Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hate Love Relationship with Bedtime

Arg.  I'm sitting here listening to sweet baby Calvin just wail and wail.  I seriously hate bedtime.

It's just a lot.  Getting the boys to take their medications while Carter wants to "get his own medicine" aka get it out of the bottle aka take more time aka sometimes spilling it.  Then there's Calvin, who has been having the same medicine for months--still spits it out.  I keep hoping he'll finally adjust to the taste!

Then, there's Calvin getting cranky because Carter is stalling like crazy and Calvin is tired.

Afterwards, there's the wrestling match to brush's Carter's teeth.

And then, there's trying to keep wiggling Calvin still while I put lotion on his poor dry skin.

Once scriptures and prayers are done Carter's head games start.  I offer to rock Carter.  He'll flat out tell me no and either play with his toys or run around the room like a maniac. I'll sing songs and he'll cutely sing along, but all the while saying he doesn't want to rock.  As soon as Calvin is about to drop off, I'll set him down and give kisses.  Then, Carter starts screaming and crying that he wants to rock.  That only gets Calvin who is already screaming that he's been set down wound up.  They're both hysterical now.

Usually Carter will calm soon within a few minutes.  Calvin is a whole other story.

I'm literally at a loss with what to do for him.  Unless I wait until he is out completely cold, he screams every time I put him in his crib...whether it's at bedtime or nap time.  Even when I nursed him he'd freak out.  He literally grabs onto my hair and shirt with his iron fists as soon as I start walking towards the crib.  I feel horrible setting him down and having to pry my shirt and hair from his desperate fingers.  He immediately gets up, holds onto his railing, jumps up and down while doing the scream that sounds like his throat is about to burst.

After Calvin finally starts calming down Carter will often start screaming.  He either wants water, or needs to pee, or wants the blankets straightened on his back.  Then Calvin starts all over again.  He'll sometimes go for an hour.

Calvin takes it up another notch when I go in to help Carter and don't pick him up.  Least you think I'm mean, if i do pick Calvin up he starts clinging onto me and straightens his legs and tries to not let me set him down.  There it goes all over again. My heart breaks every night.  I don't know how much more either of us can take. It's to the point I think we all dread bedtime.

I'm all for tips if anyone has one.  I've always tried to have a set routine and a set bedtime and nap times.  I try to cuddle him during the day.  I try to sing, use soothing words, have a happy tone, be validating, tell him it's OK..nothing.

NOTHING seems to make a difference.

Did I mention that Claudy is almost always at work during bedtime so I'm left to the ring lead the circus all by myself??

The sobbing when being put down has been since Calvin was around 4 months and he's now 11 months.  It's not like he can just not be put in his crib ever again (although I'm sure that's what he wants).  And, I don't find it practical to hold him until he's out cold because he's fighting going to sleep for fear that the dreaded "mommy's going to eventually set me down" is keeping his eyes fluttering.  Besides, a few times when I've tried it...I'll think he's asleep and he snaps alert the minute his head hits the crib.  Plus, I feel that putting him down conked out fosters dependence on me to fall asleep and I want to encourage healthy, unassisted sleep for times Claudy or anyone else has to put him down.

Carter was so easy to put down.  I could put him down wide awake and he'd smile at me while I walked away.

I really feel out of ideas and exasperated.

Calvin seems so sensitive and like he literally takes it personal each and every single time I set him down.  He acts as if he'll never see me again and that I have forsaken him.  I so wish he could feel comforted and realize that I come back every morning and that everything will be OK.


I bet you were wondering where the "love" portion came in. The only nice thing is about bedtime is that I always put them down between 7:30-8 p.m.  Once they finally calm down, they are both out.  They rarely wake up again.  They're great to sleep for a long period and not wake up until 7ish a.m.  I know if I can push past the awful crying spells that I can have quiet time to myself.  Granted, most of the "quiet/me" time is used doing dishes and cleaning up their messes...but it's something.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Current Sickness Woes

I can pinpoint the moment I stopped feeling good.  It was the morning of Claudy's birthday.  We had gone out for lunch the day before to celebrate at a popular all-you-can-eat-buffet (I don't want to slander them, so I won't say the name.)  I had eaten so much that I didn't feel like having dinner.  I woke up sick as a dog.  I thought it was food poisoning from the place we ate at, since that was the last thing I ate.  It was all the classic food-borne illness symptoms.  Claudy stayed home from class to take care of the boys as I was incapacitated.

