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Monday, April 30, 2012

Multitude Monday

 I've taken a two month break from Multitude Monday because I needed to slow down on blogging to prepare for baby.  She's here, and absolutely adorable at four weeks old tomorrow.  Here's a list of the latest things I'm thankful for:

266.  This tiny child with spiky hair like a fairy, we call her Violette.
267.  For grandparents who come and dote on their Grandkids with so much love and affection.
268.  For a dresser full of baby girl clothes, we've barely had to but anything!
269.  The sound of two older children waking and talking quietly.
270.  A weekend of rain, to refill local supplies.
271.  Baby frogs, smaller than a dime, and a chance to teach the older kids to respect life and not squish them.
272.  One month of newborn cuddle time with no health issues, just a perfectly growing and happy baby girl.  We are so blessed.
273.  Breakfast muffins, waiting for us this morning.
274.  A husband who tries to understand.
275.  Plenty of diapers - thanks to the grandparents again :)
276.  11 hours spent in bed!
277.  Excellent production of breast milk = happy baby.
278.  Freedom of press, living in a country where news is not censored.
279.  Sharing imaginary lemons with a 3 year old.
280.  Hearing your 3 year old tell her grandmother "I got you a baby, just for you!"
281.  One year old son who shows his adoration by kissing my hand repeatedly.
282.  One year old son with dirt under his too-long fingernails, shows his diligence with outdoor learning - right?
283.  As I pause while writing this post in a quiet room, I can hear each of my children's voices through the baby monitor and I'm delighted to recognize a new voice from Violette.  She has this little AhhhhhHHHH that escalates until she's picked up.
284.  Mid day lattes made at home.
285.  Leftover cheesecake.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Community is hard to find in a mega church

It's hard to find community in a mega church.  They offer mom groups like Blessed that get together for park play dates on weekdays when I work, never on the weekend.  They offer small home groups but none seem to accommodate 3 small children.  The women's Bible study meets 3 times a day but my peer group of mom's meets in the morning, when I'm working.

So when I finally find a calendar event on the weekend I write it on the calendar, because if it's there the family will know to make it a priority.  But they don't.  Kids act up, husband announces they don't deserve a park day and cookies get put away, unbaked.  It rains a slow drizzle rain that says I might stop, I might not.  Then we all decide to go anyway, an hour later and the rain comes down even harder.  Then the baby cries on the way so we go to the mall instead and I stay in the van to feed the baby, an hour early.  We nap because that's just less stressful then walking in the now drizzle to watch kids play in the mall.

Such is the life as a full time working mom.

Complete and utter peace

Violette - 4 weeks old

My kids are driving me crazy - part 2


I realize it's very individual and personalized to each family but we could use some advise here.  In my Vicodin haze of the past 3 weeks I've let things slide, it's easy to do when your brain is on narcotics.  When your oldest hisses at you, you think 'well that's not so bad'.  Then a hiss leads to more sass and more talking back to loud disrespectful NO's until you're finally off the drugs and you think to yourself, 'wow my kids are really bad'! 

I guess things had to finally come to a breaking point.  Two kids playing so rough they were throwing toys in the air without any care for where they landed - which was on mom nursing baby Violette.  No one listened when they were told to stop.  They were put in time out on their beds and shouted at.  For the rest of the morning I didn't take my eyes off them.  The second they tried to engage in a banned act they were told to stop, if they didn't stop they were immediately put in time out.  If they sassed, they were put in time out.  I was very tough on both of them, now my voice hurts.  And I'm exhausted.

There were tears at first, but those turned to kisses and general cheerfulness.

We believe (husband and I) that they misbehave to test boundaries, get our attention and sometimes just get carried away with their activities.

We are trying very hard to "lighten up" but the areas we absolutely cannot abide are disrespect and hard play over furniture that can lead to ER visits.

Would love to hear your insights on how you deal with small ones in these circumstances.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My kids are driving me crazy - Part 1

Earlier this week I wrote to Always Alleluia, a blogger with 4 kids and begged for advise.  "My 2 older kids have gone wild", I said, "please tell me how you handle 4 with cleaning and home schooling".

