This is a sight you would see a lot at our house:
Liv, #1 Helper, keeping Benson entertained so Mom can try to accomplish SOMETHING. She is his kindest buddy, and he loves and trusts her so, so much. Even though he is now about half her size! He just adores his big sister, for good reason.
So I will have to summarize, as life has taken hold with this baby that demands a lot, and things that I love, including this little family record, have temporarily fallen by the wayside. I am hoping that things will settle and he will continue to gain a schedule, and I can pick back up here. Because I do love this little record. And I miss the outlet that honest writing is for me. I think that is part of the problem I've had with writing. I forgot that I can be an HONEST writer. If things are difficult/uneven/or I'm failing miserably, I am happier if I'm just upfront about it and I know you are still my friends. I'm listening to an awesome book right now called Falling To Heaven, and the author, James L. Ferrell, talks about living a "confessing" life. Not pretending you're not a total wreck. So, I like that.
I'm a total wreck. Just so you know!
Here's a beautiful picture of my beautiful baby:
Remember how the first few months of new baby the transition didn't seem too difficult? And then about the three month mark hit, and things totally swan-dived. Hard core. Blew up. Exploded. Bits of shrapnel everywhere! He became a "hard" baby. That's not his fault, bless his heart. He just needs a lot of attention, and he needs it his way. And sleeping was a no-go. Every night became a nightmare. If I got up with him six times, it was a good night. And then it started to become like every 45 minutes, and he wouldn't go back down without walking him. I don't know about you, but I have never been that sleep deprived. I know why they use it as a torture device. I was NOT myself. Like PMS on steroids. PMS on speed. I simply could not think in a manner helpful for anyone. I really wasn't safe anymore, and I was afraid I was just going to start driving west and keep driving. Praise God, just at that moment, a book I'd had recommended by a friend FINALLY became available at the library. Called On Becoming Baby Wise, it has totally saved two lives -- mine, and Benson's. It helped me see that I wasn't a failure as a mother, that just because this was my fourth child didn't mean I should have it all figured out, and then it figured it out for me. I didn't realize that by trying to solve the problem I'd made it so much worse. I'd created an attachment parenting relationship, which was working for NO ONE. That made setting up his schedule a little harder, but thankfully, I was at the point of exhaustion that hearing him cry for awhile didn't torture me as much, because I knew I was helping him. Babies have to know how to sleep. Such a blessing! We are still working on nap time, but nights are a world of difference. By the third day we were on a different planet, and last night he went to bed at 7, I woke him up to eat at 10, he fussed and self soothed at 4, and then woke up happy for the day at 8. In the morning. My fitness band tells me I got NINE HOURS OF SLEEP. It's amazing!!! Every parent needs this book. I wish I'd had it at #1 (although I wasn't probably experienced enough yet to know that babies sometimes need to cry, so it might not have been as useful)! I can't tell you how much different I feel. How much SANER I feel! He's still a demanding baby, and I'm still tired most of the time (might take awhile to get back from that), but we can do this. God saved me and sent me that book. I'm not kidding. If you have a baby, read it. Read it now! The best part is, Benson feels so much better, too. It's very obvious. And it has actually made our relationship stronger. When I hold him, he cuddles me. HE cuddles, wraps his arm around my arm, nuzzles my neck, leans. It is so sweet. We are so much better for it! I am so thankful God gave me that little boy, and we're stronger through this experience.
Here's my big boy, at his first orchestra concert! I was so proud of him, he did a great job. So far he loves his viola and wants to keep playing. Olivia has said she'd also like to play the viola, and he was quite touched. "Aaah, she wants to be like me?! So cute!"
Katelyn loves to play with Bens. Her favorite line to use is "Oh yes you are! Oh yes you are!" in her high, high baby voice. He loves when she plays and is somehow undisturbed by her three inch personal bubble. She has a bit of a hard time sharing him, and will sometimes push brother and sister out of the way when they try to play with him, ha ha. She is a pill, which I know means she is a natural born leader, and we try to teach her the right way to live so she can use her powers for good (and not evil).
