Archive | About L RSS feed for this section

a bedroom decision: a big-boy room for our big boy.

L-Q-Shared-Bedroom-Wide-Shot

since completing the space before Q’s arrival in November 2014, our boys’ shared bedroom has been one of my favorite spaces in our home. the paint color {Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue} is a calming almost-neutral blue that changes from day to evening. the vinyl triangles on the wall have such an impact, especially for so little money. but most of all, the idea of my two boys dreaming away in the same space delighted me.

however, when it came to actually living out the reality of this idea, we hit a few snags.

first, a note on breastfeeding Q, since this definitely impacted our choice to move L into his own room. in December 2015, while i was on holiday break from my full-time job in higher education, i worked hard to wean Q during the day, so that he was only nursing in the evening and during the night. this helped immensely with my supply issues that i had shared before, as instead of pumping at work to try and provide bottles of breast milk for daycare the next day, i was only nursing in the evening and 1-2 times during the night.

after a few weeks of that routine, i weaned Q a bit more, so that he was only nursing before he went to sleep {between 7-8 p.m.} each night. i would nurse him to sleep, and then, once he was settled and sleeping soundly in my arms, i would transfer him to his crib, where he would sleep the duration of the night. this continued until mid-February, when we officially ended our breastfeeding relationship after 15 {mostly successful} months; since i nursed L for 15 months, i wanted to hit that same mark with Q.

after weaning Q completely, we began laying Q down, awake, in his crib in order to establish a bedtime routine and to help him to grow comfortable falling asleep on his own. during the first week or so of this transition, we had L fall asleep in Mama and Daddy’s bed, so that Q could adjust {we did our own variation of the Ferber check-and-console method, which also helped baby L to learn to feel comfortable falling asleep on his own} to this new bedtime arrangement. Q adjusted within two weeks to this new routine, and he even seemed to relish being laid in his crib, snuggled up with a soft blanket and his beloved Mickey Mouse {he loves to suck on Mickey’s nose as he falls asleep!}.

so, after Q adjusted and would put himself to sleep consistently, night after night, we began conducting L’s bedtime routine {a few books, apple juice and prayers} in the living room before laying L down to sleep in the boys’ shared bedroom.

in short: this did NOT work.

both of our boys are snore-makers, and L is a rather restless sleeper, meaning that he often kicks off his covers, turns and rolls in his sleep, and even mumbles or talks from time to time. these factors compounded with both boys in the same bedroom, and L and Q would wake each other up numerous times throughout the night, which resulted, come morning, in not only two sleepy and cranky children, but also two exhausted parents.

in an effort to make this work, we tried multiple variations of this bedtime routine: we tried putting L down to sleep first. we tried putting both boys down to sleep at the same time. we tried snuggling with L in his bed {while Q was already asleep in his crib} to help our oldest to fall asleep quicker and more quietly. sadly, nothing worked.

so, out of desperation {and utter sleep deprivation}, we decided to move L into a “big-boy room” downstairs {what was formerly the guest room/third bedroom/Jord’s video game zone}. even though i had determined long ago that no child of mine would sleep an entire floor away from me, his Mama, until he was in elementary school at least {a vow that makes me laugh hysterically now}, we found ourselves, just three weeks ago, painting walls and moving furniture up and down the stairs, and planning decor.

L’s “big-boy room” is nearly completed now {and we can’t wait to show it to you…after we hang some curtains and a few more decor items}, but after living with this arrangement for just a couple of weeks, here’s how we know that this decision is working for all four of us:

  1. our littlest, Q, sleeps SO much more soundly – he’s sleeping up to 12 hours each night in his crib without a peep!
  2. L wants to show off his “big-boy room” to anyone and everyone that comes over to our house. in short, he’s so delighted to have his very own space.
  3. apart from a few exhausting nights when our dear L was feeling under the weather, he’s done remarkably well with adjusting to sleeping downstairs. the first few nights, he asked us to stay downstairs while he fell asleep, which we were happy to do – after all, our lower level makes us quite happy – but as soon as we heard him snoring away {or, more likely, as soon as we finished that night’s episode of House of Cards – NO SPOILERS – WE AREN’T DONE WITH SEASON 4 YET!}, we’d head upstairs to bed ourselves.?
  4. finally, apart from feeling sick ourselves these past few nights {go away, allergies!}, Jord and i feel like we are {finally!} sleeping soundly. while there are times when we wake up in the night to check on the kids, especially if we hear L stirring or calling out for us {and thankfully, we can hear this pretty well – our bedroom is located right above L’s}, we have our bed to ourselves again, and it’s such a blessing.

up next: the reveal of L’s big-boy room! until then, check out this mood board of sorts on Pinterest to get a design sneak-peek.

