly rough took us 25 minutes just to get on the freeway (it usually takes 3 minutes). We were very late (I hate being late), It was pouring (I don't the rain). Bennett decided this would be the morning to make me shine brightly. In an attempt to get him to again, change his slug-moving ways....he got mad. He threw himself on the freshly puddled sidewalk, while I half begged/half drug him to Cole's class....all the while marching our late selves passed the huge windowed classrooms...that were now in session---with a kicking and screaming toddler in tow. He wouldn't pick himself up off the sidewalk, so I put Davis down (who walked perfectly alongside his oldest brother) while I scooped my red-faced screaming Bennett. Apparently he really DID want to walk because he then started another round of screaming stating just that. I had to corral all three boys into the tiny school office (since you know, we were now very very late and we needed a late slip) and it was crowded, full of others who were also late. I got a lot of "I hope your morning gets better's" After getting Cole safely to his class and one more screaming stand off later, a switch was flipped and he decided to happily add a pep to his step as he practically skipped back to the car. Upon arriving at the car, he quickly turned to me and in the perkiest little voice said, "let's go get a treat!"

I'm pretty sure I laughed...not nicely...but I laughed.

And this, this is how much of life is with him. When it's hard, it's hard. And just when you think, I'm going to lose every marble in every part of my's over. And you see him in all his sweetness.

Sometimes I have to constantly remind myself of this. Let the storm blow over....ride it out. It will be worth it.

So yes, this year, as with much of Bennett's life, it ebbs and flows in waves. We have rocky storms and peaceful breezes. He is my intense, stubborn, LOUD, stubborn, affectionate, stubborn, smart, stubborn, kind-hearted (if he chooses), stubborn, daring, stubborn, shy, stubborn, little boy. If his mind is made up about something he wants, doesn't want, thinks I should or shouldn't do, then he will fight for it until his death....usually taking out ear drums and his mama's patience along with him.

Today, as we were getting into the car after dropping Cole off at school, he slapped a bedazzled bracelet on his wrist (Cole's Sunday school creation) and proclaimed loudly that he was a Genie and he would grant me any wish I wanted.

Me: "My wish is that you would listen and obey your mother"
Bennett: (in a very genie-like voice) "I cannot grant you that wish please."

Of course. I think that statement pretty much sums up life with him right now. 

There is no need to guess with him, and absolutely no beating around the bush. I suppose this has its positives...and probably more so as he gets older.

For all the passionate energy his little body explodes with, sleep simply does not seem to be high on his priority list. Months ago we waved our white flags in desperation and started giving him doses of melatonin. We tapered him off of it and it seemed to be doing the trick, we finally thought, "yes, he has got this normal, human sleep thing down--finally."

I'm pretty sure he has been snickering in his room ever since that thought first made its way through our heads. He decided he no longer "needs" his nap. Adios to mama's "me time". And he still wakes up calling for daddy at least once per night and usually stays up way later than he should "playing" in his room when he should be going to bed. We just close the door now and let him wear himself out instead of fighting it.

Even with little sleep, he is ambitious, and as we all know, passionate. I have no doubt in my mind he is destined for great things. I have always called him my mountain mover and shaker. He just needs to learn how channel it into positive outlets. And once he learns, world, you better be ready for him. He will be a good force to be reckoned with.

While at his 4 year check. (He actually gained 5 lbs from last year (currently at 34 lbs) would never be able to tell, but he did!) Anways, his doctor asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. I knew right away what his first three answers would be.

Bennett: "A bire-bighter (fire fighter), a dotter (doctor), a denist.... (and in his last little breath of air, his voice lowered every so slightly to an ominous tone)....and a MINJA (ninja)."

If anyone could pull off all of the above, he could. Even the ninja part. Just you wait!

And that is what I love so much about him. He aims high and even the hard doesn't seem out of reach for him. If you tell him he can't do something....he will set out to prove you wrong. Even if it means trying to launch himself through the air from a chair to the couch that are about a mile apart.

And when he gets out of his "I'm going to conquer whatever it is that you don't want me to conquer" mode, he softens and is so affectionately loving. He notices things that most kids his ages don't. He's perceptive, observant, and knows how to make you feel like a million bucks--if he wants. He is always the first to compliment me on what I'm wearing, and will grab my hand in the exact moment that I need it. And this is where I see another reflection of me, he needs the affection as much as I do. He loves to be carried down the stairs or for me to carry him in from the car. He often squeezes my neck and gives me kiss after kiss.

And this is when I sigh and exhale and remind myself that he is a powerful little being that will do great things, but he also still very much needs me. He needs my love and affection, he needs those boundaries, he needs consistency and time to allow his imagination to go wild. About that imagination, I love it about him. I often find him in his own world playing with dinosaurs, peppa pig, anything he can hold in his hand and make talk.

My dear dear Bennett, You like to remind me often that you are a big boy now because you are 4. You think you are bigger than you are. May no one ever underestimate how mighty you are despite your size. I know I often don't parent you the best way, I know I make so many mistakes that I'm afraid to try and count them all. I know that there are many situations and battles with you that I wish I could do over. You are a constant and ever changing force, I need to remind myself constantly to allow you room. Room to vent, to breathe, to be. I know in my heart of hearts that you are going to charge this world with that same force that I battle with daily. And the world better watch out because whatever you put that mind to, you won't stop until your mission is complete. I can already see how you will use that quality for greatness and touch others in very sincere and deep connecting ways. Because when you love, you love deeply. I pray daily for you, for me, for us. Sometimes they are prayers for strength and guidance....because sometimes, my son, I don't feel capable. I feel like I will fail you, that I won't be able to provide the equation of grace + discipline to = a positive outcome. Sometimes I just don't grace very well. And I'm working on that, please know I am working very very hard on that. Because you and I, we thrive on grace and find comfort in secure love. How thankful I am that when I fail you, you have Jesus who makes up for what I lack and everything else in between. Lastly, I hope you always know that I love you deeper than you will ever be able to understand. Because it's deeper than sometimes I can