Thursday, March 31, 2011

Abbi 's bath time: A family affair

The girls LOVE helping me give Abbi her bath. If I say that it is time to give her a bath, they cheer and run to pull their chairs up to the sink...
Karis likes to help me put the soap on the washcloth
Karlie usually gets a toy for Abbi (and herself) to play with in the water
And Abbi gets a kick out of all the attention :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poor kitty

In my previous post, I forgot to mention that I bought the girls a humongous $2 bag of random people. And that it was probably one of the best $2 I've ever spent! They have played with these people nonstop for 5 days straight. These people line up on the piano, on the sink, everywhere. They come on the couch to read books with us and try to sneak into little beds. THey have attempted without parental approval to eat dinner with us. The plastic ones go outside to play in the water table, and the wooden ones are constantly being rescued by Yours Truly so they don't get ruined in the sandbox. They might get on my nerves just a little since I find them all over the house, but I LOVE the creative, imaginative play they produce with my girls. The girls talk to them and for them without ceasing all day long. It is so good for their language development! But poor kitty gets the brunt of it... they absolutely love to cover him up with people!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why I love consignment sales...

I love consignment sales! My husband is lucky to host a huge kids consignment sale at his place of work twice a year and it is such a blessing! I pretty much buy the girls' entire wardrobe for the next season there. My girls never wear anything new (other than what their grandmas buy :), although most of their clothes look like new. I do splurge at the end of each season if I can find a good deal on matching dresses for my girls, but other than that, everything they wear comes from this great consignment sale. But before you turn your nose up at me for buying pretty much everything for my girls secondhand, let me share with you some of the other deals I scored this weekend:

A Beco baby carrier for $10 (normally $129)
A Kaboost for $5 (awesome chair lifter for kids like Karlie that are small but hate the high chair, normally $40)
a crib mattress for $8
a car seat for $25
Little Tikes Toy Box for our outside toys for $7 (normally $60)
lots of dresses and pants for around $2 each

I LOVE consignment sales!

Which team?

Mark: Do you like the blue team or the white team?
Karlie: white team!!
Karis: I don't like the blue team or the white team; I just like pink!!
(And in case you were wondering, Daddy likes the blue team :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cute conversations

Karis: Mama, you look cute!
Mark: Do I look cute?
Karis: no!
Mark: Do I look pretty?
Karis: No, only girls look pretty!

Karlie: My nose is running!
Mark: Where is it running to?
Karlie: To Nina and Papa's house!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Abbi Grace at 6 weeks

At six weeks, Abbi Grace is developing quite the personality! She grins and coos at whomever is paying her attention and is simply stinking cute :)
Abbi has gotten into a more regular night-time sleeping habit now... I feed her and put her to bed around 10pm and she usually just wakes up around 2am and 5 am and then is up for the day around 8am. (If you call staying awake for 45 minutes before her next nap "up for the day" :) She is doing better about going right back to sleep, which is such a relief!
Abbi loves to play on her back and watch everything going on around her. She will just kick and coo and smile. She especially loves it when Karlie sits down next to her and "reads" and sings to her. However, Abbi does not really like "tummy time" and has therefore learned how to roll over just to spite me when I try to make her play on her tummy! It is really funny to watch her roll over because she always looks so surprised afterwards.
Abbi still cannot stay awake for much more than an hour at a time... by the time I finish nursing, burping, and changing her, she usually only has about 15 or 20 minutes of playtime left in her. When she is tired, she starts flailing her arms and legs like crazy and if I don't wrap her up quickly or give her a paci, she will start to fuss. But she loves her swaddle and it is like she breathes a big sigh of relief once she is tight and snug :) Have I mentioned that I LOVE the miracle blanket? It costs more than other swaddles, but is totally worth it. There is no velcro to go bad, just the weight of her body keeping her tight. Brilliant! And now that Abbi is burping and spitting up less, she is sleeping nicely on her back again.

Oh how I love that sweet face!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outside with spring fashion :)

Today was absolutely beautiful and the girls spent most of it outside! I'm so thankful for a deck right outside my kitchen... I just opened the door and kept an eye on them while doing dishes and other chores :)

Of course, it took us a while to get outside... Karis has a love/hate relationship with her spring clothes. She is so incredibly excited about them, but has issues that they feel/fit so differently from her winter ones. (Imagine her wailing, "Mama, I'm peeking out!!" when she put on a sundress that was looser and lower than she was used to :) Anyways, it took her several tries to find a bathing suit that fit just right. I had really hoped it would be several years before the need to try on several outfits emerged! :)

Karlie, on the other hand, just grabs whatever clothes she sees and puts it on :) And in this pic, she is saying, "Seriously! How many time can a girl change clothes! Lets go!!!" (OK, so, she was just repeating, "let's go" over and over, but I'm sure she was thinking the rest of it :) And no, I did not require a hat today... she just found it in her dress up tote and decided to wear it all day long.
And after all that changing clothes, Karis decided to wear a rain jacket and you couldn't see her bathing suit anyways :) I added some bubbly dish detergent to their water and they had a blast washing their play dishes and baby dolls for well over an hour! But they were so excited and focused that they wouldn't look at the camera for anything!

After naps, I sent them back outside to "paint" the deck with water. Karlie finished first, so she started bringing out books to read beside Karis. I'm so thankful they like to be with each other so much!

Then they decided to read together :)
Karlie thinks an outside day is the best day ever!

Friday, March 18, 2011

She's going to have to be tough (and Mama is, too!)

Yesterday was one of those days...

I was trying to make dinner and Abbi wouldn't nap. I tried cooking with the baby in my arms for a little while, then set her in the swing in the next room. Karis was up on a chair helping me cook, when I hear Karlie say, "Oh, no!" I look over at her and she had knocked the entire tupperware of crayons on the floor, along with her cup of milk :) I go to help her clean up the multitude of soggy crayons and Abbi starts fussing in the swing. Karlie runs in to "help" her (the girls are usually good about giving the swing a little push to help Abbi get back to sleep) and I hear her laughing. "Oh, good," I thought,"she is entertaining Abbi so I can finish wiping up this mess." But then I hear a blood curdling scream!

I rush over to the swing and Abbi is hysterical. I mean, she is opening her mouth in the widest scream possible, but she is so upset that she can't catch her breath and no sound is coming out! Oh, it was so scary! It just broke my heart to see her in so much pain. But the worst part was that I had no idea what had happened!!! How could I help my baby if I didn't know what hurt? I begged Karlie to tell me, but I guess she was scared so she clammed up. At first I thought she had put something in Abbi's mouth, because Abbi kept on opening it and closing it and sputtering. So I asked Karlie specifically and she said yes. So I asked what she put in her mouth and Karlie answered, "the paci." Well, I knew that should not have upset Abbi to this extent; plus, by this time I had started nursing her to calm her down so I know she wasn't choking on anything. But she was obviously still in pain because she would stop nursing for a second, look up at me in horror, like, "can't you make it stop?" Then she would whimper, and then nurse some more. Oh, it was so pitiful! Then I noticed her eye was red and puffy. I asked Karlie if she had put the paci anywhere else and she said, "her eye." So I guess she jabbed it in pretty hard. But I still don't know for sure.

Whew! Only 5 weeks old and Abbi is already sporting a puffy, almost black eye. Poor kid. But I'm sure she will have to endure much more being the littlest sister. I think she'll be ok because she'll learn to be tough. But I'm not sure if my heart can take it :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

She did it!

See that hair on the floor? (sniff, sniff) Yes, my big girl had her first hair cut today! I'm trying not to get teary-eyed about it. Her hair had just gotten too long and was always in her way and getting tangled. It seriously would take me about 20 minutes to brush it out in the mornings. So we've been talking about getting it cut for a while now. At first, Karis would get upset every time we mentioned it. But when I got my hair cut and Daddy made such a big deal about how much he liked it, she she started saying she would do it eventually. So we said as soon as it was spring (getting warmer) we would take her to get her hair cut. And then on Sunday it was so nice and warm outside, and I mentioned that we would get ice cream as a reward for getting her hair cut. She replied that she wanted to do it tomorrow! We decided to wait till Daddy was off work today, and away we went!
She was a little scared and very subdued... she wouldn't sit in the chair by herself or wear the cape. But she never fussed or complained at all and sat perfectly still on Daddy's lap. I was sure that she would flip out when she saw how much hair was on the floor, but she didn't! She seemed relieved to be done and was quite proud of herself :)

Karlie had a blast! She danced around to the music for the majority of the haircut and then sat down to watch in the corner.

