Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Special Day

Yesterday was a special day for the kiddies. Auntie Karla (our friend from the north) had bought each child a gift certificate to The Children's Place and then promised to take them to lunch and shopping sometime before she left to go back home. Yesterday was the big day. Grandma and Auntie Karla picked them up around noon and took them to lunch and then off on the big shopping spree. Everyone got to go. Even Boop. (Well, except for EG of course) They went to Chick-fil-A and then to the mall. The girls also brought along their gift certificates to Claire's and Bath and Body. They got to ride in a mall stroller that looked like a fire engine. "It cost five bucks," exclaimed Nature Girl. (She is the one concerned about how much things cost.) I hate to make too many calls when the kids are gone for fear that whoever has them will think I am checking up. (I ask daddy to call at least once ;) Even though I enjoy the peace and quiet, I can never really shake the concern I have when they are out of my sight. I always give strict instructions to the kids and also to whoever is taking them - always hold hands, never let them out of your sight and no running off. It just makes me feel better. I finally called around 4:30 just to check in. I think Grandma and Auntie Karla had had enough shopping for the day, they were on their way home. The kids picked our great clothes. Each one has their own style and it showed. After showing off their purchase Grandma and Auntie Karla went home to take a nap. It might be awhile before they go shopping again . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Laundry

I love laundry. Yes, you heard me right. I love laundry. It is something I can actually accomplish. Something I can finish. Something that proves I did something during the day. I like to fold really warm clothes right out of the dryer. If the drier stops and I didn't hear it, I will turn it on again to get the clothes warm. I actually like folding it and putting it where it belongs. It is a rare occasion that you will see unfolded laundry or even folded laundry just sitting around. It is mindless. It can be stopped and started all day long. It is good that I like laundry because we have plenty of it. There are so many days that it is impossible to get anything else done. But, I can do laundry. It doesn't take skill or that much time. A couple minutes to put a load in the washer, a couple minutes to put it in the dryer. And maybe ten minutes to unload, fold and put the clothes away. I suppose laundry is another form of free therapy for me. I like to iron too but that is another story all together . . .

Monday, December 29, 2008

Four Children

There is a huge assumption out there that just because I have four children I know what I am doing. To be honest, I kind of thought that is how it would be ;) It is not a valid assumption. At least not for me ;) This assumption started the minute I was pregnant. It seemed when I had my checkups the midwives spent less time with me. Asked less questions. I was in and out in 7 minutes. If I brought up something that was a concern to me it didn't seem to get as much attention. Then when I was in labor most of the nurses were like "You are an old pro." I didn't need as much hand holding etc. I was suppose to know what to expect. Same with the pediatrician's office. For EG's check up we were with the doctor a total of 10 minutes. Not much to discuss, go over etc. I should know it all by now. What brings this up is yesterday I went to church all by myself. Well, not all by myself. Me and the kids. A lady came up and asked me how it was going and I said "It's going OK." And I went on to explain that EG had been a good night time sleeper in the beginning but now is waking up periodically throughout the night. The lady's response was something like "Well, you KNOW it won't last forever." She said it with such certainty because I had been through this before. Yes, I have been through it before. But, I am still perplexed. I am still not sure what is going on. I still can not say with any certainty how long it will last. I am confused and unsure. I ask myself "Will it stop? Does it stop? Wonder if it doesn't fix itself?" You would think I would know when the first smile is suppose to happen or when they are expected to roll over or when they begin to eat solids. How long they should sleep in a day, how often they should eat. Thankfully I have a great book that tells me all of this ;) It has worked out three times before but this time is different than the last time and the time before that and the time before that. And of course, every baby is different. Another dilemma I have is when the baby is crying. There is an assumption there that I know why the baby is crying. Honestly I don't or at least sometimes I don't. I have never been good at distinguishing why they are crying. That is one reason a schedule has been good for me. If she has been fed, has had a little play time then she must be sleepy. Maybe by the fifth, sixth or seventh baby I will figure it out. Just kidding . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

North vs. South

This post was originally going to be about comparing the differences in winter weather of the north and the south. It has been so dramatically different this year. We have had our air conditioning on for the last three days. And after talking with family we have found out how cold it has been (in the teens), how the windchill effects the actual temperature and most of all the amount of snow that they have received. According to one relative, the amount of snow will reach a record high if they get three more inches. It is bizarre, to me, how extremely different the weather can be in our country. But as I lay awake last night, I started thinking about all of the differences between the north and the south. (Of course FSU plays Wisconsin today so that has me thinking as well.) When I first moved here, it was a little bit of a culture shock. People in the south generally know a lot more about the Civil War. And for some it still has significant meaning! I had been here a year or two and I remember a boss of mine having a hard time believing he was friends with a Yankee. I thought he was just joking around but as time went by, I realized he was kinda serious. Funny but serious ;) Another huge difference is sweet tea and Coke. Everyone drinks sweet tea and Coke. It is like water. You go north past the Mason Dixon line and sweet tea cannot be found and Pepsi is an acceptable refreshment. When I am home up north, I have been told I have a southern accent. When I talk down south, people who are from up north can tell that is where I am from. High school football is huge down here. They even put it on TV. In the south we use words and phrases like "fixin to" and "y'all." And you don't know how strange you sound until you go somewhere else. I am blessed to have lived in both places. And each has it's own advantages. There have been times when I think I would like to move back but then I watch the weather channel and see minus 10 degrees. I can't imagine having to bundle everyone up to go somewhere. Half of the time my kids barely have shoes on much less mittens and hats. This time of year, I definitely miss it. It is hard to have Christmas with the air conditioning on . . .

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After












It is hard to believe that another Christmas season has passed. It has been a two day whirlwind of presents, food, family and friends. This year was extra special. Auntie Karla and her friend Warren traveled down from Wisconsin to be with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve at Grandma's. She always does things up right to really put us in the holiday spirit. We have a lot of great food and listen to Christmas music. The kids always get to open a Christmas present which traditionally is Christmas PJs. And they really look forward to that! This year they got to open a present from Auntie Karla as well! Gift certificates from The Children's Place. Auntie Karla is going to take them to lunch and shopping. How exciting for all of them!!! Christmas Eve was an early night. We got back to our house so the kids could get in bed and wait for Santa. Unfortunately because of such anticipation Nature Girl didn't fall asleep until almost midnight. So that meant Santa didn't get to our house until well after 12. Made for a long night :) Another tradition we have started, is Grandma and Sissy spend the night. It makes it so much easier in the morning. According to Sissy, Nature Girl and Little Mama were up at 4:20 rip roaring and ready to go. She sent them back to bed! By 7:30 we were ready for the festivities to begin. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts. Oddly enough, one of the most excited responses came when they looked in their stockings to see a battery operated toothbrush!! After all the great gifts were opened they played all day so quietly. Then, every one came back to our house late in the afternoon to hang out and eat a wonderful prime rib dinner that daddy cooked to perfection. After dinner, the kids sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. We were all so blessed to have Auntie Karla and Uncle Warren here this year. The kids absolutely loved all the extra attention given them. Uncle Warren and Boop have built a special bond! It is so neat to me to have them here. I have known Auntie Karla all my life. Who knows, maybe we have started a new family tradition . . .



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tidbit Tuesday

This morning I got to lay in bed with my baby boy. We talked about the weather, hot chocolate and socks.

On Saturday we had the UConn/Gonzaga basketball game on. Little Mama said "I think the Packers are playing." (Not my sports enthusiast ;)

Nature Girl has decided to make a schedule in order to take better care of our dog Angel. She will check off things as she does them. (Just like her mama - a slave to the "to do" list :)

I had a striped shirt on the other day. Boop insisted on wearing a striped shirt just like mine. He was already dressed. The rule is we don't change clothes midday because I am trying to cut down on wash. But, I was so flattered by the fact he wanted to dress like me, we made an exception to the rule. He got to wear a striped shirt just like me :)

Daddy has been making me the best grilled sandwiches for lunch. He cuts them into quarters so they are easier to eat while I am nursing. I will miss those when he goes back to work :(

Merry Christmas Eve Eve . . .

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

My post will be short and still no pictures because our computer is still on the blink and I do not like this laptop :) As I lay awake last night I started to think about Christmas and how quickly it got here and how I didn't get to do half of the things I wanted to do. I love going to church this time of year because I love the Christmas music and it helps me to focus. Even with daddy's help it was a little bit more challenging trying to get everyone out the door even at 10:30. But we made 3 of the 4 Sundays before Christmas :) But another "tradition" that seems to plague our house each holiday season is illness. Yesterday, Boop was sick which kept both me and daddy up most of the night. We were unable to go to church. Daddy did bring the girls though because they had their Sunday School Christmas party and I didn't want them to miss it. (One of the beauties of going to a smaller church where your children have been since birth - we can just drop them off and everyone knows them :) But our inability to go to church yesterday just kind of brought home the fact of how materialism has taken over the birth of Christ. I am not pointing fingers. It has happened in our house and it does every year. Even though every year I swear we are going to do things different and focus on the birth of Christ and salvation, the time gets away and the focus gets muddled. I get caught up in the gifts that need to be bought, worried that it has to be the perfect gift. The places we need to go, because we have done that every year. I focus on decorations and listen to Christmas music, buying and wrapping gifts. Some how the babe laying in a manger, who ultimately gave His life for my salvation gets set aside. Even with all the hubbub about Seasons Greeting vs Merry Christmas. Some how because I say "Merry Christmas" instead of the other, I have done my duty to acknowledge the "Reason for the Season." Every year I hope to make a birthday cake, to read the Luke story, to go to church on Christmas Eve. Something to show I know what this holiday is all about. Most years I do one of those things. This year I am pretty sure none of those things will get done. Oh, I know that none of those things reflects what or should I say Who I have in my heart. And, yes, I am hard on myself. But if I am not just a little introspective how or why does one change, make a difference, grow closer to God. I believe my kids know that Christmas isn't about Santa but it is hard when everything around us is focused on the jolly red guy. In the next couple of days I will make an effort to encourage a little more thought on the actual reason for the season . . .

