My fifteen-minute allotment doesn’t give me much time to go to my archive of questions (I usually answer the oldest ones first) so here are some random ones that are really recent:

Question for you…Max is your only boy, if you had had another one, what would you have named him? 🙂

Jack. My plan was to have least two boys: Max and Jack. Maybe we’ll have a dog named Jack some day…

If Elle does a cake float, and Lu does a camp out for b-day traditions, what are the traditions of your other kids?

Max’s tradition is anything involving water…usually swimming. (an example here)
Elle’s is the cake float.
Grace’s is having a pinata (usually a home-made one that we make together).
Claire’s is a dance party but man alive we need to get better at that one.
Lucy’s is the good old camp-out.

Can you share if you think raising little ones or the older ones is more work/worries/fun anything like that. How do you feel you prepared yourself for these pre-teen/tween years?

I think the stages of child-rearing are just so different they’re tough to compare.

Toddler years are so very, very demanding physically. Lifting and chasing-after and all that goes with keeping up with young kids is tough. And there’s no one to help you with the dishes or with strapping kids into car seats.

My opinion is that while the physical exertion mellows as kids grow, bigger kids are much more emotionally demanding. Not that they mean to be, but their decisions and actions make such bigger ripples and as a mother your heart just aches so much to figure out any way possible to guide them in the right direction. I find that I am constantly thinking over how each child is doing in every aspect of life and it is sometimes exhausting!

I feel like the best preparation to really prepare for every aspect of raising kids is to do regular five-facet-reviews to help conceptualize the intricate details of each child every step of the way. It helps SO much! It is not easy because life is busy and Dave and I do not do it regularly but every time we do carve out time to really think about each child and their needs the act of raising them right becomes so much less daunting.

And really, as we all know, the very best preparation for raising teenagers is to build good relationships with them from the time they are little. Good relationships and friendships aren’t just going to happen because we live in the same house. Every once in a while I take a step back and realize that I’m not doing this so well (see last post for an example). I let life push into and fill up the nooks and crannies and take away my margins so that I am distracted when my children talk to me and my mind is in ten different places. Then I go back and read these guidelines I loved from a conference I attended and make a vow to mend my ways.

Similar Posts


  1. Shawni, I love your blog. I keep trying to be a better blogger as a means of our families journal but I keep having blogging issues…

    I thought of your Lucy yesterday at Target where all of the "squinkies" were on clearance…

  2. Hi Shawni, I have a photography question…sorry, you may have even touched on this before in one of your "photography tutorial" posts and I apologize if you have, but my question is, what do you do on a blazing sunny day when the sun is shining right on top of everybody's heads? I'm assuming when my camera setting is on "auto" it "knows" not to use the flash, but everybody's face looks stark white with overexposure and non-flattering shadows cast across their nose and under their eyes. There is a picture you took of a group of kids at Disney Land where they are on their stomachs with their chin in their hands, and you must have been on your stomach too because of how the angle looked, but it was a bright sunny day, and the picture is absolutely sublime! How did you do it?

  3. I have a question (I have one, like, once a months ha! I was talking to a girlfriend about parenting stuff, but both of us have little kids, so when I got to how I wanted to handle "older kids" issues, I kept saying "and that blog I read… Shawni does this…") Anyway, my question has to do with school – how do you approach grades and reward/punish academic performance? I've been thinking about Tiger Mother and how even though I don't agree with HOW she approached things, I think there is something to be said for holding our kids to a higher standard. I know my kids probably ARE capable of getting all A's – so how do I make sure they hold themselves to that standard too? Or is that the wrong place to focus? My oldest just started first grade, and they have a different grading scale, but basically she got her first report card and it was equivalent to all A's – I want to reward that, but not sure how, other than to tell her I'm proud (which maybe is enough – she was really happy when I told her that).

  4. I like the names you have picked out for boys. I also had Jack/Jackson as one of the choices when we had our son.

    This was great to read about which is easier younger/older kids. I babysit for my cousin a couple times a week and just recently she asked me this question. After giving it some thought and talking with hubby I wrote her note saying that hands down the baby/toddler years are my very favorite. Even with all the juggling of diapers, naps, tantrums it was soooo much fun. Fast forward to teen years and it's not so fun. The each have different personality's and it's very emotional draining which is what you said Shawni, perfect words.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Great reading.

  5. Hi Shawni! I love your blog! I am Tara Martinsen's daughter-in-law ! They are good friends with Josh your brother. Anyways! I read your blog all the time! The layout is so awesome! Where did you design it at? We just got married and I would love to have a fresh clean blog that is easy to read. I am not a huge fan of blog backgrounds. Thanks!

  6. That's so funny about your boy names. I started reading your blog back when I just had my first little boy Max and thought it was kinda cool how you had a Max. I just had my second boy on August 30th and named him Jack. So it was funny to read that Q&A. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *