Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ayla at 4 Months

Baby Ayla is already 4 months old!  4 months old is just about my most favorite phase ever!  I love that they are still snuggly but also start developing personality.  I still get some snuggles here and there with Ayla but she seems to be developing early and wants her independence so she seems to much prefer rolling all over and even scooting all over the place! 

Even though she's got impressive lil thighs, she's still a peanut weighing in around 13 lbs (24%) but that seems pretty consistent and even a little bit bigger than Sabrina so I'm not surprised.  She's doing great with nursing now even if it still seems like that's about all I do all day.  When she hit a bit of a rough patch with sleep we decided to give her a bit of oatmeal and that did help through that phase.  We are definitely in the "let them eat at 4 months" camp and so far she has tried avocado, sweet potatoes, and peaches.  So far peaches have intrigued the most interest from her but that's no surprise to me because I loved peaches while I was pregnant!  

Sleep has been interesting this month.  She's still super easy to get to bed at night and is going to bed between 8-9 every night.  The challenge has come in keeping her asleep.  That 4 month sleep regression is no joke!  She has been napping in her own room and tends to sleep better in her crib than her bassinet so she kind of forced the transition even if I didn't mind her still being in our room.  With her rolling all over the place she has discovered tummy sleeping, along with her thumb so she is a tummy sleeping, thumb sucker now!  She goes down super easy and self soothes with her thumb but her early development is kicking our behinds and she ends up rolling all over her crib and scoots herself to corners which means multiple times a night she is waking up crying.  So this is a new phase we are working through but as with every other sleep issue we have had with her, this too shall pass! 

In fun stuff, she is babbling all the time now and giggling and really interacting with us now.  It's a fun phase for sure.  She's grabbing toys and playing in her jumperoo.  They really do grow up and change so fast! She's gone on lots of walks and loves being outside.  As mentioned before, she put her feet in the sand at the beach for the very first time, celebrated her first St Patrick's Day, tried food for the first time, played in her jumperoo for the first time, discovered her thumb and is a rolling pro!  Definitely a big month of development! 

Little Miss Ayla, you continue to delight us!  You are adorable and fun and we all love playing with you!  You certainly are growing and changing so fast.  You don't listen when I tell you that I want you to stay my little snuggly baby a bit longer. I have a feeling there might a trend with you of wanting to grow up a lot faster than I want but I promise I won't hold you back!  You are so incredibly loved and we are so grateful for every day with you! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Letter to My Kids During the Coronavirus

*I have been thinking a lot about the blog lately.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the last person on the planet still using this old thing, and being a creature of habit, I'm okay with that. It has been a fun source to keep family and friends up to date on our lives, and sometimes it's also been a personal place to vent. I've been writing on this thing since we got married and it holds a lot of memories that I don't even remember anymore. It has become a memoir.  I've decided I would like to find a way to save it or publish it so someday my kids or maybe even grandkids can read it someday (if they want). With that being said, I've been wanting to gear more of what I share on here towards my potential future generations. *

With that being said, I want to talk to my children about what everyone is talking about these days because the day will come that this is just a distant memory (thankfully).

So let's start at the beginning.  A few months back we began hearing about some new illness that started in China.  It was talked about a lot but not something we paid that close of attention to. In general, us American's kind of hear horrible things happening around the world and don't pay that close of attention to them because often times we are protected from the horrible things happening around the world.  Then China essentially shut down, which was weird for us but didn't seem to phase us until we began to realize what that meant for us economically. You see, a lot of our "stuff" comes from China and with their workers forced to stay home, that meant our economy was slipping just a bit.  Something you must understand is that our economy is booming right now, arguably the best economic time it has ever been.  We've had talks of a recession coming in the next couple years but so far that hasn't come to fruition. Unemployment has been low, people have money to spend, and the stock market has been hitting record highs.  It has been easy to assume that even if the economy slipped a little bit into a recession in the next couple years that all would still be okay.  Okay, so back to the virus.  It shut down China, people were dying and it started hitting our news more and more.  I remember at some point the mention that it would eventually spread around the world and even if only 250 cases were detected outside China that it would quickly grow into a worldwide pandemic.  Then it spread into Europe and we got our very first case in the United States roughly 4 hours away from us in Seattle. I don't think we took it too serious though and I am sure that I was not alone in thinking that even if other countries shut completely down, there was no possible way that would happen in America.

