Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day In The Life {Lucy's Birthday Edition}

Because when you don't know what to blog about, documenting every hour of your day works just fine. Also, what better way to immortalize your kid's birthday than a step-by-step of most of the day and a boat load of cell phone pictures? You'll thank me later, Lucy, you will.


6:00 a.m.- Joseph is next to me because he made his way there some time around 4 a.m. and now the bed is soaked with pee. Perfect! I needed to get up and go get birthday donuts anyways.

6:10- Out of bed for the day with Joseph, change his pee diaper and clothing and check the webs for the local donut shop's hours. Since they didn't open until 7 a.m. I decide to stick with our usual grocery store fried sugary goodness.

6:20- Naomi emerges complaining of a sore throat (which is really 5:20 as far as she knows) and I have her sit on the couch while I shower, because I am not supposed to let her be awake at that hour.

6:45- I decide to let her stay awake but she is not permitted to accompany me and Joseph to fetch the donuts. She chills out and reads books while I go.

7:00- I arrive at the store for the donuts, wet hair et al. Grab some chocolate cake icing while I'm there and gather the donut assortment.

7:20- Home. Get coffee immediately and down a hefty cup, then set up the donut display to accent the gifts and balloons
7:40- I finish getting myself ready and lay Joseph back down, hopeful that we will be able to squeeze in donuts, gifts and still get the girls to their 9 a.m. catechesis at church.

8:00- Bernadette has been up and out for roughly 20 minutes and Lucy is still slumbering in their room, I decide to sneak in to grab the girls' clothes so they can get ready for catechesis. After sneaking in I realize that Lucy is actually awake, so I pick her up, sing her her first round of "happy birthday" and bring her out to show her all the fun that awaits. I have never seen such a subdued little girl on her birthday- the most ever. Any time you ask her if it is her birthday, she just answers "no", although she did thoroughly enjoy her donut, ok just the icing of the donut.

8:20- gift opening commences, which just consisted of Lucy sitting on the couch, very much unimpressed and us handing her gifts... and opening them for her.

She sure did love her new fake flip phone, best gift of them all.

8:45- Mike is still assembling a newly gifted castle that I had hoped to let her play with before I hauled them all off to catechesis and grocery shopping and I make the executive decision that we would skip the religious formation for the day and let them play like the kids that they are.

playing and TV watching happens and laundry sucks me into a time vortex

10:10- I load all parties into the van because while catechesis can be skipped, there were groceries to be purchased that could not be skipped. Off we went prepared for the inevitable stares which result from mom+all four kids at the store. Cue copious phone pictures:

view from my side of the ergo/grocery cart // I indulged Lucy in every exit from the cart her little heart desired // and they ride the store horse

12:00- We arrive back at the home front for lunch and cake baking. No one eats their lunch and Naomi's complaints of her sore throat continue

12:30- Cake is baked and children start to be taken to perspective nap areas, Lucy takes a great nap and I feign ignorance about the fact that Bernadette escaped to the basement with Naomi because they are playing peacefully with Lucy's new toys and I actually have a few moments of peace and quiet to do who-knows-what.

3:00- All parties are awake, we ice the cake and too much icing is consumed at which point I realize the girls have not eaten anything but donuts and I force some peanut butter and cheese on them before sending them back down to play.

3:30- Children play more while I consume multiple more cups of caffeinated liquids, set up my first Instagram account (follow me!!) and then realize I should do something resembling the activities of a "good parent" and call the girls up to read.

At some point it became clear that Naomi's sore throat was accompanied by a fever and I let them watch Lucy's new Beatrix Potter cartoons until Mike came home.

Now we're about to inhale birthday Chic Fil A , watch Chicken Run (oh the irony) and enjoy that beautiful chocolate cake. GET IN MA BELLEH!!!!!

Happy birthday to you, Lucy: the sweetest, most stoic little 2-year-old I know!

Monday, October 13, 2014

8 Great Soothing Tools {for the fussy baby}

Obviously I am blogging from where we are in life right now, baby soothing techniques and devices are my everything. I've tried a lot: nary a piece of cheese has seen my lips in weeks and gripe water was Joseph's second source of sustenance for a while there, but in the end we are reconciled to the fact that God has given us an insanely gassy baby, and it is ok if he cries a lot. But! there are some things that help- let me share with you.

