Thursday, March 29, 2012

You are my sunshine

One day this sweet thing woke up with seriously cute bed head.

I melted and took 1,000 pictures while she ate breakfast in the sunshine.

End of story.

For Cheryl and Tami

I know you need a reason to smile and feel a little lighter right now...

...this is the face Ellie made when the hygienist took her picture for the dentist's No Cavities wall a few weeks ago.

She is full of reasons to laugh and smile.

We love you and are sending your family hugs from Wheaton.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet friends who grieve

My heart is so heavy for two dear friends whose fathers are both suffering and near death. If you think of it and are willing...

Pray for Cheryl (and her family) and read she and her siblings' precious thoughts here

Pray for Kristen (and her family) and follow her father's journey here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lights Out

Robbie is almost 4, Ellie is 2 1/2, and Maddie is almost 1. This is what goes on when they are supposed to be sleeping...

...suddenly realized that 1) she can get out of bed on her own after we have put her in it, and 2) she knows how to open her bedroom door and thus make her escape. Until now, she hasn't been able to twist open any of our door handles in the new house. They are glass knobs and I think they were too large and heavy for her little hands to twist. Not anymore. Not going to lie, I liked it better when she thought her big girl bed was a crib with invisible railings. just like her momma when she sleeps. Mouth open. Talks a lot in her sleep. At any given moment, arms and/or legs are hanging over the edge of the bed. One night I went in to put her back up on the bed as she was falling out! It was impressive timing but totally coincidental, in the monitor I could just see that an arm and a leg were hanging over the edge. She has yet to fall out of bed, but it's coming. At least her room is carpeted.

...Ellie goes to bed around 7/7:30pm, sleeps in until 7:30am, and takes a 1-2 hour nap from about 12-2pm. She tells me when she's tired and ready to go to bed. She loves for me to lay with her as she falls asleep, but we're trying not to do this much anymore so as not to create bad habits.

...has been caught playing with his Leapster Explorer under the covers when he is supposed to be sleeping! This kid... he is like a 13 year old trapped in a 3 year old's body some days. fond of hiding coins underneath his mattress on the wood beam between the slats of the bed. I only found them while he had the flu because I had to change his sheets. Now I know where his secret hiding place is! Don't tell him I know. ;)

...absolutely hates going to bed, but we still make him do it around 7/7:30pm. He sleeps until 5:45am, maybe 6am if I'm lucky and he's extra tired. Then he decides what kind of mood he's in: tap mommy's face until she wakes up? stand nose to nose with her and breathe quietly until she freaks out and wakes up? go stealth-mode and try to unplug her iPhone and sneak off with it to take pictures for an hour? or just climb up into bed with her and nag her to put a cartoon on until she gets up? getting over his fear of sleeping in his own room and no longer talks about being afraid of the dark, but does not like to spend a minute longer than necessary in there by himself. {See above...}

...does not seem ready to begin potty training overnight. We've had a few failed attempts and aren't rushing things.

...averages 1 or 2 naps per week, and Wednesdays are almost a guaranteed nap day since "School is really makin' me tired!".

...loves for me to tuck him in with the story of how his dad and I prayed that God would give us a baby, and then HE was born! And he makes us so happy. He closes his eyes and snuggles down under his blanket and everything seems right in his little world.

...catches her naps when she can. She typically takes 2 a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some days she only gets one monster nap, like on Wednesdays when she typically sleeps from 1-4pm, and some days she catches up and takes 3.

...adores the stuffed animals in her crib and clutches them as she sleeps. She uses a paci to sleep, and I think this also helps her with her teething discomfort. She hates her sleep sacks and tries to pull them off!

...heads to bed around 6:15/6:30pm, and sleeps until 7:30/8am! She rarely wakes in the night, although lately she's been bothered by her teeth. The sounds of the ocean on her sound machine make her feel like she's on vacation, and coupled with her soothing aqua walls, I'd sleep 13+ hours each night in there too.

...cannot fall asleep if anyone is near her, in her room, making noise, or rocking her. She is sleep trained to a fault. But I'm not complaining! All I have to do is lay her in her crib and within minutes she is asleep without a fuss. starting to wake up with bed head, and I love it. Around this age, Ellie showed signs of wave and curl in her hair. I wonder what Maddie's texture will be like, but it doesn't matter because that shade of strawberry is holding strong and it couldn't be cuter. Especially when it's sticking straight up and out!

