Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Sweet Moment

Genna is working on hard on reading her 100 books aloud to get a date with Daddy before he gets back from his conference. She has 22 books to go, but she has been knocking out 2 or 3 a day this week. She might just make it. Isaac certainly benefits from this race.

I. love. it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

11 Weeks

Drew is 11 weeks now and his newest nickname is Chief Chubby Legs. He is getting quite heavy. He is enjoying tummy time much more in the last week. I still do it for only 5-10 minutes at a time, but I decide when it ends now (usually when he lays his head down out of exhaustion) instead of him whining or crying for it to end. He likes tummy time best in front of his gym (shown here) and when Isaac and I let him read books with us on the floor.

Drew finally has a favorite song! "Winnie the Pooh" He smiles and even laughs when we sing the "Pooh" part in particular with a puff of air. However, just the beginning of the song "Deep in the hundred acre wood..." gets him smiling most of the time.

His schedule has not changed, somewhat unfortunately. He is still nursing 8 times a day which is a little too much. I think I may have figured out the problem, but I have come up with no easy solution yet. I think he doesn't need the 8pm nursing and it is causing him to not take a full feeding at his 10pm dreamfeed (which isn't much of a dreamfeed since he does wake up on his own for it) which then leads to waking up in the middle of the night. I really think if we dropped the 8pm feeding by force, he would follow with sleeping through the night after a short time. The bigger problem is that I am almost certain that he would cry nearly nonstop from 8pm until 10pm if I forced him to drop that 8pm nursing, at least at first. He still has a lot of trouble during that time. It was getting better before Thanksgiving, and we haven't had a good evening since that blip in his schedule. I am going to stick with things the way they are for one more week and give him the chance to do better in the evenings, but then I am going to start moving that 8pm nursing back until it can be close enough to the 10pm that I can combine the two into one. Seven nursings for a 12 week old is more than enough, especially a 12 week old as chunky as this one.

His 4 naps a day are still going great. He goes down and soothes himself to sleep with little (<5 minutes) or no crying about 98% for naps and after the 10pm and middle of the night feeds too.

I am also a little concerned that I am letting him fall back asleep when I nurse him sometimes. So my goal for this week is to pay more attention and keep him awake. This will also help him to get full feedings and hopefully drop a feed on his own .

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deceiving Picture

This may look like Isaac is trying to strangle his baby brother, but he is actually hugging him. :) I have been trying to teach him to hug him around the tummy instead of the neck, but it is a slow process. He just can't help himself.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday, Hannah!

Hannah turned 7 today. She is my oldest child, my guinea pig. She looks nearly identical to all my childhood pictures, but she has her daddy's mouth. She has two missing front teeth, two adult teeth on the bottom already in, and two more loose teeth. Nancy Drew books are her new favorite. She is reading more fluidly aloud and tearing through chapter books on her own. She enjoys doing Math lessons, but doesn't like handwriting at all. She is a collector. She loves to draw and craft. She wants to learn to use the sewing machine this year. She loves to eat seafood. She's a daddy's girl. She is the one the other kids look up to and adore, following her around like puppies. She currently wants to own her own ice cream shop when she grows up. She would rather dress for comfort than style. She's a little on the bossy side. :) She is an excellent helper and loves organizing. She likes to keep busy and will offer to clean or help out if she gets bored. Her favorite color has been red her whole life. She's a problem solver. She's more of a thinker than a feeler. She has a strong conscience and a love for rules. We love her like crazy. Happy birthday, Hannah!

First thing this morning, Genna helped make her breakfast in bed. Genna helped me make pumpkin waffles. That was only part of Genna's gift to her sister. She also made her a butterfly out of a rock.

She opened a few presents in the morning.

Her birthday was a busy day. We cut down our Christmas tree for various scheduling reasons a bit early this year. The girls were not huge fans of the particular tree we picked, but they had no actual reasons for their preference. (Drew, not in the picture, was asleep.)

We also hung out with our guest, Hannah and Isaac's godfather.

Baby smiles abounded.

She opened a couple more presents that came in the mail.

Then we met some family at a restaurant of Hannah's choice. Following the dinner, we gathered at our house for cake and more gift opening. I made her the promised Pooh Bear cake. I used the idea here to draw a Pooh face on her cake.

The kids were wired after all the sugar. All in all, it was a good day to celebrate our Hannah!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to you...

from our one little, two little, three little Indians!

The kids made their own costumes. Hannah's even had a pictorial story on hers, something about an Indian at war in the forest.

