Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blustery Day

Awhile back I said I needed to post "Boredom Busters" but haven't been too good at doing so.  This is a scheduled post as when it is published I'll be heading off to Florida to meet my new niece, hang out with my brother and SIL, see my parents, and soak up some rays!

Today's Boredom Buster is tent making.  It is a crazy crazy thing.  My kids go crazy crazy when we do it.  But they LOVE it.  
 After we (read: I) set up the tent, they make it their mission to fill it with as many blankets.pillows/stuffed animals possible.  Then they all "cuddle".  Then they fight.  Then they knock it over and I have to set it up again.
 Totally worth it!
The secret to my tent, which I didn't photograph fully apparently, is to tuck the blankets into the couch, then stretch them to dining room chair.  I then use my clothespins to fasten the blankets through the rungs on the back of our chairs.  Works for us!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

12 Weeks

Today Sweet Pea is 12 weeks old.  She weighs 10 lbs, 7 oz and is 22 1/4 inches.  She is starting to reach a little for toys and smiles more every day.  I don't have anything else to report, just soak up her scrumptiousness!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Grass On The Other Side

With a newborn, a toddler, a high energy preschooler, and one in school who I also homeschool because the district doesn't seem to view kindergarten as important,  I often find myself living to get through the day.  I think "I can make it till "nap time" (which these days consists of two napping and one to three others watching Veggie Tales).  Then I think "Ok, I can make it till bedtime".

I find myself living for tomorrow.  "Tomorrow things will be better".  Or.  "When they are a little older...".  But that is stupid.  Really if I look at my friends who have older kids, they have a whole new set of frustrations and daily "have-to's".  

I am really disappointed in myself because I feel like so often I am rushing their lives away.  For heaven's sake, they are only this age once.  I don't get a do-over.  This is it.  I will never ever get today back.  I will never ever again get to experience what we are doing right now.  And that is really sad to me.  

But on the other hand, I am tired.  I'm not going to lie.  I get asked quite often "so...how is it now having four?"  I guess that is a fair questions.  Honestly most of the time it isn't a whole lot different than having three. With having had a home daycare for the past five years, we are used to a house full of kids.  But now they all stay and don't go home with other people.  (The hardest thing about four seems to be getting OUT THE DOOR.  I feel like I am herding cats. I try to be an organized person, but getting OUT seems to be mass chaos often.  I'm hoping in the summer when we don't have to do hats and coats  it will get easier).  

But I also hate that question.  How do you THINK it is going having four children with the oldest being five?  Do you think it is easy?  Do you want me to whine and complain about how I don't sleep and I trip on toys all the time and how my perfectionistic firstborn expectations have been flushed down the toilet along with who knows what else that can fit and I haven't realized is missing yet????

But I LOVE having four kids.  I don't know which one I'd get rid of if I wasn't to have four.  Each brings unique qualities to our family.  I love each and everyone to pieces.  I am so very glad God has given us four kids and blessed us with them.  They are worth a messy house that I constantly am picking up (don't look under the furniture please, I never quite get there).  

I think it is easy when you have a blog to make it look like you have it all together.  I certainly don't.  On a blog people tend to show what they want to and leave the icky things out (or they just tell the messes of life and forget to stop and smell the roses).  My life isn't icky, not by a long shot.  I really gave it a thinking the other day when #1 and I were arguing over his involvement with what I think of as "extra curricular work activities".  Really I was just being moody and stubborn and insensitive.  He is doing his best (and a darn good job I believe) to provide for a family of six.  He sees what can happen when husbands don't man up and do what they need to.  He is a great provider and selfish little me needs to tell him that more often instead of whining about him not being home because he has yet another meeting.  

If you are a cop or a cop's spouse you probably know what I am talking about.  There is always something be it court, or a committee, or fitness duty.  And when I see him walk out the door on his day off or when he isn't "supposed to be at work" I have a tendency to be irritated.  Mostly because I love to be around him, but also because I feel trapped being here with four little ones and sometimes not leaving the house for 48 hours at a stretch.  

