April is by far one of my most favorite months. It’s a happy, colorful spring month where everything is fresh and new. It’s also my birthday month. That always helps a month be a stand-out month.
I’m not kidding when I woke up one morning, the 2nd of April to be exact, with a bee in my bonnet to start potty training Kensie. Brennan was a couple of weeks shy of three years old when he was potty trained within a week. Kensie showed some signs she was ready over the previous few months, but I wanted the process to go down with as few hitches as possible, and that meant in my mind 1) waiting until she was a little closer to three and 2) when Matt could take some days off to be home with us and do things with Brennan while we girls stayed home.
But that one crazy morning I laid in bed, all those factors went out the window, and I was ready to go for it. It takes just as much motivation and preparation in a parent’s mind to embark on potty training as it does the child’s! You spend nearly the whole day in the bathroom and it takes God-given patience I know I do not have in and of myself. All of us woke up and got to work! One of the neatest aspects of the training I didn’t expect was that Brennan took on the role of encourager and cheerleader. He was just as much of the process in helping Kensie as I was. The first day we stayed at home all day to get in the grove, but we had commitments throughout the week we had to stick to. Unlike Brennan’s potty training, we just got out and went for it, and oh, this girl, she did phenomenally well!
By the third day, she had no more accidents and we were in a good rhythm. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have it go so well and to be done with it! She still wears a pull-up at night, but hasn’t had a night-time accident in quite some time. She felt so beautiful with her princess panties and wanted to tell everyone all about it. As her “no accidents five days in a row” gift, she chose Anna’s dress-up dress from Frozen. Because of the huge backorders and constantly empty, torn-up Frozen toy section in Target week after week, she finally got her prized dress in May. She held out patiently.
For the past few Aprils, Brennan and I have seen plays at the Zach Theatre downtown. We love them! We usually follow the play with a lunch date. This year we hit Chez Zee for a breakfast date and then saw Cat in the Hat before he hit the soccer field for an afternoon game. He’s a fan of Chez Zee’s buttermilk pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit and croissant. Yes, he ate every bite of his breakfast platter.
The question I get asked most often: “Momma, can I have a piece of paper, please?” Before school, after school, my budding artist is always asking for paper to color and cut. This is his map of the United States before we jumped into the car for school.
Shoe shopping is thrilling for her.
Spring reading in the sunshine. We discovered a new favorite: Homer Price!
Friday, April 11 was the beginning of my birthday weekend. This year’s present to me: my parents took the kids for the weekend! On Friday we met in Gruene at one of my most favorite restaurants, The Gristmill, and enjoyed the lovely scenery, delicious food, and a tasty Treat with a capital T. The kids always go with Popsie on the various deck levels to scope out the river.
Sitting on a lap gets them intentionally closer to the dessert.
My precious two.
The weekend was restful and quiet, and Matt and I also did a few things around the house that are so much easier to do without the two munchkins. I know, I’m weird, but truly, the gift of time to get a few to-dos done that put my mind at ease was just the birthday present I needed and wanted. One of the things my dear husband also gifted me with was treating me and a few girlfriends to lunch on Sunday afternoon while he met my parents half-way for the kids. So Rachel, Sara, Kim, Melissa and I enjoyed time together after church and delighted in Elizabeth Street Cafe’s food. I had the best time! Someone just needed to tell me my eyes were closed in this picture so we could take a do-over.
These ladies are beautiful to me. I learn so much from them. And their stories? Their stories each are astounding ways they’ve seen Jesus turn ashes into beauty. They have a faith refined like gold.
This picture makes me weepy. Current day is September 2, 2014, Kensie Jane’s first day of pre-school. And this is our spot we’ve shared for the past three years: the prayer garden at what was Brennan’s school. Now Kensie Jane walks the halls of that school, not as the 6 week old baby in the carseat when she first entered those doors dropping off Brennan. Not as a bald-headed 10 month old scooting on her bottom as fast she could. Not as an 18 month old with her first set of pigtails toddling around. Not as a 2.5 year old saying, “Bye Bubba,” and kissing him on the cheek and squeezing his neck before we left for our gymnastics class. No, this time she is 3, a confident, brave little girl ready to enter this world of pre-school and play with the baby dolls there. While all last year she asked to “Stay with Momma”, she now excitedly says, “Go to school”.
As I loaded her in the car this morning, my empathetic girl asked if I would miss her. Oh, yes, my heart wants to burst with ache. And especially so when she commented about that sacred prayer garden when I walked her into school. I couldn’t bring myself to go in there without her this morning.
After our lunch together in the prayer garden that day, we walked over to the Easter egg hunt Brennan’s class was having. Kensie and I have always enjoyed observing the fun activities Brennan has done at school…and now it’s Kensie’s turn to fully participate.
