Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hazel 3 months

Dear Hazel,

(October 11, 2014) Three months was a blur.  Well, it has honestly all been a blur.  It is amazing how quickly you have become a vital part of this family.  This month brought on some of my favorite milestones...that lovely smile and laugh you made us wait for.  You have the most adorable smile and the cutest laugh the few times I have heard it.  You also make this adorable face where you only lift your eyebrows, it might be the cutest thing I have ever seen.  You seem to really recognize our voices and faces now and react when you see us which is so fun.  You have been noticing toys more and will bat at them and try to reach them.  You are not yet grabbing them.  We have started to use the Bumbo, and you seem to like to be in that sitting position.  It is nice to have some different placed to put you for a few minutes that will keep you semi-happy.  You still love to be in the swing as well.  You mostly prefer to be held, so the sling still is a daily use item.  You love to be held close in it and usually still fall asleep when I use it.  

As for sleep, you have maintained your good sleep routine and only wake 1-2 times a night.  I am still thankful for each night of good sleep, knowing full well it can change.  You are still sleeping in our bed in the co-sleeper, and also still like to be swaddled.  You use a wubbanub at night (well, anytime you aren't happy really).  I like having you so close, but we are beginning to realize we need to move you to the bassinet soon because you are going to outgrow the co-sleeper soon.

You are nursing like a champ, and seem to be gaining weight well.  No issues on that front.  So, baby girl...month three has gone wonderfully and I love you more and more each day!

Love,

Mom
xoxox

Happy New Year


What did I learn? (skills, knowledge, awareness, etc.)
This year, without going into too much detail, I learned a lot about how to tackle problems head on, without denial and with the hope and determination to make it better.  I also learned that I have a lot to learn about quite a few things and have been spending quite a bit of time lately trying to learn about things that are difficult in order to work through them and to understand them better.  I have also learned, through this that marriage can be very difficult.  Resolving deep-rooted issues takes time and takes work.  I have also learned to worry less about what people think and am continuing to learn how to trust myself.  One last thing that I am learning is how to reach out for support-rather than hoping it will come without asking.

What did I accomplish? A list of my wins and achievements.
I accomplished birthing another beautiful baby, this time in the way that I had hoped the other two would have came.  It was a beautiful, natural, water birth and I felt superhuman after that experience. 

What would I have done differently? Why?
I guess I am not sure what I would have done differently this year.  I am trying not to look backward and instead looking forward through wiser and more aware eyes to a future that is hopefully much more bright.  Maybe this isn’t the best approach…but it’s what is working for me right now.

What did I complete or release? What still feels incomplete to me?
We almost completed our bathroom remodel…I’m counting it because for most of my pregnancy I had to go down two flights of stairs to go to the bathroom and we had to bathe Kinley in the sink.  She had never experienced a bath in the bathtub.  So, the fact that I was able to finish out my last pregnancy being able to use the bathroom closest to my bedroom and we were able to finally do a double bath is a success to me.  Let’s not mention that we are not yet able to shower in it…but, that is a minor issue-almost a non-issue.  We completed (paying someone) new gutters, and a new patio outside that will be amazing next summer!  We completed staining our deck (let’s not mention how long that actually took).  I completed my third and final maternity leave, and probably my most enjoyable leave of all.  I completed a ridiculous amount of paperwork at my job as well. 

As for things that are still feeling incomplete:  my social life, the kitchen remodel, some personal issues, being done at three kids (though we are), my bank account, and a whole slew of household projects that will go unnamed as to not flare up my anxiousness.

What were the most significant events of the year past? List the top three.
I think I will have to list more than three, as this has been a year of very, very high highs and also some lows that should be mentioned.

1.  Having a baby.
2.  Buying a minivan.
3.  Putting our cat, Bella down and then beginning to deal with some major behaviors from our dog, Summitt.
4.  Starting couples counseling.
5.  Meeting my first niece in October.
6.  Turning 35.
7.  Having my parents visit while I was still on maternity leave.
8.  Celebrating Kinley’s first year (and making it through that whole mess) before starting a new baby’s first year (and year of no sleep for me).