Sunday, December 21, 2008

3 AM

Foiled. Today was suppose to be Silent Sunday. But because our computer isn't working I can't download a picture :( I am on hubby's work laptop just so I can post today :) So, my post is one that I was thinking about doing tomorrow. And here is how that works. Somewhere between 2 and 4 AM I am usually nursing EG. Because I am just sitting there my brain starts to work. I decided to put it to good use. That is when I generally think about what I am going to post the next day. It is amazing the thoughts that come to me in the middle of the night. Before EG I used to think about it as I was falling asleep. Now I fall asleep so fast (even with my head on a pile of laundry on the couch) I don't have time to think of anything!! Anyway, last night (or should I say this morning) I was thinking I don't have to think of any thing because I will post a picture I took earlier in the week. Oh it's a good one. I am not going to say what it is, you will just have to come back and look early in the week (if we get our computer working!) Anyway, by the time I go to post in the morning, I usually have figured out what I am going to say, what my main point will be (if there is one ;) and what the title will be. Of course, when I actually type it I make some changes, flesh things out. Nowadays, there really isn't a spare moment so I might as well make them all count . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smiles and Coos

This is when all the hard work, sleepless nights, and endless feedings pay off. The first smiles and coos! I had wanted to post a picture as well because we know a good post always includes a picture. BUT, because of the delay in digital cameras and the fact that she smiles when the camera is no where around, I was not able to do so. You will just have to picture it in your mind (like a really good book.) What a great surprise the other day when I was talking to EG and a beautiful smile appeared upon her lips. It wasn't a gas smile. I could tell by the look in her eyes. You know the look - Aahhh, this is my mommy talking to me and I love her soooo much - big smile! Her eyes dance - I think they actually glow. It changes her cheeks and her nose - they kind of wrinkle. Then the sound, that pucker of the lips and the "Oooh, coo, ahroo." I love doing it back - our first conversation. It says "All is well with the world right now." "I am happy and content. I don't need food or sleep. I just want to be right where I am . . . " Oh how I love this stage. It is what I remember every time I think about a baby. Such sweet memories . . .

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sissy's 24th Birthday



It is hard to believe that 24 years ago today Sissy was born. I would like to say that I remember that day like it was yesterday but that would be a lie. I was 16, my own birthday was in 2 weeks, Christmas was coming and I was a junior in high school. Cut me some slack ;) I do remember going up to the hospital to see her. My first encounter with a newborn. I guess I liked her - ha, ha!! I did know that our lives would change around the house. My brother and I had already been told we would help take care of her - changing and washing cloth diapers. I remember sitting around our dining room table while my stepdad told us what our responsibilities would be. I kind of remember a little revolt brewing. But little did I know at that point how much that little newborn baby would mean to me and my family. I remember having to watch her first thing on Saturday mornings. How cruel is that?? I also remember putting her on the family room floor in the sun and watching her "crawl." I think I nick named her "the worm." Her dad called her Putz (not really sure what that means.) I only lived with her for about 9/10 months and then she moved to Florida. When I graduated from high school about 6 months later, I moved to Florida and lived with her again. I think we shared a room at some point. Anyway, I remember in the afternoons taking her for a walk in her striped umbroller. When she got a little older I would take her to Target and shopping. I always remember holding her hand and making sure she never got out of my sight. I was scared to death something would happen to my stepdad's only child!! Of course, I didn't want anything to happen to her either! Then I moved away to go to college. And when I came home to visit, she and I were inseparable. I don't think I was even able to shower by myself. And on Sundays when I had to leave to go back to college, she would stand in the driveway and cry, cry, cry. She was my maiden of honor for my wedding and she took the job very seriously. When hubby and I left the reception to go on our honeymoon, she couldn't understand why we were not taking her with and she cried that night as well :) Of course, all of these stories now make us laugh. She is our number one babysitter and go to girl. She is "paying me back" for all of those times I had to babysit her! Although I think she enjoys helping us out :) Happy Birthday, Sissy!! We love you. . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ballet Recital
















