New Baby

A Difficult Baby

One thing this baby has taught me is that 4th children aren’t necessarily going to be go-with-the-flow babies. How dare M have a will of her own, right? Doesn’t she know she has three older siblings who demand Mama’s time? She can’t take her own chunk of my time as well! These were my thoughts before she was born and then…..M came into our lives and turned my expectation on its head. She has been a difficult baby from the get-go. Although it took two months for her to get sick, she has constantly struggled with problems in her system–from an intense diaper rash/almost thrush, to not a good sleeper, and now a 3-month-long sickness and major food allergies.

 

It got to the point last week where she wouldn’t even feed for more than a couple minutes without pulling away. I knew if she kept at this, I would lose my supply and she would lose a lot of weight. And seeing as she won’t take a bottle, formula isn’t an option. I was left with the only option I could think of: Whole30.

 

I did Whole30 last year, a month before I got pregnant, and really loved it after I got over the initial 2 week withdrawal symptoms. However, the first 2 weeks weren’t fun. And 4 months postpartum, I haven’t wanted to deal with changing my diet drastically. I was worried about supply issues (I still am), and it’s so much work! For this sleep-deprived and busy Mama, I just didn’t want to deal with it. But alas, babies go by their own schedules and wants, and I knew I needed to try Whole30 in order to see what she was allergic to.

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My arms are full, so it’s sometimes hard to juggle a child who needs a little extra attention. But she’s worth it!

 

If you aren’t familiar with Whole30, it’s a whole food diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, and meat. Basically, I cut out all grains, all dairy, all sugar, all alcohol, but NOT all caffeine. Yay for black coffee! So I’m eating about every 2-3 hours a day to get me over this food craving hump, as well as to eat enough calories to keep my milk supply up. And, let’s face it–when I’m used to eating carbs and sugar and then WHAM cut them out, I’m going through some withdrawal. I find I’m getting angrier easier and I’m more tired. However, I know from experience it will get better and I need to push through these next couple weeks.

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I mean, a chocolate fountain? How do I resist that?!

 

It doesn’t help that we’ve had various events over at our house this week that have involved delicious food and desserts, all of which I need to glance over and try to ignore. Ugh. But what makes this all worth it is the fact that on the very first day of doing Whole30, M completely changed. She’s not as gassy, she doesn’t pull away when she’s eating anymore, she’s definitely eating a lot more than she has recently, and her mucous sounds less severe. I also think she’s struggling with reflux, which is where she’s getting some of her cough, wheezing, and congestion. But hopefully my diet will lessen the mucous and her other symptoms will go away as she gets older and grows out of the reflux. In the meantime, I’m eating super clean, which, I mean, isn’t a bad thing. It’s just sad that it’s happening 4 months postpartum, but it needed to happen at some stage and if it’s helping M have a happier, sleep-filled, tummy-trouble-free life, than I am all for it.

 

I’m hoping to see a lot more of these smiles now that her tummy hurts less!

Church, Family, Medical, New Baby, Sickness

Autumn is Ending, Winter is Arriving

I’ve sat down to write a post so many times over the last few weeks, but I just couldn’t bring myself to open this page up. It could be too many things to write about, and when I feel overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. Or it could be that there’s always something else to be doing. Either way, a post is long overdue, so I thought I should bite the bullet (is that phrase still pertinent in Australia where bullets aren’t as prevalent?) and type a post up.

 

The biggest thing that has happened since last writing has been Mom and Dad T’s visit. They were here for 2 weeks and we had a busy but fun time with them. The kids still miss them and ask about them. We love when family visit us because we get to spend such concentrated time with them, but that makes it all the more difficult when they leave to go home–the hole of their absence is felt strongly, especially by the kids.

 

I can’t even list the things we did and saw with Mom and Dad, but I really think they have a good idea of where we live, the sights and sounds of the Illawarra region, as well as a taste of Sydney. The weather was absolutely perfect, such a change from when my parents were here. It was high 60’s, low 70’s every day, and almost every day had bright, sunny skies. We went to the beach a few times, went up the Escarpment to the cute towns, went over to the local hills for some scenic overviews, and, like I mentioned, Sydney. The Sydney trip was the most fun, exhausting trip John and I have taken yet. As much as we love traveling (and we’ve done a lot of it), this was the first trip we did with 4 kids, one being a 3-month-old, and it was something we probably won’t be doing for a long time. Although the kids did really well, just the sheer number of them and their young ages made for a tiring time for John and me. We were thankful for extra helping hands, and we were sad that Dad and Mom experienced many Sydney sights with a crying baby or cranky toddler, but it also gave them a taste of life for us here–never a dull moment, and never a quiet minute. I think they probably enjoyed the silence of their home when they opened the door in Dallas. 🙂

 

Since they left a couple weeks ago, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and starting up our new normal. Now that M is almost 4 months, we’re starting to get a feel for what life is like with 4 kids and let me tell you, it’s harder than I thought it would be. For all three of our other kids, the transition wasn’t horrible. I did ok with adding a new child. This one though–wow. Threw me for a loop! She has been our hardest transition, but I think it also has to do with the fact that we’ve all been sick, nonstop, for about 6 months. Granted, that comes with the territory (4 kids, 5 and under, 1 in preschool), but it’s also been difficult to deal with a sick newborn/infant for the past month and a half. She STILL has a cough/congestion that’s been going on for forever, but today I just told John she seems to be coughing less. At first I thought her lingering cough was just because she’s a baby and sicknesses will affect her differently, but I think it’s also because this specific coughing bug itself is one that lasts for more than a month, even in adults. John had a cough that lasted more than a month, E had that same cough, and then they gave it to me, and apparently M. So I just finished up my coughing last week, and I’m hopeful she’s on the end of it, but I’m sure she’ll catch something else from her ever-sick siblings. Oh, the childhood years.

 

Other than that, we’re also getting into the swing of things at church. It. Is. Difficult. We have a creche at our church but only for the sermon, so all 4 kids are in with me until the Bible reading. At this stage with a baby who will NOT sleep or sit in her car seat without crying, I’m consistently having to carry her in the Ergo which doesn’t allow for a lot of freedom to take care of my other 3, especially Mo. Thankfully we have a very kind church family who are willing to step in when asked. Mo has spent many services sitting with our friends the Hodges because she’s comfortable with them and it frees me up to deal with my other three. We also always sit by their Australian grandma, Agnes, who watches E and J when I have to get up and deal with M. It’s a lovely way to help me out and include the church family in the raising of covenant children–at least that’s what I tell myself when I feel guilty for having other people watch my kids.

 

John and I are getting more and more involved in the life of the church and community as the months go on, especially now that I’m not pregnant and now that our kids are getting more involved in various groups in the area. E is in a ballet class nearby and I’ve been able to reach out to a couple of the women who have daughters in her class. One of the girls also goes to E’s preschool, so please pray that both E and I will have a witness and boldness to tell both the girls and their moms about our church (although E doesn’t lack boldness–she regularly tells us of those she’s talked to Jesus about, which is great!). We’ll helpfully be having a Christmas in July dinner at our church that will allow for us to invite people to a church event without the pressure of a church service, but I still need the boldness to invite them.

 

I’ve also been really convicted lately of how I lack boldness with those around me. I’m amazed at how Christianity isn’t a part of the conversation here. The weird thing is that Anglicanism is a pretty big thing, as well as Hillsong, so it’s not like there aren’t Christians in the area. The Anglican church where E attends preschool has a service attendance of more than 600 people, and they’re mostly all local, so I know that there are Christians around me. However, I almost never hear anything about Christ or Christianity when talking to people. That’s impacted into how I interact with people, I find. J is in a music class on Tues. mornings and this past Tues. they got to play the xylophone. One activity they were asked to do with their parent was try to play a familiar song, so I plunked out ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ I found myself feeling ashamed that I was playing it with the other kids/adults in the room. How sad is that! The amazing thing is that the teacher started singing at the end and said, “That’s Jesus Loves Me. I know that song.” So it’s not like she discouraged it. But it’s just something in me that recoils at any mention of Christianity. I can’t blame the Australian society though because in the end it comes down to not wanting to be ridiculed or have people think less of me. That makes no sense to me and I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true–I don’t want to turn people off. I worry if I say something wrong or say it the wrong way, they’ll hate me and the door will be shut. I realize it’s all about the Spirit and His awakening of the person’s heart, but my sinful heart puts it all on me, thus making me too nervous and closing my mouth.

 

Anyway, that’s a summary of our life here in the last month. Please pray that doors will be opened to present the Gospel to those who have been placed in our lives, and that we’ll have the boldness to invite them to church. Pray also that we’ll be given a respite from sickness, or at least that M will get healthy soon, poor baby.

