Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Needs Naps?!?

Here we are - ten weeks for Max! Or Maxamoose or Maxie as we so affectionately call him. We are BIG into nicknames in this family - all of those boys have them...several to be exact. When you tell Judah his name is Judah Jacob, he will tell you his name is actually Judah Bearzo. Lots of nicknames! So, I actually didn't want to name Max "Max" because of the fear we would nickname him "Maxie" (because yes, I think of maxi pad)...and yep, we call him Maxie. I really try not to do it...and then it happens. Working on it. I struggle because we have a lot of one syllable names in this house, but I am a firm believer young kids need two syllable names...yes, I am crazy. Luckily, we live in Europe and maybe no one here knows what a maxi pad is?!?  Sometimes, it takes me putting a thought into print to really see how crazy I am! I know I will eventually just call him Max...right now, it doesn't matter. Ok, enough about the nickname. Whatever we call him - he is super cute and we love him so much! Honestly, as crazy as everything is - I cannot imagine our family without this sweet little boy...what a blessing!


So, what did week ten bring for Max? Well, he is getting a lot quicker at nursing, which is great...however, he isn't napping great, which is no bueno. Of course, my mind immediately goes to the fact that he is eating quicker, but maybe he isn't eating enough...so that is why he isn't napping well. This boy has always been good for a solid morning nap. I am crazy when it comes to eating and my babies...Hugh did this to me. I have definitely eased up...but I like my babies to eat and sleep...the two things I cannot control. Ugh. He is probably just going through a nap hating phase - all our boys have done this, but ten weeks seems a little early. He will nap if I am holding and rocking him...he is smart...he knows that is the only way he gets my undivided attention...however, this is a little difficult when Sam is awake...because Sam would find a way to burn the house down if he could...he is so dang curious! Sam can get into a medicine bottle quicker than I can...no joke. I am trying not to think about the non-napping too much - I wear crazy well, but I don't need anymore crazy in my life! Hoping this next week, he gets back on track. The great thing is, Max is a pacifier baby...the terrible thing is, Max is a pacifier baby...the love/hate relationship with that pacifier! I still love it more than I hate it...but it adds to my crazy. Max is officially on his way to becoming a US citizen! The passport paperwork is filed (well, almost...but that is a long story...so, we'll just say it is filed) and is being rushed...it is nice to have some form of ID for your child when you live abroad. You don't think about it much when you live in the states, but you think about it here...so they rush the passports thankfully. His social security number will come much later (like six months), which makes no sense to me...wait, the US government policies don't make sense...hmmm. The passport is just one step in our process - he still needs a resident card and his permit to actually be allowed to live here...it is a process. Luckily, he doesn't need a VISA. However, once we have his passport - we can travel...but we need to get on the permit paperwork ASAP as well. So many steps :)


We have been trying the earlier bedtime for him...like nine-ish. Some nights it is great...and some nights he is still awake at midnight...baby steps! He seems to do better when I rock him for a bit and then just lay him down...he is up for a bit, but then will eventually calm himself and fall asleep. However, I love to rock this baby...especially when he is asleep. Melt my heart. And, sometimes I will rock him and cry a little bit...my hormones are a crazy mess! I just know I am going to miss this sweet time. He is still super smiley and really tries hard to laugh (Jake is trying to get him to laugh...trying to steal another first laugh from me...jerk!). Max started laughing in his sleep the other day...so cute. He desperately just wants people to look at him (and by people, I mean me)...he always has a smile for me...a big opened mouth one. He is starting to find his voice - he is cooing and doing a little bit of squawking...love the voice...and then they get older and it is never ending...but I'll take it...my ears were meant for listening to lots of little boys. He went on his first walk with Daddy - he did great! He loves his shower time with Daddy. It is official - he can roll from his stomach to back...once I see things happen, then I believe it (Jake seeing it doesn't count). He pretty much rolls to his back the second you put him on his tummy. Hoping for no flat head - not even sure what they do here for it, but the doctor dis look for it at his two month appointment so that is good. He spends a lot of time in his bouncer, and then a lot of time in the car seat in the evening - it is easier for me to put him in his car seat and have him a bit covered from his brothers and I can rock him...all while trying to cook some dinner...it gets a little crazy! He is still absolutely adored by his brothers...we all adore this sweet baby boy!!