I think Isaac is excited someone trusted him with fabric markers. :)

I can not take credit for this craft. It was all thanks to my amazing Aunt Cindy. Speaking of, here she is holding Drew.

I also owe my cousin, Erica, thanks for helping out with the crafts and the kids as well!

We fried a turkey after putting it in brine it overnight. We had all the traditional stuff, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, a spiral ham, potato salad, rolls, gravy, and four pies to choose from.

Thankful Indians at the kids' table before dinner...

Don't forget our Aggie boys ready for the game!

Before dinner, my uncle had everyone read a scripture or poem around the fire pit. It was a perfectly beautiful crisp day. The girls did a great job reading the poems they were given, and Isaac said his poem he had memorized that didn't relate to Thanksgiving so that he could be included. Drew slept through the family bonding like a champ, all cozy and safely inside. (This immobile phase is awesome for napping anywhere without having to drag a pack-n-play everywhere we go.)

The company was excellent, the food was delicious, and the day was perfect. Thank you, God, for all our many blessings.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dough bonding with my daughters

My mom used to let me help make the pie crust before Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, so I just have to pass on the tradition. The girls and I all made our own pie crusts. We only needed one, but there's not enough for two eager girls to do when only making one AND it never hurts to have pie crusts in the freezer for a quiche or some empanadas for dinner. We froze two of the dough balls for later use. It was agreed upon that Hannah's dough would be used for my Bourbon Pecan Pie. We did this on Wednesday afternoon while Drew watched us in his reclining highchair and Isaac napped which made it a peaceful enjoyable project for us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Crafts

This week we are catching up on History and Science and doing crafts. Our first craft was this simple sticker turkey.

I told them to do whatever background they wanted. Hannah did a turkey in a sunset.

Genna's turkey is sitting on her nest full of eggs.

Isaac got a little backwards with his name and put his shoes on the wrong feet.

The other craft was done in their girl's club. It is a Thankful Wreath. We finished it up at home and they wrote what they were thankful for on each hand.

Here are the kids playing around. Hannah is a mummy. We have been studying Ancient Egypt way too long if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drew's 2 Month Appointment

Today Drew is 10 weeks old, and yesterday he had his 2 month well check up. All is well with Drew! He is neck and neck with the 2 month old Isaac as far as his growth goes. This is great news for hand-me-down clothes since they were born in the same season.

weight= 15.2 lbs
height= 24.5 inches
head circumference= 16 inches

As far as his 10 week old update, there isn't too much new to speak of. He's loving his siblings even more this week, gracing them with his handsome smiles and a giggle for Genevieve. This warms my heart that his first giggle for one of his siblings was for her. She had the hardest time getting even smiles from Isaac as an infant. I have been praying for Drew and Genna to have a special bond like Hannah and Isaac do.

Drew did have a growth spurt last Thursday/Friday and was up more at night and very cranky due to the shortened naps. He is and always has been a cranky baby without his sleep. When he is well rested and on his schedule, he is an angel! The nurse asked me today if he is always like this, meaning happy and easy going. He was just hanging out while she took his vitals and weighed and measured him. He smiled at her and the doctor. The only time he got upset was when the mean "shot lady" gave him his vaccinations. He cried for a few minutes on and off and then fell asleep out of exhaustion from being kept awake past his hour and fifteen minutes of waketime. He slept for two full hours then to make up for lost time.

I am so thankful for Drew, his health, his temperament, and his apparent love for schedules. He is such a blessing to this family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Birthday party for my big girl!

Hannah's party this year was an American Girl craft party. Michaels, the craft store, hosted it (very cheaply, I might add) and so it was super easy for me. There were 8 girls there altogether and just a couple moms stayed to help. Due to limited space, siblings didn't come. This included Isaac and Drew. No boys allowed! :) We saved a cupcake for Isaac to help soften the blow of not getting invited to his sister's party. He was fine with it since he got to do "guy stuff" with Dad and Drew.

The craft was the main event. It was to make tiaras for your doll. I asked all the girls to bring their favorite doll to the party. The party planner led the craft, and the moms assisted when needed. It was definitely the calmest party we've ever had with all the little girls working on their tiaras.

Then it was snack time. The girls munched on cheese and crackers, Dorritos, and fruit. We also had apple cider and lemonade to drink.

