Saturday, February 28, 2015

Open gym, Chick-fil-a, and taking naps in the garage

In between having a new baby, celebrating the holidays, and adjusting to going back to work, my blogging has become scarce and it's become less and less about "everyday" stuff and more about major events or milestones. While I love having those memories documented here, my hope is that I can get back into the swing of things and get more day to day things here in this space!

Yesterday, my MOPS group set up to have a playdate at a gymnastics open gym. Belle has been asking to go back to gymnastics for awhile and so I knew this would be perfect. She was so excited! I mean, what could be more fun than simply laying on the mat by the balance beam knowing your mom paid money for you to use all the fancy equipment?!?

Eventually (after being nagged by her mother), she did get up and play with some friends! These moments don't photograph as well because when you're having this much fun, stopping for a photo just isn't going to happen!  

Okay, I got one. Check out that smile! :)

I sat with Caroline on the edge of the trampoline and she enjoyed bouncing. 

After gymnastics, our friends were going to meet up at Chick-fil-A. I had planned for us to go home, but Belle was so excited and was practically begging me to go. And for her, that's not always the case. Belle's personality is much more introverted than mine or Jackson's. She is often content to play by herself and even when she is around friends, she doesn't always care if she is interacting with them. And so seeing her connecting so well with her little girlfriends, I really wanted to encourage that! So we went. And I enjoyed visiting with my friends as much as she enjoyed sitting at the "little" girls table. 

So we head home. Caroline had fallen asleep at Chick-fil-A and Belle had fallen asleep almost as soon as we hit the road (right after a you-always-never-let-me-have-ice-cream melt down). Caroline has been in a week long nap and going to sleep rut. She is sleeping through the night some nights, but has avoided naps at all cost and has therefore been a cranky baby most of any given day. What's a mom to do? Well, we stayed in the van in the garage for 95 minutes. Had I known that naps would have been so long (Caroline went over an hour past her typical feeding time) I would have kept the van running to keep warm. But- I was so careful to not make a sound that I didn't even unbuckle my seatbelt that I just thought starting the van again would be too much noise. Eventually, it was pretty chilly. My van said it was 17°. The girls were bundled up more than I was, so I just stuck it out.  It was the first time all week that I went any 30 minute period with no one crying at me-- and I got it for 95 minutes.  I'm glad I did! I love my girls to pieces, but I love it even more when everyone is their typical, happy, fun self!

Unfortunately, Caroline's good mood didn't last too long. She started screaming bloody murder as I was finishing up grocery shopping. And since I was at Aldi, I had to pack my own groceries which felt like it took forever! The cashier came over to talk to Caroline to see if that'd calm her down. It didn't work. And some a lady we know from church stepped out of line to have a go at it too. Both were unsuccessful, but it was sure sweet of them to try to help out!

What is it they say? "Though the days are long, the years are short!" Oh, I get that. I mean, my first baby is six and I'm not even sure how we got here so fast. But really, some days (and weeks) are just reeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllly looong.

And then Belle randomly comes up to you at dinner to give you a hug, even though you are mid-cut of the baked potato and she wants you to squeeze harder. Or as I chuckle as Jackson's excitement as I pick him up from school hearing him say,"Yes! I can sleep in tomorrow!" when I know full well that he will be up as early as ever. Or hearing Caroline babble the words "dada" and stick her ENTIRE FIST in her mouth. Those moments, they make me smile and they make the long days and the garage naps worth it.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 months: Caroline

My dear Sweet Caroline, 

Yesterday you turned 5 months old.  I would never, ever wish any of your babyness to go away, but 4 months was a hard one for us and so we're welcoming month 5 with open arms! Over this past weekend, I really noticed how you have become more of an individual little person.We've hit the stage where your cute little arms have a radius of about 12 feet. You want to grab everything and everything you grab goes straight to your mouth, which is getting more and more on point these days! You still love your hands in your mouth, you've found your toes, and you roll over-- both front to back and back to front this month!

Up until recently, you were like cute, little, easy-going accessory that adjusted so smoothly to our crazy family! Now, we are seeing a fun personality and definite preferences emerge. It's fun to watch you grow, but it's been a bit of an adjustment for us to cater to your needs now. Don't worry-- you're still my cute accessory! 

I did hear a little rumor this month-- that sometimes when I've been at work in the evenings, you've given Daddy a hard time. The story goes like this: You were crying endlessly, Daddy called Grandma. She came over and you'd stop crying as long as she would hold you, but would cry again if you Daddy would hold you. I didn't witness it so it's all just hearsay. Would something as cute as you cause such a ruckus? 

