Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Under 6

Jamie requested it, and there's no way a thoughtful, well-edited post is gonna make it's way onto this blog regarding life with 5 kids under the age of 6...  Heck, I'm far from the first to experience this!  But just in case you were wondering, here are a few facts of life when you have this many young children:

- You may find yourself allowing your children to play with ridiculous things just so they leave you alone.

Mary Claire was the only child awake/out of her nap time prison (because she wouldn't stop screaming "ELIZABETH!!!  WAKE UP!!!") the other day and I was trying to get dinner prepped.  So when she asked for a raw potato?  You better believe I gave it to her.  And it bought me several minutes of free time in the kitchen where she wasn't trying to hang from the handle of the oven or trying to climb onto the counter!

-  You will find yourself rewarding your children for ridiculous things.

Mary Claire needed to use the potty for #2 right when Andrew was walking out the door for a meeting.  And I was nursing a fussy baby.  So Cecilia and John Paul supervised her on the potty, wiped her, and John Paul went to get her a chocolate chip for her success.  At which point I told him that EVERYBODY got a chocolate chip for doing such an awesome job...  Now they want to help her use the potty at every possible opportunity and I have a feeling this is the only way the twins are actually going to get potty trained...

After that, Cecilia put her in a clean pair of underwear all by herself.  And then Mary Claire peed on the floor.  So, you know, you win some you lose some.

- You will find yourself repeating the phrase "YOU NEVER TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY" approximately six million times throughout the day.

The twins are the best at leaving Peter alone.  John Paul?  CANNOT resist giving him a kiss, or touching his hand, or snuggling up to his head at every opportunity.  Cecilia mostly waits until he makes a little noise in his sleep, at which point she starts snuggling him or rocking him or trying to soothe him somehow.  It actually works a surprising percentage of the time, so I'm not entirely sure I mind...

-  The hours in the day manage to pass incredibly quickly, but also incredibly slowly.

Somehow the 3ish hours between breakfast and lunch pass in minutes.  And yet the hours between the end of naps and dinner time?  ENDLESS.  I'm not the only one to experience this phenomenon, I know - I'm pretty sure every mom in the world knows that the 90 minutes between 4 pm and 5:30 actually take something like 27 hours to pass.

-  You will be astonished at how much OLDER all your other children seem every time you have another baby.

Lining up their Blessing Blocks for "Tummunion" - I can't get over the body language!

The twins were babies a month ago.  BABIES!  And now?  Practically pre-teens.  Time!  It flies!

Anyway, in case you were wondering how we're doing, it's crazy but awesome!  I kind of can't get over how blessed we are, and wouldn't trade this for the world :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our Christmas List {7 Quick Takes)

Our big plan this year was to do a handmade Christmas - only gifts that we made ourselves or purchased from artists on Etsy or the like.

But then I got pregnant.  And making all the things either in the last trimester of pregnancy or while dealing with a newborn?  Not happening.  So that's postponed (although the kids ARE each getting a print from Flor Larios, so we're doing our part a *little* bit!) until next year...  But what ARE we giving everyone?

Nothing.  Jesus is the greatest gift!

No, sorry, I'm just kidding.  I mean, Jesus is awesome and obviously the reason we're celebrating.  We'll probably save a lot of this for Epiphany, but we DO do Christmas presents.  Honestly, a lot of this is stuff we would have gotten for the kids *anyway* but now we have a reason to give it to them.  Need ideas?  Look no further:

Many of these links are affiliate links - I really appreciate you clicking through and making any purchases you'd already be making through these links, because it helps fund this blog at no extra cost to you!  Think of it as your Christmas present to me :)


For Mom:

Gift cards!  Bonus if they're to places where she can ONLY shop for herself, and won't be tempted to buy stuff for the kids instead (you know you've done it...), like the ones below:

Le Tote - Like Netflix for clothes!  A great way for a mom transitioning in sizes to try stuff on without the obligation to buy, but she CAN buy if she loves it!  I'm hoping to try it out and post a review for you in the coming months!

Displaying edit-First Box laydown-053_small.jpg

ThredUP (Here's $20 off your purchase of $75 or more for ALL customers, not just new ones!) - They sell children's clothes too but the prices are better for women's stuff

Twice ($10 off your first purchase!) - ONLY women's clothing!  And they just added shoes and handbags, too!

(You know I love them both!  Here's my review of them, in case you haven't read it already!)

But what do I REALLY want?

Well, I finally ordered a pair of boots and am really looking forward to wearing them to death!

And mostly I just want things for the kitchen...  I'd love this handy little gadget that Emily recommended - we use a LOT of garlic around here!  And it would be awesome to have a second apron - mine is always getting way too dirty before I bother washing it, and it'd be convenient to have a spare.  My go-to pan has been in baaaaad shape and I think it's time to retire it, but a new stir-fry pan would be the perfect replacement!

The Best Laid Plans

I don't use a planner, but maybe it's time to start?  And I definitely think Kelly's looks awesome!  Although I have a feeling John Paul would hijack it...  What do you think, Kelly?  Suitable for the 5-year-old crowd AND the 28-year-old crowd?


