Friday, February 27, 2015

Levi : 4 weeks

LIKES: Eating & growing (I am already packing up newborn clothes. Stop growing little man!), his froggy wubbanub (And don't take it exhibited above in the 3 week picture. Although he is fickle about his froggy. He LOVES it during the day. Not as much at night.), swinging (once he is asleep or already content), bath time and diaper changes (particularly on his changing table), his carseat and long car rides (although sometimes this could fit under the dislike category as I guess its a toss up!) and most of all ME (he has definitely figured out who his mama is and prefers me - I don't mind one little bit!). Oh and wearing stripes apparently! 

DISLIKES: getting dressed, not being held all night long (or not being fed all night long for that matter!), being left behind when mommy runs errands and taking breaks from eating to burp. 

QUIRKS & HABITS: Levi has the saddest newborn cry (best I can describe it as a cross between a pony and hoarse infant - pulls at my heart strings every.single.time because it is just so pitiful). This boy spits up A LOT and I never seem prepared for it! Just this past week at MOPS I settled him to sleep upright on my chest and he instantly spit up...and it all ran down my shirt (inside my bra!). And I had no way to clean it up and I didn't want to disrupt the meeting. So there I say with a snuggly baby and warm spit up covering me. Motherhood never felt less glamorous!

Reasons why I am currently smitten with him...
He has THE softest baby head (I know all babies have soft skin, but I don't remember my other babies' heads being THIS soft. It's heavenly. And I rub it constantly.). 

After feeding times (when he hasn't dozed off) he gazes up at me with his baby blue eyes (just like his daddy!) and snuggles up to my chest and fits perfectly, And in those moments all the hours of lost sleep are forgotten...and almost forgiven!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

every two hours and twenty-three days

Living life with a newborn means living life in two hour increments. And the first 30-40 minutes of those increments are consumed with feeding the newborn. (Which admittedly are some of my favorite long as no one else is demanding my attention and it's not 3am.) This two hour increment living is strange. Because time moves at its own pace and that pace is ever changing. Sometimes it flies by. I blink and its already feeding time again! And other times it drags and drags and I swear the clock is frozen in time. Mostly the days fly by and the nights draaaaag on. And I rarely accomplish anything significant with my time. 

Small tangent: Nights go a little something like this...nurse baby between 7 and 8pm. Then again around 10pm. GO TO BED. <--that is the critical step that I too often skip! Baby wakes again between midnight and 1 am to nurse. And this is where everything derails! It's my fault really. I too often fall asleep during this middle of the night feeding. And we aren't just talking nodding off for a few minutes. Nope. I fall ASLEEP! And I sleep for 60 to 90 minutes. Sitting in my rocking chair in the corner of my room with Levi nestled in my arms. Then I wake in a stupor and can't remember if I fed the baby or not so I start nursing him again. And then I fall back to sleep and the vicious cycle starts all over again! On a good night I will crawl back into bed after just an hour or two. On a bad night Levi and I don't get back in our beds until morning. It's a pretty awful routine we've gotten ourselves into and I don't know how to stop it! Well besides going to bed earlier of course. That might help. 

BUT that post-kid bedtime is so wonderful. It's completely uninterrupted. Time in which I can think and breathe. And just feel like me. Albeit a very tired me. It's when I get fun stuff done. Like these... 

Don't be too impressed with my novice art work. These little masterpieces took me nearly 3 full weeks to complete. And I'll be honest they aren't even 100% done yet.  (FYI - in case anyone is curious - the handprints are hard! Footprints are much easier.) 

I can't place ALL the blame on Levi for changing the dynamics of time. See the thing is we are waiting. Waiting for something significant. And waiting definitely makes time go slower as well. Today Joe submitted his rank order list for residency. And today residency programs submitted their rank order lists of students. All of those lists are being run through the MATCH logarithm. But we won't know the results for another 23 days. 

23 days until we know where we will be moving. And when exactly we will be moving. (Each program has a slightly different start date.) 23 days until we know if our new home will be here in Minnesota. Or if it will be elsewhere. 23 days until we know which state we will call home for the next 3 years. That's a lot to wait for. Especially when there is nothing we can do at this point to change the outcome. So we wait. 

