the fourth edition

 
This is your little game, the way you've found to connect.  Grant loves to get his fingers wrapped tightly in any hair that he can reach, so you give him your whole head, John, and let him dig in. Then you start screeching, "Nooo! Don't pull my hair!" and you yank your head back as he holds tight. I'm always surprised Grant isn't scared by the volume, but he thinks this is the greatest game ever and looks at you bright eyed and giggly.

This is your little game, the way you've found to connect. 

Grant loves to get his fingers wrapped tightly in any hair that he can reach, so you give him your whole head, John, and let him dig in. Then you start screeching, "Nooo! Don't pull my hair!" and you yank your head back as he holds tight. I'm always surprised Grant isn't scared by the volume, but he thinks this is the greatest game ever and looks at you bright eyed and giggly.

This past month was rough with you boys, forgive me if I turned my back on you and walked away more times than I care to admit. My brain is constantly thinking “I can't laugh at that, no I need to separate them, or maybe I should put them on time-out? Do not laugh, whatever you do…DO NOT laugh” Your energy is usually contagious, and you boys are learning at a very young age that how you two are interacting usually determines my mood. You're sometimes evil about it, you two can almost sense when I’ve had the worst day and you push me to the limit. Food that is intended for your mouths ends up on the floor, boogers that belong in your nose end up in your mouth, pee that belongs in the toilet ends up everywhere else but in the bowl and sword fights turn into tears. When I need a break, I put you in the cage (also known as a trampoline) and let you burn off some energy. It is one of my favorite times of the day. Sometimes I even document it for you, so I can remember that these are the “magic” times and maybe I should just laugh a little more.

This past month was rough with you boys, forgive me if I turned my back on you and walked away more times than I care to admit. My brain is constantly thinking “I can't laugh at that, no I need to separate them, or maybe I should put them on time-out? Do not laugh, whatever you do…DO NOT laugh” Your energy is usually contagious, and you boys are learning at a very young age that how you two are interacting usually determines my mood. You're sometimes evil about it, you two can almost sense when I’ve had the worst day and you push me to the limit. Food that is intended for your mouths ends up on the floor, boogers that belong in your nose end up in your mouth, pee that belongs in the toilet ends up everywhere else but in the bowl and sword fights turn into tears. When I need a break, I put you in the cage (also known as a trampoline) and let you burn off some energy. It is one of my favorite times of the day. Sometimes I even document it for you, so I can remember that these are the “magic” times and maybe I should just laugh a little more.

Together but worlds apart. That's become the norm around here. You like to play in the same place with the same things but rarely are able to interact much without a fight. You play so differently and Ayden, you struggle to understand this little person who enjoys messy chaos and often communicates through excited screeches. It will get easier and the two of you will come up with a system that works. But your age gap and personalities keep you at arms length for now. Be patient, my loves. 

Together but worlds apart. That's become the norm around here. You like to play in the same place with the same things but rarely are able to interact much without a fight. You play so differently and Ayden, you struggle to understand this little person who enjoys messy chaos and often communicates through excited screeches. It will get easier and the two of you will come up with a system that works. But your age gap and personalities keep you at arms length for now. Be patient, my loves. 

Dear Jack, I always thought I was your biggest fan.  You had a baseball tournament this past weekend and I saw every pitch you threw and every single swing of the bat.  As I cheered for you, I noticed something.  I have an echo.  It makes me laugh because Sam is right there on the fence cheering for you.  “Come on Jack!”  “Nice pitch, Wild Thing!” “Let’s go Bandits!” Your little brother is there watching everything you do.  He gave up his entire weekend to sit at the baseball field and watch you play….because he wanted to.  He wants to be around you and your team.  You are the “cool kids.”  He even wears your old jersey and team sweatshirt with your name and number on it to the games. And when you make a mistake or miss a play, he watches how you react. Thankfully, you are graceful in defeat.  When there is a minute of down time, he timidly walks to the edge of the dugout to see if you want anything from the concession stand.  You totally make his day when you say yes.  When you ask him to get you a bag of sunflower seeds or Big League Chew, he feels like he is contributing.  So really, thank you for not totally blowing off your little brother when you are at baseball.  Even when you can’t take the time to talk to him from the dugout, you are kind.  I know that isn’t always easy.  I am proud of you for that.

Dear Jack,

I always thought I was your biggest fan.  You had a baseball tournament this past weekend and I saw every pitch you threw and every single swing of the bat.  As I cheered for you, I noticed something.  I have an echo.  It makes me laugh because Sam is right there on the fence cheering for you.  “Come on Jack!”  “Nice pitch, Wild Thing!” “Let’s go Bandits!” Your little brother is there watching everything you do.  He gave up his entire weekend to sit at the baseball field and watch you play….because he wanted to.  He wants to be around you and your team.  You are the “cool kids.”  He even wears your old jersey and team sweatshirt with your name and number on it to the games. And when you make a mistake or miss a play, he watches how you react. Thankfully, you are graceful in defeat.  When there is a minute of down time, he timidly walks to the edge of the dugout to see if you want anything from the concession stand.  You totally make his day when you say yes.  When you ask him to get you a bag of sunflower seeds or Big League Chew, he feels like he is contributing.  So really, thank you for not totally blowing off your little brother when you are at baseball.  Even when you can’t take the time to talk to him from the dugout, you are kind.  I know that isn’t always easy.  I am proud of you for that.

