Saturday, December 25, 2010

Apparently this August post never got published

Clearly, blogging has not made my list of priorities in the last few months! So, I'll try to summarize a few things that I want to remember for posterity.

The last few months of my pregnancy were fairly uneventful. Although I was tired and uncomfortable, it was the best part of the pregnancy. I attempted to mindfully enjoy being pregnant, knowing it was the last time I would experience the wonder of a new life growing inside me. Of course, that was challenging, as our baseball season was all-consuming with the boys on different teams, Fillip being Assistant Coach on one team and Manager on the other, and me holding a board position as T-Ball Division Coordinator. All this in addition to both holding down jobs and each getting a business up and running while keeping the kids up to date with school commitments!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Update at Long Last

Turns out, it isn't so easy for me to blog with three kids and a new business. I had imagined myself being this Domestic Superwoman if I could be home, but there is much room for improvement! Being that my last post was when I was 7 months pregnant, I'm going to try to just hit some highlights since then. I'm forgetting and/or leaving out a million details, but it's better than nothing. It is rather Sutton-centric, but that is how I've tracked our last few months. Don't worry - the bigger boys are faring just fine!

May 19th- After 3 nights of prodromal labor, holding onto the fence at Hayden's baseball game while laboring, laboring at dinner, then all night and morning at the hospital - Sutton Joshua entered our lives! He is a perfect, healthy beautiful baby boy. From the start, Sutton has been an easygoing, natural addition to our family. His big brothers absolutely adore him. When they came to visit in the hospital a few hours after his birth, they both climbed on the bed with me and asked to hold him. Logan carefully took him, held him for about two minutes, then handed him back. Hayden snuggled him for quite awhile, quietly kissing his face and rubbing his own cheek on Sutton's soft downy hair. I will cherish that memory always.
Sutton 2 months old - By two months, Sutton had started sleeping the night. There was no sign of colic, which was a huge relief! He is oh so patient, wakes up cheerful and smiling to see everyone. He is sleeping in our bed much more often than agreed upon, but given it is my last baby and I'm the one tending him 24/7, I've rocked the boat a bit and love it. Otherwise, he sleeps in the bassinet next to our bed. For some reason at this age he reject Fillip completely for a couple weeks. Without rhyme or reason he would cry whenever Fillip came near. With an equal lack of rationality, Fillip then became his favorite person. He loves to sit in his Bumbo seat and watch everything that is going on. During meals, we put it on the table, and he distracts his brothers by flirting with them one by one. A friend's 3 year old daughter gave him a little "Silky Bear" lovey, and he took to it right away.

Watching his brothers play in the pool

Sutton 3 months old - At this point, we get lots and lots of smiles and giggles, but mostly only for his brothers. He babbles a bit with a "ollie ollie ollie" sound, among others. We hit the road on a 3300 mile roadtrip to Anacortes, WA. Along the way we tour the Pacific Northwest and the kids are full of questions about volcanoes and islands. Although there was much travel weariness, it was a great trip with wonderful sightseeing. Most of all, we got to visit with many people we love. The boys handled it very well, although it was madness every single time we checked into a hotel. Sutton stopped sleeping the night since he had to spend so much time sleeping while driving during the day. I'll try to journal our trip best as possible at some point. On our trip, we celebrated Logan's 5th birthday by going to the Portland Zoo and Oregon State Fair. He chose to forgoe a party to celebrate with our Davis, CA friends.

Fort Bragg, CA

Sausalito, CA (I think)

Portland Zoo on Logan's 5th Birthday
September 3, 2010
Oregon State Fair on Logan's 5th Birthday
September 3, 2010

Sutton 4 months old - Rolling is the best mode of movement now. He loves to play with toys and grabs for them. He now throws himself out of the Bumbo seat so that has been put away. Sleeping is better, but not consistent. He now sleeps in his crib in his room, which is bittersweet for me. After a very uncharacteristic 30 minute crying spell, a trip to the doctor resulted in a reflux diagnosis. He feels much better now that he has medicine. He is growing by leaps and bounds, and continues to be our largest kids by far at each milestone. He is still adored by his older brothers. Logan has started kindergarten and Hayden is now in 1st grade. They love their teachers and going to school, making lots of new friends and seeing old ones as well. Logan is struggling with some resentment regarding Sutton, but is dealing with it. He remains loving to the baby, while lashing out verbally at us. Fortunately, is able to express what is bothering him and we spend time talking about it. Hayden mildly experiences this, but doesn't seem to struggle with it as much. Baseball is back in full swing and the boys have each moved up a division. They are doing great, and we are so proud of them. Silky Bear was briefly lost, and a replacement purchased. The replacement was rejected, and we got to see how attached he had been. Fortunately, Silky Bear was found.

