Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lest I forget...

A couple of months ago, I was talking to a lady about parenting. Her children are in high school now. She said something like "I remember those days..." and then she added "it doesn't get easier, but you just get used to it."

She went on to talk about how the sleepless nights don't change because you start waiting up for your teenager to get home. I was tempted to ask her if she waited up for her children every night....and if she woke up every 2-3 hours to wait up for her child. This is not the first time I have heard someone say this. I actually witnessed someone saying this to my postpartum friend of TWINS no less. Telling her that she would always be that tired but would just get used to it. PISHAW!!

As a mother who has had 3 newborns come home (at separate times), I know that a parent does not have to get up every 2-3 hours and feed a child for 45 minutes for 18 years. I'm not sure I would have 3 children if that were the case. New babies begin to stretch out their sleep after a month or so. Gradually, it becomes a full night of sleep - usually before the first year is over.

I know that parenting in 10 years will look completely different. There will be new challenges that absolutely terrify me right now - like when one of my children starts hanging out with friends I don't like or when they get a broken heart or when they don't come home on time and I'm worried sick. But I never want to tell a mom of little children that sleep will look the same for her in 10 years or that it never gets any easier. I want to encourage her and cheer her on. (Don't get me wrong - I have a lot of cheerleaders. There was even a lady at Kroger the other day who took my buggy back to the cart return for me because she "remembered those days" and wanted to help me. I want to be that lady!)

Anyway, lest I forget, this is what parenting little ones looks like...
  • Each of my babies was about 9 months old before I got to sleep for 8 hours straight at night. A sleepless night here or there does not compare to MONTHS of less than adequate sleep. In addition to just being plain tired all day, the lack of sleep makes you more susceptible to colds, emotional, cranky, and just plain forgetful. 
  • Most of my waking hours with my kids are spent with my brain constantly thinking about their safety. And I mean immediate safety. It's a constant circus in my mind. I am eyeing electrical outlets the moment I enter a new room and looking for choking hazards on the floor. My little kids have no awareness for basic safety so my senses have to be peeked and alert for them - all THREE of them.
    • What's in Henry's mouth?
    • Is Lucy touching the car? I can't see her. Oh there is her head.
    • Girls! Stop playing. This is a parking lot!
  • Because my brain and eyes are constantly moving from kid to kid, I never have a focused adult conversation. I do my best to be polite and hide it, but I'm probably only hearing half of the conversation. I miss completing conversations and I'm embarrassed  that I made you repeat yourself 3 times.
  • My first year of mothering was filled with so many insecurities. I hung on every bit of advice from books, doctors, websites and people. I stressed so hard trying to obey all of the rules in the books and the rules from other people. It was incredibly scary. The words other parents said to me could either lift me up or haunt me. I want to be oh-so-sensitive with the words I say to first-time-moms especially. 
  • But oh how amazing it felt to be praised by another parent- to be told "good job!" or "You're a great mom!" It still feels pretty amazing. I still battle that same insecurity - not nearly as much, but there is still the worry if my kids are going to turn out ok. A pat on the back and word of encouragement boosts moms. I'm guessing this will not change as I parent teenagers. I find myself cheering for moms of teenagers now realizing that all moms are probably a little insecure and could use some encouragement.
  • There is no rest for the weary or sick for that matter. We just had a stomach bug - a bad one come through our house. I've never been so sick in all my life. Adam had to dress me and drive me to a doctor to get a shot so that I could keep fluids down and start to get better. I have never required medical intervention for a stomach bug. And of course the very next day Adam got sick. My weak and very sick body had to take care of 3 kids, change bed sheets, bathe little bodies, and hold down the fort. These little people are growing everyday and starting to do more stuff for themselves, but they are still very little and required every ounce I had that day and more.
  • Every task I do at home is completed across many 5 minute segments. I used to think that if I only had 5 minutes, it wasn't worth working on laundry or dishes. But with 3 little ones, I value 5 minutes like the gold that it is - I value 1 minute for the gold that it is! I can fold 3 items of laundry in a minute. I can unload 1/4 of the dishwasher, make half a bed, windex a mirror, read an email. My tasks are all broken into little bits. This also explains why they may only be halfway done or why I forget if the dishwasher dishes are clean or dirty. But I honestly don't know of another way to do it. As my kiddos get older, they can be independent for longer periods of time. But when Henry was born, I did everything in 5 minute segments. It was the only way I could get anything done. 
In my limited experience, I've noticed that parenting for me right now is very physical - waking up in the middle of the night, potty training, getting up and doing for my little ones. There's a good bit of mental in there as well - remembering all the things for the diaper bag, the constant crazy of keeping them safe. I'm thinking as these kiddos get older, it will become less physical and more of the mental/emotional. 