It makes me cry. Every time. It truly is one of the blessings of having children. Girls. It is always amazing to me to see my girls up on stage dancing for Jesus. It is one of the reasons we stay with the ballet company we are with. Not only do they teach ballet and tap but they have an emphasis on God and Jesus which has just made it that much more special. I am always so proud of my girls. Seeing them follow their teachers directions and working so hard. They are not afraid to get up on stage and dance. They look forward to it and I love it!! It has also been so neat to watch their progress and development over time. They both have been dancing since they were 3 and their abilities have grown. They dance differently though. Each girl has her own style. Olivia is very determined and very concentrated in her steps and movements. Making sure each step is the right one. Katie is more fluid - sometimes it seems less serious but it really works for her. It is one of the highlights of the holiday season - their little informal Christmas recital. Just one of life's little blessings during a very hectic season . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Room Redo

So one of the reasons I was kind of thinking baby number four was a boy was for bedroom purposes. I know that sounds so silly and trivial but honest! Now that baby EG is here we have been starting to figure out exactly where she is going to sleep. I have heard stories about babies in bottom dresser drawers and in bathrooms. You have to do what you have to do when you don't have rooms for everyone (which I don't necessarily believe in anyway.) Boop, obviously will have his own room but we are trying to determine when exactly that might be. He sleeps in a twin now and the crib is in his room. The girls currently have these massive bunk beds - loft beds their called. They take up a ton of room. I think we should situate EG in the girls room sooner rather then later. The girls want their baby sister with them soon ;) Isn't that sweet?? The girls room hasn't been redone since Nature Girl was born. Time for new paint etc. So might as well just make it a room for three. We are currently looking for much smaller bunk beds so we can fit a crib and then a twin bed into the girls room. It will be tight and not much personal space but just another way for everyone to learn unselfishness :) Anyway, I have had great advice from those in similar situations. One friend came over and assessed the room and said it could be done and she told me how her three daughters' room was set up. (They also have just one boy who has a room all to himself.) Another friend suggested not using a trundle because there is no place during the day for one girl to "retreat" to. At least if she has her own bed in a crowded room someplace is hers. After some thought, it made sense to me. Everyone needs a place to call their own! A place to sit, rest, read, dream etc. I am looking forward to redoing the girls room. I envision pinks and purples and either polka dots or flowers. I will let the girls have a say but it will all be preapproved by mommy and daddy. No animal prints. We will have to get rid of some stuff to make room for more stuff but that is OK with me. It will take some organizing and some sacrificing. But, I look forward to the end result. If I think of it maybe I will take before and after pictures . . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Christmas Tree












It has taken us since Friday to get the tree decorated. And most of the ornaments are on the lower branches :) It is so neat to hear the kids get excited when they spot an ornament they remember from last year. They each have their favorites. Our tree is filled with ornaments that have come from somewhere. Daddy is insistent that we remember where each ornament has come from - that is has a special reason for being on the tree. It can't necessarily be because it is pretty. We don't have store bought glass balls or garland. Since being married, we have bought ornaments from every place we have ever gone - Crested Butte, St. Augustine, Green Bay just to name a few. One of the biggest treats the kids get when they travel someplace is they get to pick out an ornament (which isn't very often and mostly from Disney :). We have received ornaments from friends commemorating our marriage, pregnancies and births of our children. It gets a little crazy with the kids all trying to put ornaments on and truth be told daddy goes back later on and switches a few of them around :). But I like our little Christmas tree decorating tradition. I like that each ornament has a story, a reason for being on our tree. It may not be the most glitzy tree or the most colorful but it is the most meaningful . . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Octopus

Another honesty post! I need to be an octopus. As I dread the fact that daddy will be returning to work soon I start to think about how on this Earth am I going to take care of everybody. Oh I know I am not the first to go through this. Many amazing moms have been this route before and successfully accomplished what they needed to accomplish. I call this time in our lives Survival. When the kids ask to do something special and I can barely go to the bath room I apologize profusely and explain we are in survival mode- just getting done what needs to be done to survive - food, sleep, laundry, going out only when we NEED to, pay bills (sometimes - although when the cable goes out or the electricity flickers I wonder if I have paid the bill ;). There is part of me that feels so guilty about my current stance on home life. It will probably get a little worse before it gets better. Just for the mere fact of trying to figure everything out by myself. I already know, even with daddy home, that I do not have enough hands, patience, time etc. What will I do when that extra pair of hands isn't around to give me extra time and the ability to gather my patience. He has gone back to work after three previous pregnancies and we have been fine. But, this time it has been a little harder to get a grip on things. Part of it is the fact that EG and I are having such a hard time nursing. It takes up a lot of our day. With daddy home I can give it the attention it needs. Don't know what we will do when I won't have that luxury of time. I wouldn't say I am worried because it has always worked out in the past. And I know it will work out in the future. A friend of mine who has 9 children told me number 3, 4, and 5 were the hardest because the older children were not really at the age where they could seriously help - change diapers, make dinner, take a kid for a walk. But, I know that I will ask help from each of my guys at some point. Even if it is to bring me the wipes or fold some towels. They will be an invaluable resource. I hope and pray it will teach them the gift of servitude and selflessness and being a team player. It will be a God's grace thing . . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Best Friends








