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Toddler Interrogations

I invited Ezra to sit with me this morning as I wrote my blog post.

His eyes immediately were drawn to the thumbnail pictures of me on the screen.

"There's Nate. And there's Nate," he said.

"Daddy," he continued, "is that your glasses and your head and your hair and your chin?"

Yes, dear. Yes, it is.

Now it's onto the computer battery.

"Daddy, what's this called?"

A computer battery, I responded.

"Oh. A computer battery. Daddy, why is this for your mouse [pointing at the USB]? Is that to make the mouse and that to make the mouse move on the screen [point at the keyboard]?"

And so it goes.

Little minds connect all of the dots, starting with the right questions.

All we have to do is answer them, and keep answering.
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Why Big Families Can Be Big Fun

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For example, Oppenheimer shares that:

"Every one of our four children has improved my life""With a big family, I never have to feel guilty about the clutter""Having children has made our marriage stronger
Here, here. The column reminded me of comedian Jim Gaffigan's routine about having four youngsters, which seems to be frequently frowned upon, viewed as an Olympic feat or solemnly mulled at a distance by people mourning our adult autonomy:

Of course, Gaffigan now has five children, as will Oppenheimer.

Julie and I have thrown in the towel at four. But there's still a lot to live for, and by living,  I mean running at breakneck speeds through life, stopping for no one and dragging our…

Parenting Energy At Zero? Find A Jump Rope

Tonight, we sent the boys outside to burn off energy. A strong breeze nearly made up for the muggy air. They opted to clamber onto the tire swing suspended by yellow rope from a towering maple in our backyard.

I had Phoebe strapped to my chest, so to push them I simply gave them a series of forceful shoves with my sneaker. This wouldn't cut it.

"Spin push us. Faster. Hold on, I need to get off. Hold on, I need to get on. Why aren't you pushing me higher?" So it went.

My energy tank had nearly drained dry when Julie took an extra piece of rope lying nearby and turned it into a jump rope. I held the other end. The boys became fast friends with the game. In short order, they learned to jump as the rope arrives at the ground in front of your feet. They laughed as the rope snagged their ankles and black wading boots. They jockeyed to be next in line.

The moral of this story is twofold. First, marry a creative person. Second, allow yourself to find simple ways to entertain…

Adoption Grit: Take Ownership Of Your Destiny

I once tried to climb Pikes Peak with my brother and two friends, also brothers. Morning dawned and we had all the enthusiasm in the world. Gradually moving up the side of a 14,000-ft. rock tends to be wearing, but we pressed on.

Periodically, we stopped to take in the beautiful views and to laugh about something. The higher in elevation you rise, the funnier things get. It's probably the lack of oxygen. I like to credit my impeccable sense of timing.

As the afternoon began to pass us by, it eventually became clear we had somehow wandered off the path. It hadn't been marked properly. Instead, we found ourselves climbing alongside the blacktop that winds its way to the top. Providentially, some friends we'd intend to hike with drove right past us and took us up and back down again.

Back at more moderate Mile High elevation, we ate pizza and took naps. Evidently, mountain climbing isn't in my life description.

Even though I'm not particularly talented at racing to th…

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As a case in point, I have been actively pursuing endorsements for my new book, "Frozen, But Not Forgotten" and recently received the following from Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D., President of Nightlight Christian Adoptions:

“I have read the few books that exist about embryo adoption. This book makes a unique contribution: helping people really envision themselves as adoptive parents. Birt helps prospective adoptive parents become  psychologically healthy to prepare for adoption, with profound advice on topics such as how to explain your story to other people in front of your children. Anyone considering embryo adoption, or working in the field of artificial reproductive technology should read this book.”  

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I've found that one of the first barriers to considering embryo adoption is often simple: Parents want to understand what exactly it is. That's the barrier I personally ran up against until I had considered why it might be a fit for our family.

Embryo adoption can be a good fit for a number of reasons, five of which I'll explain here. Every family is different, and you might determine it won't work for you. With any adoption, you must first consider whether you and your spouse are physically, emotionally and financially ready for the journey ahead.

If those pillars are in place, these benefits will come naturally:

Embryo adoption allows you to bond with your baby from the beginning. Because embryos created during in vitro fertilization (IVF) are frozen at sub-zero temperatures, which pushes pause on development, your embryo baby essentially starts from just a few days old at transfer to the uterus. Contrary to a popular myth, your baby's age isn't determined by…

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Even at an early age, the idea each of us is reliant on the generation before us to get our bearings is awe-inspiring. What's more, we all find it fascinating to know what we were like at an age we can't remember.

For example, my mom always enjoyed the story about the time I stood on a stool in the living room banging on the old pie chest, which was a big no-no. When Mom, who was working in the kitchen, asked what I was doing, I told her that I was standing on the promises -- a reference to a Christian hymn I'd undoubtedly heard sung many times during worship services.

Creating an origin story for your…