Saturday, February 22, 2014

Growing, Growing, Growing


Maxime is fourteen weeks! I am always in shock with how quickly each week passes...it is crazy. I was telling Jake the other day that it will be fourteen years since I graduated college?!? What?!? How did that happen? I will officially become "middle aged" in the next few months (but we all know I don't look a day over twenty-one!). All a little surreal. And, I am watching my baby grow up too quickly before my eyes...and all the wishing and hoping to stop time (just for a moment) is never going to happen. Max is getting older and older with each new day, as am I...there is no avoiding it...no matter how hard I try. I do have moments daily with Max that I want to stop the clock...be able to freeze time just for a moment...those moments when he is smiling at me so big, or staring at me because I am the most important person in his world (and we all know it won't be that way forever), or when he falls asleep in my arms with his little snore...these times are escaping me...and freezing time just in those  moments would be perfect. There are also times when I would hit fast forward on that clock...on that one more nursing session, on that nap that is never going to happen, on those cranky days where you can't do anything right...but I am constantly reminded that with life comes the crazy and life would be no fun with a fast forward button. Now, a "wine me" button...sign me up! Week fourteen is done and gone for little Maxime!



So, what did week fourteen bring for Maxime? Well, (as I am listening to him cry), it brought some BAD naps. I thought he was turning a corner...I was wrong. He has especially been bad these last few days. Not sure if it just an off week or growth spurt...who knows. Sadly, I still allow my day to be dictated by the success of my boys' naps. I need to work on that. He has also started nursing horribly in the morning...acts like it is so overwhelming. However, unlike his brothers - he doesn't scream at me when he doesn't want to nurse, he just pulls off and smiles at me so big...he makes it all worth it. So, I tend to spend too much time nursing this little boy in the morning...drives me crazy...and clearly, I can allow this to affect my day as well. I need to realize that my routine won't be perfect everyday. Some days, a baby will need to be rocked in order to sleep...and my to-do list won't get done...definitely easier for me to type than to embrace. I like a plan, I like order...I like my selfish plans for the day to always come to fruition...sigh. I do hope this next week he has better naps...but my joy will not be dependent upon it. Max had his three month appointment - he is now 13lbs. 2oz. and a little over 23in....he is getting big! He had another shot...I have no idea what for, but whatever. We also discussed his cough (which the doctor heard)...she is guessing it might be croup; however, he rarely coughs at night so she has some doubts on the croup since normally that is the worst at night. Her second idea is an underdeveloped larynx since he has very raspy breathing, which he has had since birth. This can be fairly common she explained and we shouldn't be concerned unless it looked like he was getting distressed while trying to breathe. He'll grow out of it. It doesn't surprise us that he has something weird...all of our kids did!


Jake and I have noticed a bit of the flat head in Max (Max is just like Judah - HUGE head...and you know what they say about HUGE heads...big brains), but I found out that the Swiss don't do bands and the peds here believe most babies have asymmetrical heads and that hair will cover any odd shape...awesome...have you seen this baby's Daddy with the bald head?!? Hmm. Oh, well...no perfect head shape for Max...grow hair, grow!!! He still starts his days with lots of smiles and talking...no giggles still...sad.  He spends A LOT of time in the Bumbo now (doing what we can for that head) and some time playing on a blanket. If the TV is on while he is playing on the ground, he'll turn and watch it with amazement...awesome...parenting at its finest. He brothers still love him like crazy and most nights Judah and Sam say they are thankful for Maxim (or Mackcheem as Sam calls him). He has spent some time outside - we had a few nice days (who would ever have thought that I would say "nice" days when it is in the 40s or 30s outside...losing the desert rat in me so quickly)...if it isn't raining, we go outside...end of story! It rains A LOT here, so we don't pass up a clear day. Max loves to stand and act tough - he is very strong. He has such a desire to already be a big boy; however, he would be more than content to remain in my arms all day. Max is still the sweetest thing there is...even on his off days. His sweet smiles and snuggles outweigh the junky naps. Not every baby can be perfect...so, I guess we'll keep him.