But I stepped back and thought about all the people I know.  I thought through several times families I know through church, and camp, and softball, and some of you whom I have never met but I read your blogs.  And you know what?  I didn't want to trade lives with anyone.  Not one family.  I couldn't think of anyone who really had it better than we do.  The grass may seem greener on the other side, but it isn't.  

No one has it all together.  No one has the perfect marriage, or kids, or job, or leisure activity.  Despite what others on the outside looking in may think, every family has issues.  So I am trying really hard to just be thankful for my kids, for my husband, and for that horrible smell in the kids' bathroom that we really can't ever get rid of.  Because this is the life that God has GIFTED me with. And I want to remember every day to enjoy where I am in life right now.  

Have you ever struggled with this?  What helps you?

*Snug was at school when I took this picture...he wasn't left out on purpose.  And I realize Sweet Pea doesn't have clothes on, I was working on that when I decided to capture this moment!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekend At Grandma's (And Pop Pop's)

Actually, they call her Grandmommy but it was a weekend with their grandparents nonetheless. CILT is back in full swing complete with weekend meetings and requirements to sign off.  This is my last graduating class.  It is bittersweet as I've done it for the past 8 summers.  However, being the mother of four doesn't leave much time to be the mentor of six (oftentimes more) teenagers!  Here are a few pictures from the weekend.  

 I got some pictures of Sweet Pea too, but they were all with family holding her.  I didn't remember to ask anyone's permission to post their picture, so I didn't.  If you are my friend on Facebook you can see the "complete set" there.

Things are super busy here.  I'm getting ready to go to Florida and meet my niece and visit with my brother and sister-in-law.  :o)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

22 Months

Ah Rosebud.  She is one stylin' girl.  She loves her jewelry and anything sparkly/shiny/pink/glittery/frilly.  Her mama likes browns/jeans/sweatshirts/crocs.  We may just be polar opposites in the fashion world.  
Rosebud now can quickly and quietly take off her clothing.  She loves to be down to a diaper (and apparently BabyLegs...those stayed on).  She completely accessorized herself also.  

 She wanted her picture taken and kept saying "cheese"!
She is a total ham and attention seeker.  She loves the camera.  
 When she wants to be.
 But there are other times.  Like when I was trying to take her 22 month pictures.  That she is NOT feeling it.
 Not one tiny bit.  And nothing you can say is going to change her mind.
But wait a few minutes, and she'll come around.  Too bad we now were on our way out the door and this is the only picture I could snap!

Rosebud is 31.5" tall and weighs 21 lbs, 0 oz.  We are having some problems with her digestive tract (I know, surprise, surprise) and investigating what the problem could be.  We had trouble with her about a year ago and then it seemed to get better.  As of probably November we've been having problems on and off...mostly ON.  As of this morning she is gluten and dairy free.  We already cut out fruits and veggies (many of which we thought were the culprit but may not be).    I am just praying it isn't dairy.  I can deal with gluten.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 Weeks

Sweet Pea is 10 weeks today...and weighs in at 10 lbs  :o)  I thought that was nice and convenient.  I am feeling MUCH better, thank you to everyone for your prayers and kind comments.  My supply also seems to be back up where it should be.

 My children on the other hand, had an awful weekend.  Poor Snug got a fever and cough Thursday and ended up ruining his perfect attendance for the year.  He is finally better today.  LMM came down with it late Friday night and had the worst fever of anyone-104!  Not fun.  Rosebud has been running in the 99's but nothing serious and no cough.  Perhaps she has been spared!

#1 was kind enough to let me go to church with Sweet Pea today while he stayed home.  I needed some adult time and to get OUT of the house.  Our church is doing a really neat study on Genesis, and I enjoyed the sermon quite a bit.

