Saturday, May 28, 2011

Have you seen this!?

I can't help myself. Please go HERE and watch the cutest little video, then promptly go snuggle your own babes. Happy weekend.

I love (nursing) you more than pizza and ice cream.

The best kind of nap. These days are numbered and I know it!

Peaceful, contented, sleeping baby.

I have a new appreciation for how great of an eater/sleeper Maddie has been so far. Thursday and Friday were a struggle for her, and the pediatrician confirmed what I had started to suspect. Madeline seems to be developing a milk allergy, just like Ellie had at this age.

I'm sad for her, as she can hardly nurse without squirming and jerking. I can only imagine how her little tummy hurts, and hope that we can get her some relief quickly. She couldn't settle herself down on Thursday and went from 8am-midnight with only a few catnaps lasting less than 20 minutes each. We were all exhausted by the time she cashed out. My nerves were a little frayed as well.

We will be testing her poopy diapers at her well visit to the dr. on Tuesday to see if there is any more evidence of an allergy. And I decided that I just wasn't ready to throw in the towel with nursing, so I am cutting out all forms of cow's milk in my diet and will continue to breastfeed as long as it seems to be the best choice for Maddie.

I am giving up dairy on the eve of 'National Dairy Month' - June. How poetic. I'll bet you didn't know that was actually recognized?! It is, according to a local publication called "The Glancer". I didn't realize just how much dairy was a part of my diet, even though I never drink a straight glass of milk. No more pizza nights, homemade lasagna, ice cream, yogurt, cheese on anything, or... wait for it... LATTES. I'm embarrassed to say I almost don't know what to eat at each meal. I need to get out my recipe collection and try some new things and shift the focus to the positives of how much healthier my diet is going to be after this.

My little Madeline is totally worth the effort. I don't get to spend as much time with just her as I did with Robbie and Ellie as babies, but nursing her is quality time that is special for the two of us. If I still have the choice, I want to keep it for as long as possible.

Overall she is already settling as it seems the milk proteins are leaving my system. She nursed peacefully so far today, and is back to her typical sleeping patterns. Last night she had a fussy few hours before bed and nursing wasn't settling her so I tried a bottle of soy formula (we were out of options).

It went over like a lead balloon.

Getting ready.

Attempting the bottle. She refused to latch on.

Her best "Why are you punishing me, mom?" face. She drank exactly 10 drops of this bottle and then we called it quits.

Clearly I am not one of those moms who has a rigid view of how a baby should be fed. Robbie and Ellie both moved to bottles of formula at 4 and 2 months, respectively. And it was positive for all of us when we did it, for a number of reasons. However, for Maddie and I at this present time, it doesn't feel like the right transition to make. I will admit that after attempting the formula bottle last night, I cried. I still have the very strong desire to breastfeed my baby no matter what the inconvenience or sacrifice, if it's what she prefers (and clearly it is). If we get to the place where I have no choice, then we will move on at that point. But we aren't there yet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I've been a mom since 1992

So as I'm getting ready for bed tonight, this is where my mind wanders...

A lot of what I do right now for my kids is encourage and cheer them on. ("Good job sharing with your sister! / pooping on the potty! / drooling! / using a fork! / not killing each other!")

Sometimes it's legitimate, and sometimes it's a stretch, but I'm always trying to encourage my kids even when they miss the mark completely.

Rewind a decade (or almost two)...

I was a cheerleader in junior high and high school. I went to Christian school for those 6 years, and at the end of the basketball games my girlfriends and I cheered for, if our team lost, we had this one cheer we would always do.

"WE! ARE! PROUD OF YOU! SAY WE-ARE-PROUD-OF-YOU!" ::clap-clap-clap::
{And repeat as many times as possible until the team disappears into the locker room, the stands start clearing out, the mood has passed, whatever...}

Oh my gosh, you guys. Only at a Christian school would there be a standard cheer for the games our team LOST.