{photo by Creative Kindling}

our boys’ journey with short stature.

Troubled-Waters-Cleansing

Our waters over here aren’t the most troubled in history. We are certainly blessed beyond measure in numerous ways. But lately, I’m feeling stuck in these can’t take a breath, life-jacket-breaking waters, and I need to come up for air in this space.

Our sons, while immeasurably bright, gracious, kind, and as silly as they come, are short. Our boys have never, not once, met even the bottom percentile of the growth chart when it comes to height, and since we were pregnant with Lionel, and then with Quincy, we’ve been prepared by doctors, genetic counselors and physicians for many outcomes, the majority of them terrifying.

Thanks be to God alone, our boys do not have concerns that align with the scariest of conditions, but they are remarkably behind where the doctors feel that they should be. For instance, in Lionel’s case, the age of his bones is one year behind what’s normal for his age. And in Quincy’s case, he’s shorter as a one-year-old than even his big brother was at age 1.

It’s not simply that my boys are short. In these modern times, we are blessed – and challenged – by the question of what can, what should be done to augment their growth, and what, if anything, would be effective in doing so. It’s this question that has me grasping for oars to wade us out of these, our troubled waters.

Our boys have undergone extensive testing to rule out genetic abnormalities or deficiencies. We’ve had extensive discussions with our sons’ specialists about medical intervention to augment their growth. And these tests and these discussions continue, with little to no answers regarding where this height challenge came from, other than the determination that it’s a familial condition that’s been passed from Daddy to our boys. Yet, the time is quickly approaching to make determinations about whether or not to intervene medically, and, if we elect to do so, whether or not treatment would actually work to help our boys to grow.

In other words, given the lack of information regarding our boys’ short stature, the decision whether or not to pursue growth hormone therapy is a nuanced one, and one that is immeasurably difficult. Our doctors are unsure as to whether this treatment will help our boys to grow. To provide context: Jordan took growth hormone when he was a child, and following his treatment, he grew to 5’4″, but there’s no certainty that it was the growth hormone treatment and not a delayed growth pattern, for example, that played a role.

It’s always been in our medical plan to make a decision about growth hormone therapy for Lionel around ages 5 or 6, but his sluggish growth pattern has pushed up the timeline for treatment to ages 4 to 5. And last week, we were told that our Quincy may be in need of intervention sooner than his brother, around ages 2 1/2 to 3.

If you do the math, that means that both of our boys, our treasured, healthy boys who just happen to be short, may be receiving growth hormone treatment at the exact same time. And we, their parents, are left to grapple with not only the question of whether this treatment will be effective at all, but also the logistics of daily growth hormone injections for TWO wiggly toddlers, the financial burden of growth hormone therapy for not one but TWO boys, the pleas of “Why do I have to have shots?”, the recognition that our boys are different from their friends, their cousins, their peers.

Jordan keeps telling me, the Mama who has no experience with what it means to be below average height, that it’s important for our boys to be taller than the doctor’s projections, which, to be honest, will leave our boys near five-feet tall, if they are lucky.

But I won’t speak for him; my own fears speak loud enough.

I fear that if our boys are short, and not just short, but quite short, they may have to bear the taunts and the teases of bullies.

They may not be picked for the team at recess.

They may be made to feel inadequate, either consciously or subconsciously, by their peers, even well-intentioned ones.

They may not be asked to dance at prom, or they may be needlessly fearful to do the asking themselves.

They may arrive home from school in tears, wondering why the children tease them so mercilessly, why they are different from everyone else, why they are so short.

And it’s the hurt faces of my two boys that prevent rest from taking hold of my body, that pound my heart violently, that give way to tears more often than not.