Yep. Time is standing still. Right now 23 days feels like a lifetime. 23 days. Or more accurately 276 two hour increments. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


Last week for Joe's birthday we went on a "lunch" date to Applebees. I put lunch in parenthesis because by the time we got the two littlests down for nap and everyone settled with my parents it was after 2 pm! Regardless it was nice to go out just the two of us.  (Beggars can't be choosers.) But really we are so thankful to have family willing to watch our kids! It's a huge blessing and one we are so very grateful for after years of living far away from family. Although admittedly once we were seated at the restaurant we questioned our wisdom in going afternoon nap was sounding extremely appealing to our sleep deprived bodies. But we persevered and enjoyed a peaceful meal just the two of us. It was tough but someone had to do it!

And then after lunch because I am super practical and not romantic in the least we made a quick(ish) trip to Walmart. I had printed a few pictures of Levi and wanted to pick them we needed a few other essentials. Toilet paper and toilet bowl cleaner. See? Not romantic. 

(In hindsight I now realize I should have picked up something...anything...for the birthday boy as well! Instead he got a "Happy Birthday" from me this year. Lame! I know.) 

Since it was just a few items and it was FREEZING outside Joe dropped me off at the door and he waited in the (running) car. I quickly grabbed the toilet paper and toilet bowl cleaner and made my way to the photo counter. When the first clerk couldn't find my pictures she called in elderly manager. The manager asked for my last name and came up empty-handed. He tried searching using my telephone number. Again no pictures! Strange. I had just put the order in two hours earlier. The manager then leaned over the counter towards me and very sloooowly and loudly asked "DID YOU HIT SUBMIT?" To which I responded "Um yeah. I think so..."  Again I was asked (this time with the elderly manager miming clicking a mouse) "DID YOU HIT SUBMIT? Because you have to submit the order in order for it to print!"  At this point my confidence in the fact that I had actually hit submit was waning. It was all too much for my very tired, sleep deprived brain to recollect. So I sheepishly said "Maybe I didn't. I'll have to go home and check" and tried to hurry away. But the photo manager generously offered to let me pay for my items at the photo counter (which at Walmart is a HUGE time saver) so I gladly accepted. 

He scanned the items and I handed him a gift card to use as payment. He scanned it. Nothing happened. This process repeated itself half a dozen times without success. So he called over another employee to help. Yep that's THREE employees all to help me, the girl who didn't actually have any pictures to purchase at the photo counter! The new clerk tried several times to scan my gift card without any luck. But then just as I was about to hand her a new form of payment it worked...only for her to discover the card had a ZERO balance. I could have hung my head in embarrassment at this point! Instead I handed over my credit card and inwardly cursed sleep deprivation! 

Because it's a real thing. And it renders me barely functional on a daily...sometimes hourly basis these days. It's cruel really. Trying to function in the world with very little sleep. Those Walmart employees must have thought I was the biggest space cadet. I promise I'm not. I'm just tired. Really really tired. The kind of tired that can't be fixed with a can of Pepsi unfortunately. 

Later that evening when I turned on my computer (to do something else because at that point I had completely forgotten about the pictures)...there was my photo order staring at me. Sitting in the "shopping cart"...waiting for me to click SUBMIT. Mocking me. And reminding me just how much I miss good quality sleep. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Even more DIY family pictures

Because I like to torture myself and my family, I decided that we NEEDED family pictures now that we are a family of six. And in crazy Bear fashion these pictures had to be taken ASAP after Levi's arrival into our family. And since I own a decent camera and love a challenge, we of course went the DIY route (once again). 

Joe thinks Hannah stole the show in the sibling picture. And I kinda have to agree. Those pigtails + that smile! Gah. 

Unfortunately the experience was not nearly as serene as these pictures would suggest. The real story is that it took us nearly THREE HOURS to get everyone ready for this "photo shoot". Ridiculous. Who knew it could take soooooo long to get six people fed, dressed and seated on a couch? Not I. But now I know. I really, really know. It's A LOT of work getting a family of six presentable. Naively I thought the worst was past us once we were all dolled up. Wrong! I quickly discovered that getting on the couch was only half the battle! Arranging the children + getting them to cooperate...nearly killed me! But we persevered. And won!  If you call cute pictures winning that is. (I do! Victory was mine that fine February morning.) 

