Getting Crafty


I am not a crafting kind of mom. But of course I have two little boys who LOVE to do crafts.

This usually means when they ask if they can do crafts, I get out paper and crayons. The end. They can do their crafts at school/daycare.

Sometimes I let Eddie “do crafts” during his little brother and sister’s nap time. That means stuff is everywhere and I get hives. There is no rhyme or reason, just scraps of supplies everywhere.


When I heard about Avery & Austin I thought it was the perfect idea! You get a box delivered to your house with everything in it for a “perfect play date:” a couple crafts (with everything you need right down to glue!), a healthy snack for two, and a cute hostess gift.

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The November box had a photo theme. Each boy got to assemble a wooden model camera and then paint it (wooden model kit even includes sandpaper! and Avery & Austin supplied wood glue and acrylic paint AND brushes).

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Then there were cardboard frames to decorate with stick on leaves. They even came with magnets so you can frame pictures on the fridge when you are done.

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There were little speaking bubbles to write on too with a wood dowel–a prop for all the fun pictures that would be taken. Charlie asked me to write “help” on his. It was appropriate.

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OMG my hair. This is what “pj day” looks like in Sluiter Nation.

I mentioned a healthy snack. Eddie wasn’t a fan, but Charlie–my uber-picky eater–devoured his bag and most of his brother’s bag. WIN!

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I have to say, I had some reservations. Even pre-planned crafts scared me a little, but it took up a huge chunk of our morning, created almost no mess (that’s right, even with paint!) and the boys loved it! They were so excited to put together a planned craft rather than have me just shove crayons and paper at them.

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We had fun! And I can’t wait until the December box! It will be perfect for a day over Christmas break!


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am an ambassador for Avery & Austin, but I do not have to create blog posts. I just did because A) I am trying to post every day in November and B) We really had a great time with the crafts. I was truly impressed.

five sleeping babies

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Saturday Charlie came into our room while I was in there, and wandered over to my bedside table and this conversation happened:

Charlie: Mom Mom? What is in that circle box?

Me: Two little hearts.

Charlie: Why, Mom Mom?

Me: Because they are for two babies.

Charlie: What two babies?

Me: Two babies that were in my tummy, but died.

Charlie: What were theirs names?

Me: They didn’t have names. They died before we knew if they were boys or girls. They were very tiny in my tummy when they died.

Charlie: Well….they are somewhere.

Me: Yup. They are. Maybe in heaven with Papa?

Charlie: Yeah. Mom, Mom? Why do you have three pictures of Alice?

Me: Those are not all Alice. That one is. But that one right there is Eddie, and that one there is you.

Charlie: We are alls sleepin’.

Me: Yup. All five babies. Sleeping.

Charlie: I like babies, Mom Mom.

Me: Yup. Me too.


Sometimes the most important conversations happen when you least expect them to. Cortney and I have always made it a policy to always answer our children’s questions in the most age-appropriate, honest way possible. When we brought up this conversation with Eddie, he first reacted in a way that was almost a little funny to me.


He is a little dramatic.

But when I explained to him that he was the first to be born, and that he is a miracle, and that once he was born, we knew what we had to do to have healthy babies–his brother and sister–he was happy again.

Being oldest is important to him.

As it should be.

better together…or not so much?

After my 20-week ultrasound with Charlie, and after we had texted all the family and friends, I asked Cortney if he was excited to have another boy. Both of us were actually quite giddy about another little boy. Eddie would have a BROTHER! They would be BROTHERS!


I have never had a same-sex sibling, but from what I could tell, it was both a blessing and a curse…but mostly a blessing. I was always a little jealous of my two brothers. Even though Chris and I were closer in age, he and our youngest brother, Mike were closer. I guess there are just things that you can’t talk about with your big sister, but that a brother understands. You know, like sports.

Cortney, though, had a brother. There are almost seven years between them, but the have a special bond. Now that they are adults, they get together regularly. They bond over a beer and discuss everything from sports to their dad to having daughters.

Brothers are special. It’s just a special relationship. That is why when were told Eddie was getting a brother, a Charlie Bird, we rejoiced for our family.


I had to write all that because now that they are three-and-a-half and six? I am not always so sure about the wonder of the brotherly bond.

Friends, the level of bickering goes to eleven with these two.

