Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Maxime!!!


Happy Birthday to Maxime Matisse Saylor!  Happy first birthday to my last baby! (And yes, I am crying right now.)  How did this last year fly by so fast?!?  This last year has been amazing – we have all grown so much on this adventure and having Maxie was just the icing on the cake.  It was a crazy year – so many changes and really good changes.  Obviously, Max was the best change ever!  We end our baby season with Max.  I have either been pregnant or nursing for almost the last seven years!  That is twenty percent of my life!  And now, this season is over.  So very bittersweet for us.  As much as I am going to miss this baby season…I know it is time to move on and we are all so excited for the next stage.  So, goodbye to our baby and hello to our toddler!!!  

 Well, in typical 'me' fashion, here is a look back on this last year and what we have learned...We have learned that the best surprises always come in the smallest packages and when you least expect them. We learned that natural family planning doesn't work for us and we'll never have to worry about that again because that ship has sailed. We learned that placenta previa doesn't always move; even though, everybody knows somebody who had it and it always moves...well, guess doesn't. We have learned that pregnancies are always in God's hands and worrying doesn't help anything. 

We have learned that God's kindness knows no end. We learned that c-sections are sometimes the best option and birth plans are for the birds. We have learned that the Swiss allow children in operating rooms if you happen to be there on "take your child to work day". I have learned that recovering from a c-section isn't the end of the world, but it is the end of your ab muscles. I have learned that spinal blocks are terrible and the not being able to feel my legs for hours on end will forever be etched in my head. 

We have learned that the Swiss like to smother their babies in the hospital and will yell at you if they think the baby is too cold. We learned that moms who put their lives on hold to help their children are amazing. We have learned that the name “Maxime” is a hard one for anyone who is not French or Swiss French…and I am sure Max will thank us later (especially when I force people to use the French pronunciation).  We have learned to be thankful for a single over full bunk bed (Jake's bed for the first month of Max's life). I have learned to enjoy sleeping with a newborn because it all goes by too fast. 

We learned that a straightjacket swaddle (big shout out to the Woombie...Woombie!) is your best-friend and a baby's addiction. We learned that there really are newborns who pretty much sleep through the night at birth (those parents aren't liars, but you can still hate them). We have learned you never wake a sleeping baby. We learned that you don't always need a swing to help a baby sleep, but you do need a Woombie and you will turn around on vacation to go back and get it. I have learned that I can successfully nurse a baby and not hate every second of it. 

I have learned that I can actually enjoy nursing and might even be sad when it is over (but not that sad). I have learned that I can nurse without my "brest friend". We have learned that a baby really can be that happy and nothing is wrong with him. We have learned the incredible blessing of an easy baby. We learned that Swiss doctors have no problems calling your baby lazy. We have learned that babies do things on their own time and do not have to be like their older brothers. We learned that Google is a mom's best-friend and delivers on big baby swaddles.   I have learned that it takes forever to get feeling back in your c-section scar area…and still waiting.  I have learned that c-section scars are beautiful.

We have learned that some babies will eat absolutely long as you put it in their mouths. We learned to not stress about immobile babies and to count your blessings rather than to wish for mobile babies! We have learned that when you are on an unending drive to the beach for vacation and you have a hungry baby, you just feed that baby while driving. We learned (yet once again) that Babywise is not for us…and I think it is criminal not to feed and rock your baby to sleep.  

We have learned that there really are babies out there that don’t put a single thing in their mouths…not one single thing.  Max has learned to love the Ergo like it is his best-friend. Max has learned that having brothers is the best thing in the world and will have best-friends for life. We have learned that last babies are the loudest babies.  

We have learned that teething doesn’t have to be total torture. We have learned that spoons, knives (plastic…come on now), and medicine cups on a kitchen floor can provide lots of entertainment and provide a Mama sanity.  I have learned that I can nickname my baby Maxie and not think of a maxipad every time (ok, I am totally lying – I do think of maxipad every time I say it, but I still call him Maxie…every kid needs a nickname).  We learned that babies don’t matter how much you wish they would.

I have learned that God always gives me the grace to make it through husbands that travel.  I have learned that I am not too proud to have help.  I have learned to savor every last cuddle, every last rock to sleep, and every last baby smell because they are quickly slipping through my fingers.  I have learned that ending the baby season is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  I have learned that I would have a million babies if I could…but I have also learned that babies grow-up.  I have learned that tears just start rolling down my face every time I realize I won’t ever have another baby.  We have learned that four is a very good number…although a freakishly large number of children in Europe.  We have learned that there is no greater blessing that four amazing, little boys.  We learned that these past six years of growing with our babies has been amazing, heartbreaking, head banging, hilarious, challenging, and worth every second…every last second.  What an amazing ride it has been!

