We've officially transitioned into fall around here. I took this picture out the front door the other day, because I loved the browns and reds and greens and greys. Looked so autumnal.
See the boy swinging hanging on to the rope? That rope is there because of an awesome swing I bought earlier this year that has basically sat unused all year because the kids just clamor for the rope. Roll of eyes. What. Ever. It's a whole "play with the box a package came in" type of thing. Gabe has gotten pretty adept, and will spend a long time swinging around in various loops and jumps and vaulting off of the trashcan or tree. This is his "Spiderman" version, that makes his mama feel a little worried about him landing on his head, but...it does look pretty cool. :)
We continue to transition into life as a family of seven. Here we are, all seven of us.
Things are going pretty well overall. Always trying to find the balance of doing everything it takes to feed, clothe, train, and care for five children...while holding a baby. Wide eyes. Caroline has been kind of fussy, unless she is being held. But less so since I cut out chocolate. :( Caffeinated drinks were already a no-go, almost from the start. So. No chocolate, no coffee, what's the mama of a newborn to do??!! ;) I have my replacements, though, no worries. Mother's Milk tea and butterscotch chips are the current fillers. So... Carriers right now aren't the trick for her either. So someone, somewhere is generally holding her over their shoulder or bouncing her just so at any point in time she is awake. OCCASIONALLY, she will settle in the bouncer for a least a period of time, or her swing (even more rarely).
The other part of transitioning that has been sticky is Little Miss Layla Grace Miller.
Which I wasn't exactly shocked about. Her current specialty is the Enraged Shriek. Of any of the kiddos, I think she has transitioned the hardest to the arrival of a younger sibling. The infamous Terrible Two's (which I really have only also seen in Zion) have landed with a resounding crash, I think, somewhat in reaction to the subtle shift of mommy's attention to a newborn.
The other night, during the unquestionably MOST difficult part of adjustment for me - evenings by myself when Tim is gone, where I am carrying a fussy, uncomfortable baby around while trying to get a tired, cranky Layla settled who just wants to be held a little bit, plus getting the other boys to do homework and ready for bed and quieted down (AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! - enter overwhelmed tears - but it's ok, this will pass and eventually not be so difficult), Layla went back to her room after she had come out wanting something or another, and her little lower lip was just quivering so sadly. At that point, I decided I was going to spend at least a few nights in her room with her to give her some physical presence that I can't always during the day, and that actually has seemed to help her adjustment. Caroline is in there too in her cradle alongside Layla's bed. At least for now, we do what works. :)
Overall, though, Layla has actually transitioned very well into me not laying down with her to go to sleep. We have our little routine, where she kisses everybody goodnight, and we read three books and then turn out the light and I hold her for a few minutes in the chair in her room and then put her on her bed and give her the stuffed animal of her choice and turn on her nightlight if she requests it, and then she goes almost immediately to sleep. She seems to generally understand that Caroline is a factor and sometimes I have to leave prematurely, and accept that with very little fuss. Although I will point you to the word "generally". ;)
Layla does love her baby sister very much.
I cannot hardly handle the cuteness of these pictures. !!!! AAACCKK!! And here's another one in their matching jammies.
Melt melt melt goes the mommy. :)
Caroline had a doctor's appointment today at 5 weeks old. She was 8 lbs, 12 oz, and 21 1/2 inches long. That is up 2 lbs 10 oz from her birth weight, and two inches from her birth length. The doctor was very impressed with her and her good eating skills. :)
She also is still an excellent sleeper at night. Up to this point I haven't let her sleep longer than 6 hours, but I think I'm going to see how long she will go. Initially I was concerned about compromising my milk supply, but I think we'll be ok. I find it quite novel to have a child that sleeps in such long stretches at once. :) She goes to bed for good around midnight...bleary eyes...and I'm trying to work that earlier by not letting her sleep long than an hour and a half at a time during the day, and keeping her out of her cradle for early evening naps so they won't be quite as sound.
Walking around with a fussy newborn for hours on end really emphasizes the first part of the saying "The days are long and the years are short." Because the days are really. really. long. when the baby is new. :) I told someone the other day that my new adaptation of that saying is "The days are long and the nights aren't quite long enough." :)
She's started (at around 3 weeks) to give us brief, eye-connecting smiles. Baby smiles are always so gratifying when they start appearing!! At one month, I feel more free to leave her home with Tim to run quick, 30-minute or less errands.
Hi guys!! :) This was Caroline on the Sunday of her first trip to church at 2 weeks 3 days.
Here we are fresh off a Walmart run. :) I thought she was SO CUTE in her seat with her little feet sticking out of the blanket. I kept checking them to make sure they were warm, and they stayed toasty. Several people commented on the cuteness of her feet. :) She slept the whole time.
Riding tiredly on her daddy's shoulder. Tim does MORE than his fair share of carrying around this exhausting little lightweight, who calms down better for him when she is fussy than me unless I nurse her. I think my shoulder is too bony. I dunno. Bony shrug.
In sum: duty calls around the clock, tasks are plentiful, and rest on the slim side of adequate. All normal and as expected for this stage of family life. I stood in the doorway of the hall bathroom the other night bounce bounce bouncing the fussy baby as Tim gave Layla her bath and tried to scrub some crud out of her hair while the boys whirled and tumbled and wrestled in the living room in an excess of noise, and asked Tim "Can you imagine what life would be like if we just had two boys ages 9 and 7??" He looked up at me with the same startled wonderment I was feeling, and we both had to laugh, because life would be so insanely different that it's almost hard to imagine.
Life is color and chaos and noise and babies and tantrums and silliness and sweet and frustrating and rewarding and occasionally overwhelming and task-filled and sacrifice and laughter and yells and funny and annoying and diapers and laundry and stress and good.
And one of these days/years life will be calmer and less crazy and different and good then too. And meanwhile, I'm joyfully grateful to have the five kids I have that make up my crazy life right now. :)
Layla falling asleep in her dad's lap.
These two. These are "the best of times and the worst of times" pair. Screeching with laughter one minute and with anger at each other the next. The other week I went to investigate their prolonged quietness and found them sitting on the floor in our bathroom with some tiny little sewing kit scissors, with Zion busy snipping Layla's hair. "Layla wanted me to cut her hair," he explained. Mmmmmmm hmmmmm, chile'.....!!!! Actually her bangs were almost getting too long, and it was the curls in the front that he carefully snipped off, so it ended up being ok. Just the infamous childhood haircut checked off of the list for those two.
Also. Zion is such a little pack rat. He loooooves to secret things in various boxes or carriers. He is drawn to having hidey-holes. The other day he was asking me if he could put paper into the pellet stove. He asked this several times, and was very bummed when I didn't allow this behavior. Then the next day I found the reason he kept asking. He had a pile of carefully torn and crumpled papers resting quietly in the corner of the office just waiting for him. I just had to take a picture before I vandalized this current little nest. ;)
The CHRISTMAS CATALOGS!!!! have arrived en masse in the mail. Hence the rapt children.
"I'm a pwin'cess," she tells me, very seriously.
"A princess, huh?"
She nods thoughtfully. "A bew'ful pwin'cess." She adjusts her headband carefully. Apparently this is how bew'ful pwin'cesses wear their headbands: in front of the ears rather than behind. I think royalty can probably pull this off, especially in my house.
She goes on to tell me that she is a big princess, not a little princess, since the doctor told her she was big. So she is a big princess. I nod agreeably. I hear almost every day of late that the doctor told her she was big, which indeed she did a few weeks ago. This seems to have made quite an impression, and one that she slightly marvels over. :)