So the calm, serene ambiance of the pictures (can pictures have an ambiance?) may be forced. But trust me, the love and adoration my big kids have for their baby brother is 100% real. It blows me away just how much they love him. They can't get enough of him. Their love for him is the real deal.

Now while I would love for the world to believe that this is how I look while taking pictures with my seven day old son and family...

Truth be told, this is a much more accurate depiction...

Yes. It was every bit as painful as those pictures would have you believe! And thank you Joseph for capturing these precious moments. They are real framers. Even Levi was upset by his siblings lack of cooperation...or maybe it was mommy's scary tone of voice as she barked orders at everyone:) Either way him and I were not impressed.

I did manage to snap a few actual frame worthy pictures of newborn Levi....on a different day when all of his big siblings were otherwise occupied (ie at school or napping). The close up of Levi's head resting on Joe's hand is my favorite!!! And if I ever get around to making a birth announcement that is definitely the picture I will be using.

Ok. This last picture is a very close second favorite! I mean a baby in scrub pants and cap...too much cuteness. Levi will be wearing this outfit to MATCH DAY if it still fits him:) Although Joe thinks no one will recognize it as scrubs. Come on? Its obviously scrubs, right?!

Ok. I think that's the end of family pictures. For now. I mean I think I should be good for another six months or so. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

the "cookie"

It is common knowledge amongst family and friends that my dad will eat just about anything...and typically in large quantities! He's a good eater...too good in fact. About 10 years ago my cousin lived with my parents during her last semester of college. One night my mom made a 9x13 casserole for dinner but before she could eat she had to leave for a meeting. So my mom asked my cousin to make sure my dad didn't eat the entire casserole while she was gone. My cousin assumed my mom was joking because who eats an entire 9x13 casserole?!? I'll tell you who. My dad. Yep he ate the whole thing. All by himself. Like I said the man can eat!

So last week when I was at dance class with Charlotte and Joe sent me a text asking me to guess who took a bite out of the "cookie" I should have known! 

It was my dad. (I wrongly guessed Hannah first). But here's the funny part. That is NOT a cookie. It's a salt dough landform created by Isaiah at school. That "cookie" is actually an island with a volcano. 

I am going to assume that when Isaiah told his teacher the next day that "my grandpa ate my project" that was a first time she had heard that from a student! And I sure hope she got a good laugh over the situation. Because we did!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Half a lifetime.

^This guy turns 32 today! 32. How did that happen? It's oh so cliche, but it really does feel like we were just yesterday. But NO. That was 16 years ago! Not yesterday.

This birthday makes it official. Joe and I have spent HALF of our lives together as a couple (as long as you don't count those heart wrenching 24 hours during which we were "broken up" our junior year of high school;-). From this point forward we will have spent more of our lives together as a couple than we did single. I can hardly wrap my mind around that fact. Plus it makes me feel OLD. And who wants to be old?! Not I. 

But let's not dwell on that. Instead I want to take this opportunity to share a little bit about us. Mostly how we becames us. Our history. Because history is important. And fun! And sometimes even a little funny looking...

Technically Joe and I first met in elementary school. We went to the same school for the third through fifth grades. However we were never in the same class and have no recollection of each other. (This is the same school Isaiah now attends. Talk about crazy!) But there is proof. School year books don't lie folks! 

Fast forward a few years - specifically to the end of ninth grade - and our paths would once again cross. On a school field trip to a local amusement park. Joe and I attended different junior high schools BUT both our schools were on this field trip. I very distinctly remember the first time I saw front of the carousel in a white tank top and jeans with his hair slicked back taking a picture with his girlfriend. He was cool! (I was NOT.) And I thought he was really cute! He doesn't remember me from that day at all. But I suppose he was a bit distracted by his girlfriend and all. Clearly it wasn't love at first sight. 