We saw the numbers start to hit Iran hard, and it still felt like a foreign nation that wouldn't affect us and then it hit Italy hard and Italy didn't feel quite as 3rd worldish to us and we started keeping a closer eye.  We watched as touristy Italy, in their busy Easter season completely shut down into quarantine.  And then the virus started to spread in the Seattle area and we watched in a little bit of shock as we saw Seattle start to shut down.  Things started happening so fast from here and it was almost like hourly we were getting new information and restrictions from the government.  We are only weeks past this point and I remember being shocked that an adoption conference we usually attend made the decision to cancel the night before the event started.  The idea of cancelling an event where thousands of people would meet was surprising.  We went to a broadway show one night and a couple days later the show was completely shut down.  Now, just weeks from when this started, we are where gatherings of any size are forbidden.  We do church from home watching online.  Stores, restaurants, businesses are shut down. Your Dad is working from home, and just of yesterday even if I want to take a walk with Auntie Megan, we would have to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart.  The virus is continuing to spread, they tell us that hospitals will be overwhelmed at some point. Hospitals are struggling to have the supplies they need, the economy has tanked at an insane pace.  Your Daddy has been working his behind off at work for months on something big and was weeks away from it happening when the economy tanked.  Things changed so rapidly that we never even saw this thing coming a month ago and now here we all are hunkered down at home for who knows how long. 

Some of you kids may have a vague memory of these events and some of you are far too young to even remember a moment of it. We are trying our best to balance sharing the reality what is happening but also shield you from any fear of the events.  You know you are making sacrifices with sports and birthday parties, but I don't know how much you really understand.  But I am super proud of how flexible you are being towards your birthday parties and the loss of activities you love.  Even Sabrina being flexible about her one on one trip with us in May, you guys have been awesome. We stopped at the store the other day and I stayed in the car with you guys and I know even that was a bit confusing. Malachi loves history and I have explained to him that these events happening right now will someday be directly written into our history books. As we just finished a unit learning about federal government, state government, and local government this has been a perfect time to let him watch press conferences from the federal and state level and discuss how the federal and state government work together through this.

The world is writing history right now.  We don't even know how it all is going to end at this point.  The virus is still spreading, current numbers are over 300,000 worldwide with over 14,000 deaths. If you are reading this years later, you know how this ended while we are still wondering if things will soon slow down or if this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We don't know if this will re surge in the fall/winter or if enough people will build immunity to drastically slow the spread next year. We don't know if we are going to fall back into a rough economy or if as soon as life returns to normal the economy will pick back up and laid off employees will get their jobs back.  We don't know what permanent changes will come from this.  Will companies become more open to their employees working from home?  Will people continue to buy groceries for delivery or curb side pick up?  Will restaurants permanently convert to more delivery and pick up and less dining in?  Will we have rediscovered the family unit and permanently try and slow down our schedules to spend more time together? 

Through all things, I want to remind you first and foremost to put your trust in God.  Trust Him with the little and trust Him with the big things. It has not been an easy for me to give up this illusion of control that I want, to trust God with the lives of the people I love most, even though I know He loves all of you even more than I do.  It's hard to not fear, for loved ones, for worries about finances.  But I promise as you continue to walk with God it really IS possible to have complete peace in whatever we face.  And always remember to pray. When fear tries to creep in to your life, pray!

We will also continue to teach you financial freedom so that when these types of storms hit, you can be best prepared. I remember how scary it was when your Daddy got laid off 12 years ago. We were young marrieds with school and car debt and a mortgage and not much in savings.  We never wanted to have that feeling again and we have worked hard to be in the place we are now. Even through this unknown period and your Daddy being the sole income provider for our large family, we have no debt besides our mortgage and a savings account that could get us through for quite awhile if we needed it to.  Let's hope it doesn't come down to that, but I just say that it brings relief through a tough time like this to know we could continue to get by. 

And lastly, try to help as you can.  Right now our whole household is in the "low risk" category.  The best thing we can do is stay home as much as possible.  So far Daddy has been the only one going places and all he's going out for is to get food here and there.  We also want to have open hands to help however we can. We always want to keep our eyes out for needs that need met. Whether that be neighbors who can't leave home, needs our church see's in the community, helping with international missions where countries aren't equipped at all for this, donating blood for blood bank shortages, or even taking in foster puppies that need a place to crash until the rescues can find them homes.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like we can tangibly help very much but we love being on the lookout for things we can do!

I truly hope that we can look back on this time and see that something good came out of it.  This is a unique moment in history that we will likely never see again. Even though times are really hard for many, I hope through this hardship we see that we were finally given permission to slowdown.  Life shut down and we get to enjoy this small moment of time as a family with nothing on the agenda (besides homeschool and Daddy working from home) but time spent together. I hope this is looked back on a positive moment for families and a time where we discovered some things that we didn't need to bog down life with commitments every night of the week. That it is okay to take joy in simple pleasures and not constantly be going.  After months of feeling overwhelmed with how busy life is, this time at home is a breath of fresh air.  I am hopeful that we will get through this as a world, we will learn lessons, and I hope that we all come through this as better people.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Beach Trip

Life has been a bit crazy lately, well it is always crazy but it feels like it has gone to a new level between Peter's busy work schedule and adding a new baby to the home.  Things have felt very challenging for all of us.  It made me feel a little bit better when Peter chatted with someone who has gone through the same experience that we are going through and they acknowledged that it was really hard on the family, and they didn't have a new baby added to the mix.  

So all that to say, Peter had a small moment of slow down at work and since he still has some paternity leave to burn he decided to work on a little family getaway. It really was just what we needed as a family, a break from life!  It was also Ayla's first trip to the beach!  The kids love the coast and always have a blast between the beach and pool.  They also requested a trip to the cheese factory so we made that happen along with a little trip to a science research center.  It was just what we needed to recharge the batteries a little bit and keep on grinding through this stressful season.  

We certainly don't travel light!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ayla 3 Months Old

Well Time continues to fly and this girl is already 1/4 of the way through her first year.  

Little Miss Ayla continues to delight us and this was a month of many firsts for her.  She had her first babysitter while Mom and Dad got away for several hours to see a show.  She did awesome even if she went on a bit of a hunger strike (taking bottles is still a challenge for her).  The weather was finally nice enough for us to go on a little walk and so far she just loves it outside when we've had the opportunity to be there.  Another major first is that this girl has started rolling over, back to stomach (the hard way to roll). We started the process of removing the swaddle early because I felt like she was strong and had the potential.  When we were discussing the swaddle and sleep situation with our pediatrician a few weeks back she mentioned that we could probably continue with the swaddle because we should have another couple months before we need to worry about rolling. But this girl has been determined to get rolling over (the cheers from her siblings help) and after weeks of trying she finally started making it over on her 3 month birthday.  Whew, I just want her to stay my baby but I have a feeling with how strong and determined she is that she just might be an early mover and shaker! 


She's turning into a bit of a peanut after all, weighing just right at 12 lbs (30th percentile). It's not unusual for us to have little babies in about those percentiles so I'm not worried. She's still eating great and we are having no issues with nursing at this point!  Definitely glad we kept pushing through!  Sleep has FINALLY gotten better. Even though she's been sleeping 9-10 hour stretches at night for quite some time, we were really having issues with getting her down at night. At 1 month she wasn't going to sleep until midnight-3 in the morning.  At 2 months we were still battling and it was 11-12 at night.  But finally just in the last week she has regulated herself and is consistently ready for bed between 8:30-9:00.  Mom and Dad are finally getting to bed at a decent time!  She's still sleeping pretty good and I can't complain at all. She's ready to eat sometime between 5-7 in the morning and then goes back to sleep.  



 It has been another great and fast month with our girl. This 3-5 month stage is my most favorite of any as they are still snuggly babies but we get to see and know more about their personalities.  So far her personality seems like a thinker.  She's a bit more serious than some of the other kids but Mama and her siblings still get lots of smiles.  She'd rather face out at the world so she can keep an eye on everything going on. She sometimes fights sleep because she doesn't want to miss anything and will keep trying to pop those eyes back open.  She's our strongest baby and just in general seems very determined but that is no surprise to me after the pregnancy I had with her.  It is crazy to me that I could determine bits of who she has continued to be as far back as how she was in the womb.  She is adored by all of us and we all definitely treat her like the baby :)

Little Miss Ayla, how can you be 3 months old already. This has been a fun month with you and I definitely feel like we are settling in a bit better!  You seem to have your ways and routines that we are just going with because girl, you definitely rule the roost! We thought we had this baby business figured out after your 4 siblings but you've taught us we know nothing. There is no "training" you, you're determined to have things the way you want them and we are just rolling with it.  I've repeated more than once that "you won't sleep in our bed forever" and you now sleep in your bed next to mine.  I've repeated "she won't go to bed at midnight forever" and you are now sound asleep by 9.  And now I say "she won't sleep next to the bed forever" or "she won't be a lousy napper forever".  I've done this mom thing long enough now to know that everything is just a fleeting phase.  Regardless of any sleep issues we've had, I just adore every second of your life and soak in as much of this baby phase as I can because you seem determined to try and keep up with those big siblings as soon as possible.  I just want to tell you to slow down, there's no rush, but it doesn't seem you want to listen.  So I will take the baby snuggles I can get and kiss those chubby lil cheeks for as long as I still can.  You are beautiful and one amazing and precious baby girl!