Monthly Archives: March 2013

Joyful Expectation–Jesus Calling

I picked up a new devotional this year called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  Although its been around for awhile, I hadn’t heard of it until recently.  I loved one of the recent readings and thought I’d share it here. 
“I am a God of both intricate detail and overflowing abundance.  When you entrust the details of your
life to Me, you are surprised by how thoroughly I answer your petitions.  I take pleasure in hearing
your prayers, so feel free to bring Me all your requests.  The more you pray, the more answers you can
receive.  Best of all, your faith is strengthened as you see how precisely I respond to your specific

Because I am infinite in all My ways, you need not fear that I will run out of resources.  Abundance is at the very heart of who I AM.  Come to Me in joyful expectation of receiving all you need—and sometimes much more!  I delight in showering blessings on My beloved children.  Come to Me with open hands and heart, ready to receive all I have for you.”

Psalm 36:7-9, Psalm 132:15, John 6:12-13

Most reviews I’ve read about this book have been extremely positive.  There are some who take issue with this author writing in such a way that it is presented as Jesus’ words to us.  When I was younger, my mom had a devotional called “Come Away My Beloved” that used a similar stance.  I liked that then and I like this one now, but some may not be comfortable with it.  Learn more about the author of “Jesus Calling” by checking out this link: Sarah Young Q&A.

Prayer for My Children #2 (Psalm 139)

When I was on bed rest when pregnant with Evan, Psalm 139 meant a lot to me. Knowing that God was “knitting together” our baby in my womb, that He knew everything about our baby’s body, and that our son was fearfully and wonderfully made, brought me a lot of peace during a scary time. This Psalm was also a comfort last spring, right before Evan’s fourth surgery, the scariest one for me because it was on his back. So it only seemed natural that I’d return to this Psalm when praying for my children.

When I read this Psalm with a mother’s eyes, there are so many amazing truths.  It continues to bring me peace, but in a new way.  The verses I resonate with now are the ones that speak to God going before and after us, that we are never far away from Him, and that He knows us inside and out! 

I cannot be everywhere with my children and I cannot know everything about my children, but
God can.  That quote about children being your heart walking around outside of your body is so
true.  They are so precious, you want to protect them, guard them, wrap them in bubble wrap,
but that’s not realistic nor healthy.  Eventually preschool will turn into kindergarten, elementary
school to high school, college to adult life, and if my kids have the travel-bug like I did, who
knows where they’ll end up! 

They seem so small in such a big crazy world, but to God they are small but precious in a small

world…compared to Him.  I am much more willing to let go, whether it be going to preschool
(knowing there are unfortunately no guarantees of safety at school) or traveling the
world, knowing that God goes with them.  I’m sure it will still be hard, there will probably be
tears at times, but hopefully I won’t worry as much knowing they do not go on their adventures
The other night I prayed through this Psalm, putting my childrens’ names in at the appropriate
places, and it was beautiful.   It was an easy exercise and painted such a neat picture of God
truly being intimately involved in their lives from conception through all the days God is giving
them.  It truly brought a new perspective to a Psalm I’ve read many times before.  I’ve
included Psalm 139 at the end of this post if you’d like to try it out yourself.  
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Father God,

It is such a delight to see over time who you have created my children to be.  Makenna is almost two and it seems like more and more of her cute personality is revealed each day.  Thank you that my children are “fearfully and wonderfully” made.  Thank you for creating and knowing their intricacies, their thoughts, their feelings, and their personalities.  Please teach me how to parent each of them in a way that honors who you have made them to be.  Help me to not butt heads with a child who is very similar to me.  Help me know how to wisely parent a child who is different from me, one that I may not as easily understand. 

Lord, when I worry about my children as they head towards being more independent, please remind me that you go before them and after them and that your hand is on them.  Remind me that your presence is everywhere, that while the other side of the world is so far away to me, that you are there too…that wherever Evan and Makenna go, you will go with them.  Forgive me for worrying so much.  Remind me over and over again how loving, how powerful, and how good you are!  That you will watch over them and do a better job of protecting them than I ever could. 