So, week ten brought my first emotional breakdown...I knew it was coming and it came. I am in a hard season in my life...I would be in a hard season whether I was here or in Phoenix. I am also in an amazing season of my life where I get to see the wonder of life through my boys' eyes. I am torn a lot - I always feel like there is so much to do and I have always been the person to want to do it all...but it is always at the expense of someone. It use to be myself...I would work crazy hours because I am a total people pleaser and I would never get enough sleep or take care of myself. Jake would suffer as well because of my long hours and hectic work schedule...thankfully, he was in that same season as well. Now, my boys suffer...because of my never ending to-do list and desire to have everything done all the time. I want to change...not sure I know how. I can read every book or blog post about being the mom who lets go and runs freely with her children...putting into practice...hmmm...and when I run freely, do the little elves come out and keep up with the never ending laundry and cook meals for hungry bellies?!? I am thankful that God has been revealing my sin constantly to me...like when I am going to freak out because my almost two year-old has put peanut butter all in his hair during lunch while I have been nursing a baby...and then I remember he is almost two and that is a messy stage of life...embrace it. Or, when my older two boys are throwing random things in the air and it knocks pictures over...that wasn't their intent...they were just figuring out what would happen when you throw random things in the air (now, I would think common sense would come into play...however, they are boys...and they are only five and three)...don't freak out. Or, when my boys wear their snow boots inside and they track mud everywhere...don't freak out...wait, no...I still freak out and yell at them...baby steps. I see God really working on my heart here - some days I have a much more teachable heart than other days. I am so thankful for God's grace - I so wish I just had a sliver of that for my boys...I am working on it. The hypocrisy I see in my heart at times is frightening. I want my boys to see God's grace flowing from me...to see the love of God flowing from me...not to see a frustrated mom with a to-do list five pages deep and a focus that isn't on them. In theory, it all sounds so simple...in practice, it is much harder. I am being stretched more than I have ever been...more than I thought I ever could be...but God is bigger than all that...thankfully. His word never said it wasn't going to be hard...but I can trust that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A New Day

Our little Max is nine weeks and two months old! I swear these weeks fly by...kids makes everything go faster! We are definitely back to a more normal routine this week...yay! No more hospital stays! I feel like I am getting on somewhat of a decent routine with the boys...I have very low expectations of myself...if my boys are alive, my laundry is done, and a dinner (or at least food) is on the table at night then I would say it was a successful day...no joke. Total chaos normally hits around midday when everyone is hungry and then I need to go and meet Hugh...total chaos. It also hits right around dinner time as well...when everyone is hungry (I am noticing a pattern) and cranky. God has given me lots of perspective this time around...I am not in control of every aspect of life and it is just a season...a short one at that. I won't always have a hungry baby, a toddler throwing socks in the toilet, and Legos causing permanent scars on my feet (oh, wait...that last one will last forever...darned Legos). So, I take a deep breath, pour myself a glass of wine, and try to relax...or, sometimes scream at my kids because let's be real...I am the greatest sinner I know and it is not all rainbows and unicorns over at this Swiss house...no Sound of Music over here. But...if I keep it all in perspective...tomorrow is always a new day...and I love those boys something fierce...and they make me laugh. It may be crazy, but I am so blessed...beyond words.


So, what did week nine bring for Max? Oh, those nights...this baby!!! He is a total night owl and is still really struggling to get to sleep at night. Once he gets to sleep, he sleeps (praise God!)...but it is getting there that is the struggle. Just a season. And I swear, I don't really mind it...just wish I didn't have anything else to do! But, as I stare down at this little boy sleeping on my chest I am reminded that he's just looking for love and comfort...ok, sign me up. So, we'll figure out these nights...some day. I really feel like he is getting quicker at nursing...oh, I loathe nursing...does that make me like the worst mother on the planet? No bonding at all...strictly a means to an end. However, I have pretty much seen every show on TV possible right now...for reals. You name it, I've watched it. It is the only thing that makes the time go by a little quicker. Thank goodness for the Turkish...keep the pirated TV coming. Now, when I watch Colors with the boys while I am nursing...then time actually stands still...but I highly doubt Jake would appreciate the boys watching Walking Dead with me. I dread the lunch feeding...Colors only entertains Sam for about ten minutes and then he becomes a total menace and gets into EVERYTHING!!! Oh, my child...life as I know it. Max is now 10lbs.6oz. and 23in. He is a little guy, but keeping on his growth curve, so it works for us. We don't make big babies and it horrifies me that people deliver babies that are as big as my two month old! He is healthy - and survived his first round of shots, but then was SUPER sad and then I started freaking out that I ruined my sweet baby with those horrible vaccines...I do this with every child after every vaccine appointment...it is a gift I have. I should also mention that I took all four boys to the doctor - amazing, yes I am. What I love about being out with four kids, is that people actually stare and talk about you...of course here, it just happens to be in a different language (by the way, when I was at the doctor, I heard five different languages being spoken...in one office...crazy!)...I guess having four kids makes you a circus act...especially here.  I get the questions - "Wow, four kids - are they all yours?" (like I have fifty kids with me...four is not that many kids), or "Wow, four kids - how did that happen?" I always want to tell people - yes, we know how this happened...it is called sex. (I am guessing that wouldn't be appropriate.) It is super crazy taking all four out - it will be awhile before I am comfortable managing all four running errands...honestly, it might be never.