There have definitely been times this past week that I didn't want to be a mom. I am tired...between business taxes (for the company I work for) and personal taxes (because the US cannot leave us alone)...there have been some late nights. I want to sleep...not parent. I want to have a glass a wine at two in the afternoon (seriously) and not play another game. I know that my sinful heart is at the root of all my issues. Sometimes, I seek joy in all the wrong places. Everything would be perfect if I could just stop time for about four hours every night, but then I know I would most likely waste those hours. I know I just need to get my focus off myself...but some days it is such a struggle. Some days I just want my kids to dress themselves, get their own snacks, make their own food (why do they have to eat three times per day?!?...plus snacks?!?...give me a break!)...and I just want to sit and do absolutely nothing, but I know God is not glorified in doing that...and my kids would starve. It just feels like groundhog's day some weeks...tis' my season. I pray I focus my heart on Christ every morning...caring with a whole heart for the littles He has entrusted to me...and sometimes, pouring a glass of wine at two in the afternoon with no judgement.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Don't Remember

 
Thirteen weeks and three months for our big boy, Maxime! Sad to title a blog "I Don't Remember"...but I really don't remember last week...sad. The weeks fly by (except Thursdays...Thursdays seem to really drag). Anyway, and then we get to Friday and I can barely remember what happened during the week. I do remember that I forgot to pick Hugh up from school on Friday...thankfully, he was fine. I felt horrible, but he didn't even know I forgot to pick him up...sweet boy. So, maybe that event scratched all memories of the week...who knows. I will remember Max's thirteenth week of life...I know I can do it (but I definitely need more sleep!...but I cannot blame Max for my lack of sleep...it is all Jake's fault).


So, what did week thirteen bring for Max? I don't remember. Kidding. He received his passport in the mail...so that means we'll be going home (well, home for Jake and me...Switzerland will feel more like home for the boys) at some point very soon...yay! Processed foods and red dye 40 here I come!!! It will be nice to go home...Max won't remember it. I finally feel like we turned a corner this week and he is going down so much easier at night! It is so nice. Honestly, I think we could put him to bed earlier than we do (he normally goes down around 8:30), but nights are so chaotic and I think it is actually easier having him up then removing one of us from putting the other three monkeys to bed. And, he is still taking the third nap of the day. Once he drops his third nap, I think we'll put him to bed earlier. He is still hit or miss on his naps and will almost always cry out at some point during his naps...we are working on it. My sanity is based upon my boys having decent nap schedules. When people tell me their two year-olds don't nap any longer, I get hives...seriously. Neva.gonna.happen. My boys need naps! Well, I need them to nap. So, I will work out Max's naps...I am sure sometimes a three hour nap isn't realistic, but with a little hard work anything can happen. He has started to extend his wake time...about ninety minutes now. I finally feel like we have a really good schedule going on...I am sure he will hit a growth spurt next week and everything will get jacked up. He has been a little fickle with his nursing this week, which drives me crazy. I am a get it done kind of girl when it comes to nursing...Max not so much. He also still almost always falls asleep while nursing...I thought for sure that would have ended by now...guess not. We still have not secured a giggle from this sweet boy. He is really making us work for it. We think he has his first cold...or something. He has a yucky cough, but it doesn't seem to bother him. Max has always had a cough - since birth. We are not sure what it is...his doctor thinks it might be reflux...who knows. Hoping this cough/cold don't bother him for too long. (It definitely bothers Jake...Jake has really chilled when it comes to the boys...but his baby baby having a cough is no bueno for Jake.) I officially packed up all the zero to three month clothes...it hurts my heart. Oh, I am going to miss this. So.much. I actually want Max to stop growing. Three months is the best age...why can't he just stay three months forever?!? Seriously, Max makes me almost want to put my lady bits back together (ok, not really)...but I wish everyone could have a Max for a baby...so sweet. (I realized when I was putting away the clothes that I can count on one hand the number of times Max has worn anything other than a sleeper...I know, that is a little sad...we both have our outfits of choice...sleeper onesie for him and elastic waistbands for me...awesome.). He still gives lots of smiles and lots of talking. He will just stare at me with the sweetest smile...cannot get enough of this little guy. He is still spending a lot of time in the Bumbo and on his wonky playmat (the old playmat we had was SO much better...this one is wonky, but a gift is a gift and it is better than nothing...and his older brothers really seem to enjoy it). He seems like he is trying to reach out for things, but is still in that phase where he doesn't quite know how his arms actually work. We have started keeping his legs out of the Woombie...he still is rocking the startle reflex, so his arms are staying wrapped up. I started to notice today that he is getting a little big for the rock and play sleeper...and I almost (emphasis on almost) put him in the crib...but if ain't broke, don't fix it. Need to pull the trigger on the crib...but not this week...needs to stay upright with that cough (at least that is what I am telling myself to put it off another week). It will be a little weird to start packing up all the baby gear. Not ready for that...definitely not trying to fast forward through this last baby. I'll take the sweet cuddles, the finger holding, the night rocking for as long as I can!





