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Archive for August, 2014

James was the most compliant and responsive when Dr. Ball asked him questions. He was also the most intrigued and observant of all the doctor was doing…a future doctor on our hands?
James is officially the “biggest,” something he and Thomas compete about.
Clearly, Jack doesn’t stand a chance in this competition.

James measured in at 43.5in (60%), 42lb, 12oz (63%)

Thomas ended up having some minor issues. He failed the vision testing on his right eye, but he’s followed closely by an ophthalmologist anyway, so I wasn’t too concerned. He had blood in his urine, but they will just retest in two weeks. He also has some ongoing dermatology issues, so we will go back to the dermatologist for that.

Thomas came in at 43.25in (55%), 42lb, 6oz (61%)

You better believe those decimals matter!

Jack was really delightful during the appointment. He was quiet and compliant. He listened very attentively when Dr. Ball reminded him to eat his colorful vegetables and try them again now that his big boy taste buds have grown so big!

He is 41.75 inches (24%) and 36lb (17%)

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Ellie at 7 1/2

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It makes for good milestone memories that Ellie’s half birthday coincides with the first week of school. Ellie was fairly neutral about the start of second grade. I’d say that if I told her she had a few more weeks of summer, shed be fine with that, but she expressed no reservations about returning to school, either. I know she’s a child that loves to learn, enjoys routine, and particularly appreciates breaks from her brothers! She has a younger and more spirited teacher than she has had the past two years. She also has a few friends in her class. I am sure it will be a great experience.

The two words that come to mind as I think of Ellie and reflect on our increased time together this summer are “determined” and “particular.” I can certainly relate to her ability to have her heart set on doing something and doing it just so. However, it doesn’t mean that I actually find it easy to tolerate or parent. I think a laid back child would be easier to parent, but her drive will be good for her success in life. I’ve been able to channel her determination in positive ways by encouraging her to find tasks to do that help me and make her feel productive when she sees them through to completion. She is a task master like her mother. Getting involved in a job usually keeps her out of trouble with her brothers. 

Speaking of conflict on the home front, that is certainly an ongoing issue as I imagine it is in most households. I’ve found (after many failed attempts with other approaches) it is more effective to validate her feelings of frustration rather than try to rationalize and expect her to handle herself more maturely. Likewise, we have tried to challenge her to figure out solutions to the problems rather than adding to the problem or focusing on who “started it.” Ellie and Thomas have had the most conflict, recently. It used to be she and Jack, but they worked through some things. Ellie and Thomas are our most emotional and talkative children, so they tend to get their feelings hurt the most and cause the biggest frustrations for one another.

As for other aspects of her personality, I’ve been surprised by Ellie’s confidence, leadership, and assertiveness when it comes to friends she knows well or with our family. Yet, she often shows a tender and caring side to friends and does genuinely want to help others in most instances. She’s not very predictable, but certainly balanced over time. 

This fall, Ellie has asked to take a drama class at the Children’s Theater and play soccer again. I think these will be great activities to challenge her in important ways. 

We continue to thank God for the privilege of parenting Ellie and for the amazing talents He has blessed Ellie with. We also continue to seek God’s wisdom to parent her during the challenging seasons. Parenting is an up and down journey, but we couldn’t imagine having any other daughter along with us for the ride.

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5th Birthday Letters

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Happy Birthday Day #5, James!

You are such a special boy and we are grateful to celebrate with you today.

You have truly enjoyed this year. School was a highlight for you and you chose to build relationships with some sweet little boys. Sports are also huge for you. You were very coachable in T-ball, as you paid close attention to your coaches’ instructions and strived to take their feedback seriously. You are very competitive and you tend to drop out of races or bend rules so that you don’t have to face losing. This is most noticeable between you and Thomas, who are both eager to play soccer, basketball, football, or any other game you come up with in the driveway.

Your love of sports also carries over to spectating. You watch from the sidelines of any game you can find and you also watch ANY sport on TV, especially with dad. You were an avid fan of World Cup soccer this summer. You didn’t want to miss a game and you’d watch every play.

You are a thoughtful observer in touching ways, too. You are sensitive to the needs of those around you and you often surprise us with subtle “I love yous” and hugs when we least expect them.

Your most distinguishing characteristic is your ability to be direct and determined. You never leave us guessing at what you are thinking or feeling. It’s helpful that you keep us well aware of your needs and we will continue to work with you on how to express them.

This spring, you surprised us and brought us great joy when you discussed with us about how to ask Jesus to be in your heart. You very sincerely made that commitment and you routinely reference your developing relationship to God. Your prayers and awareness of God have seemed more profound in recent months. We are proud of this milestone in your life and we are eager to help you grow and develop in your faith life.

On your boys’ weekend, Daddy taught you three values of being a Barry boy: humility, confidence and perseverance. You also said that you wanted to be brave.  You have shown bravery by talking with visitors at Waypoint, learning to swim, and exploring new things.

You are starting to read some words. It is fun for us to see you work through this process. It’s amazing how much you grow and change at this stage!

Thanks for your energy and your devotion to our family. We love you!

Mom and Dad

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Happy 5th Birthday, Thomas!

You have been looking forward to your birthday for the past several weeks. We can’t tell exactly what you’re excited about (party, gifts, cake?), but we appreciate your enthusiasm.

Excitement and enthusiasm are central themes in your life. You’re an “all-in” “all-the-time” kind of kid. For the most part, this is endearing and you make friends easily and interact with adults well. It also means your feelings are often hurt and you get disappointed easily. Being a passionate child has its ups and downs.

You have had more conflict with your brothers recently and we sometimes struggle to help you figure out how to handle your emotions. And, as social as you are, you often have moments where you appear quite “shy” and embarrassed. Yet, you recently moved into your own room after sharing with Jack for a year. You seemed to need a little bit more sleep than James and Jack, so this has been a good move for you. We are proud of how well you shared your space with Jack and we love the bond you two formed during the year together.

On your boys’ weekend, Daddy taught you three values of being a Barry boy: humility, confidence and perseverance. You also said that you wanted to be strong. Strength is found not just in muscles but also in self-restraint. This will be a challenge for you as your emotions can drive your decisions but you are beginning to show strength of character.

You’re at a stage where you are excelling at many things. We keep waiting for you to meet a big challenge, but so far you keep pressing through. You do well at and enjoy school and art and you are starting to read fairly well. You take after your big sister in this regard and she likes to encourage you. You are also quite the sportsman these days. Your t-ball coach commented on your natural ability and suggested that you keep playing baseball. You are fast in running races, you have a strong throwing arm (football and baseball), you hit a 100-yd drive while golfing with Papa, you can shoot baskets on a 7ft hoop both forwards and backwards, and you have recently learned to swim and ride your bike. Any wonder you sleep well at night! Our challenge is to figure out how to channel your energy and help you determine what to do with your talents.

In your faith life, you are very good at memorizing scripture, asking important questions, and you seem to have a good understanding of the concepts we are teaching you. We hope that you will continue to grow and develop your own relationship with God.

We are thankful for all of the joy you bring to our home. You, along with daddy, have a very special role in keeping our home fun and goofy. We can’t wait to see all that awaits you this year.

 

Love,

Mom and Dad

 

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Dear Jack,

Happy 5th Birthday!  What a big milestone.

You have had some major breakthroughs in your development the past few months. We are delighted to see your progress with speech and social skills. You seem to be whining and isolating yourself less and your smiley and light-hearted side has emerged.

On your boys’ weekend, Daddy taught you three values of being a Barry boy: humility, confidence and perseverance. You also said that you wanted to show kindness. You have grown tremendously in kindness as you enjoy playing with others. Most impressive is the shift towards kindness with Ellie as you have worked hard to find more ways to connect. We love to see how the two of you can work as a team to complete projects and use your similarities for good instead of to create conflict.

Thomas has been your roommate for most of your four-year-old year. In May, we switched and James became your new roomie. You handled all of the changes well and it is impressive to see how you have been able to adapt to new personalities and routines.  You’ve built unique and special bonds with both Thomas and James.

You get quickly disinterested with letters, reading, and writing, but you really shine at math. You love when Daddy gives you story problems to work through. You are also extremely passionate about NASCAR. You asked us to print you a chart of all the drivers and their numbers. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88) and Jeff Gordon (#24) are your favorite drivers.  You would love to go to a race and you would especially like to be a NASCAR driver one day. Or, if that doesn’t work out, you’d like to be a policeman.

You came to enjoy t-ball, even though at first you weren’t sure. This, summer, you and your brothers got into watching the World Cup soccer. You had convinced yourself that you aren’t a good kicker and would often ask to be goalie when you guys would start to play a game. However, once you tried it you were able to keep up and show some solid skills. It was clear that you are hard on yourself and don’t believe in yourself.  But, with a little encouragement, you were thrilled with your abilities.  Therefore, you showed great perseverance as you learned to enjoy things that at first you didn’t.

Our hope for you this year is that you will continue to make the progress that you are demonstrating. We love seeing the boy you are becoming and we know great things are in store for you. We also hope that your faith life with start to become your own and not simply part of the family ritual.

We are eager to come alongside you this next year as you prepare for Kindergarten. We are excited about all that you will learn and we are grateful for more time to be with you before you take that leap.

With love, bear hugs, and a sweet Jack-style kiss-

Mom and Dad

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