We went to Goodberry's for ice cream afterwards and the girls had so much fun running around the fountain while we waited for Daddy to get the ice cream!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life with 3 under 4...

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep!" --on a cross-stitch hanging on my wall done by my great-grandmother
I thought I would write a bit about what life is like with 3 littles under the age of four. I have definitely not figured it all out yet! It is difficult in many ways but absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything! I have to say that the little poem above perfectly describes the stage of life that I am now in :)
First of all, I really believe that 3 under 4 is way easier that 2 under 2. My big girls are able to entertain each other so well and they understand when I need to focus on the baby. They are also really big helpers and love to get things that I need and can clean up fairly well on their own. This is a big difference from when I had Karlie and Karis was only 20 months old.
Honestly, the relational and emotional aspect of being a mother to three has been fairly easy and such a joy! I love each stage that all my children are in and relish the time we spend together. I'm not one to crave excitement or adventures and am quite happy to stay at home and spend time with my girls. So what has been the most difficult or frustrating part about this season? Simply getting things done! I have so many fun things I want to do with my girls (art projects, cooking projects, playtime outside, reading, "school time," etc,) not to mention the housework that keeps piling up. And each day, when I look at my "to-do" list, I find that if I am lucky, I have only crossed off one item. Seriously. How is it that I can be at my house all day long and the only visual accomplishment I see is the 3 loads of laundry, cleaned and folded, but still waiting for me to find the time and energy to put away? (Speaking of laundry, did you know that the amount of laundry you have increases exponentially with each child? Along with the dishes, of course :)

One of the biggest things I struggle with is *losing* at least (and probably more :) 3 hours of productivity during the day due to nursing. Now I don't consider those hours *lost* by any means, (which is why I wrote it with stars :) because I think breastfeeding is so important and such a great joy and once again, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm not complaining; just being honest. And I can read to my big girls or check my e-mail, etc while nursing as well. But when added up, that is a big chunk of time that I used to have to get things done around the house or with my girls! So it has been a real struggle for me to keep the house clean. I have so many things that I want to do with my girls each day and I can never seem to fit it all in!

One other major difference in having 3 vs. 2 is how long it takes me to get everyone ready in the morning! Feeding, changing, and putting Abbi back to sleep adds about an hour to my usual morning routine. I am so grateful that my husband has taken over getting the big girls up and fixing breakfast! He has been so wonderful as we adjust to a different kind of schedule. (And he even fixes "real" breakfasts each day, like eggs and bacon or pancakes or apple omelets!) But even with his help, a lot of days it is 10:00 before all of us are dressed with our teeth brushed and ready for our day (and I'm not going to even admit how often I stay in my comfy pajama pants and neglect to put make-up on!)
So what is the point of this post? Just to remind myself that I don't have it all together and that is ok. What matters is my attitude and whether I am consistently portraying the love of Christ to my girls. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a mother to 3! But I have to watch myself and not allow myself to get frustrated with the girls for my lack of ability to get things done. When I finally have the bedroom clean but the girls quickly destroy it again while I am nursing Abbi in the other room, do I fuss at them in exasperation or do I pray for patience and calmly instruct them to clean it up? When Abbi is *supposed* (as if an infant is *supposed* to be doing anything! :) to be napping while I am trying to fix dinner, but wakes up every 5 minutes because she is burping, do I take joy in the chance to snuggle with her for another minute or do I grow frustrated that dinner won't be ready on time? I really do treasure this precious time, but sometimes I have to remind myself to just enjoy it and not get upset that my house is a mess. My girls are such a blessing from the Lord and this season of life will pass all too quickly for me to worry about such things...