I have been very convicted lately about being intentional with my boys and getting in the down and dirty with them. This can go against everything I believe in at times. I know I don't want to raise robots, but sometimes I want robots...with off switches. I see God working on my heart bit by bit everyday. I am so thankful for the grace He has shown me these last few months. I know it is only through Him that I can find peace. I laugh at times thinking how discontent I would be in Phoenix with the situation I have here...only getting out of the house for like three hours a week (seriously...and that is only if all babies are healthy and I can go to church). I have such a peace about it (I definitely have some days...crazy days...where the peace runs out)...but God has me right where He wants me and I wouldn't want it any other way. I pray that I use the time with my boys in an intentional way...getting to their level and loving them there. I don't want to miss this...there is no going back.



Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Great Comparison





All of our handsome boys at twelve weeks of age...and it is definitely confirmed, Max looks NOTHING like Sam...and NOTHING like me.  So, now I think he looks the most like Judah, but I see a lot of Hugh in him as well.  Maybe that is why Judah has a special bond with him...it is his mini me.  These pictures make my heart swell...all my babies...how can it be that I have four boys?!? 

Baby Steps


Maxime is twelve weeks! Honestly, it is so hard for me to believe that it has been twelve weeks and in less than a week I will have lived away from Arizona for six months! Time flies...seriously. I had one of those moments again this week...where you look at your baby and you just know he has gotten bigger. Really. Max looks huge to me this week. He will be three months old next week...my newborn days are gone (and I am crying now...seriously). It feels so crazy to end my newborn season. I know, I still have a little baby...but it is different now. He isn't a newborn any longer. And, I will NEVER have a newborn again. I LOVE the newborn stage...it is exhausting, but the innocence of a newborn baby is so sweet to me...they are intoxicating to me...and this chapter of my life is closed. As I have said before, I am very ready for these chapters to end and new ones to begin...but it doesn't mean there won't be tears shed as I pack up all the newborn and zero to three month clothes. My sweet baby, Maxime...my heart overflows for this sweet boy.

So, what did week twelve bring for Maxime? Well, I can finally say he is getting so much better at falling asleep at night! We are at a nine-ish bedtime and he is doing well with it...not every night was perfect, but getting better. I would love to be closer to a seven thirty-ish bedtime...all in good time. His naps are still hit or miss...and I have been letting him cry a bit (normally I crack about seven minutes into it)...but he'll go back to sleep. And if he doesn't, then I feed him...nothing a little milk can't fix. Also, he totally hates going into his room knowing I am going to lay him down for a nap...starts screaming over it...but then chills out.  Makes me laugh that he is already starting to figure this all out.  We still have some long nursing sessions...I finally have a baby who finds joy in nursing, sadly, I do not. However, I have been taking some medicine and it has been helping ease some of the discomfort. After many terrible years of nursing, I have figured out some of my issues...and I am slowly working on them...baby steps. We have a good hold on full feedings because this Mama is not about demand feeding...no way Jose. We also still give him a bottle at night because there no breastfeeding after nine at night in this house...no joke. At least I am not whining every week about all my nursing woes...winning!