We just wrapped up another season of soccer and school is getting ready to be over for the year. I am so proud of both of you!  You are both amazing soccer players, one of my favorite things to do is cheer you both on from the sidelines. Your Daddy usually wanders to the other end of the field because I get a little too excited sometimes...well maybe more than sometimes! I can remember when I played basketball, I could hear my Dad hollering for me over the crowd during our home games. I didn’t play much because I am not as athletic as the two of you, but it still made be feel good.  We have 18 baby goats now! They provide us with a ton of entertainment in the evenings. This particular baby goat’s name is Oscar, the past two years we have had baby goats that looked just like this one, brown with a white belt around their belly. It is kind of crazy to have one like that yearly, but we do live on a crazy farm.  Love you both, Momma

We just wrapped up another season of soccer and school is getting ready to be over for the year. I am so proud of both of you!  You are both amazing soccer players, one of my favorite things to do is cheer you both on from the sidelines. Your Daddy usually wanders to the other end of the field because I get a little too excited sometimes...well maybe more than sometimes! I can remember when I played basketball, I could hear my Dad hollering for me over the crowd during our home games. I didn’t play much because I am not as athletic as the two of you, but it still made be feel good. 

We have 18 baby goats now! They provide us with a ton of entertainment in the evenings. This particular baby goat’s name is Oscar, the past two years we have had baby goats that looked just like this one, brown with a white belt around their belly. It is kind of crazy to have one like that yearly, but we do live on a crazy farm.  Love you both, Momma

Archer you know just how to make Gryff collapse into a fit of giggles, which in turn spurs you on to your next trick. And although you are often stealing any and every toy he touches, more often you are asking him to join you in your fort, or your hiding place, or your box. Watching the two of you play together lights a fire in me. In watching you play for a few moments I see a deep friendship growing, gentle caring for one another, wild energy running between you, and idealization & modelling. I know as you grow up together these things will change, and some may even fade for a time, but you are connected for life. The bond between you will withstand anything. 

Archer you know just how to make Gryff collapse into a fit of giggles, which in turn spurs you on to your next trick. And although you are often stealing any and every toy he touches, more often you are asking him to join you in your fort, or your hiding place, or your box. Watching the two of you play together lights a fire in me. In watching you play for a few moments I see a deep friendship growing, gentle caring for one another, wild energy running between you, and idealization & modelling. I know as you grow up together these things will change, and some may even fade for a time, but you are connected for life. The bond between you will withstand anything. 

Where I find you, I will usually find your shadow. You tend to use it to your advantage by coaxing him into mischief. And he happily follows along because wherever you are is where he wants to be, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to one day find you feeding him mischievous ideas while standing back to watch as he goes into action and subsequently gets into trouble.

Where I find you, I will usually find your shadow. You tend to use it to your advantage by coaxing him into mischief. And he happily follows along because wherever you are is where he wants to be, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to one day find you feeding him mischievous ideas while standing back to watch as he goes into action and subsequently gets into trouble.

This last week was Atlys' 5th birthday, seriously where has the time gone!!  Tyton was so sweet to Atlys this night, most likely because he wanted him to share his toys. Bahaha.  None the less, he helped me make his cake and lit all of the candles for his brother.  They do love each other sometimes. 

This last week was Atlys' 5th birthday, seriously where has the time gone!!  Tyton was so sweet to Atlys this night, most likely because he wanted him to share his toys. Bahaha.  None the less, he helped me make his cake and lit all of the candles for his brother.  They do love each other sometimes. 

My Boys, this evening the weather was beautiful and we made the spur of the moment decision to get food from the grocery store and enjoy a picnic dinner at the playground. I watched you all follow each other around like little shadows — one after another, after another. Each younger brother looking up to his older brother wanting to do the things that he saw his older brother accomplish. As we were leaving, you all decided to climb these rocks. You lined up, one, two, three; the largest down to the smallest. And as I looked down at your baby brother asleep in his wrap on my chest, I smiled knowing that he had three amazing older brothers who would teach him everything there is to know about being a boy. 

My Boys, this evening the weather was beautiful and we made the spur of the moment decision to get food from the grocery store and enjoy a picnic dinner at the playground. I watched you all follow each other around like little shadows — one after another, after another. Each younger brother looking up to his older brother wanting to do the things that he saw his older brother accomplish. As we were leaving, you all decided to climb these rocks. You lined up, one, two, three; the largest down to the smallest. And as I looked down at your baby brother asleep in his wrap on my chest, I smiled knowing that he had three amazing older brothers who would teach him everything there is to know about being a boy. 

the third edition

 
First, I think you’re both crazy.  The fact that you want to go into a Superpipe is insane.  It has 22 foot vertical walls and is made out of ice.  You charge into it at full speed with the intent of riding up that huge wall as fast as you can and jumping up out of the pipe and flipping and spinning.  If you wipe out, there could be dire consequences - you could fall more than 22 feet. Regardless of the danger, you both drop in…one right after the other. You share a common dream of one day being on the podium at the X Games.  Jack, you’ve been training for this for years and your love of freestyle skiing has certainly rubbed off on your little brother.  Because he knows you will only bring him with you where you know he will be safe, he blindly follows you.  It is a big responsibility for you to take on…making sure your brother is safe.  I am continually impressed by your drive to learn new things and push yourself even harder than you did the day before.  Your little brother is watching you like a hawk.  He thinks you are larger than life and will follow wherever you go. You are actively shaping who he is.

First, I think you’re both crazy.  The fact that you want to go into a Superpipe is insane.  It has 22 foot vertical walls and is made out of ice.  You charge into it at full speed with the intent of riding up that huge wall as fast as you can and jumping up out of the pipe and flipping and spinning.  If you wipe out, there could be dire consequences - you could fall more than 22 feet. Regardless of the danger, you both drop in…one right after the other. You share a common dream of one day being on the podium at the X Games.  Jack, you’ve been training for this for years and your love of freestyle skiing has certainly rubbed off on your little brother.  Because he knows you will only bring him with you where you know he will be safe, he blindly follows you.  It is a big responsibility for you to take on…making sure your brother is safe.  I am continually impressed by your drive to learn new things and push yourself even harder than you did the day before.  Your little brother is watching you like a hawk.  He thinks you are larger than life and will follow wherever you go. You are actively shaping who he is.

