Ruslan 5.5

Ruslan at 5-1/2 continues to be full of energy. He goes from sound asleep to wide awake – loud and in constant motion. He runs, he yells, he climbs – he thinks that he is invincible. Railings are for sliding down, the back of the couch and his headboard make perfect balance beams, he can jump from high places, he worries his mama with the constant acrobatics.

ruslan55-5 ruslan55-6ruslan55-7 ruslan55-8He also gives the strongest hugs and kisses and tells me that he loves me a lot, and when he wants to sit still he will cuddle close and tell stories – he loves to talk almost as much as his sister.


Tuesday evening Ruslan was walking around the house pretending to be a T-Rex (normal Ruslan behavior). The best part is when he is a T-Rex he holds his arms close to his body and waves them around saying “Look at my tiny arms.”

He was growling and collecting stuffed animals and telling them that he was taking them to his cave. He created a space in the corner of the living room behind a chair and he took “the babies” there – he made a point of saying that he was stealing babies – stuffed animals that belong to Wyatt and Juliana.


Over the past few days Ruslan has come home and gone straight to his cave. In addition to the babies, there are cars and Legos and other random toys. It has become quite the little hideout.

ruslan55-3 ruslan55-2Ruslan was standing near me growling and breathing loudly and I asked if I was in danger or if he only steals babies. He confirmed that I was safe and growled that he only steals babies.


Ruslan: At school we have a big carpet with letters and animals and we all have a square.
M: What letter do you sit on?
R: Letter R! And there is a bunny.
M: It is probably a rabbit for letter R.
R: No, it’s actually a bunny.


Ruslan flips through a stack of books in bed each night before he goes to sleep. If you are downstairs, you can tell that he is reading because you hear a thump as he tosses each book in a pile on the floor. Some nights he “reads” a lot of books.


R: I cry at show and tell every week.
M: Why? Does something sad happen?
R: Isabelle brings the same thing every week.
M: Why does it make you sad that she always brings the same thing?
R: She brings the helicopter that is the same as my helicopter and it makes me miss my helicopter.

Today Ruslan finally took the helicopter to school for show and tell. I hope that no one cries.


They Walked Up the Steps Hand in Hand

My babies started Kindergarten this year and it is already 20% over.

The boys are 5-1/2 today.

Juliana is a third grader – real, big kid school.

Juliana turns 9 tomorrow. Time is moving much too quickly right now.


When it was time to get on the bus on the first day of school, Juliana led the way and the boys followed her. When they reached the bus, Ruslan and Wyatt held hands and walked up the steps together.

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Wyatt has Juliana’s Kindergarten teacher and Ruslan has Ms. O. Ruslan came home on the first day and told me: “I really like Ms O; we decided that we are going to be best friends.” Since then Ruslan has decided that Ms. O is his favorite person. I think that they are both awesome!

wy-openhouse2 ru-openhouse3The boys were so excited to show us their classrooms at open house – they ran back and forth between the two classrooms.

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The bus comes early in the morning and I let them sleep as long as possible. Then we have a very action packed 30 minutes of getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, shoes and coats and backpacks, and out the door to the bus.

boys-waiting boys-afterschoolOccasionally there is time for a silly picture before the bus arrives.





Festivals are More Fun with Friends

For the past 3 years we have made a fall date to go to a local farm with friends. These 3 have posed for silly pictures.

farm-2012-1 farm-2013-1Went on hay rides.

farm-2012-2 farm-2013-4Ran through the corn maze.

farm-2012-3 farm-2013-2And climbed on the old truck.

farm-2013-3This year I brought the boys along for the fun and we managed to get all 5 together for one brief moment.

farm-2014-2And once again they ran through the corn maze (we even made it out the exit) and went on a hayride.

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But once we reached the old truck, the boys didn’t want to do anything else. They had no interest in the animals or games. They were content to climb on the truck until it was time to leave.

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I love watching these friends grow-up together.

I Can Still Hold Them Both in My Arms

Today is the last day that the boys will spend in the childcare program where they have spent the past five years. In August 2009, when the boys were 16 weeks old, the childcare program that Juliana attended started an infant program. That program opened with 3 babies – Ruslan, Wyatt and Finnegan. With the exception of holidays and vacations, the boys have played with Finnegan every day. Wyatt and Finn are best friends. Neither of them make new friends easily and have relied on each other and been buddies throughout the years.

We were on vacation last week and Finn wasn’t there on Monday. When we arrived yesterday, I heard Finn yelling Wyatt’s name before I could see him, and then he hug tackled Wyatt and the two of them ran off to sit next to each other. I think that Kindergarten Camp helped Wyatt understand that Finn won’t be going to school with him and he was also able to make some new friends, but I know that they will miss each other.

