Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh Friday.

Oh dear. I had planned to get up with Maddie for her early morning feeding, and then put her back down and stay up to shower, do my bible study, get a little housework done, etc.

And then Maddie decided to drop all of her feedings through the night (YAE!) and I lost my built-in alarm clock (boo).

So all 4 of us woke up at the same time this morning - 7:30am. I got the older 2 up and whipped up scrambled eggs and waffles and sat them down at the table as quickly as I could. Then I brought Maddie down to the table and fed her a bottle as the older 2 finished eating. They played in the living room while I finished with Maddie in the kitchen. And then Ellie started to cry and yell about Robbie biting her.

Robbie had bitten her on her big toe as they fought over a toy. I interrupt Maddie's bottle and lay her on the floor nearby (she starts to fuss) while I console Ellie, and as I'm picking Robbie up to put him on the couch for a time out, he throws a few letter blocks which bounce dangerously close to Maddie's head. I look at him in disbelief, and he knows he just made a really bad choice. He starts to cry too, and so all 3 kids are crying now, which makes them all cry harder.

I remove Robbie from the living room and take him to the only place I know I can trust him at the moment not to do more harm or make a mess... his crib. I go back downstairs and bring Maddie and Ellie up with me, and tell Ellie to pick a book and read while I finish feeding Maddie in the nursery. She complies and I give Maddie the rest of her bottle. Then I try to put her back down for her morning nap, which is a joke to her given all the commotion. I do my best to soothe her and leave her in her crib.

Back to Robbie - I take him out of his crib and go through our discipline routine with him in the bathroom next door, when I hear a bang and Ellie starts crying again. She had tripped on something and hit her head on the wall (it was minor), and fell apart again.

At this point, I am near tears. It's 10:30am, no one is out of their pj's including me, the older 2 have poopy diapers that I literally have not had a moment to change yet, and everyone is crying or in a terrible mood. And if kids are walking around in poopy pants, you know I haven't had a cup of coffee yet, much less a glass of water or anything to eat.

I consider just hobbling through the next hour or so and putting everyone to bed early for naps. But I decide against it - what if they're not tired and won't sleep? Then the whole day will be miserable for all of us.

I go with plan B: SKIP NAPS ALTOGETHER. *gulp*

I turn on Olivia, the kids' new favorite show, and hop in the shower. I get ready in the amount of time it takes for them to watch a second episode, throw a diaper bag together, and we are out the door by 11 or 11:30am.

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

First we caffeinate mom. Then we pick up lunch and head to the park for a picnic. Did you know that many parks are empty at 12/12:30pm!? Everyone is home eating and getting ready for naps! The kids play and eat intermittently and we all lose track of time. We got nowhere to be, for once.

Next stop is the library. A book I reserved was ready to be picked up, so we grab it and head downstairs to the children's section. We admire the (odd, now that I think about it) lighted displays below the librarian's counter that has a miniature barn scene set up, and play "I Spy" for a while until all animals are identified. Then I let the kids do whatever they want. Because guess what else is empty at this time of day? (The children's section of the library!) Madeline catnaps.

I think it's about 2pm when we leave the library, and I know I have to keep the kids active and out of the house because although they'd deny it with their lips, their bodies are BEGGING ME at this point to put them to bed.

I pull into the parking lot at Target and laugh at myself. I KNOW this is a bad idea. Target? At NAPTIME?! I'm asking for a group meltdown or at the very least an embarrassing scene. I tell the kids they can pick out a snack after we get the few things on our shopping list, and it works. They pick Cars themed fruit snacks and I indulge them with 2 packages each, mainly because that's how long it takes us to get out of the store. Confession: I propped Maddie up with a bottle during our shopping trip. I really hate doing that, but there you have it.