And now I am mortified, as I reflect back. Do you think 7th and 8th grade boys want to hear that their female classmates, dressed in pleated skirts down to their knees (modesty first!), were PROUD of them when they lost a game? I am thinking that by high school when the coach took the guys into the locker room at half time, if he had run out of inspirational pep talks, he might have resorted to saying something like "Will you guys just please win this game, so that we don't have to listen to the cheerleaders chant about how proud of your terrible performance they are?". And maybe those guys dug down deep and found it within themselves to make a few more free throws so that we all could be spared the public humiliation.

So to all my male classmates from approximately 1992-1998... I'm sorry. So very sorry. It's like you had 10 younger versions of your mother standing on the sidelines of your basketball games. Smiling and telling you we were proud of you, when really? You just wanted to go home and forget about the humiliation of losing. We drug it out, made it worse, and I'm sure really made you want to date us. (haha!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm a mess

Oh sleep deprivation. You make blogging so hard. Finding the time is hard enough, but when I open up that blank, white, menacing, empty post screen... I type and delete and retype and sit and think and FOR THE LIFE OF ME cannot coherently write out the thoughts in my head.

Would you settle for a few pictures? I thought so. You're so forgiving like that.

Little lady is a SNOOZER. She is giving me 4-5 hour stretches between nursing pretty regularly now, especially in the evenings and overnight. She has Armbruster blood running through her veins, as evidenced by the positions I catch her sleeping in.

I know, I want to snuggle her right now, too, after looking at those tiny hands and kissable cheeks. Lucky for me she's due for her nighttime feeding any minute! Cannot wait to tuck in with her for a cozy night of sleep on a rainy night.

A few days ago Robbie and I slipped out of the house together just the two of us - I was desperate for a latte. Rob stayed home with the girls, already asleep for the night, and on our way to Starbucks we discovered a full rainbow in the evening sky! It was gone by the time we headed home. I'm glad Robbie and I stopped on the sidewalk and had a little refresher about Noah and the great flood, and God's promise to us to never flood the earth again, with the symbol of His promise right in front of us!

Sadly the little jaunt included me dropping my iPhone on the tile floor and completely shattering the screen. Have I mentioned how much I dislike the clumsiness that comes with pregnancy and the '4th trimester'? It's ridiculous.

Next: A sweet moment last week, when Robbie asked to hold Maddie over his shoulder 'like mommy does'.

Our new favorite book before bedtime is Judy Sierra's "The Sleepy Little Alphabet". If you have kids, I highly recommend her books. This book taught Ellie her ABC's - she can nearly say the whole alphabet, but we're still working on random letter recognition.

"Hmmm... which letter do I love the most!?"

{She's a big fan of "W"...}

The sun was not shining, it was too wet to play...

Snuggling sisters one morning.
Ellie = no longer the baby, if there was any lingering question!

Maddie seems to be angry at my early morning photo shoot...

I was sort of pleased with myself the afternoon I took this picture with my phone, because I figured out how to cook dinner while all 3 kids were awake. Up until now, that used to signal carry out or pizza delivery! Granted, by the time Rob walked in the door, the older 2 were fighting over something and Maddie was trying to milk her own fist. But we all sat down and ate dinner together. Success!

Ahh... I love this picture. It's the first time I had the chance to sit on the couch by myself in the middle of the day, having put all 3 kids down for naps in their beds. I didn't trust the situation, and ate my lunch fast.

And just to prove that things aren't always as good as they seem, Ellie woke up 20 minutes after I took that picture (a good hour earlier than she should have), as well as Maddie (she was ticked that I had the nerve to nap her in her bassinet). Also? Did you notice that no one is sleeping in an actual twin bed? It's cribs all around here. And because R and E need to start sharing a room so that Maddie can move into the nursery, we will be assembling a 3rd crib. Once the older 2 are used to sleeping in the same room together and the novelty has worn off, we are thinking the transition to twin beds might be easier. Or praying that it will be. Whatever. I just want to sleep more and this seems to be the best way to accomplish that goal.