No mother wants her child, her children, to bear the brunt of what cannot be helped.

But this. Can this be helped? Should we pursue help, even if it’s not guaranteed to work?

Though it’s felt at times during these past four years as though the rain is pouring down on us in immeasurable buckets, I haven’t said a word about this publicly, because I’ve long insisted that it’s not my story to tell: it’s our boys’ story.

But, I’m coming to realize that this, for now, at least, is my story, too – it’s the story of me, the Mama of these two bubbly, wonderfully exquisite boys, coming to grips with what God has handed us in this life.

I’m learning that I’m allowed, if I want, to throw a fit and say that life isn’t fair and ask for God to just help my boys to grow. And on better days, I take comfort in the the hope that God is using these troubled waters to cleanse me, to cleanse my boys, even when – especially when – I doubt the purpose of these trials.

Thank you, friends, for reading this muddled snapshot of my Mama heart. More to come soon. xo

all about our Lionel {fall 2015}.

L-Summer-2015

oh, this boy. he is growing up faster than his little leggies can run, and i find myself toggling between reaching for his cheeks to smother him in kisses {which he then wipes off aggressively, but only after he ensures that i’m WATCHING HIM wipe away my love – little stinker!} and pushing him to gain, bit by bit, a sense of independence.

a few Lionel-isms that have made me want to hit the pause button on life lately:

* in August, the boys and i {along with my parents} made a quick trip to Minneapolis. en route to our destination, sweet L noticed the windmills in the distance, expansive in size and frequent in number, and asked his Mama what they were. i told him that they were windmills, and he proceeded to call them “wind nails” the rest of our trip.

* L is my little bookworm. ever since he was little, he’s been a lover of books and words, and {proud mama brag coming} his vocabulary proves it. from time to time, Jord and i will read words or sentences, and L will repeat them back to us, but last night, he sat with me and read to me – in other words, i finally caught his adorable little reading voice on video. check it out:

* i chose the photo above to accompany this post for a deliberate reason: our boy HAAAATES pants.

every morning when we get L dressed {after, of course, having him pick out a shirt to wear the night before, because if we just select a shirt for him, THE WORLD ENDS}, we put on socks first. then, as my hands reach for his pants, his adorable brown eyes get glassy with tears.

“i want shorts, Mama,” he says as his voice crackles, the emotion behind this request sneaking through.

“i know, buddy,” i say, EACH MORNING, “but summer’s over – it’s fall now, and it’s pretty chilly outside. we don’t want your leggies to get cold, so we need to wear pants today.”

cue the meltdown.

“but i waaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnt pants that stand up, Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” he wails. {and yes, he calls shorts “pants that stand up.” oh, how i love his brain.}

when this situation presents itself, i have been known to do one of the following:

A) call for reinforcement {i.e. Daddy};

B) negotiate {i.e. “if you wear pants now, you can put your shorts back on as soon as we get home from school!”};

C) {freaking} relent and let the poor boy freeze. yes, i’m that mama on some days.

* as i featured here, our boy LOVES soccer. he’s now on his second session of a six-week soccer program for 3- and 4-year-old kiddos, and he’s loving every minute of it. but what i’m finding particularly endearing is the way in which he talks to his brother, Q, about soccer. “Quincy, you watch Lionel play soccer? you’re too little for soccer. when you’re a big boy like Lionel, Grandpa will get you shin guards and soccer shoes and soccer shorts and soccer shirt, and you can play soccer like Lionel.”

* we’ve been slooooowly working on potty-training with L. we started the process when he was 2 years old with a potty-training “boot camp” of sorts that, well, failed, mostly because i wasn’t ready for my only baby {at the time} to grow up so quickly. since then, we’ve had a few potty-training sessions every month or so, where he’ll tolerate undies for a few hours and then want to return to his diapers or Pull-Ups. BUT, this past weekend, he announced that he had to go potty, walked himself over to his potty chair and sat down, and HE ACTUALLY DID IT. and it was AMAZING. i don’t think i’ve cheered that loud since Game 6 of the 2011 World Series {go Cardinals}.

in light of his recent successes on the potty chair, we sent him to daycare today in undies, along with four extra outfits and a collection of character-themed undies to choose from, should an accident occur. i CANNOT WAIT to find out all about his day of pottying like a big boy – with his friends around, no less!

our soccer boy.

the end of August brought about an exciting development for our oldest.

case in point:

L-Soccer-2015

we have a soccer player in our midst, y’all, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing i’ve ever seen. just look at this cheeseball!

