Thursday, December 31, 2015

In Summary

I don't really know what sort of summary this is going to turn out to be. All I know is it is 11pm on New Year's Eve and I'm determined to conclude my blogging year in a proper fashion. So here are some of my thoughts of the last six weeks, in no particular order. 

This has seemed like a very long six weeks. Matthew is growing quickly, for sure, but it seems like he's been here forever. We are all so totally in love with him and he's been pretty easy as far as newborns go. Maybe that's how fourth children are - he has to go with the flow, and D and I are experienced enough as parents to not get too worked up about handling him. He's a really good boy. The big kids are smitten, and fairly helpful. Caroline is angelic in her treatment of him directly but is very possessive of me now that she has some competition, and that's been a bit challenging. She also needs to lose her afternoon nap, painful as that is to admit. She's tired and sleeps well in the afternoon but bedtime has become abominably late and something has to give. 

Oh, and she turned TWO three weeks ago! 

We had three super busy school weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Executing that whole show went well enough with the addition of baby. No complaints, really, except for all the rain during that time too. Made all the in-and-out a touch miserable. I do feel someone was watching out for me though, because D was home every night thanks to the bad weather and continued mechanical problems with his ship. Huge blessing. 

Matthew's birth? It was the best birth experience of any of them. I've now had babies in each of the four states we've lived in since joining the CG, and it's been interesting having different doctors each time. This time was my first with a midwife, and now I know why everyone waxes on about how wonderful midwives are. Unlike OB's who more or less just show up in time to catch the baby, my midwife was there with me for the last two intense hours of labor - the whole time, rubbing my back, really coaching me way more than any doctor or nurse I've ever had. Made such a difference. And of course I always leave the hospital with such a case of the warm and fuzzies for all the wonderulness of labor and delivery nurses. Such amazing ladies who want nothing more than to care for us moms and our little babies. Angels. And I've come to treasure the hospital time. Peace and quiet with nothing to do besides care for a very sleepy newborn and be taken care of myself. There is a luxury to it that is undervalued, I believe. 

What else? Christmas was very nice, once we got to it. We all shared a stomach bug in the days before which was pretty awful but even after feeling better I beat myself up pretty well feeling like I hadn't done enough "Christmas Cheer" things like making cookies or even getting out all the decorations. I cried a lot on Christmas Eve. But Christmas Day was lovely and sunny and relaxed and happy and joyful and things were looking up. Since then we've had a lot of really low-key days at home, and I've been finding time to slowly catch up on little projects here and there. 

I'm so pleased that it is the New Year - I'm really ready to do lots of cleaning, sorting, purging and tidying. Time to begin preparing for another move this summer. Exciting things in the year ahead! 

Thanks as always for sticking with me on this little blog for another year. I'm planning to get back to a better routine of posting as we return to our regularly scheduled programming here. Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Little Tired


He spends lots of time sleeping, though of course not always when I'd like to be sleeping. C is still sorting out her nursing/jealousy issues, especially at night. Oh, and we've got some yucky illness making the rounds through the family. So I'm a little tired. I'm not feeling terribly festive either, unfortunately, and hope I can find the time and energy to at least finish wrapping the presents. Even better if I can make some Christmas cookies and the peppermint bark my sweet and patient oldest child has been asking to make for weeks now. 

When I check my blog in the evening to unwind a bit and read through the words of my other favorite blogging mommies I feel so pathetic for not updating my own, especially since there is so much I want to write about our first month with wonderful little Matthew. I think though there is part of me that still wants to just hold the memories close, to revel in them in my own head and make sure they are firm there in their own right, not just memories based on words. I want to remember his birth, and how little a 7 pound baby is compared to all my other 8 pounders. I want to remember is soft skin and fuzzy hair forever. A fourth baby is so humbling, so precious. 

I'll get back in the groove here and share more particulars soon. Till then... Merry Christmas to all my friends out there! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Weeks, in Pictures


Oh, so much to tell about the last two weeks or so. What a blessing little baby Matthew is; we are all so in love. My parents were here over Thanksgiving as well, and I couldn't be more thankful for their visit. I want to write more details about this special time, but will save that for just a bit later. For now I'll just share a few pictures before I get too back-logged. 

More soon! Must hurry and get caught up with Christmas first, as it is nearly December 6th and I haven't even gotten the Advent calendar out yet. I hope to check back before another two weeks go zooming by. Till then! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015



Welcome Matthew Stephen! Born early yesterday morning, 3:55 am. 7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5" and perfect! My heart is so full. Will report more soon! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Catching Up (Again)

Goooooodness, where does the time go? I'm sorry, I'm always saying that. But it is always amazing how much can go on in between the time I update this little blog. And it is important to me to keep up with it. So here's a quick tour through recent goings-on, based on what is on my camera roll. 

