Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Dear Little One...

I wish I knew your name. We haven't decided yet. That's one of the hard things of not knowing if you are a boy or girl. There is so much energy and heart involved in picking a name. It's so hard to do it for both boy and girl names. are known. I know you right now as Squiggly McGee, because you are so much squirmier than I remember your brother or sister being. Last night I was sitting and I think you were just thumping your foot or something inside of me, because there was just a repetitive "thump, thump, thump" on my left side...but always near the top. Hunter loves to feel you move. His eyes light up when he sees or feels you move. I can't wait to see how Millie and Hunter respond to you. They express such delight already.

Dear one, I love you. I spend more time wondering what you are like inside of me. How big are you at this point (32 weeks)? Will you be as big as your brother and sister? Will you have their (and my) eyes? Are you a little sister or brother? Hunter most often guesses sister, and Millie most often guesses brother. I think that's funny.

I feel a little fragile as these final weeks of pregnancy approach. Christmas always makes me a little more emotional, but I also know that the full experience of you in this life is not a given. In the past few years I know of those close and far from me who have experienced terrible loss...and I know your life is not to be taken for granted. Perhaps that is why this pregnancy has been different. As Jesus was born at Christmas, he was born to face awful, horrific circumstances. Betrayal and the worst possible of deaths. Although none of us will experience what our Lord went through for us, I am reminded today that you are not promised protection from tragedy. We are not promised protection from horror...but we are promised a Savior who came at Christmas who is a refuge and strength and offers perfect peace.

I pray for a full experience of you in this life...for many, many wonderful years (yep. there's that little kick on my left side).

Seriously, squirmy...what are you going to be like? What will I be like? I want nothing more than you this Christmas...and I will wait patiently and expectantly. I will know you by name and by face and fingers and toes and by the many nuances that are only and all yours. Delight.

For now, I will watch you squirm and wait...and love you more and more.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Who Left Me in Charge?

I'm home tonight. The kids are in bed, and Donny is out at a meeting. Thankfully, there haven't been many nights like this lately, but tonight was one of those nights when I was in charge. Daddy didn't come home from work/school, and I had the kids all day. It's funny. When I have days like that (probably because they aren't too frequent), I tend to do ok. I think God gives me what I need for the demands of days like today...and I rely on him more. On normal days I probably fail more miserably, because I put my trust in when Donny gets home or just making it to naptime or whatever.

Anyway, I had one of those funny moments as a parent tonight when I mumbled to myself: "Who left me in charge?" It was 7:00 p.m. - The kids were cuddled up on my bed watching a little of "Beauty and the Beast" before bed. Throughout the day I had schooled them, fed them, yelled at them, repented, gone to Bible Study, had a friend's daughter over for lunch, had naptime (for all of us), afternoon snacks, "Martha Speaks" at 4:30 (a daily ritual), play and clean up, dinner, baths, more cleaning, and then 30 minutes of their video before bed.

Oh...and before the video I tried to pull Hunter's 2nd loose tooth. I think of all the "big girl/mommy" things I did today, trying to pull his tooth was one thing that really makes me feel like a mommy and a child all at once. Really? Am I old enough to have a child losing teeth? I remember my dad taking dental floss to my loose teeth to pull them out...and that's just what I did tonight. I don't really fight the teeth, so we'll give it another go tomorrow, but it just feels so weird to be pulling my baby's baby teeth. Who left me in charge?

As the kids were in my room watching "Beauty and the Beast," I had another "moment." "Beauty and the Beast" was my favorite movie as a little girl/young teen. Belle is still my favorite princess. I had dreams of being Belle in the Disney stage show at Hollywood Studios (MGM when I was younger). Anyway, it was really weird and wonderful to hear those familiar songs (which I still know by heart) coming from my room while my two children watched, snuggled together as close as they could be, one chewing on my favorite blanket (I know because I just got under the blanket and a corner is wet), and I feel like I was just there a few years ago. It's too fun and too weird all at the same time.

Oh, and did I mention that I have a child growing inside of me? Today was the first day that I could watch my belly and actually see a hand/elbow/foot move across my belly. Donny calls it the "Alien" stage. I have been able to feel him/her for a while and have seen the bumps here and there...but today it was something moving across my insides, and I could see it on the outside. There is a baby growing inside of me. Really? Who left me in charge?

Thankfully, of course, I'm not really in charge...but I do sometimes wonder what God is doing entrusting me with so much. I am thankful for the gifts of our children and the time I have with them. Loose teeth, Disney movies, breakfast for dinner - these are sweet memories we are making...and they bring back some sweet memories of my own childhood. For now, God has given me and Donny charge over our family's little life, and I will embrace the responsibility and will hopefully repent when I begrudge it.