...frequently has a rectangular imprint across her forehead when she wakes. The girl is a snuggler, and when she can't find a stuffed animal in her crib apparently she gets cozy with the crib slats.

As for ROB and ME...
...we are still waiting to string together more than a few days of sleeping through the night. With 3 little-ish ones, someone is always waking up, getting out of bed, calling out, falling out, crying for a drink, or teething and needs comfort. Maddie has been sleeping through the night for the better part of the last year, and the older two are doing better now that they have their own rooms. And yet... we are still tired from who knows what that is going on through the night! Thank goodness for hot showers, coffee, and under eye concealer.

For my mom!

My poor mom - gone all week at an art class, missing her grandkids, and I go dark on the blog. Here's what you missed, mom, aside from the river of puke! As you can tell, not a whole lot...

I was intrigued by this little gem when I saw it at Whole Foods, so I picked it up and knew right away it was going to be good by how soft it was in the package.

Turns out it is the BEST BREAD I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Soft and sweet and eggy in the way good bread is. I am hooked. And since 1) I'm swearing off regular trips to WF for the time being (it kills my budget and I am working extra hard this week at being good), and 2) when you do the math on the fat grams it is downright shocking that someone figured out how to make a loaf of bread that is this bad for you... it was unfortunate that I ever found it in the first place. While the kids had the flu, this was pretty much all I ate along with a few ginger ales and saltines. I have a hard time eating when someone in the house has the stomach flu. It's a thing.

But I will see you in my dreams, Authentic French Brioche.

I took this picture of Ellie one morning after she had woken up, but it doesn't do her bed head justice. She looked like one of those pups whose hair makes them look like a lion and their heads are half of their body. The picture just ends up looking like another shot of her awesome head of hair. No, I don't do anything other than brush it right out of the bath tub at night and she sleeps on it wet. When she wakes up, voila...

While the kids mainly sat on the couch or slept in their beds for most of last week, Maddie and I had some great one on one time! I stood her up against the back sliding door and she loved looking out at the back yard. She is getting really good at cruising along furniture, and now she can cruise along the window which I find more impressive since nothing is really holding her UP anymore, just aiding her balance. She still seems wobbly though and I'm not holding my breath for steps before her first birthday (which is a mere 17 days away!).

I am telling you this babe is so narrow and slight, pants never fit! Even when I roll the waist band. Pretty funny because there's an inch or two of room in all the pants Ellie was wearing at this age, and I can't even use them with Maddie!

I let Maddie roam around the house a lot more than I ever let the other two kids at her age. For one, she is so entertained by Robbie and Ellie and anything they're doing/playing with that she rarely needs me for stimulation. She is cautious, and I don't have to worry about her trying to scale the stairs yet (although I keep a close eye when she nears them, because one of these days she'll try and realize that she's been able to do it all along!). Whenever I can't see or hear her, I look one of three places: wherever the older 2 are, the bathroom where she likes to peer down into the toilet and ponder life, and by the baskets under the table in the family room. She loves to pick up and take out whatever is in the baskets and then put it back. She seriously does this for up to a half hour. Who knew the third kid would be this easy?

A shot of my sick girl from earlier in the week... still beautiful!

And feeling better...

Sisters playing toys...

Naked baby on the loose (again)...

THIS is what I found after I spent 5 minutes feeding Maddie her lunch one day. These two cannot be left unattended for any amount of time. Stinkers.

In case you can't tell, they had swiped the large rolls of ribbon from downstairs and decorated Robbie's room with yards and yards of it. It was strung up everywhere. Robbie was pretty proud of himself even though I was less than thrilled. I had immediate flashes to the future when he will one day TP someone's yard. He'll be good at it. (That's my boy! ha.)