I think I mentioned before that I talked Hannah out of a big cake for her party so that we could do cupcakes and decorate them as part of the party. I promised her a mini cake on her actual birthday next Saturday. I should have taken a picture of the cupcake display before I handed them out to be sprinkled and such. I forgot to photograph the food table completely.

We sung her Happy Birthday!

Then they ate the yummy cupcakes. One little girl was so proud of her cupcake piled high with every kind and color of sprinkles, but then decided she didn't actually like the taste of the sprinkles. I told her to just wipe them all off so she could still enjoy the cake.

Time for the gifts! Hannah opened our gift to her first. The shape of the box made her just certain she knew what it was.

And she was right, it was Josephina, her favorite American Girl doll! Genna can't wait until she turns 7 and gets her own American Girl doll. She already has her eye on Marie-Grace.

In the middle of the gift opening the whole group needed to use the potty, and so we had an eventful trip to the bathroom. Two stalls and eight girls meant lots of giggling while they waited their turn.

She opened the presents from her friends and was super thankful to everyone for each special gift. She stopped to hug the giver after each gift. I usually give a mini lecture on how to be grateful and so your appreciation, but I forgot to do that this year. I was pleasantly surprised by how naturally it came to her this year. My baby girl is growing up!

Of course, we had to get a picture of all the girls with their dolls and tiaras!

And the girls insisted on a silly photo too!

We sent the girls home with favor bags full of candy, pencils, trinkets, and homemade lollipops. It was wonderful, and Hannah thanked me a bunch as well. A huge blessing was that Drew made it through the whole party without Daddy having to bring him to me to nurse.

Genna's birthday party is the next on the radar, but it isn't for five more months. However, that doesn't stop us from brainstorming ideas. The one we both like at the moment is a rainbow themed party, but I told her she isn't allowed to turn 6. Absolutely not!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Busy Week

Sadly, we did not get as many full school days in as I wanted to this week. Thursday we had dentist appointments for all three big kids. My favorite thing about our dentist here is that the office is super small and we are usually the only ones there. So I can make a palate for Drew in the waiting room and pop my head around the corner every now and then to check on the current patient. The receptionist called ahead to confirm the appointment and called our appointment the "Smith Family Event." I thought that was funny. They were all excellent patients as usual. We used this as an opportunity to do a Health lesson on teeth and dentists. The girls read teeth books all week and then at the appointment I had them do word searches and scrambles I found on a dental website. They all enjoyed themselves much more than I ever do at the dentist.

Hannah had a field trip with American Heritage Girls to the Fire Station his week. She has also been looking forward to her birthday party tomorrow. We took a day off today to get ready for the party. Although, I have to admit, I am really not doing much for this party. I almost feel guilty since I usually put much more effort into the kids parties. Hannah's 7th birthday party is at Michaels, the craft store, and I talked her into cupcakes instead of a cake this year. I am suddenly having trouble downloading my pictures so I will be back with details on the party when I get it fixed.

Genna did much better with school this week. Her complaining has stopped for now. She is a fast learner when you dole out clear consequences. She finished her kindergarten math book this week. She has read almost 70 books aloud to me or another adult. She is getting close to her 100 books and will get to go on a date with Daddy.

Isaac got another tick this week. The head is still lodged in his back. Yuck! It had to have come from our backyard since that is the only place he has been outside this week. In between showering me with cuddles and telling me I am beautiful, he has been a bit of a stinker lately. Really it's been since he turned three. He's had several meltdowns this week. I think he is having trouble calming himself and handling disappointment. I am trying some different ways to help him learn to calm down. I also need to start identifying the warning signals to get him under control before the total meltdown begins. That helped a lot with Genna when she was three and had a lot of trouble getting calmed down after she got worked up into a fit. On the bright side, Isaac is taking naps again!

Drew gets lots of attention on the blog, so you mostly know what is going on with him. Today, though, he had a REALLY hard day. His hardest day to date. It could be a growth spurt, but I am not sure yet. He barely slept for his naps for the first time ever, and this caused him to be overly tired and very fussy. I am just hoping it doesn't last too long because I miss my happy somewhat predictable baby.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My favorite season is autumn.

The colors of fall are so warm and inviting. I love taking leaf pictures with the kids in their hoodies.

I was surprised Drew put up with this, but he just hung out for me.

The big kids were actually the ones who didn't want to take these pictures because they were in the middle of a Frisbee game. Mean Mommy made them stop while the baby was happy.

Here's a shot of our maple tree in the front yard in it's orange-red glory. I love this tree. It's the last one to lose it's leaves.