Rainy season has arrived. A couple weeks ago, before it turned cold, the kids dug a gigantic hole in the backyard. Really impressive. Lots of mud. Patched up now. Fun while it lasted. 


This girl can talk me into anything, including the purchase of this large bag of play balls. 


How did I miss mentioning that my big girl turned EIGHT at the beginning of the month? 


She is growing into such a lovely young lady and makes me a very proud Mommy. 

And then there is my handsome boy, looking very grown-up in his own right with his earth tones and the hat I made him last Christmas. 

Oh, and here's one of the things he really wants for Christmas: 

Which is a problem given my dislike for gigantic plastic toys, but he keeps mentioning it so Santa will consider. 


Have I mentioned C's love of painting these days? She gets her paints out almost every day. Needs a little help but not much. Knows all her colors. Likes to paint "moons" and imitates the little brush-spinning motion I do when I paint them for her. 

Back to A, who had two baby teeth pulled on Friday. They weren't coming out on their own though the adult teeth had cut through. She was a trooper and handled the whole thing very well, with the help of just a bit of laughing gas. I was very relieved it was a good experience for her. 

I've been spending lots of time lately making lots of lists, menu planning and to-do's and grocery lists. Humphrey likes to help. 


Feeling huger by the day and crossing things off my list like a crazy woman in hopes that I can feel ready for baby. I'm kinda hoping he might come at the end of this week so I can be home next week to enjoy TG and my parents' visit. I'll keep you posted! 

And in closing, this great picture Don took of W and C, on a walk around the neighborhood last Sunday in between bursts of rain. Love, love, love. 

Pardon the short sentences; seems to be how I am thinking these days. Busy, lovely times and so excited for our next big event! Till then! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekend Walks


Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining Caroline on a brief walk down our street. She brought her purse and pushed her stroller full of...phones. Or "iPhones" as she calls them all. I'm not really sure what this says about any of us; we really aren't a very techie house and I don't think I use my own phone all that much. But my, they learn so young these days. This collection of hers consists of a few actual talking/musical toddler phones, a defunct remote control, and just about every ancient cell phone Don and I ever had. We've kept them all because they are always everybody's favorite toys. 


Of course it got a little challenging when C got a call halfway down the street. 

Today we took a late afternoon walk at one of our favorite local parks. 

It was chilly and fresh and lovely and just what we all needed. Top notch weekend all around. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween and Beyond

Well, fresh off the thrill of finding an app to quickly edit photos on the iPad so I could blur out the identifying details on the above picture, I am finally ready to catch up a bit with Halloween and the last week or so. Shall we? 


Sunday before Halloween the big kids and I carved pumpkins. We didn't do this last year, somehow, so they made sure we didn't miss the chance this year. I have to say, I was impressed with how well the two stuck with the project and even did a fair amount of the cutting themselves. 


C earned brownie points by mercifully staying busy on her own and out of the way; there wasn't enough patience in my jar for a pumpkin-toddler-sharp-object mess.  


And I'm glad I took a picture of the finished pumpkins as soon as they were done because I have NEVER seen jack-o-lanterns decompose so quickly. By Halloween night they were all filled with at least an inch of fuzzy mold and had to be carried to the compost with rubber gloves and the help of a bucket the next day. It was disgusting; even the warmth of South Carolina didn't take down the carved pumpkins as fast as the dampness out here did. 

Anyway, Halloween itself was a rainy, low-key day at home. Amy kept hoping for something more festive but hey, there were decorations and a few trick-or-treaters and I made pizza and it was all very nice. We did our own trick-or-treating the previous afternoon, downtown, as all the shops and restaurants were participating in trick-or-treat on Main Street kind of thing. That turned out it be great fun and far better than wandering around our sketchy neighborhood in the rain on Halloween itself. As for those costumes, Amy made up her own Forest Queen persona and happily for me she put together the whole thing from dress-up stuff we had, without needing me to make or do anything. Score! William made a last minute decision to be a ninja but thanks to amazon prime we were able to pull that off for an easy $14. Caroline, like all my kids when they were under two, wanted no part of a costume or ears or anything, but did pick up on the whole trick-or-treat idea and marched along happily. Good times. 

Oh, and the big kids also did a lot of their own decorating, which I thought was cute, especially since I'm really not all that into the holiday myself and have just a few token decorations that I trot out each year. William made the green ninja for the wall, and the pumpkin, and Amy painstakingly spelled out Halloween in little bits of paper. 

And on Halloween night itself I surprised the kids with a big wad of glow sticks which we played with in the mostly dark living room. 

So, that was that. Now I'm really happy to be in November and less than four weeks from my due date! I'm trying to check things off my list at a steady rate so that I can feel "prepared" when baby boy decides he's ready. I can't wait to meet him! My biggest worry is logistics with the other kids, especially C who doesn't sleep, uh, independently very well and is rather solidly joined to my hip most of the time. My folks are coming out for almost two weeks around my due date (and Thanksgiving, yay for having family with us for a holiday for once!) but a part of me kinda hopes to have the baby before then so I can just enjoy their company. Ah well, it'll be what it will be. 

