Aug 31, 2011

Goodbye, Granny

Tomorrow will be a sad day.  Granny is going home.  Oh, how we will miss her!  Today on the way home from school, Zach and Tyler were expressing how much they wish she could stay.  "Just one more week?" asked Zach.  Tyler countered with, "No, a month would be better!"  They went back and forth for a while until in their minds Granny had a permanent home on the living room couch.

While I wholeheartedly agree with their assessment that life without Granny will be rather dismal, I am mostly just grateful for the ten days she has been here.  She has provided invaluable service and support during a very happy time, but also a time when we all needed some scaffolding.  Sending her off with a mere "thank you!" doesn't seem like enough, but it's all we've got.

We took a few sweet pictures in the yard this afternoon.  Gavin was grumpy and didn't want to participate, but eventually Granny convinced him to pat Kate's head. Remembering that will always make me giggle when I see this picture.

 But these two are just tender.

Thanks, Granny!  We will miss you.

Aug 29, 2011

The first week

We have been a family of seven for more than a week now.  Overall, I'd say we are doing pretty well.  This is due in large part to my mom's presence.  She cooks and cleans and does laundry and entertains the kids, so I can just focus on feeding Kate and taking naps. It's quite a lovely arrangement, and I will enjoy every second until she leaves on Thursday morning.  My other visits with my mom this year happened when I was too sick to function and during Women's Conference, when I felt a little better but was pretty limited physically.  It's pretty ironic that I'm feeling better at a week postpartum than I have for nine months!

The kids are adjusting reasonably well.  Zach asks to hold Kate most frequently.  He just stares at her when she is in his arms.  Zach's turns holding Kate are probably shorter than he'd like, because his requests kick off the Domino effect with his siblings and none of them are very patient.  Zach is playing soccer two nights a week and on Saturday mornings.  He may have a career as a keeper.

Tyler also adores his little sister and enjoys his time holding her.  Tyler is super affectionate with both of us, giving me spontaneous hugs several times a day and frequently kissing Kate's head.  Of all the children, I think he is the most relieved to see his mama returning to full function.  Tyler is also playing soccer two evenings per week (different nights, different park than Zach) and is sporting some wicked road rash from a bicycle crash.

Gavin's personality has been supercharged by his participation in preschool.  He is extremely expressive right now, telling stories about his day, sharing his opinions, and announcing at random intervals (but especially at dinner) that "It's MY turn to talk!" Gavin has said some amazing prayers lately, and constantly cracks us up with his three-year-old chatter.  He has suddenly stopped wetting the bed during nap time, which is a fantastic milestone he is very proud of.  A few weeks ago he was having crazy-frequent potty accidents, so I am especially thrilled with his achievement.

Lexi continues to struggle a bit.  Today was especially hard; she was totally sideways and I could not figure out how to help her.  A walk with Granny around the block and an outing to Target with me made her happy for a while, but not for long.  Luckily there are a few happy periods interspersed with the tantrums.  She'll come around...right?  Lexi is so delightful when she chooses to be...

And of course, Kate is adorable.  She's still pretty sleepy, often so sleepy that she doesn't quite want to finish a meal.  During her first night home she really hated the port-a-crib, so for now she's sleeping on a little foam wedge in our bed.  This arrangement worked well with Lexi, but I'm still hoping to move her into her own bed within a week or two.

Here's a photo taken after Kate's first sponge bath at home.  Clearly, she wasn't thrilled. Kate lost her umbilical stump today, and I thought a tub bath might be more to her liking, but she hated that even more.  The kids were a bit alarmed at the screaming; Kate never cries!  She's such a sweet, content little baby.

I've vowed that our fifth baby won't be any less photographed than our other kids, but I'm already finding that taking pictures is the last thing on my mind.  Nevertheless, here a couple of cute shots from Kate's first week.

As for me, this is probably the best postpartum recovery I've ever had.  It's such a relief to feel better--and to have my healthy, happy baby here--that the rest just doesn't matter. Between Garry and my mom, I've got lots of help at home.  I'm getting enough sleep (for this time of life, anyway).  And my ankles are back. What more can I ask for?

A toast

On Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a remarkable thing: I wasn't nauseated.  Wow!  It was a condition I had been longing for since the beginning of the year.  I hadn't known I was pregnant for a week before I started feeling nasty, and it was less than two before barfing began in earnest.  I was begging for relief soon after and started taking Zofran on January 16th.  Things sort of spiraled out of control from there.

So it was pretty amazing to realize at 3:30 p.m. that I hadn't taken Zofran all day.  I hadn't needed it.  I didn't need it.  And I haven't needed it since then.  Wow!

By Friday evening it seemed my new-found freedom from nausea might be permanent, so we celebrated as a family.  I decided it would be fitting to toast the return of my health with a grape cream slush from Sonic.  Happily, my favorite pregnancy treat was even more delicious without waves of nausea pressing on my stomach.  The kids got to order whatever they wanted and were delighted with their treats, too.