Sutton 5 months old - Crawling is now the best mode of getting around. It is a funny inchworm type of motion, but gets him where he wants to be. Food us a new addition and he loves to eat! He remains such a sweet, chipper kid. One of his favorite noises is a growling sound that he seems to direct at people with a twinkle in his eye. Because he has started eating, he now sits in the high chair. We see lots of waving, but it doesn't seem very voluntary, unless it is just expressing excitement. He continues to be so patient within our busy lifestyle. We make the decision that I will not be returning to my job after maternity leave, and am ramping up my Mary Kay business. It is such a joy to get to pick up my kids from school, know the other families and be involved with their classes. There is a great deal of stress for me to find balance to care for our family, keep the house clean and stocked and build my business. I'm not a wild success, but am doing my darndest to get there. Halloween was lots of fun with Hayden as Darth Vader, Logan as a Power Ranger, and Sutton as a Happy California Cow. I didn't get a good pic of the older two in costume, unfortunately.

Sutton 6 months old - It's so fun to stand up in the crib! Our silly guy now stands up on everything, and is so proud of himself. I am now mindful to lock the glider rocker chair, and lift up the footstool to avoid smushed fingers and excessive toppling over. When he does fall down, whether he hurts himself or not, he lies prone on his back waiting for someone to pick him up. It's like he plays oppossum with his eyes open, and it cracks us up. He eats a variety of foods, and hasn't tried one yet that he doesn't like. He loves "baby puffs" and is very loud and demanding, squeezing his little fists open and closed when he sees them or wants more of those or any food. The high chair is no longer an option, as he Houdinis right out of the straps and stands up. Our booster seat is much more secure for him. He is now going through separation anxiety with me and a bit with Fillip. However, he regroups quickly once distracted. He continues to growl on cue, but the babbling disappeared several weeks ago. Silky Bear is lost, likely for good.

Sutton 7 months old - He is starting to clap his hands together involuntarily, although there was one day he was doing it on purpose as we cheered him on. He makes a clicking sound with his tongue and raspberry noises. The separation anxiety continues, but it seems a bit better. He is so engaging and seeks out his brothers as much as possible. He is so happy to just play in their room near them, or stand at the couch while they watch tv. He knows his way around the house and crawls all over. Silky Bear II seems to be more accepted these days, especially when he is particularly tired.

Our family truly feels complete with Sutton's arrival. Although each busy day is challenging, it seems like our household has never been happier. I can't express how blessed I feel to have my husband, and three perfect boys.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Hayden!

What can I say about my sweet Hayden?

He is still such a combination of young and mature. He has a well developed sense of adolescent indignation, yet retains so much of his small child demeanor. His emotions are strong, yet often he keeps his deeper thoughts to himself. He loves school, and is definitely enjoying kindergarten. An academic environment is exactly what he thrives in, while still striving to overcome some of his challenges when he gets frustrated on the playground. Each night when we ask how his day was, he will give us a detailed description of whatever extra activity was scheduled that day- P.E., Art, Music, etc... He has inherited my love of reading, and devours books. He loves being in the school library, and the librarian knows him well. His reading level is around 3rd grade, and although I don't know how they would classify his math skills, it is definitely well beyond kindergarten. He gets extra homework in the evenings that is more challenging than what was covered in class. He easily identifies numerical patterns, and arithmetic simply comes naturally to him. In his class, he enjoys challenging work, but loses focus when the lessons are easy for him. However, his teacher mentioned that when he is given the responsibility to help another student, he does great. He takes a lot of pride in learning and seems to be coming around to the fact that as smart as he is, there is so much more to know. On the playground, he enjoys playing with his friends and his social and emotional development seem to be right at kindergarten level.

