Monday, May 30, 2011

making life easier

I've decided to give up some things in an effort to make my life easier.

1.  I am not going to make Abby baby food.  I forced myself to do it with the other two and still gave them jars anyway.  I'm sorry Abby, but I'd rather take that time to actually spend some time with all of you guys - since you're growing up at lightning speed. 

2.  Only one level of my house will be clean at a time.  That's just the way it will have to be.  It is virtually impossible to have both levels clean at once.  When I was pregnant I cursed the stairs and vowed that the next house we live in will be only one story.  Now, I'm glad that if I'm freaking out about how messy one level is, I can just move to the other one.

3.  What to expect.  Abby is damn near 6 months old.  She doesn't roll over yet, she only kind of sits up, and she's just starting to really want to eat food.  But, she's incredibly animated, talks a lot, focuses on anything and everything, and already has a great sense of humor.   She's very close to rolling over, but I don't give her many opportunities and when she's laying down she's mostly interested in eating her feet.  Most of the time she's held, carried, or put into something (highchair, exersaucer, bumbo, etc).  The reason I don't put her down much is Exhibit A and Exhibit B.  

Exhibit A and Exhibit B

If I do put her down I have to stay right next to her the entire time, or risk her being trampled or something thrown on her.  And honestly at this point, the less mobile she is, the better.  See messy house problem (including small toys laying around) above.




Highlights:
  • Emily has pretty much potty trained herself!  On Friday (the 20th), she took her diaper off in the morning and hasn't looked back.  I was terrified at how shockingly simple it was.  I actually haven't posted because of this - I was afraid it was too good to be true and I'd jinx it if I wrote about it.  But nope, 9 days later she is still going strong and we don't even have to ask her that much anymore.  She comes to us and tells us when she has to pee!  And she goes through the night.  Which is interesting because Olivia still wears pull-ups to bed.  I used to have a problem with that, but I don't anymore.  Perhaps she has a tiny bladder or something.  The doctor even told me that there are kids 7 and 8 years old who still wear pull ups to bed.  I'm done worrying about it.  Yay for only one kid in diapers!  But, there is a slight glich in all of this.  She has yet to poop on the potty.  I haven't put her back in diapers or pull ups or anything because I don't want to go down that road, but any advice on how to make that happen would be awesome! 

  • Olivia has been "reading."  She memorized one of her books and shocked the crap out of me when I was about to start reading it and she started "reading" it instead!  I was so incredibly proud of her.  I'll admit that I didn't expect that to be such a big deal.  But it was, and is!  I think that's one of the first steps towards reading, so I am so excited for her!

  • Abby has really "woken up" lately.  She's so involved and interested and into everything.  She's become very grabby and deliberate in her movements.  She LOVES to bounce in the exersaucer/bouncer thing.  She gets herself going and jumps and laughs and has a great time.  She's also very chatty and is itching to play with her sisters.  If you're holding her and they are playing nearby, she'll almost jump out of your arms to get closer to them.  I'm so curious about what the dynamics of their relationships will be.  Right now Emily and Olivia are super close.  Both of them enjoy talking to Abby, but Emily is a little more into holding her and checking on her right now.  But Abby seems to focus in on Olivia a bit more.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  • And although I'd like to forget - all 3 girls and myself had strep throat.  We didn't even know it.  I had Emily into the doctor because she was having really high fevers, but her test came back negative.  So two days later I had Olivia and Abby in for well checks and the doctor thought their throats were red, swabbed them, and they came back positive!  Apparently Abby's was the worst...which is so sad because she gave absolutely no indication that she didn't feel well.  Anyway, they were given the all clear 24 hours after antibiotics and now that is behind us. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I need a vacation.

Coming home from a trip back East is miserable, to put it mildly.  Everyone takes a few days to get back on schedule, someone is inevitably sick (currently Emily and myself a bit), and the house is a mess (despite best efforts to leave it in good shape).  It's like we land here and crash and burn for a few days and then spend the rest of the week getting everything back in order.  So being gone for a week, really takes 2 weeks out of us. 

That being said, it is always really nice to get home and see everyone.  We saw a lot of friends and family and did some really fun things.  For me, the most fun was during kid free days.  Sorry kids!

First, we were lucky enough to be at home for my brothers graduation from his MBA program.  Jim and I left the girls with his family and went up to Penn State for the day and saw him graduate and then went out to dinner with just the adults!  I think it was actually the first time since any of the girls have been born that all 8 of us went out.  It was a great time.  AND my brother and his girlfriend got engaged.  So two weddings coming up!  Which means I need to expedite getting this baby weight off.  


Secondly, I went with my sister, her fiance, and my mom to check out a venue for her wedding.  An amazing place.  It was a gorgeous day in the city, so afterwards we went out to lunch and sat outside and drank wine and ate delicious meats & cheeses and pizza.  It was such a lovely afternoon (minus the fact that I wore heels and thought my feet would fall off - I'm definitely out of the habit of wearing heels).



Cousins!
Singing with Aunt Leslie
Hanging with Pop-Pop
"Cousins!"
(the quotes are because they aren't actually related - but close enough)

The cutest

Cousins!

Love them

Aunt Leslie and the girls

My new favorite picture of us



Highlights

  • Abby turned 5 months old!  She started eating some cereal.  I tried to start her with sweet potatoes but that was a total disaster.  Even the cereal she's not a big fan of, but we're going slow with it.  It's quite a change for me since the other 2 were thrilled when they first started eating. 
Really?  This is it?  Not interested.