New Baby

These Postpartum Weeks

Life is a blur, right? The minutes may seem to drag by when you’re in them, but when you look back over the years, they flew by. I was an au pair in Holland 12 years ago already. The girl I nannied for there is already 14. When I see pictures of her on Facebook, I can’t believe how old she is, which in turn makes me feel old because I was a college graduate when I went there. Ugh.

 

That rule applies to my kids as well. As each day passes, they seem to drag by, one after the other. Since my kids are little, we don’t do a ton of activities, and seeing as we have a new baby in the house, I’ve cut down on our commitments even more during these early months of her life. Looking back over these last (almost) 5 years of motherhood though, they have really flown by. I look at what John and I used to look like 5 years ago and it hits me–I’m getting old. Having young kids has aged me, that’s for sure, even if it also keeps me young because I somehow need to come up with energy to dance and sing and jump around with the littles.

 

One way that the baby years are a blur is in the memories of them as newborns. When I was preparing for M’s entrance into the world, I couldn’t wait for her to be born so I could be done being pregnant. I still don’t miss pregnancy, not a bit. I’m not a good pregnant person, so the sooner I could be done with pregnancy forever, the better. However, I love the newborn stage. My babies haven’t all been easy, but they’ve all been full term, I’ve been able to breastfeed them all right away without too many dramas (although J took a few days because of his shoulder dystocia–I still remember feeding him from an eye dropper because he wouldn’t latch properly). However, when I think back to my three newborns, I can’t really remember the sleepless nights, isn’t that crazy? I know they happened, but I really don’t remember them. I do remember having to put J down a couple times in the middle of the night and let him scream because I was pushed to the point of insanity and couldn’t take it anymore, but for some reason, that memory is so distant, I almost have to convince myself that it happened. In my mind, Mo was the perfect newborn–I would sleep well at night with her, wake up ready to take care of my other two toddlers, and not worry about the stress of having a newborn because she was stress-free.

 

As the days continue to go on with M in our lives, I’m slowly being reminded that my memories of our newborns are skewed. John tells me that J was a difficult baby–not colicky, but he definitely cried a lot. I totally don’t remember that, other than that he hated to be put down and he really only wanted to be held by me. I also have a vague memory of texting my friend Leah, who had a baby 3 months older than Mo, about our sleepless nights, wondering how long it would take for Mo to sleep and being jealous when her baby girl would sleep through the night. It’s these snippets of memories that remind me the newborn stage isn’t all puppies and flowers. I do still love the newborn stage, but there are downsides. What are they?

 

-the sleepless nights of only a couple hours of interrupted sleep, if that

-the crying–oh, the crying. Crying when being held, crying when putting down, crying when siblings try to “help,” etc.

-worrying about something or other about the baby: what is this rash? why is she coughing? should she be eating this amount? is she growing well enough? when should I vaccinate? how long has it been between feedings? is she sleeping enough during the day? are the kids being too loud and waking her up? will she smother herself with the blankets? why isn’t she taking a pacifier? will she ever enjoy the car seat? can I ever get a moment alone and be able to leave her for more than an hour at a time? will I get my life back?

-always thinking the siblings are going to hit her, throw her on the ground, drop her from the bed, step on her, bonk her on the head with a heavy toy, or just do some other random hurtful thing to her, purposeful or not.

-when the kids go to bed at 7, I still have another child up and wanting my attention for a few hours. My 7 am-7 pm with periodic evenings is now a 7 am to 7 am job with periodic hours of sleep.

-still having to function during the day, taking care of kids, doing church or school or after school activities, and be a “normal,” semi-conscious adult, even though I only got a few hours of sleep for the last almost 3 months.

 

I made a list like this when I was pregnant to remind myself when I got the urge to be pregnant again, thinking, “If I document the unpleasantness, I’ll remind myself that pregnancy isn’t all that great, even though the end result is amazing.” I used it as a deterrent to want to get pregnant again. And now, this list is hopefully a deterrent to wanting to have another newborn. However, even with all of these downsides, there are the upsides as well:

-the first time the baby smiles at me, I melt, and every time I look at her and she just giggles and “talks” to me, there’s no where else I’d rather be than looking into her baby eyes at that very moment.

-to know that you are her whole world, and with you she begins and ends her day, is powerful. You are all she knows, her security. When I left tonight to go to E’s school for a Mother’s Day event, I was gone for a little over an hour and a half. John said she cried the whole time, off and on, even though she was fed and didn’t need a nap. As soon as I came home and held her, boom. The crying stopped. THAT is what makes it worth it.