For Dad:

PUGG 4 Footer Portable Training Goal (One Goal & Bag)

I've had this soccer goal on my wishlist for a while, and it's cheaper right now that I've ever seen it so I think I may go ahead and get it as a joint present for Andrew and John Paul

It's been ages since we last played a video game together but I kind of miss it!

But I'm kind of at a loss beyond that - what would YOU get the man who has everything and really really doesn't want more stuff cluttering up the place?


For the easy-to-please nerdy 5-year-old boy:

I picked up this construction set at a consignment sale in September and am really hoping it keeps him busy!  He's the type to take EVERYTHING apart and try to put it back together, so having something actually geared towards that as the goal is probably a good idea!

Learning Resources Super Magnet Lab

I also got a great deal on this magnet lab kit, since he's been reading a lot about magnets and trying to set up his own experiments with the ones we have...  But all we really have are letter magnets, so this should be a lot more satisfying AND double as homeschooling!

Dig a Dino Excavation Kit 3 Pack

Do you have a kid like that who's always getting into things?  John Paul got these excavation kits for his birthday and spent DAYS digging the pieces out and putting them together - it was amazing!  Definitely a great gift for a 5-year-old, and a great way to keep a kid busy.


For the 3-year-old girl who thinks she's 30:

Cecilia has been bitten by the American Girl bug.  Specifically, she's DYING for a Bitty Baby and considering her birthday is in January, I think it's a reasonable joint present.  She spends all day every day playing baby dolls, and DESPERATELY wants a more realistic doll than her beloved Baby Stella (who has really served her well for the past 3 years!).

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 27-Piece Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up

I got her this dress-up doll set at a consignment sale last spring, and she'll be getting a couple of books as well.  Her birthday's at the end of January so I don't want to get her much because she'll be overloaded!

Oh, but I did promise to make her a purple cape.  Want to know how I do that?  Buy a yard of fleece.  Cut it in the shape of a cape.  Tie it.  BAM!


For the 2-year-old crowd:

Mary Claire and Elizabeth just had their birthday and each got their own baby doll (this one and this one, so everybody matches!), so they're kind of set, plus they still don't get the whole present thing anyway, which I'm taking advantage of!  But they need *something* so I got a couple more Water Wow books for them because they ADORE those things and I know they hold up really well.

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set
We also got this Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set for my 2-year-old niece - it's been a favorite over here for a couple years, and is always a hit with the play date crowds!

I'm keeping my eyes open for good used books too - they're HUGE fans of anything Jan Brett, and Berlioz the Bear is their current favorite from the library.  We need to purge our home library and replace a lot of damaged (and terrible) books with GOOD books, and this is definitely the place to start!


For the newborn:


Sorry, kid.

Well, I know my mom is making matching hats for him and John Paul (Size up! Enormous noggins on both these kids!).  Does that count?

We've got more toys and books than we need - what would YOU get a newborn who already has 4 siblings close in age, and thus has all their hand-me-downs?

Maybe rompers? He has like, 3 things that fit and are seasonally appropriate, and I do love me some Hanna Andersson...

Or one of these adorable hooded numbers from Carter's?  In reality, we have very few pairs of footie pajamas and might grab a couple pairs of zippered jammies to carry us through until he's big enough for John Paul's old winter stuff.


What do you think?   Can we do a handmade Christmas *next* year?  How do you keep yourself from going overboard with presents?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with the lovely new hostess of Seven Quick Takes, Kelly of This Ain't the Lyceum!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Peter's Birth Story

Okay, birth story!  Let's do this!!!

Short story:  Peter Damian was born at 12:26 AM on Saturday, November 15.  Either 6 days or 3 days late, depending on which date you use.  8.5 lbs, 21.5 inches long, 13.5-inch head.  My first unmedicated labor, and yes I feel like I deserve a prize!

40 weeks 1 day OR 40 weeks 4 days, depending...
As it became increasingly apparent that this baby wasn't making an early arrival, I started halfheartedly planning a low-key "birthday party" for the twins, who turned 2 on November 14.  I knew I didn't have energy for much, and if I ended up in labor I didn't want to have to call a million people to cancel!  So I convinced them that brownies and ice cream were the way to go, and invited one family over to celebrate with pizza and dessert.  

And yeah, it's a good thing that's all I planned!

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning on the 14th with my usual pregnancy insomnia, so I sat around on the couch for a while having contractions and playing games on my phone (I don't know WHY nobody's on facebook or twitter at 4 AM!  Keep a pregnant lady entertained, huh?).  But after weeks of prodromal labor (seriously, nearly every night after dinner since about 36 week...), these contractions finally felt REAL!  Real enough that I downloaded a contraction timer, but they petered out after about an hour and I went back to bed.

40-degree temperatures call for a strappy sundress, obviously.
I woke up a couple hours later with more contractions, but tried to sleep through them.  They were coming every 10 minutes or so and getting more painful, so I asked Andrew to email my mom and ask if she would come by today and maybe stay for the weekend to celebrate the twins' birthday (she was going to come watch the kids while I was at the hospital anyway, but she lives 2 hours away so we weren't sure when would be a good time for her to come).  Because if I was actually IN labor right now, it would probably be good to have somebody else to deal with the kids...

