Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Drastic Measures

We had a great routine before we headed out for vacation. The kids would wake up each morning and play, sometimes watching a little PBS Kids. By 10 am or so, we were usually out the door for a walk, a trip to the library, a visit one of several nearby playgrounds, the pool, the zoo, a playdate, etc. We'd either pack a lunch or be home in time for lunch. Naps came after lunch, with Miss C sometimes opting to take one as well. Once B was up, we stuck close to home, taking another walk or playing in the basement or outside until One Ordinary Dad got home from work. It was peaceful. It worked.

And then it broke. The first week after our beach vacation, we still kind of stuck to the routine. Gradually, though, C began to unravel. We noticed it in the little things at first-- talking back to us, telling us "no," grabbing toys from her brother and then lying about it. Actions that resulted in losing trips to the park and the pool and playdates. But those little things snowballed into bigger things, and after she ran ahead of One Ordinary Dad at the mall, despite his telling her to stay close, we decided it was time to do something drastic.

You see, we want to raise grateful, polite, loving kids. Most of the time, those are the adjectives I'd use to describe C and B. But not lately. And especially not C. And while some would tell me that her behavior is typical for a five-year-old and it's just her response to being out of her routine, it's behavior that is unacceptable in our family.

So we took away ALL of her toys. We had some empty Rubbermaid containers in the basement and she helped us pack up everything-- all of her Playmobil, Legos, dollhouse stuff, dress-ups, stuffed animals, EVERYTHING that she claimed as hers. We left out books, art supplies, puzzles, and games (and B's toys).

We had a discussion with her about choosing love and gratitude. We talked about how Mommy and Daddy always make sure she has good food to eat, and nice clothes to wear, and a warm house to live in, and that all of the toys and "stuff" she has are just bonus items because we love her. We talked about the importance of being her "brother's keeper" and putting him first (which is hard to to do for a five-year-old). Now that the only "toys" she can play with are B's, we talked about playing on his terms and going along with him. We talked about there being no such thing as saying "thank you" and "I love you" too much. We told C that as we "catch" her choosing love and gratitude, she will slowly start to earn her toys back. To be honest though, I'm thinking about selling some of them-- the ones she rarely plays with and just take up space.

It was hard at first, but we're starting to see a shift. B is 2.5 and so he's just starting to learn how to pretend play and follow a storyline with another kid. C is teaching him that as she plays with him. She's creating some different rules to some of her games so that B can play too and the game goes quickly and keeps his attention. I think this morning I've seen them playing together better and for a longer duration of time than I have in awhile.

It's not just about shifting C's attitude. It's about shifting attitudes for all of us. Over the last few weeks, we've cleaned out our basement and our closets. Kids hand-me down clothes have been sorted and distributed to friends and family (we keep the cycle going since we get so many from friends). Other clothes (like half of my wardrobe) were donated (our rule-- if you haven't worn it in the last year, it's gone). And One Ordinary Dad and I made a pact-- we're just going to save for the good stuff. Instead of buying a larger quantity of cheaper clothes and shoes (when we need them), we're going to save and invest in a smaller quantity that are better made and will last longer-- so they don't end up in the Goodwill pile, or worse, in the landfill, within a year or two. We're rethinking holidays and birthdays (not that we've been over-indulgent by any means, but when we buy toys, they need to be toys that will be played with and that will last-- like the kids' Legos and Playmobil-- instead of a ton of cheap stuff that inevitably breaks). Books, puzzles, and games that we can all enjoy will take a slightly higher priority too.

Living in a small house helps. We don't have a lot of storage room, which means we can't hold onto things. When toys are no longer played with, when books are no longer read or loaned out repeatedly and there's no more room on the shelf, when clothes are no longer worn, we find new homes for them instead of hanging onto them. We make room for the new stuff. I'm letting go of the sentimentality of some things ("oh, that was C's first Little People set" or "that was the dress I wore when I got hired" or "we can't possibly get rid of ALL 70 some pieces of artwork from C's preschool years"). There's a saying that says "take a picture, it'll last longer." I have plenty of pictures of my kids in the cute outfits that were my favorites, playing with toys that were "firsts," and One Ordinary Dad took the time recently to photograph ALL of Cate's preschool artwork so I can put it into a Shutterfly book (I kept one picture with her handprints that she made me for Mother's Day, the rest was recycled).

