Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Little Dude - 1 Month

Age: 1 month

Weight and height: At 3 1/2 weeks of age, he weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Wearing size: He's still in newborn diapers and wearing newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  Most 0-3 month clothes is a little too big for him.

A more realistic picture of Little Dude

Likes: Being swaddled and toasty warm.  Being sang to.  He loves being snuggled and takes a pacifier really well.

Dislikes: Being put down, having his diaper or clothes changed, eating, his carseat.  

Eating habits: He ate well for the first week and a half, but then something changed and now he's a terrible eater.  He'll start drinking and then a few seconds later, I can hear his tummy gurgling and rumbling, at which point he'll pull away crying.  He has to be calmed down (not an easy job!) before trying the bottle again.  He usually repeats this 3-6 times before finally settling down to finish the bottle.  We've tried 5 different bottles, 2 different formulas, gas drops, peppermint, and everything else we can think of and nothing helps.  He burps well and hardly ever spits up.  Right now, I have to fight to get him to take five 2-3 ounce bottles in a 24 hour period.

Sleeping habits: He doesn't usually stay asleep very long if I'm not holding him.  He will sometimes sleep from about 10 or 11 pm until 3 am and then wake up to eat.  After that though, he won't stay asleep unless I'm holding him.  Many nights, he's up pretty much all night crying.  To say that I'm sleep deprived at this point is an understatement.

Milestones: His umbilical cord fell off at 12 days old, but took over a week to finish healing.

Miscellaneous:  He had to be admitted to the hospital at 3 weeks old for breathing problems due to a cold he caught from Star.
Little Dude easily fits in the guidelines for colic-at least 3 hours of crying a day for at least 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks.  He's pretty much either crying or sleeping, and since he doesn't sleep well, that means that he's crying a LOT.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Sibling Day!

Today is National Sibling Day!  In honor of that, I found some pictures of me and my siblings to share with you :)  I had slim pickings since the photo albums were one of the first things that got packed up in preparation for our move (which is going to happen soon, we hope!  The loan is taking longer to finish that we were originally told it would.)

First up is a picture of all five of us on Christmas.  I'm guessing that the year is somewhere around 1994 or 1995.  From left to right is me (gotta love the huge plastic glasses!), my younger brother (approximately 8 years old), my little sister (around 4 years old), my older sister (around 13 years old), and my youngest brother (about 6 years old).  I would've been around 10 in this picture.    

This is a more recent picture of our family and it's actually a really good picture of everyone except for seriously-unphotogenic me.  This was taken in August of 2012 when I was 8+ months pregnant with Star and my older sister was newly pregnant with her fourth baby.  My cousin took the picture at our family reunion.  BTW, if you want to see more of his photography, check out his Facebook page-he's an amazing photographer!

From left to right is my youngest sister, my older sister, my younger brother, and my youngest brother with my parents in front.    

About my siblings...
My older sister is the mother of four awesome kids, ages 1-6.  We've always been really close and shared a room growing up.  We spent many nights talking until long after our parents had gone to bed and I'll always cherish those memories.  When I was 18, I moved out of my parents' house and into my sister's apartment with her.  We lived together until she got married in April 2006.  I got engaged that same month and married in September 2006.  We had our first babies within 6 weeks of each other and our second babies 11 days apart.  We're so close that we joke that our kids are interchangeable.  

My younger brother is an amazing, involved father of four awesome kids as well.  He and I were the worst of enemies and the best of friends when we were growing up.  He's got a great sense of humor and is very well-spoken and knowledgeable about many subjects.  He's not afraid to stand up for what's right.  

My youngest brother is in college right now.  He's a big tough guy, but has a soft heart.  He's sensitive and sweet and whoever he marries is going to be one lucky girl.  ALL of the nieces and nephews absolutely adore him.  He's a hard worker and driven to achieve his goals.     

My little sister is the baby of the family.  She works at a daycare and wants to continue to work with kids in the future.  She's a baby-whisperer and is one of the few people besides me who was able to calm Little Man down as a baby.  She's care-free and fun to be around.   

How many siblings do you have? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How Are You?

What a loaded question..."how are you?"

Generally speaking, when someone asks that question, they're expecting this reply:
"Fine, how are you?"

The superficiality of that answer (and the question) has always annoyed me. 

Lately, when someone asks how I am, I respond with, "not bad."  The unspoken part of that answer is "but not really good either."