I’ve lost count of the times I would remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. I know there have been so many times that you’d rather not listen. Because he’s on the spectrum, he just approaches most things in a totally different way than you do, and that can create a lot of frustration since you are such a perfectionist and rule follower. In those moments, I was there to remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. There was a phase where he would play quietly near you because to him that was as good as being included. In those moments, I was there to remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. After so many reminders, I’ve seen it sink in. I’ve seen so many moments that you include him in what you are doing. I’ve seen you encourage others to include him. And I know because of him, you are right there to play with friends at school that may just do things in a different way. Without judgement. Only with a loving heart. And I really can’t tell you how proud that makes me!

I’ve lost count of the times I would remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. I know there have been so many times that you’d rather not listen. Because he’s on the spectrum, he just approaches most things in a totally different way than you do, and that can create a lot of frustration since you are such a perfectionist and rule follower. In those moments, I was there to remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. There was a phase where he would play quietly near you because to him that was as good as being included. In those moments, I was there to remind you that he just wants to be included in what you do. After so many reminders, I’ve seen it sink in. I’ve seen so many moments that you include him in what you are doing. I’ve seen you encourage others to include him. And I know because of him, you are right there to play with friends at school that may just do things in a different way. Without judgement. Only with a loving heart. And I really can’t tell you how proud that makes me!

Everywhere we go you both have to find the biggest tree and climb it.  We recently started walking Luna every evening around this lake and you have fallen in love with this tree specifically.  Every time we go here, you both spend the time gathering sticks and climbing into the tree to build your own secret “tree house.”   I love when I see you both bonding and building not only houses, but memories together.  This little lake has definitely become a place where I truly enjoying taking you and look forward to doing with you both every evening.

Everywhere we go you both have to find the biggest tree and climb it.  We recently started walking Luna every evening around this lake and you have fallen in love with this tree specifically.  Every time we go here, you both spend the time gathering sticks and climbing into the tree to build your own secret “tree house.”   I love when I see you both bonding and building not only houses, but memories together.  This little lake has definitely become a place where I truly enjoying taking you and look forward to doing with you both every evening.

You have a little shadow. A messy, noisy little shadow. Cam watches and attempts to imitate everything you do. And although it drives you crazy at times, I know you feel the love that he pours over you as he stares at you with joy. Because to him you are the whole world. You are the one who shows his how to get dressed, how to build forts, how to get cozy on the couch, how to dig at the beach, how to everything. I know that it can be hard to be followed constantly by someone who doesn't always understand the rules of play but you are amazing with him. Truly amazing. And when I think of the future when you two are grown, I have no doubt that you will fill this role just as well as you do now. 

You have a little shadow. A messy, noisy little shadow. Cam watches and attempts to imitate everything you do. And although it drives you crazy at times, I know you feel the love that he pours over you as he stares at you with joy. Because to him you are the whole world. You are the one who shows his how to get dressed, how to build forts, how to get cozy on the couch, how to dig at the beach, how to everything. I know that it can be hard to be followed constantly by someone who doesn't always understand the rules of play but you are amazing with him. Truly amazing. And when I think of the future when you two are grown, I have no doubt that you will fill this role just as well as you do now. 

Colton is sitting up so well these days. He still needs some supervision when supporting himself, but in no time at all he will not need any help from us at all. I can see your excitement, Xander, and enthusiasm, as Colton gets bigger and more mobile, because as he does, he becomes more and more able to play with you. You two were born to be brothers. The more I see you interact, the more I see how much you care for your little brother, the more I realize that you would never have been truly fulfilled without him in your life.

Colton is sitting up so well these days. He still needs some supervision when supporting himself, but in no time at all he will not need any help from us at all. I can see your excitement, Xander, and enthusiasm, as Colton gets bigger and more mobile, because as he does, he becomes more and more able to play with you. You two were born to be brothers. The more I see you interact, the more I see how much you care for your little brother, the more I realize that you would never have been truly fulfilled without him in your life.

I love adventuring with you kids more than you will ever know. You see the world through untainted glasses and your view of your surroundings is that of pure amazement. This month's adventures brought us to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We hiked, we climbed on huge rocks, we talked about how the rocks formed, the beautiful colors we were seeing, and if we would find any snakes on the trail like the signs said. Watching you guys explore brings me so much joy. You boys are far more brave than your older sister. Part of that is due to your boyhood and the fact that you are both fearless and have no depth perception, your sister on the other hand just knows more about the dangers of the outdoors. Your little brother tries his hardest to keep up with you, you let him as if you already know that life and your adventures are going to be far more enjoyable and memorable with your favorite little tagalong. I admire you boys and your budding relationship everyday, in fact I often am just mesmerized by the two of you and how close you are for being 2 and a half years apart. I hope you continue to cherish each other in the coming years as I cherish everyday with you kids.

I love adventuring with you kids more than you will ever know. You see the world through untainted glasses and your view of your surroundings is that of pure amazement. This month's adventures brought us to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We hiked, we climbed on huge rocks, we talked about how the rocks formed, the beautiful colors we were seeing, and if we would find any snakes on the trail like the signs said. Watching you guys explore brings me so much joy. You boys are far more brave than your older sister. Part of that is due to your boyhood and the fact that you are both fearless and have no depth perception, your sister on the other hand just knows more about the dangers of the outdoors. Your little brother tries his hardest to keep up with you, you let him as if you already know that life and your adventures are going to be far more enjoyable and memorable with your favorite little tagalong. I admire you boys and your budding relationship everyday, in fact I often am just mesmerized by the two of you and how close you are for being 2 and a half years apart. I hope you continue to cherish each other in the coming years as I cherish everyday with you kids.

