Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gospel

Sophia and I were talking this morning about dying, because she saw a picture of an uncle of mine who had passed away. She asked if he was still alive, and I said no. She proceeded to tell me about death and dying with more understanding than I see from grown adults.

"Dying is good and bad, and the bad part is that it is sin. Our sin is dying. But the good part is that when we die we see Jesus. And there's no sickness, no sadness, no angriness [sic], you just get to play with Jesus all the time."

May she never lose sight of what is important, and that God's created design was perverted by our wickedness and desire to control our own lives.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Good Reminder

Last night, my mother-in-law treated the girls and me to a great dinner at Twin Cities Grill in the Mall of America. It was the first time I have been out to eat with the three girls, with Bethany in the "barely able to sit in a high chair but not wanting to sit in her car seat" age. And, I think maybe only the second (perhaps third) time I have been out to eat with all three girls.

And, a good reminder why I don't go out to eat very often.

Really, overall it went very well. The girls got cheese pizza and lemonade, a dream dinner for kids, really, as well as some fruit. I got a banana for Bethany and mashed it up to an indiscernible yellow blob. She did eat the whole thing. I (still eating vegetarian) got a delicious vegetable flat bread with broccoli, corn, onion, and some other vegetables. I have never had broccoli on pizza before. It was quite good.  The girls were a little antsy, up and down, especially Heidi. Sophia was up and down because she wanted to come give  Bethany kisses. Bethany was smiling up a storm at Sophia the whole time we were there - lots of adoration and love between these girls. It just felt pretty hectic. Bethany ended up with mushy spit out banana all over her outfit - thank goodness I had a back up.

After dinner we did a little shopping. I had not been to the Altar'd State store before but had heard about it. It is a Christian retail store, kind of like Hobby Lobby meets some cool fashionable store that is much cooler than I am. They had lots of adorable tops, shoes, and decor. I was in love and didn't want to leave, but was shopping with three little girls... Bethany did fine in the dressing room but Sophia and Heidi had a fascination with crawling under (or opening) the door so I was moving pretty quickly. Then Heidi had to get banished to sitting in the stroller permanently which she wasn't thrilled about.

We ran a few more places, like the Disney Store (they had plush animals from "The Lion Guard" back in stock and both girls were going crazy over Fuli) and J. Jill and I was planning to sneak out afterward but we hadn't gone to "The Dolly Store" (American Girl Store). Shame on me for trying to leave the mall without going here. So we did. The girls played with dolls and created a wish list as is almost always the case there. Then home.

I very thoroughly warned them that because we were getting home late, we were going to go home and right away get in pajamas before going straight to bed. Nothing else. I was bathing and changing Bethany when I overheard Sophia saying "Great job, Heidi! Let's get a candy!" So I went to check out the situation and she had already helped Heidi half-change into pajamas (put her pajama top on) and had helped her sit on the potty on her Minnie Mouse toilet seat. Then, Heidi actually went, so Sophia went to get her a candy. It was very very sweet. Sophia absolutely loves her sisters and loves being a helper. She then even helped Heidi get a diaper and her pajama pants on, and I heard her giving Heidi the choice between a pull-up and a diaper. So when I had finished putting Bethany down both girls were in their pajamas and ready for bed (essentially).

I think it will probably be another couple of months before I venture out into the restaurant world again. But maybe another visit to the dolly store...

Friday, January 20, 2017

5 months!

Little Bethany is not so little. 5 months old - we are almost to the 6 month mark. And what a beautiful, fun personality she has. I love being her mother, and am so grateful to God for the gift that she is to our family.

Her 5th month of life outside of the womb started out with a lot of family here, and she was able to meet Nana for the first time, as well as her Aunt Meghan, Uncle Stephen, and cousins Claire and Jane. It'll be great fun for the girls when they are older to be able to play together and even do things like summer trips out to Nana and Papa's house together. It's so fun having them all so close together in age.

She hit a rough patch with sleeping this month. I think what started it was a massive growth spurt just after she was 4 months old. Prior to that, she was sleeping pretty regularly from 8 to at least 2 a.m., and often 4 a.m., but then she hit that growth spurt and spent several nights in a row up 3 or 4 times between 11 and 5. She grew visibly; on Christmas Eve Eve I put on a pair of 9 month pajamas on her that were fairly baggy still, and the 6 month size were fitting. Within a weeks time it was like stuffing a sausage in the casing for the 6 month size pajamas, and the 9 month ones were fitting. I could probably literally have watched her grow during those couple of days. Anyway, she is still getting back into her regular routine with sleeping, but the last couple of nights have finally been a little more normal with her waking up again in the 2-4 a.m. mark (which I know is still middle of the night, but 6-8 hours isn't bad). She is far from being as good of a sleeper as her older sisters, though!

On 12/29, right at the tail end of family visiting, she had her first occasion of formally rolling from tummy to back, and she does so regularly now. She can roll all over the place and when she is on her tummy can use her arms to pull herself in the direction she wants to go. She has even been kicking when she is on her stomach, like she is trying to propel her little self forward.

