Thursday, February 20

Six Weeks Old

At six weeks old, this baby has stolen all of our hearts!

I know I keep saying it, but time is flying by.  I've come to realize, after everyone has been saying it to me for weeks and weeks, that she looks like Luke.  At first I didn't see it- at first I think she looked more like Jack and Beth! But as she's gotten older she favors Luke.  And OH is he SO proud of that!  He loves hearing people say she looks like him, I think it makes him feel some sort of big brother ownership of her.  I love seeing the softer side of him when he's around her! 

She still does not like her car seat, even though I've calmly explained to her that screaming won't get her out any sooner!  It breaks my heart, but at least I know- now that she's older- that she's not in pain, just extremely displeased.  My poor love.  We cuddle and give lots of kisses when we get to our destination.

She's sleeping well at night and her naps are pretty predictable during the day, but staying asleep is a problem!  It's hard to stay asleep with three big siblings in the next room having so much (loud) fun!  On the whole I certainly can't complain.  We have great days, good days, and not-so-good days occasionally, but at least I am sleeping at night! 

She smiles all the time at anyone willing to talk to her, and she captivates me.  I can't wait to hear her laugh- although I have a feeling that next milestone is just around the corner.  Okay, I CAN wait... I wish she'd stay little like this forever.  Why do babies have to grow up???

Here she is, laying on her blanket made by her great-grandma, which arrived today!  Thank you Grandma!

My babies.  I can't get over the noise and energy in our home right now... It's a lot some days, I'm not going to lie!  But I keep hearing that the days are long but the years are short, so I'm really trying to take that to heart.  It's so true for me.  Just looking at my old blog posts, at each of the other kids when they were babies.  They were so sweet and tiny and...quiet, compared to now. ;-) 

Saturday, February 15

Valentine's Day

The suspense has been building up for weeks around here!  Our previous years of Valentine's Day celebrations have been so memorable that they could hardly wait for chocolate chips in their oatmeal, valentine exchange with their friends, and dinner at PF Changs!  We had a beautiful day at the park for the exchange.  Of course they were most excited about the candy... We don't do a lot of candy around here but I do let them indulge (dare I say gorge?) themselves on a few holidays, Valentine's Day being one of them.  I do exchange their lollipops for my gluten-free, dye-free, "healthy" ones (which, in my opinion, tastes better than a regular lollipop!), but they don't seem to mind!

After our morning at the park, we came home for a couple of hours before going out to dinner.  I love our family date night, we still all get dressed up and go all-out... We valet the car, Ryan and I order drinks, we all share an appetizer, we give the kids homemade Valentine's Day cards, and we take them to ride on a carousel.  It's pretty much their idea of a perfect afternoon!  No wonder they look forward to this day every year!


Tuesday, February 11

Caeli's Baptism

 On February 1, we celebrated Caeli's baptism!  She wore the same baptismal gown that her sister and brothers did, and was a beautiful, quiet little angel through the entire ceremony.  It was celebrated by Father George, who baptized the boys as well, and we had so many friends and a few family members come to help us celebrate Caeli's entrance into Christ's Church.

Saturday, February 8

My Beautiful Family

Life with a Newborn

I may possibly kick myself for saying this later, but so far it's been pretty easy. Caeli has been an easy baby.  During the days, she sleeps, she eats, she looks at us for awhile, then she goes back to sleep.  She's generally in a happy mood and she rarely cries.  I do hold her all the time, but I'm okay with that. :-)  I have taken a different approach to parenting this little one, but more on that later! 

 Everyone always asks about sleep first, so I'll start with that. Some days she naps for an hour or two and I'm able to get a lot done.  Other days she only wants to sleep in my arms, and I'm wise enough now to be okay with that, and not worry about all of the stuff I'm not getting done.  In the evenings she likes to be walked around; Ryan and I have made countless laps around the living room while watching primetime TV and Seinfeld reruns (because it's impossible to read or do anything else while pacing around like that!). At some point she may or may not fall asleep, but once I shower and get into bed with her she tends to fall asleep then.  She sleeps next to me all night, she and I usually wake up in puddles of sweat!  But she wakes, I latch her on, and we both fall back asleep together.  Most nights are peaceful and she wakes 3-4 times, and she wakes up between 6:30-7:30, ready for a diaper change and to get out of bed for awhile.  So we get up and she lays on her changing pad for 20 minutes or so, because she's always very happy there!  It leaves me enough time to dress and get breakfast started.  She is ready to go back asleep within an hour though, and on a good day she will go down for at least an hour or maybe longer.  Then it's sort of up and down all day, it just sort of depends on how the day is going for everyone.  

Beth, Luke, and Jack still love her!  Ryan and I don't think anyone is "acting out" from feeling left out, which is another common question we are getting.  I give all the credit to Ryan for that though, he is such an amazing father.  When he gets home from work, he plays with the older three kids and gives them each the attention they crave from their Daddy.  He plays silly games with them, lets them jump all over him, and teaches them what it means to be selfless by being so giving.  I am so proud of him and so blessed to have him as the father of our children.

I do think Jack might be missing me a little, he does seem to be getting into a little more trouble these days... But I am working on trying to give each of them some undivided attention every day.  Hopefully it will get a little easier on everyone, but as of now, both Ryan and I realize we are in the phase of parenthood where we're just trying to keep everyone alive and happy for awhile.  "Survival mode."

They do adore their little sister.  Jack is constantly kissing her, Luke spends a lot of special time looking at her and talking to her when I lay her on the floor, and Beth likes to hold her as often as I'll let her.  Beth has become very... I can't quite find the word... Insistent on constantly helping and being a part of everything I'm doing.  It's helpful but it's also smothering me a little bit.  It's hard to be so giving when my body is being consumed by Caeli all day, and then everyone else wants a piece of me.  It's overwhelming and demanding, but it's part of this stage in life.  I've done it before, and in some ways this time it's easier because Jack is 3.5.  Luke was only 20 months when Jack was born, and Beth was still a baby too.  Now, they're all such big helpers, can get themselves mostly ready when we have to leave the house, and keep each other entertained when they play nicely together.  But, whether they'll admit it or not (they won't!), they're all still my babies and all still need their mama's hugs and kisses.

We are starting to get some smiles out of Caeli.  She will be one month old tomorrow, it seems a little early for smiles (I can't remember!) but she is definitely smiling at us!

I don't know if it's my age, my experience, or my placenta pills, but I feel like I've been more easy-going and casual this time.  It's probably a combination of everything! I am totally NOT worrying about Caeli's "sleep schedule" or trying to predict when or how she'll fall asleep.  I'm NOT worrying about a clean house or what or when we will eat (it always manages to happen).  I am NOT worrying about the shape of my body because I know that I can't do much about it right now.  And I am definitely NOT worrying about holding her too much or sniffing her sweet head too much!  I just canNOT get enough of this girl, I have bonded so well with her and I am so thankful to actually be feeling this way!

So, for now, we are back to life as usual.  I drove everyone to co-op last week, school is back in session, the visitors have stopped coming by, and clubs and activities have picked up.  In fact, Luke and Beth start soccer next week!  I hope to start some sort of a consistent exercise routine soon and maybe get a spring garden planted one weekend.  This is good.  I'm ready for life to be back to normal again... With the addition of one cute additional family member! 

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