I also got to make a quick trip to Target where I purchased three pink almost ballet dresses for three special little girls to attend a wedding this summer (my two girls and their cousin Ivy).  Let me tell you, it was SO FUN to do that.  I rarely buy any clothing for my kids, my girls especially as we have really nice hand-me-downs we are blessed with.  When I saw these dresses and knew that they had an occasion I needed to get them something for...well I was giddy!

Sweet Pea is smiling more and more.  She prefers me ALL.  THE.  TIME.  which wears me out, but it is nice to be needed I suppose!  Throughout the day she will sit in her bouncy seat or lay in her boppy and look at hanging toys for a few minutes.  She'll even go in her swing for a morning nap.  But come 4:00pm WATCH OUT.  She is cranky.  I think that time of night has been hard on all of my kids.  Still is, actually.  I've heard it called  the witching hour.  It is when mommy turns into a witch.  Wait.  I don't think that is what that means!  :o)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Soup! It's What's For Supper!

With the cold blustery winter months upon us (Or not.  I have pictures of the kids last week outside without coats) it is time to pull out the soup recipes.  I'm a picky soup person.  I only like certain kinds.  None of them are tomato based in any way shape or form.  All of them contain only the most mild tasting of veggies (read; no peppers of any kind).  But I do enjoy a good hot soup on a cold day.  
 This is a "white chili" that a friend of mine brought to a potluck in the fall.  I got her recipe, modified it a bit to make it gluten-free, and now we all can enjoy it.
 Too bad mommy forgot that this little one doesn't do well with beans...after her third bowl.  Oops.
 Three bowls for this one also.
Only two for him, but that is highly unusual!  It is a white chili, but I think of it more as a taco soup.

Here's the recipe:
 5 chicken breasts
16 oz of sour cream
2 cans rinsed chili beans and 2 cans rinsed great northern beans OR 4 cans great northern beans
2 cans of shoepeg corn (not drained) OR 2 cans hominy (not drained)
2 PKGs powdered ranch (to make gluten free soup use 1/2c. Annie's organic Ranch instead)
2 cans GF chicken broth
2 cans water
2 PKGs of taco seasoning (to make it GF see below)

Cook chicken for about 20 minutes in the water and chicken broth.  Shred chicken and put all of the juice/chicken in a crock pot.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook on low at least an hour.  If too thin, add a little cornstarch.

Serve with cheddar cheese and tortilla chips  :o)

*in place of taco seasoning you can use the following, from Carrie.
2TBS chili powder
4tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprica
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nine Weeks and Mastitis

Heads up this is a birthing and breastfeeding post.  You've been warned.  

The past few days have been pretty rough physically and emotionally for me.  Thursday late afternoon I noticed some tenderness in one of my breasts.  I chalked it up to a plugged duct and made a mental note to use warm compresses after the kids went to bed.  

By the time the kids went to bed I had quite a bit of pain.  I had no noticeable lumps or hard swollen spots...just a bright red sort of rash.  I was pretty sure I knew what that meant having experienced it in the past, but went ahead and did warm compresses and massage nonetheless.  So.  Utterly.  Painful.  

I went to bed with Tylenol and a headache...and a fever.  Sweet Pea had her two month check up first thing the next morning and we all have the same doctor so I at least knew I'd get checked out soon.  Each time I woke to nurse I started her on that side, but by morning it was excruciating.  

The doctor confirmed my suspicions and gave me a five day antibiotic.   I try to be REALLY careful about taking antibiotics as I think they are over prescribed and I also take very little medication in general, especially when I am pregnant or nursing.  However, I was at the "caught it before you have to be hospitalized with an IV" stage.  The drive home I started to get dizzy and sleepy.  

**Sweet Pea weighs in at 9 lbs 12 oz and is 22.25 inches**  That's all the nine week info I have.  No pictures.  Sorry.  

I was on round the clock Tylenol for pain and started the antibiotic.  Despite the medication I had a fever of 100.8 consistently and was miserable.  The whole room was spinning and I could hardly walk.  My entire body ached.  If you could feel toenails, they would have hurt.  