She has also been drooling like crazy, and gnawing on everything she can get her hands on and direct to her mouth, including toys, toes, etc.  I don't think those teeth will pop up this month, but I am fairly certain she's feeling some discomfort or movement in there because she is really working her gums.

We started solids this month. I wasn't planning to if she was still sleeping well through the night but after a few nights of her not sleeping much I decided it was time to try getting that tummy a little fuller. She has so far tried oatmeal, avocado, and banana. The banana gave her terrible gas/bloating (or, at least, it seems likely it was the banana) and I haven't tried it again. I ended up buying and giving her "gripe water." It was my first time using that, it was recommended by Katie, and it works well. It's basically just ginger water, but it seemed to help settle her little tummy.

Bethany is definitely a morning person. When she gets up in the morning for her first feeding "of the day," around 5 or 6 a.m., she is ready to go. She will be all smiles, kicking, happy, playful... She just is ready to be up! The evenings are not the same. Once it hits close to 7 p.m. she starts to fade, and fast. By the time it's bath time, she's ready for bed. She tends to love bath time, but I'm not sure if it's because she loves the water or if it's because she knows bedtime is coming. She does still seem to really like her nightly massages and will spent most of the time smiling at me and trying to eat her toes. I think we're still a month or two away from joining sisters at bath time, but she's certainly getting close to it. I have her sitting up in her little foam flower in the sink now for bath (instead of laying back in the infant tub with the flower underneath it), and she is starting to grab onto the faucet and other things that are within her reach.

She is interacting more with her sisters, which is so fun to see. She lights up so much when they enter a room, and she loves playing with them. It'll be really fun to watch their relationship grow and develop. And Chris and I may have to invest in ear plugs... the decibel level with two girls is already giving me some noise-induced hearing loss, I'm sure.

Truly, it is a gift from God to be surrounded by so many beautiful girls. I can't believe 5 years ago I was anticipating the birth of a first one, and now I have three beauties to call me Mommy. What an amazing and indescribable gift.


As an aside, and this doesn't relate to Bethany's 5 month post, but it came up recently... we have been talking about where we sit with kids. I.e., do we want to see if God will allow us another one?  I don't think we know either way, yet.  However, we have been talking a lot about snowflake adoption and Chris asked the question if we pick the gender if we do a snowflake adoption. I don't know the answer, but I asked him what he would pick and without even a moment's hesitation he said "girl". This man loves his daughters. And I have loved watching him be "Daddy".






























Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christmas in the Great White North

We had our family Christmas in Minnesota this year, with lots of family coming up to join in on the fun.

On Christmas Eve we had a lot of people arrive: Nana and Papa, Uncle Stephen and Aunt Meghan with Claire and baby Jane (not quite 2 months old!). I was scrambling because everybody arrived earlier than expected and I was still sitting in my pajamas when Mom called me. We had our family Christmas that morning so we had been kind of lounging around. We were actually very fortunate at how "warm" it was, because the week before everybody arrived we had temperatures with wind chills of -35, but when everyone was here it was in the 20s and 30s (and it even RAINED really hard one day - crazy!).  Christmas Eve we had everyone listed above plus Oma, Papa, and Uncle Dan here for Christmas dinner after church. Chris smoked a brisket on the smoker. A new tradition, perhaps.

Christmas morning was fun and hectic. The girls all slept in their matching pajamas, even Heidi, who has not wanted to wear ANYTHING but her Minnie Mouse pink polka dot nightgown pajamas. Sophia's were a size too small (they didn't have up to her size at Costco!) but she wore them until she got a hole in them because she was so excited to have footie pajamas (and Nana managed to find some at the mall for her later in the week. I think she's going to try to live in them). We had boxes and paper galore in the house, and had a good time opening presents and watching the girls play with new toys. Poor Claire and Jane had most of their presents back home, but I think everyone was still so young that for the most part this was lost on them. Sophia was absolutely thrilled about her Wellie Wisher, Camille, and has been tenderly caring for her. We have had lots of fun reading new books, playing with puzzles and games, and putting on chapstick (a favorite present always....why do I get other things?). The girls spent most of the Christmas church service dancing together, it was very sweet.

For Christmas dinner, we had ribs smoking. We had all had a relaxing and fun day, but by about 6 o'clock for some strange reason I suddenly felt very hot and like I was going to pass out. I sat outside to get some fresh air and was overcome with nausea and thought I might get sick. It passed after about 5 minutes, but then when I went inside it came back again. I laid down and just slept the night away, totally missing Christmas dinner which I was disappointed about, and Chris took care of Bethany, giving her a bottle and getting her ready for bed, while I just slept.