I just did a post about how this is my brag blog and here I go writing a post about the hard parts of parenting. This kid of post is rare for me. But everytime one of my babies starting nearing the one year mark, I seem to have a lot of reflection and what this lady said to me that day really caused me to reflect. I want to be the lady offering to return a young mom's buggy to the cart return or the lady who just passes that mom in the grocery store and says "Your children are so well behaved!"

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Summer Goals - ChecklistCurr

***Becky, I have to tell you that I started this post about 2 days before you sent me that text. So when you sent it, I was like "Can she read my Drafts folder??" ;)

This was originally a goal list and has now turned into a checklist - cause we are ACCOMPLISHING our goals! Rock on summer!

✔ Wash her own hair and dry it - Swim practice is everyday. EVERYDAY. So we will have plenty of practice.  Oh how I love that this is checked! I told a sweet friend about my goal for Caroline and my only concern is she loves to play with her toys in the bathtub still. Well, this sweet friend said "why not let her play with them in shower?" - DUH. Why is it we can't see the simple solution sometimes? Anyway, Caroline is an expert hair washer now - well most of the time ;)

Tie her shoes well - she can tie them, but it is an event if you know what I mean Well, don't you know it, we where sandals most of the time. Should have thought about that before making this a goal, but it still needs to happen before school starts in the fall so we may just have to start wearing tennis shoes.

✔ Writing 5 sentences in her diary 4 days a week- Caroline is going to be in a new school next year and they will require a LOT more writing than what she did last year (she basically did NO writing last year) so we are getting a jump start so she won't be behind.

✔ Handwriting - work on writing all letters and numbers forward - she still reverses some on occasion. Again, her school teacher last year didn't work on writing - at all.

Ride a bike with no training wheels - we have gotten so close on this one, but the truth is we don't practice enough for her to remember. This summer we need to practice more.

✔ Unbuckle Lucy - she wants this as a goal so I'm all for it

✔ Open her child-proof vitamin bottle herself - this is also a goal she made for herself - I did NOT make this goal for her - haha! Unfortunately, she has accomplished this goal. But so far we haven't had any vitamin overdoses =P

Unbuckle herself

✔ Swim - like no swimmies. She is soooo close, but I rarely get to practice with her since I'm usually wrangling Henry. Woohoo Family Beach trip - we had lots of extra hands so I got to have lots of one on one time with Lucy and she actually took off swimming the first day! She improved throughout the week. I'm so proud of her.

✔ Practice writing letters and numbers daily

Work our way through the first set of BOB books - she was on book 6 when summer started. Currently on book 8! Trucking right through.

✔ Plan a fabulous BDAY party

SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT CONSISTENTLY =) Not quite there yet - whew - come on baby boy!

Turn ONE (tear!)

✔ Get completely unpacked

Go through all the boxes and items that lived in our attic in Columbia and purge, sell, give away. Take the remaining items and creatively use them.

Clean out garage for both vehicles Halfway done - van is in the garage

Lots of berry picking and pie making Strawberries picked and pied! Blueberry picking scheduled!

Read a parenting book This will happen!

I'd do it all over again

I love country music. It makes me feel nostalgic, warm and happy just hearing the sound of a steel guitar. So these Alan Jackson lyrics pretty much sum it up for me. (For those non- country fans, the song is about a couple celebrating their 10th anniversary.)

"Now the days seem much shorter, the longer we love
And the memories just keep adding up
And if I had it to do all over
I'd do it all over again
If tomorrow I found one more chance to begin
I'd love you all over again"
I'm so thankful for Adam. He leads our family well and is the best Daddy to our children. Everyday, he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet. 
 We have learned a ton about each other and marriage and life in the last 10 years. Some people comment about how young we were when we got married. I love that we have learned everything together. That we know the experiences that shape the other's thoughts. I cannot tell you the number of social faux pas, embarrassing moments, and utter failures we saw each other go through between high school and now. It's neat that we share that growing up time. It's something I cherish.
We were so blessed to get a child-free night away! We had a lovely dinner at the Primavista restaurant overlooking the city of Cincinnati and we enjoyed shopping at Newport on the Levee in the morning. 
We are so thankful to Adam's mom for watching our brood. Leaving 1 little one overnight is a big favor, but I've discovered leaving 3 kids overnight is a daunting favor. And I know she doesn't see it that way at all. I know she enjoyed every minute with her grandchildren. We love Nana!

Beam more

I'm not sure what makes me Beam more:

Caroline completing 11 fifty meter laps in 40 minutes for her team's Swimathon - refusing a kick board. I watched her crawl to the edge at one point using every bit of her strength exhausted and I asked her if she wanted a kick board for the next lap... "Nope," she said as she pushed off the wall for another lap.


Lucy walking on the side of the pool beside Caroline chanting, "Give me a 'C'. C. You got your 'C'. You got your 'C'. Give me a 'A'. A. You got your 'A'. You got your 'A'...."



