Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life Lately

A bit of life lately, since my blog gets no attention these days. (This seems to be the trend since having our second child 3.5 years ago. How I wish that when I only had one child I realized that I actually did have free time.)

1) We arrived back home a week ago tonight from our 6-week stay in Turkey, waiting on new visas (and all the paperwork that was required). We received work visas (or Shannon did, while the girls and I received accompanying family member visas) and the wonderful news about that is that we shouldn't have to leave the country again for visa purposes. Wahoo!

One of the positives of visa runs: hooking up with friends that you've known for forever. And letting all the munchkins play together.

2) Upon arriving we decided that it was high time to put Raye in the same room with the bigger girls. We have a lot of people coming in and out this summer and moving her bed back and forth from the guest room into our room just wasn't going to cut it anymore. So we moved her in a few nights ago and they've done pretty well together. Of course we haven't had anyone wake up in the middle of the night sick or anything yet (praise the Lord) but still...overall it's going pretty well. Much better than when we put Noel in with Lane for the first time! I did move the furniture around in their room so that Raye's crib is between the window and the chest of drawers, so she can't see the bigger girls' beds. While I don't love the set-up, it works well for a transition time because while she can still hear them, at least she can't look at them (and them at her).

Classic third child syndrome. One year old and finally getting her first toothbrush.

3) Today I started the multi-day process of cleaning off our balconies from their winter accrual of nastiness. Buckets and buckets and buckets of mop water later and they're still so gross. Tomorrow I'm going to get on my hands and knees to scrub, and maybe on Tuesday I'll vacuum the bit of stuff that's left. And then maybe on Wednesday I'll start on the smaller balcony.

One kid's getting teeth while another is losing them.

4) In June the city usually turns off the hot water in apartment buildings for about a month. Since tomorrow marks June I'm feeling pressure to do things (like clean the balconies) that will just be a lot harder with limited hot water. We do have a hot water heater that we have piped in to our bathroom pipes, so we'll have hot water in there, but no hot water in the kitchen is going to make for lots of simple vegetarian meals.

So thankful this girlie still takes a nap most days.

5) When we arrived back in town we got to see how beautiful it's all become while we were gone! Spring has come and with it is that wonderful rush of energy to get things done. It's come in handy for all the furniture-arranging and balcony-cleaning that I've been doing. I'm looking forward to purchasing a bookshelf and some more plastic bins to continue organizing our books, crafts, and homeschool materials that should arrive later this week. I bought some knobs and hooks to make myself a jewelry holder. And we got family photos taken while in Istanbul so I'm looking forward to printing a few more photos and hanging some prints on the wall. After five years of parenting we do finally have photos of our kids on the wall...I'm ready to get one up of our whole family.

Like one of these. This might be my favorite of all of us.

6) Raye turns 13 months old tomorrow and since we've gotten back I've been reminded over and over again how hard the first year with a baby is. I don't think it matters which number it is, just that the first year is hard. So many transitions, they can't eat by themselves, teething, learning to be mobile, and so's just hard. In the last month Raye has gone down to one (glorious, three-hour!) nap a day. She's learning how to walk. She can feed herself a lot of foods. She has 11 teeth and number 12 is nearly through. And my life is so. much. easier. So mamas of young babies out there, take heart and push on: it does get easier. You will make it, and you will come through the other side of the first exhausting year (or so. There's nothing magic about 12's just around then). And you will be stronger for it.

And there are my thoughts for now. One of my goals for the month of June is to come up with a schedule of some kind that allows me some me time for things like blogging, reading books that have substance, exercising, and so on. I've realized that I haven't been taking very good care of myself over the past ten months or so. Part of that is because of point number six's just hard to do anything (let along take good care of yourself) when you have a baby. But part of it is because I haven't been intentional or purposeful in these things. So I'm working on learning how to care for myself. I'll (hopefully) let you know how that's going when I figure it all out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

12 Months Old

Dear Raye,

Well, girlie, you've gone and done it. You turned one a few days ago. It's just as hard to believe that you're one as it was when your first sister (and your second sister!) turned one. The time really does just fly. Being my third child you got a little bit of a different attitude from me than Lane did, or even Noel. With you I knew that it ("it" being any inconvenience or "hiccup" in our lives due to your infant-ness) wouldn't last forever and that I really could just roll with the punches for a year. And roll we did.