One last thing before I wrap this up - got the kids' school pictures back today which turned out really well. I'm pleased with the one I took of C, too, and I had fun looking through the accumulating years past as I put the new ones in the front of the frame. 


For A and W this year's is the bottom right. Can't believe how grown up they both look! For all the candid, daily pictures I have of everybody there is still something special about the yearly 8x10 to really put all that growth and change and memories of different states and schools in perspective. What a trip. 

And that concludes this longer-than-I-intended post! Happy November! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Photos by C


There are some things that other parents did that I used to think silly, before I had three children. Like handing over your phone to the toddler in the backseat to keep her from falling asleep on the way home. Obviously a completely legitimate use of a very expensive device. 

That same toddler snatched it out of my pocket later in the afternoon and fired off about a hundred pictures, but from which I found these gems, with fancy filters applied and everything. Glad someone can figure out the artsy stuff. 


I was planning to share pictures of our weekend pumpkin carving fun, and I may still yet, but I think Caroline generated better material for me today. I'll put her in charge of photography more often. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October Reflections

Yet another pumpkin picture to begin a post, but tonight I have hopes of actually catching up a bit more than last time. As expected, it has felt like we have been on fast forward since school started and here we find ourselves with the first "solid" seven-week chunk of school complete, and only five weeks left until my due date! Next week will be just two short school days then a mini fall break for the rest of the week, and for that breather I am very grateful. 

School has been going well this year, now that we are firmly in the swing of it. Amy has been doing marvelously as usual, with her third-and-fourth grade class suiting her very well. Last year her teacher burned through at least four reams of paper per student, and Amy's days both in school and for homework were really worksheet-heavy. She didn't exactly complain, but this year's teacher has been a lot different. While it bugs me a touch to never really see much work come home, it sounds like they are doing all sorts of interesting and productive things in class, and the homework has been appropriately light. Amy is cheery about school everyday, enjoys her class time and playing with her friends at their multiple recesses, and on the whole makes me very happy with the investment in this school for her these two years. Also, we had an interesting conversation about public and private schools - Amy was aghast to learn that one does not study the Bible in public school, and since she considers that "the most important subject" (all her idea!) she wants to keep doing private school wherever we go next. That could get a bit expensive...but I admire her conviction. 

William has had a couple of rough patches in the separation department. Frustrating, especially since he always has fun in the three short hours he spends at school. But this week was full of smooth and quick drop-offs and he seems to be accepting of the routine now. I sympathize with him so completely though, because I, too, never really wanted to be away from Mommy. He does enjoy his classmates and they are all really excited to see him every morning which is pretty cute. We play on the playground everyday after I pick him up which he and Caroline both love. William's other loves at school include his helper-job of the day, any extra time he gets to make his own drawings, and bringing in a toy from home to show his friends. His teacher is the same teacher he had for preschool and I will be forever grateful that she decided to move up to kindergarten with his class because she knows him so well and that familiarity has been a great boost for him. 

Caroline does a really good job with a routine that for her involves a zillion trips in and out if the car everyday. She is mostly cooperative and likes all the little bits of school she is involved in, like checking the fish tank by Amy's classroom, playing with the preschool stuff outside William's room, and especially the playground. 

She's so talkative now, with lots of complete sentences, and I am constantly delighted as I listen to her talk through the different parts of her day. 

And then there's me...

Poorly lit picture from last Sunday, I think? My, what did pregnant ladies do with themselves before the days of the phone-mirror trick? Anyway, here we are, now just five weeks out, and hoping, actually, that baby hangs out inside for all of that. There are dentist appointments, teacher conferences, meals to plan, Christmas shopping and making to do...perhaps too ambitious for the next four weeks before my parents arrive and Thanksgiving is upon us, but I'm going to do my best. After all THAT, I will be most glad to meet this little boy and get my body back to myself - for good. I'm thankful for the relatively easy pregnancies that I've had, not to mention the amazing blessing and miracle that each one is, but nevertheless will be glad to put the aches and twinges and breathlessness behind me and have a bit more energy back - both mental and physical. 

Despite general low-energy/shortage of free time, I have managed to squeeze in some sewing here and there, and completed these two skirts for my girls: 

They are a pretty basic, no-pattern tiered/ruffled elastic waistband skirt...but with pockets! I figured that out and was really pleased that it worked. The girls were only moderately impressed of course. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to get a picture of them being worn one of these days. My project list is rather long still, but my sewing room is tidy and I'm feeling inspired so maybe I'll actually crank out a few more things in the coming weeks. 

So that's about it for now. I think I feel a bit more caught up. Be back soon!