January Sicknesses

First of all, I do not intend for this to be a post full of complaints.  Seriously.  I do not want to complain.  I promised myself that I would never complain again.  There are so many people in this world, even within my tiny sphere of influence, who have it incredibly hard.  I would never want to be in their shoes!

As such, I am simply reminiscing on the first month of 2013.  It was, indeed, full of sickness.  And, as usual, I lucked out.  That’s my lot in life, I suppose.  It seems as if I’m always the healthy one taking care of the sick ones.  Which I’m very grateful for.  There’s nothing worse than having to take care of sick children when you are sick yourself.  I consider myself extremely blessed! 🙂

The month started out with Jon spending New Year’s Eve (the actual evening) in urgent care.  He developed an odd infection on his leg.  It kept increasing in size and becoming  more red (even purple) by the minute.  So I sent him to urgent care and he ended up getting hooked up to an IV full of medicine meant to treat MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).  He returned home with antibiotics, a nasal spray (of all things), and a huge bottle of anti-bacterial body wash that he was instructed to soak in on a daily basis.  Very random.

A few days later, Lizzie went to the dentist and got all of the dreaded work done on her teeth.  She was prescribed antibiotics as well in order to prevent infection.

A few days later, Mason came down with a horrible cold.  This was the first time that he has been sick in his entire life.  He was just plain miserable.  He kept getting fevers and he was extremely congested, which meant that he had a very difficult time eating and sleeping.  To make matters worse, I was cleaning his penis (you know, pulling the foreskin down in an effort to clean underneath it so that it doesn’t stick…like the doctor advised me to do) and I accidentally pulled too hard.  His penis turned bright red and he was in a lot of pain.  I felt so horrible!  All that I could do was put Vaseline on it until it healed up.  The congestion kept getting worse and so I took him into the doctor.  He was diagnosed with sinusitis and was given antibiotics.

So far, 3 out of 5 family members on antibiotics.

A few days later, both Lizzie and Bryce got colds (runny noses, coughs, etc.).  Bryce seemed miserable though.  He kept developing fevers and he started wheezing pretty bad, which worried me because I haven’t heard him wheeze before.  He seemed miserable enough that I took him to the doctor.  Sure enough, he had an ear infection, which was probably what was causing the fevers.  The doctor also sent him home with a nebulizer (which he absolutely loathes), which helped out a lot with his wheezing.

By this time, Lizzie was done with her antibiotics for her mouth.  Just in time for Bryce to start taking his antibiotics for his ear infection.

Oh, I failed to mention that at the same appointment in which Bryce was diagnosed with an ear infection, the doctor asked me to bring Bryce in on another occasion to be screened for Autism.  She seemed concerned.  I’m not too worried about him.  Yes, he does seem a little different…but his personality is a lot like Jon’s.  Hey, if Bryce is Autistic, then so is Jon.  And he has survived just fine. 🙂

Anyway, a few days later, Lizzie started complaining of a tummy ache.  Me, being the most wonderful mom on the planet, thought for sure that she was faking it.  I don’t know why, but I just had a hard time believing her.  She seemed fine and then she suddenly started complaining of pain.  After a few days of this, however, I decided to take her in.  As it tuned out, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.  Oops.  I guess I should have believed her! 🙂

More antibiotics were added to our Fridge.  By this time, Mason was finished with his medicine.  Now it was just Lizzie and Bryce.  Bryce needed 6 milliliters twice a day.  Lizzie needed 1 teaspoon three times a day.  It got a bit confusing.  On one of the days, I ended up accidentally giving Bryce Lizzie’s medicine.  Oops!

Just when Bryce finished up his antibiotics for his ear infection, he came down with a horrible stomach flu.  He started throwing up on a Tuesday night and it continued on Wednesday and Thursday.  I was beside myself with worry.  I “slept” next to his bed and was prepared to hold the bowl for him if he had to puke (I was so done cleaning up barf).  I also shoved pediapops in his mouth every chance I got.  By Thursday afternoon I was extremely worried about dehydration.  He hadn’t eaten anything since noon on Tuesday.  He was now refusing to drink anything.  He wouldn’t even allow me to put ice-chips in his mouth.  I took him to the doctor and he ended up getting hooked up to an IV and had 2 bags of fluid drip into him.  He was also prescribed some zofran which helped a ton!