He has started back scooting a little bit and sometimes looks like he is trying to flip from back to tummy. He is a long ways out, but his little mind is moving. Maybe I should start strapping him in the bouncer...nah. He loves the Bumbo, which is great...gives him more to do and stops the flat head. He hates tummy time...not shocked about that since he never really spent any time on his tummy until he was like two months old. We set up the crib and audio monitor...sadly, no video monitor this time around. I still hold to the fact that a video monitor is one of the top five baby items you can buy...however, it isn't needed and we will not be purchasing one. I bought a second hand audio monitor, which isn't really needed either, but I like to have it when playing with the big boys upstairs...helps me to be a more engaged mom with them. Max is still not sleeping in the crib...this FP Rock and Play thing is the most amazing thing in the world (I would cut off a finger for it...maybe even two fingers), so I am in no rush to move him...however, he keeps growing so he is going to get too big...ugh. I just don't want the crib to jack up his sleeping! I know, I am being paranoid...you become paranoid when things could potentially jack up your sleep...especially when you have four children. I have converted Max to enjoy the swing...nobody ever called me a quitter...that is for sure. He will normally take his third nap of the day in it...only like an hour or so, but that hour counts...dinner time is crazy up at our crib. He still loves his showers with Daddy (when he gets a shower...he has proudly adopted my philosophy that bathing everyday doesn't solve the world's problems). He has finally (I think) stopped peeing on himself...he has an incredible gift to be able to pee during a diaper change into his mouth...it is disgusting...but also makes me laugh...I am so mature. His brothers are still all over him...and sadly he took a whipping in the face with some thing that should not have been used as a whip...he needs to man up being the fourth brother! Not that I was holding out for this, but he is not going to have blue eyes. I was with a baby today who is four weeks younger than Max and she has blue eyes...Max does not. I am ok with this and I am embracing it...I have one child that looks like me and I kidnapped the other three...it is all good. I still think he looks a lot like Hugh, but he also has Judah's round face...stay tuned for a photo comparison of the four boys...it will be epic. He is still super smiley and Jake almost got (stole) a giggle from him, but I would say it wasn't quite there yet (I am sure Jake would disagree)...I guess we aren't very funny. He is still talking a lot and I love, love, love his voice. He looks at me so sweetly and with a huge smile and then starts talking...honestly, my heart melts. I love this boy so much!



So, twelve weeks...this was always the time for me to evaluate my body...having to go back to work and fit into my work pants. Well, no worries this time around...and we know I wouldn't be fitting into my work pants! I am trying to give myself a break. I have birthed four beautiful boys...and the war that was had on my body has left battle scars for sure...but those scars (and stretch marks) come with beautiful birth stories and sweet smiles. So, I am giving myself a break. I want to be healthy (I just need to eat all the candy that is in my house right now...because I am not wasteful!) for my boys...to run and play with them...and fitting into my pants that are sans elastic waistbands would be nice as well. Luckily, I love myself some yoga and stretch pants...sadly, most Euro women have not embraced these amazing pants...I will break them. I also need to figure out a way to successfully exercise with all my children in tow...hmmm. Eating candy with them in tow is much easier. I also need to figure out how to enjoy exercising...no, it doesn't feel good after the fourth mile...you bunch of crazy liars. Baby steps. God has shown me His grace this week and helped me to slow down my crazy train. I have been thinking a lot about things and praying about things. God is chipping away at this hard heart. I am thankful for this hard season...to see God's faithfulness, mercy, and grace in my life. I have so much to learn and have such a great desire to live life rather than watch it pass me by...I want to embrace all the crazy and be thankful for it...no regrets. I am also thankful for good Swiss wine and chocolate...I am not a liar.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More of the Same

(I am starting this post a little irritated - I write the blog posts on my phone and then email them to myself...well, I am fairly certain little hands got to my phone and deleted my blog post note.  So, time to rewrite...I am tired and wittiness is all dried up for the day.)