3pm, we head home. The kids play in the family room while I unpack diaper bags and groceries, and daddy says he'll be home at 5:30. We plan to take the kids out for dinner (for my sake so that I don't have to cook), but they're hyper/exhausted so we opt for carry out. We pick up Portillo's (I supplement dinner with yogurt and applesauce for the kids) and head to a nearby park for a picnic dinner.

And they all went to bed easily and happily once we got home.

Thank goodness. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Well that didn't take long


Today? I didn't make a note as we went along of what we did. I know we woke up late, and that Maddie slept through the night again (this is a great stretch she's giving me this week of not waking around 1am!). We are all sluggish in the morning lately and end up eating breakfast at 10am - our days are getting really off schedule. The kids' naps are creeping later and later which is making bedtime difficult. I'm about to start nudging their little bodies in their cribs in the morning and getting everyone back on our normal schedule!

This morning it was raining and for whatever reason I was getting cabin fever early. So I took the kids to The Container Store, and got Robbie and Ellie to ride in the double stroller by giving them suckers and graham crackers. I carried Maddie in the Moby wrap. It was enough to get us through the store and out without incident! Yeah. I fed them lunch, staggered their naps, and by the time I got the last one down the first was starting to wake up.

We spent the afternoon making cupcakes together. It took forever since the point was to let Robbie and Ellie help, and it ended up being really fun and messy. They were so proud and it got them to eat their vegetables at dinner, knowing that a cupcake was there for dessert. We used the recipe that is found in the back of the children's book "Cupcake - A journey to special". It's the kids' favorite book right now, Ellie can even read the story to me she knows it by heart. They thought it was fun to say that their cupcakes were 'born' when they came out of the oven this afternoon, just like the book. And Robbie kept asking if it was time to give the cupcakes a 'coat of frosting'. Too funny.

Rob had a work dinner tonight so I juggled dinner, baths and bedtime for all 3 on my own. That usually means that it gets a little ugly at times, but we made it! And Rob brought home ice cream for the two of us, which was a nice end to the day.


I did make a list of things I don't want to forget about currently:

- Robbie is really into rhyming and will randomly ask or tell me that one word rhymes with another. Most of the time he's right and gets the concept.

- He is curious about abstract things, which is interesting developmentally to me. He also wants to know how old everyone (and everything) is. He phrases the question as "What's your number?" meaning how old are you. He asked me the other day how old his bowl of popcorn was. I don't even know how to answer him sometimes!

- Ellie is quite the pouter right now. She lowers her head and slumps her shoulders anytime she senses that she's about to be reprimanded or told 'No'. Rob and I have both agreed that it's hilarious, and yet garners zero sympathy from us because it's a total act. She peeks out from behind her curly locks at us and if she realizes that she's in the clear she cracks up.

- Maddie is an all-out squealer and laughs at us a lot. It's fun to see her engage with us more, and she is just so stinking pleasant and sweet and happy all the time! She's also totally into putting her fingers in her mouth, with her favorite thing being putting her pointer finger on her tongue and moving it around / sucking on it. It's really cute in that way that everything a baby does is cute to the mom. :) Even the third time around. ESPECIALLY the third time around.

- Robbie has told me twice this week when I ask him if he wants to play trains that no, he wants to play cars. Could this be the subtle beginning of a switch away from his beloved trains!?

- Ellie, on the other hand, just tags along with Robbie whatever he's doing. I am not exactly sure what she's 'into' right now... it's literally whatever Robbie's into at the moment!

- I switched Ellie to 2% organic milk this week. She has been on Soy since her first birthday and the doctor encouraged us to move to cow's milk because of all the hormones in soy milk and how they are finding that they affect the growth of little girls, in particular. She wasn't trying to alarm me at all, but I hate that whole idea and it was enough to make me move her off of Soy immediately, cold turkey. With a little bit of strawberry Nesquik Ellie now loves 2% milk. Hooray for only having to buy one kind of milk again!

- Sometimes when Ellie blows her own nose, she checks the Kleenex afterwards and exclaims "GOT IT!" with a proud smile.

