Sunday, December 4, 2011

8 Months!

We seriously cannot believe that 8 months have gone by since we've welcomed little Ian into the world!

Our friend, Nate, was dancing 'at' Ian.  It was followed by giggles and clapping.

Ian's showing off his lady's man gaze.

Ian and Katy  <3

Posing with Miss Pepper

Snuggling with daddy <3
Ian, at 8 months you:

~ are finally starting to crawl.  You've moved on from moving like and inch worm to the army crawl

~ would much rather be held that explore.  Well, that's MOSTLY true

~ are a cuddle bug.  You're our only one.
~ adore your siblings.  I swear I even heard you say "bra-bra" (brother).

~ are a ladies man.  Dude, it's the way you smile and turn your head that does it EVERY. TIME.

~ still have a bit of a clogged tear duct. I *really* don't want to have the docs fix it.....

~ don't eat food yet.  Each time you do you gag terribly.

~ according to the doctor you have enlarged tonsils.  We have yet to see if this will cause any issues.

~ have only gained a few ounces in the last few months but you've shot up 2 inches.  Perhaps you'll be the only tall one of the Bergren children?

~ are FINALLY saying "mama".  It melts my heart every time, even though I *know* you love daddy more.  

~ have given me a few hearty laughs.  Up until now, it's really been a bunch of chuckles.

~ will wake up, even if you are on the verge of sleep, if you hear the intro music to DS9.  You will sit straight up, watch the whole thing, then throw yourself back down when it's done.  Cutest thing EVER.

I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring.  Love you, little man!

Natalie is 5!

 My first born girl has reached the age of five and I'm not too sure how I feel about that.  She's getting so big and learning so much. 

Natalie with her friend, Ellie.

Katy came by to help us celebrate, too.

Natalie, at 5 years old you:

~ are as much 'sugar and spice' as you are 'snips and snails'

~ love to play with barbies as much as you do actions figures/heroes

~ enjoy watching X-Men, The Avengers and The Swan Princess

~ want to do school work like your brothers do

~ take advantage of every opportunity to color

~ have an interesting sense of humor

~ love playing with your brothers' friends

~ can be a naughty little girl - I think I have steam cleaned the carpeting in your room 4 times in the last 6 months, cleaned toothpaste from places I never should have, and have found SEVERAL different substances you've used to play 'tea party'

~ adore your baby brother and play with him all the time

Love you, baby girl!!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Before it gets lost on facebook, I wanted to post this tidbit onto my blog:

Natalie was introducing herself to my mother-in-law's friends one evening.  It was the cutest this ever. She said, "my mom calls me 'Natalie-Boo' and my dad calls me 'walk much'".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ian is 7 months old!

Okay, so I'm a bit behind. :P  Life is crazy busy and I find it hard to come up for air.  BUT - I MUST post about my munchkin.  Our little man turned 7 months old yesterday. 

Ian, at seven months you:

~ roll around to get where you need to go.  We're VERY thankful you can't crawl yet! 

~ have this crazy tuft of hair that mommy doesn't want to cut

~ are a very sensitive little man.  You don't like any yelling AT ALL.

~ love your siblings.  They're the only ones that can make you laugh.  Natalie most of all.

~ aren't that crazy about real food.  You still gag.  :P

~ can finally sit.  Well, until you're tired and you plop yourself over, causing you to cry.  Silly boy!

~Say "dada" when you're happy and "mama" when you're not.  

~ you don't sleep very well since you're teething.  No teeth yet, tough!

~ LOVE to be held. Upright only.  You don't snuggle too much, but that'll come, I'm sure. 

~ need to be by people.  Independent you are not.  

Asleep on mama's lap.  Again.  Seems like this is the ONLY way he'll go to sleep!

Still has the babyish fingers.  

Our little man.  ::smooches!::

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oops! They did it again.

At this point, we just don't know what to do with these girls.  We've put on safety locks on the appropriate doors.  Anything the shouldn't have was placed well out of reach.  However, where there's a will, there's a way. 

Again this morning, Natalie woke us up saying that Leah was being 'naughty'.  The casualties this morning were the qtips (which were strewn about their room), a full container of Victoria's Secret lotion (which got smeared all over their carpeting) and a pair of scissors.  Yes. Scissors.

At first, I was relieved to see that there was no hair on the bedroom floor.  These scissors were WELL out of reach of BOTH girls.  However, miss Natalie got the stool and helped herself ONTO the counter to get them. 

After using the bathroom and seeing hair on the floor, my heart dropped a bit:

I *know* that most little girls do this to each other.  I was really hoping my girls wouldn't do this.  REALLY hoping.  

I have to admit, it made me cry.  Little Leah has the most gorgeous hair and I had NO INTENTIONS of cutting it.  

Would you take her in to have it cut?  

Aside from sticking our girls in a cage or padded room, I haven't a clue of what to do with them.  I guess I expected a bit more sugar than spice from my girls and this 'everything nice' has yet to be seen.  

Natalie knows she's been naughty and will tell us just that.  Yet she continues to do stuff like this.  Prevention is key, yes.  But I doubt CPS will approve of the solutions I provided above.  'Til then, I guess we just have to brace ourselves.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Too Christian?

I struggle with parenting some times, I'll admit it.  I don't know if I'm doing too much or too little with OR for them.  I don't know if I'm being too lenient or too strict.   Austin is now to the age where I need to back off when it comes to his peers and how he deals with them and let HIM to charge.  The mama bear in me wants to take care of things.  It's a learning process for me as much as it is for him.

There is a certain child in our neighborhood who isn't quite the sweetest.  We've lived here for roughly 6-1/2 years and she has only gotten worse.  We live in a town home and there are 30 homes that face our backyard.  It's kinda hard to avoid ANYONE. 

So today, Austin came in the house and said, "so-and-so said I'm too Christian".  My mama bear wanted to kick in, but I decided to inquire further. I asked him what else she said.  He mentioned that she said our family is really "Christiany", made a comment about us homeschooling and how she thinks she has more friends than him, yada, yada, yada (my guess is there was a bit about our number of children, too, but he didn't mention that). 

I just told him to take it as a compliment.  I mean, if we as Christians are to try and live LIKE Christ and FOR Christ, then being "Christiany" means he's doing a good job, right?  I wanted to make the hurt go away for him, as teasing DOES hurt, even if you're NOT a kid. 

However, he still needs to make the choice in whether or not he continues to play with this person.  I explained what is required in a friendship.  If someone makes you feel bad, then they're really NOT your friend.  I'm hoping he is able to stand up for himself and what he believes in.  I hope that he feels PROUD of his family and what we stand for. 

How do you handle these kinds of things?  Do you let mama bear step in?  What kind of words would you share if this was YOUR child? 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Motherly Love

Austin bumped his head rather hard on the corner of a drawer.  I asked him if he wanted a kiss as it my motherly duty.  He replies, "MoooOOooM.  I'm over that".  ::sigh::  And so begins the times of being embarrassed by his mother's love. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

They're Lucky They're Cute!

I have to keep telling myself that some day, these children will be adults, raising their own children, and will have their OWN messes to clean up.  That some day, I will clean my house and it will remain clean.  That day is NO WHERE IN SITE!

Back up a bit to last week.  We woke up to Natalie running into our room, tattling on her little sister.  Leah had gotten into the bathroom closet and picked out a few items to decorate her room and air with.  It was Todd's 'man spray' and deodorant.  I cannot describe how terribly saturated the air was with this stuff.  Leah wiped the deodorant all over her, her bed, a box and her walls.  I could literally TASTE this stuff in my mouth.  Blech.

Sadly, it happened again the next day, even though I put these items up a shelf.  Leah was creative and got herself the bathroom stool.  At this point, we realize she's not going to stop.  We put a 'lock' on the door to keep her out.  Keep in mind that EVERYONE ELSE in the house is sleeping when this all happens.  It's early in the morning and they are VERY quiet.  Eerily quiet.

Yeah, this lock made her get a little more creative.  Again, Natalie was our wake up call, tattling on her little sister.  This time, I *know* she was partially at fault.  She saw what her sister was doing and didn't try to stop her. How do I know this?

Because it's hard to miss someone dumping out bottle upon bottle of bath items

They even got creative, using their tea set. This just happens to be lotion.  

Todd had the task of dealing with them first thing in the morning as I was nursing the baby.  He did surprisingly well, taking into account the last two times something like this happened.  

It took me roughly 45 minutes to steam clean all this junk up.  I used a LOT of water and did a LOT of passes to make sure it was all up.  The lotion was the most difficult to get out.

This was her arsenal

It was not something she grabbed out of the cupboard, but simply left in the tub/shower.  They were each somewhere between 1/2 and 1/4 full.  Don't judge the non-organic nature of the items (I love organic but LOVE to save our money, too).  ;o)

After all was said and done, I do have to say that there were a few pros to what happened.  1. Their room now smells girly instead of the smell of the 'man spray' from last week.  2.  Their carpeting is nice and clean  3. I now know exactly the kinds of things my girls are capable of.  

See the greasy mess in her hair?  

Yeah, she's lucky she's cute!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nate's 7th Birthday

My little Nate isn't quite so little any more.  At 3:45 pm, he turned 7 years old. 

Nate has the only summer birthday in our family.  It's for this reason that we don't mind having a large crowd over for a birthday party.  In our 1300 square foot home, we had 19 children, 9 adults and 1 cat.  Thankfully, our backyard is HUGE (it's a shared yard and maintained by our association) so we made good use of it.

I left the guest list up to Nate, as he's not the most social kid.  If he asked for someone to come, I made sure to invite them.  On the list were our good friends, the Theis'.  Their family and ours accounted for 15 of the 28 people we had over.  Nate also invited my friend Kelly, and her lovely peanut, Isabelle.  

Aren't they cute?  Izzy is roughly 4 months older than Ian. 

As the guests arrived, we shooed the kids outside to "hang out".

They played "Ships Across the Ocean"

And "Red Light, Green Light"

Some people were giving it their all and getting caught mid stride with a "RED LIGHT".

After a few games we brought them inside to sing happy birthday and to cut the cake. Knowing how much of a mess 5 children make in our house, we quickly served cake and ice cream and had the kids sit out on the patio. 

Mitch decided to make himself comfortable on the couch.  Unfortunately, this particular seat was already taken.  

Present time!

Apparently, Mitch was tired.  :P

All in all, I think the evening was a success.  We had a lot of children over, sugared them up and sent them home.  Isn't that what birthday parties are for?  Nate really enjoyed himself and was happy to share his day. 

My little Nate, you are such a ray of sonshine.  We love your sense of humor and gentle nature.  What a joy these last seven years have been.
At seven years old you:

~ LOVE to build with blocks and legos

~shake your booty like no one else we know

~have a mouthful of new teeth

~a happy helper

~are well on your way to becoming a contortionist

~tell jokes and love to make people laugh

~like to make your own board games from scratch paper

~enjoy playing monopoly and monopoly deal

~are a great problem solver

~like to eat pizza and cheeseburgers (only ketchup!) and you're STILL the last one at the table

~enjoy quiet time by yourself to build or to create


Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 HEY Fall Rally

This past Thursday, August 18th, was the annual rally for our local homeschool group, Home Educated Youth (HEY).  As a board member, I helped to plan and work at the rally. I took reservations for table sales for the used book sale.  We had 43 tables of used curriculum, games, books, and local organizations or homeschool groups.  WOW!  It was an AMAZING turnout.  It was also a LOT of work. 

 This year we had over 100 people in attendance of the rally.  There were even MORE people who showed up specifically for the book sale.

For this evening, we had two breakout sessions planned:

Christina Friedman presented "Helping Your Child Love Learning"

And a panel of homeschoolers, either homeschooled themselves, currently homeschooling and one who was both homeschooled and is currently teaching her own children, took part in a Q&A session.

It was wonderful to see that there were women who have taught children of all ages, who have gone on to do wonderfully as adults.  To see these young men on our panel and know that they are attending college, raising their own families and LOVED that they were homeschooled!
One thing that I personally took away from this meeting was an answer from a wonderful woman in response to the question, "What makes you qualified to teach your children?"  Her answer?  "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called" 

THIS is what we, as homeschoolers, need to hear.  We also need to hear that it's okay if we don't have all the answers.  That it's okay to say you need a break.  That taking a break doesn't mean you're not learning or teaching.  Teaching happens OUTSIDE of textbooks and workbooks and the dining room table.  

Most of all, I've learned that homeschooling is more than just our family and what I'm teaching them.  It's our community and those around us that encourage us and challenge us. 

I look forward to 2012, when HEY celebrates 25 years of supporting and encouraging homeschooling families.  Thanks to all who helped and volunteered to make this event a success!

