Saturday, April 25, 2015

One Year Later

It's been one year since our two beautiful little blessings joined our family.  It's gone by so very fast!  That saying, "The days are long but the years are short," - I can't even describe how true that is.  The first several months were a blur of feedings and rocking and diapers.  I'm so thankful that I take a gazillion pictures and for Facebook (and this blog) where so many sweet memories are recorded for me to look back on when I forget how tiny my girls once were.
36w1d pregnant - the day I went to the hospital to have the girls

Sweet sweet 3 day old princesses

They were SO TINY.  These are preemie clothes, y'all.
And now they have more than quadrupled their weight.  I'm not sure exactly what they weigh right now but at their last sick visit they were both around 21-22 lbs.  They started out at 4.11 and 5 lbs!  Crazy!  They are wearing 12-18 month clothes.  They are precious little girls and we honestly can't imagine our family without them.

Rylan at a year old:
This girl is so beautiful. Honestly, she has the sweetest smile.  I just love how she shows me all her little teethies (she has EIGHT!) every times she smiles up at me.  She has really long hair for a one year old - it is getting to the point where I have to put it up or it hangs down into her eyes.  She's got a teensy bit of curl right on the ends in the back but it's mostly straight.  She says "Dada" all the time and has said "yay" a couple of times when she claps (she LOVES to clap!) and yesterday, I'm not even joking, she said "gentle" several times.  I have a feeling we're in trouble with this little chatterbox!  She has said "Mama" just once and it was precious but I know I'll be hearing it from her all the time soon enough!   She loves to blow raspberries - and for others to blow them on her tummy. She also tries to put things on her head - hats, headbands, tries to brush her hair.  It's so cute.  She has also learned to drink out of a straw, she thinks that's pretty awesome.  Rylan is a giggle-box.  She is always laughing at Sadie and at her big brothers and sister, too.  She crawls everywhere and can stand up and walk some while holding onto things.  I adore this girl, she is such a little love!

Rylan Grace

Sadie at a year old:
My mischievous little Sadie-bug.  Sadie is adorable.  She has the funniest little laugh that makes me smile every time I hear it.  She crinkles up her nose when she smiles and I love love love it.  Sadie has started playing peekaboo just this past week and it's so funny.  I love how she actually covers up her eyes, soooo cute.  Sadie has 6 teeth - she had caught up with Rylan but then Rylan pulled ahead again.  I absolutely 100% adore Sadie's curly hair.  It is awesome!  Sadie says "Mama" all the time and sometimes says "Dada".  She gets very easily excited and is still always "on the move".  She is our most active baby, honestly.  Kyler started walking really early but I still just don't remember him ever being quite as busy as this little miss!  Sadie walks a lot while holding onto furniture and a few times has let go for a brief second before falling or grabbing on again - yesterday I counted 5 seconds that she was standing on her own!  She'll be running around here before we know it!  This girl is so special to me, I am so glad to have her!

Sadie Jane

They are both great sleepers still, napping 3-4 hours total during the day and typically sleeping from 7:30 pm to 7 am.  (If only mommy could discipline herself to get in bed at a decent hour we'd be doing great....)  We do have the occasional night when one or both wakes us last night...when Rylan was awake from 2-5 am and Sadie was awake off and on all night.  They were just so excited about their birthday, haha!  But mommy is exhausted today!  They are also great eaters - they will eat pretty much anything I give them but their favorites are strawberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes.  If there are strawberries on the plate they don't want to eat anything else until ALL the strawberries are gone.  The two of them stick pretty close together, which I love.  I can almost always find them playing together in the same area.  A couple of times recently I'll find that they've both crawled off to play in their room together and if the bathroom door is open they will discover that quickly and try to get in there before mommy notices, giggling all the way down the hallway.  They love taking baths so I think that's why they try to get in there, although I have caught Sadie trying to stick her hand in the toilet a few times!  They laugh and chatter at each other all the time, it is one of my favorite things to watch.  I love seeing them play together!  

As for family life....well....we're tired.  Shocking, right?  It's busy with 5 kids, and it will only get busier once these babies figure out walking (and running, yikes!) but we really wouldn't change it!  I love having these kids, all of them, and I think they all love having each other.  They are all pretty good at playing together and it's such a blessing to watch them together.  I truly feel so thankful to have them.  When people say "better you than me" you can believe I am agreeing with them.  So much better that it's ME and that these kiddos are MINE!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Melissa at 8 years old

8 years ago tonight I was spending time with my two best friends and they painted my toenails for me - cause I was humongous! - in preparation for Melissa coming soon (they figured my pretty toes would make a great focal point during labor!).  Little did we know that she would be in my arms less than 24 hours later!  I was already having contractions that night, more frequently than before, but not much more intense than the braxton hicks I'd already been having so I didn't think much of it.