Even though I know I am not ultimately in charge, when I have to make a mommy-sized decision when I feel like a little girl myself, I still have to ask myself : Who left me in charge?

What a gift to be the mommy to these three little ones.

But sometimes moments like losing a tooth can make me ask...

...who left me in charge???
(I'm on the left with my sister)

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Yes, I said it...homeschooling. On August 11, 2010, after nearly two years of prayer and research, I began the journey of homeschooling. Not sure how long this journey is going to last...but it has begun...and I actually like it so far.

For those who care, most of my influence to homeschool came from reading the book The Well Trained Mind. I was also intrigued with some homeschooling families on staff with Campus Crusade in Orlando. They were the first families we had ever seen homeschool, and I really liked what I saw. Their kids were normal, a joy to be around, and their family unit was so tight.

Anyway, I really don't want to take the time explaining myself (which is what I often feel like I need to do). I just want to say...I am glad I am doing it, and I really like it already. I love having the time with Hunter, and I love Millie and Hunter having more time together. I am also looking forward to Hunter being home in February when this new baby blesses our home. I am looking forward to giving him and Millie every opportunity to love on and care for their little brother or sister, and having him home for school will give him that extra time.

It's not easy...but it's not awful either. Actually, there are parts that seem easy and are delightful (like when Hunter reads on his own without being prompted and when he shows proficiency way beyond what I am teaching him), but there are parts that are awful (like doing a math lesson with money and having to sit through the clanging coins while I have a throbbing headache). My patience is tried everyday, but I also cling to the Lord for that patience in a way that is new and so good for my heart and sanctification.

And...I love seeing him (and Millie) learn. He seems to pick up reading really well. I was a decoder as a kid, and I think he has some decoding skills as well. As I am writing, he just came in to ask me a question and read "Blogger" on the top of my computer screen. We haven't talked about the "er" ending yet, but we have talked about all the other rules that form that word...and he just figured out the rest. It's really fun watching him get excited about figuring that stuff out.

So...what do we do? Bible, Math and Reading...that's about it. We're pretty simple around here. We start the day reading Scripture. By reading the same passage over and over, the kids start to learn it. We have been working on Psalm 139 for most of September, and it is so sweet to hear those words everyday as we read of being knit together in my mother's womb and being fearfully and wonderfully made. I pray that God is using those verses to teach their hearts about his careful workmanship on them and on their new baby brother or sister. Then we always sing a song or two and pray for our day. No real Bible curriculum...just the Word, song and prayer...and it's a good start for me as well.

Math. We use Saxon Math which was passed on to me by my sister when she did a little homeschooling with her oldest before he entered Kindergarten. I began to use their Kindergarten program last year just to dabble in it with Hunter a little, so we began our year finishing Saxon K. We will finish it up in a few weeks and then move on to Saxon 1.

Reading. Confession: I am not a reader. I haven't read to my kids very much through the years. I only read what I am required for the few seminary classes I have taken/am taking. I don't like to read. BUT...guess what my favorite part of school is? Can you believe it? Reading.

I have "snack time" with them between math and our formal reading lesson. To start the year, I read them "Stuart Little" which showed me immediately that my kids needed to learn the discipline of sitting and just listening to the reading of a good book (without pictures). Once we finished "Stuart Little," I felt indecisive about what book to pick up next (because it is quite a commitment for me...since I don't like to read), so I started on page one of their Jesus Storybook Bible and started reading...and they love it (and so do I). I'll probably go back to a more traditional piece of literature once we finish, but I just love their attentiveness and their requests for more when I read their story Bible to them. Sometimes I feel fanatical about having Bible time and then reading to them from their story Bible later in the morning...but isn't that what school is about anyway? Math, reading, all is about the one true God who made the world and ordered the world and how we learn so that he could reveal himself and his glory to us. That's what I pray with the kids every morning during our prayer time: that as we learn different pieces of information that we would learn about the God who put those things into place.

Back to reading. I am fading now, so I'll finish with highly praising the reading primer I am using. It's The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, and it is wonderful. Again, no major curriculum...just a very simple, methodical way to teach basic phonics in which the rules build on each other day by day. Millie has done a lot of our reading lessons with us, and she (almost 3 1/2) can recognize all the letters and tell you the primary sound for all the consonants and the short sound of all the vowels. We even do a "spelling bee" at the end of our reading lessons, and I have Millie tell me the first letter of the word and then have Hunter finish the spelling. I don't tell you this to brag on my daughter. I tell you because I have been so impressed with the quality of this book and its methods.