It usually starts with both of them doing their own thing. Maybe Eddie is playing the tablet while Charlie catches up on his DVR-ed Mickey episodes. Everything is peaceful in Sluiter Nation. And then someone (ahem, Charlie) feels the need to sit too close to Eddie. Or maybe someone (ahem, Eddie) randomly mentions that he had a piece of candy after school. AND THEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

Eddie freaks out on Charlie or Charlie freaks out on all of us.

And they BOTH need the last word.

I admit that I yell. I know, I KNOW. I’ve read all those stupid articles and posts about yelling at your kids and how you need to be all patient and down on their level.


This goes on and on for days and days.

The picking the bickering the not being able to be in the same dang room without driving Cortney and me to the Loony Bin.

And then Eddie will come home from school with a library book he picked out because Charlie would like it.

Or Charlie asks Eddie if he would like some of his m&ms.

Or Eddie asks Charlie if he would like to learn to play Where’s My Water on his tablet, and they scrunch together in the chair on a Saturday morning.

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Or Charlie asks Eddie if he can play Pokemon with him and Eddie says Yes.

Or Eddie asks Charlie what letters he learned at daycare and tells him “Good job!” when Charlie shares his letter work.

Or Cortney and I wake up at 6am on a Saturday because we hear the two of them giggling and talking with each other in their room because they know they can’t get up until 7:00am.

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I catch myself in those moments pausing and trying to picture them in high school together or in their 20’s and talking smack to each other about fantasy leagues. I try to picture them standing up in each other’s weddings or holding each other’s newborn babies. I like to think they will always stick up for each other, always be there when the other needs a buddy to just have a beer with.

And just as a tear is starting to come to my sentimental mom eye, I’ll hear a smack and then the yell of “CHAAAAAARRRRLLLIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” Then a three-and-a-half-year-old scream and another thump.

I will suck in my breath, shake my head, and try to calm down so I don’t yell. Again.

Brothers, man.

Get Down, Get Down

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Well, we did it again. We got another Kidz Bop CD. I can hardly believe there are already THIRTY Kidz Bop albums! I can remember when it first started. I was just out of college and I remember seeing the commercials with songs from Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Enrique Iglesias. I especially remember those kids crooning “Bailamos!” Oh my word. I thought it was so goofy!

And now here we are, 15 years later, and I have my own kids and six of the Kidz Bop albums including a Christmas favorites album. I still think it’s goofy, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to listening to three songs the other day with NO KIDS IN THE CAR.

As usual, the boys have their favorites on this one. Eddie loves “Worth It” (Fifth Harmony) and Charlie likes “Cheerleader” (OMI). I thought for SURE we would be stuck listening to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” (Silento), but they really aren’t impressed with that one.

And I should mention that even though neither boy knows who Taylor Swift is, thanks to Kidz Bop they love all her songs. “Bad Blood” is on this album and while I’m not generally a Swifty fan, it’s pretty fun to belt out “HEY NOW WE GOT PROBLEMS! AND I DON’T THINK WE CAN SOLVE THEM!” with two little boys while cruising down the street in my mom-mobile.

Yeah, I never saw this coming either. Looking back, I’m not sure how this happened, but it makes me smile.

I will say, though, that we have gotten to the point where I almost need all the songs on one big MP3 Disc because Charlie will yell “PLAY THE I DON’T CARE SONG!” and then Eddie is all, “PLAY HOT PANTS!” and then Charlie is like “PLAY GRANDMA’S COAT!” but Eddie is like, “I WANT WORTH IT!” Yeah, none of those are on the same album.

(sidebar: the I Don’t Care song is really “I Love It” by Icona Pop, Hot Pants is actually “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, Grandma’s Coat is “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Worth It is still “Worth It by Fifth Harmony.)

So yes, we rock on to kid-friendly versions of pop songs of already questionable value.

What of it?


Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. Kidz Bop did send us the album, but not our opinions. Those, regrettably, are our own.


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Oh. Hi. It’s November.

That means it’s National Blog Post Month (you know, for those of us who don’t have the stones to do National Novel Writing Month). This is where I attempt to post every single day in November.

What could go wrong with that plan, right? I mean, this week is only the end of the first marking period at school. Next week is only  parent/teacher conferences for both my school AND Eddie’s. We only have Thanksgiving coming up plus my starting a new marking period with my students. We only have three birthday parties and two babies due in November in our family. NO BIG DEAL. It’s the PERFECT time to try to write something post-able every. single. day.