Uncle Brad and Aunt Christine came to visit last Thursday and Friday! It was so great to introduce them to Maddie, and they were both so adorable with her (as they are with all of their nieces and nephews).

We are teaching the kids how to play dominos - and I particularly love that Ellie now plays in this squat position often.

Yesterday we went to a wedding in Wisconsin, and didn't get home until midnight. We wouldn't have missed it for the world, but oh my goodness if I'm not an old lady already because today I was exhausted! And I couldn't sing in church this morning because I semi lose my voice when I stay up too late. Robbie and Ellie were in MOODS this afternoon because of unsuccessful naps, so we decided to field trip it out to Sonic in Aurora for dinner. When we got home I let them consume their juice boxes on the front walk, a safe place for the inevitable mess. They surprised me and did well with them...

And then they surprised me by looking years older than they actually are. Stop growing up!

And that concludes yet another random catch up blog post in which all the photos came from my phone. I'm a sad excuse for a blogger. Hang with me, I'll be back soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Parenting

My friend Becky posted this link on her blog and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd repost it for you.

Here's to getting it right, whatever that means! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My itty bitty baby

Madeline gave me a bouquet of first smiles to start off the day yesterday! If I didn't already think she was beautiful (which I do), her lopsided grin that reveals a right-side-only dimple sealed the deal. Then she decided to pull a fast one on me, and showed me that she fits more comfortably in size 1 diapers than newborn size, as well as 0-3 month clothes and sleepers as opposed to newborn size. Slow down, little lady. You grew up too fast for me this week!

Now I am obsessed with trying to capture her new expression with the camera. Good luck to me. I'll share a picture when I get one!

By the way - it was 85 degrees here yesterday (and humid). We were red-faced and sweating after 30 minutes of playing outside, and I even turned on the air conditioning before nap time! Bring on summer...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Impromptu Cinco de Mayo date night

*Just saw that I actually have a picture of Ellie playing 'Ice cream' (see previous post). At this particular moment we are licking Mr. Potato Head's nose. We're easy going like that with our objects of choice. Nose, tongue, the letter 'i' from our alphabet magnets, mommy's make up brush, whatever.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday. I am all set to enjoy mine. Rob and I had the chance to go out to dinner on a date last night and it was just what we needed. My sweet sister stayed with Robbie and Ellie and conquered bedtime with them like it was no big deal (which most nights, it IS!). Not only did I not have to wrestle them to bed with Rob, but I didn't have to cook or clean up dinner. All I did was hand over a gift card to pay (most of) the bill, and for the rest of the evening Rob and I talked.

Even Maddie complied and slept the entire time at the restaurant under the canopy on her car seat. Not a peep and she was totally due to nurse. Bless her for that!

I know everyone says this and even I know it's true, but I was reminded again last night just how important it is to schedule time with your spouse when you have a new baby in the house. Or even just a lot of kids that make it hard to have a conversation.

Being given the opportunity to get outside of the chaos and enjoy a warm meal someone else cooks for you and having the ability to talk uninterrupted for a few hours is priceless. It's rejuvenating and important and we will be doing this more frequently.

Have I mentioned lately that I somehow managed to marry the best guy out there? Because I did. If I had been the kind of girl to make a list of all the qualities and traits I wanted in a future husband and father of my children, I don't think I would have even dared to dream that someone could check everything off that list and then blow me away with how much more he had to offer beyond it.

Rob Livingston... so glad you agreed to take Chem for Living and Ceramics with me during our senior year of college so that we had extra time to fall in love.

And Mom Livingston? So glad you raised your boy the way you did. I get all the benefits from your years of hard work and sacrifice, but you know it's not lost on me! Thank you. I am full on celebrating you right now in the spirit of Mother's Day. Here's to hoping I do half as good of a job mothering Robbie as you did with your boys.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

That thing you do

I realize that when I am tired or preoccupied, I lose my sense of humor. Sorry to those of you who used to read my blog for entertainment - it's become more of a documentary/journal blog for the time being. Hopefully my sense of humor reappears soon, because it's more fun to laugh and find the comical side of things!