What did I do right? What do I feel especially good about? What was my greatest contribution? I would say the thing that I feel the best about is Hazel’s birth, letting go of things that are out of my control (most of the time), making family a priority (though other things have suffered due to that), focusing on being a mom and really focusing on healing myself and finding perspective and strength.  I think my biggest contribution has been to my family and maintaining strength (though it doesn’t always feel like it) through the hard times.

What were the fun things I did?
Honestly, this was not a big year of “fun”.  We didn’t really go anywhere or do anything super fun.  I guess I just tried to make everyday, mundane things fun.  Lots of dance parties, baking, crafts, cooking, and playing around these parts.  Oooh, Eric and I did just have a very fun date to Cirque-Verakai which has always been a dream of mine to be able to go to a show.  That was a pretty big splurge for us and it was AMAZING!

What were the not-so-fun? 
Ugh, honestly there were a lot of hard, not fun things this year that will not be mentioned here.  However, though it has been a trying year, it has also been a year that I have felt incredibly blessed.  It is crazy how one can feel completely blissful at how wonderful some things are and simultaneously feel broken.  Other than that, the usual suspects of not fun-ness are money (lack of), and all the things that seem to need that non-existant money thrown at them.

What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?  Is it just me, or do these questions seem to have a resoundingly negative feeling about them?  Sheesh…I should have picked a better survey.  Or, maybe it is just that this year has been hard.  I guess the hardest part has been knowing that there are many things out of my control that I cannot change and determining how to deal with that in a way that makes me feel good about decisions I am making and not letting that cloud my ability to make decisions that are difficult.  How’s that for vague.

How am I different this year than last?
I would say this year I have my eyes wide open.  I am more realistic.  I am more aware of myself and of others.  I have more reasonable expectations and have a plan for how to handle things that are difficult.  I would say things feel more “real” than they ever have and I feel strong and feel like my husband and I are working more as a team for a common goal than ever before.

For what am I particularly grateful?
I am grateful for my marriage, my three beautiful children, the roof over my head, our crazy pets, a great job, a great child care provider, and last but not least, our new minivan.  Man, I love that vehicle more than I ever though possible (because I truly did not think it was possible).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day in the Life--First Day Back to Work

I again do not really have many notes for this day, but I do have a few pictures.  I semi-documented this day just to have some notes about my last "first day back to work after maternity leave".  I somehow thought this day would be easier since it was my third time, but it proved to be a hard day regardless.  The kids did get to stay home with my parents which made it a bit easier.  My mom was super sweet and sent me photos throughout the day.  I was glad they got to have some one on one time with the kids and I was glad the kids were able to have a fun day at home!

Morning selfie--before any getting ready type activities.

 Ready for work!  Hazel was still sleeping, but these two were up so I could say bye!

On my way to work

 Sad selfie on my way to work.  I was stopped at a stoplight, promise.


 Pumping.  Ugh.  Three times.  13 ounces.

Cute shoes at least.

Family shot before my parents left the next day.

Day in the Life--Last day of Maternity Leave

I debated when to do this day in the life, and decided that I should do my very last day of maternity leave for my very last baby.  This day was wonderful, and I am so glad that I documented it!  Thanks again to Laura from Navigating the Mothership for encouraging her readers to do this.  I never regret it!  My family had been visiting which makes documenting a day in the life much harder, however, they left for the day so I decided to go for it.  I savored this day alone with my babies and tried very hard to put aside the thoughts of going back to work the next day.  Also, should be noted that I somehow deleted all my notes from this day because I did not realize that they were going to my gmail and I spent a lot of time cleaning out my gmail the other day and apparently deleted them...so I have pictures and no notes...so here goes nothing:

Stats:
Leann--35
Eric--36
Caleb--4 years 5 months
Kinley--1 year 7 months
Hazel--3 months