The doctors wanted me to take Bryce back the next day for a follow-up appointment.  Bryce seemed to be doing fine the whole day prior to the appointment.  He was nearly back to his normal self and I was so relieved!  I took him to the doctor and was very confident that he didn’t need another bag of IV fluid.  Well, I spoke too soon.  On the way home from the doctors office, he vomited everywhere in the car. 😦

So I was extremely worried all over again.  Fortunately, that was the last time that he vomited.  On Saturday, however, he had horrible diarrhea.  He kept running to the toilet, but he had plenty of accidents in his underwear.  I don’t know where all of the water came from, but he just sat on the toilet and water just poured out of him!  I was worried that I would have to take him back into the hospital.  All day I tried to force him to drink fluids and any kind of foods that would bulk up his poop (you know, the BRAT diet…bananas, rice, applesauce, toast/crackers).

Fortunately, Bryce is back to normal now.  Mason had diarrhea, but not nearly as bad as Bryce, and no vomiting.  Thank goodness.

I have been so worried this month.

I remember a time, a few days after Lizzie was born, that I was so worried about her that I told Jon that I couldn’t have any more kids.  I remember it so vividly.  I was sitting in our rocking chair trying to nurse Lizzie and she wasn’t able to latch on.  She was screaming and jamming her mouth onto my nipple (she wanted it badly) and getting so frustrated that she couldn’t get what she wanted (milk).  I was sitting there bawling my eyes out and just feeling so helpless.  I remember looking at the tiny baby in my arms and feeling so inadequate.  I just couldn’t believe that this innocent baby was placed in my care.  I was supposed to take care of my baby…and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  No idea.  I felt so lost.  The feeling was so overwhelming that I told Jon that I couldn’t have any more kids.  I couldn’t imagine myself possibly feeling responsible for another human being.  It is simply too overwhelming.

I obviously forgot that I ever said those words to Jon. 🙂

But I still feel that way every once in a while.

I still feel so inadequate.  Especially when my kids are sick.  I don’t feel competent or knowledgeable enough to be entrusted with sick kids.  I’m not a doctor, or even a nurse.  When they’re sick, I feel as if I don’t know how to properly care for them and that something bad will happen as a result of my inadequacies.

Am I the only mother that feels this way?

Anyway…my kids are all healthy.

For now. 🙂

And I am counting my blessings and enjoying the moment.

Because with young kids, particularly in the winter months, days of full health are few and far between. 🙂

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Turkey Joes

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One of my favorite meals growing up, and still today, is sloppy joes. We’ve been trying to cut back on beef in our house and I tried my mom’s recipe with ground turkey instead of ground beef and it was delicious!

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp brown sugar
1.5 Tbsp worchestire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard

Sautee ground turkey until cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. Enjoy and eat sloppy!

The Same Kind of Weird

When I introduced Jon to my parents for the first time (after we were already engaged), they were very pleased.  They also said that they were impressed that I was able to find someone who was “the same kind of weird” as me.

It’s true.

Jon and I are meant for each other because we are most definitely “the same kind of weird”.

We have the same weird sense of humor.  We both like and dislike the same types of things.  We both have similar obsessions.  We both sing odd theme songs to each of our children on a daily basis.  He refers to me as “Po” and I don’t mind (in fact, I think that he forgot what my actual name is).  I refer to him as “Honey Poo” and rarely, if ever, call him by his real name.  We both can listen to the same song over and over and over again without getting sick of it.

These are just a few of our little quirks.

  There are differences, of course, but for the most part (and regarding the things that really matter), we are nearly the same person.

As it turned out, the kids that we created together are also “the same kind of weird” as us.

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We’re all on the same weird page.

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We all like to do the same weird things.

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We all like to take weird pictures of ourselves.

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We all love each other lots, despite our weirdness.

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I am so blessed to belong to such a weird family! 🙂

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You Are My Sunshine

Had a hard weekend.  Not for any reason in particular, it was just hard.  I was in a funk.  In a terrible, horrible, no goood mood.  Luckily I have this little dude.  I CANNOT be mad around him.

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You are my sunshine

my only sunshine

you make me happy

when skies are grey

You’ll never know dear

how much I love you

please don’t take my sunshine away

 

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Snowflake Letter Game

I found some cute little snowflakes made out of craft foam in the Target dollar spot a few months ago.  I decided to use them for a little game that Bryce really enjoys!  You could easily play the same game, even if you don’t have foam snowflakes.  Just use paper! 🙂

First, I cut out 10 blue squares out of construction paper and wrote one letter on each square (the letters that spell the word “snowflakes”).  I also wrote one letter on each of the foam snowflakes.

To play the game, lay out the square letters on either the table or the floor (I have to do the table…if not, Mason will eat them!).