We're trying hard to be a family that recognizes that we are beyond blessed and we're trying hard to cultivate that recognition and gratitude in our kids. We truly have more than we need, and there's nothing wrong with that, as long as we don't feel entitled to more or find security in our "stuff." It's why we start out before-bed prayers each night listing the parts of our day and our lives for which we are most thankful.

And in other news, we spent a lovely weekend at a free Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops concert in the park (the second half of the show, they had a digital light show projected on Music Hall), One Ordinary Dad celebrated a birthday, and B went to his first Reds game.

 I'll let you know how our "drastic measures" and fight against excess works out and how effective it is in helping change C's attitude (really, all of our attitudes). It's part of living our better story.

~One Ordinary Mom

Monday, July 29, 2013

No More Crib

We took the crib down a little over a week ago. We bought the kids matching beds and bedding. And aside from still being in diapers, using a pacifier when he sleeps, and needing a little help eating his Rice Krispies in the morning (because they make a BIG mess if he doesn't have help), B is turning into quite the little boy.
 The whole "no more crib" thing has left me rather reflective over the last week. The transition was a smooth one. We started out lying down with B until he fell asleep. Gradually, we've backed off to the point where we only lie with him for a few minutes before leaving the room. He's stayed in bed all night, every night. Such a good boy!
 But "no more crib" means no more babies in my house. Of course, I tell C and B all the time that they are my babies, but most mommas know what I mean when I say "no more babies." No more milky breath and tiny cries and little one piece rompers and rattles and whirs of the breast pump and glass jars of baby food. But it's also no more getting up four times a night and the constant sour milk smell on clothing from spit up and lugging a diaper bag every where and doing laundry all the time and checking the floor for the older kids' toys that might be choking hazards.
Are we done? I don't know. We're selling the crib and many of our other baby items. Some that are out on loan will probably be sold once our family and friends are finished with them. Things that can't be sold are being donated. We're keeping around our papasan seat, high chair, a smattering of baby toys, and pack n' play for family and friends to use when they come to visit. It's more a space issue than a finite decision. We lack the storage to keep all of this "just in case."

I had baby fever bad back in the winter and spring. We thought it was what we wanted. But then One Ordinary Dad went back to work and summer just got easy. I recognize that every parenting stage shares its own challenges, and we've had our share-- example: C and B play well together, but the age/maturity gap does rear its ugly head once or twice a day as they get frustrated with each other; it's a gap that will close with each passing year, thankfully). It's been nice to have two kids who sleep 10-12 hours uninterrupted at night. It's been nice to sit and leaf through a magazine while they play. It's been nice to spend time coloring with them both or putting together a puzzle or taking a walk where a stroller just isn't necessary.

The baby fever has dissipated in the last few weeks, and as I've been reflecting, the whole "be fruitful and multiply" idea has been a struggle. Of course the world would love more of our curly blonde haired, piercing blue eyed, tall, lean children. But as I've prayed and spent some time reading my Bible, I've also felt a sense of reassurance. Being fruitful and multiplying doesn't mean I have to have a half a dozen children to populate, what is, quite honestly, a heavily populated earth. Being fruitful and multiplying means I can teach my children to be Jesus to other people and to multiply His kingdom in others.

And I pass no judgement on those with 3, 4, 5, or more kids. I love our friends with big families. I was one of 3 kids. And if we end up with a third kid, it'll be okay.

But right now? Right now I'm pretty good with two. I've often heard moms describe their desire for more children as feeling like someone was missing from their families. I don't feel that way right now. Right now I feel like we are complete. But right now I also feel like our hearts are open, and so we're not quite at the stage where we feel like any sort of permanent solution is necessary. And that's a pretty good place to be with "no more crib" in our house.

~One Ordinary Mom

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Better Story

 Not too long ago, I read Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I knew the basic premise of the book and have had several friends read it and loved it. I knew I'd probably love it too, but I also knew that I'd probably find it a little convicting. And maybe that's why I put off reading it.

For those of you who haven't read it yet, the general idea is that as humans, we are created to live in a story. Our lives are stories-- with exciting parts that would look amazing on the big screen with a swelling soundtrack along with moments that are so mundane they'd never make the Hollywood cut.