Tuesday, October 21st--I am pretty sure the day technically started with a middle of the night wake up from Hazel.  She tends to wake up around 2:30 am, so lets go with that.  Eric changes her diaper and I nurse her.  She is still sleeping in our bed so it is usually a pretty quick routine and she is right back to sleep.  Eric tends to be on pacifier duty until she is completely out.  I can't wait until the time she can put it back in her mouth or hold it in better.  Around 7:00 am, Caleb calls out.  He has a new clock that lights up green when it is okay for him to get up.  Eric goes to get him and he sits on the couch watching Wild Kratts for a bit.  Hazel wakes up around this time and I nurse her again and have her go back to sleep for a bit.  Kinley wakes up and after a diaper change she joins Caleb on the couch.  I make my breakfast (cream of wheat), make myself a cup of coffee and tea (mother's milk) and fill up my water bottle.  I also pump and get about 4 ounces.  I have been trying to pump every morning to get some milk saved up, since I usually need extra once I start working.  My body just does not respond well to the pump apparently.  My parents wake up and start to get ready to leave for their day trip and Eric gets ready for work.  The kids have breakfast while all of this is happening and Hazel wakes up and I nurse her.  Everyone else is out of the door by 9:00 leaving me and the kids alone. 










We head downstairs to play.  The downstairs has been a ton of fun for the kids because of the air mattress my parents have been sleeping on.  We need an extra bedroom, or two, badly!  The kids love to bounce on it and have a fun time!  Hazel does some tummy time, definitely not her favorite thing!


The kids have been loving the dollhouse that my parents got them for "Christmas in October".  We are still trying to figure out how to configure the room now that we have this HUGE house in the middle of our living space.  It did not look nearly this big while in Costco.  It took my dad and Eric 4 hours to put it together...quite the endeavor.  However, the kids do love it!


During tummy time, Hazel pushes herself off of the boppy and starts to cry.  She is definitely strong and determined!


I work on some laundry while the kids play.  Laundry is neverending these days...I am doing it nearly every day now and I despise it!


Kinley reads some books on the air mattress.  She loves books but hates it if I try to read them to her.  She'd rather sit alone and flip through the pages.  She does, however, bring me certain books because she wants me to find a specific page for her.  She has one book that she likes to look at the page that has a fish underwater.  She will bring it to me and say, "fish".


Caleb and I take some selfies of our silly faces.  He has been into the camera lately and loves to take pictures.





Caleb gets Kinley to follow his lead in laying blankets on the floor as "sleeping" bags.  Lucky that we actually have real sleeping bags hidden in our closet for Christmas presents.


Kinley has been enjoying her "Frozen" slippers.  I try to capture just how silly she looks in her footie pajamas while wearing them.

Caleb wants to take a picture of me...so this is what you get.  He's not too shabby at the photo taking.  Also, should be noted that I decided that on my last day of maternity leave that we would all stay in our jammies all day.  No pressure, just a fun, relaxing day.


The kids now move their play to the stairs and set up beds for themselves on the steps.  I just love how well they play together and how much they love each other.  It is pretty much the sweetest most wonderful thing to get to observe.




There is more playing on the stairs with the doll furniture.  I think he had a store set up and was selling the furniture, but I honestly cannot remember.


Kinley plays in the kitchen which is basically her favorite thing to do.


Hazel takes a little mid morning snooze right before it is time to head upstairs to get the kiddos ready for lunch.



Caleb wants to read books with me, so we do that for a bit.


We go upstairs and I feed the kiddos lunch.  I leave Hazel to nap on the couch while we go have lunch.  The kids eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with fruit and milk.  Caleb prefers to have a peanut butter, peanut butter sandwich separate.  This means he wants two halves of a sandwich, each with peanut butter, apart from each other.  I honor lunch choices because dinner is non negotiable.  They both eat well today (and most every other day for lunch at least).



After lunch we head downstairs again to play some more before nap time.  I lay the big kids down for their naps at 1:00.  First, we read stories together in Caleb's room and I get him situated for nap then I bring Kinley upstairs and lay her down.  They both nap well today!  Hazel wakes up pretty much right as I am getting them down so her and I lay on the air mattress for a bit soaking up some alone time.