Then, hide the snowflakes all around the house (don’t let your child peek!).

After the snowflakes are hidden, have your child run and find one snowflake at a time and bring it back to you (this is, by far, Bryce’s favorite part of the game!)

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Then, have your child identify the letter (or, to make it more challenging, say its sound or a word that starts with that letter) and match it to the square that also has that letter written on it.

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Continue to play until all of the snowflakes have been found and identified!

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This is a very simple game, but Bryce really loves it!  In fact, he and Lizzie both do.  Nothing beats a letter hunt! 🙂

Movie Night Necklaces

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I’ve mentioned on here before that our family has Friday night Movie Nights.  We always have a treat: ice cream, popcorn, etc.  Sometimes we get to make these awesome movie necklaces.  All you need is some yarn and any treat that you can thread the yarn through.  This time we picked chocolate covered pretzels, gummie Lifesavers, and Fruit Loops.

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The key is to tape the end of your yarn like a shoelace so it doesn’t fray and makes it easier for the kids to do it themselves.

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Needless to say, it bought me over half an hour of quiet time, and they loved their cool movie treats!

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I Despise Dental Decay

All that I have to say is…NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER (under any circumstances whatsoever) FORGET TO BRUSH YOUR CHILD’S TEETH!

I swear, if I would have learned that lesson, really learned it, when Lizzie was a 1-year-old, it would have saved me a lot of guilt, agony, and tears.

I am a stickler when it comes to brushing my teeth.  I brush, at the very least, 3 times a day.  Most days, it’s a lot more.  I floss daily.  I use mouth wash once or twice on a daily basis.  And where do you think all of this obsession gets me?  Absolutely no where.  I still get lectured when I go to the dentist that I need to improve my dental hygiene.  I still have to get deep cleanings whenever my insurance will cover it (usually every other year).  All of this really bothers me.

Why?

Because Jon doesn’t brush his teeth nearly as much as I do and he rarely flosses.  He drinks juice and soda on a regular basis (which I rarely partake of).  And he has never, ever, ever gotten a cavity.  Not once.  When he goes to the dentist, he gets praised and honored for taking such wonderful care of his teeth.  His teeth, according to the dentist, are the healthiest looking teeth that he has seen in his entire time practicing as a dentist.  One day, I’m sure, I will go to the dentist and see a picture of Jon’s perfect mouth on a poster for everyone to admire and covet.

If only Lizzie was blessed enough to inherit Jon’s perfect teeth.  Instead, she was stuck with mine (well, she has her own…but you know what I mean!). 🙂

The poor girl.  I truly feel for her!  When she was 1, 2, and even 3, I had a seriously hard time brushing her teeth.  She would fight it like nothing else.  She would clench her jaw shut.  She would kick and scream and thrash around to the point that in order for me to brush her teeth, I would have to literally sit on top of her and try to jam the brush in her mouth.  Honestly, I hated doing it.  I thought that I was going to harm her!  Sometimes her mouth would even bleed.  😦  Although it pains me to admit this, I gave up on her.  It was too much of a fight.  I tried every night but when she got really bad, I just stopped trying.  It just wasn’t worth it to me.  Was it really going to make that much of a difference, anyway?  If only I could have foreseen the future!

Since Lizzie is the oldest, we didn’t even take her to the dentist until she was nearly four.  I feel so awful about it.  Incredibly guilty.  By this point, however, she was allowing us to brush her teeth.  And because we were actually able to look in her mouth…we could see a few cavities. 😦

She had to get a few cavities filled.  She survived the procedure just fine (according to Jon…he was with her), but she ended up biting her numb lip pretty badly on the way home.  When I first saw her I started freaking out because she looked like this:

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Oh my goodness.  Talk about a broken heart!  I immediately called the dentist (ready to get very upset with her!), but I calmed down when the Dentist explained to me that it happens quite often.  Lizzie was prescribed some antibiotics and everything turned out just fine (well, as far as her lip is concerned).

Fast forward to this past summer.  Lizzie went to the dentist again and she found out that she had 4 more cavities.  I was absolutely devastated!  I was trying so hard to brush her teeth consistently!  I really thought that I was doing a pretty good job too.  I told the dentist that and she looked at me like I was crazy.  Obviously, if I was taking good care of my daughters teeth, then she wouldn’t have dental decay.

I wanted another dentist for my daughter!

We went to a dentist in L.A. (the one that Jon went to as a child) for a second opinion.  Unfortunately, his opinion was the same as the other one…she needed work done on her teeth.