This place where we live is more than I could have ever asked for. I enjoy sitting in the pasture surrounded by the cows listening to them graze. I love sitting on the back porch watching the two of you fight over the four wheeler, or the baseball bat, or.. ok everything...that’s not my point. I enjoy our special place in our little house on top of the hill with our animals and beauty all around us. I do love all of those things, but this place isn’t my home. You are my home, the two of you and your Daddy are my home. I love your hugs, your “I love you Momma’s” and playing ice cream shop on the porch.  My life would never me the same without you and I don’t think that I would ever be “at home”.  Love you both more than I could ever put into words.

This place where we live is more than I could have ever asked for. I enjoy sitting in the pasture surrounded by the cows listening to them graze. I love sitting on the back porch watching the two of you fight over the four wheeler, or the baseball bat, or.. ok everything...that’s not my point. I enjoy our special place in our little house on top of the hill with our animals and beauty all around us. I do love all of those things, but this place isn’t my home. You are my home, the two of you and your Daddy are my home. I love your hugs, your “I love you Momma’s” and playing ice cream shop on the porch.  My life would never me the same without you and I don’t think that I would ever be “at home”.  Love you both more than I could ever put into words.

You really don't play together yet, in the typical sense.  Bright colored baby toys seem to have universal appeal though, and the little play gym seems to be everyone's favorite.

You really don't play together yet, in the typical sense.  Bright colored baby toys seem to have universal appeal though, and the little play gym seems to be everyone's favorite.

In your 11 months on this Earth, you have made it clear that you will not be ignored or left behind. You always seem to be one step ahead of us all Gryffin, and we are all constantly trying to keep up. At no point in time is it OK for Archer to do anything that doesn’t include you, and when he tries you will do everything in your power to join in. I would say that the “annoying little brother” stage has begun. 

In your 11 months on this Earth, you have made it clear that you will not be ignored or left behind. You always seem to be one step ahead of us all Gryffin, and we are all constantly trying to keep up. At no point in time is it OK for Archer to do anything that doesn’t include you, and when he tries you will do everything in your power to join in. I would say that the “annoying little brother” stage has begun. 

My boys. This month has been hard. It seems as though you’ve been fighting more than you’ve been friends. “I hate you” has outnumbered “I love you”. I’ve been struggling too. Many days I’ve gone back through old photographs of you boys just to remind myself that you do love each. You are best friends. Some days are just really tough. But when I see photos such as this one from two years ago — when one morning looked over as I cooked breakfast and saw you two sitting in the most perfect pocket of light. Big brother “reading” to little brother. And when I see these moments once again, my heart swells and I am reminded that all is right in the world. 

My boys. This month has been hard. It seems as though you’ve been fighting more than you’ve been friends. “I hate you” has outnumbered “I love you”. I’ve been struggling too. Many days I’ve gone back through old photographs of you boys just to remind myself that you do love each. You are best friends. Some days are just really tough. But when I see photos such as this one from two years ago — when one morning looked over as I cooked breakfast and saw you two sitting in the most perfect pocket of light. Big brother “reading” to little brother. And when I see these moments once again, my heart swells and I am reminded that all is right in the world. 

You two have become the best of friends but more importantly you have learned HOW to be someone's friend.  "Treat him the way you want to be treated", "You catch more flies with honey"... These are life lessons that we have repeated to you millions of times and I'm so proud to see you truly caring about each other's feelings and being there for one another.  I get those warm fuzzies when you include each other and want to play together on the same team.  I really do feel like I am shaping and nurturing two tiny humans that are going to one day go out in the real world and succeed.  Whether or not you like it you two are stuck together so you might as well enjoy it! 

You two have become the best of friends but more importantly you have learned HOW to be someone's friend.  "Treat him the way you want to be treated", "You catch more flies with honey"... These are life lessons that we have repeated to you millions of times and I'm so proud to see you truly caring about each other's feelings and being there for one another.  I get those warm fuzzies when you include each other and want to play together on the same team.  I really do feel like I am shaping and nurturing two tiny humans that are going to one day go out in the real world and succeed.  Whether or not you like it you two are stuck together so you might as well enjoy it! 

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: GRETCHEN WILLIS

Oh, my sweet boy. I never knew how much you needed a little brother until he was born. Sure you had two little sisters but it's not the same thing. I see that you've carved a special place in your heart for your baby brother. Having children is that way, as you will one day realize: they fill a space in your heart that you never knew was empty before. It's that way with him for you. And it's that way for both of you with me. Come check out more of Gretchen's stunning work!  WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Oh, my sweet boy. I never knew how much you needed a little brother until he was born. Sure you had two little sisters but it's not the same thing. I see that you've carved a special place in your heart for your baby brother. Having children is that way, as you will one day realize: they fill a space in your heart that you never knew was empty before. It's that way with him for you. And it's that way for both of you with me.

Come check out more of Gretchen's stunning work!  WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

the second edition

 
As your relationship grows and you begin to interact more and more, I can often see how your personalities complement each other, and also how they may clash. Gryffin, you do not like being left behind or underestimated, making you the frequent source of Archer’s frustration. Archer, you are still enjoying the fact that you can move quicker and outsmart your baby brother, giving you the upper hand (not for long, I’m sure!). More often than not you are making each other giggle, but the frustrated huffs from both of you are frequent too - it is just too bad that you don’t yet see the humour in each other’s irritation. 

As your relationship grows and you begin to interact more and more, I can often see how your personalities complement each other, and also how they may clash. Gryffin, you do not like being left behind or underestimated, making you the frequent source of Archer’s frustration. Archer, you are still enjoying the fact that you can move quicker and outsmart your baby brother, giving you the upper hand (not for long, I’m sure!). More often than not you are making each other giggle, but the frustrated huffs from both of you are frequent too - it is just too bad that you don’t yet see the humour in each other’s irritation. 