Outside of school, he loves being involved in baseball or going for bike rides. He is always full of energy, yet is content to lie on his bed reading a book, or snuggling up to Logan to read them both a story. Despite his tendency to be reserved with his emotions, he is quite affectionate. Together, it is common to see the boys holding hands, or put their arms around one another. Of course, sometimes that physical closeness erupts into wrestling, pushing, hitting, etc... but mostly they just love being together. Hayden often tries to teach Logan things, whether Logan is interested in learning them or not. We hear Hayden using his "teacher voice" to get Logan to spell something or repeat things. Usually Logan is pretty good-natured about it, but certainly feels comfortable speaking up in protest when he doesn't feel like playing along. When I see Hayden interact with his peers, he is clearly such a big kid now. There is a maturity in him that stands out in contrast to past months, reminding me how independent he is. He seems to have toughened up a bit, no longer getting as upset by minor bumps and bruises, able to play harder with his friends. On our recent trip to Lake Tahoe, I was thrilled to see him fearlessly go down a giant inner tube track by himself, without hesitation, grinning and laughing all the way down. He was impatient with my need to take a picture as he hiked back up, since he was so eager to ride again. He has developed a much stronger sense of adventure, where before his sense of daring was shadowed by his cautious nature. Yet, he is certainly not a reckless kid.

Each night we have pre-bedtime stories. These days, it is usually Hayden reading to us. He seems to take great pride in this, enjoying picking out the story, or graciously asking Logan what he wants to hear. Hayden loves to snuggle at night, and have a little chat at bedtime. Although I know this is partially stalling off sleep, it also seems to be the time of day when his thoughts are flowing, and he feels most comfortable sharing what is on his mind. He will review the day or simply tell me I am the best mommy in the world. He truly has a sweet nature and loves his family.

His birthday celebration was quite modest this year, as our time and energy seem to be at a premium. We kept it very small this year, and out of the house. When we told him he could invite just 5 friends, he enthusiastically gave us a list of 5, without complaining that he wanted more. He has always been so appreciative of the small and big things, without any grand expectations for birthdays. Getting him to answer the question "What would you like for your birthday" is nearly impossible, and he just doesn't seem to think about the potential for gifts. Yesterday we invited just a few of his friends to Farrell's for lunch and time to play on bumper boats and mini-golf. It was so fun to see him playing and interacting with his classmates. They all piled into the booth like puppies, despite the restaurant reserving a long booth with lots of space for us. He was so excited to get to play some arcade games and see all that was in store for him. As each guest arrived, he was ecstatic to see them, and include them in what he was doing. The player piano was a big hit, with all the kids in a bunch at the piano rather than at the table. Pizza brought them back in, and icecream brought them back again. When the staff sounded the birthday siren and brought out the big drum to sing to him, he was clearly at a loss. He stood there politely as they sang, but looked very overwhelmed. This is quite typical of him when we celebrate in a restaurant of any kind. He must have taken on my discomfort of public celebration. (Frankly, he did better than the next kid, who couldn't bear to even turn around to look at the group of people singing to him! ) Hayden more enjoyed when we sang the regular Happy Birthday song to him, and didn't even get upset when one of the younger siblings mistakenly starting blowing out his candles. He just kind of gave her an indulgent look, then blew out the rest. Later, when they went on the bumper boats, I was laughing to see him object so strongly to being squirted, yet opening fire with his squirt gun on everyone he could. He was absolutely soaked when he got off the ride, yet chose to get right back on with the other kids. His girlfriend from school was there, and the two of them played mini-golf together. They have such a fun dynamic, laughing and sparring all at once, without ever seeming in any way contentious. There was no sense of competition to win the game, although they each fiercely defended their alternating turn to go first. When he opened her handmade birthday card and gift later last night, he went and hung to card up on his bulletin board in his room.

