Saturday, September 28, 2013

Checking In @ 6 & 3

 It is hard for me to swallow the rather large pills that a. I have 3 kids and b. Two of them are 6 (gasp!) and 3 (double gasp!!). That just seems impossible!  I feel like yesterday I was pregnant with Ivy and having the jitters of being a first time mom and then with fast forward on the highest speed I am here with my current situation.... first grade, preschool, and a newborn.  Life moves crazy quick. This week Ivy and Tula had their annual check ups and again I left thanking God for the blessings of healthy children.  I know health is something never to take for granted and I wake up everyday thankful for that.  So here we are checking in at 6 and 3!
 Ivy Camille
Height: 45 inches (38%)
Weight: 39.4 lbs (15%)

Ivy's stats have remained in the same percentile since birth.  She has always been close to average height and on the skinny side.  I always look at her and see long legs something that I don't think I have ever had!  I predict Ivy to be quite a bit taller than me and that maybe she will even see eye to eye with her Daddy as she gets older.  I pray that she will always be confident in the way her body is built as I know body image is something that lots of young girls struggle with.  I try to address the differences of people's bodies now as she notices people that are taller and shorter than her.  We talk about being healthy and how God made us all so different and we need to be comfortable with how he designed each and everyone of us.  

Ivy is loving 1st grade!  I have been so excited to see how the soaking it all in like a sponge has continued to occur with reading.  She loves reading and is really starting to see herself as a reader always proud to declare- "Hey, that says _____!"  It makes my teacher heart so happy! She is also excited about spelling tests.  She tends to be a little schedule oriented and strict with herself about studying her words- which I have to appreciate because I know there will be a day (perhaps with another one of my less scheduled children- wink!) that I have to really "enforce" school habits. I am enjoying having a 6 year old- who on most days is a big help at home!

 Tula Belle
Height: 35 1/4 inches (10%)
Weight: 24.4 lbs (1%)

Well, our little munchkin really did grow.... 3 1/2 inches and 3 lbs in a year but that just wasn't enough to put her on an average-ish growth curve.  Tula is still extremely petite but not a concern to the doctors.  She has always been at the 10% or below in height and weight so this is a healthy area for her to stay in.  I believe Tula has a lot of my mom's family's genetics and they are all VERY small people..... who talk a lot! :) We are trying to make sure Tula hears conversations about how God makes us all different shapes and sizes and it is okay to be smaller than your friends or taller than your friends but this little fire cracker feels BIG and doesn't notice that she is the peanut of her peers.  She has quite the personality to match her "fun-size" God-given packaging!

Tula is continuing to be in the 3 year old room at Wilmore Daycare 3 days a week while I am on maternity leave.  She loves her friends and is always excited to go to school.  She also loves her teacher even on days when Ms. Kim "is bossy" to Tula.  Tula's "leadership" skills are being spotted early on when she is often recognized on her daily check sheet as being friendly, talkative, helpful, and wait for it.... bossy! Shocker! She is really busy and hasn't cared to take time to learn her ABC's (she can make it to Q) but does like to count and can make it to 20, if she isn't distracted by something else.   But right now she wants to learn to spell after hearing Ivy practice her words.  She can spell Tula and Ivy and is always asking for help spelling other words.  Tula likes to walk the line in saying inappropriate things (potty words) and is way too brave (jumping from things, sticking her hand in "snake holes") so we were not surprised at her latest spelling request, "Teach me how to spell a bad word!" Ummmm.... no! We are already praying for how to mold our spunky little Tula as she grows up.