So how am I?  Here's my real answer.

I'm exhausted.  I'm stressed.  I'm frustrated.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm ready to cry...or sleep at a moment's notice. 

I love being a mom.  I love my kids and there's no way I would change our family or the fact that I stay home with them.  Right now though, I am at a difficult season in motherhood...four kids, age 6 and under.  A six year old who will repeat an offense the second the punishment for it is over, a three year old with a temper that is set off at the slightest thing, a one year old who constantly gets into everything, and a very needy infant who easily fits the guidelines for having colic.  To get even the smallest thing accomplished, I have to listen to the baby scream while I'm doing it and put the toddler in the pack n' play so she doesn't destroy something or inadvertently hurt the baby.  Most of the time, I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.  I know this is just one stage in life and it will be over before I know it, but that doesn't make it any less hard at this moment.   

Oh, and did I mention that we're getting ready to move next week?  I'm absolutely thrilled that we'll finally have our own home and enough space, but the timing is not the greatest.  I'm not exactly confident that I will have everything packed in time for the move.  

There are two things I hear from people on almost a daily basis...."Wow, you must be busy!" or "You're doing a great job, I don't know how you do it!"  Yes, I am busy, and thank you, but I don't know how I'm doing it either.   Or of course, there's the other camp that prefers to tell me how their situation is so much harder than mine so I don't have a right to feel the way I do.  I have a blog post for them too

Don't worry, I don't plan on giving out the long answer every time someone asks how I am, but it's really hard right now to smile brightly and give the socially acceptable answer of "Fine!"  And, if I ask how you're doing, I truly do want the real answer.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Star - 18 Months

Age: 18 months

I just realized that she's wearing the same outfit she wore for her 16 month update post :)  What can I's one of our favorites!

Weight and height:  At her weight check a few weeks ago, she weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces so she's finally gaining weight!

Wearing: Size 3 diapers and 12-18 month clothes.  She wears size 4 shoes.

Likes: "Reading" books, "writing" especially with pens, LOVES her special owl blanket, dancing to music.  She's also pretty attached to the doll that Princess gave her for her birthday and is such a good little "mommy" to it.  She loves to carry purses and bags around with her.  She also enjoys pushing things around such as Little Man's toy dump truck, an ice cream bucket, and her little pink wagon.

Water on her face, not getting her way.

Eating habits
She eats 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks.  Her favorite food is still green beans and she also loves peas, toast and waffles.

Sleeping habits
She wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning.  She takes a nap after lunch and is ready for bed between 6 and 7 at night.  When we brought Little Dude home, we moved Star into the crib in the kids' room.  I was nervous about how she would sleep once we transitioned her, but other than staying up a little later than before to talk to her siblings, she is doing really well.  

She knows the following words in sign language and uses them correctly:
All done
Star's favorite phrase right now is "Where doe?"  (Where'd it go?).  She answers every question with "yeah" or "yes, ma'am."

Star has done really well with the new baby.  Absolutely no jealousy issues although I noticed that every time I put the baby down, she comes running to me and asks to be held.  She's very gentle with Little Dude and always makes sure he has a blanket.
She's hit the "into-everything" toddler stage where she literally runs from one thing to the next getting into trouble.  She's constantly running off with Little Dude's bottles and pacifiers, playing on my computer, stealing my phone, etc.  She keeps me running all day long! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Very Long Day

About a week and a half ago, Little Dude started having issues with eating.  He'd start eating and then pull away from the bottle and start crying.  That would go on for 15-20 minutes before he would finally settle down and eat.  I tried a different nipple on the bottle, gas drops, sensitive formula, etc, but nothing seemed to help him.  Over the last weekend, he started skipping feedings and so I decided it was time to take him to the doctor.  I got an appointment for Monday morning at 9:15 am.  Princess was at school, and Hubby took Little Man to the farm with him so I only had to take Star with to the appointment.  Over the weekend, Little Dude had also developed a slight cough and stuffy nose so I figured it would be a good time to ask the doctor about that too.  The doctor listened to his lungs and was concerned that he wasn't breathing very well.  Because he was only 3 weeks old, she decided that it would be best to have him checked out by a pediatrician at the clinic in The Big City.  She called up there and arranged for me to go straight there to meet the pediatrician at Urgent Care.   