Raye, you're still the sweetest baby. You love attention and love to play peek-a-boo, be sung to (Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, etc.), and in general just have someone's attention. But generally speaking you're content with playing in the same room as someone else: you don't have to have their full and undivided attention, as much as you love that.

This month you got two of your molars. They're not all the way through yet but both of your top molars are at least part-way through, and I can tell that at least one of your bottom molars is on its way. You handle the whole teething thing like a champ, though, and are not usually very fussy. You are very drooly, though, and the front of your shirt is often wet these days.

You learned how to drink from a straw and while you can do it, you make a huge mess. It's like you suck in and then blow half the water that you just sucked in out. Your shirt ends up soaked anytime you drink from a straw. You're also eating almost everything. You've tried some strawberries now and you really like them, as long as they're soft enough for you to gum. You've also tried some rice cakes, many kinds of crackers, new veggies (cooked mushrooms), and some other things. I've lost track and honestly if you can gum it, you can have it, and usually you like it.

You've finally expressed some interest in walking and standing on your own! You're not walking yet but you can stand on your own for awhile (if you have something to do, like put things into something and take them out again) and love to walk if holding onto our fingers. It's mostly your favorite thing to do these days. And we've dropped you down to one nap a day in the past week and while you're a little grumpy in the mornings, overall you're doing well with the transition. These days you usually wake up around 6:30 or 7 and go to bed at 7:30 or 8, and nap at around noon for 2.5-3 hours.

Gotta love a baby in a bikini.

You're a jabber jaws and like to babble and make a whole lot of nonsense words and sounds. You can sign "all done" and "more," and once this month you actually said "aww done," but you haven't said it since. You love to crawl all over anyone who's in your way or in your space. You got a few new toys for your birthday that you really love: a radio thing that plays [real] music and some balls, and you got a touch-and-feel animals book that you really like. You love to destroy lego structures and to put things into baskets/buckets and to take them out again.

I actually can see a bit of me in you in this photo.

Raye, you're so fun and so sweet. You're content and joyful and a bottomless pit, acting like we never feed you. You love your sisters and your daddy and to pull books off shelves and to rifle through my purse. I love you and am so, so grateful for a whole year with you, and I look forward to many, many more.

I love you,

Monday, May 4, 2015

And Then She Was One

Little Miss Raye had a birthday this past Friday. We've been out of the country for almost three weeks now so her day wasn't quite the shindig we usually do for first birthdays, but she still had a bit of fun.

First thing in the morning: presents! We've been hauling around birthday presents for three weeks...they even went to the beach with us first! And Mimi and Papa brought a few presents from Shannon's dad and stepmom as well, so even though we didn't buy her anything (didn't want to haul even more gifts around), she still had a few things to open. And she has a few more back home that she can open in a few weeks.

After presents and breakfast (no birthday pancakes this year...while I had everything to actually make the pancakes, we didn't have anything to top them with. So we opted for birthday cereal instead.), Shannon took the girls to Starbucks and to the park so I could finish the cake. It definitely wasn't as pretty as I would have liked, but considering I had to bring the sprinkles and vanilla and almond extracts with me and borrow cake pans and use a regular plate as a cake board...I think it'll do. I'll do it up right for her second birthday. Hopefully.

Then it was lunch time and nap time and I chopped veggies and chicken for stir fry and cleaned the house a bit. Around 3:30 friends started showing up. We're lucky to have lived here before and to have a few pretty good friends who still live here, some who even have small children. So the kids came and the dads took them to play at the park while the moms chatted and watched the babies/toddlers.

Other friends arrived and we ate stir fry and sang to the birthday girl and let her dig into her first piece of cake. She, like the other girls, was not the biggest fan of the cake. My silly kids get too full of their dinner to enjoy their first birthday cake! (But the next day, when I let her eat it for lunch, she was all over it.)

Everyone left and we put the kids to bed and I think we watched a show. Shannon and I reminisced just a little about the last year and about her birth, about how quickly the time goes. And while yes, it's fantastic and amazing that our little Raye is one now, the bigger miracle is that we survived a year of parenting three children. One year down; only a lifetime to go.