After our doctor visit I just kept thanking God for the gift of my children.  It may be the hormones but I have gotten teary just thinking about this gift and talking about the pressure of it with Greg.  It is huge to be a parent! I feel so blessed to call them mine and that He trusts us to raise them.  I pray that we are able to do this and do it well.  I know I will make mistakes and I will apologize, accept His grace and the grace of my children, and I will move on and try again.  This morning I am feeling blessed to be the mom to a big 6 year old and 3 year old.... and a little sleeping baby!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

coming into big sisterhood

 Tula is coming into her own big sisterhood and it is so sweet and so exhausting at the same time.  Mondays and Fridays Tula stays home from pre-school and enjoys time with Joss and I.  It started out as the most "wear you out" days of my week when on my first solo day I texted Greg by 8:30am to say.... "Tula as big sister- this is for the birds- sheesh!" but now she is coming into her own in this role and Greg gets precious pictures sent to him at work of Tula loving on her baby sister. I am so thankful that the sweet moments are now outweighing the terrible ones and that God is allowing me to see a bright future with these 3 little ladies.

At first big sister was a foreign concept for the baby sister.  That is what Tula knew.... life as baby sister.  Then on August 13th her world was rocked with a new baby in town and an identity crisis that followed for Tula. She was lost somewhere between not as big as Ivy and not as little as Joss.  Ivy was now cuddling a new baby sister, Mommy and Daddy were asking Tula to help us, but inside Tula still felt like the baby that longed to be carried, cuddled, and needed everyone to help her. I have to say lots of temper tantrums occurred in our first week at home as a family of 5.

But prayers were answered and I had so much patience with Tula because I expected this behavior.  I knew it was coming before Joss was even born and I knew I would have to teach her how to be the big sister but still give her time to be the baby sister with Daddy and Mommy. I am thankful for that insight and thankful that I was able to work through it without pulling my hair out.  After a little more than a month we have found our sweet spot.

Life is not perfect but we have a rhythm.  Tula loves to help.  She wants to sing to Joss.  She wants to give her the her paci and blankie.  She wants to hold her hand.  She wants to kiss her.  We let Tula do anything that she can to be our helper.  This is how she has found herself as a big sister.  In her big sister role, she is also playing with Ivy and doing big sister things.  They swing on the swing set in the big swings together.  They build forts and play in their imaginary baby or princess world for much longer than ever before.  Tula is acting older and Ivy is seeing her as a playmate.  On the other side, she also needs time to sit on my lap and be rocked.  She likes to be read to and from time to time you will find her sitting in the bouncy seat, sucking her thumb, and twirling her blankie.  For those little moments, I let her be the baby that I know she still is at times. 

Tula is excited that Joss and her will be playmates, best friends, and sisters in the same way Ivy and her are.  She can't wait for Joss to come to Wilmore Daycare with her so she won't be "lonely" and she is already trying to figure out how old Joss will be when she is 5, 6, and 10.  

I am feeling blessed and thankful to have 3 little girls.  I know people shake their heads and think of the drama that will unfold in our home but I have to focus on the good and special bond of sisterhood that is at Ivy, Tula, and Joss' fingertips- shopping trips, sharing clothes, and standing by one another on their wedding days.  Daddy and Mommy have a job to do to foster a love between these little girls and I pray that with God's guidance we will be able to do just that!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Joss @ 1 month

Joss Maven
1 month on 9/13/13

The first month is a bit of a whirlwind for the baby and the family.  The baby is adjusting to being outside in this crazy world and the family is learning what is like to have a new little person around. The first month is full of ups and downs and is always quite the roller coaster- that has been true in my 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd time mom experience.  So here is a quick recap on our first month with this sweet little bundle! 

The Ups....
* Sleep!  Joss loves night time sleep and sleeps a minimum 5 hour stretch, maximum 7 hour stretch at night.  The past week it has been at least 6 and half hours each night.  Typically she eats at 10:30pm and then not again until 5am or after.  I am feeling awesome- like I can do anything with better sleep than I have had in all of my pregnancy!

* The meals- oh my!  We are still getting served by the most loving and kind church and work families.  We have been receiving meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and it has been wonderful to have that extra time as a family when Greg gets home from work.

*Healing.  I am healing without any complications from my 3rd c-section.  I am ready to go to Jazzercise but I have a couple more weeks until I am allowed to go back.