Last night Boop had his best friend over to play, watch a movie and eat brownies with. JD is Boop's one and only friend. Well, that isn't entirely true. He does have one or two other boys that he gets to see occasionally but JD is his "best" friend. Boop has known JD since he was born and they see each other pretty regularly. JD is a year older. It has been my experience, with boys and girls, that everyone gets along better if there is a year difference. JD's sister is Nature Girl and Little Mama's best friend. Nature Girl is 7, JD's sister is 6 and Little Mama is 5. Everyone plays together so well. Last night all the girls all went somewhere so JD came and hung out with Boop. I love watching them play and listening to them talk. I think when they were littler they had a few sharing issues but now when they get together you don't even know they are here. They really do get along very well. I would say, though, most of it is JD :) He is just such a good kid - really no trouble at all. Anyway, I am glad Boop has such a good best friend. Best friends are important, no matter what the age . . .

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Recycling Man and Other Things

Yesterday was Thursday which I guess I knew because I called Daddy to make sure he put out the recycling can and the garbage can. I would have done it but it was pouring rain :) Anyway, he had and I was thankful! About 9:30 I heard all of this big time honking of a horn. It wasn't a car horn it was like a truck of some sort - strong and loud. I thought maybe we were getting something delivered and the delivery truck needed someone to move or was going backwards. My curiosity got the better of me and I looked out the front window. IT WAS THE RECYCLING TRUCK. Every Thursday during school when the recycling truck would come Boop would want to run out and watch them empty the can. Because we haven't been in school and things are a little crazy, Boop has probably missed the last couple of Thursdays. Well yesterday the guys were honking for Boop to come out and watch them. They honked and they honked and they honked. I am sure the neighbors were annoyed! Anyway, Boop was in his room so I opened the front door and ran to get him. He was still in his PJs and it was sooo wet outside. But he ran to the end of the driveway and the recycle guy said "Hey little man!" Everyone smiled and waved to each other. I said "Thank you." It was sooo cool. I had to call daddy and tell him. Today, if I get a chance I am going to email Waste Management and let them know what great guys they have!!

Last night we had a pizza picnic and watched White Christmas (with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye). There is a song in the movie called "Sisters, sisters." The two main ladies in the movie sang it over and over. Last night in the shower I heard the girls singing it over and over :) Then when they had put on their matching night gowns they gave us a show. Singing and dancing to the song "Sisters, Sisters." They choreographed it and everything. It really was quite good!!

While nursing EG, she takes her hand and rubs it up and down my side. It is sooo soft.

Today we are going to get our tree - yeah!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Love/Hate Relationship

I love/hate fast food. We have sworn off McDonald's (well sort of). The one by our house is horrendous. The food is cold and the service _ _ _ _ _. And you spend a fortune for it. Hubby ever once and a while will go but I refuse to eat it. We love Taco Bell (relatively inexpensive and great service), Hungry Howie's Pizza (cheap and pretty darn tasty) and the most favorite fast food restaurant of all - Chick-fil-A. The food is good, the service is superb, the restaurant is clean and they have an inside playground. One of the first outings I had when Boop was a newborn was to a surprise birthday party for a friend. The party was at a restaurant and daddy was working. I was just going to make an appearance so I wanted to feed the kids somewhere cheap before we went. We stopped a Chick-fil-A. I was still learning to maneuver with a 4 yo, 2 yo and a newborn. Boop was in his carrier and I was trying to open the restaurant door. One of the Chick-fil-A employees saw me struggling and came and opened the door for me. They have consistently helped me with food and kids over the past three years. Kids eat free on Tuesday and they have clowns and balloons. Now the hate part of my relationship - I know the food is terrible for the kids and me for that matter. I am one of those who mills my own wheat, we have real butter, real peanut butter and fruit and veggies with lunch, real honey made down the road, succanat instead of sugar, whole wheat pasta and Irish sea salt. I don't say that to brag or make others feel bad if they don't do all of that. It is a choice we make for our family. It is hard sometimes and can be expensive. But I always find it ironic when we are in the drive through of a fast food place. All of this to say, we are having Taco Bell for dinner tonight . . . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TV