Here's to a new lease on life!

Aug 25, 2011

The big sister

After almost eight years of being a mom to boys only, it's pretty fun to have a pair of daughters in the family. Every time I make a reference to "the girls," I smile.  With three boys going to school each morning, the girls and I will be spending lots of time together.

Understandably, Lexi is having the hardest adjustment to a baby in the house.  She is supremely curious about everything, so I try to involve her as much as possible in Kate's care.  But fetching diapers, choosing outfits, bringing burp cloths, and watching feedings hasn't done much to temper her frustration with my newly divided attention.  Lexi often tells me to "put baby down," "stop feeding her," etc.

Lots has changed at our house this week, with Kate's arrival and Gavin's attendance at preschool. Lexi lost her all-day playmate and gained a baby sister who can neither play nor converse nor lead pantry raids and house escapes.  Plus, Lexi's awesome Granny replaced Mom for a couple days, which she didn't appreciate.  Granny's help is much more acceptable now that I am home, but Lexi has been super clingy and prefers my assistance in every activity.  And of course she's thrilled when Daddy comes home.

On Tuesday morning Kate had her first appointment with the pediatrician.  I went straight from that to pick up Gavin from preschool.  Lexi was devastated to be left at home.  She registered her dissatisfaction first with an epic tantrum and then by giving Granny the cold shoulder.  She hid under the grand piano--and then fell asleep at 10:00 a.m.!  Poor girl.

So I'm trying to spend lots of one-on-one time with Lexi, at least as much as our new lifestyle will allow.  Hopefully as we settle into a new routine she'll realize she is loved and cherished as much as before, and that her upside-down world will be happy once more.

Aug 24, 2011

Capturing Kate

Before we left the hospital, I subjected Kate to her first photo shoot.
We started simple, mostly because she wasn't thrilled.
I totally love that the binky is practically as big as Kate's face.

Once she was content, I changed her clothes.
Lavender might be Kate's color, don't you think?

Here's a shot of Baby Kate on her way home from the hospital.

And one of her asleep in her bed for the first time.
{Note: she doesn't like it.}

I am one happy mama, and Kate is one sweet girl.
She is super content.
She has perfect skin.
Just today, she started waking up a bit,
offering periods of open-eyed wonder.
But sometimes, when she's half-asleep,
she gives the BEST two-dimpled grins.
Her days and nights are definitely mixed up.
She gets the hiccups fairly often,
but I don't recall her ever having them in utero.
My milk has arrived, and she's an amazing nurser.
The boys think she has tons of hair.

I just think she's fabulous.
Even in the middle of the night.


Gavin started preschool on August 22, the day Kate and I came home from the hospital.  I missed his departure, but I could feel his excitement from afar.  All morning I watched the clock, imagining what he was doing and feeling at that moment.  It was a momentous day!

Gavin was thrilled to finally wear his "preschool clothes," or an outfit we found for him at Costco a few weeks ago.  He couldn't wait to use his backpack and deliver school supplies to his classroom.  The thought of leaving for school with the big boys and riding in Dad's car was almost too much to handle!  The grin on Gavin's face says it all.

My little man made my day when he called me on the way to school.  I was so happy to hear his excited voice telling me all about his plan to have a great day.  My mother heart was grateful to have a piece of his experience that morning, even though I felt very far away.  

I worried a little bit that Gavin would be super excited about the idea of attending preschool but would balk at being left alone at the school.  I am so glad I was wrong.  By all accounts, his first day -- and week -- was 100% successful.  Gavin seems to relish his experiences every day and always comes home happy.  He's such a big boy now!  We could not be happier or feel more blessed by this opportunity.  

Just for fun, I'll tack on a couple of darling Gavinisms from this week.  

The first happened at the hospital on Sunday morning.  Just after Garry arrived with Granny, Gavin, and Lexi, a technician arrived to perform Kate's hearing screening.  We all settled in to watch.  Gavin, of course, wanted to hover directly over his sister.  The sweet technician let Gavin help apply the sensors and earphones to Kate's head and face.  Then he held one of the earphones in place while the test proceeded.  Eventually, Gavin left the bed side and sat in Garry's lap to watch.  He folded his arms, obviously pleased with his work, and declared, "I think I'm a doctor now!" We laughed and laughed.

Later, when all the kids came for another visit, the room got a little crowded.  I stood up and let Gavin sit in the bed.  He stretched out his arms and legs, really settled into the pillow, and said, "Now I think I'm a mom!"

Tonight, Garry took Gavin to watch Zach's soccer practice.  There they had the following exchange.
Garry: Hey, there's a nose stuck on your face and I can't get it off!
Gavin: That's because it's mine!  Jesus made it and put it there so it won't come off!

Silly Gavin.  We sure love him.

Aug 22, 2011

Family reunion

I am a child of God

And He has sent me here

Has given me an earthly home

With parents kind and dear

Lead me, guide me

Walk beside me

Help me find the way

Teach me all that I must do

To live with Him someday.

pass it on!

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