Hubby had to lay down and sleep in preparation for working the night shift that night so I knew he wouldn't be able to watch the kiddos while I took Little Dude to the pediatrician.  I started going down the contacts list on my phone trying to find a babysitter who could watch Little Man and Star for me.  It took about 15 minutes, but I finally found someone who wasn't working or already busy.  I ran back home to pick up Little Man, dropped him and Star off with my friend, and started the 45 minute drive to Urgent Care with Little Dude.
We arrived and were quickly checked in and ushered back to a room.  It turns out that when you walk into Urgent Care with a 3 week old baby with respiratory distress and feeding problems, you get priority over pretty much everyone else waiting there.  The pediatrician checked Little Dude's oxygen levels and was concerned when she saw that he was dipping into the low-mid 80s.  She ordered tests for pertussis and RSV (which came back negative) and an x-ray to check for pneumonia (which was also negative).  After doing a nebtreatment, his oxygen level improved, but dropped again when he fell asleep.  He was observed for a few hours and she finally decided that it would be safest to keep him overnight at the hospital.  Right before arranging a room upstairs for us, she listened to his heart and detected a heart murmur that she hadn't been able to hear before due to his raspy breathing.  Wanting to be sure that it wasn't anything serious and wasn't connected to the other issues he was currently having, she decided to send us to a bigger hospital in The Big City where he could have an echocardiogram.

While waiting for the transfer order, I spent a lot of time on the phone arranging childcare for the three older kids overnight since Hubby was working and updating Hubby and other relatives of Little Dude's status.  Hubby's mom took the next morning off of work so she could keep the kids overnight.  She also started the prayer chain at our church for Little Dude.

We headed over to the other hospital around 5 pm and were soon set up in a room there.  Hubby called shortly after we got there to let me know that he'd been able to get the night off from work and would come spend the night at the hospital with us.  I asked him to stop and pick up some supper before coming since I was getting pretty hungry at this point.  I hadn't had time to eat breakfast before going to Little Dude's appointment that morning, had gone almost straight to Urgent Care from there, and then finally ended up at the hospital for the night.  There had been no time to eat at all that day.

Little Dude at the hospital.

While we were at the hospital that night, Little Dude's oxygen levels went up to the mid-high 90s and stayed there even when he was sleeping.  He also started eating better.  The echocardiogram was done the next morning and showed a benign heart murmur which we'll just keep an eye on until he outgrows it.  Little Man also has a benign heart murmur so it didn't worry me too much to hear about Little Dude's.  At 1:30 pm, he was finally discharged and we could go home. 

Little Dude looked so tiny in the hospital crib. 

What was supposed to be a quick doctor's appointment turned into an all-day, all-night affair.  We're very thankful that Little Dude is doing well enough that he was able to come home the next day since they had told us that they would be keeping him until he could spend a whole night with high oxygen levels.  Little Dude is especially happy to be home as he did NOT appreciate being constantly bugged for tests and vitals.  Unfortunately, he hasn't been eating very well again since we got home, but he definitely has a virus of some sort (which he probably caught from a very germy 18 month old he lives with) which we think is making it uncomfortable for him to eat.  We're just keeping an eye on him and will take him back to the doctor if he doesn't start improving soon or starts to get worse.  


Thursday, March 27, 2014

It Takes a Village

In case I haven't mentioned this before, I'm on my own a lot.  Hubby works full-time and farms with his dad so he's pretty much home to eat (occasionally) and sleep (sometimes).  He tries to help me out when he's able to, but the poor guy works so hard that he spends his small amount of time at home either relaxing on the couch or playing with the kids to try to make up for the fact that he hasn't seen them in two days.  So for the most part, I'm doing this whole parenting thing on my own. 

Except I'm not truly on my own.  I have in-laws right down the road from me who like it when I drop the kids off for a few hours on Saturday so I can get some work done at home.  I have parents and a sister who live less than 10 minutes from me, who, although busy with jobs and their own lives, will drop everything to come over if I have an emergency or just desperately need some help for the day.  I have another sister and a best friend who, although too far away to visit often, are just a text, phone call, or email away and are great moral support when I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it through the day.  I have an amazing church family who pray for me and offer help if needed.

For example. we're very active in our church.  We go to two services on Sundays, Bible study on Wednesday nights and other activities in between.  Hubby is at work for half of all Sundays and Wednesdays leaving me to get the kids to church in one piece on my own.  And if it weren't for the fact that my in-laws, my parents, my sister, and my church family all help me out while at church, I would probably just stay home on those days that Hubby is working.  When I pull up in the church parking lot, someone comes out to help me get the kids inside.  Whoever is in the foyer at the time helps the kids hang their coats up.  The older kids sit with my in-laws during the service so I can take the baby to the nursery if necessary.  Someone is always willing to chase Star around so I don't have to.  And it goes on and on.

I honestly don't know how I would do this without the help I get from others.  I have some health problems that complicate things sometimes.  Add to that the fact that I work at home while caring for my children, and some days I feel like I'm taking one step forwards and 12 steps back. 

It's humbling to realize that I can't do this on my own.  That I need help taking care of my own children sometimes.  Sometimes, I have to fight the urge to respond with "no, thank you" when someone offers some help because I've been conditioned, like so many other women, to believe that I should be doing this on my own.  So many Christian women try hard to live up to the famed Proverbs 31 woman by "doing it all" and end up exhausted and discouraged.  But here's the thing...the Proverbs 31 woman had help. 

Proverbs 31:15
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
(Italics are mine)

So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be "do it all?"  Raising children, keeping a household, working at a job (be it at home or outside the home), being a stay-at-home mom,'s hard and sometimes we need help.  This blog post by Marie Osborne really makes this point well.

Here's the best part of needing help...we're given the opportunity to bless someone else simply by accepting their offer to help.  Yes, it's humbling to admit that you need help, but the person offering usually doesn't see it that way.  They are blessed by being able to help someone else and by accepting their help, you are the one blessing them.  So let's all make an effort to be a blessing to someone else-either by accepting their offer to help or by offering to help someone else.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Random Monday - March 24, 2014

Princess upon seeing me for the first time after I came home from the hospital: "Mommy, you're not fat anymore!  Now you're just half fat."
Ummmm, thanks?

I mentioned in Little Dude's birth story that my recovery from childbirth this time isn't going great.  That hasn't changed.  Last week, I started hemorrhaging and had to call my mom to come over and take care of the kids for me.  Thankfully, it stopped before it became a big issue, but it was still kind of scary to bleed that much so fast.

Here's the best part about my recovery being so slow this time around...we're moving!!  We currently live right outside of town in the small 2 bedroom basement apartment of a friend from church.  We outgrew this place quite a while ago, but it took us some time to find a house to buy in town.  We found one about a month and a half ago and are hoping to move either this weekend or next week sometime.  Ever tried packing for a move while recovering from childbirth, taking care of a fussy newborn, a rambunctious, mischievous toddler, a 3 year old and a 6 year old?  Yeah, it's not as easy as it sounds.  But, I am extremely thankful that we finally will be living in a place with enough space and enough rooms for all the kids to nap on the days when Hubby is at home sleeping to prepare for working a night shift.

On that note, I should probably close because I need to go pack a few more boxes while the baby's not crying!     

Friday, March 21, 2014

Little Dude's Birth Story

During my last trimester of my pregnancy with Little Dude, my hips and back gave me a lot of problems.  By the time I hit 40 weeks, I was a lot of pain, barely able to walk, and ready to have the baby NOW.  However, since my other three pregnancies went to 42, 41, and 42 weeks respectively, I figured I still had some time to go, especially since both of the 42 week pregnancies had to be induced.

One day before my due date, I felt an urgency to finish up all the last minute things I had on my to-do list such as packing the suitcases for the kids, packing the hospital bag, getting the baby stuff out, etc.  I spent Monday and Tuesday working on things from my to-do list in between resting because of the pain in my hips and back.  On Wednesday, March 5th (one day after my due date), I woke up not feeling well.  My lower back ached, and I was having a lot of cramping and contractions.  I spent most of the day on the couch with a heating pad on my back.  Things got progressively worse as the day wore on and I couldn't help wondering if it was the beginning of something, but I didn't let myself get my hopes up.  Around 4 in the afternoon, I went to the bathroom and realized that I'd lost my mucous plug so I knew that things were going somewhere, but since that had happened 2 days before going into labor with Little Man, I didn't read into it too much other than to be happy that it probably meant I wouldn't have to be induced again.