We found another dentist for her that specializes in pediatric dentistry.  I truly love this dentist!  He did a wonderful job of making Lizzie feel comfortable and getting the necessary work done quickly.  A small portion of my guilt vanished away when I realized that I, at least, was able to find a good dentist for Lizzie.

Well, over Christmas break, it was time for us to take another trip to the dentist.  This time, however, I was very confident that Lizzie would be cavity free.  I had brushed her teeth twice a day, every day.  I didn’t even let her do it herself…I DID IT FOR HER JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS DONE THOROUGHLY.  I flossed her teeth daily.  I thought for sure that we would be getting a big thumbs up from the dentist this time around.

I was simply devastated when they told us that Lizzie had four more cavities.  WHAT?!!!  I just couldn’t believe it.  I told them how often I brushed and flossed her teeth.  He responded by telling me that I need to brush and floss more.  Are you kidding me?  I can’t go to school with her.  I can’t be following her around every second of the day and shoving a toothbrush into her mouth every time she consumes a morsel of food.  It’s just ridiculous.

But, apparently, it’s not ridiculous.  Whatever I was doing was simply not enough.  I just felt so incredibly guilty.  When a child that young has so many cavities, who’s really to blame?  The mother…right?

Lizzie already had 2 completely silver teeth.  Over Christmas break, she added 3 more silver teeth to the mix.  I just feel so bad for her.  She sees those teeth and wonders why they’re silver.   She tells me that kids at school ask her why her teeth are silver (I know that it makes her feel uncomfortable).   She stresses about brushing her teeth so that she doesn’t get cavities.  That’s what breaks my heart more than anything.  For the whole 6 months prior to this last dentist appointment she was very aware of the fact that if she didn’t brush her teeth, then she would get cavities.  She was on top of things.  She was even proud of herself because she always made sure to brush her teeth before school and before bed.  Seriously…shouldn’t she be rewarded (with no cavities) when such behavior occurs?  It just saddens me so much. 😦

It’s all my fault.

 A few weeks ago, I saw this on the news.  It’s about a little girl who had so many cavities that every single one of her teeth had to be capped.  She had a mouth completely full of silver teeth.  My stomach turned to knots when I saw this.  Poor Lizzie.  What if, despite all of our efforts, she ends up having all silver teeth?

Anyway, I had better stop rambling.  I just feel so guilty about her teeth and so wish that I could turn back the clock and take better care of them when she was a baby.

That being said, I am redeeming myself with Bryce and Mason.  Mason is another one that refuses to let me in his mouth!  I told Jon, however, that I am going to brush his teeth no matter what.  I’m going to brush and floss and be obsessive about it.  I don’t want him (or Bryce) to have to go through the trauma that Lizzie has had to endure.

Okay, my rant is complete.

🙂

Color Blind

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No this post isn’t about actual colorblindness (even though you may see one of those soon, because we do think Riley is colorblind). This post is about the other way my children are colorblind….and how proud it makes me. We are blessed enough to live in an area where my sons have friends of all race and nationalities and the only reason they care about what color their friends skin is is so they can pick the right crayon when they draw their picture. Martin Luther King, Jr., dreams do come true.

“I have a dream

that one day

this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream

that one day

on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream

that one day

even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream

that my four children

will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Snowman Counting Game

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This is a super easy winter-ish activity to do with your pre-schooler.

Make a simple snowman out of felt (make sure to leave off the buttons).  Place a number near the snowman and have your child put the same amount of buttons on the snowman.  We are only doing numbers 1 – 10, however, you could theoretically do up to 30 and cover the entire snowman with buttons!

Have fun! 🙂

1 Year…Gone Too Fast

Well, it happened.

I knew that it would eventually happen, but it seemed to come much quicker than it did with his siblings.

Mason-man turned a year old.

He has been a part of our family now for 365 days!

I can hardly believe it.

As is usually the case on my kids’ birthdays, I have been thinking about the day that he was born.