On Saturday night after the kids went to bed I ran to Buy Buy Baby for car seats. Long story, but after researching 5 point harness car seats vs. the booster seats I had the kids in, I was horrified. They are not nearly as safe for kids Robbie and Ellie's age as I thought they were. I wasn't going to mention it on here, because no judgement if you use those booster seats for your kids. We just decided that the kids would be much safer in an accident (God forbid) in different car seats and it seemed like the right choice for us. My dilemma was that they are both too large for the Britax car seats we had for them when they turned one, but I found a newer model by Britax that holds kids in a harness up to 85 lbs. This car seat can also be converted to a booster seat by removing the harness and using the car's seat belt like any other booster seat for up to 120 lbs. Anyways, I wish we had these 2 years ago, but I think they weren't even on the market then so now I have a bunch of Britax Boulevard/Marathon car seats and Graco booster seats that we need to sell! (*If you want to buy one/any of them from me, send me an offer. They're in great condition and gently used, and have never been recalled. I'll be putting them up on Craig's List soon!)

Soooo... that left us with 2 very large boxes on Sunday for the kids to play with. I taped up the open side to hold the flaps open and gave them crayons and they colored the outside and played on the inside for most of the afternoon. Boxes are a mom's best friend.

In between playing with / in their boxes, I let them play in the back yard while I worked in the kitchen. Cheryl stopped by to drop something off for me, and Robbie ran up to me while we were talking inside the house and said "Mommy, I peed in the back yard." and then ran back outside.

Good to know. I felt conflicted about that report, but whatareyougonnado? I let it be. I think this is just what having a little boy is like, right? They just pee in the back yard? I was about to ask you for your thoughts, but I decided against it. Feel free to keep your thoughts to yourself on this one! ha.

Sunday afternoon while the kids were occupied by their boxes (and various activities in the back yard), I painted a tree for my friend Cheryl. I had done one of these before for her, and she used it to make a family tree by putting the names of her family members on it. It was a cool idea. Well sadly, her father was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is failing quickly. She wanted to have another family tree (I think the first was given away to a nephew?) put together, I think to display at his funeral whenever that will be. And she made a quick decision to leave for home in Minnesota sooner than she had planned, so I wanted to send it with her. The kids played quietly and then hovered over me towards the end as I finished painting, and I think it turned out alright. I am so rusty with my painting! And this is just a simple organic form and then I use acrylic paint and water to do a thin wash of color, almost pushing the paint with a scrubbing motion from the inside of the tree to the outer edges to get the color to concentrate along the outline. After I took this picture I decided to roughly edge the tree with a brown sharpie to make it pop and give it a little more definition.

I have a bunch of canvases and a collection of pretty acrylic paints for the kids and I to enjoy this week. One day I'd love to do a collection of their silhouettes.

We ended the weekend with early bedtimes for the kids Sunday night, thanks to daylight savings and the fact that R and E skipped their naps. They went down so easily! After dinner Rob and I settled in on the couch for a date with our DVR and our favorite treats - skinny cow ice cream sandwich for him, and my all time favorite ice cream in the world, which I just found yesterday for the first time in a year or so!!

I'm not even embarrassed to admit that I bought 4 of these while I could find them. It says limited edition on the lid and I'm not taking any chances. I haven't had a weakness for ice cream since I was pregnant, but this stuff is irresistible. It's not overly sweet, and tastes like a frozen chai. I could just eat it all day long.

Happy Monday!

{*Maddie update: I cut out yogurt and cheese from her table food diet and she has not thrown up since that last time on Wednesday evening. I think dairy (but not her formula) might be the reason she was randomly throwing up, and that her little system is still sensitive to it.}

Thursday, March 8, 2012

So much to laugh about

After serving Ellie her breakfast, she said "Thanks, Mommy! That's so kind of you!". She has also said this to me after brushing her hair, dressing her, etc. It kills me every time!

Me: "Robbie, can you help Ellie remember not to push Maddie over when you guys are playing? You're the big brother - I need you to help protect your little sisters!"
Robbie: "But mom, I'm the train guy {as he plays with trains}, so I can't protect anyone."

