Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5 Favorites {read aloud books!}

Joining Jenna, the new Five Favorites hostess with the mostest, for some books we love here at the Hahn house.

These are favorites for 2 reasons:
1) I actually enjoy reading them. There are plenty of books I DO NOT enjoy reading: Fox in Socks, most Curious George stories, Clifford or anything like it, and plenty of others. When I actually laugh and or cry during a children's book, I count it as a win for all parties. Also,
2) I like these books/authors as a nice middle ground between long chapter books without many pictures, like Little House on the Prairie or the Narnia books. I have read a few longer chapter books with Naomi and it was always kind of sad how it excluded Bernadette because she just couldn't sit for that long with no pictures. These are great for both girls, even Lucy will sit through some of them.

Here you go:

1) Beatrix Potter's The World of Peter Rabbit My wonderful Mother-in-law got this set for Lucy and Bernadette for their birthdays recently and we have been loving it- ALL of us! I actually laugh during them and love her little plots and how they unfold. The character names and the language make the reading so much more interesting, and it is even more delightful if you read them in an English accent- try it, you will love it.

2) Anatole books I had never heard of these, but Mike must have read them as a kid because he got us the first one and the girls loved it so much that we've been stocking up on others in the set too. The main character in all the books is a mouse who feels bad for stealing food from peoples' homes so he gets a legit job at a cheese factory to make a living for his family- marriage and family, upright living, plus you can read these in a French accent since he is a little French mouse living in Paris- very fun.

3) The Clown of God I LOVE this book, but I can't read it too much because I literally cannot not cry. Such a beautiful story, if you have never read it to your kids I highly recommend it. That's all.

4) Virginia Lee Burton books I love how old-timey these are, I realize how stupid I sound saying that, but it is true. They are classic, the illustrations are great, all the stories are super sweet and for some reason the The Little House makes me cry almost every time. But then I'm a crier.

5) Robert McCloskey books I love Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine the best, but Make Way for Ducklings is great too. We have the set I linked too and some of the longer ones are really fun too.

So there you have it, my children will benefit from this post because now I feel especially motivated to read, read, read tomorrow. Have a lovely Wednesday night! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

excuses, excuses...

What can I say? I am the worst, that's what. Worst blogger evah. But let me try to explain the absence that I am sure no one actually missed.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I blogged about the celebration of the day Lucy was born and that is the last time I let my e-pressence be known via the blogging community. It really feels like that was 2 months ago, not 2 weeks because:

1: The Flu-

Oh my lanta, if being a mother is hard, than being a mom and having the flu- like the full on high fever, body aches and pains, horrible burning throat and throbbing head for no less than 5 days is straight up mother-hell. I haven't had the flu since Mike and I were engaged and I thought I had gotten a flu shot more recently than I had and I was wrong. The day of Lucy's birthday Naomi had a sore throat and fever but the next day was totally fine (because she had gotten the blessed flu shot!!) but then I picked up what she had and the wonder of the flu shot was made manifest- the rest of the family had gotten shots, everyone was fine, everyone but me. Say what you will about immunizations, but I will take 30 flu shots a year if it will spare me that atrocity of a week while trying to care for children. Thankfully I had my new-found Instagram account to keep me company while I lay about the house popping more tylenol than I should and playing more movies on for the girls than I knew I could. Luckily I did not photograph too much of the event save for the above stollen grams for your enjoyment. 

So last Monday was my first day with no fever, and we decided not to put off a planned trip to see our families during Mike's fall break and hastily packed all that morning and left that afternoon. Bringing me to my next excuse which is...

2: Travel. I was not entirely over the flu, but I hadn't had a fever is like half a day so we thought we'd just go. Sound like a bad idea? It sure felt like one. After an insane morning of packing everything we needed and readying the house to leave, we made it out the door around 1 p.m. and the second we got in the car I was sure we had made a giant mistake. Would I infect all of our family members with the flu? I wasn't sure but we were going and the girls were thrilled with our decision.
Joseph could not contain it.


We spent the first few days with Mike's family and it was lovely, and had the special treat of getting to see Hannah's sweet little one:

Then Mike left for a conference in Philadelphia and I holed up at my parents' house and drank too much wine with my little sister, had tons of fun with my older sisters and their kids and the girls had time of their lives:



The flu had indeed gone away and the stay with all the family was really great, not a bad decision in the slightest. but not really conducive to enjoying any time with this great internet community. Plus I didn't bring my computer so... priorities? I don't know, I am back and I hope to never take such a long break from my blog-child again. I know you're weeping with joy.

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!

Enough.

Happy Thursday, Party People!