To my Maxie, my Maxie Moomers, my Swiss baby…you, my sweet boy, have closed out an incredible season in my life.  Oh, that season went by way too fast and I would do it all over again.  You were such a surprise to me during a time when I didn’t think I can handle any more surprises or changes.  You have been the best surprise ever…I honestly wish everyone could have a Maxie surprise.  I have enjoyed every last second of this last year with you…and we have spent a lot of seconds together.  You are the sweetest, little boy ever – with the best smiles and the best cuddles. I pray for you little boy.  I pray big things for you in your life.  I pray you know the love of Christ above all other things. I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to be your Mama.  You are such an incredible blessing and I am so excited to watch you grow.  You will always be my baby…you complete me.

And, this season has ended.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fourth and Final

Before I write about Max, I just have to say a few words about Jenn.  Next week marks the end of her commitment to blog for the first year of life for each of our children.  I have to give her credit for making and sticking to that commitment now four times.  This blog is a precious reminder of the highs, lows and in-betweens of 1,461 days of our lives as parents.  Jenn has been raw and real with her words, showing an inspiring transparency in her journey as a mom.  I used to read and edit her posts for her and I loved it – the recap of the week in her eyes was a highlight for me.  Lately I’ve been preoccupied so haven’t done that job…and I’ve noticed a lot more cracks at my expense…but I still absolutely love to read the blog.  It’s a way for me to connect with her and my boys especially when it’s crazy or I’ve been away.  That connection is so important and she provided it faithfully.  I continue to be amazed by my wife and all that she accomplishes for our family.  Jenn inspires me, challenges me and holds my heart.  Thank you babe for this treasure and thank you God for the great gift you gave me in my wife.  

Moving on to Max.  Maxime Matisse, also known as Number Four or the real Swiss Saylor, is such a special boy.  When asked to describe him in past conversations, I’ve used the following words: chill, adorable, happy, smiley, curious, stubborn, lazy (re: eating and moving), food lover (i.e. Mikey), an amazing sleeper, a trooper (for all his time in the Ergo), a great traveler, the perfect fourth.  My life has been blessed immensely by my fourth son.  His warm, whole-faced smile lights up my heart every time.  He makes me laugh at how he rotates his hands and feet constantly – often accompanied by a throaty, hearty laugh – I have no idea why he does it but this is signature Maxie (it’s been known to drive me crazy also…why does he do it?!?).  He’s such a great little explorer with us, as we’ve been getting out and doing a lot more as a family.  I love to watch Max respond to his brothers with, at most times, a huge smile and enthusiastic arm waving (especially Judah).  I love his fiery personality that’s balanced by his giggliness.  I love his sweet eyes for his mama (he loves her something fierce!). It never gets old when I throw him up in the air and he gives that gasp of terror until I catch him and he grabs onto me with a death grip.  I love how he can melt right into me and snuggle…when he’s not swatting at my face or digging his fingers into my neck.  I think it’s cool that his passport will always read “Place of birth: Switzerland,” that his is a Swiss birth certificate and that he holds a Certification of Birth Abroad from the US Government.  His addition has made this experience abroad even that much more incredible.  With Max, God has kindly rewarded me with another arrow in my quiver, blessing me greatly!           

A few more special memories about Max the Moose.  First, I’ll never forget the story of how Jenn told me she was pregnant with Max…after I had accepted a job that would move us to Switzerland, an already intimidating life change.  I was sitting in my first meeting with my new boss and his team when Jenn’s text came thru to call her asap.  I wasn’t about to excuse myself…and when the next text came in, I still didn’t budge.  She didn’t use 911, so while the issue she faced could have been somewhat big, it could wait.  Thankfully the meeting ended shortly after and I stepped out to return the call.  I was met with a hysterical wife and a pregnancy announcement.  I still chuckle about it, but the truth is that it was overwhelming for me as well.  I thought about whether to rescind my job acceptance because maybe it would be too much.  I thought about how it would be difficult to raise a new baby, plus three other young boys, away from all family.  Clearly we stayed the course and I am thankful we did. 

Second, I’ll never forget how God showed us incredible mercy and protection through Jenn’s pregnancy.  While true that He did the same with each of our pregnancies, with Max we more acutely experienced it.  The full placenta previa was scary and felt like a black cloud that could rain down…strike that…more like deliver microburst-esque devastation at any minute.  In His kindness, we experienced none of that and my wife and baby are here and healthy!  

Third, I’ll never forget the actual birth.  Setting aside the day being Journée des Métiers (basically national take your kid to work day) and the doctor’s teenage son being in the delivery room, the c-section experience was equal parts scary and exhilarating.  I was so excited to see them lift Max out and up into the world.  I have to admit I much prefer the non c-section births, but what an experience to see it happen.  Then I went with Max and spent the next 3 hours holding him in the nursery while Jenn recovered.  It was incredible – the nursery was so peaceful and looked out onto Lake Geneva and the Swiss French Alps.  We just rocked those hours away in a chair, me holding my son in amazement and thankfulness.   The only thing missing from it was Jenn, but I’m thankful for those first few hours that were all mine. 

