Tag Archives: grow

Meier Wire #54: Meier Family Deliveries of 2013

Date: Monday, June 10, 2013
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas

Once again, I find myself scrambling to catch up after many months of silence.  My writing endeavors have been limited to reminder notes for the daily basic things of life and random posts I’ve managed to put on Facebook.  I have to admit that only about 50% of the witty and charming ideas I have thought of putting on Facebook actually make it there. Usually, my thoughts hit on something especially “Facebook” worthy at a moment when I cannot access my computer.  By the time I’ve actually sat down and logged in, I can’t remember what I had wanted to post several hours (or days) earlier.

So, when I think about writing for my blog or attempting to work on re-writing the first few chapters of my dissertation, it usually becomes a fleeting thought that never quite materializes in during the busy, awake time of my day.

The last time that I attempted to update my blog, I was still pregnant with my fourth child.  We were expecting another boy.  We had decided that his name would be Seth Adrian Meier and we were hoping that we wouldn’t have any major complications in giving birth.  We were also praying for God’s provision since our health insurance doesn’t cover maternity costs. We made our final road trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break and returned to Lake Jackson, Texas to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s and to await the birth of our son.

FamilyPic FamilyPic_cousins

(Cristina’s side of the family took pictures in Gainesville, Florida)
White – Philip’s family / Red – Cristina’s family / Black – Anita’s family / Black with design – Tim’s family

Christmas_MKMeier1 Christmas_MKMeier2

(Christmas / Maternity Photos – December 2012)

Now, we are nearly half way through 2013, and our fourth child is nearly five months old. The months in between have brought many adventures our way.  If I were to summarize the highlights in a series of Facebook posts, it would probably look something like this:

*New Year….Baby on the Way.  We can’t wait.

(39 weeks pregnant)

*Luke had a blast at his firefighter birthday party. I can’t believe he’s four already.  I’m glad I didn’t go into labor today.

birthdaycake birthdayboy

*Uh-oh.  I found out that I do have placenta accretta and will not be allowed to go into labor naturally.  They are going to schedule a c-section for January 17.

*Praise the Lord! Seth Adrian Meier was born with no complications.  My placenta came out without any problems.  I am looking forward to going home in a few days. I am grateful for my mother being at home with my other three kids.

Seth_waves Seth_unhappy

Seth_mommy

*Jared enjoyed celebrating his “half” birthday at school today. He’s five and a half today (January 25).

Kids_withbaby

*My mom went home after her three week stay.  I miss her already.

Mommy_baby

*Grace keeps getting ear infections.  She might need to get tubes in her ears.

Grace_sick

*Valentine’s Day is so busy! I’ve spent so much time making valentines for all the kids in Jared’s kindergarten class and in Luke’s Cubbies group that I hardly have time to make anything special for my family.

Valentine's Day1 Valentine's Day2

*We’ve been discovering the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s celebrate missionaries worldwide.  I might even try to make some Irish soda bread.

StPattysDayFamily IrishSodaBread

*Grace is the first in our family to start seeing a chiropractor. I never would have guessed that these adjustments would work so well to help clear the fluid in her ears.  The ear specialist agreed that she doesn’t need ear tubes and that her hearing is perfect.

SweetGrace

*We enjoyed Easter with the kids this year.  No one was sick this time around.

EasterFamily EasterTrio EasterBoys EasterEggHunt

*Grace turned two years old!  She loved being dressed up as a lady bug for her lady bug birthday party.

Grace_birthday

*Seth is 100 days old today (April 27)! It’s the only time I dress up in my Korean hanbok to celebrate the occasion.

Seth_100Days

*BCS had a successful auction and was able to raise a lot of money for the school.  Several scholarships were donated so that more students will be able to attend in future years.

BCS Auction

*We celebrated Stephen’s birthday at school today (May 1).  Jared’s kindergarten class came to his office to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.  Jared made a birthday cake for him all by himself.

Stephen_birthday

*Another school year is quickly coming to an end.  Jared graduated from kindergarten on May 21. We are so proud of our eldest son.

Jared_graduationpic

*The weather is finally staying warm enough to bring out the pools.  The kids are excited about this summer.  Jared is already planning on what he wants to do for his sixth birthday.

Summer_banner

So, there you have it.  That is a rundown of the most important events that have happened this year so far.  I look forward to adding more posts in the future.  I hope all the writing ideas that formulate as I’m driving or folding clothes or making dinner actually get typed at some point in the near future.

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Grace: Walking, climbing and dancing

When I look back at Grace’s progress in the past six months, it is hard for me to believe that my little munchkin has transformed from a passive sitter to a highly mobile toddler.  At nine months old, Grace was perfectly content to sit in one spot and play with toys.  She wasn’t even really interested in crawling until she was nearly a year old.  It is possible she did not like the feeling of the cold, hard tile against her knees (the majority of our house has tile flooring). When she finally began moving across the room, it was the bottom scoot that she preferred the most.  We would try to put her in a crawling position on the ground, but she would fuss until she could sit down and then scoot along using the padding of her diapered rear end.

When she reached her first birthday and she hadn’t really gravitated toward crawling and walking, I began to worry a little bit.  However, it was funny to watch Grace develop her bottom scoot into a one-legged / one-arm crawl.  She would use the other leg as a lever and just scoot her way from one side of the room to the other and then pull herself up on a chair or small table so she could stand.

It was around 14 months old that Grace finally started gravitating toward taking some steps on her own.  She was confident as long as she was holding someone’s hand or could walk along the side of a couch or table. Right around this time, we also discovered that Grace did know how to crawl on all fours.  Jared was the first one to point this out to us.  He got down on his hands and knees with her while she was sitting on the play mat in our living room and helped Grace to copy his movements.

Her independent walking finally began a little after she reached the 15 month mark.  On July 11, she walked across the room without any assistance.  In the months that followed, her mobility has progressed to the point that she’s can walk, climb and dance.  She loves tacking stairs whenever she can find them.  (We have none in our home, except for a small step that leads into our garage). She learned how to climb up on the dining room table all by herself.  We now have to keep all our chairs pushed all the way in.  Fortunately, the chairs are too heavy for her to pull out again.  She also likes to climb the ladder that leads up to the top bunk of the boys’ bunk bed.  This has made it necessary for me to remove the ladder during daytime hours so I don’t have to worry about Grace climbing up to Jared’s bed and getting stuck there while I’m in another room.

Grace also loves to ‘dance.’ Basically, this means she spins around, waving her arms and stomping her feet.  She’ll do this whenever she hears music.  As soon as the music begins, a big smile flashes across her face, she begins to shake with excitement and then starts to spin around the room.

Grace’s language is also beginning to develop.  She knows her basics, “Daddy, Mommy, yes, no, etc.” She’ll also surprise me by putting together phrases such as “see you tomorrow” and “I want a cracker.” In some ways, I can get her attention more easily than her older brother, Luke. She loves to help me clean up by putting objects in containers.  She is very good at putting away her brother’s hot wheel cars.

She does tend to gravitate toward boy toys, but she also has some girlie toys that she likes.  And she’s recently decided on a favorite blanket.  It is hard to take it away from her in the mornings when its’ time to get up and eat breakfast.

Although she is still in a crib, we have already purchased a toddler bed for her and are looking at transitioning her into it at some point before the end of the year.  Grace is definitely the reigning princess of the family and is well loved by her older brothers.

Grace is armed and ready to play in the pool.

Grace, the climber

 

Luke: from potty training to preschool

August 2012 – This year I’ve watched my energetic and self-determined toddler develop into a full-blown preschooler.  Our first challenge after he reached his third birthday on January 5 was to begin the process of potty training in earnest.  He had been watching Jared use the toilet for quite some time.  He would use it very inconsistently.  I had completely switched him out of normal diapers and started using the Huggies “pull up” diapers to encourage him to learn how to pull down his clothing on his own.  But I didn’t really focus on potty training in earnest until mid-January.

The process took a little longer than I had originally expected.  It didn’t help that Luke caught a stomach flu that gave him diarrhea during the second week of being potty trained.  But I was determined that we were not going back to pull ups again and that I was not purchasing another diaper to put on that child’s behind.  I think it took a full three weeks for Luke to be officially potty trained.

Our biggest challenge with Jared was getting him potty trained at night.  After the first week of potty training at the age of three, Jared has had only a handful of day-time accidents.  However, he would continue to wet his bed for another year and a half.  The interesting difference with Luke was that he seemed to gain night time bladder control almost immediately.  Luke will still have accidents during the day, because he gets so engrossed in whatever activity he is doing and will “hold it” until it’s too late to get to the bathroom.  But he rarely wets his bed.

It was actually, this process of potty training that began planting doubts into my mind of Luke’s readiness to start any kind of school program in the fall. It has always been harder for me to capture the attention of Luke than Jared. He seemed to manage pretty well in a nursery setting, but I just wasn’t sure he was ready for a classroom setting. I couldn’t help but transport myself mentally to the time that I taught English at a little Korean language school in South Korea in 2002. I had the youngest class which included three and four year olds.  I had scoffed at the parents who sent their little three year old “babies” to school who were just barely potty trained.  I remember telling myself then that I would never send my child to school that young. Now, here I was contemplating doing just that.

I also felt that Luke had been in Jared’s shadow in his learning development.  As I worked through preschool activities with Jared, Luke would do his best to keep up, even though he wasn’t quite able to comprehend everything that I was teaching Jared.  Up to this point, Luke had never been separated from Jared for more than an hour or two at a time. I thought it might be good to keep Luke at home so that I could focus on him without being under the shadow of his big brother.

Stephen made fun of me at first, saying that I was having a hard time letting go of my kids.  However, once school got started, he began to agree with me.  It became especially clear that we had made the right decision when we watched Luke being unable to get ready in the mornings as quickly as his big brother. Luke still cannot really make his bed and needs help dressing himself.  He also has a hard time staying on task unless someone is standing right beside him.

I don’t worry about any of this now, because it just makes it clear to me that Luke hasn’t reached that stage of independence.  Slowly, he is making progress.  He is learning how to communicate himself more clearly.  Earlier in the year, he was having trouble completing his sentences and would begin stuttering and then rushing his words together in a blast of phonic sound while appearing as if his entire face was going to explode.  (Seriously, it was quite an interesting thing to watch.) Now, he’s able to make himself understood most of the time and enjoys joining in conversations with the family.

As with our decision to keep Jared in the half-day kindergarten program, I have not regretted for a moment keeping Luke out of school altogether.  I am really enjoying the pre-school activities I’ve been doing with Luke.  He’s been working on his alphabet, basic phonics, writing letters and writing numbers, and learning how to count different items.  I’ve also been using different flash card games to help him build his vocabulary. Another activity that has become part of his morning exercises is going over a section out of his Awana Cubbies book.  Luke has been so excited that he is old enough now to participate in the Awana program with Jared.  Luke also enjoys learning Bible verses and doing the activities and projects that the book recommends.

Luke has been enjoying this time that I spend with him in the mornings.  You may wonder what Grace is doing at this time.  I usually am feeding her the rest of her breakfast and letting her look at little books and play with small toys until Luke is finished with his exercises.  I don’t spend more than an hour and a half in the morning on these activities.  Then, Luke and Grace play on their own unless we have an outing planned or a list of errands that Mommy wants to take care of before picking up Jared at school.

Luke is really beginning to understand what it means to be big brother now that he is the one that Mommy turns to for help while Jared is at school.  He is also starting to look to Grace more for companionship now that Jared isn’t here as much to fill that void. In the past six months, Luke has grown three inches, gone up one shoe size and is wearing 4T in most of his clothing.  He is still about six inches shorter than Jared, but has slowly caught up to him in weight so that he now is only two to three pounds lighter than Jared.

Luke loves music and impresses his Sunday school teachers by being one of the few enthusiastic “worshipers” during their praise and worship time.  They tell me that Luke always makes his way to the front of the room so that he can dance and do the motions to all the songs they sing.