Happy eleven weeks to our sweet boy, Max!  Hard to believe we are quickly approaching three months with this sweet boy.  Well, the blog is titled more of the same because that is what I am getting...more of the same.  Max is still totally hating on naps.  Bummer.  He is also having such a hard time with his sleep transition.  I love this sweet boy - but yes, I just want him to go to sleep!!!  I rock my babies to sleep (I know, shame on me)...but even I can get tired after an hour or so plus of rocking this sweet boy at night.  So, it wasn't intentional, but I let him cry it out this week - I had a call for work (yes, I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but I still work for a US company...there are days when I wonder why in the world I still do this, but there is a part of me that likes the release of work...crazy, I know) and after rocking him for close to ninety minutes and still no sleep (Jake was traveling so he couldn't take over) - I let him cry.  It only lasted about ten minutes...and now, I believe he is ready to cry.  I am not good at letting my kids cry...hence why we were still feeding Sam in the night until he was almost a year-old, but I know Max is fed...he is just struggling with falling asleep and I know he needs to be able to fall asleep on his own.  I know we won't be in this place forever, but give a Mama of four kids a break and just go to sleep already!  For the love of all things good, go to sleep!!! 


So, what did week eleven bring for Max?  Well, I would say the letting him cry was a big deal...at least in my book.  We'll see how it goes.  I just would like him on a better routine - for the most part we are there, but we need a better nighttime deal..not a three hour process.  Max is sweet about not going to sleep...he normally just likes to lay in your arms and stare at you...sweet baby, but I need a break.  I was telling Jake this week that I am having sensory overload...some days, I just want the constant touching from the boys to stop!!!  I am ALWAYS being touched by one of them...and I just need a break at times...I know, it sounds horrible, but I need the break.  I normally end up rocking him a big chunk of his second nap of the day so I can rest with him...gotta get the rest where I can.  The last couple naps of the day I am in survival mode...we get what we can get.  He actually has taken a couple of cat naps in the swing in the later part of the day...maybe I can convert this swing hater.  Honestly, even if Max is awake - he is happy...he just doesn't like to be awake and in his bedroom alone...he must be a social boy.  So, we'll keep working on the sleep routine...it will happen eventually.  He is still enjoying his time on his play mat and in the bouncer...however, he seems to be getting a little restless in the bouncer (sad, the bouncer has been his faithful friend...my faithful friend). 


So, we busted out the Bumbo (woot, woot)...and he seems to like it.  I think he'll really like it - so much more to see from the Bumbo.  His brothers all thought the Bumbo was super cool as well...I was really hoping one of them would get stuck in it because I wouldn't have gotten them out of it (seriously)...but our boys are so dang skinny, they can slip in and out of it.  I think we are past the Moby stage and are more into the Ergo stage now...I LOVE the Ergo, so this works out great!  We spent some time outside this week...trying to get my boys to embrace the cold...they can be quite whiney about it, but sometimes you need to get out of the house before you lose your mind!!!  He is still super smiley and lots of cooing and talking...love it.  He still hasn't giggled...so close...both Jake and I gunning for that first laugh.  I am sure Jake will steal it - he always does.  Max is ticklish, so I know the giggle will come from the tickling...all in good time.  I do love hearing his sweet voice...seriously, Max is such a sweet baby.  He still loves being in the shower (when he actually gets a shower...fourth child, oh well)...and he got to shower with Mama (I do not enjoy showering with my children...I can't always have my way...sad)...sadly, the shower was freezing cold.  It seems like he may be getting tired of the Woombie...not sure I am quite there yet to let him break out of it...he still throws a lot of gang hands, so those hands need to be confined.  We are almost to the end of the "fourth trimester" so maybe we'll be ready to break the Woombie soon.  He is still very loved by his brothers...especially Judah.  He has big smiles for Judah.  Judah loves to "play" with Max, but sometimes Max doesn't love the sword fights, the car drops on the head, or being smothered by night-night...but he does love Judah...praying that relationship will be very sweet.  I still think he looks a lot like Hugh, but he also has a lot of Judah as well...nothing at all like Sam, so that means nothing like me.  We love this sweet boy...big time...even with the crazy sleeping!!!


So, I survived my first solo parenting experience this past week...we all survived.  It definitely was not easy, but I managed...thankfully, it was only for a few days.  I avoided having any emotional breakdowns this week...praise God, but I definitely had moments where I could have been a better parent.  I start with a long fuse in the morning...but my fuse gets shorter and shorter as the day goes on...until eventually, I blow-up...especially in a perfect storm, which I had while Jake was gone (that is always how it goes down when Jake is traveling...no joke).  Thankful for God's sustaining grace and that my boys can forgive.