-she is looking to me to keep her alive and protect her, and she doesn’t even know it. She trusts me with everything and I have the power to be her happiness or her sadness, every minute of every day. If I can’t handle her crying and decide to just let her cry, she remains sad. If I pick her up and try to sooth her, she becomes happy. She can’t talk back, she can’t rebel, she just….is.

-that smell! And those small clothes!! And the ease of putting her in and out of a car seat!

-a new soul with whom to share Jesus with. When I can tell her about God and hear her siblings tell her about God, it just warms my heart. I was telling E today that they are so blessed to be placed in a family who loves the Lord and can tell her about Him. So many kids aren’t placed in Christian families, but they were blessed to have that–such a responsibility has been given to us! With this great blessing comes the responsibility to share this message with others, and M will be brought up with this blessing and responsibility as well.

-I have the ability to yet again die to self when I have a newborn. When kids get older, I see my need for sanctification in a very powerful way, but there’s nothing like having a newborn to bring out my sin. MY desire for a sleep-filled night. MY desire for a quiet house. MY desire for uninterrupted days and nights. Yet God has called me, especially as a mother, to die to these gods of comfort and put someone else’s needs ahead of my own. She won’t thank me, at least not for a few years, so my deeds are left without affirmation, but this is where God has me and I need to go to Him for strength when I have none. When I’m sitting in the chair crying because I’m so tired I can’t go on, or when I just don’t know what else to do for her when she’s coughing so much she vomits, I go to my Father who knows what it’s like to give of Himself. He gave His Son because of His love for an ungrateful sinner. He’s the ultimate love-giver…if only I could do for M a fraction of what He’s done for me.

Family, New Baby

Happy 1 Month Birthday!

M has had a great month…she’s gaining weight well and thriving. I’m learning she has a system like her brother and sister closest to her–I’ve had to cut out dairy from my diet to help her reflux. She also inherited her dad’s tongue tie, for which she got hers cut last week. Every day I have to stretch her tongue 4-6 times which is so hard to do, mainly because she screams bloody murder for the 5 min. it takes to do it. She also has very sensitive skin–she’s had a diaper rash almost from day one and had some yeast infection for a couple weeks. We’re finally on the way out of the yeast infection, but she still has a slight diaper rash, despite no-diaper time, warm water/cloth instead of wipes, baths every night, using only coconut oil to heal the skin, and giving her (and me) probiotics to get her gut health healthy. Hopefully she’ll eventually heal from all her sicknesses and ailments.

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She’s a good baby. She LOVES being held, which means when she is put down, she cries and cries and cries. I’ve learned she’ll eventually settle, but we have to put up with the crying for about 20 min. before she’ll either tire herself out and fall asleep, or she’ll tire herself out and just sit and stare. The kids are getting used to the crying, too. She enjoys the sound of the vacuum, so often when she starts to cry, J goes to the vacuum and turns it on. He’ll also plug his ears. E will go to her and try to calm her down by rocking her in the swing and singing to her. And Mo copes by rocking her for a little bit and then either walking away or crying. She’s the most sensitive one to M’s crying–in the car, when M cries and cries and cries, Mo is the one who will cry as well, making for a joyful car ride for the rest of us, while the older two kids put up with it quite well. It’s almost like they’ve been trained. 🙂

 

M is a very strong baby. She holds her head up well and has since almost day one, but in her anger and crying, she can pretty much crawl off her blankets when she’s put on her tummy on the ground. Because she has to go bare bottom for long stretches of time to heal her diaper rash, I don’t always have time to hold her, so I sometimes put her on the ground on a towel. She doesn’t like that, so she’ll scream and push herself forward with her legs. Her head is still heavy so that stays on the ground, but her legs compensate and she has, in the past, pushed herself about a foot forward in her angry cries.

 

She’s also been an amazing sleeper. For all the crying she does when she’s put down, I can’t complain because 1.) it gives me an “excuse” to hold her a lot and get my newborn fix in while I still can, and 2.) she may be fussy when she’s up, but she sleeps for long stretches. I’m really bad with fully waking up when feeding her at night so I don’t always know when she wakes up to eat, but she normally goes to sleep anywhere from 9-11 pm and will sleep until 8-9am, waking up only once, sometimes twice, to eat. She does cluster feed from about 7-9/11 pm at night, which I think allows her to sleep so long at night, and then sometimes she’ll wake up at 6-7 am for a quick meal before going back down until 9 am. Either way, she’s an awesome night sleeper and, after eating, will normally go right back to bed. There are nights where she doesn’t follow that pattern and I wake up like a zombie the next morning, but such is life.