Cameron, you are the classic little brother. Trying desperately to be a part of his world every moment of every day. You spend a lot of time here on your tippie toes, hoping for a glimpse of the action. Sometimes you blindly reach your hand up and wave around hoping to catch something. And the squeal of delight that happens when you snag a treasure off the table brings an automatic smile to my face. Ayden, you use this as a space to play with things that you don't want Cam to touch or things that you deem "chokeful" to protect him (and your things). It's your safe place. Where the destructive little brothers of the world can't reach your carefully placed items. But this season is a short one, my sweet boy. And soon Cam will be climbing the chairs (and table) just like you. There will for sure be a learning curve and a battle of wills. And it will rock your world to no longer have that safe zone. But don't worry, we'll find you a new special spot for delicate things and the two of you will work it through. I have no doubt that soon I will find the two of you perched on the table building grand creations. And just like everything else in life with you two, I can't wait for your relationship to continue evolving and at the same time find myself frantically grasping onto this very moment before it all changes again. 

Cameron, you are the classic little brother. Trying desperately to be a part of his world every moment of every day. You spend a lot of time here on your tippie toes, hoping for a glimpse of the action. Sometimes you blindly reach your hand up and wave around hoping to catch something. And the squeal of delight that happens when you snag a treasure off the table brings an automatic smile to my face. Ayden, you use this as a space to play with things that you don't want Cam to touch or things that you deem "chokeful" to protect him (and your things). It's your safe place. Where the destructive little brothers of the world can't reach your carefully placed items. But this season is a short one, my sweet boy. And soon Cam will be climbing the chairs (and table) just like you. There will for sure be a learning curve and a battle of wills. And it will rock your world to no longer have that safe zone. But don't worry, we'll find you a new special spot for delicate things and the two of you will work it through. I have no doubt that soon I will find the two of you perched on the table building grand creations. And just like everything else in life with you two, I can't wait for your relationship to continue evolving and at the same time find myself frantically grasping onto this very moment before it all changes again. 

He loves the water except when it gets in his face. You happened to splash water in his face, which predictably made him cry. BUT, you also were the first one there to comfort him. You apologized and helped him wipe the water off his face. You gave him a hug until his fussing quieted down. I had been on my way to provide that comfort, but you simply were there first. So I hung back and let you continue to see if it was enough or if I would be needed. I watched and I documented. In that moment, he only needed you.

He loves the water except when it gets in his face. You happened to splash water in his face, which predictably made him cry. BUT, you also were the first one there to comfort him. You apologized and helped him wipe the water off his face. You gave him a hug until his fussing quieted down. I had been on my way to provide that comfort, but you simply were there first. So I hung back and let you continue to see if it was enough or if I would be needed. I watched and I documented. In that moment, he only needed you.

My sweet Xander, you are so protective of your little brother, and Colton is so enamored by you. I watch you both in moments like this and my heart just swells because you literally don't have to do anything, and your little brother will smile at you. It makes me so proud as a mom, and yet at the same time I feel a tiny twinge of jealousy, because some days I have to work so hard to get a smile or a laugh, yet for you he gives them so freely. But I hope that never changes, and I hope you always continue to make each other smile.

My sweet Xander, you are so protective of your little brother, and Colton is so enamored by you. I watch you both in moments like this and my heart just swells because you literally don't have to do anything, and your little brother will smile at you. It makes me so proud as a mom, and yet at the same time I feel a tiny twinge of jealousy, because some days I have to work so hard to get a smile or a laugh, yet for you he gives them so freely. But I hope that never changes, and I hope you always continue to make each other smile.

I always wanted to have a girl, you know, to have that bond that is so very different than boys. God had other plans, and blessed us with boys. Now that I have a house of boys I couldn't imagine having girls. Their daily booty shakes on me, their laughter after they fart, and their bigger than life personalities make me smile daily.  I seriously think I gave birth to the 2 funniest human beings alive. The things we joke and laugh about are like no other. Put them together and their personalities double. Double trouble, and double the amount of laughter. In this photo, they were getting ready for school and I came out to them with their hats, flannel shirts, and their “thug” life hand gestures. I of course, died. Thank you Tyton and Atlys for the daily does of smiles that you give me. 

I always wanted to have a girl, you know, to have that bond that is so very different than boys. God had other plans, and blessed us with boys. Now that I have a house of boys I couldn't imagine having girls. Their daily booty shakes on me, their laughter after they fart, and their bigger than life personalities make me smile daily.  I seriously think I gave birth to the 2 funniest human beings alive. The things we joke and laugh about are like no other. Put them together and their personalities double. Double trouble, and double the amount of laughter. In this photo, they were getting ready for school and I came out to them with their hats, flannel shirts, and their “thug” life hand gestures. I of course, died. Thank you Tyton and Atlys for the daily does of smiles that you give me. 

I love puffy clouds, mud puddles, rain boots full of water, laughs, soaked clothes, grass covered boys, muddy feet and giggles.. I will be sad when the two of you no longer want to play in the huge puddle in the front yard every spring. You fill your mud boots full of water and dump them over your heads and laugh so much!  These moments are so precious and time is flying way to fast!!  I love you both to the moon and back.

I love puffy clouds, mud puddles, rain boots full of water, laughs, soaked clothes, grass covered boys, muddy feet and giggles.. I will be sad when the two of you no longer want to play in the huge puddle in the front yard every spring. You fill your mud boots full of water and dump them over your heads and laugh so much!  These moments are so precious and time is flying way to fast!!  I love you both to the moon and back.