[I’m crazy]

Anyway, this first post is an easy one. It’s about last night. Halloween.

I sort of hate Halloween. It stresses me out and makes me cranky.

I know, I know…I’m such a scrooge. Such a Debbie Downer.

That doesn’t mean we don’t do the Halloween “stuff”. Everyone was in a costume (everyone = all three kids) and we had pumpkins that we actually carved. We didn’t do the pumpkin patch because it was on the list of things ain’t nobody got time for, but Cortney grabbed three great ones on his lunch break Thursday, and we carved them up Friday night.

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Saturday the kids dressed up in the costumes. Alice was not all that excited to have whiskers drawn on, but she got over it. Charlie was almost too excited to have a mustache drawn on.

We went to first to Cortney’s mom and step-dad’s house. That is always fun because Granny knows how to rock Halloween. Not only does she have goodie bags for the kids, she also always has cookies and other snacks out…as well as a beer/wine for the parents.

Plus the cousins are there too, so cute goes into overload.

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I know. Alice appears to be questioning all her life choices up to this point. She was so unsure of all that was going on. But she and her cousin, Alia, were adorable as Raggedy Ann and Minnie Mouse.

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If we could have just stopped here, I would have been totally cool with Halloween. Seriously.. Maybe next year we should just go here and have the kids trick or treat their neighborhood because there were snacks and wine for adults.

But we went over to my parents house next because Halloween is totally a grandparents dream…seeing their cutie grandkids in costume, spoiling them rotten with too much candy, and then sending them on their way.

By the time we got home, it was rainy and wet and way past dinner time. But the boys wanted to go door-to-door. So Cortney took Alice in to feed her and get our dinner ready, and I took the boys to a few houses.

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Since it was raining and I was cranky, I dropped the boys at the first house, rolled the windows down in my car, and yelled “run to the next house!” while I slowly drove along. We did this for about 8 houses. Then I pulled their damp little bodies into the car, drove around the block to our street, and dropped them to go to the house next door to us. Then they sprinted home to ring our doorbell.

As much as I was over it, I couldn’t help smile at the fact that Charlie looked just like Mario running and jumping through yards.

Until we got home and I pulled shoes off and found dog poop on Eddie’s skeleton foot. Ew.

But then we ate chili and cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and all went to bed.

Oh, and rolled the clocks back. That was good times too.

Happy November. Happy NaBloPoMo. Let’s see if I can keep up.

He’s A Great Kid


Oh, First Grade. You are not what we expected.

Kindergarten went so well. Eddie loved his teacher, his classmates, and the learning he was doing. Granted, he claimed his favorite part of the day was “free choice,” but who can blame a kid for loving to play?

First Grade, we were so excited for you! We went Back to School Shopping with a LIST this year. We bought dry erase makers and crayons and a pencil box! We got a new backpack! And best of all? Eddie was assigned a DESK rather than a table! The excitement was out of control.

Yes, Eddie is the youngest in the class; he just turned six this summer. Yes, he is a boy; boys are notorious for being late social bloomers. And YES, he is academically ahead; the kid has been reading since he was four.  But we really didn’t anticipate any problems with any of these.

On meet the teacher night, we saw his teacher would be using a behavior chart like ours: everyone starts out in green and then can move up or down according the behavioral choices they make. Eddie was already used to this since we do it at home.

We had no idea this chart would give Eddie–and his mom–so much anxiety.


During the second week of school, I got a concerned email from his teacher that Eddie is having a hard time with sitting still, staying quiet, and paying attention. Part of me was like, “well yeah. He’s a six-year old boy.” I mean, for him, school had “play breaks”. But First Grade, you don’t have toys in your classroom, you don’t offer “free choice”, and you have one less recess break than Kindergarten did. My active six-year old is hurting a little for “silly time”.

I figured we could talk to Eddie and all would be well, but the following week he was apparently as chatty and social as ever. Mrs. D decided to start sending home a calendar. She would color the day with the coordinating color that Eddie earned: blue (outstanding), green (good), yellow (warning), or orange (sit in the hall and conference with an adult). When he came home with a yellow day he cried. Luckily, Mrs. D called and explained that really, he is green all morning. He drops to yellow in the afternoon.

Suddenly all of our talks about school centered around that damn color chart. The first thing out of my sweet boy’s mouth was his color.

Two emails from his teacher, and a few days of coming home orange and we have a boy who identifies you, First Grade, as being all about whether or not he talks too much in one day.


