Nov 25, 2014

Four AM Snuggles

I am awake at four in the morning again, except this time it isn't with a jolt -- what was that noise? did I hear a noise or was it a dream? -- it is to the sound of my baby, rustling in her bed, talking with her little voice. Aaaaoooowwww. Ahhhhehhhhoooooo.

I smile, picturing her mouth as it works out those vowels she "talks" with. I imagine her feet up, where they are almost always when she's on her back, in her hands. I doze in and out as the minutes tick by, hoping that she will just talk herself back to sleep, but unsurprised when her talking turns to fussing turns to crying.

We snuggle into bed while I nurse her. Once she seems fully asleep I return her to her rightful nighttime place, her bed, where she promptly begins to fuss herself awake. I scoop her up and settle in the rocking chair where she falls back to sleep immediately. But when I try to put her into her bed she again fusses, demanding more snuggles and rocking in the chair.

This pattern is repeated several more times.

When it is almost two hours after her sweet noises first woke me, I sigh, but not in frustration just from fatigue, and decide that it is time to change my approach. I tuck her into my arm, cuddle into bed, and let her nurse again.  She falls asleep between her daddy and me. A perfect baby sandwich.

Shortly after we are all asleep, it is time for her daddy to get up, so I gingerly transfer her into the warmth of his spot. She and I sleep together the rest of the morning.

xoxo, christine

Nov 24, 2014

Make-Believe and Zoo and Being Together

This morning while Nora and I drifted in a out of sleep, snuggling on the bed and sporadically nursing, the older girls buzzed around the bedroom playing an elaborate make-believe something that involved setting up sleeping bags, pillows, phones, jewelry, and plastic food.

While they occasionally needed to be hushed, Nora was sleeping after all, they giggled and whispered and sometimes squealed with whatever stories they were weaving. Every so often a conversation would register with me, like when they were ordering their food from my pile of sweatshirts.

When we finally moved out of the bedroom and filled our tummies with food and, more importantly for me, coffee, new toys were taken out and animals were lined up on the floor so that we could all play Zoo together. Dolls Anna, Elsa, and their little sister Barbie (wearing Cinderella's dress) have been visiting the zoo every day for the past couple of days and apparently they were in need of several more visits today. The tigers wanted petting and the dogs were having a puppy, neither of which could be missed.

Of course the day was not without a few sister squabbles here and there. And I might have shouted once that the bickering needed to stop, but in all fairness that was before my daily dose of caffeine.

Having Hope home today felt like a gift to us all. I got to sleep in a little later than usual and Paige had her playmate available all day. Their morning request to watch TV was even delayed well into the afternoon, which I can only attribute to the two of them having each other to entertain and distract.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, if they will enjoy another day of having a sister to play with or if they will be needing a little space from each other, (or perhaps a little of both), but I can only stress (again) how grateful I feel to have all three girls home this week.

Looking forward to several more days of the chaos of three girls full day.

xoxo, christine

Nov 21, 2014

Taking a Break and Being Thankful

My kids are off from school this whole next week. I jokingly say I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but the truth is, it's a good thing.

Although Hope has started to enjoy school again, she still doesn't joyfully skip onto the bus like she used to. She claims the length of her days are difficult, she misses being with me for more of the day. Her adjustment to full day school after half-days in Kindergarten has been tougher on her than expected, and she has been needing more from me than I've been giving lately.

We are all adjusting to having a new family member quite well, but it is still an adjustment with a baby in the family, and I forget sometimes that Nora hasn't always been here. And sometimes it is difficult juggling three kids, one of whom is extremely needy at this point in her life because she's a baby and that's just how babies are.

Both Hope and Paige absolutely adore their sister, and they are pretty much the most understanding big sisters ever. When Nora cries they are quick to give me advice on what she might need, and if I try to make Nora wait they will often tell me to "go get Nora!" or "pick up Nora!" even if it means their time with me is interrupted.

Because of the ease in which Nora was welcomed into our family, I do forget that it is still an adjustment, my attention being mostly focused on our baby, so it isn't strange or out-of-the-blue that sometimes Hope or Paige act out in ways they never have before. Or that Hope and Paige are perhaps feeling more needy than they were because they aren't getting as much from me now.

I do not feel stretched thin, because my older children are not showing their neediness often, but I am trying to be more aware of their (unasked) needs, and giving them the attention and time they want and deserve.

All this to say, it will be good to have Hope (and Paige) home all week this next week. They won't necessarily get one-on-one time with me, but there will be plenty of time for us to do things together. Which I think Hope has been feeling left out of while she's at school.

So I have big plans of hot chocolate from the coffee shop, reading a gazillion books together, playing some games, and maybe even messing up the kitchen with some cookie baking.

Or maybe we'll just cuddle on the couch and watch movies all week.

Either way, it'll be nice to have all three girlies with me for a few days. I am most definitely thankful for that.

xoxo, christine

Nov 20, 2014

Throwing It Back to One of My Favs

Looking at old photos can be fun, and light-hearted, and harmless. And it can also be very dangerous. While it's fun to relive happy moments from the past, it also stirs up overwhelming nostalgic melancholy. (Is that a real thing? It is now.)