 Supposedly Max rolled over from tummy to back...I say supposedly because I wasn't there, but Jake saw it...just not sure I can trust him. He spends a lot of time in the bouncy seat and he loves it - kicking around and smiling. However, the bouncy seat can be hazardous with Sam around...Max has had a few cars dropped on his head, been stabbed with swords, swallowed by blankets...poor buddy. It is official...this kid is not going to love the swing. I can push it all I want and he is not going to take it. I cannot I have a baby that doesn't love the swing?!? Who is this kid?!? He struggled a bit more with his naps this week...just trying to figure out what works best...he thinks sleeping in my arms works best. He is still super smiley...at least with me and Judah. Judah loves Max...still cannot get enough of him. I am fairly certain he is going to start giggling for me soon. When I tickle him, he almost gets there. I cannot wait until he starts giggling...love a baby laugh. He still doesn't really coo - a little bit, but not much...good, maybe he'll be a quiet child - I NEED a quiet child. We still have our Moby nights, but not as many. We still haven't attempted the crib...like I said before...if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I would prefer if he was a little more chill at night. He doesn't really cry (at least when he is with me...it is all in the breasts I believe)...but I don't like that he doesn't transition to sleep well. All in good time I tell myself. Hard to believe it has been nine weeks - so much still to come, love this sweet boy.


I am thankful God has shown me His grace this week in caring for these boys. We all know I need it...big time. I love being a mom, but it takes everything out of you...and you are never just a mom...ever. Sadly, for me I tend to focus on all the other duties when I need to just be a mom at times and not worry about the laundry (which holy moly is never ever ever ever ever (you get it) ending), the grocery list, the meals for the week, the dirty house, and the list goes on. I allow so many other things to take my focus when I just need to be a mom. Being a mom has revealed every bit of my selfishness and self-centeredness...it is frightening. I am a sinner and I see how I sin in how I am a mother...it is revealed to me everyday. So, I am planning on making some changes - simple ones...but changes. I pray for God's grace as we shepherd these boys...this time will never come back to me. So, I just need to embrace the crazy, climb the laundry mountain, and take a deep breath because tomorrow is a new day.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crazy Times



Eight weeks for our little Max! Almost two months...so hard to believe. This week started off quiet, got sad (Gramma Peggy and Papa Dan went home), and then got crazy (his big brother, Sam, spent a couple of days in the hospital...we are taking the Swiss healthcare system by fire!). Sam most likely has RAD (Reactive Airway Disease)...asthma in little kids...Hugh has the same thing...one more rescue inhaler for this family...oh joy. Fortunately, the week ended quietly. We prefer the quiet weeks...the very, very quiet weeks! And, hopefully...there will be no more hospital stays for any of us! And, we will all be healthy for the rest of the year...a girl can dream!



So, what did week eight bring for Max? Well, it continues to bring the nighttime struggles...serious nighttime struggles. Honestly, he takes FOREVER to fall asleep at night (we are talking three plus hours...now that just seems unnatural?!?). I started thinking that maybe the extra bottle at night was too much for him - like it was hurting his stomach. The problem is, he gladly takes it...like he is starving. However, he normally will then get the hiccups and then be covered in vomit...it is like living with a nineteen year-old frat boy! He knows how to party. Maybe I'll shake it up this next week with the bottle...who knows. I tried laying him down early this week...like at 7ish. That wasn't going to happen. So, he spends most nights in the Moby until bed around 11ish...which can sometimes take until 2ish (shoot me now). Honestly, I don't mind him being in the Moby. There is something different when you know this is the last time a baby will sleep on your chest...you count your blessings and worry a little less about your "me time"...this too shall pass and I WILL miss this. So, we'll keep working on the schedule...all in good time. He has done well in his own room - he still sleeps in the rock and play sleeper. Not sure when we'll venture to the crib. If it ain't broke - don't fix it. He still naps decently...until the afternoon...then forget about it. He doesn't enjoy the swing...his loss. I keep telling myself this is a good thing because breaking the swing naps is a total pain. I am pretty sure my gallon a week intake of hot sauce is hurting his tummy - oh well. I see the good mamas cutting all dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol, caffeine...you name it...while I am pouring half a bottle of hot sauce on my dairy and gluten lovin' quesadilla while drinking my coffee and wine and eating a Snickers...ain't nobody got time to change their diet. I will run out of my hot sauce (my US goods can only last so long) and then I will stop with the spicy foods...just in time for a huge hole to have burned through his stomach...he can thank me later.



He gets the hiccups all the time - after every feeding! This was supposed to be my first solo week...but then Sam ended up in the hospital...and my first solo week didn't start until Thursday...not much of a solo week. So, next week...bring it. I also don't know if I have thrush...who knows, but I do know I am crazy. Funny story...so, Judah is very interested in my "ladies"...he will normally point to them throughout the day and say, "Those are for Max, right?" Well, I have been trying some natural treatments for thrush...involving vinegar, tea tree oil, and air drying. Anyway, Judah is sitting with me and says, "Why are those things out?" I don't feel like having this conversation with a three year-old, so I ignore him...but if you know Judah, he doesn't let up. So, he says, "I smell something." (as he is getting too close to my ladies)...and then he says, "I want to eat those." (he thinks Max is eating my "ladies" when he is breastfeeding) Awesome. After all this is over, my boys and I will be traumatized...seriously. Ok, back to Max. We are still working on tummy time - he isn't down with it. Pretty sure he'll be three before he is mobile...mission accomplished. He experienced the Ergo (since I was superwoman and I walked with all my boys to get Hugh from school - a neighbor friend does it the other nine times during the week...yes, I was SUPER proud of myself)...he probably needs a little more neck support before he can really rock the Ergo. He has been super smiley now...can't get any shots on camera. But he is all smiles in the morning. Oh, how he loves me...Team Mommy all the way. The feeling is mutual. He doesn't laugh yet and there really is no cooing from him - but he talks to me with his eyes. He is definitely a paci baby - for sure. He also takes the bottle well...and all formula still. There is NOTHING in me that wants to pump...NOTHING. I will do it at some point...but not now.  I am never apart from Max and we live a million miles from home...date nights outside of the home aren't happening any time soon or ever...a babysitter would cost at least $100 and that would only be for a few hours...no joke. He had his first ultrasound - they wanted to check his hips because he was a c-section baby...all is well with his hips and I might have almost had my first emotional breakdown...navigating a healthcare system in a foreign country and in a foreign language can take a toll on you. I need to learn French...desperately. His brothers are still so in love with him - so sweet. Judah is so into him - it surprises me, and I love it. He has started growing out of some zero to three month sleepers that he just got for Christmas! So sad. No more newborn diapers...I will never have newborn diapers again...too bad I have like twelve unopened packages! Love this little boy so much...need to stop time...just for a little bit!



So, I mentally prepared myself for a solo week...and then I got a by week...well, not really because it is a little stressful having one of your babies in the hospital...especially when you can't visit them (horrible mother). Max is sweet - and I love him to pieces, but having a newborn can feel isolating at times. I know my mental/emotional breakdown didn't quite happen...but I am nervous that it may be coming. I have held it together fairly well while here...even with all the craziness. Most people tell me they have massive breakdowns...some people say they cried everyday for two years...no joke, two years. I would never expect that of myself...but some days are hard. It is isolating being surrounded by people who don't speak the same language as you. I hate feeling like a six year-old because I am too afraid to make calls to make appointments (my husband hates it too...this is actually a very common thing among expats - we all HATE to call to make appointments...one of my friends would actually drive to the place to make an appointment because she didn't want to call...thankfully, I have Jake). I know my God is the same - He provides the same love and grace whether I know the language or not...and He has provided a church family that has been great here and a great school environment (except Hugh just told us about the kid in his class who spits on his hands...yuck)...I just need to rest in Him. And, I know I will learn the language...once I can figure out how to stop time.