I also eat my lunch, leftovers from Benihana the night before.  We went out to celebrate my parents' 30th wedding anniversary and Eric's 36th Birthday.  I also eat a cupcake that was leftover from Eric's birthday.



I get Hazel to sleep around 2:00, so I am able to have about an hour to just watch some television and check the internets.  When the big kids wake up, Hazel is still sleeping.  I let them watch an episode of Wild Kratts to keep it semi-quiet while she sleeps.


 
Hazel wakes up and Kinley tries to help her with her pacifier.  It is the sweetest thing when she does this or tries to get her a blanket.  She nearly suffocates her at times, but totally loves her.


Kinley also reads some books again on the air mattress but is joined by our cat, Zoey this time.  She smothers her with some love too, but for some reason the crazy cat just stays there.



Around 5:00 the kids and I head upstairs to start to get dinner ready.  Eric will be home around 5:45 so I want to have it ready then.








Eric is home and we eat dinner!  My parents text me to let me know they will be back around 7:00.  We hang out with the kids until then.  I decide we should do baths tonight as well.





My parents get back and my mom reads Kinley her bedtime story.




I lay Kinley down, and then head downstairs to read Caleb his bedtime story and put him to bed.  When I walk out of his room I find everyone on their assorted devices.  Eric has some work to do, so I put a ban on him talking to everyone so he can get his work done.  We watch some television and go to bed.  I make sure all my work stuff is together before turning out the lights.



















Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hazel 2 months

Dear Hazel,



(September 11, 2014)  Another month has passed and it truly feels like you were just born yesterday, yet it also feels like you have been here with us forever.  So far, you have been such wonderful baby!  Today we had your 2 month appointment which also was your first time getting shots.  Poor baby.  We scheduled your sister's 18 month appointment at the same time as yours.  You came in at the 99th percentile for your weight.  You weigh 14 lbs 2 ounces!  Wow, you are growing so quickly!  You were also 24 inches long, in the 95th percentile.  So, it seems you are growing well!  We always mention your size, I think because we are so used to the polar opposite, with your brother and sister barely making the charts.  Honestly, I am so proud of your healthy size...it seems my milk is serving you well!  You are also wearing 6 month clothes already, and they aren't really too big on you at all.  We have now been able to go through clothes and get rid of the ones we aren't using anymore and will not be able to use. 






You are proving to be a very strong little girl.  You lift your head like a champ, kick your legs, and swing your arms.  I am so amazed by the power of your kicks!  You are becoming more interested in things around you, sometimes calming by just looking at something interesting like the ceiling fan.  You have shown us some smiles, but have proven to be stingy with them.  I can't wait to see them more so I spend quite a bit of the day talking to you in ridiculous voices hoping you will show me more.  You are cooing and making adorable noises these days.  You also continue to love your pacifier which makes sleeping go much better I feel.

As for sleep, dare I say you are a wonderful sleeper.  You have had some 9 hour stretches which were amazing, but typically are able to sleep for about 6 hour stretches at night.  You usually wake once during the night, and once in the morning, but will stay sleeping well past 8 am.  You usually take about 3 naps daily and those are varied depending on what we have going on.  You will typically fall asleep in the sling if we are out and about.  You nap better when I am carrying or holding you, but we have started to see if you can nap in your pack n' play.  You are still sleeping with us, since it is just easier and you sleep so well.  I feel like it would be silly to mess up a good thing!  However, it is in the plans to begin to see if you can sleep unswaddled and of course in your own bed at some point.  No rush here though, because what we are doing is working well and why mess with that?












You have started to swat at things while on your play mat.  However, when I put you on your play mat you are usually joined by your big brother and sister, therefore you become very distracted by them.  They love you and can't seem to leave you alone.  I honestly am not as intentional about play time with you, but you are with me pretty much every minute of the day so you are getting plenty of stimulation.  You continue to be the easiest baby, mostly content and rarely every crying.




Basically, Hazelnut, you are just the most delightful baby and I love you to pieces!

xoxox

Mommy