L-Soccer-2015

L-Soccer-2015

L is partaking in a six-week local soccer camp, which emphasizes learning the basics of soccer {with parents helping out, which Jord just adores!} while having a whole lot of fun. for example, L’s first session of camp involved pretending that he was an astronaut in space that dribbled the soccer ball from planet to planet. in other words, he had a BLAST – and came home exhausted. win-win.

a few more pictures of our little athlete, because i can’t resist:

L-Soccer-2015

L-Soccer-2015

and, just so you don’t think that our littlest is getting slighted, he’s a big fan of his soccer-playing brother as well…

Q-Sleeping-Soccer-2015

…trust me. he may be sleeping here, but he LOVES it when the soccer ball crashes into him, but not quite as much as he loves smacking the top of the ball with his hands.

all jokes aside, it’s clear, though, that for our sweet Q, nothing in the world beats watching big brother do anything.

DIY mini hockey rink {L’s third birthday gift}.

For L’s third birthday, his Grandpa Steve {Jord’s father, aka our go-to handy-guy and all-around fixer-upper} gifted our oldest boy an awesome mini hockey rink that he DIYed himself. Our hockey-loving boy couldn’t have been more pleased! Check it out:

DIY-Hockey-Rink

DIY-Hockey-Rink

And today, i’m here to share with you the steps to DIY a hockey rink of your very own! Many thanks to Jord’s dad Steve for writing up the list of materials and the steps, so that i could share the how-to with you!

 

MATERIALS

1/4″ hardboard, cut to approximately 30×13″ with rounded corners {this is used for the foundation of the rink}

1×4″ pine select quality board {this is used to strengthen the underside of the foundation of the rink}

1/32″ polyethylene sheeting {this is used for the “ice” and the “glass boards” that players check each other into :)}

1/2″ wire nails

Sharpie markers in red and blue {to create the regulation lines for the hockey rink}

1 1/2″ PVC pipe {this is used to create the two hockey nets}

Scrap piece of 5-ply hobby plywood {this is used to make the hockey sticks}

1/2″ wooden dowel {this is used to create hockey pucks}

Black spray paint in a semi-flat finish {this is used for the hockey sticks + the hockey pucks}

White spray paint in a gloss finish {this is used for the foundation of the rink}

Image of a hockey rink {this is used as a reference when drawing the regulation lines of the hockey rink}

Image of a hockey stick {this is used as a reference when creating the hockey sticks}

 

TOOLS NEEDED

Bandsaw/jigsaw

Hammer

Tin snips

Needlenose pliers

80-grit sandpaper

220-grit sandpaper

Sanding block

Tape measure

Yardstick

Dividers/compass

5/8″ drill bit

Pencil

 

STEPS

1. Create the foundation for the rink by cutting 1/4″ hardboard to approximately 30×13″. Then, using dividers or a compass, draw out the four rounded corners of the rink and cut using a bandsaw. Then, to add strength to the base, cut and secure a 1×4 along the perimeter underneath the hardboard.

DIY-Hockey-Rink

2. Once the foundation of the rink is its final size and has been strengthened with a 1×4, it’s time to create the “ice.” Use the foundation of the rink as a pattern by placing it on top of the polyethylene sheeting and tracing around the sheeting with a pencil. After tracing the foundation of the rink onto the sheeting, cut a corresponding oval out of the sheeting using tin snips.

3. Once the foundation of the rink and the ice are both cut to final size, paint the foundation of the rink using white spray paint in a gloss finish.

4. Using red and blue Sharpie markers, create the regulation lines of the hockey rink, making sure to follow your image of a hockey rink for reference.

A helpful tip: As you draw, leave a bit of time in between drawing each line to prevent smearing!

DIY-Hockey-Rink

Use a dashed line to differentiate the red center line from the two solid blue regulation lines; for the red center line, use a yardstick and create dash marks every 1/4″ across the sheeting.