 

I still love this newborn stage and now that 2 out of the 3 older siblings are healthy, they’re able to enjoy her more as well. When she starts staying up for longer periods of time and stops crying when put down, she’s going to be an absolute favorite with them all. They constantly ask if they can hold her or kiss her, and E is singing made-up songs to her while J pats her back to comfort her. They’re big fans of her and love being protective older siblings.

 

She has crazy, stick-up hair like her siblings, only she’s the only one with blond hair and a pretty decent mohawk. She has E’s hairline, which she inherited from John, so it’s pretty far back but it’s slowly getting lower–while she’s gaining hair in the front, she’s losing it on the sides. She LOVES to pull it when she’s angry, as well as scratch her face, so she’s almost constantly wearing mittens to protect herself.

 

In other news, the other kids are doing well. E went back to school this week and loved it, as usual. She loves to draw and comes home with sheets of artwork to give to us. This past week John told me such an endearing story. Her teacher was talking to her while she was painting and E asked her how to paint Jesus. Then she asked the teacher, “Do you believe in Jesus?” The teacher said, “Yes, I do. I go to this church (the preschool is in Dapto Anglican Church).” E said, “Good, that means you’ll go to heaven someday.” We’ve been encouraging her to tell her friends at school about Jesus because that’s the only way they can get to heaven someday. She then told me that some of her schoolmates don’t believe in Jesus, so they’re going to hell. I wonder how that went over with them when she told them. Oh, the honesty of children.

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J’s vocabulary is really growing and it’s fun to see him interacting a lot more with E. They normally have quiet time together in his room, which is more like ‘play for 3 hours together but try not to wake up your other siblings.’ They’ve really gotten close to each other with those times together and I can see a friendship building between them. He’s sad when she goes to school on Tues. and Wed. but he also loves being here without her because he gets more time from me to play with him.

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M is getting cuter by the day. I just took out the 18-24 month clothes from E, so she has a whole new-to-her wardrobe. One skirt that we discovered was this one…she LOVES it and asks to wear it all the time. I wanted to take it off for dinner last night so she wouldn’t get it dirty, but she started crying, so I kept it on. She also loves to dance in it, which is what she’s doing here.

 

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We’ve started eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, and Mo is a BIG fan. Normally either John or I will feed her, but when we’re too busy, E has taken it upon herself to do it. She loves it, Mo loves it, and we love it because it’s one less thing we have to do in the morning. THIS is why we had 4 children–they do things for each other and make our lives easier. 😉 They also are playing with each other more and more, and letting Mo be included on the fun. Here they are eating  a supper of tennis balls and wooden food. Normally Mo will take their things from them, but sometimes she’ll be content with what they’ve chosen to share with her. They all sat so nicely and ate–for about 5 min.

Family, New Baby, Sickness

3 Weeks Old-Can We Be Healthy, Please?!

I’m updating during the kids’ nap/quiet time because I’ve been editing a book at night and have to get it done this week–I’m so much more productive with editing when I can sit down for a few quiet hours at night instead of having to get up throughout naps and quiet noisy kids down. We’ll see how long the blog post is until I have to put the laptop away and deal with crazy children again.

 

Our week has been rough, but that’s pretty much been the story of the last 3 weeks since M came on the scene. I feel like we’ve been given a good taste of what life will be like with 4 littles, and it started right from the get-go. From colds to stomach bugs to hand/foot/mouth disease, John and I are asking ourselves what else we can possibly get? And then there was the mysterious illness Mo had a month ago, but thankfully that seems to have passed. The kids had the stomach bug right when M was born, so they had to stay away from her when we came home from the hospital. Then they all got colds, including John, so again, M and I were quarantined. And then, this past Saturday, we discovered the older 3 had hand/foot/mouth disease. Sadly we didn’t realize until after the fever was gone (but isn’t that always the case with kids? They get random fevers and you never know why–until the fever’s gone and you realized THAT was when they were most contagious) and they had random rashes all over. We STILL didn’t know it was hand/foot/mouth until E started to complain about her mouth hurting. I thought it was a canker sore, but then more appeared Saturday, and then it dawned on me. Of COURSE! Hand/foot/mouth disease. And Mo had had a fever, and J has a rash (although his rash was minimal), so all the pieces fit. E didn’t have a lot of mouth sores so she only complained for a couple days and now it’s almost over, including her rash, which is clearing up. Mo basically didn’t complain about anything at all so her h/f/m was a minimal case, but J, although he barely had a rash, got a TON of sores in his mouth and he’s still complaining about eating 3 days after it began. His mouth was swollen and he was miserable, poor guy. But even then, it wasn’t a bad case for the 3 of them, and so far the adults and M have been spared. I say so far because the incubation period is 4-6 days, so we could still get it. John’s been dealing with a cold and cough for the last week or two as well, so it’s been pretty much M and me who are healthy. Again, we’ll see how long that lasts.