  • Jim took Olivia miniature golfing and she got a hole in 1!  For real!  Later in the week my dad took her to his golf club and let her hit some balls and even drive (steer) the golf cart.  I wasn't there to see it, but I hope that it's a memory she has forever.


  • We went for a hike with Jim's family.  Olivia walked the whole way and basically led the pack.  She loved it so much and proceeded to melt down when we had to leave.  Emily walked most of the way...which was impressive because it was a pretty long walk, in the woods.  Then we had to thoroughly check them for ticks.  Eww.  

  • Olivia and Emily cannot get enough of the i pad.  My dad has all sorts of games for them and it will seriously keep Olivia occupied for hours.  Emily was hilarious with the memory game.  She was very good at it - but every time she turned over a picture she'd say: "Where'd udder one go?"  Every, single time.  You probably had to be there.

  • The girls and I went to the nursery with my dad and picked out flowers for the many planters in the backyard.  They loved picking out the flowers and digging in the dirt to plant them.  Well, Olivia did.  Emily kind of lost interest quickly.  But it was great to see them enjoying playing in the dirt (like kids should) without telling them no, because then we'll have to vacuum the (fake) lawn again.  

Woo hoo! Dirt!


Conversations with the cat

  • I like that they get to run and play and enjoy nature when we are home.  Although I will say that I DO NOT miss the bugs.  No way.  Not at all.  Especially stink bugs...which are the stupidest, most annoying, grossest bugs
Getting good and dirty.

"This my liddle siste."

She would have slept in this if we let her.

Loving the swing!

  • Emily has on a few occasions now, got her finger stuck in her own twirled hair.  She's a major hair twirler.  A trait she may have inherited from my mom (along with her left-handedness) who still twirls her hair.

  • Olivia is really pushing her limits these days.  On everything.  Even the littlest things. And she can be sassy - which I really dislike.  Whoever came up with the term "terrible 2's" had obviously not made it yet to the 4's.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Olivia is 4!

Olivia turned 4 yesterday.  4!  I can't believe it.  When they say it goes by quickly - they weren't kidding.  I was thinking about it the other day; I think time goes by so quickly when you have kids because it's visually measurable.  The child changes yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily!  So they're constantly growing and changing, but sometimes you're too busy to really watch, so when you look back it seems like a blink of an eye. 

Olivia, 
You have brought such amazing joy into our lives.  We are so proud of the little girl you have become.   You are a funny, smart, sweet, loving, and beautiful daughter.  You are such a caring and supportive big sister.  You are so articulate and curious.  I love having conversations with you - I'm so impressed with the way that you think and process new information.  You are always looking to understand things.  Even when you get angry and meltdown- I have to be proud because you are fighting for a rational reason as to why we are telling you to do something - and well, honestly sometimes we don't have a rational reason.  We're just telling you because we're your parents and we know what's best for you.  But I admire your perseverance and  determination to get your way.  So I imagine I'll have to get a bit smarter to keep up with you over the years.  But I'm happy to do it - because you make me want to be a better person, for you and your sisters.  You deserve the best of everything,  but I know you have the dedication and focus to overcome anything tough that you may come up against.  We love you more than life itself and can't wait to enjoy the rest of your growing up!

Day two.




1 year old.
2 years old
3 years old.




4 years old!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Never a dull moment...

We (Jim, myself, and our awesome babysitter, Cheryl, who decorated everything!) finally threw and pulled off (to the best of my current ability) a birthday party for one of my kids that wasn't just for family.  I can't say it was perfect or that I sat down for one split second or was able to socialize very well with our guests, but I can say that Olivia had a blast.  We rented a bounce house which was pretty awesome.  She felt so special and that was the point.  I wanted her to know that she is important and her birthday is something to celebrate so I'd have to say, mission accomplished.





Our next big event is a trip to Pennsylvania.  Which starts with a plane ride, for 4 + hours, with 3 kids.  It's not that bad anymore.  We're kind of pros at it.  We seriously get through security faster than most single people.  The girls are also pretty great on the plane.  Only one time has one of our kids been the loud one on the plane and it wasn't even for that long.  It is stressful though, because you get so many nasty looks when you get to the boarding area and then on the plane with kids.  I always feel the urge to stand up at the end of the flight and scream "F%&$ you, haters!!!  My kids are awesome!!"



Highlights:

  • I cut Abby's hair.  I had to...she had a mullet.  For real.



  • Abby's eyes are not blue.  I've been telling people that they are, but this week I got a good look at them and they're not.  I think they're going to be green.  Which is pretty fun, Olivia has blue, Emily brown, and Abby will (maybe) have green.

  • Emily has decided to start potty training herself.  At some point in the afternoon she decides to take off her diaper and put on underwear and make a go of it.  Sometimes she succeeds.  I'm going to work with her more seriously when we get home, but I'm glad she's into it!

  • Olivia is really into dancing and music.  She loves playing Just Dance for Kids on the Wii.  This week she has confiscated the I-pod and instead of watching a video (her normal reason for sneaking it) she has found the playlists and dances around with the music playing. 


Scene: Emily and Olivia sitting at the dining room table.  Emily only in a diaper.
Olivia: Why is Emily's tummy so big?
Me: I don't know.  Emily is your tummy full?
Emily: No, me tummy not full, just big.