Some people are living amazing stories, but most are just living mediocre ones. Spoiler alert: you can change your story. The ending isn't finalized (well, other than that whole we can't live forever, so yes, everyone's story eventually ends in death-- not to be morbid though).

We've been living a pretty good story lately. One Ordinary Dad and I spent some time in California sans kids.
 Later, we headed to Myrtle Beach.
 But there's more. There were times when I got a little ticked off reading the book because I thought, "well, sure, if I had written a New York Times Bestseller and had a ton of money in the bank and lots of time off, I could certainly make sure I was living a better story." But it's not necessarily about money or time (though those are nice things to have). It's about the little changes. It's about the legacy I want to leave. It's about setting the stage for the stories my kids will live once their father and I are gone.

And so while yearly vacations, monthly date nights, and other events that take a little more money or time will remain on our calendar and as parts of our story, there are small things happening too:
  • we say "I love you" a lot more and raise our voices a lot less (hard to do with little ones, but worth the effort)
  • we turn off the TV (and Candy Crush-- I was addicted for a bit) and get lost in books and magazines
  • we play with Legos and we play lots of games and we put together lots of puzzles (One Ordinary Dad and I occasionally stay up late on a weekend with some wine and a 1000-piecer)
  • we have more impromptu dance parties
  • we say "yes" to going to the park or going for a walk/hike or going to get ice cream-- even when it's not quite what we want to do
  • we choose to be generous without judging-- whether it's a dollar to the pan handler at the highway exit or volunteering our time to help others or teaching our kids how to sort out toys they don't play with anymore so that they can give them away
  • we don't count things-- hours of sleep, calories, number of times we've read the same book over and over again, who did the dishes last, who cleaned the toilet last, who made all of the beds last, number of loads of laundry, pounds on a scale, etc. 
  • we do count blessings though-- every night we name them with the kids before bed
We've basically chosen to embrace our one wild and precious life. All stories have conflicts too, and we embrace those too (everyone loves a story where the good triumphs over the evil conflict).

We want to live a good story. I know it sounds cheesy, but we want to honor God by getting the most out of the earthly time He's given us and by leaning into Him in both the good and the bad.

Changing directions in our story's "draft" if you will, has been a blessing for our little family. We're so thankful that God gives us the grace to change our story, to live a better one.

~One Ordinary Mom

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Epic Summer Sunday #1

Today was amazing. And not just because C moved up to the kindergarten room at church (I may have teared up a little).

We really had no agenda once church was over, and the day was just so sunny, and I was just craving we headed downtown to Crave.  We'd heard that they had a good brunch and we knew they had outdoor seating, so we figured we'd give it a try. Turns out that Sunday brunch is a tasty buffet with a lot to choose from and it includes a mimosa (for the grown-ups, obviously). Kids eat free-- bonus. We stuffed ourselves silly and then headed over to the Reds team shop.

C needed a new Reds shirt since she's outgrown her others and passed them on to her little brother. She chose a Votto shirt (a girl after my own heart...One Ordinary Dad got me an authentic Votto jersey for my birthday). B had fun playing with foam fingers.

Up next we headed to the park down at The Banks. When going to downtown parks, we generally prefer Washington Park, but we were already parked and decided to play at The Banks instead. Before we got much playing in, we thought it might be fun to rent a Surrey Bike and ride along the river. The day was absolutely gorgeous. One Ordinary Dad and I sure got a workout, but we enjoyed the view.

After an hour, we returned the bike and then finally got around to playing in the fountain and swinging on their big "porch swings" that overlook the river.

We ended our afternoon with some Orange Leaf fro-yo (Crave gave us coupons for 2 free ounces each).

It was a day well spent and we are all spent. I have 2 days left of school with my students and then a half day teacher work day on Wednesday.

And because I haven't mentioned it here yet, One Ordinary Dad went back to work in the non-profit world a couple of weeks ago. He likes his job so far. The kids have a babysitter coming to the house in this transition time, but C will be in all-day kindergarten next year, so with only one kiddo needing childcare, we knew it was time. We knew we couldn't move forward, pursuing some dreams of ours without a second income. God has blessed us immensely and we're excited to be in this new phase. I've never had both kids on my own all summer (One Ordinary Dad's previous position was reduced in June 2011, when B was a baby, so we've had lots of family time the last two summers with both of us at home). This will surely be a fun adventure!