(I actually took pictures of him with the regular camera this week, but I am too lazy to get it out...wow, I am awesome.)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sweet Boy



Seven weeks...Max is seven weeks old! Our baby boy is getting bigger everyday. It took me forever to see it, but I am seeing him get bigger now - I started to think he was going to stay little forever...because he was so little (and he is still little...especially when all of his crazy brothers are around!)...but he is starting to get long...with a little chunk. Like I said last week, I am ready for him to get bigger...to move onto new stages with our four boys. I am not going to lie though - oh, my heart will miss this newborn stage. Yes, the newborn stage is a lot of work - sleepless nights and the giving of your whole self...but there is nothing sweeter than a newborn baby...at least not to me. I can hold this boy for hours - rubbing his sweet head...I do, that is why he is bald on top! So, I am embracing this time with Max - praising God for this sweet blessing!



So, what did week seven bring for Max? Well, he still sleeps in our room...but, he is being evicted...tonight! Sam has moved to the guest room since sadly, our guests have left (we will miss Gramma and Papa so much!!!) and we don't know when our next visitors will be (side note: Sam (and Max) will eventually sleep with the big boys...but Sam sleeps later than the big boys and this Mama is not ready to have Sam wake-up earlier...so, guest room it is!). It will be weird not having Max with me - he has been with me every night since birth. The hard thing about Max is he has a REALLY hard time going to sleep at night. (This is something we really need to work on - I am not sure why he is struggling so much.) So, I am sure I will spending a lot of time back and forth with him at night until he goes to sleep. And, I swear if he doesn't sleep well in his own room then he is coming back to our room...oh, yes he is. He is still struggling from the seven to ten time period at night...well, he actually struggles until about midnight. He is happy and will "rest," but he never fully falls asleep. He has such an easy time in the morning and then gets progressively worse as the day goes on. Now, he is fairly chill...but I would still prefer a better sleep cycle for him. He'll sometimes fall asleep on his own, but I hear every little sound - between him and Jake...it is like sleeping in a barn (fo' reals). We'll see how next week goes...maybe I'll get a good (like really, really good) night of sleep!...a girl can dream. I am still doing the bottle every night (which I might just prop up on him so I don't have to hold the bottle...I know, I know...such a horrible mother!) and I don't see that changing. He is getting formula - I cannot handle the thought of pumping right now and formula makes perfect sense to me! He has enjoyed being held a lot these past two weeks and getting to sleep in people's arms...I am sure the transition to stop doing that should be fun! I have a feeling he'll be in the Moby a bit more now that there are no extra Gramma hands to hold him - good thing he likes the Moby...right next to Mama. He had a little more tummy time this week - not super into it, but he still seems to have a strong neck - he is always trying to hold his head up. His brothers are all over him during tummy time...I feel bad for Max. I am sure Sam will body slam him at some point...just a matter of time. He has been throwing out some smiles, but I wouldn't label him as a "smiley" baby - we'll see. Still hoping and praying for some faster eating times...such a slow eater! (The slow eating is going to drive me CRAZY!) I am struggling a bit with nursing (fairly certain I have thrush, which is absolutely miserable - it really makes me sad because I really feel like Max is a good nurser (just super slow) and we have been doing really well, but thrush could do me in), but praying things will get better. He is still the gassiest baby ever!  He is super sensitive when I accidentally scratch him, but doesn't say a word when Sam falls on him...hmm. I still think he looks just like Jake and Hugh, but I am not sure he has Hugh's face shape yet - we'll see. We applied for his passport - getting pictures was fun (trying to get a baby to open his eyes and keep his head straight (so they can see both ears) is not the easiest task). We will have to meet with the consulate in Geneva in the next few weeks and hopefully, smooth sailing from there - Max will finally have a country to call home! Max is so sweet - all babies are sweet, but Max is really sweet. We are so blessed to have this little guy!



So, reality is here - like four kids five and under, school schedule, foreign country, English not the first language, no family support network reality is here. Yikes! BUT...in all that reality, wine tastes the same...so, I am all set. Kidding. God is the same - no matter where we go, what we have around us, our crazy circumstances...God is the same. Praying I lean on Him and not myself...I will fail miserably leaning on myself. I am in a season with four crazy boys...praying I enjoy this season in spite of my new reality. I can do this - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..bring it! Also, I have Jake and he is amazing - I know he can do it...and drag me along with him!