- I bathed both girls with a new all-natural baby soap a few days ago and it gave them each a little rash on their tummies. Our kids have such sensitive skin.

- I exchanged our video monitor this week and the model we used to have isn't sold in stores anymore, so I had to get a different one. The new cameras we have now can be remote controlled by the monitor which is awesome, but I can also use it like a walkie-talkie and speak into the monitor and the kids can hear me through a little speaker on the camera. I've tried this several times when Robbie isn't settling down for naps or bedtime, and it scares him to death! He settles down alright... and then cries and begs me to come into the room. It totally unnerves him to hear my voice and not see me.

- I started an internal cleanse as well as new vitamins this week because it seemed like a good idea when I was at Whole Foods the last time. It's all natural/herbal, and not a big deal. I've been fighting headaches and stomach aches and wanted to start fresh with my diet this week anyways, so I figured something like this couldn't hurt. I've been coupling it with a very healthy (for the most part) diet that includes lots of fresh fruit and raw veggies and lean white meat. I'm also trying to increase the amount of water I drink. I love how much better I've been feeling overall. I could do without radioactive-looking 'output' from the process, but I guess that's part of it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Halfway there (to more of the same - ha!)


7:00am - Maddie wakes, I feed her a bottle, burp and change her. Back to sleep for the babe, and before I hope in the shower and get ready for the day I check my favorite blogs.

8:00am - shower, get ready

8:30am - Robbie and Ellie wake up. Change diapers, dress them, and Robbie heads down to reunite with his trains while Ellie plays in my makeup as I finish getting ready.

9:30am - Make and distribute milk cups, make Maddie a bottle and take it upstairs. Wake her up, feed and change her, buckle her into her car seat. Assemble diaper bag, usher the older 2 out to the car and buckle them in, give them cinnamon swirl toast in the car for breakfast. Bring Maddie out to the car and detect a poopy diaper. I'm smart enough not to leave the older 2 in the car by themselves for any amount of time, so I pull Maddie out and change her in the front seat of the car (in the garage - seriously). Hello, blowout diaper. Retrieve the change of clothes I keep in the diaper bag and redress Maddie. Buckle her back up, note how much time and effort it takes to go anywhere and give the cloudy skies my most intimidating look in hopes that it doesn't rain on our parade this morning, after all it's taken to simply back out of the garage.

10:05am - Success! Leave the house and fortify myself with a latte.

10:30am - praying in the car. Begin to feel convicted (again) about my tendencies towards impatience and discontentedness. Start to confess my sinful heart to God, and of course the natural result is a deep sense of gratitude as I count my many, undeserved blessings. I'm so distracted by this time with the Lord that I miss my exit on the highway. I am such a bonehead. Detour adds 15 minutes onto our little trip.

10:45am - arrive at our destination, Barnes and Noble. I give a firm explanation of expectations and non-negotiable rules for parking garage and bookstore behavior. Kids hold hands the entire way door to door, and no more than 5 steps inside B&N they lose their minds and run in opposite directions. I'm so very aware of the people around me that are watching my response whenever this happens in public. Partially because I'm self-conscious, partially because I want so badly to be able to manage these three little ones gracefully on my own when we are out. Mainly because I enjoy the variety of reactions in others' faces that range from pity to amusement to knowing smiles to annoyance. I appreciate the moments of camaraderie and encouragement from other mothers and vow to be the one giving that vibe to others down the road as well. We make our way up the elevator and into the children's section, where R & E camp out at the train table and play peaceably for quite a while. So calm are they that I pull Maddie out of her car seat and hold her up on my shoulder - she thanks me by spitting up on my clean shirt. Sad that it's important for me to note that it's a clean one? Whatever. Then Robbie poops in his diaper and we are officially a mess that needs to be cleaned up in the bathroom. Threaten the kids within an inch of their lives not to touch anything as I change all 3 diapers and use the restroom myself. Douse children with antibacterial self-foaming instant hand sanitizer. Curse my germaphobic self. Make our way downstairs and juggle antsy, hungry kids while attempting to pay the slowest cashier in the Midwest (please, no more lessons in patience! ha). I swear she was trying to punish me.