Although he came very unexpectedly (3 weeks early), he chose to come at quite a convenient time.  He was born on Martin Luther King Day and Jon already had the day off of work. 🙂  He chose his time much wiser than Lizzie, who decided to come on the eve of Jon’s first day of school.  Bryce decided to make his debut while Jon and I were at a restaurant, celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary.  Needless to say, we barely made it to the hospital in time.  We didn’t even have time to stop by our house to pick up the hospital bags that I had so carefully packed in advance. 🙂

With Mason, my water broke at 1:30 in the morning.  It didn’t explode, but merely trickled enough to wake me up.  I immediately went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet.  It was then that the “explosion” happened.  I also lost my mucous plug.  I wasn’t expecting labor to happen so soon (I could have really used those three extra weeks to prepare), but I knew that the process was starting, whether I was ready for it or not! 🙂

I woke up Jon and calmly told him that my water had broken.  He started freaking out and I told him to go back to sleep and that I had no intention of going to the hospital until I was in hard labor.  I honestly thought that I would be able to go back to sleep too.  Well, as soon as I started trying to relax, the contractions began.  It didn’t take more than a half an hour before they were quite strong and only 3 to 5 minutes apart.  He was definitely on his way! 🙂

Jon’s Mom came over to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital.  Before we left, however, Jon just had to take a shower.  Seriously.  He did the same thing when I was in labor with Lizzie.  He showered and looked all presentable for the after-birth pictures while I, on the other hand, had sweat, blood, and popped blood vessels all over the place. 🙂

On our way to the hospital, I was very grateful that I had listened to my instincts that told me to birth Mason in the hospital, as usual.  I had been seriously toying with the idea of driving to a birthing center 45 minutes away for a different (and probably better) birthing experience than I had previously been exposed to at the hospital.  But it never felt right.  And on the 10 minute drive to the hospital, I was very grateful that I didn’t have to be trapped inside of the car for a moment longer, as would have been the case if I had chosen to drive to the birthing center.  It was quite uncomfortable!

We checked into the triage center at approximately 3:30.  At time of arrival, I was only 5 centimeters dialated.  We ended up hanging out in triage for nearly 2 hours before being transferred to a room.  By this time, I was 9 – 10 centimeters dialated.

In comparison to birthing Lizzie and Bryce, giving birth to Mason was incredibly peaceful.  It was almost relaxing even.  I know that sounds absurd (labor pains aren’t often described as relaxing), but it’s the only way that I can describe it.  I felt very calm.  With each contraction, I either squeezed Jon’s hands to death or else I rubbed his back (I bet that he really enjoyed that particular coping mechanism of mine).

The hospital seemed unusually quiet and peaceful as well.  I didn’t hear any other mother’s screaming in pain.  The halls were void of the usual busy movement.  It was almost like I was dreaming.

I do recall, however, that the doctor who got the credit for “delivering” my baby didn’t do a thing.  It was purely the nurse, whom was very nice and pleasant.  The nurse checked me, told me that I was dialated to a 10, and asked me if I wanted to start pushing.  For some reason, I didn’t feel the urge to push.  She convinced me that if I ever wanted see my baby, then I would have to push him out.  I agreed. 🙂

I’m a horrible at pushing babies out.  I can’t seem to push correctly and I end up bursting blood vessels all over my chest, shoulders, neck, face, and even in my eyeballs.  This is one of the reasons that I wanted to give birth to Mason in a birthing center.  I would have loved to push him out while standing in the squatting position, which is obviously more natural than lying down in a bed.  I mentioned this to the nurse, but she looked at me like I was nuts.

What could I do?

I was too tired to make a fuss.  I wasn’t about to ruin the serene feelings that I had been feeling by arguing with a nurse and creating a scene.  So I went along with the whole push-a-baby-out-while-lying-down routine.

And what do you know.  It worked…again. 🙂

Mason exited the birth canal at 6:30 a.m. on the dot!

For a baby who came 3 weeks early, he was very healthy.  He weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.

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I was so overjoyed to finally see his face.  I had worried every single day of the pregnancy that something awful was going to happen (I had some very irrational fears) and it was a huge relief to finally be free of those worries.  I felt so peaceful.  I could definitely feel a piece of heaven in that hospital room that morning.

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The kids got to come and visit him later on in the afternoon.  They were so thrilled (although Bryce’s excitement turned to jealousy fairly quickly)!

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It’s hard to come to the realization that mytiny, precious, and completely innocent baby has morphed before my eyes into a real boy.

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Part of me wishes that they could stay this small forever.

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But I know that babies don’t stay babies forever.

They need to grow up.  They need to learn and experience everything that life has to offer them, both the good and the bad.

They need to take those steps into the unknown in order to fully reach their potential.

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They need to develop their own unique personalities that God has blessed them with.

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They need to take risks and be proud of their accomplishments, big and small.

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Chances are, they will try some things…

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and fail.

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My hope, however, is that they will keep getting up each time that they fall.

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That is my hope for my sweet little Mason-man, on his 1st birthday.

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I feel so blessed to be his Mom.  I thank my Heavenly Father daily for the opportunity that He has given me to be a mother.

Happy Birthday, Mason!