Tomorrow my babies will get on the bus with their big sister and go to Kindergarten for a full day. I won’t drop them off; I won’t sign them in; I won’t make sure that their backpacks and lunch boxes are put away; I won’t know if they are happy or sad when they sit at their desk. They will ride the bus; they will walk up the stairs to their classroom; they will hang up their backpacks and lunch boxes; and they will start the next chapter of their lives. Tomorrow they will spend the day together in a small group of Kindergarteners and Monday they will start their new classes separate from each other.

It’s an exciting time for them and I think that they are ready. Juliana will be there to watch over them on the bus and she walks by the Kindergarten classrooms on her way to third grade. In Kindergarten camp they learned about their new school, tomorrow they will ride the school bus for the first time, and Monday they will be separated in their own classes.

Last night Ruslan climbed into my lap and I tried to rock him like a baby. He told me that he is a big kid now, not my baby. I tried to argue that he was a little kid, but he insisted that he is a big kid. Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were my little babies. I used to be able to carry them both and now I can just barely hold them both for a minute. At least my lap is big enough to snuggle them close when they choose; I am lucky to have cuddly little boys who love their mama.

Toddlers – September 2010, Kindergartners – August 2014.



Kindergarten Camp

When I took the boys to Kindergarten Screening at the beginning of the summer, they took the first time parents on a tour, they handed out new information, and they talked about Kindergarten Camp. I thought that Kindergarten camp must be new, but they told us that they have offered the program for years and it used to only be for the students who truly needed the extra help before starting Kindergarten.

My initial reaction was to let them enjoy the summer in their childcare program and spend the final few weeks with their preschool friends. Then we decided that it was worthwhile for them to have a head start, learn the Kindergarten routine, meet some of their future classmates, and learn their way around the school so they would be more comfortable on the first day.

Camp was Monday-Friday, 9:00-2:30, for 4 weeks in July. Ruslan probably would have been happier in childcare for the summer, but Wyatt was so excited for camp to start. There was a day or two that he asked to stay home, but for the most part he was happy to go each day and the drop-offs were certainly easier than childcare had been in recent weeks. Both boys thrive on routine but it is especially important for Wyatt.

I wasn’t thrilled that they had to wear uniforms to camp, but it is part of Kindergarten. As we were walking toward the school entrance on the first day, I realized that I didn’t take any pictures at home – so this is the first day of camp picture. I promise to do better on the first real day of Kindergarten.

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They were busy in the hallway as we waited for the other Kindergartners to arrive, running and pushing each other until the principal told them to stop. At the end of the first day I watched them walk quietly down the stairs in a straight line – hip and lip (we learned about hip and lip from Juliana). Since camp ended at 2:30, I picked them up and drove them to their childcare program for the remainder of the day. A week later I found out that my wild boys had taught their preschool friends about hip and lip and told the teachers that every one should be quiet in the hallway.

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The four weeks of camp went by so quickly. Between drop-off and pick-up and getting Juliana to and from her camps, there was a lot of running around but we made it. Each morning the boys took the long way to the front door, getting one last bit of climbing out of the way before school.

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On the last day, the children performed songs and we had a pizza party to celebrate the end of camp. They are still talking about their new friends and teachers and I think that they are ready to start Kindergarten next week. I know that they are very excited to finally get to ride the bus!




While Ruslan Dug Holes in the Sand


Yesterday was a perfect day on the beach. The humidity was low, the temps were moderate and there was a lovely breeze. I took turns playing in the waves with each of my children and I showed them how to use all of the sand molds that we had brought with us; then I sat . . . → Read More: While Ruslan Dug Holes in the Sand

Ten Years Ago, Part 4: Our Wedding Day


We were married on a cool Friday evening in July – for someone who doesn’t like to be outside when it is hot, I was chancing an outside wedding in July. We had picked the date only a few weeks in advance, I bought a dress on Clearance that needed no alterations, we ordered a . . . → Read More: Ten Years Ago, Part 4: Our Wedding Day

Ten Years Ago

Jen and Scott


Ten years ago we said “I Do”

And started a wonderful adventure together


Nine years ago

A little blonde girl with all the words was welcomed into the world


Eight years ago

We were learning what parenthood was . . . → Read More: Ten Years Ago

Patience at Age Five


It was finally Ruslan’s turn for a Mommy day and he was excited to go to the Pirates game with me. There would be undivided attention from me, the promise of a treat, and he would get to run the bases after the game.

We arrived early enough for him to run through the . . . → Read More: Patience at Age Five

Science is Only My Second Favorite Subject


Juliana knows that I have a science degree and talks about me being a scientist (I’m not) and asks me where I keep my hidden lab with all of my potions. And for some reason that all adds up to her thinking that I want her to be a scientist. Granted I want her . . . → Read More: Science is Only My Second Favorite Subject