~One Ordinary Mom

*Note: I am cautiously titling this post with the "#1" in the hopes that there are more epic summer Sundays in our future-- not necessarily doing the same things, but just enjoying things around our city that are new to us. :-)

Friday, May 10, 2013

To My Children, On Mother's Day

Hey Kids,
I realize if left to your own devices I'd probably wind up opening an ill-fitting princess dress ("oh, it doesn't fit you, mommy, well that's okay, I'll wear it") and a Hot Wheels car. Or chocolate that you'd ask me to share (and of course I'd say yes).

And while I'm always going to appreciate anything you give me, I want you to know that it's not about the "things." In fact, as you grow older, it's the intangible stuff that will mean more. The "things" you can't really buy.

Like being a decent human being. That would be a great gift. Don't be lame at life. And don't be a bully either. Besides, bullying someone is just false power. Be humble. Be thankful. Be willing to turn the other cheek.

And reading. That would be another great gift. No, I don't want you to buy me books (well, okay, I do like books), but you doing the reading-- you reading every day-- that would be awesome. Life is short in the grand scheme of things. I'll never get around to reading everything there is to read. So I need you to pick up the slack and tell me about the things you read that I haven't read. Reading makes you a better person, so give me the gift of knowing you read every day.

Have faith too. Jesus thinks you're just as rad and special as I do, so trust in Him. Mommy would like nothing more than to see you grow in your faith. There will be times when you think He's distant, but I promise you He's not. I promise you He has great plans for you. Have faith.

Travel and take lots of pictures. I realize that's not something you can "give" me, but sending a postcard is something you can "give," so it counts. I birthed you into this great big world and it would be a tragedy if you didn't get to explore beyond our small, Midwestern corner of it. And I don't collect little silver spoons or thimbles, so seriously, just send a post card.

That's really it, kids. I know you can't read this and I know that none of this would make sense to you right now, at 5 and 2, even if you could read it. But it's what I want. For you to be good people who love Jesus and reading and who send their mama a postcard when they travel.

But until then, your Crayola pictures and handprints with poems and plastic bead necklaces are perfect. You are perfect. You are the reason I get to celebrate this holiday.

And I love you.


P.S. I know you'll think it's creepy one day, but I don't think I will ever get tired of watching you sleep.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Sometimes life gets busy. And things go by the this blog. My bad, but I make no apologies. We've been busy.

Busy getting ready for dance recitals.
Busy planting food. One Ordinary Dad built the raised bed. Our backyard isn't flat or sunny, so the ideal place for planting is actually at the top of our driveway. Last year we did small pots and planted fruits and veggies from seed. We had a small yield. Seeds are hard, y'all and I am not a green thumb. This year we decided to start with starter plants. We already have romaine lettuce ready to eat!
Busy tending flowers. C likes to help and watering the plants is now one of her daily responsibilities.
Busy hanging out at the zoo.
Busy pretending to be a turtle.
Busy crafting (One Ordinary Dad made this beauty for my hangs on our bedroom wall now). It's made of wood from a potting shed in our backyard that was falling down and disrepair.
Busy celebrating 31.
Just. Plain. Busy. (Too busy to bother watermarking these, so don't steal them, okay).

Life is like that though. The school year is winding down, vacation plans are firming up (One Ordinary Dad are thinking of escaping for one day while we're in California for a wedding and hanging out with the Mouse at Disneyland), the temperature is staying warmer, our windows are open, lawnmowers are humming, the grill is fired up often, and well, life is happening.

And in the rare moments when we have peace and quiet and stillness, we're reading out on the porch with a glass of wine or watching movies, or relaxing with friends, or cheering on the Reds. Blogging just kind of ends up at the bottom of my list of things I want to do in the still and quiet moments. But it was time for an update to let you know that yes, my few dear readers, we are very much alive and well. Hopefully summer vacation will bring more opportunities to update.

~One Ordinary Mom

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break

Spring break has come and gone, well at least for this mama. Sweet C has spring break this week.

If I had to compare this spring break to something tangible, I would say it was quite like a roller coaster. Spring break started off cold and with a dusting of snow (a low point for sure). The kids still got to play outside a little. And I got to mess around with my camera (I'm getting a lot more confident at shooting in full manual mode and not using the flash when I can avoid it).

