Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rocking Chair

I, of course, have exceptionally wonderful children.

Sophia and Heidi have both adjusted well to having Baby "Befny" (as Heidi says) around. The one exception to this rule it is seems as though it is much more difficult to get them to bed at night lately, and there have been multiple times that Bethany is down for the night and wakes up once or twice from screaming and running around older sister (how dare they act like children).

Our fun project this last week was repainting my rocking chair. I bought this rocking chair off of Craigslist for (I think) $20 when Heidi was a newborn because I didn't have a rocking chair and wanted one, but wanted to avoid paying hundreds of dollars for a very nice new one. I had a style in mind, and this fit the bill.

Anyway, I wasn't crazy about the stain and paint job on it, plus it had this area where it looked like paint had smudged across one of the arms, and I had told Sophia when we got the chair that she'd be able to repaint it with me. This was hard to do when we were living in the apartment so it didn't happen until this past week. There was an incident, because I had put the painting idea in her head, where Sophia got into my art stuff and pulled out some acrylic paints and did it herself, as well as the carpet and all other surrounding furniture because I had planted the idea in her head... but acrylic paint actually comes out of carpet and off of every other surface surprisingly well, so that's good.

I was kind of afraid of starting the project; I thought I'd have to really strip it because there seemed to be some type of thick lacquer on it. Instead a man at Home Depot recommended a really good primer. I rough sanded it a little bit, put this primer on, and two coats of a pink chalk paint. I picked pink because I like pink and have all girls. So there.

I probably, in hindsight, shouldn't have bothered with chalk paint because part of the point of chalk paint is the ultra-matte finish, but I'm going to polycrylic this chair into oblivion so the matte look won't matter.

After I chalk painted it, we went to Hobby Lobby and the girls picked out several colors of acyrlic paints (which were on sale for like .50 cents each, awesome!!) and I let them go to town with some brushes and paints. I did put each of their handprints on the top back of the chair, as well as Bethany's footprints (tried to do handprints but she kept her little hands balled in a fist and it didn't work) so that I forever have that preserved.

I love how it turned out. Certainly not something anyone else would want for their decor, but it is special to me. I don't think Chris is eager to let me paint all the other furniture, though ;)





These girls love their Uncle Dan. Heidi just calls him "Uncle," and now that is is new name.


Miss Diva informed us that we were disturbing her beauty rest.









Sister bonding watching Mickey together




How we should always dress Heidi

6 Weeks

I had my 6 week post partum check at the doctor today. The doctor didn't really examine me, because I told him I didn't need it. He felt pretty confident that I didn't either; I've been through this (twice) before and if I have something wrong, I have no concerns about calling him.

They always ask if you would fill out a depression screen for postpartum depression.  Between birth and 6 weeks they have you fill it out multiple times (it may even be more than that, I don't remember now). Today they didn't make me fill it out (again, because I refused). But what is interesting about this time around is that if they had asked me to fill it out about a week or two ago, I may have been bordering on what looked like some postpartum depression.

I say bordering, because I didn't suffer NEARLY what I know some women go through, but I certainly struggled this time around more than I did with the other two girls, albeit for a very short time period.

Rather than feeling hopeless or having crying spells, I was more "detached" from reality. The girls would cry or throw a fit, and rather than being an involved mother in one way or another I would just kind of block it out and work to find a solution that brought peace, even at the expense of raising them in a godly or appropriate manner.  Now, I am blessed that I was able to recognize quickly that I wasn't feeling myself, and God has provided me with the wherewithal to know what I could do to move in an appropriate direction, but I know it isn't easy.

I think there are a couple of factors that contributed to the difficult time I seemed to be having. First, I am tired. I am so very, very tired. Some afternoons it feels as though I am bordering on narcolepsy; I will sit on the couch during the girls nap time and can fall asleep in about two minutes' time, without even being aware that I am sleeping sometimes until I wake up because someone else wakes up from a nap. Two, it is much harder to get out of the house with three kids. With one, it's not a big deal at all, it just takes practice because now you have to prepare for the little one to need to eat, or you may have to change diapers (or clothing). With two, now you are used to the newborn thing, and really you just have to worry about keeping the toddler in check. The newborns can generally stay in the carseat when you are out and about (at least, mine could). With three, now you have to keep track of two little people on top of being ready for the newborn, and for some reason (at least, for me) it just felt significantly harder than two. That, and where do you go with three kids?  In addition, around that time period Chris was adjusting to his new schedule, which has since lightened and we've adapted, but I went for a period of a week or two where I felt like I wasn't seeing him.  This all turned into a bad combination of me feeling like I just didn't want to try to "deal with it".

