Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So we had summer...

I keep meaning to blog and then Eli always has other plans. I can't say I mind, because, well, he's seriously cute. There's a whole lot that I'm going to shove into this blog, so just know that the flow is going to suffer. And there is gratuitous use of the word "love".

July wasn't at all what I expected. Cherie obsessively loves Eli. Owen has a lot of jealousy. He's not jealous of the attention Eli gets, like you'd expect. He's more jealous of the fact that Cherie can do more stuff for him. He loves being a big brother, but he forgets he's still a little brother, too. She's 3 and a half years older than he is, and subsequently can handle more stuff (a lot of it being just because she's taller and stronger). His behavior wasn't great, but I don't know how much of that stems from his jealousy and how much of it is just ongoing behavior issues (and a desperate desire for attention). He acts up in a lot of the same ways at his mom's house, so I know its not all baby related. Anyway, we got a good routine going for the big kids, which saved me because Eli has no desire whatsoever to be on a schedule, and he started teething at 10 weeks (those teeth are taking their sweet time coming in, though. In the mean time, I have a super drooler who chews on EVERYTHING and gets otherwise inexplicably cranky.) Cherie was a huge help, helping us make bottles, unloading the dishwasher, and holding Cranky Baby so Mama could take a shower. Don't think I don't shower when they aren't here. Its just harder to find time to wash your hair when you have 3 kids to take care of instead of just 1 cranky baby. I love having them, though. Our family feels whole when they're here. Good days and bad days, I love them and love them in my life.

I really enjoy serving in children's ministry at our church, so I was thrilled when they announced last spring that we'd finally be having a VBS. Our church has something like 2000 members and regular attenders. Maybe more. I don't know. Anyway, its a HUGE church. VBS needed to happen. I signed up to teach Owen's class. I will not be signing up for the younger kids again next year. I had about 12 kids every day and 10 were boys. 10 6 year old boys in a room was draining to say the least. VBS also brought a new milestone for Eli and me - separation anxiety. No, not for Eli. He was an angel for the sweet ladies in the nursery. It was all Mommy. I had never been away from him for more than an hour (not counting when he was in the NICU at the hospital...) and it was HARD. Its still hard. I just miss him. But he does great in the nursery at church (he went again during a meeting and has been a few Sunday mornings since Sunday school started back up in August.) Overall, though, the kids and I really enjoyed the experience.

The week after VBS brought torture to our house in the form of lice. Cherie has battled lice for the past 2 years, through no fault of her own. The weekend after VBS, they spent a weekend at their mom's house. She came back with lice. It took me 5 days of pure misery to finally end their reign of terror on sweet girl's head. I wanted to shave her head so bad, no joke.

The last Friday of the month, we were given a gignormous blessing. An amazing photographer wanted to use the talent God blessed her with to bless a family, and she offered to let us be that family. So we had a wonderful session with JME Portraits The resulting pictures literally made me cry they're so beautiful. She's just really fantastically talented, and we have been and continue to be overwhelmingly blessed by her gift.

I love being a stay at home mom. I never ever thought I would. I always wanted a job, and I felt like if I didn't work, I would be one of those women who have nothing to talk about but their kids which is kind of annoying. I needed to work to have something to define myself, as if "I'm a wife and mom" was insufficient. God has shown me that this is what He planned for me. I never got a career. I never found a job that I could grow in and was proud of and felt like that was my calling, until now. I love watching Eli grow and change. I love making sure Hubs has clean underwear and work clothes. I don't really love cooking, but I love making sure everyone's eaten. I never got a career because I was meant to be a Mommy. What an overwhelming blessing. Financially, it is HARD. I wasn't making much before, but we're for sure missing that little bit. Fortunately, we're prayerful and God is getting us through (through the kindness and assistance of others.) But man. To spend every day with this face?


He's so fun these days. He laughs and smiles and babbles. He wants to be sitting up all the time, looking around and taking it all in. He's so curious! He loves to play, usually with his feet. He's perfectly healthy, and for the most part, an incredibly good baby. Now if only he would sleep through the night again... He was doing a good job on that for a while. He'd take his last bottle between midnight at 1 am and be down for the count by 1:30. He'd sleep until sometime between 7:30 and 8:30. It was fantastic! He decided he's over that now. Mommy would like to see that return. I've been good about taking his monthly pictures. Sure, they're not always right on the 20th every month, but I get 'em within a few days. Here they are!

2 months

3 months

4 months

My little baby is 4 months old, weighs about 17 pounds, and is about 26 inches long. So really, he's not so little of a baby. He never did get the hang of (or maybe inclination to? I'll never know which.) nursing so I pumped. For 4 months, I pumped. The week before he hit 4 months, the factory was barely even limping along. It took me 3 days to pump the 3 ounces he drank as his last breast milk bottle, on his 4 month birthday. Its been a very emotional journey, breast milk. I've mostly made my peace with never getting that amazing bonding time of nursing and mourned my desire for him to be exclusively breast fed. At the end of the day, I did my best and he had breast milk for 4 months. He got as much benefit as I could give him, and I'm proud of myself for that. I don't miss pumping, and making formula bottles is a ton easier than making breast milk bottles, so at least there's something positive about losing my milk. Plus it means the saga is over.

Every single day, I thank God that I get to be his mommy. Seriously. Being a mom is nothing like I expected, and the greatest thing ever. I mean, people talk about trusting your instincts, "he's your baby, you'll know what's best" and until you're in it, you kind of think they're full of it. But then the strangest thing happens... you have a child and you just KNOW him. I never ever feel like I'm a great mom (thankfully, my amazing husband tells me almost daily that 1. He loves me. 2. I am an awesome wife and mother. and 3. He is grateful for me. I'm so blessed to be his wife.) and yet I feel like I can care for Eli better than anybody else (including Hubs, but in his defense, its because he doesn't spend nearly as much time with Eli so he doesn't know his quirks as well.) I've learned the way he acts when he's hungry, when he's sleepy, when he's uncomfortable, when he's happy, when his tummy hurts, etc. I know that when he cries in the car its not because he needs anything, its just because he hates when we stop (the boy can't stand red lights or the drive thru at Sonic.). I can predict how he'll react to just about anything. Its amazing! I'm sure this is normal for moms, but its all still new to me, so every day brings a mind-blowing realization about motherhood.

There's a million other things I want to write about, but I'm tired and Eli's been asleep for a while (maybe he'll sleep on through until morning... he did get pretty tired out taking his 1st bath in his big boy duckie tub tonight...) so I'm gonna follow his lead.

So. Stinking. Blessed.