Starting in tenth grade we once again attended the same school. And we were in the same crowd of friends...his girlfriend was one of my friends. At the end of that school year my friend/Joe's girlfriend had a "Sweet 16" birthday party at her house. Joe and I both attended. At the end of the party I called my mom to pick me up and waited in the driveway. After a half hour of waiting and a no show by my mom I decided I better call her again. And since this was back in the day before cell phones that meant I had to go into Joe's girlfriend's house and use the phone. I was hesitant to go back because I knew Joe was the only one left at the party...and I didn't want to interrupt them. As I was walking around the house to the back door, I saw Joe and his girlfriend through a window. And yes, I totally stopped and spied on them. Just call me TOM. Peeping Tom! 

And this is what I saw. Joe was cleaning up after the party. Throwing away paper plates and cups. Clearing the party debris. Amongst the mess Joe found a birthday card. He stopped his cleaning efforts and read her the card! And it was in that moment that my crush on Joe began. I remember thinking "he's cute and sweet and he cleans! I want a boyfriend like that." (Yep, I was attracted to his ability to clean!) 

I never told anyone about my crush on Joe. After all he was my friend's boyfriend! And I assumed nothing would come of it. (Wrong) Plus I spent the summer after tenth grade in Montana working at (one of my) favorite summer camps. I was gone for 8 weeks during which time I had NO contact with Joe (or his girlfriend). THE day I returned home Joe called me to invite me to an end of summer party at his house. It was at this party that I learned that Joe had broken up with his girlfriend. He was SINGLE! Woohoo! Of course I was to timid to actually do anything except dream of becoming Joe's girlfriend. Until...

A couple weeks after the party I received my second ever phone call from Joe!!!! (<-- that is how excited/nervous I was)  This time he asked me out on a a Twins baseball game. I said "maybe" even though what I meant was "YES! Absolutely yes!"  What can I say?! I was nervous. He then convinced me to go with him (though I didn't actually need any convincing).  So there you have it it. The very beginning of us. 

For the record our first date, half a lifetime ago, consisted of a "pasta party" (ie a spaghetti dinner the night before a cross country meet with the ENTIRE team...he was a runner and I was a team manager. Cute. And dorky, eh?), the Twins game and then we went to his house to watch a movie...and eat candy. Lots of candy! 

^The high school version of Joe & Bear! 

And the poor guy has been cleaning up after me ever since that fateful fall day in 1999! And I still think he's cute...especially while cleaning.

Updated to add: The bottom right picture in the collage makes me laugh...for many reasons. But mainly because one of the reasons Joe was first attracted to me was my "curly" hair. HA! It was a perm. A very bad perm at that. My hair is THE definition of stick straight.

Monday, February 16, 2015

We did it.

Look at us!

We did it. We went OUT as a family of six. And we all survived. It was a balmy 28 degrees out on Friday and Levi was a whopping two weeks old PLUS the big kids had the day off from we went to the zoo!

Never mind the fact that we didn't actually leave our house until nearly 10am. I am just impressed we made it out the door with everyone fed, dressed and mostly presentable for public! (Plus 10 am was a vast improvement from the THREE hours it took us to get ready for family pictures just one week earlier...more on that at a later time.)

We lasted four hours at the zoo. Which in newborn speak equals two feeding times. And our only major incident was a potty accident at the polar bear exhibit. (Which was accident #2 in the same number of days...let's just say the new big sister honeymoon phase is over...lots of regression. Erg!) 

No pictures of animals were taken. But I did get this gem of me with all of my children...

Apparently it's hard to smile nice when you are four years old! Joe thinks I should make her practice (not in front of the camera). I think it will just make the problem worse. We'll just wait and see if she grows out of this phase.

Some notables from this little day trip include a sweet older couple who (after watching our family eat lunch) made a point to tell me how well behaved our children were. Makes a mom proud! I did have one minor freak out moment in regards to new baby + germs!! A sweet but not very cautious mentally handicapped adult grabbed for Levi's hand (before I could stop her) because he was "so cute she HAD to touch him". I may or may not have slathered his hand in hand sanitizer after that incident. And I definitely mean I did:)

But overall it was a great little outing. The big kids needed some excitement in their lives. And despite spending 24/7 together as a family these past two weeks, we needed it. We all needed some fun, quality time together. A change of pace. Plus Joe is leaving in two short weeks (for his LAST rotation in Chicago). The odds of me taking all four kids out for a fun event while he is gone...slim to none! It was now or never folks..or at least a very long time!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What LOVE looks like.

