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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This will be funny some day

Every time we spend time with my parents, someone gets sick.  Last time, when we went to Michigan, O ended up in the ped's office with Reactive Airway Disease issues.  The time before that, O had an ear infection. Once, my mom had RSV.  Another, everyone got the stomach bug.

This visit- Isaac got croup on thursday night.  We avoided the ped's office friday, since they just called in his meds.  Friday night, he screamed a good portion of the night.  He and I ended up spending over 3 hours in the nearest Urgent Care for his ear infections on Christmas day. He screamed for hours on saturday night as well. Yesterday, he started running a fever. 

Christmas Eve, my mom threw up for a few hours.  Along with Isaac's fever yesterday, O woke up with croup, and I woke up with a cold as well.  My brother sounds like HE has croup, and my dad woke up today with a cold, too.

Its quite comical when I think back about how often we get sick when my parents are around.  I can almost see the humor in it all now.  Almost. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I'm dreaming of seeing a white Christmas

We woke up to an amazing sight this Christmas day.  Snow!  Not just a little tiny "dusting", a LOT of snow!  Here in Alabama, its a pretty big deal to get any snow, much less a few inches.

Today, we delayed our gift opening and played in the snow before opening presents.  (we did open stockings and eat breakfast.)  The big kids had a blast.  Isaac, not so much.

He's sick. :(  Poor baby. 



Making a snow man
 making a snowman in the fire pit


our house

Monday, December 20, 2010

A boy and his boxes

Don't mind the quality (or lack of) of these pictures.  They are from my cell phone.

Over the course of just a few weeks, I've taken at least 10 different pictures of my boy in some type of box.  The kid loves boxes.  He, occasionally, tries to get in some that are a little too small, (Like the block bin at the dr.'s office.) or some he shouldn't be in (like the kitchen drawers).  He just loves to be in a box.







Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy birthday, Isaac!

Dear Isaac (aka. Zeke, Zekers, Zekester, Zekey)-

You're one year old today!  I can remember your birth, like it was yesterday.  The moment you came shooting out, (yes, that part was that fast!) and they placed you on my chest was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  You were all covered in vernix, peeing like crazy, and as mad as heck! But me?  I was in awe of this tiny little baby, a miracle, who was given to us by God.

You still steal your mamma's heart every day.  Try as we might, we could not get you attached to a lovey (I'm still trying, though!)  unless you count me, your momma.  You seem to always find those two fingers you suck anytime I pick you up.  Then, you almost always go in for the snuggle after those fingers are in.  Man, that's the best!

This past year, you've learned all kinds of new things.  From your frog hopping crawl, to your wild man walking.  You've learned to growl, screech, blow raspberries, and gurgle (that one is thanks to your big brother) and say "dada".  I'm still working on saying "mama" with you.  Soon, I hope.

You still wake up once in the middle of the night for a momma milk snack.  I've gotten over worrying about it.  I know you won't continue this until Kindergarten so I'm enjoying our night time nursing sessions while I can.  They'll be a thing of the past before I know it, and I'll be wishing you still wanted to snuggle.

You're still a pretty sober kid.  It takes a lot for you to laugh, but it also takes a lot for you to cry.  You are pretty generous with your smiles, though.

When left alone, for even a few minutes, you love to get into trouble.  One of your favorite activities is still unrolling the toilet paper, or climbing the stairs as fast as you can.  Your daddy joked, yesterday, that you single-handedly destroyed all of our Christmas ornaments in one year.  When you climbed up to the top of the piano yesterday, you knocked 2 of my manger animals over and broke them.  While we're on the topic of manger figures, you broke 3 of them the first day we got them out.  A few days ago, you got into the dishes and broke a Christmas plate.  You broke a snow globe, not to mention countless ornaments.  Its a good thing you're so cute and innocent.  Otherwise we might be mad. 

