OK, I'll be honest.......bringing a new baby home, who is a preemie at that, having some slight (but not horrible) post-surgical complications, and having the kids all get out of school for summer vacation all in the same week has been somewhat of a challenge, even for me. The baby is doing great, the kids have all been doing well and are having a great time, my recovery is finally going in the right direction, but by golly, we still are having to all learn how to get along with new dynamics......not to mention Mommy is finally back at home and we have to adjust the Daddy vs. Mommy in charge rules a bit. A little confusing to the kids, as well as to myself at times. I am NOT 100% yet, and anything less is a very hard place for me to settle for.
Grandma & Lyle visit every Sunday after taking the boys to church
BUT, it IS all good. Really. We are managing quite well. We made it through that first week of "summer" vacation as it rained and was only 50 degrees most days, keeping us captive inside our home. ALL TOGETHER in the same little room most of the time, ALL DAY, EVERYDAY.
What that HAS allowed is some really great time for the kids to get acquainted with their new baby sister. Believe me, she has no lack of attention around here. The kids have also spent enough time playing video games, that they now could really care less if they ever play again....they have had their fill. AND, the kids have enjoyed the variety of toys that have cycled up and down from the basement, aiding in creative play and entertainment for hours.
Bethany still sleeps A LOT. Even at night. This is good for me....one would think. However, she is so NOISY.....those cute little baby noises just do not stop with her. I think Laura and even Michael were the same way. So cute, but so constant are the noises she makes. And at night, it makes me nervous, always watching her wondering, "Is she puking? Is she having a hard time breathing? Does she need to burp? WHAT'S WRONG???" So, by about 3am, I just can't stay awake anymore, and I pass out from my vigilant post at her bedside (which is right next to my head as she is sleeping in a Snuggle Nest in between the pillows of our bed). At 5:30am, I awake with her resting on my arm, with no recollection of how she gets there. We've done this every night for the past two weeks. I think it is safe to say I may be slightly sleep deprived.
She continues to grow and eat like crazy during the day. Though she still looks tiny, she now is beginning to look more like a newborn, and to have a less fetal-not-quite-done-baking-yet look. Her hair remains so soft, as is her sweet skin on her skinny little arms and legs. These last two days have been the first times she has been in summer clothing....now that it is beginning to actually feel like summer.....so it has been the first time her naked limbs have been exposed. So cute!!!! Her butt is still so tiny, but it is beginning to react to disposable diapers, just as Tubby's had, so I have tried to move her to my favorite Seventh Generations....but even the newborn size is too large and wide for real comfort. I finally tried her soft, cloth Little g diapers today....so adorable, though large also.
Meant for a baby at 8 pounds, her little 6.5 pound body is slightly swimming in them. I am still hopeful that I can make these work for now.....otherwise, I just might be looking at cloth diapers, period!
Alex spent his first week of summer vacation at Marching Band Camp. Always a fun time for those kids. He had a nice surprise for us to remember this year's camp by:
Yeah, we knew that the kids were planning on cutting his hair at camp. We HAD been forewarned. We had NOT been prepared for HOW MUCH. Last night, he won the family's "Softest Hair" contest. He even beat his newborn sister!
After my routine blood draw at the lab in the cities on Thursday(checking my troublesome factor X which determines the amount of coumadin I need to take to avoid another PE), my mom and I stopped with the little ones at a park in Chaska for some lunch and playtime. The weather was so very lovely and perfect...just above 70 degrees...I wish it would stay this way all summer long. We must have spent an hour and a half just chilling at the park and enjoying the glorious day while Laura and Tubby happily played on a new-to-them play structure. We were treated to the band's first performance in the park on Thursday evening, which was also our first time out with all the kids as a family. Thank heavens that my mom was already there to help me, and Daddy met us at the park, as well as Grandma ?. It was kind of a more-than-one-person job. I packed a dinner for the kids which they ate while waiting for the performance to start, and finished later as they played at the adjoining playground after the band went by, and finally downed some drinks as they came with me to watch Jonny's baseball game. Jonny is really getting into it this year. He is swinging evenly, catching and throwing well, and genuinely enjoying the game. He has fit in well, though starting rather late as a newbie two years ago, at the elder age of 9. The kids were good sports through it all, and entertained themselves well between bouts of cheering for their older brothers that night......the entertainment usually involved dirt or sand of some sort....
On Friday evening, Bob and I actually went out to a restaurant with our friends to celebrate a birthday. We took the baby, had some good food, and laughed so hard I thought my belly would burst (really....I was holding it together with my hands...). Later in the evening, I met countless new friends in the restaurant bathroom as I was nursing my teeny four week old girl. I also enjoyed a variety of conversations about breastfeeding with sober and less than sober women who passed through. It was so great to be out of the house, and to see people again, both Thursday and Friday. We dare say we almost felt like NORMAL human beings. I know, that is hard to fathom.