Being Valentine's day and all I spent some time very early this morning (thanks to a never ending nursing session) thinking about what love looks like to me these days. (To "these days" I mean nearly 12 years into marriage and 2 weeks into life with our fourth child).

And this is it...

It's 12:07 AM being nudged awake to feed the crying baby (because otherwise I would just keep on sleeping...sorry baby!)

It's 2:13 AM waking up to my husband putting the baby back in the bassinet because I fell asleep nursing in my rocking chair yet again. And being able to crawl back into my warm bed and snuggle up to my husband for a couple hours (hopefully!). 

It's 5:02 AM and I can't get the baby to sleep and I could cry from exhaustion and my husband quietly without saying a word gets up and takes baby out of our room so I can sleep. Because 5 am is an acceptable wake-up time in his world (and not mine!) This happens EVERY day. 

It's 7:03 AM and I am sleeping soundly because my husband is up with all the kids. Feeding them breakfast and getting them ready for the day. 

It's 8 AM and baby is delivered to me for his next feeding along with breakfast in bed. Eggs and toast and fruit and yogurt (or something similar). This also happens EVERY day.

It's 9:05 AM I'm still in bed and my husband is rushing our eldest out the door and walking him to the bus stop in below zero temperatures. 

It's 10 AM and despite his great dislike for library storytime, my husband is there with both our girls because THEY love it!

It's 1:20 PM preschool drop off is done and now my husband is headed to the grocery store...for the second time this week...because I can't seem to figure out how much food we really need!

It's 3:36 PM when my husband is changing the two year old's naptime diaper which is inevitably poopy:(

It's 5:07 PM the baby is crying and haaangry. Dinner is partially made. Three kids are begging for food. And my husband takes over and finishes making dinner so I can feed the baby. 

It's 8:37 PM and we finally have the big kids in bed (not sleeping yet of course but in bed!) and we finally have a moment to talk just the two of us..even if all we talk about what's on the "schedule" for the next day. 

It's 10:11PM and right before my husband drifts off to sleep (while I nurse the baby again) he tells me I am beautiful...despite the fact that I didn't get a shower today and I am still wearing yesterday's outfit. In spite of the fact that my squishy post partum body holds no resemblance to my body and I am virtual emotional roller coaster he thinks I am beautiful. 

THAT is love. Or at least my current definition of love. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

negative. again.

I wrote this post exactly one year ago today. It was my raw and unfiltered feelings on not getting pregnant exactly when we planned. I never posted it then because I didn't want to make it public knowledge that we were trying for a fourth. (Some people frown upon our decision to have kids while Joe is still in school and I am staying home...weird ;-).  But now I am ready to share. So here it is. 

[Spolier Alert: third time wasn't the charm. It would take three more months. Three of the longest, most emotional months of my adult life thus far. ]

February 13, 2014

I took the test this morning. Hoping for a positive result but bracing myself for a negative one. I really wanted to take the test because I just had to know. Wondering if I was pregnant was becoming an all consuming thought. I could not focus on anything else. At the same time I didn't want to take the test because I didn't want to know if it was negative. Which it was. Again. Just like last month. Within seconds I saw one line. More accurately I saw the lack of a second line. And it was like a gut punch. But as life would have it, I didn't have time to dwell on it because my six year old was pounding at the bathroom door. He needed the bathroom NOW! My three year old was calling out for more cereal. And then in the next breath announcing she had had an accident. And the one year old was crying in her crib. Announcing she was up for the day and wanting to join everyone. 

And that's the thing. I am so blessed. I have three beautiful, healthy children. Each one makes my life so full. Full of love. Full of fun. Full of crazy and chaos. Full of tears, laughter and joy. So very full. My days feel filled to the brim. So much so that (sometimes) I wonder if there really is room for one more in this family. And yet I want one more. I ache for one more. I can't explain it. But something deep in my heart tells me our family isn't quite complete yet. One more and we will be really filled to the brim. Our family will be complete. Call me crazy. But when I look at the back of my (incredibly messy!) minivan, all I see is that empty fourth seat just waiting to be filled. And when I snap pictures of my children I can almost picture that fourth baby. There is room for one more. And there most definitely is enough love, fun, crazy, chaos, tears, laughter and joy for one more. 

