Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Bye

Little did I know that when the ultrasound lady revealed we were having twins, the changes were only beginning. The reality of having multiples changes every perception you ever had about your life. This revelation brings about uncertainty. And of course uncertainty breeds fear. The uncertainty over finances; properly sized cars, houses, and strollers; and of course the uncertainty of how to care for two babies at once are always present. And that means fear is never far away.

Thankfully, at about the same time we learned of Arica's double load, we began meeting weekly with a group of other young couples at our church. We didn't know any of these people at our first meeting. It was just that, a first meeting for all of us. But over these past several months our new friends have helped us grow in tremendous ways. Because of the love we all share for God and for each other Arica and I were able to achieve a certain peace in our lives that can only come from the Man Upstairs.

So as we journeyed hand in hand towards the great unknown we put our faith in God to deliver us. Of course we didn't just say, "OK God. Wave your magic wand and hook us up." We tried to remain faithful. We did what we could.

I sold my boat. Arica prepared to sell her car. We were making adjustments to our life in order to welcome our new little blessings. Then the big change that I didn't really expect came along. It is a huge blessing, and I have been thanking God every day since receiving the news.

I got a new job. This job comes with a nearly 30% pay increase and multitudes of benefits that never existed for me before. This new opportunity allows me to better provide for our growing family, while at the same time planning for our future. Needless to say it didn't take me long to accept the offer.

So after ten years I am changing jobs. The fact that this is happening just a few months before our twins arrive is not lost on me. Some might say the timing is bad because I won't be around as much to help with all the new responsibilities that come with having two babies at once. Arica and I don't feel that way. We know it will be hard, but this opportunity is certainly a blessing. And because of this blessing April 18 will be the first day of what is hopefully a wonderful new career for me.

But with great gain often comes great sacrifice. The first sacrifice for me is going to be this blog. I have written 99% of the material found here while at work. With my new, much heavier, workload that is no longer going to be possible.

What about writing at home? There is a problem with that too. My new employer is located an hour away. Until we can sell our house and move I will be spending two hours in a car every day. Our house has already been on the market for ten months so the daily commute could last a while.  Because of the commute and my increased responsibilities, I will be sacrificing time at home. Every bit of free time that I have will be given to Arica and our THREE KIDS.

I just can't manage all the changes and new opportunities in my life and this blog at the same time. So it is with a great deal of sadness that I announce this will be my last post.

I treasure every single friendship I've made through this venture. Those of you who stop by regularly have truly made a huge difference in my life. Your friendship and continued support means a lot to me. Those of you that read and only comment once in a while, or even never, are also much appreciated. I never knew so many people that I've never met could impact me in such a way. So from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

There is always the chance that I will return. I will definitely feel guilty that there are two books on our bookshelf about Braden, and the twins might not have any. I'll surely have plenty of great tales to tell. The question is how will I tell them? How will I remember them?

If I choose to once again document things here at Life of a New Dad, you'll be the first to know. Until that happens, and in case it never does, you can keep up with me on Facebook. And maybe even Twitter. I hope to see you all there.

Thanks so much. And God bless you all.

Why Pre-school Toys Are Essential Learning Tools

It’s widely accepted that the education that children are exposed to during their formative years is a huge factor in their overall development. It’s not just the formal education that they receive at school that plays its part, though; time spent at nursery or indeed at home playing with educational toys can also offer a developmental advantage.

Kids’ natural enthusiasm and in-built sense of discovery goes a long way to ensuring that time spent playing with the right type of toys can help to expand their horizons at an early age. Just as reading books together with your child can help to speed up their ability to grasp the intricacies of reading and writing, certain pre-school toys can play an important role in stimulating a child’s natural tendency towards imagination and also help to spur on their creative abilities.

Of course, educational pre-school toys shouldn’t be used in an attempt to force your young child to learn something new every day. Instead, slowly introduce them into the playtime routine to allow your child’s natural curiosity drive the learning process. Research shows that the earlier and more often that children test themselves with suitable toys and games, the easier they find it to learn – and this early development is something that will stand them in great stead going forward as they enter the school system.

One such example would be Duplo bricks, a branch of Lego aimed firmly at pre-schoolers. The use of Duplo is a great way to introduce children to the idea of being conjured up unique structures in their mind’s eye and then following through and building them with their own hands.

Alternatively, baby or toddler friendly jigsaws encourage users to work through what can start out as a frustrating challenge by using their own logic. Repeated use encourages the development of memory skills, pattern spotting and matching ability.

Perhaps the most important factor is that as well as being educational, pre-school toys should be fun to play with. It’s all very well giving your child a learning tool, but if it’s a dry experience for the child then they’ll quickly find something else that they’d rather play with.