Friday, June 10, 2011

React vs. Respond

This afternoon, our family took a tour of our local granite quarry.  This is the second time we've taken the tour and this time, my hubby was able to accompany us.   It was quite chilly standing in line waiting for the bus drivers to arrive (chilly is a relative term.  I'm a Minnesotan.  What I mean is that it was roughly 50° cooler today that it was two days ago).  Thankfully I had Ian in the sling so he stayed nice and cozy.

What we learned today (or what I can remember, anyhow):
  • This Martin Marietta quarry produces roughly 1.5 MILLION tons of product a year.
  • The quarry has been mined to 500 feet in depth.  They estimate the depth of the granite to run roughly 15 miles.  
  • Primary uses of the product from this quarry are for asphalt roads, commercial and residential construction, railways (used to line the tracks) and along shore lines for erosion control
  • The electric bill for the quarry for May alone was $52,000.  I didn't ask what their water bill was.  ;)
  • The cost to replace a tire on a dump truck runs between $10-20,000 depending on the size of the truck.

This is the view of the quarry from the observation deck

 The minerals in the water give it the greenish color

 If you look closely, you can see the dump truck hauling.  At the top of the photo is someone drilling for the next explosive blast (explosives - WOOT!).  

After we got out of the bus, I had to snap a shot of one the stockpiles.  I chose a random setting on the camera (SO not a photographer) and this is what I got.  

We made our way to the tents they had set up to get our bellies filled with hotdogs and chips.  As we were making our way to the line, an employee with a camera looked at me rather puzzled.  She asked, "WOW! Are they ALL yours"?

**pause for a moment**  I had a choice.  A very BIG choice of what to do in this moment.  Do I react or respond?  I'm so incredibly used to questions like this.  Especially when the average family has only two children and ours is more than twice that.

Let me give definitions real quick.  From Merriam-Webster:

Definition of REACT

intransitive verb
: to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence —often used with on or upon
: to change in response to a stimulus
: to act in opposition to a force or influence —usually used with against
: to move or tend in a reverse direction 

Definition of RESPOND

intransitive verb
: to say something in return : make an answer
a : to react in response b : to show favorable reaction
: to be answerable

I'm a reactor.  Very rarely do I stay calm and collected and respond appropriately in such situations.  It makes me quite sad to say that, but it's true. Think of it in terms of medications.  If you REACT to a medication, that's usually a BAD thing.  Responding to a medication means the medication is doing what it is supposed to do to your body. 
I guess I took a neutral stance to the WOW comment.  I said, "They're all mine".  It was followed by, "You must have your hands full" - she says to the woman with a baby in sling (ha! - actually, both my hands are free thank-you-very-much).   I simply said "I sure do" and left it at that.  
Thinking back on it, I could have said many things.  For example, I could have said my hands were full of blessings, or mentioned that I wouldn't change it for the world (and I mean it!).  I can usually think of a million wonderful things to say in response to such comments.  That's usually AFTER my foot has been firmly planted in my mouth.  
So, my goal for the month of June is to RESPOND appropriately and respectfully.  Not only to strangers, but to the blessings that fill up my cozy home. It certainly won't be easy, but I have time to work on it.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's been a long time

My last blog post (and only my third, sadly) was almost two years ago.  I had told myself I needed to write things down and share.   Yeah, didn't go so well.

Some of my close friends and family know that we are dealing with some difficult behaviors with our boys.  These behaviors lead us to believe that it's more than them being difficult and are indicative of an ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

We've come to a fork in the road when it comes to our psychologist.  She has given ONE of the boys a diagnosis of Asperger's (although we haven't received it in writing as of yet) and has stated she can't tell us what we SHOULD do for them, only what we SHOULDN'T do.  Does this seem odd to anyone else? 

At this point we're not quite sure what to do or where to go or who to see.  Both boys see an occupational therapist once a week and that helps to a point.  But we need more tools in our tool box.  We need to learn how to work cohesively as a family.  Every little issue seems to trickle through the ranks, affecting the family as a whole. 

I guess it doesn't help matters being an instant gratification kind of person.  Perhaps it's God's way of telling me to be patient. 

So for now we're just going to keep on doing what we've been doing and pray for guidance.  Hoping for some turn-by-turn directions from God.