My parents arrived into town on Tuesday (high point). On Wednesday, we spent the day at my Great Aunt's house, one of my favorite spaces in the world, in Kentucky (definitely a high point). Some other family that live close by stopped in and we had a mini-family reunion of sorts-- the big get together is at the beach this summer.

Wednesday also brought the news of the passing of my uncle (lowest point of break). He was a good man. Over 10 years ago he was diagnosed with cancer and not expected to live a year. He beat the odds and spent Easter in Heaven this year.

From there we hit a series of high points. On Thursday, I helped in C's classroom and reaffirmed that I could never teach young kids...but it was fun for 2.5 hours. Sweet C and B got to meet their new cousin that afternoon; she was born on 3/18. C is in love with her and keeps asking when she gets to have a baby sister. No, I am not expecting.

We also went to Jump and Jacks. C went to a birthday party there a week ago and hadn't stopped talking about it since. So we decided to head there Thursday night with my parents.

Friday, C had her Easter Chapel Service at preschool, followed by an egg hunt (I volunteered to help hide the joke, there were like 1000 of them).

Then it was off to our local conservatory for some spring pictures.

The bunny came Saturday evening and left treats, books, crafts, and a few toys. B woke up with a low fever and stayed home from church. It disappeared after a few hours, so we headed to One Ordinary Dad's aunt and uncle's house for Easter dinner.

Last night we hit a low after our streak of good days. Just as I was turning off the light to go to bed, C got out of bed and puked all over the hallway. She continued to get sick every fifteen to thirty minutes or so for the next five hours, before her body finally called it quits. B woke up with the return of his mystery fever (though we think it's molars) and wanted to be held or needed Tylenol in the midst of all of this, so One Ordinary Dad camped out in the bathroom with C until it was safe to move her to the couch, while I took on B and administered Tylenol and snuggles when needed. No one slept much, so I stayed home from work today. C seems to be on the upswing and is keeping crackers and water down with no issues. B's fever is gone, but he's drooling a ton. One Ordinary Dad and I have Clorox-ed the house, washed and changed sheets, drank copious amounts of coffee, put out new toothbrushes, and are looking forward to watching the Reds Opening Day game later this afternoon.

Tomorrow I head back to school. 45 more school days left until summer vacation (definitely a high). One Ordinary Dad has a third interview with a company (yes, he's planning to head back to work if the right job offer comes his way since C will be in kindergarten all day next year) on Wednesday (another high). And it's April...which means yours truly has a birthday right around the corner.

So go away stomach bug, hopefully and prayerfully C is the only victim. And go Redlegs!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013


Has it really been almost a month since our last update?

Apparently it has been a month. We're alive and well and still missing our pets a little, but C is doing much better and the mercury is rising and we're in the home stretch of the school year. Baseball season will be starting soon (my personal favorite) and we have tickets to see The Lumineers in May (we really enjoy their music and attending concerts with One Ordinary Dad is one of my favorite things to do). 

Since our last update:

We celebrated Valentine's Day. B loved going to C's celebration at school and C loved sharing her love for her friends. One Ordinary Dad documented it all since Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday and I was up and at work during all of their "love"ly shenanigans.

We went to the northeast corner of the state over President's Day weekend. One Ordinary Dad and I spent a night away in the city, enjoying the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dinner out, and a music festival (yes, in the middle of winter and yes, some of the venues were outdoors and yes, it was awesome)! Honeybucket was our favorite act of the night. It was also wonderful to sleep for 10 uninterrupted hours while the snow fell outside!

I knitted an infinity scarf-- not bad for my first attempt.

We got to enjoy Fun Fest at C's preschool (a late winter indoor carnival that is their major fundraiser for the year). 
We had a snow day! Finally. The last time I had a full day off of school was when I was pregnant with B. The snow hit us this past Wednesday and today it's pretty much melted. We might even hit 60 by Sunday!

And we finally got confirmation that C is in at the Creative and Performing Arts magnet school! We couldn't be more thrilled as we know it is the perfect place for our sweet C, who loves to dance, draw, sing, and perform. And so it means that the last few days have also been spent filling out oodles of kindergarten paperwork.