 

Throughout my 4 years of having little kids, I’ve become more and more convinced that older people whose kids have been grown for awhile have selective memory. This is across the board in America and Australia, so I’m assuming it’s this way in other cultures as well. When moms of little kids or kids who are still in school hear about other families’ sicknesses, they say first, “Oh no, let’s stay away from them so we don’t get it!” and then they say, “Oh, that poor family! I know how they feel because we’ve been there!” Especially sending kids to school in the early years, kids just get sick all. the. time. It’s a natural part of life. They build immunities, they get sick again, they build more immunities, they get sick again, rinse and repeat for 10 years. And then the kids get older and healthier because their bodies are better able to fight the diseases. And then parents forget what their lives were like when their kids were little. And then the comments to families with littles begin: “Why are your kids so sick? My kids never got that sick. What are you feeding them/not feeding them/doing to them/not doing to them?” Oh, the comments I’ve heard. I try to remember that these are comments coming from either those who have no kids and don’t understand, or from parents whose kids are old and aren’t dealing with these issues anymore.

 

It’s the same with comments about how my kids act in church. “My kids were never that disobedient in church. They always sat quietly and were never disruptive.” I’m sure, because most children are perfectly trained children from the get-go. Like I said, these are comments I’ve gotten everywhere I’ve gone, no matter the culture or country. I think many moms of little can sympathize with me, too. The guilt I feel when I get these comments…ugh. I’m learning to cope with them better. Is there truth in what they’re saying? If so, I’ll try to listen to it. But there’s also a little (or a lot) of forgetfulness about this stage of their lives. Babies and toddlers have a way of wiping moms’ memories so that, when looking back, you remember the good old days instead of the days where you didn’t go to church for weeks on end because the kids were sick. Or the days where kids missed school AGAIN because of hand/foot/mouth. That’s why I’m thankful for this blog. When I start to forget what these years are like, I can look back and remember my life currently, with all joys and all sorrows, the good and the bad.

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I wore M for the first time last week in the Ergo and she LOVED it! That’s how she’s going to be worn in church so it’s a good thing she enjoys it.

This is J pre-h/f/m discovery, but he was definitely contagious here. I didn’t get a picture of him kissing her, but he was giving her a lot of kisses. If M doesn’t get it, it shows the power of breastmilk and my antibodies, I tell you what! And here’s J and Mo being cute–dancing and sharing books.

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You think they’re related? M on the left, E on the right–same age, same hairline/crazy hair, same eyes, different hair color.
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This is how I edit when I have a baby who doesn’t want to be put down–she fits on my lap and I reach past her to get my work done.
Family, New Baby

2 Weeks Old

Tomorrow we start our new “normal” routine. E has preschool, John has work, and I’ll be home with the other three kids. John asked me tonight how we’re going to work tomorrow morning–he’s been getting up with the older 3 kids and getting them breakfast for the last 2 weeks while I stayed in bed with M (due to sleepless nights). However, that’s all going to change when John has to be up and at ’em in the morning. Thankfully he’ll be dropping E off by 9, so at least I won’t have to be dressed. But coffee will now become my friend again as I deal with what every mom of a newborn deals with–sleepless nights and full days with young kids.

 

Last week was a fun week. Near the end of the week, John took advantage of the kids’ sickness-free days and his time off from work to take us different places. We went to the local park and took pictures of the kids at the lake. They got to ride their bikes and scooters, which made their day! We had some warm days last week as well, so the kids swam in our pool and enjoyed the (hopefully) last really warm days of summer. We also had a crazy thunderstorm with golf ball size hail. The rain lasted for hours which gave the kids (and John) a chance to run outside in the puddles.