Thank you that you know how many days each of us will have and that those days, those moments are precious to you.  Lord, cultivate a heart in both of them that believes your thoughts are precious and give them the desire to know You and Your thoughts.  Lastly, search my heart, Lord, and reveal to me the things I need to improve in my parenting.  Show me what I need to apologize to my kids or my husband for. Help me be the mother you have me to be. 

-In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Psalm 139 (NIV)

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
 you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

What’s up, Makenna?

I’ve written more about Evan lately, so let’s catch up with Makenna.   I can’t believe she’ll be two already this summer.  She is such a doll and has such a cute little personality! She’s not as expressive as Evan, but she definitely lets you know what she needs or wants.   And she has the best smile and her giggles melt my heart.   I’d say that she’s more serious child of the two, but still has a lightheartedness to her. And she adores Evan, but also doesn’t let him get away with taking her toys or pushing her around.  One of the women in nursery at church said, “Boy, she doesn’t let the boys in here push her around!” Guess it helps having a brother!

Right now she enjoys putting things in her toy purse and then taking them back out, playing at the toy kitchen, pulling things out of the pantry, feeding Zoe food when we’re not looking, doodling with crayons or on one of those sketch doodle boards, and wearing fun fluffy little skirts (both given by grandmas).  My mom told me that when I was pretty little, I decided I didn’t like what she chose for me to wear and insisted on dressing myself.  I could see Makenna doing that soon.  She likes to gesture and point to clothes in her closet like she’s not satisfied with what I’ve chosen…especially if a fun skirt isn’t involved! 

Well, it was about that time.  Makenna needed her first haircut.  I tried to learn from my own past experiences when it came to getting her one.  When people started to encourage me to get Evan’s haircut, I was like a mama bear, I was not going to let anyone cut his hair! He had hardly any hair for so long, I didn’t want the hairs he did have to get any shorter!  But as I looked back at some of the pictures of Evan pre-first-haircut, I’m appalled at how uneven his hair looked.  Most of his hair (on the sides and in the back) was still pretty minimal, but the top middle portion was long and out of control!  It looked like he could have a comb-over hairstyle despite being a toddler!  I felt bad that my over-attachment to his hair meant that I let him walk around with a moppy head instead of a cute, short haircut. 

That being said, I was not going to make the same mistake on child #2.  So we took Makenna to get her haircut last week.  She wasn’t all about it like Evan had been.  She didn’t know what to think, despite having watched Evan getting it done several times in the past.  And it was hard to even get a good photo of her because she was so squirmy!  Luckily we have an AWESOME hair stylist (email me if you’re in the Denver area and looking for one) who handled Makenna’s constant movements with ease.  Here are a few of the photos, sorry most of them have a blurry quality to them!  These last two were takens within seconds of each other…that little head just wouldn’t sit still!
She still is all about her feet and I finally got a photo to show what I’m talking about. She loves tucking her toes up into the edge of her highchair tray.  And she is obsessed with taking her shoes off….every….single…time we’re in the car.  I remember going through a phase of this with Evan, but I honestly think that she gets more of a kick out of it than he did.  And she’ll kick off her shoes in stores too.  I’m very lucky that we haven’t lost a shoe yet.  We have come close. 
She is so interested in figuring out how to put her own socks and shoes on, but isn’t able to yet.  And I wonder if she’ll be into shoes like most women as I, her mom, am not!
Both Makenna and Evan LOVE this homemade learning tower that their dad made.  I saw this on a blog DIY Learning Tower Info and loved the idea of my kids being able to be right by me when I was working in the kitchen at the counter.  When Evan was younger, I’d bring over a chair for him to stand on but always felt paranoid that he could easily fall off.  The learning tower eases those concerns by having sides and its easy for them to climb into and out of it.  It’s big enough for both of them, but many times they want to have time by themselves on it.  I saw smaller versions of this at the Milwaukee airport in a play area which might work better for apartments or smaller homes, but this larger one works for our needs.