Spring is in the air. Easter decorations are out around the house.  And we're headed out to hike tomorrow.
With love and blessings to all of you patient readers out there, 
~One Ordinary Mom

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Party Day

I. Am. Tired.

Yesterday was full of fun for my sweet C's fifth birthday. I hit the ground running Friday when I got home from school, making 24 cupcakes for her friend party and an Angry Birds cake for her family party.

Then came yesterday. We got up early and headed to Run, Jump, and Play for C's birthday party with friends. There about 15 kids there, mostly from preschool. They had a blast on all of the inflatables.

I have to say, I was pretty proud of C for her patience and thankfulness when opening presents. She took the time to admire each gift and thank each kid, without any prompting from us.
 Run, Jump, and Play was awesome! The staff set everything we brought up in her party room, kept the kids moving from room to room, kept a list of all of her gifts so we can write thank-you's this week, and cleaned everything up. So worth the money we spent.

Last night was C's family party. We had about 20 people crammed into our small house to celebrate our sweet girl. We made a ton of pasta, a huge salad, several loaves of garlic bread, and capped it off with cake and ice cream. The Angry Birds toppers on her cake are part of this game, which I'm sure we'll be playing a lot of in the coming weeks.
And now the celebrating is over. Today's plans include cleaning up, hanging up all of her new clothes, re-organizing her art supplies (she got a ton of art stuff from both friends and family and can't wait to get around to the business of creating), and relaxing.

Tomorrow is her 5 year well-check. I'm anxious to see how much she's grown in a year.

Happy Birthday, Sweet C! Until next year...

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

High Five

There's a saying that goes, "days and weeks are long, but months and years are short." Whoever said it wasn't kidding. I feel like we've gone from this... this in about 5 seconds. Not 5 years.
My sweet C turned 5 today.
 I took a half day off work to spend the morning with my girl. I always said I would take some part of my work day off on their birthdays to spend time with my kids on their special days. B's birthday falls so close to Christmas that it's usually while I'm on break. C's 4th birthday was on a Sunday and her 3rd while I was on maternity leave with B, so I haven't taken a day off for her birthday since she turned 2.

Her gifts included the traditional new outfit (so you look awesome on your day), a Mario and Luigi shirt (she loves Mario; I'm not even sure why), a puzzle, some story cards, a Leappad, and the Brave game for her Leappad.
 We sent her on a treasure hunt around the house for her clues. C has quite a few sight words and is great at sounding things out. She needed some help with the clues, but recognized enough words in each clue that she knew where she needed to go to find her next present.
 She calls her Leappad her "iPad." And other than when she was at school and when she took a nap (One Ordinary Dad has gotten her back on a napping schedule-- she takes a 20-30 minute power nap almost daily-- he is a saint), she has done nothing but play Leappad.
 Her restaurant of choice for dinner was McDonald's. She loves the indoor playland at the one near our house. I bought some cupcakes for after dinner and we'll probably do her puzzle before bed and use her story cards to create a bedtime story. She wants to wear her Mario shirt to school tomorrow.

Saturday will be filled with parties. One with her friends in the morning at a local giant inflatable playland and one in the evening at our house with family. I make the kids' cakes for their birthdays and C has requested an Angry Birds cake. I ended up buying the tabletop Angry Birds game and plan to use the pieces from that to put on her cake. The game was only $1.50 more than the Angry Birds cake decorating set, and I know she'll play the game in the future.

It's going to be a busy week, but I'm glad I got to steal a few quiet moments with C this morning before school and I plan to steal a few more tonight.

Happy Birthday, Sweet C. I can't believe you are a whole-hand-full-of-fingers old today!

One Ordinary Mom :-)

PS: Sweet C could use your prayers for peace. We thought she was doing okay with the transition to a pet-free home. She hasn't brought it up much at home or really acted like she missed them. However, she acted out at school quite a bit last week and exploded yesterday when she didn't want to share, yelling that "everyone is taking things from her like her pets." Her teacher assured us this is normal processing for her age and circumstance, but it still breaks my heart. At school she has also been drawing our pets a lot and talking about them. We checked a helpful book out from the library (which a guidance counselor at my school suggested) and are working through it. I'm really hoping that the birthday celebrations and gifts are a nice distraction for now and that God will continue to heal her broken heart and give her peace about it. On the bright side, we have noticed a pretty significant decrease in her snoring (which was part of it, apparently). She used to saw logs and you could hear her from the hallway. Now, it's barely audible unless you're close to her.