But that is thing: his being social is one tiny part of who he is as a first grader.

He’s also a leader who loves having a classroom job each week.

He loves to help lead morning stretches and pass back papers and do anything anyone might ask of him.

He is a good friend who asks his seat partner if she is feeling Ok, and keeps her secret when she wets her pants.

He is quick as a whip at math, reads ahead of “grade level”, writes wonderful stories, and gets very excited about science.

He is a dynamo on the computer and enjoys figuring out new games.

He is kind and helpful to kids who are different than he is, and he never ever laughs at those with disabilities.

He stands up for kids who can’t stand up for themselves.

He loves to sing and dance and make noise when he is very happy.


In short, he is a great kid.

After talking about all of these things with Cortney and with my therapist, we have decided, First Grade, that our Eddie is more than just a green or yellow or orange. He is awesome. That behavior color is something he needs to work on, yes. But he is MORE than that. He will get it in time because he is a bright kid.

In the meantime, we will remind him to make good choices, but we will also talk about all the other things that you are, First Grade.

Because we don’t want a color on a chart to create anxiety and hatred for school. We want it to be a challenge and learning experience just like the rest of school should be.

Photos by TMV Photography

Verbal Abuse





These tirades get hurled at me every day–more than once. I joked with someone recently that if anyone else in my life said such hurtful things to me so consistently, my friends and family would be begging me to leave that relationship. And they would be right. Anyone who consistently slams you with insults is verbally abusive.

But I’m not going to leave this relationship because it is with my sons.

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Whoever said, Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is a damn idiot. I know this because every time Eddie doesn’t get his way lately, he tells me he doesn’t like me. Even though I know it’s a typical 6-year old reaction, it still hurts.

Eddie and I had a very rough start; the first year of his life was hard on both of us, as I have written about many times. His birth was traumatic for both of us, his colic was traumatic for both of us, and my postpartum depression was traumatic for everyone. There are large chunks of that first year, that I have no memory of his babyhood. In fact, as I watch Alice learn and grow, I can remember Charlie doing the same things, but I can’t remember Eddie’s phases. Cortney has to remind me, and even then, without looking at photos, I don’t remember.

I spent more than a year thinking I was not supposed to be a mother. My body rejected pregnancies, it wasn’t the right shape to give birth, and my brain was chemically imbalanced. Everything about my physical being rejected motherhood. I needed medical intervention to stay pregnant, have my babies, and keep my brain from destroying myself. It was only after years of talk therapy coupled with medication did I begin to heal.

Through it all, Eddie loved me anyway.

He had no idea what was happening to me on the inside. He didn’t know that my brain was struggling to match my heart. He didn’t know that his needing my cuddles at night were healing me, and therefore healing a relationship he didn’t even know what broken–the one between mother and son.

When Charlie came along, I was well into a routine with my meds and my therapy. I knew that PPD was probably going to happen, and I was prepared. From the first night alone in the hospital with him, my relationship with Charlie was different, more whole. I tucked him up under my chin and that is where he stayed for his first year of life–never far from my arms.

Eddie still comes to me when he needs to talk. He opens up to me, even when he sort of doesn’t want to–like when he has gotten in trouble at school. Charlie still comes to me when he just needs to be held–when he needs touch.

But they have both started flinging hurtful words at me (and Cortney) as well.

It started with Eddie. When he didn’t get his way, he would tell us he didn’t like us, or that it was the “worst day” of his life.  Now it’s almost predictable.

Eddie, please put the tablet away; it’s time for bed.
Ugg. I don’t like you, mom. 

It’s become his knee-jerk reaction for anything he does not want to do.

We have talked about how these are hurtful things to say, but he has entered a very egocentric phase and cannot understand that someone else’s hurt feelings matter. Eddie, my always kind, always thoughtful boy, now claims to not care about anyone else–especially me, his dad, and his brother (because he doesn’t always do what Eddie commands).

My rule-follower suddenly sneaks things behind my back and then blames me when he gets caught. He does or says something hurtful and claims it is my fault he lost a privilege. No matter how many times we explain that he “acts his way out of” a privilege like screen time or an extra book before bed, he claims we are the worst.

It’s getting harder and harder to respond in a positive, loving, affirming manner to these outbursts. I have caught myself saying, “great because I don’t like you right now either” and “whatever. I don’t even care.” Not only do I know this sends the wrong message, but Charlie has been picking up on all of it too.