Sleep this past month, well, mostly it was terrible. Like, up 6-7 times a night terrible. I blame the flu and ruining our schedule and you just taking time to recover. It was clear you were uncomfortable- we just didn't know what to do or how to make it better. But, things are improving and you have slept through the night a few times! I may have even sent out a few all cap texts to your grandmas after I slept for 8 hours for the first time in months. Mama needed it! You're still taking 4-5 naps a day. Somedays, I feel like the only time you're ever awake is to fuss that you want to be back asleep! But, you've always clocked in more hours of sleep than my other babies. This past month you've started to resist naps when there is too much going on around you (which is pretty much always) and that has had things difficult! Like I said, we are all trying to adjust! You are still swaddled for every nap and at night. You even like to squeezed a little bit even when you're swaddled. Our swaddle blankets are size 3-6 months. I'm not sure what we'll do if you outgrow them! Probably just send you to Grandma's. :) 

We started feeding you cereal from time to time this month. I thought about waiting a little longer, but remember how I said that sleep was terrible this month? Well, mommy and daddy were on board to do ANYTHING to help you sleep. I'm not sure it helped at all, but it was a fun milestone. Big brother and sister were so excited. You weren't impressed with your first taste, but the next night I added some cinnamon and you were much more receptive! You nurse or take a bottle 5 times a day, right at every 3 hours. 

As for your brother and sister-- you adore them. If you ever get fussy, I will often ask one of them to come talk to you and you'll settle down for a few more minutes until I come to you. Jackson gives you kisses every day as he exits the van when I drop him off at school. Isabelle "shares" lots of her toys with you. You aren't all that interested yet, but you like to watch her as she plays next to you. As I was taking your 5 month pictures, Jackson was behind me and you know what he got you to do? Giggle! I can get giggles when we tickle and play, but Jackson got them out of you by talking and making faces. You two have a very special relationship. 

Oh, Caroline. I just love your sweet cheeks and your chunky little thighs! The smiles and giggles you give me when I kiss on your neck make me smile ear to ear. I love hearing your tell me all the stories as you coo and babble at me. And it's so fun to watch you exercise those legs when you jump in the jumparoo. You're Mommy little sweetheart and I love you to pieces.

Your big sister just turned 4 last week, but I know you're just going to stay my baby forever, right?


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Belle's 4th Birthday

Isabelle's 4th birthday was this week. I told her that she simply wasn't allowed to turn any older and that she had to be my baby forever. Then, she said that God made her to grow up. How can I argue with that logic? 

She woke up on her birthday to some streamers hanging from her door. From our bedroom we hear her giggle with delight and then run up and down the halls-- "I growed up! I turned 4!" on repeat. Her birthday fell on a day when I was working in the evening, so we celebrated at breakfast. 

She opened up her gifts. It looks like a ton of gifts, but the big one is just a new car seat for Derek's car. Here she opened a box of stamps and she looked so excited and then said, "well, I wish it was stickers..." Ha! She has actually played quite a bit with the stamps in the past few days. 

Jackson picked out some Frozen hair clips for her and we got her the Elsa and Anna barbies (for her birthday party cake). I was so happy to find this Toothless dragon on clearance at Target a few weeks ago. It's definitely her favorite birthday gift and it hasn't left her side. 

Isabelle requested hamburgers and french fries for her birthday dinner. She also wanted pink frosting and pink sprinkles on her birthday cupcakes (which is humorous because just a few days prior she had a meltdown of all meltdowns because she "didn't like pink" only liked blue). 

I left work a bit early to come home to celebrate Belle's birthday with Derek's side of the family. I somehow managed to take ZERO pictures with family, but they were all here. Lot's of Frozen gifts. She was thrilled. 

Today, Belle had a few girlfriends over for a party. Elsa made her presence known all throughout the midwest this weekend and so we had some friends from out of town who were unable to make it. It was a small, but mighty crowd. These gals are fun friends from church and I love hanging out with their mamas, too! 

The girls played with sparkly playdough

and put together Frozen puzzles.

You can't forget Frozen tattoos. We watched some of the music videos from the special features on the DVD and we listened to Frozen soundtrack a time or two. 

I had let Belle look on Pinterest with me to pick out a cake. She had picked out some  massive castle cakes, but I talked her "down" to a dress cake. Even then, she had some high expectations. My friend HanNah is magical and she crafted this cake, which was clearly the most awesome thing at her party. Isabelle was THRILLED.