Her advise was simple, "The only advice I have is to try to include the siblings as much as you possibly can. This will blow over, but I think sometimes we just don't realize how upside down their little world feels to them"


"Give yourselves time to adjust. Every time we brought a new baby home, it was a couple of months of pure survival mode as we all figured out what was going on, but eventually, you will find your new groove. As for hose work and homeschooling.... we get the bulk of our school work done before lunch and that leaves afternoon/evening time for picking up."

Okay I that definitely helps but if there is anyone else out there with 3+ kids (looking at you Poorganics), I'd LOVE to hear your stories of how you settled in when #3 arrived.  

My limited knowledge (of 3 weeks) includes:
  • 3 year old has regressed in potty training (of one year) to having a daily accident (sometimes 3)
  • 1 year old screams MINE to just about everything and NO
  • Both clamor over who can stand in front of me, shoving each other out of the way
  • Both clamor over who can sit in my lap, pushing the other out of the way
  • They fight over toys and media constantly
In short, they are driving us crazy.  Would appreciate any and all advise from you experienced mom's.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apparently 8pm is baby girl's bedtime

I've suspected it for a week now.  At 8pm she wants her bedtime.  She'll tolerate her crib during the day while the noise level screams "it's daytime because the older kids are creating mayhem" but once they head to bed at 8pm and it gets quiet, she wants mama and bedtime. 

Tonight Mema was holding her and she started crying at 8pm.  I rushed to finish my latest muffin obsession - Applesauce Spice Muffins.  Upon completion I took baby back into our bedroom to feed her, even though it had only been 2 hours and she wasn't interested.  No, she just wanted mama and her bedtime.

Very decisive these newborns.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

4am feedings

I actually enjoy feeding the baby at 4am.  She's usually happy to eat fast and fall back asleep without any problems and I'm awake enough to play my Pandora Cirque Du Soleil station and get caught up on internet browsing - tonight's reading is Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow and her 2012 Oscar's gown selection and background on getting dressed for the evening.  The house is quiet, everyone is sleeping and no one needs anything from me.  I have a snack of my recent muffin creation sitting in the fridge - tonight's feature Banana Muffins with brown sugar/butter glaze with milk.  Very relaxing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My kids just threw away all their toys...

We set up a gate in the master bedroom doorway so that we can have more light in the condo during the day and the kids can't get in and wreak havoc.

As I'm nursing baby Violette, they proceeded to throw their toys over the gate. Husband responded by boxing up the toys and saying they would lose them for a period of time.

Undeterred, Charlotte continued to throw every single toy over the gate and say things like:

"Bye bye toy, I'm throwing you away".

"We made a big mess daddy"!

"I don't want my squishy anymore".

I wonder who will win this round?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Every day I have to remind myself that I just had a baby

which is why I'm so tired and finding it hard to accomplish little things - like baking.

Take Sunday for example, I'd been craving 'Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies' for several weeks. Never got around to making them before the baby got here, then needed about 2 weeks to get back on my feet before I could justify doing something as frivolous as making cookies.

Yesterday it was finally time to make these cookies and it took about twice as long as I balanced cooking with a 3 and 1 year old tugging on my pants for attention. The oldest wanted Sprinkle Cupcakes, even though she had just had two marshmallows, a chocolate peanut butter cup and gummy bear for snack. She begged and begged and I said no, healthy cookies come first and I can't stand in here long enough to bake two snacks. The 1 year old babbled his request and the nearest I could translate was "take me outside for a long walk so I can work out this pent up energy". Sorry little guy, can't do long walks yet. Where was dad you ask? Off tending to newborn who's clinging to his chest like a baby Koala Bear.

So I mixed ingredients while they bounced around me and then around each other. I finally sat at the dining table and scooped the remaining cookies into round balls so they could be frozen and saved for later. A new trick I learned is to bake cookies one tray at a time so you can enjoy the fresh baked yummy newness more often. In other words, bake one tray the first day, freeze the remaining into round cookie balls and bake them later. I love this idea!

The cookies are fantastic and well worth the effort. Should you be interested in the recipe it can be found here.