I have a love/hate relationship with the TV. Right now with the baby in the house I kind of love it. Especially a day like today when it is cloudy and rainy. Majority of the days I limit the amount of time we watch TV and it is usually first thing in the morning when I am getting breakfast and school ready. Each child has a "day" and they can pick what we watch. It is usually about an hour long, sometimes more depending on whether it is a movie or not. I have tried to record education, science, animal related stuff so they can watch that. But, honestly there hasn't been much on for them to see. Around the holidays we watch a lot of Christmas movies etc. Not only do I limit the time they watch but I am very thoughtful about what they watch. I try to steer clear of a lot of cartoons and just plain mindless entertainment (although we do watch Tom and Jerry occasionally :) The kids have seen Fiddler on the Roof, Holiday Inn, The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit. I try to make it "quality TV." But I am not always successful with that. We pick a lot of things that daddy and I grew up watching. Netflix just sent us White Christmas. I wish I had the guts to just get rid of the thing except for movies but hubby grew up with the TV and that isn't going to happen. He watches a lot of the History Channel so the kids will watch that with him. When the kids are in bed, I watch about an hour. At least I have it on. I usually am doing something else, paying bills etc. When daddy is home there are shows that we enjoy watching together and DVR them. We also have it on during College Game Day ;) I know I could live with out it and actually did for awhile. Although I hated not being able to watch football and basketball!! I think the thing that has me most upset right now is even during the kids holiday shows and sporting events they have very adult commercials. It has surprised me what they advertise during Frosty!! I try to fast forward through it but one of the reasons the TV is on is so I can get something done. Since we have had people in and out helping me with the baby etc. the TV has been on more than I care to admit but I have to remember everyone is here to help me. When school starts back we will be back into our routine and TV will once again be a very small part of it. I know that keeping my kids totally free from TV will probably just increase their curiosity later in life but just like everything else I try to teach them - life is about choices, God has given us free will, I hope to show them we are a product of our choices. If we choose to put good, wholesome things in, the chances are better of good wholesome things coming out. A reflection of Phil 4:8 . . .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa












This morning our goal is to go see Santa. Yesterday the kids worked on their final lists for Santa. Nature Girl had a lot of American Girl stuff on her list. As did Little Mama. Samantha, Little Mama's American Girl, is being retired this year so she (we) wanted to be sure to ask for the things she (we) really wanted to have :) Boop had some interesting stuff. For instance, a pretty moving deer - a boy one, a castle and a snowman. Santa will have fun trying to deliver those things. Thankfully he did ask for a robot which I am pretty sure Santa will be able to bring him! If we actually make it to see Santa this morning I am hoping there will be pictures along with this post. Haven't decided whether or not EG will be in the picture. Daddy and I have decided we don't want Santa holding a 3 1/2 week old. So now we have to flip a coin as to who is going to be in the picture with the kids - mommy or daddy. I told daddy, it all depended on whether or not mommy got a shower before we go ;)


P.S. To all my friends and family in the midwest, I am excited you are getting all that snow :) On a day like today around the holidays I miss the snow. After Christmas I will prefer my low 60 degree weather :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tidbits for Today

We did not get to go to the parade this year. My friend had sick children so we had to cancel. It was too cold and too crowded to sit on the street to watch the parade. (We have become spoiled!) The kids didn't seem to mind as much as I did! To make up for the disappointment, Daddy ordered Sonny's and took them for a 4 wheeler ride around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. All is well that ends well . . .

Boop to Daddy: "When I get older can I drink coffee?" Obviously a food group in our house . . .

The girls spent yesterday afternoon at Grandma's helping decorate her house for Christmas and making brownies. The had a really wonderful time. Nature Girl likes the decorating and the feeling of Christmas and Little Mama likes the baking. Something for everyone . . .

On Friday I had to give EG a bottle. I was so afraid to do it because I was afraid she wouldn't nurse any more. But, she took the bottle and is still continuing to nurse. I gave her one bottle Saturday and one Sunday. I will continue to do so in the afternoons until it is no longer needed. We go to the doc today to get weighed . . .

Daddy is back to work today. But he hopes to be home by 3 o'clock . . .

This weekend I started a Bible study with a friend. We are going to take the next couple weeks and study the book of Psalms. We are doing it for our own edification but also as a way to keep us accountable for reading and living God's word. We are reading chapters 1-4 this week . . .

Confession: I love routine and structure. It is a security blanket for me. It helps maintain/retain confidence in what I do every day. I struggle big time with flexibility and the unexpected. As I was loading the washer and dryer this morning it hit me like a ton a bricks. Routine and structure are my idols. They take away from my faith in God. He is in control not the routine and structure I make up everyday for my security. I believe that God is a God of order so I don't think having a plan is a sin but my faith and comfort and confidence and happiness and security need to come from Him, He who sent His Son for my salvation. Hmmmm . . . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Parade