Happy Birthday, little one!  We love you!

video

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My view last year

While in labor, sitting on the birthing ball, bouncing up and down, this is the view I had last year at this time.  It makes me laugh, now.  Last year- not so much...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Walker news

Isaac is walking.  He's been taking steps for a few months now, actually.  However, it wasn't until this week, when he realized how to stand up with out holding on, that he finally took off.  Today, he walked more than crawled.


video

The funny thing?  He only wants to walk if he has his pants off.  If his pants are on, he crawls.  I think its the wood floor in the winter.  I think its cold.

video

Thursday, December 9, 2010

this is what happens when you don't blog for a long time

You end up with a bullet post.  Like this.

*I'm currently eating popcorn.  I'm starving, but I'm trying to "save myself" for all the goodies I'll be having later tonight at a Christmas party.  Popcorn (the low fat kind) is basically like eating air, caloric wise.  But, it gives my mouth something to do.

*We bought our first ever fake Christmas tree this year.  I didn't really want to fight with Isaac about eating pine needles.  It just isn't worth it.   I got a super deal on Black Friday on new tree at Home Depot. So super, that if we decide to throw it away after this year, we'll still be spending less then on a live Christmas tree. 

*O lost a tooth a few weeks ago, and is about ready to loose another!  She looks stinking cute.

*O is a woman after my own heart.  We sent her to school yesterday with $4 for the "penguin patch", a little store where they pick out gifts for family members.  She bought one for each of us, and 3 for herself.

*I've lost weight recently.  From running, or eating right- I'm not sure which.  But, I'm down to a weight I haven't been since before O.  Of course, it feels like it mostly came off my breasts and thighs.  Two places I was fine with before I lost weight.  Can I make a request for the next few pounds to be off my stomach, please? 

*I hate the cold.  Not new news, but still true.

*Isaac's birthday is in 6 days.  SIX DAYS!  oh.my.gosh. 

*E's 30th birthday is in 6 days!  Oh.my.gosh.  When did HE get so old?

*I's heading to the ENT at the end of this month from all of his ear infections and sinus infections.  Fun times.  I'm hoping they have answers for us about his speech. 

*A told his friend today, "I can run as fast as a hyena!"  Two nights ago, we were talking before bed.  He was rambling on and on about whatever was popping into his brain.  One minute, we were talking about God.  The next, he was talking about daddy growing a beard, and how he might not be able to talk if it was over his "wips".  He cracks me up.

*We didn't buy the big kids one toy this year for Christmas.  They don't use the ones they have, and they'll get plenty from the Grands.

*Can I just take a second to mention how happy I am that we will not be traveling to Michigan for Christmas?  I'm SO HAPPY!  My parents are coming down here, so we'll still get to see my family.  But, we won't have to do that drive, with that baby of ours who likes to scream in the car seat.  He still hates it.  Just as much as he did when he was 2 months old.  Except now, he can scream louder and longer.

*I don't think companies should require people to travel in the month of December.  Especially men with 3 children and a wife at home.  Just saying...

*I have the baby itch.  its bad.  Really bad.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today, last year

Can you see Isaac?  He's that brown bulge on my stomach. He was kicking the baby we were visiting, like he was trying to get her off my tummy.  

Sometimes I miss being pregnant.  Like when I think about baby kicks in my belly. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Memories of yester year

As I's birthday approaches, I've been feeling more and more nastolgic.  Remembering what was going on this day, last year, with him still in my belly.  Unaware that we would meet him oustide the womb in 13 short days.  Worrying about dialation, amniotic fluid levels, labor, and the birth itself.  Breathing in the fresh baby scent of my friend's newborn.

  I don't remember being this sad with the older two.  It could be because I was already pregnant with A one O's birthday.  As for A's first birthday, I knew we would have more children.  It didn't bother me as much. 

God willing, Isaac will not be our last child.  However, I now know the reality that our plans are just that: plans.  We have very little control over life and death.  Maybe just knowing that it is not in my control is what is making me sad.  Knowing that if I have to go through losses again for a 4th child, I don't know that we will. Knowing that Isaac could be my last, even if I don't want him to be.

I'm trying to trust in God.  Giving my plans up to him.  His will be done.  But, its quite hard to give up my ideals, and the picture in my head.  Its even harder when I feel like some one is missing from our family. I may always feel that way, though, because of the number of children not here with us. 

