Looking Back at Elliott Rose (2017-2018)

817_1520653573211.jpg

Ellie is still the self-proclaimed, resident cat lady and veterinarian of the Vanderwall household. She commonly expresses her emotions as a “purr” or a “hiss.” Her love for all animals continues to grow and we have observed a special connection all of the pups to chickens that she comes in contact with.

She also continues to be one of extremes. She is our happiest girl when she is happy but flip a switch and Ellies-goes-boom! We find the same is true for her activities. She is moving from the moment she wakes but come 7pm and she is o-u-t. She is by-far the best sleeper of the bunch; thank you, Ellie!

Ellie finds the most joy in playing with her hippity-hop, swinging, hanging out in the chicken run and swimming. She also loves to color rainbows and draw kitties.

Here’s a look at Elliott Rose’s fourth year…

 

Ellie at four years…

Ellie at three years…

Ellie at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Ellie’s First Year…

Advertisements

Looking Back at Kali Mae (2017-2018)

324175755_2017_11_5

Kali Mae is our drama-mama. She is the most expressive, thoughtful and emotional of the V5. Like Bella, she has also heard the calling to become a princess. She will not come down to breakfast without a dress, her crown and a pair of mama’s high heels. In all honesty, she wears and walks in those heels better than I ever have… perhaps practice makes perfect?

Kali also loves to draw pigs, pups and cats, as well as, color. She is a deep reader and still the champion at Hidden Pictures and Seek and Find books. Like her brother and daddy, we believe she has a photographic memory.

Surprisingly her love for art and royalty do not trump her dreams of one day owning a farm. She loves to help out in the yard, in the garden and care for our chickens. She’s a hard-worker and always finishes the job she starts.

Now, let’s look back at Kali over the last year…

Kali at four years…

Kali at three years…

Kali at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Kali’s First Year…

Looking Back at Lily (2017-2018)

324175751_2017_11_5

Lillian Grace remains the most laid back of the quints. Her easy-going personality is refreshing. She loves hard and let’s go easy and is ever-so forgiving.

Lily is also very loyal and the queen of routine; if we did it once a certain way, it can be assumed that it must be done that way every time. Luckily, type B Lily can be swayed as long as you have a reason.

Lily is also an animal lover. She loves Papa Ron’s Holly girl and aspires to one day live nearby so she can care for Holly while Papa is on trips. This is just one example of Lily’s consideration. She loves to help and her intuitive nature brings her to your side before you even know you need a hand.

Join us as we watch Lily over the last year…

Lily at four years…

Lily at three years…

Lily at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Lily’s First Year…

Looking Back at Bella (2017-2018)

324175754_2017_11_5

Miss Bella is still the princess in the bunch and definitely is passionate about the arts. She loves to sing, dance, draw, color and create. She takes great enjoyment from building extravagant scenes with her toys and stuffed animals.

Isabella’s obsession with fuzzies and anything soft remains. Her collection of fuzzy items has nearly taken over her bookshelf. Unfortunately, a soft, sudden wind sends them flying like a dried dandelion.

The charm is also strong with this one. She has a way of negotiating with sweet subtlety. She’s a tricky one but oh, so sweet.

Looking Back at Bella this last year…

 

Bella at four years…

Bella at three years…

Bella at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Bella’s First Year…

Looking back at Theo (2017-2018)

324175752_2017_11_5

Our little boy is starting to look not so little. His patience, charm and inquisitive nature are amazing. Mr. Theo loves to investigate how things work. It is not uncommon to catch him examining a lamp, taking a part our noise machine or peering inside of something. He finds such joy in figuring it out; a budding engineer, perhaps.

He is also my side-kick in the kitchen and loves to help plan and prepare healthful meals and snacks (always pairing energy with a protein 🙂 and is my most adventurous eater. I can’t name a food he doesn’t enjoy… well, there’s kombucha; he can’t get passed the smell.

Theo is fascinated by dinosaurs, space and airplanes… not atypical for a boy. He also loves his boy-time where he’ll excuse himself from the pack to go play with Daddy’s LEGOs or his trains. The girls are still learning to respect this time.

Our big brother has truly set an example for the whole family.

Here’s a look back at Theo over the last year…

Theo at Four Years…

Theo at Three Years…

Theo at Two Years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Theo’s First Year…

A Season of Firsts

mvimg_20180706_112603

We have finally reached the age that everyone has been telling us about. The age of wonder with the ability to articulate curiosities, joys and fears. The age where memories are made by the minute. The age of near-self-sufficiency and ability to help… truly help. The age where messes are made but also cleaned up in a fraction of the time. The age where feelings are felt and are now being able to be navigated, understood and managed. Four- going on -five is an amazing age. This is partially why this summer has been so much fun. The other part is the opportunities that we have been blessed with to explore. Here are a few of our most memorable firsts this summer…

First Parade. The V5 represented Kicks Unlimited’s Little Ninjas class in the Flags of Freedom Parade.