Jared: A Big Kindergarten Student

August 2012 – It has been too long since I’ve updated our friends and family on the progress of our three children.  This is sad, because they are all growing so fast that there is way too much to summarize in short, little posts such as this one.  So, please forgive me as I might rattle on a bit more in these next few posts about some of my favorite little people in the world.

Our first born son has grown and developed so much since the end of January when I told him quite proudly that he was now four and half years old.  He finally became an independent dresser.  He only asks for help every now and then with a button or a stubborn pair of socks.  Jared also finally got control of his bladder during the night time hours and no longer wets his bed.  I am very happy that we no longer have to buy night time “pull ups” for him. He has also enjoyed playing the role of big brother to Luke and Grace.  He enjoys “teaching” them how to do things that he has learned how to do.  Sometimes this leads to a certain level of frustration for all of them as Luke and Grace can’t quite keep up with his “lessons.”

I have also been impressed with his enthusiasm in learning new things.  I had been working on basic phonics, spelling and math with him. Through the spring months, the thought of Jared starting kindergarten in the fall was always on my mind.

Brazosport Christian School (BCS) has two options for incoming pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.  There is a half day program that begins at 8am and ends at noon, right before their lunch break.  There is a full day program that includes lunch and fifteen minute segment of “rest” before the kindergarten class moves into more hands-on activities in the afternoon.  The pre-kindergarten students actually take a nap for most of the afternoon in the full day program. That program ends at 3pm.  There are also two segments of pre-kindergarten classes; the class for the three year old and the class for the four year olds.

So, one option facing us was sending both Jared and Luke to school for the full day.  Stephen thought that this would be the best option, because I could get both boys out of the house and I would only have Grace at home. He didn’t think it would be a good idea for Jared to attend the half day program because most of the students in kindergarten are in the full day program and Jared might feel uncomfortable if he ended up being the only student pulled out of class at lunch time.

Once again, I struggled with the idea of sending my kids off to school all day.  There were pros and cons to each side.  Sending both boys off to school would mean fewer bodies in the house to care for during those hours.  However, Grace becomes more clingy and emotional when she is the only child at home.  So, I end up accomplishing less because I have to focus more attention on her. We finally decided against sending Luke to pre-k.  (This decision is explained in another post.)

I knew that Jared was ready to start kindergarten.  I just wasn’t sure he was ready to stop taking afternoon naps and attend school all day at the age of five.   Maybe I’m still too attached to the routine of having all three of my kids take a nap after lunch, which allows me to relax for an hour or two and try to tackle some projects that cannot be done during their waking hours.  If Jared attended the full day program, I would also have to disrupt the naps of Luke and Grace to pick Jared up at 3pm.  Currently, their afternoon naps conclude somewhere between 3:30 to 4pm.

I met with the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers and the admissions director to talk about the options and to express my concerns with Jared starting kindergarten.  After our meeting, I was affirmed in my concern about having Jared in the full day program.  They recommended that I send Jared to the half day program.

Jared turned five this summer.  His feet had grown a shoe size and he is hovering between the largest toddler size (5T) and the smallest boy size (4/5) in clothing. His bed was converted into a bunk bed (with him at the top), and he learned how to make the bed on his own.  He has learned how to use scissors very well.  He was ready for school to begin by the time the summer was over. His coloring has developed from “scribble scrabble” on the page to intentionally coloring in the spaces of objects while trying to stay in the lines.

School began on August 15, and I have not regretted for a moment the decision to keep Jared in the half day program. He is one of two kindergarten students out of 18 that go home at noon, but about six pre-kindergarten students are also leave at noon, so it doesn’t seem to bother him very much.  Every once in a while, he’ll ask me why he can’t eat lunch at school with his classmates.  I simply explain to him that he gets to eat at home with his brother and sister who miss him very much while he’s at school in the morning.  That seems to satisfy Jared.