Contractions petered out again, and we got ready for the day.  Somewhere in there I lost my mucus plug and texted Andrew that the baby was probably going to be here fairly soon.  But still just a few contractions per hour, and mostly just when I got up and did too much, so I knew it wasn't real labor yet.

Our friends came over around 4 and the boys got to work building all the train tracks and all the duplo houses.  My mom was already there to help, the pizza was ordered, the brownies were made, and I was convinced this baby was staying put for another day at least.

And remained in denial for several more hours...

Newly 2!
It was actually kind of awesome having to DO things while I was in labor - I was distracted enough not to psych myself out.  Around 5 the pizza arrived and as I got stuff set up for dinner I realized that the contractions were getting more frequent and more painful.  There came a point where our friend just made me sit down because clearly SHE realized I was in labor even though I was kind of brushing it off...

(After all, the hospital bag still wasn't packed!)

Newly 2!

We finished up dinner and dessert, and another friend stopped by to return some baby things and give the twins birthday presents - I tried so hard to be social but kept having to sit down and deal with contractions!  On a side note, taking a 2-year-old to the potty and having to squat while she does nothing is NOT pleasant mid-contraction.  Why did I not just go to my room and lie down?  I don't even know...

Anyway, people kept offering to leave or telling me to sit down, but I brushed it off.  And finally sat down and realized hey, my contractions were 4 minutes apart?  So we got the twins to bed, everyone left, and my mom started getting John Paul and Cecilia ready while Andrew and I headed to our room to pack the hospital bag.  And finally decided that, yeah, this baby was probably coming SOON!  And we should probably get going so I don't end up having the baby in the car or something ;)

 We headed out, saying good bye to the big kids before they went to bed (side note: they were so excited that we were heading to the hospital to have the baby, to the point that they thought it would be appropriate to try to jump into my arms?  Ouch!!!), and calling the hospital to let our on-call doctor know we'd be coming in.  Except they couldn't reach her so apparently it was a surprise when we showed up.  Oh well, it was quiet in there, because apparently Friday night isn't a popular night to have a baby.

(Another side note: I'm REALLY glad we waited as long as we did to go to the hospital - rush hour traffic around here is no joke, particularly on a Friday night, and all the traffic was gone by the time we left at about 8:15.  It could have taken over an hour to get to the hospital, but only ended up taking 20 minutes.  Hallelujah!)

Aaaanyway, we got to our room and they checked me and I was already at 7 cm!  Considering I arrived at the hospital at a whopping 1 cm and 2 cm for John Paul's and Cecilia's births, this was really exciting!  Maybe we'd have a triple birthday after all!

They hooked me up to all those stupid monitors (seriously, WORST PART of the whole experience, and if I'm gonna go drug-free again we're doing it at home) and I did the labor thing and the doctor came in after about half an hour saying she thought I was probably complete!

What?  Already???

Nope.  7 cm.  Still.

My water broke on its own (a slow trickle) and I dealt with the contractions the way I do (NOBODY TOUCH ME WHEN I AM IN LABOR).  I'm pretty sure the nurse thought Andrew was incredibly unsupportive as he kind of hung back and did his thing, but when I snapped at her to stop touching me during one of the contractions, I think she realized that yeah, I just don't want anyone near me when I'm in labor.

Which made the fact that she kept adjusting the monitors mid-contraction particularly annoying...

I'm kind of going fuzzy on the details here - I think I got to 9 cm around 10 o'clock and was convinced that I'd be pushing soon.  Nope.  11 o'clock?  Still 9 cm.  And losing steam...  I'm pretty sure I was the most whiny and annoying pregnant woman ever, with my cries of, "Is it too late for an epidural?" and "I don't like this!"  But yeah, it was too late.  

(Side note:  I was praying for you all throughout, and that really helped me deal with the pain!  So...  Thanks for needing prayers?  Hope they helped!)

Cockiest newborn ever?
I wanted to push.  I started pushing even though the nurse told me not to.  And she checked me and saw that every time I pushed it swelled up the stupid lip of cervix that wouldn't budge.  So I was supposed to STOP pushing???


Whine whine whine, ice chips ice chips ice chips (THAT is what I like Andrew to do - sit by me and feed me ice chips when I reach that point!).  The clock ticked closer and closer to midnight and we realized that this baby was going to take his own sweet time to arrive!  But finally things fell into place, or the nurse worked some sort of magic, and we were ready for the delivery team to come in!

And again I'm hazy on the details...  1 push?  2 pushes?  I got him out fast, I was DONE! 

And then we heard them say he had HAIR!  One of OUR babies?  Seriously???

Yup, our 5th baby managed to be the longest, largest, and hairiest!  Way to go, Peter!

After an uneventful hospital stay, we headed home and have been enjoying awesome newborn snuggles (and copious amounts of bodily fluids) ever since.  And yeah, pretty sure he won't be our last baby :)

Are you a glutton for punishment?  Here are my other birth stories:

John Paul (Part I, Part II, Part III)

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