But the real shocker came on Saturday as we ALL went to Alex's parade 90 minutes away in Owatonna. Being our first real summer day, it took preparation to pack the things required for an entire afternoon away, for the baby-especially the sling and pacifier-otherwise might as well call the whole project off, chairs for ourselves, hats(which got left in the truck), water (which also was left in the truck, big bummer), sunscreen, blankets to sit on, the camera, phones that were fully charged in case we had to separate(marching band viewing is a serious business), and bags to catch parade candy(um, left in the truck). But, we did it! And you know what? WE ALL, and I heavily stress the word ALL, had fun!!!! The kids had a blast, Tubby was in heaven watching the multiple firetrucks go by, the power of a little bit of candy is not to be dismissed, and we got a perfect viewing spot for the marching band show. With the temp a perfect 75 degrees, accompanied by a pleasant breeze, we could not have asked for a better day. Bob and I were shocked by how quickly time had passed......we were there for nearly 3 hours, but it hardly seemed like one. What a great day.
Today, I almost made it to church. I was nearly ready, but my baby was much too hungry to wait at the time required to leave. At least now it is more of a timing issue and needing to schedule a bit more to my getting ready routine, instead of a I'm-not-feeling-physically-able-to-make-it kind of issue. In fact, I have been doing much better with using the hot pads and walking regularly with the neighbor(we are now at about 45 minutes), creating some good movement plans that seem to be lessening the pain considerably. I am happy to report that I have been free of heavy pain meds since Thursday. It's wonderful!!
Bob took the big boys to church, while I stayed behind the the youngest 5. As I nursed the baby, we read Bible stories from four different children/family bibles (FYI, I am totally loving our new ESV Family Bible...the stories are written wonderfully and biblically, and the illustrations are beautiful), and did a few question and answer devotions. This seemed to lift their spirits a bit, as they were quite sad (some to the point of tears) about missing church. Oh! We even made up our own little tune to sing a song at the end of one of the books. It was kind of a special morning for us.
Bob and the same 3 big boys all headed more than 2 hours away to Benson, MN for a Marching Band competition today. Those are really the best, as 10-20 top rated bands compete for cash prizes and trophies. Each year, we are always impressed with the variety of shows, moves, music, and props that are used in these competitions. It's a whole other world....and a really good one! Neither the baby not I could comfortably handle so much driving in one day (more than 4 hours total), so I stayed behind with the little 5 again. We converted the basement rice table into the outdoor water table it was meant to be and I conveniently parked it right outside the family room window so that I could supervise my children from the comforts of my air conditioned home as I snuggled my baby all day. Because, come on.....80 degrees is MUCH too hot for me. We also set up a small sprinkler system in the yard. The kids were busy all afternoon in the yard, running after the neighbors, having water gun fights, then later verbal and physical fights with those same neighbors(which was not nearly as cute as the previous water fights), and finally ending the evening near 9 o'clock with a friendly visit from the local sheriff who drove through the neighborhood passing out gold star stickers and Minnesota Twins baseball cards. Tubby played at that table all day....I kid you not....a solid 5 hours. He took a 15 minute break to eat his dinner, at a picnic bench right next to the water table. If this keeps up all summer, I've really got it made!
And the Marching Band Competition results? Just in at 9:45pm: We won it all!!!!! Best drum line, best colorguard (cute girls dancing with the colorful flags), people's choice (the crowd favorite), and Grand Champion (judge's most highly rated). Hooray!!!!! This might be our year to take it all away from Park Center when we go to the biggest competition of all in Alexandria that last Sunday in June!!!(OK, Lisa, that is your head's up for this year's first summer visit!)
Oh, and I just changed Bethany's little g diaper for the first time (cloth diaper with a flushable insert). It was great! I kept it on her more than 5 hours, though the recommended is 2----but seriously, I do not have the money to afford changing her every two hours, these things are expensive! The insert was very wet, but her poo stayed inside, and only a tiny bit of the cloth edges PERHAPS were slightly damp. I really couldn't quite tell, but again, these diapers ARE a bit large on her teeny tiny tushie. The best part was ripping the insert apart as instructed (VERY easy), and flushing it down the toilet as it was literally disintegrating before my eyes. One less diaper in the landfill! This has been a great ending to a very good day!!!!
Yikes! Blogger is warning me about a scheduled outage in five minutes and Bob and the boys just got home (obviously by speeding????), so I am going to have to try to add pictures tomorrow. Be sure to check back, I've got quite a few!!! G'night!