Monthly Archives: July 2014

Our School “Plans” 2014-2015

If there’s one thing almost five years of parenting has taught me, it’s the need for flexibility. Flexibility is definitely the name of the game this fall.

If you’ll remember, last year we expressed a desire to be a homeschooling family. We still have that desire, but we also have some other factors to consider. I think we’ve talked about Landon’s challenges before so I won’t rehash them here, but I will say that his third birthday has been extremely bittersweet. Turning three means he graduates out of his early intervention program that has been supplying speech and occupational therapies to him for the last 14 months. His services will now be supplied by our county’s special education program. In order to make that transition, we had to first have an evaluation. I talked about that evaluation a bit here, but I’ll summarize that the results were a bit surprising for us. We had assumed we would be taking him to our school district’s early childhood center for speech therapy to supplement the tot school we are doing at home. We went to Landon’s first IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting with that in mind, where it was instead recommended that he go to the early ed center for three hours a day, four days a week exclusively in a special ed classroom. We left that meeting feeling rather shocked. We’d been told his therapists didn’t think he would qualify for much, but instead he qualified for the most intensive, maximum amount of therapy available. We asked the opinion of the therapists who have come to know and care for Landon over the last 14 months and they said they thought he would benefit from going to the early childhood special education (ECSE) preschool. After an incredible amount of prayerful consideration, we signed him up. We don’t want our desire to homeschool to impede upon what’s best for our children.


So here’s Landon when we walked over to his new school to register him this week. I’m really not sure how he’s going to do, honestly. I’m really not sure how I’m going to do, honestly. It’s hard having a child with extra needs. It’s hard when he fights me on everything [going potty, eating breakfast, wiping his face, getting dressed, going potty, sharing toys, not running into the street, not wanting to walk in the grass, wanting to eat leaves, riding in his car seat, not rubbing against the car, holding my hand in parking lots… You get the idea]. It’s hard to think of him needing something and being unable to express himself to someone trying to take care of other special needs children at the same time. And I know these are just mom worries. I know he’ll be fine. But it makes my heart hurt a little. And I might have started balling last week when a school bus drove down our street.

So that changed our “plans” for this year. We’ll continue to do Parents as Teachers with Cohen. We’ll have a pretty set schedule of taking Landon to school Monday through Thursday. And I’ve got big plans for Lucy.


And she deserves it. The thing all of the wonderful support and intervention programs we’ve been a part of fail to help with is the sibling support. I asked her if she was jealous that Landon will go to a “real” school and she said, “No! I’m glad he’s going so that you and I can do big kid school and he won’t mess it up!” Ugh…

Last year we started the year doing a themed letter of the week concept for tot school. We got to ‘N’ and she said, “Mom, I know my letters, I like it better when we play games.” Well, okay then.

We had a few decisions to make regarding what level we wanted to start her at. Every kid is so different and learns so differently. So I’d say we’re starting out on a K4 level. She’s crazy smart but sometimes things look backwards to her and she’d rather spend her time playing  and imagining things. So I’m trying to pull something together that’s catered just to her. I have hopes that it will be heavy on the play-based learning, gentle on the standards-based skills, and light on the worksheets– you know all while being relatively inexpensive and not requiring too much of my time to plan or put together. No big deal…

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Shared Boys Room, [With Bunk Beds!]

I think I understand summer nearly as well as my friend Olaf. Or at least that’s what my husband will tell you when we return home from vacation each year with an IKEA haul. Instead of rest and relaxation, I like to use the extra set of hands to change up all the things that have been bugging me while he’s been chugging away at work all year. I’d like to think this summer he played a small part in the madness when we found ourselves comparing beds to move Landon up to a “big boy bed” and he said, “Why don’t we just buy bunk beds so we won’t have to do this again in a couple years.” I took a few minutes seconds to mull that over and jumped on board.

That might lead to the question: “Beth, Cohen is only 7 months old; why in the world did you buy him a twin-sized bed!?” But sweet baby Cohen is making out in the deal because we decided to make his stay in the playroom more permanent and took down the pack-and-play and set up a crib. I know tons of families in small spaces make it work with kiddos sharing spaces but it just hasn’t worked for us. So Cohen gets his own space in the playroom, which is conveniently located next to our bedroom, to make the middle-of-the-night feedings he can’t seem to give up a little closer.

And sorry if this is deja vu. We were totally talking about this eight months ago. Away we go:

shared boys room | hey, beth baker!

That’s the MYDAL bunk bed from IKEA. We slid Rubbermaid bus trays [made to bus tables at restaurants] under it to store toys and prevent toys from rolling under there as easily. And we layered a couple rugs… because that’s totally a thing people are doing now, right.


More toy storage from some EXPEDITs.




This crazy collection of toys would have driven me nuts before kids but now I love it because we just rotate out what they’re playing with the most and the easy access means less rummaging and dragging out everything they own.




I made these paper mache letters from a cereal box and some masking tape, and then I covered it with maps and modge podge. So fun and so easy!


That map has been attached to the wall from two and a half years with painter’s tape. So when I saw those adorable picture hangers from Young House Love at Target I got super pumped!


Can’t leave out the kids current favorite! My mom bought this for Landon’s third birthday and everyone loves it! They are building non-stop. And Landon doesn’t even realize all that twisting and turning and banging is great for coordination and wrist strength so it’s a therapy win as well!

Parenting Is Glamourous*


Manufacturers and retailers of baby items are to blame for the glamorous view I had of parenting in what is now affectionately referred to as the PK era. Before kids we went to the movie theater. I wandered aimlessly around Target. We stayed at our friends’ houses so late after dinner we’d just sleep over. And then we went on a Spring Break trip and came home with a baby in utero. We were beyond thrilled. We set up registries and had wonderful baby showers. I loved to kick back with the latest Babies ‘R Us catalog and dream the afternoon away. There are no tantrums in the Babies ‘R Us catalog. There is no sass in the Babies ‘R Us catalog. There are no mommies covered in poop. Did y’all know there would be this much poop? On you? But for all of the days you get poop rubbed onto your favorite teal colored skinny jeans, there are snuggles and kisses. There are sweet smiles and tender hearts. It doesn’t balance out because the scales tip so far into the “everything is awesome” range. [Lego movie? Anybody?]

So parenting is gross. And awesome. And sometimes you find yourself saying things that sound just like your parents. Or things you would’ve found so strange PK. Or things you hope the strangers walking by you don’t overhear [or do overhear if it’s a couple teenagers in need of a reality-check].

But sometimes you’re trying to be a good parent. Provide for your child’s needs. And they just make you say the most ridiculous things. You know, like:

Okay, don’t lick me for real though.

Please get your hot dog off my leg.

No. You’re not a fascist, you’re the fastest.

No. Babies do not come out of breasts. Please stop touching me.

Share that piece of trash with your brother. He wants to look at it too.

*False. Parenting is not glamorous. But it is rewarding. It is challenging. And it is crazy beautiful and fulfilling.

Doll Fashion Girl

If you’ve met my daughter, you know she is super creative. Her thoughts, her drawings, her imaginative play– her creativity knows no bounds. When she asked Chuck and I if she could have a blog a few days ago we laughed and laughed. And then we got on board. We asked her what she wanted to name it and she said Doll Fashion Girl, which I imagine comes from the song she serenades us with that goes, “I’m a fashion Girl. I’m original.”


Instead of using the artkive app like we have in the past, we decided we’d throw her creations up here. Her first portfolio. I love this kid.


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