Charlie’s mouth is even more venomous than his brother’s because he has no idea the impact of his words. He knows it’s “naughty” to talk like that, so when he is angry or frustrated, that is how he lashes out: with hurtful words. He repeats what he hears, so we get a lot of “I don’t like you, mom. You are not my mom.” Or “I don’t even care about you, mom.” While I know he has no idea what he is even saying, it stings–especially because his tone is much, MUCH nastier than Eddie’s for some reason.

Last week Thursday I hit a wall. It had been a particularly challenging day in the land of teaching middle school, and I went to pick Eddie up from the after school program. He is normally not too excited to have to leave the fun he is having, but Thursday was awful. He was rude and snotty and just an all around jerk to me both in front of the teachers that run the program, and in the hall when we were alone. His words ripped at me so badly, I almost started to cry.

I don’t know if it’s a phase or if Cortney and I are somehow failing to teach our boys kindness, but I need it to stop. They are not like this with anyone else–in fact we get compliments about how kind and engaging they are with other children and adults.

It’s just Cortney and me that are on the receiving end of all the verbal abuse.

How can we teach the boys that they are slowly killing our hearts with their words?

First Day of First Grade

Dear Eddie,

Today is your first day of First Grade! Last week we went to open house and you met Mrs. D and saw your classroom. Your face when you realized that you had a DESK that OPENED instead of just a table with a bag on the back of your chair was priceless!

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This year is already so different than last year.

Last year we had already had many, many nights of tears and concerns as you talked out your fears and anxieties of starting Kindergarten. At orientation last year, you looked at me with trepidation in your eyes as we left you in your class so we could go to the gym for the parent portion of the night. You needed a quick hug before we walked just down the hall.

This year we walked into the school as a family and you showed us right where the sunshine room was, giving your last year’s K teacher a fist bump on your way. I love your confidence! I love the way you walk into some place like you own it.

Once in your classroom, I could tell you were a bit more cautious since it was new, but we found your desk, did the activities your teacher had listed, and you turned them in. Later you told me you were a little scared to talk to your new teacher, but you told me, “I pushed down the scared and did it anyway!”

You are so brave.

You are going to rock first grade, and I am so excited for you!

First grade was wonderful for me. I remember learning to read {which you learned last year!} and doing math {which you also learned last year}. My most vivid memory from first grade was being in the “Hamburger” reading group–which was the most advanced. Some of those kids became my friends all the way through high school since we stayed in advanced classes together until graduation.

I had my first sleepover in first grade. I also collected stickers in my sticker book and traded popbeads with friends. I played kick ball at recess and came home super grubby every day. Ask Grandma–she will tell you about how I didn’t have any pants without holes in the knees that she had to patch. That was also the year I fell off the top of the SUPER tall slide and landed on my back, knocking the wind right out of me.

You gave yourself a fat lip just yesterday by helping me in my classroom! Well, you weren’t helping at the time. You were using my student desks as a jungle gym and you fell on your face, biting your lip. We mopped up the blood and I gave you a sucker and you were better again.

That is just you right now–sort of klutzy. You don’t really look where you are going most of the time and you trip over your own feet. I blame the fact that you grew two inches in less than six months. You’re all floppy and long all of a sudden. You’re such a…big kid.

I’ve always thought of first graders as being little and tiny, but you seem neither little nor tiny to me. As you say you’re a “big kid going into the number grades!”

So hooray for the first grade and all the new friends and experiences you will have!

I can’t wait to pick you up this afternoon and hear all about it!

I love you!


Netflix and His New Obsession

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I blame Netflix for this.

Which means I suppose I have to blame myself since we have Netflix because of me. Plus I am the one who encouraged him to break free from Curious George and find some other shows to fill his “quiet time” while Charlie and Alice nap.

I honestly didn’t know it was still a think. I remember kids my youngest brother’s age going all wonky for it when we were kids, but I guess I didn’t realize little kids are still into it.

And now it’s invaded my home.


Eddie loves it. LOVES. IT. WITH. A. CAPITAL. L. LOVES.

It’s his number one choice show during “TV Time” (rainy days, siblings’s nap time, and right before bed). When he’s not watching it, he is asking me to print coloring pages of Pokemon characters off the Internet. Or he is showing me the six cards a friend gave him and explaining powers and evolving to me.