Amanda, me and Chara

The next day was one of the best of my life, truly.  I woke around 5 am having serious contractions and called my midwife later that morning.  She came over late morning and at 1:09 Melissa was born in my bathtub at home.  So peaceful to get into bed, my very own bed, all calm and quiet with my newborn baby girl and to spend that whole first night snuggling with my baby and my husband, awakened only by her need to eat, no nurses coming in and out flipping on lights and checking vitals.  I adore my kids, I treasure the memories of each of their births but Melissa's will always and forever be my favorite birth experience.

Melissa Dawn
Now my baby girl is turning 8 years old.  She is tall and getting that gangly girl look, no more chubby rolls and waddling running.

- She's in second grade and always gets wonderful reports from her teacher.  She is so proud that she hasn't had a single color change during all of second grade so far!
- She reads SO well.  Brian has been reading the oldest two the Harry Potter series.  Every time he finishes one she checks a copy out from the school library and reads it all over again by herself.  She's probably read the first few at least 3 times already.
- She wants to learn to play the ukulele and can't wait for me to sign her up for basketball - musical athlete, maybe?  :)
- She is an amazing big sister - perhaps a bit bossy, though, too sometimes....
- She is the best of friends with her big brother.  

She is amazing.  I love this girl.  So so proud and blessed that she is my daughter.

My favorite of her 8 year pictures
Melissa's favorite :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Potty training

Friday morning I put Caedon in underwear because I'm just so over buying him diapers.  And he's over 3 and it's just time.  I knew we were taking the van in to get some work done so we'd be stuck at home all weekend anyway so we took the plunge.

Day one:  4 pairs of underwear, including one that got pooped in.  2 packages of fruit snacks (his reward for going pee in the potty).

Day two:  5 pairs of underwear, 4 of them in the first hour or so after waking up.  Kept the same pair on all afternoon!  5 packages of fruit snacks.

Day three, almost naptime:  NO accidents, 5 packages of fruit snacks already (gonna have to find a new reward cause that's too much sugar, lol!)  He's doing so great.  He says he needs to go, he goes in and actually goes.  He even thinks he's big enough to go in there and do it all without mommy's help.  Love this precious boy!

And I'm loving these sweet little toddler legs running around in just underwear.  So cute.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's a happy HALF birthday!

It is completely unbelievable to me that our girls have been with us for 6 months already...but it's true!  They are halfway to one year old!

The girls at 6 months:

They are growing like little weeds!  We don't go to the doctor til Monday so I'm not sure of weights/lengths yet but my little preemies have definitely caught up to full-term babies, they are about average for 6 month olds.  We're still wearing some 3-6 month clothes and moving into some of our 6-9 month stuff as well.

They are working on sitting up, getting closer to being able to do it on their own but right now they still need support.  They love to sit in their Bumbo seats on the table so they can be with the rest of us while we eat dinner.

It seems that they won't be using pacifiers.  It's weird to me to have babies that don't like pacis...all my other kids have been totally attached to them.  But neither Rylan or Sadie seem to like them at all.  They also don't suck on their hands, though.  They chew on their hands during the day but don't suck their thumbs/fingers to fall asleep.  I'm kinda thrilled that the taking-away-of-the-paci will be one less hurdle for me to jump with twins!

They are both such happy girls!  They love each other and the rest of us.  Smiles always come easily whenever they see their brothers or sister and Mommy or Daddy.  And watching them play together and laugh/talk to each other is still my favorite thing.

I love the way they always put their hands on each other.
The love to hold hands and touch.
Love you, sister!
I love these sweet baby girls!
(Love Sadie's cute little foot sticking out of the box in this picture!)

Rylan at 6 months old:

She has the sweetest little voice, I love to hear her laugh and babble.  It's not nearly as cute at 5:30 am when she wakes up wanting to play and wakes me up with her happy screeches (but I do enjoy those happy screeches when it's daylight!).  Thankfully her sister sleeps through it!

Rylan is not at all interested in trying to crawl or anything.  She lays on the blanket and will play briefly with toys within reach but is more of a people watcher.  She grins every time Sadie looks at her and will just stare at her other siblings when they're down on the floor with her.  She also enjoys watching Caedon's TV shows with him.

She has got a very calm personality and I'm loving every minute of watching it develop!

Rylan Grace
 Sadie at 6 months old:

She has got this amazingly huge smile that takes up half her face.  Rylan's smiles come more easily and frequently but when Sadie smiles it just lights everything up!