Here's Livi Lucy, talking about "Ryan." He is a very thrilling topic!
We had the amazing fortune of inheriting Grandma B's beautiful hand-painted Christmas village this year. The kids were so, so thrilled to set it up! They designed the town layout and put it up themselves. It is a family treasure, and fun to start a new tradition.
While I was sleep training Benson, the kids slept downstairs so their sleep wouldn't be interrupted (up to that point he's slept in our room) by their baby brother. Kate said it didn't bother her, and wanted to sleep upstairs with Mom. It was really cute, we'd snuggle, I'd play with her hair, and two seconds later she'd be sound asleep. Darling. She loves her ears played with, too, which is my own personal favorite thing. She's a good cuddle buddy. A heater, too. And a tosser and turner. I gained new appreciation for her bedfellow, Olivia!
Look at the sweet cuddles Benson gives me now. So cute.
In another December adventure, I had the misfortune of having mastitis. It is as truly awful as anyone has ever told you. I was fine one Saturday morning, had a headache, nothing unusual. Took the kids to the library and started to feel a little different, so we rounded up and headed home. I stopped to get them a cheeseburger because I knew I wasn't quite right, and started to feel freezing in the drive through line. By the time we got home five minutes later, I was convulsing from the cold. I fed Benson as best I could and put the kids in charge of him to get in the hot bath. They knew something was really wrong and were such great helpers! Thankfully the Double B got home early, and by the time I headed downstairs, still shaking, with three heating pads, sweats, coat, etc, he was pretty shocked. Got in bed and shook and had very intense muscle aches and spasms for HOURS. My leg muscles could not hold still. I have never been in so much misery. Honestly. I have never been that sick, ever. About four in the morning, my sweetheart went and bought me an electric blanket, and that is the first relief I'd had in about 16 hours. I finally fell asleep for an hour at about six in the morning. I spent four days in bed, two as miserable as I'd ever been, two just bed-ridden sick. It was eye-opening! Not to mention, my chest was so tender and painful. I almost lost my milk, had basically nothing for a couple of days, but thankfully it has come back. Not full strength, but that is okay because we'd decided a few days before to start supplementing Benson a little to hopefully help me a little mentally with post-partum. But I do love nursing him, and it's been my first positive experience nursing, so I don't want to give it up yet! Too much information? Possibly. Still happened, though.
KJ and Olivia decided they liked the look of the 80's and created their own cool hairstyles. KJ has the perfect poofy hair for it. I think he looks a lot like my brother Jon in this picture. And he was definitely an 80's kid! I could have only dreamed of having hair as styling as Olivia's...
Here's my little helper this morning. "I'll take Benson for you!" He's five months old now and she'll be eight years old in twelve days. And he's half her size! I think it's safe to say he will outgrow her. Love my kids!
A few funnies:
This morning Olivia reassured me that she needs to grow up so I can be a Grandma. Then she said "Don't worry. I'll never stop using my blanky. And if my husband tries to make me stop, I'll kick him! And throw him out of the house for an hour!"
While watching the movie "The Nativity Story", Olivia says "It's just so cool in the movies. They always add a random chicken!"
The other day Katelyn tooted and I said "what do you say?" She smiled and bellowed "Excuuuuse Myyyy Buuuum!" Nice.
Well, it's the end of another year. I used to hate New Year's Eve, because I would feel so uncertain about what was coming in the next year. But it doesn't bother me now. We'll spend the evening with the Tate's and I doubt any of us will even make it to midnight! I guess it's just a good opportunity to look back on the blessings of the past year. I hope this coming year is a good one. I hope it gets us where we want to be. I hope we can trust the Lord and keep the commandments. I hope that I can keep striving to be better. I hope my children are healthy and happy.
And as for 2014 -- it was a good one. It was a hard one. Full of many trials and many more blessings. When I'm an old lady I'll say "This is the year where I faced my fears."
And that's a pretty big deal.