IMG_20180630_133447

First Time Riding a School Bus. The kiddos are enrolled in the Kick-off to Kindergarten program this summer which include a bus-ride to and from school. They have been doing great! No fear.

FB_IMG_1529378051387IMG_20180618_074406-ANIMATION37140937_10109889103364400_7093450462883479552_n.jpg

First Firework Show. Talk about awe and wonder! It’s difficult to explain fireworks to a child. While not everyone was fond of the sound, they all loved the show. They also enjoyed the entertainment at WaunBoom!

First Tragedy. The Sun Prairie community was literally rocked this last week with the tragic explosion downtown leading to the sudden loss of a hometown hero. We couldn’t have hid this from our children, if we wanted to. Instead, we chose to embrace it and use it as an opportunity to explain what happened, how it happened and how to respond. Service and social responsibility are very important to me and being able to serve alongside my children was very memorable. The V5 willingly headed to the store to make care packages for displaced kids and brought them to the Red Cross shelter at the high school. 

Red Cross Efforts

First Trip to Michigan. This first was inclusive of the first 4+ hour car ride (7 hours one way) with only 2 bathroom break (total victory). During our time in Michigan, they experienced their first: trip to the beach, sandcastle, sand dunes, boat ride, and hike. On the way home, we had the opportunity to ride the Ferry- another first! Many, many thanks to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sue for their hospitality and these memories!

 

37155735_10109889103184760_7877061615336554496_n

 

 

 

Abundant Love

On the doorstep of Mother’s Day, I am in my typical reflective state. Memories are overflowing in my mind; the laughter, the joy, the growth but also the tears, the tantrums, the opportunities for future learning and development. I have ruminating on the behavioral difficulties in the present stage of life and was having trouble pin-pointing a cause until yesterday. I attended a local strategic thinking summit related to poverty, hunger and health education and the leader mentioned that the root of the issues is the scarcity mentality. Something clicked in my brain and now I believe this is also at the root of the issues in our household.

What is the Scarcity Mentality?

Psychology Today published an article on the mental implications of scarcity; The author investigates what happens to our minds and how does this impact our behaviors when we feel we have too little and concludes that scarcity establishes a playground for envy. In a big household, where the sibs share everything- including the same birthday- it is easy to see why there may be an innate drive to be the “fittest” and a natural urgency to collect, store, indulge, and remain in the proverbial spotlight.

We made and make efforts to allow each of the V5 to be an individual; while this is good and was founded in good intention, I believe it may provide fodder for the rivalry. For example, each quint basically has their own brand… Lily loves green, is the biggest fan of the Paw Patrol by far and is known for her collection of horses whereas Ellie is the family’s “cat lady” and has not lived a day in her life in any color except for pink. Again, I believe this is good, it provides a source for identity but has it also promoted a sense of scarcity? Are there limited favorite colors, animals, favorite hobbies, etc? I’m uncertain on how they view this but am also curious if they perceive a scarcity of Daddy’s attention, special time with Mom and warm and fuzzy snuggles with Nana.

In my study on scarcity, I also learned that it can propel individuals to action. When there is abundant time then there is no urgency to learn, explore and achieve. So, how do we preserve the benefits of scarcity while encouraging an abundance mentality?

What is the Abundance Mentality?

Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, shares that the scarcity mentality is a “zero-sum paradigm” and that individuals who are rutted in this mindset have a difficult time sharing both recognition and power whereas the “Abundance Mentality” is a product of personal security. This alternative mentality is the paradigm of plenty with enough to share. This security permits the sharing of self and resources to benefit the greater whole, the team, the family.

Every parent who knows love – agape love (Psalm 86:15; John 3:16) – knows that it can be given and received infinitely to a child; it is unconditional. Love is a universal language which surpasses our understanding. A mother’s love starts long before conception and truly never ends. I believe it originates when one is a little girl and she finds joy in taking care of another. I want my children to know this at the core of their beings. Mommy will always love them.

How can we foster Abundance?

Like other parents and caregivers, I want my children to know who they are, that they are loved and that there is enough of most things, whether it be what’s for dinner, toys, crayons, etc. to go around. How can we foster the abundance mentality in our homes so we can help our children to identify the appropriate time for competition and teach them to see win:win solutions? Leaders in this area suggest the following:

  • Model Appreciation. Say please and thank you and mean it. Demonstrate the value that we have in others for what they say and do.

 

  • Remind ourselves and others that there is more than enough. In the day and age of social media, comparing yourself to others is an epidemic but it can be stopped with a choice. We must stop the envy, the peeking at the “greener” grass next door, and embrace a culture of inclusion and attitude of gratitude.

 

  • Seek Opportunity with Optimism. Be the “glass is half full” person that people like to be around. Choose to see hardships as opportunities for progress, not unattainable perfection.

 

  • Be the Change. I love this quote made by Gandhi in years passed because of its truth. We need to give more of what we want. Our children are constantly watching and learning. We can foster gratitude and abundance by giving; giving our time, talents and treasures away.

 

In closing, I wish all of you mothers and blessed Mother’s Day filled with smiles, happy tears and memories that will last a lifetime.