Every year our city puts on a holiday celebration called "Light Up Tallahassee." There is the Jingle Bell Run, they turn on all the lights in the downtown parks, and there is a parade with Santa at the end. Hubby and I have been going to it since before we were married. We actually have worked it for a couple of years because we worked at a downtown hotel and they always sold food and drinks. (We met at that hotel :) There was one year (before kids) that we rented a room in the hotel for the day and night with my mom, stepdad and sissy and we were able to go up and go to the bathroom or watch football or just relax. Then we would go back down and walk around all the entertainment and food and crafts. That was one of the best memories! I have a very good friend who works in an office building downtown. His office over looks the main street of the parade. I think the year after Nature Girl was born he invited my family up to watch the parade with his family from his office. Of course, this has now become a tradition!! When we started doing this I had one child and he had three. Now he has five and I have four so our little party has grown considerably. All of the kids have a blast watching the parade go by from up high. We have cookies and drinks and lots of laughter. Our little get together has expanded to include my mom, sissy and sometimes my mother-in-law. We have had some good times up in that office that over looks the parade. We are looking forward to it again tonight . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Walk About

Yesterday was the first day in months that we have gone for a walk around the neighborhood. Daddy had to work last night so I thought it would be a good time killer. Plus, it was an absolutely beautiful day. In the mid 60s I believe. The kids were excited to go. We haven't been in awhile because truthfully I had a hard time keeping up with everyone while pregnant. And also it had been pretty warm up until about a month ago. But yesterday was wonderful. We leisurely strolled around our circle. Usually we see lots of neighbors but I guess because it was before 5 o'clock most everyone was still at work or where ever. We got to see some Christmas decorations. The kids wanted to go the "long way" which means going down to where the big beautiful houses are and one even has horses. But considering it was our first venture out I decided to keep it short and simple. Boop usually wants to ride in the stroller but this time he took pleasure in pushing EG in hers. He pushed her all the way around. The girls ran and raced. One of the highlights of our walks is running through the one weeping willow in our neighborhood. Weeping willows are my favorite trees. The kids run back and forth through the long thin branches (with strict instructions not to pull on them.) It was nice to get out and breathe the fresh air. EG liked it as well, although she slept through her first walk. I am sure in the months to come there will be many late afternoon walks for her to take part in . . . .

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Nutcracker

One of the traditions I have during the Christmas season is I take the girls (and boy if daddy isn't home) to the Nutcracker Ballet. This is the 5th year I have purchased tickets. Grandma goes with us and the girls get dressed up and we have a really, really nice time. The girls love it and so do I. This year is a little different. I have still purchased tickets for all of us but because of EG's nursing problems I am not sure if I should go. I have always made sure that when we have a new baby in the house the other kids don't get slighted. I try to keep things the same as much as possible. Like taking them to ballet and tumbling or other special events. I have talked with Grandma and she is more than happy to take the girls alone but has kind of expressed the same concern. Will the girls notice that this year I am not going? (If that is what I choose to do.) Probably not. They would be tickled to go with Grandma. I have talked with Daddy and he has mentioned going along (with Boop) which I personally think would be cool. I can hear the girls talking in a couple years from now "Remember the year that daddy took us to the Nutcracker? Wasn't that cool??" I am not sure what I am going to do. I have always enjoyed taking the girls. It is something we do together that is special and girly. No matter what, I know my girls would understand. So many choices to make - so many decisions. Such a desire to do the right thing. Whatever that may be . . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nursing

This post will be filed under the honesty heading :) I believe in breastfeeding. I think it is the best for every baby. Recent research says it is the optimal way to feed your baby for the first three months. When I see newborns with bottles it makes me sad. I am allowed to say this because I have always struggled with nursing my babies. Nature Girl was a month early and I didn't have any idea about nursing babies. Because she was early she didn't have a strong sucking reflex. And then she had to be in the hospital for two days under the billi lights (spelling). So she and I struggled from the get go. I knew nursing was the best but she and I could never quite get it to work. I had little "feeding tubes" taped to my breast filled with formula to encourage her to suck. I gave her supplemental bottles after nursing for an hour. Every time she cried (which was a lot) I nursed her. We pumped, we nursed, we taped tubes, we went to support groups, I took natural supplements, we were up all night every night. Finally in tears and unsuccessful I called my mom. I don't remember exactly what she told me but whatever it was alleviated the guilt I was feeling for not being able to do what my body was created to do.

When Little Mama was born that was my biggest fear. Not being able to nurse again. I got a book that helped encourage nursing and putting a baby on a loose schedule. One of the biggest things the book recommended was getting the baby to take a full feeding every time she needed to eat. And it started from the minute the baby was born. It helped a lot. Little Mama was a good nurser but we still had problems. She didn't gain weight like the doctors wanted. By about 6 months (and I am sure I have the time wrong) she was listed as a failure to thrive and a pediatric specialist recommended she eat Ensure. Well, I did that for about a week. It just didn't seem right to me. In every other aspect she was fine. She just wasn't this huge baby growing like the charts say she should (which I have since been told are not necessarily made for breastfed babies). At about 10 months, Little Mama started taking a bottle. But I feel she is my success story.