Rob called me this morning to let me know his iPad is missing, and he can't remember using it since Monday. He asked me to try and figure out if the kids snuck it, which is becoming more and more of a possibility these days!
Me: Robbie, did you play with Daddy's iPad or hide it somewhere?
Robbie: Um, yeah. Last day.
Me: Well where did you put it?
Robbie: Well, I hid it in the kitchen. Or maybe I put it in Daddy's purse. {?!} Actually, Ellie took it.
Me: Ellie, did you hide Daddy's iPad?
Ellie: Um, yeah! It's in the playroom.
Robbie: Yeah mom, she hid it in her purse.
Rob was on the phone and could overhear all of this, and we both just started laughing as we gave up the search for the time being. Clearly we weren't getting anywhere.

On the phone this morning...
Rob: How are you feeling today, bud?
Robbie: Good! I just have no more throw ups this morning!

Robbie: Mommy, Maddie's a genius!
Me: She IS a genius!
Robbie: Yeah, she's a genius because she does all the right stuff, not the wrong stuff.

Robbie and Ellie take showers with me sometimes in the morning, and our shower door is all glass. They figured out that they can back into it and make prints on the steamy door with their sweet little bums. They are so proud each time, too, always making me look and oooh and aahhh over it.

Ellie likes a little solo playtime every once in a while and disappears into the playroom for sometimes 1/2 hour or an hour on end, often emerging with all sorts of accessories - something on her head (a box, or last year's flower petal headband from Easter), a purse on her arm, and pushing her toy stroller which is full of toys, not babies. And she is very serious about it.

This is the flu that never ends, yes it goes on and on...

Ellie recovered fairly quickly from the flu after her nap the first day she had it (Tues). I thought Robbie was on the upswing also, so when the kids woke up yesterday having made it through the night without incident, I gave them little bowls of cheerios and sliced bananas. Poor Robbie took two bites, stopped eating, and threw up. Back to the couch and one teaspoon of water every 10 minutes!

I babied his tummy and we made it through the day without any more throwing up. Although he was still flushed and seemed to have a low grade fever, water and even a Popsicle had stayed down so I allowed the kids a Graham cracker. What a relief to finally actually be on the way to health again!

The kids were sitting at the table finishing their crackers when Maddie started to get fussy, so I pulled her up on my lap to give her a bottle and planned to put her right to bed (she's never fussy, I assumed it was from being tired).

Well she got 4 ounces down and then pushed the bottle away, which is odd. I held her as I talked to the kids and all of the sudden she threw up her bottle on my lap! I could not believe it. She was the one child I haven't had to worry about for the last two days!

I was at a loss - could a baby get the flu twice in one week? Was this really the flu? She has now thrown up Friday night (in her crib), Sunday morning in her stroller, and Wednesday evening in my lap. I called the pediatrician and talked with a nurse for a long time as we tried to figure out the pattern or what could be causing her illness (stomach virus vs another issue related to her diet, milk allergy, formula, etc). We came up with nothing, so she recommended seeing the doctor which we will be doing this afternoon.

We are a mess! I am beyond thankful that Rob and I have not caught this bug, but now I feel like we need to get to the bottom of Maddie's issues. If anyone reading this has any insights, ideas, experiences with something like this please feel free to leave a comment. I did start ogive Maddie yogurt and bits of cheese along with Florastor to help her body break down the milk protein about 2-3 weeks ago. I am suspicious of that being the culprit, but who knows.

Oh one more funny story, so after Maddie threw up I took her upstairs for a quick bath. The kids were resting on the couch watching a show, so I explained what I was doing and that I'd be right back, and they barely acknowledged me.

I come back down with Maddie wrapped in a towel to dress her where I could see the other kids, only to find that in their hungry state, they had raided the kitchen! They had pulled donut holes off the counter, fruit out of the refrigerator and spoons from the silverware drawer. Robbie had taken the raid to the next level and found himself a ziplock baggie, filled it with some of the fruit, and stashed it under the chair in the playroom! So glad he is still at the age where he tells us everything he's done truthfully, or that would have been disgusting to find later.

I felt like I was spinning my wheels today! I have been prayerful through the kids' illness because it often leads me to unnecessary worry and anxiety. I have felt the strength and peace of God fall over me and have felt calm and even grateful for the last few days. I am certainly ready for the kids to be healthy but the slower pace and time with just them, caring for them when their needs have been so immediate and high, has been my privilege. It also helps me appreciate our healthy days so much more!