12:05pm - leave B&N for home.

12:30pm - feed the kids lunch, stagger them for naps. Lay Maddie down after giving her a bottle.

1:30pm - rest, make and eat my lunch (same as yesterday with the addition of a small cup of leftover soup and a handful of blueberries to compensate for my lack of breakfast!), prepare a few things to send to friends, dink around online (have you discovered yet?!), watch part of "Courage Under Fire".

2:30pm - R & E wake from their naps, and play (read: destroy the family and living rooms with their toys) while I upload pictures from our weekend at the lake house.

5:00pm - our beloved babysitter stops by to say hello! She's been gone for a month getting married in Colorado and honeymooning in Mexico and just returned this week. We are so happy to have her back home, and enjoy talking with her about the trip, her wedding, becoming a wife, etc. She is so special to us and feels like an extension of our family. The kids are beside themselves to see her again and (wouldn't you know?) go nuts. As in, Robbie starts hauling around pieces of furniture and whacking us all on the head with his blanket, and Ellie spins herself around until she falls over and giggles like a crazy person. I tell our sitter that somehow, in the time that she's been gone, the infant has become the easy one of the bunch.

6:00pm - feed the kids dinner, then give them popsicles in the tub since it worked so nicely last night.

7:00pm - Put Ellie to bed, make Rob's and my dinner. Robbie plays with toys and has a popcorn snack nearby.

7:30pm - Maddie wakes up from her 6 hour nap (!), give her a bottle and play with her while I eat my dinner with one hand.

8:15pm - put Maddie back to bed. Change out of my clothes and into my pajamas, which is just your typical summer tank top nightgown, but must look differently from a 3 year old's perspective because Robbie asks if I'm leaving to go to a wedding tonight! Rob and I crack up. I put Robbie to bed, clean the kitchen and family room, make myself a big mug of Chai and head up to bed armed with chocolate chip cookies.

8:45pm - Rob and I watch a DVR'd episode of Jon Stewart and I compose this post. The kids are all settled in their beds and thunder is starting to rumble outside. It's shaping up to be a good night of sleep...

Groundhog Day

Some days we do really fun, unique things. Other days, like today, I lose track of what day of the week it is (forget knowing the actual date). I get lost in the cyclical nature of our life as it is right now... every day can feel exactly like the last one if I'm not careful and thoughtful. Blogging exactly how we spend our time each day has been good for me in a few unexpected ways.

- I hate looking back over a day and seeing that all the potential time I had to spend with my kids was spent on housework and errands without any of it being devoted solely to them. In my quest for balance in order to serve Rob and our family as a unit, I think I've gone a little too far. Time to loosen up and let a room or two stay messy, simplify our meals, and put together a better plan for accomplishing the laundry. Also, I will plan at least one specific thing to do with or for the kids each day. Can be simple, or something unique and special.

- I think milkshakes in the late afternoon might affect my kids' ability to drift peacefully off to sleep. Wouldn't have made that connection if I didn't have that day recorded to look back on!

- When I get an hour or so in the middle of the day during which all 3 kids are sleeping, I have to stop feeling like I must always use it productively. Quite often it's the only time I really have until my head hits the pillow at bedtime to truly check out or relax. Time to give myself permission to rest even though the sun is still up and there are tasks begging for my attention in every room of the house.

- There is not much I can do right now to simplify or streamline our current routines, as laborious as they may seem. Naps and bedtimes for all 3 have to be staggered, because of the room sharing situation and also because Madeline still presents her own schedule to me (I'm fine with that for now, since she's such a big sleeper! No use in forcing the issue of when I would prefer her to nap and go to bed, only to throw her off and end up with her awake and fussy more than she needs to be.). The day will come when all naps coincide or are (knock on wood) eliminated, and bedtime comes and goes effortlessly at the same time every evening. One day we will all eat dinner together. One day we will sleep through the night. Now is not that time. I will lay down what I think I want for an appreciation of what I have, and learn to be deeply grateful for things as they are today. Discontentment is such a terrible companion to keep. I will keep fighting to cut it loose from my heart.


Yesterday I forgot to mention that Robbie came up to me and while examining and playing with my hair, he asked "Mommy, is your hair magic?!". I asked him what he meant instead of immediately answering 'No' - I wanted to know where he was coming up with this thought. He said, "Like in 'Tangled', is your long blond hair magic?". Hilarious! I'm Robbie's real-life Rapunzel. A part of me wanted to tell him that yes, my hair really was magical! Of course I didn't. But for 15 seconds I was a princess to my little boy. It was awesome.

Maddie's introduction to Snow Lake

We did it - packed the family up and spent a long weekend at the lake house this past weekend! As I imagined, it was a mixed bag of fun on the boat, yummy donut breakfasts, relaxing with Mima and Papa, throwing rocks off the pier, ice cream after dinner, and air hockey competitions along with strong little wills on the boat (sit on your bummy! stop honking the horn!), tantrums at bedtime, the exhaustion that comes with managing 3 kids away from home and out of a suitcase, and one very early wake up call for everyone within earshot by you-know-who (hint: it wasn't the infant).

I lost every game I played, even when my dad played left handed. Boo. :)

Mima with her grandkids

Ellie begged Papa to drive the boat almost as much as she begged to honk the horn

Sleepy Maddie loved her first boat ride!

Um, boating is a different experience with 3 kids 3 and under. I'll leave it at that.

We put the kids in their pj's and went for an evening boat ride before bedtime the first night (Rob met up with us the following day).

Ellie insisted on climbing down on her own. Little Miss Independent (wonder where she gets that from?)

Being a mom means being ok with becoming a pack mule for even the smallest of events (and even still, I somehow forgot DIAPERS FOR THE BABY, which we ended up needing! haha).

Snacktime in the wagon on the deck.

A heart to heart with Papa

Mima taught Robbie how to throw rocks off the end of the pier, and it quickly became his favorite (daily) activity.

Sort of unsure as to where to find the rocks...

Mima helps him out and they fill their fists with smooth stones destined for the bottom of the lake.

My parents just had this deck added on, and although it's not quite finished we love it!

Watching the neighbors try to start their boat (it wasn't cooperating).


Saying good morning to his baby sister with a monster face. :)

She loved it.

On your first trip to the lake house in our family, you get a bottle in the early morning light on this couch and it is photographed. (My mom actually painted, in oils, the picture of me bottle feeding Robbie at this age on his first trip here!)

She has mastered "worried baby".
Hey pretty little thing, everything's going to be alright. I promise.

Here you go - a taste of our 2 year old who's going on 16.
Teenage angst? Check.
Crabby begging to go back to bed upon waking? Check.
Antisocial tendencies until she's had her breakfast? Check.

Ok, this baby is supposed to be the one who looks like me.
Why, then, is she channeling her inner Livingston here (below)!? I CAN'T WIN!

Not sure what face I am making here (maybe I was talking?), but if I don't put these up then I don't have documentation of Maddie's first swim in the lake. And she loved it so much, it was precious! The sacrifices we mothers make in the name of love. Ugh. ;)

Maddie has claimed 'her spot' on my mom's shoulder in the crook of her neck.

Sweet little boy feet

This adoring look is reserved for daddy.

As is this look of love. Be still my heart.

Robbie got a few rides on the tube in. He made us proud again, bravely riding the entire time with his thumb up in the air ('faster!'). I think the fastest we pulled him was around 24 mph. Average speed 18-20mph.

My boys. Love them.