If I were to give a new mom some advice on how to avoid (or combat) feeling depressed or hopeless, here's what I would say.

1. Most importantly, continue to seek out the truth. When we're feeling down or out or alone or like "nobody has been here before," that isn't truth talking. That's a lie. You aren't alone, you aren't the only person who has been through this. It kind of struck me that I hadn't been doing my devotions, so I picked back up where I had left off and my daily reading happened to be in the book of John, specifically that day I read John 16:21, "When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world".  The point of the passage is not child birth, but that particular text really helped me to remember that yes, there is a beautiful new life in the world with Bethany here and God has graciously gifted Chris and I with parenting our third daughter, and she is a joy and a delight to us. So are my older two beautiful girls; we have been given gifts so freely that we could in no way deserve. Pray and talk to God. Remember that he is your Lord and Savior and Father; and we, as sinful people, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more our Heavenly Father will give us good gifts.

2. Seek out people. Talk to people. There is so much support from friends and family when you are a new moms. I contacted a friend and told her I needed to go out for lunch somewhere with a play place so the kids could play and I could have adult interaction. This did wonders for my soul.  Other mommies understand how hard it is to have kids, and will gladly help you. You need a break, so take it. You need to get together with someone, so do it. You need somebody to watch the kids so you can drive in peace and quiet, so ask. Do not feel like you are being a burden to people.  It is really easy also to just be caught up in the day-to-day stuff; the dishes and laundry need to be done, the living room hasn't been vacuumed aside from the dog eating Cheerio crumbs off the carpet; but there is time to do these things. They don't need to be done if it means sacrificing fellowship.

3. Be active. As quoted from Legally Blonde, "Exercising gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't."  I'm not saying you have to start cross-fitting the moment that baby comes out (and I'm sure your doctor would advise that you don't) but be active. Get the kids in a stroller and go for a walk. Do an exercise video on TV or youtube. Go to the grocery store and take time walking around the aisles instead of grabbing the milk and getting out. I find that I am so much more positive, focused, and energetic if I just take a little bit of time to exercise.  Perhaps I should also clear up here that Chris' life is not in danger. Because then I really would have three girls all by myself and I really enjoy the partnership that I have with him. ;) Yes, when you leave the house the baby will have a blowout and need to eat even though he or she just ate. Not a big deal. Bring a nursing cover and an extra outfit (or go places with kids clothes and buy a new outfit. Usually the current season is on clearance). It's not a big deal. Just get out.

Friday, September 23, 2016

ONE MONTH!

My little Bethany Grace is already once month old. My how time flies. I can't believe that it was already a month ago that I was sitting in that delivery room.  She is such a beautiful baby; red hair, gray eyes. She is growing like a weed, just like her older sisters did before her. We went to the doctor yesterday, and according to the doctor she is the "average size of a 3 month old". She is in the 98th percentile for weight and height, and while I can't exactly remember the height, the weight was 11 lb. 15 oz.

She is a spittier baby than the last two which has taken some adjusting to. I have learned the hard way that I really can't lay her down flat for 15-30 minutes after she eats. The doctor also said this is pretty normal and once her stabilizing muscles are stronger this will likely go away significantly. I can't imagine that it will be a big deal fro much longer because she is already so strong and likes to push herself up. It can be hard to hold her at times because she'll fling herself all over or try to push herself out away from you so she can see.

Her lips have a shape that's called "cupid's bow", and we have been told how pretty her mouth is. I have to agree.  She is starting to lose her red hair and has a little bit of a male-pattern baldness look going on. I'm wondering if it'll grow back blonde. She also has beautiful long, dark eyelashes that are already growing. I think her legs are shorter than her sisters' legs were, which might account for part of the reason she was bigger at birth (more weight with more torso)!

She does have a small capillary hemangioma on her left arm that appeared a few days after birth. This is apparently nothing to worry about and will likely start to shrink or disappear around her first birthday.

Bethany is a very sweet baby and really doesn't get too worked up about things, outside of being hungry. Sometimes if it takes me a while to nurse her she will let me know how unhappy she is. She is a great sleeper, even during the day and with crazy noise all around her, and at night she has done a 7 hour stretch and a 6 hour stretch. She usually falls asleep between 9 and 10 pm, wakes up between 2 and 3 am, and again around 6-7 am.  I am fairly certain I heard her laugh out loud while she was dreaming during her nap today, and she has been getting more and more smiley over the last couple of days. She seems to really enjoy her bath times and massage times.