24 hours and this will be I thought.

Then, two-ish weeks later I woke up on Sunday morning with what I thought was food poisoning again.  I thought, "How strange!  How can one be so unlucky to get food poisoning TWICE??"  We had eaten out at a fast food restaurant the night before, so that's why I figured I was so sick.  The difference from the last time was that it was even worse and had more symptoms.  Thankfully, it was a Sunday so Claudy was home and I could rest.

Fast forward to two weeks later.  I woke up in the middle of the night horrendously sick.  I hadn't eaten out, so I knew it wasn't food poisoning because no one else was sick.  Somehow, it even managed to top my previous time.  I literally could not stop throwing up.  I'll spare you the other details.  Let's just say I have no dignity left, because I had to have Claudy see me in some pretty awful situations.  It was so painful, and I was so sick that I kept feeling like I was going to pass out.  Around 2 a.m. we finally decided to take me to the E.R.  Unfortunately, the few people I felt comfortable calling didn't answer, so we had to wake the boys up and take them with us.  

After a CAT Scan they hadn't found anything.  I was super dehydrated and needed two bags of IV fluids.  They couldn't give me pain meds because my blood pressure was so incredibly low (hence the almost passing out).  They took some samples, but sent me home only two hours later.  I didn't want to have Claudy wake up the boys (it was only 5 a.m.) again to come pick me up so I just sat weakly in the E.R. waiting room calling and calling until I found a ride home.  

The samples came back negative and I was frustrated.  Because, not only was I having these intense, knock-me-out sick days every two-ish weeks, but in between I never felt myself.  I was nauseous all the time and just felt sick.  I literally felt like I was having a really bad first trimester, but we had already ruled out pregnancy several times.  I def don't want to be pregnant anytime soon!

I finally realized that it might not be food poisoning and that I couldn't go on much longer waiting for another attack, and just plain feeling gross all the time.  Any mom who has ever been sick knows how difficult it is to take care of the kids, let alone the house when you aren't 100%.  I went to the doctor and he said that my white blood cell count had been extremely high from the ER blood work and that we could at least do a few more tests before he had to send me to a GI specialist.  

Unfortunately, they forgot to send off my blood work at his office.  Which is crazy because I saw him write it on the paper, and while his nurse drew my blood she said, "I hope you don't have h. pylori because I hear the treatment is almost worse than the sickness."  So, I waited a week for something to culture, that never was sent off in the first place.  Another week of being sick for nothing!  

Finally, after going in for my blood draw AGAIN, and waiting several days the results came back positive for a bacteria that infects your stomach lining called h. pylori.  This was last Friday, just three days ago.  I was relieved to have a diagnosis and to see that I wasn't crazy.  

What stinks is that the medications they have to put you on, Calvin is allergic to.  The doctor said I had to quit nursing, but that I could wait a week or two, if I could put up with it, to wean him.  I decided that's what I'd do.

Until, the very next day I had another attack.  It was the rocking back and forth and in the fetal position, horrendous sickness.  After reading up on what a difficult bacteria this is to get rid of, and figuring I'd already gone two months with it, and seeing that it was just getting worse and worse we decided I needed to start the meds stat.

I nursed Calvin one more day and then have had to go cold turkey stopping breastfeeding and I've truly been mourning.

Crazy, right?  The lady who hates breastfeeding, and lamented the entire time is sad she's done.

Let me explain.  I've never cared for breastfeeding, and mostly did it because it's one of the few things they say can lower food allergies--which run rampant in my kids already--and because it's cheap.  

However, I do like that my kids like it.  That's about the only good thing.  It's excruciating to start and has a tons of other downsides I won't rant on.

So, I was shocked when I felt very sad to let go of it.  I think I felt sad because it wasn't my decision.  It wasn't my timing.  I didn't have a chance to gently let Calvin wean himself.  He's only had probably 3-4 bottles his entire life, and now he has to completely depend on them.  He's never been into binkies or stuffed animals.  I'm his only comfort object and I was just ripping that away from him without any warning.

To make matters worse, Claudy has been working a TON and in the there's no dad to help.  Many people tell me, "Oh, have your husband give him the bottle so he won't try to nurse on him."  Not gonna happen.