* Big sister, Little Sister, Baby Sister- Everyone is finding their role! The big sisters are a huge help.  Tula is a better help when Ivy isn't there to to overtake.  Ivy is a better help when she is only helping Joss or Tula not both.  Joss loves both her big sisters and doesn't seem to mind the constant in her face, singing, shaking toys, and ohhhh-ing over her! 

* Cloth diapers- Joss is wearing the cute big booty diapers!  I love it!

* Nursing- Nursing is going really well (Joss is the first baby that has latched right on without ever needing a nipple shield- Go Joss!) but it has not been without challenges. 

The Downs....
* Weight Gain- Joss did not get up to her birth weight until 3 and a half weeks.  During this time I visited the lactation consultant and found that something was going on- either lack of milk or an inefficient baby.  So for 1 week I pumped after EVERY feeding then I gave the extra milk to Joss.  She gained 5oz in 5 days but it made for a very tired mommy!
* Mastitis- I "weaned" from pumping so much a little too fast and Joss slept two nights in a row for 7 hours and BAM I was hit with mastitis.  It was terrible!  I am feeling better, on antibiotics, and having to set an alarm to pump during the night.  

* Baby acne or some crazy rash! Joss has had terrible baby acne or a reaction to baby soap.  Still not sure which but it is awful.  I am hoping it will pass soon but for now it is still pretty rough.

* The Stretch- I feel very stretched being mom to 3 little ones, wife to 1 wonderful husband, and still having all my 2nd grade SMARTIES on my mind.  I am learning to find a balance to be all these things but I am sure feeling a little more stretched is just the new normal.  

Joss Maven has been here for 1 month.  She is such a blessing to us and really feels like she completes our family.  I am thankful for another little girl to love and the special bond that Ivy, Tula, and Joss will have as they grow up together.  Looking forward to the next month's roller coaster of loving this little one!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tula's All Day Celebration

Since Tula's birthday fell on the weekend we were able to celebrate her birthday ALL day and have everyone involved! We partied from 7:30am to about 9:00pm- needless to say, Tula was partied out! We knew she felt like her birthday lasted forever when she kept asking, "Is it still my birthday????" 

In the morning....
One of my favorite birthday traditions is getting to pick your favorite breakfast and starting the day with singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the first candles of the day!  Tula loved singing to herself and was all smiles every time we sang.  She got to eat breakfast on the special birthday plate and she gets to continue to use it all of September!

Tula got to open presents from Mommy, Daddy, Ivy, and Joss in the morning!  This took her forever!  I appreciated Tula's sweet demeanor with her presents.  She would open one play for 15 minutes before opening another. (Total opposite of her big sister who opens as fast as she can!) She asked for all things baby doll!  She wanted her own, new stroller, a soft baby doll, and a diaper bag with a changing pad.  She changed every baby doll in our house's diapers no less than 10 times on Sunday!

Tula's new goodies!

In the evening...
Tula requested to go eat at the "green" Mexican place.  This girl LOVES mexican food so we went to Fiesta and she ate her usual cheese quesadilla, rice, and bean and we had the company of Nana, Pops, and Pawpaw joining us.  Then we came home to open presents.  She was showered with lots of goodies from her grandparents!
She was excited about these little Calico Critter baby elephants and bunk beds! 
Nana and Pops got her all things Rapunzel!  And new dress to call her own (she has been wearing Ivy's), new Rapunzel shoes, and a Rapunzel crown!  Can you guess was Tula Belle wants to be for Halloween?
  Pawpaw treated Tula with a castle Lego set, Chutes and Ladders, stuffed animals, and a bike helmet and bell!