I'm sure this is all jumbled.  I'm sorry for that.  As I type it, I realize its not a very put-together post.  But, its a real-time post.  Things that are on my mind this minute, and for the last few days.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this Year

One of my friends sent me this poem.  She experienced a miscarriage not too long ago.  When I read it, I couldn't help but think of all of our precious babies up in heaven.  What a wonderful and encouraging thought to know that they are always with our Savior.


I'm Spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this Year


I see the countless Christmas trees,

Around the world below.

With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,

Reflecting on the snow.



The sight is so spectacular,

Please wipe away that tear.

For I'm spending Christmas,

With Jesus Christ this year.



I hear the many Christmas songs,

That people hold so dear.

But the sounds of music can't compare,

With the Christmas choir up here.



For I have no words to tell you,

The joy their voices bring.

For it is beyond description,

To hear the angels sing.



I can't tell you of the splendor,

Or the peace here in this place.

Can you just imagine Christmas,

With our Savior, face to face?



I'll ask Him to light your spirit,

As I tell Him of your love.

So then pray for one another,

As I lift you eyes above.



Please let your hearts be joyful,

And let your spirit sing.

For I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven,

And I'm walking with the King.


 Poem written by Wanda Bencke


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whooo's that?

 Yes, that's my baby BOY modeling an owl headband.  What can I say?  He's comfortable in his masculinity.





The finished gift for a special baby girl's birthday. (sans buttons on the dress.  Have to buy those soon.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I was a runner before

No, not really.  But, I was on the track team.  For about 2 weeks. 

See, our school was kind of small.  In fact, I think my graduating class had 52 people.  For some less popular sports, like track, we didn't have try outs.  We were often hurting for people so bad that we often had to combine with other small schools to compete. 

That's what happened with the track team my senior year.  Some friends convinced me that it would be super fun to run track.  You know, stay in shape after cheerleading, etc.  I thought, "what the heck.  I can run, right?" 

I joined the track team.  First practice- run 3 miles.  Ummm....  what?  All I own are cheerleading shoes.  Did I mention I walked the mile in gym class?  You want me to RUN 3 miles?  Run right now?

As you can imagine, I fell behind quickly.  After one mile, we passed by the subdivision where I lived.  Instead of continuing on, I went home and collapsed on the floor in a heap, trying to catch my ragged breath.  I peeled off my Asic's and swore that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, I would run further.  I'll run 3 miles tomorrow with no problems.

Tomorrow came and went, and I went right to my house again, ready, I thought, to die.  I couldn't breath, and I had blisters all over my feeet.  The track coach got a clue, (I think) and thought I might be better in sprinting.  I was to run in a relay.

Race day came, and I was sick (later, I found out, with bronchitis).  I still hadn't been trained, and I still hadn't been able to run more than a mile.  During the race, I got dizzy, closed my eyes, and passed out.

You know, I never really liked running after that. 


Here's me and my team


I still can't say that I love running, since I really have to psych myself up to get out there.  Sometimes I get really bored and sometimes its super hard.  But, I do occasionally enjoy it now.

 I ran my first 5k on Sunday.  I didn't die.  I didn't come in last.  I even passed other runners!  The difference between these 3 miles and the 3 miles of yester year?  Training my friends, training.  It seems so simple now, doesn't it?  But, as a young 17 year old, I thought I could conquer anything, including a 3 mile run with out any preparation.  What a silly girl I was.

me on Sunday before the race

almost to the finish line!

The race was exciting, fun, and definitely worth it (although I struggled with some major anxiety before I got to the race.)  I was completely proud of myself for running the entire thing (I had been running 3 miles at home, but I was never sure on exact distances.)  Now that I have one of those 5ks under my belt, I may work up to a 10k.  It'll be a while.  But, its a far cry from that girl who stopped running when she passed her house on a track team run.  A far cry, indeed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Outcasts

The pictures that didn't make the Christmas card:

 Over here!!
 Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a good nose picking.
 The wiggly one is done.