My kids, however, are not lacking in hilarity.


- laid down on her belly on the kitchen floor yesterday, and with her whole body stiffened, pushed herself backwards around the room with her hands. It was really odd, I've never seen anyone do this. Ever.

- says "BOUNCE!" when I retrieve her from her crib and before I can grab her, gets up on her knees and bounces like a maniac. This lasts for a good minute or two, and I don't know if it's her floppy hair that falls completely over her face while she does it or what, but I just stand there and laugh at her every time.

- brought me toy tractor tires on a kids plate and exclaimed "DESSERT!". A whole bin of pretend food, and this is what you are serving?

- somewhere along the line, the kids have figured out that ice cream can come in a cone, and that you hold it up to your face and lick it. (We only do ice cream in bowls over here. Surprised?!) So now their new favorite thing is to hold up an object - any object - and lick it over and over and say between licks "Ice cream". The Mr. Potato Head tongue is the coveted pretend ice cream item - they will fight over who gets to hold and lick it each day, and on a good day (for them - bad day for me!) they share it and take turns licking it. In other news, I have given up on the germ situation between the two of them.


- has taken to whispering the last half of his spoken sentences, randomly. He will start to say or ask for something, and then decide whispering would be more fun and cup his hands around the sides of his mouth and finish it off with a whisper. The part that kills me is that he raises his eyebrows as he does this and tries to really get you excited/engaged in whatever he's saying. I guess we do this a lot?

- offered to nurse the baby yesterday when she started to fuss by coming up to me, pulling his shirt up and saying "I can nurse Maddie!". Um, no, you can't.

- was playing outside with my sister the other day, and found a little colony of ants in the sidewalk crack. She said that he was examining them closely, and then smacked at one with his hand, pulled back, took in the carnage, and quietly said to himself "Well, THAT was interesting!".

- new hobby: hunting for ants on our kitchen floor with Ellie. They both crouch down and entertain themselves once they've found one for quite a while. Do you all get ants in the summer like we do? Dislike.

- got really mad at me the night I painted Ellie's nails because he wanted me to paint his, too, and couldn't understand why boys don't paint their nails.

- insists that a new part of his bedtime routine must include Rob and I acting like we are about to kiss each other, and then Robbie sneaking his face in between us at the very last second so that instead of kissing one another, we each end up kissing his cheeks.

Even Maddie makes me laugh:

- Rob took a picture on his phone this morning before leaving for work of Maddie and I sleeping. She sleeps up against me in our bed at night (no judgement! Or feel free to judge, just keep it to yourself. ha!), and apparently we were both sleeping in the same position at the same time - one arm up over our head with our face snuggled up against it. It looks like we staged it, and it's just funny to me because she looks so little next to me but is quite a carbon copy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sometimes being a mom is flat out hard.

A quiet heart does not depend on external circumstances. I so often let what is happening around me or to me influence the tenor of my spirit - in fact, I would say 90% of the time that is how I live. But I have been asking God lately to help me as a mother. And He is revealing amazing things to me that are often painful to learn about myself but necessary to identify in order to grow beyond where I am right now.

Sometimes when I talk about these things with other people, they are quick to offer me excuses for why I make the mistakes I do... 3 kids ages 3 and under! A newborn in the house! Lack of sleep! Little boys are challenging! Nonstop nursing! If I'm honest, I was the first to offer those same excuses up to the Lord when I would catch sight of my reflection and not like what I was seeing. An ugly moment when the kids wouldn't stop fighting and I raised my voice. A little arm that was grabbed too tightly out of frustration. Discipline that was administered out of anger instead of loving correction. Eyes that rolled, exasperated phrases uttered, threats issued, love and generosity withheld. All ugly. So, so ugly.