Sadie wants to GO GO GO.  She has absolutely no interest in just laying in the floor playing calmly.  She is getting up on her knees, rocking and pushing herself forward.  She just in the last day figured out how to roll from her back to her tummy.  Mostly anyway.  She still needs a little help remembering that if she just gets to her side she can finish the roll!

She seems like she's going to be our little spit-fire baby, she's easily excitable and has developed a bit of a temper!  It's funny because she was more calm as a newborn and Rylan was more needy and they have definitely switched that up on us at this point.

Sadie Jane
Our family, 6 months in:

Things are going great for us!  We have all adjusted pretty well to being a family of 7 and we are just loving having these girls with us.  Kyler, Melissa and Caedon are great helpers to us and love to play with and talk to their sisters.  Kyler is probably the most helpful and will often jump in and take care of things for us without us asking him to.  He loves to make the girls laugh and take pictures and videos of them.  Caedon still gets a little jealous sometimes and will bite or hit one of the babies.  It makes me sad but I know it's normal.  I just make sure to include him in everything, as much as possible, and give him special attention on his own as well.

I get easily overwhelmed, some days, by all that needs to be done.  I still don't really like to take all 5 of them out with me by myself but it really is never as bad as I think it will be.  They are good kiddos and I'm so blessed to have them!  I'm also blessed to have a husband who is a great daddy and helps out around the house so often.  I'm just thankful for my sweet family!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Out and about with twins (plus 3 more!)

I've heard many moms with several children (whether they have multiples or not) say that they have a hard time getting out on their own with the kids - or that they are just scared to try.  I totally get that.  It can be particularly stressful when you think about all the "what if"s....dirty diapers, potty accidents, kids running off, tired and/or hungry crying babies.  No fun for mama!  But I decided even while pregnant with the twins that I just could not stay home all the time.  I am pretty independent and Brian works late hours AND Saturdays.  Even still, when I start thinking about going out, I often waver on my decision.  The time involved in getting everyone ready to go and in the car sometimes make me wonder if it's even worth it.  But you know what?  It usually is.  And it usually goes way better than I expect.

Many of our "activities" are just getting out and getting groceries.  This summer I took all five kids to the grocery store by myself.  It's an adventure!  I would have Melissa push the twins in their stroller and Kyler push Caedon in the cart.  We take up alot of room in the aisles but it was fine.  And I was thankful to have the two oldest with me to help!  Since they've gone back to school I've taken just the three littles several times.  When it's the four of us, I put Caedon in the basket and pull it while I push the stroller.  It actually works out really well, but I'm sure I look like a silly train, lol!

We also go out and do other things. Playgroups, lunches with friends, etc.  This morning one of my fellow MoMs posted in our group that there was a free open house at one of the local fire stations.  Lunch, face painting, bounce houses, fire trucks.  I knew the kids would have a blast and if we stayed home we'd end up watching TV all day so....we got ready and headed out, just me and my five little rascals.

I love that Kyler and Melissa are older and at an event like this one I can give them boundaries and they will stay within them and I don't have to watch them every second.  They would tell me when they were headed to a different bounce house so I knew where they were and then would come right back.

Caedon WANTS to be that big.  But he's three.  So no.  He is getting used to the fact that he has to stay with mommy or he will end up on his "yellow rope" (i.e. toddler leash).  He doesn't like it so he stays with me pretty well with only a couple of warnings here and there.  We also have a backpack one, I think I'm going to try it out at the fair when I take them on Monday b/c it doesn't go on his wrist and he might like it better.  I know some people are totally against using these things...but chances are good that they don't have several kids!  My thought has always been that we use leashes for dogs for a reason - to keep them safe and from running off.  How much more do I want to keep my child close by and safe in a crowded/busy area or street/parking lot???  And let's face it.  Toddlers are basically dogs that walk on two legs.

This is a picture of Caedon at the Labor Day Parade last month, wearing his leash.  He kept running out into
the street (before the parade started) so after a couple warnings, he had to wear his "rope"
Another problem I have is that my girls do NOT nap well out of their beds.  And many of our activities are during morning naptime.  They will fall asleep in the van but as soon as I get the carriers out to hook into the stroller, they're awake and won't go back to sleep until we get back in the van.  They're mostly good, though, even when tired.  Rylan got fussy for a bit so I got her out of the stroller and wore her in my Baby K'Tan.  I love that thing.  I really need to practice wearing both of them - I think I can put one in the Ergo on my back and wear the other in the Baby K'Tan, I just haven't tried it yet.  (Bonus:  they take an AWESOME afternoon nap after missing the morning one!)