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Henry Lee 11 months

My sweet boy I'm getting a little sniffly as your first birthday approaches. I'm so thankful for your life and all the years and months and moments to come, but you are such an adorable, sweet baby - so can you blame me for wanting you to stay little a little longer?

Henry is such a content little guy. We can take him just about anywhere, anytime and not split hairs about what we brought for him or how he will behave if it gets past bedtime. He has pretty bad separation anxiety right now, but if mom or dad are staying - he is good. Henry attended both of the girls' dance recitals, Caroline's Kindergarten graduation and many other "events" this last month and I didn't worry about him at any of those.

Henry is so flexible and I'm so thankful. As a third child, he rarely gets good naps in his crib - so being a pro at on-the-go naps is super helpful. That being said, he doesn't nap great at home. Thirty minutes is about all I get out of him if we are at home and using his crib, but those days are few and far between. On a few occasions, he has only taken one nap in the early afternoon, but most days he takes two.

We moved into a house this month. I took Henry and Lucy over to the house to work on a few things during the day while Caroline was at school a couple of days and Henry HATED being in the house. He screamed the whole time and hung on to my legs. I couldn't get any work done. I thought he knew something I didn't about the house. Adam realized Henry thought I was dropping him off at nursery or somewhere. It made complete sense. He has since been that way about several places that were empty - our apartment (once we emptied it) and our house in Columbia.

Henry is eating about the same amount of table foods and baby foods as last month. It's easier for me right now to feed him baby food when we are on-the-go or out of town. I know he'll eat it and I know he'll like it. Although, he quite enjoyed himself some pizza while we were at the beach. Henry has been doing a little more with a sippy cup - we are getting close with that. Henry eats pretty much every kind of baby food I make. He is not a picky guy.

I still can't get him to eat yogurt. Henry got to try some tastes of ice cream at the beach though I'm pretty positive he is allergic to dairy. Between the ice cream and the pizza it was a good bit of dairy that week, he threw up on the pier and had a rash the next day. So it sure seems his body is telling him something when he refuses yogurt. I hope I'm wrong and it was just a coincidence.

Henry is everywhere. There's just no way around it. He's fast and he climbs and it can be terrifying.

He doesn't have any new "words" this month, but he is talking and making lots of new Russian type sounds "glck".

Some of Henry's firsts this month include:

PB&J sandwich
Hot Dog
Flushes a toilet (worth documenting, right)
Strawberry picking
Clapping hands
Ice Cream
Tooth number 6

And here is a roll of photos from this month:

Henry got a lot of relative lovin' at Caroline's BDAY party

Perfectly content to nap on a picnic table


Look at his smolder. He looked at Ashley like that for about 10 full seconds - it was a serious smolder. Watch out ladies - this kid already has the "How you doin'?" line down!

And he has his Mommy wrapped too =)

This is how Henry sits in the grocery cart - every time.

Just as mobile and busy as Lucy was except he is TALLER. I keep forgetting he can reach the table and he frequently pulls bowls and plates off. So far nothing has broken, but I've got to be better about pushing everything to the center of the table clearing the table immediately after eating.

We have another water-baby on our hands. This guy loves the pool. He would love to be out of his float all the time and he can actually get out of this one if he is on the stairs of the pool where his feet can touch. His favorite games are to climb up and down the stairs of a pool putting his head completely under when he goes down. He is not afraid and doesn't mind going under. He is a challenge at the pool =)

We made a Father's Day gift for Adam before the beach. Henry sat so calmly while I painted his hand. He giggled a couple of times but was mostly just in awe, but it was a full team effort once the paint was on to keep in contained. Lucy had to hold his other hand while I cleaned him. There are no pictures of the "struggle" we had, but it was real ;)

And here is a picture of Henry climbing out of the cart and onto the conveyor belt. Another heart stopping moment!

His new favorite place at the beach condo and at home is on the first shelf of the TV entertainment center/shelf. Have you seen the Super Bowl commercial? - the one where the toddler dies because the TV and shelf fell on him? Yeah - then you can probably sense my stress level. My hair is going to skip going gray and just fall right out!

Henry was a proper beach bum. He played and got covered in sand and didn't care a bit. He loved the ocean too. And then, he took a nap - ahh beach life!

More shenanigans: 

Ice Cream - before he threw up and broke out in a rash - poor kid. He really liked it ad every time we went to the ice cream shop would look at me and kick his little legs until I gave him a taste. One time he even woke up from sleeping. We joked that he smelled the ice cream. I loved that he would make a sour face - I guess from the cold of the ice cream, but he'd keep asking for more.

And now we have the 11 month photo shoot that Henry actually tried to escape from - haha!

Baby Boy, keep up your shenanigans - I know they are part of your personality, but can you slow down so your Mommy and Daddy can keep up and keep you safe?? Please??