Life lately. Kids grow and they grow fast. When I think back to Christmas, it feels as if my children have grown and changed immensely since then. Sitting by my side is their photo from our Christmas photo shoot and they look like babies. That was only four months ago. But man a lot has happened in the last four months.

Liam has grown so much and yet his interests are still very much the same – cars. He’s really into lightning McQueen again. The last time he was this interested in lightning was around 2 years. He loved the Cars movie and would watch it all the time. I told him the new movie (Cars 3) would be coming out this summer and that mommy and daddy would take him to see it. He’s never been to the movie theater so it would be such a special day. When it comes to movies though, the kid would still rather play than watch any movie. He will pop in and out of playing if there is a movie on but rarely sits through the entire thing, unless there are snacks. Playing with toys is Liam’s thing. He really enjoys playing and really loves when you join in and play with him. I need to do a better job about joining in. His big thing lately is doing “jobs” around the house for a dollar. He saves his money and then requests a trip to Target so he can buy a new toy. He just bought two $20 Mack trucks at Target within a 2 month time span. The kid is always asking for a job to do. The last job I gave him was organize my shoe closet because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. The other day when we were cutting grass outside, he said when he gets older he wants to ride the lawn mower all by himself and not with daddy. I told him that could be a job he does when he gets older. He could mow our neighbor’s yard and make money. He lit up. He will work so hard and I love that about him. He also loves hard. Whenever Payten is frustrated or crying, he goes over to soothe her. He mimics everything Andy does and you can see his admiration for his father in his eyes when he looks at Andy. When Andy had staples in his back from back surgery, Liam walked around saying he had “tracks” in his back (looked like railroad tracks) just like dad. He tells Andy and I love you without prompting him to say it. He has a genuine heart of gold. He is so sensitive to others as well. He’s the sweetest and considerate little boy I ever saw. Once he accidentally took another kids toy car home from the sitters house and once he realized it we were almost home. He had a meltdown because in his eyes, he did something wrong. He took something that wasn’t him. I calmed him down and told him we were going back tomorrow and I would call his mom to tell her that you have it and it’s not lost. He was so calm and reassured after those words. But I didn’t call the mom. When I talked to her the next day, she said her son didn’t even know it was gone. But Liam noticed. He notices everything.

Liam is also very orderly. As we walk in the door from work/babysitters each day, he takes his shoes and jacket off, puts them away in the closet, unpacks a backpack full of toys and puts them in his toy room and puts his book bag away. At night, he neatly organizes the blankets on his bed before hopping in. He lines his cars up before playing with them, like they are in a parking lot and waiting for him to back one out and drive. If given the option, Liam would go outside versus staying in. He constantly has dirt under his fingernails, he only wants to wear basketball or soccer shorts/shirts, his black tennis shoes are his favorite because they match daddies, he knows more rules to basketball than I do (and he teaches them to me), although his hands always have dirt on them, stickiness is a whole new level that he still doesn’t like; he can write “L” “i” “a” to his name, we are working on the letter “m”; his favorite colors right now are green and orange; he is eating more now than ever before; and he listens. This little boy is a great listener and a great reader of moods. He observes and interprets situations very well. He apologizes before I can even tell him to, he knows wrong from right, he strives to follow the rules, and he gives in to whatever movie his sister wants to watch because he wants to make her happy. He’s growing into such a fine young man that I can’t even handle it. How do I handle that?

And how do I handle my baby turning 3 in 2 months. Like really is it only two more months of being 2? Payten sure has grown since Christmas. Her ankles peek out of her pants no matter the pair she wears. She is slimming down, getting rid of her baby fat roll by roll. Every time we are out in public with both kids, there is always a comment from a stranger asking if they are twins. They are about the same height and hair color is exactly the same. They look a lot alike and yet so different at the same time. Payten’s hair is also getting really long. I’ve trimmed it several times and her bangs are just about long enough to put behind her ears. Just in time for me to want her to have bangs again. It’s a vicious cycle every girl plays. Long hair or short? She still has her same cheeks she was born with. I love planting a kiss on them. They may soon go away which will make me sad. Payten loves her movies and songs right now. She knows almost all the words to the entire Moana soundtrack. She sings constantly. She will sit through and watch a movie. Scary parts (like the Beast in the real Beauty and Beast movie) do not scare her. She loves to talk. She sometimes will interrupt Liam and I need to do a better job about telling her to wait until Liam is done because before you know it, she is taking over the conversation talking about something random like our red porch chairs or the fact that her stuffed animal dog is hungry. She is always talking and I do love that. She does at times encourage Liam to have conversations with her and it’s the cutest thing listening from the other room about their conversations. They call each other silly. They call each other out. They also apologize to each other without prompt from Andy or I. Those conversations I love to hear from the corner of the next room. Those two will always have each other and I love that they already view each other as their best friend.

Payten is around a lot of boys at the baby sitters and I think because of that (and the fact that even at a young age she was playing with Liam in the sandbox), she is not afraid to get dirty. She’s not afraid to pick up a worm or a bug for me. She’s not afraid to even throw punches at a rose bush (she later regretted that). She gets dirty, more than all the boys at daycare. And she tries everything. If you need her to do something for you, you phrase it as a new adventure, something cool and exciting and she will be there to help you unload the dishwasher. She loves domestic activities like helping me cook and clean. She’s my little sidekick, always there at my legs wanting to learn new things and help me. When I get a “boo boo”, she says in the most sincere and sweetest voice “aww you okay mom?”. I love that she is always looking out for her family.

I’ve been reading Hillbilly Elegy lately and it’s such an inspiring story. What I find most interesting about it though is the self reflecting I do after I read a chapter about the type of parent I am to these two wonderful kids. JD Vance, the author of the book, reflects about his chances of success in life based on the people put in his life. I don’t do well as my kids mother every day but this book reminded me that I need to give 100% to them every day. I am aiding in the development of them. When I lose my temper or get frustrated, they see that. They are forming opinions and thoughts and actions based on my actions. I am their mother and someone they look up to and I need to remember that in trying times, to keep my cool because my kids are watching. They are reacting to my reactions. And these actions will shape their future. I know I will make mistakes but it’s the self-reflecting that I need to do constantly to help me become a better person, a better mom to these kiddos, and a better wife to the man that I love whole-heartedly.






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