Thursday, October 30, 2014

3 Month

And boom, somehow we're already at 3 months.  Trying not to think think about the fact that it means we're 1/4 of the way through year 1.  Months 3 and 4 are my absolute favorite baby age and stage and she's not disappointing.  Right on time she started getting super animated and talkative.  I just love when they are still super snuggly babies but are starting to interact more with those around them!

Miss Belle gained a little over a pound this month, bringing her up to 10 lbs 12 ounces which puts her in the 5-10%.  So she's still on the small side but she's at least on the charts now!  I'm not worried about her, she's doing great!  She eats 4-5 6 ounce bottles per day now and sleeps 12+ hours at night with probably 3 naps during the day.  She is such a super strong girl and loves to sit up in her bumbo. She does not like laying on her back at all. This has proven a problem as she has learned to roll over from tummy to back and ends up on her back quite often. But she loves tummy time. She also loves watching and talking to her siblings now.  She saves the best smiles for them.  I can see it in her eyes that she just can't wait to get up and moving with them and based on how she acts on tummy time, I think she's going to be an early mover!

Oh sweet girl, you are loved so very much. I can't believe how fast you are growing!  You are so special and so loved by all of us.  I am excited to see what this next month of your life brings and I hope I can sit back and just savor every second that you are still this tiny little girl.  You are so beautiful and adored by all your siblings. Mommy and Daddy are pretty smitten with you too.  We are so blessed to have you as our daughter! We love, love, love you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

So How Is It REALLY With 4 Kids?

We are now 2 1/2 months into our life with 4 young kids so I can say we "should" be as adjusted as we're going to be!

So how is it going?

For the most part it has gone a lot easier than I expected!  The kids all adjusted way better than I could have ever hoped!  There have been zero signs of jealousy, even from Sabrina who legitimately could deserve to be a little jealous.  They've all shown LB nothing but love!  And for Little Miss, she's been a pretty content baby just like all the others.  We've been so lucky in the sleep department with all of our kids!  She's been sleeping through the night for a long time now and that helps a lot!  Also more recently it seems she's relaxed and accepted us as her family. I know that may seem like a foreign concept, but in the adoption world you know that can take some time, even for a newborn.  She was a bit tense and very easy to startle from the get-go but that has slowly gotten better as we've established ourselves as mom and dad.

So with how easy the kids have accepted her and with how easy she's been, it has been pretty easy to adjust to 4 kids I feel pretty fortunate that things have gone this well.  For us, the adjustment to 3 has been the most difficult of all!  We've been able to stick to our routine pretty easily and it is nice that the other kids are old enough where (for the most part) they are patient and can wait for me to finish up with LB and then meet their needs.

But I'm not going to lie.  It has also been hard.  I've never been more tired than I am now!  Even with another great sleeper, the day to day life is exhausting.  I pretty much don't get a moment to rest until the kids go down at night.  It's hard.  It's hard when I feel like I have a million things on my to do list and I'm exhausted on top of it to not take it out on the kids.  It's hard to never get a break.

A few things we've implemented to help during this chaotic time:

1)  Peter and I communicate constantly.  When he comes home from work, he has a pretty good idea of what I need help with and is always willing to get right into it and help us make it those last few hours.  When frustrations arise we work hard to communicate and resolve whatever the issue is. Communication is so important right now!

2) I take Gaba and Vitamin D pills before bed.  This has helped me a lot with my mood, especially as the weather is changing!

3) We have strict bedtimes.  The three bigger kids are in their beds right around 7 every night.  I NEED them to go to bed so Peter and I can have a few hours to ourselves.  We've also done a pretty good job of getting Lillybelle on a bedtime schedule too and so she goes down pretty quick after the others do.  Peter and I also try very hard to be in bed by 10 too so that we can get enough rest to tackle these exhausting days.

4) Routine Routine Routine.  I have a pretty set routine at home and I think that makes a huge difference in the kids.  They do have activities like church, awana, soccer but our day to day is pretty set in routine and that has proven to really help their attitudes.

5) We've mastered at home date nights.  Real date nights have proven few and far between and the time alone together has proven more valuable than ever in recharging and connecting as a couple. We've gotten pretty good and creative with at home dates.  We take advantage of every free redbox code we can for movies nights (like tonight) and Peter is good at running out to grab us dinner while I get the kids settled in bed. Even though we'd prefer to get to go out together, we're making this work for now and having a good time together!

 As I am able to stand back and watch my kids, I am so thankful. I have every. single. thing. I ever wanted in life and I am so blessed!  But being a mom is hard work and we're in a more difficult season of that right now with these young kids.  I know these moments will pass in a blink of an eye So I am soaking it all in and loving these little babies as much as I possibly can! Life is good!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2 1/2 Years

As it works around here, we have another half birthday to celebrate!  Miss Princess Sabrina is now 2 1/2 years old!

We pretty much refer to her as the princess and she has accepted that role with full honors.  Her name means Princess so her attitude is pretty fitting!  She likes to make a lot of demands in typical princess 2 year old style.  We run around like idiots trying to gather her blanket, her poodle, her book, her water, and a toy cell phone that she MUST have with her to sleep every night.  While she is acting like your typical two year old these days, she is also the sweetest little girl!  She loves to snuggle and loves puzzles.  She keeps me laughing at all her antics.    She already talks so well and loves doing "school" time with her brothers.  She's gonna be another smart kiddo!  She has a full on obsession with Daniel Tiger and if you haven't checked that show out with your preschooler you should! She is also pretty close to fully potty trained.  Still working on a few aspects :) She's always been a pretty happy child and when she smiles her whole face shines!  She's definitely in a daddy phase right now and sure loves him.  I'm glad she loves him, but I'm still trying to win her back to team mommy!

She's also our most shy child and it takes a very long time for her to warm up to people.  She likes her close circle of people.  New experiences are hard for her and we're still pretty hit or miss on whether she will stay in the 2 year old room at church but she's making progress.  Daniel Tiger has been great in teaching her that "grown ups come back!"  It is weird to see so much of my own personality portrayed out in this little girl!

She's still on the small size.  All summer she was wearing 12-18 months or 18-24 month clothes.  She's finally getting into 2T clothes now.  Hopefully all those cute summer outfits I got her that she couldn't wear will still fit her next year.  She's in a size 7 shoe now.  She's a pretty good eater and likes almost all foods.  It's hard to think of a favorite with her  but I think french fries and apples are probably a few off the top of my head.  She's also still our best sleeper. She takes after mommy in that department and likes a full 12+ hours of sleep each night!

Miss Bina, you have been nothing but a blast from the day you were born! Raising a total girly girl in this house full of rowdy boys has been a lot of fun!  You are truly the sweetest little thing and even though you know you are the princess, you've captured us all with your charm. You are such a special gift in our lives and we love you so very much!  You are definitely my little sunshine!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

4 1/2

Some days deserve being celebrated with ice cream sundae's

And today would be one of those days, because a very special baby boy (yes, he's still my baby) was having his half birthday.  I asked him what type of cupcakes he wanted, but ice cream sundae's were more his style and I have to say, I do love his style!

And some siblings sure liked his style too!

And now Malachi is 4 1/2 and looking so forward to turning 5. I told him he still has quite awhile to wait, but he's already planning!

This sweet boy is so kind and gentle to his little siblings.  He loves his sisters so well and melts my heart with how sweet he is to his baby sister.  He's a precious little guy with a heart of gold!  He is also so very smart and is excelling with whatever I throw at him for school. He's almost learned to write all his letters now and it is so exciting to see him starting to put it all together as he reads simple words! He's also currently participating in soccer and has completed 4 sessions of swim lessons.  He also participates in Awana and will soon be starting Ethiopian Dance classes!

He's still a big boy.  I'm sure he's over 40 pounds now and is still as tall as ever. I keep hoping he will stay in one size of clothes for awhile, but no such luck yet!  He's now in the BOY section of the store and is wearing a little boy size small!  He's also in a huge size 13 shoe!

Malachi continues to be a very "plain" eater I would say.  He loves most fruits and veggies but prefers just plain buttered toast for breakfast and his trusty plain peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  He is somewhat picky with dinner but loves Mexican or Italian. His favorite right now is Spaghetti but he also loves a good cheeseburger and french fries!  

Oh Mali, we love you so much. I truly cannot imagine you not being a part of our lives.  You are the sweetest most hilarious little boy who just loves to be loved!  I cannot even tell you how proud we are with the big brother you are.  God planned this all so perfect and knew you would be a great leader for your siblings to follow.  We love learning more about who you are and your life has so much potential!  You are funny and keep me laughing all day.  You are an endless ball of energy and I love that special energy you bring to our home.  You are beautiful inside and out and so so loved!  We are blessed to call you our son and I hope you always feel the amount of love we hold for you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How We've Survived the Last 2 Weeks

Exactly 10 years ago, Peter had left me and gone to WSU for his first semester of college.  That was such a hard time as all we could do was date a voice on the phone essentially.  But at the same time, those were probably some of the most beneficial days to our relationship as we communicated and got to know each other very well.  That separation only lasted one semester but through that we have only been apart a handful of times since then because we just plain don't handle being apart well.

I knew when he took this new job that it would require a lot more travel than we were used to and that sometimes I wouldn't be able to go.  I knew those times would be challenging but I also knew this new job was a great career move and that we would do whatever we needed to do.   The most important relationship I have (besides my relationship with God) is to my husband and if I can join him on his trips, I always do.  But there are trips that come, that we just can't swing.  A 2 week trip to Ireland with a newborn who's adoption isn't finalized, kind of fit in that box.  Much less, we've already been away from our other 3 children for a 10 day trip to Ethiopia and a 12 day trip to Florida to pick up Lillybelle this year.  So another 2 weeks away from the kids would just not be good.  

I got some advice from my friends who I would consider experts with traveling husbands and they gave me some good advice.  As they predicted, the day before he left and the first two days he was gone were really rough. I missed him a lot and couldn't imagine two weeks without him (yeah, I know we are probably pathetic but I really love my husband!) But by the time Monday rolled around I was figuring out a routine and things didn't feel quite so hard.  

A pleasant surprise was how much we were able to communicate.  I was expecting just a couple emails a day but since we had iphones we could easily send texts through ichat to each other. We were able to chat when Peter got to his hotel at night (so midday here) and then before I went to bed at night (and Peter was getting up in the morning).  

I also took my friends advice and let the house kind of go (a little) and worked hard to keep the kids busy and happy. Sometimes it definitely felt like survival mode and I am definitely exhausted.  I don't want to make it sound like I did this alone as I had a great village of support behind me.  The grandparents are always a big help and my friend "Auntie Megan" came and stayed in the guest house and really was available to help with the kids. So I couldn't have asked for anymore help!

So what did we do?  Well, are you sure you want to know?  Because this is totally picture overload but I had a lot to document for Peter ;)

Late night chats with little miss

We made a paper chain for the kids to count down each day.  It started out reeeeally long! 

Post Soccer Cuteness!

We built legos and did puzzles 

Peter wrote each of the kids the sweetest little notes and left them a bedtime "kiss" for every night! 

I went on lots and lots of runs to destress! 

Bina took a special shopping trip with mommy 

First Smiles! 

Silly girl!

The kids took naps! 

We had an indoor picnic

We spent time at grandma's

We stayed up too late 

We slept while brothers and sister played 

We went to the Jungle Gym

And played games 

We goofed off 

Watched football games 

Snuggled with mommy 

Went to a friends house to get pumpkins 

Made our own pizza's 

Played silly cheap games  

Posed for cute pictures 
Went on a date with mommy 

And started quarter #2 of school!

Yes it was a busy few weeks and exhausted doesn't even begin to describe it.  I think a tuckered out mommy and a jet lagged daddy will be taking some naps this weekend too!