The other day he was standing next to me while I was working giving me the low down on a bunch of stuff I didn’t really care about, and it brought back the memory of friends with older kids assuring me my two-year old would indeed talk so much one day I would wish for the days of no words back.

That time still hasn’t come, but I will admit the Pokemon stuff is boring and uninteresting to me. BUT…it’s so SO interesting to him. I really don’t care about battles, but watching him explain it to me with such fervor is amazing.

He watches those Netflix episodes over and over and studies those six cards like it is his job, asking me occasionally about words on them. He draws Pokemon on everything.

His birthday was this week and we gave him a pile of presents including Lego, craft stuff, and yes, a pack of Pokemon cards. Of all the things he got from his family (including a fishing pole and a marble maze) that tiny pack of Pokemon cards is his favorite. He even told me he was going to use any of the money he got to buy a book to keep his cards in.

Listen. There are worse things that he could be watching.

I’ll take the Pokemon phase.


I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on, but the opinions and stories I write are all mine, yo.

Upon Your Sixth Birthday

Dear Eddie,

You are six now.

I am actually a little speechless.

(but wait for it. you know I will find some words. I always do.)

Your birthday is so amazing and miraculous and all the things woven and tangled together. Your birth broke me down so I could be rebuilt into a mother. You did that, son.


You are our number one, but you were actually number three. You are actually my middle “baby”. Two older, and two younger.

But you are our number one here. In our family.

I often tell each of you that you were chosen for our family by Jesus for a very specific reason. We don’t always know all the reasons, but we can see hints of some of them as our lives unfold.

You were the baby that “stuck.” As I watch you learn and grow I see that is no mistake. I don’t know how souls work. I don’t know if those lumps of cells that came before you had souls yet or not. I don’t know if those two pregnancies were both your soul trying to come to our family and it just took you three tries.  I don’t know if there are two souls in heaven that will just never make it to an earthly family. I like to think that they are in heaven so your Papa can have some grandkids, but the truth is I don’t know. And I’m not sure I’ll ever know or that I am meant to know.

What I do know is that you are a miracle. Your being here is a wonder to behold.

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You love to hear your birth story and I love to tell you. This year you loved that I added all the people who were waiting in our hospital room to meet you when we came out of the operating room. From that minute you have loved being the center of attention. You love an audience.

Eddie, I have been honored to watch you learn and grow over the past six years. You completed Kindergarten this year and now you are a full-fledged kid.

Right now you love Pokemon after finding it on Netflix only a few weeks ago. You talk nonstop about the battles and the evolving or whatever. I must say I am not that interested, but I absolutely love it that you are so passionate about it. You are giving me a glimpse as to how you will handle passions in the future: you learn everything there is to know, and you talk about it to everyone.

You love to do “crafts” which involve you envisioning something with boxes and paper and markers and scissors and glue and then making it happen.

You love to write and read.

You played soccer, T-ball, and took swimming lessons this year, and while you complained about going, once there you loved being involved.

Your teachers have always described you as a leader. I admit to not fully understanding this. I have always been nervous that maybe you would get picked on because you cry easily, but last week I finally saw what your teachers meant.


On Friday I packed up you and your brother and sister and we headed to the park for a while to burn off some energy before lunch. Within five minutes of getting there, you had organized a game of tag with the four or so other kids who were there.

More kids showed up and you included each one.

When the game of tag broke up, you went over to the merry-go-round. You pushed and invited kids on and let them off if they asked. You made sure everyone was careful and that you went a little slower if little kids wanted on. You were respectful and chatty with the mom of the toddler who wanted to get on, and you even walked the merry-go-round very slowly to give that toddler a little ride.

Kids were calling you by name by the time we were ready to pack up.

“Eddie? Do those kids go to your school?”


“Do you know them from T-ball or something?”


“Then how do they know your name?”

“They asked. They said their names too, but I don’t remember. That’s a lot of names.”

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It was no big deal to you that all of these kids were suddenly your friends. It was totally casual. You walked onto that playground with all the confidence in the world that you were going to have fun with some kids. And you did.

In that moment, I looked at you differently.

I saw your confident stride–those legs that just keep getting longer–as you walked with your head held high, looking around for potential friends.

I saw your easy smile and helping hands.

I saw your caring nature.

I saw you, Eddie.

When you weren’t looking, I was.

You make me so proud to be your mom.

Happy 6th birthday, Eddie Bear.

Love, Mom

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