Evan and I have a lot of fun baking together.  The learning tower allows him to be at the right level to help me add ingredients into the mixer or stir things.  Makenna likes to color when she’s on the learning tower or play with cheerios, bowls, and spoons.  Right now our learning tower is grey, not because that was the intended color, but because we got too excited to start using it, so it was only primed and not painted when it showed up in our kitchen.  So much for delaying gratification!  Someday I hope to paint it a barn red.  We’ll see if it can be taken out of commission long enough to get painted!

A Cracked Ninja Chop

A while back I wrote about the 1000 gifts list I was creating (check it out here: Post About 1000 Gifts). I accomplished my goal a few months back and while I felt satisfaction, I also felt a bit sad. There was something meaningful about going through my day and looking for new things to add to the list. It really changed my perspective. Instead of focusing on the things that weren’t going my way or were difficult, I was on the lookout for the little gifts and big gifts, things I enjoyed, and things that made my life easier or simply brought a smile to my face. I toyed with continuing the list, but haven’t, it just didn’t feel the same. But I will say that I am still on the lookout for the gifts in my life. And now looking for them has become a habit and I’m a better person for it.

What are some of my latest gifts?

·         Evan saying “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck” (from a song we used to sing at bedtime)·         Makenna’s current obsession with her sleeves.  She loves to push them up and then pull them back down

·         Evan running ahead of me and saying “you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”
·         An awesome reclaimed kitchen cabinet—our kitchen didn’t have a good spot for oversized, thin cookie sheets and cutting boards. It’s been driving me nuts for years! We finally decided to deal with it by taking out a small shelf in one of our cabinets next to our oven. It was the one shelf in our entire kitchen that was not adjustable or easily removable. It was firmly in place and had no intention of going anywhere. For someone as handy as Ryan, it wasn’t a difficult task, but we had never taken the initiative to get it done. Well, the time came and not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for my new storage situation and for a husband who can fix anything in our home.

·         Our ninja chop bowl is cracked! For those who don’t know what a ninja chop is, it’s a food processor.  The main bowl I use to puree foods is cracked.  In the past, I would have just been annoyed about this. Having to spend the time and money to replace the part that is cracked. But now I look at those cracks and I praise God for two reasons. One, the fact that we were given the ninja chop as a gift a few months BEFORE we knew we’d need it for feeding therapy.  It was a clear example of God providing for us.  And two, those cracks are evidence of how much food pureeing I’ve done in the past year and a half.  All that hard work has paid off in him weighing around 28 pounds now (before he couldn’t get past 20 lbs no matter how hard we tried). 


·         A Toy Story Birthday Party—last Sunday we celebrated Evan’s fourth birthday (I’ll try to post some photos on here from it soon). It was so much fun to plan this party and it was truly a symbol to me of how far our little family has come. I feel like it shows how we’re no longer surviving, but truly thriving! Last year’s birthday party was only several weeks post-surgery. While it was still a celebration, there was an element of emotional fatigue after just having gone through Evan’s fourth surgery.  This year’s party represented over a year with no major medical procedures—no surgeries, no invasive tests! Whohoo! And another blessing—getting to be creative in making some of the decorations for the party.  I had forgotten how much fun coloring can be!
·         My desktop filing box—Per a book I read years ago, I’m an “organized messy,” meaning that I’m a bit cluttered but know exactly where things are.  That means I sometimes have piles of paper lying around which drive Ryan CRAZY.  At MOPs the other day, we had a few mini-seminars.  One was an organizational coach and she showed us a desktop filing box that organizes, To-Do list things, bills, mail, recipes, articles, filing, and shredding.  LOVED IT.  And I think Ryan is happy as a clam knowing he will no longer see a pile of paper on our counter!  I also love the pattern on my specific box.  There were neon green and purple ones on clearance, and while I’m always shopping for a good deal, I couldn’t say no to this blue and cream floral pattern! 

·         Watching Makenna eat mac and cheese—she LOVES macaroni and cheese and will eat big bites of it off a fork.  When she’s feeding herself, sometimes she will pick up the noodles with her fingers and place them gingerly on the fork.  I love how intuitive and easy eating is for her! 

So continuing to identify the blessings in my life feels good. I hope that this is a habit I’ll continue to cultivate.

Okay, rabbit trail time…I’ve heard that it takes seven positive comments to balance out one negative comment in our lives (I don’t remember where I heard this and how they came to this ratio) and I’ve been thinking about it. Basically the reason people have put forth this ratio is to explain that your “love bank” needs to be full so when the negative comes along, it doesn’t have a horrible impact because it’s balanced out by already existing positive credits. I’ve also heard the “love bank”explained when it comes to relationships…you want those you care about to be getting positives from you so when there is a bump in the relationship or you need to give some constructive feedback, it’s well received.

Why am I writing about the “love bank”? Well, I’ve wondered if creating the habit of becoming aware of all the blessings all around me is like the 7-to-1 ratio. If I’m so acutely aware of all the blessings around me, will my faith do a better job of withstanding trials? If I know I am surrounded by so many tangible examples of God’s goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and grace, will the hard times not seem as all-encompassing? Just something I’ve been pondering.

Of course, we’re called to more than just having a positive balance in our love banks when it comes to our walk with God. We’re called to thank God in all circumstances and rejoice in the trials…to add the hard times to our list of 1000 gifts. I am definitely not there yet.  Being transparent here, I have not added the trials of the last few years to my list.  I know I have listed out all the ways God provided and took care of us in the midst of those hard times and thanked Him for all of these, but haven’t listed the actual hard times themselves.

I hope that, eventually, I will have matured enough in my faith that adding the hard times to my list of blessings will have become a habit…just like looking for my daily blessings is now.  A wise friend encouraged me by saying she knows I’ll get to that point someday, especially when I am able to look back.  She said it will become clearer how God used the hard times to make me who I’m supposed to be and I’ll also see how going through those times will have helped me walk with others through their own hard times.  I’m thankful for her wisdom and encouragement and hope she’s right!

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Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—Ephesians 5:20

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus—I Thessalonians 5:16-18

The Prayer Challenge (Prayer #1)

Wow, in the past few days, God has really challenged me about praying for our kids.  Not that I don’t already pray for them, but if I’m honest, it is not that much compared to the time I invest in other things and I’m not praying very specific issues or verses for them.  How many nights when I’m struggling to fall asleep, do I grab my cellphone and read something online instead of lifting my kids up to God in prayer?  How much time to I spend in front of the TV instead of on my knees?  Not that there’s anything wrong with either distraction, just when I compare how much time I spend doing other things, the amount of time I spend praying seems pitiful. 

In the midst of all this contemplation, I picked up a book I had started a month or two ago and it spoke to this very issue–the importance of praying for your children.  Let me tell you a bit more…

When we dedicated Makenna a few months ago, our church’s children’s ministry gifted us two books.  I’ve read one of them finally…the book I alluded to above.  Its called “Praying Circles Around Your Children” by Mark Batterson Check it out on Amazon (as cheap as 42 cents).  It is a small, pretty short book but really good.  He shares why it is so important for parents to pray for their children and how to do it in creative ways.

Here are a few quotes from Batterson that really challenged me:

“I have come to terms with the fact that I’ve done more things wrong than I’ve done right as a parent, but I’ve taken courage from this simple truth: it’s not just my wife and I who are raising our kids; we have a heavenly Father who compensates for our deficiencies, weaknesses, and mistakes.Where we fail as earthly parents, I believe our heavenly Father can succeed (38).”

“Please listen to me, parents: you are prophets to your children…the more one grows in grace, the more prophetic one becomes.  This doesn’t mean you will start predicting the future.  It means that you’ll start creating it.  How? Through your prayers!  Prayer is the way we write the future.  It’s the difference between letting things happen and making things happen (39). 