Once you’ve drawn the regulation lines, it’s time to create the four face-off circles and the small face-off circle at center ice. Use whatever you have on hand to create these circles; for instance, L’s Grandpa Steve used the inside circle of a roll of masking tape to create the four larger circles and a kitchen ramekin to draw the smaller face-off circle at center ice!

Finally, you’re ready to draw the two goal lines, including each goal’s cage and crease. Again, be certain to allow the marker ink to dry before you begin drawing another regulation line!

A helpful tip: While the name “center line” implies that the red center line should be located precisely in the middle of the “ice,” the other lines are a bit more tricky to place without doing some math. Thankfully, Grandpa Steve did the math for us, so if you are following the dimensions of our mini hockey rink (i.e. your hockey rink is also approximately 30×13″}, here are a few numbers for you: the goal lines are drawn approximately 2″ from either end of the foundation, and the blue lines are drawn approximately 11″ from either end of the foundation.

5. Now that the “ice” is complete, it’s time to use the remnant of the polyethylene sheeting to create the “glass boards” that go around the outside of the foundation of the rink.

DIY-Hockey-Rink

A helpful tip: Ensure that paint on the foundation of the rink is dry before completing this and all future steps of the building process.

Using the foundation of the rink as a guide, wrap the remaining polyethylene sheeting around the foundation of the rink and cut to the appropriate length and height; for reference, the glass “boards” around L’s hockey rink are 2″ high from the bottom of the foundation of the rink. Once cut, set the sheeting aside.

A helpful tip: Since you want the sheeting to wrap around the entire foundation of the rink, you will likely need to cut two separate pieces of sheeting and overlap them at center “ice”; consider allowing for a 1″ overlap, where the two pieces of sheeting will join on each side of the foundation of the rink.

DIY-Hockey-Rink

6. Secure the “ice” to the foundation with 1/2″ wire nails, using the needlenose pliers to help you to hold the nails in place as you hammer. {NOTE: Since glues or any type of adhesive are unfriendly when it comes to polyethylene sheeting, nails are the best way to go.}

A helpful tip: Ensure that the marker lines that you’ve drawn on the “ice” have completely dried before completing this step in the building process.

A helpful tip: Nail the “ice” the foundation along the edges only, so as to prevent the hockey pucks from hitting or bouncing off of the nails during play.

A helpful tip: After securing the “ice” to the foundation of the rink, if you notice a slight overlap between the foundation and the “ice,” use 80-grit sandpaper and a light touch to lightly sand away the overlap of the two pieces. Take care to ensure that you don’t sand away the white paint on the foundation of the ice!

7. Once the “ice” is in place and the sheeting for the “glass boards” is its final length and height, it’s time to prepare the “glass boards” to be secured to the rink.

First, using a light touch, use 220-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the cut edges along the top and the bottom of the sheeting.

Then, starting approximately 1″ past the center line of the “ice,” work your way around the foundation of the rink, wrapping the sheeting around and securing it to the base of the foundation every few inches with 1/2″ wire nails. Then, secure the seams of the sheeting {the 1″ overlap near center ice} with clear packing tape.

DIY-Hockey-Rink

8. The final steps of the process involve creating the accessories that help the hockey rink to come alive: the nets, the pucks and the sticks!

To create the nets, cut two pieces of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe at an angle to resemble a net.

To create the pucks, cut the 1/2″ dowel in slices measuring approximately 3/16″. Cut as many pucks as you’d like! Sand smooth and spray paint black in a semi-flat finish.

To create the sticks, hand-draw a hockey stick shape {here’s a collection of images to reference!} onto hobby plywood. Using a 5/8″ drill bit, drill a hole in the inside knee of the hockey stick {where the hockey stick bends into an L-shape}. Then, cut away the remaining wood using a bandsaw. Sand smooth and spray paint black in a semi-flat finish.

DIY-Hockey-Rink

* *

And that’s it! You now have your very own mini hockey rink that will provide you and yours many hours of hockey-filled entertainment :) thanks again to Grandpa Steve for giving our Lionel this amazing gift that he so adores AND for sharing this tutorial with us!