Someone may have set the tripod a little low.
 He's escaping!
 Not sure what E is doing here.  Reminiscing on senior pictures? One, Two, Thareeeeee. (this will only make sense if you had a certain photographer from Adrian, MI for pictures.)



Thursday, November 11, 2010

I heart baby carriers

The short and sweet of it- I love them.  I don't know how some of you moms out there live with out them, honestly.  I'm not being judgemental at all, I'm just telling you I could not live with out them.  Not kidding.

Today, The Zekester has been sick.  It started last night, in the wee hours (when all sickness seems to start, no?) with croup.  Fun times.  He, apparently, feels pretty miserable.  So miserable, that he doesn't want the love of his life (me) to put him down.  Ever. 

Normally I save my baby carriers for stores or going for walks.  But, today, I broke out a carrier, threw him up on my back and went to work doing chores.  Just like when he was a tiny little baby, except he is heavier, and he was less in the way since he was on my back.


It seems as though my little guy likes my slings/carriers, too. When I put it on, he lifted up his hands immediately. He knows what's coming next, and he likes it. Baby, he likes it.









Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Merry Christmas Card

Its November.  I know.  I know.  I can't believe it, either.  I can't believe that Christmas is only 6 weeks away, (not to mention a certain baby boy's birthday and, my dear, E's 30th birthday.) 

Its around this time of year that we normally load up every one and haul ourselves to a cheap photo studio, wait hours upon hours to get our picture taken, (I'm not kidding here.  The weekends are a mad house there!) find one or two pictures we like, (which infuriates the photographer that we are only getting one or two poses.) wait for them to be printed, pick up the prints, and drive the 45 minutes home with everyone in tears.  Then, we have to find a Christmas card we like, cut up all of the pictures, and stick them in.

In a gigantic effort to simplify Christmas this year (I'll have to write more on that later. We're cutting back on a lot of things!) we are forgoing that little escapade.  Instead, we are doing our OWN Christmas cards.  Well, sort of. 

We spent about 20 minutes Sunday evening taking pictures out in our back yard with our camera and a tripod that my friend D lent us.  A lot of the pictures were a bust, but a few turned out great!  We are taking one or two of those photos and getting cards made through Shutterfly

I'm not sure which card we'll get printed, but there are so many cute choices, don't you think?

Since I'm, hopefully, going to be getting 50 of them free for writing this blog post, I am thinking about ordering some of these.  I love tags.  Love them!  These are super cute, (especially the brown one with gifts on it!)  They seem pretty reasonably priced.

With I's 1st birthday and E's 30th birthday all mixed up with Christmas, we were thinking about doing a combined party/holiday celebration.  There are all kinds of super cute invitation designs here.   I think this one is kind of cute.

I'll have to post what we end up choosing for you all.  I'm sure you are waiting on the edge of your seats....

Friday, November 5, 2010

A sweater-to-child's-dress tutorial

Take an old turtleneck to use as your dress-to-be.

My inspiration for this dress came from a cowl-necked tunic that I bought O at Gymboree.  Like this.
Since I wanted the neck to be kind of floppy, I left the original turtle alone. :)


So, I took my turtlenecked sweater and got out my trusty scissors.

I cut off the sleeves. Then, it looked like this.


I skipped photographing the next step, but I measured a dress of hers up against the sweater to get an idea of how wide to make it and where to cut my arm holes.

Then, I snipped along my lines.


Now, I start to tackle the sleeves.  I took the dress used above to form a pattern for the width to measure the arms and do the same.  You can see my highlighter marks here if you look carefully.


Snip, snip.  They now look like this.

Fold the sleeves so the right sides are together and sew down the open side.

Now, at this point, I took my seam ripper and took off the original tag.  My kids aren't big fan of tags, so it had to go.  You all know how to use a seam ripper, so I'll spare you the pictures.