If you know Hunter at all, you know that he loves to make things...especially books. I feel for the kid. His mom (and teacher) neither reads nor does crafts. He has asked me every few days since school began when we are going to do a craft or make something, and my response has been the same every time: "No, not today. Maybe sometime in the future Mommy will plan a craft." It's been 6 weeks or so. No crafts. So there are some definite deficiencies to my home education program. He still makes his books...which has shown me the need to begin a more formal handwriting curriculum. So that is next on my list of things to add to our day.

Ok, I'm done. If you have stuck with me this far, kudos to you. Since school began in August, I just haven't gotten a chance to process my life now as a home educator, so this was helpful for me. For the skeptic, I hope you are intrigued by something (even if you are revolted by other things). For the inquirer, I hope you are inspired to consider it (although I absolutely know it's not for everyone). For anyone else, I don't know why you read this far, but I hope you have gained a little peek into my days. It's nice to feel known, and you are known sometimes by what you spend your time doing...and this fills my mornings. And they are treasured hours...often trying...but always treasured.

First Day of School Smiles.
Our "classroom" is set up in our entryway from our front door to our kitchen.

Hunter during a math lesson on covering a shape in different ways.

A family dinner of green eggs after Hunter read "Green Eggs and Ham."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dear Little One...

Dear Little One,

We are going to the doctor tomorrow, and we will get to see you for the first time. Since we had an early ultrasound at 5 weeks, we really haven't seen you yet. I am feeling little flutters. Is that you? I am a little nervous about this ultrasound. We have friends right now who are in labor with their little one who will not live long on this side of heaven. Life is so fragile, and I feel like I know that in a different way now compared to when I was pregnant with Hunter and Millie. There are no guarantees of what we will see on that ultrasound tomorrow...but I am still in love with you already. You have been a blessing from the start. An easier first trimester, and a breeze of a second trimester so far. I love you, little one.

We are going to wait to find out if you are a boy or a girl...very unlike me...but something is different about this pregnancy. I just want to wait. I want to cherish these moments of unknowing and waiting and anticipation...because I am so excited about you.

Until we meet face to face, I will be content tomorrow to see what will only be faint glimpses of you...but you nonetheless. I can't wait to see your legs, head, arms...I hope you will be moving a lot. You have been moving around for every appointment we have had so far, because the doctor has had to chase you to get a reading for your heartbeat. Is this a glimpse of what's to come?

Sleep well tonight, my little love. Tomorrow I will see you a little more for who you are...and I look forward to the day we will meet face to face and I will hold you in my arms. For now, I happily carry you and cherish every moment.

Love, Mommy

Monday, September 06, 2010

Can I Go Back, Please?

On Thursday we left for a wonderful long weekend vacation in Naples, FL. Oh, I am still deeply sighing just thinking about it. We drove home today (Monday), and I am already feeling cramped by normal life. Ugh.

I am so thankful for our weekend away. Four glorious nights, three full was bliss. A house to ourselves, cable tv, pool in the back, 10 minute drive to the beach, shopping and eating nearby. Aaaaaahhhhh.

I think the most I did all weekend in terms of cooking was pouring a bowl of cereal. Even Donny did our cereal dishes, so I didn't wash a dish all weekend. All weekend long. No dishes. Bliss. I watched a lot of Food Network, and I actually got Donny to watch The Sound of Music with me on Sunday night. Deep sighs as Fraulein Maria and Captain Von Trapp confess their love. Thank you, TBS.

It's Monday night. It's all over...and I am thankful for the weekend. I do wish I was still laying on my pool float or flipping between HGTV and Food Network. I need to move on, but it had been a long time since the Friederichsen family had a vacation. So thankful.

Hunter has become quite the swimmer this summer.
He and Millie loved having a pool at the house.

We went to the Imaginarium in Fort Myers on Saturday.
Here is my "no fear" Millie holding a tarantula.

Millie also enjoyed the Dinosaur Dig at the Imaginarium.

Sweet kisses for Daddy while we waited on the sunset.

Sweet Siblings waiting on a sunset.
Totally posed, but it's still sweet. :)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Things they say these days that I don't want to forget

Millie: concuber (cucumber), hippomopotamus, Master Yoda (She always calls Yoda "Master Yoda." I think that's so funny.).

