Monday, July 21

Waking Up from Naptime

First I sneak a  peek around the corner of my dresser and see this:

Oh good, she's waking up happy!

Not just happy, but really happy!

So I unswaddle her so she can have a good stretch.

She's ready to be picked up and cuddled now!

But first, she needs to stretch the legs too!

Everyone sounds so surprised when they hear I still swaddle Caeli.  She's only swaddled when she's in this little bed though, and as you can see she's about to outgrow it!  It's been so perfect and this has definitely been one of my favorite new things to have for her.  She sleeps here for naps and for the first part of bedtime.  After I go to bed, whenever she wakes up I just unswaddle her and pull her into bed with me!

Sunday, July 13

Beth's First Holy Communion

On June 22, the feast of Corpus Christi, Beth received the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord for the very first time!  After careful consideration, our pastor decided she was ready for her First Holy Communion, and we planned for a beautiful feast day in which we'd have family and friends in town to help her celebrate.

She received the sacrament of penance just a few days before, so her soul was nice and squeaky clean!

Beth's dress was custom-made from an etsy shop and her veil is from Veils by Lily.  She wore her first pair of "high heels" that she picked out and absolutely adores!

 After reading and research, Ryan and I opted to have her consume a Vatican-approved low-gluten host, kept separate from the other hosts in her own pyx.  She picked it out herself and we discussed with her how the miniscule amount of gluten in the host (less than .2 parts per million)  kept it licit.  She agreed to go this route for now.  If we ever think that her host could be making her sick, we will re-evaluate and see if maybe she should receive Our Lord from only the Precious Blood.

We had just a small gathering of friends at mass and at our home afterward to celebrate.  We had brunch prepared for everyone ahead of time, and of course had yummy cake and white punch.  Everyone loved the punch and asked for the recipe, so here it is!

The man of the house offered a prayer for her, and Beth also received some sweet gifts from her treasured friends and family members: a prayer book, a rosary, a crucifix, a James Avery necklace, and a book about her favorite saint.  We are so proud of her and so happy that she was finally able to receive Him, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Many Faces of Caeli Rose

Wednesday, July 9

Caeli is 6 months old!

Half a year old?  Already?  Stop, time.  Stop passing.  I'm not ready for this one to grow up.

I want to remember this toothless, enthusiastic smile forever.
Every person- seriously, everyone- that we meet comments on how happy she is!  No, she doesn't really cry.  (Well, she's cried a few times, and mostly recently when she's fallen over from a sitting up position.)  She hardly even fusses!  I think we've both been really good at figuring this kid out and getting her down for a nap at the right time (before she's overtired and overstimulated), and I think she has a lot of activity going on to entertain her. ;-)  She doesn't nurse as frequently as the other kids did, and she goes to sleep a lot easier.  In fact, she's still sleeping with us, because she's the first kid who nurses and then rolls over and goes to sleep on her own without touching me.  And she wakes up only two or three times during the night, going back to sleep very quickly.  It's pretty amazing, and I now understand how parents bedshare for such a long time.  It's really pleasant when the baby isn't constantly needing to touch you or nurse all night long!  I remember being so over-stimulated with the other kids and needing to have my space.  It's been quite a different experience this time.

The big question I wonder is why?  Why is she so different? Ryan and I are always looking for the cause... We can speculate all we want but I'm sure we'll never know.  My pregnancy was healthier than with the other kids. Her birth wasn't any different from the boy's births.  Her infancy wasn't any different than Jack's.  She's been wearing her amber necklace since she was about 6 weeks old and she has 3 big siblings to help care for and entertain her.  Maybe I'm less worn out because the other kids are older and I'm a more experienced mom?

First food- a bit of Earth's Best mixed grain cereal mixed with breastmilk  We will be practicing baby-led weaning again, but we decided (based on current research) that she needed to have some gluten before she was 6 months old.
Over all I think it's a combination of who she is and my decision to just let things go.  To toss out the parenting and sleep books and just do what God created me to do.  To trust my experience and mama instinct.  To listen to my heart and not worry about what anyone else thinks I "should" be doing. 

As you can see, there is no shortage of things to play with in our house!
Mentally I'm in such a great place.  In fact, I don't think I've been better, and while I've always been a confident parent I've had many days when I didn't feel like myself.  I guess I was trying to figure out who I was as a mother- and to a certain extent I guess I'll always be trying to discern God's call for us. 
Sleepy baby
"They" said that the fourth kid is easier than the rest, and so far that's truly been absolutely correct!  Having the first was the most difficult for me, adding the second wasn't too bad, adding the third was harder, but the fourth has been a breeze and a joy!

I wonder if the fifth is even easier? :-)
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