This past weekend I confessed to Rob that I am making myself miserable by giving in to the frustration, and don't like who I am becoming in the moments that are challenging. The worst part about it was that I could tell it was starting to greatly influence the atmosphere in our home. In the middle of the struggle we went through in our first attempt to sleep Robbie and Ellie in the same room this past weekend, I finally surrendered. I confessed my fears (again), anxiety, the desire for control and the temptation to give up on discipline to the Lord and asked him to forgive me. Then I asked Him to fill my heart and our home with His presence. I shed a few tears (yes, out of my desire for a little more sleep and peace that has yet to make its way to our everyday lives!), and then determined that it was time for a fresh start. I forgave myself for what God had already forgiven me of.

And then I went to Moms Together at our church yesterday, a 2 hour gathering any mother can attend whether or not they attend our church or even share the same beliefs. A panel of 4 mothers who have children who range in age from kindergarten to college answered questions and spoke honestly about the challenges and blessings of motherhood. It was so encouraging to me to be there, in the company of other young mothers with young children themselves, listening to the wisdom of older mothers who have a different perspective on these early years since they are a little farther down the road than we are.

Several things that were said really stood out to me.

One woman said that she found herself yelling at her kids all the time when they were little. She took their disobedience personally, as if each time they did something that was wrong it was because she wasn't a good mother. As a result, their misbehavior would make her angry, and she would end up yelling at them. She said that one day she realized that her yelling revealed her own insecurities as a mom, and she asked for her children's forgiveness and determined to respond differently to them going forward. I appreciated the honesty of this woman - it was so helpful to have my own insecurities pinpointed through listening to her testimony, and to know that as moms we often share the same struggles without realizing it. (Who is quick to point out their own shortcomings!?)

This same woman told a story about hiking up and back down a mountain with her daughter and another family with a daughter the same age as hers. The young girl who was not her own daughter was having a hard time being able to complete the hike, and this woman sprung into 'cheerleader' mode, encouraging the young girl and helping remind her of what awaited at the bottom of the mountain (I think maybe it was a trip to get ice cream or something?). The young girl's mother thanked this woman after everyone made it down the mountain, and she said to us yesterday that she realized had it been her daughter having trouble completing the hike, she would have responded so differently! Instead of encouraging, she might have said something along the lines of 'suck it up', 'quit complianing', etc. And it made her decide to treat her own kids as well as she treated everyone else's!

Another woman shared three questions that she always asks her children when they misbehave: 1) What did you do that was wrong? 2) Why was it wrong? and 3) What can you do to make it right? I thought these were great. I even asked Robbie these questions today when I had to discipline him for a bad choice he made while playing with Ellie, to see if he was old enough to dialogue about his misbehavior, and he could answer every question.

And then someone pointed out that our children start out not knowing who Jesus is, and guess who has the greatest opportunity to influence them and teach them about who He is and what He has done for us?! Moms and dads. And the greatest way that we teach them is by the way we live, how we treat and interact with our spouses, and how we engage with them as children.

All this to say - being a mother of young kids is hard. I think I knew it would be, but I never dreamed that carrying and birthing them would seem like a cakewalk compared to raising and disciplining them. What's the title of that book, 'I used to be a really good mother - until I became one'? Can't we all identify with that?

So if you are a young mother, and find yourself at your wit's end at that dreaded hour, 4pm (or even earlier, as I sometimes do!), know that you aren't alone. And thankfully we have a compassionate, forgiving, and loving Father that we can turn to who will fill us with His Spirit and enable us to be the mothers to these sweet little ones that He desires us to be, even in the most challenging moments.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Maddie is one month old!

Madeline Jane...

You've been with us for one whole month already!
The cliche is true - time is flying by. I feel like it was yesterday that the doctor was breaking my water, and that we were meeting you for the first time!

You are beautiful and healthy, sweet and cuddly, and even more of a blessing than we could have dreamed you'd be. You are a little hybrid of your brother and sister in your appearance, reminding us of Robbie in your coloring and your eyes, and reflecting Ellie with your button nose and finger-toes. But you are also your own little person with that strawberry hair (!), slender fingers and nearly invisible eyebrows and lashes.