When I discipline Millie for disobedience, she has started saying two different things that crack me up. She talks to me about wanting to talk about having an attitude of "ratitude." We learned that from our children's ministry director...about having an attitude of gratitude rather than an attitude of ratitude. I have talked with Millie before about that, but even when discipline has little to do with attitude and more to do with a specific act of disobedience, she mentions (quite dramatically) about having an "attitude of wattitude." It reminds me a little of Elmer Fudd. Also, she mention sometimes about having wisdom...which she has picked up from our family going through Proverbs during family worship. It's just funny to me, because she often brings those things up when they are not the issue we are talking about at all...but I'm glad they are coming to mind...although it's hard not to start laughing when she mentions them so dramatically (as if she just figured something out) right as I am trying to talk with her about her discipline issue.

Hunter: renember (instead of "remember"...Millie does that too, but she has learned it from him), opposed to (instead of "supposed to)

During family worship, we ask the kids a series of questions from the Children's Catechism (really can't praise that learning method enough). Hunter started out answering this question as follows:

Q: Who wrote the Bible?
A: Chosen men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Hunter's Answer: Chosen men who were expired by the Holy Spirit.

Hunter also has this thing with "knuckles." He has learned to bump knuckles as a greeting or a sign of accomplishment (instead of a handshake or high five). Often, during dinner, he'll leap out of his seat, cross his eyes, make a funny face, and say "knuckles" and bump his own knuckles together. It's his funny, goofy side...which we love.

I have also appreciated this week getting some "Mudrs Day" cards from Hunter. He writes a lot, but he writes phonetically (as it sounds to him). I know he'll pick up in the spelling department in the next few years, but it is neat to watch his little mind work as he puts sounds to a page.

Loving our kids. There are some things that I would rather forget about the daily grind of parenting, but there is so much I wish I could hold on to and remember forever.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sweet Millie

Do you know that Millie's formal name is Amelia? Well, our Amelia Louise turned 3 today. I get emotional with every birthday of my children. I have such fond memories of Millie's birthday that I often remember the very emotions of that day. I am so thankful that God blessed us with our little girl. I love you, Amelia Louise. You are our sweet Millie.

April 20, 2007 around 8:30 a.m. In labor and on our way to the hospital.
Our last picture as a family of three.

I called my sister around 7:30 a.m. to ask her if she thought I was in labor. After talking a little and calling her back a little later, we determined that I was indeed in labor, and she offered to come to get Hunter. Cousins Nathan, Drew, and Daniel came in their pajamas to take Hunter home with them. What would I have done without my sis that day???!!!

At last...our sweet Millie.

A new, proud family of four.

April 20, 2008 - One year old.

Birthday cupcakes at Dunkin Donuts became a Friederichsen family tradition at Millie's first birthday.

April 20, 2009 - Two years old.

April 20, 2010 - Three years old.
Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet Millie. We love you so.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck

Hunter has been interested lately in riding his big boy bike (still with training wheels). He even asked if we could take a walk so that he could ride it around the neighborhood. We have not gotten him out on his bike much, so we wanted to capitalize on his new-found enthusiasm for it.

This afternoon, after Donny got home from school, we put Millie in a stroller and headed down the street for a stroll/bike ride with the kids. As we were walking, we heard the sound of an ice cream truck. There we were, in the middle of our stroll, and I just had to get my kids ice cream.

It was one of those "firsts" that seemed small but meant something to me. I do not often throw logic aside, but this afternoon I did.

It was right before dinner. The ice cream would probably ruin their appetites. Did that matter? No.

Hunter was on his bike, so the ice cream would probably melt on our way home. Did that matter? No.

Millie was in one of my favorite shirts of hers, so there was a high likelihood of drippage. Did that matter? Well, yes, but I just crossed my fingers and let that one go.

The ice cream was more than I typically pay for an entire carton of ice cream...much less two bars that would be gone within minutes. Did that matter? Not at all.

It was our first time getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. A special treat for sure. I know there will be days I will say "no" when they hear that little song luring them outside for treats galore...but today it was fun to say yes and see the delight in their eyes as we let them choose anything from the truck. We came away with a Dora popsicle (the only girl option) and a Sonic popsicle...and four smiling Friederichsens...thankful for a special few moments shared today over dripping ice cream from the ice cream truck.

Once we got home, I covered Millie's favorite shirt with this pirate shirt.

That was a Sonic the Hedghog popsicle.
Now it's mainly two green gumball eyes with some ice cream left around them.

My Little Boy is Growing Up

I have had a few moments over the past week or two when I have thought: "Wow. Hunter is going to be all grown up before I know it."