Droppig Jared off on the first day of school

It took us several weeks for the kids to adjust to waking up at six in the morning and staying on task through breakfast and morning preparations.  Before the summer ended, the kids were sleeping as late as 8am and often didn’t finish breakfast until nearly 10am.  Now, there are still many mornings that Luke can’t get his breakfast finished before 7:30 am. Little Grace can only get through her bottle before I pile all the kids in the car to drop Jared off at school. So, they are usually still in their pajamas when we leave the house. BCS doesn’t offer school bus pick up or drop off, and Stephen always leaves for work by 7am.  Therefore, I have to take Jared to school myself.  After I drop off Jared, I come back home to finish feeding Grace and Luke. That’s usually when I’m finally able to eat my own breakfast.

I can see how God worked through our decision to put Jared into the half-day program, because Jared has had a very rough time physically at the beginning of this school year.  He got sick with a bad cold and chest congestion a few days before the first day of school.  He continued to struggle with this cough for the first few weeks of school.  Those afternoon naps became essential to helping him recover.

I am also so grateful to see Jared’s positive attitude about school.  He loves going to school.  Even on the mornings when he had a hard time waking up and couldn’t seem to stop coughing, he would insist that he didn’t want to miss school.  So far, he’s only had to stay home one day because of a temporary stomach flu that had him throwing up in the middle of the night.

His kindergarten teacher tells me that Jared is one of her most enthusiastic students and that he always is eager to participate in all the activities she has prepared for them.  He has gotten excellent behavior reports for every day he’s been in school so far. His gym teacher has told me that Jared has displayed some real leadership qualities.  She reflected on the day that he stepped out of line at the end of class.  She asked him why he wasn’t in line.  He explained that his classmates were not in the correct order and proceeded to rearrange the line until it was to his satisfaction.  Only then would he step back into the line.

He always comes home bubbling over with stories of the things he has done in class and with his new friends at school.  He seems to really enjoy math, music and physical education.

He is also growing spiritually.  This past spring, Jared made the decision to ask Jesus into his heart and he loves memorizing verses and learning Bible stories.  He goes to a special chapel for pre-k and K-5 students and can often recall what was discussed when I pick him up at noon.

I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to place him in a Christian school that is reinforcing these truths into his heart and mind. Our prayer for him is that he will continue to develop in his relationship with Jesus and that He will continue to mold our son as a little leader and as a role model for his classmates.

Jared Boy and Baby Luke

It is amazing to see how quickly my two little boys are growing.  Jared is becoming more and more articulate in his speech (both English and Spanish) and Luke is an independent walker.  It is very interesting to watch them interact and to see their similarities and differences.

Jared has always been my little shadow.  He does not like to be left alone for anything.  Therefore, using a “time out” as punishment usually works like a charm to get him to straighten out attitude…to the extent that two year old can accomplish this.  Or if I am about to go somewhere and I want him to follow me, I can just tell him, “O.K. Jared.  I’m leaving. Bye!”  That usually brings him running in my direction. He is also learning how to sing.  We have been listening to many children’s songs, and Jared has memorized some of the songs already. 

Here are some of his favorites:
“The Gospel Train”
“The Bear Went Over the Mountain”
“Skinny-Marinky-Dink”

Luke is a more independent boy.  He doesn’t care what everyone else is doing.  If he has him eyes focused on something, nothing will tear him away.  Going for a walk with Luke is a bit of a challenge, because he wants to go in his own direction and doesn’t follow Mommy at all.  I can tell him that I’m leaving him and he doesn’t even pay attention.  He is just so excited to be able to walk on his own that he wants to use his new found freedom as much as possible. 

He has also mixed a lot more Spanish into his first words that Jared has.  He’ll say “Chao” when he says “Good-bye” to people.  I’ve heard him say the word for cookie in Spanish as well.  There are a lot of other things that Luke says now, but I simply haven’t figured out his language yet.  Sometimes I think he’s mixing both languages together into his own unique language. 

Jared always tries to be the “big brother.” Sometimes, he’s a little too bossy and rough with his little brother.  Luke isn’t quite old enough to retaliate.  It will be interesting to see what happens when Luke starts fighting back.  For now, he just starts crying and then Mommy comes running into the scene to rescue Luke from Jared. 

There are other times that Jared and Luke are sweet and kind to each other.  Sometimes, I’ll find them both in a fierce embrace as they roll around on the floor together. 

Jared and Luke play in the the grass.