One of these girls pooped in the tub while I was trying to write this and process my feelings. She shall remain nameless but she does look quite proud of herself...

And then there is this nagging feeling that I want to know ahead of time that my last baby is my last baby. Which I realize is kind of bizarre and most definitely not always in our control (as evidenced by my negative test this morning). But I am a baby person. Meaning I REALLY love babies. I love brand new squawky newborns. Sleep deprivation, round the clock feedings, dirty diapers and all. I love rolly-polly not yet mobile, gummy tooth grinning babies. I love the learning to crawl and play and eat "real" food babies. Basically I love every baby stage. And so selfishly, I want one more baby. I want to start a pregnancy knowing this is my last so I can soak it all in. Treasure it. I want to enjoy every little kick and flip and hiccup. [Maybe the morning sickness and aching varicose veins won't be so awful knowing its my last time?! A girl can dream.]  I even want to experience one more childbirth. All the excitement. The fear. The pain. The joy. The whole thing. 

And truthfully, these days I look at Hannah and I am sad. Because she is no longer a baby. She is a toddler. She runs and plays. She is spunky and so funny! She is a virtual ball of energy that keeps me running all day long. She is hilarious and exasperating all at once. And I do really love the toddler stage. The becoming of a child. A little person. I am in awe of the person she is becoming. But I often wonder, was she my last baby? Did I already experience my last without realizing it? Did it pass me by without noticing? Without soaking it in. Without commemorating it in some way.

Are my baby growing and raising days behind me already? Please no. I just want one more. The last one. Our last baby. The one that will make our family complete. And yet the test does not lie. Negative. Not pregnant. No bun in the oven. No newest little Valentine to celebrate. Maybe this is our complete. Maybe. But I hope not. 

Lastly, I am well aware of the fact that two months of trying to conceive and not conceiving is well within the norm. But it's not my normal. So it feels HUGE and scary. And sad. I have always said "There are two things Joe and I excel at...going to school and making babies." As evidenced by the 4 (nearly 5) undergraduate and graduate degrees between the two of us as well as 3 babies (only one of which was "planned") during our decade of marriage. So yes, these two months have rocked my world. And not in the way I expected. 

But hey, maybe the third time is the charm?!

I am hoping so. 

Updated to add: 

Morning sickness was just as terrible this time. Maybe worse...just knowing I had prayed for this last pregnancy made it seem so cruel. But it was worth it. It always is! Because LOOK...this year we have our newest little Valentine to love on...

And isn't he the cutest newborn ever?! Um yes. Yes he is...says his completely unbiased mother. 

the fourth carseat...all filled up!
I am so thankful for him. I'm even thankful for those extra months of dreaming and praying for him. It has made me just that much more grateful to have him here in my arms. My kissable Valentine!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Be Mine.

Yesterday I attended Charlotte's preschool class Valentine's party. It was no easy undertaking for me to make it there but I did it (albeit a few minutes late). First I had to schedule Levi's feedings around the party time. FYI: Newborn + schedule = big laugh! Those two things don't go together. Not in the least. But I made it happen. Then I had to find festive attire for Charlotte and me. Charlotte's outfit was easy to assemble. Her wardrobe is filled to the brim with red, pink and hearts. My outfit was a different story. It involved me wiggling/squishing myself into my non-maternity pink jeans paired with a lovely black maternity top accessorized with a lovely hot pink scarf (an attempt to distract the eye). My hair was pulled back into a greasy-haven't-showered-in-many-days pony tail and make-up was applied liberally in order to make myself appear somewhat alive.  I would say I was somewhere on the spectrum between semi and fairly presentable.

^Charlotte's depiction of us (+ Levi) at the party. 

^What we really looked like at the party! Well a filtered version of us. 

The party was fun. Card making. And cookie decorating. Heart sorting. Handing out valentines cards. All the usual four year old holiday fun. But what struck me at the party was the way Charlotte's eyes lit up when I walked in. First a look of relief. And then love & adoration. Which then reminded me of a conversation Joe and I had the other day about school pick-up. 