Of course I had the same concerns when Boop was born. He did well for the first few months. He had a rash all over his body so it took some time trying to figure that out. At about three months he started to not gain as much and he was waking up constantly at night. So back to the support group we went. They put me on supplements to help boost my milk supply. I came home with a scale so I could weigh him pre and post feeding. After a couple days it was determined that he had a milk allergy and the milk he was getting from me gave him an all over body rash. Between that and the fact he wasn't gaining like he was suppose to, we decided to give him soy milk formula. I was glad that we made it as far as we did. It still bothers me that we didn't go longer but I had so much else to consider.

So now we have EG. Her first day nursing at the hospital was awesome. I thought to myself "Yeah!!!! It is finally all coming together and this is going to work like it is suppose to!!" Then the second day came and she refused to latch on. In came the nurses and the lactation consultants with the tubes and the formula. All in an effort to get her to latch and help my body make milk. I was sad!! I wanted so much to have this work. When we left the hospital I had to get a pump and I still had the tubes and tape. Every time I fed her I had to rig myself up (which I swore I would never do again because it was so stressful.) I still have the marks on my body from the tape. Finally, after about a week and numerous calls to the lactation consult and one meeting with her (to the tune of $50) she finally started nursing all on her own. Yeah!!!! Success!! But not for long. She had gained most of her weight back in the first week we were home so I thought we were well on our way. Just for kicks I had her weighed again the next week and she had actually lost 2 ounces. I was heart broken. Back to the lactation consultant for a scale and milk supply supplements. Now, we have been to the doc again and she has gain 4 oz but still not back to her birth weight. I have to weigh her every morning to make sure she is gaining and I have to weigh her before and after each feeding to make sure she is getting enough. There are times when I want to throw in the towel. I think hubby would like me to at times because it is such a huge weight on my shoulders to be solely responsible for her growth. Today we go back to the lactation consult for any last words on what I should do next. I absolutely do not want to give up nursing. What a blessing in the life of a new mother to look down numerous times a day and see your baby nestled close to you and nursing. There is no replacement for that. I feel I can say what is the best for a baby having been able to nurse (at least for a little while) and not being able to nurse. I have learned part of the problem is me. I don't eat all the things that I should like foods high in protein and fats. I am not a big eater and I eat just for me to survive. Hubby makes me eggs etc to help me to eat right. I lose my baby weight way to fast. I lost 26 lbs in 10 days. That can't be good for nursing. And, I am high strung. None of these qualities is good for nursing.

I have no regrets. I have a little guilt at times but I know in my head (if not necessarily in my heart) that I have given it my all each and every time. I have weighed what is good for my baby, myself and my family and made choices based on that. It is all I can do. I keep praying that this time it will work for the long haul but if not I will do my best to let myself off the hook. . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All By Myself, Part II

So, today daddy goes back to work today for 10 hours. And I am all by myself. It is a little daunting but I am sure I will be fine. It will be all the small things that get me. Like when I am nursing EG and Boop has gone number 2 :) Or I have EG asleep in my arms and somebody spills something :) I would consider sending every one outside today but it is cold here. It is only suppose to be 54. For us that is winter coat weather. Isn't that funny?? In away I am looking forward to being all by myself. It will be a confidence booster. Daddy only works today and then maybe again on Friday. So I can ease into our routine. Grandma said she would come over and a friend is coming by later on to pick up a card order. Also, another friend is bringing us dinner. So I guess I have nothing really to worry about. I will be praying all day for grace and patience and wisdom. Feel free to pray for me . . . .

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sleep

Now I am not complaining because in the sleep department things could be a lot worse. I have a beautiful baby girl who doesn't mind sleeping but she does have a preference as to where she sleeps. When hubby went on his trip I just wanted sleep at any cost so if that meant in my arms that was OK. We have managed to transition some nap times to the swing and I even got her to sleep in her bassinet twice. On the whole I don't mind holding her while she naps. It means I just get to sit and stare at her. (Of course the house is falling down around us :) Every night we sleep in the recliner. I started this the day before hubby left because nighttime sleep is very important to me. And, if we sleep together in the recliner she will sleep for 4-5 hours and I actually have to wake her to feed her!! We have been doing this for about two weeks now. It has been pretty comfortable for us and like I said we get sleep! This morning, just for kicks, after I fed her I put her in her bassinet to see if she would go back to sleep. I crawled into my bed which I have only slept in once (for about an hour) since being home. Oh My Gosh did it feel good!! It was like lying on a cloud. I am a tummy sleeper so I just wiggle and buried myself in my pillow and sheets and comforter. I wanted to stay there all day (well, at least for about 30 minutes). I think I got to stay there for about 10. Oh, I know this stage of baby doesn't last forever and I am pretty sure this will be the last time I get to share these precious moments with a newborn child so I am not whining (not seriously whining). But, I gotta tell you I am looking forward to the day when I can crawl in my bed for just a few moments of uninterrupted sleep . . .