We are switching family doctors for the girls. We have been going out to Bloomington and while I really did like their doctor out there, it is quite a distance, especially if something comes up, and I would much prefer to stay in the Eagan Park Nicollet clinic. Especially because it will be so close to our new house; probably not much more than a 5 minute drive.

By coincidence, because of a schedule opening, she saw their new doctor for her first appointment after birth and I decided to follow back up with him because he had a really sweet Noah's Ark themed examination room. I asked him some important questions to make sure he'd be a doctor I could trust: when do you think life begins? (he answered: conception), what would you do if one of my daughters as a teenager came to you pregnant? (he answered: I would sit with her and encourage her to call her parents). If a doctor has value for life and will respect us as parents, I know I can trust him with the big as well as the small concerns. So, we have decided on a new doctor. That, and he told me how pretty Bethany was ;) The quickest way to a woman's heart is to tell her how beautiful her children are.















Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sleeper!

For the sake of documenting, Bethany slept through the night from 10 pm to 5 am last night :) she turns one month old tomorrow. This may be the earliest one of the girls has slept 7 hours. I'll have to verify that. 


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Inspection and Furniture

Some new parts to the home ownership gig. We had our inspection on Friday, the 16th. It ended up being kind of a weird day. Sophia was up in the middle of the night sick, so Chris was up with her (because he is a wonderful, wonderful man). He took work off to spend time with the sickie, and I had the inspection at 8 a.m. that morning. Bob came with me.

The inspector seemed much more thorough (and seemed to do things rather well) compared to our last guy. He was very friendly and helpful, and seemed to really enjoy explaining things as well. Everything looked pretty good for the home for the condition it was in with the exception of two things. The damper on the wood fireplace was not seated properly, and needed to be repaired (especially since we are moving in in late October and I'd rather not have all the hot air escaping through the basement). The second thing was that the upper part of the two-tiered deck was rated "unusable" by the inspector. Very strong language. I guess whoever built the top part of the deck did not use a ledgerboard or brackets to secure the deck, so it was really not built properly at all and isn't designed to bear any weight. Yikes.  We went back to the sellers and asked them to repair/inspect/clean the chimney (because Chris wants to move in and start a wood-burning fire that night) and we also asked them to take several thousand off of the offer so that we could repair the deck in the spring. They more or less agreed to the changes (making it $3100 instead of $4000 off for the deck) and we signed the revised contract this morning.

Closing date is still set for October 21st.

Yesterday, there was a warehouse sale for a local furniture store that we went to check out. We ended up buying a leather sofa and a queen bed set for the guest room. They are able to do delivery just over a month from now, so it should be arriving at our home the day after we close. We also did some additional furniture shopping and went to Slumberland in Eagan. They had a great queen bed (sleigh bed - love that style) on clearance (the employee there explained to us that they purchased the wrong size for the floor model, getting queen instead of king, and that's why it was clearanced) and a beautiful sectional sofa with a chaise for the upstairs. We also got some matching nightstands to go with the bed frame. We were in the furniture store for probably two hours, and most of the time we were trying to decide if we were going to purchase the clearance pieces or not because we were initially told that if we got those ones, they had to be removed from the store within two weeks. We didn't really want to haul furniture out to my in-laws house to have to haul it again to our new home, so we sat there thinking about what we wanted to do and wandering around looking at other items.

By and by, we noticed another gentleman looking at the bed we wanted to purchase and actually he was at one point literally sitting down on the bed, as though staking it. We kind of felt at this point that we had better move, and were glad that we had spoken to the salesperson about buying it already (though, if I'm being honest, I also feel guilty because this gentleman was also interested in the bed frame and since it was on clearance we were getting the floor model). So, we went to speak to our salesman about getting those ordered but he was occupied with another couple making a purchase. We found another gentleman and had him ring us up, and it ended up being a very good thing. He pretty much told the man sitting on the bed "sorry, these guys were here first..." so I did feel guilty about that. Poor guy. But I am super excited about the bed. He gave us a discount on the two nightstands because we were buying the bedframe and sofa as well, even though they were clearanced, and he asked us when we wanted to set up delivery. He allowed for us to set up delivery for, again, the day after we close on our house. Cool! So, we pretty much took care of getting our house furnished and the furniture is going to arrive the day after we close, and it is going to be set up for us and all. YAY! That is probably the best part; they are going to set up my very heavy queen bed and sofas for me, and I just have to direct. I can do that.