Home from the hospital at 1 day old

Hubby took the kids to church that evening while I stayed home because I was in no shape to go out.  Right after they left, the contractions started becoming stronger and more frequent.  By the time they arrived home an hour and a half later, the contractions were becoming pretty regular.  However, I was still in denial since I didn't believe that I could go into labor that "early."  I started timing the contractions and by 10:00, they were about 6 minutes apart and strong enough that I finally felt certain that this was it.  I called the birthcenter and let them know we were on our way and then called Hubby's mom to come stay with the kids.  By 10:30 pm, we were on the road.  In the 40 minutes it took to get there, the contractions became much worse and were less than 4 minutes apart when we arrived at the birthcenter.    

The nurse checked me at midnight and I was dilated to 4 centimeters.  I was a little disappointed because the contractions were pretty strong and painful by that point so I had been hoping to be a little bit further along.  The doctor wanted to be sure that I was progressing before formally admitting me so we settled in to wait until 2 am when I would be checked again.  By 2 am, I was in a lot of pain with terrible back labor and ready to get an epidural.  The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 6 centimeters so I was admitted and the anesthesiologist was called.  He arrived a little before 2:30 to start the epidural and it didn't take him long to get it in.

Sleeping in the pack n' play

The relief I was expecting from the epidural never came though.  It did absolutely nothing for the pain even though the anesthesiologist kept increasing the dose to try to make me more comfortable.  The contractions were incredibly intense and getting closer together.     

I should have seen the signs that I was in the transition stage of labor-I was shaking, throwing up, having hot flashes, feeling a lot of pressure, etc.  I didn't think I could go from 6 cm to 10 cm in an hour though!  A few minutes after 3 am, I started to throw up again and as I did, I felt an incredible pain and pressure in my pelvis that didn't let up.  I yelled for the nurse and when I told her what was happening, she ran to hit the call button for the doctor and the next thing I knew, the room was full of nurses and the doctor was throwing her gown on as fast as she could.  Two quick pushes and the baby was out.

Random fun fact: The doctor who delivered Little Dude was the same one who delivered Little Man.

Little Man shared his special John Deere blanket with his little brother

The doctor laid him on my chest as soon as he was born and the first thing I noticed was that he was completely green, like a little alien.  It turns out that he had had a bowel movement before birth, but because my water didn't break until he was being delivered, nobody realized it.  Thankfully, he was born so quickly that he didn't get a chance to inhale any of the meconium so he was fine.  He was observed for a while that night and periodically throughout the next day just to be safe though.

We could have stayed in the hospital until Saturday, but opted to leave on Friday instead.  I wanted to rest at home instead of in an uncomfortable hospital bed and Little Dude was doing great so we didn't see the point in staying an extra day.

Little Man shared his special John Deere blanket with his little brother

My recoveries after having Little Man and Star were fairly easy (aside from the cellulitis I got after having Star), so I was expecting this one to go smoothly too.  Unfortunately, this pregnancy messed up my back and hips pretty badly so it's been rough, plus I'm just not springing back from giving birth the way I had hoped.  Thankfully, Hubby's mom kept the three older kids for a full week giving me time to rest at home, and Hubby has been absolutely wonderful helping out around the house and with the kids.  My parents and my younger sister have also set aside their own plans to come over and help me out.   

Monday, March 17, 2014

Introducing Little Dude!

I had a hard time coming up with a blog name for Baby #4.  I finally decided on Little Dude though because it seems to fit him, and the name goes with Little Man.

So without further ado, here he is...Little Dude!

I'm working on his birth story and it should be up within the next few days  :)

Friday, March 14, 2014


The three older kids came home last night from spending the week with my in-laws.  It's nice to have them back, but also just a little bit really exhausting.  And just for fun, Little Man and Star came home with colds which makes this Mama-of-a-newborn just a little nervous about germ-sharing.

This is how my day has gone so far...

"Don't pick up the baby!"

"Stop poking his eyes." 

"Stop playing in the toilet!"

"Don't sit on the baby!"

"Stop pushing the swing! The baby does NOT want to go faster."

"Who threw all the fridge magnets all over the kitchen floor?!?"

"Don't wipe your nose on the baby's blanket, please."

"Stop touching his face."

"Stay out of the baby's bassinet."

"Don't climb on Mommy when she's holding the baby.  Actually, just don't climb on Mommy at all right now."

"Give me back the baby's, don't put it in your mouth!"

"Leave the baby alone for 2 minutes, please!"

"Yes, Mommy's tummy is still big.  No, there are no more babies in it."

"Put that dishsoap back under the sink NOW."

And my personal favorite...

"Yes, we are ALL taking naps after lunch today."