“I once read that at least 40% of our lives are based on personal prophecies.  I’m not sure how you substantiate a statistic like that, but I find it very believable.  The right word spoken at the right time can make an eternal difference.  We all need personal prophets in our lives.  And I pray that my children encounter a lot of people who have a profound positive influence on their lives.  Right at the top of that list are the unsung heroes of the kingdom—youth pastors.  I’m deeply grateful for youth pastors to tag-team with me as I parent, but let me make one thing clear: it’s not their responsibility to disciple my children.  That’s my responsibility!  You cannot delegate discipleship any more than you can delegate prayer (40).” 

“You need to speak words of comfort and encouragement to your children.  When you catch them doing something wrong, gently rebuke them.  Lovingly remind them: that’s not who you are.  When you catch them doing something right, reinforce it.  Fan into flame the gift of God that is in them (40-41).” 

“You need a vision for your children.  With your physical eyes you see who a person is.  With your spiritual eyes you see what that person can be.  And it’s only when you close your physical eyes in prayer that God will open your spiritual eyes to perceive what is far more real than the reality you can perceive with your five senses (69-70).” 

Wow, does any of that speak to your soul about praying for your children in passionate, fervent, consistent ways like it did me? 


I really feel like God is asking me to be accountable about praying more for my children.  I’m
going to do this in two ways.  One, I’ve asked a friend to pray with me once a week for our
children.  It’s like having a workout buddy.  Having committed to someone else to do this, I’m
less likely to shrug it off.  And two involves this blog.  How you ask?  Let me digress a
moment….this year I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in MOPs and I’ve really enjoyed the
emails I’ve gotten from my table leader and from the woman who sends out prayer requests. 
One thing that they’ve done that I’ve really appreciated is when they write about prayer
requests, they actually write out a prayer that recipients can pray along with them.  This doesn’t
mean that you can’t add your own thoughts or requests into the prayer for that situation, but at
times it has brought insight and a focus to my time praying for the situation at hand. 
So I’m going to apply that technique on this blog.  Once a week (on Mondays) for the rest of
2013, I’m going to post a prayer for my children.  Some may come from books I’m reading about
praying for kids (such as “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian), others may be
my own words, from my heart.  Maybe it will give some ideas or focus to other peoples’ prayers
too, who knows, but I know that, for me, it will be a step in me being more intentional and
focused in my prayers.  I’m sure some prayers for my children will be too personal or specific to
post, but others may apply to other parents too.  That will get figured out as we go along.  Feel
free to substitute your children’s names in the prayers or if you don’t have your own children,
pray for some you come in contact with or know.  Our next generation needs all the
strengthening they can get! 

If you are a parent, what verses have you focused on in prayer for your children?  What

books have encouraged you in your desire to pray for your kids?  If you’re a grandparent,
how is praying for your grandchildren similar or different than praying for your children? 


Prayer #1:

Batterson shared a verse in his book that is short but packed full of amazing things to pray about for your children—Luke 2:52—“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.  It seemed like a great jumping off point for all of this… 


Thank you for giving me Evan and Makenna.  They are two of my biggest blessings from you.  Boy, they are growing up so fast!  Lord, may they both grow in wisdom, may they learn to discern right from wrong and be able to read situations and people well.  Please help both of my children to continue to grow, especially Evan, as he’s struggled to gain weight in the past.  Thank you for how healthy they have both been this year and all the ways you have answered our prayers with Evan’s different health issues.  May you favor both of them, may you be gracious and merciful to them, and may they follow you from an early age.  Lord, please help Evan’s teachers to see his strengths—his intelligence, his sense of humor, and his great memory.  May his teaching professionals identify strengths that we haven’t recognized and communicate them to Evan and us.  May those who encounter Evan and Makenna enjoy each of them for who you’ve made them to be.   Thanks for listening, Lord, and for loving my children even more than I do. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Magic Number Four

Why is it so easy to give grace and encouragement to other moms but not give it to myself?  These last few weeks have been really difficult ones re: parenting/discipline.  And I’ve felt like left and right, I’m failing at least one of my children.  What’s been going on?  Well, we’ve been having some Bedtime Battles with our now four year old son.  And boy, the bath anxiety issue with number two child now seems like nothing compared to our current issue!  The Battle has been exhausting.  It has been challenging.  It has caused conflict in our home.  I’m honestly amazed at how such a small person can so upset the peace and calm of an evening. 