So, phase two, we have the purchase agreement and amendment done, and have purchased furniture. The last remaining thing we need is to figure out the study and get a bed for the girls room. Otherwise, it's just about set! Now we just wait to close 5 weeks from Friday and I can head into that house with a 5 gallon bucket of Kilz and get to work. I can't wait to get some before and after pictures going on here!

Big Sisters

The girls are doing quite well, all 3.

Sophia is my big, sweet girl, and it's hard to believe this is her last year at home, all to myself. She is such a bright little star. She loves singing and making up her own words to songs (and her own songs). She loves to read and is so interested in learning, I think she is really going to enjoy school. She absolutely adores being a big sister to both girls. This afternoon she and Heidi were playing in the basement, and Sophia got something all set up to play with Heidi, but Heidi had moved on to other activities. Sophia was visibly sad and told Chris she was "bored without her sister". I have (sort of) learned how to french braid and have successfully completed two braids now in Sophia's hair! She is getting too old for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (or so she says) which kind of breaks my heart, and will insist that she wants to watch The Lion Guard or Sofia the First instead, because she likes those shows. Both Sophia and Heidi love reading and I recently gave them both book lights that they could keep on their beds so they can read after I tuck them in. Of course, this means instead that they are up playing for a while instead of sleeping... they have had the lights removed from their room before already.

I'm sure I've already said this before but pregnant brains and lack of sleep are affecting my memory. Charter schools require that the applications are in by February. February!! That's crazy. For the longest time school seemed forever away, and now I have to apply for a school for her in just a few months, and we haven't even visited the schools yet! Of course, we are in a good district and the school she would go to based on where our house is is called Greenleaf Elementary, and apparently it is one of the top elementary schools in the district (and the district is supposed to be one of the best in the state). So, we'll see. We've tossed around the idea of private Christian schools too, but those are pretty expensive.

Heidi seems to be growing a million miles a minute.  She really loves to read, and her current favorite books are a Fish Eyes book about counting fishes, a book about autumn with touch/feel pages called Fall, and, her true favorite, Brown Bear, Brown Bear. She has read this book over and over and has requested that we read it over and over. I have some great video of her reading it to herself, with her incredibly sweet voice reading each animal. She almost has all of her colors figured out. My favorite thing is that she continues to call brown "chocolate". She gets it confused with black too, like Sophia did. She also gets red and pink kind of confused, as well as orange, but those ones are trickier. She is great at counting, and while she will often skip 2, 3, 4, or 5 (or all 4) she does occasionally count them correctly and is able to go up to 15.

Bethany is 3 weeks old and has rolled from tummy to back more than 5 times. She really seems to do this fairly consistently which is amazing. She holds her head up well. She had baby acne pretty badly this past week, but today there was a significant improvement in it, and it seems to be going away. The red bloodshot ring around her eyes is completely gone now as well. In the sun light, her hair is just incredibly red. It really shows through in the pictures we got taken with the girls.  My favorite thing with all of my girls when they were infants is our night time routine. Sometimes during the day it seems we get so caught up in "stuff" that I don't always take time to enjoy the baby. Is the laundry done? Have the girls eaten (more than just a packet of Ritz crackers)?  Which errands do I need to check off today? But at night, we have our special time together. I always do a bath of some type, usually just a sprinkling (plus, they have those icky diapers and are spitting up at this age, so a nightly bath is nice for all). Then she gets a nice massage with some baby lotion. Heidi I don't think EVER liked this, or at least not for a long time. Bethany did not like baths at first but by a week old she had decided they were not torture, and now she seems to actually enjoy them. She also seems to like the massage. Then it's diaper, jammies, swaddling, feeding, and bed. She is sleeping in about 4-5 hour stretches overnight, from 9 or 10 until 1 or 2, and then again until 6. Not bad. I'm eager to see what her weight and height will be at her one month appointment; to me it seems like she has grown significantly.  She will purse her lips together when she's kissed (it's adorable) and in the last 3 or 4 days or so has started intentionally smiling at people.

People have already asked if we are going to have a 4th to "try for a boy". I have to stop myself from going crazy, this is like a trigger for me. Like, the only reason we would possibly have 4 children is because we want to try for a boy. They said that with Bethany too, "trying for your boy?" And sometimes people sounded disappointed when I told them she was a girl. If we had a 4th child, it would be because God blessed us with a 4th child, and at this point, I would probably prefer a girl because I feel like I'd be so clueless and lost with a boy (not that I wouldn't be excited either way). But, a family of three girls is wonderful. I love my beautiful babies, and can't imagine it any other way right now than sparkles and pink and princess. Of course, lucky Chris, by default gets out of doing any of the "birds and the bees" talks. Ah well.