He began tee ball practice on Monday, March 8th. He loves going to the cul-de-sac with his dad and working on hitting and throwing...standing like a "T" to get the proper position for a good throw. This is Hunter's first organized sport, and I am excited for him to play for the YMCA "Wolves" this spring.

On Sunday, Hunter sat down for some "book time," looked at the book "Ten Apples on Top," and told Donny: "I think I can read this." And so he started. After I put Millie down for her nap, I joined them in Hunter's room. He was reading. We have read some basic phonics books before (you know, like "Pig sat. Dog sat on cat. Cat had a hat."), but the book he was reading was a bit more challenging. My jaw dropped every time he read a word that I just knew I was going to have to help him with...but didn't. Of course, he needed help with some words, but I was just amazed. He read over 30 pages to us. My little boy is growing up.

So here I am...loving being Hunter and Millie's mom...while also having this haunting feeling that they are going to be grown up and gone before I know it. Lord, will you give me eyes to see the big picture that all the mundane tasks of motherhood are leading to the growth and nurture of my children. One day, they will no longer be primarily under our care, so I will cherish today and rejoice over every milestone and jaw dropping moment when I realize: "Oh, they're growing up right before my eyes."
My little boy, now 5 1/2, heading to his first tee ball practice

Hunter and Donny playing baseball on Sunday in our cul-de-sac

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hallelujah, What a Savior

We have recently started having family worship with the kids at night before bedtime. We sit on the floor in the living room, pray, sing a hymn, go through some questions and answers from the Children's Catechism, and then we read and talk about a few verses from the Proverbs. We then close by praying for someone or something. So far, Millie has wanted to pray for lots of toys and characters, so we are working on that. :)

This afternoon, as the kids were playing before naps in Hunter's room, I overheard two little voices singing: "Hallelujah, what a Savior, Hallelujah, what a friend. Saving, helping, keeping, loving. He is with me to the end." That's the refrain from "Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners" which is the hymn we have been singing in family worship. Those were sweet words and sweet sounds to hear from my kids today. My prayer is that those words and the things they learn about our Savior in family worship, worship at church, and in day to day life will grip their hearts. My prayer is that those things would grip my heart as well. Thanks, kids. I needed those words today. And thank you, Lord, for putting your praise in the hearts and mouths of my lead their mommy back to you this afternoon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Creativity in my House

Everyday I am amazed with the level of creativity and ingenuity that comes out of my household. There is rarely a day that passes when I am not in awe of something that Hunter has made or that the kids pretend or that Donny can do. I really do look forward to seeing what will come from their minds , hands, and mouths each day.

Hunter lately has been showing a sweet interest in creating things for others. Yesterday, Millie and I went shopping for a birthday present for a party we attended today. When Hunter saw what we got Millie's friend, he decided to make one for Millie so that she would not be sad that she did not have one. Here's what he made...

Can you guess what the birthday present was? Cinderella's carriage with Cinderella and the Prince, the Fairy Godmother, and a horse. Hunter asked me to help him attach it to one of his cars so that the carriage could go. So it's attached to a Hummer. We want Cinderella to have a sweet ride, right?

We play lots of pretend around our house. Anyone know who these adorable misfits are?

Robin Hood and Maid Marian, of course. Really, they are as adorable as the picture seems. I love when they dress up and play pretend together.

Last, but certainly not least, can anyone guess who this is?

Last week we lost Obi Wan Kenobi's head at the park. Last April, Cinderella's head fell off her body from Millie's 2nd birthday cake. Guess what my funny hubby did? He and Millie worked in the office tonight on this little gem. Yep, that's Cinderella's head on Obi Wan's body. Millie now calls him/her "Obi Wan Kenobi Cinderella." And why not? What else are we going to call her?

Funny times in the Friederichsen household. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dreams Don't Come True

Something funny happened in our car last Sunday night that I had to write about.

Our whole family was driving to get some pizza before the Super Bowl. Hunter and Millie were in the back seat talking. I don't know how the conversation started, but here's how it went;

Hunter: "Dreams don't come true."
Millie: "Yes, dreams do come true."

Hunter: "Ok, where would you like to go? Make a wish."
Millie: "The kingdom."

Hunter: "Ok, wish you were in the kingdom. Now close your eyes and count to three. One, two, three. Ok, now open your eyes. See? You're not in the kingdom. Dreams don't come true."

I guess Hunter is the realist in family. It was hilarious and sad all at the same time. I've never actually heard anyone verbalize that before (much less my five year old son). A funny car trip on Super Bowl Sunday.