As I was scouring through photos from the past couple years, I found myself wistfully reviewing our time in San Diego. Especially this time of year, when cold and snow and winter are just starting and we have a good five months with more of the same ahead of us, looking at those warm, beachy photos brings out a deep and desperate longing.

Ah, to have a warm weather destination vacation planned...

I'll just have to reminisce.

San Diego, March 2013

(Look at that beautiful wind blown hair and squints from the sun. Sigh.)

Hoping for dreams of sand, surf, and sun tonight.

xoxo, christine

Nov 19, 2014

Which Crayon is Your Favorite?

Today my daughter brought home, "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Dewalt.

There are so many great books out there, especially children's books, that choosing a favorite almost feels blasphemous. But, I definitely have some favorites. Many favorites. There are those that our family always enjoy and come back to again and again. And our list of favorites is always expanding.

"The Day the Crayons Quit" has most definitely been added to my list. In fact, we need to get it for our personal home library, I think. My first grader was so excited about reading this book she could hardly keep from spoiling the end. My preschooler laughed uncontrollably.

The premise is that when a little boy opens his crayon box, he finds letters from each of the crayons. Each crayon has a certain grievance he wants the young boy to address. You have to read this book. Adorable.

(My favorite is the peach crayon. Read it. You'll know why.)

I promise, you will not regret this book.

What are some of your favorites you're reading to your kids?

Image source
xoxo, christine

PS. I was in no way compensated for this post. These thoughts and enjoyment from this book are completely my own. I am just a mom with a love-affair of all books. Or at least, good books.

Nov 18, 2014

Simple Gifts

I'm supposed to be writing. Or at least, that was my intention when I got this time away while my mom is with the girls. Yet, here I am, almost two hours later and I am just starting. The problem with having internet connection anywhere is that it's easy to get distracted. Email, Facebook, Huffington Post, Christmas gift ideas... you get the idea.

There's Christmas music playing, which I suppose with Thanksgiving only next week, isn't too premature anymore. In fact, I just learned there are people who do all their shopping in November so that December can be devoted to fun and family. I have to admit, I pretty much love this idea. Getting all the shopping and shopping-related stress out of the way so that December can be the picturesque winter memory making I always envision? Yes please.

As it comes time to think about ideas for Christmas gifts (specifically for our kids) I find myself struggling every year. I desperately want to make sure my kids feel the magic and wonder and excitement of getting presents, because, well, they're kids, but I also am equally desperate for moderation and minimizing the things they are getting and what is coming into our house. I know that they can feel magic and wonder and excitement without having piles of things. Of course, it's not that I don't want them to get anything, but I don't want them to get everything. There is more to Christmas, much more, than getting new toys.

Every year it's a struggle to find balance between showing our kids what's really important during the holiday season, and making sure they feel like they were on Santa's Nice List.

I know of people who do four gifts: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I also know people who only do three gifts because Jesus got three gifts (from the wise men). I love both these ideas, I'm just having a hard time figuring out what works best for our family and how to put it into practice.

And then, of course, I want to make sure each of the girls gets a gift for both sisters. Which is important to me because I want to emphasize giving to others, but adds several more "things" each child is getting.

And then I feel guilty that all this is stressing me out because this is not what Christmas is about! I shouldn't be spending time anxious about gift-giving stuff, I should spend it thinking up activities and memories to make and share with my family.

Which is why I just might adopt the idea of getting all my gift-buying done before December.

How about you? How do you decide Christmas gifts? And do you wait until December until you start? Or all you already done by Thanksgiving?

xoxo, christine

Nov 17, 2014

Rockabye Baby

It is three in the morning. We rock back and forth in the glider. I am getting her back to sleep. Just like I did an hour ago. Just like I did three hours before that when she (finally) went to bed.

Our eyelids start drooping, both hers and mine, with every swish of the chair. The pacifier in her mouth wiggles as she periodically sucks at it. It is our rhythm tonight. Swish. Swish. Swish. Suck. Suck. Suck. Swish. Swish. Swish. Suck. Suck. Suck.

I wish she was sleeping better, I think. But then I stop myself, because I do not want to wish away time and while, yes, I'd love for her to be sleeping better right now, she's not. But some day in the future she will, and I don't want to look back from that time and think, I should've appreciated those middle-of-the-night moments more.

So instead, I think, I am grateful for this moment. I am happy to have this quiet snuggle time, even if it means that right now, during this period in our lives, I am not getting as much sleep. I will never gets these nighttime moments with her back.

Thank you for this exact moment. Even if it is the third one I've had with her tonight.

It is difficult to do this though, because about a week ago she was sleeping great. Going to bed shortly after the girls, waking once for a feeding, falling right back asleep, and the not waking again until it was time to get up in the morning. It is hard to feel like we're going back in time, regressing back to those sleepless nights. But, I realize this is how infanthood/parenthood/adulthood/LIFE is. One day everything feels like it's progressing in the right direction, and then suddenly it isn't.

So, maybe for a month Nora seemed like she totally mastered the whole "sleep schedule" thing, but now she hasn't. And that's okay. And that's normal. And instead of freaking out about it, I'm going to try to change my perspective. It just gives me a few more peaceful and personal moments with my baby. Ones I'll never get again, especially as she gets older.

xoxo, christine