So, it's been an emotional and rough weekend.  Calvin hits the bottle away, arches his back and screams, while trying to turn into me.  I feel like the worse mother of the year and have to keep trying to get him to drink from this foreign thing.  I can tell he's utterly confused and upset.  I swear he cried most of Sunday and I was holding back tears most of the day too.

Logically, I know it's not that big of a deal.  Kids are resilient.  I'm lucky to have children.  I'm lucky I was able to even breastfeed for 11 months.  I know he won't remember.  I know that there are plenty of other ways to show my love and affection.  I know he's great at eating solids, so it's not like he has to be on just breast milk anymore.  But, it's just hard when I feel punished and that my child is unhappy because of something I've directly done to him.

I feel selfish for having to take medications.  I feel sad I couldn't hold out longer.  I feel guilty for getting sick in the first place.  But, as Claudy reminded me, having a sick mom doesn't do either of my kids any good.  It's better to get me healthy to help them in the long run.

I know Calvin will eventually accept the bottle.  I'm just worried for the transition.  If I can get him to take it he only drinks around 2 ounces.  His diapers are dry and I am worried he's getting dehydrated.  It's like he drinks just enough to wet his throat.  I've tried different bottles and even a squeeze bottle.  I've tried giving it to him in different locations than where I nursed him.  Nothing seems to be making more than a tiny difference.

Not to mention I am in a lot of pain!  I can barely hold Calvin.  I'm trying everything--eating sage, using cabbage leaves, sports name it.  But, going from exclusively nursing an 11 month old my body is used to producing a lot.  I'm trying to pump only once a day, so that I can dry up faster, but YOWSERS!

Poor, innocent Calvin is completely thrown off, his entire schedule is turned on its head.  Nursing was the first thing we did in the morning, what we did as I put him down for both naps and how I put him to sleep.  Last night he screamed for an hour straight because he was so upset I didn't nurse him while putting him down.  It was like torture, sitting downstairs hearing my baby wail and knowing that "technically" I could help him and I was having to withhold something from him he desperately wanted.  My heart ached.

And, poor Claudy--it's his last week of class.  He has two big, grade-defining papers due this week, and finals next week.  He is trying to take care of things at home, and not feel bad about not being at home when he has to either be at work or school.  To say we're both stressed out is an under-statement.  Plus, Claudy has had to miss multiple days of class to take care of me all throughout the semester.

To put the cherry on top, the meds are making me sick.  I've asked a physician's assistant and read up online and supposedly because the bacteria can eat your stomach lining and change your stomach's PH level, that the super strong meds are noxious to your system.  So, I feel very ill myself trying to keep two littles alive, all while one of them is having the worst weekend of his little life.

I know there's an end in sight.  (Well...I hope, supposedly it's really hard to kill and many people have to do multiple treatments.  Crossing my fingers I only have to do this once.)

I have no idea where I got it, but I strongly wonder if it's from the restaurant, since that was the night and day difference when my health started to take a turn.  I realize now it wasn't food poisoning, but how could I have known?

The other dilemma is that I know Calvin could use cow's milk formula and then full-fat cow's milk.  He's already struggled soooo much to gain weight.  He's barely in the growth chart and seems to stall out in his weight or even lose it.  I don't want to backslide any further.  HOWEVER--cow's milk is Carter's worst allergy and has already sent him to the ER.  Do I dare have it in the house?  What's best for one is the worst for the other?!!  Do I hope a little three year old knows to not touch or drink the bottles?

I swear this has just been super unpleasant.  It truly makes me appreciate that I typically am very healthy.  You seriously can't appreciate your health until it's taken an unexcused leave of absence. 

It's another day down.  The boys are in bed and I hope to do the same after doing dishes.  We'll get through this.  It just royally sucks in the mean time.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sharing a Bedroom

A lot of the times I wish the boys had their own room.  Sure, I know it's a first-world problem.  Just a few generations ago the whole family would share one room, and even one bed.  But, when one of them wakes up the other I definitely curse having them share the same bedroom.  At the same time, they can both be heavy sleepers, which I'm sure comes in part from having to sleep by a noisy sibling.

Tonight I heard something funny and a little adorable that made me happy they share a bedroom.  Instead of coming straight downstairs after putting them to bed, like I usually do, I stayed up in my bedroom to read.  Because I was in earshot distance, I heard Calvin start to whimper and cry.  Promptly Carter pipped in, "Shh, Calvin, SHHH!"  And, just like that, Calvin stopped and all was quiet again.  

I had to chuckle.  It's not that it was done in the most loving of tones, but I do hope that maybe it's comforting to know that they're in the same room as one another and not all alone.

Recently, I've been extremely lucky and they've been keeping each other entertained in the morning.  I am not, I repeat NOT, a morning person.  Anything before 8am is absurd to me.  I don't care to be a morning person, nor do I try and pretend I am one.  I seize the day plenty chasing after two young kids and then staying up late to see my husband after his shifts so I feel no need to rise before I absolutely have to.

Unfortunately, my boys do not agree in the "no waking before 8am rule".  They usually wake around 7.  I used to just get up and be oh, so, sad.  But, lately, I just nurse Calvin in my bed and then stumble back to his room and put him in his crib.  From his safe vantage point he watches Carter and they do who-knows-what for an hour or so.  Sometimes they even make it until 8:30!!  

It's surely a miracle.  I'm sad that our camera monitor broke, because I would love to know what two awake boys, three and under do to entertain themselves for an hour each morning.  I should also mention that we keep all of Carter's toys in his closet, which he cannot open (after a few disasters/learning opportunities).  So, it beats me what they're up to!  But, I do not question acts of God and will just let it happen for as long as possible.  We do usually let Carter sleep with one or two toys of his choosing each night, so I'm sure those help too.

I wouldn't leave them alone in the same room unattended for so long if Calvin was on the floor.  Surely, he would get maimed.  But, where he's perched safe in his crib where Carter can't get to him, I'm sure he has ring side seats for his brother's antics.  I bet he actually enjoys the show.

Now, this miracle, this parting of the sleeping seas isn't without it's drowning casualties.  Not every morning is a sleep-in-bliss.  There have been a few times when I've woken to Calvin crying loudly for help.  I'll go in and Carter is gleefully bounding around the room, just jumping with pride at the mess he's made.  They have a bookshelf in their room and Carter will empty every single book into Calvin's crib...rendering him completely immobile and buried in a corner.  To top it off, Carter will put anything he can find--jars of lotion, piles of clothes from their dresser in their too...basically anything not pinned to the wall.  Calvin will really be in up to his elbows--literally.  We've gotten after Carter multiple times, but he still does it here and there.  I think he figures the scolding and time out is worth the fun and duress it causes his little brother.

With the pluses and minuses, I hope their sharing of their room will forge a bond that will last their lifetimes.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stacey's Bridal Shower!

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One of my best friends, Stacey, is getting married!  She helped throw my bridal shower, so it was only fitting that I throw hers.  She was awesome and also asked two of her other friends to help me, so it really wasn't too stressful.  She also had it at her place since she has a larger place and that way most people knew where to go.  She's always thoughtful--even when it's her that's supposed to be spoiled!

The best part was that she had her friend, who went to CULINARY SCHOOL, help me and she totally offered to do all of the food.  Seriously?  It was awesome.

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Disclaimer: I'm not crafty at all.  But, I really did try for her.  I decided to theme it around old, romance books since that is what she likes.  I found an old romance book at the DI.  I made a heart garland out of the pages, so that they all had the yellow/faded text on them.  Then, I made smaller hearts for confetti all over the table.  I think that turned out cute.  Then, I found gold frames and designed loves quotes to fill them with that were either from Jane Austen herself or from her books.  Then, we put old books all around the table too.  I think it turned out cute.

She said she didn't want many games, so we just had everyone go around the room and tell how they knew Stacey.  Then, I bought her a gluten-free cookbook since she just found out she needs to avoid it.  I passed it around and had all of the guests write her advice in the cookbook.  That way, when she's looking for a recipe, she'll have these fun words and memories to remind her.

Then, even though her fiance lives far away, we did a Skype date and I asked him questions about Stacey.  I filmed him and then played it at her bridal shower. She had to guess what his answer was.  That was fun, but I felt bad because the USB cable didn't work so we couldn't play it on her TV, so we had to play it on my laptop and it was kind of quiet and hard to hear for everyone.

It was simple, but hopefully fun for everyone.  I always think if the food and company is good that's about all you need.

Claudy was sweet and took the day off so that I could set up, run it and then clean up afterwards.  It was fun to have an afternoon kid-free and just with a bunch of women!