In your first month, you've proven to be a very easy baby. You're a champion nurser, you withstand a LOT of love from your older siblings, and a drive in the car in your car seat or being tucked into the sling for a walk with mommy puts you right to sleep.

You were born at 6 lbs 9 oz, and are already just over 8 lbs. You are still in newborn size diapers, and newborn size clothing finally fits you well (until about a week or two ago it was still too big for your little frame! The waist is still loose on those newborn pants.). Only one of your headbands is small enough to stay in place on your head, and I am dying to accessorize your sweet face with some pretty flowers and bows nestled against that beautiful hair.

You are still sleeping at night with me in bed, and lately you are having a hard time sleeping anywhere but in my arms whether day or night. This is challenging... given that you are the third and not the first child in our family! I could really use an extra set or two of arms right about now. You haven't left my side since you were born, and until you decide to nurse a little less frequently I don't see this changing (today you nursed every 1-2 hours! I suspect a little growth spurt.).

{edible baby toes}

You have angel kisses or stork's bites all over the back of your head and neck, although they are hard to see because they are under your hair. You also have one above your left eye.

You were put on acid reflux medicine at 3 weeks, and it seems to work well for you.
You make a pretty cute sour face each time I have to give you a dose!

{my size 4 engagement ring looks big on your toes! what tiny feet...}

You are really waking up, and spend bits of time throughout the day with your eyes wide open, taking in your surroundings. You fix your gaze on me when I move my face close to yours and talk softly to you. Twice now you have given me a big, open mouthed smile, but they were a few days apart and I can't be certain that it was intentional or in response to anything I did. So I continue to patiently wait for you to respond to us with that sweet smile that shows off the single dimple in your right cheek and claim it as my own.

We are so thankful for you, Madeline Jane. To me, you fit your name perfectly. You fit into our family perfectly. And you are a constant reminder to me that the Lord knows exactly what we need, and when we need it.

My pregnancy with you was more of a struggle than I anticipated, but your birth and this first month have been an absolute gift and blessing beyond what I had the courage to ask God for. I thought by now I would be hobbling along as a mother, crippled with fear, postpartum depression and inability. Instead you have helped me see that with God, I am able to find the strength I need to manage these days and even enjoy them.

{waving hello?}

It's not always pretty and I certainly lack the grace I wish I had each day, but we are all growing together in this family, and you are one of the reasons why. You remind me that in my own strength, I will not accomplish anything. But with God, all things are possible.

It's good to be kept humble.

{adorable baby sneeze}

Maddie, our prayer is that you always know how loved you are - by your Heavenly Father and by us, your earthly family. We hope that your growing knowledge of Him develops into a firm and unshakable belief that changes lives and inspires others to love Him, too. We love that God has given us His Word, so that we can know for sure that He has created each of us with a purpose. Did you know that all of the days of your life were ordained by God before you were even created? Psalm 139 taught me that. How special you must be to Him. How dearly He must love you. Even more than we do - we can't begin to understand this but we will teach it to you!

Every downy, strawberry hair on your sweet little head is known to Him. I have already tried to memorize your sweet expressions and quirks and subtle physical traits that no one but a mother notices (like the way your right ear is a little pointier at the top than your left), but He knows you thoroughly - inside and out. Better than anyone else ever will. I'm so thankful for that, because He is a good God, and He will be faithful to you.

Happy one month birthday, sweet girl. We love you and enjoy you so much.

The weekend in pictures

We all have our moments, hers are just so cute that I have to capture them.

Finding solace in the baby's Little Lamb chair, her favorite refuge.

This weekend, it seemed that no one was able to resist Madeline's charm. Ellie snuck a few peeks at her while she rested in her swing, and gave her a few (supervised and surprisingly gentle) pushes.

This is her leaning in for a hug.
Be still my heart.