Belle is loving being 4! 

Belle and I play this little game. She'll ask if she has permission to grow up and after I protest for a moment or two, I'll grant her permission... but only if she promises to continue to give me hugs and kisses as she keeps growing! She has told me that she'll still be my baby even though her body gets bigger. 

We sure had fun celebrating this gal! 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day: A family affair

I love Valentine's Day so much and we had fun celebrating the love holiday this weekend. My favorite part about the holiday is that we look for intentional ways to let each other know we love them. How can that not be awesome? 

I took pictures of the kiddos last weekend when it was super nice so we could send valentines to some friends and family. 

This outtake that is so stinkin' cute that now it's the official "all three kids" picture of the holiday. 

In the days leading up to the day of love we sent a few valentines, I spent a ridiculous amount of time making a special valentine for my brother, and I helped Jackson make his box for school, which earned me this compliment, "Mom! That's GENIUS!" (in regards to the unseen zigzag scrunched up tail.)

Friday night, Derek and I went out to dinner. It was less of a Valentine's Day date and more of a Hey-let's-finally-talk-to-each-other-face-to-face-because-it's-been-48-hours-since-I've-talked-to-you-in-person kind of date. I wore a baseball cap if that indicates how fancy we were (or weren't). But, spending time together was needed and great. Our gifts to each other sound waaaaaay lame, but each was something that we each wanted/needed, but was so far down on the priority list that they kind were kind of forgotten. I picked out a new skinny lanyard for his keychain and he bought me a new battery the garage door opener. As silly and un-romantic it may be, every time I have used my garage door opener this week I have thought to myself, "I'm so glad Derek loves me and went out of his way to get this fixed for me!"

Valentine's Day day was a fun day. It started out at 7am, which is exciting because that means that Caroline slept through the night. ALL NIGHT! I nursed her and then Derek got up with the kids while I slept a bit longer. He cleaned and then made pancakes from scratch for breakfast. Talk about a great start to the day! My sister, Laura, had spent the night and she woke up just in time to join us for lunch. We had a fun time laughing at how I ever managed to have a boy marry me. :)

We had told the kids early in the week that they were each having dates this weekend. Jackson kept counting down to his date with me and he even said he told his friends at school! I hope he's always this excited about dates with his Mama! Derek coached him on how to take a girl on a date. Jackson opened my doors, paid for our drinks, and said multiple times, "Here you are, my lady!" We went to Starbucks. He got a hot chocolate and I got a yummy chocolate-chip (non coffee) drink. We played slap jack and told knock-knock jokes.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Lettuce who?
Lettuce in! It's cold out here!!!! 

Isabelle went to Cherry Berry with Derek and they filled up on frozen yogurt and lots of toppings. We enjoyed our valentine tradition and had pizza for dinner. Jackson and I had picked up pizzas to bake at home earlier in the day. We let Caroline enjoy some pizza too! :) 

I had some extra passes to Legoland that expired that day so after pizza, I took the big kids. It was pretty empty, which was fun. We got to ride the rides a couple of times in a row and the kids got more Lego time. 

Even Lego cowgirls need hugs on Valentine's Day! 

I love my hubby, I love my family! I try to make an effort to let them all know every single day of the year. The other night at dinner, one of the discussion questions the kids picked from the box was "How do you know that your family loves you?". Jackson said, "Because you tell me every day!!" Isabelle said, "because you give me hundred kisses." My mama heart is so full and I am so glad that my kids know they love them! 


Monday, February 9, 2015

Tag-Team parenting

The past few weeks have pretty much been one giant tag-team effort between Derek and I. The computer network at Derek's work had a big snafu last weekend and he had to work all weekend. I have started working more frequently-- three evenings a week. And then this last weekend was Derek's army weekend.

We've been having family fun when we overlap time at home, but once we are each on our own-- it's pretty much survival mode! Thanks to a dry erase board, we're on our way to mastering the art of home management when we're constantly passing the baton.

I don't even have a ton of pictures on my phone to share, but here are a few of our cute kiddos.

My little kitchen helper. 

Lunch-- ice cube tray style. Her request!

Jackson went to Fan Fest with my dad-- and he won an autographed ball! He came home and said, "he scribbled his name!" Ha! :)

As our lives get busier and busier, I have found myself making sure I am putting in quality effort in our home and together time. Somethings have had to take the backseat, including some of my volunteering activities and play dates. We're finding a good balance and adjusting to our new normal! 



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