I so admire Stacey and know that she will be a truly wonderful wife and mother.  She is one of the most spiritual, smart, generous, funnest people I know.  I'm glad I could be a part of her special day.  Congratulations!!!!

Ryker Brinly

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My best friend since kindergarten decided to come spend two days with me and my kiddos.  I had even been sick and was taken to the ER the day before, but I was determined not to let that foul up our plans.  Her husband was flying out for an interview, so why be alone when you can be with a friend?

Carter was ecstatic!  He calls them "Ryker Brinly" as if they're one entity instead of saying each name separately.  It was his first sleep over, and let me tell you...he did not do much sleeping!  We had to get after them a ton.  And, as soon as we'd shut the door we'd hear my son, the instigator, saying, "Come on Brinly!".

But, even with less sleep it was totally worth it.  I can almost see why people would want sister wives.  Haha.  She is so like me and can read my mind.  While I'd be cooking she'd be looking after the kids and vice versa.  It was fabulous having the company and just having someone to hang out with since Claudy is gone so often.

We went shopping, took the kids swimming, and of course we introduced them to our favorite drink stop!

As you can see, Carter and Ryker even held hands on a walk we went on.  They just mesh so well.  Ryker is great because he loves cars and transformers like Carter.  In fact, Ryker brought his Bumblebee Transformer and they both switched once he got there.  I don't think either of them set their swapped toy down.  They were totally content to have a "new" transformer to enjoy.  And, Brinly is great because she's crazy/high energy like Carter.  They pretty much fit both sides of his personality so he just adores them, and for good reason.

I so wish we lived closer.  I just found out they're moving to Idaho Falls, so I don't know if that will ever happen.  I've always said hell would have to freeze over if I were to move back there.  So, here's hoping one day they'll leave! :)

Either way, any moment I get to spend with my amazing friend is precious to me.  I'm glad she was willing to make the drive.  Love ya Licia!


When we had our board of directors meeting earlier this year, we were going over what we could realistically do during 2015.  We were looking at cutting a few things and scaling back since it's all completely volunteer and we're all busy moms with children who have health issues.  One thing that was on the cutting block was the food-free Easter Egg Hunt.

That was my very first UFAN activity.  It is so geared to children who are my son's age.  The thought of it not happening just didn't sit well with me.  I didn't know if I'd have the time or the ability, but I took a deep breathe and volunteered.  I asked my husband for support and dived in.

THANKFULLY, another wonderful board member, and long time UFAN member, and older/wiser mom decided to co-chair with me.  We balanced each other out very well and it was great to not have to do it by myself.

I hope that Carter will look back and that this will be a good example for him.  Sometimes it's nice to just enjoy community events.  And, sometimes, when we want something done, we need to step up and volunteer ourselves.  You can't always expect someone else to do it.  We all need to take our turn.

It's always fun to tackle a new task and to learn and grow.  I had to find and set up a registration site which was a good and new experience.

We started planning in January.  By the end of January I had designed a flyer and I started marketing it.  We took a risk and changed a few things up.  Last year we had complaints that some parents took tons of eggs for their kids and some kids got hardly any.  We decided to end registration two weeks early so that we could guarantee 10 eggs per child.  This would give us plenty of time to purchase and stuff sufficient amounts.  It was scary since we usually have a ton of people register that week and the day of.  We knew we might lose people and that we'd be asking our membership to change up their habits, but we felt it was worth a shot.

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Another good omen was that we had some members offer to volunteer.  A huge relief was that one of the members was willing to have her Young Women stuff all of the eggs.  It was WELL over 1000 eggs and they busted it out.  We couldn't have done it without her.

After sending out multiple emails about it, having conference calls, posting it like CRAZY on our social media pages, contacting businesses about it and just plain crossing our fingers we ended up having the most register out of the 5 years we've done it!  We had approximately 150 kids from all over Utah and Salt Lake County.  We did end up taking just a few at the door, but did have turn some away, that's why we're not 100% sure on the final number.

Claudy was nice and took work off so he could bring the boys, since I had to be there a few hours early to set up.  I think it turned out really well.  Last year there were lots of complaints, but weeks later, I still haven't heard one.  We had a sign at registration letting parents know that the little kids could get 10 eggs and 7 large items and the older kids could get 15 eggs and 4 large items and I think everyone was gracious and stuck to that.  Those who felt their kids didn't get enough, we had the Easter Bunny have extra and they were able to get them after.