To my blogger friends of the past 5 years

I used to be a good blogger. I'd visit your blogs weekly and comment. Then in 2012 I got really busy with pregnancy, took on a ton of extra work in the evenings with design projects and barely managed to keep up with updating my own blog! So my apologies for the neglect. I'll be around to visit in the next 2 weeks.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Compassion Sunday

April 15th is Compassion Sunday at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. I wish I could volunteer at this event because I love this organization so much but our newborn is only 12 days old so I'll be home listening online.
My passion for Compassion started five years ago with a girl named Wilma from Boliva. She was 11 and from a poor farming community. We've traded letters over the past years and I was astonished to suddenly realize she's 16 this year! I quickly wrote to Compassion asking when do they age out of the program and I was reassured not until she hits 21 if she goes to college. I like this because I was starting to worry she'd be gone in 1-2 years! I guess we've become accustomed to her letters and updates. I even try to read the Spanish and respond in the few phrases I know.

Our 2nd Compassion child is Celeste from Guatemala. A favorite blogger, Ann Voscamp, took a trip to Guatemala and highlighted the children from this area. I was so moved by her touching posts that I made room for one more.

Our 3rd Compassion child is Nyirambangutse Celine from Rwanda. My brother started dating a girl from Rwanda last year and I felt led to choose a girl from this region.

Our 4th Compassion child is Roby from Indonesia. This one is thanks to Shaun Groves who spoke at Relevant 2011. I was all comfortable with my 3 sponsored children and feeling satisfied with my offering when he concluded with the final statement of "how many of you have leftovers in your fridge that you discard on a weekly basis?"

Hand raised - yes I still have leftovers that we throw away; even after we support our own family, meet all our needs without any hesitation and support 3 Compassion children. If I can throw away food, I can definitely find room in the budget for one more.

So our budget got a little tighter. I followed my friend Poorganics blog a little closer for tips on how to save with groceries, I read Money Saving Mom's book on how to save money and learned many exciting tips and finally I'm reading Jen Hatmakers book "Seven" and learning even more on how I really don't need as much as the world says I do.

These children get letters from me on a quarterly basis; it's very easy to do through the Compassion website so I don't even need stamps! They provide kid friendly stationary for me to write a letter and include family photos. It's so much fun to write these letters and get back their responses. I've been told the letter writing and encouragement is just as important as the monthly sponsorship money that buys valuable food, supplies and provides a Christian education.

Today I pray for all the Calvary Chapel hearts and ears who will hear a sermon about Compassion and pray for all the little lives who will be changed with sponsors.

Matthew 25:37-40
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison to go visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Adventures in postpartum life = things are getting better

No sickness for 24 hours.

My mom has been in town for Violette's first week and she left today; we are sad to see her leave but need to figure out how to balance 3 on our own anyway. At least the sickness is gone!

Sam has lost his indoor voice - I'm afraid it's permanent. He now shouts at the dinner table and all day long. I'm told one year old's just want to be heard but he must think we are all going deaf!

Both older kids are in collusion with a food strike. All prior favorite foods are no longer liked and no suggestions are being made as to what they might want in replacement. Assuming this might be natural reaction to major life change in us bringing home a newborn.

Violette is surprisingly completely unfazed by the older kids shenanigans. She will sleep through the loudest of tantrums and even when awake shows no alarm at the volume of her older siblings. I guess they really do get a sense of their environment while in utero.

Sam has begun to scream MINE to everything he wants or sister has taken. He desperately needs to learn more words!

Sometimes I hide in the bedroom for longer then necessary after feeding the baby. Like now. Ha ha. Well it is 5, guess I should go make dinner.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Precious Moments

Sickness: it brings us together

I wake up at 3am to prepare a bottle for newborn and hear 3 year old ask for a glass of water. The one before bed sent another wave of nausea all over the sheets. So I give her water and a coveted place at the foot of our bed to monitor while husband feeds baby Violette and I pump. Its a sweet family moment, regardless of circumstances.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Adventures in postpartum life = you probably DON'T want to read this!

Saturday wake up with cracked nipples (sorry internet, it's a new nursing mom inevitability). So I switch to a pump meaning every feeding someone gives baby a bottle while I pump, cue sad mom.

Sunday we had disturbing issues with Sam's diaper. I'm just going to leave it at that. He didn't have any other symptoms, just no appetite and horrible diapers. By mid-day it clears up so we give him an entire chocolate bunny for Easter.