There was a time when all three of you boys would take a bath together. Your oldest brother grew out of that and we are down to two in the tub. But even that is few and far between. These days you each prefer to take a bath, or even a shower, on your own. There are the rare occasions, like glow stick baths, when you will still jump in together. With only two years between the two of you, it’s always been easy to group you both together; what one does the other does too. But more and more you are each carving your own paths in all the big and little ways. Your interests, the way you dress, having a bath to yourself. There was a time when getting everyone in the tub was about saving time, now it’s different. It’s symbolic of a different time in our lives and a bond you two share.

There was a time when all three of you boys would take a bath together. Your oldest brother grew out of that and we are down to two in the tub. But even that is few and far between. These days you each prefer to take a bath, or even a shower, on your own. There are the rare occasions, like glow stick baths, when you will still jump in together. With only two years between the two of you, it’s always been easy to group you both together; what one does the other does too. But more and more you are each carving your own paths in all the big and little ways. Your interests, the way you dress, having a bath to yourself. There was a time when getting everyone in the tub was about saving time, now it’s different. It’s symbolic of a different time in our lives and a bond you two share.

This past month we took a road trip to the mountains, we hiked, we ate good food, we visited old town museums, and we played in every form of water we could find! It made me miss the hot summers when all you kiddos want to do is swim, swim, swim. On this day, a moment between you two brothers happened that I will always remember with great pride. You, my big sweet boy, jumped right in the hot spring pool, just like you do with everything in life. Your little brother on the other hand was a bit more timid.  I remember vividly that you used to be the same way around water, and now your diving off of diving boards. I get a little misty eyed reminiscing about how I “blinked” and another year has flown by. I was heading over to catch your brother with my big ole underwater housing in both hands. You reached up to him and said “just jump, I’ll catch you buddy”. I watched your little brothers face light up as he stepped closer to the edge, I beamed with pride. There was so much love and trust between the two of you, something I could have only dreamed of instilling in my children. We are a unit, the five of us. We trust, we forgive, we love hard, but most of all, we catch each other when we fall or when we jump, we hold on tight, and we lift each other right back up.

This past month we took a road trip to the mountains, we hiked, we ate good food, we visited old town museums, and we played in every form of water we could find! It made me miss the hot summers when all you kiddos want to do is swim, swim, swim. On this day, a moment between you two brothers happened that I will always remember with great pride. You, my big sweet boy, jumped right in the hot spring pool, just like you do with everything in life. Your little brother on the other hand was a bit more timid. 

I remember vividly that you used to be the same way around water, and now your diving off of diving boards. I get a little misty eyed reminiscing about how I “blinked” and another year has flown by. I was heading over to catch your brother with my big ole underwater housing in both hands. You reached up to him and said “just jump, I’ll catch you buddy”. I watched your little brothers face light up as he stepped closer to the edge, I beamed with pride. There was so much love and trust between the two of you, something I could have only dreamed of instilling in my children. We are a unit, the five of us. We trust, we forgive, we love hard, but most of all, we catch each other when we fall or when we jump, we hold on tight, and we lift each other right back up.

I asked you for this photo, John, because I knew it might be one of the last times this happened.  You like to tell me you're going to get stronger so you can continue holding Grant in your arms, but he's already 16 pounds, and only going to get bigger.

I asked you for this photo, John, because I knew it might be one of the last times this happened.  You like to tell me you're going to get stronger so you can continue holding Grant in your arms, but he's already 16 pounds, and only going to get bigger.

My oldest boy and my youngest boy. How I’ve loved watching your relationship unfold. My sweet older boy, you have always been the kindest, most selfless person I know. You have always been the one to care for others and to make sure their needs are met, sometimes even before your own. And at six, that’s a very big thing. I love seeing how you’ve embraced a nurturing role with your newest brother. You were the first child to meet him, right as he was born. You helped your father care for me and him until the midwife arrived to care for us. You have been enamored with him ever since that first moment, and judging by the way he looks at you, I’d say the feeling is mutual.

My oldest boy and my youngest boy. How I’ve loved watching your relationship unfold. My sweet older boy, you have always been the kindest, most selfless person I know. You have always been the one to care for others and to make sure their needs are met, sometimes even before your own. And at six, that’s a very big thing. I love seeing how you’ve embraced a nurturing role with your newest brother. You were the first child to meet him, right as he was born. You helped your father care for me and him until the midwife arrived to care for us. You have been enamored with him ever since that first moment, and judging by the way he looks at you, I’d say the feeling is mutual.

Game on. Sports are your love language and method of bonding with each other.  Whether it be chasing each other down a ski run, having a battle royale in ping pong, or a playing catch in the front yard, you’re happy when you are doing something physical.  There is a healthy sense of competition in this house. Sometimes, it’s too healthy.  Somehow we have adopted the “don’t let him win because he is younger” mentality in this house.  Jack says it builds character.  Sam, you lose a lot.  Many of your sports encounters with Jack end in tears on your part.  It can be exhausting for me to listen to the tantrum after your brother has kicked your butt in something. Having said that, Sam you are one of the scrappiest little dudes I’ve ever seen.  You find ways around your size and relative lack of strength.  You can outrun your brother, which is good because he is 4 years older and a lot bigger than you.  If he catches you, you’re toast.  

Game on.
Sports are your love language and method of bonding with each other.  Whether it be chasing each other down a ski run, having a battle royale in ping pong, or a playing catch in the front yard, you’re happy when you are doing something physical.  There is a healthy sense of competition in this house. Sometimes, it’s too healthy.  Somehow we have adopted the “don’t let him win because he is younger” mentality in this house.  Jack says it builds character.  Sam, you lose a lot.  Many of your sports encounters with Jack end in tears on your part.  It can be exhausting for me to listen to the tantrum after your brother has kicked your butt in something. Having said that, Sam you are one of the scrappiest little dudes I’ve ever seen.  You find ways around your size and relative lack of strength.  You can outrun your brother, which is good because he is 4 years older and a lot bigger than you.  If he catches you, you’re toast.  

You two are only 14 months apart and even though technically he is your “little” brother there is nothing little about him. He is big in size and in personality. I love how you always want to help him out and we also help you understand that somethings he wants to figure out on his own. It’s not that you are not a good big brother it’s just that he wants to be independent just like you, sweetie. He looks up to you and loves being just like you!

You two are only 14 months apart and even though technically he is your “little” brother there is nothing little about him. He is big in size and in personality. I love how you always want to help him out and we also help you understand that somethings he wants to figure out on his own. It’s not that you are not a good big brother it’s just that he wants to be independent just like you, sweetie. He looks up to you and loves being just like you!

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: KIMBERLI FREDERICKS

Ohhhh, my boys….. I love you in a way I never thought possible. I didn’t think I could be a boy mom, but you’ve proved me so wrong. The two of you are so different in so many ways, but the similarities are there too. I love watching your relationship develop as the playing ground evens bit by bit. Colter, you are wild, rough, and larger than life right now, but you love your Mama something fierce. Cannon, your size is the exact opposite of your brother, and that doesn’t quite make things fair. You are sweet, cuddly, and you just plain love life. You sure are learning to squeal at your brother if he does something you don’t like though. Three and eighteen months, and thick as thieves when it comes down to getting into things. Colter, you take the lead. You open doors when your brother can’t, and together you sneak into our room a few times a day to jump on the bed and play with the lamps, and every other thing you can get into. It drives me crazy, but I can’t help but love every second of watching you become lifelong friends.  Find more of Kimberli's work and leave her some love!  FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Ohhhh, my boys….. I love you in a way I never thought possible. I didn’t think I could be a boy mom, but you’ve proved me so wrong. The two of you are so different in so many ways, but the similarities are there too. I love watching your relationship develop as the playing ground evens bit by bit. Colter, you are wild, rough, and larger than life right now, but you love your Mama something fierce. Cannon, your size is the exact opposite of your brother, and that doesn’t quite make things fair. You are sweet, cuddly, and you just plain love life. You sure are learning to squeal at your brother if he does something you don’t like though. Three and eighteen months, and thick as thieves when it comes down to getting into things. Colter, you take the lead. You open doors when your brother can’t, and together you sneak into our room a few times a day to jump on the bed and play with the lamps, and every other thing you can get into. It drives me crazy, but I can’t help but love every second of watching you become lifelong friends. 

Find more of Kimberli's work and leave her some love!  FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

the first edition

 
I always say my boys are boys to the 10th degree.  I'm sure some people think they are a handful or are too rough with each other, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I love that they are rough, climb trees, have huge personalities and love to get dirty.  They received a boxing set for Christmas this year, which is perfect for them.  Atlys, our youngest is at the I want to do everything his older brother does phase.  Tyton, my oldest is at the why do you copy everything I do phase.  But these, these moments when they are bonding and together... these are the best moments. 

I always say my boys are boys to the 10th degree.  I'm sure some people think they are a handful or are too rough with each other, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I love that they are rough, climb trees, have huge personalities and love to get dirty.  They received a boxing set for Christmas this year, which is perfect for them.  Atlys, our youngest is at the I want to do everything his older brother does phase.  Tyton, my oldest is at the why do you copy everything I do phase.  But these, these moments when they are bonding and together... these are the best moments. 

At times you both become frustrated because it is your responsibility to take care of our goats. It is such an amazing learning opportunity for both of you to have chores, this is one of the main reasons that we purchased them. I know that someday you will both be thankful that you grew up on a farm, out in the middle of no where. I love being outside together playing with the baby kids and watching the gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets.

At times you both become frustrated because it is your responsibility to take care of our goats. It is such an amazing learning opportunity for both of you to have chores, this is one of the main reasons that we purchased them. I know that someday you will both be thankful that you grew up on a farm, out in the middle of no where. I love being outside together playing with the baby kids and watching the gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets.

Ohhhh…My rough and tumble boys. You exhaust me completely on a good day. You take the last little bit of energy I have most evenings, but I just cant resist a good sword fight, that typically turns into giggles and lots of snuggles. I often hold back the urge to yell at the both of you to “fight softer” as if thats such a thing, but somehow know in my heart that you won't hurt each other and are just being “boys”. I have come to really love your smelly feet in my face, your constant messes, the noise you create at very high volumes, and your dinosaur breath. I wouldn’t have this crazy chaos that puts the biggest grin on my face, without the both of you.

Ohhhh…My rough and tumble boys. You exhaust me completely on a good day. You take the last little bit of energy I have most evenings, but I just cant resist a good sword fight, that typically turns into giggles and lots of snuggles. I often hold back the urge to yell at the both of you to “fight softer” as if thats such a thing, but somehow know in my heart that you won't hurt each other and are just being “boys”. I have come to really love your smelly feet in my face, your constant messes, the noise you create at very high volumes, and your dinosaur breath. I wouldn’t have this crazy chaos that puts the biggest grin on my face, without the both of you.

Sometimes it's hard for you to understand that your brother is still little. Yes, he just had his first birthday but he is still a baby in so many way (thank goodness for the sake of this mama's heart). But he wants to be bigger and just like you. So when you are feeling particularly patient, you try to teach him something. Today was about shadows. You took his hand, raised your own, and said, "see like this Cam, hold your hand up to see your shadow". He was absolutely thrilled. Probably more about the fact that you were giving him attention than about the actual shadows but it's all the same to you, sweet Big Brother.

Sometimes it's hard for you to understand that your brother is still little. Yes, he just had his first birthday but he is still a baby in so many way (thank goodness for the sake of this mama's heart). But he wants to be bigger and just like you. So when you are feeling particularly patient, you try to teach him something. Today was about shadows. You took his hand, raised your own, and said, "see like this Cam, hold your hand up to see your shadow". He was absolutely thrilled. Probably more about the fact that you were giving him attention than about the actual shadows but it's all the same to you, sweet Big Brother.

You might be only two years older than the middle and four years older than the youngest, but lately it might as well be a ten year age gap. You are simply in a different phase than your preschooler and toddler brothers and as a result, you often prefer to have more alone time than not. But sometimes I still see you patiently and joyfully help them. Even when they may take more turns than you get. And in those moments I can see more clearly the person that you are becoming. One day a few years age gap won’t matter much at all.

You might be only two years older than the middle and four years older than the youngest, but lately it might as well be a ten year age gap. You are simply in a different phase than your preschooler and toddler brothers and as a result, you often prefer to have more alone time than not. But sometimes I still see you patiently and joyfully help them. Even when they may take more turns than you get. And in those moments I can see more clearly the person that you are becoming. One day a few years age gap won’t matter much at all.

Archer, I will be forever grateful for your need to be close to your brother. You are (almost) always so gentle with him, and when you are separated you are both uneasy. I used to carry you around the house in the very same laundry basket as I cleaned and gathered laundry, and now I often take Gryffin along for the ride. Of course, when you see me do it you want a ride too, so I lifted you into the laundry basket with your brother and I grabbed the camera thinking it would be a funny moment to capture. As soon as Gryffin let out a little peep of a cry, you reached over to him touching his cheek and said a simple “Hi, baby”. What I thought would be a memory of the two of you laughing together turned into something so much more. I can’t wait to watch your relationship continue to grow. I hope you are always looking out for each other when you need to, and I pray you are always looking for opportunities to be closer. 

Archer, I will be forever grateful for your need to be close to your brother. You are (almost) always so gentle with him, and when you are separated you are both uneasy. I used to carry you around the house in the very same laundry basket as I cleaned and gathered laundry, and now I often take Gryffin along for the ride. Of course, when you see me do it you want a ride too, so I lifted you into the laundry basket with your brother and I grabbed the camera thinking it would be a funny moment to capture. As soon as Gryffin let out a little peep of a cry, you reached over to him touching his cheek and said a simple “Hi, baby”. What I thought would be a memory of the two of you laughing together turned into something so much more. I can’t wait to watch your relationship continue to grow. I hope you are always looking out for each other when you need to, and I pray you are always looking for opportunities to be closer. 

Your relationship is new, and still a bit one sided.  You love being the big brother and approach the baby often, chirping 'hiiiiiii' or "smiiiiiillllllle" to him in a somewhat too loud, sing-songy voice.  You don't realize how much he already loves you, and I am both a tiny bit jealous and so very amazed at the way he will smile at you every time, far more than he does for practically anyone else so far.

Your relationship is new, and still a bit one sided.  You love being the big brother and approach the baby often, chirping 'hiiiiiii' or "smiiiiiillllllle" to him in a somewhat too loud, sing-songy voice.  You don't realize how much he already loves you, and I am both a tiny bit jealous and so very amazed at the way he will smile at you every time, far more than he does for practically anyone else so far.

For the first couple of months as brothers, you two could not interact much, but now that Colton is able to support himself a bit better, he has quickly tired of his activity mat, and much prefers to lay on the ground and ‘play’ with his brother. Colton, as I perched over the two of you from the bunk of Xander’s bed, I watched you taking in everything around you, so full of curiosity. You looked around at the brightly colored toys strewn about, the bins full of toys, the cars in front of you, and the colorful mat underneath you, but your gaze always came back to brother, most interested in him. Xander, you play very independently, but are always quietly mindful of your brother, making sure that you are careful around him, and that he is within reach. I can tell already that you like to have your brother nearby, and when the time comes that he is truly able to play with you, you will be ready and waiting.

For the first couple of months as brothers, you two could not interact much, but now that Colton is able to support himself a bit better, he has quickly tired of his activity mat, and much prefers to lay on the ground and ‘play’ with his brother. Colton, as I perched over the two of you from the bunk of Xander’s bed, I watched you taking in everything around you, so full of curiosity. You looked around at the brightly colored toys strewn about, the bins full of toys, the cars in front of you, and the colorful mat underneath you, but your gaze always came back to brother, most interested in him. Xander, you play very independently, but are always quietly mindful of your brother, making sure that you are careful around him, and that he is within reach. I can tell already that you like to have your brother nearby, and when the time comes that he is truly able to play with you, you will be ready and waiting.

It’s not often I ask for the shot. But sometimes I know that is the only way I’ll get all three of you in one frame. I know that in time the age difference will not matter. But right now it shows. You are charging into your teenage years. Friends, school, and sports take up your time. You are trying to carve your way in this world. Your brothers are still carefree and wild. They live in superhero costumes and play from dusk till dawn. Sometimes you will play hide and go seek with them or help them build in Minecraft. I know it’s not easy, 7 years difference feels like a lifetime apart. But I promise you that gap gets smaller and smaller with each passing year. The three of you will find a common ground outside of rough housing and wrestling that bonds you together now. I see the bond even if you can’t always see it clearly. 

It’s not often I ask for the shot. But sometimes I know that is the only way I’ll get all three of you in one frame. I know that in time the age difference will not matter. But right now it shows. You are charging into your teenage years. Friends, school, and sports take up your time. You are trying to carve your way in this world. Your brothers are still carefree and wild. They live in superhero costumes and play from dusk till dawn. Sometimes you will play hide and go seek with them or help them build in Minecraft. I know it’s not easy, 7 years difference feels like a lifetime apart. But I promise you that gap gets smaller and smaller with each passing year. The three of you will find a common ground outside of rough housing and wrestling that bonds you together now. I see the bond even if you can’t always see it clearly.