Apparently Joe very much dislikes doing school pick-up. For good reasons too. The parking lot is too small and always congested and difficult to navigate. Which means you have to get there early in order to get a parking spot. Which then leads to standing around awkwardly in the school entrance with the other preschool parents. Then after Charlotte is released there is another 10 minutes of waiting outside until Isaiah is dismissed. And just to clarify outside in Minnesota is not exactly a pleasant experience in the winter! Add in an extra younger sibling (or two!) and it is a downright trying experience. Yet despite all of these little annoyances, I LOVE school pick-up. Because there is always that wonderful moment when my child and I lock eyes as we are reunited at the end of the school day. 

And no matter how things had been before school...regardless of how desperately my child and I needed a little space and time apart at the beginning of the school day...the reunion is so sweet. I love seeing my children searching for ME in the crowd of parents. Their eyes scanning the faces until they find mine. And then we lock eyes. And in that moment I see absolute love in their eyes. Without saying a word they say "I am yours and you are mine. I love you".  And for just a moment in time all is right in my world...

until I have to navigate my way out of that too small parking lot and all serenity is lost!

Friday, February 6, 2015

One week.

Today Levi is one week old. Gah! How did that happen so fast?! This also means we have been a family of SIX for one week. And lastly (but certainly not least!) this means I have been post partum for one week. Which of course means I have been a complete emotional basket case for the past 7 days. Or as Joe likes to say, "I'm fragile". But first let's talk about this guy...

Because I think he's pretty wonderful. And totally worth all the work and exhaustion that newborns bring! A week ago I declared him the cutest newborn I had ever seen and I haven't changed my mind:) He has Charlotte's ridiculously large cheeks and blonde hair. And Isaiah's tiny lips and chin. And so far I haven't found any resemblance to Hannah. And I have spent A LOT of time studying his sweet face while nursing. According to my baby app I have spent anywhere from 288 to 376 minutes/day nursing him. (That's 4.8 - 6.3 hours!) That's a whole lotta baby gazing. Ok and some blogging and facebooking too;) Speaking of nursing he has decided that he can in fact survive longer than 60 minutes between feedings at night! This has been a wonderful change these last two nights!! [I knew I shouldn't have written he's back to marathon nighttime feedings with hardly a breather in between! Oh well. We'll survive. And he'll thrive so it's worth it I suppose. He already has me wrapped around his cute little finger!]

Now onto this family of six deal. In some ways it doesn't feel that different. Levi has just blended right into our family. And thankfully all of his siblings adore him. They often fight over who gets to hold him. He is one LOVED baby brother. And in other ways it has been challenging! The logistics of fitting in nursing sessions and diapers changes into our family schedule hasn't been the easiest. And let's just say some of us are experiencing what I call "family growing pains". My once happy, super compliant four year old has decided there are many things she now HATES and refuses to do. Like going to dance class and wearing snow pants and going to the bathroom before bed. And the most shocking change has been her sudden dislike of skinny jeans!! Speaking of shocking, the two year old hasn't really had ANY problems with adjusting to being a big sister...yet. So far she is carrying on all life as usual style. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop because it can't really be this easy for has to be a honeymoon phase of some sort!

Lastly let's cover the hormonal mess formally known as Bear. See. The thing is before I have a baby I tell myself I am NOT going to be a mess. I will not cry. I will not feel like a terrible mother for paying more attention to the new baby and less attention to the older siblings. I will hold it together. Then I have the baby and all those lofty goals fly right out the window...right about the time we drive (very slowly) home from the hospital. Happens every single time despite my best intentions. It's those darn fluctuating hormones...that and all those children demanding my time and attention in my sleep deprived stupor. Its a bad combination.  

All that to say, I have cried quite a bit this last week. Most of the time for completely ridiculous reasons like...

-I cried because I cried right before delivering Levi.
-I cried because it was time for Levi's first feeding at home. 
-I cried because my baby is so cute. 
-I cried because I miss feeling a baby kick from inside my belly.
-I cried because Charlotte refused to dance this week and Joe made the declaration that her dance career is over!
-I cried because Joe said I looked beautiful. (And I know he is lying because I actually look like death warmed over.) 
-I cried because Isaiah's teacher said he "lights up" when talking about Levi. 
-I cried because my four year old refused to put her snow pants on for school (and to be completely honest I yelled too). 
-I cried because my two year old wouldn't nap. 
-I cried because I missed my husband (he was upstairs while I was downstairs for a marathon nursing session). 
-I cried packing up my maternity clothes (to get rid of them!) when I realized there were a few items I didn't wear this pregnancy. 