My son was blessed with both a strong will  and a creative mind.  That means when he gets it in his head that he wants to accomplish a certain goal (i.e. not going to bed easily), he won’t give up until he’s done it and he will use a variety of means to keep it “fun” in his opinion.  The Bedtime Battle is way more than asking for a drink of water or saying he’s not tired.  He got creative (and honestly, a bit obnoxious) and made us work.  And work we have!  We have brainstormed, commiserated, tag-teamed, and sat on our couch and vented to each other.  We have tried this incentive and that consequence.  Consistency.  Patience.  Setting Limits and Reinforcing Them.  Calm Voice. Yelling.  Ignoring.  

So, on another note,  I heard a parenting coach give parenting tips about a month and a half ago.  In the midst of her tips, one thing she shared was that, in her opinion, if you’re doing what you need to do to mold and guide your children’s behavior in the early years, by the age of four, most of their significant behavior issues should be resolved.  And that this will set your child up well for school and life in general.  Of course I had this information pop back into my mind when we were in the midst of our Bedtime Battles.  I started to worry not only about elementary school but also the teenage years, because, hey, our behavior issues are definitely not resolved and he’s now the magic age: FOUR.  So, worry much Elyse?  Yep.  Feel guilty much? Definitely.  But after a few weeks of worrying and guilt, I finally stopped, took a step back and realized, why am I being so short-sighted?  Why do I so often fail to remember that there’s a bigger picture than just our little family.  God is so much bigger than all of this.  I’m praying for my child.  And I’m praying for me as a mom and Ryan as a dad.  And prayer can do so much more for Evan’s future than my worrying.  And prayer can do so much more for me than guilt-tripping myself.  I need some supernatural wisdom and patience now.  Taking a deep, cleansing breath and letting my expectations and tendencies go…   

So, anyone curious about what finally started to work in our Bedtime Battles?  Well, with Evan, there’s never a simple, easy answer.  He’s a complex kid.  Even when he was a baby, we never knew what soothing technique would work at a particular moment because nothing worked for him every time.  What worked in one moment, didn’t work even just an hour or two later.  Usually when someone else watched him, we’d have a list of about six things to try because we never knew what would do the trick.  So, while it may not work for others, we’ve set his bedtime to a later time so he’ll be more tired, and then are using a hybrid of a token economy (a sticker chart that leads to him earning something he wants) and him sleeping in a pack-n-play if he is making poor choices at bedtime.  Luckily for us, Evan has not figured out how to climb out of our pack-n-play on a consistent basis and it has proven to be a very tangible, concrete limit for him.  It also sends the natural consequence message of “if you aren’t making good choices with your freedom in your big boy bed, you will have less freedom”…I hope that this is our last major Bedtime Battle marathon with Evan because I’m sure using the pack-n-play won’t be effective much longer.  But honestly, I think bedtime has gotten better for us less because of what we’ve done and more because of Evan.  I think he’s getting tired of testing the limits and he’s just decided for himself to go to bed…that the drama is no longer worth it to him and that makes all the difference in the world.  

So, I’ve heard what a parenting coach had to say about four year olds and behavior.  For me, it wasn’t encouraging because I doubt we’re all done with the his-will-versus-our-will issues.  I hope we’re setting a good foundation though.  I’ve also heard about this age from some friends.  They’ve shared that for their kids, three and a half was really hard with testing limits and attitude, but once their kids hit four, things seemed to calm down overall.  While this gives me hope, I also realize that different kids have different seasons and their experience may not be ours.  And if there are some more big bumps in our road, I need to remember that not all child attitudes and behaviors are predictors of teenage delinquency!  And why worry, they make teenage sized pack-n-plays, right?  Ha.