Now, take your "dress", make sure the right sides are facing each other and sew down both sides of the dress, making sure not to sew up the arm holes.  Depending on the height of your little girl, you may have to measure her, cut the sweater to the appropriate length, and then hem the bottom.  I wanted to just use the length of the shirt, so I used the original hem. ( Plus, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to sewing and I didn't want to create an entire new hem.)

 When you are finished sewing, flip the sleeves right side out, so the raw edge is inside.  Here comes the tricky part.  With your dress still inside out, stuff your sleeve, (which is right side out) into the dress.  You'll want to make sure that the sleeve is in the dress, like pictured below (but, obviously IN the dress.  its hard to show you the way the sleeve faces when its in there...  tricky photography.  I'm just not there, yet. lol.)

Sew around the arm hole, securing the sleeve to the dress.  Repeat for the other arm and sleeve.


I happened to have a bit of fabric left over from when I trimmed the sides of my sweater.  I decided to make a belt. The belt was super easy, so I won't go into detail here.  If you know how to sew any kind of strap, you know how to do this guy, too.  I used two strips that had original edges/hems so that I didn't have to close the ends of the belt up with any type of hem.  You could easily go belt less, too.  


Finished product

Just waiting on my little girl to come home from school to try it on. 


Extended Breastfeeding

I realize that I'm not in the majority with my feelings regarding breastfeeding, much less extended breastfeeding.  Heck, I realize that anytime I'm in a group of women who start talking about breastfeeding.  Even with out opening my mouth and telling our breastfeeding stories (really, that's what they are.  They are tales of our breastfeeding highs and lows.) I know that most people are uncomfortable with the thought of breastfeeding past a year.

Take yesterday.  I was in a group of moms, some of them very new moms (meaning with brand new, fresh babies.)  Zeke wasn't interested in eating his crackers or drinking out of his sippy cup.  I glanced at the time and realized it had been a while since he nursed.  Generally, he doesn't like to eat table foods or drink water until after he nurses.  So, I found a seat and nursed him.  There were several "my baby" comments.  Some of them I related to (like, "my son was too busy to nurse in public."  That was SO A when he was a baby.) and some that I struggle to find a common ground with (generally, giving up on breastfeeding after very little to no effort.  I'm not saying its wrong, its just hard for me to understand.)

In conversation, I mentioned that A was a very hard baby to nurse in public, but that he nursed until he was 2.  The looks I received made me try to rationalize it and say things like "but only at home" or "only before bed". 

Why is it that I feel the need to do this?  What makes it so taboo to nurse past 12 months?  What is so special about that 12th month that mother's feel the need to sever a relationship that has many benefits?  I know some people are really just trying to make it to the recommended 12 months, because its a struggle in some manner- allergies, babies who are ready to wean, etc.  I'm not talking about mothers that are in those situations.  I am referring to those who are still enjoying breastfeeding, as is the baby.  It makes me sad that some of these women feel pressured to wean.  With I being 10.5 months old, I can't imagine giving up breastfeeding in 1.5 months just because other people give me dirty looks.

As for me and my baby, I'm feeling blessed that I can overlook the glances and comments and continue doing what is best for us.  I'm feeling blessed that I enjoy breastfeeding.  I'm feeling blessed that Zeke still enjoys/needs some old fashioned milk from his momma.  I'm feeling blessed that its been an easy road for us this time around (oh, the troubles I had with O and A! I mention those troubles only so you don't think I had it easy peasy every time.)  and I can relax and enjoy our transition into extended breastfeeding.

So, I lift my bra cup in salute to another year, (hopefully) of Zeke enjoying the milk bar!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I couldn't decide

Its been a while since I posted.  The reasons/excuses are too many to count.  So, I told myself that I HAD to blog today.  But, you see, I couldn't decide what to post.  Should I blog about the fun adventures of Halloween weekend, playing it up like life is full of unicorns and rainbows?  Or, should I blog about what really happened- life full of puke and poop and chaos?

I still can't decide.  So, I'll leave you with a day-by-day recap of just this weekend.