And since Karis is almost 4, this poem also stuck out to me:
"Time is of the Essence"

Now is the time to get things done. . .
wade in the water,
sit in the sun,
squish my toes in the mud by the door,
explore the world in a girl just four.

Now is the time to study books,
flowers, snails, how a cloud looks;
to ponder "up" where God sleeps nights,
why mosquitoes take such big bites.

Later they'll be time to sew and clean,
paint the hall that soft new green,
to make new drapes, refinish the floor-
Later on. . . when she's not just four.

And many thanks to Kirstie and Miranda for the cute pictures of my girls! (Abbi was 5 days old in the first 3 pics; I took the one of Karlie being silly in the kitchen yesterday, and the pics of Karis were taken on Sunday)

This post is a part of KK's SUYL parenting advice!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The best way to sleep...

I went in to check on Karis last night and found Karlie like this, sound asleep with her arms propped up in the air and surrounded by stuffed animals. It made me smile.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Abbi Grace at 1 month

Abbi Grace, you are a month old! I can hardly believe it!

You weigh 10 pounds; still a nice little chunky monkey whose cheeks I can't stop kissing :) Newborn clothes are too tight now and I wish I had not bought so many newborn diapers because they really don't fit you anymore!

You usually eat every 3 hours during the day, every other hour in the evening, and about every 4 hours at night.

You are sleeping in your own room now and it has seemed to help ... 4 hour stretches are wonderful! (Although it still seems to take you quite a while to settle back down and stop burping. But I usually only have to get up twice a night now, which is much nicer :)

You smile a lot now, mostly at me when I talk and play with you; it never fails to make my day! You also "talk" to me and make the funniest/cutest little noises.

Some nights you are calm and will take your evening nap and other nights you are restless and need to be snuggled. But thankfully, you are never really fussy.

You are such a noisy eater and sleeper that it never fails to make me laugh :)

You are so sweet and I just wish I could hold you all day long!

Oh, how I love this sweet smile!
"talking" to Mama :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On being big sisters...

I thought I would share a bit about how my two big girls have done with the transition of a new baby. First of all, I have to say that they were VERY prepared for the new baby. We talked about it all the time, every aspect of it: from what the hospital visit would be like, to the presents they would give Abbi and the Big Sister shirts they would wear (they were especially excited about hose two things!) to the "plans" of who would take care of them depending on when Abbi came, to the fact that Mama would be sore and tired and sleep all the time when the baby first came. I really think this helped them so much and no detail was too small for Karis to remember and talk about as we waited for Abbi to decide to show up!

The transition with Karis has been an absolute breeze. She is old enough to understand everything and be excited about it all. She wants to help with the baby at all times. She wants to pick out her clothes, watch me put them on her, help me "wake" Abbi up and unwrap her swaddle, put hats on Abbi, and give her toys all the time. If she misses any part of getting Abbi ready, she is disappointed.

The only thing Karis does not like is hearing Abbi cry. When Abbi was first born, she hated getting her diaper changed and would fuss the whole time. When I would tell Karis I was getting ready to change her diaper, Karis would run from the room and tell me to wait till she was gone so she wouldn't have to hear Abbi fuss. Now that Abbi is older, she doesn't fuss over diaper changes and it isn't an issue anymore.

I've not noticed any signs of jealousy and Karis seems to be just as proud of our new baby as I am! :) She loves to show her off to everyone she meets and it was very hard for her when I stayed at home to sleep and missed church and other activities the first few weeks. She kept saying, "but I want to show them the new baby!" It has also been so nice that Karis seems to understand that when I am nursing Abbi, she needs to wait for me to help her do things. She usually picks something to do nearby and gets Karlie occupied as well, which is a huge blessing!

Karlie has also been very excited about the new baby and wants to kiss her and bring her toys and put lotion on her. She is always very happy about her and doesn't seem jealous. But she doesn't quite understand why I can't immediately jump to help her when I am feeding or changing Abbi. She will get very upset sometimes when I tell her to wait, but I know that is just part of being 2 years old and she is slowly learning to have a "happy heart" when I am taking care of Abbi and she has to wait for my help. I try to be proactive and pick something to entertain her when I am getting ready to nurse Abbi.