Rylan in the Baby K'Tan, Sadie in the stroller
One thing I almost always hear when we're out is, "Wow, you've got your hands full!"  Truth.  I do.  But I love it!  This morning it was so nice because a lady volunteering at the event commented several times about my kids or the babies and then when I walked by later holding Rylan in the K'Tan she said, "You've really got this down!  You should give lessons."  I just smiled and she said, "Really, you could have a couple more!"  When I said I thought we were good with five she said, "I'm just so impressed, everyone is so calm."  It was really nice to hear positive words about my big family rather than comments about how many I have and asking if we're done (sometimes telling us we should be if that's a stranger's business...).

Anyway, I guess this post is really just to encourage those who are anxious about getting out with their little ones.  It can be done.  It IS sometimes stressful but you know what?  The good outweighs the bad and you can have so much fun getting out and trying things!  And our days go by much faster when we're not just sitting at home, which is definitely a positive for me.

A few pictures of the big kids from our morning at the fire station:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Caedon's birthday party!

So, I've been meaning to post pictures of Caedon's birthday party for over a week now but I....haven't. LOL!  Here they are now, though, so no worries :)

Caedon's Happy Birthday message on our chalkboard :)

I have been so tired this summer and really didn't put much effort into planning this party.  My thought for a while was just to go to the store, let Caedon pick out his favorite plates/decor and be done with it.  But then I was chatting with Amanda and we started talking about what he likes these days and I settled on a colors party.  He's really into these little Baby First TV shows on Netflix and there are quite a few that are all about colors and he LOVES them.  And I knew it would be SO FUN to decorate with all the colors so I said let's do it!
I knew right away that I wanted to make one of these.  I'd seen them on pinterest and thought they were fun!  I hot-glued crayons to the canvas in the order I wanted and then I just used my heat gun  (embossing gun, but you can also use a hair dryer) to melt the wax down the canvas.  It's so cute and I love it!
I also bought a set of 8 Chinese lanterns on Amazon and we (ahem...Brian) hung them around the living room/kitchen area to decorate.  They may or may not still be hanging up.....with no plans to take them down....

Not the best lighting but it shows our decorations - lots of colorful streamers, balloons, the lanterns, etc.
Close up of the birthday banner.   I re-used the number 3 I cut out for his birthday pictures.  The swirly things on either end of the streamers are also from Amazon.  The are cute and fun, too :)
The table.  More streamers and more swirly plastic decorations!

The cake!  Made by Amanda, of course, my very favorite cake decorator!

He gets so excited when we sing Happy Birthday, I looooove it!
(Also, notice the fun fruit tray - lots of colors!)

He was so excited he had to turn and hug me.  The sweetest thing EVER!
Time to blow out candles!
Coolest cake!  It's adorable!
This cute little table was given to us by a neighbor down the street, it was the perfect place for coloring...and eating!

Mommy, Amanda and the birthday boy!

Love this boy!

Caedon loves Mommy and Daddy

Presents!  This guitar was his favorite gift, I think. Definitely the one he's played with most!

New Tonka truck 
Reading his Lightning McQueen card

Caedon and Waylon
Sweetest kids ever!

My not-so-little family :)
Of course I have to include a picture of the three babies hanging out together!
Mr. Benjamin is one month older than the twins

Friday, August 29, 2014

Caedon at THREE years old!

Today is Caedon's birthday!  I can't believe he's three already!  Three years ago today I was at the hospital, watching my baby's heart rate drop every time I had a contraction.  It was scary and I'm so thankful that he was born safe and sound, even though I so did not want the c-section I ended up with!  That sweet baby was the happiest little guy I've ever known and has grown up to be such a sweet, handsome, smart little toddler!

Caedon is such a little chatterbox.  He's always asking questions, telling us silly jokes and talking about whatever he can think up.  His favorite things to eat are...well, pretty much everything.   He loves pizza and hamburgers the most, though.  And ice cream.  Cake.  Strawberries.  Watermelon.  Yeah, he likes to eat for sure!  He likes playing with puzzles, "reading" his books, playing with the twins' blocks and watching Dora.  Lots and lots of Dora the Explorer.

He is funny, adventurous, rambunctious, sweet and helpful.  He loves to play outside, sliding and jumping on the trampoline.  He DOES NOT like swings.  He loves his baby sisters and is always kissing their hands.  He adores his older siblings and gets so upset when they leave him out of things.

He weighs about 35 lbs and about 3'2".  He's growing up much too fast for this mama's liking!