My life is infinitely richer with Max…and I would have said before Max that I was already infinitely rich because of my wife and boys.   Max rounds out perfectly our little pride of sons.  It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that he’s the last baby in our family, that our newborn season is over.  I’ve loved this season so much, but look forward with great anticipation to the next phase of our family life.  What an incredible gift from God to be a father to Max and his brothers!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Littlest Explorer

My little baby is fifty weeks! I cannot believe it has almost been a year...crazy! Seriously crazy! (And, I know this is so overplayed because I say it every week, but it really has gone by so fast and I would freeze time if I could.) Oh, these baby days go by so fast...and we will have a toddler...yikes! Thankfully, Maxie is taking his sweet time in his baby days...but he seems to be a little anxious now to move on...break my heart. He is now a full blown crawler and has the world (or at least the first floor of this house) at his fingertips. He absolutely loves this new freedom and is quite an explorer. Oh, just stay a baby forever, Maxie...please, please, please.


So, what did week fifty bring for Maxime? The full blown crawling has definitely been the biggest thing this week. He is all over the place. He is not quite a speed crawler, but he crawls with purpose and a mission, and I so love that about him. He loves to find things on the floor and destroy them - especially paper towels and he has an amazing ability to shred them into the tiniest bits (oh, joy)...he is gifted. He has shown no interest to climb the stairs...yet. However, he does sit at the bottom of them and scream at his brothers when they are all playing upstairs. He has tried to pull himself up a couple of times this week, but it is too hard for him. I am thankful he is enjoying his freedom even if it means life is crazier for me. He finally got another tooth this week! Max has four teeth!!! That is a big deal. This month has been a game changer for him with all the changes. He continues to show some separation anxiety when he is put down - again, he can easily be talked out of it (seriously, you just talk him out of it). But I hate hearing him cry at naps when I leave him...sad. And, speaking of naps...he thinks thirty minutes seems like a good nap. He clearly doesn't know that I will not be broken when it comes to naps...oh, no my friend...oh, no. When other moms tell me their kids stopped napping at like eighteen months…I think that is just crazy talk coming out of their mouths…like wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…ain’t nobody got time for kids that don’t nap.  So, Max can fight his battles, but this Mama will always win the war.  I do think his teeth are bugging him, so I think that is affecting his naps.  It is so weird to have a teething baby this time around that won’t put a single thing in his mouth…clearly he manages his teething in other ways…I just don’t know what those ways are.   

 Yes, still no self-feeding…and he continues to get mad if you make him try.  He doesn’t put anything in his mouth…except his hands, but he really doesn’t do that much either. I know it isn’t a texture issue for him because he’ll eat anything.  Maybe he is just lazy…I mean he is Jake’s son and all…just kidding.  We’ll see his doctor for his one year check-up and see if she has any tricks to entice him.  Honestly, I am taking the nothing in his mouth as a blessing – he cruises around outside and I don’t worry about what I’ll find in his mouth…I can leave the little Legos out and again, no worries about finding them in his mouth.  I know this won’t last forever…maybe he is just getting a late start to all of this and will be like Judah and continuing to put the most disgusting things in his mouth at four years of age.  He definitely continues to get more picky when it comes to food choices…he has his favorites…meat, cheese crisps, pizza, potatoes and fruit.  He pretty much thinks vegetables are a total waste of time…we’ll keep trying.  Max still loves to be outside and has been enjoying it this past week…the rains and the cold, cold, cold come this next week, so I am thankful for the autumn weather we have had – it has seriously been beautiful here…I definitely think the fall time is my favorite time of year here (but I also have heard this is the nicest fall people have seen in years…so, who knows what next year will bring, I know it was colder last year).  He loves to play with the brothers and just explore – the brothers are always very entertaining to him.  He is still happy the majority of the time – lots of smiles and giggles.  He loves to sing – he will join you in whatever song you are singing…and sometimes, he sounds better than Jake…just kidding.  He is one sweet baby…oh; we love this boy so much!


And, here we are…one week post my mom leaving…and we have all survived…a bit more tired, but surviving.  I am pushing myself back into my daily routine and bracing myself for winter that is rearing its ugly head.  I know that sometimes I can get into a funk after my mom leaves, so I am trying to be mindful of that and shepherd my heart well.  I thrive on routine, so I should be good…as long as someone handles all of the work.  Jake and I are starting a cleanse this week…no sugar…ugh.  Sugar is like water to me…for reals.  However, I know this will be good for me and it is only ten days…I should be able to handle ten days (right?!?)…and, it will better prepare me for the Whole30 that we’ll be doing in January.  Yep, embarking on the Whole30!  So, hopefully, we’ll all survive the week with no sugar…praying I don’t take my sugar detox out on anyone!