This morning I greeted my sleepy birthday boy before I left for work. Although he was happy to be reminded that he is now six, he seemed much more interested in some hugs and snuggles. I will bring cupcakes to school for him, then we are having some family over for dinner tonight. It seems amazing that six years have passed in this journey of parenthood. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a sweet, complicated boy. He is such a joy to to have around. Today I wish him a fantastic 6th birthday, and for each tomorrow thereafter, I hope he always knows how to find his happiness in the world.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life kicks mundanity's butt

Mundane, my ass. Since that last post, this pregnancy has become "complicated," we have become petless (Conan disappeared, and Voodoo passed away), gone from me lying down 24/7 to gearing back up to having time for about 5 hours of sleep of day, cancelled a trip, taken a trip and jumped head first back into a schedule that is just ridiculous.

The last post sounds oh so peaceful about a routine pregnancy, with just the morning sickness extended, but finally waning. Exercise on the horizon! Hah! I must have jinxed myself. The very next week I landed my ass on the couch on strict bedrest, with strong contractions 5-8 minutes apart round the clock. It was 4 weeks of concern, frustration, and not enough reading material. This encompassed the holiday season, and the any energy reserves Fillip might have once had. He and the boys were great, doing their very best to keep some order and sanity while we wondered if we would in fact get to keep this baby, or if we were in for another loss.

From 17-21 weeks I obediently remained lying down as much as possible, becoming proficient at cleaning the kitchen in 5 minutes bursts on my way to or from the bathroom or obtaining a snack. We played lots of board games on the coffee table, and somehow learned to watch movies all piled on the couch with me lying down under 1-3 male bodies also relaxing on the couch. While I enjoyed getting a guilt-free nap each morning as my guys left for the day, I did not enjoy my inability to participate in bike rides, etc... At the end of this saga, when the contractions seemed to be waning, the docs determined that the contractions were not productive, and sent me packing back to work.

So here I am at 27 weeks, tempting fate by resuming my busier than possible schedule, with little ill results other than complete exhaustion. It took until about a week ago to finally enjoy this pregnancy. I finally feel mostly fine (well, except for the annoying upper respiratory infection, and my body overriding the allergy meds), contractions are strong but sporadic, and my checkups are routine. Phew. Of course, this time around my body seems to have its own idea of how big I should be. Literally, one of my closest family members who hadn't seen me in 2 weeks did a double take and exclaimed in shock when she saw me. No, my size and that reaction don't even bother me. You know what does? Strangers frequently give me sympathetic looks and try to reassure me that I am "almost done" and "it won't be long now." Really? Because, with three more months to go, I feel like I am not almost done, nor should I be.

I may barely be able to walk myself around the block before experiencing crippling round ligament pain, but I am finally enjoying the process. In comparison to my previous pregnancies, I may look about 8 months pregnant, but I love feeling this little boy move inside me, and last night could have sworn I held a little hand through the thin stretched wall of my belly. I remember this feeling of needing to cherish every moment, as the unique and precious time of growing another person will end before I know it. This time I am savoring each sensation, knowing that I will never experience this again. Yeah, you read that right - never. I. Am. So. Done.

I officially quit my gym membership, as I am clearly unable to do much physically. I am under medical orders to lie down for a portion of my workday, and find myself trying to catch my breath just sitting here. Free time is a thing of the past between the 11 hour workday (working hours + commute time), attempting to build my Mary Kay business, and the endless demands brought on by being on the baseball league board requiring 2-3 hours of responding to parents every day. (Seriously people- it's just t-ball. We aren't throwing these kids to the lions.) Oh, and my kids and husband. Housework? If you come to visit, you will see that has clearly not made the list.

What has made my list is a new perspective of priorities, an ability to go lie down and rest when the kids do, to not have an anxiety attack that the dishes aren't done, to schedule a 6 year old's birthday party out of the house, and to make sure I am taking care of myself. I don't feel guilty eating anything I want, or accepting an offer of help to load my groceries into the car when I shop. My pride has been well stowed away and I am not shy about requesting help up from the floor from whomever is nearby. I will even sit there for a few minutes until someone happens along. Watching my son giggle feeling his baby brother move in my belly, and feeling such amazing love when my younger son tells me firmly that I should not be lifting things or bending down,(then struggles for several minutes to load a case of sodas onto the shopping cart) makes me feel good. The fact that I gained 11 pounds in just 4 weeks makes me laugh, and my fetish for chunky applesauce with cinnamon continues unabated.

Life is good in so many ways, but certainly does not feel mundane.