2015 was a year of intense high’s and low’s. It was a year that defined our family, changed our family, and at times left me praying for a new year to begin.
2015 paralleled 2010 – the year Sam and Jack were born – in so many ways. I don’t doubt for a second that our experience with the twins was just a “prep course” in getting ready for Claire.
I learned many things in 2015. About myself, about others, and about letting go. Letting go of this picture perfect world I wanted so desperately, and yearned for every single day.
Later posts will focus more on the things I mention above, but since it’s been so long since my last post, let’s catch up…
Our kids are such individuals, yet have this incredible bond that fills my entire soul with pride. The three boys are the three amigos—together, they are an unstoppable force. Obviously, this is a double-edged sword, but it’s one that I’m willing to put up with. The relationship they are fostering with one another right now is far more important than the amount of times I yell “Stop it!” or “Knock it off.” Their personalities are huge, as is their ability to stress me out. But no one said this parenting thing would be easy, right?
Sam has been doing incredibly well in school. He’s had some adjustment since starting back up last week, but loves it and gets so excited every morning. The consistency is great for him and we’ve seen him grow leaps and bounds this year. Sam and Jack both go to soccer and baseball once a week after school and recently started afternoon enrichment classes Tuesday-Thursday. He’s been making huge gains in terms of physical and occupational therapy as well – in fact, last week his Physical Therapist did his annual re-test. A year ago he scored at the age of a 30-40 month old (so, right around a 3-year-old level). Now, in several areas, he scored at the level of a 58 month old! The miles and hours spent in the minivan definitely paid off.
Mommy brag: Sam can spell all colors, all of his classmates’ names (including Paxton, Irish, Peter, Levi, Meena, etc), and knows about 100+ sight words.
Funny stuff: Knows how to work the system… “Mommy, I love you so, so much!” followed by: a hug, followed by: “Can we watch something?”
Jack…oh, this little boy. This little boy who takes care of his brothers and sister, and is the glue that holds the crew together. Who is growing up so fast I can hardly stand it. Who has so much expected of him and (most of the time) doesn’t seem to mind. His entire life has been spent watching his twin face challenge after challenge, and being his biggest cheerleader. Jack wants nothing more than to be perfect, a large task for such a little boy. Oftentimes this causes him to have anxiety, and it breaks my heart. We constantly thank him for being such a great kid/helper, and I honestly don’t know what we would do without him. He has recently started telling jokes, and while they are absolutely ridiculous and make no sense whatsoever, I laugh hysterically every time he comes up with a new one (example: Why did the octopus have 8 legs? Because it didn’t have 10!). Jack also thrives in school, and asks endless questions, AND just got his first pair of glasses.
Mommy brag: aside from everything else mentioned above, this kiddo has the biggest heart—Adam’s grandpa passed away a few weeks ago and Jack was absolutely devastated. Not a day has gone by that he hasn’t asked about Grandpa Marvin/Heaven/God… And while Mommy doesn’t always have the answers, Jack always finishes up the conversation by telling me how much he misses him.
Funny stuff: Jack has reached the age of not always telling the truth… and after watching Pinocchio a few months ago has become absolutely terrified when I ask the question: “Jack, is that the truth or a lie?” He starts yelling, “I don’t want my nose to grow!” and quickly proceeds to tell us the truth.
Eli… the boy who made me realize that being pregnant could actually be FUN! This kid is nothing if not fun, and he lives for creating chaos. I’m fairly certain the only time this child stops talking/yelling/laughing/moving is when he’s sleeping, and even then… he often talks in his sleep. He is the exact opposite of the twins—looks like an Oyos, is huge, loves sports, has a crazy imagination, and is never content with just “relaxing.” His ridiculous zest for life is rivaled by the love he has for his siblings. Claire instantly lights up when he walks into the room, and she is the first person he asks to see when he wakes up every morning. When his brothers have school and he doesn’t, he asks when we will pick them up about every 20 minutes. The kid is super destructive—every toy is a weapon, and a chance to “pew pew” (shoot) someone. His imagination is vast— there’s a new bad guy, a new animal, or a new place to go every few minutes. Adam and I jokingly say that he probably thinks his name is actually “Oh Eli” because of how often we say it (if you’ve seen the movie Home you’ll find this especially funny).
Mommy brag: In stark contrast to the twins, this kid could not care less about reading…But ask him to read a story to Claire, and he’ll run to grab a book and instantly start: “Once upon time…” Of course, he then continues to tell stories about monsters and dragons, but it’s the thought that counts 😉 In all seriousness, this little boy has a heart of gold. He may drive us through the roof and be our most difficult child, but he is also the most caring of any of us.
Funny stuff: Does his LIFE count as funny? Seriously, this kid’s entire purpose is to make us laugh. Some of my recent favorites are playing in Claire’s jumper and then face planting when he can’t climb out, all while laughing at himself; turning Claire’s headbands into slingshots; hiding under tables and inside of hampers and legitimately scaring the crap out of me.
Claire Perie Stibbe, you are the perfect completion to our family. If I could talk to myself 9 months ago all I would do is show off a picture of this sweet angel. Yes, all babies get ooh’d and aah’d at, but there is something special about her that makes everyone stop and smile. There are significant challenges—she’s not sitting on her own, bearing weight on her legs, or eating much solid food……. But it’s okay. Claire will get there in her own time. It frustrates us, and motivates us. Rarely is she left to just “be”; play time is also therapy time and thankfully she is a pretty good sport. A few weeks ago Claire had her first ophthalmology appointment and she does have some slight farsightedness in one eye. It is not enough for glasses at this point as she may outgrow it. We will follow up in a few months.
Mommy brag: Princess C has mad rolling skills and has been babbling up a storm.
Funny stuff: Claire has an intense love for her left hand fingers and chews on those instead of a pacifier. With this cold weather, I’ve had to find ways to prevent this and purchased a Mitten Sleeve for when she sleeps. Well, when she’s awake I just take her hand out repeatedly, and now whenever I say the word “No,” she pouts and cries for about .5 seconds. Diva doesn’t like being told no!
Adam and I are doing well. Most of my “free time” is spent planning out our move to Denver. Most of this planning is just pen to paper at this point as the idea of sorting through 5 years worth of crap along with 4 kids’ toys and mementos is horrifying. I am so thankful that our parents are letting us store some things at their homes because it will make the move from Denver to Fargo that much less stressful. A few days ago I started the process of registering Sam and Jack for kindergarten. Gulp. Adam and I are flying to Denver on Thursday to tour a few schools and a preschool for Eli. Since it will be my first time ever in Colorado, I’m excited to just see this place I will be calling home for a year! Adam has, of course, been staying busy with work and just joined a basketball league. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this crazy life. He knows when I need a break and constantly reassures me that I’m not totally screwing up our kids.
2016—you are going to be a pretty big year for the StibbeFam. A 1st birthday, tons of follow-up doctor visits, saying goodbye to Omaha, moving to Denver, the twins starting Kindergarten, Eli going to a different school than S & J, living with my mother-in-law (love you Peggy 🙂 ), finding a home in Fargo from afar… It’s hard to believe that this is our life sometimes. It’s crazy, it’s stressful, but I know in a few years we will also call these moments FUN and UNFORGETTABLE.