This question made me laugh, Abby! Because honestly, we didn't decide... God decided for us. :) You can read our "annoucement post." It's funny, because I had always thought I wanted 2 kids and Corey had always said 3. He said after Lawson that he would be fine to be "done." (although if Lawson had been another girl, he would have wanted another.) I said that I would be okay with being "done," but I wasn't ready to do anything permanent yet. We had decided to wait until Lawson was in kindergarten (so that we wouldn't have to go back to having 2 in daycare at once) and then we would decide if we wanted to try for one more. Since Lawson is just now starting kindergarten, it obviously didn't follow "our plans." Gretchen was a surprise, but she was absolutely the best surprise we've ever gotten. No question. I cannot imagine our family without her. God obviously knew what He was doing. :)
How did you come up with your children's names?
Sophie Nicole... I've liked the name Sophie since high school. But I didn't want Sophia. Just Sophie. I had several people tell me that Sophia would be better, because when she was older, she wouldn't want to be called Sophie. But then I had a professor in college... tall, beautiful, sophisticated... named Sophie. And I knew it would be okay. :) Nicole is my middle name.
Lawson Bernn... my maiden name was Law and we just kind of made it up. Corey's dad was named Bernnie. He passed away very unexpectedly almost 9 years ago and we wanted to honor him. So Lawson is named after both his grandpas.
Gretchen Jane... I don't even remember what made me suggest it, but I threw it out there one night when Corey and I were talking about baby names and we both liked it right away. And it was funny... after we decided, I started seeing/hearing the name everywhere. On the radio, on tv, Facebook, letters from the hospital. Several people at school were trying to guess her name (I only told one friend the name with each baby) and I would tell them that they knew the name, they've heard it, it's not an "unusual" name, but that I didn't know anyone with that name. We love it. It is the perfect name for her. (and we never could decide on a boy name, so it's probably a good thing she was a girl!) Jane is after my mom. We decided on it before we knew her first name.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids, together or seperately?
My kids have always been big snugglers. I love to cuddle up on the couch with them and watch a movie together. I love watching them draw, paint or just be creative and use their imaginations. I love going to the donut shop with them. (My waistline does not love that, though.) Snuggling is probably my favorite thing, though.
What is your favorite stage of bringing up children?
This is a hard question. I don't really know! I love the snuggly newborn age (although I loved it more with Lawson and Gretchen. Sophie wasn't such a fun newborn.) But then babies are so fun when they start crawling... then walking... and talking. I love 1 year olds. But 2 is so much fun. 3 was hard with Sophie, but I loved it with Lawson. (He's been a pretty easy-going little guy all along). I think 4 year olds are lots of fun. I'm not loving the attitude of my 7 year old sometimes, but I'm not sure that it's really an age thing. It might be just a her-thing. I do love the independence of my 5 and 7 year old now. They dress themselves, go to the bathroom themselves, feed themselves... they can get in and out of the car themselves, carry their own backpacks, put on coats and shoes alone. That was so nice during the school year when we were trying to get out the door by 7:15 am.
So I do love the baby/toddler/pre-school ages, but the independence of older kids is nice, too. So I don't have an answer for this apparently. :)
What are the most challenging behaviors that you remember from your kids when they were 2 years old? What methods of "redirection" did you use?
Sophie was 2 1/2 when Lawson was born and she was having night terrors. 30 minutes of crying/screaming every night. That was pretty challenging. And Corey and I didn't handle it very well, I'm ashamed to admit. We were spending more time awake at night with our toddler than we were with our newborn. It was really, really frustrating.
Sadly, I don't remember a lot of specifics from when Sophie was 2. I wish I had a blog back then!! I know we had challenging behaviors, though. We used time out a lot (and we still do).
How was the transition when you had Lawson (#2)? What were the biggest challenges? Blessings? Eye-openers?
Sophie was so excited to be a big sister! We didn't have any negative behaviors from her towards him. If anything, she smothered him with love. :) Lawson was such a good baby, too. He was easy-going and laid back and was a great sleeper from the start. He was very different from Sophie as a newborn. (that was a definite blessing!) Her night terrors were a big challenge. I don't know that they were related to having another baby, but maybe? They started before he was born and it lasted a couple months, I think.
One of the best things with Lawson was that since he was born at the end of March, I was able to take off the rest of the school year. After my 6 weeks of maternity leave, there were only 2 weeks of school left. I just took those weeks without pay. So I didn't have to figure out a routine for getting all of us out of the house early in the mornings until fall. That was really nice.
Where did you end up getting the outfit that Gretchen wore for pictures?
I got both the white dress with flowers and the little green polka dot outfit at Carter's. We have an outlet store here in town and you can find great things for great prices! I still love the green polka dot dress, but I just didn't love it on her for some reason. I think it was the shade of green and maybe the square neckline?? I ended up returning it to Target.
How is Lawson starting school affecting you?
Right now, I am really excited for him. We went shopping for school supplies the other night and he had so much fun! He has some good friends from pre-school and the neighborhood that are starting also, so that helps. I have an advantage over most moms, though, in the fact that I am right there in the building. I get to see my kids in the hallway, at assemblies, at lunch and recess sometimes. That definitely helps. I also think that I would be having a harder time with it if Gretchen hadn't come along. I think it will be harder to send "my baby" to kindergarten.
Sophie starting kindergarten was more difficult for me. Maybe because she was the first? When she started school, our family was entering a whole new stage of life. I was doing okay with it until a few days before school started, and then I had a little mini-meltdown. There was other school related stuff going on at that time and I was under a lot of stress, so that didn't help. But it was nice to get it out of my system before the first day of school. It wouldn't have worked well to greet nervous first graders with red, teary eyes. :)
You can do it, Melissa! Hayden is going to have so. much. fun! I just went back and re-read my post from her first day of school... do you know the book "The Kissing Hand?" Find it and read it together before he goes to school. It will help you both! :)