The next day was traditional Hallmark shopping. Mom went with Meghan and Stephen while I sat out round 1 and just took it easy.  I did manage to make it to round 2, and didn't find the ornament I was hoping for (a smoker that looks like the Texas flag - for Chris) but managed to find it in eBay for a very reasonable price. Later (I think it was Monday?) we had a phone call from Andrew and Anna (and others!) on Facetime so I was able to meet her for the first time (kind of) and she asked if I would stand with her at their wedding! I am thrilled! And honored! And now very eager to lose baby weight!

On Tuesday we thought it would be fun to hit up the Mall of America for Toddler Tuesday and we naively thought it wouldn't be too busy. LOL. We got to the mall and Meg wasn't feeling well, either what I had or just overwhelmed with heat (carrying a baby, not the weather), crowds, etc. and they ended up leaving early with Papa, Stephen, and her two girls while Nana and my three went to get ice cream afterwards. We spent most of the time in the dolly store and some time in the Disney store. There was a giant duck outside of the dolly store that Claire was ENAMORED about meeting. Sophia was thrilled to pick out something for her Wellie Wisher (a cupcake and cookie set) and Heidi picked out a beautiful dress and blanket for Baby Cinderella (her Bitty Baby name). We went to get ice cream (I skipped this time due to the total lack of flavors, very sad) and then back home.

Wednesday was my one day to work while everybody was here (Monday off for Christmas, went a day negative for Friday thanks to my awesome boss) so I kind of missed out on the excitement from that day. However, it looked like the girls had a blast with each other.

Bethany started solid foods this week. "Solid". Just some baby oatmeal, really. She isn't crazy about eating so far, but she also hit a growth spurt and hasn't been sleeping, which means I haven't been sleeping, and I'd like to sleep again. She also learned to roll during this week and now consistently is rolling all over the place.

Thursday was attempt number 2 at the Mall of America and I think it went much better this time. We went to the Pandora store and Mom picked out her Christmas present bead (they had a great sale, spend $100, get up to $75 bead free). I would have joined on the sale but the Disney ones weren't included. I did buy a Disney bead for myself from Chris' grandparents, though! :) After this and the Toms store, we hit the theme park for the kids. The girls loved the Carousel, which Claire rode 3 times! Heidi rode twice, and her third ride was the Wonder Pets ride with Sophia. This summer she was terrified of it, but this time around she eagerly rode and had a great time. Sophia's third ride was bumper cars, and there was some poor kid in a car with his brother or cousin who was freaking out and trying to escape the whole time. Poor little guy.

Throughout the week we spent a lot of time with games (because, Minnesota and cold). We started a rousing game of dominoes that was never finished (but when we quit, my score was the winning score, I think, so I'm sticking to that). We played lots of Ticket to Ride, and Monopoly Deal, and some Fluxx as well. I wasn't very good at Fluxx... but I was getting the hang of it by the end of the week.  We also celebrated Dan's graduation on Thursday. I made an ice cream cake for the first time, which turned out pretty good I think (can you really mess up ice cream, chocolate, and oreos all combined?) and spent time with Chris' grandparents, who came into town as well.

Friday morning, we woke up to donuts that Nana and Papa had fetched from HyVee. The girls were in heaven, especially little Claire who just dove right in to the stuffed donut and had the evidence on her to prove how much she liked it. Bethany and  Jane spent some time together on the play mat, and mostly from the pictures it looked like Bethany was beating up Jane but Jane seemed to, for the most part, enjoying playing. We also had family pictures on Friday, but unfortunately it was just not the right time for Claire. By this time of the week she was probably quite worn out and hadn't had her normal sleeping schedule. When Katie came to do pictures she flat out refused to do anything. And Sophia, who hadn't napped on Friday, really wasn't doing much either. What was so strange was Heidi, who is normally a little busy bee buzzing all over the place, sat nicely and smiled and just waited for pictures to be taken with all of the chaos around her. I am looking forward to seeing the end result of the pictures!

On Saturday, Stephen and Meghan and the babies left very early in the morning, well before I was even awake and they snuck out so quietly I wasn't even able to say "Bye!" to Stephen or the girls (Claire had gone to bed pretty much during pictures and didn't wake up until they left). Poor Meghan also got to experience the painful process of "de-icing", which makes winter flying downright awful. Mom and I spent the morning doing a little bit of relaxing. We started with a trip to Sam's Club (where I found winter Minnie Mouse jammies at a great price for Heidi!) and then we went to the outlet mall. It was cold, but a Starbucks stop made it more bearable. That, and I got an amazing deal on some Cole Haan flats to replace my poor worn out ones. I'm still pretty excited about it. We of course visited Vera Bradley too and Mom got an adorable purse to match her wallet key chain.  Later in the afternoon we had to say goodbye to Nana and Papa. It was, as always, very hard to say "Bye", but thanks to Andrew we have a wedding to look forward to in Mesa where we'll see everyone again in May!

Copper running with his friend Mika















First time with solids!

















Cute headband, Papa!



























The magic sleep snow suit












"BAGELS!" as Heidi called them