All in all, I think the girls have done extremely well (so far :) with the transition and I am so grateful! I am especially thankful that they did not seem to mind me being in the hospital at all -- last time Karis was a little traumatized by my being gone and was obsessed with me when I returned. She constantly wanted to make sure that I was there, to the point where Mark had to bring her in the bathroom often when I was taking a shower so that she could see I was still there. But I think it helped Karlie that she was old enough to understand the plan ahead of time and that she had Karis there with her to show her everything was ok. I praise God for a smooth transition for my big girls!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No thanks, Karis!

Karis, with a mischievous smile on her face: "Mom, I want you to go back to the hospital and have Abbi Grace again!"

So I guess she didn't mind me being gone this time, huh? After more discussion, I found that she just thought it was the most fun time in the world, having both sets of grandparents here and everyone so excited and giving her so much attention and letting her eat whatever she wanted. She loved showing off the baby for the first time to everyone she saw and having all our friends bringing food and presents.

But no, Karis, I must say I am very glad that Abbi is here and I don't have to go through that again!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet Abbi Grace at 3 weeks

Three weeks have passed since my sweet girl made her appearance, and we are just falling more and more in love with her every day! She is slowly adjusting to a more regular 3-hour schedule, which is nice. But she still has a hard time to going back to sleep right away at night -- she will conk out immediately and about 5 minutes later, (when I am utterly sound asleep and dreaming!) she will wake up burping and spitting. I guess I just need to stay awake a little longer and wait, huh? :) But boy is it easy to fall asleep when you are getting up every 2 1/2 hours!

Abbi loves the swaddle and is full of smiles when you unwrap her and let her stretch. It is really one of my favorite things to do because she gets so excited to see my face and she makes all sorts of funny, happy faces while she stretches.

She loves the sling and moby-style wrap as well! Every time I have taken her out in public, everyone is just amazed at how she never fusses. But I know that is just because she loves to be held so much. Tomorrow will be interesting because it will be my first day back running around with Karlie in her soccer class and I plan to put Abbi in my Moby-style wrap. But I think she will enjoy it :)

When Abbi was born, I thought she looked just like my other babies did, especially Karis, because they were both a little chunky. But now most people say she is looking more like Mark. Although, they said that about Karlie and now a lot of people have told me that Karlie looks exactly like my Mom! It is so fun to see how babies change and grow so quickly! (But a little sad, too, because I enjoy this snuggly stage so much and don't want her to get bigger!)

Because of the afore-mentioned spitting up issue, we have left Abbi in our room beside our bed these past 3 weeks. But she has been doing somewhat better than at first, so she is getting ready to transition to her own room later this week. I've already started putting her in there for naps... I just haven't been ready to make the trek across the hall 4 times a night yet :) But I think that I jump to grab her at the slightest sound and we would both sleep better if I wasn't right beside her to hear every grunt. Abbi is the noisiest baby we have had yet :)

Abbi's newborn clothes are really getting too tight for her, so we have had fun getting out the 3 month clothes. Karis still picks out her outfit every single morning!

I'm so thankful for such a happy, sweet, healthy baby!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tiredness and Soccer

Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that we are doing well but I'm just too tired right now to blog much... I want to write about what great big sisters Karis and Karlie have been and how adjusting to 3 has gone and write about Abbi's 3rd week (Can it really be 3 weeks? ). I have lots of posts in my head, but when I sit down to write them, I'm just too tired to focus! (And I can't even tell you how many typos I've already made in this short post! I used to blog during naps or after the girls went to bed, but now I need to nap during nap time (if I can get Abbi to join me :) and after the big girls go to bed, Abbi usually has a "restless" time until bedtime. She's not really fussy, but just needs to be held or she will get fussy! Which I love! But it makes it hard to blog :) So that's why it has been a week since my last post... I've lots more to post when I'm caught up on my sleep! Maybe tomorrow... :) Until then, enjoy these pics of the girls at soccer on medal day! But I'm too tired to write captions, so just make them up yourself... :)

Yes, Karis was the only girl in her class this session :)