By Saturday morning I could get up and walk, but doing easy daily chores wiped me out and I still spent much of the day in bed.  Sweet Pea continued to nurse well and as often as she always does...but I noticed by Saturday evening her output was down to almost nothing.  Not good.

I don't know if it is the infection or the medication (which is making my stomach a mess) but my milk supply is pretty low.  Just what I needed.  I spent much of Sunday skin to skin and nursing every hour to two hours.  I don't care what kind of a latch your baby has, nursing that often makes you sore.  And the less milk I was making the less she was trying.  Just falling asleep.  So of course I pumped.  I think I'd rather clean the dog pen than pump (I pump every morning regardless).  I also started weighing all of her output.  

Today I am feeling much better-can even wear her in my Moby without it being too painful.  The antibiotic is still messing with my stomach/intestines (I am eating as much yogurt as I can stand.  I hate yogurt but I know the probiotics are important right now) but other than that I feel ok.  However, my supply still seems to be on the low end.  Sweet Pea's output is getting better, and I am still keeping track till she seems back to normal.  

I have to admit I am pretty mad about the whole thing.  It really isn't fair. Yep, this is me ranting...but seriously it doesn't seem fair.  

 This is where Sweet Pea was born.  No medicine.  Nothing to make her sleepy or inhibit nursing from the very beginning.  I highly recommend water birth for anyone who has had a healthy pregnancy and would be willing to try.  The labor is much easier. We got to the hospital Dec 4th about 3:30am.  There wasn't a room available in the birthing center (located inside of our regular hospital) so I hung out with #1 in the triage area on a birthing ball till 4:30.  Our nurse was Erika and she was so funny.  She kept telling me Erika was a good name for a little girl if that was what I had.  She offered me a "normal" L&D room to hang out in until a room had been cleared and cleaned, but I didn't see the point of dirtying up a room when I wasn't going to use it.

About 4:30 a room became available and by that time I knew I needed to get into a tub soon as labor was progressing quickly.  I had to wait in my room for about 15 minutes to be checked again and for the tub to fill.    Sweet Pea was born at 5:16 am.  I have fairly quick labors.
 Poor Sweet Pea, this is a horrid picture of her, but this is moments after she was out of the water.  From this point on she wan't bathed or measured beyond a quick weigh as my midwife delivered the placenta.  She was put skin to skin for the next hour to nurse.  After that she never left my side and wasn't even bathed until she was probably eight hours old.  Everything exactly how a lactation consultant would have it to be.  I have nursed her "on demand" (except I try not to make her demand, I try to be more attentive than that!) since the moment she was born.  

I've completely switched my diet for her.  I don't know what else to do.   I am now (I typed "not" on accident earlier.  I totally AM doing what I know I need to) drinking nasty tea and nursing or pumping every hour to two hours.  I am tired and I am cranky.

I'm not writing this totally to vent.  A little of the reason, but not totally.  People treat breastfeeding like it is the most natural and easy thing ever.  Well for some of us it isn't.  I have struggled with four babies.  If you are reading this and you struggle too you are NOT ALONE.  I wanted to give up this morning so bad.  #1, who used to think breastfeeding was very weird and totally did not support me with our first baby, is now my biggest cheerleader.  He talked me off the ledge and I'm still going this afternoon.

Here are some resources that help me:  Click on each to be re-directed to their websites.  Don't be afraid to seek help from a certified lactation consultant either.

Another great source is http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough-milk.html  .  I have to go now, someone is crying, again.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One Week Ago...

One week ago I never thought I'd be seeing this.  LOOK AT THAT SMILE!!!!!
 We traded in our constantly screaming baby for a pleasant, happy kid!  Not that she never cries (ALL the time in the car and quite a bit at night), but man is it quiet around here.  Well, as quiet as any home with four children five and under that runs a home daycare can be.
 I have been gluten-free for a week, and if this is any indication, I will be till she weans.  I've found some great food and I think LMM likes having a GF buddy in the house.
Yup.  Miracles occur every day, and this is one of them!