So pretty much anything can make me cry right now. Like Joe said I am fragile. But so very in love with this new little person in our family!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mommy's Hospital "Vacation"

Every time Charlotte visited Levi and I at the hospital this past weekend she referred to my hospital stay as "mommy's vacation". (I guess I might have mentioned one too many times how much I was looking forward to staying at the hospital at the end of my pregnancy;) But in reality staying in the hospital with just one newborn for 3 days with 3 prepared meals a day and 24 hour nursing care...heck yeah! It was kind-of vacation-esque.

Levi and I partook in all the usual post-partum hospital activities....we took slow leisurely walks around the floor. Him in his wheely bassinet. Me in my cute pink hospital-issued gown and grippy socks. He had his first bath. He screamed through most of it while his sisters watched through the window.

I stayed up ALL night after his birth just marveling at his perfect newborn-ness. He slept like the proverbial baby sleeps. The second night he cried and demanded to be fed constantly. And I cried and tried (and failed) to stay awake. Joe slept like a baby. By the third night we sorta worked out a truce. And split our time feeding and sleeping with very little crying. 

Levi's world was rocked upside down three times by the intrusion of his LOUD and very active older siblings. Amazingly I held it together and wasn't too overwhelmed by their visits. I of course was shocked by how HUGE they seemed. Especially Hannah. I swear toddlers triple in size when they become a big sibling! 

Levi hung out in the nursery (being rocked by a sweet nurse) while I enjoyed my first post-delivery shower. It was pretty great! But I have to admit it wasn't as amazing as my first ever post-partum shower nearly 8 years ago. Seriously THAT was the best shower of my life. I guess 3 kids later I am just a lot more accustomed to sitting in my own filth?!

We both ate pretty well. And usually simultaneously. I only spilt on Levi a few times. Although I think (I hope!) he enjoyed his meals more than I enjoyed mine. This particular hospital cafeteria left A LOT to be desired:(  Seriously this boy is natural nurser and I am so thankful because I was dreading the re-learning to breastfeed thing. But he has made it easy peasy.

You get the picture. We enjoyed ourselves. Especially our time just the two of us (and sometimes just the three of us...with daddy:). Of course there were a few funny moments along the way as well. 

For example when the pediatrician came to examine Levi and we had ALL the kids (+ Aunt Chelsea) in the room with us. The conversation went a little like this...

Pediatrician: How many of them are yours? 
Me: All of them. 
Pediatrician:  So three. 
Me: Nope. All four of them. 
Pediatrician: Wow! You are busy. 
Me: Yep. I guess so...

Apparently THAT (+ you have your hands full) is the universal response to a mom with 2+ young children. Even the pediatrician couldn't come up with a more creative response/observation.  

Later the next day when my nurse came to "massage my uterus" (aka torture me!) I thought it best to send the kids out of the room...

Me: You guys go on a walk with daddy. The nurse is going to check mommy's tummy. 
Hannah: Oh and your belly button?
Me: Sure and my belly button. 
Hannah: The nurse push on your belly?
Me: Yep. The nurse will push my belly. 
Hannah: And make it smaller?
Me: Hopefully. 
Hannah: It big!! Lee-eye stretch your belly and make it big. Nurse push it smaller. 
Me: Yep. Something like that. 

If only it really were that easy! Although she WAS quite accurate about him coming out in 2 maybe she's on to something!

Nurse: Your uterus is a little boggy (while pushing on my very sore stomach!). 
Me: Oh. Ok. 
Nurse:  That tends to happen to old, tired utereses. They peter out. 
Me: Well yes. It has delivered four babies I suppose it's allowed to be tired. 

The big kids met Levi for the first time before school on Friday. When they came back to visit that night I was curious to hear what they had told others about their new baby brother...

Me: Isaiah what did you tell your classmates about your new baby brother?
Isaiah: That he's hairy and has long fingers.
Me: And what did Charlotte tell her teacher?
My mom: That he's a baldy like her (when she was a baby). 
Me: ....Hhmm....did they even see the same baby?!