Our friends Jeff and Becky drove down from Wisconsin just to meet Maddie for a few hours on Friday!

Then my Aunt Sherry stopped by on her way into town from Cincinnati to see my grandma Jessie, and brought Jessie over with her to spend time with us on Saturday.

And of course this little guy has to snuggle her each day.

A quiet Sunday chat.

Sweet Maddie - you are precious to so many of us!

And just because they're cute...
Siblings playing trains in the front window.

And tearing apart the living room furniture.

Technical difficulties

The notion that getting Robbie and Ellie to share a room would be comical was wishful thinking. Last night was awful, and today hasn't been anything to write home about either.

Ellie screamed at bedtime on and off for 2 hours (don't worry, we checked on her and made sure nothing was really wrong) - she was just not happy about being put to bed in Robbie's crib in his room. Once she finally fell asleep (well past Robbie's bedtime as well as her own), we snuck him in and put him to bed in his big boy bed. Then we realized that Ellie had a poopy diaper but were we going to wake her up to change it? No way. Robbie had thankfully fallen asleep once his head hit the pillow so we thought maybe we were good for the night.

At around 2am we were awakened to the sound of Ellie happily exclaiming "Poopy!" from her crib, and as I approached their bedroom Robbie was already out of bed and swinging open the bedroom door to alert us to the situation. But he was happy as a clam, not at all bothered by the situation, all goofy-smile and bed head. So I changed Ellie's diaper and put her back in her crib and tucked both kids in again. Ellie wasn't having ANY of it anymore and started to cry all over again, which made Robbie bawl. Rob had come in by this time and so we split the kids up and they both spent the rest of the night in their own cribs. Apparently, as I slept / nursed Maddie in a fog for the remaining hours of the early morning, Rob spent quite a while trying to get Ellie to actually fall asleep again.

So whatever, this whole ordeal wouldn't be that hard if it were the only variable. But layer in the fact that Miss Maddie has decided that she would like to nurse every 1 1/2 hours, and has boycotted sleeping unless she is held, nursing or snuggled up in bed with her momma, and you get a very challenging situation. Everyone screams for mommy at the same time, and only one person gets her. The baby usually wins.

At one point Rob pointed out that we have spent the last 12 hours with at least one of our children (and at times all 3!) crying it out. And for the last 24 hours, we have simply been focusing our time and energy on getting. everyone. to. sleep. UNSUCCESSFULLY! Including ourselves.

We didn't make it to church, needless to say. I didn't make it into the shower until lunch time, and after taking 'breaks' to nurse Maddie after everything I try to do, I have given up on getting ready for the day (it's 2:30 already)! We tried to nap Robbie and Ellie in the same room again and it went over about as well as last night - a little crying, then a lot of playing and chatting and laughing, followed by Ellie monkey-jumping in the crib only to bonk her face on the side railing, which resulted in a fat lip. We put her back in her crib in her own room and left Robbie in his bed, which brings us to the present - I am nursing Madeline while she dozes in our bed, and Ellie is finally asleep but Robbie is 'resting' next to me, making me crazy and keeping me from a much needed nap.

On the plus side, I have figured out how to multi-task in new ways. I can now do most things, such as sleep, eat, use the bathroom, discipline the older kids, and read books to them all while nursing Maddie. I also know that I can function on less sleep than I thought I could. On the not-so-plus-side, this is insanity and it makes me want to eat pizza and ice cream all day long to cope with the cabin fever, the crying, and the exhaustion. I told Rob today this is why I feel like we are never going to leave the house! And then I do bad things like start to think about how I need to begin potty training, and it makes me want to throw in the towel. So we just don't think about that, and instead we buy another large box of diapers for each kid and pick our battles for the present moment.

Oye. My constant prayer and only goal right now is to get through the day with as much patience as possible, remembering that no matter how frustrating these moments can be, I am so blessed by each of our children and love them so much. And that one day I'll actually wish for these days again.