A few disclaimers: these are simply tools that we use to keep the all-out screaming fits to a minimum, but there are plenty of times- perhaps even a whole lot of times- when none of these tools do a damn thing and we just hold him until he will trade his screams for a soothing device. And obviously, they are simply things that work for me and that I think are great, maybe they won't work for you at all and maybe you hate them- that's ok, they're just ideas. Lastly, while all the links are Amazon affiliate links, that is pretty much just for fun because we do use every single one of these every single day. But, yes, if you click and buy, I may make 10 cents, so thank you.

In descending order, with #1 as my top choice and most used baby soothing device, all day, every day. Here we go!

8: SwaddleMe Swaddle- Joseph has actually grown out of all his swaddles, and since it wasn't making any major differences, I have discontinued using them (mostly because I don't want to fork out the $ for bigger ones.) They definitely played a role in getting him to sleep on his own at night for longer than 20 minutes. I have used other brands of swaddles, but I loved how well these held his arms in and how cozy they were.

7: HoMedics White Noise Machine- We have a few of these babies and for the 20 bones you shell out for one, I would definitely say they are totally worth it. Just last night Joseph was all in a tizzy and getting himself more and more worked up and I just walked in his room, turned out the lights and cranked up the noise machine and, miracle of miracles, within 15 minutes he was calm and fell asleep. I'm not saying it happens all the time, but it happened- sometimes I think babies just get over stimulated and the white noise helps calm them.

6: Mylicon Gas Drops(or any generic brand gas drops)- I do not know if these things actually help, but there is always a curiously coincidental massive passage of gas pretty immediately after giving them to Joe and he is much happier. I love that they have a dosage of up to 12 times per day, it just always makes me feel like I have something I can do, so I always have them around.

5: Fisher-Price Swing- We have an older version of this one, but it does the same thing- swings side to side and front to back. For a while baby J preferred side to side and now he rather enjoys front to back. It is a nice break for my arms and he will usually take one little (or sometimes big) nap in it a day, which I always appreciate.

4: ERGO babyBaby Carrier- This is generally what I use when I am out and about anywhere, and it always ensures minimal store screaming or park screaming and he pretty much always passes out in it. I am not a a big baby wearing fanatic, in fact I don't really like it for how much it hurts my back, but man it does do the soothing trick.

3: Moby Wrap -Same as above. It is super cumbersome to put on and he is getting big and it is uncomfortable to wear him but it always does the trick. Always.

2: Fisher-Price Bouncy Seat-I don't know what it is about how this thing cradles him, and I think it may be that he likes the suspended bouncy feeling, but this is where I put him the majority of the day if he is not in my arms. He naps in it most of the day (if he is not in above listed carriers) and sleeps in it at night since we have kicked him out of our room for most of the night. It was gifted to us with Naomi and each of our kids have loved it, but Joseph loves it the most.

1: Soothie Pacifier-I know not all babies take pacifiers and Naomi never did, but this soothie type has been a go-to for Bernadette, Lucy and now most especially with baby Joe. I am a slave to it most of the day which I kind of hate and I look forward to the day when he is actually "self soothing" and not completely dependent on me holding this thing in his mouth. However, I am very grateful that it works to keep the screaming to as much of a minimum as it can be during these days.

So there you have it, some tricks of my trade- I have loved hearing so many of yours, so do share if you have more!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I think the phrase you're looking for is "bat shit"

Or "train wreck", or "crazy town", pick your poison. I have tried really hard to keep my stress eating tendencies under control these last few months, but I think I am just going to go ahead and wave my white flag because this:

is currently hiding on my desk and I think I will continue to refill the pile until the bag is gone. Whatever works? It's definitely better than some other coping mechanisms. There have been a few days where I have felt like a total baller- staying patient with the craziness of this house, cleaning, doing dishes and laundry and making dinner while not feeling like I might just melt into a puddle of insanity- but those days are more the exception right now for sure.

