My name is Amber. I’m 31 and between the two of us, my husband and I have 6 children, but only 3 are young enough to live at home. He had 4 and I had 1, then we had 1 more. We also have two grandsons and a third due to soon be born. I always say we are a modern day Brady Bunch!

At home we have William who is 11, Bailey who is 9, and Katelyn who is 2. The oldest three are Sarah, 27, James, 22, and Hannah, 20. Sarah’s son, Matthew, is 6 and Hannah’s son, Isaiah, is 2. Hannah will soon be adding another boy to the bunch. I think he is to be named Jeremiah. I can’t wait! Those boys are my treasures, it is a lot of fun being a young granny!!

  1. What is your biggest struggle as a mom? I think my biggest struggle as a mom is probably patience. I hate to admit that. I almost backspaced and wrote about something else, but that wouldn’t have been honest. I’m impatient. I am. Particularly with my older children. It’s something I am dissatisfied with about myself and have struggled with for a long time. I like to think that I am making progress. I’d have to say that having my second child has improved my patience a lot, which is surprising since it could have gone completely the other way. Having my stepdaughter come to live with us full time has also made me pay more attention to consciously practicing patience. Even good change is hard sometimes, at least until the change is made anyway. Another big struggle is not to curse in front of the kids. Especially at my daughter’s age, she’s a parrot. But two years olds bring out the ‘dammits’ in me, it is a daily struggle. J One I’m semi winning, I’m proud to say, that was one of my resolutions to myself this year.
  2. What was the biggest surprise about becoming a parent? My biggest surprise as a mother? How different my children are. There are 9 years between my son and my daughter. They have different fathers, they are different people, they are different genders, I expected them to be different. But they are still my children I thought they would be more alike than they are, not almost polar opposites in temperment and personality. Other than in looks and facial expressions, they are mostly alike only in the ways that all kids are alike. It is a mystery to me. So, sometimes, despite the fact that I am older, more experienced, more confident in my mothering skills and less uptight than the first time around, in some ways I still feel like a first time mom with her, sort of. Insofar as there are times when I have exhausted my knowledge as a mother on how to deal with some issue and nothing works and I’m left thinking “How in the world am I gonna figure this out?” At least now when I feel that way it isn’t accompanied by that panic that a real first timer has!
  3. What is one thing that you have caught yourself doing that your mom used to do and you swore you wouldn't? When my son was about, oh I’d say 4 or 5, I had gotten after him about something. And I called him by his first and last name. As soon as it was out of my mouth, I had this little echo in my head of my mother using the exact same tone and inflection calling me by my first and last name. I cringed. Literally. I’ve since resigned myself to it, and other quirks. I have the advantage of having had two mothers to learn from. My first mother passed away suddenly a few years ago, my second mother (my stepmother, just to clear it up) has also been my mother since I was 6 years old. So I catch myself doing things like both of them. Just this summer I realized that the good morning song I’ve always sang to my kids I must have heard from her ‘cause I heard her singing it to the baby when they visited. She must have sang that to me as a kid. I’ve sang it to Will all his life, then Bailey when she was born into my heart, and of course I sing it to Katelyn too. And my grandkids when they stay. It’s good to have two moms!
  4. Share something funny your child has said or done. I’ll share a quick funny on each of my kids. When Will was 3, I had repeated something to him SO many times. Finally I said” William, why can’t you listen to me?” He replied “I don’t know, I try every time, I just can’t!” Bailey was 5 when our second grandson was born. As I was taking the kids to the hospital to meet their new nephew she says “I’m two aunts now!” Katelyn is 2. In my family it has always been said that when you were really thirsty you were ‘pooping dust’, so if she’s chugging her drink or something I always ask her “Are you poopin’ dust?” Recently when she wants a drink of what you have she will walk up and say “I poo poo dust!” She also excuses herself if she belches or has gas. Or if anyone else does.
  5. How do you unwind? I unwind by reading when I can. I love big fat novels, but I’m content with a magazine these days. At least it doesn’t matter when I get interrupted. I save my novel reading for bedtime, that is, if I haven’t passed out right along with the baby while putting her to sleep.
  6. What is your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is Milano cookies. I don’t share. They get hidden to be enjoyed by only me. It’s naughty not to share cookies with your kids, I know! J
  7. What is a tradition you started with your family? We actually started a tradition this year. I had heard before about the long standing tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree as a symbol of good fortune and the child that finds it on Christmas morning gets an extra present. So this year I got the background info to tell my kids, bought a cute little glass pickle, a gift either of them would like and we started that tradition this year. It was fun. And funny. I never thought it would be so hard to find a fake pickle in a fake tree! A bit reminiscent of a needle in a haystack.
This mom is a HUGE fan of Sprout TV and its partner site, www.sproutonline.com!! Let me tell you a little about Sprout and why I love it. According to their website, PBS Kids Sprout, is the first 24 hour preschool network. It is geared for children ages 2 to 5, and I can tell you my 2 year old loves it. I am thrilled to find a network that provides wholesome, quality, educational programming for my child. No matter what time of day it is, if she is watching TV I can turn on Sprout and not have to check the listings for a show she would be interested in. I actually use it as a tool to help educate her. Whatever she happens to be picking up on her own, I then expand upon it.

If you register (it’s free!), you will get a mail account, a My Refrigerator page to upload pictures and artwork, you can upload videos, and you can share any these on the Sprout Sharing Galleries if you choose. If so, your Sproutlet or their artwork may be featured on TV! (We’ve been on TV already!) And it’s all very safe, so you can easily share with your long distance friends and family without having to worry about who is looking. Once you join there are games and videos, coloring pages for print, craft instructions, and various other activities to share with your preschooler.

Sprout has a live morning show on the weekdays, The Sunny Side Up Show, on the weekends it’s The Let’s Go Show, The Sharing Show in the afternoons, and each night is The Goodnight Show. That one is our personal favorite. It has even helped out with our bedtime routine!

In just the last two weeks my 25 month old daughter has learned, from watching Sprout, the signs for: time, body, water, school, house and water. Over the last two or three months since we discovered Sprout she has learned some yoga stretches, which is super cute to watch, the beginnings of her ABCs (we’re working on them), a poem which she recites (in her fashion), numerous songs, and countless words.

We all know that most of us have the TV on way more than is recommended. I, for one, feel a little less guilty when what is on is Sprout, nothing they show is purely for entertainment, she loves it and learns from it. I very much encourage you to check with your cable or satellite provider about Sprout TV, and in any case, visit www.sproutonline.com, I really think you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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Anonymous said...

Amber shows a lot of fortitude. Dealing with several kids from 2 seperate families and maintaining a good attitude is tough.

VickeC said...

YOu sound like a younger me,lol,my husband had 3 an I had 2 kids when we married,an then we adopted one to make six!I have 5grandchildren,you cant tell who is a step or not,we love them all so much!an I love being a grandma too!

Hazel said...

What a wonderfull and honest story. My family concist of "yours and mine and ours" not easy to pull this off but Amber is doing fantastic..keep it up Girl!

cindy said...

Hello Amber, great review!
You're definately not alone when it comes to needing more patience.

Jessica said...

Great review! We're headed to Sprout!!

James said...

Hey Ber! I already know you love sprout its on practically 24-7 at your house! Good job though!

Sissy said...

Hello Berling! Wonderful job.

Janie said...

Nice story! Honest too, who doesn't need more patience? Good luck to you and yours!

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