The weather was beautiful, the kids seemed to have fun and overall it was a success.

It was very rewarding and I'm grateful that I could help it come to pass.  I even had one mom and her kids come up and thank me personally saying how relieving it was to have a safe event she could bring her kids to.

 photo easter egg hunt_zps9coheqmu.jpg It also helped that I saw Carter totally understood the concept and had a blast getting his eggs this year.

Here is an article about it, that has some fun pictures as well.  Yay UFAN and yay for a safe egg hunt.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lose, Lose

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With Calvin being able to eat dairy, wheat, eggs and oatmeal we heaved a huge sigh of relief.  I don't have to worry about him eating it and having to be rushed to the ER, or having a potentially fatal attack.

However, there is a double edge to this sword. Or, should I say butter knife?

Carter is now the odd man out.  Until I felt brave enough to feed Calvin dairy yogurt, he always ate the same coconut yogurt Carter did.

The other morning, I pulled out a regular Yoplait yogurt and began feeding it to Calvin while Carter ate his breakfast.

It caught Carter's eye and it gave him pause.  Then he said something like, "Calvin eats mommy's yogurt?" in astonishment.  Carter is used to mommy and daddy sometimes having "special" foods, and he's long ago accepted that.  But, to see his little brother having something of "mommy's" totally sunk in for him.  Then he said something like "I can't have that yogurt."

And, my heart broke a bit.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't believe kids should have every little thing their heart desires.  It wouldn't be good for their character.

I don't believe my child will be stunted for life because he can't have Yoplait.

But, I did feel bad seeing that he felt left out.  I know there will be many situations in life where he might feel left out.  Everyone experiences it at one point or another.  I'm sure every parent has felt that way when their child didn't receive a birthday party invite, or didn't get asked to a school dance.  But, to be the one doing the leaving be the parent and to withhold one thing from one child, while giving it to the other just felt awkward and sad.

It just feels like a lose, lose and I've dreaded this day since we even contemplated having another child.  I knew this day might come, and as I imagined, it didn't feel great.

This is one of the first awakenings Carter will have, where he realizes his diet is very different from those around him and that he can't partake in typical eating.

But, at the same time, I don't feel right holding Calvin back either.  We typically all eat the same thing for dinner, and we definitely cater to Carter's diet.  Calvin will know what all things hypoallergenic taste like, but I'm not going to deprive him of eating other things too.

I tried to keep my voice cheerful and not act like it was a sad or tragic thing.  I think example speaks volumes.  I just said in a matter-of-fact voice "Yes, Calvin can eat mommy's yogurt, and you're so lucky to have your very own, special coconut yogurt! Do you want some of your yummy yogurt?"  OK, it might have been a bit forced and over cheery, but I'm learning.

I'll always try hard to place emphasis on what he can have, and other positives in his life.  I truly hope to raise him resilient.  There are many worse things out there, but I also want to be validating to any hurt feelings he can definitely have along the way.

I recently read "Raising Resilient Children" in the Ensign and I thought this was worth copying for future reference:

"We know two things about adversity and resilience: First, there is “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Second, obtaining anything of great worth often requires great sacrifice. As children become resilient, they understand and accept these two facts. They see life as challenging and ever changing, but they believe they can cope with those challenges and changes. They view mistakes and weaknesses as opportunities to learn, and they accept that losing may precede winning. As children develop resilience, they believe they can influence and even control outcomes in their lives through effort, imagination, knowledge, and skill. With this attitude, they focus on what they can do rather than on what is outside their control. Another mark of resilience is to see great purpose and meaning in life and people. A sense of purpose will help our children avoid giving up, in spite of setbacks and pressure to do so. If our children are becoming more resilient, they will develop deep values that guide them: charity, virtue, integrity, honesty, work ethic, and faith in God. They will involve themselves in what is happening around them and opt for commitment to values rather than feel alienated and avoid struggle. The gospel teaches and reinforces these values and perceptions."

I hope Carter and Calvin can always feel they have more in common then what they eat together.  I hope they can both give each other strength and understanding when one might feel left out--whether that be at the dinner table or anywhere else.  I pray this, and any other struggles we face as a family will give us all empathy and wisdom.