Despite the fact that Baby Joe was birthed in July and we are now making our way into October, we are most definitely still locked into survival mode and I do not see us making our way out of said mode until something gives. And by something I mean any of the following:

+ Joseph starts to sleep more than a 2 hour long stretch without waking and SCREAMING! HIS! HEAD! OFF! and does so consistently.

+ The older girls go on a thorough detox from whatever crazy pills they are currently addicted to. They're just crazy all the time.

+ Lucy learns a better way to express her various life disappointments than with a massive screaming fit.

+ It's not that I want to send Naomi to kindergarten and Bernadette to preschool, it's just that sometimes I want to send them to kindergarten and preschool. I recently posted this in a facebook homeschooling group:

and it pretty much sums up how every single morning of attempting homeschooling looks like.

The good thing is that we are nearing the end of this "4th Trimester" and while that will not necessarily end up making any difference at all, there are some signs of hope. For instance:

+ Joseph is now finally falling asleep for the night at the same time every night. It is unfortunately a full hour and a half to 2 hours later than his sisters, BUT, I can still count on it every night.

+ AND, he is finally out of our room for the majority of the night, which just make s huge difference in how I sleep during those 2 hour stretches. Quality not quantity here people.

+ Lucy is now sleeping with the older girls at night and we made an executive albeit deceitful parenting decision to go into their room every night and set their clock back an hour. You see, Naomi knows that she is absolutely not allowed to leave her room earlier than 6 which was resulting in her waking up and waking everyone else up at 6 most mornings. However, setting the clock back means she stays in quietly until 7. Because she thinks it is 6. We be good parents.

+ Naomi has picked up several books recently and read full sentences that include all sorts of reading rules that I haven't even taught her yet just using the phonics skills I have taught her so far. I naturally felt like a boss and like I can just quit homeschooling now because she can teach herself the rest, right? But then I remembered that Bernadette doesn't even know the whole alphabet yet and was brought swiftly back to earth.

+ Everyone is alive ad healthy and that trumps all the rest I think.

And now I must go because most parties of the house are screaming.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Big Four

4 years ago today I was sitting in a peaceful hotel hospital room, celebrating the birth of my second born baby girl and enjoying plates full of hospital deli sandwiches (my preferred meal to order after Bernadette's birth, is it weird that I remember that?) as I healed from an unexpected c-section and prepared to head home.

Today I am recovering from a cake and skittle overdose heretofore unknown to the likes of me, but signs of a great 4th birthday celebration.
Bernadette is one of the sweetest, funniest and most imaginative little girls I have ever met, and I have met a lot of little girls, and every year of her life get's more exciting.
Hightlights of the day:

- Donuts
- Gifts
- Balloons
- Colorful cake + candy and ice cream
- What more could you possibly need or want?

We shared our cake with a few of her little friends in the afternoon and even though we only invited one friend and her kids over, Bernadette kept referring to it as her "birthday party!!!". Set the bar low, you will not regret it, people.

Then we wrapped up the celebration of this miniature life milestone with a viewing of The Emperor's new Groove on Netflix Instant, which was a surprisingly lovely and funny movie. And since it had all sorts of life lessons about being a good person and what not, all our parenting duties were complete after the screen time. Mike read a recommendation about the movie here, and any tips from you lovely readers of some good Netflix kids movies for Lucy's birthday would be appreciated, we are really good parents and like to celebrate our kids lives by doing as little as possible. Sort of kidding.
The best part of the day was how over-the-top sweet and excited Bernadette was. Any time anyone told her "happy birthday" she would start to say it back and have to stop herself, there was just too much excitement and joy for her to not share. Love her and her little life.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

5 Babies

Let me take an electronic moment to play the part of overly proud mama and aunt, because 2 days ago the 5th grandchild of the year was born on my side of the family, totaling 27 grandchildren in all. Not too shabby.

Back in February I took this picture of all the pregnant ladies on my side of the family at my dad's 60th birthday bash:

And roughly 9 months later, here is the result:

5 healthy babies, 5 smooth deliveries (although my sister who delivered 2 days ago only had 9 minutes from the time she got to the hospital to when her little guy made his appearance. 9 minutes!!) But all are well and healthy- praise be! I think the boy grandkids are winning currently with the count at 15 males and 12 females, but give it time, the girls may be able to catch up.