Tula waited ALL DAY long for her birthday cake!!! She asked about her Rapunzel cake (the only thing she really asked for for her birthday) from the time she woke up!  She loved the hair, the flowers, the purple, and the fancy lanterns.  The cake did not disappoint as it was delicious and beautiful!
We missed our Unc and Esie but we got to face time with them after playing the Egg Race game that they sent to Tula. (Tula can't wait to play it with them!)  It was the best!  Tula held her egg in one hand and spoon in the other :) and ran with all her might.  She cried when someone else's egg broke for fear that they broke her game! We tried to explain and show her but the breaking of the eggs was still a little traumatic!

Tula had a great day and we had a great day celebrating our little, bitty 3 year old!  I know she felt so special and enjoyed her day from sun up to sun down!  Next year, both girls are looking forward to a friend party and I already have plans a brewing!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

a 3rd birthday letter to Tula

Dear Tula Belle,
How is it that you are 3 years old already?  My little bitty Tula is the big 3!  Now not much about you is big at all really.... well, besides your feisty, wild woman personality!  You are small in stature (and probably always will be that way) but where you lack in height you make up for with your quick wit, adventurous spirit, and big moods. 

When you turned 2 I would have called you calm, laid back, quiet, and go with the flow.  Well, this year you showed me that isn't who you are at all!  You are loud... always.  You talk loud in regular conversations, even if I whisper to you.  When I tell you to talk quiet in the early mornings, you always look back up at me with your big eyes and say in a shout, "Why, mommy?" So much for that! You giggle loud, you play loud, and you love loud.   How can you love loud?  Well, it's something that I adore about you.  You give the tightest hugs around our necks without even being asked.  You offer kisses to anyone in the family, even great Pawpaw, and oh how he smiles when you give him kisses.  You always are quick to make friends wherever we go and you invite them to your house or invite yourself to theirs.  And you never forget the friends you meet! People never doubt your loving spirit.... well unless you are mad!

You love loud and you don't love loud, just the same!  The laid back, go with the flow Tula stopped around the age of 2 and half.  As quick as you are offering compliments and affection, you get mad easily too.  You like to say "bad words"- like "shut your mouth up"- when you don't like what someone is saying. You make grouchy faces at people and explain to them that you want them to "Go away!"  You usually can add exactly why you want them to go away and it is usually because they have told you no.  You tell us that we make you sad when we discipline you and you cross your arms, wrinkle your brow, and stomp around.  As angry as you get we are always surprised at how quick you accept an apology or give one out when you have made a mistake.  We are always ready for the lovey Tula to return!

At 3, you are still the same cuddly baby that you have always been.  I hope even through your third year you let us hold you.  I hope you will always crawl into my lap and enjoy being rocked.  I hope that you'll stay small enough to sit with me in the same chair to read a story, watch a movie, or just sit.  Right now, you are enjoying cuddling your baby sister, Joss.  Holding her is your favorite thing and you do a pretty good job!  You also are letting Ivy cuddle you more than usual.  I think you have found the sweet spot of being both the big sister and the little sister and you fit there perfectly! 

Over the last few months, play time has really changed! It has been exciting to watch you learn to mommy your babies.  Your eyes lit up to see your new stroller, diaper bag with a changing pad (just like Caroline's mommy!!), and new baby doll this morning.  You love to change diapers- it gives you an excuse to talk about poop! (One of your favorite "bad words" to say!) You also have a deep love for Rapunzel.  You have watched that movie at least 50 times- the only movie you will sit through- and you can quote a good bit of it! It has been fun to start to be able to play games with you.  You love to win though so if you aren't winning you are done and packing the game back up. 

I know that 3 is going to be a great year for you!  I can't wait to see more of your personality shine.  I am proud of the confident little one you have become and I am excited to see that manifest even more over this year.  I love the way you love and I love the way you know what you want- even if as your mommy, it drives me a little crazy at times! I hope that this year you learn even more about Jesus and how much He loves you.  He has such a plan for your life and I can't wait to watch it unfold.  I am blessed to be your mama... what a gift!

Happy 3rd birthday, Tula Belle! 
I love you,