Working in the yard means getting down and dirty...
And making mud birthday cakes with candles and all.
Back in the Fall, we went to Early Childhood Intervention to have KJ’s speech evaluated. She tested slightly delayed, but not enough for her to qualify for therapy. As the months progressed, we weren’t seeing much improvement, and we knew that any additional help we could provide would only be to her benefit. Since she wasn’t in school yet, we took advantage of that time to see a private speech therapist at a place we’ve come to love and appreciate. Even more so, we love our "Miss Kiki" who has loved on and helped Kensie talk. My little girl has made leaps and bounds! Do you know that the first time I actually heard her say her own name clearly was this past May? I cried. We are so thankful for Miss Kiki, for the space in our schedule to go two times a week since March, and for incredible health insurance that made it possible.
It’s no small feat to trek 45 minutes across town one way, have therapy for an hour and then trek back home two times a week. Brennan and I both go in with her into her sessions and get to participate in a few of the games, and I get to see what she’s learning. Sometimes it’s stressful having Brennan in there with his energy level and having to remind him we aren’t there to play for him, but "Miss Kiki" has been very gracious to include him as an example and peer for Kensie to learn from. This Fall we will only go once a week. Again, I am so, so thankful we started speech when we did! Especially as Kensie girl starts school, we know she still has some progress to make, but what a vastly different place she’s in now to communicate than where she would have been.
The swing net is one of her favorite things to do.
One of the sad things about potty training? Well, I don’t know if there was a direct correlation, or if the events just randomly overlapped, but my dear girl stopped napping. Completely and utterly stopped napping. At 2.5 years old. And keeping her in her room for “rest time” is an unending battle. One day she emerged from her room ready to rock Brennan’s swim team practice in this getup.
On Good Friday, we took advantage of a quiet, beautiful day to drive out to Sweetberry Farms to pick strawberries. I do not remember what happened the last ten minutes of the drive. Chances are Brennan did something hurtful to Kensie. As we pulled into the parking lot, I nearly pulled right back out and drove home. My little guy struggles with much of the same things I do, and sometimes when I’m a good momma, I recognize that and can respond patiently, effectively and compassionately. And sometimes it just makes me downright mad, impatient, and takes us both exponentially up the emotional ladder to levels that leave us disconnected, frayed and our hearts in shards. On Good Friday, the day that Jesus died to take away all our sins, our ever-present, ever-real sins splattered within those 4 doors of the car and our hearts gaped open, needing a Savior to tend and mend. It’s one of the prayers I pray most: Lord, help my chidden see how much they need You. And may I show them how to run and fall into You, because oh, how I need You every hour, every moment.
With some sore but re-connected hearts, we emerged from the car ready to pick strawberries.
And picked we did!
The homemade strawberry ice cream was a cool treat after the hard labor.
Popsie and Meesie arrived later that evening, and on Saturday we dyed some eggs. I always feel accomplished when we dye eggs. It’s one of those Easter things I tend to forget and put off, and I admit I would feel slightly guilty if we didn’t do it. And I also feel slightly guilty in saying that it’s one of those traditions I could very easily do without.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He’s such a silly, goofy little boy. And that awesome bow tie didn’t last very long at all.
Easter Sunday is my most favorite church service of the year. I love it for so many reasons. This year’s was incredible, and the sermon was one of my absolute all-time favorites. You should listen!
We were hanging outside church after the service and ran into a couple recently engaged who graduated last year from Wheaton, Austin and Nicole. I’ve enjoyed spending some time with Nicole and they didn’t have any plans for lunch, so they came on over and joined us. Nicole kindly took some pictures for us.
The night of April 22 after dinner, our little guy got the sickest I’ve ever seen him. He threw up for 3 hours straight, every ten minutes. I held him the whole time while we sat in a chair with a bowl in front of us watching a movie to help distract him. He threw up so much he popped hundreds of blood vessels in his face. He was sick for a number of days with a horrible virus. And this was the beginning of him being sick until his surgery on June 26th.
His little sister kept him company, and it took him a while to feel like himself again.
He was introduced to 7Up with his saltine crackers, and if it becomes a drawing, you know it’s something he loves.
What are you doing, little girl? I needed mittens.
It was gorgeous on April 25th so we spent some time outside with the boy still taking it slow and easy. I sure loved all the extra snuggles I had with him though!
He learned UNO that week, a game he now loves and asked to play over and over. You’ll see in the background we had a visitor: Dapples!
The first bloom of the year, a sighting I anticipate every year.
Nothing new here. One kid gets sick, the other one follows. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad! But her bout started with pink eye. Even still, it was a really happy April.