Friday:

A's school has an awesome Halloween party every year.  They do an indoor-style trick-or-treating, going to different offices/people, and playing Halloween themed games.  What I like best about it is that they try to give out things other than candy.  like books, water bottles, pretzels, etc. (of course, they totally serve chips and cookies at the end, though.)


A monkey on my back

A and his BFF (he's the man in the yellow hat, if you didn't know.)


I swear, E looks like this in the majority of our pictures.
He's really thrilled to be doing this, can't you tell?

The Zekester and his fingers.


E came to the festival, but had to leave early.  I hustle the kids back to the car, unload our goodies, and head for home.  We arrive home, and I start getting the boys ready for nap time.  A takes off his costume and is stark naked when the phone rings.  O has thrown up at school and I need to pick her up.

Rush around, get A dressed, get I dressed, and get back in the car. (Thankfully, the schools is right around the corner, so it doesn't take long to get there.)  Run into the school to pick up O, who starts bawling the minute she sees me.  I try to calm her down, reassure her its going to be okay.  I get her into her car seat, buckle her up.

Now, what I did next is just pure mommy instinct.  O didn't say her tummy hurt or anything, she just started coughing.  I undid her buckle and yanked her out of the van.  As I did that, she started throwing up everywhere.  Thankfully, since I had already started the process of getting her out of the car, only a tiny bit of yucky stuff got on the floor (but, man, does that stuff smell!)  It was all over her, and all over the walk way.  I went back in, got paper towels, and the nurses had to come out and help me clean her up.

I'll leave out what happened the rest of the day Friday.  I'm sure you can guess what I did, including canceling fun plans to go out with friends and canceling O's plans to spend the night with Grandma.

Saturday:

Besides the lack of sleep, we had a pretty decent Saturday.  We put all of the kids down for early naps, since O was up a lot in the night and A got up at 4:45 because he saw the bathroom light on and thought it was morning.  O slept for almost 5 hours.  When she woke up, she was like a new kid!  I took her and I to Publix while E and A built a fire (in our new fire pit) to cook hot dogs in for dinner.


Sunday: 

Sometime early Sunday morning, A got sick.  I stayed home with A and I, while E and O went to church.  We realized that the Halloween party we had planned, was NOT going to be happening at our house.  So, we found an alternative venue, which ended up being a lot more work than it sounds.  It was extremely stressful trying to get everything over there.  Then, I couldn't even enjoy it because I stayed home with the boys!


But, we did have a wonderful time trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  Austin was feeling fine, so he came along.  Isaac was a peach, as always.  He even got a little vocal at the end, with lots of screeching and yelling.


O as the tooth fairy                                                   A watching O leave.



He perked right up when I started getting him dressed
for trick-or-treating, though.


My poor third child.  This is the only picture of
him in his costume on Halloween.  Sniff.

After the fun!

So, after all of the fun, we quickly put all of the kids to bed, and settled down to raid the treat bucket.  I heard I, over the monitor,  starting to cough.  I ran upstairs (for some reason, coughing seems to lead to puking when the tummy bug is going around) and found little guy covered in throw up.  He was so upset.  I felt so bad for him, just sitting there in his mess. 

E and I cleaned that all up and put him back down, only to come back upstairs to find the same scenario 15 minutes later.  I decided then, to just hold him for a while.  When I was ready to go to bed, I put him down.  I was expecting to have him wake up a lot, but he didn't.  So, at 5, I went ahead and nursed him.  Big. Mistake.  DURING the nursing session, he threw up again. 

So, he's recovering today.  I'm recovering today, from having a very icky weekend, full of lots of laundry.  But, I'm also feeling a tiny bit grateful for a few things. 

1. Mainly for a husband that is quick to help and has a strong stomach for icky smells.
2. For a husband who was home (since E travels pretty frequently.) 
3. That I's tummy only had milk in it when he vomited all over me. 
4. That I has been sleeping through the night, thus giving me a tiny bit more rest to deal with other night wakings from other children.
5.that we have no other children in our house right now to catch this tummy bug.  (we're the only one's left.)

So, there you have it.  A bit of the nitty-gritty, a bit of the unicorns.  My indecision at its best.