 

 

John took the kids to church on Sunday while I stayed home with M. It was the first time I’ve been home alone with just one child for multiple hours at a time in who knows how long. The house was so quiet, it stayed clean for hours, and I was able to focus my attention on just one baby. I was reminded of what life was like when it was just E. I was busy, to be sure, but I wish I had cherished that time with her more. Recovering from childbirth when you only have one baby to look after is so different than recovering from childbirth with subsequent babies.

 

I was hanging the laundry on the line on Saturday and realized that even though M is small, she has significantly added to our laundry pile. I also had the “Hokey cats! We have 4 kids!” epiphany. 4 kids. And this little girl, the latest addition to our family, is 2 weeks old. I still cherish this newborn phase, even with less sleep and more crying. I love that I can put her down on the bed and she won’t move. I love that she finds comfort in me holding her. I love that feeding her is so easy. I love that she sleeps most of the day and night. I just love having a newborn. When I was pregnant, there wasn’t a moment where I thought, “I will really miss this.” However, almost every day with M I’ve thought, “I will really miss this phase.” I am definitely a fan of the newborn/infant phase and will miss it the most when she’s older. I do love independent children too, don’t get me wrong. Knowing E can pick out her own clothes and J can make his own bed is freeing. But I love newborn cuddles, I love the newborn smell, I cherish newborn sounds. I’ve been able to spend quality time with both Mo and M as infants because John’s been able to take off work both times, and I’ve loved it.

 

We’re going to miss Daddy being home with us during the day–I think the kids are going to go through major withdrawal without him around to play with. And I’m going to go through withdrawal now that I have to prepare all the meals and clean up everything again. I love co-parenting and am sad that I have to go back to single parenting during the day again. However, I also enjoy having food on the table and a roof over our heads, so it’s a good thing John has a job. Although I think John will miss spending all his time with us, I think he’ll also be glad to get back to a routine, one where he can be alone and work instead of referee young kids all day. He’s been such a huge help the last couple weeks though, and I am sad to see his paternity leave end.

Family, New Baby

M’s First Week

M is officially more than a week old now. Her first week flew by, mainly because everyone except her was sick on at least one day last week. As much as I would have loved to enjoy her first week at home, we ended up barely surviving. But survive we did, and now that we’re into her second week home, we’re getting more in the swing of things. Our pattern is going to be interrupted when John gets back to work, though. That starts next Tuesday.

On Tuesday, E was given a stuffed dog in preschool to bring home and take with her to various activities throughout the week. With each new activity the dog goes to, we’re supposed to take pictures and paste them in a book that came with the dog. The two boys who had the book before her went to all these fun places–swim lessons, zoos, etc. E’s week is going to be a lot less exciting. John and I made sure to take a picture of the dog with M to show why E doesn’t have a very adventure-filled week…the new baby puts a crimp in her adventures. So she’s gotten pictures of the dog and Grandma and Papa T skyping with us, the dog and our pool outside, the dog and E playing with paper dolls…you know, all the exciting things in life. 🙂

M’s doing well. Her days are filled with sleeping, eating, filling her diaper, sleeping some more, and occasional waking periods to placate her siblings, who are so eager to talk to her and play with her. E constantly gives her kisses and wants to hold her, and J is the same way–he can’t wait to hold her, unless she has just spit up–then he won’t touch her. Mo is basically unphased by her, except when Daddy holds her, and then she gets angry and jealous. Today was her first moment where she actually smiled and interacted with M more than normal. It was sweet and gave me some hope that she would some day have a good relationship with her sister.

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Here’s a comparison shot of the four kids. Top left: E, Top right: J, Bottom left: Mo, Bottom Right: M. We think M and E look the most similar.

 

Church, Crunchy Living, Family, Medical, New Baby, Uncategorized

A New Beginning

Hello all! You may be wondering why I’m starting a new blog with all the same information found on my other blog. I know blogs are public (unless you decide to make it private), but over time, I realized I wanted this blog in order to update family and friends in America about our lives here in Australia. Although I appreciate people knowing about what we’re doing here, I also wanted our lives to be semi-private…hence a new blog.

So, there you go. I’ll hopefully still be updating this blog weekly, or however often I have time to update it, and I’ll probably be letting my other blog lie dormant for awhile. Enjoy a glimpse into our lives an ocean away.

 

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