2am Monday - hear husband throwing up in the bathroom. Alarmed, can't lose half my help to illness! I still have to pump at 3 AND feed the baby!

3am - he manages to give baby a bottle and then runs for the bathroom to throw up some more, I somehow manage to prop baby onto my legs while pumping and she's okay with that! I hold her for the rest of the night because she won't let me put her down without screaming and waking the entire house up. Usually we switch off between feedings but husband appears to be completely incapacitated.

7am - made it through the night without further episodes, managed to feed baby at 5am and put off pumping until mom (who's thankfully visiting for the week) could wake up and hold baby.

7:30am - finish pumping, kids are up and while changing Violette's diaper notice Sam run by with sagging pajama bottoms. Kid clearly has a monster of a diaper - chocolate bunny? Husband finally rallies enough strength to get up and drag 30lb boy onto changing table only to gag in horror at what has filled diaper and pajama bottoms. Take the kid straight to shower, bag nastiness in plastic bag and I give the boy a shower, needed one myself anyway.

8:00am - make breakfast, zone out at the table while trying to get 2 kids to eat. Charlotte claims she might be getting sick.

Noon - Charlotte has pink cheeks and is warm all over, definitely getting sick, refuses lunch.

3:30pm - up from naps, I'm feeding Violette on couch and Charlotte finally hurls over carpet, runs to bed to lay down, and then again over clothes and bed. Mom and I follow the trail of disaster and clean up along the way. I put her in the master bed with dad and declare it the hospital room. Give them a bucket and ask them to please aim.

5pm - more shenanigans from Charlotte onto the couch and clothing (which thankfully has removable water proof cover) and I'd say we are just about done with any more sickness today. Everyone needs to get better NOW. I much prefer the screaming and fighting nonsense of the past weekend to these sick events. I'm in recovery people! I'm to be left alone for long periods of time with adequate drinks and snacks while I pump, rest and take care of a newborn. Not running around the house taking care of all you sick people.

Last Monday - the day before baby decided to spontaneously arrive

One week ago I started the day with a half hour of yoga in the morning then it was jump feet first into office work - conference calls, interviews, last minute discussions about transition of job duties. Suddenly office internet went down for 2 hours mid-day so I did another half hour of yoga and had a big lunch. Back on line by 2 for 3 hours of frantic work and I then took the entire family to my last yoga class - the plan being take family just in case I go into labor after class - it could happen!

It didn't.

They went to the beach while I did evening yoga. I swear the teacher pushed me harder that night, or maybe I pushed myself. I wanted this baby out so badly I was planning to do yoga all week just to get things moving.

Family picked me up post class and we went back to the beach for a moonlit picnic dinner - meaning husband and I ate while kids dug holes in the sand.

Last pregnancy photo, one day before Violette was born.

Violette's Announcement Card

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I think I know why the Duggars keep having kids

Because bringing a new baby home has got to be one of the greatest single moments of joy. Watching the older kids gather around and pat the new baby reassuringly, baby gazing back without any fear, these voices are already familiar and this is family.

Introducing Violette Alegria

Born April 3, 2012 at 3:52pm
6lbs 7oz

Sunday, April 01, 2012

We are in a holding pattern!

Friday, I sat at home quietly freaking out that my doctor told me I'm 2cm dilated and my husband had to work all weekend while I'm home with two rambunctious kids. So I wrote about it on Facebook, and got a ton of advise! Leading me to a final conclusion to relax and let all those lovely praying folks take over while I focused on my kids and we made it through husbands work days!

Now it's Sunday and we skip church because who wants their water to break mid-service? I've got husband tasked with various last minute chores that I've deemed "must be done" by the time baby gets here, such as cleaning up the garage that cats have trashed so I can walk through without glaring at a cat. First of the month grocery, Petsmart and Costco shopping.

I'm tasked with watching two kids, making an Amazon order for new baby needs, pre-school needs for Charlotte and whatever other random stuff we need along with taxes! Yes I would like to get taxes done before baby gets here.

We're taking it one day at a time and I'm carefully monitoring every little thing my body does. I'm pretty in tune with smart phones and such so if something happens I'll likely send a quick post on the way to the hospital. But I'm not blogging while in labor!