Pick your word: amazing, awesome, beautiful, exciting, wonderful, spectacular. I choose them all but above all I would call them unmitigated, undeserved, incredible blessings. My parent's are on cloud Nine with all these blessings:

Now for the overly-proud mother: here's little buddie Joe at 2 whole months ex-utero, because I can't post and not feature him in some way, forgive me:

Sorry for the picture heavy, low word count posts, but one handed blogging is not my forte and it's pretty much the only way I can these days. Naturally here's a picture of me one-handed blogging!


Happy Thursday, Party People!

Monday, September 29, 2014

"F" is for Fall and Fun

got mums? // I have been living on a steady diet of these cookies, no regrets// summer's last tomatoes

The girls professed with strong conviction this afternoon that fall was the worst season of them all and when I asked why?

Stink bugs. I am raising them right.

However, while I share their hatred for the worst bugs in the world, I will not allow their ever growing presence to ruin my love for what I think is the most loveable season. Other than the stink bugs, I am all in this fall. We got to enjoy a lovely day with Mike's mom last week and hit up a local farm, which was having a "homeschool feild trip day" (I know, I am so legit now) with lots of fall festivities, pumpkin picking, hay rides and the like. I could not pick just 1 or 5 pictures, so heres a bunch:

And the cutest pumpkin of them all.
Can you say "stage mom"? Sorry, I had to. At least I didn't paint him.

Then we went ahead and painted the pumpkins, because, I don't know, fun?
While Joseph sun bathed in his baby pod. Thanks Grace for the onesie cuteness.
Then I made everyone eat chilli for dinner tonight even though it was 80 degrees out today, because it is FALL!!!

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the best season of them all!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Perfect Postpartum Shirt {+ a White Plum Giveaway!}

I first heard about White Plum through Grace I think, and I have loved them since the beginning. Hilary's story is amazing- anyone who goes from dancing with the stars to dancing with toddlers, stay-at-home mom style, and then starts a company to keep fellow moms looking cute without spending hundreds has my business. White Plum is offering some sweet little treats for you readers with a giveaway of a pair of their leggings AND a discount for 20% off entire purchase until 9/28 when you use the code TIMEFLIES. So hit up the rafflecopter at the end and head over to use the code!

Now let's talk about these shirts.

I have been on the lookout for some cute shirts that are friendly to the just-bore-a-baby midsection, because Jenny hit the nail on the head when she insisted that non-maternity clothes should be purchased after the baby is born, even if they are 5 sizes bigger than your pre-baby size, it is so worth it! Feeling pretty just helps everything, it just does. For me it has been essential to not be sporting my many maternity shirts with that side-rouching, which incidentally does nothing but create a pregnant belly for you if there isn't still one.

When I go in search for a good postpartum shirt, I try to stick with 3 strict criteria:
1) Must be NON-maternity
2) Must be nursing friendly
3) Must cause as few people as possible (preferably none) to ask me when I am due while I cradle my obvious newborn.

Ok, #3 hasn't actually happened to me yet, but this time around I have just been waiting for it. Baby #4 has left the old belly looking a whole lot more early 2nd trimester-ish than 8 weeks postpartum-ish. Needless to say when the wonderful ladies at White Plum sent over these spectacularly flowy+cute shirts, which are both great transitional pieces for the warm to cool fall days, and great transitional tops for the early postpartum days, I was thrilled. They certainly meet all my criteria, the colorblock one is especially forgiving in the midsection and the pink one has so much luscious fabric I could just use it as a nursing tent and drape it over Joseph, and I just might.

You like this senior picture side stance, don't you? I knew you would.

While they are great for postpartum days they are really wonderful shirts whether you've just had baby or have never had one and are never going to have one. So comfy, so cute, so great.

And don't forget!! White Plum is so generously offering one winner-of-a-reader a pair of their super cute leggings. I am a sucker for all things seasonal and festive, so if I were picking I'd go with these or these, but their selection is stellar so I recommend some extensive perusing. Either way, do up the rafflecopter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway